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Case Digest: Luz y Ong v. People
G. R. No. 197788 : February 29, 2012

RODEL LUZ y ONG, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

SERENO, J.:
FACTS:

PO2 Emmanuel L. Alteza testified that he saw the accused driving a motorcycle without a helmet and this
prompted him to flag down the accused for violating a municipal ordinance which requires all motorcycle
drivers to wear helmet while driving said motor vehicle. He invited the accused to come inside their sub-
station since the place where he flagged down the accused is almost in front of the sub-station to where he
is assigned as a traffic enforcer. While he and SPO1 Rayford Brillante were issuing a citation ticket for
violation of municipal ordinance, he noticed that the accused was uneasy and kept on getting something
from his jacket. He was alerted and so, he told the accused to take out the contents of the pocket of his
jacket as the latter may have a weapon inside it. The accused obliged and slowly put out the contents of
the pocket of his jacket which included two (2) plastic sachets of suspected shabu. The RTC convicted
petitioner of illegal possession of dangerous drugs. It found the prosecution evidence sufficient to show
that he had been lawfully arrested for a traffic violation and then subjected to a valid search, which led to
the discovery on his person of two plastic sachets later found to contain shabu. Upon review, the CA
affirmed the RTCs Decision.

ISSUE: Whether or not the search and seizure of the alleged subject shabu was incident to a lawful
arrest.

HELD: Court of Appeals decision is reversed.

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: search and seizure incident to a lawful arrest
There was no valid arrest of petitioner. When he was flagged down for committing a traffic violation, he
was not, ipso facto and solely for this reason, arrested.

Arrest is the taking of a person into custody in order that he or she may be bound to answer for the
commission of an offense. It is effected by an actual restraint of the person to be arrested or by that
persons voluntary submission to the custody of the one making the arrest. Neither the application of
actual force, manual touching of the body, or physical restraint, nor a formal declaration of arrest, is
required. It is enough that there be an intention on the part of one of the parties to arrest the other, and
that there be an intent on the part of the other to submit, under the belief and impression that submission
is necessary. Under R.A. 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, the general procedure for
dealing with a traffic violation is not the arrest of the offender, but the confiscation of the drivers license
of the latter.

At the time that he was waiting for PO3 Alteza to write his citation ticket, petitioner could not be said to
have been under arrest. There was no intention on the part of PO3 Alteza to arrest him, deprive him of his
liberty, or take him into custody. Prior to the issuance of the ticket, the period during which petitioner was
at the police station may be characterized merely as waiting time. In fact, as found by the trial court, PO3
Alteza himself testified that the only reason they went to the police sub-station was that petitioner had
been flagged down almost in front of that place. Hence, it was only for the sake of convenience that they
were waiting there. There was no intention to take petitioner into custody.

Even if one were to work under the assumption that petitioner was deemed arrested upon being flagged
down for a traffic violation and while awaiting the issuance of his ticket, then the requirements for a valid
arrest were not complied with. At the time a person is arrested, it shall be the duty of the arresting officer
to inform the latter of the reason for the arrest and must show that person the warrant of arrest, if any.
Persons shall be informed of their constitutional rights to remain silent and to counsel, and that any

.statement they might make could be used against them. GRANTED. these constitutional requirements were complied with by the police officers only after petitioner had been arrested for illegal possession of dangerous drugs. It may also be noted that in this case.

That the accused tested negative for shabu. even as they peeked through its partially opened door. the person to be arrested has committed. they were charged with illegal possession of drugs paraphernalia. PO1 Cabutihan testified: . given that the officers were in a patrol car and a tricycle. they entered the house. The prosecution contends that. Running after the fleeing suspects was the more urgent task but the officers instead gave priority to the house even when they heard no cry for help from it. administering. upheld by both the RTC and the CA. scoop 10 sachets of suspected shabu. arrest a person when. said the prosecution. or is attempting to commit an offense. and strips of aluminium oil. Corazon. Section 5(a). Sensing something amiss. Admittedly. Rule 113 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that a “peace officer or a private person may. the police officers approached the house and peeked inside the partially opened door. hence he elevated his case to the Supreme Court. Indeed. they saw no activity that warranted their entering it. Both lower courts justified the conviction of George. Because of this. Only George appealed the decision rendered by the RTC convicting him as charged. Rule 113 of the Rules of Court. police officers Gregorio and Laurence while onboard a patrol car. citing his arrest was a valid warrantless arrest under Section 5. since Corazon jumped bail. the natural thing for them to do was to give chase to the jeep that the two fleeing men boarded. The Supreme Court: The prosecution’s theory. he is already considered to have waived his right to question the validity of his arrest when he voluntarily submitted himself to the court’s jurisdiction by entering a plea of not guilty.M. and arrested George and Corazon.. of February 11. 1. ingesting. Pasay City. The police officers claim that they were alerted when they saw two unidentified men suddenly rush out of 107 David Street. saw two unidentified men rush out of a house in David St. not for illegal use of dangerous drugs. is that it was a case of valid warrantless arrest in that the police officers saw accused Antiquera and Cruz through the door of their house. since the seized paraphernalia tested positive for shabu. they were no doubt used for smoking.At around 4:45 A. The Court of Appeals denied his appeal. the police officers did not notice anything amiss going on in the house from the street where they stood. Pasay City. But the circumstances here do not make out a case of arrest made in flagrante delicto. is actually committing. 2004. Because of they. without a warrant. The overt act constituting the crime is done in the presence or within the view of the arresting officer. consuming. A search of the immediate surroundings revealed a wooden box containing improvised tooter. his live-in partner. where they saw George holding an improvised tooter and a pink lighter. The prosecution added that even assuming that the arrest of the accused was irregular. and beside him. That valid warrantless arrest gave the officers the right as well to search the living room for objects relating to the crime and thus seize the paraphernalia they found there. injecting. had no bearing on the crime charged which was for illegal possession of drug paraphernalia. in his presence. 2. in the act of having a pot session. Since they suspected that a crime had been committed.” This is an arrest in flagrante delicto. Thus. or introducing dangerous drug into the body in violation of Section 12 of Republic Act 9165.

Cabutihan. the various drug paraphernalia that the police officers allegedly found in the house and seized are inadmissible. Q – By how much. Your Honor.THE COURT: Q – By the way. Q – So why did you not a [sic] secure a search warrant first before you tried to investigate the house. Your Honor. Q – What do you mean by yes? Would you first obtain a search warrant before searching the interior of the house? A – Yes. Q – But before you saw them. the search and seizure that resulted from it was likewise illegal. . you just had to push the door wide open to peep through its opening because you did not know what was happening inside? A – Yes. Your Honor. (Emphasis supplied) Clearly. Your Honor. to see the interior of the house if the door was only open by 6 inches? Or did you have to push the door? A – We pushed the door. no crime was plainly exposed to the view of the arresting officers that authorized the arrest of accused Antiquera without warrant under the above-mentioned rule. 1/2? Only by less than one (1) foot? A – More or less 4 to 6 inches. xxxx Q – Were you allowed to just go towards the door of the house. or was it partially open? A – It was partially open Your Honor. how was the door open?Was it totally open. as a police officer? A – Kasi po naghinala po kami baka may… Q – Are you not allowed to – Are you not required to get a search warrant before you can search the interior of the house? A – Yes. push its door and peeped inside it. Your Honor. when you followed your companion towards the open door. Since the confiscated drug paraphernalia is the very corpus delicti of the crime charged. having proceeded from an invalid search and seizure. considering your admission that you suspected that there was something wrong inside the house? A – Because we saw them that they were engaged in pot session. the Court has no choice but to acquit the accused. Your Honor. Q – So how were you able to know. Consequently. Considering that his arrest was illegal. 1/3. Mr.

The buy-bust operation took place. an arrest is considered legitimate if effected with a valid warrant of arrest. ISSUE: Whether the warrantless seizure was valid HELD: YES. This interdiction against warrantless searches and seizures. alias Don promised him a good commission if he (the informant) would present a potential buyer of drugs. A waiver of an illegal warrantless arrest does not carry with it a waiver of the inadmissibility of evidence seized during the illegal warrantless arrest. The last includes a valid warrantless arrest. DONALD VASQUEZ January 15. for. When the brown envelope was confiscated from the appellant. the object. December 11. 714 SCRA 78 LEONARDO-DE CASTRO. She formed a team and with the help of the informant. THIRD DIVISION. 2014. the Court holds that the warrantless seizure of the illegal drugs from the appellant is likewise valid. a confidential informant went to their office and reported that a certain Donald Vasquez was engaged in illegal drug activity. (3) customs searches. Fajardo further testified that the six plastic bags of shabu seized during the buy-bust operation were actually contained in a self-sealing plastic envelope placed inside a brown envelope. RESPONDENT.” Accused acquitted. the following elements should be satisfactorily proven: (1) the identity of the buyer and seller. P/Insp. (4) waiver or consented searches. According to the informant. the commanding officer of their office. To secure a conviction for the crime of illegal sale of regulated or prohibited drugs. PETITIONER. however. Fajardo relayed the information to Police Superintendent (P/Supt. P/Insp. is not absolute and such warrantless searches and seizures have long been deemed permissible by jurisprudence in instances of (1) search of moving vehicles. GEORGE ANTIQUERA Y CODES. 2013. and the consideration. Fajardo testified that. In a prosecution of illegal sale of drugs. PEOPLE VS. This alias Don supposedly claimed that he was an employee of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). and (3) arrest of escaped prisoners. she was able to set up a meeting with alias Don. (2) arrest effected in hot pursuit. (5) stop and frisk situations (Terry search). 180661.) Pepito Domantay. G. J. she put her initials “JSF” therein and signed it. and search incidental to a lawful arrest. and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor.R. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. P/Insp. coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti. to wit: (1) arrest in flagrante delicto. Having established the validity of the warrantless arrest in this case. The failure of the accused to object to the irregularity of his arrest by itself is not enough to sustain his conviction. the Rules of Court recognize permissible warrantless arrest. Fajardo was then instructed to form a team and conduct a possible buy-bust against alias Don. No.” The Supreme Court thus affirmed the conviction. FACTS: P/Insp. while as a rule. (2) seizure in plain view. “what is material is proof that the accused peddled illicit drugs.One final note. . VS.