CASE 2021-0002: AMRODING LINDONGAN y AMPATUA VS PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES (UDK-16615, 15 FEB 2021, PERLAS-BERNABE, J.) (SUBJECT/S: DRUG CASE DISMISSED) (BRIEF TITLE: LINDONGAN VS PEOPLE)

DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, the petition 1s GRANTED. The Court hereby resolves as follows:

l) The Entry of Judgment dated January 17, 2019 issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 08782 is RECALLED; and

2) The Decision dated February 28, 2018 as well as the Resolutions dated July 25, 2018 and January 27, 2020 rendered by the CA in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 08782 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accordingly, petitioner Amroding Lindongan y Ampatu (Lindongan) is ACQUITTED of the crime charged. The Director of the Bureau of Corrections, Muntinlupa City is ORDERED to: (a) cause the immediate release of l indongan. unless he is being lawfully held in custody for any other reason; and (b) inform the  Court of the action taken within five (5) days from receipt of this Decision.

Let entry of judgment be issued immediately.

SO ORDERED.”

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

As a final word, the Court, in People v. Miranda,60 issued a definitive reminder to prosecutors when dealing with drugs cases. It declared that “[since] the [procedural] requirements are clearly set forth in the law, then the State retains the positive duty to account for any lapses in the chain of custody of the drugs/items seized from the accused, regardless of whether or not the defense raises the same in the proceedings a quo; otherwise, it risks the possibility of having a conviction overturned on grounds that go into the evidence’s integrity and evidentiary value, albeit the same are raised only for the first time on appeal, or even not raised, become apparent upon further review.”61 So must it be in the case of Lindongan, whose acquittal is clearly in order.”

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