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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION

G. R. Nos. 102009-10 July 6, 1994
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
ROLN!O !E GRCI, CHITO HENSON "#$ JOHN !OES, "%%us&$. ROLN!O
!E GRCI, accused-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Nicolas R. Ruiz, II for accused-appellant.
REGL!O, J.:
he incidents involved in this case too! place at the hei"ht of the coup d' etat sta"ed in
Dece#be$, %&'& b( ult$a-$i"htist ele#ents headed b( the Refo$# the )$#ed *o$ces
Move#ent-Soldie$s of the *ilipino People +R)M-S*P, a"ainst the -ove$n#ent. )t that
ti#e, va$ious "ove$n#ent establish#ents and #ilita$( ca#ps in Met$o Manila .e$e
bein" bo#ba$ded b( the $i"htist "$oup .ith thei$ "tora-tora" planes. )t a$ound #idni"ht
of Nove#be$ /0, %&'&, the 1th Ma$ine 2attalion of the Philippine Ma$ines occupied
Villa#o$ )i$ 2ase, .hile the Scout Ran"e$s too! ove$ the 3ead4ua$te$s of the Philippine
)$#(, the )$#( Ope$ations Cente$, and Channel 1, the "ove$n#ent television station.
)lso, so#e ele#ents of the Philippine )$#( co#in" f$o# *o$t Ma"sa(sa( occupied the
-$eenhills Shoppin" Cente$ in San 5uan, Met$o Manila.
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)ccused-appellant Rolando de -$acia .as cha$"ed in t.o sepa$ate info$#ations fo$
ille"al possession of a##unition and e6plosives in fu$the$ance of $ebellion, and fo$
atte#pted ho#icide, doc!eted as C$i#inal Cases Nos. 7-&0-%%899 and 7-&0-%%89:,
$espectivel(, .hich .e$e t$ied ;ointl( b( the Re"ional $ial Cou$t of 7ue<on Cit(, 2$anch
%0/.
In C$i#inal Case No. 7-&0-%%899, Rolando de -$acia, Chito 3enson and seve$al 5ohn
Does .hose t$ue na#es and identities have not as (et been asce$tained, .e$e cha$"ed
.ith the c$i#e of ille"al possession of a##unition and e6plosives in fu$the$ance of
$ebellion, penali<ed unde$ Section %, pa$a"$aph /, of P$esidential Dec$ee No. %'::,
alle"edl( co##itted as follo.s=
hat on o$ about the 9th da( of DECEM2ER, %&'&, in 7>E?ON CI@, MERO M)NIA),
P3IAIPPINES, and .ithin the ;u$isdiction of this 3ono$able Cou$t, the above-na#ed
accused, conspi$in" and confede$atin" to"ethe$ and #utuall( helpin" one anothe$, and
.ithout autho$it( of la., did then and the$e .illfull(, unla.full(, feloniousl( and !no.in"l(
have in thei$ possession, custod( and cont$ol, the follo.in" to .it=
*ive +9, bundles of C-1 o$ d(na#ites
Si6 +:, ca$toons of M-%: a##unition at B0 each
One hund$ed +%00, bottles of MOAOOV bo#bs
.ithout fi$st secu$in" the necessa$( license andCo$ pe$#it to possess the sa#e f$o# the
p$ope$ autho$ities, and a$#ed .ith said d(na#ites, a##unition and e6plosives and
pu$suant to thei$ conspi$ac( he$etofo$e a"$eed upon b( the# and p$o#pted b( co##on
desi"ns, co#e to an a"$ee#ent and decision to co##it the c$i#e of $ebellion, b( then
and the$e pa$ticipatin" the$ein and publicl( ta!in" a$#s a"ainst the dul( constituted
autho$ities, fo$ the pu$pose of ove$th$o.in" the -ove$n#ent of the Republic of the
Philippines, dis$uptin" and ;eopa$di<in" its activities and $e#ovin" f$o# its alle"iance the
te$$ito$( of the Philippines o$ pa$ts the$eof.
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In C$i#inal Case No. 7-&0-%%89:, Rolando de -$acia, Chito 3enson, Aa#be$to 2icus,
Rodolfo o$ and seve$al 5ohn Does .e$e cha$"ed .ith atte#pted ho#icide alle"edl(
co##itted on Dece#be$ %, %&'& in 7ue<on Cit( upon the pe$son of C$ispin Sa"a$io
.ho .as shot and hit on the $i"ht thi"h.
)ppellant .as convicted fo$ ille"al possession of fi$ea$#s in fu$the$ance of $ebellion, but
.as ac4uitted of atte#pted ho#icide.
Du$in" the a$$ai"n#ent, appellant pleaded not "uilt( to both cha$"es. 3o.eve$, he
ad#itted that he is not autho$i<ed to possess an( fi$ea$#s, a##unition andCo$
e6plosive.
'
he pa$ties li!e.ise stipulated that the$e .as a $ebellion du$in" the pe$iod
f$o# Nove#be$ /0 up to Dece#be$ &, %&'&.
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he $eco$ds sho. that in the ea$l( #o$nin" of Dece#be$ %, %&'&, Ma;. Ef$en So$ia of
the Intelli"ence Division, National Capital Re"ion Defense Co##and, .as on boa$d a
b$o.n o(ota ca$ conductin" a su$veillance of the Eu$oca$ Sales Office located at
Epifanio de los Santos )venue in 7ue<on Cit(, to"ethe$ .ith his tea# co#posed of S"t.
C$ispin Sa"a$io, MCS"t. Ra#on 2$iones, SCS"t. 3en$( )4uino, one SCS"t. Si#on and a
S"t. Ra#os. he su$veillance, .hich actuall( sta$ted on the ni"ht of Nove#be$ /0, %&'&
at a$ound %0=00 P.M., .as conducted pu$suant to an intelli"ence $epo$t $eceived b( the
division that said establish#ent .as bein" occupied b( ele#ents of the R)M-S*P as a
co##unication co##and post.
S"t. C$ispin Sa"a$io, the d$ive$ of the ca$, pa$!ed the vehicle a$ound ten to fifteen
#ete$s a.a( f$o# the Eu$oca$ buildin" nea$ P. ua<on St$eet, SCS"t. 3en$( )4uino had
ea$lie$ ali"hted f$o# the ca$ to conduct his su$veillance on foot. ) c$o.d .as then
"athe$ed nea$ the Eu$oca$ office .atchin" the on-"oin" bo#ba$d#ent nea$ Ca#p
)"uinaldo. )fte$ a .hile, a "$oup of five #en disen"a"ed the#selves f$o# the c$o.d
and .al!ed to.a$ds the ca$ of the su$veillance tea#. )t that #o#ent, Ma;. So$ia, .ho
.as then seated in f$ont, sa. the app$oachin" "$oup and i##ediatel( o$de$ed S"t.
Sa"a$io to sta$t the ca$ and leave the a$ea. )s the( passed b( the "$oup, then onl( si6
#ete$s a.a(, the latte$ pointed to the#, d$e. thei$ "uns and fi$ed at the tea#, .hich
attac! $esulted in the .oundin" of S"t. Sa"a$io on the $i"ht thi"h. Nobod( in the
su$veillance tea# .as able to $etaliate because the( sou"ht cove$ inside the ca$ and
the( .e$e af$aid that civilians o$ b(stande$s #i"ht be cau"ht in the c$oss-fi$e.
)s a conse4uence, at a$ound :=/0 ).M. of Dece#be$ 9, %&'&, a sea$chin" tea#
co#posed of *CAt. Vi$"ilio 2abao as tea# leade$, MCS"t. Aacdao, S"t. Ma"allion, S"t.
Pat$icio Pacatan", and ele#ents of the %:th Infant$( 2attalion unde$ one Col. delos
Santos $aided the Eu$oca$ Sales Office. he( .e$e able to find and confiscate si6
ca$tons of M-%: a##unition, five bundles of C-1 d(na#ites, M-shells of diffe$ent
calibe$s, and "molotov" bo#bs inside one of the $oo#s belon"in" to a ce$tain Col.
Matillano .hich is located at the $i"ht po$tion of the buildin". S"t. Osca$ Obenia, the fi$st
one to ente$ the Eu$oca$ buildin", sa. appellant De -$acia inside the office of Col.
Matillano, holdin" a C-1 and suspiciousl( peepin" th$ou"h a doo$. De -$acia .as the
onl( pe$son then p$esent inside the $oo#. ) unifo$# .ith the na#eta" of Col. Matillano
.as also found. )s a $esult of the $aid, the tea# a$$ested appellant, as .ell as Sop$ieso
Ve$bo and Robe$to 5i#ena .ho .e$e ;anito$s at the Eu$oca$ buildin". he( .e$e then
#ade to si"n an invento$(, .$itten in a"alo", of the e6plosives and a##unition
confiscated b( the $aidin" tea#. No sea$ch .a$$ant .as secu$ed b( the $aidin" tea#
because, acco$din" to the#, at that ti#e the$e .as so #uch diso$de$ conside$in" that
the nea$b( Ca#p )"uinaldo .as bein" #opped up b( the $ebel fo$ces and the$e .as
si#ultaneous fi$in" .ithin the vicinit( of the Eu$oca$ office, aside f$o# the fact that the
cou$ts .e$e conse4uentl( closed. he "$oup .as able to confi$# late$ that the o.ne$ of
Eu$oca$ office is a ce$tain M$. -utie$$e< and that appellant is supposedl( a Dbo(D
the$ein.
)ppellant Rolando de -$acia "ave anothe$ ve$sion of the incident. *i$st, he clai#s that
on Nove#be$ /0, %&'&, he .as in )ntipolo to help in the bi$thda( pa$t( of Col. Matillano.
3e denies that he .as at the Eu$oca$ Sales Office on Dece#be$ %, %&'&. Second, he
contends that .hen the $aidin" tea# a$$ived at the Eu$oca$ Sales Office on Dece#be$
9, %&'&, he .as inside his house, a s#all nipa hut .hich is ad;acent to the buildin".
)cco$din" to hi#, he .as tas!ed to "ua$d the office of Col. Matillano .hich is located at
the $i"ht side of the buildin". 3e denies, ho.eve$, that he .as inside the $oo# of Col.
Matillano .hen the $aidin" tea# ba$"ed in and that he had e6plosives in his possession.
3e testified that .hen the #ilita$( $aided the office, he .as o$de$ed to "et out of his
house and #ade to lie on the "$ound face do.n, to"ethe$ .ith DObetD and DDon"D .ho
.e$e ;anito$s of the buildin". 3e ave$s that he does not !no. an(thin" about the
e6plosives and insists that .hen the( .e$e as!ed to stand up, the e6plosives .e$e
al$ead( the$e.
)ppellant stated that he visited Col. Matillano in %&'8 at the stoc!ade of the Philippine
Constabula$(-Inte"$ated National Police +PC-INP,, and that he !ne. Matillano .as
detained because of the latte$Es involve#ent in the %&'8 coup d' etat. In 5ul(, %&'&,
appellant a"ain .ent to see Matillano because he had no ;ob. Col. Matillano then told
hi# that he could sta( in the PC-INP stoc!ade and do the #a$!etin" fo$ the#. *$o# that
ti#e until his a$$est at the Eu$oca$ office, appellant .o$!ed fo$ Matillano.
De -$acia believes that the p$osecution .itnesses .e$e #oved to testif( a"ainst hi#
because "bata ra a!o ni "ol. #atillano eh ma$ atraso da sa !anila si "ol. #atillano
!a$a sabi nila ito na lan% bata ni$a an% ipitin natin."
On *eb$ua$( BB, %&&%, the t$ial cou$t $ende$ed ;ud"#ent
(
ac4uittin" appellant Rolando
de -$acia of atte#pted ho#icide, but found hi# "uilt( be(ond $easonable doubt of the
offense of ille"al possession of fi$ea$#s in fu$the$ance of $ebellion and sentenced hi# to
se$ve the penalt( of reclusion perpetua. Mo$eove$, it #ade a $eco##endation that
D+i,nas#uch as Rolando de -$acia appea$s to be #e$el( e6ecutin" o$ obe(in" o$de$s
and pu$suant to the spi$it contained in the Bnd pa$a"$aph of )$t. %/9, R. P. C., the cou$t
$eco##ends that Rolando de -$acia be e6tended e6ecutive cle#enc( afte$ se$vin" a
;ail te$# of five +9, (ea$s of "ood behavio$.
hat ;ud"#ent of conviction is no. challen"ed befo$e us in this appeal.
)ppellant p$incipall( contends that he cannot be held "uilt( of ille"al possession of
fi$ea$#s fo$ the $eason that he did not have eithe$ ph(sical o$ const$uctive possession
the$eof conside$in" that he had no intent to possess the sa#eF he is neithe$ the o.ne$
no$ a tenant of the buildin" .he$e the a##unition and e6plosives .e$e foundF he .as
#e$el( e#plo(ed b( Col. Matillano as an e$$and bo(F he .as "ua$din" the e6plosives
fo$ and in behalf of Col. MatillanoF and he did not have actual possession of the
e6plosives. 3e clai#s that intent to possess, .hich is necessa$( befo$e one can be
convicted unde$ P$esidential Dec$ee No. %'::, .as not p$esent in the case at ba$.
P$esidential Dec$ee No. %':: p$ovides as follo.s=
Sec. %. &nlaful #anufacture, Sale, 'c(uisition, )isposition or *ossession of +irearms
or 'mmunition or Instruments &sed or intended to be &sed in the #anufacture of
+irearms or 'mmunition. G he penalt( of reclusion temporal in its #a6i#u# pe$iod to
reclusion perpetua shall be i#posed upon an( pe$son .ho shall unla.full( #anufactu$e,
deal in, ac4ui$e, dispose, o$ possess an( fi$ea$#s, pa$t of fi$ea$#s, a##unition o$
#achine$(, tool o$ inst$u#ent used o$ intended to be used in the #anufactu$e of an(
fi$ea$# o$ a##unition.
If ho#icide o$ #u$de$ is co##itted .ith the use of an unlicensed fi$ea$#, the penalt( of
death shall be i#posed.
If the violation of this Section is in fu$the$ance of, o$ incident to, o$ in connection .ith the
c$i#es of $ebellion, insu$$ection o$ subve$sion, the penalt( of death shall be i#posed.
P$esidential Dec$ee No. %':: .as passed because of an upsu$"e of c$i#es vitall(
affectin" public o$de$ and safet( due to the p$olife$ation of ille"all( possessed and
#anufactu$ed fi$ea$#s, a##unition and e6plosives, and .hich c$i#inal acts have
$esulted in loss of hu#an lives, da#a"e to p$ope$t( and dest$uction of valuable
$esou$ces of the count$(. he se$ies of coup d' etats unleashed in the count$( du$in" the
fi$st fe. (ea$s of the t$ansitional "ove$n#ent unde$ then P$esident Co$a<on P. )4uino
attest to the eve$-"$o.in" i#po$tance of la.s such as P$esidential Dec$ee No. %'::
.hich see! to nip in the bud and p$ee#pt the co##ission of an( act o$ acts .hich tend
to distu$b public peace and o$de$.
I. he fi$st issue to be $esolved is .hethe$ o$ not intent to possess is an essential
ele#ent of the offense punishable unde$ P$esidential Dec$ee No. %':: and, if so,
.hethe$ appellant De -$acia did intend to ille"all( possess fi$ea$#s and a##unition.
he $ule is that o.ne$ship is not an essential ele#ent of ille"al possession of fi$ea$#s
and a##unition. Hhat the la. $e4ui$es is #e$el( possession .hich includes not onl(
actual ph(sical possession but also const$uctive possession o$ the sub;ection of the
thin" to oneEs cont$ol and #ana"e#ent.
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his has to be so if the #anifest intent of the
la. is to be effective. he sa#e evils, the sa#e pe$ils to public secu$it(, .hich the la.
penali<es e6ist .hethe$ the unlicensed holde$ of a p$ohibited .eapon be its o.ne$ o$ a
bo$$o.e$. o acco#plish the ob;ect of this la. the p$op$ieta$( concept of the possession
can have no bea$in" .hatsoeve$.
)
2ut is the #e$e fact of ph(sical o$ const$uctive possession sufficient to convict a pe$son
fo$ unla.ful possession of fi$ea$#s o$ #ust the$e be an intent to possess to constitute a
violation of the la.I his 4ue$( assu#es si"nificance since the offense of ille"al
possession of fi$ea$#s is a malum prohibitum punished b( a special la.,
*
in .hich case
"ood faith and absence of c$i#inal intent a$e not valid defenses.
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Hhen the c$i#e is punished b( a special la., as a $ule, intent to co##it the c$i#e is not
necessa$(. It is sufficient that the offende$ has the intent to pe$pet$ate the act p$ohibited
b( the special la.. Intent to co##it the c$i#e and intent to pe$pet$ate the act #ust be
distin"uished. ) pe$son #a( not have consciousl( intended to co##it a c$i#eF but he
did intend to co##it an act, and that act is, b( the ve$( natu$e of thin"s, the c$i#e itself.
In the fi$st +intent to co##it the c$i#e,, the$e #ust be c$i#inal intentF in the second
+intent to pe$pet$ate the act, it is enou"h that the p$ohibited act is done f$eel( and
consciousl(.
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In the p$esent case, a distinction should be #ade bet.een c$i#inal intent and intent to
possess. Hhile #e$e possession, .ithout c$i#inal intent, is sufficient to convict a pe$son
fo$ ille"al possession of a fi$ea$#, it #ust still be sho.n that the$e .as animus
possidendi o$ an intent to possess on the pa$t of the accused.
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Such intent to possess
is, ho.eve$, .ithout $e"a$d to an( othe$ c$i#inal o$ felonious intent .hich the accused
#a( have ha$bo$ed in possessin" the fi$ea$#. C$i#inal intent he$e $efe$s to the intention
of the accused to co##it an offense .ith the use of an unlicensed fi$ea$#. his is not
i#po$tant in convictin" a pe$son unde$ P$esidential Dec$ee No. %'::. 3ence, in o$de$
that one #a( be found "uilt( of a violation of the dec$ee, it is sufficient that the accused
had no autho$it( o$ license to possess a fi$ea$#, and that he intended to possess the
sa#e, even if such possession .as #ade in "ood faith and .ithout c$i#inal intent.
Conco#itantl(, a te#po$a$(, incidental, casual, o$ ha$#less possession o$ cont$ol of a
fi$ea$# cannot be conside$ed a violation of a statute p$ohibitin" the possession of this
!ind of .eapon,
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such as P$esidential Dec$ee No. %'::. hus, althou"h the$e is
ph(sical o$ const$uctive possession, fo$ as lon" as the animus possidendi is absent,
the$e is no offense co##itted.
Co#in" no. to the case befo$e us, the$e is no doubt in ou$ #inds that appellant De
-$acia is indeed "uilt( of havin" intentionall( possessed seve$al fi$ea$#s, e6plosives
and a##unition .ithout the $e4uisite license o$ autho$it( the$efo$. P$osecution .itness
S"t. Osca$ )benia cate"o$icall( testified that he .as the fi$st one to ente$ the Eu$oca$
Sales Office .hen the #ilita$( ope$atives $aided the sa#e, and he sa. De -$acia
standin" in the $oo# and holdin" the seve$al e6plosives #a$!ed in evidence as E6hibits
D to D-1.
1'
)t fi$st, appellant denied an( !no.led"e about the e6plosives. hen, he
alte$nativel( contended that his act of "ua$din" the e6plosives fo$ and in behalf of Col.
Matillano does not constitute ille"al possession the$eof because the$e .as no intent on
his pa$t to possess the sa#e, since he .as #e$el( e#plo(ed as an e$$and bo( of Col.
Matillano. 3is p$etension of i#pe$sonal o$ indiffe$ent #ate$ial possession does not and
cannot inspi$e c$edence.
'nimus possidendi is a state of #ind .hich #a( be dete$#ined on a case to case basis,
ta!in" into conside$ation the p$io$ and coetaneous acts of the accused and the
su$$oundin" ci$cu#stances. Hhat e6ists in the $eal# of thou"ht is often disclosed in the
$an"e of action. It is not cont$ove$ted that appellant De -$acia is a fo$#e$ soldie$,
havin" se$ved .ith the Philippine Constabula$( p$io$ to his sepa$ation f$o# the se$vice
fo$ "oin" on absence .ithout leave
+)HOA,.
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He do not hesitate, the$efo$e, to believe and conclude that he is fa#ilia$ .ith
and !no.led"eable about the d(na#ites, "molotov" bo#bs, and va$ious !inds of
a##unition .hich .e$e confiscated b( the #ilita$( f$o# his possession. )s a fo$#e$
soldie$, it .ould be absu$d fo$ hi# not to !no. an(thin" about the dan"e$ous uses and
po.e$ of these .eapons. ) fortiori, he cannot fei"n i"no$ance on the i#po$t of havin" in
his possession such a la$"e 4uantit( of e6plosives and a##unition. *u$the$#o$e, the
place .he$e the e6plosives .e$e found is not a #ilita$( ca#p o$ office, no$ one .he$e
such ite#s can o$dina$il( but la.full( be sto$ed, as in a "un sto$e, an a$senal o$ a$#o$(.
Even an o$dina$il( p$udent #an .ould be put on "ua$d and be suspicious if he finds
a$ticles of this natu$e in a place intended to ca$$( out the business of sellin" ca$s and
.hich has nothin" to do at all, di$ectl( o$ indi$ectl(, .ith the t$ade of fi$ea$#s and
a##unition.
On the basis of the fo$e"oin" dis4uisition, it is appa$ent, and .e so hold, that appellant
De -$acia actuall( intended to possess the a$ticles confiscated f$o# his pe$son.
II. he ne6t 4uestion that #a( be as!ed is .hethe$ o$ not the$e .as a valid sea$ch and
sei<u$e in this case. Hhile the #atte$ has not been s4ua$el( put in issue, .e dee# it ou$
bounden dut(, in li"ht of adve$tence the$eto b( the pa$ties, to delve into the le"alit( of
the .a$$antless sea$ch conducted b( the $aidin" tea#, conside$in" the "$avit( of the
offense fo$ .hich he$ein appellant stands to be convicted and the penalt( sou"ht to be
i#posed.
It is ad#itted that the #ilita$( ope$atives .ho $aided the Eu$oca$ Sales Office .e$e not
a$#ed .ith a sea$ch .a$$ant at that ti#e.
1(
he $aid .as actuall( p$ecipitated b(
intelli"ence $epo$ts that said office .as bein" used as head4ua$te$s b( the R)M.
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P$io$
to the $aid, the$e .as a su$veillance conducted on the p$e#ises .he$ein the
su$veillance tea# .as fi$ed at b( a "$oup of #en co#in" f$o# the Eu$oca$ buildin".
Hhen the #ilita$( ope$atives $aided the place, the occupants the$eof $efused to open
the doo$ despite $e4uests fo$ the# to do so, the$eb( co#pellin" the fo$#e$ to b$ea! into
the office.
1)
he Eu$oca$ Sales Office is obviousl( not a "un sto$e and it is definitel( not
an a$#o$( o$ a$senal .hich a$e the usual deposito$ies fo$ e6plosives and a##unition. It
is p$i#a$il( and solel( en"a"ed in the sale of auto#obiles. he p$esence of an unusual
4uantit( of hi"h-po.e$ed fi$ea$#s and e6plosives could not be ;ustifiabl( o$ even
colo$abl( e6plained. In addition, the$e .as "ene$al chaos and diso$de$ at that ti#e
because of si#ultaneous and intense fi$in" .ithin the vicinit( of the office and in the
nea$b( Ca#p )"uinaldo .hich .as unde$ attac! b( $ebel fo$ces.
1*
he cou$ts in the
su$$oundin" a$eas .e$e obviousl( closed and, fo$ that #atte$, the buildin" and houses
the$ein .e$e dese$ted.
>nde$ the fo$e"oin" ci$cu#stances, it is ou$ conside$ed opinion that the instant case
falls unde$ one of the e6ceptions to the p$ohibition a"ainst a .a$$antless sea$ch. In the
fi$st place, the #ilita$( ope$atives, ta!in" into account the facts obtainin" in this case,
had $easonable "$ound to believe that a c$i#e .as bein" co##itted. he$e .as
conse4uentl( #o$e than sufficient p$obable cause to .a$$ant thei$ action. *u$the$#o$e,
unde$ the situation then p$evailin", the $aidin" tea# had no oppo$tunit( to appl( fo$ and
secu$e a sea$ch .a$$ant f$o# the cou$ts. he t$ial ;ud"e hi#self #anifested that on
Dece#be$ 9, %&'& .hen the $aid .as conducted, his cou$t .as closed.
19
>nde$ such
u$"enc( and e6i"enc( of the #o#ent, a sea$ch .a$$ant could la.full( be dispensed
.ith.
he vie. that .e he$e ta!e is in consonance .ith ou$ doct$inal $ulin" .hich .as a#pl(
e6plained in People vs. Mal#stedt
20
and bea$s $eite$ation=
Hhile it is t$ue that the N)RCOM office$s .e$e not a$#ed .ith a sea$ch .a$$ant .hen the
sea$ch .as #ade ove$ the pe$sonal effects of accused, ho.eve$, unde$ the
ci$cu#stances of the case, the$e .as sufficient p$obable cause fo$ said office$s to believe
that accused .as then and the$e co##ittin" a c$i#e.
P$obable cause has been defined as such facts and ci$cu#stances .hich .ould lead a
$easonable, disc$eet and p$udent #an to believe that an offense has been co##itted,
and that the ob;ects sou"ht in connection .ith the offense a$e in the place sou"ht to be
sea$ched. he $e4ui$ed p$obable cause that .ill ;ustif( a .a$$antless sea$ch and sei<u$e
is not dete$#ined b( an( fi6ed fo$#ula but is $esolved acco$din" to the facts of each
case.
Ha$$antless sea$ch of the pe$sonal effects of an accused has been decla$ed b( this
Cou$t as valid, because of e6istence of p$obable cause, .he$e the s#ell of #a$i;uana
e#anated f$o# a plastic ba" o.ned b( the accused, o$ .he$e the accused .as actin"
suspiciousl(, and atte#pted to flee.
)side f$o# the pe$sistent $epo$ts $eceived b( the N)RCOM that vehicles co#in" f$o#
Sa"ada .e$e t$anspo$tin" #a$i;uana and othe$ p$ohibited d$u"s, thei$ Co##andin"
Office$ also $eceived info$#ation that a Caucasian co#in" f$o# Sa"ada on that pa$ticula$
da( had p$ohibited d$u"s in his possession. Said info$#ation .as $eceived b( the
Co##andin" Office$ of N)RCOM the ve$( sa#e #o$nin" that accused ca#e do.n b(
bus f$o# Sa"ada on his .a( to 2a"uio Cit(.
Hhen N)RCOM $eceived the info$#ation, a fe. hou$s befo$e the app$ehension of he$ein
accused, that a Caucasian t$avellin" f$o# Sa"ada to 2a"uio Cit( .as ca$$(in" .ith hi#
p$ohibited d$u"s, the$e .as no ti#e to obtain a sea$ch .a$$ant. In the Tan%liben case, the
police autho$ities conducted a su$veillance at the Victo$( Aine$ e$#inal located at 2"(.
San Nicolas, San *e$nando, Pa#pan"a, a"ainst pe$sons en"a"ed in the t$affic of
dan"e$ous d$u"s, based on info$#ation supplied b( so#e info$#e$s. )ccused Tan%liben
.ho .as actin" suspiciousl( and pointed out b( an info$#e$ .as app$ehended and
sea$ched b( the police autho$ities. It .as held that .hen faced .ith on-the-spot
info$#ation, the police office$s had to act 4uic!l( and the$e .as no ti#e to secu$e a
sea$ch .a$$ant.
It #ust be obse$ved that, at fi$st, the N)RCOM office$s #e$el( conducted a $outine chec!
of the bus +.he$e accused .as $idin", and the passen"e$s the$ein, and no e6tensive
sea$ch .as initiall( #ade. It .as onl( .hen one of the office$s noticed a bul"e on the
.aist of accused, du$in" the cou$se of the inspection, that accused .as $e4ui$ed to
p$esent his passpo$t. he failu$e of accused to p$esent his identification pape$s, .hen
o$de$ed to do so, onl( #ana"ed to a$ouse the suspicion of the office$ that accused .as
t$(in" to hide his identit(. *o$ is it not a $e"ula$ no$# fo$ an innocent #an, .ho has
nothin" to hide f$o# the autho$ities, to $eadil( p$esent his identification pape$s .hen
$e4ui$ed to do soI
he $eceipt of info$#ation b( N)RCOM that a Caucasian co#in" f$o# Sa"ada had
p$ohibited d$u"s in his possession, plus the suspicious failu$e of the accused to p$oduce
his passpo$t, ta!en to"ethe$ as a .hole, led the N)RCOM office$s to $easonabl( believe
that the accused .as t$(in" to hide so#ethin" ille"al f$o# the autho$ities. *$o# these
ci$cu#stances a$ose a p$obable cause .hich ;ustified the .a$$antless sea$ch that .as
#ade on the pe$sonal effects of the accused. In othe$ .o$ds, the acts of the N)RCOM
office$s in $e4ui$in" the accused to open his pouch ba" and in openin" one of the
.$apped ob;ects found inside said ba" +.hich .as discove$ed to contain hashish, as .ell
as the t.o +B, tedd( bea$s .ith hashish stuffed inside the#, .e$e p$o#pted b( accusedEs
o.n atte#pt to hide his identit( b( $efusin" to p$esent his passpo$t, and b( the
info$#ation $eceived b( the N)RCOM that a Caucasian co#in" f$o# Sa"ada had
p$ohibited d$u"s in his possession. o dep$ive the N)RCOM a"ents of the abilit( and
facilit( to act acco$din"l(, includin", to sea$ch even .ithout .a$$ant, in the li"ht of such
ci$cu#stances, .ould be to sanction i#potence and ineffectiveness in la. enfo$ce#ent,
to the det$i#ent of societ(.
In addition, .e find the p$inciple enunciated in &mil, et al., vs. Ramos,
et al.,
21
applicable, b( analo"(, to the p$esent case=
he a$$est of pe$sons involved in the $ebellion .hethe$ as its fi"htin" a$#ed ele#ents, o$
fo$ co##ittin" non-violent acts but in fu$the$ance of the $ebellion, is #o$e an act of
captu$in" the# in the cou$se of an a$#ed conflict, to 4uell the $ebellion, than fo$ the
pu$pose of i##ediatel( p$osecutin" the# in cou$t fo$ a statuto$( offense. he a$$est,
the$efo$e, need not follo. the usual p$ocedu$e in the p$osecution of offenses .hich
$e4ui$es the dete$#ination b( a ;ud"e of the e6istence of p$obable cause befo$e the
issuance of a ;udicial .a$$ant of a$$est and the "$antin" of bail if the offense is bailable.
Obviousl( the absence of a ;udicial .a$$ant is no le"al i#pedi#ent to a$$estin" o$
captu$in" pe$sons co##ittin" ove$t acts of violence a"ainst "ove$n#ent fo$ces, o$ an(
othe$ #ilde$ acts but $eall( in pu$suance of the $ebellious #ove#ent. he a$$est o$
captu$e is thus i#pelled b( the e6i"encies of the situation that involves the ve$( su$vival
of societ( and its "ove$n#ent and dul( constituted autho$ities. If !illin" and othe$ acts of
violence a"ainst the $ebels find ;ustification in the e6i"encies of a$#ed hostilities .hich
+a$e, of the essence of .a"in" a $ebellion o$ insu$$ection, #ost assu$edl( so in case of
invasion, #e$el( sei<in" thei$ pe$sons and detainin" the# .hile an( of these
contin"encies continues cannot be less ;ustified.
III. )s ea$lie$ stated, it .as stipulated and ad#itted b( both pa$ties that f$o# Nove#be$
/0, %&'& up to and until Dece#be$ &, %&'&, the$e .as a $ebellion. E$"o, ou$ ne6t in4ui$(
is .hethe$ o$ not appellantEs possession of the fi$ea$#s, e6plosives and a##unition
sei<ed and $ecove$ed f$o# hi# .as fo$ the pu$pose and in fu$the$ance of $ebellion.
he t$ial cou$t found accused "uilt( of ille"al possession of fi$ea$#s in fu$the$ance of
$ebellion pu$suant to pa$a"$aph B of )$ticle %/9 of the Revised Penal Code .hich states
that Dan( pe$son #e$el( pa$ticipatin" o$ e6ecutin" the co##and of othe$s in a $ebellion
shall suffe$ the penalt( of prision ma$or in its #ini#u# pe$iod.D he cou$t belo. held
that appellant De -$acia, .ho had been se$vicin" the pe$sonal needs of Col. Matillano
+.hose active a$#ed opposition a"ainst the -ove$n#ent, pa$ticula$l( at the Ca#elot
3otel, .as .ell !no.n,, is "uilt( of the act of "ua$din" the e6plosives and "molotov"
bo#bs fo$ and in behalf of the latte$. He accept this findin" of the lo.e$ cou$t.
he above p$ovision of the la. .as, ho.eve$, e$$oneousl( and i#p$ope$l( used b( the
cou$t belo. as a basis in dete$#inin" the de"$ee of liabilit( of appellant and the penalt(
to be i#posed on hi#. It #ust be #ade clea$ that appellant is cha$"ed .ith the 4ualified
offense of ille"al possession of fi$ea$#s in fu$the$ance of $ebellion unde$ P$esidential
Dec$ee No. %':: .hich, in la., is distinct f$o# the c$i#e of $ebellion punished unde$
)$ticles %/1 and %/9 of the Revised Penal Code. hese a$e t.o sepa$ate statutes
penali<in" diffe$ent offenses .ith disc$ete penalties. he Revised Penal Code t$eats
$ebellion as a c$i#e apa$t f$o# #u$de$, ho#icide, a$son, o$ othe$ offenses, such as
ille"al possession of fi$ea$#s, that #i"ht conceivabl( be co##itted in the cou$se of a
$ebellion. P$esidential Dec$ee No. %':: defines and punishes, as a specific offense, the
c$i#e of ille"al possession of fi$ea$#s co##itted in the cou$se o$ as pa$t of a $ebellion.
22
)s a #atte$ of fact, in one case involvin" the constitutionalit( of Section % of P$esidential
Dec$ee No. %'::, the Cou$t has e6plained that said p$ovision of the la. .ill not be
invalidated b( the #e$e fact that the sa#e act is penali<ed unde$ t.o diffe$ent statutes
.ith diffe$ent penalties, even if conside$ed hi"hl( advanta"eous to the p$osecution and
one$ous to the accused.
2'
It follo.s that, sub;ect to the p$esence of the $e4uisite
ele#ents in each case, unla.ful possession of an unlicensed fi$ea$# in fu$the$ance of
$ebellion #a( "ive $ise to sepa$ate p$osecutions fo$ a violation of Section % of
P$esidential Dec$ee No. %'::, and also a violation of )$ticles %/1 and %/9 of the
Revised Penal Code on $ebellion. Double ;eopa$d( in this case cannot be invo!ed
because the fi$st is an offense punished b( a special la. .hile the second is a felon(
punished b( the Revised Penal Code,
24
.ith va$iant ele#ents.
It .as a le"al #alap$opis# fo$ the lo.e$ cou$t to inte$;ect the afo$estated p$ovision of
the Revised Penal Code in this p$osecution fo$ a c$i#e unde$ a special la..
Conse4uentl(, the$e is no basis fo$ its $eco##endation fo$ e6ecutive cle#enc( in favo$
of appellant De -$acia afte$ he shall have se$ved a ;ail te$# of five (ea$s .ith "ood
behavio$. In an( event, this is a #atte$ .ithin the e6clusive p$e$o"ative of the P$esident
.hose decision the$eon should be insulated a"ainst an( tenuous i#po$tunit(.
Hithal, .e a$e dul( convinced that the fi$ea$#s, e6plosives and a##unition confiscated
f$o# appellant De -$acia .e$e ille"all( possessed b( hi# in fu$the$ance of the $ebellion
then ad#ittedl( e6istin" at that ti#e. In the .o$ds of the cou$t a (uo=
B. the natu$e and 4uantit( of the ite#s G 9 bundles of C-1 d(na#ites, : ca$tons of M-%:
a##o and %00 bottles of #olotov bo#bs indicate that the $epo$ts $eceived b( the #ilita$(
that the Eu$oca$ Sales 2uildin" .as bein" used b( the $ebels .as not .ithout basis.
hose ite#s a$e clea$l( not fo$ oneEs pe$sonal defense. he( a$e fo$ offensive ope$ations.
De -$acia ad#itted that pe$ inst$uction of Col. Matillano he .ent do.n to Eu$oca$ Sales
2uildin" f$o# )ntipolo to sta( "ua$d the$e.
3is #anifestation of innocence of those ite#s and .hat he has been "ua$din" in that
office is not c$edible fo$= +a, he .as a fo$#e$ #ilita$( pe$sonnelF +b, at the bi$thda( pa$t(
of Col. Matillano on Nove#be$ /0, %&'& #an( soldie$s and e6-soldie$s .e$e p$esent
.hich self-evidentl( discloses that De -$acia, in the co#pan( of his boss, .as still ve$(
#uch at ho#e and constantl( in touch .ith soldie$s and the a$#ed $ebellion of Nove#be$
/0, %&'& to Dece#be$ ' o$ &, %&'& .as a #ilita$( coup dE etatF +c, it appea$s that he is
the onl( pe$son tas!ed .ith ca$eta!in" +sic, the$e in the Matillano office, .hich sho.s that
he is a hi"hl( t$usted $i"ht-hand #an of Col. MatillanoF and +d, as he$etofo$e discussed,
De -$acia .as ea$lie$ seen .ith so#e #en .ho fi$ed upon a ca$ of the )*P intelli"ence
a"ents.
2(
P$esidential Dec$ee No. %':: i#poses the death penalt( .he$e the ille"al possession of
fi$ea$#s and a##unition is co##itted in fu$the$ance of $ebellion. )t the ti#e the
offense cha$"ed in this case .as co##itted unde$ the "ove$nance of that la., the
i#position of the death penalt( .as p$osc$ibed b( the Constitution. Conse4uentl(,
appellant De -$acia could onl( be sentenced to se$ve the penalt( of reclusion perpetua
.hich .as co$$ectl( #eted out b( the t$ial cou$t, albeit .ith an e$$oneous
$eco##endation in connection the$e.ith.
H3ERE*ORE, the i#pu"ned ;ud"#ent of the t$ial cou$t is he$eb( )**IRMED, but its
$eco##endation the$ein fo$ e6ecutive cle#enc( and the supposed basis the$eof a$e
he$eb( DEAEED, .ith costs a"ainst accused-appellant.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, ".,., *adilla, *uno and #endoza, ,,., concur.

+Foo,#o,&s
% SN, )u"ust B', %&&0, 10-1B.
B O$i"inal Reco$d, %.
/ Ibid., 9B.
1 Ibid., &8.
9 Penned b( 5ud"e 5ai#e N. Sala<a$F O$i"inal Reco$d, %1:.
: People vs. C$u<, -. R. No. 8:8B', )u"ust /0, %&'', %:9 SCR) %/9F People vs.
*a;a$do, et al., %B/ Phil. %/1' +%&::,.
8 People vs. Estoista, &/ Phil. :18 +%&9/,.
' Ve$o(, et al. vs. Aa(a"ue, etc., et al., -. R. No. &9:/0, 5une %', %&&B, B%0 SCR) &8.
& People vs. Ne$i, -. R. No. A-/88:B, Dece#be$ %&, %&'9, %10 SCR) 10:.
%0 Re(es, he Revised Penal Code, 2oo! One, %&'%, %Bth ed., 9/.
%% People vs. So(an", et al., %%0 Phil. 9:9 +%&:0,F People vs. Aubo, et al., %0% Phil. %8&
+%&98,F >.S. vs. Sa#son, %: Phil. /B/ +%&%0,.
%B People vs. Estoista, supra, *n. 8.
%/ SN, Nove#be$ BB, %&&0, %B.
%1 Ibid., Dece#be$ :, %&&0, /:.
%9 Ibid., Nove#be$ BB, %&&0, //.
%: Ibid., Octobe$ B, %&&0, B%-BB.
%8 Ibid., id., Nove#be$ BB, %&&0, '.
%' Ibid., id., Octobe$ B, %&&0, %:-%8.
%& Ibid., Nove#be$ B&, %&&0, 9'.
B0 -. R. No. &%%08, 5une %&, %&&%, %&' SCR) 10%.
B% -. R. No. '%9:8, 5ul( &, %&&0, %'8 SCR) /%%.
BB 2a(losis, et al. vs. Chave<, 5$., et al., -. R. No. &9%/:, Octobe$ /, %&&%, B0B SCR)
109.
B/ Misolas vs. Pan"as, etc. et al., -. R. No. '//1%, 5anua$( /0, %&&0, %'% SCR) :1'.
B1 Cf. People vs. io<on, -. R. No. '&'B/, 5une %&, %&&%, %&' SCR) /:'.
B9 O$i"inal Reco$d, %1&-%90.