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194 SCRA 292 (1991)

On March 17, 1989, at about 7:30 o'clock in the morning, at the
vicinity of the airport road of the Masbate Domestic Airport, located at
the municipality of Masbate province of Masbate, Congressman Moises
Espinosa, Sr. and his security escorts, namely Provincial Guards Antonio
Cortes, Gaspar Amaro, and Artemio Fuentes were attacked and killed by a
lone assassin. Dante Siblante another security escort of Congressman
Espinosa, Sr. survived the assassination plot, although, he himself
suffered a gunshot wound. An investigation of the incident then followed.

Thereafter, and for the purpose of preliminary investigation, the

designated investigator filed an amended complaint with the Municipal
Trial Court of Masbate accusing Vicente Lim, Sr. et al of the crime of
multiple murder and frustrated murder in connection with the airport

After conducting the preliminary investigation, the court issued an

order concluding that a probable cause has been established for the
issuance of a warrant of arrest of named accused..

On October 30, 1989, Fiscal Alfane filed with the Regional Trial Court
of Masbate, four (4) separate informations of murder against the twelve
(12) accused with a recommendation of no bail.

On November 21, 1989, petitioners Vicente Lim, Sr. and Susana Lim
filed with us a verified petition for change of venue w/c was authorized,
from the RTC of Masbate to the RTC of Makati to avoid miscarriage of
justice. The cases were raffled to Branch 56 presided by respondent Judge
Nemesio S. Felix.

Petitioners Vicente Lim, Sr. and Susana Lim filed with the respondent
court several motions and manifestations, among others was an order be
issued requiring the transmittal of the initial records of the preliminary
inquiry or investigation conducted by the Municipal Judge Barsaga of
Masbate for the best enlightenment of this Honorable Court in its
personal determination of the existence of a probable cause or prima
facie evidence as well as its determination of the existence of guilt,
pursuant to the mandatory mandate of the constitution that no warrant
shall issue unless the issuing magistrate shall have himself been
personally convinced of such probable cause.

Respondent court issued an order denying for lack of merit the

motions and manifestations and issued warrants of arrest against the
accused including the petitioners herein.

Whether or not a judge may issue a warrant of arrest without bail by
simply relying on the prosecution's certification and recommendation
that a probable cause exists.

If a Judge relies solely on the certification of the Prosecutor as in this
case where all the records of the investigation are in Masbate, he or she
has not personally determined probable cause. The determination is
made by the Provincial Prosecutor. The constitutional requirement has
not been satisfied. The Judge commits a grave abuse of discretion.

GR 113447, OCT. 9, 1997

At about 2:10 PM on April 11, 1988, Police Anti-Narcotics Unit of
Kalookan City conducted surveillance along A. Mabini Street, in front of
the Kalookan City Cemetery. This was done after receiving information
that drug addicts were roaming around said area.

Upon reaching the cemetery, the policemen chanced upon a male

person, the petitioner, in front of the cemetery who appeared high on
drugs. The petitioner had reddish eyes and was walking in a swaying
Petitioner was trying to avoid the policemen, but the officers were
able to introduce themselves and asked him what he was holding in his
hands. Petitioner resisted. Policeman Espiritu asked him if he could see
what the petitioner had in his hands. The petitioner showed his wallet
and allowed the officer to examine it. Policeman Espiritu found suspected
crushed marijuana residue inside. He kept the wallet and its marijuana
contents and took petitioner to headquarters to be further investigated.

The suspected marijuana was sent to the NBI Forensic Chemistry

Section for analysis.

Whether or not the search and seizure of the suspected marijuana is
unreasonable, and hence inadmissible as evidence.

The general rule is a search and seizure must be validated by a
previously secured judicial warrant; otherwise, such a search and seizure
is unconstitutional and subject to challenge. Any evidence obtained in
violation of this constitutionally guaranteed right is legally inadmissible in
any proceeding.

The exceptions to the rule are: (1) search incidental to a lawful

arrest, (2) search of moving vehicles, (3) seizure in plain view, (4) customs
search, and (5) waiver by the accused of their right against unreasonable
search and seizure. In these cases, the search and seizure may be made
only with probable cause. Probable cause being at best defined as a
reasonable ground of suspicion, supported by circumstances sufficiently
strong in themselves to warrant a cautious man in the belief that the
person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is charged; or the
existence of such facts and circumstances which could lead a reasonably
discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed
and that the item(s), article(s) or object(s) sought in connection with said
offense or subject to seizure and destruction by is in the place to be

Additionally, stop-and-frisk has already been adopted as another

exception to the general rule against a search without a warrant.

In the present case, petitioner effectively waived the inadmissibility
of the evidence illegally obtained when he failed to raise the issue or
object thereto during the trial.

The Supreme Court affirmed with modifications the assailed Decision

and Resolution of the respondent court.


G.R. No. 93239, Mach 18,1991

Pat. Fulgencio went to Arlie Regalado’s house at C. Quimpo to
monitor activities of Edison SUCRO (accused). Sucro was reported to be
selling marijuana at a chapel 2 meters away from Regalado’s house.
Sucro was monitored to have talked and exchanged things three times.
These activities are reported through radio to P/Lt. Seraspi. A third buyer
was transacting with appellant and was reported and later identified as
Ronnie Macabante. From that moment, P/Lt.Seraspi proceeded to the
area. While the police officers were at the Youth Hostel in Maagama St.
Fulgencio told Lt. Seraspi to intercept. Macabante was intercepted at
Mabini and Maagama crossing in front of Aklan Medical center.
Macabante saw the police and threw a tea bag of marijuana on the
ground. Macabante admitted buying the marijuana from Sucro in front of
the chapel.

The police team intercepted and arrested SUCRO at the corner of C.

Quimpo and Veterans. Recovered were 19 sticks and 4 teabags of
marijuana from a cart inside the chapel and another teabag from

Whether or Not arrest without warrant is lawful.
Whether or Not evidence from such arrest is admissible.

Search and seizures supported by a valid warrant of arrest is not an
absolute rule. Rule 126, Sec 12 of Rules of Criminal Procedure provides
that a person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous weapons
or anything, which may be used as proof of the commission of an offense,
without a search warrant. (People v. Castiller) The failure of the police
officers to secure a warrant stems from the fact that their knowledge
required from the surveillance was insufficient to fulfill requirements for
its issuance. However, warrantless search and seizures are legal as long
as PROBABLE CAUSE existed. The police officers have personal knowledge
of the actual commission of the crime from the surveillance of the
activities of the accused. As police officers were the ones conducting the
surveillance, it is presumed that they are regularly in performance of their


G.R. NO. 129296, SEPTEMBER 25, 2000

Abe Valdez y Dela Cruz, accused-appellant, is charged for violating
Section 9 of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 (R.A. No. 6425), as
amended by R.A. No. 7659. The accused was allegedly caught in flagrante
delicto and without authority of law, planted, cultivated and cultured
seven (7) fully grown marijuana plants known as Indian Hemp from which
dangerous drugs maybe manufactured or derived. Appellant was
arraigned and with assistance of counsel, pleaded not guilty to the
charge. Trial on the merits then ensued.

The prosecution presented its witnesses, namely: SPO3 Marcelo

Tipay, SPO2 Noel V. Libunao, SPO2 Pedro S. Morales, SPO1 Romulo G.
Tobias and PO2 Alfelmer I. Balut, all member of the police force, who
testified how the information was received, the commencement of their
operation and its details under the specific instruction of Inspector
Parungao. Accordingly, they found appellant alone in his nipa hut. They,
then, proceeded to look around the area where appellant had his kaingin
and saw seven (7) five-foot high, flowering marijuana plants in two rows,
approximately 25 meters away from his nipa hut. PO2 Balut asked
appellant who owned the prohibited plants and, according to Balut, the
latter admitted that they were his. They uprooted the seven marijuana
plants, took photos of appellant standing beside the cannabis plants and
arrested him. One of the said plants was sent to the Philippine National
Police Crime Laboratory for analysis which produced a positive result. The
prosecution also presented a certification from the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources that the land cultivated by appellant
where the growing marijuana plants were found, was part of the public
domain. Appellant was acknowledged in the certification as the occupant
of the lot, but no Certificate of Stewardship had yet been issued in his

The defense presented appellant as its sole witness. He testified he

was weeding his vegetable farm when he was called by a person whose
identity he does not know. He was asked to go with the latter to see
something. This unknown person then brought appellant to the place
where the marijuana plants were found, approximately 100 meters away
from his nipa hut. Five armed policemen were present and they made
him stand in front of the hemp plants. He was then asked if he knew
anything about the marijuana growing there. When he denied any
knowledge thereof, SPO2 Libunao poked a fist at him and told him to
admit ownership of the plants. Appellant was so nervous and afraid that
he admitted owning the marijuana. The police team then brought him to
the police station at Villaverde. At the police headquarters, appellant
reiterated that he knew nothing about the marijuana plants seized by the
police. Appellant contends that there was unlawful search. First, the
records show that the law enforcers had more than ample time to secure
a search warrant. Second, that the marijuana plants were found in an
unfenced lot does not remove appellant from the mantle of protection
against unreasonable searches and seizures. The right against
unreasonable searches and seizures is the immunity of one’s person,
which includes his residence, his papers, and other possessions.

1. Whether or not the search and seizure of the marijuana plants in the
present case is lawful and the seized evidence admissible.
2. Whether or not the seized plants is admissible in evidence against
the accused.
3. Whether or not the prosecution has proved appellant’s guilt beyond
reasonable doubt.
4. Whether or not the sentence of death by lethal injection is correct.

In the instant case, there was no search warrant issued by a judge
after personal determination of the existence of probable cause given the
fact that police had ample time to obtain said warrant. The protection
against illegal search and seizure is constitutionally mandated and only
under specific instances are searches allowed without warrants. The
mantle of protection extended by the Bill of Rights covers both innocent
and guilty alike against any form of high-handedness of law enforcers,
regardless of the praiseworthiness of their intentions.

With respect to the first issue, the confiscated plants were evidently
obtained during an illegal search and seizure. As to the second issue,
which involves the admissibility of the marijuana plants as evidence for
the prosecution, the said plants cannot, as products of an unlawful search
and seizure, be used as evidence against appellant. They are fruits of the
proverbial poisoned tree. It was, therefore, a reversible error on the part
of the court a quo to have admitted and relied upon the seized marijuana
plants as evidence to convict appellant.

In the third issue, it is fundamental in criminal prosecutions that

before an accused may be convicted of a crime, the prosecution must
establish by proof beyond reasonable doubt that a crime was committed
and that the accused is the author thereof. The evidence arrayed against
the accused, however, must not only stand the test of reason, it must
likewise be credible and competent. Competent evidence is “generally
admissible” evidence. Admissible evidence, in turn, is evidence “of such a
character that the court or judge is bound to receive it, that is, allow it to
be introduced at trial. And as earlier discussed, it was error on the trial
court’s part to have admitted evidences against the accused and to have
relied upon said proofs to convict him for said evidence is doubly tainted.

In the fourth issue, the Constitution decrees that, “In all criminal
prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary
is proved.” To justify the conviction of the accused, the prosecution must
adduce that quantum of evidence sufficient to overcome the
constitutional presumption of innocence. The prosecution must stand or
fall on its evidence and cannot draw strength from the weakness of the
evidence for the accused. Absent the required degree of proof of an
accused’s guilt, he is entitled to an acquittal.
G.R. No. 128222, June 17, 1999

In response to reports of rampant smuggling of firearms and other
contraband, Chief of Police Jim Lagasca Cid of Bacnotan Police Station, La
Union began patrolling the Bacnotan coastline with his officers. While
monitoring the coastal area of Barangay Bulala, he intercepted a radio call
at around 12:45 p.m. from Barangay Captain Juan Almoite of Barangay
Tammocalao requesting for police assistance regarding an unfamiliar
speedboat the latter had spotted. According to Almoite, the vessel looked
different from the boats ordinarily used by fisherfolk of the area and was
poised to dock at Tammocalao shores. Cid and six of his men led by SPO1
Reynoso Badua, proceeded immediately to Tammocalao beach and there
conferred with Almoite. Cid then observed that the speedboat ferried a
lone male passenger, who was later identified as Chua Ho San. When the
speed boat landed, the male passenger alighted, carrying a multicolored
strawbag, and walked towards the road. Upon seeing the police officers,
the man changed direction. Badua held Chua’s right arm to prevent him
from fleeing. They then introduced themselves as police officers;
however, Chua did not understand what they’re saying. And by resorting
of “sign language”, Cid motioned with his hands for the man to open his
bag. The man acceded to the request. The said bag was found to contain
several transparent plastics containing yellowish crystalline substances,
which was later identified to be methamphetamine hydrochloride or
shabu. Chua was then brought to Bacnotan Police Station, where he was
provided with an interpreter to inform him of his constitutional rights.
Whether or not the warrantless arrest, search and seizure conducted
by the Police Officers constitute a valid exemption from the warrant

The Court held in the negative.
The Court explains that the Constitution bars State intrusions to a
person's body, personal effects or residence except if conducted by virtue
of a valid of a valid search warrant issued in accordance with the Rules.
However, warrantless searches may be permitted in the following cases,
to wit:
(1) search of moving vehicles,
(2) seizure in plain view,
(3) customs searches,
(4) waiver or consent searches,
(5) stop and frisk situations (Terry search), and
(6) search incidental to a lawful arrest.

It is required in cases of in flagrante delicto that the arresting officer

must have personal knowledge of such facts or circumstances
convincingly indicative or constitutive of probable cause. Probable cause
means a reasonable ground of suspicion supported by circumstances
sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a cautious man's belief that
the person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is charged. In
the case at bar, there are no facts on record reasonably suggestive or
demonstrative of CHUA's participation in ongoing criminal enterprise that
could have spurred police officers from conducting the obtrusive search.
CHUA was not identified as a drug courier by a police informer or agent.
The fact that the vessel that ferried him to shore bore no resemblance to
the fishing boats of the area did not automatically mark him as in the
process of perpetrating an offense. With these, the Court held that there
was no probable cause to justify a search incidental to a lawful arrest.

The Court likewise did not appreciate the contention of the

Prosecution that there was a waiver or consented search. If CHUA could
not understand what was orally articulated to him, how could he
understand the police's "sign language?" More importantly, it cannot
logically be inferred from his alleged cognizance of the "sign language"
that he deliberately, intelligently, and consciously waived his right against
such an intrusive search.

Finally, being a forbidden fruit, the subject regulated substance was

held to be inadmissible in evidence.

Hence, the accused was acquitted as the evidence was not sufficient
to establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

G.R. No.L-63630, April 6, 1990

Patrolmen Silverio and Romeo Punzalan were conducting
surveillance at the San Fernando Victory Liner Terminal. At around
9:30pm they noticed a person, Medel Tangliben, carrying a traveling bag
who acted suspiciously. They confronted him, inspected his bag, and
there they found marijuana leaves. The accused was then taken to the
Police Headquarters for further investigations. The TC found Tangliben
guilty of violating sec.4 art. 2 of the RA 6425 or the Dangerous Drugs Act
of 1972.
Whether or Not there was an unlawful search due to lack of search

No. Rule 113 sec. 5 provides the a peace officer or a private person
may w/o a warrant arrest a person when in his presence the person to be
arrested has committed, is committing, or is attempting to commit an

In the present case, the accused was found to have been committing
possession of marijuana and can be therefore searched lawfully even
without a search warrant. Another reason is that this case poses urgency
on the part of the arresting police officers. It was found out that an
informer pointed to the accused telling the policemen that the accused
was carrying marijuana. The police officers had to act quickly and there
was not enough time to secure a search warrant.


G.R. NO. 138881. DECEMBER 18, 2000

Leila Johnson was arrested at the airport after she was found to have
in her possession more than 500 grams of shabu when she was initially
frisked by a security personnel at a gate in the airport. The security
personnel felt something hard in respondent’s abdominal area and when
asked she said that she had to wear 2 girdles because of an operation.
Unconvinced, the security personnel went to her supervisor.
Subsequently, after a thorough search on respondent, packets of shabu
were seized from her.
Accused (respondent) was subsequently convicted and sentenced to
reclusion perpetua.

In the present appeal, respondent contended that the search made

upon her was not valid and that her constitutional rights were infringed
when such search was conducted.

WON a valid search was made.

The constitutional right of the accused was not violated as she was
never placed under custodial investigation but was validly arrested
without warrant pursuant to the provisions of Section 5, Rule 113 of the
1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure which provides:

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

personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested
has committed it; and…
The circumstances surrounding the arrest of the accused above falls
in either paragraph (a) or (b) of the Rule above cited, hence the allegation
that she has been subjected to custodial investigation is far from being

The methamphetamine hydrochloride seized from her during the

routine frisk at the airport was acquired legitimately pursuant to airport
security procedures.

Persons may lose the protection of the search and seizure clause by
exposure of their persons or property to the public in a manner reflecting
a lack of subjective expectation of privacy, which expectation society is
prepared to recognize as reasonable. Such recognition is implicit in
airport security procedures. With increased concern over airplane
hijacking and terrorism has come increased security at the nation’s
airports. Passengers attempting to board an aircraft routinely pass
through metal detectors; their carry-on baggages as well as checked
luggage are routinely subjected to x-ray scans. Should these procedures
suggest the presence of suspicious objects, physical searches are
conducted to determine what the objects are. There is little question that
such searches are reasonable, given their minimal intrusiveness, the
gravity of the safety interests involved, and the reduced privacy
expectations associated with airline travel. Indeed, travelers are often
notified through airport public address systems, signs, and notices in their
airline tickets that they are subject to search and, if any prohibited
materials or substances are found, such would be subject to seizure.
These announcements place passengers on notice that ordinary
constitutional protections against warrantless searches and seizures do
not apply to routine airport procedures.

The packs of methamphetamine hydrochloride having thus been

obtained through a valid warrantless search, they are admissible in
evidence against the accused-appellant herein. Corollary, her
subsequent arrest, although likewise without warrant, was justified since
it was effected upon the discovery and recovery of “shabu” in her person
in flagrante delicto.


G.R. No. 91107, JUNE 19, 1991

In an information filed against the accused- appellant Mikael
Malmstead was charged before the RTC of La Trinidad, Benguet, for
violation of Section 4, Art. II of Republic Act 6425, as amended, otherwise
known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as amended.

Accused Mikael Malmstedt, a Swedish national, entered the
Philippines for the third time in December 1988 as a tourist. He had
visited the country sometime in 1982 and 1985.

In the evening of 7 May 1989, accused left for Baguio City. Upon his
arrival thereat in the morning of the following day, he took a bus to
Sagada and stayed in that place for two (2) days. Then in the 7 in the
morning of May 11, 1989, the accused went to Nangonogan bus stop in

At about 8: 00 o'clock in the morning of that same day (11 May

1989), Captain Alen Vasco, the Commanding Officer of the First Regional
Command (NARCOM) stationed at Camp Dangwa, ordered his men to set
up a temporary checkpoint at Kilometer 14, Acop, Tublay, Mountain
Province, for the purpose of checking all vehicles coming from the
Cordillera Region. The order to establish a checkpoint in the said area was
prompted by persistent reports that vehicles coming from Sagada were
transporting marijuana and other prohibited drugs. Moreover,
information was received by the Commanding Officer of NARCOM, that
same morning that a Caucasian coming from Sagada had in his possession
prohibited drugs. The group composed of seven (7) NARCOM officers, in
coordination with Tublay Police Station, set up a checkpoint at the
designated area at about 10:00 o'clock in the morning and inspected all
vehicles coming from the Cordillera Region.

The two (2) NARCOM officers started their inspection from the front
going towards the rear of the bus. Accused who was the sole foreigner
riding the bus was seated at the rear thereof.

During the inspection, CIC Galutan noticed a bulge on accused's

waist. Suspecting the bulge on accused's waist to be a gun, the officer
asked for accused's passport and other identification papers. When
accused failed to comply, the officer required him to bring out whatever it
was that was bulging on his waist. The bulging object turned out to be a
pouch bag and when accused opened the same bag, as ordered, the
officer noticed four (4) suspicious-looking objects wrapped in brown
packing tape, prompting the officer to open one of the wrapped objects.

The wrapped objects turned out to contain hashish, a derivative of

Thereafter, accused was invited outside the bus for questioning. But
before he alighted from the bus, accused stopped to get two (2) travelling
bags from the luggage carrier. Upon stepping out of the bus, the officers
got the bags and opened them. A teddy bear was found in each bag.
Feeling the teddy bears, the officer noticed that there were bulges inside
the same which did not feel like foam stuffing. It was only after the
officers had opened the bags that accused finally presented his passport.

Accused was then brought to the headquarters of the NARCOM at

Camp Dangwa, La Trinidad, Benguet for further investigation. At the
investigation room, the officers opened the teddy bears and they were
found to also contain hashish. Representative samples were taken from
the hashish found among the personal effects of accused and the same
were brought to the PC Crime Laboratory for chemical analysis.
In the chemistry report, it was established that the objects examined
were hashish. a prohibited drug which is a derivative of marijuana. Thus,
an information was filed against accused for violation of the Dangerous
Drugs Act.

During the arraignment, accused entered a plea of "not guilty." For
his defense, he raised the issue of illegal search of his personal effects. He
also claimed that the hashish was planted by the NARCOM officers in his
pouch bag and that the two (2) travelling bags were not owned by him,
but were merely entrusted to him by an Australian couple whom he met
in Sagada. He further claimed that the Australian couple intended to take
the same bus with him but because there were no more seats available in
said bus, they decided to take the next ride and asked accused to take
charge of the bags, and that they would meet each other at the Dangwa

The trial court found the guilt of the accused Mikael Malmstedt
established beyond reasonable doubt.

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 search warrant
and, therefore, the prohibited drugs which were discovered during the
illegal search are not admissible as evidence against him.

Whether or Not the contention of the accused is valid, and therefore
the RTC ruling be reversed.

The Constitution guarantees the right of the people to be secure in
their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches
and seizures. However, where the search is made pursuant to a lawful
arrest, there is no need to obtain a search warrant. A lawful arrest
without a warrant may be made by a peace officer or a private person
under the following circumstances.

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
personal knowledge of facts indicating 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.

Accused was searched and arrested while transporting prohibited

drugs (hashish). A crime was actually being committed by the accused
and he was caught in flagrante delicto. Thus, the search made upon his
personal effects falls squarely under paragraph (1) of the foregoing
provisions of law, which allow a warrantless search incident to a lawful
arrest. While it is true that the NARCOM officers were not armed with a
search warrant when the search was made over the personal effects of
accused, however, under the circumstances of the case, there was
sufficient probable cause for said officers to believe that accused was
then and there committing a crime.

Probable cause has been defined as such facts and circumstances

which could lead a reasonable, discreet and prudent man to believe that
an offense has been committed, and that the objects sought in
connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched.
Warrantless search of the personal effects of an accused has been
declared by this Court as valid, because of existence of probable cause,
where the smell of marijuana emanated from a plastic bag owned by the
accused, 10 or where the accused was acting suspiciously, 11 and
attempted to flee.

The appealed judgment of conviction by the trial court is hereby

affirmed. Costs against the accused-appellant.


G.R. No. 83988, September 29, 1989

As part of the duty to maintain peace and order, the National Capital
Region District Command (NCRDC) installed checkpoints in various parts
of Valenzuela, Metro Manila.

Petitioners aver that, because of the installation of said checkpoints,

the residents of Valenzuela are worried of being harassed and of their
safety being placed at the arbitrary, capricious and whimsical disposition
of the military manning the checkpoints, considering that their cars and
vehicles are being subjected to regular searches and check-ups, especially
at night or at dawn, without the benefit of a search warrant and/or court

a. What constitutes a reasonable search?
b. Whether checkpoints violate the right against searches and/or
seizures without search warrant or court order in violation of the

The constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures
is a personal right invocable only by those whose rights have been
infringed, or threatened to be infringed. What constitutes a reasonable or
unreasonable search and seizure in any particular case is purely a judicial
question, determinable from a consideration of the circumstances

Petitioner Valmonte’s general allegation to the effect that he had

been stopped and searched without a search warrant by the military
manning the checkpoints, without more, i.e., without stating the details
of the incidents which amount to a violation of his right against unlawful
search and seizure, is not sufficient to enable the Court to determine
whether there was a violation of Valmonte’s right against unlawful search
and seizure.
Not all searches and seizures are prohibited. Those which are
reasonable are not forbidden. A reasonable search is not to be
determined by any fixed formula but is to be resolved according to the
facts of each case.

Where, for example, the officer merely draws aside the curtain of a
vacant vehicle which is parked on the public fair grounds, or simply looks
into a vehicle, or flashes a light therein, these do not constitute
unreasonable search.

The setting up of the questioned checkpoints in Valenzuela may be

considered as a security measure to enable the NCRDC to pursue its
mission of establishing effective territorial defense and maintaining peace
and order for the benefit of the public.

True, the manning of checkpoints by the military is susceptible of

abuse by the men in uniform, in the same manner that all governmental
power is susceptible of abuse. But, at the cost of occasional
inconvenience, discomfort and even irritation to the citizen, the
checkpoints during these abnormal times, when conducted within
reasonable limits, are part of the price we pay for an orderly society and a
peaceful community.


G. R. NOS. 102009-10 JULY 6, 1994

The records show that in the early morning of December 1, 1989,
Maj. Efren Soria of the Intelligence Division, National Capital Region
Defense Command, was on board a brown Toyota car conducting a
surveillance of the Eurocar Sales Office located at EDSA, together with his
team and was conducted pursuant to an intelligence report received by
the division that said establishment was being occupied by elements of
the RAM-SFP as a communication command post. After a while, a group
of five men disengaged themselves from the crowd and walked towards
the car of the surveillance team drew their guns and fired at the team,
which attack resulted in the wounding of Sgt. Sagario on the right thigh.
Nobody in the surveillance team was able to retaliate because they
sought cover inside the car and they were afraid that civilians or
bystanders might be caught in the cross-fire. As a consequence, at around
6:30 A.M. of December 5, 1989, a searching team raided the Eurocar
Sales Office. They were able to find and confiscate contrabands inside one
of the rooms belonging to a certain Col. Matillano which is located at the
right portion of the building. On February 22, 1991, the trial court
rendered judgment found him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
offense of illegal possession of firearms in furtherance of rebellion and
sentenced him to serve the penalty of reclusion perpetua. That judgment
of conviction is now challenged before us in this appeal.

Whether in a state of emergency circumstances exist, the arrest of
the accused involved in rebellious act is valid without securing an arrest
and search warrant.

Yes, under the foregoing circumstances, it is our considered opinion
that the instant case falls under one of the exceptions to the prohibition
against a warrantless search. In the first place, the military operatives,
taking into account the facts obtaining in this case, had reasonable
ground to believe that a crime was being committed. There was
consequently more than sufficient probable cause to warrant their action.
Furthermore, under the situation then prevailing, the raiding team had no
opportunity to apply for and secure a search warrant from the courts. The
trial judge himself manifested that on December 5, 1989 when the raid
was conducted, his court was closed. Under such urgency and exigency of
the moment, a search warrant could lawfully be dispensed with. While it
is true that the officers were not armed with a search warrant when the
search was made over the personal effects of accused, however, under
the circumstances of the case, there was sufficient probable cause for
said officers to believe that accused was then and there committing a
crime. Probable cause has been defined as such facts and circumstances
which would lead a reasonable, discreet and prudent man to believe that
an offense has been committed, and that the objects sought in
connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched. The
required probable cause that will justify a warrantless search and seizure
is not determined by any fixed formula but is resolved according to the
facts of each case.

These consolidated petitions challenge the constitutionality of Sec.
36 of R.A. 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, insofar
as it requires mandatory drug testing of (1) candidates for public office;
(2) students of secondary and tertiary schools; (3) officers and employees
of public and private offices; and (4) persons charged before the
prosecutor’s office of a crime with an imposable penalty of imprisonment
of not less than 6 years and 1 day.

The challenged section reads:

SEC. 36. Authorized Drug Testing. Authorized drug testing

shall be done by any government forensic laboratories or
by any of the drug testing laboratories accredited and
monitored by the DOH to safeguard the quality of the test
results. The drug testing shall employ, among others, two
(2) testing methods, the screening test which will
determine the positive result as well as the type of drug
used and the confirmatory test which will confirm a
positive screening test. The following shall be subjected to
undergo drug testing:

xxx xxx xxx

(c) Students of secondary and tertiary schools. Students of secondary and

tertiary schools shall, pursuant to the related rules and regulations as
contained in the school's student handbook and with notice to the
parents, undergo a random drug testing x x x;

(d) Officers and employees of public and private offices. Officers and
employees of public and private offices, whether domestic or overseas,
shall be subjected to undergo a random drug test as contained in the
company's work rules and regulations, x x x for purposes of reducing the
risk in the workplace. Any officer or employee found positive for use of
dangerous drugs shall be dealt with administratively which shall be a
ground for suspension or termination, subject to the provisions of Article
282 of the Labor Code and pertinent provisions of the Civil Service Law;

xxx xxx xxx

(f) All persons charged before the prosecutor's office with a criminal
offense having an imposable penalty of imprisonment of not less than six
(6) years and one (1) day shall undergo a mandatory drug test;

(g) All candidates for public office whether appointed or elected both in
the national or local government shall undergo a mandatory drug test.

Sec. 36(g) is implemented by COMELEC Resolution No. 6486.


1. Do Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 and COMELEC Resolution No. 6486 impose

an additional qualification for candidates for senator? Corollarily, can
Congress enact a law prescribing qualifications for candidates for
senator in addition to those laid down by the Constitution?
2. Are paragraphs (c), (d), and (f) of Sec. 36, RA 9165 unconstitutional?

The Court GRANTED the petition in G.R. No. 161658 and declared
Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 and COMELEC Resolution No. 6486 as
157870 and 158633 by declaring Sec. 36(c) and (d) of RA 9165
CONSTITUTIONAL, but declaring its Sec. 36(f) UNCONSTITUTIONAL. The
Court thus permanently enjoined all the concerned agencies from
implementing Sec. 36(f) and (g) of RA 9165.

1. YES, Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 and COMELEC Resolution No. 6486

impose an additional qualification for candidates for senator; NO,
Congress CANNOT enact a law prescribing qualifications for
candidates for senator in addition to those laid down by the

In essence, Pimentel claims that Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 and COMELEC

Resolution No. 6486 illegally impose an additional qualification on
candidates for senator. He points out that, subject to the provisions on
nuisance candidates, a candidate for senator needs only to meet the
qualifications laid down in Sec. 3, Art. VI of the Constitution, to wit: (1)
citizenship, (2) voter registration, (3) literacy, (4) age, and (5) residency.
Beyond these stated qualification requirements, candidates for senator
need not possess any other qualification to run for senator and be voted
upon and elected as member of the Senate. The Congress cannot validly
amend or otherwise modify these qualification standards, as it cannot
disregard, evade, or weaken the force of a constitutional mandate, or
alter or enlarge the Constitution.

Pimentel’s contention is well-taken. Accordingly, Sec. 36(g) of RA

9165 should be, as it is hereby declared as, unconstitutional.

Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165, as sought to be implemented by the assailed

COMELEC resolution, effectively enlarges the qualification requirements
enumerated in the Sec. 3, Art. VI of the Constitution. As couched, said
Sec. 36(g) unmistakably requires a candidate for senator to be certified
illegal-drug clean, obviously as a pre-condition to the validity of a
certificate of candidacy for senator or, with like effect, a condition sine
qua non to be voted upon and, if proper, be proclaimed as senator-elect.
The COMELEC resolution completes the chain with the proviso that “[n]o
person elected to any public office shall enter upon the duties of his office
until he has undergone mandatory drug test.” Viewed, therefore, in its
proper context, Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 and the implementing COMELEC
Resolution add another qualification layer to what the 1987 Constitution,
at the minimum, requires for membership in the Senate. Whether or not
the drug-free bar set up under the challenged provision is to be hurdled
before or after election is really of no moment, as getting elected would
be of little value if one cannot assume office for non-compliance with the
drug-testing requirement.

2. NO, paragraphs (c) and (d) of Sec. 36, RA 9165 are NOT
UNCONSTITUTIONAL; YES, paragraphs (f) thereof is

As to paragraph (c), covering students of secondary and tertiary


Citing the U.S. cases of Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton and
Board of Education of Independent School District No. 92 of
Pottawatomie County, et al. v. Earls, et al., the Court deduced and applied
the following principles: (1) schools and their administrators stand in loco
parentis with respect to their students; (2) minor students have
contextually fewer rights than an adult, and are subject to the custody
and supervision of their parents, guardians, and schools; (3) schools,
acting in loco parentis, have a duty to safeguard the health and well-being
of their students and may adopt such measures as may reasonably be
necessary to discharge such duty; and (4) schools have the right to
impose conditions on applicants for admission that are fair, just, and non-

Guided by Vernonia, supra, and Board of Education, supra, the Court

is of the view and so holds that the provisions of RA 9165 requiring
mandatory, random, and suspicionless drug testing of students are
constitutional. Indeed, it is within the prerogative of educational
institutions to require, as a condition for admission, compliance with
reasonable school rules and regulations and policies. To be sure, the right
to enroll is not absolute; it is subject to fair, reasonable, and equitable

As to paragraph (d), covering officers and employees of public and

private offices

As the warrantless clause of Sec. 2, Art III of the Constitution is

couched and as has been held, “reasonableness” is the touchstone of the
validity of a government search or intrusion. And whether a search at
issue hews to the reasonableness standard is judged by the balancing of
the government-mandated intrusion on the individual's privacy interest
against the promotion of some compelling state interest. In the criminal
context, reasonableness requires showing of probable cause to be
personally determined by a judge. Given that the drug-testing policy for
employees—and students for that matter—under RA 9165 is in the
nature of administrative search needing what was referred to in Vernonia
as “swift and informal disciplinary procedures,” the probable-cause
standard is not required or even practicable. Be that as it may, the review
should focus on the reasonableness of the challenged administrative
search in question.

The first factor to consider in the matter of reasonableness is the

nature of the privacy interest upon which the drug testing, which effects a
search within the meaning of Sec. 2, Art. III of the Constitution intrudes.
In this case, the office or workplace serves as the backdrop for the
analysis of the privacy expectation of the employees and the
reasonableness of drug testing requirement. The employees' privacy
interest in an office is to a large extent circumscribed by the company's
work policies, the collective bargaining agreement, if any, entered into by
management and the bargaining unit, and the inherent right of the
employer to maintain discipline and efficiency in the workplace. Their
privacy expectation in a regulated office environment is, in fine, reduced;
and a degree of impingement upon such privacy has been upheld.

Just as defining as the first factor is the character of the intrusion

authorized by the challenged law. Reduced to a question form, is the
scope of the search or intrusion clearly set forth, or, as formulated in Ople
v. Torres, is the enabling law authorizing a search "narrowly drawn" or
"narrowly focused"?

The poser should be answered in the affirmative. For one, Sec. 36 of

RA 9165 and its implementing rules and regulations (IRR), as couched,
contain provisions specifically directed towards preventing a situation
that would unduly embarrass the employees or place them under a
humiliating experience. While every officer and employee in a private
establishment is under the law deemed forewarned that he or she may
be a possible subject of a drug test, nobody is really singled out in
advance for drug testing. The goal is to discourage drug use by not telling
in advance anyone when and who is to be tested. And as may be
observed, Sec. 36(d) of RA 9165 itself prescribes what, in Ople, is a
narrowing ingredient by providing that the employees concerned shall be
subjected to “random drug test as contained in the company’s work rules
and regulations for purposes of reducing the risk in the work place.”

For another, the random drug testing shall be undertaken under

conditions calculated to protect as much as possible the employee's
privacy and dignity. As to the mechanics of the test, the law specifies that
the procedure shall employ two testing methods, i.e., the screening test
and the confirmatory test, doubtless to ensure as much as possible the
trustworthiness of the results. But the more important consideration lies
in the fact that the test shall be conducted by trained professionals in
access-controlled laboratories monitored by the Department of Health
(DOH) to safeguard against results tampering and to ensure an accurate
chain of custody. In addition, the IRR issued by the DOH provides that
access to the drug results shall be on the “need to know” basis; that the
“drug test result and the records shall be [kept] confidential subject to the
usual accepted practices to protect the confidentiality of the test results.”
Notably, RA 9165 does not oblige the employer concerned to report to
the prosecuting agencies any information or evidence relating to the
violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act received as a result
of the operation of the drug testing. All told, therefore, the intrusion into
the employees’ privacy, under RA 9165, is accompanied by proper
safeguards, particularly against embarrassing leakages of test results, and
is relatively minimal.
Taking into account the foregoing factors, i.e., the reduced
expectation of privacy on the part of the employees, the compelling state
concern likely to be met by the search, and the well-defined limits set
forth in the law to properly guide authorities in the conduct of the
random testing, we hold that the challenged drug test requirement is,
under the limited context of the case, reasonable and, ergo,

Like their counterparts in the private sector, government officials and

employees also labor under reasonable supervision and restrictions
imposed by the Civil Service law and other laws on public officers, all
enacted to promote a high standard of ethics in the public service. And if
RA 9165 passes the norm of reasonableness for private employees, the
more reason that it should pass the test for civil servants, who, by
constitutional command, are required to be accountable at all times to
the people and to serve them with utmost responsibility and efficiency.

As to paragraph (f), covering persons charged before the

prosecutor’s office with a crime with an imposable penalty of
imprisonment of not less than 6 years and 1 day

Unlike the situation covered by Sec. 36(c) and (d) of RA 9165, the
Court finds no valid justification for mandatory drug testing for persons
accused of crimes. In the case of students, the constitutional viability of
the mandatory, random, and suspicionless drug testing for students
emanates primarily from the waiver by the students of their right to
privacy when they seek entry to the school, and from their voluntarily
submitting their persons to the parental authority of school authorities. In
the case of private and public employees, the constitutional soundness of
the mandatory, random and suspicionless drug testing proceeds from the
reasonableness of the drug test policy and requirement.

We find the situation entirely different in the case of persons

charged before the public prosecutor's office with criminal offenses
punishable with 6 years and 1 day imprisonment. The operative concepts
in the mandatory drug testing are “randomness” and “suspicionless.” In
the case of persons charged with a crime before the prosecutor's office, a
mandatory drug testing can never be random or suspicionless. The ideas
of randomness and being suspicionless are antithetical to their being
made defendants in a criminal complaint. They are not randomly picked;
neither are they beyond suspicion. When persons suspected of
committing a crime are charged, they are singled out and are impleaded
against their will. The persons thus charged, by the bare fact of being
haled before the prosecutor’s office and peaceably submitting themselves
to drug testing, if that be the case, do not necessarily consent to the
procedure, let alone waive their right to privacy. To impose mandatory
drug testing on the accused is a blatant attempt to harness a medical test
as a tool for criminal prosecution, contrary to the stated objectives of RA
9165. Drug testing in this case would violate a person’s right to privacy
guaranteed under Sec. 2, Art. III of the Constitution. Worse still, the
accused persons are veritably forced to incriminate themselves.


G.R. NO. 181881, 18 OCTOBER 2011

An anonymous letter-complaint was received by the respondent Civil
Service Commission Chairperson alleging that an officer of the CSC has
been lawyering for public officials with pending cases in the CSC.
Chairperson David immediately formed a team with background in
information technology and issued a memorandum directing them “to
back up all the files in the computers found in the [CSC-ROIV]
Mamamayan Muna (PALD) and Legal divisions.”

The team proceeded at once to the office and backed up all files in
the hard disk of computers at the PALD and the Legal Services Division.
Within the same day, the investigating team finished the task. It was
found that most of the files copied from the computer assigned to and
being used by the petitioner were draft pleadings or letters in connection
with administrative cases in the CSC and other tribunals. Chairperson
David thus issued a Show-Cause Order requiring the petitioner to submit
his explanation or counter-affidavit within five days from notice.

Petitioner denied that he is the person referred to in the anonymous

letter-complaint. He asserted that he had protested the unlawful taking of
his computer done while he was on leave, and that the files in his
computer were his personal files and those of his relatives and associates,
and that he is not authorize the activities as they are in violation of his
constitutional right to privacy and protection against self-incrimination
and warrantless search and seizure. Also, the files/documents copied
from his computer without his consent are inadmissible as evidence,
being “fruits of a poisonous tree.”

The CSC found prima facie case against the petitioner and charged
him with Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, Conduct Prejudicial to the Best
Interest of the Service and Violation of R.A. No. 6713 (Code of Conduct
and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees). On 24 July
2007, the CSC issued a Resolution finding petitioner GUILTY of the same
merits and meted the penalty of DISMISSAL FROM THE SERVICE with all
its accessory penalties. This Resolution was also brought to the CA by
herein petitioner.

By a Decision dated 11 October 2007, the CA dismissed the

petitioner’s petition for certiorari after finding no grave abuse of
discretion committed by respondents CSC officials. His motion for
reconsideration having been denied by the CA, petitioner brought this
appeal before the Supreme Court.

Whether or not the search conducted and the copying of petitioner’s
files without his knowledge and consent lawful?

Yes. The right to privacy has been accorded recognition in this
jurisdiction as a facet of the right protected by the guarantee against
unreasonable search and seizure under Section 2, Article III of the 1987
Constitution. The constitutional guarantee is not a prohibition of all
searches and seizures but only of “unreasonable” searches and seizures.

Applying the analysis and principles announced in O’Connor and

Simons for warrantless searches involving public employees for work
related reasons to the case at bar, we now address the following
questions: (1) Did petitioner have a reasonable expectation of privacy in
his office and computer files? (2) Was the search authorized by the CSC
Chair reasonable in its inception and scope?

The petitioner had no reasonable expectation of privacy in his office

and computer files for he failed to prove that he had an actual
expectation of privacy either in his office or government-issued computer
which contained his personal files. He did not allege that he had a
separate enclosed office which he did not share with anyone, or that his
office was always locked and not open to other employees or visitors. He
did not use passwords nor adopted any means to prevent access by
others of his computer files. The CSC also implemented a policy which
implies on-the-spot inspections may be done to ensure that the computer
resources were used only for such legitimate business purposes.

The search authorized by the respondent CSC Chair was reasonable

since it was conducted in connection with investigation of work-related
misconduct. A search by a government employer of an employee’s office
is justified when there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that it will
turn up evidence that the employee is guilty of work-related misconduct.

Even conceding for a moment that there is no such administrative

policy, there is no doubt in the mind of the Commission that the search of
Pollo’s computer has successfully passed the test of reasonableness for
warrantless searches in the workplace. It bears emphasis that the
Commission pursued the search in its capacity as a government employer
and that it was undertaken in connection with an investigation involving a
work-related misconduct, one of the circumstances exempted from the
warrant requirement. The nature of the imputation was serious, as it was
grievously disturbing. If, indeed, a CSC employee was found to be
furtively engaged in the practice of “lawyering” for parties with pending
cases before the Commission would be a highly repugnant scenario, then
such a case would have shattering repercussions. It is settled that a court
or an administrative tribunal must not only be actually impartial but must
be seen to be so, otherwise the general public would not have any trust
and confidence in it. Considering the damaging nature of the accusation,
the Commission had to act fast, if only to arrest or limit any possible
adverse consequence or fall-out.

Thus, petitioner’s claim of violation of his constitutional right to
privacy must necessarily fail. His other argument invoking the privacy of
communication and correspondence under Section 3(1), Article III of the
1987 Constitution is also untenable considering the recognition accorded
to certain legitimate intrusions into the privacy of employees in the
government workplace under the aforecited authorities. We likewise find
no merit in his contention that O’Connor and Simons are not relevant
because the present case does not involve a criminal offense like child
pornography. As already mentioned, the search of petitioner’s computer
was justified there being reasonable ground for suspecting that the files
stored therein would yield incriminating evidence relevant to the
investigation being conducted by CSC as government employer of such
misconduct subject of the anonymous complaint. This situation clearly
falls under the exception to the warrantless requirement in administrative
searches defined in O’Connor.


G.R. No. 188133, July 7, 2014

On the evening of August 6, 2002, member of Drug Enforcement
Group together with a female informant went to the parking area of
McDonalds to conduct an entrapment operation.

Edaño arrived at around 7:00 p.m. on board a space wagon. The

informant approached Edaño and talked to him inside the vehicle.

Afterwards, the informant waived at PO3 Corbe who then

approached Edaño. The latter went out of the vehicle and ran away.

PO3 Corbe was able to grab Edaño, causing the latter to fall on the
ground. PO3 Corbe recovered a “knot-tied” transparent plastic bag from
Edaño’s right hand.

Whether the search and seizure that followed warrantless arrest is

NO, the warrantless arrest of Edaño was not valid. Consequently, the
search and seizure that followed the warrantless arrest was likewise not

In this case, there was no overt act indicative of a felonious

enterprise that could be properly attributed to Edaño to rouse suspicion
in the mind of the police that he had just committed, was actually
committing or was attempting to commit a crime in their presence.

Informant and Edaño were just talking to each other, there was no
exchange of money and drugs as the police approached the car.

Edaño is entitled to acquittal since the shabu purportedly seized

from him is inadmissible in evidence for being the proverbial fruit of
the poisonous tree.


G.R. NO. 180906, OCTOBER 7, 2008

The brothers Raymond and Reynald Manalo, farmers from Bulacan
were abducted, detained in various locations, tortured by Citizen Armed
Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) on the suspicion that they were
members and supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA). After eighteen
(18) months of restrained liberty, torture, and other dehumanizing acts,
they were able to escape. Ten days after their escape, they filed a Petition
for Prohibition, Injunction, and Temporary Restraining Order before the
Supreme Court to prevent military officers and agents from depriving
them of their right to liberty and other basic rights. Existing petition was
treated as Amparo petition. The Supreme Court granted the Writ of
Amparo and ordered the Court of Appeals to conduct the summary
hearing and decide the petition.

1. Whether or not statements from the victims is sufficient for amparo

2. Whether or not actual deprivation of liberty is necessary to invoke
the right to security of a person

1. Yes. Much of the information and evidence of the ordeal will come
from the victims themselves, and the veracity of their account will
depend on their credibility and candidness in their written and oral
statements. Their statements can be corroborated by other
evidence such as physical evidence left by the torture they suffered
or landmarks they can identify in the places where they were

2. Yes. Covered by the privilege of the writ, respondents must meet

the threshold requirement that their right to life, liberty and
security is violated or threatened with an unlawful act or omission.
The right to security of person is “freedom from fear.” In The
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that “a world
in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief
and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the
highest aspiration of the common people.” Moreover, the right to
security of person is a guarantee of protection of one’s rights by the
government. As the government is the chief guarantor of order and
security, the Constitutional guarantee of the rights to life, liberty
and security of person is rendered ineffective if government does
not afford protection to these rights especially when they are under

G.R NO. 182161, DECEMBER 3, 2009

Is a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty, or
security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or
omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or

Petitioner and 49 others were arrested in the Manila Peninsula Hotel
Seige and were charged of the crime of rebellion under the Revised Penal
Code. DILG issued Hold Departure Order in the interest of national
security and public safety.

On December 13, 2007, RTC issued an order dismissing the charge

for Rebellion against the petitioner and 17 others for lack of probable
cause. That petitioners and other accused civilians were arrested because
they ignored the call of the police despite the deadline given to them to
come out from the 2nd Floor of the Hotel and submit themselves to the
police authorities.

Counsel for petitioner file thru the DOJ for the lifting of the HDO
since despite the dismissal of the crime of rebellion, he was held by the
BID officials at NAIA as his name is included in the Hold Departure List.
This happens every time he left for abroad.

Writ of Amparo was filed on the ground that the respondents

violated the petitioner’s constitutional right to travel.

Whether or not the petitioner’s right to liberty has been violated or
threatened with violation by the issuance of the subject HDO, which
would entitle him to the privilege of the writ of amparo.

No. The writ is a remedy for any person whose wright to life, liberty
or security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or
omission of a public official or employee, or of a private person or entity.

The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearance or

threats thereof.

Liberty has been defined as the right to exist and the right to be free
form arbitrary restraint or servitude. The term cannot be dwarfed from
arbitrary into mere freedom from physical restraint of the person of the

citizen, but is deemed to embrace the right of man to enjoy the facilities
he has been endowed by his Creator.

Security is the freedom of persons from fear, freedom from threat.

In the case at bar, the restriction on petitioner’s right to travel as a

consequence of the pendency of the criminal case filed against him was
not unlawful. Petitioner has also failed to establish that his right to travel
was impaired in the manner and to the extent that it AMOUNTED to a
serious violation of his right to life, liberty and security for which there
exists no readily available legal recourse or remedy.

G.R. NO. 191805, NOVEMBER 15, 2011

Noriel Rodriguez (petitioner) is a member of Alyansa Dagiti
Mannalon Iti Cagayan, a peasant organization affiliated with Kilusang
Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).

Under the Oplan Bantay Laya, the military tagged KMP members as
an enemy of the state, making its members an easy target of extra-judicial
killings and enforced disappearances.

On September 6, 2009, Rodriguez just alighted from a tricycle driven

by Hermie Antonio Carlos in Brgy. Tapel, Cagayan, when 4 men forcibly
took him and forced him to get inside a car where more men in civilian
clothing were waiting (1 was holding a .45 caliber pistol).

The men started punching Rodriguez inside the car, and forced him
to confess that he is a member of the New People’s Army (NPA).
Rodriguez remained silent until they reached a military camp belonging to
the 17th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.

Rodriguez was then subjected to beatings and torture by members

of the Philippine Army. Members of the army wanted him to admit that
he is an NPA member and then pinpoint other NPA members and camp
locations. Since Rodriguez cannot answer, he is repeatedly beaten and
tortured. Rodriguez was also coerced to sign several documents to
declare that he is a surenderree.

On September 17, 2009, Rodriguez’s mother and brother came to

see him (accompanied by members of the CHR – Pasicolan, Cruz and
Callagan). They insisted to take Rodriguez home with them to Manila.

Rodriguez arrived in Manila on September 18. Callagan and 2

military members went inside their house and took pictures for around 30
minutes despite Rodriguez’s effort to stop them.

On November 3, Rodriguez and his girlfriend notices that several

suspicious-looking men are following them on the streets, jeepney and

On December 7, Rodriguez filed a Petition for the Writ of Amparo

and Petition for the Writ of Habeas Data with Prayers for Protection
Orders, Inspection of Place, and Production of Documents and Personal
Properties dated 2 December 2009.

The petition was filed against former President Arroyo, Gen. Ibrado,
PDG. Versoza, Lt. Gen. Bangit, Major General (Maj. Gen.) Nestor Z. Ochoa,
P/CSupt. Tolentino, P/SSupt. Santos, Col. De Vera, 1st Lt. Matutina, Calog,
George Palacpac, Cruz, Pasicolan and Callagan.

Respondents contend that Rodriguez is a double agent, and had

been working as their informant/infiltrator in the fight against NPA rebels.

Then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, through the solicitor-

general, insisted on her immunity from suits (by virtue of her position as

Supreme Court granted the writs after finding that the petition
sufficiently alleged the abduction and torture of Rodriguez by members of
the Philippine Army. SC directed the Court of Appeals to hear the petition.

CA ruled in favor of Rodriguez and found Ibrado, Versoza, Bangit,

Ochoa, Tolentino, Santos, De Vera and Matutina liable for his abduction
and torture. As to Calog and Palacpac, the case was dismissed for lack of
merit. On President Arroyo, the case was dismissed on account of her
immunity from suits.

1. WON President Arroyo should be dropped as a respondent by virtue
of her presidential immunity from suit.
2. WON the doctrine of command responsibility can be used in writs of
amparo and habeas data cases.

(1) CA’s rationale does not stand anymore since the presidential immunity
from suits only applies during her incumbency. “Incumbent Presidents are
immune from suit or from being brought to court during the period of
their incumbency and tenure but not beyond.”
“A non-sitting President does not enjoy immunity from suit, even for
acts committed during the latter’s tenure. We emphasize our ruling
therein that courts should look with disfavor upon the presidential
privilege of immunity, especially when it impedes the search for truth or
impairs the vindication of a right.”

Term vs Tenure: The term means the time during which the officer
may claim to hold the office as of right, and fixes the interval after which
the several incumbents shall succeed one another.

The tenure represents the term during which the incumbent actually
holds office. The tenure may be shorter than the term for reasons within
or beyond the power of the incumbent. The intent of the framers of the
1987 Constitution is to limit the president’s immunity from suits during
their tenure (and not term).

“It is clear that former President Arroyo cannot use the presidential
immunity from suit to shield herself from judicial scrutiny that would
assess whether, within the context of amparo proceedings, she was
responsible or accountable for the abduction of Rodriguez.”

(2) Yes. The doctrine of command responsibility may be used to

determine whether respondents are accountable for and have the duty to
address the abduction of Rodriguez in order to enable the courts to
devise remedial measures to protect his rights.

Proceedings under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo do not determine

criminal, civil or administrative liability, but this should not abate the
applicability of the doctrine of command responsibility.

“In the context of amparo proceedings, responsibility may refer to

the participation of the respondents, by action or omission, in enforced
disappearance. Accountability, on the other hand, may attach to
respondents who are imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced
disappearance and who carry the burden of disclosure; or those who
carry, but have failed to discharge, the burden of extraordinary diligence
in the investigation of the enforced disappearance.”

“Despite maintaining former President Arroyo in the list of

respondents in G.R. No. 191805, and allowing the application of the
command responsibility doctrine to amparo and habeas data
proceedings, Rodriguez failed to prove through substantial evidence that
former President Arroyo was responsible or accountable for the violation
of his rights to life, liberty and property. He likewise failed to prove
through substantial evidence the accountability or responsibility of
respondents Maj. Gen. Ochoa, Cruz, Pasicolan and Callagan.”

SC affirmed the decision of the CA, but with modifications. The case
is dismissed with respect to respondents former President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo, P/CSupt. Ameto G. Tolentino, and P/SSupt. Jude W.
Santos, Calog, George Palacpac, Antonio Cruz, Aldwin Pasicolan and
Vicent Callagan for lack of merit.


G.R. NO. 203254, OCTOBER 08, 2014

Neri, a police officer, filed a petition for the issuance of Writ of
Habeas Data against Joy, her former common law partner. According to
him, sometime in July 2011, he visited Joy’s condominium and rested for
a while. When he arrived at his office, he noticed his digital camera
missing. On August 23, 2011, Joy confronted him about a purported sex
video she discovered from the digital camera showing him and another
woman. He denied the video and demanded the return of the camera,
but she refused. They had an altercation where Neri allegedly slammed
Joy’s head against a wall and then walked away. Because of this, Joy filed
several cases against him, including a case for violation of Republic Act
9262 and administrative cases before the Napolcom, utilizing the said
video. The use of the same violated his life to liberty, security and privacy
and that of the other woman, thus he had no choice but to file the
petition for issuance of the writ of habeas data. After finding the petition
sufficient in form and substance, the RTC issued the writ and directed Joy
to appear before the RTC and produce Neri’s digital camera, as well as the
original and copies of the video, and to make a return within five days
from receipt. In her return, Joy admitted keeping the memory card of the
digital camera and reproducing the video but only for use as evidence in
the cases she filed against Neri.

Neri's petitions should be dismissed because its filing was only

aimed at suppressing the evidence in the cases she filed against him; and
she is not engaged in the gathering, collecting, or storing of data
regarding the person of Neri. The RTC granted Neri’s petition and ordered
the turn-over of the video to Neri and enjoined Joy from reproducing the
same. It disregarded Joy’s defense that she is not engaged in the
collection, gathering and storage of data, and that her acts of reproducing
the same and showing it to other persons (Napolcom) violated Neri’s right
to privacy and humiliated him. It clarified that it ruling only on the return
of the video and not on its admissibility as evidence. Dissatisfied, Joy filed
the instant petition before the Supreme Court.
Whether or not the filing of the petition for issuance of the writ of
habeas data was proper.
The Supreme Court ruled negatively.

A.M. No. 08-1-16-SC, or the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data (Habeas
Data Rule), was conceived as a response, given the lack of effective and
available remedies, to address the extraordinary rise in the number of
killings and enforced disappearances. It was conceptualized as a judicial
remedy enforcing the right to privacy, most especially the right to
informational privacy of individuals, which is defined as “the right to
control the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of data about
one self.” As defined in Section 1 of the Habeas Data Rule, the writ of
habeas data now stands as “a remedy available to any person whose right
to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an
unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private
individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data
or information regarding the person, family, home, and correspondence
of the aggrieved party.” Thus, in order to support a petition for the
issuance of such writ, Section 6 of the Habeas Data Rule essentially
requires that the petition sufficiently alleges, among others, “the manner
the right to privacy is violated or threatened and how it affects the right
to life, liberty or security of the aggrieved party.” In other words, the
petition must adequately show that there exists a nexus between the
right to privacy on the one hand, and the right to life, liberty or security
on the other. Corollarily, the allegations in the petition must be supported
by substantial evidence showing an actual or threatened violation of the
right to privacy in life, liberty or security of the victim. In this relation, it
bears pointing out that the writ of habeas data will not issue to protect
purely property or commercial concerns nor when the grounds invoked in
support of the petitions therefor are vague and doubtful.

In this case, the Court finds that Ilagan was not able to sufficiently
allege that his right to privacy in life, liberty or security was or would be
violated through the supposed reproduction and threatened
dissemination of the subject sex video. While Ilagan purports a privacy
interest in the suppression of this video–which he fears would somehow
find its way to Quiapo or be uploaded in the internet for public
consumption–he failed to explain the connection between such interest
and any violation of his right to life, liberty or security. Indeed, courts
cannot speculate or contrive versions of possible transgressions. As the
rules and existing jurisprudence on the matter evoke, alleging and
eventually proving the nexus between one’s privacy right to the cogent
rights to life, liberty or security are crucial in habeas data cases, so much

so that a failure on either account certainly renders a habeas data
petition dismissible, as in this case.

In fact, even discounting the insufficiency of the allegations, the

petition would equally be dismissible due to the inadequacy of the
evidence presented. As the records show, all that Ilagan submitted in
support of his petition was his self-serving testimony which hardly meets
the substantial evidence requirement as prescribed by the Habeas Data
Rule. This is because nothing therein would indicate that Lee actually
proceeded to commit any overt act towards the end of violating Ilagan’s
right to privacy in life, liberty or security. Nor would anything on record
even lead a reasonable mind to conclude that Lee was going to use the
subject video in order to achieve unlawful ends–say for instance, to
spread it to the public so as to ruin Ilagan’s reputation. Contrastingly, Lee
even made it clear in her testimony that the only reason why she
reproduced the subject video was to legitimately utilize the same as
evidence in the criminal and administrative cases that she filed against
Ilagan. Hence, due to the insufficiency of the allegations as well as the
glaring absence of substantial evidence, the Court finds it proper to
reverse the RTC Decision and dismiss the habeas data petition.