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People of the Philippines v Jack Racho y Raquero

G.R. 186529, August 3, 2010


Nachura, J.:
Arrest without warrant, when lawful: Reliable information alone is not sufficient to justify a warrantless arrest. The accused
must perform some overt act that would indicate that he has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit
an offense.
FACTS: 1. Respondent Racho was charged for violation of RA 9165 for transporting, delivering, and
possessing “Shabu” without any permit or license from the proper authorities to possess the same.
2. A confidential agent of the police, with a “tipped information”, transacted through cellular phone
with Racho for the purchase of shabu. The agent reported the transaction to the police authorities
who immediately formed a team for Racho’s apprehension.
3. Respondent Racho called up the agent and informed him that he was onboard a Genesis bus
on the way to Baler, Aurora. When he alighted the bus and when he was about to onboard a
tricycle, the team approached him, asked him to accompany them to the police station on suspicion
for carrying dangerous drugs.
4. He immediately denied such and as he pulled out his hand from his pants’ pocket, a white
envelope slipped therefrom which, when opened, yielded a small sachet with the suspected drug.
5. The RTC rendered a judgment convicting him of transporting and delivering dangerous drugs
but acquitting him from illegal possession hence the present appeal.
6. The CA affirmed the decision of the RTC which prompted him to file an appeal before the SC.
In his brief, he assails, for the first time, the legality of his arrest and the validity of the subsequent
warrantless search.
ISSUE: W/N the warrantless arrest was lawful
RULING: 1. NO.
2. The long standing rule in this jurisdiction is that “reliable information” alone is not sufficient to
justify a warrantless arrest. The accused must perform some overt act that would indicate that he
has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense.
3. Racho was not committing a crime in the presence of the police officers. Neither did the arresting
officers have personal knowledge of the facts nor indication that the person to be arrested had
committed, was committing, or is about to commit and offense.
4. At the time of the arrest, Racho had just alighted from the bus and was waiting for a tricycle. He
was not acting in any suspicious manner that would engender a reasonable ground for the police
officers to suspect and conclude that he was committing or is intending to commit a crime.
Here, what prompted the police to apprehend Racho, even without a warrant, was the tip given by
the informant that Racho would arrive in Baler carrying shabu.
5. Neither were the arresting officers impelled by any urgency that would allow them to do away
with the requisite warrant.
6. This is an instance of seizure of the “fruit of the poisonous tree”, hence the confiscated item is
inadmissible in evidence in consonance with the Constitution mandating that “any evidence
obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any
proceeding.
7. Without the confiscated shabu, Racho’s conviction cannot be sustained based on the remaining
evidence. Thus, an acquittal is warranted
8. The decision of the CA is reversed. RACHO IS AQUITTED.
OTHER IMPORTANT 1. Racho focused his appeal on the validity of his arrest and the search and seizure of the sachet
NOTES: of shabu and its consequent admissibility. It is noteworthy that although the circumstances of his
arrest were briefly discussed by the RTC, the validity of the arrest and search and admnissibility
of the vidence against the appellant were not squarely raised by the latter and thus, were not ruled
upon by the trial and appellate courts.

The court is clothes with ample authority to review matters even those not raised on appeal, if we
find them necessary in arriving at a just disposition of the case. Every circumstance in favor of the
accused shall be considered. This is in keeping with the constitutional mandate that every accused
shall be presumed innocent unless his guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt.
By: Monica T. Buenaventura; created 2019