[Answer/discuss the question below, or see 2016 bar exam Criminal Law Instructions; 2016 Mercantile Law questions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20; See also 2016 Bar Exam: Information, Discussions, Tips, Questions and Results]
Dimas was arrested after a valid buy-bust operation. Macario, the policeman who acted as poseur-buyer, inventoried and photographed ten (10) sachets of shabu in the presence of a barangay tanod. The inventory was signed by Macario and the tanod, but Dimas refused to sign. As Macario was stricken with flu the day after, he was able to surrender the sachets to the PNP Crime Laboratory only after four (4) days. During pre-trial, the counsel de oficio of Dimas stipulated that the substance contained in the sachets examined by the forensic chemist is in fact methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. Dimas was convicted ofviolating Section 5 of RA 9165. On appeal, Dimas questioned the admissibility of the evidence because Macario failed to observe the requisite “chain of custody” of the alleged “shabu” seized from him. On behalf of the State, the Solicitor General claimed that despite non-compliance with some requirements, the prosecution was able to show that the integrity of the substance was preserved. Moreover, even with some deviations from the requirements, the counsel of Dimas stipulated that the substance seized from Dimas was shabu so that the conviction should be affirmed.
[a] What is the “chain of custody” requirement in drug offenses? (2.5%)
[b] Rule on the contention of the State. (2.5%)