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Searches and Seizures- Art. 3, Sec.

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GR 68955
People vs Burgos
Guiterrez, Jr., J.

Summarized by Kharina

Ruben Burgos was charged and convicted for Illegal Possession of Firearms in
Furtherance of Subversion. He was arrested and searched without a warrant, despite
the fact that the search did yield a firearm and subversive materials. SC acquitted
Burgos because the arrest and evidence obtained were illegal.

IMPORTANT PEOPLE
Ruben Burgos (alleged NPA member) and Cesar Masamlok (informant, former
NPA member)

PROSECUTION
1. By virtue of an intelligent information obtained by the Constabulary and INP units
from Masamlok, who personally and voluntarily surrendered to the authorities on May,
12 1982, a joint team of PC-INP units, composed of 15 members, was dispatched at
Tiguman, Davao del Sur.
2. Masamlok was allegedly forced to join the NPA under threat of being killed by Ruben
Burgos.
3. With the help pf Perdo Burgos (Rubens bro), the team was able to locate Ruben,
who at that time, was plowing his field. Right in his house, Ruben was caned by the
team and asked by Pat. Bioco about the firearm but Ruben denied owing any.
4. But when Sgt. Buncalan asked Rubens wife, the latter pointed to a place below their
house where a gun was buried. After recovery of the gun, Ruben pointed to other
subversive documents (maroon notebook; pamphlet entitled Ang Bayan, Pahayangan
ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas; pamphlet entitled Asdang Pamantalaang Masa sa
Habagatang Mindanao) he kept in a stock pile of cogon at distance of 3m apart from
his house.
5. When confronted with the firearm, Ruben admitted that it was issued to him by Nestor
Jimenez, aka Pedipol, alleged team leader of the sparrow unit of NPA.

Cesar Masamlok: presented to prove Rubens subversive activities


1. Ruben and his companions told Masamlok to join the NPA, otherwise he and his
family will be killed. He thus joined because of the threat.
2. He was told to attend a seminar on April 19, 1982 and along with this invitation,
Ruben pulled out a .38 caliber gun (same gun retrieved).

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3. Seminar: First speaker was Ruben who said that he was a member of the NPA and
encouraged them to overthrow the govt. Emphasizing that those who attended the
seminar were already NPA members.
4. May 12, 1982 he surrendered to Capt. Bargio of the Provincial HQ of the PC, Digos,
Davao del Sur.
5. Asst. Provincial Fiscal Panfilo Lovitos was presented to prove that he administered
Burgos extra-judicial confession. And that, Atty. Anyog was also requested to assist
accused in reading his confessing from English to Visayan.
6. Burgos executed his confession in the presence of Lovitos and Anyog and without the
presence of Military Authorities. He was also informed of his constitutional rights.
7. Also presented Sgt. Comabig, in-charge of firearms and explosives, PC HQ, to prove
that Ruben was not in the list of people who applied for a firearm license or in the list of
firearm holders.

DEFENSE
1. From his farm, Ruben was taken to the PC Barracks in Digos, for investigation. He
could not identify the officers because they were in civilian attire.
2. May 12-14: He denied ownership of the gun and was mauled and tortured, to the
point that he lost consciousness. This cycle repeated again and again every time he
denied ownership of the gun. When he lost consciousness it would briefly stop, but
would continue again after he woke up.
3. May 15: If he did not admit to owning the gun, he would be salvaged. So he admitted
to the charges and was made to sign an affidavit.
4. Brgy. Capt. Of Tiguman, neighbor of Ruben, testified that he was not aware of any
subversive activities of the latter. And that he was in fact a law abiding and upright man.
But he however admitted that there were a lot of arrests made by the authorities in his
barrio regrading subversive activities, which were not formally charged in court.
5. Also, Rubens wife Urbana, testified that the gun was left in their house by Masamlok
and Pedipol. She did not tell her husband about it nor report it to the authorities because
she was afraid for her husbands life.

ISSUE with HOLDING


1. Was the arrest of Ruben lawful? Was the subsequent search and confiscation
conducted in a lawful and valid manner?
- Records show that the PC officers did not have an arrest/search warrant with them.
- The constitutional provision is a safeguard against wanton and unreasonable invasion
of the privacy and liberty of a citizen as to his person, papers, and effects.
- Villanueva vs Querubin: Its an embodiment of a spiritual concept, the belief that to
vale the privacy of home and person and to afford its constitutional protection against
the long reach of the govt is no less than to value human dignity, and that his privacy

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must not be disturbed except in case of overriding social need, and then only under
stringent procedural safeguards.
- TC justified that warrantless search under Rule 113, Sec. 6, Roc:
a. When the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is
about to commit an offense in his presence
b. When an offense has in fact been commited, and he has reasonable ground to
believe that the person to be arrested has committed it
c. When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal
establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined
while his case is pending or has escaped while being transferred
1.a TC: Urgent report of Rubens subversive activities falls within the ambit of Sec. 6-A
- SC: Under Sec. 6-A, the officer arresting a person who has just committed, is
committing, or is about to commit an offense must have personal knowledge of the fact.
The offense must be committed in his presence or within his view.
- No such personal knowledge because the PC officers acted based on Masamloks
account. In fact, Ruben was not committing any subversive activities during his arrest
and was actually plowing his fields.
- A statute or rule which allows exception to the requirement of warrants of arrest is
strictly construed, otherwise, it would infringe upon liberty that is deserving of full
protection.
1.b SolGen: Falls under Sec. 6-B. Information from Masamlok was sufficient to induce a
reasonable ground that a crime has been committed and that Ruben is probably guilty.
- SC: Under Sec. 6-B, a crime must in fact or actually have been committed first. Its not
enough to suspect that a crime may have been committed. The fact of the commission
of the offense must be disputed. The test of reasonable ground applies only to the
identity of the perpetrator.
- If an arrest without a warrant is unlawful at the moment it is made, generally nothing
that happened or is discovered afterwards can make it lawful. The arrest being unlawful,
the search and seizure which transpired afterwards could not likewise be deemed as
being mere incidents to a valid arrest.
2. Was there waiver because Ruben failed to object?
- A valid waiver:
a. Must appear first that the right exists
b. Person involved had knowledge actual or constructive, of the existence of
such a right
c. Said person had an actual intention to relinquish the right
- Courts indulge every reasonable presumption against waiver of fundamental
constitutional rights and that we do not presume acquiescence in the loss of
fundamental rights.
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-As borne by the records, Ruben was not appraised of his constitutional rights. Because
the evidence were obtained in violation of the Rubens constitutional rights, it follows
that they are inadmissible in evidence.
- Also Rubens extra-judicial confession is inadmissible because it was obtained through
violence. While Defense did not prove it, the prosecution however, did not present the
investigator to disprove it. It thus gives rise to the provocative presumption that indeed
torture was done.
- Atty Anyog assisted after the investigation. Such absence of a counsel during the
investigation is not cured by his presence after.
- Masamloks uncorroborated testimony is not enough to sustain Rubens conviction.
- While the govt should to repel the communists, the subversives, the rebels, the
lawless with any means at its command, it should always be remembered that whatever
action is taken must always be within the framework of our Constitution and our laws.

DISPOSITIVE PORTION
Ruben Burgos acquitted

RELEVANCE TO THE LESSON


Rule 113, Sec. 6, RoC serves as an exception to the general rule that a warrant
must first be obtained after determination of probable cause by a judge. But this
exception must be strictly construed in order to protect constitutional rights.