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Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) vs.

de Guzman

Facts: Arlene V. De Guzman, et, al. passed the Physician Licensure Examination conducted in February 1993 by the
Board of Medicine (Board). Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) then released their names as successful
examinees in the medical licensure examination. Shortly thereafter, the Board observed that the grades of the 79
successful examinees from Fatima College in the two most difficult subjects in the medical licensure exam,
Biochemistry (Bio-Chem) and Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB-Gyne), were unusually and exceptionally high. 11
Fatima examinees scored 100% in Bio-Chem and 10 got 100% in OB-Gyne, another 11 got 99% in Bio-Chem, and 21
scored 99% in OB-Gyne. The Board also observed that many of those who passed from Fatima got marks of 95% or
better in both subjects, and no one got a mark lower than 90%. A comparison of the performances of the candidates
from other schools was made. The Board observed that strangely, the unusually high ratings were true only for Fatima
College examinees. It was a record-breaking phenomenon in the history of the Physician Licensure Examination. On 7
June 1993, the Board issued Resolution 19, withholding the registration as physicians of all the examinees from the
Fatima College of Medicine. The PRC asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate whether any
anomaly or irregularity marred the February 1993 Physician Licensure Examination. Prior to the NBI investigation, the
Board requested Fr. Bienvenido F. Nebres, S.J., an expert mathematician and authority in statistics, and later president
of the Ateneo de Manila University, to conduct a statistical analysis of the results in Bio-Chem and Ob-Gyne of the
said examination. On 10 June 1993, Fr. Nebres submitted his report. He reported that a comparison of the scores in
Bio-Chem and Ob-Gyne, of the Fatima College examinees with those of examinees from De La Salle University and
Perpetual Help College of Medicine showed that the scores of Fatima College examinees were not only incredibly high
but unusually clustered close to each other. He concluded that there must be some unusual reason creating the
clustering of scores in the two subjects. It must be a cause "strong enough to eliminate the normal variations that one
should expect from the examinees of Fatima College in terms of talent, effort, energy, etc." For its part, the NBI found
that "the questionable passing rate of Fatima examinees in the [1993] Physician Examination leads to the conclusion
that the Fatima examinees gained early access to the test questions." On 5 July 1993, Arlene V. De Guzman, Violeta V.
Meneses, Celerina S. Navarro, Jose Ramoncito P. Navarro, Arnel V. Herrera, and Geraldine Elizabeth M. Pagilagan
filed a special civil action for mandamus, with prayer for preliminary mandatory injunction (Civil Case 93-66530) with
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 52. Their petition was adopted by the other respondents as
intervenors. Meanwhile, the Board issued Resolution 26, dated 21 July 1993, charging de Guzman, et. al. with
"immorality, dishonest conduct, fraud, and deceit" in connection with the Bio-Chem and Ob-Gyne examinations. It
recommended that the test results of the Fatima examinees be nullified (Adminstrative Case 1687) by the PRC. On 28
July 1993, the RTC issued an Order in Civil Case 93-66530 granting the preliminary mandatory injunction sought by
de Guzman, et. al.. It ordered PRC, etc. to administer the physician’s oath to De Guzman et al., and enter their names in
the rolls of the PRC. PRC, etc/ then filed a special civil action for certiorari with the Court of Appeals to set aside the
mandatory injunctive writ (CA-GR SP 31701). On 21 October 1993, the appellate court granted the petition, nullifying
the writ of preliminary mandatory injunction issued by the lower court against PRC, etc. De Guzman, et al., then
elevated the foregoing Decision to the Supreme Court in GR 112315. In the Supreme Court's Resolution dated 23 May
1994, it denied the petition for failure to show reversible error on the part of the appellate court.
Meanwhile, on 22 November 1993, during the pendency of the above petition, the pre-trial conference in Civil Case
93-66530 was held. Then, the parties, agreed to reduce the testimonies of their respective witnesses to sworn questions-
and-answers. This was without prejudice to cross-examination by the opposing counsel.

On 13 December 1993, PRC’s counsel failed to appear at the trial in the mistaken belief that the trial was set for
December 15. The trial court then ruled that PRC, etc. waived their right to cross-examine the witnesses. On 27 January
1994, counsel for PRC, etc. filed a Manifestation and Motion stating the reasons for her non-appearance and praying
that the cross-examination of the witnesses for the opposing parties be reset. The trial court denied the motion for lack
of notice to adverse counsel. It also denied the Motion for Reconsideration that followed on the ground that adverse
counsel was notified less than 3 days prior to the hearing. Meanwhile, to prevent the PRC and the Board from
proceeding with Administrative Case 1687, De Guzman, et. al. moved for the issuance of a restraining order, which the
lower court granted in its Order dated 4 April 1994. PRC, etc. then filed with the Supreme Court a petition for certiorari

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(GR 115704), to annul the Orders of the trial court dated 13 November 1993, 28 February 1994, and 4 April 1994. The
Supreme Court referred the petition to the Court of Appeals (CA-GR SP 34506). On 31 August 1994, the appellate
court granted the petition for certiorari, and thus allowing the PRC, etc. to present their evidence in due course of trial,
and thereafter to decide the case on the merits on the basis of the evidence of the parties. The trial was then set and
notices were sent to the parties. A day before the first hearing, on 22 September 1994, PRC, etc. filed an Urgent Ex-
Parte Manifestation and Motion praying for the partial reconsideration of the appellate court’s decision in CA-GR SP
34506, for the outright dismissal of Civil Case 93-66530, and for the suspension of the proceedings. In its Order dated
23 September 1994, the trial court granted the aforesaid motion, cancelled the scheduled hearing dates, and reset the
proceedings to October 21 and 28, 1994. Meanwhile, on 25 October 1994, the Court of Appeals denied the partial
motion for reconsideration in CA-GR SP 34506. Thus, PRC, etc. filed with the Supreme Court a petition for review
(GR 117817, entitled Professional Regulation Commission, et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al.)

On 11 November 1994, PRC's counsel failed to appear at the trial of Civil Case 93-66530. Upon motion of De
Guzman, et. al., the trial court ruled that PRC, etc. waived their right to cross-examine De Guzman, et. al. Trial was
reset to 28 November 1994. On 25 November 1994, PRC’s counsel moved for the inhibition of the trial court judge for
alleged partiality. On 28 November 1994, the day the Motion to Inhibit was to be heard, PRC, etc. failed to appear.
Thus, the trial court denied the Motion to Inhibit and declared Civil Case 93-66530 deemed submitted for decision. On
19 December 1994, the trial court handed down its judgment in Civil Case 93-66530 in favor of De Guzman, et. al.,
ordering the PRC to allow De Guzman, et. al. to take the physician’s oath and to register them as physicians.

As a result of these developments, PRC, etc. filed with the Supreme Court a petition for review on certiorari (GR
118437, entitled Professional Regulation Commission v. Hon. David G. Nitafan), praying inter alia, that (1) GR 118437
be consolidated with GR 117817; (2) the decision of the Court of Appeals dated 31 August 1994 in CA-GR SP 34506
be nullified for its failure to decree the dismissal of Civil Case 93-66530, and in the alternative, to set aside the decision
of the trial court in Civil Case 93-66530, order the trial court judge to inhibit himself, and Civil Case 93-66530 be re-
raffled to another branch.

On 26 December 1994, PRC, etc. filed their Notice of Appeal in Civil Case 93-66530, thereby elevating the case to the
Court of Appeals (CA-GR SP 37283).

Meanwhile, in the Supreme Court's Resolution of 7 June 1995, GR 118437 was consolidated with GR 117817. On 9
July 1998, the Court disposed of GRs 117817 and 118437 by dismissing them for being moot. The petition in GR
118437 was likewise dismissed on the ground that there is a pending appeal before the Court of Appeals.

While CA-GR SP 37283 was awaiting disposition by the appellate court, Arnel V. Herrera, one of the original
petitioners in Civil Case 93-66530, joined by 27 intervenors, manifested that they were no longer interested in
proceeding with the case and moved for its dismissal. A similar manifestation and motion was later filed by 22 other
intervenors. The Court of Appeals ruled that its decision in CA-GR SP 37283 would not apply to them. On 16 May
2000, the Court of Appeals decided CA-GR SP 37283, affirming the decision of the lower court and dismissing the
appeal. PRC, etc. filed the petition for review, seeking to nullify the 16 May 2000 decision of the Court of Appeals in
CA-GR SP 37283.

Issue: Whether De Guzman, et. al. may compel the PRC, etc. to administer them the Hippocratic oath, even in light of
unusually high scores acquired by the examinees from Fatima College.

Held: A careful reading of Section 20 of the Medical Act of 1959 discloses that the law uses the word "shall" with
respect to the issuance of certificates of registration. Thus, PRC, etc. "shall sign and issue certificates of registration to
those who have satisfactorily complied with the requirements of the Board." In statutory construction the term "shall" is
a word of command. It is given imperative meaning. Thus, when an examinee satisfies the requirements for the grant of
his physician’s license, the Board is obliged to administer to him his oath and register him as a physician, pursuant to
Section 20 and par. (1) of Section 2225 of the Medical Act of 1959. However, the surrounding circumstances in the
present case call for serious inquiry concerning the satisfactory compliance with the Board requirements by De
Guzman, et. al. The unusually high scores in the two most difficult subjects was phenomenal, according to Fr. Nebres,
the consultant of PRC on the matter, and raised grave doubts about the integrity, if not validity, of the tests. Under the
second paragraph of Section 22, the Board is vested with the power to conduct administrative investigations and
"disapprove applications for examination or registration," pursuant to the objectives of RA 2382 as outlined in Section
126 thereof. Herein, after the investigation, the Board filed before the PRC, Adminstrative Case 1687 against De
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Guzman, et. al. to ascertain their moral and mental fitness to practice medicine, as required by Section 927 of RA 2382.
Further, Section 830 of RA 2382 prescribes, among others, that a person who aspires to practice medicine in the
Philippines, must have "satisfactorily passed the corresponding Board Examination." Section 22, in turn, provides that
the oath may only be administered "to physicians who qualified in the examinations." The operative word here is
"satisfactorily," defined as "sufficient to meet a condition or obligation" or "capable of dispelling doubt or ignorance."
Gleaned from Board Resolution 26, the licensing authority apparently did not find that De Guzman, et. al.
"satisfactorily passed" the licensure examinations. The Board instead sought to nullify the examination results obtained
by the latter. Thus, while it is true that this Court has upheld the constitutional right of every citizen to select a
profession or course of study subject to a fair, reasonable, and equitable admission and academic requirements; like all
rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Charter, their exercise may be so regulated pursuant to the police power of the
State to safeguard health, morals, peace, education, order, safety, and general welfare of the people. Thus, persons who
desire to engage in the learned professions requiring scientific or technical knowledge may be required to take an
examination as a prerequisite to engaging in their chosen careers. This regulation takes particular pertinence in the field
of medicine, to protect the public from the potentially deadly effects of incompetence and ignorance among those who
would practice medicine. It must be stressed, nevertheless, that the power to regulate the exercise of a profession or
pursuit of an occupation cannot be exercised by the State or its agents in an arbitrary, despotic, or oppressive manner. A
political body that regulates the exercise of a particular privilege has the authority to both forbid and grant such
privilege in accordance with certain conditions. Such conditions may not, however, require giving up ones
constitutional rights as a condition to acquiring the license. Under the view that the legislature cannot validly bestow an
arbitrary power to grant or refuse a license on a public agency or officer, courts will generally strike down license
legislation that vests in public officials discretion to grant or refuse a license to carry on some ordinarily lawful
business, profession, or activity without prescribing definite rules and conditions for the guidance of said officials in
the exercise of their power. Herein, the guidelines are provided for in RA 2382, as amended, which prescribes the
requirements for admission to the practice of medicine, the qualifications of candidates for the board examinations, the
scope and conduct of the examinations, the grounds for denying the issuance of a physician’s license, or revoking a
license that has been issued. Verily, to be granted the privilege to practice medicine, the applicant must show that he
possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications. Furthermore, it must appear that he has fully complied
with all the conditions and requirements imposed by the law and the licensing authority. Should doubt taint or mar the
compliance as being less than satisfactory, then the privilege will not issue. For said privilege is distinguishable from a
matter of right, which may be demanded if denied. Thus, without a definite showing that the requirements and
conditions have been satisfactorily met, the courts may not grant the writ of mandamus to secure said privilege without
thwarting the legislative will.

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Tablarin v. Gutierrez (J)
[GR 78164, 31 July 1987]

Facts: Teresita Tablarin, Ma. Luz Ciriaco, Ma. Nimfa B. Rovira, and Evangelina S. Labao sought admission into
colleges or schools of medicine for the school year 1987-1988. However, they either did not take or did not
successfully take the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) required by the Board of Medical Education and
administered by the Center for Educational Measurement (CEM). On 5 March 1987, Tablarin, et. al., in behalf of
applicants for admission into the Medical Colleges who have not taken up or successfully hurdled the NMAT, filed
with the Regional Trial Court (RTC), National Capital Judicial Region, a Petition for Declaratory Judgment and
Prohibition with a prayer for Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and Preliminary Injunction, to enjoin the Secretary
of Education, Culture and Sports, the Board of Medical Education and the Center for Educational Measurement from
enforcing Section 5 (a) and (f) of Republic Act 2382, as amended, and MECS Order 52 (series of 1985), dated 23
August 1985 [which established a uniform admission test (NMAT) as an additional requirement for issuance of a
certificate of eligibility for admission into medical schools of the Philippines, beginning with the school year 1986-
1987] and from requiring the taking and passing of the NMAT as a condition for securing certificates of eligibility for
admission, from proceeding with accepting applications for taking the NMAT and from administering the NMAT as
scheduled on 26 April 1987 and in the future. After hearing on the petition for issuance of preliminary injunction, the
trial court denied said petition on 20 April 1987. The NMAT was conducted and administered as previously scheduled.
Tablarin, et. al. accordingly filed a Special Civil Action for Certiorari with the Supreme Court to set aside the Order of
the RTC judge denying the petition for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction.

Issue: Whether NMAT requirement for admission to medical colleges contravenes the Constitutional guarantee for the
accessibility of education to all, and whether such regulation is invalid and/or unconstitutional.

Held: No. Republic Act 2382, as amended by Republic Acts 4224 and 5946, known as the “Medical Act of 1959″
defines its basic objectives to govern (a) the standardization and regulation of medical education; (b) the examination
for registration of physicians; and (c) the supervision, control and regulation of the practice of medicine in the
Philippines. The Statute created a Board of Medical Education and prescribed certain minimum requirements for
applicants to medical schools. The State is not really enjoined to take appropriate steps to make quality education
“accessible to all who might for any number of reasons wish to enroll in a professional school but rather merely to
make such education accessible to all who qualify under “fair, reasonable and equitable admission and academic
requirements.” The regulation of the practice of medicine in all its branches has long been recognized as a reasonable
method of protecting the health and safety of the public. The power to regulate and control the practice of medicine
includes the power to regulate admission to the ranks of those authorized to practice medicine. Legislation and
administrative regulations requiring those who wish to practice medicine first to take and pass medical board
examinations have long ago been recognized as valid exercises of governmental power. Similarly, the establishment of
minimum medical educational requirements for admission to the medical profession, has also been sustained as a
legitimate exercise of the regulatory authority of the state.

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BAYAN VS. ERMITA
Petitioners come in three groups.
The first petitioners, Bayan, et al., in G.R. No. 169838, allege that they are citizens and taxpayers of the Philippines
and that their rights as organizations and individuals were violated when the rally they participated in on October 6,
2005 was violently dispersed by policemen implementing Batas Pambansa (B.P.) No. 880.
The second group consists of 26 individual petitioners, Jess del Prado, et al., in G.R. No. 169848, who allege that
they were injured, arrested and detained when a peaceful mass action they held on September 26, 2005 was
preempted and violently dispersed by the police. They further assert that on October 5, 2005, a group they
participated in marched to Malacañang to protest issuances of the Palace which, they claim, put the country under an
"undeclared" martial rule, and the protest was likewise dispersed violently and many among them were arrested and
suffered injuries.
The third group, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), et al., petitioners in G.R. No. 169881, allege that they conduct
peaceful mass actions and that their rights as organizations and those of their individual members as citizens,
specifically the right to peaceful assembly, are affected by Batas Pambansa No. 880 and the policy of "Calibrated
Preemptive Response" (CPR) being followed to implement it.
KMU, et al., claim that on October 4, 2005, a rally KMU co-sponsored was to be conducted at the Mendiola bridge
but police blocked them along C.M. Recto and Lepanto Streets and forcibly dispersed them, causing injuries to
several of their members. They further allege that on October 6, 2005, a multi-sectoral rally which KMU also co-
sponsored was scheduled to proceed along España Avenue in front of the University of Santo Tomas and going
towards Mendiola bridge. Police officers blocked them along Morayta Street and prevented them from proceeding
further. They were then forcibly dispersed, causing injuries on one of them. Three other rallyists were arrested.
All petitioners assail Batas Pambansa No. 880, some of them in toto and others only Sections 4, 5, 6, 12, 13(a), and
14(a), as well as the policy of CPR. They seek to stop violent dispersals of rallies under the "no permit, no rally"
policy and the CPR policy recently announced.
B.P. No. 880, "The Public Assembly Act of 1985," provides:
Batas Pambansa Blg. 880
An Act Ensuring The Free Exercise By The People Of Their Right Peaceably To Assemble And Petition The
Government [And] For Other Purposes
Be it enacted by the Batasang Pambansa in session assembled:
Section 1. Title. – This Act shall be known as "The Public Assembly Act of 1985."
Sec. 2. Declaration of policy. – The constitutional right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the
government for redress of grievances is essential and vital to the strength and stability of the State. To this end, the
State shall ensure the free exercise of such right without prejudice to the rights of others to life, liberty and equal
protection of the law.
Sec. 3. Definition of terms. – For purposes of this Act:
(a) "Public assembly" means any rally, demonstration, march, parade, procession or any other form of mass
or concerted action held in a public place for the purpose of presenting a lawful cause; or expressing an
opinion to the general public on any particular issue; or protesting or influencing any state of affairs
whether political, economic or social; or petitioning the government for redress of grievances.
The processions, rallies, parades, demonstrations, public meetings and assemblages for religious purposes
shall be governed by local ordinances; Provided, however, That the declaration of policy as provided in
Section 2 of this Act shall be faithfully observed.
The definition herein contained shall not include picketing and other concerted action in strike areas by
workers and employees resulting from a labor dispute as defined by the Labor Code, its implementing rules
and regulations, and by the Batas Pambansa Bilang 227.
(b) "Public place" shall include any highway, boulevard, avenue, road, street, bridge or other thoroughfare,
park, plaza, square, and/or any open space of public ownership where the people are allowed access.
(c) "Maximum tolerance" means the highest degree of restraint that the military, police and other peace
keeping authorities shall observe during a public assembly or in the dispersal of the same.

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(d) "Modification of a permit" shall include the change of the place and time of the public assembly,
rerouting of the parade or street march, the volume of loud-speakers or sound system and similar changes.
Sec. 4. Permit when required and when not required. – A written permit shall be required for any person or persons
to organize and hold a public assembly in a public place. However, no permit shall be required if the public
assembly shall be done or made in a freedom park duly established by law or ordinance or in private property, in
which case only the consent of the owner or the one entitled to its legal possession is required, or in the campus of a
government-owned and operated educational institution which shall be subject to the rules and regulations of said
educational institution. Political meetings or rallies held during any election campaign period as provided for by law
are not covered by this Act.
Sec. 5. Application requirements. – All applications for a permit shall comply with the following guidelines:
(a) The applications shall be in writing and shall include the names of the leaders or organizers; the purpose
of such public assembly; the date, time and duration thereof, and place or streets to be used for the intended
activity; and the probable number of persons participating, the transport and the public address systems to
be used.
(b) The application shall incorporate the duty and responsibility of the applicant under Section 8 hereof.
(c) The application shall be filed with the office of the mayor of the city or municipality in whose
jurisdiction the intended activity is to be held, at least five (5) working days before the scheduled public
assembly.
(d) Upon receipt of the application, which must be duly acknowledged in writing, the office of the city or
municipal mayor shall cause the same to immediately be posted at a conspicuous place in the city or
municipal building.
Sec. 6. Action to be taken on the application. –
(a) It shall be the duty of the mayor or any official acting in his behalf to issue or grant a permit unless
there is clear and convincing evidence that the public assembly will create a clear and present danger to
public order, public safety, public convenience, public morals or public health.
(b) The mayor or any official acting in his behalf shall act on the application within two (2) working days
from the date the application was filed, failing which, the permit shall be deemed granted. Should for any
reason the mayor or any official acting in his behalf refuse to accept the application for a permit, said
application shall be posted by the applicant on the premises of the office of the mayor and shall be deemed
to have been filed.
(c) If the mayor is of the view that there is imminent and grave danger of a substantive evil warranting the
denial or modification of the permit, he shall immediately inform the applicant who must be heard on the
matter.
(d) The action on the permit shall be in writing and served on the applica[nt] within twenty-four hours.
(e) If the mayor or any official acting in his behalf denies the application or modifies the terms thereof in
his permit, the applicant may contest the decision in an appropriate court of law.
(f) In case suit is brought before the Metropolitan Trial Court, the Municipal Trial Court, the Municipal
Circuit Trial Court, the Regional Trial Court, or the Intermediate Appellate court, its decisions may be
appealed to the appropriate court within forty-eight (48) hours after receipt of the same. No appeal bond
and record on appeal shall be required. A decision granting such permit or modifying it in terms
satisfactory to the applicant shall be immediately executory.
(g) All cases filed in court under this section shall be decided within twenty-four (24) hours from date of
filing. Cases filed hereunder shall be immediately endorsed to the executive judge for disposition or, in his
absence, to the next in rank.
(h) In all cases, any decision may be appealed to the Supreme Court.
(i) Telegraphic appeals to be followed by formal appeals are hereby allowed.
Sec. 7. Use of Public throroughfare. – Should the proposed public assembly involve the use, for an appreciable
length of time, of any public highway, boulevard, avenue, road or street, the mayor or any official acting in his
behalf may, to prevent grave public inconvenience, designate the route thereof which is convenient to the
participants or reroute the vehicular traffic to another direction so that there will be no serious or undue interference
with the free flow of commerce and trade.
Sec. 8. Responsibility of applicant. – It shall be the duty and responsibility of the leaders and organizers of a public
assembly to take all reasonable measures and steps to the end that the intended public assembly shall be conducted
peacefully in accordance with the terms of the permit. These shall include but not be limited to the following:

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(a) To inform the participants of their responsibility under the permit;|avvphi|.net
(b) To police the ranks of the demonstrators in order to prevent non-demonstrators from disrupting the
lawful activities of the public assembly;
(c) To confer with local government officials concerned and law enforcers to the end that the public
assembly may be held peacefully;
(d) To see to it that the public assembly undertaken shall not go beyond the time stated in the permit; and
(e) To take positive steps that demonstrators do not molest any person or do any act unduly interfering with
the rights of other persons not participating in the public assembly.
Sec. 9. Non-interference by law enforcement authorities. – Law enforcement agencies shall not interfere with the
holding of a public assembly. However, to adequately ensure public safety, a law enforcement contingent under the
command of a responsible police officer may be detailed and stationed in a place at least one hundred (100) meters
away from the area of activity ready to maintain peace and order at all times.
Sec. 10. Police assistance when requested. – It shall be imperative for law enforcement agencies, when their
assistance is requested by the leaders or organizers, to perform their duties always mindful that their responsibility
to provide proper protection to those exercising their right peaceably to assemble and the freedom of expression is
primordial. Towards this end, law enforcement agencies shall observe the following guidelines:
(a) Members of the law enforcement contingent who deal with the demonstrators shall be in complete
uniform with their nameplates and units to which they belong displayed prominently on the front and
dorsal parts of their uniform and must observe the policy of "maximum tolerance" as herein defined;
(b) The members of the law enforcement contingent shall not carry any kind of firearms but may be
equipped with baton or riot sticks, shields, crash helmets with visor, gas masks, boots or ankle high shoes
with shin guards;
(c) Tear gas, smoke grenades, water cannons, or any similar anti-riot device shall not be used unless the
public assembly is attended by actual violence or serious threats of violence, or deliberate destruction of
property.
Sec. 11. Dispersal of public assembly with permit. – No public assembly with a permit shall be dispersed. However,
when an assembly becomes violent, the police may disperse such public assembly as follows:
(a) At the first sign of impending violence, the ranking officer of the law enforcement contingent shall call
the attention of the leaders of the public assembly and ask the latter to prevent any possible disturbance;
(b) If actual violence starts to a point where rocks or other harmful objects from the participants are thrown
at the police or at the non-participants, or at any property causing damage to such property, the ranking
officer of the law enforcement contingent shall audibly warn the participants that if the disturbance persists,
the public assembly will be dispersed;
(c) If the violence or disturbance prevailing as stated in the preceding subparagraph should not stop or
abate, the ranking officer of the law enforcement contingent shall audibly issue a warning to the
participants of the public assembly, and after allowing a reasonable period of time to lapse, shall
immediately order it to forthwith disperse;
(d) No arrest of any leader, organizer or participant shall also be made during the public assembly unless he
violates during the assembly a law, statute, ordinance or any provision of this Act. Such arrest shall be
governed by Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended;
(e) Isolated acts or incidents of disorder or breach of the peace during the public assembly shall not
constitute a ground for dispersal.
Sec. 12. Dispersal of public assembly without permit. – When the public assembly is held without a permit where a
permit is required, the said public assembly may be peacefully dispersed.
Sec. 13. Prohibited acts. – The following shall constitute violations of the Act:
(a) The holding of any public assembly as defined in this Act by any leader or organizer without having
first secured that written permit where a permit is required from the office concerned, or the use of such
permit for such purposes in any place other than those set out in said permit: Provided, however, That no
person can be punished or held criminally liable for participating in or attending an otherwise peaceful
assembly;
(b) Arbitrary and unjustified denial or modification of a permit in violation of the provisions of this Act by
the mayor or any other official acting in his behalf;
(c) The unjustified and arbitrary refusal to accept or acknowledge receipt of the application for a permit by

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the mayor or any official acting in his behalf;
(d) Obstructing, impeding, disrupting or otherwise denying the exercise of the right to peaceful assembly;
(e) The unnecessary firing of firearms by a member of any law enforcement agency or any person to
disperse the public assembly;
(f) Acts in violation of Section 10 hereof;
(g) Acts described hereunder if committed within one hundred (100) meters from the area of activity of the
public assembly or on the occasion thereof:
1. the carrying of a deadly or offensive weapon or device such as firearm, pillbox, bomb, and the
like;
2. the carrying of a bladed weapon and the like;
3. the malicious burning of any object in the streets or thoroughfares;
4. the carrying of firearms by members of the law enforcement unit;
5. the interfering with or intentionally disturbing the holding of a public assembly by the use of a
motor vehicle, its horns and loud sound systems.
Sec. 14. Penalties. – Any person found guilty and convicted of any of the prohibited acts defined in the immediately
preceding section shall be punished as follows:
(a) violation of subparagraph (a) shall be punished by imprisonment of one month and one day to six
months;
(b) violations of subparagraphs (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), and item 4, subparagraph (g) shall be punished by
imprisonment of six months and one day to six years;
(c) violation of item 1, subparagraph (g) shall be punished by imprisonment of six months and one day to
six years without prejudice to prosecution under Presidential Decree No. 1866;
(d) violations of item 2, item 3, or item 5 of subparagraph (g) shall be punished by imprisonment of one
day to thirty days.
Sec. 15. Freedom parks. – Every city and municipality in the country shall within six months after the effectivity of
this Act establish or designate at least one suitable "freedom park" or mall in their respective jurisdictions which, as
far as practicable, shall be centrally located within the poblacion where demonstrations and meetings may be held at
any time without the need of any prior permit.
In the cities and municipalities of Metropolitan Manila, the respective mayors shall establish the freedom parks
within the period of six months from the effectivity this Act.
Sec. 16. Constitutionality. – Should any provision of this Act be declared invalid or unconstitutional, the validity or
constitutionality of the other provisions shall not be affected thereby.
Sec. 17. Repealing clause. – All laws, decrees, letters of instructions, resolutions, orders, ordinances or parts thereof
which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed, amended, or modified accordingly.
Sec. 18. Effectivity. – This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
Approved, October 22, 1985.
CPR, on the other hand, is a policy set forth in a press release by Malacañang dated September 21, 2005, shown in
Annex "A" to the Petition in G.R. No. 169848, thus:
Malacañang Official
Manila, Philippines NEWS
Release No. 2 September 21, 2005
STATEMENT OF EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA
On Unlawful Mass Actions
In view of intelligence reports pointing to credible plans of anti-government groups to inflame the political situation,
sow disorder and incite people against the duly constituted authorities, we have instructed the PNP as well as the
local government units to strictly enforce a "no permit, no rally" policy, disperse groups that run afoul of this
standard and arrest all persons violating the laws of the land as well as ordinances on the proper conduct of mass
actions and demonstrations.
The rule of calibrated preemptive response is now in force, in lieu of maximum tolerance. The authorities will not
stand aside while those with ill intent are herding a witting or unwitting mass of people and inciting them into
8
actions that are inimical to public order, and the peace of mind of the national community.
Unlawful mass actions will be dispersed. The majority of law-abiding citizens have the right to be protected by a
vigilant and proactive government.
We appeal to the detractors of the government to engage in lawful and peaceful conduct befitting of a democratic
society.
The President’s call for unity and reconciliation stands, based on the rule of law.
Petitioners Bayan, et al., contend that Batas Pambansa No. 880 is clearly a violation of the Constitution and the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other human rights treaties of which the Philippines is a
signatory.
They argue that B.P. No. 880 requires a permit before one can stage a public assembly regardless of the presence or
absence of a clear and present danger. It also curtails the choice of venue and is thus repugnant to the freedom of
expression clause as the time and place of a public assembly form part of the message for which the expression is
sought. Furthermore, it is not content-neutral as it does not apply to mass actions in support of the government. The
words "lawful cause," "opinion," "protesting or influencing" suggest the exposition of some cause not espoused by
the government. Also, the phrase "maximum tolerance" shows that the law applies to assemblies against the
government because they are being tolerated. As a content-based legislation, it cannot pass the strict scrutiny test.
Petitioners Jess del Prado, et al., in turn, argue that B.P. No. 880 is unconstitutional as it is a curtailment of the
right to peacefully assemble and petition for redress of grievances because it puts a condition for the valid exercise
of that right. It also characterizes public assemblies without a permit as illegal and penalizes them and allows their
dispersal. Thus, its provisions are not mere regulations but are actually prohibitions.
Furthermore, the law delegates powers to the Mayor without providing clear standards. The two standards stated in
the laws (clear and present danger and imminent and grave danger) are inconsistent.
Regarding the CPR policy, it is void for being an ultra vires act that alters the standard of maximum tolerance set
forth in B.P. No. 880, aside from being void for being vague and for lack of publication.
Finally, petitioners KMU, et al., argue that the Constitution sets no limits on the right to assembly and therefore
B.P. No. 880 cannot put the prior requirement of securing a permit. And even assuming that the legislature can set
limits to this right, the limits provided are unreasonable: First, allowing the Mayor to deny the permit on clear and
convincing evidence of a clear and present danger is too comprehensive. Second, the five-day requirement to apply
for a permit is too long as certain events require instant public assembly, otherwise interest on the issue would
possibly wane.
As to the CPR policy, they argue that it is preemptive, that the government takes action even before the rallyists can
perform their act, and that no law, ordinance or executive order supports the policy. Furthermore, it contravenes the
maximum tolerance policy of B.P. No. 880 and violates the Constitution as it causes a chilling effect on the exercise
by the people of the right to peaceably assemble.
Respondents in G.R. No. 169838 are Eduardo Ermita, as Executive Secretary, Manila City Mayor Lito Atienza,
Chief, of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Gen. Arturo Lomibao, National Capital Region Police Office
(NCRPO) Chief, PNP Maj. Gen. Vidal Querol, and Manila Police District (MPD) Chief Gen. Pedro Bulaong.
Respondents in G.R. No. 169848 are Eduardo Ermita as Executive Secretary and in his personal capacity; Angelo
Reyes, as Secretary of the Interior and Local Governments; Arturo Lomibao, as Chief Vidal Querol, as Chief,
NCRPO; Pedro Bulaong, as Chief, MPD, and all other public officers and private individuals acting under their
control, supervision and instruction.
Respondents in G.R. No. 169881 are the Honorable Executive Secretary, PNP Director General Arturo
Lomibao, the Honorable Mayor Joselito Atienza, and PNP MPD Chief Pedro Bulaong.
Respondents argue that:
1. Petitioners have no standing because they have not presented evidence that they had been "injured,
arrested or detained because of the CPR," and that "those arrested stand to be charged with violating Batas
Pambansa [No.] 880 and other offenses."
2. Neither B.P. No. 880 nor CPR is void on its face. Petitioners cannot honestly claim that the time, place
and manner regulation embodied in B.P. No. 880 violates the three-pronged test for such a measure, to wit:
(a) B.P. No. 880 is content-neutral, i.e., it has no reference to content of regulated speech; (b) B.P. No. 880
is narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest, i.e., the interest cannot be equally well
served by a means that is less intrusive of free speech interests; and (c) B.P. No. 880 leaves open
alternative channels for communication of the information.
3. B.P. No. 880 is content-neutral as seen from the text of the law. Section 5 requires the statement of the
public assembly’s time, place and manner of conduct. It entails traffic re-routing to prevent grave public
9
inconvenience and serious or undue interference in the free flow of commerce and trade. Furthermore,
nothing in B.P. No. 880 authorizes the denial of a permit on the basis of a rally’s program content or the
statements of the speakers therein, except under the constitutional precept of the "clear and present danger
test." The status of B.P. No. 880 as a content-neutral regulation has been recognized in Osmeña v.
Comelec.
4. Adiong v. Comelec held that B.P. No. 880 is a content-neutral regulation of the time, place and manner
of holding public assemblies and the law passes the test for such regulation, namely, these regulations need
only a substantial governmental interest to support them.
5. Sangalang v. Intermediate Appellate Court held that a local chief executive has the authority to exercise
police power to meet "the demands of the common good in terms of traffic decongestion and public
convenience." Furthermore, the discretion given to the mayor is narrowly circumscribed by Sections 5 (d),
and 6 (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), 13 and 15 of the law.
6. The standards set forth in the law are not inconsistent. "Clear and convincing evidence that the public
assembly will create a clear and present danger to public order, public safety, public convenience, public
morals or public health" and "imminent and grave danger of a substantive evil" both express the meaning
of the "clear and present danger test."
7. CPR is simply the responsible and judicious use of means allowed by existing laws and ordinances to
protect public interest and restore public order. Thus, it is not accurate to call it a new rule but rather it is a
more pro-active and dynamic enforcement of existing laws, regulations and ordinances to prevent chaos in
the streets. It does not replace the rule of maximum tolerance in B.P. No. 880.
Respondent Mayor Joselito Atienza, for his part, submitted in his Comment that the petition in G.R. No. 169838
should be dismissed on the ground that Republic Act No. 7160 gives the Mayor power to deny a permit
independently of B.P. No. 880; that his denials of permits were under the "clear and present danger" rule as there
was a clamor to stop rallies that disrupt the economy and to protect the lives of other people; that J. B. L. Reyes v.
Bagatsing, Primicias v. Fugoso, and Jacinto v. CA, have affirmed the constitutionality of requiring a permit; that the
permit is for the use of a public place and not for the exercise of rights; and that B.P. No. 880 is not a content-based
regulation because it covers all rallies.
The petitions were ordered consolidated on February 14, 2006. After the submission of all the Comments, the Court
set the cases for oral arguments on April 4, 2006, stating the principal issues, as follows:
1. On the constitutionality of Batas Pambansa No. 880, specifically Sections 4, 5, 6, 12 13(a) and 14(a)
thereof, and Republic Act No. 7160:
(a) Are these content-neutral or content-based regulations?
(b) Are they void on grounds of overbreadth or vagueness?
(c) Do they constitute prior restraint?
(d) Are they undue delegations of powers to Mayors?
(e) Do they violate international human rights treaties and the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights?
2. On the constitutionality and legality of the policy of Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR):
(a) Is the policy void on its face or due to vagueness?
(b) Is it void for lack of publication?
(c) Is the policy of CPR void as applied to the rallies of September 26 and October 4, 5 and 6,
2005?
During the course of the oral arguments, the following developments took place and were approved and/or noted by
the Court:
1. Petitioners, in the interest of a speedy resolution of the petitions, withdrew the portions of their petitions
raising factual issues, particularly those raising the issue of whether B.P. No. 880 and/or CPR is void as
applied to the rallies of September 20, October 4, 5 and 6, 2005.
2. The Solicitor General agreed with the observation of the Chief Justice that CPR should no longer be
used as a legal term inasmuch as, according to respondents, it was merely a "catchword" intended to clarify
what was thought to be a misunderstanding of the maximum tolerance policy set forth in B.P. No. 880 and
that, as stated in the affidavit executed by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and submitted to the
Ombudsman, it does not replace B.P. No. 880 and the maximum tolerance policy embodied in that law.
The Court will now proceed to address the principal issues, taking into account the foregoing developments.
10
Petitioners’ standing cannot be seriously challenged. Their right as citizens to engage in peaceful assembly and
exercise the right of petition, as guaranteed by the Constitution, is directly affected by B.P. No. 880 which requires a
permit for all who would publicly assemble in the nation’s streets and parks. They have, in fact, purposely engaged
in public assemblies without the required permits to press their claim that no such permit can be validly required
without violating the Constitutional guarantee. Respondents, on the other hand, have challenged such action as
contrary to law and dispersed the public assemblies held without the permit.
Section 4 of Article III of the Constitution provides:
Sec. 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the
people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.
The first point to mark is that the right to peaceably assemble and petition for redress of grievances is, together with
freedom of speech, of expression, and of the press, a right that enjoys primacy in the realm of constitutional
protection. For these rights constitute the very basis of a functional democratic polity, without which all the other
rights would be meaningless and unprotected. As stated in Jacinto v. CA, the Court, as early as the onset of this
century, in U.S. v. Apurado, already upheld the right to assembly and petition, as follows:
There is no question as to the petitioners’ rights to peaceful assembly to petition the government for a redress of
grievances and, for that matter, to organize or form associations for purposes not contrary to law, as well as to
engage in peaceful concerted activities. These rights are guaranteed by no less than the Constitution, particularly
Sections 4 and 8 of the Bill of Rights, Section 2(5) of Article IX, and Section 3 of Article XIII. Jurisprudence
abounds with hallowed pronouncements defending and promoting the people’s exercise of these rights. As early as
the onset of this century, this Court in U.S. vs. Apurado, already upheld the right to assembly and petition and even
went as far as to acknowledge:
"It is rather to be expected that more or less disorder will mark the public assembly of the people to protest against
grievances whether real or imaginary, because on such occasions feeling is always wrought to a high pitch of
excitement, and the greater, the grievance and the more intense the feeling, the less perfect, as a rule will be the
disciplinary control of the leaders over their irresponsible followers. But if the prosecution be permitted to seize
upon every instance of such disorderly conduct by individual members of a crowd as an excuse to characterize the
assembly as a seditious and tumultuous rising against the authorities, then the right to assemble and to petition for
redress of grievances would become a delusion and a snare and the attempt to exercise it on the most righteous
occasion and in the most peaceable manner would expose all those who took part therein to the severest and most
unmerited punishment, if the purposes which they sought to attain did not happen to be pleasing to the prosecuting
authorities. If instances of disorderly conduct occur on such occasions, the guilty individuals should be sought out
and punished therefor, but the utmost discretion must be exercised in drawing the line between disorderly and
seditious conduct and between an essentially peaceable assembly and a tumultuous uprising."
Again, in Primicias v. Fugoso, the Court likewise sustained the primacy of freedom of speech and to assembly and
petition over comfort and convenience in the use of streets and parks.
Next, however, it must be remembered that the right, while sacrosanct, is not absolute. In Primicias, this Court said:
The right to freedom of speech, and to peacefully assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances,
are fundamental personal rights of the people recognized and guaranteed by the constitutions of democratic
countries. But it is a settled principle growing out of the nature of well-ordered civil societies that the exercise of
those rights is not absolute for it may be so regulated that it shall not be injurious to the equal enjoyment of others
having equal rights, nor injurious to the rights of the community or society. The power to regulate the exercise of
such and other constitutional rights is termed the sovereign "police power," which is the power to prescribe
regulations, to promote the health, morals, peace, education, good order or safety, and general welfare of the people.
This sovereign police power is exercised by the government through its legislative branch by the enactment of laws
regulating those and other constitutional and civil rights, and it may be delegated to political subdivisions, such as
towns, municipalities and cities by authorizing their legislative bodies called municipal and city councils to enact
ordinances for the purpose.
Reyes v. Bagatsing further expounded on the right and its limits, as follows:
1. It is thus clear that the Court is called upon to protect the exercise of the cognate rights to free speech
and peaceful assembly, arising from the denial of a permit. The Constitution is quite explicit: "No law shall
be passed abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble
and petition the Government for redress of grievances." Free speech, like free press, may be identified with
the liberty to discuss publicly and truthfully any matter of public concern without censorship or
punishment. There is to be then no previous restraint on the communication of views or subsequent liability
whether in libel suits, prosecution for sedition, or action for damages, or contempt proceedings unless there
be a "clear and present danger of a substantive evil that [the State] has a right to prevent." Freedom of
assembly connotes the right of the people to meet peaceably for consultation and discussion of matters of
public concern. It is entitled to be accorded the utmost deference and respect. It is not to be limited, much
11
less denied, except on a showing, as is the case with freedom of expression, of a clear and present danger
of a substantive evil that the state has a right to prevent. Even prior to the 1935 Constitution, Justice
Malcolm had occasion to stress that it is a necessary consequence of our republican institutions and
complements the right of free speech. To paraphrase the opinion of Justice Rutledge, speaking for the
majority of the American Supreme Court in Thomas v. Collins, it was not by accident or coincidence that
the rights to freedom of speech and of the press were coupled in a single guarantee with the rights of the
people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances. All these rights,
while not identical, are inseparable. In every case, therefore, where there is a limitation placed on the
exercise of this right, the judiciary is called upon to examine the effects of the challenged governmental
actuation. The sole justification for a limitation on the exercise of this right, so fundamental to the
maintenance of democratic institutions, is the danger, of a character both grave and imminent, of a serious
evil to public safety, public morals, public health, or any other legitimate public interest.
2. Nowhere is the rationale that underlies the freedom of expression and peaceable assembly better
expressed than in this excerpt from an opinion of Justice Frankfurter: "It must never be forgotten, however,
that the Bill of Rights was the child of the Enlightenment. Back of the guaranty of free speech lay faith in
the power of an appeal to reason by all the peaceful means for gaining access to the mind. It was in order to
avert force and explosions due to restrictions upon rational modes of communication that the guaranty of
free speech was given a generous scope. But utterance in a context of violence can lose its significance as
an appeal to reason and become part of an instrument of force. Such utterance was not meant to be
sheltered by the Constitution." What was rightfully stressed is the abandonment of reason, the utterance,
whether verbal or printed, being in a context of violence. It must always be remembered that this right
likewise provides for a safety valve, allowing parties the opportunity to give vent to their views, even if
contrary to the prevailing climate of opinion. For if the peaceful means of communication cannot be
availed of, resort to non-peaceful means may be the only alternative. Nor is this the sole reason for the
expression of dissent. It means more than just the right to be heard of the person who feels aggrieved or
who is dissatisfied with things as they are. Its value may lie in the fact that there may be something worth
hearing from the dissenter. That is to ensure a true ferment of ideas. There are, of course, well-defined
limits. What is guaranteed is peaceable assembly. One may not advocate disorder in the name of protest,
much less preach rebellion under the cloak of dissent. The Constitution frowns on disorder or tumult
attending a rally or assembly. Resort to force is ruled out and outbreaks of violence to be avoided. The
utmost calm though is not required. As pointed out in an early Philippine case, penned in 1907 to be
precise, United States v. Apurado: "It is rather to be expected that more or less disorder will mark the
public assembly of the people to protest against grievances whether real or imaginary, because on such
occasions feeling is always wrought to a high pitch of excitement, and the greater the grievance and the
more intense the feeling, the less perfect, as a rule, will be the disciplinary control of the leaders over their
irresponsible followers." It bears repeating that for the constitutional right to be invoked, riotous conduct,
injury to property, and acts of vandalism must be avoided. To give free rein to one’s destructive urges is to
call for condemnation. It is to make a mockery of the high estate occupied by intellectual liberty in our
scheme of values.
There can be no legal objection, absent the existence of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil, on
the choice of Luneta as the place where the peace rally would start. The Philippines is committed to the
view expressed in the plurality opinion, of 1939 vintage, of Justice Roberts in Hague v. CIO: "Whenever
the title of streets and parks may rest, they have immemorially been held in trust for the use of the public
and, time out of mind, have been used for purposes of assembly, communicating thoughts between citizens,
and discussing public questions. Such use of the streets and public places has, from ancient times, been a
part of the privileges, immunities, rights and liberties of citizens. The privilege of a citizen of the United
States to use the streets and parks for communication of views on national questions may be regulated in
the interest of all; it is not absolute, but relative, and must be exercised in subordination to the general
comfort and convenience, and in consonance with peace and good order; but must not, in the guise of
regulation, be abridged or denied." The above excerpt was quoted with approval in Primicias v. Fugoso.
Primicias made explicit what was implicit in Municipality of Cavite v. Rojas, a 1915 decision, where this
Court categorically affirmed that plazas or parks and streets are outside the commerce of man and thus
nullified a contract that leased Plaza Soledad of plaintiff-municipality. Reference was made to such plaza
"being a promenade for public use," which certainly is not the only purpose that it could serve. To repeat,
there can be no valid reason why a permit should not be granted for the proposed march and rally starting
from a public park that is the Luneta.
4. Neither can there be any valid objection to the use of the streets to the gates of the US embassy, hardly
two blocks away at the Roxas Boulevard. Primicias v. Fugoso has resolved any lurking doubt on the
matter. In holding that the then Mayor Fugoso of the City of Manila should grant a permit for a public
meeting at Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, this Court categorically declared: "Our conclusion finds support in the
decision in the case of Willis Cox v. State of New Hampshire, 312 U.S., 569. In that case, the statute of
12
New Hampshire P.L. chap. 145, section 2, providing that no parade or procession upon any ground
abutting thereon, shall be permitted unless a special license therefor shall first be obtained from the
selectmen of the town or from licensing committee,’ was construed by the Supreme Court of New
Hampshire as not conferring upon the licensing board unfettered discretion to refuse to grant the license,
and held valid. And the Supreme Court of the United States, in its decision (1941) penned by Chief Justice
Hughes affirming the judgment of the State Supreme Court, held that ‘a statute requiring persons using the
public streets for a parade or procession to procure a special license therefor from the local authorities is
not an unconstitutional abridgment of the rights of assembly or of freedom of speech and press, where, as
the statute is construed by the state courts, the licensing authorities are strictly limited, in the issuance of
licenses, to a consideration of the time, place, and manner of the parade or procession, with a view to
conserving the public convenience and of affording an opportunity to provide proper policing, and are not
invested with arbitrary discretion to issue or refuse license, * * *. "Nor should the point made by Chief
Justice Hughes in a subsequent portion of the opinion be ignored: "Civil liberties, as guaranteed by the
Constitution, imply the existence of an organized society maintaining public order without which liberty
itself would be lost in the excesses of unrestricted abuses. The authority of a municipality to impose
regulations in order to assure the safety and convenience of the people in the use of public highways has
never been regarded as inconsistent with civil liberties but rather as one of the means of safeguarding the
good order upon which they ultimately depend. The control of travel on the streets of cities is the most
familiar illustration of this recognition of social need. Where a restriction of the use of highways in that
relation is designed to promote the public convenience in the interest of all, it cannot be disregarded by the
attempted exercise of some civil right which in other circumstances would be entitled to protection."
xxx
6. x x x The principle under American doctrines was given utterance by Chief Justice Hughes in these
words: "The question, if the rights of free speech and peaceable assembly are to be preserved, is not as to
the auspices under which the meeting is held but as to its purpose; not as to the relations of the speakers,
but whether their utterances transcend the bounds of the freedom of speech which the Constitution
protects." There could be danger to public peace and safety if such a gathering were marked by turbulence.
That would deprive it of its peaceful character. Even then, only the guilty parties should be held
accountable. It is true that the licensing official, here respondent Mayor, is not devoid of discretion in
determining whether or not a permit would be granted. It is not, however, unfettered discretion. While
prudence requires that there be a realistic appraisal not of what may possibly occur but of what may
probably occur, given all the relevant circumstances, still the assumption – especially so where the
assembly is scheduled for a specific public place – is that the permit must be for the assembly being held
there. The exercise of such a right, in the language of Justice Roberts, speaking for the American Supreme
Court, is not to be "abridged on the plea that it may be exercised in some other place."
xxx
8. By way of a summary. The applicants for a permit to hold an assembly should inform the licensing
authority of the date, the public place where and the time when it will take place. If it were a private place,
only the consent of the owner or the one entitled to its legal possession is required. Such application should
be filed well ahead in time to enable the public official concerned to appraise whether there may be valid
objections to the grant of the permit or to its grant but at another public place. It is an indispensable
condition to such refusal or modification that the clear and present danger test be the standard for the
decision reached. If he is of the view that there is such an imminent and grave danger of a substantive evil,
the applicants must be heard on the matter. Thereafter, his decision, whether favorable or adverse, must be
transmitted to them at the earliest opportunity. Thus if so minded, they can have recourse to the proper
judicial authority. Free speech and peaceable assembly, along with the other intellectual freedoms, are
highly ranked in our scheme of constitutional values. It cannot be too strongly stressed that on the
judiciary, -- even more so than on the other departments – rests the grave and delicate responsibility of
assuring respect for and deference to such preferred rights. No verbal formula, no sanctifying phrase can,
of course, dispense with what has been so felicitiously termed by Justice Holmes "as the sovereign
prerogative of judgment." Nonetheless, the presumption must be to incline the weight of the scales of
justice on the side of such rights, enjoying as they do precedence and primacy. x x x.
B.P. No. 880 was enacted after this Court rendered its decision in Reyes.
The provisions of B.P. No. 880 practically codify the ruling in Reyes:

Reyes v. Bagatsing B.P. No. 880


Sec. 4. Permit when required and when not

13
(G.R. No. L-65366, November 9, 1983, required.-- A written permit shall be required for
any person or persons to organize and hold a
125 SCRA 553, 569)
public assembly in a public place. However, no
8. By way of a summary. The applicants for a permit shall be required if the public assembly
permit to hold an assembly should inform the shall be done or made in a freedom park duly
licensing authority of the date, the public place established by law or ordinance or in private
where and the time when it will take place. If it property, in which case only the consent of the
were a private place, only the consent of the owner or the one entitled to its legal possession is
owner or the one entitled to its legal possession is required, or in the campus of a government-owned
required. Such application should be filed well and operated educational institution which shall be
ahead in time to enable the public official subject to the rules and regulations of said
concerned to appraise whether there may be valid educational institution. Political meetings or
objections to the grant of the permit or to its grant rallies held during any election campaign period
but at another public place. It is an indispensable as provided for by law are not covered by this Act.
condition to such refusal or modification that the
Sec. 5. Application requirements.-- All
clear and present danger test be the standard for
applications for a permit shall comply with the
the decision reached. If he is of the view that there
following guidelines:
is such an imminent and grave danger of a
substantive evil, the applicants must be heard on (a) The applications shall be in writing
the matter. Thereafter, his decision, whether and shall include the names of the leaders
favorable or adverse, must be transmitted to them or organizers; the purpose of such public
at the earliest opportunity. Thus if so minded, they assembly; the date, time and duration
can have recourse to the proper judicial authority. thereof, and place or streets to be used for
the intended activity; and the probable
number of persons participating, the
transport and the public address systems
to be used.
(b) The application shall incorporate the
duty and responsibility of applicant under
Section 8 hereof.
(c) The application shall be filed with the
office of the mayor of the city or
municipality in whose jurisdiction the
intended activity is to be held, at least
five (5) working days before the
scheduled public assembly.
(d) Upon receipt of the application,
which must be duly acknowledged in
writing, the office of the city or
municipal mayor shall cause the same to
immediately be posted at a conspicuous
place in the city or municipal building.
Sec. 6. Action to be taken on the application. –
(a) It shall be the duty of the mayor or
any official acting in his behalf to issue
or grant a permit unless there is clear and
convincing evidence that the public
assembly will create a clear and present
danger to public order, public safety,
public convenience, public morals or
public health.
(b) The mayor or any official acting in
his behalf shall act on the application
within two (2) working days from the
date the application was filed, failing
which, the permit shall be deemed
granted. Should for any reason the mayor

14
or any official acting in his behalf refuse
to accept the application for a permit,
said application shall be posted by the
applicant on the premises of the office of
the mayor and shall be deemed to have
been filed.
(c) If the mayor is of the view that there
is imminent and grave danger of a
substantive evil warranting the denial or
modification of the permit, he shall
immediately inform the applicant who
must be heard on the matter.
(d) The action on the permit shall be in
writing and served on the applica[nt]
within twenty-four hours.
(e) If the mayor or any official acting in
his behalf denies the application or
modifies the terms thereof in his permit,
the applicant may contest the decision in
an appropriate court of law.
(f) In case suit is brought before the
Metropolitan Trial Court, the Municipal
Trial Court, the Municipal Circuit Trial
Court, the Regional Trial Court, or the
Intermediate Appellate Court, its
decisions may be appealed to the
appropriate court within forty-eight (48)
hours after receipt of the same. No appeal
bond and record on appeal shall be
required. A decision granting such permit
or modifying it in terms satisfactory to
the applicant shall be immediately
executory.
(g) All cases filed in court under this
section shall be decided within twenty-
four (24) hours from date of filing. Cases
filed hereunder shall be immediately
endorsed to the executive judge for
disposition or, in his absence, to the next
in rank.
(h) In all cases, any decision may be
appealed to the Supreme Court.
(i) Telegraphic appeals to be followed by
formal appeals are hereby allowed.

It is very clear, therefore, that B.P. No. 880 is not an absolute ban of public assemblies but a restriction that simply
regulates the time, place and manner of the assemblies. This was adverted to in Osmeña v. Comelec, where the
Court referred to it as a "content-neutral" regulation of the time, place, and manner of holding public assemblies.
A fair and impartial reading of B.P. No. 880 thus readily shows that it refers to all kinds of public assemblies that
would use public places. The reference to "lawful cause" does not make it content-based because assemblies really
have to be for lawful causes, otherwise they would not be "peaceable" and entitled to protection. Neither are the
words "opinion," "protesting" and "influencing" in the definition of public assembly content based, since they can
refer to any subject. The words "petitioning the government for redress of grievances" come from the wording of the
Constitution, so its use cannot be avoided. Finally, maximum tolerance is for the protection and benefit of all
rallyists and is independent of the content of the expressions in the rally.
Furthermore, the permit can only be denied on the ground of clear and present danger to public order, public safety,
15
public convenience, public morals or public health. This is a recognized exception to the exercise of the right even
under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, thus:
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 20
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
xxx
Article 29
1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is
possible.
2. In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are
determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and
freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in
a democratic society.
3. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the
United Nations.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Article 19.
1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive
and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in
the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.
3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and
responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are
provided by law and are necessary:
(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;
(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or
morals.
Contrary to petitioner’s claim, the law is very clear and is nowhere vague in its provisions. "Public" does not have to
be defined. Its ordinary meaning is well-known. Webster’s Dictionary defines it, thus:
public, n, x x x 2a: an organized body of people x x x 3: a group of people distinguished by common interests or
characteristics x x x.
Not every expression of opinion is a public assembly. The law refers to "rally, demonstration, march, parade,
procession or any other form of mass or concerted action held in a public place." So it does not cover any and all
kinds of gatherings.
Neither is the law overbroad. It regulates the exercise of the right to peaceful assembly and petition only to the
extent needed to avoid a clear and present danger of the substantive evils Congress has the right to prevent.
There is, likewise, no prior restraint, since the content of the speech is not relevant to the regulation.
As to the delegation of powers to the mayor, the law provides a precise and sufficient standard – the clear and
present danger test stated in Sec. 6(a). The reference to "imminent and grave danger of a substantive evil" in Sec.
6(c) substantially means the same thing and is not an inconsistent standard. As to whether respondent Mayor has the
same power independently under Republic Act No. 7160 is thus not necessary to resolve in these proceedings, and
was not pursued by the parties in their arguments.
Finally, for those who cannot wait, Section 15 of the law provides for an alternative forum through the creation of
freedom parks where no prior permit is needed for peaceful assembly and petition at any time:
Sec. 15. Freedom parks. – Every city and municipality in the country shall within six months after the effectivity of
this Act establish or designate at least one suitable "freedom park" or mall in their respective jurisdictions which, as
far as practicable, shall be centrally located within the poblacion where demonstrations and meetings may be held at
any time without the need of any prior permit.
In the cities and municipalities of Metropolitan Manila, the respective mayors shall establish the freedom parks
within the period of six months from the effectivity this Act.
This brings up the point, however, of compliance with this provision.
16
The Solicitor General stated during the oral arguments that, to his knowledge, only Cebu City has declared a
freedom park – Fuente Osmeña.
That of Manila, the Sunken Gardens, has since been converted into a golf course, he added.
If this is so, the degree of observance of B.P. No. 880’s mandate that every city and municipality set aside a freedom
park within six months from its effectivity in 1985, or 20 years ago, would be pathetic and regrettable. The matter
appears to have been taken for granted amidst the swell of freedom that rose from the peaceful revolution of 1986.
Considering that the existence of such freedom parks is an essential part of the law’s system of regulation of the
people’s exercise of their right to peacefully assemble and petition, the Court is constrained to rule that after thirty
(30) days from the finality of this Decision, no prior permit may be required for the exercise of such right in any
public park or plaza of a city or municipality until that city or municipality shall have complied with Section 15 of
the law. For without such alternative forum, to deny the permit would in effect be to deny the right. Advance notices
should, however, be given to the authorities to ensure proper coordination and orderly proceedings.
The Court now comes to the matter of the CPR. As stated earlier, the Solicitor General has conceded that the use of
the term should now be discontinued, since it does not mean anything other than the maximum tolerance policy set
forth in B.P. No. 880. This is stated in the Affidavit of respondent Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, submitted
by the Solicitor General, thus:
14. The truth of the matter is the policy of "calibrated preemptive response" is in consonance with the legal
definition of "maximum tolerance" under Section 3 (c) of B.P. Blg. 880, which is the "highest degree of restraint
that the military, police and other peacekeeping authorities shall observe during a public assembly or in the dispersal
of the same." Unfortunately, however, the phrase "maximum tolerance" has acquired a different meaning over the
years. Many have taken it to mean inaction on the part of law enforcers even in the face of mayhem and serious
threats to public order. More so, other felt that they need not bother secure a permit when holding rallies thinking
this would be "tolerated." Clearly, the popular connotation of "maximum tolerance" has departed from its real
essence under B.P. Blg. 880.
15. It should be emphasized that the policy of maximum tolerance is provided under the same law which requires all
pubic assemblies to have a permit, which allows the dispersal of rallies without a permit, and which recognizes
certain instances when water cannons may be used. This could only mean that "maximum tolerance" is not in
conflict with a "no permit, no rally policy" or with the dispersal and use of water cannons under certain
circumstances for indeed, the maximum amount of tolerance required is dependent on how peaceful or unruly a
mass action is. Our law enforcers should calibrate their response based on the circumstances on the ground with the
view to preempting the outbreak of violence.
16. Thus, when I stated that calibrated preemptive response is being enforced in lieu of maximum tolerance I clearly
was not referring to its legal definition but to the distorted and much abused definition that it has now acquired. I
only wanted to disabuse the minds of the public from the notion that law enforcers would shirk their responsibility
of keeping the peace even when confronted with dangerously threatening behavior. I wanted to send a message that
we would no longer be lax in enforcing the law but would henceforth follow it to the letter. Thus I said, "we have
instructed the PNP as well as the local government units to strictly enforce a no permit, no rally policy . . . arrest all
persons violating the laws of the land . . . unlawful mass actions will be dispersed." None of these is at loggerheads
with the letter and spirit of Batas Pambansa Blg. 880. It is thus absurd for complainants to even claim that I ordered
my co-respondents to violate any law.
At any rate, the Court rules that in view of the maximum tolerance mandated by B.P. No. 880, CPR serves no valid
purpose if it means the same thing as maximum tolerance and is illegal if it means something else. Accordingly,
what is to be followed is and should be that mandated by the law itself, namely, maximum tolerance, which
specifically means the following:
Sec. 3. Definition of terms. – For purposes of this Act:
xxx
(c) "Maximum tolerance" means the highest degree of restraint that the military, police and other peace keeping
authorities shall observe during a public assembly or in the dispersal of the same.
xxx
Sec. 9. Non-interference by law enforcement authorities. – Law enforcement agencies shall not interfere with the
holding of a public assembly. However, to adequately ensure public safety, a law enforcement contingent under the
command of a responsible police officer may be detailed and stationed in a place at least one hundred (100) meters
away from the area of activity ready to maintain peace and order at all times.
Sec. 10. Police assistance when requested. – It shall be imperative for law enforcement agencies, when their
assistance is requested by the leaders or organizers, to perform their duties always mindful that their responsibility
to provide proper protection to those exercising their right peaceably to assemble and the freedom of expression is
17
primordial. Towards this end, law enforcement agencies shall observe the following guidelines:
(a) Members of the law enforcement contingent who deal with the demonstrators shall be in complete
uniform with their nameplates and units to which they belong displayed prominently on the front and
dorsal parts of their uniform and must observe the policy of "maximum tolerance" as herein defined;
(b) The members of the law enforcement contingent shall not carry any kind of firearms but may be
equipped with baton or riot sticks, shields, crash helmets with visor, gas masks, boots or ankle high shoes
with shin guards;
(c) Tear gas, smoke grenades, water cannons, or any similar anti-riot device shall not be used unless the
public assembly is attended by actual violence or serious threats of violence, or deliberate destruction of
property.
Sec. 11. Dispersal of public assembly with permit. – No public assembly with a permit shall be dispersed. However,
when an assembly becomes violent, the police may disperse such public assembly as follows:
(a) At the first sign of impending violence, the ranking officer of the law enforcement contingent shall call
the attention of the leaders of the public assembly and ask the latter to prevent any possible disturbance;
(b) If actual violence starts to a point where rocks or other harmful objects from the participants are thrown
at the police or at the non-participants, or at any property causing damage to such property, the ranking
officer of the law enforcement contingent shall audibly warn the participants that if the disturbance persists,
the public assembly will be dispersed;
(c) If the violence or disturbance prevailing as stated in the preceding subparagraph should not stop or
abate, the ranking officer of the law enforcement contingent shall audibly issue a warning to the
participants of the public assembly, and after allowing a reasonable period of time to lapse, shall
immediately order it to forthwith disperse;
(d) No arrest of any leader, organizer or participant shall also be made during the public assembly unless he
violates during the assembly a law, statute, ordinance or any provision of this Act. Such arrest shall be
governed by Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended;
(d) Isolated acts or incidents of disorder or breach of the peace during the public assembly shall not
constitute a ground for dispersal.
xxx
Sec. 12. Dispersal of public assembly without permit. – When the public assembly is held without a permit where a
permit is required, the said public assembly may be peacefully dispersed.
Sec. 13. Prohibited acts. – The following shall constitute violations of the Act:
(e) Obstructing, impeding, disrupting or otherwise denying the exercise of the right to peaceful assembly;
(f) The unnecessary firing of firearms by a member of any law enforcement agency or any person to disperse the
public assembly;
(g) Acts described hereunder if committed within one hundred (100) meters from the area of activity of the public
assembly or on the occasion thereof:
xxx
4. the carrying of firearms by members of the law enforcement unit;
5. the interfering with or intentionally disturbing the holding of a public assembly by the use of a motor vehicle, its
horns and loud sound systems.
Furthermore, there is need to address the situation adverted to by petitioners where mayors do not act on
applications for a permit and when the police demand a permit and the rallyists could not produce one, the rally is
immediately dispersed. In such a situation, as a necessary consequence and part of maximum tolerance, rallyists
who can show the police an application duly filed on a given date can, after two days from said date, rally in
accordance with their application without the need to show a permit, the grant of the permit being then presumed
under the law, and it will be the burden of the authorities to show that there has been a denial of the application, in
which case the rally may be peacefully dispersed following the procedure of maximum tolerance prescribed by the
law.
In sum, this Court reiterates its basic policy of upholding the fundamental rights of our people, especially freedom
of expression and freedom of assembly. In several policy addresses, Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban has
repeatedly vowed to uphold the liberty of our people and to nurture their prosperity. He said that "in cases involving
liberty, the scales of justice should weigh heavily against the government and in favor of the poor, the oppressed, the
marginalized, the dispossessed and the weak. Indeed, laws and actions that restrict fundamental rights come to the

18
courts with a heavy presumption against their validity. These laws and actions are subjected to heightened
scrutiny."
For this reason, the so-called calibrated preemptive response policy has no place in our legal firmament and must be
struck down as a darkness that shrouds freedom. It merely confuses our people and is used by some police agents to
justify abuses. On the other hand, B.P. No. 880 cannot be condemned as unconstitutional; it does not curtail or
unduly restrict freedoms; it merely regulates the use of public places as to the time, place and manner of assemblies.
Far from being insidious, "maximum tolerance" is for the benefit of rallyists, not the government. The delegation to
the mayors of the power to issue rally "permits" is valid because it is subject to the constitutionally-sound "clear and
present danger" standard.
In this Decision, the Court goes even one step further in safeguarding liberty by giving local governments a deadline
of 30 days within which to designate specific freedom parks as provided under B.P. No. 880. If, after that period, no
such parks are so identified in accordance with Section 15 of the law, all public parks and plazas of the municipality
or city concerned shall in effect be deemed freedom parks; no prior permit of whatever kind shall be required to
hold an assembly therein. The only requirement will be written notices to the police and the mayor’s office to allow
proper coordination and orderly activities.
WHEREFORE, the petitions are GRANTED in part, and respondents, more particularly the Secretary of the
Interior and Local Governments, are DIRECTED to take all necessary steps for the immediate compliance with
Section 15 of BP No. 880 through the establishment or designation of at least one suitable freedom park or plaza in
every city and municipality of the country. After thirty (30) days from the finality of this Decision, subject to the
giving of advance notices, no prior permit shall be required to exercise the right to peaceably assemble and petition
in the public parks or plazas of a city or municipality that has not yet complied with Section 15 of the law.
Furthermore, Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR), insofar as it would purport to differ from or be in lieu of
maximum tolerance, is NULL and VOID and respondents are ENJOINED to REFRAIN from using it and to
STRICTLY OBSERVE the requirements of maximum tolerance. The petitions are DISMISSED in all other
respects, and the constitutionality of Batas Pambansa No. 880 is SUSTAINED.

19
Secretary of Justice vs. Judge Lantion
Facts:
On June 18, 1999, the Department of Justice received from the Department of Foreign Affairs of the United States
requesting for the extradition of Mark Jimenez for various crimes in violation of US laws. In compliance with the
related municipal law, specifically Presidential Decree No. 1069 “Prescribing the Procedure for Extradition of Persons
Who Have committed Crimes in a Foreign Country” and the established “Extradition Treaty Between the Government
of the Philippines and the Government of the United States of America”, the department proceeded with proceeded
with the designation of a panel of attorneys to conduct a technical evaluation and assessment as provided for in the
presidential decree and the treaty. The respondent requested for a copy of the official extradition request as well as the
documents and papers submitted therein. The petitioner denied the request as it alleges that such information is
confidential in nature and that it is premature to provide such document as the process is not a preliminary investigation
but a mere evaluation. Therefore, the constitutional rights of the accused are not yet available.
Issue:
1.Whether or not private respondent, Mark B. Jimenez, be granted access to the official extradition request and
documents with an opportunity to file a comment on or opposition thereto
2.Whether or not private respondent’s entitlement to notice and hearing during the evaluation stage of the proceedings
constitute a breach of the legal duties of the Philippine Government under the RP-US Extradition Treaty

Ruling:
The Supreme Court ruled that the private respondent be furnished a copy of the extradition request and its supporting
papers and to give him a reasonable period of time within which to file his comment with supporting evidence. In this
case, there exists a clear conflict between the obligation of the Philippine Government to comply with the provisions of
the treaty and its equally significant role of protection of its citizens of its right of due process. The processes outlined
in the treaty and in the presidential decree already pose an impending threat to a prospective extraditee’s liberty as early
as the evaluation stage. It is not an imagined threat to his liberty, but a very imminent one. On the other hand, granting
due process to the extradition case causes delay in the process. The rule of pacta sunt servanda, one of the oldest and
most fundamental maxims of international law, requires the parties to a treaty to keep their agreement therein in good
faith. The doctrine of incorporation is applied whenever municipal tribunals are confronted with situations in which
there appears to be a conflict between a rule of international law and the provisions of the constitution or statute of a
local state. Efforts should be done to harmonize them. In a situation, however, where the conflict is irreconcilable and a
choice has to be made between a rule of international law and municipal law, jurisprudence dictates that municipal law
should be upheld by the municipal courts. The doctrine of incorporation decrees that rules of international law are
given equal standing, but are not superior to, national legislative enactments. In this case, there is no conflict between
international law and municipal law. The United States and the Philippines share a mutual concern about the
suppression and punishment of crime in their respective jurisdictions. At the same time, both States accord common
due process protection to their respective citizens. In fact, neither the Treaty nor the Extradition Law precludes the
rights of due process from a prospective extradite.

20
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA vs. Hon. GUILLERMO G. PURGANAN

In extradition proceedings, are prospective extraditees entitled to notice and hearing before warrants for their arrest can
be issued? Equally important, are they entitled to the right to bail and provisional liberty while the extradition proceedings
are pending? In general, the answer to these two novel questions is “No.” The explanation of and the reasons for, as well as
the exceptions to, this rule are laid out in this Decision.

The Case

Before us is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, seeking to void and set aside the Orders dated
May 23, 2001and July 3, 2001issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 42. The first assailed Order set for
hearing petitioner’s application for the issuance of a warrant for the arrest of Respondent Mark B. Jimenez.
The second challenged Order, on the other hand, directed the issuance of a warrant, but at the same time granted bail to
Jimenez. The dispositive portion of the Order reads as follows:
“WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the [Court] finds probable cause against respondent Mark
Jimenez. Accordingly let a Warrant for the arrest of the respondent be issued. Consequently and taking into
consideration Section 9, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, this Court fixes the reasonable
amount of bail for respondent’s temporary liberty at ONE MILLION PESOS (Php 1,000,000.00), the same to be
paid in cash.
“Furthermore respondent is directed to immediately surrender to this Court his passport and the Bureau of
Immigration and Deportation is likewise directed to include the name of the respondent in its Hold Departure
List.”
Essentially, the Petition prays for the lifting of the bail Order, the cancellation of the bond, and the taking of
Jimenez into legal custody.

The Facts

This Petition is really a sequel to GR No. 139465 entitled Secretary of Justice v. Ralph C. Lantion.
Pursuant to the existing RP-US Extradition Treaty, the United States Government, through diplomatic channels, sent to
the Philippine Government Note Verbale No. 0522 dated June 16, 1999, supplemented by Note Nos. 0597, 0720 and 0809
and accompanied by duly authenticated documents requesting the extradition of Mark B. Jimenez, also known as Mario
Batacan Crespo. Upon receipt of the Notes and documents, the secretary of foreign affairs (SFA) transmitted them to the
secretary of justice (SOJ) for appropriate action, pursuant to Section 5 of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1069, also known as
the Extradition Law.
Upon learning of the request for his extradition, Jimenez sought and was granted a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
by the RTC of Manila, Branch 25. The TRO prohibited the Department of Justice (DOJ) from filing with the RTC a petition
for his extradition. The validity of the TRO was, however, assailed by the SOJ in a Petition before this Court in the said GR
No. 139465. Initially, the Court -- by a vote of 9-6 -- dismissed the Petition. The SOJ was ordered to furnish private
respondent copies of the extradition request and its supporting papers and to grant the latter a reasonable period within which
to file a comment and supporting evidence.
Acting on the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the SOJ, this Court issued its October 17, 2000 Resolution. By an
identical vote of 9-6 -- after three justices changed their votes -- it reconsidered and reversed its earlier Decision. It held that
private respondent was bereft of the right to notice and hearing during the evaluation stage of the extradition process. This
Resolution has become final and executory.
Finding no more legal obstacle, the Government of the United States of America, represented by the Philippine DOJ,
filed with the RTC on May 18, 2001, the appropriate Petition for Extradition which was docketed as Extradition Case No.
01192061. The Petition alleged, inter alia, that Jimenez was the subject of an arrest warrant issued by the United States
District Court for the Southern District of Florida on April 15, 1999. The warrant had been issued in connection with the
following charges in Indictment No. 99-00281 CR-SEITZ: (1) conspiracy to defraud the United States and to commit certain

21
offenses in violation of Title 18 US Code Section 371; (2) tax evasion, in violation of Title 26 US Code Section 7201; (3)
wire fraud, in violation of Title 18 US Code Sections 1343 and 2; (4) false statements, in violation of Title 18 US Code
Sections 1001 and 2; and (5) illegal campaign contributions, in violation of Title 2 US Code Sections 441b, 441f and 437g(d)
and Title 18 US Code Section 2. In order to prevent the flight of Jimenez, the Petition prayed for the issuance of an order for
his “immediate arrest” pursuant to Section 6 of PD No. 1069.
Before the RTC could act on the Petition, Respondent Jimenez filed before it an “Urgent Manifestation/Ex-Parte
Motion,” which prayed that petitioner’s application for an arrest warrant be set for hearing.
In its assailed May 23, 2001 Order, the RTC granted the Motion of Jimenez and set the case for hearing on June 5,
2001. In that hearing, petitioner manifested its reservations on the procedure adopted by the trial court allowing the accused
in an extradition case to be heard prior to the issuance of a warrant of arrest.
After the hearing, the court a quo required the parties to submit their respective memoranda. In his Memorandum,
Jimenez sought an alternative prayer: that in case a warrant should issue, he be allowed to post bail in the amount of
P100,000.
The alternative prayer of Jimenez was also set for hearing on June 15, 2001. Thereafter, the court below issued its
questioned July 3, 2001 Order, directing the issuance of a warrant for his arrest and fixing bail for his temporary liberty at
one million pesos in cash. After he had surrendered his passport and posted the required cash bond, Jimenez was granted
provisional liberty via the challenged Order dated July 4, 2001.
Hence, this Petition.

Issues

Petitioner presents the following issues for the consideration of this Court:
I.
“The public respondent acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction in adopting a procedure of first hearing a potential extraditee before issuing an arrest
warrant under Section 6 of PD No. 1069.
II.
“The public respondent acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction in granting the prayer for bail and in allowing Jimenez to go on provisional liberty
because:
‘1. An extradition court has no power to authorize bail, in the absence of any law that provides for such
power.
‘2. Section 13, Article III (right to bail clause) of the 1987 Philippine Constitution and Section 4, Rule 114
(Bail) of the Rules of Court, as amended, which [were] relied upon, cannot be used as bases for allowing bail in
extradition proceedings.
‘3. The presumption is against bail in extradition proceedings or proceedings leading to extradition.
‘4. On the assumption that bail is available in extradition proceedings or proceedings leading to extradition,
bail is not a matter of right but only of discretion upon clear showing by the applicant of the existence of special
circumstances.
‘5. Assuming that bail is a matter of discretion in extradition proceedings, the public respondent received no
evidence of ‘special circumstances’ which may justify release on bail.
‘6. The risk that Jimenez will flee is high, and no special circumstance exists that will engender a well-
founded belief that he will not flee.
‘7. The conditions attached to the grant of bail are ineffectual and do not ensure compliance by the
Philippines with its obligations under the RP-US Extradition Treaty.
‘8. The Court of Appeals Resolution promulgated on May 10, 2001 in the case entitled ‘Eduardo T.
Rodriguez et al. vs. The Hon. Presiding Judge, RTC, Branch 17, Manila,’ CA-G.R. SP No. 64589, relied upon by
the public respondent in granting bail, had been recalled before the issuance of the subject bail orders.’”

22
In sum, the substantive questions that this Court will address are: (1) whether Jimenez is entitled to notice and hearing
before a warrant for his arrest can be issued, and (2) whether he is entitled to bail and to provisional liberty while the
extradition proceedings are pending. Preliminarily, we shall take up the alleged prematurity of the Petition for Certiorari
arising from petitioner’s failure to file a Motion for Reconsideration in the RTC and to seek relief in the Court of Appeals
(CA), instead of in this Court. We shall also preliminarily discuss five extradition postulates that will guide us in disposing of
the substantive issues.

The Court’s Ruling

The Petition is meritorious.

Preliminary Matters

Alleged Prematurity of Present Petition


Petitioner submits the following justifications for not filing a Motion for Reconsideration in the Extradition Court: “(1)
the issues were fully considered by such court after requiring the parties to submit their respective memoranda and position
papers on the matter and thus, the filing of a reconsideration motion would serve no useful purpose; (2) the assailed orders
are a patent nullity, absent factual and legal basis therefor; and (3) the need for relief is extremely urgent, as the passage of
sufficient time would give Jimenez ample opportunity to escape and avoid extradition; and (4) the issues raised are purely of
law.”
For resorting directly to this Court instead of the CA, petitioner submits the following reasons: “(1) even if the petition
is lodged with the Court of Appeals and such appellate court takes cognizance of the issues and decides them, the parties
would still bring the matter to this Honorable Court to have the issues resolved once and for all [and] to have a binding
precedent that all lower courts ought to follow; (2) the Honorable Court of Appeals had in one case ruled on the issue by
disallowing bail but the court below refused to recognize the decision as a judicial guide and all other courts might likewise
adopt the same attitude of refusal; and (3) there are pending issues on bail both in the extradition courts and the Court of
Appeals, which, unless guided by the decision that this Honorable Court will render in this case, would resolve to grant bail
in favor of the potential extraditees and would give them opportunity to flee and thus, cause adverse effect on the ability of
the Philippines to comply with its obligations under existing extradition treaties.”
As a general rule, a petition for certiorari before a higher court will not prosper unless the inferior court has been given,
through a motion for reconsideration, a chance to correct the errors imputed to it. This rule, though, has certain exceptions:
(1) when the issue raised is purely of law, (2) when public interest is involved, or (3) in case of urgency. As a fourth
exception, the Court has also ruled that the filing of a motion for reconsideration before availment of the remedy of certiorari
is not a sine qua non, when the questions raised are the same as those that have already been squarely argued and
exhaustively passed upon by the lower court. Aside from being of this nature, the issues in the present case also involve pure
questions of law that are of public interest. Hence, a motion for reconsideration may be dispensed with.
Likewise, this Court has allowed a direct invocation of its original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari when there are
special and important reasons therefor. In Fortich vs Corona we stated:
“[T]he Supreme Court has the full discretionary power to take cognizance of the petition filed directly
[before] it if compelling reasons, or the nature and importance of the issues raised, warrant. This has been the
judicial policy to be observed and which has been reiterated in subsequent cases, namely: Uy vs. Contreras, et. al.,
Torres vs. Arranz, Bercero vs. De Guzman, and, Advincula vs. Legaspi, et. al. As we have further stated in
Cuaresma:
‘x x x. A direct invocation of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction to issue these writs should
be allowed only when there are special and important reasons therefor, clearly and specifically set out in
the petition. This is established policy. x x x.’
“Pursuant to said judicial policy, we resolve to take primary jurisdiction over the present petition in the
interest of speedy justice and to avoid future litigations so as to promptly put an end to the present controversy
which, as correctly observed by petitioners, has sparked national interest because of the magnitude of the problem
created by the issuance of the assailed resolution. Moreover, x x x requiring the petitioners to file their petition
first with the Court of Appeals would only result in a waste of time and money.
“That the Court has the power to set aside its own rules in the higher interests of justice is well-entrenched in
our jurisprudence. We reiterate what we said in Piczon vs. Court of Appeals:
23
‘Be it remembered that rules of procedure are but mere tools designed to facilitate the attainment
of justice. Their strict and rigid application, which would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate
rather than promote substantial justice, must always be avoided. Time and again, this Court has
suspended its own rules and excepted a particular case from their operation whenever the higher
interests of justice so require. In the instant petition, we forego a lengthy disquisition of the proper
procedure that should have been taken by the parties involved and proceed directly to the merits of the
case.’
In a number of other exceptional cases, we held as follows:
“This Court has original jurisdiction, concurrent with that of Regional Trial Courts and the Court of Appeals,
over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto and habeas corpus, and we entertain direct
resort to us in cases where special and important reasons or exceptional and compelling circumstances justify the
same.”
In the interest of justice and to settle once and for all the important issue of bail in extradition proceedings, we deem it
best to take cognizance of the present case. Such proceedings constitute a matter of first impression over which there is, as
yet, no local jurisprudence to guide lower courts.
Five Postulates of Extradition
The substantive issues raised in this case require an interpretation or construction of the treaty and the law on
extradition. A cardinal rule in the interpretation of a treaty or a law is to ascertain and give effect to its intent. Since PD 1069
is intended as a guide for the implementation of extradition treaties to which the Philippines is a signatory, understanding
certain postulates of extradition will aid us in properly deciding the issues raised here.
1. Extradition Is a Major Instrument for the Suppression of Crime.
First, extradition treaties are entered into for the purpose of suppressing crime by facilitating the arrest and the custodial
transfer of a fugitive from one state to the other.
With the advent of easier and faster means of international travel, the flight of affluent criminals from one country to
another for the purpose of committing crime and evading prosecution has become more frequent. Accordingly, governments
are adjusting their methods of dealing with criminals and crimes that transcend international boundaries.
Today, “a majority of nations in the world community have come to look upon extradition as the major effective
instrument of international co-operation in the suppression of crime.” It is the only regular system that has been devised to
return fugitives to the jurisdiction of a court competent to try them in accordance with municipal and international law.
“An important practical effect x x x of the recognition of the principle that criminals should be restored to a
jurisdiction competent to try and punish them is that the number of criminals seeking refuge abroad will be
reduced. For to the extent that efficient means of detection and the threat of punishment play a significant role in
the deterrence of crime within the territorial limits of a State, so the existence of effective extradition arrangements
and the consequent certainty of return to the locus delicti commissi play a corresponding role in the deterrence of
flight abroad in order to escape the consequence of crime. x x x. From an absence of extradition arrangements
flight abroad by the ingenious criminal receives direct encouragement and thus indirectly does the commission of
crime itself.”
In Secretary v. Lantion we explained:
“The Philippines also has a national interest to help in suppressing crimes and one way to do it is to facilitate
the extradition of persons covered by treaties duly entered [into] by our government. More and more, crimes are
becoming the concern of one world. Laws involving crimes and crime prevention are undergoing universalization.
One manifest purpose of this trend towards globalization is to deny easy refuge to a criminal whose activities
threaten the peace and progress of civilized countries. It is to the great interest of the Philippines to be part of this
irreversible movement in light of its vulnerability to crimes, especially transnational crimes.”
Indeed, in this era of globalization, easier and faster international travel, and an expanding ring of international crimes
and criminals, we cannot afford to be an isolationist state. We need to cooperate with other states in order to improve our
chances of suppressing crime in our own country.
2. The Requesting State Will Accord Due Process to the Accused
Second, an extradition treaty presupposes that both parties thereto have examined, and that both accept and trust, each
other’s legal system and judicial process. More pointedly, our duly authorized representative’s signature on an extradition
treaty signifies our confidence in the capacity and the willingness of the other state to protect the basic rights of the person
sought to be extradited. That signature signifies our full faith that the accused will be given, upon extradition to the

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requesting state, all relevant and basic rights in the criminal proceedings that will take place therein; otherwise, the treaty
would not have been signed, or would have been directly attacked for its unconstitutionality.
3. The Proceedings Are Sui Generis
Third, as pointed out in Secretary of Justice v. Lantion, extradition proceedings are not criminal in nature. In criminal
proceedings, the constitutional rights of the accused are at fore; in extradition which is sui generis -- in a class by itself -- they
are not.
“An extradition [proceeding] is sui generis. It is not a criminal proceeding which will call into operation all
the rights of an accused as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. To begin with, the process of extradition does not
involve the determination of the guilt or innocence of an accused. His guilt or innocence will be adjudged in the
court of the state where he will be extradited. Hence, as a rule, constitutional rights that are only relevant to
determine the guilt or innocence of an accused cannot be invoked by an extraditee x x x.
xxx xxx xxx
“There are other differences between an extradition proceeding and a criminal proceeding. An extradition
proceeding is summary in nature while criminal proceedings involve a full-blown trial. In contradistinction to a
criminal proceeding, the rules of evidence in an extradition proceeding allow admission of evidence under less
stringent standards. In terms of the quantum of evidence to be satisfied, a criminal case requires proof beyond
reasonable doubt for conviction while a fugitive may be ordered extradited ‘upon showing of the existence of a
prima facie case.’ Finally, unlike in a criminal case where judgment becomes executory upon being rendered
final, in an extradition proceeding, our courts may adjudge an individual extraditable but the President has the final
discretion to extradite him. The United States adheres to a similar practice whereby the Secretary of State
exercises wide discretion in balancing the equities of the case and the demands of the nation’s foreign relations
before making the ultimate decision to extradite.”
Given the foregoing, it is evident that the extradition court is not called upon to ascertain the guilt or the innocence of
the person sought to be extradited. Such determination during the extradition proceedings will only result in needless
duplication and delay. Extradition is merely a measure of international judicial assistance through which a person charged
with or convicted of a crime is restored to a jurisdiction with the best claim to try that person. It is not part of the function of
the assisting authorities to enter into questions that are the prerogative of that jurisdiction. The ultimate purpose of
extradition proceedings in court is only to determine whether the extradition request complies with the Extradition Treaty,
and whether the person sought is extraditable.
4. Compliance Shall Be in Good Faith.
Fourth, our executive branch of government voluntarily entered into the Extradition Treaty, and our legislative branch
ratified it. Hence, the Treaty carries the presumption that its implementation will serve the national interest.
Fulfilling our obligations under the Extradition Treaty promotes comity with the requesting state. On the other hand,
failure to fulfill our obligations thereunder paints a bad image of our country before the world community. Such failure
would discourage other states from entering into treaties with us, particularly an extradition treaty that hinges on reciprocity.
Verily, we are bound by pacta sunt servanda to comply in good faith with our obligations under the Treaty. This
principle requires that we deliver the accused to the requesting country if the conditions precedent to extradition, as set forth
in the Treaty, are satisfied. In other words, “[t]he demanding government, when it has done all that the treaty and the law
require it to do, is entitled to the delivery of the accused on the issue of the proper warrant, and the other government is under
obligation to make the surrender.” Accordingly, the Philippines must be ready and in a position to deliver the accused, should
it be found proper.
5. There Is an Underlying Risk of Flight
Fifth, persons to be extradited are presumed to be flight risks. This prima facie presumption finds reinforcement in the
experience of the executive branch: nothing short of confinement can ensure that the accused will not flee the jurisdiction of
the requested state in order to thwart their extradition to the requesting state.
The present extradition case further validates the premise that persons sought to be extradited have a propensity to flee.
Indeed, extradition hearings would not even begin, if only the accused were willing to submit to trial in the requesting
country. Prior acts of herein respondent -- (1) leaving the requesting state right before the conclusion of his indictment
proceedings there; and (2) remaining in the requested state despite learning that the requesting state is seeking his return and
that the crimes he is charged with are bailable -- eloquently speak of his aversion to the processes in the requesting state, as
well as his predisposition to avoid them at all cost. These circumstances point to an ever-present, underlying high risk of
flight. He has demonstrated that he has the capacity and the will to flee. Having fled once, what is there to stop him, given
sufficient opportunity, from fleeing a second time?

25
First Substantive Issue:
Is Respondent Entitled to Notice and Hearing
Before the Issuance of a Warrant of Arrest?

Petitioner contends that the procedure adopted by the RTC --informing the accused, a fugitive from justice, that an
Extradition Petition has been filed against him, and that petitioner is seeking his arrest -- gives him notice to escape and to
avoid extradition. Moreover, petitioner pleads that such procedure may set a dangerous precedent, in that those sought to be
extradited -- including terrorists, mass murderers and war criminals -- may invoke it in future extradition cases.
On the other hand, Respondent Jimenez argues that he should not be hurriedly and arbitrarily deprived of his
constitutional right to liberty without due process. He further asserts that there is as yet no specific law or rule setting forth
the procedure prior to the issuance of a warrant of arrest, after the petition for extradition has been filed in court; ergo, the
formulation of that procedure is within the discretion of the presiding judge.
Both parties cite Section 6 of PD 1069 in support of their arguments. It states:
“SEC. 6. Issuance of Summons; Temporary Arrest; Hearing, Service of Notices.- (1) Immediately upon
receipt of the petition, the presiding judge of the court shall, as soon as practicable, summon the accused to appear
and to answer the petition on the day and hour fixed in the order. [H]e may issue a warrant for the immediate
arrest of the accused which may be served anywhere within the Philippines if it appears to the presiding
judge that the immediate arrest and temporary detention of the accused will best serve the ends of justice.
Upon receipt of the answer, or should the accused after having received the summons fail to answer within the
time fixed, the presiding judge shall hear the case or set another date for the hearing thereof.
“(2) The order and notice as well as a copy of the warrant of arrest, if issued, shall be promptly served each
upon the accused and the attorney having charge of the case.” (Emphasis ours)
Does this provision sanction RTC Judge Purganan’s act of immediately setting for hearing the issuance of a warrant of
arrest? We rule in the negative.
1. On the Basis of the Extradition Law
It is significant to note that Section 6 of PD 1069, our Extradition Law, uses the word “immediate” to qualify the arrest
of the accused. This qualification would be rendered nugatory by setting for hearing the issuance of the arrest warrant.
Hearing entails sending notices to the opposing parties, receiving facts and arguments from them, and giving them time to
prepare and present such facts and arguments. Arrest subsequent to a hearing can no longer be considered “immediate.” The
law could not have intended the word as a mere superfluity but, on the whole, as a means of imparting a sense of urgency and
swiftness in the determination of whether a warrant of arrest should be issued.
By using the phrase “if it appears,” the law further conveys that accuracy is not as important as speed at such early
stage. The trial court is not expected to make an exhaustive determination to ferret out the true and actual situation,
immediately upon the filing of the petition. From the knowledge and the material then available to it, the court is expected
merely to get a good first impression -- a prima facie finding -- sufficient to make a speedy initial determination as regards
the arrest and detention of the accused.
Attached to the Petition for Extradition, with a Certificate of Authentication among others, were the following: (1)
Annex H, the Affidavit executed on May 26, 1999 by Mr. Michael E. Savage -- trial attorney in the Campaign Financing
Task Force of the Criminal Division of the US Department of Justice; (2) Annexes H to G, evidentiary Appendices of various
exhibits that constituted evidence of the crimes charged in the Indictment, with Exhibits 1 to 120 (duly authenticated exhibits
that constituted evidence of the crimes charged in the Indictment); (3) Annex BB, the Exhibit I “Appendix of Witness
[excerpts] Statements Referenced in the Affidavit of Angela Byers” and enclosed Statements in two volumes; (4) Annex
GG, the Exhibit J “Table of Contents for Supplemental Evidentiary Appendix” with enclosed Exhibits 121 to 132; and (5)
Annex MM, the Exhibit L “Appendix of Witness [excerpts] Statements Referenced in the Affidavit of Betty Steward” and
enclosed Statements in two volumes.
It is evident that respondent judge could have already gotten an impression from these records adequate for him to make
an initial determination of whether the accused was someone who should immediately be arrested in order to “best serve the
ends of justice.” He could have determined whether such facts and circumstances existed as would lead a reasonably discreet
and prudent person to believe that the extradition request was prima facie meritorious. In point of fact, he actually concluded
from these supporting documents that “probable cause” did exist. In the second questioned Order, he stated:
“In the instant petition, the documents sent by the US Government in support of [its] request for extradition
of herein respondent are enough to convince the Court of the existence of probable cause to proceed with the
hearing against the extraditee.”

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We stress that the prima facie existence of probable cause for hearing the petition and, a priori, for issuing an arrest
warrant was already evident from the Petition itself and its supporting documents. Hence, after having already determined
therefrom that a prima facie finding did exist, respondent judge gravely abused his discretion when he set the matter for
hearing upon motion of Jimenez.
Moreover, the law specifies that the court sets a hearing upon receipt of the answer or upon failure of the accused to
answer after receiving the summons. In connection with the matter of immediate arrest, however, the word “hearing” is
notably absent from the provision. Evidently, had the holding of a hearing at that stage been intended, the law could have
easily so provided. It also bears emphasizing at this point that extradition proceedings are summary in nature. Hence, the
silence of the Law and the Treaty leans to the more reasonable interpretation that there is no intention to punctuate with a
hearing every little step in the entire proceedings.
“It is taken for granted that the contracting parties intend something reasonable and something not
inconsistent with generally recognized principles of International Law, nor with previous treaty obligations
towards third States. If, therefore, the meaning of a treaty is ambiguous, the reasonable meaning is to be preferred
to the unreasonable, the more reasonable to the less reasonable x x x .”
Verily, as argued by petitioner, sending to persons sought to be extradited a notice of the request for their arrest and
setting it for hearing at some future date would give them ample opportunity to prepare and execute an escape. Neither the
Treaty nor the Law could have intended that consequence, for the very purpose of both would have been defeated by the
escape of the accused from the requested state.
2. On the Basis of the Constitution
Even Section 2 of Article III of our Constitution, which is invoked by Jimenez, does not require a notice or a hearing
before the issuance of a warrant of arrest. It provides:
“Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against
unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search
warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after
examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly
describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.”
To determine probable cause for the issuance of arrest warrants, the Constitution itself requires only the examination --
under oath or affirmation -- of complainants and the witnesses they may produce. There is no requirement to notify and hear
the accused before the issuance of warrants of arrest.
In Ho v. People and in all the cases cited therein, never was a judge required to go to the extent of conducting a hearing
just for the purpose of personally determining probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest. All we required was that
the “judge must have sufficient supporting documents upon which to make his independent judgment, or at the very least,
upon which to verify the findings of the prosecutor as to the existence of probable cause.”
In Webb v. De Leon, the Court categorically stated that a judge was not supposed to conduct a hearing before issuing a
warrant of arrest:
“Again, we stress that before issuing warrants of arrest, judges merely determine personally the probability,
not the certainty of guilt of an accused. In doing so, judges do not conduct a de novo hearing to determine the
existence of probable cause. They just personally review the initial determination of the prosecutor finding a
probable cause to see if it is supported by substantial evidence.”
At most, in cases of clear insufficiency of evidence on record, judges merely further examine complainants and their
witnesses. In the present case, validating the act of respondent judge and instituting the practice of hearing the accused and
his witnesses at this early stage would be discordant with the rationale for the entire system. If the accused were allowed to
be heard and necessarily to present evidence during the prima facie determination for the issuance of a warrant of arrest, what
would stop him from presenting his entire plethora of defenses at this stage -- if he so desires -- in his effort to negate a prima
facie finding? Such a procedure could convert the determination of a prima facie case into a full-blown trial of the entire
proceedings and possibly make trial of the main case superfluous. This scenario is also anathema to the summary nature of
extraditions.
That the case under consideration is an extradition and not a criminal action is not sufficient to justify the adoption of a
set of procedures more protective of the accused. If a different procedure were called for at all, a more restrictive one -- not
the opposite -- would be justified in view of respondent’s demonstrated predisposition to flee.
Since this is a matter of first impression, we deem it wise to restate the proper procedure:
Upon receipt of a petition for extradition and its supporting documents, the judge must study them and make, as soon as
possible, a prima facie finding whether (a) they are sufficient in form and substance, (b) they show compliance with the
Extradition Treaty and Law, and (c) the person sought is extraditable. At his discretion, the judge may require the
27
submission of further documentation or may personally examine the affiants and witnesses of the petitioner. If, in spite of
this study and examination, no prima facie finding is possible, the petition may be dismissed at the discretion of the judge.
On the other hand, if the presence of a prima facie case is determined, then the magistrate must immediately issue a
warrant for the arrest of the extraditee, who is at the same time summoned to answer the petition and to appear at scheduled
summary hearings. Prior to the issuance of the warrant, the judge must not inform or notify the potential extraditee of the
pendency of the petition, lest the latter be given the opportunity to escape and frustrate the proceedings. In our opinion, the
foregoing procedure will “best serve the ends of justice” in extradition cases.

Second Substantive Issue:


Is Respondent Entitled to Bail?

Article III, Section 13 of the Constitution, is worded as follows:


“Art. III, Sec. 13. All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when
evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on
recognizance as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the
writ of habeas corpus is suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required.”
Respondent Mark B. Jimenez maintains that this constitutional provision secures the right to bail of all persons,
including those sought to be extradited. Supposedly, the only exceptions are the ones charged with offenses punishable with
reclusion perpetua, when evidence of guilt is strong. He also alleges the relevance to the present case of Section 4 of Rule
114 of the Rules of Court which, insofar as practicable and consistent with the summary nature of extradition proceedings,
shall also apply according to Section 9 of PD 1069.
On the other hand, petitioner claims that there is no provision in the Philippine Constitution granting the right to bail to
a person who is the subject of an extradition request and arrest warrant.
Extradition Different from Ordinary Criminal Proceedings
We agree with petitioner. As suggested by the use of the word “conviction,” the constitutional provision on bail quoted
above, as well as Section 4 of Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, applies only when a person has been arrested and detained for
violation of Philippine criminal laws. It does not apply to extradition proceedings, because extradition courts do not render
judgments of conviction or acquittal.
Moreover, the constitutional right to bail “flows from the presumption of innocence in favor of every accused who
should not be subjected to the loss of freedom as thereafter he would be entitled to acquittal, unless his guilt be proved
beyond reasonable doubt.” It follows that the constitutional provision on bail will not apply to a case like extradition, where
the presumption of innocence is not at issue.
The provision in the Constitution stating that the “right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ
of habeas corpus is suspended” does not detract from the rule that the constitutional right to bail is available only in criminal
proceedings. It must be noted that the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus finds application “only to
persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with invasion.” Hence, the second
sentence in the constitutional provision on bail merely emphasizes the right to bail in criminal proceedings for the
aforementioned offenses. It cannot be taken to mean that the right is available even in extradition proceedings that are not
criminal in nature.
That the offenses for which Jimenez is sought to be extradited are bailable in the United States is not an argument to
grant him one in the present case. To stress, extradition proceedings are separate and distinct from the trial for the offenses
for which he is charged. He should apply for bail before the courts trying the criminal cases against him, not before the
extradition court.
No Violation of Due Process
Respondent Jimenez cites the foreign case Paretti in arguing that, constitutionally, “[n]o one shall be deprived of x x
x liberty x x x without due process of law.”
Contrary to his contention, his detention prior to the conclusion of the extradition proceedings does not amount to a
violation of his right to due process. We iterate the familiar doctrine that the essence of due process is the opportunity to be
heard but, at the same time, point out that the doctrine does not always call for a prior opportunity to be heard. Where the
circumstances -- such as those present in an extradition case -- call for it, a subsequent opportunity to be heard is enough. In
the present case, respondent will be given full opportunity to be heard subsequently, when the extradition court hears the
Petition for Extradition. Hence, there is no violation of his right to due process and fundamental fairness.

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Contrary to the contention of Jimenez, we find no arbitrariness, either, in the immediate deprivation of his liberty prior
to his being heard. That his arrest and detention will not be arbitrary is sufficiently ensured by (1) the DOJ’s filing in court
the Petition with its supporting documents after a determination that the extradition request meets the requirements of the law
and the relevant treaty; (2) the extradition judge’s independent prima facie determination that his arrest will best serve the
ends of justice before the issuance of a warrant for his arrest; and (3) his opportunity, once he is under the court’s custody, to
apply for bail as an exception to the no-initial-bail rule.
It is also worth noting that before the US government requested the extradition of respondent, proceedings had already
been conducted in that country. But because he left the jurisdiction of the requesting state before those proceedings could be
completed, it was hindered from continuing with the due processes prescribed under its laws. His invocation of due process
now has thus become hollow. He already had that opportunity in the requesting state; yet, instead of taking it, he ran away.
In this light, would it be proper and just for the government to increase the risk of violating its treaty obligations in order
to accord Respondent Jimenez his personal liberty in the span of time that it takes to resolve the Petition for Extradition? His
supposed immediate deprivation of liberty without the due process that he had previously shunned pales against the
government’s interest in fulfilling its Extradition Treaty obligations and in cooperating with the world community in the
suppression of crime. Indeed, “[c]onstitutional liberties do not exist in a vacuum; the due process rights accorded to
individuals must be carefully balanced against exigent and palpable government interests.”
Too, we cannot allow our country to be a haven for fugitives, cowards and weaklings who, instead of facing the
consequences of their actions, choose to run and hide. Hence, it would not be good policy to increase the risk of violating our
treaty obligations if, through overprotection or excessively liberal treatment, persons sought to be extradited are able to evade
arrest or escape from our custody. In the absence of any provision -- in the Constitution, the law or the treaty -- expressly
guaranteeing the right to bail in extradition proceedings, adopting the practice of not granting them bail, as a general rule,
would be a step towards deterring fugitives from coming to the Philippines to hide from or evade their prosecutors.
The denial of bail as a matter of course in extradition cases falls into place with and gives life to Article 14 of the
Treaty, since this practice would encourage the accused to voluntarily surrender to the requesting state to cut short their
detention here. Likewise, their detention pending the resolution of extradition proceedings would fall into place with the
emphasis of the Extradition Law on the summary nature of extradition cases and the need for their speedy disposition.

Exceptions to the “No Bail” Rule

The rule, we repeat, is that bail is not a matter of right in extradition cases. However, the judiciary has the constitutional
duty to curb grave abuse of discretion and tyranny, as well as the power to promulgate rules to protect and enforce
constitutional rights. Furthermore, we believe that the right to due process is broad enough to include the grant of basic
fairness to extraditees. Indeed, the right to due process extends to the “life, liberty or property” of every person. It is
“dynamic and resilient, adaptable to every situation calling for its application.”
Accordingly and to best serve the ends of justice, we believe and so hold that, after a potential extraditee has been
arrested or placed under the custody of the law, bail may be applied for and granted as an exception, only upon a clear and
convincing showing (1) that, once granted bail, the applicant will not be a flight risk or a danger to the community; and (2)
that there exist special, humanitarian and compelling circumstances including, as a matter of reciprocity, those cited by the
highest court in the requesting state when it grants provisional liberty in extradition cases therein.
Since this exception has no express or specific statutory basis, and since it is derived essentially from general principles
of justice and fairness, the applicant bears the burden of proving the above two-tiered requirement with clarity, precision and
emphatic forcefulness. The Court realizes that extradition is basically an executive, not a judicial, responsibility arising from
the presidential power to conduct foreign relations. In its barest concept, it partakes of the nature of police assistance
amongst states, which is not normally a judicial prerogative. Hence, any intrusion by the courts into the exercise of this
power should be characterized by caution, so that the vital international and bilateral interests of our country will not be
unreasonably impeded or compromised. In short, while this Court is ever protective of “the sporting idea of fair play,” it also
recognizes the limits of its own prerogatives and the need to fulfill international obligations.
Along this line, Jimenez contends that there are special circumstances that are compelling enough for the Court to grant
his request for provisional release on bail. We have carefully examined these circumstances and shall now discuss them.
1. Alleged Disenfranchisement
While his extradition was pending, Respondent Jimenez was elected as a member of the House of Representatives. On
that basis, he claims that his detention will disenfranchise his Manila district of 600,000 residents. We are not persuaded. In
People v. Jalosjos, the Court has already debunked the disenfranchisement argument when it ruled thus:

29
“When the voters of his district elected the accused-appellant to Congress, they did so with full awareness of
the limitations on his freedom of action. They did so with the knowledge that he could achieve only such
legislative results which he could accomplish within the confines of prison. To give a more drastic illustration, if
voters elect a person with full knowledge that he is suffering from a terminal illness, they do so knowing that at
any time, he may no longer serve his full term in office.
“In the ultimate analysis, the issue before us boils down to a question of constitutional equal protection.
“The Constitution guarantees: ‘x x x nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of laws.’ This
simply means that all persons similarly situated shall be treated alike both in rights enjoyed and responsibilities
imposed. The organs of government may not show any undue favoritism or hostility to any person. Neither
partiality nor prejudice shall be displayed.
“Does being an elective official result in a substantial distinction that allows different treatment? Is being a
Congressman a substantial differentiation which removes the accused-appellant as a prisoner from the same class
as all persons validly confined under law?
“The performance of legitimate and even essential duties by public officers has never been an excuse to free
a person validly [from] prison. The duties imposed by the ‘mandate of the people’ are multifarious. The accused-
appellant asserts that the duty to legislate ranks highest in the hierarchy of government. The accused-appellant is
only one of 250 members of the House of Representatives, not to mention the 24 members of the Senate, charged
with the duties of legislation. Congress continues to function well in the physical absence of one or a few of its
members. Depending on the exigency of Government that has to be addressed, the President or the Supreme Court
can also be deemed the highest for that particular duty. The importance of a function depends on the need for its
exercise. The duty of a mother to nurse her infant is most compelling under the law of nature. A doctor with
unique skills has the duty to save the lives of those with a particular affliction. An elective governor has to serve
provincial constituents. A police officer must maintain peace and order. Never has the call of a particular duty
lifted a prisoner into a different classification from those others who are validly restrained by law.
“A strict scrutiny of classifications is essential lest[,] wittingly or otherwise, insidious discriminations are
made in favor of or against groups or types of individuals.
“The Court cannot validate badges of inequality. The necessities imposed by public welfare may justify
exercise of government authority to regulate even if thereby certain groups may plausibly assert that their interests
are disregarded.
“We, therefore, find that election to the position of Congressman is not a reasonable classification in criminal
law enforcement. The functions and duties of the office are not substantial distinctions which lift him from the
class of prisoners interrupted in their freedom and restricted in liberty of movement. Lawful arrest and
confinement are germane to the purposes of the law and apply to all those belonging to the same class.”
It must be noted that even before private respondent ran for and won a congressional seat in Manila, it was already of
public knowledge that the United States was requesting his extradition. Hence, his constituents were or should have been
prepared for the consequences of the extradition case against their representative, including his detention pending the final
resolution of the case. Premises considered and in line with Jalosjos, we are constrained to rule against his claim that his
election to public office is by itself a compelling reason to grant him bail.
2. Anticipated Delay
Respondent Jimenez further contends that because the extradition proceedings are lengthy, it would be unfair to confine
him during the pendency of the case. Again we are not convinced. We must emphasize that extradition cases are summary
in nature. They are resorted to merely to determine whether the extradition petition and its annexes conform to the
Extradition Treaty, not to determine guilt or innocence. Neither is it, as a rule, intended to address issues relevant to the
constitutional rights available to the accused in a criminal action.
We are not overruling the possibility that petitioner may, in bad faith, unduly delay the proceedings. This is quite
another matter that is not at issue here. Thus, any further discussion of this point would be merely anticipatory and academic.
However, if the delay is due to maneuverings of respondent, with all the more reason would the grant of bail not be
justified. Giving premium to delay by considering it as a special circumstance for the grant of bail would be tantamount to
giving him the power to grant bail to himself. It would also encourage him to stretch out and unreasonably delay the
extradition proceedings even more. This we cannot allow.
3. Not a Flight Risk?
Jimenez further claims that he is not a flight risk. To support this claim, he stresses that he learned of the extradition
request in June 1999; yet, he has not fled the country. True, he has not actually fled during the preliminary stages of the
request for his extradition. Yet, this fact cannot be taken to mean that he will not flee as the process moves forward to its
30
conclusion, as he hears the footsteps of the requesting government inching closer and closer. That he has not yet fled from
the Philippines cannot be taken to mean that he will stand his ground and still be within reach of our government if and when
it matters; that is, upon the resolution of the Petition for Extradition.
In any event, it is settled that bail may be applied for and granted by the trial court at anytime after the applicant has
been taken into custody and prior to judgment, even after bail has been previously denied. In the present case, the extradition
court may continue hearing evidence on the application for bail, which may be granted in accordance with the guidelines in
this Decision.

Brief Refutation of Dissents

The proposal to remand this case to the extradition court, we believe, is totally unnecessary; in fact, it is a cop-out.
The parties -- in particular, Respondent Jimenez -- have been given more than sufficient opportunity both by the trial
court and this Court to discuss fully and exhaustively private respondent’s claim to bail. As already stated, the RTC
set for hearing not only petitioner’s application for an arrest warrant, but also private respondent’s prayer for
temporary liberty. Thereafter required by the RTC were memoranda on the arrest, then position papers on the
application for bail, both of which were separately filed by the parties.

This Court has meticulously pored over the Petition, the Comment, the Reply, the lengthy Memoranda and the Position
Papers of both parties. Additionally, it has patiently heard them in Oral Arguments, a procedure not normally observed in the
great majority of cases in this Tribunal. Moreover, after the Memos had been submitted, the parties -- particularly the
potential extraditee -- have bombarded this Court with additional pleadings -- entitled “Manifestations” by both parties and
“Counter-Manifestation” by private respondent -- in which the main topic was Mr. Jimenez’s plea for bail.
A remand would mean that this long, tedious process would be repeated in its entirety. The trial court would again hear
factual and evidentiary matters. Be it noted, however, that, in all his voluminous pleadings and verbal propositions, private
respondent has not asked for a remand. Evidently, even he realizes that there is absolutely no need to rehear factual matters.
Indeed, the inadequacy lies not in the factual presentation of Mr. Jimenez. Rather, it lies in his legal arguments. Remanding
the case will not solve this utter lack of persuasion and strength in his legal reasoning.
In short, this Court -- as shown by this Decision and the spirited Concurring, Separate and Dissenting Opinions written
by the learned justices themselves -- has exhaustively deliberated and carefully passed upon all relevant questions in this
case. Thus, a remand will not serve any useful purpose; it will only further delay these already very delayed proceedings,
which our Extradition Law requires to be summary in character. What we need now is prudent and deliberate speed, not
unnecessary and convoluted delay. What is needed is a firm decision on the merits, not a circuitous cop-out.
Then, there is also the suggestion that this Court is allegedly “disregarding basic freedoms when a case is one of
extradition.” We believe that this charge is not only baseless, but also unfair. Suffice it to say that, in its length and breath,
this Decision has taken special cognizance of the rights to due process and fundamental fairness of potential extraditees.

Summation

As we draw to a close, it is now time to summarize and stress these ten points:
1. The ultimate purpose of extradition proceedings is to determine whether the request expressed in the petition,
supported by its annexes and the evidence that may be adduced during the hearing of the petition, complies with the
Extradition Treaty and Law; and whether the person sought is extraditable. The proceedings are intended merely to assist the
requesting state in bringing the accused -- or the fugitive who has illegally escaped -- back to its territory, so that the criminal
process may proceed therein.
2. By entering into an extradition treaty, the Philippines is deemed to have reposed its trust in the reliability or
soundness of the legal and judicial system of its treaty partner, as well as in the ability and the willingness of the latter to
grant basic rights to the accused in the pending criminal case therein.

31
3. By nature then, extradition proceedings are not equivalent to a criminal case in which guilt or innocence is
determined. Consequently, an extradition case is not one in which the constitutional rights of the accused are necessarily
available. It is more akin, if at all, to a court’s request to police authorities for the arrest of the accused who is at large or has
escaped detention or jumped bail. Having once escaped the jurisdiction of the requesting state, the reasonable prima facie
presumption is that the person would escape again if given the opportunity.
4. Immediately upon receipt of the petition for extradition and its supporting documents, the judge shall make a prima
facie finding whether the petition is sufficient in form and substance, whether it complies with the Extradition Treaty and
Law, and whether the person sought is extraditable. The magistrate has discretion to require the petitioner to submit further
documentation, or to personally examine the affiants or witnesses. If convinced that a prima facie case exists, the judge
immediately issues a warrant for the arrest of the potential extraditee and summons him or her to answer and to appear at
scheduled hearings on the petition.
5. After being taken into custody, potential extraditees may apply for bail. Since the applicants have a history of
absconding, they have the burden of showing that (a) there is no flight risk and no danger to the community; and (b) there
exist special, humanitarian or compelling circumstances. The grounds used by the highest court in the requesting state for the
grant of bail therein may be considered, under the principle of reciprocity as a special circumstance. In extradition cases, bail
is not a matter of right; it is subject to judicial discretion in the context of the peculiar facts of each case.
6. Potential extraditees are entitled to the rights to due process and to fundamental fairness. Due process does not
always call for a prior opportunity to be heard. A subsequent opportunity is sufficient due to the flight risk involved. Indeed,
available during the hearings on the petition and the answer is the full chance to be heard and to enjoy fundamental fairness
that is compatible with the summary nature of extradition.
7. This Court will always remain a protector of human rights, a bastion of liberty, a bulwark of democracy and the
conscience of society. But it is also well aware of the limitations of its authority and of the need for respect for the
prerogatives of the other co-equal and co-independent organs of government.
8. We realize that extradition is essentially an executive, not a judicial, responsibility arising out of the presidential
power to conduct foreign relations and to implement treaties. Thus, the Executive Department of government has broad
discretion in its duty and power of implementation.
9. On the other hand, courts merely perform oversight functions and exercise review authority to prevent or excise grave
abuse and tyranny. They should not allow contortions, delays and “over-due process” every little step of the way, lest these
summary extradition proceedings become not only inutile but also sources of international embarrassment due to our inability
to comply in good faith with a treaty partner’s simple request to return a fugitive. Worse, our country should not be
converted into a dubious haven where fugitives and escapees can unreasonably delay, mummify, mock, frustrate, checkmate
and defeat the quest for bilateral justice and international cooperation.
10. At bottom, extradition proceedings should be conducted with all deliberate speed to determine compliance
with the Extradition Treaty and Law; and, while safeguarding basic individual rights, to avoid the legalistic
contortions, delays and technicalities that may negate that purpose.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The assailed RTC Order dated May 23, 2001 is hereby declared NULL and
VOID, while the challenged Order dated July 3, 2001 is SET ASIDE insofar as it granted bail to Respondent Mark Jimenez.
The bail bond posted by private respondent is CANCELLED. The Regional Trial Court of Manila is directed to conduct the
extradition proceedings before it, with all deliberate speed pursuant to the spirit and the letter of our Extradition Treaty with
the United States as well as our Extradition Law. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

32
RODOLFO C. FARIÑAS, MANUEL M. GARCIA, FRANCIS G. ESCUDERO, and AGAPITO A. AQUINO,
AS MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND ALSO AS TAXPAYERS, IN THEIR OWN
BEHALF AND IN REPRESENTATION OF THE MEMBERS OF THE MINORITY IN THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES, petitioners, vs. THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS,
HON. FELICIANO R. BELMONTE, JR., SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT,
SECRETARY OF THE SENATE, AND SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
respondents. [G.R. No. 147387. December 10, 2003]

Facts: The case involves two petititions seeking to declare as unconstitutional Section 14 of Republic Act No. 9006 (The Fair
Election Act), insofar as it expressly repeals Section 67 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 (The Omnibus Election Code) which
provides:

“SEC. 67. Candidates holding elective office. – Any elective official, whether national or local,
running for any office other than the one which he is holding in a permanent capacity,
except for President and Vice-President, shall be considered ipso facto resigned from
his office upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy.”

The first petition for certiorari and prohibition was filed by Fariñas, Garcia, Escudero and Aquino. At the time of filing of the
petition, the petitioners were members of the minority bloc in the House of Representatives. Respondents in this case are: the
Executive Secretary, then Speaker of the House of Representatives Belmonte, Jr., the Commission on Elections, the Secretary
of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Secretary of the Senate and the Secretary General of the
House of Representatives.

The second petition for prohibition was filed by Salapuddin, then also a member of the House of Representatives. Impleaded
as respondent is the COMELEC.

Issue: Whether the petitioners have the legal standing or locus standi to file the petitions at bar.

Ruling: The Supreme Court dismissed the foregoing petitions.


As a general rule, a party who attacks or impugns the validity of a statute must have a personal and substantial interest in the
case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement. The reason for requiring a party
who challenges the constitutionality of a statute to allege such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy is “to assure
that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination
of difficult constitutional questions.” However, being merely a matter of procedure, this Court, in several cases involving
issues of “overarching significance to our society,” had adopted a liberal stance on standing.
The principal issue posed by the petitions, i.e., whether Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code, which this Court had
declared in one case decided by the Supreme Court deriving its existence from the constitutional provision on accountability
of public officers, has been validly repealed by Section 14 of Rep. Act No. 9006, is one of “overarching significance” that
justifies this Court’s adoption of a liberal stance vis-à-vis the procedural matter on standing. Moreover, with the national
elections barely seven months away, it is necessary for the Court to confront the issue now and resolve the same directly.

33
City of Manila vs. Laguio
G.R. No. 118127, April 12, 2005

• Due Process
• Equal Protection
• Requisites of a Valid Exercise of Police Power by LGU

FACTS:
The private respondent, Malate Tourist Development Corporation (MTOC) is a corporation engaged in the business of
operating hotels, motels, hostels, and lodgin houses. It built and opened Victoria Court in Malate which was licensed as a
motel although duly accredited with the Department of Tourism as a hotel.

March 30, 1993 - City Mayor Alfredo S. Lim approved an ordinance enacted which prohibited certain forms of amusement,
entertainment, services and facilities where women are used as tools in entertainment and which tend to disturb the
community, annoy the inhabitants, and adversely affect the social and moral welfare of the community. The Ordinance also
provided that in case of violation and conviction, the premises of the erring establishment shall be closed and padlocked
permanently.
June 28, 1993 - MTOC filed a Petition with the lower court, praying that the Ordinance, insofar as it included motels and inns
as among its prohibited establishments, be declared invalid and unconstitutional for several reasons but mainly because it is
not a valid exercise of police power and it constitutes a denial of equal protection under the law.
Judge Laguio ruled for the petitioners. The case was elevated to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:
1. W/N the City of Manila validly exercised police power
2. W/N there was a denial of equal protection under the law

HELD:
The Ordinance infringes the due process clause since the requisites for a valid exercise of police power are not met. The
prohibition of the enumerated establishments will not per se protect and promote the social and moral welfare of the
community; it will not in itself eradicate the alluded social ills fo prostitution, adultery, fornication nor will it arrest the
spread of sexual diseases in Manila. It is baseless and insupportable to bring within that classification sauna parlors, massage
parlors, karaoke bars, night clubs, day clubs, super clubs, discotheques, cabarets, dance halls, motels and inns. These are
lawful pursuits which are not per se offensive to the moral welfare of the community.
Sexual immorality, being a human frailty, may take place in the most innocent places.... Every house, building, park, curb,
street, or even vehicles for that matter will not be exempt from the prohibition. Simply because there are no "pure" places
where there are impure men.
The Ordinance seeks to legislate morality but fails to address the core issues of morality. Try as the Ordinance may to shape
morality, it should not foster the illusion that it can make a moral man out of it because immorality is not a thing, a building
or establishment; it is in the hearts of men.
The Ordinance violates equal protection clause and is repugnant to general laws; it is ultra vires. The Local Government
Code merely empowers local government units to regulate, and not prohibit, the establishments enumerated in Section 1
thereof.
All considered, the Ordinance invades fundamental personal and property rights and impairs personal privileges. It is
constitutionally infirm. The Ordinance contravenes statutes; it is discriminatory and unreasonable in its operation; it is not
sufficiently detailed and explicit that abuses may attend the enforcement of its sanctions. And not to be forgotten, the City
Council under the Code had no power to enact the Ordinance and is therefore ultra vires null and void.

JAMES MIRASOL v. DPWH


34
Petitioners and respondents seek partial reconsideration of the Court's Decision dated 8 June 2006 declaring void
Department Order Nos. 74, 215, and 123 of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and the Revised Rules
and Regulations on Limited Access Facilities of the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB). The Court declared valid Administrative
Order No. 1 of the Department of Public Works and Communications. Petitioners likewise seek clarification on some
portions of the Decision.
This case originated from a petition filed by petitioners in the trial court, seeking the declaration of nullity of the
administrative issuances for being inconsistent with the provisions of Republic Act No. 2000 (RA 2000), entitled "Limited
Access Highway Act."
Sections 3 and 4 of RA 2000 reads:
SEC. 3. Authority to establish limited access facilities. — The Department of Public Works and
Communications is hereby authorized to plan, designate, establish, regulate, vacate, alter, improve,
maintain, and provide limited access facilities for public use wherever it is of the opinion that traffic
conditions, present or future, will justify such special facilities: Provided, That within provinces, cities and
towns, the establishment of such limited access facilities insofar as they affect provincial, city and municipal
streets and plazas shall have the consent of provincial board, city or municipal council as the case may be.
SEC. 4. Design of limited access facility. — The Department of Public Works and Communications is
authorized to so design any limited access facility and to so regulate, restrict, or prohibit access as to best
serve the traffic for which such facility is intended; and its determination of such design shall be final. In this
connection, it is authorized to divide and separate any limited access facility into separate roadways by the
construction of raised curbings, central dividing sections, or other physical separations, or by designating such
separate roadways by signs, markers, stripes, and the proper lane for such traffic by appropriate signs, markers,
stripes and other devices. No person, shall have any right of ingress or egress to, from or across limited access
facilities to or from abutting lands, except at such designated points at which access may be permitted, upon such
terms and conditions as may be specified from time to time. (Emphasis supplied)
Administrative Order No. 1 (AO 1), issued on 19 February 1968, prohibited motorcycles on limited access highways.
The pertinent provisions of AO 1 read:
SUBJECT: Revised Rules and Regulations Governing Limited Access Highways
By virtue of the authority granted the Secretary [of] Public Works and Communications under Section
3 of R.A. 2000, otherwise known as the Limited Access Highway Act, the following rules and regulations
governing limited access highways are hereby promulgated for the guidance of all concerned:
xxxx
Section 3 - On limited access highways, it is unlawful for any person or group of persons to:
xxxx
(h) Drive any bicycle, tricycle, pedicab, motorcycle or any vehicle (not motorized);
xxxx
DPWH Department Order No. 74 (DO 74), Issued on 5 April 1993, declared portions of the North Luzon Expressway
and the South Luzon Expressway as limited access facilities. DO 74 reads:
SUBJECT: Declaration of the North Luzon Expressway from Balintawak to Tabang and the South
Luzon Expressway from Nichols to Alabang as Limited Access Facilities
Pursuant to Section 2 of Republic Act No. 2000, a limited access facility is defined as "a highway or street
especially designed for through traffic, and over, from, or to which owners or occupants of abutting land or other
persons have no right or easement or only a limited right or easement of access, light, air or view by reason of the
fact that their proper[t]y abuts upon such limited access facility or for any other reason. Such highways or streets
may be parkways, from which trucks, buses, and other commercial [sic] vehicles shall be excluded; or they may be
free ways open to use by all customary forms of street and highway traffic."
Section 3 of the same Act authorizes the Department of Public Works and Communications (now
Department of Public Works and Highways) "to plan, designate, establish, regulate, vacate, alter, improve,
maintain, and provide limited access facilities for public use wherever it is of the opinion that traffic conditions,
present or future, will justify such special facilities."

35
Therefore, by virtue of the authority granted above, the Department of Public Works and Highways hereby
designates and declares the Balintawak to Tabang Sections of the North Luzon Expressway, and the Nichols to
Alabang Sections of the South Luzon Expressways, to be LIMITED ACCESS HIGHWAYS/FACILITIES subject
to such rules and regulations that may be imposed by the DPWH thru the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB).
In view thereof, the National Capital Region (NCR) of this Department is hereby ordered, after consultation
with the TRB and in coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP), to close all illegal openings along the
said Limited Access Highways/Facilities. In this connection, the NCR is instructed to organize its own
enforcement and security group for the purpose of assuring the continued closure of the right-of-way fences and
the implementation of the rules and regulations that may be imposed by the DPWH thru the TRB.
This Order shall take effect immediately.
DPWH Department Order No. 215 (DO 215), issued on 25 June 1998, declared portions of the R-1 Expressway and the
C-5 Link Expressway as limited access facilities. DO 215 reads:
SUBJECT: Declaration of the R-1 Expressway, from Seaside Drive to Zapote, C-5 Link Expressway,
from Zapote to Noveleta, of the Manila Cavite Toll Expressway as Limited Access Facilities.
Pursuant to Section 2 of Republic Act No. 2000, a limited access facility is defined as "a highway or street
especially designed for through traffic, and over, from, or to which owners or occupants of abutting land or other
persons have no right or easement or only a limited right or easement of access, light, air or view by reason of the
fact that their property abuts upon such limited access facility or for any other reason. Such highways or streets
may be parkways, from which trucks, buses, and other commercial vehicles shall be excluded; or they may be free
ways open to use by all customary forms of street and highway traffic."
Section 3 of the same Act authorizes the Department of Public Works and Communications (now
Department of Public Works and Highways) "to plan, designate, establish, regulate, vacate, alter, improve,
maintain, and provide limited access facilities for public use wherever it is of the opinion that traffic conditions,
present or future, will justify such special facilities."
Therefore, by virtue of the authority granted above, the Department of Public Works and Highways hereby
designates and declares the R-1 Expressway, C-5 Link Expressway and the R-1 Extension Expressway Sections of
the Manila Cavite Toll Expressway to be LIMITED ACCESS HIGHWAYS/FACILITIES subject to such rules
and regulations that may be imposed by the DPWH thru the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB).
In view thereof, the National Capital Region (NCR) of this Department is hereby ordered, after consultation
with the TRB and in coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP), to close all illegal openings along the
said Limited Access Highways/Facilities. In this connection, the NCR is instructed to organize its own
enforcement and security group for the purpose of assuring the continued closure of the right-of-way fences and
the implementation of the rules and regulations that may be imposed by the DPWH thru the TRB.
This Order shall take effect immediately.
DPWH Department Order No. 123 (DO 123), issued on 18 July 2001, allowed motorcycles with engine displacement of
at least 400 cubic centimeters to operate inside toll roads and limited access highways. DO 123 reads in part:
SUBJECT: Revised Rules and Regulations
Governing Limited Access Highways
By virtue of the authority granted the Secretary of Public Works and Highways under Section 3 of R.A.
2000, otherwise known as the Limited Access Highway Act, the following revised rules and regulations governing
limited access highways arc hereby promulgated for the guidance of all concerned:
1. Administrative Order No. 1 dated February 19, 1968, issued by the Secretary of the then Department of
Public Works and Communications, is hereby amended by deleting the word "motorcycles" mentioned in
Section 3(h) thereof. Therefore, motorcycles are hereby allowed to operate inside the toll roads and limited
access highways, subject to the following:
a. Motorcycles shall have an engine displacement of at least 400 cubic centimeters (cc) provided that:
xxxx
In the 8 June 2006 Decision, we held that DO 74 and DO 215 are void because DPWH has no authority to declare
certain! expressways as limited access facilities. Executive Order No. 546 (EO 546), creating a Ministry of Public Works
(now DPWH) and a Ministry of Transportation and Communications (now Department of Transportation and
Communications or DOTC), devolved to the DOTC the authority to regulate limited access highways. We also declared DO
123 void for want of authority of the DPWH to promulgate it. Furthermore, since the TRB cannot derive its power from the
36
DPWH to issue regulations governing limited access facilities, the Revised Rules and Regulations on Limited Access
Facilities issued by the TRB is likewise void.
On the other hand, we found AO 1 valid and constitutional. We held that AO 1, issued on 19 February 1968 by the
Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Communications, was authorized under Section 3 of RA 2000. We found
that AO 1 does not impose unreasonable restrictions. AO 1 does not infringe upon petitioners' right to travel but merely bars
motorcycles, bicycles, tricycles, pedicabs, and any non-motorized vehicles as the mode of traveling along limited access
highways.
We find the issues raised by petitioners and respondents in their motions for reconsideration already considered and
discussed extensively in the assailed Decision. We find no compelling reason to reconsider the assailed Decision.
We now resolve petitioners' motion for clarification. Petitioners assert that:
x x x [T]here is an unfortunate and mistaken use of "toll ways" in discussing the safely (or not), of driving
motorcycles as if it were synonymous with "limited access facilities/highways" as contemplated in Republic
Act (RA) No. 2000. The Honorable Court, in the alternative that it should sustain the validity of the ban in
motorcycles under Section 3, AO 1, must clarify that a toll way is not automatically a "limited access
facility/highway." Section 2 of RA 2000 requires the DOTC to, first and foremost, do a positive act or to, first,
designate which roads are deemed "limited access facilities/highways" and that the prior consent of affected
provinces, cities, municipalities are secured. That is, precisely, why respondents came up with its questioned
Department Orders, i.e. to designate, for example, the portions of the expressways from Tabang to Alabang as
"limited access facilities." There is, under the present facts and situation, NO such act of prior "designation"
done by DOTC and there is NO showing, then or now, that the required prior consent of affected provinces,
cities, municipalities had been or were ever secured.
x x x [B]ased on petitioners' reading of the tenor of the Decision, there is NO existing limited access
facility/highway so far declared/designated by the Department of Transportation & Communications (DOTC).
Considering, therefore, that the ban against motorcycles apply only to limited access highways/facilities, then,
consequently, the ban is inexistent and this, too, must be clarified in the Honorable Court's Decision to avoid
any further confusion and shall generate further and unnecessary litigation between the petitioners and
respondents, and/or petitioners and the PNCC, for example. (Emphasis in the original)
Section 2 of RA 2000 defines limited access facility as "a highway or street especially designed for through traffic, and
over, from, or to which owners or occupants of abutting land or other persons have no right or easement or only a limited
right or easement of access, light, air, or view by reason of the fact that their property abuts upon such limited access facility
or for any other reason. Such highways or streets may be parkways, from which trucks, busses, and other commercial
vehicles shall be excluded; or they may be free ways open to use by all customary forms of street and highway traffic." This
definition serves as the guideline for the Department of Public Works and Communications in establishing limited access
facilities. Under Section 3 of RA 2000, the Department of Public Works and Communications is authorized to "plan,
designate, establish, regulate, vacate, alter, improve, maintain, and provide limited access facilities for public use wherever it
is of the opinion that traffic conditions, present or future, will justify such special facilities x x x."
Under EO 546, it is the DOTC, not the DPWH, which has authority to designate, regulate, restrict, or prohibit access to
limited access facilities. The DOTC has the authority to administer and enforce all laws, rules and regulations relative to
transportation. Clearly, it is the DOTC which has expertise to determine whether traffic conditions justify the
establishment of limited access facilities.
The DOTC has yet to declare which expressways or toll ways are limited access facilities. Expressways or tollways are
not automatically considered as limited access highways. The DOTC must henceforth designate what expressways or
tollways, or portons thereof, are limited access facilities.
WHEREFORE, we DENY the motions for reconsideration.

SEPARATE OPINION

37
TlNGA, J.:

In their Motion for Partial Reconsideration dated July 7, 2006, respondents Department of Public Works and Highways
(DPWH) and Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), through the Solicitor General, assert that the DPWH is the government agency
tasked with the regulation of highways, including the authority to prohibit motorcycle access inside limited access facilities.
The Solicitor General vigorously argues that the establishment of limited access facilities is a public works function that
properly pertains to the DPWH. The declaration of certain tollways as limited access facilities pursuant to the questioned
department orders are functions inherently and essentially adjunct to the DPWH’s jurisdiction as the engineering and
construction arm of the government.
The view advanced by the Solicitor General finds support in the Dissenting Opinion which, if I may emphasize yet
again, upholds the authority of the DPWH to establish limited access facilities and to regulate the use thereof pursuant to the
Limited Access Highway Act, the Administrative Code of 1987 and long-standing practice.
This would have been an opportune time to rectify what, I submit, were erroneous conclusions in the ponencia.
Regrettably, the ponente opts to unceremoniously brush aside the Solicitor General's meritorious arguments and, in response
to petitioners' Motion for Clarification, chooses instead merely to state that the Department of Transportation and
Communication (DOTC) has yet to declare which expressways or tollways are limited access facilities and to direct the latter
to designate what expressways or tollways, or portions thereof, are limited access facilities.
The attempt to clarify is demonstrative of the havoc wreaked by the ponencia when it chose to disregard the consistent
and long-standing practice vesting in the DPWH jurisdiction to establish and regulate limited access facilities. We now have
a hiatus in the regulation of limited access facilities in that while we upheld the validity and constitutionality of
Administrative Order No. 1 which prohibits motorcycles on limited access facilities, we are now effectively allowing these
motorcycles free rein in what in the past were limited access facilities designated by the DPWH because the ponencia is
saying that there is no such limited access facilities yet.
For these reasons, I vote to grant the Motion for Partial Reconsideration filed by respondents DPWH and TRB through
the Solicitor General.

38
TERESITA TANGHAL OKABE vs. PEDRO DE LEON GUTIERREZ,
ET AL.
G.R. No. 150185 May 27, 2004

Before us is a petition for review on certiorari, under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, as amended, that part of the
Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 60732 dismissing her petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court, as amended, for the nullification of the August 25 and 28, 2000 Orders of the respondent judge in
Criminal Case No. 00-0749.
The Antecedents
Cecilia Maruyama executed a fifteen-page affidavit-complaint and filed the same with the Office of the City
Prosecutor of Pasay City, on December 29, 1999, charging Lorna Tanghal and petitioner Teresita Tanghal Okabe,
a.k.a. Shiela Okabe, with estafa. In her affidavit, Maruyama alleged, inter alia, that on December 11, 1998, she
entrusted Y11,410,000 with the peso equivalent of P3,993,500 to the petitioner, who was engaged in the business of
"door-to-door delivery" from Japan to the Philippines. It was alleged that the petitioner failed to deliver the money as
agreed upon, and, at first, denied receiving the said amount but later returned only US$1,000 through Lorna Tanghal.
During the preliminary investigation, the complainant, respondent Maruyama, submitted the affidavit of her witnesses,
namely, Hermogena Santiago, Wilma Setsu and Marilette G. Izumiya and other documentary evidence. In her
affidavit, Setsu alleged that the money which was entrusted to the petitioner for delivery to the Philippines belonged to
her and her sister Annie Hashimoto, and their mother Hermogena Sanchez-Quicho, who joined respondent Maruyama
in her complaint against petitioner Okabe and Tanghal. Respondent Maruyama, likewise, submitted a reply to the
petitioner’s counter-affidavit. After the requisite preliminary investigation, 2nd Assistant City Prosecutor Joselito J.
Vibandor came out with a resolution dated March 30, 2000, finding probable cause for estafa against the petitioner.
Attached to the resolution, which was submitted to the city prosecutor for approval, was the Information against the
petitioner and Maruyama’s affidavit-complaint. The city prosecutor approved the resolution and the Information dated
March 30, 2000 attached thereto.
On May 15, 2000, Information against the petitioner was filed in the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, docketed as
Criminal Case No. 00-0749. The case was raffled to Branch 119 of the court presided by Judge Pedro de Leon
Gutierrez.7 The accusatory portion of the Information reads:
That on or about December 12, 1998 in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused defrauded Cecilia Maruyama and Conchita Quicho,
complainant herein, in the following manner, to wit: said accused received in trust from Cecilia Maruyama
the amount of Japanese Yen 1141 (sic) with peso equivalent to P3,839,465.00 under obligation to deliver the
money to Conchita Quicho at the NAIA International Airport, Pasay City, immediately upon accused arrival
from Japan, but herein accused once in possession of the same, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously misappropriate and convert to her own personal benefit the said amount, and despite demands
accused failed and refused to do so, to the damage and prejudice of the complainants in the aforesaid amount.
Contrary to law.
Appended to the Information was the affidavit-complaint of respondent Maruyama and the resolution of Investigating
Prosecutor Vibandor. On May 19, 2000, the trial court issued a warrant for the arrest of the petitioner with a
recommended bond of P40,000. On June 15, 2000, the petitioner posted a personal bail bond in the said amount, duly
approved by Judge Demetrio B. Macapagal, the Presiding Judge of Branch 79 of the RTC of Quezon City, who
forthwith recalled the said warrant. The approved personal bail bond of the petitioner was transmitted to the RTC of
Pasig City on June 21, 2000. Upon her request, the petitioner was furnished with a certified copy of the Information,
the resolution and the criminal complaint which formed part of the records of the said case. The petitioner left the
Philippines for Japan on June 17, 2000 without the trial court’s permission, and returned to the Philippines on June 28,
2000. She left the Philippines anew on July 1, 2000, and returned on July 12, 2000.
On July 14, 2000, the trial court issued an Order setting the petitioner’s arraignment and pre-trial at 2:00 p.m. of July
16, 2000. On the same day, the private prosecutor filed an urgent ex parte motion for the issuance of the hold departure
order, alleging as follows:
3. It has come to the knowledge of private complainant that there is an impending marriage within the
Philippines of either the son or daughter of the above-named accused and that the above-named accused—
who has businesses in Japan, and is presently in Japan—will soon exit Japan and enter the Philippines to
precisely attend said wedding;
4. Given [a] the bail was fixed at merely P40,000.00 and [b] the considerable financial capability of the
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accused, it is a foregone conclusion that the above-named accused will, upon arrest, readily and immediately
post bond, and leave for Japan—thereby frustrating and rendering inutile the administration of criminal
justice in our country. The speed with which accused Teresita Sheila Tanghal Okabe can post bond and leave
for Japan—effectively evading arraignment and plea—thus necessitates the immediate issuance of a Hold
Departure Order even before her arrival here in the Philippines;
The trial court issued an order on the same day, granting the motion of the private prosecutor for the issuance of a hold
departure order and ordering the Commission on Immigration and Deportation (CID) to hold and prevent any attempt
on the part of the petitioner to depart from the Philippines. For her part, the petitioner filed on July 17, 2000 a verified
motion for judicial determination of probable cause and to defer proceedings/arraignment, alleging that the only
documents appended to the Information submitted by the investigating prosecutor were respondent Maruyama’s
affidavit-complaint for estafa and the resolution of the investigating prosecutor; the affidavits of the witnesses of the
complainant, the respondent’s counter-affidavit and the other evidence adduced by the parties were not attached
thereto. The petitioner further alleged that the documents submitted by the investigating prosecutor were not enough
on which the trial court could base a finding of probable cause for estafa against her. She further averred that
conformably to the rulings of this Court in Lim v. Felix and Roberts, Jr. v. Court of Appeals, it behooved the
investigating prosecutor to submit the following to the trial court to enable it to determine the presence or absence of
probable cause: (a) copies of the affidavits of the witnesses of the complainant; (b) the counter-affidavit of Okabe and
those of her witnesses; (c) the transcripts of stenographic notes taken during the preliminary investigation; and, (d)
other documents presented during the said investigation.
On July 19, 2000, the petitioner filed a Very Urgent Motion To Lift/Recall Hold Departure Order dated July 17, 2000
and/or allow her to regularly travel to Japan alleging, thus:
3. Accused is (sic) widow and the legitimate mother of three (3) children, two (2) of whom are still minors,
namely:
3.1. Okabe, Jeffrey-18 years old born on 13 August 1981.
3.2. Okabe, Masatoshi-14 years old and born on 16 October 1985, 3rd year High School student at
Hoshikuki, Chiba City, Matsugaoka, High School, residing at Chiba City, Chuo-Ku, Yahagi-cho,
205, Telephone No. 043-224-5804.
3.3. Okabe, Tomoki-13 years old and born on 13 March 1986, 2nd year High School student at
Hoshikuki, Chiba City, Matsugaoka, High School, residing at Chiba City, Chuo-Ku, Yahagi-cho,
205, Telephone No. 043-224-5804.
3.4. The accused has to attend the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) at the Hoshikuki High School
where her two (2) minor sons aforesaid are presently enrolled and studying because Okabe,
Masatoshi’s graduation will take place on 26 July 2000.
3.5. The two (2) minor children of the accused absolutely depend their support (basic necessities) for
foods, clothings, medicines, rentals, schooling and all other expenses for their survival to their
legitimate mother who is the accused herein.
3.6. The issuance of the hold departure order (HDO) will impair the inherent custodial rights of the
accused as the legitimate mother over these two (2) minor children which is repugnant to law.
3.7. The issuance of the hold departure order (HDO) will unduly restrict the accused to her custodial
rights and visitation over her aforesaid minor children who are permanently living in Japan.
3.8. The issuance of the hold departure order (HDO) will unduly deprived (sic) these minor children
to their right to obtain education and survival.
4. Accused’s only source of income and livelihood is door-to-door delivery from Japan to the Philippines and
vice versa which has been taking place for a very long period of time and in the process she has been
constantly departing from the Philippines on a weekly basis and arriving in Japan on the same frequency, as
evidenced by xerox copies of the pages of her Philippine Passports which are hereto attached as Annexes "A,"
"A-1," "A-2" up to "A-30," respectively. To deprive her of this only source of her livelihood to which the
aforesaid two (2) minor children are deriving their very survival in a foreign land will (sic) tantamount to
oppression rather than prosecution and depriving the said minor sons of their right to live even before trial on
the merits of this case that will (sic) tantamount to the destruction of the future of these minor children.
The private prosecutor opposed the petitioner’s motions during the hearing on July 21, 2000 which was also the date
set for her arraignment. The hearing of the motions as well as the arraignment was reset to 2:00 p.m. of July 26, 2000.
On the said date, the petitioner filed a manifestation objecting to her arraignment prior to the resolution of her pending
motions. She alleged that her arraignment for the crime charged should not be made a condition for the granting of her
motion to recall the hold departure order issued against her. The arraignment of the petitioner was again reset to 2:00
p.m. of August 28, 2000, pending the resolution of her two motions. On August 25, 2000, the petitioner filed a motion

40
for the postponement of her arraignment alleging that, in case the trial court ruled adversely thereon, she would refuse
to enter a plea and seek relief from the appellate court. The court denied the petitioner’s motions on the following
grounds:
(a) Based on its personal examination and consideration of the Information, the affidavit-complaint of
respondent Maruyama and the resolution of the investigating prosecutor duly approved by the city prosecutor,
the court found probable cause for the petitioner’s arrest. Since the petitioner’s motion for a determination of
probable cause was made after the court had already found probable cause and issued a warrant for the
petitioner’s arrest, and after the latter filed a personal bail bond for her provisional liberty, such motion was a
mere surplusage;
(b) When the petitioner posted a personal bail bond for her provisional liberty, she thereby waived her right to
question the court’s finding of the existence of probable cause for her arrest and submitted herself to the
jurisdiction of the court, more so when she filed the motion for the lifting of the hold departure order the court
issued, and the motion to defer the proceedings and her arraignment; and
(c) The hold departure order issued by the trial court was in accord with Supreme Court Circular No. 39-97
dated June 19, 1997, as well as the ruling of this Court in Manotoc, Jr. v. Court of Appeals.
When the case was called for the petitioner’s arraignment at 2:00 p.m., on August 28, 2000, she refused to plead. Her
counsel advised her, in open court, not to enter a plea and, with leave of court, left the courtroom. The court then
entered a not guilty plea for the petitioner. It also issued an order, on the said date, setting the pre-trial and initial
presentation of the evidence of the prosecution at 8:30 a.m. of September 20, 2000.
The petitioner then filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with a
plea for a writ of preliminary injunction. The case was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 60732. The petitioner ascribed the
following errors to the trial court:

1. RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT ISSUED WARRANT OF ARREST DESPITE OF


(SIC) LACK OF PROBABLE CAUSE

2. RESPONDENT COURT HAS VIOLATED THE RIGHT OF THE PETITIONER TO DUE PROCESS

3. RESPONDENT COURT HAS ALREADY PRE-JUDGED THE CONVICTION OF THE PETITIONER


FOR ESTAFA

4. RESPONDENT COURT HAS EXHIBITED ITS APPARENT PARTIALITY TOWARDS THE


PROSECUTION AND AGAINST THE PETITIONER

5. RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT DENIES (SIC) THE MOTION FOR JUDICIAL
DETERMINATION OF PROBABLE CAUSE PURSUANT TO THE DOCTRINE OF ROBERTS, JR.

6. RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT DENIES (SIC) THE LIFTING/RECALL OF THE
HDO AND/OR ALLOWING THE PETITIONER TO TRAVEL TO JAPAN REGULARLY FOR
HUMANITARIAN CONSIDERATION

7. RESPONDENT COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF


JURISDICTION WHEN IT ISSUED THE QUESTIONED ORDERS…

On January 31, 2001, the CA rendered a Decision partially granting the petition in that the assailed order of the trial
court denying the petitioner’s motion to lift/recall the hold departure order was set aside. However, the petitioner’s
motion for reconsideration of the trial court’s decision was denied and her petition for the nullification of the August
25, 2000 Order of the respondent judge was dismissed. The CA ruled that by posting bail and praying for reliefs from
the trial court, the petitioner waived her right to assail the respondent judge’s finding of the existence of probable
cause. The appellate court cited the ruling of this Court in Cojuangco, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan. Thus, the appellate court
affirmed the assailed order of the RTC, based on the respondent judge’s personal examination of respondent
Maruyama’s affidavit-complaint, the resolution of the investigating prosecutor and the Information approved by the
city prosecutor, a finding of probable cause was in order. However, the appellate court allowed the petitioner to travel
to Japan under the following conditions:
(1) That petitioner post a bond double the amount of her alleged monetary liability under the Information filed
against her, as recommended by the Office of the Solicitor General;
(2) That petitioner inform respondent Court of each and all of her travel itinerary prior to leaving the country;

41
(3) That petitioner make periodic reports with respondent Court;
(4) That petitioner furnish respondent Court with all the addresses of her possible place of residence, both
here and in Japan; and
(5) Such other reasonable conditions which respondent Court may deem appropriate under the circumstances.
The appellate court did not resolve the issue of whether the trial court had prejudged the case and was partial to the
prosecution. The decretal portion of the decision of the CA reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant special civil action for certiorari is hereby PARTIALLY
GRANTED insofar as the denial of petitioner’s Motion to Lift/Recall Hold Departure Order dated 14 July,
2000 and/or Allow the accused to Regularly Travel to Japan is concerned. In all other respect, the same is
hereby DENIED.
SO ORDERED.
On March 6, 2001, the petitioner filed a motion for a partial reconsideration of the decision of the CA contending that
the appellate court erred in applying the ruling of this court in Cojuangco, Jr. v. Court of Appeals instead of Section
26, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure. The petitioner posited that the said rule, which took effect
on December 1, 2000, before the court rendered its decision, had superseded the ruling of this Court in the Cojuangco
case. However, the appellate court held that Section 26, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure cannot
be applied retroactively, because the petitioner had posted bail on June 15, 2000 before the Revised Rules on Criminal
Procedure took effect.
Hence, the instant petition for review on certiorari for the reversal of the decision and resolution of the CA and praying
that after due proceedings, judgment be rendered in her favor, thus:
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Supreme Court that after due proceedings
judgment be rendered in favor of the petitioner and against the respondents as follows:
(a) GIVING DUE COURSE to the instant petition;
(b) ORDERING the REVERSAL and PARTIALLY SETTING ASIDE of the Decision promulgated
on 31 January 2001 (Annex "A" hereof) of the Honorable Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.
60732 as well as its Resolution promulgated on 27 September 2001 (Annex "B" hereof);
(c) ORDERING the DISMISSAL of Crim. Case No. 00-0749 for lack of probable cause;
(d) DECLARING the entire proceedings in Crim. Case No. 00-0749 as null and void;
(e) ORDERING the private respondents to pay the petitioners the following amount:
(i) at least P1,000,000.00 as moral damages;
(ii) at least P1,000,000.00 as exemplary damages;
(iii) at least P500,000.00 as attorney’s fees and for other expenses of litigation.
(f) ORDERING the private respondent to pay the costs of this suit.
(g) Petitioner further prays for such other reliefs just and equitable under the premises.
The petitioner asserts that the CA committed the following reversible errors:
1. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS MADE A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT
COMPLETELY DISREGARDED THE APPLICATION OF SECTION 26, RULE 114 OF THE
REVISED RULES ON CRIMINAL PROCEDURE WHICH TOOK EFFECT ON 01 DECEMBER
2000 WHICH IS FAVORABLE TO THE PETITIONER/ACCUSED.

2. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS MADE A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN RULING THAT


"WHATEVER INFIRMITY THERE WAS IN THE ISSUANCE OF THE WARRANT OF
ARREST, THE SAME WAS CURED WHEN PETITIONER VOLUNTARILY SUBMITTED TO
THE RESPONDENT COURT’S JURISDICTION WHEN SHE POSTED BAIL AND FILED
MOTIONS SEEKING AFFIRMATIVE RELIEF SUCH AS MOTION TO LIFT/RECALL HOLD
DEPARTURE ORDER AND TO ALLOW PETITIONER TO TRAVEL REGULARLY TO JAPAN
(Last paragraph, Page 9 DECISION dated 31 January 2001)."

3. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS MADE A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT RELIED


UPON THE RULING IN THE CASE OF COJUANGCO, JR. VS. SANDIGANBAYAN, [300 SCRA
367 (1998)] WHEN IN FACT SAID RULING IS NOW OBSOLETE AND NO LONGER
APPLICABLE.

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4. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS MADE A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN RULING THAT
RESPONDENT COURT COMPLIED WITH THE CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS ON
THE ISSUANCE OF WARRANT OF ARREST WITHOUT PROBABLE CAUSE, WHEN THE
RESPONDENT COURT MERELY RELIED ON [THE] (i) COMPLAINT-AFFIDAVIT OF
CECILIA MARUYAMA; (ii) RESOLUTION OF THE INVESTIGATING PROSECUTOR; AND
(iii) CRIMINAL INFORMATION.

5. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS MADE A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT FAILED


TO RULE ON THE PARTIALITY OF THE RESPONDENT JUDGE IN HANDLING THE CASE
BELOW WHICH IS VIOLATIVE OF THE PETITIONER’S RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS.

6. THE FILING OF CRIM. CASE NO. 4297 (MTC, ANGAT, BULACAN) FOR ESTAFA
ENTITLED "PEOPLE VS. SHEILA OKABE"; CIVIL CASE NO. 331-M-98 (RTC, MALOLOS,
BULACAN) FOR SUM OF MONEY WITH PRELIMINARY ATTACHMENT ENTITLED
"CONCHITA SANCHEZ-QUICHO VS. SHEILA TERESITA TANGHAL OKABE"; AND CRIM.
CASE NO. 00-07-19 (RTC, PASAY CITY, BRANCH 119) ENTITLED "PEOPLE VS. TERESITA
TANGHAL OKABE" CONSTITUTE A VIOLATION OF THE RULE ON NON-FORUM
SHOPPING.
By way of comment, the Office of the Solicitor General refuted the petitioner’s assigned errors, contending as follows:
1. The Court of Appeals did not commit a reversible error in not applying Section 26, Rule 114 of the
Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure.
2. The Court of Appeals did not commit a reversible error in ruling that the infirmity, if any, in the
issuance by the respondent Judge of the warrant of arrest against petitioner was cured when
petitioner voluntarily submitted to the trial court’s jurisdiction when she posted bail and filed
motions seeking for affirmative reliefs from the trial court, such as the motion to lift/recall Hold
Departure Order (HDO) and to allow petitioner to travel regularly to Japan.
3. The Court of Appeals did not commit a reversible error in applying the ruling in the Cojuangco case.
4. The Court of Appeals did not commit a reversible error in finding that respondent Judge complied
with the constitutional requirements on the issuance of a warrant of arrest.
5. The Court of Appeals did not commit a reversible error when it did not rule on the partiality of the
respondent Judge in handling Criminal Case No. 00-0749.
6. The Honorable Court of Appeals did not commit a reversible error when it did not rule on
petitioner’s claim of forum shopping.
The Court shall resolve the assigned errors simultaneously as they are interrelated.
The petitioner asserts that the respondent judge could not have determined the existence of probable cause for her
arrest solely on the resolution of the investigating prosecutor and the undated affidavit-complaint of respondent
Maruyama. She posits that the respondent judge should have ordered the investigating prosecutor to submit the
affidavits of the witnesses of respondent Maruyama and the latter’s documentary evidence, as well as the counter-
affidavit of the petitioner and the transcripts of the stenographic notes, if any, taken during the preliminary
investigation. The petitioner adds that the respondent judge should have personally reviewed the said documents,
conformably to the rulings of this Court in Lim v. Felix, Roberts, Jr. v. Court of Appeals and Ho v. People before
determining the presence or absence of probable cause. She posits that the respondent judge acted with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in denying her motion for a determination of probable cause, and
the alternative motion for a dismissal of the case against her for lack of probable cause.
The petitioner further asserts that the appellate court erred in affirming the ruling of the respondent judge that, by
posting a personal bail bond for her provisional liability and by filing several motions for relief, she thereby
voluntarily submitted herself to the jurisdiction of the trial court and waived her right to assail the infirmities that
infected the trial court’s issuance of the warrant for her arrest. She avers that the appellate court’s reliance on the
ruling of this Court in Cojuangco, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan is misplaced, and submits that the appellate court should have
applied Section 26, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Court retroactively, as it rendered the ruling of this Court in the
Cojuangco, Jr. case obsolete.
The Office of the Solicitor General, on the other hand, asserts that the respondent judge did not commit any grave
abuse of discretion when he found probable cause against the petitioner for estafa, and thereafter issued a warrant for
her arrest. It argues that the respondent judge personally determined the existence of probable cause independently of
the certification of the investigating prosecutor, and only after examining the Information, the resolution of the
investigating prosecutor, as well as the affidavit-complaint of the private complainant. It asserts that such documents
are sufficient on which to anchor a finding of probable cause. It insists that the appellate court correctly applied the
ruling of this Court in the Cojuangco, Jr. v. Court of Appeals case, and that the respondent judge complied with both
the requirements of the constitution and those set forth in the Rules of Court before issuing the said warrant.

43
We agree with the contention of the petitioner that the appellate court erred in not applying Section 26, Rule 114 of the
Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, viz:
SEC. 26. Bail not a bar to objections on illegal arrest, lack of or irregular preliminary investigation. – An
application for or admission to bail shall not bar the accused from challenging the validity of his arrest or the
legality of the warrant issued therefor, or from assailing the regularity or questioning the absence of a
preliminary investigation of the charge against him, provided that he raises them before entering his plea. The
court shall resolve the matter as early as practicable but not later than the start of the trial of the case.
It bears stressing that Section 26, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure is a new one, intended to
modify previous rulings of this Court that an application for bail or the admission to bail by the accused shall be
considered as a waiver of his right to assail the warrant issued for his arrest on the legalities or irregularities thereon.
The new rule has reverted to the ruling of this Court in People v. Red. The new rule is curative in nature because
precisely, it was designed to supply defects and curb evils in procedural rules. Hence, the rules governing curative
statutes are applicable. Curative statutes are by their essence retroactive in application. Besides, procedural rules as a
general rule operate retroactively, even without express provisions to that effect, to cases pending at the time of their
effectivity, in other words to actions yet undetermined at the time of their effectivity. Before the appellate court
rendered its decision on January 31, 2001, the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure was already in effect. It behooved
the appellate court to have applied the same in resolving the petitioner’s petition for certiorari and her motion for
partial reconsideration.
Moreover, considering the conduct of the petitioner after posting her personal bail bond, it cannot be argued that she
waived her right to question the finding of probable cause and to assail the warrant of arrest issued against her by the
respondent judge. There must be clear and convincing proof that the petitioner had an actual intention to relinquish her
right to question the existence of probable cause. When the only proof of intention rests on what a party does, his act
should be so manifestly consistent with, and indicative of, intent to voluntarily and unequivocally relinquish the
particular right that no other explanation of his conduct is possible. In this case, the records show that a warrant was
issued by the respondent judge in Pasay City for the arrest of the petitioner, a resident of Guiguinto, Bulacan. When
the petitioner learned of the issuance of the said warrant, she posted a personal bail bond to avert her arrest and secure
her provisional liberty. Judge Demetrio B. Macapagal of the RTC of Quezon City approved the bond and issued an
order recalling the warrant of arrest against the petitioner. Thus, the posting of a personal bail bond was a matter of
imperative necessity to avert her incarceration; it should not be deemed as a waiver of her right to assail her arrest. So
this Court ruled in People v. Red:
… The present defendants were arrested towards the end of January, 1929, on the Island and Province of
Marinduque by order of the judge of the Court of First Instance of Lucena, Tayabas, at a time when there
were no court sessions being held in Marinduque. In view of these circumstances and the number of the
accused, it may properly be held that the furnishing of the bond was prompted by the sheer necessity of not
remaining in detention, and in no way implied their waiver of any right, such as the summary examination of
the case before their detention. That they had no intention of waiving this right is clear from their motion of
January 23, 1929, the same day on which they furnished a bond, and the fact that they renewed this petition
on February 23, 1929, praying for the stay of their arrest for lack of the summary examination; the first
motion being denied by the court on January 24, 1929 (G.R. No. 33708, page 8), and the second remaining
undecided, but with an order to have it presented in Boac, Marinduque.
Therefore, the defendants herein cannot be said to have waived the right granted to them by section 13,
General Order No. 58, as amended by Act No. 3042.
Moreover, the next day, or on June 16, 2000, the petitioner, through counsel, received certified true copies of the
Information, the resolution of the investigating prosecutor, the affidavit-complaint of the private complainant,
respondent Maruyama, and a certification from the branch clerk of court that only the Information, resolution and
affidavit-complaint formed part of the entire records of the case. The next day, June 17, 2000, the petitioner, through
counsel, filed a verified motion for judicial determination of probable cause and to defer the proceedings and her
arraignment. All the foregoing is inconsistent with a waiver of her right to assail the validity of her arrest and to
question the respondent judge’s determination of the existence of probable cause for her arrest.
Neither can the petitioner’s filing of a motion for the lifting of the hold departure order and for leave to go to Japan be
considered a waiver of her right to assail the validity of the arrest warrant issued by the respondent judge. It bears
stressing that when the petitioner filed the motion to lift the hold departure order issued against her by the respondent
judge, her motion for a determination of probable cause was still unresolved. She sought a lifting of the hold departure
order on July 14, 2000 and filed a motion for leave to go to Japan, to give the respondent judge an opportunity to
reconsider the said order, preparatory to assailing the same in the appellate court in case her motion was denied.
The issue that now comes to fore is whether or not the respondent judge committed a grave abuse of his discretion
amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in issuing his August 25, 2000 Order. By grave abuse of discretion is meant
such patent and gross abuse of discretion as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a
duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law, as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and
44
despotic manner by reasons of passion or personal hostility. Hence, when the court has jurisdiction over the case, its
questioned acts, even if its findings are not correct, would at most constitute errors of law and not abuse of discretion
correctible by the extraordinary remedy of certiorari.
We agree with the petitioner that before the RTC judge issues a warrant of arrest under Section 6, Rule 112 of the
Rules of Court in relation to Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, the judge must make a personal
determination of the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the arrest of the accused. The duty to make such
determination is personal and exclusive to the issuing judge. He cannot abdicate his duty and rely on the certification
of the investigating prosecutor that he had conducted a preliminary investigation in accordance with law and the Rules
of Court, as amended, and found probable cause for the filing of the Information.
Under Section 1, Rule 112 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, the investigating prosecutor, in conducting a
preliminary investigation of a case cognizable by the RTC, is tasked to determine whether there is sufficient ground to
engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and the respondent therein is probably guilty thereof
and should be held for trial. A preliminary investigation is for the purpose of securing the innocent against hasty,
malicious and oppressive prosecution, and to protect him from an open and public accusation of a crime, from the
trouble, expense and anxiety of a public trial.
If the investigating prosecutor finds probable cause for the filing of the Information against the respondent, he executes
a certification at the bottom of the Information that from the evidence presented, there is a reasonable ground to
believe that the offense charged has been committed and that the accused is probably guilty thereof. Such certification
of the investigating prosecutor is, by itself, ineffective. It is not binding on the trial court. Nor may the RTC rely on the
said certification as basis for a finding of the existence of probable cause for the arrest of the accused.
In contrast, the task of the presiding judge when the Information is filed with the court is first and foremost to
determine the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the arrest of the accused. Probable cause is meant such
set of facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that the offense
charged in the Information or any offense included therein has been committed by the person sought to be arrested. In
determining probable cause, the average man weighs facts and circumstances without resorting to the calibrations of
the rules of evidence of which he has no technical knowledge. He relies on common sense. A finding of probable
cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that more likely than not a crime has been committed and that it was
committed by the accused. Probable cause demands more than bare suspicion, it requires less than evidence which
would justify conviction.
The purpose of the mandate of the judge to first determine probable cause for the arrest of the accused is to insulate
from the very start those falsely charged of crimes from the tribulations, expenses and anxiety of a public trial:
It must be stressed, however, that in these exceptional cases, the Court took the extraordinary step of
annulling findings of probable cause either to prevent the misuse of the strong arm of the law or to protect the
orderly administration of justice. The constitutional duty of this Court in criminal litigations is not only to
acquit the innocent after trial but to insulate, from the start, the innocent from unfounded charges. For the
Court is aware of the strains of a criminal accusation and the stresses of litigation which should not be
suffered by the clearly innocent. The filing of unfounded criminal information in court exposes the innocent
to severe distress especially when the crime is not bailable. Even an acquittal of the innocent will not fully
bleach the dark and deep stains left by a baseless accusation for reputation once tarnished remains tarnished
for a long length of time. The expense to establish innocence may also be prohibitive and can be more
punishing especially to the poor and the powerless. Innocence ought to be enough and the business of this
Court is to shield the innocent from senseless suits right from the start.
In determining the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the arrest of the accused, the RTC judge may rely
on the findings and conclusions in the resolution of the investigating prosecutor finding probable cause for the filing of
the Information. After all, as the Court held in Webb v. De Leon, the judge just personally reviews the initial
determination of the investigating prosecutor finding a probable cause to see if it is supported by substantial evidence.
However, in determining the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the arrest of the accused, the judge
should not rely solely on the said report. The judge should consider not only the report of the investigating prosecutor
but also the affidavit/affidavits and the documentary evidence of the parties, the counter-affidavit of the accused and
his witnesses, as well as the transcript of stenographic notes taken during the preliminary investigation, if any,
submitted to the court by the investigating prosecutor upon the filing of the Information. Indeed, in Ho v. People, this
Court held that:
Lastly, it is not required that the complete or entire records of the case during the preliminary investigation be
submitted to and examined by the judge. We do not intend to unduly burden trial courts by obliging them to
examine the complete records of every case all the time simply for the purpose of ordering the arrest of an
accused. What is required, rather, is that the judge must have sufficient supporting documents (such as the
complaint, affidavits, counter-affidavits, sworn statements of witnesses or transcripts of stenographic notes, if
any) upon which to make his independent judgment or, at the very least, upon which to verify the findings of
the prosecutor as to the existence of probable cause. The point is: he cannot rely solely and entirely on the
45
prosecutor’s recommendation, as Respondent Court did in this case. Although the prosecutor enjoys the legal
presumption of regularity in the performance of his official duties and functions, which in turn gives his
report the presumption of accuracy, the Constitution, we repeat, commands the judge to personally determine
probable cause in the issuance of warrants of arrest. This Court has consistently held that a judge fails in his
bounden duty if he relies merely on the certification or the report of the investigating officer.
The rulings of this Court are now embedded in Section 8(a), Rule 112 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure
which provides that an Information or complaint filed in court shall be supported by the affidavits and counter-
affidavits of the parties and their witnesses, together with the other supporting evidence of the resolution:
SEC. 8. Records. – (a) Records supporting the information or complaint. An information or complaint filed in
court shall be supported by the affidavits and counter-affidavits of the parties and their witnesses, together
with the other supporting evidence and the resolution on the case.
If the judge is able to determine the existence or non-existence of probable cause on the basis of the records submitted
by the investigating prosecutor, there would no longer be a need to order the elevation of the rest of the records of the
case. However, if the judge finds the records and/or evidence submitted by the investigating prosecutor to be
insufficient, he may order the dismissal of the case, or direct the investigating prosecutor either to submit more
evidence or to submit the entire records of the preliminary investigation, to enable him to discharge his duty. The
judge may even call the complainant and his witness to themselves answer the court’s probing questions to determine
the existence of probable cause. The rulings of this Court in Soliven v. Makasiar and Lim v. Felix are now embodied in
Section 6, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, with modifications, viz:
SEC. 6. When warrant of arrest may issue. – (a) By the Regional Trial Court. – Within ten (10) days from the
filing of the complaint or information, the judge shall personally evaluate the resolution of the prosecutor and
its supporting evidence. He may immediately dismiss the case if the evidence on record clearly fails to
establish probable cause. If he finds probable cause, he shall issue a warrant of arrest, or a commitment order
if the accused has already been arrested pursuant to a warrant issued by the judge who conducted the
preliminary investigation or when the complaint or information was filed pursuant to section 7 of this Rule. In
case of doubt on the existence of probable cause, the judge may order the prosecutor to present additional
evidence within five (5) days from notice and the issue must be resolved by the court within thirty (30) days
from the filing of the complaint of information.
In this case, the investigating prosecutor submitted to the respondent judge only his resolution after his preliminary
investigation of the case and the affidavit-complaint of the private complainant, and failed to include the affidavits of
the witnesses of the private complainant, and the latter’s reply affidavit, the counter-affidavit of the petitioner, as well
as the evidence adduced by the private complainant as required by case law, and now by Section 8(a), Rule 112 of the
Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure. The aforecited affidavits, more specifically the fax message of Lorna Tanghal
and the document signed by her covering the amount of US$1,000, are of vital importance, as they would enable the
respondent judge to properly determine the existence or non-existence of probable cause.
First. When respondent Maruyama handed the money to the petitioner, she did not require the latter to sign a document
acknowledging receipt of the amount. The petitioner avers that it is incredible that Maruyama would entrust
P3,993,500 in Japanese Yen to her without even requiring her to sign a receipt therefor, especially since respondent
Maruyama was not even the owner of the money;
Second. The affidavit of Hermogena Santiago, a witness of the respondent, is unreliable, because it is based on
information relayed to her by Lorna Tanghal that she (Tanghal) saw the petitioner carrying a Louis Vuitton bag while
on board a Mitsubishi L300 van with the petitioner. It appears that Tanghal failed to submit any counter-affidavit to
the investigating prosecutor;
Third. The affidavit of Marilette G. Izumiya, another witness of the respondent, is also unreliable, as it was based on
information relayed to her by Thelma Barbiran, who used to work for the petitioner as a housemaid, that she
(Barbiran) had in her possession a fax message from Lorna Tanghal, implicating the petitioner in the crime charged.
Barbiran did not execute any affidavit;
Fourth. There is no indication in the resolution of the investigating prosecutor that the petitioner received the fax
message of Lorna Tanghal;
Fifth. The private complainant claims that the petitioner tried to reimburse the P3,993,500 by remitting US$1,000 to
her. However, the latter admitted in her affidavit-complaint that the document evidencing the remittance was signed by
Lorna Tanghal, not by the petitioner. The petitioner claimed that Lorna Tanghal had to remit US$1,000 to respondent
Maruyama because the latter made it appear to Tanghal that the police authorities were about to arrest the petitioner,
and Tanghal was impelled to give the amount to respondent Maruyama to avert her arrest and incarceration;
Sixth. In her counter-affidavit, the petitioner alleged that respondent Maruyama had no case against her because the
crime charged in the latter’s affidavit-complaint was the same as that filed against her in the Metropolitan Trial Court
of Bulacan, which was withdrawn by the complainant herself;

46
Seventh. The investigating prosecutor stated in his resolution that the private complainant established the element of
deceit. However, the crime charged against the petitioner as alleged in the Information is estafa with abuse of
confidence.
In sum, then, we find and so declare that the respondent judge committed a grave abuse of his discretion amounting to
excess or lack of jurisdiction in finding probable cause for the petitioner’s arrest in the absence of copies of the
affidavits of the witnesses of the private complainant and her reply affidavit, the counter-affidavit of the petitioner, and
the evidence adduced during the preliminary investigation before the investigating prosecutor.
In view of the foregoing disquisitions, there is no more need to resolve the other issues raised by the petitioner.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals
is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The assailed Orders dated August 25 and 28, 2000 and the Warrant of Arrest issued
by the respondent judge in Criminal Case No. 00-0749 are SET ASIDE. The records are REMANDED to the
Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 119. The respondent judge is hereby DIRECTED to determine the
existence or non-existence of probable cause for the arrest of the petitioner based on the complete records, as required
under Section 8(a), Rule 112 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure.

47
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. MODESTO TEE a.k.a. ESTOY TEE,

For automatic review is the consolidated judgment of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Baguio City, Branch 6, dated
September 17, 1999, in Criminal Cases Nos. 15800-R and 15822-R, involving violations of Section 8, Article II, of the
Dangerous Drugs Law. Since appellant was acquitted in the second case, we focus on the first case, where appellant has been
found guilty and sentenced to death and fined one million pesos.
The decretal portion of the trial court’s decision reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered, as follows:
1. In Crim. Case No. 15800-R, the Court finds the accused Modesto Tee guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
the offense of illegal possession of marijuana of about 591.81 kilos in violation of Section 8, Article II of RA 6425
as amended by Section 13 of RA 7659 as charged in the Information, seized by virtue of a search warrant and
sentences him to the supreme penalty of death and to pay a fine of 1 million pesos without subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency.
The 591.81 kilos of marijuana contained in 26 boxes and one yellow sack (Exhibits U-1 to U-27) are ordered
forfeited in favor of the State to be destroyed immediately in accordance with law.
2. In Crim. Case No. 15822-R, the Court finds that the prosecution failed to prove the guilt of accused
Modesto Tee beyond reasonable doubt and hereby acquits him of the charge of illegal possession of marijuana in
violation of Section 8, Art. 2 of RA 6425 as amended by Section 13 of RA 7659 as charged in the Information
since the marijuana confiscated have to be excluded in evidence as a product of unreasonable search and seizure.
The 336.93 kilos of marijuana contained in 13 sacks and four boxes (Exh. B to S and their component parts)
although excluded in evidence as the product(s) of unreasonable search and seizure, are nevertheless ordered
forfeited in favor of the State to be destroyed immediately in accordance with law considering that they are
prohibited articles.
The City Jail Warden is, therefore, directed to release the accused Modesto Tee in connection with Crim.
Case No. 15822-R unless held on other charges.
COST(S) DE OFFICIO.
SO ORDERED.
Appellant is a Chinese national in his forties, a businessman, and a resident of Baguio City. A raid conducted by
operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Philippine National Police Narcotics Command (PNP
NARCOM) at premises allegedly leased by appellant and at his residence yielded huge quantities of marijuana.
On July 20, 1998, appellant moved to quash the search warrant on the ground that it was too general and that the NBI
had not complied with the requirements for the issuance of a valid search warrant. The pendency of said motion, however,
did not stop the filing of the appropriate charges against appellant. In an information dated July 24, 1998, docketed as
Criminal Case No. 15800-R, the City Prosecutor of Baguio City charged Modesto Tee, alias “Estoy Tee,” with illegal
possession of marijuana, allegedly committed as follows:
That on or about the 1st day of July, 1998 in the City of Baguio, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, feloniously and
knowingly have in his possession the following, to wit:
1. Ninety-two (92) bricks of dried flowering tops separately contained in four (4) boxes; and
2. One hundred fifty-eight (158) bricks, twenty-one (21) blocks, and twenty-three (23) bags of dried
flowering tops separately contained in thirteen (13) sacks, with a total weight of 336.93 kilograms; and
3 Six hundred two (602) bricks of dried flowering tops separately contained in twenty-six (boxes) and a
yellow sack, weighing 591.81 kilograms,
all having a grand total weight of 928.74 kilograms, a prohibited drug, without the authority of law to possess, in
violation of the above-cited provision of law.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
On August 7, 1998, the prosecution moved to “amend” the foregoing charge sheet “considering that subject marijuana
were seized in two (2) different places.”
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As a result, the information in Criminal Case No. 15800-R was amended to read as follows:
That on or about the 1st day of July, 1998, in the City of Baguio, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, feloniously and
knowingly have in his possession the following, to wit:
- Six hundred two (602) bricks of dried flowering tops separately contained in twenty-six (26) boxes
and a yellow sack, weighing 591.81 kilograms
a prohibited drug, without the authority of law to possess, in violation of the above-cited provision of law.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
A separate amended information docketed as Criminal Case No. 15822-R was likewise filed, the accusatory portion of
which reads:
That on or about the 1st day of July, 1998 in the City of Baguio, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, feloniously and
knowingly have in his possession the following, to wit:
1. Ninety-two (92) bricks of dried flowering tops separately contained in four (4) boxes; and
2. hundred fifty-eight (158) bricks, twenty-one (21) blocks, and twenty-three (23) bags of dried flowering tops
separately contained in thirteen (13) sacks, with a total weight of 336.93 kilograms;
a prohibited drug, without the authority of law to possess, in violation of the above-cited provision of law.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
On September 4, 1998, the trial court denied the motion to quash the search warrant and ordered appellant’s
arraignment.
When arraigned in Criminal Cases Nos. 15800-R and 15822-R, appellant refused to enter a plea. The trial court entered
a plea of not guilty for him. Trial on the merits then ensued.
The facts of this case, as gleaned from the records, are as follows:
Prosecution witness Danilo Abratique, a Baguio-based taxi driver, and the appellant Modesto Tee are well acquainted
with each other, since Abratique’s wife is the sister of Tee’s sister-in-law.
Sometime in late June 1998, appellant asked Abratique to find him a place for the storage of smuggled cigarettes.
Abratique brought appellant to his friend, Albert Ballesteros, who had a house for rent in Bakakeng, Baguio City. After
negotiating the terms and conditions, Ballesteros agreed to rent out his place to appellant. Appellant then brought several
boxes of purported “blue seal” cigarettes to the leased premises.
Shortly thereafter, however, Ballesteros learned that the boxes stored in his place were not “blue seal” cigarettes but
marijuana. Fearful of being involved, Ballesteros informed Abratique. Both later prevailed upon appellant to remove them
from the premises.
Appellant then hired Abratique’s taxi and transported the boxes of cannabis from the Ballesteros place to appellant’s
residence at Km. 6, Dontogan, Green Valley, Sto. Tomas, Baguio City.
On June 30, 1998, appellant hired Abratique to drive him to La Trinidad, Benguet on the pretext of buying and
transporting strawberries. Upon reaching La Trinidad, however, appellant directed Abratique to proceed to Sablan, Benguet,
where appellant proceeded to load several sacks of marijuana in Abratique’s taxi. He then asked Abratique to find him a
place where he could store the contraband.
Abratique brought appellant to his grandmother’s house at No. 27 Dr. Cariño St., QM Subdivision, Baguio City, which
was being managed by Abratique’s aunt, Nazarea Abreau. Nazarea agreed to rent a room to appellant. Abratique and
appellant unloaded and stored there the sacks of marijuana brought from Sablan. Abratique was aware that they were
transporting marijuana as some of the articles in the sacks became exposed in the process of loading.
Eventually, Abratique and Nazarea were bothered by the nature of the goods stored in the rented room. She confided to
her daughter, Alice Abreau Fianza, about their predicament. As Alice Fianza’s brother-in-law, Edwin Fianza, was an NBI
agent, Alice and Abratique phoned him and disclosed what had transpired.
On the morning of July 1, 1998, alerted by information that appellant would retrieve the sacks of prohibited drugs that
day, Edwin Fianza and other NBI operatives conducted a stake out at No. 27, Dr. Cariño St. While the NBI agents were
conducting their surveillance, they noticed that several PNP NARCOM personnel were also watching the place. The NBI

49
then learned that the PNP NARCOM had received a tip from one of their informers regarding the presence of a huge amount
of drugs in that place. The NBI and PNP NARCOM agreed to have a joint operation.
As the day wore on and appellant did not show up, the NBI agents became apprehensive that the whole operation could
be jeopardized. They sought the permission of Nazarea Abreau to enter the room rented by appellant. She acceded and
allowed them entry. The NBI team then searched the rented premises and found four (4) boxes and thirteen (13) sacks of
marijuana, totaling 336.93 kilograms.
Later that evening, NBI Special Agent Darwin Lising, with Abratique as his witness, applied for a search warrant from
RTC Judge Antonio Reyes at his residence. Judge Reyes ordered the NBI agents to fetch the Branch Clerk of Court, Atty.
Delilah Muñoz, so the proceedings could be properly recorded. After Atty. Muñoz arrived, Judge Reyes questioned Lising
and Abratique. Thereafter, the judge issued a warrant directing the NBI to search appellant’s residence at Km. 6, Dontogan,
Green Valley, Baguio City for marijuana.
The NBI operatives, with some PNP NARCOM personnel in tow, proceeded to appellant’s residence where they served
the warrant upon appellant himself. The search was witnessed by appellant, members of his family, barangay officials, and
members of the media. Photographs were taken during the actual search. The law enforcers found 26 boxes and a sack of
dried marijuana in the water tank, garage, and storeroom of appellant’s residence. The total weight of the haul was 591.81
kilograms. Appellant was arrested for illegal possession of marijuana.
The seized items were then submitted to the NBI laboratory for testing. NBI Forensic Chemist Maria Carina Madrigal
conducted the tests. Detailed microscopic and chromatographic examinations of the items taken from appellant’s rented room
at No. 27, Dr. Cariño St., as well as those from his residence at Green Valley, showed these to be marijuana.
In his defense, appellant contended that the physical evidence of the prosecution was illegally obtained, being the
products of an unlawful search, hence inadmissible. Appellant insisted that the search warrant was too general and the
process by which said warrant was acquired did not satisfy the constitutional requirements for the issuance of a valid search
warrant. Moreover, Abratique’s testimony, which was heavily relied upon by the judge who issued the warrant, was hearsay.
In Criminal Case No. 15822-R, the trial court agreed with appellant that the taking of the 336.93 kilograms of marijuana
was the result of an illegal search and hence, inadmissible in evidence against appellant. Appellant was accordingly acquitted
of the charge. However, the trial court found that the prosecution’s evidence was more than ample to prove appellant’s guilt
in Criminal Case No. 15800-R and as earlier stated, duly convicted him of illegal possession of marijuana and sentenced him
to death.
Hence, this automatic review.
Before us, appellant submits that the trial court erred in:
1…UPHOLDING THE LEGALITY OF THE SEARCH WARRANT DESPITE LACK OF COMPLIANCE OF
(sic) SEVERAL REQUIREMENTS BEFORE IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ISSUED AND IT BEING A
GENERAL WARRANT;
2….GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN REOPENING THE CASE AND ALLOWING ABRITIQUE
TO TESTIFY AGAINST APPELLANT;
3…GIVING CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONY OF ABRITIQUE;
4. NOT ACQUITTING THE ACCUSED IN BOTH CASES AND SENTENCING HIM TO DEATH DESPITE
THE ILLEGALLY OBTAINED EVIDENCE AS FOUND IN THE FIRST CASE.
We find that the pertinent issues for resolution concern the following: (1) the validity of the search conducted at the
appellant’s residence; (2) the alleged prejudice caused by the reopening of the case and absences of the prosecution witness,
on appellant’s right to speedy trial; (3) the sufficiency of the prosecution’s evidence to sustain a finding of guilt with moral
certainty; and (4) the propriety of the penalty imposed.

1. On the Validity of the Search Warrant; Its Obtention and Execution

Appellant initially contends that the warrant, which directed the peace officers to search for and seize “an undetermined
amount of marijuana,” was too general and hence, void for vagueness. He insists that Abratique could already estimate the
amount of marijuana supposed to be found at appellant’s residence since Abratique helped to transport the same.
For the appellee, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) counters that a search warrant is issued if a judge finds
probable cause that the place to be searched contains prohibited drugs, and not that he believes the place contains a specific

50
amount of it. The OSG points out that, as the trial court observed, it is impossible beforehand to determine the exact amount
of prohibited drugs that a person has on himself.
Appellant avers that the phrase “an undetermined amount of marijuana” as used in the search warrant fails to satisfy the
requirement of Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution that the things to be seized must be particularly described.
Appellant’s contention, in our view, has no leg to stand on. The constitutional requirement of reasonable particularity of
description of the things to be seized is primarily meant to enable the law enforcers serving the warrant to: (1) readily identify
the properties to be seized and thus prevent them from seizing the wrong items; and (2) leave said peace officers with no
discretion regarding the articles to be seized and thus prevent unreasonable searches and seizures. What the Constitution
seeks to avoid are search warrants of broad or general characterization or sweeping descriptions, which will authorize police
officers to undertake a fishing expedition to seize and confiscate any and all kinds of evidence or articles relating to an
offense. However, it is not required that technical precision of description be required, particularly, where by the nature of the
goods to be seized, their description must be rather general, since the requirement of a technical description would mean that
no warrant could issue.
Thus, it has been held that term “narcotics paraphernalia” is not so wanting in particularity as to create a general
warrant. Nor is the description “any and all narcotics” and “all implements, paraphernalia, articles, papers and records
pertaining to” the use, possession, or sale of narcotics or dangerous drugs so broad as to be unconstitutional. A search warrant
commanding peace officers to seize “a quantity of loose heroin” has been held sufficiently particular.
Tested against the foregoing precedents, the description “an undetermined amount of marijuana” must be held to satisfy
the requirement for particularity in a search warrant. Noteworthy, what is to be seized in the instant case is property of a
specified character, i.e., marijuana, an illicit drug. By reason of its character and the circumstances under which it would be
found, said article is illegal. A further description would be unnecessary and ordinarily impossible, except as to such
character, the place, and the circumstances. Thus, this Court has held that the description “illegally in possession of
undetermined quantity/amount of dried marijuana leaves and Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (Shabu) and sets of
paraphernalia” particularizes the things to be seized.
The search warrant in the present case, given its nearly similar wording, “undetermined amount of marijuana or Indian
hemp,” in our view, has satisfied the Constitution’s requirements on particularity of description. The description therein is:
(1) as specific as the circumstances will ordinarily allow; (2) expresses a conclusion of fact – not of law – by which the peace
officers may be guided in making the search and seizure; and (3) limits the things to be seized to those which bear direct
relation to the offense for which the warrant is being issued. Said warrant imposes a meaningful restriction upon the objects
to be seized by the officers serving the warrant. Thus, it prevents exploratory searches, which might be violative of the Bill
of Rights.
Appellant next assails the warrant for merely stating that he should be searched, as he could be guilty of violation of
Republic Act No. 6425. Appellant claims that this is a sweeping statement as said statute lists a number of offenses with
respect to illegal drugs. Hence, he contends, said warrant is a general warrant and is thus unconstitutional.
For the appellee, the OSG points out that the warrant clearly states that appellant has in his possession and control
marijuana or Indian hemp, in violation of Section 8 of Republic Act No. 6425.
We have carefully scrutinized Search Warrant No. 415 (7-98),] and we find that it is captioned “For Violation of R.A.
6425, as amended.” It is clearly stated in the body of the warrant that “there is probable cause to believe that a case for
violation of R.A. 6425, as amended, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as further amended by R.A. 7659
has been and is being committed by one MODESTO TEE a.k.a. ESTOY TEE of Km. 6, Dontogan Bgy., Green Valley, Sto.
Tomas, Baguio City by having in his possession and control an UNDETERMINED AMOUNT OF MARIJUANA or
INDIAN HEMP in violation of the aforementioned law.” In an earlier case, we held that though the specific section of the
Dangerous Drugs Law is not pinpointed, “there is no question at all of the specific offense alleged to have been committed as
a basis for the finding of probable cause.” Appellant’s averment is, therefore, baseless. Search Warrant No. 415 (7-98)
appears clearly issued for one offense, namely, illegal possession of marijuana.
Appellant next faults the Judge who issued Search Warrant No. 415 (7-98) for his failure to exhaustively examine the
applicant and his witness. Appellant points out that said magistrate should not have swallowed all of Abratique’s statements –
– hook, line, and sinker. He points out that since Abratique consented to assist in the transport of the marijuana, the
examining judge should have elicited from Abratique his participation in the crime and his motive for squealing on appellant.
Appellant further points out that the evidence of the NBI operative who applied for the warrant is merely hearsay and should
not have been given credit at all by Judge Reyes.
Again, the lack of factual basis for appellant’s contention is apparent. The OSG points out that Abratique personally
assisted appellant in loading and transporting the marijuana to the latter’s house and to appellant’s rented room at No. 27 Dr.
Cariño St., Baguio City. Definitely, this indicates personal knowledge on Abratique’s part. Law enforcers cannot themselves
be eyewitnesses to every crime; they are allowed to present witnesses before an examining judge. In this case, witness
Abratique personally saw and handled the marijuana. Hence, the NBI did not rely on hearsay information in applying for a
search warrant but on personal knowledge of the witness, Abratique.
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Before a valid search warrant is issued, both the Constitution and the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure require
that the judge must personally examine the complainant and his witnesses under oath or affirmation. The personal
examination must not be merely routinary or pro forma, but must be probing and exhaustive. In the instant case, it is not
disputed that Judge Antonio Reyes personally examined NBI Special Investigator III Darwin A. Lising, the applicant for the
search warrant as well as his witness, Danilo G. Abratique. Notes of the proceedings were taken by Atty. Delilah Muñoz,
Clerk of Court, RTC of Baguio City, Branch 61, whom Judge Reyes had ordered to be summoned. In the letter of transmittal
of the Clerk of Court of the RTC of Baguio City, Branch 61 to Branch 6 of said court, mention is made of “notes” at “pages
7-11.” We have thoroughly perused the records of Search Warrant No. 415 (7-98) and nowhere find said “notes.” The
depositions of Lising and Abratique were not attached to Search Warrant No. 415 (7-98) as required by the Rules of Court.
We must stress, however, that the purpose of the Rules in requiring depositions to be taken is to satisfy the examining
magistrate as to the existence of probable cause. The Bill of Rights does not make it an imperative necessity that depositions
be attached to the records of an application for a search warrant. Hence, said omission is not necessarily fatal, for as long as
there is evidence on the record showing what testimony was presented. In the testimony of witness Abratique, Judge Reyes
required Abratique to confirm the contents of his affidavit; there were instances when Judge Reyes questioned him
extensively. It is presumed that a judicial function has been regularly performed, absent a showing to the contrary. A
magistrate’s determination of probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant is paid great deference by a reviewing
court, as long as there was substantial basis for that determination. Substantial basis means that the questions of the
examining judge brought out such facts and circumstances as would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe
that an offense has been committed, and the objects in connection with the offense sought to be seized are in the place sought
to be searched.
On record, appellant never raised the want of adequate depositions to support Warrant No. 415 (7-98) in his motion to
quash before the trial court. Instead, his motion contained vague generalities that Judge Reyes failed to ask searching
questions of the applicant and his witness. Belatedly, however, he now claims that Judge Reyes perfunctorily examined said
witness. But it is settled that when a motion to quash a warrant is filed, all grounds and objections then available, existent or
known, should be raised in the original or subsequent proceedings for the quashal of the warrant, otherwise they are deemed
waived.
In this case, NBI Special Investigator Lising’s knowledge of the illicit drugs stored in appellant’s house was indeed
hearsay. But he had a witness, Danilo Abratique, who had personal knowledge about said drugs and their particular location.
Abratique’s statements to the NBI and to Judge Reyes contained credible and reliable details. As the NBI’s witness,
Abratique was a person on whose statements Judge Reyes could rely. His detailed description of appellant’s activities with
respect to the seized drugs was substantial. In relying on witness Abratique, Judge Reyes was not depending on casual rumor
circulating in the underworld, but on personal knowledge Abratique possessed.
In Alvarez vs. Court of First Instance of Tayabas, 64 Phil. 33, 44 (1937), we held that:
The true test of sufficiency of a deposition or affidavit to warrant issuance of a search warrant is whether it
has been drawn in such a manner that perjury could be charged thereon and affiant be held liable for damages
caused.
Appellant argues that the address indicated in the search warrant did not clearly indicate the place to be searched. The
OSG points out that the address stated in the warrant is as specific as can be. The NBI even submitted a detailed sketch of the
premises prepared by Abratique, thus ensuring that there would be no mistake.
A description of the place to be searched is sufficient if the officer serving the warrant can, with reasonable effort,
ascertain and identify the place intended and distinguish it from other places in the community. A designation or description
that points out the place to be searched to the exclusion of all others, and on inquiry unerringly leads the peace officers to it,
satisfies the constitutional requirement of definiteness.
Appellant finally harps on the use of unnecessary force during the execution of the search warrant. Appellant fails,
however, to point to any evidentiary matter in the record to support his contention. Defense witness Cipriana Tee, appellant’s
mother, testified on the search conducted but she said nothing that indicated the use of force on the part of the NBI operatives
who conducted the search and seizure. What the record discloses is that the warrant was served on appellant, who was given
time to read it, and the search was witnessed by the barangay officials, police operatives, members of the media, and
appellant’s kith and kin. No breakage or other damage to the place searched is shown. No injuries sustained by appellant, or
any witness, appears on record. The execution of the warrant, in our view, has been orderly and peaceably performed.

2. On The Alleged Violation of Appellant’s Substantive Rights

Appellant insists that the prosecution’s unjustified and willful delay in presenting witness Abratique unduly delayed the
resolution of his case. He points out that a total of eight (8) scheduled hearings had to be reset due to the failure or willful
refusal of Abratique to testify against him. Appellant insists that said lapse on the prosecution’s part violated Supreme Court
52
Circular No. 38-98. Appellant now alleges that the prosecution deliberately resorted to delaying the case to cause him untold
miseries.
For the appellee, the OSG points out that the two-month delay in the trial is not such a great length of time as to amount
to a violation of appellant’s right to a speedy trial. A trial is always subject to reasonable delays or postponements, but absent
any showing that these delays are capricious and oppressive, the State should not be deprived of a reasonable opportunity to
prosecute the criminal action.
On record, the trial court found that prosecution witness Danilo G. Abratique failed to appear in no less than eighteen
(18) hearings, namely those set for February 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, and 24; March 9, 15, 22, and 23; April 6, 7, 8, 16, and 19, all
in 1999. No less than four (4) warrants of arrest were issued against him to compel him to testify. The NBI agent who
supposedly had him in custody was found guilty of contempt of court for failing to produce Abratique at said hearings and
sanctioned. The prosecution had to write the NBI Regional Director in Baguio City and NBI Director in Manila regarding the
failure of the Bureau’s agents to bring Abratique to court. Nothing on record discloses the reason for Abratique’s aforecited
absences. On the scheduled hearing of June 7, 1999, he was again absent thus causing the trial court to again order his arrest
for the fifth time. He also failed to show up at the hearing of June 8, 1999.
Appellant now stresses that the failure of Abratique to appear and testify on twenty (20) hearing dates violated
appellant’s constitutional and statutory right to a speedy trial.
A speedy trial means a trial conducted according to the law of criminal procedure and the rules and regulations, free
from vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays. In Conde v. Rivera and Unson, 45 Phil. 650, 652 (1924), the Court held
that “where a prosecuting officer, without good cause, secures postponements of the trial of a defendant against his protest
beyond a reasonable period of time, as in this instance, for more than a year, the accused is entitled to relief by a proceeding
in mandamus to compel a dismissal of the information, or if he be restrained of his liberty, by habeas corpus to obtain his
freedom.”
The concept of speedy trial is necessarily relative. A determination as to whether the right has been violated involves
the weighing of several factors such as the length of the delay, the reason for the delay, the conduct of the prosecution and the
accused, and the efforts exerted by the defendant to assert his right, as well as the prejudice and damage caused to the
accused.
The Speedy Trial Act of 1998, provides that the trial period for criminal cases in general shall be one hundred eighty
(180) days. However, in determining the right of an accused to speedy trial, courts should do more than a mathematical
computation of the number of postponements of the scheduled hearings of the case. The right to a speedy trial is deemed
violated only when: (1) the proceedings are attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays; or (2) when unjustified
postponements are asked for and secured; or (3) when without cause or justifiable motive a long period of time is allowed to
elapse without the party having his case tried.
In the present case, although the absences of prosecution witness Abratique totaled twenty (20) hearing days, there is no
showing whatsoever that prosecution capriciously caused Abratique’s absences so as to vex or oppress appellant and deny
him his rights. On record, after Abratique repeatedly failed to show up for the taking of his testimony, the prosecution went
to the extent of praying that the trial court order the arrest of Abratique to compel his attendance at trial. The prosecution
likewise tried to get the NBI to produce Abratique as the latter was in the Bureau’s custody, but to no avail. Eventually, the
trial court ordered the prosecution to waive its right to present Abratique and rest its case on the evidence already offered.
Nor do we find a delay of twenty (20) hearing days to be an unreasonable length of time. Delay of less than two months
has been found, in fact, to be not an unreasonably lengthy period of time.
Moreover, nothing on record shows that appellant Modesto Tee objected to the inability of the prosecution to produce
its witness. Under the Rules, appellant could have moved the trial court to require that witness Abratique post bail to ensure
that the latter would testify when required. Appellant could have moved to have Abratique found in contempt and duly
sanctioned. Appellant did neither. It is a bit too late in the day for appellant to invoke now his right to speedy trial.
No persuasive reason supports appellant’s claim that his constitutional right to speedy trial was violated. One must take
into account that a trial is always subject to postponements and other causes of delay. But in the absence of a showing that
delays were unreasonable and capricious, the State should not be deprived of a reasonable opportunity of prosecuting an
accused.
Appellant next contends that the trial court gravely abused its discretion, and exhibited partiality, when it allowed the
reopening of the case after the prosecution had failed to present Abratique on several occasions and had been directed to rest
its case. Appellant stresses that the lower court’s order to reopen the case to receive Abratique’s further testimony is an
indication that the trial court favored the prosecution and unduly prejudiced appellant.
On appellee’s behalf, the Solicitor General points out that the trial court’s order was in the interest of substantial justice
and hence, cannot be termed as an abuse of discretion. The OSG points out that the prosecution had not formally rested its
case and had yet to present its formal offer of evidence, hence, the submission of additional testimony by the same witness
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cannot be prejudicial to the accused, it being but the mere continuation of an uncompleted testimony. Furthermore, appellant
did not properly oppose the prosecution’s motion to reopen the case.
At the time Criminal Cases Nos. 15800-R and 15822-R were being tried, the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure were in
effect. There was no specific provision at that time governing motions to reopen. Nonetheless, long and established usage has
led to the recognition and acceptance of a motion to reopen. In view of the absence of a specific procedural rule, the only
controlling guideline governing a motion to reopen was the paramount interests of justice. As a rule, the matter of reopening
of a case for reception of further evidence after either prosecution or defense has rested its case is within the discretion of the
trial court. However, a concession to a reopening must not prejudice the accused or deny him the opportunity to introduce
counter evidence.
Strictly speaking, however, there was no reopening of the cases in the proceedings below. A motion to reopen may
properly be presented only after either or both parties have formally offered and closed their evidence, but before judgment.
In the instant case, the records show that on April 19, 1999, the prosecution was directed to close its evidence and given 15
days to make its formal offer of evidence. This order apparently arose from the manifestation of the prosecution on April 16,
1999 that should they fail to produce witness Abratique on the next scheduled hearing the prosecution would rest its case. On
April 19, 1999, which was the next scheduled hearing after April 16, 1999, Abratique was absent notwithstanding notices,
orders, and warrants of arrest. However, on April 27, 1999, or before the prosecution had formally offered its evidence,
Abratique was brought to the trial court by the NBI. In its order of said date, the trial court pointed out that the prosecution
could move to “reopen” the case for the taking of Abratique’s testimony. On May 7, 1999, the prosecution so moved,
stressing that it had not yet formally offered its evidence and that the substantial rights of the accused would not be
prejudiced inasmuch as the latter had yet to present his evidence. Appellant filed no opposition to the motion. The trial court
granted the motion six days later. Plainly, there was nothing to reopen, as the prosecution had not formally rested its case.
Moreover, the taking of Abratique’s testimony was not for the purpose of presenting additional evidence, but more
properly for the completion of his unfinished testimony. In U.S. vs. Base, we held that a trial court is not in error, if it opts to
reopen the proceedings of a case, even after both sides had rested and the case submitted for decision, by the calling of
additional witnesses or recalling of witnesses so as to satisfy the judge’s mind with reference to particular facts involved in
the case. A judge cannot be faulted should he require a material witness to complete his testimony, which is what happened
in this case. It is but proper that the judge’s mind be satisfied on any and all questions presented during the trial, in order to
serve the cause of justice.
Appellant’s claim that the trial court’s concession to “reopen” the case unduly prejudiced him is not well taken. We note
that appellant had every opportunity to present his evidence to support his case or to refute the prosecution’s evidence point-
by-point, after the prosecution had rested its case. In short, appellant was never deprived of his day in court. A day in court is
the touchstone of the right to due process in criminal justice. Thus, we are unable to hold that a grave abuse of discretion was
committed by the trial court when it ordered the so-called “reopening” in order to complete the testimony of a prosecution
witness.

3. On the Sufficiency of the Prosecution’s Evidence

In bidding for acquittal, appellant assails the credibility of Abratique as a witness. Appellant insists that Abratique’s
testimony is profuse with lies, contrary to human nature, hence incredible. According to appellant, Abratique was evasive
from the outset with respect to certain questions of the trial court. He adds that it appeared the court entertained in particular
the suspicion that witness Abratique had conspired with appellant in committing the crime charged. Appellant questions
Abratique’s motive in informing the NBI about his activities related to the marijuana taking, transfer, and warehousing.
The OSG contends that Abratique’s testimony, taken as a whole, is credible. It points out that Abratique testified in a
straightforward manner as to his knowledge of the huge cache of prohibited drugs stashed by appellant in two different
places. His testimony, said the OSG, when fused with the physical evidence consisting of 591.81 kilograms of marijuana
found by law enforcers at appellant’s residence, inexorably leads to the inculpation of appellant.
It is the bounden duty of the courts to test the prosecution evidence rigorously, so that no innocent person is made to
suffer the unusually severe penalties meted out for drug offenses. Though we scrutinized minutely the testimony of
Abratique, we find no cogent reason to disbelieve him. From his account, Abratique might appear aware treading the thin line
between innocence and feeling guilty, with certain portions of his story tending to be self-exculpatory. However, his whole
testimony could not be discredited. The established rule is that testimony of a witness may be believed in part and
disbelieved in other parts, depending on the corroborative evidence and the probabilities and improbabilities of the case. But
it is accepted, as a matter of common sense, that if certain parts of a witness’ testimony are found true, his testimony cannot
be disregarded entirely.
Abratique testified in open court that appellant rented the taxicab he was driving, and he helped appellant transport huge
amounts of marijuana to appellant’s rented room at No. 27 Dr. Cariño St., Baguio City and to appellant’s residence at Km. 6,

54
Dontogan, Green Valley, Sto. Tomas, Baguio City. He also declared on the witness stand that out of fear of being involved,
he decided to divulge his knowledge of appellant’s possession of large caches of marijuana to the NBI. When the places
referred to by Abratique were searched by the authorities, marijuana in staggering quantities was found and seized by the law
enforcers. Stated plainly, the physical evidence in this case corroborated Abratique’s testimony on material points.
Appellant imputes questionable motives to Abratique in an effort to discredit him. He demands that Abratique should
likewise be prosecuted. However, by no means is the possible guilt of Abratique a tenable defense for appellant. Nor would
Abratique’s prosecution mean appellant’s absolution.
In a prosecution for illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the following facts must be proven with moral certainty: (1)
that the accused is in possession of the object identified as prohibited or regulated drug; (2) that such possession is not
authorized by law; and (3) that the accused freely and consciously possessed the said drug.
We find the foregoing elements proven in Criminal Case No. 15800-R beyond reasonable doubt.
In said case, the testimony of Abratique and the recovery of 591.81 kilograms of marijuana from appellant’s residence
served to prove appellant’s possession of a prohibited drug. Tests conducted by the NBI forensic chemist proved the seized
articles to be marijuana. These articles were seized pursuant to a valid search warrant and hence, fully admissible in evidence.
In People v. de los Reyes, 239 SCRA 439 (1994), we held that the Dangerous Drugs Act applies generally to all persons
and proscribes the sale of dangerous drugs by any person, and no person is authorized to sell such drugs. Said doctrine is
equally applicable with respect to possession of prohibited drugs. Republic Act No. 6425, which penalizes the possession of
prohibited drugs, applies equally to all persons in this jurisdiction and no person is authorized to possess said articles, without
authority of law.
Anent the third element, we have held that to warrant conviction, possession of illegal drugs must be with knowledge of
the accused or that animus possidendi existed together with the possession or control of said articles. Nonetheless, this dictum
must be read in consonance with our ruling that possession of a prohibited drug per se constitutes prima facie evidence of
knowledge or animus possidendi sufficient to convict an accused absent a satisfactory explanation of such possession. In
effect, the onus probandi is shifted to accused to explain the absence of knowledge or animus possidendi in this situation.
Appellant Modesto Tee opted not to testify in his defense. Instead, he presented his mother as his lone witness, who
testified on matters totally irrelevant to his case. We can only conclude that, failing to discharge the burden of the evidence
on the possession of prohibited drug, appellant’s guilt in Criminal Case No. 15800-R was established beyond reasonable
doubt.

3. On The Proper Penalty

Under Republic Act No. 6425 as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a
fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) to ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00) shall be imposed if the
quantity of marijuana involved in a conviction for possession of marijuana or Indian hemp shall be 750 grams or more.
In the present case, the quantity of marijuana involved has been shown by the prosecution to be far in excess of 750
grams, as stressed by the trial court:
The volume is rather staggering. It is almost one whole house or one whole room. In fact, when they were
first brought to the court, it took hours to load them on the truck and hours also to unload them prompting the court
to direct that the boxes and sack of marijuana be instead kept at the NBI office in Baguio. And the identification of
said marijuana during the trial was made in the NBI premises itself by the witnesses since it was physically
cumbersome and inconvenient to keep bringing them to the court during every trial.
In sentencing appellant to death, the trial court noted not only the huge quantity of marijuana bales involved, but also
“the acts of accused of hiding them in different places…and transferring them from place to place and making them appear as
boxes of cigarettes to avoid and evade apprehension and detection.” They showed his being a big supplier, said the trial court,
[whose] criminal perversity and craft that “deserve the supreme penalty of death.”
We are unable to agree, however, with the penalty imposed by the trial court. The legislature never intended that where
the quantity involved exceeds those stated in Section 20 of Republic Act No. 6425 the maximum penalty of death shall
automatically be imposed. The statute prescribes two indivisible penalties: reclusion perpetua and death. Hence, the penalty
to be imposed must conform with Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code. As already held, the death penalty law, Republic Act
No. 7659 did not amend Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code. The rules in Article 63 apply although the prohibited drugs
involved are in excess of the quantities provided for in Section 20 of Republic Act No. 6425. Thus, finding neither mitigating
nor aggravating circumstances in the present case, appellant’s possession of 591.81 kilograms of marijuana in Criminal Case
No. 15800-R, does not merit capital punishment but only the lesser penalty of reclusion perpetua.

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The trial court imposed a fine on appellant in the sum of One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00), without subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency. The imposition of a fine is mandatory in cases of conviction of possession of illegal
drugs. This being within the limits allowed by the law, the amount of the fine must be sustained. All these sanctions might
not remedy all the havoc wrought by prohibited drugs on the moral fiber of our society, especially the youth. But these
penalties should warn peddlers of prohibited drugs that they cannot ply their trade in our streets with impunity.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City, Branch 6, in Criminal Case No. 15800-R,
convicting appellant MODESTO TEE alias “ESTOY” TEE of violation of Section 8 of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended,
is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that appellant is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The
fine of ONE MILLION (P1,000,000.00) PESOS imposed on him is sustained. Appellant is likewise directed to pay the costs
of suit.
SO ORDERED.

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. BENNY GO

On direct appeal before this Court is the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 41, in Criminal Case
No. 99-174439 finding appellant Benny Go guilty of violating Section 16, Article III in relation to Section 2 (e-2), Article I
of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of
P1,000,000.00.
The Information filed against appellant charged as follows:
That on or about June 14, 1999, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused without being authorized
by law to possess or use any regulated drug, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in his
possession and under his custody and control one (1) knot tied transparent plastic bag containing TWO
HUNDRED FOUR (204) grams of white crystalline substance known as “Shabu” containing methamphetamine
hydrochloride, a regulated drug, without the corresponding license or prescription thereof.
Contrary to law.
Upon arraignment, appellant, assisted by counsel, pleaded not guilty to the offense charged. Subsequently, at the pre-
trial conference on August 10, 1999, the parties stipulated that “(1) the subject Search Warrant is valid; and (2) the Forensic
Chemist conducted only a qualitative examination on the subject specimen.”
The prosecution presented the following witnesses: (1) Police Inspector Edwin Zata, Forensic Chemical Officer of the
Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory; (2) PO2 Gerardo Abulencia (PO2 Abulencia); (3) SPO1 Edgardo G.
Fernandez (SPO1 Fernandez); and (4) SPO1 Ver M. Serqueña (SPO1 Ver Serqueña) whose testimonies sought to establish
the following facts:
On April 28, 1999, SPO1 Fernandez, SPO1 Serqueña and a confidential informant conducted a “test buy” operation at
the residence of appellant at 1480 General Luna Street, Ermita, Manila during which they purchased from him P1,500.00
worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu.” The police officers did not immediately arrest him, however. Instead,
they applied for a Search Warrant for appellant’s residence from the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasay City based on their
firm belief that there was a large quantity of illegal drugs in his house.
On June 14, 1999, a raiding team composed of SPO1 Fernandez and SPO1 Serqueña, together with PO2 Abulencia,
PO3 Noel Adtu and PO2 Gerardo Jimenez, proceeded to appellant’s above-said residence armed with Search Warrant No.
99-0038 issued by Br. 109 of the RTC of Pasay City commanding them to “make an immediate search anytime of the day or
night” of appellant’s residence and to seize and take possession of “METAMPHETAMINE HYDROCHLORIDE (Shabu),
weighing scale, other drug paraphernalias and proceeds of the above crime.”
Soon after the police officers arrived at appellant’s residence at around 6:00 in the evening, they, to enable them to gain
entry to the two-storey house, “sideswept (sinagi) a little” appellant’s Toyota Corolla GLI car which was parked outside. Jack
Go, appellant’s son and the only one present at the house at the time, thereupon opened the door of the house and the
policemen at once introduced themselves, informed him that they had a warrant for the search of the premises, and promptly
handcuffed him to a chair. SPO1 Fernandez, SPO1 Serqueña and PO2 Abulencia entered the house, while PO3 Adtu and PO2
Jimenez remained outside.
On instruction of SPO1 Fernandez, SPO1 Serqueña left to summon barangay officials to witness the search. SPO1
Serqueña returned five minutes later with Barangay Kagawads Gaspar Lazaro (Kagawad Lazaro) and Emmanuel Manalo
(Kagawad Manalo) who were advised by SPO1 Fernandez to be witnesses to the search and to afterwards sign the inventory
receipt and affidavit of orderly search.
As instructed, the two barangay kagawads proceeded to the upper floor of appellant’s house with SPO1 Serqueña and
PO2 Abulencia. While SPO1 Fernandez, who remained downstairs in the sala, instructed the handcuffed Jack Go to witness
the search, the latter refused since “there will be no more left in the sala of the house anyway there is a barangay official.”
In the course of the search of the premises which took place from 6:00 to 11:00 in the evening, Kagawad Lazaro and
PO2 Abulencia recovered “one knot tied transparent plastic bag containing white crystalline substance” from the drawer of a
cabinet.
Also seized from the residence of appellant were the following: (a) “one plastic bag containing yellowish substance”
found by SPO1 Serqueña; (b) a weighing scale discovered by SPO1 Fernandez; (c) assorted documents; (d) passports; (e)
bank books; (f) checks; (g) a typewriter; (h) a check writer; (i) several dry seals and (j) stamp pads; (k) Chinese and
Philippine currency; (l) and appellant’s Toyota Corolla GLI car (the car).

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The plastic bag containing the white crystalline substance was marked by SPO1 Fernandez as “EGF-A-1,” while the
plastic bag with the yellowish substance was marked as “EGF-A-2.”
With the exception of the car, all the seized items were brought to the dining table on the ground floor of appellant’s
house for inventory.
In the meantime, appellant’s wife Shi Xiu Ong and his friends Samson Go and Peter Co arrived one after the other at
the house. Appellant himself arrived at 9:30 in the evening when the search was almost through.
After the inventory had been taken, SPO1 Fernandez prepared a handwritten Inventory Receipt and a document
captioned “Affidavit of Orderly Search,” the contents of which he read to appellant. On instruction of SPO1 Fernandez, Jack
Go also explained the contents of the documents to appellant who then signed them as did kagawads Manalo and Lazaro and
Jack Go as witnesses.
The police officers then brought appellant, his wife, son and friends, along with the seized items, to Camp Bagong
Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig, Metro Manila for “verification” and investigation.
Appellant was detained while the others were eventually released. The arresting officers jointly prepared an Affidavit of
Arrest dated June 15, 1999 which, among other things, contained an enumeration of the seized items identical to that in the
handwritten Inventory Receipt. And SPO1 Fernandez prepared a Return of Search Warrant 99-0038 dated June 18, 1999 and
a referral paper – “1st Indorsement” – with the same enumeration of seized items.
Also on June 15, 1999, SPO1 Serqueña brought the plastic bag containing the white crystalline substance (Exhibit “A”)
and the plastic bag containing the yellowish substance (Exhibit “B”) to the PNP Crime Laboratory together with a request for
laboratory examination. Upon examination, Exhibit “A” was found to contain 204 grams of white crystalline substance
containing methamphetamine hydrochloride, a regulated drug. Exhibit “B,” on the other hand, was found negative for any
prohibited and/or regulated drug.
Meanwhile, the seized documents, passports, dry seals and stamp pads were brought to the Bureau of Immigration and
Deportation, while the bank books were forwarded to the corresponding banks for verification.
The prosecution presented in evidence the Yamato weighing scale, claimed to have been recovered by SPO1 Fernandez
from the top of appellant’s refrigerator, although it was not among those listed in the handwritten Inventory Receipt,
Affidavit of Arrest or Return of the Search Warrant. Also presented by the prosecution, as a hostile witness, to corroborate in
part the foregoing facts was Kagawad Lazaro. He claimed, however, that the first page of the handwritten Inventory Receipt
submitted in evidence had been substituted with another, asserting that he and the other witnesses affixed their signatures on
the left-hand margin of the first page of the handwritten Inventory Receipt which they were asked to sign whereas that
submitted in court did not bear their signatures.
Kagawad Lazaro further claimed that the first entry on the first page of the Inventory Receipt, whereon he and his co-
witnesses affixed their signatures, reading “Chinese Medicine” had been replaced with “undetermined quantity of white
crystalline granules;” that what was recovered from the room of Jack Go by PO2 Abulencia was Exhibit “B,” the plastic bag
containing the yellowish powder, and not Exhibit “A,” the plastic bag containing the suspected shabu; and that Exhibit “A”
was not even among the items seized and inventoried.
The defense, which adopted the testimony of Kagawad Lazaro, presented appellant, his son Jack Go, and Kagawad
Manalo whose version of the facts of the case follows:
In November 1998, while appellant was walking along Gen. Luna Street, he was accosted by SPO1 Serqueña and
another police officer who accused him of manufacturing shabu and divested him of money amounting to more than
P5,000.00. He was later released as the policemen could not charge him with anything.
On July 14, 1999 at around 5:30 in the afternoon, Jack Go opened the door of their house after hearing somebody shout
that the car had been bumped. Five armed policemen then entered the house, one of whom handcuffed him while two went
up to the upper floor of the house and searched for about thirty (30) minutes.
At past 6:00 p.m., as the two kagawads entered the house which was already in disarray, SPO1 Fernandez formed two
groups to conduct the search at the second floor: (1) that of PO2 Abulencia, with Kagawad Lazaro to serve as witness, and
(2) that of SPO1 Serqueña, with Kagawad Manalo to serve as witness.
PO2 Abulencia, together with Kagawad Lazaro, searched the room of Jack Go. SPO1 Serqueña, accompanied by
Kagawad Manalo, searched the study room where he seized documents, passports and assorted papers.
SPO1 Serqueña and Kagawad Manalo then proceeded to the room of appellant followed by PO2 Abulencia and
Kagawad Lazaro. From the room of appellant, the policemen seized documents, passports, bankbooks and money.
After the search, the policemen and barangay kagawads went down with three boxes containing passports, money and
assorted Chinese medicine.

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When appellant’s wife arrived at around 7:30 p.m., SPO1 Fernandez ordered her to open the safe (“kaha de yero”)
inside appellant’s room where the police officers seized money, passports, bankbooks, Chinese currency and pieces of
jewelry.
The seized items were placed on appellant’s table on the first floor of the house where they were inventoried by SPO1
Fernandez during which the barangay kagawads did not see either Exhibit “A,” the plastic bag containing the suspected
shabu, or the weighing scale.
After SPO1 Fernandez prepared a two-page Inventory Receipt and Affidavit of Orderly Search, he asked Jack Go to
sign the receipt. While Jack Go initially refused, he eventually did sign both documents without having read them
completely after he was hit by the policemen. The two barangay kagawads also signed both pages of the Inventory Receipt
as witnesses.
When appellant arrived at around 8:30 p.m., he was handcuffed and likewise made to sign the Inventory Receipt
without having been able to read its contents. Jack Go was prevented from explaining its contents to him.
The first page of the handwritten Inventory Receipt presented in court, which includes an “undetermined quantity of
white crystalline granules placed inside a transparent plastic envelope” as among those seized from the residence of
appellant, does not bear the signatures of appellant, the kagawads and Jack Go, hence, it is not the same first page of the
handwritten Inventory Report on which they affixed their signatures. In fact the policemen did not leave a copy of this
Inventory Receipt with either appellant or the barangay kagawads.
The policemen continued to search appellant’s residence until around 11:00 p.m. when they brought appellant, Jack Go,
Shi Xiu Ong, Samson Go and Peter Co, together with the seized items, to Bicutan.
On the way to Bicutan, PO2 Abulencia, who boarded the same vehicle as appellant, told the latter that the policemen
wanted P10,000,000.00 from him or he would be charged with possession of illegal drugs. The amount demanded was later
reduced to P5,000,000.00, then to P2,000,000.00, and finally to P500,000.00. Appellant refused, however, to heed the
policemen’s demands since he did not commit any crime.
Finding for the prosecution, the trial court rendered the appealed Decision on June 7, 2000, the dispositive portion of
which reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby ordered rendered finding the accused Benny Go guilty of the offense
charged in the information and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and a fine of One Million
Pesos (P1,000,000.00).
The subject shabu is hereby ordered forfeited in favor of the government and the Clerk of Court is hereby
directed to deliver and/or cause the delivery of the said shabu to the Dangerous Drugs Board for proper
disposition, upon the finality of this Decision.
SO ORDERED.
His Motion for Reconsideration of the decision having been denied by Order of July 24, 2000, appellant lodged the
present appeal. In his Brief, he assigns the following errors:
FIRST ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ACCORDING THE POLICE OFFICERS THE PRESUMPTION OF
REGULARITY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF DUTY IN IMPLEMENTING THE SEARCH WARRANT
BASED ON THEIR TESTIMONIES, THERE BEING CONVINCING PROOFS TO THE CONTRARY.
SECOND ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT 204 GRAMS OF SHABU WAS RECOVERED FROM
THE HOUSE OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT ON JUNE 14, 1999 BASED ON THE TESTIMONY OF PO1
GERARDO ABULENCIA AND THE SUPPORTING INVENTORY RECEIPT, BOTH OF WHICH WERE
COMPLETELY CONTRADICTED BY THE PROSECUTION WITNESS BARANGAY KAGAWAD GASPAR
LAZARO AS WELL AS BY DEFENSE WITNESSES.
THIRD ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN RENDERING JUDGMENT FINDING ACCUSED-APPELLANT
GUILTY OF ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF TWO HUNDRED FOUR (204) GRAMS OF SHABU AS
CHARGED IN THE INFORMATION AND SENTENCING HIM TO SUFFER THE (sic) PENALTY OF
RECLUSION PERPETUA AND A FINE OF ONE MILLION PESOS (P1,000,000.00), INSTEAD OF
ACQUITTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT FOR FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE HIS GUILT
BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.

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During the pendency of the appeal, appellant filed a verified Motion for Return of Personal Documents, Vehicle and
Paraphernalia dated September 10, 2001 praying for the release of the following seized properties:
a. several pcs. transparent plastic envelopes
b. one (1) unit Toyota Corolla GLI with PN UTT 658
c. Cash amounting to Fifty Two Thousand Seven Hundred Sixty Pesos (P52,760.00) in different
denominations
d. Twenty-Five Thousand Chinese Yuan (CY25,000.00)
e. Sixty-Seven (67) pieces of Chinese passports
f. Twenty-Eight (28) pieces of assorted bankbooks
g. Two Hundred Eighty Five (285) pieces of assorted checks
h. Fifty-Three (53) pcs. rubber stamp and related paraphernalia
i. One (1) piece “Underwood” typewriter with SN 9861952
j. One (1) piece check writer
k. Two (2) pieces of dry seal
m. Five (5) boxes of assorted documents
n. Three (3) bags of assorted documents
This Court is thus called upon to determine (1) whether appellant’s guilt has been proven beyond reasonable doubt; and
(2) whether the items enumerated in appellant’s Motion for Return of Personal Documents, Vehicle and Paraphernalia, which
items are allegedly not among those particularly described in Search Warrant No. 99-0038, should be returned to him. These
issues shall be resolved in seriatim.
Illegal Possession of 204 Grams of Shabu
As appellant questions the legality of the search of his residence, the actions of the police officers, as agents of the State,
must be carefully considered in light of appellant’s right against unreasonable searches and seizures guaranteed by Sections 2
and 3, Article III of the Constitution.
What constitutes a reasonable or unreasonable search or seizure is a purely judicial question determinable from a
consideration of the attendant circumstances including the purpose of the search, the presence or absence of probable cause,
the manner in which the search and seizure was made, the place or thing searched, and the character of the articles procured.
Since no presumption of regularity may be invoked by an officer to justify an encroachment of rights secured by the
Constitution, courts must cautiously weigh the evidence before them. As early as in the 1937 case of People v. Veloso, this
Court held:
A search warrant must conform strictly to the requirements of the constitutional and statutory
provisions under which it is issued. Otherwise, it is void. The proceedings upon search warrants, it has rightly
been held, must be absolutely legal, “for there is not a description of process known to law, the execution of which
is more distressing to the citizen. Perhaps there is none which excites such intense feeling in consequence of its
humiliating and degrading effect.” The warrant will always be construed strictly without, however, going the
full length of requiring technical accuracy. No presumptions of regularity are to be invoked in aid of the
process when an officer undertakes to justify under it.
Indeed, a strict interpretation of the constitutional, statutory and procedural rules authorizing search and seizure is
required, and strict compliance therewith is demanded because:
x x x Of all the rights of a citizen, few are of greater importance or more essential to his peace and happiness
than the right of personal security, and that involves the exemption of his private affairs, books, and papers from
the inspection and scrutiny of others. While the power to search and seize is necessary to the public welfare, still it
must be exercised and the law enforced without transgressing the constitutional rights of citizens, for the
enforcement of no statute is of sufficient importance to justify indifference to the basic principles of government.
In arriving at the appealed decision, the trial court placed greater weight on the testimony of the police officers to whom
it accorded the presumption of regularity in the performance of duty, viz:
Coming to the first issue raised, the Court gives credence to the testimonies of the police officers and
accords them the presumption of regularity in the performance of their duty. The Court has observed the
60
demeanor of the witnesses and finds the prosecution witnesses more credible than the defense witnesses. x x
x
On the other hand, there is no showing that the police officers had ill motive when they applied for and
secured the Search Warrant, raided the house of the accused and arrested him. Accused is a Chinese
national who appeared to have no quarrel with the arresting police officers and thus the police officers had no
reason to fabricate or trump up charges against him. Hence, there appears to be no reason the police officers
should not be accorded the presumption of regularity in the performance of their duty. As held by the
Supreme Court, “(L)aw enforcers are presumed to have regularly performed their official duty, in the absence of
the evidence to the contrary. x x x We see no valid obstacle to the application of the ruling in People vs. Capulong,
(160 SCRA 533 {1988}) that credence is accorded to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses who are law
enforcers for it is presumed that they have regularly performed their duty in the absence of convincing
proof to the contrary. The appellant has not shown that the prosecution witnesses were motivated by any
improper motive other than that of accomplishing their mission.” (People of the Philippines, Plaintiff-appellee, vs.
Said Sariol Y Muhamading, accused-appellant, 174 SCRA 238).
At the same time, the trial court based its finding that the search of appellant’s residence was proper and valid on the so-
called “Affidavit of Orderly Search.”
On the second issue raised, the validity of the Search Warrant is clearly shown by the Affidavit of
Orderly Search signed by the accused and his son Jack Go and his witnesses Salvador Manalo and Gaspar
Lazaro. Such Affidavit of Orderly Search coupled with the testimonies of the police officers have clearly
established the propriety and validity of the search.”
The rule that a trial court’s findings are accorded the highest degree of respect, it being in a position to observe the
demeanor and manner of testifying of the witnesses, is not absolute and does not apply when a careful review of the records
and a meticulous evaluation of the evidence reveal vital facts and circumstances which the trial court overlooked or
misapprehended and which if taken into account would alter the result of the case.
In the case at bar, an examination of the testimonies of the police officers brings to light several irregularities in the
manner by which the search of appellant’s residence was conducted.
By PO2 Abulencia’s own account, in order to enter the premises to be searched, the police officers deliberately side-
swiped appellant’s car which was parked alongside the road, instead of following the regular “knock and announce”
procedure as outlined in Section 7 (formerly Section 6), Rule 126 of the Rules of Court.
Q Mr. Witness, how did you enter the house of Benny Go?
A It’s really heard (sic) to enter the house. Before the door, there was a still (sic) supporting the door and they
will not allow us to enter because they don’t know us. Then, in order that we could enter the house, we
side swept (sinagi) a little the vehicle that was parked in front of their house. And their neighbor
knocked at the house of the subject and that’s the time that we were able to enter.
Since the police officers had not yet notified the occupant of the residence of their intention and authority to conduct a
search and absent a showing that they had any reasonable cause to believe that prior notice of service of the warrant would
endanger its successful implementation, the deliberate sideswiping of appellant’s car was unreasonable and unjustified.
Also by PO2 Abulencia’s own account, upon entry to appellant’s residence, he immediately handcuffed Jack Go to a
chair. Justifying his action, PO2 Abulencia explained that not only was he unfamiliar with Jack Go and unsure of how the
latter would react, but it was a standard operating procedure:
Pros. Rebagay:

Now, what happened on June 14, 1999 at 6:00 p.m. when you were armed with the Search Warrant issued by
Judge Lilia Lopez?
A We entered inside the house of the subject and we were able to see (nadatnan naming) Jack Go, the son of
Benny Go, sir.
xxx
Q And what was the reaction of Jack Go, if any?
A We introduced ourselves as police officers and we have a Search Warrant to conduct a search to the above
subject place and also we handcuffed Jack Go to the chair, sir.
Q Why did you do that, Mr. witness?

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A “Hindi naming kakilala iyong mga tao, sir kaya ganoon ang ginawa namin para hindi kami maano, eh
hindi naming kabisado iyong ugali,” sir.
Pros. Rebagay:
And is that an (sic) standard operating procedure Mr. witness, when you are serving a search warrant?
A Yes, sir.
There is no showing, however, of any action or provocation by Jack Go when the policemen entered appellant’s
residence. Considering the degree of intimidation, alarm and fear produced in one suddenly confronted under similar
circumstances, the forcible restraint of Jack Go all the more was unjustified as was his continued restraint even after
Barangay Kagawads Lazaro and Manalo had arrived to justify his forcible restraint.
While Search Warrant No. 99-99-0038 authorized the immediate search of appellant’s residence to seize
“METAMPHETAMINE HYDROCHLORIDE (Shabu), weighing scale, other drug paraphernalias and proceeds of the above
crime,” the policemen, by SPO1 Fernandez’s admission, seized numerous other items, which are clearly unrelated to illegal
drugs or illegal drug paraphernalia:
Q In the presence of the barangay officials, what are those items which you seized or your raiding team seized,
if any?
A With the permission of the Honorable Court, Your Honor, can I take a look at my notes.
Court
Proceed.
Witness
Thank you very much.
A Seized or confiscated form the said residence are: (1) undetermined quantity of white crystalline granules
placed inside the transparent plastic envelope, (2) undetermined quantity of yellowish powder placed inside
the transparent plastic envelope; (3) several pieces of transparent plastic envelopes; (4) one unit Toyota
Corolla GLI with Plate No. UPT-658; (5) P52,760.00 in different denominations; (6) 25,000.00 Chinese
Yuan; (7) 67 pieces of Chinese passports; (8) 28 pieces of assorted bank book; (9) 285 pieces of assorted
checks; (10) 53 pieces rubber stamps and related paraphernalia; (11) one piece Underwood typewriter with
Serial No. 9861952; (12) one piece checkwriter; (13) two pieces dry seals; (14) 5 boxes of assorted
documents; (15) 3 bags of assorted documents; and I will add another one Your Honor, a weighing scale.
While an inventory of the seized items was prepared, also by SPO1 Fernandez’s admission, it did not contain a detailed
list of all the items seized, particularly the voluminous documents:
Q Why is it that you did not make a detailed inventory or receipt of the passports? Why did you not give any
detailed receipt or inventory on the passports.
A There were lots of documents during the time on the table, voluminous documents that I was not able
to make a listing of the said passports.
Q And it was only this October 8, 1999 or four months after that you made a detailed receipt of those
seized items, am I right?
A Yes, sir.
xxx
Q Is it your standard operating procedure that when there are voluminous seized items you will not (sic)
longer made (sic) an inventory report, am I right?
A It’s not an SOP.
Q Why did you not make a detailed inventory or receipt?
A As I’ve said earlier, it’s voluminous.
In Asian Surety And Insurance Co., Inc. v. Herrera, this Court stressed the necessity for a detailed receipt of the items
seized in order to adequately safeguard the constitutional rights of the person searched:
Moreover, as contended by petitioner, respondents in like manner transgressed Section 10 of Rule 126 of
the Rules for failure to give a detailed receipt of the things seized. Going over the receipts (Annexes “B” “B-

62
1”, “B-2”, “B-3” and “B-4” of the Petition) issued, We found the following: one bordereau of reinsurance, 8 fire
registers, 1 marine register, four annual statements, folders described only as Bundle gm-1 red folders; bundle
17-22 big carton folders; folders of various sizes, etc., without stating therein the nature and kind of
documents contained in the folders of which there were about a thousand of them that were seized. In the
seizure of two carloads of documents and other papers, the possibility that the respondents took away
private papers of the petitioner, in violation of his constitutional rights, is not remote, for the NBI agents
virtually had a field day with the broad and unlimited search warrant issued by respondent Judge as their passport.
After the inventory had been prepared, PO2 Abulencia presented it to appellant for his signature without any showing
that appellant was informed of his right not to sign such receipt and to the assistance of counsel. Neither was he warned that
the same could be used as evidence against him. Faced with similar circumstances, this Court in People v. Gesmundo stated:
It is true that the police were able to get an admission from the accused-appellant that marijuana was found in
her possession but said admission embodied in a document entitled “PAGPATUNAY” previously prepared
by the police, is inadmissible in evidence against the accused-appellant for having been obtained in violation
of her rights as a person under custodial investigation for the commission of an offense. The records show
that the accused-appellant was not informed of her right not to sign the document; neither was she informed
of her right to the assistance of counsel and the fact that the document may be used as evidence against her.
In People v. Policarpio, this Court held that such practice of inducing suspects to sign receipts for property allegedly
confiscated from their possession is unusual and violative of the constitutional right to remain silent, viz:
What the records show is that appellant was informed of his constitutional right to be silent and that he may
refuse to give a statement which may be used against him, that is why he refused to give a written statement unless
it is made in the presence of his lawyer as shown by the paper he signed to this effect. However, he was made to
acknowledge that the six (6) small plastic bags of dried marijuana leaves were confiscated from him by signing a
receipt and to sign a receipt for the P20.00 bill as purchase price of the dried marijuana leaves he sold to Pat.
Mangila.
Obviously the appellant was the victim of a clever ruse to make him sign these alleged receipts which in
effect are extra-judicial confessions of the commission of the offense. Indeed it is unusual for appellant to be
made to sign receipts for what were taken from him. It is the police officers who confiscated the same who
should have signed such receipts. No doubt this is a violation of the constitutional right of appellant to
remain silent whereby he was made to admit the commission of the offense without informing him of his
right. Such a confession obtained in violation of the Constitution is inadmissible in evidence.
The Inventory Receipt signed by appellant is thus not only inadmissible for being violative of appellant’s custodial right
to remain silent; it is also an indicium of the irregularity in the manner by which the raiding team conducted the search of
appellant’s residence.
At the same time, it is unclear whether appellant was furnished a copy of the Inventory Receipt as mandated by Sec. 11,
Rule 126 of the Rules of Court.
Q Now, while you were making an inventory of that, am I right, that you did not give a copy to Benny Go, am I
right?
A I gave them a xerox copy. I remember I gave them a xerox copy.
Q Is there any proof that they received an inventory report?
A Nothing, sir
Moreover, an examination of Exhibit “Z,” the Return of Search Warrant No. 99-0038 submitted by SPO1 Fernandez to
Br. 109 of the RTC of Pasay City was not verified under oath, as required by Section 12 (a) (formerly Section 12), Rule 126
of the Rules of Court.
The delivery of the items seized to the court which issued the warrant together with a true and accurate inventory
thereof, duly verified under oath, is mandatory in order to preclude the substitution of said items by interested parties. Under
Section 12 of Rule 126, the judge which issued the search warrant is mandated to ensure compliance with the requirements
for (1) the issuance of a detailed receipt for the property received, (2) delivery of the seized property to the court, together
with (3) a verified true inventory of the items seized. Any violation of the foregoing constitutes contempt of court.
Given the foregoing deviations from the normal and prescribed manner of conducting a search, as disclosed by the
members of the raiding team themselves, the reliance by the trial court on the disputable presumption that the police officers
regularly performed their official duty was evidently misplaced.
The “Affidavit of Orderly Search” is not of any help in indicating the regularity of the search. Not having been
executed under oath, it is not actually an affidavit, but a pre-prepared form which the raiding team brought with them. It was
63
filled up after the search by team leader SPO1 Fernandez who then instructed appellant to sign it as he did instruct Jack Go,
Kagawad Manalo and Kagawad Lazaro to sign as witnesses.
More importantly, since the “Affidavit of Orderly Search” purports to have been executed by appellant, the same cannot
establish the propriety and validity of the search of his residence for he was admittedly not present when the search took
place, he having arrived only when it was “almost through.”
Q And while your officers and the barangay kagawad were searching the house Mr. Benny Go is not yet present
in that house, am I right?
A Yes, sir.
Q And you made to sign Benny Go in the inventory receipt when the search was already over, am I right?
A He was already present when I was making the inventory. He arrived at around 9:30.
Q Yes, and the search was already finished, am I right?
A Almost through.
In fine, since appellant did not witness the search of his residence, his alleged “Affidavit of Orderly Search,” prepared
without the aid of counsel and by the very police officers who searched his residence and eventually arrested him, provides
no proof of the regularity and propriety of the search in question.
On the contrary, from the account of the police officers, their search of appellant’s residence failed to comply with the
mandatory provisions of Section 8 (formerly Section 7), Rule 126 of the Rules of Court, viz:
SEC. 8. Search of house, room, or premises, to be made in presence of two witnesses. – No search of a house,
room, or any other premise shall be made except in the presence of the lawful occupant thereof or any member of
his family or in the absence of the latter, two witnesses of sufficient age and discretion residing in the same
locality. (Underscoring supplied)
As pointed out earlier, the members of the raiding team categorically admitted that the search of the upper floor, which
allegedly resulted in the recovery of the plastic bag containing the shabu, did not take place in the presence of either the
lawful occupant of the premises, i.e. appellant (who was out), or his son Jack Go (who was handcuffed to a chair on the
ground floor). Such a procedure, whereby the witnesses prescribed by law are prevented from actually observing and
monitoring the search of the premises, violates both the spirit and letter of the law:
Furthermore, the claim of the accused-appellant that the marijuana was planted is strengthened by the manner
in which the search was conducted by the police authorities. The accused-appellant was seated at the sala
together with Sgt. Yte when they heard someone in the kitchen uttered “ito na”. Apparently, the search of the
accused-appellant’s house was conducted in violation of Section 7, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court which
specifically provides that no search of a house, room or any other premise shall be made except in the
presence of the lawful occupant thereof or any member of his family or in the absence of the latter, in the
presence of two (2) witnesses of sufficient age and discretion residing in the same locality. This requirement
is mandatory to ensure regularity in the execution of the search warrant. Violation of said rule is in fact
punishable under Article 130 of the Revised Penal Code.
As we have ruled in Eduardo Quintero vs. The National Bureau of Investigation, et al. a procedure,
wherein members of a raiding party can roam around the raided premises unaccompanied by any witness,
as the only witnesses available as prescribed by law are made to witness a search conducted by the other
members of the raiding party in another part of the house, is violative of both the spirit and letter of the
law.
That the raiding party summoned two barangay kagawads to witness the search at the second floor is of no moment.
The Rules of Court clearly and explicitly establishes a hierarchy among the witnesses in whose presence the search of the
premises must be conducted. Thus, Section 8, Rule 126 provides that the search should be witnessed by “two witnesses of
sufficient age and discretion residing in the same locality” only in the absence of either the lawful occupant of the premises
or any member of his family. Thus, the search of appellant’s residence clearly should have been witnessed by his son Jack Go
who was present at the time. The police officers were without discretion to substitute their choice of witnesses for those
prescribed by the law.
The claim of SPO1 Fernandez and PO2 Abulencia that Jack Go voluntarily waived his right to witness the search,
allegedly because there would be no one left in the sala and anyway barangay officials were present, cannot be accepted. To
be valid, a waiver must be made voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently. Furthermore, the presumption is always against the
waiver of a constitutionally protected right.

64
While Jack Go was present from the time the raiding team entered the premises until after the search was completed, he
was, however, handcuffed to a chair in the sala. All alone and confronted by five police officers who had deprived him of his
liberty, he cannot thus be considered to have “voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently” waived his right to witness the search
of the house. “Consent” given under such intimidating, coercive circumstances is no consent within the purview of the
constitutional guaranty.
The search conducted by the police officers of appellant’s residence is essentially no different from that in People v.
Del Rosario where this Court observed:
We thus entertain serious doubts that the shabu contained in a small canister was actually seized or
confiscated at the residence of accused-appellant. In consequence, the manner the police officers conducted
the subsequent and much-delayed search is highly irregular. Upon barging into the residence of accused-
appellant, the police officers found him lying down and they immediately arrested and detained him in the
living room while they searched the other parts of the house. Although they fetched two persons to witness
the search, the witnesses were called in only after the policemen had already entered accused-appellant’s
residence (pp. 22-23, tsn, December 11, 1991), and, therefore, the policemen had more than ample time to
plant the shabu. Corollary to the Constitutional precept that, in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be
presumed innocent until the contrary is proved (Sec. 14 (2), Article III, Constitution of the Republic of the
Philippines) is the rule that in order to convict an accused the circumstances of the case must exclude all and each
and every hypothesis consistent with his innocence (People vs. Tanchoco, 76 Phil. 463 [1946]; People vs.
Constante, 12 SCRA 653 [1964]; People vs. Jara, 144 SCRA 516 [1986]). The facts of the case do not rule out
the hypothesis that accused-appellant is innocent.
The raiding team’s departure from the procedure mandated by Section 8, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court, taken together
with the numerous other irregularities attending the search of appellant’s residence, tainted the search with the vice of
unreasonableness, thus compelling this Court to apply the exclusionary rule and declare the seized articles inadmissible in
evidence. This must necessarily be so since it is this Court’s solemn duty to be ever watchful for the constitutional rights of
the people, and against any stealthy encroachments thereon. In the oft-quoted language of Judge Learned Hand:
As we understand it, the reason for the exclusion of evidence competent as such, which has been unlawfully
acquired, is that exclusion is the only practical way of enforcing the constitutional privilege. In earlier times
the action of trespass against the offending official may have been protection enough; but that is true no longer.
Only in case the prosecution which itself controls the seizing officials, knows that it cannot profit by their
wrong, will that wrong be repressed.
In all prosecutions for violation of The Dangerous Drugs Act, the existence of the dangerous drug is a condition sine
qua non for conviction since the dangerous drug is the very corpus delicti of the crime. With the exclusion of Exhibit “A,”
the plastic bag containing the shabu allegedly recovered from appellant’s residence by the raiding team, the decision of the
trial court must necessarily be reversed and appellant acquitted.
What is more, a thorough evaluation of the testimonies and evidence given before the trial court fails to provide the
moral certainty necessary to sustain the conviction of appellant.
In particular, Barangay Kagawads Lazaro and Manalo, the two witnesses to the search chosen by the police officers in
substitution of Jack Go, both categorically testified under oath that no shabu was recovered from appellant’s residence by the
police. Thus, Kagawad Lazaro testified that the plastic bag containing white crystalline granules, later found positive for
shabu, was not recovered from the room of Jack Go:
Atty. Reyes:
You were shown a while ago by the prosecution of (sic) an Inventory Receipt allegedly prepared by Officer
Fernandez which includes the list of the items seized from the premises of Benny Go, now, you said that
there’s no white crystalline granules included in that list which you signed during the inventory?
A Yes, sir.
Q Can you recall what was the first item included in that list which you signed in the first page?
A Chinese medicine, sir.
Q Now, you also testified that you were with Officer Abulencia when you conducted the search inside the room
of Jack Go, now, did you recover anything from the room of Jack Go?
A PO2 Abulencia recovered one small plastic in the drawer of Jack Go and Naphthalene balls, sir.
xxx
Atty. Reyes:

65
If that small plastic will be shown to you, will you be able to identify it?
A Yes, sir.
Atty. Reyes:
I have here a plastic which contained yellowish powder. Could you go over this and tell us if this was the
one recovered from the room of Jack Go?
A This is the one, sir.
Q I have here another plastic containing white crystalline substance marked by the prosecution as Exh.
“A”. Will you tell us if this is also recovered from the room of Jack Go?
A No, this was not recovered from the room of Jack Go, sir.
Q During the preparation of the inventory of the seized items, was this also included?
A I did not see that, sir.
Similarly, Kagawad Manalo testified that neither the plastic bag of shabu nor the weighing scale was among the seized
items inventoried by the raiding team:
Q You said that you were present during the time when SPO1 Fernandez was preparing the inventory of all the
items taken from the premises of Benny Go, can you recall what are these items?
A Yes sir, assorted Chinese medicines, assorted documents, papers, passports, stamp pad, bankbooks and
checks and it was placed in five (5) boxes and three (3) ladies bag.
Q What about a weighing scale? Is there a weighing scale, Mr. Witness?
A I did not see any weighing scale, sir.
Q How about drugs or shabu contained in a plastic pack?
A I did not see any also.
On rebuttal, SPO1 Fernandez alleged that the two barangay kagawads were lying when they claimed that no shabu was
recovered from appellant’s residence, and implied that they had been asked to falsify their testimonies in court:
Pros. Rebagay:
Mr. witness, when Salvador Manalo testified before this Honorable Court when he was confronted with Exh.
“B” which is the inventory receipt the said witness denied that the first page of Exh. “B" was genuine on the
fact that his signature and likewise [that of] his co-colleague did not appear on the first page of the said
inventory receipt, what can you say to that statement made by Salvador Manalo?
A Well, it has not been our practice to let the witness sign on the first page of the 2-page inventory receipt and
with regards to the said inventory receipt that he signed on June 4, it is the same inventory receipt that I
prepared, sir.
xxx
Q Likewise, Mr. witness, the said witness Salvador Manalo also denied that the shabu which is the subject
of this case has never been recovered by them, what can you say to that?
A Well, it’s a lie, sir.
Q Why do you say that?
A Because when the illegal drug was found by PO2 Abulencia, he was accompanied by Gaspar Lazaro at
that time. Then he called my attention and he also called the attention of SPO2 Serqueña as well as the
attention of Mr. Salvador Manalo. When I went upstairs, they were already inside the said room so
the five of us saw the illegal drugs, sir.
xxx
Pros. Rebagay:
Mr. witness, when Salvador Manalo testified here on cross-examination, he mentioned that after the search of the
house of Benny Go, a certain investigator, a policeman pretended that he is making a follow-up with respect
to the search made by you and your team, will you please tell us if immediately after the incident or after the

66
investigation conducted by the City Prosecutor’s Office when you had an occasion to meet Salvador Manalo
after that?
A Yes, sir.
Q And what happened to that meeting with Salvador Manalo after the preliminary investigation?
Witness:
Because during the preliminary investigation, we were surprised why our witness has taken side, it is
on the side of the accused Benny Go so I decided to pay him a visit that day after that confrontation on
June 23 and I asked him what happened, “tinanong ko siya kung ano ang nangyari bakit mukhang
nakampi na siya roon sa kabila.” Ang sagot niya sa akin “ang sabi sa amin ni Atty. Galing kakausapin
ka rin niya.” That is the exact words.
Atty. Reyes:
We will object to that for being hearsay. May we move that the latter portion be stricken off the record.
Court:
Let it remain
Pros. Rebagay:
And will you please tell us exactly when this incident occur (sic), Mr. witness?
A That was after June 23, sir.
Q Where?
A At his store in A. Linao Street, Paco, sir.
Q And what was your response after you heard that answer from Salvador Manalo, if any, Mr. witness?
Witness:
“Siyempre nagtaka ako, bakit ganoon ibig sabihin implied baka nagka-aregluhan na, iyan ang iniisip
ko,” sir.
Regrettably, no further evidence, aside from the foregoing allegations and suspicions of SPO1 Fernandez, was ever
presented to substantiate the claim that the two kagawads had deliberately falsified their testimonies. On the contrary, it
appears that the police officers did not actively pursue their complaint for obstruction of justice against the two kagawads
with the Department of Justice. Moreover, to completely discount the testimonies of kagawads Lazaro and Manalo would be
tantamount to having no witnesses to the search of appellant’s residence at all except the police officers themselves, a
situation clearly contrary to the tenor and spirit of Section 8 of Rule 126.
The prosecution’s attempt to introduce the weighing scale, supposedly seized during the search, only casts more doubt
on its case. Said weighing scale was conspicuously absent from the enumeration of seized items in the handwritten Inventory
Receipt, the Return of the Search Warrant and the Affidavit of Arrest prepared by the police officers. SPO1 Fernandez’s
claim that the omission was an honest mistake, to wit:
Pros. Rebagay
Q Mr. Witness, a while ago you added another item which was not included in the inventory list and this was
the weighing scale. Please tell us, why is it only now that you are adding it to the list of those items that you
seized?
A Well, with all honesty Your Honor, I cannot offer any alibi except to say that I committed an honest mistake
when I did not include that weighing scale in the inventory receipts.
does not inspire credence. Neither does SPO1 Serqueña’s explanation:
Q What was the search warrant all about? It commands you to search and seize what items?
A Regarding drugs, drug paraphernalias and proceeds of the crime, sir.
Atty. Reyes:
What else?
A Weighing scale, sir.

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Q Weighing scale is included in the search warrant. So the warrant specifically commands you to seize drugs,
drug paraphernalias and weighing scale?
A Yes, sir.
Q And you read this Affidavit of Arrest before you signed this. Did you notice that the weighing scale is not
included here?
A Yes, sir. Now I noticed.
Q No, during the time that you signed this?
A No, sir.
Q You did not notice that?
A No, sir.
Q As well as the time when Officer Fernandez was preparing this Inventory, you did not call his attention that
there are some items missing in that Inventory?
A I did not call his attention. Honestly speaking… (unfinished)
xxx
A Honestly speaking, we confiscated so many evidence including papers, boxes, voluminous quantity of
evidence recovered and only one officer is conducting the Inventory. We cannot conduct Inventory two at a
time or three at a time, only one. Because maybe, you see, he’s only one. Maybe he did not list it because of
that so many evidence confiscated.
Atty. Reyes:
But the weighing scale is not a small item, is that correct? It’s a big item?
A Yes, sir.
Q Do you want to tell us that you missed that item?
A I was not the one who missed it, sir.
Q How about your Affidavit of Arrest?
A Officer Fernandez prepared that Affidavit, sir.
Q So you are not the one who prepared this? You merely signed it?
A I signed it in their presence, sir.
The foregoing explanations are improbable and far from persuasive. Considering that a weighing scale was among the
items particularly described in Search Warrant No. 99-0038, it would be expected that the police officers would be actively
searching for it and, if found, they would take care to include it in the inventory and the return of the search warrant. But
while numerous seals, stamps, checks and documents not described in the search warrant were seized and carefully
inventoried by the raiding team, none of the five police officers bothered to point out that the weighing scale had not been
included in the inventory.
The implausibility of the story put forward by the police officers leads to no other conclusion than that the weighing
scale was introduced as an afterthought in order to bolster the case against appellant.
With the persistence of nagging doubts surrounding the alleged discovery and seizure of the shabu, it is evident that the
prosecution has failed to discharge its burden of proof and overcome the constitutional presumption of innocence. It is thus
not only the accused’s right to be freed; it is, even more, this Court’s constitutional duty to acquit him. Apropos is the ruling
in People v. Aminnudin, viz:
The Court strongly supports the campaign of the government against drug addiction and commends the
efforts of our law enforcement officers against those who would inflict this malediction upon our people,
especially the susceptible youth. But as demanding as this campaign may be, it cannot be more so than the
compulsions of the Bill of Rights for the protection of liberty of every individual in the realm, including the basest
of criminals. The Constitution covers with the mantle of its protection the innocent and the guilty alike against
any manner of high-handedness from the authorities, however praiseworthy their intentions.
Those who are supposed to enforce the law are not justified in disregarding the right of the individual in the
name of order. Order is too high a price for the loss of liberty. As Justice Holmes, again, said “I think it is less
evil that some criminals should escape than that the government should play an ignoble part.” It is simply not

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allowed in the free society to violate a law to enforce another, especially if the law violated is the Constitution
itself.
Return of Seized Property Not Described in the Search Warrant
Turning now to the Motion for Return of Personal Documents, Vehicle and Paraphernalia, the general rule is that only
the personal properties particularly described in the search warrant may be seized by the authorities. Thus, in Tambasen v.
People, this Court held:
Moreover, by their seizure of articles not described in the search warrant, the police acted beyond the
parameters of their authority under the search warrant. Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution requires that
a search warrant should particularly describe the things to be seized. “The evident purpose and intent of the
requirement is to limit the things to be seized to those, and only those, particularly described in the search
warrant – to leave the officers of the law with no discretion regarding what articles they should seize, to the
end that unreasonable searches and seizures may not be made and that abuses may not be committed” (Corro v.
Lising, 137 SCRA 541, 547 [1985]; Bache & Co. [Phil.], Inc. v. Ruiz, 37 SCRA 823 [1971]; Uy Kheytin v.
Villareal, 42 Phil. 886 [1920]).
There are, however, several well-recognized exceptions to the foregoing rule. Thus, evidence obtained through a
warrantless search and seizure may be admissible under the following circumstances: (1) search incident to a lawful arrest;
(2) search of a moving motor vehicle; (3) search in violation of customs laws; (4) seizure of evidence in plain view; and (5)
when the accused himself waives his right against unreasonable searches and seizures.
To be valid, therefore, the seizure of the items enumerated in appellant’s Motion for Return of Personal Documents,
Vehicle and Paraphernalia must fall within the ambit of Search Warrant No. 99-0038 or under any of the foregoing
recognized exceptions to the search warrant requirement.
In this regard, the raiding team sought to justify the seizure of the car, the Fifty Two Thousand Seven Hundred Sixty
Pesos (P52,760.00) in different denominations, and the Twenty Five Thousand Chinese Yuan (CY25,000.00) as either
“proceeds of the offense” or “means of committing an offense” within the purview of the warrant. Thus PO2 Abulencia
testified:
Q And how about the money, Mr. witness? Why did you confiscate the money?
A It’s considered as proceed of the crime, sir.
Q How about the vehicle, Mr. witness? Why did you took (sic) custody of the vehicle when it was not listed in
the search warrant?
A This is part and parcel of the evidence, sir. Because it’s being used in transporting drugs, sir.
Similarly, with respect to the car, SPO1 Fernandez stated:
Q This vehicle, Toyota Corolla GLI with Plate No. PNU-TT-658, where was it during the time that you. . .
(unfinished)
A It was parked in front of the house of Benny Go.
Q And you seized it?
A Yes, sir.
Q Why?
A Because during the surveillance operation we saw some known pusher riding in that car?
Q Who are these drug pushers?
A One of those guys is Mr. Peter Co, also a subject of our investigation.
Q Which (sic) you released after the arrest, after he was invited for investigation in your office on June 14,
1999?
A Yes, sir.
The foregoing rationalizations are unacceptable. Admittedly, neither the money nor the car was particularly described
in the search warrant. In seizing the said items then, the police officers were exercising their own discretion and determining
for themselves which items in appellant’s residence they believed were “proceeds of the crime” or “means of committing the
offense.” This is absolutely impermissible. It bears reiterating that the purpose of the constitutional requirement that the
articles to be seized be particularly described in the warrant is to limit the things to be seized to those, and only those,
particularly described in the search warrant – to leave the officers of the law with no discretion regarding what articles they

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should seize. A search warrant is not a sweeping authority empowering a raiding party to undertake a fishing expedition to
seize and confiscate any and all kinds of evidence or articles relating to a crime.
At the same time, the raiding team characterized the seizure of the assorted documents, passports, bankbooks, checks,
check writer, typewriter, dry seals and stamp pads as “seizure of evidence in plain view.”
Under the plain view doctrine, objects falling in the “plain view” of an officer who has a right to be in the position to
have that view are subject to seizure and may be presented as evidence. This Court had the opportunity to summarize the
rules governing plain view searches in the recent case of People v. Doria, supra, to wit:
The “plain view” doctrine applies when the following requisites concur: (a) the law enforcement officer in
search of the evidence has a prior justification for an intrusion or is in a position from which he can view a
particular area; (b) the discovery of the evidence in plain view is inadvertent; (c) it is immediately apparent to the
officer that the item he observes may be evidence of a crime, contraband or otherwise subject to seizure. The law
enforcement officer must lawfully make an initial intrusion or properly be in a position from which he can
particularly view the area. In the course of such lawful intrusion, he came inadvertently across a piece of evidence
incriminating the accused. The object must be open to eye and hand and its discovery inadvertent.
Measured against the foregoing standards, it is readily apparent that the seizure of the passports, bankbooks, checks,
typewriter, check writer, dry seals and stamp pads and other assorted documents does not fall within the “plain view”
exception. The assertions of the police officers that said objects were “inadvertently” seized within their “plain view” are
mere legal conclusions which are not supported by any clear narration of the factual circumstances leading to their discovery.
PO2 Abulencia could not even accurately describe how the raiding team came across these items:
Q This Box “A” marked as Exhibit “G”, in what part of the room did you recover this?
A We recovered all the evidence within our plain view, sir. The evidence were scattered in his house. I
cannot remember whether Box “A” or Box “B”, but all the evidence were within our plain view that’s why we
confiscated them, sir.
Q What do you mean by plain view?
A “Nakikita namin, sir. Yung kitang-kita namin.”
Q Where in the premises of Benny Go did you see all these documents?
A Ground floor and upstairs but mostly in the ground floor, on the table and on the floor, sir.
Atty. Reyes: This Box “A” marked as Exh. “G” contains what documents again?
A Can I see my notes, sir?
Atty. Reyes: Go ahead.
A Box “A” contains different bundle of pieces of document, NBI and BI clearances, Application of Chinese
National, different papers, sir.
Q Can you remember where in particular did you recover these documents?
A I cannot remember, sir.
Q All of these documents were recovered primarily on the ground floor and on the second floor?
A Yes, sir.
Q Where in particular at the second floor, there are three to four rooms there?
A “Sir, nandoon sa mesa lahat iyan eh don sa taas rin may mesa din doon at saka doon naming nakuha ang
ibang mga dokumento.”
Q Is (sic) that room belongs (sic) to Jack Go?
A I don’t know, sir, but all these (sic) evidence were recovered from the house of Benny Go.
SPO1 Fernandez’s account of how he came across the dry seals, rubber stamps and papers is just as opaque:
Q For how long have you been inside the house of Benny Go when you noticed these dry seals?
A I think more than an hour, I don’t exactly remember the time.
Q But during the time you have not yet noticed the documents which you brought to this Court, what call (sic)
your attention was these dry seals first?
A Well, actually the dry seals and the rubber stamps were all placed atop the table and as well as the
documents because the box where the documents were placed are half opened. They are opened actually that’s why
I saw them.
Q So, you first saw the rubber stamps and the dry seals, is that correct? Because they are atop the table?
A Yes, sir.
Q And then later on you also saw the documents?
A Yes, sir it’s beside the table.
Q Contained in a box half opened?
A Yes, sir.
Q Which did you touch first, the rubber stamps, the dry seals or the documents?
A I did not touch anything, I only inventoried that when the searching team were through with what they are
doing. Now, all the evidence were placed atop the dining table, located also at the sala of the house or at the

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dining area. Then, that’s when I asked some of my co-members to place all those document and the other
confiscated items atop the table also.
The foregoing testimonies are clearly evasive and do not establish how the police officers became aware of the seized
items which were allegedly within their “plain view.”
Finally, it appears from the testimony of SPO1 Fernandez that the supposed illegal character of the items claimed to
have been seized within the “plain view” of the policemen was not readily and immediately apparent. Rather, the suspicions
of the policemen appear to have been aroused by the presence of the numerous passports and immigration documents which
they discovered in the course of their search. After they confirmed that appellant was not operating a travel agency, they
concluded that his possession of said documents and passports was illegal even though they could not identify the alleged law
supposedly violated.
To be sure, the policemen also filed a complaint against appellant for alleged possession of instruments or implements
intended for the commission of falsification under paragraph 2 of Article 176 of the Revised Penal Code on the basis of dry
seals and rubber stamps also found in appellant’s residence.
However, the illegal character of said dry seals and stamp pads cannot be said to have been immediately apparent. For
SPO1 Fernandez had to first make an impression of the dry seal on paper before he could determine that it purported to be the
seal of the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation. The counterfeit nature of the seals and stamps was in fact not established
until after they had been turned over to the Chinese embassy and Bureau of Immigration and Deportation for verification. It
is, therefore, incredible that SPO1 Fernandez could make such determination from a “plain view” of the items from his
vantage point in the sala.
In sum, the circumstances attendant to the case at bar do not warrant the application of the “plain view” doctrine to
justify the seizure and retention of the questioned seized items. The things belonging to appellant not specifically mentioned
in the warrants, like those not particularly described, must thus be ordered returned to him.
Be that as it may, considering that the two (2) dry seals and eight (8) of the rubber stamps have been certified to be
counterfeit by the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation, they may not be returned and are hereby declared confiscated in
favor of the State to be disposed of according to law. Moreover, the various bankbooks and passports not belonging to
appellant may not be ordered returned in the instant proceedings. The legality of a seizure can be contested only by the party
whose rights have been impaired thereby, and the objection to an unlawful search and seizure is purely personal and cannot
be availed of by third parties.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 41, convicting appellant Benny Go of
violation of Section 16, Article III in relation to Section 2 (e-2) Article I of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, is
REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
Appellant Benny Go is ACQUITTED of the crime charged and is hereby ordered immediately RELEASED from
confinement, unless he is lawfully held in custody for another cause.
The Director of the Bureau of Corrections is ORDERED to forthwith IMPLEMENT this Decision and to INFORM this
Court, within ten (10) days from receipt hereof, of the date appellant was actually released from confinement.
Appellant’s Motion For Return of Personal Documents, Vehicle and Paraphernalia is GRANTED IN PART, and the
trial court is hereby ordered to return to him those items seized from the subject premises which belong to him as listed in
said Motion.
The subject shabu is ORDERED forfeited in favor of the State and the trial court is hereby directed to deliver and/or
cause its delivery to the Dangerous Drugs Board for proper disposition.
The two (2) dry seals and eight (8) of the rubber stamps certified to be counterfeit by the Bureau of Immigration and
Deportation are likewise ORDERED forfeited in favor of the State for proper disposition.
SO ORDERED.

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CABALLES VS. COURT OF APPEALS
This is an appeal by certiorari from the decision1 of respondent Court of Appeals dated September 15, 1998 which affirmed
the judgment rendered by the Regional Trial Court of Santa Cruz, Laguna, finding herein petitioner, Rudy Caballes y Taiño,
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of theft, and the resolution 2 dated November 9, 1998 which denied petitioner's
motion for reconsideration.
In an Information3 dated October 16, 1989, petitioner was charged with the crime of theft committed as follows:
"That on or about the 28th day of June, 1989, in the Municipality of Pagsanjan, and/or elsewhere in the Province of
Laguna, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with intent of gain, and
without the knowledge and consent of the owner thereof, the NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, did then and
there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, steal and carry away about 630-kg of Aluminum Cable Conductors,
valued at P27, 450.00, belonging to and to the damage and prejudice of said owner National Power Corp., in the
aforesaid amount.
CONTRARY TO LAW."
During the arraignment, petitioner pleaded not guilty and hence, trial on the merits ensued.
The facts are summarized by the appellate court as follows:
"[At] about 9:15 p.m. of June 28, 1989, Sgt. Victorino Noceja and Pat. Alex de Castro, while on a routine patrol in
Barangay Sampalucan, Pagsanjan, Laguna, spotted a passenger jeep unusually covered with "kakawati" leaves.
Suspecting that the jeep was loaded with smuggled goods, the two police officers flagged down the vehicle. The
jeep was driven by appellant. When asked what was loaded on the jeep, he did not answer; he appeared pale and
nervous.
With appellant's consent, the police officers checked the cargo and they discovered bundles of 3.08 mm
aluminum/galvanized conductor wires exclusively owned by National Power Corporation (NPC). The conductor
wires weighed 700 kilos and valued at P55, 244.45. Noceja asked appellant where the wires came from and
appellant answered that they came from Cavinti, a town approximately 8 kilometers away from Sampalucan.
Thereafter, appellant and the vehicle with the high-voltage wires were brought to the Pagsanjan Police Station.
Danilo Cabale took pictures of the appellant and the jeep loaded with the wires which were turned over to the Police
Station Commander of Pagsanjan, Laguna. Appellant was incarcerated for 7 days in the Municipal jail.
In defense, appellant interposed denial and alibi. He testified that he is a driver and resident of Pagsanjan, Laguna; a
NARCOM civilian agent since January, 1988 although his identification card (ID) has already expired. In the
afternoon of June 28, 1989, while he was driving a passenger jeepney, he was stopped by one Resty Fernandez who
requested him to transport in his jeepney conductor wires which were in Cavinti, Laguna. He told Resty to wait until
he had finished his last trip for the day from Santa Cruz, Laguna. On his way to Santa Cruz, Laguna, he dropped by
the NARCOM headquarters and informed his superior, Sgt. Callos, that something unlawful was going to happen.
Sgt. Callos advised him to proceed with the loading of the wires and that the former would act as back-up and
intercept the vehicle at the Sambat Patrol Base in Pagsanjan.
After receiving those instructions, he went back to see Resty. Although Resty had his own vehicle, its tires were old
so the cable wires were loaded in appellant's jeep and covered with kakawati leaves. The loading was done by about
five (5) masked men. He was promised P1,000.00 for the job. Upon crossing a bridge, the two vehicles separated but
in his case, he was intercepted by Sgt. Noceja and Pat. De Castro. When they discovered the cables, he told the
police officers that the cables were loaded in his jeep by the owner, Resty Fernandez. But despite his explanation, he
was ordered to proceed to police headquarters where he was interrogated. The police officers did not believe him
and instead locked him up in jail for a week."
On April 27, 1993, the court a quo rendered judgment the dispositive portion of which reads:
"WHEREFORE, finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Theft of property worth
P55,244.45, the Court hereby sentences him to suffer imprisonment from TWO (2) [YEARS], FOUR (4) MONTHS,
and ONE (1) DAY of Prision Correccional, as minimum, to TEN (10) YEARS of Prision Mayor, as maximum, to
indemnify the complainant National Power Corporation in the amount of P55, 244.45, and to pay the costs."
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of conviction but deleted the award for damages on the ground that
the stolen materials were recovered and modified the penalty imposed, to wit:
"WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is hereby AFFIRMED with the modification that appellant RUDY
CABALLES is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principal in theft, defined and penalized under Articles 308
and 309, par. 1, Revised Penal Code, and there being no modifying circumstances, he is hereby meted an
indeterminate penalty of Four (4) years, Nine (9) months and Eleven (11) days of prision correccional, as minimum

72
term, to Eight (8) years, Eight (8) months and one (1) day of prision mayor, as maximum term. No civil indemnity
and no costs."
Petitioner comes before us and raises the following issues:
"(a) Whether or not the constitutional right of petitioner was violated when the police officers searched his vehicle
and seized the wires found therein without a search warrant and when samples of the wires and references to them
were admitted in evidence as basis for his conviction;
(b) Whether or not respondent Court erred in rejecting petitioner's defense that he was engaged in an entrapment
operation and in indulging in speculation and conjecture in rejecting said defense; and
(c) Whether or not the evidence of the prosecution failed to establish the guilt of petitioner beyond reasonable doubt
and thus failed to overcome the constitutional right of petitioner to presumption of innocence."
The conviction or acquittal of petitioner hinges primarily on the validity of the warrantless search and seizure made by the
police officers, and the admissibility of the evidence obtained by virtue thereof.
In holding that the warrantless search and seizure is valid, the trial court ruled that:
"As his last straw of argument, the accused questions the constitutionality of the search and validity of his arrest on
the ground that no warrant was issued to that effect. The Court cannot again sustain such view. In the case of People
v. Lo Ho [Wing], G.R. No. 88017, January 21, 1991, it has been held that 'considering that before a warrant can be
obtained, the place, things and persons to be searched must be described to the satisfaction of the issuing judge - a
requirement which borders on the impossible in the case of smuggling effected by the use of a moving vehicle that
can transport contraband from one place to another with impunity, a warrantless search of a moving vehicle is
justified on grounds of practicability.' The doctrine is not of recent vintage. In the case of Valmonte vs. de Villa,
G.R. No. 83988, May 24, 1990 (Resolution on Motion for Reconsideration, September 29, 1989), it was ruled that
'automobiles because of their mobility may be searched without a warrant upon facts not justifying warrantless
search of a resident or office. x x x To hold that no criminal can, in any case, be arrested and searched for the
evidence and tokens of his crime without a warrant, would be to leave society, to a large extent, at the mercy of the
shrewdest, the most expert, and the most depraved of criminals, facilitating their escape in many instances' (Ibid.). In
Umil v. Ramos, 187 SCRA 311, and People vs. Ortiz, 191 SCRA 836, the Supreme Court held that a search may be
made even without a warrant where the accused is caught in flagrante. Under the circumstances, the police officers
are not only authorized but are also under obligation to arrest the accused even without a warrant."
Petitioner contends that the flagging down of his vehicle by police officers who were on routine patrol, merely on "suspicion"
that "it might contain smuggled goods," does not constitute probable cause that will justify a warrantless search and seizure.
He insists that, contrary to the findings of the trial court as adopted by the appellate court, he did not give any consent,
express or implied, to the search of the vehicle. Perforce, any evidence obtained in violation of his right against unreasonable
search and seizure shall be deemed inadmissible.
Enshrined in our Constitution is the inviolable right of the people to be secure in their persons and properties against
unreasonable searches and seizures, as defined under Section 2, Article III thereof, which reads:
"Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable
searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant
of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under
oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be
searched and the persons or things to be seized."
The exclusionary rule under Section 3(2), Article III of the Constitution bars the admission of evidence obtained in violation
of such right.
The constitutional proscription against warrantless searches and seizures is not absolute but admits of certain exceptions,
namely: (1) warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest recognized under Section 12, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court and
by prevailing jurisprudence; (2) seizure of evidence in plain view; (3) search of moving vehicles; (4) consented warrantless
search; (5) customs search; (6) stop and frisk situations (Terry search); and (7) exigent and emergency circumstances.
In cases where warrant is necessary, the steps prescribed by the Constitution and reiterated in the Rules of Court must be
complied with. In the exceptional events where warrant is not necessary to effect a valid search or seizure, or when the latter
cannot be performed except without a warrant, what constitutes a reasonable or unreasonable search or seizure is purely a
judicial question, determinable from the uniqueness of the circumstances involved, including the purpose of the search or
seizure, the presence or absence of probable cause, the manner in which the search and seizure was made, the place or thing
searched and the character of the articles procured.
It is not controverted that the search and seizure conducted by the police officers in the case at bar was not authorized by a
search warrant. The main issue is whether the evidence taken from the warrantless search is admissible against the appellant.
Without said evidence, the prosecution cannot prove the guilt of the appellant beyond reasonable doubt.1âwphi1.nêt
I. Search of moving vehicle
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Highly regulated by the government, the vehicle's inherent mobility reduces expectation of privacy especially when its transit
in public thoroughfares furnishes a highly reasonable suspicion amounting to probable cause that the occupant committed a
criminal activity. Thus, the rules governing search and seizure have over the years been steadily liberalized whenever a
moving vehicle is the object of the search on the basis of practicality. This is so considering that before a warrant could be
obtained, the place, things and persons to be searched must be described to the satisfaction of the issuing judge — a
requirement which borders on the impossible in the case of smuggling effected by the use of a moving vehicle that can
transport contraband from one place to another with impunity. We might add that a warrantless search of a moving vehicle is
justified on the ground that it is not practicable to secure a warrant because the vehicle can be quickly moved out of the
locality or jurisdiction in which the warrant must be sought. Searches without warrant of automobiles is also allowed for the
purpose of preventing violations of smuggling or immigration laws, provided such searches are made at borders or
'constructive borders' like checkpoints near the boundary lines of the State.
The mere mobility of these vehicles, however, does not give the police officers unlimited discretion to conduct indiscriminate
searches without warrants if made within the interior of the territory and in the absence of probable cause. Still and all, the
important thing is that there was probable cause to conduct the warrantless search, which must still be present in such a case.
Although the term eludes exact definition, probable cause signifies 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; 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 items, articles or objects sought in connection with
said offense or subject to seizure and destruction by law is in the place to be searched. The required probable cause that will
justify a warrantless search and seizure is not determined by a fixed formula but is resolved according to the facts of each
case.
One such form of search of moving vehicles is the "stop-and-search" without warrant at military or police checkpoints which
has been declared to be not illegal per se, for as long as it is warranted by the exigencies of public order and conducted in a
way least intrusive to motorists. A checkpoint may either be a mere routine inspection or it may involve an extensive search.
Routine inspections are not regarded as violative of an individual's right against unreasonable search. The search which is
normally permissible in this instance is limited to the following instances: (1) where the officer merely draws aside the
curtain of a vacant vehicle which is parked on the public fair grounds; (2) simply looks into a vehicle; (3) flashes a light
therein without opening the car's doors; (4) where the occupants are not subjected to a physical or body search; (5) where the
inspection of the vehicles is limited to a visual search or visual inspection; and (6) where the routine check is conducted in a
fixed area.
None of the foregoing circumstances is obtaining in the case at bar. The police officers did not merely conduct a visual search
or visual inspection of herein petitioner's vehicle. They had to reach inside the vehicle, lift the kakawati leaves and look
inside the sacks before they were able to see the cable wires. It cannot be considered a simple routine check.
In the case of United States vs. Pierre, the Court held that the physical intrusion of a part of the body of an agent into the
vehicle goes beyond the area protected by the Fourth Amendment, to wit:
"The Agent . . . stuck his head through the driver's side window. The agent thus effected a physical intrusion into the
vehicle. . . [W]e are aware of no case holding that an officer did not conduct a search when he physically intruded
part of his body into a space in which the suspect had a reasonable expectation of privacy. [The] Agent['s] . . .
physical intrusion allowed him to see and to smell things he could not see or smell from outside the vehicle. . . In
doing so, his inspection went beyond that portion of the vehicle which may be viewed from outside the vehicle by
either inquisitive passersby or diligent police officers, and into the area protected by the Fourth amendment, just as
much as if he had stuck his head inside the open window of a home."
On the other hand, when a vehicle is stopped and subjected to an extensive search, such a warrantless search would be
constitutionally permissible only if the officers conducting the search have reasonable or probable cause to believe, before the
search, that either the motorist is a law-offender or they will find the instrumentality or evidence pertaining to a crime in the
vehicle to be searched.
This Court has in the past found probable cause to conduct without a judicial warrant an extensive search of moving vehicles
in situations where (1) there had emanated from a package the distinctive smell of marijuana; (2) agents of the Narcotics
Command ("Narcom") of the Philippine National Police ("PNP") had received a confidential report from informers that a
sizeable volume of marijuana would be transported along the route where the search was conducted; (3) Narcom agents had
received information that a Caucasian coming from Sagada, Mountain Province, had in his possession prohibited drugs and
when the Narcom agents confronted the accused Caucasian, because of a conspicuous bulge in his waistline, he failed to
present his passport and other identification papers when requested to do so; (4) Narcom agents had received confidential
information that a woman having the same physical appearance as that of the accused would be transporting marijuana; (5)
the accused who were riding a jeepney were stopped and searched by policemen who had earlier received confidential reports
that said accused would transport a large quantity of marijuana; and (6) where the moving vehicle was stopped and searched
on the basis of intelligence information and clandestine reports by a deep penetration agent or spy - one who participated in
the drug smuggling activities of the syndicate to which the accused belonged - that said accused were bringing prohibited
drugs into the country.
74
In the case at bar, the vehicle of the petitioner was flagged down because the police officers who were on routine patrol
became suspicious when they saw that the back of the vehicle was covered with kakawati leaves which, according to them,
was unusual and uncommon.
Pat. Alex de Castro recounted the incident as follows:
"ATTY. SANTOS
Q Now on said date and time do you remember of any unusual incident while you were performing your duty?
A Yes, sir, at that time and date myself and Police Sgt. Noceja were conducting patrol in the said place when we
spotted a suspicious jeepney so we stopped the jeepney and searched the load of the jeepney and we found out (sic)
these conductor wires.
Q You mentioned about the fact that when you saw the jeepney you became suspicious, why did you become
suspicious?
A Because the cargo was covered with leaves and branches, sir.
Q When you became suspicious upon seeing those leaves on top of the load what did you do next, if any?
A We stopped the jeepney and searched the contents thereof, sir."
The testimony of Victorino Noceja did not fare any better:
"ATTY SANTOS
Q When you saw the accused driving the said vehicle, what did you do?
A Because I saw that the vehicle being drawn by Caballes was covered by kakawati leaves, I became
suspicious since such vehicle should not be covered by those and I flagged him, sir."
We hold that the fact that the vehicle looked suspicious simply because it is not common for such to be covered with
kakawati leaves does not constitute "probable cause" as would justify the conduct of a search without a warrant.
In People vs. Chua Ho San, we held that the fact that the watercraft used by the accused was different in appearance from
the usual fishing boats that commonly cruise over the Bacnotan seas coupled with the suspicious behavior of the accused
when he attempted to flee from the police authorities do not sufficiently establish probable cause. Thus:
"In the case at bar, the Solicitor General proposes that the following details are suggestive of probable cause -
persistent reports of rampant smuggling of firearm and other contraband articles, CHUA's watercraft differing in
appearance from the usual fishing boats that commonly cruise over the Bacnotan seas, CHUA's illegal entry into the
Philippines x x x, CHUA's suspicious behavior, i.e., he attempted to flee when he saw the police authorities, and the
apparent ease by which CHUA can return to and navigate his speedboat with immediate dispatch towards the high
seas, beyond the reach of Philippine laws.
This Court, however, finds that these do not constitute "probable cause." None of the telltale clues, e.g., bag or
package emanating the pungent odor of marijuana or other prohibited drug, confidential report and/or positive
identification by informers of courier of prohibited drug and/or the time and place where they will transport/deliver
the same, suspicious demeanor or behavior, and suspicious bulge in the waist - accepted by this Court as sufficient
to justify a warrantless arrest exists in this case. There was no classified information that a foreigner would
disembark at Tammocalao beach bearing prohibited drug on the date in question. 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. x x
x." (emphasis supplied)
In addition, the police authorities do not claim to have received any confidential report or tipped information that petitioner
was carrying stolen cable wires in his vehicle which could otherwise have sustained their suspicion. Our jurisprudence is
replete with cases where tipped information has become a sufficient probable cause to effect a warrantless search and seizure.
Unfortunately, none exists in this case.
II. Plain view doctrine
It cannot likewise be said that the cable wires found in petitioner's vehicle were in plain view, making its warrantless seizure
valid.
Jurisprudence is to the effect that an object is in plain view if the object itself is plainly exposed to sight. Where the object
seized was inside a closed package, the object itself is not in plain view and therefore cannot be seized without a warrant.
However, if the package proclaims its contents, whether by its distinctive configuration, its transparency, or if its contents are
obvious to an observer, then the contents are in plain view and may be seized. In other words, if the package is such that an
experienced observer could infer from its appearance that it contains the prohibited article, then the article is deemed in plain
view. It must be immediately apparent to the police that the items that they observe may be evidence of a crime, contraband
or otherwise subject to seizure.
It is clear from the records of this case that the cable wires were not exposed to sight because they were placed in sacks and
covered with leaves. The articles were neither transparent nor immediately apparent to the police authorities. They had no
clue as to what was hidden underneath the leaves and branches. As a matter of fact, they had to ask petitioner what was
loaded in his vehicle. In such a case, it has been held that the object is not in plain view which could have justified mere
seizure of the articles without further search.
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III. Consented search
Petitioner contends that the statement of Sgt. Victorino Noceja that he checked the vehicle "with the consent of the accused"
is too vague to prove that petitioner consented to the search. He claims that there is no specific statement as to how the
consent was asked and how it was given, nor the specific words spoken by petitioner indicating his alleged "consent." At
most, there was only an implied acquiescence, a mere passive conformity, which is no "consent" at all within the purview of
the constitutional guarantee.
Doubtless, the constitutional immunity against unreasonable searches and seizures is a personal right which may be waived.
The consent must be voluntary in order to validate an otherwise illegal detention and search, i.e., the consent is unequivocal,
specific, and intelligently given, uncontaminated by any duress or coercion. Hence, consent to a search is not to be lightly
inferred, but must be shown by clear and convincing evidence. The question whether a consent to a search was in fact
voluntary is a question of fact to be determined from the totality of all the circumstances. Relevant to this determination are
the following characteristics of the person giving consent and the environment in which consent is given: (1) the age of the
defendant; (2) whether he was in a public or secluded location; (3) whether he objected to the search or passively looked on;
(4) the education and intelligence of the defendant; (5) the presence of coercive police procedures; (6) the defendant's belief
that no incriminating evidence will be found; (7) the nature of the police questioning; (8) the environment in which the
questioning took place; and (9) the possibly vulnerable subjective state of the person consenting. It is the State which has the
burden of proving, by clear and positive testimony, that the necessary consent was obtained and that it was freely and
voluntarily given.
In the case at bar, Sgt. Victorino Noceja testified on the manner in which the search was conducted in this wise:
"WITNESS
Q On June 28, 1989, where were you?
A We were conducting patrol at the poblacion and some barangays, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q After conducting the patrol operation, do you remember of any unusual incident on said date and time?
A Yes, sir.
Q What is that incident?
A While I was conducting my patrol at barangay Sampalucan, I saw Rudy Caballes driving a vehicle and the
vehicle contained aluminum wires, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q When you saw the accused driving the said vehicle, what did you do?
A Because I saw that the vehicle being driven by Caballes was covered by kakawati leaves, I became suspicious
since such vehicle should not be covered by those and I flagged him, sir.
Q Did the vehicle stop?
A Yes, sir, and after said vehicle stop[ped], I removed the cover of said vehicle and by so doing, I saw the
aluminum wires.
Q Before you saw the aluminum wires, did you talk to the accused?
A Yes, sir, I asked him what his load was.
Q What was the answer of Caballes?
A He did not answer and I observed him to be pale, "nagpapamutla" (sic), so I told him I will look at the
contents of his vehicle and he answered in the positive.
Q And after you saw for yourself the aluminum wires loaded on the jeep, what did you do?
A I asked him where those wires came from and he answered those came from the Cavinti area, sir."
This Court is not unmindful of cases upholding the validity of consented warrantless searches and seizure. But in these cases,
the police officers' request to search personnel effects was orally articulated to the accused and in such language that left no
room for doubt that the latter fully understood what was requested. In some instance, the accused even verbally replied to the
request demonstrating that he also understood the nature and consequences of such request.
In Asuncion vs. Court of Appeals, the apprehending officers sought the permission of petitioner to search the car, to which
the latter agreed. Petitioner therein himself freely gave his consent to said search. In People vs. Lacerna, the appellants who
were riding in a taxi were stopped by two policemen who asked permission to search the vehicle and the appellants readily
agreed. In upholding the validity of the consented search, the Court held that appellant himself who was "urbanized in
mannerism and speech" expressly said that he was consenting to the search as he allegedly had nothing to hide and had done
nothing wrong. In People vs. Cuizon, the accused admitted that they signed a written permission stating that they freely
consented to the search of their luggage by the NBI agents to determine if they were carrying shabu. In People vs. Montilla,
it was held that the accused spontaneously performed affirmative acts of volition by himself opening the bag without being
forced or intimidated to do so, which acts should properly be construed as a clear waiver of his right. In People vs.
Omaweng, the police officers asked the accused if they could see the contents of his bag to which the accused said "you can
see the contents but those are only clothings." Then the policemen asked if they could open and see it, and accused answered
"you can see it." The Court said there was a valid consented search.1âwphi1.nêt

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In case of consented searches or waiver of the constitutional guarantee against obtrusive searches, it is fundamental that to
constitute a waiver, it must first appear that (1) the right exists; (2) that the person involved had knowledge, either actual or
constructive, of the existence of such right; and (3) the said person had an actual intention to relinquish the right.
In the case at bar, the evidence is lacking that the petitioner intentionally surrendered his right against unreasonable searches.
The manner by which the two police officers allegedly obtained the consent of petitioner for them to conduct the search
leaves much to be desired. When petitioner's vehicle was flagged down, Sgt. Noceja approached petitioner and "told him I
will look at the contents of his vehicle and he answered in the positive." We are hard put to believe that by uttering those
words, the police officers were asking or requesting for permission that they be allowed to search the vehicle of petitioner.
For all intents and purposes, they were informing, nay, imposing upon herein petitioner that they will search his vehicle.
The "consent" given under intimidating or coercive circumstances is no consent within the purview of the constitutional
guaranty. In addition, in cases where this Court upheld the validity of consented search, it will be noted that the police
authorities expressly asked, in no uncertain terms, for the consent of the accused to be searched. And the consent of the
accused was established by clear and positive proof. In the case of herein petitioner, the statements of the police officers were
not asking for his consent; they were declaring to him that they will look inside his vehicle. Besides, it is doubtful whether
permission was actually requested and granted because when Sgt. Noceja was asked during his direct examination what he
did when the vehicle of petitioner stopped, he answered that he removed the cover of the vehicle and saw the aluminum
wires. It was only after he was asked a clarificatory question that he added that he told petitioner he will inspect the vehicle.
To our mind, this was more of an afterthought. Likewise, when Pat. de Castro was asked twice in his direct examination what
they did when they stopped the jeepney, his consistent answer was that they searched the vehicle. He never testified that he
asked petitioner for permission to conduct the search.
Neither can petitioner's passive submission be construed as an implied acquiescence to the warrantless search. In People vs.
Barros, appellant Barros, who was carrying a carton box, boarded a bus where two policemen were riding. The policemen
inspected the carton and found marijuana inside. When asked who owned the box, appellant denied ownership of the box and
failed to object to the search. The Court there struck down the warrantless search as illegal and held that the accused is not to
be presumed to have waived the unlawful search conducted simply because he failed to object, citing the ruling in the case of
People vs. Burgos, to wit:
"As the constitutional guaranty is not dependent upon any affirmative act of the citizen, the courts do not place the
citizens in the position of either contesting an officer's authority by force, or waiving his constitutional rights; but
instead they hold that a peaceful submission to a search or seizure is not a consent or an invitation thereto, but is
merely a demonstration of regard for the supremacy of the law."
Casting aside the cable wires as evidence, the remaining evidence on record are insufficient to sustain petitioner's conviction.
His guilt can only be established without violating the constitutional right of the accused against unreasonable search and
seizure.
WHEREFORE, the impugned decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and accused Rudy Caballes is hereby
ACQUITTED of the crime charged. Cost de oficio.
SO ORDERED.

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THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. LEILA JOHNSON Y REYES

This is an appeal from the decision, dated May 14, 1999, of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 110, Pasay City, finding
accused-appellant Leila Johnson y Reyes guilty of violation of §16 of R.A. No. 6425 (Dangerous Drugs Act), as amended by
R.A. No. 7659, and sentencing her to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of P500,000.00 and the costs
of the suit.
The information against accused-appellant alleged:
That on June 26, 1998 inside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named Accused did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously possess three plastic bags of
methamphetamine hydrochloride, a regulated drug, each bag weighing:
#1 ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY SEVEN POINT FIVE (187.5) grams;
#2 ONE HUNDRED NINETY EIGHT POINT ZERO (198.0) grams; and
#3 ONE HUNDRED NINETY FOUR POINT SEVEN (194.7) grams, respectively,
or a total of FIVE HUNDRED EIGHTY POINT TWO (580.2) grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride.
That the above-named accused does not have the corresponding
license or prescription to possess or use said regulated drug.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
Upon being arraigned, accused-appellant pleaded not guilty, whereupon trial was held.
The prosecution presented four witnesses, namely, NBI Forensic Chemist George de Lara, SPO4 Reynaldo Embile,
duty frisker Olivia Ramirez, and SPO1 Rizalina Bernal. The defense presented accused-appellant who testified in her own
behalf.
The facts are as follows:
Accused-appellant Leila Reyes Johnson was, at the time of the incident, 58 years old, a widow, and a resident of Ocean
Side, California, U.S.A. She is a former Filipino citizen who was naturalized as an American on June 16, 1968 and had since
been working as a registered nurse, taking care of geriatric patients and those with Alzheimer’s disease, in convalescent
homes in the United States.
On June 16, 1998, she arrived in the Philippines to visit her son’s family in Calamba, Laguna. She was due to fly back
to the United States on July 26. On July 25, she checked in at the Philippine Village Hotel to avoid the traffic on the way to
the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and checked out at 5:30 p.m. the next day, June 26, 1998.
At around 7:30 p.m. of that day, Olivia Ramirez was on duty as a lady frisker at Gate 16 of the NAIA departure area.
Her duty was to frisk departing passengers, employees, and crew and check for weapons, bombs, prohibited drugs,
contraband goods, and explosives.
When she frisked accused-appellant Leila Johnson, a departing passenger bound for the United States via Continental
Airlines CS-912, she felt something hard on the latter’s abdominal area. Upon inquiry, Mrs. Johnson explained she needed to
wear two panty girdles as she had just undergone an operation as a result of an ectopic pregnancy.
Not satisfied with the explanation, Ramirez reported the matter to her superior, SPO4 Reynaldo Embile, saying “Sir,
hindi po ako naniniwalang panty lang po iyon.” (“Sir, I do not believe that it is just a panty.”) She was directed to take
accused-appellant to the nearest women’s room for inspection. Ramirez took accused-appellant to the rest room,
accompanied by SPO1 Rizalina Bernal. Embile stayed outside.
Inside the women’s room, accused-appellant was asked again by Ramirez what the hard object on her stomach was and
accused-appellant gave the same answer she had previously given. Ramirez then asked her “to bring out the thing under her
girdle.” Accused-appellant brought out three plastic packs, which Ramirez then turned over to Embile, outside the women’s
room.
The confiscated packs, marked as Exhibits C-1, C-2 and C-3, contained a total of 580.2 grams of a substance which was

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found by NBI Chemist George de Lara to be methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu.”
Embile took accused-appellant and the plastic packs to the 1st Regional Aviation and Security Office (1st RASO) at the
arrival area of the NAIA, where accused-appellant’s passport and ticket were taken and her luggage opened. Pictures were
taken and her personal belongings were itemized.
In her defense, accused-appellant alleged that she was standing in line at the last boarding gate when she was
approached by Embile and two female officers. She claimed she was handcuffed and taken to the women’s room. There, she
was asked to undress and was then subjected to a body search. She insisted that nothing was found on her person. She was
later taken to a room filled with boxes, garbage, and a chair. Her passport and her purse containing $850.00 and some change
were taken from her, for which no receipt was issued to her. After two hours, she said, she was transferred to the office of a
certain Col. Castillo.
After another two hours, Col. Castillo and about eight security guards came in and threw two white packages on the
table. They told her to admit that the packages were hers. But she denied knowledge and ownership of the packages. She
was detained at the 1st RASO office until noon of June 28, 1999 when she was taken before a fiscal for inquest. She claimed
that throughout the period of her detention, from the night of June 26 until June 28, she was never allowed to talk to counsel
nor was she allowed to call the U.S. Embassy or any of her relatives in the Philippines.
On May 14, 1999, the trial court rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding the accused LEILA JOHNSON Y REYES, GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of the offense of Violation of Section 16 of Republic Act 6425 as amended and hereby imposes on her the
penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA and condemns said accused to pay a fine of FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS
(P500,000.00) without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to pay the costs of suit.
The Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (shabu) having a total net weight of 580.2 grams (Exhibits “G”, “C-2” and “C-
3”) are hereby confiscated in favor of the government and the Branch Clerk of Court is hereby ordered to cause the
transportation thereof to the Dangerous Drugs Board for disposition in accordance with law.
The accused shall be credited in full for the period of her detention at the City Jail of Pasay City during the pendency of
this case provided that she agreed in writing to abide by and comply strictly with the rules and regulations of the City Jail.
SO ORDERED.
Accused-appellant contends that the trial court convicted her: (1) “despite failure of the prosecution in proving the
negative allegation in the information;” (2) “despite failure of the prosecution in proving the quantity of methamphetamine
hydrochloride;” (3) “despite violation of her constitutional rights;” and (4) “when guilt was not proven beyond reasonable
doubt.”
First. Accused-appellant claims that she was arrested and detained in gross violation of her constitutional rights. She
argues that the “shabu” confiscated from her is inadmissible against her because she was forced to affix her signature on the
plastic bags while she was detained at the 1st RASO office, without the assistance of counsel and without having been
informed of her constitutional rights. Hence, she argues, the methamphetamine hydrochloride, or “shabu,” should have been
excluded from the evidence.
The contention has no merit. No statement, if any, was taken from accused-appellant during her detention and used in
evidence against her. There is, therefore, no basis for accused-appellant’s invocation of Art. III, §12(1) and (3). On the other
hand, what is involved in this case is an arrest in flagrante delicto pursuant to a valid search made on her person.
The trial court held:
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
xxxx
A custodial investigation has been defined in People. v. Ayson 175 SCRA 230 as “the questioning initiated by law
enforcement officers after a person has been taken [in] custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom in any significant way.

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This presupposes that he is suspected of having committed an offense and that the investigator is trying to elicit information
or [a] confession from him."
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 accurate.
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 baggage 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. Corollarily, 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.
Anent her allegation that her signature on the said packs (Exhibits C-1, C-2 and C-3 herein) had been obtained while
she was in the custody of the airport authorities without the assistance of counsel, the Solicitor General correctly points out
that nowhere in the records is it indicated that accused-appellant was required to affix her signature to the packs. In fact, only
the signatures of Embile and Ramirez thereon, along with their testimony to that effect, were presented by the prosecution in
proving its case.
There is, however, no justification for the confiscation of accused-appellant’s passport, airline ticket, luggage, and other
personal effects. The pictures taken during that time are also inadmissible, as are the girdle taken from her, and her signature
thereon. Rule 126, §2 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure authorizes the search and seizure only of the following:
Personal property to be seized. ¾ A search warrant may be issued for the search and seizure of personal property:
(a) Subject of the offense;
(b) Stolen or embezzled and other proceeds or fruits of the offense; and
(c) Used or intended to be used as the means of committing an offense.
Accordingly, the above items seized from accused-appellant should be returned to her.
Second. Accused-appellant argues that the prosecution failed to fully ascertain the quantity of methamphetamine
hydrochloride to justify the imposition of the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
Section 20 of R.A. No. 6425, as amended by R.A. No. 7659, states:
Section 20 - Application Of Penalties, Confiscation And Forfeiture Of The Proceeds or Instrument Of The Crime – The
penalties for offenses under Section 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9 of Article II and Sections 14, 14-A, 15 and 16 of Article III of this Act,
shall be applied if the dangerous drugs involved is in any of the following quantities:
1. 40 grams or more of opium;
2. 40 grams or more of morphine;
3. 200 grams or more of shabu, or methylamphetamine hydrochloride;
4. 40 grams or more of heroin;
5. 750 grams or more of indian hemp of marijuana;
6. 50 grams of marijuana resin or marijuana resin oil;
7. 40 grams or more of cocaine or cocaine hydrochloride; or
8. In case of other dangerous drugs, the quantity of which is far beyond therapeutic requirements as determined and
promulgated by the Dangerous Drugs Board, after public consultation/hearings conducted for the purpose.
Otherwise, if the quantity involved is less than the foregoing quantities, the penalty shall range from prision
correccional to reclusion perpetua depending upon the quantity.
Under this provision, accused-appellant therefore stands to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death for her
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possession of 580.2 grams of shabu.
Accused-appellant attempts to distinguish between a quantitative and a qualitative examination of the substance
contained in Exhibits C-1, C-2 and C-3. She argues that the examination conducted by the NBI forensic chemist was a
qualitative one which merely yielded positive findings for shabu, but failed to establish its purity; hence, its exact quantity
remains indeterminate and unproved.
This contention is likewise without merit.
The expert witness, George De Lara, stated that the tests conducted would have indicated the presence of impurities if
there were any. He testified:
PROS. VELASCO By mixing it twice, Mr. Witness, if there are any adulterants or impurities, it will be discovered by
just mixing it?
WITNESS If some drugs or additives were present, it will appear in a thin layer chromatographic examination.
PROS. VELASCO Did other drugs or other additives appear Mr. Witness?
WITNESS In my thin layer chromatographic plate, it only appears one spot which resembles or the same as the
Methamphetamine Hydrochloride sample . . . .
PROS. VELASCO So, Mr. Witness, if there are any adulterants present in the chemicals you have examined, in
chemical examination, what color it will register, if any?
WITNESS In sample, it contained a potassium aluminum sulfate, it will not react with the reagent, therefore it will not
dissolve. In my examination, all the specimens reacted on the re-agents, sir.
PROS. VELASCO And what is potassium aluminum sulfate in layman’s term?
WITNESS It is only a tawas. . . . .
COURT In this particular case, did you find any aluminum sulfate or tawas in the specimen?
WITNESS None, your Honor. . . . .
ATTY. AGOOT I will cite an example, supposing ten grams of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride is mixed with
200 grams of tawas, you will submit that to qualitative examination, what will be your findings, negative or positive,
Mr. Witness?
WITNESS It will give a positive result for Methamphetamine Hydrochloride.
ATTY. AGOOT That is qualitative examination.
WITNESS And also positive for aluminum sulfate.
A qualitative determination relates to the identity of the material, whereas a quantitative analysis requires the
determination of the percentage combination of the components of a mixture. Hence, a qualitative identification of a powder
may reveal the presence of heroin and quinine, for instance, whereas a quantitative analysis may conclude the presence of 10
percent heroin and 90 percent quinine.
De Lara testified that he used a chromatography test to determine the contents of Exhibits C-1, C-2 and C-3.
Chromatography is a means of separating and tentatively identifying the components of a mixture. It is particularly useful for
analyzing the multicomponent specimens that are frequently received in a crime lab. For example, illicit drugs sold on the
street may be diluted with practically any material that is at the disposal of the drug dealer to increase the quantity of the
product that is made available to prospective customers. Hence, the task of identifying an illicit drug preparation would be an
arduous one without the aid of chromatographic methods to first separate the mixture into its components.
The testimony of De Lara established not only that the tests were thorough, but also that the scientifically correct
method of obtaining an accurate representative sample had been obtained. At any rate, as the Solicitor-General has pointed
out, if accused-appellant was not satisfied with the results, it would have been a simple matter for her to ask for an
independent examination of the substance by another chemist. This she did not do.
Third. Accused-appellant argues that the prosecution failed to prove the negative allegation in the information that she
did not have a license to possess or use methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu.”
Art. III of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659 provides:
SEC. 16. Possession or Use of Regulated Drugs. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from
five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any person who shall possess or use any regulated
drug without the corresponding license or prescription, subject to the provisions of Section 20 hereof.
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Accused-appellant claims that possession or use of methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu,”a regulated drug, is not
unlawful unless the possessor or user does not have the required license or prescription. She points out that since the
prosecution failed to present any certification that she is not authorized to possess or use regulated drugs, it therefore falls
short of the quantum of proof needed to sustain a conviction.
The contention has no merit.
The question raised in this case is similar to that raised in United States v. Chan Toco. The accused in that case was
charged with smoking opium without being duly registered. He demurred to the information on the ground that it failed to
allege that the use of opium had not been prescribed as a medicine by a duly licensed and practicing physician.
This Court denied the motion and said:
The evident interest and purpose of the statute is to prohibit and to penalize generally the smoking of opium in these
Islands. But the legislator desired to withdraw from the operation of the statute a limited class of smokers who smoked under
the advice and by prescription of a licensed and practicing physician . . . . Hence where one is charged with a violation of the
general provisions of the Opium Law, it is more logical as well as more practical and convenient, if he did in fact smoke
opium under the advice of a physician, that he should set up this fact by way of defense, than that the prosecution should be
called upon to prove that every smoker, charged with a violation of the law, does so without such advice or prescription.
Indeed, when it is considered that under the law any person may, in case of need and at any time, procure the advice of a
physician to use opium or some of its derivatives, and that in the nature of things no public record of prescriptions of this
kind is or can be required to be kept, it is manifest that it would be wholly impracticable and absurd to impose on the
prosecution the burden of alleging and proving the fact that one using opium does so without the advice of a physician. To
prove beyond a reasonable doubt, in a particular case, that one using opium does so without the advice or prescription of a
physician would be in most cases a practical impossibility without the aid of the defendant himself, while a defendant
charged with the illegal use of opium should find little difficulty in establishing the fact that he used it under the advice and
on the prescription of a physician, if in fact he did so.
An accused person sometimes owes a duty to himself if not to the State. If he does not perform that duty he may not
always expect the State to perform it for him. If he fails to meet the obligation which he owes to himself, when to meet it is
an easy thing for him to do, he has no one but himself to blame.
Moreover, as correctly pointed out by the Solicitor General, there is nothing in R.A. No. 6425 or the Dangerous Drugs
Act, as amended, which requires the prosecution to present a certification that accused-appellant has no license or permit to
possess shabu. Mere possession of the prohibited substance is a crime per se and the burden of proof is upon accused-
appellant to show that she has a license or permit under the law to possess the prohibited drug.
Fourth. Lastly, accused-appellant contends that the evidence presented by the prosecution is not sufficient to support a
finding that she is guilty of the crime charged.
This contention must likewise be rejected.
Credence was properly accorded to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, who are law enforcers. When police
officers have no motive to testify falsely against the accused, courts are inclined to uphold this presumption. In this case, no
evidence has been presented to suggest any improper motive on the part of the police enforcers in arresting accused-
appellant. This Court accords great respect to the findings of the trial court on the matter of credibility of the witnesses in the
absence of any palpable error or arbitrariness in its findings.
It is noteworthy that, aside from the denial of accused-appellant, no other witness was presented in her behalf. Her
denial cannot prevail over the positive testimonies of the prosecution witnesses.] As has been held, denial as a rule is a weak
form of defense, particularly when it is not substantiated by clear and convincing evidence. The defense of denial or frame-
up, like alibi, has been invariably viewed by the courts with disfavor for it can just as easily be concocted and is a common
and standard defense ploy in most prosecutions for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act.
The Court is convinced that the requirements of the law in order that a person may be validly charged with and
convicted of illegal possession of a dangerous drug in violation of R.A. No. 6425, as amended, have been complied with by
the prosecution in this case. The decision of the trial court must accordingly be upheld.
As regards the fine imposed by the trial court, it has been held that courts may fix any amount within the limits
established by law. Considering that five hundred eighty point two (580.2) grams of shabu were confiscated from accused-
appellant, the fine imposed by the trial court may properly be reduced to P50,000.00.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 110, finding accused-appellant guilty
of violation of §16 of R.A. No. 6425, as amended, and imposing upon her the penalty of reclusion perpetua is hereby
AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the fine imposed on accused-appellant is reduced to P50,000.00. Costs against
appellant.
The passport, airline ticket, luggage, girdle and other personal effects not yet returned to the accused-appellant are
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hereby ordered returned to her.
SO ORDERED.

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. HON. PERFECTO A.S. LAGUIO, JR.
On pure questions of law, petitioner People of the Philippines has directly come to this Court via this petition for review on
certiorari to nullify and set aside the Resolution dated 13 March 1997 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 18, in
Criminal Case Nos. 96-149990 to 96-149992, entitled People of the Philippines v. Lawrence Wang y Chen, granting private
respondent Lawrence C. Wang’s Demurrer to Evidence and acquitting him of the three (3) charges filed against him, namely:
(1) Criminal Case No. 96-149990 for Violation of Section 16, Article III in relation to Section 2(e)(2), Article I of Republic
Act (R.A.) No. 6425 (Dangerous Drugs Act); (2) Criminal Case No. 96-149991 for Violation of Presidential Decree No.
1866 (Illegal Possession of Firearms); and (3) Criminal Case No. 96-149992 for Violation of Comelec Resolution No. 2828
in relation to R.A. No. 7166 (COMELEC Gun Ban).

The three (3) separate Informations filed against Lawrence C. Wang in the court of origin respectively read:

Criminal Case No. 96-149990 (Violation of Dangerous Drugs Act):

That on or about the 17th day of May 1996, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession and under his custody and control a bulk of white and yellowish crystalline
substance known as SHABU contained in thirty-two (32) transparent plastic bags weighing approximately 29.2941
kilograms, containing methamphetamine hydrochloride, a regulated drug, without the corresponding license or prescription
therefor.

Contrary to law.

Criminal Case No. 96-149991 (Illegal Possession of Firearms):

That on or about the 17th day of May 1996, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession and under his custody and control one (1) DAEWOO Cal. 9mm, automatic
pistol with one loaded magazine and one AMT Cal. .380 9mm automatic backup pistol with magazine loaded with
ammunitions without first having secured the necessary license or permit therefor from the proper authorities.

Contrary to law.

Criminal Case No. 96-149992 (Violation of Comelec Gun Ban):

That on or about the 17th day of May 1996, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession and under his custody and control one (1) DAEWOO Cal. 9mm automatic
pistol with one loaded magazine and one (1) AMT Cal. 380 9mm automatic backup pistol with magazine loaded with
ammunitions, carrying the same along Maria Orosa St., Ermita, Manila, which is a public place, on the date which is covered
by an election period, without first securing the written permission or authority from the Commission on Elections, as
provided by the COMELEC Resolution 2828 in relation to Republic Act 7166.

Contrary to law.

During his arraignment, accused Wang refused to enter a plea to all the Informations and instead interposed a continuing
objection to the admissibility of the evidence obtained by the police operatives. Thus, the trial court ordered that a plea of
"Not Guilty" be entered for him. Thereafter, joint trial of the three (3) consolidated cases followed.

The pertinent facts are as follows:

On 16 May 1996, at about 7:00 p.m., police operatives of the Public Assistance and Reaction Against Crime of the
Department of Interior and Local Government, namely, Captain Margallo, Police Inspector Cielito Coronel and SPO3
Reynaldo Cristobal, arrested SPO2 Vergel de Dios, Rogelio Anoble and a certain Arellano, for unlawful possession of
methamphetamine hydrochloride, a regulated drug popularly known as shabu. In the course of the investigation of the three
arrested persons, Redentor Teck, alias Frank, and Joseph Junio were identified as the source of the drug. An entrapment
operation was then set after the three were prevailed upon to call their source and pretend to order another supply of shabu.

At around 11:00 p.m. that same date, Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio were arrested while they were about to hand over
another bag of shabu to SPO2 De Dios and company. Questioned, Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio informed the police
operatives that they were working as talent manager and gymnast instructor, respectively, of Glamour Modeling Agency
owned by Lawrence Wang. Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio did not disclose their source of shabu but admitted that they
were working for Wang.6 They also disclosed that they knew of a scheduled delivery of shabu early the following morning of
17 May 1996, and that their employer (Wang) could be found at the Maria Orosa Apartment in Malate, Manila. The police

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operatives decided to look for Wang to shed light on the illegal drug activities of Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio. Police
Inspector Cielito Coronel and his men then proceeded to Maria Orosa Apartment and placed the same under surveillance.

Prosecution witness Police Inspector Cielito Coronel testified that at about 2:10 a.m. of 17 May 1996, Wang, who was
described to the operatives by Teck, came out of the apartment and walked towards a parked BMW car. On nearing the car,
he (witness) together with Captain Margallo and two other police officers approached Wang, introduced themselves to him as
police officers, asked his name and, upon hearing that he was Lawrence Wang, immediately frisked him and asked him to
open the back compartment of the BMW car.7 When frisked, there was found inside the front right pocket of Wang and
confiscated from him an unlicensed AMT Cal. 380 9mm automatic Back-up Pistol loaded with ammunitions. At the same
time, the other members of the operatives searched the BMW car and found inside it were the following items: (a) 32
transparent plastic bags containing white crystalline substance with a total weight of 29.2941 kilograms, which substance was
later analyzed as positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride, a regulated drug locally known as shabu; (b) cash in the
amount of P650,000.00; (c) one electronic and one mechanical scales; and (d) an unlicensed Daewoo 9mm Pistol with
magazine. Then and there, Wang resisted the warrantless arrest and search.8

On 6 December 1996, the prosecution rested its case and upon motion, accused Wang was granted 25 days from said date
within which to file his intended Demurrer to Evidence. On 19 December 1996, the prosecution filed a Manifestation to the
effect that it had rested its case only in so far as the charge for Violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act in Criminal Case No.
96-149990 is concerned, and not as regards the two cases for Illegal Possession of Firearms (Crim. Case No. 96-149991) and
Violation of the Comelec Gun Ban (Crim. Case No. 96-149992). Accordingly, trial continued.

On 9 January 1997, Wang filed his undated Demurrer to Evidence, praying for his acquittal and the dismissal of the three (3)
cases against him for lack of a valid arrest and search warrants and the inadmissibility of the prosecution’s evidence against
him. Considering that the prosecution has not yet filed its Opposition to the demurrer, Wang filed an Amplification to his
Demurrer of Evidence on 20 January 1997. On 12 February 1997, the prosecution filed its Opposition alleging that the
warrantless search was legal as an incident to the lawful arrest and that it has proven its case, so it is now time for the defense
to present its evidence.

On 13 March 1997, the respondent judge, the Hon. Perfecto A.S. Laguio, Jr., issued the herein assailed Resolution 14 granting
Wang’s Demurrer to Evidence and acquitting him of all charges for lack of evidence, thus:

WHEREFORE, the accused's undated Demurrer to Evidence is hereby granted; the accused is acquitted of the charges
against him for the crimes of Violation of Section 16, Article III of the Dangerous Drugs Act, Illegal Possession of Firearms,
and Violation of Comelec Gun Ban, for lack of evidence; the 32 bags of shabu with a total weight of 29.2941 kilograms and
the two unlicensed pistols, one AMT Cal. .380 9mm and one Daewoo Cal. 9mm. are ordered confiscated in favor of the
government and the branch clerk is directed to turn over the 32 bags of shabu to the Dangerous Drugs Board in Intramuros,
Manila, and the two firearms to the Firearms and Explosive Units, PNP, Camp Crame, Quezon City, for proper disposition,
and the officer-in-charge of PARAC, Department of Interior and Local Government, is ordered to return the confiscated
amount of P650,000.00 to the accused, and the confiscated BMW car to its registered owner, David Lee. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Hence, this petition for review on certiorari by the People, submitting that the trial court erred -

1. XXX IN HOLDING THAT THE UNDISPUTED FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES DID NOT CONSTITUTE
PROBABLE CAUSE WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF SECTION 2, ARTICLE III OF THE
CONSTITUTION, AND IN HOLDING THAT SUCH FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES NEITHER JUSTIFIED
THE WARRANTLESS SEARCH OF ACCUSED'S VEHICLE AND THE SEIZURE OF THE CONTRABAND
THEREIN.

2. XXX IN HOLDING, IN EFFECT, THAT A WARRANTLESS SEARCH IS CONSTITUTIONALLY


ALLOWABLE AND CAN ONLY BE VALID AS AN INCIDENT TO A LAWFUL ARREST.

3. XXX IN DECLARING THE WARRANTLESS ARREST OF THE ACCUSED AND THE SEARCH AND
SEIZURE OF HIS HANDGUNS UNLAWFUL.

4. XXX IN NOT DECLARING THE ACCUSED AS HAVING WAIVED, AS A RESULT OF HIS SUBMISSION
AND FAILURE TO PROTEST THE SEARCH AND HIS ARREST, HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT AGAINST
UNREASONABLE SEARCH AND SEIZURE AND HIS OBJECTION TO THE ADMISSION OF THE
EVIDENCE SEIZED.

5. XXX IN NOT ADMITTING IN EVIDENCE THE EVIDENCE SEIZED AND OFFERED BY THE
PROSECUTION AND IN NOT DENYING ACCUSED'S DEMURRER TO EVIDENCE.

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In its Resolution of 9 July 1997, the Court, without giving due course to the petition, required the public and private
respondents to comment thereon within ten days from notice. Private respondent Wang filed his comment on 18 August
1997.

On 10 September 1997, the Court required the People to file a reply, which the Office of the Solicitor General did on 5
December 1997, after several extensions.

On 20 October 2004, the Court resolved to give due course to the petition and required the parties to submit their respective
memoranda, which they did.

The case presents two main issues: (a) whether the prosecution may appeal the trial court’s resolution granting Wang’s
demurrer to evidence and acquitting him of all the charges against him without violating the constitutional proscription
against double jeopardy; and (b) whether there was lawful arrest, search and seizure by the police operatives in this case
despite the absence of a warrant of arrest and/or a search warrant.

First off, it must be emphasized that the present case is an appeal filed directly with this Court via a petition for review on
certiorari under Rule 45 in relation to Rule 41, Section 2, paragraph (c) of the Rules of Court raising only pure questions of
law, ordinary appeal by mere filing of a notice of appeal not being allowed as a mode of appeal directly to this Court. Then,
too, it bears stressing that the right to appeal is neither a natural right nor a part of due process, it being merely a statutory
privilege which may be exercised only in the manner provided for by law (Velasco v. Court of Appeals). Although Section 2,
Rule 122 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure states that any party may appeal, the right of the People to appeal is, in the very
same provision, expressly made subject to the prohibition against putting the accused in double jeopardy. It also basic that
appeal in criminal cases throws the whole records of the case wide open for review by the appellate court, that is why any
appeal from a judgment of acquittal necessarily puts the accused in double jeopardy. In effect, the very same Section 2 of
Rule 122 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, disallows appeal by the People from judgments of acquittal.

An order granting an accused’s demurrer to evidence is a resolution of the case on the merits, and it amounts to an acquittal.
Generally, any further prosecution of the accused after an acquittal would violate the constitutional proscription on double
jeopardy. To this general rule, however, the Court has previously made some exceptions.

The celebrated case of Galman v. Sandiganbayan presents one exception to the rule on double jeopardy, which is, when the
prosecution is denied due process of law:

No court whose Presiding Justice has received "orders or suggestions" from the very President who by an amendatory decree
(disclosed only at the hearing of oral arguments on November 8, 1984 on a petition challenging the referral of the Aquino-
Galman murder cases to the Tanodbayan and Sandiganbayan instead of to a court martial, as mandatorily required by the
known P.D. 1850 at the time providing for exclusive jurisdiction of courts martial over criminal offenses committed by
military men) made it possible to refer the cases to the Sandiganbayan, can be an impartial court, which is the very essence of
due process of law. As the writer then wrote, "jurisdiction over cases should be determined by law, and not by preselection of
the Executive, which could be much too easily transformed into a means of predetermining the outcome of individual cases."
This criminal collusion as to the handling and treatment of the cases by public respondents at the secret Malacañang
conference (and revealed only after fifteen months by Justice Manuel Herrera) completely disqualified respondent
Sandiganbayan and voided ab initio its verdict. This renders moot and irrelevant for now the extensive arguments of
respondents accused, particularly Generals Ver and Olivas and those categorized as accessories, that there has been no
evidence or witness suppressed against them, that the erroneous conclusions of Olivas as police investigator do not make him
an accessory of the crimes he investigated and the appraisal and evaluation of the testimonies of the witnesses presented and
suppressed. There will be time and opportunity to present all these arguments and considerations at the remand and retrial of
the cases herein ordered before a neutral and impartial court.

The Supreme Court cannot permit such a sham trial and verdict and travesty of justice to stand unrectified. The courts of the
land under its aegis are courts of law and justice and equity. They would have no reason to exist if they were allowed to be
used as mere tools of injustice, deception and duplicity to subvert and suppress the truth, instead of repositories of judicial
power whose judges are sworn and committed to render impartial justice to all alike who seek the enforcement or protection
of a right or the prevention or redress of a wrong, without fear or favor and removed from the pressures of politics and
prejudice. More so, in the case at bar where the people and the world are entitled to know the truth, and the integrity of our
judicial system is at stake. In life, as an accused before the military tribunal Ninoy had pleaded in vain that as a civilian he
was entitled to due process of law and trial in the regular civil courts before an impartial court with an unbiased prosecutor.
In death, Ninoy, as the victim of the "treacherous and vicious assassination" and the relatives and sovereign people as the
aggrieved parties plead once more for due process of law and a retrial before an impartial court with an unbiased prosecutor.
The Court is constrained to declare the sham trial a mock trial — the non-trial of the century — and that the predetermined
judgment of acquittal was unlawful and void ab initio.

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1. No double jeopardy. — It is settled doctrine that double jeopardy cannot be invoked against this Court's setting aside of the
trial courts' judgment of dismissal or acquittal where the prosecution which represents the sovereign people in criminal cases
is denied due process. As the Court stressed in the 1985 case of People vs. Bocar,

Where the prosecution is deprived of a fair opportunity to prosecute and prove its case, its right to due process is thereby
violated.

The cardinal precept is that where there is a violation of basic constitutional rights, courts are ousted of their jurisdiction.
Thus, the violation of the State's right to due process raises a serious jurisdictional issue (Gumabon vs. Director of the Bureau
of Prisons, L-30026, 37 SCRA 420 [Jan. 30, 1971]) which cannot be glossed over or disregarded at will. Where the denial of
the fundamental right of due process is apparent, a decision rendered in disregard of that right is void for lack of jurisdiction
(Aducayen vs. Flores, L-30370 [May 25, 19731, 51 SCRA 78; Shell Co. vs. Enage, L-30111-12, 49 SCRA 416 Feb. 27,
1973]). Any judgment or decision rendered notwithstanding such violation may be regarded as a "lawless thing, which can be
treated as an outlaw and slain at sight, or ignored wherever it exhibits its head" (Aducayen vs. Flores, supra).

Respondent Judge's dismissal order dated July 7, 1967 being null and void for lack of jurisdiction, the same does not
constitute a proper basis for a claim of double jeopardy (Serino vs. Zosa, supra).

xxx xxx xxx

Legal jeopardy attaches only (a) upon a valid indictment, (b) before a competent court, (c) after arraignment, (d) a valid plea
having been entered; and (e) the case was dismissed or otherwise terminated without the express consent of the accused
(People vs. Ylagan, 58 Phil. 851). The lower court was not competent as it was ousted of its jurisdiction when it violated the
right of the prosecution to due process.

In effect, the first jeopardy was never terminated, and the remand of the criminal case for further hearing and/or trial before
the lower courts amounts merely to a continuation of the first jeopardy, and does not expose the accused to a second
jeopardy.

Another exception is when the trial court commits grave abuse of discretion in dismissing a criminal case by granting the
accused’s demurrer to evidence. In point is the fairly recent case of People v. Uy,23 which involved the trial court’s decision
which granted the two separate demurrers to evidence filed by the two accused therein, both with leave of court, resulting in
their acquittal of their respective charges of murder due to insufficiency of evidence. In resolving the petition for certiorari
filed directly with this Court, we had the occasion to explain:

The general rule in this jurisdiction is that a judgment of acquittal is final and unappealable. People v. Court of Appeals
explains the rationale of this rule:

In our jurisdiction, the finality-of-acquittal doctrine as a safeguard against double jeopardy faithfully adheres to the principle
first enunciated in Kepner v. United States. In this case, verdicts of acquittal are to be regarded as absolutely final and
irreviewable. The cases of United States v. Yam Tung Way, People v. Bringas, Gandicela v. Lutero, People v. Cabarles,
People v. Bao, to name a few, are illustrative cases. The fundamental philosophy behind the constitutional proscription
against double jeopardy is to afford the defendant, who has been acquitted, final repose and safeguard him from government
oppression through the abuse of criminal processes. As succinctly observed in Green v. United States "(t)he underlying idea,
one that is deeply ingrained in at least the Anglo-American system of jurisprudence, is that the State with all its resources and
power should not be allowed to make repeated attempts to convict an individual for an alleged offense, thereby subjecting
him to embarrassment, expense and ordeal and compelling him to live in a continuing state of anxiety and insecurity, as well
as enhancing the possibility that even though innocent, he may be found guilty."

The same rule applies in criminal cases where a demurrer to evidence is granted. As held in the case of People v.
Sandiganbayan:

The demurrer to evidence in criminal cases, such as the one at bar, is "filed after the prosecution had rested its case," and
when the same is granted, it calls "for an appreciation of the evidence adduced by the prosecution and its sufficiency to
warrant conviction beyond reasonable doubt, resulting in a dismissal of the case on the merits, tantamount to an acquittal of
the accused." Such dismissal of a criminal case by the grant of demurrer to evidence may not be appealed, for to do so would
be to place the accused in double-jeopardy. The verdict being one of acquittal, the case ends there. (Italics in the original)

Like any other rule, however, the above-said rule is not absolute. By way of exception, a judgment of acquittal in a criminal
case may be assailed in a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court upon a clear showing by the petitioner
that the lower court, in acquitting the accused, committed not merely reversible errors of judgment but also grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction or a denial of due process, thus rendering the assailed judgment void.

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In Sanvicente v. People, the Court allowed the review of a decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) which reversed the
accused’s acquittal upon demurrer to evidence filed by the accused with leave of court, the CA ruling that the trial court
committed grave abuse of discretion in preventing the prosecution from establishing the due execution and authenticity of
certain letter marked therein as Exhibit "LL," which supposedly "positively identified therein petitioner as the perpetrator of
the crime charged." The Court, in a petition for certiorari, sustained the CA’s power to review the order granting the demurrer
to evidence, explaining thus:

Under Rule 119, Section 23 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended, the trial court may dismiss the action
on the ground of insufficiency of evidence upon a demurrer to evidence filed by the accused with or without leave of court.
In resolving accused’s demurrer to evidence, the court is merely required to ascertain whether there is competent or sufficient
evidence to sustain the indictment or support a verdict of guilt.

The grant or denial of a demurrer to evidence is left to the sound discretion of the trial court and its ruling on the matter shall
not be disturbed in the absence of a grave abuse of discretion. Significantly, once the court grants the demurrer, such order
amounts to an acquittal and any further prosecution of the accused would violate the constitutional proscription on double
jeopardy. This constitutes an exception to the rule that the dismissal of a criminal case made with the express consent of the
accused or upon his own motion bars a plea of double jeopardy. The finality-of-acquittal rule was stressed thus in People v.
Velasco:

The fundamental philosophy highlighting the finality of an acquittal by the trial court cuts deep into the "humanity of the
laws and in jealous watchfulness over the rights of the citizens, when brought in unequal contest with the State xxx. Thus
Green expressed the concern that "(t)he underlying idea, one that is deeply ingrained in at least the Anglo-American system
of jurisprudence, is that the State with all its resources and power should not be allowed to make repeated attempts to convict
an individual for an alleged offense thereby subjecting him to embarrassment, expense and ordeal and compelling him to live
in a continuing state of anxiety and insecurity, as well as enhancing the possibility that even though innocent, he may be
found guilty."

It is axiomatic that on the basis of humanity, fairness and justice, an acquitted defendant is entitled to the right of repose as a
direct consequence of the finality of his acquittal. The philosophy underlying this rule establishing the absolute nature of
acquittals is "part of the paramount importance criminal justice system attaches to the protection of the innocent against
wrongful conviction." The interest in the finality-of-acquittal rule, confined exclusively to verdicts of not guilty, is easy to
understand: it is a need for "repose", a desire to know the exact extent of one’s liability. With this right of repose, the criminal
justice system has built in a protection to insure that the innocent, even those whose innocence rests upon a jury’s leniency,
will not be found guilty in a subsequent proceeding.

Given the far-reaching scope of an accused’s right against double jeopardy, even an appeal based on an alleged
misappreciation of evidence will not lie. The only instance when double jeopardy will not attach is when the trial court acted
with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, such as where the prosecution was denied the
opportunity to present its case or where the trial was a sham. However, while certiorari may be availed of to correct an
erroneous acquittal, the petitioner in such an extraordinary proceeding must clearly demonstrate that the trial court blatantly
abused its authority to a point so grave as to deprive it of its very power to dispense justice. (Emphasis supplied.)

By this time, it is settled that the appellate court may review dismissal orders of trial courts granting an accused’s demurrer to
evidence. This may be done via the special civil action of certiorari under Rule 65 based on the ground of grave abuse of
discretion, amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Such dismissal order, being considered void judgment, does not result
in jeopardy. Thus, when the order of dismissal is annulled or set aside by an appellate court in an original special civil action
via certiorari, the right of the accused against double jeopardy is not violated.

Unfortunately, what petitioner People of the Philippines, through then Secretary of Justice Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. and then
Solicitor General Silvestre H. Bello, III, filed with the Court in the present case is an appeal by way of a petition for review
on certiorari under Rule 45 raising a pure question of law, which is different from a petition for certiorari under Rule 65.

In Madrigal Transport Inc. v. Lapanday Holdings Corporation, we have enumerated the distinction between the two
remedies/actions, to wit:

Appeal and Certiorari Distinguished

Between an appeal and a petition for certiorari, there are substantial distinctions which shall be explained below.

As to the Purpose. Certiorari is a remedy designed for the correction of errors of jurisdiction, not errors of judgment. In Pure
Foods Corporation v. NLRC, we explained the simple reason for the rule in this light:

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"When a court exercises its jurisdiction, an error committed while so engaged does not deprive it of the jurisdiction being
exercised when the error is committed. If it did, every error committed by a court would deprive it of its jurisdiction and
every erroneous judgment would be a void judgment. This cannot be allowed. The administration of justice would not
survive such a rule. Consequently, an error of judgment that the court may commit in the exercise of its jurisdiction is not
correct[a]ble through the original civil action of certiorari."

The supervisory jurisdiction of a court over the issuance of a writ of certiorari cannot be exercised for the purpose of
reviewing the intrinsic correctness of a judgment of the lower court -- on the basis either of the law or the facts of the case, or
of the wisdom or legal soundness of the decision. Even if the findings of the court are incorrect, as long as it has jurisdiction
over the case, such correction is normally beyond the province of certiorari. Where the error is not one of jurisdiction, but of
an error of law or fact -- a mistake of judgment -- appeal is the remedy.

As to the Manner of Filing. Over an appeal, the CA exercises its appellate jurisdiction and power of review. Over a certiorari,
the higher court uses its original jurisdiction in accordance with its power of control and supervision over the proceedings of
lower courts. An appeal is thus a continuation of the original suit, while a petition for certiorari is an original and independent
action that was not part of the trial that had resulted in the rendition of the judgment or order complained of. The parties to an
appeal are the original parties to the action. In contrast, the parties to a petition for certiorari are the aggrieved party (who
thereby becomes the petitioner) against the lower court or quasi-judicial agency, and the prevailing parties (the public and the
private respondents, respectively).

As to the Subject Matter. Only judgments or final orders and those that the Rules of Court so declared are appealable. Since
the issue is jurisdiction, an original action for certiorari may be directed against an interlocutory order of the lower court prior
to an appeal from the judgment; or where there is no appeal or any plain, speedy or adequate remedy.

As to the Period of Filing. Ordinary appeals should be filed within fifteen days from the notice of judgment or final order
appealed from. Where a record on appeal is required, the appellant must file a notice of appeal and a record on appeal within
thirty days from the said notice of judgment or final order. A petition for review should be filed and served within fifteen
days from the notice of denial of the decision, or of the petitioner’s timely filed motion for new trial or motion for
reconsideration. In an appeal by certiorari, the petition should be filed also within fifteen days from the notice of judgment or
final order, or of the denial of the petitioner’s motion for new trial or motion for reconsideration.

On the other hand, a petition for certiorari should be filed not later than sixty days from the notice of judgment, order, or
resolution. If a motion for new trial or motion for reconsideration was timely filed, the period shall be counted from the
denial of the motion.

As to the Need for a Motion for Reconsideration. A motion for reconsideration is generally required prior to the filing of a
petition for certiorari, in order to afford the tribunal an opportunity to correct the alleged errors. Note also that this motion is a
plain and adequate remedy expressly available under the law. Such motion is not required before appealing a judgment or
final order.

Also in Madrigal, we stressed that the special civil action of certiorari and appeal are two different remedies mutually
exclusive; they are neither alternative nor successive. Where appeal is available, certiorari will not prosper. In the dismissal
of a criminal case upon demurrer to evidence, appeal is not available as such an appeal will put the accused in double
jeopardy. Certiorari, however, is allowed.

For being the wrong remedy taken by petitioner People of the Philippines in this case, this petition is outrightly dismissible.
The Court cannot reverse the assailed dismissal order of the trial court by appeal without violating private respondent’s right
against double jeopardy.

Even assuming that the Court may treat an "appeal" as a special civil action of certiorari, which definitely this Court has the
power to do, when there is a clear showing of grave abuse of discretion committed by the lower court, the instant petition will
nevertheless fail on the merits as the succeeding discussion will show.

There are actually two (2) acts involved in this case, namely, the warrantless arrest and the warrantless search. There is no
question that warrantless search may be conducted as an incident to a valid warrantless arrest. The law requires that there be
first a lawful arrest before a search can be made; the process cannot be reversed. However, if there are valid reasons to
conduct lawful search and seizure which thereafter shows that the accused is currently committing a crime, the accused may
be lawfully arrested in flagrante delicto without need for a warrant of arrest.

Finding that the warrantless arrest preceded the warrantless search in the case at bar, the trial court granted private
respondent's demurrer to evidence and acquitted him of all the three charges for lack of evidence, because the unlawful arrest
resulted in the inadmissibility of the evidence gathered from an invalid warrantless search. The trial court’s ratiocination is
quoted as follows:
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The threshold issue raised by the accused in his Demurrer to Evidence is whether his warrantless arrest and search were
lawful as argued by the prosecution, or unlawful as asserted by the defense.

Under Section 5, Rule 113 of the New Rules of Court, a peace officer may arrest a person without a warrant: (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 being transferred from one confinement to another. None of these
circumstances were present when the accused was arrested. The accused was merely walking from the Maria Orosa
Apartment and was about to enter the parked BMW car when the police officers arrested and frisked him and searched his
car. The accused was not committing any visible offense at the time of his arrest. Neither was there an indication that he was
about to commit a crime or that he had just committed an offense. The unlicensed AMT Cal.380 9mm Automatic Back-up
Pistol that the accused had in his possession was concealed inside the right front pocket of his pants. And the handgun was
bantam and slim in size that it would not give an outward indication of a concealed gun if placed inside the pant's side pocket
as was done by the accused. The arresting officers had no information and knowledge that the accused was carrying an
unlicensed handgun, nor did they see him in possession thereof immediately prior to his arrest.

Ditto on the 32 bags of shabu and the other unlicensed Daewoo Cal. 9mm Pistol with magazine that were found and seized
from the car. The contraband items in the car were not in plain view. The 32 bags of shabu were in the trunk compartment,
and the Daewoo handgun was underneath the driver’s seat of the car. The police officers had no information, or knowledge
that the banned articles were inside the car, or that the accused had placed them there. The police officers searched the car on
mere suspicion that there was shabu therein.

On this matter, pertinent portions of the testimonies of Police Inspector Cielito Coronel and SP03 Reynaldo are hereunder
quoted:

POLICE INSPECTOR CIELITO CORONEL’S TESTIMONY

"PROSECUTOR TO WITNESS: Direct-Examination

Q. Mr. Witness, what was your role or participation in this case?

A. I am one of those responsible for the arrest of the accused.

xxx xxx xxx

Q. Where did you make that arrest, Mr. Witness?

A. The apprehension was made in front of an apartment along Maria Orosa Street, Ermita, Manila.

Q. What date was that when you arrested the accused?

A. It was on May 17, 1996, at about 2:10 a.m.

xxx xxx xxx

Q. What was the reason why you together with other policemen effected the arrest of the accused?

A. We arrested him because of the information relayed to us by one of those whom we have previously apprehended in
connection with the delivery of shabu somewhere also in Ermita, Manila.

xxx xxx xxx

Q. When you established that he was somewhere at Maria Orosa, what did you do?

A. We waited for him.

xxx xxx xxx

Q. You yourself, Mr. Witness, where did you position yourself during that time?

A. I was inside a vehicle waiting for the accused to appear.

90
Q. What about your other companions where were they?

A. They were position in strategic places within the area.

Q. What happened when you and your companions were positioned in that place?

A. That was when the accused arrived.

Q. How many of your approached him.

A. Inspector Margallo, myself and two other operatives.

Q. What happened when you approached the accused, Mr. Witness?

A. We introduced ourselves as police officers and we frisked him and we asked him to open the back compartment of his car.

Q. You said you frisked him, what was the result of that?

A. He was found in possession of one back-up pistol with one loaded magazine and likewise when the compartment was
opened several plastic bags containing white crystalline substance suspected to be shabu (were found).

Q. What did you do when you found out Mr. Witness?

A. When the car was further search we later found another firearm, a Daewoo Pistol at the place under the seat of the driver.

Q. Then what happened?

A. He was brought to our headquarters at Mandaluyong for further investigation.

Q. What about the suspected shabu that you recovered, what did you do with that?

A. The suspected shabu that we recovered were forwarded to the NBI for laboratory examination.

Q. Did you come to know the results?

A. It was found positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride. (TSN, pp. 3-8, November 15, 1996).

ATTY. LOZANO TO WITNESS: CROSS

Q. You arrested Joseph Junio and Redentor Teck for alleged transporting of shabu on May 16, 1996, at 11:00 p.m., is it not?

A. Yes, Sir.

Q. You asked Redentor Teck where he is employed, is it not?

A. Yes, Sir.

xxx xxx xxx

Q. Redentor Teck told you that he is a talent manager at the Glenmore Modeling Agency, is it not?

A. Yes, Sir.

.Q. The Glenmore Modeling Agency is owned by Lawrence Wang, is it not?

A. I supposed, Sir.
Q. And that is why immediately after Redentor Teck told you that he is an employee of the Glenmore Modeling Agency
owned by Lawrence Wang, naturally, you and your companions look for Lawrence Wang to shed light on the transporting of
shabu by Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio, is it not?
A. Yes, Sir.
Q. Thereafter, you spotted a person previously described by Redentor Teck as Lawrence Wang, is it not?
A. Yes, Sir.
91
Q. While you were arresting Lawrence Wang, your companions at the same time searched the BMW car described in your
affidavit of arrest, is it not?
A. Yes, Sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q. Lawrence Wang was not inside the BMW car while the same was searched, is it not?
A. He was outside, Sir.
Q. The driver of the car was inside the car when the arrest and search were made, is it not?
A. He was likewise outside, Sir.
Q. Lawrence Wang did resist arrest and search is it not?
A. Yes, Sir.
Q. When you effected the arrest, there was no warrant of arrest, is it not?
A. Yes, Sir.
Q. When the search was made on the BMW car, there was no search warrant, is it not?
A. Yes, none, Sir. (TSN, pp. 3-12, November 15, 1996)
SPO3 REYNALDO CRISTOBAL’S TESTIMONY
PROSECUTOR TO WITNESS: DIRECT EXAMINATION
Q. What is you role or participation in this case?
A. I was one of the arresting officers and investigator, Sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q. What kind of specific offense did the accused allegedly do so that you arrested him, Mr. Witness?
A. He was arrested on the basis of the recovered drugs in his possession placed inside his car.
xxx xxx xxx
Q. Mr. witness, you said that you recovered drug from the car of the accused, please tell us the antecedent circumstances
which led you to recover or confiscate these items?
A. Earlier in the evening about 11:00 p.m. of May 16, we arrested one Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio.
COURT: Where did you arrest these people?
A They were arrested in Metro Manila also.
COURT: The same date?
A. May 16, about 11:00 p.m. They were arrested and when they were investigated, Teck mentioned the name of Lawrence
Wang as his employer.
COURT: Why were these people, arrested?
A. For violation of R.A. 6425.
COURT: How were they arrested?
A. They were arrested while in the act of transporting shabu or handling shabu to another previously arrested person. It was a
series of arrest.
COURT: So, this involved a series of operation?
A. Yes, Your Honor. About 11:00 p.m. of May 16, we arrested three (3) persons, SPO2 Vergel de Dios, a certain Arellano
and a certain Rogelio Noble. When they were arrested they divulged the name of the source.
COURT: They were arrested for what, for possession?
A. Yes, Your Honor. For unlawful possession of shabu . Then they divulged to us the name of the person from whom they
get shabu.
COURT: Whose name did they mention:
A. One Alias Frank, who turned out to be Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio. We let them call Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio
thru the cellphone and pretend and to order another supply of shabu.
COURT: So there was an entrapment?
A. Yes, Your Honor.
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COURT: So, these two (2) were arrested?
A. While they were about to hand over another bag of shabu to Noble and company.
COURT: And these two reveals (revealed) some information to you as to the source of the shabu?
A. Yes, Your Honor.
COURT: What was the information?
A. Teck told us that he is an employee of Lawrence Wang.
COURT: What did you do when you were told about that?
A. They also told us that there was an ongoing delivery of shabu on that morning.
COURT: When?
A. Of that date early morning of May 17, 1996.
COURT: At what place?
A. We asked them where we could find Lawrence Wang and Teck lead us to Maria Orosa Apartment where we conducted a
stake out which lasted up to 2:00 a.m.
xxx xxx xxx
COURT: What happened during the stake out?
A. When the person of the accused was identified to us, we saw him opening his car together with his driver.
COURT: So, he was about to leave when you saw him?
A. Probably, Sir.
COURT: What did you do?
A. We saw him opened his car and we have a suspicion that there was a shabu inside the compartment of the car.
xxx xxx xxx
COURT: All right, when you saw the accused opened his car, what did you do?
A. We approached him.
COURT: What happened when you approached him?
A. We suspected the shabu inside the compartment of his car.
COURT: And this shabu that you saw inside the compartment of the car, what did you do with that?
A. Well, he was first arrested by Captain Margallo and Lt. Coronel while I was the one who inspected and opened the
compartment of the car and saw the shabu. (TSN, pp. 15-24, December 16, 1996).
CLARIFICATORY QUESTIONING OF SPO3 CRISTOBAL BY THE COURT
COURT: From your testimony and that of Police Inspector Cielito Coronel, this Court has gathered that prior to the arrest of
the accused there were three (3) men that your team arrested. One of whom is a police officer.
A: Yes, Sir.
xxx xxx xxx
COURT: And on the occasion of the arrest of these three men shabu were confiscated from them?
A: Yes, Sir.
Q: And in the course of the investigation of these three men, you were able to discover that Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio
were the source of the regulated drug that were confiscated from the three men that you have arrested?
A: Yes, Sir.
Q: Now, thru entrapment base[d] on your testimony you were able to apprehend also these two men, Redentor Teck and
Joseph Junio?
A: Yes, Sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q: These two men, Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio they were also investigated by your team?
A: Yes, Sir.
Q: You were present while they were investigated?

93
A: I was the one whom investigated them.

xxx xxx xxx

Q: Did you ask Redentor and Joseph the source of shabu that you confiscated from them at the time of the (their) arrest?

A: Yes, Sir. They refuse to say the source, however, they told me that they were working for the accused.

Q: You also testified that Redentor informed you that there was another delivery of shabu scheduled that morning of (stop)
was it May 16 or 17? The other delivery that is scheduled on?

A: On the 17th.

xxx xxx xxx

Q: Did he tell you who was to make the delivery?

A: No, Sir.

xxx xxx xxx

Q: At that time when you decided to look for the accused to ask him to shed light on the matter concerning the arrest of these
two employees in possession of shabu. Did you and did your team suspect the accused as being involved in the transaction
that lead (led) to the arrest of Redentor and Joseph?

A: Yes, Sir. We suspected that he was the source of the shabu.

xxx xxx xxx

Q: When you saw the accused walking towards his car, did you know whether he was carrying a gun?

A: No, Sir. It cannot be seen.

Q: It was concealed?

A: Yes, Sir.

Q: So, the only time that you and your team learned that he was in possession of the gun is when he was bodily search?

A: Yes, Sir. That is the only time that I came to know about when Capt. Margallo handed to me the gun.

Q: Other than walking towards his car, the accused was not doing anything else?

A: None, Sir.

Q: That would invite your suspicion or give indication that he was intending to do something unlawful or illegal?

A: No, Sir.

Q: When you searched the car, did the accused protest or try to prevent your team from searching his car?

A: No, Sir." (TSN pp. 3-16, Feb. 26, 1997)

Clearly therefore, the warrantless arrest of the accused and the search of his person and the car were without probable cause
and could not be licit. The arrest of the accused did not fall under any of the exception to the requirements of warrantless
arrests, (Sec. 5, Rule 113, Rules of Court) and is therefore, unlawful and derogatory of his constitutional right of liberty. x x x

The trial court resolved the case on the basis of its findings that the arrest preceded the search, and finding no basis to rule in
favor of a lawful arrest, it ruled that the incidental search is likewise unlawful. Any and all pieces of evidence acquired as a
consequence thereof are inadmissible in evidence. Thus, the trial court dismissed the case for lack of evidence.

Contrary to its position at the trial court, the People, however, now posits that "inasmuch as it has been shown in the present
case that the seizure without warrant of the regulated drugs and unlicensed firearms in the accused’s possession had been
validly made upon probable cause and under exigent circumstances, then the warrantless arrest of the accused must
94
necessarily have to be regarded as having been made on the occasion of the commission of the crime in flagrante delicto, and
therefore constitutionally and statutorily permissible and lawful." In effect, the People now contends that the warrantless
search preceded the warrantless arrest. Since the case falls under an exception to the general rule requiring search warrant
prior to a valid search and seizure, the police officers were justified in requiring the private respondent to open his BMW
car’s trunk to see if he was carrying illegal drugs.

The conflicting versions as to whether the arrest preceded the search or vice versa, is a matter of credibility of evidence. It
entails appreciation of evidence, which may be done in an appeal of a criminal case because the entire case is thrown open
for review, but not in the case of a petition for certiorari where the factual findings of the trial court are binding upon the
Court. Since a dismissal order consequent to a demurrer to evidence is not subject to appeal and reviewable only by
certiorari, the factual finding that the arrest preceded the search is conclusive upon this Court. The only legal basis for this
Court to possibly reverse and set aside the dismissal order of the trial court upon demurrer to evidence would be if the trial
court committed grave abuse of discretion in excess of jurisdiction when it ruled that there was no legal basis to lawfully
effect a warrantless arrest.

The pertinent provisions of Rule 113 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure on warrantless arrest provide:

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 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 is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred
from one confinement to another.

Section 5, above, provides three (3) instances when warrantless arrest may be lawfully effected: (a) arrest of a suspect in
flagrante delicto; (b) arrest of a suspect where, based on personal knowledge of the arresting officer, there is probable cause
that said suspect was the author of a crime which had just been committed; (c) arrest of a prisoner who has escaped from
custody serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending.

For a warrantless arrest of an accused caught in flagrante delicto under paragraph (a) of Section 5 to be valid, two requisites
must concur: (1) 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 (2) such overt act is done in the presence or within the view of the
arresting officer.1awphi1.

The facts and circumstances surrounding the present case did not manifest any suspicious behavior on the part of private
respondent Lawrence Wang that would reasonably invite the attention of the police. He was merely walking from the Maria
Orosa Apartment and was about to enter the parked BMW car when the police operatives arrested him, frisked and searched
his person and commanded him to open the compartment of the car, which was later on found to be owned by his friend,
David Lee. He was not committing any visible offense then. Therefore, there can be no valid warrantless arrest in flagrante
delicto under paragraph (a) of Section 5. It is settled that "reliable information" alone, absent any overt act indicative of a
felonious enterprise in the presence and within the view of the arresting officers, is not sufficient to constitute probable cause
that would justify an in flagrante delicto arrest.

Neither may the warrantless arrest be justified under paragraph (b) of Section 5. What is clearly established from the
testimonies of the arresting officers is that Wang was arrested mainly on the information that he was the employer of
Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio who were previously arrested and charged for illegal transport of shabu. Teck and Junio did
not even categorically identify Wang to be their source of the shabu they were caught with in flagrante delicto. Upon the
duo’s declaration that there will be a delivery of shabu on the early morning of the following day, May 17, which is only a
few hours thereafter, and that Wang may be found in Maria Orosa Apartment along Maria Orosa Street, the arresting officers
conducted "surveillance" operation in front of said apartment, hoping to find a person which will match the description of one
Lawrence Wang, the employer of Teck and Junio. These circumstances do not sufficiently establish the existence of probable
cause based on personal knowledge as required in paragraph (b) of Section 5.

And doubtless, the warrantless arrest does not fall under paragraph (c) of Section 5.

The inevitable conclusion, as correctly made by the trial court, is that the warrantless arrest was illegal. Ipso jure, the
warrantless search incidental to the illegal arrest is likewise unlawful.

95
In People v. Aminnudin, the Court declared as inadmissible in evidence the marijuana found in appellant’s possession during
a search without a warrant, because it had been illegally seized, in disregard of the Bill of Rights:

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 a suspect and so subject to apprehension. It was the fugitive finger that triggered his arrest. The
identification of the informer was the probable cause as determined by the officer (and not a judge) that authorized them to
pounce upon Aminnudin and immediately arrest him.

The People’s contention that Wang waived his right against unreasonable search and seizure has no factual basis. While we
agree in principle that consent will validate an otherwise illegal search, however, based on the evidence on record, Wang
resisted his arrest and the search on his person and belongings. 32 The implied acquiescence to the search, if there was any,
could not have been more than mere passive conformity given under intimidating or coercive circumstances and is thus
considered no consent at all within the purview of the constitutional guarantee. Moreover, the continuing objection to the
validity of the warrantless arrest made of record during the arraignment bolsters Wang’s claim that he resisted the warrantless
arrest and search.

We cannot close this ponencia without a word of caution: those who are supposed to enforce the law are not justified in
disregarding the rights of the individual in the name of order. Order is too high a price for the loss of liberty. As Justice
Holmes once said, "I think it is less evil that some criminals should escape than that the government should play an ignoble
part." It is simply not allowed in free society to violate a law to enforce another, especially if the law violated is the
Constitution itself.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED.

SO ORDERED.

96
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES VS. RICARDO BOHOL Y CABRINO
On appeal is the Decision dated September 23, 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 01247 affirming the
Decision dated March 7, 2003 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 35, in Criminal Cases Nos. 02-205461
and 02-205462. The RTC had convicted appellant Ricardo Bohol (Bohol) of violating Sections 11 (3) and 5, Article II,
respectively, of Republic Act No. 9165 also known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

On August 7, 2002, two Informations were filed against Bohol before the RTC of Manila, Branch 35, for violations of Rep.
Act No. 9165.

In Criminal Case No. 02-205461, involving the violation of Section 11 (3), Article II of Rep. Act No. 9165, the information
reads as follows:
That on or about August 2, 2002, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, without being authorized by law to
possess any dangerous drug, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession and under his
custody and control three (3) heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing white crystalline substance commonly known
as "shabu" weighing zero point zero four eight (0.048) gram, zero point zero three five (0.035) gram, and zero point zero
three five (0.035) gram, respectively, which, after a laboratory examination, gave positive results for methylamphetamine
(sic) hydrochloride, a dangerous drug.

CONTRARY TO LAW.
In Criminal Case No. 02-205462, for violation of Section 5 of the same law, the information reads as follows:
That on or about August 2, 2002, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, without being authorized by law to sell,
administer, deliver, transport or distribute any dangerous drug, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly sell or
attempt to sell, or offer for sale for P100.00 and deliver to PO2 Ferdinand Estrada, a poseur buyer, one (1) heat-sealed
transparent plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance commonly known as "shabu" weighing zero point zero five
four (0.054) gram, which substance, after a qualitative examination, gave positive results for methamphetamine
hydrochloride, which is a dangerous drug.

CONTRARY TO LAW.
The antecedent facts in these cases are as follows.

On August 2, 2002, at around 8:30 p.m., a confidential informant came to the police station and tipped P/Sr. Insp. Jessie
Nitullano that a certain Ricardo Bohol is engaged in illegal drug trade in Isla Puting Bato, Tondo, Manila. P/Sr. Insp.
Nitullano then formed a team of six police operatives to verify the informant's tip, and, if found positive, to launch then and
there a buy-bust entrapment of Bohol. PO2 Ferdinand Estrada was assigned to act as poseur buyer, and he was provided with
a marked P100-bill as buy-bust money.

Between 9:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. of the same day, the team proceeded to the site of their operation. Guided by the informant,
PO2 Estrada proceeded to the house of Bohol, whom they saw standing beside the stairs of his house. Following a short
introduction, PO2 Estrada and the informant told Bohol of their purpose. Bohol asked, "How much?" to which PO2 Estrada
replied, "Piso lang" (meaning P100 worth of shabu) and handed to the former the marked P100-bill. In turn, Bohol gave PO2
Estrada a plastic sachet containing white crystalline granules which the latter suspected to be shabu. The illicit transaction
having been consummated, PO2 Estrada gave to his companions their pre-arranged signal. Emerging from their hiding
places, PO2 Luisito Gutierrez and his companions arrested Bohol. PO2 Gutierrez frisked Bohol and recovered from him the
buy-bust money and three plastic sachets containing similar white crystalline granules suspected to be shabu.

Consequently, the police officers brought Bohol to the police station and the confiscated four plastic sachets of white
crystalline substance were subjected to laboratory examination. The specimens were confirmed to be methamphetamine
hydrochloride, commonly known as shabu.

Upon arraignment, Bohol entered a plea of "not guilty" to both charges. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued.

On March 7, 2003, the trial court rendered the assailed Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered:

(1) In Criminal Case No. 02-205461, pronouncing accused RICARDO BOHOL y CABRINO guilty beyond reasonable doubt
of possession of a total of 0.118 gram of [methamphetamine] hydrochloride without authority of law, penalized under Section
11 (3) of Republic Act No. 9165, and sentencing the said accused to the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment from twelve
(12) years and one (1) day, as minimum, to fifteen (15) years, as maximum, and to pay a fine of P300,000.00, plus the costs.

97
(2) In Criminal Case No. 02-205462, pronouncing the same accused RICARDO BOHOL y CABRINO guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of selling 0.054 gram of [methamphetamine] hydrochloride without authority of law, penalized under
Section 5 of the same Republic Act No. 9165, and sentencing the said accused to life imprisonment and to pay a fine of
P5,000,000.00, plus the costs.

In the service of his sentence in Criminal Case No. 02-205461, the time during which the accused had been under preventive
imprisonment should be credited in his favor provided that he had agreed voluntarily in writing to abide with the same
disciplinary rules imposed on convicted prisoner. Otherwise, he should be credited with four-fifths ( 4/5) only of the time he
had been under preventive imprisonment.

Exhibits B and B-1, consisting of four sachets of shabu, are ordered forfeited and confiscated in favor of the Government.
Within ten (10) days following the promulgation of this judgment, the Branch Clerk of this Court is ordered to turn over,
under proper receipt, the drug involved in this case to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for proper disposal.

SO ORDERED.
Since one of the penalties imposed by the trial court is life imprisonment, the cases were forwarded to this Court for
automatic review. On June 15, 2005, this Court transferred the cases to the Court of Appeals for intermediate review pursuant
to this Court's decision in People v. Mateo.

In a Decision dated September 23, 2005, the Court of Appeals denied the appeal and affirmed the decision of the trial court
with modification, so that the penalty in Criminal Case No. 02-205461 should be imprisonment for 12 years, as minimum, to
14 years, 8 months and 1 day, as maximum. Bohol's Motion for Reconsideration was likewise denied by the appellate court.
Thus, Bohol filed a notice of appeal.

By Resolution dated June 14, 2006, this Court required the parties to file their respective supplemental briefs if they so
desire. Bohol and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), however, manifested that they are adopting their briefs before
the appellate court. Hence, we shall resolve the instant appeal on the basis of the arguments of the parties in said briefs.

In his appellant's brief, Bohol assigns the following errors:

I. THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT'S SEARCH
AND ARREST AS ILLEGAL.
II. THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT OF THE
CRIME CHARGED DESPITE THE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE HIS GUILT BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT.
Simply stated, the issues are: (1) whether Bohol's arrest and the search on his person were illegal; and (2) whether the trial
court erred in convicting Bohol despite the absence of proof beyond reasonable doubt.

On the first issue, Bohol claims that his arrest was illegal since he could not have committed, nor was he about to commit, a
crime as he was peacefully sleeping when he was arrested without a warrant. Consequently, the search conducted by the
police officers was not incidental to a lawful warrantless arrest, and the confiscated shabu obtained from the search was
inadmissible as evidence against him.

For the appellee, the OSG maintains that the arrest of Bohol as well as the search on his person is legal. The OSG stresses
that the search made on the person of Bohol was incidental to a lawful arrest which was made when he was caught in
flagrante delicto. Further, the OSG maintains that at the time of Bohol's arrest, the police officers had probable cause to
suspect that a crime had been committed since they had received a tip from a confidential informant of the existence of illegal
drug trade in the said place.

Bohol's arguments are bereft of merit.

The arrest of Bohol is legal. The Constitution proscribes unreasonable arrests and provides in the Bill of Rights that no arrest,
search and seizure can be made without a valid warrant issued by competent judicial authority. However, it is a settled
exception to the rule that an arrest made after an entrapment operation does not require a warrant. Such warrantless arrest is
considered reasonable and valid under Rule 113, Section 5(a) of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, which states:
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;

xxxx

98
In the present case, the arresting officers were justified in arresting Bohol as he had just committed a crime when he sold the
shabu to PO2 Estrada. A buy-bust operation is a form of entrapment which has repeatedly been accepted to be a valid means
of arresting violators of the Dangerous Drugs Law.

Considering the legality of Bohol's warrantless arrest, the subsequent warrantless search that resulted in the seizure of the
shabu found in his person is likewise valid. In a legitimate warrantless arrest, the arresting police officers are authorized to
search and seize from the offender (1) any dangerous weapons and (2) the things which may be used as proof of the
commission of the offense. The constitutional proscription against warrantless searches and seizures admits of certain
exceptions. This Court has ruled that the following instances constitute valid warrantless searches and seizures: (1) search
incident to a lawful arrest; (2) search of a moving motor vehicle; (3) search in violation of customs laws; (4) seizure of the
evidence in plain view; (5) search when the accused himself waives his right against unreasonable searches and seizures; (6)
stop and frisk; and (7) exigent and emergency circumstances.

As to the second issue, Bohol contends that the prosecution failed to establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. He faults
the trial court for giving full faith and credence to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. He asserts that the only reason
why he was arrested was because he was the overseer of a "video-carrera". The police officers filed the illegal drug trade and
possession against him because they failed to find any evidence to have him tried for overseeing a "video-carrera" place.
Lastly, he laments the failure of the prosecution to present the confidential informant as a witness during the trial, thereby
preventing him from confronting said witness directly.

The OSG counters that the prosecution established Bohol's guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The police officers who testified
against Bohol were not shown to have been actuated by improper motives, nor were they shown not properly performing
their duty. Thus, their affirmative testimony proving Bohol's culpability must be respected and must perforce prevail.
Moreover, the findings of the trial court on the issue of credibility of witnesses are generally not disturbed by the appellate
court and this Court, since it is the trial court that had the opportunity to appraise firsthand the demeanor of the witness.

We agree with the OSG. This Court discerns no improper motive on the part of the police officers that would impel them to
fabricate a story and falsely implicate Bohol in such a serious offense. In the absence of any evidence of the policemen's
improper motive, their testimony is worthy of full faith and credit. Also, courts generally give full faith and credit to officers
of the law, for they are presumed to have performed their duties in a regular manner. Accordingly, in entrapment cases,
credence is given to the narration of an incident by prosecution witnesses who are officers of the law and presumed to have
performed their duties in a regular manner in the absence of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.

Moreover, we find no cogent reason to disturb the findings of the trial court. The settled rule is that the evaluation of the
testimonies of witnesses by the trial court is entitled to the highest respect because such court has the direct opportunity to
observe the witnesses' demeanor and manner of testifying and thus, is in a better position to assess their credibility.

Lastly, as ruled by the appellate court, Bohol cannot insist on the presentation of the informant. During trial, the informant's
presence is not a requisite in the prosecution of drug cases. The appellate court held that police authorities rarely, if ever,
remove the cloak of confidentiality with which they surround their poseur-buyers and informers since their usefulness will be
over the moment they are presented in court. Further, what is material to the prosecution for the illegal sale of dangerous
drugs is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti.
Both requirements were sufficiently proven in this case. The police officers were able to testify positively and categorically
that the transaction or sale actually took place. The subject shabu was likewise positively identified by the prosecution when
presented in court. Hence, we agree that Bohol's guilt has been established by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt.

Finally, the modification made by the Court of Appeals in the penalty imposed by the RTC in Criminal Case No. 02-205461
ought to be deleted. Section 1 of the Indeterminate Sentence Law provides that when the offense is punished by a law other
than the Revised Penal Code, "the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence, the maximum term of which
shall not exceed the maximum fixed by law and the minimum shall not be less than the minimum term prescribed by the
same." Hence, the penalty originally imposed by the RTC of imprisonment from 12 years and 1 day, as minimum, to 15 years
as maximum, and to pay a fine of P300,000 is correct and must be sustained.

WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED. The Decision dated September 23, 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-
HC No. 01247 is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION, so that the original penalty imposed in the Decision dated
March 7, 2003 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 35, in Criminal Case No. 02-205461 as well as No. 02-205462
is SUSTAINED. No pronouncement as to costs.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. LITA AYANGAO y BATONG-OG,

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This is an appeal from the February 29, 2000 decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 59, Angeles City in Criminal
Case no. 99-1261 convicting the appellant of violating Section 4, Article 2 of RA 7659, as amended, also known as the
Dangerous Drugs Act.
Appellant Lita Ayangao was charged with transporting 14.75 kilograms of marijuana in an information that read:
That on or about the 13th day of August, 1999, in the Municipality of Mabalacat, Province of Pampanga,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, LITA AYANGAO y
BATONG-OG, without any authority of law, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously dispatch in
transit or transport fifteen (15) bricks of dried marijuana leaves with the actual total weight of FOURTEEN
KILOGRAMS AND SEVENTY FIVE HUNDREDTHS (14.75) of kilogram, a prohibited drug.
The appellant, through counsel, filed a motion to quash on the ground that the facts charged did not constitute an
offense. This was denied by the trial court. Upon arraignment, the appellant pleaded not guilty. Thereafter, trial ensued.
The prosecution presented three witnesses: PO3 Nestor Galvez, PO3 Bienvenido Sagum and Chief Forensic Chemist
Daisy Panganiban-Babor. The prosecution’s version of the facts, as aptly summarized by the trial court, was:
Two weeks before August 13, 1999, PO3 Bienvenido Sagum and PO3 Nestor A. Galvez, members of the
Criminal Detection and Intelligence Group based at Diamond Subdivision, Balibago, Angeles City, received
information from one of their informants that a certain woman from Mountain Province delivers dried marijuana
leaves for sale at Sapang Biabas, Mabalacat, Pampanga to some drug pushers. Said information was also relayed
by the informant to C/Insp. Rhodel O. Sermonia who instructed the two operatives to conduct surveillance
operation against their target female who was described by their informant as about 50 years old, 5 feet in height,
straight long hair and coming from Kalinga province.
At around 5:00 o’clock in the morning of August 13, 1999, their informant went to their headquarters and
informed them that their suspect is due to arrive at Sapang Biabas, Mabalacat. PO3 Sagum and PO3 Galvez,
together with the informant, immediately went to Sapang Biabas and parked their car near the entrance of the road
going to Sapang Biabas. While they were in their car, the informer pointed to them a woman bearing the same
description given by the former. The woman alighted from the tricycle and subsequently loaded two sacks with
camote fruits on top. The two officers proceeded to the place where the woman was and noticed marijuana dried
leaves protruding through a hole of one of the sacks. Sagum and Galvez introduced themselves as police officers
and requested the woman to put out the contents of the said sacks. The sacks yielded sweet potatoes mixed with 15
brick-like substance wrapped in brown paper and masking tape. A brick, which was damaged on the side and in
plain view of the officers revealed dried marijuana leaves. The woman who was arrested identified herself as
accused Lita Ayangao y Batong-Og of Lacnog, Agbanawag Tabuk, Kalinga Province. Ayangao and the suspected
dried marijuana leaves were brought to the police officer’s headquarter at Diamond Subdivision, Angeles City.
The evidence confiscated from the accused were sent to the PNP Crime Laboratory at Camp Olivas where it was
examined by Chief Forensic Chemist Daisy P. Babor. The Initial Laboratory Report issued indicated that the
specimens from the 15 bricks of suspected dried marijuana leaves weighing 14.75 kilograms were found to be
positive for marijuana.
The defense, through the testimonies of the appellant and Reynaldo Nunag, purok chairman of Sitio Makabakle,
presented a different version, again summarized by the trial court:
Accused Lita Ayangao denied the charge made against her and alleged that she has nothing to do with the
marijuana allegedly found in her possession. She went to Sapang Biabas “Marimar,” Camachile, Mabalacat,
Pampanga from Tabuk, Kalinga Province on August 13, 1999 only upon the request of a certain Magda Dumpao.
Allegedly, Magda bought a house in Mawaque, Mabalacat and learned that it was being sold again. Magda then
requested her (accused) to talk to Jaime Alarcon who acted as Magda’s agent in buying the house. It was Magda
who instructed her on how to go to the house of Jaime Alarcon. She arrived at the house of Alarcon at around 3:00
o’clock in the morning and was welcomed inside by Gloria and Jocelyn Alarcon, Jaime’s wife and daughter-in-
law. As Jaime was not around, she asked the Alarcon’s permission if she can have a nap. Gloria and Jocelyn
allowed her to sleep on the sofa and while she was resting, at around 6:00 o’clock in the morning, somebody
knocked at the door. Gloria opened it and two men, who identified themselves as CIS agents, told Gloria that they
were looking for somebody who came from Baguio City. One of the men went to where she was then lying and
asked Gloria who she was. Gloria answered that she came from Tabuk. The police officers asked her (accused) to
go with them as they wanted to talk to her. When she refused, the policemen forced her out of the house and
boarded her to their car. While she was inside the car, she saw a sack and a carton box. The police brought her to
their headquarters at Diamond Subd., Angeles City. She was made to sit in a chair and in her view, the sack was
opened and its contents were placed in (sic) a table. She then heard from the policemen that the contents of the
sack were marijuana and accused her of owning it.
Reynaldo Nunag, purok chairman of Sitio Makabakle, Marimar, Biabas, Mabalacat, Pampanga, testified that,
as tricycle driver whose terminal is near the house of Jaime Alarcon, he did not see any unusual incident that
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happened in said vicinity in the morning of August 13, 1999. He also did not see how the accused was arrested and
did not see the policemen’s car.
The trial court found the prosecution’s version to be credible, reasoning that appellant’s defense of frame-up was not
supported by evidence and thus could not prevail over the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. The law enforcer’s
testimonies carried the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties. The dispositive portion of the decision
read:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, accused Lita Ayangao y Batong-og is found GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of violating Section 4 of Article II of R.A. 6425 as amended by R.A. 7659 by transporting
fourteen kilograms and seventy five hundredths (14.75) of a kilogram of marijuana, a prohibited drug, without
authority. Said accused is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Accused Lita Ayangao-
Batong-og (sic) is further ordered to pay a fine of five hundred thousand (P500,000.00) pesos.
SO ORDERED.
The following assignments of error are raised in this appeal:
I. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN GIVING FULL FAITH AND CREDENCE TO THE
TESTIMONIES OF THE PROSECUTION WITNESSES DESPITE EXISTING SERIOUS
INCONSISTENCIES AND INCREDIBILITY THEREBY CREATING DOUBT REGARDING
THEIR TRUTHFULNESS AND CREDIBILITY.
II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT CONSIDERING FAVORABLY THE DEFENSE OF ALIBI
AS A GROUND FOR ACQUITTAL OF THE DEFENDANT-APPELLANT IN SPITE OF THE
WEAKNESS OF THE PROSECUTION EVIDENCE WHICH IS INSUFFICIENT TO OVERCOME
THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE IN HER FAVOR.
III. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT ACQUITTING HEREIN DEFENDANT-APPELLANT ON
GROUND OF REASONABLE DOUBT.
IV. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO HOLD THAT THE APPREHENDING OFFICERS
VIOLATED DEFENDANT-APPELLANT’S MIRANDA RIGHTS.
After a thorough review of the records, this Court finds that the prosecution was able to discharge its burden of proving
the appellant’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The decision of the trial court was supported by the evidence on record.
Regarding the credibility of witnesses, this Court has ruled time and again that this is a matter best assessed by the trial
court judge since he has the opportunity to observe the witnesses’ demeanor and deportment on the stand. Besides, in this
case, the inconsistencies criticized by the appellant were minor ones involving negligible details which did not negate the
truth of the witnesses’ testimonies nor detract from their credibility.
Appellant also assigns as error the illegality of her arrest because she was not read her Miranda rights. (This is in
addition to her argument that the 15 bricks of marijuana were inadmissible since the warrantless search was invalid, not
having been made pursuant to a lawful arrest.) This contention is without merit since this Court has repeatedly ruled that, by
entering a plea upon arraignment and by actively participating in the trial, an accused is deemed to have waived any objection
to his arrest and warrantless search. Any objection to the arrest or acquisition of jurisdiction over the person of the accused
must be made before he enters his plea, otherwise the objection is deemed waived. Here, in submitting herself to the
jurisdiction of the trial court when she entered a plea of not guilty and participated in the trial, the appellant waived any
irregularity that may have attended her arrest.
Assuming, however, that there was no such waiver, pursuant to People vs. Barros, reiterated in People vs. Aruta, the
waiver of the non-admissibility of the “fruits” of an invalid warrantless arrest and warrantless search and seizure is not to be
casually presumed for the constitutional guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures to retain vitality. The Court
finds that the arrest was lawful as appellant was actually committing a crime when she was arrested — transporting
marijuana, are act prohibited by law. Since a lawful arrest was made, the resulting warrantless search on appellant was also
valid as the legitimate warrantless arrest authorized the arresting police officers to validly search and seize from the offender
(1) any dangerous weapons and (2) the things which may be used as proof of the commission of the offense.
In the present case, the warrantless arrest was lawful because it fell under Rule 113, Section 5(a) of the Revised Rules
of Criminal Procedure. This section provides that a peace officer may arrest a person even without a warrant when, in his
presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing or is attempting to commit an offense. However,
the police officer should be spurred by probable cause in making the arrest. Although the term eludes exact definition,
probable cause signifies 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. The determination
of probable cause must be resolved according to the facts of each case. In this case, the arresting officers had probable cause
to make the arrest in view of the tip they received from their informant. This Court has already ruled that tipped information

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is sufficient probable cause to effect a warrantless search. Although the apprehending officers received the tip two weeks
prior to the arrest, they could not be faulted for not applying for a search warrant inasmuch as the exact date of appellant’s
arrival was not known by the informant. Apprehending officer PO3 Sagum testified as follows:
Q So what were the information given you by your informer?
A Ang kausap po nila iyong hepe namin[g] si Maj. Rhodel Sermonia tapos po sinabi lang po sa amin ni Maj.
Sermonia ang sinabi ng informant.
Q So you did not hear the report of the informant?
A Yes, sir.
Q What was the information given by your superior?
A He told us that somebody will be delivering marijuana at Sapang Bayabas and the informer knew the person.
Q Give us the complete report?
A Sinabi po ng hepe namin na sinabi ng informant na merong babaeng magdedeliver ng marijuana sa Sapang
Bayabas at babalik daw po siya kung kailan magdedeliver.
Q On the date in question August 13 at around 6:00 o’clock in the morning you were in your office?
A We were already at Sapang Bayabas, sir.
Q Which is which now?
A Nasa Sapang Bayabas na po, sir.
Q Before going to Sapang Bayabas where did you come from?
A We were in the office, sir.
Q What time where you in the office?
A That is where we were sleeping.
Q You were sleeping there?
A Yes, sir, we are stay-in.
Q And then what happened?
A Our informant came, sir.
Q What time?
A 5:00 o’clock, sir.
Q What was the purpose of the informant?
A Sinabi po niya sa amin na darating na raw po iyong ano.
Q I thought that your superior already informed you that the suspect or the accused will be arriving at 6:00
o’clock the first time?
A Sabi po sa amin noong magpunta iyong informer sa office namin August 13 darating daw po iyong babae.
Q It was on August 13 when he said that?
A Yes, sir.
Q Who was he talking with then?
A Iyong Chief po namin tapos kinausap ko rin po siya.
Q What time was that?
A Before 5:00, sir.
Q So they were talking before 5:00 with your Chief?
A Yes, sir.

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Q Where were you?
A I was outside, sir.
Q So you were not listening to them?
A No, sir.
Q So you do not know what they have talked about?
A Yes, sir.
Q And then what were the instruction given by your superior?
A He said we will proceed to Sapang Bayabas because there is a lady going there bringing marijuana.
Q Did you ask the identity of the woman?
A Yes, sir.
Q What did he say?
A About 50 years of age, 5 feet and with straight long hair?
Q How about the name, was the name given to you?
A No, sir, he just said she came from Kalinga.
Q Aside from that, was the quantity of the drugs given to you that was to be brought?
A No, sir.
Q So you just learned that the woman will be arriving at Sapang Bayabas at 6:00 o’clock?
A I do not know the time she is arriving.
Q He did not tell you?
A He does not know, sir.
Q The informant did not tell you?
A Yes, sir, he just said she will be coming in Sapang Bayabas.
Q You did not ask for the time?
A He does not know, sir.
Q What about the particular place where the woman will deliver the drugs?
A Hindi niya po alam basta doon sa entrance daw po ng Sapang Bayabas doon na po kami mag-istambay.
Although there was testimony by PO3 Galvez that the informant told them the exact date of arrival, the trial court gave
more weight to the testimony of PO3 Sagum that stated otherwise, as evidenced by his finding that the informant arrived at
the police station at 5:00 A.M. on August 13, 1999 and informed them that the appellant was arriving at 6:00 A.M. The
judgment call of the trial court on which of these two conflicting testimonies to believe should prevail because it involved the
assessment of the credibility of witnesses. Thus, without proof that some facts or circumstances of weight or substance
having a bearing on the result of the case have been overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied, this Court will not overturn
such finding as the judge was in a better position to observe the demeanor of the two witnesses.
In those cases where this Court invalidated a warrantless search on the ground that the officers could have applied for a
search warrant, the concerned officers received the tip either days prior to the arrival or in the afternoon of a working day. In
People vs. Aminudin, this Court found that the officers received the tip two days prior to the actual date of arrival of accused
Aminudin. In People vs. Encinadak, the police officers were tipped off at 4:00 P.M. on May 20, 1992 that accused Encinada
would arrive at 7:00 A.M. the next day. Thus, the officers had time to obtain search warrants inasmuch as Administrative
Circulars 13 and 19 of the Supreme Court allowed the application for search warrants even after office hours. In People vs.
Aruta, the police officers received the information on December 13, 1988 that accused Aruta would arrive on a Victory Liner
Bus at 6:30 P.M. on December 14, 1999, giving them a day to obtain a warrant.
In the present case, the informant arrived at the police station at 5:00 A.M. on August 13, 1999 and informed the
officers that the appellant would be arriving at 6:00 A.M. (just an hour later) that day. The circumstances clearly called for
an immediate response from the officers. In People vs. Valdez this Court upheld the validity of the warrantless arrest and
corresponding search of accused Valdez as the officer made the arrest on the strength of a similar on-the-spot tip. In the case
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at bar, though all other pertinent details were known by the officers except the date, they could not have applied for a search
warrant since the validity of a warrant was only for 10 days. Considering that the officers did not know when the appellant
was going to arrive, prudence made them act the way they did.
The appellant also faults the trial court for failing to give weight to her defense of alibi. Appellant’s alibi could not
prevail over the overwhelming evidence presented by the prosecution. Alibi as a defense is inherently weak and for it to
serve as basis for an acquittal, the accused must establish by clear and convincing evidence (a) his presence at another place
at the time of the perpetration of the offense and (b) the physical impossibility to be at the scene of the crime. The appellant
failed to meet these two requirements. Jaime Alarcon’s house where appellant claimed to be sleeping at the time of her arrest,
was only 10 meters from the tricycle terminal where she was arrested by the officers. Thus, the trial court was correct in
ruling that the alibi of appellant was not enough to acquit her of the charges.
With the effectivity of RA 7659, Section 4 of RA 6425, provides the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine
ranging from P500,000 to P10,000,000 if the marijuana involved weighs 750 grams or more. Since the penalty is composed
of two indivisible penalties, the rules for applying the penalties in Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code are applicable,
pursuant to the ruling in People vs. Simon wherein the Court recognized the suppletory application of the rules on penalties in
the Revised Penal Code and the Indeterminate Sentence Law to the Dangerous Drugs Act after its amendment by RA 7659.
Thus, as the appellant was found to be transporting 14.75 kilograms of marijuana, the trial court was correct in imposing the
lesser penalty of reclusion perpetua since there was no aggravating or mitigating circumstance, and in not applying the
Indeterminate Sentence Law which is not applicable when indivisible penalties are imposed.
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 59, of Angeles City, finding the appellant guilty of
transporting a prohibited drug and sentencing her to reclusion perpetua and to pay the fine of P500,000, is hereby
AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

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BLAS F. OPLE vs. RUBEN D. TORRES

The petition at bar is a commendable effort on the part of Senator Blas F. Ople to prevent the shrinking of the right to
privacy, which the revered Mr. Justice Brandeis considered as "the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued
by civilized men." Petitioner Ople prays that we invalidate Administrative Order No. 308 entitled "Adoption of a National
Computerized Identification Reference System" on two important constitutional grounds, viz: one, it is a usurpation of the
power of Congress to legislate, and two, it impermissibly intrudes on our citizenry's protected zone of privacy. We grant the
petition for the rights sought to be vindicated by the petitioner need stronger barriers against further erosion.
A.O. No. 308 was issued by President Fidel V. Ramos on December 12, 1996 and reads as follows:
"ADOPTION OF A NATIONAL COMPUTERIZED IDENTIFICATION REFERENCE SYSTEM
WHEREAS, there is a need to provide Filipino citizens and foreign residents with the facility to conveniently
transact business with basic service and social security providers and other government instrumentalities;
WHEREAS, this will require a computerized system to properly and efficiently identify persons seeking
basic services on social security and reduce, if not totally eradicate, fraudulent transactions and misrepresentations;
WHEREAS, a concerted and collaborative effort among the various basic services and social security
providing agencies and other government instrumentalities is required to achieve such a system;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FIDEL V. RAMOS, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the
powers vested in me by law, do hereby direct the following:
SECTION 1. Establishment of a National Computerized Identification Reference System. A decentralized
Identification Reference System among the key basic services and social security providers is hereby established.
SEC. 2 Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee. An Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee (IACC) to draw-
up the implementing guidelines and oversee the implementation of the System is hereby created, chaired by the
Executive Secretary, with the following as members:
Head, Presidential Management Staff
Secretary, National Economic Development Authority
Secretary, Department of the Interior and Local Government
Secretary, Department of Health
Administrator, Government Service Insurance System,
Administrator, Social Security System, Administrator, National Statistics Office Managing
Director, National Computer Center.
SEC. 3. Secretariat. The National Computer Center (NCC) is hereby designated as secretariat to the IACC
and as such shall provide administrative and technical support to the IACC.
SEC. 4. Linkage Among Agencies. The Population Reference Number (PRN) generated by the NSO shall
serve as the common reference number to establish a linkage among concerned agencies. The IACC Secretariat
shall coordinate with the different Social Security and Services Agencies to establish the standards in the use of
Biometrics Technology and in computer application designs of their respective systems.
SEC. 5. Conduct of Information Dissemination Campaign. The Office of the Press Secretary, in
coordination with the National Statistics Office, the GSIS and SSS as lead agencies and other concerned agencies
shall undertake a massive tri-media information dissemination campaign to educate and raise public awareness on
the importance and use of the PRN and the Social Security Identification Reference.
SEC. 6. Funding. The funds necessary for the implementation of the system shall be sourced from the
respective budgets of the concerned agencies.
SEC. 7. Submission of Regular Reports. The NSO, GSIS and SSS shall submit regular reports to the Office
of the President, through the IACC, on the status of implementation of this undertaking.
SEC. 8. Effectivity. This Administrative Order shall take effect immediately.
DONE in the City of Manila, this 12th day of December in the year of Our Lord, 1996.
(SGD.) FIDEL V. RAMOS"
A.O. No. 308 was published in four newspapers of general circulation on January 22, 1997 and January 23, 1997. On
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January 24, 1997, petitioner filed the instant petition against respondents, then Executive Secretary Ruben Torres and the
heads of the government agencies, who as members of the Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee, are charged with the
implementation of A.O. No. 308. On April 8, 1997, we issued a temporary restraining order enjoining its implementation.
Petitioner contends:
"A.THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A NATIONAL COMPUTERIZED IDENTIFICATION REFERENCE
SYSTEM REQUIRES A LEGISLATIVE ACT. THE ISSUANCE OF A.O. NO. 308 BY THE PRESIDENT OF
THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES IS, THEREFORE, AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL USURPATION OF
THE LEGISLATIVE POWERS OF THE CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES.
B. THE APPROPRIATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS BY THE PRESIDENT FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION
OF A.O. NO. 308 IS AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL USURPATION OF THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT OF
CONGRESS TO APPROPRIATE PUBLIC FUNDS FOR EXPENDITURE.
C. THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A.O. NO. 308 INSIDIOUSLY LAYS THE GROUNDWORK FOR A
SYSTEM WHICH WILL VIOLATE THE BILL OF RIGHTS ENSHRINED IN THE CONSTITUTION."
Respondents counter-argue:
A. THE INSTANT PETITION IS NOT A JUSTICIABLE CASE AS WOULD WARRANT A JUDICIAL
REVIEW;
B. A.O. NO. 308 [1996] WAS ISSUED WITHIN THE EXECUTIVE AND ADMINISTRATIVE POWERS
OF THE PRESIDENT WITHOUT ENCROACHING ON THE LEGISLATIVE POWERS OF CONGRESS;
C. THE FUNDS NECESSARY FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE IDENTIFICATION
REFERENCE SYSTEM MAY BE SOURCED FROM THE BUDGETS OF THE CONCERNED AGENCIES;
D. A.O. NO. 308 [1996] PROTECTS AN INDIVIDUAL'S INTEREST IN PRIVACY.
We now resolve.
I
As is usual in constitutional litigation, respondents raise the threshold issues relating to the standing to sue of the
petitioner and the justiciability of the case at bar. More specifically, respondents aver that petitioner has no legal interest to
uphold and that the implementing rules of A.O. No. 308 have yet to be promulgated.
These submissions do not deserve our sympathetic ear. Petitioner Ople is a distinguished member of our Senate. As a
Senator, petitioner is possessed of the requisite standing to bring suit raising the issue that the issuance of A.O. No. 308 is a
usurpation of legislative power. As taxpayer and member of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), petitioner can
also impugn the legality of the misalignment of public funds and the misuse of GSIS funds to implement A.O. No. 308.
The ripeness for adjudication of the petition at bar is not affected by the fact that the implementing rules of A.O. No.
308 have yet to be promulgated. Petitioner Ople assails A.O. No. 308 as invalid per se and as infirmed on its face. His action
is not premature for the rules yet to be promulgated cannot cure its fatal defects. Moreover, the respondents themselves have
started the implementation of A.O. No. 308 without waiting for the rules. As early as January 19, 1997, respondent Social
Security System (SSS) caused the publication of a notice to bid for the manufacture of the National Identification (ID) card.
Respondent Executive Secretary Torres has publicly announced that representatives from the GSIS and the SSS have
completed the guidelines for the national identification system. All signals from the respondents show their unswerving will
to implement A.O. No. 308 and we need not wait for the formality of the rules to pass judgment on its constitutionality. In
this light, the dissenters insistence that we tighten the rule on standing is not a commendable stance as its result would be to
throttle an important constitutional principle and a fundamental right.
II
We now come to the core issues. Petitioner claims that A.O. No. 308 is not a mere administrative order but a law
and hence, beyond the power of the President to issue. He alleges that A.O. No. 308 establishes a system of identification
that is all-encompassing in scope, affects the life and liberty of every Filipino citizen and foreign resident, and more
particularly, violates their right to privacy.
Petitioner's sedulous concern for the Executive not to trespass on the lawmaking domain of Congress is understandable.
The blurring of the demarcation line between the power of the Legislature to make laws and the power of the Executive to
execute laws will disturb their delicate balance of power and cannot be allowed. Hence, the exercise by one branch of
government of power belonging to another will be given a stricter scrutiny by this Court.
The line that delineates Legislative and Executive power is not indistinct. Legislative power is "the authority, under the
Constitution, to make laws, and to alter and repeal them." The Constitution, as the will of the people in their original,

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sovereign and unlimited capacity, has vested this power in the Congress of the Philippines. The grant of legislative power to
Congress is broad, general and comprehensive. The legislative body possesses plenary power for all purposes of civil
government. Any power, deemed to be legislative by usage and tradition, is necessarily possessed by Congress, unless the
Constitution has lodged it elsewhere. In fine, except as limited by the Constitution, either expressly or impliedly, legislative
power embraces all subjects and extends to matters of general concern or common interest.
While Congress is vested with the power to enact laws, the President executes the laws. The executive power is vested
in the President. It is generally defined as the power to enforce and administer the laws. It is the power of carrying the laws
into practical operation and enforcing their due observance.
As head of the Executive Department, the President is the Chief Executive. He represents the government as a whole
and sees to it that all laws are enforced by the officials and employees of his department. He has control over the executive
department, bureaus and offices. This means that he has the authority to assume directly the functions of the executive
department, bureau and office, or interfere with the discretion of its officials. Corollary to the power of control, the President
also has the duty of supervising the enforcement of laws for the maintenance of general peace and public order. Thus, he is
granted administrative power over bureaus and offices under his control to enable him to discharge his duties effectively.
Administrative power is concerned with the work of applying policies and enforcing orders as determined by
proper governmental organs. It enables the President to fix a uniform standard of administrative efficiency and check
the official conduct of his agents. To this end, he can issue administrative orders, rules and regulations.
Prescinding from these precepts, we hold that A.O. No. 308 involves a subject that is not appropriate to be
covered by an administrative order. An administrative order is:
"Sec. 3. Administrative Orders.-- Acts of the President which relate to particular aspects of governmental
operation in pursuance of his duties as administrative head shall be promulgated in administrative orders."
An administrative order is an ordinance issued by the President which relates to specific aspects in the administrative
operation of government. It must be in harmony with the law and should be for the sole purpose of implementing the
law and carrying out the legislative policy. We reject the argument that A.O. No. 308 implements the legislative policy
of the Administrative Code of 1987. The Code is a general law and "incorporates in a unified document the major
structural, functional and procedural principles of governance" and "embodies changes in administrative structures and
procedures designed to serve the people." The Code is divided into seven (7) Books: Book I deals with Sovereignty and
General Administration, Book II with the Distribution of Powers of the three branches of Government, Book III on the Office
of the President, Book IV on the Executive Branch, Book V on the Constitutional Commissions, Book VI on National
Government Budgeting, and Book VII on Administrative Procedure. These Books contain provisions on the organization,
powers and general administration of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, the organization and
administration of departments, bureaus and offices under the executive branch, the organization and functions of the
Constitutional Commissions and other constitutional bodies, the rules on the national government budget, as well as
guidelines for the exercise by administrative agencies of quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial powers. The Code covers both
the internal administration of government, i.e, internal organization, personnel and recruitment, supervision and discipline,
and the effects of the functions performed by administrative officials on private individuals or parties outside government.
It cannot be simplistically argued that A.O. No. 308 merely implements the Administrative Code of 1987. It establishes
for the first time a National Computerized Identification Reference System. Such a System requires a delicate adjustment of
various contending state policies-- the primacy of national security, the extent of privacy interest against dossier-gathering by
government, the choice of policies, etc. Indeed, the dissent of Mr. Justice Mendoza states that the A.O. No. 308 involves the
all-important freedom of thought. As said administrative order redefines the parameters of some basic rights of our citizenry
vis-a-vis the State as well as the line that separates the administrative power of the President to make rules and the legislative
power of Congress, it ought to be evident that it deals with a subject that should be covered by law.
Nor is it correct to argue as the dissenters do that A.O. No. 308 is not a law because it confers no right, imposes no duty,
affords no protection, and creates no office. Under A.O. No. 308, a citizen cannot transact business with government
agencies delivering basic services to the people without the contemplated identification card. No citizen will refuse to get
this identification card for no one can avoid dealing with government. It is thus clear as daylight that without the ID, a
citizen will have difficulty exercising his rights and enjoying his privileges. Given this reality, the contention that A.O. No.
308 gives no right and imposes no duty cannot stand.
Again, with due respect, the dissenting opinions unduly expand the limits of administrative legislation and consequently
erodes the plenary power of Congress to make laws. This is contrary to the established approach defining the traditional
limits of administrative legislation. As well stated by Fisher: "x x x Many regulations however, bear directly on the
public. It is here that administrative legislation must be restricted in its scope and application. Regulations are not
supposed to be a substitute for the general policy-making that Congress enacts in the form of a public law. Although
administrative regulations are entitled to respect, the authority to prescribe rules and regulations is not an
independent source of power to make laws."

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III
Assuming, arguendo, that A.O. No. 308 need not be the subject of a law, still it cannot pass constitutional
muster as an administrative legislation because facially it violates the right to privacy. The essence of privacy is
the "right to be let alone." In the 1965 case of Griswold v. Connecticut, the United States Supreme Court gave more
substance to the right of privacy when it ruled that the right has a constitutional foundation. It held that there is a right of
privacy which can be found within the penumbras of the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Ninth Amendments, viz:
"Specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras formed by emanations from these guarantees that
help give them life and substance x x x. Various guarantees create zones of privacy. The right of association
contained in the penumbra of the First Amendment is one, as we have seen. The Third Amendment in its
prohibition against the quartering of soldiers `in any house' in time of peace without the consent of the owner is
another facet of that privacy. The Fourth Amendment explicitly affirms the `right of the people to be secure in
their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.' The Fifth Amendment in its
Self-Incrimination Clause enables the citizen to create a zone of privacy which government may not force him to
surrender to his detriment. The Ninth Amendment provides: `The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain
rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.'"
In the 1968 case of Morfe v. Mutuc, we adopted the Griswold ruling that there is a constitutional right to privacy.
Speaking thru Mr. Justice, later Chief Justice, Enrique Fernando, we held:
"xxx
The Griswold case invalidated a Connecticut statute which made the use of contraceptives a criminal offense
on the ground of its amounting to an unconstitutional invasion of the right of privacy of married persons; rightfully
it stressed "a relationship lying within the zone of privacy created by several fundamental constitutional
guarantees." It has wider implications though. The constitutional right to privacy has come into its own.
So it is likewise in our jurisdiction. The right to privacy as such is accorded recognition independently of its
identification with liberty; in itself, it is fully deserving of constitutional protection. The language of Prof.
Emerson is particularly apt: 'The concept of limited government has always included the idea that governmental
powers stop short of certain intrusions into the personal life of the citizen. This is indeed one of the basic
distinctions between absolute and limited government. Ultimate and pervasive control of the individual, in all
aspects of his life, is the hallmark of the absolute state. In contrast, a system of limited government safeguards a
private sector, which belongs to the individual, firmly distinguishing it from the public sector, which the state can
control. Protection of this private sector-- protection, in other words, of the dignity and integrity of the individual--
has become increasingly important as modern society has developed. All the forces of a technological age
--industrialization, urbanization, and organization-- operate to narrow the area of privacy and facilitate intrusion
into it. In modern terms, the capacity to maintain and support this enclave of private life marks the difference
between a democratic and a totalitarian society.'"
Indeed, if we extend our judicial gaze we will find that the right of privacy is recognized and enshrined in several
provisions of our Constitution. It is expressly recognized in Section 3(1) of the Bill of Rights:
"Sec. 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order
of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise as prescribed by law."
Other facets of the right to privacy are protected in various provisions of the Bill of Rights, viz:
"Sec. 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any
person be denied the equal protection of the laws.
Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable
searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant
of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under
oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to
be searched and the persons or things to be seized.
x x x.
Sec. 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be
impaired except upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the right to travel be impaired except in the interest
of national security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law.
x x x.
Sec. 8. The right of the people, including those employed in the public and private sectors, to form unions,
associations, or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not be abridged.
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Sec. 17. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself."
Zones of privacy are likewise recognized and protected in our laws. The Civil Code provides that "[e]very person shall
respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons" and punishes as actionable
torts several acts by a person of meddling and prying into the privacy of another. It also holds a public officer or employee or
any private individual liable for damages for any violation of the rights and liberties of another person, and recognizes the
privacy of letters and other private communications. The Revised Penal Code makes a crime the violation of secrets by an
officer, the revelation of trade and industrial secrets, and trespass to dwelling. Invasion of privacy is an offense in special
laws like the Anti-Wiretapping Law,] the Secrecy of Bank Deposit Act and the Intellectual Property Code. The Rules of
Court on privileged communication likewise recognize the privacy of certain information.
Unlike the dissenters, we prescind from the premise that the right to privacy is a fundamental right guaranteed
by the Constitution, hence, it is the burden of government to show that A.O. No. 308 is justified by some compelling
state interest and that it is narrowly drawn. A.O. No. 308 is predicated on two considerations: (1) the need to provide
our citizens and foreigners with the facility to conveniently transact business with basic service and social security providers
and other government instrumentalities and (2) the need to reduce, if not totally eradicate, fraudulent transactions and
misrepresentations by persons seeking basic services. It is debatable whether these interests are compelling enough to
warrant the issuance of A.O. No. 308. But what is not arguable is the broadness, the vagueness, the overbreadth of A.O.
No. 308 which if implemented will put our people's right to privacy in clear and present danger.
The heart of A.O. No. 308 lies in its Section 4 which provides for a Population Reference Number (PRN) as a
"common reference number to establish a linkage among concerned agencies" through the use of "Biometrics Technology"
and "computer application designs."
Biometry or biometrics is "the science of the application of statistical methods to biological facts; a mathematical
analysis of biological data." The term "biometrics" has now evolved into a broad category of technologies which
provide precise confirmation of an individual's identity through the use of the individual's own physiological and
behavioral characteristics. A physiological characteristic is a relatively stable physical characteristic such as a fingerprint,
retinal scan, hand geometry or facial features. A behavioral characteristic is influenced by the individual's personality and
includes voice print, signature and keystroke. Most biometric identification systems use a card or personal identification
number (PIN) for initial identification. The biometric measurement is used to verify that the individual holding the card or
entering the PIN is the legitimate owner of the card or PIN.
A most common form of biological encoding is finger-scanning where technology scans a fingertip and turns the
unique pattern therein into an individual number which is called a biocrypt. The biocrypt is stored in computer data banks
and becomes a means of identifying an individual using a service. This technology requires one's fingertip to be scanned
every time service or access is provided. Another method is the retinal scan. Retinal scan technology employs optical
technology to map the capillary pattern of the retina of the eye. This technology produces a unique print similar to a finger
print. Another biometric method is known as the "artificial nose." This device chemically analyzes the unique combination
of substances excreted from the skin of people. The latest on the list of biometric achievements is the thermogram.
Scientists have found that by taking pictures of a face using infra-red cameras, a unique heat distribution pattern is seen. The
different densities of bone, skin, fat and blood vessels all contribute to the individual's personal "heat signature."
In the last few decades, technology has progressed at a galloping rate. Some science fictions are now science facts.
Today, biometrics is no longer limited to the use of fingerprint to identify an individual. It is a new science that uses
various technologies in encoding any and all biological characteristics of an individual for identification. It is noteworthy
that A.O. No. 308 does not state what specific biological characteristics and what particular biometrics technology
shall be used to identify people who will seek its coverage. Considering the banquet of options available to the
implementors of A.O. No. 308, the fear that it threatens the right to privacy of our people is not groundless.
A.O. No. 308 should also raise our antennas for a further look will show that it does not state whether encoding
of data is limited to biological information alone for identification purposes. In fact, the Solicitor General claims that the
adoption of the Identification Reference System will contribute to the "generation of population data for development
planning." This is an admission that the PRN will not be used solely for identification but for the generation of other data
with remote relation to the avowed purposes of A.O. No. 308. Clearly, the indefiniteness of A.O. No. 308 can give the
government the roving authority to store and retrieve information for a purpose other than the identification of the
individual through his PRN.
The potential for misuse of the data to be gathered under A.O. No. 308 cannot be underplayed as the dissenters
do. Pursuant to said administrative order, an individual must present his PRN everytime he deals with a government agency
to avail of basic services and security. His transactions with the government agency will necessarily be recorded-- whether it
be in the computer or in the documentary file of the agency. The individual's file may include his transactions for loan
availments, income tax returns, statement of assets and liabilities, reimbursements for medication, hospitalization, etc. The
more frequent the use of the PRN, the better the chance of building a huge and formidable information base through
the electronic linkage of the files. The data may be gathered for gainful and useful government purposes; but the
existence of this vast reservoir of personal information constitutes a covert invitation to misuse, a temptation that may
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be too great for some of our authorities to resist.
We can even grant, arguendo, that the computer data file will be limited to the name, address and other basic personal
information about the individual. Even that hospitable assumption will not save A.O. No. 308 from constitutional infirmity
for again said order does not tell us in clear and categorical terms how these information gathered shall be handled. It
does not provide who shall control and access the data, under what circumstances and for what purpose. These factors
are essential to safeguard the privacy and guaranty the integrity of the information. Well to note, the computer linkage gives
other government agencies access to the information. Yet, there are no controls to guard against leakage of information.
When the access code of the control programs of the particular computer system is broken, an intruder, without fear of
sanction or penalty, can make use of the data for whatever purpose, or worse, manipulate the data stored within the system.
It is plain and we hold that A.O. No. 308 falls short of assuring that personal information which will be gathered about
our people will only be processed for unequivocally specified purposes. The lack of proper safeguards in this regard of A.O.
No. 308 may interfere with the individual's liberty of abode and travel by enabling authorities to track down his movement; it
may also enable unscrupulous persons to access confidential information and circumvent the right against self-incrimination;
it may pave the way for "fishing expeditions" by government authorities and evade the right against unreasonable searches
and seizures. The possibilities of abuse and misuse of the PRN, biometrics and computer technology are accentuated
when we consider that the individual lacks control over what can be read or placed on his ID, much less verify the
correctness of the data encoded. They threaten the very abuses that the Bill of Rights seeks to prevent.
The ability of a sophisticated data center to generate a comprehensive cradle-to-grave dossier on an individual and
transmit it over a national network is one of the most graphic threats of the computer revolution. The computer is capable of
producing a comprehensive dossier on individuals out of information given at different times and for varied purposes. It can
continue adding to the stored data and keeping the information up to date. Retrieval of stored data is simple. When
information of a privileged character finds its way into the computer, it can be extracted together with other data on the
subject. Once extracted, the information is putty in the hands of any person. The end of privacy begins.
Though A.O. No. 308 is undoubtedly not narrowly drawn, the dissenting opinions would dismiss its danger to the right
to privacy as speculative and hypothetical. Again, we cannot countenance such a laidback posture. The Court will not be
true to its role as the ultimate guardian of the people's liberty if it would not immediately smother the sparks that endanger
their rights but would rather wait for the fire that could consume them.
We reject the argument of the Solicitor General that an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy with
regard to the National ID and the use of biometrics technology as it stands on quicksand. The reasonableness of a
person's expectation of privacy depends on a two-part test: (1) whether by his conduct, the individual has exhibited an
expectation of privacy; and (2) whether this expectation is one that society recognizes as reasonable.The factual
circumstances of the case determines the reasonableness of the expectation. However, other factors, such as customs,
physical surroundings and practices of a particular activity, may serve to create or diminish this expectation. The use of
biometrics and computer technology in A.O. No. 308 does not assure the individual of a reasonable expectation of privacy.
As technology advances, the level of reasonably expected privacy decreases. ] The measure of protection granted by the
reasonable expectation diminishes as relevant technology becomes more widely accepted. The security of the computer data
file depends not only on the physical inaccessibility of the file but also on the advances in hardware and software computer
technology. A.O. No. 308 is so widely drawn that a minimum standard for a reasonable expectation of privacy,
regardless of technology used, cannot be inferred from its provisions.
The rules and regulations to be drawn by the IACC cannot remedy this fatal defect. Rules and regulations merely
implement the policy of the law or order. On its face, A.O. No. 308 gives the IACC virtually unfettered discretion to
determine the metes and bounds of the ID System.
Nor do our present laws provide adequate safeguards for a reasonable expectation of privacy. Commonwealth
Act No. 591 penalizes the disclosure by any person of data furnished by the individual to the NSO with imprisonment and
fine. Republic Act No. 1161 prohibits public disclosure of SSS employment records and reports. These laws, however, apply
to records and data with the NSO and the SSS. It is not clear whether they may be applied to data with the other government
agencies forming part of the National ID System. The need to clarify the penal aspect of A.O. No. 308 is another reason why
its enactment should be given to Congress.
Next, the Solicitor General urges us to validate A.O. No. 308's abridgment of the right of privacy by using the rational
relationship test. He stressed that the purposes of A.O. No. 308 are: (1) to streamline and speed up the implementation
of basic government services, (2) eradicate fraud by avoiding duplication of services, and (3) generate population data for
development planning. He concludes that these purposes justify the incursions into the right to privacy for the means are
rationally related to the end.
We are not impressed by the argument. In Morfe v. Mutuc, we upheld the constitutionality of R.A. 3019, the Anti-
Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as a valid police power measure. We declared that the law, in compelling a public officer to
make an annual report disclosing his assets and liabilities, his sources of income and expenses, did not infringe on the
individual's right to privacy. The law was enacted to promote morality in public administration by curtailing and minimizing
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the opportunities for official corruption and maintaining a standard of honesty in the public service.
The same circumstances do not obtain in the case at bar. For one, R.A. 3019 is a statute, not an administrative order.
Secondly, R.A. 3019 itself is sufficiently detailed. The law is clear on what practices were prohibited and penalized, and it
was narrowly drawn to avoid abuses. In the case at bar, A.O. No. 308 may have been impelled by a worthy purpose, but, it
cannot pass constitutional scrutiny for it is not narrowly drawn. And we now hold that when the integrity of a
fundamental right is at stake, this court will give the challenged law, administrative order, rule or regulation a stricter
scrutiny. It will not do for the authorities to invoke the presumption of regularity in the performance of official
duties. Nor is it enough for the authorities to prove that their act is not irrational for a basic right can be diminished,
if not defeated, even when the government does not act irrationally. They must satisfactorily show the presence of
compelling state interests and that the law, rule, or regulation is narrowly drawn to preclude abuses. This approach is
demanded by the 1987 Constitution whose entire matrix is designed to protect human rights and to prevent authoritarianism.
In case of doubt, the least we can do is to lean towards the stance that will not put in danger the rights protected by the
Constitution.
The case of Whalen v. Roe cited by the Solicitor General is also off-line. In Whalen, the United States Supreme Court
was presented with the question of whether the State of New York could keep a centralized computer record of the names
and addresses of all persons who obtained certain drugs pursuant to a doctor's prescription. The New York State Controlled
Substances Act of 1972 required physicians to identify patients obtaining prescription drugs enumerated in the statute, i.e.,
drugs with a recognized medical use but with a potential for abuse, so that the names and addresses of the patients can be
recorded in a centralized computer file of the State Department of Health. The plaintiffs, who were patients and doctors,
claimed that some people might decline necessary medication because of their fear that the computerized data may be readily
available and open to public disclosure; and that once disclosed, it may stigmatize them as drug addicts. The plaintiffs alleged
that the statute invaded a constitutionally protected zone of privacy, i.e, the individual interest in avoiding disclosure of
personal matters, and the interest in independence in making certain kinds of important decisions. The U.S. Supreme Court
held that while an individual's interest in avoiding disclosure of personal matters is an aspect of the right to privacy, the
statute did not pose a grievous threat to establish a constitutional violation. The Court found that the statute was necessary to
aid in the enforcement of laws designed to minimize the misuse of dangerous drugs. The patient-identification
requirement was a product of an orderly and rational legislative decision made upon recommendation by a specially
appointed commission which held extensive hearings on the matter. Moreover, the statute was narrowly drawn and
contained numerous safeguards against indiscriminate disclosure. The statute laid down the procedure and requirements
for the gathering, storage and retrieval of the information. It enumerated who were authorized to access the data. It also
prohibited public disclosure of the data by imposing penalties for its violation. In view of these safeguards, the infringement
of the patients' right to privacy was justified by a valid exercise of police power. As we discussed above, A.O. No. 308 lacks
these vital safeguards.
Even while we strike down A.O. No. 308, we spell out in neon that the Court is not per se against the use of
computers to accumulate, store, process, retrieve and transmit data to improve our bureaucracy. Computers work
wonders to achieve the efficiency which both government and private industry seek. Many information systems in different
countries make use of the computer to facilitate important social objectives, such as better law enforcement, faster delivery of
public services, more efficient management of credit and insurance programs, improvement of telecommunications and
streamlining of financial activities. Used wisely, data stored in the computer could help good administration by making
accurate and comprehensive information for those who have to frame policy and make key decisions. The benefits of the
computer has revolutionized information technology. It developed the internet, introduced the concept of cyberspace and the
information superhighway where the individual, armed only with his personal computer, may surf and search all kinds and
classes of information from libraries and databases connected to the net.
In no uncertain terms, we also underscore that the right to privacy does not bar all incursions into individual
privacy. The right is not intended to stifle scientific and technological advancements that enhance public service and
the common good. It merely requires that the law be narrowly focused and a compelling interest justify such intrusions.
Intrusions into the right must be accompanied by proper safeguards and well-defined standards to prevent unconstitutional
invasions. We reiterate that any law or order that invades individual privacy will be subjected by this Court to strict scrutiny.
The reason for this stance was laid down in Morfe v. Mutuc, to wit:
"The concept of limited government has always included the idea that governmental powers stop short of
certain intrusions into the personal life of the citizen. This is indeed one of the basic distinctions between absolute
and limited government. Ultimate and pervasive control of the individual, in all aspects of his life, is the hallmark
of the absolute state. In contrast, a system of limited government safeguards a private sector, which belongs to the
individual, firmly distinguishing it from the public sector, which the state can control. Protection of this private
sector-- protection, in other words, of the dignity and integrity of the individual-- has become increasingly
important as modern society has developed. All the forces of a technological age-- industrialization, urbanization,
and organization-- operate to narrow the area of privacy and facilitate intrusion into it. In modern terms, the
capacity to maintain and support this enclave of private life marks the difference between a democratic and a
totalitarian society."

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IV
The right to privacy is one of the most threatened rights of man living in a mass society. The threats emanate from
various sources-- governments, journalists, employers, social scientists, etc. In the case at bar, the threat comes from the
executive branch of government which by issuing A.O. No. 308 pressures the people to surrender their privacy by giving
information about themselves on the pretext that it will facilitate delivery of basic services. Given the record-keeping
power of the computer, only the indifferent will fail to perceive the danger that A.O. No. 308 gives the government
the power to compile a devastating dossier against unsuspecting citizens. It is timely to take note of the well-worded
warning of Kalvin, Jr., "the disturbing result could be that everyone will live burdened by an unerasable record of his past and
his limitations. In a way, the threat is that because of its record-keeping, the society will have lost its benign capacity to
forget." Oblivious to this counsel, the dissents still say we should not be too quick in labelling the right to privacy as a
fundamental right. We close with the statement that the right to privacy was not engraved in our Constitution for flattery.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is granted and Administrative Order No. 308 entitled "Adoption of a National
Computerized Identification Reference System" declared null and void for being unconstitutional.
SO ORDERED.

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KMU vs. THE DIRECTOR GENERAL, NEDA
This case involves two consolidated petitions for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court,
seeking the nullification of Executive Order No. 420 (EO 420) on the ground that it is unconstitutional.

EO 420, issued by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on 13 April 2005, reads:

REQUIRING ALL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND GOVERNMENT-OWNED AND CONTROLLED


CORPORATIONS TO STREAMLINE AND HARMONIZE THEIR IDENTIFICATION (ID) SYSTEMS, AND
AUTHORIZING FOR SUCH PURPOSE THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL, NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND DEVELOPMENT
AUTHORITY TO IMPLEMENT THE SAME, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

WHEREAS, good governance is a major thrust of this Administration;

WHEREAS, the existing multiple identification systems in government have created unnecessary and costly redundancies
and higher costs to government, while making it inconvenient for individuals to be holding several identification cards;

WHEREAS, there is urgent need to streamline and integrate the processes and issuance of identification cards in government
to reduce costs and to provide greater convenience for those transacting business with government;

WHEREAS, a unified identification system will facilitate private businesses, enhance the integrity and reliability of
government-issued identification cards in private transactions, and prevent violations of laws involving false names and
identities.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, President of the Republic of the Philippines by virtue of
the powers vested in me by law, do hereby direct the following:

Section 1. Adoption of a unified multi-purpose identification (ID) system for government.1avvphil.net – All government
agencies, including government-owned and controlled corporations, are hereby directed to adopt a unified multi-purpose ID
system to ensure the attainment of the following objectives:

a. To reduce costs and thereby lessen the financial burden on both the government and the public brought about by
the use of multiple ID cards and the maintenance of redundant database containing the same or related information;

b. To ensure greater convenience for those transacting business with the government and those availing of
government services;

c. To facilitate private businesses and promote the wider use of the unified ID card as provided under this executive
order;

d. To enhance the integrity and reliability of government-issued ID cards; and

e. To facilitate access to and delivery of quality and effective government service.

Section 2. Coverage – All government agencies and government-owned and controlled corporations issuing ID cards to their
members or constituents shall be covered by this executive order.

Section 3. Data requirement for the unified ID system – The data to be collected and recorded by the participating agencies
shall be limited to the following:

Name
Home Address
Sex
Picture
Signature
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Marital Status
Names of Parents
Height
Weight

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Two index fingers and two thumbmarks
Any prominent distinguishing features like moles and others
Tax Identification Number (TIN)
Provided that a corresponding ID number issued by the participating agency and a common reference number shall form part
of the stored ID data and, together with at least the first five items listed above, including the print of the right thumbmark, or
any of the fingerprints as collected and stored, shall appear on the face or back of the ID card for visual verification purposes.

Section 4. Authorizing the Director-General, National Economic and Development Authority, to Harmonize All
Government Identification Systems. – The Director-General, National Economic Development Authority, is hereby
authorized to streamline and harmonize all government ID systems.

Section 5. Functions and responsibilities of the Director-General, National Economic and Development Authority. – In
addition to his organic functions and responsibilities, the Director-General, National Economic and Development Authority,
shall have the following functions and responsibilities:

a. Adopt within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of this executive order a unified government ID system
containing only such data and features, as indicated in Section 3 above, to validly establish the identity of the card
holder:

b. Enter into agreements with local governments, through their respective leagues of governors or mayors, the
Commission on Elections (COMELEC), and with other branches or instrumentalities of the government, for the
purpose of ensuring government-wide adoption of and support to this effort to streamline the ID systems in
government;

b. Call on any other government agency or institution, or create sub–committees or technical working groups, to
provide such assistance as may be necessary or required for the effective performance of its functions; and

d. Promulgate such rules or regulations as may be necessary in pursuance of the objectives of this executive order.

Section 6. Safeguards. – The Director-General, National Economic and Development Authority, and the pertinent agencies
shall adopt such safeguard as may be necessary and adequate to ensure that the right to privacy of an individual takes
precedence over efficient public service delivery. Such safeguards shall, as a minimum, include the following:

a. The data to be recorded and stored, which shall be used only for purposes of establishing the identity of a person,
shall be limited to those specified in Section 3 of this executive order;

b. In no case shall the collection or compilation of other data in violation of a person’s right to privacy shall be
allowed or tolerated under this order;

c. Stringent systems of access control to data in the identification system shall be instituted;

d. Data collected and stored for this purpose shall be kept and treated as strictly confidential and a personal or
written authorization of the Owner shall be required for access and disclosure of data;

e. The identification card to be issued shall be protected by advanced security features and cryptographic
technology; and

f. A written request by the Owner of the identification card shall be required for any correction or revision of
relevant data, or under such conditions as the participating agency issuing the identification card shall prescribe.

Section 7. Funding. – Such funds as may be recommended by the Department of Budget and Management shall be provided
to carry out the objectives of this executive order.

Section 8. Repealing clause. – All executive orders or issuances, or portions thereof, which are inconsistent with this
executive order, are hereby revoked, amended or modified accordingly.

Section 9. Effectivity. – This executive order shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in two (2) newspapers of
general circulation.

DONE in the City of Manila, this 13th day of April, in the year of Our Lord, 2005.

Thus, under EO 420, the President directs all government agencies and government-owned and controlled corporations to
adopt a uniform data collection and format for their existing identification (ID) systems.
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Petitioners in G.R. No. 167798 allege that EO 420 is unconstitutional because it constitutes usurpation of legislative functions
by the executive branch of the government. Furthermore, they allege that EO 420 infringes on the citizen’s right to privacy.1

Petitioners in G.R. No. 167930 allege that EO 420 is void based on the following grounds:

1. EO 420 is contrary to law. It completely disregards and violates the decision of this Honorable Court in Ople v.
Torres et al., G.R. No. 127685, July 23, 1998. It also violates RA 8282 otherwise known as the Social Security Act
of 1997.

2. The Executive has usurped the legislative power of Congress as she has no power to issue EO 420. Furthermore,
the implementation of the EO will use public funds not appropriated by Congress for that purpose.

3. EO 420 violates the constitutional provisions on the right to privacy

(i) It allows access to personal confidential data without the owner’s consent.

(ii) EO 420 is vague and without adequate safeguards or penalties for any violation of its provisions.

(iii) There are no compelling reasons that will legitimize the necessity of EO 420.

4. Granting without conceding that the President may issue EO 420, the Executive Order was issued without public
hearing.

5. EO 420 violates the Constitutional provision on equal protection of laws and results in the discriminatory
treatment of and penalizes those without ID.2

Issues

Essentially, the petitions raise two issues. First, petitioners claim that EO 420 is a usurpation of legislative power by the
President. Second, petitioners claim that EO 420 infringes on the citizen’s right to privacy.

Respondents question the legal standing of petitioners and the ripeness of the petitions. Even assuming that petitioners are
bereft of legal standing, the Court considers the issues raised under the circumstances of paramount public concern or of
transcendental significance to the people. The petitions also present a justiciable controversy ripe for judicial determination
because all government entities currently issuing identification cards are mandated to implement EO 420, which petitioners
claim is patently unconstitutional. Hence, the Court takes cognizance of the petitions.

The Court’s Ruling

The petitions are without merit.

On the Alleged Usurpation of Legislative Power

Section 2 of EO 420 provides, "Coverage. – All government agencies and government-owned and controlled corporations
issuing ID cards to their members or constituents shall be covered by this executive order." EO 420 applies only to
government entities that issue ID cards as part of their functions under existing laws. These government entities have already
been issuing ID cards even prior to EO 420. Examples of these government entities are the GSIS, SSS, Philhealth, Mayor’s
Office, LTO, PRC, and similar government entities.

Section 1 of EO 420 directs these government entities to "adopt a unified multi-purpose ID system." Thus, all government
entities that issue IDs as part of their functions under existing laws are required to adopt a uniform data collection and format
for their IDs. Section 1 of EO 420 enumerates the purposes of the uniform data collection and format, namely:

a. To reduce costs and thereby lessen the financial burden on both the government and the public brought about by
the use of multiple ID cards and the maintenance of redundant database containing the same or related information;

b. To ensure greater convenience for those transacting business with the government and those availing of
government services;

c. To facilitate private businesses and promote the wider use of the unified ID card as provided under this executive
order;

d. To enhance the integrity and reliability of government-issued ID cards; and

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e. To facilitate access to and delivery of quality and effective government service.

In short, the purposes of the uniform ID data collection and ID format are to reduce costs, achieve efficiency and reliability,
insure compatibility, and provide convenience to the people served by government entities.

Section 3 of EO 420 limits the data to be collected and recorded under the uniform ID system to only 14 specific items,
namely: (1) Name; (2) Home Address; (3) Sex; (4) Picture; (5) Signature; (6) Date of Birth; (7) Place of Birth; (8) Marital
Status; (9) Name of Parents; (10) Height; (11) Weight; (12) Two index fingers and two thumbmarks; (13) Any prominent
distinguishing features like moles or others; and (14) Tax Identification Number.

These limited and specific data are the usual data required for personal identification by government entities, and even by the
private sector. Any one who applies for or renews a driver’s license provides to the LTO all these 14 specific data.

At present, government entities like LTO require considerably more data from applicants for identification purposes. EO 420
will reduce the data required to be collected and recorded in the ID databases of the government entities. Government entities
cannot collect or record data, for identification purposes, other than the 14 specific data.

Various laws allow several government entities to collect and record data for their ID systems, either expressly or impliedly
by the nature of the functions of these government entities. Under their existing ID systems, some government entities collect
and record more data than what EO 420 allows. At present, the data collected and recorded by government entities are
disparate, and the IDs they issue are dissimilar.

In the case of the Supreme Court, the IDs that the Court issues to all its employees, including the Justices, contain 15 specific
data, namely: (1) Name; (2) Picture; (3) Position; (4) Office Code Number; (5) ID Number; (6) Height; (7) Weight; (8)
Complexion; (9) Color of Hair; (10) Blood Type; (11) Right Thumbmark; (12) Tax Identification Number; (13) GSIS Policy
Number; (14) Name and Address of Person to be Notified in Case of Emergency; and (15) Signature. If we consider that the
picture in the ID can generally also show the sex of the employee, the Court’s ID actually contains 16 data.

In contrast, the uniform ID format under Section 3 of EO 420 requires only "the first five items listed" in Section 3, plus the
fingerprint, agency number and the common reference number, or only eight specific data. Thus, at present, the Supreme
Court’s ID contains far more data than the proposed uniform ID for government entities under EO 420. The nature of the data
contained in the Supreme Court ID is also far more financially sensitive, specifically the Tax Identification Number.

Making the data collection and recording of government entities unified, and making their ID formats uniform, will
admittedly achieve substantial benefits. These benefits are savings in terms of procurement of equipment and supplies,
compatibility in systems as to hardware and software, ease of verification and thus increased reliability of data, and the user-
friendliness of a single ID format for all government entities.

There is no dispute that government entities can individually limit the collection and recording of their data to the 14 specific
items in Section 3 of EO 420. There is also no dispute that these government entities can individually adopt the ID format as
specified in Section 3 of EO 420. Such an act is certainly within the authority of the heads or governing boards of the
government entities that are already authorized under existing laws to issue IDs.

A unified ID system for all these government entities can be achieved in either of two ways. First, the heads of these existing
government entities can enter into a memorandum of agreement making their systems uniform. If the government entities can
individually adopt a format for their own ID pursuant to their regular functions under existing laws, they can also adopt by
mutual agreement a uniform ID format, especially if the uniform format will result in substantial savings, greater efficiency,
and optimum compatibility. This is purely an administrative matter, and does not involve the exercise of legislative power.

Second, the President may by executive or administrative order direct the government entities under the Executive
department to adopt a uniform ID data collection and format. Section 17, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution provides that
the "President shall have control of all executive departments, bureaus and offices." The same Section also mandates the
President to "ensure that the laws be faithfully executed."

Certainly, under this constitutional power of control the President can direct all government entities, in the exercise of their
functions under existing laws, to adopt a uniform ID data collection and ID format to achieve savings, efficiency, reliability,
compatibility, and convenience to the public. The President’s constitutional power of control is self-executing and does not
need any implementing legislation.

Of course, the President’s power of control is limited to the Executive branch of government and does not extend to the
Judiciary or to the independent constitutional commissions. Thus, EO 420 does not apply to the Judiciary, or to the
COMELEC which under existing laws is also authorized to issue voter’s ID cards. This only shows that EO 420 does not

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establish a national ID system because legislation is needed to establish a single ID system that is compulsory for all branches
of government.

The Constitution also mandates the President to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed. There are several laws
mandating government entities to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and in general, improve public services. The adoption of
a uniform ID data collection and format under EO 420 is designed to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and in general,
improve public services. Thus, in issuing EO 420, the President is simply performing the constitutional duty to ensure that the
laws are faithfully executed.

Clearly, EO 420 is well within the constitutional power of the President to promulgate. The President has not usurped
legislative power in issuing EO 420. EO 420 is an exercise of Executive power – the President’s constitutional power of
control over the Executive department. EO 420 is also compliance by the President of the constitutional duty to ensure that
the laws are faithfully executed.

Legislative power is the authority to make laws and to alter or repeal them. In issuing EO 420, the President did not make,
alter or repeal any law but merely implemented and executed existing laws. EO 420 reduces costs, as well as insures
efficiency, reliability, compatibility and user-friendliness in the implementation of current ID systems of government entities
under existing laws. Thus, EO 420 is simply an executive issuance and not an act of legislation.

The act of issuing ID cards and collecting the necessary personal data for imprinting on the ID card does not require
legislation. Private employers routinely issue ID cards to their employees. Private and public schools also routinely issue ID
cards to their students. Even private clubs and associations issue ID cards to their members. The purpose of all these ID cards
is simply to insure the proper identification of a person as an employee, student, or member of a club. These ID cards,
although imposed as a condition for exercising a privilege, are voluntary because a person is not compelled to be an
employee, student or member of a club.

What require legislation are three aspects of a government maintained ID card system. First, when the implementation of an
ID card system requires a special appropriation because there is no existing appropriation for such purpose. Second, when the
ID card system is compulsory on all branches of government, including the independent constitutional commissions, as well
as compulsory on all citizens whether they have a use for the ID card or not. Third, when the ID card system requires the
collection and recording of personal data beyond what is routinely or usually required for such purpose, such that the
citizen’s right to privacy is infringed.

In the present case, EO 420 does not require any special appropriation because the existing ID card systems of government
entities covered by EO 420 have the proper appropriation or funding. EO 420 is not compulsory on all branches of
government and is not compulsory on all citizens. EO 420 requires a very narrow and focused collection and recording of
personal data while safeguarding the confidentiality of such data. In fact, the data collected and recorded under EO 420 are
far less than the data collected and recorded under the ID systems existing prior to EO 420.

EO 420 does not establish a national ID card system. EO 420 does not compel all citizens to have an ID card. EO 420 applies
only to government entities that under existing laws are already collecting data and issuing ID cards as part of their
governmental functions. Every government entity that presently issues an ID card will still issue its own ID card under its
own name. The only difference is that the ID card will contain only the five data specified in Section 3 of EO 420, plus the
fingerprint, the agency ID number, and the common reference number which is needed for cross-verification to ensure
integrity and reliability of identification.

This Court should not interfere how government entities under the Executive department should undertake cost savings,
achieve efficiency in operations, insure compatibility of equipment and systems, and provide user-friendly service to the
public. The collection of ID data and issuance of ID cards are day-to-day functions of many government entities under
existing laws. Even the Supreme Court has its own ID system for employees of the Court and all first and second level courts.
The Court is even trying to unify its ID system with those of the appellate courts, namely the Court of Appeals,
Sandiganbayan and Court of Tax Appeals.

There is nothing legislative about unifying existing ID systems of all courts within the Judiciary. The same is true for
government entities under the Executive department. If government entities under the Executive department decide to unify
their existing ID data collection and ID card issuance systems to achieve savings, efficiency, compatibility and convenience,
such act does not involve the exercise of any legislative power. Thus, the issuance of EO 420 does not constitute usurpation
of legislative power.

On the Alleged Infringement of the Right to Privacy

All these years, the GSIS, SSS, LTO, Philhealth and other government entities have been issuing ID cards in the performance
of their governmental functions. There have been no complaints from citizens that the ID cards of these government entities
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violate their right to privacy. There have also been no complaints of abuse by these government entities in the collection and
recording of personal identification data.

In fact, petitioners in the present cases do not claim that the ID systems of government entities prior to EO 420 violate their
right to privacy. Since petitioners do not make such claim, they even have less basis to complain against the unified ID
system under EO 420. The data collected and stored for the unified ID system under EO 420 will be limited to only 14
specific data, and the ID card itself will show only eight specific data. The data collection, recording and ID card system
under EO 420 will even require less data collected, stored and revealed than under the disparate systems prior to EO 420.

Prior to EO 420, government entities had a free hand in determining the kind, nature and extent of data to be collected and
stored for their ID systems. Under EO 420, government entities can collect and record only the 14 specific data mentioned in
Section 3 of EO 420. In addition, government entities can show in their ID cards only eight of these specific data, seven less
data than what the Supreme Court’s ID shows.

Also, prior to EO 420, there was no executive issuance to government entities prescribing safeguards on the collection,
recording, and disclosure of personal identification data to protect the right to privacy. Now, under Section 5 of EO 420, the
following safeguards are instituted:

a. The data to be recorded and stored, which shall be used only for purposes of establishing the identity of a person,
shall be limited to those specified in Section 3 of this executive order;

b. In no case shall the collection or compilation of other data in violation of a person’s right to privacy be allowed or
tolerated under this order;

c. Stringent systems of access control to data in the identification system shall be instituted;

d. Data collected and stored for this purpose shall be kept and treated as strictly confidential and a personal or
written authorization of the Owner shall be required for access and disclosure of data;

e. The identification card to be issued shall be protected by advanced security features and cryptographic
technology;

f. A written request by the Owner of the identification card shall be required for any correction or revision of
relevant data, or under such conditions as the participating agency issuing the identification card shall prescribe.

On its face, EO 420 shows no constitutional infirmity because it even narrowly limits the data that can be collected, recorded
and shown compared to the existing ID systems of government entities. EO 420 further provides strict safeguards to protect
the confidentiality of the data collected, in contrast to the prior ID systems which are bereft of strict administrative
safeguards.

The right to privacy does not bar the adoption of reasonable ID systems by government entities. Some one hundred countries
have compulsory national ID systems, including democracies such as Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Greece,
Luxembourg, and Portugal. Other countries which do not have national ID systems, like the United States, Canada, Australia,
New Zealand, Ireland, the Nordic Countries and Sweden, have sectoral cards for health, social or other public services. Even
with EO 420, the Philippines will still fall under the countries that do not have compulsory national ID systems but allow
only sectoral cards for social security, health services, and other specific purposes.

Without a reliable ID system, government entities like GSIS, SSS, Philhealth, and LTO cannot perform effectively and
efficiently their mandated functions under existing laws. Without a reliable ID system, GSIS, SSS, Philhealth and similar
government entities stand to suffer substantial losses arising from false names and identities. The integrity of the LTO’s
licensing system will suffer in the absence of a reliable ID system.

The dissenting opinion cites three American decisions on the right to privacy, namely, Griswold v. Connecticut, U.S. Justice
Department v. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and Whalen v. Roe. The last two decisions actually support
the validity of EO 420, while the first is inapplicable to the present case.

In Griswold, the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a state law that prohibited the use and distribution of
contraceptives because enforcement of the law would allow the police entry into the bedrooms of married couples. Declared
the U.S. Supreme Court: "Would we allow the police to search the sacred precincts of the marital bedrooms for telltale signs
of the use of contraceptives? The very idea is repulsive to the notions of privacy surrounding the marriage relationship."
Because the facts and the issue involved in Griswold are materially different from the present case, Griswold has no
persuasive bearing on the present case.

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In U.S. Justice Department, the issue was not whether the State could collect and store information on individuals from
public records nationwide but whether the State could withhold such information from the press. The premise of the issue in
U.S. Justice Department is that the State can collect and store in a central database information on citizens gathered from
public records across the country. In fact, the law authorized the Department of Justice to collect and preserve fingerprints
and other criminal identification records nationwide. The law also authorized the Department of Justice to exchange such
information with "officials of States, cities and other institutions." The Department of Justice treated such information as
confidential. A CBS news correspondent and the Reporters Committee demanded the criminal records of four members of a
family pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Freedom of Information Act
expressly exempts release of information that would "constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy," and the
information demanded falls under that category of exempt information.

With the exception of the 8 specific data shown on the ID card, the personal data collected and recorded under EO 420 are
treated as "strictly confidential" under Section 6(d) of EO 420. These data are not only strictly confidential but also personal
matters. Section 7, Article III of the 1987 Constitution grants the "right of the people to information on matters of public
concern." Personal matters are exempt or outside the coverage of the people’s right to information on matters of public
concern. The data treated as "strictly confidential" under EO 420 being private matters and not matters of public concern,
these data cannot be released to the public or the press. Thus, the ruling in U.S. Justice Department does not collide with EO
420 but actually supports the validity EO 420.

Whalen v. Roe is the leading American case on the constitutional protection for control over information. In Whalen, the U.S.
Supreme Court upheld the validity of a New York law that required doctors to furnish the government reports identifying
patients who received prescription drugs that have a potential for abuse. The government maintained a central computerized
database containing the names and addresses of the patients, as well as the identity of the prescribing doctors. The law was
assailed because the database allegedly infringed the right to privacy of individuals who want to keep their personal matters
confidential. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the privacy claim, and declared:

Disclosures of private medical information to doctors, to hospital personnel, to insurance companies, and to public health
agencies are often an essential part of modern medical practice even when the disclosure may reflect unfavorably on the
character of the patient. Requiring such disclosures to representatives of the State having responsibility for the health of the
community does not automatically amount to an impermissible invasion of privacy.

Compared to the personal medical data required for disclosure to the New York State in Whalen, the 14 specific data required
for disclosure to the Philippine government under EO 420 are far less sensitive and far less personal. In fact, the 14 specific
data required under EO 420 are routine data for ID systems, unlike the sensitive and potentially embarrassing medical records
of patients taking prescription drugs. Whalen, therefore, carries persuasive force for upholding the constitutionality of EO
420 as non-violative of the right to privacy.

Subsequent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have reiterated Whalen. In Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth,
the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the validity of a law that required doctors performing abortions to fill up forms, maintain
records for seven years, and allow the inspection of such records by public health officials. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled
that "recordkeeping and reporting requirements that are reasonably directed to the preservation of maternal health and that
properly respect a patient’s confidentiality and privacy are permissible."

Again, in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a law that required
doctors performing an abortion to file a report to the government that included the doctor’s name, the woman’s age, the
number of prior pregnancies and abortions that the woman had, the medical complications from the abortion, the weight of
the fetus, and the marital status of the woman. In case of state-funded institutions, the law made such information publicly
available. In Casey, the U.S. Supreme Court stated: "The collection of information with respect to actual patients is a vital
element of medical research, and so it cannot be said that the requirements serve no purpose other than to make abortion
more difficult."

Compared to the disclosure requirements of personal data that the U.S. Supreme Court have upheld in Whalen, Danforth and
Casey as not violative of the right to privacy, the disclosure requirements under EO 420 are far benign and cannot therefore
constitute violation of the right to privacy. EO 420 requires disclosure of 14 personal data that are routine for ID purposes,
data that cannot possibly embarrass or humiliate anyone.

Petitioners have not shown how EO 420 will violate their right to privacy. Petitioners cannot show such violation by a mere
facial examination of EO 420 because EO 420 narrowly draws the data collection, recording and exhibition while prescribing
comprehensive safeguards. Ople v. Torres is not authority to hold that EO 420 violates the right to privacy because in that
case the assailed executive issuance, broadly drawn and devoid of safeguards, was annulled solely on the ground that the
subject matter required legislation. As then Associate Justice, now Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban noted in his
concurring opinion in Ople v. Torres, "The voting is decisive only on the need for appropriate legislation, and it is only on
this ground that the petition is granted by this Court."
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EO 420 applies only to government entities that already maintain ID systems and issue ID cards pursuant to their regular
functions under existing laws. EO 420 does not grant such government entities any power that they do not already possess
under existing laws. In contrast, the assailed executive issuance in Ople v. Torres sought to establish a "National
Computerized Identification Reference System," a national ID system that did not exist prior to the assailed executive
issuance. Obviously, a national ID card system requires legislation because it creates a new national data collection and card
issuance system where none existed before.

In the present case, EO 420 does not establish a national ID system but makes the existing sectoral card systems of
government entities like GSIS, SSS, Philhealth and LTO less costly, more efficient, reliable and user-friendly to the public.
Hence, EO 420 is a proper subject of executive issuance under the President’s constitutional power of control over
government entities in the Executive department, as well as under the President’s constitutional duty to ensure that laws are
faithfully executed.

WHEREFORE, the petitions are DISMISSED. Executive Order No. 420 is declared VALID.

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