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[G.R. No. 132671. November 15, 2000] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs.

CRISANTO BAULA, RUBEN BAULA, ROBERT BAULA and DANILO DACUCOS, accusedappellants Facts: After the gruesome killing of Patronicia Caburao, the investigating police went to the residence of the accused-appellant, Baula et al. In the process of questioning the appellants, the police saw bloodstained bolo, short pants, polo shirts and was subsequently confiscated without search warrant and directed to the NBI for forensic exams. The exam resulted that the bloods found in the confiscated articles bears the same blood type O as that of the victim.

Thus, the accused were arrested, charged and was convicted in the crime of murder by the RTC Lingayen and sentenced to suffer RP. Hence this appeal for review on the decision of the lower court in the ground that the articles sought (bloodstained bolo, shirt and short pants) cannot be admitted as evidence against the accused since it was seized without a valid search and seizure warrant.

Issue:

Whether or not the warrantless search conducted was valid under a consented search

Held: NO

The articles are unlawfully searched and seized. A search incidental to a valid arrest is one of the statutory exceptions to the constitutional mandate that no search and seizure shall be effected without a valid warrant. In this instance, the arrest should be lawful before search and seizure by the arresting officer would be conducted. A warrantless arrest may be effected by the arresting officer when in his presence the person arrested is have committed, committing or attempting to commit the crime. It cannot be reversed; otherwise, it would unlawful and unconstitutional and the seized article would be inadmissible evidence. In the case at bar, Accused-appellants were not being arrested at the time that the subject articles were allegedly taken from them but were just being questioned by the police officers conducting the investigation about the death of Patrocinia Caburao. The investigating officers had no personal knowledge of facts indicating that the accused had committed the crime. Being in no position to effect a warrantless arrest, the police officers were thus likewise barred from effecting a warrantless search and seizure. An illegal search cannot be undertaken and then an arrest effected on the strength of the evidence yielded by that search. The Court finds it less than credible the stance of the prosecution that the polo shirt and short pants have been voluntarily given. An alleged consent to a warrantless search and seizure cannot be based merely on the presumption of regularity in the performance of duty. This presumption, by itself, cannot prevail against the constitutionally protected rights of an individual, and zeal in the pursuit of criminals cannot ennoble the use of arbitrary methods that the Constitution itself abhors. Thus, the bloodstained polo, bolo and shorts are inadmissible as evidence.