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(People v. Marti, G.R. No. 81561, January 4. ID.; ID.; ID.

; GUARANTEE AGAINST
18, 1991) UNREASONABLE SEARCH AND SEIZURE;
CASE AT BAR. The contraband in the case at
bar having come into possession of the
THIRD DIVISION Government without the latter transgressing
[G.R. No. 81561. January 18, 1991.] appellant's rights against unreasonable search
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, and seizure, the Court sees no cogent reason why
vs. ANDRE MARTI, accused-appellant. the same should not be admitted against him in
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. the prosecution of the offense charged. If the
Reynaldo B . Tatoy and Abelardo E . Rogacion for search is made upon the request of law enforcers,
accused-appellant. a warrant must generally be first secured if it is to
pass the test of constitutionality. However, if the
SYLLABUS search is made at the behest or initiative of the
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; proprietor of a private establishment for its own
GUARANTEE AGAINST UNREASONABLE and private purposes, as in the case at bar, and
SEARCHES AND SEIZURES; without the intervention of police authorities, the
PRONOUNCEMENT OF UNITED STATES right against unreasonable search and seizure
FEDERAL SUPREME COURT AND STATE cannot be invoked for only the act of private
APPELLATE COURTS, DOCTRINAL IN THIS individual, not the law enforcers, is involved. In
JURISDICTION. Our present constitutional sum, the protection against unreasonable
provision on the guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures cannot be extended to acts
search and seizure had its origin in the 1935 committed by private individuals so as to bring it
Charter which was in turn derived almost within the ambit of alleged unlawful intrusion by
verbatim from the Fourth Amendment to the the government.
United States Constitution. As such, the Court
may turn to the pronouncements of the United 5. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; MERE PRESENCE OF NBI
States Federal Supreme Court and State AGENTS TO OBSERVE AND LOOK AT WHICH
Appellate Courts which are considered doctrinal IS IN PLAIN SIGHT IS NOT A SEARCH. The
in this jurisdiction. mere presence of the NBI agents did not convert
the reasonable search effected by Reyes into a
2. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; warrantless search and seizure proscribed by the
ADMISSIBILITY; EXCLUSIONARY RULE ON Constitution. Merely to observe and look at that
EVIDENCE OBTAINED IN VIOLATION OF THE which is in plain sight is not a search. Having
GUARANTEE AGAINST UNREASONABLE observed that which is open, where no trespass
SEARCHES AND SEIZURES. In a number of has been committed in aid thereof, is not search
cases, the Court strictly adhered to the (Chadwick v. State, 429 SW2d 135). Where the
exclusionary rule and has struck down the contraband articles are identified without a
admissibility of evidence obtained in violation of trespass on the part of the arresting officer, there
the constitutional safeguard against is not the search that is prohibited by the
unreasonable searches and seizures. (Bache & constitution (US v. Lee 274 US 559, 71 L.Ed. 1202
Co., (Phil.), Inc., v. Ruiz, 37 SCRA 823 [1971]; Lim [1927]; Ker v. State of California 374 US 23, 10 L.
v. Ponce de Leon, 66 SCRA 299 [1975]; People v. Ed. 2d. 726 [1963]; Moore v. State, 429 SW2d 122
Burgos, 144 SCRA 1 [1986]; Roan v. Gonzales, [1968]).
145 SCRA 687 [1987]; See also Salazar v. Hon.
Achacoso, et al., GR No. 81510, March 14, 1990). 6. ID.; CONSTITUTION; DOES NOT GOVERN
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INDIVIDUALS.
3. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; The constitution, in laying down the principles of
LIBERTIES MAY BE INVOKED ONLY AGAINST the government and fundamental liberties of the
THE STATE, NOT UPON PRIVATE people, does not govern relationships between
INDIVIDUALS. In the absence of individuals.
governmental interference, the liberties
guaranteed by the Constitution cannot be 7. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE;
invoked against the State. As this Court held in ADMISSIBILITY; EVIDENCE PROCURED BY
Villanueva v. Querubin (48 SCRA 345 [1972]: 1. INDIVIDUALS EFFECTED THROUGH PRIVATE
This constitutional right (against unreasonable SEIZURE, ADMISSIBLE. Similarly, the
search and seizure) refers to the immunity of admissibility of the evidence procured by an
one's person, whether citizen or alien, from individual effected through private seizure
interference by government, included in which is equally applies, in pari passu, to the alleged
his residence, his papers, and other violation, non-governmental as it is, of appellant's
possessions . . . That the Bill of Rights embodied constitutional rights to privacy and
in the Constitution is not meant to be invoked communication.
against acts of private individuals finds support in
the deliberations of the Constitutional 8. ID.; ID.; CREDIBILITY; SELF-SERVING
Commission. The constitutional proscription DENIALS, DESERVE NO WEIGHT IN LAW.
against unlawful searches and seizures therefore Denials, if unsubstantiated by clear and
applies as a restraint directed only against the convincing evidence, are negative self-serving
government and its agencies tasked with the evidence which deserve no weight in law and
enforcement of the law. Thus, it could only be cannot be given greater evidentiary weight than
invoked against the State to whom the restraint the testimony of credible witnesses who testify on
against arbitrary and unreasonable exercise of affirmative matters (People v. Esquillo, 171 SCRA
power is imposed. 571 [1989]; People vs. Sariol, 174 SCRA 237
[1989]).

1|CONSTI2_Searchers and Seizures


9. ID.; ID.; ID.; REQUISITE FOR EVIDENCE TO appellant's box, a peculiar odor emitted
BE BELIEVED. Evidence, to be believed, must therefrom. His curiosity aroused, he squeezed
not only proceed from the mouth of a credible one of the bundles allegedly containing gloves
witness, but it must be credible in itself such as and felt dried leaves inside. Opening one of the
the common experience and observation of bundles, he pulled out a cellophane wrapper
mankind can approve as probable under the protruding from the opening of one of the gloves.
circumstances. He made an opening on one of the cellophane
wrappers and took several grams of the contents
10. ID.; ID.; BURDEN OF PROOF AND thereof (tsn, pp. 29-30, October 6, 1987;
PRESUMPTIONS; THINGS WHICH A PERSON Emphasis supplied).
POSSESSES ARE PRESUMED OWNED BY HIM;
CASE AT BAR. As records further show, "Job Reyes forthwith prepared a letter reporting
appellant did not even bother to ask Michael's full the shipment to the NBI and requesting a
name, his complete address or passport number. laboratory examination of the samples he
Furthermore, if indeed, the German national was extracted from the cellophane wrapper (tsn, pp.
the owner of the merchandise, appellant should 5-6, October 6, 1987).
have so indicated in the contract of shipment. On
the contrary, appellant signed the contract as the "He brought the letter and a sample of
owner and shipper thereof giving more weight to appellant's shipment to the Narcotics Section of
the presumption that things which a person the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), at
possesses, or exercises acts of ownership over, about 1:30 o'clock in the afternoon of that date,
are owned by him (Sec. 5 [j], Rule 131). At this i.e., August 14, 1987. He was interviewed by the
point, appellant is therefore estopped to claim Chief of Narcotics Section. Job Reyes informed the
otherwise. NBI that the rest of the shipment was still in his
office. Therefore, Job Reyes and three (3) NBI
DECISION agents, and a photographer, went to the Reyes'
BIDIN, J p: office at Ermita, Manila (tsn, p. 30, October 6,
This is an appeal from a decision * rendered by 1987).
the Special Criminal Court of Manila (Regional
Trial Court, Branch XLIX) convicting accused- "Job Reyes brought out the box in which
appellant of violation of Section 21 (b), Article IV appellant's packages were placed and, in the
in relation to Section 4, Article II and Section 2 (e) presence of the NBI agents, opened the top flaps,
(i), Article I of Republic Act 6425, as amended, removed the styro-foam and took out the
otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act. cellophane wrappers from inside the gloves.
Dried marijuana leaves were found to have been
The facts as summarized in the brief of the contained inside the cellophane wrappers (tsn, p.
prosecution are as follows: 38, October 6, 1987; Emphasis supplied).

"On August 14, 1987, between 10:00 and 11:00 "The package which allegedly contained books
a.m., the appellant and his common-law wife, was likewise opened by Job Reyes. He discovered
Shirley Reyes, went to the booth of the "Manila that the package contained bricks or cake-like
Packing and Export Forwarders" in the Pistang dried marijuana leaves. The package which
Pilipino Complex, Ermita, Manila, carrying with allegedly contained tabacalera cigars was also
them four (4) gift-wrapped packages. Anita Reyes opened. It turned out that dried marijuana leaves
(the proprietress and no relation to Shirley Reyes) were neatly stocked underneath the cigars (tsn,
attended to them. The appellant informed Anita p. 39, October 6, 1987).
Reyes that he was sending the packages to a
friend in Zurich, Switzerland. Appellant filled up
the contract necessary for the transaction, writing
therein his name, passport number, the date of "The NBI agents made an inventory and took
shipment and the name and address of the charge of the box and of the contents thereof,
consignee, namely, "WALTER FIERZ, Mattacketr II, after signing a "Receipt" acknowledging custody
8052 Zurich, Switzerland" (Decision, p. 6) of the said effects (tsn, pp. 2-3, October 7, 1987).

"Anita Reyes then asked the appellant if she Thereupon, the NBI agents tried to locate
could examine and inspect the packages. appellant but to no avail. Appellant's stated
Appellant, however, refused, assuring her that address in his passport being the Manila Central
the packages simply contained books, cigars, and Post Office, the agents requested assistance from
gloves and were gifts to his friend in Zurich. In the latter's Chief Security. On August 27, 1987,
view of appellant's representation, Anita Reyes no appellant, while claiming his mail at the Central
longer insisted on inspecting the packages. The Post Office, was invited by the NBI to shed light
four (4) packages were then placed inside a on the attempted shipment of the seized dried
brown corrugated box one by two feet in size (1' x leaves. On the same day the Narcotics Section of
2'). Styro-foam was placed at the bottom and on the NBI submitted the dried leaves to the
top of the packages before the box was sealed Forensic Chemistry Section for laboratory
with masking tape, thus making the box ready for examination. It turned out that the dried leaves
shipment (Decision, p. 8). LLpr were marijuana flowering tops as certified by the
forensic chemist. (Appellee's Brief, pp. 9-11,
"Before delivery of appellant's box to the Bureau Rollo, pp. 132-134).
of Customs and/or Bureau of Posts, Mr. Job Reyes
(proprietor) and husband of Anita (Reyes),
following standard operating procedure, opened
the boxes for final inspection. When he opened
2|CONSTI2_Searchers and Seizures
Thereafter, an Information was filed against searched, and the persons or things to be
appellant for violation of RA 6425, otherwise seized." (Sec. 1 [3], Article III).
known as the Dangerous Drugs Act.
was in turn derived almost verbatim from the
After trial, the court a quo rendered the assailed Fourth Amendment ** to the United States
decision. Constitution. As such, the Court may turn to the
pronouncements of the United States Federal
In this appeal, accused/appellant assigns the Supreme Court and State Appellate Courts which
following errors, to wit: are considered doctrinal in this jurisdiction.
Thus, following the exclusionary rule laid down in
"THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING IN Mapp v. Ohio by the US Federal Supreme Court
EVIDENCE THE ILLEGALLY SEARCHED AND SEIZED (367 US 643, 81 S.Ct. 1684, 6 L.Ed. 1081 2d
OBJECTS CONTAINED IN THE FOUR PARCELS. [1961]), this Court, in Stonehill v. Diokno (20
SCRA 383 [1967]), declared as inadmissible any
"THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING evidence obtained by virtue of a defective search
APPELLANT DESPITE THE UNDISPUTED FACT THAT and seizure warrant, abandoning in the process
HIS RIGHTS UNDER THE CONSTITUTION WHILE the ruling earlier adopted in Moncado v. People's
UNDER CUSTODIAL PROCEEDINGS WERE NOT Court (80 Phil. 1 [1948]) wherein the admissibility
OBSERVED. cdphil of evidence was not affected by the illegality of
its seizure. The 1973 Charter (Sec. 4 [2], Art. IV)
"THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT GIVING constitutionalized the Stonehill ruling and is
CREDENCE TO THE EXPLANATION OF THE carried over up to the present with the advent of
APPELLANT ON HOW THE FOUR PARCELS CAME the 1987 Constitution.
INTO HIS POSSESSION." (Appellant's Brief, p. 1;
Rollo, p. 55) In a number of cases, the Court strictly adhered
to the exclusionary rule and has struck down the
1. Appellant contends that the evidence subject admissibility of evidence obtained in violation of
of the imputed offense had been obtained in the constitutional safeguard against
violation of his constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. (Bache &
unreasonable search and seizure and privacy of Co., (Phil.), Inc., v. Ruiz, 37 SCRA 823 [1971]; Lim
communication (Secs. 2 and 3, Art. III, v. Ponce de Leon, 66 SCRA 299 [1975]; People v.
Constitution) and therefore argues that the same Burgos, 144 SCRA 1 [1986]; Roan v. Gonzales,
should be held inadmissible in evidence (Sec. 3 145 SCRA 687 [1987]; See also Salazar v. Hon.
(2), Art. III). Achacoso, et al., GR No. 81510, March 14, 1990).

Sections 2 and 3, Article III of the Constitution It must be noted, however, that in all those cases
provide: adverted to, the evidence so obtained were
invariably procured by the State acting through
"Section 2. The right of the people to be secure in the medium of its law enforcers or other
their persons, houses, papers and effects against authorized government agencies. LLpr
unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever
nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, On the other hand, the case at bar assumes a
and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall peculiar character since the evidence sought to
issue except upon probable cause to be be excluded was primarily discovered and
determined personally by the judge after obtained by a private person, acting in a private
examination under oath or affirmation of the capacity and without the intervention and
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, participation of State authorities. Under the
and particularly describing the place to be circumstances, can accused/appellant validly
searched and the persons or things to be seized. claim that his constitutional right against
unreasonable searches and seizure has been
"Section 3. (1) The privacy of communication and violated? Stated otherwise, may an act of a
correspondence shall be inviolable except upon private individual, allegedly in violation of
lawful order of the court, or when public safety or appellant's constitutional rights, be invoked
order requires otherwise as prescribed by law. against the State?

"(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or We hold in the negative. In the absence of
the preceding section shall be inadmissible for governmental interference, the liberties
any purpose in any proceeding." guaranteed by the Constitution cannot be
invoked against the State.
Our present constitutional provision on the
guarantee against unreasonable search and As this Court held in Villanueva v. Querubin (48
seizure had its origin in the 1935 Charter which, SCRA 345 [1972]:
worded as follows:
"1. This constitutional right (against unreasonable
"The right of the people to be secure in their search and seizure) refers to the immunity of
persons, houses, papers and effects against one's person, whether citizen or alien, from
unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be interference by government, included in which is
violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon his residence, his papers, and other
probable cause, to be determined by the judge possessions . . .
after examination under oath or affirmation of the
complainant and the witnesses he may produce,
". . . There the state, however powerful, does not
and particularly describing the place to be
as such have the access except under the
circumstances above noted, for in the traditional
3|CONSTI2_Searchers and Seizures
formulation, his house, however humble, is his Appellant, however, would like this court to
castle. Thus is outlawed any unwarranted believe that NBI agents made an illegal search
intrusion by government, which is called upon to and seizure of the evidence later on used in
refrain from any invasion of his dwelling and to prosecuting the case which resulted in his
respect the privacies of his life . . ." (Cf. conviction.
Schermerber v. California, 384 US 757 [1966] and
Boyd v. United States, 116 US 616 [1886]; The postulate advanced by accused/appellant
Emphasis supplied). needs to be clarified in two days. In both
instances, the argument stands to fall on its own
In Burdeau v. McDowell (256 US 465 (1921), 41 S weight, or the lack of it.
Ct. 547; 65 L.Ed. 1048), the Court there in
construing the right against unreasonable First, the factual considerations of the case at bar
searches and seizures declared that: readily foreclose the proposition that NBI agents
conducted an illegal search and seizure of the
"(t)he Fourth Amendment gives protection prohibited merchandise. Records of the case
against unlawful searches and seizures, and as clearly indicate that it was Mr. Job Reyes, the
shown in previous cases, its protection applies to proprietor of the forwarding agency, who made
governmental action. Its origin and history clearly search/inspection of the packages. Said
show that it was intended as a restraint upon the inspection was reasonable and a standard
activities of sovereign authority, and was not operating procedure on the part of Mr. Reyes as a
intended to be a limitation upon other than precautionary measure before delivery of
governmental agencies; as against such authority packages to the Bureau of Customs or the Bureau
it was the purpose of the Fourth Amendment to of Posts (TSN, October 6 & 7, 1987, pp. 15-18; pp.
secure the citizen in the right of unmolested 7-8; Original Records, pp. 119-122; 167-168).
occupation of his dwelling and the possession of
his property, subject to the right of seizure by It will be recalled that after Reyes opened the box
process duly served." containing the illicit cargo, he took samples of the
same to the NBI and later summoned the agents
The above ruling was reiterated in State v. Bryan to his place of business. Thereafter, he opened
(457 P.2d 661 [1968]) where a parking attendant the parcels containing the rest of the shipment
who searched the automobile to ascertain the and entrusted the care and custody thereof to the
owner thereof found marijuana instead, without NBI agents. Clearly, the NBI agents made no
the knowledge and participation of police search and seizure, much less an illegal one,
authorities, was declared admissible in contrary to the postulate of accused/appellant.
prosecution for illegal possession of narcotics.

And again in the 1969 case of Walker v. State


(429 S.W.2d 121), it was held that the search and Second, the mere presence of the NBI agents did
seizure clauses are restraints upon the not convert the reasonable search effected by
government and its agents, not upon private Reyes into a warrantless search and seizure
individuals, (citing People v. Potter, 240 Cal. proscribed by the Constitution. Merely to observe
App.2d 621, 49 Cap. Rptr, 892 (1966); State v. and look at that which is in plain sight is not a
Brown, Mo., 391 S.W.2d 903 (1965); State v. search. Having observed that which is open,
Olsen, Or., 317 P.2d 938 (1957). where no trespass has been committed in aid
thereof, is not search (Chadwick v. State, 429
Likewise appropos is the case of Bernas v. US SW2d 135). Where the contraband articles are
(373 F.2d 517 (1967). The Court there said: identified without a trespass on the part of the
arresting officer, there is not the search that is
"The search of which appellant complains, prohibited by the constitution (US v. Lee 274 US
however, was made by a private citizen the 559, 71 L.Ed. 1202 [1927]; Ker v. State of
owner of a motel in which appellant stayed California 374 US 23, 10 L.Ed.2d. 726 [1963];
overnight and in which he left behind a travel Moore v. State, 429 SW2d 122 [1968]).
case containing the evidence *** complained of.
The search was made on the motel owner's own In Gandy v. Watkins (237 F. Supp. 266 [1964]), it
initiative. Because of it, he became suspicious, was likewise held that where the property was
called the local police, informed them of the bag's taken into custody of the police at the specific
contents, and made it available to the authorities. request of the manager and where the search
was initially made by the owner there is no
"The fourth amendment and the case law unreasonable search and seizure within the
applying it do not require exclusion of evidence constitutional meaning of the term.
obtained through a search by a private citizen.
Rather, the amendment only proscribes That the Bill of Rights embodied in the
governmental action." Constitution is not meant to be invoked against
acts of private individuals finds support in the
The contraband in the case at bar having come deliberations of the Constitutional Commission.
into possession of the Government without the True, the liberties guaranteed by the fundamental
latter transgressing appellant's rights against law of the land must always be subject to
unreasonable search and seizure, the Court sees protection. But protection against whom?
no cogent reason why the same should not be Commissioner Bernas in his sponsorship speech
admitted against him in the prosecution of the in the Bill of Rights answers the query which he
offense charged. LLphil himself posed, as follows:

4|CONSTI2_Searchers and Seizures


"First, the general reflections. The protection of private individual in violation of the Bill of Rights
fundamental liberties in the essence of should also be construed as an act of the State
constitutional democracy. Protection against would result in serious legal complications and an
whom? Protection against the state. The Bill of absurd interpretation of the constitution.
Rights governs the relationship between the
individual and the state. Its concern is not the Similarly, the admissibility of the evidence
relation between individuals, between a private procured by an individual effected through
individual and other individuals. What the Bill of private seizure equally applies, in pari passu, to
Rights does is to declare some forbidden zones in the alleged violation, non-governmental as it is,
the private sphere inaccessible to any power of appellant's constitutional rights to privacy and
holder." (Sponsorship Speech of Commissioner communication.
Bernas; Record of the Constitutional Commission,
Vol. 1, p. 674; July 17, 1986; Emphasis supplied) 2. In his second assignment of error, appellant
contends that the lower court erred in convicting
The constitutional proscription against unlawful him despite the undisputed fact that his rights
searches and seizures therefore applies as a under the constitution while under custodial
restraint directed only against the government investigation were not observed.
and its agencies tasked with the enforcement of
the law. Thus, it could only be invoked against the Again, the contention is without merit, We have
State to whom the restraint against arbitrary and carefully examined the records of the case and
unreasonable exercise of power is imposed. found nothing to indicate, as an "undisputed
cdphil fact", that appellant was not informed of his
constitutional rights or that he gave statements
If the search is made upon the request of law without the assistance of counsel. The law
enforcers, a warrant must generally be first enforcers testified that accused/appellant was
secured if it is to pass the test of constitutionality. informed of his constitutional rights. It is
However, if the search is made at the behest or presumed that they have regularly performed
initiative of the proprietor of a private their duties (Sec. 5(m), Rule 131) and their
establishment for its own and private purposes, testimonies should be given full faith and
as in the case at bar, and without the intervention credence, there being no evidence to the
of police authorities, the right against contrary. What is clear from the records, on the
unreasonable search and seizure cannot be other hand, is that appellant refused to give any
invoked for only the act of private individual, not written statement while under investigation as
the law enforcers, is involved. In sum, the testified by Atty. Lastimoso of the NBI, Thus:
protection against unreasonable searches and
seizures cannot be extended to acts committed "Fiscal Formoso:
by private individuals so as to bring it within the
ambit of alleged unlawful intrusion by the "You said that you investigated Mr. and Mrs. Job
government. Reyes. What about the accused here, did you
investigate the accused together with the girl?
Appellant argues, however, that since the
provisions of the 1935 Constitution has been "WITNESS:
modified by the present phraseology found in the
1987 Charter, expressly declaring as inadmissible "Yes, we have interviewed the accused together
any evidence obtained in violation of the with the girl but the accused availed of his
constitutional prohibition against illegal search constitutional right not to give any written
and seizure, it matters not whether the evidence statement, sir." (TSN, October 8, 1987, p. 62;
was procured by police authorities or private Original Records, p. 240)
individuals (Appellant's Brief, p. 8, Rollo, p. 62).
The above testimony of the witness for the
The argument is untenable. For one thing, the prosecution was not contradicted by the defense
constitution, in laying down the principles of the on cross-examination. As borne out by the
government and fundamental liberties of the records, neither was there any proof by the
people, does not govern relationships between defense that appellant gave uncounselled
individuals. Moreover, it must be emphasized that confession while being investigated. What is
the modifications introduced in the 1987 more, we have examined the assailed judgment
Constitution (re: Sec. 2, Art. III) relate to the of the trial court and nowhere is there any
issuance of either a search warrant or warrant of reference made to the testimony of appellant
arrest vis-a-vis the responsibility of the judge in while under custodial investigation which was
the issuance thereof (See Soliven v. Makasiar, utilized in the finding of conviction. Appellant's
167 SCRA 393 [1988]; Circular No. 13 [October 1, second assignment of error is therefore
1985] and Circular No. 12 [June 30, 1987]. The misplaced. cdphil
modifications introduced deviate in no manner as
to whom the restriction or inhibition against 3. Coming now to appellant's third assignment of
unreasonable search and seizure is directed error, appellant would like us to believe that he
against. The restraint stayed with the State and was not the owner of the packages which
did not shift to anyone else. contained prohibited drugs but rather a certain
Michael, a German national, whom appellant met
Corollarily, alleged violations against in a pub along Ermita, Manila; that in the course
unreasonable search and seizure may only be of their 30-minute conversation, Michael
invoked against the State by an individual requested him to ship the packages and gave him
unjustly traduced by the exercise of sovereign P2,000.00 for the cost of the shipment since the
authority. To agree with appellant that an act of a
5|CONSTI2_Searchers and Seizures
German national was about to leave the country Premises considered, we see no error committed
the next day (October 15, 1987, TSN, pp. 2-10). by the trial court in rendering the assailed
judgment.
Rather than give the appearance of veracity, we
find appellant's disclaimer as incredulous, self- WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction finding
serving and contrary to human experience. It can appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
easily be fabricated. An acquaintance with a crime charged is hereby AFFIRMED. No costs.
complete stranger struck in half an hour could
not have pushed a man to entrust the shipment SO ORDERED.
of four (4) parcels and shell out P2,000.00 for the
purpose and for appellant to readily accede to Fernan, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr . and Feliciano, JJ.,
comply with the undertaking without first concur.
ascertaining its contents. As stated by the trial
court, "(a) person would not simply entrust (Stonehill v. Diokno, G.R. No. L-19550, June
contraband and of considerable value at that as 19, 1967)
the marijuana flowering tops, and the cash
amount of P2,000.00 to a complete stranger like EN BANC
the Accused. The Accused, on the other hand, [G.R. No. L-19550. June 19, 1967.]
would not simply accept such undertaking to take HARRY S. STONEHILL, ROBERT P. BROOKS, JOHN
custody of the packages and ship the same from J. BROOKS and KARL BECK, petitioners, vs. HON.
a complete stranger on his mere say-so" JOSE W. DIOKNO, in his capacity as SECRETARY
(Decision, p. 19, Rollo, p. 91). As to why he OF JUSTICE, JOSE LUKBAN, in his capacity as
readily agreed to do the errand, appellant failed Acting Director of the National Bureau of
to explain. Denials, if unsubstantiated by clear Investigation; SPECIAL PROSECUTORS PEDRO D.
and convincing evidence, are negative self- CENZON, EFREN I. PLANA and MANUEL
serving evidence which deserve no weight in law VILLAREAL, JR. and ASST. FISCAL MANASES G.
and cannot be given greater evidentiary weight REYES, JUDGE AMADO ROAN, Municipal Court of
than the testimony of credible witnesses who Manila, JUDGE ROMAN CANSINO, Municipal Court
testify on affirmative matters (People v. Esquillo, of Manila, JUDGE HERMOGENES CALUAG, Court of
171 SCRA 571 [1989]; People vs. Sariol, 174 SCRA First Instance of Rizal-Quezon City Branch, and
237 [1989]). JUDGE DAMIAN JIMENEZ, Municipal Court of
Quezon City, respondents.
Appellant's bare denial is even made more Paredes, Poblador, Cruz & Nazareno and Meer,
suspect considering that, as per records of the Meer & Meer and Juan T . David for petitioners.
Interpol, he was previously convicted of Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant
possession of hashish by the Kleve Court in the Solicitor General Pacifico P. de Castro, Assistant
Federal Republic of Germany on January 1, 1982 Solicitor General Frine C . Zaballero, Solicitor
and that the consignee of the frustrated Camilo D. Quiason and Solicitor C . Padua for
shipment, Walter Fierz, also a Swiss national, was respondents.
likewise convicted for drug abuse and is just
about an hour's drive from appellant's residence SYLLABUS
in Zurich, Switzerland (TSN, October 8, 1987, p. 1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; SEARCH AND
66; Original Records, p. 244; Decision, p. 21; SEIZURE; WHO MAY CONTEST LEGALITY
Rollo, p. 93). THEREOF CASE AT BAR. It is well settled that
the legality of a seizure can be contested only by
Evidence to be believed, must not only proceed the party whose rights have been impaired
from the mouth of a credible witness, but it must thereby (Lewis vs. U.S., 6 F. 2d. 22) and that the
be credible in itself such as the common objection to an unlawful search and seizure is
experience and observation of mankind can purely personal and cannot be availed of by third
approve as probable under the circumstances parties (In. re Dooley, 48 F. 2d. 121: Rouda vs.
(People v. Alto, 26 SCRA 342 [1968], citing U.S., 10 F. 2d. 916; Lusco vs. U.S., 287 F. 69;
Daggers v. Van Dyke, 37 N.J. Eg. 130; see also Ganci vs. U.S., 287 F, 60; Moriz vs. U.S., 26 F. 2d.
People v. Sarda, 172 SCRA 651 [1989]; People v. 444). Consequently, petitioner in the case at bar
Sunga, 123 SCRA 327 [1983]); Castaares v. CA, may not validly object to the use in evidence
92 SCRA 567 [1979]). As records further show, against them of the document, papers, and
appellant did not even bother to ask Michael's full things seized from the offices and premises of the
name, his complete address or passport number. corporation adverted to, since the right to object
Furthermore, if indeed, the German national was to the admission of said papers in evidence
the owner of the merchandise, appellant should belongs exclusively to the corporations, to whom
have so indicated in the contract of shipment the seized effects belong, and may not be
(Exh. "B", Original Records, p. 40). On the invoked by the corporate officers in proceedings
contrary, appellant signed the contract as the against them in their individual capacity U.S., vs.
owner and shipper thereof giving more weight to Gaas, 17 F. 2d. 997; People vs. Rubio, 57 Phil.,
the presumption that things which a person 384).
possesses, or exercises acts of ownership over,
are owned by him (Sec. 5 [j], Rule 131). At this
2. ID.; ID.; REQUISITES FOR ISSUANCE OF
point, appellant is therefore estopped to claim
SEARCH WARRANT. Two points must be
otherwise. LexLib stressed in connection with this constitutional
mandate, namely: (1) that no warrant issue but
upon probable cause, to be determined by the
judge in the manner set forth in said provision;
and (2) that the warrant shall particularly
describe the things to be seized. None of these
6|CONSTI2_Searchers and Seizures
requirements has been complied with in the aforementioned corporations, whatever their
contested warrants. Indeed, the same were nature, thus openly contravening the explicit
issued upon applications stating that the natural command of our Bill of Rights that the things to
and juridical persons therein named had be seized be particularly described as well as
committed a "violation of Central Bank Laws, tending to defeat its major objective: the
Tariff and Customs Laws, Internal Revenue (Code) elimination of general warrants.
and Revised Penal Code." In other words, no
specific offense had been alleged in said 5. ID.; ID.; ID.; NON-EXCLUSIONARY RULE
applications. The averments thereof with respect CONTRAVENES THE CONSTITUTIONAL
to the offense committed were abstract. As a PROHIBITIONS AGAINST UNREASONABLE
consequence, it was impossible for the judges SEARCH AND SEIZURES. Indeed, the non-
who issued the warrants to have found the exclusionary rule is contrary, not only to the
existence of probable cause, for the same letter, but also to the spirit of the constitutional
presupposes the introduction of competent proof injunction against unreasonable searches and
that the party against whom it is sought has seizures. To be sure, if the applicant for a search
performed particular acts, or committed specific warrant has competent evidence to establish
omissions, violating a given provision of our probable cause of the commission of a given
criminal laws. As a matter of fact, the applications crime by the party against whom the warrant is
involved in the case at bar do not allege any intended, then there is no reason why the
specific acts performed by herein petitioners. It applicant should not comply with the
would be a legal heresy, of the highest order, to requirements of the fundamental law. Upon the
convict anybody of a "violation of Central Bank other hand, if he has no such competent
Laws, Tariff and Customs Laws, Internal Revenue evidence, then it is not possible for the Judge to
(Code) and Revised Penal Code", as alleged in find that there is probable cause and only
aforementioned applications without reference possible for the Judge to find that there is
to any determine provision of said laws or coders. probable cause and hence, no justification for the
issuance of the warrant. The only possible
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; GENERAL WARRANTS ARE explanation (not justification) for its issuance is
OUTLAWED BY THE CONSTITUTION. To the necessity of fishing evidence of the
uphold the validity of the warrants in question, commission of crime. But when this fishing
would be to wipe out completely one of the most expedition is indicative of the absence of
fundamental rights guaranteed in our evidence to establish a probable cause.
Constitution, for it would place the sanctity of the
domicile and the privacy of communication and 6. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PROSECUTION OF THOSE
correspondence at the mercy of the victims, WHO SECURE ILLEGAL SEARCH WARRANT
caprice or passion of peace officers. This is OR MAKE UNREASONABLE SEARCH OR
precisely the evil sought to be remedied by the SEIZURE IS NO EXCUSE. The theory that the
constitutional provision Sec. 1, par. 3 Art. III, criminal prosecution of those who secure an
Const.) to outlaw the so-called general illegal search warrant and/or make unreasonable
warrants. It is not difficult to imagine what would searches or seizures would suffice to protect the
happen, in times of keen political strife, when the constitutional guarantee under consideration,
party in power feels that the minority is likely to overlooks the fact that violations thereof are, in
wrest it, even though by legal means. Such is the general, committed by agents of the party in
seriousness of the irregularities committed in power, for certainly, those belonging to the
connection with the disputed search warrants, minority could not possibly abuse a power they
that this Court deemed it fit to amend Section 3 do not have. Regardless of the handicap under
of Rule 122 of the former Rules of Court, by which the minority usually but understandably
providing in its counterpart, under the Revised finds itself in prosecuting agents of the majority,
Rules of Court (Sec. 3, Rule 126) that "a search one must not lose sight of the fact that the
warrant shall not issue but upon probable cause psychological and moral effect of the possibility
in connection with one specific offense." Not of securing their conviction, is watered down by
satisfied with this qualification, the Court added the pardoning power of the party for whose
thereto paragraph, directing that "no search benefit the illegality had been committed.
warrant shall issue for more than one specific
offense." 7. ID.; ID.; ID.; MONCADO DOCTRINE
ABANDONED. The doctrine adopted in the
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. The grave Moncado case must be, as it is hereby,
violation of the Constitution made in the abandoned; the warrants for the search of 3
application for the contested search warrants was residences of petitioners, as specified in the
compounded by the description therein made of Resolution of June 29, 1962, are null and void; the
the effects to be searched for and seized, to wit: searches and seizures therein made are illegal.
"Books of accounts, Financial records, vouchers,
journals, correspondence, receipts, ledgers, DECISION
portfolios, credit journals, typewriters, and other CONCEPCION, C .J p:
documents and/or papers, showing all business Upon application of the officers of the
transactions including disbursement receipts, government named on the margin 1
balance sheets and related profit and loss hereinafter referred to as Respondent-Prosecutors
statements." Thus, the warrants authorized the several judges 2 hereinafter referred to as
search for and seizure of records pertaining to all Respondent-Judges issued, on different dates,
business transactions petitioners herein, 3 a total of 42 search warrants against petitioners
regardless of whether the transaction were legal herein 4 and/or the corporations of which they
or illegal. The warrants sanctioned the seizure of were officers, 5 directed to any peace officer, to
all records of the petitioners and the search the persons above-named and/or the
7|CONSTI2_Searchers and Seizure s
premises of their offices, warehouses and/or maintained as regards the papers, documents
residences, and to seize and take possession of and things found and seized in the residences of
the following personal property to wit: petitioners herein. 7

"Books of accounts, financial records, vouchers, Thus, the documents, papers, and things seized
correspondence, receipts, ledgers, journals, under the alleged authority of the warrants in
portfolios, credit journals, typewriters, and other question may be split into (2) major groups,
documents and/or papers showing all business namely: (a) those found and seized in the offices
transactions including disbursements receipts, of the aforementioned corporations and (b) those
balance sheets and profit and loss statements found seized in the residences of petitioners
and Bobbins (cigarette wrappers)." herein.

as "the subject of the offense; stolen or As regards the first group, we hold that
embezzled and proceeds or fruits of the offense," petitioners herein have no cause of action to
or "used or intended to be used as the means of assail the legality of the contested warrants and
committing the offense," which is described in of the seizures made in pursuance thereof, for the
the applications adverted to above as "violation simple reason that said corporations have their
of Central Bank Laws, Tariff and Customs Laws, respective personalities, separate and distinct
Internal Revenue (Code) and the Revised Penal from the personality of herein petitioners,
Code." regardless of the amount of shares of stock or of
Alleging that the aforementioned search warrants the interest of each of them in said corporations,
are null and void, as contravening the and whatever the offices they hold therein may
Constitution and the Rules of Court because, be. 8 Indeed, it is well settled that the legality of
inter alia: (1) they do not describe with a seizure can be contested only by the party
particularity the documents, books and things to whose rights have been impaired thereby, 9 and
be seized; (2) cash money, not mentioned in the that the objection to an unlawful search and
warrants, were actually seized; (3) the warrants seizure is purely personal and cannot be availed
were issued to fish evidence against the of by third parties. 10 Consequently, petitioners
aforementioned petitioners in deportation cases herein may not validly object to the use in
filed against them; (4) the searches and seizures evidence against them of the documents, papers
were made in an illegal manner; and (5) the and things seized from the offices and premises
documents, papers and cash money seized were of the corporations adverted to above, since the
not delivered to the courts that issued the right to object to the admission of said papers in
warrants, to be disposed of in accordance with evidence belongs exclusively to the corporations,
law on March 20, 1962, said petitioners filed to whom the seized effects belong, and may not
with the Supreme Court this original action for be invoked by the corporate officers in
certiorari, prohibition, mandamus and injunction, proceedings against them in their individual
and prayed that, pending final disposition of the capacity. 11 Indeed, it has been held:
present case, a writ of preliminary injunction be
issued restraining Respondent-Prosecutors, their ". . . that the Government's action in gaining
agents and or representatives from using the possession of papers belonging to the corporation
effects seized as aforementioned, or any copies did not relate to nor did it affect the personal
thereof, in the deportation cases already defendants. If these papers were unlawfully
adverted to, and that, in due course, thereafter, seized and thereby the constitutional rights of or
decision be rendered quashing the contested any one were invaded, they were the rights of the
search warrants and declaring the same null and corporation and not the rights of the other
void, and commanding the respondents, their defendants. Next, it is clear that a question of the
agents or representatives to return to petitioners lawfulness of a seizure can be raised only by one
herein, in accordance with Section 3, Rule 67, of whose rights have been invaded. Certainly, such
the Rules of Court, the documents, papers, things a seizure, if unlawful, could not affect the
and cash moneys seized or confiscated under the constitutional rights of defendants whose
search warrants in question. property had not been seized or the privacy of
whose homes had not been disturbed; nor could
they claim for themselves the benefits of the
Fourth Amendment, when its violation, if any, was
In their answer, respondents-prosecutors alleged with reference to the rights of another. Remus vs.
6 (1) that the contested search warrants are valid United States (C.C.A.) 291 F. 501, 511. It follows,
and have been issued in accordance with law; (2) therefore, that the question of the admissibility of
that the defects of said warrants, if any, were the evidence based on an alleged unlawful search
cured by petitioners' consent; and (3) that, in any and seizure does not extend to the personal
event, the effects seized are admissible in defendants but embraces only the corporation
evidence against herein petitioners, regardless of whose property was taken . . ." (A. Guckenheimer
the alleged illegality of the aforementioned & Bros. Co. vs. United States, [1925] 3 F. 2d, 786,
searches and seizures. 789, Emphasis supplied.)

With respect to the documents, papers and things


On March 22, 1962, this Court issued the writ of
seized in the residences of petitioners herein, the
preliminary injunction prayed for in the petition.
aforementioned resolution of June 29, 1962,
However, by resolution dated June 29, 1962, the
denied the lifting of the writ of preliminary
writ was partially lifted or dissolved, insofar as
injunction previously issued by this Court, 12
the papers, documents and things seized from
thereby, in effect, restraining herein Respondent-
the offices of the corporations above mentioned
are concerned; but, the Prosecutors from using them in evidence against
injunction was
petitioners herein.
8|CONSTI2_Searchers and Seizures
outlaw the so-called general warrants. It is not
In connection with said documents, papers and difficult to imagine what would happen, in times
things, two (2) important questions need be of keen political strife, when the party in power
settled, namely: (1) whether the search warrants feels that the minority is likely to wrest it, even
in question, and the searches and seizures made though by legal means.
under the authority thereof, are valid or not; and
(2) if the answer to the preceding question is in Such is the seriousness of the irregularities
the negative, whether said documents, papers committed in connection with the disputed search
and things may be used in evidence against warrants, that this Court deemed it fit to amend
petitioners herein. Section 3 of Rule 122 of the former Rules of Court
14 by providing in its counterpart, under the
Petitioners maintain that the aforementioned Revised Rules of Court 15 that "a search warrant
search warrants are in the nature of general shall not issue upon probable cause in connection
warrants and that, accordingly, the seizures with one specific offense." Not satisfied with this
effected upon the authority thereof are null and qualification, the Court added thereto a
void. In this connection, the Constitution 13 paragraph, directing that "no search warrant shall
provides: issue for more than one specific offense."

"The right of the people to be secure in their The grave violation of the Constitution made in
persons, houses, papers, and effects against the application for the contested search warrants
unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be was compounded by the description therein
violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon made of the effects to be searched for and
probable cause, to be determined by the judge seized, to wit:
after examination under oath or affirmation of the
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, "Books of accounts, financial records, vouchers,
and particularly describing the place to be journals, correspondence, receipts, ledgers,
searched, and the persons or things to be portfolios, credit journals, typewriters, and other
seized." documents and/or papers showing all business
transactions including disbursement receipts,
Two points must be stressed in connection with balance sheets and related profit and loss
this constitutional mandate, namely: (1) that no statements."
warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, to
be determined by the judge in the manner set Thus, the warrants authorized the search for and
forth in said provision; and (2) that the warrant seizure of records pertaining to all business
shall particularly describe the things to be seized. transactions of petitioners herein, regardless of
whether the transactions were legal or illegal. The
None of these requirements has been complied warrants sanctioned the seizure of all records of
with in the contested warrants. Indeed, the same the petitioners and the aforementioned
were issued upon applications stating that the corporations, whatever their nature, thus openly
natural and juridical persons therein named had contravening the explicit command of our Bill of
committed a "violation of Central Bank Laws, Rights that the things to be seized be
Tariff and Customs Laws, Internal Revenue (Code) particularly described as well as tending to
and Revised Penal Code." In other words, no defeat its major objective: the elimination of
specific offense had been alleged in said general warrants.
applications. The averments thereof with respect
to the offense committed were abstract. As a Relying upon Moncado vs. People's Court (80 Phil.
consequence, it was impossible for the judges 1), Respondent- Prosecutors maintain that, even
who issued the warrants to have found the if the searches and seizures under consideration
existence of probable cause, for the same were unconstitutional, the documents, papers
presupposes the introduction of competent proof and things thus seized are admissible in evidence
that the party against whom it is sought has against petitioners herein. Upon mature
performed particular acts, or committed specific deliberation, however, we are unanimously of the
omissions, violating a given provision of our opinion that the position taken in the Moncado
criminal laws. As a matter of fact, the applications case must be abandoned. Said position was in
involved in this case do not allege any specific line with the American common law rule, that the
acts performed by herein petitioners. It would be criminal should not be allowed to go free merely
a legal heresy, of the highest order, to convict "because the constable has blundered," 16 upon
anybody of a "violation of Central Bank Laws, the theory that the constitutional prohibition
Tariff and Customs Laws, Internal Revenue (Code) against unreasonable searches and seizures is
and Revised Penal Code," as alleged in the protected by means other than the exclusion of
aforementioned applications without reference evidence unlawfully obtained, 17 such as the
to any determinate provision of said laws or common-law action for damages against the
codes. searching officer, against the party who procured
the issuance of the search warrant and against
To uphold the validity of the warrants in question those assisting in the execution of an illegal
would be to wipe out completely one of the most search, their criminal punishment, resistance,
fundamental rights guaranteed in our without liability to an unlawful seizure, and such
Constitution, for it would place the sanctity of the other legal remedies as may be provided by other
domicile and the privacy of communication and laws.
correspondence at the mercy of the whims,
caprice or passion of peace officers. This is However, most common law jurisdictions have
precisely the evil sought to be remedied by the already given up this approach and eventually
constitutional provision above quoted to adopted the exclusionary rule, realizing that this
9|CONSTI2_Searchers and Seizure s
is the only practical means of enforcing the time that the Court held in Wolf that the
constitutional injunction against unreasonable Amendment was applicable to the States through
searches and seizures. In the language of Judge the Due Process Clause, the cases of this Court as
Learned Hand: we have seen, had steadfastly held that as to
federal officers the Fourth Amendment included
the exclusion of the evidence seized in violation
of its provisions. Even Wolf 'stoutly adhered' to
"As we understand it, the reason for the exclusion that proposition. The right to privacy, when
of evidence competent as such, which has been conceded operatively enforceable against the
unlawfully acquired, is that exclusion is the only States, was not susceptible of destruction by
practical way of enforcing the constitutional avulsion of the sanction upon which its protection
privilege. In earlier times the action of trespass and enjoyment had always been deemed
against the offending official may have been dependent under the Boyd, Weeks and
protection enough; but that is true no longer. Silverthorne Cases. Therefore, in extending the
Only in case the prosecution which itself controls substantive protections of due process to all
the seizing officials, knows that it cannot profit by constitutionally unreasonable searches state or
their wrong, will that wrong be repressed". 18 federal it was logically and constitutionally
necessary that the exclusion doctrine an
In fact, over thirty (30) years before, the Federal essential part of the right to privacy be also
Supreme Court had already declared: insisted upon as an essential ingredient of the
right newly recognized by the Wolf Case. In short,
"If letters and private documents can thus be the admission of the new constitutional right by
seized and held and used in evidence against a Wolf could not consistently tolerate denial of its
citizen accused of an offense, the protection of most important constitutional privilege, namely,
the 4th Amendment, declaring his rights to be the exclusion of the evidence which an accused
secure against such searches and seizures, is of had been forced to give by reason of the unlawful
no value, and, so far as those thus placed are seizure. To hold otherwise is to grant the right but
concerned, might as well be stricken from the in reality to withhold its privilege and enjoinment.
Constitution. The efforts of the courts and their Only last year the Court itself recognized that the
officials to bring the guilty to punishment, purpose of the exclusionary rule 'is to deter to
praiseworthy as they are, are not to be aided by compel respect for the constitutional guaranty in
the sacrifice of those great principles established the only effectively available way by removing
by years of endeavor and suffering which have the incentive to disregard it.' . . .
resulted in their embodiment in the fundamental
law of the land." 19 "The ignoble shortcut to conviction left open to
the State tends to destroy the entire system of
This view was, not only reiterated, but, also, constitutional restraints on which the liberties of
broadened in subsequent decisions of the same the people rest. Having once recognized that the
Federal Court. 20 After reviewing previous right to privacy embodied in the Fourth
decisions thereon, said Court held, in Mapp vs. Amendment is enforceable against the States,
Ohio (supra.): and that the right to be secure against rude
invasions of privacy by state officers is, therefore
". . . Today we once again examine the Wolf's constitutional in origin, we can no longer permit
constitutional documentation of the right of that right to remain an empty promise. Because it
privacy free from unreasonable state intrusion, is enforceable in the same manner and to like
and, after its dozen years on our books, are led effect as other basic rights secured by the Due
by it to close the only courtroom door remaining Process Clause, we can no longer permit it to be
open to evidence secured by official lawlessness revocable at the whim of any police officer who,
in flagrant abuse of that basic right, reserved to in the name of law enforceable itself, chooses to
all persons as a specific guarantee against that suspend its enjoinment. Our decision, founded on
very same unlawful conduct. We held that all reason and truth, gives to the individual no more
evidence obtained by searches and seizures in than that which the Constitution guarantees him,
violation of the Constitution is, by that same to the police officer no less than that to which
authority, inadmissible in a State court. honest law enforcement is entitled, and, to the
courts, that judicial integrity so necessary in the
"Since the Fourth Amendment's right of privacy true administration of justice." (Emphasis ours.)
has been declared enforceable against the States
through the Due Process Clause of the Indeed, the non-exclusionary rule is contrary, not
Fourteenth, it is enforceable against them by the only to the letter, but, also, to spirit of the
same sanction of exclusion as it used against the constitutional injunction against unreasonable
Federal Government. Were it otherwise, then just searches and seizures. To be sure, if the applicant
as without the Weeks rule the assurance against for a search warrant has competent evidence to
unreasonable federal searches and seizures establish probable cause of the commission of a
would be 'a form of words', valueless and given crime by the party against whom the
undeserving of mention in a perpetual charter of warrant is intended, then there is no reason why
inestimable human liberties, so too, 'without that the applicant should not comply with the
rule the freedom from state invasions of privacy requirements of the fundamental law. Upon the
would be so ephemeral and so neatly severed other hand, if he has no such competent
from its conceptual nexus with the freedom from evidence, then it is not possible for the judge to
all brutish means of coercing evidence as not to find that there is probable cause, and, hence, no
permit this Court's high regard as a freedom justification for the issuance of the warrant. The
implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.' At the only possible explanation (not justification) for its
issuance is the necessity of fishing evidence of
10 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
the commission of a crime. But, then, this fishing matter open for determination in appropriate
expedition is indicative of the absence of cases in the future.
evidence to establish a probable cause.
We hold, therefore, that the doctrine adopted in
Moreover, the theory that the criminal the Moncado case must be, as it is hereby,
prosecution of those who secure an illegal search abandoned; that the warrants for the search of
warrant and/or make unreasonable searches or three (3) residences of herein petitioners, as
seizures would suffice to protect the specified in the Resolution of June 29, 1962 are
constitutional guarantee under consideration, null and void; that the searches and seizures
overlooks the fact that violations thereof are, in therein made are illegal; that the writ of
general, committed by agents of the party in preliminary injunction heretofore issued, in
power, for, certainly, those belonging to the connection with the documents, papers and other
minority could not possibly abuse a power they effects thus seized in said residences of herein
do not have. Regardless of the handicap under petitioners is hereby made permanent, that the
which the minority usually but, understandably writs prayed for are granted, insofar as the
finds itself in prosecuting agents of the documents, papers and other effects so seized in
majority, one must not lose sight of the fact that the aforementioned residences are concerned;
the psychological and moral effect of the that the aforementioned motion for
possibility 21 of securing their conviction, is Reconsideration and Amendment should be, as it
watered down by the pardoning, power of the is hereby, denied; and that the petition herein is
party for whose benefit the illegality had been dismissed and the writs prayed for denied, as
committed. regards the documents, papers and other effects
seized in the twenty-nine (29) places, offices and
In their Motion for Reconsideration and other premises enumerated in the same
Amendment of the Resolution of this Court dated Resolution, without special pronouncement as to
June 29, 1962, petitioners allege that Room Nos. costs.
81 and 91 of Carmen Apartments, House No.
2008, Dewey Boulevard, House No. 1436, It is so ordered.
Colorado Street, and Room No. 304 of the Army-
Navy Club, should be included among the Reyes, J .B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Bengzon, J .P.,
premises considered in said Resolution as Zaldivar and Sanchez, JJ ., concur.
residences of herein petitioners, Harry S.
Stonehill, Robert P. Brook, John J. Brooks and Karl (Soliven v. Makasiar, G.R. No. 82585, 82827,
Beck, respectively, and that, furthermore, the 83979 (Resolution), November 14, 1988)
records, papers and other effects seized in the
offices of the corporations above referred to EN BANC
include personal belongings of said petitioners [G.R. No. 82585. November 14, 1988.]
and other effects under their exclusive possession MAXIMO V. SOLIVEN, ANTONIO V. ROCES,
and control, for the exclusion of which they have FREDERICK K. AGCAOILI, and GODOFREDO L.
a standing under the latest rulings of the federal MANZANAS, petitioners, vs. THE HON. RAMON P.
courts of the United States. 22 MAKASIAR, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial
Court of Manila, Branch 35, UNDERSECRETARY
We note, however, that petitioners' theory, SILVESTRE BELLO III, of the Department of Justice,
regarding their alleged possession of and control LUIS C. VICTOR, THE CITY FISCAL OF MANILA AND
over the aforementioned records, papers and PRESIDENT CORAZON C. AQUINO, respondents.
effects, and the alleged "personal" nature
thereof, has been advanced, not in their petition [G.R. No. 82827. November 14, 1988.]
or amended petition herein, but in the Motion for LUIS D. BELTRAN, petitioner, vs. THE HON. RAMON
Reconsideration and Amendment of the P. MAKASIAR, Presiding Judge of Branch 35 of the
Resolution of June 29, 1962. In other words, said Regional Trial Court, at Manila, THE HON. LUIS
theory would appear to be a readjustment of that VICTOR CITY FISCAL OF MANILA, PEOPLE OF THE
followed in said petitions, to suit the approach PHILIPPINES, SUPERINTENDENT OF THE WESTERN
intimated in the Resolution sought to be POLICE DISTRICT, AND THE MEMBERS OF THE
reconsidered and amended. Then, too, some of PROCESS SERVING UNIT AT THE REGIONAL TRIAL
the affidavits or copies of alleged affidavits COURT OF MANILA, respondents.
attached to said motion for reconsideration, or
submitted in support thereof, contain either [G.R. No. 83979. November 14, 1988.]
inconsistent allegations, or allegations LUIS D. BELTRAN, petitioner, vs. EXECUTIVE
inconsistent with the theory now advanced by SECRETARY CATALINO MACARAIG, SECRETARY OF
petitioners herein. JUSTICE SEDFREY ORDOEZ, UNDERSECRETARY
OF JUSTICE SILVESTRE BELLO III, THE FISCAL OF
Upon the other hand, we are not satisfied that the MANILA JESUS F. GUERRERO, AND JUDGE RAMON
allegations of said petitions and motion for P. MAKASIAR, Presiding Judge of Branch 35 of the
reconsideration, and the contents of the Regional Trial Court, at Manila, respondents.
aforementioned affidavits and other papers
submitted in support of said motion, have Angara, Abello, Concepcion, Regala and Cruz for
sufficiently established the facts or conditions petitioners in G.R. No. 82585.
contemplated in the cases relied upon by the Perfecto V . Fernandez, Jose P. Fernandez and
petitioners, to warrant application of the views Cristobal P. Fernandez for petitioner in G.R. No.
therein expressed, should we agree thereto. At 82827 and 83979.
any rate, we do not deem it necessary to express
our opinion thereon, it being best to leave the SYLLABUS

11 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; would ordinarily be slander if directed at the
DUE PROCESS OF LAW; RESPONDENT IN A typical person should be examined from various
CRIMINAL CASE NEED NOT FILE HIS perspectives if directed at a high government
COUNTER-AFFIDAVITS BEFORE PRELIMINARY official. Again, the Supreme Court should draw
INVESTIGATION IS DEEMED COMPLETED. this fine line instead of leaving it to lower
Due process of law does not require that the tribunals.
respondent in a criminal case actually file his
counter-affidavits before the preliminary 6. ID.; ID.; FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION;
investigation is deemed completed. All that is SAFEGUARDS IN THE NAME THEREOF
required is that the respondent be given the SHOULD BE FAITHFULLY APPLIED IN TRIAL
opportunity to submit counter-affidavits if he is so OF LIBEL CASE. In the trial of the libel case
minded. against the petitioners, the safeguards in the
name of freedom of expression should be
2. ID.; ID.; RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO BE faithfully applied.
SECURE IN THEIR PERSONS, HOUSES,
PAPERS AND EFFECTS; ISSUANCE OF GUTIERREZ, JR., J., concurring:
WARRANT OF ARREST; PROBABLE CAUSE; 1. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE;
THE JUDGE HAS EXCLUSIVE AND PERSONAL MOTION TO QUASH; COURT SHOULD NOT
RESPONSIBILITY TO DETERMINE EXISTENCE HESITATE TO QUASH A CRIMINAL
OF; THE PRESIDENT. This case is not a PROSECUTION IN INTEREST OF MORE
simple prosecution for libel. We have as ENLIGHTENED AND SUBSTANTIAL JUSTICE.
complainant a powerful and popular President Consistent with our decision in Salonga v. Cruz
who heads the investigation and prosecution Pao (134 SCRA 438 [1985]), the Court should
service and appoints members of appellate courts not hesitate to quash a criminal prosecution in
but who feels so terribly maligned that she has the interest of more enlightened and substantial
taken the unorthodox step of going to court justice where it is not alone the criminal liability
inspite of the invocations of freedom of the press of an accused in a seemingly minor libel case
which would inevitably follow. which is involved but broader considerations of
governmental power versus a preferred freedom.
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; HARASSMENT INHERENT
IN ANY CRIMINAL PROSECUTION; SUPREME 2. ID.; ID.; PROSECUTION OF OFFENSES;
COURT SHOULD DRAW THE DEMARCATION LIBEL; CASE NOT A SIMPLE PROSECUTION
LINE WHERE HARASSMENT GOES BEYOND THEREFOR WHERE COMPLAINANT IS THE
USUAL DIFFICULTIES ENCOUNTERED BY ANY PRESIDENT; JUDGE NOT REQUIRED TO
ACCUSED. There is always bound to be PERSONALLY EXAMINE COMPLAINANT AND
harassment inherent in any criminal prosecution. HIS WITNESSES. What the Constitution
Where the harassment goes beyond the usual underscores is the exclusive and personal
difficulties encountered by any accused and responsibility of the issuing judge to satisfy
results in an unwillingness of media to freely himself the existence of probable cause. In
criticize government or to question government satisfying himself of the existence of probable
handling of sensitive issues and public affairs, cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest, the
this Court and not a lower tribunal should draw judge is not required to personally examine the
the demarcation line. complainant and his witnesses. Following
established doctrine and procedure, he shall: (1)
4. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; personally evaluate the report and the supporting
FREEDOM OF SPEECH; WHILE DEFAMATION documents submitted by the fiscal regarding the
IS NOT AUTHORIZED, CRITICISM IS TO BE existence of probable cause and, on the basis
EXPECTED AND SHOULD BE BORNE FOR THE thereof, issue a warrant of arrest; or (2) if on the
COMMON GOOD. As early as March 8, 1918, basis thereof he finds no probable cause, he may
the decision in United States v. Bustos (37 Phil. disregard the fiscal's report and require the
731) stated that "(c)omplete liberty to comment submission of supporting affidavits of witnesses
on the conduct of public men is a scalpel in the to aid him in arriving at a conclusion as to the
case of free speech. The sharp incision of its existence of probable cause.
probe relieves the abscesses of officialdom. Men
in public life may suffer under a hostile and unjust 3. ID.; EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT; PRESIDENT;
accusation; the wound can be assuaged with the IMMUNITY FROM SUIT; RATIONALE. The
balm of a clear conscience." The Court pointed rationale for the grant to the President of the
out that while defamation is not authorized, privilege of immunity from suit is to assure the
criticism is to be expected and should be borne exercise of Presidential duties and functions free
for the common good. from any hindrance or distraction, considering
that being the Chief Executive of the Government
5. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; is a job that, aside from requiring all of the office-
PROSECUTION OF OFFENSES; LIBEL; RULES holder's time, also demands undivided attention.
THEREON SHOULD BE EXAMINED FROM
VARIOUS PERSPECTIVES IF DIRECTED AT A 4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PRIVILEGE PERTAINS TO
HIGH GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL; THE PRESIDENT BY VIRTUE OF THE OFFICE AND
SUPREME COURT SHOULD DRAW A FINE MAY BE INVOKED ONLY BY HOLDER OF
LINE INSTEAD OF LEAVING IT TO A LOWER OFFICE. But this privilege of immunity from
TRIBUNAL. In fact, the Court observed that suit, pertains to the President by virtue of the
high official position, instead of affording office and may be invoked only by the holder of
immunity from slanderous and libelous charges the office; not by any other person in the
would actually invite attacks by those who desire President's behalf. Thus, an accused in a criminal
to create sensation. It would seem that what case in which the President is complainant cannot
12 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
raise the presidential privilege as a defense to
prevent the case from proceeding against such
accused.
Art. III, Sec. 2. The right of the people to be
5. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; EXERCISE OF PRIVILEGE secure in their persons, houses, papers and
IS SOLELY THE PRESIDENT'S PREROGATIVE. effects against unreasonable searches and
Moreover, there is nothing in our laws that seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose
would prevent the President from waiving the shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or
privilege. Thus, if so minded the President may warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable
shed the protection afforded by the privilege and cause to be determined personally by the judge
submit to the court's jurisdiction. The choice of after examination under oath or affirmation of the
whether to exercise the privilege or to waive it is complainant and the witnesses he may produce,
solely the President's prerogative. It is a decision and particularly describing the place to be
that cannot be assumed and imposed by any searched and the persons or things to be seized.
other person.
The addition of the word "personally" after the
RESOLUTION word "determined" and the deletion of the grant
PER CURIAM p: of authority by the 1973 Constitution to issue
In these consolidated cases, three principal issues warrants to "other responsible officers as may be
were raised: (1) whether or not petitioners were authorized by law", has apparently convinced
denied due process when informations for libel petitioner Beltran that the Constitution now
were filed against them although the finding of requires the judge to personally examine the
the existence of a prima facie case was still under complainant and his witnesses determination of
review by the Secretary of Justice and, probable cause for the issuance of warrants of
subsequently, by the President; (2) whether or arrest. This is not an accurate interpretation.
not the constitutional rights of Beltran were
violated when respondent RTC judge issued a What the Constitution underscores is the
warrant for his arrest without personally exclusive and personal responsibility of the
examining the complainant and the witnesses, if issuing judge to satisfy himself the existence of
any, to determine probable cause; and (3) probable cause. In satisfying himself of the
whether or not the President of the Philippines, existence of probable cause for the issuance of a
under the Constitution, may initiate criminal warrant of arrest, the judge is not required to
proceedings against the petitioners through the personally examine the complainant and his
filing of a complaint-affidavit. witnesses. Following established doctrine and
procedure, he shall: (1) personally evaluate the
Subsequent events have rendered the first issue report and the supporting documents submitted
moot and academic. On March 30, 1988, the by the fiscal regarding the existence of probable
Secretary of Justice denied petitioners' motion for cause and, on the basis thereof, issue a warrant
reconsideration and upheld the resolution of the of arrest; or (2) if on the basis thereof he finds no
Undersecretary of Justice sustaining the City probable cause, he may disregard the fiscal's
Fiscal's finding of a prima facie case against report and require the submission of supporting
petitioners. A second motion for reconsideration affidavits of witnesses to aid him in arriving at a
filed by petitioner Beltran was denied by the conclusion as to the existence of probable cause.
Secretary of Justice on April 7, 1988. On appeal,
the President, through the Executive Secretary, Sound policy dictates this procedure, otherwise
affirmed the resolution of the Secretary of Justice judges would be unduly laden with the
on May 2, 1988. The motion for reconsideration preliminary examination and investigation of
was denied by the Executive Secretary on May criminal complaints instead of concentrating on
16, 1988. With these developments, petitioner's hearing and deciding cases filed before their
contention that they have been denied the courts.
administrative remedies available under the law
has lost factual support. On June 30, 1987, the Supreme Court
unanimously adopted Circular No. 12, setting
It may also be added that with respect to down guidelines for the issuance of warrants of
petitioner Beltran, the allegation of denial of due arrest. The procedure therein provided is
process of law in the preliminary investigation is reiterated and clarified in this resolution.
negated by the fact that instead of submitting his
counter-affidavits, he filed a "Motion to Declare It has not been shown that respondent judge has
Proceeding Closed", in effect waiving his right to deviated from the prescribed procedure. Thus,
refute the complaint by filing counter-affidavits. with regard to the issuance of the warrants of
Due process of law does not require that the arrest, a finding of grave abuse of discretion
respondent in a criminal case actually file his amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction cannot
counter-affidavits before the preliminary be sustained.
investigation completed. All that is required is
that the respondent be given the opportunity to Anent the third issue, petitioner Beltran argues
submit counter-affidavits if he is so minded. that "the reasons which necessitate presidential
immunity from suit impose a correlative disability
The second issue, raised by petitioner Beltran, to file suit". He contends that if criminal
calls for an interpretation of the constitutional proceedings ensue by virtue of the President's
provision on the issuance of warrants of arrest. filing of her complaint-affidavit, she may
The pertinent provision reads: subsequently have to be a witness for the
prosecution, bringing her under the trial court's

13 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
jurisdiction. This, continues Beltran, would in an
indirect way defeat her privilege of immunity (Silva v. Presiding Judge, RTC of Negros
from suit, as by testifying on the witness stand, Oriental, Br. XXXIII, Dumaguete City, G.R.
she would be exposing herself to possible No. 81756, October 21, 1991)
contempt of court or perjury.
THIRD DIVISION
The rationale for the grant to the President of the [G.R. No. 81756. October 21, 1991.]
privilege of immunity from suit is to assure the NICOMEDES SILVA @ "Comedes", MARLON SILVA
exercise of Presidential duties and functions free @ "Tama" and ANTONIETA SILVA, petitioners, vs.
from any hindrance or distraction, considering THE HONORABLE PRESIDING JUDGE,
that being the Chief Executive of the Government REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF NEGROS
is a job that, aside from requiring all of the office- ORIENTAL, BRANCH XXXIII, DUMAGUETE CITY,
holder's time, also demands undivided attention. respondent.
Marcelo G. Flores for petitioners.
But this privilege of immunity from suit, pertains
to the President by virtue of the office and may SYLLABUS
be invoked only by the holder of the office; not by 1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS;
any other person in the President's behalf Thus, RIGHT AGAINST UNLAWFUL SEARCH AND
an accused in a criminal case in which the SEIZURE; PURPOSE. The purpose of the
President is complainant cannot raise the constitutional provision against unlawful searches
presidential privilege as a defense to prevent the and seizures is to prevent violations of private
case from proceeding against such accused. security in person and property, and unlawful
invasion of the sanctity of the home, by officers
Moreover, there is nothing in our laws that would of the law acting under legislative or judicial
prevent the President from waiving the privilege. sanction, and to give remedy against such
Thus, if so minded the President may shed the usurpations when attempted. (Alvero vs. Dizon,
protection afforded by the privilege and submit to 76 Phil. 637 [1946]).
the court's jurisdiction. The choice of whether to
exercise the privilege or to waive it is solely the 2. ID.; ID.; ID.; SEARCH WARRANT;
President's prerogative. It is a decision that REQUISITES FOR ISSUANCE THEREOF.
cannot be assumed and imposed by any other Based on Section 2, Article III of the 1987
person. Constitution and Sections 3 and 4, Rule 126 of
the Rules of Court, the judge must, before issuing
As regards the contention of petitioner Beltran a search warrant, determine whether there is
that he could not be held liable for libel because probable cause by examining the complainant
of the privileged character or the publication, the and witnesses through searching questions and
Court reiterates that it is not a trier of facts and answers.
that such a defense is best left to the trial court
to appreciate after receiving the evidence of the 3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PROBABLE CAUSE;
parties. DEFINED. In the case of Prudente vs. Dayrit,
G.R. No. 82870, December 14, 1989, 180 SCRA
As to petitioner Beltran's claim that to allow the 69, 767 this Court defined "probable cause" as
libel case to proceed would produce a "chilling follows: "The 'probable cause' for a valid search
effect" on press freedom, the Court finds no basis warrant, has been defined 'as such facts and
at this stage to rule on the point. circumstances which would lead a reasonably
discreet and prudent man to believe that an
The petitions fail to establish that public offense has been committed, and that objects
respondents, through their separate acts, gravely sought in connection with the offense are in the
abused their discretion as to amount to lack of place sought to be searched'. This probable cause
jurisdiction. Hence, the writs of certiorari and must be shown to be within the personal
prohibition prayed for cannot issue. knowledge of the complainant or the witnesses
he may produce and not based on mere hearsay."
WHEREFORE, finding no grave abuse of discretion
amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction on the 4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; DUTY OF JUDGE TO
part of the public respondents, the Court PERSONALLY EXAMINE THE APPLICANT AND
Resolved to DISMISS the petitions in G. R. Nos. THE WITNESSES; EFFECT OF FAILURE TO
82585, 82827 and 83979. The Order to maintain COMPLY. In issuing a search warrant, the
status quo contained in the Resolution of the judge must strictly comply with the constitutional
Court en banc dated April 7, 1988 and reiterated and statutory requirement that he must
in the Resolution dated April 26, 1988 is LIFTED. determine the existence of probable cause by
personally examining the applicant and his
Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, witnesses in the form of searching questions and
Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, answers. His failure to comply with this
Sarmiento, Cortes, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea and requirement constitutes grave abuse of
Regalado, JJ., concur. discretion. As declared in Marcelo vs. De Guzman,
G.R. No. L-29077, June 29, 1982, 114 SCRA 667,
"the capricious disregard by the judge in not
complying with the requirements before issuance
of search warrants constitutes abuse of
discretion".

5. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; SEIZURE OF PROPERTY


NOT SPECIFIED IN THE WARRANT; RULE.
14 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
The officers implementing the search warrant cabinets, cartoons, containers, forthwith seize
clearly abused their authority when they seized and take possession of the following property
the money of Antonieta Silva. This is highly Marijuana dried leaves, cigarettes, joint and bring
irregular considering that Antonieta Silva was not the said property to the undersigned to be dealt
even named as one of the respondents, that the with as the law directs." 3
warrant did not indicate the seizure of money but
only of marijuana leaves, cigarettes and joints, In the course of the search, the serving officers
and that the search warrant was issued for the also seized money belonging to Antonieta Silva in
seizure of personal property (a) subject of the the amount of P1,231.40.
offense and (b) used or intended to be used as
means of committing an offense and NOT for On June 16, 1986, Antonieta Silva filed a motion
personal property stolen or embezzled or other for the return of the said amount on the grounds
proceeds of fruits of the offense. that the search warrant only authorized the
serving officers to seize marijuana dried leaves,
DECISION cigarettes and joint, and that said officers failed
FERNAN, C.J p: or refused to make a return of the said search
In this special civil action for certiorari, petitioners warrant in gross violation of Section 11, Rule 126
seek the nullification of Search Warrant No. 1 of the Rules of Court. 4
issued by respondent Judge as well as the return
of the money in the amount of P1,231.00 seized Acting on said motion, Judge Ontal issued an
from petitioner Antonieta Silva. Order dated July 1, 1986, stating that the court
"holds in abeyance the disposition of the said
The antecedent facts are as follows: amount of P1,231.40 pending the filing of
appropriate charges in connection with the search
On June 13, 1986, M/Sgt. Ranulfo Villamor, Jr., as warrant." 5
chief of the PC Narcom Detachment in
Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, filed an On July 28, 1987, petitioners filed a motion to
"Application for Search Warrant" with the quash Search Warrant No. 1 on the grounds that
Regional Trial Court, Branch XXXIII, Dumaguete (1) it was issued on the sole basis of a
City against petitioners Nicomedes Silva and mimeographed "Application for Search Warrant"
Marlon Silva. 1 This application was accompanied and "Deposition of Witness", which were
by a "Deposition of Witness" executed by Pfc. accomplished by merely filling in the blanks and
Arthur M. Alcoran and Pat. Leon T. Quindo, also (2) the judge failed to personally examine the
dated June 13, 1986. 2 complainant and witnesses by searching
questions and answers in violation of Section 3,
On the same day, Judge Nickarter A. Ontal, then Rule 126 of the Rules of Court. 6
Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch
XXXIII, Dumaguete City, pursuant to the said On August 11, 1987, respondent trial court,
"Application for Search Warrant" and "Deposition through Judge Eugenio M. Cruz, who, by then, had
of Witness", issued Search Warrant No. 1, replaced retired Judge Ontal, issued an Order
directing the aforesaid police officers to search denying the motion for lack of merit, finding the
the room of Marlon Silva in the residence of requisites necessary for the issuance of a valid
Nicomedes Silva for violation of REPUBLIC ACT search warrant duly complied with. 7
NO. 6425, otherwise known as the Dangerous
Drugs Act of 1972, as amended. Pertinent A motion for reconsideration dated September 1,
portions of Search Warrant No. 1 read as follows: 1987 filed by petitioners was likewise denied by
prLL Judge Cruz in an order dated October 19, 1987.

"It appearing to the satisfaction of the Hence, this special civil action for certiorari.
undersigned after examining oath (sic) MSGT.
Ranulfo T. Villamor, Jr. and his witnesses (sic) Pfc. Petitioners allege that the issuance of Search
Arthur M. Alcoran and Pat. Leon T. Quindo that Warrant No. 1 was tainted with illegality and that
there is probable cause to believe that possession respondent Judge should be viewed to have acted
and control of Marijuana dried leaves, cigarettes, without or in excess of jurisdiction, or committed
joint has been committed or is about to be grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
committed and that there are good and sufficient jurisdiction when he issued the Order dated
reasons to believe that marijuana dried leaves, August 11, 1987, denying their motion to quash
cigarettes, joint has in possession and/or control Search Warrant No. 1.
at Tama's Room (Rgt. side 1st Floor) located at
Nono-Limbaga Drive, Tanjay, Neg. Or. which We rule for petitioners.
is/are:
Section 2, Article III (Bill of Rights) of the 1987
"X (Subject of the offense stated above Constitution guarantees the right to personal
(Stolen or embezzled or other proceeds of fruits liberty and security of homes against
of the offense; unreasonable searches and seizures. This section
provides: LLpr
"X (Used or intended to be used as means of
committing an offense. "SECTION 2. The right of the people to be secure
in their persons, houses, papers, and effects
"You are hereby commanded to make an against unreasonable searches and seizures of
immediate search at any time of the day (night) whatever nature and for any purpose shall be
of the room of Tama Silva residence of his father inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of
Comedes Silva to open (sic) aparadors, lockers, arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to
15 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
be determined personally by the judge after Warrant" contained, for the most part, suggestive
examination under oath or affirmation of the questions answerable by merely placing "yes" or
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, "no" in the blanks provided thereon. In fact there
and particularly describing the place to be were only four (4) questions asked, to wit:
searched and the persons or things to be seized."
"Q Do you personally know M/Sgt. Ranulfo
The purpose of the constitutional provision Villamor, Jr. the applicant for a search warrant?"
against unlawful searches and seizures is to
prevent violations of private security in person A Yes, sir.
and property, and unlawful invasion of the
sanctity of the home, by officers of the law acting "Q Do you have personal knowledge that the said
under legislative or judicial sanction, and to give premises subject of the offense stated above, and
remedy against such usurpations when other proceeds of fruit of the offense, used or
attempted. 8 obtain (sic) or intended to be used as means of
committing an offense?"
Thus, Sections 3 and 4, Rule 126 of the Rules of
Court provide for the requisites for the issuance A Yes, sir. LexLib
of a search warrant, to wit:
"Q Do you know personally who is/are the person
"SECTION 3. Requisite for issuing search warrant. who has have the property in his/their possession
A search warrant shall not issue but upon and control?"
probable cause in connection with one specific
offense to be determined personally by the judge A Yes, sir.
after examination under oath or affirmation of the
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, "Q How did you know all this (sic) things?"
and particularly describing the place to be
searched and the things to be seized. A Through discreet surveillance." 9

"SECTION 4. Examination of complainant; record. The above deposition did not only contain leading
The judge must, before issuing the warrant, questions but it was also very broad. The
personally examine in the form of searching questions propounded to the witnesses were in
questions and answers, in writing and under oath fact, not probing but were merely routinary. The
the complainant and any witnesses he may deposition was already mimeographed and all
produce on facts personally known to them and that the witnesses had to do was fill in their
attach to the record their sworn statements answers on the blanks provided.
together with any affidavits submitted."
In the case of Nolasco vs. Pao, G.R. No. 69803,
Based on the aforecited constitutional and October 8, 1986, 139 SCRA 152, 163, this Court
statutory provisions, the judge must, before held:
issuing a search warrant, determine whether
there is probable cause by examining the "The 'probable cause' required to justify the
complainant and witnesses through searching issuance of a search warrant comprehends such
questions and answers. facts and circumstances as will induce a cautious
man to rely upon them and act in pursuant
In the case of Prudente vs. Dayrit, G.R. No. thereof Of the 8 questions asked, the 1st, 2nd
82870, December 14, 1989, 180 SCRA 69, 767 and 4th pertain to identity. The 3rd and 5th are
this Court defined "probable cause" as follows: leading not searching questions. The 6th, 7th and
8th refer to the description of the personalities to
"The 'probable cause' for a valid search warrant, be seized, which is identical to that in the Search
has been defined 'as such facts and Warrant and suffers from the same lack of
circumstances which would lead a reasonably particularity. The examination conducted was
discreet and prudent man to believe that an general in nature and merely repetitious of the
offense has been committed, and that objects deposition of said witness. Mere generalization
sought in connection with the offense are in the will not suffice and does not satisfy the
place sought to be searched'. This probable cause requirements or probable cause upon which a
must be shown to be within the personal warrant may issue."
knowledge of the complainant or the witnesses
he may produce and not based on mere hearsay." Likewise, in the Prudente case cited earlier, this
Court declared the search warrant issued as
invalid due to the failure of the judge to examine
the witness in the form of searching questions
In the case at bar, we have carefully examined and answers. Pertinent portion of the decision
the questioned search warrant as well as the reads:
"Application for Search Warrant" and "Deposition
of Witness", and found that Judge Ontal failed to "Moreover, a perusal of the deposition of P/Lt.
comply with the legal requirement that he must Florencio Angeles shows that it was too brief and
examine the applicant and his witnesses in the short. Respondent Judge did not examine him 'in
form of searching questions and answers in order the form of searching questions and answers'. On
to determine the existence of probable cause. the contrary, the questions asked were leading as
The joint "Deposition of Witness" executed by Pfc. they called for a simple 'yes' or 'no' answer. As
Alcoran and Pat. Quindo, which was submitted held in Quintero vs. NBI, 'the questions
together with the "Application for Search propounded by respondent Executive Judge to the
applicant's witness are not sufficiently searching
16 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
to establish probable cause. Asking of leading this Court has declared that the marriage of an
questions to the deponent in an application for alien woman to a Filipino citizen does not ipso
search warrant, and conducting of examination in facto make her a Filipino citizen. She must
a general manner, would not satisfy the satisfactorily show that she has all the
requirements for issuance of a valid search qualifications and none of the disqualifications
warrant." 10 required by the Naturalization Law. Considering
that in the additional stipulation of facts of July 3,
Thus, in issuing a search warrant, the judge must 1963, petitioners admit that Chan-Sau Wah is not
strictly comply with the constitutional and possessed of all the qualifications required by the
statutory requirement that he must determine Naturalization Law there can be no doubt that
the existence of probable cause by personally petitioner Chan Sau Wah did not become a
examining the applicant and his witnesses in the Filipino citizen.
form of searching questions and answers. His
failure to comply with this requirement 2. DEPORTATION PROCEEDINGS; SECTION
constitutes grave abuse of discretion. As declared I(3) ARTICLE III OF THE CONSTITUTION NOT
in Marcelo vs. De Guzman, G.R. No. L-29077, June APPLICABLE. The constitutional guarantee
29, 1982, 114 SCRA 667, "the capricious set forth in Section 1(3), Article III of the
disregard by the judge in not complying with the Constitution, requiring that the issue of probable
requirements before issuance of search warrants cause be determined by a judge, does not extend
constitutes abuse of discretion". to deportation proceedings (Tu Chuan Hai vs.
Commissioner of Immigration, 55 Off. Gaz., No.
The officers implementing the search warrant 28, pp. 681-683).
clearly abused their authority when they seized
the money of Antonieta Silva. This is highly 3. ID.; RULE AS TO TEMPORARY VISITORS
irregular considering that Antonieta Silva was not UPON EXPIRATION OF PERIOD OF STAY.
even named as one of the respondents, that the The law is to the effect that temporary visitors
warrant did not indicate the seizure of money but who do not depart upon the expiration of the
only of marijuana leaves, cigarettes and joints, period of stay granted' them are subject to
and that the search warrant was issued for the deportation by the Commissioner of Immigration,
seizure of personal property (a) subject of the for having violated the limitation or condition
offense and (b) used or intended to be used as under which they were admitted as non-
means of committing an offense and NOT for immigrants (Immigration Law, Sec. 37 (a),
personal property stolen or embezzled or other subsection (7); C.A. 613, as amended.
proceeds of fruits of the offense. Thus, the then
presiding Judge Ontal likewise abused his 4. ID.; ID.; CHANGE OF STATUS; REQUISITES
discretion when he rejected the motion of THEREFOR. This Court in a number of cases
petitioner Antonieta Silva seeking the return of has ruled, and consistently too, that an alien
her seized money. admitted as a temporary visitor cannot change
his or her status without first departing from the
WHEREFORE, the petition is granted. Search country and complying with the requirements of
Warrant No. 1 is hereby declared null and void. Section 9 of the Immigration Act. Thus, the
Respondent Judge of the Regional Trial Court of marriage of a temporary alien visitor to a Filipino
Negros Oriental, Branch XXXIII is directed to order does not ipso facto make her a permanent
the return to petitioner Antonieta Silva of the resident in this country.
amount of P1,231.40 which had earlier been
seized from her by virtue of the illegal search 5. ID.; CITIZENSHIP; MEANING OF "CHILD" IN
warrant. This decision is immediately executory. SECTION 15 PARAGRAPH 3, Commonwealth
No costs. LexLib Act 473. The word child we are certain means
legitimate child, not a step-child. Thus, when the
SO ORDERED. Constitution provides that "those whose fathers
are citizens of the Philippines are citizens thereof"
Gutierrez, Jr., Feliciano, Bidin and Davide, Jr., JJ., the fundamental charter intends "those" to apply
concur. to legitimate children. In another case, the term
"minor children" or "minor child" in Section 15 of
(Morano v. Vivo, G.R. No. L-22196, June 30, the Revised Naturalization Law was interpreted to
1967) refer only to legitimate children of Filipino
citizens.
EN BANC
[G.R. No. L-22196. June 30, 1967.] 6. ID.; BONDS; RULE REQUIRING OFFICIAL
ESTEBAN MORANO, CHAN SAU WAH and FU YAN APPROVAL THEREOF MERELY DIRECTORY.
FUN, petitioners-appellants, vs. HON. The provision requiring official approval of a bond
MARTINIANO VIVO, in his capacity as Acting is merely directory. "Irregularity or entire failure in
Commissioner of Immigration, respondent- this respect does not affect the validity of the
appellant. bond." (9 C.J., p. 25).
Engracio Fabre Law Office for petitioners-
appellants. 7. ID.; ID.; ID.; ESTOPPEL ON EQUITABLE
Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, and Solicitor A. CONSIDERATIONS. Equitable consideration
M. Amores for respondent-appellant. will stop petitioners from pleading invalidity of
the bond. They offered that bond to enable them
SYLLABUS to enter and stay in this country. They enjoyed
1. CITIZENSHIP; MARRIAGE OF AN ALIEN benefits therefrom. They cannot "in law and good
WOMAN TO A FILIPINO CITIZEN; EFFECT conscience be allowed to reap the fruits" of that
THEREOF; CASE AT BAR. In a series of cases, bond, and then jettison the same. They are
17 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
"precluded from attacking the validity" of such (c) Authorizing respondent Commissioner to
bond. forfeit the bond filed by herein petitioners CHAN
SAU WAH and FU YAN FUN in the amount of
DECISION P4,000.00; and
SANCHEZ, J p:
Chan Sau Wah, a Chinese citizen born in Fukien, (d) Denying, for lack of merit, the prayer to
China on January 6, 1932, arrived in the declare Sec. 37 (a) of the Philippine Immigration
Philippines on November 23, 1961 to visit her Act of 1940 unconstitutional
cousin, Samuel Lee Malaps. She left in mainland
China two of her children by a first marriage: Fu Without pronouncement as to costs."
Tse Haw and Fu Yan Kai. With her was Fu Yan Fun,
her minor son also by the first marriage, born in Petitioners and respondent Commissioner both
Hongkong on September 11, 1957. appealed.

Chan Sau Wah and her minor son Fu Yan Fun were We will deal with the claims of both appellants in
permitted entry into the Philippines under a their proper sequence.
temporary visitor's visa for two (2) months and
after they posted a cash bond of P4,000.00. 1. The Solicitor General's brief assails the trial
court's declaration that Chan Sau Wah is a citizen
On January 24, 1962, Chan Sau Wah married of the Philippines. The court a quo took the
Esteban Morano, a native-born Filipino citizen. position that "Chan Sau Wah became, by virtue
Born to this union on September 16, 1962 was of, and upon, her marriage to Esteban Morano, a
Esteban Morano, Jr. natural-born Filipino, a Filipino citizen." 2

To prolong their stay in the Philippines, Chan Sau Placed to the fore is paragraph 1, Section 15 of
Wah and Fu Yan Fun obtained several extensions. Commonwealth Act 473 [Revised Naturalization
The last extension expired on September 10, Act], which reads:
1962.
'Sec. 15. Effect of the naturalization on wife and
In a letter dated August 31, 1962, the children. Any woman who is now or may
Commissioner of Immigration ordered Chan Sau hereafter be married to a citizen of the
Wah and her son, Fu Yan Fun, to leave the country Philippines, and who might herself be lawfully
on or before September 10, 1962 with a warning naturalized shall be deemed a citizen of the
that upon failure to do so, he will issue a warrant Philippines."
for their arrest and will cause the confiscation of
their bond. To apply this provision, two requisites must
concur: (a) a valid marriage of an alien woman to
Instead of leaving the country, on September 10, a citizen of the Philippines; and (b) the alien
1962, Chan Sau Wah (with her husband Esteban woman herself might be lawfully naturalized.
Morano) and Fu Yan Fun petitioned the Court of
First Instance of Manila for mandamus to compel We may concede that the first requisite has been
the Commissioner of Immigration to cancel properly met. The validity of the marriage is
petitioner's Alien Certificates of Registration; presumed.
prohibition to stop the Commissioner from issuing
warrants of arrest pending resolution of this case. But can the same be said of the second requisite?
1 The trial court, on November 3, 1962, issued This question by all means is not new. In a series
the writ of preliminary injunction prayed for, upon of cases, this court has declared that the
a P2,000-bond. After trial and the stipulations of marriage of an alien woman to a Filipino citizen
facts filed by the parties, the Court of First does not ipso facto make her a Filipino citizen.
Instance rendered judgment, viz: She must satisfactorily show that she has all the
qualifications and none of the disqualifications
"IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, judgment is required by the Naturalization Law. 3 Ly Giok Ha
hereby rendered as follows: alias Wy Giok Ha, et al. vs. Emilio Galang, L-
21332, March 18, 1966, clearly writes down the
(a) Granting this petition for Mandamus and philosophy behind the rule in the following
Prohibition with respect to petitioner CHAN SAU expressive language, viz:
WAH, who is hereby declared a citizen of the
Philippines; ordering the respondent to cancel her "Reflection will reveal why this must be so. The
Alien Certificate of Registration and other qualifications prescribed under section 2 of the
immigration papers upon the payment of proper Naturalization Act, and the disqualifications
dues; and declaring the preliminary injunction enumerated in its section 4, are not mutually
with respect to her permanent admission, exclusive; and if all that were to be required is
prohibiting the respondent, his representatives or that the wife of a Filipino be not disqualified
subordinates from arresting and/or deporting said under section 4, the result might well he that
petitioner; citizenship would be conferred upon persons in
violation of the policy of the statute. For example,
(b) Dismissing this petition with respect to section 4 disqualified only
petitioner FU YAN FUN, and dissolving the writ of
preliminary injunction issued herein, restraining (c) Polygamists or believers in the practice of
the respondent, his representatives or polygamy; and
subordinates from arresting and/or deporting said
petitioner; (d) Persons convicted of crimes involving moral
turpitude',
18 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
searched, and the persons or things to be
so that a blackmailer, or a maintainer of gambling seized."
or bawdy houses, not previously convicted by a
competent court, would not be thereby They say that the Constitution limits to judges the
disqualified; still, it is certain that the law did not authority to issue warrants of arrest and that the
intend such a person to be admitted as a citizen legislative delegation of such power to the
in view of the requirement of section 2 that an Commissioner of Immigration is thus violative of
applicant for citizenship 'must be of good moral the Bill of Rights.
character'. Section 1 (3), Article III of the Constitution, we
Similarly, the citizen's wife might be a convinced perceive, does not require judicial intervention in
believer in racial supremacy, in government by the execution of a final order of deportation
certain selected classes, in the right to vote issued in accordance with law. The constitutional
exclusively by certain "herrenvolk', and thus limitation contemplates an order of arrest in the
disbelieve in the principles underlying the exercise of judicial power 4 as a step preliminary
Philippine Constitution; yet she would not be or incidental to prosecution or proceedings for a
disqualified under section 4, as long as she is not given offense or administrative action, not as a
'opposed to organized government', nor affiliated measure indispensable to carry out a valid
to groups 'upholding or teaching doctrines decision by a competent official, such as a legal
opposing all organized governments', nor order of deportation, issued by the Commissioner
'defending or teaching the necessity or propriety of Immigration, in pursuance of a valid legislation.
of violence, personal assault or assassination for
the success or predominance of their ideas'. Et The following from American Jurisprudence, 5 is
sic de caeteris." illuminating:

Upon the principle of selective citizenship, we "It is thoroughly established that Congress has
cannot afford to depart from the wise precept power to order the deportation of aliens whose
affirmed and reaffirmed in the cases heretofore presence in the country it deems hurtful. Owing
noted. to the nature of the proceeding, the deportation
of an alien who is found in this country in
In the additional stipulation of facts of July 3, violation of law is not a deprivation of liberty
1963, petitioners admit that Chan Sau Wah is not without due process of law. This is so, although
possessed of all the qualifications required by the the inquiry devolves upon executive officers, and
Naturalization Law. their findings of fact, after A fair though summary
hearing, are made conclusive."
Because of all these, we are left under no doubt
that petitioner Chan Sau Wah did not become a xxx xxx xxx
Filipino citizen. "The determination of the propriety of
deportation is not a prosecution for, or a
conviction of, crime; nor is the deportation a
punishment, even though the facts underlying
2. Squarely put in issue by petitioners is the the decision may constitute a crime under local
constitutionality of Section 37(a) of the law. The proceeding is in effect simply a refusal
Immigration Act of 1940, which reads: by the government to harbor persons whom it
does not want. The coincidence of local penal law
"Sec. 37. (a) The following aliens shall be arrested with the policy of congress is purely accidental,
upon the warrant of the Commissioner of and, though supported by the same facts, a
Immigration or of any other officer designated by criminal prosecution and a proceeding for
him for the purpose and deported upon the deportation are separate and independent."
warrant of the Commission of Immigration after a
determination by the Board of Commissioners of In consequence, the constitutional guarantee set
the existence of the ground for deportation as forth in Section 1(3), Article III of the Constitution
charged against the alien: aforesaid requiring that the issue of probable
cause be determined by a judge, does not extend
xxx xxx xxx to deportation proceedings. 6
(7) Any alien who remains in the Philippines in
violation of any limitation or condition under The view, we, here express funds support in the
which he was admitted as a nonimmigrant." discussions during the constitutional convention.
The convention recognized, as sanctioned by due
Petitioners argue that the legal precept just process, possibilities and cases of deprivation of
quoted trenches upon the constitutional mandate liberty, other than by order of a competent court.
in Section 1 (3), Article III [Bill of Right] of the 7
Constitution, to wit:
Indeed, the power to deport or expel aliens is an
"(3) The right of the people to be secure in their attribute of sovereignty. Such power is planted on
persons, houses, papers, and effects against the "accepted maxim of international law, that
unreasonable searches and seizures shell not be every sovereign nation has the power, as
violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon inherent in sovereignty, and essential to self-
probable cause, to be determined by the judge preservation, to forbid the entrance of foreigners
after examination under oath or affirmation of the within its dominions." 8 So it is, that this Court
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, once aptly remarked that there can be no
and particularly describing the place to be controversy on the fact that where aliens are
admitted as temporary visitors, "the law is to the
effect that temporary visitors who do not depart
19 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
upon the expiration of the period of stay granted Philippines under temporary stay may be
them are subject to deportation by the admitted within the quota, subject to the
Commissioner of Immigration, for having violated provision of the last paragraph of section 9 of this
the limitation or condition under which they were Act.
admitted as non-immigrants (Immigration Law,
Sec. 37(a), subsection (7) C.A. 613, as amended)" (a) The wife or the husband or the unmarried
9 child under twenty- one years of age of a
Philippine citizen, if accompanying or following to
And, in a case directly in point, where the power join such citizen:
of the Commissioner to issue warrants of arrest
was challenged as unconstitutional because (b) A child of alien parents born during the
"such power is only vested in a judge by Section temporary visit abroad of the mother, the mother
1, paragraph 3, Article III of our Constitution", this having been previously lawfully admitted into the
Court declared Philippines for permanent residence, if the child is
accompanying or coming to join a parent and
"This argument overlooks the fact that the stay of applies for admission within five years from the
appellant Ng Hua To as temporary visitor is date of its birth;"
subject to certain contractual stipulations as
contained in the cash bond put up by him, among Concededly, Chan Sau Wah entered the
them, that in case of breach the Commissioner Philippines on a tourist temporary visitor's visa.
may require the recommitment of the person in She is a non-immigrant. Under Section 15 just
whose favor the bond has been filed. The quoted, she may therefore be admitted if she
Commissioner did nothing but to enforce such were a qualified and desirable alien and subject
condition. Such a step is necessary to enable the to the provisions of the last paragraph of Section
Commissioner to prepare the ground for his 9. Therefore, first, she must depart voluntarily to
deportation under section 37 (a) of some foreign country; second, she must procure
Commonwealth Act 613. A contrary interpretation from the appropriate consul the proper visa; and
would render such power nugatory to the third, she must thereafter undergo examination
detriment of the State." 10 by the officials of the Bureau of Immigration at
the port of entry for determination of her
It is in this context that we rule that Section 37 admissibility in accordance with the requirements
(a) of the Immigration Act of 1940 is not of the Immigration Act.
constitutionally proscribed.
This Court in a number of cases has ruled, and
3. A sequel to the question just discussed is the consistently too, that an alien admitted as a
second error set forth in the government's brief. temporary visitor cannot change his or her status
The Solicitor General balks at the lower court's without first departing from the country and
ruling that petitioner Chan Sau Wah is entitled to complying with the requirements of Section 9 of
permanent residence in the Philippines without the Immigration Act. 11
first complying with the requirements of Sections
9 and 13 of the Immigration Act of 1940, as The gravamen of petitioner's argument is that
amended by Republic Act 503. Chan Sau Wah has, since her entry, married in
Manila a native-born Filipino, Esteban Morano. It
We first go to the law, viz: will not particularly help analysis for petitioners to
appeal to family solidarity in an effort to thwart
"SEC. 9 [last paragraph] her deportation. Chan Sau Wah, seemingly is not
one who has a high regard for such solidarity.
An alien who is admitted as a nonimmigrant Proof: She left two of her children by the first
cannot remain in the Philippines permanently. To marriage, both minors, in the care of neighbors in
obtain permanent admission, a nonimmigrant Fukien, China.
alien must depart voluntarily to some foreign
country and procure from the appropriate Then, the wording of the statute heretofore
Philippine consul the proper visa and thereafter adverted to is a forbidding obstacle which will
undergo examination by the officers of the prevent this Court from writing into the law an
Bureau of Immigration at a Philippine port of additional provision that marriage of a temporary
entry for determination of his admissibility in alien visitor to a Filipino would ipso facto make
accordance with the requirements of this Act." her a permanent resident in this country. This is a
field closed to judicial action. No breadth of
xxx xxx xxx discretion is allowed us. We cannot insulate her
"Sec. 13. Under the conditions set forth in this from the State's power of deportation.
Act, there may be admitted into the Philippines
immigrants, termed 'quota immigrants' not in Really, it would be an easy matter for an alien
excess of fifty (50) of any one nationality or woman to enter the Philippines as a temporary
without nationality for any one calendar year, visitor, go through a mock marriage, but actually
except that the following immigrants, termed live with another man as husband and wife, and
'nonquota immigrants, may be admitted without thereby skirt the provisions of our immigration
regard to such numerical limitations. law. Also, a woman of undesirable character may
enter this country, ply a pernicious trade, marry a
The corresponding Philippine Consular Filipino, and again throw overboard Sections 9
representative abroad shall investigate and and 13 of the Act. Such a flanking movement, we
certify the eligibility of a quota immigrant are confident, is impermissible.
previous to his admission into the Philippines.
Qualified and desirable aliens who are in the
20 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
Recently we confirmed the rule that an alien wife forfeit the bond filed by petitioners Chan Sau Wah
of a Filipino may not stay permanently without and Fu Yan Fun in the amount of P4,000.00.
first departing from the Philippines. Reason:
Discourage entry under false pretenses. 12 Here is petitioner's posture. They enjoyed their
stay in the Philippines upon a bond. Now they
come to court and say that as the prescribed
form of this bond was not expressly approved by
The ruling of the trial court on this score should the Secretary of Justice in accordance with
be reversed. Section 3 of Commonwealth Act 613, which reads

4. It is petitioner's turn to point as error the
dismissal of the petition for mandamus and "Sec. 3. . . . He [Commissioner of Immigration]
prohibition with respect to petitioner Fu Yan Fun. shall, subject to the approval of the Department
Petitioner's line of thought is this: Fu Yan Fun Head, such rules and regulations and prescribe
follows the citizenship of his mother. They cite such forms of bond, reports, and other papers,
Section 15, paragraph 3, Commonwealth Act 473, and shall issue from time to time such instruction,
which says that: not inconsistent with law, as he shall deem best
calculated to carry out the provisions of the
"A foreign-born minor child, if dwelling in the immigration laws . . ." that bond is void.
Philippines at the time of the naturalization of the
parent, shell automatically be come a Philippine Reasons there are which prevent us from giving
citizen. . . ." our imprimatur to this argument.

Petitioner's position is based on the assumption The provision requiring official approval of a bond
that Chan Sau Wah, the mother, is a Filipino is merely directory. "Irregularity or entire failure in
citizen. We have held that she is not. At best, Fu this respect does not affect the validity of the
Yan Fun is a step-son of Esteban Morano, husband bond." 16 The reason for the rule is found in 9
of Chan Sau Wah. A step-son is not a foreign-born C.J., p. 26 (footnote), which reads:
child of the step-father. The word child, we are
certain, means legitimate child, not a step- child. "(a) Reason for rule. 'Statutes requiring bonds
We are not wanting in precedents. Thus, when to be approved by certain officials are not for the
the Constitution provides that "[t]hose whose purpose of protecting the obligors in the bond,
fathers are citizens of the Philippines" are citizens but are aimed to protect the public, to insure
thereof, 13 the fundamental charter intends their solvency, and to create evidence of an
"those" to apply to legitimate children. 14 In unimpeachable character of the fact of their
another case, the term "minor children" or "minor execution. When they are executed for a legal
child" in Section 15 of the Revised Naturalization purpose, before a proper tribunal, and are in fact
Law refers only to legitimate children of Filipino accepted and approved by the officer or body,
citizens. This Court, thru Mr. Chief Justice Roberto whose duty it was to approve them, it could serve
Concepcion, there said: 15 no useful purpose of the law to hold them invalid,
to release all the obligation thereon, and to
"It is claimed that the phrases 'minor children' defeat every purpose of its execution, simply
and 'minor child', used in these provisions, because the fact of approval was not indorsed
include adopted children. The argument is precisely as had been directed by the
predicated upon the theory that an adopted child Legislature.' American Book Co., vs. Wells, 83 SW
is, for all intents and purposes, a legitimate child. 622, 627, 26 Kyl 1159." (emphasis supplied)
Whenever, the word 'children' or 'child' is used in
statutes, it is generally understood, however, to And another. This bond was accepted by the
refer to legitimate children, unless the context of government. It has been there. The form of the
the law and its spirit indicate clearly the contrary. bond here used is of long continued usage. If the
Thus, for instance, when the Constitution government did not question the form of the
provides that 'those whose fathers are citizens of bond at all, then we must assume that it counted
the Philippines', and 'those whose mothers are with the Secretary's approval. For the
citizens of the Philippines' who shall elect presumption is that official duty has been legally
Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of performed.
majority are citizens of the Philippines Article IV,
Section 1, subdivisions [3] and (4]), our Surely enough, equitable considerations will stop
fundamental law clearly refers to legitimate petitioners from pleading invalidity of the bond.
children (Chiongbian vs. De Leon, 46 Off. Gaz., They offered that bond to enable them to enter
3652-3654; Serra vs. Republic, L-4223, May 12, and stay in this country. They enjoyed benefits
1952)." therefrom. They cannot, "in law and good
conscience, be allowed to reap the fruits" of that
At any rate, Fu Yan Fun entered the Philippines as bond, and then jettison the same. They are
a temporary visitor. The status of a temporary "precluded from attacking the validity" of such
visitor cannot be converted into that of a bond. 17
permanent resident, as we have heretofore held,
without first complying with Section 9 of the Actually, to petitioners the bond was good while
Immigration Law. they sought entry into the Philippines; they
offered it as security for the undertaking that
5. Petitioners finally aver that the lower court they "will actually depart from the Philippines"
erred in authorizing respondent Commissioner to when their term of stay expires. Now that the
bond is being confiscated because they
overstayed, they make an about-face and say
21 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
that such bond is null and void. They shall not surveillance by CID agents in Pagsanjan, Laguna.
profit from this inconsistent position. Their bond Two (2) days after apprehension, or on 29
should be confiscated. February 1988, seventeen (17) of the twenty-two
(22) arrested aliens opted for self-deportation and
Conformably to the foregoing, the judgment have left the country. One was released for lack of
under review is hereby modified as follows: evidence; another was charged not for being a
pedophile but for working without a valid working
(1) The portion thereof which reads: visa. Thus, of the original twenty two (22), only
the three petitioners have chosen to face
"(a) Granting this petition for Mandamus and deportation.
Prohibition with respect to petitioner CHAN SAU
WAH, who is hereby declared a citizen of the Seized during petitioners' apprehension were rolls
Philippines; ordering the respondent to cancel her of photo negatives and photos of the suspected
Alien Certificate of Registration and other child prostitutes shown in salacious poses as well
immigration papers, upon the payment of proper as boys and girls engaged in the sex act. There
dues; and declaring the preliminary injunction were also posters and other literature advertising
with respect to her permanent, prohibiting the the child prostitutes.
respondent, his representatives or subordinates
from arresting and/or deporting said petitioner;" The "Operation Report" on Andrew Harvey and
Richard Sherman dated 29 February 1988 stated:
is hereby reversed; and, in consequence
The petition for mandamus and prohibition with xxx xxx xxx
respect to petitioner Chan Sau Wah is hereby
denied; and the judgment declaring her a citizen "ANDREW MARK HARVEY was found together with
of the Philippines, directing respondent to cancel two young boys.
her Alien Certificate of Registration and other
immigration papers, and declaring the "RICHARD SHERMAN was found with two naked
preliminary injunction with respect to her boys inside his room."
permanent, are all hereby set aside; and
In respect of Van Den Elshout, the "After Mission
(2) In all other respects, the decision appealed Report," dated 27 February 1988 read in part:
from is hereby affirmed.
"Noted:
No costs. So ordered. There were two (2) children ages 14 & 16 which
subject readily accepted having been in his care
Concepcion, C .J ., Reyes, J .B.L., Makalintal, and live-in for quite sometime."
Bengzon, J .P., Zaldivar and Castro, JJ ., concur.
On 4 March 1988, deportation proceedings were
(In re: Harvey v. Santiago, G.R. No. 82544, instituted against petitioners for being
June 28, 1988) undesirable aliens under Section 69 of the
Revised Administrative Code (Deportation Case
SECOND DIVISION No. 88-13). The "Charge Sheet" read inter alia:
[G.R. No. 82544. June 28, 1988.]
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS "Wherefore, this Office charges the respondents
CORPUS OF: ANDREW HARVEY, JOHN SHERMAN for deportation, as undesirable aliens, in that:
and ADRIAAN VAN DEL ELSHOUT, petitioners, vs. they, being pedophiles, are inimical to public
HONORABLE COMMISSIONER MIRIAM DEFENSOR morals, public health and public safety as
SANTIAGO, COMMISSION ON IMMIGRATION AND provided in Section 69 of the Revised
DEPORTATION, respondent. Administrative Code."

DECISION On 7 March 1988, Warrants of Arrest were issued


MELENCIO-HERRERA, J p: by respondent against petitioners for violation of
Sections 37, 45 and 46 of the Immigration Act
A petition for Habeas Corpus. and Section 69 of the Revised Administrative
Code. On the same date, the Board of Special
Petitioners Andrew Harvey and John Sherman, 52 Inquiry III commenced trial against petitioners.
and 72 years, respectively, are both American
nationals residing at Pagsanjan, Laguna, while On 14 March 1988, petitioners filed an Urgent
Adriaan Van Den Elshout, 58 years old, is a Dutch Petition for Release Under Bond alleging that their
citizen also residing at Pagsanjan, Laguna. health was being seriously affected by their
continuous detention. Upon recommendation of
The case stems from the apprehension of the Board of Commissioners for their provisional
petitioners on 27 February 1988 from their release, respondent ordered the CID doctor to
respective residences by agents of the examine petitioners, who certified that petitioners
Commission on Immigration and Deportation were healthy.
(CID) by virtue of Mission Orders issued by
respondent Commissioner Miriam Defensor On 22 March 1988, petitioners filed a Petition for
Santiago of the CID. Petitioners are presently Bail which, however, respondent denied
detained at the CID Detention Center. considering the certification by the CID physician
that petitioners were healthy. To avoid
Petitioners were among the twenty-two (22) congestion, respondent ordered petitioners'
suspected alien pedophiles who were transfer to the CID detention cell at Fort
apprehended after three months of close Bonifacio, but the transfer was deferred pending
22 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
trial due to the difficulty of transporting them to The 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure also
and from the CID where trial was on-going. provide that an arrest without a warrant may be
effected by a peace officer or even a private
On 4 April 1988 petitioner Andrew Harvey filed a person (1) when such person has committed,
Manifestation/Motion stating that he had "finally actually committing, or is attempting to commit
agreed to a self-deportation" and praying that he an offense in his presence; and (2) when an
be "provisionally released for at least 15 days and offense has, in fact, been committed and he has
placed under the custody of Atty. Asinas before personal knowledge of facts indicating that the
he voluntarily departs the country." On 7 April person to be arrested has committed it (Rule 113,
1988, the Board of Special Inquiry III allowed Section 5). prcd
provisional release of five (5) days only under
certain conditions. However, it appears that on In this case, the arrest of petitioners was based
the same date that the aforesaid on probable cause determined after close
Manifestation/Motion was filed, Harvey and his surveillance for three (3) months during which
co-petitioners had already filed the present period their activities were monitored. The
petition. existence of probable cause justified the arrest
and the seizure of the photo negatives,
On 4 April 1988, as heretofore stated, petitioners photographs and posters without warrant (See
availed of this Petition for a Writ of Habeas Papa vs. Mago, L-27360, February 28, 1968, 22
Corpus. A Return of the Writ was filed by the SCRA 857; People vs. Court of First Instance of
Solicitor General and the Court heard the case on Rizal, L-41686, November 17, 1980, 101 SCRA 86,
oral argument on 20 April 1988. A Traverse to the cited in CRUZ, Constitutional Law, 1987 ed., p.
Writ was presented by petitioners to which a 143). Those articles were seized as an incident to
Reply was filed by the Solicitor General. LLjur a lawful arrest and, are therefore, admissible in
evidence (Section 12, Rule 126, 1985 Rules on
Petitioners question the validity of their detention Criminal Procedure).
on the following grounds:
But even assuming arguendo that the arrest of
1) There is no provision in the Philippine petitioners was not valid at its inception, the
Immigration Act of 1940 nor under Section 69 of records show that formal deportation charges
the Revised Administrative Code, which legally have been filed against them, as undesirable
clothes the Commissioner with any authority to aliens, on 4 March 1988. Warrants of arrest were
arrest and detain petitioners pending issued against them on 7 March 1988 "for
determination of the existence of a probable violation of Section 37, 45 and 46 of the
cause leading to an administrative investigation. Immigration Act and Section 69 of the
Administrative Code." A hearing is presently
2) Respondent violated Section 2, Article III of the being conducted by a Board of Special Inquiry.
1987 Constitution prohibiting unreasonable The restraint against their persons, therefore, has
searches and seizures since the CID agents were become legal. The Writ has served its purpose.
not clothed with valid Warrants of arrest, search The process of the law is being followed (Cruz vs.
and seizure as required by the said provision. Montoya, L-39823, February 25, 1975, 62 SCRA
543). "Where a person's detention was later
3) Mere confidential information made to the CID made by virtue of a judicial order in relation to
agents and their suspicion of the activities of criminal cases subsequently filed against the
petitioners that they are pedophiles, coupled with detainee, his petition for habeas corpus becomes
their association with other suspected moot and academic" (Beltran vs. Garcia, L-49014,
pedophiles, are not valid legal grounds for their April 30, 1979, 89 SCRA 717). "It is a fundamental
arrest and detention unless they are caught in rule that a writ of habeas corpus will not be
the act. They further allege that being a granted when the confinement is or has become
pedophile is not punishable by any Philippine Law legal, although such confinement was illegal at
nor is it a crime to be a pedophile. the beginning" (Matsura vs. Director of Prisons,
77 Phil. 1050 [1947]).
We reject petitioners' contentions and uphold
respondent's official acts ably defended by the That petitioners were not "caught in the act" does
Solicitor General. not make their arrest illegal. Petitioners were
found with young boys in their respective rooms,
There can be no question that the right against the ones with John Sherman being naked. Under
unreasonable searches and seizures guaranteed those circumstances the CID agents had
by Article III, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution, is reasonable grounds to believe that petitioners
available to all persons, including aliens, whether had committed "pedophilia" defined as "psycho-
accused of crime or not (Moncado vs. People's sexual perversion involving children" (Kraft-
Court, 80 Phil. 1 [1948]. One of the constitutional Ebbing Psychopatia Sexualis, p. 555; "Paraphilia
requirements of a valid search warrant or warrant or unusual sexual activity in which children are
of arrest is that it must be based upon probable the preferred sexual object" (Webster's Third New
cause. Probable cause has been defined as International Dictionary, 1971 ed., p. 1665)
referring to "such facts and circumstances [Solicitor General's Return of the Writ, on p. 10].
antecedent to the issuance of the warrant that in While not a crime under the Revised Penal Code,
themselves are sufficient to induce a cautious it is behavior offensive to public morals and
man to rely on them and act in pursuance violative of the declared policy of the State to
thereof" (People vs. Syjuco, 64 Phil. 667 [1937]; promote and protect the physical, moral,
Alvarez vs. CFI, 64 Phil. 33 [1937]). spiritual, and social well-being of our youth
(Article II, Section 13, 1987 Constitution).

23 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
At any rate, the filing by petitioners of a petition Murdock vs. Clark, 53 F. [2d], 155.) Hearsay
to be released on bail should be considered as a evidence may even be admitted, provided the
waiver of any irregularity attending their arrest alien is given the opportunity to explain or rebut
and estops them from questioning its validity it (Morrell vs. Baker, 270 F., 577; Sercerchi vs.
(Callanta v. Villanueva, L-24646 & L-24674, June Ward, 27 F. Supp., 437)." (Lao Tang Bun vs. Fabre,
20, 1977, 77 SCRA 377; Bagcal vs. Villaraza, L- 81 Phil. 682 [1948]).
61770, January 31, 1983, 120 SCRA 525).
The ruling in Vivo vs. Montesa (G. R. No. 24576,
July 29, 1968, 24 SCRA 155) that "the issuance of
warrants of arrest by the Commissioner of
The deportation charges instituted by respondent Immigration, solely for purposes of investigation
Commissioner are in accordance with Section and before a final order of deportation is issued,
37(a) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, in conflicts with paragraph 3, Section 1 of Article III
relation to Section 69 of the Revised of the Constitution" (referring to the 1935
Administrative Code. Section 37(a) provides in Constitution) 3 is not invocable herein.
part: Respondent Commissioner's Warrant of Arrest
issued on 7 March 1988 did not order petitioners
"(a) The following aliens shall be arrested upon to appear and show cause why they should not
the warrant of the Commissioner of Immigration be deported. They were issued specifically "for
and Deportation or any other officer designated violation of Sections 37, 45 and 46 of the
by him for the purpose and deported upon the Immigration Act and Section 69 of the Revised
warrant of the Commissioner of Immigration and Administrative Code." Before that, deportation
Deportation after a determination by the Board of proceedings had been commenced against them
Commissioners of the existence of the ground for as undesirable aliens on 4 March 1988 and the
deportation as charged against the alien; arrest was a step preliminary to their possible
deportation. cdrep
xxx xxx xxx
"Section 37 of the Immigration Law, which
The foregoing provision should be construed in its empowers the Commissioner of Immigration to
entirety in view of the summary and indivisible issue warrants for the arrest of overstaying aliens
nature of a deportation proceeding, otherwise, is constitutional. The arrest is a step preliminary
the very purpose of deportation proceedings to the deportation of the aliens who had violated
would be defeated. the condition of their stay in this country."
(Morano vs. Vivo, L-22196, June 30, 1967, 20
Section 37(a) is not constitutionally proscribed SCRA 562).
(Morano vs. Vivo, L-22196, June 30, 1967, 20
SCRA 562). The specific constraints in both the To rule otherwise would be to render the authority
1935 1 and 1987 2 Constitutions, which are given the Commissioner nugatory to the
substantially identical, contemplate prosecutions detriment of the State.
essentially criminal in nature. Deportation
proceedings, on the other hand, are "The pertinent provision of Commonwealth Act
administrative in character. An order of No. 613, as amended, which gives authority to
deportation is never construed as a punishment. the Commissioner of Immigration to order the
It is preventive, not a penal process. It need not arrest of an alien temporary visitor preparatory to
be conducted strictly in accordance with ordinary his deportation for failure to put up new bonds
Court proceedings. required for the stay, is not unconstitutional.

"It is of course well-settled that deportation xxx xxx xxx


proceedings do not constitute a criminal action.
The order of deportation is not a punishment, ". . . Such a step is necessary to enable the
(Mahler vs. Eby, 264 U.S., 32), it being merely the Commissioner to prepare the ground for his
return to his country of an alien who has broken deportation under Section 37[a]of
the conditions upon which he could continue to Commonwealth Act 613. A contrary interpretation
reside within our borders (U.S. vs. De los Santos, would render such power nugatory to the
33 Phil., 397). The deportation proceedings are detriment of the State." (Ng Hua To vs. Galang,
administrative in character, (Kessler vs. Stracker, G.R. No. 10140, February 29, 1964, 10 SCRA
307 U.S., 22) summary in nature, and need not 411).
be conducted strictly in accordance with the
ordinary court proceedings (Murdock vs. Clark, 53 "The requirement of probable cause, to be
F. [2d], 155). It is essential, however, that the determined by a Judge, does not extend to
warrant of arrest shall give the alien sufficient deportation proceedings." (Morano vs. Vivo,
information about the charges against him, supra, citing Tiu Chun Hai vs. Commissioner,
relating the facts relied upon. (U.S. vs. Uhl, 211 F., infra). There need be no "truncated" recourse to
628.) It is also essential that he be given a fair both judicial and administrative warrants in a
hearing with the assistance of counsel, if he so single deportation proceedings.
desires, before unprejudiced investigators
(Strench vs. Pedaris, 55 F. [2d], 597; Ex parte Jew The foregoing does not deviate from the ruling in
You On, 16 F. [2d], 153). However, all the strict Qua Chee Gan vs. Deportation Board (G. R. No.
rules of evidence governing judicial controversies 10280, September 30, 1963, 9 SCRA 27 [1963])
do not need to be observed; only such as are reiterated in Vivo vs. Montesa, supra, that "under
fundamental and essential, like the right of cross- the express terms of our Constitution (the 1935
examination. (U.S. vs. Hughes, 104 F. [2d], 14; Constitution), it is therefore even doubtful
whether the arrest of an individual may be
24 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
ordered by any authority other than a judge if the case where the State has expressly committed
purpose is merely to determine the existence of a itself to defend the right of children to assistance
probable cause, leading to an administrative and special protection from all forms of neglect,
investigation." For, as heretofore stated, probable abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other conditions
cause had already been shown to exist before the prejudicial to their development (Article XV,
warrants of arrest were issued. Section 3[2]). Respondent Commissioner of
Immigration and Deportation, in instituting
What is essential is that there should be a specific deportation proceedings against petitioners,
charge against the alien intended to be arrested acted in the interests of the State.
and deported, that a fair hearing be conducted
(Section 37[c]) with the assistance of counsel, if WHEREFORE, the Petition is dismissed and the
desired, and that the charge be substantiated by Writ of Habeas Corpus is hereby denied.
competent evidence. Thus, Section 69 of the
Revised Administrative Code explicitly provides: SO ORDERED.
LibLex
Yap, C.J., Paras, Padilla and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.
"Sec. 69. Deportation of subject of foreign power.
A subject of a foreign power residing in the (Alvarez v. Court of First Instance of
Philippines shall not be deported, expelled, or Tayabas, G.R. No. 45358, January 29, 1937)
excluded from said Islands or repatriated to his
own country by the President of the Philippines FIRST DIVISION
except upon prior investigation, conducted by [G.R. No. 45358. January 29, 1937.]
said Executive or his authorized agent, of the NARCISO ALVAREZ, petitioner, vs. THE COURT
ground upon which such action is contemplated. OF FIRST INSTANCE OF TAYABAS and THE ANTI-
In such a case the person concerned shall be USURY BOARD, respondents.
informed of the charge or charges against him Godofredo Reyes for petitioner.
and he shall be allowed not less than 3 days for Adolfo N. Feliciano for respondent Anti-Usury
the preparation of his defense. He shall also have Board.
the right to be heard by himself or counsel, to No appearance for other respondent.
produce witnesses in his own behalf, and to
cross-examine the opposing witnesses." SYLLABUS
1. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; SEARCH
The denial by respondent Commissioner of WARRANT; DEFINITION. A search warrant is
petitioners' release on bail, also challenged by an order in writing, issued in the name of the
them, was in order because in deportation People of the Philippine Islands, signed by a judge
proceedings, the right to bail is not a matter of or a justice of the peace, and directed to a peace
right but a matter of discretion on the part of the officer, commanding him to search for personal
Commissioner of Immigration and Deportation. property and bring it before the court (section 95,
Thus, Section 37(e) of the Philippine Immigration General Orders, No. 58, as amended by section 6
Act of 1940 provides that "any alien under arrest of Act No. 2886).
in a deportation proceeding may be released 2. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; SEARCHES AND
under bond or under such other conditions as SEIZURES. Of all the rights of a citizen, few
may be imposed by the Commissioner of are of greater importance or more essential to his
Immigration." The use of the word "may" in said peace and happiness than the right of personal
provision indicates that the grant of bail is merely security, and that involves the exemption of his
permissive and not mandatory on the part of the private affairs, books, and papers from the
Commissioner. The exercise of the power is inspection and scrutiny of others (In re Pacific
wholly discretionary (Ong Hee Sang vs. Railway Commission, 32 Fed., 241; Interstate
Commissioner of Immigration, L-9700, February Commerce Commn. vs. Brimson, 38 Law. ed.,
28, 1962, 4 SCRA 442). "Neither the Constitution 1047; Boyd vs. U.S., 29 Law. ed., 746; Carroll vs.
nor Section 69 of the Revised Administrative U. S., 69 Law. ed., 543, 549). While the power to
Code guarantees the right of aliens facing search and seize is necessary to the public
deportation to provisional liberty on bail." (Tiu welfare, still it must be exercised and the law
Chun Hai, et al vs. Deportation Board, 104 Phil. enforced without transgressing the constitutional
949 [1958]). As deportation proceedings do not rights of citizens, for the enforcement of no
partake of the nature of a criminal action, the statute is of sufficient importance to justify
constitutional guarantee to bail may not be indifference to the basic principles of government
invoked by aliens in said proceedings (Ong Hee (People vs. Elias, 147 N. E., 472).
Sang vs. Commissioner of Immigration, supra). 3. ID.; ID. As the protection of the citizen and
the maintenance of his constitutional rights is one
Every sovereign power has the inherent power to of the highest duties and privileges of the court,
exclude aliens from its territory upon such these constitutional guaranties should be given a
grounds as it may deem proper for its self- liberal construction or a strict construction in
preservation or public interest (Lao Tan Bun vs. favor of the individual, to prevent stealthy
Fabre, 81 Phil. 682 [1948]). The power to deport encroachment upon, or gradual depreciation of,
aliens is an act of State, an act done by or under the rights secured by them (State vs. Custer
the authority of the sovereign power (In re County, 198 Pac., 362; State vs. McDaniel, 231
McCulloch Dick, 38 Phil. 41[1918]). It is a police Pac., 965; 237 Pac., 373). Since the proceeding is
measure against undesirable aliens whose a drastic one, it is the general rule that statutes
continued presence in the country is found to be authorizing searches and seizures or search
injurious to the public good and the domestic warrants must be strictly construed (Rose vs. St.
tranquility of the people (Forbes vs. Chuoco Tiaco, Clair, 28 Fed. [2d], 189; Leonard vs. U. S., 6 Fed.
et al., 16 Phil. 534 [1910]). Particularly so in this
25 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
[2d], 353; Perry vs. U. S., 14 Fed. [2d], 88; Cofer existence of probable cause to warrant the
vs. State, 118 So., 613). issuance of the search warrant. When the
4. ID.; ID.; OATH. In its broadest sense, an affidavit of the applicant or complainant contains
oath includes any form of attestation by which a sufficient if the judge is satisfied that there exists
party signifies that he is bound in conscience to probable cause; when the applicants knowledge
perform an act faithfully and truthfully; and it is of the facts is mere hearsay, the affidavit of one
sometimes defined as an outward pledge given or more witnesses having personal knowledge of
by the person taking it that his attestation or the facts is necessary. We conclude, therefore,
promise is made under an immediate sense of his that the warrant issued is likewise illegal because
responsibility to God (Bouvier's Law Dictionary; it was based only on the affidavit of the agent
State vs. Jackson, 137 N. W., 1034; In re Sage, 24 who had no personal knowledge of the facts.
Oh. Cir. Ct. [N. S.], 7; Pumphrey vs. State, 122 N. 7. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; SEARCH
W., 19; Priest vs. State, 6 N. W., 468; State vs. WARRANT; SERVICE AT NIGHT. Section 101
Jones, 154 Pac., 378; Atwood vs. State, 111 So., of General Orders, No. 58 authorizes that the
865). The oath required must refer to the truth of search be made at night when it is positively
the facts within the personal knowledge of the asserted in the affidavit that the property is on
petitioner or his witnesses, because the purpose the person or in the place ordered to be
thereof is to convince the committing magistrate, searched. As we have declared the affidavit
not the individual making the affidavit and insufficient and the warrant issued exclusively
seeking the issuance of the warrant, of the upon it illegal, our conclusion is that the
existence of probable cause (U. S. vs. Tureaud, 20 contention is equally well founded and that the
Fed., 621; U. S. vs. Michalski, 265 Fed., 839; U. S. search could not legally be made at night.
vs. Pitotto, 267 Fed., 603; U. S. vs. Lai Chew, 298 8. ID.; ID.; DESCRIPTION OF ARTICLES.
Fed., 652.) The true test of sufficiency of an Section 1, paragraph (3) of Article III of the
affidavit to warrant issuance of a search warrant Constitution, and section 97 of General Orders,
is whether it has been drawn in such a manner No. 58 provide that the affidavit to be presented,
that perjury could be charged thereon and affiant which shall serve as the basis for determining
be held liable for damages caused (State vs. whether probable cause exists and whether the
Roosevelt County 20th Jud. Dis. Ct., 244 Pac. 280; warrant should be issued, must contain a
State vs. Quartier, 236 Pac., 746). particular description of the place to be searched
5. ID.; UNREASONABLE SEARCH AND and the person or thing to be seized. These
SEIZURE. Unreasonable searches and seizures provisions are mandatory and must be strictly
are a menace against which the constitutional complied with (Munch vs. U. S., 24 Fed. [2d], 518;
guaranties afford full protection. The term U. S. vs. Boyd, 1 Fed. [2d], 1019; U. S. vs.
"unreasonable search and seizure" is not defined Carlson, 292 Fed., 463; U. S. vs. Borkowski, 268
in the Constitution or in General Orders, No. 58, Fed., 408; In re Tri- State Coal & Coke Co., 253
and it is said to have no fixed, absolute or Fed., 605; People vs. Mayen, 188 Cal., 237;
unchangeable meaning, although the term has People vs. Kahn, 256 Ill. A., 415); but where, by
been defined in general language. All illegal the nature of the goods to be seized, their
searches and seizures are unreasonable while description must be rather general, it is not
lawful ones are reasonable. What constitute a required that a technical description be given, as
reasonable or unreasonable search or seizure in this would mean that no warrant could issue
any particular case is purely a judicial question, (People vs. Rubio, 57 Phil., 384; People vs. Kahn,
determinable from a consideration of the supra).
circumstances involved, including the purpose of 9. ID.; ID.; ID. The only description of the
the search, the presence or absence of probable articles given in the affidavit presented to the
cause, the manner in which the search and judge was as follows: "that there are being kept in
seizure was made, the place or thing searched, said premises books, documents, receipts, lists,
and the character of the articles procured (Go- chits and other papers used by him in connection
Bart Importing Co., vs. U.S., 75 Law. ed., 374; with his activities as money- lender, charging a
Peru vs. U. S., 4 Fed. [2d], 881; U.S., vs. Vatune, usurious rate of interest, in violation of the law."
229 Fed., 497; Agnello vs. U. S., 70 Law. ed., 145; Taking into consideration the nature of the
Lambert vs. U. S. 282 Fed., 413; U. S. vs. articles so described, it is clear that no other
Bateman, 278 Fed., 231; Mason vs. Rollins, 16 more adequate and detailed description could be
Fed. Cas. [No. 9252], 2 Biss., 99). given, particularly because it is difficult to give a
6. ID.; ID.; NECESSITY OF TAKING THE particular description of the contents thereof. The
AFFIDAVITS OF THE WITNESSES. Neither description so made substantially complies with
the Constitution nor General Orders, No 58 the legal provisions because the officer of the law
provides it of imperative necessity to take the who executed the warrant was thereby placed in
depositions of the witnesses to be presented by a position enabling him to identify the articles in
the applicant or complainant in addition to the question, which he did.
affidavit of the latter. The purpose of both in 10. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; SEARCHES AND
requiring the presentation of depositions is SEIZURES; SEIZURE OF BOOKS AND
nothing else than to satisfy the committing DOCUMENTS TO BE USED AS EVIDENCE IN
magistrate of the existence of probable cause. CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST THE
Therefore, if the affidavit of the applicant or OWNER OR POSSESSOR THEREOF. At the
complainant is sufficient, the judge may dispense hearing of the incidents of the case raised before
with that of other witnesses. Inasmuch as the the court, it clearly appeared that the books and
affidavit of the agent in this case was insufficient documents had really been seized to enable the
because his knowledge of the facts was not Anti-Usury Board to conduct an investigation and
personal but merely hearsay, it was the duty of later use all or some of the articles in question as
the judge to require the affidavit of one or more evidence against the petitioner in the criminal
witnesses for the purpose of determining the cases that may be filed against him. The seizure
26 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
of books and documents by means of a search Usury Board to retain the articles seized, be
warrant, for the purpose of using them as declared illegal and set aside, and prays that all
evidence in a criminal case against the person in the articles in question be returned to him.
whose possession they were found, is On the date above-mentioned, the chief of the
unconstitutional because it makes the warrant secret service of the Anti-Usury Board, of the
unreasonable, and it is equivalent to a violation of Department of Justice, presented to Judge
the constitutional provision prohibiting the Eduardo Gutierrez David then presiding over the
compulsion of an accused to testify against Court of First Instance of Tayabas, an affidavit
himself (Uy Kheytin vs. Villareal, 42 Phil., 886; alleging that according to reliable information,
Brady vs. U. S., 266 U. S., 620; Temperani vs. U. the petitioner kept in his house in Infanta,
S., 299 Fed., 365; U. S. vs. Madden, 297 Fed., Tayabas, books, documents, receipts, lists, chits
679; Boyd vs. U. S., 116 U. S., 616; Carroll vs. U. and other papers used by him in connection with
S., 267 U. S., 132). Therefore, it appearing that at his activities as a money-lender, charging
least nineteen of the documents in question were usurious rates of interest in violation of the law. In
seized for the purpose of using them as evidence his oath at the end of the affidavit, the chief of
against the petitioner in the criminal proceeding the secret service stated that his answers to the
or proceedings for violation of the Anti-Usury Law, questions were correct to the best of his
which it is attempted to institute against him, we knowledge and belief. He did not swear to the
hold that the search warrant issued is illegal and truth of his statements upon his own knowledge
that the documents should be returned to him. of the facts but upon the information received by
11. ID.; ID.; WAIVER OF THE him from a reliable person. Upon the affidavit in
CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEES. The Anti- question the judge, on said date, issued the
Usury Board insinuates in its answer that the warrant which is the subject matter of the
petitioner cannot now question the validity of the petition, ordering the search of the petitioner's
search warrant or the proceedings had house at any time of the day or night, the seizure
subsequent to the issuance thereof, because he of the books and documents above-mentioned
has waived his constitutional rights in proposing a and the immediate delivery thereof to him to be
compromise whereby he agreed to pay a fine of disposed of in accordance with the law. With said
P200 for the purpose of evading the criminal warrant, several agents of the Anti-Usury Board
proceeding or proceedings. We are of the opinion entered the petitioner's store and residence at
that there was no such waiver, first, because the seven o'clock on the night of June 4, 1936, and
petitioner has emphatically denied the offer of seized and took possession of the following
compromise and, second, because if there was a articles: internal revenue licenses for the years
compromise it referred not to the search warrant 1933 to 1936, one ledger, two journals, two
and the incidents thereof but to the institution of cashbooks, nine order books, four notebooks, four
criminal proceedings for violation of the Anti- check stubs, two memorandums, three
Usury Law. The waiver would have been a good bankbooks, two contracts, four stubs, forty-eight
defense for the respondents had the petitioner stubs of purchases of copra, two inventories, two
voluntarily consented to the search and seizure of bundles of bills of lading, one bundle of credit
the articles in question, but such was not the receipts, one bundle of stubs of purchases of
case because the petitioner protested from the copra, two packages of correspondence, one
beginning and stated his protest in writing in the receipt book belonging to Luis Fernandez,
insufficient inventory furnished him by the fourteen bundles of invoices and other papers,
agents. many documents and loan contracts with security
and promissory notes, 504 chits, promissory
12. CIVIL PROCEDURE; MANDAMUS; WHEN notes and stubs of used checks of the Hongkong
IT LIES. Section 222 of the Code of Civil & Shanghai Banking Corporation. The search for
Procedure in fact provides that mandamus will and seizure of said articles were made with the
not issue when there is another plain, speedy and opposition of the petitioner who stated his protest
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. below the inventories on the ground that the
We are of the opinion, however, that an appeal agents seized even the originals of the
from said orders would not in this case be a plain, documents. As the articles had not been brought
speedy and adequate remedy for the petitioner immediately to the judge who issued the search
because a long time would have to elapse before warrant, the petitioner, through his attorney, filed
he recovers possession of the documents and a motion on June 8, 1936, praying that the agent
before the rights, for which he has been Emilio L. Siongco, or any other agent, be ordered
unlawfully deprived, are restored to him (Fajardo immediately to deposit all the seized articles in
vs. Llorente, 6 Phil., 426; Manotoc vs. McMicking the office of the clerk of court and that said agent
and Trinidad, 10 Phil., 119; Cruz Herrera de be declared guilty of contempt for having
Lukban vs. McMicking, 14 Phil., 641; Lamb vs. disobeyed the order of the court. On said date the
Phipps, 22 Phil., 456). court issued an order directing Emilio L. Siongco
to deposit all the articles seized within twenty-
DECISION four hours from the receipt of notice thereof and
IMPERIAL, J p: giving him a period of five (5) days within which
The petitioner asks that the warrant of June 3, to show cause why he should not be punished for
1936, issued by the Court of First Instance of contempt of court. On June 10th, Attorney Arsenio
Tayabas, ordering the search of his house and the Rodriguez, representing the Anti-Usury Board,
seizure, at any time of the day or night, of certain filed a motion praying that the order of the 8th of
accounting books, documents and papers said month be set aside and that the Anti-Usury
belonging to him in his residence situated in Board be authorized to retain the articles seized
Infanta, Province of Tayabas, as well as the order for a period of thirty (30) days for the necessary
of a later date, authorizing the agents of the Anti- investigation. The attorney for the petitioner, on
June 20th, filed another motion alleging that,
27 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
notwithstanding the order of the 8th of said by Nos. 5, 10, 16, 23, 25, 26, 27, 30, 31 , 34, 36,
month, the officials of the Anti-Usury Board had 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43 and 45, and praying
failed to deposit the articles seized by them and that he be granted said period of sixty (60) days.
praying that a search warrant be issued, that the In an order of October 16th, the court granted
sheriff be ordered to take all the articles into his him the period of sixty (60) days to investigate
custody and deposit them in the clerk's office, said nineteen (19) documents. The petitioner
and that the officials of the Anti-Usury Board be alleges, and it is not denied by the respondents,
punished for contempt o court. Said attorney, on that these nineteen (19) documents continue in
June 24th, filed an ex parte petition alleging that the possession of the court, the rest having been
while agent Emilio L. Siongco had deposited some returned to said petitioner.
documents and papers in the office of the clerk of I. A search warrant is an order in writing, issued in
court, he had so far failed to file an inventory duly the name of the People of the Philippine Islands,
verified by oath of all the documents seized by signed by a judge or a justice of the peace, and
him, to return the search warrant together with directed to a peace officer, commanding him to
the affidavit presented in support thereof, or to search for personal property and bring it before
present the report of the proceedings taken by the court (section 95, General Orders, No. 58, as
him; and prayed that said agent be directed to amended by section 6 of Act No. 2886). Of all the
file the documents in question immediately. On rights of a citizen, few are of greater importance
the 25th of said month the court issued an order or more essential to his peace and happiness
requiring agent Emilio L. Siongco forthwith to file than the right of personal security, and that
the search warrant and the affidavit in the court, involves the exemption of his private affairs,
together with the proceedings taken by him, and books, and papers from the inspection and
to present an inventory duly verified by oath of all scrutiny of others (In re Pacific Railway
the articles seized. On July 2d of said year, the Commission, 32 Fed., 241; Interstate Commerce
attorney for the petitioner filed another petition Commn. vs. Brimson, 38 Law. ed., 1047; Boyd vs.
alleging that the search warrant issued was illegal U. S., 29 Law. ed., 746; Carroll vs. U. S., 69 Law.
and that it had not yet been returned to date ed., 543, 549). While the power to search and
together with the proceedings taken in seize is necessary to the public welfare, still it
connection therewith, and praying that said must be exercised and the law enforced without
warrant be cancelled, that an order be issued transgressing the constitutional rights of citizens,
directing the return of all the articles seized to for the enforcement of no statute is of sufficient
the petitioner, that the agent who seized them be importance to justify indifference to the basic
declared guilty of contempt of court, and that principles of government (People vs. Elias, 147 N.
charges be filed against him for abuse of E., 472).
authority. On September 10, 1936, the court II. As the protection of the citizen and the
issued an order holding: that the search warrant maintenance of his constitutional rights is one of
was obtained and issued in accordance with the the highest duties and privileges of the court,
law, that it had been duly complied with and, these constitutional guaranties should be given a
consequently, should not be cancelled, and that liberal construction or a strict construction in
agent Emilio L. Siongco did not commit any favor of the individual, to prevent stealthy
contempt of court and must, therefore, be encroachment upon, or gradual depreciation of,
exonerated, and ordering the chief of the Anti- the rights secured by them (State vs. Custer
Usury Board in Manila to show cause, if any, County, 198 Pac., 362; State vs. McDaniel, 231
within the unextendible period of two (2) days Pac., 965; 237 Pac., 373). Since the proceeding is
from the date of notice of said order, why all the a drastic one, it is the general rule that statutes
articles seized appearing in the inventory, Exhibit authorizing searches and seizures or search
1, should not be returned to the petitioner. The warrants must be strictly construed (Rose vs. St.
assistant chief of the Anti-Usury Board of the Clair, 28 Fed. [2d], 189; Leonard vs. U. S., 6 Fed.
Department of Justice filed a motion praying, for [2d], 353; Perry vs. U. S., 14 Fed. [2d], 88; Cofer
the reasons stated therein, that the articles vs. State, 118 So., 613).
seized be ordered retained for the purpose of
conducting an investigation of the violation of the III. The petitioner claims that the search warrant
Anti-Usury Law committed by the petitioner. In issued by the court is illegal because it has been
view of the opposition of the attorney for the based upon the affidavit of agent Mariano G.
petitioner, the court, on September 25th, issued Almeda in whose oath he declared that he had no
an order requiring the Anti-Usury Board to specify personal knowledge of the facts which were to
the time needed by it to examine the documents serve as a basis for the issuance of the warrant
and papers seized and which of them should be but that he had knowledge thereof through mere
retained, granting it a period of five (5) days for information secured from a person whom he
said purpose. On the 30th of said month the considered reliable. To the question "What are
assistant chief of the Anti-Usury Board filed a your reasons for applying for this search
motion praying that he be granted ten (10) days warrant", appearing in the affidavit, the agent
to comply with the order of September 25th and answered: "It has been reported to me by a
that the clerk of court be ordered to return to him person whom I consider to be reliable that there
all the documents and papers together with the are being kept in said premises, books,
inventory thereof. The court, in an order of documents, receipts, lists, chits, and other papers
October 2d of said year, granted him the used by him in connection with his activities as a
additional period of ten (10) days and ordered the money- lender, charging a usurious rate of
clerk of court to send him a copy of the inventory. interest, in violation of the law" and in attesting
On October 10th, said official again filed another the truth of his statements contained in the
motion alleging that he needed sixty (60) days to affidavit, the said agent stated that he found
examine the documents and papers seized, which
are designated on pages 1 to 4 of the inventory
28 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
them to be correct and true to the best of his Bart Importing Co. vs. U. S., 75 Law. ed., 374;
knowledge and belief. Peru vs. U. S., 4 Fed., [2d], 881; U. S. vs. Vatune,
Section 1, paragraph 3, of Article III of the 292 Fed., 497; Agnello vs. U. S., 70 Law. ed., 145;
Constitution, relative to the bill of rights, provides Lambert vs. U. S., 282 Fed., 413; U. S. vs.
that "The right of the people to be secure in their Bateman, 278 Fed., 231; Mason vs. Rollins, 16
persons, houses, papers, and effects against Fed. Cas. [No. 9252], 2 Biss., 99).
unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be In view of the foregoing and under the above-
violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon cited authorities, it appears that the affidavit,
probable cause, to be determined by the judge which served as the exclusive basis of the search
after examination under oath or affirmation of the warrant, is insufficient and fatally defective by
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, reason of the manner in which the oath was
and particularly describing the place to be made, and therefore, it is hereby held that the
searched, and the persons or things to be search warrant in question and the subsequent
seized." Section 97 of General Orders, No. 58 seizure of the books, documents and other
provides that "A search warrant shall not issue papers are illegal and do not in any way warrant
except for probable cause and upon application the deprivation to which the petitioner was
supported by oath particularly describing the subjected.
place to be searched and the person or thing to IV. Another ground alleged by the petitioner in
be seized." It will be noted that both provisions asking that the search warrant be declared illegal
require that there be not only probable cause and cancelled is that it was not supported by
before the issuance of a search warrant but that other affidavits aside from that made by the
the search warrant must be based upon an applicant. In other words, it is contended that the
application supported by oath of the applicant search warrant cannot be issued unless it be
and the witnesses he may produce. In its supported by affidavits made by the applicant
broadest sense, an oath includes any form of and the witnesses to be presented necessarily by
attestation by which a party signifies that he is him. Section 1, paragraph 3, of Article III of the
bound in conscience to perform an act faithfully Constitution provides that no warrants shall issue
and truthfully; and it is sometimes defined as an but upon probable cause, to be determined by
outward pledge given by the person taking it that the judge after examination under oath or
his attestation or promise is made under an affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses
immediate sense of his responsibility to God he may produce. Section 98 of General Orders,
(Bouvier's Law Dictionary; State vs. Jackson, 137 No. 58 provides that the judge or justice must,
N. W., 1034; In re Sage, 24 Oh. Cir. Ct. [N. S.], 7; before issuing the warrant, examine under oath
Pumphrey vs. State, 122 N. W., 19; Priest vs. the complainant and any witnesses he may
State, 6 N. W., 468; State vs. Jones, 154 Pac., 378; produce and take their depositions in writing. It is
Atwood vs. State, 111 So., 865). The oath the practice in this jurisdiction to attach the
required must refer to the truth of the facts within affidavit of at least the applicant or complainant
the personal knowledge of the petitioner or his to the application. It is admitted that the judge
witnesses, because the purpose thereof is to who issued the search warrant in this case, relied
convince the committing magistrate, not the exclusively upon the affidavit made by agent
individual making the affidavit and seeking the Mariano G. Almeda and that he did not require
issuance of the warrant, of the existence of nor take the deposition of any other witness.
probable cause (U. S. vs. Tureaud, 20 Fed., 621; Neither the Constitution nor General Orders, No.
U. S. vs. Michalski, 265 Fed., 839; U. S. vs. Pitotto, 58 provides that it is of imperative necessity to
267 Fed., 603; U. S. vs. Lai Chew, 298 Fed., 652). take the depositions of the witnesses to be
The true test of sufficiency of an affidavit to presented by the applicant or complainant in
warrant issuance of a search warrant is whether it addition to the affidavit of the latter. The purpose
has been drawn in such a manner that perjury of both in requiring the presentation of
could be charged thereon and affiant be held depositions is nothing more than to satisfy the
liable for damages caused (State vs. Roosevelt committing magistrate of the existence of
County 20th Jud. Dis. Ct., 244 Pac., 280; State vs. probable cause. Therefore, if the affidavit of the
Quartier, 236 Pac., 746). applicant or complainant is sufficient, the judge
It will likewise be noted that section 1, paragraph may dispense with that of other witnesses.
3, of Article III of the Constitution prohibits Inasmuch as the affidavit of the agent in this case
unreasonable searches and seizures. was insufficient because his knowledge of the
Unreasonable searches and seizures are a facts was not personal but merely hearsay, it is
menace against which the constitutional the duty of the judge to require the affidavit of
guaranties afford full protection. The term one or more witnesses for the purpose of
"unreasonable search and seizure" is not defined determining the existence of probable cause to
in the Constitution or in General Orders, No. 58, warrant the issuance of the search warrant. When
and it is said to have no fixed, absolute or the affidavit of the applicant or complainant
unchangeable meaning, although the term has contains sufficient facts within his personal and
been defined in general language. All illegal direct knowledge, it is sufficient if the judge is
searches and seizures are unreasonable while satisfied that there exists probable cause; when
lawful ones are reasonable. What constitutes a the applicant's knowledge of the facts is mere
reasonable or unreasonable search or seizure in hearsay, the affidavit of one or more witnesses
any particular case is purely a judicial question, having a personal knowledge of the facts is
determinable from a consideration of the necessary. We conclude, therefore, that the
circumstances involved, including the purpose of warrant issued is likewise illegal because it was
the search, the presence or absence of probable based only on the affidavit of the agent who had
cause, the manner in which the search and no personal knowledge of the facts.
seizure was made, the place or thing searched, V. The petitioner alleged as another ground for
and the character of the articles procured (Go- the declaration of the illegality of the search
29 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
warrant and the cancellation thereof, the fact that unreasonable, and it is equivalent to a violation of
it authorized its execution at night. Section 101 of the constitutional provision prohibiting the
General Orders, No. 58 authorizes that the search compulsion of an accused to testify against
be made at night when it is positively asserted in himself (Uy Kheytin vs. Villareal , 42 Phil., 886;
the affidavit that the property is on the person or Brady vs. U. S., 266 U. S., 620; Temperani vs. U.
in the place ordered to be searched. As we have S., 299 Fed., 365; U. S. vs. Madden, 297 Fed.,
declared the affidavit insufficient and the warrant 679; Boyd vs. U. S., 116 U. S., 616; Carroll vs. U.
issued exclusively upon it illegal, our conclusion is S., 267 U. S., 132). Therefore, it appearing that at
that the contention is equally well founded and least nineteen of the documents in question were
that the search could not legally be made at seized for the purpose of using them as evidence
night. against the petitioner in the criminal proceeding
VI. One of the grounds alleged by the petitioner in or proceedings for violation of the Anti-Usury Law,
support of his contention that the warrant was which it is attempted to institute against him, we
issued illegally is the lack of an adequate hold that the search warrant issued is illegal and
description of the books and documents to be that the documents should be returned to him.
seized. Section 1, paragraph 3, of Article III of the The Anti-Usury Board insinuates in its answer that
Constitution, and section 97 of General Orders, the petitioner cannot now question the validity of
No. 58 provide that the affidavit to be presented, the search warrant or the proceedings had
which shall serve as the basis for determining subsequent to the issuance thereof, because he
whether probable cause exists and whether the has waived his constitutional rights in proposing a
warrant should be issued, must contain a compromise whereby he agreed to pay a fine of
particular description of the place to be searched P200 for the purpose of evading the criminal
and the person or thing to be seized. These proceeding or proceedings. We are of the opinion
provisions are mandatory and must be strictly that there was no such waiver, first, because the
complied with (Munch vs. U. S., 24 Fed. [2d], 518; petitioner has emphatically denied the offer of
U. S. vs. Boyd, 1 Fed. [2d], 1019; U. S. vs. compromise and, second, because if there was a
Carlson, 292 Fed., 463; U. S. vs. Borkowski, 268 compromise it referred not to the search warrant
Fed., 408; In re Tri-State Coal & Coke Co., 253 and the incidents thereof but to the institution of
Fed., 605; People vs. Mayen, 188 Cal., 237; criminal proceedings for violation of the Anti-
People vs. Kahn, 256 Ill. App., 415); but where, by Usury Law. The waiver would have been a good
the nature of the goods to be seized, their defense for the respondents had the petitioner
description must be rather general, it is not voluntarily consented to the search and seizure of
required that a technical description be given, as the articles in question, but such was not the
this would mean that no warrant could issue case because the petitioner protested from the
(People vs. Rubio, 57 Phil., 284; People vs. Kahn, beginning and stated his protest in writing in the
supra). The only description of the articles given insufficient inventory furnished him by the
in the affidavit presented to the judge was as agents.
follows: "that there are being kept in said Said board alleges as another defense that the
premises books, documents, receipts, lists, chits remedy sought by the petitioner does not lie
and other papers used by him in connection with because he can appeal from the orders which
his activities as money-lender, charging a prejudiced him and are the subject matter of his
usurious rate of interest, in violation of the law." petition. Section 222 of the Code of Civil
Taking into consideration the nature of the Procedure in fact provides that mandamus will
articles so described, it is clear that no other not issue when there is another plain, speedy and
more adequate and detailed description could adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.
have been given, particularly because it is We are of the opinion, however, that an appeal
difficult to give a particular description of the from said orders would not in this case be a plain,
contents thereof. The description so made speedy and adequate remedy for the petitioner
substantially complies with the legal provisions because a long time would have to elapse before
because the officer of the law who executed the he recovers possession of the documents and
warrant was thereby placed in a position enabling before the rights, of which he has been unlawfully
him to identify the articles, which he did. deprived, are restored to him (Fajardo vs.
Llorente, 6 Phil., 426; Manotoc vs. McMicking and
VII. The last ground alleged by the petitioner, in Trinidad, 10 Phil., 119; Cruz Herrera de Lukban vs.
support of his claim that the search warrant was McMicking, 14 Phil., 641; Lamb vs. Phipps, 22
obtained illegally, is that the articles were seized Phil., 456).
in order that the Anti-Usury Board might provide Summarizing the foregoing conclusions, we hold:
itself with evidence to be used by it in the 1. That the provisions of the Constitution and
criminal case or cases which might be filed General Orders, No. 58, relative to search and
against him for violation of the Anti-Usury Law. At seizure, should be given a liberal construction in
the hearing of the incidents of the case raised favor of the individual in order to maintain the
before the court, it clearly appeared that the constitutional guaranties whole and in their full
books and documents had really been seized to force;
enable the Anti-Usury Board to conduct an 2. That since the provisions in question are
investigation and later use all or some of the drastic in their form and fundamentally restrict
articles in question as evidence against the the enjoyment of the ownership, possession and
petitioner in the criminal cases that may be filed use of the personal property of the individual,
against him. The seizure of books and documents they should be strictly construed;
by means of a search warrant, for the purpose of 3. That the search and seizure made are illegal
using them as evidence in a criminal case against for the following reasons: (a) Because the warrant
the person in whose possession they were found, was based solely upon the affidavit of the
is unconstitutional because it makes the warrant petitioner who had no personal knowledge of the
facts necessary to determine the existence or
30 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
non-existence of probable cause, and (b) because law after examination under oath or affirmation of
the warrant was issued for the sole purpose of the complainant and the witnesses he may
seizing evidence which would later be used in the produce". More emphatic and detailed is the
criminal proceedings that might be instituted implementing rule of the constitutional injunction,
against the petitioner, for violation of the Anti- Section 4 of Rule 126 which provides that the
Usury Law; judge must before issuing the warrant personally
4. That as the warrant had been issued examine on oath or affirmation the complainant
unreasonably, and as it does not appear and any witnesses he may produce and take their
positively in the affidavit that the articles were in depositions in writing, and attach them to the
the possession of the petitioner and in the place record, in addition to any affidavits presented to
indicated, neither could the search and seizure be him.
made at night;
5. That although it is not mandatory to present 2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; INSUFFICIENCY OF
affidavits of witnesses to corroborate the AFFIDAVITS OF COMPLAINANT AND HIS
applicant or complainant in cases where the WITNESSES IN THE CASE AT BAR. Before
latter has personal knowledge of the facts, when issuing a search warrant, the examining Judge
the applicant's or complainant's knowledge of the has to take depositions in writing of the
facts is merely hearsay, it is the duty of the judge complainant and the witnesses he may produce
to require affidavits of other witnesses so that he and to attach them to the record. Such written
may determine whether probable cause exists; deposition is necessary in order that the Judge
6. That a detailed description of the person and may be able to properly determine the existence
place to be searched and the articles to be seized or non-existence of the probable cause, and to
is necessary, but where, by the nature of the hold liable for perjury the person giving it if it will
articles to be seized, their description must be be found later that his declarations are false.
rather general, it is not required that a technical Mere affidavits of the complainant and his
description be given, as this would mean that no witnesses are thus not sufficient.
warrant could issue;
7. That the petitioner did not waive his 3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NO "DEPOSITION IN
constitutional rights because the offer of WRITING" ATTACHED TO RECORDS OF CASE
compromise or settlement attributed to him, does IN CASE AT BAR. The judge's insistence that
not mean, if so made, that he voluntarily she examined the complainants under oath has
tolerated the search and seizure; and become dubious by petitioner's claim that at the
8. That an appeal from the orders questioned by particular time when he examined all the relevant
the petitioner, if taken by him, would not be an papers connected with the issuance of the
effective, speedy or adequate remedy in the questioned search warrant, after he demanded
ordinary course of law, and, consequently, the the same from the lower court since they were
petition for mandamus filed by him lies. not attached to the records, he did not find any
For the foregoing considerations, the search certification at the back of the joint affidavit of
warrant and the seizure of June 3, 1936, and the the complainants. Before he filed his motion to
orders of the respondent court authorizing the quash the search warrant and for the return of
retention of the books and documents, are the articles seized, he was furnished, upon his
declared illegal and are set aside, and it is request, certified true copies of the said affidavits
ordered that the judge presiding over the Court of by the Clerk of Court but which certified true
First Instance of Tayabas direct the immediate copies do not bear any certification at the back.
return to the petitioner of the nineteen (19) Petitioner likewise claims that his xerox copy of
documents designated on pages 1 to 4 of the the said joint affidavit obtained at the outset of
inventory by Nos. 5, 10, 16, 23, 25, 26, 27, 30, this case does not show also the certification of
31, 34, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43 and 45, respondent judge. This doubt becomes more
without special pronouncement as to costs. So confirmed by respondent Judge's own admission,
ordered. while insisting that she did examine thoroughly
Avancea, C. J., Villa-Real, Diaz and Concepcion, the applicants, that "she did not take the
JJ., concur. deposition of Mayote and Goles because to have
done so would be to hold a judicial proceeding
(Mata v. Bayona, G.R. No. 50720, March 26, which will be open and public", such that,
1984) according to her, the persons subject of the
intended raid will just disappear and move his
SECOND DIVISION illegal operations somewhere else. Could it be
[G.R. No. 50720. March 26, 1984.] that the certification was made belatedly to cure
SORIANO MATA, petitioner, vs. HON. JOSEPHINE the defect of the warrant? Be that as it may,
K. BAYONA, in her capacity as Presiding Judge of there was no "deposition in writing" attached to
the City Court of Ormoc, BERNARDO GOLES and the records of the case in palpable disregard of
REYNALDO MAYOTE, respondents. the statutory prohibition heretofore quoted.
Valeriano R. Ocubillo for petitioner.
The Solicitor General for respondents. 4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; DEPOSITIONS, HOW
TAKEN. The searching questions propounded
SYLLABUS to the applicants of the search warrant and his
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; witnesses must depend to a large extent upon
RIGHT AGAINST UNLAWFUL SEARCH AND the discretion of the Judge just as long as the
SEIZURE; REQUISITES FOR ISSUANCE OF answers establish a reasonable ground to believe
SEARCH WARRANT. Under the Constitution the commission of a specific offense and that the
"no search warrant shall issue but upon probable applicant is one authorized by law, and said
cause to be determined by the Judge or such answers particularly describe with certainty the
other responsible officer as may be authorized by place to be searched and the persons or things to
31 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
be seized. The examination or investigation which of Court. The motion was denied by respondent
must be under oath may not be in public. It may Judge on March 1, 1979, stating that the court
even be held in the secrecy of his chambers. Far has made a thorough investigation and
more important is that the examination or examination under oath of Bernardo U. Goles and
investigation is not merely routinary but one that Reynaldo T. Mayote, members of the Intelligence
is thorough and elicit the required information. To Section of 352nd PC Co./Police District II INP; that
repeat, it must be under oath and must be in in fact the court made a certification to that
writing. effect; and that the fact that documents relating
to the search warrant were not attached
5. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; MUST BE STRICTLY immediately to the record of the criminal case is
COMPLIED WITH; CASE AT BAR. Nothing of no moment, considering that the rule does not
can justify the issuance of the search warrant but specify when these documents are to be attached
the fulfillment of the legal requisites. Thus, in to the records. 2 Petitioner's motion for
issuing a search warrant the Judge must strictly reconsideration of the aforesaid order having
comply with the requirements of the Constitution been denied, he came to this Court, with the
and the statutory provisions. In the case at bar, instant petition, praying, among others, that this
the search warrant is tainted with illegality by the Court declare the search warrant to be invalid
failure of the Judge to conform with essential and all the articles confiscated under such
requisites of taking the depositions in writing and warrant as inadmissible as evidence in the case,
attaching them to record, rendering the search or in any proceedings on the matter.
warrant invalid.
We hold that the search warrant is tainted with
6. ID.; ID.; ID.; ALTHOUGH ILLEGAL, THINGS illegality for being violative of the Constitution
SEIZED CANNOT BE RETURNED; CASE AT and the Rules of Court.
BAR. While the search warrant is illegal, the
return of the things seized cannot be ordered. In Under the Constitution "no search warrant shall
Castro vs. Pabalan (70 SCRA 478), it was held issue but upon probable cause to be determined
that the illegality of the search warrant does not by the Judge or such other responsible officer as
call for the return of the things seized, the may be authorized by law after examination
possession of which is prohibited. under oath or affirmation of the complainant and
the witnesses he may produce". More emphatic
DECISION and detailed is the implementing rule of the
DE CASTRO, J p: constitutional injunction, Section 4 of Rule 126
The validity of the search warrant issued by which provides that the judge must before issuing
respondent Judge (not reappointed) is challenged the warrant personally examine on oath or
by petitioner for its alleged failure to comply with affirmation the complainant and any witnesses he
the requisites of the Constitution and the Rules of may produce and take their depositions in
Court. writing, and attach them to the record, in addition
to any affidavits presented to him.
Specifically, the contention is that the search
warrant issued by respondent Judge was based Mere affidavits of the complainant and his
merely on the application for search warrant and witnesses are thus not sufficient. The examining
a joint affidavit of private respondents which were Judge has to take depositions in writing of the
wrongfully it is alleged subscribed, and sworn to complainant and the witnesses he may produce
before the Clerk of Court of respondent Judge. and to attach them to the record. Such written
Furthermore, there was allegedly a failure on the deposition is necessary in order that the Judge
part of respondent Judge to attach the necessary may be able to properly determine the existence
papers pertinent to the issuance of the search or non-existence of the probable cause, to hold
warrant to the records of Criminal Case No. 4298- liable for perjury the person giving it if it will be
CC wherein petitioner is accused under PD 810, found later that his declarations are false.
as amended by PD 1306, the information against
him alleging that Soriano Mata offered, took and We, therefore, hold that the search warrant is
arranged bets on the Jai Alai game by "selling tainted with illegality by the failure of the Judge
illegal tickets known as 'Masiao tickets' without to conform with the essential requisites of taking
any authority from the Philippine Jai Alai & the depositions in writing and attaching them to
Amusement Corporation or from the government the record, rendering the search warrant invalid.
authorities concerned." 1 cdll

Petitioner claims that during the hearing of the The judge's insistence that she examined the
case, he discovered that nowhere from the complainants under oath has become dubious by
records of the said case could be found the petitioner's claim that at the particular time when
search warrant and other pertinent papers he examined all the relevant papers connected
connected to the issuance of the same, so that he with the issuance of the questioned search
had to inquire from the City Fiscal its warrant, after he demanded the same from the
whereabouts, and to which inquiry respondent lower court since they were not attached to the
Judge replied, "it is with the court". The Judge records, he did not find any certification at the
then handed the records to the Fiscal who back of the joint affidavit of the complainants. As
attached them to the records. prcd stated earlier, before he filed his motion to quash
the search warrant and for the return of the
This led petitioner to file a motion to quash and articles seized, he was furnished, upon his
annul the search warrant and for the return of the request, certified true copies of the said affidavits
articles seized, citing and invoking, among by the Clerk of Court but which certified true
others, Section 4 of Rule 126 of the Revised Rules copies do not bear any certification at the back.
32 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
Petitioner likewise claims that his xerox copy of to his peace and happiness than the right of
the said joint affidavit obtained at the outset of personal security, and that involves the
this case does not show also the certification of exemption of his private affairs, books, and
respondent judge. This doubt becomes more papers from inspection and scrutiny of others.
confirmed by respondent Judge's own admission, While the power to search and seize is necessary
while insisting that she did examine thoroughly to the public welfare, still it must be exercised
the applicants, that "she did not take the and the law enforced without transgressing the
deposition of Mayote and Goles because to have constitutional rights of the citizens, for the
done so would be to hold a judicial proceeding enforcement of no statute is of sufficient
which will be open and public", 3 such that, importance to justify indifference to the basic
according to her, the persons subject of the principles of government." 6
intended raid will just disappear and move his
illegal operations somewhere else. Thus, in issuing a search warrant the Judge must
strictly comply with the requirements of the
Constitution and the statutory provisions. A
liberal construction should be given in favor of
Could it be that the certification was made the individual to prevent stealthy encroachment
belatedly to cure the defect of the warrant? Be upon, or gradual depreciation of the rights
that as it may, there was no "deposition in secured by the Constitution. 7 No presumption of
writing" attached to the records of the case in regularity are to be invoked in aid of the process
palpable disregard of the statutory prohibition when an officer undertakes to justify it. 8
heretofore quoted.
While We hold that the search warrant is illegal,
Respondent Judge impresses this Court that the the return of the things seized cannot be ordered.
urgency to stop the illegal gambling that lures In Castro vs. Pabalan, 9 it was held that the
every man, woman and child, and even the illegality of the search warrant does not call for
lowliest laborer who could hardly make both ends the return of the things seized, the possession of
meet justifies her action. She claims that in order which is prohibited.
to abate the proliferation of this illegal "masiao"
lottery, she thought it more prudent not to WHEREFORE, the writ of certiorari is granted and
conduct the taking of deposition which is done the order of March 1, 1979 denying the motion to
usually and publicly in the court room. annul the search warrant as well as the order of
March 21, 1979 denying the motion for
Two points must be made clear. The term reconsideration are hereby reversed, the search
"depositions" is sometimes used in a broad sense warrant, being declared herein as illegal.
to describe any written statement verified by Notwithstanding such illegality, the things seized
oath; but in its more technical and appropriate under such warrant, such as stock of "masiao"
sense the meaning of the word is limited to tickets; "masiao" issue tickets; bet money; control
written testimony of a witness given in the course pad or "masiao" numbers; stamping pad with
of a judicial proceeding in advance of the trial or rubber stamp marked Ormoc City Jai-Alai," cannot
hearing upon oral examination. 4 A deposition is be returned as sought by petitioner. No costs.
the testimony of a witness, put or taken in
writing, under oath or affirmation before a SO ORDERED.
commissioner, examiner or other judicial officer,
in answer to interlocutory and cross interlocutory, Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr. and Guerrero, JJ .,
and usually subscribed by the witnesses. 5 The concur.
searching questions propounded to the applicants
of the search warrant and his witnesses must Aquino and Escolin, JJ ., concur in the result.
depend to a large extent upon the discretion of
the Judge just as long as the answers establish a Abad Santos, J ., took no part.
reasonable ground to believe the commission of a
specific offense and that the applicant is one (People v. Del Rosario y Lopez, G.R. No.
authorized by law, and said answers particularly 109633, July 20, 1994)
describe with certainty the place to be searched
and the persons or things to be seized. The THIRD DIVISION
examination or investigation which must be [G.R. No. 109633. July 20, 1994.]
under oath may not be in public. It may even be THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-
held in the secrecy of his chambers. Far more appellee, vs. NORMANDO DEL ROSARIO Y
important is that the examination or investigation LOPEZ, accused-appellant.
is not merely routinary but one that is thorough
and elicit the required information. To repeat, it SYLLABUS
must be under oath and must be in writing. 1. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; IN CASE AT
LexLib BAR; FAILURE TO PRESENT POSEUR-BUYER
FATAL TO PROSECUTION'S CASE. Foremost
The other point is that nothing can justify the among the inadequacies of the prosecution is its
issuance of the search warrant but the fulfillment failure to call to the witness stand P01 Verando
of the legal requisites. It might be well to point Luna, the alleged poseur-buyer. There is, thus, a
out what has been said in Asian Surety & total absence of evidence to establish the
Insurance Co., Inc. vs. Herrera: purported sale of shabu by accused-appellant to
Venerando Luna, the supposed poseur-buyer. The
"It has been said that of all the rights of a citizen, omission to present the poseur-buyer casts
few are of greater importance or more essential serious doubts that an illegal sale of a dangerous
drug actually took place. The trial court gave
33 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
much weight to the testimonies of the police immediately arrested and detained him in the
members of the buy-bust operation. However, the living room while they searched the other parts of
prosecution did not present as witness the the house. Although they fetched two persons to
supposed poseur-buyer. Such omission casts witness the search, the witnesses were called in
serious doubt on appellant's guilt because only after the policemen had already entered
without the testimony of the poseur-buyer, there accused-appellant's residence (pp. 22-23, tsn,
is not convincing evidence to show that appellant December 11, 1991), and, therefore, the
sold marijuana. The testimonies of the rest of the policemen had more than ample time to plant the
buy-bust operation are hearsay in view of the fact shabu. Corollary to the constitutional precept
that the poseur-buyer was never presented at the that, in all criminal prosecutions, the accused
trial. There was even no testimony that when the shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is
accused-appellant handed the stuff to the poseur- proved (Sec. 14(2), Article III, Constitution of the
buyer that the latter in turn handed the marked Republic of the Philippines) is the rule that in
money. The failure of the prosecution to present order to convict an accused the circumstances of
the alleged buyer of the marijuana was a fatal the case must exclude all and each and every
flaw in the case against the accused.(People vs. hypothesis consistent with his innocence (People
Fulgarillas, 212 SCRA 76, 80 [1992]) The vs. Tanchoco; 76 Phil. 463 [1946]; People vs.
testimony of prosecution witness P03 Rogelio Constante, 12 SCRA 653 [1964]; People vs. Jara,
Francisco that Veneracion Luna, the alleged 144 SCRA 516 [1986]). The facts of the case do
poseur-buyer, bought shabu from accused- not rule out the hypothesis that accused-
appellant was derived solely from what Luna appellant is innocent.
supposedly told him (pp. 19-20, tsn., December
11, 1991) and, therefore, is patently hearsay 4. ID.; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; JUDGMENT;
evidence, without any evidentiary weight ACCUSED CANNOT BE CONVICTED OF CRIME
whatsoever. Likewise, the statements of NOT CHARGED IN THE INFORMATION.
prosecution witnesses Policemen Reynaldo de la Accused-appellant cannot be convicted of
Cruz, Raymundo Untiveros, and Eduardo Novera, possession of the shabu contained in a canister
Jr. as to the alleged sale of shabu are hearsay, and allegedly seized at his house, for the charge
without weight, as all of them were not present against him was for selling shabu with the
during the alleged sale. information alleging that the "accused, without
legal authority did Hydrocholoride." Sale is totally
2. ID.; ID.; CREDIBILITY OF WITNESSES; IN different from possession. Article 1458 of the Civil
CASE AT BAR, PROSECUTION'S VERSION OF Code defines sale as a contract whereby "one of
"BUY-BUST" OPERATION HIGHLY the contracting parties obligates himself to
INCREDIBLE. According to the version of the transfer the ownership of and to deliver a
prosecution, during the alleged buy-bust determinate thing, and the other to pay therefor
operation, accused-appellant handed over to a price certain in money or its equivalent", while
Veneracion Luna, the alleged poseur-buyer, a "possession is the holding of a thing or the
quantity of shabu, and Luna in turn paid accused- enjoyment of a right" as defined by Article 523 of
appellant a marked 100 bill and then returned to the Civil Code. Accused-appellant cannot be
the police station and informed the raiding team convicted of a crime which is not charged in the
that he had already bought the shabu from information for to do so would deny him the due
accused-appellant. Thereupon, the raiding team process of law (People vs. Despavellador, 2 SCRA
proceeded to the house of accused-appellant to 205 [1961]; People vs. Mori, 55 SCRA 382
implement the search warrant. The version of the [1974]).
prosecution is highly incredible. The record is
devoid of any reason why the police officers did 5. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS;
not make any attempt to arrest accused- RIGHT AGAINST UNREASONABLE SEARCHES
appellant at the time he allegedly sold the shabu AND SEIZURES; EXCLUSION IN EVIDENCE OF
to Veneracion Luna who was accompanied by ILLEGALLY SEIZED ARTICLES. The search
another police officer. That was the opportune warrant implemented by the raiding party
moment to arrest accused-appellant. The version authorized only the search and seizure of ".. the
foisted by the prosecution upon this Court is described quantity of Methamphetamine
contrary to human experience in the ordinary Hydrochloride commonly known as shabu and its
course of human conduct. The usual procedure in paraphernalia" (Exh. O, p. 50, original record).
a buy-bust operation is for the police officers to Thus, the raiding party was authorized to seize
arrest the pusher of drugs at the very moment he only shabu and paraphernalia for the use thereof
hands over the dangerous drug to the poseur- and no other. A search warrant is not a sweeping
buyer. That is the every reason why such a police authority empowering a raiding party to
operation is called a "buy-bust" operation. The undertake a fishing expedition to seize and
police poseur-buyer "buys" dangerous drugs from confiscate any and all kinds of evidence or
the pusher and "bust" (arrests) him the moment articles relating to a crime. The Constitution itself
the pusher hands over the drug to the police (Section 2, Article III) and the Rules of Court
officer. (Section 3, Rule 126) specifically mandate that
the search warrant must particularly describe the
3. ID.; ID.; WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF things to be seized. Thus, the search warrant was
EVIDENCE; IN CASE AT BAR, PRESUMPTION no authority for the police officers to seize the
OF INNOCENCE IN FAVOR OF ACCUSED NOT firearm which was not mentioned, much less
OVERTHROWN. The manner the police described with particularly, in the search warrant.
officers conducted the subsequent and much- Neither may it be maintained that the gun was
delayed search is highly irregular. Upon barging seized in the course of an arrest, for as earlier
into the residence of accused-appellant, the observed, accused-appellant's arrest was far from
police officers found him lying down and they regular and legal. Said firearm, having been
34 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
illegally seized, the same is not admissible in
evidence (Stonehill vs. Diokno, 20 SCRA 383 The shabu, the One Hundred Peso bill and other
[1967]). The Constitution expressly ordains the paraphernalia are hereby ordered confiscated in
exclusion in evidence of illegally seized articles. favor of the government.
Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the
preceding section shall be inadmissible for any (pp. 28-29, Rollo.)
purpose in any proceeding.(Section 3 [2], Article From said decision, the instant appeal has been
III, Constitution of the Republic of the interposed.
Philippines).With the exclusion in evidence of the
illegally seized firearm, there is, therefore, a total
absence of evidence to support the charge of
illegal possession of firearm, against accused- The prosecution's version of the case, as set forth
appellant. The same way may be said of the in appellee's brief, is as follows:
charge of illegal possession of ammunition.
Upon application of SPO3 Raymundo Untiveros of
DECISION the Philippine National Police (PNP) of Cavite City,
MELO, J p: Regional Trial Court Judge Arturo de Guia issued
Normando del Rosario was charged before Branch in the morning of September 4, 1991 a search
17 of the Regional Trial Court of the Fourth warrant (Exh. T, p. 50, Rec. Crim. Case No. 237-
Judicial Region stationed in Cavite City with Illegal 91) authorizing the search and seizure of an
Possession of Firearm and Ammunitions in "undetermined quantity of Methamphetamine
Criminal Case No. 236-91 and Illegal Sale of Hydrocholoride commonly known as shabu and
Regulated Drugs in Criminal Case No. 237-91, its paraphernalias" in the premises of appellant's
under two informations reading, respectively, as house located at 828 R. Basa St., San Roque,
follows: Cavite City. However, the search warrant was not
implemented immediately due to the lack of
Criminal Case No. 236-91 police personnel to form the raiding team (pp. 4,
7, tsn., Feb. 4, 1992). cdrep
That on or about September 4, 1991, in the City
of Cavite, Republic of the Philippines and within At about 9 o'clock in the evening of that day, a
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the raiding team was finally organized. SPO3
above-named accused, without legal authority, Untiveros headed the raiding team with PO3
did, then and there, willfully, unlawfully, Rogelio Francisco, SPO1 Eduardo Novero, SPO3
feloniously and knowingly have in his possession Reynaldo de la Cruz, PO1 Carlito Barbuco, PO3
and control a homemade (paltik) caliber 22 Onrubio and SPO2 Villegas as members (pp. 5,
revolver with three (3) live ammunition. cdrep 10, tsn., Feb. 4, 1992; p. 7, tsn., Dec. 11, 1991).

Contrary to law. In the final briefing of the raiding team at the


police station, it was agreed upon that PO1
Criminal Case No. 237-91 Venerando Luna will buy shabu from appellant
and after his return from appellant's house, the
That on or about September 4, 1991, in the City raiding team will implement the search warrant
of Cavite, Republic of the Philippines and within (p. 10, tsn., Feb. 4, 1992; p. 17-18, tsn., Dec. 11,
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the 1991). A marked money consisting of a P100 bill
above-named accused, without legal authority, bearing serial no. PQ 329406 (Exh. P, p. 51, Rec.)
did, then and there, willfully, unlawfully, was given by the Station Commander to PO1
feloniously and knowingly sell to a poseur buyer Luna and entered in the police logbook (p. 12,
and aluminum foil containing Methamphetamine Feb. 4, 1992). PO1 Luna with a companion
Hydrochloride also known as "Shabu", a regulated proceeded to appellant's house to implement the
drug. search warrant. Barangay Capt. Maigue, Norma
del Rosario and appellant witnessed the search at
Contrary to law. appellant's house (p. 10, tsn., Dec. 11, 1991).
SPO3 de la Cruz and PO3 Francisco found a black
(pp. 20-21, Rollo.) canister containing shabu, an aluminum foil,
Upon arraignment, accused-appellant pleaded plastik .22 caliber (Exh. O) atop the TV set, three
not guilty to both charges, and after joint trial of used ammunition in a cup and three wallets
the two cases, the court a quo rendered a (Exhs. Q, R, S), one containing the marked money
decision, the dispositive portion of which reads: (Exh. P; pp. 11-12, tsn., Dec. 11, 1991). SPO1
Novero found inside a show box aluminum foils,
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court napkins and a burner (p. 9, tsn., March 11, 1992).
finds the accused Normando del Rosario y Lopez SPO3 de la Cruz turned over the wallet containing
guilty beyond reasonable doubt in the above- the marked money to PO3 Onrubio (p. 8, tsn., Jan.
entitled cases and he is hereby sentenced to 7, 1992). The seized items were photographed
undergo imprisonment: in Crim. Case No. 236-91 thereat by Fred Agana and then turned over to
for Violation of P.D. 1866 of Seventeen (17) years, PO3 Onrubio (pp. 8, 32, tsn., Jan. 7, 1992). SPO3
Four (4) months and One (1) day of reclusion Untiveros issued receipts (Exhs. V, V-1, pp. 53-54,
temporal, as minimum to Twenty (20) years of Rc.) for the seized items with Barangay Capt.
reclusion temporal, as maximum and in Crim. Maigue and appellant's sister Norma as signing
Case No. 237-91 for a Violation of Section 15, witnesses. He also made a return (Exh. U, p. 52,
Article III of Republic Act 6425, as amended of life Rec.) of the seized items to the court (pp. 11-155,
imprisonment and to pay a fine of P30,000.00, tsn., Feb. 18, 1992).
without subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency and to pay the costs in both cases.
35 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
At police station, the seized items were taped and According to the version of the prosecution,
initialed by SPO3 de la Cruz (p. 33, tsn., Jan. 7, during the alleged buy-bust operation, accused-
1992). The next day, SPO4 Pilapil, through PO1 appellant handed over to Veneracion Luna, the
Barbuco, forwarded to NBI Forensic Chemist Mary alleged poseur-buyer, a quantity of shabu, and
Ann Aranas for laboratory analysis the aluminum Luna in turn paid accused-appellant a marked
foil (Exhs. A, J, pp. 37, 46, Rec.) containing 100 bill and then returned to the police station
suspected shabu bought by PO1 Luna from and informed the raiding team that he had
appellant in the buy-bus operation as well as the already bought the shabu from accused-
aluminum foils (Exhs. G, K, pp. 43, 47, Rec.) appellant. Thereupon, the raiding team
containing suspected marijuana which were proceeded to the house of accused-appellant to
confiscated by virtue of the search warrant. implement the search warrant. The version of the
prosecution is highly incredible. The record is
The findings of NBI Forensic Chemist Aranas devoid of any reason why the police officers did
disclosed that all the specimen submitted to her not make any attempt to arrest accused-
for laboratory analysis by SPO1 Pilapil, thru PO1 appellant at the time he allegedly sold the shabu
Barbuco, gave positive results for to Veneracion Luna who was accompanied by
Methamphetamine Hydrocholoride (pp. 2-9, tsn., another police officer. That was the opportune
Dec. 3, 1991; Exh. B, C, H, I, pp. 38, 39, 44, 45, moment to arrest accused-appellant. The version
Rec.). foisted by the prosecution upon this Court is
contrary to human experience in the ordinary
(pp. 102-105, Rollo.) course of human conduct. The usual procedure in
Carefully evaluation the evidence on record, we a buy-bust operation is for the police officers to
believe that the prosecution has failed to prove arrest the pusher of drugs at the very moment he
the guilt of accused-appellant. Much is to be hands over the dangerous drug to the poseur-
desired in the manner the police authorities buyer. That is the every reason why such a police
effected the arrest of accused-appellant and the operation is called a "buy-bust" operation. The
same observation may be made with regard to police poseur-buyer "buys" dangerous drugs from
the way the prosecution conducted its case. Cdpr the pusher and "bust" (arrests) him the moment
the pusher hands over the drug to the police
Foremost among the inadequacies of the officer.
prosecution is its failure to call to the witness
stand P01 Verando Luna, the alleged poseur- We thus entertain serious doubts that the shabu
buyer. There is, thus, a total absence of evidence contained in a small canister was actually seized
to establish the purported sale of shabu by or confiscated at the residence of accused-
accused-appellant to Venerando Luna, the appellant. in consequence, the manner the police
supposed poseur-buyer. The omission to present officers conducted the subsequent and much-
the poseur-buyer casts serious doubts that an delayed search is highly irregular. Upon barging
illegal sale of a dangerous drug actually took into the residence of accused-appellant, the
place. police officers found him lying down and they
immediately arrested and detained him in the
The trial court gave much weight to the living room while they searched the other parts of
testimonies of the police members of the buy- the house. Although they fetched two persons to
bust operation. However, the prosecution did not witness the search, the witnesses were called in
present as witness the supposed poseur-buyer. only after the policemen had already entered
Such omission casts serious doubt on appellant's accused-appellant's residence (pp. 22-23, tsn,
guilt because without the testimony of the December 11, 1991), and, therefore, the
poseur-buyer, there is not convincing evidence to policemen had more than ample time to plant the
show that appellant sold marijuana. The shabu. Corollary to the constitutional precept
testimonies of the rest of the buy-bust operation that, in all criminal prosecutions, the accused
are hearsay in view of the fact that the poseur- shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is
buyer was never presented at the trial. There was proved (Sec. 14(2), Article III, Constitution of the
even no testimony that when the accused- Republic of the Philippines) is the rule that in
appellant handed the stuff to the poseur-buyer order to convict an accused the circumstances of
that the latter in turn handed the marked money. the case must exclude all and each and every
The failure of the prosecution to present the hypothesis consistent with his innocence (People
alleged buyer of the marijuana was a fatal flaw in vs. Tanchoco; 76 Phil. 463 [1946]; People vs.
the case against the accused. Constante, 12 SCRA 653 [1964]; People vs. Jara,
144 SCRA 516 [1986]). The facts of the case do
(People vs. Fulgarillas, 212 SCRA 76, 80 [1992]) not rule out the hypothesis that accused-
The testimony of prosecution witness P03 Rogelio appellant is innocent.
Francisco that Veneracion Luna, the alleged
poseur-buyer, bought shabu from accused- At any rate, accused-appellant cannot be
appellant was derived solely from what Luna convicted of possession of the shabu contained in
supposedly told him (pp. 19-20, tsn., December a canister and allegedly seized at his house, for
11, 1991) and, therefore, is patently hearsay the charge against him was for selling shabu with
evidence, without any evidentiary weight the information alleging that the "accused,
whatsoever. Likewise, the statements of without legal authority did . . . sell to a poseur
prosecution witnesses Policemen Reynaldo de la buyer an aluminum foil containing
Cruz, Raymundo Untiveros, and Eduardo Novera, Methamphetamine Hydrocholoride . . .". Sale is
Jr. as to the alleged sale of shabu are hearsay, totally different from possession. Article 1458 of
without weight, as all of them were not present the Civil Code defines sale as a contract whereby
during the alleged sale. "one of the contracting parties obligates himself
to transfer the ownership of and to deliver a
36 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
determinate thing, and the other to pay therefor SO ORDERED.
a price certain in money or its equivalent", while
"possession is the holding of a thing or the Feliciano, Bidin, Romero and Vitug, JJ., concur.
enjoyment of a right" as defined by Article 523 of
the Civil Code. Accused-appellant cannot be (Umil v. Ramos, G.R. No. 81567, 84581-82,
convicted of a crime which is not charged in the 84583-84, 83162, 85727, 86332, July 09,
information for to do so would deny him the due 1990)
process of law (People vs. Despavellador, 2 SCRA
205 [1961]; People vs. Mori, 55 SCRA 382 EN BANC
[1974]). LLpr
[G.R. No. 81567. July 9, 1990.]
Neither can accused-appellant be convicted of IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS
illegal possession of firearm and ammunition. The CORPUS OF ROBERTO UMIL, ROLANDO DURAL
search warrant implemented by the raiding party and RENATO VILLANUEVA. MANOLITA O. UMIL,
authorized only the search and seizure of ". . . the and NICANOR P. DURAL, FELICITAS V. SESE,
described quantity of Methamphetamine petitioners, vs. FIDEL V. RAMOS, MAJ. GEN.
Hydrochloride commonly known as shabu and its RENATO DE VILLA, BRIG. GEN. RAMON MONTANO,
paraphernalia" (Exh. O, p. 50, original record). BRIG. GEN. ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, respondents.
Thus, the raiding party was authorized to seize
only shabu and paraphernalia for the use thereof [G.R. Nos. 84581-82. July 9, 1990.]
and no other. A search warrant is not a sweeping AMELIA ROQUE and WILFREDO BUENAOBRA,
authority empowering a raiding party to petitioners, vs. GEN. RENATO DE VILLA and GEN.
undertake a fishing expedition to seize and RAMON MONTANO, respondents.
confiscate any and all kinds of evidence or
articles relating to a crime. The Constitution itself [G.R. Nos. 84583-84. July 9, 1990.]
(Section 2, Article III) and the Rules of Court IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS
(Section 3, Rule 126) specifically mandate that CORPUS OF ATTY. DOMINGO T. ANONUEVO and
the search warrant must particularly describe the RAMON CASIPLE. DOMINGO T. ANONUEVO and
things to be seized. Thus, the search warrant was RAMON CASIPLE, petitioners, vs. HON. FIDEL V.
no authority for the police officers to seize the RAMOS, GEN. RENATO S. DE VILLA, COL.
firearm which was not mentioned, much less EVARISTO CARINO, LT. COL. REX D. PIAD, T/ SGT.
described with particularly, in the search warrant. CONRADO DE TORRES, S/SGT. ARNOLD DURIAN,
Neither may it be maintained that the gun was and Commanding Officer, PC-INP Detention
seized in the course of an arrest, for as earlier Center, Camp Crame, Quezon City, respondents.
observed, accused-appellant's arrest was far from
regular and legal. Said firearm, having been [G.R. No. 83162. July 9, 1990.]
illegally seized, the same is not admissible in IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION FOR
evidence (Stonehill vs. Diokno, 20 SCRA 383 HABEAS CORPUS OF VICKY A. OCAYA AND DANNY
[1967]). The Constitution expressly ordains the RIVERA. VIRGILIO A. OCAYA, petitioner, vs. BRIG.
exclusion in evidence of illegally seized articles. GEN. ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, COL., HERCULES
CATALUNA, COL. NESTOR MARIANO, respondents.

[G.R. No. 85727. July 9, 1990.]


Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the IN THE MATTER OF APPLICATION FOR HABEAS
preceding section shall be inadmissible for any CORPUS OF: DEOGRACIAS ESPIRITU, petitioner,
purpose in any proceeding. vs. BRIG. GEN. ALFREDO S. LIM, COL. RICARDO
REYES, respondents.
(Section 3 [2], Article III, Constitution of the
Republic of the Philippines). [G.R. No. 86332. July 9, 1990.]
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS
With the exclusion in evidence of the illegally CORPUS OF NARCISO B. NAZARENO, ALFREDO
seized firearm, there is, therefore, a total absence NAZARENO, petitioner, vs. THE STATION
of evidence to support the charge of illegal COMMANDER OF THE MUNTINGLUPA POLICE
possession of firearm, against accused-appellant. STATION, Muntinglupa, Metro Manila, P/SGT.
Cdpr JACINTO MEDINA, P/SGT. ELADIO TAGLE, P/SGT.
LEVI SOLEDAD, and P/SGT. MAURO AROJADO,
The same way may be said of the charge of respondents.
illegal possession of ammunition. Efren H. Mercado for petitioners in G.R. No.
81567.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is
hereby REVERSED and accused-appellant is Ricardo C. Valmonte for petitioners in G.R. Nos.
hereby ACQUITTED in Criminal Case No. 236-91 84581-82.
and Criminal Case No. 237-91. Ramon S. Esguerra Barbara Anne C. Migallos and
Agripino G. Morga for petitioners in G.R. Nos.
The immediate release of accused-appellant is 84583-84.
hereby ordered unless there exists of pending Efren H. Mercado for petitioner in G.R. No. 83162.
valid cause against him. Cdpr Banzuela, Flores, Miralles, Raneses, Sy, Taquio &
Associates for petitioner in G.R. No. 85727.
The shabu, the marked P100 bill, firearm, and Josefina G. Campbell-Castillo for petitioners in
ammunition are hereby ordered confiscated in G.R. No. 86332.
favor of the government. The Solicitor General for the respondents.

DECISION
37 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
has committed it. The rationale behind lawful
PER CURIAM p: arrests, without warrant, was stated by this Court
These are eight (8) petitions for habeas corpus in the case of People vs. Kagui Malasugui 1 thus:
filed before the Court, which have been
consolidated because of the similarity of issues "To hold that no criminal can, in any case, be
raised, praying for the issuance of the writ of arrested and searched for the evidence and
habeas corpus, ordering the respective tokens of his crime without a warrant, would be to
respondents to produce the bodies of the persons leave society, to a large extent, at the mercy of
named therein and to explain why they should the shrewdest, the most expert, and the most
not be set at liberty without further delay. depraved of criminals, facilitating their escape in
many instances."
In their respective Returns, the respondents
uniformly assert that the privilege of the writ of The record of the instant cases would show that
habeas corpus is not available to the petitioners the persons in whose behalf these petitions for
as they have been legally arrested and are habeas corpus have been filed, had freshly
detained by virtue of valid informations filed in committed or were actually committing an
court against them. LexLib offense, when apprehended, so that their arrests
without a warrant were clearly justified, and that
The petitioners counter that their detention is they are, further, detained by virtue of valid
unlawful as their arrests were made without informations filed against them in court.
warrant and, that no preliminary investigation
was first conducted, so that the informations filed A brief narration of the facts and events
against them are null and void. surrounding each of the eight (8) petitions is in
order.
The Court has carefully reviewed the contentions
of the parties in their respective pleadings, and it I
finds that the persons detained have not been In G.R. No. 81567 (Umil vs. Ramos), the record
illegally arrested nor arbitrarily deprived of their shows that, on 1 February 1988, the Regional
constitutional right to liberty, and that the Intelligence Operations Unit of the Capital
circumstances attending these cases do not Command (RIOU-CAPCOM) received confidential
warrant their release on habeas corpus. information about a member of the NPA Sparrow
Unit (liquidation squad) being treated for a
The arrest of a person without a warrant of arrest gunshot wound at the St. Agnes Hospital in
or previous complaint is recognized in law. The Roosevelt Avenue, Quezon City. Upon verification,
occasions or instances when such an arrest may it was found that the wounded person, who was
be effected are clearly spelled out in Section 5, listed in the hospital records as Ronnie Javelon, is
Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, as amended, actually Rolando Dural, a member of the NPA
which provides: liquidation squad, responsible for the killing of
two (2) CAPCOM soldiers the day before, or on 31
"Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A January 1988, in Macanining Street, Bagong
peace officer or a private person may, without a Barrio, Caloocan City. In view of this verification,
warrant, arrest a person: Rolando Dural was transferred to the Regional
Medical Services of the CAPCOM, for security
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be reasons. While confined thereat, or on 4 February
arrested has committed, is actually committing, 1988, Rolando Dural was positively identified by
or is attempting to commit en offense; eyewitnesses as the gunman who went on top of
the hood of the CAPCOM mobile patrol car, and
(b) When an offense has in fact just been fired at the two (2) CAPCOM soldiers seated
committed, and he has personal knowledge of inside the car identified as T/Sgt. Carlos Pabon
facts indicating that the person to be arrested has and CIC Renato Manligot.
committed it; and
As a consequence of this positive identification,
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner Rolando Dural was referred to the Caloocan City
who has escaped from a penal establishment or Fiscal who conducted an inquest and thereafter
place where he is serving final judgment or filed with the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City
temporarily confined while his case is pending, or an information charging Rolando Dural alias
has escaped while being transferred from one Ronnie Javelon with the crime of "Double Murder
confinement to another. with Assault Upon Agents of Persons in Authority."
The case was docketed therein as Criminal Case
In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) No. C-30112 and no bail was recommended. On
hereof, the person arrested without a warrant 15 February 1988, the information was amended
shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police to include, as defendant, Bernardo Itucal, Jr. who,
station or jail, and he shall be proceeded against at the filing of the original information, was still
in accordance with Rule 112, Section 7." unidentified. cdphil

An arrest without a warrant of arrest, under Meanwhile, on 6 February 1988, a petition for
Section 5 paragraphs (a) and (b) of Rule 113 of habeas corpus was filed with this Court on behalf
the Rules of Court, as amended, is justified when of Roberto Umil, Rolando Dural, and Renato
the person arrested is caught in flagranti delicto, Villanueva. The Court issued the writ of habeas
viz., in the act of committing an offense; or when corpus on 9 February 1988 and the respondents
an offense has just been committed and the filed a Return of the Writ on 12 February 1988.
person making the arrest has personal knowledge Thereafter, the parties were heard on 15 February
of the facts indicating that the person arrested 1988.
38 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
The arrest or capture is thus impelled by the
On 26 February 1988, however, Roberto Umil and exigencies of the situation that involves the very
Renato Villanueva posted bail before the Regional survival of society and its government and duly
Trial Court of Pasay City where charges for constituted authorities. If killing and other acts of
violation of the Anti-Subversion Act had been filed violence against the rebels find justification in the
against them, and they were accordingly exigencies of armed hostilities which is of the
released. The petition for habeas corpus, insofar essence of waging a rebellion or insurrection,
as Umil and Villanueva are concerned, is now most assuredly so in case of invasion, merely
moot and academic and is accordingly dismissed, seizing their persons and detaining them while
since the writ of habeas corpus does not lie in any of these contingencies continue cannot be
favor of an accused in a criminal case who has less justified. . . ." 3
been released on bail. 2
The record, moreover, shows that the criminal
As to Rolando Dural,it clearly appears that he was case filed against Rolando Dural and Bernardo
not arrested while in the act of shooting the two Itucal, Jr. for "Double Murder, etc." was tried in
(2) CAPCOM soldiers aforementioned. Nor was he the court below and at the conclusion thereof, or
arrested just after the commission of the said on 17 August 1988, Rolando Dural and Bernardo
offense for his arrest came a day after the said Itucal, Jr. were found guilty of the charge and
shooting incident. Seemingly, his arrest without sentenced accordingly. Rolando Dural is now
warrant is unjustified. serving the sentence imposed upon him by the
trial court. Thus, the writ of habeas corpus is no
However, Rolando Dural was arrested for being a longer available to him. For, as held in the early
member of the New Peoples Army (NPA), an case of U.S. vs. Wilson: 4
outlawed subversive organization. Subversion
being a continuing offense, the arrest of Rolando "In this case, whatever may be said about the
Dural without warrant is justified as it can be said manner of his arrest, the fact remains that the
that he was committing an offense when defendant was actually in court in the custody of
arrested. The crimes of rebellion, subversion, the law on March 29, when a complaint sufficient
conspiracy or proposal to commit such crimes, in form and substance was read to him. To this he
and crimes or offenses committed in furtherance pleaded not guilty. The trial followed, in which,
thereof or in connection therewith constitute and in the judgment of guilty pronounced by the
direct assaults against the State and are in the court, we find no error. Whether, if there were
nature of continuing crimes. As stated by the irregularities in bringing him personally before
Court in an earlier case: the court, he could have been released on a writ
of habeas corpus or now has a civil action for
"From the facts as above-narrated, the claim of damages against the person who arrested him we
the petitioners that they were initially arrested need not inquire. It is enough to say that such
illegally is, therefore, without basis in law and in irregularities are not sufficient to set aside a valid
fact. The crimes of insurrection or rebellion, judgment rendered upon a sufficient complaint
subversion, conspiracy or proposal to commit and after a trial free from error."
such crimes, and other crimes and offenses
committed in the furtherance, on the occasion II
thereof, or incident thereto, or in connection In G.R. Nos. 84581-82 (Roque vs. De Villa), the
therewith under Presidential Proclamation No. arrest of Amelia Roque and Wilfredo Buenaobra,
2045, are all in the nature of continuing offenses without warrant, is also justified. When
which set them apart from the common offenses, apprehended at the house of Renato Constantino
aside from their essentially involving a massive in Marikina Heights, Marikina, Metro Manila,
conspiracy of nationwide magnitude. Clearly Wilfredo Buenaobra admitted that he was an NPA
then, the arrest of the herein detainees was well courier and he had with him letters to Renato
within the bounds of the law and existing Constantino and other members of the rebel
jurisprudence in our jurisdiction. group. Amelia Roque, upon the other hand, was a
member of the National United Front Commission,
in charge of finance, and admitted ownership of
subversive documents found in the house of her
2. The arrest of persons involved in the rebellion sister in Caloocan City. She was also in possession
whether as its fighting armed elements, or for of ammunition and a fragmentation grenade for
committing non-violent acts but in furtherance of which she had no permit or authority to possess.
the rebellion, is more an act of capturing them in LLpr
the course of an armed conflict, to quell the
rebellion, than for the purpose of immediately The record of these two (2) cases shows that on
prosecuting them in court for a statutory offense. 27 June 1988, one Rogelio Ramos y Ibanes, a
The arrest, therefore, need not follow the usual member of the NPA, who had surrendered to the
procedure in the prosecution of offenses which military authorities, told military agents about the
requires the determination by a judge of the operations of the Communist Party of the
existence of probable cause before the issuance Philippines (CPP) and the New Peoples Army
of a judicial warrant of arrest and the granting of (NPA) in Metro Manila. He identified some of his
bail if the offense is bailable. Obviously, the former comrades as "Ka Mong", a staff member
absence of a judicial warrant is no legal of the Communications and Transportation
impediment to arresting or capturing persons Bureau; "Ka Nelia" a staff member in charge of
committing overt acts of violence against finance; "Ka Miller", an NPA courier from Sorsogon
government forces, or any other milder acts but and Lopez, Quezon; "Ka Ted", and "Ka Totoy". He
equally in pursuance of the rebellious movement. also pointed to a certain house occupied by
Renato Constantino located in the Villaluz
39 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
Compound, Molave St., Marikina Heights, (3) Handwritten letter addressed to "Suzie" from
Marikina, Metro Manila, which is used as a "Vic", dated August 11, 1988.
safehouse of the National United Front
Commission (NUFC) of the CPP-NPA. Also found in Buenaobra's possession was a piece
of paper containing a written but jumbled
In view of these revelations, the Constantino telephone number of Florida M. Roque, sister of
house was placed under military surveillance and Amelia Roque alias "Ka Nelia", at 69 Geronimo
on 12 August 1988, pursuant to a search warrant St., Caloocan City. Acting on the lead provided as
issued by Judge Eutropio Migrino of the Regional to the whereabouts of Amelia Roque, the military
Trial Court of Pasig, a search of the house was agents went to the given address the next day
conducted at about 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon, (13 August 1988). They arrived at the place at
by a combined team of the Criminal Investigation about 11:00 o'clock in the morning. After
Service, National Capital District (CIS-NCD) and identifying themselves as military agents and
the Constabulary Security Group (CSG). In the after seeking permission to search the place,
course of the search, the following articles were which was granted, the military agents conducted
found and taken under proper receipt: a search in the presence of the occupants of the
house and the barangay captain of the place, one
a) One (1 ) Colt M1 6A1 long rifle with defaced Jesus D. Olba.
serial number;
The military agents found the place to be another
b) One (1) Cal. .380 ACT/9mm Model PPK 8 SN: safehouse of the NUFC/CPP. They found ledgers,
260577 & 2605778; journals, vouchers, bank deposit books, folders,
computer diskettes, and subversive documents
c) Two (2) fragmentation hand grenades; as well as live ammunition for a .38 SPL
Winchester, 11 rounds of live ammunition for a
d) Fifty-six (56) live ammunition for Cal. 5.56mm; cal. .45, 19 rounds of live ammunition for an M16
Rifle, and a fragmentation grenade. As a result,
e) Five (5) live ammunition for Cal. .380; Amelia Roque and the other occupants of the
house were brought to the PC-CIS Headquarters
f) One (1) ICOM VHF FM Radio Transceiver SN: at Camp Crame, Quezon City, for investigation.
14903 Amelia Roque admitted to the investigators that
the voluminous documents belonged to her and
g) One (1) Regulated power supply 220V AC; that the other occupants of the house had no
knowledge of them. As a result, the said other
h) One (1) Antennae (adjustable); occupants of the house were released from
custody.
i) One (1 ) Speaker with cord ALEXAR;
On 15 August 1988, Amelia Roque was brought to
j) Voluminous Subversive documents. the Caloocan City Fiscal for inquest after which an
information charging her with violation of PD
When confronted, Renato Constantino could not 1866 was filed with the Regional Trial Court of
produce any permit or authority to possess the Caloocan City. The case is docketed therein as
firearms, ammunition, radio and other Criminal Case No. C-1196. Another information
communications equipment. Hence, he was for violation of the Anti-Subversion Act was filed
brought to the CIS Headquarters for investigation. against Amelia Roque before the Metropolitan
When questioned, he refused to give a written Trial Court of Caloocan City, which is docketed
statement, although he admitted that he was a therein as Criminal Case No. C-150458.
staff member of the executive committee of the
NUFC and a ranking member of the International An information for violation of the Anti-Subversion
Department of the Communist Party of the Act was filed against Wilfredo Buenaobra before
Philippines (CPP). the Metropolitan Trial Court of Marikina, Metro
Manila. The case is docketed therein as Criminal
At about 8:00 o'clock in the evening of the same Case No. 23715. Bail was set at P4,000.00.
day (12 August 1988), Wilfredo Buenaobra
arrived at the house of Renato Constantino in the On 24 August 1988, a petition for habeas corpus
Villaluz Compound. When accosted, he readily was filed before this Court on behalf of Amelia
admitted to the military agents that he is a Roque and Wilfredo Buenaobra. At the hearing of
regular member of the CPP/NPA and that he went the case, however, Wilfredo Buenaobra
to the place to deliver letters to "Ka Mong", manifested his desire to stay in the PC-INP
referring to Renato Constantino, and other Stockade at Camp Crame, Quezon City.
members of the rebel group. On further Accordingly, the petition for habeas corpus filed
questioning, he also admitted that he is known as on his behalf is now moot and academic. Only the
"Ka Miller" and that he was from Barangay San petition of Amelia Roque remains for resolution.
Pedro, Lopez, Quezon. Among the items taken LLjur
from him were the following:
The contention of respondents that petitioners
(1) Handwritten letter addressed to "Ka Bing & Roque and Buenaobra are officers and or
Co. from A & Co." dated August 11, 1988; members of the National United Front
Commission (NUFC) of the CPP was not
(2) Handwritten letter addressed to "ROD from controverted or traversed by said petitioners. The
VIC (Schell datre)" dated August 11, 1988; contention must be deemed admitted. 5 As
officers and/ or members of the NUFC-CPP, their
arrest, without warrant, was justified for the same
40 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
reasons earlier stated vis-a-vis Rolando Dural. The
arrest without warrant of Roque was additionally The petitioners' (Anonuevo and Casiple) claim
justified as she was, at the time of apprehension, that they were unlawfully arrested because there
in possession of ammunitions without license to was no previous warrant of arrest, is without
possess them. merit. The record shows that Domingo Anonuevo
and Ramon Casiple were carrying unlicensed
III firearms and ammunition in their person when
In G.R. Nos. 84583-84 (Anonuevo vs. Ramos), the they were apprehended.
arrest of Domingo Anonuevo and Ramon Casiple,
without warrant, is also justified under the rules. There is also no merit in the contention that the
Both are admittedly members of the standing informations filed against them are null and void
committee of the NUFC and, when apprehended for want of a preliminary investigation. The filing
in the house of Renato Constantino, they had a of an information, without a preliminary
bag containing subversive materials, and both investigation having been first conducted, is
carried firearms and ammunition for which they sanctioned by the Rules. Sec. 7, Rule 112 of the
had no license to possess or carry. Rules of Court, as amended, reads:

The record of these two (2) cases shows that at "Sec. 7. When accused lawfully arrested without a
about 7:30 o'clock in the evening of 13 August warrant. When a person is lawfully arrested
1988, Domingo T. Anonuevo and Ramon Casiple without a warrant for an offense cognizable by
arrived at the house of Renato Constantino at the Regional Trial Court the complaint or
Marikina Heights, Marikina, which was still under information may be filed by the offended party,
surveillance by military agents. The military peace officer or fiscal without a preliminary
agents noticed bulging objects on their waist investigation having been first conducted, on the
lines. When frisked, the agents found them to be basis of the affidavit of the offended party or
loaded guns. Anonuevo and Casiple were asked arresting officer or person.
to show their permit or license to possess or carry
firearms and ammunition, but they could not However, before the filing of such complaint or
produce any. Hence, they were brought to PC information, the person arrested may ask for a
Headquarters for investigation. Found in their preliminary investigation by a proper officer in
possession were the following articles: accordance with this Rule, but he must sign a
waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended, with the
assistance of a lawyer and in case of non-
a) Voluminous subversive documents availability of a lawyer, a responsible person of
his choice. Notwithstanding such waiver, he may
b) One (1) Cal. 7.65 MOD 83 2C Pistol SN: 001412 apply for bail as provided in the corresponding
with one (1) magazine for Cal. 7.65 containing rule and the investigation must be terminated
ten (10) live ammunition of same caliber; within fifteen (15) days from its inception.

c) One (1) Cal. 7.65 Pietro Barreta SN; A18868 If the case has been filed in court without a
last digit tampered with one (1) magazine preliminary investigation having been first
containing five (5) live ammunition of same conducted, the accused may within five (5) days
caliber. from the time he learns of the filing of the
information, ask for a preliminary investigation
At the PC Stockade, Domingo Anonuevo was with the same right to adduce evidence in his
identified as "KaTed", and Ramon Casiple as "Ka favor in the manner prescribed in this Rule."
Totoy" of the CPP, by their comrades who had
previously surrendered to the military. The petitioners Domingo Anonuevo and Ramon
Casiple, however, refused to sign a waiver of the
On 15 August 1988, the record of the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal
investigation and other documentary evidence Code, as amended. In the informations filed
were forwarded to the Provincial Fiscal at Pasig, against them, the prosecutor made identical
Metro Manila, who conducted an inquest, after certifications, as follows:
which Domingo Anonuevo and Ramon Casiple
were charged with violation of Presidential Decree "This is to certify that the accused has been
No. 1866 before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, charged in accordance with Sec. 7, Rule 112 of
Metro Manila. The cases are docketed therein as the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, that no
Criminal Cases Nos. 74386 and 74387, preliminary investigation was conducted because
respectively. No bail was recommended. the accused has not made and signed a waiver of
the provisions of Art. 125 of the Revised Penal
On 24 August 1988, a petition for habeas corpus Code, as amended; that based on the evidence
was filed with this Court on behalf of Domingo presented, there is reasonable ground to believe
Anonuevo and Ramon Casiple, alleging that the that the crime has been committed, and that the
said Anonuevo and Casiple were unlawfully accused is probably guilty thereof."
arrested without a warrant and that the
informations filed against them are null and void Nor did petitioners ask for a preliminary
for having been filed without prior hearing and investigation after the informations had been
preliminary investigation. On 30 August 1988, the filed against them in court. Petitioners cannot
Court issued the writ of habeas corpus, and after now claim that they have been deprived of their
the respondents had filed a Return of the Writ, constitutional right to due process.
the parties were heard.
IV
41 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
In G.R. No. 83162 (Ocaya vs. Aguirre), the arrest The Solicitor General, in his Consolidated
without warrant, of Vicky Ocaya is justified under Memorandum, aptly observes:
the Rules, since she had with her an unlicensed
ammunition when she was arrested. The record of ". . . To reiterate, the focal point in the case of
this case shows that on 12 May 1988, agents of petitioners Roque, Buenaobra, Anonuevo and
the PC Intelligence and Investigation of the Rizal Casiple, was the lawful search and seizure
PC-INP Command, armed with a search warrant conducted by the military at the residence of
issued by Judge Eutropio Migrino of the Regional Renato Constantino at Villaluz Compound, Molave
Trial Court of Pasig, Metro Manila, conducted a St., Marikina Heights, Marikina, Metro Manila. The
search of a house located at Block 19, Phase II, raid at Constantino's residence, was not a witch
Marikina Green Heights, Marikina, Metro Manila, hunting or fishing expedition on the part of the
believed to be occupied by Benito Tiamson, head military. It was a result of an in-depth military
of the CPP-NPA. In the course of the search, Vicky surveillance coupled with the leads provided by
Ocaya armed in a car driven by Danny Rivera. former members of the underground subversive
Subversive documents and several rounds of organizations. That raid produced positive results.
ammunition for a .45 cal. pistol were found in the To date, nobody has disputed the fact that the
car of Vicky Ocaya. As a result, Vicky Ocaya and residence of Constantino when raided yielded
Danny Rivera were brought to the PC communication equipment, firearms and
Headquarters for investigation. When Vicky ammunitions, as well as subversive documents.
Ocaya could not produce any permit or
authorization to possess the ammunition, an The military agents working on the information
information charging her with violation of PD provided by Constantino that other members of
1866 was filed with the Regional Trial Court of his group were coming to his place, reasonably
Pasig, Metro Manila. The case is docketed therein conducted a 'stake-out' operation whereby some
as Criminal Case No. 73447. Danny Rivera, on the members of the raiding team were left behind the
other hand, was released from custody. place. True enough, barely two hours after the
raid and Constantino's arrest, petitioner
On 17 May 1988, a petition for habeas corpus Buenaobra arrived at Constantino's residence. He
was filed, with this Court on behalf of Vicky Ocaya acted suspiciously and when frisked and searched
and Danny Rivera. It was alleged therein that by the military authorities, found in his person
Vicky Ocaya was illegally arrested and detained, were letters. They are no ordinary letters, as even
and denied the right to a preliminary a cursory reading would show. Not only that,
investigation. Buenaobra admitted that he is a NPA courier and
was there to deliver the letters to Constantino.
It would appear, however, that Vicky Ocaya was
arrested in flagranti delicto so that her arrest Subsequently, less than twenty four hours after
without a warrant is justified. No preliminary the arrest of Constantino and Buenaobra,
investigation was conducted because she was petitioners Anonuevo and Casiple arrived at
arrested without a warrant and she refused to Constantino's place. Would it be unreasonable for
waive the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised the military agents to believe that petitioners
Penal Code, pursuant to Sec. 7, Rule 112 of the Anonuevo and Casiple are among those expected
Rules of Court, as amended. to visit Constantino's residence considering that
Constantino's information was true, in that
V Buenaobra did come to that place? Was it
The petitioners Vicky Ocaya, Domingo Anonuevo, unreasonable under the circumstances, on the
Ramon Casiple, and Amelia Roque claim that the part of the military agents, not to frisk and search
firearms, ammunition and subversive documents anyone who should visit the residence of
alleged to have been found in their possession Constantino, such as petitioners Anonuevo and
when they were arrested, did not belong to them, Casiple? Must this Honorable Court yield to
but were "planted" by the military agents to Anonuevo and Casiple's flimsy and bare assertion
justify their illegal arrest. that they went to visit Constantino, who was to
leave for Saudi Arabia on the day they were
The petitioners, however, have not introduced arrested thereat?.
any evidence to support their aforesaid claim. On
the other hand, no evil motive or ill-will on the As to petitioner Roque, was it unreasonable for
part of the arresting officers that would cause the the military authorities to effect her arrest
said arresting officers in these cases to accuse without warrant considering that it was
the petitioners falsely, has been shown. Besides, Buenaobra who provided the leads on her
the arresting officers in these cases do not identity? It cannot be denied that Buenaobra had
appear to be seekers of glory and bounty hunters connection with Roque. Because the former has
for, as counsel for the petitioners Anonuevo and the phone number of the latter. Why the
Casiple say, "there is absolutely nothing in the necessity of jumbling Roque's telephone number
evidence submitted during the inquest that as written on a piece of paper taken from
petitioners are on the 'AFP Order of Battle with a Buenaobra's possession? Petitioners Roque and
reward of P15,000.00 on each on their heads.' " 6 Buenaobra have not offered any plausible reason
On the other hand, as pointed out by the Solicitor so far.
General, the arrest of the petitioners is not a
product of a witch hunt or a fishing expedition,
but the result of an in-depth surveillance of NPA
safehouses pointed to by no less than former In all the above incidents, respondents maintain
comrades of the petitioners in the rebel that they acted reasonably, under the time, place
movement. LexLib and circumstances of the events in question,

42 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
especially considering that at the time of "Deogracias Espiritu through tri-media was heard
petitioners' arrest, incriminatory evidence, i.e, urging all drivers and operators to go on
firearms, ammunitions and/or subversive nationwide strike on November 23, 1988, to force
documents were found in their possession. the government to give in to their demands to
lower the prices of spare parts, commodities,
Petitioners, when arrested, were neither taking water and the immediate release from detention
their snacks nor innocently visiting a camp, but of the president of the PISTON (Pinag-isang
were arrested in such time, place and Samahan ng Tsuper Operators Nationwide).
circumstances, from which one can reasonably Further, we heard Deogracias Espiritu taking the
conclude that they were up to a sinister plot, place of PISTON president Medardo Roda and also
involving utmost secrecy and comprehensive announced the formation of the Alliance Drivers
conspiracy.". Association to go on nationwide strike on
November 23, 1988." 8
VI
In G.R. No. 85727 (Espiritu vs. Lim), the release Policemen waited for petitioner outside the
on habeas corpus of the petitioner Deogracias National Press Club in order to investigate him,
Espiritu, who is detained by virtue of an but he gave the lawmen the slip. 9 He was next
Information for Violation of Article 142 of the seen at about 5:00 o'clock that afternoon at a
Revised Penal Code (Inciting to Sedition) filed gathering of drivers and sympathizers at the
with the Regional Trial Court of Manila, is similarly corner of Magsaysay Blvd. and Valencia Street,
not warranted. Sta. Mesa, Manila where he was heard to say:

The record of the case shows that the said "Bukas tuloy ang welga natin, sumagot na ang
petitioner is the General Secretary of the Cebu at Bicol na kasali sila, at hindi tayo titigil
Pinagkaisahang Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators hanggang hindi binibigay ng gobyerno ni Cory
Nationwide (PISTON), an association of drivers ang gusto nating pagbaba ng halaga ng spare
and operators of public service vehicles in the parts, bilihin at ang pagpapalaya sa ating pinuno
Philippines, organized for their mutual aid and na si Ka Roda hanggang sa magkagulo na." 10
protection. cdll (emphasis supplied).

Petitioner claims that at about 5:00 o'clock in the The police finally caught up with the petitioner on
morning of 23 November 1988, while he was 23 November 1988. He was invited for
sleeping in his home located at 363 Valencia St., questioning and brought to police headquarters
Sta. Mesa, Manila, he was awakened by his sister after which an Information for violation of Art. 142
Maria Paz Lalic who told him that a group of of the Revised Penal Code was filed against him
persons wanted to hire his jeepney. When he before the Regional Trial Court of Manila. 11
went down to talk to them, he was immediately
put under arrest. When he asked for the warrant Since the arrest of the petitioner without a
of arrest arrest, the men, headed by Col. Ricardo warrant was in accordance with the provisions of
Reyes, bodily lifted him and placed him in their Rule 113, Sec. 5(b) of the Rules of Court and that
owner-type jeepney. He demanded that his sister, the petitioner is detained by virtue of a valid
Maria Paz Lalic, be allowed to accompany him, information filed with the competent court, he
but the men did not accede to his request and may not be released on habeas corpus. He may,
hurriedly sped away. however be released upon posting bail as
recommended. However, we find the amount of
He was brought to Police Station No. 8 of the the recommended bail (P60,000.00) excessive
Western Police District at Blumentritt, Manila and we reduce it to P10,000.00 only.
where he was interrogated and detained. Then, at
about 9:00 o'clock of the same morning, he was VII
brought before the respondent Lim and, there In G.R. No. 86332 (Nazareno vs. Station
and then, the said respondent ordered his arrest Commander), we also find no merit in the
and detention. He was thereafter brought to the submission of Narciso Nazareno that he was
General Assignment Section, Investigation illegally arrested and is unlawfully detained. The
Division of the Western Police District under record of this case shows that at about 8:30
Police Capt. Cresenciano A. Cabasal where he was o'clock in the morning of 14 December 1988, one
detained, restrained and deprived of his liberty. 7 Romulo Bunye II was killed by a group of men
near the corner of T. Molina and Mendiola Streets
The respondents claim however, that the in Alabang, Muntinglupa, Metro Manila. One of the
detention of the petitioner is justified in view of suspects in the killing was Ramil Regala who was
the Information filed against him before the arrested by the police on 28 December 1988.
Regional Trial Court of Manila, docketed therein as Upon questioning, Regala pointed to Narciso
Criminal Case No. 88-683-85, charging him with Nazareno as one of his companions in the killing
violation of Art. 142 of the Revised Penal Code of the said Romulo Bunye II. In view thereof, the
(Inciting to Sedition). police officers, without warrant, picked up Narciso
Nazareno and brought him to the police
The respondents also claim that the petitioner headquarters for questioning. Obviously, the
was lawfully arrested without a judicial warrant of evidence of petitioner's guilt is strong because on
arrest since petitioner when arrested had in fact 3 January 1989, an information charging Narciso
just committed an offense in that in the afternoon Nazareno, Ramil Regala, and two (2) others, with
of 22 November 1988, during a press conference the killing of Romulo Bunye II was filed with the
at the National Press Club. Regional Trial Court of Makati, Metro Manila. The
case is docketed therein as Criminal Case No.
731. cdphil
43 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
jurisdiction to issue the process, render the
On 7 January 1989, Narciso Nazareno filed a judgment, or make the order, the writ shall not be
motion to post bail, but the motion was denied by allowed; or if the jurisdiction appears after the
the trial court in an order dated 10 January 1989, writ is allowed, the person shall not be discharged
even as the motion to post bail, earlier filed by by reason of any informality or defect in the
his co-accused, Manuel Laureaga, was granted by process, judgment, or order. Nor shall anything in
the same trial court. this rule be held to authorize the discharge of a
person charged with or convicted of an offense in
On 13 January 1989, a petition for habeas corpus the Philippines or of a person suffering
was filed with this Court on behalf of Narciso imprisonment under lawful judgment." (emphasis
Nazareno and on 13 January 1989, the Court supplied)
issued the writ of habeas corpus, returnable to
the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of At this point, we refer to petitioners' plea for the
Bian, Laguna, Branch 24, ordering said court to Court to re-examine and, thereafter, abandon its
hear the case on 30 January 1989 and thereafter pronouncement in Ilagan vs. Enrile, 13 that a writ
resolve the petition. of habeas corpus is no longer available after an
information is filed against the person detained
At the conclusion of the hearing, or on 1 February and a warrant of arrest or an order of
1989, the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial commitment is issued by the court where said
Court of Bian, Laguna issued a resolution information has been filed. 14 The petitioners
denying the petition for habeas corpus, it claim that the said ruling, which was handed
appearing that the said Narciso Nazareno is in the down during the past dictatorial regime to
custody of the respondents by reason of an enforce and strengthen said regime, has no place
information filed against him with the Regional under the present democratic dispensation and
Trial Court of Makati, Metro Manila which had collides with the basic, fundamental, and
taken cognizance of said case and had, in fact, constitutional rights of the people. Petitioners
denied the motion for bail filed by said Narciso point out that the said doctrine makes possible
Nazareno (presumably because of the strength of the arrest and detention of innocent persons
the evidence against him). despite lack of evidence against them, and, most
often, it is only after a petition for habeas corpus
The findings of the Presiding Judge of the is filed before the court that the military
Regional Trial Court of Bian, Laguna are based authorities file the criminal information in the
upon the facts and the law. Consequently, we will courts of law to be able to hide behind the
not disturb the same. Evidently, the arrest of protective mantle of the said doctrine. This,
Nazareno was effected by the police without petitioners assert, stands as an obstacle to the
warrant pursuant to Sec. 5 (b), Rule 113, Rules of freedom and liberty of the people and permits
Court after he was positively implicated by his co- lawless and arbitrary State action.
accused Ramil Regala in the killing of Romulo
Bunye II; and after investigation by the police
authorities. As held in People vs. Ancheta: 12
We find, however, no compelling reason to
"The obligation of an agent of authority to make abandon the said doctrine. It is based upon
an arrest by reason of a crime, does not express provision of the Rules of Court and the
presuppose as a necessary requisite for the exigencies served by the law. The fears
fulfillment thereof, the indubitable existence of a expressed by the petitioners are not really
crime. For the detention to be perfectly legal, it is unremediable. As the Court sees it, re-
sufficient that the agent or person in authority examination or reappraisal, with a view to its
making the arrest has reasonably sufficient abandonment, of the Ilagan case doctrine is not
grounds to believe the existence of an act having the answer. The answer and the better practice
the characteristics of a crime and that the same would be, not to limit the function of habeas
grounds exist to believe that the person sought to corpus to a mere inquiry as to whether or not the
be detained participated therein." court which issued the process, judgment or
order of commitment or before whom the
VIII detained person is charged, had jurisdiction or
It is to be noted that, in all the petitions here not to issue the process, judgment or order or to
considered, criminal charges have been filed in take cognizance of the case, but rather, as the
the proper courts against the petitioners. The rule Court itself states in Morales, Jr. vs. Enrile, 15 "in
is, that if a person alleged to be restrained of his all petitions for habeas corpus the court must
liberty is in the custody of an officer under inquire into every phase and aspect of
process issued by a court or judge, and that the petitioner's detention from the moment
court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the petitioner was taken into custody up to the
process or make the order, or if such person is moment the court passes upon the merits of the
charged before any court, the writ of habeas petition;" and "only after such a scrutiny can the
corpus will not be allowed. Section 4, Rule 102, court satisfy itself that the due process clause of
Rules of Court, as amended is quite explicit in our Constitution has in fact been satisfied." This is
providing that: exactly what the Court has done in the petitions
at bar. This is what should henceforth be done in
"Sec. 4. When writ is not allowed or discharge all future cases of habeas corpus. In short, all
authorized. - If it appears that the person alleged cases involving deprivation of individual liberty
to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of should be promptly brought to the courts for their
an officer under process issued by a court or immediate scrutiny and disposition. LLpr
judge or by virtue of a judgment or order of a
court of record, and that the court or judge had
44 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
WHEREFORE, the petitions are hereby 5. ID.; EVIDENCE; FINDINGS OF FACT OF THE
DISMISSED, except that in G.R. No. 85727 TRIAL COURT, GENERALLY ENTITLED TO
(Espiritu vs. Lim), the bail bond for petitioner's GREAT WEIGHT. Time and again it has been
provisional liberty is hereby ordered reduced from held that the findings of the trial court are
P60,000.00 to P10,000.00. No costs. entitled to great weight and should not be
disturbed on appeal unless it is shown that the
SO ORDERED. trial court had overlooked certain facts of weight
and importance, it being acknowledged that the
Fernan, C.J, Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, court below, having seen and heard the witnesses
Jr., Paras, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Grio-Aquino, during the trial, is in a better position to evaluate
Medialdea and Regalado, JJ., concur. their testimonies (People v. Umali, et al., G.R. No.
84450, February 4, 1991 citing People v. Alvarez,
(People v. Sucro, G.R. No. 93239, March 18, 163 SCRA 745 [1988]; People v. Dorado, 30 SCRA
1991) 53 [1969]; and People v. Espejo, 36 SCRA 400
[1970]).
THIRD DIVISION
[G.R. No. 93239. March 18, 1991.] 6. ID.; ID.; BURDEN OF PROOF AND
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, PRESUMPTIONS; PRESUMPTION THAT
vs. EDISON SUCRO, accused-appellant. POLICE OFFICERS PERFORM THEIR DUTIES
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. REGULARLY; APPLIED IN CASE AT BAR.
Fidencio S. Raz accused-appellant. There is nothing in the record to suggest that the
police officers were compelled by any motive
SYLLABUS than to accomplish their mission to capture a
1. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; drug pusher in the execution of the crime, the
ARREST WITHOUT A WARRANT; WHEN presumption being that police officers perform
LAWFUL. Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules on their duties regularly in the absence of any
Criminal Procedure provides for the instances evidence to the contrary (Rule 131, Sec. 3(m),
where arrest without warrant is considered lawful. Revised Rules on Evidence; People v. Castiller,
The rules states: "Arrest without warrant, when supra citing People v. Natipravat, 145 SCRA 483
lawful. A peace officer or private person may, [1986]).
without warrant, arrest a person: (a) When in his
presence, the person to be arrested has 7. ID.; ID.; CREDIBILITY; ALIBI; UNAVAILING
committed, is actually committing, or is IN THE FACE OF POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION.
attempting to commit an offense; (b) When an In contrast to the evidence presented by the
offense has in fact just been committed, and he prosecution, accused-appellant's defense is alibi
has personal knowledge of facts indicating that which is unavailing considering that he was
the person to be arrested has committed it." positively identified by Macabante to be the
person from whom he bought marijuana.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; AN OFFENSE COMMITTED IN
THE PRESENCE OR WITHIN THE VIEW OF AN 8. ID.; ID.; WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY; MERE
OFFICER, CONSTRUED. An offense is DENIALS CANNOT PREVAIL OVER POSITIVE
committed in the presence or within the view of IDENTIFICATION. It is well-settled that mere
an officer, within the meaning of the rule denials cannot prevail against the positive
authorizing an arrest without a warrant, when the identification of the appellant as the seller of the
officer sees the offense, although at a distance, prohibited substances. (People v. Khan, 161 SCRA
or hears the disturbances created thereby and 406 [1988]; and People v. Paco, 170 SCRA 681
proceeds at once to the scene thereof (U.S. v. [1989]).
Fortaleza, 12 Phil. 472 [1909]; and U.S. v.
Samonte, 16 Phil. 516 [1910]). DECISION
GUTIERREZ, JR., J p:
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE OF Edison Sucro was charged with and convicted of
ACTUAL COMMISSION OF CRIME. The court violation of Section 4, Article II of the Dangerous
earlier indicated in the case of People v. Bati (G.R. Drugs Act, under an Information which reads:
No. 87429, August 27, 1990) that police officers
have personal knowledge of the actual "That on or about the 21st day of March, 1989, in
commission of the crime when it had earlier the evening, in the Poblacion, Municipality of
conducted surveillance activities of the accused. Kalibo, Province of Aklan, Republic of the
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
4. ID.; ID.; SEARCHES AND SEIZURES, AS A Honorable Court, the above-named accused,
GENERAL RULE MUST BE SUPPORTED BY A acting as a pusher or broker in the business of
VALID WARRANT; EXCEPTION. That selling, administering, delivery, giving away to
searches and seizures must be supported by a another and - or distributing prohibited drugs, did
valid warrant is not an absolute rule (Manipon, Jr. then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
v. Sandiganbayan, 143 SCRA 267 [1986]). Among and without authority of law have in his
the exceptions granted by law is a search possession and control nineteen (19) pieces of
incidental to a lawful arrest under Sec. 12, Rule marijuana cigarette sticks and four (4) tea bags of
126 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, which dried marijuana leaves which were confiscated
provides that a person lawfully arrested may be from him by the police authorities of Kalibo,
searched for dangerous weapons or anything Aklan, shortly after having sold one tea bag of
which may be used as proof of the commission of dried marijuana leaves to a customer." (Rollo, p.
an offense, without a search warrant. (People v. 9)
Castiller, G.R. No. 87783, August 6, 1990)

45 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
Upon arraignment, the accused-appellant, monitoring developments. At about 6:30 P.M., Pat.
assisted by counsel, entered a plea of "not guilty" Fulgencio again called up Seraspi to report that a
to the offense charged. Trial ensued and a third buyer later identified as Ronnie Macabante,
judgment of conviction was rendered, the was transacting with appellant. (pp. 18-19, ibid)
pertinent portion of which reads:
At that point, the team of P/Lt Seraspi proceeded
"WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered finding the to the area and while the police officers were at
accused Edison Sucro guilty of the sale of the Youth Hostel at Maagma St., Pat. Fulgencio
prohibited drug under Section 4, Article II of the told P/Lt. Seraspi to intercept Macabante and
Dangerous Drug Act, as amended, and appellant. P/ Lt. Seraspi and his team caught up
sentencing him to suffer the penalty of life with Macabante at the crossing of Mabini and
imprisonment, and pay a fine of P20,000, and Maagma Sts. in front of the Aklan Medical Center.
costs. He shall be entitled to full credit in the Upon seeing the police, Macabante threw
service of his sentence with the period for which something to the ground which turned out to be a
he has undergone preventive imprisonment to tea bag of marijuana. (pp 6-8, TSN, June 19,
the date of promulgation of this judgment. All the 1989) When confronted, Macabante readily
items of marijuana confiscated in this case are admitted that he bought the same from appellant
declared forfeited in favor of the State." (Rollo, p. (Edison Sucro) in front of the chapel. (p. 6, TSN,
41) May 24, 1989) The police team was able to
overtake and arrest appellant at the corner of C.
From the foregoing judgment of conviction, Quimpo and Veterans Sts. The police recovered
accused-appellant interposes this appeal, 19 sticks and 4 teabags of marijuana from the
assigning the following as errors allegedly cart inside the chapel and another teabag from
committed by the court a quo, to wit: Macabante. The teabags of marijuana were sent
to the PC-INP Crime Laboratory Service, at Camp
I Delgado, Iloilo City for analysis. The specimens
(Exhibits "G" to "G-18", Exhibits "E" to "E-4") were
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING AS all found positive of marijuana. (pp. 4-7, TSN,
EVIDENCE FOR THE PROSECUTION EXHIBITS Sept. 4, 1989)" (Appellee's Brief, pp. 3-6)
"E"-"E-4", TEA BAGS OF ALLEGED MARIJUANA, TO
BE THE CORPUS DELICTI; FURTHERMORE, THAT As can be seen from the facts, the issue hinges
THE SAME WERE TAKEN WITHOUT THE REQUIRED mainly on whether or not the arrest without
WARRANT OF SEARCH AND ARREST SINCE THE warrant of the accused is lawful and
ACCUSED WAS NOT IN THE ACT OF COMMITTING consequently, whether or not the evidence
ANY OFFENSE AT THE TIME OF HIS ARREST. resulting from such arrest is admissible.

II We rule in the affirmative.

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THE The accused-appellant contends that his arrest
ACCUSED EDISON SUCRO GUILTY OF THE SALE OF was illegal, being a violation of his rights granted
PROHIBITED DRUGS UNDER SECTION 4, ARTICLE under Section 2, Artilce III of the 1987
II, OF THE DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT AND Constitution. He stresses that there was sufficient
SENTENCING HIM TO SUFFER A PENALTY OF LIFE time for the police officers to apply for a search
IMPRISONMENT AND TO PAY A FINE OF and arrest warrants considering that Fulgencio
P20,000.00. (Appellant's Brief, p. 1) informed his Station Commander of the activities
of the accused two days before March 21, 1989,
The antecedent facts of the case as summarized the date of his arrest.
by the Solicitor General are as follows:
This contention is without merit.
"On March 21, 1989, Pat. Roy Fulgencio, a
member of the INP, Kalibo, Aklan, was instructed Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules on Criminal
by P/Lt. Vicente Seraspi, Jr. (Station Commander Procedure provides for the instances where arrest
of the INP Kalibo, Aklan) to monitor the activities without warrant is considered lawful. The rule
of appellant Edison Sucro, because of information states:
gathered by Seraspi that Sucro was selling
marijuana. (p. 6, TSN, May 2, 1989). "Arrest without warrant, when lawful. A peace
officer or private person may, without warrant,
As planned, at about 5:00 P.M. on said date, Pat. arrest a person:
Fulgencio positioned himself under the house of a
certain Arlie Regalado at C. Quimpo Street.
Adjacent to the house of Regalado, about 2
meters away, was a chapel. Thereafter, Pat. (a) When in his presence, the person to be
Fulgencio saw appellant enter the chapel, taking arrested has committed, is actually committing,
something which turned out later to be marijuana or is attempting to commit an offense;
from the compartment of a cart found inside the
chapel, and then return to the street where he (b) When an offense has in fact just been
handed the same to a buyer, Aldie Borromeo. committed, and he has personal knowledge of
After a while appellant went back to the chapel facts indicating that the person to be arrested has
and again came out with marijuana which he committed it;" (Emphasis supplied).
gave to a group of persons. (pp. 6-8, 15-18, ibid).
It was at this instance that Pat. Fulgencio radioed An offense is committed in the presence or within
P/Lt. Seraspi and reported the activity going on the view of an officer, within the meaning of the
P/Lt. Seraspi instructed Pat. Fulgencio to continue
46 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
rule authorizing an arrest without a warrant, prior to the former s joining the police force.
when the officer sees the offense, although at a Fulgencio reported Sucro's activities only three
distance, or hears the disturbances created days before the incident.
thereby and proceeds at once to the scene
thereof (U.S. v. Fortaleza, 12 Phil. 472 [1909]; and As the records reveal, Fulgencio and Sucro had
U.S. v. Samonte, 16 Phil. 516 [1910]). known each other since their childhood years and
that after Fulgencio joined the police force, he
The records show that Fulgencio went to Arlie told the accused-appellant not to sell drugs in
Regalado's house at C. Quimpo Street to monitor their locality. Hence, it is possible that because of
the activities of the accused who was earlier this friendship, Fulgencio hesitated to report his
reported to be selling marijuana at a chapel two childhood friend and merely advised him not to
(2) meters away from Regalado's house. engage in such activity. However, because of
reliable information given by some informants
Fulgencio, within a distance of two meters saw that selling was going on everyday, he was
Sucro conduct his nefarious activity. He saw Sucro constrained to report the matter to the Station
talk to some persons, go inside the chapel, and Commander.
return to them and exchange some things. These,
Sucro did three times during the time that he was On the other hand, the failure of the police
being monitored. Fulgencio would then relay the officers to secure a warrant stems from the fact
on-going transaction to P/Lt. Seraspi. that their knowledge acquired from the
surveillance was insufficient to fulfill the
Anent the second requirement, the fact that requirements for the issuance of a search
Macabante, when intercepted by the police, was warrant. What is paramount is that probable
caught throwing the marijuana stick and when cause existed. Thus, it has been held in the case
confronted, readily admitted that he bought the of People v. Lo Ho Wing, et al. (G.R. No. 88017,
same from accused-appellant clearly indicates January 21, 1991):
that Sucro had just sold the marijuana stick to
Macabante, and therefore, had just committed an "In the instant case, it was firmly established from
illegal act of which the police officers had the factual findings of the trial court that the
personal knowledge, being members of the team authorities had reasonable ground to believe that
which monitored Sucro's nefarious activity. cdphil appellant would attempt to bring in contraband
and transport it within the country. The belief was
The court earlier indicated in the case of People v. based on intelligence reports gathered from
Bati (G.R. No. 87429, August 27, 1990) that police surveillance activities on the suspected
officers have personal knowledge of the actual syndicate, of which appellant was touted to be a
commission of the crime when it had earlier member. Aside from this, they were also certain
conducted surveillance activities of the accused. as to the expected date and time of arrival of the
Thus, it stated: accused from China. But such knowledge was
clearly insufficient to enable them to fulfill the
"When Luciano and Caraan reached the place requirements for the issuance of a search
where the alleged transaction would take place warrant. Still and all, the important thing is that
and while positioned at a street corner, they saw there was probable cause to conduct the
appellant Regalado Bati and Warner Marquez by warrantless search, which must still be present in
the side of the street about forty to fifty meters such a case."
away from them (the public officers). They saw
Marquez giving something to Bati, who, As the Solicitor General has pointed out:
thereafter handed a wrapped object to Marquez
who then inserted the object inside the front of "There are several instances when a warrantless
his pants infront of his abdomen while Bati, on his search and seizure can be effected without
part, placed the thing given to him inside his necessarily being preceded by an arrest provided
pocket. (p. 2) the same is effected on the basis of probable
cause (e.g. stop and search without warrant at
xxx xxx xxx checkpoints). Between warrantless searches and
seizures at checkpoints and in the case at bar the
. . . Both Patrolman Luciano and Caraan actually latter is more reasonable considering that unlike
witnessed the same and their testimonies were in the former, it was effected on the basis of
based on their actual and personal knowledge of probable cause. Under the circumstances
the events that took place leading to appellant's (monitoring of transactions) there existed
arrest. They may not have been within hearing probable cause for the arresting officers, to arrest
distance, specially since conversation would appellant who was in fact selling marijuana and
expectedly be carried on hushed tones, but they to seize the contraband."
were certainly near enough to observe the
movements of the appellant and the buyer. That searches and seizures must be supported by
Moreover, these prosecution witnesses are all law a valid warrant is not an absolute rule (Manipon,
enforcers and are, therefore, presumed to have Jr. v. Sandiganbayan, 143 SCRA 267 [1986]).
regularly performed their duties in the absence of Among the exceptions granted by law is a search
proof to the contrary (People v. Bati, supra citing incidental to a lawful arrest under Sec. 12, Rule
People v. Agapito, G.R. No. 73786, October 12, 126 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, which
1987) provides that a person lawfully arrested may be
searched for dangerous weapons or anything
The accused questions the failure of the police which may be used as proof of the commission of
officers to secure a warrant considering that an offense, without a search warrant. (People v.
Fulgencio himself knew of Sucro's activities even Castiller, G.R. No. 87783, August 6, 1990)
47 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
which is unavailing considering that he was
The accused-appellant claims that the arrest positively identified by Macabante to be the
having been done without warrant, it follows that person from whom he bought marijuana.
the evidence obtained therefrom is inadmissible.
Sucro alleges that he could not have committed
As earlier discussed, there is nothing unlawful the crime since he was with his uncle and cousin
about the arrest considering its compliance with distributing handbills for his Auntie's candidacy.
the requirements of a warrantless arrest. Ergo, The fact, however, remains that it does not
the fruits obtained from such lawful arrest are preclude the possibility that he was present in the
admissible in evidence. LLpr vicinity as established by his admission that he
moved a lot and even had the occasion to meet
Edison Sucro assails the trial court's reliance on Macabante on the street.
the statement of Macabante whose reason for
testifying could be merely to escape prosecution. It is well-settled that mere denials cannot prevail
against the positive identification of the appellant
We quote the trial court's finding as to the as the seller of the prohibited substances. (People
testimony of Macabante: v. Khan, 161 SCRA 406 [1988]; and People v.
Paco, 170 SCRA 681 [1989])
"The non-filing of a complaint against him for
possession of marijuana may have been the Premises considered, this Court is convinced that
reason of (sic) his willingness to testify in court appellant Edison Sucro had indeed committed the
against the accused. But this does not necessarily offense charged. The trial court's decision must
taint the evidence that proceeds from his lips. As be upheld.
explained by Lt. Seraspi, the best sources of
information against drug pushers are usually their WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is
customers, especially if as in this case, there is no hereby AFFIRMED.
other direct evidence of the selling except the
testimony of the buyer. We accept this SO ORDERED.
observation as a realistic appraisal of a situation
in which drug users are, and should be employed Fernan, C.J., Feliciano, Bidin and Davide, Jr., JJ.,
by law enforcement authorities to bolster the concur.
drive against pushers who are the real felons in
our society. We have observed the demeanor of (People v. Rodrigueza, G.R. No. 95902,
the witness in court, and found him to be February 04, 1992)
straightforward, unhesitating, and spontaneous in
his declarations, so that we are satisfied as to his SECOND DIVISION
intention and disposition to tell the truth" (Rollo, [G.R. No. 95902. February 4, 1992.]
p. 40) PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs. DON RODRIGUEZA, accused-appellant.
Time and again it has been held that the findings The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
of the trial court are entitled to great weight and Public Attorney's Office for accused-appellant.
should not be disturbed on appeal unless it is
shown that the trial court had overlooked certain SYLLABUS
facts of weight and importance, it being 1. CRIMINAL LAW; DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT
acknowledged that the court below, having seen OF 1972 (RA No. 6425); ENTRAPMENT; BUY-
and heard the witnesses during the trial, is in a BUST OPERATION; REQUISITE THEREOF; NOT
better position to evaluate their testimonies COMPLIED WITH IN CASE AT BAR. A buy-
(People v. Umali, et al., G.R. No. 84450, February bust operation is a form of entrapment employed
4, 1991 citing People v. Alvarez, 163 SCRA 745 by peace officers to trap and catch a malefactor
[1988]; People v. Dorado, 30 SCRA 53 [1969]; and in flagrante delicto. Applied to the case at bar,
People v. Espejo, 36 SCRA 400 [1970]) the term in flagrante delicto requires that the
suspected drug dealer must be caught redhanded
Furthermore, the testimony of Macabante was in the act of selling marijuana or any prohibited
corroborated on material points by public officers drug to a person acting or posing as a buyer. In
Fulgencio and Seraspi. the instant case, however, the procedure adopted
by the NARCOM agents failed to meet this
There is nothing in the record to suggest that the qualification. Based on the very evidence of the
police officers were compelled by any motive prosecution, after the alleged consummation of
than to accomplish their mission to capture a the sale of dried marijuana leaves, CIC Taduran
drug pusher in the execution of the crime, the immediately released appellant Rodrigueza
presumption being that police officers perform instead of arresting and taking him into his
their duties regularly in the absence of any custody. This act of CIC Taduran, assuming
evidence to the contrary (Rule 131, Sec. 3(m), arguendo that the supposed sale of marijuana did
Revised Rules on Evidence; People v. Castiller, take place, is decidedly contrary to the natural
supra citing People v. Natipravat, 145 SCRA 483 course of things and inconsistent with the
[1986]) aforestated purpose of a buy-bust operation. It is
rather absurd on his part to let appellant escape
The prosecution evidence was further bolstered without having been subjected to the sanctions
by the findings of the Forensic Chemist that the imposed by law. It is, in fact, a dereliction of duty
items seized were all positive for marijuana. by an agent of the law.

In contrast to the evidence presented by the 2. ID.; ID.; CONFISCATED MARIJUANA


prosecution, accused-appellant's defense is alibi LEAVES AND OTHER PROHIBITED DRUG
48 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
PARAPHERNALIA CONSTITUTES THE CORPUS at bar, however, the raid conducted by the
DELICTI OF THE CRIME; PROOF OF THEIR NARCOM agents in the house of Jovencio
EXISTENCE NECESSARY. In People vs. Rubio Rodrigueza was not authorized by any search
(142 SCRA 329 [1986]), this Court had the warrant. It does not appear, either, that the
occasion to rule that the plastic bag and the dried situation falls under any of the aforementioned
marijuana leaves contained therein constitutes cases. Hence, appellant's right against
the corpus delicti of the crime. As such, the unreasonable search and seizure was clearly
existence thereof must be proved with certainty violated. The NARCOM agents could not have
and conclusiveness. Failure to do so would be justified their act by invoking the urgency and
fatal to the cause of the prosecution. necessity of the situation because the
testimonies of the prosecution witnesses reveal
3. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; that the place had already been put under
RIGHTS OF A PERSON UNDER CUSTODIAL surveillance for quite some time. Had it been
INVESTIGATION; WAIVER THEREOF MUST BE their intention to conduct the raid, then they
MADE WITH ASSISTANCE AND IN THE should, because they easily could, have first
PRESENCE OF COUNSEL. The admissibility of secured a search warrant during that time.
the sworn statement allegedly executed by
appellant was squarely placed in issue and, as 5. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; TESTIMONY
correctly pointed out by the defense, said sworn OF WITNESSES; CREDIBILITY THEREOF
statement is inadmissible in evidence against AFFECTED BY MATERIAL INCONSISTENCIES.
appellant. We have once again to reiterate and It is accepted that, as a rule, minor
emphasize that Article III of the 1987 Constitution inconsistencies in the testimony of a witness will
provides: "Sec. 12 (1). Any person under not affect his credibility. It even enhances such
investigation for the commission of an offense credibility because it only shows that he has not
shall have the right to be informed of his right to been rehearsed. However, when the
remain silent and to have a competent and inconsistencies pertain to material and crucial
independent counsel preferably of his own points, the same detract from his overall
choice. If the person cannot afford the services of credibility.
counsel, he must be provided with one. These
rights cannot be waived except in writing and in 6. ID.; ID.; TESTIMONY OF ACCUSED; GIVEN
the presence of counsel. . . . (3) Any confession or CREDENCE. We are constrained to give more
admission obtained in violation of this or section credibility to the testimony of appellant
17 hereof shall be inadmissible in evidence Rodrigueza. While it is true that appellant's
against him." An examination of said sworn defense amounts to an alibi, and as such is the
statement shows that appellant was informed of weakest defense in a criminal prosecution, there
his constitutional right to remain silent and to be are, nonetheless, some evidentiary aspects
assisted by counsel during custodial examination. pointing to the truth in his testimony. Firstly, the
He was also asked if he was waiving his right to Joint Affidavit of Arrest corroborates his testimony
be assisted by counsel and he answered in the that he was not among those who were arrested
affirmative. However, while the rights of a person on the night of July 1, 1987. His co-accused
under custodial investigation may be waived, Segovia also testified that appellant Rodrigueza
such waiver must be made not only voluntarily, was not with them when they were apprehended
knowingly and intelligently but also in the by the NARCOM agents. Secondly, the apparent
presence and with the assistance of counsel motive of the NARCOM agents in prosecuting the
(People vs. Olaes, 188 SCRA 91 [1990]; People vs. accused was also revealed during the trial of the
Hernandez, et al., 162 SCRA 422 [1988]). In the case. Rebuttal witnesses Gracita Bahillo, sister of
present case, the waiver made by appellant being appellant, and Hospicio Segovia, father of Samuel
without the assistance of counsel, this omission Segovia, testified that Sgt. Moliawe, who has
alone is sufficient to invalidate said sworn since been reportedly dismissed from the service,
statement (People vs. Nolasco, 163 SCRA 623 asked for P10,000.00 from each of them in
[1988]). exchange for the liberty of the accused. This
allegation was never refuted by the prosecution.
4. ID.; ID.; SEARCH AND SEIZURE; SEARCH
WARRANT REQUIRED; EXCEPTIONS; CASE AT 7. ID.; ID.; PROOF REQUIRED IN CRIMINAL
BAR. As provided in the present Constitution, CASES; BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT NOT
a search, to be valid, must generally be ESTABLISHED IN CASE AT BAR. The Court
authorized by a search warrant duly issued by the has repeatedly ruled that to sustain the
proper government authority (Section 2, Article conviction of the accused, the prosecution must
III, 1987 Constitution). True, in some instances, rely on the strength of its own evidence and not
this Court has allowed government authorities to on the weakness of the defense. As clearly shown
conduct searches and seizures even without a by the evidence, the prosecution has failed to
search warrant. Thus, when the owner of the establish its cause. It has not overcome the
premises waives his right against such incursion; presumption of innocence accorded to appellant.
when the search is incidental to a lawful arrest; This being the case, appellant should not be
when it is made on vessels and aircraft for allowed to suffer for unwarranted and imaginary
violation of customs laws; when it is made on imputations against him.
automobiles for the purpose of preventing
violations of smuggling or immigration laws; DECISION
when it involves prohibited articles in plain view; REGALADO, J p:
or in cases of inspection of buildings and other On appeal before us is the decision of the
premises for the enforcement of fire, sanitary and Regional Trial Court of Legaspi City, Branch 10,
building regulations, a search may be validly finding accused-appellant Don Rodrigueza guilty
made even without a search warrant. In the case beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section 4,
49 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
Article II of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 Taduran returned to the headquarters and made
(REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6425, as amended) and a report regarding his said purchase of marijuana.
sentencing him to suffer the penalty of life 4
imprisonment and to pay a fine of P20,000.00
and costs. 1 Based on that information, Major Zeidem ordered
a team to conduct an operation to apprehend the
However, the Solicitor General, deviating from his suspects. In the evening of the same date, CIC
conventional stance in the prosecution of criminal Galutan and S/Sgt. Moliawe proceeded to
cases, recommends the acquittal of appellant for Regidor Street, Daraga, Albay and arrested
the reasons stated in his Manifestation for appellant, Antonio Lonceras and Samuel Segovia.
Acquittal (In Lieu of Appellee's Brief) filed with the The constables were not, however, armed with a
Court. We have reviewed and analyzed the warrant of arrest when they apprehended the
testimonial and documentary evidence in this three accused. The arrestees were brought to the
case and we find said recommendation to be well headquarters for investigation. 5
taken. cdrep
Thereafter, agents of the Narcotics Command
The information, dated July 10, 1987, charges (NARCOM) conducted a raid in the house of
Don Rodrigueza and his co-accused, Samuel Jovencio Rodrigueza, father of appellant. Taduran
Segovia and Antonio Lonceras, with allegedly did not go with them. During the raid, they were
having in their custody and possession 100 grams able to confiscate dried marijuana leaves and a
of marijuana leaves and for selling, in a buy-bust plastic syringe, among others. The search,
operation, said 100 grams of dried marijuana however, was not authorized by any search
leaves for a consideration of P200.00. 2 warrant. 6

During the arraignment, all the accused pleaded The next day, July 2, 1987, Jovencio Rodrigueza
not guilty to the charge against them. At the trial, was released from detention but appellant was
the prosecution and the defense presented detained. An affidavit, allegedly taken from and
several witnesses after which the court a quo executed by him, was sworn to by him before the
rendered judgment acquitting Samuel Segovia assistant city prosecutor. Appellant had no
and Antonio Lonceras but convicting and counsel when his sworn statement was taken
penalizing herein appellant as hereinbefore during that custodial investigation. The arrestees
stated. were also examined by personnel of the PCCL and
were found positive for ultraviolet powder. 7
The following facts are culled from the decision of
the trial court and the evidence presented by the The three accused presented different versions of
prosecution. their alleged participations.

At around 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon of July 1, Samuel Segovia testified that he was in their
1987, CIC Ciriaco Taduran was in their house in the evening of July 1, 1987 listening to
headquarters at the Office of the Narcotics the radio. Later, he ate his merienda and then
Regional Unit at Camp Bagong Ibalon, Legaspi went out to buy cigarettes from the store. While
City, together with S/Sgt. Elpidio Moliawe, CIC he was at the store, a jeep stopped behind him.
Leonardo B. Galutan and their commanding Several armed men alighted therefrom and
officer, Major Crisostomo M. Zeidem, when a ordered him to get inside the jeep. He refused but
confidential informer arrived and told them that he was forced to board the vehicle. He was even
there was an ongoing illegal traffic of prohibited hit by the butt of a gun. 8
drugs in Tagas, Daraga, Albay. Major Zeidem
formed a team to conduct a buybust operation, He was thereafter brought to Camp Bagong
which team was given P200.00 in different Ibalon where he was investigated and was
denominations to buy marijuana. These bills were repeatedly asked regarding the whereabouts of
treated with ultraviolet powder at the Philippine Rodrigueza. He was manhandled by the NARCOM
Constabulary Crime Laboratory (PCCL). Sgt. agents and was detained while inside the camp.
Moliawe gave the money to Taduran who acted He was then made to hold a P10.00 bill treated
as the poseur buyer. He was told to look for a with ultraviolet powder. When he was taken to
certain Don, the alleged seller of prohibited the PCCL and examined, he was found positive of
drugs. Taduran went to Tagas alone and, while the ultraviolet powder. He was also made to sign
along the road, he met Samuel Segovia. He asked some papers but he did not know what they were
Segovia where he could find Don and where he all about. 9
could buy marijuana. Segovia left for a while and
when he returned, he was accompanied by a man Appellant, on the other hand, testified that on
who was later on introduced to him as Don, said date he was in the house of his aunt in San
herein appellant. 3 Roque, Legaspi City. He stayed there overnight
and did not leave the place until the next day
when his brother arrived and told him that their
father was taken by some military men the
After agreeing on the price of P200.00 for 100 preceding night. Appellant went to Camp Bagong
grams of marijuana, Don halted a passing tricycle Ibalon and arrived there at around 8:00 o'clock in
driven by Antonio Lonceras. He boarded it and the morning of July 2, 1987. When he arrived, he
left Taduran and Segovia. When he came back, was asked if he knew anything about the
Don gave Taduran "a certain object wrapped in a marijuana incident, to which question he
plastic" which was later identified as marijuana, answered in the negative. Like Segovia, he was
and received payment therefor. Thereafter, made to hold a P10.00 bill and was brought to the
crime laboratory for examination. From that time
50 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
on, he was not allowed to go home and was xxx xxx xxx
detained inside the camp. He was also tortured in (3) Any confession or admission obtained in
order to make him admit his complicity in the violation of this or section 17 hereof shall be
alleged sale of marijuana. 1 0 inadmissible in evidence against him."

In the assignment of errors in his brief, appellant An examination of said sworn statement shows
contends that the trial court erred in (1) admitting that appellant was informed of his constitutional
in evidence the sworn statement of appellant right to remain silent and to be assisted by
which was obtained in violation of his counsel during custodial examination. He was
constitutional rights; (2) convicting appellant of also asked if he was waiving his right to be
the crime charged despite the fact that the 100 assisted by counsel and he answered in the
grams of dried marijuana leaves allegedly bought affirmative. However, while the rights of a person
from him were not properly identified; (3) under custodial investigation may be waived,
convicting appellant of the crime charged despite such waiver must be made not only voluntarily,
the fact that the evidence for the prosecution is knowingly and intelligently but also in the
weak and not convincing; and (4) finding presence and with the assistance of counsel. 13
appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of In the present case, the waiver made by
selling or at least acting as broker in the sale of appellant being without the assistance of counsel,
the 100 grams of marijuana to CIC Taduran late in this omission alone is sufficient to invalidate said
the afternoon of July 1, 1987, despite the failure sworn statement. 14
of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond
reasonable doubt. 11 3. Corollary to this, we take cognizance of the
error of the trial court in admitting in evidence
We rule for the appellant and approve the against appellant the articles allegedly
recommendation for his acquittal. In disposing of confiscated during the raid conducted in the
this case, however, we feel that the issues raised house of Jovencio Rodrigueza. cdll
by appellant should properly be discussed
seriatim. As provided in the present Constitution, a search,
to be valid, must generally be authorized by a
1. A buy-bust operation is a form of entrapment search warrant duly issued by the proper
employed by peace officers to trap and catch a government authority. 15 True, in some instances,
malefactor in flagrante delicto. 12 Applied to the this Court has allowed government authorities to
case at bar, the term in flagrante delicto requires conduct searches and seizures even without a
that the suspected drug dealer must be caught search warrant. Thus, when the owner of the
redhanded in the act of selling marijuana or any premises waives his right against such incursion;
prohibited drug to a person acting or posing as a 16 when the search is incidental to a lawful
buyer. arrest; 17 when it is made on vessels and aircraft
for violation of customs laws; 18 when it is made
In the instant case, however, the procedure on automobiles for the purpose of preventing
adopted by the NARCOM agents failed to meet violations of smuggling or immigration laws; 19
this qualification. Based on the very evidence of when it involves prohibited articles in plain view;
the prosecution, after the alleged consummation 20 or in cases of inspection of buildings and other
of the sale of dried marijuana leaves, CIC Taduran premises for the enforcement of fire, sanitary and
immediately released appellant Rodrigueza building regulations, 21 a search may be validly
instead of arresting and taking him into his made even without a search warrant.
custody. This act of CIC Taduran, assuming
arguendo that the supposed sale of marijuana did In the case at bar, however, the raid conducted
take place, is decidedly contrary to the natural by the NARCOM agents in the house of Jovencio
course of things and inconsistent with the Rodrigueza was not authorized by any search
aforestated purpose of a buy-bust operation. It is warrant. It does not appear, either, that the
rather absurd on his part to let appellant escape situation falls under any of the aforementioned
without having been subjected to the sanctions cases. Hence, appellant's right against
imposed by law. It is, in fact, a dereliction of duty unreasonable search and seizure was clearly
by an agent of the law. violated. The NARCOM agents could not have
justified their act by invoking the urgency and
2. The admissibility of the sworn statement necessity of the situation because the
allegedly executed by appellant was squarely testimonies of the prosecution witnesses reveal
placed in issue and, as correctly pointed out by that the place had already been put under
the defense, said sworn statement is inadmissible surveillance for quite some time. Had it been
in evidence against appellant. their intention to conduct the raid, then they
should, because they easily could, have first
We have once again to reiterate and emphasize secured a search warrant during that time.
that Article III of the 1987 Constitution provides:
4. The Court further notes the confusion and
"Sec. 12 (1). Any person under investigation for ambiguity in the identification of the confiscated
the commission of an offense shall have the right marijuana leaves and other prohibited drug
to be informed of his right to remain silent and to paraphernalia presented as evidence against
have a competent and independent counsel appellant.
preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot
afford the services of counsel, he must be CIC Taduran, who acted as the poseur buyer,
provided with one. These rights cannot be waived testified that appellant sold him 100 grams of
except in writing and in the presence of counsel. dried marijuana leaves wrapped in a plastic bag.
Surprisingly, and no plausible explanation has
51 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
been advanced therefor, what were submitted to WITNESS.
and examined by the PCCL and thereafter utilized
as evidence against the appellant were the A I am not actually familiar in (sic) that place, in
following items: Tagas, although we occasionally passed there.

"One (1) red and white colored plastic bag Q Now, upon your arrival in Tagas, what did you
containing the following: do that afternoon?

Exh. 'A' Thirty (30) grams of suspected dried A I waited for the suspect because previously, we
marijuana fruiting tops contained inside a have already been conducted (sic) surveylance
transparent plastic bag. (sic) in the vicinity.

Exh. 'B' Fifty (50) grams of suspected dried Q Upon arrival in Tagas, were you able to see the
marijuana leaves and seeds contained inside a suspect?
white colored plastic labelled 'Robertson'.
A By the road, sir.
Exh. 'C' Four (4) aluminum foils each
containing suspected dried marijuana fruiting Q Who was the first person did you see (sic) when
tops having a total weight of seven grams then you arrived at Tagas?
further wrapped with a piece of aluminum foil.
A The first person whom I saw is Samuel Segovia.

Q Were you able to talk with this Samuel


Exh. 'D' Five (5) small transparent plastic bags Segovia?
each containing suspected dried marijuana
fruiting tops having a total weight of seventeen A According to him, we could get some." 27
grams.
The same findings go for the testimony of witness
Exh. 'E' One plastic syringe." 22 Galutan. In his direct examination, he declared
that they arrested the three accused all at the
Evidently, these prohibited articles were among same time on the fateful night of July 1, 1987.
those confiscated during the so-called follow-up But, in his cross-examination and as corroborated
raid in the house of Jovencio Rodrigueza. The by the Joint Affidavit of Arrest 28 submitted by
unanswered question then arises as to the him and Moliawe, it appeared that Lonceras and
identity of the marijuana leaves that became the Segovia were arrested on different times and that
basis of appellant's conviction. 23 In People vs. appellant Don Rodrigueza was not among those
Rubio, 24 this Court had the occasion to rule that who were arrested. Instead, it was Jovencio
the plastic bag and the dried marijuana leaves Rodrigueza, Don's father, who was picked up at a
contained therein constitutes the corpus delicti of much later time.
the crime. As such, the existence thereof must be
proved with certainty and conclusiveness. Failure With said inconsistencies in sharp focus, we are
to do so would be fatal to the cause of the constrained to give more credibility to the
prosecution. cdphil testimony of appellant Rodrigueza. While it is true
that appellant's defense amounts to an alibi, and
5. It is accepted that, as a rule, minor as such is the weakest defense in a criminal
inconsistencies in the testimony of a witness will prosecution, there are, nonetheless, some
not affect his credibility. It even enhances such evidentiary aspects pointing to the truth in his
credibility because it only shows that he has not testimony. Firstly, the Joint Affidavit of Arrest
been rehearsed. 25 However, when the corroborates his testimony that he was not
inconsistencies pertain to material and crucial among those who were arrested on the night of
points, the same detract from his overall July 1, 1987. His co-accused Segovia also testified
credibility. that appellant Rodrigueza was not with them
when they were apprehended by the NARCOM
The exception, rather than the rule, applies in the agents.
case at bar. As correctly pointed out by the
Solicitor General, the testimonies of the Secondly, the apparent motive of the NARCOM
prosecution witnesses are tainted with serious agents in prosecuting the accused was also
flaws and material inconsistencies rendering the revealed during the trial of the case. Rebuttal
same incredible. 26 witnesses Gracita Bahillo, sister of appellant, and
Hospicio Segovia, father of Samuel Segovia,
CIC Taduran, in his testimony, said that they had testified that Sgt. Moliawe, who has since been
already been conducting surveillance of the place reportedly dismissed from the service, asked for
where the buy-bust operation was to take place. P10,000.00 from each of them in exchange for
It turned out, however, that he did not even know the liberty of the accused. 29 This allegation was
the exact place and the identity of the person never refuted by the prosecution. Hence, the rule
from whom he was to buy marijuana leaves. laid down by this Court that the statements of
Thus: prosecution witnesses are entitled to full faith and
credit 30 has no application in the case at bar.
"FISCAL TOLOSA:
Finally, the Court has repeatedly ruled that to
Q What place in Tagas were you able to go (to)? sustain the conviction of the accused, the
prosecution must rely on the strength of its own
evidence and not on the weakness of the
52 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
defense. 31 As clearly shown by the evidence, acted had been derived from statements made
the prosecution has failed to establish its cause. by alleged eyewitnesses to the shooting -- one
It has not overcome the presumption of stated that petitioner was the gunman; another
innocence accorded to appellant. This being the was able to take down the alleged gunman's car's
case, appellant should not be allowed to suffer for plate number which turned out to be registered in
unwarranted and imaginary imputations against petitioner's wife's name. That information did not,
him. however, constitute "personal knowledge." It is
thus clear to the Court that there was no lawful
WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction of the warrantless arrest of petitioner within the
court below is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE meaning of Section 5 of Rule 113.
and accused-appellant Don Rodrigueza is hereby
ACQUITTED of the crime charged. It is hereby 2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ACCUSED ENTITLED TO A
ordered that he be immediately released from PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION WITHOUT ANY
custody unless he is otherwise detained for some CONDITIONS. Petitioner was not arrested at
other lawful cause. all. When he walked into the San Juan Police
Station, accompanied by two (2) lawyers, he in
SO ORDERED. fact placed himself at the disposal of the police
authorities. He did not state that he was
Melencio-Herrera, Paras, Padilla and Nocon, JJ., "surrendering" himself, in all probability to avoid
concur. the implication he was admitting that he had
slain Eldon Maguan or that he was otherwise
(Go y Tambunting v. Court of Appeals, G.R. guilty of a crime. When the police filed a
No. 101837, February 11, 1992) complaint for frustrated homicide with the
Prosecutor, the latter should have immediately
EN BANC scheduled a preliminary investigation to
determine whether there was probable cause for
[G.R. No. 101837. February 11, 1992.] charging petitioner in court for the killing of Eldon
ROLITO GO y TAMBUNTING, petitioner, vs. THE Maguan. Instead, as noted earlier, the Prosecutor
COURT OF APPEALS; THE HON. BENJAMIN V. proceeded under the erroneous supposition that
PELAYO, Presiding Judge, Branch 168, Regional Section 7 of Rule 112 was applicable and required
Trial Court, NCJR Pasig, M.M.; and PEOPLE OF THE petitioner to waive the provisions of Article 125 of
PHILIPPINES, respondents. the Revised Penal Code as a condition for
carrying out a preliminary investigation. This was
SYLLABUS substantive error, for petitioner was entitled to a
1. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; preliminary investigation and that right should
WARRANTLESS ARREST UNDER SEC. 5, RULE have been accorded him without any conditions.
113, NOT APPLICABLE IN CASE AT BAR. We Moreover, since petitioner had not been arrested,
do not believe that the warrantless "arrest" or with or without a warrant, he was also entitled to
detention of petitioner in the instant case falls be released forthwith subject only to his
within the terms of Section 5 of Rule 113 of the appearing at the preliminary investigation.
1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure which provides
as follows: "Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when 3. ID.; ID.; ID.; RIGHT TO PRELIMINARY
lawful. A peace officer or a private person may, INVESTIGATION; NO WAIVER THEREOF MADE
without a warrant, arrest a person: (a) When, in IN CASE AT BAR. Turning to the second issue
his presence, the person to be arrested has of whether or not petitioner had waived his right
committed, is actually committing, or is to preliminary investigation, we note that
attempting to commit an offense; (b) When an petitioner had from the very beginning demanded
offense has in fact just been committed, and he that a preliminary investigation be conducted. As
has personal knowledge of facts indicating that earlier pointed out, on the same day that the
the person to be arrested has committed it; and information for murder was filed with the
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner Regional Trial Court, petitioner filed with the
who has escaped from a penal establishment or Prosecutor an omnibus motion for immediate
place where he is serving final judgment or release and preliminary investigation. The
temporarily confined while his case is pending, or Solicitor General contends that that omnibus
has escaped while being transferred from one motion should have been filed with the trial court
confinement to another. In cases falling under and not with the Prosecutor, and that petitioner
paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the person should accordingly be held to have waived his
arrested without a warrant shall be forthwith right to preliminary investigation. We do not
delivered to the nearest police station or jail, and believe that waiver of petitioner's statutory right
he shall be proceeded against in accordance with to preliminary investigation may be predicated on
Rule 112, Section 7." Petitioner's "arrest" took such a slim basis. The preliminary investigation
place six (6) days after the shooting of Maguan. was to be conducted by the Prosecutor, not by
The arresting officers obviously were not present, the Regional Trial Court. It is true that at the time
within the meaning of Section 5(a), at the time of filing of petitioner's omnibus motion, the
petitioner had allegedly shot Maguan. Neither information for murder had already been filed
could the "arrest" effected six (6) days after the with the Regional Trial Court: it is not clear from
shooting be reasonably regarded as effected the record whether petitioner was aware of this
"when [the shooting had] in fact just been fact at the time his omnibus motion was actually
committed" within the meaning of Section 5 (b). filed with the Prosecutor. Nonetheless, since
Moreover, none of the "arresting" officers had any petitioner in his omnibus motion was asking for
"personal knowledge" of facts indicating that preliminary investigation and not for a re-
petitioner was the gunman who had shot investigation and since the Prosecutor himself did
Maguan. The information upon which the police file with the trial court, on the 5th day after filing
53 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
the information for murder, a motion for leave to information for murder nor affect the jurisdiction
conduct preliminary investigation (attaching to of the trial court.
his motion a copy of petitioner's omnibus
motion), we conclude that petitioner's omnibus 6. ID.; ID.; ACCUSED ENTITLED TO
motion was in effect filed with the trial court. PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION EVEN THOUGH
What was crystal clear was that petitioner did ask TRIAL ON THE MERITS HAS ALREADY BEGAN.
for a preliminary investigation on the very day We consider that petitioner remains entitled to
that the information was filed without such a preliminary investigation although trial on the
preliminary investigation, and that the trial court merits has already began. Trial on the merits
was five (5) days later apprised of the desire of should be suspended or held in abeyance and a
the petitioner for such preliminary investigation. preliminary investigation forthwith accorded to
Finally, the trial court did in fact grant the petitioner. The constitutional point is that
Prosecutor's prayer for leave to conduct petitioner was not accorded what he was entitled
preliminary investigation. Thus, even on the to by way of procedural due process. Petitioner
(mistaken) supposition apparently made by the was forced to undergo arraignment and literally
Prosecutor that Section 7 of Rule 112 of the pushed to trial without preliminary investigation,
Revised Court was applicable, the 5-day with extraordinary haste, to the applause from
reglementary period in Section 7, Rule 112 must the audience that filled the courtroom. If he
be held to have been substantially complied with. submitted to arraignment and trial, petitioner did
We believe and so hold that petitioner did not so "kicking and screaming," in a manner of
waive his right to a preliminary investigation. The speaking. During the proceedings held before the
rule is that the right to preliminary investigation trial court on 23 August 1991, the date set for
is waived when the accused fails to invoke it arraignment of petitioner, and just before
before or at the time of entering a plea at arraignment, counsel made very clear petitioner's
arraignment. In the instant case, petitioner Go vigorous protest and objection to the arraignment
had vigorously insisted on his right to preliminary precisely because of the denial of preliminary
investigation before his arraignment. We do not investigation.
believe that by posting bail, petitioner had
waived his right to preliminary investigation. 7. ID.; ID.; ACCUSED ENTITLED TO BE
Petitioner Go asked for release on recognizance RELEASED ON BAIL AS A MATTER OF RIGHT.
or on bail and for preliminary investigation in one In respect of the matter of bail, petitioner
omnibus motion. He had thus claimed his right to remains entitled to be released on bail as a
preliminary investigation before respondent Judge matter of right. Should the evidence already of
approved the cash bond posted by petitioner and record concerning petitioner's guilt be, in the
ordered his release on 12 July 1991. Accordingly, reasonable belief of the Prosecutor, strong, the
we cannot reasonably imply waiver of preliminary Prosecutor may move in the trial court for
investigation on the part of petitioner. In fact, cancellation of petitioner's bail. It would then be
when the Prosecutor filed a motion in court up to the trial court, after a careful and objective
asking for leave to conduct preliminary assessment of the evidence on record, to grant or
investigation, he clearly if impliedly recognized deny the motion for cancellation of bail. It must
that petitioner's claim to preliminary investigation also be recalled that the Prosecutor had actually
was a legitimate one. agreed that petitioner was entitled to bail. This
was equivalent to an acknowledgment on the
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; A SUBSTANTIVE RIGHT part of the Prosecutor that the evidence of guilt
AND A COMPONENT PART OF DUE PROCESS. then in his hands was not strong. Accordingly, we
While the right to a preliminary investigation is consider that the 17 July 1991 order of
statutory rather than constitutional in its respondent Judge recalling his own order granting
fundament, since it has in fact been established bail and requiring petitioner to surrender himself
by statute, it is a component part of due process within forty-eight (48) hours from notice, was
in criminal justice. The right to have a preliminary plainly arbitrary considering that no evidence at
investigation conducted before being bound over all and certainly no new or additional evidence
to trial for a criminal offense and hence formally had been submitted to respondent Judge that
at risk of incarceration or some other penalty, is could have justified the recall of his order issued
not a mere formal or technical right; it is a just five (5) days before.
substantive right. The accused in a criminal trial
is inevitably exposed to prolonged anxiety,
aggravation, humiliation, not to speak of
expense; the right to an opportunity to avoid a 8. ID.; ID.; RELIANCE ON THE CASE OF UMIL
process painful to any one save, perhaps, to v. RAMOS, MISPLACED; OFFENSE
hardened criminals, is a valuable right. To deny COMMITTED NOT CONSIDERED A
petitioner's claim to a preliminary investigation "CONTINUING CRIME." The reliance of both
would be to deprive him of the full measure of his petitioner and the Solicitor General upon Umil v.
right to due process. Ramos (G.R. No. 81567, promulgated 3 October
1991) is, in the circumstances of this case,
5. ID.; ID.; FAILURE TO ACCORD misplaced. In Umil v. Ramos, by an eight-to-six
PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION DOES NOT vote, the Court sustained the legality of the
IMPAIR VALIDITY OF INFORMATION FILED. warrantless arrests of petitioners made from one
Contrary to petitioner's contention the failure to (1) to fourteen (14) days after the actual
accord preliminary investigation, while commission of the offenses, upon the ground that
constituting a denial of the appropriate and full such offenses constituted "continuing crimes."
measure of the statutory process of criminal Those offenses were subversion, membership in
justice, did not impair the validity of the an outlawed organization like the New Peoples

54 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
Army, etc. In the instant case, the offense for preliminary investigation the sole purpose of
which petitioner was arrested was murder, an which would be to ascertain if there is sufficient
offense which was obviously commenced and ground to believe that a crime was committed
completed at one definite location in time and (which the petitioner does not dispute) and that
space. No one had pretended that the fatal he (the petitioner) is probably guilty thereof
shooting of Maguan was a "continuing crime." (which the prosecutor, by filing the information
against him, presumably believed to be so). In
9. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; STATE SHOULD the present stage of the presentation of the
REAFFIRM ITS OBLIGATION TO RESPECT THE prosecution's evidence, to return the case to the
RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES OF ITS Prosecutor to conduct a preliminary investigation
CONSTITUENTS; TO ACCORD AN ACCUSED under Rule 112 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal
HIS RIGHT TO A PRELIMINARY Procedure would be supererogatory.
INVESTIGATION AND TO BAIL IN CASE AT
BAR, NOT AN IDLE CEREMONY. To reach any 2. ID.; ID.; RIGHT TO PRELIMINARY
other conclusion here, that is, to hold that INVESTIGATION, NOT A CONSTITUTIONAL
petitioner's rights to a preliminary investigation RIGHT. It should be remembered that as
and to bail were effectively obliterated by important as is the right of the accused to a
evidence subsequently admitted into the record preliminary investigation, it is not a constitutional
would be to legitimize the deprivation of due right. Its absence is not a ground to quash the
process and to permit the Government to benefit information (Doromal vs. Sandiganbayan, 177
from its own wrong or culpable omission and SCRA 354). It does not affect the court's
effectively to dilute important rights of accused jurisdiction, nor impair the validity of the
persons well-nigh to the vanishing point. It may information (Rodis vs. Sandiganbayan, 166 SCRA
be that to require the State to accord petitioner 618), nor constitute an infringement of the right
his rights to a preliminary investigation and to of the accused to confront witnesses (Bustos vs.
bail at this point, could turn out ultimately to be Lucero, 81 Phil. 640).
largely a ceremonial exercise. But the Court is not
compelled to speculate. And, in any case, it would 3. ID.; ID.; HEARING OF APPLICATION FOR
not be idle ceremony; rather it would be a BAIL; SHOULD NOT BE SUSPENDED AND
celebration by the State of the rights and liberties SHOULD NOT BE SUBORDINATED TO THE
of its own people and a re-affirmation of its PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION OF THE
obligation and determination to respect those CHARGE. The court's hearing of the
rights and liberties. application for bail should not be subordinated to
the preliminary investigation of the charge. The
CRUZ, J., concurring: hearing should not be suspended, but should be
1. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; allowed to proceed for it will accomplish a double
STATUTORY RIGHTS OF ACCUSED TO purpose. The parties will have an opportunity to
PROCEDURAL DUE PROCESS VITIATED IN show not only: (a) whether or not there is
CASE AT BAR. Petitioner had from the start probable cause to believe that the petitioner
demanded a preliminary investigation and that killed Eldon Maguan, but more importantly (b)
his counsel has reluctantly participated in the whether or not the evidence of his guilt is strong.
trial only because the court threatened to replace The judge's determination that the evidence of
him with a counsel de oficio if he did not. Under his guilt is strong would naturally foreclose the
these circumstances, I am convinced that there need for a preliminary investigation to ascertain
was no waiver. The petitioner was virtually the probability of his guilt. The bail hearing may
compelled to go to trial. Such compulsion and the not be suspended because upon the filing of an
unjustified denial of a clear statutory right of the application for bail by one accused of a capital
petitioner vitiated the proceedings as violative of offense, "the judge is under a legal obligation to
procedural due process. receive evidence with the view of determining
whether evidence of guilt is so strong as to
GUTIERREZ, JR., J., concurring: warrant denial of bond."
1. JUDICIAL ETHICS; COURTS; IMPORTANCE
OF FOLLOWING THE RULES EMPHASIZED. 4. ID.; ID.; ABOLITION OF DEATH PENALTY
The need for a trial court to follow the Rules and DID NOT MAKE THE RIGHT TO BAIL
to be fair, impartial, and persistent in getting the ABSOLUTE; ACCUSED MAY NOT BE
true facts of a case is present in all cases but it is RELEASED PENDING HEARING OF PETITION
particularly important if the accused is indigent; FOR BAIL. The abolition of the death penalty
more so, if he is one of those unfortunates who did not make the right to bail absolute, for
seem to spend more time behind bars than persons charged with offenses punishable by
outside. Unlike the accused in this case who reclusion perpetua, when evidence of guilt is
enjoys the assistance of competent counsel, a strong, are not bailable (Sec. 3, Art. III, 1987
poor defendant convicted by wide and Constitution). In People vs. Dacudao, 170 SCRA
unfavorable media coverage may be presumed 489, we called down the trial court for having
guilty before trial and be unable to defend granted the motion for bail in a murder case
himself properly. Hence, the importance of the without any hearing and without giving the
court always following the Rules. prosecution an opportunity to comment or file
objections thereto. Similarly, this Court held in
GRIO-AQUINO, J., dissenting: People vs. Bocar, 27 SCRA 512: ". . . due process
1. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; also demands that in the matter of bail the
PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION, NO LONGER prosecution should be afforded full opportunity to
NEEDED; RETURN OF CASE TO THE present proof of the guilt of the accused. Thus, if
PROSECUTOR, SUPEREROGATORY. I do not it were true that the prosecution in this case was
believe that there is still need to conduct a deprived of the right to present its evidence
55 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
against the bail petition, or that the order that time, positively identified petitioner as the
granting such petition was issued upon gunman. That same day, the police promptly filed
incomplete evidence, then the issuance of the a complaint for frustrated homicide 2 against
order would really constitute abuse of discretion petitioner with the Office of the Provincial
that would call for the remedy of certiorari." The Prosecutor of Rizal. First Assistant Provincial
petitioner may not be released pending the Prosecutor Dennis Villa Ignacio ("Prosecutor")
hearing of his petition for bail for it would be informed petitioner, in the Presence of his
incongruous to grant bail to one who is not in the lawyers, that he could avail himself of his right to
custody of the law (Feliciano vs. Pasicolan, 2 preliminary investigation but that he must first
SCRA 888). sign a waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of
the Revised Penal Code. Petitioner refused to
5. ID.; ID.; TERM "ARREST," CONSTRUED. execute any such waiver.
Arrest is the taking of a person into custody in
order that he may be bound to answer for the On 9 July 1991, while the complaint was still with
commission of an offense (Sec. 1, Rule 113, Rules the Prosecutor, and before an information could
of Court). An arrest is made by an actual restraint be filed in court, the victim, Eldon Maguan, died
of the person to be arrested, or by his submission of his gunshot wound(s). prcd
to the custody of the person making the arrest
(Sec. 2, Rule 113, Rules of Court). When Go Accordingly, on 11 July 1991, the Prosecutor,
walked into the San Juan Police Station on July 8, instead of filing an information for frustrated
1991, and placed himself at the disposal of the homicide, filed an information for murder 3 before
police authorities who clamped him in jail after he the Regional Trial Court. No bail was
was identified by an eyewitness as the person recommended. At the bottom of the information,
who shot Maguan, he was actually and effectively the Prosecutor certified that no preliminary
arrested. His filing of a petition to be released on investigation had been conducted because the
bail was a waiver of any irregularity attending his accused did not execute and sign a waiver of the
arrest and estops him from questioning its provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal
validity (Callanta vs. Villanueva, 77 SCRA 377; Code.
Bagcal vs. Villaraza, 120 SCRA 525).
In the afternoon of the same day, 11 July 1991,
DECISION counsel for petitioner filed with the prosecutor an
FELICIANO, J p: omnibus motion for immediate release and
According to the findings of the San Juan Police in proper preliminary investigation, 4 alleging that
their Investigation Report, 1 on 2 July 1991, Eldon the warrantless arrest of petitioner was unlawful
Maguan was driving his car along Wilson St., San and that no preliminary investigation had been
Juan, Metro Manila, heading towards P. Guevarra conducted before the information was filed.
St. Petitioner entered Wilson St., where it is a Petitioner also prayed that he be released on
one-way street and started travelling in the recognizance or on bail. Provincial Prosecutor
opposite or "wrong" direction. At the corner of Mauro Castro, acting on the omnibus motion,
Wilson and J. Abad Santos Sts., petitioner's and wrote on the last page of the motion itself that he
Maguan's cars nearly bumped each other. interposed no objection to petitioner being
Petitioner alighted from his car, walked over and granted provisional liberty on a cash bond of
shot Maguan inside his car. Petitioner then P100,000.00.
boarded his car and left the scene. A security
guard at a nearby restaurant was able to take On 12 July 1991, petitioner filed an urgent ex-
down petitioner's car plate number. The police parte motion for special raffle 5 in order to
arrived shortly thereafter at the scene of the expedite action on the Prosecutor's bail
shooting and there retrieved an empty shell and recommendation. The case was raffled to the sala
one round of live ammunition for a 9mm caliber of respondent Judge, who, on the same date,
pistol. Verification at the Land Transportation approved the cash bond 6 posted by petitioner
Office showed that the car was registered to one and ordered his release. 7 Petitioner was in fact
Elsa Ang Go. released that same day.

The following day, the police returned to the On 16 July 1991, the Prosecutor filed with the
scene of the shooting to find out where the Regional Trial Court a motion for leave to conduct
suspect had come from; they were informed that preliminary investigation 8 and prayed that in the
petitioner had dined at Cravings Bake Shop meantime all proceedings in the court be
shortly before the shooting. The police obtained a suspended. He stated that petitioner had filed
facsimile or impression of the credit card used by before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of
petitioner from the cashier of the bake shop. The Rizal an omnibus motion for immediate release
security guard of the bake shop was shown a and preliminary investigation, which motion had
picture of petitioner and he positively identified been granted by Provincial Prosecutor Mauro
him as the same person who had shot Maguan. Castro, who also agreed to recommend cash bail
Having established that the assailant was of P100,000.00. The Prosecutor attached to the
probably the petitioner, the police launched a motion for leave a copy of petitioner's omnibus
manhunt for petitioner. motion of 11 July 1991.

On 8 July 1991, petitioner presented himself Also on 16 July 1991, the trial court issued an
before the San Juan Police Station to verify news Order 9 granting leave to conduct preliminary
reports that he was being hunted by the police; investigation and cancelling the arraignment set
he was accompanied by two (2) lawyers. The for 15 August 1991 until after the prosecution
police forthwith detained him. An eyewitness to shall have concluded its preliminary investigation.
the shooting, who was at the police station at
56 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
On 17 July 1991, however, respondent Judge
motu proprio issued an Order, 10 embodying the On 23 September 1991, the Court of Appeals
following: (1) the 12 July 1991 Order which rendered a consolidated decision 14 dismissing
granted bail was recalled; petitioner was given 48 the two (2) petitions, on the following grounds:
hours from receipt of the Order to surrender
himself; (2) the 16 July 1991 Order which granted a. Petitioner's warrantless arrest was valid
leave to the prosecutor to conduct preliminary because the offense for which he was arrested
investigation was recalled and cancelled; (3) and charged had been "freshly committed." His
petitioner's omnibus motion for immediate identity had been established through
release and preliminary investigation dated 11 investigation. At the time he showed up at the
July 1991 was treated as a petition for bail and police station, there had been an existing
set for hearing on 23 July 1991. manhunt for him. During the confrontation at the
San Juan Police Station, one witness positively
On 19 July 1991, petitioner filed a petition for identified petitioner as the culprit.
certiorari, prohibition and mandamus before the
Supreme Court assailing the 17 July 1991 Order, b. Petitioner's act of posting bail constituted
contending that the information was null and void waiver of any irregularity attending his arrest. He
because no preliminary investigation had been waived his right to preliminary investigation by
previously conducted, in violation of his right to not invoking it properly and seasonably under the
due process. Petitioner also moved for suspension Rules.
of all proceedings in the case pending resolution
by the Supreme Court of his petition; this motion c. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when
was, however, denied by respondent Judge. LLphil it issued the 17 July 1991 Order because the trial
court had the inherent power to amend and
On 23 July 1991, petitioner surrendered to the control its processes so as to make them
police. conformable to law and justice.

By a Resolution dated 24 July 1991, this Court d. Since there was a valid information for murder
remanded the petition for certiorari, prohibition against petitioner and a valid commitment order
and mandamus to the Court of Appeals. (issued by the trial judge after petitioner
surrendered to the authorities whereby petitioner
On 16 August 1991, respondent Judge issued an was given to the custody of the Provincial
order in open court setting the arraignment of Warden), the petition for habeas corpus could not
petitioner on 23 August 1991. be granted.

On 19 August 1991, petitioner filed with the Court On 3 October 1991, the prosecution presented
of Appeals a motion to restrain his arraignment. three (3) more witnesses at the trial. Counsel for
petitioner also filed a "Withdrawal of Appearance"
On 23 August 1991, respondent judge issued a 15 with the trial court, with petitioner's
Commitment Order directing the Provincial conformity.
Warden of Rizal to admit petitioner into his
custody at the Rizal Provincial Jail. On the same On 4 October 1991, the present petition for
date, petitioner was arraigned. In view, however, Review on Certiorari was filed. On 14 October
of his refusal to enter a plea, the trial court 1991, the Court issued a Resolution directing
entered for him a plea of not guilty. The trial court respondent Judge to held in abeyance the hearing
then set the criminal case for continuous hearings of the criminal case below until further orders
on 19, 24 and 26 September; on 2, 3, 11 and 17 from this Court.
October; and on 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22
November 1991. 11 In this Petition for Review, two (2) principal issues
need to be addressed: first, whether or not a
On 27 August 1991, petitioner filed a petition for lawful warrantless arrest had been effected by
habeas corpus 12 in the Court of Appeals. He the San Juan Police in respect of petitioner Go;
alleged that in view of public respondents' failure and second, whether petitioner had effectively
to join issues in the petition for certiorari earlier waived his right to preliminary investigation. We
filed by him, after the lapse of more than a consider these issues seriatim. LLphil
month, thus prolonging his detention, he was
entitled to be released on habeas corpus. In respect of the first issue, the Solicitor General
argues that under the facts of the case, petitioner
On 30 August 1991, the Court of Appeals issued had been validly arrested without warrant. Since
the writ of habeas corpus. 13 The petition for petitioner's identity as the gunman who had shot
certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, on the one Eldon Maguan on 2 July 1991 had been
hand, and the petition for habeas corpus, upon sufficiently established by police work, petitioner
the other, were subsequently consolidated in the was validly arrested six (6) days later at the San
Court of Appeals. Juan Police Station. The Solicitor General invokes
Nazareno v. Station Commander, etc., et al., 16
The Court of Appeals, on 2 September 1991, one of the seven (7) cases consolidated with In
issued a resolution denying petitioner's motion to the Matter of the Petition for Habeas Corpus of
restrain his arraignment on the ground that Roberto Umil, etc. v. Ramos et al., 17 where a
motion had become moot and academic. majority of the Court upheld a warrantless arrest
as valid although effected fourteen (14) days
On 19 September 1991, trial of the criminal case after the killing in connection with which
commenced and the prosecution presented its Nazareno had been arrested. Accordingly, in the
first witness. view of the Solicitor General, the provisions of
57 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
Section 7, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court were shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police
applicable and because petitioner had declined to station or jail, and he shall be proceeded against
waive the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised in accordance with Rule 112, Section 7."
Penal Code, the Prosecutor was legally justified in
filing the information for murder even without Petitioner's "arrest" took place six (6) days after
preliminary investigation. the shooting of Maguan. The "arresting" officers
obviously were not present, within the meaning of
On the other hand, petitioner argues that he was Section 5(a), at the time petitioner had allegedly
not lawfully arrested without warrant because he shot Maguan. Neither could the "arrest" effected
went to the police station six (6) days after the six (6) days after the shooting be reasonably
shooting which he had allegedly perpetrated. regarded as effected "when [the shooting had] in
Thus, petitioner argues, the crime had not been fact just been committed" within the meaning of
"just committed" at the time that he was Section 5 (b). Moreover, none of the "arresting"
arrested. Moreover, none of the police officers officers had any "personal knowledge" of facts
who arrested him had been an eyewitness to the indicating that petitioner was the gunman who
shooting of Maguan and accordingly none had the had shot Maguan. The information upon which
"personal knowledge" required for the lawfulness the police acted had been derived from
of a warrantless arrest. Since there had been no statements made by alleged eyewitnesses to the
lawful warrantless arrest, Section 7, Rule 112 of shooting one stated that petitioner was the
the Rules of Court which establishes the only gunman; another was able to take down the
exception to the right to preliminary alleged gunman's car's plate number which
investigation, could not apply in respect of turned out to be registered in petitioner's wife's
petitioner. name. That information did not, however,
constitute "personal knowledge." 18
The reliance of both petitioner and the Solicitor It is thus clear to the Court that there was no
General upon Umil v. Ramos is, in the lawful warrantless arrest of petitioner within the
circumstances of this case, misplaced. In Umil v. meaning of Section 5 of Rule 113. It is clear too
Ramos, by an eight-to-six vote, the Court that Section 7 of Rule 112, which provides:
sustained the legality of the warrantless arrests
of petitioners made from one (1) to fourteen (14) "Sec. 7. When accused lawfully arrested without
days after the actual commission of the offenses, warrant. When a person is lawfully arrested
upon the ground that such offenses constituted without a warrant for an offense cognizable by
"continuing crimes." Those offenses were the Regional Trial Court the complaint or
subversion, membership in an outlawed information may be filed by the offended party,
organization like the New Peoples Army, etc. In peace officer or fiscal without a preliminary
the instant case, the offense for which petitioner investigation having been first conducted, on the
was arrested was murder, an offense which was basis of the affidavit of the offended party or
obviously commenced and completed at one arresting office or person.
definite location in time and space. No one had
pretended that the fatal shooting of Maguan was However, before the filing of such complaint or
a "continuing crime." information, the person arrested may ask for a
preliminary investigation by a proper officer in
Secondly, we do not believe that the warrantless accordance with this Rule, but he must sign a
"arrest" or detention of petitioner in the instant waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of the
case falls within the terms of Section 5 of Rule Revised Penal Code, as amended, with the
113 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure assistance of a lawyer and in case of non-
which provides as follows: availability of a lawyer, a responsible person of
his choice. Notwithstanding such waiver, he may
apply for bail as provided in the corresponding
rule and the investigation must be terminated
"Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A within fifteen (15) days from its inception. Cdpr
peace officer or a private person may, without a
warrant, arrest a person: If the case has been filed in court without a
preliminary investigation having been first
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be conducted, the accused may within five (5) days
created has committed, is actually committing, or from the time he learns of the filing of the
is attempting to commit an offense; information, ask for a preliminary investigation
with the same right to adduce evidence in his
(b) When an offense has in fact just been favor in the manner prescribed in this Rule."
committed, and he has personal knowledge of (Underscoring supplied).
facts indicating that the person to be arrested has
committed it; and is also not applicable. Indeed, petitioner was not
arrested at all. When he walked into the San Juan
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner Police Station, accompanied by two (2) lawyers,
who has escaped from a penal establishment or he in fact placed himself at the disposal of the
place where he is serving final judgment or police authorities. He did not state that he was
temporarily confined while his case is pending, or "surrendering" himself, in all probability to avoid
has escaped while being transferred from one the implication he was admitting that he had
confinement to another. slain Eldon Maguan or that he was otherwise
guilty of a crime. When the police filed a
In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) complaint for frustrated homicide with the
hereof, the person arrested without a warrant Prosecutor, the latter should have immediately
scheduled a preliminary investigation to
58 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
determine whether there was probable cause for prosecution of criminal cases even while the case
charging petitioner in court for the killing of Eldon is already in Court he cannot impose his opinion
Maguan. Instead, as noted earlier, the Prosecutor on the trial court. The Court is the best and sole
proceeded under the erroneous supposition that judge on what to do with the case before it. . . ."
Section 7 of Rule 112 was applicable and required 20 (Citations omitted, underscoring supplied).
petitioner to waive the provisions of Article 125 of
the Revised Penal Code as a condition for Nonetheless, since petitioner in his omnibus
carrying out a preliminary investigation. This was motion was asking for preliminary investigation
substantive error, for petitioner was entitled to a and not for a reinvestigation (Crespo v. Mogul
preliminary investigation and that right should involved a re-investigation), and since the
have been accorded him without any conditions. Prosecutor himself did file with the trial court, on
Moreover, since petitioner had not been arrested; the 5th day after filing the information for
with or without a warrant, he was also entitled to murder, a motion for leave to conduct preliminary
be released forthwith subject only to his investigation (attaching to his motion a copy of
appearing at the preliminary investigation. petitioner's omnibus motion), we conclude that
Turning to the second issue of whether or not petitioner's omnibus motion was in effect filed
petitioner had waived his right to preliminary with the trial court. What was crystal clear was
investigation, we note that petitioner had from that petitioner did ask for a preliminary
the very beginning demanded that a preliminary investigation on the very day that the information
investigation be conducted. As earlier pointed was filed without such preliminary investigation,
out, on the same day that the information for and that the trial court was five (5) days later
murder was filed with the Regional Trial Court. apprised of the desire of the petitioner for such
Petitioner filed with the prosecutor an omnibus preliminary investigation. Finally, the trial court
motion for immediate release and preliminary did in fact grant the Prosecutor's prayer for leave
investigation. The Solicitor General contends that to conduct preliminary investigation. Thus, even
omnibus motion should have been filed with the on the (mistaken) supposition apparently made
trial court and not with the Prosecutor, and that by the Prosecutor that Section 7 of Rule 112 of
petitioner should accordingly be held to have the Revised Court was applicable, the 5-day
waived his right to preliminary investigation. We reglementary period in Section 7, Rule 112 must
do not believe that waiver of petitioner's be held to have been substantially complied with.
statutory right to preliminary investigation may LexLib
be predicated on such a slim basis. The We believe and so hold that petitioner did not
preliminary investigation was to be conducted by waive his right to a preliminary investigation.
the Prosecutor, not by the Regional Trial Court. It While that right is statutory rather than
is true that at the time of filing of petitioner's constitutional in its fundament, since it has in fact
omnibus motion, the information for murder had been established by statute, it is a component
already been filed with the Regional Trial Court; it part of due process in criminal justice. 20 The
is not clear from the record whether petitioner right to have a preliminary investigation
was aware of this fact at the time his omnibus conducted before being bound over to trial for a
motion was actually filed with the Prosecutor. In criminal offense and hence formally at risk of
Crespo v. Mogul, 19 this Court held: incarceration or some other penalty, is not a
mere formal or technical right; it is a substantive
"The preliminary investigation conducted by the right. The accused in a criminal trial is inevitably
fiscal for the purpose of determining whether a exposed to prolonged anxiety, aggravation,
prima facie case exists warranting the humiliation, not to speak of expense; the right to
prosecution of the accused is terminated upon an opportunity to avoid a process painful to any
the filing of the information in the proper court. In one save, perhaps, to hardened criminals, is a
turn, as above stated, the filing of said valuable right. To deny petitioner's claim to a
information sets in motion the criminal action preliminary investigation would be to deprive him
against the accused in Court. Should the fiscal of the full measure of his right to due process.
find it proper to conduct a reinvestigation of the
case, at such stage, the permission of the Court The question may be raised whether petitioner
must be secured. After such reinvestigation the still retains his right to a preliminary investigation
finding and recommendations of the fiscal should in the instant case considering that he was
be submitted to the Court for appropriate action. already arraigned on 23 August 1991. The rule is
While it is true that the fiscal has the quasi that the right to preliminary investigation is
judicial discretion to determine whether or not a waived when the accused fails to invoke it before
criminal case should be filed in court or not, once or at the time of entering a plea at arraignment.
the case had already been brought to Court 21 In the instant case, petitioner Go had
whatever disposition the fiscal may feel should be vigorously insisted on his right to preliminary
proper in the case thereafter should be addressed investigation before his arraignment. At the time
for the consideration of the Court. The only of his arraignment, petitioner was already before
qualification is that the action of the Court must the Court of Appeals on certiorari, prohibition and
not impair the substantial rights of the accused, mandamus precisely asking for a preliminary
or the right of the People to due process of law. investigation before being forced to stand trial.

xxx xxx xxx


The rule therefore in this jurisdiction is that once
a complaint or information is filed in Court any Again, in the circumstances of this case, we do
disposition of the case [such] as its dismissal or not believe that by posting bail, petitioner had
the conviction or acquittal of the accused rests in waived his right to preliminary investigation. In
the sound discretion of the Court. Although the People v. Selfaison, 22 we did hold that appellants
fiscal retains the direction and control of the
59 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
there had waived their right to preliminary to undergo arraignment and literally pushed to
investigation because immediately after their trial without preliminary investigation, with
arrest, they filed bail and proceeded to trial extraordinary haste, to the applause from the
"without previously claiming that they did not audience that filled the courtroom. If he
have the benefit of a preliminary investigation." submitted to arraignment and trial, petitioner did
23 In the instant case, petitioner Go asked for so "kicking and screaming," in a manner of
release on recognizance or on bail and for speaking. During the proceedings held before the
preliminary investigation in one omnibus motion. trial court on 23 August 1991, the date set for
He had thus claimed his right to preliminary arraignment of petitioner, and just before
investigation before respondent Judge approved arraignment, counsel made very clear petitioner's
the cash bond posted by petitioner and ordered vigorous protest and objection to the arraignment
his release on 12 July 1991. Accordingly, we precisely because of the denial of preliminary
cannot reasonably imply waiver of preliminary investigation. 27 So energetic and determined
investigation on the part of petitioner. In fact, were petitioner's counsel's protest and objection
when the Prosecutor filed a motion in court that an obviously angered court and prosecutor
asking for leave to conduct preliminary dared him to withdraw or walkout, promising to
investigation, he clearly if impliedly recognized replace him with counsel de oficio. During the
that petitioner's claim to preliminary investigation trial, just before the prosecution called its first
was a legitimate one. witness, petitioner through counsel once again
reiterated his objection to going to trial without
We would clarify, however, that contrary to preliminary investigation; petitioner's counsel
petitioner's contention the failure to accord made or record his "continuing objection." 28
preliminary investigation, while constituting a Petitioner had promptly gone to the appellate
denial of the appropriate and full measure of the court on certiorari and prohibition to challenge
statutory process of criminal justice, did not the lawfulness of the procedure he was being
impair the validity of the information for murder forced to undergo and the lawfulness of his
nor affect the jurisdiction of the trial court. 24 detention. 29 If he did not walkout on the trial,
and if he cross-examined the Prosecution's
It must also be recalled that the Prosecutor had witnesses, it was because he was extremely loath
actually agreed that petitioner was entitled to to be represented by counsel de oficio selected
bail. This was equivalent to an acknowledgment by the trial judge, and to run the risk of being
on the part of the prosecutor that the evidence of held to have waived also his right to use what is
guilt then in his hands was not strong. frequently the only test of truth in the judicial
Accordingly, we consider that the 17 July 1991 process.
order of respondent Judge recalling his own order
granting bail and requiring petitioner to surrender In respect of the matter of bail, we similarly
himself within forty-eight (48) hours from notice, believe and so hold that petitioner remains
was plainly arbitrary considering that no evidence entitled to be released on bail as a matter of
at all and certainly no new or additional right. Should the evidence already of record
evidence had been submitted to respondent concerning petitioner's guilt be, in the reasonable
Judge that could have justified the recall of his belief of the Prosecutor, strong, the Prosecutor
order issued just five (5) days before. It follows may move in the trial court for cancellation of
that petitioner was entitled to be released on bail petitioner's bail. It would then be up to the trial
as a matter of right. court, after a careful and objective assessment of
the evidence on record, to grant or deny the
The final question which the Court must face is motion for cancellation of bail.
this: how does the fact that, in the instant case,
trial on the merits has already commenced, the To reach any other conclusion here, that is, to
Prosecutor having already presented four (4) hold that petitioner's rights to a preliminary
witnesses, impact upon, firstly, petitioner's right investigation and to bail were effectively
to a preliminary investigation and secondly, obliterated by evidence subsequently admitted
petitioner's right to be released on bail? Does he into the record would be to legitimize the
continue to be entitled to have a preliminary deprivation of due process and to permit the
investigation conducted in respect of the charge Government to benefit from its own wrong or
against him? Does petitioner remain entitled to culpable omission and effectively to dilute
be released on bail? important rights of accused persons well-nigh to
the vanishing point. It may be that to require the
Turning first to the matter of preliminary State to accord petitioner his rights to a
investigation, we consider that petitioner remains preliminary investigation and to bail at this point,
entitled to a preliminary investigation although could turn out ultimately to be largely a
trial on the merits has already began. Trial on the ceremonial exercise. But the Court is not
merits should be suspended or held in abeyance compelled to speculate. And, in any case, it would
and a preliminary investigation forthwith not be idle ceremony; rather it would be a
accorded to petitioner. 25 It is true that the celebration by the State of the rights and liberties
prosecutor might, in view of the evidence that he of its own people and a re-affirmation of its
may at this time have on hand, conclude that obligation and determination to respect those
probable cause exists; upon the other hand, the rights and liberties.
Prosecutor conceivably could reach the
conclusion that the evidence on hand does not ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to GRANT the
warrant a finding of probable cause. In any event, Petition for Review on Certiorari. The Order of the
the constitutional point is that petitioner was not trial court dated 17 July 1991 is hereby SET ASIDE
accorded what he was entitled to by way of and NULLIFIED, and the Decision of the Court of
procedural due process. 26 Petitioner was forced
60 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
Appeals dated 23 September 1991 hereby firearms and ammunitions. They just suspected
REVERSED. that he was hiding something in the buri bag.
They did now know what its contents were. The
The Office of the Provincial Prosecutor is hereby said circumstances did not justify an arrest
ORDERED to conduct forthwith a preliminary without a warrant.
investigation of the charge of murder against
petitioner Go, and to complete such preliminary 3. ID.; ID.; ID.; CAN BE VALIDLY EFFECTED
investigation within a period of fifteen (15) days WITHOUT BEING PRECEDED BY AN ARREST;
from commencement thereof. The trial on the CASE AT BAR. However, there are many
merits of the criminal case in the Regional Trial instances where a warrant and seizure can be
Court shall be SUSPENDED to await the effected without necessarily being preceded by
conclusion of the preliminary investigation. an arrest, foremost of which is the "stop and
search" without a search warrant at military or
Meantime, petitioner is hereby ORDERED police checkpoints, the constitutionality or
released forthwith upon posting of a cash bail validity of which has been upheld by this Court in
bond of One Hundred Thousand Pesos Valmonte vs. de Villa. As between a warrantless
(P100,000.00). This release shall be without search and seizure conducted at military or police
prejudice to any lawful order that the trial court checkpoints and the search thereat in the case at
may issue, should the Office of the Provincial bar, there is no question that, indeed, the latter is
Prosecutor move for cancellation of bail at the more reasonable considering that unlike in the
conclusion of the preliminary investigation. former, it was effected on the basis of a probable
cause. The probable cause is that when the
No pronouncement as to costs. This Decision is petitioner acted suspiciously and attempted to
immediately executory. flee with the buri bag there was a probable cause
that he was concealing something illegal in the
SO ORDERED. bag and it was the right and duty of the police
officers to inspect the same. It is too much indeed
Narvasa, C.J., Bidin, Medialdea, Romero and to require the police officers to search the bag in
Nocon, JJ., concur. the possession of the petitioner only after they
shall have obtained a search warrant for the
(Posadas y Zamora v. Court of Appeals, G.R. purpose. Such an exercise may prove to be
No. 89139, August 02, 1990) useless, futile and much too late.

FIRST DIVISION DECISION


[G.R. No. 89139. August 2, 1990.] GANCAYCO, J p:
ROMEO POSADAS y ZAMORA, petitioner, vs. The validity of a warrantless search on the person
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and of petitioner is put into issue in this case.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
Rudy G. Agravante for petitioner. On October 16, 1986 at about 10:00 o'clock in the
morning Pat. Ursicio Ungab and Pat. Umbra
SYLLABUS Umpar, both members of the Integrated National
1. REMEDIAL LAW; REVISED RULES ON Police (INP) of the Davao Metrodiscom assigned
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; ARREST WITHOUT with the Intelligence Task Force, were conducting
WARRANT; SEC. 5, RULE 113 THEREOF. a surveillance along Magallanes Street, Davao
From the foregoing provision of law it is clear that City. While they were within the premises of the
an arrest without a warrant may be effected by a Rizal Memorial Colleges they spotted petitioner
peace officer or private person, among others, carrying a "buri" bag and they noticed him to be
when in his presence the person to be arrested acting suspiciously.
has committed, is actually committing, or is
attempting to commit an offense; or when an They approached the petitioner and identified
offense has in fact just been committed, and he themselves as members of the INP. Petitioner
has personal knowledge of the facts indicating attempted to flee but his attempt to get away
that the person arrested has committed it. was thwarted by the two notwithstanding his
resistance.
2. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS;
WARRANTLESS SEARCH AND SEIZURE; NOT They then checked the "buri" bag of the
INCIDENTAL TO A LAWFUL ARREST IN THE petitioner where they found one (1) caliber .38
CASE AT BAR. The Solicitor General, in Smith & Wesson revolver with Serial No. 770196
justifying the warrantless search and seizure of 1 two (2) rounds of live ammunition for a .38
the buri bag then carried by the petitioner, caliber gun, 2 a smoke (tear gas) grenade 3 a and
argued that when the two policemen approached two (2) live ammunitions for a .22 caliber gun. 4
the petitioner, he was actually committing or had They brought the petitioner to the police station
just committed the offense of illegal possession of for further investigation. In the course of the
firearms and ammunitions in the presence of the same, the petitioner was asked to show the
police officers and consequently the search and necessary license or authority to possess firearms
seizure of the contraband was incidental to the and ammunitions found in his possession but he
lawful arrest in accordance with Section 12, Rule failed to do so. He was then taken to the Davao
126 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure. We Metrodiscom office and the prohibited articles
disagree. At the time the peace officers in this recovered from him were indorsed to M/Sgt.
case identified themselves and apprehended the Didoy, the officer then on duty. He was
petitioner as he attempted to flee they did not prosecuted for illegal possession of firearms and
know that he had committed, or was actually ammunitions in the Regional Trial Court of Davao
committing the offense of illegal possession of City wherein after a plea of not guilty and trial on
61 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
the merits a decision was rendered on October 8,
1987 finding petitioner guilty of the offense From the foregoing provision of law it is clear that
charged as follows: an arrest without a warrant may be effected by a
peace officer or private person, among others,
"WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, this when in his presence the person to be arrested
Court finds the accused guilty beyond reasonable has committed, is actually committing, or is
doubt of the offense charged. attempting to commit an offense; or when an
offense has in fact just been committed, and he
It appearing that the accused was below eighteen has personal knowledge of the facts indicating
(18) years old at the time of the commission of that the person arrested has committed it.
the offense (Art. 68, par. 2), he is hereby
sentenced to an indeterminate penalty ranging The Solicitor General argues that when the two
from TEN (10) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of prision policemen approached the petitioner, he was
mayor to TWELVE (12) Years, FIVE (5) months and actually committing or had just committed the
Eleven (11) days of Reclusion Temporal, and to offense of illegal possession of firearms and
pay the costs. ammunitions in the presence of the police officers
and consequently the search and seizure of the
The firearm, ammunitions and smoke grenade are contraband was incidental to the lawful arrest in
forfeited in favor of the government and the accordance with Section 12, Rule 126 of the 1985
Branch Clerk of Court is hereby directed to turn Rules on Criminal Procedure. We disagree.
over said items to the Chief, Davao Metrodiscom,
Davao City." 5 At the time the peace officers in this case
identified themselves and apprehended the
Not satisfied therewith the petitioner interposed petitioner as he attempted to flee they did not
an appeal to the Court of Appeals wherein in due know that he had committed, or was actually
course a decision was rendered on February 23, committing the offense of illegal possession of
1989 affirming in toto the appealed decision with firearms and ammunitions. They just suspected
costs against the petitioner. 6 that he was hiding something in the buri bag.
They did now know what its contents were. The
Hence, the herein petition for review, the main said circumstances did not justify an arrest
thrust of which is that there being no lawful arrest without a warrant. llcd
or search and seizure, the items which were
confiscated from the possession of the petitioner However, there are many instances where a
are inadmissible in evidence against him. LexLib warrant and seizure can be effected without
necessarily being preceded by an arrest, foremost
The Solicitor General, in justifying the warrantless of which is the "stop and search" without a search
search of the buri bag then carried by the warrant at military or police checkpoints, the
petitioner, argues that under Section 12, Rule 126 constitutionality or validity of which has been
of the Rules of Court a person lawfully arrested upheld by this Court in Valmonte vs. de Villa, 7 as
may be searched for dangerous weapons or follows:
anything used as proof of a commission of an
offense without a search warrant. It is further "Petitioner Valmonte's general allegation to the
alleged that the arrest without a warrant of the effect that he had been stopped and searched
petitioner was lawful under the circumstances. without a search warrant by the military manning
the checkpoints, without more, i.e., without
Section 5, Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal stating the details of the incidents which amount
Procedure provides as follows: to a violation of his right against unlawful search
and seizure, is not sufficient to enable the Court
"SEC. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A to determine whether there was a violation of
peace officer or a private person may, without a Valmonte's right against unlawful search and
warrant, arrest a person: seizure. Not all searches and seizures are
prohibited. Those which are reasonable are not
(a) When in his presence, the person to be forbidden. A reasonable search is not to be
arrested has committed, is actually committing, determined by any fixed formula but is to be
or is attempting to commit an offense; resolved according to the facts of each case.

(b) When an offense has in fact just been Where, for example, the officer merely draws
committed, and he has personal knowledge of aside the curtain of a vacant vehicle which is
facts indicating that the person to be arrested has parked on the public fair grounds, or simply looks
committed it; and into a vehicle or flashes a light therein, these do
not constitute unreasonable search.
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner
who has escaped from a penal establishment or The setting up of the questioned checkpoints in
place where he is serving final judgment or Valenzuela (and probably in other areas) may be
temporarily confined while his case is pending, or considered as a security measure to enable the
has escaped while being transferred from one NCRDC to pursue its mission of establishing
confinement to another. effective territorial defense and maintaining
peace and order for the benefit of the public.
In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) Checkpoints may also be regarded as measures
hereof, the person arrested without a warrant to thwart plots to destabilize the government in
shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police the interest of public security. In this connection,
station or jail, and he shall be proceeded against the Court may take judicial notice of the shift to
in accordance with Rule 112, Section 7. (6a, 17a)" urban centers and their suburbs of the insurgency
62 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
movement, so clearly reflected in the increased "The assailed search and seizure may still be
killings in cities of police and military men by NPA justified as akin to a "stop and frisk" situation
"sparrow units," not to mention the abundance of whose object is either to determine the identity of
unlicensed firearms and the alarming rise in a suspicious individual or to maintain the status
lawlessness and violence in such urban centers, quo momentarily while the police officer seeks to
not all of which are reported in media, most likely obtain more information. This is illustrated in the
brought about by deteriorating economic case of Terry vs. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968). In this
conditions which all sum up to what one can case, two men repeatedly walked past a store
rightly consider, at the very least, as abnormal window and returned to a spot where they
times. Between the inherent right of the state to apparently conferred with a third man. This
protect its existence and promote public welfare aroused the suspicion of a police officer. To the
and an individual's right against a warrantless experienced officer, the behavior of the men
search which is however reasonably conducted, indicated that they were sizing up the store for an
the former should prevail. armed robbery. When the police officer
approached the men and asked them for their
names, they mumbled a reply. Whereupon, the
officer grabbed one of them, spun him around
True, the manning of checkpoints by the military and frisked him. Finding a concealed weapon in
is susceptible of abuse by the men in uniform in one, he did the same to the other two and found
the same manner that all governmental power is another weapon. In the prosecution for the
susceptible of abuse. But, at the cost of offense of carrying a concealed weapon, the
occasional inconvenience, discomfort and even defense of illegal search and seizure was put up.
irritation to the citizen, the checkpoints during The United States Supreme Court held that "a
these abnormal times, when conducted within police officer may in appropriate circumstances
reasonable limits, are part of the price we pay for and in an appropriate manner approach a person
an orderly society and a peaceful community. for the purpose of investigating possible criminal
(Emphasis supplied)." behavior even though there is no probable cause
to make an arrest." In such a situation, it is
Thus, as between a warrantless search and reasonable for an officer rather than simply to
seizure conducted at military or police shrug his shoulder and allow a crime to occur, to
checkpoints and the search thereat in the case at stop a suspicious individual briefly in order to
bar, there is no question that, indeed, the latter is determine his identity or maintain the status quo
more reasonable considering that unlike in the while obtaining more information. . . .
former, it was effected on the basis of a probable
cause. The probable cause is that when the Clearly, the search in the case at bar can be
petitioner acted suspiciously and attempted to sustained under the exceptions heretofore
flee with the buri bag there was a probable cause discussed, and hence, the constitutional
that he was concealing something illegal in the guarantee against unreasonable searches and
bag and it was the right and duty of the police seizures has not been violated." 9
officers to inspect the same.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED with costs
It is too much indeed to require the police officers against petitioner.
to search the bag in the possession of the
petitioner only after they shall have obtained a SO ORDERED.
search warrant for the purpose. Such an exercise
may prove to be useless, futile and much too Narvasa, Cruz, Grio-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ.,
late. concur.

In People vs. CFI of Rizal, 8 this Court held as (People v. Mengote y Tejas, G.R. No. 87059,
follows: June 22, 1992)

". . . In the ordinary cases where warrant is FIRST DIVISION


indispensably necessary, the mechanics [G.R. No. 87059. June 22, 1992.]
prescribed by the Constitution and reiterated in THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-
the Rules of Court must be followed and satisfied. appellee, vs. ROGELIO MENGOTE Y TEJAS,
But We need not argue that there are exceptions. accused-appellant.
Thus in the extraordinary events where warrant is The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
not necessary to effect a valid search or seizure, Violeta C. Drilon counsel de oficio for accused-
or when the latter cannot be performed except appellant.
without warrant, what constitutes a reasonable or
unreasonable search or seizure becomes purely a SYLLABUS
judicial question, determinable from the 1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS;
uniqueness of the circumstances involved, RIGHT AGAINST ILLEGAL SEARCH AND
including the purpose of the search or seizure, SEIZURE; EVIDENCE OBTAINED IN VIOLATION
the presence or absence of probable cause, the THEREOF; EFFECT; CASE AT BAR. It is
manner in which the search and seizure was submitted in the Appellant's Brief that the
made, the place or thing searched and the revolver should not have been admitted in
character of the articles procured." evidence because of its illegal seizure, no warrant
therefor having been previously obtained. Neither
The Court reproduces with approval the following could it have been seized as an incident of a
disquisition of the Solicitor General: cdphil lawful arrest because the arrest of Mengote was
itself unlawful, having been also effected without
a warrant. The defense also contends that the
63 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
testimony regarding the alleged robbery in there were three suspicious-looking persons at
Danganan's house was irrelevant and should also the corner of Juan Luna and North Bay Boulevard
have been disregarded by the trial court. There is in Tondo, Manila. A surveillance team of
no question that evidence obtained as a result of plainclothesmen was forthwith dispatched to the
an illegal search or seizure is inadmissible in any place. As later narrated at the trial by Patrolmen
proceeding for any purpose. That is the absolute Rolando Mercado and Alberto Juan, 1 they there
prohibition of Article III, Section 3(2), of the saw two men "looking from side to side," one of
Constitution. This is the celebrated exclusionary whom was holding his abdomen. They
rule based on the justification given by Judge approached these persons and identified
Learned Hand that "only in case the prosecution themselves as policemen, whereupon the two
which itself controls the seizing officials, knows tried to run away but were unable to escape
that it cannot profit by their wrong will the wrong because the other lawmen had surrounded them.
be repressed." The suspects were then searched. One of them,
who turned out to be the accused-appellant, was
2. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; found with a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson
ARREST WITHOUT WARRANT; WHEN revolver with six live bullets in the chamber. His
LAWFUL; REQUISITES; NOT ESTABLISHED IN companion, later identified as Nicanor Morellos,
CASE AT BAR. The Solicitor General, while had a fan knife secreted in his front right pants
conceding the rule, maintains that it is not pocket. The weapons were taken from them.
applicable in the case at bar. His reason is that Mengote and Morellos were then turned over to
the arrest and search of Mengote and the seizure police headquarters for investigation by the
of the revolver from him were lawful under Rule Intelligence Division. LLpr
113, Section 5, of the Rules of Court. We have
carefully examined the wording of this rule and On August 11, 1987, the following information
cannot see how we can agree with the was filed against the accused-appellant before
prosecution. Par. (c) of Section 5 is obviously the Regional Trial Court of Manila:
inapplicable as Mengote was not an escapee from
a penal institution when he was arrested. We The undersigned accuses ROGELIO MENGOTE y
therefore confine ourselves to determining the TEJAS of a violation of Presidential Decree No.
lawfulness of his arrest under either Par. (a) or 1866, committed as follows:
Par. (b) of this section. Par. (a) requires that the
person be arrested (1) after he has committed or That on or about August 8, 1987, in the City of
while he is actually committing or is at least Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and
attempting to commit an offense, (2) in the there wilfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in
presence of the arresting officer. These his possession and under his custody and control
requirements have not been established in the a firearm, to wit:
case at bar. At the time of the arrest in question,
the accused-appellant was merely "looking from one (1) cal. 38 "S & W" bearing
side to side" and "holding his abdomen,"
according to the arresting officers themselves. Serial No. 8720-T.
There was apparently no offense that had just
been committed or was being actually committed without first having secured the necessary license
or at least being attempted by Mengote in their or permit therefor from the proper authorities.
presence. Par. (b) is no less applicable because its Besides the police officers, one other witness
no less stringent requirements have also not presented by the prosecution was Rigoberto
been satisfied. The prosecution has not shown Danganan, who identified the subject weapon as
that at the time of Mengote's arrest an offense among the articles stolen from him during the
had in fact just been committed and that the robbery in his house in Malabon on June 13, 1987.
arresting officers had personal knowledge of facts He pointed to Mengote as one of the robbers. He
indicating that Mengote had committed it. All had duly reported the robbery to the police,
they had was hearsay information from the indicating the articles stolen from him, including
telephone caller, and about a crime that had yet the revolver. 2 For his part, Mengote made no
to be committed. effort to prove that he owned the firearm or that
he was licensed to possess it and claimed instead
DECISION that the weapon had been "planted" on him at
CRUZ, J p: the time of his arrest. 3
Accused-appellant Rogelio Mengote was
convicted of illegal possession of firearms on the The gun, together with the live bullets and its
strength mainly of the stolen pistol found on his holster, were offered as Exhibits A, B and C and
person at the moment of his warrantless arrest. In admitted over the objection of the defense. As
this appeal, he pleads that the weapon was not previously stated, the weapon was the principal
admissible as evidence against him because it evidence that led to Mengote's conviction for
had been illegally seized and was therefore the violation of P.D. 1866. He was sentenced to
fruit of the poisonous tree. The Government reclusion perpetua. 4
disagrees. It insists that the revolver was validly
received in evidence by the trial judge because It is submitted in the Appellant's Brief that the
its seizure was incidental to an arrest that was revolver should not have been admitted in
doubtless lawful even if admittedly without evidence because of its illegal seizure, no warrant
warrant. therefor having been previously obtained. Neither
could it have been seized as an incident of a
The incident occurred shortly before noon of lawful arrest because the arrest of Mengote was
August 8, 1987, after the Western Police District itself unlawful, having been also effected without
received a telephone call from an informer that a warrant. The defense also contends that the
64 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
testimony regarding the alleged robbery in We have carefully examined the wording of this
Danganan's house was irrelevant and should also rule and cannot see how we can agree with the
have been disregarded by the trial court. prosecution.

The following are the pertinent provision of the Par. (c) of Section 5 is obviously inapplicable as
Bill of Rights: Mengote was not an escapee from a penal
institution when he was arrested. We therefore
Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in confine ourselves to determining the lawfulness
their persons, houses, papers, and effects against of his arrest under either Par. (a) or Par. (b) of this
unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever section.
nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable,
and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall Par. (a) requires that the person be arrested (1)
issue except upon probable cause to be after he has committed or while he is actually
determined personally by the judge after committing or is at least attempting to commit an
examination under oath or affirmation of the offense, (2) in the presence of the arresting
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, officer.
and particularly describing the place to be
searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Sec. 3 (1). The privacy of communication and These requirements have not been established in
correspondence shall be inviolable except upon the case at bar. At the time of the arrest in
lawful order of the court, or when public safety or question, the accused-appellant was merely
order requires otherwise as prescribed by law. "looking from side to side" and "holding his
abdomen," according to the arresting officers
(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or themselves. There was apparently no offense that
the preceding section shall be inadmissible for had just been committed or was being actually
any purpose in any proceeding. committed or at least being attempted by
Mengote in their presence.
There is no question that evidence obtained as a
result of an illegal search or seizure is The Solicitor General submits that the actual
inadmissible in any proceeding for any purpose. existence of an offense was not necessary as long
That is the absolute prohibition of Article III, as Mengote's acts "created a reasonable
Section 3(2), of the Constitution. This is the suspicion on the part of the arresting officers and
celebrated exclusionary rule based on the induced in them the belief that an offense had
justification given by Judge Learned Hand that been committed and that the accused-appellant
"only in case the prosecution, which itself controls had committed it." The question is, What offense?
the seizing officials, knows that it cannot profit by What offense could possibly have been suggested
their wrong will the wrong be repressed." by a person "looking from side to side" and
"holding his abdomen" and in a place not exactly
The Solicitor General, while conceding the rule, forsaken?
maintains that it is not applicable in the case at
bar. His reason is that the arrest and search of These are certainly not sinister acts. And the
Mengote and the seizure of the revolver from him setting of the arrest made them less so, if at all. It
were lawful under Rule 113, Section 5, of the might have been different if Mengote had been
Rules of Court reading as follows: apprehended at an ungodly hour and in a place
where he had no reason to be, like a darkened
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A alley at 3 o'clock in the morning. But he was
peace officer or private person may without a arrested at 11:30 in the morning and in a
warrant, arrest a person: Cdpr crowded street shortly after alighting from a
passenger jeep with his companion. He was not
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be skulking in the shadows but walking in the clear
arrested has committed, is actually committing, light of day. There was nothing clandestine about
or is attempting to commit an offense; his being on that street at that busy hour in the
blaze of the noonday sun.
(b) When an offense has in fact just been
committed, and he has personal knowledge of On the other hand, there could have been a
facts indicating that the person to be arrested has number of reasons, all of them innocent, why his
committed it; and eyes were darting from side to side and he was
holding his abdomen. If they excited suspicion in
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner the minds of the arresting officers, as the
who has escaped from a penal establishment or prosecution suggests, it has nevertheless not
place where he is serving final judgment or been shown what their suspicion was all about. In
temporarily confined while his case is pending, or fact, the policemen themselves testified that they
has escaped while being transferred from one were dispatched to that place only because of the
confinement to another. telephone call from the informer that there were
"suspicious-looking" persons in that vicinity who
In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) were about to commit a robbery at North Bay
hereof, the person arrested without a warrant Boulevard. The caller did not explain why he
shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police thought the men looked suspicious nor did he
station or jail, and he shall be proceeded against elaborate on the impending crime. LLpr
in accordance with Rule 112, Section 7.

65 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
In the recent case of People v. Malmstedt, 5 the Under Section 6(a) of Rule 113, the officer
Court sustained the warrantless arrest of the arresting a person who has just committed, is
accused because there was a bulge in his waist committing, or is about to commit an offense
that excited the suspicion of the arresting officer must have personal knowledge of the fact. The
and, upon inspection, turned out to be a pouch offense must also be committed in is presence or
containing hashish. In People v. Claudio, 6 the within his view. (Sayo v. Chief of Police, 80 Phil.
accused boarded a bus and placed the buri bag 859). (Emphasis supplied)
she was carrying behind the seat of the arresting
officer while she herself sat in the seat before xxx xxx xxx
him. His suspicion aroused, he surreptitiously
examined the bag, which he found to contain In arrests without a warrant under Section 6(b),
marijuana. He then and there made the however, it is not enough that there is reasonable
warrantless arrest and seizure that we ground to believe that the person to be arrested
subsequently upheld on the ground that probable has committed a crime. A crime must in fact or
cause had been sufficiently established. actually have been committed first. That a crime
has actually been committed is an essential
The case before us is different because there was precondition. It is not enough to suspect that a
nothing to support the arresting officers' crime may have been committed. The fact of the
suspicion other than Mengote's darting eyes and commission of the offense must be undisputed.
his hand on his abdomen. By no stretch of the The test of reasonable ground applies only to the
imagination could it have been inferred from identity of the perpetrator. (Emphasis supplied)
these acts that an offense had just been
committed, or was actually being committed, or This doctrine was affirmed in Alih v. Castro, 10
was at least being attempted in their presence. thus:

This case is similar to People v. Aminnudin, 7 If the arrest was made under Rule 113, Section 5,
where the Court held that the warrantless arrest of the Rules of Court in connection with a crime
of the accused was unconstitutional. This was about to be committed, being committed, or just
effected while he was coming down a vessel, to committed, what was that crime? There is no
all appearances no less innocent than the other allegation in the record of such a justification.
disembarking passengers. He had not committed Parenthetically, it may be observed that under
nor was he actually committing or attempting to the Revised Rule 113, Section 5(b), the officer
commit an offense in the presence of the making the arrest must have personal knowledge
arresting officers. He was not even acting of the ground therefor as stressed in the recent
suspiciously. In short, there was no probable case of People v. Burgos. (Emphasis supplied)
cause that, as the prosecution incorrectly
suggested, dispensed with the constitutional It would be a sad day, indeed, if any person could
requirement of a warrant. be summarily arrested and searched just because
he is holding his abdomen, even if it be possibly
Par. (b) is no less applicable because its no less because of a stomachache, or if a peace officer
stringent requirements have also not been could clamp handcuffs on any person with a
satisfied. The prosecution has not shown that at shifty look on suspicion that he may have
the time of Mengote's arrest an offense had in committed a criminal act or is actually
fact just been committed and that the arresting committing or attempting it. This simply cannot
officers had personal knowledge of facts be done in a free society. This is not a police state
indicating that Mengote had committed it. All where order is exalted over liberty or, worse,
they had was hearsay information from the personal malice on the part of the arresting
telephone caller, and about a crime that had yet officer may be justified in the name of security.
to be committed.
There is no need to discuss the other issues
The truth is that they did not know then what raised by the accused-appellant as the ruling we
offense, if at all, had been committed and neither here make is sufficient to sustain his exoneration.
were they aware of the participation therein of Without the evidence of the firearm taken from
the accused-appellant. It was only later, after him at the time of his illegal arrest, the
Danganan had appeared at the police prosecution has lost its most important exhibit
headquarters, that they learned of the robbery in and must therefore fail. The testimonial evidence
his house and of Mengote's supposed against Mengote (which is based on the said
involvement therein. 8 As for the illegal firearm) is not sufficient to prove his guilt beyond
possession or the firearm found on Mengote's reasonable doubt of the crime imputed to him.
person, the policemen discovered this only after
he had been searched and the investigation We commend Atty. Violeta Calvo-Drilon for her
conducted later revealed that he was not its able and spirited defense of the accused-
owners nor was he licensed to possess it. appellant not only in the brief but also in the
reply brief, which she did not have to file but did
Before these events, the peace officers had no so just the same to stress the constitutional rights
knowledge even of Mengote' identity, let alone of her client. The fact that she was acting only as
the fact (or suspicion) that he was unlawfully a counsel de oficio with no expectation of
carrying a firearm or that he was involved in the material reward makes her representation even
robbery of Danganan's house. more commendable.

In the landmark case of People v. Burgos, 9 this The Court feels that if the peace officers had
Court declared: been more mindful of the provisions of the Bill of
Rights, the prosecution of the accused-appellant
66 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
might have succeeded. As it happened, they penalty, and not the minimum, is taken into
allowed their over-zealousness to get the better account. Since the maximum of the penalty is
of them, resulting in their disregard of the reclusion perpetua, the appeal therefrom should
requirements of a valid search and seizure that have been to the Court and not the Court of
rendered inadmissible the vital evidence they had Appeals. Hence, the challenged decision
invalidly seized. LLpr immediately fall in jurisdictional grounds.
Additionally, the Court is convinced that the
This should be a lesson to other peace officers. prosecution failed to establish petitioner's guilt
Their impulsiveness may be the very cause of the with moral certainty. First, serious doubts
acquittal of persons who deserve to be convicted, surrounds the story of police office Yu that a
escaping the clutches of the law because, grenade was found in and seized from petitioner's
ironically enough, it has not been observed by possession. Notably, Yu did not identify in court
those who are supposed to enforce it. the grenade he allegedly seized. Second, if
indeed petitioner had a grenade with him and
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is REVERSED that two days earlier he was with the group about
and SET ASIDE. The accused-appellant is to detonate an explosive at Plaza Miranda, it was
ACQUITTED and ordered released immediately then unnatural and against common experience
unless he is validly detained for other offenses. that petitioner simply stood in Plaza Miranda in
No costs. proximity to the police officers. Lastly, even
assuming that petitioner admitted possession of
SO ORDERED. the grenade during his custodial investigation
police officer Serapio, such admission is
Grio-Aquino, Medialdea and Bellosillo, JJ ., inadmissible in evidence for it was taken in
concur. palpable violation of Section 12(1) and (3) of
Article III of the Constitution. Verily, the search
conducted on petitioner could not have been one
incidental to a lawful arrest. In view thereof, the
challenged decision of the Court of Appeals is set
aside for lack of jurisdiction and on ground of
reasonable doubt.

SYLLABUS
(Malacat y Mandar v. Court of Appeals, G.R. 1. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE;
No. 123595, December 12, 1997) APPEAL TO THE SUPREME COURT; FOR
PURPOSES OF DETERMINING APPELLATE
EN BANC JURISDICTION OF THE SUPREME COURT IN
[G.R. No. 123595. December 12, 1997.] CRIMINAL CASES, THE MAXIMUM OF THE
SAMMY MALACAT y MANDAR, petitioner, vs. PENALTY IMPOSABLE BY LAW IS TAKEN INTO
COURT OF APPEALS, and PEOPLE OF THE ACCOUNT AND NOT THE MINIMUM. For
PHILIPPINES, respondents. purposes of determining appellate jurisdiction in
Brillantes, Navarro, Jumamil, Arcilla, Escolin and criminal cases, the maximum of the penalty, and
Martinez Law Offices for petitioner. not the minimum, is taken into account. Since the
maximum of the penalty is reclusion perpetua,
SYNOPSIS the appeal therefrom should have been to
In an information filed before the Regional Trial Supreme Court, and not the Court of Appeals,
Court (RTC) of Manila, petitioner was charged with pursuant to Section 9(3) of the Judiciary
violating Section 3 of Presidential Decree No. Reorganization Act of 1980 (B.P. Blg. 129), in
1866 for keeping, possessing and/or acquiring a relation to Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948,
hand grenade, without first securing the Section 5(2) of Article VIII of the Constitution and
necessary license and permit from the proper Section 3(c) of Rule 122 of the Rules of Court. The
authorities. On arraignment, petitioner, assisted term life imprisonment as used in Section 9 of
by counsel de officio, entered a plea of not guilty. B.P. Blg. 129, the Judiciary Act of 1948, and
After trial on the merits, the court a quo found Section 3 of Rule 122 must be deemed to include
petitioner guilty of the crime of illegal possession reclusion perpetua in view of Section 5(2) of
of explosives under the said law and sentenced Article VIII of the Constitution.
him to suffer the penalty of not less than
seventeen years, four months and one day of 2. ID.; ID.; RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED;
reclusion temporal as minimum and not more PETITIONER'S ADMISSION OF POSSESSION
than thirty years of reclusion perpetua, as OF THE GRENADE DURING CUSTODIAL
maximum. Petitioner filed a notice of appeal INVESTIGATION, WITHOUT THE ASSISTANCE
indicating that he was appealing to the Supreme OF COUNSEL, INADMISSIBLE IN EVIDENCE.
Court. However, the record of the case was Even assuming that petitioner admitted
forwarded to the Court of Appeals. In its decision, possession of the grenade during his custodial
the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's investigation by police officer Serapio, such
decision. Unable to accept conviction, petitioner admission was inadmissible in evidence for it was
filed the instant petition alleging that the taken in palpable violation of Section 12(1) and
respondent court erred in affirming the findings of (3) of Article III of the Constitution. Serapio
the trial court that the warrantless arrest of conducted the custodial investigation on
petitioner was valid and legal. petitioner the day following his arrest. No lawyer
was present and Serapio could not have
The Supreme Court finds the petition impressed requested a lawyer to assist petitioner as no PAO
with merit. For purposes of determining appellate lawyer was then available. Thus, even if
jurisdiction in criminal cases, the maximum of the petitioner consented to the investigation and
67 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
waived his rights to remain silent and to counsel, surrounding conditions, to warrant the belief that
the waiver was invalid as it was not in writing, the person detained has weapons concealed
neither was it executed in the presence of about him. Finally, a "stop-and-frisk" serves a
counsel. two-fold interest: the general interest of effective
crime prevention and detection, which underlies
3. ID.; ID.; WARRANTLESS ARREST; LACK OF the recognition that a police officer may, under
PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE ON THE PART OF appropriate circumstances and in an appropriate
THE ARRESTING OFFICER OR AN OVERT manner, approach a person for purposes of
PHYSICAL ACT ON THE PART OF THE investigating possible criminal behavior even
ACCUSED, INDICATING THAT THE CRIME HAD without probable cause; and (2) the more
JUST BEEN COMMITTED, OR WAS GOING TO pressing interest of safety and self-preservation
BE COMMITTED, MAKES THE SEARCH which permit the police officer to take steps to
CONDUCTED ON THE ACCUSED NOT ONE assure himself that the person with whom he
INCIDENTAL TO A LAWFUL ARREST; CASE AT deals is not armed with a deadly weapon that
BAR. In a search incidental to a lawful arrest, could unexpectedly and fatally be used against
as the precedent arrest determines the validity of the police officer.
the incidental search, the legality of the arrest is
questioned in a large majority of these cases, PANGANIBAN, J., separate opinion:
e.g., whether an arrest was merely used as a 1. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE;
pretext for conducting a search. In this instance, WARRANTLESS ARRESTS AND SEARCHES;
the law requires that there first be a lawful arrest PROBABLE CAUSE, NEEDED FOR THEIR
before a search can be made the process VALIDITY. After reviewing previous decisions
cannot be reversed. At bottom, assuming a valid on valid warrantless arrests and searches, the
arrest, the arresting officer may search the Court underscored in sum that there was need for
person of the arrestee and the area within which facts providing probable cause, such as "the
the latter may reach for a weapon or for evidence distinct odor of marijuana, reports about drug
to destroy, and seize any money or property transporting or positive identification by
found which was used in the commission of the informers, suspicious behavior, attempt to flee,
crime, or the fruit of the crime, or that which may [or] failure to produce identification papers" to
be used as evidence, or which might furnish the justify warrantless arrests and searches. Likewise,
arrestee with the means of escaping or urgency must attend such arrests and searches,
committing violence. Here, there could have been as where motor vehicles are used and there is
no valid in flagrante delicto or hot pursuit arrest great probability that the suspect would get away
preceding the search in light of the lack of before a warrant can be procured. Most important
personal knowledge on the part of Yu, the is that the law enforcers must act immediately on
arresting officer, or an overt physical act, on the the information received, suspicions raised or
part of petitioner, indicating that a crime had just probable cause established, and should effect the
been committed, was being committed or was arrests and searches without any delay.
going to be committed. Having thus shown the
invalidity of the warrantless arrest in this case, 2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; THE STOP-AND-FRISK
plainly, the search conducted on petitioner could CONDUCTED BY ORDINARY POLICEMEN
not have been one incidental to a lawful arrest. AGAINST THE ACCUSED ON THE BASIS THAT
HIS EYES WERE MOVING VERY FAST AND
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; "STOP AND FRISK" AS A THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT HE IS HIDING
"LIMITED PROTECTIVE SEARCH OF OUTER EXPLOSIVE PARAPHERNALIA, IS ILLEGAL;
CLOTHING FOR WEAPONS"; JUSTIFICATION CASE AT BAR. As in Manalili, lawmen were on
FOR AND ALLOWABLE SCOPE THEREOF. surveillance in response to information that a
We now proceed to the justification for and criminal activity could be in the offing at a
allowable scope of a "stop-and-frisk" as a "limited specified place. The stark difference, however, is
protective search of outer clothing for weapons," that in Manalili, the reported activity involved
as laid down in Terry, thus: We merely hold today drug use and the lawmen belonged to the anti-
that where a police officer observes unusual narcotics group, while in the instant case, the
conduct which leads him reasonably to conclude police on patrol were ordinary law enforcers on
in light of his experience that criminal activity the lookout for possible bombers. In the former,
may be afoot and that the persons with whom he the law enforcers concerned may be presumed to
is dealing may be armed and presently possess special knowledge and skill to detect the
dangerous, where in the course of investigating physical features exhibited by a current drug
this behavior he identifies himself as a policeman user. Thus, when these specially trained enforcers
and makes reasonable inquiries, and where saw Manalili with reddish eyes and walking in a
nothing in the initial stages of the encounter wobbly manner characteristic of a person "high"
serves to dispel his reasonable fear for his own or on drugs per their experience, and in a known
others' safety, he is entitled for the protection of hangout of drug users, there was sufficient
himself and others in the area to conduct a genuine reason to stop and frisk the suspect. It is
carefully limited search of the outer clothing of well to emphasize that under different
such persons in an attempt to discover weapons circumstances such as where the policemen are
which might be used to assault him. Such a not specially-trained, and in common places
search is a reasonable search under the Fourth where people ordinarily converge, the same
Amendment . . . Other notable points of Terry are features displayed by a person will not normally
that while probable cause is not required to justify a warrantless arrest or search on him. The
conduct a "stop and frisk," it nevertheless holds case before us presents such a situation. The
that mere suspicion or a hunch will not validate a policemen merely observed that Malacat's eyes
"stop and frisk." A genuine reason must exist, in were moving very fast. They did not notice any
light of the police officer's experience and bulges or packets about the bodies of these men
68 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
indicating that they might be hiding explosive Rodolfo Yu of the Western Police District,
paraphernalia. From their outward look, nothing Metropolitan Police Force of the Integrated
suggested that they were at the time armed and National Police, Police Station No. 3, Quiapo,
dangerous. Hence, there was no justification for a Manila, testified that on 27 August 1990, at about
stop-and-frisk. 6:30 p.m., in response to bomb threats reported
seven days earlier, he was on foot patrol with
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; DOCTRINE LAID three other police officers (all of them in uniform)
DOWN IN PEOPLE VS. MENGOTE, SQUARELY along Quezon Boulevard, Quiapo, Manila, near
APPLICABLE IN CASE AT BAR. Bolstering the the Mercury Drug store at Plaza Miranda. They
invalidity of the arrest and search of Malacat is chanced upon two groups of Muslim-looking men,
People vs. Mengote, another classic on the right with each group, comprised of three to four men,
against unreasonable searches and seizures. posted at opposite sides of the corner of Quezon
Upon receiving a telephone call shortly before Boulevard near the Mercury Drug Store. These
noon from an informer that there were suspicious men were acting suspiciously with "[t]their
looking persons at a certain street corner in eyes . . . moving very fast." 6
Tondo, Manila, the Western Police District
dispatched a surveillance team to said place. Yu and his companions positioned themselves at
There they saw two men "looking from side to strategic points and observed both groups for
side" with one "holding his abdomen." The police about thirty minutes. The police officers then
approached them and identified themselves, approached one group of men, who then fled in
whereupon the two tried to flee but failed as different directions. As the policemen gave chase,
other lawmen surrounded them. The suspects Yu caught up with and apprehended petitioner.
were searched, and recovered from Mengote was Upon searching petitioner, Yu found a
a fully loaded pistol; from his companion, a fan fragmentation grenade tucked inside petitioner's
knife. The Court ruled that the situation was not "front waist line." 7 Yu's companion, police officer
one calling for a lawful warrantless search and Rogelio Malibiran, apprehended Abdul Casan from
arrest. As the Court, through Mr. Justice Isagani A. whom a .38 caliber revolver was recovered.
Cruz, succinctly put it: "What offense could Petitioner and Casan were then brought to Police
possibly have been suggested by a person Station No. 3 where Yu placed an "X" mark at the
'looking from side to side and 'holding his bottom of the grenade and thereafter gave it to
abdomen' and in a place not exactly forsaken? his commander. 8
Under our rule in Mengote, petitioner's dubious
act of moving his eyes swiftly from side to side On cross-examination, Yu declared that they
can in no way justify a stop-and-frisk. To convict a conducted the foot patrol due to a report that a
person on the basis only of his queer behavior group of Muslims was going to explode a grenade
and to sentence him to practically a lifetime in somewhere in the vicinity of Plaza Miranda. Yu
prison would simply be unfathomable. Nothing recognized petitioner as the previous Saturday,
can be more wrong, unjust and inhuman. 25 August 1990, likewise at Plaza Miranda, Yu saw
petitioner and 2 others attempt to detonate a
DECISION grenade. The attempt was aborted when Yu and
DAVIDE, JR., J p: other policemen chased petitioner and his
In an Information 1 filed on 30 August 1990, in companions; however, the former were unable to
Criminal Case No. 90-86748 before the Regional catch any of the latter. Yu further admitted that
Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 5, petitioner petitioner and Casan were merely standing on the
Sammy Malacat y Mandar was charged with corner of Quezon Boulevard when Yu saw them
violating Section 3 of Presidential Decree No. on 27 August 1990. Although they were not
1866, 2 as follows: LLjur creating a commotion, since they were
supposedly acting suspiciously, Yu and his
That on or about August 27, 1990, in the City of companions approached them. Yu did not issue
Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and any receipt for the grenade he allegedly
there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly keep, recovered from petitioner. 9
possess and/or acquire a hand grenade, without
first securing the necessary license and/or permit Josefino C. Serapio declared that at about 9:00
therefor from the proper authorities. a.m. of 28 August 1990, petitioner and a certain
Abdul Casan were brought in by Sgt. Saquilla 10
At arraignment 3 on 9 October 1990, petitioner, for investigation. Forthwith, Serapio conducted
assisted by counsel de officio, entered a plea of the inquest of the two suspects, informing them
not guilty. of their rights to remain silent and to be assisted
by competent and independent counsel. Despite
At pre-trial on 11 March 1991, petitioner admitted Serapio's advice, petitioner and Casan
the existence of Exhibits "A," "A-1," and "A-2," 4 manifested their willingness to answer questions
while the prosecution admitted that the police even without the assistance of a lawyer. Serapio
authorities were not armed with a search warrant then took petitioner's uncounselled confession
nor warrant of arrest at the time they arrested (Exh. "E"), there being no PAO lawyer available,
petitioner. 5 wherein petitioner admitted possession of the
grenade. Thereafter, Serapio prepared the
At trial on the merits, the prosecution presented affidavit of arrest and booking sheet of petitioner
the following police officers as its witnesses: and Casan. Later, Serapio turned over the
Rodolfo Yu, the arresting officer; Josefino C. grenade to the Intelligence and Special Action
Serapio, the investigating officer; and Orlando Division (ISAD) of the Explosive Ordinance
Ramilo, who examined the grenade. Disposal Unit for examination. 11

69 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
On cross-examination, Serapio admitted that he but to allow the officer to pursue his investigation
took petitioner's confession knowing it was without fear of violence." 18
inadmissible in evidence. 12
The trial court then ruled that the seizure of the
Orlando Ramilo, a member of the Bomb Disposal grenade from petitioner was incidental to a lawful
Unit, whose principal duties included, among arrest, and since petitioner "[l]ater voluntarily
other things, the examination of explosive admitted such fact to the police investigator for
devices, testified that on 22 March 1991, he the purpose of bombing the Mercury Drug Store,"
received a request dated 19 March 1991 from Lt. concluded that sufficient evidence existed to
Eduardo Cabrera and PO Diosdado Diotoy for establish petitioner's guilt beyond reasonable
examination of a grenade. Ramilo then affixed an doubt.
orange tag on the subject grenade detailing his
name, the date and time he received the In its decision 19 dated 10 February 1994 but
specimen. During the preliminary examination of promulgated on 15 February 1994, the trial court
the grenade, he "found that [the] major thus found petitioner guilty of the crime of illegal
components consisting of [a] high filler and fuse possession of explosives under Section 3 of P.D.
assembly [were] all present," and concluded that No. 1866, and sentenced him to suffer:
the grenade was "[l]ive and capable of
exploding." On even date, he issued a [T]he penalty of not less than SEVENTEEN (17)
certification stating his findings, a copy of which YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS AND ONE (1) DAY OF
he forwarded to Diotoy on 11 August 1991. 13 RECLUSION TEMPORAL, as minimum, and not
more than THIRTY (30) YEARS OF RECLUSION
Petitioner was the lone defense witness. He PERPETUA, as maximum.
declared that he arrived in Manila on 22 July 1990
and resided at the Muslim Center in Quiapo, On 18 February 1994, petitioner filed a notice of
Manila. At around 6:30 in the evening of 27 appeal 20 indicating that he was appealing to this
August 1990, he went to Plaza Miranda to catch a Court. However, the record of the case was
breath of fresh air. Shortly after, several forwarded to the Court of Appeals which docketed
policemen arrived and ordered all males to stand it as CA-G.R. CR No. 15988 and issued a notice to
aside. The policemen searched petitioner and two file briefs. 21
other men, but found nothing in their possession.
However, he was arrested with two others,
brought to and detained at Precinct No. 3, where
he was accused of having shot a police officer. In his Appellant's Brief 22 filed with the Court of
The officer showed the gunshot wounds he Appeals, petitioner asserted that:
allegedly sustained and shouted at petitioner
"[i]to ang tama mo sa akin." This officer then 1. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT
inserted the muzzle of his gun into petitioner's THE SEARCH UPON THE PERSON OF ACCUSED-
mouth and said, "[y]ou are the one who shot me." APPELLANT AND THE SEIZURE OF THE ALLEGED
HANDGRENADE FROM HIM "WAS AN
Petitioner denied the charges and explained that APPROPRIATE INCIDENT TO HIS ARREST."
he only recently arrived in Manila. However,
several other police officers mauled him, hitting 2. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING AS
him with benches and guns. Petitioner was once EVIDENCE AGAINST ACCUSED-APPELLANT THE
again searched, but nothing was found on him. HANDGRENADE ALLEGEDLY SEIZED FROM HIM AS
He saw the grenade only in court when it was IT WAS A PRODUCT OF AN UNREASONABLE AND
presented. 14 ILLEGAL SEARCH.

The trial court ruled that the warrantless search In sum, petitioner argued that the warrantless
and seizure of petitioner was akin to a "stop and arrest was invalid due to absence of any of the
frisk," where a "warrant and seizure can be conditions provided for in Section 5 of Rule 113 of
effected without necessarily being preceded by the Rules of Court, citing People vs. Mengote. 23
an arrest" and "whose object is either to maintain As such, the search was illegal, and the hand
the status quo momentarily while the police grenade seized, inadmissible in evidence.
officer seeks to obtain more information." 15
Probable cause was not required as it was not In its Brief for the Appellee, the Office of the
certain that a crime had been committed, Solicitor General agreed with the trial court and
however, the situation called for an investigation, prayed that its decision be affirmed in toto. 24
hence to require probable cause would have been
"premature." 16 The RTC emphasized that Yu and In its decision of 24 January 1996, 25 the Court of
his companions were "[c]onfronted with an Appeals affirmed the trial court, noting, first, that
emergency, in which the delay necessary to petitioner abandoned his original theory before
obtain a warrant, threatens the destruction of the court a quo that the grenade was "planted"
evidence" 17 and the officers "[h]ad to act in by the police officers; and second, the factual
haste," as petitioner and his companions were finding of the trial court that the grenade was
acting suspiciously, considering the time, place seized from petitioner's possession was not
and "reported cases of bombing." Further, raised as an issue. Further, respondent court
petitioner's group suddenly ran away in different focused on the admissibility in evidence of Exhibit
directions as they saw the arresting officers "D," the hand grenade seized from petitioner.
approach, thus "[i]t is reasonable for an officer to Meeting the issue squarely, the Court of Appeals
conduct a limited search, the purpose of which is ruled that the arrest was lawful on the ground
not necessarily to discover evidence of a crime, that there was probable cause for the arrest as

70 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
petitioner was "attempting to commit an
offense," thus: 1. THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN AFFIRMING
THE FINDING OF THE TRIAL COURT THAT THE
We are at a loss to understand how a man, who WARRANTLESS ARREST OF PETITIONER WAS
was in possession of a live grenade and in the VALID AND LEGAL.
company of other suspicious character[s] with
unlicensed firearm[s] lurking in Plaza Miranda at a 2. THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING
time when political tension ha[d] been enkindling THAT THE RULING IN PEOPLE VS. MENGOTE DOES
a series of terroristic activities, [can] claim that NOT FIND APPLICATION IN THE INSTANT CASE.
he was not attempting to commit an offense. We
need not mention that Plaza Miranda is In support thereof, petitioner merely restates his
historically notorious for being a favorite bomb arguments below regarding the validity of the
site especially during times of political upheaval. warrantless arrest and search, then disagrees
As the mere possession of an unlicensed grenade with the finding of the Court of Appeals that he
is by itself an offense, Malacat's posture is simply was "attempting to commit a crime," as the
too preposterous to inspire belief. evidence for the prosecution merely disclosed
that he was "standing at the corner of Plaza
In so doing, the Court of Appeals took into Miranda and Quezon Boulevard" with his eyes
account petitioner's failure to rebut the testimony "moving very fast" and "looking at every person
of the prosecution witnesses that they received that come (sic) nearer (sic) to them." Finally,
intelligence reports of a bomb threat at Plaza petitioner points out the factual similarities
Miranda; the fact that PO Yu chased petitioner between his case and that of People v. Mengote
two days prior to the latter's arrest, or on 27 to demonstrate that the Court of Appeals
August 1990; and that petitioner and his miscomprehended the latter.
companions acted suspiciously, the
"accumulation" of which was more than sufficient In its Comment, the Office of the Solicitor General
to convince a reasonable man that an offense prays that we affirm the challenged decision.
was about to be committed. Moreover, the Court
of Appeals observed: For being impressed with merit, we resolved to
give due course to the petition.
The police officers in such a volatile situation
would be guilty of gross negligence and The challenged decision must immediately fall on
dereliction of duty, not to mention of gross jurisdictional grounds. To repeat, the penalty
incompetence, if they [would] first wait for imposed by the trial court was:
Malacat to hurl the grenade, and kill several
innocent persons while maiming numerous [N]ot less than SEVENTEEN (17) YEARS, FOUR (4)
others, before arriving at what would then be an MONTHS AND ONE (1) DAY OF RECLUSION
assured but moot conclusion that there was TEMPORAL, as minimum, and not more than
indeed probable cause for an arrest. We are in THIRTY (30) YEARS OF RECLUSION PERPETUA, as
agreement with the lower court in saying that the maximum.
probable cause in such a situation should not be
the kind of proof necessary to convict, but rather The penalty provided by Section 3 of P.D. No.
the practical considerations of everyday life on 1866 upon any person who shall unlawfully
which a reasonable and prudent mind, and not possess grenades is reclusion temporal in its
legal technicians, will ordinarily act. maximum period to reclusion perpetua.

Finally, the Court of Appeals held that the rule For purposes of determining appellate jurisdiction
laid down in People v. Mengote, 26 which in criminal cases, the maximum of the penalty,
petitioner relied upon, was inapplicable in light of and not the minimum, is taken into account.
"[c]rucial differences," to wit: Since the maximum of the penalty is reclusion
perpetua, the appeal therefrom should have been
[In Mengote] the police officers never received to us, and not the Court of Appeals, pursuant to
any intelligence report that someone [at] the Section 9(3) of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of
corner of a busy street [would] be in possession 1980 (B.P. Blg. 129), 27 in relation to Section 17
of a prohibited article. Here the police officers of the Judiciary Act of 1948, 28 Section 5(2) of
were responding to a [sic] public clamor to put a Article VIII of the Constitution 29 and Section 3(c)
check on the series of terroristic bombings in the of Rule 122 of the Rules of Court. 30 The term
Metropolis, and, after receiving intelligence "life imprisonment" as used in Section 9 of B.P.
reports about a bomb threat aimed at the vicinity Blg. 129, the Judiciary Act of 1948, and Section 3
of the historically notorious Plaza Miranda, they of Rule 122 must be deemed to include reclusion
conducted foot patrols for about seven days to perpetua in view of Section 5(2) of Article VIII of
observe suspicious movements in the area. the Constitution.
Furthermore, in Mengote, the police officers [had]
no personal knowledge that the person arrested Petitioner's Notice of Appeal indicated that he
has committed, is actually committing, or is was appealing from the trial court's decision to
attempting to commit an offense. Here, PO3 Yu this Court, yet the trial court transmitted the
[had] personal knowledge of the fact that he record to the Court of Appeals and the latter
chased Malacat in Plaza Miranda two days before proceeded to resolve the appeal.
he finally succeeded in apprehending him.
We then set aside the decision of the Court of
Unable to accept his conviction, petitioner Appeals for having been rendered without
forthwith filed the instant petition and assigns the jurisdiction, and consider the appeal as having
following errors: been directly brought to us, with the petition for
71 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
review as petitioner's Brief for the Appellant, the (3) Any confession or admission obtained in
comment thereon by the Office of the Solicitor violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall be
General as the Brief for the Appellee and the inadmissible in evidence against him.
memoranda of the parties as their Supplemental
Briefs. Serapio conducted the custodial investigation on
petitioner the day following his arrest. No lawyer
Deliberating on the foregoing pleadings, we find was present and Serapio could not have
ourselves convinced that the prosecution failed to requested a lawyer to assist petitioner as no PAO
establish petitioner's guilt with moral certainty. lawyer was then available. Thus, even if
petitioner consented to the investigation and
First, serious doubt surrounds the story of police waived his rights to remain silent and to counsel,
officer Yu that a grenade was found in and seized the waiver was invalid as it was not in writing,
from petitioner's possession. Notably, Yu did not neither was it executed in the presence of
identify, in court, the grenade he allegedly seized. counsel.
According to him, he turned it over to his
commander after putting an "X" mark at its Even granting ex gratia that petitioner was in
bottom; however, the commander was not possession of a grenade, the arrest and search of
presented to corroborate this claim. On the other petitioner were invalid, as will be discussed
hand, the grenade presented in court and below.
identified by police officer Ramilo referred to what
the latter received from Lt. Eduardo Cabrera and The general rule as regards arrests, searches and
police officer Diotoy not immediately after seizures is that a warrant is needed in order to
petitioner's arrest, but nearly seven (7) months validly effect the same. 31 The Constitutional
later or on 19 March 1991; further, there was no prohibition against unreasonable arrests,
evidence whatsoever that what Ramilo received searches and seizures refers to those effected
was the very same grenade seized from without a validly issued warrant, 32 subject to
petitioner. In his testimony, Yu never declared certain exceptions. As regards valid warrantless
that the grenade passed on to Ramilo was the arrests, these are found in Section 5, Rule 113 of
grenade the former confiscated from petitioner. the Rules of Court, which reads, in part:
Yu did not, and was not made to, identify the
grenade examined by Ramilo, and the latter did Sec. 5. Arrest, without warrant; when lawful. A
not claim that the grenade he examined was that peace officer or a private person may, without a
seized from petitioner. Plainly, the law warrant, arrest a person:
enforcement authorities failed to safeguard and
preserve the chain of evidence so crucial in cases (a) When, in his presence, the person to be
such as these. arrested has committed, is actually committing,
or is attempting to commit an offense;
Second, if indeed petitioner had a grenade with
him, and that two days earlier he was with a (b) When an offense has in fact just been
group about to detonate an explosive at Plaza committed, and he has personal knowledge of
Miranda, and Yu and his fellow officers chased, facts indicating that the person to be arrested has
but failed to arrest them, then considering that Yu committed it; and
and his three fellow officers were in uniform and
therefore easily cognizable as police officers, it (c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner
was then unnatural and against common who has escaped . . .
experience that petitioner simply stood there in
proximity to the police officers. Note that Yu A warrantless arrest under the circumstances
observed petitioner for thirty minutes and must contemplated under Section 5(a) has been
have been close enough to petitioner in order to denominated as one "in flagrante delicto," while
discern petitioner's eyes "moving very fast." that under Section 5(b) has been described as a
"hot pursuit" arrest.
Finally, even assuming that petitioner admitted
possession of the grenade during his custodial Turning to valid warrantless searches, they are
investigation by police officer Serapio, such limited to the following: (1) customs searches; (2)
admission was inadmissible in evidence for it was search of moving vehicles; (3) seizure of evidence
taken in palpable violation of Section 12(1) and in plain view; (4) consent searches; 33 (5) a
(3) of Article III of the Constitution, which provide search incidental to a lawful arrest; 34 and (6) a
as follows: "stop and frisk." 35

SEC. 12 (1). Any person under investigation for In the instant petition, the trial court validated
the commission of an offense shall have the right the warrantless search as a "stop and frisk" with
to be informed of his right to remain silent and to "the seizure of the grenade from the accused [as]
have competent and independent counsel an appropriate incident to his arrest," hence
preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot necessitating a brief discussion on the nature of
afford the services of counsel, he must be these exceptions to the warrant requirement.
provided with one. These rights cannot be waived
except in writing and in the presence of counsel. At the outset, we note that the trial court
confused the concepts of a "stop-and-frisk" and of
a search incidental to a lawful arrest. These two
types of warrantless searches differ in terms of
xxx xxx xxx the requisite quantum of proof before they may
be validly effected and in their allowable scope.

72 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
In a search incidental to a lawful arrest, as the assure himself that the person with whom he
precedent arrest determines the validity of the deals is not armed with a deadly weapon that
incidental search, the legality of the arrest is could unexpectedly and fatally be used against
questioned in a large majority of these cases, the police officer.
e.g., whether an arrest was merely used as a
pretext for conducting a search. 36 In this Here, there are at least three (3) reasons why the
instance, the law requires that there first be a "stop-and-frisk" was invalid:
lawful arrest before a search can be made the
process cannot be reversed. 37 At bottom, First, we harbor grave doubts as to Yu's claim that
assuming a valid arrest, the arresting officer may petitioner was a member of the group which
search the person of the arrestee and the area attempted to bomb Plaza Miranda two days
within which the latter may reach for a weapon or earlier. This claim is neither supported by any
for evidence to destroy, and seize any money or police report or record nor corroborated by any
property found which was used in the commission other police officer who allegedly chased that
of the crime, or the fruit of the crime, or that group. Aside from impairing Yu's credibility as a
which may be used as evidence, or which might witness, this likewise diminishes the probability
furnish the arrestee with the means of escaping that a genuine reason existed so as to arrest and
or committing violence. 38 search petitioner. If only to further tarnish the
credibility of Yu's testimony, contrary to his claim
Here, there could have been no valid in flagrante that petitioner and his companions had to be
delicto or hot pursuit arrest preceding the search chased before being apprehended, the affidavit of
in light of the lack of personal knowledge on the arrest (Exh. "A") expressly declares otherwise,
part of Yu, the arresting officer, or an overt i.e., upon arrival of five (5) other police officers,
physical act, on the part of petitioner, indicating petitioner and his companions were "immediately
that a crime had just been committed, was being collared."
committed or was going to be committed.
Second, there was nothing in petitioner's
Having thus shown the invalidity of the behavior or conduct which could have reasonably
warrantless arrest in this case, plainly, the search elicited even mere suspicion other than that his
conducted on petitioner could not have been one eyes were "moving very fast" an observation
incidental to a lawful arrest. which leaves us incredulous since Yu and his
teammates were nowhere near petitioner and it
We now proceed to the justification for and was already 6:30 p.m., thus presumably dusk.
allowable scope of a "stop-and-frisk" as a "limited Petitioner and his companions were merely
protective search of outer clothing for weapons," standing at the corner and were not creating any
as laid down in Terry; thus: commotion or trouble, as Yu explicitly declared on
cross-examination: cdrep
We merely hold today that where a police officer
observes unusual conduct which leads him Q And what were they doing?
reasonably to conclude in light of his experience
that criminal activity may be afoot and that the A They were merely standing.
persons with whom he is dealing may be armed
and presently dangerous, where in the course of Q You are sure of that?
investigating this behavior he identifies himself
as a policeman and makes reasonable inquiries, A Yes, sir.
and where nothing in the initial stages of the
encounter serves to dispel his reasonable fear for Q And when you saw them standing, there were
his own or others' safety, he is entitled for the nothing or they did not create any commotion?
protection of himself and others in the area to
conduct a carefully limited search of the outer A None, sir.
clothing of such persons in an attempt to discover
weapons which might be used to assault him. Q Neither did you see them create commotion?
Such a search is a reasonable search under the
Fourth Amendment . . . 39 A None, sir. 42

Other notable points of Terry are that while Third, there was at all no ground, probable or
probable cause is not required to conduct a "stop otherwise, to believe that petitioner was armed
and frisk," 40 it nevertheless holds that mere with a deadly weapon. None was visible to Yu, for
suspicion or a hunch will not validate a "stop and as he admitted, the alleged grenade was
frisk." A genuine reason must exist, in light of the "discovered" "inside the front waistline" of
police officer's experience and surrounding petitioner, and from all indications as to the
conditions, to warrant the belief that the person distance between Yu and petitioner, any telltale
detained has weapons concealed about him. 41 bulge, assuming that petitioner was indeed hiding
Finally, a "stop-and-frisk" serves a two-fold a grenade, could not have been visible to Yu. In
interest: (1) the general interest of effective fact, as noted by the trial court:
crime prevention and detection, which underlies
the recognition that a police officer may, under When the policemen approached the accused and
appropriate circumstances and in an appropriate his companions, they were not yet aware that a
manner, approach a person for purposes of handgrenade was tucked inside his waistline.
investigating possible criminal behavior even They did not see any bulging object in [sic] his
without probable cause; and (2) the more person. 43
pressing interest of safety and self-preservation
which permit the police officer to take steps to
73 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
What is unequivocal then in this case are blatant to comply with the law. The Bill of Rights was
violations of petitioner's rights solemnly ignored altogether because the PC lieutenant who
guaranteed in Sections 2 and 12(1) of Article III of was the head of the arresting team, had
the Constitution. determined on his own authority that a "search
warrant was not necessary."
WHEREFORE, the challenged decision of the
Seventeenth Division of the Court of Appeals in 3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ACCUSED IN CASE AT
CA-G.R. CR No. 15988 is SET ASIDE for lack of BAR WAS NOT COMMITTING A CRIME WHEN
jurisdiction on the part of said Court and, on HE WAS ARRESTED. In the case at bar, the
ground of reasonable doubt, the decision of 10 accused-appellant was not, at the moment of his
February 1994 of Branch 5 of the Regional Trial arrest, committing a crime nor was it shown that
Court of Manila is REVERSED and petitioner he was about to do so or that he had just done
SAMMY MALACAT y MANDAR is hereby so. What he was doing was descending the
ACQUITTED and ORDERED immediately released gangplank of the M/V Wilcon 9 and there was no
from detention, unless his further detention is outward indication that called for his arrest. To all
justified for any other lawful cause. appearances, he was like any of the other
passengers innocently disembarking from the
SO ORDERED. vessel. It was only when the informer pointed to
him as the carrier of the marijuana that he
Narvasa, C .J ., Regalado, Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, suddenly became suspect and so subject to
Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Francisco and apprehension. It was the furtive finger that
Martinez, JJ ., concur. triggered his arrest. The identification by the
informer was the probable cause as determined
(People v. Aminnudin y Ahni, G.R. No. by the officers (and not a judge) that authorized
74869, July 06, 1988) them to pounce upon Aminnudin and
immediately arrest him.
FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. No. 74869. July 6, 1988.] AQUINO, J., Dissenting:
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS;
vs. IDEL AMINNUDIN y AHNI, defendant- RIGHT AGAINST UNREASONABLE SEARCHES
appellant. AND SEIZURES; ARREST AT TIME OF
The Solicitor General, for plaintiff-appellee. COMMISSION OF CRIME IS LAWFUL; SEARCH
Herminio T. Llariza counsel de-officio, for LIKEWISE LAWFUL. I hold that the accused
defendant-appellant. was caught in flagrante, for he was carrying
marijuana leaves in his bag at the moment of his
SYLLABUS arrest. He was not "innocently disembarking from
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; the vessel." The unauthorized transportation of
RIGHTS AGAINST UNREASONABLE marijuana (Indian hemp), which is a prohibited
SEARCHES AND SEIZURES; WARRANTLESS drug, is a crime. (Sec. 4, Rep. Act No. 6425).
ARREST AND SEIZURE BASED ON AN Since he was committing a crime, his arrest could
INFORMER'S TIP, AT A TIME WHEN ACCUSED be lawfully effected without a warrant (Sec. 6-a,
WAS NOT COMMITTING A CRIME, ILLEGAL; Rule 113, Rules of Court), and the search of his
EVIDENCE OBTAINED, INADMISSIBLE. bag (which yielded the marijuana leaves) without
Where it is not disputed that the PC officers had a search warrant was also lawful (Sec. 12, Rule
no warrant when they arrested Aminnudin while 126, Rules of Court).
he was descending the gangplank of the M/V
Wilcon 9 and seized the bag he was carrying, and DECISION
that their only justification was the tip they had CRUZ, J p:
earlier received from a reliable and regular The accused-appellant claimed his business was
informer who reported to them that Aminnudin selling watches but he was nonetheless arrested,
was arriving in Iloilo by boat with marijuana, the tried and found guilty of illegally transporting
search was not an incident of a lawful arrest marijuana. The trial court, disbelieving him, held
because there was no warrant of arrest and it was high time to put him away and sentenced
warrantless arrest did not come under the him to life imprisonment plus a fine of
exceptions allowed by the Rules of Court. Hence, P20,000.00. 1
the warrantless search was also illegal and the
evidence obtained was inadmissible. Idel Aminnudin was arrested on June 25, 1984,
shortly after disembarking from the M/V Wilcon 9
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NO URGENCY COULD BE at about 8:30 in the evening, in Iloilo City. The PC
INVOKED IN PRESENT CASE TO DISPENSE officers who were in fact waiting for him simply
WITH OBTENTION OF ARREST AND SEARCH accosted him, inspected his bag and finding what
WARRANT. The present case presented no looked liked marijuana leaves took him to their
such urgency. From the conflicting declarations of headquarters for investigation. The two bundles
the PC witnesses, it is clear that they had at least of suspect articles were confiscated from him and
two days within which they could have obtained a later taken to the NBI laboratory for examination.
warrant to arrest and search Aminnudin who was When they were verified as marijuana leaves, an
coming to Iloilo on the M/V Wilcon 9. His name information for violation of the Dangerous Drugs
was known. The vehicle was identified. The date Act was filed against him. 2 Later, the information
of its arrival was certain. And from the was amended to include Farida Ali y Hassen, who
information they had received, they could have had also been arrested with him that same
persuaded a judge that there was probable evening and likewise investigated. 3 Both were
cause, indeed, to justify the issuance of a arraigned and pleaded not guilty. 4 Subsequently,
warrant. Yet they did nothing. No effort was made the fiscal filed a motion to dismiss the charge
74 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
against Ali on the basis of a sworn statement of this, discovering for himself the truant fact amidst
the arresting officers absolving her after a the falsities.
"thorough investigation." 5 The motion was
granted, and trial proceeded only against the The only exception we may make in this case is
accused-appellant, who was eventually convicted. the trial court's conclusion that the accused-
6 appellant was not really beaten up because he
did not complain about it later nor did he submit
According to the prosecution, the PC officers had to a medical examination. That is hardly fair or
earlier received a tip from one of their informers realistic. It is possible Aminnudin never had that
that the accused-appellant was on board a vessel opportunity as he was at that time under
bound for Iloilo City and was carrying marijuana. detention by the PC authorities and in fact has
7 He was identified by name. 8 Acting on this tip, never been set free since he was arrested in 1984
they waited for him in the evening of June 25, and up to the present. No bail has been allowed
1984, and approached him as he descended from for his release.
the gangplank after the informer had pointed to
him. 9 They detained him and inspected the bag There is one point that deserves closer
he was carrying. It was found to contain three examination, however, and it is Aminnudin's
kilos of what were later analyzed as marijuana claim that he was arrested and searched without
leaves by an NBI forensic examiner, 10 who warrant, making the marijuana allegedly found in
testified that she conducted microscopic, his possession inadmissible in evidence against
chemical and chromatographic tests on them. On him under the Bill of Rights. The decision did not
the basis of this finding, the corresponding even discuss this point. For his part, the Solicitor
charge was then filed against Aminnudin. General dismissed this after an all-too-short
argument that the arrest of Aminnudin was valid
In his defense, Aminnudin disclaimed the because it came under Rule 113, Section 6(b) of
marijuana, averring that all he had in his bag was the Rules of Court on warrantless arrests. This
his clothing consisting of a jacket, two shirts and made the search also valid as incidental to a
two pairs of pants. 11 He alleged that he was lawful arrest.
arbitrarily arrested and immediately handcuffed.
His bag was confiscated without a search It is not disputed, and in fact it is admitted by the
warrant. At the PC headquarters, he was PC officers who testified for the prosecution, that
manhandled to force him to admit he was they had no warrant when they arrested
carrying the marijuana, the investigator hitting Aminnudin and seized the bag he was carrying.
him with a piece of wood in the chest and arms Their only justification was the tip they had
even as he parried the blows while he was still earlier received from a reliable and regular
handcuffed. 12 He insisted he did not even know informer who reported to them that Aminnudin
what marijuana looked like and that his business was arriving in Iloilo by boat with marijuana. Their
was selling watches and sometimes cigarettes. testimony varies as to the time they received the
13 He also argued that the marijuana he was tip, one saying it was two days before the arrest,
alleged to have been carrying was not properly 20 another two weeks 21 and a third "weeks
identified and could have been any of several before June 25." 22 On this matter, we may prefer
bundles kept in the stock room of the PC the declaration of the chief of the arresting team,
headquarters. 14 Lt. Cipriano Querol, Jr., who testified as follow:

The trial court was unconvinced, noting from its "Q You mentioned an intelligence report, you
own examination of the accused that he claimed mean with respect to the coming of Idel
to have come to Iloilo City to sell watches but Aminnudin on June 25, 1984?
carried only two watches at the time, traveling
from Jolo for that purpose and spending P107.00 "A Yes, sir.
for fare, not to mention his other expenses. 15
Aminnudin testified that he kept the two watches "Q When did you receive this intelligence report?
in a secret pocket below his belt but, strangely,
they were not discovered when he was bodily
searched by the arresting officers nor were they
damaged as a result of his manhandling. 1 6 He "A Two days before June 25, 1984 and it was
also said he sold one of the watches for P400.00 supported by reliable sources.
and gave away the other, although the watches
belonged not to him but to his cousin, 17 to a "Q Were you informed of the coming of the Wilcon
friend whose full name he said did not even know. 9 and the possible trafficking of marijuana leaves
18 The trial court also rejected his allegations of on that date?
maltreatment, observing that he had not
sufficiently proved the injuries sustained by him. "A Yes, sir, two days before June 25, 1984 when
19 we received this information from that particular
informer, prior to June 25, 1984 we have already
There is no justification to reverse these factual reports of the particular operation which was
findings, considering that it was the trial judge being participated by Idel Aminnudin.
who had immediate access to the testimony of
the witnesses and had the opportunity to weigh "Q You said you received an intelligence report
their credibility on the stand. Nuances of tone or two days before June 25, 1984 with respect to the
voice, meaningful pauses and hesitation, flush of coming of Wilcon 9?
face and dart of eyes, which may reveal the truth
or expose the lie, are not described in the "A Yes, sir.
impersonal record. But the trial judge sees all of
75 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
"Q In the intelligence report, only the name of
"Q Did you receive any other report aside from Idel Aminnudin was mentioned?
this intelligence report?
"A Yes, sir.
"A Well, I have received also other reports but not
pertaining to the coming of Wilcon 9. For "Q Are you sure of that?
instance, report of illegal gambling operation.
"A On the 23rd he will be coming with the
"COURT: woman.

"Q Previous to that particular information which "Q So that even before you received the official
you said two days before June 25, 1984, did you report on June 23, 1984, you had already
also receive any report regarding the activities of gathered information to the effect that Idel
Idel Aminnudin? Aminnudin was coming to Iloilo on June 25, 1984?

"A Previous to June 25, 1984 we received reports "A Only on the 23rd of June.
on the activities of Idel Aminnudin.
"Q You did not try to secure a search warrant for
"Q What were those activities? the seizure or search of the subject mentioned in
your intelligence report?
"A Purely marijuana trafficking.
"A No, more.
"Q From whom did you get that information?
"Q Why not?
"A It came to my hand which was written in a
required sheet of information, maybe for security "A Because we were very very sure that our
reason and we cannot identify the person. operation will yield positive result.

"Q But you received it from your regular "Q Is that your procedure that whenever it will
informer? yield positive result you do not need a search
warrant anymore?
"A Yes, sir.
"A Search warrant is not necessary." 23
"ATTY. LLARIZA:
That last answer is a cavalier pronouncement,
"Q Previous to June 25, 1984, you were more or especially as it comes from a mere lieutenant of
less sure that Idel Aminnudin is coming with the PC. The Supreme Court cannot countenance
drugs? such a statement. This is still a government of
laws and not of men.
"A Marijuana, sir.
The mandate of the Bill of Rights is clear:
"Q And this information respecting Idel
Aminnudin's coming to Iloilo with marijuana was "Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in
received by you many days before you received their persons, houses, papers, and effects against
the intelligence report in writing? unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever
nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable,
"A Not a report of the particular coming of and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall
Aminnudin but his activities. issue except upon probable cause to be
determined personally by the judge after
"Q You only knew that he was coming on June 25, examination under oath or affirmation of the
1984 two days before? complainant and the witnesses he may produce,
and particularly describing the place to be
"A Yes, sir. searched and the persons or things to be seized."

"Q You mean that before June 23, 1984 you did In the case at bar, there was no warrant of arrest
not know that Aminnudin was coming? or search warrant issued by a judge after
personal determination by him of the existence of
"A Before June 23, 1984, I, in my capacity, did not probable cause. Contrary to the averments of the
know that he was coming but on June 23, 1984 government, the accused-appellant was not
that was the time when I received the information caught in flagrante nor was a crime about to be
that he was coming. Regarding the reports on his committed or had just been committed to justify
activities, we have reports that he has already the warrantless arrest allowed under Rule 113 of
consummated the act of selling and shipping the Rules of Court. Even expediency could not be
marijuana stuff. invoked to dispense with the obtention of the
warrant as in the case of Roldan v. Arca, 24 for
"COURT: example. Here it was held that vessels and
aircraft are subject to warrantless searches and
"Q And as a result of that report, you put him seizures for violation of the customs law because
under surveillance? these vehicles may be quickly moved out of the
locality or jurisdiction before the warrant can be
"A Yes, sir. secured.

76 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
The present case presented no such urgency. of a lawful arrest because there was no warrant of
From the conflicting declarations of the PC arrest and the warrantless arrest did not come
witnesses, it is clear that they had at least two under the exceptions allowed by the Rules of
days within which they could have obtained a Court. Hence, the warrantless search was also
warrant to arrest and search Aminnudin who was illegal and the evidence obtained thereby was
coming to Iloilo on the M/V Wilcon 9. His name inadmissible.
was known. The vehicle was identified. The date
of its arrival was certain. And from the The Court strongly supports the campaign of the
information they had received, they could have government against drug addiction and
persuaded a judge that there was probable commends the efforts of our law-enforcement
cause, indeed, to justify the issuance of a officers against those who would inflict this
warrant. Yet they did nothing. No effort was made malediction upon our people, especially the
to comply with the law. The Bill of Rights was susceptible youth. But as demanding as this
ignored altogether because the PC lieutenant who campaign may be, it cannot be more so than the
was the head of the arresting team, had compulsions of the Bill of Rights for the protection
determined on his own authority that "search of the liberty of every individual in the realm,
warrant was not necessary." including the basest of criminals. The Constitution
covers with the mantle of its protection the
In the many cases where this Court has sustained innocent and the guilty alike against any manner
the warrantless arrest of violators of the of high-handedness from the authorities, however
Dangerous Drugs Act, it has always been shown praiseworthy their intentions.
that they were caught red-handed, as result of
what are popularly called "buy-bust" operations Those who are supposed to enforce the law are
of the narcotics agents. 25 Rule 113 was clearly not justified in disregarding the rights of the
applicable because at the precise time of arrest individual in the name of order. Order is too high
the accused was in the act of selling the a price for the loss of liberty. As Justice Holmes,
prohibited drug. again, said, "I think it a less evil that some
criminal should escape than that the government
In the case at bar, the accused-appellant was not, should play an ignoble part." It is simply not
at the moment of his arrest, committing a crime allowed in the free society to violate a law to
nor was it shown that he was about to do so or enforce another, especially if the law violated is
that he had just done so. What he was doing was the Constitution itself.
descending the gangplank of the M/V Wilcon 9
and there was no outward indication that called We find that with the exclusion of the illegally
for his arrest. To all appearances, he was like any seized marijuana as evidence against the
of the other passengers innocently disembarking accused-appellant, his guilt has not been proved
from the vessel. It was only when the informer beyond reasonable doubt and he must therefore
pointed to him as the carrier of the marijuana be discharged on the presumption that he is
that he suddenly became suspect and so subject innocent.
to apprehension. It was the furtive finger that
triggered his arrest. The identification by the ACCORDINGLY, the decision of the trial court is
informer was the probable cause as determined REVERSED and the accused-appellant is
by the officers (and not a judge) that authorized ACQUITTED. It is so ordered.
them to pounce upon Aminnudin and
immediately arrest him. Narvasa, Gancayco and Medialdea JJ. concur.

Now that we have succeeded in restoring (People v. Malmstedt, G.R. No. 91107, June
democracy in our country after fourteen years of 19, 1991)
the despised dictatorship, when any one could be
picked up at will, detained without charges and EN BANC
punished without trial, we will have only [G.R. No. 91107. June 19, 1991.]
ourselves to blame if that kind of arbitrariness is THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-
allowed to return, to once more flaunt its disdain appellee, vs. MIKAEL MALMSTEDT, * defendant-
of the Constitution and the individual liberties its appellant.
Bill of Rights guarantees. The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Romulo, Mabanta, Buenaventura, Sayoc & De los
While this is not to say that the accused-appellant Angeles for defendant-appellant.
is innocent, for indeed his very own words
suggest that he is lying, that fact alone does not DECISION
justify a finding that he is guilty. The PADILLA, J p:
constitutional presumption is that he is innocent, In an information dated 15 June 1989, accused-
and he will be so declared even if his defense is appellant Mikael Malmstedt (hereinafter referred
weak as long as the prosecution is not strong to as the accused) was charged before the
enough to convict him. Regional Trial Court (RTC) of La Trinidad, Benguet,
Branch 10, in Criminal Case No. 89-CR-0663, for
Without the evidence of the marijuana allegedly violation of Section 4, Art. II of Republic Act 6425,
seized from Aminnudin, the case of the as amended, otherwise known as the Dangerous
prosecution must fall. That evidence cannot be Drugs Act of 1972, as amended. The factual
admitted, and should never have been background of the case is as follows:
considered by the trial court for the simple fact is
that the marijuana was seized illegally. It is the Accused Mikael Malmstedt, a Swedish national,
fruit of the poisonous tree, to use Justice Holmes' entered the Philippines for the third time in
felicitous phrase. The search was not an incident
77 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
December 1988 as a tourist. He had visited the in each bag. Feeling the teddy bears, the officer
country sometime in 1982 and 1985. noticed that there were bulges inside the same
which did not feel like foam stuffing. It was only
In the evening of 7 May 1989, accused left for after the officers had opened the bags that
Baguio City. Upon his arrival thereat in the accused finally presented his passport.
morning of the following day, he took a bus to
Sagada and stayed in that place for two (2) days. Accused was then brought to the headquarters of
the NARCOM at Camp Dangwa, La Trinidad,
At around 7:00 o'clock in the morning of 11 May Benguet for further investigation. At the
1989, accused went to the Nangonogan bus stop investigation room, the officers opened the teddy
in Sagada to catch the first available trip to bears and they were found to also contain
Baguio City. From Baguio City, accused planned to hashish. Representative samples were taken from
take a late afternoon trip to Angeles City, then the hashish found among the personal effects of
proceed to Manila to catch his flight out of the accused and the same were brought to the PC
country, scheduled on 13 May 1989. From Crime Laboratory for chemical analysis.
Sagada, accused took a Skyline bus with body
number 8005 and Plate number AVC 902. 1 In the chemistry report, it was established that
the objects examined were hashish, a prohibited
At about 8:00 o'clock in the morning of that same drug which is a derivative of marijuana. Thus, an
day (11 May 1989), Captain Alen Vasco, the information was filed against accused for
Commanding Officer of the First Regional violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act.
Command (NARCOM) stationed at Camp Dangwa,
ordered his men to set up a temporary During the arraignment, accused entered a plea
checkpoint at Kilometer 14, Acop, Tublay, of "not guilty." For his defense, he raised the issue
Mountain Province, for the purpose of checking all of illegal search of his personal effects. He also
vehicles coming from the Cordillera Region. The claimed that the hashish was planted by the
order to establish a checkpoint in the said area NARCOM officers in his pouch bag and that the
was prompted by persistent reports that vehicles two (2) travelling bags were not owned by him,
coming from Sagada were transporting marijuana but were merely entrusted to him by an
and other prohibited drugs. Moreover, information Australian couple whom he met in Sagada. He
was received by the Commanding Officer of further claimed that the Australian couple
NARCOM, that same morning, that a Caucasian intended to take the same bus with him but
coming from Sagada had in his possession because there were no more seats available in
prohibited drugs. 2 said bus, they decided to take the next ride and
asked accused to take charge of the bags, and
The group composed of seven (7) NARCOM that they would meet each other at the Dangwa
officers, in coordination with Tublay Police Station, Station.
set up a checkpoint at the designated area at
about 10:00 o'clock in the morning and inspected Likewise, accused alleged that when the NARCOM
all vehicles coming from the Cordillera Region. officers demanded for his passport and other
identification papers, he handed to one of the
At about 1:30 o'clock in the afternoon, the bus officers his pouch bag which was hanging on his
where accused was riding was stopped. Sgt. Fider neck containing, among others, his passport,
and CIC Galutan boarded the bus and announced return ticket to Sweden and other papers. The
that they were members of the NARCOM and that officer in turn handed it to his companion who
they would conduct an inspection. The two (2) brought the bag outside the bus. When said
NARCOM officers started their inspection from the officer came back, he charged the accused that
front going towards the rear of the bus. Accused there was hashish in the bag. He was told to get
who was the sole foreigner riding the bus was off the bus and his picture was taken with the
seated at the rear thereof. pouch bag placed around his neck. The trial court
did not give credence to accused's defense.
During the inspection, CIC Galutan noticed a LibLex
bulge on accused's waist. Suspecting the bulge
on accused's waist to be a gun, the officer asked The claim of the accused that the hashish was
for accused's passport and other identification planted by the NARCOM officers, was belied by
papers. When accused failed to comply, the his failure to raise such defense at the earliest
officer required him to bring out whatever it was opportunity. When accused was investigated at
that was bulging on his waist. The bulging object the Provincial Fiscal's Office, he did not inform the
turned out to be a pouch bag and when accused Fiscal or his lawyer that the hashish was planted
opened the same bag, as ordered, the officer by the NARCOM officers in his bag. It was only
noticed four (4) suspicious-looking objects two (2) months after said investigation when he
wrapped in brown packing tape, prompting the told his lawyer about said claim, denying
officer to open one of the wrapped objects. The ownership of the two (2) travelling bags as well
wrapped objects turned out to contain hashish, a as having hashish in his pouch bag.
derivative of marijuana.
In a decision dated 12 October 1989, the trial
Thereafter, accused was invited outside the bus court found accused guilty beyond reasonable
for questioning. But before he alighted from the doubt for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act,
bus, accused stopped to get two (2) travelling specifically Section 4, Art. II of RA 6425, as
bags from the luggage carrier. amended. 3 The dispositive portion of the
decision reads as follows:
Upon stepping out of the bus, the officers got the
bags and opened them. A teddy bear was found
78 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
"WHEREFORE, finding the guilt of the accused While it is true that the NARCOM officers were not
Mikael Malmstedt established beyond reasonable armed with a search warrant when the search
doubt, this Court finds him GUILTY of violation of was made over the personal effects of accused,
Section 4, Article II of Republic Act 6425, as however, under the circumstances of the case,
amended, and hereby sentences him to suffer the there was sufficient probable cause for said
penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of officers to believe that accused was then and
Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00), with there committing a crime. LLphil
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency
and to pay the costs. Probable cause has been defined as such facts
and circumstances which could lead a
Let the hashish subject of this case be turned reasonable, discreet and prudent man to believe
over to the First Narcotics Regional Unit at Camp that an offense has been committed, and that the
Bado; Dangwa, La Trinidad, Benguet for proper objects sought in connection with the offense are
disposition under Section 20, Article IV of in the place sought to be searched. 8 The
Republic Act 425, as amended. required probable cause that will justify a
warrantless search and seizure is not determined
SO ORDERED." 4 by any fixed formula but is resolved according to
the facts of each case. 9
Seeking the reversal of the decision of the trial
court finding him guilty of the crime charged,
accused argues that the search of his personal
effects was illegal because it was made without a Warrantless search of the personal effects of an
search warrant and, therefore, the prohibited accused has been declared by this Court as valid,
drugs which were discovered during the illegal because of existence of probable cause, where
search are not admissible as evidence against the smell of marijuana emanated from a plastic
him. bag owned by the accused, 10 or where the
accused was acting suspiciously, 11 and
The Constitution guarantees the right of the attempted to flee. 12
people to be secure in their persons, houses,
papers and effects against unreasonable Aside from the persistent reports received by the
searches and seizures. 5 However, where the NARCOM that vehicles coming from Sagada were
search is made pursuant to a lawful arrest, there transporting marijuana and other prohibited
is no need to obtain a search warrant. A lawful drugs, their Commanding Officer also received
arrest without a warrant may be made by a peace information that a Caucasian coming from
officer or a private person under the following Sagada on that particular day had prohibited
circumstances. 6 drugs in his possession. Said information was
received by the Commanding Officer of NARCOM
"SEC. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A the very same morning that accused came down
peace officer or a private person may, without a by bus from Sagada on his way to Baguio City.
warrant, arrest a person:
When NARCOM received the information, a few
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be hours before the apprehension of herein accused,
arrested has committed, is actually committing, that a Caucasian travelling from Sagada to
or is attempting to commit an offense; Baguio City was carrying with him prohibited
drugs, there was no time to obtain a search
(b) When an offense has in fact just been warrant. In the Tangliben case, 13 the police
committed, and he has personal knowledge of authorities conducted a surveillance at the
facts indicating that the person to be arrested has Victory Liner Terminal located at Bgy. San Nicolas,
committed it; and San Fernando Pampanga, against persons
engaged in the traffic of dangerous drugs, based
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner on information supplied by some informers.
who has escaped from a penal establishment or Accused Tangliben who was acting suspiciously
place where he is serving final judgment or and pointed out by an informer was apprehended
temporarily confined while his case is pending, or and searched by the police authorities. It was
has escaped while being transferred from one held that when faced with on-the spot
confinement to another. information, the police officers had to act quickly
and there was no time to secure a search
In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) warrant.
hereof, the person arrested without a warrant
shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police It must be observed that, at first, the NARCOM
station or jail, and he shall be proceeded against officers merely conducted a routine check of the
in accordance with Rule 112, Section 7. (6a, bus (where accused was riding) and the
17a)." passengers therein, and no extensive search was
initially made. It was only when one of the
Accused was searched and arrested while officers noticed a bulge on the waist of accused,
transporting prohibited drugs (hashish). A crime during the course of the inspection, that accused
was actually being committed by the accused was required to present his passport. The failure
and he was caught in flagrante delicto. Thus, the of accused to present his identification papers,
search made upon his personal effects falls when ordered to do so, only managed to arouse
squarely under paragraph (1) of the foregoing the suspicion of the officer that accused was
provisions of law, which allow a warrantless trying to hide his identity. For is it not a regular
search incident to a lawful arrest. 7 norm for an innocent man, who has nothing to

79 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
hide from the authorities, to readily present his the doctrine of presumption of regularity; (3) he
identification papers when required to do so? was denied the constitutional right of
confrontation and to compulsory process; and (4)
The receipt of information by NARCOM that a his conviction was based on evidence which was
Caucasian coming from Sagada had prohibited irrelevant and not properly identified. CIScaA
drugs in his possession, plus the suspicious
failure of the accused to produce his passport, The Supreme Court finds that there was no
taken together as a whole, led the NARCOM compelling reason to reverse the decisions of the
officers to reasonably believe that the accused trial and appellate courts. In this case, the
was trying to hide something illegal from the findings of the trial court that the prosecution
authorities. From these circumstances arose a witnesses were more credible than those of the
probable cause which justified the warrantless defense must stand. Petitioner failed to show that
search that was made on the personal effects of Pat. Romeo Pagilagan, in testifying against him,
the accused. In other words, the acts of the was motivated by reasons other than his duty to
NARCOM officers in requiring the accused to open curb drug abuse and had any intent to falsely
his pouch bag and in opening one of the wrapped impute to him such a serious crime as possession
objects found inside said bag (which was of prohibited drugs. In the absence of such ill
discovered to contain hashish) as well as the two motive, the presumption of regularity in the
(2) travelling bags containing two (2) teddy bears performance of his official duty must prevail.
with hashish stuffed inside them, were prompted Furthermore, the defense of alibi set up by
by accused's own attempt to hide his identity by petitioner deserved scant consideration. He
refusing to present his passport, and by the simply contended that he was in his house
information received by the NARCOM that a sleeping at the time of the incident. Lastly, the
Caucasian coming from Sagada had prohibited two cellophane bags of marijuana seized were
drugs in his possession. To deprive the NARCOM admissible in evidence because he was caught in
agents of the ability and facility to act flagranti as a result of a buy-bust operation
accordingly, including, to search even without conducted by police officers. However, as for the
warrant, in the light of such circumstances, would other ten cellophane bags of marijuana found at
be to sanction impotence and ineffectiveness in petitioner's residence, the same are inadmissible
law enforcement, to the detriment of society. in evidence considering that the said bags were
seized at petitioner's house after his arrest,
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appealed hence, do not fall under the exceptions provided
judgment of conviction by the trial court is hereby under Article III, Section 2 of the 1987
AFFIRMED. Costs against the accused-appellant. Constitution. In view thereof, the instant petition
is denied and the challenged decision is affirmed
SO ORDERED. with modification as to the penalty.

Melencio-Herrera, Paras, Feliciano, Bidin, Grio- SYLLABUS


Aquino, Medialdea, Regalado and Davide, Jr., JJ., 1. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; CREDIBILITY
concur. OF WITNESSES; FINDINGS OF TRIAL COURTS
ON THE CREDIBILITY OF WITNESSES
Sarmiento, J., is on leave. DESERVE A HIGH DEGREE OF RESPECT; CASE
AT BAR. It is a well-settled doctrine that
(Espano v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. findings of trial courts on the credibility of witness
120431, April 01, 1998) deserve a high degree of respect. Having
observed the deportment of witnesses during the
THIRD DIVISION trial, the trial judge is in a better position to
[G.R. No. 120431. April 1, 1998.] determine the issue of credibility and, thus, his
RODOLFO ESPANO, accused-petitioner, vs. findings will not be disturbed during appeal in the
COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE absence of any clear and showing that he had
PHILIPPINES, respondents. overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some
Ceferino Padua Law Office for petitioner. facts or circumstances of weight and substance
The Solicitor General for respondents. which could have altered the conviction of the
appellants. In this case, the findings of the trial
SYNOPSIS court that the prosecution witnesses were more
This is a petition for review of the decision of the credible that those of the defense must stand.
court of Appeals in CA G.R. CR No. 13976 dated Petitioner failed to show that Pat. Pagilagan, in
January 16, 1995 which affirmed in toto the testifying against him, was motivated by reasons
judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, other than his duty to curb drug abuse and had
Branch 1, convicting petitioner Rodolfo Espano for any intent to falsely impute to him such a serious
violation of Article II Section 8 of REPUBLIC ACT crime as possession of prohibited drugs. In the
NO. 6425, as amended, otherwise known as the absence of such ill motive, the presumption of
Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972. The records of the regularity in the performance of his official duty
case reveal that herein petitioner was caught in must prevail.
possession of and under his custody twelve
plastic cellophane bags weighing 5.5 grams 2. ID.; ID.; ID.; CLAIM OF FRAME-UP, LIKE
containing crushed flowering tops, marijuana ALIBI, IS A DEFENSE THAT HAS BEEN
which is a prohibited drug. In his appeal before INVARIABLY VIEWED BY THE COURT WITH
the Supreme Court, petitioner contends that the DISFAVOR; CASE AT BAR. The defense set
trial and appellate courts erred in convicting him up by petitioner does not deserve any
because (1) the pieces of evidence seized were consideration. He simply contended that he was
inadmissible; (2) the superiority of his in his house sleeping at the time of the incident.
constitutional right to be presumed innocent over This court has consistently held that alibi is the
80 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
weakest of all defenses; and for it to prosper, the grams, the imposable penalty ranges from prision
accused has the burden of proving that he was correccional to reclusion temporal. Taking into
not at the scene of the crime at the time of its consideration that petitioner is not a habitual
commission and that it was physically impossible delinquent, the amendatory provision is favorable
for him to be there. Moreover, the "claim of to him and the quantity of marijuana involved is
'frame-up,' like alibi, is a defense that has been less than 750 grams, the penalty imposed under
invariably viewed by the Court with disfavor for it Republic Act No. 7659 should be applied.
can just as easily be concocted but difficult to
prove, and is a common and standard line of 5. ID.; ID.; PROPER PENALTY THEREOF; CASE
defense in most prosecutions arising from AT BAR. There being no mitigating nor
violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act." No clear aggravating circumstances, the imposable
and convincing evidence was presented by penalty shall be prision correccional in its
petitioner to prove his defense of alibi. medium period. Applying the Indeterminate
Sentence Law, the maximum penalty shall be
3. ID.; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; taken from the medium period of prision
WARRANTLESS ARREST; THE MARIJUANA correccional, which is two (2) years, four (4)
SEIZED FROM PETITIONER'S HOUSE AFTER months and one (1) day to four (4) years and two
HIS ARREST IS INADMISSIBLE IN EVIDENCE; (2) months, while the minimum shall be taken
CASE AT BAR. The 1987 Constitution from the penalty next lower in degree, which is
guarantees freedom against unreasonable one (1) month and one (1) day to six (6) months
searches and seizures under Article III, Section 2 of arresto mayor. cSDHEC
which provides: "The right of the people to be
secure in their persons, houses, papers and DECISION
effects against unreasonable searches and ROMERO, J p:
seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose This is a petition for review of the decision of the
shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 13976 dated
warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable January 16, 1995, 1 which affirmed in toto the
cause to be determined personally by the judge judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Manila,
after examination under oath or affirmation of the Branch 1, convicting petitioner Rodolfo Espano for
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, violation of Article II, Section 8 of REPUBLIC ACT
and particularly describing the place to be NO. 6425, as amended, otherwise known as the
searched and the persons or things to be seized." Dangerous Drugs Act. aisadc
An exception to the said rule is a warrantless
search incidental to a lawful arrest of dangerous Petitioner was charged under the following
weapons or anything which may be used as proof information:
of the commission of an offense. It may extend
beyond the person of the one arrested to include "That on or about July 14, 1991, in the City of
the premises or surroundings under his Manila, Philippines the said accused, not being
immediate control. In this case, the ten authorized by law to possess or use any
cellophane bags of marijuana seized at prohibited drug, did then and there wilfully,
petitioner's house after his arrest at Pandacan unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession
and Zamora Streets do not fall under the said and under his custody and control twelve (12)
exceptions. . . . The articles seized from petitioner plastic cellophane (bags) containing crushed
during his arrest were valid under the doctrine of flowering tops, marijuana weighing 5.5 grams
search made incidental to a lawful arrest. The which is prohibited drug.
warrantless search made in his house, however,
which yielded ten cellophane bags of marijuana Contrary to law." 2
became unlawful since the police officers were
not armed with a search warrant at the time. The evidence for the prosecution, based on the
Moreover, it was beyond the reach and control of testimony of Pat. Romeo Pagilagan, shows that on
petitioner. HTScEI July 14, 1991, at about 12:30 a.m., he and other
police officers, namely, Pat. Wilfredo Aquilino,
4. CRIMINAL LAW; REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6425 Simplicio Rivera, and Erlindo Lumboy of the
AS AMENDED BY Republic Act 7659; IF THE Western Police District (WPD), Narcotics Division
QUANTITY OF MARIJUANA INVOLVED IS LESS went to Zamora and Pandacan Streets, Manila to
THAN 750 GRAMS, THE IMPOSABLE PENALTY confirm reports of drug pushing in the area. They
RANGES FROM PRISION CORRECTIONAL TO saw petitioner selling "something" to another
RECLUSION TEMPORAL; CASE AT BAR. This person. After the alleged buyer left, they
Court finds petitioner Rodolfo Espano guilty approached petitioner, identified themselves as
beyond reasonable doubt of violating Article II, policemen, and frisked him. The search yielded
Section 8, in relation to Section 2 (e-L)(I) of two plastic cellophane tea bags of marijuana .
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6425, as amended. Under the When asked if he had more marijuana, he replied
said provision, the penalty imposed is six years that there was more in his house. The policemen
and one day to twelve years and a fine ranging went to his residence where they found ten more
from six thousand to twelve thousand pesos. With cellophane tea bags of marijuana. Petitioner was
the passage of Republic Act No. 7659, which took brought to the police headquarters where he was
effect on December 31, 1993, the imposable charged with possession of prohibited drugs. On
penalty shall now depend on the quantity of July 24, 1991, petitioner posted bail 3 and the
drugs recovered. Under the provisions of Republic trial court issued his order of release on July 29,
Act No. 7659, Section 20, and as interpreted in 1991. 4
People v. Simon (234 SCRA 555 [1994]) and
People v. Lara, (236 SCRA 291 [1994]) if the
quantity of marijuana involved is less than 750
81 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
be disturbed during appeal in the absence of any
Annabelle Alip, forensic chemist of the WPD clear showing that he had overlooked,
Criminal Investigation Laboratory Section, misunderstood or misapplied some facts or
testified that the articles sent to her by Pat. circumstances of weight and substance which
Wilfredo Aquino regarding the apprehension of a could have altered the conviction of the
certain Rodolfo Espano for examination tested appellants. 6
positive for marijuana, with total weight of 5.5
grams. In this case, the findings of the trial court that the
prosecution witnesses were more credible than
By way of defense, petitioner that on said those of the defense must stand. Petitioner failed
evening, he was sleeping in house and was to show that Pat. Pagilagan, in testifying against
awakened only when the policemen handcuffed him, was motivated by reasons other than his
him. He alleged that the policemen were looking duty to curb drug abuse and had any intent to
for his brother-in-law Lauro, and when they could falsely impute to him such a serious crime as
not find the latter, he was brought to the police possession of prohibited drugs. In the absence of
station for investigation and later indicted for such ill motive, the presumption of regularity of
possession of prohibited drugs. His wife Myrna his official duty must prevail.
corroborated his story.
In People v. Velasco, 7 this Court reiterated the
The trial court rejected petitioner's defense as a doctrine of presumption of regularity in the
"mere afterthought" and found the version of the performance of official duty which provides:
prosecution "more credible and trustworthy."
". . . Appellant failed to establish that Pat. Godoy
Thus, on August 14, 1992, the trial court rendered and the other members of the buy-bust team are
a decision, convicting petitioner of the crime policemen engaged in mulcting or other
charged, the dispositive portion of which reads: unscrupulous activities who where motivated
either by the desire to extort money or exact
"WHEREFORE there being proof beyond personal vengeance, or by sheer whim and
reasonable doubt, the court finds the accused caprice, when they entrapped her. And in the
Rodolfo Espano y Valeria guilty of the crime of absence of proof of any intent on the part of the
violation of Section 8, Article II, in relation to police authorities to falsely impute such a serious
Section 2 (e-L) (I) of REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6425 as crime against appellant, as in this case, the
amended by Batas Pambansa Blg. 179, and presumption of regularity in the performance of
pursuant to law hereby sentences him to suffer official duty, . . ., must prevail over the self-
imprisonment of six (6) years and one (1) day to serving and uncorroborated claim of appellant
twelve (12) years and to pay a fine of P6,000.00 that she had been framed." 8
with subsidiary imprisonment in case of default
plus costs. Furthermore, the defense set up by petitioner
does not deserve any consideration. He simply
The marijuana is declared fortified in favor of contended that he was in his house sleeping at
government and shall be turned over to the the time of the incident. This Court has
Dangerous Drugs Board without delay. consistently held that alibi is the weakest of all
defenses; and for it to prosper, the accused has
SO ORDERED." 5 the burden of proving that he was not at the
scene of the crime of its commission and that it
Petitioner appealed the decision to the Court of was physically impossible for him to be there.
Appeals. The appellate court, however, affirmed Moreover, the "claim of a 'frame-up', like alibi, is
the decision of the trial court in toto. a defense that has been invariably viewed by the
Court with disfavor for it can just as easily be
Hence, this petition. concocted but difficult to prove, and is a common
and standard line of defense in most prosecutions
Petitioner contends that the trial and appellate arising from violations of the Dangerous Drugs
courts erred in convicting him on the basis of the Act." 9 No clear and convincing evidence was
following: (a) the pieces of evidence seized were presented by petitioner to prove his defense of
inadmissible; (b) the superiority of his alibi.
constitutional right to be presumed innocent over
the doctrine of presumption of regularity; (c) he Second, petitioner contends that the
was denied the constitutional right of prosecution's failure to present the alleged
confrontation and to compulsory process; and (d) informant in court cast a reasonable doubt which
his conviction was based on evidence which was warrants his acquittal. This is again without merit,
irrelevant and not properly identified. since failure of the prosecution to produce the
informant in court is of no moment especially
After a careful examination of the records of the when he is not even the best witness to establish
case, this Court finds no compelling reason the fact that a buy-bust operation had indeed
sufficient to reverse the decisions of the trial and been conducted. In this case, Pat. Pagilagan, one
appellate courts. of the policemen who apprehended petitioner,
testified on the actual incident of July 14, 1991,
First, it is a well settled doctrine that findings of and identified him as the one they caught in
trial courts on the credibility of witnesses deserve possession of prohibited drugs. Thus,
a high degree of respect. Having observed the
deportment of witnesses during the trial, the trial "We find that the prosecution had satisfactorily
judge is in a better position to determine the proved its case against appellants. There is no
issue of credibility and, thus, his findings will not compelling reason for us to overturn the finding
82 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
of the trial court that the testimony of Sgt.
Gamboa, the lone witness for the prosecution, In the case of People v. Lua, 12 this Court held:
was straightforward, spontaneous and
convincing. The testimony of a sole witness, if "As regards the brick of marijuana found inside
credible and positive and satisfies the court the appellant's house, the trial court correctly
beyond reasonable doubt, is sufficient to convict." ignored it apparently in view of its inadmissibility.
10 While initially the arrest as well as the body
search was lawful, the warrantless search made
Thus on the basis of Pat. Pagilagan's testimony, inside the appellant's house became unlawful
the prosecution was able to prove that petitioner since the police operatives were not armed with a
indeed committed the crime charged; search warrant. Such search cannot fall under
consequently, the finding of conviction was "search made incidental to a lawful arrest," the
proper. same being limited to body search and to that
point within reach or control of the person
Lastly, the issue on the admissibility of the arrested, or that which may furnish him with the
marijuana seized should likewise be ruled upon. means of committing violence or of escaping. In
Rule 113 Section 5(a) of the Rules of Court the case at bar, appellant was admittedly outside
provides: his house when he was arrested. Hence, it can
hardly be said that the inner portion of his house
"A peace officer or a private person may, without was within his reach or control."
a warrant, arrest a person:
The articles seized from petitioner during his
a. when, in his presence, the person to be arrest were valid under the doctrine of search
arrested has committed, is actually committing, made incidental to a lawful arrest. The
or is attempting to commit an offense; warrantless search made in his house, however,
which yielded ten cellophane bags of marijuana
xxx xxx xxx." became unlawful since the police officers were
not armed with a search warrant at the time.
Petitioner's arrest falls squarely under the Moreover, it was beyond the reach and control of
aforecited rule. He was caught in flagranti as a petitioner.
result of a buy-bust operation conducted by
police officers on the basis of information In sum, this Court finds petitioner Rodolfo Espano
received regarding the illegal trade of drugs guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating
within the area of Zamora and Pandacan Streets, Article II, Section 8, in relation to Section 2 (e-L)
Manila. The police officer saw petitioner handing (I) of REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6425, as amended.
over something to an alleged buyer. After the Under the said provision, the penalty imposed is
buyer left, they searched him and discovered two six years and one day to twelve years and a fine
cellophanes of marijuana. His arrest was, ranging from six thousand to twelve thousands
therefore, lawful and the two cellophane bags of pesos. With the passage of Republic Act No. 7659,
marijuana seized were admissible in evidence, with took effect on December 31, 1993, the
being the fruits of the crime. imposable penalty shall now depend on the
quantity of drugs recovered. Under the provisions
As for the ten cellophane bags of marijuana found of Republic Act No. 7659, Section 20, and as
at petitioner's residence, however, the same interpreted in People v. Simon 13 and People v.
inadmissible in evidence. Lara, 14 if the quantity of marijuana involved is
less than 750 grams, the imposable penalty
The 1987 Constitution guarantees freedom ranges from prision correccional to reclusion
against unreasonable searches and seizures temporal. Taking into consideration that
under Article III, Section 2 which provides: petitioner is not a habitual delinquent, the
amendatory provision is favorable to him and the
"The right of the people to be secure in their quantity of marijuana involved is less than 750
persons, houses, papers and effects against grams, the penalty imposed under Republic Act
unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever No. 7659 should be applied. There being no
nature and for any purposes shall be inviolable, mitigating nor aggravating circumstances, the
and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall imposable penalty shall be prision correccional in
issue except upon probable cause to be its medium period. Applying the Indeterminate
determined personally by the judge after Sentence Law, the maximum penalty shall be
examination under oath or affirmation of the taken from the medium period of prision
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, correccional, which is two (2) years, four (4)
and particularly describing the place to be months and one (1) day to four (4) years and two
searched and the persons or things to be seized." (2) months, while the minimum shall be taken
from the penalty next lower in degree, which is
An exception to the said rule is a warrantless one (1) month and one (1) day six (6) months of
search incidental to a lawful arrest for dangerous arresto mayor.
weapons or anything which may be used as proof
of the commission of an offense. 11 It may
extend beyond the person of the one arrested to
include the premises or surroundings under his WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby
immediate control. In this case, the ten DENIED. The decision of the Court of Appeals in
cellophane bags of marijuana seized at C.A.-G.R. CR No. 13976 dated January 16, 1995 is
petitioner's house after his arrest at Pandacan AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that petitioner
and Zamora Streets do not fall under the said Rodolfo Espano is sentenced to suffer an
exceptions.
83 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
indeterminate penalty of TWO (2) months and Bureau even in the absence on any warrant of
ONE (1) day of arresto mayor, as minimum of seizure or detention.
TWO (2) years, FOUR (4) months and ONE (1) day
of prision correccional, as minimum. 4. ID.; ID.; SEIZURE OF GOODS BY MPD,
DEPUTIZED BY BUREAU OF CUSTOMS GAVE
SO ORDERED. THE LATTER EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION OVER
CASE; ISSUANCE OF WARRANT OF SEIZURE
Narvasa, C .J ., Kapunan and Purisima, JJ ., concur. BY CUSTOMS BUREAU AFTER FILLING OF
ais MANDAMUS SUIT IN CFI, DID NOT DIVEST
THE LATTER OF JURISDICTION IT DID NOT
(Papa v. Mago, G.R. No. L-27360, February ACQUIRE. Where the Bureau of Customs,
28, 1968) through the Manila Police Department acting
under petitioner police chief Papa who was
EN BANC formally deputized by the Commissioner of
[G.R. No. L-27360. February 28, 1968.] Customs seized the goods on November 4, 1966,
HON. RICARDO G. PAPA, as Chief of Police of the Bureau from that date acquired jurisdiction
Manila, HON. JUAN PONCE ENRILE, as over the goods to the exclusion of the regular
Commissioner of Customs, PEDRO PACIS, as courts. The issuance of the warrant of seizure and
Collector of Customs of the Port of Manila, and detention by the Customs Collector after the filing
MARTIN ALAGAO, as Patrolman of the Manila of the mandamus suit in the regular court, did not
Police-Department, petitioners, vs. REMEDIOS deprive the latter of its jurisdiction which it never
MAGO and HON. HILARION U. JARENCIO, as acquired in the first place, as the Bureau of
Presiding Judge of Branch 23, Court of First Customs had already previously acquired
Instance of Manila, respondents. jurisdiction on the case to the exclusion of regular
Solicitor General for petitioners. courts for purposes of enforcement of customs
Juan T . David for respondents. and Tariff Laws.

SYLLABUS 5. ID.; ID.; GOODS, EVEN IF BROUGHT OUT


1. CUSTOMS BUREAU; POWERS AND DUTIES OF CUSTOMS AREA, STILL FALL WITHIN
OF BUREAU OF CUSTOMS. Among others, JURISDICTION OF BUREAU OF CUSTOMS;
the Bureau of Customs has the duties, powers JURISDICTION OF CUSTOMS BUREAU IS
and the jurisdiction to assess and collect all lawful REGAINED. Even if it be conceded, arguendo,
revenues from imported articles and all other that after the goods have been brought out of the
dues, fees, charges, fines and penalties accruing customs area, the Bureau of Customs lost
under the Tariff and Customs Laws; to prevent jurisdiction over the same, still when said goods
and suppress smuggling and other frauds upon were intercepted at the Agrifina Circle by
the customs; and to enforce Tariff and Customs members of the MPD acting under directions and
Laws. orders of petitioner Papa who had been formally
deputized by the Commissioner of Customs, such
2. ID.; JURISDICTION; CUSTOMS BUREAU jurisdiction was regained by the Bureau of
HAS JURISDICTION OVER IMPORTED GOODS; Customs. Sec. 1206 of the Tariff and Customs
"IMPORTATION", MEANING OF. Where the Code imposes upon the Collector of Customs the
goods in question were imported from Hongkong duty to hold possession of all imported articles
as shown in the statement and receipts of duties upon which duties, taxes and other charges have
collected on informal entry and where the not been paid or secured to be paid and to
importation has not been terminated, the dispose of the same according to law.
imported goods remain under the jurisdiction of
the Bureau of Customs. Importation is terminated 6. ID.; IMPORTATIONS MADE CONTRARY TO
only upon the payment of duties, taxes and other LAW ARE SUBJECT TO FORFEITURE. Where
charges upon the articles, or secured to be paid, from the record, the duties, taxes and other
at the port of entry and the legal permit for charges on the imported articles have not been
withdrawal shall have been granted. Payment of paid in full, such articles are subject to forfeiture
the duties, taxes, fees and other charges must be under Section 2530 pars. e and m, (1), (4) and (5)
in full. of the Tariff and Customs Code; for well settled is
the rule that merchandise imported contrary to
3. ID; ID; BUREAU OF CUSTOMS, NOT THE law is subject to forfeiture and goods released
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE, HAS contrary to law are likewise subject to seizure and
JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE WHERE forfeiture.
GOODS ARE UNDER CUSTODY OF SAID
BUREAU, EVEN IF NO WARRANT OF SEIZURE 7. ID.; ID.; SEARCH WARRANT; LAWFUL
AND DETENTION IS YET ISSUED ON GOODS. SEARCH WITHOUT SEARCH WARRANT CAN
Since the goods were under the custody and at BE EFFECTED. The Tariff and Customs Code
the disposal of the Bureau of Customs when the does not require a search warrant for purposes of
petition for mandamus was filed in the Court of enforcing customs and Tariff Laws. Under Sec.
First Instance, the latter could not exercise 2203 thereof, persons having police authority
jurisdiction over said goods even if the warrant of may enter, pass through or search any land,
seizure and detention of goods for purposes of inclosure, warehouse, store or building not being
seizure and forfeiture proceedings had not yet a dwelling house and also, to inspect, search and
been issued by the Collector. It is settled that the examine any vehicle or aircraft and any trunk,
Bureau of Customs acquires exclusive jurisdiction package, box or envelope or any person on board
over imported goods for purposes of enforcing or stop and search and examine any vehicle,
the Customs laws, from the moment the goods beast or person suspected of holding or
are actually in possession and control of said conveying any dutiable or prohibited article
84 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
introduced into the Philippines contrary to law, owned by Valentin B. Lanopa to transport the
without mentioning the need of a search warrant goods from said place to her residence at 1657
in said cases. Except in the search of a dwelling Laon Laan St., Sampaloc, Manila; that the goods
house, therefore, persons exercising police were seized by members of the Manila Police
authority under the customs law may effect Department without search warrant issued by a
search and seizure without search warrant in the competent court; that Manila Chief of Police
enforcement of customs laws. Ricardo Papa denied the request of counsel for
Remedios Mago that the bales be not opened and
DECISION the goods contained therein be not examined;
ZALDIVAR, J p: that then Customs Commissioner Jacinto Gavino
This is an original action for prohibition and had illegally assigned appraisers to examine the
certiorari, with preliminary injunction, filed by goods because the goods were no longer under
Ricardo Papa, Chief of Police of Manila; Juan the control and supervision of the Commissioner
Ponce Enrile, Commissioner of Customs; Pedro of Customs; that the goods, even assuming them
Pacis, Collector of Customs of the Port of Manila; to have been misdeclared and undervalued, were
and Martin Alagao, a patrolman of the Manila not subject to seizure under Section 2531 of the
Police Department, against Remedios Mago and Tariff and Customs Code because Remedios Mago
Hon. Hilarion Jarencio, Presiding Judge of Branch had bought them from another person without
23 of the Court of First Instance of Manila, praying knowledge that they were imported illegally; that
for the annulment of the order issued by the bales had not yet been opened, although
respondent Judge in Civil Case No. 67496 of the Chief of Police Papa had arranged with the
Court of First Instance of Manila under date of Commissioner of Customs regarding the
March 7, 1967, which authorized the release disposition of the goods, and that unless
under bond of certain goods which were seized restrained their constitutional rights would be
and held by petitioners in connection with the violated and they would truly suffer irreparable
enforcement of the Tariff and Customs Code, but injury. Hence Remedios Mago and Valentin
which were claimed by respondent Remedios Lanopa prayed for the issuance of a restraining
Mago, and to prohibit respondent Judge from order, ex parte, enjoining the above-named police
further proceeding in any manner whatsoever in and customs authorities, or their agents, from
said Civil Case No. 67496. Pending the opening the bales and examining the goods, and
determination of this case this Court issued a writ a writ of mandamus for the return of the goods
of preliminary injunction restraining the and the trucks, as well as a judgment for actual,
respondent Judge from executing, enforcing moral and exemplary damages in their favor.
and/or implementing the questioned order in Civil
Case No. 67496 and from proceeding with said On November 10, 1966, respondent Judge
case. Hilarion Jarencio issued an order ex parte
restraining the respondents in Civil Case No.
Petitioner Martin Alagao, head of the counter- 67496 now petitioners in the instant case
intelligence unit of the Manila Police Department, before this Court from opening the nine bales
acting upon a reliable information received on in question, and at the same time set the hearing
November 3, 1966 to the effect that a certain of the petition for preliminary injunction on
shipment of personal effects, allegedly November 16, 1966. However, when the
misdeclared and undervalued, would be released restraining order was received by herein
the following day from the customs zone of the petitioners, some bales had already been opened
port of Manila and loaded on two trucks, and by the examiners of the Bureau of Customs in the
upon orders of petitioner Ricardo Papa, Chief of presence of officials of the Manila Police
Police of Manila and a duly deputized agent of the Department, an assistant city fiscal and a
Bureau of Customs, conducted surveillance at representative of herein respondent Remedios
gate No. 1 of the customs zone. When the trucks Mago.
left gate No. 1 at about 4:30 in the afternoon of
November 4, 1966, elements of the counter-
intelligence unit went after the trucks and
intercepted them at the Agrifina Circle, Ermita, Under date of November 15, 1966, Remedios
Manila. The load of the two trucks, consisting of Mago filed an amended petition in Civil Case No.
nine bales of goods, and the two trucks, were 67496, including as party defendants Collector of
seized on instructions of the Chief of Police. Upon Customs Pedro Pacis of the Port of Manila and Lt.
investigation, a person claimed ownership of the Martin Alagao of the Manila Police Department.
goods and showed to the policemen a "Statement Herein petitioners (defendants below) filed, on
and Receipts of Duties Collected on Informal November 24, 1966, their "Answer with
Entry No. 147-5501", issued by the Bureau of Opposition to the Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary
Customs in the name of a certain Bienvenido Injunction", denying the alleged illegality of the
Naguit. seizure and detention of the goods and the trucks
and of their other actuations, and alleging special
Claiming to have been prejudiced by the seizure and affirmative defenses, to wit: that the Court of
and detention of the two trucks and their cargo, First Instance of Manila had no jurisdiction to try
Remedios Mago and Valentin B. Lanopa filed with the case; that the case fell within the exclusive
the Court of First Instance of Manila a petition "for jurisdiction of the Court of Tax Appeals; that,
mandamus with restraining order or preliminary assuming that the court had jurisdiction over the
injunction," docketed as Civil Case No. 67496, case, the petition stated no cause of action in
alleging, among others, that Remedios Mago was view of the failure of Remedios Mago to exhaust
the owner of the goods seized, having purchased the administrative remedies provided for in the
them from the Sta. Monica Grocery in San Tariff and Customs Code; that the Bureau of
Fernando, Pampanga; that she hired the trucks
85 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
Customs had not lost jurisdiction over the goods On March 13, 1967, herein petitioner Ricardo
because the full duties and charges thereon had Papa, on his own behalf, filed a motion for
not been paid; that the members of the Manila reconsideration of the order of the court releasing
Police Department had the power to make the the goods under bond, upon the ground that the
seizure; that the seizure was not unreasonable; Manila Police Department had been directed by
and that the persons deputized under Section the Collector of Customs of the Port of Manila to
2203 (c) of the Tariff and Customs Code could hold the goods pending termination of the seizure
effect searches, seizures and arrests in inland proceedings.
places in connection with the enforcement of the
said Code. In opposing the issuance of the writ of Without waiting for the court's action on the
preliminary injunction, herein petitioners averred motion for reconsideration, and alleging that they
in the court below that the writ could not be had no plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the
granted for the reason that Remedios Mago was ordinary course of law, herein petitioners filed the
not entitled to the main reliefs she prayed for; present action for prohibition and certiorari with
that the release of the goods, which were subject preliminary injunction before this Court. In their
to seizure proceedings under the Tariff and petition petitioners allege, among others, that the
Customs Code, would deprive the Bureau of respondent Judge acted without jurisdiction in
Customs of the authority to forfeit them; and that ordering the release to respondent Remedios
Remedios Mago and Valentin Lanopa would not Mago of the disputed goods, for the following
suffer irreparable injury. Herein petitioners prayed reasons: (1) the Court of First Instance of Manila,
the court below for the lifting of the restraining presided by respondent Judge, had no jurisdiction
order, for the denial of the issuance of the writ of over the case; (2) respondent Remedios Mago
preliminary injunction, and for the dismissal of had no cause of action in Civil Case No. 67496 of
the case. the Court of First Instance of Manila due to her
failure to exhaust all administrative remedies
At the hearing on December 9, 1966, the lower before invoking judicial intervention; (3) the
court, with the conformity of the parties, ordered Government was not estopped by the negligent
that an inventory of the goods be made by its and/or illegal acts of its agents in not collecting
clerk of court in the presence of the the correct taxes; and (4) the bond fixed by
representatives of the claimant of the goods, the respondent Judge for the release of the goods
Bureau of Customs, and the Anti- Smuggling was grossly insufficient.
Center of the Manila Police Department. On
December 13, 1966, the above-named persons In due time, the respondents filed their answer to
filed a "Compliance" itemizing the contents of the the petition for prohibition and certiorari in this
nine bales. case. In their answer, respondents alleged,
among others: (1) that it was within the
Herein respondent Remedios Mago, on December jurisdiction of the lower court presided by
23, 1966, filed an ex parte motion to release the respondent Judge to hear and decide Civil Case
goods, alleging that since the inventory of the No. 67496 and to issue the questioned order of
goods seized did not show any article of March 7, 1967, because said Civil Case No. 67496
prohibited importation, the same should be was instituted long before seizure and
released as per agreement of the parties upon identification proceedings against the nine bales
her posting of the appropriate bond that may be of goods in question were instituted by the
determined by the court. Herein petitioners filed Collector of Customs; (2) that petitioners could no
their opposition to the motion, alleging that the longer go after the goods in question after the
court had no jurisdiction to order the release of corresponding duties and taxes had been paid
the goods in view of the fact that the court had and said goods had left the customs premises
no jurisdiction over the case, and that most of the and were no longer within the control of the
goods, as shown in the inventory, were not Bureau of Customs; (3) that respondent Remedios
declared and were, therefore, subject to Mago is a purchaser in good faith of the goods in
forfeiture. A supplemental opposition was filed by question so that those goods can not be the
herein petitioners on January 19, 1967, alleging subject of seizure and forfeiture proceedings; (4)
that on January 12, 1967 seizure proceedings that the seizure of the goods was effected by
against the goods had been instituted by the members of the Manila Police Department at a
Collector of Customs of the Port of Manila, and place outside the control and jurisdiction of the
the determination of all questions affecting the Bureau of Customs and effected without any
disposal of property proceeded against in seizure search warrant or a warrant of seizure and
and forfeiture proceedings should thereby be left detention; (5) that the warrant of seizure and
to the Collector of Customs. On January 30, 1967, detention subsequently issued by the Collector of
herein petitioners filed a manifestation that the Customs is illegal and unconstitutional, it not
estimated duties, taxes and other charges due on being issued by a judge; (6) that the seizing
the goods amounted to P95,772.00. On February officers have no authority to seize the goods in
2, 1967, herein respondent Remedios Mago filed question because they are not articles of
an urgent manifestation and reiteration of the prohibited importation; (7) that petitioners are
motion for the release under bond of the goods. estopped to institute the present action because
they had agreed before the respondent Judge
On March 7, 1967, the respondent Judge issued that they would not interpose any objection to
an order releasing the goods to herein the release of the goods under bond to answer for
respondent Remedios Mago upon her filing of a whatever duties and taxes the said goods may
bond in the amount of P40,000.00, and on March still be liable; and (8) that the bond for the
13, 1967, said respondent filed the corresponding release of the goods was sufficient.
bond.

86 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
The principal issue in the instant case is whether
or not, the respondent Judge had acted with
jurisdiction in issuing the order of March 7, 1967 Even if it be granted, arguendo, that after the
releasing the goods in question. goods in question had been brought out of the
customs area the Bureau of Customs had lost
The Bureau of Customs has the duties, powers jurisdiction over the same, nevertheless, when
and jurisdiction, among others, (1) to assess and said goods were intercepted at the Agrifina Circle
collect all lawful revenues from imported articles, on November 4, 1966 by members of the Manila
and all other dues, fees, charges, fines and Police Department, acting under directions and
penalties, accruing under the Tariff and Customs orders of their Chief, Ricardo G. Papa, who had
Laws; (2) to prevent and suppress smuggling and been formally deputized by the Commissioner of
other frauds upon the customs; and (3) to enforce Customs, 9 the Bureau of Customs had regained
Tariff and Customs Laws. 1 The goods in question jurisdiction and custody of the goods. Section
were imported from Hongkong, as shown in the 1206 of the Tariff and Customs Code imposes
"Statement and Receipts of Duties Collected on upon the Collector of Customs the duty to hold
Informal Entry." 2 As long as the importation has possession of all imported articles upon which
not been terminated the imported goods remain duties, taxes, and other charges have not been
under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Customs. paid or secured to be paid, and to dispose of the
Importation is deemed terminated only upon the same according to law. The goods in question,
payment of the duties, taxes and other charges therefore, were under the custody and at the
upon the articles, or secured to be paid, at the disposal of the Bureau of Customs at the time the
port of entry and the legal permit for withdrawal petition for mandamus, docketed as Civil Case
shall have been granted. 3 The payment of the No. 67496, was filed in the Court of First Instance
duties, taxes, fees and other charges must be in of Manila on November 9, 1966. The Court of First
full. 4 Instance of Manila, therefore, could not exercise
jurisdiction over said goods even if the warrant of
The record shows, by comparing the articles and seizure and detention of the goods for the
duties stated in the aforesaid "Statement and purposes of the seizure and forfeiture
Receipts of Duties Collected on Informal Entry" proceedings had not yet been issued by the
with the manifestation of the Office of the Collector of Customs.
Solicitor General 5 wherein it is stated that the
estimated duties, taxes and other charges on the The ruling in the case of "Alberto de Joya, et al. v.
goods subject of this case amounted to Hon. Gregorio Lantin, et al.," G. R. No. L-24037,
P95,772.00 as evidenced by the report of the decided by this Court on April 27, 1967, is
appraiser of the Bureau of Customs, that the squarely applicable to the instant case. In the De
duties, taxes and other charges had not been Joya case, it appears that Francindy Commercial
paid in full. Furthermore, a comparison of the of Manila bought from Ernerose Commercial of
goods on which duties had been assessed, as Cebu City 90 bales of assorted textiles and rags,
shown in the "Statement and Receipts of Duties valued at P117,731.00, which had been imported
Collected on Informal Entry" and the and entered thru the port of Cebu. Ernerose
"compliance" itemizing the articles found in the Commercial shipped the goods to Manila on
bales upon examination and inventory, 6 shows board an inter-island vessel. When the goods
that the quantity of the goods was underdeclared, were about to leave the customs premises in
presumably to avoid the payment of duties Manila, on October 6, 1964, the customs
thereon. For example, Annex B (the statement authorities held them for further verification, and
and receipts of duties collected) states that there upon examination the goods were found to be
were 40 pieces of ladies' sweaters, whereas different from the declaration in the cargo
Annex H (the inventory contained in the manifest of the carrying vessel. Francindy
"compliance") states that in bale No. 1 alone Commercial subsequently demanded from the
there were 42 dozens and 1 piece of ladies' customs authorities the release of the goods,
sweaters of assorted colors; in Annex B, only 100 asserting that it is a purchaser in good faith of
pieces of watch bands were assessed, but in those goods; that a local purchase was involved
Annex H, there were in bale No. 2, 209 dozens so the Bureau of Customs had no right to
and 5 pieces of men's metal watch bands (white) examine the goods; and that the goods came
and 120 dozens of men's metal watch bands from a coastwise port. On October 26, 1964,
(gold color), and in bale No. 7, 320 dozens of Francindy Commercial filed in the Court of First
men's metal watch bands (gold color); in Annex Instance of Manila a petition for mandamus
B, 20 dozens only of men's handkerchief were against the Commissioner of Customs and the
declared, but in Annex H it appears that there Collector of Customs of the port of Manila to
were 224 dozens of said goods in bale No. 2, 120 compel said customs authorities to release the
dozens in bale No. 6, 380 dozens in bale No. 7, goods.
220 dozens in bale No. 8, and another 200
dozens in bale No. 9. The articles contained in the Francindy Commercial alleged in its petition for
nine bales in question, were, therefore, subject to mandamus that the Bureau of Customs had no
forfeiture under Section 2530, pars. e and m, (1), jurisdiction over the goods because the same
(3), (4), and (5) of the Tariff and Customs Code. were not imported to the port of Manila; that it
And this Court has held that merchandise, the was not liable for duties and taxes because the
importation of which is effected contrary to law, is transaction was not an original importation; that
subject to forfeiture, 7 and that goods released the goods were not in the hands of the importer
contrary to law are subject to seizure and nor subject to said importer's control, nor were
forfeiture. 8 the goods imported contrary to law with its
(Francindy Commercial's) knowledge; and that

87 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
the importation had been terminated. On
November 12, 1964, the Collector of Customs of "Said proceedings should be followed; the owner
Manila issued a warrant of seizure and of the goods may set up defenses therein (Pacis
identification against the goods. On December 3, v. Averia, L-22526, Nov. 20, 1966). From the
1964, the Commissioner of Customs and the decision of the Commissioner of Customs appeal
Collector of Customs, as respondents in the lies to the Court of Tax Appeals, as provided in
mandamus case, filed a motion to dismiss the Sec. 2402 of Republic Act 1937 and Sec. 11 of
petition on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction, lack Republic Act 1125. To permit recourse to the
of cause of action, and in view of the pending Court of First Instance in cases of seizure of
seizure and forfeiture proceedings. The court of imported goods would in effect render ineffective
first instance held resolution on the motion to the power of the Customs authorities under the
dismiss in abeyance pending decision on the Tariff Code and deprive the Court of Tax Appeals
merits. On December 14, 1964, the Court of First of one of its exclusive appellate jurisdictions. As
Instance of Manila issued a writ of preventive and this Court has ruled in Pacis v. Averia, supra,
mandatory injunction, on prayer by Francindy Republic Acts 1937 and 1125 vest jurisdiction
Commercial, upon a bond of P20,000.00. The over seizure and forfeiture proceedings
Commissioner of Customs and the Collector of exclusively upon the Bureau of Customs and the
Customs sought the lifting of the preliminary and Court of Tax Appeals. Such law being special in
mandatory injunction, and the resolution of their nature, while the Judiciary Act defining the
motion to dismiss. The Court of First Instance of jurisdiction of Courts of First Instance is a general
Manila, however, on January 12, 1965, ordered legislation, not to mention that the former are
them to comply with the preliminary and later enactments, the Court of First Instance
mandatory injunction, upon the filing by should yield to the jurisdiction of the Customs
Francindy Commercial of an additional bond of authorities."
P50,000.00. Said customs authorities thereupon
filed with this Court, on January 14, 1965, a It is the settled rule, therefore, that the Bureau of
petition for certiorari and prohibition with Customs acquires exclusive jurisdiction over
preliminary injunction. In resolving the question imported goods, for the purposes of enforcement
raised in that case, this Court held: of the customs laws, from the moment the goods
are actually in its possession or control, even if no
"This petition raises two related issues: first, has warrant of seizure or detention had previously
the Customs bureau jurisdiction to seize the been issued by the Collector of Customs in
goods and institute forfeiture proceeding against connection with seizure and forfeiture
them? and (2) has the Court of First Instance proceedings. In the present case, the Bureau of
jurisdiction to entertain the petition for Customs actually seized the goods in question on
mandamus to compel the Customs authorities to November 4, 1966, and so from that date the
release the goods? Bureau of Customs acquired jurisdiction over the
goods for the purposes of the enforcement of the
"Francindy Commercial contends that since the Tariff and Customs Laws, to the exclusion of the
petition in the Court of First Instance was filed (on regular courts. Much less then would the Court of
October 26, 1964) ahead of the issuance of the First Instance of Manila have jurisdiction over the
Customs warrant of seizure and forfeiture (on goods in question after the Collector of Customs
November 12, 1964), the Customs bureau should had issued the warrant of seizure and detention
yield to the jurisdiction of the said court. on January 12, 1967. 10 And so, it cannot be said,
as respondents contend, that the issuance of said
"The record shows, however, that the goods in warrant was only an attempt to divest the
question were actually seized on October 6, 1964, respondent Judge of jurisdiction over the subject
i.e., before Francindy Commercial sued in court. matter of the case. The court presided by
The purpose of the seizure by the Customs respondent Judge did not acquire jurisdiction over
bureau was to verify whether or not Custom the goods in question when the petition for
duties and taxes were paid for their importation. mandamus was filed before it, and so there was
Hence, on December 23, 1964, Customs released no need of divesting it of jurisdiction. Not having
22 bales thereof, for the same were found to acquired jurisdiction over the goods, it follows
have been released regularly from the Cebu Port that the Court of First Instance of Manila had no
(Petition Annex 'L'). As to goods imported illegally jurisdiction to issue the questioned order of March
or released irregularly from Customs custody, 7, 1967 releasing said goods.
these are subject to seizure under Section 2530
m. of the Tariff and Customs Code (RA 1957). Respondents also aver that petitioner Martin
Alagao, an officer of the Manila Police
"The Bureau of Customs has jurisdiction and Department, could not seize the goods in
power, among others, to collect revenues from question without a search warrant. This
imported articles, fines and penalties and contention cannot be sustained. The Chief of the
suppress smuggling and other frauds on customs; Manila Police Department, Ricardo G. Papa,
and to enforce Tariff and Customs Laws (Sec. 602, having been deputized in writing by the
Republic Act 1957). Commissioner of Customs, could, for the
purposes of the enforcement of the customs and
"The goods in question are imported articles Tariff Laws, effect searches, seizures, and arrests,
entered at the Port of Cebu. Should they be found 11 and it was his duty to make seizure, among
to have been released irregularly from Customs others, of any cargo, articles or other movable
custody in Cebu City, they are subject to seizure property when the same may be subject to
and forfeiture, the proceedings for which comes forfeiture or liable for any fine imposed under
within the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Customs customs and Tariff Laws. 12 He could lawfully
pursuant to Republic Act 1937. open and examine any box, trunk, envelope or
88 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
other container wherever found when he had adjoining districts, but also to stop, search, and
reasonable cause to suspect the presence therein examine any vehicle, beast, or person on which
of dutiable articles introduced into the Philippines or whom they should suspect there was
contrary to law; and likewise to stop, search and merchandise which was subject to duty or had
examine any vehicle, beast or person reasonably been introduced into the United States in any
suspected of holding or conveying such article as manner contrary to law, whether by the person in
aforesaid. 13 It cannot be doubted, therefore, charge of the vehicle or beast or otherwise, and if
that petitioner Ricardo G. Papa, Chief of Police of they should find any goods, wares, or
Manila, could lawfully effect the search and merchandise thereon, which they had probable
seizure of the goods in question. The Tariff and cause to believe had been so unlawfully brought
Customs Code authorizes him to demand into the country, to seize and secure the same,
assistance of any police officer to effect said and the vehicle or beast as well, for trial and
search and seizure, and the latter has the legal forfeiture. This Act was renewed April 27, 1816 (3
duty to render said assistance. 14 This was what Stat. at L. 315, chap. 100), for a year and expired.
happened precisely in the case of Lt. Martin The Act of February 28, 1865, revived 2 of the
Alagao who, with his unit, made the search and Act of 1815, above described, chap. 67, 13 Stat.
seizure of the two trucks loaded with the nine at L. 441. The substance of this section was re-
bales of goods in question at the Agrifina Circle. enacted in the 3d section of the Act of July 18,
He was given authority by the Chief of Police to 1866, chap. 201, 14 Stat. at L. 178, and was
make the interception of the cargo. 15 thereafter embodied in the Revised Statutes as
3061, Comp. Stat. 5763, 2 Fed. Stat. Anno. 2d
ed. p. 1161. Neither 3061 nor any of its earlier
counterparts has ever been attacked as
Petitioner Martin Alagao and his companion unconstitutional. Indeed, that section was
policemen had authority to effect the seizure referred to and treated as operative by this court
without any search warrant issued by a in Von Cotzhausen v. Nazro, 107 U. S. 215, 219,
competent court. The Tariff and Customs Code 27 L. ed. 540, 541, 2 Sup. Ct. Rep. 503 . . ."
does not require said warrant in the instant case.
The Code authorizes persons having police In the instant case, we note that petitioner Martin
authority under Section 2203 of the Tariff and Alagao and his companion policemen did not
Customs Code to enter, pass through or search have to make any search before they seized the
any land, inclosure, warehouse, store or building, two trucks and their cargo. In their original
not being a dwelling house; and also to inspect, petition, and amended petition, in the court
search and examine any vessel or aircraft and below Remedios Mago and Valentin Lanopa did
any trunk, package, box or envelope or any not even allege that there was a search. 18 All
person on board, or stop and search and examine that they complained of was,
any vehicle, beast or person suspected of holding
or conveying any dutiable or prohibited article "That while the trucks were on their way, they
introduced into the Philippines contrary to law, were intercepted without any search warrant near
without mentioning the need of a search warrant the Agrifina Circle and taken to the Manila Police,
in said cases. 16 But in the search of a dwelling where they were detained."
house, the Code provides that said "dwelling
house may be entered and searched only upon But even if there was a search, there is still
warrant issued by a judge or justice of the peace . authority to the effect that no search warrant
. ." 17 It is our considered view, therefore, that would be needed under the circumstances
except in the case of the search of a dwelling obtaining in the instant case. Thus, it has been
house, persons exercising police authority under held that:
the customs law may effect search and seizure
without a search warrant in the enforcement of "The guaranty of freedom from unreasonable
customs laws. searches and seizures is construed as recognizing
a necessary difference between a search of a
Our conclusion finds support in the case of Carroll dwelling house or other structure in respect of
v. United States, 39 A.L.R., 790, 799, wherein the which a search warrant may readily be obtained
court, considering a legal provision similar to and a search of a ship, motorboat, wagon, or
Section 2211 of the Philippine Tariff and Customs automobile for contraband goods, where it is not
Code, said as follows: practicable to secure a warrant, because the
vehicle can be quickly moved out of the locality
"Thus, contemporaneously with the adoption of or jurisdiction in which the warrant must be
the 4th Amendment, we find in the first Congress, sought." (47 Am. Jur., pp. 513-514, citing Carroll
and in the following second and fourth v. United States, 267 U.S., 132, 69 L. ed., 543, 45
Congresses, a difference made as to the S. Ct., 280, 39 A.L.R., 790; People v. Case, 320
necessity for a search warrant between goods Mich., 379, 190 N.W., 389, 27 A.L.R., 686.)
subject to forfeiture, when concealed in a
dwelling house or similar place, and like goods in In the case of People v. Case (320 Mich., 379, 190
course of transportation and concealed in a N.W., 389, 27 A.L.R., 686), the question raised by
movable vessel, where they readily could be put defendant's counsel was whether an automobile
out of reach of a search warrant . . ." truck or an automobile could be searched without
search warrant or other process and the goods
"Again, by the 2d section of the Act of March 3, therein seized used afterwards as evidence in a
1815 (3 Stat. at L. 231, 232, chap. 94), it was trial for violation of the prohibition laws of the
made lawful for customs officers not only to State. Same counsel contended the negative,
board and search vessels within their own and urging the constitutional provision forbidding

89 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
unreasonable searches and seizures. The Court respondent Judge Hilarion U. Jarencio, dated
said: March 7, 1967, in Civil Case No. 67496 of the
Court of First Instance of Manila;
". . . Neither our state nor the Federal
Constitution directly prohibits search and seizure (c) Declaring permanent the preliminary
without a warrant, as is sometimes asserted. Only injunction issued by this Court on March 31, 1967
'unreasonable' search and seizure is forbidden. . . restraining respondent Judge from executing,
. enforcing and/or implementing his order of March
7, 1967 in Civil Case No. 67496 of the Court of
". . . The question whether a seizure or a search is First Instance of Manila, and from proceeding in
unreasonable in the language of the Constitution any manner in said case;
is a judicial and not a legislative question; but in
determining whether a seizure is or is not (d) Ordering the dismissal of Civil Case No. 67496
unreasonable, all of the circumstances under of the Court of First Instance of Manila; and
which it is made must be looked to.
(e) Ordering the private respondent, Remedios
"The automobile is a swift and powerful vehicle of Mago, to pay the costs.
recent development, which has multiplied by
quantity production and taken possession of our It is so ordered.
highways in battalions, until the slower, animal-
drawn vehicles, with their easily noted Concepcion, C . J ., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon,
individuality, are rare. Constructed as covered Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Sanchez, Castro,
vehicles to standard form in immense quantities, Angeles and Fernando, JJ ., concur.
and with a capacity for speed rivaling express
trains, they furnish for successful commission of (People v. Musa y Hantatalu, G.R. No.
crime a disguising means of silent approach and 96177, January 27, 1993)
swift escape unknown in the history of the world
before their advent. The question of their police THIRD DIVISION
control and reasonable search on highways or [G.R. No. 96177. January 27, 1993.]
other public places is a serious question far PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
deeper and broader than their use in so-called vs. MARI MUSA y HANTATALU, accused-appellant.
"bootlegging' or 'rum running,' which is itself is no The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
small matter. While a possession in the sense of Pablo L. Murillo for accused-appellant.
private ownership, they are but a vehicle
constructed for travel and transportation on SYLLABUS
highways. Their active use is not in homes or on 1. CRIMINAL LAW; DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT
private premises, the privacy of which the law (R.A. 6425); ILLEGAL SALE OF MARIJUANA
especially guards from search and seizure without DRUGS; FAMILIARITY BETWEEN BUYER AND
process. The baffling extent to which they are SELLER, NOT MATERIAL. The contention that
successfully utilized to facilitate commission of the appellant could not have transacted with Sgt.
crime of all degrees, from those against morality, Ani because they do not know each other is
chastity, and decency, to robbery, rape, burglary, without merit. The day before the buy-bust
and murder, is a matter of common knowledge. operation, Sgt. Ani conducted a test-buy and he
Upon that problem a condition, and not a theory, successfully bought a wrapper of marijuana from
confronts proper administration of our criminal the appellant. Through this previous transaction,
laws. Whether search of and seizure from an Sgt. Ani was able to gain the appellant's
automobile upon a highway or other public place confidence for the latter to sell more marijuana to
without a search warrant is unreasonable is in its Sgt. Ani the following day, during the buy-bust
final analysis to be determined as a judicial operation. Moreover, the Court has held that what
question in view of all the circumstances under matters is not an existing familiarity between the
which it is made." buyer and the seller, for quite often, the parties
to the transaction may be strangers, but their
Having declared that the seizure by the members agreement and the acts constituting the sale and
of the Manila Police Department of the goods in delivery of the marijuana.
question was in accordance with law and by that
seizure the Bureau of Customs had acquired 2. ID.; ID.; ID.; PRESENCE OF OTHER
jurisdiction over the goods for the purposes of the PEOPLE, NOT CRUCIAL. The appellant, again
enforcement of the customs and Tariff Laws, to to cast doubt on the credibility of Sgt. Ani, argues
the exclusion of the Court of First Instance of that it was impossible for the appellant to sell
Manila, We have thus resolved the principal and marijuana while his wife, cousin and manicurist
decisive issue in the present case. We do not were present. But the place of the commission of
consider it necessary, for the purposes of this the crime of selling prohibited drugs has been
decision, to discuss the incidental issues raised held to be not crucial and the presence of other
by the parties in their pleadings. people apart from the buyer and seller will not
necessarily prevent the consummation of the
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered, as illegal sale. As the Court observed in People v.
follows: Paco, these factors may sometimes camouflage
the commission of the crime. In the instant case,
(a) Granting the writ of certiorari and prohibition the fact that the other people inside the
prayed for by petitioners; appellant's house are known to the appellant may
have given him some assurance that these
(b) Declaring null and void, for having been people will not report him to the authorities.
issued without jurisdiction, the order of
90 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE OF PEOPLE VS. ALE, commission of the crime or was the fruit of the
NOT APPLICABLE IN CASE AT BAR. The crime or which might furnish the prisoner with the
case of People v. Ale does not apply here because means of committing violence or of escaping, or
the policeman in that case testified that he and which may be used as evidence in the trial of the
his companion were certain that the appellant cause . . ." Hence, in a buy-bust operation
therein handed marijuana cigarettes to the conducted to entrap a drug-pusher, the law
poseur-buyer based on the appearance of the enforcement agents may seize the marked
cigarette sticks. The Court rejected this claim. In money found on the person of the pusher
the case at bar, however, T/Sgt. Belarga did not immediately after the arrest even without arrest
positively claim that he saw the appellant hand and search warrants.
over marijuana to Sgt. Ani. What he said was that
there was an exchange of certain articles 7. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; DOCTRINE OF "PLAIN
between the two. Contrary to the contention of VIEW". The warrantless search and seizure, as
the appellant, it was not impossible for T/Sgt. an incident to a suspect's lawful arrest, may
Belarga to have seen, from a distance of 90-100 extend beyond the person of the one arrested to
meters, Sgt. Ani hand to the appellant include the premises or surroundings under his
"something" and for the latter to give to the immediate control. Objects in the "plain view" of
former "something." an officer who has the right to be in the position
to have that view are subject to seizure and may
4. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; be presented as evidence.
CORROBORATIVE EVIDENCE SUPPORTING
DIRECT EVIDENCE; SUFFICIENT TO PROVE 8. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; LIMITATION. The
THE CRIME COMMITTED. Notwithstanding "plain view" doctrine may not, however, be used
the fact that T/Sgt. Belarga could not have been to launch unbridled searches and indiscriminate
certain that what Sgt. Ani received from the seizures nor to extend a general exploratory
appellant was marijuana because of the distance, search made solely to find evidence of
his testimony, nevertheless, corroborated the defendant's guilt. The "plain view" doctrine is
direct evidence, which the Court earlier ruled to usually applied where a police officer is not
be convincing. The corroborative testimony of searching for evidence against the accused, but
T/Sgt. Belarga strengthens the direct evidence nonetheless inadvertently comes across an
given by Sgt. Ani. Additionally, the Court has incriminating object. It has also been suggested
ruled that the fact that the police officers who that even if an object is observed in "plain view,"
accompanied the poseur-buyer were unable to the "plain view" doctrine will not justify the
see exactly what the appellant gave the poseur- seizure of the object where the incriminating
buyer because of their distance or position will nature of the object is not apparent from the
not be fatal to the prosecution's case provided "plain view" of the object. Stated differently, it
there exists other evidence, direct or must be immediately apparent to the police that
circumstantial, e.g., the testimony of the poseur- the items that they observe may be evidence of a
buyer, which is sufficient to prove the crime, contraband, or otherwise subject to
consummation of the sale of the prohibited drug. seizure.

5. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; 9. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT APPLICABLE IN
FREEDOM AGAINST UNREASONABLE SEARCH CASE AT BAR. In the instant case, the
AND SEIZURE; EVIDENCE OBTAINED IN appellant was arrested and his person searched
VIOLATION THEREOF. Built into the in the living room. Failing to retrieve the marked
Constitution are guarantees on the freedom of money which they hoped to find, the NARCOM
every individual against unreasonable searches agents searched the whole house and found the
and seizures. Furthermore, the Constitution, in plastic bag in the kitchen. The plastic bag was,
conformity with the doctrine laid down in therefore, not within their "plain view" when they
Stonehill v. Diokno, (G.R. No. L-19550, June 19, arrested the appellant as to justify its seizure. The
1967, 20 SCRA 383) declares inadmissible, any NARCOM agents had to move from one portion of
evidence obtained in violation of the freedom the house to another before they sighted the
from unreasonable searches and seizures. plastic bag. Moreover, when the NARCOM agents
saw the plastic bag hanging in one corner of the
6. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; kitchen, they had no clue as to its contents. They
SEARCH & SEIZURE; SEARCH INCIDENTAL TO had to ask the appellant what the bag contained.
LAWFUL ARREST. While a valid search When the appellant refused to respond, they
warrant is generally necessary before a search opened it and found the marijuana. Unlike Ker v.
and seizure may be effected, exceptions to this California, where the marijuana was visible to the
rule are recognized. Thus, in Alvero v. Dizon, the police officer's eyes, the NARCOM agents in this
Court stated that "[t]he most important exception case could not have discovered the inculpatory
to the necessity for a search warrant is the right nature of the contents of the bag had they not
of search and seizure as an incident to a lawful forcibly opened it. Even assuming then, that the
arrest." Rule 126, Section 12 of the Rules of Court NARCOM agents inadvertently came across the
expressly authorizes a warrantless search and plastic bag because it was within their "plain
seizure incident to a lawful arrest. There is no view," what may be said to be the object in their
doubt that the warrantless search incidental to a "plain view" was just the plastic bag and not the
lawful arrest authorizes the arresting officer to marijuana. The incriminating nature of the
make a search upon the person of the person contents of the plastic bag was not immediately
arrested. As early as 1909, the Court has ruled apparent from the "plain view" of said object. It
that "[a]n officer making an arrest may take from cannot be claimed that the plastic bag clearly
the person arrested and money or property found betrayed its contents, whether by its distinctive
upon his person which was used in the configuration, its transparency, or otherwise, that
91 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
its contents are obvious to an observer. We, NARCOM civilian informer, to the house of Mari
therefore, hold that under the circumstances of Musa to which house the civilian informer had
the case, the "plain view" doctrine does not apply guided him. The same civilian informer had also
and the marijuana contained in the plastic bag described to him the appearance of Mari Musa.
was seized illegally and cannot be presented in Amado Ani was able to buy one newspaper-
evidence pursuant to Article III, Section 3(2) of wrapped dried marijuana (Exh. 'E') for P10.00.
the Constitution. Sgt. Ani returned to the NARCOM office and
turned over the newspaper-wrapped marijuana to
10. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; QUANTUM T/Sgt. Jesus Belarga. Sgt. Belarga inspected the
OF PROOF REQUIRED IN CRIMINAL; stuff turned over to him and found it to be
SATISFIED IN CASE AT BAR. By virtue of the marijuana.
testimonies of Sgt. Ani and T/Sgt. Belarga and the
two wrappings of marijuana sold by the appellant The next day, December 14, 1989, about 1:30
to Sgt. Ani, among other pieces of evidence, the P.M., a buy-bust was planned. Sgt. Amado Ani was
guilt of the appellant of the crime charged has assigned as the poseur buyer for which purpose
been proved beyond reasonable doubt. he was given P20.00 (with SN GA955883) by
Belarga. The buy-bust money had been taken by
DECISION T/Sgt. Jesus Belarga from M/Sgt. Noh Sali
ROMERO, J p: Mihasun, Chief of Investigation Section, and for
The appellant, Mari Musa, seeks, in this appeal, which Belarga signed a receipt (Exh. 'L' & 'L-1').
the reversal of the decision, dated August 31, The team under Sgt. Foncargas was assigned as
1990, 1 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of back-up security. A pre-arranged signal was
Zamboanga City, Branch XII, finding him guilty of arranged consisting of Sgt. Ani's raising his right
selling marijuana in violation of Article II, Section hand, after he had succeeded to buy the
4 of REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6425, as amended, marijuana. The two NARCOM teams proceeded to
otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of the target site in two civilian vehicles. Belarga's
1972. team was composed of Sgt. Belarga, team leader,
Sgt. Amado Ani, poseur buyer, Sgt. Lego and Sgt.
The information filed on December 15, 1989 Biong.
against the appellant reads:
Arriving at the target site, Sgt. Ani proceeded to
"That on or about December 14, 1989, in the City the house of Mari Musa, while the rest of the
of Zamboanga, Philippines, and within the NARCOM group positioned themselves at
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above- strategic places about 90 to 100 meters from
named accused, not being authorized by law, did Mari Musa's house. T/Sgt. Belarga could see what
then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and went on between Ani and suspect Mari Musa from
feloniously sell to one SGT. AMADO ANI, two (2) where he was. Ani approached Mari Musa, who
wrappers containing dried marijuana leaves, came out of his house, and asked Ani what he
knowing the same to be a prohibited drug. wanted. Ani said he wanted some more stuff. Ani
gave Mari Musa the P20.00 marked money. After
CONTRARY TO LAW." 2 receiving the money, Mari Musa went back to his
house and came back and gave Amado Ani two
Upon his arraignment on January 11, 1990, the newspaper wrappers containing dried marijuana.
appellant pleaded not guilty. 3 Ani opened the two wrappers and inspected the
contents. Convinced that the contents were
At the trial, the prosecution presented three (3) marijuana, Ani walked back towards his
witnesses, namely: (1) Sgt. Amado Ani, Jr. of the companions and raised his right hand. The two
9th Narcotics Command (NARCOM) of NARCOM teams, riding the two civilian vehicles,
Zamboanga City, who acted as poseur-buyer in sped towards Sgt. Ani. Ani joined Belarga's team
the buy-bust operation made against the and returned to the house.
appellant; (2) T/Sgt. Jesus Belarga, also of the 9th
Narcotics Command of Zamboanga City, who was At the time Sgt. Ani first approached Mari Musa,
the NARCOM team leader of the buy-bust there were four persons inside his house: Mari
operation; and (3) Athena Elisa P. Anderson, the Musa, another boy, and two women, one of whom
Document Examiner and Forensic Chemist of PC- Ani and Belarga later came to know to be Mari
INP Crime Laboratory of Regional Command Musa's wife. The second time, Ani with the
(RECOM) 9. The evidence of the prosecution was NARCOM team returned to Mari Musa's house, the
summarized by the trial court as follows: LLjur woman, who was later known as Mari Musa's
wife, slipped away from the house. Sgt. Belarga
frisked Mari Musa but could not find the P20.00
marked money with him. Mari Musa was then
"Prosecution evidence shows that in the morning asked where the P20.00 was and he told the
of December 13, 1989, T/Sgt. Jesus Belarga, NARCOM team he has given the money to his
leader of a NARCOTICS COMMAND (NARCOM) wife (who had slipped away). Sgt. Belarga also
team based at Calarian, Zamboanga City, found a plastic bag containing dried marijuana
instructed Sgt. Amado Ani to conduct surveillance inside it somewhere in the kitchen. Mari Musa
and test buy on a certain Mari Musa of Suterville, was then placed under arrest and brought to the
Zamboanga City. Information received from NARCOM office. At Suterville, Sgt. Ani turned over
civilian informer was that this Mari Musa was to Sgt. Belarga the two newspaper-wrapped
engaged in selling marijuana in said place. So marijuana he had earlier bought from Mari Musa
Sgt. Amado Ani, another NARCOM agent, (Exhs. 'C' & 'D'). LexLib
proceeded to Suterville, in company with a

92 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
In the NARCOM office, Mari Musa first gave his just silent. The NARCOM agents found a red
name as Hussin Musa. Later on, Mari Musa gave plastic bag whose contents, Mari Musa said, he
his true name - Mari Musa. T/Sgt. Jesus Belarga did not know. He also did not know if the plastic
turned over the two newspaper-wrapped bag belonged to his brother, Faisal, who was
marijuana (bought at the buy-bust), the one living with him, or his father, who was living in
newspaper-wrapped marijuana (bought at the another house about ten arms-length away. Mari
test-buy) and the plastic bag containing more Musa, then, was handcuffed and when Mari Musa
marijuana (which had been taken by Sgt. Lego asked why, the NARCOM agents told him for
inside the kitchen of Mari Musa) to the PC Crime clarification.
Laboratory, Zamboanga City, for laboratory
examination. The turnover of the marijuana Mari Musa was brought in a pick-up, his wife
specimen to the PC Crime Laboratory was by way joining him to the NARCOM Office at Calarian,
of a letter-request, dated December 14, 1989 Zamboanga City. Inside the NARCOM Office, Mari
(Exh. 'B'), which was stamped 'RECEIVED' by the Musa was investigated by one NARCOM agent
PC Crime Laboratory (Exh. 'E-1') on the same day. which investigation was reduced into writing. The
writing or document was interpreted to Mari Musa
Mrs. Athena Elisa P. Anderson, the Forensic in Tagalog. The document stated that the
Chemist of the PC Crime Laboratory, examined marijuana belonged to Mari Musa and Mari Musa
the marijuana specimens subjecting the same to was asked to sign it. But Mari Musa refused to
her three tests. All submitted specimens she sign because the marijuana did not belong to
examined gave positive results for the presence him. Mari Musa said he was not told that he was
of marijuana. Mrs. Anderson reported the results entitled to the assistance of counsel, although he
of her examination in her Chemistry Report D- himself told the NARCOM agents he wanted to be
100-89, dated December 14, 1989, (Exh. 'J', 'J-1', assisted by counsel.
'J-2', 'J-3', 'J-4' and 'J-5'). Mrs. Anderson identified
in court the two newspaper wrapped marijuana Mari Musa said four bullets were then placed
bought at the buy-bust on December 14, 1989, between the fingers of his right hand and his
through her initial and the weight of each fingers were pressed which felt very painful. The
specimen written with red ink on each wrapper NARCOM agents boxed him and Mari Musa lost
(Exhs. 'C-1' and 'D-1'). She also identified the one consciousness. While Mari Musa was maltreated,
newspaper-wrapped marijuana bought at the he said his wife was outside the NARCOM
test-buy on December 13, 1989, through her building. The very day he was arrested (on cross-
markings (Exh. 'E-1'). Mrs. Anderson also examination Mari Musa said it was on the next
identified her Chemistry Report (Exh. 'J' & sub- day), Mari Musa was brought to the Fiscal's Office
markings.) by three NARCOM agents. The fiscal asked him if
the marijuana was owned by him and he said
T. Sgt. Belarga identified the two buy-bust "not." After that single question, Mari Musa was
newspaper wrapped marijuana through his initial, brought to the City Jail. Mari Musa said he did not
the words 'buy-bust' and the words 'December tell the fiscal that he had been maltreated by the
14, 1989, 2:45 P.M.' (written on Exhs. 'C' and 'D'). NARCOM agents because he was afraid he might
Belarga also identified the receipt of the P20 be maltreated in the fiscal's office. cdll
marked money (with SN GA955883) (Exh. 'L'),
dated December 14, 1989, and his signature Mari Musa denied the NARCOM agents' charge
thereon (Exh. 'L-1'). He also identified the letter- that he had sold two wrappers of marijuana to
request, dated December 14, 1989, addressed to them; that he had received from them a P20.00
the PC Crime Laboratory (Exh. 'B') and his bill which he had given to his wife. He did not sell
signature thereon (Exh. 'B-2') and the stamp of marijuana because he was afraid that was
the PC Crime Laboratory marked 'RECEIVED' against the law and that the person selling
(Exh. 'B-1')." 4 marijuana was caught by the authorities; and he
had a wife and a very small child to support. Mari
For the defense, the following testified as Musa said he had not been arrested for selling
witnesses: (1) the accused-appellant Mari H. marijuana before. 5
Musa; and (2) Ahara R. Musa, his wife. The trial
court summarized the version of the defense, After trial, the trial court rendered the assailed
thus: decision with the following disposition:

"[O]n December 14, 1989, at about 1:30 in the "WHEREFORE, finding accused Mari Musa y
afternoon, Mari Musa was in his house at Hantatalu guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
Suterville, Zamboanga City. With him were his selling marijuana and pursuant to Sec. 4, Art II of
wife, Ahara Musa, known as Ara, his one-year old Rep. Act No. 6425, he is sentenced to life
child, a woman manicurist, and a male cousin imprisonment and to pay the fine of P20,000.00,
named Abdul Musa. About 1:30 that afternoon, the latter imposed without subsidiary
while he was being manicured at one hand, his imprisonment." 6
wife was inside the one room of their house,
putting their child to sleep. Three NARCOM In this appeal, the appellant contends that his
agents, who introduced themselves as NARCOM guilt was not proved beyond reasonable doubt
agents, dressed in civilian clothes, got inside Mari and impugns the credibility of the prosecution
Musa's house whose door was open. The NARCOM witnesses.
agents did not ask permission to enter the house
but simply announced that they were NARCOM The appellant claims that the testimony of Sgt.
agents. The NARCOM agents searched Mari Ani, the poseur-buyer, is not credible because: (1)
Musa's house and Mari Musa asked them if they prior to the buy-bust operation, neither Sgt. Ani
had a search warrant. The NARCOM agents were nor the other NARCOM agents were personally
93 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
known by the appellant or vice-versa; and (2) agreement and the acts constituting the sale and
there was no witness to the alleged giving of the delivery of the marijuana. 17
two wrappers of marijuana by the appellant to
Sgt. Ani. The appellant, again to cast doubt on the
credibility of Sgt. Ani, argues that it was
Sgt. Ani testified that on December 13, 1989, impossible for the appellant to sell marijuana
upon instruction by T/Sgt. Jesus Belarga, he while his wife, cousin and manicurist were
conducted a test-buy operation on the appellant present. But the place of the commission of the
whereby he bought one wrapper of marijuana for crime of selling prohibited drugs has been held to
P15.00 from the latter. 7 He reported the be not crucial 18 and the presence of other
successful operation to T/Sgt. Belarga on the people apart from the buyer and seller will not
same day. 8 Whereupon, T/Sgt. Belarga necessarily prevent the consummation of the
conducted a conference to organize a buy-bust illegal sale. As the Court observed in People v.
operation for the following day. 9 Paco, 19 these factors may sometimes
camouflage the commission of the crime. In the
instant case, the fact that the other people inside
the appellant's house are known to the appellant
On December 14, 1989, at 1:30 p.m., two may have given him some assurance that these
NARCOM teams in separate vehicles headed by people will not report him to the authorities. cdll
T/Sgt. Belarga and a certain Sgt. Foncardas went
to the place of operation, which was the The appellant, besides assailing Sgt. Ani's
appellant's house located in Laquian Compound, credibility, also questions the credibility of T/Sgt.
Suterville, Zamboanga City. Sgt. Ani was with the Belarga. The appellant submits that since T/Sgt.
team of T/Sgt. Belarga, whose other members Belarga admitted that he was about 90 meters
were Sgts. Lego and Biong. 10 Sgt. Ani was given away from Sgt. Ani and the appellant, he could
a marked P20.00 bill by T/Sgt. Belarga, which was not have possibly witnessed the sale. The
to be used in the operation. appellant invokes People v. Ale 20 where the
Court observed that from a distance of 10-15
Upon reaching the place, the NARCOM agents meters, a policeman cannot distinguish between
positioned themselves at strategic places. 11 Sgt. marijuana cigarette from ordinary ones by the
Ani approached the house. Outside the house, type of rolling done on the cigarette sticks. And
the appellant asked Sgt. Ani what he wanted. Sgt. since T/Sgt. Belarga allegedly did not see the
Ani asked him for some more marijuana. 12 Sgt. sale, the appellant contends that the
Ani gave him the marked P20.00 bill and the uncorroborated testimony of Sgt. Ani can not
appellant went inside the house and brought back stand as basis for his conviction.
two paper wrappers containing marijuana which
he handed to Sgt. Ani. 13 From his position, Sgt. People v. Ale does not apply here because the
Ani could see that there were other people in the policeman in that case testified that he and his
house. 14 companion were certain that the appellant
therein handed marijuana cigarettes to the
After the exchange, Sgt. Ani approached the poseur-buyer based on the appearance of the
other NARCOM agents and made the pre- cigarette sticks. The Court rejected this claim,
arranged signal of raising his right hand. 15 The stating that:
NARCOM agents, accompanied by Sgt. Ani, went
inside the house and made the arrest. The agents "This Court cannot give full credit to the
searched the appellant and unable to find the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses marked
marked money, they asked him where it was. The as they are with contradictions and tainted with
appellant said that he gave it to his wife. 16 inaccuracies.

The Court, after a careful reading of the record, Bian testified that they were able to tell that the
finds the testimony of Sgt. Ani regarding the buy- four cigarettes were marijuana cigarettes
bust operation, which resulted in the because according to him, the rolling of ordinary
apprehension, prosecution and subsequent cigarettes are different from those of marijuana
conviction of the appellant, to be direct, lucid and cigarettes. (tsn, November 13, 1984, p. 10).
forthright. Being totally untainted by
contradictions in any of the material points, it It is however, incredible to believe that they could
deserves credence. discern the type of rolling done on those
cigarettes from the distance where they were
The contention that the appellant could not have observing the alleged sale of more or less 10 to
transacted with Sgt. Ani because they do not 15 meters." 21
know each other is without merit. The day before
the buy-bust operation, Sgt. Ani conducted a test- In the case at bar, however, T/Sgt. Belarga did
buy and he successfully bought a wrapper of not positively claim that he saw the appellant
marijuana from the appellant. Through this hand over marijuana to Sgt. Ani. What he said
previous transaction, Sgt. Ani was able to gain was that there was an exchange of certain
the appellant's confidence for the latter to sell articles between the two. The relevant portion of
more marijuana to Sgt. Ani the following day, T/Sgt. Belarga's testimony reads: 2 2
during the buy-bust operation. Moreover, the
Court has held that what matters is not an Q Now, do you remember whether Sgt. Ani was
existing familiarity between the buyer and the able to reach the house of Mari Musa?
seller, for quite often, the parties to the
transaction may be strangers, but their A Yes, ma'am.

94 | C O N S T I 2 _ S e a r c h e r s a n d S e i z u r e s
Q After reaching Mari Musa, did you see what Thereafter, T/Sgt. Belarga and Sgt. Lego went to
happened (sic)? the kitchen and noticed what T/Sgt. Belarga
described as a "cellophane colored white and
A Yes, ma'am. stripe hanging at the corner of the kitchen." 32
They asked the appellant about its contents but
Q Could you please tell us? failing to get a response, they opened it and
found dried marijuana leaves. At the trial, the
A From our vehicle the stainless owner type jeep appellant questioned the admissibility of the
where Sgt. Lego, Sgt. Biong were boarded, I saw plastic bag and the marijuana it contains but the
that Sgt. Ani proceeded to the house near the trial court issued an Order ruling that these are
road and he was met by one person and later admissible in evidence. 33
known as Mari Musa who was at the time wearing
short pants and later on I saw that Sgt. Ani Built into the Constitution are guarantees on the
handed something to him, thereafter received by freedom of every individual against unreasonable
Mari Musa and went inside the house and came searches and seizures by providing in Article III,
back later and handed something to Sgt. Ani. Section 2, the following:

Contrary to the contention of the appellant, it was "The right of the people to be secure in their
not impossible for T/Sgt. Belarga to have seen, persons, houses, papers, and effects against
from a distance of 90-100 meters, Sgt. Ani hand unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever
to the appellant "something" and for the latter to nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable,
give to the former "something." and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall
Notwithstanding the fact that T/Sgt. Belarga could issue except upon probable cause to be
not have been certain that what Sgt. Ani received determined personally by the judge after
from the appellant was marijuana because of the examination under oath or affirmation of the
distance, his testimony, nevertheless, complainant and the witness he may produce,
corroborated the direct evidence, which the Court and particularly describing the place to be
earlier ruled to be convincing, presented by Sgt. searched and the persons or things to be seized."
Ani on the following material points: (1) T/Sgt.
Belarga instructed Sgt. Ani to conduct a Furthermore, the Constitution, in conformity with
surveillance and test-buy operation on the the doctrine laid down in Stonehill v. Diokno, 34
appellant at Suterville, Zamboanga City on declares inadmissible, any evidence obtained in
December 13, 1939; 23 (2) later that same day, violation of the freedom from unreasonable
Sgt. Ani went back to their office and reported a searches and seizures. 35
successful operation and turned over to T/Sgt.
Belarga one wrapper of marijuana; 24 (3) T/Sgt. While a valid search warrant is generally
Belarga then organized a team to conduct a buy- necessary before a search and seizure may be
bust operation the following day; 25 (4) on effected, exceptions to this rule are recognized.
December 14, 1989, T/Sgt. Belarga led a team of Thus, in Alvero v. Dizon, 36 the Court stated that
NARCOM agents who went to Suterville, "[t]he most important exception to the necessity
Zamboanga City; 26 (5) T/Sgt. Belarga gave a for a search warrant is the right of search and
P20.00 marked bill to Sgt. Ani which was to be seizure as an incident to a lawful arrest." 37
used in the buy-bust operation; 27 (6) upon the
arrival of the NARCOM agents in Suterville,
Zamboanga City, Sgt. Ani proceeded to the house
of the appellant while some agents stayed in the Rule 126, Section 12 of the Rules of Court
vehicles and others positioned themselves in expressly authorizes a warrantless search and
strategic places; 28 the appellant met Sgt. Ani seizure incident to a lawful arrest, thus:
and an exchange of articles took place. 29
SECTION 12. Search incident to lawful arrest. A
The corroborative testimony of T/Sgt. Belarga person lawfully arrested may be searched for
strengthens the direct evidence given by Sgt. Ani. dangerous weapons or anything which may be
Additionally, the Court has ruled that the fact that used as proof of the commission of an offense,
the police officers who accompanied the poseur- without a search warrant.
buyer were unable to see exactly what the
appellant gave the poseur-buyer because of their There is no doubt that the warrantless search
distance or position will not be fatal to the incidental to a lawful arrest authorizes the
prosecution's case 30 provided there exists other arresting officer to make a search upon the
evidence, direct or circumstantial, e.g., the person of the person arrested. As early as 1909,
testimony of the poseur-buyer, which is sufficient the Court has ruled that "[a]n officer making an
to prove the consummation of the sale of the arrest may take from the person arrested and
prohibited drug. cdll money or property found upon his person which
was used in the commission of the crime or was
The appellant next assails the seizure and the fruit of the crime or which might furnish the
admission as evidence of a plastic bag containing prisoner with the means of committing violence
marijuana which the NARCOM agents found in the or of escaping, or which may be used as evidence
appellant's kitchen. It appears that after Sgt. Ani in the trial of the cause." 38 Hence, in a buy-bust
gave the pre-arranged signal to the other operation conducted to entrap a drug-pusher, the
NARCOM agents, the latter moved in and arrested law enforcement agents may seize the marked
the appellant inside the house. They searched money found on the person of the pusher
him to retrieve the marked money but didn't find immediately after the arrest even without arrest
it. Upon being questioned, the appellant said that and search warrants. 39
he gave the marked money to his wife. 31
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general exploratory search from one object to
In the case at bar, the NARCOM agents searched another until something incriminating at last
the person of the appellant after arresting him in emerges." 46
his house but found nothing. They then searched
the entire house and, in the kitchen, found and It has also been suggested that even if an object
seized a plastic bag hanging in a corner. LLjur is observed in "plain view," the "plain view"
doctrine will not justify the seizure of the object
The warrantless search and seizure, as an where the incriminating nature of the object is
incident to a suspect's lawful arrest, may extend not apparent from the "plain view" of the object.
beyond the person of the one arrested to include 47 Stated differently, it must be immediately
the premises or surroundings under his apparent to the police that the items that they
immediate control. 40 Objects in the "plain view" observe may be evidence of a crime, contraband,
of an officer who has the right to be in the or otherwise subject to seizure.
position to have that view are subject to seizure
and may be presented as evidence. 41 In the instant case, the appellant was arrested
and his person searched in the living room. Failing
In Ker v. California, 42 police officers, without to retrieve the marked money which they hoped
securing a search warrant but having information to find, the NARCOM agents searched the whole
that the defendant husband was selling house and found the plastic bag in the kitchen.
marijuana from his apartment, obtained from the The plastic bag was, therefore, not within their
building manager a passkey to defendants' "plain view" when they arrested the appellant as
apartment, and entered it. There they found the to justify its seizure. The NARCOM agents had to
defendant husband in the living room. The move from one portion of the house to another
defendant wife emerged from the kitchen, and before they sighted the plastic bag. Unlike Ker v.
one of the officers, after identifying himself, California, where the police officer had reason to
observed through the open doorway of the walk to the doorway of the adjacent kitchen and
kitchen, a small scale atop the kitchen sink, upon from which position he saw the marijuana, the
which lay a brick-shaped package containing NARCOM agents in this case went from room to
green leafy substance which he recognized as room with the obvious intention of fishing for
marijuana. The package of marijuana was used as more evidence.
evidence in prosecuting defendants for violation
of the Narcotic Law. The admissibility of the Moreover, when the NARCOM agents saw the
package was challenged before the U.S. Supreme plastic bag hanging in one corner of the kitchen,
Court, which held, after observing that it was not they had no clue as to its contents. They had to
unreasonable for the officer to walk to the ask the appellant what the bag contained. When
doorway of the adjacent kitchen on seeing the the appellant refused to respond, they opened it
defendant wife emerge therefrom, that "the and found the marijuana. Unlike Ker v. California,
discovery of the brick of marijuana did not where the marijuana was visible to the police
constitute a search, since the officer merely saw officer's eyes, the NARCOM agents in this case
what was placed before him in full view." 43 The could not have discovered the inculpatory nature
U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the warrantless of the contents of the bag had they not forcibly
seizure of the marijuana was legal on the basis of opened it. Even assuming then, that the NARCOM
the "plain view" doctrine and upheld the agents inadvertently came across the plastic bag
admissibility of the seized drugs as part of the because it was within their "plain view," what
prosecution's evidence. 44 may be said to be the object in their "plain view"
was just the plastic bag and not the marijuana.
The "plain view" doctrine may not, however, be The incriminating nature of the contents of the
used to launch unbridled searches and plastic bag was not immediately apparent from
indiscriminate seizures nor to extend a general the "plain view" of said object. It cannot be
exploratory search made solely to find evidence claimed that the plastic bag clearly betrayed its
of defendant's guilt. The "plain view" doctrine is contents, whether by its distinctive configuration,
usually applied where a police officer is not its transparency, or otherwise, that its contents
searching for evidence against the accused, but are obvious to an observer. 48
nonetheless inadvertently comes across an
incriminating object. 45 Furthermore, the U.S. We, therefore, hold that under the circumstances
Supreme Court stated the following limitations on of the case, the "plain view" doctrine does not
the application of the doctrine: apply and the marijuana contained in the plastic
bag was seized illegally and cannot be presented
"What the 'plain view' cases have in common is in evidence pursuant to Article III, Section 3(2) of
that the police officer in each of them had a prior the Constitution. cdrep
justification for an intrusion in the course of which
he came inadvertently across a piece of evidence The exclusion of this particular evidence does
incriminating the accused. The doctrine serves to not, however, diminish, in any way, the damaging
supplement the prior justification whether it be effect of the other pieces of evidence presented
a warrant for another object, hot pursuit, search by the prosecution to prove that the appellant
incident to lawful arrest, or some other legitimate sold marijuana, in violation of Article II, Section 4
reason for being present unconnected with a of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972. We hold that
search directed against the accused and by virtue of the testimonies of Sgt. Ani and T/Sgt.
permits the warrantless seizure. Of course, the Belarga and the two wrappings of marijuana sold
extension of the original justification is legitimate by the appellant to Sgt. Ani, among other pieces
only where it is immediately apparent to the of evidence, the guilt of the appellant of the
police that they have evidence before them; the crime charged has been proved beyond
'plain view' doctrine may not be used to extend a reasonable doubt.
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DECISION
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED and the PADILLA, J p:
judgment of the Regional Trial Court AFFIRMED. This is a petition for prohibition with preliminary
injunction and/or temporary restraining order,
SO ORDERED. seeking the declaration of checkpoints in
Valenzuela, Metro Manila or elsewhere, as
Gutierrez, Jr., Bidin, Davide, Jr. and Melo, JJ ., unconstitutional and the dismantling and banning
concur. of the same or, in the alternative, to direct the
respondents to formulate guidelines in the
(Valmonte v. De Villa, G.R. No. 83988, implementation of checkpoints, for the protection
September 29, 1989) of the people.

EN BANC Petitioner Ricardo C. Valmonte sues in his


[G.R. No. 83988. September 29, 1989.] capacity as citizen of the Republic, taxpayer,
RICARDO C. VALMONTE AND UNION OF member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
LAWYERS AND ADVOCATES FOR PEOPLE'S RIGHTS (IBP), and resident of Valenzuela, Metro Manila;
(ULAP), petitioners, vs. GEN. RENATO DE VILLA while petitioner Union of Lawyers and Advocates
AND NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION DISTRICT for People's Rights (ULAP) sues in its capacity as
COMMAND, respondents. an association whose members are all members
Ricardo C. Valmonte for himself and his co- of the IBP.
petitioners.
The factual background of the case is as follows:
SYLLABUS
SARMIENTO, J., dissenting: On 20 January 1987, the National Capital Region
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; CONSTITUTION; District Command (NCRDC) was activated
BEDROCK OF THE REGIME OF LAW AND pursuant to Letter of Instruction 02/87 of the
CONSTITUTIONALISM. The Charter says that Philippine General Headquarters, AFP, with the
the people enjoy the right of security of person, mission of conducting security operations within
home, and effects. (CONST., art. III, sec. 2.) It is its area of responsibility and peripheral areas, for
also the bedrock the right of the people to be the purpose of establishing an effective territorial
left alone on which the regime of law and defense, maintaining peace and order, and
constitutionalism rest. It is not, as the majority providing an atmosphere conducive to the social,
would put it, a matter of "occasional economic and political development of the
inconveniences, discomfort and even irritation." National Capital Region. 1 As part of its duty to
(Resolution, 4.) To say that it is, is so I submit maintain peace and order, the NCRDC installed
to trivialize the plain command of the checkpoints in various parts of Valenzuela, Metro
Constitution. Manila.

2. ID.; SEARCH AND SEIZURE; BURDEN OF Petitioners aver that, because of the installation
PROVING REASONABLENESS INCUMBENT of said checkpoints, the residents of Valenzuela
UPON THE STATE. While the right against are worried of being harassed and of their safety
unreasonable searches and seizures, as my being placed at the arbitrary, capricious and
brethren advance, is a right personal to the whimsical disposition of the military manning the
aggrieved party, the petitioners, precisely, have checkpoints, considering that their cars and
come to Court because they had been, or had vehicles are being subjected to regular searches
felt, aggrieved. I submit that in that event, the and check-ups, especially at night or at dawn,
burden is the State's, to demonstrate the without the benefit of a search warrant and/or
reasonableness of the search. The petitioners, court order. Their alleged fear for their safety
Ricardo Valmonte in particular, need not, increased when, at dawn of 9 July 1988, Benjamin
therefore, have illustrated the "details of the Parpon, a supply officer of the Municipality of
incident" (Resolution, supra, 4) in all their gore Valenzuela, Bulacan, was gunned down allegedly
and gruesomeness. in cold blood by the members of the NCRDC
manning the checkpoint along McArthur Highway
3. ID.; ID.; ABSENCE ALONE OF A SEARCH at Malinta, Valenzuela, for ignoring and/or
WARRANT MAKES CHECKPOINT SEARCHES refusing to submit himself to the checkpoint and
UNREASONABLE. The absence alone of a for continuing to speed off inspite of warning
search warrant, as I have averred, makes shots fired in the air. Petitioner Valmonte also
checkpoint searches unreasonable, and by itself, claims that, on several occasions, he had gone
subject to constitutional challenges. (Supra.) As it thru these checkpoints where he was stopped
is, "checkpoints", have become "search warrants" and his car subjected to search/check-up without
unto themselves a roving one at that. a court order or search warrant.

4. ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR NOT SIMPLY A Petitioners further contend that the said
POLICEMAN ON THE BEAT. The American checkpoints give the respondents a blanket
cases the majority refers to involve routine authority to make searches and/or seizures
checks compelled by "probable cause". What we without search warrant or court order in violation
have here, however, is not simply a policeman on of the Constitution; 2 and, instances have
the beat but armed men, CAFGU or Alsa Masa, occurred where a citizen, while not killed, had
who hold the power of life or death over the been harassed.
citizenry, who fire with no provocation and
without batting an eyelash. They likewise shoot Petitioners' concern for their safety and
you simply because they do not like your face. apprehension at being harassed by the military
manning the checkpoints are not sufficient
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grounds to declare the checkpoints as per se the same manner that all governmental power is
illegal. No proof has been presented before the susceptible of abuse. But, at the cost of
Court to show that, in the course of their routine occasional inconvenience, discomfort and even
checks, the military indeed committed specific irritation to the citizen, the checkpoints during
violations of petitioners' right against unlawful these abnormal times, when conducted within
search and seizure or other rights. reasonable limits, are part of the price we pay for
an orderly society and a peaceful community.
In a case filed by the same petitioner
organization, Union of Lawyers and Advocates for Finally, on 17 July 1988, military and police
People's Right (ULAP) vs. Integrated National checkpoints in Metro Manila were temporarily
Police, 3 it was held that individual petitioners lifted and a review and refinement of the rules in
who do not allege that any of their rights were the conduct of the police and military manning
violated are not qualified to bring the action, as the checkpoints was ordered by the National
real parties in interest. Capital Regional Command Chief and the
Metropolitan Police Director. 10
The constitutional right against unreasonable
searches and seizures is a personal right WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.
invocable only by those whose rights have been
infringed, 4 or threatened to be infringed. What SO ORDERED.
constitutes a reasonable or unreasonable search
and seizure in any particular case is purely a Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera,
judicial question, determinable from a Gutierrez, Jr., Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Bidin,
consideration of the circumstances involved. 5 Cortes, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea and Regalado,
JJ., concur.
Petitioner Valmonte's general allegation to the
effect that he had been stopped and searched (Miclat, Jr. y Cerbo v. People, G.R. No.
without a search warrant by the military manning 176077, August 31, 2011)
the checkpoints, without more, i.e., without
stating the details of the incidents which amount THIRD DIVISION
to a violation of his right against unlawful search [G.R. No. 176077. August 31, 2011.]
and seizure, is not sufficient to enable the Court ABRAHAM MICLAT, JR. y CERBO, petitioner, vs.
to determine whether there was a violation of PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
Valmonte's right against unlawful search and
seizure. Not all searches and seizures are DECISION
prohibited. Those which are reasonable are not PERALTA, J p:
forbidden. A reasonable search is not to be This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking
determined by any fixed formula but is to be to reverse and set aside the Decision 1 dated
resolved according to the facts of each case. 6 October 13, 2006 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in