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People v Aminnudin

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 74869. July 6, 1988.]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. IDEL AMINNUDIN y


AHNI, defendant-appellant.

The Solicitor General, for plaintiff-appellee.

Herminio T. Llariza counsel de-officio, for defendant-appellant

the PC officers had earlier received a tip from an informer that accused-appellant was on board a vessel
bound for Iloilo City and was carrying marijuana. Acting on this tip, they waited for him one evening,
approached him as he descended from the gangplank, detained him and inspected the bag he was
carrying. Said bag contained marijuana leaves. The Court held that the marijuana could not be admitted in
evidence since it was seized illegally.

DECISION

CRUZ, J p:

The accused-appellant claimed his business was selling watches but he was nonetheless arrested, tried and
found guilty of illegally transporting marijuana. The trial court, disbelieving him, held it was high time to
put him away and sentenced him to life imprisonment plus a fine of P20,000.00. 1

Idel Aminnudin was arrested on June 25, 1984, shortly after disembarking from the M/V Wilcon 9 at
about 8:30 in the evening, in Iloilo City. The PC officers who were in fact waiting for him simply
accosted him, inspected his bag and finding what looked liked marijuana leaves took him to their
headquarters for investigation. The two bundles of suspect articles were confiscated from him and later
taken to the NBI laboratory for examination. When they were verified as marijuana leaves, an information
for violation ofthe Dangerous Drugs Act was filed against him. 2 Later, the information was amended to
include Farida Ali y Hassen, who had also been arrested with him that same evening and likewise
investigated. 3 Both were arraigned and pleaded not guilty. 4 Subsequently, the fiscal filed a motion to
dismiss the charge against Ali on the basis of a sworn statement of the arresting officers absolving her
after a "thorough investigation." 5 The motion was granted, and trial proceeded only against the accused-
appellant, who was eventually convicted. 6

According to the prosecution, the PC officers had earlier received a tip from one of their informers that
the accused-appellant was on board a vessel bound for Iloilo City and was carrying marijuana. 7 He was
identified by name. 8 Acting on this tip, they waited for him in the evening of June 25, 1984, and
approached him as he descended from the gangplank after the informer had pointed to him. 9 They
detained him and inspected the bag he was carrying. It was found to contain three kilos of what were later
analyzed as marijuana leaves by an NBI forensic examiner, 10 who testified that she conducted
microscopic, chemical and chromatographic tests on them. On the basis of this finding, the corresponding
charge was then filed against Aminnudin.

In his defense, Aminnudin disclaimed the marijuana, averring that all he had in his bag was his clothing
consisting of a jacket, two shirts and two pairs of pants. 11 He alleged that he was arbitrarily arrested and
immediately handcuffed. His bag was confiscated without a search warrant. At the PC headquarters, he
was manhandled to force him to admit he was carrying the marijuana, the investigator hitting him with a
piece of wood in the chest and arms even as he parried the blows while he was still handcuffed. 12 He
insisted he did not even know what marijuana looked like and that his business was selling watches and
sometimes cigarettes. 13 He also argued that the marijuana he was alleged to have been carrying was not
properly identified and could have been any of several bundles kept in the stock room of the PC
headquarters. 14

The trial court was unconvinced, noting from its own examination of the accused that he claimed to have
come to Iloilo City to sell watches but carried only two watches at the time, traveling from Jolo for that
purpose and spending P107.00 for fare, not to mention his other expenses. 15 Aminnudin testified that he
kept the two watches in a secret pocket below his belt but, strangely, they were not discovered when he
was bodily searched by the arresting officers nor were they damaged as a result of his
manhandling. 1 6He also said he sold one of the watches for P400.00 and gave away the other, although
the watches belonged not to him but to his cousin, 17 to a friend whose full name he said did not even
know. 18 The trial court also rejected his allegations of maltreatment, observing that he had not
sufficiently proved the injuries sustained by him. 19

There is no justification to reverse these factual findings, considering that it was the trial judge who had
immediate access to the testimony of the witnesses and had the opportunity to weigh their credibility on
the stand. Nuances of tone or voice, meaningful pauses and hesitation, flush of face and dart of eyes,
which may reveal the truth or expose the lie, are not described in the impersonal record. But the trial
judge sees all of this, discovering for himself the truant fact amidst the falsities.

The only exception we may make in this case is the trial court's conclusion that the accused-appellant was
not really beaten up because he did not complain about it later nor did he submit to a medical
examination. That is hardly fair or realistic. It is possible Aminnudin never had that opportunity as he was
at that time under detention by the PC authorities and in fact has never been set free since he was arrested
in 1984 and up to the present. No bail has been allowed for his release.

There is one point that deserves closer examination, however, and it is Aminnudin's claim that he was
arrested and searched without warrant, making the marijuana allegedly found in his possession
inadmissible in evidence against him under the Bill of Rights. The decision did not even discuss this
point. For his part, the Solicitor General dismissed this after an all-too-short argument that the arrest
of Aminnudin was valid because it came under Rule 113, Section 6(b) of the Rules of Court on
warrantless arrests. This made the search also valid as incidental to a lawful arrest.

It is not disputed, and in fact it is admitted by the PC officers who testified for the prosecution, that they
had no warrant when they arrested Aminnudin and seized the bag he was carrying. Their only justification
was the tip they had earlier received from a reliable and regular informer who reported to them
that Aminnudin was arriving in Iloilo by boat with marijuana. Their testimony varies as to the time they
received the tip, one saying it was two days before the arrest, 20 another two weeks 21 and a third "weeks
before June 25." 22 On this matter, we may prefer the declaration of the chief of the arresting team, Lt.
Cipriano Querol, Jr., who testified as follow:

"Q You mentioned an intelligence report, you mean with respect to the coming of
Idel Aminnudin on June 25, 1984?

"A Yes, sir.

"Q When did you receive this intelligence report?

"A Two days before June 25, 1984 and it was supported by reliable sources.

"Q Were you informed of the coming of the Wilcon 9 and the possible trafficking of
marijuana leaves on that date?

"A Yes, sir, two days before June 25, 1984 when we received this information from
that particular informer, prior to June 25, 1984 we have already reports of the
particular operation which was being participated by Idel Aminnudin.

"Q You said you received an intelligence report two days before June 25, 1984 with
respect to the coming of Wilcon 9?

"A Yes, sir.


"Q Did you receive any other report aside from this intelligence report?

"A Well, I have received also other reports but not pertaining to the coming of Wilcon
9. For instance, report of illegal gambling operation.

"COURT:

"Q Previous to that particular information which you said two days before June 25,
1984, did you also receive any report regarding the activities of
Idel Aminnudin?

"A Previous to June 25, 1984 we received reports on the activities of Idel Aminnudin.

"Q What were those activities?

"A Purely marijuana trafficking.

"Q From whom did you get that information?

"A It came to my hand which was written in a required sheet of information, maybe for
security reason and we cannot identify the person.

"Q But you received it from your regular informer?

"A Yes, sir.

"ATTY. LLARIZA:

"Q Previous to June 25, 1984, you were more or less sure that Idel Aminnudin is
coming with drugs?

"A Marijuana, sir.

"Q And this information respecting Idel Aminnudin's coming to Iloilo with marijuana
was received by you many days before you received the intelligence report in
writing?

"A Not a report of the particular coming of Aminnudin but his activities.

"Q You only knew that he was coming on June 25, 1984 two days before?

"A Yes, sir.

"Q You mean that before June 23, 1984 you did not know that Aminnudin was
coming?

"A Before June 23, 1984, I, in my capacity, did not know that he was coming but on
June 23, 1984 that was the time when I received the information that he was
coming. Regarding the reports on his activities, we have reports that he has
already consummated the act of selling and shipping marijuana stuff.

"COURT:

"Q And as a result of that report, you put him under surveillance?

"A Yes, sir.

"Q In the intelligence report, only the name of Idel Aminnudin was mentioned?

"A Yes, sir.

"Q Are you sure of that?


"A On the 23rd he will be coming with the woman.

"Q So that even before you received the official report on June 23, 1984, you had
already gathered information to the effect that Idel Aminnudin was coming to
Iloilo on June 25, 1984?

"A Only on the 23rd of June.

"Q You did not try to secure a search warrant for the seizure or search of the subject
mentioned in your intelligence report?

"A No, more.

"Q Why not?

"A Because we were very very sure that our operation will yield positive result.

"Q Is that your procedure that whenever it will yield positive result you do not need a
search warrant anymore?

"A Search warrant is not necessary." 23

That last answer is a cavalier pronouncement, especially as it comes from a mere lieutenant of the PC.
The Supreme Court cannot countenance such a statement. This is still a government of laws and not of
men.

The mandate of the Bill of Rights is clear:

"Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects
against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose
shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon
probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath
or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly
describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized."

In the case at bar, there was no warrant of arrest or search warrant issued by a judge after personal
determination by him of the existence of probable cause. Contrary to the averments of the government,
the accused-appellant was not caught in flagrante nor was a crime about to be committed or had just been
committed to justify the warrantless arrest allowed under Rule 113 of the Rules of Court. Even
expediency could not be invoked to dispense with the obtention of the warrant as in the case of Roldan v.
Arca, 24 for example. Here it was held that vessels and aircraft are subject to warrantless searches and
seizures for violation of the customs law because these vehicles may be quickly moved out of the locality
or jurisdiction before the warrant can be secured.

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 "search warrant was not necessary."

In the many cases where this Court has sustained the warrantless arrest of violators of the Dangerous
Drugs Act, it has always been shown that they were caught red-handed, as result of what are popularly
called "buy-bust" operations of the narcotics agents. 25 Rule 113 was clearly applicable because at the
precise time of arrest the accused was in the act of selling the prohibited drug.

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. It was the furtive finger that triggered his arrest. The identification by the
informer was the probable cause as determined by the officers (and not a judge) that authorized them to
pounce upon Aminnudin and immediately arrest him.

Now that we have succeeded in restoring democracy in our country after fourteen years of the despised
dictatorship, when any one could be picked up at will, detained without charges and punished without
trial, we will have only ourselves to blame if that kind of arbitrariness is allowed to return, to once more
flaunt its disdain of the Constitution and the individual liberties its Bill of Rights guarantees.

While this is not to say that the accused-appellant is innocent, for indeed his very own words suggest that
he is lying, that fact alone does not justify a finding that he is guilty. The constitutional presumption is
that he is innocent, and he will be so declared even if his defense is weak as long as the prosecution is not
strong enough to convict him.

Without the evidence of the marijuana allegedly seized from Aminnudin, the case of the prosecution must
fall. That evidence cannot be admitted, and should never have been considered by the trial court for the
simple fact is that the marijuana was seized illegally. It is the fruit of the poisonous tree, to use Justice
Holmes' felicitous phrase. The search was not an incident of a lawful arrest because there was no warrant
of arrest and the warrantless arrest did not come under the exceptions allowed by the Rules of Court.
Hence, the warrantless search was also illegal and the evidence obtained thereby was inadmissible.

The Court strongly supports the campaign of the government against drug addiction and commends the
efforts of our law-enforcement officers against those who would inflict this malediction upon our people,
especially the susceptible youth. But as demanding as this campaign may be, it cannot be more so than the
compulsions of the Bill of Rights for the protection of the liberty of every individual in the realm,
including the basest of criminals. The Constitution covers with the mantle of its protection the innocent
and the guilty alike against any manner of high-handedness from the authorities, however praiseworthy
their intentions.

Those who are supposed to enforce the law are not justified in disregarding the rights of the individual in
the name of order. Order is too high a price for the loss of liberty. As Justice Holmes, again, said, "I think
it a less evil that some criminal should escape than that the government should play an ignoble part." It is
simply not allowed in the free society to violate a law to enforce another, especially if the law violated is
the Constitution itself.

We find that with the exclusion of the illegally seized marijuana as evidence against the accused-
appellant, his guilt has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt and he must therefore be discharged on
the presumption that he is innocent.

ACCORDINGLY, the decision of the trial court is REVERSED and the accused-appellant is
ACQUITTED. It is so ordered.

Narvasa, Gancayco and Medialdea JJ. concur.

||| (People v. Aminnudin y Ahni, G.R. No. 74869, [July 6, 1988], 246 PHIL 424-435)
People v Tangliben

THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. L-63630. April 6, 1990.]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MEDEL TANGLIBEN Y


BERNARDINO, defendant-appellant.

The Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.

Katz N. Tierra for defendant-appellant.

DECISION

GUTIERREZ, JR., J p:

This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 41, Third Judicial Region at San
Fernando, Pampanga, Branch 41, finding appellant Medel Tangliben y Bernardino guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of violating Section 4, Article II of Republic Act 6425 (Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 as
amended) and sentencing him to life imprisonment, to pay a fine of P20,000 and to pay the costs.

The information filed against the appellant alleged:

"That on or about the 2nd day of March, 1982, in the municipality of San Fernando,
Province of Pampanga, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
the above-named accused MEDEL TANGLIBEN y BERNARDINO, knowing fully
well that Marijuana is a prohibited drug, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously have in his possession, control and custody one (1) bag of dried marijuana
leaves with an approximate weight of one (1) kilo and to transport (sic) the same to
Olongapo City, without authority of law to do so." (At p. 6, Rollo)

The prosecution's evidence upon which the finding of guilt beyond reasonable doubt was based is
narrated by the trial court as follows:

"It appears from the evidence presented by the prosecution that in the late evening of
March 2, 1982, Patrolmen Silverio Quevedo and Romeo L. Punzalan of the San
Fernando Police Station, together with Barangay Tanod Macario Sacdalan, were
conducting surveillance mission at the Victory Liner Terminal compound located at
Barangay San Nicolas, San Fernando, Pampanga; that the surveillance mission was
aimed not only against persons who may commit misdemeanors at the said place but
also on persons who may be engaging in the traffic of dangerous drugs based on
informations supplied by informers; that it was around 9:30 in the evening that said
Patrolmen noticed a person carrying a red traveling bag (Exhibit G) who was acting
suspiciously and they confronted him; that the person was requested by Patrolmen
Quevedo and Punzalan to open the red traveling bag but the person refused, only to
accede later on when the patrolmen identified themselves; that found inside the bag
were marijuana leaves (Exhibit B) wrapped in a plastic wrapper and weighing one kilo,
more or less; that the person was asked of his name and the reason why he was at the
said place and he gave his name as Medel Tangliben and explained that he was waiting
for a ride to Olongapo City to deliver the marijuana leaves; that the accused was taken
to the police headquarters at San Fernando, Pampanga, for further investigation; and
that Pat. Silverio Quevedo submitted to his Station Commander his Investigator's
Report (Exhibit F).
It appears also from the prosecution's evidence that in the following morning or on
March 3, 1982, Pat. Silverio Quevedo asked his co-policeman Pat. Roberto Quevedo,
who happens to be his brother and who has had special training on narcotics, to conduct
a field test on a little portion of the marijuana leaves and to have the remaining portion
examined by the PCCL at Camp Olivas, San Fernando, Pampanga; that Pat. Roberto
Quevedo conducted a field test (Exhibit H) on the marijuana leaves and found positive
result for marijuana (Exhibit E); that the remaining bigger quantity of the marijuana
leaves were taken to the PCCL at Camp Olivas by Pat. Roberto Quevedo that same day
of March 3, 1982 (Exhibit A and A-1) and when examined, the same were also found
to be marijuana (Exhibit C and C-1)." (At pp. 910, Rollo)

Only the accused testified in his defense. His testimony is narrated by the trial court as follows:

"The accused declared that he got married on October 25, 1981 and his wife begot a
child on June 10, 1982; that he was formerly employed in the poultry farm of his uncle
Alejandro Caluma in Antipolo, Rizal; that he is engaged in the business of selling
poultry medicine and feeds, including chicks, and used to conduct his business at
Taytay, Rizal; that he goes to Subic at times in connection with his business and
whenever he is in Subic, he used to buy C-rations from one Nena Ballon and dispose
the same in Manila; that he never left his residence at Antipolo, Rizal, on March 2,
1982; that on March 3, 1982, he went to Subic to collect a balance of P100.00 from a
customer thereat and to buy C-rations; that he was able to meet Nena Ballon at 6:00
o'clock in the evening and he stayed in Nena's house up to 8:00 o'clock because he had
a drinking spree with Nena's son; that he tried to catch the 8:00 o'clock trip to Manila
from Olongapo City but he failed and was able to take the bus only by 9:00 o'clock that
evening; that it was a Victory Liner Bus that he rode and because he was tipsy, he did
not notice that the bus was only bound for San Fernando Pampanga; that upon alighting
at the Victory Liner Compound at San Fernando, Pampanga he crossed the street to
wait for a bus going to Manila; that while thus waiting for a bus, a man whom he came
to know later as Pat. Punzalan, approached him and asked him if he has any residence
certificate; that when he took out his wallet, Pat. Punzalan got the wallet and took all
the money inside the wallet amounting to P545.00; that Pat. Punzalan told him that he'll
be taken to the municipal building for verification as he may be an NPA member; that
at the municipal building, he saw a policeman, identified by him later as Pat. Silverio
Quevedo, sleeping but was awakened when he arrived; that Pat. Quevedo took him
upstairs and told him to take out everything from his pocket saying that the prisoners
inside the jail may get the same from him; that inside his pocket was a fifty-peso bill
and Pat. Quevedo took the same, telling him that it shall be returned to him but that it
was never returned to him; that he was thereafter placed under detention and somebody
told him that he is being charged with possession of marijuana and if he would like to
be bailed out, somebody is willing to help him; and, that when he was visited by his
wife, he told his wife that Patrolman Silverio Quevedo took away all his money but he
told his wife not to complain anymore as it would be useless." (Rollo, pp. 10-11)

Appellant, through counsel de oficio Atty. Enrique Chan, raised the lone assignment of error in his
appeal:

"THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT


AND FINDING HIM GUILTY OF THE CRIME CHARGED ON INSUFFICIENT
AND DOUBTFUL EVIDENCE." (At p. 48, Rollo)

The Solicitor-General likewise filed his brief, basically reiterating the lower court's findings.

However, before this Court had the chance to act on appeal, counsel de oficio Atty. Enrique Chan died.
Thereafter, this court appointed a new counsel de oficio, Atty. Katz Tierra, and pursuant thereto, the
Deputy Clerk of Court, in behalf of the Clerk of Court, required the new counsel to file her appellant's
brief. The latter complied and, in her brief, raised the following assignment of errors:

I
"THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING AS EVIDENCE THE
PACKAGE OF MARIJUANA ALLEGEDLY SEIZED FROM DEFENDANT-
APPELLANT AS IT WAS A PRODUCT OF AN UNLAWFUL SEARCH
WITHOUT A WARRANT.
II
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING AS EVIDENCE THE
ALLEGED PACKAGE OF MARIJUANA LEAVES AS THE LEAVES
SUPPOSEDLY SEIZED FROM ACCUSED WHEN IT WAS NEVER
AUTHENTICATED.
III
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT RULING THAT THE
PROSECUTION FAILED TO PROVE THE GUILT OF DEFENDANT-
APPELLANT." (At pp. 92-93, Rollo)
It is contended that the marijuana allegedly seized from the accused was a product of an unlawful search
without a warrant and is therefore inadmissible in evidence.

This contention is devoid of merit.

One of the exceptions to the general rule requiring a search warrant is a search incident to a lawful arrest.
Thus, Section 12 of Rule 126 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure provides:

"Section 12. Search incident to a lawful arrest. A person lawfully arrested may be
searched for dangerous weapons or anything which may be used as proof of the
commission of an offense, without a search warrant."

Meanwhile, Rule 113, Sec. 5(a) provides:

". . . A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense."

Accused was caught in flagrante, since he was carrying marijuana at the time of his arrest. This case
therefore falls squarely within the exception. The warrantless search was incident to a lawful arrest and is
consequently valid.

In the case of People v. Claudio, 160 SCRA 646, [1988] this Court, confronted with the same issue, held
that:

"Appellant Claudio was caught transporting prohibited drugs. Pat. Daniel did not need
a warrant to arrest Claudio as the latter was caught in flagrante delicto. The warrantless
search being an incident to a lawful arrest is in itself lawful. (Nolasco v Pano, 147
SCRA 509). Therefore, there was no infirmity in the seizure of the 1.1 kilos of
marijuana."

We are not unmindful of the decision of this Court in People v. Aminnudin, 163 SCRA 402 [1988]. In that
case the PC officers had earlier received a tip from an informer that accused-appellant was on board a
vessel bound for Iloilo City and was carrying marijuana. Acting on this tip, they waited for him one
evening, approached him as he descended from the gangplank, detained him and inspected the bag he was
carrying. Said bag contained marijuana leaves. The Court held that the marijuana could not be admitted in
evidence since it was seized illegally.

The records show, however, that there were certain facts, not existing in the case before us, which led the
Court to declare the seizure as invalid. As stated therein: prLL

"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 of 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 contrast, the case before us presented urgency. Although the trial court's decision did not mention it,
the transcript of stenographic notes reveals that there was an informer who pointed to the accused-
appellant as carrying marijuana. (TSN, pp. 52-53) Faced with such on-the-spot information, the police
officers had to act quickly. There was not enough time to secure a search warrant. We cannot therefore
apply the ruling in Aminnudin to the case at bar. To require search warrants during on-the-spot
apprehensions of drug pushers, illegal possessors of firearms, jueteng collectors, smugglers of contraband
goods, robbers, etc. would make it extremely difficult, if not impossible to contain the crimes with which
these persons are associated.

Accused-appellant likewise asserts that the package of marijuana leaves supposedly seized from him was
never authenticated and therefore should not have been admitted as evidence. He capitalizes on the fact
that the marijuana package brought by Patrolman Roberto Quevedo to the PC Crime Laboratory for
examination did not contain a tag bearing the name of the accused. We rule, however, that since
Patrolman Quevedo testified that he gave the marijuana package together with a letter-request for
examination, and the forensic chemist Marilene Salangad likewise testified that she received the
marijuana together with the letter-request and said letter-request bore the name of the accused, then the
requirements of proper authentication of evidence were sufficiently complied with. The marijuana
package examined by the forensic chemist was satisfactorily identified as the one seized from accused.

Even assuming arguendo that the marijuana sent to the PC Crime Laboratory was not properly
authenticated, still, we cannot discount the separate field test conducted by witness Roberto Quevedo
which yielded positive results for marijuana.

Lastly, the appellant claims that the evidence upon which he was convicted was insufficient and doubtful
and that the prosecution failed to prove his guilt.

In attacking the sufficiency of evidence, the appellant avers that the informer should have been presented
before the lower court. We discard this argument as a futile attempt to revive an already settled issue. This
Court has ruled in several cases that non-presentation of the informer, where his testimony would be
merely corroborative or cumulative, is not fatal to the prosecution's case. (People v. Asio, G.R. No.
84960, September 1, 1989; People v. Viola, G.R. No. 64262, March 16, 1989; People v. Capulong, 160
SCRA 533 [1988]; People v. Cerelegia, 147 SCRA 538).

As to doubtfulness of evidence, well-settled is the rule that findings of the trial court on the issue of
credibility of witnesses and their testimonies are entitled to great respect and accorded the highest
consideration by the appellate court. Since credibility is a matter that is peculiarly within the province of
the trial judge, who had first hand opportunity to watch and observe the demeanor and behavior of
witnesses both for the prosecution and the defense at the time of their testimony (People v. Tejada, G.R.
No. 81520, February 21, 1989; People v. Turla, 167 SCRA 278), we find no reason to disturb the
following findings: LLjur

"The testimony of prosecution witnesses Patrolmen Silverio Quevedo and Romeo


Punzalan are positive and sufficiently clear to show the commission by the accused of
the offense herein charged. These prosecution witnesses have no motive to fabricate the
facts and to foist a very serious offense against the accused. The knowledge on what
these witnesses testified to were (sic) acquired by them in the official performance of
their duties and their (sic) being no showing that they are prejudiced against the
accused, their testimonies deserve full credit.

The testimonies of the afore-mentioned patrolmen that what they found in the
possession of the accused were marijuana leaves were corroborated by the examination
findings conducted by Pat. Roberto Quevedo (Exhibit H) and by Forensic Chemist
Marlene Salangad of the PCCL, with station at Camp Olivas, San Fernando, Pampanga
(Exhibits C and C-1). (Rollo, p. 11)

"Moreover, if there is truth in the testimony of the accused to the effect that Pat.
Punzalan got all the money from his wallet when he was accosted at the Victory Liner
Terminal and was told just to keep quiet, otherwise he will be 'salvaged', why will Pat.
Punzalan still bring the accused to the Municipal Building for interrogation and/or
verification? Would not Pat. Punzalan be exposing his identity to the accused? This is
unnatural. And this is also true on the testimony of the accused that Pat. Silverio
Quevedo got his fifty-peso bill and never returned the same to him. If the two
policemen really got any money from the accused and that the marijuana leaves do not
belong to the accused, why will the two policemen still produce in Court as evidence
that expensive-looking traveling red bag (Exhibit G) taken from the accused and which
contained the marijuana leaves in question if the instant case is a mere fabrication?

As already stated, all the evidence, oral and documentary, presented by the prosecution
in this case were all based on personal knowledge acquired by the prosecution
witnesses in the regular performance of their official duties and there is nothing in their
testimonies to show that they are bias (sic) or that they have any prejudice against the
herein accused. Between the testimonies of these prosecution witnesses and that of the
uncorroborated and self-serving testimony of the accused, the former should prevail."
(Rollo, p. 13)

Likewise, the appellant chose to limit his defense to his own testimony. He could have availed himself
through compulsory court processes of several witnesses to buttress his defense. Since not one other
witness was presented nor was any justification for the non-appearance given, the inadequacy of his lone
and uncorroborated testimony remains. It cannot prevail vis-a-vis the positive testimonies given by the
prosecution witnesses.

Moreover, the appellant's having jumped bail is akin to flight which, as correctly observed by the lower
court, is an added circumstance tending to establish his guilt. LibLex

We take exception, however, to the trial court's finding that:

"The dried marijuana leaves found in the possession of the accused weighs one (1) kilo,
more or less. The intent to transport the same is clear from the testimony of Pat.
Silverio Quevedo who declared, among other things, that when he confronted the
accused that night, the latter told him that he (accused) is bringing the marijuana leaves
to Olongapo City. Moreover, considering the quantity of the marijuana leaves found in
the possession of the accused and the place he was arrested which is at San Fernando,
Pampanga, a place where the accused is not residing, it can be said that the intent to
transport the marijuana leaves has been clearly established." (Rollo, pp. 13-14)

The alleged extrajudicial confession of the accused which, on the other hand, he categorically denied in
court, that he is transporting the marijuana leaves to Olongapo City cannot be relied upon. Even assuming
it to be true, the extrajudicial confession cannot be admitted because it does not appear in the records that
the accused, during custodial investigation, was apprised of his rights to remain silent and to counsel and
to be informed of such rights. In People v. Duero, 104 SCRA 379 [1981], the Court pronounced that
"inasmuch as the prosecution failed to prove that before Duero made his alleged oral confession he was
informed of his rights to remain silent and to have counsel and because there is no proof that he
knowingly and intelligently waived those rights, his confession is inadmissible in evidence. This ruling
was reiterated in People v. Tolentino, 145 SCRA 597 [1986], where the Court added that:

"In effect, the Court not only abrogated the rule on presumption of regularity of official
acts relative to admissibility of statements taken during in-custody interrogation but
likewise dispelled any doubt as to the full adoption of the Miranda doctrine in this
jurisdiction It is now incumbent upon the prosecution to prove during a trial that prior
to questioning, the confessant was warned of his constitutionally protected rights."

The trial judge likewise found the marijuana to weigh one kilo, more or less, and from this finding
extracted a clear intent to transport the marijuana leaves. It may be pointed out, however, that although
the information stated the weight to be approximately one kilo, the forensic chemist who examined the
marijuana leaves testified that the marijuana weighed only 600 grams. Such amount is not a considerable
quantity as to conclusively confer upon the accused an intent to transport the marijuana leaves.

Nor can it be said that the intent to transport is clearly established from the fact that the accused was
arrested at San Fernando, Pampanga, a place which is not his residence. Conviction of a crime with an
extremely severe penalty must be based on evidence which is clearer and more convincing than the
inferences in this case. LexLib

What was therefore proved beyond reasonable doubt is not his intent to transport the marijuana leaves but
his actual possession.

The offense committed by the appellant is possession of marijuana under Section 8 of Republic Act No.
6425 (Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 as amended).

WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction by the trial court is hereby AFFIRMED but MODIFIED. The
appellant is sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment ranging from six (6) years and one (1) day to
twelve (12) years and fine of Six Thousand (P6,000.00) Pesos.

SO ORDERED.

Fernan, C.J., Feliciano, Bidin and Cortes, JJ., concur.

||| (People v. Tangliben y Bernardino, G.R. No. L-63630, [April 6, 1990], 263 PHIL 106-119)
Malacat v CA

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 123595. December 12, 1997.]

SAMMY MALACAT y MANDAR, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, and


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

Brillantes, Navarro, Jumamil, Arcilla, Escolin and Martinez Law Offices for petitioner.

SYNOPSIS

In an information filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, petitioner was charged with
violating Section 3 of Presidential Decree No. 1866 for keeping, possessing and/or acquiring a hand
grenade, without first securing the necessary license and permit from the proper authorities. On
arraignment, petitioner, assisted by counsel de officio, entered a plea of not guilty. After trial on the
merits, the court a quo found petitioner guilty of the crime of illegal possession of explosives under the
said law and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of not less than seventeen years, four months and one
day of reclusion temporal as minimum and not more than thirty years of reclusion perpetua, as maximum.
Petitioner filed a notice of appeal indicating that he was appealing to the Supreme Court. However, the
record of the case was forwarded to the Court of Appeals. In its decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed
the trial court's decision. Unable to accept conviction, petitioner filed the instant petition alleging that the
respondent court erred in affirming the findings of the trial court that the warrantless arrest of petitioner
was valid and legal.

The Supreme Court finds the petition impressed with merit. For purposes of determining appellate
jurisdiction in criminal cases, the maximum of the penalty, and not the minimum, is taken into account.
Since the maximum of the penalty is reclusion perpetua, the appeal therefrom should have been to the
Court and not the Court of Appeals. Hence, the challenged decision immediately fall in jurisdictional
grounds. Additionally, the Court is convinced that the prosecution failed to establish petitioner's guilt with
moral certainty. First, serious doubts surrounds the story of police office Yu that a grenade was found in
and seized from petitioner's possession. Notably, Yu did not identify in court the grenade he allegedly
seized. Second, if indeed petitioner had a grenade with him and that two days earlier he was with the
group about to detonate an explosive at Plaza Miranda, it was then unnatural and against common
experience that petitioner simply stood in Plaza Miranda in proximity to the police officers. Lastly, even
assuming that petitioner admitted possession of the grenade during his custodial investigation police
officer Serapio, such admission is inadmissible in evidence for it was taken in palpable violation of
Section 12(1) and (3) of Article III of the Constitution. Verily, the search conducted on petitioner could
not have been one incidental to a lawful arrest. In view thereof, the challenged decision of the Court of
Appeals is set aside for lack of jurisdiction and on ground of reasonable doubt

||D E C I S I O N

DAVIDE, JR., J p:

In an Information 1 filed on 30 August 1990, in Criminal Case No. 90-86748 before the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 5, petitioner Sammy Malacat y Mandar was charged with
violating Section 3 of Presidential Decree No. 1866, 2 as follows: LLjur

That on or about August 27, 1990, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly keep, possess and/or acquire a
hand grenade, without first securing the necessary license and/or permit therefor from
the proper authorities.
At arraignment 3 on 9 October 1990, petitioner, assisted by counsel de officio, entered a plea of not guilty.

At pre-trial on 11 March 1991, petitioner admitted the existence of Exhibits "A," "A-1," and "A-
2," 4 while the prosecution admitted that the police authorities were not armed with a search warrant nor
warrant of arrest at the time they arrested petitioner. 5

At trial on the merits, the prosecution presented the following police officers as its witnesses: Rodolfo
Yu, the arresting officer; Josefino C. Serapio, the investigating officer; and Orlando Ramilo, who
examined the grenade.

Rodolfo Yu of the Western Police District, Metropolitan Police Force of the Integrated National Police,
Police Station No. 3, Quiapo, Manila, testified that on 27 August 1990, at about 6:30 p.m., in response to
bomb threats reported seven days earlier, he was on foot patrol with three other police officers (all of
them in uniform) along Quezon Boulevard, Quiapo, Manila, near the Mercury Drug store at Plaza
Miranda. They chanced upon two groups of Muslim-looking men, with each group, comprised of three to
four men, posted at opposite sides of the corner of Quezon Boulevard near the Mercury Drug Store. These
men were acting suspiciously with "[t]their eyes . . . moving very fast." 6

Yu and his companions positioned themselves at strategic points and observed both groups for about
thirty minutes. The police officers then approached one group of men, who then fled in different
directions. As the policemen gave chase, Yu caught up with and apprehended petitioner. Upon searching
petitioner, Yu found a fragmentation grenade tucked inside petitioner's "front waist line." 7 Yu's
companion, police officer Rogelio Malibiran, apprehended Abdul Casan from whom a .38 caliber
revolver was recovered. Petitioner and Casan were then brought to Police Station No. 3 where Yu placed
an "X" mark at the bottom of the grenade and thereafter gave it to his commander.8

On cross-examination, Yu declared that they conducted the foot patrol due to a report that a group of
Muslims was going to explode a grenade somewhere in the vicinity of Plaza Miranda. Yu recognized
petitioner as the previous Saturday, 25 August 1990, likewise at Plaza Miranda, Yu saw petitioner and 2
others attempt to detonate a grenade. The attempt was aborted when Yu and other policemen chased
petitioner and his companions; however, the former were unable to catch any of the latter. Yu further
admitted that petitioner and Casan were merely standing on the corner of Quezon Boulevard when Yu
saw them on 27 August 1990. Although they were not creating a commotion, since they were supposedly
acting suspiciously, Yu and his companions approached them. Yu did not issue any receipt for the
grenade he allegedly recovered from petitioner. 9

Josefino C. Serapio declared that at about 9:00 a.m. of 28 August 1990, petitioner and a certain Abdul
Casan were brought in by Sgt. Saquilla 10 for investigation. Forthwith, Serapio conducted the inquest of
the two suspects, informing them of their rights to remain silent and to be assisted by competent and
independent counsel. Despite Serapio's advice, petitioner and Casan manifested their willingness to
answer questions even without the assistance of a lawyer. Serapio then took petitioner's uncounselled
confession (Exh. "E"), there being no PAO lawyer available, wherein petitioner admitted possession of
the grenade. Thereafter, Serapio prepared the affidavit of arrest and booking sheet of petitioner and
Casan. Later, Serapio turned over the grenade to the Intelligence and Special Action Division (ISAD) of
the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit for examination. 11

On cross-examination, Serapio admitted that he took petitioner's confession knowing it was inadmissible
in evidence. 12

Orlando Ramilo, a member of the Bomb Disposal Unit, whose principal duties included, among other
things, the examination of explosive devices, testified that on 22 March 1991, he received a request dated
19 March 1991 from Lt. Eduardo Cabrera and PO Diosdado Diotoy for examination of a grenade. Ramilo
then affixed an orange tag on the subject grenade detailing his name, the date and time he received the
specimen. During the preliminary examination of the grenade, he "found that [the] major components
consisting of [a] high filler and fuse assembly [were] all present," and concluded that the grenade was
"[l]ive and capable of exploding." On even date, he issued a certification stating his findings, a copy of
which he forwarded to Diotoy on 11 August 1991. 13

Petitioner was the lone defense witness. He declared that he arrived in Manila on 22 July 1990 and
resided at the Muslim Center in Quiapo, Manila. At around 6:30 in the evening of 27 August 1990, he
went to Plaza Miranda to catch a breath of fresh air. Shortly after, several policemen arrived and ordered
all males to stand aside. The policemen searched petitioner and two other men, but found nothing in their
possession. However, he was arrested with two others, brought to and detained at Precinct No. 3, where
he was accused of having shot a police officer. The officer showed the gunshot wounds he allegedly
sustained and shouted at petitioner "[i]to ang tama mo sa akin." This officer then inserted the muzzle of
his gun into petitioner's mouth and said, "[y]ou are the one who shot me."

Petitioner denied the charges and explained that he only recently arrived in Manila. However, several
other police officers mauled him, hitting him with benches and guns. Petitioner was once again searched,
but nothing was found on him. He saw the grenade only in court when it was presented. 14

The trial court ruled that the warrantless search and seizure of petitioner was akin to a "stop and frisk,"
where a "warrant and seizure can be effected without necessarily being preceded by an arrest" and "whose
object is either to maintain the status quo momentarily while the police officer seeks to obtain more
information." 15 Probable cause was not required as it was not certain that a crime had been committed,
however, the situation called for an investigation, hence to require probable cause would have been
"premature." 16 The RTC emphasized that Yu and his companions were "[c]onfronted with an
emergency, in which the delay necessary to obtain a warrant, threatens the destruction of
evidence" 17 and the officers "[h]ad to act in haste," as petitioner and his companions were acting
suspiciously, considering the time, place and "reported cases of bombing." Further, petitioner's group
suddenly ran away in different directions as they saw the arresting officers approach, thus "[i]t is
reasonable for an officer to conduct a limited search, the purpose of which is not necessarily to discover
evidence of a crime, but to allow the officer to pursue his investigation without fear of violence." 18

The trial court then ruled that the seizure of the grenade from petitioner was incidental to a lawful arrest,
and since petitioner "[l]ater voluntarily admitted such fact to the police investigator for the purpose of
bombing the Mercury Drug Store," concluded that sufficient evidence existed to establish petitioner's
guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

In its decision 19 dated 10 February 1994 but promulgated on 15 February 1994, the trial court thus found
petitioner guilty of the crime of illegal possession of explosives under Section 3 of P.D. No. 1866, and
sentenced him to suffer:

[T]he penalty of not less than SEVENTEEN (17) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS AND
ONE (1) DAY OF RECLUSION TEMPORAL, as minimum, and not more than
THIRTY (30) YEARS OF RECLUSION PERPETUA, as maximum.

On 18 February 1994, petitioner filed a notice of appeal 20 indicating that he was appealing to this Court.
However, the record of the case was forwarded to the Court of Appeals which docketed it as CA-G.R. CR
No. 15988 and issued a notice to file briefs. 21

In his Appellant's Brief 22 filed with the Court of Appeals, petitioner asserted that:

1. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE SEARCH UPON THE
PERSON OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT AND THE SEIZURE OF THE
ALLEGED HANDGRENADE FROM HIM "WAS AN APPROPRIATE
INCIDENT TO HIS ARREST."

2. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING AS EVIDENCE AGAINST


ACCUSED-APPELLANT THE HANDGRENADE ALLEGEDLY SEIZED
FROM HIM AS IT WAS A PRODUCT OF AN UNREASONABLE AND
ILLEGAL SEARCH.

In sum, petitioner argued that the warrantless arrest was invalid due to absence of any of the conditions
provided for in Section 5 of Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, citingPeople vs. Mengote. 23 As such, the
search was illegal, and the hand grenade seized, inadmissible in evidence.

In its Brief for the Appellee, the Office of the Solicitor General agreed with the trial court and prayed that
its decision be affirmed in toto. 24

In its decision of 24 January 1996, 25 the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court, noting, first, that
petitioner abandoned his original theory before the court a quo that the grenade was "planted" by the
police officers; and second, the factual finding of the trial court that the grenade was seized from
petitioner's possession was not raised as an issue. Further, respondent court focused on the admissibility
in evidence of Exhibit "D," the hand grenade seized from petitioner. Meeting the issue squarely, the Court
of Appeals ruled that the arrest was lawful on the ground that there was probable cause for the arrest as
petitioner was "attempting to commit an offense," thus:

We are at a loss to understand how a man, who was in possession of a live grenade and
in the company of other suspicious character[s] with unlicensed firearm[s] lurking in
Plaza Miranda at a time when political tension ha[d] been enkindling a series of
terroristic activities, [can] claim that he was not attempting to commit an offense. We
need not mention that Plaza Miranda is historically notorious for being a favorite bomb
site especially during times of political upheaval. As the mere possession of an
unlicensed grenade is by itself an offense, Malacat's posture is simply too preposterous
to inspire belief.

In so doing, the Court of Appeals took into account petitioner's failure to rebut the testimony of the
prosecution witnesses that they received intelligence reports of a bomb threat at Plaza Miranda; the fact
that PO Yu chased petitioner two days prior to the latter's arrest, or on 27 August 1990; and that petitioner
and his companions acted suspiciously, the "accumulation" of which was more than sufficient to convince
a reasonable man that an offense was about to be committed. Moreover, the Court of Appeals observed:

The police officers in such a volatile situation would be guilty of gross negligence and
dereliction of duty, not to mention of gross incompetence, if they [would] first wait for
Malacat to hurl the grenade, and kill several innocent persons while maiming numerous
others, before arriving at what would then be an assured but moot conclusion that there
was indeed probable cause for an arrest. We are in agreement with the lower court in
saying that the probable cause in such a situation should not be the kind of proof
necessary to convict, but rather the practical considerations of everyday life on which a
reasonable and prudent mind, and not legal technicians, will ordinarily act.

Finally, the Court of Appeals held that the rule laid down in People v. Mengote, 26 which petitioner relied
upon, was inapplicable in light of "[c]rucial differences," to wit:

[In Mengote] the police officers never received any intelligence report that someone
[at] the corner of a busy street [would] be in possession of a prohibited article. Here the
police officers were responding to a [sic] public clamor to put a check on the series of
terroristic bombings in the Metropolis, and, after receiving intelligence reports about a
bomb threat aimed at the vicinity of the historically notorious Plaza Miranda, they
conducted foot patrols for about seven days to observe suspicious movements in the
area. Furthermore, in Mengote, the police officers [had] no personal knowledge that the
person arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an
offense. Here, PO3 Yu [had] personal knowledge of the fact that he chased Malacat in
Plaza Miranda two days before he finally succeeded in apprehending him.

Unable to accept his conviction, petitioner forthwith filed the instant petition and assigns the following
errors:

1. THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE FINDING OF THE


TRIAL COURT THAT THE WARRANTLESS ARREST OF PETITIONER
WAS VALID AND LEGAL.

2. THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE RULING


IN PEOPLE VS. MENGOTE DOES NOT FIND APPLICATION IN THE
INSTANT CASE.

In support thereof, petitioner merely restates his arguments below regarding the validity of the warrantless
arrest and search, then disagrees with the finding of the Court of Appeals that he was "attempting to
commit a crime," as the evidence for the prosecution merely disclosed that he was "standing at the corner
of Plaza Miranda and Quezon Boulevard" with his eyes "moving very fast" and "looking at every person
that come (sic) nearer (sic) to them." Finally, petitioner points out the factual similarities between his case
and that of People v. Mengote to demonstrate that the Court of Appeals miscomprehended the latter.
In its Comment, the Office of the Solicitor General prays that we affirm the challenged decision.

For being impressed with merit, we resolved to give due course to the petition.

The challenged decision must immediately fall on jurisdictional grounds. To repeat, the penalty imposed
by the trial court was:

[N]ot less than SEVENTEEN (17) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS AND ONE (1) DAY
OF RECLUSION TEMPORAL, as minimum, and not more than THIRTY (30) YEARS
OF RECLUSION PERPETUA, as maximum.

The penalty provided by Section 3 of P.D. No. 1866 upon any person who shall unlawfully possess
grenades is reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua.

For purposes of determining appellate jurisdiction in criminal cases, the maximum of the penalty, and not
the minimum, is taken into account. Since the maximum of the penalty is reclusion perpetua, the appeal
therefrom should have been to us, and not the Court of Appeals, pursuant to Section 9(3) of the Judiciary
Reorganization Act of 1980(B.P. Blg. 129), 27 in relation to Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of
1948, 28 Section 5(2) of Article VIII of the Constitution 29 and Section 3(c) of Rule 122 of the Rules of
Court. 30 The term "life imprisonment" as used in Section 9 of B.P. Blg. 129, the Judiciary Act of 1948,
and Section 3 of Rule 122 must be deemed to include reclusion perpetua in view of Section 5(2) of
Article VIII of the Constitution.

Petitioner's Notice of Appeal indicated that he was appealing from the trial court's decision to this Court,
yet the trial court transmitted the record to the Court of Appeals and the latter proceeded to resolve the
appeal.

We then set aside the decision of the Court of Appeals for having been rendered without jurisdiction, and
consider the appeal as having been directly brought to us, with the petition for review as petitioner's Brief
for the Appellant, the comment thereon by the Office of the Solicitor General as the Brief for the
Appellee and the memoranda of the parties as their Supplemental Briefs.

Deliberating on the foregoing pleadings, we find ourselves convinced that the prosecution failed to
establish petitioner's guilt with moral certainty.

First, serious doubt surrounds the story of police officer Yu that a grenade was found in and seized from
petitioner's possession. Notably, Yu did not identify, in court, the grenade he allegedly seized. According
to him, he turned it over to his commander after putting an "X" mark at its bottom; however, the
commander was not presented to corroborate this claim. On the other hand, the grenade presented in court
and identified by police officer Ramilo referred to what the latter received from Lt. Eduardo Cabrera and
police officer Diotoy not immediately after petitioner's arrest, but nearly seven (7) months later or on 19
March 1991; further, there was no evidence whatsoever that what Ramilo received was the very same
grenade seized from petitioner. In his testimony, Yu never declared that the grenade passed on to Ramilo
was the grenade the former confiscated from petitioner. Yu did not, and was not made to, identify the
grenade examined by Ramilo, and the latter did not claim that the grenade he examined was that seized
from petitioner. Plainly, the law enforcement authorities failed to safeguard and preserve the chain of
evidence so crucial in cases such as these.

Second, if indeed petitioner had a grenade with him, and that two days earlier he was with a group about
to detonate an explosive at Plaza Miranda, and Yu and his fellow officers chased, but failed to arrest
them, then considering that Yu and his three fellow officers were in uniform and therefore easily
cognizable as police officers, it was then unnatural and against common experience that petitioner simply
stood there in proximity to the police officers. Note that Yu observed petitioner for thirty minutes and
must have been close enough to petitioner in order to discern petitioner's eyes "moving very fast."

Finally, even assuming that petitioner admitted possession of the grenade during his custodial
investigation by police officer Serapio, such admission was inadmissible in evidence for it was taken in
palpable violation of Section 12(1) and (3) of Article III of the Constitution, which provide as follows:

SEC. 12 (1). Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall
have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and
independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the
services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived
except in writing and in the presence of counsel.

xxx xxx xxx

(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall
be inadmissible in evidence against him.

Serapio conducted the custodial investigation on petitioner the day following his arrest. No lawyer was
present and Serapio could not have requested a lawyer to assist petitioner as no PAO lawyer was then
available. Thus, even if petitioner consented to the investigation and waived his rights to remain silent and
to counsel, the waiver was invalid as it was not in writing, neither was it executed in the presence of
counsel.

Even granting ex gratia that petitioner was in possession of a grenade, the arrest and search of petitioner
were invalid, as will be discussed below.

The general rule as regards arrests, searches and seizures is that a warrant is needed in order to validly
effect the same. 31 The Constitutional prohibition against unreasonable arrests, searches and seizures
refers to those effected without a validly issued warrant, 32 subject to certain exceptions. As regards valid
warrantless arrests, these are found inSection 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, which reads, in part:

Sec. 5. Arrest, without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or a private person
may, without a warrant, arrest a person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;

(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 . . .

A warrantless arrest under the circumstances contemplated under Section 5(a) has been denominated as
one "in flagrante delicto," while that under Section 5(b) has been described as a "hot pursuit" arrest.

Turning to valid warrantless searches, they are limited to the following: (1) customs searches; (2) search
of moving vehicles; (3) seizure of evidence in plain view; (4) consent searches; 33 (5) a search incidental
to a lawful arrest; 34 and (6) a "stop and frisk." 35

In the instant petition, the trial court validated the warrantless search as a "stop and frisk" with "the
seizure of the grenade from the accused [as] an appropriate incident to his arrest," hence necessitating a
brief discussion on the nature of these exceptions to the warrant requirement.

At the outset, we note that the trial court confused the concepts of a "stop-and-frisk" and of a search
incidental to a lawful arrest. These two types of warrantless searches differ in terms of the requisite
quantum of proof before they may be validly effected and in their allowable scope.

In a search incidental to a lawful arrest, as the precedent arrest determines the validity of the incidental
search, the legality of the arrest is questioned in a large majority of these cases, e.g., whether an arrest was
merely used as a pretext for conducting a search. 36 In this instance, the law requires that there first be a
lawful arrest before a search can be made the process cannot be reversed. 37 At bottom, assuming a
valid arrest, the arresting officer may search the person of the arrestee and the area within which the latter
may reach for a weapon or for evidence to destroy, and seize any money or property found which was
used in the commission of the crime, or the fruit of the crime, or that which may be used as evidence, or
which might furnish the arrestee with the means of escaping or committing violence. 38

Here, there could have been no valid in flagrante delicto or hot pursuit arrest preceding the search in light
of the lack of personal knowledge on the part of Yu, the arresting officer, or an overt physical act, on the
part of petitioner, indicating that a crime had just been committed, was being committed or was going to
be committed.

Having thus shown the invalidity of the warrantless arrest in this case, plainly, the search conducted on
petitioner could not have been one incidental to a lawful arrest.

We now proceed to the justification for and allowable scope of a "stop-and-frisk" as a "limited protective
search of outer clothing for weapons," as laid down in Terry; thus:

We merely hold today that where a police officer observes unusual conduct which leads
him reasonably to conclude in light of his experience that criminal activity may be
afoot and that the persons with whom he is dealing may be armed and presently
dangerous, where in the course of investigating this behavior he identifies himself as a
policeman and makes reasonable inquiries, and where nothing in the initial stages of
the encounter serves to dispel his reasonable fear for his own or others' safety, he is
entitled for the protection of himself and others in the area to conduct a carefully
limited search of the outer clothing of such persons in an attempt to discover weapons
which might be used to assault him. Such a search is a reasonable search under the
Fourth Amendment . . . 39

Other notable points of Terry are that while probable cause is not required to conduct a "stop and
frisk," 40 it nevertheless holds that mere suspicion or a hunch will not validate a "stop and frisk." A
genuine reason must exist, in light of the police officer's experience and surrounding conditions, to
warrant the belief that the person detained has weapons concealed about him. 41 Finally, a "stop-and-
frisk" serves a two-fold interest: (1) the general interest of effective crime prevention and detection,
which underlies the recognition that a police officer may, under appropriate circumstances and in an
appropriate manner, approach a person for purposes of investigating possible criminal behavior even
without probable cause; and (2) the more pressing interest of safety and self-preservation which permit
the police officer to take steps to assure himself that the person with whom he deals is not armed with a
deadly weapon that could unexpectedly and fatally be used against the police officer.

Here, there are at least three (3) reasons why the "stop-and-frisk" was invalid:

First, we harbor grave doubts as to Yu's claim that petitioner was a member of the group which attempted
to bomb Plaza Miranda two days earlier. This claim is neither supported by any police report or record
nor corroborated by any other police officer who allegedly chased that group. Aside from impairing Yu's
credibility as a witness, this likewise diminishes the probability that a genuine reason existed so as to
arrest and search petitioner. If only to further tarnish the credibility of Yu's testimony, contrary to his
claim that petitioner and his companions had to be chased before being apprehended, the affidavit of
arrest (Exh. "A") expressly declares otherwise, i.e., upon arrival of five (5) other police officers, petitioner
and his companions were "immediately collared."

Second, there was nothing in petitioner's behavior or conduct which could have reasonably elicited even
mere suspicion other than that his eyes were "moving very fast" an observation which leaves us
incredulous since Yu and his teammates were nowhere near petitioner and it was already 6:30 p.m., thus
presumably dusk. Petitioner and his companions were merely standing at the corner and were not creating
any commotion or trouble, as Yu explicitly declared on cross-examination: cdrep

Q And what were they doing?

A They were merely standing.

Q You are sure of that?

A Yes, sir.

Q And when you saw them standing, there were nothing or they did not create any
commotion?

A None, sir.

Q Neither did you see them create commotion?


A None, sir. 42

Third, there was at all no ground, probable or otherwise, to believe that petitioner was armed with a
deadly weapon. None was visible to Yu, for as he admitted, the alleged grenade was "discovered" "inside
the front waistline" of petitioner, and from all indications as to the distance between Yu and petitioner,
any telltale bulge, assuming that petitioner was indeed hiding a grenade, could not have been visible to
Yu. In fact, as noted by the trial court:

When the policemen approached the accused and his companions, they were not yet aware that a
handgrenade was tucked inside his waistline. They did not see any bulging object in [sic] his person. 43

What is unequivocal then in this case are blatant violations of petitioner's rights solemnly guaranteed in
Sections 2 and 12(1) of Article III of the Constitution.

WHEREFORE, the challenged decision of the Seventeenth Division of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
CR No. 15988 is SET ASIDE for lack of jurisdiction on the part of said Court and, on ground of
reasonable doubt, the decision of 10 February 1994 of Branch 5 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila is
REVERSED and petitioner SAMMY MALACAT y MANDAR is hereby ACQUITTED and ORDERED
immediately released from detention, unless his further detention is justified for any other lawful cause.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C .J ., Regalado, Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza,


Francisco and Martinez, JJ ., concur.

||| (Malacat y Mandar v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 123595, [December 12, 1997], 347 PHIL 462-
492)
People v Mengote

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 87059. June 22, 1992.]

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROGELIO


MENGOTE Y TEJAS, accused-appellant.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.

Violeta C. Drilon counsel de oficio for accused-appellant.

DECISION

CRUZ, J p:

Accused-appellant Rogelio Mengote was convicted of illegal possession of firearms on the strength
mainly of the stolen pistol found on his person at the moment of his warrantless arrest. In this appeal, he
pleads that the weapon was not admissible as evidence against him because it had been illegally seized
and was therefore the fruit of the poisonous tree. The Government disagrees. It insists that the revolver
was validly received in evidence by the trial judge because its seizure was incidental to an arrest that was
doubtless lawful even if admittedly without warrant.

The incident occurred shortly before noon of August 8, 1987, after the Western Police District received a
telephone call from an informer that there were three suspicious-looking persons at the corner of Juan
Luna and North Bay Boulevard in Tondo, Manila. A surveillance team of plainclothesmen was forthwith
dispatched to the place. As later narrated at the trial by Patrolmen Rolando Mercado and Alberto
Juan, 1 they there saw two men "looking from side to side," one of whom was holding his abdomen. They
approached these persons and identified themselves as policemen, 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. His companion, later identified as Nicanor
Morellos, had a fan knife secreted in his front right pants pocket. The weapons were taken from them.
Mengote and Morellos were then turned over to police headquarters for investigation by the Intelligence
Division. LLpr

On August 11, 1987, the following information was filed against the accused-appellant before the
Regional Trial Court of Manila:

The undersigned accuses ROGELIO MENGOTE y TEJAS of a violation


of Presidential Decree No. 1866, committed as follows:

That on or about August 8, 1987, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused
did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession and under
his custody and control a firearm, to wit:

one (1) cal. 38 "S & W" bearing

Serial No. 8720-T.

without first having secured the necessary license or permit therefor from the proper
authorities.
Besides the police officers, one other witness presented by the prosecution was Rigoberto Danganan, who
identified the subject weapon as among the articles stolen from him during the robbery in his house in
Malabon on June 13, 1987. He pointed to Mengote as one of the robbers. He had duly reported the
robbery to the police, indicating the articles stolen from him, including the revolver. 2 For his part,
Mengote made no effort to prove that he owned the firearm or that he was licensed to possess it and
claimed instead that the weapon had been "planted" on him at the time of his arrest. 3

The gun, together with the live bullets and its holster, were offered as Exhibits A, B and C and admitted
over the objection of the defense. As previously stated, the weapon was the principal evidence that led to
Mengote's conviction for violation of P.D. 1866. He was sentenced to reclusion perpetua. 4

It is submitted in the Appellant's Brief that the revolver should not have been admitted in evidence
because of its illegal seizure, no warrant therefor having been previously obtained. Neither could it have
been seized as an incident of a lawful arrest because the arrest of Mengote was itself unlawful, having
been also effected without a warrant. The defense also contends that the testimony regarding the alleged
robbery in Danganan's house was irrelevant and should also have been disregarded by the trial court.

The following are the pertinent provision of the Bill of Rights:

Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects
against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose
shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon
probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath
or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly
describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Sec. 3 (1). The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable


except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise
as prescribed by law.

(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be
inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.

There is no question that evidence obtained as a result of an illegal search or seizure is inadmissible in
any proceeding for any purpose. That is the absolute prohibition of Article III, Section 3(2), of the
Constitution. This is the celebrated exclusionary rule based on the justification given by Judge Learned
Hand that "only in case the prosecution, which itself controls the seizing officials, knows that it cannot
profit by their wrong will the wrong be repressed."

The Solicitor General, while conceding the rule, maintains that it is not applicable in the case at bar. His
reason is that the arrest and search of Mengote and the seizure of the revolver from him were lawful
under Rule 113, Section 5, of the Rules of Court reading as follows:

Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or private person may
without a warrant, arrest a person: Cdpr

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;

(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.

In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the person arrested without a
warrant shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or jail, and he shall be
proceeded against in accordance with Rule 112, Section 7.

We have carefully examined the wording of this rule and cannot see how we can agree with the
prosecution.
Par. (c) of Section 5 is obviously inapplicable as Mengote was not an escapee from a penal institution
when he was arrested. We therefore confine ourselves to determining the lawfulness of his arrest under
either Par. (a) or Par. (b) of this section.

Par. (a) requires that the person be arrested (1) after he has committed or while he is actually committing
or is at least attempting to commit an offense, (2) in the presence of the arresting officer.

These requirements have not been established in the case at bar. 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.

The Solicitor General submits that the actual existence of an offense was not necessary as long as
Mengote's acts "created a reasonable suspicion on the part of the arresting officers and induced in them
the belief that an offense had been committed and that the accused-appellant had committed it." The
question is, What offense? What offense could possibly have been suggested by a person "looking from
side to side" and "holding his abdomen" and in a place not exactly forsaken?

These are certainly not sinister acts. And the setting of the arrest made them less so, if at all. 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.

On the other hand, there could have been a number of reasons, all of them innocent, why his eyes were
darting from side to side and he was holding his abdomen. If they excited suspicion in the minds of the
arresting officers, as the prosecution suggests, it has nevertheless not been shown what their suspicion
was all about. In fact, the policemen themselves testified that they were dispatched to that place only
because of the telephone call from the informer that there were "suspicious-looking" persons in that
vicinity who were about to commit a robbery at North Bay Boulevard. The caller did not explain why he
thought the men looked suspicious nor did he elaborate on the impending crime. LLpr

In the recent case of People v. Malmstedt, 5 the Court sustained the warrantless arrest of the accused
because there was a bulge in his waist that excited the suspicion of the arresting officer and, upon
inspection, turned out to be a pouch containing hashish. In People v. Claudio, 6 the accused boarded a bus
and placed the buri bag she was carrying behind the seat of the arresting officer while she herself sat in
the seat before him. His suspicion aroused, he surreptitiously examined the bag, which he found to
contain marijuana. He then and there made the warrantless arrest and seizure that we subsequently upheld
on the ground that probable cause had been sufficiently established.

The case before us is different because 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.

This case is similar to People v. Aminnudin, 7 where the Court held that the warrantless arrest of the
accused was unconstitutional. This was effected while he was coming down a vessel, to all appearances
no less innocent than the other disembarking passengers. He had not committed nor was he actually
committing or attempting to commit an offense in the presence of the arresting officers. He was not even
acting suspiciously. In short, there was no probable cause that, as the prosecution incorrectly suggested,
dispensed with the constitutional requirement of a warrant.

Par. (b) is no less applicable because its no less stringent requirements have also not been satisfied. The
prosecution has not shown that at the time of Mengote's arrest an offense had in fact just been committed
and that the arresting officers had personal knowledge of facts indicating that Mengote had committed it.
All they had was hearsay information from the telephone caller, and about a crime that had yet to be
committed.
The truth is that they did not know then what offense, if at all, had been committed and neither were they
aware of the participation therein of the accused-appellant. It was only later, after Danganan had appeared
at the police headquarters, that they learned of the robbery in his house and of Mengote's supposed
involvement therein. 8 As for the illegal possession or the firearm found on Mengote's person, the
policemen discovered this only after he had been searched and the investigation conducted later revealed
that he was not its owners nor was he licensed to possess it.

Before these events, the peace officers had no knowledge even of Mengote' identity, let alone the fact (or
suspicion) that he was unlawfully carrying a firearm or that he was involved in the robbery of Danganan's
house.

In the landmark case of People v. Burgos, 9 this Court declared:

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 the
fact. The offense must also be committed in is presence or within his view. (Sayo v.
Chief of Police, 80 Phil. 859). (Emphasis supplied)

xxx xxx xxx

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.
(Emphasis supplied)

This doctrine was affirmed in Alih v. Castro, 10 thus:

If the arrest was made under Rule 113, Section 5, of the Rules of Court in connection
with a crime about to be committed, being committed, or just committed, what was that
crime? There is no allegation in the record of such a justification. Parenthetically, it
may be observed that under the Revised Rule 113, Section 5(b), the officer making the
arrest must have personal knowledge of the ground therefor as stressed in the recent
case of People v. Burgos. (Emphasis supplied)

It would be a sad day, indeed, if any person could be summarily arrested and searched just because he is
holding his abdomen, even if it be possibly because of a stomachache, or if a peace officer could clamp
handcuffs on any person with a shifty look on suspicion that he may have committed a criminal act or is
actually committing or attempting it. This simply cannot be done in a free society. This is not a police
state where order is exalted over liberty or, worse, personal malice on the part of the arresting officer may
be justified in the name of security.

There is no need to discuss the other issues raised by the accused-appellant as the ruling we here make is
sufficient to sustain his exoneration. Without the evidence of the firearm taken from him at the time of his
illegal arrest, the prosecution has lost its most important exhibit and must therefore fail. The testimonial
evidence against Mengote (which is based on the said firearm) is not sufficient to prove his guilt beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime imputed to him.

We commend Atty. Violeta Calvo-Drilon for her able and spirited defense of the accused-appellant not
only in the brief but also in the reply brief, which she did not have to file but did so just the same to stress
the constitutional rights of her client. The fact that she was acting only as a counsel de oficio with no
expectation of material reward makes her representation even more commendable.

The Court feels that if the peace officers had been more mindful of the provisions of the Bill of Rights,
the prosecution of the accused-appellant might have succeeded. As it happened, they allowed their over-
zealousness to get the better of them, resulting in their disregard of the requirements of a valid search and
seizure that rendered inadmissible the vital evidence they had invalidly seized. LLpr
This should be a lesson to other peace officers. Their impulsiveness may be the very cause of the acquittal
of persons who deserve to be convicted, escaping the clutches of the law because, ironically enough, it
has not been observed by those who are supposed to enforce it.

WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The accused-appellant is
ACQUITTED and ordered released immediately unless he is validly detained for other offenses. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Grio-Aquino, Medialdea and Bellosillo, JJ ., concur.

||| (People v. Mengote y Tejas, G.R. No. 87059, [June 22, 1992])
PP vs Laguio

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 128587. March 16, 2007.]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. HON. PERFECTO


A.S. LAGUIO, JR., in his capacity as Presiding Judge, Branch 18, RTC, Manila,
and LAWRENCE WANG Y CHEN, respondents.

DECISION

GARCIA, J p:

On pure questions of law, petitioner People of the Philippines has directly come to this Court via this
petition for review on certiorari to nullify and set aside the Resolution 1 dated 13 March 1997 of the
Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 18, in Criminal Case Nos. 96-149990 to 96-149992,
entitled People of the Philippines v. Lawrence Wang y Chen, granting private respondent Lawrence C.
Wang's Demurrer to Evidence and acquitting him of the three (3) charges filed against him, namely:
(1)Criminal Case No. 96-149990 for Violation of Section 16, Article III in relation to Section 2 (e) (2),
Article I of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6425 (Dangerous Drugs Act); (2)Criminal Case No. 96-149991 for
Violation of Presidential Decree No. 1866 (Illegal Possession of Firearms); and (3) Criminal Case No.
96-149992 for Violation of Comelec Resolution No. 2828 in relation to R.A. No. 7166 (COMELEC Gun
Ban).

The three (3) separate Informations filed against Lawrence C. Wang in the court of origin respectively
read:

Criminal Case No. 96-149990 (Violation of Dangerous Drugs Act):

That on or about the 17th day of May 1996, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said
accused did then and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession
and under his custody and control a bulk of white and yellowish crystalline substance
known as SHABU contained in thirty-two (32) transparent plastic bags weighing
approximately 29.2941 kilograms, containing methamphetamine hydrochloride, a
regulated drug, without the corresponding license or prescription therefor.

Contrary to law. 2

Criminal Case No. 96-149991 (Illegal Possession of Firearms):

That on or about the 17th day of May 1996, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said
accused did then and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession
and under his custody and control one (1) DAEWOO Cal. 9mm, automatic pistol with
one loaded magazine and one AMT Cal. .380 9mm automatic backup pistol with
magazine loaded with ammunitions without first having secured the necessary license
or permit therefor from the proper authorities.

Contrary to law. 3

Criminal Case No. 96-149992 (Violation of Comelec Gun Ban):

That on or about the 17th day of May 1996, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said
accused did then and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession
and under his custody and control one (1) DAEWOO Cal. 9mm automatic pistol with
one loaded magazine and one (1) AMT Cal. 380 9mm automatic backup pistol with
magazine loaded with ammunitions, carrying the same along Maria Orosa St., Ermita,
Manila, which is a public place, on the date which is covered by an election period,
without first securing the written permission or authority from the Commission on
Elections, as provided by the COMELEC Resolution 2828 in relation to Republic Act
7166.

Contrary to law. 4

During his arraignment, accused Wang refused to enter a plea to all the Informations and instead
interposed a continuing objection to the admissibility of the evidence obtained by the police operatives.
Thus, the trial court ordered that a plea of "Not Guilty" be entered for him. 5 Thereafter, joint trial of the
three (3) consolidated cases followed.

The pertinent facts are as follows:

On 16 May 1996, at about 7:00 p.m., police operatives of the Public Assistance and Reaction Against
Crime of the Department of Interior and Local Government, namely, Captain Margallo, Police Inspector
Cielito Coronel and SPO3 Reynaldo Cristobal, arrested SPO2 Vergel de Dios, Rogelio Anoble and a
certain Arellano, for unlawful possession of methamphetamine hydrochloride, a regulated drug popularly
known as shabu. In the course of the investigation of the three arrested persons, Redentor Teck, alias
Frank, and Joseph Junio were identified as the source of the drug. An entrapment operation was then set
after the three were prevailed upon to call their source and pretend to order another supply of shabu.

At around 11:00 p.m. that same date, Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio were arrested while they were
about to hand over another bag of shabu to SPO2 De Dios and company. Questioned, Redentor Teck and
Joseph Junio informed the police operatives that they were working as talent manager and gymnast
instructor, respectively, of Glamour Modeling Agency owned by Lawrence Wang. Redentor Teck and
Joseph Junio did not disclose their source of shabu but admitted that they were working for Wang. 6 They
also disclosed that they knew of a scheduled delivery of shabu early the following morning of 17 May
1996, and that their employer (Wang) could be found at the Maria Orosa Apartment in Malate, Manila.
The police operatives decided to look for Wang to shed light on the illegal drug activities of Redentor
Teck and Joseph Junio. Police Inspector Cielito Coronel and his men then proceeded to Maria Orosa
Apartment and placed the same under surveillance. TCacIE

Prosecution witness Police Inspector Cielito Coronel testified that at about 2:10 a.m. of 17 May 1996,
Wang, who was described to the operatives by Teck, came out of the apartment and walked towards a
parked BMW car. On nearing the car, he (witness) together with Captain Margallo and two other police
officers approached Wang, introduced themselves to him as police officers, asked his name and, upon
hearing that he was Lawrence Wang, immediately frisked him and asked him to open the back
compartment of the BMW car. 7 When frisked, there was found inside the front right pocket of Wang and
confiscated from him an unlicensed AMT Cal. 380 9mm automatic Back-up Pistol loaded with
ammunitions. At the same time, the other members of the operatives searched the BMW car and found
inside it were the following items: (a) 32 transparent plastic bags containing white crystalline substance
with a total weight of 29.2941 kilograms, which substance was later analyzed as positive for
methamphetamine hydrochloride, a regulated drug locally known as shabu; (b) cash in the amount of
P650,000.00; (c) one electronic and one mechanical scales; and (d) an unlicensed Daewoo 9mm Pistol
with magazine. Then and there, Wang resisted the warrantless arrest and search. 8

On 6 December 1996, the prosecution rested its case and upon motion, accused Wang was granted 25
days from said date within which to file his intended Demurrer to Evidence. 9 On 19 December 1996, the
prosecution filed a Manifestation 10 to the effect that it had rested its case only in so far as the charge for
Violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act in Criminal Case No. 96-149990 is concerned, and not as regards
the two cases for Illegal Possession of Firearms (Crim. Case No. 96-149991) and Violation of the
Comelec Gun Ban (Crim. Case No. 96-149992). Accordingly, trial continued.

On 9 January 1997, Wang filed his undated Demurrer to Evidence, 11 praying for his acquittal and the
dismissal of the three (3) cases against him for lack of a valid arrest and search warrants and the
inadmissibility of the prosecution's evidence against him. Considering that the prosecution has not yet
filed its Opposition to the demurrer, Wang filed an Amplification 12 to his Demurrer of Evidence on 20
January 1997. On 12 February 1997, the prosecution filed its Opposition 13 alleging that the warrantless
search was legal as an incident to the lawful arrest and that it has proven its case, so it is now time for the
defense to present its evidence.
On 13 March 1997, the respondent judge, the Hon. Perfecto A.S. Laguio, Jr., issued the herein assailed
Resolution 14 granting Wang's Demurrer to Evidence and acquitting him of all charges for lack of
evidence, thus:

WHEREFORE, the accused's undated Demurrer to Evidence is hereby granted; the


accused is acquitted of the charges against him for the crimes of Violation of Section
16, Article III of the Dangerous Drugs Act, Illegal Possession of Firearms, and
Violation of Comelec Gun Ban, for lack of evidence; the 32 bags of shabu with a total
weight of 29.2941 kilograms and the two unlicensed pistols, one AMT Cal. .380 9mm
and one Daewoo Cal. 9mm. are ordered confiscated in favor of the government and the
branch clerk is directed to turn over the 32 bags of shabu to the Dangerous Drugs
Board in Intramuros, Manila, and the two firearms to the Firearms and Explosive Units,
PNP, Camp Crame, Quezon City, for proper disposition, and the officer-in-charge of
PARAC, Department of Interior and Local Government, is ordered to return the
confiscated amount of P650,000.00 to the accused, and the confiscated BMW car to its
registered owner, David Lee. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Hence, this petition 15 for review on certiorari by the People, submitting that the trial court erred

. . . IN HOLDING THAT THE UNDISPUTED FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES


DID NOT CONSTITUTE PROBABLE CAUSE WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION
OF SECTION 2, ARTICLE III OF THE CONSTITUTION, AND IN HOLDING
THAT SUCH FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES NEITHER JUSTIFIED THE
WARRANTLESS SEARCH OF ACCUSED'S VEHICLE AND THE SEIZURE OF
THE CONTRABAND THEREIN.

II

. . . IN HOLDING, IN EFFECT, THAT A WARRANTLESS SEARCH IS


CONSTITUTIONALLY ALLOWABLE AND CAN ONLY BE VALID AS AN
INCIDENT TO A LAWFUL ARREST.

III

. . . IN DECLARING THE WARRANTLESS ARREST OF THE ACCUSED AND


THE SEARCH AND SEIZURE OF HIS HANDGUNS UNLAWFUL.

IV

. . . IN NOT DECLARING THE ACCUSED AS HAVING WAIVED, AS A RESULT


OF HIS SUBMISSION AND FAILURE TO PROTEST THE SEARCH AND HIS
ARREST, HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT AGAINST UNREASONABLE
SEARCH AND SEIZURE AND HIS OBJECTION TO THE ADMISSION OF THE
EVIDENCE SEIZED.

. . . IN NOT ADMITTING IN EVIDENCE THE EVIDENCE SEIZED AND


OFFERED BY THE PROSECUTION AND IN NOT DENYING ACCUSED'S
DEMURRER TO EVIDENCE.

In its Resolution 16 of 9 July 1997, the Court, without giving due course to the petition, required the
public and private respondents to comment thereon within ten days from notice. Private respondent Wang
filed his comment 17 on 18 August 1997.
On 10 September 1997, the Court required the People to file a reply, 18 which the Office of the Solicitor
General did on 5 December 1997, after several extensions. 19

On 20 October 2004, the Court resolved to give due course to the petition and required the parties to
submit their respective memoranda, 20 which they did.

The case presents two main issues: (a) whether the prosecution may appeal the trial court's resolution
granting Wang's demurrer to evidence and acquitting him of all the charges against him without violating
the constitutional proscription against double jeopardy; and (b) whether there was lawful arrest, search
and seizure by the police operatives in this case despite the absence of a warrant of arrest and/or a search
warrant.

First off, it must be emphasized that the present case is an appeal filed directly with this Court via a
petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 in relation to Rule 41, Section 2, paragraph (c) of the
Rules of Court raising only pure questions of law, ordinary appeal by mere filing of a notice of appeal not
being allowed as a mode of appeal directly to this Court. Then, too, it bears stressing that the right to
appeal is neither a natural right nor a part of due process, it being merely a statutory privilege which may
be exercised only in the manner provided for by law (Velasco v. Court of Appeals 21 ). Although Section
2, Rule 122 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure states that any party may appeal, the right of the People to
appeal is, in the very same provision, expressly made subject to the prohibition against putting the
accused in double jeopardy. It also basic that appeal in criminal cases throws the whole records of the
case wide open for review by the appellate court, that is why any appeal from a judgment of acquittal
necessarily puts the accused in double jeopardy. In effect, the very same Section 2 of Rule 122 of the
Rules on Criminal Procedure, disallows appeal by the People from judgments of acquittal.

An order granting an accused's demurrer to evidence is a resolution of the case on the merits, and it
amounts to an acquittal. Generally, any further prosecution of the accused after an acquittal would violate
the constitutional proscription on double jeopardy. To this general rule, however, the Court has previously
made some exceptions.

The celebrated case of Galman v. Sandiganbayan 22 presents one exception to the rule on double
jeopardy, which is, when the prosecution is denied due process of law:

No court whose Presiding Justice has received "orders or suggestions" from the very
President who by an amendatory decree (disclosed only at the hearing of oral
arguments on November 8, 1984 on a petition challenging the referral of the Aquino-
Galman murder cases to the Tanodbayan and Sandiganbayan instead of to a court
martial, as mandatorily required by the known P.D. 1850 at the time providing for
exclusive jurisdiction of courts martial over criminal offenses committed by military
men) made it possible to refer the cases to the Sandiganbayan, can be an impartial
court, which is the very essence of due process of law. As the writer then wrote,
"jurisdiction over cases should be determined by law, and not by preselection of the
Executive, which could be much too easily transformed into a means
ofpredetermining the outcome of individual cases." This criminal collusion as to the
handling and treatment of the cases by public respondents at the secret Malacaang
conference (and revealed only after fifteen months by Justice Manuel Herrera)
completely disqualified respondent Sandiganbayan and voided ab initio its verdict.
This renders moot and irrelevant for now the extensive arguments of respondents
accused, particularly Generals Ver and Olivas and those categorized as accessories, that
there has been no evidence or witness suppressed against them, that the erroneous
conclusions of Olivas as police investigator do not make him an accessory of the
crimes he investigated and the appraisal and evaluation of the testimonies of the
witnesses presented and suppressed. There will be time and opportunity to present all
these arguments and considerations at the remand and retrial of the cases herein ordered
before a neutral and impartial court.

The Supreme Court cannot permit such a sham trial and verdict and travesty of justice
to stand unrectified. The courts of the land under its aegis are courts of
law andjustice and equity. They would have no reason to exist if they were allowed to
be used as mere tools of injustice, deception and duplicity to subvert and suppress the
truth, instead of repositories of judicial power whose judges are sworn and committed
to render impartial justice to all alike who seek the enforcement or protection of a right
or the prevention or redress of a wrong, without fear or favor and removed from the
pressures of politics and prejudice. More so, in the case at bar where the people and the
world are entitled to know the truth, and the integrity of our judicial system is at stake.
In life, as an accused before the military tribunal Ninoy had pleaded in vain that as a
civilian he was entitled to due process of law and trial in the regular civil courts before
an impartial court with an unbiased prosecutor. In death, Ninoy, as the victim of the
"treacherous and vicious assassination" and the relatives and sovereign people as the
aggrieved parties plead once more for due process of law and a retrial before an
impartial court with an unbiased prosecutor. The Court is constrained to declare the
sham trial a mock trial the non-trial of the century and that the predetermined
judgment of acquittal was unlawful and void ab initio.

1. No double jeopardy. It is settled doctrine that double jeopardy cannot be invoked


against this Court's setting aside of the trial courts' judgment of dismissal or
acquittal where the prosecution which represents the sovereign people in criminal
cases is denied due process. As the Court stressed in the 1985 case of People vs.
Bocar,

Where the prosecution is deprived of a fair opportunity to prosecute and prove


its case, its right to due process is thereby violated.

The cardinal precept is that where there is a violation of basic constitutional


rights, courts are ousted of their jurisdiction. Thus, the violation of the State's
right to due process raises a serious jurisdictional issue (Gumabon vs. Director
of the Bureau of Prisons, L-30026, 37 SCRA 420 [Jan. 30, 1971]) which
cannot be glossed over or disregarded at will. Where the denial of the
fundamental right of due process is apparent, a decision rendered in disregard
of that right is void for lack of jurisdiction (Aducayen vs. Flores, L-30370
[May 25, 19731, 51 SCRA 78; Shell Co. vs. Enage, L-30111-12, 49 SCRA 416
Feb. 27, 1973]). Any judgment or decision rendered notwithstanding such
violation may be regarded as a "lawless thing, which can be treated as an
outlaw and slain at sight, or ignored wherever it exhibits its head" (Aducayen
vs. Flores, supra).

Respondent Judge's dismissal order dated July 7, 1967 being null and void for
lack of jurisdiction, the same does not constitute a proper basis for a claim of
double jeopardy (Serino vs. Zosa, supra).

xxx xxx xxx


Legal jeopardy attaches only (a) upon a valid indictment, (b) before a
competent court, (c) after arraignment, (d) a valid plea having been entered;
and (e) the case was dismissed or otherwise terminated without the express
consent of the accused (People vs. Ylagan, 58 Phil. 851). The lower court was
not competent as it was ousted of its jurisdiction when it violated the right of
the prosecution to due process.

In effect, the first jeopardy was never terminated, and the remand of the
criminal case for further hearing and/or trial before the lower courts amounts
merely to a continuation of the first jeopardy, and does not expose the accused
to a second jeopardy.

Another exception is when the trial court commits grave abuse of discretion in dismissing a criminal
case by granting the accused's demurrer to evidence. In point is the fairly recent case of People v.
Uy, 23 which involved the trial court's decision which granted the two separate demurrers to evidence
filed by the two accused therein, both with leave of court, resulting in their acquittal of their respective
charges of murder due to insufficiency of evidence. In resolving the petition for certiorarifiled directly
with this Court, we had the occasion to explain:

The general rule in this jurisdiction is that a judgment of acquittal is final and
unappealable. People v. Court of Appeals explains the rationale of this rule:
In our jurisdiction, the finality-of-acquittal doctrine as a safeguard against
double jeopardy faithfully adheres to the principle first enunciated in Kepner v.
United States. In this case, verdicts of acquittal are to be regarded as absolutely
final and irreviewable. The cases of United States v. Yam Tung Way, People v.
Bringas, Gandicela v. Lutero, People v. Cabarles, People v. Bao, to name a
few, are illustrative cases. The fundamental philosophy behind the
constitutional proscription against double jeopardy is to afford the defendant,
who has been acquitted, final repose and safeguard him from government
oppression through the abuse of criminal processes. As succinctly observed
in Green v. United States "(t)he underlying idea, one that is deeply ingrained in
at least the Anglo-American system of jurisprudence, is that the State with all
its resources and power should not be allowed to make repeated attempts to
convict an individual for an alleged offense, thereby subjecting him to
embarrassment, expense and ordeal and compelling him to live in a continuing
state of anxiety and insecurity, as well as enhancing the possibility that even
though innocent, he may be found guilty." (Underscoring supplied)

The same rule applies in criminal cases where a demurrer to evidence is granted. As
held in the case of People v. Sandiganbayan:

The demurrer to evidence in criminal cases, such as the one at bar, is " filed
after the prosecution had rested its case," and when the same is granted, it calls
"for an appreciation of the evidence adduced by the prosecution and its
sufficiency to warrant conviction beyond reasonable doubt, resulting in
a dismissal of the case on the merits, tantamount to an acquittal of the
accused." Such dismissal of a criminal case by the grant of demurrer to
evidence may not be appealed, for to do so would be to place the accused in
double-jeopardy. The verdict being one of acquittal, the case ends there. (Italics
in the original)

Like any other rule, however, the above-said rule is not absolute. By way of exception,
a judgment of acquittal in a criminal case may be assailed in a petition
forcertiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court upon a clear showing by the
petitioner that the lower court, in acquitting the accused, committed not
merelyreversible errors of judgment but also grave abuse of discretion amounting
to lack or excess of jurisdiction or a denial of due process, thus rendering the
assailed judgment void. (Emphasis supplied.)

In Sanvicente v. People, 24 the Court allowed the review of a decision of the Court of Appeals (CA)
which reversed the accused's acquittal upon demurrer to evidence filed by the accused with leave of court,
the CA ruling that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in preventing the prosecution from
establishing the due execution and authenticity of certain letter marked therein as Exhibit "LL," which
supposedly "positively identified therein petitioner as the perpetrator of the crime charged." The Court, in
a petition for certiorari, sustained the CA's power to review the order granting the demurrer to evidence,
explaining thus:

Under Rule 119, Section 23 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended,
the trial court may dismiss the action on the ground of insufficiency of evidence upon a
demurrer to evidence filed by the accused with or without leave of court. In resolving
accused's demurrer to evidence, the court is merely required to ascertain whether there
is competent or sufficient evidence to sustain the indictment or support a verdict of
guilt.

The grant or denial of a demurrer to evidence is left to the sound discretion of the trial
court and its ruling on the matter shall not be disturbed in the absence of a grave abuse
of discretion. Significantly, once the court grants the demurrer, such order amounts to
an acquittal and any further prosecution of the accused would violate the constitutional
proscription on double jeopardy. This constitutes an exception to the rule that the
dismissal of a criminal case made with the express consent of the accused or upon his
own motion bars a plea of double jeopardy. The finality-of-acquittal rule was stressed
thus in People v. Velasco:

The fundamental philosophy highlighting the finality of an acquittal by the trial


court cuts deep into the "humanity of the laws and in jealous watchfulness over
the rights of the citizens, when brought in unequal contest with the State . . . .
Thus Green expressed the concern that "(t)he underlying idea, one that is
deeply ingrained in at least the Anglo-American system of jurisprudence, is
that the State with all its resources and power should not be allowed to make
repeated attempts to convict an individual for an alleged offense thereby
subjecting him to embarrassment, expense and ordeal and compelling him to
live in a continuing state of anxiety and insecurity, as well as enhancing the
possibility that even though innocent, he may be found guilty."

It is axiomatic that on the basis of humanity, fairness and justice, an acquitted


defendant is entitled to the right of repose as a direct consequence of the
finality of his acquittal. The philosophy underlying this rule establishing the
absolute nature of acquittals is "part of the paramount importance criminal
justice system attaches to the protection of the innocent against wrongful
conviction." The interest in the finality-of-acquittal rule, confined exclusively
to verdicts of not guilty, is easy to understand: it is a need for "repose", a desire
to know the exact extent of one's liability. With this right of repose, the
criminal justice system has built in a protection to insure that the innocent,
even those whose innocence rests upon a jury's leniency, will not be found
guilty in a subsequent proceeding.

Given the far-reaching scope of an accused's right against double jeopardy, even an
appeal based on an alleged misappreciation of evidence will not lie. The only instance
when double jeopardy will not attach is when the trial court acted with grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, such as where the
prosecution was denied the opportunity to present its case or where the trial was a
sham. However, while certiorari may be availed of to correct an erroneous
acquittal, the petitioner in such an extraordinary proceeding must clearly
demonstrate that the trial court blatantly abused its authority to a point so grave
as to deprive it of its very power to dispense justice. (Emphasis supplied.)

By this time, it is settled that the appellate court may review dismissal orders of trial courts granting an
accused's demurrer to evidence. This may be done via the special civil action of certiorari under Rule
65 based on the ground of grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
Such dismissal order, being considered void judgment, does not result in jeopardy. Thus, when the order
of dismissal is annulled or set aside by an appellate court in an original special civil action via certiorari,
the right of the accused against double jeopardy is not violated.

Unfortunately, what petitioner People of the Philippines, through then Secretary of Justice Teofisto T.
Guingona, Jr. and then Solicitor General Silvestre H. Bello, III, filed with the Court in the present case is
an appeal by way of a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 raising a pure question of law,
which is different from a petition for certiorari under Rule 65.

In Madrigal Transport Inc. v. Lapanday Holdings Corporation, 25 we have enumerated the distinction
between the two remedies/actions, to wit:

Appeal and Certiorari Distinguished

Between an appeal and a petition for certiorari, there are substantial distinctions which
shall be explained below.

As to the Purpose. Certiorari is a remedy designed for the correction of errors of


jurisdiction, not errors of judgment. In Pure Foods Corporation v. NLRC, we explained
the simple reason for the rule in this light:

"When a court exercises its jurisdiction, an error committed while so engaged


does not deprive it of the jurisdiction being exercised when the error is
committed. If it did, every error committed by a court would deprive it of its
jurisdiction and every erroneous judgment would be a void judgment. This
cannot be allowed. The administration of justice would not survive such a rule.
Consequently, an error of judgment that the court may commit in the exercise
of its jurisdiction is not correct[a]ble through the original civil action
of certiorari."

The supervisory jurisdiction of a court over the issuance of a writ of certiorari cannot
be exercised for the purpose of reviewing the intrinsic correctness of a judgment of the
lower court on the basis either of the law or the facts of the case, or of the wisdom
or legal soundness of the decision. Even if the findings of the court are incorrect, as
long as it has jurisdiction over the case, such correction is normally beyond the
province of certiorari. Where the error is not one of jurisdiction, but of an error of law
or fact a mistake of judgment appeal is the remedy.

As to the Manner of Filing. Over an appeal, the CA exercises its appellate jurisdiction
and power of review. Over a certiorari, the higher court uses its original jurisdiction in
accordance with its power of control and supervision over the proceedings of lower
courts. An appeal is thus a continuation of the original suit, while a petition
for certiorari is an original and independent action that was not part of the trial that had
resulted in the rendition of the judgment or order complained of. The parties to an
appeal are the original parties to the action. In contrast, the parties to a petition
for certiorari are the aggrieved party (who thereby becomes the petitioner) against the
lower court or quasi-judicial agency, and the prevailing parties (the public and the
private respondents, respectively).

As to the Subject Matter. Only judgments or final orders and those that the Rules of
Court so declared are appealable. Since the issue is jurisdiction, an original action
for certiorari may be directed against an interlocutory order of the lower court prior to
an appeal from the judgment; or where there is no appeal or any plain, speedy or
adequate remedy.

As to the Period of Filing. Ordinary appeals should be filed within fifteen days from
the notice of judgment or final order appealed from. Where a record on appeal is
required, the appellant must file a notice of appeal and a record on appeal within thirty
days from the said notice of judgment or final order. A petition for review should be
filed and served within fifteen days from the notice of denial of the decision, or of the
petitioner's timely filed motion for new trial or motion for reconsideration. In an appeal
by certiorari, the petition should be filed also within fifteen days from the notice of
judgment or final order, or of the denial of the petitioner's motion for new trial or
motion for reconsideration.

On the other hand, a petition for certiorari should be filed not later than sixty days
from the notice of judgment, order, or resolution. If a motion for new trial or motion for
reconsideration was timely filed, the period shall be counted from the denial of the
motion.

As to the Need for a Motion for Reconsideration. A motion for reconsideration is


generally required prior to the filing of a petition for certiorari, in order to afford the
tribunal an opportunity to correct the alleged errors. Note also that this motion is a plain
and adequate remedy expressly available under the law. Such motion is not required
before appealing a judgment or final order. HAaScT

Also in Madrigal, we stressed that the special civil action of certiorari and appeal are two different
remedies mutually exclusive; they are neither alternative nor successive. Where appeal is
available, certiorari will not prosper. In the dismissal of a criminal case upon demurrer to evidence,
appeal is not available as such an appeal will put the accused in double jeopardy. Certiorari, however, is
allowed.
For being the wrong remedy taken by petitioner People of the Philippines in this case, this petition is
outrightly dismissible. The Court cannot reverse the assailed dismissal order of the trial court by appeal
without violating private respondent's right against double jeopardy.

Even assuming that the Court may treat an "appeal" as a special civil action of certiorari, which definitely
this Court has the power to do, when there is a clear showing of grave abuse of discretion committed by
the lower court, the instant petition will nevertheless fail on the merits as the succeeding discussion will
show.

There are actually two (2) acts involved in this case, namely, the warrantless arrest and the
warrantless search. There is no question that warrantless search may be conducted as an incident to a
valid warrantless arrest. The law requires that there be first a lawful arrest before a search can be made;
the process cannot be reversed.26 However, if there are valid reasons to conduct lawful search and seizure
which thereafter shows that the accused is currently committing a crime, the accused may be lawfully
arrested in flagrante delicto 27 without need for a warrant of arrest.

Finding that the warrantless arrest preceded the warrantless search in the case at bar, the trial court
granted private respondent's demurrer to evidence and acquitted him of all the three charges for lack of
evidence, because the unlawful arrest resulted in the inadmissibility of the evidence gathered from an
invalid warrantless search. The trial court's ratiocination is quoted as follows:

The threshold issue raised by the accused in his Demurrer to Evidence is whether his
warrantless arrest and search were lawful as argued by the prosecution, or unlawful as
asserted by the defense.

Under Section 5, Rule 113 of the New Rules of Court, a peace officer may arrest a
person without a warrant: (a) when in his presence, the person to be arrested has
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; (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 being transferred from one
confinement to another. None of these circumstances were present when the accused
was arrested. The accused was merely walking from the Maria Orosa Apartment and
was about to enter the parked BMW car when the police officers arrested and frisked
him and searched his car. The accused was not committing any visible offense at the
time of his arrest. Neither was there an indication that he was about to commit a crime
or that he had just committed an offense. The unlicensed AMT Cal.380 9mm
Automatic Back-up Pistol that the accused had in his possession was concealed inside
the right front pocket of his pants. And the handgun was bantam and slim in size that it
would not give an outward indication of a concealed gun if placed inside the pant's side
pocket as was done by the accused. The arresting officers had no information and
knowledge that the accused was carrying an unlicensed handgun, nor did they see him
in possession thereof immediately prior to his arrest.

Ditto on the 32 bags of shabu and the other unlicensed Daewoo Cal. 9mm Pistol with
magazine that were found and seized from the car. The contraband items in the car
were not in plain view. The 32 bags of shabu were in the trunk compartment, and the
Daewoo handgun was underneath the driver's seat of the car. The police officers had no
information, or knowledge that the banned articles were inside the car, or that the
accused had placed them there. The police officers searched the car on mere suspicion
that there was shabu therein.

On this matter, pertinent portions of the testimonies of Police Inspector Cielito Coronel
and SPO3 Reynaldo are hereunder quoted:

POLICE INSPECTOR CIELITO CORONEL'S TESTIMONY

"PROSECUTOR TO WITNESS: Direct-Examination

Q. Mr. Witness, what was your role or participation in this case?


A. I am one of those responsible for the arrest of the accused.

xxx xxx xxx


Q. Where did you make that arrest, Mr. Witness?

A. The apprehension was made in front of an apartment along Maria Orosa Street,
Ermita, Manila.

Q. What date was that when you arrested the accused?

A. It was on May 17, 1996, at about 2:10 a.m.

xxx xxx xxx


Q. What was the reason why you together with other policemen effected the arrest of
the accused?

A. We arrested him because of the information relayed to us by one of those whom we


have previously apprehended in connection with the delivery of shabu
somewhere also in Ermita, Manila.

xxx xxx xxx


Q. When you established that he was somewhere at Maria Orosa, what did you do?

A. We waited for him.

xxx xxx xxx


Q. You yourself, Mr. Witness, where did you position yourself during that time?

A. I was inside a vehicle waiting for the accused to appear.

Q. What about your other companions where were they?

A. They were position in strategic places within the area.

Q. What happened when you and your companions were positioned in that place?

A. That was when the accused arrived.

Q. How many of your approached him.

A. Inspector Margallo, myself and two other operatives.

Q. What happened when you approached the accused, Mr. Witness?

A. We introduced ourselves as police officers and we frisked him and we asked him to
open the back compartment of his car.

Q. You said you frisked him, what was the result of that?

A. He was found in possession of one back-up pistol with one loaded magazine and
likewise when the compartment was opened several plastic bags containing
white crystalline substance suspected to be shabu (were found).

Q. What did you do when you found out Mr. Witness?

A. When the car was further search we later found another firearm, a Daewoo Pistol at
the place under the seat of the driver.

Q. Then what happened?

A. He was brought to our headquarters at Mandaluyong for further investigation.


Q. What about the suspected shabu that you recovered, what did you do with that?

A. The suspected shabu that we recovered were forwarded to the NBI for laboratory
examination.

Q. Did you come to know the results?

A. It was found positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride. (TSN, pp. 3-8,


November 15, 1996).

ATTY. LOZANO TO WITNESS: CROSS

Q. You arrested Joseph Junio and Redentor Teck for alleged transporting of shabu on
May 16, 1996, at 11:00 p.m., is it not?

A. Yes, Sir.

Q. You asked Redentor Teck where he is employed, is it not?

A. Yes, Sir.

xxx xxx xxx


Q. Redentor Teck told you that he is a talent manager at the Glenmore Modeling
Agency, is it not?

A. Yes, Sir.

Q. The Glenmore Modeling Agency is owned by Lawrence Wang, is it not?

A. I supposed, Sir.

Q. And that is why immediately after Redentor Teck told you that he is an employee of
the Glenmore Modeling Agency owned by Lawrence Wang, naturally, you and
your companions look for Lawrence Wang to shed light on the transporting of
shabu by Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio, is it not?

A. Yes, Sir.

Q. Thereafter, you spotted a person previously described by Redentor Teck as


Lawrence Wang, is it not?

A. Yes, Sir.

Q. While you were arresting Lawrence Wang, your companions at the same time
searched the BMW car described in your affidavit of arrest, is it not?

A. Yes, Sir.

xxx xxx xxx


Q. Lawrence Wang was not inside the BMW car while the same was searched, is it
not?

A. He was outside, Sir.

Q. The driver of the car was inside the car when the arrest and search were made, is it
not?

A. He was likewise outside, Sir.

Q. Lawrence Wang did resist arrest and search is it not?

A. Yes, Sir.
Q. When you effected the arrest, there was no warrant of arrest, is it not?

A. Yes, Sir.

Q. When the search was made on the BMW car, there was no search warrant, is it not?

A. Yes, none, Sir. (TSN, pp. 3-12, November 15, 1996)

SPO3 REYNALDO CRISTOBAL'S TESTIMONY


PROSECUTOR TO WITNESS: DIRECT EXAMINATION

Q. What is you role or participation in this case?

A. I was one of the arresting officers and investigator, Sir.

xxx xxx xxx


Q. What kind of specific offense did the accused allegedly do so that you arrested him,
Mr. Witness?

A. He was arrested on the basis of the recovered drugs in his possession placed inside
his car.

xxx xxx xxx


Q. Mr. witness, you said that you recovered drug from the car of the accused, please
tell us the antecedent circumstances which led you to recover or confiscate
these items?

A. Earlier in the evening about 11:00 p.m. of May 16, we arrested one Redentor Teck
and Joseph Junio.

COURT: Where did you arrest these people?

A They were arrested in Metro Manila also.

COURT: The same date?

A. May 16, about 11:00 p.m. They were arrested and when they were investigated,
Teck mentioned the name of Lawrence Wang as his employer. cCHITA

COURT: Why were these people, arrested?

A. For violation of R.A. 6425.

COURT: How were they arrested?

A. They were arrested while in the act of transporting shabu or handling shabu to
another previously arrested person. It was a series of arrest.

COURT: So, this involved a series of operation?

A. Yes, Your Honor. About 11:00 p.m. of May 16, we arrested three (3) persons, SPO2
Vergel de Dios, a certain Arellano and a certain Rogelio Noble. When they
were arrested they divulged the name of the source.

COURT: They were arrested for what, for possession?

A. Yes, Your Honor. For unlawful possession of shabu. Then they divulged to us the
name of the person from whom they get shabu.

COURT: Whose name did they mention:


A. One Alias Frank, who turned out to be Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio. We let
them call Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio thru the cellphone and pretend and
to order another supply of shabu.

COURT: So there was an entrapment?

A. Yes, Your Honor.

COURT: So, these two (2) were arrested?

A. While they were about to hand over another bag of shabu to Noble and company.

COURT: And these two reveals (revealed) some information to you as to the source of
the shabu?

A. Yes, Your Honor.

COURT: What was the information?

A. Teck told us that he is an employee of Lawrence Wang.

COURT: What did you do when you were told about that?

A. They also told us that there was an ongoing delivery of shabu on that morning.

COURT: When?

A. Of that date early morning of May 17, 1996.

COURT: At what place?

A. We asked them where we could find Lawrence Wang and Teck lead us to Maria
Orosa Apartment where we conducted a stake out which lasted up to 2:00 a.m.

xxx xxx xxx


COURT: What happened during the stake out?

A. When the person of the accused was identified to us, we saw him opening his car
together with his driver.

COURT: So, he was about to leave when you saw him?

A. Probably, Sir.

COURT: What did you do?

A. We saw him opened his car and we have a suspicion that there was a shabu inside
the compartment of the car.

xxx xxx xxx


COURT: All right, when you saw the accused opened his car, what did you do?

A. We approached him.

COURT: What happened when you approached him?

A. We suspected the shabu inside the compartment of his car.

COURT: And this shabu that you saw inside the compartment of the car, what did you
do with that?
A. Well, he was first arrested by Captain Margallo and Lt. Coronel while I was the one
who inspected and opened the compartment of the car and saw the shabu.
(TSN, pp. 15-24, December 16, 1996).

CLARIFICATORY QUESTIONING OF SPO3 CRISTOBAL BY THE COURT

COURT: From your testimony and that of Police Inspector Cielito Coronel, this Court
has gathered that prior to the arrest of the accused there were three (3) men that
your team arrested. One of whom is a police officer.

A: Yes, Sir.

xxx xxx xxx


COURT: And on the occasion of the arrest of these three men shabu were confiscated
from them?

A: Yes, Sir.

Q: And in the course of the investigation of these three men, you were able to discover
that Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio were the source of the regulated drug that
were confiscated from the three men that you have arrested?

A: Yes, Sir.

Q: Now, thru entrapment base[d] on your testimony you were able to apprehend also
these two men, Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio?

A: Yes, Sir.

xxx xxx xxx


Q: These two men, Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio they were also investigated by
your team?

A: Yes, Sir.

Q: You were present while they were investigated?

A: I was the one whom investigated them.

xxx xxx xxx


Q: Did you ask Redentor and Joseph the source of shabu that you confiscated from
them at the time of the (their) arrest?

A: Yes, Sir. They refuse to say the source, however, they told me that they were
working for the accused.

Q: You also testified that Redentor informed you that there was another delivery of
shabu scheduled that morning of (stop) was it May 16 or 17? The other
delivery that is scheduled on?

A: On the 17th.

xxx xxx xxx


Q: Did he tell you who was to make the delivery?

A: No, Sir.

xxx xxx xxx


Q: At that time when you decided to look for the accused to ask him to shed light on
the matter concerning the arrest of these two employees in possession of shabu.
Did you and did your team suspect the accused as being involved in the
transaction that lead (led) to the arrest of Redentor and Joseph?

A: Yes, Sir. We suspected that he was the source of the shabu.

xxx xxx xxx


Q: When you saw the accused walking towards his car, did you know whether he was
carrying a gun?

A: No, Sir. It cannot be seen.

Q: It was concealed?

A: Yes, Sir.

Q: So, the only time that you and your team learned that he was in possession of the
gun is when he was bodily search?

A: Yes, Sir. That is the only time that I came to know about when Capt. Margallo
handed to me the gun.

Q: Other than walking towards his car, the accused was not doing anything else?

A: None, Sir.

Q: That would invite your suspicion or give indication that he was intending to do
something unlawful or illegal?

A: No, Sir.

Q: When you searched the car, did the accused protest or try to prevent your team from
searching his car?

A: No, Sir." (TSN pp. 3-16, Feb. 26, 1997)

Clearly therefore, the warrantless arrest of the accused and the search of his person and
the car were without probable cause and could not be licit. The arrest of the accused did
not fall under any of the exception to the requirements of warrantless arrests, (Sec. 5,
Rule 113, Rules of Court) and is therefore, unlawful and derogatory of his
constitutional right of liberty. . . .

The trial court resolved the case on the basis of its findings that the arrest preceded the search, and
finding no basis to rule in favor of a lawful arrest, it ruled that the incidental search is likewise unlawful.
Any and all pieces of evidence acquired as a consequence thereof are inadmissible in evidence. Thus, the
trial court dismissed the case for lack of evidence.

Contrary to its position at the trial court, the People, however, now posits that "inasmuch as it has been
shown in the present case that the seizure without warrant of the regulated drugs and unlicensed firearms
in the accused's possession had been validly made upon probable cause and under exigent circumstances,
then the warrantless arrest of the accused must necessarily have to be regarded as having been made on
the occasion of the commission of the crime in flagrante delicto, and therefore constitutionally and
statutorily permissible and lawful." 28 In effect, the People now contends that the warrantless search
preceded the warrantless arrest. Since the case falls under an exception to the general rule requiring
search warrant prior to a valid search and seizure, the police officers were justified in requiring the private
respondent to open his BMW car's trunk to see if he was carrying illegal drugs.

The conflicting versions as to whether the arrest preceded the search or vice versa, is a matter of
credibility of evidence. It entails appreciation of evidence, which may be done in an appeal of a criminal
case because the entire case is thrown open for review, but not in the case of a petition
for certiorari where the factual findings of the trial court are binding upon the Court. Since a dismissal
order consequent to a demurrer to evidence is not subject to appeal and reviewable only by certiorari, the
factual finding that the arrest preceded the search is conclusive upon this Court. The only legal basis for
this Court to possibly reverse and set aside the dismissal order of the trial court upon demurrer to
evidence would be if the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in excess of jurisdiction when it
ruled that there was no legal basis to lawfully effect a warrantless arrest.

The pertinent provisions of Rule 113 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure on warrantless arrest provide:

Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or a private person
may, without a warrant, arrest a person:

a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually


committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;

b) When an offense has just been committed, and he has probable cause to believe
based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances 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 is temporarily confined
while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement
to another.

Section 5, above, provides three (3) instances when warrantless arrest may be lawfully effected: (a) arrest
of a suspect in flagrante delicto; (b) arrest of a suspect where, based on personal knowledge of the
arresting officer, there is probable cause that said suspect was the author of a crime which had just been
committed; (c) arrest of a prisoner who has escaped from custody serving final judgment or temporarily
confined while his case is pending.

For a warrantless arrest of an accused caught in flagrante delicto under paragraph (a) of Section 5 to be
valid, two requisites must concur: (1) the person to be arrested must execute an overt act indicating that
he has just committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit a crime; and (2) such overt act
is done in the presence or within the view of the arresting officer. 29

The facts and circumstances surrounding the present case did not manifest any suspicious behavior on the
part of private respondent Lawrence Wang that would reasonably invite the attention of the police. He
was merely walking from the Maria Orosa Apartment and was about to enter the parked BMW car when
the police operatives arrested him, frisked and searched his person and commanded him to open the
compartment of the car, which was later on found to be owned by his friend, David Lee. He was not
committing any visible offense then. Therefore, there can be no valid warrantless arrest in flagrante
delicto under paragraph (a) of Section 5. It is settled that "reliable information" alone, absent any overt act
indicative of a felonious enterprise in the presence and within the view of the arresting officers, is not
sufficient to constitute probable cause that would justify an in flagrante delicto arrest. 30

Neither may the warrantless arrest be justified under paragraph (b) of Section 5. What is clearly
established from the testimonies of the arresting officers is that Wang was arrested mainly on the
information that he was the employer of Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio who were previously arrested
and charged for illegal transport ofshabu. Teck and Junio did not even categorically identify Wang to be
their source of the shabu they were caught with in flagrante delicto. Upon the duo's declaration that there
will be a delivery of shabu on the early morning of the following day, May 17, which is only a few hours
thereafter, and that Wang may be found in Maria Orosa Apartment along Maria Orosa Street, the
arresting officers conducted "surveillance" operation in front of said apartment, hoping to find a person
which will match the description of one Lawrence Wang, the employer of Teck and Junio. These
circumstances do not sufficiently establish the existence of probable cause based on personal knowledge
as required in paragraph (b) of Section 5.

And doubtless, the warrantless arrest does not fall under paragraph (c) of Section 5.

The inevitable conclusion, as correctly made by the trial court, is that the warrantless arrest was
illegal. Ipso jure, the warrantless search incidental to the illegal arrest is likewise unlawful.
In People v. Aminnudin, 31 the Court declared as inadmissible in evidence the marijuana found in
appellant's possession during a search without a warrant, because it had been illegally seized, in disregard
of the Bill of Rights:

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 a
suspect and so subject to apprehension. It was the fugitive finger that triggered his
arrest. The identification of the informer was the probable cause as determined by the
officer (and not a judge) that authorized them to pounce upon Aminnudin and
immediately arrest him.

The People's contention that Wang waived his right against unreasonable search and seizure has no
factual basis. While we agree in principle that consent will validate an otherwise illegal search, however,
based on the evidence on record, Wang resisted his arrest and the search on his person and
belongings. 32 The implied acquiescence to the search, if there was any, could not have been more than
mere passive conformity given under intimidating or coercive circumstances and is thus considered no
consent at all within the purview of the constitutional guarantee. 33 Moreover, the continuing objection to
the validity of the warrantless arrest made of record during the arraignment bolsters Wang's claim that he
resisted the warrantless arrest and search.

We cannot close this ponencia without a word of caution: those who are supposed to enforce the law are
not justified in disregarding the rights of the individual in the name of order. Order is too high a price for
the loss of liberty. As Justice Holmes once said, "I think it is less evil that some criminals should escape
than that the government should play an ignoble part." It is simply not allowed in free society to violate a
law to enforce another, especially if the law violated is the Constitution itself.34

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. HScCEa

SO ORDERED.

Puno, C.J., Sandoval-Gutierrez, Corona and Azcuna, JJ., concur.

||| (People v. Laguio, Jr., G.R. No. 128587, [March 16, 2007], 547 PHIL 296-331)
PP vs Claudio

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 133694. February 29, 2000.]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. TOMAS CLAUDIO y


MENIJIE, accused-appellant.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.

Office of Legal Aid for accused-appellant.

SYNOPSIS

Tomas Claudio was convicted by the trial court of the crime of Forcible Abduction with Rape and the
penalty of reclusion perpetua was imposed upon him. The conviction was based on the testimony of the
complaining witness, Cherry Joy Santiago, that on February 23, 1997, at about 7:00 o'clock in the
evening, while she was on her way home from Ever Gotesco, where she worked as a saleslady, chanced
upon and invited by Tomas to join him for a mass at the Quiapo Church. She declined the invitation, but
Tomas insisted. Suddenly, Tomas grabbed her left wrist and dragged her forcibly across the overpass and
they boarded an aircon bus bound for Quiapo. They alighted in front of Quiapo Church. Then, Tomas
gave her a softdrink in a cellophane bag. She drank it and instead of attending the mass, Tomas took her
around the Quiapo area until they reached an alley leading towards a flight of stairs which led to many
rooms. In one of the rooms, Tomas started undressing himself. Sensing the lustful intent of the accused,
she scurried towards the comfort room, locked herself and asked for help. As she sat on the toilet bowl,
she suddenly felt dizzy and lightheaded and slipped into unconsciousness. When she regained her
consciousness at around midnight, she found herself naked on the bed and wrapped only with a blanket.
She went to the comfort room and she noticed her vagina bleeding. She put on her clothes. Tomas
suggested that she go home alone but she adamantly refused as she was afraid to see her parents. Tomas
took her to his sister Shiela's house in Quezon City. The following day, she was surprised to see her
mother in Shiela's house. Her mother asked her whether she wanted to marry Tomas but she said no
because he was not even courting her. For his defense, Tomas claimed that on February 23, 1997, he went
to Ever Gotesco to fetch Cherry Joy because they had a "relationship." Then, he brought her to a hotel and
they made love without a single resistance from her.

Placing the testimony of accused-appellant in juxtaposition with the narration of the private complainant,
the Court cannot help rejecting the credibility of the latter's testimony for being obviously contrived, and
ruling that the version of accused-appellant more approximates the real story. It is a truism that for a
testimony to be accorded credence, it must not only be believable but must spring from the mouth of a
credible witness. Indeed, the obliquity of the complainant's account is so marked as to create the
impression that the accusation was a mere concoction of a malicious mind. Etched in our jurisprudence is
the rule that the onus is on the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. In
this, the prosecution miserably failed. DTEScI

The unnatural behavior of Cherry Joy before the alleged rape and its aftermath strengthens our belief that
no crime did in fact happen as the sexual union between her and the accused-appellant was a reciprocal,
albeit indiscreet act of two (2) lovers. The "sweetheart theory" interposed by accused-appellant may be
weak, but it should not be dismissed with undue haste. There are situations when, as in this case, the
accused had no other defense but that he and the alleged "victim" were lovers, which could really be the
truth.

Accused-appellant was acquitted of the crime charged.

|D E C I S I O N
BELLOSILLO, J p:

TOMAS CLAUDIO Y MENIJIE appeals to us the Decision of the court a quo finding him guilty of
Forcible Abduction with Rape and imposing upon him a prison term ofreclusion perpetua. 1 His
conviction was based on this narration of facts of the complaining witness, Cherry Joy Santiago:

According to Cherry Joy, on 23 February 1997 at 7:00 o'clock in the evening she was on her way home
from Ever Gotesco where she worked as a saleslady. While at the foot of the overpass which she had to
traverse to take her to the other side of the street, she chanced upon the accused Tomas Claudio who
invited her to join him for a mass at the Quiapo Church. She declined the invitation because it was already
late and she was afraid her parents might look for her. But Tomas insisted. He suddenly grabbed her left
wrist and dragged her forcibly across the overpass and boarded an aircon bus with her bound for Quiapo.
She did not attempt to free herself because she was afraid to create a scene inside the bus. Besides, he was
not a total stranger to her, he being the former boyfriend of her mother's cousin whom she referred to
as Ate Neneng with whom he has a love child. cdll

Cherry Joy and the accused alighted in front of the Quiapo Church. Soon after, he gave her a softdrink in
a plastic or cellophane bag. She drank it, after which, instead of attending mass the accused took her
around the Quiapo area which was unfamiliar to her. They roamed aimlessly through several sidestreets
until they reached an alley leading towards a flight of stairs. They took the stairs which led to "many
rooms." 2 She was confused and had no definite idea where she was. He shoved her unceremoniously into
one of the rooms. Then he started undressing himself. Sensing the lustful intent of the accused, she
scurried towards the comfort room and locked herself. Her cries for help, perhaps muffled by the tightly-
closed doors, were not heard from the outside. As she sat on the toilet bowl, she suddenly felt dizzy and
lightheaded. She sensed somebody forcing himself in, so she pushed the door back to stop the intruder
from getting in, unfortunately, she slipped into unconsciousness.

When she regained consciousness at around midnight, she found herself naked in bed and wrapped only
with a blanket. She went to the comfort room and there noticed her vagina bleeding. She forthwith put on
her clothes. Tomas warned her not to tell anything to her Ate Neneng. He suggested that she go home
alone, but she adamantly refused as she was afraid to see her parents "after what
happened." 3 Apparently, Tomas acceded to Cherry Joy's entreaties since he took her to his sister Shiela's
house in Bahawan, Masambong, Quezon City. Cherry Joy could not sleep that night because she was
apprehensive that her parents would learn about what happened to her.

The following day, 24 February 1997 at around 10:00 o'clock in the morning, she was surprised to see her
mother in Shiela's house. Her mother ask her whether she wanted to marry Tomas but she said no because
he was not even courting her. She stayed with an aunt for about four (4) days. Her mother only came to
know about the incident through her aunt to whom she related her experience. Her mother accompanied
Cherry Joy to the police station where she gave her statement and then to Camp Crame where she was
physically examined by a doctor. They also went to the NBI where again she gave a narrative of her
sexual encounter.

On 13 March 1997, an Information for the complex crime of forcible abduction with rape was filed before
the Regional Trial Court of Manila against Tomas Claudio yMenijie.

Dr. Anthony Joselito R. Llamas presented his findings before the trial court: (a) there was a deep healing
laceration at 4:00 o'clock and shallow healing lacerations at 9:00 o'clock; (b) the healing lacerations on
the genitals were consistent with the claim of the victim that the same were inflicted within the three (3)
day-period prior to the medical examination; (c) the injury in the hymen showed that a hard blunt object
had penetrated the organ although there was no certainty whether actual sexual intercourse occurred
because of the absence of spermatozoa on the victim's genitalia; and, (d) that, under the facts, it was very
possible that the sexual intercourse occurred on 23 February 1997. cdrep

Accused Tomas Claudio admitted having met Cherry Joy on 23 February 1997. In fact he went to see her
at Ever Gotesco not for any sinister motive but to fetch her as they had a "relationship." He testified that
while on his way to see her, she pulled his shirt to attract his attention. They then boarded a bus to Quiapo
where they entered the Quiapo Church. Shortly after leaving the church, he asked her where she wanted
to go next. She said she would go anywhere he pleased.
Tomas then brought Cherry Joy to a hotel and there they made love. Tomas said that never for a moment
did she resist his sexual advances. On the contrary, she reciprocated and savored every single moment of
their sexual congress. Cherry not only woke him up when they fell asleep after their lovemaking but even
joined him in the shower. He recalled that all the while they were on board the bus going to his sister
Shiela's place, the complainant was calm. When they knocked at Shiela's door, nobody answered, so they
decided to drop by the house of Mama Nancy, a friend of his mother. Mama Nancy curiously asked what
took him so late to come to her place and even asked Cherry Joy whether she was sure of what she was
doing. But Cherry Joy replied, "He loves me and something happened to us." 4 Mama Nancyhurriedly
phoned accused's sister Shiela who then came and brought them to her house where they stayed until the
following morning.

Informed of the disturbing news, the mother of Cherry Joy arrived and sought Shiela's counsel on what to
do with the errant lovers. When asked whether she knew what she was doing, Cherry resolutely professed
her love for Tomas and signified her willingness to go with him.

Tomas disclosed that on several occasions prior to the incident, he and Cherry Joy met clandestinely,
always careful never to let her parents know of their relationship. He theorized that perhaps the reason
why Cherry Joy was anxious not to let her parents know about them was because of his child with a
relative of theirs. prLL

To fortify the testimony of the accused, the defense presented Nancy Floro, referred to by the accused
as Mama Nancy, who testified that on 24 February 1997 at around 1:30 to 2:00 o'clock in the morning
Tomas, with a girl in tow, came to her house. She noticed that the two (2) were holding hands. The three
(3) of them passed the time conversing and exchanging jokes. She even served them coffee. There was no
trace of anxiety on the face of the girl as she smiled a lot and positively responded to all her questions. 5

Taking the witness stand, Marivic Arais, a friend and neighbor of Cherry Joy, further reinforced the
assertion by the accused that he and Cherry Joy were lovers and that their carnal union was but the act of
two (2) consenting adults. She testified that Cherry Joy admitted to her her relationship with the accused;
that they (private complainant and the accused) oftentimes trysted at some pre-arranged places, e.g., the
Quezon Memorial Circle and Pantranco in Quezon City; and that she was trying hard to keep her
relationship with the accused from her parents as they would subject her to severe tongue-lashing because
he has a child with a relative. 6 LexLib

The trial court lent absolute credence to the declarations of the private complainant. Accordingly,
convicted accused Tomas Claudio of the complex crime of forcible abduction with rape; 7 hence, this
appeal.

Accused-appellant assails the finding of the trial court that the evidence presented by the prosecution was
sufficient to warrant his conviction. He vehemently argues that the facts of the case and the demeanor of
the private complainant negate the contention that she did not consent to go with him. 8 He further insists
that her testimony is not only "at odds with knowledge and common experience" but her "deportment
after the alleged rape renders her accusation incredible." 9

We agree. Placing the testimony of accused-appellant in juxtaposition with the narration of the private
complainant, this court cannot help rejecting the credibility of the latter's testimony for being obviously
contrived, and ruling that the version of accused-appellant more approximates the real story. It is a truism
that for a testimony to be accorded credence it must not only be believable but must spring from the
mouth of a credible witness. Indeed, the obliquity of the complainant's account is so marked as to create
the impression that the accusation was a mere concoction of a malicious mind. Etched in our
jurisprudence is the rule that the onus is on the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused beyond
reasonable doubt. In this, the prosecution miserably failed. cdrep

First. Private complainant never objected or showed resistance when accused-appellant allegedly dragged
her forcibly across the pedestrian overpass and brought her to an undisclosed placed at Quiapo. Although
he was holding her wrist tightly she could have easily extricated herself from him on several occasions:
(a) while they were inside the bus bound for Quiapo; (b) when they alighted from the bus and roamed the
sidestreets of Quiapo; and, especially so, (c) when they entered the hotel and finally the room where the
alleged rape took place. Accused-appellant was unarmed and his tight grip could not have prevented
private complainant from at least shouting for help. Her demeanor was simply inconsistent with that of
the ordinary Filipina whose instinct dictates that she summon every ounce of her strength and courage to
thwart any attempt to besmirched her honor and blemish her purity. True, women react differently in
similar situations, but it is too unnatural for an intended rape victim, as in this case, not to make feeble
attempt to free herself despite a myriad of opportunities to do so.

Second. The deportment of the private complainant after the alleged rape accentuates the dubiety of her
testimony. After the alleged rape, she did not leave immediately but even refused to be separated from her
supposed defiler despite the prodding of the latter. Worse, she went with him to the house of his sister and
there they slept together. Indeed this attitude runs counter to logic and common sense. Surely private
complainant would not risk a second molestation and undergo a reprise of the harrowing experience. To
compound matters, it took her four (4) days to inform her parents about this agonizing episode in her life.
Truly, her insouciance is very disturbing, to say the least.

Finally. The prosecution failed to substantiate any of its allegations. Instead, it opted to stand or fall on
the uncorroborated and implausible testimony of the private complainant. It is elementary in our rules of
evidence that a party must prove the affirmative of his allegations.

Private complainant averred that she lost consciousness inside the hotel room after accused-
appellant gave her a drug-laced softdrink. Yet not a shred of evidence was presented to show that he
had administered the drug on the softdrink. On the contrary, private complainant herself provided the
ground to doubt this allegation when she testified thus: 10
Atty. Fontanilla:

You saw the accused bought (sic) the said softdrink?

Witness:

Yes sir.

Q: And from the time you saw him bought (sic) the Coke, he handed to you the said
softdrink directly from the vendor?

A: Yes, sir. (emphasis supplied)

Q: And you drank it?

A: Yes, sir.

Again, despite the testimony of the medical expert that the lacerations in the genitalia of the complaining
witness were consistent with her claim of having been sexually abused several days before, the same
medico-legal officer also explained that the same did not foreclose the possibility of a consensual sexual
intercourse. 11 He averred in fact that a normal sexual encounter would cause lacerations as long as the
subject is a virgin or there have been prior lacerations to the hymen of the female.cdphil

All told, the unnatural behavior of Cherry Joy before the alleged rape and its aftermath strengthens our
belief that no crime did in fact happen as the sexual union between her and the accused-appellant was a
reciprocal, albeit indiscreet, act of two (2) lovers. The "sweetheart theory" interposed by accused-
appellant may be weak, but we should not dismiss it with undue haste. There are situations when, as in
this case, the accused has no other defense but that he and the alleged "victim" were lovers, which could
really be the truth. LLphil

WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila finding the accused-appellant
TOMAS CLAUDIO y MENIJIE guilty of forcible abduction with rape is REVERSED and SET ASIDE
for gross insufficiency of evidence; at least, on reasonable doubt. Consequently, accused-appellant is
ACQUITTED of the crime charged and ordered IMMEDIATELY RELEASED FROM CUSTODY
unless lawfully held for another cause.

The Director of the Bureau of Corrections is DIRECTED to implement this Decision forthwith and to
report to this Court immediately and not later than five (5) days from the receipt hereof the action taken
hereon.

Costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.

Mendoza, Quisumbing, Buena and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.

||| (People v. Claudio, G.R. No. 133694, [February 29, 2000], 383 PHIL 718-729)
People v Maspil

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 85177 August 20, 1990

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
MOISES MASPIL, JR. y WAYWAY and SALCEDO BAGKING y ALTAKI, defendants-appellants.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.

Peter C. Fianza for defendants-appellants.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:

This petition is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City, Branch 5, the
dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, the Court finds and declares the accused MOISES MASPIL, JR. y
WAYWAY and SALCEDO BAGKING y ALTAKI, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
the crime of illegal transportation of marijuana as charged and hereby sentences EACH
of them to suffer LIFE IMPRISONMENT; to pay a fine of P20,000.00, without
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency; and to pay their proportionate shares in
the costs.

The confiscated marijuana (Exhibits "B", "B-1 " to "B-23"; "C" to "C-16", "D", "D-1" to
"D-20"; "E", "E-1", to "E-14", "F", "F-1", "G", "G-l") are hereby declared forfeited in
favor of the Government and upon the finality of this decision, the Branch Clerk of Court
is directed to turn over the same to the Dangerous Drugs Board (NBI), through the Chief,
PC Crime Laboratory, Regional Unit No. 1, Camp Dangwa, La Trinidad, Benguet, for
disposition in accordance ' with law. (Rollo, pp. 25-26)

In Criminal Case No. 4263-R, the information filed against the two accused alleged:

That on or about the 1st day of November, 1986, at Sayangan, Municipality of Atok,
Province of Benguet, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-named accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually aiding each other, and
without any authority of law, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly
transport and carry in transit from Sinto, Bauko, Mt. Province to Atok, Benguet One
Hundred Eleven Kilos and Nine Grams (111.9 kilos), more or less, of dried marijuana
leaves which are sources of dangerous and prohibited drugs and from which dangerous
and prohibited drugs may be derived and manufactured, in violation of the said law.
(Rollo, p. 11)

The narration of facts by the trial court is as follows:

According to Jerry Valeroso, Sgt. Amador Ablang and Sgt. Florentino Baillo, all
members of the First Narcotics Regional Unit of the Narcotics Command stationed in
Baguio City, (See also Exhibit "I") on October 30, 1986, they established a checkpoint in
front of the Municipal Hall at Sayangan, Atok, Benguet, which is along the Halsema
Highway, to check on vehicles proceeding to Baguio City because their Commanding
Officer, Maj. Basilio Cablayan had been earlier tipped off by some confidential informers
that the herein accused Maspil and Basking would be transporting a large volume of
marijuana to Baguio City. The informers went along with the operatives to Sayangan.

At about 2:00 o'clock in the early morning of November 1, the operatives intercepted a
Sarao type jeep driven by Maspil with Bagking as his companion. Upon inspection, the
jeep was found loaded with two (2) plastic sacks (Exhibits "B" and "D"), one (1) jute
sack (Exhibit "C") and three (3) big round tin cans (Exhibits "E", "F" and "G") which,
when opened contained several bundles of suspected dried marijuana leaves (Exhibits "B-
1", to "B-23", "C-1" to "C-16", D-1" to "D-20", "E-1" to "E-14","F-1" and "G-1").

Maspil and Basking were arrested and the suspected marijuana leaves were confiscated.

The confiscated items were later on referred to the PC Crime Laboratory, Regional Unit
1, for examination (Exhibit "A"). Forensic Chemist Carlos V. Figuerroa performed the
requested examination and determined that the specimen, with an aggregate weight of
115.66 kilos, were positive to the standard tests for marijuana.

The accused admitted that the marijuana dried leaves were indeed confiscated from the
jeep being then driven by Maspil with Bagking as his helper. However, they claimed that
the prohibited drugs belonged to two of their passengers who loaded them in the jeep as
paying cargo for Baguio City without the accused knowing that they were marijuana.

The accused declared that on October 31, 1986, at the burned area along Lakandula
Street, Baguio City, a certain Mrs. Luisa Mendoza hired the jeep of Maspil to transport
her stock of dried fish and canned goods contained in cartons to Abatan, Buguias,
Benguet, because her own vehicle broke down. They left Baguio City at about 1:00
o'clock in the afternoon (11:30 in the morning, according to Bagking) with Mrs.
Mendoza, her helper and salesgirls on board the jeep with Maspil as driver and Bagking
as his own helper. They arrived at Abatan at about 6:00 o'clock in the evening.

After unloading their cargo, Maspil and Bagking repaired to a restaurant for their dinner
before undertaking the trip back to Baguio City. While thus eating, they were approached
by two persons, one of whom they would learn later on to be a certain Danny Buteng.
Buteng inquired if they were going to Baguio City and upon being given an affirmative
answer, he said that he would ride with them and that he has some cargo. Asked what the
cargo was, Buteng replied that they were flowers in closed tin cans and sealed sacks for
the commemoration of All Souls Day in Baguio City. After Buteng had agreed to
Maspil's condition that he would pay for the space to be occupied by his cargo, Buteng
himself and his companion loaded the cargo and fixed them inside Maspil's jeep.

Maspil and Bagking left Abatan at about 7:00 o'clock that same evening of October 31.
Aside from Buteng and companion they had four other passengers. These four other
passengers alighted at Natubleng, Buguias, Benguet.

Upon reaching Sayangan, Atok, Benguet, Maspil stopped at the Marosan Restaurant
where they intended to take coffee. Their remaining passengers-Buteng and companion
alighted and went to the restaurant. However, a soldier waved at Maspil to drive to where
he was, which Maspil did. The soldier secured Maspil's permission to inspect their cargo
after which he grabbed Maspil on the latter's left shoulder and asked who owned the
cargo. Maspil told the soldier that the cargo belonged to their passengers who went to the
restaurant. The soldier called for his companions and they went to look for Maspil's
passengers in the restaurant. Later on, they returned and placed Maspil and Bagking
under arrest since their cargo turned out to be marijuana.

Lawrence Balonglong, alias Banawe, a radio reporter of DZWX Bombo Radio who was
invited by Lt Valeroso to witness the operation, affirmed the unsuccessful pursuit of the
alleged two companions of Maspil and Bagking. He recalled that he was awakened from
his sleep at the townhall in Sayangan after the arrest of Maspil and Bagking. When he
went to the scene, the NARCOM operatives boarded the jeep of Maspil to chase the two
companions of Maspil and Bagking. Balonglong climbed on top of the jeep with his
camera to join the chase. They proceeded toward the direction of Bontoc but failed to
catch anyone. Hence, they returned.

Thereupon, Maspil and Bagking were taken to the townhall where they were allegedly
maltreated to admit ownership of the confiscated marijuana. At about 4:00 o'clock in the
afternoon of November 1, the soldiers took them away from Sayangan to be transferred
to their station at Baguio City. On their way, particularly at Km. 32 or 34, they met Mike
Maspil, an elder brother of Moises Maspil, and the soldiers called for him and then Lt.
Valeroso and his men mauled him on the road.

Mike testified that between 3:00 and 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon of November 1, he was
informed by a neighbor that his brother Moises was detained at the Atok Municipal Jail.
So he called for Jose Pos-el and James Longages, his driver and helper, respectively, to
go along with him to see Moises. They rode in his jeep. On the way, they met the group
of Lt. Valeroso. For no apparent reason, Lt. Valeroso boxed and kicked him several
times. Thereafter, Lt. Valeroso placed him under arrest together with his driver and
helper. They were all brought to a shoe store on Gen. Luna Road, Baguio City, together
with Moises and Bagking. There, Lt. Valeroso got his wallet containing P21000 and
Seiko wrist watch but the receipt (Exhibit "3") was issued by a certain Miss Pingil, a
companion of Valeroso. He was released after nine days. He then went to Lt. Valeroso to
claim his wallet, money and watch but he was told that they were with Miss Pingil.
However, when he went to Miss Pingil, the latter said that the items were with Lt.
Valeroso. He sought the assistance of then Tourism Deputy Minister Honorato Aquino
who assigned a lawyer to assist him. The lawyer advised him to file a case against Lt.
Valeroso but because of the intervening congressional elections, the matter has never
been pursued. (Rollo, p. 21-24)

The appellants raise the following assignment of errors in their appeal, to wit:

THAT THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE ALLEGED
MARIJUANA AS CHARGED IN THE INFORMATION IS DIFFERENT FROM
THAT PRESENTED FOR LABORATORY EXAMINATION.

II

THAT THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THERE WERE ONLY TWO
OCCUPANTS, THE APPELLANTS, IN THE VEHICLE WHERE THE ALLEGED
MARIJUANA WAS CONFISCATED

III.

THAT THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE ACCUSED KNEW
THAT THE CARGO THEY WERE TRANSPORTING WAS MARIJUANA.

IV

THAT THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING IN EVIDENCE THE


ALLEGED CONFISCATED MARIJUANA.

THAT THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN SHIPPING FROM THE PROSECUTION THE
BURDEN OF PROVING THE COMMISSION OF THE OFFENSE CHARGED TO
THE APPELLANTS TO PROVE THEIR INNOCENCE." (Rollo, p. 40)

The main defense of the appellants is their claim that the prohibited drugs belonged to their two
passengers who loaded them in the jeep as paying cargo without the appellants knowing that the cargo
was marijuana.
In the second and third assignment of errors, the appellants claim that the trial court erred in not
appreciating their version of the facts.

The appellants state that the trial court's reliance on Sgt. Baillo's testimony that they were the only ones in
the jeep cannot be given credence as Sgt. Baillo's testimony is full of inconsistencies.

The appellants cite Sgt. Baillo's inconsistencies as to the time of the arrest whether morning or afternoon,
the time the checkpoint was removed and the person who were with him at the time of arrest.

It has been ruled that inconsistencies in the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses not on material
points is not fatal. Moreover, minor inconsistencies are to be expected but must be disregarded if they do
not affect the basic credibility of the evidence as a whole. (People v. Marcos, G. R. No. 83325, May 8,
1990).

The defense even state that there were l lot of policemen (T.S.N., December 1, 1987, p. 22) and it was but
natural that there would be confusion on who was there at the time of the arrest.

The trial court gave credence to the positive and categorical statement of Sgt. Baillo that there were only
two occupants, and these were the appellants inside the jeepney at the time (T.S.N., June 30, 1987, p. 18).
We see no cogent reason to reverse this finding of fact.

There is nothing in the records to suggest that the arrest was motivated by any reason other than the desire
of the police officers to accomplish their mission. Courts generally give full faith and credit to police
officers when the facts and circumstances surrounding their acts sustain the presumption that they have
performed their duties in a regular manner. (Rule 131, Section 5 (m), Rules of Court; People v. Marcos,
supra; People v. Yap and Mendoza, G.R. Nos. 87088-89, May 9,1990)

The appellants put forward the testimony of Lawrence Balonglong which corroborates and affirms their
stand that there were, indeed, passengers in the jeepney.

However, a close perusal of said testimony reveals no such corroboration. The pertinent portions of
Balonglong's testimony is as follows:

xxx xxx xxx

Q Where were you when these two persons were apprehended?

A I was in the Municipal Hall asleep, sir.

Q How did you know then that these people were apprehended?

A It is like this, sir, on the night of October 31, 1 was then asleep and at
around 11:00, 1guess, p.m., they awakened me so I went and I saw these
two guys being apprehended by the Narcom operative.

Court:

Q You saw them being apprehended?

A No, sir ... I saw them there.

Q Already apprehended?

A Already apprehended.

Atty. Fianza:

Q And when you saw these persons, what did you do, if any?
A What I recall is that when I went to the road, where these two guys
were apprehended, the operatives boarded the same jeep and I even
climbed the jeep . . . on top of the jeep holding my camera and tape
recorder and we . . . I don't know ... they chased, according to the
operatives, they chased two companions of the two arrested guys.
(T.S.N., May 11, 1988, p. 4)

In their brief, the appellants even admit that "he (Balonglong) did not see the passengers" and it was just
his impression that there were other people present. (Appellant's Brief, p. 7)

The appellants maintain that they did not know what was in the cargo. Their main concern was in going
back to Baguio City and they saw no need to question their two passengers on why flowers were being
kept in closed cans and sacks. They were apprehended after midnight. They traversed a lonely and
reputedly dangerous portion of the mountain highway.

The appellants' version is not believable. It is inconceivable that the appellants would not even bother to
ask the names of the strangers who approached them in a restaurant at night wanting to hire their jeepney,
considering that they were familiar with the Identity of the passenger, Luisa Mendoza, who hired them to
transport her goods to Abatan, Buguias, Benguet.

It is likewise incredible that the appellants did not show the slightest curiousity as to why flowers were
being kept in closed tin cans and sealed sacks and cellophane. On the other hand, the appellants had clear
knowledge that Luisa Mendoza was transporting cartons containing dried fish and canned goods on the
trip out of Baguio. It is contrary to human experience that the appellants would inquire about the name of
the passenger and the cargo she was loading on their jeep and not doing the same about another who
would transport goods on a midnight trip.

Well-settled is the rule that evidence to be believed, must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible
witness but it must be credible itself. No better test has yet been found to measure the value of a witness
than its conformity to the knowledge and common experience of mankind. (People v. Maribung, 149
SCRA 292, 297 [1987] ; People v. Aldana, G.R. No. 81817, July 27, 1989; People v. Pascua, G.R. No.
82303, December 21, 1989).

The appellants further allege that if, indeed they knew about the contents of their cargo, they would have
adopted means to prevent detection or to evade arrest.

At the time the appellants were being motioned by the policemen to come nearer the checkpoint, there
was no way that the appellants could have evaded the arrest without putting their lives in jeopardy. They
decided to just brazen it out with police and insist on their version of the story.

As for the other assigned errors, the appellants in the first assigned error, contend that since there is a
discrepancy of 3.76 between the number of kilos stated in the information (111.9 kilos) and in the report
(115.66 kilos) of the forensic chemist, it is very likely that the marijuana presented as evidence was not
the one confiscated from the appellants or even if they were the same, it could have already been
tampered with. The appellants conclude that the marijuana then, cannot be admitted as evidence.

The marijuana examined by the forensic chemist, which was contained in three big round tin cans, two
jute sacks (there was really only one jute sack colored light green which was confiscated but since one of
the plastic sacks [green] appeared to be tattered, some of its contents were transferred to a white jute
sack), (T.S.N., June 23, 1987, p. 5) and two plastic bags colored yellow and green (T.S.N., June 23, 1987,
p. 3), was positively Identified to be the same as those confiscated from the appellants. This is very clear
from the testimony of Lt. Valeroso who stated:

xxx xxx xxx

Q When you went down, where were these two suspects, as you said?

A They were sitted (sic) at the front seat.

Q Front seat of what?


A The jeep, sir.

Q And did you ask or see what was inside the jeep?

A Yes.

Q And what were those?

A It was all suspected marijuana dried leaves contained in three big cans,
one sack colored green, two sacks colored yellow and green. (Italics
supplied, T.S.N., September 16, 1987, P. 4)

Lt. Valeroso further testified that Exhibits "B" (yellow plastic big), "C" light green jute sack, "D" (green
plastic bag), "E" (one big can), "F" (second can), "G" (third can) were, indeed, the same articles which he
saw at the back of the jeepney of the appellants. (T.S.N., September 16, 1987, p. 5)

One of the appellants, Moises Maspil, even admitted that the articles Identified by Lt. Valeroso in his
testimony were indeed, the same articles confiscated from their jeepney at Sayangan, Atok, Benguet.
(T.S.N., February 24, 1988, pp. 34-35)

Moreover, the words "more or less" following the weight in kilos of the marijuana in the questioned
information declare that the number of kilos stated therein is just an approximation. It can therefore be a
little lighter or heavier. The slight discrepancy is not material.

Another ground stated by the appellants for the inadmissibility in evidence of the confiscated marijuana is
that the marijuana allegedly seized from them was a product of an unlawful search without a warrant.

In the case of Valmonte v. de Villa, G.R. No. 83988, September 29, 1989, the Court held that:

xxx xxx xxx

True, the manning of checkpoints by the military is susceptible of abuse by the men in
uniform, in the same manner that all government power is susceptible of abuse. But at the
cost of occasional inconvenience, discomfort and even irritation to the citizen, the
checkpoints during these abnormal times, when conducted within reasonable limits are
part of the price we pay for an orderly society and a peaceful community.

The search was conducted within reasonable limits. There was information that a sizeable volume of
marijuana will be transported to take advantage of the All Saints Day holiday wherein there will be a lot
of people going to and from Baguio City (T.S.N., September 16, 1987, p. 6). In fact, during the three day
(October 30, 1986 to November 1, 1986) duration of the checkpoint, there were also other drug related
arrests made aside from that of the two appellants.

But even without the Valmonte ruling, the search would still be valid. This case involves a search incident
to a lawful arrest which is one of the exceptions to the general rule requiring a search warrant. This
exception is embodied in Section 12 of Rule 126 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure which
provides:

Sec. 12. Search incident to lawful arrest. A person lawfully arrested may be searched for
dangerous weapons or anything which may be used as proof of the commission of an
offense, without a search warrant.

and Rule 113, Section 5 (11) which state:

Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or a private person may,
without a warrant, arrest a person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense.
This case falls squarely within the exceptions. The appellants were caught in flagrante delicto since they
were transporting the prohibited drugs at the time of their arrest. (People v. Tangliben, G.R. No. 63630,
April 6, 1990) A crime was actually being committed.

The appellants, however, cite the case of People V. Aminnudin, (163 SCRA 402 [1988]. In said case, the
PC officers received information that the accused-appellant, on board a vessel bound for Iloilo City, was
carrying marijuana. When the accused-appellant was descending the gangplank, the PC officers detained
him and inspected the bag that he was carrying and found marijuana. The Court ruled that since the
marijuana was seized illegally, it is inadmissible in evidence.

There are certain facts of the said case which are not present in the case before us. In the Aminnudin case,
the records showed that there was sufficient time and adequate information for the PC officers to have
obtained a warrant. The officers knew the name of the accused, that the accused was on board M/V
Wilcon 9, bound to Iloilo and the exact date of the arrival of the said vessel.

On the other hand, in this case there was no information as to the exact description of the vehicle and no
definite time of the arrival. A jeepney cannot be equated with a passenger ship on the high seas. The
ruling in the Aminnudin case, is not applicable to the case at bar.

As for the fifth and last assigned error we agree with the Solicitor General that:

Examination of the testimonies of appellants show that they admit the fact that the
confiscated marijuana was taken from their jeep while they were transporting it from
Abatan, Buguias, Benguet to Baguio City. This being so, the burden of the prosecution to
prove illegal transportation of prohibited drugs punished under Section 4 of RA 6425, as
amended, has been satisfactorily discharged. The rule in civil as well as in criminal cases
is that each party must prove his own affirmative allegations. The prosecution avers the
guilt of the accused who is presumed to be innocent until the contrary is proved.
Therefore, the prosecution must prove such guilt by establishing the existence of all the
elements of the crime charged. But facts judicially known, presumed, admitted or
confessed need not be proved. (Rule 129, Sec. 4, Rules on Evidence) (Appellee's Brief, p.
26-27)

WHEREFORE, the guilt of the appellants having been proved beyond reasonable doubt, the appealed
decision is hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

Fernan, C.J., Feliciano, Bidin and Cortes, JJ., concur.