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JUNIE MALLILLIN Y. LOPEZ v. PEOPLE

This case has been cited 48 times or more.

2016-01-11
DEL CASTILLO, J.
While the testimony about a perfect chain is not always the standard because it is almost always impossible to obtain, an unbroken chain of custody becomes indispensable and essential when the item of real evidence is not distinctive and is not readily identifiable, or when its condition at the time of testing or trial is critical, or when a witness has failed to observe its uniqueness. The same standard obtains in case the evidence is susceptible of alteration, tampering, contamination and even substitution and exchange. In other words, the exhibit's level of susceptibility to fungibility, alteration or tampering -without regard to whether the same is advertent or otherwise not - dictates the level of strictness in the application of the chain or custody rule.[22]
2016-01-11
DEL CASTILLO, J.
"[W]hile the chain of custody should ideally be perfect [and unbroken], in reality it is not, 'as it is almost always impossible to obtain an unbroken chain.'"[23] As such, what is of utmost importance "is the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items as they will be used to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused."[24] In the case at bench, this Court finds it exceedingly difficult to believe that the integrity and evidentiary value of the drug have been properly preserved by the apprehending officers. The inexplicable failure of the police officers to testify as to what they did with the alleged drug while in their respective possession resulted in a breach or break in the chain of custody of the drug. In some cases,[25] the Court declared that the failure of the prosecution to offer the testimony of key witnesses to establish a sufficiently complete chain of custody of the shabu plus the irregular manner which plagued the handling of the evidence before the same was offered in court, whittles down the chances of the government to obtain a successful prosecution in a drug-related case.
2015-07-01
PEREZ, J.
We have previously ruled that as long as the state can show by record or testimony that the integrity of the evidence has not been compromised by accounting for the continuous whereabouts of the object evidence at least between the time it came into the possession of the police officers until it was tested in the laboratory, then the prosecution can maintain that it was able to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.[17]
2015-03-25
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.
It is well-settled that in criminal prosecutions involving illegal drugs, the presentation of the drugs which constitute the corpus delicti of the crime calls for the necessity of proving with moral certainty that they are the same seized items.[46] The lack of conclusive identification of the illegal drugs allegedly seized from the accused strongly militates against a finding of guilt,[47] as in this case. Therefore, as reasonable doubt persists on the identity of the drugs allegedly seized from the accused, the latter's acquittal should come as a matter of course.
2015-03-11
BERSAMIN, J.
To ensure a conviction for the illegal sale of dangerous drugs, the following elements constituting the crime must be present, namely: (a) the identities of the buyer and seller, the object of the sale, and the consideration; and (b) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment for the thing. Such prosecution for the sale of illegal drugs requires more than the hasty presentation of evidence to prove each element of the crime. The presentation of the drugs as evidence in court is indispensable in every prosecution for the illegal sale of dangerous drugs because the drugs are the corpus delicti of the crime.[11] As such, the State should establish beyond doubt the identity of the dangerous drugs by showing that the dangerous drugs offered in court as evidence were the same substances bought during the buy-bust operation.[12] This requirement is complied with by ensuring that the custody of the seized drugs from the time of confiscation until presentation in court is safeguarded under what is referred to as the chain of custody by Republic Act No. 9165, whose objective is to remove unnecessary doubts concerning the identity of the evidence.[13]
2015-01-21
CARPIO, J.
It is settled that in prosecutions for illegal sale of dangerous drug, not only must the essential elements of the offense be proved beyond reasonable doubt, but likewise the identity of the prohibited drug. The dangerous drug itself constitutes the corpus delicti of the offense and the fact of its existence is vital to a judgment of conviction.[10]
2014-03-12
PEREZ, J.
This Court has time and again spoken on the chain of custody rule,[34] a method of authenticating evidence which requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be.  This would include testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered in evidence, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness' possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain.  These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same.[35]
2013-07-31
PEREZ, J.
In Malillin v. People,[36] we laid down the chain of custody requirements that must be met in proving that the seized drugs are the same ones presented in court: (1) testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered into evidence; and (2) witnesses should describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the item.
2013-07-04
PEREZ, J.
In Malillin v. People,[75] it was explained that the chain of custody rule includes testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it was offered in evidence, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness' possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain.[76]
2013-06-05
SERENO, C.J.
In illegal drugs cases, the identity and integrity of the drugs seized must be established with the same unwavering exactitude as that required to arrive at a finding of guilt.[30] The case against the accused hinges on the ability of the prosecution to prove that the illegal drug presented in court is the same one that was recovered from the accused upon his arrest.
2013-04-10
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.
In  Malillin v. People,[12] we expounded on the rationale for the chain of custody rule: Prosecutions for illegal possession of prohibited drugs necessitates that the elemental act of possession of a prohibited substance be established with moral certainty, together with the fact that the same is not authorized by law. The dangerous drug itself constitutes the very corpus delicti of the offense and the fact of its existence is vital to a judgment of conviction. Essential therefore in these cases is that the identity of the prohibited drug be established beyond doubt. Be that as it may, the mere fact of unauthorized possession will not suffice to create in a reasonable mind the moral certainty required to sustain a finding of guilt. More than just the fact of possession, the fact that the substance illegally possessed in the first place is the same substance offered in court as exhibit must also be established with the same unwavering exactitude as that requisite to make a finding of guilt. The chain of custody requirement performs this function in that it ensures that unnecessary doubts concerning the identity of the evidence are removed.
2013-02-06
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.
In Malillin v. People,[26] the Court discussed how the chain of custody of seized items should be established, thus: As a method of authenticating evidence, the chain of custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be. It would include testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered into evidence, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness' possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same. (Citations omitted.)
2012-12-05
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.
In People v. Guru,[35] this Court, citing Malillin v. People,[36] explained the importance of the chain of custody: As a method of authenticating evidence, the chain of custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be.  It would include testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered into evidence, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness' possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain.  These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same.
2012-11-21
DEL CASTILLO, J.
In Malillin v. People,[13] we explained the rationale of the chain of custody rule in this wise -
2012-10-24
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.
The above elements that should be proven in both the sale and possession of dangerous drugs intrinsically include the identification of what was seized by police officers to be the same item examined and presented in court.  This identification must be established with moral certainty and is a function of the rule on the chain of custody.[31]  In Malillin v. People,[32] we discussed how the chain of custody of seized items should be established: As a method of authenticating evidence, the chain of custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be. It would include testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered into evidence, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness' possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same.
2012-09-05
CARPIO, J.
Malillin v. People[44] explained that the chain of custody rule would include testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it was offered in evidence, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness' possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and that there was no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same.[45]
2012-08-29
BERSAMIN, J.
The chain of custody is essential in establishing the link between the article confiscated from the accused to the evidence that is ultimately presented to the court for its appreciation. As the Court said in Mallillin v. People:[43]
2012-06-13
CARPIO, J.
In Malillin v. People,[22] the Court explained the importance of the chain of custody: Prosecutions for illegal possession of prohibited drugs necessitates that the elemental act of possession of a prohibited substance be established with moral certainty, together with the fact that the same is not authorized by law.  The dangerous drug itself constitutes the very corpus delicti of the offense and the fact of its existence is vital to a judgment of conviction.  Essential therefore in these cases is that the identity of the prohibited drug be established beyond doubt.  Be that as it may, the mere fact of unauthorized possession will not suffice to create in a reasonable mind the moral certainty required to sustain a finding of guilt.  More than just the fact of possession, the fact that the substance illegally possessed in the first place is the same substance offered in court as exhibit must also be established with the same unwavering exactitude as that requisite to make a finding of guilt.  The chain of custody requirement performs this function in that it ensures that unnecessary doubts concerning the identity of the evidence are removed.
2012-04-18
BERSAMIN, J.
In Mallilin v. People,[37] the need to maintain an unbroken chain of custody is emphasized: As a method of authenticating evidence, the chain of custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be. It would include testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered into evidence, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness' possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same.
2012-02-08
MENDOZA, J.
Instructive in this issue is the case of Malilin v. People[18] which discussed how the chain of custody of the seized items should be established. In said case, the Court said: As a method of authenticating evidence, the chain of custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be. It would include testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered into evidence, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness' possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same.
2011-07-13
MENDOZA, J.
Particularly instructive is the case of Malillin v. People [18] where the Court explained how the chain of custody or movement of the seized evidence should be maintained and why this must be shown by evidence, viz: As a method of authenticating evidence, the chain of custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be. It would include testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered into evidence, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness' possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same.
2010-11-15
VELASCO JR., J.
x x x from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered into evidence, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness' possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same.[23]
2010-08-09
BRION, J.
In Malillin v. People,[43] the Court explained that the chain of custody rule requires that there be testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the object seized was picked up to the time it is offered in evidence, in such a way that every person who touched it would describe how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness' possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain.
2010-07-13
MENDOZA, J.
Moreover, the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the subject substance was the very same object taken from the accused.  To erase all doubts as to the identity of the seized drugs, the prosecution should establish its movement from the accused, to the police, to the forensic chemist, and finally to the court.[10]  In Mallillin v. People,[11] the Court had the occasion to explain the chain of custody rule and what constitutes sufficient compliance with this rule: As a method of authenticating evidence, the chain of custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be.  It would include testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered into evidence, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witnesses' possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain.  These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same. [Emphasis supplied]
2010-01-19
BRION, J.
In a prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs, the following elements must be duly established: (1) proof that the transaction or sale took place; and (2) the presentation in court of the corpus delicti or the illicit drug as evidence.[17] Proof of the corpus delicti in a buy-bust situation requires evidence, not only that the transacted drugs actually exist, but evidence as well that the drugs seized and examined are the same drugs presented in court. This is a condition sine qua non for conviction as the drugs are the main subject of the illegal sale constituting the crime and their existence and identification must be proven for the crime to exist. As we discuss below, the special characteristics of prohibited drugs necessitate their strict identification by the prosecution.[18]
2009-12-16
VELASCO JR., J.
As held by the Court in Malillin v. People,[22] the testimonies of all persons who handled the specimen are important to establish the chain of custody. Thus, the prosecution offered the testimony of PO3 Arago, the police officer who first handled the dangerous drug. The testimony of P/SInsp. Fermindoza, who conducted the examination on the dangerous drug, was, however, dispensed with after the public prosecutor and the defense counsel stipulated that the specimens submitted tested positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride and that the said specimens were regularly examined by the said witness.
2009-12-04
VELASCO JR., J.
As a mode of authenticating evidence, the chain of custody rule requires that the presentation of the seized prohibited drugs as an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be.[22] This would ideally cover the testimony about every link in the chain, from seizure of the prohibited drug up to the time it is offered in evidence, in such a way that everyone who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received, to include, as much as possible, a description of the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain.[23]
2009-09-04
CARPIO MORALES, J.
Thus Mallillin v. People[21] emphasized: Prosecutions for illegal possession of prohibited drugs necessitates [sic] that the elemental act of possession of a prohibited substance be established with moral certainty, together with the fact that the same is not authorized by law. The dangerous drug itself constitutes the very corpus delicti of the offense and the fact of its existence is vital to a judgment of conviction. Essential therefore in these cases is that the identity of the prohibited drug be established beyond doubt. Be that as it may, the mere fact of unauthorized possession will not suffice to create in a reasonable mind the moral certainty required to sustain a finding of guilt. More than just the fact of possession, the fact that the substance illegally possessed in the first place is the same substance offered in court as exhibit must also be established with the same unwavering exactitude as that requisite to make a finding of guilt. The chain of custody requirement performs this function in that it ensures that unnecessary doubts concerning the identity of the evidence are removed. (Italics in the original; emphasis and underscoring supplied)
2009-08-14
BRION, J.
In Lopez v. People,[36] we laid down the requirements that must be followed in handling an illegal drug seized: As a method of authenticating evidence, the chain of custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be. It would include testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered into evidence, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness' possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same. [Emphasis supplied]
2009-05-08
TINGA, J.
As a method of authenticating evidence, the chain of custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be.[34]  It would include testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered into evidence, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness' possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain.  These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same.[35]  Indeed, it is from the testimony of every witness who handled the evidence from which a reliable assurance can be derived that the evidence presented in court is one and the same as that seized from the accused.[36]
2009-05-08
TINGA, J.
As a method of authenticating evidence, the chain of custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be.[34]  It would include testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered into evidence, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness' possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain.  These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same.[35]  Indeed, it is from the testimony of every witness who handled the evidence from which a reliable assurance can be derived that the evidence presented in court is one and the same as that seized from the accused.[36]
2009-05-08
TINGA, J.
A unique characteristic of narcotic substances is that they are not readily identifiable as in fact they are subject to scientific analysis to determine their composition and nature. And the risk of tampering, loss or mistake with respect to an exhibit of this nature is greatest when the exhibit is small and is one that has physical characteristics fungible in nature and similar in form to substances familiar to people in their daily lives.[39]  As a reasonable measure, in authenticating narcotic specimens, a standard more stringent than that applied to cases involving objects which are readily identifiable must be applied, a more exacting standard that entails a chain of custody of the item with sufficient completeness if only to render it improbable that the original item has either been exchanged with another or been contaminated or tampered with.  Thus, we cannot simply close our eyes to the likelihood, or at least the possibility, that at any of the links in the chain of custody over narcotic substances there could have been tampering, alteration or substitution of substances from other cases--by accident or otherwise in which similar evidence was seized or in which similar evidence was submitted for laboratory testing.
2009-04-16
TINGA, J.
Moreover, the prosecution's evidence sufficiently established the unbroken chain of custody of the seized drugs beginning from the entrapment team, to the investigating officer, to the forensic chemist whose laboratory tests were well-documented, up to the time there were offered in evidence. The chain-of-custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be.[24]
2009-03-17
VELASCO JR., J.
In every prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drug, what is crucial is the identity of the buyer and seller, the object and its consideration, the delivery of the thing sold, and the payment for it. Implicit in these cases is first and foremost the identity and existence, coupled with the presentation to the court of the traded prohibited substance, this object evidence being an integral part of the corpus[17] delicti[18] of the crime of possession or selling of regulated/prohibited drug.[19] There can be no such crime when nagging doubts persist on whether the specimen submitted for examination and presented in court was what was recovered from, or sold by, the accused.[20] Essential, therefore, in appropriate cases is that the identity of the prohibited drug be established with moral certainty. This means that on top of the key elements of possession or sale, the fact that the substance illegally possessed and sold in the first place is the same substance offered in court as exhibit must likewise be established with the same degree of certitude as that needed to sustain a guilty verdict. And as we stressed in Malillin v. People, the "chain of custody requirement performs this function in that it ensures that unnecessary doubts concerning the identity of the evidence are removed."[21] So it is that in a slew of cases the Court has considered the prosecution's failure to adequately prove that the specimen submitted for laboratory examination was the same one supposedly seized from the offending seller or possessor as ground for acquittal.[22]
2009-03-13
TINGA, J.
In Mallillin v. People,[56]  People v. Obmiranis[57]  and People v. Garcia,[58]  we declared that the failure of the prosecution to offer the testimony of key witnesses to establish a sufficiently complete chain of custody of a specimen of shabu, and the irregularity which characterized the handling of the evidence before the same was finally offered in court, fatally conflict with every proposition relative to the culpability of the accused. It is this same reason that now moves us to reverse the judgment of conviction in the present case.
2009-02-25
BRION, J.
In Lopez v. People,[42] we explained the importance of establishing the chain of custody of the confiscated drugs, as follows:As a method of authenticating evidence, the chain of custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be. It would include testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered into evidence, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witnesses' possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same.
2008-12-16
TINGA, J.
In criminal prosecutions, fundamental is the requirement that the elemental acts constituting the offense be established with moral certainty as this is the critical and only requisite to a finding of guilt.  In prosecutions involving narcotics, the narcotic substance itself constitutes the corpus delicti of the offense and the fact of its existence is vital to sustain a judgment of conviction beyond reasonable doubt.[27]    It is therefore of prime importance that in these cases, the identity of the dangerous drug be likewise established beyond reasonable doubt.[28]   In other words, it must be established with unwavering exactitude that the dangerous drug presented in court as evidence against the accused is the same as that seized from him in the first place.  The chain of custody requirement performs this function in that it ensures that unnecessary doubts concerning the identity of the evidence are removed.[29]
2008-12-16
TINGA, J.
Board Regulation No. 1, series of 2002 defines chain of custody as "the duly recorded authorized movements and custody of seized drugs or controlled chemicals or plant sources of dangerous drugs or laboratory equipment of each stage, from the time of seizure/confiscation to receipt in the forensic laboratory to safekeeping to presentation in court for destruction." As a method of authenticating evidence, the chain of custody rule requires that the admission   of   the exhibit  be  preceded by  evidence  sufficient  to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be.[30]   It would thus include testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was seized to the time it is offered in court as evidence, such that every person who handled the same would admit how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness' possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain.  The same witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same.[31]  It is from the testimony of every witness who handled the evidence from which a reliable assurance can be derived that the evidence presented in court is one and the same as that seized from the accused.
2008-12-16
TINGA, J.
Be that as it may, although testimony about a perfect chain does not always have to be the standard because it is almost always impossible to obtain, an unbroken chain of custody indeed becomes indispensable and essential when the item of real evidence is a narcotic substance.  A unique characteristic of narcotic substances such as shabu is that they are not distinctive and are not readily identifiable as in fact they are subject to scientific analysis to determine their composition and nature.[32]   And because they cannot be readily and properly distinguished visually from other substances of the same physical and/or chemical nature, they are susceptible to alteration, tampering, contamination,[33]  substitution and exchange [34]  whether the alteration, tampering, contamination, substitution and exchange be inadvertent or otherwise not.[35]  It is by reason of this distinctive quality that the condition of the exhibit at the time of testing and trial is critical.[36]   Hence, in authenticating narcotic specimens, a standard more stringent than that applied to objects which are readily identifiable must be applied a more exacting standard that entails a chain of custody of the item with sufficient completeness if only to render it improbable that the original item has either been exchanged with another or contaminated or tampered with.[37]
2008-12-16
TINGA, J.
Be that as it may, although testimony about a perfect chain does not always have to be the standard because it is almost always impossible to obtain, an unbroken chain of custody indeed becomes indispensable and essential when the item of real evidence is a narcotic substance.  A unique characteristic of narcotic substances such as shabu is that they are not distinctive and are not readily identifiable as in fact they are subject to scientific analysis to determine their composition and nature.[32]   And because they cannot be readily and properly distinguished visually from other substances of the same physical and/or chemical nature, they are susceptible to alteration, tampering, contamination,[33]  substitution and exchange [34]  whether the alteration, tampering, contamination, substitution and exchange be inadvertent or otherwise not.[35]  It is by reason of this distinctive quality that the condition of the exhibit at the time of testing and trial is critical.[36]   Hence, in authenticating narcotic specimens, a standard more stringent than that applied to objects which are readily identifiable must be applied a more exacting standard that entails a chain of custody of the item with sufficient completeness if only to render it improbable that the original item has either been exchanged with another or contaminated or tampered with.[37]