Estipona v Lobrigo.pdf - EN BANC[G.R No 226679 SALVADOR ESTIPONA JR y ASUELA petitioner vs HON FRANK E LOBRIGO Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial

Estipona v Lobrigo.pdf - EN BANC[G.R No 226679 SALVADOR...

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EN BANC[G.R. No. 226679. August 15, 2017.]SALVADOR ESTIPONA, JR. y ASUELASALVADOR ESTIPONA, JR. y ASUELA , petitioner, vs.vs.HON. FRANK E.HON. FRANK E.LOBRIGO, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 3,LOBRIGO, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 3,Legazpi City, Albay, and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINESLegazpi City, Albay, and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.DECISIONDECISIONPERALTAPERALTA,J p:Challenged in this petition for certiorariand prohibition 1is the constitutionalityof Section 23 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9165, or the "Comprehensive Dangerous DrugsAct of 2002,"2which provides:SEC. 23.Plea-Bargaining Provision. — Any person charged under anyprovision of this Act regardless of the imposable penalty shall not be allowed toavail of the provision on plea-bargaining. 3The facts are not in dispute.Petitioner Salvador A. Estipona, Jr. (Estipona)is the accused in Criminal Case No.13586 for violation of Section 11, Article II of R.A. No. 9165 (Possession of DangerousDrugs). The Information alleged:That on or about the 21st day of March, 2016, in the City of Legazpi,Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-namedaccused, not being lawfully authorized to possess or otherwise use anyregulated drug and without the corresponding license or prescription, did thenand there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have, in his possession and underhis control and custody, one (1) piece heat-sealed transparent plastic sachetmarked as VOP 03/21/16-1G containing 0.084 [gram] of white crystallinesubstance, which when examined were found to be positive forMethamphetamine Hydrocloride (Shabu), a dangerous drug.CONTRARY TO LAW. 4On June 15, 2016, Estipona Gled a Motion to Allow the Accused to Enter into aPlea Bargaining Agreement, 5praying to withdraw his not guilty plea and, instead, toenter a plea of guilty for violation of Section 12, Article II of R.A. No. 9165 (Possessionof Equipment, Instrument, Apparatus and Other Paraphernalia for Dangerous Drugs)with a penalty of rehabilitation in view of his being a Grst-time offender and the minimalquantity of the dangerous drug seized in his possession. He argued that Section 23 ofR.A. No. 9165 violates: (1) the intent of the law expressed in paragraph 3, Section 2thereof; (2) the rule-making authority of the Supreme Court under Section 5 (5), ArticleVIII of the 1987 Constitution; and (3) the principle of separation of powers among thethree equal branches of the government.In its Comment or Opposition 6dated June 27, 2016, the prosecution moved forthe denial of the motion for being contrary to Section 23 of R.A. No. 9165, which is saidto be justiGed by the Congress' prerogative to choose which offense it would allow pleabargaining. Later, in a Comment or Opposition 7dated June 29, 2016, it manifested thatCD Technologies Asia, Inc. 2017cdasiaonline.com
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it "is open to the Motion of the accused to enter into plea bargaining to give life to theintent of the law as provided in paragraph 3, Section 2 of [R.A. No.] 9165, however, withthe express mandate of Section 23 of [R.A. No.] 9165 prohibiting plea bargaining, [it] is
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