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UMIL V.

RAMOS - CASE DIGEST - CONSTITUTIONAL LAW


UMIL V. RAMOS G.R. No. 81567 October 3, 1991

FACTS:

Military agents received confidential information that a certain man, Ronnie Javellon, believed to be one of the five
NPA sparrows who recently murdered two Capcom mobile patrols was being treated in St. Agnes Hospital, for
having gunshot wounds.

Later on, it was found out that Ronnie Javellon is a fictitious name and that his real name is Rolando Dural (verified as
one of the sparrows of the NPA).

Rolando Dural was transferred to the Regional Medical Services of the CAPCOM, for security reasons.

Meanwhile, he was positively identified by the eyewitnesses as the one who murdered the 2 CAPCOM mobile patrols.

In this 8 consolidated cases, it assails the validity of the arrests and searches made by the military on the petitioners;
that a mere suspicion that one is Communist Party or New People's Army member is a valid ground for his arrest
without warrant.

ISSUE:

WON the warrantless arrest is valid

HELD:

YES. The arrest without warrant is justified because it is within the contemplation of Section 5 Rule 113, Dural was
committing an offense, when arrested because he was arrested for being a member of the New People's Army, an
outlawed organization, where membership penalized and for subversion which, like rebellion is, under the
doctrine of Garcia vs. Enrile, a continuing offense.

Given the ideological content of membership in the CPP/NPA which includes armed struggle for the overthrow of
organized government, Dural did not cease to be or became less of a subversive, FOR PURPOSES OF ARREST,
simply because he was, at the time of arrest, confined in the St. Agnes Hospital.

Dural was identified as one of several persons who the day before his arrest, without a warrant, at the St. Agnes
Hospital, had shot two (2) CAPCOM policemen in their patrol car. That Dural had shot the two (2) policemen in
Caloocan City as part of his mission as a "sparrow" (NPA member) did not end there and then.

Dural, given another opportunity, would have shot or would shoot other policemen anywhere as agents or
representatives of the organized government. It is in this sense that subversion like rebellion (or insurrection) is
perceived here as a continuing offense. Unlike other so-called "common" offenses, i.e. adultery, murder, arson,
etc., which generally end upon their commission, subversion and rebellion are anchored on an ideological base
which compels the repetition of the same acts of lawlessness and violence until the overriding objective of
overthrowing an organized government is attained.

Nor can it be said that Dural's arrest was grounded on mere suspicion by the arresting officers of his membership
in the CPP/NPA. His arrest was based on "probable cause," as supported by actual facts mentioned in this case.

With all these facts and circumstances existing before, during and after the arrest of the afore-named persons
(Dural, Buenaobra, Roque, Anonuevo, Casiple, and Ocaya), no prudent man can say that it would have been better
for the military agents not to have acted at all and made any arrest. That would have been an unpardonable
neglect of official duty and a cause for disciplinary action against the peace officers involved.

For, one of the duties of law enforcers is to arrest lawbreakers in order to place them in the hands of executive and
judicial authorities upon whom devolves the duty to investigate the acts constituting the alleged violation of the
law and to prosecute and secure the punishment therefor. 21 An arrest is therefore in the nature of an
administrative measure. The power to arrest without warrant is without limitation as long as the requirements of
Section 5, Rule 113 are met. This rule is founded on an overwhelming public interest in peace and order in our
communities.

In ascertaining whether the arrest without warrant is conducted in accordance with the conditions set forth in
Section 5, Rule 113, this Court determines not whether the persons arrested are indeed guilty of committing the
crime for which they were arrested. Not evidence of guilt, but "probable cause" is the reason that can validly
compel the peace officers, in the performance of their duties and in the interest of public order, to conduct an
arrest without warrant.

The courts should not expect of law-enforcers more than what the law requires of them. Under the conditions set
forth in Section 5, Rule 113, particularly paragraph (b) thereof, even if the arrested persons are later found to be
innocent and acquitted, the arresting officers are not liable. But if they do not strictly comply with the said
conditions, the arresting officers can be held liable for the crime of arbitrary detention, for damages under Article
32 of the Civil Code 26 and/or for other administrative sanctions.

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