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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-19550 June 19, 1967
HARRY S. STONEHILL, ROERT P. ROO!S, JOHN J. ROO!S "n# !ARL
EC!, petitioners,
vs.
HON. JOSE $. %IO!NO, &n '&( )"*")&+, "( SECRETARY O- JUSTICE. JOSE
LU!AN, &n '&( )"*")&+, "( A)+&n/ %&0e)+o0, N"+&on"1 u0e"u o2 In3e(+&/"+&on.
SPECIAL PROSECUTORS PE%RO %. CEN4ON, E-REN I. PLANA "n# MANUEL
5ILLAREAL, JR. "n# ASST. -ISCAL MANASES G. REYES. JU%GE AMA%O
ROAN, Mun&)&*"1 Cou0+ o2 M"n&1". JU%GE ROMAN CANSINO, Mun&)&*"1 Cou0+ o2
M"n&1". JU%GE HERMOGENES CALUAG, Cou0+ o2 -&0(+ In(+"n)e o2 R&6"1-7ue6on
C&+, 0"n)', "n# JU%GE %AMIAN JIMENE4, Mun&)&*"1 Cou0+ o2 7ue6on C&+,,
respondents.
Paredes, Poblador, Cruz and Nazareno and Meer, Meer and Meer and Juan T. David
for petitioners.
Office of the Solicitor General rturo . lafriz, ssistant Solicitor General Pacifico P.
de Castro, ssistant Solicitor General !rine C. "aballero, Solicitor Ca#ilo D. $uiason
and Solicitor C. Padua for respondents.
CONCEPCION, C.J.:
Upon application of the officers of the government named on the margin

! hereinafter
referred to as Respondents"Prosecutors ! several #udges
$
! hereinafter referred to
as Respondents"%udges ! issued, on different dates,
&
a total of '$ search (arrants
against petitioners herein
'
and)or the corporations of (hich the* (ere officers,
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directed to the an* peace officer, to search the persons above"named and)or the
premises of their offices, (arehouses and)or residences, and to sei,e and ta-e
possession of the follo(ing personal propert* to (it.
Boo-s of accounts, financial records, vouchers, correspondence, receipts,
ledgers, #ournals, portfolios, credit #ournals, t*pe(riters, and other documents
and)or papers sho(ing all business transactions including disbursements
receipts, balance sheets and profit and loss statements and Bobbins
/cigarette (rappers0.
as 1the sub#ect of the offense2 stolen or embe,,led and proceeds or fruits of the
offense,1 or 1used or intended to be used as the means of committing the offense,1
(hich is described in the applications adverted to above as 1violation of Central Ban-
3a(s, 4ariff and Customs 3a(s, 5nternal Revenue /Code0 and the Revised Penal
Code.1
Alleging that the aforementioned search (arrants are null and void, as contravening
the Constitution and the Rules of Court ! because, inter alia. /0 the* do not describe
(ith particularit* the documents, boo-s and things to be sei,ed2 /$0 cash mone*, not
mentioned in the (arrants, (ere actuall* sei,ed2 /&0 the (arrants (ere issued to fish
evidence against the aforementioned petitioners in deportation cases filed against
them2 /'0 the searches and sei,ures (ere made in an illegal manner2 and /+0 the
documents, papers and cash mone* sei,ed (ere not delivered to the courts that
issued the (arrants, to be disposed of in accordance (ith la( ! on March $6, 78$,
said petitioners filed (ith the 9upreme Court this original action for certiorari,
prohibition, #anda#us and in#unction, and pra*ed that, pending final disposition of the
present case, a (rit of preliminar* in#unction be issued restraining Respondents"
Prosecutors, their agents and )or representatives from using the effects sei,ed as
aforementioned or an* copies thereof, in the deportation cases alread* adverted to,
and that, in due course, thereafter, decision be rendered :uashing the contested
search (arrants and declaring the same null and void, and commanding the
respondents, their agents or representatives to return to petitioners herein, in
accordance (ith 9ection &, Rule 8;, of the Rules of Court, the documents, papers,
things and cash mone*s sei,ed or confiscated under the search (arrants in :uestion.
5n their ans(er, respondents"prosecutors alleged,
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/0 that the contested search
(arrants are valid and have been issued in accordance (ith la(2 /$0 that the defects of
said (arrants, if an*, (ere cured b* petitioners< consent2 and /&0 that, in an* event, the
effects sei,ed are admissible in evidence against herein petitioners, regardless of the
alleged illegalit* of the aforementioned searches and sei,ures.
=n March $$, 78$, this Court issued the (rit of preliminar* in#unction pra*ed for in the
petition. >o(ever, b* resolution dated %une $7, 78$, the (rit (as partiall* lifted or
dissolved, insofar as the papers, documents and things sei,ed from the offices of the
corporations above mentioned are concerned2 but, the in#unction (as maintained as
regards the papers, documents and things found and sei,ed in the residences of
petitioners herein.
;
4hus, the documents, papers, and things sei,ed under the alleged authorit* of the
(arrants in :uestion ma* be split into t(o /$0 ma#or groups, namel*. /a0 those found
and sei,ed in the offices of the aforementioned corporations, and /b0 those found and
sei,ed in the residences of petitioners herein.
As regards the first group, (e hold that petitioners herein have no cause of action to
assail the legalit* of the contested (arrants and of the sei,ures made in pursuance
thereof, for the simple reason that said corporations have their respective
personalities, separate and distinct from the personalit* of herein petitioners,
regardless of the amount of shares of stoc- or of the interest of each of them in said
corporations, and (hatever the offices the* hold therein ma* be.
?
5ndeed, it is (ell
settled that the legalit* of a sei,ure can be contested onl% b* the part* (hose rights
have been impaired thereb*,
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and that the ob#ection to an unla(ful search and sei,ure
is purel% personal and cannot be availed of b* third parties.
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Conse:uentl*,
petitioners herein ma* not validl* ob#ect to the use in evidence against them of the
documents, papers and things sei,ed from the offices and premises of the
1
corporations adverted to above, since the right to ob#ect to the admission of said
papers in evidence belongs e&clusivel% to the corporations, to (hom the sei,ed effects
belong, and ma* not be invo-ed b* the corporate officers in proceedings against them
in their individual capacit*.

5ndeed, it has been held.


. . . that the @overnment<s action in gaining possession of papers belonging to
the corporation did not relate to nor did it affect the personal defendants. 5f
these papers (ere unla(full* sei,ed and thereb* the constitutional rights of or
an* one (ere invaded, the* (ere the rights of the corporation and not the
rights of the other defendants. NeAt, it is clear that a :uestion of the
la(fulness of a sei,ure can be raised onl% b* one 'hose ri(hts have been
invaded. Certainl*, such a sei,ure, if unla(ful, could not affect the
constitutional rights of defendants 'hose propert% had not been seized or the
privac% of 'hose ho#es had not been disturbed2 nor could the* claim for
themselves the benefits of the Bourth Amendment, (hen its violation, if an*,
(as (ith reference to the rights of another. )e#us vs. *nited States
/C.C.A.0$7 B. +6, +. 5t follo(s, therefore, that the :uestion of the
admissibilit* of the evidence based on an alleged unla(ful search and sei,ure
does not eAtend to the personal defendants but embraces onl% the
corporation (hose propert* (as ta-en. . . . /A @uc-enheimer C Bros. Co. vs.
United 9tates, D7$+E & B. $d. ;?8, ;?7, Emphasis supplied.0
Fith respect to the documents, papers and things sei,ed in the residences of
petitioners herein, the aforementioned resolution of %une $7, 78$, lifted the (rit of
preliminar* in#unction previousl* issued b* this Court,
$
thereb*, in effect, restraining
herein Respondents"Prosecutors from using them in evidence against petitioners
herein.
5n connection (ith said documents, papers and things, t(o /$0 important :uestions
need be settled, namel*. /0 (hether the search (arrants in :uestion, and the
searches and sei,ures made under the authorit* thereof, are valid or not, and /$0 if the
ans(er to the preceding :uestion is in the negative, (hether said documents, papers
and things ma* be used in evidence against petitioners herein.+,'ph-+../t
Petitioners maintain that the aforementioned search (arrants are in the nature of
general (arrants and that accordingl*, the sei,ures effected upon the authorit* there of
are null and void. 5n this connection, the Constitution
&
provides.
4he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
effects against unreasonable searches and sei,ures shall not be violated, and
no (arrants shall issue but upon probable cause, to be determined b* the
#udge after eAamination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the
(itnesses he ma* produce, and particularl* describing the place to be
searched, and the persons or things to be sei,ed.
4(o points must be stressed in connection (ith this constitutional mandate, namel*.
/0 that no (arrant shall issue but upon probable cause, to be determined b* the #udge
in the manner set forth in said provision2 and /$0 that the (arrant shall particularl%
describe the things to be sei,ed.
None of these re:uirements has been complied (ith in the contested (arrants. 5ndeed,
the same (ere issued upon applications stating that the natural and #uridical person
therein named had committed a 1violation of Central Ban 3a(s, 4ariff and Customs
3a(s, 5nternal Revenue /Code0 and Revised Penal Code.1 5n other (ords, no specific
offense had been alleged in said applications. 4he averments thereof (ith respect to
the offense committed (ere abstract. As a conse:uence, it (as i#possible for the
#udges (ho issued the (arrants to have found the eAistence of probable cause, for the
same presupposes the introduction of competent proof that the part* against (hom it
is sought has performed particular acts, or committed specific omissions, violating a
given provision of our criminal la(s. As a matter of fact, the applications involved in this
case do not allege an* specific acts performed b* herein petitioners. 5t (ould be the
legal heres*, of the highest order, to convict an*bod* of a 1violation of Central Ban-
3a(s, 4ariff and Customs 3a(s, 5nternal Revenue /Code0 and Revised Penal Code,1
! as alleged in the aforementioned applications ! (ithout reference to an*
determinate provision of said la(s or
4o uphold the validit* of the (arrants in :uestion (ould be to (ipe out completel* one
of the most fundamental rights guaranteed in our Constitution, for it (ould place the
sanctit* of the domicile and the privac* of communication and correspondence at the
merc* of the (hims caprice or passion of peace officers. 4his is precisel* the evil
sought to be remedied b* the constitutional provision above :uoted ! to outla( the
so"called general (arrants. 5t is not difficult to imagine (hat (ould happen, in times of
-een political strife, (hen the part* in po(er feels that the minorit* is li-el* to (rest it,
even though b* legal means.
9uch is the seriousness of the irregularities committed in connection (ith the disputed
search (arrants, that this Court deemed it fit to amend 9ection & of Rule $$ of the
former Rules of Court
'
b* providing in its counterpart, under the Revised Rules of
Court
+
that 1a search (arrant shall not issue but upon probable cause in connection
'ith one specific offense.1 Not satisfied (ith this :ualification, the Court added thereto
a paragraph, directing that 1no search (arrant shall issue for more than one specific
offense.1
4he grave violation of the Constitution made in the application for the contested search
(arrants (as compounded b* the description therein made of the effects to be
searched for and sei,ed, to (it.
Boo-s of accounts, financial records, vouchers, #ournals, correspondence,
receipts, ledgers, portfolios, credit #ournals, t*pe(riters, and other documents
and)or papers sho(ing all business transactions including disbursement
receipts, balance sheets and related profit and loss statements.
4hus, the (arrants authori,ed the search for and sei,ure of records pertaining to all
business transactions of petitioners herein, regardless of (hether the transactions
(ere le(al or ille(al. 4he (arrants sanctioned the sei,ure of all records of the
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petitioners and the aforementioned corporations, (hatever their nature, thus openl*
contravening the eAplicit command of our Bill of Rights ! that the things to be sei,ed
be particularl% described ! as (ell as tending to defeat its ma#or ob#ective. the
elimination of (eneral (arrants.
Rel*ing upon Moncado vs. People0s Court /?6 Phil. 0, Respondents"Prosecutors
maintain that, even if the searches and sei,ures under consideration (ere
unconstitutional, the documents, papers and things thus sei,ed are admissible in
evidence against petitioners herein. Upon mature deliberation, ho(ever, (e are
unanimousl* of the opinion that the position ta-en in the Moncado case must be
abandoned. 9aid position (as in line (ith the American common la( rule, that the
criminal should not be allo(ed to go free merel* 1because the constable has
blundered,1
8
upon the theor* that the constitutional prohibition against unreasonable
searches and sei,ures is protected b* means other than the eAclusion of evidence
unla(full* obtained,
;
such as the common"la( action for damages against the
searching officer, against the part* (ho procured the issuance of the search (arrant
and against those assisting in the eAecution of an illegal search, their criminal
punishment, resistance, (ithout liabilit* to an unla(ful sei,ure, and such other legal
remedies as ma* be provided b* other la(s.
>o(ever, most common la( #urisdictions have alread* given up this approach and
eventuall* adopted the eAclusionar* rule, reali,ing that this is the onl% practical #eans
of enforcin( the constitutional in1unction against unreasonable searches and sei,ures.
5n the language of %udge 3earned >and.
As (e understand it, the reason for the eAclusion of evidence competent as
such, (hich has been unla(full* ac:uired, is that eAclusion is the onl*
practical (a* of enforcing the constitutional privilege. 5n earlier times the
action of trespass against the offending official ma* have been protection
enough2 but that is true no longer. =nl* in case the prosecution (hich itself
controls the sei,ing officials, -no(s that it cannot profit b% their 'ron( 'ill that
'ron( be repressed.
?
5n fact, over thirt* /&60 *ears before, the Bederal 9upreme Court had alread* declared.
5f letters and private documents can thus be sei,ed and held and used in
evidence against a citi,en accused of an offense, the protection of the 'th
Amendment, declaring his rights to be secure against such searches and
sei,ures, is of no value, and, so far as those thus placed are concerned,
might as (ell be stric-en from the Constitution. The efforts of the courts and
their officials to brin( the (uilt% to punish#ent, praise'orth% as the% are, are
not to be aided b% the sacrifice of those (reat principles established b% %ears
of endeavor and sufferin( 'hich have resulted in their e#bodi#ent in the
funda#ental la' of the land.
7
4his vie( (as, not onl* reiterated, but, also, broadened in subse:uent decisions on the
same Bederal Court.
$6
After revie(ing previous decisions thereon, said Court held, in
Mapp vs. Ohio /supra.0.
. . . 4oda* (e once again eAamine the Folf<s constitutional documentation of
the right of privac* free from unreasonable state intrusion, and after its do,en
*ears on our boo-s, are led b* it to close the onl* courtroom door remaining
open to evidence secured b* official la(lessness in flagrant abuse of that
basic right, reserved to all persons as a specific guarantee against that ver*
same unla(ful conduct. Fe hold that all evidence obtained b* searches and
sei,ures in violation of the Constitution is, b* that same authorit*, inadmissible
in a 9tate.
9ince the Bourth Amendment<s right of privac* has been declared enforceable
against the 9tates through the Gue Process Clause of the Bourteenth, it is
enforceable against them b* the same sanction of eAclusion as it used
against the Bederal @overnment. Fere it other(ise, then #ust as (ithout the
Fee-s rule the assurance against unreasonable federal searches and
sei,ures (ould be 1a form of (ords,1 valueless and underserving of mention
in a perpetual charter of inestimable human liberties, so too, 'ithout that rule
the freedo# fro# state invasions of privac% 'ould be so ephe#eral and so
neatl% severed fro# its conceptual ne&us 'ith the freedo# fro# all brutish
#eans of coercin( evidence as not to per#it this Court0s hi(h re(ard as a
freedo# 1i#plicit in the concept of ordered libert%.1 At the time that the Court
held in Folf that the amendment (as applicable to the 9tates through the
Gue Process Clause, the cases of this Court as (e have seen, had
steadfastl* held that as to federal officers the Bourth Amendment included the
eAclusion of the evidence sei,ed in violation of its provisions. Even Folf
1stoutl* adhered1 to that proposition. 4he right to (hen conceded operativel*
enforceable against the 9tates, (as not susceptible of destruction b* avulsion
of the sanction upon (hich its protection and en#o*ment had al(a*s been
deemed dependent under the Bo*d, Fee-s and 9ilverthorne Cases.
4herefore, in eAtending the substantive protections of due process to all
constitutionall* unreasonable searches ! state or federal ! it (as logicall*
and constitutionall* necessaril* that the eAclusion doctrine ! an essential
part of the right to privac* ! be also insisted upon as an essential ingredient
of the right ne(l* recogni,ed b* the Folf Case. 5n short, the ad#ission of the
ne' constitutional )i(ht b% 2olf could not tolerate denial of its #ost i#portant
constitutional privile(e, na#el%, the e&clusion of the evidence 'hich an
accused had been forced to (ive b% reason of the unla'ful seizure. To hold
other'ise is to (rant the ri(ht but in realit% to 'ithhold its privile(e and
en1o%#ent. =nl* last *ear the Court itself recogni,ed that the purpose of the
e&clusionar% rule to 1is to deter 3 to co#pel respect for the constitutional
(uarant% in the onl% effectivel% available 'a% 3 b% re#ovin( the incentive to
disre(ard it1 . . . .
4he ignoble shortcut to conviction left open to the 9tate tends to destro* the
entire s*stem of constitutional restraints on (hich the liberties of the people
rest. >aving once recogni,ed that the right to privac* embodied in the Bourth
Amendment is enforceable against the 9tates, and that the right to be secure
against rude invasions of privac* b* state officers is, therefore constitutional
in origin, 'e can no lon(er per#it that ri(ht to re#ain an e#pt% pro#ise.
Because it is enforceable in the same manner and to li-e effect as other basic
3
rights secured b* its Gue Process Clause, 'e can no lon(er per#it it to be
revocable at the 'hi# of an% police officer 'ho, in the na#e of la'
enforce#ent itself, chooses to suspend its en1o%#ent. Our decision, founded
on reason and truth, (ives to the individual no #ore than that 'hich the
Constitution (uarantees hi# to the police officer no less than that to 'hich
honest la' enforce#ent is entitled, and, to the courts, that 1udicial inte(rit% so
necessar% in the true ad#inistration of 1ustice. /emphasis ours.0
5ndeed, the non"eAclusionar* rule is contrar*, not onl* to the letter, but also, to the spirit
of the constitutional in#unction against unreasonable searches and sei,ures. 4o be
sure, if the applicant for a search (arrant has competent evidence to establish
probable cause of the commission of a given crime b* the part* against (hom the
(arrant is intended, then there is no reason (h* the applicant should not compl* (ith
the re:uirements of the fundamental la(. Upon the other hand, if he has no such
competent evidence, then it is not possible for the %udge to find that there is probable
cause, and, hence, no #ustification for the issuance of the (arrant. 4he onl* possible
eAplanation /not #ustification0 for its issuance is the necessit* of fishin( evidence of the
commission of a crime. But, then, this fishing eApedition is indicative of the absence of
evidence to establish a probable cause.
Moreover, the theor* that the criminal prosecution of those (ho secure an illegal
search (arrant and)or ma-e unreasonable searches or sei,ures (ould suffice to
protect the constitutional guarantee under consideration, overloo-s the fact that
violations thereof are, in general, committed B* agents of the part* in po(er, for,
certainl*, those belonging to the minorit* could not possibl* abuse a po(er the* do not
have. Regardless of the handicap under (hich the minorit* usuall* ! but,
understandabl* ! finds itself in prosecuting agents of the ma#orit*, one must not lose
sight of the fact that the ps*chological and moral effect of the possibilit*
$
of securing
their conviction, is (atered do(n b* the pardoning po(er of the part* for (hose benefit
the illegalit* had been committed.
5n their Motion for Reconsideration and Amendment of the Resolution of this Court
dated %une $7, 78$, petitioners allege that Rooms Nos. ? and 7 of Carmen
Apartments, >ouse No. $66?, Ge(e* Boulevard, >ouse No. '&8, Colorado 9treet,
and Room No. &6' of the Arm*"Nav* Club, should be included among the premises
considered in said Resolution as residences of herein petitioners, >arr* 9. 9tonehill,
Robert P. Broo-, %ohn %. Broo-s and Harl Bec-, respectivel*, and that, furthermore, the
records, papers and other effects sei,ed in the offices of the corporations above
referred to include personal belongings of said petitioners and other effects under their
eAclusive possession and control, for the eAclusion of (hich the* have a standing
under the latest rulings of the federal courts of federal courts of the United 9tates.
$$
Fe note, ho(ever, that petitioners< theor*, regarding their alleged possession of and
control over the aforementioned records, papers and effects, and the alleged
1personal1 nature thereof, has Been Advanced, not in their petition or amended petition
herein, but in the Motion for Reconsideration and Amendment of the Resolution of
%une $7, 78$. 5n other (ords, said theor* (ould appear to be read#ustment of that
follo(ed in said petitions, to suit the approach intimated in the Resolution sought to be
reconsidered and amended. 4hen, too, some of the affidavits or copies of alleged
affidavits attached to said motion for reconsideration, or submitted in support thereof,
contain either inconsistent allegations, or allegations inconsistent (ith the theor* no(
advanced b* petitioners herein.
Upon the other hand, (e are not satisfied that the allegations of said petitions said
motion for reconsideration, and the contents of the aforementioned affidavits and other
papers submitted in support of said motion, have sufficientl* established the facts or
conditions contemplated in the cases relied upon b* the petitioners2 to (arrant
application of the vie(s therein eApressed, should (e agree thereto. At an* rate, (e do
not deem it necessar* to eApress our opinion thereon, it being best to leave the matter
open for determination in appropriate cases in the future.
Fe hold, therefore, that the doctrine adopted in the Moncado case must be, as it is
hereb*, abandoned2 that the (arrants for the search of three /&0 residences of herein
petitioners, as specified in the Resolution of %une $7, 78$, are null and void2 that the
searches and sei,ures therein made are illegal2 that the (rit of preliminar* in#unction
heretofore issued, in connection (ith the documents, papers and other effects thus
sei,ed in said residences of herein petitioners is hereb* made permanent2 that the
(rits pra*ed for are granted, insofar as the documents, papers and other effects so
sei,ed in the aforementioned residences are concerned2 that the aforementioned
motion for Reconsideration and Amendment should be, as it is hereb*, denied2 and
that the petition herein is dismissed and the (rits pra*ed for denied, as regards the
documents, papers and other effects sei,ed in the t(ent*"nine /$70 places, offices and
other premises enumerated in the same Resolution, (ithout special pronouncement as
to costs.
5t is so ordered.
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