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MART IN VILLAMOR y TAYSON, and VICTOR BONAOBRA y GIANAN, Petitioners

vs
PEOPLE OF THE PIDLIPPINES, Respondents

March 22, 2017

FACTS:

 Villamor and Bonaoobra were charged with violation of Section 3(c) of RA 9287 for collecting and soliciting
bets for an illegal numbers game locally known as "lotteng' and possessing a list of various numbers, a
calculator, a cellphone, and cash.
 Petitioners filed Motions for Reinvestigation, which were both granted by the RTC. Subsequently, the Office
of the Provincial Prosecutor issued separate Resolutions amending the Informations in both cases.
 In the Amended Information, the phrase "acting as a collector" was included to charge Villamor as a
collector in an illegal numbers game. On the other hand, Bonaobra was charged as a “manager or operator”
in the Amended Information.
 When separately arraigned, Villamor and Bonaobra, both pleaded not guilty to the respective charges filed
against them.

VERSION OF THE PROSECUTION

 Upon receiving a call from an informant regarding ongoing illegal numbers game at Barangay Francia,
Virac, Catanduanes, specifically at the residence of Bonaobra, they immediately proceeded to the said
residence to confirm the report.
 According to the police officers, they saw petitioners in the act of counting money bets.
 When they entered the gate of the compound, they introduced themselves as police officers and confiscated
the items found on the table consisting of cash amounting to ₱l,500.00 in different denominations,
the "papelitos," a calculator, a cellular phone, and a pen.

VERSION OF THE DEFENSE

 Villamor went to Bonaobra's house to pay a debt he owed to the latter’s wife, Jonah. Villamor gave
Bonaobra ₱2,000.00 which the latter placed on top of the table. Bonaobra then went outside the house to
answer his cellphone. When Bonaobra was at the door, a man later identified as PD Peñaflor kicked the
fence of Bonaobra's house, grabbed Bonaobra's right arm, and said, "Caught in the act ka!" Florencio went
outside and asked PD Peñaflor if he had a search warrant but the Police officer answered “Di na kelangan
yan.” Petitioners were then made to board the service vehicle and brought in for investigation at the police
headquarters.

RTC RULING: RTC gave credence to the testimonies of the arresting officers and held that petitioners were
caught in flagrante delicto and found the petitioners guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

CA RULING: affirmed the RTC's Decision.


ISSUE:
Whether the petitioners' conviction for violation of RA 9287 as collector or agent under Section 3(c) for Villamor, and
as coordinator, controller, or supervisor m1der Section 3(d) for Bonaobra, should be upheld.
SC RULING:

NO. The Court finds that the right of the petitioners against unreasonable searches and seizures was violated by the
arresting officers when they barged into Bonaobra's compound without a valid warrant of arrest or a search warrant.
Consequently, the evidence obtained by the police officers is inadmissible against the petitioners, the same having
been obtained in violation of the said right.

 Section 2, Article Ill of the 1987 Constitution requires a judicial warrant based on the existence of probable
cause before a search and an arrest may be effected by law enforcement agents. Without the said warrant,
a search or seizure becomes unreasonable within the context of the Constitution and any evidence obtained
on the occasion of such unreasonable search and seizure shall be inadmissible in evidence for any purpose
in any proceeding.

 Under Section 5 of Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, a lawful arrest may be effected even without a warrant
of arrest in the following instances:

Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant,
arrest a person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is
attempting to commit an offense;

(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has probable cause to believe based
on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it;
and

(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or
place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has
escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.

 In warrantless arrests made pursuant to Section 5(a), Rule 113, two elements must concur, namely "(a) the
person to be arrested must execute an overt act indicating that he has just committed, is actually
committing, or is attempting to commit a crime; and (b) such overt act is done in the presence or within the
view of the arresting officer."
 After a judicious review of the records of the case, the Court finds that there was no valid warrantless arrest
on petitioners. It was not properly established that petitioners had just committed, or were actually
1âw phi 1

committing, or attempting to commit a crime and that said act or acts were done in the presence of the
arresting officers. Based on the testimonies of PO1 Saraspi and PD Peñaflor, they were positioned some 15
to 20 meters away from petitioners and it is doubtful that the police officers were able to determine that a
criminal activity was ongoing to allow them to validly effect an in flagrante delicto warrantless arrest and a
search incidental to a warrantless arrest thereafter. The police officers even admitted that the compound
was surrounded by a bamboo fence 5'7" to 5'9" in height, which made it harder to see what was happening
inside the compound. It appears that the police officers acted based solely on the information received from
PD Peñaflor's informant and not on personal knowledge that a crime had just been committed, was actually
being committed, or was about to be committed in their presence.
 The Court finds it doubtful that the police officers witnessed any overt act before entering the private home
of Bonaobra immediately preceding the arrest. PO1 Saraspi even admitted that from his position outside the
compound, he could not read the contents of the so-called "papelitos;" yet, upon seeing the calculator,
phone, papers and money on the table, he readily concluded the same to be gambling paraphernalias.
 The Court is aware that any question regarding the legality of a warrantless arrest must be raised before
arraignment. Failure to do so constitutes a waiver of the right to question the legality of the arrest especially
when the accused actively participated during trial as in this case. However, we have clarified that such
waiver is only confined to the defects of the arrest and not on the inadmissibility of the evidence seized
during an illegal arrest.
 The evidence seized from the Bonaobra compound is inadmissible in evidence since it was obtained in
violation of Section 3(2), Article III of the 1987 Constitution. Since the alleged illegal gambling paraphernalia
is the very corpus delicti of the crime charged, the Court acquits petitioners.
DP: WHEREFORE, the Decision of the CA which affirmed the Judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Virac,
Catanduanes, hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioners Martin Villamor y Tayson and Victor
Bonaobra y Gianan are ACQUITTED and are ordered to be immediately RELEASED from detention, unless they
are confined for any other lawful cause.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
IDEL AMINNUDIN y AHNI, defendant-appellant.

G.R.No. 74869 July 6, 1988

FACTS:
VERSION OF THE PROSECUTION

 According to the prosecution, the PC officers had earlier received a tip from one of their informers that the
Amminudin was on board a vessel bound for Iloilo City and was carrying marijuana. Acting on this tip, they
waited for him in the evening of June 25, 1984, and approached him as he descended from the vessel after
the informer had pointed to him. They detained him and inspected the bag he was carrying. It was found to
contain three kilos of what were later analyzed as marijuana leaves by an NBI forensic examiner, who
testified that she conducted microscopic, chemical and chromatographic tests on them.
 When they were verified as marijuana leaves, an information for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act was
filed against him.
AMMINUDIN’s Defense:

 Amminudin disclaimed the marijuana, averring all he had in his bag was his clothing. He alleged that he was
arbitrarily arrested and immediately handcuffed. His bag was confiscated without a search warrant. At the
PC headquarters, he was manhandled to force him to admit he was carrying the marijuana, the investigator
hitting him with a piece of wood in the chest and arms even as he parried the blows while he was still
handcuffed. He insisted he did not even know what marijuana looked like and that his business was selling
watches and sometimes cigarettes. He also argued that the marijuana he was alleged to have been carrying
was not properly Identified and could have been any of several bundles kept in the stock room of the PC
headquarters.

RTC Ruling:

 Found Amminudin Guilty. The trial court was unconvinced, noting from its own examination of the accused
that he claimed to have come to Iloilo City to sell watches but carried only two watches at the time, traveling
from Jolo for that purpose and spending P107.00 for fare, not to mention his other expenses.

ISSUE:
Whether or not accused constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure is violated.
SC RULING:
YES, the constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure is violated.

 It is not disputed, and in fact it is admitted by the PC officers who testified for the prosecution, that they had
no warrant when they arrested Aminnudin and seized the bag he was carrying. Their only justification was
the tip they had earlier received from a reliable and regular informer who reported to them that Aminnudin
was arriving in Iloilo by boat with marijuana. Their testimony varies as to the time they received the tip, one
saying it was two days before the arrest, 20 another two weeks 21 and a third "weeks before June 25.
 In the case at bar, there was no warrant of arrest or search warrant issued by a judge after personal
determination by him of the existence of probable cause in violation of ART III Sec 2 of the Constitution.
Contrary to the averments of the government, the accused-appellant was not caught in flagrante nor was a
crime about to be committed or had just been committed to justify the warrantless arrest allowed under Rule
113 of the Rules of Court. Even expediency could not be invoked to dispense with the obtention of the
warrant.
 The present case presented no such urgency. From the conflicting declarations of the PC witnesses, it is
clear that they had at least two days within which they could have obtained a warrant to arrest and search
Aminnudin who was coming to Iloilo on the M/V Wilcon 9. His name was known. The vehicle was Identified.
The date of its arrival was certain. And from the information they had received, they could have persuaded a
judge that there was probable cause, indeed, to justify the issuance of a warrant. Yet they did nothing. No
effort was made to comply with the law. The Bill of Rights was ignored altogether because the PC lieutenant
who was the head of the arresting team, had determined on his own authority that a "search warrant was not
necessary."
 In the case at bar, the accused-appellant was not, at the moment of his arrest, committing a crime nor was it
shown that he was about to do so or that he had just done so. What he was doing was descending the
gangplank of the M/V Wilcon 9 and there was no outward indication that called for his arrest. To all
appearances, he was like any of the other passengers innocently disembarking from the vessel. It was only
when the informer pointed to him as the carrier of the marijuana that he suddenly became suspect and so
subject to apprehension. It was the furtive finger that triggered his arrest. The Identification by the informer
was the probable cause as determined by the officers (and not a judge) that authorized them to pounce
upon Aminnudin and immediately arrest him.

 While this is not to say that the accused-appellant is innocent, for indeed his very own words suggest that he
is lying, that fact alone does not justify a finding that he is guilty. The constitutional presumption is that he is
innocent, and he will be so declared even if his defense is weak as long as the prosecution is not strong
enough to convict him.
 Without the evidence of the marijuana allegedly seized from Aminnudin, the case of the prosecution must
fall. That evidence cannot be admitted, and should never have been considered by the trial court for the
simple fact is that the marijuana was seized illegally.
 The court finds that with the exclusion of the illegally seized marijuana as evidence against the accused-
appellant, his guilt has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt and he must therefore be discharged on
the presumption that he is innocent.

DP: ACCORDINGLY, the decision of the trial court is REVERSED and the accused-appellant is ACQUITTED. It is
so ordered.