People v Wong Chuen Ming; G.R. Nos. 112801-11; 12 Apr 1996; 256 SCRA 182

FACTS:
Accused-appellants and several others were charged with unlawfully transporting shabu into the country after thirty (30) boxes containing the prohibited drug were found among their baggage upon their arrival from Hongkong. They were ordered to sign on the masking tape placed on the said boxes. There were brought to Camp Crame where they were made to identify the signatures on the boxes and affix their signatures again.

ISSUE(S):
Whether or not the signatures of accused on the boxes, as well as on the plastic bags containing shabu are admissible in evidence.

RULING:
NO. By affixing their signatures on the boxes of Alpen Cereals and on the plastic bags, the accused in effect made a tacit admission of the crime charged for mere possession of shabu is punished by law. These signatures of accused are tantamount to an uncounselled extra-judicial confession. They are, therefore, inadmissible as evidence for any admission wrung from the accused in violation of their constitutional rights is inadmissible against them.

Decision appealed from is hereby REVERSED. Accused are ACQUITTED and their immediate release ORDERED.

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Category: Legal Chyme

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