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Del Castillo v.

People describes the function of a barangay tanod as an agent of persons


in authority. Section 388 of the Local Government Code reads:
Pursuant to a confidential information that petitioner Del
Castillo was engaged in selling shabu, police officers headed by SEC. 388. Persons in Authority. - For purposes of the Revised
SPO3 Bienvenido Masnayon, after conducting surveillance and Penal Code, the punong barangay, sangguniang barangay
test-buy operation at the house of petitioner, secured a search members, and members of the lupong tagapamayapa in each
warrant from the RTC. Upon arrival to the residence of Del Castillo barangay shall be deemed as persons in authority in their
to implement the search warrant, SPO3 Masnayon claimed that he jurisdictions, while other barangay officials and members who may
saw petitioner run towards a small structure, a nipa hut, in front be designated by law or ordinance and charged with the
of his house. Masnayon chased him but to no avail, because he maintenance of public order, protection and security of life and
and his men were not familiar with the entrances and exits of the property, or the maintenance of a desirable and balanced
place. They all went back to the residence of Del Castillo and environment, and any barangay member who comes to the aid of
requested his men to get a barangay tanod and a few minutes persons in authority, shall be deemed agents of persons in
thereafter, his men returned with two barangay tanods who authority.
searched the house of petitioner including the nipa hut where the
petitioner allegedly ran for cover. His men who searched the By virtue of the above provisions, the police officers, as well
residence of the petitioner found nothing, but one of the as the barangay tanods were acting as agents of a person in
barangay tanods was able to confiscate from the nipa hut authority during the conduct of the search. Thus, the search
several articles, including four (4) plastic packs containing conducted was unreasonable. and the confiscated items are
white crystalline substance. inadmissible in evidence.

Thus, an information was filed against Del Castillo for violation of The confiscated items: having been found in a place other than
Section 16, Article III of R.A. 6425 and was found guilty by the the one described in the search warrant, can be considered as
RTC and affirmed by the Court of Appeals. Petitioner filed with the fruits of an invalid warrantless search, the presentation of which
Supreme Court the petition for certiorari contending among others as an evidence is a violation of petitioner's constitutional
that CA erred in finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of guaranty against unreasonable searches and seizure.
illegal possession of prohibited drugs, because he could not
be presumed to be in possession of the same just because In considering a criminal case, it is critical to start with the law's own
they were found inside the nipa hut. starting perspective on the status of the accused - in all criminal
prosecutions, he is presumed innocent of the charge laid unless the
Section 16, Article III of R.A. 6425: Possession or Use of Regulated contrary is proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Drugs - The penalty of imprisonment ranging from six months and one day
to four years and a fine ranging from six hundred to four thousand pesos Proof beyond reasonable doubt: or that quantum of proof
shall be imposed upon any person who shall possess or use any regulated sufficient to produce a moral certainty that would convince and
drug without the corresponding license or prescription. satisfy the conscience of those who act in judgment, is
indispensable to overcome the constitutional presumption of
Issue: WON petitioner violated Section 16, Article III of R.A. 6425 innocence.
by mere presumption that the petitioner has dominion and control ___________________________________________________
over the place where the shabu was found. Petitioner insists that there was no probable cause to issue the
search warrant, the nipa hut located about 20 meters away from
NO! While it is not necessary that the property to be searched or his house is no longer within the permissible area that may be
seized should be owned by the person against whom the search searched by the police officers due to the distance and that the
warrant is issued, there must be sufficient showing that the search warrant did not include the same nipa hut as one of the
property is under appellants control or possession. (The CA, in places to be searched. DENIED!
its Decision, referred to the possession of regulated drugs by the
petitioner as a constructive one.) The records are void of any The requisites for the issuance of a search warrant are: (1)
evidence to show that petitioner owns the nipa hut in question probable cause is present; (2) such probable cause must be
nor was it established that he used the said structure as a determined personally by the judge; (3) the judge must examine, in
shop. The RTC, as well as the CA, merely presumed that writing and under oath or affirmation, the complainant and the
petitioner used the said structure due to the presence of electrical witnesses he or she may produce; (4) the applicant and the
materials, the petitioner being an electrician by profession. With the witnesses testify on the facts personally known to them; and (5) the
prosecution's failure to prove that the nipa hut was under warrant specifically describes the place to be searched and the
petitioner's control and dominion, there casts a reasonable doubt as things to be seized.
to his guilt.
Probable cause for a search warrant: is defined as such facts
DECISION: Petitioner Ruben del Castillo is ACQUITTED on and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and
reasonable doubt. prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and
___________________OTHER DETAILS__________________ that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the
OSGs Counter-Argument: when prohibited and regulated drugs place sought to be searched.
are found in a house or other building belonging to and occupied by
a particular person, the presumption arises that such person is in Probable cause demands: more than bare suspicion; it requires
possession of such drugs in violation of law, and the fact of finding less than evidence which would justify conviction. The judge, in
the same is sufficient to convict. DENIED! determining probable cause, is to consider the totality of the
circumstances made known to him and not by a fixed and rigid
The assistance of the barangay tanods was sought by the formula, and must employ a flexible, totality of the circumstances
police authorities who effected the searched warrant: the same standard.
barangay tanods therefore acted as agents of persons in authority.
Article 152 of the Revised Penal Code defines persons in Substantial basis means that the questions of the examining judge
authority and agents of persons in authority as: brought out such facts and circumstances as would lead a
reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has
x x x any person directly vested with jurisdiction, whether as an individual or been committed, and the objects in connection with the offense
as a member of some court or governmental corporation, board or sought to be seized are in the place sought to be searched. A
commission, shall be deemed a person in authority. A barangay captain and review of the records shows that in the present case, a substantial
a barangay chairman shall also be deemed a person in authority.
basis exists.
___________________________________________________
The Local Government Code also contains a provision which
Petitioner asserts that the warrant issued must particularly
describe the place to be searched and persons or things to be
seized in order for it to be valid. A designation or description that
points out the place to be searched to the exclusion of all others,
and on inquiry unerringly leads the peace officers to it, satisfies the
constitutional requirement of definiteness. DENIED!

The Search Warrant: specifically designates or describes the


residence of the petitioner as the place to be searched.
___________________________________________________
In every prosecution for the illegal possession of shabu, the
following essential elements must be established: (a) the
accused is found in possession of a regulated drug; (b) the person
is not authorized by law or by duly constituted authorities; and (c)
the accused has knowledge that the said drug is a regulated drug.

People v. Tira: This crime is mala prohibita, and, as such, criminal


intent is not an essential element. However, the prosecution must
prove that the accused had the intent to possess (animus
posidendi) the drugs. Possession, under the law, includes not only
actual possession, but also constructive possession. Actual
possession exists when the drug is in the immediate physical
possession or control of the accused. On the other hand,
constructive possession exists when the drug is under the
dominion and control of the accused or when he has the right to
exercise dominion and control over the place where it is found.
(Exclusive possession or control is not necessary). The accused
cannot avoid conviction if his right to exercise control and dominion
over the place where the contraband is located, is shared with
another.

--------------------------------------NOTE------------------------------------------
(a) The government agent admitted under oath that he had no
personal knowledge of the facts which were to serve as a
basis for the issuance of warrant, instead, he had
knowledge of them through mere information secured from
a person he considered liable.

(b) COURT: oath required must refer to the truth of the facts
within the personal knowledge of his witnesses, because
the purpose thereof is to convince the committing
magistrate, not the individual making the affidavit and
seeking the issuance of the warrant, of the existence of
probable cause.

(c) TEST OF SUFFICIENCY: whether it had been drawn in


such a manner that perjury could be charged thereon and
affiant be held liable for damages caused.