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People v.

GR No. 136267
July 10, 2001
On Aug. 26, 1997, Sgt. Rogel, received a telephone call that a person had been shot near
the cemetery along Julian Felipe Boulevard in Cavite City. A police team responded to the call
and found Henry P. Piamonte dead on his tricycle which was then parked on the road. Police
photographer Fred Agana took pictures of the crime scene. PO3 Rosal testified that a tricycle
driver, who refused to divulge his name, told him that Fidel Abrenica Cubcubin Jr. and the victim
were last seen together coming out of the Sting Cafe, near the crime scene. The police officers
went to the cafe and talked to Danet Garcellano, a food server/waitress in Sting Cafe. Garcellano
described the appearance of Cubcubin. Armando Plata, another tricycle driver, told the officers
that Garcellano's description fitted a person known as alias "Jun Dulce." Armando Plata, who
knew where Cubcubin lived, led the officers to Cubucubin's house. The policemen knocked and
the door was eventually opened by a man who answered the description given. The police
operatives identified themselves and informed him that he was being sought in connection with
the shooting, but Cubcubin denied involvement. The officers then asked permission to enter and
look around the house. SPO1 Malinao said that upon entering the house, he noticed a white tshirt near the kitchen noticing it to be "bloodied." When he picked up the t-shirt, two spent .38
caliber shells fell. The officers then took the t-shirt and the two bullet shells asking Cubcubin to
go with them to Sting Cafe for purposes of identification. There, Cubcubin was positively
identified by Danet Garcellano as the victim's companion. Cubcubin refused to the investigators
where he hid the gun so he asked to go back to his house to conduct a further search. Inside the
house, they saw Cubcubin's 11-year old son Jhumar, and homemade Smith and Wesson caliber .
38 revolver, without a serial number. PO3 Estoy, Jr. said that he inscribed his initials "RDE" on
the cylinder of the gun with the use of a sharp object. The .38 caliber gun, the white "Hanes" tshirt, and the two spent .38 caliber shells were all photographed. Cubcubin was then taken to the
police station, where he was photographed along with the things seized, then he was charged for
the crime of murder for which he was eventually found guilty to suffer the penalty of death.
1. Whether there was probable cause for the arresting officers, to believe that Cubcubin
committed the crime, to allow them to conduct a warrantless arrest.
1. No.
It is known that an officer or a private person may conduct a warrantless arrest 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. The personal knowledge of facts in arrests without a
warrant must be based upon probable cause which means an actual belief or reasonable grounds
Prepared by: Jo-Anne D. Coloquio

of suspicion. In the case at bar, the arrest of Cubcubin happened shortly after the victim was
killed. However the Court ruled that there was no probable cause for the officers to believe
Cubcubin committed the crime. Their knowledge of the circumstances from which they allegedly
inferred that Cubcubin was probably guilty was based entirely on what they had been told by
others, from someone who called the PNP station and reported that a man had been killed and by
a witness who saw Cubcubin and the victim coming out of the Sting Caf, by Garcellano,
waitress at the Sting Cafe, who said that the man last seen with the victim matched the
description of Cubcubin, by Armando Plata who told them that the physical description given by
Garcellano fitted Cubcubin, alias "Jun Dulce" and who said he knew where Cubcubin lived and
accompanied them to Cubcubin's house. Thus they merely relied on information given to them
by others. However, Cubcubin cannot now question the validity of his arrest without a warrant.
Cubcubin did not object to the arraignment, and thus has waived the right to object to the legality
of his arrest. On the other hand, the search was illegal so the things obtained as a result of the
illegal search are inadmissible in evidence against him. It cannot be said that the .38 caliber gun
was discovered in plain view for the gun was purposely sought by the police officers and they
did not merely stumble upon it. Nor were the police officers justified in seizing the white t-shirt
allegedly bloodied, in plain view as such is not contraband nor is it incriminating in nature which
would lead to the conclusion that it would constitute evidence of a crime. Contrary to what the
officers claim, the t-shirt was not bloodied which could have directed his attention to take a
closer look at it. From the photograph of the t-shirt it merely had some small specks of blood at
its lower portion. There is no evidence to prove Cubcubins involvement in the crime.

Prepared by: Jo-Anne D. Coloquio