Is proof of ownership of the confiscated marijuana necessary?

In her defense, appellant averred that the packages she was carrying did not belong to her but to a neighbor who had asked her to carry the same for him. This contention, however, is of no consequence.

When an accused is charged with illegal possession or transportation of prohibited drugs, the ownership thereof is immaterial. Consequently, proof of ownership of the confiscated marijuana is not necessary.[26] 

Appellant’s alleged lack of knowledge does not constitute a valid defense. Lack of criminal intent and good faith are not exempting circumstances where the crime charged is malum prohibitum, as in this case.[27] Mere possession and/or delivery of a prohibited drug, without legal authority, is punishable under the Dangerous Drugs Act.[28] 

Anti-narcotics laws, like anti-gambling laws, are regulatory statutes. They are rules of convenience designed to secure a more orderly regulation of the affairs of society, and their violation gives rise to crimes mala prohibita.    Laws defining crimes mala prohibita condemn behavior directed not against particular individuals, but against public order.[29]

Jurisprudence defines “transport” as “to carry or convey from one place to another.”[30] There is no definitive moment when an accused “transports” a prohibited drug. When the circumstances establish the purpose of an accused to transport and the fact of transportation itself, there should be no question as to the perpetration of the criminal act.[31] The fact that there is actual conveyance suffices to support a finding that the act of transporting was committed and it is immaterial whether or not the place of destination is reached.[32]

Moreover, appellant’s possession of the packages containing illegal drugs gave rise to the disputable presumption[33] that she is the owner of the packages and their contents.[34] Appellant failed to rebut this presumption. Her uncorroborated claim of lack of knowledge that she had prohibited drug in her possession is insufficient.

          Appellant’s narration of facts deserves little credence. If it is true that Bennie Lao-ang merely asked her and her companion to carry some baggages, it is but logical to first ask what the packages contained and where these would be taken. Likewise, if, as appellant said, Lao-ang ran away after they disembarked from the jeepney, appellant and her companion should have ran after him to give him the bags he had left with them, and not to continue on their journey without knowing where they were taking the bags.

About Erineus

Born on December 28, 1965, Surallah, South Cotabato, Southern Mindanao, Philippines.
This entry was posted in Dangerous Drug Act, Definitions, Malum Prohibitum and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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