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211. Ricardo C. Valmonte And Union Of Lawyers And Advocates For Peoples's Rights (Ulap) vs Gen.

Renato De Villa

Fact:

The sixth (6th) attempted coup d' etat (stronger than all previous ones) was staged only last 1
December 1989 at that time. Another attempt at a coup d' etat is taken almost for granted. The NPA,
through its sparrow units, has not relented but instead accelerated its liquidation of armed forces and
police personnel. Murders, sex crimes, hold-ups and drug abuse have become daily occurrences.
Unlicensed firearms and ammunition have become favorite objects of trade. Smuggling is at an all time
high.

On 20 January 1987, the National Capital Region District Command (NCRDC) was activated
pursuant to Letter of Instruction 02/87 of the Philippine General Headquarters, AFP, with the mission of
conducting security operations within its area of responsibility and peripheral areas, for the purpose of
establishing an effective territorial defense, maintaining peace and order, and providing an atmosphere
conducive to the social, economic and political development of the National Capital Region. As part of its
duty to maintain peace and order, the NCRDC installed checkpoints in various parts of Valenzuela, Metro
Manila.

Petitioners Atty. Ricardo Valmonte, who is a resident of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, and the
Union of Lawyers and Advocates For People’s Rights (ULAP) sought the declaration of checkpoints in
Valenzuela, Metro Manila and elsewhere as unconstitutional. In the alternative, they prayed that
respondents Renato De Villa and the National Capital Region District Command (NCRDC) be directed to
formulate guidelines in the implementation of checkpoints for the protection of the people. Petitioners
contended that the checkpoints gave the respondents blanket authority to make searches and seizures
without search warrant or court order in violation of the Constitution.

Issue: Do the military and police checkpoints violate the right of the people against unreasonable search
and seizures?

Resolution:

NO, military and police checkpoints DO NOT violate the right of the people against unreasonable search
and seizures.

The Supreme Court held that warrantless searches and seizures in military and police checkpoints are
not illegal as these measures to protect the government and safeguards the lives of the people. The
checkpoints are legal as where the survival of the organized government is on the balance, or where the
lives and safety of the people are in grave peril. However, the Supreme Court clarified that the military
officers manning the checkpoints may conduct VISUAL SEARCH ONLY, NOT BODILY SEARCH.