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Alvero vs. Dizon [GR L-342, 4 May 1946] En Banc, de Joya (J): 4 concur, 4 acting justices concur Facts: On 12 February 1945, while the battle for Manila was raging, soldiers of the United States Army, accompanied by men of Filipino Guerrilla Forces, placed Aurelio S. Alvero under arrest, having been suspected of collaboration with the enemy, and seized and took certain papers from his house in Pasay, Rizal. On or about 4 October 1945, Alvero was accused of treason, in criminal case 3 of the People’s Court; after which, on 1 December 1945, he filed a petition, demanding the return of the papers allegedly seized and taken from his house. Alvero also filed a petition for bail, at the hearing of which the prosecution presented certain papers and documents, which were admitted as part of its evidence, and said petition was denied. At the trial of the case on the merits, the prosecution again presented said papers and documents, which were admitted as part of its evidence, and were marked as exhibits. On 26 February 1946, the judges issued an order denying the petition for the return of the documents, and admitted as competent evidence the documents presented by the prosecution. On the same date that said order was issued, denying the petition for the return of said documents, Alvero asked for the reconsideration of said order, which was also denied. Alvero filed a petition for certiorari with injunction with the Supreme Court. Issue: Whether the documents seized by United States Army personnel at Alvero’s home can be used as evidence against the latter. Held: The right of officers and men of the United States Army to arrest Alvero, as a collaborationist suspect, and to seize his personal papers, without any search warrant, in the zone of military operations, is unquestionable, under the provisions of article 4, Chapter II, Section I, of the Regulations relative to the Laws and Customs of War on Land of the Hague Conventions of 1907, authorizing the seizure of military papers in the possession of prisoners of war; and also under the proclamation, dated 29 December 1944, issued by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, as Commander in Chief of the United States Army, declaring his purpose to remove certain citizens of the Philippines, who had voluntarily given aid and comfort to the enemy, in violation of the allegiance due the Governments of the United States and the Commonwealth of the Philippines, when apprehended, from any position of political and economic influence in the Philippines and to hold them in restraint for the duration of the war. The purpose of the constitutional provisions against unlawful
searches and seizures is to prevent violations of private security in person and property, and unlawful invasions of the sanctity of the home, by officers of the law acting under legislative or judicial sanction, and to give remedy against such usurpations when attempted. But it does not prohibit the Government from taking advantage of unlawful searches made by a private person or under authority of state law. Herein, as the soldiers of the United States Army, that took and seized certain papers and documents from the residence of Alvero, were not acting as agents or on behalf of the Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines; and that those papers and documents came into the possession of the authorities of the Commonwealth Government, through the Office of the CIC of the United States Army in Manila, the use and presentation of said papers and documents, as evidence for the prosecution against Alvero, at the trial of his case for treason, before the People’s Court, cannot now be legally attacked, on the ground of unlawful or unreasonable searches and seizures, or on any other constitutional ground, as declared by the Supreme Court of the United States in similar cases. (See Burdeau vs. McDowell, 256 U. S., 465; Gambino vs. United States, 275 U. S., 310.) People vs. Andre Marti [GR 81561, 18 January 1991] Third Division, Bidin (J): 3 concur Facts: On 14 August 1987, Andre Marti and his common-law wife, Shirley Reyes, went to the booth of the Manila Packing and Export Forwarders in the Pistang Pilipino Complex, Ermita, Manila, carrying with them 4 giftwrapped packages. Anita Reyes (the proprietress and no relation to Shirley Reyes) attended to them. Marti informed Anita Reyes that he was sending the packages to a friend in Zurich, Switzerland. Marti filled up the contract necessary for the transaction, writing therein his name, passport number, the date of shipment and the name and address of the consignee, namely, “WALTER FIERZ, Mattacketr II, 8052 Zurich, Switzerland.” Anita Reyes did not inspect the packages as Marti refused, who assured the former that the packages simply contained books, cigars, and gloves and were gifts to his friend in Zurich. In view of Marti’s representation, the 4 packages were then placed inside a brown corrugated box, with styro-foam placed at the bottom and on top of the packages, and sealed with masking tape. Before delivery of Marti’s box to the Bureau of Customs and/or Bureau of Posts, Mr. Job Reyes (proprietor) and husband of Anita (Reyes), following standard operating procedure, opened the boxes for final inspection, where a peculiar odor emitted therefrom. Job pulled out a cellophane wrapper protruding from the
opening of one of the gloves, and took several grams of the contents thereof. Job Reyes forthwith prepared a letter reporting the shipment to the NBI and requesting a laboratory examination of the samples he extracted from the cellophane wrapper. At the Narcotics Section of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the box containing Marti’s packages was opened, yielding dried marijuana leaves, or cake-like (bricks) dried marijuana leaves. The NBI agents made an inventory and took charge of the box and of the contents thereof, after signing a “Receipt” acknowledging custody of the said effects. Thereupon, the NBI agents tried to locate Marti but to no avail, inasmuch as the latter’s stated address was the Manila Central Post Office. Thereafter, an Information was filed against Marti for violation of RA 6425, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act. After trial, the Special Criminal Court of Manila (Regional Trial Court, Branch XLIX) rendered the decision, convicting Marti of violation of Section 21 (b), Article IV in relation to Section 4, Article 11 and Section 2 (e)(i), Article 1 of Republic Act 6425, as amended, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act. Marti appealed. Issue: Whether an act of a private individual, allegedly in violation of the accused’s constitutional rights, be invoked against the State. Held: In the absence of governmental interference, the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution cannot be invoked against the State. The contraband herein, having come into possession of the Government without the latter transgressing the accused’s rights against unreasonable search and seizure, the Court sees no cogent reason why the same should not be admitted against him in the prosecution of the offense charged. The mere presence of the NBI agents did not convert the reasonable search effected by Reyes into a warrantless search and seizure proscribed by the Constitution. Merely to observe and look at that which is in plain sight is not a search. Having observed that which is open, where no trespass has been committed in aid thereof, is not search. Where the contraband articles are identified without a trespass on the part of the arresting officer, there is not the search that is prohibited by the constitution. The constitutional proscription against unlawful searches and seizures therefore applies as a restraint directed only against the government and its agencies tasked with the enforcement of the law. Thus, it could only be invoked against the State to whom the restraint against arbitrary and unreasonable exercise of power is imposed. If the search is made upon the request of law enforcers, a warrant must generally be first secured if it is to pass the test of constitutionality. However, if the search is
made at the behest or initiative of the proprietor of a private establishment for its own and private purposes, as in the case at bar, and without the intervention of police authorities, the right against unreasonable search and seizure cannot be invoked for only the act of private individual, not the law enforcers, is involved. In sum, the protection against unreasonable searches and seizures cannot be extended to acts committed by private individuals so as to bring it within the ambit of alleged unlawful intrusion by the government. Bache & Co. (Phil.) Inc. vs. Ruiz [GR L32409, 27 February 1971] En Banc, Villamor (J): 7 concur, 1 filed a separate concurring opinion to which 1 concurs, 1 concurs in result Facts: On 24 February 1970, Misael P. Vera, Commissioner of Internal Revenue, wrote a letter addressed to Judge Vivencio M. Ruiz requesting the issuance of a search warrant against Bache & Co. (Phil.), Inc. and Frederick E. Seggerman for violation of Section 46(a) of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC), in relation to all other pertinent provisions thereof, particularly Sections 53, 72, 73, 208 and 209, and authorizing Revenue Examiner Rodolfo de Leon to make and file the application for search warrant which was attached to the letter. In the afternoon of the following day, De Leon and his witness, Arturo Logronio, went to the Court of First Instance (CFI) of Rizal. They brought with them the following papers: Vera’s letterrequest; an application for search warrant already filled up but still unsigned by De Leon; an affidavit of Logronio subscribed before De Leon; a deposition in printed form of Logronio already accomplished and signed by him but not yet subscribed; and a search warrant already accomplished but still unsigned by Judge. At that time the Judge was hearing a certain case; so, by means of a note, he instructed his Deputy Clerk of Court to take the depositions of De Leon and Logronio. After the session had adjourned, the Judge was informed that the depositions had already been taken. The stenographer, upon request of the Judge, read to him her stenographic notes; and thereafter, the Judge asked Logronio to take the oath and warned him that if his deposition was found to be false and without legal basis, he could be charged for perjury. The Judge signed de Leon’s application for search warrant and Logronio’s deposition. Search Warrant 2-M-70 was then signed by Judge and accordingly issued. 3 days later (a Saturday), the BIR agents served the search warrant to the corporation and Seggerman at the offices of the corporation on Ayala Avenue, Makati, Rizal. The corporation’s lawyers protested the search on the ground that no formal complaint or transcript of testimony was attached to the
warrant. The agents nevertheless proceeded with their search which yielded 6 boxes of documents. On 3 March 1970, the corporation and Seggerman filed a petition with the Court of First Instance (CFI) of Rizal praying that the search warrant be quashed, dissolved or recalled, that preliminary prohibitory and mandatory writs of injunction be issued, that the search warrant be declared null and void, and that Vera, Logronio, de Leon, et. al., be ordered to pay the corporation and Seggerman, jointly and severally, damages and attorney’s fees. After hearing and on 29 July 1970, the court issued an order dismissing the petition for dissolution of the search warrant. In the meantime, or on 16 April 1970, the Bureau of Internal Revenue made tax assessments on the corporation in the total sum of P2,594,729.97, partly, if not entirely, based on the documents thus seized. The corporation and Seggerman filed an action for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus. Issue: Whether the corporation has the right to contest the legality of the seizure of documents from its office. Held: The legality of a seizure can be contested only by the party whose rights have been impaired thereby, and that the objection to an unlawful search and seizure is purely personal and cannot be availed of by third parties. In Stonehill, et al. vs. Diokno, et al. (GR L-19550, 19 June 1967; 20 SCRA 383) the Supreme Court impliedly recognized the right of a corporation to object against unreasonable searches and seizures; holding that the corporations have their respective personalities, separate and distinct from the personality of the corporate officers, regardless of the amount of shares of stock or the interest of each of them in said corporations, whatever, the offices they hold therein may be; and that the corporate officers therefore may not validly object to the use in evidence against them of the documents, papers and things seized from the offices and premises of the corporations, since the right to object to the admission of said papers in evidence belongs exclusively to the corporations, to whom the seized effects belong, and may not be invoked by the corporate officers in proceedings against them in their individual capacity. The distinction between the Stonehill case and the present case is that: in the former case, only the officers of the various corporations in whose offices documents, papers and effects were searched and seized were the petitioners; while in the latter, the corporation to whom the seized documents belong, and whose rights have thereby been impaired, is itself a petitioner. On that score, the corporation herein stands on a different footing from the corporations in Stonehill. Moreover, herein, the search warrant
was void inasmuch as First, there was no personal examination conducted by the Judge of the complainant (De Leon) and his witness (Logronio). The Judge did not ask either of the two any question the answer to which could possibly be the basis for determining whether or not there was probable cause against Bache & Co. and Seggerman. The participation of the Judge in the proceedings which led to the issuance of Search Warrant 2-M-70 was thus limited to listening to the stenographer’s readings of her notes, to a few words of warning against the commission of perjury, and to administering the oath to the complainant and his witness. This cannot be consider a personal examination. Second, the search warrant was issued for more than one specific offense. The search warrant was issued for at least 4 distinct offenses under the Tax Code. The first is the violation of Section 46(a), Section 72 and Section 73 (the filing of income tax returns), which are interrelated. The second is the violation of Section 53 (withholding of income taxes at source). The third is the violation of Section 208 (unlawful pursuit of business or occupation); and the fourth is the violation of Section 209 (failure to make a return of receipts, sales, business or gross value of output actually removed or to pay the tax due thereon). Even in their classification the 6 provisions are embraced in 2 different titles: Sections 46(a), 53, 72 and 73 are under Title II (Income Tax); while Sections 208 and 209 are under Title V (Privilege Tax on Business and Occupation). Lastly, the search warrant does not particularly describe the things to be seized. Search Warrant No. 2-M-70 tends to defeat the major objective of the Bill of Rights, i.e., the elimination of general warrants, for the language used therein is so all-embracing as to include all conceivable records of the corporation, which, if seized, could possibly render its business inoperative. Thus, Search Warrant 2-M-70 is null and void. Stonehill vs. Diokno [GR L-19550, 19 June 1967] En Banc, Concepcion (CJ): 6 concur Facts: Upon application of the officers of the government, Special Prosecutors Pedro D. Cenzon, Efren I. Plana and Manuel Villareal Jr. and Assistant Fiscal Manases G. Reyes; Judge Amado Roan (Municipal Court of Manila), Judge Roman Cansino (Municipal Court of Manila), Judge Hermogenes Caluag (Court of First Instance of Rizal-Quezon City Branch), and Judge Damian Jimenez (Municipal Court of Quezon City) issued, on different dates, a total of 42 search warrants against Harry S. Stonehill, Robert P. Brooks, HJohn J. Brooks, and Karl Beck, and/or the corporations of which they were officers, directed to any peace officer, to search the said persons and/or the premises of
their offices, warehouses and/or residences, and to seize and take possession of the following personal property to wit: “Books of accounts, financial records, vouchers, correspondence, receipts, ledgers, journals, portfolios, credit journals, typewriters, and other documents and/or papers showing all business transactions including disbursements receipts, balance sheets and profit and loss statements and Bobbins (cigarette wrappers)” as “the subject of the offense; stolen or embezzled and proceeds or fruits of the offense,” or “used or intended to be used as the means of committing the offense,” which is described in the applications adverted to above as “violation of Central Bank Laws, Tariff and Customs Laws, Internal Revenue (Code) and the Revised Penal Code.” Alleging that the search warrants are null and void, as contravening the Constitution and the Rules of Court, Stonehill, et. al. filed with the Supreme Court the original action for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus and injunction. On 22 March 1962, the Supreme Court issued the writ of preliminary injunction prayed for in the petition. However, by resolution dated 29 June 1962, the writ was partially lifted or dissolved, insofar as the papers, documents and things seized from the offices of the corporations are concerned; but, the injunction was maintained as regards the papers, documents and things found and seized in the residences of Stonehill, et. al. Issue: Whether Stonehill, et. al. can assail the legality of the contested warrants that allowed seizure of documents, papers and other effects in the corporate offices, and other places besides their residences. Held: Stonehill, et. al. maintained that the search warrants are in the nature of general warrants and that, accordingly, the seizures effected upon the authority thereof are null and void. No warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, to be determined by the judge in the manner set forth in said provision; and the warrant shall particularly describe the things to be seized. None of these requirements has been complied with in the contested warrants. The grave violation of the Constitution made in the application for the contested search warrants was compounded by the description therein made of the effects to be searched for and seized. The warrants authorized the search for and seizure of records pertaining to all business transactions of Stonehill, et. al., regardless of whether the transactions were legal or illegal. The warrants sanctioned the seizure of all records of the corporate officers and the corporations, whatever their nature, thus openly contravening the explicit command of our Bill of Rights — that the things to be seized be particularly described — as well as tending to defeat its major objective: the elimination of
general warrants. However, the documents, papers, and things seized under the alleged authority of the warrants in question may be split into (2) major groups, namely: (a) those found and seized in the offices of the corporations and (b) those found seized in the residences of Stonehill, et. al. As regards the first group, Stonehill, et. al. have no cause of action to assail the legality of the contested warrants and of the seizures made in pursuance thereof, for the simple reason that said corporations have their respective personalities, separate and distinct from the personality of Stonehill, et. al., regardless of the amount of shares of stock or of the interest of each of them in said corporations, and whatever the offices they hold therein may be. Indeed, it is well settled that the legality of a seizure can be contested only by the party whose rights have been impaired thereby, and that the objection to an unlawful search and seizure is purely personal and cannot be availed of by third parties. Consequently, Stonehill, et. al. may not validly object to the use in evidence against them of the documents, papers and things seized from the offices and premises of the corporations adverted to above, since the right to object to the admission of said papers in evidence belongs exclusively to the corporations, to whom the seized effects belong, and may not be invoked by the corporate officers in proceedings against them in their individual capacity. With respect to the documents, papers and things seized in the residences of Stonehill, et. al., the 29 June 1962 Resolution of the Supreme Court, denying the lifting of the writ of preliminary injunction previously issued by the Court on the documents, papers and things seized in the residences, in effect, restrained the prosecutors from using them in evidence against Stonehill, et. al. Thus, the Court held that the warrants for the search of 3 residences are null and void; that the searches and seizures therein made are illegal; that the writ of preliminary injunction heretofore issued, in connection with the documents, papers and other effects thus seized in said residences is made permanent, that the writs prayed for are granted, insofar as the documents, papers and other effects so seized in the residences are concerned; and that the petition herein is dismissed and the writs prayed for denied, as regards the documents, papers and other effects seized in the 29 places, offices and other premises.
Zurcher vs. Stanford Daily [436 US 547, 31 May 1978] White (J): 3 concur, 1 filed a separate
concurring opinion, 2 filed separate dissenting opinions, to which 1 joined, 1 took no part. Facts: On 9 April 1971, officers of the Palo Alto Police Department and of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call from the director of the Stanford University Hospital requesting the removal of a large group of demonstrators who had seized the hospital’s administrative offices and occupied them since the previous afternoon. After several futile efforts to persuade the demonstrators to leave peacefully, more drastic measures were employed. The police chose to force their way in at the west end of the corridor. As they did so, a group of demonstrators emerged through the doors at the east end and, armed with sticks and clubs, attacked the group of nine police officers stationed there. All nine were injured. The officers themselves were able to identify only two of their assailants, but one of them did see at least one person photographing the assault at the east doors. On April 11 (Sunday), a special edition of the Stanford Daily (Daily), a student newspaper published at Stanford University, carried articles and photographs devoted to the hospital protest and the violent clash between demonstrators and police. The photographs carried the byline of a Daily staff member and indicated that he had been at the east end of the hospital hallway where he could have photographed the assault on the 9 officers. The next day, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office secured a warrant from the Municipal Court for an immediate search of the Daily’s offices for negatives, film, and pictures showing the events and occurrences at the hospital on the evening of April 9. The warrant issued on a finding of “just, probable and reasonable cause for believing that: Negatives and photographs and films, evidence material and relevant to the identity of the perpetrators of felonies, to wit, Battery on a Peace Officer, and Assault with Deadly Weapon, will be located [on the premises of the Daily].” The warrant affidavit contained no allegation or indication that members of the Daily staff were in any way involved in unlawful acts at the hospital. The search pursuant to the warrant was conducted later that day by 4 police officers and took place in the presence of some members of the Daily staff. The Daily’s photographic laboratories, filing cabinets, desks, and wastepaper baskets were searched. Locked drawers and rooms were not opened. The search revealed only the photographs that had already been published on April 11, and no materials were removed from the Daily’s office. A month later the Daily and various members of its staff brought a civil action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California seeking declaratory and injunctive relief under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against the police officers who conducted
the search, the chief of police, the district attorney and one of his deputies, and the judge who had issued the warrant. The complaint alleged that the search of the Daily’s office had deprived respondents under color of state law of rights secured to them by the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. The District Court denied the request for an injunction but, on the newspaper staff’s motion for summary judgment, granted declaratory relief. The court did not question the existence of probable cause to believe that a crime had been committed and to believe that relevant evidence would be found on the Daily’s premises. It held, however, that the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments forbade the issuance of a warrant to search for materials in possession of one not suspected of crime unless there is probable cause to believe, based on facts presented in a sworn affidavit, that a subpoena duces tecum would be impracticable. The District Court further held that where the innocent object of the search is a newspaper, First Amendment interests are also involved and that such a search is constitutionally permissible “only in the rare circumstance where there is a clear showing that (1) important materials will be destroyed or removed from the jurisdiction; and (2) a restraining order would be futile.” Since these preconditions to a valid warrant had not been satisfied, the search of the Daily’s offices was declared to have been illegal. The Court of Appeals affirmed per curiam, adopting the opinion of the District Court. Zurcher, et. al. filed a petition for certiorari. Issue: Whether the Fourth Amendment is to be construed and applied to the “third party” search, the recurring situation where state authorities have probable cause to believe that fruits, instrumentalities, or other evidence of crime is located on identified property but do not then have probable cause to believe that the owner or possessor of the property is himself implicated in the crime that has occurred or is occurring. Held: First, a State is not prevented by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments from issuing a warrant to search for evidence simply because the owner or possessor of the place to be searched is not reasonably suspected of criminal involvement. The critical element in a reasonable search is not that the property owner is suspected of crime but that there is reasonable cause to believe that the “things” to be searched for and seized are located on the property to which entry is sought. Second, the District Court’s new rule denying search warrants against third parties and insisting on subpoenas would undermine law enforcement efforts since search warrants are often used
early in an investigation before all the perpetrators of a crime have been identified; and the seemingly blameless third party may be implicated. The delay in employing a subpoena duces tecum could easily result in disappearance of the evidence. Nor would the cause of privacy be served since search warrants are more difficult to obtain than subpoenas. Lastly, properly administered, the preconditions for a search warrant (probable cause, specificity with respect to the place to be searched and the things to be seized, and overall reasonableness), which must be applied with particular exactitude when First Amendment interests would be endangered by the search, are adequate safeguards against the interference with the press’ ability to gather, analyze, and disseminate news that respondents claim would ensue from use of warrants for third-party searches of newspaper offices. Wilson vs. Layne [526 US 603, 24 May 1999] Rehnquist (CJ) Facts: In early 1992, the Attorney General of the United States approved “Operation Gunsmoke,” a special national fugitive apprehension program in which United States Marshals worked with state and local police to apprehend dangerous criminals. This effective program ultimately resulted in over 3,000 arrests in 40 metropolitan areas. One of the dangerous fugitives identified as a target of “Operation Gunsmoke” was Dominic Wilson, the son of Charles and Geraldine Wilson. Dominic Wilson had violated his probation on previous felony charges of robbery, theft, and assault with intent to rob, and the police computer listed “caution indicators” that he was likely to be armed, to resist arrest, and to “assault police.” The computer also listed his address as 909 North StoneStreet Avenue in Rockville, Maryland. Unknown to the police, this was actually the home of Dominic Wilson’s parents. Thus, in April 1992, the Circuit Court for Montgomery County issued three arrest warrants for Dominic Wilson, one for each of his probation violations. The warrants were each addressed to “any duly authorized peace officer,” and commanded such officers to arrest him and bring him “immediately” before the Circuit Court to answer an indictment as to his probation violation. The warrants made no mention of media presence or assistance. In the early morning hours of 16 April 1992, a Gunsmoke team of Deputy United States Marshals and Montgomery County Police officers assembled to execute the Dominic Wilson warrants. The team was accompanied by a reporter and a photographer from the Washington Post, who had been invited by the Marshals to accompany them on their mission
as part of a Marshal’s Service ride-along policy. At 6:45 a.m., the officers, with media representatives in tow, entered the dwelling at 909 North StoneStreet Avenue in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Rockville. Charles and Geraldine Wilson were still in bed when they heard the officers enter the home. Charles Wilson, dressed only in a pair of briefs, ran into the living room to investigate. Discovering at least 5 men in street clothes with guns in his living room, he angrily demanded that they state their business, and repeatedly cursed the officers. Believing him to be an angry Dominic Wilson, the officers quickly subdued him on the floor. Geraldine Wilson next entered the living room to investigate, wearing only a nightgown. She observed her husband being restrained by the armed officers. When their protective sweep was completed, the officers learned that Dominic Wilson was not in the house, and they departed. During the time that the officers were in the home, the Washington Post photographer took numerous pictures. The print reporter was also apparently in the living room observing the confrontation between the police and Charles Wilson. At no time, however, were the reporters involved in the execution of the arrest warrant. Charles and Geraldine Wilson sued the law enforcement officials in their personal capacities for money damages, and contended that the officers’ actions in bringing members of the media to observe and record the attempted execution of the arrest warrant violated their Fourth Amendment rights. The District Court denied the police officers’ motion for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity. On interlocutory appeal to the Court of Appeals, a divided panel reversed and held that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity. The case was twice reheard en banc, where a divided Court of Appeals again upheld the defense of qualified immunity. The Court of Appeals declined to decide whether the actions of the police violated the Fourth Amendment. It concluded instead that because no court had held (at the time of the search) that media presence during a police entry into a residence violated the Fourth Amendment, the right allegedly violated by petitioners was not “clearly established” and thus qualified immunity was proper. 141 F. 3d 111 (CA4 1998). Five judges dissented, arguing that the officers’ actions did violate the Fourth Amendment, and that the clearly established protections of the Fourth Amendment were violated. Issue: Whether the police officers were justified to bring along the Washington Post reporters in the execution of the warrant inside the house of Charles and Geraldine Wilson. Held: No. Although the officers undoubtedly were entitled to enter the Wilson home in order
to execute the arrest warrant for Dominic Wilson, they were not entitled to bring a newspaper reporter and a photographer with them. While it does not mean that every police action while inside a home must be explicitly authorized by the text of the warrant (Fourth Amendment allows temporary detainer of homeowner while police search the home pursuant to warrant), the Fourth Amendment does require that police actions in execution of a warrant be related to the objectives of the authorized intrusion (The purposes justifying a police search strictly limit the permissible extent of the search). Certainly the presence of reporters inside the home was not related to the objectives of the authorized intrusion. Inasmuch as that the reporters did not engage in the execution of the warrant and did not assist the police in their task, the reporters were not present for any reason related to the justification for police entry into the home–the apprehension of Dominic Wilson. This is not a case in which the presence of the third parties directly aided in the execution of the warrant. Where the police enter a home under the authority of a warrant to search for stolen property, the presence of third parties for the purpose of identifying the stolen property has long been approved by this Court and our common-law tradition. The claim of the officers, that the presence of the Washington Post reporters in the Wilsons’ home nonetheless served a number of legitimate law enforcement purposes ignores, the importance of the right of residential privacy at the core of the Fourth Amendment. It may well be that media ridealongs further the law enforcement objectives of the police in a general sense, but that is not the same as furthering the purposes of the search. Were such generalized “law enforcement objectives” themselves sufficient to trump the Fourth Amendment, the protections guaranteed by that Amendment’s text would be significantly watered down. Although it may be claimed the presence of third parties could serve in some situations to minimize police abuses and protect suspects, and also to protect the safety of the officers, such a situation is significantly different from the media presence in this case, where the Washington Post reporters in the Wilsons’ home were working on a story for their own purposes. Taken in their entirety, the reasons advanced by the officers fall short of justifying the presence of media inside a home. Thus, it is a violation of the Fourth Amendment for police to bring members of the media or other third parties into a home during the execution of a warrant when the presence of the third parties in the home was not in aid of the execution of the warrant.
Burgos v. Chief of Staff, AFP [GR 64261, 26 December 1984] En Banc, Escolin (J): 10 concur, 1 took no part Facts: On 7 December 1982, Judge Ernani Cruz-Paño, Executive Judge of the then CFI Rizal [Quezon City], issued 2 search warrants where the premises at 19, Road 3, Project 6, Quezon City, and 784 Units C & D, RMS Building, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, business addresses of the “Metropolitan Mail” and “We Forum” newspapers, respectively, were searched, and office and printing machines, equipment, paraphernalia, motor vehicles and other articles used in the printing, publication and distribution of the said newspapers, as well as numerous papers, documents, books and other written literature alleged to be in the possession and control of Jose Burgos, Jr. publisher-editor of the “We Forum” newspaper, were seized. A petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with preliminary mandatory and prohibitory injunction was filed after 6 months following the raid to question the validity of said search warrants, and to enjoin the Judge Advocate General of the AFP, the city fiscal of Quezon City, et.al. from using the articles seized as evidence in Criminal Case Q-022782 of the RTC Quezon City (People v. Burgos). Issue: Whether allegations of possession and printing of subversive materials may be the basis of the issuance of search warrants. Held: Section 3 provides that no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined by the judge, or such other responsible officer as may be authorized by law, 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. Probable cause for a search is defined as such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched. In mandating that “no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined by the judge, after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce”; the Constitution requires no less than personal knowledge by the complainant or his witnesses of the facts upon which the issuance of a search warrant may be justified. Herein, a statement in the effect that Burgos “is in possession or has in his control printing equipment and other paraphernalia, news publications and other documents which were used and are all continuously being used as a means of
committing the offense of subversion punishable under PD 885, as amended” is a mere conclusion of law and does not satisfy the requirements of probable cause. Bereft of such particulars as would justify a finding of the existence of probable cause, said allegation cannot serve as basis for the issuance of a search warrant. Further, when the search warrant applied for is directed against a newspaper publisher or editor in connection with the publication of subversive materials, the application and/or its supporting affidavits must contain a specification, stating with particularity the alleged subversive material he has published or is intending to publish. Mere generalization will not suffice. Chandler vs. Miller [520 US 305, 15 April 1997] Ginsburg (J): 6 concur, 1 filed separate dissenting opinion. Facts: The Libertarian Party nominated Walker L. Chandler for the office of Lieutenant Governor, Sharon T. Harris for the office of Commissioner of Agriculture, and James D. Walker for the office of member of the General Assembly. In May 1994, about one month before the deadline for submission of the certificates required by §21-2-140, Chandler, Harris, and Walker filed an action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. They asserted, inter alia, that the drug tests required by §21-2-140 violated their rights under the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, naming Governor Zell D. Miller and two other state officials involved in the administration of §21-2-140, as defendants. Chandler, et .al. requested declaratory and injunctive relief barring enforcement of the statute. In June 1994, the District Court denied Chandlers’ motion for a preliminary injunction. The provision in the statute of the State of Georgia required candidates for designated state offices to certify that they have taken a drug test and that the test result was negative. Chandler, et. al. apparently submitted to the drug tests, obtained the certificates required by §21-2-140, and appeared on the ballot. After the 1994 election, the parties jointly moved for the entry of final judgment on stipulated facts. In January 1995, the District Court entered final judgment for Miller, et. al. A divided Eleventh Circuit panel, relying on the US Court’s precedents sustaining drug testing programs for student athletes, customs employees, and railway employees, the United States affirmed and judged the Georgia’s law to be constitutional. Issue: Whether the suspicionless searches, required in Georgia’s drug testing for candidates for public offices, is reasonable.
Held: Georgia’s drug testing requirement, imposed by law and enforced by state officials, effects a search within the meaning of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. (Collection and testing of urine to meet Georgia’s certification statute “constitutes a search subject to the demands of the Fourth Amendment”). As explained in Skinner, government ordered “collection and testing of urine intrudes upon expectations of privacy that society has long recognized as reasonable.” (Skinner and Von Raab, 489 U.S., at 617). To be reasonable under the Fourth Amendment, a search ordinarily must be based on individualized suspicion of wrongdoing. But particularized exceptions to the main rule are sometimes warranted based on “special needs, beyond the normal need for law enforcement.” When such “special needs”–concerns other than crime detection–are alleged in justification of a Fourth Amendment intrusion, courts must undertake a context specific inquiry, examining closely the competing private and public interests advanced by the parties. In limited circumstances, where the privacy interests implicated by the search are minimal, and where an important governmental interest furthered by the intrusion would be placed in jeopardy by a requirement of individualized suspicion, a search may be reasonable despite the absence of such suspicion. Our precedents establish that the proffered special need for drug testing must be substantial–important enough to override the individual’s acknowledged privacy interest, sufficiently vital to suppress the Fourth Amendment’s normal requirement of individualized suspicion. Miller, et. al.’s defense of the statute rests primarily on the incompatibility of unlawful drug use with holding high state office; but notably lacking therein is any indication of a concrete danger demanding departure from the Fourth Amendment’s main rule, and nothing in the record hints that the hazards Miller, et. al., broadly describe (i.e. the use of illegal drugs draws into question an official’s judgment and integrity; jeopardizes the discharge of public functions, including antidrug law enforcement efforts; and undermines public confidence and trust in elected officials) are real and not simply hypothetical for Georgia’s polity. Further, Georgia’s certification requirement is not well designed to identify candidates who violate antidrug laws; nor is the scheme a credible means to deter illicit drug users from seeking election to state office. What is left, after close review of Georgia’s scheme, is the image the State seeks to project. By requiring candidates for public office to submit to drug testing, Georgia displays its commitment to the struggle against drug abuse. The need revealed, in short, is symbolic, not “special,” as that term draws meaning from our case law. Thus, however well meant, the candidate drug test
Georgia has devised diminishes personal privacy for a symbol’s sake. The Fourth Amendment shields society against that state action. In fine, where the risk to public safety is substantial and real, blanket suspicionless searches calibrated to the risk may rank as “reasonable.” But where, as herein, public safety is not genuinely in jeopardy, the Fourth Amendment precludes the suspicionless search, no matter how conveniently arranged. People vs. Chua Ho San [GR 128222, 17 June 1999] En Banc, Davide Jr. (CJ): 13 concur, 1 on leave Facts: In response to reports of rampant smuggling of firearms and other contraband, Jim Lagasca Cid, as Chief of Police of the Bacnotan Police Station, of La Union began patrolling the Bacnotan coastline with his officers. While monitoring the coastal area of Barangay Bulala on 29 March 1995, he intercepted a radio call at around 12:45 p.m. from Barangay Captain Juan Almoite of Barangay Tammocalao requesting police assistance regarding an unfamiliar speedboat the latter had spotted, which looked different from the boats ordinarily used by fisherfolk of the area and was poised to dock at Tammocalao shores. Cid and 6 of his men led by his Chief Investigator, SPO1 Reynoso Badua, proceeded forthwith to Tammocalao beach, conferred with Almoite, and observed that the speedboat ferried a lone male passenger. When the speedboat landed, the male passenger alighted, and using both hands, carried what appeared a multicolored strawbag, and walked towards the road. By this time, Almoite, Cid and Badua, the latter two conspicuous in their uniform and issued side-arms, became suspicious of the man as he suddenly changed direction and broke into a run upon seeing the approaching officers. Badua, prevented the man from fleeing by holding on to his right arm. Although Cid introduced themselves as police officers, the man appeared impassive. Speaking in English, then in Tagalog, and later in Ilocano, Cid then requested the man to open his bag, but he seemed not to understand. Cid then resorted to “sign language,” motioning with his hands for the man to open the bag. The man apparently understood and acceded to the request. A search of the bag yielded several transparent plastic packets containing yellowish crystalline substances. As Cid wished to proceed to the police station, he signaled the man to follow, but the latter did not comprehend. Hence, Cid placed his arm around the shoulders of the man and escorted the latter to the police headquarters. At the police station, Cid then “recited and informed the man of his constitutional rights” to remain silent, to have the assistance of a counsel, etc. Eliciting no response from the man, Cid ordered his men
to find a resident of the area who spoke Chinese to act as an interpreter. In the meantime, Badua opened the bag and counted 29 plastic packets containing yellowish crystalline substances. The interpreter, Mr. Go Ping Guan, finally arrived, through whom the man was “apprised of his constitutional rights.” When the policemen asked the man several questions, he retreated to his obstinate reticence and merely showed his ID with the name Chua Ho San printed thereon. Chua’s bag and its contents were sent to the PNP Crime Laboratory at Camp Diego Silang, Carlatan, San Fernando, La Union for laboratory examination. In the meantime, Chua was detained at the Bacnotan Police Station. Later, Police Chief Inspector and Forensic Chemist Theresa Ann Bugayong Cid (wife of Cid), conducted a laboratory examination of 29 plastic packets, adn in her Chemistry Report D-025-95, she stated that her qualitative examination established the contents of the plastic packets, weighing 28.7 kilos, to be positive of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, a regulated drug. Chua was initially charged with illegal possession of methamphetamine hydrochloride before the RTC (Criminal Case 4037). However, pursuant to the recommendation of the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of San Fernando, La Union, the information was subsequently amended to allege that Chua was in violation of Section 15, Article III of RA 6425 as amended by RA 7659 (illegal transport of a regulated drug). At his arraignment on 31 July 1995, where the amended complaint was read to him by a Fukien-speaking interpreter, Chua entered a plea of not guilty. Trial finally ensued, with interpreters assigned to Chua (upon the RTC’s direct request to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines, after its failure to acquire one from the Department of Foreign Affairs). Chua provided a completely different story, claiming that the bags belong to his employer Cho Chu Rong, who he accompanied in the speedboat; that they decided to dock when they were low on fuel and telephone battery; that the police, with nary any spoken word but only gestures and hand movements, escorted him to the precinct where he was handcuffed and tied to a chair; that the police, led by an officer, arrived with the motor engine of the speedboat and a bag, which they presented to him; that the police inspected opened the bag, weighed the contents, then proclaimed them as methamphetamine hydrochloride. In a decision promulgated on 10 February 1997, the RTC convicted Chua for transporting 28.7 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride without legal authority to do so. Chua prays for the reversal of the RTC decision and his acquittal before the Supreme Court. Issue: Whether 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, 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, constitute “probable cause.” Held: No. Enshrined in the Constitution is the inviolable right to privacy of home and person. It explicitly ordains that people have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose. Inseparable, and not merely corollary or incidental to said right and equally hallowed in and by the Constitution, is the exclusionary principle which decrees that any evidence obtained in violation of said right is inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding. The Constitutional proscription against unreasonable searches and seizures does not, of course, forestall reasonable searches and seizure. This interdiction against warrantless searches and seizures, however, is not absolute and such warrantless searches and seizures have long been deemed permissible by jurisprudence. The Rules of Court recognize permissible warrantless arrests, to wit: (1) arrests in flagrante delicto, (2) arrests effected in hot pursuit, and (3) arrests of escaped prisoners. The prosecution and the defense painted extremely divergent versions of the incident, but the Court is certain that Chua was arrested and his bag searched without the benefit of a warrant. There are no facts on record reasonably suggestive or demonstrative of Chua’s participation in an ongoing criminal enterprise that could have spurred police officers from conducting the obtrusive search. The RTC never took the pains of pointing to such facts, but predicated mainly its decision on the finding that “accused was caught redhanded carrying the bagful of shabu when apprehended.” In short, there is no 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, 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, 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, 20 confidential report and/or positive identification by informers of courier(s) 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 the Court as sufficient to justify a warrantless arrest exists in the 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. The search cannot therefore be denominated as incidental to an arrest. To reiterate, the search was not incidental to an arrest. There was no warrant of arrest and the warrantless arrest did not fall under the exemptions allowed by the Rules of Court as already shown. From all indications, the search was nothing but a fishing expedition. Casting aside the regulated substance as evidence, the same being the fruit of a poisonous tree, the remaining evidence on record are insufficient, feeble and ineffectual to sustain Chua’s conviction. People vs. Molina [GR 133917, 19 February 2001] En Banc, Ynares-Santiago (J): 14 concur Facts: Sometime in June 1996, SPO1 Marino Paguidopon, then a member of the Philippine National Police (PNP) detailed at Precinct No. 3, Matina, Davao City, received an information regarding the presence of an alleged marijuana pusher in Davao City. The first time he came to see the said marijuana pusher in person was during the first week of July 1996. SPO1 Paguidopon was then with his informer when a motorcycle passed by. His informer pointed to the motorcycle driver, Gregorio Mula y Malagura (@”Boboy”), as the pusher. As to Nasario Molina y Manamat (@ “Bobong”), SPO1 Paguidopon had no occasion to see him prior to 8 August 1996. At about 7:30 a.m. of 8 August 1996, SPO1 Paguidopon received an information that the alleged pusher will be passing at NHA, Maa, Davao City any time that morning. Consequently, at around 8:00 a.m. he called for assistance at the PNP, Precinct 3, Matina, Davao City, which immediately dispatched the team of SPO4 Dionisio Cloribel (team leader), SPO2 Paguidopon (brother of SPO1 Marino Paguidopon), and SPO1 Pamplona, to proceed to the house of SPO1 Marino Paguidopon where they would wait for the alleged pusher to pass by. At around 9:30 a.m., while the team were positioned in the house of SPO1 Paguidopon, a “trisikad” carrying Mula and Molina passed by. At that instance, SPO1 Paguidopon pointed to Mula and Molina as the pushers. Thereupon, the team boarded their vehicle and overtook the “trisikad.” SPO1 Paguidopon was left in his house, 30 meters from where Mula and Molina
were accosted. The police officers then ordered the “trisikad” to stop. At that point, Mula, who was holding a black bag, handed the same to Molina. Subsequently, SPO1 Pamplona introduced himself as a police officer and asked Molina to open the bag. Molina replied, “Boss, if possible we will settle this.” SPO1 Pamplona insisted on opening the bag, which revealed dried marijuana leaves inside. Thereafter, Mula and Molina were handcuffed by the police officers. On 6 December 1996, the accused Mula and Molina, through counsel, jointly filed a Demurrer to Evidence, contending that the marijuana allegedly seized from them is inadmissible as evidence for having been obtained in violation of their constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures. The demurrer was denied by the trial court. A motion for reconsideration was filed by the accused, but this was likewise denied. The accused waived presentation of evidence and opted to file a joint memorandum. On 25 April 1997, the trial court rendered the decision, finding the accused guilty of the offense charged, and sentenced both to suffer the penalty of death by lethal injection. Pursuant to Article 47 of the Revised Penal Code and Rule 122, Section 10 of the Rules of Court, the case was elevated to the Supreme Court on automatic review. Issue: Whether Mula and Molina manifested outward indication that would justify their arrest, and the seizure of prohibited drugs that were in their possession. Held: The fundamental law of the land mandates that searches and seizures be carried out in a reasonable fashion, that is, by virtue or on the strength of a search warrant predicated upon the existence of a probable cause. Complementary to the foregoing provision is the exclusionary rule enshrined under Article III, Section 3, paragraph 2, which bolsters and solidifies the protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. The foregoing constitutional proscription, however, is not without exceptions. Search and seizure may be made without a warrant and the evidence obtained therefrom may be admissible in the following instances: (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; (5) when the accused himself waives his right against unreasonable searches and seizures; and (6) stop and frisk situations (Terry search). The first exception (search incidental to a lawful arrest) includes a valid warrantless search and seizure pursuant to an equally valid warrantless arrest which must precede the search. Still, the law requires that there be first a lawful arrest before a search can be made — the process cannot be reversed. Herein, Mula and Molina manifested
no outward indication that would justify their arrest. In holding a bag on board a trisikad, they could not be said to be committing, attempting to commit or have committed a crime. It matters not that Molina responded “Boss, if possible we will settle this” to the request of SPO1 Pamplona to open the bag. Such response which allegedly reinforced the “suspicion” of the arresting officers that Mula and Molina were committing a crime, is an equivocal statement which standing alone will not constitute probable cause to effect an in flagrante delicto arrest. Note that were it not for SPO1 Marino Paguidopon, Mula and Molina could not be the subject of any suspicion, reasonable or otherwise. Further, it would appear that the names and addresses of Mula and Molina came to the knowledge of SPO1 Paguidopon only after they were arrested, and such cannot lend a semblance of validity on the arrest effected by the peace officers. Withal, the Court holds that the arrest of Mula and Molina does not fall under the exceptions allowed by the rules. Hence, the search conducted on their person was likewise illegal. Consequently, the marijuana seized by the peace officers could not be admitted as evidence against them. People vs. Salanguit [GR 133254-55, 19 April 2001] Second Division, Mendoza (J): 4 concur Facts: On 26 December 1995, Sr. Insp. Aguilar applied for a warrant in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 90, Dasmariñias, Cavite, to search the residence of Robert Salanguit y Ko on Binhagan St., Novaliches, Quezon City. He presented as his witness SPO1 Edmund Badua, who testified that as a poseur-buyer, he was able to purchase 2.12 grams of shabu from Salanguit. The sale took place in Salunguit’s room, and Badua saw that the shabu was taken by Salunguit from a cabinet inside his room. The application was granted, and a search warrant was later issued by Presiding Judge Dolores L. Español. At about 10:30 p.m. of said day, a group of about 10 policemen, along with one civilian informer, went to the residence of Salunguit to serve the warrant. The police operatives knocked on Salanguit’s door, but nobody opened it. They heard people inside the house, apparently panicking. The police operatives then forced the door open and entered the house. After showing the search warrant to the occupants of the house, Lt. Cortes and his group started searching the house. They found 12 small heatsealed transparent plastic bags containing a white crystalline substance, a paper clip box also containing a white crystalline substance, and two bricks of dried leaves which appeared to be marijuana wrapped in newsprint having a total weight of approximately 1,255 grams. A receipt of the items seized was prepared, but Salanguit refused to sign it. After the search,
the police operatives took Salanguit with them to Station 10, EDSA, Kamuning, Quezon City, along with the items they had seized. PO3 Duazo requested a laboratory examination of the confiscated evidence. The white crystalline substance with a total weight of 2.77 grams and those contained in a small box with a total weight of 8.37 grams were found to be positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride. On the other hand, the two bricks of dried leaves, one weighing 425 grams and the other 850 grams, were found to be marijuana. Charges against Roberto Salanguit y Ko for violations of Republic Act (RA) 6425, i.e. for possession of shabu and marijuana, (Criminal Cases Q-95-64357 and Q95-64358, respectively) were filed on 28 December 1995. After hearing, the trial court rendered its decision, convicting Salanguit in Criminal Cases Q-95-64357 and Q-95-64358 for violation of Section 16 and 8, respectively, RA 6425, and sentencing him to suffer an indeterminate sentence with a minimum of 6 months of arresto mayor and a maximum of 4 years and 2 months of prision correccional, and reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of P700,000.00, respectively. Salanguit appealed; contesting his conviction on the grounds that (1) the admissibility of the shabu allegedly recovered from his residence as evidence against him on the ground that the warrant used in obtaining it was invalid; (2) the admissibility in evidence of the marijuana allegedly seized from Salanguit to the “plain view” doctrine; and (3) the employment of unnecessary force by the police in the execution of the warrant. Issue: Whether the warrant was invalid for failure of providing evidence to support the seizure of “drug paraphernalia”, and whether the marijuana may be included as evidence in light of the “plain view doctrine.” Held: The warrant authorized the seizure of “undetermined quantity of shabu and drug paraphernalia.” Evidence was presented showing probable cause of the existence of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. The fact that there was no probable cause to support the application for the seizure of drug paraphernalia does not warrant the conclusion that the search warrant is void. This fact would be material only if drug paraphernalia was in fact seized by the police. The fact is that none was taken by virtue of the search warrant issued. If at all, therefore, the search warrant is void only insofar as it authorized the seizure of drug paraphernalia, but it is valid as to the seizure of methamphetamine hydrochloride as to which evidence was presented showing probable cause as to its existence. In sum, with respect to the seizure of shabu from Salanguit’s residence, Search Warrant 160 was properly issued, such warrant being founded on probable
cause personally determined by the judge under oath or affirmation of the deposing witness and particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be seized. With respect to, and in light of the “plain view doctrine,” the police failed to allege the time when the marijuana was found, i.e., whether prior to, or contemporaneous with, the shabu subject of the warrant, or whether it was recovered on Salanguit’s person or in an area within his immediate control. Its recovery, therefore, presumably during the search conducted after the shabu had been recovered from the cabinet, as attested to by SPO1 Badua in his deposition, was invalid. Thus, the Court affirmed the decision as to Criminal Case Q-9564357 only. Sta. Rosa Mining Company vs. Assistant Provincial Fiscal Zabala [GR L-44723, 31 August 1987] En Banc, Bidin (J): 12 concur, 1 took no part Facts: On 21 March 1974, Sta. Rosa Mining Company filed a complaint for attempted theft of materials (scrap iron) forming part of the installations on its mining property at Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte against Romeo Garrido and Gil Alapan with the Office of the Provincial Fiscal of Camarines Norte, then headed by Provincial Fiscal Joaquin Ilustre. The case was assigned to third Assistant Fiscal Esteban P. Panotes for preliminary investigation who, after conducting said investigation, issued a resolution dated 26 August 1974 recommending that an information for Attempted Theft be filed against Garrido and Alapan on a finding of prima facie case which resolution was approved by Fiscal Ilustre. Garrido and Alapan sought reconsideration of the resolution but the same was denied by Fiscal Ilustre in a resolution dated 14 October 1974. On 29 October 1974, Fiscal Ilustre filed with the Court of First Instance (CFI) of Camarines Norte an Information dated 17 October 1987 (Criminal Case 821), charging Garrido aand Alapan with the crime of Attempted Theft. In a letter dated 22 October 1974, Garrido and Alapan requested the Secretary of Justice for a review of the Resolutions of the Office of the Provincial Fiscal dated 26 August 1974 and 14 October 1974. On 6 November 1974, the Chief State Prosecutor ordered the Provincial Fiscal by telegram to “elevate entire records PFO Case 577 against Garrido et al., review in five days and defer all proceedings pending review.” On 6 March 1975, the Secretary of Justice, after reviewing the records, reversed the findings of prima facie case of the Provincial Fiscal and directed said prosecuting officer to immediately move for the dismissal of the criminal case. The Company sought reconsideration of the directive of the Secretary of Justice but the latter denied the
same in a letter dated 11 June 1975. A motion to dismiss dated 16 September 1975 was then filed by the Provincial Fiscal but the court denied the motion on the ground that there was a prima facie evidence against Garrido and Alapan and set the case for trial on 25 February 1976. Garrido and Alapan sought reconsideration of the court’s ruling but in an Order dated 13 February 1976, the motion filed for said purpose was likewise denied. Trial of the case was reset to 23 April 1976. Thereafter, Fiscal Ilustre was appointed a judge in the CFI of Albay and Fiscal Zabala became officer-incharge of the Provincial Fiscal’s Office of Camarines Norte. On 19 April 1976, Fiscal Zabala filed a Second Motion to Dismiss the case. This second motion to dismiss was denied by the trial court in an order dated 23 April 1976. Whereupon, Fiscal Zabala manifested that he would not prosecute the case and disauthorized any private prosecutor to appear therein. Hence, the Company filed a petition for mandamus before the Supreme Court. Issue: Whether the fiscal can refuse to prosecute the case if the Secretary of Justice reversed the findings of prima facie case by the fiscal. Held: If the fiscal is not at all convinced that a prima facie case exists, he simply cannot move for the dismissal of the case and, when denied, refuse to prosecute the same. He is obliged by law to proceed and prosecute the criminal action. He cannot impose his opinion on the trial court. At least what he can do is to continue appearing for the prosecution and then turn over the presentation of evidence to another fiscal or a private prosecutor subject to his direction and control. Where there is no other prosecutor available, he should proceed to discharge his duty and present the evidence to the best of his ability and let the court decide the merits of the case on the basis of the evidence adduced by both parties. The mere fact that the Secretary of Justice had, after reviewing the records of the case, directed the prosecuting fiscal to move for the dismissal of the case and the motion to dismiss filed pursuant to said directive is denied by the trial court, is no justification for the refusal of the fiscal to prosecute the case. Once a complaint or information is filed in Court any disposition of the case as its dismissal or the conviction or acquittal of the accused rests in the sound discretion of the Court. The Court is the best and sole judge on what to do with the case before it. The determination of the case is within its exclusive jurisdiction and competence. A motion to dismiss the case filed by the fiscal should he addressed to the Court who has the option to grant or deny the same. It does not matter if this is done before or after the arraignment of the accused or that the
motion was filed after a reinvestigation or upon instructions of the Secretary of Justice who reviewed the records of the investigation. Paderanga vs. Drilon [GR 96080, 19 April 1991] En Banc, Regalado (J): 14 concur Facts: On 16 October 1986, an information for multiple murder was filed in the Regional Trial Court, Gingoog City, against Felipe Galarion, Manuel Sabit, Cesar Sabit, Julito Ampo, Eddie Torion, John Doe, Peter Doe and Richard Doe, for the deaths on 1 May 1984 of Renato Bucag, his wife Melchora Bucag, and their son Renato Bucag II. Venue was, however, transferred to Cagayan de Oro City per Administrative Matter 87-2-244. Only Felipe Galarion was tried and found guilty as charged. The rest of the accused remained at large. Felipe Galarion, however, escaped from detention and has not been apprehended since then. In an amended information filed on 6 October 1988, Felizardo Roxas, alias “Ely Roxas,” “Fely Roxas” and “Lolong Roxas,” was included as a co-accused. Roxas retained Atty. Miguel P. Paderanga as his counsel. As counsel for Roxas, Paderanga filed, among others, an Omnibus Motion to dismiss, to Quash the Warrant of Arrest and to Nullify the Arraignment on 14 October 1988. The trial court in an order dated 9 January 1989, denied the omnibus motion but directed the City Prosecutor “to conduct another preliminary investigation or reinvestigation in order to grant the accused all the opportunity to adduce whatever evidence he has in support of his defense.” In the course of the preliminary investigation, through a signed affidavit, Felizardo Roxas implicated Atty. Paderanga in the commission of the crime charged. The City Prosecutor of Cagayan de Oro City inhibited himself from further conducting the preliminary investigation against Paderanga at the instance of the latter’s counsel, per his resolution dated 7 July 1989. In his first indorsement to the Department of Justice, dated 24 July 1989, said city prosecutor requested the Department of Justice to designate a state prosecutor to continue the preliminary investigation against Paderanga. In a resolution dated 6 September 1989, the State Prosecutor Henrick F. Gingoyon, who was designated to continue with the conduct of the preliminary investigation against Paderanga, directed the amendment of the previously amended information to include and implead Paderanga as one of the accused therein. Paderanga moved for reconsideration, contending that the preliminary investigation was not yet completed when said resolution was promulgated, and that he was deprived of his right to present a corresponding counteraffidavit and additional evidence crucial to the determination of his alleged “linkage” to the crime charged. The motion was, however,
denied by Gingoyon in his order dated 29 January 1990. From the aforesaid resolution and order, Paderanga filed a Petition for Review with the Department of Justice. Thereafter, he submitted a Supplemental Petition with Memorandum, and then a Supplemental Memorandum with Additional Exculpatory/Exonerating Evidence Annexed, attaching thereto an affidavit of Roxas dated 20 June 1990 and purporting to be a retraction of his affidavit of 30 March 1990 wherein he implicated Paderanga. On 10 August 1990, the Department of Justice, through Undersecretary Silvestre H. Bello III, issued Resolution 648 dismissing the said petition for review. His motion for reconsideration having been likewise denied, Paderanga then filed the petition for mandamus and prohibition before the Supreme Court. Issue: Whether there is no prima facie evidence, or probable cause, or sufficient justification to hold Paderangato a tedious and prolonged public trial. Held: A preliminary investigation is defined as an inquiry or proceeding for the purpose of determining whether there is sufficient ground to engender a well founded belief that a crime cognizable by the Regional Trial Court has been committed and that the respondent is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial. The quantum of evidence now required in preliminary investigation is such evidence sufficient to “engender a well founded belief” as to the fact of the commission of a crime and the respondent’s probable guilt thereof. A preliminary investigation is not the occasion for the full and exhaustive display of the parties’ evidence; it is for the presentation of such evidence only as may engender a well grounded belief that an offense has been committed and that the accused is probably guilty thereof. Preliminary investigation is generally inquisitorial, and it is often the only means of discovering the persons who may be reasonably charged with a crime, to enable the fiscal to prepare his complaint or information. It is not a trial of the case on the merits and has no purpose except that of determining whether a crime has been committed and whether there is probable cause to believe that the accused is guilty thereof, and it does not place the person against whom it is taken in jeopardy. The institution of a criminal action depends upon the sound discretion of the fiscal. He has the quasi-judicial discretion to determine whether or not a criminal case should be filed in court. Hence, the general rule is that an injunction will not be granted to restrain a criminal prosecution. The case of Brocka, et al. vs. Enrile, et al. cites several exceptions to the rule, to wit: (a) To afford adequate protection to the constitutional rights of the accused; (b) When
necessary for the orderly administration of justice or to avoid oppression or multiplicity of actions; (c) When there is a prejudicial question which is sub-judice; (d) When the acts of the officer are without or in excess of authority; (e) Where the prosecution is under an invalid law, ordinance or regulation; (f) When double jeopardy is clearly apparent; (g) Where the court has no jurisdiction over the offense; (h) Where it is a case of persecution rather than prosecution; (i) Where the charges are manifestly false and motivated by the lust for vengeance; and (j) When there is clearly no prima facie case against the accused and a motion to quash on that ground has been denied. A careful analysis of the circumstances obtaining in the present case, however, will readily show that the same does not fall under any of the aforesaid exceptions. Pita vs. Court of Appeals [GR 80806, 5 October 1989] En Banc, Sarmiento (J): 10 concur, 3 concur in result, 1 on leave Facts: On December 1 and 3, 1983, pursuing an Anti-Smut Campaign initiated by the Mayor of the City of Manila, Ramon D. Bagatsing, elements of the Special Anti-Narcotics Group, Auxiliary Services Bureau, Western Police District, INP of the Metropolitan Police Force of Manila, seized and confiscated from dealers, distributors, newsstand owners and peddlers along Manila sidewalks, magazines, publications and other reading materials believed to be obscene, pornographic and indecent and later burned the seized materials in public at the University belt along C.M. Recto Avenue, Manila, in the presence of Mayor Bagatsing and several officers and members of various student organizations. Among the publications seized, and later burned, was “Pinoy Playboy” magazines published and co-edited by Leo Pita. On 7 December 1983, Pita filed a case for injunction with prayer for issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction against Mayor Bagatsing and Narcisco Cabrera, as superintendent of Western Police District of the City of Manila, seeking to enjoin and or restrain Bagatsing, Cabrera and their agents from confiscating his magazines or from otherwise preventing the sale or circulation thereof claiming that the magazine is a decent, artistic and educational magazine which is not per se obscene, and that the publication is protected by the Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and of the press. On 12 December 1983, Pita filed an Urgent Motion for issuance of a temporary restraining order against indiscriminate seizure, confiscation and burning of plaintiffs “Pinoy Playboy” Magazines, pending hearing on the petition for preliminary injunction in view of Mayor Bagatsing’s pronouncement to continue the Anti-Smut
Campaign. The Court granted the temporary restraining order on 14 December 1983. On 5 January 1984, Pita filed his Memorandum in support of the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction, raising the issue as to “whether or not the defendants, and or their agents can without a court order confiscate or seize plaintiff’s magazine before any judicial finding is made on whether said magazine is obscene or not.” The restraining order lapsed on 3 January 1984, Pita filed an urgent motion for issuance of another restraining order, which was opposed by Bagatsing on the ground that issuance of a second restraining order would violate the Resolution of the Supreme Court dated 11 January 1983, providing for the Interim Rules Relative to the Implementation of Batas Pambansa 129, which provides that a temporary restraining order shall be effective only for 20 days from date of its issuance. On 11 January 1984, the trial court issued an Order setting the case for hearing on 16 January 1984 “for the parties to adduce evidence on the question of whether the publication ‘Pinoy Playboy Magazine’ alleged (sic) seized, confiscated and or burned by the defendants, are obscence per se or not.” On 3 February 1984, the trial court promulgated the Order appealed from denying the motion for a writ of preliminary injunction, and dismissing the case for lack of merit. Likewise, the Appellate Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the freedom of the press is not without restraint, as the state has the right to protect society from pornographic literature that is offensive to public morals, as indeed we have laws punishing the author, publishers and sellers of obscene publications; and that the right against unreasonable searches and seizures recognizes certain exceptions, as when there is consent to the search or seizure, or search is an incident to an arrest, or is conducted in a vehicle or movable structure. Pita filed the petition for review with the Supreme Court. Issue: Whether the Mayor can order the seizure of “obscene” materials as a result of an antismut campaign. Held: The Court is not convinced that Bagatsing and Cabrera have shown the required proof to justify a ban and to warrant confiscation of the literature for which mandatory injunction had been sought below. First of all, they were not possessed of a lawful court order: (1) finding the said materials to be pornography, and (2) authorizing them to carry out a search and seizure, by way of a search warrant. The fact that the former Mayor’s act was sanctioned by “police power” is no license to seize property in disregard of due process. Presidential Decrees 960 and 969 are, arguably, police power measures, but they are not, by themselves, authorities for high-handed acts.
They do not exempt our law enforcers, in carrying out the decree of the twin presidential issuances, from the commandments of the Constitution, the right to due process of law and the right against unreasonable searches and seizures, specifically. Significantly, the Decrees themselves lay down procedures for implementation. It is basic that searches and seizures may be done only through a judicial warrant, otherwise, they become unreasonable and subject to challenge. The Court finds greater reason to reprobate the questioned raid, in the complete absence of a warrant, valid or invalid. The fact that the present case involves an obscenity rap makes it no different from Burgos vs. Chief of Staff AFP, a political case, because speech is speech, whether political or “obscene.” Although the Court is not ruling out warrantless searches, the search must have been an incident to a lawful arrest, and the arrest must be on account of a crime committed. Here, no party has been charged, nor are such charges being readied against any party, under Article 201, as amended, of the Revised Penal Code. There is no “accused” here to speak of, who ought to be “punished”. Further, to say that the Mayor could have validly ordered the raid (as a result of an antismut campaign) without a lawful search warrant because, in his opinion, “violation of penal laws” has been committed, is to make the Mayor judge, jury, and executioner rolled into one. Thus, the court mae a resume, to wit: (1) The authorities must apply for the issuance of a search warrant from a judge, if in their opinion, an obscenity rap is in order; (2) The authorities must convince the court that the materials sought to be seized are “obscene”, and pose a clear and present danger of an evil substantive enough to warrant State interference and action; (3) The judge must determine whether or not the same are indeed “obscene:” the question is to be resolved on a case-to-case basis and on His Honor’s sound discretion. (4) If, in the opinion of the court, probable cause exists, it may issue the search warrant prayed for; (5) The proper suit is then brought in the court under Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code; and (6) Any conviction is subject to appeal. The appellate court may assess whether or not the properties seized are indeed “obscene.” The Court states, however, that “these do not foreclose, however, defenses under the Constitution or applicable statutes, or remedies against abuse of official power under the Civil Code or the Revised Penal code.” Abdula vs. Guiani [GR 118821, 18 February 2000] Third Division, Gonzaga-Reyes (J): 4 concur Facts: On 24 June 1994, a complaint for murder (IS 94-1361) was filed before the Criminal Investigation Service Command, ARMM
Regional Office XII against Mayor Bai Unggie D. Abdula and Odin Abdula and 6 other persons in connection with the death of a certain Abdul Dimalen, the former COMELEC Registrar of Kabuntalan, Maguindanao. The complaint alleged that the Abdulas paid the 6 other persons the total amount of P200,000.00 for the death of Dimalen. Acting on this complaint, the Provincial Prosecutor of Maguindanao, Salick U. Panda, in a Resolution dated 22 August 1994, dismissed the charges of murder against the Abdulas and 5 other respondents on a finding that there was no prima facie case for murder against them. Prosecutor Panda, however, recommended the filing of an information for murder against one of the respondents, a certain Kasan Mama. Pursuant to this Resolution, an information for murder was thereafter filed against Kasan Mama before the sala of Judge Japal M. Guiani. In an Order dated 13 September 1994, the Judge ordered that the case (Criminal Case 2332), be returned to the Provincial Prosecutor for further investigation. In this Order, the judge noted that although there were 8 respondents in the murder case, the information filed with the court “charged only 1 of the 8 respondents in the name of Kasan Mama without the necessary resolution required under Section 4, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Court to show how the investigating prosecutor arrived at such a conclusion.” As such, the judge reasons, the trial court cannot issue the warrant of arrest against Kasan Mama. Upon the return of the records of the case to the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor for Maguindanao, it was assigned to 2nd Assistant Prosecutor Enok T. Dimaraw for further investigation. In addition to the evidence presented during the initial investigation of the murder charge, two new affidavits of witnesses were submitted to support the charge of murder against the Abdulas and the other respondents in the murder complaint. Thus, Prosecutor Dimaraw treated the same as a re-filing of the murder charge and pursuant to law, issued subpoena to the respondents named therein. On 6 December 1994, the Abdulas submitted and filed their joint counter-affidavits. After evaluation of the evidence, Prosecutor Dimaraw, in a Resolution dated 28 December 1994, found a prima facie case for murder against the Abdulas and 3 other respondents. He thus recommended the filing of charges against the Abdulas, as principals by inducement, and against the 3 others, as principals by direct participation. Likewise in this 28 December 1994 Resolution, Provincial Prosecutor Salick U. Panda, who conducted the earlier preliminary investigation of the murder charge, added a notation stating that he was inhibiting himself from the case and authorizing the investigating prosecutor to dispose of the case without his approval. The reasons he cited were that the case was previously handled by
him and that the victim was the father-in-law of his son. On 2 January 1995, an information for murder dated 28 December 1994 was filed against the Abdulas and Kasan Mama, Cuenco Usman and Jun Mama before Branch 14 of the Regional Trial Court of Cotabato City, then the sala of Judge Guiani. This information was signed by investigating prosecutor Enok T. Dimaraw. A notation was likewise made on the information by Provincial Prosecutor Panda, which explained the reason for his inhibition. The following day, the judge issued a warrant for the arrest of the Abdulas. Upon learning of the issuance of the said warrant, the Abdulas filed on 4 January 1995 an Urgent Ex-parte Motion for the setting aside of the warrant of arrest on 4 January 1995. In this motion, the Abdulas argued that the enforcement of the warrant of arrest should be held in abeyance considering that the information was prematurely filed and that the Abdulas intended to file a petition for review with the Department of Justice. A petition for review was filed by the Abdulas with the Department of Justice on 11 January 1995. Despite said filing, the judge did not act upon the Abdulas’ pending Motion to Set Aside the Warrant of Arrest. The Abdulas filed the Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with the Supreme Court. Issue: Whether the judge may rely upon the findings of the prosecutor in determining probable cause in the issuance of search or arrest warrant. Held: The 1987 Constitution requires the judge to determine probable cause “personally,” a requirement which does not appear in the corresponding provisions of our previous constitutions. This emphasis evinces the intent of the framers to place a greater degree of responsibility upon trial judges than that imposed under previous Constitutions. Herein, the Judge admits that he issued the questioned warrant as there was “no reason for (him) to doubt the validity of the certification made by the Assistant Prosecutor that a preliminary investigation was conducted and that probable cause was found to exist as against those charged in the information filed.” The statement is an admission that the Judge relied solely and completely on the certification made by the fiscal that probable cause exists as against those charged in the information and issued the challenged warrant of arrest on the sole basis of the prosecutor’s findings and recommendations. He adopted the judgment of the prosecutor regarding the existence of probable cause as his own. Clearly, the judge, by merely stating that he had no reason to doubt the validity of the certification made by the investigating prosecutor has abdicated his duty under the Constitution to determine on his own the issue of probable cause before issuing
a warrant of arrest. Consequently, the warrant of arrest should be declared null and void. Pasion Vda. de Garcia vs. Locsin [GR 45950, 20 June 1938] First Division, Laurel (J): 6 concur Facts: On 10 November 1934, Mariano G. Almeda, an agent of the Anti-Usury Board, obtained from the justice of the peace of Tarlac, Tarlac, a search warrant commanding any officer of the law to search the person, house or store of Leona Pasion Vda. de Garcia at Victoria, Tarlac, for “certain books, lists, chits, receipts, documents and other papers relating to her activities as usurer.” The search warrant was issued upon an affidavit given by the said Almeda “that he has and there is just and probable cause to believe and he does believe that Leona Pasion de Garcia keeps and conceals in her house and store at Victoria, Tarlac, certain books, lists, chits, receipts, documents, and other papers relating to her activities as usurer, all of which is contrary to the statute in such cases made and provided.” On the same date, Almeda, accompanied by a captain of the Philippine Constabulary, went to the office of Pasion de Garcia in Victoria, Tarlac and, after showing the search warrant to the latter’s bookkeeper, Alfredo Salas, and, without Pasion de Garcia’s presence who was ill and confined at the time, proceeded with the execution thereof. Two packages of records and a locked filing cabinet containing several papers and documents were seized by Almeda and a receipt therefor issued by him to Salas. The papers and documents seized were kept for a considerable length of time by the Anti-Usury Board and thereafter were turned over by it to the provincial fiscal Felix Imperial, who subsequently filed, in the Court of First Instance (CFI) of Tarlac, 6 separate criminal cases against Pasion de Garcia for violation of the Anti-Usury Law. On several occasions, after seizure, Pasion de Garcia, through counsel, demanded from the Anti-Usury Board the return of the documents seized. On January 7, and, by motion, on 4 June 1937, the legality of the search warrant was challenged by Pasion de Garcia’s counsel in the 6 criminal cases and the devolution of the documents demanded. By resolution of 5 October 1937, Judge Diego Locsin (CFI) denied Pasion de garcia’s motion of June 4 for the reason that though the search warrant was illegal, there was a waiver on the latter’s part. A motion for reconsideration was presented but was denied by order of 3 January 1938. Pasion de Garcia registered her exception. Issue: Whether the lack of personal examination of witnesses renders the warrant void.
Held: Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures is declared a popular right and for a search warrant to be valid, (1) it must be issued upon probable cause; (2) the probable cause must be determined by the judge himself and not by the applicant or any other person; (3) in the determination of probable cause, the judge must examine, under oath or affirmation, the complainant and such witnesses as the latter may produce; and (4) the warrant issued must particularly describe the place to be searched and persons or things to be seized. These requirements are complemented by the Code of Criminal Procedure, particularly with reference to the duration of the validity of the search warrant and the obligation of the officer seizing the property to deliver the same to the corresponding court. Herein, the existence of probable cause was determined not by the judge himself but by the applicant. All that the judge did was to accept as true the affidavit made by agent Almeda. He did not decide for himself. It does not appear that he examined the applicant and his witnesses, if any. Even accepting the description of the properties to be seized to be sufficient and on the assumption that the receipt issued is sufficiently detailed within the meaning of the law, the properties seized were not delivered to the court which issued the warrant, as required by law. Instead, they were turned over to the provincial fiscal and used by him in building up cases against Pasion de Garcia. Considering that at the time the warrant was issued there was no case pending against Pasion de Garcia, the averment that the warrant was issued primarily for exploration purposes is not without basis. The search warrant was illegally issued by the justice of the peace of Tarlac, Tarlac. In any event, the failure on the part of Pasion de Garcia and her bookkeeper to resist or object to the execution of the warrant does not constitute an implied waiver of constitutional right. It is, as Judge Cooley observes, but a submission to the authority of the law. As the constitutional guaranty is not dependent upon any affirmative act of the citizen, the courts do not place the citizen 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. Yee Sue Koy vs. Almeda [GR 47021, 15 June 1940] Laurel (J): 3 concur, 1 concurs in result Facts: In response to a sworn application of Mariano G. Almeda, chief agent of the AntiUsury Board, dated 5 May 1938, the justice of the peace of Sagay, Occidental Negros, after taking the testimony of applicant’s witness, Jose
Estrada, special agent of the Anti-Usury Board, issued on the same date a search warrant commanding any peace officer to search during day time the store and premises occupied by Sam Sing & Co., situated at Sagay, Occidental Negros, as well as the person of said Sam Sing & Co., and to seize the documents, notebooks, lists, receipts and promissory notes being used by said Sam Sing & Co. in connection with their activities of lending money at usurious rates of interest in violation of law, or such as may be found, and to bring them forthwith before the aforesaid justice of the peace of Sagay. On the same date, at 10:30 a. m., search was accordingly made by Mariano G. Almeda, Jose Estrada, 2 internal revenue agents and 2 members of the Philippine Army, who seized certain receipt books, vales or promissory notes, chits, notebooks, journal book, and collection list belonging to Sam Sing & Co. and enumerated in the inventory receipt issued by Mariano G. Almeda to the owner of the documents, papers and articles seized. Immediately after the search and seizure thus effected, Mariano G. Almeda filed a return with the justice of the peace of Sagay together. With a request that the office of the Anti-Usury Board be allowed to retain possession of the articles seized for examination, pursuant to section 4 of Act 4109, which request was granted. Under the date of 11 March 1939, Godofredo P. Escalona, counsel for Sam Sing & Co. filed a motion with the Court of First Instance (CFI) of Occidental Negros praying that the search warrant and the seizure effected thereunder be declared illegal and set aside and that the articles in question be ordered returned to Sam Sing & Co., which motion was denied in the order dated 24 July 1939. A similar motion was presented to the justice of the peace of Sagay on 27 October 1939 but was denied the next day. Meanwhile, an information dated 30 September 1939 had been filed in the CFI Occidental Negros, charging Yee Fock alias Yee Sue Koy, Y. Tip and A. Sing, managers of Sam Sing & Co., with a violation of Act 2655. Before the criminal case could be tried, Yee Sue Koy and Yee Tip filed the petition with the Supreme Court on 6 November 1939. The petition is grounded on the propositions (1) that the search warrant issued on 2 May 1938, by the justice of the peace of Sagay and the seizure accomplished thereunder are illegal, because the warrant was issued three days ahead of the application therefor and of the affidavit of the Jose Estrada which is insufficient in itself to justify the issuance of a search warrant, and because the issuance of said warrant manifestly contravenes the mandatory provisions both of section 1, paragraph 3, of Article III of the Constitution and of section 97 of General Orders 58, and (2) that the seizure of the aforesaid articles by means of a search warrant for the purpose of using them as evidence in the criminal case against the
accused, is unconstitutional because the warrant thereby becomes unreasonable and amounts to a violation of the constitutional prohibition against compelling the accused to testify against themselves. Issue: Whether the application of the search warrant is supported by the personal knowledge of the witness, besides the applicant, for the judge to determine probable cause in issuing the warrant. Held: Strict observance of the formalities under section 1, paragraph 3, of Article III of the Constitution and of section 97 of General Orders 58 was followed. The applicant Mariano G. Almeda, in his application, swore that “he made his own personal investigation and ascertained that Sam Sing & Co. is lending money without license, charging usurious rate of interest and is keeping, utilizing and concealing in the store and premises occupied by it situated at Sagay, Occidental Negros, documents, notebooks, lists, receipts, promissory notes, and book of accounts and records, all of which are being used by it in connection with its activities of lending money at usurious rate of interest in violation of the Usury Law.” In turn, the witness Jose Estrada, in his testimony before the justice of the peace of Sagay, swore that he knew that Sam Sing & Co. was lending money without license and charging usurious rate of interest, because he personally investigated the victims who had secured loans from said Sam Sing & Co. and were charged usurious rate of interest; that he knew that the said Sam Sing & Co. was keeping and using books of accounts and records containing its transactions relative its activities as money lender and the entries of the interest paid by its debtors, because he saw the said Sam Sing & d make entries and records of their debts and the interest paid thereon. As both Mariano G. Almeda and Jose Estrada swore that they had personal knowledge, their affidavits were sufficient for, thereunder, they could be held liable for perjury if the facts would turn out to be not as their were stated under oath. That the existence of probable cause had been determined by the justice of the peace of Sagay before issuing the search warrant complained of, is shown by the following statement in the warrant itself, to wit: “After examination under oath of the complainant, Mariano G. Almeda, Chief Agent of the AntiUsury Board, Department of Justice and Special Agent of the Philippine Army, Manila, and the witness he presented, . . . and this Court, finding that there is just and probable cause to believe as it does believe, that the above described articles, relating to the activities of said Sam Sing & Co. of lending money at usurious rate of interest, are being utilized and kept and concealed at its store and premises
occupied by said Sam Sing & Co., all in violation of law.” Alvarez vs. Court of First Instance of Tayabas [GR 45358, 29 January 1937] First Division, Imperial (J): 4 concur Facts: On 3 June 1936, the chief of the secret service of the Anti-Usury Board, of the Department of Justice, presented to Judge Eduardo Gutierrez David then presiding over the Court of First Instance of Tayabas, an affidavit alleging that according to reliable information, Narciso Alvarez kept in his house in Infanta, Tayabas, books, documents, receipts, lists, chits and other papers used by him in connection with his activities as a moneylender, charging usurious rates of interest in violation of the law. In his oath at the end of the affidavit, the chief of the secret service stated that his answers to the questions were correct to the best of his knowledge and belief. He did not swear to the truth of his statements upon his own knowledge of the facts but upon the information received by him from a reliable person. Upon the affidavit the judge, on said date, issued the warrant which is the subject matter of the petition, ordering the search of the Alvarez’s house at any time of the day or night, the seizure of the books and documents and the immediate delivery thereof to him to be disposed of in accordance with the law. With said warrant, several agents of the Anti-Usury Board entered Alvarez’s store and residence at 7:00 p.m. of 4 June 1936, and seized and took possession of the following articles: internal revenue licenses for the years 1933 to 1936, 1 ledger, 2 journals, 2 cashbooks, 9 order books, 4 notebooks, 4 check stubs, 2 memorandums, 3 bankbooks, 2 contracts, 4 stubs, 48 stubs of purchases of copra, 2 inventories, 2 bundles of bills of lading, 1 bundle of credit receipts, 1 bundle of stubs of purchases of copra, 2 packages of correspondence, 1 receipt book belonging to Luis Fernandez, 14 bundles of invoices and other papers, many documents and loan contracts with security and promissory notes, 504 chits, promissory notes and stubs of used checks of the Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC). The search for and seizure of said articles were made with the opposition of Alvarez who stated his protest below the inventories on the ground that the agents seized even the originals of the documents. As the articles had not been brought immediately to the judge who issued the search warrant, Alvarez, through his attorney, filed a motion on 8 June 1936, praying that the agent Emilio L. Siongco, or any other agent, be ordered immediately to deposit all the seized articles in the office of the clerk of court and that said agent be declared guilty of contempt for having disobeyed the order of the court. On said date the court issued an order
directing Siongco to deposit all the articles seized within 24 hours from the receipt of notice thereof and giving him a period of 5 days within which to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt of court. On 10 June, Attorney Arsenio Rodriguez, representing the Anti-Usury Board, filed a motion praying that the order of the 8th of said month be set aside and that the Anti-Usury Board be authorized to retain the articles seized for a period of 30 days for the necessary investigation. On June 25, the court issued an order requiring agent Siongco forthwith to file the search warrant and the affidavit in the court, together with the proceedings taken by him, and to present an inventory duly verified by oath of all the articles seized. On July 2, the attorney for the petitioner filed a petition alleging that the search warrant issued was illegal and that it had not yet been returned to date together with the proceedings taken in connection therewith, and praying that said warrant be cancelled, that an order be issued directing the return of all the articles seized to Alvarez, that the agent who seized them be declared guilty of contempt of court, and that charges be filed against him for abuse of authority. On September 10, the court issued an order holding: that the search warrant was obtained and issued in accordance with the law, that it had been duly complied with and, consequently, should not be cancelled, and that agent Siongco did not commit any contempt of court and must, therefore, be exonerated, and ordering the chief of the Anti-Usury Board in Manila to show cause, if any, within the unextendible period of 2 days from the date of notice of said order, why all the articles seized appearing in the inventory should not be returned to Alvarez. The assistant chief of the Anti-Usury Board of the Department of Justice filed a motion praying, for the reasons stated therein, that the articles seized be ordered retained for the purpose of conducting an investigation of the violation of the Anti-Usury Law committed by Alvarez. On October 10, said official again filed another motion alleging that he needed 60 days to examine the documents and papers seized, which are designated on pages 1 to 4 of the inventory by Nos. 5, 10, 16, 23, 25-27, 30-31 , 34, 36-43 and 45, and praying that he be granted said period of 60 days. In an order of October 16, the court granted him the period of 60 days to investigate said 19 documents. Alvarez, herein, asks that the search warrant as well as the order authorizing the agents of the Anti-Usury Board to retain the articles seized, be declared illegal and set aside, and prays that all the articles in question be returned to him. Issue: Whether the search warrant issued by the court is illegal because it has been based upon the affidavit of agent Almeda in whose oath he declared that he had no personal
knowledge of the facts which were to serve as a basis for the issuance of the warrant but that he had knowledge thereof through mere information secured from a person whom he considered reliable, and that it is illegal as it was not supported by other affidavits aside from that made by the applicant. Held: Section 1, paragraph 3, of Article III of the Constitution and Section 97 of General Orders 58 require that there be not only probable cause before the issuance of a search warrant but that the search warrant must be based upon an application supported by oath of the applicant and the witnesses he may produce. In its broadest sense, an oath includes any form of attestation by which a party signifies that he is bound in conscience to perform an act faithfully and truthfully; and it is sometimes defined as an outward pledge given by the person taking it that his attestation or promise is made under an immediate sense of his responsibility to God. The oath required must refer to the truth of the facts within the personal knowledge of the petitioner or his witnesses, because the purpose thereof is to convince the committing magistrate, not the individual making the affidavit and seeking the issuance of the warrant, of the existence of probable cause. The true test of sufficiency of an 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. The affidavit, which served as the exclusive basis of the search warrant, is insufficient and fatally defective by reason of the manner in which the oath was made, and therefore, the search warrant and the subsequent seizure of the books, documents and other papers are illegal. Further, it is the practice in this jurisdiction to attach the affidavit of at least the applicant or complainant to the application. It is admitted that the judge who issued the search warrant in this case, relied exclusively upon the affidavit made by agent Almeda and that he did not require nor take the deposition of any other witness. Neither the Constitution nor General Orders 58 provides that it is of imperative necessity to take the depositions of the witnesses to be presented by the applicant or complainant in addition to the affidavit of the latter. The purpose of both in requiring the presentation of depositions is nothing more than to satisfy the committing magistrate of the existence of probable cause. Therefore, if the affidavit of the applicant or complainant is sufficient, the judge may dispense with that of other witnesses. Inasmuch as the affidavit of the agent was insufficient because his knowledge of the facts was not personal but merely hearsay, it is the duty of the judge to require the affidavit of one or more witnesses for the purpose of determining the existence of probable cause to
warrant the issuance of the search warrant. When the affidavit of the applicant or complainant contains sufficient facts within his personal and direct knowledge, it is sufficient if the judge is satisfied that there exists probable cause; when the applicant’s knowledge of the facts is mere hearsay, the affidavit of one or more witnesses having a personal knowledge of the facts is necessary. Thus the warrant issued is likewise illegal because it was based only on the affidavit of the agent who had no personal knowledge of the facts. Mata vs. Bayona [GR 50720, 26 March 1984] Second Division, de Castro (J): 3 concur, 2 concur in result, 1 took no part Facts: Soriano Mata was accused under Presidential Decree (PD) 810, as amended by PD 1306, the information against him alleging that Soriano Mata offered, took and arranged bets on the Jai Alai game by “selling illegal tickets known as ‘Masiao tickets’ without any authority from the Philippine Jai Alai & Amusement Corporation or from the government authorities concerned.” Mata claimed that during the hearing of the case, he discovered that nowhere from the records of the said case could be found the search warrant and other pertinent papers connected to the issuance of the same, so that he had to inquire from the City Fiscal its whereabouts, and to which inquiry Judge Josephine K. Bayona, presiding Jufe of the City Court of Ormoc replied, “it is with the court”. The Judge then handed the records to the Fiscal who attached them to the records. This led Mata to file a motion to quash and annul the search warrant and for the return of the articles seized, citing and invoking, among others, Section 4 of Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Court. The motion was denied by the Judge on 1 March 1979, stating that the court has made a thorough investigation and examination under oath of Bernardo U. Goles and Reynaldo T. Mayote, members of the Intelligence Section of 352nd PC Co./Police District II INP; that in fact the court made a certification to that effect; and that the fact that documents relating to the search warrant were not attached immediately to the record of the criminal case is of no moment, considering that the rule does not specify when these documents are to be attached to the records. Mata’s motion for reconsideration of the aforesaid order having been denied, he came to the Supreme Court, with the petition for certiorari, praying, among others, that the Court declare the search warrant to be invalid for its alleged failure to comply with the requisites of the Constitution and the Rules of Court, and that all the articles confiscated under such warrant as inadmissible as evidence in the case, or in any proceedings on the matter.
Issue: Whether the judge must before issuing the warrant personally examine on oath or affirmation the complainant and any witnesses he may produce and take their depositions in writing, and attach them to the record, in addition to any affidavits presented to him. Held: Under the Constitution “no search warrant shall issue but upon probable cause to be determined by the Judge or such other responsible officer as may be authorized by law after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce”. More emphatic and detailed is the implementing rule of the constitutional injunction, The Rules provide that the judge must before issuing the warrant personally examine on oath or affirmation the complainant and any witnesses he may produce and take their depositions in writing, and attach them to the record, in addition to any affidavits presented to him. Mere affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses are thus not sufficient. The examining Judge has to take depositions in writing of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce and to attach them to the record. Such written deposition is necessary in order that the Judge may be able to properly determine the existence or nonexistence of the probable cause, to hold liable for perjury the person giving it if it will be found later that his declarations are false. We, therefore, hold that the search warrant is tainted with illegality by the failure of the Judge to conform with the essential requisites of taking the depositions in writing and attaching them to the record, rendering the search warrant invalid. Olaez vs. People of the Philippines [GR 78347-49, 9 November 1987] First Division, Cruz (J): 4 concur Facts: Adolfo Olaes and Linda M. Cruz were charged for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act. Olaes and Cruz filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction, challenging the admission by Judge Alicia L. Santos (in her capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Olongapo City, Branch 73) of evidence seized by virtue of an allegedly invalid search warrant and of an extrajudicial confession taken from them without according them the right to assistance of counsel; and thus seek to restrain further proceedings in the criminal case against them and ask that they be acquitted with the setting aside of the questioned orders (the facts do not provide the disposition of the said orders). Olaes and Cruz claim that the search warrant issued by the judge is unconstitutional because it does not indicate the specific offense they are supposed to have committed. There is, therefore,
according to them, no valid finding of probable cause as a justification for the issuance of the said warrant in conformity with the Bill of Rights. Issue: Whether the lack of specific section of the Dangerous Drugs Act renders the caption vague, and negate the claim that the specific offense was committed to serve as basis for the finding of probable cause. Held: No. The search warrant issued does not come under the strictures of the Stonehill doctrine. While in the case cited, there was a bare reference to the laws in general, without any specification of the particular sections thereof that were alleged to have been violated out of the hundreds of prohibitions contained in such codifications, there is no similar ambiguity herein. While it is true that the caption of the search warrant states that it is in connection with “Violation of RA 6425, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Acts of 1972,” it is clearly recited in the text thereof that “There is probable cause to believe that Adolfo Olaes alias ‘Debie’ and alias ‘Baby’ of No. 628 Comia St., Filtration, Sta. Rita, Olongapo City, has in their possession and control and custody of marijuana dried stalks/leaves/seeds/cigarettes and other regulated/prohibited and exempt narcotics preparations which is the subject of the offense stated above.” Although the specific section of the Dangerous Drugs Act 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. The search warrant also satisfies the requirement in the Bill of Rights of the particularity of the description to be made of the “place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. Prudente vs. Dayrit [GR December En Banc, Padilla (J): 14 concur 82870, 14 1989]
Facts: On 31 October 1987, P/Major Alladin Dimagmaliw, Chief of the Intelligence Special Action Division (ISAD) of the Western Police District (WPD), filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 33, presided over by Judge Abelardo Dayrit, now Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals, an application for the issuance of a search warrant (Search Warrant 87-14) for violation of Presidential Decree 1866 (Illegal Possession of Firearms, etc.) entitled “People of the Philippines vs. Nemesio E. Prudente.” On the same day, the Judge issued the Search Warrant, commanding Dimagmaliw “to make an immediate search at any time in the day or night of the premises of Polytechnic University of the Philippines, more particularly (a) offices of the Department of Military Science
and Tactics at the ground floor and other rooms at the ground floor; (b) office of the President, Dr. Nemesio Prudente at PUP, Second Floor and other rooms at the second floor, and forthwith seize and take possession of the following personal properties, to wit: (a) M 16 Armalites with ammunition; (b) .38 and .45 Caliber handguns and pistols; (c) explosives and hand grenades; and (d) assorted weapons with ammunitions.” On 1 November 1987, a Sunday and All Saints Day, the search warrant was enforced by some 200 WPD operatives led by P/Col. Edgar Dula Torre, Deputy Superintendent, WPD, and P/Major Romeo Maganto, Precinct 8 Commander. In his affidavit, dated 2 November 1987, Ricardo Abando y Yusay, a member of the searching team, alleged that he found in the drawer of a cabinet inside the wash room of Dr. Prudente’s office a bulging brown envelope with 3 live fragmentation hand grenades separately wrapped with old newspapers. On 6 November 1987, Prudente moved to quash the search warrant. He claimed that (1) the complainant’s lone witness, Lt. Florenio C. Angeles, had no personal knowledge of the facts which formed the basis for the issuance of the search warrant; (2) the examination of the said witness was not in the form of searching questions and answers; (3) the search warrant was a general warrant, for the reason that it did not particularly describe the place to be searched and that it failed to charge one specific offense; and (4) the search warrant was issued in violation of Circular 19 of the Supreme Court in that the complainant failed to allege under oath that the issuance of the search warrant on a Saturday was urgent. On 9 March 1988, the Judge issued an order, denying Prudente’s motion and supplemental motion to quash. Prudente’s motion for reconsideration was likewise denied in the order dated 20 April 1988. Prudente filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court. Issue: Whether the allegations contained in the application of P/ Major Alladin Dimagmaliw and the declaration of P/Lt. Florenio C. Angeles in his deposition were sufficient basis for the issuance of a valid search warrant. Held: The “probable cause” for a valid search warrant, has been defined “as such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed, and that objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched.” This probable cause must be shown to be within the personal knowledge of the complainant or the witnesses he may produce and not based on mere hearsay. Thus, for a valid search warrant to issue, there must be probable cause, which is 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 probable cause must be in connection with one specific offense,and the judge must, before issuing the warrant, personally examine in the form of searching questions and answers, in writing and under oath, the complainant and any witness he may produce, on facts personally known to them and attach to the record their sworn statements together with any affidavits submitted. Herein, in his application for search warrant, P/Major Alladin Dimagmaliw stated that “he has been informed” that Nemesio Prudente “has in his control and possession” the firearms and explosives described therein, and that he “has verified the report and found it to be a fact.” On the other hand, in his supporting deposition, P/Lt. Florenio C. Angeles declared that, as a result of their continuous surveillance for several days, they “gathered informations from verified sources” that the holders of the said firearms and explosives are not licensed to possess them. In other words, the applicant and his witness had no personal knowledge of the facts and circumstances which became the basis for issuing the questioned search warrant, but acquired knowledge thereof only through information from other sources or persons. While it is true that in his application for search warrant, applicant P/Major Dimagmaliw stated that he verified the information he had earlier received that petitioner had in his possession and custody the firearms and explosives described in the application, and that he found it to be a fact, yet there is nothing in the record to show or indicate how and when said applicant verified the earlier information acquired by him as to justify his conclusion that he found such information to be a fact. He might have clarified this point if there had been searching questions and answers, but there were none. In fact, the records yield no questions and answers, whether searching or not, vis-a-vis the said applicant. Evidently, the allegations contained in the application of P/ Major Alladin Dimagmaliw and the declaration of P/Lt. Florenio C. Angeles in his deposition were insufficient basis for the issuance of a valid search warrant. Chia vs. Acting Collector of Customs [GR L43810, 26 September 1989] First Division, Grino-Aquino (J): 4 concur Facts: Acting on a verified report of a confidential informant that assorted electronic and electrical equipment and other articles illegally imported into the Philippines by a syndicate engaged in unlawful “shipside” activities (foreign goods are unloaded from foreign ships in transit through Philippine waters into motorized bancas and landed on Philippine soil without passing through the
Bureau of Customs, thereby evading payment of the corresponding customs duties and taxes thereon) were found inside “Tom’s Electronics” and “Sony Merchandising (Philippines)” stores located at 690 and 691 Gonzalo Puyat corner Evangelista Street, Quiapo, Manila, a letterrequest dated 23 April 1976 was addressed to the Collector of Customs by the Deputy Director of the Regional Anti-Smuggling Action Center, Manila Bay Area (RASAC-MBA) for the issuance of warrants of seizure and detention. After evaluation, the Collector of Customs issued Warrants of Seizure and Detention 14925 and 14925-A, directing the Anti-Smuggling Action Center to seize the goods mentioned therein, i.e. various electronic equipments like cassette tape recorders, car stereos, phonograph needles (diamond), portable TV sets, imported long playing records, spare parts of TVs and radios and other electrical appliances. A RASAC team was formed and given a mission order to enforce the warrants, which it implemented with the assistance of: (1) the National Customs Police (augmenting the team with 2 members), (2) the Detective Bureau of the Manila Western Police District Headquarters (with 3 detectives), as well as, (3) Precinct 3 of the Manila Western Police District which exercised jurisdictional control over the place to be raided. The intended raid was entered in the respective police blotters of the police detective bureaus. On the strength of the warrants of seizure and detention, the raid was conducted in the afternoon of 25 April 1976 at the 2 stores of Tomas Chia. ASAC team leader Gener Sula, together with his agents Badron Dobli, Arturo Manuel, Rodolfo Molina and Servillano Florentin of Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, assisted by two customs policemen, Val Martinez and Renato Sorima, and Manila policemen Rogelio Vinas and John Peralta, recovered from the stores, assorted electronic equipment and other articles, the customs duties on which allegedly had not been paid. They were turned over to the Customs Auction and Cargo Disposal Unit of the Bureau of Customs. On 17 May 1976, in the afternoon, the hearing officer of Acting Collector of Customs Alfredo Francisco conducted a hearing on the confiscation of the goods taken by Gener Sula and his agents. 2 days later, Chia filed the petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus before the Supreme Court to enjoin the Collector of Customs and/or his agents from further proceeding with the forfeiture hearing and prayed that the search warrants be declared null and void, that the latter be ordered to return the confiscated articles to Chia, and to pay damages. Issue: Whether the warrants issued by the Collector of Customs partakes the nature of a general warrants, and thus are invalid.
Held: Not only may goods be seized without a search and seizure warrant under Section 2536 of the Customs and Tariff Code, when they (the goods) are openly offered for sale or kept in storage in a store as herein, but the fact is that Chia’s stores — “Tom’s Electronics” and “Sony Merchandising (Phil.)” — were searched upon warrants of search and detention issued by the Collector of Customs, who, under the 1973 Constitution, was “a responsible officer authorized by law” to issue them. Sections 2208 and 2209 of the Tariff and Customs Code provide when a search may be made without a warrant and when a warrant is necessary. Section 2208 provides that “For the more effective discharge of his official duties, any person exercising the powers herein conferred, may at any time enter, pass through or search any land or inclosure or any warehouse, store or other building, not being a dwelling house. A warehouse, store or other building or inclosure used for the keeping or storage of articles does not become a dwelling house within the meaning hereof merely by reason of the fact that a person employed as watchman lives in the place, nor will the fact that his family stays there with him alter the case.” On the other hand, Section 2209 provides that “A dwelling house may be entered and searched only upon warrant issued by a Judge of the court or such other responsible officers as may be authorized by law, upon sworn application showing probable cause and particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or thing to be seized.” The warrants issued by the Collector of Customs in this case were not general warrants for they identified the stores to be searched, described the articles to be seized and specified the provision of the Tariff and Customs Code violated. Upon effecting the seizure of the goods, the Bureau of Customs acquired exclusive jurisdiction not only over the case but also over the goods seized for the purpose of enforcing the tariff and customs laws. Further, a party dissatisfied with the decision of the Collector may appeal to the Commissioner of Customs, whose decision is appealable to the Court of Tax Appeals in the manner and within the period prescribed by law and regulations. The decision of the Court of Tax Appeals may be elevated to the Supreme Court for review. Since Chia did not exhaust his administrative remedies, his recourse to this Court is premature. 20th Century Fox Film Corporation vs. Court of Appeals [GR L-76649-51, 19 August 1988] Third Division, Gutierrez J. (J): 4 concur Facts: In a letter-complaint dated 26 August 1985, 20th Century Fox Film Corporation through counsel sought the National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI) assistance in the conduct
of searches and seizures in connection with the NBI’s anti-film piracy campaign. Specifically, the letter-complaint alleged that certain videotape outlets all over Metro Manila are engaged in the unauthorized sale and renting out of copyrighted films in videotape form which constitute a flagrant violation of Presidential Decree 49 (Decree on the Protection of Intellectual Property). Acting on the lettercomplaint, the NBI conducted surveillance and investigation of the outlets pinpointed by the film corporation and subsequently filed 3 applications for search warrants against the video outlets owned by Eduardo M. Barreto, Raul Sagullo, and Fortune Ledesma. The applications were consolidated and heard by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati, Branch 132. On 4 September 1985, the lower court issued the desired search warrants, describing the articles sought to be seized as”(c) Television sets, Video Cassettes Recorders, rewinders, tape head cleaners, accessories, equipments and other machines used or intended to be used in the unlawful reproduction, sale, rental/lease, distribution of the above-mentioned video tapes which she is keeping and concealing in the premises abovedescribed.”. Armed with the search warrants, the NBI accompanied by the film corporation’s agents, raided the video outlets and seized the items described therein. An inventory of the items seized was made and left with Barreto, et. al. Acting on a motion to lift search warrants and release seized properties filed by Barreto, et. al., the lower court issued an order dated 8 October 1985, lifting the 3 search warrants issued earlier against them by the court, due to the failure of the NBI to deliver the articles to the Court, and thus ordered the return of the articles to their respective owners. The lower court denied a motion for reconsideration filed by the film corporation in its order dated 2 January 1986. The film corporation filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals to annul the orders of the lower court. The petition was dismissed. The 20th Century Fox Film Corporation filed the petition for review with the Supreme Court. Issue: Whether the inclusion of certain articles of property which are usually connected to legitimate business, and not involving piracy of intellectual property or infringement of copyright laws, renders the warrant to be unreasonable. Held: Television sets, video cassette recorders, rewinders and tape cleaners are articles which can be found in a video tape store engaged in the legitimate business of lending or renting out betamax tapes. In short, these articles and appliances are generally connected with, or related to a legitimate business not necessarily involving piracy of intellectual property or
infringement of copyright laws. Hence, including these articles without specification and/or particularity that they were really instruments in violating an Anti-Piracy law makes the search warrant too general which could result in the confiscation of all items found in any video store. In fact, this actually happened in the present case. Although the applications and warrants themselves covered certain articles of property usually found in a video store, the Court believes that the search party should have confined themselves to articles that are according to them, evidence constitutive of infringement of copyright laws or the piracy of intellectual property, but not to other articles that are usually connected with, or related to, a legitimate business, not involving piracy of intellectual property, or infringement of copyright laws. So that a television set, a rewinder, and a whiteboard listing Betamax tapes, video cassette cleaners video cassette recorders as reflected in the Returns of Search Warrants, are items of legitimate business engaged in the video tape industry, and which could not be the subject of seizure. The applicant and his agents therefore exceeded their authority in seizing perfectly legitimate personal property usually found in a video cassette store or business establishment. The search and seizure is unreasonable. Nolasco vs. Cruz Pano [GR L-69803, 8 October 1985] En Banc, Melencio-Herrera (J): 7 concur, 1 concurs in the result, 1 took no part, 1 reserves his vote Facts: Prior to 6 August 1984, Mila AguilarRoque was one of the accused of Rebellion in Criminal Case SMC-1-1 before Special Military Commission 1, and also one of the accused of Subversion in Criminal Case MC-25-113 of Military Commission 25, both cases being entitled “People of the Philippines vs. Jose Ma. Sison, et al.” She was then still at large. At around 9:00 a.m. on August 6, Lt. Col. Virgilio G. Saldajeno of the CSG, applied for a Search Warrant from the Hon. Ernani Cruz Paño, Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court in Quezon City, to be served at No. 239-B Mayon Street, Quezon City, determined to be the leased residence of Aguilar-Roque, after almost a month of “round the clock surveillance” of the premises as a “suspected underground house of the CPP/NPA.” Aguilar-Roque has been long wanted by the military for being a high ranking officer of the Communist Party of the Philippines, particularly connected with the MV Karagatan/Doña Andrea cases. At 11:30 a.m., Aguilar-Roque and Cynthia D. Nolasco were arrested by a Constabulary Security Group (CSG) at the intersection of Mayon Street and P. Margall Street, Quezon City. The record does not disclose that a warrant of arrest had
previously been issued against Nolasco. At 12:00 noon on the same day, elements of the CSG searched the premises at 239-B Mayon Street, Quezon City. Willie C. Tolentino, a person then in charge of the premises, was arrested by the searching party presumably without a warrant of arrest. The searching party seized 428 documents and written materials, and additionally a portable typewriter, and 2 wooden boxes, making 431 items in all. On August 10, Aguilar-Roque, Nolasco and Tolentino, were charged before the Quezon City Fiscal’s Office upon complaint filed by the CSG against the former for “Subversion/Rebellion and/or Conspiracy to Commit Rebellion/Subversion. On August 13, the City Fiscal filed an Information for Violation of Presidential Decree (PD) 33 (Illegal Possession of Subversive Documents) against AguilarRoque, et. al. before Branch 42 of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City, Judge Antonio P. Santos, presiding. On August 16, CSG filed a Motion for Reconsideration with the City Fiscal, praying that Aguilar-Roque and Nolasco be charged with Subversion. The Motion was denied on November 16. On September 10, the CSG submitted an Amended Return in the Search Warrant case praying, inter alia, that the CSG be allowed to retain the seized 431 documents and articles, “in connection with cases that are presently pending against Mila Aguilar Roque before the Quezon City Fiscal’s Office and the court.” On December 13, Judge Paño admitted the Amended Return and ruled that the seized documents “shall be subject to disposition of the tribunal trying the case against respondent.” A day before that, AguilarRoque, et. al. filed a Motion to Suppress, praying that such of the 431 items belonging to them be returned to them. It was claimed that the proceedings under the Search Warrant were unlawful. Judge Santos denied the Motion on 7 January 1985 on the ground that the validity of the Search Warrant has to be litigated in the other case, apparently unaware of the Order issued by Judge Paño on December 13. Nolasco, Aguilar-Roque, and Tolentino filed the Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus to annul and set aside the (1) Search Warrant issued by RTC Judge Paño; (2) his Order admitting the Amended Return and granting the Motion to Retain Seized Items; and (3) Order of MTC Judge Santos denying Aguilar-Roque, et. al.’s Motion to Suppress. Issue: Whether the description of the personalities to be seized in the search warrant is too general to render the warrant void. Held: The disputed Search Warrant (80-84) describes the personalities to be seized as “Documents, papers and other records of the Communist Party of the Philippines/New Peoples Army and/or the National Democratic Front,
such as Minutes of the Party Meetings, Plans of these groups, Programs, List of possible supporters, subversive books and instructions, manuals not otherwise available to the public, and support money from foreign or local sources.” It is at once evident that the Search Warrant authorizes the seizure of personal properties vaguely described and not particularized. It is an all-embracing description which includes everything conceivable regarding the Communist Party of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front. It does not specify what the subversive books and instructions are; what the manuals not otherwise available to the public contain to make them subversive or to enable them to be used for the crime of rebellion. There is absent a definite guideline to the searching team as to what items might be lawfully seized thus giving the officers of the law discretion regarding what articles they should seize as, in fact, taken also were a portable typewriter and 2 wooden boxes. It is thus in the nature of a general warrant and infringes on the constitutional mandate requiring particular description of the things to be seized. Search warrants of similar description were considered null and void for being too general. Notwithstanding the irregular issuance of the Search Warrant and although, ordinarily, the articles seized under an invalid search warrant should be returned, they cannot be ordered returned to Aguilar-Roque. Some searches may be made without a warrant. Section 12, Rule 126, Rules of Court, is declaratory in the sense that it is confined to the search, without a search warrant, of a person who had been arrested. It is also a general rule that, as an incident of an arrest, the place or premises where the arrest was made can also be search without a search warrant. In this latter case, “the extent and reasonableness of the search must be decided on its own facts and circumstances, and it has been stated that, in the application of general rules, there is some confusion in the decisions as to what constitutes the extent of the place or premises which may be searched”. Considering that Aguilar-Roque has been charged with Rebellion, which is a crime against public order; that the warrant for her arrest has not been served for a considerable period of time; that she was arrested within the general vicinity of her dwelling; and that the search of her dwelling was made within a half hour of her arrest, the Court was of the opinion that, in her respect, the search at No. 239-B Mayon Street, Quezon City, did not need a search warrant; this, for possible effective results in the interest of public order. Such being the case, the personalities seized may be retained by CSG, for possible introduction as evidence in the Rebellion Case, leaving it to Aguilar-Roque to object to their relevance and to ask Special
Military Commission 1 to return to her any all irrelevant documents and articles. Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines vs. Asuncion [GR 122092, 19 May 1999] Third Division, Panganiban (J): 3 concur, 1 took no part Facts: On 25 January 1995, Police Chief Inspector Napoleon B. Pascua applied for a search warrant before the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 104, of Quezon City, stating “(1) that the management of Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines, located at PICOP compound, Barangay Tabon, Bislig, Surigao del Sur, represented by its Sr. Vice President Ricardo G. Santiago, is in possession or has in its control high powered firearms, ammunitions, explosives, which are the subject of the offense, or used or intended to be used in committing the offense, and which are being kept and concealed in the premises herein described; (2) that a Search Warrant should be issued to enable any agent of the law to take possession and bring to this Honorable Court the following described properties: ‘Seventy (70) M16 Armalite rifles cal. 5.56, ten (10) M16 US rifles, two (2) AK-47 rifle[s], two (2) UZI submachinegun[s], two (2) M203 Grenade Launcher[s] cal 40mm., ten (10) cal. 45 pistol[s], ten (10) cal. 38 revolver[s], two (2) ammunition reloading machine[s], assorted ammunitions for said calibers of firearms and ten (10) handgrenades.’” The joint Deposition of SPO3 Cicero S. Bacolod and SPO2 Cecilio T. Morito, as well as a summary of the information and the supplementary statements of Mario Enad and Felipe Moreno were attached to the application. After propounding several questions to Bacolod, Judge Maximiano C. Asuncion issued the contested search warrant. On 4 February 1995, the police enforced the search warrant at the PICOP compound and seized various firearms and ammunition. Believing that the warrant was invalid and the search unreasonable, Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines, Evaristo M. Narvaez Jr., Ricardo G. Santiago, Roberto A. Dormendo, Reydande D. Azucena, Niceforo V. Avila, Florentino M. Mula, Felix O. Baito, Harold B. Celestial, Elmedencio C. Calixtro, Carlito S. Legacion, Albino T. Lubang, Jeremias I. Abad and Herminio V. Villamil filed a “Motion to Quash” 16 before the trial court. Subsequently, they also filed a “Supplemental Pleading to the Motion to Quash” and a “Motion to Suppress Evidence.” On 23 March 1995, the RTC issued the Order which denied PICOP, et. al.’s motions. On 3 August 1995, the trial court rendered its Order denying their Motion for Reconsideration. PICOP, et. al. filed a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition.
Issue: Whether the fact that the warrant identifies only one place, i.e. the “Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines, located at PICOP Compound, Barangay Tabon, Bislig, Surigao del Sur,” satisfies the requirements of the particularity of the place to be search, and thus render the warrant valid. Held: No. The fundamental right against unreasonable searches and seizures and the basic conditions for the issuance of a search warrant are laid down in Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution. Consistent with the foregoing constitutional provision, Sections 3 and 4, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court, detail the requisites for the issuance of a valid search warrant. The requisites of a valid search warrant are: (1) probable cause is present; (2) such presence is determined personally by the judge; (3) the complainant and the witnesses he or she may produce are personally examined by the judge, in writing and under oath or affirmation; (4) the applicant and the witnesses testify on facts personally known to them; and (5) the warrant specifically describes the place to be searched and the things to be seized. In view of the manifest objective of the constitutional safeguard against unreasonable search, the Constitution and the Rules limit the place to be searched only to those described in the warrant. Thus, this Court has held that “this constitutional right is the embodiment of a spiritual concept: the belief that to value the privacy of home and person and to afford it constitutional protection against the long reach of government no less than to value human dignity, and that his privacy must not be disturbed except in case of overriding social need, and then only under stringent procedural safeguards.” Additionally, the requisite of particularity is related to the probable cause requirement in that, at least under some circumstances, the lack of a more specific description will make it apparent that there has not been a sufficient showing to the magistrate that the described items are to be found in a particular place. Herein, the search warrant is invalid because (1) the trial court failed to examine personally the complainant and the other deponents: (2) SPO3 Cicero Bacolod, who appeared during the hearing for the issuance of the search warrant, had no personal knowledge that PICOP, et. al. were not licensed to possess the subject firearms; and (3) the place to be searched was not described with particularity. As to the particularity of the place to be searched, the assailed search warrant failed to described the place with particularity. It simply authorizes a search of “the aforementioned premises,” but it did not specify such premises. The warrant identifies only one place, and that is the “Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines, located at PICOP Compound, Barangay Tabon, Bislig, Surigao del Sur.” The
PICOP compound, however, is made up of “200 offices/buildings, 15 plants, 84 staff houses, 1 airstrip, 3 piers/wharves, 23 warehouses, 6 POL depots/quick service outlets and some 800 miscellaneous structures, all of which spread out over some one hundred fifty-five hectares.” Obviously, the warrant gives the police officers unbridled and thus illegal authority to search all the structures found inside the PICOP compound. Because the search warrant was procured in violation of the Constitution and the Rules of Court, all the firearms, explosives and other materials seized were “inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.” Yousef Al-Ghoul vs. Court of Appeals [GR 126859, 4 September 2001] Second Division, Quisumbing (J): 4 concur Facts: On 31 March 1995, Judge Geronimo S. Mangay, presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial Region, Branch 125, Kalookan City, issued search warrants 5495 and 55-95 for the search and seizure of certain items in Apartment 2 at 154 Obiniana Compound, Deparo Road, Kalookan City. On 1 April 1995, the police searched Apartment 8, in the same compound and found one (1) .45 caliber pistol. Found in Apartment 2 were 2 M16 rifles with 2 magazines and 20 live M-16 ammunitions, 1 Bar of demolition charge, 1 Caliber Pistol with no. 634 and other nos. were placed with magazine of Caliber .45 and 3 live 45 ammunitions, 1 22 Caliber handgun with 5 live ammunitions in its cylinder, 1 Box containing 40 pieces of .25 caliber ammunitions, 2 pieces of fragmentation grenade, 1 roll of detonating cord color yellow, 2 big bags of ammonium nitrate suspected to be explosives substance, 22 detonating cords with blasting caps, ½ and ¼ pound of high explosives TNT, 1 timer alarm clock, 2 bags of suspected gun powder, 2 small plastic bag of suspected explosive substance, 1 small box of plastic bag of suspected dynamites, One weighing scale, and 2 batteries 9 volts with blasting caps and detonating cord. The firearms, ammunitions, explosives and other incendiary devices seized at the apartments were acknowledged in the receipt signed by SPO2 Melanio de la Cruz. Yousef Al Ghoul, Isam Mohammad Abdulhadi, Wail Rashid Al-Khatib, Nabeel Nasser Al-Riyami, Ashraf Hassam AlYazori, and Mohammad Abushendi were charged before the Regional Trial Court of Kalookan City, Branch 123, in informations (Criminal Cases C-48666-67) accusing them with illegal possession of firearms, ammunitions and explosives, pursuant to Presidential Decree 1866. Thereafter, they were arrested and detained. They filed a motion for bail on 24 May 1995, the resolution of which was held in abeyance by the RTC pending the presentation of evidence from the prosecution to determine
whether or not the evidence presented is strong. On 7 February 1996, at the hearing for bail, the RTC “admitted all exhibits being offered for whatever purpose that they maybe worth” after the prosecution had finished adducing its evidence despite the objection by the petitioners on the admissibility of said evidence. On 19 February 1996, the RTC denied their motion for bail earlier filed. As their action before appellate court also proved futile, with the appellate court dismissing their special civil action for certiorari, they filed the petition for review before the Supreme Court. Issue: Whether the search and seizure orders are valid, and the objects seized admissible in evidence. Held: As held in PICOP v. Asuncion, the place to be searched cannot be changed, enlarged nor amplified by the police. Policemen may not be restrained from pursuing their task with vigor, but in doing so, care must be taken that constitutional and legal safeguards are not disregarded. Exclusion of unlawfully seized evidence is the only practical means of enforcing the constitutional injunction against unreasonable searches and seizures. Hence, the search made at Apartment No. 8 is illegal and the .45 caliber pistol taken thereat is inadmissible in evidence against Al-Ghoul, et. al. In contrast, the search conducted at Apartment 2 could not be similarly faulted. The search warrants specifically mentioned Apartment 2. The search was done in the presence of its occupants, in accordance with Section 7 of Rule 126, Revised Rules of Court. The articles seized during the search of Apartment 2 are of the same kind and nature as those items enumerated in the search warrant. The items seized from Apartment 2 were described with specificity in the warrants in question. The nature of the items ordered to be seized did not require a technical description. Moreover, the law does not require that the things to be seized must be described in precise and minute details as to leave no room for doubt on the part of the searching authorities, otherwise, it would be virtually impossible for the applicants to obtain a search warrant as they would not know exactly what kind of things they are looking for. Once described, however, the articles subject of the search and seizure need not be so invariant as to require absolute concordance between those seized and those described in the warrant. Substantial similarity of those articles described as a class or species would suffice.
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