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1 (1968) Stop and Frisk STATEMENT OF THE CASE: The D contended that the weapon seized from his person and introduced into evidence was obtained through an illegal search, under the Fourth Amendment, and that the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress. PROCEDURE BELOW: Petitioner sought review of a judgment from the Supreme Court of Ohio that affirmed petitioner's lower court conviction for carrying a concealed weapon. STATEMENT OF THE FACTS: The Petitioner, John W. Terry (the “Petitioner”), was stopped and searched by an officer after the officer observed the Petitioner seemingly casing a store for a potential robbery. The officer approached the Petitioner for questioning and decided to search him first. The officer noticed the Petitioner talking with another individual on a street corner while repeatedly walking up and down the same street. The men would periodically peer into a store window and then talk some more. The men also spoke to a third man whom they eventually followed up the street. The officer believed that the Petitioner and the other men were “casing” a store for a potential robbery. The officer decided to approach the men for questioning, and given the nature of the behavior the officer decided to perform a quick search of the men before questioning. A quick frisking of the Petitioner produced a concealed weapon and the Petitioner was charged with carrying a concealed weapon. An officer observed two men standing on a street corner. One would walk up to a store window, look inside, and return to confer with his companion. This process was repeated about a dozen times. The suspects talked with a third man, then followed him up the street. Thinking the suspects were "casing" the store, the officer confronted the three men and asked their names. The men mumbled a response, at which time the officer spun one of the men, Terry (D), around and patted his breast. He found and removed a pistol. D was charged with carrying a concealed weapon. D moved to suppress this weapon from evidence. The trial judge denied his motion. The Ohio court of appeals affirmed, and the state supreme court dismissed D's appeal. LEGAL ISSUE: Is it always unreasonable for a policeman to seize a person and subject him to a limited search for weapons when there is no probable cause for arrest? HOLDING: An officer is justified in conducting a carefully limited search of persons whom he reasonably suspects to be dangerous in order to discover any weapons which might be used to assault him or other nearby, even in the absence of probable cause for arrest and any weapons seized may be introduced in evidence. REASONING: (Warren, C.J.) No. An officer is justified in conducting a carefully limited search of persons whom he reasonably suspects to be dangerous in order to discover any weapons which might be used to assault him or other nearby, even in the absence of probable cause for arrest. The exclusionary rule has limitations as a tool of judicial control. In some contexts, the
rule will not be effective as a deterrent, and will potentially exact a high toll in human injury. The government's interest in preventing harm must be balanced against the invasion into a person's privacy. The policeman should use an objective test, and be able to point to specific and articulable facts which reasonably justify the intrusion. Standard would the facts available to the officer at the moment of the seizure or the search Warrant a man of reasonable caution in the belief that the action taken was appropriate? Anything less would invite intrusions upon constitutionally protected rights! . The Court went on to say that, effective crime prevention and detection is a governmental interest in appropriate circumstances for purposes of investigating possible criminal behavior even though there is no probable cause to make an arrest. It would be unreasonable to require that the policeman take unnecessary risks. He has a need to protect himself and others in situations where he lacks probable cause for arrest. In this case, nothing in the conduct of D and his friends dispelled the officer's reasonable fear that they were armed. Affirmed, for P.** stop & frisk defined in this case as the vernacular designation of a right of a police officer to stop a citizen on the street, interrogate him and pat him for weapons whenever he observes unusual conduct which leads him to conclude that criminal activity may be afoot. Police may stop a person if they have a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed or is about to commit a crime, and may frisk the suspect for weapons if they have reasonable suspicion that the suspect is armed and dangerous, without violating the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. Supreme Court of Ohio affirmed. These principles led the Court to conclude that the evidence found on Terry's person was properly admitted because the search was reasonable. The detective had observed Terry and his companions acting in a manner he took to be a preface to a stick-up. A reasonable person in the detective's position would have thought that Terry was armed and thus presented a threat to his safety while he was investigating the suspicious behavior he was observing. The events he had witnessed made it reasonable for him to believe that either Terry or his cohorts were armed. "The record evidences the tempered act of a policeman who in the course of an investigation had to make a quick decision as to how to protect himself and others from possible danger, and took limited steps to do so." The police detective here limited his search to the outer surfaces of Terry's clothing. Thus, the search was reasonably related in scope to the concern for his own safety that justified the stop from the beginning. Accordingly, the Court concluded that the revolver found on Terry's person was properly admitted into evidence. The technique of stopping and frisking suspects who peace officers believes might be potentially dangerous is within Constitutional boundaries, and does not violate any portion of the Fourth Amendment. Probable cause is established through the actions of the suspects, and is deemed worthy of a search if there is reasonable suspicion that they are a threat to the personal safety of the officers.
Terry vs. Ohio [392 US 1, 10 June 1968] Warren (J) Facts: Martin McFadden, a Cleveland police detective, on a downtown beat which he had been patrolling for many years, observed two strangers (Terry and Richard Chilton) on a street corner. He saw them proceed alternately back and forth along an identical route, strolling down Huron Road, pausing to stare in the same store window, which they did for a total of about 24 times. Each completion of the route was followed by a conference between the two on a corner, at one of which they were joined by a third man (Katz) who left swiftly. Suspecting the two men of “casing a job, a stick-up,” the officer followed them and saw them rejoin the third man a couple of blocks away in front of a store. The officer approached the three, identified himself as a policeman, and asked their names. The men “mumbled something,” whereupon McFadden spun Terry around, patted down his outside clothing, and found in his overcoat pocket, but was unable to remove, a pistol. The officer ordered the three into the store. He removed Terry’s overcoat, took out a revolver, and ordered the three to face the wall with their hands raised. He patted down the outer clothing of Chilton and Katz and seized a revolver from Chilton’s outside overcoat pocket. He did not put his hands under the outer garments of Katz (since he discovered nothing in his pat-down which might have been a weapon), or under Terry’s or Chilton’s outer garments until he felt the guns. The three were taken to the police station. Terry and Chilton were charged with carrying concealed weapons. The defense moved to suppress the weapons. Though the trial court rejected the prosecution theory that the guns had been seized during a search incident to a lawful arrest, the court denied the motion to suppress and admitted the weapons into evidence on the ground that the officer had cause to believe that Terry and Chilton were acting suspiciously, that their interrogation was warranted, and that the officer for his own protection had the right to pat down their outer clothing having reasonable cause to believe that they might be armed. The court distinguished between an investigatory “stop” and an arrest, and between a “frisk” of the outer clothing for weapons and a full-blown search for evidence of crime. Terry and Chilton were found guilty, an intermediate appellate court affirmed, and the State Supreme Court dismissed the appeal on the ground that “no substantial constitutional question” was involved. Issue: Whether it is always unreasonable for a policeman to seize a person and subject him to a limited search for weapons unless there is probable cause for an arrest. Held: The Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures, made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth Amendment, “protects people, not places,” and therefore applies as much to the citizen on the streets as well as at home or elsewhere. The issue in this case is not the abstract propriety of the police conduct but the admissibility against petitioner of the evidence uncovered by the search and seizure. The exclusionary rule cannot properly be invoked to exclude the products of legitimate and restrained police investigative techniques; and this Court’s approval of such techniques should not discourage remedies other than the exclusionary rule to curtail police abuses for which that is not an effective sanction. The Fourth Amendment applies to “stop and frisk” procedures such as those followed here. Whenever a police officer accosts an individual and restrains his freedom to walk away, he has “seized” that person within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. A careful exploration of the outer surfaces of a person’s clothing in an attempt to find weapons is a “search” under that Amendment. Where a reasonably prudent officer is warranted in the circumstances of a given case in believing that his safety or that of others is endangered, he may make a reasonable
search for weapons of the person believed by him to be armed and dangerous regardless of whether he has probable cause to arrest that individual for crime or the absolute certainty that the individual is armed. Though the police must whenever practicable secure a warrant to make a search and seizure, that procedure cannot be followed where swift action based upon on-the-spot observations of the officer on the beat is required. The reasonableness of any particular search and seizure must be assessed in light of the particular circumstances against the standard of whether a man of reasonable caution is warranted in believing that the action taken was appropriate. The officer here was performing a legitimate function of investigating suspicious conduct when he decided to approach Terry and his companions. An officer justified in believing that an individual whose suspicious behavior he is investigating at close range is armed may, to neutralize the threat of physical harm, take necessary measures to determine whether that person is carrying a weapon. A search for weapons in the absence of probable cause to arrest must be strictly circumscribed by the exigencies of the situation. An officer may make an intrusion short of arrest where he has reasonable apprehension of danger before being possessed of information justifying arrest. The officer’s protective seizure of Terry and his companions and the limited search which he made were reasonable, both at their inception and as conducted. The actions of Terry and his companions were consistent with the officer’s hypothesis that they were contemplating a daylight robbery and were armed. The officer’s search was confined to what was minimally necessary to determine whether the men were armed, and the intrusion, which was made for the sole purpose of protecting himself and others nearby, was confined to ascertaining the presence of weapons. Herein, Officer McFadden patted down the outer clothing of Terry and his two companions. He did not place his hands in their pockets or under the outer surface of their garments until he had felt weapons, and then he merely reached for and removed the guns. He did not conduct a general exploratory search for whatever evidence of criminal activity he might find. Thus, the revolver seized from Terry was properly admitted in evidence against him. At the time McFadden seized Terry and searched him for weapons, Officer McFadden had reasonable grounds to believe that Terry was armed and dangerous, and it was necessary for the protection of himself and others to take swift measures to discover the true facts and neutralize the threat of harm if it materialized. The policeman carefully restricted his search to what was appropriate to the discovery of the particular items which he sought. Each case of this sort will, of course, have to be decided on its own facts. Where a police officer observes unusual conduct which leads him reasonably to conclude in light of his experience that criminal activity may be afoot and that the persons with whom he is dealing may be armed and presently dangerous, where in the course of investigating this behavior he identifies himself as a policeman and makes reasonable inquiries, and where nothing in the initial stages of the encounter serves to dispel his reasonable fear for his own or others’ safety, he is entitled for the protection of himself and others in the area to conduct a carefully limited search of the outer clothing of such persons in an attempt to discover weapons which might be used to assault him. Such a search is a reasonable search under the Fourth Amendment, and any weapons seized may properly be introduced in evidence against the person from whom they were taken.
POSADAS VS CA Facts: Members of the Integrated National Police (INP) of the Davao Metrodiscom assigned with the Intelligence Task Force, Pat. Ursicio Ungab and Pat. Umbra Umpar conducted surveillance along Magallanes Street, Davao City. While in the vicinity of Rizal MemorialColleges they spotted petitioner carrying a "buri" bag and they noticed him to be acting suspiciously. They approached the petitioner and identified themselves as members of the INP. Petitioner attempted to flee but his attempt to get away was unsuccessful. They then checked the "buri" bag of the petitioner where they found one (1) caliber .38 Smith & Wesson revolver with Serial No. 770196, two (2) rounds of live ammunition for a .38 caliber gun, a smoke (tear gas) grenade, and two (2) live ammunitions for a .22 caliber gun. They brought the petitioner to the police station for further investigation. In the course of the same, the petitioner was asked to show the necessary license or authority to possess firearms and ammunitions found in his possession but he failed to do so. He was then taken to the Davao Metrodiscom office and the prohibited 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 Davao City.
In Posadas vs. Court of Appeals, the Court held that there were many instances where a search and seizure could be effected without necessarily being preceded by an arrest, one of which was stop-and-frisk. To require the police officers to search the bag only after they had obtained a search warrant might prove to be useless, futile and much too late under the circumstances. In such a situation, it was reasonable for a police officer to stop a suspicious individual briefly in order to determine his identity or to maintain the status quo while obtaining more information, rather than to simply shrug his shoulders and allow a crime to occur.
F: While the police were conducting surveillance activities within the premises of the Rizal Memorial Colleges they spotted the accused carrying a buri bag and noticed him acting suspiciously. They approached the accused and identified themselves as members of the INP. Accused attempted to flee but his attempt to get away was thwarted. The officers then checked the buri bag and found one revolver and two rounds of live ammo, a smoke (tear gas) grenade. They brought the accused to the police station for further investigation. In the course of the same, the accused was asked to show the necessary license or authority to possess firearms and ammunition found in his possession but failed to do so. He was prosecuted for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. R:It cannot be justified as a search incidental to a valid arrest because the arrest is not an in flagrante arrest. However, the Supreme Court justified it under the stop and search principle. “It is too much indeed to require the police officers to search the bag in the possession of Posadas 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.” People v. Solayao [GR 119220, 20 September 1996] Second Division, Romero (J): 4 concur Facts: On 9 June 1992, CAFGU members, headed by SPO3 Nino, were conducting an intelligence patrol to verify reports on the presence of armed persons roaming around the barangays of Caibiran. In Baragay Onion, they met the 5-man group of accused Nilo Solayao, who was also wearing a camouflage uniform. His companions, upon seeing the government agents, fled. SPO3 Niño told Salayao not to run away and introduced himself as “PC,” after which he seized the dried coconut leaves which the latter was carrying and found wrapped in it a 49-inch long homemade firearm locally known as “latong.” When he asked Salayao who issued him a license to carry said firearm or whether he was connected with the military or any intelligence group, the latter answered that he had no permission to possess the same. Thereupon, SPO3 Niño confiscated the firearm and turned him over to the custody of the policemen of Caibiran who subsequently investigated him and charged him with illegal possession of firearm. Salayao did not contest the confiscation of the shotgun but averred that this was only given to him by one of his companions, Hermogenes Cenining, when it was still wrapped in coconut leaves, which they were using the coconut leaves as a torch. Salayao’s
Issue: Whether or Not the warantless search is valid.
Held: 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. in the case at bar, there is no question that, indeed, it is reasonable considering that it was effected on the basis of a probable cause. The probable cause is that when the petitioner acted suspiciously and attempted to flee with the buri bag there was a probable cause 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 in the possession of the petitioner 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. Clearly, the search in the case at bar can be sustained under the exceptions heretofore discussed, and hence, the constitutional guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures has not been violated.
claim was corroborated by one Pedro Balano. On 15 August 1994, the RTC of Naval Biliran (Branch 16) found Salayao guilty of illegal possession of firearm under Section 1 of PD 1866 and imposed upon him the penalty of imprisonment ranging from reclusion temporal maximum to reclusion perpetua. The trial court, having found no mitigating but one aggravating circumstance of nighttime, sentenced accused-appellant to suffer the prison term of reclusion perpetua with the accessory penalties provided by law. Salayao appealed to the Supreme Court. Issue: Whether the search upon Solayao, yielding the firearm wrapped in coconut leaves, is valid. Held: Nilo Solayao and his companions’ drunken actuations aroused the suspicion of SPO3 Niño’s group, as well as the fact that he himself was attired in a camouflage uniform or a jungle suit and that upon espying the peace officers, his companions fled. It should be noted that the peace officers were precisely on an intelligence mission to verify reports that armed persons were roaming around the barangays of Caibiran. The circumstances are similar to those obtaining in Posadas v. Court of Appeals where this Court held that “at the time the peace officers identified themselves 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 firearm and ammunitions. They just suspected that he was hiding something in the buri bag. They did not know what its contents were. The said circumstances did not justify an arrest without a warrant.” As with Posadas, the case herein constitutes an instance where a search and seizure may be effected without first making an arrest. There was justifiable cause to “stop and frisk” Solayao when his companions fled upon seeing the government agents. Under the circumstances, the government agents could not possibly have procured a search warrant first. Thus, there was no violation of the constitutional guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures. Nor was there error on the part of the trial court when it admitted the homemade firearm as evidence. SC found justifiable reason to apply the “stop & frisk” rule, because the drunken actuations of the accused & his companions, and because the fact that his companions fled when they saw the policemen, and finally because the peace officers were precisely on an intelligence mission to verify the reports that armed persons were roaming the vicinity. But the rule was not applied in Malacat
Malacat vs. Court of Appeals [GR 123595, 12 December 1997] Facts: On 27 August 1990, at about 6:30 p.m., allegedly in response to bomb threats reported seven days earlier, Rodolfo Yu of the Western Police District, Metropolitan Police Force of the Integrated National Police, Police Station No. 3, Quiapo, Manila, was on foot patrol with three other police officers (all of them in uniform) along Quezon Boulevard, Quiapo, Manila, near the Mercury Drug store at Plaza Miranda. They chanced upon two groups of Muslim-looking men, with each group, comprised of three to four men, posted at opposite sides of the corner of Quezon Boulevard near the Mercury Drug Store. These men were acting suspiciously with “their eyes moving very fast.” Yu and his companions positioned themselves at strategic points and observed both groups for about 30 minutes. The police officers then approached one group of men, who then fled in different directions. As the policemen gave chase, Yu caught up with and apprehended Sammy Malacat y Mandar (who Yu recognized, inasmuch as allegedly the previous Saturday, 25 August 1990, likewise at Plaza Miranda, Yu saw Malacat and 2 others attempt to detonate a grenade). Upon searching Malacat, Yu found a fragmentation grenade tucked inside the latter’s “front waist line.” Yu’s companion, police officer Rogelio Malibiran, apprehended Abdul Casan from whom a .38 caliber revolver was recovered. Malacat and Casan were then brought to Police Station 3 where Yu placed an “X” mark at the bottom of the grenade and thereafter gave it to his commander. Yu did not issue any receipt for the grenade he allegedly recovered from Malacat. On 30 August 1990, Malacat was charged with violating Section 3 of Presidential Decree 1866. At arraignment on 9 October 1990, petitioner, assisted by counsel de officio, entered a plea of not guilty. Malacat denied the charges and explained that he only recently arrived in Manila. However, several other police officers mauled him, hitting him with benches and guns. Petitioner was once again searched, but nothing was found on him. He saw the grenade only in court when it was presented. In its decision dated 10 February 1994 but promulgated on 15 February 1994, the trial court ruled that the warrantless search and seizure of Malacat was akin to a “stop and frisk,” where a “warrant and seizure can be effected without necessarily being preceded by an arrest” and “whose object is either to maintain the status quo momentarily while the police officer seeks to obtain more information”; and that the seizure of the grenade from Malacat was incidental to a lawful arrest. The trial court thus found Malacat guilty of the crime of illegal possession of explosives under Section 3 of PD 1866, and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of not less than 17 years, 4 months and 1 day of Reclusion Temporal, as minimum, and not more than 30 years of Reclusion Perpetua, as maximum. On 18 February 1994, Malacat filed a notice of appeal indicating that he was appealing to the Supreme Court. However, the record of the case was forwarded to the Court of Appeals (CA-GR CR 15988). In its decision of 24 January 1996, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court. Manalili filed a petition for review with the Supreme Court. Issue: Whether the search made on Malacat is valid, pursuant to the exception of “stop and frisk.” Held: The general rule as regards arrests, searches and seizures is that a warrant is needed in order to validly effect the same. The Constitutional prohibition against unreasonable arrests, searches and seizures refers to those effected without a validly issued warrant, subject to certain exceptions. As regards valid warrantless arrests, these are found in Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court. A warrantless arrest under the circumstances contemplated under Section 5(a) has been denominated as one “in flagrante delicto,” while that under Section 5(b)
has been described as a “hot pursuit” arrest. Turning to valid warrantless searches, they are limited to the following: (1) customs searches; (2) search of moving vehicles; (3) seizure of evidence in plain view; (4) consent searches; (5) a search incidental to a lawful arrest; and (6) a “stop and frisk.” The concepts of a “stop-and-frisk” and of a search incidental to a lawful arrest must not be confused. These two types of warrantless searches differ in terms of the requisite quantum of proof before they may be validly effected and in their allowable scope. In a search incidental to a lawful arrest, as the precedent arrest determines the validity of the incidental search. Here, there could have been no valid in flagrante delicto or hot pursuit arrest preceding the search in light of the lack of personal knowledge on the part of Yu, the arresting officer, or an overt physical act, on the part of Malacat, indicating that a crime had just been committed, was being committed or was going to be committed. Plainly, the search conducted on Malacat could not have been one incidental to a lawful arrest. On the other hand, while probable cause is not required to conduct a “stop and frisk,” it nevertheless holds that mere suspicion or a hunch will not validate a “stop and frisk.” A genuine reason must exist, in light of the police officer’s experience and surrounding conditions, to warrant the belief that the person detained has weapons concealed about him. Finally, a “stop-and-frisk” serves a two-fold interest: (1) the general interest of effective crime prevention and detection, which underlies the recognition that a police officer may, under appropriate circumstances and in an appropriate manner, approach a person for purposes of investigating possible criminal behavior even without probable cause; and (2) the more pressing interest of safety and self-preservation which permit the police officer to take steps to assure himself that the person with whom he deals is not armed with a deadly weapon that could unexpectedly and fatally be used against the police officer. Here, there are at least three (3) reasons why the “stop-and-frisk” was invalid: First, there is grave doubts as to Yu’s claim that Malacat was a member of the group which attempted to bomb Plaza Miranda 2 days earlier. This claim is neither supported by any police report or record nor corroborated by any other police officer who allegedly chased that group. Second, there was nothing in Malacat’s behavior or conduct which could have reasonably elicited even mere suspicion other than that his eyes were “moving very fast” — an observation which leaves us incredulous since Yu and his teammates were nowhere near Malacat and it was already 6:30 p.m., thus presumably dusk. Malacat and his companions were merely standing at the corner and were not creating any commotion or trouble. Third, there was at all no ground, probable or otherwise, to believe that Malacat was armed with a deadly weapon. None was visible to Yu, for as he admitted, the alleged grenade was “discovered” “inside the front waistline” of Malacat, and from all indications as to the distance between Yu and Malacat, any telltale bulge, assuming that Malacat was indeed hiding a grenade, could not have been visible to Yu. What is unequivocal then are blatant violations of Malacat’s rights solemnly guaranteed in Sections 2 and 12(1) of Article III of the Constitution. ***contradicts Ppl vs Solayao rule—where the police officers conducting a patrol, on the strength of an information that a Muslim Group would explode a grenade, saw petitioner and companions attempting to explode a grenade but who, upon seeing the policemen, desisted and ran away; then 2 days later, police officers saw petitioner at a street corner, accosted him when his companions ran away, then searched him and found a grenade. In this case, SC said that there was no valid search because there was nothing in the behavior or conduct of the petitioner which could have elicited even mere suspicion other than that his eyes were moving fast. There was no reasonable ground to believe that the petitioner was armed with a deadly weapon. (NACHURA)
Manalili v. CA [GR 113447, 9 October 1997] Third Division, Panganiban (J): 4 concur Facts: At about 2:10 p.m. of 11 April 1988, policemen from the Anti-Narcotics Unit of the Kalookan City Police Station were conducting a surveillance along A. Mabini street, Kalookan City, in front of the Kalookan City Cemetery. The policemen were Pat. Romeo Espiritu and Pat. Anger Lumabas and a driver named Arnold Enriquez was driving a Tamaraw vehicle which was the official car of the Police Station of Kalookan City. The surveillance was being made because of information that drug addicts were roaming the area in front of the Kalookan City Cemetery. Upon reaching the Kalookan City Cemetery, the policemen alighted from their vehicle. They then chanced upon a male person in front of the cemetery who appeared high on drugs. The male person was observed to have reddish eyes and to be walking in a swaying manner. When this male person tried to avoid the policemen, the latter approached him and introduced themselves as police officers. The policemen then asked the male person what he was holding in his hands. The male person tried to resist. Pat. Romeo Espiritu asked the male person if he could see what said male person had in his hands. The latter showed the wallet and allowed Pat. Romeo Espiritu to examine the same. Pat. Espiritu took the wallet and examined it. He found suspected crushed marijuana residue inside. He kept the wallet and its marijuana contents. The male person was then brought to the Anti-Narcotics Unit of the Kalookan City Police Headquarters and was turned over to Cpl. Wilfredo Tamondong for investigation. Pat. Espiritu also turned over to Cpl. Tamondong the confiscated wallet and its suspected marijuana contents. The man turned out to be Alain Manalili y Dizon. On 11 April 1988, Manalili was charged by Assistant Caloocan City Fiscal E. Juan R. Bautista with violation of Section 8, Article II of Republic Act 6425. Upon his arraignment on 21 April 1988, Manalili pleaded “not guilty” to the charge. With the agreement of the public prosecutor, Manalili was released after filing a P10,000.00 bail bond. After trial in due course, the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City, Branch 124, acting as a Special Criminal Court, rendered on 19 May 1989 a decision convicting appellant of illegal possession of marijuana residue. Manalili remained on provisional liberty. Atty. Benjamin Razon, counsel for the defense, filed a Notice of Appeal dated 31 May 1989. On 19 April 1993, the Court of Appeals denied the appeal and affirmed the trial court. The appellate court denied reconsideration via its Resolution dated 20 January 1994. Manalili filed a petition for review on certiorari before the Supreme Court. Issue: Whether a search and seizure could be effected without necessarily being preceded by an arrest. Held: In the landmark case of Terry vs. Ohio, a stop-and-frisk was defined as the vernacular designation of the right of a police officer to stop a citizen on the street, interrogate him, and pat him for weapon(s). In allowing such a search, the interest of effective crime prevention and detection allows a police officer to approach a person, in appropriate circumstances and manner, for purposes of investigating possible criminal behavior even though there is insufficient probable cause to make an actual arrest. What justified the limited search was the more immediate interest of the police officer in taking steps to assure himself that the person with whom he was dealing was not armed with a weapon that could unexpectedly and fatally be used against him. It did not, however, abandon the rule that the police must, whenever practicable, obtain advance judicial approval of searches and seizures through the warrant procedure, excused only by exigent circumstances. In Philippine jurisprudence, the general rule is that a search and seizure must be validated by a previously secured judicial warrant;
otherwise, such search and seizure is unconstitutional and subject to challenge. Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, gives this guarantee. This right, however, is not absolute. The recent case of People vs. Lacerna enumerated five recognized exceptions to the rule against warrantless search and seizure, viz.: “(1) search incidental to a lawful arrest, (2) search of moving vehicles, (3) seizure in plain view, (4) customs search, and (5) waiver by the accused themselves of their right against unreasonable search and seizure.” In People vs. Encinada, the Court further explained that in these cases, the search and seizure may be made only with probable cause as the essential requirement. Stop-and-frisk has already been adopted as another exception to the general rule against a search without a warrant. In Posadas vs. Court of Appeals, the Court held that there were many instances where a search and seizure could be effected without necessarily being preceded by an arrest, one of which was stop-and-frisk. To require the police officers to search the bag only after they had obtained a search warrant might prove to be useless, futile and much too late under the circumstances. In such a situation, it was reasonable for a police officer to stop a suspicious individual briefly in order to determine his identity or to maintain the status quo while obtaining more information, rather than to simply shrug his shoulders and allow a crime to occur. Herein, Patrolman Espiritu and his companions observed during their surveillance that Manalili had red eyes and was wobbling like a drunk along the Caloocan City Cemetery, which according to police information was a popular hangout of drug addicts. From his experience as a member of the Anti-Narcotics Unit of the Caloocan City Police, such suspicious behavior was characteristic of drug addicts who were “high.” The policemen therefore had sufficient reason to stop Manalili to investigate if he was actually high on drugs. During such investigation, they found marijuana in his possession. The search was valid, being akin to a stop-and-frisk. In this case, the SC upheld the validity of the search as akin to “stop-and-frisk” the policeman chanced upon the accused who had reddish eyes, walking in a swaying manner, and who appeared to be high on drugs; thus, the search. Was the search qualified as a stop and frisk measure therefore justified as a valid warrantless arrest and search? Yes. The search is valid being conducted through a stop and frisk method. Stop-and-frisk was defined as the vernacular designation of the right of a police officer to stop a citizen on the street, interrogate him, and pat him for weapon. This method allows police officer to approach a person, in appropriate circumstances and manner, for purposes of investigating possible criminal behavior even though there is insufficient probable cause to make an actual arrest. In the case at hand, Patrolman Espiritu and his companions observed during their surveillance that appellant had red eyes and was wobbling like a drunk along the Caloocan City Cemetery, which according to police information was a popular hangout of drug addicts. From his experience as a member of the Anti-Narcotics Unit of the Caloocan City Police, such suspicious behavior was characteristic of drug addicts who were "high." The policemen therefore had sufficient reason to stop petitioner to investigate if he was actually high on drugs. During such investigation, they found marijuana in petitioner's possession.
PEOPLE VS. SY CHUA [396 SCRA 657; G.R. No.136066-67; 4 Feb 2003] Facts: Accused-appellant Binad Sy Chua was charged with violation of Section 16, Article III of R.A. 6425, as amended by R.A. 7659, and for Illegal Possession of Ammunitions and Illegal Possession of Drugs in two separate Informations. SPO2 Nulud and PO2 Nunag received a report from their confidential informant that accusedappellant was about to deliver drugs that night at the Thunder Inn Hotel in Balibago, Angeles City. So, the PNP Chief formed a team of operatives. The group positioned themselves across McArthur Highway near Bali Hai Restaurant, fronting the hotel. The other group acted as their back up. Afterwards, their informer pointed to a car driven by accused-appellant which just arrived and parked near the entrance of the hotel. After accused-appellant alighted from the car carrying a sealed Zest-O juice box, SPO2 Nulud and PO2 Nunag hurriedly accosted him and introduced themselves as police officers. As accused-appellant pulled out his wallet, a small transparent plastic bag with a crystalline substance protruded from his right back pocket. Forthwith, SPO2 Nulud subjected him to a body search which yielded twenty (20) pieces of live .22 caliber firearm bullets from his left back pocket. When SPO2 Nunag peeked into the contents of the Zest-O box, he saw that it contained a crystalline substance. SPO2 Nulud instantly confiscated the small transparent plastic bag, the Zest-O juice box, the twenty (20) pieces of .22 caliber firearm bullets and the car used by accused-appellant. SPO2 Nulud and the other police operatives who arrived at the scene brought the confiscated items to the office of Col. Guttierez at the PNP Headquarters in Camp Pepito, Angeles City. Accused-appellant vehemently denied the accusation against him and narrated a different version of the incident. Accused-appellant alleged that he was driving the car of his wife to follow her and his son to Manila. He felt sleepy, so he decided to take the old route along McArthur Highway. He stopped in front of a small store near Thunder Inn Hotel to buy cigarettes and candies. While at the store, he noticed a man approaches and examines the inside of his car. When he called the attention of the onlooker, the man immediately pulled out a .45 caliber gun and made him face his car with raised hands. The man later on identified himself as a policeman. During the course of the arrest, the policeman took out his wallet and instructed him to open his car. He refused, so the policeman took his car keys and proceeded to search his car. At this time, the police officer’s companions arrived at the scene in two cars. PO2 Nulud, who just arrived at the scene, pulled him away from his car in a nearby bank, while the others searched his car. Thereafter, he was brought to a police station and was held inside a bathroom for about fifteen minutes until Col. Guttierez arrived, who ordered his men to call the media. In the presence of reporters, Col. Guttierez opened the box and accused-appellant was made to hold the box while pictures were being taken. The lower court acquitted Sy Chua for the Illegal Possession of Ammunitions, yet convicted him for Illegal Possession of 1,955.815 grams of shabu. Hence, this appeal to the Court.
Issues: (1) Whether or Not the arrest of accused-appellant was lawful; and (2) WON the search of his person and the subsequent confiscation of shabu allegedly found on him were conducted in a lawful and valid manner.
accused-appellant. In the case at bar, neither the in flagrante delicto nor the “stop and frisk” principles is applicable to justify the warrantless arrest and consequent search and seizure made by the police operatives on accused-appellant. Wherefore, accused-appellant Binad Sy Chua is hereby Acquitted. ***SC said that for a “stop-and-frisk” situation, the police officer should properly introduce himself and make initial inquiries, approach and restrain a person who manifests unusual and suspicious conduct in order to check the latter’s outer clothing for possibly concealed weapons. The apprehending police officer must have a genuine reason, in accordance with the police officer’s experience and the surrounding conditions, to warrant the belief that the person to be held has weapons or contraband concealed about him. It should, therefore, be emphasized that a search and seizure should precede the arrest for the principle to apply. (NACHURA)
Held: The lower court believed that since the police received information that the accused will distribute illegal drugs that evening at the Thunder Inn Hotel and its vicinities. The police officer had to act quickly and there was no more time to secure a search warrant. The search is valid being akin to a “stop and frisk”. The trial court confused the concepts of a “stop-and-frisk” and of a search incidental to a lawful arrest. These two types of warrantless searches differ in terms of the requisite quantum of proof before they may be validly effected and in their allowable scope. In a search incidental to a lawful arrest, as the precedent arrest determines the validity of the incidental search, the legality of the arrest is questioned, e.g., whether an arrest was merely used as a pretext for conducting a search. In this instance, the law requires that there first be arrest before a search can be made—the process cannot be reversed. Accordingly, for this exception to apply, two elements must concur: (1) the person to be arrested must execute an overt act indicating that he has just committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit a crime; and (2) such overt act is done in the presence or within the view of the arresting officer. We find the two aforementioned elements lacking in the case at bar. Accused-appellant did not act in a suspicious manner. For all intents and purposes, there was no overt manifestation that accused-appellant has just committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit a crime. “Reliable information” alone, absent any overt act indicative of a felonious enterprise in the presence and within the view of the arresting officers, is not sufficient to constitute probable cause that would justify an in flagrante delicto arrest. With regard to the concept of “stop-and frisk”: mere suspicion or a hunch will not validate a “stop-and-frisk”. A genuine reason must exist, in light of the police officer’s experience and surrounding conditions, to warrant the belief that the person detained has weapons concealed about him. Finally, a “stop-and-frisk” serves a two-fold interest: (1) the general interest of effective crime prevention and detection for purposes of investigating possible criminal behavior even without probable cause; and (2) the interest of safety and self-preservation which permit the police officer to take steps to assure himself that the person with whom he deals is not armed with a deadly weapon that could unexpectedly and fatally be used against the police officer. A stop-and-frisk was defined as the act of a police officer to stop acitizen on the street, interrogate him, and pat him for weapon(s) or contraband. It should also be emphasized that a search and seizureshould precede the arrest for this principle to apply. The foregoing circumstances do not obtain in the case at bar. To reiterate, accused-appellant was first arrested before the search and seizure of the alleged illegal items found in his possession. The apprehending police operative failed to make any initial inquiry into accused-appellant’s business in the vicinity or the contents of the Zest-O juice box he was carrying. The apprehending police officers only introduced themselves when they already had custody of