(Question XVI, Political Law, 2018 Bar Exam)
Five foreign nationals arrived at the NAIA from Hong Kong. After retrieving their checked-in luggage, they placed all their bags in one pushcart and proceeded to Express Lane 5. They were instructed to place their luggage on the examiner’s table for inspection.
The examiner found brown-colored boxes, similar in size to powdered milk boxes, underneath the clothes inside the foreigners’ bags. The examiner discovered white crystalline substances inside the boxes that he inspected and proceeded to bundle all of the boxes by putting masking tape around them. He thereafter handed the boxes over to Bureau of Customs agents. The agents called out the names of the foreigners one by one and ordered them to sign their names on the masking tape placed on the boxes recovered from their respective bags. The contents of the boxes were thereafter subjected to tests which confirmed that the substance was shabu.
Can the shabu found inside the boxes be admitted in evidence against the five foreigners for the charge of illegal possession of drugs in violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002? (2.5%)
Under jurisprudence involving a similar set of facts, it was held that by affixing their signatures on the boxes, 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 un-counselled extra-judicial confession which is not sanctioned by the Bill of Rights. They are, therefore, inadmissible as evidence for any admission wrung from the accused in violation of their constitutional rights is inadmissible against them. The fact that all accused are foreign nationals does not preclude application of the “exclusionary rule” because the constitutional guarantees embodied in the Bill of Rights are given and extend to all persons, both aliens and citizens. Rule
In the case at bar, the signatures by the accused on the boxes amounted to an extrajudicial confession without the assistance of counsel in violation of their rights. Apply
Thus, the shabu cannot be admitted in evidence. Conclusion
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