People vs. Marti

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SUPREME COURT THIRD DIVISION PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, -versusG.R. No. 81561 January 18, 1991

ANDRE MARTI, Accused-Appellant. x---------------------------------------------------x DECISION BIDIN, J.: This is an Appeal from a Decision[*] rendered by the Special Criminal Court of Manila (Regional Trial Court, Branch XLIX) convicting accused-appellant of violation of Section 21 (b), Article IV in relation to Section 4, Article 11 and Section 2 (e)(i), Article 1 of Republic Act 6425, as amended, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act. The facts as summarized in the brief of the prosecution are as follows: “On August 14, 1987, between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m., the appellant and his common-law wife, Shirley Reyes, went to the booth of the “Manila Packing and Export Forwarders” in the Pistang Pilipino Complex, Ermita, Manila, carrying with them four (4) gift-wrapped packages. Anita Reyes (the proprietress

and no relation to Shirley Reyes) attended to them. The appellant informed Anita Reyes that he was sending the packages to a friend in Zurich, Switzerland. Appellant filled up the contract necessary for the transaction, writing therein his name, passport number, the date of shipment and the name and address of the consignee, namely, “WALTER FIERZ, Mattacketr II, 8052 Zurich, Switzerland” (Decision, p. 6) “Anita Reyes then asked the appellant if she could examine and inspect the packages. Appellant, however, refused, assuring her that the packages simply contained books, cigars, and gloves and were gifts to his friend in Zurich. In view of appellant’s representation, Anita Reyes no longer insisted on inspecting the packages. The four (4) packages were then placed inside a brown corrugated box one by two feet in size (1’ x 2’). Styrofoam was placed at the bottom and on top of the packages before the box was sealed with masking tape, thus making the box ready for shipment (Decision, p. 8). “Before delivery of appellant’s box to the Bureau of Customs and/or Bureau of Posts, Mr. Job Reyes (proprietor) and husband of Anita (Reyes), following standard operating procedure, opened the boxes for final inspection. When he opened appellant’s box, a peculiar odor emitted therefrom. His curiosity aroused, he squeezed one of the bundles allegedly containing gloves and felt dried leaves inside. Opening one of the bundles, he pulled out a cellophane wrapper protruding from the opening of one of the gloves. He made an opening on one of the cellophane wrappers and took several grams of the contents thereof (T.S.N., pp. 29-30, October 6, 1987; Emphasis supplied). “Job Reyes forthwith prepared a letter reporting the shipment to the NBI and requesting a laboratory examination of the samples he extracted from the cellophane wrapper (T.S.N., pp. 5-6, October 6, 1987). “He brought the letter and a sample of appellant’s shipment to the Narcotics Section of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), at about 1:30 o’clock in the afternoon of that date, i.e.,

August 14, 1987. He was interviewed by the Chief of Narcotics Section. Job Reyes informed the NBI that the rest of the shipment was still in his office. Therefore, Job Reyes and three (3) NBI agents, and a photographer, went to the Reyes’ office et Ermita, Manila (T.S.N., p. 30, October 6, 1987). “Job Reyes brought out the box in which appellant’s packages were placed and, in the presence of the NBI agents, opened the top flaps, removed the styro-foam and took out the cellophane wrappers from inside the gloves. Dried marijuana leaves were found to have been contained inside the cellophane wrappers (T.S.N., p. 38, October 6, 1987; Emphasis supplied). “The package which allegedly contained books was likewise opened by Job Reyes. He discovered that the package contained bricks or cake-like dried marijuana leaves. The package which allegedly contained tabacalera cigars was also opened. It turned out that dried marijuana leaves were neatly stocked underneath the cigars...
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