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Paper Industries Corp v Asuncion

Police applied for a search warrant for PICs compound in Surigao del Sur for allegedly
being the storage place for high powered firearms, ammo, and explosives, in violation of
PD 1866 (illegal possession of firearms, etc.)
QC RTC issued the warrant. The police found a buttload of guns. PIC filed a motion to
quash, it was denied.
Reached the SC via PICs petition for certiorari praying to quash the search
warrant issued and a TRO ordering the prosecution to desist from proceeding
with the case. The OSG sides with PIC.

PICs position:
1. The search warrant is invalid because Asuncion did not comply with the Constitutional
requirements:
a. Probable cause has not been validly established
b. It is a general warrant
c. Asuncion improperly served the warrant
2. Since the warrant is invalid, prosecutor is acting with grave abuse of discretion in using it
as evidence.
Judge Maximiano Asuncions position:
1. The petition assails the factual basis for the search warrant, which is not proper in a
petition for certiorari.
2. The police provided sketches for the premises to be searched and the police knew which
buildings in particular housed the weapons.
Ruling on the factual basis not proper in certiorari: The factual basis is not being assailed
the legal basis is.
-

Petitioners are not questioning the truth/falsity of the facts, but rather the way those
findings were arrived at.

Ruling on the validity of the search warrant: The search warrant is invalid.
-

Under A3S2of the Constitution and S3/4 of Rule 126, the requisites for a valid search
warrant are:
o The existence of probable cause, determined personally by the judge
o The complainant/witnesses are personally examined by the judge, in writing
and under oath
Asuncion failed to personally examine the parties. Chief inspector Pascuas
application for a search warrant included the deposition of SP03 Cicero
Bacolod & SP02 Cecilio Morito, a summary of information, and supplementary
statements of Mario Enad and Felipe Moreno.
However, only Pascua and Bacolod appeared before the trial court, and
Pascua only in order to introduce Bacolod.
Based on the record Asuncion did not ask questions, much less probing
questions. Instead, he mainly relied on the affidavits. This makes the finding
of probable cause have less weight.
o The applicant/witnesses testify on facts known personally by them
SP03 Cicero Bacolod did not personally know the facts. In his testimony, he
said
We gathered information from reliable sources so his knowledge is
not personal, but rather gathered from outside sources.

I believe they (PIC guards) have no license to possess high powered


firearms Belief is not a proper basis. He could have gotten a
certification from the Firearms and Explosives Office of the PNP to
figure this out, but did not.
The warrant specifically describes the place to be searched and the things to be
seized
The warrant does not particularly describe the place to be searched. The
warrant identifies one place, PICOP Compound, Barangay Tabon, Bislig,
Surigao del Sur. Said compound has 200 buildings, 15 plants, 84 staff
houses, an airstrip, 3 piers/wharves etc. over a space of 155 ha.
The sketch specifying the buildings to search was not made an integral
part of the warrant.
As in [People v CA], police knowing which buildings to search does not
justify the lack of particulars, as the place to be searched cannot be
amplified or modified by said knowledge.

Ruling on admissibility of the evidence: Thus, the evidence is inadmissible, being fruits of the
poisonous tree.