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CRIM PRO CASES:

Posadas v CA (The validity of a warrantless search on the


person of petitioner is put into issue in this case.)
G.R. No. 89139

August 2, 1990

ROMEO POSADAS y ZAMORA, petitioner,


vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and THE PEO PLE OF
THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

mayor to TWELVE (12) Years, FIVE (5) months and Eleven


(11) days of Reclusion Temporal, and to pay the costs.
The firearm, ammunitions and smoke grenade are forfeited
in favor of the government and the Branch Clerk of Court is
hereby directed to turn over said items to the Chief, Davao
Metrodiscom, Davao City. 5
Not satisfied therewith the peti tioner interposed an appeal
to the Court of Appeals wherein i n du e course a decision was
rendered on February 23, 1989 affirmi ng i n toto the
appealed decision with costs against the petitioner. 6

Rudy G. Agravate for petitioner.

GANCAYCO, J.:
The validity of a warrantless search on the person of
petitioner is put into issue in this case.
On October 16, 1986 at about 10:00 o'clock in the morning
Pat. Ursicio Ungab and Pat. Umbra Umpar, both members of
the Integrated National Police (INP) of the Dav ao
Metrodiscom assigned with the Intelligence Task Force,
were conducting a surveillance along M agallanes Street,
Davao Ci ty. While they were within the premises of the Rizal
Memorial Colleges they s potted peti tioner carrying a "buri"
bag and they noticed him to be acting suspiciously.
They approached the petitioner and identified thems elves as
members of the INP. Petitioner attempted to flee but his
attempt to get away was thwarted by the two
notwithstanding his resistance.
They then checked the "buri" bag of the petitioner where
they found one (1) caliber .38 Smi th & Wesson revolver with
Serial No. 770196 1 two (2) rounds of live ammunition for a
.38 caliber gun 2 a smoke (tear gas) grenade, 3 and two (2)
live ammunitions for a .22 caliber gun. 4 They brought the
peti tioner to the police station for further inves tigation. In
the course of the s ame, the peti tioner was asked to show the
necessary license or authori ty to possess firearms and
ammunitions found in his possession but he failed to do so.
He was then taken to the D avao Metrodiscom office and the
prohibi ted articles recovered from him were indorsed to
M/Sgt. Didoy the officer then on duty. He was prosecuted for
illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions in the
Regional Trial Court of D avao Ci ty wherein after a plea of not
guilty and trial on the meri ts a decision was rendered on
October 8, 1987 finding peti tioner guilty of the offense
charged as follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoi ng, this Court , fi nds
the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense
charged.
It appearing that the accuse d was below eighteen (18) years
old at the time of the commission of the offense (Art. 68, par.
2), he is hereby sentenced to an indeterminate penalty
ranging from TEN (10) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of prision

Hence, the herein petition for review, the main thrust of


which is that there being no lawful arres t or search and
seizure, the items which were confiscated from the
possession of the petitioner are inadmissible in evidence
against him.
The Solicitor General, in justifying the warrantless search of
the buri bag then carried by the petitioner, argues that under
Section 12, Rule 136 of the Rules of Court a person lawfully
arrested may be searched for dangerous weapons or
anything used as proof of a commission of an offense
without a search warrant. It is further alleged that the arrest
without a warrant of the petitioner was lawful under the
circumstances.
Section 5, Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure
provides as follows:
SEC. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful A peace
officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a
person:
(a)
When in his presence, the person to be arres ted has
committed is actually committing, or is attempting to
commit an offense;
(b)
When an offense has in fact just been committed,
and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the
person to be arrested has committed it; and
(c)
When the person to be arres ted is a prisoner who
has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is
serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his
case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from
one confinement to another.
In cas es falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the
person arrested without a warrant shall be forthwith
delivered to the nearest police station or jail, and he shall be
proceeded against in accordance with Rul e 112, Section 7.
(6a, 17a)
From the foregoing provision of law it is clear that an arrest
without a warrant may be effected by a peace officer or
private person, among others, when in his pres ence the
person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing,
or is attempting to commit an offense; or when an offense
has in fact jus t been committed, and he has personal

knowledge of the facts indicating that the person arrested


has committed it.
The Solicitor General argues that when the two policemen
approached the peti tioner, he was actually committing or
had just committed the offense of illegal possession of
firearms and ammunitions in the presence of the police
officers and consequently the search and seizure of the
contraband was incidental to the lawful arrest in accordance
with Section 12, Rule 126 of the 1985 Rul es on Criminal
Procedure. We disagree.
At the time the peace officers in this cas e identified
thems elves and apprehended the petitioner as he attempted
to flee they did not know that he had committed, or was
actually committing the offense of illegal possession of
firearms and ammunitions. They just sus pected that he was
hiding something in the buri bag. They did now know what
its contents were. The s aid circums tances did not justify an
arrest without a warrant.
However, there are many instances where a warrant and
seizure can be effected without necessarily being preceded
by an arrest, foremost of which is the "s top and search"
without a search warrant at military or police checkpoints,
the cons titutionality or validity of which has been upheld by
this Court in Valmonte vs. de Villa, 7 as follows:
Petitioner Valmonte's general allegation to the effect that he
had been stopped and searched without a s earch warrant by
the military manning the checkpoints, without more, i.e.,
without stating the details of the incidents which amount to
a violation of his light agai nst unlawful search and seizure, is
not sufficient to enable the Court to determine whether
there was a violation of Valmonte's right against unlawful
search and seizure. Not all searches and seizures are
prohibi ted. Those which are reasonable are not forbidden. A
reasonable search is not to be determined by any fixed
formula but is to be resolved according to the facts of each
case.
Where, for exampl e, the officer merely draws aside the
curtain of a vacant vehicle which is parked on the public fair
grounds, or simply looks into a v ehicle or flashes a light
therein, these do not constitute unreasonable search.
The setting up of the questioned checkpoints in Valenzuela
(and probably in other areas) may be considered as a
security measure to enabl e the NCRDC to purs ue its mission
of establishing effective territorial defens e and maintaining
peace and order for the benefit of the public. Checkpoi nts
may also be regarded as measures to thwart plots to
destabilize the government in the interest of public security.
In this connection, the Court may take judicial notice of the
shift to urban centers and thei r suburbs of the insurgency
movement, so clearly reflected in the increased killings in
cities of police and military men by NPA "sparrow units," not
to mention the abundance of unlicensed firearms and the
alarming rise in lawlessness and violence in such urban
centers, not all of which are reported in media, most likely
brought about by deteriorating economic conditions
which all sum up to what one can rightly consider, at the

very least, as abnormal times. Between the inherent right of


the state to protect its existence and promote public welfare
and an individual's right against a warrantless search which
is however reasonably conducted, the former should prevail.
True, the manning of checkpoints by the military is
susceptible of abus e by the men in uniform in the same
manner that all governmental power is susceptible of abuse.
But, at the cos t of occasional inconveni ence, discomfort and
even i rritation to the citizen, the checkpoi nts during these
abnormal times, when conducted within reasonable limits,
are part of the price we pay for an orderly society and a
peaceful community. (Emphasis supplied).
Thus, as between a warrantless search and s eizure
conducted at military or police checkpoints and the search
thereat in the case at bar, there is no ques tion that, indeed,
the latter is more reasonabl e considering that unlike in the
former, it was effected on the basis of a probable caus e. The
probable caus e is that when the petitioner acted
suspiciously and attempted to flee with the buri bag there
was a probable caus e that he was concealing something
illegal in the bag and it was the right and duty of the police
officers to inspect the same.
It is too much indeed to require the police officers to search
the bag i n the possession of the peti tioner only after they
shall have obtained a search warrant for the purpose. Such
an exercise may prove to be useless, futile and much too late.
In People vs. CFI of Rizal, 8 this Court held as follows:
. . . In the ordinary cases where warrant is indispensably
necessary, the mechanics prescribed by the Constitution and
reiterated in the Rules of Court must be followed and
satisfied. But We need not argue that there are exceptions.
Thus in the extraordinary ev ents where warrant is not
necessary to effect a valid search or seizure, or when the
latter cannot be performed except wi thout warrant, what
constitutes a reasonable or unreasonable search or seizure
becomes purely a judicial ques tion, determinable from the
uniqueness of the circumstances involved, including the
purpose of the search or seizure, the presence or absence of
probable cause, the manner in which the search and seizure
was made, the place or thing searched and the character of
the articles procured.
The Court reproduces with approval
disquisition of the Solicitor General:

the following

The assailed search and seizure may still be justified as akin


to a "stop and frisk" situation whose object is either to
determine the identity of a suspicious individual or to
maintain the status quo momentarily while the police officer
seeks to obtain more information. This is illustrated in the
case of Terry vs. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968). In this case, two
men repeatedly walked pas t a s tore wi ndow and returned to
a spot where they apparently conferred with a third man.
This aroused the suspicion of a police officer. To the
experi enced officer, the behaviour of the men indicated that
they were sizing up the store for an armed robbery. When
the police officer approached the men and asked them for

thei r names, they mumbled a reply. Whereupon, the officer


grabbed one of them, spun him around and frisked him.
Finding a concealed weapon in one, he did the same to the
other two and found another weapon. In the pros ecution for
the offens e of carrying a conceal ed weapon, the defense of
illegal search and seizure was put up. The United States
Supreme Court held that "a police officer may in appropriate
circumstances and in an appropriate manner approach a
person for the purpose of investigati ng possible criminal
behaviour even though there is no probable cause to make
an arrest." In such a situation, it is reasonable for an officer
rather than simply to shrug his shoulder and allow a crime
to occur, to stop a suspicious individual briefly in order to
determine his identity or maintain the status quo while
obtaining more information. . . .
Clearly, the search in the case at bar can be sustained under
the exceptions heretofore discussed, and hence, the
constitutional guarantee agai nst unreasonable searches and
seizures has not been violated. 9
WHEREFORE, the peti tion is DENIED with costs agai nst
petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Narvas a (Chairman), Cruz, Grio -Aquino and Medi aldea, JJ.,
concur.
Footnotes
1
Exhibit B.
2
Exhibits B1 and B2.
3
Exhibit C.
4
Exhibits D and D-1
5
Page 40, Rollo.
6
Justice Bienvenido Ejercito, ponente, concurred in
by Justices Felipe B. Kalalo and Luis L. Victor.
7
G.R. No. 83988, September 29, 1989.
8
101 SCRA 86 (1986).
9
Pages 67 to 69, Rollo.

People v. Salangga, G.R. No. 100910, 25 July 1994, 234


SCRA 407.

Today is Friday, June 17, 2016


search
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 100910

July 25, 1994

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
LORETO SALANGGA and LAURETO LOPEZ, accused.
LORETO SALANGGA, accused-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Public Attorney's Office for accused-appellants.

REGALADO, J.:
Accused-appellant Loreto Salangga, alias "Dodong," and
Laureto Lopez, alias "Retoy," were haled to court as
conspirators in the rape and killing of a fifteen-y ear old
barrio lass named Imelda Talaboc, allegedly committed
in Magsaysay, Davao del Norte on or about July 18, 1987.
1
Assisted by counsel de oficio, both accus ed pleaded not
guilty during thei r arrai gnment. After trial, judgment
was rendered by said trial court on February 21, 1991
finding appellant Salangga guilty of attempted rape with
homicide, imposing upon him the penalty of reclusion
perpetua but with full credit for his preventive
imprisonment, and ordering him to pay P30,000.00 as
indemnity to the heirs of the victim. Accused Laureto
Lopez was acquitted for failure of the prosecution to
prove his guilty beyond reasonable doubt. 2
It appears that in the late afternoon of July 18, 1987, in
Sitio Ogsing, Barangay Tacul, Magsaysay, Davao del Sur,
Imelda Talaboc was sent by her mother to fetch water
from the spring, or "bugac," the only source of water in
the vicinity. Imelda left with two one-gallon containers.
At around 5:30 to 6:30 of the same afternoon, when the
dusk of twilight was enveloping the area, one Ricky
Monterde, a friend and brother in fai th of the Talaboc
family, who resided only two hundred meters away
from the latter's residence, likewise went to fetch water.
On his way, he saw appellant Salangga walking about
three meters ahead of Imelda. He noticed that appellant
kept glanci ng back towards Imelda who was carrying
water containers. Trailing the girl was accused Lopez
who was walking behi nd her at a distance of about
twenty fathoms. 3
On the same occasion, Lenie Alingay, a twelve-year old
elementary student residing at Sitio O gsing, was on her
way home from her grandfather's house. She recounted
that she met Imelda at the downhill crossing leading
towards the barrio. Lenie explained that she was about
four meters away from Imelda, while the latter was
following appellant and walking about two meters
behind him. As Imelda came abreast wi th Lenie, the
former asked the latter if she was going to school on
Monday. Then, as Leni e proceeded on her way home,
she saw that Lopez who was sitting on a rice paddy
suddenly stood up and followed Imelda. At about the

same time, Lenie also saw Ricky Monterde fetching


water from the spring.

was not able to consummate his bestial desire because


Imelda fought very hard against him. 6

When Bernardo Talaboc, father of Imelda, came home


from work, he was informed by his wife that Imel da,
whom she sent to the "bugac" earlier, was missing.
Talaboc set out to look for Imelda. On his way to the
spring, he came upon two water containers l eft s tanding
at a spot about four hundred meters away from their
house. 4

The defense had a different version to tell. It was


claimed that on July 18, 1987, at about 9:00 P.M. while
appellant was repairing a wall in his kitchen, some
members of the 46th Infantry Brigade and Lopez came
to his house. He was informed that Barangay Captain
Laput was requesti ng for their presence at his house.
Both accused complied wi th the request and went to the
residence of Laput. The latter asked them if they were
responsible for the death of Imelda and they vehemently
denied any participation in the crime.

His search for Imelda led Talaboc to the house of Ricky


who told him that he had earlier seen Imelda on her way
home with appellant walking ahead of her. Ricky then
accompanied Tal aboc and his son to the house of the
barangay captain, Severino Laput, to whom they
reported Imelda's disappearance. Thereafter, together
with the members of his household and some neighbors,
they conti nued looking for Imelda. At around 8:00
o'clock that same night, they found the corpse of Imelda
lying in the bushes about twenty meters away from
where the water containers were earlier found.
Imelda was found with her clothes on but her panty was
missing. Her face was disfigured by physical blows, she
had been stabbed by a knife, and her ey es were gouged
out. The searching party brought home the body of the
victim.
Talaboc went to see Lenie Alingay and her family to
inquire whether they witnessed any unusual happening
that fatal afternoon, since the "bugac" is only about
twenty meters away from thei r house. Lenie told him
about her brief encounter with Imelda, as earlier
narrated.
Appellant and Lopez were arrested that same ni ght at
around 8:00 o'clock, after the corpse of Imelda had been
found, upon the orders of Barangay Captain Laput based
on the information given by Ricky and Lenie implicating
the two of them. They both became the main suspects
responsible for the grievous fate of Imelda, as they were
the persons last seen with her before the tragedy. The
soldiers of the 46th Infantry Brigade of the Philippine
Army took them into custody.

The accused were then brought to the 46th Infantry


Brigade Headquarters where they were allegedly
subjected to severe physical beatings by the soldiers.
Unable to bear the maltreatment any further, they were
compelled to admit the earlier accusations against them.
The next day, a strong and painful kick in the stomach
was inflicted on appellant by one of his custodians for
refusing to carry a lady's underwear and a pair of blue
slippers in his pocket, which items were later identified
by Talaboc as belongi ng to his daughter. Cons equently,
he carried the same with him when they were brought
to the Mags aysay Municipal Hall where they were
investigated by Sgt. Gataber. Afterwards, appellant was
asked to sign a document, explained to him as having
something to do with his food, to which importing the
unlettered appellant acceded. Unfortunately, the
document turned out to be his suppose d statement
admitting his guilt for attempting to rape Imelda and
subsequently killing her. 7
Appellant Loreto Salangga has now come before us,
through counsel de oficio, contending that the tri al court
erred in convicting him of the crime charged on the
basis of insufficient circumstantial evidence.

At the army detachment, said suspects were bodily


searched. According to the prosecution, the soldiers
recovered from appellant a piece of l ady's underwear,
later identified by Talaboc to be that of his daughter,
Imelda. Afterwards, both suspects were ordered to
undress. The prosecution claims that appellant's body
bore what looked like bite marks and scratches, but
none was found on the body of Lopez.

Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rul es of Court provides that a


peace officer or a private person may, wi thout a
warrant, arrest a person when (a) in his presence, the
person to be arrested has committed, is actually
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; (b)
an offense has in fact just been committed and he has
personal knowledge of the facts indicating that the
person to be arres ted has committed it; and (c) the
person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped. In
cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) thereof, the
person to be arrested without a warrant shall be
forthwith delivered to the neares t police station or jail,
and he shall be proceeded agains t in accordance with
Section 7, Rule 112.

The following morni ng, the sus pects were brought to the
office of Station Commander Manuel Macabutas in the
municipal hall where both were inv estigated by P/Sgt.
Mario Gataber of the Mags aysay Police Station.
Appellant scrawl ed his quivery signature on an unsworn
statement, 5 handwritten by some other person,
wherein he admi tted the crime charged, except that he

From these provisions, it is not hard to conclude that


appellant was arrested in violation of his fundamental
right against unjustified warrantl ess arrest. On the night
he was arrested, he was in his hous e peacefully
attending to some domestic chores therein. It cannot be
suggested that he was in any way commi tting a crime or
attempting to commit one. Also, the soldiers had no

personal knowledge of the crime he was being charged


with, nor was he a fugitive from the law.
The right of the accus ed to be secure agai nst any
unreasonabl e searches on and seizure of his own body
and any deprivation of his liberty is a mos t basic and
fundamental one. The statute or rule which allows
exceptions to the requi rement of a warrant of arrest is
strictly construed. Its application cannot be extended
beyond the cases specifically provided by law. 8
Bernardo Talaboc testified that both accus ed were
frisked and asked to undress before him, some soldi ers
of the 46th Infantry Bri gade, and Barangay Captain
Laput inside the Army detachment. If he is to be
believed, that body search incredibly yielded a lady's
panty from the pocket of appellant and which
underwear he identified as that of his daughter. It would
surely have been the height of stupidity for appellant to
be keeping on his person an incriminating piece of
evidence which common sens e dictates should have
been destroy ed or disposed of. For that matter,
according to Barangay Captain Laput before whom
appellant was brought shortly after his apprehension
and who was also pres ent therei n, nothing was taken
from said appellant. 9
In any event, the underwear allegedly taken from the
accused is inadmissible in evidence, being a so-called
"fruit of a poisonous tree." Likewise, there is definitely
an improbability in the claim of Talaboc that he was able
to recognize the underwear of his daughter. It is an a
typical and abnormal situation under Filipino customs
for a father to be familiar with the underwear of his
daughter. This is highly improbable, and it is plain
common sense that improbabilities must be carefully
scrutinized and not readily accepted.
Agai n, during the initi al investigation of Barangay
Captai n Laput on July 23, 1987 before Sgt. Gataber,
nothi ng was ever mentioned regarding the supposed
scratches and bi te marks allegedly found on the chest of
appellant. The truth is that these matters were
mentioned in the trial court only after about two and a
half years from the arrest of appellant. It is indeed
strange that such vital evidence conspicuously found on
the body of appellant, if true, could be omitted in the
sworn statement of Laput 10 which was taken four days
after the alleged discovery. He and the inv estigator
could not have been unaware that the supposed
scratches and bite marks were obviously relevant in this
kind of crime, more particularly to prove the reported
struggle of the victim against her unknown killer.
The afores aid tes timony of Laput thus suffers from
serious flaws attendant to its taking which accordingly
taint its credibility. The long delay in his disclosure
bolsters the suspicion that such testimony is biased, if
not fabricated. Laput's claim that he reveal ed the
aforesaid facts to Sgt. Gataber 11 is belief by his own
sworn s tatement. It is true, and we was hav e so held,
that sworn statements executed before police officers

are usually incomplete and contain data which are


inconsistent with the facts narrated by the wi tnesses to
said officers. For this reason, courts have generally
brushed aside, as inconsequential, contradictions in the
sworn statement of a witness and his testimony as long
as these dwell only on minor and reconcilable matters.
12
However, the afores aid allegations on the supposed
scratches and bi te marks on the body of appellant can by
no means be considered as minor or trivial matters. The
prosecution, in fact, relies heavily thereon to support its
theory of the cas e. Since every circumstance must be
taken into consideration in passing upon the guilt or
innocence of the accus ed, it becomes crucial for his
eventual acquittal when such discrepancies touch on
substantial and irreconcilable facts, as when the
omission in the sworn statement concerns an important
detail which the affiant would not hav e failed to
mention, and which omission could accordingly affect
his credibility. 13
We are not persuaded by the theory that the accused
waived their ri ght agains t the sai d unreasonable search
and seizure, simply because they di d not object thereto.
To constitute waiver, i t mus t appear, firs tly, that the
right exists ; secondly, that the person involved had
knowledge, actual or constructive, of the existence of
such right; and, lastly, that said person had an actual
intention to relinquish the ri ght. 14 Courts
understandably indul ge every reasonabl e presumption
against waiver of fundamental safeguards and do not
deduce acquiescence in the loss of elementary rights. 15
Coming now to Sgt. Gataber's testimony, we find that the
same seriously undermines the case for the People. On
the witness stand, he recited the rights of an accused but
apparently none of these were granted to or applied in
his investigation of appellant. This is partly explai ned by
the fact that he had a wrong, if not a weird, perception
or unders tanding regarding a "person under custodial
interrogation," his duty to apprise such person of his
rights, and the ri ght of that person to counsel, as
demonstrated below.
Q How would you say that a person is under custodial
interrogation?
A When the accused is assisted by a counsel of his
own choice.
xxx xxx

xxx

Q In other words, if the accused is not assisted by


counsel in the investi gation he is not under custodial
interrogation, is that what you mean?
A

Yes.

Q In other words, (in) this particular case, you


considered this inves tigation on accused Salangga as not

under cus todial interrogation becaus e he was not


assisted by counsel?
A Yes, because that is not the proper custodial
interrogation.
Q In other words, on that day that you conducted the
investigation, you did not apprise him of his rights to
have counsel?
A I apprised him but there was no av ailable lawyer in
our place but I considered his statement is true.

A That is the reason why because there is no available


lawyer in our place.
Q

And you are aware about Atty. Mat(i)as Acquiatan?

Yes, but sometimes he is out of Magsaysay.

Q And despi te that fact, you did not find ways and
means to contact the CLAO or Atty. Acquiatan in order to
assist Salangga in the interview?

Q Will you please go over this statement if you can


find a portion wherein you apprised the declarant of his
right to counsel?

A There were several lawyers which I approached to


assist the s uspect but they refus ed and at that time I also
approac hed Atty. Acquiatan and he advised me to see
the lawyer of CLAO.

A I did not apprise because of some circumstantial


facts.

Q But i n this particular case, you never tr(ied) to


approach Atty. Acquiatan to assist accused Salangga?

What are these circumstantial facts

I did not bother to write the rights of the accused.

Q Neither did you approach the lawyer of CLAO in that


particular interview?

Q Did you not find it important . . . because this case it


quite serious?
A I made that question and interrogation i n my office
but I was doubtful whether that would be acceptable in
Court because that question and answer was not
subscribed and sworn to before the municipal judge.
xxx xxx

xxx

Q In other words, you did not tell him that the


government can provide him counsel if he cannot afford
one?
A

Yes.

You did not tell him that?

A I told him that if you cannot afford to have a counsel,


the government will give you one.
Q Did you place that in your question and interview?
A

No.

No." 16

It is consequently evident that since appellant was not


assisted by any couns el during his custodial
investigation, his supposed incriminatory statement is
inadmissible and cannot be considered in the
adjudication of this case. Oddly enough, ev en Sgt.
Gataber was skeptical as to the validity of the statement
he took from appellant. 17 The rule, of course, is that no
in-custody investigation shall be conducted unless it be
in the presence of counsel engaged by the person
arrested, by any person in his behalf or appointed by the
court upon peti tion ei ther of the detainee himself or by
someone in his behalf. 18
While the ri ght to counsel may be waived, such waiver
must be effected voluntarily, knowingly and
intelligently. Further, waiver must be with the
assistance of counsel. 19 The absence of counsel at that
stage makes the statement, in contempl ation of law,
involuntary, ev en if it was otherwise voluntary in a non technical sense.

No.

Q Why did you not place that in your question and


interview?
A Becaus e my ques tion and interview which I made
before him is not acceptable.
xxx xxx

xxx

Q Becaus e you thought that Salangga was under


custodial interrogation of the Police Station of
Magsaysay at the time . . . why did you not require him
to have counsel of his own choice as you have attended a
lot of seminars?

With the Court now unanimously upholding the


exclusionary rule in toto, the consti tutional mandate is
given full force and effect. This constitutional edict has
been proved by historical experience to be the practical
means of enforcing the consti tutional injunction agai nst
unreasonabl e searches and seizures by outlawing all
evidence illegally seized and thereby removing the
incentive part of the military and police officers to
disregard such basic rights. This is of special public
importance and serves as a s hield in the remote
provinces and rural areas to the people who hav e no
access to courts for prompt and immediate relief from
violations of their rights. 20

Section 5 of Rule 133 provides that when no direct


evidence is available, circumstantial evidence will suffice
when the following requirements are present: (a) there
are more than one circumstance, (b) the facts from
which the inferences are derived are prov en, and (c) the
combination of all the circumstances is such as to
produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.
Furthermore, before conviction can be had upon
circumstantial evidence, the circumstances proved
should constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one
fair and reasonable conclusion pointi ng to the accus ed,
to the exclusion of all others, as the author of the crime.
21
A meticulous and closer inquiry into the records reveals
that there is really but one sole circums tance upon
which the court relied in i ts decision, that is, that Imelda
was seen trailing behind appellant by a few meters on
the path towards her hous e. The prosecution presented
two wi tnesses on this very s ame fact but the tes timony
thereon of two witnesses cannot conv ert one
circumstance i nto two. All other "circumstances" under
the prosecution's theory, such as the underwear
allegedly found in appellant's pocket, the supposed
scratches and bite marks on his body, and his dubious
confession to Sgt. Gataber are all products of an illegal
process, aside from their questionable veracity.
Assuming arguendo that appellant was s een walking in
front of Imelda about two hours before the discovery of
the death of the latter, such fact could not lead a prudent
man to conclude that appellant was the one responsible
for the misfortune that befell the victim. Also, Sgt.
Gataber believed that Leni e Alingay and Ricky Monterde
could shed light on the case and so he claimed to have
taken their statements, but, surprisingly, no sworn
statements were executed by them. Later, he retracted
what he said, announcing instead that he actually
referred the taking of the s tatements to Sgt. Saraum, but
he could not remember if the s tatements, if thereafter
taken, were attached to the records. 22
We reject the People's hy pothesis on the alleged
"confession" of appellant to a certain Pas tor Juan Tapic.
The records reveal that there was a statement of
appellant merely saying that he and Lopez were
suspects in the rape and death of Imelda but never did
he say that they were the ones responsible for such
crime. Also, if the prosecution really believed that the
appellant truly admi tted to Pastor Tapic his
participation in the crime, it is puzzling that said pastor
was not called by the prosecution to take the witness
stand. A party's failure to produce evidence, which if
favorable would naturally have been produced, is open
to the inference that the facts were unfavorable to his
case. 23 Verily, that failure to present Pastor Tapic can
only mean that the prosecution itself doubted what
appellant precisely meant when he s aid that there are
two of them, that is, himself and Lopez.
We also note that while the prosecution presented a
medical certificate 24 to prove the alleged rape, it failed

to present the physician to affi rm it. In the absence of


the doctor's tes timony, the contents thereof are hearsay.
25 At any rate, ev en if the physician had been presented
there was in fact no need for him to make that
affirmation since the conviction of appellant is based
merely on his supposed inculpatory statement which
has no probative value for having been taken in
violation of explicit constitutional mandates and
proscriptions.
Well-entrenched is the rule that the findings of facts of
trial courts carry great wei ght for thes e courts enjoy the
advantage of having observed the demeanor of the
witnesses on the witness stand and, therefore, can
discern if thes e witnesses are telling the truth or not.
However, likewise well-settled are the exceptions
thereto, which are when (1) the conclusion is a fi nding
based entirely on speculations, (2) the inference made is
manifes tly mistaken, absurd or impossible, (3) there is a
grave abuse of discretion, and (4) the finding is bas ed on
a misapprehension of the facts. 26 The evidenti ary bases
for the conclusions of the lower court having been
demonstrated to be either incompetent in law or
incredibl e in fact, the exceptive circumstances have to
be given full sway.
The prosecution's evidence regrettably leav es much to
be desired, unfortunately as a consequence of faulty
investigative work in the first place. This Court must,
howev er, be gui ded by a rule of long standing and
consistency that if the inculpatory facts and
circumstances are capable of one or more expl anations,
one of which is consistent wi th the innocence of the
accused and the other consistent with his guilt, then the
evidence does not fulfill the test of moral certainty and is
not sufficient to support a conviction. 27
In our criminal jus tice system, the overriding
consideration is not whether the court doubts the
innocence of the accused but whether it entertains a
reasonable doubt as to his guilt. This determi nant, with
the cons titutional presumption of innocence which can
be overthrown only by the strength of the prosecution's
own evidence proving guilt beyond reasonable doubt,
irresistibly dictate an exoneration in this case. It is
indeed a bitter truth for the victim's family to face, t hat
human justice seems to have failed then due to the
foregoing confluent factors. We deeply commiserate
with them and sincerely hope that, somehow and in
God's own time, divine retribution shall be visited upon
the evil author of this human tragedy.
WHEREFORE, the assailed judgment of the court a quo is
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accus ed-appellant Loreto
Salangga is hereby ACQUITTED and ordered to be
immediately releas ed unless there are other grounds for
his continued detention, with costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Puno and Mendoza, JJ., concur.

#Footnotes
1 Criminal Cas e No. XXI-92 (88) Regional Trial Court,
Branch 21, Bansalan, Davao del Sur; O riginal Record, 1;
Judge Rodolfo A. Escovilla, presiding.
2

23 Tulod, etc. vs. First City Line Transportation


Company, G.R. No. 92710, February 27, 1991, 194 SCRA
583.
24 Exhibit I, List of Exhibits, 1.
25 People vs. Marcedonio, et al., G.R. Nos. 78551-52,
December 21, 1990, 192 SCRA 579.

Rollo, 58-59.

3 TSN, June 1, 1990, 4-5; March 21, 1990, 5-8, 11, 3839.
4

TSN, April 25, 1990, 4-12; June 1, 1990, 4-5.

Exhibit A.

26 People vs. Yutuc, G.R. No. 82590, July 26, 1990, 188
SCRA 1.
27 People vs. Pacana, 47 Phil. 48 (1924); People vs.
Parayno, et al., L-24804, July 5, 1968, 24 SCRA 3; People
vs. Taruc, G.R. No. 74655, January 20, 1988, 157 SCRA
178; People vs. Yabut, G.R. No. 82263, June 26, 1992,
210 SCRA 394.

6 TSN, June 1, 1990, 6-8, 11-18, 29-30; January 9,


1990, 10-11, 16-17; April 27, 1990, 3-4.
The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation
7

TSN, November 9, 1990, 21-22, 24-27, 35, 37-40.

8 People vs. Burgos, etc., et al., G.R. No. 92739, Augus t


2, 1991, 200 SCRA 67.
9

People v. Burgos, 144 SCRA 1 [1986])

TSN, January 9, 1990, 16.


Today is Friday, June 17, 2016

10 Original Record, 12.


11 TSN, January 9, 1990, 25-26.

search

12 People vs. Ponferada, et al., G.R. No. 101004, March


17, 1993, 220 SCRA 46.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

13 People vs. Hadji Basser Maongco, et al., G.R. Nos.


108963-65, March 1, 1994.

SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. L-68955

14 Passion Vda. de Graci a vs. Locsin, etc., et al., 65 Phil.


689 (1938).
15 Johnson vs. Zerbst, 304 U.S. 458 (1938).

September 4, 1986

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
RUBEN BURGOS y TITO, defendant-appellant.

16 TSN, April 27, 1990, 12-14.


17 TSN, January 9, 1990, 20-21; April 27, 1990, 13, 22;
November 9, 1990, 50.
18 People vs. Vasquez, et al., G.R. No. 92658, April 30,
1991, 196 SCRA 564.
19 Sec. 12(1), Art. III, Constitution.
20 Nolasco, et al., vs. Pao, etc., et al., G.R. No. 69803,
January 30, 1987, 147 SCRA 509.
21 People vs. Ganohon, G.R. Nos. 74670 -74, April 30,
1991, 196 SCRA 431; Peopl e vs. Manliquez, et al., G.R.
No. 91745, March 4, 1992, 206 SCRA 812.
22 TSN, April 25, 1990, 17-19.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:


This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Davao del Sur, 11 th Judicial Region, Digos, Davao del
Sur convicting defendant- appellant Ruben Burgos y Tito of
The crime of Illegal Possession of Fi rearms in Furtherance of
Subversion. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, finding the guilt of accused Ruben Burgos
sufficiently established beyond reasonable doubt, of the
offense charges , pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 9, in
relation to General Order No. 6, dated September 22, 1972,
and General Order No. 7, dated September 23, 1972, in
relation further to Presidential Decree No. 885, and
considering that the firearm subject of this case was not used
in the circumstances as embraced in paragraph I thereof,
applying the provision of indeterminate sentence law, accused
Ruben Burgos is hereby sentenced to suffer an imprisonment

of twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal maximum, as


minimum penal ty, to reclusion perpetua, as maximum penalty,
pursuant to sub-paragraph B, of Presidential Decree No. 9, as
aforementioned, with accessory penalties, as provided for by
law.
As a result of this judgment, the subject firearm involved
in this case (Homemade revolver, caliber . 38, Smi th and
Wesson, with Serial No. 8.69221) is hereby ordered
confiscated in favor of the government, to be dispos ed of in
accordance with law. Likewise, the s ubversive documents,
leaflets and/or propaganda seized are ordered disposed of in
accordance with law.
The information charged the defendant-appellant with
the crime of illegal possession of firearm in furtherance of
subversion in an information which reads as follows:
That in the afternoon of May 13, 1982 and thereabout at
Tiguman, Digos, Davao del Sur, Philippines, within the
jurisdiction of this Court, the abov e- named accused with
intent to possess and without the necessary license, permit or
authori ty issued by the proper government agencies, did then
and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously keep, possess,
carry and have in his possession, control and cus tody one (1)
homemade revolver, caliber .38, make Smith and Wesson,
with Serial No. 8. 69221, which firearm was issued to and used
by the accus ed at Tiguman, Digos, Davao del Sur, his area of
operations by one Alias Commander Pol for the New People's
Army (NPA), a subversive organization organized for the
purpose of overthrowing the Government of the Republic of
the Philippines through lawl ess and violent means, of which
the accused had knowledge, and which firearm was used by
the accused in the performance of his subversive tasks such as
the recruitment of New Members to the NPA and collection of
contributions from the members.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
The evidence for the prosecution is summarized in the
decision of the lower court as follows:
xxx xxx

xxx

. . . Through the testimony of Pat. Pepito Bioco, and Sgt.


Romeo Taroy, it appears that by virtue of an intelligent
information obtai ned by the Constabulary and INP units,
stationed at Digos, Davao del Sur, on May 12, 1982, one Ces ar
Masamlok personally and voluntarily surre0ndered to the
authori ties at about 9:00 o'clock A.M. at Di gos, Davao del Sur
Constabul ary Headquarters, stati ng that he was forcibly
recruited by accused Ruben Burgos as member of the NPA,
threatening him with the use of firearm against his life, if he
refused.
Along wi th his recruitment, accused was asked to
contribute one (1) chopa of rice and one peso (P1.00) per
month, as his contribution to the NPA TSN, page 5, HearingOctober 14, 1982).
Immedi ately, upon receipt of said information, a joint
team of PC-INP uni ts, composed of fifteen (15) members,

headed by Captai n Melchesideck Bargio, (PC), on the following


day, May 13, 1982, was dispatched at Tiguman; Dav ao del Sur,
to arrest accus ed Ruben Burgos. The team left the headquarter
at 1:30 P.M., and arrived at Tiguman, at more or less 2:00
o'clock PM where through the help of Pedro Burgos, brother of
accused, the team was able to locate accused, who was
plowing his field. (TSN, pages 6-7, Hearing-October 14, 1982).
Right i n the house of accused, the latter was caned by
the team and Pat. Bioco asked accused about his firearm, as
reported by Cesar Masamlok. At firs t accus ed denied
possession of said firearm but later, upon question
profounded by Sgt. Alejandro Buncalan with the wife of the
accused, the latter pointed to a pl ace below their hous e where
a gun was buried i n the ground. (T SN, page 8, Hearing -October
14, 1982).
Pat. Bioco then verified the place pointed by accused's
wife and dug the grounds, after which he recovered the
firearm, Caliber .38 revolver, marked as Exhibi t "A" for the
prosecution.
After the recovery of the fi rearm, accused likewise
pointed to the team, subversive documents which he allegedly
kept in a stock pile of qqqcogon at a distance of three (3)
meters apart from his house. Then Sgt. Taroy accordingly
verified beneath said cogon grass and likewise recovered
documents consisting of notebook colored maroon with spiral
bound, Exhibit "B" for the prosecu tion; a pamphlet consisting
of eight (8) leaves, includi ng the front and back covers enti tled
Ang Bayan, Pahayagan ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas,
Pinapatnubay an ng Marxismo, Leninismo Kaisipang Mao
qqqZedong dated December 31, 1980, marked as Exhibit "C",
and another pamphlet As dang Pamantalaang Masa sa
Habagatang Mindanao, M arch and April 1981 issue, consisting
of ten (10) pages, marked as Exhibit "D" for the prosecution.
Accused, when confronted with the fi rearm Exhibit "A",
after its recovery, readily admitted the same as issued to him
by Nestor Jimenez, otherwise known as a certain Alias
Pedi pol, allegedly team leader of the sparrow uni t of New
People's Army, responsible in the liqui dation of target
personalities, opposed to NPA Ideological movement, an
example was the killing of the late M ayor Llanos and Barangay
Captai n of Tienda Aplaya Digos, Davao del Sur. (TSN, pages 116, Hearing-October 14,1982).
To prove accused's subversive activities, Cesar
Masamlok, a former NPA convert was pres ented, who
declared that on March 7, 1972, in his former residence at
Tiguman Digos, Davao del Sur, accus ed Ruben Burgos,
accompanied by his companions Landrino Burgos, Oscar
Gomez and Antonio Burgos, went to his house at about 5:00
o'clock P.M. and called him downstair. Thereupon, accused
told Mas amlok, their purpose was to ask rice and one (1) peso
from him, as his contribution to their companions, the NPA of
which he is now a member. (TSN, pages 70, 71, 72, HearingJanuary 4, 1983).
Accused and his companions told Masamlok, he has to
join their group otherwise, he and his family will be killed. He
was also warned not to rev eal anythi ng with the gov ernment

authori ties. Because of the threat to his life and family, Ces ar
Masamlok joined the group. Accused then tol d him, he should
attend a seminar scheduled on April 19, 1982. Along with this
invitation, accused pulled gut from his waistline a .38 caliber
revolver which M asamlok really saw, being only about two (2)
meters away from accused, which make him easily Identified
said firearm, as that marked as Exhibit "A" for the pros ecution.
(TSN, pages 72, 73, and 74, Hearing-January 4, 1983).
On April 19, 1982, as previously invited, Masamlok,
accompanied by his father, Matuguil Masamlok, Isabel Ilan and
Ayok Ides went to the hous e of accused and attended the
seminar, Those present in the seminar were: accused Ruben
Burgos, Antonio Burgos, Oscar Gomez, Landrino Burgos, alias
Pedipol and one alias Jamper.
The first speaker was accused Ruben Burgos, who said
very distinctly that he is an NPA together with his
companions, to assure the unity of the civilian. That he
encouraged the group to ov erthrow the government,
emphasizing that thos e who attended the seminar were
already members of the NPA, and if they rev eal to the
authorities, they will be killed.
Accused, while talking, showed to the audience
pamphlets and documents, then finally shouted, the NPA will
be victorious. Masamlok likewise Identified the pamphlets as
those marked as Exh. exhibits "B", "C", and "D" for the
prosecution. (TSN, pages 75, 76 and 77, Hearing-January 4,
1983)
Other speakers in said meeting were Pedipol, Jamper
and Oscar Gomez, who likewise expounded their own
opinions about the NPA. It was also announced in said
seminar that a certain Tonio Burgos, will be responsible for
the collection of the contribution from the members. (TSN,
pages 78-79, Hearing- January 4, 1983)
On May 12, 1982, however, Cesar M asamlok
surrendered to Captain Bargio of the Provincial Headquarters
of the Philippine Constabulary, Digos, Davao del Sur.
Assistant Provincial Fiscal Panfilo Lovitos was presented
t prove that on M ay 19, 1982, he administered the
subscription of th extra-judicial confession of accused Ruben
Burgos, marked as Exhibi t "E " for the prosecution, consisting
of five (5) pages.
Appearing voluntarily in said office, for the subscription
of his confession, Fiscal Lovitos, realizing that accused was not
repres ented by counsel, reques ted the services of Atty. Anyog,
whose office is adjacent to the Fiscal's Office, to assist accused
in the subscription of his extra-judicial statement.
Atty. Anyog assisted accused in the reading of his
confession from English to Visay an l anguage, resulting to the
deletion of question No. 19 of the document, by an inserted
certification of Atty. Anyog and signature of accused,
indicating his having understood, the allegations of his extrajudicial statement.

Fiscal Lovitos, before accus ed signed his statement,


expl ained to him his constitutional rights to remai n silent,
right to counsel and right to answer any question propounded
or not.
With the ai d of Atty. Anyog, accus ed signed his
confession in the presence of Atty. Anyog and Fiscal Lovitos,
without the presence of military authorities, who escorted the
accused, but were sent outside the cubicle of Fiscal Lovitos
while waiti ng for the accused. (TSN, pages 36-40, neari ng
November 15, 1982)
Finally, in order to prove illegal possession by accused of
the subject firearm, Sgt. Epifanio Comabi g in-charge of
firearms and explosives, NCO Headquarter, Philippine
Constabul ary, Digos, Davao del Sur, was pres ented and
testified, that among the lists of firearm holders in Davao del
Sur, nothi ng was listed in the name of accused Ruben Burgos,
neither was his name included among the lists of persons who
applied for the licensing of the firearm under Presidenti al
Decree No. 1745.
After the above-testimony the pros ecution formally
closed its case and offered its exhibits, which were all
admitted in evidence, despi te objection interposed by couns el
for accused, which was accordingly overruled.
On the other hand, the defendant-appellant's version of
the case against him is stated in the decision as follows:
From his farm, the military personnel, whom he said he
cannot recognize, brought him to the PC Barracks at Digos,
Davao del Sur, and arrived there at about 3:00 o'clock, on the
same date. At about 8:00 o'clock P.M., in the evening, he was
investigated by soldiers, whom he cannot Identify because
they were wearing a civilian attire. (TSN, page 14 1, HearingJune 15, 1983)
The investigation was conducted in the PC barracks,
where he was detained with respect to the subject firearm,
which the inves tigator, wished him to admit but accused
deni ed its ownership. Because of his refusal accused w as
mauled, hitting him on the left and right side of his body which
rendered him unconscious. Accused in an atmosphere of
tersed solemni ty, crying and with emotional attachment,
described in detail how he was tortured and the ordeals he
was subjected.
He said, after recovery of his consciousness, he was
again confronted wi th subject firearm, Exhibi t "A", for him to
admit and when he repeatedly refused to accept as his own
firearm, he was subjected to further prolong (sic) torture and
physical agony. Accus ed said, his eyes were covered wi th wet
black cloth with pungent effect on his eyes. He was undressed,
with only blindfold, pungent water poured in his body and
over his private parts, making his entire body, particularly his
penis and testicle, terribly irritating with pungent pain.
All along, he was investigated to obtai n his admission,
The process of beating, mauling, pain and/or ordeal was
repeatedly done in similar cycle, from May 13 and 14, 1982.

intercepted only whenev er he fell unconscious and again


repeated after recovery of his senses,
Finally on May 15, 1982, after undergoing the same
torture and physical ordeal he was seriously warned, if he will
still adamantly refuse to accept owners hip of the subject
firearm, he will be salvaged, and no longer able to bear any
further the pain and agony, accused admi tted ownershi p of
subject firearm.
After his admission, the mauling and torture stopped,
but accused was made to sign his affidavit marked as Exhibit
"E" for the prosecution, consisting of five (5) pages, including
the certification of the admi nistering officer, (TSN, pages 141148, Hearing-June 15, 1983)
In addition to how he described the torture i nflicted on
him, accused, by way of explanation and commentary in
details, and going one by one, the allegations and/or contents
of his alleged extrajudicial statement, attributed his answers
to those ques tions involuntarily made only because of fear,
threat and intimidation of his person and family, as a result of
unbearabl e excruciating pain he was subjected by an
investigator, who, unfortunately he cannot Identify and was
able to obtain his admission of the subject firearm, by force
and violence exerted over his person.
To support denial of accused of being involved in any
subversive activities, and also to support his denial to the
truth of his alleged extra-judicial confession, particularly
questions Nos. 35, 38, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46 and 47, along with
qqqs answers to thos e ques tions, involving Honorata Arellano
ahas Inday Arellano, said Honorata Arellano appeared and
declared categorically, that the above-questions embraced in
the numbers allegedly stated in the extrajudicial confession of
accused, involving her to such NPA personalities, as Jamper,
Pol, Anthony, etc., were not true becaus e on the date referred
on April 28, 1982, none of the persons mentioned came to her
house for treatment, nei ther di d she meet the accused nor able
to talk with him. (TSN, pages 118- 121, Hearing-May 18, 1983)
She, however, admi tted bei ng familiar with one Oscar
Gomez, and that she was personally charged wi th subversion
in the Office of the Provincial Commander, Philippine
Constabul ary, Digos, Davao del Sur, but said charge was
dismissed without reaching the Court. She likewise stated that
her son, Rogelio Arellano, was likewise charged for subversion
filed in the Municipal Trial Court of Digos, Davao del Sur, but
was likewise dismissed for lack of sufficient evidence to
sustain his conviction. (TSN, pages 121-122, in relation to her
cross-examination, Hearing-May 18, 1983)
To support accused's deni al of the charge against him,
Barangay Captain of Ti guman, Digos, Dav ao del Sur, Salvador
qqqGalaraga was presented, who declared, he was not
personally aware of any subversive activities of accused, bei ng
his neighbor and member of his barrio. On the contrary, he
can personally attest to his good character and reputation, as a
law abiding citizen of his barrio, being a carpenter and farmer
thereat. (TSl pages 128-129, Hearing-May 18, 1983)

He however, admi tted in cross-examination, that there


were a lot of arrests made by the authorities in his barrio
involving subversive activities but they were released and
were not formally charged in Court because they publicly took
thei r oath of allegi ance with the government. (T SN, pages 133134, in relation to page 136, Hearing-May 18, 1983)
Finally, to support accused's denial of the subject
firearm, his wife, Urbana Burgos, was presented and who
testified that the subject firearm was left in their hous e by
Cesar Masamlok and one Pedipol on May 10, 1982. It was
night time, when the two left the gun, alleging that it was not
in order, and that they will leave i t behind, temporarily for
them to claim i t later. They were the ones who buried it. She
said, her husband, the accus ed, was not i n their house at that
time and that she did not inform him about said fi rearm
neither did she report the matter to the authorities, for fear of
the life of her husband. (TSN, page 24, November 22, 1983)
On cross-examination, she said, even if M asamlok during
the recovery of the firearm, was wearing a mask, she can still
Identify him. (TSN, page 6, Hearing-November 22, 1983)
After the above-testimony, accused through counsel
formally rested his case in support of accused's through
counsel manifes tation for the demurrer to evidence of the
prosecution, or in the alternative for violation merely of
simple illegal possession of fi rearm, 'under the Revised
Administrative Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 4,
reflected in the manifestation of counsel for accused. (TSN,
pages 113-114, Hearing-May 18, 1983)
Accused-appellant Ruben Burgos
following assignments of error, to wit:

now

raises

the

I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT (SIC)
THE ARREST OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT WITHOUT VALID
WARRANT TO BE LAWFUL.
II THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THE
SEARCH IN THE HOUSE OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT FOR
FIREARM WITHOUT VALID WARRANT TO BE LAWFUL.
III THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING ACCUSED APPELLANT GUILT Y BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT FOR
VIOLATION OF P.D. No. 9 IN RELATION TO GENERAL ORDERS
NOS. 6 AND 7
Was the arres t of Ruben Burgos lawful? Were the search
of his house and the subsequent confiscation of a firearm and
documents allegedly found therein conducted in a lawful and
valid manner? Does the evidence sustaining the crime charged
meet the test of proving guilt beyond reasonable doubt?
The records of the case disclose that when the police
authori ties went to the house of Ruben Burgos for the purpose
of arresting him upon information given by Ces ar Masamlok
that the accused allegedly recruited him to join the New
People's Army (NPA), they did not have any warrant of arrest
or search warrant with them (TSN, p. 25, October 14, 1982;
and TSN, p. 61, November 15, 1982).

Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution provides:


The right of the people to be secure in their persons,
houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and
seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall not be
violated, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall
issue except upon probabl e 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 wi tnesses he may produce, and
particularly describing the place to be searched, and the
persons or things to be seized.
The consti tutional provision is a safeguard agai nst
wanton and unreasonable inv asion of the privacy and liberty
of a citizen as to his person, papers and effects. This Court
expl ained in Villanueva vs. Querubin ( 48 SCRA 345) why this
right is so important:
It is deference to one's personality that lies at the core of
this right, but it could be also looked upon as a recognition of a
constitutionally protected area, primarily one's home, but not
necessarily thereto confined. (Cf. Hoffa v. United States, 385
US 293 [19661) What is sought to be guarded is a man's
prerogative to choose who is allowed entry to his residence. In
that haven of refuge, his individuality can assert itself not only
in the choice of who shall be welcome but likewise in the kind
of objects he wants around him. There the s tate, howev er
powerful, does not as such hav e access except under the
circumstances above noted, for in the traditional formulation,
his house, howev er humble, is his castle. Thus is outlawed any
unwarranted intrusion by government, which is called upon to
refrain from any invasion of his dwelling and to respect the
privacies of his life, (Cf. Schmerber v. California, 384 US 757
[1966], Brennan, J. and Boyd v. United States, 116 US 616, 630
[1886]). In the same v ein, Landynski in his authoritative work
(Search and Seizure and the Supreme Court [1966], could fitly
characterize this constitutional ri ght as the embodiment of a
'spiritual concept: the belief that to value the privacy of home
and person and to afford its cons titutional protection against
the long reach of government is no legs than to value human
dignity, and that his privacy must not be disturbed except in
case of ov erriding social need, and then only under s tringent
procedural safeguards.' (Ibid, p. 47).
The tri al court justified the arrest of the accused appelant without any warrant as falling under one of the
instances when arrests may be validly made without a
warrant. Rule 113, Section 6 * of the Rules of Court, provides
the exceptions as follows:
a) When the person to be arrested has committed, is
actually committing, or is about to commit an offense in his
presence;
b) When an offens e has in fact been commi tted, and he
has reasonabl e ground to believe that th e person to be
arrested has committed it;
c) When the person to be arres ted is a prisoner who
has escaped from a penal establishment or pl ace where he is
serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case

is pending or has escaped while bei ng transferred from one


confinement to another.
The Court stated that even if there was no warrant for
the arrest of Burgos, the fact that "the authorities received an
urgent report of accused's involvement in subv ersive activities
from a reliable source (report of Cesar Mas amlok) the
circumstances of his arrest, even without judicial warrant, is
lawfully within the ambit of Section 6-A of Rule 113 of the
Rules of Court and applicable jurisprudence on the matter."
If the arrest is valid, the consequent search and s eizure
of the firearm and the alleged subv ersive documents would
become an incident to a lawful arrest as provided by Rule 126,
Section 12, which states:
A person charged with an offense may be searched for
dangerous weapons or anything which may be used as proof
of the commission of the offense.
The conclusions reached by the trial court are
erroneous.
Under Section 6(a) of Rule 113, the officer arresti ng a
person who has just commi tted, is committi ng, or is about to
commit an offens e must hav e personal knowledge of that fact.
The offense must also be committed in his presence or within
his view. (Sayo v. Chief of Police, 80 Phil. 859).
There is no such personal knowledge in this case.
Whatever knowledge was possessed by the arresting officers,
it came in its entirety from the information furnished by Ces ar
Masamlok. The location of the firearm was given by the
appellant's wife.
At the time of the appellant's arrest, he was not in actual
possession of any firearm or subversive document. Neither
was he committing any act which could be described as
subversive. He was, in fact, plowing his field at the time of the
arrest.
The ri ght of a person to be secure against any
unreasonabl e seizure of his body and any deprivation of his
liberty is a most basic and fundamental one. The statute or
rule which allows exceptions to the requirement of warrants
of arres t is strictly cons trued. Any exception mus t clearly fall
within the situations when securing a warrant would be
absurd or is manifestly unnecessary as provided by the Rul e.
We cannot liberally construe the rule on arrests without
warrant or extend its application beyond the cases specifically
provided by law. To do so would infri nge upon personal
liberty and set back a basic right so often violated and so
deserving of full protection.
The Solicitor General is of the persuasion that the arrest
may still be considered lawful under Section 6(b) using the
test of reasonableness. He submits that. the information given
by Cesar M asamlok was sufficient to in duce a reasonable
ground that a crime has been committed and that the accused
is probably guilty thereof.

In arrests without a warrant under Section 6(b),


howev er, it is not enough that there is reasonable ground to
believe that the person to be arrested has committed a crime.
A crime mus t in fact or actually have been committed firs t.
That a crime has actually been committed is an essenti al
precondition. It is not enough to suspect that a crime may
have been committed. The fact of the commission of the
offense must be undisputed. The tes t of reasonable ground
applies only to the identity of the perpetrator.

instead they hold that a peaceful submission to a search or


seizure is not a cons ent or an invitation thereto, but is merely
a demonstration of regard for the supremacy of the law. (56
C.J., pp. 1180, 1181).

In this case, the accused was arrested on the sole basis


of Masamlok's verbal report. Masamlok led the authoriti es to
suspect that the accused had committed a crime. They were
still fishing for evidence of a crime not y et ascertained. The
subsequent recovery of the subject fi rearm on the basis of
information from the lips of a frightened wife cannot make the
arrest lawful, If an arrest without warrant is unlawful at the
moment it is made, generally nothing that happened or is
discovered afterwards can make it lawful. The fruit of a
poisoned tree is necessarily also tainted.

That the accus ed-appellant was not apprised of any of


his constitutional rights at the time of his arres t is evident
from the records:

More important, we find no compelling reason for the


haste with which the arres ting officers sought to arrest the
accused. We fail to see why they failed to firs t go through the
process of obtaining a warrant of arrest, if indeed they had
reasonable ground to believe that the accused had truly
committed a crime. There is no showing th at there was a real
apprehension that the accused was on the verge of flight or
escape. Likewise, there is no showing that the whereabouts of
the accused were unknown,

We apply the rul e that: "courts indulge ev ery reasonable


pres umption agains t waiver of fundamental constitutional
rights and that we do not presume acquiescence in the loss of
fundamental rights." (Johnson v. Zerbst 304 U.S. 458).

A CALAMBA:
Q When you went to the area to arrest Ruben Burgos,
you were not armed with an arrest warrant?
A

None Sir.

Q Neither were you armed with a search warrant?


A No Sir.
Q As a matter of fact, Burgos was not present in his
house when you went there?
A

But he was twenty meters away from his house.

Q Ruben Burgos was then plowing his field?


The basis for the action taken by the arresting officer
was the verbal report made by Masamlok who was not
required to subscribe his allegations under oath. There was no
compulsion for him to state truthfully his charges under pain
of criminal pros ecution. (TSN, p. 24, October 14, 1982).
Consequently, the need to go through the process of securing a
search warrant and a warrant of arres t becomes ev en more
clear. The arrest of the accus ed while he was plowing his field
is illegal. The arrest being unlawful, the search and seizure
which transpired afterwards could not likewise be deemed
legal as being mere incidents to a valid arrest.
Neither can it be presumed that there was a waiver, or
that consent was given by the accused to be s earched simply
because he failed to object. To constitute a waiver, it must
appear first that the right exists; s econdly, that the person
involved had knowl edge, actual or cons tructive, of the
existence of such a right; and lastly, that said person had an
actual intention to relinquish the ri ght (Pasion Vda. de Garcia
v. Locsin, 65 Phil. 689). The fact that the accus ed failed to
object to the entry into his house does not amount to a
permission to make a s earch therein (Magoncia v. Palacio, 80
Phil. 770). As pointed out by Justice Laurel in the cas e of
Pasion Vda. de Garcia V. Locsin (supra)

A Yes Sir.
Q

When you called for Ruben Burgos you interviewed

Yes Sir.

him?

Q And that you told him that Masamlok implicated him?


A

No Sir.

Q What did you tell him?


A That we received information that you have a firearm,
you surrender that firearm, first he denied but when Sgt.
Buncalan interviewed his wife, his wife told him that it is
buried, I dug the firearm which was wrapped wi th a
cellophane.
Q In your interview of Burgos you did not remind him
of his rights under the cons titution considering that he was
purposely under arrest?
A I did not.

xxx xxx

xxx

. . . As the cons titutional guaranty is not dependent upon


any affirmative act of the citizen, the courts do not place the
citizen in the position of ei ther contesti ng an officer's
authori ty by force, or waiving his constitutional rights; but

As a matter of fact, he denied that he has ever a gun?

Yes Sir.

Q As a matter of fact, the gun was not in his possession?

It was buried down in his horse.

Q As a matter of fact, Burgos did not point to where it


was buried?
A

Yes Sir.

(TSN, pp. 25-26, Hearing-October 14, 1982)


Considering that the questioned firearm and the alleged
subversive documents were obtained in violation of the
accused's constitutional ri ghts against unreasonable s earches
and seizures, it follows that they are inadmissible as evidence.
There is another aspect of this case.
In proving ownership of the ques tioned firearm and
alleged subv ersive documents, the prosecution presented the
two arresti ng officers who testified that the accus ed readily
admitted owners hip of the gun after qqqs wife pointed to the
place where it was buri ed. The officers stated that i t was the
accused himself who voluntarily pointed to the place where
the alleged subversive documents were hidden.
Assuming this to be true, it should be recalled that the
accused was never informed of his constitutional rights at t he
time of his arrest. So that when the accused allegedly admitted
ownership of the gun and pointed to the location of the
subversive documents after ques tioning, the admissions were
obtai ned in violation of the constitutional right agains t selfincrimination under Sec. 20 of Art. IV of the Bill of Rights
winch provides:
No person shall be compelled to be a witness agai nst
himself. Any person under inv estigation for the commission of
an offens e shall hav e the ri ght to remain silent and to counsel,
and to be informed of such right.. . .
The Constitution itself mandates that any evidence
obtai ned in violation of this right is inadmissible in evidence.
Consequently, the testimonies of the arresting officers as to
the admissions made by the appellant cannot be used against
him.
The trial court validly rejected the extra-judicial
confession of the accus ed as inadmissible in evidence. The
court s tated that the appellant's having been exhaustively
subjected to physical terror, violence, and third degree
measures may not have been supported by reliable evidence
but the failure to present the investi gator who conducted the
investigation gives rise to the "provocative presumption" that
indeed torture and physical violence may have been
committed as stated.
The accused-appellant was not accorded his
constitutional right to be assisted by counsel during the
custodial interrogation. The lower court correctly pointed out
that the securing of counsel, Atty. Anyog, to help the accused
when he subscribed under oath to his statement at the Fiscal's
Office was too late. It could have no palliative effect. It cannot
cure the absence of counsel at the time of the custodi al

investigation when the extrajudicial statement was bei ng


taken.
With the extra-judicial confession, the firearm, and the
alleged subv ersive documents i nadmissible in evidence
against the accus ed-appellant, the only remai ning proof to
sustain the charge of Illegal Possession of Firearm in
Furtherance of Subv ersion is the tes timony of Ces ar
Masamlok.
We find the testimony of Masamlok inadequate to
convict Burgos beyond reasonable doubt. It is true that the
trial court found Masamlok's testimony credible and
convincing. However, we are not necessarily bound by the
credibility which the trial court attaches to a particular
witness. As stated in People vs.. Cabrera (100 SCRA 424):
xxx xxx

xxx

. . .Time and again we have stated that when it comes to


question of credibility the findings of the trial court are
enti tled to great respect upon appeal for the obvious re ason
th+at i t was able to observe the demeanor, actuations and
deportment of the witnesses during the trial. But we have also
said that this rule is not absolute for otherwise there would be
no reversals of convictions upon appeal. We must reject the
findings of the trial court where the record discloses
circumstances of weight and substance which were not
properly appreciated by the trial court.
The situation under which Ces ar M asamlok testified is
analogous to that found i n People vs. Capadocia (17 SCRA 98
1):
. . . The case against appellant is built on Ternura's
testimony, and the issue hinges on how much credence can be
accorded to him. The firs t consideration is that sai d testimony
stands uncorroborated. Ternura was the only witness who
testified on the mimeographing incident. . . .
xxx xxx

xxx

. . .He was a confessed Huk under detention at the time.


He knew his fate depended upon how much he cooperated
with the authoriti es, who were then engaged in a vigorous
anti -dissident campaign. As in the case of Rodrigo de Jesus,
whose tes timony We discounted for the same reason, that of
Ternura cannot be considered as proceeding from a totally
unbiased source. . . .
In the instant case, M asamlok's tes timony was totally
uncorroborated. Considering that Mas amlok surrendered to
the military certainly his fate depended on how eagerly he
cooperated with the authorities. Otherwise, he would also be
charged wi th s ubversion. The trade-off appears to be his
membership i n the Civil Home Defense Force. (TSN, p. 83,
January 4, 1983). Masamlok may be considered as an
interested witness. It can not be said that his testimony is free
from the opportunity and temptation to be exaggerated and
even fabricated for it was intended to secure his freedom.

Despite the fact that there were other persons present


during the alleged NPA seminar of April 19, 1982 i.e.,
Masamlok's father ,Matuguil Masamlok, Isabel Ilan and Ayok
Ides (T SN, p. 74, January 4, 1983) who could have
corroborated Cesar M asamlok's testimony that the accused
used the gun in furtherance of subversive activities or actually
engaged in subversive acts, the prosecution never presented
any other witness.
This Court is, therefore, constrained to rule that the
evidence presented by the prosecution is insufficient to prove
the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction rendered by


the trial court is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The accusedappellant is hereby ACQUITTED, on grounds of reasonable
doubt, of the crime with which he has been charged.
The subject firearm involved in this case (homemade
revolver, caliber .38, Smith and Wesson, with Serial No.
8.69221) and the alleged subversive documents are ordered
disposed of in accordance with law.
Cost de oficio.
SO ORDERED.

As held in the case of People vs. Baia (34 SCRA 347):


It is evident that once again, reliance can be placed on
People v. Dramayo (42 SCRA 59), where after stressing that
accusation is not, according to the fundamental law,
synonymous with guilt, it was made clear: 'Only if the judge
below and the appellate tribunal could arrive at a conclusion
that the crime had been committed precisely by the person on
trial under such an exacting test should the sentence be one of
conviction. It is thus required that every circumstance
favoring his innocence be duly taken into account. The proof
against him mus t survive the test of reason; the strongest
suspicion must not be permitted to sway judgment. The
conscience must be satisfied that on the defendant could be
laid the responsibility for the offense charged; that not only
did he perpetrate the act but that it amounted to a crime.
What is required then is moral certainty.' (Ibid, 64. Cf. People
v. Alvarez, 55 SCRA 81; People v. Joven, 64 SCRA 126; People
vs. Ramirez, 69 SCRA 144; People vs. Godov 72 SCRA 69;
People v. Lopez, 74 SCRA 205; People v. Poblador, 76 SCRA
634; Peopl e v. Quiazon, 78 SCRA 513; People v. Nazareno, 80
SCRA 484; People vs. Gabilan 115 SCRA 1; Peopl e v. Gabi ana,
117 SCRA 260; and People vs. Ibanga 124 SCRA 697).
We are aware of the serious probl ems faced by the
military in Davao del Sur where there appears to be a wellorganized plan to ov erthrow the Government through armed
struggle and replace i t with an alien system based on a forei gn
ideology. The open defiance against duly constituted
authori ties has resulted i n unfortunate levels of violence and
human suffering publicized all over the country and abroad.
Even as we reiterate the need for all freedom loving citizens to
assist the military authorities in their legi timate efforts to
maintain peace and national s ecuri ty, we must also remember
the dictum in Morales vs. Enrile (1 21 SCRA 538, 569) when
this Court stated:

Feria (Chairman), Fernan, Al ampay and Paras, JJ.,


concur.

Footnotes
* The 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure have made
clearer the exceptions when an arrest may be made without
warrant. Rule 113, Section 5 provides:
Arrest without warrant when lawful. A peace officer or a
private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
(a) When, in his pres ence, the person to be arrested has
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit
an offense,
(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed,
and he has personal knowledge of facts indicati ng that the
person to be arrested has committed it; and
(c) When the person to be arres ted is a prisoner who
has escaped from a penal establishment or pl ace where he is
serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case
is pending, or has escaped while bei ng transferred from one
confinement to another.
In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the
person arrested without a warrant shall be forthwith
delivered to the nearest Police station or i jail and he shall be
proceeded against in accordance with Rule 11 2, Section 7. 6a
17a).

The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation


While the government should continue to repel the
communists, the subversives, the rebels, and the l awless with
an the means at its command, it should always be
remembered that whatever action is taken must always be
within the framework of our Constitution and our laws.
Violations of human ri ghts do not help in overcomi ng a
rebellion. A cavalier attitude towards cons titutional liberti es
and protections will only fan the increase of s ubversive
activities instead of containing and suppressing them.

SYLLABI/SYNOPSIS
EN BANC
[G.R. No. 125299. January 22, 1999]
PEO PLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plai ntiff-appellee, vs.
FLORENCIO DORIA y BOLADO, and VIOLETA GADDAO y
CATAMA @ "NENETH," accused-appellants.
D EC IS IO N
PUNO, J.:

On December 7, 1995, accused-appellants Florencio


Doria y Bolado and Violeta Gaddao y Catama @ "Neneth" were
charged wi th violation of Section 4, in relation to Section 21 of
the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972.[1] The information reads:
"That on or about the 5th day of December, 1995 in the
City of Mandaluyong, Philippines, a pl ace within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, cons piring, confederating and mutually helping and
aiding one another and wi thout having been authorized by
law, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
sell, administer, deliver and give away to another eleven (11)
plastic bags of suspected mari juana fruiting tops weighi ng
7,641.08 grams in violation of the above-cited law.
CONTRARY TO LAW."[2]
The pros ecution contends the offens e was committed as
follows: In November 1995, members of the North
Metropolitan District, Philippine National Police (PNP)
Narcotics Command (Narcom), received information from two
(2) civilian informants (CI) that one "Jun" was engaged in
illegal drug activities in M andaluyong City. The Narcom agents
decided to entrap and arrest "Jun" in a buy -bust operation. As
arranged by one of the CI's, a meeting between the Narcom
agents and "Jun" was schedul ed on D ecember 5, 1995 at E.
Jacinto Street in Mandaluyong City.
On December 5, 1995, at 6:00 in the morni ng, the CI
went to the PNP Headquarters at EDSA, Kamuning, Quezon
City to prepare for the buy-bust operation. The Narcom agents
formed Team Alpha composed of P/Insp. Nolasco Cortes as
team leader and PO3 Celso Manlangit, SPO 1 Edmund Badua
and four (4) other policemen as members. P/Insp. Cortes
designated PO3 Manlangit as the pos eur-buyer and SPO1
Badua as his back -up, and the res t of the team as perimeter
security. Superintendent Pedro Alcantara, Chief of the North
Metropolitan District PNP Narcom, gave the team P2,000.00 to
cover operational expenses. From this sum, PO 3 Manlangit s et
aside P1,600.00-- a one thous and peso bill and six (6) one
hundred peso bills[3]-- as money for the buy-bust operation.
The market price of one kilo of marijuana was then P1,600.00.
PO3 Manlangit marked the bills with his initials and listed
thei r serial numbers in the police blotter.[4] The team rode in
two cars and headed for the target area.
At 7:20 of the same morning, "Jun" appeared and the CI
introduced PO3 Manlangit as interested in buying one (1) kilo
of marijuana. PO3 Manl angit handed "Jun" the marked bills
worth P1,600.00. "Jun" instructed PO3 Manlangit to wai t for
him at the corner of Shaw Boulevard and Jacinto Street while
he got the mari juana from his associate.[5] An hour later, "Jun"
appeared at the agreed place where PO3 Manlangit, the CI and
the rest of the team were waiting. "Jun" took out from his bag
an object wrapped in pl astic and gave it to PO3 Manl angit. PO3
Manlangit forthwith arrested "Jun" as SPO1 Badua rushed to
help in the arres t. They frisked "Jun" but did not find the
marked bills on him. Upon inquiry, "Jun" reveal ed that he left
the money at the house of his associate named "Neneth."[6]
"Jun" led the police team to "Neneth's" house nearby at Daang
Bakal.

The team found the door of "Neneth's" house open and a


woman inside. "Jun" identified the woman as his associate.[7]
SPO1 Badua asked "Neneth" about the P1,600.00 as PO3
Manlangit looked over "Neneth's" house. Standing by the door,
PO3 Manlangit noticed a carton box under the dining tabl e. He
saw that one of the box's flaps was open and inside the box
was something wrapped in plastic. The plastic wrapper and i ts
contents appeared similar to the marijuana earlier "sold" to
him by "Jun." His suspicion aroused, PO3 M anlangi t entered
"Neneth's" house and took hold of the box. He peeked inside
the box and found that i t contained ten (10) bricks of what
appeared to be dried marijuana leaves.
Simultaneous with the box's discovery, SPO1 Badua
recovered the marked bills from "Neneth."[8] The policemen
arrested "Neneth." They took "Neneth" and "Jun," together
with the box, its contents and the marked bills and turned
them over to the inv estigator at headquarters. It was only then
that the police l earned that "Jun" is Florencio Doria y Bolado
while "Neneth" is Violeta Gaddao y Catama. The one (1) brick
of dried marijuana leaves recovered from "Jun" plus the ten
(10) bricks recovered from "Neneth's" house were examined
at the PNP Crime Laboratory.[9] The bricks, eleven (11) in all,
were found to be dried marijuana fruiti ng tops of various
weights totalling 7,641.08 grams.[10]
The prosecution story was denied by accus ed-appellants
Florencio Dori a and Violeta Gaddao. Florencio Dori a, a 33-year
old carpenter, testified that on December 5, 1995, at 7:00 in
the morning, he was at the gate of his house reading a tabloid
newspaper. Two men appeared and asked him if he knew a
certain "Totoy." There were many "Totoys" in their area and
as the men ques tioning him were strangers, accused -appellant
deni ed knowing any "Totoy." The men took accused -appellant
inside his house and accused him of being a pusher in their
community. When accused-appellant deni ed the charge, the
men led him to their car outside and ordered him to point out
the house of "Totoy." For five (5) minutes, accused -appellant
stayed i n the car. Thereafter, he gave in and took them to
"Totoy's" house.
Doria knocked on the door of "Totoy's" house but no one
answered. One of the men, later identified as PO3 Manlangi t,
pushed open the door and he and his companions entered and
looked around the hous e for about three minutes. Accusedappellant Doria was left standing at the door. The policemen
came out of the house and they saw Violeta Gaddao carrying
water from the well. He asked Violeta where "Totoy" was but
she replied he was not there. Curious onlookers and kibitzers
were, by that time, surro undi ng them. When Violeta entered
her house, three men were already inside. Accused -appellant
Doria, then still at the door, overheard one of the men say that
they found a carton box. Turning towards them, Doria saw a
box on top of the table. The box was open and had somethi ng
inside. PO3 Manlangit ordered him and Violeta to go outside
the house and board the car. They were brought to police
headquarters where they were investigated.
Accused-appellant Doria further declared that his coaccused, Violeta Gaddao, is the wife of his acquaintance, Totoy
Gaddao. He said that he and Totoy Gaddao sometimes drank

together at the nei ghborhood store. This closeness, however,


did not extend to Violeta, Totoy's wife.[11]
Accused-appellant Violeta Gaddao, a 35-year old rice
vendor, claimed that on December 5, 1995, she was at her
house at Daang Bakal, Mandaluyong City where she lived with
her husband and five (5) children, namely, Arvy, aged 10,
Arjay, aged 8, the twins Raymond and Raynan, aged 5, and
Jason, aged 3. That day, accused-appellant woke up at 5:30 in
the morning and bought pan de sal for her children's
breakfas t. Her husband, Totoy, a housepainter, had left for
Pangasinan five days earlier. She woke her children and
bathed them. Her eldest son, Arvy, left for school at 6:45 A.M.
Ten minutes later, she carri ed her younges t son, Jayson, and
accompanied Arjay to school. She left the twi ns at home
leaving the door open. After seei ng Arjay off, she and Jayson
remained standing i n front of the school soaking in the sun for
about thi rty minutes. Then they headed for home. Along the
way, they passed the artesian well to fetch water. She was
pumping water when a man clad in short pants and denim
jacket suddenly appeared and grabbed her left wrist. The man
pulled her and took her to her hous e. She found out later that
the man was PO3 Manlangit.
Inside her hous e were her co-accused Doria and three
(3) other persons. They asked her about a box on top of the
table. This was the firs t time she saw the box. The box was
closed and ti ed with a pi ece of green straw. The men opened
the box and showed her its contents. She said she did not
know anything about the box and its contents.
Accused-appellant Violeta Gaddao confirmed that her
co-accused Florencio Doria was a friend of her husband, and
that her husband never returned to their house after he left
for Pangasinan. She denied the charge against her and Doria
and the allegation that marked bills were found in her
person.[12]
After trial, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 156, Pasig
City convicted the accus ed-appellants. The trial court found
the existence of an "organized/syndicated crime group" and
sentenced both accused-appellants to death and pay a fine of
P500,000.00 each. The dispositive portion of the decision
reads as follows:
"WHEREFORE, the guilt of accused, FLORENCIO DORIA y
BOLADO @ "Jun" and VIOLETA GADDAO y CATAM A @
"Neneth" having been es tablished beyond reasonabl e doubt,
they are both CONVICTED of the present charge against them.

An organized/syndicated crime group means a group of


two or more persons collaborating, confederating or mutually
helping one another for purposes of gai n in the commission of
any crime.'
the Court is hereby constrained to s entence (hereby
sentences) said FLORENCIO DORIA y BOLADO @ "Jun" and
VIOLETA GADDAO y CATAMA @ "Neneth" to D EATH and to
pay a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00)
each without subsidiary imprisonment in case of i nsolvency
and to pay the costs.
The confiscated mari juana bricks (7,641.08 grams) shall
be turned over to the Dangerous Drugs Board, NBI for
destruction in accordance with law.
Let a Commitment Order be issued for the transfer of
accused DORIA from the M andaluyong City Jail to the New
Bilibid Prisons, Muntinlupa City and also for accused GADDAO
for her transfer to the Correctional Ins titute for Women,
Mandaluyong City.
Let the enti re records of this case be forwarded
immediately to the Supreme Court for mandatory review.
SO ORDERED."[13]
Before this Court, accused-appellant Doria assigns two
errors, thus:
"I
THE CO URT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING
WEIGHT TO THE TESTIMONY OF THE WITNESSES FOR THE
PROSECUTION WHEN THEIR TESTIMONIES WERE SHOT
WITH DISCREPANCIES, INCONSISTENCIES AND THAT THE
CORPUS DELICTI OF THE MARIJUANA ALLEGEDLY TAKEN
FROM APPELLANT WAS NOT POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED BY
THE POSEUR-BUYER.
II
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN ADMITTING AS
EVID ENCE THE MARIJUANA FRUITINGS FOUND INSID E THE
CARTON BOX AS THESE WERE OBTAINED THROUGH A
WARRANTLESS SEARCH AND DOES NOT COME WITHIN THE
PLAIN VIEW DOCTRINE."[14]
Accused-appellant Violeta Gaddao contends:

According to the amendatory provisions of Sec. 13 of


Republic Act No. 7659 which cover violations of Sec. 4 of
Republic Act No. 6425 and which was exhaustively discussed
in People v. Simon, 234 SCRA 555, the penal ty imposable in
this case is reclusion perpetua to death and a fine rangi ng
from five hundred thous and pesos to ten million pesos. Taking
into consideration, howev er, the provisions of Sec. 23, also of
Republic Act No. 7659 which explicitly state that:

"I
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FIND ING APPELLANT
GUILT Y DESPITE THE INCREDIBILITY OF THE POLICE
VERSION OF THE MANNER THE ALLEGED BUY-BUST AS
CONDUCTED.
II

'The maximum penalty shall be impos ed if the offense


was committed by any person who belongs to an
organized/syndicated crime group.

THE PNP OFFICERS' VERSIONS AS TO WHERE THE BUY BUST MONEY CAM E FROM ARE INCONSISTENT WITH ONE
ANOTHER AND ALSO REEKS WITH INCREDIBILITY.
III
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FIND ING APPELLANT
GUILT Y AND SENTENCING HER TO DEATH DESPITE THE
MANIFESTLY IRRECONCILABLE INCONSISTENCIES IN THE
VERSIONS OF THE POLICE AS TO HOW AND BY WHOM THE
ALLEGED BUY-BUST MONEY WAS RECOVERED FROM HER,
WHICH IN CONSEQ UENCE RESULTS IN THE EVID ENCE, OF
RETRIEVAL FROM HER OF THE SAM E, NEBULOUS, AT BEST,
NIL, AT WORST.
IV
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE
VALIDITY OF THE WARRANTLESS SEARCH LEADING TO THE
SEIZURE OF THE MARIJUANA ALLEGEDLY FOUND INSIDE
THE HOUSE OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT."[15]
The assigned errors involve two pri ncipal issues: (1) the
validity of the buy-bust operation in the apprehension of
accused-appellant Dori a; and (2) the validity of the
warrantless arrest of accus ed-appellant Gaddao, the search of
her person and house, and the admissibility of the pieces of
evidence obtained therefrom.
Accused-appellants were caught by the police in a buybust operation. A buy-bust operation is a form of entrapment
employed by peace officers as an effective way of
apprehending a criminal in the act of the commission of an
offense.[16] Entrapment has received judicial sanction when
undertaken with due regard to cons titutional and l egal
safeguards.[17]
Entrapment was unknown in common law. It is a
judicially created twentieth-century American doctri ne that
evolved from the increasing use of informers and undercover
agents in the detection of crimes, particularly liquor and
narcotics offenses.[18] Entrapment sprouted from the
doctri ne of estoppel and the public interest in the formulation
and application of decent standards in the enforcement of
criminal law.[19] It also took off from a spontaneous moral
revulsion against using the powers of government to beguile
innocent but ductile persons into laps es that they might
otherwise resist.[20]
In the American jurisdiction, the term "entrapment" has
a generally negative meaning because it is understood as the
inducement of one to commit a crime not contemplated by
him, for the mere purpos e of instituting a criminal prosecution
against him.[21] The classic defini tion of entrapment is that
articulated by Justice Roberts in Sorrells v. United States,[22]
the firs t Supreme Court decision to acknowledge the concept:
"Entrapment is the conception and pl anni ng of an offense by
an officer, and his procurement of its commission by one who
would not have perpetrated it except for the trickery,
pers uasion or fraud of the officer."[23] It consists of two (2)
elements: (a) acts of persuasion, trickery, or fraud carried out
by law enforcement officers or the agents to induce a

defendant to commi t a crime; and (b) the origin of the criminal


design in the minds of the government officials rather than
that of the innocent defendant, such that the crime is the
product of the creative activity of the law enforcement
officer.[24]
It is recognized that in every arres t, there is a certain
amount of entrapment used to outwit the persons violating or
about to violate the law. Not every deception is forbidden. The
type of entrapment the law forbids is the inducing of another
to violate the l aw, the "seduction" of an otherwise innocent
person into a criminal career.[25] Where the criminal intent
originates in the mind of the entrappi ng person and the
accused is lured into the commission of the offens e charged in
order to prosecute him, there is entrapment and no conviction
may be had.[26] Where, however, the criminal intent
originates in the mind of the accus ed and the criminal offense
is completed, the fact that a person acting as a decoy for the
state, or public officials furnished the accused an opportuni ty
for commission of the offense, or that the accused is aided in
the commission of the crime in order to secure the evidence
necessary to prosecute him, there is no entrapment and the
accused must be convicted.[27] The law tolerates the use of
decoys and other artifices to catch a criminal.
Entrapment is recognized as a valid defense[28] that can
be raised by an accused and partakes of the nature of a
confession and avoidance.[29] It is a positive defense. Initi ally,
an accus ed has the burden of providing sufficient evidence
that the government induced him to commit the offense. Once
established, the burden shifts to the gov ernment to show
otherwise.[30] When entrapment is raised as a defens e,
American federal courts and a majority of state courts use the
"subjective" or "origin of intent" test laid down in Sorrells v.
United States[31] to determine whether entrapment actually
occurred. The focus of the inquiry is on the accused's
predisposition to commi t the offense charged, his state of
mind and inclination before his initial exposure to gov ernment
agents.[32] All rel evant facts such as the accused's mental and
character traits, his past offenses, activities, his eagerness in
committing the crime, his reputation, etc., are considered to
assess his state of mind before the crime.[33] The
predisposition test emphasizes the accused's propensity to
commit the offens e rather than the officer's misconduct[34]
and reflects an attempt to draw a line between a "trap for the
unwary innocent and the trap for the unwary criminal."[35] If
the accused was found to have been ready and willing to
commit the offense at any favorable opportunity, the
entrapment defense will fail even if a police agent used an
unduly persuasive inducement.[36] Some s tates, however,
have adopted the "objective" tes t.[37] This test was first
authori tatively laid down in the case of Grossman v. State[38]
rendered by the Supreme Court of Alaska. Several other states
have subsequently adopted the tes t by judicial
pronouncement or legislation. Here, the court considers the
nature of the police activity involved and the propriety of
police conduct.[39] The inquiry is focus ed on the inducements
used by gov ernment agents, on police conduct, not on the
accused and his predisposition to commit the crime. For the
goal of the defense is to deter unlawful police conduct.[40]
The test of entrapment is whether the conduct of the law
enforcement agent was likely to i nduce a normally law-

abiding person, other than one who is ready and willing, to


commit the offense;[41] for purposes of this tes t, it is
pres umed that a law-abiding person would normally resist the
temptation to commit a crime that is presented by the simple
opportunity to act unlawfully.[42] Official conduct that merely
offers such an opportunity is permissible, but overbeari ng
conduct, such as badgering, cajoling or importuning,[43] or
appeals to sentiments such as pity, sympathy, friendship or
pleas of desperate illness, are not.[44] Proponents of this test
believe that courts must refuse to convict a n entrapped
accused not because his conduct falls outside the legal norm
but rather because, even if his guilt has been established, the
methods employed on behalf of the government to bring about
the crime "cannot be countenanced." To some extent, this
reflects the notion that the courts should not become tainted
by condoning law enforcement improprieties.[45] Hence, the
transactions leading up to the offense, the interaction between
the accused and law enforcement officer and the accused's
response to the officer's inducements, the gravity of the crime,
and the difficulty of detecting instances of its commission are
considered in judging what the effect of the officer's conduct
would be on a normal person.[46]
Both the "subjective" and "objective" approaches have
been criticized and objected to. It is claimed that the
"subjective" tes t creates an "anything goes" rule, i.e., if the
court determines that an accused was predisposed to commit
the crime charged, no level of police deceit, badgering or other
unsavory practices will be deemed impermissible.[47] Delving
into the accused's character and predisposition obscures the
more important task of judging police behavior and prejudices
the accus ed more generally. It ignores the possibility that no
matter what his past crimes and general disposition were, the
accused might not have committed the particular crime unless
confronted with inordinate inducements.[48] On the other
extreme, the purely "objective" tes t eliminates enti rely the
need for consideri ng a particular accused's predisposition. His
predisposition, at least if known by the police, may have an
important bearing upon the ques tion of whether the conduct
of the police and their agents was proper.[49] The undisputed
fact that the accused was a dangerous and chronic offender or
that he was a shrewd and active member of a criminal
syndicate at the time of his arrest is relegated to
irrelevancy.[50]
Objections to the two tests gave bi rth to hybrid
approaches to entrapment. Some states in the United States
now combine both the "subjective" and "objective" tes ts.[51]
In Cruz v. State,[52] the Florida Supreme Court declared that
the permissibility of police conduct must fi rst be determi ned.
If this objective test is satisfied, then the analysis turns to
whether the accus ed was predisposed to commi t the
crime.[53] In Baca v. State,[54] the New Mexico Supreme
Court modified the state's entrapment analysis by holding that
"a criminal defendant may successfully assert a defense of
entrapment, ei ther by showing lack of predisposition to
commit the crime for which he is charged, or, that the police
exceeded the standards of proper inv estigation.[55] The
hybrid approaches combine and apply the "objective" and
"subjective" tests alternatively or concurrently.

As early as 1910, this Court has examined the conduct of


law enforcers while apprehending the accused caught in
flagrante delicto. In Uni ted States v. Phelps,[56] we acquitted
the accused from the offense of smoking opi um after findi ng
that the government employee, a BIR personnel, actually
induced him to commit the crime in order to prosecute him.
Smith, the BIR agent, testified that Phelps' apprehension came
after he overheard Phelps in a s aloon say that he liked
smoking opium on some occasions. Smith's testimony was
disregarded. We accorded significance to the fact that it was
Smith who went to the accused three times to convince him to
look for an opium den where both of them could smoke this
drug.[57] The conduct of the BIR agent was condemned as
"most reprehensible."[58] In Peopl e v. Abella,[59] we
acquitted the accused of the crime of selling explosives after
examining the testimony of the apprehending police officer
who pretended to be a merchant. The police officer offered "a
tempting price, xxx a very high one" causing the accused to
sell the explosives. We found that there was inducement,
"direct, persistent and effective" by the police officer and that
outside of his testimony, there was no evidence sufficient to
convict the accused.[60] In People v. Lua Chu and Uy Se
Tieng,[61] we convicted the accus ed after fi nding that there
was no inducement on the part of the law enforcement officer.
We stated that the Cus toms secret serviceman smoothed the
way for the introduction of opium from Hongkong to Cebu
after the accused had already planned its importation and
ordered said drug. We ruled that the apprehending officer did
not induce the accused to import opium but merely entrapped
him by pretending to have an unders tanding with the
Collector of Cus toms of Cebu to better assure the seizure of
the prohibited drug and the arrest of the surreptitious
importers.[62]
It was also in the same case of People v. Lua Chu and Uy
Se Tieng[63] we fi rst laid down the distinction between
entrapment vis-a-vis instigation or induc ement. Quoting 16
Corpus Juris,[64] we held:
"ENTRAPM ENT AND INSTIGATION. -- While it has been
said that the practice of entrapping persons into crime for the
purpose of instituting criminal prosecutions is to be deplored,
and while i nstigation, as distinguished from mere entrapment,
has often been condemned and has sometimes been held to
prev ent the act from being criminal or punishable, the general
rule is that it is no defense to the perpetrator of a crime that
facilities for its commission were purposely placed in his way,
or that the criminal act was done at the 'decoy solicitation' of
persons seeking to expose the criminal, or that detectives
feigning complicity in the act were pres ent and apparently
assisting in its commission. Especially is this true in that class
of cases where the offens e is one of a kind habitually
committed, and the solicitation merely furnishes evidence of a
course of conduct. M ere deception by the detective will not
shield defendant, if the offens e was committed by him, free
from the influence or insti gation of the detective. The fact that
an agent of an owner acts as a supposed confederate of a thief
is no defense to the latter in a prosecution for larceny,
provided the original design was formed independently of
such agent; and where a person approached by the thi ef as his
confederate notifies the owner or the public authorities, and,
being authorised by them to do so, assists the thief in carrying

out the plan, the larceny is nevertheless committed. It is


generally held that it is no defense to a prosecution for an
illegal sale of liquor that the purchase was made by a 'spotter,'
detective, or hired informer; but there are cases holding the
contrary."[65]
The distinction above-quoted was reiterated in two (2)
decisions of the Court of Appeals. In People v. Galicia,[66] the
appellate court declared that "there is a wide difference
between entrapment and instigation." The insti gator
practically induces the would-be accused into the commission
of the offense and himself becomes a co-principal. In
entrapment, ways and means are resorted to by the peace
officer for the purpose of trapping and capturing the
lawbreaker i n the execution of his criminal plan.[67] In People
v. Tan Tiong,[68] the Court of Appeals further declared that
"entrapment is no bar to the prosecution and conviction of the
lawbreaker."[69]
The pronouncement of the Court of Appeals in People v.
Galicia was affirmed by this Court in People v. Tiu Ua.[70]
Entrapment, we further held, is not contrary to public policy.
It is instigation that is deemed contrary to public policy and
illegal.[71]
It can thus be seen that the concept of entrapment in the
American jurisdiction is similar to instigation or inducement
in Philippine jurisprudence. Entrapment in the Philippines is
not a defense availabl e to the accused. It is instigation that is a
defense and is considered an absolutory caus e.[72] To
determine whether there is entrapment or instigation, our
courts have mainly examined the conduct of the apprehendi ng
officers, not the predisposition of the accused to commit the
crime. The "objective" test first applied in United States v.
Phelps has been followed in a series of similar cases.[73]
Nevertheless, adopting the "objective" approach has not
precluded us from likewise applying the "subjective" test. In
People v. Boholst,[74] we applied both tes ts by examini ng the
conduct of the police officers in a buy-bust operation and
admitting evidence of the accused's members hip with the
notorious and dreaded Sigue-Sigue Sputnik Gang. We also
considered accused's previous convictions of other crimes[75]
and held that his opprobrious past and membership with the
dreaded gang strengthened the s tate's evidence against him.
Conversely, the evidence that the accused did not sell or
smoke marijuana and did not have any criminal record was
likewise admitted in People v. Yutuc[76] thereby sustaini ng
his defense that led to his acquittal.
The distinction between entrapment and instigation has
proven to be very material in anti-narcotics operatio ns. In
recent years, it has become common practice for law
enforcement officers and agents to engage in buy-bust
operations and other entrapment procedures in apprehendi ng
drug offenders. Anti-narcotics laws, like anti-gambling laws
are regulatory statutes.[77] They are rules of convenience
designed to secure a more orderly regulation of the affairs of
society, and their violation gives rise to crimes mala
prohibi ta.[78] They are not the tradi tional type of criminal law
such as the law of murder, rape, theft, arson, etc. that deal with
crimes mala in se or thos e inherently wrongful and
immoral.[79] Laws defining crimes mal a prohibi ta condemn

behavior directed, not agains t particular individuals, but


against public order.[80] Violation is deemed a wrong against
society as a whole and is generally unattended with any
particular harm to a definite person.[81] These offenses are
carri ed on i n secret and the violators resort to many devices
and s ubterfuges to avoid detection. It is rare for any member
of the public, no matter how furiously he condemns acts mala
prohibi ta, to be willing to assist in the enforcement of the law.
It is necessary, therefore, that government in detecting and
punishing violations of these laws, rely, not upon the
voluntary action of aggrieved individuals, but upon the
diligence of its own officials. This means that the police must
be present at the time the offenses are committed either in an
undercover capacity or through informants, spies or stool
pigeons.[82]
Though considered essential by the police in enforcing
vice legislation, the confidenti al informant system breeds
abominable abuse. Frequently, a person who accepts payment
from the police in the apprehension of drug peddlers and
gamblers also accept payment from these persons who
deceive the police. The informant himself may be a drug
addict, pickpocket, pimp, or other petty criminal. For
whatever nobl e purpose it serves, the spectacle that
government is secretly mated with the underworld and us es
underworld characters to help maintai n law and order is not
an inspiri ng one.[83] Equally odious is the bi tter reality of
dealing wi th unscrupulous, corrupt and exploitative law
enforcers. Like the informant, unscrupulous law enforcers'
motivations are legion-- harassment, extortion, vengeance,
blackmail, or a desire to report an accomplishment to their
superiors. This Court has taken judicial notice of this ugly
reality in a number of cases[84] where we observed that it is a
common modus operandi of corrupt law enforcers to prey on
weak and hapless persons, particul arly unsus pecti ng
provincial hicks.[85] The use of s hady underworld characters
as informants, the relative ease wi th which illegal drugs may
be planted in the hands or property of trusting and ignorant
persons, and the imposed secrecy that inevitably shrouds all
drug deals have compelled this Court to be extra-vigilant in
deciding drug cases.[86] Criminal activity is such that s tealth
and s trategy, although necessary weapons in the arsenal of the
police officer, become as objectio nabl e police methods as the
coerced confession and the unlawful search. As well put by the
Supreme Court of California in People v. Barraza,[87]
"[E]ntrapment is a facet of a broader problem. Along
with illegal search and s eizures, wiretapping, false arres t,
illegal detention and the third degree, it is a type of lawless
enforcement. They all spring from common motivations. Each
is a substitute for skillful and scientific investigation. Each is
condoned by the sinister sophism that the end, when dealing
with known criminals of the 'criminal classes,' justifies the
employment of illegal means."[88]
It is thus imperative that the presumption, juris tantum,
of regul arity i n the performance of official duty by law
enforcement agents raised by the Solicitor General be applied
with studied restraint. This presumption should not by itself
prev ail over the presumption of innocence and the
constitutionally-protected rights of the individual.[89] It is the
duty of courts to pres erve the purity of their own temple from

the pros titution of the criminal law through lawless


enforcement.[90] Courts should not allow thems elves to be
used as an i nstrument of abuse and injus tice lest an innocent
person be made to suffer the unusually severe penal ties for
drug offenses.[91]
We therefore stress that the "objective" test in buy-bust
operations demands that the details of the purported
transaction mus t be clearly and adequately shown. This must
start from the initial contact between the poseur-buyer and
the pusher, the offer to purchase, the promise or payment of
the consideration until the consummation of the s ale by the
delivery of the illegal drug subject of the sale.[92] The manner
by which the initial contact was made, whether or not through
an informant, the offer to purchase the drug, the payment of
the "buy -bus t" money, and the delivery of the illegal drug,
whether to the informant alone or the police officer, must be
the subject of s trict scrutiny by courts to i nsure that lawabiding citizens are not unlawfully induced to commit an
offense. Criminals must be caught but not at all cost. At the
same time, however, exami ning the conduct of the police
should not disable courts into i gnoring the accused's
predisposition to commit the crime. If there is overwhelming
evidence of habi tual delinquency, recidivism or plain criminal
proclivity, then this must also be considered. Courts should
look at all factors to determine the predisposition of an
accused to commit an offense in so far as they are relevant to
determine the validity of the defense of inducement.
In the case at bar, the evidence shows that it was the
confidential informant who initially contacted accusedappellant Doria. At the pre-arranged meeting, the informant
was accompanied by PO3 Manlangit who posed as the buy er
of marijuana. PO3 Manlangit handed the marked money to
accused-appellant Doria as adv ance payment for one (1) kilo
of marijuana. Accused-appellant Doria was apprehended
when he later returned and handed the brick of mari juana to
PO3 Manlangit.
PO3 Manlangit testified in a frank, spontaneous,
strai ghforward and categorical manner and his credibility was
not crumpled on cross-examination by defense counsel.
Moreover, PO 3 Manlangit's tes timony was corroborated on i ts
material points by SPO1 Badua, his back -up security. The nonpres entation of the confidenti al informant is not fatal to the
prosecution. Informants are us ually not presented i n court
because of the need to hide their identi ty and preserve their
invaluable s ervice to the police.[93] It is well-settled that
except when the appellant vehemently denies selling
prohibi ted drugs and there are material inconsistencies in the
testimonies of the arres ting officers,[94] or there are reasons
to believe that the arresting officers had motives to testify
falsely against the appellant,[95] or that only the informant
was the poseur-buyer who actually witnessed the entire
transaction,[96] the tes timony of the informant may be
dispensed with as it will merely be corroborative of the
apprehending officers' eyewitness tes timonies.[97] There is
no need to present the informant in court where the sale was
actually witnessed and adequately proved by prosecution
witnesses.[98]

The inconsistencies in PO3 Manl angit's and SPO1


Badua's testimoni es and the other police officers' testimoni es
are minor and do not detract from the veracity and weight of
the pros ecution evidence. The source of the money for the
buy-bus t operation is not a critical fact in the case at bar. It is
enough that the prosecution proved that money was paid to
accused-appellant Doria in consideration of which he sold and
delivered the marijuana.
Contrary to accus ed-appellant Doria's claim, the one kilo
of marijuana "sold" by him to PO3 M anlangit was actually
identified by PO3 Manlangit himself before the trial court.
After appellants' apprehension, the Narcom agents placed this
one (1) brick of mari juana recovered from appellant Doria
inside the carton box lumping it together with the ten (10)
bricks inside. This is why the carton box contained el even (11)
bricks of marijuana when brought before the trial court. The
one (1) brick recovered from appellant Doria and each of the
ten (10) bricks, however, were identified and marked in court.
Thus:
"ATTY. ARIAS, Counsel for Florencio Doria:
Mr. Police Officer, when you identified that box,. Tell the
court, how were you able to identify that box?
A This is the box that I brought to the crime l aboratory
which contained the eleven pieces of mari juana brick we
confiscated from the suspect, sir.
Q Please open it and show those eleven bricks.
PROSECUTOR Witness bringing out from the said box...
ATTY. VALDEZ, Counsel for Violeta Gaddao:
Your Honor, I mus t protest the line of questioning
considering the fact that we are now dealing with eleven items
when the question posed to the wi tness was what was handed
to him by Jun?
COURT So be it.
ATTY. ARIAS May we make it of record that the witness
is pulling out item after item from the box showed to him and
brought in front of him.
COURT Noted.
Q Now tell the court, how did you know that those are
the eleven bricks?
x x x.
A I have markings on these eleven bricks, sir.
Q Point to the court, where are those markings?
A Here, sir, my signature, my initials with the date, sir.
PROSECUTOR Wi tness showed a white wrapper and
pointing to CLM and the signature.

Q Whose signature is that?


ATTY VALD EZ Your Honor, may we jus t limit the inquiry
to the basic question of the fiscal as to what was handed to
him by the accused Jun, your Honor?
PROSECUTOR Your Honor, there is already a ruling by
this Honorable Court, your Honor, despite reconsideration.
COURT Let the prosecution do its own thing and leave
the appreciation of what it has done to the court.

A This CLM, the date and the time and the Exhibit "A," I
was the one who made these markings, sir.
PROSECUTOR May we place on record that the one that
was enclosed...
ATTY. ARIAS Your Honor, there are also entri es included
in that enclosure where it appears D-394-95, also Exhibit "A,"
etc. etc., that was not pointed to by the witness. I want to make
it of record that there are other entries included in the
enclosure.
COURT Noted. The court saw it.

ATTY. VALDEZ We submit, your Honor.


A This brick is the one that was handed to me by the
suspect Jun, sir.
COURT Why do you know that that is the thing? Are you
sure that is not "tikoy?"
A Yes, your Honor.

Q Now, and this alleged brick of marijuana with a piece


of paper, with a news paper wrapping with a piece of paper
inside which reads: "D-394-95, Exhibi t A, 970 grams SSL" be
marked as our Exhibit "D-2?"
COURT Tag it. Mark it.
Q This particular exhibit that you identified, the wrapper
and the contents was given to you by whom?

Q What makes you so sure?


A It was given to me by suspect Jun, sir.
A I am sure that this is the one, your Honor. This is the
Exhibi t "A" which I marked before I brought i t to the PCCL,
your Honor.

Q Whereat?
A At the corner of Boulevard and Jacinto St., sir.

Q What are you sure of?


A I am sure that this is the brick that was given to me by
one alias Jun, sir.

Q How about the other items that you were able to


recover?
x x x.

Q What makes you so sure?


A Because I marked it with my own initials before giving
it to the inves tigator and before we brought it to the PCCL,
your Honor.
x x x.
PROSECUTOR May we reques t that a tag be placed on
this white plastic bag and this be marked as Exhibit "D?"
COURT Mark it as Exhibit "D."
Q To stress, who made the entries of this date, Exhibit
"A" then the other letters and figures on this plastic?
A This one, the signature, I made the signature, the date
and the time and this Exhibit "A."
Q How about this one?
A I don't know who made this marking, sir.
PROSECUTOR May it be of record that this was just
entered this morning.
Q I am asking you about this "itim" and not the "asul."

A These other marijuana bricks, becaus e during our


follow-up, because according to Jun the money which I gave
him was in the hands of Neneth and so we proceeded to the
house of Neneth, sir.
x x x."[99]
The firs t brick identified by P03 M anlangi t was the brick
of marijuana "given to [him] by suspect Jun" at the corner of
Boulevard and Jacinto Streets. This brick, including the
newspaper and white plastic wrapping were marked as
Exhibi ts "D," "D-1," and "D -2" and described as weighing nine
hundred seventy (970) grams.[100]
We also reject appellant's submission that the fact that
PO3 Manl angit and his team waited for almost one hour for
appellant Doria to give them the one kilo of marijuana after he
"paid" P1,600.00 strains credulity. Appellant cannot capitalize
on the circums tance that the money and the marijuana in the
case at bar di d not change hands under the usual "kaliwaan"
system. There is no rule of law which requires that in "buybust" operations there must be a simultaneous exchange of
the marked money and the prohibited drug between the
poseur-buyer and the pusher.[101] Again, the decisive fact is
that the poseur-buyer received the marijuana from the
accused-appellant.[102]

We also hold that the warrantless arrest of accused appellant Doria is not unl awful. Warrantless arrests are
allowed in three ins tances as provided by Section 5 of Rule
113 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, to wit:
"Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. -- A peace
officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arres t a
person:

"ATTY VALDEZ, Counsel for appellant Gaddao:


We submit at this juncture, your Honor, that there will
be no basis for that question.
Q This particular exhibit that you identified, the wrapper
and the contents was given to you by whom?

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arres ted has


committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit
an offense;

A It was given to me by suspect Jun, sir.

(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and


he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person
to be arrested has committed it; and

A At the corner of Boulevard and Jacinto Street, sir.

(c) When the person to be arres ted is a prisoner who


escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is
serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case
is pending, or has escaped while bei ng transferred from one
confinement to another.
x x x."[103]
Under Section 5 (a), as above-quoted, a person may be
arrested without a warrant if he "has committed, is actually
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense." Appellant
Doria was caught in the act of commi tting an offens e. When an
accused is apprehended in flagrante delicto as a res ult of a
buy-bus t operation, the police are not only authorized but
duty-bound to arrest him even without a warrant.[104]
The warrantless arrest of appellant Gaddao, the search
of her person and residence, and the seizure of the box of
marijuana and marked bills are different matters.
Our Constitution proscribes search and s eizure without
a judicial warrant and any evidence obtained wi thout such
warrant is inadmissible for any purpose i n any
proceeding.[105] The rule is, however, not absolute. Search
and seizure may be made without a warrant and the evidence
obtai ned therefrom may be admissible in the following
instances:[106] (1) s earch incident to a l awful arrest;[107] (2)
search of a moving motor vehicle;[108] (3) search in violation
of customs laws;[109] (4) seizure of evidence in plain
view;[110] (5) when the accused himself waives his right
against unreasonable searches and seizures.[111]

Q Whereat?

Q How about the other items that you were able to


recover?
ATTY. VALDEZ: We submit at this juncture, your Honor,
that there will be no basis for that question.
COURT There is. Answer.
A These other marijuana bricks, becaus e during our
follow-up, because according to Jun the money which I gave
him was in the hands of Neneth and so we proceeded to the
house of Neneth, sir.
Q Whereat?
A At Daang Bakal near the crime scene at Shaw
Boulevard, sir.
Q And what happened upon arrival thereat?
A We saw alias Neneth inside the house and we asked
him to give us the buy-bust money, sir.
Q You mentioned "him?"
A Her, sir. We asked her to give us the money, the
marked money which Jun gave her, sir.
Q And what happened?
A At this ins tance, it was SPO1 Badua who can testify
regarding this buy-bust money, sir.
x x x."[112]

The pros ecution admits that appellant Gaddao was


arrested without a warrant of arrest and the search and
seizure of the box of mari juana and the marked bills were
likewise made wi thout a search warrant. It is claimed,
howev er, that the warrants were not necessary becaus e the
arrest was made in "hot pursuit" and the search was an
incident to her lawful arrest.
To be lawful, the warrantl ess arrest of appellant Gaddao
must fall under any of the three (3) instances enumerated in
Section 5 of Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure
as aforequoted. The direct testimony of PO3 Manla ngit, the
arresting officer, however shows otherwise:

SPO1 Badua testified on cross-examination that:


Q What was your intention in going to the hous e of Aling
Neneth?
A To arrest her, sir.
Q But the fact is, Mr. Witness, when you reached the
house of Aling Neneth, Aling Neneth was there?
A Yes, sir.

Q As far as you can see, she was just inside her house?
A I saw her outside, sir.

A I don't know, sir.


Q You did not even know who got the money from Aling
Neneth?

Q She was fetching water as a matter of fact?


PROSECUTOR:
A She was `sa bandang poso.'
Q Carrying a baby?
A No, sir.
Q At that particular time when you reached the house of
Aling Neneth and s aw her outside the house, she was not
committing any crime, she was just outside the house?
A No, sir.
Q She was not about to commit any crime becaus e she
was just outside the house doing her daily chores. Am I
correct?
A I just saw her outside, sir.
Q And at that point in time you already wanted to arrest
her. That is correct, is it not?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now, if any memory of your testimony is correct,
according to you SPO1 Manlangit approached her?

There is no basis for this question, your Honor. Money,


there's no testimony on that.
ATTY. VALDEZ:
I was asking him precisely.
PROSECUTOR:
No basis.
COURT:
Sustained.
Q Alright. I will ask you a question and I expect an
hones t answer. According to the records, the amount of
P1,600.00 was recovered from the person of Aling Neneth.
That's right?
A Yes, sir, the buy-bust money.
Q What you are now saying for certain and for the
record is the fact that you were not the one who retrieved the
money from Aling Neneth, it was Manlangit maybe?

A PO3 Manlangit, sir.


A I saw it, sir.
Q You did not approach her because PO3 Manl angit
approached her?

Q It was Manlangit who got the money from Aling


Neneth?

A Yes, sir.
Q During all the time that this confrontation, arrest or
whatever by SPO3 M anlangit was taking place, you were just
in the side lines?
A I was just watching, sir.
Q So you were just an on-looker to what Manlangit was
doing, becaus e precisely accordi ng to you your role in this
buy-bust operation was as a back-up?

A The buy-bust money was recovered from the house of


Aling Neneth, sir.
Q It was taken from the house of Aling Neneth, not from
the person of Aling Neneth. Is that what you are trying to tell
the Court?
A No, sir.
ATTY. VALD EZ: I am through with this witness, your
Honor."[113]

A Yes, sir.
Q Who got the alleged marijuana from inside the house
of Mrs. Neneth?
A PO3 Manlangit, sir.
Q Manlangit got the marijuana?

Accused-appellant Gaddao was not caught red-handed


during the buy -bust operation to give ground for her arrest
under Section 5 (a) of Rule 113. She was not committing any
crime. Contrary to the findi ng of the trial court, there was no
occasion at all for appellant Gaddao to flee from the policemen
to justify her arrest i n "hot pursui t."[114] In fact, she was
going about her daily chores when the policemen pounced on
her.

A Yes, sir.
Q And the money from Aling Neneth?

Neither could the arres t of appellant Gaddao be justified


under the second ins tance of Rule 113. "Personal knowledge"
of facts in arres ts without warrant under Section 5 (b) of Rule

113 must be based upon "probable caus e" which means an


"actual belief or reasonable grounds of suspicion."[115] The
grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in the abs ence of
actual belief of the arresting officers, the suspicion that the
person to be arres ted is probably guilty of commi tting the
offense, is based on actual facts, i.e., supported by
circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create the
probable cause of guilt of the person to be arres ted.[116] A
reasonable suspicion therefore must be founded on probable
cause, coupled with good faith on the part of the peace officers
making the arrest.[117]
Accused-appellant Gaddao was arrested solely on the
basis of the alleged identification made by her co -accused. PO3
Manlangit, however, declared in his direct exami nation that
appellant Doria named his co-accus ed in res ponse to his (PO3
Manlangit's) query as to where the marked money was.[118]
Appellant Doria did no t point to appellant Gaddao as his
associate in the drug business, but as the person wi th whom
he left the marked bills. This identification does not
necessarily lead to the conclusion that appellant Gaddao
conspired wi th her co-accused in pushing drugs. Appellant
Doria may have left the money in her hous e,[119] with or
without her knowledge, with or without any conspiracy. Save
for accused-appellant Doria's word, the Narcom agents had no
reasonable grounds to believe that she was engaged in drug
pushing. If there is no showing that the person who effected
the warrantless arrest had, in his own right, knowl edge of
facts implicati ng the person arres ted to the perpetration of a
criminal offense, the arrest is legally objectionable.[120]

However, if the package proclaims its contents, whether by i ts


distinctive configuration, its transparency, or if its contents
are obvious to an observer, then the contents are in plain view
and may be seized.[127] In other words, if the package is such
that an experi enced observer could infer from its appearance
that it contains the prohibited article, then the article is
deemed in plain view.[128] It must be immedi ately apparent
to the police that the i tems that they obs erve may be evidence
of a crime, contraband or otherwise subject to seizure.[129]
PO3 Manlangit, the Narcom agent who found the box,
testified on cross-examination as follows:
"ATTY. VALDEZ:
So here we are. When you and Badua arrived, Aling
Neneth was inside the house?
A Yes, sir.
Q Badua demanded from Aling Neneth the buy-bust
money?
A Yes, sir.
Q At that particular instance, you saw the carton?
A Yes, sir.
Q This carton, according to you was under a table?

Since the warrantless arrest of accused-appellant


Gaddao was illegal, it follows that the search of her person and
home and the subsequent seizure of the marked bills and
marijuana cannot be deemed legal as an incident to her arres t.
This brings us to the question of whether th e trial court
correctly found that the box of marijuana was in plain view,
making its warrantless seizure valid.

A Yes, sir, dining table.

Objects falling in plain view of an officer who has a right


to be in the position to have that view are subject to seizure
even without a search warrant and may be introduced in
evidence.[121] The "plain view" doctrine applies when the
following requisites concur: (a) the law enforcement officer in
search of the evidence has a prior justification for an intrusion
or is in a position from which he can view a particul ar area;
(b) the discovery of the evidence in plain view is inadvertent;
(c) it is immediately apparent to the officer that the item he
observes may be evidence of a crime, contraband or otherwise
subject to seizure.[122] The law enforcement officer must
lawfully make an initial intrusion or properly be in a position
from which he can particularly view the area.[123] In the
course of such lawful intrusion, he came inadvertently across
a piece of evidence i ncriminating the accused.[124] The object
must be open to ey e and hand[125] and its discovery
inadvertent.[126]

A It was open, sir. Not like that.

Q I noticed that this carton has a cover?


A Yes, sir.
Q I ask you were the flaps of the cover raised or closed?

COURT
Go down there. Show to the court.
INTERPRETER
Witness went down the witness stand and approached a
carton box.
A Like this, sir.
PROSECUTOR
Can we describe it?
ATTY. VALDEZ

It is clear that an object is in plain view if the object itself


is plainly exposed to sight. The difficulty arises when the
object is inside a closed container. Where the ob ject seized
was inside a closed package, the object itself is not in plain
view and therefore cannot be s eized without a warrant.

Yes.
PROSECUTOR

One flap is inside and the other flap is standing and with
the contents visible.

you did not know whether Badua already retrieved the buybust money from her?

COURT

A Yes, sir.

Noted.

Q How far was this from the door?

Q At this juncture, you went inside the house?

A Two and a half meters from the door, sir. It was in


plain view.

A Yes, sir.
Q Under the table according to you?
Q And got hold of this carton?
A Yes, sir, dining table.
A Yes, sir.
Q Somewhere here?
Q Did you mention anything to Aling Neneth?
A It's far, sir.
A I asked her, what's this...
PROSECUTOR
Q No, no. no. did you mention anything to Aling Neneth
before getting the carton?

May we request the witness to place it, where he saw it?

A I think it was Badua who accosted Aling Neneth


regarding the buy -bus t money and he asked "Sa iyo galing ang
marijuanang ito, nasaan ang buy-bust money namin?" sir.

A Here, sir.

Q Making reference to the marijuana that was given by


alias Jun?

A Yes, sir, with plastic.

Q What you see is a carton?

Q Marked "Snow Time Ice Pop?"


A Yes, sir.
A Yes, sir.
Q When you proceeded to take hold of this carton, Aling
Neneth was not yet frisked, is it not [sic]?
A I just don't know if she was frisked already by Badua,

Q With a piece of plastic visible on top of the carton?


A Yes, sir.

sir.
Q That is all that you saw?
Q Who got hold of this?
A Yes, sir.
A I was the one, sir.
PROSECUTOR
Q You were the one who got this?
For the record, your Honor...
A Yes, sir.
Q You were only able to verify according to you...
Q At that particular point in time, you di d not know if
the alleged buy-bust money was already retrieved by Badua?
A Yes, sir.

PROSECUTOR
Panero, wait. Becaus e I am objecting to the words a
piece of plastic. By reading it...

Q You went inside the house?


ATTY. VALDEZ
A Yes, sir.
That's a piece of plastic.
Q You did not have any search warrant?
PROSECUTOR
A Yes, sir.
Q In fact, there was nothing yet as far as you were
concerned to validate the fact that M rs. Gadao was in
possession of the buy -bus t money becaus e according to you,

By readi ng it, it will connote... this is not a piece of


plastic.
ATTY. VALDEZ

What is that? What can you say, Fiscal? I'm asking you?
PROSECUTOR
With due respect, what I am saying is, let's pl ace the size
of the plastic. A piece of plastic may be big or a small one, for
record purposes.
COURT
Leave that to the court.
PROSECUTOR
Leave that to the court.
Q The only reason according to you, you were abl e to...
Look at this, no even Superman... I withdraw that. Not even a
man wi th very kin [sic] eyes can tell the contents here. And
according to the Court, it could be "tikoy," is it not [sic]?
A Yes, sir.
Q Siopao?
A Yes, sir.
Q Canned goods?
A Yes, sir.
Q It could be ice cream because it says Snow Pop, Ice
Pop?
A I presumed it was also marijuana because it may ...
Q I am not asking you what your presumptions are. I'm
asking you what it could possibly be.
A It's the same plastic, sir.
ATTY. VALDEZ
I'm not even asking you that question so why are you
voluntarily saying the information. Let the prosecutor do that
for you.
COURT

In his direct examination, PO3 M anlangit sai d that he


was sure that the contents of the box were marijuana because
he himself checked and marked the said contents.[132] On
cross-examination, ho wever, he admi tted that he merely
pres umed the contents to be marijuana because i t had the
same plastic wrappi ng as the "buy-bust marijuana." A close
scrutiny of the records reveals that the plastic wrapper was
not colorless and transparent as to clearly manifest i ts
contents to a viewer. Each of the ten (10) bricks of marijuana
in the box was individually wrapped in old newspaper and
placed inside plastic bags-- whi te, pink or blue in color.[133]
PO3 Manlangit himself admi tted on cross-exami nation that
the contents of the box could be items other than mari juana.
He did not know exactly what the box contained that he had to
ask appellant Gaddao about its contents.[134] It was not
immediately apparent to PO3 Manlangit that the content of
the box was mari juana. The marijuana was not in plain view
and its seizure without the requisite search warrant was in
violation of the law and the Cons titution.[135] It was fruit of
the poisonous tree and should have been excluded and nev er
considered by the trial court.[136]
The fact that the box containing about six (6) kilos of
marijuana[137] was found in the hous e of accused -appellant
Gaddao does not jus tify a finding that she herself is guilty of
the crime charged.[138] Apropos is our ruling in People v.
Aminnudin,[139] viz:
"The Court strongly supports the campaign of the
government against drug addiction and commends the efforts
of our law enforcement officers against those who would
inflict this malediction upon our people, especially the
susceptible youth. But as demanding as this campaign may be,
it cannot be more so than the compulsions of the Bill of Ri ghts
for the protection of the liberty of ev ery individual in the
realm, including the bases t of criminals. The Constitution
covers with the mantle of its protection the innocent and the
guilty alike agains t any manner of high-handedness from the
authorities, however praiseworthy their intentions.
Those who are supposed to enforce the law are not
justified in disregarding the right of the individual in the name
of order. Order is too high a price for the loss of liberty. As
Justice Holmes, again, said, 'I think i t a less evil that some
criminals should escape than that the government should pl ay
an ignoble part.' It is simply not allowed in the free society to
violate a law to enforce another, especially if the law violated
is the Constitution itself."[140]

Continue. Next question.


x x x."[130]
PO3 Manlangi t and the police team were at appellant
Gaddao's house becaus e they were led there by appellant
Doria. The Narcom agents testified that they had no
information on appellant Gaddao until appellant Dori a named
her and led them to her.[131] Standing by the door of
appellant Gaddao's house, PO3 Manlangit had a view of the
interior of sai d hous e. Two and a half meters away was the
dining table and underneath it was a carton box. The box was
partially open and revealed something wrapped in plastic.

Section 4 of Republic Act No. 6425, the Dangerous Drugs


Act of 1972, as amended by Section 13 of Republic Act No.
7659 punishes the "s ale, administration, delivery, distribution
and transportation of a prohibited drug" with the penal ty of
reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from
P500,000.00 to P10 million, to wit:
"Sec. 4. Sale, Administration, Delivery, Distribution and
Trans portation of Prohibited Drugs.-- The penalty of reclusion
perpetua to death, and a fi ne ranging from five hundred
thous and pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon
any person who, unless authorized by law, shall sell,

administer, deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch


in transit or transport any prohibited drug, or shall act as a
broker in any of such transactions.
x x x."
In every prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs,
what is material is the submission of proof that the sale took
place between the poseur-buyer and the seller thereof and the
pres entation of the drug, i.e., the corpus delicti, as evidence in
court.[141] The prosecution has clearly established the fact
that in consideration of P1, 600.00 which he received, accusedappellant Doria sold and delivered nine hundred sev enty
(970) grams of marijuana to PO3 M anlangi t, the poseur-buyer.
The prosecution, however, has failed to prove that accusedappellant Gaddao conspi red with accus ed -appellant Doria in
the sale of said drug. There bei ng no mi tigating or aggravati ng
circumstances, the lower penalty of reclusion perpetua must
be imposed.[142]
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the decision of the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 156, Pasi g City acting as a Special Court in
Criminal Case No. 3307-D is reversed and modified as follows:
1. Accused-appellant Florencio Doria y Bolado is
sentenced to suffer the penal ty of reclusion perpetua and to
pay a fine of five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00).
2. Accused-appellant Violeta Gaddao y Catama is
acquitted.
SO ORDERED.

[13] Decision of the tri al court, pp. 13-14, Rollo, pp. 3031.
[14] Brief for Accused-Appellant Florencio Doria, pp. 8,
14, Rollo, pp. 52, 58.
[15] Brief for Accused-Appellant Violeta Gaddao, p. 39,
Rollo, p. 126.
[16] People v. Basilgo, 235 SCRA 191 [1994] ; People v.
Yap, 229 SCRA 787 [1994]; People v. Macasa, 229 SCRA 422
[1994].
[17] People v. Herrera, 247 SCRA 433 [1995]; People v.
Tadepa, 244 SCRA 339 [1995]; People v. Basilgo, supra.
[18] 21 Am Jur 2d, "Criminal Law," Sec. 203 [1981 ed.];
see also State v. Campbell, 110 NH 238, 265 A2d 11, 13
[1970]-- sal e of narcotics; Annotation in 62 ALR 3d 110, Sec.
2[a].
[19] 21 Am Jur 2d, "Criminal Law," Sec. 204 [1981 ed.];
see also United States ex rel. Hall v. Illinois (CA7 Ill) 329 F2d
354, 358-359 cert den 379 US 891, 13 L Ed 2d 94, 85 S Ct 164
[1964]-- unlawful sale and possession of narcotic drugs.
[20] Id; see also State v. Campbell, supra, at 13; United
States v. Becker (CA2 NY) 62 F2d 1007, 1009 [1933]-- s endi ng
obscene matter in interstate commerce.
[21] 21 Am Jur 2d, "Criminal Law," Sec. 202 [1981 ed.].

Davide, Jr., C.J., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Vitug, Kapunan,


Mendoza, Martinez, Quisumbing, Purisima, Pardo, Buena, and
Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur.
Panganiban, J., please see concurring opinion.

[22] 287 U. S. 435, 53 S. Ct. 210, 77 L Ed 413 [1932]. This


case involved the sal e of liquor in violation of the Prohibition
Act. The majority decision was penned by Chi ef Justice
Hughes. Justice Roberts wrote a concurring opinion.

[1] Republic Act No. 6425, as amended by R.A. 7659.

[23] at 287 U.S. 454, 77 L Ed 423; also cited in People v.


Bernal (4th Dist) 345 P 2d 140,143, 174 Cal App 2d 777
[1959]; People v. Outten, 147 NE 2d 284,285, 13 Ill 2d 21
[1958]; Swift v. Commonwealth, 100 SE 2d 9, 12, 199 Va 420
[1957]; see also 21 Am Jur 2d, "Criminal Law," Sec. 202.

[2] Rollo, pp. 6-7.


[3] Exhibits "A-1" to "A-4," "B-1" to "B-3."
[4] Exhibits "C-1" and "C-2."

[24] 21 Am Jur 2d, supra, at Sec. 202.

[5] TSN of February 6, 1996, p. 10.

[25] People v. Outten, supra, at 286.

[6] TSN of February 6, 1996, pp. 11-12.

[26] Sorrells v. United States, 287 U.S. 435, 442, 451 -452
[1932].

[7] TSN of February 6, 1996, p. 18.


[8] TSN of March 12, 1996, p. 18.
[9] Exhibit "S," Request for Laboratory Examination.
[10] Exhibits "Q," and "R;" TSN of March 5, 1996, pp. 2 11.
[11] TSN of May 8, 1996, pp. 2-8.
[12] TSN of April 10, 1996, pp. 4-17.

[27] Hoy v. State, 53 Ariz 440, 90 P2d 623, 628 -629


[1939]--bribery; see 21 Am Jur 2d, supra, Sec. 202.
[28] Woo Wai v. United States, 233 Fed. 412 (6th Cir.
1916); Sorrells v. United States, supra, at 452 -- the defense is
available, not i n the view that the accused though guilty may
go free, but that the government cannot be permitted to
contend that he is guilty of the crime when the gov ernment
officials are the instigators of his conduct; see also 22 C.J.S.,
"Criminal Law," Sec. 45, [1940 ed.].

[29] 21 Am Jr 2d, "Criminal Law," Sec. 203.


[30] Christopher Moore, "The Elusive Foundation of the
Entrapment Defense," Northwestern University Law Review,
vol. 89: 1151, 1153-1154 [Spring 1995]; Scott C. Paton, "The
Government Made Me Do It: A Proposed Approach to
Entrapment under Jacobson v. Uni ted States," Cornell Law
Review, vol. 79:885, 1000-1001 [1994] ; Roger Park, "The
Entrapment Controversy," Minnesota Law Review, vol. 60:
163, 165 [1976].

[46] Grossman v. State, supra, at 230; People v. Barraza,


supra, at 955-956.
[47] LaFave and Scott, supra, at 425-426.
[48] Id. Other objections are also discussed in said book.
[49] Id.
[50] Id.

[31] The "subjective" test is also referred to as the


Sherman-Sorrells doctrine, a reference to the fact that the test
was adopted by a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court in the
cases of Sherman v. United States, 356 U.S. 369, 2 L Ed 2d 848,
78 S Ct 819 [1958] and Sorrells v. United States, supra -Wayne R. LaFav e and Austin W. Scott, Jr., Criminal Law,
Hornbook series, 2d ed., p. 422 [1986].

[51] Paton, supra, at 1005-1006.

[32] Sorrells v. United States, supra, at 451-452;


Sherman v. United States, 356 U.S. 369, 373, 2 L ed 2d 848, 78
S Ct 819 [1958].

[55] Paton, supra, at 1039.

[33] Paton, supra, at 1001-1002.


[34] LaFave and Scott, supra, at 422.
[35] Sherman v. United States, supra, at 356 U.S. at 372 373.
[36] Uni ted States v. Russell, 411 U.S. 423, 435-437, 36 L
Ed 2d 366, 3750376, 93 S Ct 1637 [1973]; see also Park, supra,
at 165.

[52] 465 So. 2d 516 [Fla. 1985].


[53] Id. at 521-522.
[54] 742 P. 2d 1043 [N.M. 1987].

[56] 16 Phil. 440 [1910].


[57] This case was interpreted in People v. Hilario and
Aguila, 93 Phil. 386, 390 [1953], where the Supreme Court
declared that the "criminal intent" to smoke opium "originated
in the mind of the entrapping agent" and the accused was
merely induced to commit the act by repeated and persistent
solicitation. In Phelps, the court disregarded the evidence of
Phelps' predisposition to commit the crime.
[58] Id., at 443-444.
[59] 46 Phil. 857 [1923].

[37] Or the Roberts-Frankfurter approach, after the


writers of the concurring opi nions in Sorrells and Sherman -LaFave and Scott, supra, at 423.

[60] Id., at 861.


[61] 56 Phil. 44 [1931].

[38] 457 P. 2d 226 [Alaska 1969].


[62] Id. at 53-54.
[39] Grossman v. State, 457 P. 2d 226, 229 [Al aska
1969]; Paton, supra, at 1002.
[40] Sorrells v. United States, 287 U.S. at 453, Roberts, J.,
concurring; Sherman v. United States, 356 U. S. at 378-385,
Frankfurter, J., concurring.
[41] Grossman v. State, 457 P. 2d 226, 229 [Al aska
1969].
[42] People v. Barraza, 591 P. 2d 947, 955 [ California
1979]-- selling heroin.

[63] Id.
[64] Page 88, section 57.
[65] Id., at 52-53; also cited in People v. Hilario and
Aguila, 93 Phil. 386, 389-390 [1953].
[66] 40 O.G. No. 23, p. 4476 [1941].
[67] Id., at 4478.
[68] 43 O.G. No. 4, p. 1286 [1947].

[43] People v. Barraza, supra, at 955.


[69] Id., at 1287.
[44] Sherman v. United States, 356 U. S. 369, 383 [1958]
Frankfurter, J., concurring; Grossman v. State, supra, at 230;
see also Park, supra, Note 212, at 227.
[45] LaFave and Scott, supra, at 424.

[70] 96 Phil. 738, 741 [1955].


[71] Id.; also cited in Aqui no, Revised Penal Code, vol. 2,
p. 240 [1997].

[72] Absolutory causes are those causes where the act


committed is a crime but for reasons of public policy and
sentiment there is no penalty imposed-- Rey es, Revised Penal
Code, Book I, pp. 231-232 [1993].
[73] People v. Cruz, 231 SCRA 759 [1994]; People v.
Poliza, 214 SCRA 56 [1992]; Peopl e v. Lapatha, 167 SCRA 159
[1988] citing U. S. v. Phelps, supra; People v. Flores, 165 SCRA
71 [1988]; People v. Ale, 145 SCRA 50 [1986]; People v.
Fernando, 145 SCRA 151 [1986]; People v. Patog, 144 SCRA
429 [1986]; People v. Valmores, 122 SCRA 922 [1983] citing
People v. Lua Chu, etc.
[74] 152 SCRA 263, 271 [1987]. Although the accused
did not raise the defense of instigation, the court examined the
conduct of the police at the buy-bust operation and admitted
evidence of the accused's pas t and predisposition to commit
the crime.
[75] Accused was previously convicted of frustrated
murder, robbery, hold-up and drug pushing. In the drugpushing cas e, he was detained at Welfareville but escaped -People v. Boholst, 152 SCRA 263, 271 [1987].
[76] 188 SCRA 1, 15 [1990].
[77] Richard C. Donnelly, "Judicial Control of Informants,
Spies, Stool Pigeons and Agent Provocateurs," The Yale Law
Journal, vol. 60: 1091, 1093 [1951].
[78] Reyes, Revised Penal Code, Book I, pp. 54-55
[1993].
[79] Id.
[80] Donnelly, supra, at 1093. Ins tead of "mala
prohibita," Donnelly uses the term "regulatory statutes."
[81] Id.
[82] Id.

Cornell Law Review, supra, at Note 55. It must be noted,


howev er, that entrapment is not based on constitutional
grounds as search and seizure and forced confessions-- United
States v. Russell, 411 U. S. 423, 430, 36 L Ed 2d 366, 372-373,
93 S Ct 1637 [1973].
[89] Tambasen v. Peopl e, 246 SCRA 184 [1995]; People
v. Rigodon, 238 SCRA 27 [1994]; People v. Cruz, 231 SCRA
759, 771 [1994].
[90] Sorrells v. United States, supra, at 457, Roberts, J.,
concurring.
[91] Tambasen v. People, 246 SCRA 184, 191 [1995];
People v. Rigodon, 238 SCRA 27, 35 [1994]; People v. Cruz,
231 SCRA 759, 771 [1994].
[92] People v. Tadepa, 244 SCRA 339, 341 -342 [1995];
People v. Crisostomo, 222 SCRA 511, 515 [1993].
[93] Peopl e v. Gireng, 241 SCRA 11 [1995]; Peopl e v.
Nicolas, 241 SCRA 67 [1995]; People v. Marcelo, 223 SCRA 24
[1993].
[94] People v. Ale, 145 SCRA 50 [1994].
[95] People v. Sillo, 214 SCRA 74 [1992].
[96] People v. Sahagun, 182 SCRA 91 [1990]; People v.
Libag, 184 SCRA 707, 717-715 [1990]; People v. Ramos, 186
SCRA 184, 191-192 [1990].
[97] People v. Lucero, 229 SCRA 1, 9 -10 [ 1994]; People
v. Tranca, 235 SCRA 455, 464 [1994] ; People v. Solon, 244
SCRA 554, 561 [1995]; People v. Herrera, 247 SCRA 433
[1995].
[98] People v. Solon, 244 SCRA 554 [1995]; People v.
Ong Co, 245 SCRA 733 [1995].
[99] TSN of February 20, 1996, pp. 14-18; Emphasis
supplied.

[83] Id., at 1094.


[100] TSN of February 20, 1996, pp. 16-17.
[84] People v. Simon, 234 SCRA 555, 563 [1994] ; People
v. Cruz, 231 SCRA 759, 764 [1994]; People v. Crisostomo, 222
SCRA 511, 514 [1993]; People v. Fernando, 145 SCRA 151, 159
[1986]; People v. Ale, 145 SCRA 50, 58-59 [1986].

[101] People v. Ponsica, 230 SCRA 87, 95-96 [1994];


People v. Agustin, 215 SCRA 725, 732-733 [1992].
[102] People v. Agustin, supra, at 732-733.

[85] Id.
[103]103 Emphasis supplied.103
[86] People v. Cruz, 231 SCRA 759, 764 -765 [1994];
People v. Salcedo, 195 SCRA 345, 352 [1991]; People v.
William, 209 SCRA 808, 814 [1992]; People v. Ale, 145 SCRA
50, 58-59 [1986].
[87] 591 P. 2d 947 [Cal. 1979].
[88] Id. at 955. The Supreme Court of Californi a quoted
Richard C. Donnelly, "Judicial Control of Informants, Spies,
Stool Pi geons and Agent Provocateurs," Yale Law Journal, vol.
60: 1091, 1111 [1951], also herei n cited; See also Paton,

[104] People v. Sibug, 229 SCRA 489 [1994]; Peopl e v.


de Lara, 236 SCRA 291 [1994] ; People v. Labarias, 217 SCRA
483 [1993].
[105] Sections 2 and 3 (2), Article III.
[106] Hizon v. Court of Appeals, 265 SCRA 517, 527
[1996]; People v. Fernandez, 239 SCRA 174, 182-183 [1994];
Roan v. Gonzal es, 145 SCRA 687, 697 [1986]; see also Bernas,

The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, p. 169


[1996]; Cruz, Constitutional Law, pp. 147-153 [1986].
[107] Section 12, Rul e 126; Section 5, Rule 113, Revised
Rules on Criminal Procedure.

[122] Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443, 29 L. Ed.


2d 564 [1971]; Texas v. Brown, 460 U. S. 730, 75 L. Ed. 2d 502,
510 [1983]; s ee also People v. Musa, 217 SCRA 597, 611
[1993] citing both cases.
[123] Harris v. United States, supra, at 1069.

[108] People v. Bagista, 214 SCRA 63, 69 [1992]; People


v. Lo Ho Wing, 193 SCRA 122, 126-128 [1991].

[124] Coolidge v. New Hampshire, supra, at 582.

[109] Roldan, Jr. v. Arca, 65 SCRA 336, 348 [1975]; Papa


v. Mago, 22 SCRA 857, 871-874 [1968].

[125] Roan v. Gonzales, 145 SCRA 687, 697 [1986] ; Cruz,


supra, at 151.

[110] People v. Tabar, 222 SCRA 144, 153 [1993] ; Roan


v. Gonzales, 145 SCRA 687, 697 [1986].

[126] Roan v. Gonzales, supra, at 697, citing Harris v.


United States, supra; Bernas, supra, at 174 citing Coolidge v.
New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443, 472 [1971].

[111] People v. Tabar, supra, at 153-154; Alvarez v. CFI,


64 Phil. 33, 48 [1937]; People v. Kagui Malas ugui, 63 Phil. 221,
226 [1936].
[112] TSN of February 20, 1996, pp. 17 -18; Direct
examination; Emphasis supplied.
[113] TSN of M arch 12, 1996, pp. 16-18, Crossexamination by counsel for Violeta Gaddao; Emphasis
supplied.
[114] Compare with Peopl e v. Bati, 189 SCRA 97, 103
[1990], where the two accused were pursued and arrested a
few minutes after consummating the s ale of marijuana. "Hot
pursui t" has a technical meaning. It is a doctrine in
International Law which means the pursui t in the high seas of
a foreign v essel undertaken by the coastal state which has
good reason to believe that the ship has violated the laws and
regulations of that state (Salonga and Yap, Public International
Law, p. 90 [1992]).
[115] Umil v. Ramos, 202 SCRA 251, 263 [1991]; United
States v. Santos, 36 Phil. 851 [1917]. Police officers had
personal knowledge of the actual commission of the crime
after conducting a surveillance of the accused (People v. Bati,
189 SCRA 97 [1990]; People v. Sucro, 195 SCRA 388 [1990]),
or a prior test-buy operation (People v. Ramos, 186 SCRA 184
[1990]).

[127] Robbins v. California, 453 U.S. 420, 69 L. Ed. 2d


744, 751 [1981]; also cited in People v. Musa, supra, at 612
and Note 48; Arkansas v. Sanders, 442 U.S. 753, 61 L. Ed. 2d
235, 245, Note 13 [1979].
[128] Robbins v. Californi a, supra, at 751; Texas v.
Brown, supra, at 514.
[129] People v. Musa, supra, at 611.
[130] TSN of February 20, 1996, pp. 44 -47; Emphasis
supplied.
[131] TSN of February 20, 1996, p. 31.
[132] TSN of February 20, 1996, pp. 15-16.
[133] Exhibits "F," "G," "H," "I," "J," "K," "L," "M," "N," "O ;"
TSN of February 20, 1996, pp. 22-25; see also Exhibi t "S--"
Request for Laboratory Examination.
[134] In Peopl e v. Musa, 217 SCRA 597, 612 [1993], the
Narcom agents found marijuana in a plastic bag hanging in
one corner of the kitchen. The agents had no clue as to the
contents of the bag and had to ask the accused what it
contai ned. The Supreme Court held that the marijuana was
not in plain view.

[116] Id.

[135] Section 2, Bill of Rights, 1987 Constitution.

[117] Id.

[136] People v. Aminnudin, 163 SCRA 403, 410 [1988].

[118] PO3 M anlangi t affi rmed this fact in his crossexamination by counsel for appellant Gaddao -- TSN of
February 20, 1996, pp. 42-43.
[119] SPO1 Badua's testimony does not clearly es tablish
where he found the marked bills-- whether from appellant
Gaddao's person or after a search of her house.

[137] The total wei ght of 7,641.08 grams or 7. 6 kilos of


marijuana included the 970 grams (or almost one kilo) of
"buy-bust mari juana" given by appellant Doria (See "Request
for Laboratory Examination," Exhibit "S"). Deducting this 970
grams, the ten bricks of marijuana found in the box weigh
6,671.08 grams or approximately 6 kilos.
[138] People v. Aminnudin, 163 SCRA 402, 410 [1988].

[120] Pamaran, The 1985 Rul es on Criminal Procedure


Annotated, p. 195 [1995].
[121] Harris v. United States, 390 U.S. 234, 19 L. Ed. 2d
1067, 1069 [1968]; see also Bernas, supra, at 174.

[139] Id.
[140] Id, at 410-411; also cited in People v. Flores, 165
SCRA 71, 85 [1988].

[141] People v. Zervoulakos, 241 SCRA 625 [1995];


People v. Martinez, 235 SCRA 171 [1994]; People v. Rigodon,
238 SCRA 27 [1994]. The exclusion or absence of the marked
money does not create a hiatus in the pros ecution's evidence
as long as the drug subject of the illegal transaction was
pres ented at the trial court-- People v. Nicolas, 241 SCRA 573
[1995]; People v. Lucero, 229 SCRA 1 [1994].
[142] Section 23, R.A. 7659 amending Article 62 of th e
Dangerous Drugs Act; see also Section 17 (5), R.A. 7659
amending Section 20 of the Dangerous Drugs Act.

People vs. Gerente, 219 SCRA 756 [1993]


Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 95847-48. March 10, 1993.


PEO PLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plai ntiff-appellee, vs. GABRIEL
GERENTE y BULLO, accused-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Public Attorney's Office for accused-appellant.
SYLLABUS
1.
REM EDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; ARREST
WITHOUT WARRANT; LAWFUL WHEN ARRESTING OFFICER
HAS PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE THAT THE PERSON TO BE
ARRESTED HAS COMMITTED THE CRIM E; CASE AT BAR.
The policemen arres ted Gerente only some three (3) hours
after Gerente and his companions had killed Blace. They saw
Blace dead in the hospital and when they inspected the scene
of the crime, they found the instruments of death: a piece of
wood and a concrete hollow block which the killers had used
to bludgeon him to death. The ey e-wi tness, Edna Edwina
Reyes, reported the happening to the policemen and
pinpointed her neighbor, Gerente, as one of the killers. Under
those circumstances, since the policemen had personal
knowledge of the violent death of Blace and of facts indicati ng
that Gerente and two others had killed him, they could
lawfully arres t Gerente without a warrant. If they had
postponed his arrest until they could obtain a warrant, he
would have fled the law as his two companions did.
2.
ID.; ID.; SEARCH AND SEIZURE; VALID EVEN
WITHOUT A WARRANT WHEN MADE AS AN INCIDENT TO
LAWFUL ARREST; RATIONALE. The search conducted on
Gerente's person was likewise lawful because i t was made as
an incident to a v alid arrest. This is in accordance with Section
12, Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Court which provides:
"Section 12. Search incident to lawful arres t. A person
lawfully arrested may be s earched for dangerous weapons or
anything which may be used as proof of the commission of an

offense, without a search warrant." The frisk and search of


appellant's person upon his arrest was a permissible
precautionary measure of arresting officers to protect
thems elves, for the person who is about to be arres ted may be
armed and mi ght attack them unless he is first disarmed. In
Adams vs. Williams, 47 U.S. 143, cited in Justice Isagani A.
Cruz's Consti tutional Law, 1991 Edition, p. 150, it was ruled
that "the individual being arrested may be frisked for
concealed weapons that may be used agains t the arresti ng
officer and all unlawful articles found his person, or wi thin his
immediate control may be seized."
3.
CRIMINAL LAW; CONSPIRACY; LIABILITY OF
CONSPIRATORS; RULE; CASE AT BAR. There is no merit in
appellant's allegation that the trial court erred in convicting
him of having conspi red and cooperated with Fredo and Totoy
Echigoren to kill Blace despite the testimony of Dr. Valentin
Bernales that the fracture on the back of the victim's skull
could have been inflicted by one person only. what D r.
Bernales stated was a mere possibility that only one person
dropped the concrete hollow block on the head of the victim,
smashing it. That circumstance, ev en if true, does not absolve
the other two co-conspirators in the murder of Blace for when
there is a conspiracy to commit a crime, the act of one
conspirator is the act of all. The conspiracy was proven by the
eyewitness-testimony of Edna Edwina Reyes, that she
overheard the appellant and his companions conspi re to kill
Blace, that acting in concert, they attacked their victim with a
piece of wood and a hollow block and caused his death. "When
there is no evidence indicating that the principal witness for
the prosecution was mov ed by improper motive, the
pres umption is that he was not so moved and his testimony is
enti tled to full faith and credit" (People vs. Belibet, 199 SCRA
587, 588). Hence, the trial court did not err in giving full credit
to Edna Reyes' testimony.
4.
ID.; CIVIL IND EMNITY FOR DEATH; INCREASED TO
P50,000.00. The Solicitor General correctly pointed out in
the appellee's brief that the award of P30,000.00 as civil
indemnity for the death of Clarito Blace should be increased to
P50,000.00 in accordance with our ruling i n People vs. Sison,
189 SCRA 643.
D EC IS IO N
GRIO-AQUINO, J p:
This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court
of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Branch 172, which found the
appellant guilty of Violation of Section 8 of Republic Act 6425
(Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972) and s entenced him to suffer
the penalty of imprisonment for a term of twelve (12) years
and one (1) day, as minimum, to twenty (20) y ears, as
maximum; and also found him guilty of Murder for which
crime he was sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua. The dispositive portion of the appealed decision
reads:
"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoi ng the Court finds the
accused Gabriel Gerente i n Criminal Case No. 10255-V-90
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Violation of Section 8 of
R.A. 6425 and hereby sentences him to suffer the penal ty of

imprisonment of twelve years and one day as minimum to


twenty y ears as maximum, and a fine of twelve thous and,
without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to
pay the costs.
"In Criminal Case No. 10256-V-90, the Court finds the accused
Gabri el Gerente guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
of Murder, and there by (sic) no aggrav ating circumstances
nor miti gating circumstances, is hereby sentenced to suffer
the penalty of reclusion perpetua; to indemnify the heirs of the
victim in the sum of P30,000.00, and in the amount of
P17,609.00 as funeral expenses, without subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs. The
accused Gabriel Gerente shall be credited with the full term of
his preventive imprisonment." (p. 25, Rollo.)
Appellant Gabriel Gerente y Bullo was charged with Violation
of Section 8, Art. II of R.A. 6425, which was docketed as
Criminal Case No. 10255-V-90 of the Regional Trial Court of
Valenzuela, Metro Manila. The Information reads:
"That on or about the 30th day of April, 1990, in the
municipality of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorabl e Court, the abovenamed accused, without justification, did then and there
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession and
control dried flowering tops wrapped in foil with markings
and place i n a transparent plas tic bag which are considered
prohibited drugs." (p. 2, Rollo.)
The same accus ed, together with Totoy and Fredo Echi goren
who are both at large, was charged with Murder in Criminal
Case No. 10256-V-90 in an information of the s ame date and
signed by the same Assistant Provincial Prosecutor, as follows:
"That on or about the 30th day of April, 1990, in the
municipality of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorabl e Court, the abovenamed accused together with two (2) others who are still at
large and agains t whom the preliminary investi gation has not
yet been terminated by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor
of Bulacan, conspiri ng, confederating together and mutually
helping one another, armed with a piece of wood and hallow
(sic) block and with intent to kill one Clarito B. Blace, did then
and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with evident
premedi tation and treachery, attack, assault and hit with the
said piece of wood and hollow block the said Clarito B. Blace,
hitting the latter on the different parts of his body, thereby
inflicting serious physical injuries which di rectly caused the
death of the said victim." (p. 3, Rollo.)
Edna Edwina Reyes tes tified that at about 7:00 a.m. of April
30, 1990, appellant Gabriel Gerente, together with Fredo
Echigoren and Totoy Echigoren, started drinking liquor and
smoking mari juana in the hous e of the appellant which is
about six (6) meters away from the house of the prosecution
witness who was in her house on that day. She overheard the
three men talking about their i ntention to kill Clarito Blace.
She testified that s he heard Fredo Echi goren s aying, "Gabriel,
papatayin nati n si Clari to Blace," and Totoy Echi goren
allegedly seconded Fredo's sugges tion saying: "Papatayin

nati n 'yan mamaya." Appellant allegedly agreed: "Si gue,


papatayin natin mamaya." (pp. 3-4, tsn, August 24, 1990.)
Fredo and Totoy Echigoren and Gerente carried out their plan
to kill Clarito Blace at about 2:00 p.m. of the s ame day. The
prosecution witness, Edna Edwina Reyes, testified that she
witnessed the killing. Fredo Echi goren struck the first blow
against Clari to Blace, followed by Totoy Echi goren and Gabri el
Gerente who hi t him twice with a pi ece of wood in the head
and when he fell, Totoy Echigoren dropped a hollow block on
the victim's head. Thereafter, the three men dragged Blace to a
place behind the house of Gerente.
At about 4:00 p.m. of the same day, Patrolman Jaime Urrutia of
the Valenzuela Police Station received a report from the Palo
Police Detachment about a mauling incident. He went to the
Valenzuela District Hospital where the victim was brought. He
was informed by the hospital officials that the victim died on
arrival. The cause of death was massive fracture of the skull
caused by a hard and heavy object. Ri ght away, Patrolman
Urrutia, together wi th Police Corporal Romeo Lima and
Patrolman Alex Umali, proceeded to Paseo de Bl as where the
mauling incident took place. There they found a piece of wood
with blood stains, a hollow block and two roaches of
marijuana. They were informed by the prosecution witness,
Edna Edwina Reyes, that she saw the killing and she pointed
to Gabriel Gerente as one of the three men who killed Clarito.
The policemen proceeded to the house of the appellant who
was then sleeping. They told him to come out of the hous e and
they introduced themselves as policemen. Patrolman Urrutia
frisked appellant and found a coin purs e in his pocket which
contai ned dri ed leaves wrapped in cigarette foil. The dried
leaves were s ent to the National Bureau of Investigation for
examination. The Forensic Chemist found them to be
marijuana.
Only the appellant, Gabriel Gerente, was apprehended by the
police. The other suspects, Fredo and Totoy Echigoren, are
still at large.
On May 2, 1990, two separate informations were filed by
Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Benjamin Caraig against him
for Violation of Section 8, Art. II, of R.A. 6425, and for Murder.
When arrai gned on May 16, 1990, the appellant pleaded not
guilty to both charges. A joi nt trial of the two cases was hel d.
On September 24, 1990, the trial court rendered a decision
convicting him of Violation of Section 8 of R.A. 6425 and of
Murder.
In this appeal of the appellant, the following errors are
ascribed to the trial court:
1.
the court a quo gravely erred in admitting the
marijuana leaves adduced in evidence by the prosecution; and
2.
the court a quo grav ely erred in convicting the
accused-appellant of the crimes charged despite the absence
of evidence requi red to prove his guilt beyond reasonable
doubt.

The appellant contends that the trial court erred in admitti ng


the marijuana leaves as evidence in violation of his
constitutional right not to be subjected to illegal search and
seizure, for the dried marijuana leaves were seized from him
in the cours e of a warrantless arrest by the police officers. We
do not agree.
The search of appellant's person and the seizure of the
marijuana leav es in his possession were valid becaus e they
were incident to a lawful warrantless arrest.
Paragraphs (a) and (b), Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised
Rules of Court provide:
'SECTION 5.
Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A
peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant,
arrest a person:
"(a)
When, in his pres ence, the person to be arrested has
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit
an offense;"
"(b)
When an offense has in fact just been committed,
and he has personal knowledge of facts indicati ng that the
person to be arrested has committed it; . . .'
The policemen arres ted Gerente only some three (3) hours
after Gerente and his companions had killed Blace. They saw
Blace dead in the hospital and when they inspected the scene
of the crime, they found the instruments of death: a piece of
wood and a concrete hollow block which the killers had used
to bludgeon him to death. The ey e-wi tness, Edna Edwina
Reyes, reported the happening to the policemen and
pinpointed her neighbor, Gerente, as one of the killers. Under
those circumstances, since the policemen had personal
knowledge of the violent death of Blace and of facts indicati ng
that Gerente and two others had killed him, they could
lawfully arres t Gerente without a warrant. If they had
postponed his arrest until they could obtain a warrant, he
would have fled the law as his two companions did.
In Umil vs. Ramos, 187 SCRA 311, the arrest of the accused
without a warrant was effected one (1) day after he had shot
to death two Capcom soldiers. The arres t was held lawful by
this Court upon the rationale stated by us in People vs.
Malasugui, 63 Phil. 221, 228, thus:
"To hold that no criminal can, in any case, be arrested and
searched for the evidence and tokens of his crime without a
warrant, would be to l eave society, to a large extent, at the
mercy of the shrewdes t, the mos t expert, and the most
deprav ed of criminals, facilitating their escape in many
instances."
The search conducted on Gerente's person was likewise lawful
because it was made as an incident to a valid arrest. This is in
accordance with Section 12, Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of
Court which provides:
"SECTION 12.
Search i ncident to lawful arrest. A
person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous

weapons or anything which may be used as proof of the


commission of an offense, without a search warrant."
The frisk and search of appellant's person upon his arrest was
a permissible precautionary meas ure of arresting officers to
protect themselves, for the person who is about to be arrested
may be armed and might attack them unless he is first
disarmed. In Adams vs. Williams, 47 U.S. 143, cited in Justice
Isagani A. Cruz's Consti tutional Law, 1991 Edition, p. 150, it
was ruled that "the individual being arres ted may be frisked
for concealed weapons that may be us ed agains t the arresti ng
officer and all unlawful articles found in his person, or within
his immediate control may be seized."
There is no meri t in appellant's allegation that the trial court
erred in convicting him of having conspired and cooperated
with Fredo and Totoy Echigoren to kill Blace despite the
testimony of Dr. Valentin Bernales that the fracture on the
back of the victim's skull could hav e been inflicted by one
person only.
What Dr. Bernales stated was a mere possibility that only one
person dropped the concrete hollow block on the head of the
victim, smashing it. That circumstance, even if true, does not
absolve the other two co -conspirators in the murder of Blace
for when there is a conspiracy to commit a crime, the act of
one conspirator is the act of all. The conspiracy was prov en by
the eyewitness-testimony of Edna Edwina Reyes, that she
overheard the appellant and his companions conspi re to kill
Blace, that acting in concert, they attacked their victim with a
piece of wood and a hollow block and caused his death. "When
there is no evidence indicating that the principal witness for
the prosecution was mov ed by improper motive, the
pres umption is that he was not so moved and his testimony is
enti tled to full faith and credit" (People vs. Belibet, 199 SCRA
587, 588). Hence, the trial court did not err in giving full credit
to Edna Reyes' testimony.
Appellant's failure to escape (because he was very drunk) is
no indicium of his innocence.
The Solicitor General correctly pointed out in the appellee's
brief that the award of P30,000.00 as civil indemnity for the
death of Clari to Blace should be increased to P50,000.00 in
accordance with our ruling in People vs. Sison, 189 SCRA 643.
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is hereby AFFIRM ED,
with modification of the civil indemnity awarded to the hei rs
of the victim, Clarito Blace, which is hereby increased to
P50,000.00.
SO ORDERED.
Cruz, Bellosillo and Quiason, JJ ., concur.
EN BANC
[G.R. No. 123872. January 30, 1998]
PEO PLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. RUBEN
MONTILLA y GATDULA, accused-appellant.
D EC IS IO N
REGALADO, J.:

Accused-Appellant Ruben Montilla y Gatdula, alias "Joy," was


charged on August 22, 1994 for violating Section 4, Article II of
the D angerous Drugs Act of 1972, Republic Act No. 6425, as
amended by Republic Act No. 7659, before the Regional Tri al
Court, Branch 90, of Dasmarias, Cavite in an information
which alleges:
That on or about the 20th day of June 1994, at Barangay
Salitran, Municipality of Dasmarias, Province of Cavite,
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused, not being authorized by law,
did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously,
administer, transport, and deliver twenty -eight (28) kilos of
dried mari juana leaves, which are considered prohibited
drugs, in violation of the provisions of R.A. 6425 thereby
causing damage and prejudice to the public interest.[1]
The cons equent arrai gnment conducted on September 14,
1994 elicited a plea of not guilty from appellant who was
assisted therei n by his counsel de parte.[2] Trial was held on
scheduled dates thereafter, which culminated in a verdict of
guilty in a decision of the trial court dated June 8, 1995 and
which imposed the extreme penalty of death on appellant. He
was further ordered to pay a fine in the amount of
P500,000.00 and to pay the costs of the proceedings.[3]
It appears from the evidence of the prosecution that appellant
was apprehended at around 4:00 A.M. of June 20, 1994 near a
waiting shed located at Barangay Salitran, Dasmarias, Cavite
by SPO1 Concordio Talingti ng and SPO 1 Armando Clarin, both
members of the Cavite Philippine National Police Command
based in Dasmarias. Appellant, according to the two officers,
was caught transporting 28 mari juana bricks contained i n a
traveling bag and a carton box, which marijuana bricks had a
total weight of 28 kilos.
These two officers later asserted in court that they were aided
by an informer in the arrest of appellant. That informer,
according to Talingti ng and Clarin, had informed them the day
before, or on June 19, 1994 at about 2:00 P.M., that a drug
courier, whom said i nformer could recognize, would be
arriving somewhere in Barangay Salitran, Dasmarias from
Baguio City with an undetermined amount of marijuana. It
was the same informer who pinpointed to the arresti ng
officers the appellant when the latter alighted from a
passenger jeepney on the aforestated day, hour, and place.[4]
Upon the other hand, appellant disavowed ownership of the
prohibi ted drugs. He claimed duri ng the trial that while he
indeed came all the way from Baguio City, he travel ed to
Dasmarias, Cavite with only some pocket money and without
any luggage. His sole purpose in going there was to look up his
cousin who had earlier offered a prospective job at a garment
factory in said locality, after which he would return to Baguio
City. He never got around to doing so as he was accosted by
SPO1 Talingting and SPO1 Clarin at Barangay Salitran.
He further averred that when he was interrogated at a house
in Dasmarias, Cavite, he was nev er informed of his
constitutional ri ghts and was in fact even robbed of the
P500.00 which he had with him. Melita Adaci, the cousin,
corroborated appellant's testimony about the job offer i n the

garment factory where she reportedly worked as a


supervisor,[5] although, as the tri al court obs erved, she nev er
presented any document to prove her alleged employment.
In the pres ent appellate review, appellant disputes the tri al
court's finding that he was legally caught in flagrante
transporting the prohibited drugs. This Court, after an
objective and exhaustive review of the evidence on record,
discerns no reversible error in the factual findings of the tri al
court. It finds unassailable the reliance of the lower court on
the positive testimonies of the police officers to whom no ill
motives can be attributed, and its rejection of appellant's
fragile defense of deni al which is evidently self-serving in
nature.
1. Firstly, appellant asserts that the court a quo grossly erred
in convicting him on the basis of insufficient evidence as no
proof was proffered showing that he wilfully, unlawfully, and
feloniously administered, transported, and delivered 28 kilos
of dried marijuana leaves, since the police officers "testified
only on the alleged transporting of Marijuana from Baguio Ci ty
to Cavite."
Further, the failure of the pros ecution to present in court the
civilian informant is supposedly corrosive of the People's
cause since, aside from impinging upon appellant's
fundamental right to confront the witnesses against him, that
informant was a vital personality in the operation who would
have contradicted the hearsay and conflicting testimonies of
the arresting officers on how appellant was collared by them.
The pertinent provision of the penal law here involved, in
Section 4 of Article II thereof, as amended, is as follows:
SEC. 4. Sale, Administration, Delivery, Distribution and
Trans portation of Prohibited Drugs. - The penal ty of reclusion
perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred
thous and pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon
any person who, unless authorized by law, shall sell,
administer, deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch
in transit or transport any prohibited drug, or shall act as a
broker in any of such transactions.
Notwithstanding the provision of Section 20 of this Act to the
contrary, if the victim of the offense is a minor, or should a
prohibi ted drug involved i n any offense under this Section be
the proximate cause of the death of a victim thereof, the
maximum penalty herein provided shall be imposed.
Now, the offense ascribed to appellant is a violation of the
Dangerous Drugs Act, some of the various modes of
commission[6] being the sale, admi nistration, delivery,
distribution, and transportation of prohibited drugs as set
forth in the epi graph of Section 4, Article II of sai d law. The
text of Section 4 expands and extends its punitive scope to
other acts besides thos e mentioned in i ts headnote by
including these who shall sell, administer, deliver, give away
to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport any
prohibi ted drug, or shall act as a broker in any of such
transactions." Section 4 could thus be violated by the
commission of any of the acts specified therei n, or a
combination thereof, such as selling, administering, delivering,

giving away, distributi ng,


transporting, and the like.

dispatching

in

transit

or

As already stated, appellant was charged wi th a violation of


Section 4, the transgressive acts alleged therein and attributed
to appellant being that he administered, delivered, and
transported marijuana. The governi ng rule wi th respect to an
offense which may be committed in any of the different modes
provided by law is that an indictment would suffice if the
offense is alleged to hav e been committed in one, two or more
modes specified therein. This is so as allegations in the
information of the v arious ways of commi tting the offense
should be considered as a description of only one offense and
the information cannot be dismissed on the ground of
multifariousness.[7] In appellant's case, the prosecution
adduced evidence clearly establishing that he transported
marijuana from Baguio Ci ty to Cavite. By that act alone of
transporting the illicit drugs, appellant had already run afoul
of that particul ar section of the statute, hence, appellant's
asseverations must fail.
The Court also disagrees with the contention of appellant that
the civilian informer should have been produced in cou rt
considering that his testimony was "vital" and his pres ence in
court was essential in order to give effect to or recognition of
appellant's constitutional right to confront the wi tnesses
arrayed by the State against him. These assertions are,
howev er, much too strained. Far from compromising the
primacy of appellant's ri ght to confrontation, the nonpres entation of the informer in this instance was justified and
cannot be faulted as error.
For one, the testimony of said informer would have been, at
best, merely corroborative of the declarations of SPO1
Talingting and SPO1 Clarin before the tri al court, which
testimonies are not hears ay as both tes tified upon matters in
which they had personally taken part. As such, the testimony
of the i nformer could be dispensed with by the prosecution,[8]
more so where what he would have corroborated are the
narrations of law enforcers on whos e performance of duti es
regularity is the prevailing legal presumption. Besides,
informants are generally not presented in court because of the
need to hide their identi ties and pres erve their invaluable
services to the police.[9] Moreover, it is up to the prosecution
whom to pres ent in court as its witnesses, and not for the
defense to dictate that cours e.[10] Finally, appellant could
very well have resorted to the coercive process of subpoena to
compel that ey ewitness to appear before the court below,[11]
but which remedy was not availed of by him.
2. Appellant contends that the marijuana bricks were
confiscated in the course of an unlawful warrantless search
and seizure. He calls the attention of the Court to the fact that
as early as 2:00 P.M. of the preceding day, June 19, 1994, the
police authorities had already been apprised by their so -called
informer of appellant's impending arrival from Baguio City,
hence thos e law enforcers had the opportunity to procure the
requisite warrant. Their misfeasance should therefore
invalidate the search for and seizure of the marijuana, as well
as the arres t of appellant on the following dawn. Once agai n,
the Court is not persuaded.

Section 2, Article III of the Constitution lays down the general


rule that a search and seizure mus t be carried out through or
on the strength of a judicial warrant, abs ent which such search
and seizure becomes "unreasonabl e" withi n the meaning of
said constitutional provision.[12] Evidence secured on the
occasion of such an unreasonabl e search and seizure is tainted
and should be excluded for bei ng the proverbial fruit of a
poisonous tree. In the language of the fun damental law, it shall
be inadmissible in evidence for any purpose in any
proceeding. This exclusionary rul e is not, however, an
absolute and ri gid proscription. Thus, (1) customs
searches;[13] (2) searches of moving vehicles,[14] (3) seizure
of evidence in plain view;[15] (4) consented searches;[16] (5)
searches incidental to a lawful arrest;[17] and (6) "s top and
frisk" measures[18] have been invariably recognized as the
traditional exceptions.
In appellant's case, it should be noted that the information
relayed by the civilian informant to the l aw enforcers was that
there would be delivery of marijuana at Barangay Salitran by a
courier coming from Baguio City in the "early morning" of
June 20, 1994. Even assuming that the policemen were not
pressed for time, this would be beside the point for, under
thes e circumstances, the information relayed was too sketchy
and not detailed enough for the obtention of the
corresponding arrest or search warrant. While there is an
indication that the informant knew the couri er, the records do
not reveal that he knew him by name.
While it is not requi red that the authoriti es should know the
exact name of the subject of the warrant applied for, there is
the addi tional problem that the informant did not know to
whom the drugs would be delivered and at which particular
part of the barangay there would be such delivery. Neither did
this asset know the precise time of the suspect's arrival, or his
means of transportation, the container or contrivance wherein
the drugs were concealed and whether the same were arriving
together wi th, or were being brought by someone separately
from, the courier.
On such bare information, the police authorities could not
have properly applied for a warrant, assuming that they could
readily have access to a judge or a court that was still open by
the time they could make preparations for applying therefor,
and on which there is no evidence presented by the defens e.
In determini ng the opportuni ty for obtai ning warrants, not
only the interv ening time is controlling but all the coincident
and ambient circums tances should be considered, especially
in rural areas. In fact, the police had to form a surveillance
team and to lay down a dragnet at the possible entry points to
Barangay Salitran at midni ght of that day notwi thstanding the
tip regarding the "early morning" arrival of the courier. Their
leader, SPO2 Cali, had to reconnoi ter inside and around the
barangay as backup, uns ure as they were of the time when
and the place in Barangay Salitran, where their suspect would
show up, and how he would do so.
On the other hand, that they nonetheless believed the
informant is not surprising for, as both SPO1 Clarin and SPO1
Talingting recalled, he had prov ed to be a reliable source in
past operations. Moreover, experience shows that although
information gathered and passed on by thes e assets to law

enforcers are vague and piecemeal, and not as neatly and


completely packaged as one would expect from a professional
spymaster, such tip-offs are sometimes successful as it proved
to be i n the apprehension of appellant. If the courts of justice
are to be of understanding assistance to our law enforcement
agencies, it is necessary to adopt a realistic appreciation of the
physical and tactical problems of the latter, instead of critically
viewing them from the placid and clinical environment of
judicial chambers.
3. On the defense argument that the warrantless search
conducted on appellant invalidates the evidence obtained
from him, s till the search on his belongings and the
consequent confiscation of the illegal drugs as a result thereof
was justified as a search i ncidental to a lawful arrest under
Section 5(a), Rule 113 of the Rules of Court. Under that
provision, a peace officer or a private person may, without a
warrant, arrest a person when, in his presence, the person to
be arrested has commi tted, is actually committi ng, or is
attempting to commit an offense.
A legitimate warrantless arrest, as above contemplated,
necessarily cloaks the arres ting police officer with au thority to
validly search and seize from the offender (1) dangerous
weapons, and (2) those that may be used as proof of the
commission of an offens e.[19] On the other hand, the
apprehending officer must have been spurred by probable
cause in effecting an arres t which could be classified as one in
cadence with the ins tances of permissible arrests set out in
Section 5(a).[20] These instances have been applied to arres ts
carri ed out on persons caught i n flagrante delicto. The
conventional view is that probabl e cause, while largely a
relative term the determination of which mus t be resolved
according to the facts of each case, is unders tood as having
reference to such facts and circumstances which could lead a
reasonable, discreet, and prudent man to believ e and conclude
as to the commission of an offense, and that the objects sought
in connection wi th the offens e are in the place sought to be
searched.[21]
Parenthetically, if we may digress, it is time to observe that the
evidentiary measure for the propri ety of filing criminal
charges and, correlatively, for effecting a warrantless arres t,
has been reduced and liberalized. In the past, our statutory
rules and jurisprudence requi red prima facie evidence, which
was of a higher degree or quantum,[22] and was ev en used
with dubiety as equivalent to "probable cause." Yet, even in
the American jurisdiction from which we derived the term and
its concept, probable cause is understood to merely mean a
reasonable ground for belief in the existence of facts
warranti ng the proceedings complained of,[23] or an apparent
state of facts found to exist upon reasonable inquiry which
would induce a reasonably intelligent and prudent man to
believe that the accused person had committed the crime.[24]
Felicitously, those problems and confusing concepts were
clarified and set ari ght, at leas t on the issue under discussion,
by the 1985 amendment of the Rules of Court which provides
in Rule 112 thereof that the quantum of evidence required in
preliminary investigation is such evidence as suffices to
"engender a well founded belief" as to the fact of the
commission of a crime and the respondent's probable guilt

thereof.[25] It has the same meaning as the related


phraseology us ed in other parts of the same Rule, that is, that
the inves tigating fiscal "finds cause to hold the respondent for
trial," or where "a probabl e cause exists."[26] It shoul d,
therefore, be in that sense, wherein the right to effect a
warrantless arrest should be considered as legally authorized.
In the case at bar, as soon as appellant had alighted from the
passenger jeepney the informer at once i ndicated to the
officers that their sus pect was at hand by pointing to him from
the wai ting shed. SPO1 Clarin recounted that the informer told
them that the marijuana was likely hidden inside the traveling
bag and carton box which appellant was carrying at the time.
The officers thus realized that he was their man even if he was
simply carrying a seemingly innocent looking pai r of luggage
for personal effects. Accordi ngly, they approached appellant,
introduced thems elves as policemen, and requested him to
open and show them the contents of the traveling bag, which
appellant voluntarily and readily did. Upon cursory inspection
by SPO1 Clarin, the bag yielded the prohibited drugs, so,
without bothering to further search the box, they brought
appellant and his luggage to thei r headquarters for
questioning.
Appellant i nsists that the mere fact of s eeing a person carrying
a traveling bag and a carton box should not elicit the slightest
suspicion of the commission of any crime since that is normal.
But, precisely, it is in the ordinary nature of things that drugs
being illegally transported are necessarily hidden in
contai ners and concealed from view. Thus, the officers could
reasonably assume, and not merely on a hollow suspicion
since the informant was by their side and had so informed
them, that the drugs were i n appellant's luggage. It would
obviously have been irresponsible, if not downri ght absurd
under the circumstances, to require the cons tabl e to adopt a
"wait and see" atti tude at the risk of ev entually losing the
quarry.
Here, there were sufficient facts antecedent to the search and
seizure that, at the poi nt prior to the search, were already
constitutive of probabl e caus e, and which by themselves could
properly create in the minds of the officers a well-grounded
and reasonable belief that appellant was in the act of violati ng
the law. The search yielded affirmance both of that probable
cause and the actuality that appellant was then actually
committing a crime by illegally transporting prohibited drugs.
With these attendant facts, it is ineluctable that appellant was
caught in flagrante delicto, hence his arrest and the search of
his belongings without the requisite warrant were both
justified.
Furthermore, that appellant also consented to the search is
borne out by the evidence. To repeat, when the officers
approached appellant and introduced thems elves as
policemen, they asked him about the contents of his luggage,
and after he replied that they contai ned personal effects, the
officers asked him to open the traveling bag. Appellant readily
acceded, presumably or in all likelihood resigned to the fact
that the law had caught up with his criminal activities. When
an individual voluntarily submits to a search or consents to
have the same conducted upon his person or premises, he is
precluded from later complaining thereof.

After all, the right to be secure from unreasonable s earch may,


like other ri ghts, be waived ei ther expressly or impliedly.[27]
Thus, while it has been held that the silence of the accused
during a warrantless search should not be taken to mean
consent to the s earch but as a demonstration of that person's
regard for the supremacy of the law,[28] the cas e of herein
appellant is evidently different for, here, he spontaneously
performed affirmative acts of volition by hims elf opening the
bag without being forced or intimidated to do so, which acts
should properly be construed as a clear waiver of his
right.[29]
4. Appellant likewise harps on the alleged failure of the
prosecution to "legally, properly and adequately establish that
the 28 bricks of marijuana allegedly confiscated from (him)
were the same marijuana examined by the forensic chemist
and presented in court." Indeed, the arresting officers did not
identify in court the marijuana bricks seized from appellant
since, in fact they did not hav e to do so. It should be noted that
the pros ecution presented in the court below and formally
offered in evidence thos e 28 bricks of mari juana together with
the traveling bag and the carton box in which the s ame were
contai ned. The articles were properly marked as confiscated
evidence and proper safeguards were taken to ensure that the
marijuana turned over to the chemist for examination, and
which subsequently proved positive as such, were the s ame
drugs taken from appellant. The tri al court, therefore,
correctly admitted them in evidence, satisfied that the articles
were indubitably no other than those taken from appellant.
Complementarily, the corpus delicti was firmly established by
SPO1 Clarin and SPO1 Talingting who categorically related
that when they had ascertained that the contents of the
traveling bag of appellant appeared to be mari juana, they
forthwith asked him where he had come from, and the latter
readily answered "Baguio Ci ty," thus confirming the veraci ty
of the report of the informer. No other conclusion can
therefore be derived than that appellant had transported the
illicit drugs all the way to Cavite from Baguio Ci ty. Coupled
with the presentation in court of the subject matter of the
crime, the mari juana bricks which had tes ted positive as bei ng
indian hemp, the guilt of appellant for transporti ng the
prohibited drugs in violation of the law is beyond doubt.
Appellant questions the interrogation conducted by the police
authori ties, claiming that he was not allowed to communicate
with anybody, and that he was not duly informed of his right
to remai n silent and to have competent and independent
counsel preferably of his own choice. Indeed, appellant has a
point. The police authori ties here could possibly have violated
the provision of Republic Act No. 7438[30] which defines
certain rights of persons arrested, detained, or under custodi al
investigation, as well as the duti es of the arresting, detaining,
and i nvestigati ng officers, and providing corres pondi ng
penalties for violations thereof.
Assuming the existence of such irregul ariti es, howev er, the
proceedings in the lower court will not necessarily be struck
down. Firstly, appellant never admitted or confessed anythi ng
during his custodial investi gation. Thus, no i ncriminatory
evidence in the nature of a compelled or involuntary

confession or admission was elicited from him which would


otherwise have been inadmissible in evidence. Secondly and
more importantly, the guilt of appellant was clearly
established by other evidence adduced by the pros ecution,
particularly the tes timonies of the arresting officers together
with the documentary and object evidence which were
formally offered and admitted in evidence in the court below.
5. The reversible error of the trial court lies in its imposition of
the penal ty of death on appellant. As amended by Republic Act
No. 7659, Section 20, Article IV of the Dange rous D rugs Act
now provides inter alia that the penalty in Section 4 of Article
II shall be applied if the dangerous drugs involved is, in the
case of indian hemp or mari juana, 750 grams or more. In said
Section 4, the transporting of prohibited drugs carries wi th it
the penal ty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine rangi ng
from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos. Thus,
the law prescribes a penalty compos ed of two indivisible
penalties, reclusion perpetua and death. In the present cas e,
Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code consequently provides
the rules to be observed in the application of said penalties.
As found by the trial court, there were neither mitigati ng nor
aggravati ng circums tances attending appellant's violation of
the law, hence the second paragraph of Article 63 must
necessarily apply, in which cas e the lesser penalty of reclusion
perpetua is the proper imposable penal ty. Contrary to the
pronouncement of the court a quo, it was nev er intended by
the legislature that where the quantity of the dangerous drugs
involved exceeds those stated in Section 20, the maximum
penalty of death shall be imposed. Nowhere in the amendatory
law is there a provision from which such a conclusion may be
gleaned or deduced. On the contrary, this Co urt has already
concluded that Republic Act No. 7659 did not amend Article
63 of the Revised Penal Code,[31] the rules wherein were
observed although the cocaine subject of that case was also in
excess of the quantity provided in Section 20.
It is worth mentioning at this juncture that the law its elf
provides a specific penalty where the violation thereof is in i ts
aggravated form as laid down in the second paragraph of
Section 4 whereby, regardless of Section 20 of Article IV, if the
victim is a minor, or should a prohibi ted drug involved in any
offense i n said section be the proximate cause of the death of a
victim thereof, the maximum penalty shall be imposed.[32]
While the minority or the death of the victim will increase the
liability of the offender, these two facts do not cons titute
generic aggravating circums tances, as the law simply provides
for the imposition of the single indivisible penalty of death if
the offense is attended by either of such factual features. In
that situation, obviously the rules on the graduation of
penalties in Article 63 cannot apply. In herein appellant's cas e,
there was neither a minor victim nor a consequent death of
any victim. Hence, the basic rules in Article 63 of the Code
govern.
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 90, of Dasmarias, Cavite in Criminal Case No. 3401-94
is hereby MODIFIED in the s ense that accused -appellant
Ruben Montilla y Gatdula shall suffer the penal ty of reclusion
perpetua. In all other respects, the judgment of the trial court
is hereby AFFIRMED, with costs against accused-appellant.

SO ORDERED.
Narvas a, C.J., Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Kapunan,
Mendoza, Francisco, and Martinez, JJ, concur.
Melo, and Puno, JJ., join Panganiban J., separate opinion.
Vitug, J., concur but res erve his vote on the discussion on the
warrantless search of appellant as his incidental to a lawful
arrest.
[1] Original Record, 1; Rollo, 3.
[2] Ibid., 19, 21.
[3] Ibid., 76; per Presiding Judge Dolores L. Espaol.
[4] TSN, October 10, 1994, 1-14; October 19, 1994, 2-9.
[5] Ibid., February 15, 1995, 4-26; March 2, 1995, 1-4.
[6] The other modes include violations of Sections 3
(Importation of Prohibited Drugs), 5 (Mai ntenance of a Den,
Dive or Resort for Prohibited Drugs Users), 6 (Employees and
Visitors of Prohibited Drug D en), 7 (Manufacture of Prohibited
Drugs), 8 (Possession or Us e of Prohibited Drugs), 9
(Cultivitation of Plants which are Sources of Prohibited
Drugs), 11 (Unl awful Prescription of Prohibited Drugs), and
12 (Unnecessary Prescription of Prohibited Drugs), all under
Article II of the Dangerous Drugs Act. Article III of the Act
provides for similar violations in cases involving regulated
drugs, namely, Sections 14, 14- A, 15, 15-A, 16, 17, 18, and 19.
[7] Jurado, etcc. vs. Suy Yan, L-30714, April 30, 1971, 38 SCRA
663.
[8] People vs. Trancca, G.R. No. 110357, August 17, 1994, 235
SCRA 435.
[9] People vs. Gireng G.R. No. 97949, February 21, 1995, 241
SCRA 11.
[10] People vs. Nicolas, et al., G.R. No. 110116, February 1,
1995, 241 SCRA 67.
[11] Section 1, Rules of Court.
[12] People vs. Barros, G.R. No. 90640, Marcch 29, 1994, 231
SCRA 557.
[13] Chia, et al. vs. Acting Collector of Cus toms, et al. L-43810,
September 26, 1989, 177 SCRA 755; Papa, etc., et al. vs. Mago,
et al., L-27360, February 28, 1968, 22 SCRA 857.
[14] Aniag, Jr. vs. Commission on Elections, et al., G.R. No.
104961, October 7, 1994, 237 SCRA 424; Valmonte, et al. vs.
De Villa, et al., G.R. No. 83988, May 24, 1990, 185 SCRA 665.
[15] People vs. Leangsiri, G.R. No. 112659, January 24, 1996,
252 SCRA 213; Peopl e vs. Figueroa, G.R. No. 97143, October 2,
1995, 248 SCRA 679.
[16] People vs. Fernandez, G.R. No. 113474, December 13,
1994, 239 SCRA 174; People vs. Tabar, et al. G.R. No. 101124,
May 17, 1993, 222 SCRA 144.
[17] Peopl e vs. Malstedt, G.R. No. 91107, June 19, 1991, 198
SCRA 401.
[18] Terry vs. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 88 S Ct. 1868, 20 L. Ed. 2d. 889
(1968), adopted in Posadas vs. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. no.
89139, August 2, 1990, 188 SCRA 288.
[19] Section 12, Rule 126, Rules of Court.
[20] People vs. Malmstedt, supra, Fn 17; Lo Ho Wing, et al.,
G.R. No. 88017, January 21, 1991, 193 SCRA 122; People vs.
Maspil, Jr., et al., G.R. No. 85177, August 20, 1990, 188 SCRA
751; People vs. Tangliben, G.R. No. 63630, April 6, 1990, 184
SCRA 220; People vs. Claudio, L -72564, April 15, 1988, 160
SCRA 646.

[21] See also People vs. Labarias, G.R. No. 87165, January 25,
1993, 217 SCRA 483; People vs. Tonog, Jr., etc., at al., G.R. No.
94533, February 4, 1992, 205 SCRA 772.
[22] See Salonga vs. Pao, etcc., et al., G.R. No. 59524, February
18, 1985, 134 SCRA 438; Bautista, et al. vs. Sarmiento, etc., at
el., L-45137, September 23, 1985, 138 SCRA 592. The term
denotes evidence which, if unexplained or uncontradicted, is
sufficient to sustain a proposition or establish the facts, as to
counterbalance the presumption of innocence and warrant the
conviction of the accused.
[23] Owens vs. Gratezel, 148 Md. 689, 132 A. 265.
[24] Brand vs. Hincchman, 68 Micch. 590, 36 N.W. 664, 13 Am.
St. Rep. 362.
[25] Section1, Rule 112.
[26] Section 4, first and fourth paragraphs., id.
[27] People vs. Fernandez, supra, Fn 16; People vs. Ramos, G.R.
Nos. 101804-07, May 25, 1993, 222 SCRA 557; People vs.
Tabar, et al., supra, Fn. 16; People vs. Exal a, et al., G.R. No.
76005, April 23, 1993, 221 SCRA 494.
[28] People vs. Barros, supra, Fn 12.
[29] People vs. Lacerna, G.R. No. 109250, September 5, 1997,
and cases therein cited.
[30] Approved on April 27, 1992 and published in the Official
Gazette on June 22, 1992, Vol. 88, No. 25, 3880.
[31] People vs. Gatward, et al., G.R. Nos. 118772-73, February
7, 1997.
[32] See Section 24 of the Act, which likewise imposes the
maximum penalties provided for i n Sections 3, 4(1), 5(1), 6, 7,
8, 9, 11, 12 and 13 of Article II, and Sections 14, 14-A, 15(1),
15-A(1), 16, and 19 of Article III, where those found guilty of
any of said offenses are government officials, employees or
officers including members of police agencies and the armed
forces.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION

G.R. Nos. 106288-89

May 17, 1994

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
TIRSO ACOL Y BARNUBAL and PIO BOSES Y DOLFO,
defendants, PIO BOSES, appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Public Attorney's Office for accused-appellant.

MELO, J.:
Two passengers who were apprehended after they
supposedly staged a hold-up inside a passenger jeepney on
September 29, 1990 were haled to court, not for the felonious
asportation, but for possession of the two unlicens ed firearms

and bullets recovered from them which were instrumental in


the commission of the robo (pp. 7-8, Rollo.)

admiting possession of the other gun. Just like his co-accused,


he too, denied knowledge of the hold up.

Of the two persons accused, only Pio Boses interposed an


appeal from the trial court's judgment (p. 23, Rollo) inasmuch
as Tirso Acol y Barnubal had escaped from incarceration (p. 5,
Brief for the Accused-Appellant, p. 60, Rollo ) thereby abati ng
any review of his culpability for the misdeed.

The court a quo was unpersuaded by these general denials,


observing:

The People's inculpatory accus ations during the joint tri al


were to the effect that at around 3:45 in the morning of
September 29, 1990, when Percival Tan was driving his
jeepney, two men boarded the vehicle in Cubao. When they
crossed Pasay Road, the two wayfarers, together wi th two
other companions, announced a hold -up. Percival Tan was
instructed to proceed atop the M agallanes interchange where
the other passengers were dives ted of their personal
belongings, including the jacket of passenger Rene Araneta.
Thereafter, the robbers alighted at the Shell Gas Station near
the Magallanes Commercial Center after which Percival Tan
and his passengers went to Fort Bonifacio to report the crime.
A CAPCOM team was forthwith formed to track down the
culprits. Victim Rene Araneta who went with the res pondi ng
police officers, upon seeing four persons, one of whom was
wearing his stolen jacket, walking casually towards Fort
Bonifacio, told the police authorities to accost s aid persons.
After the CAPCOM officers introduced themselves, the four
men scampered to different directions but three of them,
namely, Tirso Acol, Pio Boses, and Albert Blanco, were
apprehended. Tirso Acol and Pio Boses were each found in
possession of an unlicens ed .38 caliber revolver with bullets.
After the arrest, the three men were brought to Fort Bonifacio
and were identified by Percival Tan and the passengers who
ganged up on the accused.
To reinforce the theory of unauthorized possession of
firearms, Sgt. Garcia presented a certification (Exhibit I)
issued by the Firearms and Explosives Unit stating that the
accused are not licensed firearm holders.
On the other hand, Pio Boses and Tirso Acol pleaded innocent
to the charges levelled agains t them, proferring a general
denial.
Accused-appellant Pio Boses asserted on the witness stand
that after establishing his residence at Pasay City for about six
months, he engaged in the business of vending "balut". Duri ng
the incident i n question, he recalled that while so engaged in
his trade, three persons allegedly acosted him, took his money,
"balut" and "penoy", and that he was thereafter brought to a
cell where he was forced to confess ownership of one gun
which was shown to him. He nonetheless denied participation
in the hold up.
For his part, Tirso Acol, a laborer and at that time having
resided in M etro Manila for about two months, recollected
that he spent the night at his cousin's ho use in Paraaque on
September 28, 1990, and that he left Paraaque at around 5 in
the morni ng of September 29, 1990. According to him, the
jeepney he was then riding dev eloped engine trouble, and
alighting therefrom he was arrested for no apparent reason.
When he was brought to the cell, he was allegedly coerced i nto

As can be gathered from the foregoing testimonies of the


accused, the line of defens e they have adopted is one of denial.
Indeed, they denied that the firearms and ammuni tion in
question were found i n their persons in the early morning of
September 29, 1989. They also deni ed the truth of the
testimonies of Sgt. Faltado, Percival Tan, and Rene Araneta.
The defense however did not ci te any valid reasons for the
Court not to give credence to the testimonies. In the
circumstance, the Court is cons trained to consider the
testimonies of the accused to be self -serving. In the face of the
positive testimoni es of the prosecution witnesses, the Court
can only take their deni als with the proverbi al grain of sal t.
Verily, it is simply hard for the Court to believe that the
accused are simple provincial who are lost in the big city; that
accused Pio Boses who is a resident of Pasay City, does not
know well-known pl aces in M etro Manila such as the South
Super Highway and the Fort Bonifacio-Nichols interchange;
that he did not know the streets where he plied his trade as a
balut v endor. Indeed, how can this be true when he himself
admitted that from 7:00 p.m. of September 28, 1989, he spent
his time walking in the street in the area and yet he nev er
claimed he had ever lost his way.
The same is true with accused Tirso Acol. The Court is
convinced that he lied on the witness stand. He claimed that
he was in the place where he was arrested becaus e he had just
come from the residence of his cousin, Genny Acol, and the
passenger jeepney he had boarded on his way home just
happened to break down at that place. In the mind of the
Court this alibi of the accused is too much of a coincidence,
and too convenient an excuse, for the Court to believe. In this
connection, the Court notes his testimony on cross
examination that he was unable to get in touch with his
relatives, including Genny Acol, for possible assistance and to
get Genny Acol to corroborate his testimony, because the
latter had already left for the province and that none of his
other relatives knew that he had been charged in this case. But
when queried how he was able to say this, he testified that he
had wri tten to his uncle and that he received a reply letter
from him and that i t was from this reply letter of his uncle that
he learned that Genny Acol had already left for the province.
This testimony of accused Ti rso Acol, if it accomplished
anything, helped convinced the Court that he is given to lying.
For sure, if he had written to his uncle and that the latter had
replied to him, it is plain that he must have informed his uncle
about the case and that the latter knew about the case and the
fact that he was in jail and needed help. In any ev ent,
established jurisprudence dictates that between the positive
testimonies of prosecution witnesses and the denials of the
accused the Court must place i ts reliance on the former. As a
matter of fact, jurisprudence also indicates that greater weight
must be given to the tes timonies of the prosecution wi tnesses
when they are officers of the law. (Peo ple vs. Mostoles, Jr., 124
SCRA 906; People vs. Patog, 144 SCRA 129).
(pp. 21-22, Rollo.)

As initially intimated herein, Tirso Acol escaped from


detention during the trial below, thus obviating any review of
his conviction, as indeed, even if he had appeal ed and
thereafter escaped, he would be considered as having
abandoned his appeal (People vs. Quinitan, 197 SCRA 32
[1991]; Section 8, Rule 124, Revised Rules on Criminal
Procedure).
With respect to Pio Boses, he chose to articulate his
protestation of innocence by claiming that the trial court
below erred:
I
. . . IN NOT GIVING D UE COURSE TO THE URGENT MOTION OF
ACCUSED PIO BOSES TO REOPEN THE CASE HENCE
DEPRIVING HIM TO PRESENT HIS WITNESSES WHO SE
TESTIMONIES WOULD HAVE BEEN MATERIAL TO HIS
DEFENSE THEREBY AMOUNTING TO A D ENIAL OF D UE
PROCESS.
II
. . . IN NOT GIVING CRED ENCE TO THE TESTIMONIES OF
BOTH ACCUSED PIO BOSES AND TIRSO ACOL; INSTEAD, IT
RELIED SOLELY ON THE TESTIMONIES OF THE
PROSECUTION'S WITNESSES.
III
. . . IN ADMITTING THE PROSECUTIONS EVID ENCE
CONSISTING OF EXHIBITS "E", "F", "F -1" TO "F-5", "G", "G- 1"
TO "G-5", SINCE THE ARRESTING OFFICERS ADMITTED THEY
WERE NOT ARM ED WITH A WARRANT OF ARREST, NOR A
SEARCH WARRANT WHEN THEY CHASED AND FRISKED
ACCUSED-APPELLANTS AND PROCEEDED TO ARREST THEM.
IV
. . . IN CONVICTING BOTH ACCUSED AS THERE WAS NOT
CLEAR SHOWING THAT EXHIBITS "F", "F-1" TO "F-5", "G", "G1" TO "G-4" WERE THE ONES USED BY THE ROBBERS IN
COMMITTING THE CRIME OF ROBBERY/HOLD UP.
(p. 1, Appellant's Brief; p. 60, Rollo.)
But the appeal leaves much to be desired.
It is axiomatic to the point of being elementary that herein
accused- appellant can not feign denial of due process where
he had the opportunity to pres ent his defense, through his
own narration on the witness stand (Domingo vs.
Development Bank of the Philippines, 207 SCRA 766 [1992];
Gonzales vs. Court of Appeals, 212 SCRA 595 [1992]. Withal,
and as correctly pointed out by the People, the omission of a
party to present witnesses to corroborate the principal basis
for exculpation, on account of the wi tnesses' admitted
tardiness in arriving in court, is a puerile proposition to
support re-opening of the case.

In regard to the second ascription aired by the accusedappellant, emphasis is laid on the fact that the court a quo
should hav e relied more on the explanation offered by the
defense rather than giving credence to the testimony of the
People's witnesses. For one thing, accus ed- appellant
asseverates that they could not have been positively identified
by Percival Tan and Rene Araneta considering that it was then
still dark when the accus ed boarded the jeep, up to the time
they were apprehended. But counsel for accused -appellant
concedes that the jeep was lighted subject to the caveat that it
was not well lighted (p. 12, Brief for Accused-Appellant) which
does not entirely foreclose positive identification of the
culprits who admittedly shared a ride with their victims and
were thus s eated within the closed quarters of the jeepney.
Moreover, it was es tablished by the prosecution that Rene
Araneta's jacket was one of the items which was as ported, that
it was worn by one of the felons, and that the jacket was
recognized by Rene Araneta from a distance of 1 -1/2 meters
(p. 7, Brief for Accused-Appellant). To lessen the impact of the
affirmative statements uttered against accused- appellant, it is
argued that the immedi ate propensity of a criminal is to move
out from the scene of the locus criminis and not merely to
walk casually within the vicinity. We said in People vs.
Ocampo (G.R. No. 80262, September 1, 1993) that indeed,
there can be no legal dispute to the l egal proposition that
flight from the scene of the felony is one of the indicia of a
guilty conscience, but it is equally true, we proceeded to say,
that culpri ts, in exceptional cases, have become bolder by
returning to the scene of the crime to feign innocence. At any
rate, it has been repeatedly stressed by this Court that the
factual findings of the trial court and the conclusions drawn
therefrom are accorded utmos t respect since the magistrate at
the court of origin had the first hand impression of the
demeanor and deportment of witnesses (People vs. Lim, 206
SCRA 176 [1992]; People vs. Castillo, 208 SCRA 62).
With respect to the so-called warrantless arrest of accused-appellant, we are of the view that the search falls within the
purview of Section 5(b) of Rule 113 which s erves as an
exception to the requisite warrant prior to arrest:
When an offense has in fact been committed, and the has
personal knowl edge of facts indicating that the person to be
arrested has committed it;
inasmuch as the police team was formed and dispatched to
look for the persons responsible for the crime on account of
the information related by Percival Tan and Rene Araneta that
they had just been robbed (People vs. Gerente, 219 SCRA 756
[1993]; People vs. Tonog, Jr., 205 SCRA 772 [1992]). And since
accused-appellant's arrest was lawful, it follows that the
search made incidental thereto was valid (People vs. Tanilon,
221 SCRA 671 [1993]). Moreover, the unlicensed firearms
were found when the police team apprehended the accused
for the robbery and not for illegal possession of firearms and
ammunition (Peopl e vs. Cruz, 165 SCRA 135 [1988]). The
principle imparted by Justice Padilla in Cruz was based on the
ruling of this Court in M agoncia vs. Palacio (90 Phil. 771
[1948]) that:
. . . When, in pursuing an illegal action or in the commission of
a criminal offense, the offending police officers should happen

to discover a criminal offense being commi tted by any person,


they are not precluded from performing their duties as police
officers for the apprehension of the guilty person and the
taking of the corpus delicti.
Nonethel ess, the penalty of "reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment" as erroneously imposed by the lower court
must be modified to read only as reclusion perpetua, as
provided by Section 1 of Presidential D ecree No. 1866, said
penalty being distinct from life imprisonment.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed
with the slight modification that the proper penalty to be
imposed is reclusion perpetua. Further, the court orders the
forfeiture of the firearms and other incidental paraphernalia
in favor of the Philippine National Police to be disposed of i n
accordance with law.
No pronouncement is made as to costs.
SO ORDERED
Feliciano, Bidin, Romero and Vitug, JJ., concur.------P v TUNGONG not found

THIRD DIVISION
[G.R. No. 121917. March 12, 1997]
ROBIN CARIO PADILLA @ ROBINHOOD PADILLA, petitioner,
vs. COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE of the PHILIPPINES,
respondents.
D EC IS IO N
FRANCISCO, J.:
On October 26, 1992, high-powered fi rearms with live
ammunitions were found in the possession of petitioner Robin
Padilla @ Robinhood Padilla, i.e.:
"(1) One .357 Caliber revolver, Smith and Wesson, SN-32919
with six (6) live ammunitions;
"(2) One M-16 Baby Armalite rifle, SN -RP 131120 with four
(4) long and one (1) short magazine with ammunitions;
"(3) One .380 Pietro Beretta, SN-A 35723 Y with clip and eight
(8) ammunitions; and
"(4) Six additional live double action ammunitions of .38
caliber revolver."[1]
Petitioner was corres pondingly charged on D ecember 3, 1992,
before the Regional Tri al Court (RTC) of Angeles Ci ty with
illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions under P.D.
1866[2] thru the following Information:[3]
"That on or about the 26th day of October, 1992, in the City of
Angeles, Philippines, and withi n the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the abov e-named accused, did then and
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have i n his

possession and under his custody and control one (1) M-16
Baby Armalite rifle, SN -RP 131120 with four (4) long and one
(1) short magazines with ammunitions, one (1) .357 caliber
revolver Smith and Wesson, SN-32919 with six (6) live
ammunitions and one (1) .380 Pietro Beretta, SN-A35723Y
with clip and eight (8) ammuni tions, without having the
necessary authority and permit to carry and possess the same.
ALL CONTRARY TO LAW."[4]
The lower court then ordered the arrest of petitioner,[5] but
granted his application for bail.[6] During the arraignment on
January 20, 1993, a plea of not guilty was entered for
peti tioner after he refused,[7] upon advice of counsel,[8] to
make any plea.[9] Petitioner waived i n wri ting his right to be
present in any and all stages of the case.[10]
After trial, Angeles City RTC Judge David Rosete rendered
judgment dated April 25, 1994 convicting petitioner of the
crime charged and s entenced him to an "indeterminate
penalty from 17 years, 4 months and 1 day of reclusion
temporal as minimum, to 21 y ears of reclusion perpetua, as
maximum".[11] Petitioner filed his notice of appeal on April
28, 1994.[12] Pending the appeal in the res pondent Court of
Appeals,[13] the Solicitor-General, convinced that the
conviction shows strong evidence of guilt, filed on December
2, 1994 a motion to cancel petitioner's bail bond. The
resolution of this motion was incorporated in the now assailed
respondent
court's
decision
sustaining
petitioner's
conviction,[14] the dispositive portion of which reads:
"WHEREFORE, the foregoing circumstances considered, the
appeal ed decision is hereby AFFIRM ED, and furthermore, the
P200,000.00 bailbond posted by accus ed-appellant for his
provisional liberty, FGU Insurance Corporation Bond No. JCR
(2) 6523, is hereby cancelled. The Regional Trial Court, Branch
61, Angeles City, is directed to issue the Order of Arres t of
accused-appellant and thereafter his transmittal to the
National Bureau of Prisons thru the Philippine National Police
where the said accused-appellant shall remain under
confinement pending resolution of his appeal, should he
appeal to the Supreme Court. This shall be immediately
executory. The Regional Trial Court is further directed to
submit a report of compliance herewith.
SO ORDERED."[15]
Petitioner received a copy of this decision on July 26,
1995.[16] On Augus t 9, 1995 he filed a "motion for
reconsideration (and to recall the warrant of arres t)"[17] but
the same was denied by respondent court in i ts September 20,
1995 Resolution,[18] copy of which was received by
peti tioner on September 27, 1995. The next day, September
28, petitioner filed the instant petition for review on certiorari
with application for bail[19] followed by two "s uppl emental
peti tions" filed by different counsels,[20] a "second
supplemental petition"[21] and an urgent motion for the
separate resolution of his application for bail. Again, the
Solicitor-General[22] sought the denial of the application for
bail, to which the Court agreed in a Resolution promulgated on
July 31, 1996.[23] The Court also granted the SolicitorGeneral's motion to file a consolidated comment on the

peti tions and thereafter required the petitioner to file his


reply.[24] However, after his vigorous resistance and s uccess
on the intramural of bail (both in the respondent court and
this Court) and thorough exposition of petitioner's guilt in his
55-page Bri ef in the respondent court, the Solicitor-General
now makes a complete turnabout by filing a "Manifes tation In
Lieu Of Comment" praying for petitioner's acquittal.[25]
The People's detailed narration of facts, well-supported by
evidence on record and given credence by respondent court, is
as follows:[26]
"At about 8:00 o'clock in the eveni ng of October 26, 1992,
Enrique Manarang and his compadre D anny Perez were inside
the Manukan sa Highway Res taurant in Sto. Kristo, Angel es
City where they took shelter from the heavy downpour (pp. 56, TSN, February 15, 1993) that had interrupted their ride on
motorcycles (pp. 5-6, ibid.) along McArthur Hi ghway (ibid).
While inside the restaurant, Manarang noticed a v ehicle, a
Mitsubishi Pajero, running fast down the highway prompti ng
him to remark that the vehicle might get into an accident
considering the i nclement weather. (p. 7, Ibid) In the local
vernacular, he said thus: 'Ka bilis na, mumuran pa naman pota
makaaksidente ya.' (p. 7, ibid). True enough, immediately after
the vehicle had passed the restaurant, Manarang and Perez
heard a screeching sound produced by the sudden and hard
braking of a vehicle running very fast (pp. 7-8, ibid) followed
by a sickening sound of the vehicle hitting somethi ng (p. 8,
ibid). Danny Cruz, qui te s ure of what had happened, remarked
'oy ta na' signifying that Manarang had been right in his
observation (pp. 8-9, ibid).
"Manarang and Cruz went out to inv estigate and immediately
saw the vehicle occupying the edge or shoulder of the highway
giving it a slight tilt to its side (pp. 9-10, ibid). Manarang, bei ng
a member of both the Spectrum, a civic group and the
Barangay Disaster Coordi nating Council, decided to report the
incident to the Philippine National Police of Angeles City (p.
10, ibid). He took out his radio and called the Viper, the radio
controller of the Philippine National Police of Angeles City (p.
10, ibid). By the time Manarang completed the call, the vehicle
had started to l eave the place of the accident taking the
general direction to the north (p. 11, ibid).
"Manarang went to the location of the accident and found out
that the vehicle had hit somebody (p. 11, ibid).
"He asked Cruz to look after the victim while he went back to
the restaurant, rode on his motorcycle and chas ed the vehicle
(p. 11 ibid). During the chase he was able to make out the
plate number of the vehicle as PMA 777 (p. 33, TSN, February
15, 1993). He called the Viper through the radio once again (p.
34, ibid) reporting that a v ehicle heading north with plate
number PMA 777 was involved in a hit and run accident (p.
20, TSN, June 8, 1993). The Viper, in the person of SPO2 Ruby
Buan, upon receipt of the second radio call flashed the
message to all units of PNP Angel es City with the order to
apprehend the vehicle (p. 20, ibi d). One of the units of the PNP
Angeles City reached by the alarm was its Patrol Division at
Jake Gonzales Street near the Traffic Division (pp. 5-7, TSN,
February 23, 1993). SPO2 Juan C. Borja III and SPO2 Emerlito
Miranda immediately borded a mobile patrol v ehicle (Mobile

No. 3) and positioned thems elves near the south approach of


Abacan bridge since it was the only passable way going to the
north (pp. 8-9, ibid). It took them about ten (10) seconds to
cover the distance between thei r office and the Abacan bridge
(p. 9, ibid).
"Another PNP mobile patrol vehicle that responded to the
flash message from SPO 2 Buan was Mobile No. 7 of the
Pulongmaragal D etachment which was then conducti ng patrol
along Don Juico Avenue (pp. 8-9, TSN, March 8, 1993). On
board were SPO Ruben Mercado and SPO3 Tan and SPO2
Odejar (p. 8, ibid). SPO Ruben Mercado immedi ately told SPO3
Tan to proceed to the MacA rthur Highway to intercept the
vehicle with plate number PMA 777 (p. 10, ibid).
"In the meantime, Manarang continued to chas e the vehicle
which figured in the hit and run incident, even passing
through a flooded portion of the M acArthur Hi ghway two (2)
feet deep in front of the Iglesia ni Kristo church but he could
not catch up with the same vehicle (pp. 11-12, February 15,
1993). When he saw that the car he was chasing went towards
Magal ang, he proceeded to Abacan bridge because he knew
Pulongmaragal was not passable (pp. 12-14, ibid). When he
reached the Abacan bridge, he found Mobile No. 3 and SPO2
Borja and SPO 2 Miranda watching all vehicles coming their
way (p. 10, TSN, February 23, 1993). He approached them and
informed them that there was a hit and run incident (p. 10,
ibid). Upon learning that the two police officers already knew
about the incident, Manarang went back to where he came
from (pp. 10-11; ibid). When M anarang was in front of Tina's
Restaurant, he s aw the v ehicle that had figured in the hit and
run i ncident emerging from the corner adjoining Tina's
Restaurant (p. 15, TSN, February 15, 1993). He saw that the
license plate hanging in front of the vehicle bore the
identifying number PMA 777 and he followed it (p. 15, ibid)
towards the Abacan bridge.
"Soon the v ehicle was within sight of SPO2 Borja and SPO2
Miranda of Mobile No. 3 (p. 10, TSN, February 23, 1993).
When the vehicle was about twelve (12) meters away from
thei r position, the two police officers boarded their Mobile car,
switched on the engine, operated the siren and s trobe light
and drove out to intercept the vehicle (p. 11, ibid). They cut
into the path of the vehicle forcing it to stop (p. 11, ibid).
"SPO 2 Borja and SPO2 Miranda alighted from Mobile No. 3 (P.
12, TSN, February 23, 1993). SPO2 Miranda went to the
vehicle with plate number PMA 777 and instructed its driver
to alight (p. 12, ibid). The driver rolled down the window and
put his head out while raising both his hands. They recognized
the driver as Robin C. Padilla, appellant in this case (p. 13,
ibid). There was no one else with him inside the vehicle (p.
24). At that moment, Borja noticed that Manarang arrived and
stopped his motorcycle behind the vehicle of appellant (p. 14,
ibid). SPO2 Mi randa told appellant to alight to which appellant
complied. Appellant was wearing a short leather jacket (p. 16,
TSN, March 8, 1993) such that when he alighted with both his
hands raised, a gun (Exhibit 'C') tucked on the left side of his
waist was revealed (p. 15, TSN, February 23, 1993), its butt
protruding (p. 15, ibid). SPO2 Borja made the move to
confiscate the gun but appellant held the former's hand
alleging that the gun was covered by legal papers (p. 16, ibid).

SPO2 Borja, however, insisted that if the gun really was


covered by legal papers, it would have to be shown in the
office (p. 16, ibid). After disarming appellant, SPO2 Borja told
him about the hit and run incident which was angrily denied
by appellant (p. 17, ibid). By that time, a crowd had formed at
the place (p. 19, ibid). SPO2 Borja checked the cylinder of the
gun and find six (6) live bullets inside (p. 20, ibid).
"While SPO 2 Borja and appellant were arguing, Mobile No. 7
with SPO Ruben M ercado, SPO3 Tan and SPO2 Odejar on
board arrived (pp. 11-12, TSN, March 8, 1993). As the most
senior police officer in the group, SPO Mercado took over the
matter and informed appellant that he was being arrested for
the hit and run incident (p. 13, ibid). He poi nted out to
appellant the fact that the plate number of his vehicle was
dangling and the railing and the hood were dented (p. 12,
ibid). Appellant, however, arrogantly denied his misdeed and,
instead, play ed with the crowd by holding their hands with
one hand and pointing to SPO3 Borja with his right hand
saying 'iyan, kinuha ang baril ko' (pp. 13-15, ibid). Because
appellant's jacket was short, his ges ture exposed a long
magazine of an armalite rifle tucked i n appellant's back right
pocket (p. 16, ibid). SPO M ercado s aw this and so when
appellant turned around as he was talking and proceeding to
his vehicle, Mercado confiscated the magazine from appellant
(pp. 16-17, ibid). Suspecting that appellant could also be
carrying a rifle inside the vehicle since he had a magazine,
SPO2 Mercado prevented appellant from going back to his
vehicle by openi ng himself the door of appellant's v ehicle (1617, ibid). He saw a baby armalite rifle (Exhibit D) lying
horizontally at the front by the driver's seat. It had a long
magazine filled with live bullets in a semi-automatic mode (pp.
17-21, ibid). He asked appellant for the papers covering the
rifle and appellant answered angrily that they were at his
home (pp. 26-27, ibid). SPO Mercado modified the arrest of
appellant by including as its ground illegal possession of
firearms (p. 28, ibid). SPO Mercado then read to appellant his
constitutional rights (pp. 28-29, ibid).
"The police officers brought appellant to the Traffic Division at
Jake Gonzales Boulevard (pp. 31-32, ibid) where appellant
voluntarily surrendered a third firearm, a pietro berreta pistol
(Exhibit 'L') with a singl e round i n its chamber and a magazine
(pp. 33-35, ibid) loaded with s even (7) other live bullets.
Appellant also voluntarily surrendered a black bag containi ng
two addi tional long magazines and one short magazine
(Exhibits M, N, and O, pp. 36-37, ibid). After appellant had
been interrogated by the Chief of the Traffic Division, he was
transferred to the Police Investi gation Division at Sto. Rosario
Street beside the City Hall Building where he and the firearms
and ammunitions were turned over to SPO2 Rene Jes us
Gregorio (pp. 5-10, TSN, July 13, 1993). Duri ng the
investigation, appellant admitted possession of the firearms
stating that he used them for shooting (p. 14, ibid). He was not
able to produce any permit to carry or memorandum receipt
to cover the three firearms (pp. 16-18, TSN, January 25, 1994).
"On November 28, 1992, a certification (Exhibit 'F') was
issued by Captai n, Senior Ins pector M ario Espino, PNP, Chief,
Record Branch of the Fi rearms and Explosives Office (pp. 7-8,
TSN, March 4, 1993). The Certification stated that the three
firearms confiscated from appellant, an M-16 Baby armalite

rifle SN-RP 131280, a .357 caliber revolver Smi th and Wesson


SN 32919 and a .380 Pietro Beretta SN -A35720, were not
registered in the name of Robin C. Padilla (p. 6, ibi d). A second
Certification dated December 11, 1992 issued by Captain
Espino stated that the three firearms were not also registered
in the name of Robinhood C. Padilla (p. 10, ibid)."
Petitioner's defens es are as follows: (1) that his arrest was
illegal and cons equently, the firearms and ammuni tions taken
in the course thereof are inadmissible in evidence under the
exclusionary rule; (2) that he is a confidential agent
authorized, under a Mission Order and Memorandum Receipt,
to carry the subject fi rearms ; and (3) that the penal ty for
simple illegal possession consti tutes excessive and cruel
punishment proscribed by the 1987 Constitution.
After a careful review of the records[27]of this case, the Court
is convinced that peti tioner's guilt of the crime charged stands
on terra firma, notwiths tanding the Solicitor-General's change
of heart.
Anent the first defense, petitioner ques tions the legality of his
arrest. There is no dispute that no warrant was issued for the
arrest of petitioner, but that per se did not make his
apprehension at the Abacan bridge illegal.
Warrantless arrests
instances:[28]

are

sanctioned

in

the

following

"Sec. 5. Arrest wi thout warrant; when lawful. - A peace officer


or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
(a) When, in his pres ence, the person to be arrested has
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit
an offense;
(b) When an offense has in fact jus t been committed, and he
has personal knowledge of facts indicati ng that the person to
be arrested has committed it.
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has
escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is
serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case
is pending, or has escaped while bei ng transferred from one
confinement to another.
Paragraph (a) requires that the person be arrested (i) after he
has committed or while he is actually committing or is at least
attempting to commit an offense, (ii) in the presence of the
arresting officer or private person.[29] Both elements
concurred here, as it has been established that petitioner's
vehicle figured in a hit and run - an offens e committed in the
"presence" of Manarang, a private person, who then sought to
arrest peti tioner. It must be stressed at this point that
"presence" does not only requi re that the arresting person
sees the offense, but also when he "hears the disturbance
created thereby AND proceeds at once to the scene."[30] As
testified to by Manarang, he heard the screeching of tires
followed by a thud, saw the sideswiped victim (balut vendor),
reported the incident to the police and thereafter gave chase
to the erring Pajero vehicle using his motorcycle in order to
apprehend its driver. After having sent a radio report to the

PNP for assistance, Manarang proceeded to the Abacan bridge


where he found responding policemen SPO2 Borja and SPO2
Miranda already positioned near the bridge who effected the
actual arrest of petitioner.[31]
Petitioner would nonetheless insist on the illegality of his
arrest by arguing that the policemen who actually arrested
him were not at the scene of the hit and run.[32] We beg to
disagree. That Manarang decided to seek the aid of the
policemen (who admittedly were nowhere in the vicinity of
the hit and run) in effecting petitioner's arres t, did not in any
way affect the propriety of the apprehension. It was in fact the
most prudent action Manarang could hav e taken rather than
collaring petitioner by himself, inasmuch as policemen are
unquestionably better trained and well-equipped in effecti ng
an arres t of a sus pect (like herein petitioner) who , in all
probability, could have put up a degree of resistance which an
untrai ned civilian may not be able to contai n without
endangering his own life. Moreover, it is a reality that curbi ng
lawlessness gains more success when law enforcers function
in collaboration wi th private citizens. It is precisely through
this cooperation, that the offense herein involved fortunately
did not become an additional entry to the long list of
unreported and unsolved crimes.
It is appropriate to state at this juncture that a suspect, like
peti tioner herein, cannot defeat the arrest which has been set
in motion in a public place for want of a warrant as the police
was confronted by an urgent need to render aid or take
action.[33] The exigent circumstances of - hot pursuit,[34] a
fleeing suspect, a moving vehicle, the public place and the
raining nighttime - all created a situation in which speed is
essenti al and delay improvident.[35] The Court acknowledges
police authority to make the forcible s top since they had more
than mere "reasonable and articulable" suspicion that the
occupant of the vehicle has been engaged in criminal
activity.[36] Moreover, when caught in flagrante delicto with
possession of an unlicens ed firearm (Smith & Wesson) and
ammunition (M -16 magazine), peti tioner's warrantless arrest
was proper as he was agai n actually committing another
offense (illegal possession of fi rearm and ammuni tions) and
this time in the presence of a peace officer.[37]

belated challenge thereto aside from his failure to quash the


information, his participation in the trial and by pres enting his
evidence, placed him i n es toppel to assail the le gality of his
arrest.[42] Likewise, by applying for bail, petitioner patently
waived such irregularities and defects.[43]
We now go to the firearms and ammunitions seized from
peti tioner without a s earch warrant, the admissibility in
evidence of which, we uphold.
The five (5) well-settled i nstances when a warrantless search
and seizure of property is valid,[44] are as follows:
1. warrantless search incidental to a l awful arrest recognized
under Section 12, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court[45] and by
prevailing jurisprudence[46],
2. Seizure of evidence in "plain view", the elements of which
are:[47]
(a). a prior valid intrusion based on the valid warrantless
arrest in which the police are legally present in the pursuit of
their official duties;
(b). the evidence was inadvertently discovered by the police
who had the right to be where they are;
(c). the evidence must be immediately apparent, and
(d). "plain view" justified mere seizure of evidence without
further search.[48]
3. search of a moving vehicle.[49] Hi ghly regulated by the
government, the vehicle's inherent mobility reduces
expectation of privacy es pecially when its transit in public
thoroughfares furnishes a hi ghly reasonabl e suspicion
amounting to probable cause that the occupant commi tt ed a
criminal activity.[50]
4. consented warrantless search, and
5. customs search.

Besides, the policemen's warrantless arres t of peti tioner could


likewise be justified under paragraph (b) as he had in fact just
committed an offense. There was no superv ening event or a
considerable l apse of time between the hit and run and the
actual apprehension. Moreover, after having stationed
thems elves at the Abacan bridge in respons e to Manarang's
report, the policemen s aw for thems elves the fas t approachi ng
Pajero of petitioner,[38] its dangling plate number (PMA 777
as reported by Manarang), and the dented hood and railings
thereof.[39] These formed part of the arresting police officer's
personal knowledge of the facts indicating that petitioner's
Pajero was indeed the vehicle involved in the hit and run
incident. Verily then, the arresting police officers acted upon
verified personal knowledge and not on unreliable hears ay
information.[40]

In conformity with respondent court's obs ervation, it indeed


appears that the authori ties stumbled upon petitioner's
firearms and ammuni tions without even undertaking any
active search which, as it is commonly understood, is a prying
into hidden places for that which is concealed.[51] The seizure
of the Smith & Wesson revolver and an M-16 rifle magazine
was justified for they came within "pl ain view" of the
policemen who inadvertently discovered the revolver and
magazine tucked in petitioner's waist and back pocket
respectively, when he raised his hands after alighting from his
Pajero. The s ame jus tification applies to the confiscation of the
M-16 armalite rifle which was immediately apparent to the
policemen as they took a casual glance at the Pajero and saw
said rifle lying horizontally near the driver's seat.[52] Thus it
has been held that:

Furthermore, in accordance with s ettled jurisprudence, any


objection, defect or irregularity attending an arrest must be
made before the accused enters his plea.[41] Petitioner's

"(W)hen in pursuing an illegal action or i n the commission of a


criminal offens e, the . . . police officers should happen to
discover a criminal offens e being committed by any person,

they are not precluded from performing their duties as police


officers for the apprehension of the guilty person and the
taking of the corpus delicti."[53]
"Objects whose possession are prohibited by law
inadvertently found in plain view are subject to s eizure even
without a warrant."[54]
With respect to the Berreta pistol and a black bag containi ng
assorted magazines, petitioner voluntarily surrendered them
to the police.[55] This latter gesture of petitioner indicated a
waiver of his right against the alleged search and seizure[56],
and that his failure to quash the information es topped him
from assailing any purported defect.[57]
Even assuming that the firearms and ammunitions were
products of an active search done by the authorities on the
person and vehicle of petitioner, thei r seizure without a
search warrant nonetheless can still be jus tified under a
search incidental to a lawful arrest (first ins tance). Once the
lawful arrest was effected, the police may undertake a
protective search[58] of the passenger compartment and
contai ners in the vehicle[59] which are within petitioner's
grabbing distance regardless of the nature of the offense.[60]
This satisfied the two -ti ered tes t of an incidental search: (i)
the item to be searched (vehicle) was within the arrestee's
custody or area of immediate control[61] and (ii) the search
was contemporaneous with the arrest.[62] The products of
that search are admissible evidence not excluded by the
exclusionary rule. Another justification is a search of a moving
vehicle (third instance). In connection therewith, a
warrantless search is constitutionally permissible when, as in
this case, the officers conducting the search have reasonable
or probable caus e to believe, before the s earch, that either the
motorist is a law-offender (like herein peti tioner with respect
to the hit and run) or the contents or cargo of the vehicle are
or have been instruments or the subject matter or the
proceeds of some criminal offense.[63]
Anent his second defens e, petitioner contends that he could
not be convicted of violati ng P.D. 1866 because he is an
appoi nted civilian agent authorized to possess and carry the
subject firearms and ammuni tion as evidenced by a Mission
Order[64] and M emorandum Receipt duly issued by PNP Supt.
Rodialo Gumtang, the deputy commander of Task Force
Aguila, Lianga, Surigao del Sur. The contention lacks merit.
In crimes involving illegal possession of firearm, two
requisites mus t be established, viz.: (1) the existence of the
subject firearm and, (2) the fact that the accused who owned
or possessed the firearm does not have the corres pondi ng
license or permi t to possess.[65] The fi rst element is beyond
dispute as the subject firearms and ammunitions[66] were
seized from petitioner's possession via a valid warrantless
search, identified and offered in evidence during trial. As to
the second element, the same was convincingly proven by the
prosecution. Indeed, petitioner's purported Mission Order and
Memorandum Receipt are inferior in the face of the more
formidable evidence for the prosecution as our meticulous
review of the records reveals that the Mission Order and
Memorandum Recei pt were mere afterthoughts contrived and

issued under suspicious circumstances. On this score, we lift


from respondent court's incisive observation. Thus:
"Appellant's contention is predicated on the assumption that
the Memorandum Receipts and Mission Order were issued
before the subject firearms were seized and confiscated from
him by the police officers in Angeles City. That is not so. The
evidence adduced indicate that the Memorandum Receipts
and Mission Order were prepared and executed long after
appellant had been apprehended on October 26, 1992.
"Appellant, when apprehended, could not show any document
as proof of his authority to possess and carry the subject
firearms. Duri ng the preliminary inv estigation of the charge
against him for illegal possession of firearms and
ammunitions he could not, despite the ample time given him,
pres ent any proper document s howing his authority. If he had,
in actuality, the Memorandum Recei pts and Missions Order, he
could hav e produced thos e documents easily, if not at the time
of apprehension, at least during the preliminary investigation.
But neither appellant nor his counsel inform the prosecutor
that appellant is authorized to possess and carry the subject
firearms under Memorandum Receipt and Mission Order. At
the ini tial presentation of his evidence in court, appellant
could have produced these documents to belie the charged
against him. Appellant did not. He di d not ev en take the
witness stand to explain his possession of the subject firearms.
"Even in appellant's Demurrer to Evidence filed after the
prosecution rested contain no allegation of a Memorandum
Receipts and Mission Order authorizing appellant to possess
and carry the subject firearms.
"At the initial presentation of appellant's evidence, the witness
cited was one James Neneng to whom a subpoena was issued.
Superi ntendent Gumtang was not even mentioned. James
Neneng appeared in court but was not presented by the
defense. Subsequent hearings were res et until the defense
found Superintendent Gumtang who appeared i n court
without subpoena on January 13, 1994."[67]
The Court is baffled why petitioner failed to produce and
pres ent the Mission Order and M emorandum Receipt if they
were really issued and existing before his apprehension.
Petitioner's alternative excuses that the subject firearms were
intended for theatrical purposes, or that they were owned by
the Presidential Security Group, or that his Mission Order and
Memorandum Recei pt were left at home, further compound
thei r irregul arity. As to be reasonably expected, an accused
claiming innocence, like herein petitioner, would grab the
earliest opportunity to pres ent the Mission Order and
Memorandum Receipt in question and save himself from the
long and agonizing public trial and spare him from profferi ng
inconsistent excus es. In fact, the Mission Order itself, as well
as the Letter-Directive of the AFP Chief of Staff, is explicit in
providing that:
"VIII. c. When a Mission Order is requested for verification by
enforcement uni ts/personnels such as PNP, Military Brigade
and other Military Police Units of AFP, the Mission Order
should be shown without resentment to avoid embarrassment
and/or misunderstanding.

"IX. d. Implicit to this Mission Order is the injunction that the


confidential instruction will be carried out through all legal
means and do not cover an actuation in violation of laws. In
the latter event, this Mission Order is rendered inoperative in
respect to such violation."[68]
which directive petitioner failed to heed without cogent
explanation.
The authenticity and validity of the Mission Order and
Memorandum Receipt, moreover, were ably controv erted.
Witness for the pros ecution Police Supt. Durendes denied
under oath his signature on the dors al side of the Mission
Order and declared further that he did not authorize anyone
to sign in his behalf.[69] His surname thereon, we note, was
glaringly misspelled as "Durembes."[70] In addition, only Unit
Commanders and Chief of Offices have the authority to issue
Mission Orders and Memorandum Receipts under the
Guidelines on the Issuance of MOs, MRs, & PCFORs.[71] PNP
Supt. Rodi alo Gumtang who issued petitioner's Mission Order
and M emorandum Receipt is neither a Unit Commander nor
the Chi ef of Office, but a mere deputy commander. Having
emanated from an unauthorized source, petitioner's Mission
Order and Memorandum Receipt are infirm and lacking in
force and effect. Besides, the Mission Order covers "Recom 112-Baguio Ci ty,"[72] areas outside Supt. Gumtang's area of
responsibility thereby needi ng prior approval "by next higher
Headquarters"[73] which is absent i n this cas e. The
Memorandum Receipt is also unsupported by a certification as
required by the March 5, 1988 Memorandum of the Secretary
of Defense which pertinently provides that:
"No memorandum receipt shall be issued for a CCS firearms
without correspondi ng certification from the corres pondi ng
Responsible Supply Officer of the appropriate AFP unit that
such firearm has been officially taken up in that units property
book, and that report of such action has been reported to
higher AFP authority."
Had petitioner's Memorandum Receipt been authentic, we s ee
no reason why he cannot pres ent the corres pondi ng
certification as well.

the project is duly approved at the PC Regional Command


level or its equivalent level in other major services of the AFP,
INP and NBI, or at higher levels of command."[75]
Circular No. 1, dated January 6, 1986, of the then Ministry of
Justice likewise provides as follows:
"If mission orders are issued to civilians (not members of the
uniformed s ervice), they mus t be civilian agents included in
the regular plantilla of the government agency involved in law
enforcement and are receiving regular compens ation for the
service they are rendering."
That petitioner's Mission Order and Memorandum Receipt
were fabricated pieces of evidence is accentuated all the more
by the testimony and certification of the Chief of the Records
Branch of the firearms and Explosives Office of the PNP
declari ng that petitioner's confiscated firearms are not
licensed or registered in the name of the petitioner.[76] Thus:
"Q. In all these files that you have just mentioned Mr. Witness,
what did you find, if any?
"A. I found that a certain Robin C. Padilla is a licensed
registered owner of one 9 mm pistol, Smith and Wesson with
Serial No. TCT 8214 and the following firearms being asked
whether it is registered or not, I did not find any records, the
M-16 and the caliber .357 and the caliber .380 but there is a
firearm wi th the same seri al number which is the same as that
licensed and/or registered in the name of one Albert
Villanueva Fallorina.
"Q. So in short, the only licensed firearms in the name of
accused Robin C. Padilla is a pistol, Smith and Wesson, caliber
9 mm with Serial No. TCT 8214?
"A. Yes, sir.
"Q. And the firearms that were the subject of this case are not
listed in the names of the accused in this case?
"A. Yes, sir.[77]
xxx xxx xxx

What is even more peculiar is that peti tioner's name, as


certified to by the Director for Personnel of the PNP, does not
even appear in the Plantilla of Non-Uniform Personnel or in
the list of Civilian Agents or Employees of the PNP which could
justify the issuance of a Mission Order, a fact admi tted by
peti tioner's couns el.[74] The implementing rules of P.D. 1866
issued by the then PC-INP Chief and Director-General Lt. Gen.
Fidel V. Ramos are clear and unambiguous, thus:
"No Mission Order shall be issued to any civilian agent
authorizing the same to carry firearms outside residence
unless he/she is included in the regular plantilla of the
government agency involved in l aw enforcement and is
receiving regular compensation f or the services he/she is
rendering in the agency. Further, the civilian agent must be
included in a specific law enforcement/police/intelligence
project proposal or special project which specifically required
the us e of firearms(s) to insure its accomplishment and that

And the certification which provides as follows:


Republic of the Philippines
Department of the Interior and Local Government
GENERAL HEADQUARTERS PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE
FIREARMS AND EXPLOSIVES OFFICE
Camp Crame, Quezon City
"PNPFEO5 28 November 1992
"C E R T I F I C A T I O N
"TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
"THIS IS TO CERTIFY that Robin C. Padilla of 59 Labo St.,
Quezon City is a licensed/registered holder of Pistol Smith and

Wesson Cal 9mm with s erial number TCT8214 cov ered by


License No. RL M76C4476687.
"Further certify that the following firearms are not registered
with this Office per verification from available records on file
this Office as of this date:
M16 Baby Armalite SN-RP131120
Revolver Cal 357 SN-3219
Pistol Cal 380 Pietro Beretta SN-35723
"Howev er, we have on file one Pistol Cal 380, Beretta with
serial number 35723Y, licensed/registered to one Albert
Villanueva Fallorina of 29 San Juan St., Capitol Pasig, MM
under Re-Registered License.
"This certification is issued pursuant to Subpoena from City of
Angeles.
"FOR THE CHIEF, FEO:
(Sgd.)
JOSE MARIO M. ESPINO
Sr. Inspector, PNP
Chief, Records Branch" [78]
In several occasions, the Court has ruled that either the
testimony of a representative of, or a certification from, the
PNP Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) attesting that a
person is not a licensee of any firearm would suffice to prove
beyond reasonable doubt the second element of illegal
possession of firearm.[79] In People vs. Tobias,[80] we
reiterated that such certification is sufficient to show that a
person has in fact no license. From the foregoing discussion,
the fact that petitioner does not have the license or permi t to
possess was ov erwhelmingly proven by the prosecution. The
certification may even be dispensed with in the light of the
evidence[81] that an M-16 rifle and any s hort firearm higher
than a .38 caliber pistol, akin to the confiscated firearms,
cannot be licensed to a civilian,[82] as in the case of petitioner.
The Court, therefore, entertains no doubt in affirming
peti tioner's conviction especially as we find no plausible
reason, and none was presented, to depart from the factual
findings of both the trial court and respondent court which, as
a rule, are accorded by the Court with respect and finality.[83]
Anent his third defense, petitioner faults respondent court "in
applying P.D. 1866 in a democratic ambience (sic) and a nonsubversive context" and adds that respondent court should
have applied instead the previous laws on illegal possession of
firearms since the reason for the penalty imposed under P.D.
1866 no longer exists.[84] He stresses that the penalty of 17
years and 4 months to 21 years for simpl e illegal possession of
firearm is cruel and excessive in contravention of the
Constitution.[85]
The contentions do not merit serious consideration. The tri al
court and the respondent court are bound to apply the
governing law at the time of appellant's commission of the
offense for it is a rule that laws are repealed only by
subsequent ones.[86] Indeed, it is the duty of judicial officers

to respect and apply the law as it stands.[87] And until its


repeal, res pondent court can not be faulted for applying P.D.
1866 which abrogated the previous statutes adverted to by
petitioner.
Equally lacking in merit is appellant's allega tion that the
penalty for simple illegal possession is unconsti tutional. The
penalty for simple possession of firearm, it should be stressed,
ranges from reclusion temporal maximum to reclusion
perpetua contrary to appellant's erroneous averment. The
severity of a penal ty does not ipso facto make the s ame cruel
and excessive.
"It takes more than merely being harsh, excessive, out of
proportion, or sev ere for a penalty to be obnoxious to the
Constitution. 'The fact that the punishment authorized by the
statute is severe does not make it cruel and unusual.' (24 C.J.S.,
1187-1188). Expressed in other terms, it has been held that to
come under the ban, the punishment mus t be 'flagrantly and
plainly oppressive', 'wholly disproportionate to the nature of
the offens e as to shock the moral sense of the community'
"[88]
It is well-settled that as far as the constitutional prohibition
goes, it is not so much the extent as the nature of the
punishment that determi nes whether it is, or is not, cruel and
unusual and that sentences of imprisonment, though
perceived to be harsh, are not cruel or unusual if within
statutory limits.[89]
Moreover, every law has in its favor the presumption of
constitutionality. The burden of proving the invalidity of the
statute in ques tion lies with the appellant which burden, we
note, was not convincingly discharged. To justify nullification
of the law, there must be a cl ear and unequivocal breach of the
Constitution,
not
a
doubtful
and
argumentative
implication,[90] as in this case. In fac t, the constitutionality of
P.D. 1866 has been upheld twice by this Court.[91] Just
recently, the Court declared that "the pertinent laws on illegal
possession of firearms [are not] contrary to any provision of
the Cons titution. . ."[92] Appellant's grievance on the wisdom
of the prescribed penalty should not be addressed to us.
Courts are not concerned with the wisdom, efficacy or
morality of laws. That question falls exclusively withi n the
province of Congress which enacts them and the Chief
Executive who approves or vetoes them. The only function of
the courts, we reiterate, is to interpret and apply the laws.
With res pect to the penalty imposed by the trial court as
affirmed by respondent court (17 years 4 months and 1 day of
reclusion temporal, as minimum, to 21 years of reclusion
perpetua, as maximum), we reduce the s ame in line with the
fairly recent case of People v. Lian[93] where the Court en
banc provided that the indeterminate penal ty imposable for
simple illegal possession of firearm, without any mitigating or
aggravati ng circumstance, should be withi n the range of ten
(10) years and one (1) day to twelve years (12) of prision
mayor, as minimum, to eighteen (18) years, eight (8) months
and one (1) day to twenty (20) of reclusion temporal, as
maximum. This is discernible from the following expl anation
by the Court:

"In the case at bar, no mitigati ng or aggravating ci rcumstances


have been alleged or proved, In accordance with the doctrine
regarding special laws explai ned in People v. Simon,[94]
although Presidential Decree No. 1866 is a special law, the
penalties therei n were taken from the Revised Penal Code,
hence the rul es in said Code for graduati ng by degrees or
determining the proper period should be applied.
Consequently, the penal ty for the offense of simple illegal
possession of firearm is the medium period of the complex
penalty in said Section 1, that is, 18 years, 8 months and 1 day
to 20 years.
"This penalty, being that which is to be actually imposed in
accordance with the rules therefor and not merely imposable
as a general prescription under the law, shall be the maximum
of the range of the indeterminate sentence. The minimum
thereof shall be taken, as aforesaid, from any period of the
penalty next lower in degree, which is, prision mayor in i ts
maximum period to reclusion temporal in its medium
period.[95]
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the Court
of Appeals sustaining peti tioner's conviction by the lower
court of the crime of simple illegal possession of firearms and
ammunitions is AFFIRMED EXCEPT that petitioner's
indeterminate penalty is MODIFIED to ten (10) years and one
(1) day, as minimum, to eighteen (18) years, eight (8) months
and one (1) day, as maximum.
SO ORDERED
Narvas a, C.J. (Chairman), Davide, Jr., Melo, and Panganiban,
concur.
[1] Investi gation Report dated October 26, 1992 of SPO1 Rene
Jesus T. Gregorio of the Angeles City, Philippine National
Police (PNP), (RTC Records, Vol. 1, p. 9).
[2] CODIFYING THE LAWS ON ILLEGAL/UNLAWFUL
POSSESSION, MANUFACTURE, DEALING IN, ACQUIISITION OR
DISPO SITION, OF FIREARMS, AMM UNITION OR EXPLO SIVES
OR INSTRUM ENTS USED IN THE MANUFACTURE OF
FIREARM S, AMMUNITION OR EXPLO SIVES; AND IMPO SING
STIFFER PENALTIES FOR CERTAIN VIOLATIONS THEREOF
AND FOR RELEVANT PURPOSES.
[3] The information was filed by Special Counsel Irin Zenaida
S. Buan and was docketed as Criminal Case No. 92-1083 of
Branch 61 of the Angeles City R.T.C. presided by Judge David
R. Rosete.

[7] Rule 116, Section 1(c) "If the accused refuses to plead, or
makes a conditional plea of guilty, a plea of not guilty shall be
entered for him."
[8] Petitioner was assisted by his then lead couns el Dean
Antonio Coronel (appearance withdrawn April, 1993 to serve
his suspension by the Supreme Court, RTC Records, Vol. I, p.
260) and Atty. Philip Jurado. The prosecution was represented
by Angeles City Prosecutor Antonio G.P. Fausto and his
Assistant, Rufino Antonio.
[9] Order dated January 20, 1993, RTC Records, Vol. I, pp. 59
and 75.
[10] RTC Records, Vol. I, p. 57.
[11] RTC Decision, p. 6; Rollo, p. 48.
[12] RTC Records, vol. II, p. 828.
[13] The appeal was docketed as CA-G.R. No. CR-16040. Atty
Jurado wi thdrew his appearance as peti tioner's counsel on
October, 1994 when the appeal was pending for the CA. His
signature, however still appeared on some pleadings for
peti tioner (CA Rollo, p. 429). Rene A.V. Saguisag and
Associates entered their appearance as new counsel (CA Rollo,
p. 58). Appellant's brief, however, was also signed by his
brother Robert A. Padilla and Gina C. Garcia (CA Rollo, p. 146).
[14] The 23-page CA (Speci al Tenth Division) decision
promul gated on July 21, 1995 was penned by Jus tice Antonio
P. Solano with Justices Ricardo P. Galvez and Conchita CarpioMorales, concurring. (Rollo, pp. 50-72).
[15] CA Decision, p. 23; Rollo, p. 50.
[16] Registry Return Receipt, attached to p. 343 of the CA
Rollo.
[17] Registry Receipt stamped August 9, 1995. See CA Rollo,
pp. 403-430.
[18] CA Rollo, pp. 463-464.
[19] The petition was signed by the Raval Suplico and Lokin
Law Office.
[20] One suppl emental petition was filed on October 9, 1995
signed by Padilla, Jurado and Saguisag. The other
supplemental peti tion was filed on October 11, 1995 and
signed by the Raval Suplico and Lokin Office.

[4] RTC Records, Vol. I, p. 1.


[21] Signed by Padilla, Jurado and Saguisag.
[5] The warrant of arrest dated December 8, 1992 was issued
by Judge Ros ete. Later, an order recalling all warrant of arrest
against petitioner was issued by Judge M aximiano Asuncion of
RTC Quezon City. (RTC Records, Vol. I, p. 34).
[6] Petitioner posted a personal bail bond of P200,000.00
furnished by FGU Insurance Coporation (RTC Records, Vol. I,
p. 37).

[22] Solicitor-General's Comment on the application for bail.


[23] Padilla vs. CA and People, (Resolution), G.R. No.121917,
July 31, 1996.
[24] Rollo, pp. 258, 282.
[25] Rollo, pp 312-339.

[26] Counterstatement of Facts, Appellee's Brief filed with the


CA by the Solicitor-General (CA Rollo, pp. 230-240).
[27] Consisting of about 4,000 pages.
[28] Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure.
[29] People v. Cuison, G.R. No. 109287, April 18, 1996.
[30] US v. Samonte, 16 Phil. 516, 519, citing 3 Cyc., 886;
Ramsey v. State, 17 S. E., 613; Dilger v. Com., 11 S. W., 651;
State v. McAfee, 12 S. E., 435; State v. Williams, 15 S. E., 554;
and Hawkins v. Lutton, 70 N. W., 483.
[31] TSN, February 13, 1993, Enrique Manarang, pp. 5-11.
[32] This hit and run incident was the subject of a different
complaint against petitioner.

[44] Mustang Lumber, Inc. v. CA, et al., G.R. No. 104988, June
18, 1996. The fifth being customs search.
[45] Search incident to l awful arrest. - A person l awfully
arrested may be searched for dangerous weapons or anythi ng
which may be us ed as proof of the commission of the offens e,
without a search warrant.
[46] People v. Salazar, G.R. No. 98060, January 27, 1997;
People v. Figueroa, 248 SCRA 679 (1995); People v. Gerente,
219 SCRA 756; People v. Malmstedt, 198 SCRA 401; People v.
Sucro, 195 SCRA 388; People v. Tangliben, 184 SCRA 220;
People v. Lo Ho Wing, 193 SCRA 122; People v. Paco, 170 SCRA
681; Manipon v. Sandiganbayan, 143 SCRA 267.
[47] Mapp v. Warden, 531 F2d 1167; United States v. Griffin,
530 F2d 739; United States v. Hilstrom, 533 F2d 209, 429 U. S.
982, 97 S Ct 498; US v. Pacelli, 470 F2d 67, 415 U.S. 983, 93 S
Ct 1501; Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U. S. 443, 91 S Ct
2022; Ker v. California, 374 U.S. 443, 465, 91 S Ct 2022, 203738;

[33] United States v. Gordils, 982 F2d 64, 69 (1992).


[34] See Peopl e v. de Lara, 55 SCAD 190, 196, 236 SCRA 291,
297 (1994).
[35] United States v. Lopez, 989 F2d 24, 26 (1993); United
States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798, 806-807 (1982); Warden v.
Hayden, 387 U.S. 294, 298-9 (1967).
[36] United States v. King, 990 F2d 1552, 1557 (1993); United
States v. Place, 456 U.S. 696, 702 (1983); Reid v. Georgi a, 448
U.S. 438, 440 (1980).
[37] See Peopl e v. Fernandez, 57 SCAD 481 (1994); Higbee v.
City of San Diego, 911 F2d 377, 379 (1990).

[48] Harris v. US, 390 US 234; People v. Evaristo, 216 SCRA


431.
[49] People vs. Balingan, 241 SCRA 277 (1995); People v.
Fernandez, supra. citing People v. CFI of Rizal, 101 SCRA 86
(1980); People v. Lo Ho wing, 193 SCRA 122; Roldan v. Arca,
65 SCRA 336.
[50] United v. Rem, 984 F2d 806, 812 (1993); United States v.
Diaz-Lizaraza, supra. at p. 1220; United States v. McCoy, 977
F2d 706, 710 (1992); United States v. Rusher, 966 F2d 868,
874 (1992); United States v. Parker, 928 F2d 365-69 (1991).
[51] Black's Law Dictionary, Revised Fourth Edition, citing
People v. Exum, 382 I11. 204, 47 N.E. 2d 56, 59.

[38] Eighty km/hr or higher. (TSN, Ibid., p.3).


[52] TSN, SPO Mercado, July 1, 1993, p. 5.
[39] Exh. "B and its sub-markings - Picture of the vehicle
driven by petitioner which showed the dangling pl ate number
and the damaged hood and railings.

[53] Concurring opinion of Justice Perfecto in Magoncia v.


Palacio, 80 Phil. 770, 776 cited in People v. Cruz, ibid. at 141
and People v. Acol, ibid.

[40] See People v. Woolcock, 314 Phil. 81 (1995).


[54] People v. Evaristo, supra.
[41] People v. Rivera, 315 Phil. 454; People v. de Guzman, 231
SCRA 737; People v. De Guia, 227 SCRA 614; Peopl e v. Codilla,
224 SCRA 104 (1993); Peopl e v. de Guzman, 224 SCRA 93
(1993); People v. Rabang, 187 SCRA 682 (1990).
[42] People vs. Lopez, 315 Phil. 59 citing de Asis v. Romero, 41
SCRA 235 (1971); See also Peopl e v. Nitcha, 310 Phil. 287
(1995) citing People v. Hubilo, 220 SCRA 389 (1993); People
v. Samson, 244 SCRA 146; Zacarias v. Cruz,141 Phil. 417
(1969), citing U.S. v. Grant, 18, Phil. 122, 147; Doce v. Branch II
of the CFI of Quezon, 22 SCRA 1028, 1031, citing Carington v.
Peterson, 4 Phil. 134 and US v. Grant, Supra.
[43] In Re Letter of Freddie Manuel, 54 SCAD 97, 99, 235 SCRA
5 (1994); People v. Dural, 42 SCAD 213, 223 SCRA 201 (1993);
Palanca v. Querubin, 141 Phil. 432 (1969).

[55] TSN, March 8, 1993, SPO Ruben Mercado, pp. 32-35.


[56] In People v. Doro, 223 SCRA 19 the Court said that the
accused therein waived his right agai nst the warrantless
search when he voluntarily opened the package containi ng
illegal drugs. See also People v. Kagui Malasugui, 63 Phil. 221.
[57] People v. Compil, 244 SCRA 135 (1944).
[58] United States v. Saffeels, 982 F2d 1199, 1206 (1992);
Michigan v. Long, 463 U.S. 1032, 1034-5 (1983).
[59] United States v. Diaz-Lizaraza, 981 F2d 1216, 1222
(1993); Uni ted States v. Franco, 981 F2d 470, 473 (1992);
New York v. Belton, 453 U.S. 454, 460-1 (1981).

[60] United States v. $639,558.00 i n United States Currency,


955 F2d 712, 715-16 (1992); Uni ted Staes v. Holifield, 956 F2d
665, 669 (1992); United States v. Arango, 879 F2d 1501, 1505
(1989).

Sgd. RODALIO A. GUMTANG


SUPT (CSP) PNP

[61] United States v. Tarazon, 989 F2d 1045, 1051 (1993).

Deputy & S-4

[62] Shipley v. California, 395 U.S. 818, 819 (1969).

[65] People vs. Solayao, G.R. No. 119220, September 20, 1996;
People vs. Lualhati, 234 SCRA 325 (1994); People vs. Damaso,
212 SCRA 547 (1992).

[63] People v. Barros, 231 SCRA 557, 566.


[64] Exhibit "1" - Alleged Mission Order of Petitioner contai ns
the following:
Republic of the Philippines
Department of Interior and Local Government

[66] Exh. "C" - 357 Smith and Wesson with bullets; Exh. "D" M-16 armalite with magazine; Exh."K" - M -16 magazine; Exh.
"L" - Pei tro Berreta; Exh. "N" - 2 long magazines ; Exh. "O" - 1
short magazine.
[67] Decision of the Court of Appeals, pp. 18-19; Rollo, pp. 6768.

Headquarters Philippine National Police


[68] Exhibit "1"; Exhibit "Y".
Lianga, Surigao del Sur
[69] TSN, Supt. Gregorio Durendes, February 10, 1994, p. 11.
29 Sept. 1992
[70] Exhibit "1" for the Defense; Exhibit "U" (Rebuttal) for the
Prosecution.

Mission Order
Number 29-9-92-B

[71] Issued by PNP Director-General Cesar Nazareno, March


21, 1991. Its pertinent provision states as follows:

To: PSUPT GREGORIO DUREMBES


"3.a. Only unit Commanders/Chiefs of Offices are authorized
to issue Mission Orders to their respective personnel while in
the official performance of duties. Such Mos shall be valid only
within the area of res ponsibility (AOR) of the Unit Commander
/ Chief of Office concerned.

SO ROBIN PADILLA
-P O ST I. PROCEED TO: Camp Crame, NCR, Recom 1-12-Baguio City
II. PURPO SE: To intensify Int'l coverage and to negotiate the
imdte. surrender of Father Frank Navarro (rebel priest),
believed attending conference in Baguio City. (CPP/NPA).
III.DURATION: FROM: 29 Sept to 31 Oct 1992.
IV.
AUTHORIZE
UNIFORM/ATTIRE:

TO

WEAR

THE

"c. MOs of PNP personnel performing mission outside AOR


must be approved by next higher Headquarters."
[72] Exhibit "1".
[73] See Note 71, supra.

FOLLOWING

(x) KHAKI ( ) HBT (x) CIVILIAN

[74] Ether Ignacio, Chief of the Non-Uniform Personnel


Section of the PNP, tes tified that petitioner's name is not in the
Plantilla of Personnel. Counsel for petitioner admitted that the
latter is "not in the plantilla." (Rollo, p. 357; CA Decision, p. 1 4;
TSN, Ethel Ignacio, July 25, 1994, pp. 4-6).

V. AUTHORIZED TO CARRY THE FOLLOWING FIREARMS:


LIC OR MR MAKE KIND CAL SER. NO. AMMO
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------LIC or MR issued Firearms & Ammos

[75] April 28, 1984 Amendments to the Rules and Regulations


Implementing P. D. 1866 issued by the PC-INP Chi ef and
Director-General.
[76] Sr. Inspector Jose Mario Espino, of the PNP Headquarters
in Camp Crame, Quezon City issued the certification dated
November 28, 1992 and D ecember 11, 1992. (Exhibits "F" and
"G"; TSN March 4, 1993, Jose Mario Espino, pp. 7, 9, 14-17).

-x-x-x-x-x-x Nothing Follows x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------RECOMMENDED BY: APPROVED BY:

[77] TSN, Sr. Inspector Jos e Mario Espino, March 4, 1993, p.


14.

[78] Exhibit "F". In exhibit "G", petitioner's alias, "Robinhood


C. Padilla," was checked and yielded the same information
found in Exhibit "F" quoted above.
[79] Mallari vs. CA and People of the Philippines, G.R. No.
110569, D ecember 9, 1996 citing Peopl e vs. Solayao, G.R. No.
119220, September 20, 1996. Such and similar certifications
were declared adequate by the Court in Ros ales vs. Ca, 255
SCRA 123 (1996), People vs. Orehuel a, 232 SCRA 82, 97
(1994).
[80] G.R. No. 114185, January 30, 1997.
[81] People vs. Mesal, 313 Phil. 888.
[82] TSN, Jose Mario Espino, March 4, 1993, p. 20.
[83] People vs. Cahindo, G.R. No. 121178, January 27, 1997;
People vs. Bracamonte, G.R. No. 95939, June 17, 1996; People
vs. Angeles, 315 Phil. 23; People vs. Remoto, 314 Phil. 432.
[84] Supplemental petition, pp. 1-3; Rollo, pp. 84-86.
[85] Article III, Section 19(1), 1987 Constitution.
[86] Article 7, Civil Code.
[87] See: Peopl e v. Limaco, 88 Phil. 36; People v. Venaracion,
249 SCRA 244.
[88] People v. Estoista, 93 Phil. 647.
[89] Baylosis v. Chavez, Jr., 202 SCRA 405, 417.
[90] Peralta v. COMELEC, 82 SCRA 30, 55.
[91] Misolas v. Panga, 181 SCRA 648; Baylosis v. Chavez, Jr.
202 SCRA 405.
[92] People v. Morato, 224 SCRA 361, 367-368.
[93] 255 SCRA 532 (1996).
[94] 234 SCRA 555.
[95] People v. Jian , 255 SCRA 532, 542.
almonte vs. De Villa, 178 SCRA 211 , G.R. No. 83988,
September 29, 1989
G.R. No. 83988 September 29, 1989
RICARDO C. VALMONTE AND UNION OF LAWYERS AND
ADVOCATES FOR PEOPLE'S RIGHTS (ULAP), petitioners,
vs.
GEN. RENATO DE VILLA AND NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION
DISTRICT COMMAND, respondents.
Ricardo C. Valmonte for himself and his co-petitioners.
PADILLA, J.:
This is a petition for prohibition wi th preliminary injunction
and/or temporary restraining order, seeking the declaration
of checkpoi nts in Valenzuela, M etro Manila or elsewhere, as
unconsti tutional and the dismantling and banning of the same

or, in the alternative, to direct the res pondents to formulate


guidelines in the implementation of checkpoints, for the
protection of the people.
Petitioner Ricardo C. Valmonte sues in his capacity as ci tizen
of the Republic, taxpayer, member of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP), and resident of Val enzuela, M etro Manila;
while petitioner Union of Lawyers and Advocates for People's
Rights (ULAP) sues in its capacity as an association whose
members are all members of the IBP.
The factual background of the case is as follows:
On 20 January 1987, the National Capital Region District
Command (NCRDC) was activated purs uant to Letter of
Instruction 02/87 of the Philippine General Headquarters,
AFP, with the mission of conducting security operations
within its area of responsibility and peripheral areas, for the
purpose of establishing an effective territorial defens e,
maintaining peace and order, and providing an atmosphere
conducive to the social, economic and political development of
the National Capital Region. 1 As part of its duty to maintain
peace and order, the NCRD C installed checkpoints in various
parts of Valenzuela, Metro Manila.
Petitioners aver that, because of the installation of said
checkpoints, the residents of Valenzuel a are worried of bei ng
harassed and of thei r safety bei ng placed at the arbitrary,
capricious and whimsical disposition of the military manni ng
the checkpoi nts, considering that their cars and vehicles are
being subjected to regular searches and check -ups, especially
at ni ght or at dawn, without the benefi t of a search warrant
and/or court order. Their alleged fear for their safety
increased when, at dawn of 9 July 1988, Benjamin Parpon, a
supply officer of the Municipality of Valenzuela, Bulacan, was
gunned down allegedly in cold blood by the members of the
NCRDC manning the checkpoint along McArthur Highway at
Malinta, Val enzuela, for i gnoring and/or refusing to submit
himself to the checkpoint and for continuing to speed off
inspire of warning shots fired in the air. Peti tioner Valmonte
also claims that, on several occasions, he had gone thru these
checkpoints where he was stopped and his car subjected to
search/check-up without a court order or search warrant.
Petitioners further contend that the said checkpoints give the
respondents a blanket authority to make searches and/or
seizures without search warrant or court order in violation of
the Constitution; 2 and, instances hav e occurred where a
citizen, while not killed, had been harassed.
Petitioners' concern for their safety and apprehension at bei ng
harassed by the military manning the checkpoints are not
sufficient grounds to declare the checkpoi nts as per se illegal.
No proof has been presented before the Court to show that, in
the course of their routine checks, the military indeed
committed specific violations of petitioners' right against
unlawful search and seizure or other rights.
In a cas e filed by the same petitioner organization, Union of
Lawyers and Advocates for People's Ri ght (ULAP) vs.
Integrated National Police, 3 i t was held that individual
peti tioners who do not allege that any of their rights were
violated are not qualified to bring the action, as real parties in
interest.
The constitutional right agains t unreasonable searches and
seizures is a personal ri ght i nvocable only by those whose
rights have been infringed, 4 or threatened to be infringed.
What cons titutes a reasonable or unreasonable search and
seizure i n any particular cas e is purely a judicial question,

determinable from a consideration of the ci rcumstances


involved. 5
Petitioner Valmonte's general allegation to the effect that he
had been stopped and searched without a search warrant by
the military manni ng the checkpoints, without more, i.e.,
without stating the details of the incidents which amount to a
violation of his ri ght agains t unlawful search and seizure, is
not sufficient to enable the Court to determine whether there
was a violation of Valmonte's ri ght against unlawful search
and s eizure. Not all searches and seizures are prohibi ted.
Those which are reasonable are not forbidden. A reasonable
search is not to be determined by any fixed formul a but is to
be resolved according to the facts of each case. 6
Where, for example, the officer merely draws aside the curtain
of a vacant vehicle which is parked on the public fair grounds,
7 or simply looks into a vehicle, 8 or flashes a light therein, 9
these do not constitute unreasonable search.
The setting up of the questioned checkpoints in Valenzuela
(and probably in other areas) may be considered as a s ecuri ty
measure to enable the NCRDC to purs ue its mission of
establishing effective terri tori al defense and maintaini ng
peace and order for the benefit of the public. Checkpoints may
also be regarded as measures to thwart plots to destabilize the
government, i n the i nterest of public security. In this
connection, the Court may take judicial notice of the shift to
urban centers and their suburbs of the insurgency movement,
so clearly reflected in the increased killings in cities of police
and military men by NPA "sparrow units," not to mention the
abundance of unlicensed firearms and the alarming rise in
lawlessness and violence in such urban centers, not all of
which are reported in media, most likely brought about by
deteriorating economic condi tions which all sum up to
what one can rightly consider, at the very least, as abnormal
times. Between the i nherent ri ght of the state to protect i ts
existence and promote public welfare and an individual's right
against a warrantless search which is however reasonably
conducted, the former should prevail.
True, the manning of checkpoints by the military is
susceptible of abuse by the men in uniform, in the s ame
manner that all governmental power is susceptibl e of abus e.
But, at the cost of occasional inconvenience, discomfort and
even irritation to the citizen, the checkpoints during these
abnormal times, when conducted within reasonable limits, are
part of the price we pay for an orderly society and a peaceful
community.
Finally, on 17 July 1988, military and police checkpoints in
Metro Manila were temporarily lifted and a review and
refinement of the rules in the conduct of the police and
military manning the checkpoints was ordered by the National
Capi tal Regional Command Chief and the Metropolitan Police
Director. 10
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.
Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Paras,
Feliciano, Gancayco, Bidin, Cortes, Grio -Aquino, Medialdea
and Regalado, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions
CRUZ, J., dissenting:

I dissent. The sweeping statements in the majority opinion are


as dangerous as the checkpoints it would sustain and fraught
with serious threats to individual liberty. The bland
declaration that individual rights mus t yield to the demands of
national security ignores the fact that the Bill of Rights was
intended precisely to limit the authority of the State even if
asserted on the ground of national security. What is wors e is
that the searches and seizures are peremptorily pronounced
to be reasonable even without proof of probable cause and
much less the requi red warrant. The improbable excuse is that
they are aimed at 'establishing an effective territorial defens e,
maintaining peace and order, and providing an atmosphere
conducive to the social, economic and political development of
the National Capital Region." For these purpos es, every
individual may be s topped and s earched at random and at any
time simply becaus e he excites the suspicion, caprice, hostility
or malice of the officers manning the checkpoints, on pain of
arrest or worse, even being shot to death, if he resists.
I hav e no quarrel with a policeman flashing a light inside a
parked vehicle on a dark street as a routine measure of
security and curiosity. But the case at bar is different. Military
officers are systematically stationed at strategic checkpoint to
actively ferret out suspected criminals by detaini ng and
searching any individual who in thei r opinion might impair
"the social, economic and political development of the
National Capital Region." It is incredible that we can sus tain
such a measure. And we are not even under martial law.
Unless we are vigilant of our ri ghts, we may find ours elves
back to the dark era of the truncheon and the barbed wire,
with the Court itself a captive of its own complaisance and
sitting at the death-bed of liberty.
SARMIENTO, J., dissenting:
I join Justice Isagani Cruz in his dissent, delivered so
staightforwardly and eloquently. I am agreed that the
existence alone of checkpoints makes search done therei n,
unreasonable and hence, repugnant to the Constitution.
The Charter says that the people enjoy the right of securi ty of
person, home, and effects. (CONST., art. III, sec. 2.) It is also the
bedrock the right of the peopl e to be left alone on which
the regime of law and consti tutionalism rest. It is not, as the
majority would put it, a matter of "occasional inconveniences,
discomfort and even irri tation." (Resolution, 4.) To say that it
is, is so I submit to trivialize the plain command of the
Constitution.
Checkpoints, I further submit, are things of martial rule, and
things of the pas t. They firs t saw the light of day by virtue of
General Order No. 66 (AUTHORIZING THE CHIEF OF
CONSTABULARY TO ESTABLISH CHECKPOINTS, UPDATE
LISTS OF WANTED PERSONS AND CONDUCT DRAGNET
OPERATIONS AND FOR OTHER PURPO SES), a martial law
issuance, as amended by General Order No. 67 (AM ENDING
AND AMPLIFYING PARAGRAPH 7 OF GENERAL ORDER NO. 66
DATED SEPTEMBER 12, 1980), yet another martial law
issuance. (See O.G. 4224-4226; 4226-4227 [Aug., 1983].) They
are, so I strongly submit, repressive measures, the same
measures against which we had fought so painstaki ngly in our
quest for liberty, a quest that ended at EDSA and a quest that
terminated a dictatorship. How soon we forget.
While the right against unreasonabl e searches and seizures, as
my brethren adv ance, is a right personal to the aggri eved
party, the petitioners, precisely, have come to Court because
they had been, or had felt, aggri eved. I submit that in that

event, the burden is the State's, to demonstrate the


reasonableness of the search. The petitioners, Ricardo
Valmonte in particular, need not, therefore, hav e illustrated
the "details of the incident" (Resolution, s upra, 4) in all their
gore and gruesomeness.
In any event, the abs ence alone of a search warrant, as I have
averred, makes checkpoint searches unreasonabl e, and by
itself, subject to constitutional challenges. (Supra.) As it is,
"checkpoi nts", have become "s earch warrants" unto
themselves a roving one at that.
That "[n]ot all searches and seizures are prohibi ted," the
majority points out, is fine. And so is "a reasonable search is
not to be determined by any fixed formula but is to be
resolved according to the facts of each case." (Supra) But the
question, exactly, is: Is (are) the search(es) in this case
reasonable? I submit that it (they) is (are) not, for one simple
reason: No search warrant has been issued by a judge.
I likewise do not find this case to be a simpl e matter of an
"officer merely draw(ing) aside the curtai n of a vacant vehicle
... or simply look(ing) (supra) there, "or flash(ing) a light
therei n." (Supra) What we have here is Orwell's Big Brother
watching every step we take and every move we make.
As it also is, "checkpoi nts" are apparently, State policy. The
American cases the majority refers to involve routine checks
compelled by "probable cause". What we have here, however,
is not simply a policeman on the beat but armed men, CAFGU
or Alsa M asa, who hold the power of life or death over the
citizenry, who fire with no provocation and without batting an
eyelash. They likewise shoot you simply becaus e they do not
like your face. I have witnessed actual incidents.
Washington said that militia can not be made to dictate the
terms for the nation. He can not be anymore correct here.
"Between the inherent ri ght of the state to protect i ts
existence ... and on individual's right against a warrantless
search, which is reasonably conducted, "so my brethren go on,
the former shall prev ail. (Supra) First, this is the same lie that
the hated des pot foisted on the Filipino people. It is a serious
mistake to fall for it a second time around. Second, the
checkpoint searches herein are unreasonable: There was no
warrant.
A final word. After twenty years of tyranny, the dawn is upon
us. The country is once again the "showcas e of democracy" in
Asia. But if in many cases, it has been "paper democracy", let
this Court anyway bring to pass its stand, and make liberty in
the land, a living reality.
I vote then, to grant the petition.

Separate Opinions
CRUZ, J., dissenting:
I dissent. The sweeping statements in the majority opinion are
as dangerous as the checkpoints it would sustain and fraught
with serious threats to individual liberty. The bland
declaration that individual rights mus t yield to the demands of
national security ignores the fact that the Bill of Rights was
intended precisely to limit the authority of the State even if
asserted on the ground of national security. What is wors e is
that the searches and seizures are peremptorily pronounced
to be reasonable even without proof of probable cause and
much less the requi red warrant. The improbable excuse is that
they are aimed at 'establishing an effective territorial defens e,
maintaining peace and order, and providing an atmosphere

conducive to the social, economic and political development of


the National Capital Region." For these purpos es, every
individual may be s topped and s earched at random and at any
time simply becaus e he excites the suspicion, caprice, hostility
or malice of the officers manning the checkpoints, on pain of
arrest or worse, even being shot to death, if he resists.
I hav e no quarrel with a policeman flashing a light inside a
parked vehicle on a dark street as a routine measure of
security and curiosity. But the case at bar is different. Military
officers are systematically stationed at strategic checkpoint to
actively ferret out suspected criminals by detaini ng and
searching any individual who in thei r opinion might impair
"the social, economic and political development of the
National Capital Region." It is incredible that we can sus tain
such a measure. And we are not even under martial law.
Unless we are vigilant of our ri ghts, we may find ours elves
back to the dark era of the truncheon and the barbed wire,
with the Court itself a captive of its own complaisance and
sitting at the death-bed of liberty.
SARMIENTO, J., dissenting:
I join Justice Isagani Cruz in his dissent, delivered so
staightforwardly and eloquently. I am agreed that the
existence alone of checkpoints makes search done therei n,
unreasonable and hence, repugnant to the Constitution.
The Charter says that the people enjoy the right of securi ty of
person, home, and effects. (CONST., art. III, sec. 2.) It is also the
bedrock the right of the peopl e to be left alone on which
the regime of law and consti tutionalism rest. It is not, as the
majority would put it, a matter of "occasional inconveniences,
discomfort and even irri tation." (Resolution, 4.) To say that it
is, is so I submit to trivialize the plain command of the
Constitution.
Checkpoints, I further submit, are things of martial rule, and
things of the pas t. They firs t saw the light of day by virtue of
General Order No. 66 (AUTHORIZING THE CHIEF OF
CONSTABULARY TO ESTABLISH CHECKPOINTS, UPDATE
LISTS OF WANTED PERSONS AND CONDUCT DRAGNET
OPERATIONS AND FOR OTHER PURPO SES), a martial law
issuance, as amended by General Order No. 67 (AM ENDING
AND AMPLIFYING PARAGRAPH 7 OF GENERAL ORDER NO. 66
DATED SEPTEMBER 12, 1980), yet anoth er martial law
issuance. (See O.G. 4224-4226; 4226-4227 [Aug., 1983].) They
are, so I strongly submit, repressive measures, the same
measures against which we had fought so painstaki ngly in our
quest for liberty, a quest that ended at EDSA and a quest that
terminated a dictatorship. How soon we forget.
While the right against unreasonabl e searches and seizures, as
my brethren adv ance, is a right personal to the aggri eved
party, the petitioners, precisely, have come to Court because
they had been, or had felt, aggri eved. I submit that in that
event, the burden is the State's, to demonstrate the
reasonableness of the search. The petitioners, Ricardo
Valmonte in particular, need not, therefore, hav e illustrated
the "details of the incident" (Resolution, s upra, 4) in all their
gore and gruesomeness.
In any event, the abs ence alone of a search warrant, as I have
averred, makes checkpoint searches unreasonabl e, and by
itself, subject to constitutional challenges. (Supra.) As it is,
"checkpoi nts", have become "s earch warrants" unto
themselves a roving one at that.
That "[n]ot all searches and seizures are prohibi ted," the
majority points out, is fine. And so is "a reasonable search is

not to be determined by any fixed formula but is to be


resolved according to the facts of each case." (Supra) But the
question, exactly, is: Is (are) the search(es) in this case
reasonable? I submit that it (they) is (are) not, for one simple
reason: No search warrant has been issued by a judge.
I likewise do not find this case to be a simpl e matter of an
"officer merely draw(ing) aside the curtai n of a vacant vehicle
... or simply look(ing) (supra) there, "or flash(ing) a light
therei n." (Supra) What we have here is Orwell's Big Brother
watching every step we take and every move we make.
As it also is, "checkpoi nts" are apparently, State policy. The
American cases the majority refers to involve routine checks
compelled by "probable cause". What we have here, however,
is not simply a policeman on the beat but armed men, CAFGU
or Alsa M asa, who hold the power of life or death over the
citizenry, who fire with no provocation and without batting an
eyelash. They likewise shoot you simply becaus e they do not
like your face. I have witnessed actual incidents.
Washington said that militia can not be made to dictate the
terms for the nation. He can not be anymore correct here.
"Between the inherent ri ght of the state to protect i ts
existence ... and on individual's right against a warrantless
search, which is reasonably conducted, "so my brethren go on,
the former shall prev ail. (Supra) First, this is the same lie that
the hated des pot foisted on the Filipino people. It is a serious
mistake to fall for it a second time around. Second, the
checkpoint searches herein are unreasonable: There was no
warrant.
A final word. After twenty years of tyranny, the dawn is upon
us. The country is once again the "showcas e of democracy" in
Asia. But if in many cases, it has been "paper democracy", let
this Court anyway bring to pass its stand, and make liberty in
the land, a living reality.
I vote then, to grant the petition.
Footnotes
1 Comment of Respondents. Rollo, p. 32.
2 Article III, Section 2, 1987 Cons titution provides: The right
of the people to be s ecure in their persons, hous es, papers, and
effects against unreasonable s earches and seizures of
whatever nature and for any purpos e shall be inviolable, and
no search warrant or warrant of arrest s hall issue except upon
probable caus e to be determi ned 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.
3 G.R. No. 80432. Minute Resolution dated 8 March 1988.
4 Section 52, 79 C.J.S. 810-811.
5 Section 8, 79 C.J.S. 786.
6 U.S. v. Robinwitz, N.Y., 70 S. Crt. 430,339 U. S. 56,94 L.Ed.
653; Harries v. U. S., Okl., 67 S.Ct. 1098 & 331 U.S. 146, 94 L.Ed.
1871; M artin v. U.S., C.A. Va., 183 F2d 436; 66, 79 C.J.S., 8358,36.
7 Ibi d., citing the case of People v. Case, 190 MW 289, 220
Mich. 379, 27 A.L.R. 686.
8 Ibid., citing the case of State v. Gaina, 97 SE 62, 111 S.C. 1 74,
3 A.L.R. 1500.
9 Ibid., citing the cas e of Rowland v. Commonwealth, 259 SW
33, 202 Rg 92.
10 Comment. Rollo, pp. 25-26
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 93828

December 11, 1992

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
SANTIAGO EVARISTO and NOLI CARILLO, accused-appellants.

PADILLA, J.:
This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court
of Trece Martires, Cavite, * in Criminal Case No. NC-267,
enti tled "People of the Philippines v. Santiago Evaristo and
Noli Carillo," finding the accused guilty of illegal possession of
firearms in violation of Presidential Decree No. 1866 and
accordingly sentencing them to the penalty of life
imprisonment.
The information indicting the accused-appellants (hereinafter
referred to as the appellants) reads:
The undersigned Assistant Provincial Fiscal accus es
SANTIAGO EVARISTO AND NOLI CARILLO of the crime of
VIOLATION of P.D. 1866, committed as follows:
That on or about the 23rd. day of August 1988, in the
Municipality of Mendez, Province of Cavite, Philippines and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorabl e Court, the abovenamed accus ed being private persons not authorized by law
did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
manufacture, repair and kept (sic) in their possession, custody
and control one (1) caliber 38 revolver (pal tik) with two live
ammunition and one (1) empty shell of said caliber, two (2) 12
gauge home made s hot guns, one (1) caliber 22 revolver
(sumpak) and two (2) vise grips and one (1) plier use (sic) in
the manufacture and repair of said firearms without any
permit or license from competent (sic) authority.
CONTRATRY (sic) TO LAW.
Cavite City, August 30, 1988. 1
Appellants having entered a plead of not guilty, tri al
thereupon commenced, with the prosecution and the defense
pres enting their respective wi tnesses and evidence to support
thei r divergent versions of the events leading to the arrest of
the appellants.
A careful review of the records and the testimony of the
prosecution witnesses, Sgt. Eladio Romeroso and CIC Edgardo
Vallarta of the Philippine Constabulary, indicates that on the
day in question, a contingent composed of Romeroso and
Vallarta, together with a Sgt. Daniel Maligay a, also of the
Philippine Constabulary, and two (2) members of the
Integrated National Police, were on routine patrol duty in
Barangay III, Mendez, Cavite. At or about 5:50 in the
afternoon, successive bursts of gunfire were heard in the

vicinity. Proceeding to the approximate source of the same,


they came upon one Barequiel Rosillo who was firing a gun
into the air.

3.
The lower court grav ely erred in giving credence to
the arresting officer's testimonies which are patently
contradictory and half truths (sic) testimonies. 3

Seeing the patrol, Rosillo ran to the nearby house of appellant


Evaristo prompting the lawmen to pursue him. Upon
approaching the immediate perimeter of the hous e,
specifically a cement pavement or porch l eadi ng to the same,
the patrol chanced upon the slightly inebriated appellants,
Evaristo and Carillo. Inquiri ng as to the whereabouts of
Rosillo, the police patrol members were told that he had
already escaped through a window of the house. Sgt. Vallarta
immediately observed a noticeable bulge around the waist of
Carillo who, upon being frisked, admitted the same to be a .38
revolver. After ascertaining that Carillo was nei ther a member
of the military nor had a v alid license to possess the said
firearm, the gun was confiscated and Carillo invited for
questioning.

First, on the issue of illegal search. The p ertinent rul e on the


matter is Article III of the Cons titution, the relevant portion of
which provides:

As the patrol was still in pursuit of Rosillo, Sgt. Romeroso


sought Evaristo's permission to scour through the hous e,
which was granted. In the sala, he found, not Rosillo, but a
number of firearms and paraphernalia suppos edly used in the
repair and manufacture of fi rearms, all of which, thereafter,
became the basis for the present indictment against Evaristo.

(2)
Any evidence obtained i n violation of this or the
preceding section shall be i nadmissible for any purpose in any
proceeding.

For their part, the appellants dispute the above narration of


the ev ents in ques tion, alleging that they were forcibly taken
into custody by the police officers and even subjected to
physical and mental indi gniti es. They deni ed ownership or
knowledge of any of the firearms presented in evidence,
contending that thes e were purpos ely planted i n their
possession by the pros ecution witnesses and other police
authorities.
After ev aluation of all the evidence, the trial court rendered
the now-assailed decision dated 18 April 1990, the dispositive
portion of which reads:
Wherefore, for having possessed firearms in violation of P.D.
No. 1866, accus ed Santiago Ev aristo and Noli Carillo are
hereby s entenced to serv e the penalty provided for under Sec.
1 thereof. The full period of their preventive imprisonment
shall be deducted from the aforementioned penalty.
With costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED. 2
Hence, this petition, assigning the following as errors of the
trial court:
1.
The lower court grav ely erred in admitting Exhibits
"B" to "F" in evidence considering that those are illegally
seized evidence;
2.
The lower court gravely erred in finding that s aid
illegally seized evidence are firearms as contemplated in
Presidential Decree No. 1866; and

Sec. 2.
The ri ght of the people to be secure in their persons,
houses, papers and effects against unreasonabl e searches and
seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be
inviolable, and no s earch warrant or warrant of arrest shall
issue except upon probable cause to be determined under
oath or affi rmation of the complai nant and the witnesses he
may produce, and particularly describing the plac e to be
searched and the persons or things to be seized.
Sec. 3.

(1)

. .. .

It is to be noted that what the above constitutional provisions


prohibi t are unreasonable searches and seizures. For a search
to be reasonable under the law, there must, as a rule, be a
search warrant validly issued by an appropriate judicial
officer. Yet, the rule that searches and seizures mus t be
supported by a valid s earch warrant is not an absolute and
inflexible rul e, for jurisprudence has recognized several
exceptions to the search warrant requirement. Among
thes e exceptions is the seizure of evidence in plain view,
adopted by this jurisdiction from the pronouncements of the
United States Supreme Court in Harris vs. U.S. 4 and Coolidge
vs. New Hampshire. 5 Thus, it is recognized that objects
inadvertently falling in the plain view of an officer who has the
right to be in the position to hav e that view, are s ubject to
seizure and may be introduced in evidence. 6
The records in this case show that Sgt. Romerosa was granted
permission by the appellant Evaristo to enter his house. The
officer's purpos e was to apprehend Rosillo whom he saw had
sought refuge therein. Therefore, it is clear that the search for
firearms was not Romerosa's purpose in entering the hous e,
thereby rendering his discovery of the subject firearms as
inadvertent and even accidental.
With res pect to the firearms seized from the appellant Carillo,
the Court sustains the validly of the firearm's seizure and
admissibility in evidence, based on the rul e on authorized
warrantless arrests. Section 5, Rul e 113 of the 1985 Rules on
Criminal Procedure provides:
Sec. 5.
Arrest without warrant; when l awful. A peace
officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arres t a
person:
(a)
When, in his pres ence, the person to be arrested has
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit
an offense;

(b)
When an offense has in fact just been committed,
and he has personal knowledge of facts indicati ng that the
person to be arrested has committed it; and
(c)
When the person to be arres ted is a prisoner who
has escaped from a penal establishment or pl ace where he is
serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case
is pending, or has escaped while bei ng transferred from one
confinement to another.
For purpos es of the present cas e, the second circumstance by
which a warrantless arres t may be undertaken is applicabl e.
For, as disclosed by the records, the peace officers, while on
patrol, heard bursts of gunfire and this proceeded to
investigate the matter. This incident may well be within the
"offens e" envisioned by par. 5 (b) of Rule 113, Rules of Court.
As the Court held in People of the Philippines v. Sucro, 7 "an
offense is committed in the presence or wi thin the view of an
officer, withi n the meaning of the rule authorizing an arrest
without a warrant, when the officer sees the offens e, although
at a distance, or HEARS THE DISTURBANCES CREATED
THEREBY AND PROCEED S AT ONCE TO THE SCENE
THEREOF." 8
The next inquiry is addressed to the existence of personal
knowledge on the part of the peace officer of facts pointing to
the person to be arrested as the perpetrator of the offens e.
Agai n, reference to the records resolves said query. Giving
chase to Rosillo, the peace officers came upon the two (2)
appellants who were then asked concerning Rosillo's
whereabouts. At that point, Sgt. Vallarta discerned the bulge
on the waist of Carillo. This visual observation along wi th the
earlier report of gunfire, as well as the peace officer's
professional instincts, are more than sufficient to pass the test
of the Rules. Consequently, under the facts, the fi rearm taken
from Carillo can be said to have been seized incidental to a
lawful and valid arrest.
The next area to be addressed is the allegation of the
appellants that the statute's coverage does not extend to
firearms that are not functional or serviceable. The Court does
not agree.

and Rosillo, there were also other people in the vicinity, such
as Evaristo's mother, brother and other farmers.
The Court sees no such conflict. A recourse to the trial court
proceedings easily shows that the two (2) prosecution
witnesses, Sgt. Romerosa and CIC Vallarta, tes tified in a
strai ghtforward and candid manner, categorically identifying
the appellants as the two (2) individuals they had
apprehended and clearly narrating the circumstances of such
apprehension. The defens e has given no possible reason or
motivation for thes e peace officers to make false accusations
against the appellants. Absent the pres entation of such
defense evidence, the testimony of the peace officers should
deserve full credence.
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the trial court of Trece
Marti res, Cavite in Criminal Cas e No. NC-267 findi ng the
accused Santiago Ev aristo and Noel Carillo guilty beyond
reasonable doubt for Illegal Possession of Firearms as defined
in Presidential Decree No. 1866, is hereby AFFIRMED.
The Court orders the forfeiture of the firearms and other
incidental paraphernalia found in the possession of the
appellants, in favor of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to
be disposed of in accordance with law.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Grio-Aquino and Bellosillo, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinion

CRUZ, J., concurring:


Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 penalizes "any person who shall
unlawfully manufacture, deal in, acqui re, dispose, or possess
any firearms, PART OF FIREARM, ammuni tion or machinery,
tool or instrument used or intended to be used in the
manufacture of any firearm or ammuni tion." 9 It is clear that
the law makes no distinction as to serviceable or functional
firearms. Indeed, the possession of even a part of a firearm is
sufficient to come withi n the prohibitive ambit of the statute.
Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguere debemus.

I concur insofar as the ponencia holds that there was a v alid


seizure of the firearms and paraphernalia found i n Evaristo's
house because, first, he agreed to its search and, second, the
said prohibited articles were in plain view and open to eye
and hand. But I must express my reservations on the
conclusion that the bulge in Carillo's waist provided the
probable caus e that justified the warrantless search of his
person and the seizure from him of the paltik.

Lastly, the appellants challenge the veracity of the testimoni es


of the pros ecution witnesses, maintaining that these were
inconsistent with each other, thereby giving rise to the
conclusion that the enti re incident was a contrivance on their
part. Specifically, they point to the apparent conflict in the
statement of the prosecution wi tnesses that there were only
three (3) individuals in the vicinity (aside from the peace
officers) as opposed to the tes timony of another peace officer,
testifying as a hos tile witness, that aside from the appellants,

This case is similar to People v. Malmstedt, 198 SCRA 401,


where I also dissented. As I did there, I will here also observe
that the search does not come under any of the three
situations enumerated under Rul e 113, Section 5, of the Rul es
of Court, where a warrantless arrest and search may be made.
Paragraph (a) and (c) are clearly not inapplicable. And neither
is Par. (b) because although i t may be conceded that a crime
had jus t been committed, the arresting officers had no
personal knowledge that Ev aristo had committed it. In fact,

they were pursuing Rosillo, whom they actually saw firing a


gun in the air, and not Carillo, whose assistance they even
sought. The circumstance that the search resulted in the
discovery of the unlicensed firearm did not and could not
retroactively validate the warrantless search for it was clearly
void ab initio. The seized pistol is the fruit of the poisonous
tree and should not have been used in evidence against
Rosillo.

8 Ibid., citing U.S. vs. Fortaleza, 12 Phil. 472 and U.S. vs.
Samonte, 16 Phil. 516.
9 Emphasis (underscoring and capitals) supplied.
SECOND DIVISION
[G.R. No. 86218. September 18, 1992.]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff -Appellee, v. ELSIE
BAGISTA y BANGCO, Accused-Appellant.

Separate Opinions
CRUZ, J., concurring:
I concur insofar as the ponencia holds that there was a v alid
seizure of the firearms and paraphernalia found i n Evaristo's
house because, first, he agreed to its search and, second, the
said prohibited articles were in plain view and open to eye
and hand. But I must express my reservations on the
conclusion that the bulge in Carillo's waist provided the
probable caus e that justified the warrantless search of his
person and the seizure from him of the paltik.
This case is similar to People v. Malmstedt, 198 SCRA 401,
where I also dissented. As I did there, I will here also observe
that the search does not come under any of the three
situations enumerated under Rul e 113, Section 5, of the Rul es
of Court, where a warrantless arrest and search may be made.
Paragraph (a) and (c) are clearly not inapplicable. And neither
is Par. (b) because although i t may be conceded that a crime
had jus t been committed, the arresting officers had no
personal knowledge that Ev aristo had committed it. In fact,
they were pursuing Rosillo, whom they actually saw firing a
gun in the air, and not Carillo, whose assistance they even
sought. The circumstance that the search resulted in the
discovery of the unlicensed firearm did not and could not
retroactively validate the warrantless search for it was clearly
void ab initio. The seized pistol is the fruit of the poisonous
tree and should not have been used in evidence against
Rosillo.
Footnotes
* Presided over by Hon. Enrique M. Almario.
1 Rollo, p. 4.
2 Rollo, pp. 21-22.
3 Rollo, Appellant's Brief, p. 55.
4 390 U.S. 324.
5 403 U.S. 443.
6 Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, Vol. 2, 1989 Edition,
p. 427.
7 G.R. No. 93239, 18 March 1991, 195 SCRA 388.

SYLLABUS

1.
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; RIGHT
AGAINST UNREASONABLE SEARCH AND SEIZURE; RULE.
The general rule regardi ng searches and seizures can be
stated i n this manner: no person shall be subjected to a search
of his person, personal effects or belongings, or his residence
except by virtue of a search warrant or on the occasion of a
lawful arrest. The basis for the rule can be found in Article III,
Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution. Art. III, Section 3 (2)
further ordai ns that any evidence obtained in violation of the
aforementioned right shall, among others, "be inadmissible for
any purpose in any proceeding."cralaw virtua1aw library
2.
ID.; ID.; ID. ; ID.; SEARCH OF A MOVING VEHICLE, AN
EXCEPTION. The constitutional proscription against
warrantless searches and seizures admi ts of certain
exceptions. Aside from a search incident to a lawful arrest, a
warrantless search had been upheld in cases of a moving
vehicle, and the seizure of evidence in plain view. With regard
to the search of moving vehicles, this had been justified on the
ground that the mobility of motor vehicles makes it possible
for the vehicle to be searched to move out of the locality or
jurisdiction in which the warrant must be sought.
3.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; REQUISITE. This in no way,
howev er, gives the police officers unlimited discretion to
conduct warrantless searches of automobiles in the absence of
probable caus e. When a vehicle is stopped and subjected to an
extensive search, such a warrantless search has been held to
be valid only as long as the officers conducti ng the search have
reasonable or probable cause to believe before the search that
they will find the instrumentality or evidence pertaining to a
crime, in the vehicle to be searched.
4.
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; APPLICATION IN CASE AT
BAR. The NARCOM officers in the case at bar had probable
cause to stop and search all vehicles coming from the north at
Acop, Tublay, Benguet in view of the confidenti al information
they received from their regular informant that a woman
having the same appearance as that of accused -appellant
would be bringing marijuana from up north. They likewise
have probable cause to search accused-appellants belongings
since she fits the description given by the NARCOM informant.
Since there was a valid warrantless search by the NARCOM
agents, any evidence obtained during the course of s aid search
is admissible against Accused-Appellant.

5.
REM EDIAL LAW; EVID ENCE; CREDIBILITY OF
WITNESS; FINDINGS OF TRIAL JUDGE; RULE AND
EXCEPTION; CASE AT BAR. The prosecution had shown,
primarily through the positive testimony of Sgt. Parajas, that
the bag contai ning the dried marijuana leav es was taken from
accused-appellants possession. She denies this fact and
contends that the bag in question was actually taken from the
luggage carrier above the passenger seats and not from her.
Indisputably, We have two opposing versions of what actually
happened at the checkpoint in Km. 16, Acop, Tublay, Benguet,
resulting in the accused-appellants apprehension, that of the
prosecution and that of the defense. In situations like this, the
matter of assigning values to the testimony of witnesses is
best performed by the trial courts because, unlike appellate
courts, they can wei gh such tes timony in the light of the
demeanor, conduct and attitude of the wi tnesses at the trial.
The exception is when the trial court has overlooked certain
facts of subs tance and v alue that, if considered, might affect
the result, which We do not find in the instant case.
6.
ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT AFFECTED BY MINOR
DISCREPANCIES; CASE AT BAR. As to the alleged
discrepancies in the prosecutions case, such as the color of
the stripes of the bag which contained the marijuana and
whether the i tems seized from accus ed-appellant were
marijuana leaves or marijuana fruit tops, these are minor in
character and do not detract from the prosecutions cas e since
it was shown by the Receipt of Property Seized, which was
signed by accus ed-appellant, that these were the very items
taken from her at the time of her arrest.
PADILLA, J., dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
1.
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; RIGHT
AGAINST UNREASONABLE SEARCH AND SEIZURE; RULE;
SEARCH OF MOVING VEHICLE AS AN EXCEPTION; REQUIRES
PROBABLE CAUSE; NOT PRESENT IN CASE AT BAR. In the
case at bar, the NARCOM agents searched the bag of the
accused on the basis alone of an information they received
that a woman, 23 years of age with naturally curly hair, and
52" or 53" in height would be transporti ng marijuana. The
extensive search was indiscriminately made on all the
baggages of all passengers of the bus where the accused was
riding, whether male or female, and whether or not their
physical appearance answered the description of the suspect
as described in the alleged information. If there really was
such an information, as claimed by the NARCOM agents, it is a
perplexi ng thought why they had to search the baggages of
ALL passengers, not only the bags of those who appeared to
answer the description of the woman s uspected of carrying
marijuana. Moreover, the accused was not at all acti ng
suspiciously when the NARCOM agents searched her bag,
where they allegedly found the marijuana. From the
circumstances of the cas e at bar, it would seem that the
NARCOM agents were only fishing for evidence when they
searched the baggages of all the passengers, including that of
the accused. They had no probable cause to reasonably believe
that the accus ed was the woman carrying marijuana alluded
to in the information they allegedly received. Thus, the
warrantless s earch made on the personal effects of herein
accused on the basis of mere information, without more, is to

my mind bereft of probable cause and therefore, null and void.


It follows that the marijuana seized in the cours e of such
warrantless search was inadmissible in evidence.

D EC IS IO N

NOCON, J.:

Appeal by accused-appellant Elsie Bagista from the decision


dated September 26, 1988 of the Regional Trial Court of La
Trinidad, Benguet, Branch 10, finding her guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of violating Section 4, Article II of Republic
Act No. 6425, and sentencing her to suffer the penal ty of life
imprisonment and to pay a fine of P20,000.00, with subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs.
The facts of the case are as follows: On July 4, 1988, at around
8:00 oclock in the morning, the Narcotics Command
(NARCOM) Detachment Office located at the Arix Building,
Bokawkan Road, Baguio City, received information from one
of its regular informants that a certain woman, 23 years of age,
with naturally curly hair, and with a hei ght of 52" or 53",
would be trans porting marijuana from up north. 1 Acti ng
upon this piece of information, Sgt. Oscar Parajas tes tified that
he, Sgt. Godofredo Fider and a civilian NARCOM agent
proceeded to Km. 16, Acop, Tubl ay, Benguet. Upon arriving at
said location at around 11:00 oclock that same morning, they
established a checkpoint and flagged down all vehicles, both
private and public, coming from the north to check if any of
these vehicles were carrying marijuana leaves on board. 2
After about 4 1/2 hours, the NARCOM agents stopped a
Dangwa Tranco bus wi th Plate No. AVD 938 and body numb er
428, which came from Lepanto, Benguet. Sgts. Parajas and
Fider boarded the bus and thereupon Sgt. Parajas announced
to the passengers that they were NARCOM agents and that
they were going to search their baggages. Sgt. Parajas then
proceeded to the rear of the bus while Sgt. Fider began
inspecting the bags in the front. 3
While at the back, Sgt. Parajas noticed a woman with curly
hair seated at the right side (as one is facing the driver) of the
last seat of the bus, with a travelling bag wi th black and
orange stripes 4 on her lap. Sgt. Parajas inspected the bag and
discovered three (3) bundl es of marijuana leaves covered by
assorted clothing. The bag and the contents thereof were
confiscated and the woman arrested; she was later brought to
the NARCOM office in Baguio City where she was booked and
investigated. The woman was then identified as AccusedAppellant. 5 The confiscated bundles were subjected to
laboratory examination, and found positive for marijuana. 6
Accused-appellants defens e res ts solely on denial. She
claimed that she was engaged in the buying and selling of
vegetables, particularly cabbages. On the day in ques tion, she
boarded the Dangwa Tranco bus at Abatan, Benguet, bringi ng
with her ten (10) sacks of cabbages which she intended to sell
to a certain Mari a Opino in Baguio City. While inside the bus,
she approached the conductor for her ticket to cover the fare

for her sacks of cabbages, but was told by the latter that he
would attend to her later.
When the bus reached Tubl ay, Benguet, it was stopped by the
NARCOM agents who boarded the same and began ins pecti ng
the baggages of the passengers. Accused-appellant claimed
that the bag containing the marijuana was taken from the
luggage carrier abov e the passenger seats. When nobody
admitted owning the bag, the NARCOM agent approached her,
took the shoulder bag on her lap, and asked her to come with
them for investi gation as she fits the description of the wouldbe transporter of the marijuana given by the NARCOM
informer. She denied having any thing to do with the
marijuana found on the bus.chanrobles.com.ph : virtual law
library
To corroborate her story, Accused-appellant presented the
conductor of the Dangwa Tranco bus, Nestor Yangkin. He
testified that when the NARCOM agents boarded the bus at
Tublay, Benguet, one of them got a bag from the luggage
carri er, opened i t, and smelled the contents. The agent then
asked the passengers who among them owned the bag; when
nobody answered, he walked to the back of the bus, all the
time looking at the faces of the passengers. When the agent
approached accus ed-appellant, who was seated at the rear of
the bus, the former talked to her, then escorted her out of the
bus. 7
During Yangkins cross-exami nation, it came out that the 10
sacks of vegetables that were loaded at Abatan were brought
by a man who told him that the fare for the sacks will be paid
upon arrival at the Dangwa Station in Baguio City but that the
owner of the sacks would be ridi ng in the bus. And yet,
Yangkin did not seek out the alleged owner of the sacks. The
witness also testified that none of the passengers approached
him and offered to pay for the fare of the sacks, 8 contrary to
accused-appellants testimony.
In convicting accused-appellant, the trial court found the
testimony of Sgt. Parajas credi ble. Said the court a
quo:chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
". . . The tes timony of Sgt. Oscar Parajas was di rect and
strai ghtforward as he gave all the requisite details of the
entrapment operation they conducted bas ed on an
information provided by a coordinating individual. His
testimony rev eals that the bag containi ng the marijuana leav es
was found on the lap of the accused. There is nothing in the
record to suggest that Sgt. Parajas was mov ed by any motive
than simply the carrying out of his official mission or duty.
Where there is no evidence and nothi ng to indicate that the
principal witness for the pros ecution was actuated by
improper motives, the presumption is that he was not so
actuated and his tes timony is entitled to full faith and credit
(People v. Francia, L-69253, September 30, 1987, 154 SCRA
495)." 9
The trial court brushed aside the defenses obs ervation that
there were discrepancies between the tes timony of Sgt.
Parajas and the evidence presented, such as the color of the
bag allegedly taken from accused-appellant and the kind of
marijuana taken from the bag, as immaterial. Similarly

brushed aside was the defenses contention that the evidence


against accus ed-appellant, such as the Receipt of Property
Seized 10 and her signature thereon, 11 and the Booking
Sheet and Arrest Report 12 and her signature thereon, 13
were inadmissible due to the absence of counsel, since these
were not confessions or extra-judicial statements.
Finally, the trial court did not give credence to the testimoni es
of accused-appellant and her witness Nestor Yangkin, in view
of the testimony of Sgt. Parajas that he took the bag containi ng
the marijuana from accus ed-appellants lap. Moreover, the
court a quo observed that there was a discrepancy between
the tes timonies of accused-appellant and Yangkin on the
matter of the 10 sacks of cabbage, which l ed the court to
conclude that the former was in the act of transporti ng
marijuana at the time of her arrest.
Accused-appellant filed a motion for reconsideration, allegi ng
that the marijuana l eaves found in the bag taken from her was
inadmissible in evidence as it was the product of a warrantless
search, which motion was denied by the trial court for lack of
merit on November 22, 1988.chanrobles.com:cralaw:red
Aggrieved, Accused-appellant filed the instant appeal, alleging
that the court a quo erred (1) in not finding the warrantless
search conducted by the NARCOM agents as illegal and
unconsti tutional, and (2) in admitting the illegally obtained
evidences and convicting her on the basis of said evidences.
Accused-appellant is in error.
The general rule regardi ng searches and seizures can be
stated i n this manner: no person shall be subjected to a search
of his person, personal effects or belongings, or his residence
except by virtue of a search warrant or on the occasion of a
lawful arrest. 14 The basis for the rule can be found in Article
III, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution, which
states:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"The ri ght of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,
papers, and effects agains t unreasonable searches and
seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose, shall be
inviolable, and no s earch warrant or warrant of arrest shall
issue except upon probable cause to be determined pe rsonally
by the judge after examination under oath or affi rmation of
the complainant and the wi tnesses he may produce, and
particularly describing the place to be searched, and the
persons or things to be seized."cralaw virtua1aw library
Article III, Section 3 (2) further ordains that any evidence
obtai ned in violation of the aforementioned right shall, among
others, "be inadmissible for any purpose in any
proceeding."cralaw virtua1aw library
The cons titutional proscription against warrantless searches
and seizures admits of certain exceptions. Aside from a search
incident to a lawful arrest, a warrantless search had been
upheld in cases of a moving vehicle, 15 and the seizure of
evidence in plain view. 16
With regard to the search of moving vehicles, this had been
justified on the ground that the mobility of motor vehicles

makes it possible for the v ehicle to be searched to mov e out of


the locality or jurisdiction in which the warrant must be
sought. 17
This in no way, however, gives the police officers unlimited
discretion to conduct warrantless searches of automobiles in
the absence of probable caus e. When a vehicle is stopped and
subjected to an extensive search, such a warrantless search
has been held to be valid only as long as the officers
conducting the search have reasonable or probable caus e to
believe before the s earch that they will find the
instrumentality or evidence pertaining to a crime, in the
vehicle to be searched. 18
The NARCOM officers in the case at bar had probable cause to
stop and search all vehicles coming from the north at Acop,
Tublay, Benguet in view of the confidential information they
received from their regular informant that a woman having
the same appearance as that of accus ed-appellant would be
bringing mari juana from up north. They likewise have
probable caus e to search accused-appellants belongings since
she fits the description given by the NARCOM informant.
Since there was a valid warrantless search by the NARCOM
agents, any evidence obtained during the course of s aid search
is admissible against Accused-Appellant.chanrobles virtual
lawlibrary
At any rate, no objection was raised by the accused -appellant
in the court below on the inadmissibility of the evidence
against her on the ground that the same was obtained in a
warrantless search. This amounts to a waiver of the objection
on the legality of the search and the admissibility of the
evidence obtained therefrom. 19 Amid a waiver, the court is
duty bound to admit the evidence. 20
Reviewing the evidence, We find the same sufficient to prove
accused-appellants guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

brought with her at the time of her arrest. Appellant claims


she loaded the sacks of vegetables on the bus and tried to pay
for its fare, but that conductor Yangkin, put her off. Yangkin
claims otherwise: the sacks of vegetables were loaded by a
man who told him that the fare for the sacks will be paid upon
arrival in Baguio Ci ty, and that no one on the bus offered to
pay for the same.cralawnad
In weighing contrary declarations and s tatements, greater
weight must generally be given to the positive tes timonies of
the pros ecution witnesses than the denials of the AccusedAppellant. 23
Given the discrepancy on this point, the trial court correctly
disregarded the corroborative testimony of Nestor Yangki n.
The matter of the ownership of the 10 sacks of vegetabl es is
material since appellants reason for being on the bus was to
deliver thes e sacks to Baguio City. If the sacks of vegetabl es
are not hers, then the only conclusion that can be drawn is
that she was on her way to Baguio City to s ell the marijuana
found in her possession.
As to the alleged discrepancies in the prosecutions case, such
as the color of the s tripes of the bag which contained the
marijuana and whether the i tems seized from accusedappellant were marijuana l eaves or marijuana frui t tops, these
are minor in character and do not detract from the
prosecutions case since it was shown by the Receipt of
Property Seized, 24 which was signed by accused-appellant,
that these were the v ery i tems taken from her at the time of
her arrest.
WHEREFORE, finding no error in the decision appealed from,
the s ame is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. Costs agains t AccusedAppellant.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Regalado and Melo, JJ., concur.

The prosecution had shown, primarily through the positive


testimony of Sgt. Parajas, that the bag containing the dried
marijuana leav es was taken from accused-appellants
possession.

Separate Opinions

PADILLA, J., dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library


She denies this fact and contends that the bag in question was
actually taken from the luggage carrier above the passenger
seats and not from her. Indisputably, We hav e two opposing
versions of what actually happened at the checkpoint in Km.
16, Acop, Tublay, Benguet, resulting in the accused-appellants
apprehension, that of the prosecution and that of the defens e.
In situations like this, the matter of assigning values to the
testimony of witnesses is best performed by the tri al courts
because, unlike appellate courts, they can weigh such
testimony in the light of the demeanor, conduct and attitude of
the witnesses at the tri al. 21 The exception is when the tri al
court has overlooked certain facts of substance and value that,
if considered, might affect the result, 22 which We do not find
in the instant case.
Moreover, Accus ed-appellants defense was weakened by the
fact that her witness Nes tor Yangkin contradicted her on the
matter of the 10 sacks of vegetables appellant claims to have

Although there is a similarity in the factual circumstances of


the case at bar wi th those of the M almstedt case (GR No.
91107, 19 June 1991, 198 SCRA 101) where the Court upheld
the validity of the warrantless search, however, in the present
case, I am of the view that the i nformation alone received by
the NARCOM agents, without other suspicious circumstances
surroundi ng the accused, did not give rise to a probable cause
justifying the warrantl ess search made on the bag of the
accused.
In the Malmstedt case, it will be recalled that no extensive
search was immedi ately made of the Personal effects of the
accused. It was only after the NARCOM agents noticed a bulge
on the waist of the accused (causing them to suspect that he
was carrying a gun) and only after he failed or refused to
pres ent his passport when required to do so, that a
warrantless search was made of the personal effects of the

accused. In other words, the information received by the


NARCOM agents that a certain Caucasian travelling from
Sagada to Baguio City was carrying prohibi ted drugs together
with the suspicious failure or refusal of the accused to present
his passport, supplied the probabl e caus e that reasonably led
the NARCOM agents to believe that the said accused was then
and there committing a crime. Thus
"Warrantless search of the personal effects of an accused has
been declared by this Court as valid, because of existence of
probable cause, where the smell of marijuana emanated from
a plas tic bag owned by the accused, or where the accused was
acting suspiciously, and attempted to fl ee."cralaw virtua1aw
library
x

searched the baggages of all the passengers, including that of


the accused. They had no probable cause to reasonably believe
that the accus ed was the woman carrying marijuana alluded
to in the information they allegedly received. Thus, the
warrantless s earch made on the personal effects of herein
accused on the basis of mere information, without more, is to
my mind bereft of probable cause and therefore, null and void.
It follows that the marijuana seized in the cours e of such
warrantless search was inadmissible in evidence.
Endnotes:

1.
Testimony of Sgt. Oscar Parajas, T. S.N., August 3,
1988, pp. 3-6.

"The recei pt of i nformation by NARCOM that a Caucasian


coming from Sagada had prohibited drugs in his possession,
plus the sus picious failure of the accused to produce his
passport, taken together as a whol e, led the NARCOM officers
to reasonably believe that the accused was trying to hide
something illegal from the authoriti es. From these
circumstances arose a probable caus e which justified the
warrantless search that was made on the personal effects of
the accus ed. In other words, the acts of the NARCOM officers
in requiri ng the accused to open his pouch bag and in openi ng
one of the wrapped objects found inside said bag (which was
discovered to contai n hashish) as well as the two (2) travelling
bags containing two (2) teddy bears with hashish stuffed
inside them, were prompted by accus eds own attempt to hide
his identity by refusing to present his passport, and by the
information received by the NARCOM that a Caucasian comi ng
from Sagada had prohibi ted drugs in his possession. To
deprive the NARCOM agents of the ability and facility to act
accordingly, including, to s earch ev en wi thout warrant, in the
light of such circumstances, would be to sanction impotence
and ineffectiveness in law enforcement, to the detriment of
society." (198 SCRA 401).
In the case at bar, the NARCOM agents searched the bag of the
accused on the basis alone of an information they received
that a woman, 23 years of age with naturally curly hair, and
52" or 53" in height would be transporti ng marijuana. The
extensive search was indiscriminately made on all the
baggages of all passengers of the bus where the accused was
riding, whether male or female, and whether or not their
physical appearance answered the description of the suspect
as described in the alleged information. If there really was
such an information, as claimed by the NARCOM agents, it is a
perplexi ng thought why they had to search the baggages of
ALL passengers, not only the bags of those who appeared to
answer the description of the woman s uspected of carrying
marijuana.

2.

Id., pp. 6-9.

3.

Id., pp. 10-11, 15.

4.

Exhibit "D" .

5.

T.S.N., August 3, 1988, pp. 15-18.

6.

Exhibit "E" .

7.

T.S.N., September 13, 1988, pp. 25-29.

8.

Id., pp. 34-37.

9.

Decision, pp. 3-4.

10.

Exhibit "G" .

11.

Exhibit "G-1" .

12.

Exhibit "B" .

13.

Exhibit "B-1" .

14.
See the dissent of then Jus tice (now Chief Jus tice)
Andres R. Narvasa in People v. Malmstedt, 198 SCRA 401, 413.
15.

See Carroll v. U.S., 267 U.S. 132, 153 (1925).

16.
Dissent of the Chief Justice Narvasa, s upra note 14,
198 SCRA 401, 414.
17.

Carrol v. U.S., supra.

18.
Valmonte v. de Villa, 185 SCRA 665, at 670, citing
Dyke v. Taylor, 361 U.S. 216, .0 L Ed 538, 88 S Ct 1472.
19.
Dimaisip v. Court of Appeals, Et Al., 193 SCRA 373,
382. (1991).

Moreover, the accused was not at all acting suspiciously when


the NARCOM agents searched her bag, where they allegedly
found the marijuana.

20.

Id.

21.

People v. Catalino, 22 SCRA 1091, 1098. .

From the circumstances of the case at bar, it would seem that


the NARCOM agents were only fishing for evidence when they

22.

People v. Cabling, 74 SCRA 285.

23.

People v. Barbano, 76 Phil 702.

24.

Exhibit "G" .

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 112983

March 22, 1995

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
HECTOR MAQUEDA @ PUTOL, and RENE SAGVAM AIJTE (at
large), Accused, HECTOR MAQ UED A @ PUTOL, AccusedAppellant.

DAVIDE, JR., J.:


As against a bustling city life, Bri tisher Horace William Barker,
a consultant of the World Bank, and his Filipino wife, Teresita
Mendoza, chose the peace and qui et of a country home not any
near the metropolis of Manila or its environs, but in the
rugged and mountainous terrain of Tuba, Benguet. Perhaps
they thought they were in a veritable paradise, beyond the
reach of worl dly distractions and trouble when in the early
morning of 27 August 91, in the, sancti ty of their own home,
Horace was brutally slain and Teresita badly battered with
lead pipes on the occasion of a robbery. Sufficient prima facie
evidence poi nted to Rene Salvamante, the victimsformer
houseboy, as one of the perpetrators of the That illusion was
shattered ghastly crime.
As to Rene's co-cons pirator, the, prosecution initially included
one Richard Malig y Severino in the information for robbery
with homicide and serious physical inju ries 1 filed on 19
November 1991 with Branch 10 of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) of Benguet at La Trinidad, Benguet.
Only Richard Malig was arrested On 22 January 1992, prior to
the arraignment of Richard Malig, the prosecution filed a
motion to amend the information 2 to implead as co-accused
Hector Maqueda alias Putol because the evaluation Of the
evidence subsequently submitted established his complicity in
the crime, and at the hearing of the motion the following day,
the Prosecutor further asked that accused Richard Malig be
dropped from the information because further evaluation of
the evidence disclosed no sufficient evidence against him. 3
The motion to drop Malig was granted and warrants for the
arrest of accused Salvamante and M aqueda were issue d.
Maqueda was subsequently arres ted on 4 March 1992, and on
9 April 1992, he filed an application for bail. 4 He categorically
stated therein that "he is willing and volunteering to be a State
witness in the above-entitl ed case, it appearing that he is the
least guilty among the accused in this case."

On 22 April 1992, the prosecution filed an Amended


Informations 5 with only Salvamante and Maqueda as the
accused. Its accusatory portion reads as follows:
That on or about the 27th Of August, 1991, at Tagadi; Upper
Tadiangan Municipality of Tuba, Province Of Benguet,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the, above-named accused, Conspiri ng, confederati ng
and mutually aiding one another, armed with lead pipes, and
with intent of gain and agains t the will and consent of the
owners thereof, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously enter the house of Spous es TERESITA and
WILLIAM HORACE BARKER and with violence against and
intimidation of the persons therein ransack the place and take
and carry away the following articles, to ,it:
[An enumeration and description of the articles follow]
all having a total value of TWO HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND
TWO HUNDRED FIFTY PESOS (P204.250.00), Philippine
Currency, belonging to, the said Teresita and William Horace
Barker; that on the occasion and by reason of the said
robbery; both accused willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
repeatedly strike Teresita Barker and William Horace Barker
with lead pipes on the different Parts of their body, leading to
the death of William Horace Barker and inflicting various
physical injuries on the former which required medical
attendance for a period of more than thirty (30) days and have
likewise incapacitated her from the performance of her,
customary labor for the same period of time.
Contrary to Law.
Since Rene Salvamante conti nues to elude arrest and has
remained at large, tri al proceeded entered a plea of not guilty
on 22 April 1992. 6
In its decision 7 Promul gated on 31 August 1993, the tri al
Maqueda guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
robbery wi th homicide and serious physical Injuries and
sentenced him to Suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and
to indemnify the victim, Teresita M, Barker in the amount of
P50,000.00 for the death of William Horace Barker, court
found accused Hector P41, 681,00 representing actual
expens es, P100,000.00 as moral damages and to pay the
costs."
The prosecution presented as its witnesses Mrs. Teresita
Mendoza Barker, hous ehelps Nori e Dacara and Julieta
Villanueva, Mike Tayaban, D r. Francisco Hernandez, Jr.,
Francisco Cabotaje, prosecutor Dani el Zarate, Ray Dean
Salvosa, Glen Enriquez, SPO1 Rodolfo Tabadero, and
Policarpio Cambod in i ts evidence in chief and Fredesminda
Castrence and SP03 Armando Molleno on rebuttal. Accused
Hector Maqueda took the witness stand and pres ented SPO1
Aurelio Sagun, Jr. in his evidence in chief and Myrna Maqueda
Katindig as his sour-rebuttal witness.
The version of the prosecution, as culled from the trial court's
detailed and meticulous summary thereof, is as follows:

Between 10:30 and 11:00 pm. of 26 August 1991, the spous es


Horace William Barker and Teresita M endoza Barker repaired
to their bedroom after Teresita had checked, as washer wont,
the mai n doors of thei r house to see if they had been locked
and bolted.

approaching them from a curv e. When the two men reached


the shed, he and M ark noticed that the taller of the two had an
amputated left hand and a right hand with a missing thumb
and index fi nger. This man was carrying a black bag on his
right shoulder

At around 6:00 a.m. of the following day, 27 August 1991,


Norie Dacara, a househelp of the Barkers who shared a room
with her cousin and fellow househelp, Julieta Villanuev a, got
up, opened the door to the garage, went to the lavatory to
wash her face, and proceeded to the toilet. When she opened
the door of the toilet and switched. on the light, she saw Rene
Salvamante. She knew Salvamante very well because he and
his sister Melanie were the former househelps of the Barkers
whom she and Julieta Villanueva had replaced and because
Salvamante had acquainted her on her chores.

Speaking in Tagalog, the taller man asked Mike and Mark


whether the road they were following would lead to Naguilian,
La Union. Mike replied that it did not. Five minutes later, a
passenger jeepney bound for Baguio Ci ty and owned and
driven by Ben Lusnong arrived at the waiting shed. The two
men bearded it, Mike again noticed that the taller man had the
defects above mentioned because the latter used his right
hand wi th only three fi ngers to hold on to the bar of the
jeepney as he bearded it. In the Inves tigation conducted by the
Tuba Police, he identified through a picture the shorter man as
Salvamante, and at the hearing, he pointed to Maqueda as the
taller man.

Salvamante suddenly strangled her. While she Was fighti ng


back, Norie happened to turn her face and she saw a faircomplexioned, tall man wi th a hi gh-bridged nose at
Salvamante's side, whom she identified at the trial as
Maqueda. After she broke free from Salvamante, Norie fled
towards the garage and shouted for help. Salvamante chased
her and pulled her back inside the house.
Julieta Villanueva, who was awakened by the shouts of Nori e,
got out of her bed and upon opening the door of her room, saw
a man clad in maong jacket and short pants with 'his right
hand brandishing a lead pipe standing two meters in front of
her. At the tri al, She pointed to, accus ed Maqueda as the man
she saw then. (She got scared and immedi ately closed the
door. Since the door knob turned as if someone was forcing
his way into the room, she held on to it and shouted for help.
The shouts awakened Teresita Mendoza Barker. She rose from
her bed and went out of the room, leaving behind her husband
who was still asleep; She went down the Stairs and proceeded
t, the dining room. She saw Salvamante and a companion who
was a complete stranger to her. Suddenly the two rush ed
towards her and beat her up wi th lead pipes. Despite her pleas
to get what they want and not to hurt her, they continued to
beat her up until she lost consciousness. At the trial, she
pointed to accused Maqueda as Salvamante's companion.
Salvamante also hit Nori e with the lead pi pe on her back and
at theback of her ri ght hand. She fell to the concrete floor, and
after she had recovered, she ran to -the garage and hid under
the car. After a few seconds, ,he went near the door of the
garage and because she could not open i t, she called Julieta.
Julieta opened the door and they rushed to their room and
closed the door. When they saw that the door knob was bei ng
turned, they braced themselves agai nst the door to prevent
anyone from entering. While locked in their room, they heard
the moans of Mrs. Barker and the shouts of Mr. Barker: "That's
enough, that's enough, that's enough." When the noise
stopped, Nori e and Julieta heard the sound of water flowing
from the toilet and the barking of dogs.
At 7:00 a.m. of that s ame day, 27 August 1991, Mike Tabayan
and Mark Pacio were res ting in a waiting shed beside the Asin
road at Aguy ad, Tuba, Benguet, which is only a kilometer
away from the house of the Barkers. They saw two men

At 9:00 a.m. of 27 August 1991, Norie and Julieta gathered


bough courage to leave the room where they had earlier
barricaded thems elves and proceed to the kitchen to get the
key to the gate of the garage. In the dining room, they saw the
Barkers bathed in their own blood. Norie and Julieta rushed
out of the house and ran to the place of Janet Albon to seek
help. After requesting Janet to call the police, they returned to
the Barker's house but did not enter it for fear of what they
had seen earlier. They just stayed near the road.
Soon after, securi ty guards of the Baguio College Foundation
(BCF) arrived. A team from the Baguio Ci ty Police Station,
headed by Police Officer Policarpio Cambod, and which
included Dr. Perfecto Micu of the City Heal th D epartment, also
arrived. The team conducted an initi al investigation only
because it found out that the scene of the crime was within the
jurisdiction of the Tuba Police Station, which, however, was
difficult to get i n touch with at that time. Dr. Perfecto Micu
found the body of Mr. Barker inside the Barker house and
Cambod prepared a sketch (Exhibit "JJ") showi ng its location.'
They went around the hous e and found a lead pipe (Exhibit
"AA") at the toilet, a black T -shirt (Exhibi t "CC"), and a green
hand towel (Exhibit "DD"). He also discovered another lead
pipe (Exhibit "BB") at the back of the door of the house. He
then interviewed the two househelps who provided him with
descriptions of the assailants. The team then l eft, leaving
behind BCF Security Officer Glen Enriquez and a s ecuri ty
guard. Cambod prepared a report of his initial inves tigation
(Exhibit "KK").
Enriquez conducted his own investigation. At the master's
bedroom, he s aw s everal pieces of jewelry scattered on the
floor and an empty inner cabinet. He noticed footprints at the
back of the house, particularly at the riprap wall, and observed
that the grass below it was parted as if someone had passed
through and created a trail amidst the grass down toward the
Asin road of Tuba, Benguet. Upon his request, a security guard
of the BCF, Edgar Dalit, was sent to the Barker hous e to secure
the premises. Enriquez then left after Dalit's arrival.
At 5:00 p.m. of that same day, members of the Tuba Police
Station arrived at theBarker house to conduct their

investigation. Enriquez, who in the meantime was called by


Dalit, returned to the Barker house.
The lead pipes, black T-shirt, and the green hand towel
recovered from the Barker house by the Baguio Ci ty Police
were first brought to the PNP Crime Laboratory Service at
Camp Dangwa, La Trinidad, Benguet, and then to the court.
The body of William Horace Barker was taken to the Baguio
Funeral Homes at Naguilian Road, Baguio City, where it was
examined by Dr. Francisco P. Cabotaje, MunicipalHealth
Officer of Tuba, Benguet. H, found in it twenty-seven injuries,
which could have been caused by a blunt instrument,
determined the cause of death as hemorrhagic shock, and then
issued a death certificate (Exhibits "P," "O," and "R").
The wounded Teresita Barker was brought to the Baguio
General Hospital and Medical Center where s he was treated
and confined for eight days. The attending physician, Dr.
Francisco L. Hernandez, Jr., first saw her at around 11:00 a.m.
of 27 August 1991. She was in a comatose state. Dr. Hernandez
found that she sustai ned mul tiple lacerations primarily an the
left side of the occipital area, bl eedi ng i n the l eft ear, and
bruises on the arm. One of the muscles adjoining her ey es was
paralyzed. She regained consciousness only after two days. Dr.
Hernandez opined that M rs. Barker's injuries were caused by
a blunt instrument, like a lead pipe, and concluded that if her
injuries had been left unattended, she would have di ed by
noontime of 27 August 1991 due to bleeding or hemorrhagic
shock.
On 1 September 1991, a police team from the Tuba Police
Station, Benguet, came to the hospital bed of Mrs. Barker,
showed her pictures of several persons, and asked her to
identify the persons who had assaulted her. She pointed to a
person who turned out to be Richard Malig. When informed of
the investigation, Dr. Hernandez told the members of the team
that it was improper for them to conduct it wi thout first
consulting him since Mrs. Barker had not yet fully recovered
consciousness. Moreov er, her eyesight had not yet improved,
her visual acuity was impaired, and she had double vision.
On 3 September 1991, the remains of M r. Barker were
cremated. Mrs. Barker was then discharged from the hospital
and upon getti ng home, tried to determine the items lost
during the robbery. She requested Glen Enriquez to get back
the pieces of jewelry taken by the Tuba PNP (Exhibit "U"). The
Tuba PNP gave them to Enriquez (Exhibit "V"). Mrs. Barker
discovered that her Canon camera, radio cassette recorder
(Exhibit "W-3"), and some pieces of jewelry (Exhibit "W -2")
were missing. The aggregate value of the missing items was
P204,250.00. She then executed an affidavit on these missing
items (Exhibit "X.).
Mrs. Barker underwent a CT Scan at the St. Luke's Hospital in
Quezon Ci ty. It was revealed that she sustained a damaged
artery on her left ey e which could cause blindness. she then
sought treatment at the St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital in New
York (Exhibit "L") where she underwent an unsuccessful
operation. She likewise received treatment at the New York
Medical Center (Exhibit "M").

On 29 Nov ember 1991, Ray Dean Salvosa, Executive Vice


President of the BCF, ordered Glen Enriquez to go to
Guinyangan, Quezon, to coordinate with the police in
determining the, whereabouts of accused Rene Salvamante. In
Guinyangan, Enriquez was able to obtai n information from the
barangay captain, Basilio Requeron, that he s aw Salvamante
together with a certain "Putol" in September 1991; however,
they already left the place.
On 21 December 1991, Enriquez, Melanie Mendoza, and three
others went back to Guinyangan to find out whether
Salvamante and "Putol" had returned. Upon being i nformed by
Barangay Captain Requeron that the two had not, Enriquez
requested Requeron to notify him immediately once
Salvamante or "Putol" returned to Guinyangan,
On 4 March 1992, Requeron's daughter called up Enriquez to
inform him that Putol," who is none other than accused Hector
Maqueda, had been arrested in Guinyangan. Enriquez and Maj.
Rodolfo Anagaran, Chief of the Tuba Police Station, together
with another policeman, Proceeded to Guinyangan. The
Guinyangan Police Station turned over Maqueda to Maj.
Anagaran who then brought Maqueda to the Benguet
Provincial Jail.
Before M aj. Anagaran's arrival at Guinyangan, M aqueda had
been taken to the. headquarters of the 235th PNP Mobile
Force Company at Sta. Maria, Calauag, Quezon. Its
commanding officer, M aj. Virgilio F. Rendon, directed SP03
Armando Molleno to get Maqueda's statement. He did so and
according to him, he informed M aqueda of his rights under the
Constitution. Maqueda thereafter signed a Sinumpaang
Salaysay (Exhibit "LL") wherein he narrated his participation
in the crime at the Barker house on 27 August 1991.
On 9 April 1992, while he was under detention, Maqueda filed
a Motion to Grant Bail (Exhibi t "GG-6"). He stated therein that
"he is willing and volunteeringto be a State witness in the
above entitled c ase, it appearing that he is the leas t guilty
among the accused in this case." Prosecutor Zarate then had a
talk with Maqueda regarding such statement and asked him if
he was in the company of Salvamante on 27 August 1991 in
enteri ng the house of the Barkers. After he received an
affirmative answer, Pros ecutor Zarate told M aqueda that he
would oppose the motion for bail since he, Maqueda, was the
only accused on trial (Exhibit "II").
In the meantime, Ray Dean Salvosa arrived at the Office of
Prosecutor Zarate and obtained permission from the l atter to
talk to Maqueda. Salvosa then led Maqueda toward the
balcony. Maqueda narrated to Salvosa that Salvamante
brought him to Baguio City in order to find a job as a peanut
vendor; Salvamante then brought him to the Barker house and
it was only when they were at the vicinity thereof that
Salvamante rev ealed to him that his zeal purpose i n going to
Baguio Ci ty was to rob the Barkers; he initially objected to the
plan, but later on agreed to it; when they were in the kitchen
of the Barker hous e, one of the househelps was already there;
Salvamante hit her with a lead pipe and she screamed; then
Mrs. Barker came down, forcing him, Maqueda, to attack her
with the l ead pipe providedhim by Salvamante, After he felled
Mrs. Barker, he helped Salvamante in beating up Mr. Barker

who had followed his wife downstairs. the Barkers were


already unconscious on the' floor, Salvamante went upstai rs
and a few minutes later came down bringi ng with him a radio
cassette and some pieces of jewelry.
Maqueda further divulged to Salvosa that they then changed
clothes, went out of the house, walked toward the road where
they Saw two persons from whom they asked directions, and
when a passenger jeepney stopped and they were i nformed by
the two Persons that it was bound for Baguio City, he and
Salvamante bearded it. They alighted somewhere along
Albano Street i n Baguio City and walked until they reached the
Philippine Rabbit Bus station where they boarded a bus for
Manila. 8
Accused Hector Maqueda put up the defens e of denial and
alibi. Hi, testimony is summarized by the trial court in this
wise:
Accused Hector Maqueda denied having anything to do with
the crime. He stated that O" August 27, 1991 he was at the
polvoron factory owned by Minda Castrense located at Lot 1,
Block 21 Posadas Bayview Subdivision, Sukat, Munti nlupa,
Metro Manila. He was employed as a caretaker Since July 5,
1991 and he worked continuously there up to August 27,
1991, It was his sister, Myrna Kati ndig, who found him the job
as caretaker. A, caretaker, it was his duty to supervise the
employees in the factory and whenev er his employer was not
around, he was in charge of the s ales. He and his 8 coemployees all Sleep inside the factory.
On August 26, 1991, he reported for work although he could
not recall what he did that day. He slept inside the factory that
night and on August 27, 1991, he was teaching the new
employees how to make the seasoning for the polvoron.
On December 20, 1991, he went home to Gapas, Guiny angan,
Quezon Province as it was his vacation time from his job at the
polvoron factory. He was to be back at work after New Year's
Day in 1992. Upon alighting from the bus at Guiny angan,
Quezon, he saw accused Rene Salvamante. He knows accused
Salvamante as they were childhood playmates, having gone to
the same elementary school. He had no chance to talk to him
that day when he saw him and so they just waved to each
other. He again saw accused Salvamante after Christmas day
on the road beside their (Salvamante) house. Salvamante
invited him to go to Calauag, Quezon Province and roam
around. He agreed to go as he also wanted to visit his brother,
Jose Maqueda who resided at Sabangdos, Calauag, Quezon.
When the two accused were at Calauag, Salvamante asked
Maqueda to accompany him /Salvamante) in selling a cassette
recorder which he said came from Baguio Ci ty. Accused
Maqueda knew that Salvamante worked in Baguio as the
latter's mother told him about it. They were able to s ell the
cassette recorder to Salvamante's aunt. They had their meal
and then went to visit accus ed M aqueda's brother. After that
occasion, he never saw accused Salvamante again. After his
Christmas vacation, he went back to work a the polvoron
factory until February 29, 1992. One of his co-workers
Roselyn Merca, who was a townmate of his asked him to
accompany her home as she was hard up in her work at the
factory. Hence, he accompanied Rosely home to Guiny angan,

Quezon. He was supposed to report back for work on March 2,


1992 but he was not able to as he was arrested by members of
the CAGFU at the house of Roselyn M erca when he brought
her home. He was then brought to the Guinyangan municipal
jail, then to the Tuba Police Station, Tuba, Benguet. There he
was told to cooperate with the police in arres ting Salvamante
so he would not s tay long i n the Province of Benguet. He was
also told that if he would point to accused Salvamante, he
would be freed and he could also become a state wi tness: He
told them that he could attest to the fact that he accompanied
accused Salvamante in selling the cassette recorder.
On March 5, 1992, he was brought to the Benguet Provincial
Jail at La Trinidad, Benguet where he has remained under
detention up to the present. 9
The prosecution rebutted the tes timony of Hector Maqueda by
pres enting Fredesminda Casti ence and SP03 Armando
Molleno. Cas trence, the owner of the polvoron factory where
Maqueda worked, tes tified that she started her business only
on 30 August 1991 and thus it was impossible for her to have
hired Maqueda on 5 July 1991. SP03 Molleno declared that he
informed Maqueda of his constitutional rights before Maqueda
was investigated and that Maqueda voluntarily and freely gave
his Sinumpaang Salaysay (Exhibit "LL"). 10
Although the trial court had doubts on th e identification of
Maqueda by prosecution wi tnesses Teresita M endoza Barker,
Norie Dacara, and Julieta Villanueva and thus disregarded
thei r testimoni es on this matter, it decreed a conviction
"based on the confession and the proof of corpus delicti" as
well as on circumstantial evidence. It stated thus:
Since we have discarded the positive identification theory of
the prosecution pinpoi nting accus ed Maqueda as the culpri t,
can we still secure a conviction based on the confession and
the proof of corpus delicti as well as on circumstanti al
evidence?
In order to es tablish the guilt of the accus ed through
circumstantia1 evidence, the following requisites must be
pres ent: 1) there must be more than One circums tance; 2) the
facts from which the inferences are derived are proved; and 3)
the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce
a conviction beyond reasonable doubt (People vs. Pajarit, G.R.
No. 82770, October 19, 1992, 214 SCRA 678). There must be
an unbroken chain of ci rcamstances which l eads to one fair
and reasonable conclusion pointi ng to the defendant to the
exclusion of all Others, as the author of the crime (People vs.
Abuyen, G.R. No. 77285, September 4, 1992, 213 SCRA 569).
The circums tances shown by the prosecution which tend to
show the guilt of the accused are:
1.
A physical demonstration to which the accused and
his counsel did not offer any objection shows that despite his
being handicapped, accused Maqueda could well and easily
grip a lead pipe and strike a cement post with such force that
it produced a resounding vibration. It is not farfetched then to
conclude that accused Maqueda could have easily beat M r.
Barker to death.

2.
His presence within the vicinity of the crime scene
right after the incident in the company of accused Salvamante
was tes tified to by Mike Tabayan, the only prosecution
witness who noticed the defective hands of the accus ed. As
they had to ask for directions from the witness in the Tagalog
dialect shows that they were strangers to the place
3.
Accused M aqueda knows or is familiar with accused
Rene Salvamante as they from the same town. By his own
testimony, accused Maqueda has es tablished that he
Salvamante are close friends to the point that they went out
together during the Christmas vacation in 1991 and he even
accompanied Salvamante i n selling the black radio cassette
recorder.
4.
His Motion to Grant Bail (Exhibit "HH") contains this
statement that he is willing and volunteering to be State
witness in the above-entitl ed case, it the accused in appeari ng
that he is the leas t guilty along This in effect, supports his
extrajudicial confession trade to the police at Although he
claims that he did not his signature would lean his as he was
just told that rel ease from detention, this is a flimsy excuse
which cannot Had he not understood what the motion meant,
he could have easily asked his sister and brother-in-law what
it meant seeing that their signatures up already affixed on the
motion.
5.
This time, his admission to Prosecutor Zarate that
he was at the Barker house that fateful morning and his even
more damaging admission to Ray Dean Salvosa as to what he
actually did can be considered as another circumstance to
already bloster the increasing circums tances agai nst the
accused.
6.
The accused's defense is alibi. As stated in a long
Line of cases, alibi is at best a weak defens e and easy of
fabrication (People vs. Martinado, G.R. No. 92020, October 19,
1992, 214 SCRA 712). For alibi to be given credence, it must
not only appear that the accused interposing the same was at
some other pl ace but also that i t was physically impossible for
him to be at the scene of the crime at the time of i ts
commission (People vs. Pugal, G.R. No. 90637, October 29,
1992, 215 SCRA 247). This defense easily crumbles down as
Tayaban pl aced accused Maqueda at vicinity of the crime
scene.
The combi nation of all these ci rcumstances plus extrajudicial
confession produce the needed proof beyond reasonable
doubt that indeed accused Maqueda is guilty of the crime. 11
The extrajudicial confession referred to is the Sinumpaang
Salaysay (Exhibit: "LL") of Maqueda taken by SP02 Molleno
immediately after Maqueda was arrested.
Maqueda seasonably appealed to us his conviction. In his 14page brief, he pleads that we acquit him becaus e the trial court
committed this lone error:
. . . IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME CHARGED. 12

Only three pages of the brief, typed double space, are devoted
to his arguments which are anchored on his alibi that at the
time the crime Was committed he was not in Benguet but in
Sukat, Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, ad the failure of the star
witnesses for the Prosecution to identify him. He alleges that
Mrs. Barker, when investi gated at the hospital, Pointed to
Richard Malig as the companion of Rene Salvamante, and that
when initially investigated, the two housemai ds gave a
description of Salvamante's companion that fitted Richard
Malig.
We find no merit in this appeal. As hereinafter shown, the
defense of alibi is unconvincing.
The accused's arguments which s tress the incredibility of the
testimonies of Mrs. Barker and the househelps identifying
Maqueda are misdirected and misplaced becaus e the tri al
court had ruled that Mrs. Teresita M endoza Barker and the
two housemaids, Norie Dacara and Julieta Villanuev a, were
not able to positively identify Magueda, The trial court based
his conviction on his extrajudicial confession and the proof of
corpus delicti, as well as on circums tantial evidence. He
should have focused his attention and arguments on these.
From its ratiocinations, the trial court made a distinction
between an extrajudicial confession the Sinumpaang
Salaysay and an extrajudicial admission the, verbal
admissions to Prosecutor Zarate and Ray Dean Salvosa. A
perusal of the Sinumpaang Salaysay fails to convince us that it
is an extrajudicial confession. It is only an extrajudicial
admission. There is a distinction between. the former and the
latter as clearly shown i n Sections 26 and 33, Rule 130 of the
Rules of Court which read as follows:
Sec. 26. Admission of a party. The act, declaration or
omission of party as to a relevant fact may be given in
evidence against him.
xxx

xxx

xxx

Sec. 33. Confession. The declaration of an accused


acknowledgi ng his guilt of the offense charged, or of any
offense necessarily included therein, may be given in evidence
against him.
In a confession, there is an acknowledgment of guilt. The term
admission is usually applied in criminal cas es to statements of
fact by the accused which do not directly involve an
acknowledgment of his guilt or of the criminal intent to
commit the offense with which he is charged. 13 Wharton
distinguishes a confession from an admission as follows:
A confession is an acknowledgment i n express terms, by a
party in a criminal case, of his guilt of the crime charged, while
an admission is a statement by the accused, direct or implied,
of facts perti nent to the issue and tending, in connection with
proof of other facts, to prove his guilt. In other words, an
admission is something less than a confession, and is but an
acknowledgment of some fact or circums tance which in its elf
is insufficient to authorize a conviction and which tends only
to establish the ultimate fact of guilt. 14

And under Section 3 of Rule 133, an extrajudicial confession


made by the accus ed is not sufficient for conviction unless
corroborated by evidence of corpus delicti.
The trial court admitted the Sinumpaang Sal aysay of accused
Maqueda although i t was taken without the assistance of
counsel because it was of the opinion that since an
information had already benefited in court agai nst him and he
was arrested pursuant to a warrant of arrest issued by the
court, the Sinumpaang Salaysay was not, therefore, taken
during custodi al investigation. Hence, Section 12(1), Article III
of the Constitution providing as follows:
Sec. 12. (1) Any person under investigation for the
commission of an offense shall have the right to be i nformed
of his ri ght to remain silent and to have competent a nd
independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the
person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be
provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in
writing and in the presence of counsel.
is not applicable, 15 i.e., the police i nvestigation was " no
longer wi thin the ambit of a custodi al investigation." It heavily
relied on People vs. Ayson 16 where this Court elucidated on
the rights of a person under custodial investi gation and the
rights of an accused after a case is filed in court. The trial court
went on to state:
At the time of the confession, the accused was al ready facing
charges in court. He no longer had the right to remain silent
and to couns el but he had the right to refuse to be a witness
and not to hav e any prejudice whatsoever result to him by
such refusal. And y et, despite his knowing fully well that a case
had al ready been filed in court, he still confessed when he did
not have to do so. 17
The tri al court then held that the admissibility of the
Sinumpaang Salaysay should not be tes ted under the
aforequoted Section 12(1), Article III of the Consti tution, but
on the voluntariness of its execution. Since voluntariness is
pres umed, Maqueda had the burden of proving otherwise,
which he failed to do and, hence, the Si numpaang Sal aysay
was admissible against him.
As to the admissions made by Maqueda to Prosecutor Zarate
and Ray D ean Salvosa, the tri al court admitted thei r testimony
thereon only to prove the tenor of thei r conversation but not
to prove the truth of the admission because s uch testimony
was objected to as hearsay. It said:
In any case, it is settled that when testimony is presented to
establish not the truth but the tenor of the statement or the
fact that such statement was made, it is not hearsay (People
vs. Fule, G.R. No. 83027, February 28, 1992, 206 SCRA 652). 18
While we commend the efforts of the trial court to distinguish
between the rights of a person under Section 12(1), Article III
of the Consti tution and his rights after a criminal compl aint or
information had been filed agai nst him, we cannot agree with
its sweepi ng view that after such filing an accused "no longer
Has] the right to remai n silent End to counsel but he [has] the
right to refuge to be a witness and not to have any prejudice

whatsoever result to him by such refusal." If this were so, then


there would be a hiatus in the criminal justice process where
an accus ed is deprived of his constitutional ri ghts to remain
silent and to counsel and to be informed of such rights. Such a
view would not only give a very restrictive application to
Section 12(1); it would also diminish the said accused's rights
under Section 14(2) Article III of the Constitution,
The exercise of the rights to remain silent and to counsel and
to be informed thereof under Section 12(1), Article III of the
Constitution are not confined to that period prior to the filing
of a criminal complaint or information but are available at that
stage when a person is "under i nvestigation for the
commission of an offense." The direct and primary source of
this Section 12(1) is the s econd paragraph of Section 20,
Article II of the 1973 Constitution which reads:
Any person under investi gation for the commission of an
offense shall hav e the right to remain silent and to counsel,
and to be informed of such right . . .
The firs t sentence to which it immediately follows refers to
the right against self-incrimination reading:
No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.
which is now Section 17, Article III of the 1987 Constitution.
The incorporation of the second paragraph of Section 20 in the
Bill of Rights of the 1973 constitution was an acceptance of the
landmark doctrine laid down by the uni ted States Supreme
Court in Miranda vs. Arizona. 19 In that case, the Court
explicitly stated that the holding therein "is not an innovation
in our jurisprudence, but is an application of principles long
recognized and applied in other s ettings." It went on to s tate
its ruling:
Our holdi ng will be spelled out with some specificity in the
pages which follow but briefly stated, it is this: the prosecution
may not us e statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory,
stemming from custodial interrogation of the defendant
unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards
effective to s ecure the privilege against s elf-incrimination. By
custodial interrogation, we mean questioning initi ated by law
enforcement officers after a person has been taken i nto
custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any
significant way. As for the procedural safeguards to be
employed, unl ess other fully effective means are devised to
inform accused persons of their right of silence and to assure a
continuous opportuni ty to exercise it, the following measures
are requi red. Prior to any questioning the person must be
warned that he has a right to remai n silent, that any statement
he does make may be used as evidence against him, and that
he has a ri ght to the presence of an attorney, either retained or
appoi nted. The defendant may waive effectua tion of these
rights, provided the waiver is made voluntarily, knowingly
and i ntelligently. If, however, he indicates in any manner and
at any s tage of the process that he wishes to cons ult wi th an
attorney before speaking there can be no ques tioning.
Likewise, if the individual is alone and indicates in any manner
that he does not wish to be interrogated, the police may not
question him. The mere fact that he may have answered some
question or volunteered some statements on his own does not

deprive him of the ri ght to refrain from answering any further


inquiries until he has consul ted with an attorney and
thereafter consents to a questioned. 20
It may be pointed out though that as formulated in the second
paragraph of the aforementioned Section 20, the word
custudial, which was us ed in Miranda wi th reference to the
investigation, was excluded. In view thereof, in Galman vs.
Pamaran, 21 this Court aptly observed:
The fact that the framers of our Cons titution did not choose to
use the term "custodi al" by having it inserted between the
words "under" and "i nvestigation," as in fact the sentence
opens wi th the phrase "any person" goes to prove that they
did not adopt in toto the entire fabric of the Miranda doctrine.
Clearly then, the s econd paragraph of Section 20 has even
broadened the application of Miranda by making it applicable
to the investi gation for the commission of an offense of a
person and in custody. 22 Accordingly, as so formulated, the
second paragraph of Section 20 changed the rule adopted in
People vs. Jose 23 that the rights of the accused only begin
upon arraignment, Applying the second paragraph of Section
20, this Court laid down this rule in Morales vs, Enrile: 24
7.
At the time a person is arrested, it shall be the duty
of the arresting officer to inform him of the reason for the
arrest and he must be shown the warrant of arrest, if any. He
shall be informed of his consti tutional rights to remain silent
and to counsel, and that any statement he might make could
be used agai nst him. The person arrested shall have the right
to communicate with his lawyer, a relative, or anyone he
chooses by the mos t expedient means by tel ephone if
possible or by letter or messenger. It shall be the
responsibility of the arres ting officer to see to it that this is
accomplished. No custodial investigation shall be conducted
unless it be in the presence of couns el engaged by the person
arrested, by any person on his behalf, or appointed by the
court upon petition ei ther of the detainee himself or by
anyone on his behalf. The ri ght to counsel may be waived but
the waiver shall not be valid unl ess made with the assistance
of counsel. Any statement obtai ned in violation of the
procedure herein laid down, whether exculpatory or
inculpatory, in whole or in part, shall be inadmissible in
evidence.
Note that the firs t sentence requires the arres ting officer to
inform the person to be arres ted of the reason for the arrest
and show him "the warrant of arres t, if any." The underscored
phrase simply means that a case had been filed agai nst him in
a court of either preliminary or original jurisdiction and that
the court had issued the corresponding warrant of arres t.
From the foregoing, it is clear that the ri ght to remain silent
and to counsel and to be informed thereof under the second
paragraph of Section 20 are available to a person at any time
before arraignment whenev er he is investigated for the
commission of an offense. This paragraph was incorporated
into Section 12(1), Article III of the present Constitution with
the following additional safeguards: (a) the counsel must be
competent and independent, preferably of his own choice, (b)
if the party cannot afford the services of s uch counsel, he must

be provided wi th one, and (c) the rights therein cannot be


waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.
Then, too, the right to be heard would be a farce if it did not
include the right to counsel. 25 Thus, Section 12(2), Article III
of the present Cons titution provides that in all criminal
prosecutions the accus ed shall enjoy the right to be heard by
himself and counsel." In People vs. Holgado, 26 this Court
emphatically declared:
One of the great principles of justice guaranteed by our
Constitution is that "no person shall be-held to answer for a
criminal offense wi thout due process of law", and that all
accused "shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and
counsel." In criminal cases there can be no fair heari ng unless
the accused be given an opportunity to be heard by counsel.
The right to be heard would be of little avail if it does not
include the right to be heard by couns el. Even the most
intelligent or educated man may have no skill in the science of
the law, particularly in the rules of procedure, and, without
counsel, he may be convicted not because he is guilty but
because he does not know how to establish his innocence. And
this can happen more easily to persons who are ignorant or
uneducated. It is for this reason that the ri ght to be assisted by
counsel is deemed so important that it has become a
constitutional right and it is so implemented that under our
rules of procedure it is not enough for the Court to apprise an
accused of his ri ght to have an attorney, it is not enough to ask
him whether he desires the aid of an attorney, but it is
essenti al that the court should assign one de officio for him if
he so desires and he is poor or grant him a reasonable time to
procure an attorney of his own.
It was, therefore, wrong for the trial court to hold that Section
12(1), Article III of the Constitution is strictly limited to
custodial inves tigation and that it does not apply to a person
against whom a criminal complaint or i nformation has already
been filed becaus e after i ts filing he loses his right to remain
silent and to counsel. If we follow the theory of the trial court,
then police authorities and other law enforcement agenci es
would have a heyday in extracting confessions or admissions
from accused persons after they had been arrested but before
they are arrai gned because at such stage th e accus ed persons
are supposedly not entitl ed to the enjoyment of the ri ghts to
remain silent and to counsel.
Once a criminal complaint or information is filed in court and
the accus ed is thereafter arrested by virtue of a warrant of
arrest, he mus t be delivered to the neares t police station or jail
and the arresting officer mus t make a return of the warrant to
the issuing judge, 27 and since the court has already acquired
jurisdiction over his person, it would be improper for any
public officer Or law enforcement agency to investi gate him in
connection with the commission of the offens e for which he is
charged. If, nevertheless, he is subjected to such' inv estigation,
then Section 12(1), Article III of the Constitution and the
jurisprudence thereon must be faithfully complied with.
The Sinumpaang Salaysay of Maqueda taken by SP02 Molleno
after the former's arrest was taken in pal pable violation of his
rights under Section 12(1), Article III of the Constitution. As
disclosed by a readi ng thereof, Maqueda was not even told of

any of his constitutional rights under the said section. The


statement was also taken in the absence of counsel. Such
uncounselled Sinumpaang Salaysay is wholly inadmissible
pursuant to paragraph 3, Section 12, Article III of the
Constitution which reads:
(3)
Any confession or admission obtained in violation of
this or Section 17 hereof shall be inadmissible in evidence
against him.

(1)
He and a companion were seen a kilometer away
from the Barker hous e an hour after the crime in question was
committed there;
(2)
Rene Salvamante, who is still at large, was positively
identified by Mrs. Barker, Norie Dacara, and Julieta Villanueva
as one of two persons who committed the crime;
(3)

He and co-accused Rene Salvamante are friends;

However, the extrajudicial admissions of Maqueda to


Prosecutor Zarate and to Ray Dean Salvosa stand on a
different footing. These are not governed by the exclusionary
rules under the Bill of Rights.. Maqueda voluntarily and freely
made them to Pros ecutor Zarate not in the cours e of an
investigation, but i n connection with Maqueda's plea to be
utilized as a state witness; and as to the other admission, it
was given to a private person. The provisions of the Bill of
Rights are primarily limitations on government, declaring the
rights that exist wi thout gov ernmental grant, that may not be
taken away by government and that gov ernment has the duty
to protect; 28 or res triction on the power of gov ernment
found "not in the particular specific types of action prohibi ted,
but i n the general pri nciple that keeps alive in the public mind
the doctrine that gov ernmental pow er is not unlimited. 29
They are the fundamental safeguards against aggressions of
arbi trary power, 30 or state tyranny and abuse of authority. In
laying down the pri nciples of the government and
fundamental liberties of the people, the Cons titution did not
govern the relationships between individuals. 31

(4)
He and Rene Salvamante were together in
Guinyangan, Quezon, and both left the place sometime in
September 1991;

Accordingly, Maqueda's admissions to Ray Dean Salvosa, a


private party, are admissible in evidence agai nst the former
Under Section 26, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. In Aballe vs;
People, 32 this Court held that the declaration of an accused
expressly acknowledging his guilt of the offense may be given
in evidence against him and any person, otherwise competent
to testify as a witness, who heard the confession, is competent
to testify as to the substance of what he heard if he heard and
understood it. The said wi tness need not repeat verbatim the
oral confession; it suffices if he gives its substance. By analogy,
that rule applies to oral extrajudicial admissions.

Or, as jurisprudentially formulated, a judgment of conviction


based on circumstantial evidence can be upheld only if the
circumstances proved constitute an unbroken chain which
leads to one fai r and reasonable conclusion which points to
the accus ed, to the exclusion of all others, as the guilty person,
i.e. the circumstances prov ed must be consistent with each
other, consistent with the hypothesis that the accus ed is
guilty, and at the same time inconsistent with any other
hypothesis except that of guilty. 33 We do not hesitate to rule
that all the requisites of Section 2, Rule 133 of the Rules of
Court are present in this case.

To be added to M aqueda's extrajudicial a dmission is his


Urgent Motion for Bail wherein he explicitly .stated that "he is
willing and volunteering to be a state wi tness in the above
enti tled case, i t appearing that he is the l east guilty among the
accused in this case."

This conclusion having been reached, the defense of alibi put


up by the appellant must fail. The trial court correctly rejected
such defense. The rule is s ettled that for the defens e of alibi to
prosper, the requirements of time and place must be strictly
met. It is not enough to prove that the accused was
somewhere else when the crime was committed, he must
demonstrate that it was physically impossible for him to have
been at the scene of the crime at the time of i ts commission. 34
Through the unrebutted testimony of Mike Tay aban, which
Maqueda does not controv ert in his brief, it was positively
established that Maqueda and a companion were seen at 7:00
a.m. of 27 August 1991 at the wai ting shed in Aguy ad, Tuba,
Benguet, a place barely a kilometer away from the house of
the Barkers. It was not then impossible for Maqueda and his
companion to have been at the Barker hous e at the time the
crime was committed. Moreover, Fredisminda Castrence
categorically declared that Maqueda started working in her
polvoron factory in Sukat only on 7 October 1991, thereby

In the light of his admissions to Prosecutor Zarate and Ray


Dean Salvosa and his willingness to be a s tate witness,
Maqueda's participation in the commission of the crime
charged was es tablished beyond moral certainty. His defense
of alibi was futile because by his own admission he was not
only at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission, he
also admitted his participation therein. Even if we disregard
his extrajudicial admissions to Prosecutor Zarate and Salvosa,
his guilt was, as correctly ruled by the tri al court, established
beyond doubt by circums tantial evidence. The following
circumstances were duly proved in this case:

(5)
He was arrested i n Gui nyangan, Quezon, on 4 March
1992; and
(6)
He freely and voluntarily offered to be a state
witness stating that "he is the least guilty."
Section 4, Rul e 133 of the Rules of Court provides that
circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction if:
(a)

There is more than one circumstance;

(b)
The facts from which the inferences are derived are
proven; and
(c)
the combination of all the circumstances is such as
to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.

belying his, tes timony that he started working on 5 July 1991


and continuously until 27 August 1991.

20

Id. at 445.

WHEREFORE, in of the foregoing, the instant appeal is


DISMISSED and the appealed decision Of Branch 10 of the
Regional Trial Court Of Benguet in Criminal Case, No.91-CR1206 is AFFIRMED in toto.

21

138 SCRA 294, 319-320 [1985].

Costs against accused-appellant HECTOR MAQUEDA @


PUTOL.

23

SO ORDERED,
Padilla, Davide, Jr., Bellosillo, Quiason and Kapunan, JJ., concur.

22
See 1 JOAQUIN G. BERNAS, The Constitution of the
Republic of the Philippines 344 (Ist ed. 1987).
37 SCRA 450 [1971].

24
121 SCRA 538, 554 [1983]. see also People vs.
Penillos, 205 SCRA 546 [1992]; People vs. De Jesus, 213 SCRA
345 [1992] ; People vs. Tujon, 215 SCRA 559 [1992]; People vs.
Besey, 219 SCRA 404 [1993].
25

BERNAS, supra note 23, at 380.

Footnotes

26

85 Phil. 752, 756-757 [1950].

1 Original Records (OR), 1.

27

Sections 3 and 4, Rule 113, Rules of Court.

2 Id., 37.

28

Quinn vs. Buchanan, 298 SW 2d 413, 417 [1957].

3 Id., 49.

29

Bustamante vs. Maceren, 48 SCRA 155, 167 C19723.

4 Exhibi t "HH"; Id., 62 M aqueda signed it together with his


sister, Myrna M. Catinding, and her husband.

30
16 An Jur 2d 206, quoting D unbauld in The Bill of
Rights, 140 [19573]

5 Id., 86.

31

People vs. Martin, 193 SCRA 57 [1991].

6 OR, 94.

32

183 SCRA 196 [19903]

7 Id., 922-949; Rollo. 48-75. Per Judge Romeo A. Brawner.

33
People vs. Tiozon, 198 SCRA 368 [1991] People vs.
Dela Cruz, 229 SCRA 754 [1994].

8 RTC Decision, 3-12, 14-15; OR, 924-933, 935-936; Rollo, 5960, 61-62.
9 OR, 933-934; Rollo, 59-60.
10

RTC Decision, 14-15; OR, 935-936.

11

OR, 946-947; Rollo, 72-73.

12

Rollo, 87

13

U.S. vs. Corrales, 2s Phil. 362 C19141.

14
2 Wharton's criminal Evidence B 337 (12th ed.,
1955). See also 2 Underhill's Criminal Evidence 385 (5th ed.,
1956); Yigmore on Evidence S 821 (3rd ed., 1940); People vs.
Agus tin, G.R. No. 110290, 25 January 1995; and People vs.
Lorenzo, G.R. No. 110107, 26 January 1995.
15

OR, 943; Rollo, 69.

16

175 SCRA 216 [1989].

17

OR, 945; Rollo, 71.

18

Id., 939; Id., 65.

19

384 U.S. 436 [966].

34
People vs. Penillos, 205 SCRA 546 [1992]; People vs.
Dela Cruz, 207 SCRA 632 [1992]; People vs. Casinillo, 213
SCRA 777 [1992]; People vs. Florida, 214 SCRA 227 [1992].