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People vs.

The State vs. Suspect NPA Rebel
GR L-68955, September 4, 1986 (144 SCRA 1)

Summary: An informant identified a certain person as a member of a subversive group

who forcibly recruited him and based on this information, the police went to arrest the
suspect. At the time of the arrest, the suspect was merely plowing his field.

Rule of Law: In a warrantless arrest, the officer arresting a person who has just
committed, is committing, or is about to commit an offense must have personal
knowledge of that fact.

Facts: Cesar Masamlok personally and voluntarily surrendered to the authorities stating
that he was forcibly recruited by accused Ruben Burgos (D) as member of the NPA,
threatening him with the use of firearm against his life, if he refused. Pursuant to this
information, PC-INP members went to the house of the Burgos (D) and saw him plowing
his field when they arrived. One of the arresting offices called Burgos (D) and asked him
about the firearm. At first, Burgos (D) denied having any firearm, but later, Burgos's (D)
wife pointed to a place below their house where a gun was buried in the ground.
After recovery of said firearm, Burgos (D) pointed to a stock pile of cogon where the
officers recovered alleged subversive documents. Burgos (D) further admitted that the
firearm was issued to him by Nestor Jimenez, team leader of sparrow unit.

Issues: Is the warrantless arrest valid? Is the warrantless search valid?

Ruling: No. Under Section 6(a) of Rule 113, the officer arresting a person who has just
committed, is committing, or is about to commit an offense must have personal
knowledge of that fact. The offense must also be committed in his presence or within his
view. (Sayo vs. 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 Cesar
Masamlok. The location of the firearm was given by the wife of Burgos (D).

In arrests without a warrant under Section 6(b), however, it is not enough that there is
reasonable ground to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a crime. A
crime must in fact or actually have been committed first. That a crime has actually been
committed is an essential 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 test
of reasonable ground applies only to the identity of the perpetrator.

In this case, the Burgos (D) was arrested on the sole basis of Masamlok's verbal report.
Masamlok led the authorities to suspect that the accused had committed a crime. They
were still fishing for evidence of a crime not yet ascertained. The subsequent recovery of
the subject firearm 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 afterward can make it lawful. The fruit
of a poisoned tree is necessarily also tainted.


SUBJECT: M/V Wilcon; marijuana not caught in flagrante delicto; search was
unreasonable; evidence inadmissible

The police agents in Iloilo City received a tip from a reliable informer that theaccused,
Aminnudin, was on a vessel bound for Iloilo and is carrying with
himmarijuana. The said vessel was to arrive few days after such tip.
On the day of the arrival, the agents then waited at the port for the vessel. Uponarrival of
the vessel and when the suspect disembarked, they immediately frisked himand
searched his bag which contained the marijuana.
Subsequently, the Aminnudinwas arrested. During the trial, the accused alleged
that he was arbitrarily arrested and immediately handcuffed and that his bag was
confiscated without a search warrant.
ISSUE: Is the marijuana found in the accused bag admissible evidence?

HELD: No. The police agents had enough time to secure a warrant to arrest and search
the accused but did not do so. In addition to this, the arrest did not fall into any of the
exceptions of a valid warrantless arrest because the accused-appellant was not,at the
moment of his arrest, committing a crime nor was it shown that he was about todo so or

that he had just done so.

Tip they received from the informant was alleged to be 2 days prior the arrest. The
present case presented no such urgency. From the conflicting declarations of the PC
witnesses, it is clear that they had at least two days within which they could have
obtained a warrant to arrest and search Aminnudin who was coming to Iloilo on the M/V
Wilcon 9. His name was known. The vehicle was Identified. The date of its arrival was
certain. And from the information they had received, they could have persuaded a judge
that there was probable cause, indeed, to justify the issuance of a warrant. Yet they did
nothing. No effort was made to comply with the law. The Bill of Rights was ignored
altogether because the PC lieutenant who was the head of the arresting team, had
determined on his own authority that a "search warrant was not necessary.
In the case at bar, the accused-appellant was not, at the moment of his arrest,
committing a crime nor was it shown that he was about to do so or that he had just done
so. What he was doing was descending the gangplank of the M/V Wilcon 9 and there was
no outward indication that called for his arrest. To all appearances, he was like any of the
other passengers innocently disembarking from the vessel. It was only when the informer
pointed to him as the carrier of the marijuana that he suddenly became suspect and so
subject to apprehension. This is not inflagrante delicto.