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People v. Doria Tags: criminal procedure, dangerous drugs act, doria, people v.

doria, plain view, plain view doctrine, warrantless arrest, warrantless search People v. Florencio Doria [ Jun ] and Violeta Gaddao [ Neneth ] 22 Jan 1999 / Puno / Appeal from a Pasig RTC decision Search and seizure > Nature, scope and definition > Types > Warrantless search and seizure > Plain view doctrine FACTS Members of the PNP Narcotics Command received information that one Jun [Doria] was engaged in illegal drug activities, so they decided to entrap and arrest him in a buy-bust operation. He was arrested. They frisked him but did not find the marked bills on him, and upon inquiry, he revealed that he left it at the house of his associate Neneth [Gaddao], so he led the police team to her house. The team found the door open and a woman inside the house. Jun identified her as Neneth, and she was asked by SPO1 Badua about the marked money as PO3 Manlangit looked over her house [he was still outside the house]. Standing by the door, PO3 Manlangit noticed a carton box under the dining table. One of the box s flaps was open, and inside it was something wrapped in plastic, and it appeared similar to the marijuana earlier sold to him by Jun. His suspicion aroused, so he entered the house and took hold of the box. He peeked inside the box and saw 10 bricks of what appeared to be dried marijuana leaves. SPO1 Badua recovered the marked bills from Neneth and they arrested her. The bricks were examined and they were found to be dried marijuana leaves. Florencio Doria and Violeta Gaddao were charged with violation of RA 6425 [Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972], Section 4 [Sale, Administration, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of Prohibited Drugs] in relation to Section 21 [Attempt and Conspiracy]. RTC convicted them. ISSUE AND HOLDING WON RTC correctly found that the box of marijuana was in plain view, making its warrantless seizure valid. NO RATIO Re: warrantless arrest Gaddao s warrantless arrest was illegal because she was arrested solely on the basis of the alleged identification made by Doria. Doria did not point to her as his associate in the drug business, but as the person with whom he left the marked bills. This identification does not necessarily mean that Gaddao conspired with Doria in pushing drugs. If there is no showing that the person who effected the warrantless arrest had knowledge of facts implicating the person arrested to the perpetration of the criminal offense, the arrest is legally objectionable. Since the warrantless arrest of Gaddao was illegal, the search of her person and home and the subsequent seizure of the marked bills and marijuana cannot be deemed legal as an incident to her arrest. Plain view issue Objects falling in plain view of an officer who has a right to be in the position to have that view are subject to seizure even without a search warrant and may be introduced in evidence.

Requisites a. The law enforcement officer in search of the evidence has a prior justification for an intrusion or is in a position from which he can view a particular area b. The discovery of the evidence in plain view is inadvertent c. It is immediately apparent to the officer that the item he observes may be evidence of a crime, contraband or otherwise subject to seizure An object is in plain view if the object itself is plainly exposed to sight. The difficulty arises when the object is inside a closed container. Where the object seized was inside a closed package, the object itself is not in plain view and therefore cannot be seized without a warrant. If the package is such that an experienced observer could infer from its appearance that it contains the prohibited article, then the article is deemed in plain view. It must be immediately apparent to the police that the items that they observe may be evidence of a crime, contraband or otherwise subject to seizure. In his direct examination, PO3 Manlangit said that he was sure that the contents of the box were marijuana because he himself checked and marked the said contents. On crossexamination, however, he admitted that he merely presumed the contents to be marijuana because it had the same plastic wrapping as the "buy-bust marijuana." Each of the ten bricks of marijuana in the box was individually wrapped in old newspaper and placed inside plastic bags-- white, pink or blue in color. PO3 Manlangit himself admitted on cross-examination that the contents of the box could be items other than marijuana. He did not know exactly what the box contained that he had to ask appellant Gaddao about its contents. It was not immediately apparent to PO3 Manlangit that the content of the box was marijuana; hence, it was not in plain view and its seizure without the requisite search warrant was in violation of the law and the Constitution. It was fruit of the poisonous tree and should have been excluded and never considered by the trial court. The fact that the box containing about 6 kilos of marijuana was found in Gaddao s house Gaddao does not justify a finding that she herself is guilty of the crime charged. In a prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs, what is material is the submission of proof that the sale took place between the poseur-buyer and the seller and the presentation of the drug as evidence in court. Prosecution established the fact that in consideration of the P1,600.00 he received, Doria sold and delivered 970 grams of marijuana to PO3 Manlangit, the poseur-buyer Prosecution failed to prove that Gaddao conspired with accused-appellant Doria in the sale of said drug DORIA SENTENCED TO SUFFER RECLUSION PERPETUA + 500K FINE GADDAO ACQUITTED