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As for the Ilocos Sur congressman’s drug conviction, the tribunal ruled that he was not guilty of a crime involving moral turpitude.
The SC said though Rep. Singson was charged with drug trafficking, he “pleaded guilty to and was found to have merely possessed the illegal drugs for his own consumption.”
“Mere possession of a prohibited drug cannot be considered immoral by itself if it were not prohibited by law, much like illegal possession of a deadly weapon and incidental participation in illegal recruitment,” the court said.
“We have held that moral turpitude implies something ‘immoral in itself, regardless of the fact that it is punishable by law or not. It must not merely be mala prohibita (wrong because prohibited), but the act itself must inherently be immoral. The doing of the act itself, and not its prohibition by statute, fixes the moral turpitude’,” it said.
The SC distinguished the act of pushing or trafficking in illegal drugs from mere possession of prohibited substances.
“In Office of the Court Administrator vs Librado, the case cited by Baterina in order to prove that possession of a prohibited drug is a crime involving moral turpitude, the respondent therein was held guilty of both selling and possession of said drugs,” the court said.
“A careful examination of the discussion by this court shows that it is the pushing or selling of said prohibited drugs, and not the mere possession thereof, that is considered a crime involving moral turpitude,” the SC added.
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