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89139; 2 AUG 1990]

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 Memorial Colleges 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.
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.
PEOPLE VS. MALMSTEDT [198 SCRA 401; G.R. No. 91107; 19 Jun 1991]
In an information filed against the accused- appellant Mikael Malmstead was charged before the RTC of La Trinidad,
Benguet, for violation of Section 4, Art. II of Republic Act 6425, as amended, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs
Act of 1972, as amended.
Accused Mikael Malmstedt, a Swedish national, entered the Philippines for the third time in December 1988 as a tourist.
He had visited the country sometime in 1982 and 1985.
In the evening of 7 May 1989, accused left for Baguio City. Upon his arrival thereat in the morning of the following day,
he took a bus to Sagada and stayed in that place for two (2) days. Then in the 7 in the morning of May 11, 1989, the
accused went to Nangonogan bus stop in Sagada.
At about 8: 00 o'clock in the morning of that same day (11 May 1989), Captain Alen Vasco, the Commanding Officer of the
First Regional Command (NARCOM) stationed at Camp Dangwa, ordered his men to set up a temporary checkpoint at
Kilometer 14, Acop, Tublay, Mountain Province, for the purpose of checking all vehicles coming from the Cordillera
Region. The order to establish a checkpoint in the said area was prompted by persistent reports that vehicles coming from
Sagada were transporting marijuana and other prohibited drugs. Moreover, information was received by the
Commanding Officer of NARCOM, that same morning that a Caucasian coming from Sagada had in his possession
prohibited drugs. The group composed of seven (7) NARCOM officers, in coordination with Tublay Police Station, set up
a checkpoint at the designated area at about 10:00 o'clock in the morning and inspected all vehicles coming from the
Cordillera Region.
The two (2) NARCOM officers started their inspection from the front going towards the rear of the bus. Accused who was
the sole foreigner riding the bus was seated at the rear thereof.
During the inspection, CIC Galutan noticed a bulge on accused's waist. Suspecting the bulge on accused's waist to be a
gun, the officer asked for accused's passport and other identification papers. When accused failed to comply, the officer
required him to bring out whatever it was that was bulging on his waist. The bulging object turned out to be a pouch bag
and when accused opened the same bag, as ordered, the officer noticed four (4) suspicious-looking objects wrapped in
brown packing tape, prompting the officer to open one of the wrapped objects. The wrapped objects turned out to contain
hashish, a derivative of marijuana.


Thereafter, accused was invited outside the bus for questioning. But before he alighted from the bus, accused stopped to
get two (2) travelling bags from the luggage carrier. Upon stepping out of the bus, the officers got the bags and opened
them. A teddy bear was found in each bag. Feeling the teddy bears, the officer noticed that there were bulges inside the
same which did not feel like foam stuffing. It was only after the officers had opened the bags that accused finally
presented his passport.
Accused was then brought to the headquarters of the NARCOM at Camp Dangwa, La Trinidad, Benguet for further
investigation. At the investigation room, the officers opened the teddy bears and they were found to also contain hashish.
Representative samples were taken from the hashish found among the personal effects of accused and the same were
brought to the PC Crime Laboratory for chemical analysis.
In the chemistry report, it was established that the objects examined were hashish. a prohibited drug which is a derivative
of marijuana. Thus, an information was filed against accused for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act.
During the arraignment, accused entered a plea of "not guilty." For his defense, he raised the issue of illegal search of his
personal effects. He also claimed that the hashish was planted by the NARCOM officers in his pouch bag and that the two
(2) travelling bags were not owned by him, but were merely entrusted to him by an Australian couple whom he met in
Sagada. He further claimed that the Australian couple intended to take the same bus with him but because there were no
more seats available in said bus, they decided to take the next ride and asked accused to take charge of the bags, and that
they would meet each other at the Dangwa Station.
The trial court found the guilt of the accused Mikael Malmstedt established beyond reasonable doubt.
Seeking the reversal of the decision of the trial court finding him guilty of the crime charged, accused argues that the
search of his personal effects was illegal because it was made without a search warrant and, therefore, the prohibited
drugs which were discovered during the illegal search are not admissible as evidence against him.
Issue: Whether or Not the contention of the accused is valid, and therefore the RTC ruling be reversed.
The Constitution guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against
unreasonable searches and seizures. However, where the search is made pursuant to a lawful arrest, there is no need to
obtain a search warrant. A lawful arrest without a warrant may be made by a peace officer or a private person under the
following circumstances.
Sec. 5 Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an
(b) 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 it; and
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving
final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one
confinement to another.
Accused was searched and arrested while transporting prohibited drugs (hashish). A crime was actually being committed
by the accused and he was caught in flagrante delicto. Thus, the search made upon his personal effects falls squarely
under paragraph (1) of the foregoing provisions of law, which allow a warrantless search incident to a lawful arrest.
While it is true that the NARCOM officers were not armed with a search warrant when the search was made over the
personal effects of accused, however, under the circumstances of the case, there was sufficient probable cause for said
officers to believe that accused was then and there committing a crime.
Probable cause has been defined as such facts and circumstances which could lead a reasonable, discreet and prudent
man to believe that an offense has been committed, and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the
place sought to be searched. Warrantless search of the personal effects of an accused has been declared by this Court as
valid, because of existence of probable cause, where the smell of marijuana emanated from a plastic bag owned by the
accused, 10 or where the accused was acting suspiciously, 11 and attempted to flee.
The appealed judgment of conviction by the trial court is hereby affirmed. Costs against the accused-appellant.


[G.R. Nos. 146284-86. January 20, 2003]

Facts: Abdul Macalaba was charged with 3 cases to wit; violation of PD 1866 (for illegal possesion of
firearm adn ammunition), violation of Art 168 of RPC (for possession of fake bills), and Violation of
RA 6425 (now RA 9165) for illegal possession of shabu. these cases were consolidated and upon
his arraignment he entered a plea of not guilty to each case.
anyare?.... members of PNP-CIDG received an information that ABDUL is driving a carnapped
vehicle. upon verification made by the CIDG operatives, they went to the apartment of ABDUL but
the latter was nowhere to be found. The CIDG operative chanced upon the suspected carnapped
vehicle in the street when it stopped due to red traffic light. The CIDG then positioned themselves
and one of them knock the window of the car indeed driven by ABDUL. One introduced himself as a
member of the Laguna CIDG and asked ABDUL to turn on the light and show them the cars
certificate of registration. When the light was already on, the operative saw a black Norinco .45
caliber gun inside an open black clutch/belt bag placed on the right side of the drivers seat near the
gear. He asked ABDUL for the supporting papers of the gun, apart from the cars certificate of
registration, but the latter failed to show them any.When ABDUL opened the zipper of the clutch/belt
bag, the CIDG officers saw inside it four plastic sachets of what appeared to be shabu. They likewise
found a self-sealing plastic bag which contained the following items: two fake P1,000 bills, a list of
names of persons, a magazine and five ammunitions for a .45 caliber gun. They confiscated the gun,
the shabu, and the fake P1,000 bills and thereafter brought ABDUL to the CIDG office.
As expected, ADBUL refutes all the allegations contained in the complaint and claimed that evidence
obtained are inadmissible because it was a clear violation of his constitutional rights against
warrantless arrest.
Issue: WON the arrest is valid, hence, evidence obtained are admissible as evidence against
Ruling: The warrantless arrest of, or warrantless search and seizure conducted on ABDUL constitute
a valid exemption from the warran trequirement. The evidence clearly shows that on the basis of
intelligence information that a carnapped vehicle was driven by ABDUL,who was also a suspect of
drug pushing, the members of the CIDG of Laguna went around looking for the carnapped car. While
ABDUL was fumbling about in his clutch bag for the registration papers of the car the CIDG agents
saw four transparent sachets of shabu.These sachets of shabu were therefore in " plain view" of the
law enforcers since there was (a) a prior valid intrusion in which thepolice are legally present in the
pursuit of their official duties; (b) the evidence was inadvertently discovered by the police who had
theright to be where they are; (c) the evidence must be immediately apparent; and (d) the plain view
justified mere seizure of evidence without further search.On the credibility of prosecution witnesses,
ABDUL miserably failed to rebut this presumption and to prove any ulterior motive on the part of the
prosecution witnesses who are police officers who are presumed to have performed their duties in a
regular manner, unless there be evidence to the contrary.

People vs. Mengote 210 SCRA 174 (improper warrantless arrest)

An informant tipped the police officers of Western Police District that there were three suspiciouslooking persons at the corner of Juan Luna and North Bay Boulevard in Tondo, Manila. The Police
Officers dispatched to the place and saw three men, one of them is Mengote who was looking from
side to side clutching his abdomen. The officers approached them and introduced themselves as
peace officers, whereupon the two tried to run away but were unable to escape because the other
lawmen had surrounded them. The suspects were then searched. One of them, who turned out to be
the accused-appellant, was found with a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver with six live bullets
in the chamber. The three were arrested and the revolver seized was used as evidence against him.
Mengote contends then that the gun should not be admitted as evidence because the seizure was
the product of an illegal search which is not incident to a lawful arrest.
Issue: is the arrest of Mengote legal??
No. The court ruled that the requirements of a warrantless arrest were not complied with. At the time
of the arrest in question, the accused-appellant was merely "looking from side to side" and "holding
his abdomen," according to the arresting officers themselves. There was apparently no offense that
had just been committed or was being actually committed or at least being attempted by Mengote in
their presence. It might have been different if Mengote had been apprehended at an ungodly hour
and in a place where he had no reason to be, like a darkened alley at 3 o'clock in the morning. But
he was arrested at 11:30 in the morning and in a crowded street shortly after alighting from a
passenger jeep with his companion. He was not skulking in the shadows but walking in the clear
light of day. There was nothing clandestine about his being on that street at that busy hour in the
blaze of the noonday sun. The court added, looking side by side is not a sinister act. There was
nothing to support the arresting officers' suspicion other than Mengote's darting eyes and his hand
on his abdomen. By no stretch of the imagination could it have been inferred from these acts that an
offense had just been committed, or was actually being committed, or was at least being attempted
in their presence.