G.R. No. 93028: July 29 1994: 304 Phil. 725
Offense Involved: R.A. 9165 (Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002)
FACTS: On October 22, 1988, Martin Simon was caught in flagrante delicto engaging in the illegal sale of prohibited drugs. The prosecution was able to prove beyond a scintilla of doubt that appellant, on October 22, 1988, did sell two tea bags of marijuana dried leaves to Sgt. Lopez. There were 2 tea bags of marijuana that was sold and there were 2 other tea bags of marijuana confiscated. Information was filed for the illegal sale of four tea bags of marijuana dried leaves. On December 1989, the trial court rendered judgment convicting appellant for a violation of Section 4, Article II of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment, to pay a fine of twenty thousand pesos and to pay the costs. The four tea bags of marijuana dried leaves were likewise ordered confiscated in favor of the Government. Aggrieved, the appellant elevated this present case, arguing that
- Whether or not the lower court erred in convicting Martin Simon for selling for the 4 tea bags of marijuana instead of only 2?
- Yes. The lower court erred in convicting Martin Simon for selling for the 4 tea bags of marijuana. The Court ruled that there were 2 tea bags of marijuana that was sold and there were 2 other tea bags of marijuana confiscated. Thus, Simon should be charged of selling for the 2 tea bags of marijuana only. The court held that Republic Act No. 6425, as now amended by Republic Act No. 7659, has unqualifiedly adopted the penalties under the Revised Penal Code in their technical terms, hence with their technical signification and effects. In fact, for purposes of determining the maximum of said sentence, the court have applied the provisions of the amended Section 20 of said law to arrive at prision correccional and Article 64 of the Code to impose the same in the medium period. Such offense, although provided for in a special law, is now in effect punished by and under the Revised Penal Code. Correlatively, to determine the minimum, the court applied first part of the aforesaid Section 1 which directs that “in imposing a prison sentence for an offense punished by the Revised Penal Code, or its amendments, the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence the maximum term of which shall be that which, in view of the attending circumstances, could be properly imposed under the rules of said Code, and the minimum which shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Code for the offense.”. Hence, in the case at bar, appellant should be begrudged the benefit of a minimum sentence within the range of arresto mayor, the penalty next lower to prision correccional which is the maximum range have fixed through the application of Articles 61 and 71 of the Revised Penal Code. For, with fealty to the law, the court may set the minimum sentence at 6 months of arresto mayor, instead of 6 months and 1 day of prision correccional.