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II.

ARBITRARY DETENTION

People of the Philippines v Ruben Burgos y Tito


GR No. L-68955, 4 September 1986

Nature: Appeal from the decision of the RTC of Davao del Sur
Ponente: Gutierrez, Jr., J.
Facts:
This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Davao
del Sur convicting Ruben Burgos of the crime of Illegal Possession of Firearms in
furtherance of Subversion.
A Ceasar Masamlok, personally and voluntarily surrendered to the
authorities stating that he was forcibly recruited by the accused as member of
the NPA, threatening him with the use of firearm against his life, if he refused.
Thereafter, the members of the Constabulary went to the house of the accused
and inquired about his firearm and documents connected to the subversive
activities.

Issues:
Whether of not the arrest of Burgos and the search of his house without
valid warrant were lawful
Held:
No
Decision reversed and set aside. Appellant is acquitted.
Ruling:
Article IV Section 3 of the Constitution provides a safeguard against
wanton and unreasonable invasion of the privacy and liberty of a citizen as to his
person, papers and effects.
If arrest without warrant is unlawful at the moment it is made, generally
nothing that happened or is discovered afterwards can make it lawful.
The constitution itself mandates that any evidence obtained in violation
of this right is inadmissible in evidence. The testimonies of the arresting officers
as to the admissions made by the appellant cannot be used against him.
In this case, the accused was arrested on the sole basis of Masamlok’s
verbal report. Masamlok led the authorities to suspect that the accused had
committed a crime. They were still fishing for evidence of a crime not yet
ascertained. The subsequent recovery of the subject firearm on the basis of the
information from the frightened wife cannot make the arrest lawful.
The Court then held that considering the questioned firearm and alleged
subversive documents were obtained in violation of the accused’s constitutional
rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, it follows that they are
inadmissible as evidence.