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Republic of the Philippines In these consolidated cases, three principal issues were raised: (1) whether or not petitioners

sed: (1) whether or not petitioners were


SUPREME COURT denied due process when informations for libel were filed against them although the finding of the
Manila existence of a prima faciecase was still under review by the Secretary of Justice and,
subsequently, by the President; (2) whether or not the constitutional rights of Beltran were violated
EN BANC when respondent RTC judge issued a warrant for his arrest without personally examining the
complainant and the witnesses, if any, to determine probable cause; and (3) whether or not the
President of the Philippines, under the Constitution, may initiate criminal proceedings against the
G.R. No. 82585 November 14, 1988
petitioners through the filing of a complaint-affidavit.

MAXIMO V. SOLIVEN, ANTONIO V. ROCES, FREDERICK K. AGCAOLI, and GODOFREDO L.


Subsequent events have rendered the first issue moot and academic. On March 30, 1988, the
MANZANAS, petitioners,
Secretary of Justice denied petitioners' motion for reconsideration and upheld the resolution of the
vs.
Undersecretary of Justice sustaining the City Fiscal's finding of a prima facie case against
THE HON. RAMON P. MAKASIAR, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Manila,
petitioners. A second motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner Beltran was denied by the
Branch 35, UNDERSECRETARY SILVESTRE BELLO III, of the Department of Justice, LUIS
Secretary of Justice on April 7, 1988. On appeal, the President, through the Executive Secretary,
C. VICTOR, THE CITY FISCAL OF MANILA and PRESIDENT CORAZON C.
affirmed the resolution of the Secretary of Justice on May 2, 1988. The motion for reconsideration
AQUINO, respondents.
was denied by the Executive Secretary on May 16, 1988. With these developments, petitioners'
contention that they have been denied the administrative remedies available under the law has
G.R. No. 82827 November 14, 1988 lost factual support.

LUIS D. BELTRAN, petitioner, It may also be added that with respect to petitioner Beltran, the allegation of denial of due process
vs. of law in the preliminary investigation is negated by the fact that instead of submitting his counter-
THE HON. RAMON P. MAKASIAR, Presiding Judge of Branch 35 of the Regional Trial Court, affidavits, he filed a "Motion to Declare Proceedings Closed," in effect waiving his right to refute
at Manila, THE HON. LUIS VICTOR, CITY FISCAL OF MANILA, PEOPLE OF THE the complaint by filing counter-affidavits. Due process of law does not require that the respondent
PHILIPPINES, SUPERINTENDENT OF THE WESTERN POLICE DISTRICT, and THE in a criminal case actually file his counter-affidavits before the preliminary investigation is deemed
MEMBERS OF THE PROCESS SERVING UNIT AT THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF completed. All that is required is that the respondent be given the opportunity to submit counter-
MANILA, respondents. affidavits if he is so minded.

G.R. No. 83979 November 14, 1988. The second issue, raised by petitioner Beltran, calls for an interpretation of the constitutional
provision on the issuance of warrants of arrest. The pertinent provision reads:
LUIS D. BELTRAN, petitioner,
vs. Art. III, Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY CATALINO MACARAIG, SECRETARY OF JUSTICE SEDFREY papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever
ORDOÑEZ, UNDERSECRETARY OF JUSTICE SILVESTRE BELLO III, THE CITY FISCAL OF nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant
MANILA JESUS F. GUERRERO, and JUDGE RAMON P. MAKASIAR, Presiding Judge of of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by
Branch 35 of the Regional Trial Court, at Manila, respondents. the judge after examination nder oath or affirmation of the complainant and the
witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched
Angara, Abello, Concepcion, Regala and Cruz for petitioners in G.R. No. 82585. and the persons or things to be seized.

Perfecto V. Fernandez, Jose P. Fernandez and Cristobal P. Fernandez for petitioner in G.R. Nos. The addition of the word "personally" after the word "determined" and the deletion of the grant of
82827 and 83979. authority by the 1973 Constitution to issue warrants to "other responsible officers as may be
authorized by law," has apparently convinced petitioner Beltran that the Constitution now requires
RESOLUTION the judge to personally examine the complainant and his witnesses in his determination of
probable cause for the issuance of warrants of arrest. This is not an accurate interpretation.

What the Constitution underscores is the exclusive and personal responsibility of the issuing judge
to satisfy himself of the existence of probable cause. In satisfying himself of the existence of
PER CURIAM: probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest, the judge is not required to personally
examine the complainant and his witnesses. Following established doctrine and procedure, he As to petitioner Beltran's claim that to allow the libel case to proceed would produce a "chilling
shall: (1) personally evaluate the report and the supporting documents submitted by the fiscal effect" on press freedom, the Court finds no basis at this stage to rule on the point.
regarding the existence of probable cause and, on the basis thereof, issue a warrant of arrest; or
(2) if on the basis thereof he finds no probable cause, he may disregard the fiscal's report and The petitions fail to establish that public respondents, through their separate acts, gravely abused
require the submission of supporting affidavits of witnesses to aid him in arriving at a conclusion their discretion as to amount to lack of jurisdiction. Hence, the writs of certiorari and prohibition
as to the existence of probable cause. prayed for cannot issue.

Sound policy dictates this procedure, otherwise judges would be unduly laden with the preliminary WHEREFORE, finding no grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction on
examination and investigation of criminal complaints instead of concentrating on hearing and the part of the public respondents, the Court Resolved to DISMISS the petitions in G. R. Nos.
deciding cases filed before their courts. 82585, 82827 and 83979. The Order to maintain the status quo contained in the Resolution of the
Court en banc dated April 7, 1988 and reiterated in the Resolution dated April 26, 1988 is LIFTED.
On June 30, 1987, the Supreme Court unanimously adopted Circular No. 12, setting down
guidelines for the issuance of warrants of arrest. The procedure therein provided is reiterated and Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin,
clarified in this resolution. Sarmiento, Cortes, Griño-Aquino Medialdea and Regalado, JJ., concur.

It has not been shown that respondent judge has deviated from the prescribed procedure. Thus,
with regard to the issuance of the warrants of arrest, a finding of grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction cannot be sustained.

Anent the third issue, petitioner Beltran argues that "the reasons which necessitate presidential
immunity from suit impose a correlative disability to file suit." He contends that if criminal
proceedings ensue by virtue of the President's filing of her complaint-affidavit, she may
subsequently have to be a witness for the prosecution, bringing her under the trial court's
jurisdiction. This, continues Beltran, would in an indirect way defeat her privilege of immunity from
suit, as by testifying on the witness stand, she would be exposing herself to possible contempt of
court or perjury.

The rationale for the grant to the President of the privilege of immunity from suit is to assure the
exercise of Presidential duties and functions free from any hindrance or distraction, considering
that being the Chief Executive of the Government is a job that, aside from requiring all of the office
holder's time, also demands undivided attention.

But this privilege of immunity from suit, pertains to the President by virtue of the office and may be
invoked only by the holder of the office; not by any other person in the President's behalf. Thus, an
accused in a criminal case in which the President is complainant cannot raise the presidential
privilege as a defense to prevent the case from proceeding against such accused.

Moreover, there is nothing in our laws that would prevent the President from waiving the privilege.
Thus, if so minded the President may shed the protection afforded by the privilege and submit to
the court's jurisdiction. The choice of whether to exercise the privilege or to waive it is solely the
President's prerogative. It is a decision that cannot be assumed and imposed by any other person.

As regards the contention of petitioner Beltran that he could not be held liable for libel because of
the privileged character or the publication, the Court reiterates that it is not a trier of facts and that
such a defense is best left to the trial court to appreciate after receiving the evidence of the
parties.
Republic of the Philippines Lim, Sr., Mayor Susana Lim of Masbate (petitioners in G.R. Nos. 9405457), Jolly T. Fernandez,
SUPREME COURT Florencio T. Fernandez, Jr., Nonilon A. Bagalihog, Mayor Nestor C. Lim and Mayor Antonio Kho
Manila (petitioners in G.R. Nos. 94266-69) of the crime of multiple murder and frustrated murder in
connection with the airport incident. The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 9211.
EN BANC
After conducting the preliminary investigation, the court issued an order dated July 31, 1989
G.R. Nos. 94054-57 February 19, 1991 stating therein that:

VICENTE LIM, SR. and MAYOR SUSANA LIM, petitioners, . . . after weighing the affidavits and answers given by the witnesses for the prosecution
vs. during the preliminary examination in searching questions and answers, concludes that a
HON. NEMESIO S. FELIX and HON. ANTONIO ALFANE, respondents. probable cause has been established for the issuance of a warrant of arrest of named
accused in the amended complaint, namely, Jimmy Cabarles, Ronnie Fernandez, Nonilon
Bagalihog, Jolly Fernandez, Florencio Fernandez, Jr., Vicente Lim, Sr., Susana Lim,
G.R. Nos. 94266-69 February 19, 1991
Nestor Lim, Antonio Kho, Jaime Liwanag, Zaldy Dumalag and Rene Tualla alias Tidoy.
(Rollo, p. 58, G.R. Nos. 94054-57)
JOLLY T. FERNANDEZ, FLORENCIO T. FERNANDEZ, JR., NONILON A. BAGALIHOG,
MAYOR NESTOR C. LIM and MAYOR ANTONIO KHO, petitioners, xxx xxx xxx
vs.
HON. NEMESIO S. FELIX and PROSECUTOR ANTONIO C. ALFANE, respondents.
In the same Order, the court ordered the arrest of the petitioners and recommended the amount of
P200,000.00 as bail for the provisional liberty of each of the accused.
Francisco R. Llamas for petitioners in G.R. Nos. 94054-57.

Petitioners Jolly Fernandez and Nonilon Bagalihog filed a motion for the reduction of bail which
Jolly T. Fernandez, Elenito Bagalihog, Orlando M. Danao and Hechanova, Ballicid & Associates
was granted by the court and they were allowed to post bail in the amount of P150,000.00 each.
for petitioners in G.R. Nos. 94266-69.
Except for Jimmy Cabarles, all the rest of the accused posted bail at P200,000.00 each.

On August 29, 1989, the entire records of the case consisting of two hundred sixty one (261)
pages were transmitted to the Provincial Prosecutor of Masbate. Respondent Acting Fiscal
Antonio C. Alfane was designated to review the case.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
On September 22, 1989, Fiscal Alfane issued a Resolution which affirmed the finding of a prima
May a Judge without ascertaining the facts through his own personal determination and relying facie case against the petitioners but differed in the designation of the crime in that the ruled that ".
solely on the certification or recommendation of a prosecutor that a probable cause exists issue a . . all of the accused should not only be charged with Multiple Murder With Frustrated Murder" but
warrant of arrest? for a case of MURDER for each of the killing of the four victims and a physical injuries case for
inflicting gunshot wound on the buttocks of Dante Siblante." (Annex "H", Comment of Fiscal
On March 17, 1989, at about 7:30 o'clock in the morning, at the vicinity of the airport road of the Alfane, p. 186, Rollo, G.R. Nos. 94054-57) A motion to reconsider the Resolution filed by
Masbate Domestic Airport, located at the municipality of Masbate province of Masbate, petitioners Vicente Lim, Sr. and Mayor Susana Lim was denied.
Congressman Moises Espinosa, Sr. and his security escorts, namely Provincial Guards Antonio
Cortes, Gaspar Amaro, and Artemio Fuentes were attacked and killed by a lone assassin. Dante On October 30, 1989, Fiscal Alfane filed with the Regional Trial Court of Masbate, four (4)
Siblante another security escort of Congressman Espinosa, Sr. survived the assassination plot, separate informations of murder against the twelve (12) accused with a recommendation of no
although, he himself suffered a gunshot wound. bail.

An investigation of the incident then followed. On November 21, 1989, petitioners Vicente Lim, Sr. and Susana Lim filed with us a verified
petition for change of venue. (Case No. A.M. No. 89-11-1270-MTC, formerly, G.R. Nos. 90587-90)
Thereafter, and for the purpose of preliminary investigation, the designated investigator, Harry O.
Tantiado, TSg, of the PC Criminal Investigation Service at Camp Bagong Ibalon Legazpi City filed
an amended complaint with the Municipal Trial Court of Masbate accusing, among others, Vicente
On December 14, 1989, we issued an en banc Resolution authorizing the change of venue from which was affirmed upon review by the Provincial Prosecutor who properly filed with the
the Regional Trial Court of Masbate to the Regional Trial Court of Makati to avoid a miscarriage of Regional Trial Court four separate informations for murder. Considering that both the two
justice, to wit: competent officers to whom such duty was entrusted by law have declared the existence
of probable cause, each information is complete in form and substance, and there is no
Acting on the petition for change of venue of the trial of Criminal Cases Nos. 5811, 5812, visible defect on its face, this Court finds it just and proper to rely on the prosecutor's
5813, and 5814 from the Regional Trial Court, Masbate, Masbate to any of the Regional certification in each information which reads: (pp. 19-20, Rollo, G.R Nos. 94054-57;
Trial Courts at Quezon City or Makati, the Court Resolved to (a) GRANT the aforesaid Emphasis supplied)
petition for transfer of venue in order to avoid miscarriage of justice (Article VIII, Section
5(4) of the Philippine Constitution); (b) DIRECT the Clerk of Court, Regional Trial Court, xxx xxx xxx
Masbate, Masbate to transmit the records of the aforesaid cases to the Executive Judge,
Regional Trial Court, Makati, for raffling among the other branches of the court; and (c) The petitioners then filed these consolidated petitions questioning the July 5, 1990 Order.
ORDER the Regional Trial Court of Masbate, Masbate to desist from further taking
cognizance of the said cases until such time that the petition is finally resolved.
In a Resolution dated July 17, 1990 in G.R. Nos. 94054-57, we issued ". . . a TEMPORARY
RESTRAINING ORDER, effective immediately and continuing until further orders from this Court,
The cases were raffled to Branch 56 presided by respondent Judge Nemesio S. Felix. ordering the respondent judge or his duly authorized representatives or agents to CEASE and
DESIST from enforcing or implementing the warrant of arrest without bail issued against the
Petitioners Vicente Lim, Sr. and Susana Lim filed with the respondent court several motions and petitioners in his Order dated July 5, 1990 in Criminal Cases Nos. 5811-14.
manifestations which in substance prayed for the following:
In another Resolution dated July 31, 1990 in G.R. Nos. 94266-69, we resolved:
1. An order be issued requiring the transmittal of the initial records of the preliminary
inquiry or investigation conducted by the Municipal Judge Barsaga of Masbate for the xxx xxx xxx
best enlightenment of this Honorable Court in its personal determination of the existence
of a probable cause or prima facie evidence as well as its determination of the existence
of guilt, pursuant to the mandatory mandate of the constitution that no warrant shall issue . . . To ISSUE writs of (1) PRELIMINARY MANDATORY INJUNCTION, ordering and
unless the issuing magistrate shall have himself been personally convinced of such directing the respondent judge to recall/set aside and/or annul the legal effects of the
probable cause. warrants of arrest without bail issued against and served upon herein petitioners Jolly T.
Fernandez, Florencio T. Fernandez, Jr. and Nonilon Bagalihog and release them from
confinement at PC-CIS Detention Center, Camp Crame, Quezon City; and (2)
2. Movants be given ample opportunity to file their motion for preliminary investigation as TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER, effective immediately and continuing until further
a matter of right; and orders from this Court, ordering the respondent judge or his duly authorized
representatives or agents, to CEASE AND DESIST from enforcing or implementing the
3. In the event that this court may later be convinced of the existence of a probable warrants of arrest without bail issued against petitioners Mayors Nestor C. Lim and
cause, to be allowed to file a motion for reduction of bail or for admission of bail. (p. Antonio T. Kho.
17, Rollo, G.R. Nos. 94054-57)
The primary issue in these consolidated petitions centers on whether or not a judge may issue a
In another manifestation, the Lims reiterated that the court conduct a hearing to determine if there warrant of arrest without bail by simply relying on the prosecution's certification and
really exists aprima facie case against them in the light of documents which are recantations of recommendation that a probable cause exists.
some witnesses in the preliminary investigation. The motions and manifestations were opposed by
the prosecution. This is not a novel question. In the case of Placer v. Villanueva (126 SCRA 463 [1983]), we ruled
that a judge may rely upon the fiscal's certification of the existence of probable cause and, on the
On July 5, 1990, the respondent court issued an order denying for lack of merit the motions and basis thereof, issue a warrant of arrest. However, the certification does not bind the judge to come
manifestations and issued warrants of arrest against the accused including the petitioners herein. out with the warrant of arrest. This decision interpreted the "search and seizure" provision of the
The respondent Judge said: 1973 Constitution which provides:

In the instant cases, the preliminary investigation was conducted by the Municipal Trial . . . no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be
Court of Masbate, Masbate which found the existence of probable cause that the offense determined by the judge, or such other responsible officer as may be authorized by law,
of multiple murder was committed and that all the accused are probably guilty thereof,
after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may witnesses in his determination of probable cause for the issuance of arrest. This is not an
produce . . . accurate interpretation.

We ruled: What the Constitution underscores is the exclusive and personal responsibility of the
issuing judge to satisfy himself of the existence of probable cause. In satisfying himself of
. . . The issuance of a warrant is not a mere ministerial function; it calls for the exercise of the existence of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest, the judge is not
judicial discretion on the part of the issuing magistrate. This is clear from the following required to personally examine the complainant and his witnesses. Following established
provisions of Section 6, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court. doctrine and procedures, he shall: (1) personally evaluate the report and the supporting
documents submitted by the fiscal regarding the existence of probable cause and, on the
basis thereof, issue a warrant of arrest; or (2) if on the basis thereof he finds no probable
Warrant of arrest, when issued. — If the judge be satisfied from the preliminary
cause, he may disregard the fiscal's report and require the submission of supporting
examination conducted by him or by the investigating officer that the offense complained
affidavits of witnesses to aid him in arriving at a conclusion as to the existence of
of has been committed and that there is reasonable ground to believe that the accused probable cause.
has committed it, he must issue a warrant or order for his arrest.
Sound policy dictates this procedure, otherwise judges would be unduly laden with the
Under this section, the judge must satisfy himself of the existence of probable cause
preliminary examinations and investigation of criminal complaints instead of concentrating
before issuing a warrant or order of arrest. If on the face of the information the judge finds on hearing and deciding cases filed before their courts.
no probable cause, he may disregard the fiscal's certification and require the submission
of the affidavits of witnesses to aid him in arriving at a conclusion as to the existence of a
probable cause. This has been the rule since U.S. v. Ocampo (18 Phil. 1) and Amarga v. The decision in People v. Honorable Enrique B. Inting, et al. (G.R. No. 88919, July 25, 1990),
Abbas (98 Phil. 739). And this evidently is the reason for the issuance by respondent of reiterated the above interpretation of "personal" determination by the Judge:
the questioned orders of April 13, 15, 16, 19, 1982 and July 13, 1982. Without the
affidavits of the prosecution witnesses and other evidence which, as a matter of long- We emphasize important features of the constitutional mandate that ". . . no search
standing practice had been attached to the information filed in his sala, respondent found warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined
the informations inadequate bases for the determination of probable cause. For as the personally by the judge . . ." (Article III, Section 2, Constitution)
ensuing events would show, after petitioners had submitted the required affidavits,
respondent wasted no time in issuing the warrants of arrest in the case where he was First, the determination of probable cause is a function of the Judge. It is not for the
satisfied that probable cause existed. Provincial Fiscal or Prosecutor nor for the Election Supervisor to ascertain. Only the
Judge and the Judge alone makes this determination.
The case of Soliven v. Makasiar (167 SCRA 393 [19881) was decided after the effectivity of the
1987 Constitution. We stated: Second, the preliminary inquiry made by a Prosecutor does not bind the Judge. It merely
assists him to make the determination of probable cause. The Judge does not have to
The second issue, raised by petitioner Beltran, calls for an interpretation of the follow what the Prosecutor presents to him. By itself, the Prosecutor's certification of
constitutional provision on the issuance of warrants of arrest. The pertinent provision probable cause is ineffectual. It is the report, the affidavits, the transcripts of stenographic
reads: notes (if any), and all other supporting documents behind the Prosecutor's certification
which are material in assisting the Judge to make his determination.
Art. III, 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 And third, Judges and Prosecutors alike should distinguish the preliminary inquiry which
purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except determines probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest from the preliminary
upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under investigation proper which ascertains whether the offender should be held for trial or
oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly released. Even if the two inquiries are conducted in the course of one and the same
describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. proceeding, there should be no confusion about the objectives. The determination of
probable cause for the warrant of arrest is made by the Judge. The preliminary
The addition of the word "personally" after the word "determined" and the deletion of the investigation proper –– whether or not there is reasonable ground to believe that the
grant of authority by the 1973 Constitution to issue warrants to "other respondent officers accused is guilty of the offense charged and, therefore, whether or not he should be
as may be authorized by law", has apparently convinced petitioner Beltran that the subjected to the expense, rigors and embarrassment of trial –– is the function of the
Constitution now requires the judge to personally examine the complainant and his Prosecutor.
The Court made this clear in the case of Castillo v. Villaluz (171 SCRA 39 [19891): Finally in the recent case of People v. Delgado, et al. (G.R. Nos. 93419-32, September 18, 1990)
there is a statement that the judge may rely on the resolution of COMELEC to file the information
Judges of Regional Trial Courts (formerly Courts of First Instance) no longer by the same token that it may rely on the certification made by the prosecutor who conducted the
have authority to conduct preliminary investigations. That authority, at one time preliminary investigation in the issuance of the warrant of arrest. We, however, also reiterated that
reposed in them under Sections 13, 14 and 16, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court of ". . . the court may require that the record of the preliminary investigation be submitted to it to
1964, (See Sec. 4, Rule 108, Rules of Court of 1940; People v. Solon, 47 Phil. satisfy itself that there is probable cause which will warrant the issuance of a warrant of arrest."
443, cited in Moran, Comments on the Rules, 1980 ed., Vol. 4, pp. 115-116) was (Section 2, Article III, Constitution). Reliance on the COMELEC resolution or the Prosecutor's
removed from them by the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, effective on certification presupposes that the records of either the COMELEC or the Prosecutor have been
January 1, 1985, (Promulgated on November 11, 1984) which deleted all submitted to the Judge and he relies on the certification or resolution because the records of the
provisions granting that power to said Judges. We had occasion to point tills out investigation sustain the recommendation. The warrant issues not on the strength of the
in Salta v. Court of Appeals, 143 SCRA 228, and to stress as well certain other certification standing alone but because of the records which sustain it.
basic propositions, namely: (1) that the conduct of a preliminary investigation is
"not a judicial function . . . (but) part of the prosecution's job, a function of the It is obvious from the present petition that notwithstanding the above decisions, some Judges are
executive," (2) that whenever "there are enough his or prosecutors to conduct still bound by the inertia of decisions and practice under the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions and are
preliminary investigations, courts are counseled to leave this job which is sadly confused or hesitant. Prosecutors are also interested in a clear cut ruling. We will, therefore,
essentially executive to them," and the fact "that a certain power is granted does restate the rule in greater detail and hopefully clearer terms.
not necessary mean that it should be indiscriminately exercised.
There is no problem with search warrants which are relatively fewer and far between and where
The 1988 Amendments to the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, declared there is no duplication of work between the Judge and the Prosecutor. The problem lies with
effective on October 1, 1988, (The 1988 Amendments were published in the warrants of arrest especially in metropolitan or highly urban areas. If a Judge has to personally
issue of Bulletin Today of October 29, 1988) did not restore that authority to question each complainant and witness or go over the records of the Prosecutor's investigation
Judges of Regional Trial Courts; said amendments did not in fact deal at all with page by page and word for word before he acts on each of a big pile of applications for arrest
the officers or courts having authority to conduct preliminary investigations. warrants on his desk, he or she may have no more time for his or her more important judicial
functions.
This is not to say, however, that somewhere along the line RTC Judges also lost
the power to make a preliminary examination for the purpose of determining At the same time, the Judge cannot ignore the clear words of the 1987 Constitution which requires
whether probable cause exists to justify the issuance of a warrant of arrest (or ". . . probable cause to be personally determined by the judge . . .", not by any other officer or
search warrant). Such a power –– indeed, it is as much a duty as it is a power –– person.
has been and remains vested in every judge by the provisions in the Bill of Rights
in the 1935, the 1973 and the present [1987] Constitutions securing the people If a Judge relies solely on the certification of the Prosecutor as in this case where all the records of
against unreasonable searches and seizures, thereby placing it beyond the the investigation are in Masbate, he or she has not personally determined probable cause. The
competence of mere Court Rule or Statute to revoke. The distinction must, determination is made by the Provincial Prosecutor. The constitutional requirement has not been
therefore, be made clear while an RTC Judge may no longer conduct preliminary satisfied. The Judge commits a grave abuse of discretion.
investigations to ascertain whether there is sufficient ground for the filing of a
criminal complaint or information, he retains the authority, when such a pleading
The records of the preliminary investigation conducted by the Municipal Court of Masbate and
is filed with his court, to determine whether there is probable cause justifying the
reviewed by the respondent Fiscal were still in Masbate when the respondent Fiscal issued the
issuance of a warrant of arrest. It might be added that this distinction accords,
warrants of arrest against the petitioners. There was no basis for the respondent Judge to make
rather than conflicts, with the rationale of Salta because both law and rule, in
his own personal determination regarding the existence of a probable cause for the issuance of a
restricting to judges the authority to order arrest, recognize the function to be
judicial in nature. warrant of arrest as mandated by the Constitution. He could not possibly have known what
transpired in Masbate as he had nothing but a certification. Significantly, the respondent Judge
denied the petitioners' motion for the transmittal of the records on the ground that the mere
We reiterate that preliminary investigation should be distinguished as to whether it is an certification and recommendation of the respondent Fiscal that a probable cause exists is
investigation for the determination of a sufficient ground for the filing of the information or sufficient for him to issue a warrant of arrest.
it is an investigation for the determination of a probable cause for the issuance of a
warrant of arrest. The first kind of preliminary investigation is executive in nature. It is part
We reiterate the ruling in Soliven v. Makasiar that the Judge does not have to personally examine
of the prosecution's job. The second kind of preliminary investigation which is more
the complainant and his witnesses. The Prosecutor can perform the same functions as a
properly called preliminary examination is judicial in nature and is lodged with the Judge. .
..
commissioner for the taking of the evidence. However, there should be a report and necessary WHEREFORE, the instant petitions are hereby GRANTED. The questioned Order of respondent
documents supporting the Fiscal's bare certification. All of these should be before the Judge. Judge Nemesio S. Felix of Branch 56, Regional Trial Court of Makati dated July 5, 1990 is
declared NULL and VOID and SET ASIDE. The Temporary Restraining Orders and Preliminary
The extent of the Judge's personal examination of the report and its annexes depends on the Mandatory Injunction issued in the instant Petitions are made PERMANENT.
circumstances of each case.1âwphi1 We cannot determine beforehand how cursory or exhaustive
the Judge's examination should be. The Judge has to exercise sound discretion for, after all, the SO ORDERED.
personal determination is vested in the Judge by the Constitution. It can be as brief or as detailed
as the circumstances of each case require. To be sure, the Judge must go beyond the Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Griño-
Prosecutor's certification and investigation report whenever necessary. He should call for the Aquino, Medialdea and Regalado, JJ., concur.
complainant and witnesses themselves to answer the court's probing questions when the Sarmiento, J., took no part.
circumstances of the case so require.

It is worthy to note that petitioners Vicente Lim, Sr. and Susana Lim presented to the respondent
Judge documents of recantation of witnesses whose testimonies were used to establish a prima
facie case against them. Although, the general rule is that recantations are not given much weight
in the determination of a case and in the granting of a new trial (Tan Ang Bun v. Court of Appeals,
et al. G.R. No. L-47747, February 15, 1990, People v. Lao Wan Sing, 46 SCRA 298 [1972]) the
respondent Judge before issuing his own warrants of arrest should, at the very least, have gone
over the records of the preliminary examination conducted earlier in the light of the evidence now
presented by the concerned witnesses in view of the "political undertones" prevailing in the cases.
Even the Solicitor General recognized the significance of the recantations of some witnesses
when he recommends a reinvestigation of the cases, to wit:

It must be pointed out, however, that among the documents attached to this Petition are
affidavits of recantation subsequently executed by Jimmy Cabarles and Danilo Lozano
and an affidavit executed by one, Camilo Sanano, father of the complainant's witnesses,
Renato and Romeo Sanano. It was precisely on the strength of these earlier written
statements of these witnesses that the Municipal Trial Court of Masbate found the
existence of a prima facie case against petitioners and accordingly recommended the
filing of a Criminal Information. Evidently, the same written statements were also the very
basis of the "Fiscal's Certification", since the attached affidavits of recantation were not
yet then available. Since the credibility of the prosecution witnesses is now assailed and
put in issue and, since the petitioners have not yet been arraigned, it would be to the
broader interest of justice and fair play if a reinvestigation of this case be had to secure
the petitioners against hasty prosecution and to protect them from an open and public
accusation of crime, from the trouble, expense and anxiety of a public trial, and also to
protect the State from useless and expensive trials (Salonga v. Paño G.R. No. 59524,
February 18,1985). (Rollo of G.R. Nos. 94054-56, pp. 200-201)

We reiterate that in making the required personal determination, a Judge is not precluded from
relying on the evidence earlier gathered by responsible officers. The extent of the reliance
depends on the circumstances of each case and is subject to the Judge's sound discretion.
However, the Judge abuses that discretion when having no evidence before him, he issues a
warrant of arrest.

Indubitably, the respondent Judge committed a grave error when he relied solely on the
Prosecutor's certification and issued the questioned Order dated July 5, 1990 without having
before him any other basis for his personal determination of the existence of a probable cause.
In the afternoon of the following day, February 25, 1970, respondent De Leon and his witness,
respondent Arturo Logronio, went to the Court of First Instance of Rizal. They brought with them
the following papers: respondent Vera’s aforesaid letter-request; an application for search warrant
already filled up but still unsigned by respondent De Leon; an affidavit of respondent Logronio
subscribed before respondent De Leon; a deposition in printed form of respondent Logronio
already accomplished and signed by him but not yet subscribed; and a search warrant already
accomplished but still unsigned by respondent Judge.
EN BANC
At that time respondent Judge was hearing a certain case; so, by means of a note, he instructed
[G.R. No. L-32409. February 27, 1971.] his Deputy Clerk of Court to take the depositions of respondents De Leon and Logronio. After the
session had adjourned, respondent Judge was informed that the depositions had already been
BACHE & CO. (PHIL.), INC. and FREDERICK E. SEGGERMAN, Petitioners, v. HON. JUDGE taken. The stenographer, upon request of respondent Judge, read to him her stenographic notes;
VIVENCIO M. RUIZ, MISAEL P. VERA, in his capacity as Commissioner of Internal Revenue, and thereafter, respondent Judge asked respondent Logronio to take the oath and warned him
ARTURO LOGRONIO, RODOLFO DE LEON, GAVINO VELASQUEZ, MIMIR DELLOSA, that if his deposition was found to be false and without legal basis, he could be charged for
NICANOR ALCORDO, JOHN DOE, JOHN DOE, JOHN DOE, and JOHN DOE, Respondents. perjury. Respondent Judge signed respondent de Leon’s application for search warrant and
respondent Logronio’s deposition, Search Warrant No. 2-M-70 was then sign by respondent
San Juan, Africa, Gonzales & San Agustin, for Petitioners. Judge and accordingly issued.
Solicitor General Felix Q. Antonio, Assistant Solicitor General Crispin V . Bautista, Solicitor Three days later, or on February 28, 1970, which was a Saturday, the BIR agents served the
Pedro A. Ramirez and Special Attorney Jaime M. Maza for Respondents. search warrant petitioners at the offices of petitioner corporation on Ayala Avenue, Makati, Rizal.
Petitioners’ lawyers protested the search on the ground that no formal complaint or transcript of
testimony was attached to the warrant. The agents nevertheless proceeded with their search
DECISION which yielded six boxes of documents.

On March 3, 1970, petitioners filed a petition with the Court of First Instance of Rizal praying that
VILLAMOR, J.: the search warrant be quashed, dissolved or recalled, that preliminary prohibitory and mandatory
writs of injunction be issued, that the search warrant be declared null and void, and that the
respondents be ordered to pay petitioners, jointly and severally, damages and attorney’s fees. On
This is an original action of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, with prayer for a writ of March 18, 1970, the respondents, thru the Solicitor General, filed an answer to the petition. After
preliminary mandatory and prohibitory injunction. In their petition Bache & Co. (Phil.), Inc., a hearing, the court, presided over by respondent Judge, issued on July 29, 1970, an order
corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Philippines, and its President, dismissing the petition for dissolution of the search warrant. In the meantime, or on April 16, 1970,
Frederick E. Seggerman, pray this Court to declare null and void Search Warrant No. 2-M-70 the Bureau of Internal Revenue made tax assessments on petitioner corporation in the total sum
issued by respondent Judge on February 25, 1970; to order respondents to desist from enforcing of P2,594,729.97, partly, if not entirely, based on the documents thus seized. Petitioners came to
the same and/or keeping the documents, papers and effects seized by virtue thereof, as well as this Court.
from enforcing the tax assessments on petitioner corporation alleged by petitioners to have been
made on the basis of the said documents, papers and effects, and to order the return of the latter The petition should be granted for the following reasons:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
to petitioners. We gave due course to the petition but did not issue the writ of preliminary
injunction prayed for therein. 1. Respondent Judge failed to personally examine the complainant and his witness.
The pertinent facts of this case, as gathered from record, are as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw The pertinent provisions of the Constitution of the Philippines and of the Revised Rules of Court
library are:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
On February 24, 1970, respondent Misael P. Vera, Commissioner of Internal Revenue, wrote a "(3) The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against
letter addressed to respondent Judge Vivencio M. Ruiz requesting the issuance of a search unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon
warrant against petitioners for violation of Section 46(a) of the National Internal Revenue Code, in probable cause, to be determined by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the
relation to all other pertinent provisions thereof, particularly Sections 53, 72, 73, 208 and 209, and complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be
authorizing Revenue Examiner Rodolfo de Leon, one of herein respondents, to make and file the searched, and the persons or things to be seized." (Art. III, Sec. 1, Constitution.)
application for search warrant which was attached to the letter.
"SEC. 3. Requisites for issuing search warrant. — A search warrant shall not issue but upon
probable cause in connection with one specific offense to be determined by the judge or justice of incorporating in our constitution something of a fundamental character. Now, before a judge could
the peace after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he issue a search warrant, he must be under the obligation to examine personally under oath the
may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be complainant and if he has any witness, the witnesses that he may produce . . ."cralaw virtua1aw
seized. library

"No search warrant shall issue for more than one specific offense. The implementing rule in the Revised Rules of Court, Sec. 4, Rule 126, is more emphatic and
candid, for it requires the judge, before issuing a search warrant, to "personally examine on oath
"SEC. 4. Examination of the applicant. — The judge or justice of the peace must, before issuing or affirmation the complainant and any witnesses he may produce . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library
the warrant, personally examine on oath or affirmation the complainant and any witnesses he may
produce and take their depositions in writing, and attach them to the record, in addition to any Personal examination by the judge of the complainant and his witnesses is necessary to enable
affidavits presented to him." (Rule 126, Revised Rules of Court.) him to determine the existence or non-existence of a probable cause, pursuant to Art. III, Sec. 1,
par. 3, of the Constitution, and Sec. 3, Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Court, both of which
The examination of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, required by Art. III, Sec. prohibit the issuance of warrants except "upon probable cause." The determination of whether or
1, par. 3, of the Constitution, and by Secs. 3 and 4, Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Court, not a probable cause exists calls for the exercise of judgment after a judicial appraisal of facts and
should be conducted by the judge himself and not by others. The phrase "which shall be should not be allowed to be delegated in the absence of any rule to the contrary.
determined by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the
witnesses he may produce," appearing in the said constitutional provision, was introduced by In the case at bar, no personal examination at all was conducted by respondent Judge of the
Delegate Francisco as an amendment to the draft submitted by the Sub-Committee of Seven. The complainant (respondent De Leon) and his witness (respondent Logronio). While it is true that the
following discussion in the Constitutional Convention (Laurel, Proceedings of the Philippine complainant’s application for search warrant and the witness’ printed-form deposition were
Constitutional Convention, Vol. III, pp. 755-757) is enlightening:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph subscribed and sworn to before respondent Judge, the latter did not ask either of the two any
question the answer to which could possibly be the basis for determining whether or not there was
"SR. ORENSE. Vamos a dejar compañero los piropos y vamos al grano. probable cause against herein petitioners. Indeed, the participants seem to have attached so little
significance to the matter that notes of the proceedings before respondent Judge were not even
En los casos de una necesidad de actuar inmediatamente para que no se frusten los fines de la taken. At this juncture it may be well to recall the salient facts. The transcript of stenographic notes
justicia mediante el registro inmediato y la incautacion del cuerpo del delito, no cree Su Señoria (pp. 61-76, April 1, 1970, Annex J-2 of the Petition) taken at the hearing of this case in the court
que causaria cierta demora el procedimiento apuntado en su enmienda en tal forma que podria below shows that per instruction of respondent Judge, Mr. Eleodoro V. Gonzales, Special Deputy
frustrar los fines de la justicia o si Su Señoria encuentra un remedio para esto casos con el fin de Clerk of Court, took the depositions of the complainant and his witness, and that stenographic
compaginar los fines de la justicia con los derechos del individuo en su persona, bienes etcetera, notes thereof were taken by Mrs. Gaspar. At that time respondent Judge was at the sala hearing a
etcetera. case. After respondent Judge was through with the hearing, Deputy Clerk Gonzales, stenographer
Gaspar, complainant De Leon and witness Logronio went to respondent Judge’s chamber and
"SR. FRANCISCO. No puedo ver en la practica el caso hipottico que Su Señoria pregunta por la informed the Judge that they had finished the depositions. Respondent Judge then requested the
siguiente razon: el que solicita un mandamiento de registro tiene que hacerlo por escrito y ese stenographer to read to him her stenographic notes. Special Deputy Clerk Gonzales testified as
escrito no aparecer en la Mesa del Juez sin que alguien vaya el juez a presentar ese escrito o follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
peticion de sucuestro. Esa persona que presenta el registro puede ser el mismo denunciante o
alguna persona que solicita dicho mandamiento de registro. Ahora toda la enmienda en esos "A And after finishing reading the stenographic notes, the Honorable Judge requested or
casos consiste en que haya peticion de registro y el juez no se atendra solamente a sea peticion instructed them, requested Mr. Logronio to raise his hand and warned him if his deposition will be
sino que el juez examiner a ese denunciante y si tiene testigos tambin examiner a los testigos. found to be false and without legal basis, he can be charged criminally for perjury. The Honorable
Court told Mr. Logronio whether he affirms the facts contained in his deposition and the affidavit
"SR. ORENSE. No cree Su Señoria que el tomar le declaracion de ese denunciante por escrito executed before Mr. Rodolfo de Leon.
siempre requeriria algun tiempo?.
"Q And thereafter?
"SR. FRANCISCO. Seria cuestio de un par de horas, pero por otro lado minimizamos en todo lo
posible las vejaciones injustas con la expedicion arbitraria de los mandamientos de registro. Creo "A And thereafter, he signed the deposition of Mr. Logronio.
que entre dos males debemos escoger. el menor.
"Q Who is this he?
x x x
"A The Honorable Judge.

"MR. LAUREL. . . . The reason why we are in favor of this amendment is because we are "Q The deposition or the affidavit?
output removed, or to pay the tax due thereon.
"A The affidavit, Your Honor."cralaw virtua1aw library
The search warrant in question was issued for at least four distinct offenses under the Tax Code.
Thereafter, respondent Judge signed the search warrant. The first is the violation of Sec. 46(a), Sec. 72 and Sec. 73 (the filing of income tax returns), which
are interrelated. The second is the violation of Sec. 53 (withholding of income taxes at source).
The participation of respondent Judge in the proceedings which led to the issuance of Search The third is the violation of Sec. 208 (unlawful pursuit of business or occupation); and the fourth is
Warrant No. 2-M-70 was thus limited to listening to the stenographer’s readings of her notes, to a the violation of Sec. 209 (failure to make a return of receipts, sales, business or gross value of
few words of warning against the commission of perjury, and to administering the oath to the output actually removed or to pay the tax due thereon). Even in their classification the six above-
complainant and his witness. This cannot be consider a personal examination. If there was an mentioned provisions are embraced in two different titles: Secs. 46(a), 53, 72 and 73 are under
examination at all of the complainant and his witness, it was the one conducted by the Deputy Title II (Income Tax); while Secs. 208 and 209 are under Title V (Privilege Tax on Business and
Clerk of Court. But, as stated, the Constitution and the rules require a personal examination by the Occupation).
judge. It was precisely on account of the intention of the delegates to the Constitutional
Convention to make it a duty of the issuing judge to personally examine the complainant and his Respondents argue that Stonehill, Et. Al. v. Diokno, Et Al., L-19550, June 19, 1967 (20 SCRA
witnesses that the question of how much time would be consumed by the judge in examining them 383), is not applicable, because there the search warrants were issued for "violation of Central
came up before the Convention, as can be seen from the record of the proceedings quoted above. Bank Laws, Internal Revenue (Code) and Revised Penal Code;" whereas, here Search Warrant
The reading of the stenographic notes to respondent Judge did not constitute sufficient No 2-M-70 was issued for violation of only one code, i.e., the National Internal Revenue Code.
compliance with the constitutional mandate and the rule; for by that manner respondent Judge did The distinction more apparent than real, because it was precisely on account of the Stonehill
not have the opportunity to observe the demeanor of the complainant and his witness, and to incident, which occurred sometime before the present Rules of Court took effect on January 1,
propound initial and follow-up questions which the judicial mind, on account of its training, was in 1964, that this Court amended the former rule by inserting therein the phrase "in connection with
the best position to conceive. These were important in arriving at a sound inference on the all- one specific offense," and adding the sentence "No search warrant shall issue for more than one
important question of whether or not there was probable cause. specific offense," in what is now Sec. 3, Rule 126. Thus we said in
Stonehill:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
2. The search warrant was issued for more than one specific offense.
"Such is the seriousness of the irregularities committed in connection with the disputed search
Search Warrant No. 2-M-70 was issued for" [v]iolation of Sec. 46(a) of the National Internal warrants, that this Court deemed it fit to amend Section 3 of Rule 122 of the former Rules of Court
Revenue Code in relation to all other pertinent provisions thereof particularly Secs. 53, 72, 73, 208 that ‘a search warrant shall not issue but upon probable cause in connection with one specific
and 209." The question is: Was the said search warrant issued "in connection with one specific offense.’ Not satisfied with this qualification, the Court added thereto a paragraph, directing that
offense," as required by Sec. 3, Rule 126? ‘no search warrant shall issue for more than one specific offense.’"

To arrive at the correct answer it is essential to examine closely the provisions of the Tax Code 3. The search warrant does not particularly describe the things to be seized.
referred to above. Thus we find the following:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
The documents, papers and effects sought to be seized are described in Search Warrant No. 2-M-
Sec. 46(a) requires the filing of income tax returns by corporations. 70 in this manner:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

Sec. 53 requires the withholding of income taxes at source. "Unregistered and private books of accounts (ledgers, journals, columnars, receipts and
disbursements books, customers ledgers); receipts for payments received; certificates of stocks
Sec. 72 imposes surcharges for failure to render income tax returns and for rendering false and and securities; contracts, promissory notes and deeds of sale; telex and coded messages;
fraudulent returns. business communications, accounting and business records; checks and check stubs; records of
bank deposits and withdrawals; and records of foreign remittances, covering the years 1966 to
Sec. 73 provides the penalty for failure to pay the income tax, to make a return or to supply the 1970."cralaw virtua1aw library
information required under the Tax Code.
The description does not meet the requirement in Art III, Sec. 1, of the Constitution, and of Sec. 3,
Sec. 208 penalizes" [a]ny person who distills, rectifies, repacks, compounds, or manufactures any Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Court, that the warrant should particularly describe the things to
article subject to a specific tax, without having paid the privilege tax therefore, or who aids or abets be seized.
in the conduct of illicit distilling, rectifying, compounding, or illicit manufacture of any article subject
to specific tax . . .," and provides that in the case of a corporation, partnership, or association, the In Stonehill, this Court, speaking thru Mr. Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion,
official and/or employee who caused the violation shall be responsible. said:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

Sec. 209 penalizes the failure to make a return of receipts, sales, business, or gross value of "The grave violation of the Constitution made in the application for the contested search warrants
was compounded by the description therein made of the effects to be searched for and seized, to withdrawals, records of foreign remittances, among others, enumerated in the warrant.
wit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
Respondents contend that certiorari does not lie because petitioners failed to file a motion for
‘Books of accounts, financial records, vouchers, journals, correspondence, receipts, ledgers, reconsideration of respondent Judge’s order of July 29, 1970. The contention is without merit. In
portfolios, credit journals, typewriters, and other documents and/or paper showing all business the first place, when the questions raised before this Court are the same as those which were
transactions including disbursement receipts, balance sheets and related profit and loss squarely raised in and passed upon by the court below, the filing of a motion for reconsideration in
statements.’ said court before certiorari can be instituted in this Court is no longer a prerequisite. (Pajo, etc., Et.
Al. v. Ago, Et Al., 108 Phil., 905). In the second place, the rule requiring the filing of a motion for
"Thus, the warrants authorized the search for and seizure of records pertaining to all business reconsideration before an application for a writ of certiorari can be entertained was never intended
transactions of petitioners herein, regardless of whether the transactions were legal or illegal. The to be applied without considering the circumstances. (Matutina v. Buslon, Et Al., 109 Phil., 140.) In
warrants sanctioned the seizure of all records of the petitioners and the aforementioned the case at bar time is of the essence in view of the tax assessments sought to be enforced by
corporations, whatever their nature, thus openly contravening the explicit command of our Bill of respondent officers of the Bureau of Internal Revenue against petitioner corporation, On account
Rights — that the things to be seized be particularly described — as well as tending to defeat its of which immediate and more direct action becomes necessary. (Matute v. Court of Appeals, Et
major objective: the elimination of general warrants."cralaw virtua1aw library Al., 26 SCRA 768.) Lastly, the rule does not apply where, as in this case, the deprivation of
petitioners’ fundamental right to due process taints the proceeding against them in the court below
While the term "all business transactions" does not appear in Search Warrant No. 2-M-70, the said not only with irregularity but also with nullity. (Matute v. Court of Appeals, Et Al., supra.)
warrant nevertheless tends to defeat the major objective of the Bill of Rights, i.e., the elimination of
general warrants, for the language used therein is so all-embracing as to include all conceivable It is next contended by respondents that a corporation is not entitled to protection against
records of petitioner corporation, which, if seized, could possibly render its business inoperative. unreasonable search and seizures. Again, we find no merit in the contention.

In Uy Kheytin, Et. Al. v. Villareal, etc., Et Al., 42 Phil. 886, 896, this Court had occasion to explain "Although, for the reasons above stated, we are of the opinion that an officer of a corporation
the purpose of the requirement that the warrant should particularly describe the place to be which is charged with a violation of a statute of the state of its creation, or of an act of Congress
searched and the things to be seized, to wit:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph passed in the exercise of its constitutional powers, cannot refuse to produce the books and papers
of such corporation, we do not wish to be understood as holding that a corporation is not entitled
". . . Both the Jones Law (sec. 3) and General Orders No. 58 (sec. 97) specifically require that a to immunity, under the 4th Amendment, against unreasonable searches and seizures. A
search warrant should particularly describe the place to be searched and the things to be seized. corporation is, after all, but an association of individuals under an assumed name and with a
The evident purpose and intent of this requirement is to limit the things to be seized to those, and distinct legal entity. In organizing itself as a collective body it waives no constitutional immunities
only those, particularly described in the search warrant — to leave the officers of the law with no appropriate to such body. Its property cannot be taken without compensation. It can only be
discretion regarding what articles they shall seize, to the end that ‘unreasonable searches and proceeded against by due process of law, and is protected, under the 14th Amendment, against
seizures’ may not be made, — that abuses may not be committed. That this is the correct unlawful discrimination . . ." (Hale v. Henkel, 201 U.S. 43, 50 L. ed. 652.)
interpretation of this constitutional provision is borne out by American authorities."cralaw virtua1aw
library "In Linn v. United States, 163 C.C.A. 470, 251 Fed. 476, 480, it was thought that a different rule
applied to a corporation, the ground that it was not privileged from producing its books and papers.
The purpose as thus explained could, surely and effectively, be defeated under the search warrant But the rights of a corporation against unlawful search and seizure are to be protected even if the
issued in this case. same result might have been achieved in a lawful way." (Silverthorne Lumber Company, Et. Al. v.
United States of America, 251 U.S. 385, 64 L. ed. 319.)
A search warrant may be said to particularly describe the things to be seized when the description
therein is as specific as the circumstances will ordinarily allow (People v. Rubio; 57 Phil. 384); or In Stonehill, Et. Al. v. Diokno, Et Al., supra, this Court impliedly recognized the right of a
when the description expresses a conclusion of fact — not of law — by which the warrant officer corporation to object against unreasonable searches and seizures, thus:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
may be guided in making the search and seizure (idem., dissent of Abad Santos, J.,); or when the
things described are limited to those which bear direct relation to the offense for which the warrant "As regards the first group, we hold that petitioners herein have no cause of action to assail the
is being issued (Sec. 2, Rule 126, Revised Rules of Court). The herein search warrant does not legality of the contested warrants and of the seizures made in pursuance thereof, for the simple
conform to any of the foregoing tests. If the articles desired to be seized have any direct relation to reason that said corporations have their respective personalities, separate and distinct from the
an offense committed, the applicant must necessarily have some evidence, other than those personality of herein petitioners, regardless of the amount of shares of stock or the interest of
articles, to prove the said offense; and the articles subject of search and seizure should come in each of them in said corporations, whatever, the offices they hold therein may be. Indeed, it is well
handy merely to strengthen such evidence. In this event, the description contained in the herein settled that the legality of a seizure can be contested only by the party whose rights have been
disputed warrant should have mentioned, at least, the dates, amounts, persons, and other impaired thereby, and that the objection to an unlawful search and seizure is purely personal and
pertinent data regarding the receipts of payments, certificates of stocks and securities, contracts, cannot be availed of by third parties. Consequently, petitioners herein may not validly object to the
promissory notes, deeds of sale, messages and communications, checks, bank deposits and use in evidence against them of the documents, papers and things seized from the offices and
premises of the corporations adverted to above, since the right to object to the admission of said
papers in evidence belongs exclusively to the corporations, to whom the seized effects belong,
and may not be invoked by the corporate officers in proceedings against them in their individual
capacity . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library

In the Stonehill case only the officers of the various corporations in whose offices documents,
papers and effects were searched and seized were the petitioners. In the case at bar, the
corporation to whom the seized documents belong, and whose rights have thereby been impaired,
is itself a petitioner. On that score, petitioner corporation here stands on a different footing from
the corporations in Stonehill.

The tax assessments referred to earlier in this opinion were, if not entirely — as claimed by
petitioners — at least partly — as in effect admitted by respondents — based on the documents
seized by virtue of Search Warrant No. 2-M-70. Furthermore, the fact that the assessments were
made some one and one-half months after the search and seizure on February 25, 1970, is a
strong indication that the documents thus seized served as basis for the assessments. Those
assessments should therefore not be enforced.

PREMISES CONSIDERED, the petition is granted. Accordingly, Search Warrant No. 2-M-70
issued by respondent Judge is declared null and void; respondents are permanently enjoined from
enforcing the said search warrant; the documents, papers and effects seized thereunder are
ordered to be returned to petitioners; and respondent officials the Bureau of Internal Revenue and
their representatives are permanently enjoined from enforcing the assessments mentioned in
Annex "G" of the present petition, as well as other assessments based on the documents, papers
and effects seized under the search warrant herein nullified, and from using the same against
petitioners in any criminal or other proceeding. No pronouncement as to costs.

Concepcion, C.J., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Fernando, Teehankee and Makasiar, JJ., concur.

Reyes, J.B.L., J., concurs with Mr. Justice Barredo.

Castro, J., concurs in the result.


SEC. 4. (1) The privacy of communication and cor- respondence shag be
inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety and order
Republic of the Philippines require otherwise.
SUPREME COURT
Manila (2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be
inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.
EN BANC
Invoking these provisions, the petitioner claims he was the victim of an illegal search and seizure
G.R. No. 71410 November 25, 1986 conducted by the military authorities. The articles seized from him are sought to be used as
evidence in his prosecution for illegal possession of firearms. He asks that their admission be
temporarily restrained (which we have) 1 and thereafter permanently enjoined.
JOSEFINO S. ROAN, petitioner,
vs.
THE HONORABLE ROMULO T. GONZALES, PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT The challenged search warrant was issued by the respondent judge on May 10, 1984. 2 The
OF MARINDUQUE, BRANCH XXXVIII; THE PROVINCIAL FISCAL OF MARINDUQUE; THE petitioner's house was searched two days later but none of the articles listed in the warrant was
PROVINCIAL COMMANDER, PC-INP MARINDUQUE, respondents. discovered. 3 However, the officers conducting the search found in the premises one Colt Magnum
revolver and eighteen live bullets which they confiscated. They are now the bases of the charge
against the petitioner. 4

To be valid, a search warrant must be supported by probable cause to be determined by the judge
CRUZ, J:
or some other authorized officer after examining the complainant and the witnesses he may
produce. No less important, there must be a specific description of the place to be searched and
Once again we are asked to annul a search warrant on the ground that it violates the Constitution. the things to be seized, to prevent arbitrary and indiscriminate use of the warrant.5
As we can do no less if we are to be true to the mandate of the fundamental law, we do annul.
Probable cause was described by Justice Escolin in Burgos v. Chief of Staff 6 as referring to "such
One of the most precious rights of the citizen in a free society is the right to be left alone in the facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that
privacy of his own house. That right has ancient roots, dating back through the mists of history to an offense has been committed and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in
the mighty English kings in their fortresses of power. Even then, the lowly subject had his own the place sought to be searched." As held in a long line of decisions, the probable cause must
castle where he was monarch of all he surveyed. This was his humble cottage from which he refer to only one specific offense.7
could bar his sovereign lord and all the forces of the Crown.
The inclusion of the requirement for the "examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant
That right has endured through the ages albeit only in a few libertarian regimes. Their number, and the witnesses he may produce" was a refinement proposed by Delegate Vicente J. Francisco
regrettably, continues to dwindle against the onslaughts of authoritarianism. We are among the in the1934 Constitutional Convention. His purpose was the strengthening of the guaranty against
fortunate few, able again to enjoy this right after the ordeal of the past despotism. We must unreasonable searches and seizures. Although the condition did not appear in the corresponding
cherish and protect it all the more now because it is like a prodigal son returning. provision of the federa Constitution of the United States which served as our model it was then
already embodied in the Code of Criminal Procedure. Nevertheless, Delegate Jose P. Laurel,
That right is guaranteed in the following provisions of Article IV of the 1973 Constitution: Chairman of the Committee on the Bill of Rights of that body, readily accepted the proposal and it
was thereafter, following a brief debate, approved by the Convention.8
SEC. 3. 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 Implementing this requirement, the Rules of Court provided in what was then Rule 126:
any purpose shall not be violated, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest
shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined by the judge, or such SEC. 4. Examination of the applicant. — The municipal or city judge must, before
other responsible officer as may be authorized by law, after examination under issuing the warrant, personally examine on oath or affirmation the complainant
oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and and any witnesses he may produce and take their depositions in writing, and
particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be attach them to the record, in addition to any affidavits presented to him.
seized.
The petitioner claims that no depositions were taken by the respondent judge in accordance with standing alone, was insufficient to justify the issuance of the warrant sought. It was therefore
the above rule, but this is not entirely true. As a matter of fact, depositions were taken of the necessary for the witnesses themselves, by their own personal information, to establish the
complainant's two witnesses in addition to the affidavit executed by them. 9 It is correct to say, apphcant's claims. 14
however, that the complainant himself was not subjected to a similar interrogation.
Even assuming then that it would have sufficed to take the depositions only of the witnesses and
Commenting on this matter, the respondent judge declared: not of the applicant himself, there is still the question of the sufficiency of their depositions.

The truth is that when PC Capt. Mauro P. Quinosa personally filed his application It is axiomatic that the examination must be probing and exhaustive, not merely routinary or pro-
for a search warrant on May 10, 1984, he appeared before me in the company of forma, if the claimed probable cause is to be established. The examining magistrate must not
his two (2) witnesses, Esmael Morada and Jesus Tohilida, both of whom likewise simply rehash the contents of the affidavit but must make his own inquiry on the intent and
presented to me their respective affidavits taken by Pat. Josue V. Lining, a police justification of the application. 15
investigator assigned to the PC-INP command at Camp Col. Maximo Abad. As
the application was not yet subscribed and sworn to, I proceeded to examine A study of the depositions taken from witnesses Esmael Morada and Jesus Tohilida, who both
Captain Quillosa on the contents thereof to ascertain, among others, if he knew claimed to be "intelligence informers," shows that they were in the main a mere restatement of
and understood the same. Afterwards, he subscribed and swore to the same their allegations in their affidavits, except that they were made in the form of answers to the
before me. 10 questions put to them by the respondent judge. Significantly, the meaningful remark made by
Tohilida that they were suspicious of the petitioner because he was a follower of the opposition
By his own account, an he did was question Captain Quillosa on the contents of his affidavit only candidate in the forthcoming election (a "Lecarista") 16 did not excite the respondent judge's own
"to ascertain, among others, if he knew and understood the same," and only because "the suspicions. This should have put him on guard as to the motivations of the witnesses and alerted
application was not yet subscribed and swom to." The suggestion is that he would not have asked him to possible misrepresentations from them.
any questions at all if the affidavit had already been completed when it was submitted to him. In
any case, he did not ask his own searching questions. He limited himself to the contents of the The respondent judge almost unquestioningly received the witnesses' statement that they saw
affidavit. He did not take the applicant's deposition in writing and attach them to the record, eight men deliver arms to the petitioner in his house on May 2, 1984. 17 This was supposedly done
together with the affidavit presented to him. overtly, and Tohilida said he saw everything through an open window of the house while he was
near the gate. 18 He could even positively say that six of the weapons were.45 caliber pistols and
As this Court held in Mata v. Bayona: 11 two were.38 caliber revolvers. 19

Mere affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses are thus not sufficient. The One may well wonder why it did not occur to the respondent judge to ask how the witness could
examining Judge has to take depositions in writing of the complainant and the be so certain even as to the caliber of the guns, or how far he was from the window, or whether it
witnesses he niay produce and attach them to the record. Such written was on the first floor or a second floor, or why his presence was not noticed at all, or if the acts
deposition is necessary in order that the Judge may be able to properly related were really done openly, in the full view of the witnesses, considering that these acts were
determine the existence or non-existence of the probable cause, to hold liable for against the law. These would have been judicious questions but they were injudiciously omitted.
perjury the person giving it if it wifl be found later that his declarations are false. Instead, the declarations of the witnesses were readily accepted and the search warrant sought
was issued forthwith.
We, therefore, hold that the search warrant is tainted with illegality by the failure
of the Judge to conform with the essential requisites of taking the depositions in The above-discussed defects have rendered the search warrant invalid. Nonetheless, the Solicitor
writing and attaching them to the record, rendering the search warrant invalid. General argues that whatever defect there was, was waived when the petitioner voluntarily
submitted to the search and manifested his conformity in writing. 20
The respondent judge also declared that he "saw no need to have applicant Quillosa's deposition
taken considering that he was applying for a search warrant on the basis of the information We do not agree. What we see here is pressure exerted by the military authorities, who practically
provided by the aforenamed witnesses whose depositions as aforementioned had already been coerced the petitioner to sign the supposed waiver as a guaranty against a possible challenge
taken by the undersigned." 12 later to the validity of the search they were conducting. Confronted with the armed presence of the
military and the presumptive authority of a judicial writ, the petitioner had no choice but to submit.
In other words, the applicant was asking for the issuance of the search warrant on the basis of This was not, as we held in a previous case,21 the manifestation merely of our traditional Filipino
mere hearsay and not of information personally known to him, as required by settled hospitality and respect for authority. Given the repressive atmosphere of the Marcos regime, there
jurisprudence." 13 The rationale of the requirement, of course, is to provide a ground for a was here, as we see it, an intimidation that the petitioner could not resist.
prosecution for perjury in case the applicant's declarations are found to be false. His application,
The respondents also argue that the Colt Magnum pistol and the eighteen have bullets seized The pistol and bullets cannot, of course, be used as evidence against the petitioner in the criminal
from the petitioner were illegal per se and therefore could have been taken by the military action against him for illegal possession of firearms. Pending resolution of that case, however, the
authorities even without a warrant. Possession of the said articles, it is urged, was violative of P.D. said articles must remain in custodia legis.
1866 and considered malum prohibitum. Hence, the Wegal articles could be taken even without a
warrant. Finally, it is true that the petitioner should have, before coming to this Court, filed a motion for the
quashal of the search warrant by the respondent judge in accordance with the normal procedure.
Prohibited articles may be seized but only as long as the search is valid. In this case, it was not But as we said and did in Burgos, "this procedural flaw notwithstanding, we take cognizance of
because: 1) there was no valid search warrant; and 2) absent such a warrant, the right thereto this petition in view of the seriousness and urgency of the constitutional issues raised. 28
was not validly waived by the petitioner. In short, the military officers who entered the petitioner's
premises had no right to be there and therefore had no right either to seize the pistol and bullets. WHEREFORE, Search Warrant No. 1-84 issued by the respondent judge on May 10, 1984, is
hereby declared null and void and accordingly set aside. Our restraining order of August 6,1985, is
It does not follow that because an offense is malum prohibitum, the subject thereof is necessarily made permanent. No costs.
illegal per se. Motive is immaterial in mala prohibita, but the subjects of this kind of offense may
not be summarily seized simply because they are prohibited. A search warrant is still necessary. If SO ORDERED.
the rule were otherwise, then the military authorities could have just entered the premises and
looked for the guns reportedly kept by the petitioner without bothering to first secure a search
Teehankee, C.J., Feria, Yap, Fernan, Melencio-Herrera, Alampay, Gutierrez, Jr and Paras, JJ.,
warrant. The fact that they did bother to do so indicates that they themselves recognized the
concur.
necessity of such a warrant for the seizure of the weapons the petitioner was suspected of
possessing.

It is true that there are certain instances when a search may be validly made without warrant and
articles may be taken validly as a result of that search. For example, a warrantless search may be
made incidental to a lawful arrest,22 as when the person being arrested is frished for weapons he
may otherwise be able to use against the arresting officer. Motor cars may be inspected at borders
to prevent smuggling of aliens and contraband 23 and even in the interior upon a showing of
probable cause. 24 Vessels and aircraft are also traditionally removed from the operation of the
rule because of their mobility and their relative ease in fleeing the state's jurisdiction. 25 The
individual may knowingly agree to be searched or waive objections to an illegal search. 26 And it
has also been held that prohibited articles may be taken without warrant if they are open to eye
and hand and the peace officer comes upon them inadvertently. 27

Clearly, though, the instant case does not come under any of the accepted exceptions. The
respondents cannot even claim that they stumbled upon the pistol and bullets for the fact is that
these things were deliberately sought and were not in plain view when they were taken. Hence,
the rule having been violated and no exception being applicable, the conclusion is that the
petitioner's pistol and bullets were confiscated illegally and therefore are protected by the
exclusionary principle.

Stonehill v. Diokno established this rule which was later expressly affirmed in the 1973
Constitution. While conceding that there may be occasions when the criminal might be allowed to
go free because "the constable has blundered," Chief Justice Concepcion observed that the
exclusionary rule was nonetheless "the only practical means of enforcing the constitutional
injunction" against abuse. The decision cited Judge Learned Hand's justification that "only in case
the prosecution which itself controls the seizing officials, know that it cannot profit by their wrong,
will the wrong be repressed. "
Republic of the Philippines Banking Corporation. The search for and a seizure of said articles were made with the opposition
SUPREME COURT of the petitioner who stated his protest below the inventories on the ground that the agents seized
Manila even the originals of the documents. As the articles had not been brought immediately to the judge
who issued the search warrant, the petitioner, through his attorney, filed a motion on June 8, 1936,
EN BANC praying that the agent Emilio L. Siongco, or any other agent, be ordered immediately to deposit all
the seized articles in the office of the clerk of court and that said agent be declared guilty of
contempt for having disobeyed the order of the court. On said date the court issued an order
G.R. No. L-45358 January 29, 1937
directing Emilio L. Siongco to deposit all the articles seized within twenty-four hours from the
receipt of notice thereof and giving him a period of five (5) days within which to show cause why
NARCISO ALVAREZ, petitioner, he should not be punished for contempt of court. On June 10th, Attorney Arsenio Rodriguez,
vs. representing the Anti-Usury Board, filed a motion praying that the order of the 8th of said month be
THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF TAYABAS and THE ANTI-USURY set aside and that the Anti-Usury Board be authorized to retain the articles seized for a period of
BOARD, respondents. thirty (30) days for the necessary investigation. The attorney for the petitioner, on June 20th, filed
another motion alleging that, notwithstanding the order of the 8th of said month, the officials of the
Godofredo Reyes for petitioner. Anti-Usury Board had failed to deposit the articles seized by them and praying that a search
Adolfo N. Feliciano for respondents Anti-Usury Board. warrant be issued, that the sheriff be ordered to take all the articles into his custody and deposit of
No appearance for other respondent. the Anti-Usury Board be punished for contempt of court. Said attorney, on June 24th, filed an ex
parte petition alleging that while agent Emilio L. Siongco had deposited some documents and
IMPERIAL, J.: papers in the office of the clerk of court, he had so far failed to file an inventory duly verified by
oath of all the documents seized by him, to return the search warrant together with the affidavit it
presented in support thereof, or to present the report of the proceedings taken by him; and prayed
The petitioner asks that the warrant of June 3, 1936, issued by the Court of First Instance of that said agent be directed to filed the documents in question immediately. On the 25th of said
Tayabas, ordering the search of his house and the seizure, at any time of the day or night, of month the court issued an order requiring agent Emilio L. Siongco forthwith to file the search
certain accounting books, documents and papers belonging to him in his residence situated in warrant and the affidavit in the court, together with the proceedings taken by him, and to present
Infanta, Province of Tayabas, as well as the order of a later date, authorizing the agents of the an inventory duly verified by oath of all the articles seized. On July 2d of said year, the attorney for
Anti-Usury Board to retain the articles seized, be declared illegal and set aside, and prays that all the petitioner filed another petition alleging that the search warrant issue was illegal and that it had
the articles in question be returned to him. nit yet been returned to date together with the proceedings taken in connection therewith, and
praying that said warrant be cancelled, that an order be issued directing the return of all the
On the date above-mentioned, the chief of the secret service of the Anti-Usury Board, of the articles seized to the petitioner, that the agent who seized them be declared guilty of contempt of
Department of Justice, presented to Judge Eduardo Gutierrez David then presiding over the Court court, and that charges be filed against him for abuse of authority. On September 10, 1936, the
of First Instance of Tayabas, an affidavit alleging that according to reliable information, the court issued an order holding: that the search warrant was obtained and issued in accordance with
petitioner kept in his house in Infanta, Tayabas, books, documents, receipts, lists, chits and other the law, that it had been duly complied with and, consequently, should not be cancelled, and that
papers used by him in connection with his activities as a money-lender charging usurious rates of agent Emilio L. Siongco did not commit any contempt of court and must, therefore, be exonerated,
interest in violation of the law. In his oath at the and of the affidavit, the chief of the secret service and ordering the chief of the Anti-Usury Board in Manila to show case, if any, within the
stated that his answers to the questions were correct to the best of his knowledge and belief. He unextendible period of two (2) days from the date of notice of said order, why all the articles seized
did not swear to the truth of his statements upon his own knowledge of the facts but upon the appearing in the inventory, Exhibit 1, should not be returned to the petitioner. The assistant chief
information received by him from a reliable person. Upon the affidavit in question the Judge, on of the Anti-Usury Board of the Department of Justice filed a motion praying, for the reasons stated
said date, issued the warrant which is the subject matter of the petition, ordering the search of the therein, that the articles seized be ordered retained for the purpose of conducting an investigation
petitioner's house at nay time of the day or night, the seizure of the books and documents above- of the violation of the Anti-Usury Law committed by the petitioner. In view of the opposition of the
mentioned and the immediate delivery thereof to him to be disposed of in accordance with the law. attorney for the petitioner, the court, on September 25th, issued an order requiring the Anti-Usury
With said warrant, several agents of the Anti-Usury Board entered the petitioner's store and Board to specify the time needed by it to examine the documents and papers seized and which of
residence at seven o'clock on the night of June 4, 1936, and seized and took possession of the them should be retained, granting it a period of five (5) days for said purpose. On the 30th of said
following articles: internal revenue licenses for the years 1933 to 1936, one ledger, two journals, month the assistant chief of the Anti-Usury Board filed a motion praying that he be granted ten
two cashbooks, nine order books, four notebooks, four checks stubs, two memorandums, three (10) days to comply with the order of September 25th and that the clerk of court be ordered to
bankbooks, two contracts, four stubs, forty-eight stubs of purchases of copra, two inventories, two return to him all the documents and papers together with the inventory thereof. The court, in an
bundles of bills of lading, one bundle of credit receipts, one bundle of stubs of purchases of copra, order of October 2d of said year, granted him the additional period of ten(10) days and ordered the
two packages of correspondence, one receipt book belonging to Luis Fernandez, fourteen bundles clerk of court to send him a copy of the inventory. On October 10th, said official again filed another
of invoices and other papers many documents and loan contracts with security and promissory motion alleging that he needed sixty (60) days to examine the documents and papers seized,
notes, 504 chits, promissory notes and stubs of used checks of the Hongkong & Shanghai which are designated on pages 1 to 4 of the inventory by Nos. 5, 1016, 23, 25, 26, 27, 30, 31, 34,
36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43 and 45, and praying that he be granted said period of sixty (60) produce, and particularly describing the place top be searched, and the persons or things
days. In an order of October 16th, the court granted him the period of sixty (60) days to investigate to be seized." Section 97 of General Orders, No. 58 provides that "A search warrant shall
said nineteen (19) documents. The petitioner alleges, and it is not denied by the respondents, that not issue except for probable cause and upon application supported by oath particularly
these nineteen (19)documents continue in the possession of the court, the rest having been describing the place to be searched and the person or thing to be seized." It will be noted
returned to said petitioner. that both provisions require that there be not only probable cause before the issuance of
a search warrant but that the search warrant must be based upon an application
I. A search warrant is an order in writing, issued in the name of the People of the supported by oath of the applicant ands the witnesses he may produce. In its broadest
Philippine Islands, signed by a judge or a justice of the peace, and directed to a peace sense, an oath includes any form of attestation by which a party signifies that he is bound
officer, commanding him to search for personal property and bring it before the court in conscience to perform an act faithfully and truthfully; and it is sometimes defined asan
(section 95, General Orders. No. 58, as amended by section 6 of Act No. 2886). Of all the outward pledge given by the person taking it that his attestation or promise is made under
rights of a citizen, few are of greater importance or more essential to his peace and an immediate sense of his responsibility to God (Bouvier's Law Dictionary;
happiness than the right of personal security, and that involves the exemption of his State vs. Jackson, 137 N. W., 1034; In re Sage, 24 Oh. Cir. Ct. [N. S.], 7;
private affairs, books, and papers from the inspection and scrutiny of others (In re Pacific Pumphery vs. State, 122 N. W., 19; Priest vs. State, 6 N. W., 468; State vs. Jones, 154
Railways Commission, 32 Fed., 241; Interstate Commerce Commission vs Brimson, 38 Pac., 378; Atwood vs. State, 111 So., 865). The oath required must refer to the truth of
Law. ed., 1047; Broyd vs. U. S., 29 Law. ed., 746; Caroll vs. U. S., 69 Law. ed., 543, 549). the facts within the personal knowledge of the petitioner or his witnesses, because the
While the power to search and seize is necessary to the public welfare, still it must be purpose thereof is to convince the committing magistrate, not the individual making the
exercised and the law enforced without transgressing the constitutional rights or citizen, affidavit and seeking the issuance of the warrant, of the existence of probable cause (U.
for the enforcement of no statue is of sufficient importance to justify indifference to the S. vs. Tureaud, 20 Fed., 621; U. S. vs. Michalski, 265 Fed., 8349; U. S. vs. Pitotto, 267
basis principles of government (People vs.Elias, 147 N. E., 472). Fed., 603; U. S. vs. Lai Chew, 298 Fed., 652). The true test of sufficiency of an affidavit to
warrant issuance of a search warrant is whether it has been drawn in such a manner that
perjury could be charged thereon and affiant be held liable for damages caused
II. As the protection of the citizen and the maintenance of his constitutional right is one of
(State vs. Roosevelt Country 20th Jud. Dis. Ct., 244 Pac., 280; State vs. Quartier, 236
the highest duties and privileges of the court, these constitutional guaranties should be Pac., 746).
given a liberal construction or a strict construction in favor of the individual, to prevent
stealthy encroachment upon, or gradual depreciation on, the rights secured by
them(State vs. Custer County, 198 Pac., 362; State vs. McDaniel, 231 Pac., 965; 237 It will likewise be noted that section 1, paragraph 3, of Article III of the Constitution
Pac., 373). Since the proceeding is a drastic one, it is the general rule that statutes prohibits unreasonable searches and seizure. Unreasonable searches and seizures are a
authorizing searches and seizure or search warrants must be strictly construed menace against which the constitutional guarantee afford full protection. The term
(Rose vs. St. Clair, 28 Fed., [2d], 189; Leonard vs. U. S., 6 Fed. [2d], 353; Perry vs. U. S. "unreasonable search and seizure" is not defined in the Constitution or in General Orders
14 Fed. [2d],88; Cofer vs. State, 118 So., 613). No. 58, and it is said to have no fixed, absolute or unchangeable meaning, although the
term has been defined in general language. All illegal searches and seizure are
unreasonable while lawful ones are reasonable. What constitutes a reasonable or
III. The petitioner claims that the search warrant issued by the court is illegal because it
unreasonable search or seizure in any particular case is purely a judicial question,
has been based upon the affidavit of agent Mariano G. Almeda in whose oath he declared
determinable from a consideration of the circumstances involved, including the purpose of
that he had no personal knowledge of the facts which were to serve as a basis for the
the search, the presence or absence or probable cause, the manner in which the search
issuance of the warrant but that he had knowledge thereof through mere information
and seizure was made, the place or thing searched, and the character of the articles
secured from a person whom he considered reliable. To the question "What are your
procured (Go-Bart Importing Co. vs. U. S. 75 Law. ed., 374; Peru vs. U. S., 4 Fed., [2d],
reason for applying for this search warrant", appearing in the affidavit, the agent
881;U. S. vs. Vatune, 292 Fed., 497; Angelo vs. U. S. 70 Law, ed., 145; Lambert vs. U. S.
answered: "It has been reported to me by a person whom I consider to be reliable that
282 Fed., 413; U. S. vs. Bateman, 278 Fed., 231; Mason vs. Rollins, 16 Fed. Cas. [No.
there are being kept in said premises, books, documents, receipts, lists, chits, and other 9252], 2 Biss., 99).
papers used by him in connection with his activities as a money-lender, charging a
usurious rate of interest, in violation of the law" and in attesting the truth of his statements
contained in the affidavit, the said agent states that he found them to be correct and true In view of the foregoing and under the above-cited authorities, it appears that the affidavit,
to the best of his knowledge and belief. which served as the exclusive basis of the search warrant, is insufficient and fatally
defective by reason of the manner in which the oath was made, and therefore, it is hereby
held that the search warrant in question and the subsequent seizure of the books,
Section 1, paragraph 3, of Article III of the Constitution, relative to the bill of rights,
documents and other papers are illegal and do not in any way warrant the deprivation to
provides that "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and which the petitioner was subjected.
effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no
warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, to be determined by the judge after
examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may
IV. Another ground alleged by the petitioner in asking that the search warrant be declared Ill. App., 4125); but where, by the nature of the goods to be seized, their description must
illegal and cancelled is that it was not supported by other affidavits aside from that made be rather generally, it is not required that a technical description be given, as this would
by the applicant. In other words, it is contended that the search warrant cannot be issued mean that no warrant could issue (People vs. Rubio, 57 Phil., 284;
unless it be supported by affidavits made by the applicant and the witnesses to be People vs. Kahn, supra). The only description of the articles given in the affidavit
presented necessity by him. Section 1, paragraph 3, of Article III of the Constitution presented to the judge was as follows: "that there are being kept in said premises books,
provides that no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, to be determined by the documents, receipts, lists, chits and other papers used by him in connection with his
judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he activities as money-lender, charging a usurious rate of interest, in violation of the law."
may produce. Section 98 of General Orders, No. 58 provides that the judge or justice Taking into consideration the nature of the article so described, it is clear that no other
must, before issuing the warrant, examine under oath the complainant and any witnesses more adequate and detailed description could have been given, particularly because it is
he may produce and take their depositions in writing. It is the practice in this jurisdiction to difficult to give a particular description of the contents thereof. The description so made
attach the affidavit of at least the applicant or complainant to the application. It is admitted substantially complies with the legal provisions because the officer of the law who
that the judge who issued the search warrant in this case, relied exclusively upon the executed the warrant was thereby placed in a position enabling him to identify the articles,
affidavit made by agent Mariano G. Almeda and that he did not require nor take the which he did.
deposition of any other witness. Neither the Constitution nor General Orders. No. 58
provides that it is of imperative necessity to take the deposition of the witnesses to be VII. The last ground alleged by the petitioner, in support of his claim that the search
presented by the applicant or complainant in addition to the affidavit of the latter. The warrant was obtained illegally, is that the articles were seized in order that the Anti-Usury
purpose of both in requiring the presentation of depositions is nothing more than to satisfy Board might provide itself with evidence to be used by it in the criminal case or cases
the committing magistrate of the existence of probable cause. Therefore, if the affidavit of which might be filed against him for violation of the Anti-usury Law. At the hearing of the
the applicant or complainant is sufficient, the judge may dispense with that of other incidents of the case raised before the court it clearly appeared that the books and
witnesses. Inasmuch as the affidavit of the agent in this case was insufficient because his documents had really been seized to enable the Anti-Usury Board to conduct an
knowledge of the facts was not personal but merely hearsay, it is the duty of the judge to investigation and later use all or some of the articles in question as evidence against the
require the affidavit of one or more witnesses for the purpose of determining the existence petitioner in the criminal cases that may be filed against him. The seizure of books and
of probable cause to warrant the issuance of the search warrant. When the affidavit of the documents by means of a search warrant, for the purpose of using them as evidence in a
applicant of the complaint contains sufficient facts within his personal and direct criminal case against the person in whose possession they were found, is unconstitutional
knowledge, it is sufficient if the judge is satisfied that there exist probable cause; when the because it makes the warrant unreasonable, and it is equivalent to a violation of the
applicant's knowledge of the facts is mere hearsay, the affidavit of one or more witnesses constitutional provision prohibiting the compulsion of an accused to testify against himself
having a personal knowledge of the fact is necessary. We conclude, therefore, that the (Uy Kheytin vs.Villareal, 42 Phil,, 886; Brady vs. U. S., 266 U. S., 620; Temperani vs. U.
warrant issued is likewise illegal because it was based only on the affidavit of the agent S., 299 Fed., 365; U. S. vs. Madden, 297 Fed., 679; Boyd vs. U. S.,116 U. S., 116;
who had no personal knowledge of the facts. Caroll vs. U. S., 267 U. S., 132). Therefore, it appearing that at least nineteen of the
documents in question were seized for the purpose of using them as evidence against the
V. The petitioner alleged as another ground for the declaration of the illegality of the petitioner in the criminal proceeding or proceedings for violation against him, we hold that
search warrant and the cancellation thereof, the fact that it authorized its execution at the search warrant issued is illegal and that the documents should be returned to him.
night. Section 101 of General Orders, No. 58 authorizes that the search be made at night
when it is positively asserted in the affidavits that the property is on the person or in the The Anti-Usury Board insinuates in its answer that the petitioner cannot now question the validity
place ordered to be searched. As we have declared the affidavits insufficient and the of the search warrant or the proceedings had subsequent to the issuance thereof, because he has
warrant issued exclusively upon it illegal, our conclusion is that the contention is equally waived his constitutional rights in proposing a compromise whereby he agreed to pay a fine of
well founded and that the search could not legally be made at night. P200 for the purpose of evading the criminal proceeding or proceedings. We are of the opinion
that there was no such waiver, first, because the petitioner has emphatically denied the offer of
VI. One of the grounds alleged by the petitioner in support of his contention that the compromise and, second, because if there was a compromise it reffered but to the institution of
warrant was issued illegally is the lack of an adequate description of the books and criminal proceedings fro violation of the Anti-Usury Law. The waiver would have been a good
documents to be seized. Section 1, paragraphs 3, of Article III of the Constitution, and defense for the respondents had the petitioner voluntarily consented to the search and seizure of
section 97 of General Orders, No. 58 provide that the affidavit to be presented, which the articles in question, but such was not the case because the petitioner protested from the
shall serve as the basis for determining whether probable cause exist and whether the beginning and stated his protest in writing in the insufficient inventory furnished him by the agents.
warrant should be issued, must contain a particular description of the place to be
searched and the person or thing to be seized. These provisions are mandatory and must Said board alleges as another defense that the remedy sought by the petitioner does not lie
be strictly complied with (Munch vs. U. S., 24 Fed. [2d], 518; U. S. vs. Boyd, 1 Fed. [2d], because he can appeal from the orders which prejudiced him and are the subject matter of his
1019; U. S. vs. Carlson, 292 Fed., 463; U. S. vs.Borkowski, 268 Fed., 408; In re Tri-State petition. Section 222 of the Code of Civil Procedure in fact provides that mandamus will not issue
Coal & Coke Co., 253 Fed., 605; People vs. Mayen, 188 Cal., 237; People vs. Kahn, 256 when there is another plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. We are of
the opinion, however, that an appeal from said orders would have to lapse before he recovers illegal and are set aside, and it is ordered that the judge presiding over the Court of First Instance
possession of the documents and before the rights, of which he has been unlawfully deprived, are of Tayabas direct the immediate return to the petitioner of the nineteen (19) documents
restored to him (Fajardo vs. Llorente, 6 Phil., 426; Manotoc vs. McMicking and Trinidad, 10 Phil., designated on pages 1 to 4 of the inventory by Nos. 5, 10, 16, 23, 25,26, 27, 30, 31, 34, 36, 37,
119; Cruz Herrera de Lukban vs. McMicking, 14 Phil., 641; Lamb vs. Phipps, 22 Phil., 456). 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43 and 45, without special pronouncement as to costs. So ordered.

Summarizing the foregoing conclusions, we hold: Avanceña, C.J., Villa-Real, Diaz and Concepcion, JJ., concur.

1. That the provisions of the Constitution and General Orders, No. 58, relative to search
and seizure, should be given a liberal construction in favor of the individual in order to
maintain the constitutional guaranties whole and in their full force;

2. That since the provisions in question are drastic in their form and fundamentally restrict
the enjoyment of the ownership, possession and use of the personal property of the
individual, they should be strictly construed;

3. That the search and seizure made are illegal for the following reasons: (a) Because the
warrant was based solely upon the affidavit of the petitioner who had no personal
knowledge of the facts of probable cause, and (b) because the warrant was issued for the
sole purpose of seizing evidence which would later be used in the criminal proceedings
that might be instituted against the petitioner, for violation of the Anti-Usury Law;

4. That as the warrant had been issued unreasonably, and as it does not appear
positively in the affidavit that the articles were in the possession of the petitioner and in
the place indicated, neither could the search and seizure be made at night;

5. That although it is not mandatory to present affidavits of witnesses to corroborate the


applicant or a complainant in cases where the latter has personal knowledge of the facts,
when the applicant's or complainant's knowledge of the facts is merely hearsay, it is the
duty of the judge to require affidavits of other witnesses so that he may determine
whether probable cause exists;

6. That a detailed description of the person and place to be searched and the articles to
be seized is necessary, but whereby, by the nature of the articles to be seized, their
description must be rather general, but is not required that a technical description be
given, as this would mean that no warrant could issue;

7. That the petitioner did not waive his constitutional rights because the offer of
compromise or settlement attributed to him, does not mean, if so made, that he voluntarily
tolerated the search and seizure; and

8. That an appeal from the orders questioned by the petitioner, if taken by him, would not
be an effective, speedy or adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, and,
consequently, the petition for mandamus filed by him, lies.

For the foregoing considerations, the search warrant and the seizure of June 3, 1936, and the
orders of the respondent court authorizing the relation of the books and documents, are declared
FIRST DIVISION Samiano also presented certifications from petitioners that they have not authorized Maxicorp to
perform the witnessed activities using petitioners products.
On 24 July 1997, Maxicorp filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals seeking to
set aside the RTCs order. On 23 December 1998, the Court of Appeals reversed the RTCs order
[G.R. No. 140946. September 13, 2004] denying Maxicorps motion to quash the search warrants. Petitioners moved for reconsideration.
The Court of Appeals denied petitioners motion on 29 November 1999.
The Court of Appeals held that NBI Agent Samiano failed to present during the preliminary
MICROSOFT CORPORATION and LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, petitioners, vs. examination conclusive evidence that Maxicorp produced or sold the counterfeit products. The
MAXICORP, INC., respondent. Court of Appeals pointed out that the sales receipt NBI Agent Samiano presented as evidence that
he bought the products from Maxicorp was in the name of a certain Joel Diaz.
DECISION Hence, this petition.
CARPIO, J.:

The Issues
The Case
Petitioners seek a reversal and raise the following issues for resolution:
This petition for review on certiorari[1] seeks to reverse the Court of Appeals Decision[2] dated
23 December 1998 and its Resolution dated 29 November 1999 in CA-G.R. SP No. 44777. The 1. WHETHER THE PETITION RAISES QUESTIONS OF LAW;
Court of Appeals reversed the Order[3] of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 23, Manila (RTC),
denying respondent Maxicorp, Inc.s (Maxicorp) motion to quash the search warrant that the RTC 2. WHETHER PETITIONERS HAVE LEGAL PERSONALITY TO FILE THE PETITION;
issued against Maxicorp. Petitioners are the private complainants against Maxicorp for copyright
infringement under Section 29 of Presidential Decree No. 49 (Section 29 of PD 49) [4] and for unfair 3. WHETHER THERE WAS PROBABLE CAUSE TO ISSUE THE SEARCH
competition under Article 189 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).[5] WARRANTS;

4. WHETHER THE SEARCH WARRANTS ARE GENERAL WARRANTS.


Antecedent Facts

The Ruling of the Court


On 25 July 1996, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Agent Dominador Samiano, Jr. (NBI
Agent Samiano) filed several applications for search warrants in the RTC against Maxicorp for
alleged violation of Section 29 of PD 49 and Article 189 of the RPC. After conducting a preliminary
The petition has merit.
examination of the applicant and his witnesses, Judge William M. Bayhon issued Search Warrants
Nos. 96-451, 96-452, 96-453 and 96-454, all dated 25 July 1996, against Maxicorp. On Whether the Petition Raises Questions of Law
Armed with the search warrants, NBI agents conducted on 25 July 1996 a search of Maxicorp assails this petition as defective since it failed to raise questions of law. Maxicorp
Maxicorps premises and seized property fitting the description stated in the search warrants. insists that the arguments petitioners presented are questions of fact, which this Court should not
consider in a Rule 45 petition for review. Petitioners counter that all the issues they presented in
On 2 September 1996, Maxicorp filed a motion to quash the search warrants alleging that
this petition involve questions of law. Petitioners point out that the facts are not in dispute.
there was no probable cause for their issuance and that the warrants are in the form of general
warrants. The RTC denied Maxicorps motion on 22 January 1997. The RTC also denied A petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court should cover questions of
Maxicorps motion for reconsideration. law.[6] Questions of fact are not reviewable. As a rule, the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals
are final and conclusive and this Court will not review them on appeal, [7] subject to exceptions as
The RTC found probable cause to issue the search warrants after examining NBI Agent
when the findings of the appellate court conflict with the findings of the trial court.[8]
Samiano, John Benedict Sacriz (Sacriz), and computer technician Felixberto Pante (Pante). The
three testified on what they discovered during their respective visits to Maxicorp. NBI Agent
The distinction between questions of law and questions of fact is settled. A question of law On Whether Petitioners have the Legal Personality to File this Petition
exists when the doubt or difference centers on what the law is on a certain state of facts. A
question of fact exists if the doubt centers on the truth or falsity of the alleged facts. Though this Maxicorp argues that petitioners have no legal personality to file this petition since the proper
delineation seems simple, determining the true nature and extent of the distinction is sometimes party to do so in a criminal case is the Office of the Solicitor General as representative of the
problematic. For example, it is incorrect to presume that all cases where the facts are not in People of the Philippines. Maxicorp states the general rule but the exception governs this
dispute automatically involve purely questions of law. case.[17] We ruled in Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc. v. Court of Appeals[18] that the
petitioner-complainant in a petition for review under Rule 45 could argue its case before this Court
There is a question of law if the issue raised is capable of being resolved without need of in lieu of the Solicitor General if there is grave error committed by the lower court or lack of due
reviewing the probative value of the evidence.[9] The resolution of the issue must rest solely on process. This avoids a situation where a complainant who actively participated in the prosecution
what the law provides on the given set of circumstances. Once it is clear that the issue invites a of a case would suddenly find itself powerless to pursue a remedy due to circumstances beyond
review of the evidence presented, the question posed is one of fact.[10] If the query requires a re- its control. The circumstances in Columbia Pictures Entertainment are sufficiently similar to the
evaluation of the credibility of witnesses, or the existence or relevance of surrounding present case to warrant the application of this doctrine.
circumstances and their relation to each other, the issue in that query is factual.[11] Our ruling
in Paterno v. Paterno[12] is illustrative on this point: On Whether there was Probable Cause to Issue the Search Warrants
Petitioners argue that the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the RTC based on the fact that
Such questions as whether certain items of evidence should be accorded probative value or the sales receipt was not in the name of NBI Agent Samiano. Petitioners point out that the Court of
weight, or rejected as feeble or spurious, or whether or not the proofs on one side or the other are Appeals disregarded the overwhelming evidence that the RTC considered in determining the
clear and convincing and adequate to establish a proposition in issue, are without doubt questions existence of probable cause. Maxicorp counters that the Court of Appeals did not err in reversing
of fact. Whether or not the body of proofs presented by a party, weighed and analyzed in relation the RTC. Maxicorp maintains that the entire preliminary examination that the RTC conducted was
to contrary evidence submitted by adverse party, may be said to be strong, clear and convincing; defective.
whether or not certain documents presented by one side should be accorded full faith and credit in
the face of protests as to their spurious character by the other side; whether or not inconsistencies The Court of Appeals based its reversal on two factual findings of the RTC. First, the fact that
in the body of proofs of a party are of such gravity as to justify refusing to give said proofs weight the sales receipt presented by NBI Agent Samiano as proof that he bought counterfeit goods from
all these are issues of fact. Maxicorp was in the name of a certain Joel Diaz. Second, the fact that petitioners other witness,
John Benedict Sacriz, admitted that he did not buy counterfeit goods from Maxicorp.
It is true that Maxicorp did not contest the facts alleged by petitioners. But this situation does We rule that the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the RTCs findings.
not automatically transform all issues raised in the petition into questions of law. The issues must
meet the tests outlined in Paterno. Probable cause means such reasons, supported by facts and circumstances as will warrant a
cautious man in the belief that his action and the means taken in prosecuting it are legally just and
Of the three main issues raised in this petition the legal personality of the petitioners, the proper.[19] Thus, probable cause for a search warrant requires such facts and circumstances that
nature of the warrants issued and the presence of probable cause only the first two qualify as would lead a reasonably prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and the
questions of law. The pivotal issue of whether there was probable cause to issue the search objects sought in connection with that offense are in the place to be searched.[20]
warrants is a question of fact. At first glance, this issue appears to involve a question of law since
it does not concern itself with the truth or falsity of certain facts. Still, the resolution of this issue The judge determining probable cause must do so only after personally examining under
would require this Court to inquire into the probative value of the evidence presented before the oath the complainant and his witnesses. The oath required must refer to the truth of the facts
RTC. For a question to be one of law, it must not involve an examination of the probative value of within the personal knowledge of the petitioner or his witnesses, because the purpose thereof is
the evidence presented by the litigants or any of them.[13] to convince the committing magistrate, not the individual making the affidavit and seeking the
issuance of the warrant, of the existence of probable cause.[21] The applicant must have personal
Yet, this is precisely what the petitioners ask us to do by raising arguments requiring an knowledge of the circumstances. Reliable information is insufficient. [22] Mere affidavits are not
examination of the TSNs and the documentary evidence presented during the search warrant enough, and the judge must depose in writing the complainant and his witnesses.[23]
proceedings. In short, petitioners would have us substitute our own judgment to that of the RTC
and the Court of Appeals by conducting our own evaluation of the evidence. This is exactly the The Court of Appeals reversal of the findings of the RTC centers on the fact that the two
situation which Section 1, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court prohibits by requiring the petition to raise witnesses for petitioners during the preliminary examination failed to prove conclusively that they
only questions of law. This Court is not a trier of facts. It is not the function of this court to analyze bought counterfeit software from Maxicorp. The Court of Appeals ruled that this amounted to a
or weigh evidence.[14] When we give due course to such situations, it is solely by way of exception. failure to prove the existence of a connection between the offense charged and the place
Such exceptions apply only in the presence of extremely meritorious circumstances.[15] searched.

Indeed, this case falls under one of the exceptions because the findings of the Court of The offense charged against Maxicorp is copyright infringement under Section 29 of PD 49
Appeals conflict with the findings of the RTC.[16] Since petitioners properly raised the conflicting and unfair competition under Article 189 of the RPC. To support these charges, petitioners
findings of the lower courts, it is proper for this Court to resolve such contradiction. presented the testimonies of NBI Agent Samiano, computer technician Pante, and Sacriz, a
civilian. The offenses that petitioners charged Maxicorp contemplate several overt acts. The sale probable cause. Copyright infringement and unfair competition are not limited to the act of selling
of counterfeit products is but one of these acts. Both NBI Agent Samiano and Sacriz related to the counterfeit goods. They cover a whole range of acts, from copying, assembling, packaging to
RTC how they personally saw Maxicorp commit acts of infringement and unfair competition. marketing, including the mere offering for sale of the counterfeit goods. The clear and firm
testimonies of petitioners witnesses on such other acts stand untarnished. The Constitution and
During the preliminary examination, the RTC subjected the testimonies of the witnesses to the Rules of Court only require that the judge examine personally and thoroughly the applicant for
the requisite examination. NBI Agent Samiano testified that he saw Maxicorp display and offer for the warrant and his witnesses to determine probable cause. The RTC complied adequately with
sale counterfeit software in its premises. He also saw how the counterfeit software were produced the requirement of the Constitution and the Rules of Court.
and packaged within Maxicorps premises. NBI Agent Samiano categorically stated that he was
certain the products were counterfeit because Maxicorp sold them to its customers without giving Probable cause is dependent largely on the opinion and findings of the judge who conducted
the accompanying ownership manuals, license agreements and certificates of authenticity. the examination and who had the opportunity to question the applicant and his witnesses. [31] For
this reason, the findings of the judge deserve great weight. The reviewing court should overturn
Sacriz testified that during his visits to Maxicorp, he witnessed several instances when such findings only upon proof that the judge disregarded the facts before him or ignored the clear
Maxicorp installed petitioners software into computers it had assembled. Sacriz also testified that dictates of reason.[32] Nothing in the records of the preliminary examination proceedings reveal any
he saw the sale of petitioners software within Maxicorps premises. Petitioners never authorized impropriety on the part of the judge in this case. As one can readily see, here the judge examined
Maxicorp to install or sell their software. thoroughly the applicant and his witnesses. To demand a higher degree of proof is unnecessary
The testimonies of these two witnesses, coupled with the object and documentary evidence and untimely. The prosecution would be placed in a compromising situation if it were required to
they presented, are sufficient to establish the existence of probable cause. From what they have present all its evidence at such preliminary stage. Proof beyond reasonable doubt is best left for
witnessed, there is reason to believe that Maxicorp engaged in copyright infringement and unfair trial.
competition to the prejudice of petitioners. Both NBI Agent Samiano and Sacriz were clear and On Whether the Search Warrants are in the Nature of General Warrants
insistent that the counterfeit software were not only displayed and sold within Maxicorps premises,
they were also produced, packaged and in some cases, installed there. A search warrant must state particularly the place to be searched and the objects to be
seized. The evident purpose for this requirement is to limit the articles to be seized only to those
The determination of probable cause does not call for the application of rules and standards particularly described in the search warrant. This is a protection against potential abuse. It is
of proof that a judgment of conviction requires after trial on the merits. As implied by the words necessary to leave the officers of the law with no discretion regarding what articles they shall
themselves, probable cause is concerned with probability, not absolute or even moral certainty. seize, to the end that no unreasonable searches and seizures be committed. [33]
The prosecution need not present at this stage proof beyond reasonable doubt. The standards of
judgment are those of a reasonably prudent man,[24] not the exacting calibrations of a judge after a In addition, under Section 4, Rule 126 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, a search warrant
full-blown trial. shall issue in connection with one specific offense. The articles described must bear a direct
relation to the offense for which the warrant is issued. [34] Thus, this rule requires that the warrant
No law or rule states that probable cause requires a specific kind of evidence. No formula or must state that the articles subject of the search and seizure are used or intended for use in the
fixed rule for its determination exists.[25] Probable cause is determined in the light of conditions commission of a specific offense.
obtaining in a given situation.[26] Thus, it was improper for the Court of Appeals to reverse the
RTCs findings simply because the sales receipt evidencing NBI Agent Samianos purchase of Maxicorp argues that the warrants issued against it are too broad in scope and lack the
counterfeit goods is not in his name. specificity required with respect to the objects to be seized. After examining the wording of the
warrants issued, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Maxicorp and reversed the RTCs Order
For purposes of determining probable cause, the sales receipt is not the only proof that the thus:
sale of petitioners software occurred. During the search warrant application proceedings, NBI
Agent Samiano presented to the judge the computer unit that he purchased from Maxicorp, in
which computer unit Maxicorp had pre-installed petitioners software.[27] Sacriz, who was present Under the foregoing language, almost any item in the petitioners store can be seized on the
when NBI Agent Samiano purchased the computer unit, affirmed that NBI Agent Samiano ground that it is used or intended to be used in the illegal or unauthorized copying or reproduction
purchased the computer unit.[28] Pante, the computer technician, demonstrated to the judge the of the private respondents software and their manuals.[35]
presence of petitioners software on the same computer unit.[29] There was a comparison between
petitioners genuine software and Maxicorps software pre-installed in the computer unit that NBI The Court of Appeals based its reversal on its perceived infirmity of paragraph (e) of the search
Agent Sambiano purchased.[30] Even if we disregard the sales receipt issued in the name of Joel warrants the RTC issued. The appellate court found that similarly worded warrants, all of which
Diaz, which petitioners explained was the alias NBI Agent Samiano used in the operation, there noticeably employ the phrase used or intended to be used, were previously held void by this
still remains more than sufficient evidence to establish probable cause for the issuance of the Court.[36] The disputed text of the search warrants in this case states:
search warrants.
a) Complete or partially complete reproductions or copies of Microsoft software bearing the
This also applies to the Court of Appeals ruling on Sacrizs testimony. The fact that Sacriz did
Microsoft copyrights and/or trademarks owned by MICROSOFT CORPORATION
not actually purchase counterfeit software from Maxicorp does not eliminate the existence of
contained in CD-ROMs, diskettes and hard disks;
b) Complete or partially complete reproductions or copies of Microsoft instruction manuals However, we find paragraph (c) of the search warrants lacking in particularity. Paragraph (c)
and/or literature bearing the Microsoft copyrights and/or trademarks owned by states:
MICROSOFT CORPORATION;
c) Sundry items such as labels, boxes, prints, packages, wrappers, receptacles,
c) Sundry items such as labels, boxes, prints, packages, wrappers, receptacles, advertisements and other paraphernalia bearing the copyrights and/or trademarks
advertisements and other paraphernalia bearing the copyrights and/or trademarks owned by MICROSOFT CORPORATION;
owned by MICROSOFT CORPORATION;
The scope of this description is all-embracing since it covers property used for personal or other
d) Sales invoices, delivery receipts, official receipts, ledgers, journals, purchase orders and purposes not related to copyright infringement or unfair competition. Moreover, the description
all other books of accounts and documents used in the recording of the reproduction covers property that Maxicorp may have bought legitimately from Microsoft or its licensed
and/or assembly, distribution and sales, and other transactions in connection with fake distributors. Paragraph (c) simply calls for the seizure of all items bearing the Microsoft logo,
or counterfeit products bearing the Microsoft copyrights and/or trademarks owned by whether legitimately possessed or not. Neither does it limit the seizure to products used in
MICROSOFT CORPORATION; copyright infringement or unfair competition.
Still, no provision of law exists which requires that a warrant, partially defective in specifying
e) Computer hardware, including central processing units including hard disks, CD- some items sought to be seized yet particular with respect to the other items, should be nullified as
ROM drives, keyboards, monitor screens and diskettes, photocopying machines a whole. A partially defective warrant remains valid as to the items specifically described in the
and other equipment or paraphernalia used or intended to be used in the illegal warrant.[44] A search warrant is severable, the items not sufficiently described may be cut off
and unauthorized copying or reproduction of Microsoft software and their without destroying the whole warrant.[45] The exclusionary rule found in Section 3(2) of Article III of
manuals, or which contain, display or otherwise exhibit, without the authority of the Constitution renders inadmissible in any proceeding all evidence obtained through
MICROSOFT CORPORATION, any and all Microsoft trademarks and copyrights; unreasonable searches and seizure. Thus, all items seized under paragraph (c) of the search
and warrants, not falling under paragraphs a, b, d, e or f, should be returned to Maxicorp.

f) Documents relating to any passwords or protocols in order to access all computer hard WHEREFORE, we PARTIALLY GRANT the instant petition. The Decision of the Court of
drives, data bases and other information storage devices containing unauthorized Appeals dated 23 December 1998 and its Resolution dated 29 November 1999 in CA-G.R. SP No.
Microsoft software.[37] (Emphasis supplied) 44777 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE except with respect to articles seized under paragraph (c)
of Search Warrants Nos. 96-451, 96-452, 96-453 and 96-454. All articles seized under paragraph
(c) of the search warrants, not falling under paragraphs a, b, d, e or f, are ordered returned to
It is only required that a search warrant be specific as far as the circumstances will ordinarily
Maxicorp, Inc. immediately.
allow.[38] The description of the property to be seized need not be technically accurate or precise.
The nature of the description should vary according to whether the identity of the property or its SO ORDERED.
character is a matter of concern.[39] Measured against this standard we find that paragraph (e) is
not a general warrant. The articles to be seized were not only sufficiently identified physically, they Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Ynares-Santiago, and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
were also specifically identified by stating their relation to the offense charged. Paragraph (e) Quisumbing, J., no part, close relation to counsel.
specifically refers to those articles used or intended for use in the illegal and unauthorized copying
of petitioners software. This language meets the test of specificity.[40]
The cases cited by the Court of Appeals are inapplicable. In those cases, the Court found the
warrants too broad because of particular circumstances, not because of the mere use of the
phrase used or intended to be used. In Columbia Pictures, Inc. v. Flores, the warrants ordering
the seizure of television sets, video cassette recorders, rewinders and tape cleaners x x x were
found too broad since the defendant there was a licensed distributor of video tapes. [41] The mere
presence of counterfeit video tapes in the defendants store does not mean that the machines were
used to produce the counterfeit tapes. The situation in this case is different. Maxicorp is not a
licensed distributor of petitioners. In Bache & Co. (Phil.), Inc., et al. v. Judge Ruiz, et al., the
Court voided the warrants because they authorized the seizure of records pertaining to all
business transactions of the defendant.[42] And in 20th Century Fox Film Corp. v. Court of
Appeals, the Court quashed the warrant because it merely gave a list of articles to be seized,
aggravated by the fact that such appliances are generally connected with the legitimate business
of renting out betamax tapes.[43]
EN BANC COST(S) DE OFFICIO.

SO ORDERED.[3]

[G.R. Nos. 140546-47. January 20, 2003] Appellant is a Chinese national in his forties, a businessman, and a resident of Baguio City. A
raid conducted by operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Philippine National
Police Narcotics Command (PNP NARCOM) at premises allegedly leased by appellant and at his
residence yielded huge quantities of marijuana.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MODESTO TEE a.k.a. ESTOY
TEE, accused-appellant. On July 20, 1998, appellant moved to quash the search warrant on the ground that it was too
general and that the NBI had not complied with the requirements for the issuance of a valid search
warrant. The pendency of said motion, however, did not stop the filing of the appropriate charges
DECISION against appellant. In an information dated July 24, 1998, docketed as Criminal Case No. 15800-R,
QUISUMBING, J.: the City Prosecutor of Baguio City charged Modesto Tee, alias Estoy Tee, with illegal possession
of marijuana, allegedly committed as follows:
For automatic review is the consolidated judgment[1] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Baguio City, Branch 6, dated September 17, 1999, in Criminal Cases Nos. 15800-R and 15822-R, That on or about the 1st day of July, 1998 in the City of Baguio, Philippines, and within the
involving violations of Section 8, Article II, of the Dangerous Drugs Law. [2] Since appellant was jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully,
acquitted in the second case, we focus on the first case, where appellant has been found guilty unlawfully, feloniously and knowingly have in his possession the following, to wit:
and sentenced to death and fined one million pesos.
1. Ninety-two (92) bricks of dried flowering tops separately contained in four (4) boxes; and
The decretal portion of the trial courts decision reads:
2. One hundred fifty-eight (158) bricks, twenty-one (21) blocks, and twenty-three (23) bags of dried
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered, as follows: flowering tops separately contained in thirteen (13) sacks, with a total weight of 336.93 kilograms;
and
1. In Crim. Case No. 15800-R, the Court finds the accused Modesto Tee guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the offense of illegal possession of marijuana of about 591.81 kilos in violation of Section 3 Six hundred two (602) bricks of dried flowering tops separately contained in twenty-six (boxes)
8, Article II of RA 6425 as amended by Section 13 of RA 7659 as charged in the Information, and a yellow sack, weighing 591.81 kilograms,
seized by virtue of a search warrant and sentences him to the supreme penalty of death and to
pay a fine of 1 million pesos without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.
all having a grand total weight of 928.74 kilograms, a prohibited drug, without the authority of law
to possess, in violation of the above-cited provision of law.
The 591.81 kilos of marijuana contained in 26 boxes and one yellow sack (Exhibits U-1 to U-27)
are ordered forfeited in favor of the State to be destroyed immediately in accordance with law.
CONTRARY TO LAW.[4]

2. In Crim. Case No. 15822-R, the Court finds that the prosecution failed to prove the guilt of
On August 7, 1998, the prosecution moved to amend the foregoing charge sheet considering
accused Modesto Tee beyond reasonable doubt and hereby acquits him of the charge of illegal
that subject marijuana were seized in two (2) different places.[5]
possession of marijuana in violation of Section 8, Art. 2 of RA 6425 as amended by Section 13 of
RA 7659 as charged in the Information since the marijuana confiscated have to be excluded in As a result, the information in Criminal Case No. 15800-R was amended to read as follows:
evidence as a product of unreasonable search and seizure.
That on or about the 1st day of July, 1998, in the City of Baguio, Philippines, and within the
The 336.93 kilos of marijuana contained in 13 sacks and four boxes (Exh. B to S and their jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully,
component parts) although excluded in evidence as the product(s) of unreasonable search and unlawfully, feloniously and knowingly have in his possession the following, to wit:
seizure, are nevertheless ordered forfeited in favor of the State to be destroyed immediately in
accordance with law considering that they are prohibited articles.
- Six hundred two (602) bricks of dried flowering tops separately contained in twenty-six (26)
boxes and a yellow sack, weighing 591.81 kilograms
The City Jail Warden is, therefore, directed to release the accused Modesto Tee in connection
with Crim. Case No. 15822-R unless held on other charges.
a prohibited drug, without the authority of law to possess, in violation of the above-cited provision On June 30, 1998, appellant hired Abratique to drive him to La Trinidad, Benguet on the
of law. pretext of buying and transporting strawberries. Upon reaching La Trinidad, however, appellant
directed Abratique to proceed to Sablan, Benguet, where appellant proceeded to load several
CONTRARY TO LAW.[6] sacks of marijuana in Abratiques taxi. He then asked Abratique to find him a place where he could
store the contraband.[13]
A separate amended information docketed as Criminal Case No. 15822-R was likewise filed, Abratique brought appellant to his grandmothers house at No. 27 Dr. Cario St., QM
the accusatory portion of which reads: Subdivision, Baguio City, which was being managed by Abratiques aunt, Nazarea Abreau.
Nazarea agreed to rent a room to appellant. Abratique and appellant unloaded and stored there
That on or about the 1st day of July, 1998 in the City of Baguio, Philippines, and within the the sacks of marijuana brought from Sablan.[14] Abratique was aware that they were transporting
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully, marijuana as some of the articles in the sacks became exposed in the process of loading.[15]
unlawfully, feloniously and knowingly have in his possession the following, to wit:
Eventually, Abratique and Nazarea were bothered by the nature of the goods stored in the
rented room. She confided to her daughter, Alice Abreau Fianza, about their predicament. As
1. Ninety-two (92) bricks of dried flowering tops separately contained in four (4) boxes; Alice Fianzas brother-in-law, Edwin Fianza, was an NBI agent, Alice and Abratique phoned him
and and disclosed what had transpired.[16]
2. hundred fifty-eight (158) bricks, twenty-one (21) blocks, and twenty-three (23) bags of On the morning of July 1, 1998, alerted by information that appellant would retrieve the sacks
dried flowering tops separately contained in thirteen (13) sacks, with a total weight of of prohibited drugs that day, Edwin Fianza and other NBI operatives conducted a stake out at No.
336.93 kilograms; 27, Dr. Cario St. While the NBI agents were conducting their surveillance, they noticed that several
PNP NARCOM personnel were also watching the place.[17] The NBI then learned that the PNP
a prohibited drug, without the authority of law to possess, in violation of the above-cited provision NARCOM had received a tip from one of their informers regarding the presence of a huge amount
of law. of drugs in that place. The NBI and PNP NARCOM agreed to have a joint operation.
As the day wore on and appellant did not show up, the NBI agents became apprehensive
CONTRARY TO LAW.[7] that the whole operation could be jeopardized. They sought the permission of Nazarea Abreau to
enter the room rented by appellant. She acceded and allowed them entry. The NBI team then
On September 4, 1998, the trial court denied the motion to quash the search warrant and searched the rented premises and found four (4) boxes and thirteen (13) sacks of marijuana,
ordered appellants arraignment. totaling 336.93 kilograms.[18]
When arraigned in Criminal Cases Nos. 15800-R and 15822-R, appellant refused to enter a Later that evening, NBI Special Agent Darwin Lising, with Abratique as his witness, applied
plea. The trial court entered a plea of not guilty for him.[8] Trial on the merits then ensued. for a search warrant from RTC Judge Antonio Reyes at his residence. [19] Judge Reyes ordered the
NBI agents to fetch the Branch Clerk of Court, Atty. Delilah Muoz, so the proceedings could be
The facts of this case, as gleaned from the records, are as follows: properly recorded. After Atty. Muoz arrived, Judge Reyes questioned Lising and
Prosecution witness Danilo Abratique, a Baguio-based taxi driver, and the appellant Modesto Abratique. Thereafter, the judge issued a warrant directing the NBI to search appellants residence
Tee are well acquainted with each other, since Abratiques wife is the sister of Tees sister-in-law.[9] at Km. 6, Dontogan, Green Valley, Baguio City for marijuana.[20]

Sometime in late June 1998, appellant asked Abratique to find him a place for the storage of The NBI operatives, with some PNP NARCOM personnel in tow, proceeded to appellants
smuggled cigarettes.[10] Abratique brought appellant to his friend, Albert Ballesteros, who had a residence where they served the warrant upon appellant himself.[21] The search was witnessed by
house for rent in Bakakeng, Baguio City. After negotiating the terms and conditions, Ballesteros appellant, members of his family, barangay officials, and members of the media. [22] Photographs
agreed to rent out his place to appellant. Appellant then brought several boxes of purported blue were taken during the actual search.[23] The law enforcers found 26 boxes and a sack of dried
seal cigarettes to the leased premises. marijuana[24] in the water tank, garage, and storeroom of appellants residence.[25] The total weight
of the haul was 591.81 kilograms.[26] Appellant was arrested for illegal possession of marijuana.
Shortly thereafter, however, Ballesteros learned that the boxes stored in his place were not
blue seal cigarettes but marijuana. Fearful of being involved, Ballesteros informed Abratique. Both The seized items were then submitted to the NBI laboratory for testing. NBI Forensic Chemist
later prevailed upon appellant to remove them from the premises.[11] Maria Carina Madrigal conducted the tests. Detailed microscopic and chromatographic
examinations of the items taken from appellants rented room at No. 27, Dr. Cario St., as well as
Appellant then hired Abratiques taxi and transported the boxes of cannabis from the those from his residence at Green Valley, showed these to be marijuana.[27]
Ballesteros place to appellants residence at Km. 6, Dontogan, Green Valley, Sto. Tomas, Baguio
City.[12] In his defense, appellant contended that the physical evidence of the prosecution was
illegally obtained, being the products of an unlawful search, hence inadmissible. Appellant insisted
that the search warrant was too general and the process by which said warrant was acquired did
not satisfy the constitutional requirements for the issuance of a valid search warrant. Moreover, on. The constitutional requirement of reasonable particularity of description of the things to be
Abratiques testimony, which was heavily relied upon by the judge who issued the warrant, was seized is primarily meant to enable the law enforcers serving the warrant to: (1) readily identify the
hearsay. properties to be seized and thus prevent them from seizing the wrong items;[30] and (2) leave said
peace officers with no discretion regarding the articles to be seized and thus prevent
In Criminal Case No. 15822-R, the trial court agreed with appellant that the taking of the unreasonable searches and seizures.[31] What the Constitution seeks to avoid are search warrants
336.93 kilograms of marijuana was the result of an illegal search and hence, inadmissible in of broad or general characterization or sweeping descriptions, which will authorize police officers
evidence against appellant. Appellant was accordingly acquitted of the charge. However, the trial to undertake a fishing expedition to seize and confiscate any and all kinds of evidence or articles
court found that the prosecutions evidence was more than ample to prove appellants guilt in relating to an offense.[32]However, it is not required that technical precision of description be
Criminal Case No. 15800-R and as earlier stated, duly convicted him of illegal possession of required,[33] particularly, where by the nature of the goods to be seized, their description must be
marijuana and sentenced him to death. rather general, since the requirement of a technical description would mean that no warrant could
Hence, this automatic review. issue.[34]

Before us, appellant submits that the trial court erred in: Thus, it has been held that term narcotics paraphernalia is not so wanting in particularity as
to create a general warrant.[35] Nor is the description any and all narcotics and all implements,
1UPHOLDING THE LEGALITY OF THE SEARCH WARRANT DESPITE LACK OF paraphernalia, articles, papers and records pertaining to the use, possession, or sale of narcotics
COMPLIANCE OF (sic) SEVERAL REQUIREMENTS BEFORE IT SHOULD HAVE or dangerous drugs so broad as to be unconstitutional.[36] A search warrant commanding peace
BEEN ISSUED AND IT BEING A GENERAL WARRANT; officers to seize a quantity of loose heroin has been held sufficiently particular.[37]
2.GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN REOPENING THE CASE AND ALLOWING Tested against the foregoing precedents, the description an undetermined amount of
ABRITIQUE TO TESTIFY AGAINST APPELLANT; marijuana must be held to satisfy the requirement for particularity in a search warrant. Noteworthy,
what is to be seized in the instant case is property of a specified character, i.e., marijuana, an illicit
3GIVING CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONY OF ABRITIQUE; drug. By reason of its character and the circumstances under which it would be found, said article
4. NOT ACQUITTING THE ACCUSED IN BOTH CASES AND SENTENCING HIM TO is illegal. A further description would be unnecessary and ordinarily impossible, except as to such
DEATH DESPITE THE ILLEGALLY OBTAINED EVIDENCE AS FOUND IN THE character, the place, and the circumstances.[38] Thus, this Court has held that the description
FIRST CASE.[28] illegally in possession of undetermined quantity/amount of dried marijuana leaves and
Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (Shabu) and sets of paraphernalia particularizes the things to be
We find that the pertinent issues for resolution concern the following: (1) the validity of the seized.[39]
search conducted at the appellants residence; (2) the alleged prejudice caused by the reopening
of the case and absences of the prosecution witness, on appellants right to speedy trial; (3) the The search warrant in the present case, given its nearly similar wording, undetermined
sufficiency of the prosecutions evidence to sustain a finding of guilt with moral certainty; and (4) amount of marijuana or Indian hemp, in our view, has satisfied the Constitutions requirements on
the propriety of the penalty imposed. particularity of description. The description therein is: (1) as specific as the circumstances will
ordinarily allow; (2) expresses a conclusion of fact not of law by which the peace officers may be
guided in making the search and seizure; and (3) limits the things to be seized to those which bear
direct relation to the offense for which the warrant is being issued. [40] Said warrant imposes a
1. On the Validity of the Search Warrant; Its Obtention and Execution meaningful restriction upon the objects to be seized by the officers serving the warrant. Thus, it
prevents exploratory searches, which might be violative of the Bill of Rights.

Appellant initially contends that the warrant, which directed the peace officers to search for Appellant next assails the warrant for merely stating that he should be searched, as he could
and seize an undetermined amount of marijuana, was too general and hence, void for vagueness. be guilty of violation of Republic Act No. 6425. Appellant claims that this is a sweeping statement
He insists that Abratique could already estimate the amount of marijuana supposed to be found at as said statute lists a number of offenses with respect to illegal drugs. Hence, he contends, said
appellants residence since Abratique helped to transport the same. warrant is a general warrant and is thus unconstitutional.

For the appellee, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) counters that a search warrant is For the appellee, the OSG points out that the warrant clearly states that appellant has in his
issued if a judge finds probable cause that the place to be searched contains prohibited drugs, possession and control marijuana or Indian hemp, in violation of Section 8 of Republic Act No.
and not that he believes the place contains a specific amount of it. The OSG points out that, as the 6425.
trial court observed, it is impossible beforehand to determine the exact amount of prohibited drugs We have carefully scrutinized Search Warrant No. 415 (7-98),[41] and we find that it is
that a person has on himself. captioned For Violation of R.A. 6425, as amended.[42] It is clearly stated in the body of the warrant
Appellant avers that the phrase an undetermined amount of marijuana as used in the search that there is probable cause to believe that a case for violation of R.A. 6425, as amended,
warrant fails to satisfy the requirement of Article III, Section 2[29] of the Constitution that the things otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as further amended by R.A. 7659 has
to be seized must be particularly described. Appellants contention, in our view, has no leg to stand been and is being committed by one MODESTO TEE a.k.a. ESTOY TEE of Km. 6, Dontogan
Bgy., Green Valley, Sto. Tomas, Baguio City by having in his possession and control an On record, appellant never raised the want of adequate depositions to support Warrant No.
UNDETERMINED AMOUNT OF MARIJUANA or INDIAN HEMP in violation of the aforementioned 415 (7-98) in his motion to quash before the trial court. Instead, his motion contained vague
law.[43] In an earlier case, we held that though the specific section of the Dangerous Drugs Law is generalities that Judge Reyes failed to ask searching questions of the applicant and his witness.
not pinpointed, there is no question at all of the specific offense alleged to have been committed Belatedly, however, he now claims that Judge Reyes perfunctorily examined said witness. [56] But it
as a basis for the finding of probable cause.[44] Appellants averment is, therefore, baseless. Search is settled that when a motion to quash a warrant is filed, all grounds and objections then available,
Warrant No. 415 (7-98) appears clearly issued for one offense, namely, illegal possession of existent or known, should be raised in the original or subsequent proceedings for the quashal of
marijuana. the warrant, otherwise they are deemed waived.[57]
Appellant next faults the Judge who issued Search Warrant No. 415 (7-98) for his failure to In this case, NBI Special Investigator Lisings knowledge of the illicit drugs stored in
exhaustively examine the applicant and his witness. Appellant points out that said magistrate appellants house was indeed hearsay. But he had a witness, Danilo Abratique, who had personal
should not have swallowed all of Abratiques statements hook, line, and sinker. He points out that knowledge about said drugs and their particular location. Abratiques statements to the NBI and to
since Abratique consented to assist in the transport of the marijuana, the examining judge should Judge Reyes contained credible and reliable details. As the NBIs witness, Abratique was a person
have elicited from Abratique his participation in the crime and his motive for squealing on on whose statements Judge Reyes could rely. His detailed description of appellants activities with
appellant. Appellant further points out that the evidence of the NBI operative who applied for the respect to the seized drugs was substantial. In relying on witness Abratique, Judge Reyes was not
warrant is merely hearsay and should not have been given credit at all by Judge Reyes. depending on casual rumor circulating in the underworld, but on personal knowledge Abratique
possessed.
Again, the lack of factual basis for appellants contention is apparent. The OSG points out that
Abratique personally assisted appellant in loading and transporting the marijuana to the latters In Alvarez vs. Court of First Instance of Tayabas, 64 Phil. 33, 44 (1937), we held that:
house and to appellants rented room at No. 27 Dr. Cario St., Baguio City. Definitely, this indicates
personal knowledge on Abratiques part. Law enforcers cannot themselves be eyewitnesses to The true test of sufficiency of a deposition or affidavit to warrant issuance of a search warrant is
every crime; they are allowed to present witnesses before an examining judge. In this case, whether it has been drawn in such a manner that perjury could be charged thereon and affiant be
witness Abratique personally saw and handled the marijuana. Hence, the NBI did not rely on held liable for damages caused.[58]
hearsay information in applying for a search warrant but on personal knowledge of the witness,
Abratique.
Appellant argues that the address indicated in the search warrant did not clearly indicate the
Before a valid search warrant is issued, both the Constitution[45] and the 2000 Revised Rules place to be searched. The OSG points out that the address stated in the warrant is as specific as
of Criminal Procedure[46] require that the judge must personally examine the complainant and his can be. The NBI even submitted a detailed sketch of the premises prepared by Abratique, thus
witnesses under oath or affirmation. The personal examination must not be merely routinary ensuring that there would be no mistake.
or pro forma, but must be probing and exhaustive.[47] In the instant case, it is not disputed that
A description of the place to be searched is sufficient if the officer serving the warrant can,
Judge Antonio Reyes personally examined NBI Special Investigator III Darwin A. Lising, the
with reasonable effort, ascertain and identify the place intended [59] and distinguish it from other
applicant for the search warrant as well as his witness, Danilo G. Abratique. Notes of the
places in the community.[60] A designation or description that points out the place to be searched to
proceedings were taken by Atty. Delilah Muoz, Clerk of Court, RTC of Baguio City, Branch 61,
the exclusion of all others, and on inquiry unerringly leads the peace officers to it, satisfies the
whom Judge Reyes had ordered to be summoned. In the letter of transmittal of the Clerk of Court
constitutional requirement of definiteness.
of the RTC of Baguio City, Branch 61 to Branch 6 of said court, mention is made of notes at pages
7-11.[48] We have thoroughly perused the records of Search Warrant No. 415 (7-98) and nowhere Appellant finally harps on the use of unnecessary force during the execution of the search
find said notes. The depositions of Lising and Abratique were not attached to Search Warrant No. warrant. Appellant fails, however, to point to any evidentiary matter in the record to support his
415 (7-98) as required by the Rules of Court. We must stress, however, that the purpose of the contention. Defense witness Cipriana Tee, appellants mother, testified on the search conducted
Rules in requiring depositions to be taken is to satisfy the examining magistrate as to the but she said nothing that indicated the use of force on the part of the NBI operatives who
existence of probable cause.[49] The Bill of Rights does not make it an imperative necessity that conducted the search and seizure.[61] What the record discloses is that the warrant was served on
depositions be attached to the records of an application for a search warrant. Hence, said appellant,[62] who was given time to read it,[63] and the search was witnessed by the barangay
omission is not necessarily fatal, for as long as there is evidence on the record showing what officials, police operatives, members of the media, and appellants kith and kin. [64] No breakage or
testimony was presented.[50] In the testimony of witness Abratique, Judge Reyes required other damage to the place searched is shown. No injuries sustained by appellant, or any witness,
Abratique to confirm the contents of his affidavit;[51] there were instances when Judge Reyes appears on record. The execution of the warrant, in our view, has been orderly and peaceably
questioned him extensively.[52] It is presumed that a judicial function has been regularly performed.
performed,[53] absent a showing to the contrary. A magistrates determination of probable cause for
the issuance of a search warrant is paid great deference by a reviewing court,[54] as long as there
was substantial basis for that determination.[55] Substantial basis means that the questions of the
examining judge brought out such facts and circumstances as would lead a reasonably discreet 2. On The Alleged Violation of Appellants Substantive Rights
and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed, and the objects in connection
with the offense sought to be seized are in the place sought to be searched.
Appellant insists that the prosecutions unjustified and willful delay in presenting witness Abratique repeatedly failed to show up for the taking of his testimony, the prosecution went to the
Abratique unduly delayed the resolution of his case. He points out that a total of eight (8) extent of praying that the trial court order the arrest of Abratique to compel his attendance at trial.
scheduled hearings had to be reset due to the failure or willful refusal of Abratique to testify The prosecution likewise tried to get the NBI to produce Abratique as the latter was in the Bureaus
against him. Appellant insists that said lapse on the prosecutions part violated Supreme Court custody, but to no avail. Eventually, the trial court ordered the prosecution to waive its right to
Circular No. 38-98.[65]Appellant now alleges that the prosecution deliberately resorted to delaying present Abratique and rest its case on the evidence already offered.[80]
the case to cause him untold miseries.
Nor do we find a delay of twenty (20) hearing days to be an unreasonable length of time.
For the appellee, the OSG points out that the two-month delay in the trial is not such a great Delay of less than two months has been found, in fact, to be not an unreasonably lengthy period of
length of time as to amount to a violation of appellants right to a speedy trial. A trial is always time.[81]
subject to reasonable delays or postponements, but absent any showing that these delays are
capricious and oppressive, the State should not be deprived of a reasonable opportunity to Moreover, nothing on record shows that appellant Modesto Tee objected to the inability of the
prosecute the criminal action. prosecution to produce its witness. Under the Rules, appellant could have moved the trial court to
require that witness Abratique post bail to ensure that the latter would testify when
On record, the trial court found that prosecution witness Danilo G. Abratique failed to appear required.[82] Appellant could have moved to have Abratique found in contempt and duly
in no less than eighteen (18) hearings, namely those set for February 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, and 24; sanctioned. Appellant did neither. It is a bit too late in the day for appellant to invoke now his right
March 9, 15, 22, and 23; April 6, 7, 8, 16, and 19, all in 1999.[66] No less than four (4) warrants of to speedy trial.
arrest were issued against him to compel him to testify.[67] The NBI agent who supposedly had him
in custody was found guilty of contempt of court for failing to produce Abratique at said hearings No persuasive reason supports appellants claim that his constitutional right to speedy trial
and sanctioned.[68] The prosecution had to write the NBI Regional Director in Baguio City and NBI was violated. One must take into account that a trial is always subject to postponements and other
Director in Manila regarding the failure of the Bureaus agents to bring Abratique to causes of delay. But in the absence of a showing that delays were unreasonable and capricious,
court.[69] Nothing on record discloses the reason for Abratiques aforecited absences. On the the State should not be deprived of a reasonable opportunity of prosecuting an accused.[83]
scheduled hearing of June 7, 1999, he was again absent thus causing the trial court to again order Appellant next contends that the trial court gravely abused its discretion, and exhibited
his arrest for the fifth time.[70] He also failed to show up at the hearing of June 8, 1999.[71] partiality, when it allowed the reopening of the case after the prosecution had failed to present
Appellant now stresses that the failure of Abratique to appear and testify on twenty (20) Abratique on several occasions and had been directed to rest its case. Appellant stresses that the
hearing dates violated appellants constitutional[72] and statutory right to a speedy trial. lower courts order to reopen the case to receive Abratiques further testimony is an indication that
the trial court favored the prosecution and unduly prejudiced appellant.
A speedy trial means a trial conducted according to the law of criminal procedure and the
rules and regulations, free from vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays. [73] In Conde v. On appellees behalf, the Solicitor General points out that the trial courts order was in the
Rivera and Unson, 45 Phil. 650, 652 (1924), the Court held that where a prosecuting officer, interest of substantial justice and hence, cannot be termed as an abuse of discretion. The OSG
without good cause, secures postponements of the trial of a defendant against his protest beyond points out that the prosecution had not formally rested its case and had yet to present its formal
a reasonable period of time, as in this instance, for more than a year, the accused is entitled to offer of evidence, hence, the submission of additional testimony by the same witness cannot be
relief by a proceeding in mandamus to compel a dismissal of the information, or if he be restrained prejudicial to the accused, it being but the mere continuation of an uncompleted testimony.
of his liberty, by habeascorpus to obtain his freedom. Furthermore, appellant did not properly oppose the prosecutions motion to reopen the case.

The concept of speedy trial is necessarily relative. A determination as to whether the right At the time Criminal Cases Nos. 15800-R and 15822-R were being tried, the 1985 Rules of
has been violated involves the weighing of several factors such as the length of the delay, the Criminal Procedure were in effect. There was no specific provision at that time governing motions
reason for the delay, the conduct of the prosecution and the accused, and the efforts exerted by to reopen.[84] Nonetheless, long and established usage has led to the recognition and acceptance
the defendant to assert his right, as well as the prejudice and damage caused to the accused. [74] of a motion to reopen. In view of the absence of a specific procedural rule, the only controlling
guideline governing a motion to reopen was the paramount interests of justice. As a rule, the
The Speedy Trial Act of 1998, provides that the trial period for criminal cases in general shall matter of reopening of a case for reception of further evidence after either prosecution or defense
be one hundred eighty (180) days.[75] However, in determining the right of an accused to speedy has rested its case is within the discretion of the trial court. [85] However, a concession to a
trial, courts should do more than a mathematical computation of the number of postponements of reopening must not prejudice the accused or deny him the opportunity to introduce counter
the scheduled hearings of the case.[76] The right to a speedy trial is deemed violated only when: (1) evidence.[86]
the proceedings are attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays; [77] or (2) when
unjustified postponements are asked for and secured;[78] or (3) when without cause or justifiable Strictly speaking, however, there was no reopening of the cases in the proceedings below. A
motive a long period of time is allowed to elapse without the party having his case tried. [79] motion to reopen may properly be presented only after either or both parties have formally offered
and closed their evidence, but before judgment.[87] In the instant case, the records show that on
In the present case, although the absences of prosecution witness Abratique totaled twenty April 19, 1999, the prosecution was directed to close its evidence and given 15 days to make its
(20) hearing days, there is no showing whatsoever that prosecution capriciously caused formal offer of evidence.[88] This order apparently arose from the manifestation of the prosecution
Abratiques absences so as to vex or oppress appellant and deny him his rights. On record, after on April 16, 1999 that should they fail to produce witness Abratique on the next scheduled hearing
the prosecution would rest its case.[89] On April 19, 1999, which was the next scheduled hearing innocence and feeling guilty, with certain portions of his story tending to be self-
after April 16, 1999, Abratique was absent notwithstanding notices, orders, and warrants of arrest. exculpatory. However, his whole testimony could not be discredited. The established rule is that
However, on April 27, 1999, or before the prosecution had formally offered its evidence, Abratique testimony of a witness may be believed in part and disbelieved in other parts, depending on the
was brought to the trial court by the NBI. In its order of said date, the trial court pointed out that the corroborative evidence and the probabilities and improbabilities of the case. But it is accepted, as
prosecution could move to reopen the case for the taking of Abratiques testimony.[90] On May 7, a matter of common sense, that if certain parts of a witness testimony are found true, his
1999, the prosecution so moved, stressing that it had not yet formally offered its evidence and that testimony cannot be disregarded entirely.[94]
the substantial rights of the accused would not be prejudiced inasmuch as the latter had yet to
present his evidence. Appellant filed no opposition to the motion. The trial court granted the Abratique testified in open court that appellant rented the taxicab he was driving, and he
motion six days later. Plainly, there was nothing to reopen, as the prosecution had not formally helped appellant transport huge amounts of marijuana to appellants rented room at No. 27 Dr.
rested its case. Moreover, the taking of Abratiques testimony was not for the purpose Cario St., Baguio City and to appellants residence at Km. 6, Dontogan, Green Valley, Sto. Tomas,
of presenting additional evidence, but more properly for the completion of his unfinished Baguio City. He also declared on the witness stand that out of fear of being involved, he decided
testimony. In U.S. vs. Base,[91] we held that a trial court is not in error, if it opts to reopen the to divulge his knowledge of appellants possession of large caches of marijuana to the NBI. When
proceedings of a case, even after both sides had rested and the case submitted for decision, by the places referred to by Abratique were searched by the authorities, marijuana in staggering
the calling of additional witnesses or recalling of witnesses so as to satisfy the judges mind with quantities was found and seized by the law enforcers. Stated plainly, the physical evidence in this
reference to particular facts involved in the case. A judge cannot be faulted should he require a case corroborated Abratiques testimony on material points.
material witness to complete his testimony, which is what happened in this case. It is but proper Appellant imputes questionable motives to Abratique in an effort to discredit him. He
that the judges mind be satisfied on any and all questions presented during the trial, in order to demands that Abratique should likewise be prosecuted. However, by no means is the possible
serve the cause of justice. guilt of Abratique a tenable defense for appellant. Nor would Abratiques prosecution mean
Appellants claim that the trial courts concession to reopen the case unduly prejudiced him is appellants absolution.
not well taken. We note that appellant had every opportunity to present his evidence to support his In a prosecution for illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the following facts must be proven
case or to refute the prosecutions evidence point-by-point, after the prosecution had rested its with moral certainty: (1) that the accused is in possession of the object identified as prohibited or
case. In short, appellant was never deprived of his day in court. A day in court is the touchstone of regulated drug; (2) that such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) that the accused freely
the right to due process in criminal justice.[92] Thus, we are unable to hold that a grave abuse of and consciously possessed the said drug.[95]
discretion was committed by the trial court when it ordered the so-called reopening in order to
complete the testimony of a prosecution witness. We find the foregoing elements proven in Criminal Case No. 15800-R beyond reasonable
doubt.
In said case, the testimony of Abratique and the recovery of 591.81 kilograms of marijuana
3. On the Sufficiency of the Prosecutions Evidence from appellants residence served to prove appellants possession of a prohibited drug. Tests
conducted by the NBI forensic chemist proved the seized articles to be marijuana. These articles
were seized pursuant to a valid search warrant and hence, fully admissible in evidence.
In bidding for acquittal, appellant assails the credibility of Abratique as a witness. Appellant
insists that Abratiques testimony is profuse with lies, contrary to human nature, hence In People v. de los Reyes, 239 SCRA 439 (1994), we held that the Dangerous Drugs Act
incredible.According to appellant, Abratique was evasive from the outset with respect to certain applies generally to all persons and proscribes the sale of dangerous drugs by any person, and no
questions of the trial court. He adds that it appeared the court entertained in particular the person is authorized to sell such drugs. Said doctrine is equally applicable with respect to
suspicion that witness Abratique had conspired with appellant in committing the crime charged. possession of prohibited drugs. Republic Act No. 6425, which penalizes the possession of
Appellant questions Abratiques motive in informing the NBI about his activities related to the prohibited drugs, applies equally to all persons in this jurisdiction and no person is authorized to
marijuana taking, transfer, and warehousing. possess said articles, without authority of law.

The OSG contends that Abratiques testimony, taken as a whole, is credible. It points out that Anent the third element, we have held that to warrant conviction, possession of illegal drugs
Abratique testified in a straightforward manner as to his knowledge of the huge cache of prohibited must be with knowledge of the accused or that animus possidendi existed together with the
drugs stashed by appellant in two different places. His testimony, said the OSG, when fused with possession or control of said articles.[96] Nonetheless, this dictum must be read in consonance with
the physical evidence consisting of 591.81 kilograms of marijuana found by law enforcers at our ruling that possession of a prohibited drug per se constitutes prima facie evidence of
appellants residence, inexorably leads to the inculpation of appellant. knowledge or animus possidendi sufficient to convict an accused absent a satisfactory explanation
of such possession.[97] In effect, the onus probandi is shifted to accused to explain the absence of
It is the bounden duty of the courts to test the prosecution evidence rigorously, so that no knowledge or animus possidendi[98] in this situation.
innocent person is made to suffer the unusually severe penalties meted out for drug
offenses.[93] Though we scrutinized minutely the testimony of Abratique, we find no cogent reason Appellant Modesto Tee opted not to testify in his defense. Instead, he presented his mother
to disbelieve him. From his account, Abratique might appear aware treading the thin line between as his lone witness, who testified on matters totally irrelevant to his case. We can only conclude
that, failing to discharge the burden of the evidence on the possession of prohibited drug, WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City, Branch 6, in Criminal
appellants guilt in Criminal Case No. 15800-R was established beyond reasonable doubt. Case No. 15800-R, convicting appellant MODESTO TEE alias ESTOY TEE of violation of Section
8 of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that appellant is
hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The fine of ONE MILLION
(P1,000,000.00) PESOS imposed on him is sustained. Appellant is likewise directed to pay the
3. On The Proper Penalty costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.
Under Republic Act No. 6425 as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, the penalty of reclusion
perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) to ten Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza, Panganiban, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-
million pesos (P10,000,000.00)[99] shall be imposed if the quantity of marijuana involved in a Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr., and Azcuna,
conviction for possession of marijuana or Indian hemp shall be 750 grams or more.[100] JJ., concur.

In the present case, the quantity of marijuana involved has been shown by the prosecution to
be far in excess of 750 grams, as stressed by the trial court:

The volume is rather staggering. It is almost one whole house or one whole room. In fact, when
they were first brought to the court, it took hours to load them on the truck and hours also to
unload them prompting the court to direct that the boxes and sack of marijuana be instead kept at
the NBI office in Baguio. And the identification of said marijuana during the trial was made in the
NBI premises itself by the witnesses since it was physically cumbersome and inconvenient to keep
bringing them to the court during every trial.[101]

In sentencing appellant to death, the trial court noted not only the huge quantity of marijuana
bales involved, but also the acts of accused of hiding them in different placesand transferring them
from place to place and making them appear as boxes of cigarettes to avoid and evade
apprehension and detection. They showed his being a big supplier, said the trial court, [whose]
criminal perversity and craft that deserve the supreme penalty of death.[102]
We are unable to agree, however, with the penalty imposed by the trial court. The legislature
never intended that where the quantity involved exceeds those stated in Section 20 of Republic
Act No. 6425 the maximum penalty of death shall automatically be imposed. [103] The statute
prescribes two indivisible penalties: reclusion perpetua and death. Hence, the penalty to be
imposed must conform with Article 63[104] of the Revised Penal Code. As already held, the death
penalty law, Republic Act No. 7659 did not amend Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code.[105] The
rules in Article 63 apply although the prohibited drugs involved are in excess of the quantities
provided for in Section 20 of Republic Act No. 6425.[106] Thus, finding neither mitigating nor
aggravating circumstances in the present case, appellants possession of 591.81 kilograms of
marijuana in Criminal Case No. 15800-R, does not merit capital punishment but only the lesser
penalty of reclusion perpetua.
The trial court imposed a fine on appellant in the sum of One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00),
without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. The imposition of a fine is mandatory in
cases of conviction of possession of illegal drugs. This being within the limits allowed by the law,
the amount of the fine must be sustained. All these sanctions might not remedy all the havoc
wrought by prohibited drugs on the moral fiber of our society, especially the youth. [107] But these
penalties should warn peddlers of prohibited drugs that they cannot ply their trade in our streets
with impunity.
Republic of the Philippines (4) one (1) ALINCO ELH 230D Base;
SUPREME COURT
Manila (5) one (1) DC Regulator Supply 150 V. 13.8 V 12 AMP — 128 VAC;

FIRST DIVISION (6) one (1) brown Academy Notebook & Assorted papers; and

(7) Four (4) handsets battery pack (Rollo, p. 16).

G.R. No. 89103 July 14, 1995 On September 19, 1988, the MTCC, acting on petitioner's urgent motion for the return of the
seized articles, issued an order directing Sgt. Natuel to make a return of the search warrant. The
LEON TAMBASEN, petitioner, following day, Sgt. Natuel submitted a report to the court. Not considering the report as a "return in
vs. contemplation of law," petitioner filed another motion praying that Sgt. Natuel be required to
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, 2ND ASSISTANT PROVINCIAL PROSECUTOR GLORIA submit a complete and verified inventory of the seized articles. Thereafter, Sgt. Natuel manifested
LASTIMOSA MARCOS and HON. CICERO U. QUERUBIN in his capacity as Presiding Judge that although he was the applicant for the issuance of the search warrant, he was not present
of the Regional Trial Court of Negros Occidental, Branch 44, Bacolod City, respondents. when it was served.

On October 7, 1988, petitioner filed before the MTCC a motion praying that the search and seizure
be declared illegal and that the seized articles be returned to him. In his answer to the motion, Lt.
QUIASON, J.: Col. Nicolas Torres, the station commander of the Bacolod City Police, said that the amount of
P14,000.00 had been earmarked for the payment of the allowance of the Armed City Partisan
(ACP) and other "known NPA personalities" operating in the City of Bacolod.
This is a petition for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court to set
aside the Order dated July 20, 1989 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 44, Bacolod City in
Civil Case No. 5331, which nullified the order earlier issued by the Municipal Trial Circuit Court On December 23, 1988, the MTCC issued an order directing Lt. Col. Torres to return the money
(MTCC) of the City of Bacolod. The MTCC Order directed the return to petitioner of the amount of seized to petitioner. The court opined that in the implementation of the search warrant, any seizure
P14,000.00 which had been seized by the police. should be limited to the specific items covered thereby. It said that the money could not be
considered as "subversive documents"; it was neither stolen nor the effects of gambling.
I
Three months later, the Solicitor General filed before the RTC, Branch 44, Bacolod City a petition
for certiorariseeking the annulment of the order of the MTCC (Civil Case No. 5331). The petition
On August 31, 1988, P/Sgt. Flumar Natuel applied for the issuance of a search warrant from the alleged that assuming that the seizure of the money had been invalid, petitioner was not entitled to
MTCC, alleging that he received information that petitioner had in his possession at his house at its return citing the rulings in Alih v. Castro, 151 SCRA 279 (1987) and Roan v. Gonzales, 145
the North Capitol Road, Bacolod City, "M-16 Armalite Rifles (Mags & Ammos), Hand Grenades, SCRA 687 (1986). In those cases, the Court held that pending the determination of the legality of
.45 Cal. Pistols (Mags & Ammos), Dynamite Sticks and Subversive Documents," which articles
the seizure of the articles, they should remain in custodia legis. The petition also averred that a
were "used or intended to be used" for illegal purposes (Rollo, p. 14). On the same day, the
criminal complaint for "any of the crimes against public order as provided under Chapter I, Title III
application was granted by the MTCC with the issuance of Search Warrant No. 365, which allowed
of the Revised Penal Code" had been filed with the City Fiscal (BC I.S. No. 88-1239) and
the seizure of the items specified in the application (Rollo, p. 15).
therefore, should the money be found as having been earmarked for subversive activities, it
should be confiscated pursuant to Article 45 of the Revised Penal Code.
At around 6:30 P.M. of September 9, 1988, a police team searched the house of petitioner and
seized the following articles:
On July 20, 1989, RTC, Branch 44 issued an order granting the petition for certiorari and directing
the clerk of court to return to the MTCC the money pending the resolution of the preliminary
(1) Two (2) envelopes containing cash in the total amount of P14,000.00 (one investigation being conducted by the city prosecutor on the criminal complaint. In said order, the
envelope P10,000.00 and another P4,000.00); RTC held:

(2) one (1) AR 280 handset w/antenae (sic) SN-00485; The Court observed that private respondent Leon Tambasen never questioned
the validity of the search warrant issued by respondent Judge Demosthenes L.
(3) one (1) YAESU FM Transceiver FT 23R w/Antenae (sic); Magallanes. A perusal of private respondent's "Motion to Declare Search and
Seizure Illegal and to Return Seized Properties" dated October 7, 1988 shows filed a complaint for subversion against petitioner with the Office of the City Prosecutor. The
that respondent Tambasen questions not the validity of the search warrant following day, the City Prosecutor filed an information for violation of the Anti-Subversion Law
issued by respondent Judge Demosthenes Magallanes, but rather, the execution against petitioner with RTC, Branch 42, Bacolod City (Criminal Case No. 8517). An order for the
or implementation of the said warrant principally on the ground that the articles arrest of petitioner was issued on March 2, 1990.
seized are not allegedly mentioned in the search warrant. However, the question
thus raised involves matters determinative of the admissibility in evidence and On March 6, 1990, petitioner filed a motion to quash the information in Criminal Case No. 8517.
the legality of the articles seized. These matters, it is submitted, go beyond the
immediate and limited jurisdiction of the respondent Judge to inquire into the
validity of the search warrant he issued. These issues which relate exclusively or On March 15, 1990, RTC, Branch 42 granted petitioner's motion to quash and recalled the warrant
of arrest. The court also directed the City Prosecutor to resolve BC-I.S. Case No. 88-1239.
principally with the intrinsic and substantive merits of the case or cases which are
being prepared against respondent Tambasen, and insofar as Tambasen is
concerned involve matters of defense which should be properly raised at the On March 20, 1990, Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Gloria Lastimosa Marcos manifested before
criminal action or actions that may be filed against respondent Leon Tambasen RTC, Branch 42 that petitioner had been "dropped" from BC-I.S. No. 88-1239. However, the City
(see DOH v. Sy Chi Siong Co., Inc. et. al., G.R. No. 85289, Feb. 20, 1989). They Prosecutor had, by then, filed a motion for the reconsideration of said Resolution of March 15,
cannot be addressed to the respondent Judge because the respondent Judge 1990. The motion was denied.
has no jurisdiction over the said issue. It is clear therefore that respondent Judge
has transcended the boundaries of his limited jurisdiction and had in effect Under this factual matrix, this Court is confronted with the question of whether RTC, Branch 44
encroached upon the jurisdiction of the appropriate trial court or courts that will gravely abused its discretion in directing that the money seized from petitioner's house, specifically
try the criminal case or cases against respondent Leon Tambasen, in issuing the the amount of P14,000.00, be retained and kept in custodia legis.
assailed order dated December 23, 1988. Ostensibly, the assailed order, if not
corrected, will unduly deprive the prosecution of its right to present the evidence On its face, the search warrant violates Section 3, Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Court, which
in question and, consequently, will improperly oust the trial court, which will try prohibits the issuance of a search warrant for more than one specific offense. The caption of
the criminal case or cases against private respondent Leon Tambasen of its Search Warrant No. 365 reflects the violation of two special laws: P.D. No. 1866 for illegal
original and exclusive jurisdiction to rule on the admissibility and legality of the possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives; and R.A. No. 1700, the Anti-Subversion Law.
said evidence. This order of respondent court is tantamount to a denial of due Search Warrant No. 365 was therefore a "scatter-shot warrant" and totally null and void (People v.
process. It may be considered as a grave abuse of discretion reviewable Court of Appeals, 216 SCRA 101 [1992]).
by certiorari (Esparagoza v. Tan, 94 Phil. 749) (Rollo, pp.
47-48).
Moreover, by their seizure of articles not described in the search warrant, the police acted beyond
the parameters of their authority under the search warrant. Section 2, Article III of the 1987
Consequently, petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari and prohibition praying for the Constitution requires that a search warrant should particularly describe the things to be seized.
issuance of a temporary restraining order commanding the city prosecutor to cease and desist "The evident purpose and intent of the requirement is to limit the things to be seized to those, and
from continuing with the preliminary investigation in BC I.S. No. 88-1239 and the RTC from taking only those, particularly described in the search warrant — to leave the officers of the law with no
any step with respect to Civil Case No. 5331. He also prayed that Search Warrant No. 365 and the discretion regarding what articles they should seize, to the end that unreasonable searches and
seizure of his personal effects be declared illegal and that the Order of July 20, 1989 be reversed seizures may not be made and that abuses may not be committed" (Corro v. Lising, 137 SCRA
and annulled. 541, 547 [1985]); Bache & Co. [Phil.] Inc. v. Ruiz, 37 SCRA 823 [1971]; Uy Kheytin v. Villareal, 42
Phil. 886 [1920]). The same constitutional provision is also aimed at preventing violations of
Petitioner contended that the search warrant covered three offenses: "(1) illegal possession of security in person and property and unlawful invasions of the sanctity of the home, and giving
armalite rifle and .45 cal. pistol; (2) illegal possession of hand grenade and dynamite sticks; and remedy against such usurpations when attempted (People v. Damaso, 212 SCRA 547 [1992]
(3) illegal possession of subversive documents" (Rollo, pp. 3-4) in violation of Section 3 of Rule citing Alvero v. Dizon, 76 Phil. 637, 646 [1946]).
126 of the Revised Rules of Court. He assailed the legality of the seizure of the articles which
were not mentioned in the search warrant. Moreover, since a complaint against him was filed only Clearly then, the money which was not indicated in the search warrant, had been illegally seized
after his house had been searched, petitioner claimed that the police were "on a fishing from petitioner. The fact that the members of the police team were doing their task of pursuing
expedition." subversives is not a valid excuse for the illegal seizure. The presumption juris tantum of regularity
in the performance of official duty cannot by itself prevail against the constitutionally protected
During the pendency of the instant petition, a series of events related to the questioned search rights of an individual (People v. Cruz, 231 SCRA 759 [1994]; People v. Veloso, 48 Phil. 169, 176
and seizure transpired. At around 10:30 P.M. of March 1, 1990, petitioner, who was then on board [1925]). Although public welfare is the foundation of the power to search and seize, such power
a passenger vehicle, was arrested by intelligence operatives in Barangay Mandalagan, Bacolod must be exercised and the law enforced without transgressing the constitutional rights of the
City and forthwith detained. On the strength of sworn statements of two rebel returnees, the police citizens (People v. Damaso, supra, citing Rodriguez v. Evangelista, 65 Phil. 230, 235 [1937]). As
the Court aptly puts it in Bagalihog v. Fernandez, 198 SCRA 614 (1991), "[z]eal in the pursuit of
criminals cannot ennoble the use of arbitrary methods that the Constitution itself abhors."

For the retention of the money seized by the police officers, approval of the court which issued the
search warrant is necessary (People v. Gesmundo, 219 SCRA 743 [1993]). In like manner, only
the court which issued the search warrant may order their release (Temple v. Dela Cruz, 60 SCRA
295 [1974]; Pagkalinawan v. Gomez, 21 SCRA 1275 [1967]).

Section 3(2) of Article III of the 1987 Constitution provides that evidence obtained in violation of
the right against unreasonable searches and seizures shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any
proceeding.

The information in Criminal Case No. 8517, with petitioner as the sole accused, was ordered
quashed by the trial court and the prosecution's motion for the reconsideration of the quashal
order had been denied. Even in BC I.S. Case No. 88-1239, which was being investigated by
Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Marcos, petitioner was dropped as a respondent. Hence, there
appears to be no criminal prosecution which can justify the retention of the seized articles
in custodia legis.

A subsequent legal development added another reason for the return to him of all the seized
articles: R.A. No. 1700, the Anti-Subversion Law, was repealed by R.A. No. 7636 and, therefore,
the crimes defined in the repealed law no longer exist.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the People of the Philippines is ORDERED to
RETURN the money seized to petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

Padilla, Davide, Jr., Bellosillo, and Kapunan, JJ., concur.


Republic of the Philippines was consumed in conversation between the policemen and the accused the policemen insisting
SUPREME COURT on searching Veloso, and Veloso insisting in his refusal to submit to the search.
Manila
At last the patience of the officers was exhausted. So policeman Rosacker took hold of Veloso
EN BANC only to meet with his resistance. Veloso bit Rosacker in the right forearm, and gave him a blow in
another part of the body, which injured the policeman quite severely. Through the combined
G.R. No. L-23051 October 20, 1925 efforts of Townsend and Rosacker, Veloso was finally laid down on the floor, and long sheets of
paper, of reglas de monte, cards, cardboards, and chips were taken from his pockets.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellant,
vs. All of the persons arrested were searched and then conducted to the patrol wagons. Veloso again
JOSE MA. VELOSO, defendant-appellant. refused to obey and shouted offensive epithets against the police department. It was necessary
for the policemen to conduct him downstairs. At the door, Veloso resisted so tenaciously that three
policemen were needed to place him in the patrol wagon. 1awph!l.net
Claro M. Recto for appellant.
Attorney-General Villa-Real for appellee.
In the municipal court of the City of Manila, the persons arrest in the raid were accused of
gambling. All of them were eventually acquitted in the Court of First Instance for lack of proof, with
MALCOLM, J.:
the sole exception of Veloso, who was found guilty of maintaining a gambling house. This case
reached the appellate court where the accused was finally sentenced to pay a fine of P500. (No.
This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Manila finding the accused, 22163. 1 )
Jose Ma. Veloso, guilty of the crime of resistance of the agents of the authority, in violation of
article 252 of the Penal Code, and sentencing him to four months and one day
The foregoing are the principal facts taken mainly from the findings of the trial judge, the
imprisonment, arresto mayor, with the accessory penalties, to pay a fine of P200, with the
Honorable Vicente Nepomuceno. Counsel for the appellant makes no effort to impugn these
corresponding subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs. The errors findings, except that he stresses certain points as more favorable to the case of his client. The
assigned by counsel for the accused as appellant, go to the proposition that the resistance of the defense, as previously indicated, is planted squarely on the contention that since the name of
police was justifiable on account of the illegality of the John Doe search warrant.
Veloso did not appear in the search warrant, but instead the pseudonym John Doe was used,
Veloso had a legal right to resist the police by force. The nature of this defense makes it advisable
In May, 1923, the building located at No. 124 Calle Arzobispo, City of Manila, was used by an to set forth further facts, relating particularly to the search warrant, before passing to the law.
organization known as the Parliamentary Club. Jose Ma. Veloso was at that time a member of the
House of Representative of the Philippine Legislature. He was also the manager of the club.
There are found in the record the application for search warrant, the affidavit for search warrant,
and the search warrant. The application reads:
The police of Manila had reliable information that the so-called Parliamentary Club was nothing
more than a gambling house. Indeed, on May 19, 1923, J. F. Townsend, the chief of the gambling
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
squad, had been to the club and verified this fact. As a result, on May 25, 1923, Detective Andres PHILIPPINE ISLANDS
Geronimo of the secret service of the City of Manila, applied for, and obtained a search warrant
from Judge Garduño of the municipal court. Thus provided, the police attempted to raid the
Parliamentary Club a little after three in the afternoon of the date above- mentioned. They found IN THE MUNICIPAL COURT OF THE CITY OF MANILA
the doors to the premises closed and barred. Accordingly, one band of police including policeman
Rosacker, ascended a telephone pole, so as to enter a window of the house. Other policemen, THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff, vs. JOHN DOE, Defendant.
headed by Townsend, broke in the outer door.
APPLICATION FOR (G)
Once inside the Parliamentary Club, nearly fifty persons were apprehended by the police. One of SEARCH WARRANT
them was the defendant Veloso. Veloso asked Townsend what he wanted, and the latter showed
him the search warrant. Veloso read it and told Townsend that he was Representative Veloso and Testimony taken before Hon. L. Garduño, Judge, Municipal Court, Manila.
not John Doe, and that the police had no right to search the house. Townsend answered that
Veloso was considered as John Doe. As Veloso's pocket was bulging, as if it contained gambling
Andres Geronimo, being duly sworn, testifies as follows:
utensils, Townsend required Veloso to show him the evidence of the game. About five minutes
Q. What is your name, residence and occupation? — A. Andres Geronimo, No. SEARCH WARRANT (G)
47 Revellin, detective.
The People of the Philippine Islands, to any member of the
Q. Are you the applicant of this search warrant? — A. Yes, sir.
Police Force of the City of Manila.
Q. Do you know the premises situated at No. 124 Calle Arzobispo, District of W.
C., City of Manila? — A. Yes. sir. GREETING:

Q. Do you know who occupies said premises? — A. I do not know. According to Proof by affidavit having this day been made before me by Andres Geronimo that he has
the best of my information the house is occupied by John Doe. good reason to believe and does believe that John Doe has illegally in his possession in
the building occupied by him and which is under his control, namely in the building
Q . What are your reasons for applying for this search warrant? — A. It has been numbered 124 Calle Arzobispo, City of Manila, Philippines Islands, certain devices and
reported to me by a person whom I consider to be reliable that in said premises effects used in violation of the Gambling Law, to wit: money, cards, chips, reglas, pintas,
there are instruments and devices used in gambling games, such as cards, dice, tables and chairs and other utensils used in connection with the game commonly known
chips, lottery tickets, lists of drawing and lists used in prohibited games kept. It as monte and that the said John Doe keeps and conceals said devices and effects with
has been reported to me by a person whom I consider to be reliable that there the illegal and criminal intention of using them in violation of the Gambling Law.
are or there will be gambling conducted in said premises. The aforesaid premises
are known as gambling house. I have watched the foregoing premises and Now therefore, you are hereby commanded that at any time in the day or night within ten
believed it to be a gambling house and a place where instruments and devices (10) days on or after this date to make a search on the person of said John Doe and in
used in gambling games, such as cards, dice, chips, lottery tickets, lists of the house situated at No. 124 Calle Arzobispo, City of Manila, Philippine Islands, in quest
drawing and lists used in prohibited games are kept. of the above described devices and effects and if you find the same or any part thereof,
you are commanded to bring it forthwith before me as provided for by law.
I, Andres Geronimo, being duly sworn, depose and say that I have read the foregoing
questions and answers and that I find the same to correct and true to the best of my Given under my hand, this 25th day of May, 1923.
knowledge and belief.
(Sgd.) L. GARDUÑO
(Sgd.) ANDRES GERONIMO Judge, Municipal Court

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 25th day of May, 1923. Coming now to the legal aspects of the case it is first worthy of mention that by reason of the
Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the eleventh and eighteenth paragraphs
(Sgd.) L. GARDUÑO Judge, Municipal Court of the Philippine Bill of Rights, as found in the present Organic Act, the security of the dwelling and
the person is guaranteed. The organic act provides "that the right to be secured against
The affidavit and the search warrant are so nearly alike that it will suffice to copy the search unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated." It further provides "that no warrant
warrant alone. This document reads: shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation and particularly describing
the place to be searched and the person or things to be seized."
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
PHILIPPINE ISLANDS In the Philippine Code of Criminal Procedure are found provisions of the same import although
naturally entering more into detail. It is therein provided, among other things, that "a search
warrant shall not issue except for probable cause and upon application supported by oath
IN THE MUNICIPAL COURT OF THE CITY OF MANILA
particularly describing the place to be searched and the person of thing to be seized." (Section
97.) After the judge or justice shall have examined on oath the complainant and any witnesses he
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, Plaintiff, may produce, and shall have taken their depositions in writing (section 98), and after the judge or
justice is satisfied of the existence of facts upon which the application is based, or that there is
vs. probable cause to believe that they exist, he must issue the warrant which must be substantially in
the following form:
JOHN DOE, Defendant.
. . . You are, therefore, commanded, . . . to make immediate search on the person of unknown, by the name of "John Doe" or "Richard Roe," "whose other or true name in
............................, or in the house situated ...................................... (describing it or any unknown," is void, without other and further descriptions of the person to be
other place to be searched with reasonable particularity, as the case may be) for the apprehended, and such warrant will not justify the officer in acting under it. Such a
following property: . . . ." (Section 99.) It is finally provided that "a person charged with a warrant must, in addition, contain the best descriptio personae possible to be obtained of
crime may be searched for dangerous weapons or anything which may be used as proof the person or persons to be apprehended, and this description must be sufficient to
of the commission of the crime. (Section 105). indicate clearly the proper person or persons upon whom the warrant is to be served; and
should state his personal appearance and peculiarities, give his occupation and place of
A search warrant must conform strictly to the requirements of the constitutional and statutory residence, and any other circumstances by means of which he can be identified.
provisions under which it is issued. Otherwise it has rightly been held, must be absolutely legal,
"for there is not a description of process known to the law, the execution of which is more Person apprehended in act of committing a crime, under a "John Doe" warrant, on the
distressing to the citizen. Perhaps there is none which excites such intense feeling in other hand, the apprehension will not be illegal, or the officer liable, because under such
consequence of its humiliating and degrading effect." The warrant will always be construed strictly circumstances it is not necessary that a warrant should have been issued.
without, however, going the full length of requiring technical accuracy. No presumptions of
regularity are to be invoked in aid of the process when an officer undertakes to justify under it. (24 The authority most often cited to sustain the text, and quoted with approval by the United States
R. C. L., pp. 711, et seq.; Reed vs. Rice [1829], 2 J. J. Marshall [Ky.] 44; 19 Am. Dec., 122; Smith Supreme Court, is the case of Commonwealth vs. Crotty ([1865], 10 Allen [Mass.], 403). It there
vs. McDuffee [1914], 72 Ore., 276; Ann. Cas. 1916 D, 947.) appeared that one Peaslee had made a complaint to the police court Lee, charging that "John Doe
or Richard Roe, whose other or true name is to your complainant unknown," had committed an
The search warrant has been likened to a warrant of arrest. Although apprehending that there are assault and battery upon him; upon which complaint a warrant was issued against "John Doe or
material differences between the two, in view of the paucity of authority pertaining to John Doe Richard Roe, whose other or true name is to your complainant unknown, named in the foregoing
search warrants we propose to take into consideration the authorities relied upon by the appellant, complaint." Neither the complaint nor the warrant contained any further description or means of
thus following the precedent of Uy Kheytin vs. Villareal ([1920], 42 Phil., 886), where the regularity identification of the person to be arrested. Crotty resisted the arrest upon the ground that the
of the issuance of the search warrant was also questioned. warrant was invalid. Mr. Chief Justice Bigelow, as the organ of the Supreme Court of
Massachusetts, said:
In the lower court, and again in this court, the attorneys for the defense quoted from Wharton's
Criminal Procedure. In that text at pages 51, 52, 54, 55, and 56 of volume 1 of the Tenth Edition, We cannot entertain a doubt that the warrant on which the officer attempted to arrest one
is found the following: of the defendant at the time of the alleged riot was insufficient, illegal and void. It did not
contain the name of the defendant, nor any description or designation by which he could
Form and Sufficiency of Warrant. Technical accuracy is not required. . . . be known and identified as the person against whom it was issued. It was in effect a
general warrant, upon which any other individual might as well have been arrested, as
being included in the description, as the defendant himself. Such a warrant was contrary
xxx xxx xxx
to elementary principles, and in direct violation of the constitutional right of the citizen, as
set forth in the Declaration of Rights, article 14, which declares that every subject has a
Name and description of the accused should be inserted in the body of the warrant and right to be secure from all unreasonable searches and seizures of his person, and that all
where the name is unknown there must be such a description of the person accused as warrants, therefore, are contrary to this right, if the order in the warrant to a civil officer to
will enable the officer to identify him when found. arrest one or more suspected persons or to seize their property be not accompanied with
a special designation of the persons or objects of search, arrest or seizure. This is in fact
xxx xxx xxx only a declaration of an ancient common law right. It was always necessary to express
the name or give some description of a party to be arrested on a warrant; and if one was
Warrant for apprehension of unnamed party, or containing a wrong name for the party to granted with the name in blank, and without other designation of the person to be
be apprehended is void, except in those cases where it contains a descriptio personae arrested, it was void. (1 Hale P. C. 577. 2 Ib. 119. Foster, 312. 7 Dane Ab. 248. 1 Chit.
such as will enable the officer to identify the accused. Crim. Law, 39. Mead vs. Haws, 7 Cow., 332, and cases cited.)

xxx xxx xxx This rule or principle does not prevent the issue and service of a warrant against a party
whose name is unknown. In such case the best description possible of the person to be
arrested is to be given in the warrant; but it must be sufficient to indicate clearly on whom
John Doe' Warrants. It follows, on principle, from what has already been said regarding it is to be served, by stating his occupation, his personal appearance and peculiarities, the
the essential requirements of warrants for the apprehension of persons accused, and place of his residence, or other circumstances by which he can be identified. (1 Chit.
about blank warrants, that a warrant for the apprehension of a person whose true name is Crim. Law, 39, 40.)
The warrant being defective and void on its face, the officer had no right to arrest the clearly the proper person upon whom the warrant is to be served. As the search warrant stated
person on whom he attempted to serve it. He acted without warrant and was a that John Doe had gambling apparatus in his possession in the building occupied by him at No.
trespasser. The defendant whom he sought to arrest had a right to resist by force, using 124 Calle Arzobispo, City of Manila, and as this John Doe was Jose Ma. Veloso, the manager of
no more than was necessary to resist the unlawful acts of the officer . . . the club, the police could identify John Doe as Jose Ma. Veloso without difficulty.

The defendants, therefore, in resisting the officer in making an arrest under the warrant in Again, it must be remembered that No. 124 Calle Arzobispo was supposed to be used for club
question, if they were guilty of no improper or excessive force or violence, did not do an purposes. It was not the home of Veloso; not the place of abode of the family, which the law
unlawful act by lawful means, or a lawful act by unlawful means, and so could not be carefully protects in all of its sanctity. It was a club partially public in nature. It was, moreover, a
convicted of the misdemeanor of a riot, with which they are charged in the indictment. camouflaged club with a high sounding name calculated to mislead the police, but intended for
nefarious practices. In a club of such a character, unlike in the home, there would commonly be
Appellant's argument, as based on these authorities, runs something like this. The law, varying occupancy, a number of John Does and Richard Roes whose names would be unknown
constitutional and statutory, requires that the search warrant shall not issue unless the application to the police.
"particularly" describe the person to be seized. A failure thus to name the person is fatal to the
validity of the search warrant. To justify search and arrest, the process must be legal. Illegal official It is also borne out by the authorities that, in defense of himself, any member of his family or his
action may be forcibly resisted. dwelling, a man has a right to employ all necessary violence. But even in the home, and much
less so in a club or public place, the person sought to be arrested or to be searched should use no
For the prosecution, however, as the arguments are advanced by the Attorney-General, and as more force than is necessary to repel the unlawful act of the officers. To authorize resistance to
the law was summarized by the trial judge, there is much to be said. Careful and logical reflection the agents of the authority, the illegality of the invasion must be clearly manifest. Here, there was
brings forth certain points of paramount force and exercising a decisive influence. We will now possibly a proper case for protest. There was no case for excessive violence to enforce the
make mention of them by correlating the facts and the law. defendant's idea of a debatable legal question. (Commonwealth vs. Crotty, supra; People vs.
Chan Fook [1921], 42 Phil., 230; 3 Groizard, Codigo Penal, pp. 456, 457.)
In the first place, the affidavit for the search warrant and the search warrant itself described the
building to be searched as "the building No. 124 Calle Arzobispo, City of Manila, Philippine The trial judge deduced from the searched warrant that the accused Veloso was sufficiently
Islands." This, without doubt, was a sufficient designation of the premises to be searched. It is the identified therein. Mention was made by his Honor of the code provision relating to a complaint or
prevailing rule that a description of a place to be searched is sufficient if the officer with the information, permitting a fictitious name to be inserted in the complaint or information, in lieu of the
warrant can, with reasonable effort, ascertain and identify the place intended. (Steele vs. U. S. true name. The Attorney-General adds to this the argument that the police were authorized to
[1925], U. S. Supreme Court Advance Opinions 1924-1925; 69 Law. ed., 757). The police officers arrest without a warrant since a crime was being committed. We find it unnecessary to comment
were accordingly authorized to break down the door and enter the premises of the building on this contention.
occupied by the so-called Parliamentary Club. When inside, they then had the right to arrest the
persons presumably engaged in a prohibited game, and to confiscate the evidence of the John Doe search warrants should be the exception and not the rule. The police should particularly
commission of the crime. It has been held that an officer making an arrest may take from the describe the place to be searched and the person or things to be seized, wherever and whenever
person arrested any money or property found upon his person, which was used in the commission it is feasible. The police should not be hindered in the performance of their duties, which are
of the crime or was the fruit of the crime, or which may furnish the person arrested with the means difficult enough of performance under the best of conditions, by superficial adherence to
of committing violence or of escaping, or which may be used as evidence on the trial of the cause, technicality or far fetched judicial interference.
but not otherwise. (Moreno vs. Ago Chi [1909], 12 Phil., 439.)
We agree with the trial judge and with the Attorney-General in their conclusions to the effect that
Proceeding along a different line of approach, it is undeniable that the application for the search the search warrant was valid, and that the defendant has been proved guilty beyond a reasonable
warrant, the affidavit, and the search warrant failed to name Jose Ma. Veloso as the person to be doubt, of the crime of resistance of the agents of the authority.
seized. But the affidavit and the search warrant did state that "John Doe has illegally in his
possession in the building occupied by him, and which is under his control, namely, in the building The information alleges that at the time of the commission of the crime, the accused was a
numbered 124 Calle Arzobispo, City of Manila, Philippine Islands, certain devices and effects used member of the House of Representatives. The trial court was led to consider this allegation in
in violation of the Gambling Law." Now, in this connection, it must not be forgotten that the Organic relation with the facts as an aggravating circumstance, and to sentence the accused accordingly.
Act requires a particular description of the place to be searched, and the person or things to be We doubt, however, that advantage was taken by the offender of his public position when he
seized, and that the warrant in this case sufficiently described the place and the gambling resisted the officers of the law. The offender did not necessarily make use of the prestige of his
apparatus, and, in addition, contained a description of the person to be seized. Under the office as a means to commit a crime. Undoubtedly, Jose Ma. Veloso, as Juan de la Cruz, would
authorities cited by the appellant, it is invariably recognized that the warrant for the apprehension have resisted the police just as stoutly, as the Honorable Jose Ma. Veloso did. The penalty,
of an unnamed party is void, "except in those cases where it contains a description personae such accordingly, falls within the medium of that provided by the Penal Code.
as will enable the officer to identify the accused." The description must be sufficient to indicate
Finding present no reversible error, agreeing in all respects with the findings of facts as made by
the trial judge, and concurring with the trial judge in his legal conclusion, with one exception, it
results that the judgment appealed from must be, as it is hereby, affirmed, with the sole
modification that the defendant and appellant shall be sentenced to two months and one day
imprisonment, arresto mayor, with the costs of this instance against him. Let the corresponding
order to carry this judgment into effect issue.

Avanceña, C.J., Street, Villamor, Ostrand, Johns, and Romualdez, JJ., concur.
Villa-Real, JJ., took no part.
SECOND DIVISION 22 detonating cords with blasting caps

and pound of high explosives TNT

[G.R. No. 126859. September 4, 2001] 1 timer alarm clock

2 bags of suspected gun powder

YOUSEF AL-GHOUL, ISAM MOHAMMAD ABDULHADI, WAIL RASHID AL-KHATIB, NABEEL


2 small plastic bag of suspected explosive substance
NASSER AL-RIYAMI, ASHRAF HASSAM AL-YAZORI, AND MOHAMMAD
ABUSHENDI, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS AND THE PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, respondents. 1 small box of plastic bag of suspected dynamites

DECISION One weighing scale

QUISUMBING, J.: Two (2) batteries 9 volts with blasting caps and detonating cord.[5]

Petitioners assail the decision[1] dated September 30, 1996, of the Court of Appeals, which The firearms, ammunitions, explosives and other incendiary devices seized at the apartments
affirmed the orders of the Regional Trial Court of Kalookan City, Branch 123, thereby dismissing were acknowledged in the receipt signed by SPO2 Melanio de la Cruz.
petitioners special civil action for certiorari.[2]
Petitioners were charged before the Regional Trial Court of Kalookan City, Branch 123, in
The facts leading to the present petition under Rule 65 are as follows: informations docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. C-48666-67, accusing them with illegal possession
On March 31, 1995, Judge Geronimo S. Mangay, presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court, of firearms, ammunitions and explosives, pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1866.[6] Thereafter,
National Capital Judicial Region, Branch 125, Kalookan City, issued search warrants 54-95[3] and petitioners were arrested and detained.
55-95[4] for the search and seizure of certain items in Apartment No. 2 at 154 Obiniana Compound, Petitioners filed a motion for bail on May 24, 1995, the resolution of which was held in
Deparo Road, Kalookan City. abeyance by the RTC pending the presentation of evidence from the prosecution to determine
On April 1, 1995, the police searched Apartment No. 8, in the same compound and found whether or not the evidence presented is strong.[7]
one (1) .45 caliber pistol. Found in Apartment No. 2 were: On February 7, 1996, at the hearing for bail, the RTC admitted all exhibits being offered for
whatever purpose that they maybe worth after the prosecution had finished adducing its evidence
2 M-16 rifles with 2 magazines and 20 live M-16 ammunitions despite the objection by the petitioners on the admissibility of said evidence.
On February 19, 1996, the RTC denied petitioners motion for bail earlier filed, giving as
1 Bar of demolition charge
reasons the following:

1 Caliber Pistol with no. 634 and other nos. were placed with magazine of Caliber .45 and 3 live
To begin with, the accused are being charged of two criminal offenses and both offenses under
45 ammunitions
Presidential Decree 1866, Sections 1 and 3 thereof prescribe the penalty of Reclusion Temporal in
its maximum period to Reclusion Perpetua. Under Rule 114 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure as
1 22 Caliber handgun with 5 live ammunitions in its cylinder amended by Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 12-94, particularly Section 7 thereof, no
person charged with a capital offense or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life
1 Box containing 40 pieces of .25 caliber ammunitions imprisonment, when evidence of guilt is strong shall be admitted to bail regardless of the stage of
the criminal prosecution.[8]
2 pieces of fragmentation grenade
As petitioners action before respondent appellate court also proved futile, petitioners filed the
1 roll of detonating cord color yellow instant petition on the ground that it had acted with grave abuse of discretion tantamount to lack or
in excess of jurisdiction. They present for our consideration the following issues:
2 big bags of ammonium nitrate suspected to be explosives substance
I. WHETHER OR NOT THE EVIDENCE OFFERED BY THE PROSECUTION ARE doing so, care must be taken that constitutional and legal safeguards are not
ADMISSIBLE; disregarded. Exclusion of unlawfully seized evidence is the only practical means of enforcing the
constitutional injunction against unreasonable searches and seizures.Hence, we are constrained
II. WHETHER OR NOT ACCUSED HAVE THE RIGHT TO BAIL.[9] to declare that the search made at Apartment No. 8 is illegal and the .45 caliber pistol taken
The issue on bail has been resolved in our resolution dated November 24, 1998, where this thereat is inadmissible in evidence against petitioners.
Court ruled: Now, in contrast, the search conducted at Apartment No. 2 could not be similarly faulted. The
search warrants in question specifically mentioned Apartment No. 2. The search was done in the
Consequent to the enactment of RA 8294, the penalty prescribed in Section 1 and 3 of P.D. 1866 presence of its occupants, herein petitioners,[19] in accordance with Section 7 of Rule 126, Revised
for illegal possession of firearms, ammunitions and explosives under which petitioners were Rules of Court.[20]
charged, has now been reduced to prision mayor in its minimum period and prision mayor in its
maximum period to reclusion temporal, respectively. Evidently, petitioners are now entitled to bail Petitioners allege lack of particularity in the description of objects to be seized pursuant to the
as a matter of right prior to their conviction by the trial court pursuant to Section 4 of SC warrants. Hence, they also question the seizure of the following articles from Apartment No. 2,
Administrative Circular No. 12-94 [10] namely:

xxx One M16 rifles, Colt AR-15 with 2 magazines and 20 rds ammo live

WHEREFORE, the petitioners motion is hereby GRANTED. The Temporary Restraining Order One (1) bar demolition charge
issued by this Court in the Resolution of November 20, 1996 is hereby PARTIALLY LIFTED in so
far as petitioners pending motion for bail before the RTC of Kalookan City, Branch 123 is One (1) .45 caliber pistol numbers were defaced with magazine and with three (3) live .45 cal
concerned. The trial court is hereby ordered to proceed with the hearing of the motion for bail and ammos
resolve the same with dispatch.[11]
One (1) .22 caliber handgun with live ammos in its cylinder
The issue that remains is whether the respondent court erred and gravely abused its
discretion when it ruled that the search and seizure orders in question are valid and the objects One (1) box containing (40) forty pieces of .22 cal. live ammos (magnum)
seized admissible in evidence.
Petitioners contend that the search and seizure orders violated Sections 2 and 3 of the Bill of Two (2) pieces fragmentation grenade
Rights[12] as well as Section 3 of Rule 126 of the Rules of Court on Criminal Procedure[13] because
the place searched and articles seized were not described with particularity. They argue that the Two (2) magazines of M16 rifles with live ammos.[21]
two-witness requirement under Section 10 of Rule 126[14] was ignored when only one witness
signed the receipt for the properties seized during the search, and said witness was not presented
To appreciate them fully, we quote the search warrants in question:
at the trial. Petitioners also aver that the presumption of regularity of the implementation of the
search warrant was rebutted by the defense during cross-examination of prosecution Search Warrant 54-95
witnesses. According to petitioners, respondent court failed to appreciate the fact that the items
seized were not turned over to the police evidence custodian as required under Section 18 of the It appearing to the satisfaction of the undersigned, after examining under oath P/Sr Insp Joel
Department of Justice Circular No. 61 dated September 21, 1993. Finally, they fault the lower D. Pagdilao, Chief, DPIU, OADDI NPDC, Applicant and his witness SPO1 Cesar R. Rivera of
courts finding that petitioners were in possession of the items allegedly confiscated from them.[15] District Police Intelligence Unit, Northern Police District Command with postal address c/o
For the State, the Office of the Solicitor General avers that the search of Apartment 2 was NPIU, NPDC, PNP, Langaray St., Kaunlaran Village, Kalookan City that a.k.a. AL, a.k.a.
legal, and the items seized therein are admissible in evidence. However, the OSG agrees with GHUL a.k.a. NADI, a.k.a. NABIL and several John Does of Apartment Nr. 2, Nr. 154
petitioners that the search warrants issued by the RTC, Branch 125, Kalookan City on March 31, Obiniana Compound, Deparo Road, Kalookan City have in their possession and control the
1995, namely search warrant 54-95[16] and search warrant 55-95,[17] specified the place to be following:
searched, namely Apartment No. 2, 154 Obiniana Compound, Deparo Road, Kalookan City. There
was no mention of Apartment No. 8. Thus, we find that the search conducted at Apartment No. 8 1. One (1) 45 Caliber Pistol
clearly violated Sections 2 and 3 (2) of the Bill of Rights, in relation to Section 3 of Rule 126 of the
Rules of Court. You are hereby commanded to make an immediate search anytime of the DAY and NIGHT of the
As held in PICOP v. Asuncion,[18] the place to be searched cannot be changed, enlarged nor premises above-mentioned and forthwith, seize and take possession of the foregoing property, to
amplified by the police. Policemen may not be restrained from pursuing their task with vigor, but in wit:
1. One (1) .45 Caliber Pistol concordance, in our view, between those seized and those described in the warrant. Substantial
similarity of those articles described as a class or species would suffice.
and bring to this Court to be dealt with as the law may direct.[22] In People v. Rubio, 57 Phil. 384, 389 (1932), this Court said, While it is true that the property
to be seized under a warrant must be particularly described therein and no other property can be
Search Warrant 55-95 taken thereunder, yet the description is required to be specific only in so far as the circumstances
will ordinarily allow. Where by the nature of the goods to be seized, their description must be
It appearing to the satisfaction of the undersigned after examining under oath P/Sr. Insp. Joel rather general, it is not required that a technical description be given, as this would mean that no
D. Pagdilao, Chief, DPIU, OADDI NPDC, Applicant and his witness SPO1 Cesar R. Rivera of warrant could issue. As a corollary, however, we could not logically conclude that where the
District Police Intelligence Unit, Northern Police District Command with postal address c/o description of those goods to be seized have been expressed technically, all others of a similar
NPIU, NPDC, PNP, Langaray St., Kaunlaran Village, Kalookan City that a.k.a. AL, a.k.a. nature but not bearing the exact technical descriptions could not be lawfully subject to
GHUL a.k.a. NADI, a.k.a. NABIL and several John Does of Apartment Nr. 2, Nr. 154 seizure. Otherwise, the reasonable purpose of the warrant issued would be defeated by mere
Obiniana Compound, Deparo Road, Kalookan City have in their possession and control the technicalities.
following:
The case of Bache and Co. (Phil.), Inc. v. Ruiz, 37 SCRA 823, 835 (1971), pointed out that
one of the tests to determine the particularity in the description of objects to be seized under a
1. One (1) 5.56 M16 Rifle with corresponding ammunitions search warrant is when the things described are limited to those which bear direct relation to the
offense for which the warrant is being issued. A careful examination of Search Warrant Nos. 54-
2. One (1) 9MM Pistol with corresponding ammunitions
95[25] and 55-95[26] shows that they were worded in such a manner that the enumerated items to be
3. Three (3) boxes of explosives seized could bear a direct relation to the offense of violation of Section 1[27] and 3[28] of Presidential
Decree No. 1866, as amended, penalizing illegal possession of firearms, ammunitions and
4. More or less ten (10) sticks of dymanites (sic) explosives. What the warrants authorized was the seizure of articles proscribed by that decree,
and no other.
5. More or less thirty (30) pieces of blasting caps pieces of detonating cords
Lastly, on this score, we note that the Court of Appeals ruled that petitioners waived their
You are hereby commanded to make an immediate search anytime of the DAY or NIGHT of right to raise any attack on the validity of the search warrants at issue by their failure to file a
the premises above-mentioned and forthwith seize and take possession of the foregoing motion to quash.[29] But, in conducting the search at Apartment No. 8, not just Apartment No. 2 as
properties, to wit: ordered specifically in the search warrants, the police committed a gross violation we cannot
condone. Thus, we conclude that the gun seized in Apartment No. 8 cannot be used in evidence,
1. One (1) 5.56 M16 Rifle with corresponding ammunitions but those articles including guns, ammunitions, and explosives seized in Apartment No. 2 are
admissible in evidence.
2. One (1) 9MM Pistol with corresponding ammunitions
Coming now to the two-witness requirement under Section 10, Rule 126 of the Revised
3. Three (3) boxes of explosives Rules of Court, petitioners claim the rule was violated because only one witness signed the receipt
for the properties seized.For clarity, let us reproduce the pertinent section:
4. More or less ten (10) sticks of dymanites (sic)
5. More or less thirty (30) pieces of blasting caps pieces of detonating cords SEC. 10. Receipt for the property seized.The officer seizing property under the warrant must give
a detailed receipt for the same to the lawful occupant of the premises in whose presence the
and bring to this Court to be dealt with as the law may direct.[23] search and seizure were made, or in the absence of such occupant, must, in the presence of at
least two witnesses of sufficient age and discretion residing in the same locality, leave a receipt in
the place in which he found the seized property.
That the articles seized during the search of Apartment No. 2 are of the same kind and
nature as those items enumerated in the search warrant above-quoted appears to us beyond
cavil. The items seized from Apartment No. 2 were described with specificity in the warrants in Clearly, the two-witness rule applies only in the absence of the lawful occupants of the
question. The nature of the items ordered to be seized did not require, in our view, a technical premises searched. In the case at bar, petitioners were present when the search and seizure
description. Moreover, the law does not require that the things to be seized must be described in operation was conducted by the police at Apartment No. 2. More importantly, petitioner Nabeel Al-
precise and minute details as to leave no room for doubt on the part of the searching authorities, Riyami y Nasser admitted being an actual occupant/resident of Apartment No. 2. [30] Hence, we find
otherwise, it would be virtually impossible for the applicants to obtain a search warrant as they here no violation of Section 10, Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Court.
would not know exactly what kind of things they are looking for. [24] Once described, however, the Petitioners contend that they could not be charged with violation of P.D. 1866 because the
articles subject of the search and seizure need not be so invariant as to require absolute seized items were not taken actually from their possession. This contention, however, cannot
prosper in the light of the settled rule that actual possession of firearms and ammunitions is not an
indispensable element for prosecution under P.D. No. 1866. In People v. Dela Rosa, 284 SCRA
158, 168-169 (1998), we clarified that the kind of possession punishable under P.D. 1866 is one
where the accused possessed a firearm either physically or constructively with animus
possidendi or intent to possess said firearm. Whether or not the evidence would show all the
elements of P.D. 1866 in this case is a different matter altogether. We shall not preempt issues
properly still within the cognizance of courts below.
Likewise, whether or not the articles seized were planted by the police, as claimed by the
petitioners, is a matter that must be brought before the trial court. In the same vein, petitioners
claim that the properties seized were not turned over to the proper police custodian is a question
of fact best ventilated during trial.
WHEREFORE, the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The search conducted at Apartment
No. 8 is hereby declared illegal and the item (.45 caliber pistol) seized therein inadmissible in
evidence. However, the search at Apartment No. 2 pursuant to Search Warrant 55-95 is hereby
declared valid and legal, and the articles seized from Apartment No. 2 are found admissible in
evidence. Let this case be remanded to the Regional Trial Court of Kalookan City, Branch 123, for
trial on the merits of Criminal Cases Nos. C-48666-67 with dispatch.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, (Chairman), Mendoza, Buena, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.
FIRST DIVISION 3. Another fraudulent practice perpetrated by UNIFISH through Uy Chin Hos direction is the sale
of imported oil locally to different customers. This is a case of smuggling in the sense that
UNIFISH, being an export company registered with the Board of Investments, is enjoying certain
exemptions in their importation of oil as one of the raw materials in its processing of canned tuna
[G.R. No. 129651. October 20, 2000] for export. These tax exemptions are granted by the government on the condition that the oil is to
be used only in the processing of tuna for export and that it is not to be sold unprocessed as is to
local customers.

FRANK UY and UNIFISH PACKING CORPORATION, petitioners, vs. BUREAU OF INTERNAL 4. Another fraudulent practice involves the sales of unused cans; UNIFISH also enjoys tax
REVENUE and HON. MERCEDES GOZO-DADOLE, respondents. exemptions in its purchases of tin cans subject to the condition that these are to be used as
containers for its processed tuna for export. These cans are never intended to be sold locally to
other food processing companies.
DECISION
KAPUNAN, J.: 5. Prior to 1990, that is from 1980 to 1990, the factory of the UNIFISH PACKING CORPORATION
was then run by the PREMIER INDUSTRIAL & DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (hereinafter
Petitioners assail the validity of the warrants issued for the search of the premises of the referred to as PREMIER) [,] which corporation was being controlled by the same majority
Unifish Packing Corporation, and pray for the return of the items seized by virtue thereof. stockholders as those now running and controlling UNIFISH; [a]t that time, PREMIER was also
committing the same fraudulent acts as what is being perpetrated by UNIFISH at present.
On 30 September 1993, a certain Rodrigo Abos reported to the Bureau of Internal Revenue
(BIR) that petitioners Unifish Packing Corporation and Uy Chin Ho alias Frank Uy were engaged in 6. The records containing entries of actual volume of production and sales, of both UNIFISH AND
activities constituting violations of the National Internal Revenue Code. Abos, who claimed to be a PREMIER, are found in the office of the corporation at its factory site at H. Cortes Street, Mandaue
former employee of Unifish, executed an Affidavit[1] stating: City. The particular place or spot where these records [official receipts, sales invoices, delivery
receipts, sales records or sales books, stock cards, accounting records (such as ledgers, journals,
1. He has personal knowledge that UNIFISH PACKING CORPORATION (hereinafter referred to cash receipts books, and check disbursements books)] are kept and may be found is best
as UNIFISH), a canning factory located at Hernan Cortes Street, under the active management of described in the herein attached sketch of the arrangement of the offices furniture and fixture of
UY CHIN HO alias Frank Uy [,] is selling by the thousands of [sic] cartons of canned sardines the corporation which is made an integral part hereof and marked as Annex A,
without issuing receipt. This is in violation of Sections 253 and 263 of the Internal Revenue Code.
7. He is executing this affidavit to attest under oath the veracity of the foregoing allegations and he
2. This grand scale tax fraud is perpetrated through the following scheme: is reserving his right to claim for reward under the provisions of Republic Act No. 2338.

(1) Uy Chin Ho a director of UNIFISH buys in bulk from the company; On 1 October 1993, Nestor N. Labaria, Assistant Chief of the Special Investigation Branch of
the BIR, applied for search warrants from Branch 28 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu. The
(2) Being a director, Uy Chin Ho has a lot of clout in the distribution of the application sought permission to search the premises of Unifish.
canned sardines processed by UNIFISH;
After hearing the depositions of Labaria and Abos, Judge Mercedes Gozo-Dadole issued the
(3) Uy Chin Ho dictates the value of canned sardines that he orders and disputed search warrants. The first[2] is docketed as SEARCH WARRANT NO. 93-10-79
buys from UNIFISH without any receipt of his purchases; FOR:VIOLATION OF SECTION 253 ("Search Warrant A-1"), and consists of two pages. A
(4) The moment he has the quantity he wants, UNIFISH through Uy Chin Ho verbatim reproduction of Search Warrant A-1 appears below:
delivers to the different supermarkets such as White Gold, Gaisano, etc.; REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
(5) Payments made by these tax evading establishments are made by REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF CEBU
checks drawn payable to cash and delivered to Uy Chin Ho; These 7th Judicial Region
payments are also not receipted (sic); Branch 28
Mandaue City
(6) Uy Chin Ho will then pay UNIFISH for the quantity of sardines he had
withdrawn from the corporation; THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,

Plaintiff,
- versus - SEARCH WARRANT NO. 93-10-79 The second warrant[3]is similarly docketed as SEARCH WARRANT 93-10-79
FOR: VIOLATION OF SEC. 253 FOR: VIOLATION OF SEC. 253 ("Search Warrant A-2"). Search Warrant A-2, reproduced below,
is almost identical in content to Search Warrant A-1, save for the portions indicated in bold print. It
UY CHIN HO alias FRANK UY, consisted of only one page.
Unifish Packing Corporation REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
Hernan Cortes St., Cebu City REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF CEBU
x-------------------------/ 7th Judicial Region
(with sketch) Branch 28
Mandaue City
SEARCH WARRANT
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
TO ANY PEACE OFFICER: Plaintiff,

- versus - SEARCH WARRANT NO. 93-10-79


G R E E T I N G S: FOR: VIOLATION OF SEC. 253

It appearing to the satisfaction of the undersigned, after examination underoath (sic), Nestor N. UY CHIN HO alias FRANK UY, and
Labaria, Asst. Chief, Special Investigation Branch, BIR and witness Rodrigo Abos that there is a Unifish Packing Corporation
(sic) probable cause to believe that the crime of violation of Section 253 - attempt to evade or Hernan Cortes St., Mandaue City
defeat the tax has been committed and there is good and sufficient reason to believe that Uy Chin x-------------------------/
Ho c/o Unifish Packing Corporation, Hernan Cortes St., Mandaue City has in his possession, care (with sketch)
and control, the following:
SEARCH WARRANT
1. Multiple sets of Books of Accounts; Ledgers, Journals, Columnar Books, Cash
Register Books, Sales Books or Records; Provisional & Official Receipts; TO ANY PEACE OFFICER:
2. Production Record Books/Inventory Lists [,] Stock Cards;
G R E E T I N G S:
3. Unregistered Delivery Receipts;
4. Unregistered Purchase & Sales Invoices; It appearing to the satisfaction of the undersigned, after examination underoath [sic], Nestor N.
Labaria, Asst. Chief, Special Investigation Branch, BIR and witness Rodrigo Abos that there is a
5. Sales Records, Job Order; [sic] probable cause to believe that the crime of violation of Section 253 - attempt to evade or
defeat the tax has been committed and there is good and sufficient reason to believe that Uy Chin
6. Corporate Financial Records; and Ho alias Frank Uy and Unifish Packing Corporation, Hernan Cortes St., Mandaue City has in his
7. Bank Statements/Cancelled Checks possession, care and control, the following:

You are hereby commanded to make an immediate search at any time of day or night of said 1. Multiple sets of Books of Accounts; Ledgers, Journals, Columnar Books, Cash
premises and its immediate vicinity and to forthwith seize and take possession of the articles Register Books, Sales Books or Records; Provisional & Official Receipts;
above-mentioned and other properties relative to such violation and bring said properties to the 2. Production Record Books/Inventory Lists [,] Stock Cards;
undersigned to be dealt with as the law directs.
3. Unregistered Delivery Receipts;
WITNESS MY HAND this 1st day of October, 1993. 4. Unregistered Purchase & Sales Invoices;

(sgd.) 5. Sales Records, Job Order;


MERCEDES GOZO-DADOLE 6. Corporate Financial Records; and
Judge
7. Bank Statements/Cancelled Checks
You are hereby commanded to make an immediate search at any time of day or night of said the merits, or after the case shall have been tried. This brings us to the case of Lai vs.
premises and its immediate vicinity and to forthwith seize and take possession of the articles Intermediate 220 SCRA 149 and the pronouncement, thus:
above-mentioned and other properties relative to such violation and bring said properties to the
undersigned to be dealt with as the law directs. Criminal Procedure: Certiorari: Certiorari should not be allowed where petitioner has other
remedies available. -- Anent the remedy resorted to by petitioners (referring to the petition for
WITNESS MY HAND this 1st day of October, 1993. certiorari) from the Regional Trial Court of Negros Oriental presided by Judge Diez, the same
should not have been granted. Petitioners were not without plain, speedy and adequate remedies
(sgd.) in the ordinary course of law against Judge Lomeda's order for their arrest. These remedies are as
MERCEDES GOZO-DADOLE enumerated by respondent appellate court in its decision: "1. they can post bail for their
Judge provisional release; 2. They can ask the Provincial Fiscal for a reinvestigation of the charge
against them. If unsatisfied with the fiscal's resolution they can ask for a review by the Minister of
Judge Gozo-Dadole issued a third warrant,[4] which was docketed as SEARCH WARRANT Justice; (Sec. 1(), RA 5180 as amended by P.D.
93-10-80 FOR: VIOLATION OF SEC. 238 in relation to SEC. 263 (hereinafter, "Search Warrant 911); 3. if their petition for review does not prosper, they can filea motion to quash the information i
B").Except for the docket number and the designation of the crime in the body of the warrant n the trial court. (Rule 117, Rules of
(Section 238 in relation to Sec. 263 - non-issuance of sales invoice and use and possession of Court). 4. If the motion is denied, they can appeal the judgment of the court after the case shall ha
unregistered delivery receipts and/or sales invoices), Search Warrant B is a verbatim reproduction ve been tried on the merits.
of Search Warrant A-2.
On the strength of these warrants, agents of the BIR, accompanied by members of the x x x Where motion to quash is denied, remedy is not certiorari, but to go to trial.-- Moreover, in the
Philippine National Police, on 2 October 1993, searched the premises of the Unifish Packing case of Acharon vs. Purisima, this Court held
Corporation.They seized, among other things, the records and documents of petitioner that when a motion to quash a criminal case is denied, the remedy is notcertiorari but to go to trial
corporation. A return of said search was duly made by Nestor Labaria with the RTC of Cebu , without prejudice to reiterating the special defenses involved in said Motion. In the event that an
Branch 28. adverse decision is rendered after trial on the merits, an appeal therefrom should be the next legal
step.
On 8 February 1995, the BIR filed against petitioners a case before the Department of
Justice. The records, however, do not reveal the nature of this case. xxx
On 31 March 1995, petitioners filed motions to quash the subject search warrants with
Branch 28 of the Cebu RTC. In this case now before Us, there is no pretention [sic] that the Court issued the Search Warrants
without jurisdiction. On the contrary, it had jurisdiction. The argument therefore that the Court
The RTC, however, denied petitioners' motions to quash as well as their subsequent motion committed an error in not describing the persons or things to be searched; that the Search
for reconsideration, prompting petitioners to file a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals Warrants did not describe with particularity the things to be seized/taken; the absence of probable
(CA).The CA dismissed their petition, holding that petitioners failed to comply with Section 2(a), cause; and for having allegedly condoned the discriminating manner in which the properties were
Rule 6 of the Revised Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals (RIRCA), which states: taken, to us, are merely errors in the Court's finding, certainly not correctible by certiorari, but
instead thru an appeal.[5]
a. What Should be Filed. - The petition shall be filed in seven (7) legible copies and a copy thereof
shall be served on each of the respondents, and must be accompanied by a certified true copy of In any event, the CA ruled, no grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction was
the decision or order complained of and true copies of the pleadings and other pertinent committed by the RTC in the issuance of the warrants.
documents and papers. (As amended by S.Ct. Res., dated November 24, 1992).
As petitioners' motion for reconsideration proved futile, petitioners filed the instant petition for
The CA found that petitioners did not submit certified true copies of (1) the Motions to Quash, (2) review.
the Motion for Reconsideration, and (3) the Affidavit of Rodrigo Abos. Petitioners claim that they did submit to the CA certified true copies of the pleadings and
The CA also held that certiorari was not the proper remedy to question the resolution denying documents listed above along with their Petition, as well as in their Motion for Reconsideration. An
the motion to quash. examination of the CA Rollo, however, reveals that petitioners first submitted the same in their
Reply, after respondents, in their Comment, pointed out petitioners failure to attach them to the
Petition.
In this case now before us, the available remedies to the petitioners, assuming that the
Department of Justice will eventually file the case, are: a petition for reinvestigation; the right to Nevertheless, the CA should not have dismissed the petition on this ground although, to its
post bail; a Motion to Quash the Information; and in case of denial, an appeal, after judgment on credit, it did touch upon the merits of the case. First, it appears that the case could have been
decided without these pleadings and documents. Second, even if the CA deemed them essential
to the resolution of the case, it could have asked for the records from the RTC. Third, in a similar This Court had occasion to reiterate the above pronouncement in Silva vs.
case,[6] we held that the submission of a document together with the motion for reconsideration Presiding Judge, RTC of Negros Oriental, Br. XXXIII,[10] which also involved a special civil action
constitutes substantial compliance with Section 3, Rule 46 of the Rules of Court, requiring the for certiorari:[11]
submission of a certified true copy of material portions of the record as are referred to [in the
petition], and other documents relevant or pertinent thereto along with the petition. So should it be Thus, in issuing a search warrant, the judge must strictly comply with the constitutional
in this case, especially considering that it involves an alleged violation of a constitutionally requirement that he must determine the existence of probable cause by examining the applicant
guaranteed right. The rules of procedure are not to be applied in a very rigid, technical sense; and his witnesses in the form of searching questions and answers. His failure to comply with this
rules of procedure are used only to help secure substantial justice. If a technical and rigid requirement constitutes grave abuse of discretion. As declared in Marcelo vs. De Guzman, G.R.
enforcement of the rules is made, their aim could be defeated.[7] No. L-29077, June 29, 1982, 114 SCRA 657, the capricious disregard by the judge in not
The CA likewise erred in holding that petitioners cannot avail of certiorari to question the complying with the requirements before issuance of search warrants constitutes grave abuse of
resolution denying their motions to quash the subject search warrants. We note that the case of discretion.
Lai vs. Intermediate, cited by the appellate court as authority for its ruling does not appear in 220
SCRA 149. The excerpt of the syllabus quoted by the court, as observed by petitioners,[8] appears In this case, petitioners alleged in their petition before the CA that the issuing judge violated
to have been taken from the case of Yap vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 220 the pertinent provisions of the Constitution and the Rules of Court in issuing the disputed search
SCRA 245 (1993). Yap, however, is inapplicable since that case involved a motion to quash warrants, which, if true, would have constituted grave abuse of discretion. Petitioners also alleged
a complaint for qualified theft, not a motion to quash a search warrant. that the enforcers of the warrants seized almost all the records and documents of the corporation
thus resulting in the paralysis of its business. Appeal, therefore, would not be an adequate remedy
The applicable case is Marcelo vs. De Guzman,[9] where we held that the issuing judges that would afford petitioners expeditious relief.
disregard of the requirements for the issuance of a search warrant constitutes grave abuse of
discretion, which may be remedied by certiorari: We now proceed to the merits of the case.
Section 2, Article III of the Constitution guarantees the right of the people against
Expressly announced in Section 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is the general rule that certiorari unreasonable searches and seizures:
is available where a tribunal or officer exercising judicial functions has acted without or in excess
of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion and there is no appeal, nor any plain,
speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. 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
In the light of the findings of the lower court, herein above quoted, it is indisputable that Judge de determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant
Guzman gravely abused his discretion in issuing the said search warrant. Indeed, he acted and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the
whimsically and capriciously when he ignored the explicit mandate of Section 3, Rule 126 of the persons or things to be seized.
Rules of Court that a search warrant shall not issue but upon probable cause in connection with
one specific offense to be determined by the municipal or city judge after examination under oath
or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing In relation to the above provision, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court provides:
the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized; and that no search warrant shall
issue for more than one specific offense. SEC. 3. Requisite for issuing search warrant. - A search warrant shall not issue but upon probable
cause in connection with one specific offense to be determined personally by the judge after
examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and
The utter disregard by Judge de Guzman of the requirements laid down by the said rule renders
particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be seized.
the warrant in question absolutely null and void. It has been held that where the order complained
of is a patent nullity, a petition for certiorari and mandamus may properly be entertained despite
the existence of the remedy of appeal. SEC. 4. Examination of complainant; record. - The judge must, before issuing the warrant,
personally examine in the form of searching questions and answers, in writing and under oath the
complainant and any witnesses he may produce on facts personally known to them and attach to
Moreover, an appeal from the order of Judge de Guzman would neither be an adequate nor
the record their sworn statements together with any affidavits submitted.
speedy remedy to relieve appellee of the injurious effects of the warrant. The seizure of her
personal property had resulted in the total paralization of the articles and documents which had
been improperly seized. Where the remedy of appeal cannot afford an adequate and expeditious A search warrant must conform strictly to the requirements of the foregoing constitutional and
relief, certiorari can be allowed as a mode of redress to prevent irreparable damage and injury to a statutory provisions. These requirements, in outline form, are:
party.
(1) the warrant must be issued upon probable cause;
(2) the probable cause must be determined by the judge himself and not by the Inconsistencies in the
applicant or any other person; description of the persons
named in the two warrants
(3) in the determination of probable cause, the judge must examine, under oath or
affirmation, the complainant and such witnesses as the latter may produce; and Petitioners also find fault in the description of the names of the persons in Search Warrants
A-1 and A-2. Search Warrant A-1 was issued solely against Uy Chin Ho alias Frank Uy. Search
(4) the warrant issued must particularly describe the place to be searched and persons Warrant A-2, on the other hand, was directed against UY CHIN HO alias FRANK UY, and Unifish
or things to be seized.[12] Packing Corporation.
The absence of any of these requisites will cause the downright nullification of the search These discrepancies are hardly relevant.
warrants.[13] The proceedings upon search warrants must be absolutely legal, for there is not a
description of process known to the law, the execution of which is more distressing to the In Miller v. Sigler,[21] it was held that the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution,
citizen. Perhaps there is none which excites such intense feeling in consequence of its humiliating from which Section 2, Article III of our own Constitution is historically derived, does not require the
and degrading effect. The warrants will always be construed strictly without, however, going the warrant to name the person who occupies the described premises. Where the search warrant is
full length of requiring technical accuracy. No presumptions of regularity are to be invoked in aid of issued for the search of specifically described premises only and not for the search of a person,
the process when an officer undertakes to justify under it.[14] the failure to name the owner or occupant of such property in the affidavit and search warrant
does not invalidate the warrant; and where the name of the owner of the premises sought to be
Petitioners contend that there are several defects in the subject warrants that command their searched is incorrectly inserted in the search warrant, it is not a fatal defect if the legal description
nullification. They point out inconsistencies in the description of the place to be searched in of the premises to be searched is otherwise correct so that no discretion is left to the officer
Search Warrant A-1, as well as inconsistencies in the names of the persons against whom Search making the search as to the place to be searched.[22]
Warrants A-1 and A-2 were issued. That two search warrants (Search Warrants A-1 and A-2) were
issued for the same crime, for the same place, at a single occasion is cited as another Since, in the case at bar, the warrant was issued not for search of the persons owning or
irregularity. Petitioners also dispute the existence of probable cause that would justify the issuance occupying the premises, but only a search of the premises occupied by them, the search could not
of the warrants.Finally, they claim that the things to be seized were not described with be declared unlawful or in violation of the constitutional rights of the owner or occupants of the
particularity. These defects, according to petitioners, render the objects seized inadmissible in premises, because of inconsistencies in stating their names.[23]
evidence.[15]
Two warrants issued at
Inconsistencies in the one time for one crime
description of the place to and one place
be searched
In any event, Search Warrant A-1 should be deemed superseded by Search Warrant A-2.
Petitioners observe that the caption of Search Warrant A-1 indicates the address of Uy Chin
Ho alias Frank Uy as Hernan Cortes St., Cebu City while the body of the same warrant states the Two warrants, Search Warrants A-1 and A-2, were actually issued by the trial court for the
address as Hernan Cortes St., Mandaue City. Parenthetically, Search Warrants A-2 and B same crime (violation of SEC. 253 of the National Internal Revenue Code). It appears, however,
consistently state the address of petitioner as Hernan Cortes St., Mandaue City. that Search Warrant A-2 was issued merely to correct the inconsistencies in the address in Search
Warrant A-1, as well as to include Unifish Packing Corporation as a party against whom the
The Constitution requires, for the validity of a search warrant, that there be a particular warrant was issued. Search Warrant A-2 was evidently an attempt by the issuing judge to be more
description of the place to be searched and the persons of things to be seized. [16] The rule is that a precise in the names of the persons against whom the warrant was issued and in the description
description of a place to be searched is sufficient if the officer with the warrant can, with of the place to be searched. Indeed, it would be absurd for the judge to issue on a single occasion
reasonable effort, ascertain and identify the place intended[17]and distinguish it from other places in two warrants authorizing the search of a single place for a single offense. Inasmuch as the
the community.[18] Any designation or description known to the locality that points out the place to apparent intent in issuing Search Warrant A-2 was to supersede Search Warrant A-1, the latter
the exclusion of all others, and on inquiry leads the officers unerringly to it, satisfies the should be deemed revoked by the former.
constitutional requirement.[19] Thus, in Castro vs. Pabalan,[20] where the search warrant mistakenly
identified the residence of the petitioners therein as Barrio Padasil instead of the adjoining The alleged absence of
Barrio MariaCristina, this Court "admitted that the deficiency in the writ is not of sufficient gravity probable cause
to call for its invalidation." Petitioners claim there was no probable cause for Judge Gozo-Dadole to issue the subject
In this case, it was not shown that a street similarly named Hernan Cortes could be found in search warrants.
Cebu City. Nor was it established that the enforcing officers had any difficulty in locating the Probable cause is defined as such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably
premises of petitioner corporation. That Search Warrant A-1, therefore, inconsistently identified the discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the objects
city where the premises to be searched is not a defect that would spell the warrants invalidation in sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched.[24]
this case.
In the determination of probable cause, the Constitution and the Rules of Court require an A Because I were (sic) an employee of his from 1980 until August of 1993.
examination of the witnesses under oath. The examination must be probing and exhaustive, not
merely routine or pro forma. The examining magistrate must not simply rehash the contents of the Q Where is this Unifish Packing Corporation located?
affidavit but must make his own inquiry on the intent and justification of the application. [25] Asking A Hernan Cortes St.
of leading questions to the deponent in an application for search warrant, and conducting of
examination in a general manner, would not satisfy the requirements for issuance of a valid search Q What is it being engaged of?
warrant.[26]
A It is engaged in canning of fish.
The witnesses, in turn, must testify under oath to facts of their own personal knowledge. The
oath required must refer to the truth of the facts within the personal knowledge of the petitioner or Q You have executed an affidavit here to the effect that it seems that in his business dealings
his witnesses, because the purpose thereof is to convince the committing magistrate, not the that he is actually doing something that perpetrated tax evasion. Is that correct?
individual making the affidavit and seeking the issuance of the warrant, of the existence of A Yes.
probable cause.[27] Search warrants are not issued on loose, vague or doubtful basis of fact, nor
on mere suspicion or belief.[28] Q How is it done?
It may be recalled that before issuing the warrants, the judge deposed two witnesses, A As an officer, he is an active member of the corporation who is at the same time making his
namely, Nestor Labaria of the BIR, and Rodrigo Abos, who claimed to be an old employee of authority as appointing himself as the distributor of the company's products. He sells
Unifish.Petitioners claim that the testimonies of Labaria and Abos are hearsay. We agree with this these products thru supermarkets in Visayas and Mindanao, in fact, the whole
contention, but only as to the testimony of Labaria, who stated during the examination: Philippines. He makes it appear that it is the company which is selling when actually it is
him selling the goods and he does not issue any invoices.
Q. Do you know of a certain Uy Chin Ho alias Frank Uy?
Q Since he does not issue any invoices, how is it done?
A. No.
A Thru delivery receipts.
Q. Do you know his establishment known as Unifish Packing Corporation?
Q Is the delivery receipt official?
A. I have only heard of that thru the affidavit of our informer, Mr. Abos.
A No. It is unregistered.
Q. Why are you applying for search warrant in the premises of Unifish Packing Corporation?
Q For how long has this been going on?
A. Because of that information we received that they are using only delivery receipts instead of
the legal sales invoices. It is highly indicative of fraud. A As far as I know, it is still in 1986 since we started producing the sardines.
Q. From where did you get that information? Q When was the last time that you observed that that is what he is doing?
A. From our informer, the former employee of that establishment.[29] A August, 1993, last month.
The above portion of the transcript shows that Labarias knowledge of the alleged illegal Q How did you happen to know about this last month?
activities of petitioners was acquired not through his own perception but was merely supplied by
Abos.Therefore, the deposition of Labaria, which is based on hearsay, standing alone, cannot A Because he delivered to certain supermarkets and the payments of that supermarket did not
justify the issuance of the search warrants.[30] go directly to the company. It went to him and he is the one who paid the company for the
goods that he sold.
The application for the warrants, however, is not based solely on Labarias deposition but is
supported by that of Abos, whose knowledge of petitioners alleged illegal practices was apparently Q Can you tell this Court the name of that certain supermarkets?
obtained during his employment with Unifish. In his deposition, Abos detailed the schemes A White Gold and Gaisano.
employed by Frank Uy and Unifish to evade the payment of taxes, and described the place where
the documents supposedly evidencing these schemes were located: Q How did you know this fact?
Q Do you know Frank Uy? A As a manager of the company I have access to all the records of that company for the last
three years. I was the Operating Chief.
A Yes.
Q Until now?
Q Why do you know him?
A No. I was separated already.
Q When? A Yes.
A August, 1993. Q But how can you enter the bodega?
Q How does he do this manipulation? A Here, from the main entrance there is a door which will lead to this part here. If you go
straight there is a bodega there and there is also a guard from this exit right after opening
A He sells the goods to the supermarkets afterwhich the company, Unifish will deliver to his the door.
customers, then his customers will pay directly to him and in turn, he pays to the
company. Q The problem is that, when actually in August have you seen the current records kept by
Gina?
Q And these transactions, were they reflected in their books of account or ledger or whatever?
A I cannot exactly recall but I have the xerox copies of the records.
A It is written but it is supposed to be a secret transaction. It is not for the public, not for the
BIR but it is only for the purpose of keeping the transactions between the company and Q Where are they now?
him. It is not made to be shown to the BIR.
A They are in my possession (witness handling [sic] to the Court a bunch of records).
Q In that books of account, is it reflected that they have made some deliveries to certain
supermarkets? Q The transactions that are reflected in these xerox copies that you have given me, especially
this one which seems to be pages of a ledger, they show that these are for the months of
A Yes. January, February, March, April and May. Are these transactions reflected in these xerox
copies which appear in the ledger being shown to the BIR?
Q For the consumption of the BIR what are the papers that they show?
A As far as I know, it did not appear.
A It is the private accounting firm that prepares everything.
Q What about this one which says Columnar Book Cash Receipt for the month of January,
Q Based on what? what does it show?
A Based on some fictitious records just as they wish to declare. A It shows that Frank Uy is the one purchasing from the company and these are his
Q In your affidavit you stated that there are sales invoices, official receipts, delivery receipts, customers.
sales records, etc. These documents are records that you have stated, in your affidavit, Q Do these entries appear in the columnar books which are the basis for the report to the BIR?
which are only for the consumption of the company?
A As far as I know, it does not reflect.
A Yes, not for the BIR.
Q What are these xerox copies of checks?
Q Where are they kept now?
A I think we cannot trace it up. These ones are the memos received by Unifish for payment of
A They are kept on the table which I have drawn in the sketch. This is the bird's eyeview (sic) sardines. This is the statement of the company given to Uy Chin Ho for collection.
of the whole office. When you enter thru the door this Gina Tan is the one recording all
the confidential transactions of the company. In this table you can find all the ledgers and Q It is also stated in your affidavit that the company imported soya oil. How is it done?
notebooks.
A The company imports soya oil to be used as a component in the processing of canned tuna
Q This sketch is a blow-up of this portion, Exh. "A"? for export. The company enjoys certain BOI privilege and so it is tax free. As far as I
know, they profit more to dispose the product locally. Whatever excess of this soya oil are
A Yes. Exh. "B" is the blow-up of Exh. "A" inside the office. sold to another company.
In this blow-up there are four personnel plus one new personnel. Gina Tan collects all the Q Is that fact reflected in the xerox copies?
records from this girl and this girl makes the statements. This first girl delivers the
receipts. The second girl prepares the bill of lading. The third girl keeps the inventory of A No. I have the actual delivery receipt.
all the stocks.
Q In other words, the company imports soya oil supposedly to be used as a raw material but
This sketch here is the bodega where the records are kept. The records from these people are instead they are selling it locally?
stored in this place which is marked as "C".
A Yes. ([W]itness showing DR No. 3053 dated November 13, 1991.) This delivery receipt was
Q So what you want to impress on that now is that only current records are kept by Gina the delivery receipt to Celebes Canning Corp. of the 90 grams soya oil.
because according to you the whole records are already placed in the bodega?
Q In other words, this soya oil should have to be used by Unifish but instead they are seeling x x x the warrants authorized the search for and seizure of records pertaining to all business
(sic) it? transactions of petitioners herein, regardless of whether the transactions were legal or illegal. The
warrants sanctioned the seizure of all records of the petitioners and the aforementioned
A Yes, at a profit. corporations, whatever their nature, thus openly contravening the explicit command of our Bill of
Q You also said that there is tax evasion in the selling of cans. What do you mean by this? Rights - that the things to be seized be particularly described - as well as tending to defeat its
major object: the elimination of general warrants.
A There is another privileged [sic] by the BOI for a special price given to packaging
materials. When you export the product there is a 50% price difference. Now, taking that In Bache & Co., this Court struck down a warrant containing a similar description as those
advantage of that exemption, they sold it to certain company here, again to Virginia in Stonehill:
Farms.
Q Do you have proof to that effect? The documents, papers, and effects sought to be seized are described in Search Warrant No. 2-
M-70 in this manner:
A No, but we can get it there.
Q Will that fact be shown in any listed articles in the application for search warrant since Unregistered and private books of accounts (ledgers, journals, columnars, receipts and
according to you, you have seen this manipulation reflected on the books of account kept disbursements books, customers' ledgers); receipts for payments received; certificates of stocks
by Gina? Are you sure that these documents are still there? and securities; contracts, promissory notes and deeds of sale; telex and coded messages;
business communications; accounting and business records; checks and check stubs; records of
A Yes. I have received information. bank deposits and withdrawals; and records of foreign remittances, covering the years 1966 to
COURT: Alright.[31] 1970.

Abos stated that, as former Operating Chief of Unifish, he had access to the company The description does not meet the requirement in Art. III, Sec. 1, of the Constitution, and of Sec. 3,
records, and even showed the issuing judge photocopies thereof. Thus, we reject the contention Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Court, that the warrant should particularly describe the things to
that this witness did not have personal knowledge of the facts to which he testified. The contents be seized.
of the deposition clearly demonstrate otherwise.
The deposition also shows that, contrary to petitioners submission, the inquiries made by the xxx
judge were far from leading or being a rehash of the witness affidavit. We find such inquiries to be
sufficiently probing. In Uy Kheytin, et al. vs. Villareal, etc., et al., 42 Phil. 886, 896, this Court had occasion to explain
the purpose of the requirement that the warrant should particularly describe the place to be
Alleged lack of searched and the things to be seized, to wit:
particularity in the
description of the things
seized x x x Both the Jones Law (sec. 3) and General Orders No. 68 (sec. 97) specifically require that a
search warrant should particularly describe the place to be searched and the things to be
Petitioners note the similarities in the description of the things to be seized in the subject seized. The evident purpose and intent of this requirement is to limit the things to be seized to
warrants and those in Stonehill vs. Diokno,[32] Bache & Co. (Phil.), Inc. vs. Ruiz,[33] and Asian those, and only those, particularly described in the search warrant - to leave the officers of the law
Surety & Insurance Co., Inc. vs. Herrera.[34] with no discretion regarding what articles they shall seize, to the end that unreasonable searches
and seizures may not be made, - that abuses may not be committed. That is the correct
In Stonehill, the effects to be searched and seized were described as: interpretation of this constitutional provision borne out by the American authorities.

Books of accounts, financial records, vouchers, journals correspondence, receipts, ledgers, The purpose as thus explained could, surely and effectively, be defeated under the search warrant
portfolios, credit journals, typewriters, and other documents and/or papers showing all business issued in this case.
transactions including disbursement receipts, balance sheets and related profit and loss
statements.
A search warrant may be said to particularly describe the things to be seized when the description
therein is as specific as the circumstances will ordinarily allow (People vs. Rubio, 57 Phil, 384); or
This Court found that the foregoing description failed to conform to the requirements set forth when the description expresses a conclusion of fact - not of law - by which the warrant officer may
by the Constitution since: be guided in making the search and seizure (idem., dissent of Abad Santos, J.,); or when the
things described are limited to those which bear direct relation to the offense for which the warrant
is being issued (Sec. 2, Rule 126, Revised Rules of Court). The herein search warrant does not As regards the terms unregistered delivery receipts and unregistered purchase & sales
conform to any of the foregoing tests. If the articles desired to be seized have any direct relation to invoices, however, we hold otherwise. The Solicitor General correctly argues that the serial
an offense committed, the applicant must necessarily have some evidence, other than those markings of these documents need not be specified as it is not possible to do so precisely
articles, to prove the said offense; and the articles subject of search and seizure should come in because they are unregistered.[36] Where, by the nature of the goods to be seized, their description
handy merely to strengthen such evidence. In this event, the description contained in the herein must be rather general, it is not required that a technical description be given, as this would mean
disputed warrant should have mentioned, at least, the dates, amounts, persons, and other that no warrant could issue. Taking into consideration the nature of the articles so described, it is
pertinent data regarding the receipts of payments, certificates of stocks and securities, contracts, clear that no other more adequate and detailed description could have been given, particularly
promissory notes, deeds of sale, messages and communications, checks, bank deposits and because it is difficult to give a particular description of the contents thereof. [37] Although it appears
withdrawals, records of foreign remittances, among others, enumerated in the warrant. that photocopies of these unregistered documents were among those handed by Abos to the
issuing judge, it would be impractical to require the latter to specify each and every receipt and
In Asian Surety & Insurance Co., Inc. vs. Herrera, the description of the things to be seized, invoice, and the contents thereof, to the minutest detail.
i.e., Fire Registers, Loss, Bordereau, Adjusters' Report, including subrogation receipts and proof The general description of most of the documents listed in the warrants does not render the
of loss, Loss Registers, Book of Accounts including cash receipts and disbursements and general entire warrant void. Insofar as the warrants authorize the search and seizure of unregistered
ledger, etc. was held to be an omnibus description and, therefore, invalid: delivery receipts and unregistered purchase and sales invoices, the warrants remain valid. The
search warrant is severable, and those items not particularly described may be cut off without
x x x Because of this all embracing description which includes all conceivable records of petitioner destroying the whole warrant. In United States v. Cook,[38] the United States Court of Appeals
corporation, which if seized x x x, could paralyze its business, petitioner in several motions filed for (Fifth Circuit) made the following pronouncement:
early resolution of this case, manifested that the seizure of TWO carloads of their papers has
paralyzed their business to the grave prejudice of not only the company, its workers, agents, x x x. The leading decision is Aday v. Superior Court, 53 Cal.2d 789, 362 P.2d 47, 13 Cal.Rptr.
employees but also of its numerous insured and beneficiaries of bonds issued by it, including the 415 (1961). In Aday, a warrant was issued authorizing the seizure of two particularly described
government itself, and of the general public. And correlating the same to the charges for which the books and myriad other generally described items. On appeal, the California Supreme Court held
warrant was issued, We have before Us the infamous general warrants of old. that only the books were particularly described in the warrant and lawfully seized. The court
acknowledged that the warrant was flawed, but rather than suppress everything seized, the court
In the case at bar, the things to be seized were described in the following manner: chose to sever the defective portions of the warrant and suppress only those items that were not
particularly described.
1. Multiple sets of Books of Accounts; Ledgers, Journals, Columnar Books, Cash
Register Books, Sales Books or Records; Provisional & Official Receipts;
Although the warrant was defective x x x it does not follow that it was invalid as a whole. Such a
2. Production Record Books/Inventory Lists [,] Stock Cards; conclusion would mean that the seizure of certain articles, even though proper if viewed
separately, must be condemned merely because the warrant was defective with respect to other
3. Unregistered Delivery Receipts; articles. The invalid portions of the warrant are severable from the authorization relating to the
4. Unregistered Purchase & Sales Invoices; named books x x x. The search for and seizure of these books, if otherwise valid, were not
rendered illegal by the defects concerning other articles.
5. Sales Records, Job Order;
6. Corporate Financial Records; and xxx

7. Bank Statements/Cancelled Checks x x x We agree with the reasoning of the Supreme Court of California and the majority of state
We agree that most of the items listed in the warrants fail to meet the test of particularity, courts that have considered this question and hold that in the usual case the district judge should
especially since witness Abos had furnished the judge photocopies of the documents sought to be sever the infirm portion of the search warrant as passes constitutional muster. See United States
seized.The issuing judge could have formed a more specific description of these documents from v. Giresi, 488 F.Supp. 445, 459-60 (D.N.J.1980). Items that were not described with the requisite
said photocopies instead of merely employing a generic description thereof. The use of a generic particularity in the warrant should be suppressed, but suppression of all of the fruits of the search
term or a general description in a warrant is acceptable only when a more specific description of is hardly consistent with the purposes underlying exclusion. Suppression of only the items
the things to be seized is unavailable. The failure to employ the specificity available will invalidate improperly described prohibits the Government from profiting from its own wrong and removes the
a general description in a warrant.[35] The use by the issuing judge of the terms multiple sets of court from considering illegally obtained evidence. Moreover, suppression of only those items that
books of accounts, ledgers, journals, columnar books, cash register books, sales books or were not particularly described serves as an effective deterrent to those in the Government who
records, provisional & official receipts, production record books/inventory lists, stock cards, sales would be tempted to secure a warrant without the necessary description. As the leading
records, job order, corporate financial records, and bank statements/cancelled checks is therefore commentator has observed, it would be harsh medicine indeed if a warrant which was issued on
unacceptable considering the circumstances of this case. probable cause and which did particularly describe certain items were to be invalidated in toto
merely because the affiant and the magistrate erred in seeking and permitting a search for other right of an individual (People v. Cruz, 231 SCRA 759 [1994]; People v. Veloso, 48 Phil. 169, 176
items as well. 2 W. LaFave, Search and Seizure: A Treatise on the Fourth Amendment 4.6(f) [1925]). Although public welfare is the foundation of the power to search and seize, such power
(1978). must be exercised and the law enforced without transgressing the constitutional rights of the
citizens (People v. Damaso, supra, citing Rodriguez v. Evangelista, 65 Phil. 230, 235 [1937]). As
Accordingly, the items not particularly described in the warrants ought to be returned to petitioners. the Court aptly puts it in Bagahilog v. Fernandez, 198 SCRA 614 (1991), [z]eal in the pursuit of
criminals cannot ennoble the use of arbitrary methods that the Constitution itself abhors.
Petitioners allege that the following articles, though not listed in the warrants, were also taken
by the enforcing officers: The seizure of the items not specified in the warrants cannot be justified by the directive in
the penultimate paragraph thereof to "seize and take possession of other properties relative to
1. One (1) composition notebook containing Chinese characters, such violation," which in no way can be characterized as a particular description of the things to be
seized.
2. Two (2) pages writing with Chinese characters,
As regards the articles supposedly belonging to PIDC, we cannot order their return in the
present proceedings. The legality of a seizure can be contested only by the party whose rights
3. Two (2) pages Chinese character writing, have been impaired thereby, and the objection to an unlawful search and seizure is purely
personal and cannot be availed of by third parties.[42]
4. Two (2) packs of chemicals,
WHEREFORE, the Resolutions of respondent Court of Appeals dated 27 June 1996 and 14
May 1987, affirming the Order of the Regional Trial Court dated 17 July 1995, are hereby
5. One (1) bound gate pass, AFFIRMED insofar as said Resolutions upheld the validity of the subject Search Warrants
authorizing the seizure of the unregistered delivery receipts and unregistered purchase and sales
6. Surety Agreement.[39] invoices, but REVERSED with respect to the rest of the articles subject of said warrants. The
respondent Bureau of Internal Revenue is hereby ordered to return to petitioners all items seized
In addition, the searching party also seized items belonging to the Premier Industrial and from the subject premises and belonging to petitioners, except the unregistered delivery receipts
Development Corporation (PIDC), which shares an office with petitioner Unifish. and unregistered purchase and sales invoices.

The things belonging to petitioner not specifically mentioned in the warrants, like those not SO ORDERED.
particularly described, must be ordered returned to petitioners. In order to comply with the Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Puno, Pardo, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.
constitutional provisions regulating the issuance of search warrants, the property to be seized
under a warrant must be particularly described therein and no other property can be taken
thereunder.[40] In Tambasen vs. People,[41] it was held:

Moreover, by their seizure of articles not described in the search warrant, the police acted beyond
the parameters of their authority under the search warrant. Section 2, Article III of the 1987
Constitution requires that a search warrant should particularly describe the things to be
seized. The evident purpose and intent of the requirement is to limit the things to be seized to
those, and only those, particularly described in the search warrant, to leave the officers of the law
with no discretion regarding what articles they should seize, to the end that unreasonable
searches and seizures may not be made and that abuses may not be committed (Corro v. Lising,
137 SCRA 541, 547 [1985]); Bache & Co. [Phil.], Inc. v. Ruiz, 37 SCRA 823 [1971]; Uy Kheytin v.
Villareal, 42 Phil. 886 [1920]). The same constitutional provision is also aimed at preventing
violations of security in person and property and unlawful invasions of the sanctity of the home,
and giving remedy against such usurpations when attempted (People v. Damaso, 212 SCRA 547
[1992] citing Alvero v. Dizon, 76 Phil. 637, 646 [1946]).

Clearly then, the money which was not indicated in the search warrant, had been illegally seized
from petitioner. The fact that the members of the police team were doing their task of pursuing
subversives is not a valid excuse for the illegal seizure. The presumption juris tantum of regularity
in the performance of official duty cannot by itself prevail against the constitutionally protected
Republic of the Philippines but that he must first sign a waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code.
SUPREME COURT Petitioner refused to execute any such waiver.
Manila
On 9 July 1991, while the complaint was still with the Prosecutor, and before an information could
EN BANC be filed in court, the victim, Eldon Maguan, died of his gunshot wound(s).

Accordingly, on 11 July 1991, the Prosecutor, instead of filing an information for frustrated
homicide, filed an information for murder 3 before the Regional Trial Court. No bail was
G.R. No. 101837 February 11, 1992 recommended. At the bottom of the information, the Prosecutor certified that no preliminary
investigation had been conducted because the accused did not execute and sign a waiver of the
provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code.
ROLITO GO y TAMBUNTING, petitioner,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS, THE HON. BENJAMIN V. PELAYO, Presiding Judge, Branch 168, In the afternoon of the same day, 11 July 1991, counsel for petitioner filed with the Prosecutor an
Regional Trial Court, NCJR Pasig, M.M., and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. omnibus motion for immediate release and proper preliminary investigation,4 alleging that the
warrantless arrest of petitioner was unlawful and that no preliminary investigation had been
conducted before the information was filed. Petitioner also prayed that he be released on
recognizance or on bail. Provincial Prosecutor Mauro Castro, acting on the omnibus motion, wrote
on the last page of the motion itself that he interposed no objection to petitioner being granted
FELICIANO, J.: provisional liberty on a cash bond of P100,000.00.

According to the findings of the San Juan Police in their Investigation Report, 1 on 2 July 1991, On 12 July 1991, petitioner filed an urgent ex-parte motion for special raffle 5 in order to expedite
Eldon Maguan was driving his car along Wilson St., San Juan, Metro Manila, heading towards P. action on the Prosecutor's bail recommendation. The case was raffled to the sala of respondent
Guevarra St. Petitioner entered Wilson St., where it is a one-way street and started travelling in Judge, who, on the same date, approved the cash bond 6 posted by petitioner and ordered his
the opposite or "wrong" direction. At the corner of Wilson and J. Abad Santos Sts., petitioner's and release. 7 Petitioner was in fact released that same day.
Maguan's cars nearly bumped each other. Petitioner alighted from his car, walked over and shot
Maguan inside his car. Petitioner then boarded his car and left the scene. A security guard at a
On 16 July 1991, the Prosecutor filed with the Regional Trial Court a motion for leave to conduct
nearby restaurant was able to take down petitioner's car plate number. The police arrived shortly
preliminary investigation8 and prayed that in the meantime all proceedings in the court be
thereafter at the scene of the shooting and there retrieved an empty shell and one round of live
suspended. He stated that petitioner had filed before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of
ammunition for a 9 mm caliber pistol. Verification at the Land Transportation Office showed that
Rizal an omnibus motion for immediate release and preliminary investigation, which motion had
the car was registered to one Elsa Ang Go.
been granted by Provincial Prosecutor Mauro Castro, who also agreed to recommend cash bail of
P100,000.00. The Prosecutor attached to the motion for leave a copy of petitioner's omnibus
The following day, the police returned to the scene of the shooting to find out where the suspect motion of 11 July 1991.
had come from; they were informed that petitioner had dined at Cravings Bake Shop shortly
before the shooting. The police obtained a facsimile or impression of the credit card used by
Also on 16 July 1991, the trial court issued an Order 9 granting leave to conduct preliminary
petitioner from the cashier of the bake shop. The security guard of the bake shop was shown a
investigation and cancelling the arraignment set for 15 August 1991 until after the prosecution
picture of petitioner and he positively identified him as the same person who had shot Maguan. shall have concluded its preliminary investigation.
Having established that the assailant was probably the petitioner, the police launched a manhunt
for petitioner.
On 17 July 1991, however, respondent Judge motu proprio issued an Order, 10 embodying the
following: (1) the 12 July 1991 Order which granted bail was recalled; petitioner was given 48
On 8 July 1991, petitioner presented himself before the San Juan Police Station to verify news
hours from receipt of the Order to surrender himself; (2) the 16 July 1991 Order which granted
reports that he was being hunted by the police; he was accompanied by two (2) lawyers. The
leave to the prosecutor to conduct preliminary investigation was recalled and cancelled; (3)
police forthwith detained him. An eyewitness to the shooting, who was at the police station at that
petitioner's omnibus motion for immediate release and preliminary investigation dated 11 July
time, positively identified petitioner as the gunman. That same day, the police promptly filed a 1991 was treated as a petition for bail and set for hearing on 23 July 1991.
complaint for frustrated homicide 2 against petitioner with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of
Rizal. First Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Dennis Villa Ignacio ("Prosecutor") informed petitioner,
in the presence of his lawyers, that he could avail himself of his right to preliminary investigation On 19 July 1991, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus before the
Supreme Court assailing the 17 July 1991 Order, contending that the information was null and
void because no preliminary investigation had been previously conducted, in violation of his right
to due process. Petitioner also moved for suspension of all proceedings in the case pending b. Petitioner's act of posting bail constituted waiver of any irregularity attending
resolution by the Supreme Court of his petition; this motion was, however, denied by respondent his arrest. He waived his right to preliminary investigation by not invoking it
Judge. properly and seasonably under the Rules.

On 23 July 1991, petitioner surrendered to the police. c. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it issued the 17 July 1991
Order because the trial court had the inherent power to amend and control its
By a Resolution dated 24 July 1991, this Court remanded the petition for certiorari, prohibition processes so as to make them conformable to law and justice.
and mandamus to the Court of Appeals.
d. Since there was a valid information for murder against petitioner and a valid
On 16 August 1991, respondent Judge issued an order in open court setting the arraignment of commitment order (issued by the trial judge after petitioner surrendered to the
petitioner on 23 August 1991. authorities whereby petitioner was given to the custody of the Provincial
Warden), the petition for habeas corpus could not be granted.
On 19 August 1991, petitioner filed with the Court of Appeals a motion to restrain his arraignment.
On 3 October 1991, the prosecution presented three (3) more witnesses at the trial. Counsel for
petitioner also filed a "Withdrawal of Appearance" 15 with the trial court, with petitioner's conformity.
On 23 August 1991, respondent judge issued a Commitment Order directing the Provincial
Warden of Rizal to admit petitioner into his custody at the Rizal Provincial Jail. On the same date,
petitioner was arraigned. In view, however, of his refusal to enter a plea, the trial court entered for On 4 October 1991, the present Petition for Review on Certiorari was filed. On 14 October 1991,
him a plea of not guilty. The Trial court then set the criminal case for continuous hearings on 19, the Court issued a Resolution directing respondent Judge to hold in abeyance the hearing of the
24 and 26 September; on 2, 3, 11 and 17 October; and on 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22 November criminal case below until further orders from this Court.
1991. 11
In this Petition for Review, two (2) principal issues need to be addressed: first, whether or not a
On 27 August 1991, petitioner filed a petition for habeas corpus 12 in the Court of Appeals. He lawful warrantless arrest had been effected by the San Juan Police in respect of petitioner Go; and
alleged that in view of public respondent's failure to join issues in the petition for certiorari earlier second, whether petitioner had effectively waived his right to preliminary investigation. We
filed by him, after the lapse of more than a month, thus prolonging his detention, he was entitled to consider these issues seriatim.
be released on habeas corpus.
In respect of the first issue, the Solicitor General argues that under the facts of the case, petitioner
On 30 August 1991, the Court of Appeals issued the writ of habeas corpus. 13 The petition had been validly arrested without warrant. Since petitioner's identity as the gunman who had shot
for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, on the one hand, and the petition for habeas Eldon Maguan on 2 July 1991 had been sufficiently established by police work, petitioner was
corpus, upon the other, were subsequently consolidated in the Court of Appeals. validly arrested six (6) days later at the San Juan Police Station. The Solicitor General
invokes Nazareno v. Station Commander, etc., et al., 16 one of the seven (7) cases consolidated
with In the Matter of the Petition for Habeas Corpus of Roberto Umil, etc., v. Ramos, et
The Court of Appeals, on 2 September 1991, issued a resolution denying petitioner's motion to
al. 17 where a majority of the Court upheld a warrantees arrest as valid although effected fourteen
restrain his arraignment on the ground that that motion had become moot and academic.
(14) days after the killing in connection with which Nazareno had been arrested. Accordingly, in
the view of the Solicitor General, the provisions of Section 7, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court were
On 19 September 1991, trial of the criminal case commenced and the prosecution presented its applicable and because petitioner had declined to waive the provisions of Article 125 of the
first witness. Revised Penal Code, the Prosecutor was legally justified in filing the information for murder even
without preliminary investigation.
14
On 23 September 1991, the Court of Appeals rendered a consolidated decision dismissing the
two (2) petitions, on the following grounds: On the other hand, petitioner argues that he was not lawfully arrested without warrant because he
went to the police station six (6) days after the shooting which he had allegedly perpetrated. Thus,
a. Petitioner's warrantless arrest was valid because the offense for which he was petitioner argues, the crime had not been "just committed" at the time that he was arrested.
arrested and charged had been "freshly committed." His identity had been Moreover, none of the police officers who arrested him had been an eyewitness to the shooting of
established through investigation. At the time he showed up at the police station, Maguan and accordingly none had the "personal knowledge" required for the lawfulness of a
there had been an existing manhunt for him. During the confrontation at the San warrantees arrest. Since there had been no lawful warrantless arrest. Section 7, Rule 112 of the
Juan Police Station, one witness positively identified petitioner as the culprit. Rules of Court which establishes the only exception to the right to preliminary investigation, could
not apply in respect of petitioner.
The reliance of both petitioner and the Solicitor General upon Umil v. Ramos is, in the Sec. 7 When accused lawfully arrested without warrant. — When a person is
circumstances of this case, misplaced. In Umil v. Ramos, by an eight-to-six vote, the Court lawfully arrested without a warrant for an offense cognizable by the Regional
sustained the legality of the warrantless arrests of petitioners made from one (1) to fourteen days Trial Court the complaint or information may be filed by the offended party, peace
after the actual commission of the offenses, upon the ground that such offenses constituted officer or fiscal without a preliminary investigation having been first conducted, on
"continuing crimes." Those offenses were subversion, membership in an outlawed organization the basis of the affidavit of the offended party or arresting office or person
like the New People's Army, etc. In the instant case, the offense for which petitioner was arrested
was murder, an offense which was obviously commenced and completed at one definite location However, before the filing of such complaint or information, the person arrested
in time and space. No one had pretended that the fatal shooting of Maguan was a "continuing may ask for a preliminary investigation by a proper officer in accordance with this
crime." Rule, but he must sign a waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised
Penal Code, as amended, with the assistance of a lawyer and in case of non-
Secondly, we do not believe that the warrantees "arrest" or detention of petitioner in the instant availability of a lawyer, a responsible person of his choice. Notwithstanding such
case falls within the terms of Section 5 of Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure which waiver, he may apply for bail as provided in the corresponding rule and the
provides as follows: investigation must be terminated within fifteen (15) days from its inception.

Sec. 5 Arrest without warrant; when lawful. — A peace officer or a private person If the case has been filed in court without a preliminary investigation having been
may, without warrant, arrest a person: first conducted, the accused may within five (5) days from the time he learns of
the filing of the information, ask for a preliminary investigation with the same right
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually to adduce evidence in his favor in the manner prescribed in this Rule. (Emphasis
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; supplied)

(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal is also not applicable. Indeed, petitioner was not arrested at all. When he walked into San Juan
knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it; and Police Station, accompanied by two (2) lawyers, he in fact placed himself at the disposal of the
police authorities. He did not state that he was "surrendering" himself, in all probability to avoid the
implication he was admitting that he had slain Eldon Maguan or that he was otherwise guilty of a
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal
crime. When the police filed a complaint for frustrated homicide with the Prosecutor, the latter
establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined
should have immediately scheduled a preliminary investigation to determine whether there was
while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one
probable cause for charging petitioner in court for the killing of Eldon Maguan. Instead, as noted
confinement to another.
earlier, the Prosecutor proceed under the erroneous supposition that Section 7 of Rule 112 was
applicable and required petitioner to waive the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code
In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the person arrested without as a condition for carrying out a preliminary investigation. This was substantive error, for petitioner
a warrant shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or jail, and he was entitled to a preliminary investigation and that right should have been accorded him without
shall be proceed against in accordance with Rule 112, Section 7. any conditions. Moreover, since petitioner had not been arrested, with or without a warrant, he
was also entitled to be released forthwith subject only to his appearing at the preliminary
Petitioner's "arrest" took place six (6) days after the shooting of Maguan. The "arresting" officers investigation.
obviously were not present, within the meaning of Section 5(a), at the time petitioner had allegedly
shot Maguan. Neither could the "arrest" effected six (6) days after the shooting be reasonably Turning to the second issue of whether or not petitioner had waived his right to preliminary
regarded as effected "when [the shooting had] in fact just been committed" within the meaning of investigation, we note that petitioner had from the very beginning demanded that a preliminary
Section 5(b). Moreover, none of the "arresting" officers had any "personal knowledge" of facts investigation be conducted. As earlier pointed out, on the same day that the information for murder
indicating that petitioner was the gunman who had shot Maguan. The information upon which the was filed with the Regional Trial Court, petitioner filed with the Prosecutor an omnibus motion for
police acted had been derived from statements made by alleged eyewitnesses to the shooting — immediate release and preliminary investigation. The Solicitor General contends that that omnibus
one stated that petitioner was the gunman; another was able to take down the alleged gunman's motion should have been filed with the trial court and not with the Prosecutor, and that the
car's plate number which turned out to be registered in petitioner's wife's name. That information petitioner should accordingly be held to have waived his right to preliminary investigation. We do
did not, however, constitute "personal knowledge." 18 not believe that waiver of petitioner's statutory right to preliminary investigation may be predicated
on such a slim basis. The preliminary investigation was to be conducted by the Prosecutor, not by
It is thus clear to the Court that there was no lawful warrantless arrest of petitioner within the the Regional Trial Court. It is true that at the time of filing of petitioner's omnibus motion, the
meaning of Section 5 of Rule 113. It is clear too that Section 7 of Rule 112, which provides: information for murder had already been filed with the Regional Trial Court: it is not clear from the
record whether petitioner was aware of this fact at the time his omnibus motion was actually filed
with the Prosecutor. In Crespo v. Mogul, 19 this Court held:
The preliminary investigation conducted by the fiscal for the purpose of petitioner's claim to a preliminary investigation would be to deprive him the full measure of his right
determining whether a prima facie case exists to warranting the prosecution of to due process.
the accused is terminated upon the filing of the information in the proper court. In
turn, as above stated, the filing of said information sets in motion the criminal The question may be raised whether petitioner still retains his right to a preliminary investigation in
action against the accused in Court. Should the fiscal find it proper to conduct a the instant case considering that he was already arraigned on 23 August 1991. The rule is that the
reinvestigation of the case, at such stage, the permission of the Court must be right to preliminary investigation is waived when the accused fails to invoke it before or at the time
secured. After such reinvestigation the finding and recommendations of the fiscal of entering a plea at arraignment. 22 In the instant case, petitioner Go had vigorously insisted on
should be submitted to the Court for appropriate action.While it is true that the his right to preliminary investigation before his arraignment. At the time of his arraignment,
fiscal has the quasi-judicial discretion to determine whether or not a criminal case petitioner was already before the Court of Appeals on certiorari, prohibition
should be filed in court or not, once the case had already been brought to Court and mandamusprecisely asking for a preliminary investigation before being forced to stand trial.
whatever disposition the fiscal may feel should be proper in the case thereafter
should be addressed for the consideration of the Court. The only qualification is
that the action of the Court must not impair the substantial rights of the accused., Again, in the circumstances of this case, we do not believe that by posting bail petitioner had
or the right of the People to due process of law. waived his right to preliminary investigation. In People v. Selfaison, 23 we did hold that appellants
there had waived their right to preliminary investigation because immediately after their arrest,
they filed bail and proceeded to trial "without previously claiming that they did not have the benefit
xxx xxx xxx of a preliminary investigation." 24 In the instant case, petitioner Go asked for release on
recognizance or on bail and for preliminary investigation in one omnibus motion. He had thus
The rule therefore in this jurisdiction is that once a complaint or information is claimed his right to preliminary investigation before respondent Judge approved the cash bond
filed in Court any disposition of the case [such] as its dismissal or the conviction posted by petitioner and ordered his release on 12 July 1991. Accordingly, we cannot reasonably
or acquittal of the accused rests in the sound discretion of the Court. Although imply waiver of preliminary investigation on the part of petitioner. In fact, when the Prosecutor filed
the fiscal retains the direction and control of the prosecution of criminal cases a motion in court asking for leave to conduct preliminary investigation, he clearly if impliedly
even while the case is already in Court he cannot impose his opinion on the trial recognized that petitioner's claim to preliminary investigation was a legitimate one.
court. The Court is the best and sole judge on what to do with the case before it. .
. . 20 (Citations omitted; emphasis supplied) We would clarify, however, that contrary to petitioner's contention the failure to accord preliminary
investigation, while constituting a denial of the appropriate and full measure of the statutory
Nonetheless, since petitioner in his omnibus motion was asking for preliminary process of criminal justice, did not impair the validity of the information for murder nor affect the
investigation and not for a re-investigation (Crespo v. Mogul involved a re- jurisdiction of the trial court. 25
investigation), and since the Prosecutor himself did file with the trial court, on the 5th day
after filing the information for murder, a motion for leave to conduct preliminary It must also be recalled that the Prosecutor had actually agreed that petitioner was entitled to bail.
investigation (attaching to his motion a copy of petitioner's omnibus motion), we conclude This was equivalent to an acknowledgment on the part of the Prosecutor that the evidence of guilt
that petitioner's omnibus motion was in effect filed with the trial court. What was crystal then in his hands was not strong. Accordingly, we consider that the 17 July 1991 order of
clear was that petitioner did ask for a preliminary investigation on the very day that the respondent Judge recalling his own order granting bail and requiring petitioner to surrender
information was filed without such preliminary investigation, and that the trial court was himself within forty-eight (48) hours from notice, was plainly arbitrary considering that no evidence
five (5) days later apprised of the desire of the petitioner for such preliminary at all — and certainly no new or additional evidence — had been submitted to respondent Judge
investigation. Finally, the trial court did in fact grant the Prosecutor's prayer for leave to that could have justified the recall of his order issued just five (5) days before. It follows that
conduct preliminary investigation. Thus, even on the (mistaken) supposition apparently petitioner was entitled to be released on bail as a matter of right.
made by the Prosecutor that Section 7 of Rule 112 of the Revised Court was applicable,
the 5-day reglementary period in Section 7, Rule 112 must be held to have been
substantially complied with. The final question which the Court must face is this: how does the fact that, in the instant case,
trial on the merits has already commenced, the Prosecutor having already presented four (4)
witnesses, impact upon, firstly, petitioner's right to a preliminary investigation and, secondly,
We believe and so hold that petitioner did not waive his right to a preliminary investigation. While petitioner's right to be released on bail? Does he continue to be entitled to have a preliminary
that right is statutory rather than constitutional in its fundament, since it has in fact been investigation conducted in respect of the charge against him? Does petitioner remain entitled to be
established by statute, it is a component part of due process in criminal justice. 21 The right to have released on bail?
a preliminary investigation conducted before being bound over to trial for a criminal offense and
hence formally at risk of incarceration or some other penalty, is not a mere formal or technical
Turning first to the matter of preliminary investigation, we consider that petitioner remains entitled
right; it is a substantive right. The accused in a criminal trial is inevitably exposed to prolonged
to a preliminary investigation although trial on the merits has already began. Trial on the merits
anxiety, aggravation, humiliation, not to speak of expense; the right to an opportunity to avoid a
should be suspended or held in abeyance and a preliminary investigation forthwith accorded to
process painful to any one save, perhaps, to hardened criminals, is a valuable right. To deny
petitioner. 26 It is true that the Prosecutor might, in view of the evidence that he may at this time merits of the criminal case in the Regional Trial Court shall be SUSPENDED to await the
have on hand, conclude that probable cause exists; upon the other hand, the Prosecutor conclusion of the preliminary investigation.
conceivably could reach the conclusion that the evidence on hand does not warrant a finding of
probable cause. In any event, the constitutional point is that petitioner was not accorded what he Meantime, petitioner is hereby ORDERED released forthwith upon posting of a cash bail bond of
was entitled to by way of procedural due process. 27 Petitioner was forced to undergo arraignment One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00). This release shall be without prejudice to any
and literally pushed to trial without preliminary investigation, with extraordinary haste, to the lawful order that the trial court may issue, should the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor move for
applause from the audience that filled the courtroom. If he submitted to arraignment at trial, cancellation of bail at the conclusion of the preliminary investigation.
petitioner did so "kicking and screaming," in a manner of speaking . During the proceedings held
before the trial court on 23 August 1991, the date set for arraignment of petitioner, and just before
No pronouncement as to costs. This Decision is immediately executory.
arraignment, counsel made very clear petitioner's vigorous protest and objection to the
arraignment precisely because of the denial of preliminary investigation. 28 So energetic and
determined were petitioner's counsel's protests and objections that an obviously angered court SO ORDERED.
and prosecutor dared him to withdraw or walkout, promising to replace him with counsel de oficio.
During the trial, before the prosecution called its first witness, petitioner through counsel once Narvasa, C.J., Bidin, Medialdea, Romero and Nocon, JJ., concur.
again reiterated his objection to going to trial without preliminary investigation: petitioner's counsel
made of record his "continuing objection." 29 Petitioner had promptly gone to the appellate court
on certiorari and prohibition to challenge the lawfulness of the procedure he was being forced to
undergo and the lawfulness of his detention.30 If he did not walk out on the trial, and if he cross-
examined the prosecution's witnesses, it was because he was extremely loath to be represented
by counsel de oficio selected by the trial judge, and to run the risk of being held to have waived
also his right to use what is frequently the only test of truth in the judicial process.

In respect of the matter of bail, we similarly believe and so hold that petitioner remains entitled to
be released on bail as a matter of right. Should the evidence already of record concerning
petitioner's guilt be, in the reasonable belief of the Prosecutor, strong, the Prosecutor may move in
the trial court for cancellation of petitioner's bail. It would then be up to the trial court, after a
careful and objective assessment of the evidence on record, to grant or deny the motion for
cancellation of bail.

To reach any other conclusions here, that is, to hold that petitioner's rights to a preliminary
investigation and to bail were effectively obliterated by evidence subsequently admitted into the
record would be to legitimize the deprivation of due process and to permit the Government to
benefit from its own wrong or culpable omission and effectively to dilute important rights of
accused persons well-nigh to the vanishing point. It may be that to require the State to accord
petitioner his rights to a preliminary investigation and to bail at this point, could turn out ultimately
to be largely a ceremonial exercise. But the Court is not compelled to speculate. And, in any case,
it would not be idleceremony; rather, it would be a celebration by the State of the rights and
liberties of its own people and a re-affirmation of its obligation and determination to respect those
rights and liberties.

ACCORDINGLY, the Court resolved to GRANT the Petition for Review on Certiorari. The Order of
the trial court dated 17 July 1991 is hereby SET ASIDE and NULLIFIED, and the Decision of the
Court of Appeals dated 23 September 1991 hereby REVERSED.

The Office of the Provincial Prosecutor is hereby ORDERED to conduct forthwith a preliminary
investigation of the charge of murder against petitioner Go, and to complete such preliminary
investigation within a period of fifteen (15) days from commencement thereof. The trial on the
THIRD DIVISION as maximum".[11] Petitioner filed his notice of appeal on April 28, 1994.[12] Pending the appeal in
the respondent Court of Appeals,[13] the Solicitor-General, convinced that the conviction shows
strong evidence of guilt, filed on December 2, 1994 a motion to cancel petitioner's bail bond. The
resolution of this motion was incorporated in the now assailed respondent court's decision
[G.R. No. 121917. March 12, 1997] sustaining petitioner's conviction,[14] the dispositive portion of which reads:
"WHEREFORE, the foregoing circumstances considered, the appealed decision is
hereby AFFIRMED, and furthermore, the P200,000.00 bailbond posted by accused-
appellant for his provisional liberty, FGU Insurance Corporation Bond No. JCR (2) 6523,
ROBIN CARIO PADILLA @ ROBINHOOD PADILLA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and is hereby cancelled. The Regional Trial Court, Branch 61, Angeles City, is directed to
PEOPLE of the PHILIPPINES, respondents. issue the Order of Arrest of accused-appellant and thereafter his transmittal to the
National Bureau of Prisons thru the Philippine National Police where the said accused-
DECISION appellant shall remain under confinement pending resolution of his appeal, should he
appeal to the Supreme Court.This shall be immediately executory. The Regional Trial
FRANCISCO, J.: Court is further directed to submit a report of compliance herewith.

On October 26, 1992, high-powered firearms with live ammunitions were found in the SO ORDERED."[15]
possession of petitioner Robin Padilla @ Robinhood Padilla, i.e.:
"(1) One .357 Caliber revolver, Smith and Wesson, SN-32919 with six (6) live Petitioner received a copy of this decision on July 26, 1995. [16] On August 9, 1995 he filed a
ammunitions; "motion for reconsideration (and to recall the warrant of arrest)"[17] but the same was denied by
respondent court in its September 20, 1995 Resolution,[18] copy of which was received by
"(2) One M-16 Baby Armalite rifle, SN-RP 131120 with four (4) long and one (1) petitioner on September 27, 1995. The next day, September 28, petitioner filed the instant petition
short magazine with ammunitions; for review on certiorariwith application for bail[19] followed by two "supplemental petitions" filed by
different counsels,[20] a "second supplemental petition"[21] and an urgent motion for the separate
"(3) One .380 Pietro Beretta, SN-A 35723 Y with clip and eight (8) ammunitions; and resolution of his application for bail. Again, the Solicitor-General[22] sought the denial of the
"(4) Six additional live double action ammunitions of .38 caliber revolver."[1] application for bail, to which the Court agreed in a Resolution promulgated on July 31,
1996.[23] The Court also granted the Solicitor-General's motion to file a consolidated comment on
Petitioner was correspondingly charged on December 3, 1992, before the Regional Trial the petitions and thereafter required the petitioner to file his reply.[24] However, after his vigorous
Court (RTC) of Angeles City with illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions under P.D. resistance and success on the intramural of bail (both in the respondent court and this Court) and
1866[2] thru the following Information:[3] thorough exposition of petitioner's guilt in his 55-page Brief in the respondent court, the Solicitor-
General now makes a complete turnabout by filing a "Manifestation In Lieu Of Comment" praying
"That on or about the 26th day of October, 1992, in the City of Angeles, Philippines, and for petitioner's acquittal.[25]
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession and under his custody The People's detailed narration of facts, well-supported by evidence on record and given
and control one (1) M-16 Baby Armalite rifle, SN-RP 131120 with four (4) long and one credence by respondent court, is as follows:[26]
(1) short magazines with ammunitions, one (1) .357 caliber revolver Smith and Wesson,
SN-32919 with six (6) live ammunitions and one (1) .380 Pietro Beretta, SN-A35723Y "At about 8:00 o'clock in the evening of October 26, 1992, Enrique Manarang and his
with clip and eight (8) ammunitions, without having the necessary authority and permit to compadre Danny Perez were inside the Manukan sa Highway Restaurant in Sto. Kristo,
carry and possess the same. Angeles City where they took shelter from the heavy downpour (pp. 5-6, TSN, February
15, 1993) that had interrupted their ride on motorcycles (pp. 5-6, ibid.) along McArthur
ALL CONTRARY TO LAW."[4] Highway (ibid). While inside the restaurant, Manarang noticed a vehicle, a Mitsubishi
Pajero, running fast down the highway prompting him to remark that the vehicle might
The lower court then ordered the arrest of petitioner,[5] but granted his application for bail.[6] During get into an accident considering the inclement weather. (p. 7, Ibid) In the local
the arraignment on January 20, 1993, a plea of not guilty was entered for petitioner after he vernacular, he said thus: 'Ka bilis na, mumuran pa naman pota makaaksidente ya.' (p.
refused,[7] upon advice of counsel,[8] to make any plea.[9] Petitioner waived in writing his right to be 7, ibid). True enough, immediately after the vehicle had passed the restaurant,
present in any and all stages of the case.[10] Manarang and Perez heard a screeching sound produced by the sudden and hard
After trial, Angeles City RTC Judge David Rosete rendered judgment dated April 25, 1994 braking of a vehicle running very fast (pp. 7-8, ibid) followed by a sickening sound of the
convicting petitioner of the crime charged and sentenced him to an "indeterminate penalty from 17 vehicle hitting something (p. 8, ibid). Danny Cruz, quite sure of what had happened,
years, 4 months and 1 day of reclusion temporal as minimum, to 21 years of reclusion perpetua,
remarked 'oy ta na' signifying that Manarang had been right in his observation (pp. 8- vehicle bore the identifying number PMA 777 and he followed it (p. 15, ibid) towards the
9, ibid). Abacan bridge.
"Manarang and Cruz went out to investigate and immediately saw the vehicle occupying "Soon the vehicle was within sight of SPO2 Borja and SPO2 Miranda of Mobile No. 3 (p.
the edge or shoulder of the highway giving it a slight tilt to its side (pp. 9- 10, TSN, February 23, 1993). When the vehicle was about twelve (12) meters away
10, ibid). Manarang, being a member of both the Spectrum, a civic group and the from their position, the two police officers boarded their Mobile car, switched on the
Barangay Disaster Coordinating Council, decided to report the incident to the Philippine engine, operated the siren and strobe light and drove out to intercept the vehicle (p.
National Police of Angeles City (p. 10, ibid). He took out his radio and called the Viper, 11, ibid). They cut into the path of the vehicle forcing it to stop (p. 11, ibid).
the radio controller of the Philippine National Police of Angeles City (p. 10, ibid). By the
time Manarang completed the call, the vehicle had started to leave the place of the "SPO2 Borja and SPO2 Miranda alighted from Mobile No. 3 (P. 12, TSN, February 23,
accident taking the general direction to the north (p. 11, ibid). 1993). SPO2 Miranda went to the vehicle with plate number PMA 777 and instructed its
driver to alight (p. 12, ibid). The driver rolled down the window and put his head out
"Manarang went to the location of the accident and found out that the vehicle had hit while raising both his hands. They recognized the driver as Robin C. Padilla, appellant
somebody (p. 11, ibid). in this case (p. 13, ibid). There was no one else with him inside the vehicle (p. 24). At
that moment, Borja noticed that Manarang arrived and stopped his motorcycle behind
"He asked Cruz to look after the victim while he went back to the restaurant, rode on his the vehicle of appellant (p. 14, ibid). SPO2 Miranda told appellant to alight to which
motorcycle and chased the vehicle (p. 11 ibid). During the chase he was able to make appellant complied.Appellant was wearing a short leather jacket (p. 16, TSN, March 8,
out the plate number of the vehicle as PMA 777 (p. 33, TSN, February 15, 1993). He 1993) such that when he alighted with both his hands raised, a gun (Exhibit 'C') tucked
called the Viper through the radio once again (p. 34, ibid) reporting that a vehicle on the left side of his waist was revealed (p. 15, TSN, February 23, 1993), its butt
heading north with plate number PMA 777 was involved in a hit and run accident (p. 20, protruding (p. 15, ibid). SPO2 Borja made the move to confiscate the gun but appellant
TSN, June 8, 1993). The Viper, in the person of SPO2 Ruby Buan, upon receipt of the held the former's hand alleging that the gun was covered by legal papers (p.
second radio call flashed the message to all units of PNP Angeles City with the order to 16, ibid). SPO2 Borja, however, insisted that if the gun really was covered by legal
apprehend the vehicle (p. 20, ibid). One of the units of the PNP Angeles City reached by papers, it would have to be shown in the office (p. 16, ibid). After disarming appellant,
the alarm was its Patrol Division at Jake Gonzales Street near the Traffic Division (pp. 5- SPO2 Borja told him about the hit and run incident which was angrily denied by
7, TSN, February 23, 1993). SPO2 Juan C. Borja III and SPO2 Emerlito Miranda appellant (p. 17, ibid). By that time, a crowd had formed at the place (p. 19, ibid). SPO2
immediately borded a mobile patrol vehicle (Mobile No. 3) and positioned themselves Borja checked the cylinder of the gun and find six (6) live bullets inside (p. 20, ibid).
near the south approach of Abacan bridge since it was the only passable way going to
the north (pp. 8-9, ibid). It took them about ten (10) seconds to cover the distance "While SPO2 Borja and appellant were arguing, Mobile No. 7 with SPO Ruben Mercado,
between their office and the Abacan bridge (p. 9, ibid). SPO3 Tan and SPO2 Odejar on board arrived (pp. 11-12, TSN, March 8, 1993). As the
most senior police officer in the group, SPO Mercado took over the matter and informed
"Another PNP mobile patrol vehicle that responded to the flash message from SPO2 appellant that he was being arrested for the hit and run incident (p. 13, ibid). He pointed
Buan was Mobile No. 7 of the Pulongmaragal Detachment which was then conducting out to appellant the fact that the plate number of his vehicle was dangling and the railing
patrol along Don Juico Avenue (pp. 8-9, TSN, March 8, 1993). On board were SPO and the hood were dented (p. 12, ibid). Appellant, however, arrogantly denied his
Ruben Mercado and SPO3 Tan and SPO2 Odejar (p. 8, ibid). SPO Ruben Mercado misdeed and, instead, played with the crowd by holding their hands with one hand and
immediately told SPO3 Tan to proceed to the MacArthur Highway to intercept the pointing to SPO3 Borja with his right hand saying 'iyan, kinuha ang baril ko' (pp. 13-
vehicle with plate number PMA 777 (p. 10, ibid). 15, ibid). Because appellant's jacket was short, his gesture exposed a long magazine of
"In the meantime, Manarang continued to chase the vehicle which figured in the hit and an armalite rifle tucked in appellant's back right pocket (p. 16, ibid). SPO Mercado saw
run incident, even passing through a flooded portion of the MacArthur Highway two (2) this and so when appellant turned around as he was talking and proceeding to his
feet deep in front of the Iglesia ni Kristo church but he could not catch up with the same vehicle, Mercado confiscated the magazine from appellant (pp. 16-17, ibid). Suspecting
vehicle (pp. 11-12, February 15, 1993). When he saw that the car he was chasing went that appellant could also be carrying a rifle inside the vehicle since he had a magazine,
towards Magalang, he proceeded to Abacan bridge because he knew Pulongmaragal SPO2 Mercado prevented appellant from going back to his vehicle by opening himself
was not passable (pp. 12-14, ibid). When he reached the Abacan bridge, he found the door of appellant's vehicle (16-17, ibid). He saw a baby armalite rifle (Exhibit D) lying
Mobile No. 3 and SPO2 Borja and SPO2 Miranda watching all vehicles coming their way horizontally at the front by the driver's seat. It had a long magazine filled with live bullets
(p. 10, TSN, February 23, 1993). He approached them and informed them that there in a semi-automatic mode (pp. 17-21, ibid). He asked appellant for the papers covering
was a hit and run incident (p. 10, ibid). Upon learning that the two police officers already the rifle and appellant answered angrily that they were at his home (pp. 26-
knew about the incident, Manarang went back to where he came from (pp. 10- 27, ibid). SPO Mercado modified the arrest of appellant by including as its ground illegal
11; ibid). When Manarang was in front of Tina's Restaurant, he saw the vehicle that had possession of firearms (p. 28, ibid). SPO Mercado then read to appellant his
figured in the hit and run incident emerging from the corner adjoining Tina's Restaurant constitutional rights (pp. 28-29, ibid).
(p. 15, TSN, February 15, 1993). He saw that the license plate hanging in front of the
"The police officers brought appellant to the Traffic Division at Jake Gonzales Boulevard Paragraph (a) requires that the person be arrested (i) after he has committed or while he is
(pp. 31-32, ibid) where appellant voluntarily surrendered a third firearm, a pietro berreta actually committing or is at least attempting to commit an offense, (ii) in the presence of the
pistol (Exhibit 'L') with a single round in its chamber and a magazine (pp. 33-35, ibid) arresting officer or private person.[29] Both elements concurred here, as it has been established
loaded with seven (7) other live bullets. Appellant also voluntarily surrendered a black that petitioner's vehicle figured in a hit and run - an offense committed in the "presence" of
bag containing two additional long magazines and one short magazine (Exhibits M, N, Manarang, a private person, who then sought to arrest petitioner. It must be stressed at this point
and O, pp. 36-37, ibid). After appellant had been interrogated by the Chief of the Traffic that "presence" does not only require that the arresting person sees the offense, but also when he
Division, he was transferred to the Police Investigation Division at Sto. Rosario Street "hears the disturbance created thereby AND proceeds at once to the scene." [30] As testified to by
beside the City Hall Building where he and the firearms and ammunitions were turned Manarang, he heard the screeching of tires followed by a thud, saw the sideswiped victim
over to SPO2 Rene Jesus Gregorio (pp. 5-10, TSN, July 13, 1993). During the (balut vendor), reported the incident to the police and thereafter gave chase to the erring Pajero
investigation, appellant admitted possession of the firearms stating that he used them vehicle using his motorcycle in order to apprehend its driver. After having sent a radio report to the
for shooting (p. 14, ibid). He was not able to produce any permit to carry or PNP for assistance, Manarang proceeded to the Abacan bridge where he found responding
memorandum receipt to cover the three firearms (pp. 16-18, TSN, January 25, 1994). policemen SPO2 Borja and SPO2 Miranda already positioned near the bridge who effected the
actual arrest of petitioner.[31]
"On November 28, 1992, a certification (Exhibit 'F') was issued by Captain, Senior
Inspector Mario Espino, PNP, Chief, Record Branch of the Firearms and Explosives Petitioner would nonetheless insist on the illegality of his arrest by arguing that the policemen
Office (pp. 7-8, TSN, March 4, 1993). The Certification stated that the three firearms who actually arrested him were not at the scene of the hit and run.[32] We beg to disagree. That
confiscated from appellant, an M-16 Baby armalite rifle SN-RP 131280, a .357 caliber Manarang decided to seek the aid of the policemen (who admittedly were nowhere in the vicinity
revolver Smith and Wesson SN 32919 and a .380 Pietro Beretta SN-A35720, were not of the hit and run) in effecting petitioner's arrest, did not in any way affect the propriety of the
registered in the name of Robin C. Padilla (p. 6, ibid). A second Certification dated apprehension. It was in fact the most prudent action Manarang could have taken rather than
December 11, 1992 issued by Captain Espino stated that the three firearms were not collaring petitioner by himself, inasmuch as policemen are unquestionably better trained and well-
also registered in the name of Robinhood C. Padilla (p. 10, ibid)." equipped in effecting an arrest of a suspect (like herein petitioner) who , in all probability, could
have put up a degree of resistance which an untrained civilian may not be able to contain without
Petitioner's defenses are as follows: (1) that his arrest was illegal and consequently, the endangering his own life. Moreover, it is a reality that curbing lawlessness gains more success
firearms and ammunitions taken in the course thereof are inadmissible in evidence under the when law enforcers function in collaboration with private citizens. It is precisely through this
exclusionary rule; (2) that he is a confidential agent authorized, under a Mission Order and cooperation, that the offense herein involved fortunately did not become an additional entry to the
Memorandum Receipt, to carry the subject firearms; and (3) that the penalty for simple illegal long list of unreported and unsolved crimes.
possession constitutes excessive and cruel punishment proscribed by the 1987 Constitution.
It is appropriate to state at this juncture that a suspect, like petitioner herein, cannot defeat
After a careful review of the records[27]of this case, the Court is convinced that petitioner's the arrest which has been set in motion in a public place for want of a warrant as the police was
guilt of the crime charged stands on terra firma, notwithstanding the Solicitor-General's change of confronted by an urgent need to render aid or take action.[33] The exigent circumstances of - hot
heart. pursuit,[34] a fleeing suspect, a moving vehicle, the public place and the raining nighttime - all
Anent the first defense, petitioner questions the legality of his arrest. There is no dispute that created a situation in which speed is essential and delay improvident. [35] The Court acknowledges
no warrant was issued for the arrest of petitioner, but that per se did not make his apprehension at police authority to make the forcible stop since they had more than mere "reasonable and
the Abacan bridge illegal. articulable" suspicion that the occupant of the vehicle has been engaged in criminal
activity.[36] Moreover, when caught in flagrante delicto with possession of an unlicensed firearm
Warrantless arrests are sanctioned in the following instances:[28] (Smith & Wesson) and ammunition (M-16 magazine), petitioner's warrantless arrest was proper as
he was again actually committing another offense (illegal possession of firearm and ammunitions)
"Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace officer or a private person may, and this time in the presence of a peace officer.[37]
without a warrant, arrest a person:
Besides, the policemen's warrantless arrest of petitioner could likewise be justified under
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually paragraph (b) as he had in fact just committed an offense. There was no supervening event or a
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; considerable lapse of time between the hit and run and the actual apprehension. Moreover, after
(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal having stationed themselves at the Abacan bridge in response to Manarang's report, the
knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it. policemen saw for themselves the fast approaching Pajero of petitioner, [38] its dangling plate
number (PMA 777 as reported by Manarang), and the dented hood and railings thereof.[39] These
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal formed part of the arresting police officer's personal knowledge of the facts indicating that
establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily petitioner's Pajero was indeed the vehicle involved in the hit and run incident. Verily then, the
confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from arresting police officers acted upon verified personal knowledge and not on unreliable hearsay
one confinement to another. information.[40]
Furthermore, in accordance with settled jurisprudence, any objection, defect or irregularity person, they are not precluded from performing their duties as police officers for the
attending an arrest must be made before the accused enters his plea.[41] Petitioner's belated apprehension of the guilty person and the taking of the corpus delicti."[53]
challenge thereto aside from his failure to quash the information, his participation in the trial and
by presenting his evidence, placed him in estoppel to assail the legality of his arrest.[42] Likewise, "Objects whose possession are prohibited by law inadvertently found in plain view are
by applying for bail, petitioner patently waived such irregularities and defects.[43] subject to seizure even without a warrant."[54]

We now go to the firearms and ammunitions seized from petitioner without a search warrant, With respect to the Berreta pistol and a black bag containing assorted magazines, petitioner
the admissibility in evidence of which, we uphold. voluntarily surrendered them to the police.[55] This latter gesture of petitioner indicated a waiver of
his right against the alleged search and seizure[56], and that his failure to quash the information
The five (5) well-settled instances when a warrantless search and seizure of property is estopped him from assailing any purported defect.[57]
valid,[44] are as follows:
Even assuming that the firearms and ammunitions were products of an active search done by
1. warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest recognized under Section 12, the authorities on the person and vehicle of petitioner, their seizure without a search warrant
Rule 126 of the Rules of Court[45] and by prevailing jurisprudence[46], nonetheless can still be justified under a search incidental to a lawful arrest (first instance). Once
the lawful arrest was effected, the police may undertake a protective search [58] of the passenger
2. Seizure of evidence in "plain view", the elements of which are:[47] compartment and containers in the vehicle[59] which are within petitioner's grabbing distance
(a). a prior valid intrusion based on the valid warrantless arrest in which regardless of the nature of the offense.[60] This satisfied the two-tiered test of an incidental search:
the police are legally present in the pursuit of their official duties; (i) the item to be searched (vehicle) was within the arrestee's custody or area of immediate
control[61] and (ii) the search was contemporaneous with the arrest.[62] The products of that search
(b). the evidence was inadvertently discovered by the police who had are admissible evidence not excluded by the exclusionary rule. Another justification is a search of
the right to be where they are; a moving vehicle (third instance). In connection therewith, a warrantless search is constitutionally
permissible when, as in this case, the officers conducting the search have reasonable or probable
(c). the evidence must be immediately apparent, and cause to believe, before the search, that either the motorist is a law-offender (like herein petitioner
(d). "plain view" justified mere seizure of evidence without further with respect to the hit and run) or the contents or cargo of the vehicle are or have been
search.[48] instruments or the subject matter or the proceeds of some criminal offense.[63]

3. search of a moving vehicle.[49] Highly regulated by the government, the vehicle's Anent his second defense, petitioner contends that he could not be convicted of violating
inherent mobility reduces expectation of privacy especially when its transit in public P.D. 1866 because he is an appointed civilian agent authorized to possess and carry the subject
thoroughfares furnishes a highly reasonable suspicion amounting to probable firearms and ammunition as evidenced by a Mission Order[64] and Memorandum Receipt duly
cause that the occupant committed a criminal activity.[50] issued by PNP Supt. Rodialo Gumtang, the deputy commander of Task Force Aguila, Lianga,
Surigao del Sur. The contention lacks merit.
4. consented warrantless search, and In crimes involving illegal possession of firearm, two requisites must be established, viz.: (1)
the existence of the subject firearm and, (2) the fact that the accused who owned or possessed
5. customs search. the firearm does not have the corresponding license or permit to possess.[65] The first element is
beyond dispute as the subject firearms and ammunitions [66] were seized from petitioner's
possession via a valid warrantless search, identified and offered in evidence during trial. As to the
In conformity with respondent court's observation, it indeed appears that the authorities
second element, the same was convincingly proven by the prosecution. Indeed, petitioner's
stumbled upon petitioner's firearms and ammunitions without even undertaking any active search
purported Mission Order and Memorandum Receipt are inferior in the face of the more formidable
which, as it is commonly understood, is a prying into hidden places for that which is
evidence for the prosecution as our meticulous review of the records reveals that the Mission
concealed.[51] The seizure of the Smith & Wesson revolver and an M-16 rifle magazine was
Order and Memorandum Receipt were mere afterthoughts contrived and issued under suspicious
justified for they came within "plain view" of the policemen who inadvertently discovered the
circumstances. On this score, we lift from respondent court's incisive observation. Thus:
revolver and magazine tucked in petitioner's waist and back pocket respectively, when he raised
his hands after alighting from his Pajero. The same justification applies to the confiscation of the "Appellant's contention is predicated on the assumption that the Memorandum Receipts
M-16 armalite rifle which was immediately apparent to the policemen as they took a casual glance and Mission Order were issued before the subject firearms were seized and confiscated
at the Pajero and saw said rifle lying horizontally near the driver's seat. [52] Thus it has been held from him by the police officers in Angeles City. That is not so. The evidence adduced
that: indicate that the Memorandum Receipts and Mission Order were prepared and
executed long after appellant had been apprehended on October 26, 1992.
"(W)hen in pursuing an illegal action or in the commission of a criminal offense, the . . .
police officers should happen to discover a criminal offense being committed by any "Appellant, when apprehended, could not show any document as proof of his authority
to possess and carry the subject firearms. During the preliminary investigation of the
charge against him for illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions he could not, commander. Having emanated from an unauthorized source, petitioner's Mission Order and
despite the ample time given him, present any proper document showing his authority. If Memorandum Receipt are infirm and lacking in force and effect. Besides, the Mission Order
he had, in actuality, the Memorandum Receipts and Missions Order, he could have covers "Recom 1-12-Baguio City,"[72] areas outside Supt. Gumtang's area of responsibility thereby
produced those documents easily, if not at the time of apprehension, at least during the needing prior approval "by next higher Headquarters"[73] which is absent in this case. The
preliminary investigation. But neither appellant nor his counsel inform the prosecutor Memorandum Receipt is also unsupported by a certification as required by the March 5, 1988
that appellant is authorized to possess and carry the subject firearms under Memorandum of the Secretary of Defense which pertinently provides that:
Memorandum Receipt and Mission Order. At the initial presentation of his evidence in
court, appellant could have produced these documents to belie the charged against "No memorandum receipt shall be issued for a CCS firearms without
him. Appellant did not. He did not even take the witness stand to explain his possession corresponding certification from the corresponding Responsible Supply Officer of
of the subject firearms. the appropriate AFP unit that such firearm has been officially taken up in that units
property book, and that report of such action has been reported to higher AFP
"Even in appellant's Demurrer to Evidence filed after the prosecution rested contain no authority."
allegation of a Memorandum Receipts and Mission Order authorizing appellant to
possess and carry the subject firearms. Had petitioner's Memorandum Receipt been authentic, we see no reason why he cannot present
the corresponding certification as well.
"At the initial presentation of appellant's evidence, the witness cited was one James
Neneng to whom a subpoena was issued. Superintendent Gumtang was not even What is even more peculiar is that petitioner's name, as certified to by the Director for
mentioned. James Neneng appeared in court but was not presented by the Personnel of the PNP, does not even appear in the Plantilla of Non-Uniform Personnel or in the
defense. Subsequent hearings were reset until the defense found Superintendent list of Civilian Agents or Employees of the PNP which could justify the issuance of a Mission
Gumtang who appeared in court without subpoena on January 13, 1994."[67] Order, a fact admitted by petitioner's counsel.[74] The implementing rules of P.D. 1866 issued by
the then PC-INP Chief and Director-General Lt. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos are clear and unambiguous,
The Court is baffled why petitioner failed to produce and present the Mission Order and thus:
Memorandum Receipt if they were really issued and existing before his apprehension. Petitioner's
alternative excuses that the subject firearms were intended for theatrical purposes, or that they "No Mission Order shall be issued to any civilian agent authorizing the same to
were owned by the Presidential Security Group, or that his Mission Order and Memorandum carry firearms outside residence unless he/she is included in the regular plantilla
Receipt were left at home, further compound their irregularity. As to be reasonably expected, an of the government agency involved in law enforcement and is receiving regular
accused claiming innocence, like herein petitioner, would grab the earliest opportunity to present compensation for the services he/she is rendering in the agency. Further, the
the Mission Order and Memorandum Receipt in question and save himself from the long and civilian agent must be included in a specific law enforcement/police/intelligence project
agonizing public trial and spare him from proffering inconsistent excuses. In fact, the Mission proposal or special project which specifically required the use of firearms(s) to insure its
Order itself, as well as the Letter-Directive of the AFP Chief of Staff, is explicit in providing that: accomplishment and that the project is duly approved at the PC Regional Command
level or its equivalent level in other major services of the AFP, INP and NBI, or at higher
"VIII. c. When a Mission Order is requested for verification by enforcement levels of command."[75]
units/personnels such as PNP, Military Brigade and other Military Police Units of
AFP, the Mission Order should be shown without resentment to avoid Circular No. 1, dated January 6, 1986, of the then Ministry of Justice likewise provides as follows:
embarrassment and/or misunderstanding. "If mission orders are issued to civilians (not members of the uniformed service), they
"IX. d. Implicit to this Mission Order is the injunction that the confidential instruction must be civilian agents included in the regular plantilla of the government agency
will be carried out through all legal means and do not cover an actuation in involved in law enforcement and are receiving regular compensation for the service they
violation of laws. In the latter event, this Mission Order is rendered inoperative in are rendering."
respect to such violation."[68] That petitioner's Mission Order and Memorandum Receipt were fabricated pieces of evidence is
which directive petitioner failed to heed without cogent explanation. accentuated all the more by the testimony and certification of the Chief of the Records Branch of
the firearms and Explosives Office of the PNP declaring that petitioner's confiscated firearms are
The authenticity and validity of the Mission Order and Memorandum Receipt, moreover, were not licensed or registered in the name of the petitioner.[76] Thus:
ably controverted. Witness for the prosecution Police Supt. Durendes denied under oath his
signature on the dorsal side of the Mission Order and declared further that he did not authorize "Q. In all these files that you have just mentioned Mr. Witness, what did you find, if any?
anyone to sign in his behalf.[69] His surname thereon, we note, was glaringly misspelled as "A. I found that a certain Robin C. Padilla is a licensed registered owner of one 9 mm
"Durembes."[70] In addition, only Unit Commanders and Chief of Offices have the authority to issue pistol, Smith and Wesson with Serial No. TCT 8214 and the following firearms
Mission Orders and Memorandum Receipts under the Guidelines on the Issuance of MOs, MRs, & being asked whether it is registered or not, I did not find any records, the M-
PCFORs.[71]PNP Supt. Rodialo Gumtang who issued petitioner's Mission Order and Memorandum 16 and the caliber .357 and the caliber .380 but there is a firearm with the
Receipt is neither a Unit Commander nor the Chief of Office, but a mere deputy
same serial number which is the same as that licensed and/or registered in (Sgd.)
the name of one Albert Villanueva Fallorina.
"Q. So in short, the only licensed firearms in the name of accused Robin C. Padilla JOSE MARIO M.
is a pistol, Smith and Wesson, caliber 9 mm with Serial No. TCT 8214? ESPINO
Sr. Inspector, PNP
"A. Yes, sir. Chief, Records Branch" [78]
"Q. And the firearms that were the subject of this case are not listed in the names
of the accused in this case? In several occasions, the Court has ruled that either the testimony of a representative of, or
a certification from, the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) attesting that a person is not a
"A. Yes, sir.[77] licensee of any firearm would suffice to prove beyond reasonable doubt the second element of
illegal possession of firearm.[79] In People vs. Tobias,[80] we reiterated that such certification is
xxx xxx xxx sufficient to show that a person has in fact no license. From the foregoing discussion, the fact that
And the certification which provides as follows: petitioner does not have the license or permit to possess was overwhelmingly proven by the
prosecution. The certification may even be dispensed with in the light of the evidence [81] that an M-
16 rifle and any short firearm higher than a .38 caliber pistol, akin to the confiscated firearms,
Republic of the Philippines cannot be licensed to a civilian,[82] as in the case of petitioner. The Court, therefore, entertains no
Department of the Interior and Local Government doubt in affirming petitioner's conviction especially as we find no plausible reason, and none was
GENERAL HEADQUARTERS PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE presented, to depart from the factual findings of both the trial court and respondent court which, as
FIREARMS AND EXPLOSIVES OFFICE a rule, are accorded by the Court with respect and finality.[83]
Camp Crame, Quezon City
Anent his third defense, petitioner faults respondent court "in applying P.D. 1866 in a
"PNPFEO5 28 November 1992 democratic ambience (sic) and a non-subversive context" and adds that respondent court should
have applied instead the previous laws on illegal possession of firearms since the reason for the
penalty imposed under P.D. 1866 no longer exists.[84] He stresses that the penalty of 17 years and
"C E R T I F I C A T I O N 4 months to 21 years for simple illegal possession of firearm is cruel and excessive in
contravention of the Constitution.[85]
"TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
The contentions do not merit serious consideration. The trial court and the respondent court
are bound to apply the governing law at the time of appellant's commission of the offense for it is a
"THIS IS TO CERTIFY that Robin C. Padilla of 59 Labo St., Quezon City is a licensed/registered
rule that laws are repealed only by subsequent ones.[86] Indeed, it is the duty of judicial officers to
holder of Pistol Smith and Wesson Cal 9mm with serial number TCT8214 covered by License No.
respect and apply the law as it stands.[87] And until its repeal, respondent court can not be faulted
RL M76C4476687.
for applying P.D. 1866 which abrogated the previous statutes adverted to by petitioner.

"Further certify that the following firearms are not registered with this Office per Equally lacking in merit is appellant's allegation that the penalty for simple illegal possession
verification from available records on file this Office as of this date: is unconstitutional. The penalty for simple possession of firearm, it should be stressed, ranges
from reclusion temporal maximum to reclusion perpetua contrary to appellant's erroneous
M16 Baby Armalite SN-RP131120 averment. The severity of a penalty does not ipso facto make the same cruel and excessive.
Revolver Cal 357 SN-3219
Pistol Cal 380 Pietro Beretta SN-35723 "It takes more than merely being harsh, excessive, out of proportion, or severe for a penalty to be
obnoxious to the Constitution. 'The fact that the punishment authorized by the statute is severe
"However, we have on file one Pistol Cal 380, Beretta with serial number 35723Y, does not make it cruel and unusual.' (24 C.J.S., 1187-1188). Expressed in other terms, it has been
licensed/registered to one Albert Villanueva Fallorina of 29 San Juan St., Capitol Pasig, MM under held that to come under the ban, the punishment must be 'flagrantly and plainly
Re-Registered License. oppressive', 'wholly disproportionate to the nature of the offense as to shock the moral sense of
the community' "[88]
"This certification is issued pursuant to Subpoena from City of Angeles.
It is well-settled that as far as the constitutional prohibition goes, it is not so much the extent as the
nature of the punishment that determines whether it is, or is not, cruel and unusual and that
"FOR THE CHIEF, FEO: sentences of imprisonment, though perceived to be harsh, are not cruel or unusual if within
statutory limits.[89]
Moreover, every law has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality. The burden of
proving the invalidity of the statute in question lies with the appellant which burden, we note, was
not convincingly discharged. To justify nullification of the law, there must be a clear and
unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not a doubtful and argumentative implication,[90] as in this
case. In fact, the constitutionality of P.D. 1866 has been upheld twice by this Court. [91] Just
recently, the Court declared that "the pertinent laws on illegal possession of firearms [are not]
contrary to any provision of the Constitution. . ."[92] Appellant's grievance on the wisdom of the
prescribed penalty should not be addressed to us. Courts are not concerned with the wisdom,
efficacy or morality of laws. That question falls exclusively within the province of Congress which
enacts them and the Chief Executive who approves or vetoes them. The only function of the
courts, we reiterate, is to interpret and apply the laws.
With respect to the penalty imposed by the trial court as affirmed by respondent court (17
years 4 months and 1 day of reclusion temporal, as minimum, to 21 years of reclusion perpetua,
as maximum), we reduce the same in line with the fairly recent case of People v. Lian[93] where the
Court en banc provided that the indeterminate penalty imposable for simple illegal possession of
firearm, without any mitigating or aggravating circumstance, should be within the range of ten (10)
years and one (1) day to twelve years (12) of prision mayor, as minimum, to eighteen (18) years,
eight (8) months and one (1) day to twenty (20) of reclusion temporal, as maximum. This is
discernible from the following explanation by the Court:

"In the case at bar, no mitigating or aggravating circumstances have been alleged or proved, In
accordance with the doctrine regarding special laws explained in People v. Simon,[94] although
Presidential Decree No. 1866 is a special law, the penalties therein were taken from the Revised
Penal Code, hence the rules in said Code for graduating by degrees or determining the proper
period should be applied. Consequently, the penalty for the offense of simple illegal possession of
firearm is the medium period of the complex penalty in said Section 1, that is, 18 years, 8 months
and 1 day to 20 years.

"This penalty, being that which is to be actually imposed in accordance with the rules therefor and
not merely imposable as a general prescription under the law, shall be the maximum of the range
of the indeterminate sentence. The minimum thereof shall be taken, as aforesaid, from any period
of the penalty next lower in degree, which is, prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion
temporal in its medium period.[95]

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the Court of Appeals sustaining


petitioner's conviction by the lower court of the crime of simple illegal possession of firearms and
ammunitions is AFFIRMED EXCEPT that petitioner's indeterminate penalty is MODIFIED to ten
(10) years and one (1) day, as minimum, to eighteen (18) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day,
as maximum.
SO ORDERED
Narvasa, C.J. (Chairman), Davide, Jr., Melo, and Panganiban, concur.
THIRD DIVISION By way of defense, petitioner testified that on said evening, he was sleeping in his house and
was awakened only when the policemen handcuffed him. He alleged that the policemen were
looking for his brother-in-law Lauro, and when they could not find the latter, he was instead
brought to the police station for investigation and later indicted for possession of prohibited
[G.R. No. 120431. April 1, 1998] drugs. His wife Myrna corroborated his story.
The trial court rejected petitioners defense as a mere afterthought and found the version of
the prosecution more credible and trustworthy.

RODOLFO ESPANO, accused-petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE Thus, on August 14, 1992, the trial court rendered a decision, convicting petitioner of the
PHILIPPINES, respondents. crime charged, the dispositive portion of which reads:

DECISION WHEREFORE there being proof beyond reasonable doubt, the court finds the accused Rodolfo
Espano y Valeria guilty of the crime of violation of Section 8, Article II, in relation to Section 2 (e-L)
ROMERO, J.: (I) of Republic Act No. 6425 as amended by Batas Pambansa Blg. 179, and pursuant to law
hereby sentences him to suffer imprisonment of six (6) years and one (1) day to twelve (12) years
This is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 13976 and to pay a fine of P6,000.00 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of default plus costs.
dated January 16, 1995,[1] which affirmed in toto the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of
Manila, Branch 1, convicting petitioner Rodolfo Espano for violation of Article II, Section 8 of The marijuana is declared forfeited in favor of government and shall be turned over to the
Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act. Dangerous Drugs Board without delay.
Petitioner was charged under the following information:
SO ORDERED.[5]
That on or about July 14, 1991, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, not being
authorized by law to possess or use any prohibited drug, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and Petitioner appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals. The appellate court, however,
knowingly have in his possession and under his custody and control twelve (12) plastic cellophane affirmed the decision of the trial court in toto.
(bags) containing crushed flowering tops, marijuana weighing 5.5 grams which is a prohibited Hence, this petition.
drug.
Petitioner contends that the trial and appellate courts erred in convicting him on the basis of
Contrary to law.[2] the following: (a) the pieces of evidence seized were inadmissible; (b) the superiority of his
constitutional right to be presumed innocent over the doctrine of presumption of regularity; (c) he
was denied the constitutional right of confrontation and to compulsory process; and (d) his
The evidence for the prosecution, based on the testimony of Pat. Romeo Pagilagan, shows conviction was based on evidence which was irrelevant and not properly identified.
that on July 14, 1991, at about 12:30 a.m., he and other police officers, namely, Pat. Wilfredo
Aquino, Simplicio Rivera, and Erlindo Lumboy of the Western Police District (WPD), Narcotics After a careful examination of the records of the case, this Court finds no compelling reason
Division went to Zamora and Pandacan Streets, Manila to confirm reports of drug pushing in the sufficient to reverse the decisions of the trial and appellate courts.
area. They saw petitioner selling something to another person. After the alleged buyer left, they
approached petitioner, identified themselves as policemen, and frisked him. The search yielded First, it is a well settled doctrine that findings of trial courts on the credibility of witnesses
two plastic cellophane tea bags of marijuana. When asked if he had more marijuana, he replied deserve a high degree of respect. Having observed the deportment of witnesses during the trial,
that there was more in his house. The policemen went to his residence where they found ten more the trial judge is in a better position to determine the issue of credibility and, thus, his findings will
cellophane tea bags of marijuana. Petitioner was brought to the police headquarters where he was not be disturbed during appeal in the absence of any clear showing that he had overlooked,
charged with possession of prohibited drugs. On July 24, 1991, petitioner posted bail[3] and the misunderstood or misapplied some facts or circumstances of weight and substance which could
trial court issued his order of release on July 29, 1991.[4] have altered the conviction of the appellants.[6]

Annabelle Alip, forensic chemist of the WPD Criminal Investigation Laboratory Section, In this case, the findings of the trial court that the prosecution witnesses were more credible
testified that the articles sent to her by Pat. Wilfredo Aquino regarding the apprehension of a than those of the defense must stand. Petitioner failed to show that Pat. Pagilagan, in testifying
certain Rodolfo Espano for examination tested positive for marijuana, with a total weight of 5.5 against him, was motivated by reasons other than his duty to curb drug abuse and had any intent
grams. to falsely impute to him such a serious crime as possession of prohibited drugs. In the absence of
such ill motive, the presumption of regularity in the performance of his official duty must prevail.
In People v. Velasco,[7] this Court reiterated the doctrine of presumption of regularity in the Petitioners arrest falls squarely under the aforecited rule. He was caught in flagranti as a
performance of official duty which provides: result of a buy-bust operation conducted by police officers on the basis of information received
regarding the illegal trade of drugs within the area of Zamora and Pandacan Streets, Manila. The
x x x. Appellant failed to establish that Pat. Godoy and the other members of the buy-bust team police officer saw petitioner handing over something to an alleged buyer. After the buyer left, they
are policemen engaged in mulcting or other unscrupulous activities who were motivated either by searched him and discovered two cellophanes of marijuana. His arrest was, therefore, lawful and
the desire to extort money or exact personal vengeance, or by sheer whim and caprice, when they the two cellophane bags of marijuana seized were admissible in evidence, being the fruits of the
entrapped her. And in the absence of proof of any intent on the part of the police authorities to crime.
falsely impute such a serious crime against appellant, as in this case, the presumption of regularity As for the ten cellophane bags of marijuana found at petitioners residence, however, the
in the performance of official duty, . . ., must prevail over the self-serving and uncorroborated claim same are inadmissible in evidence.
of appellant that she had been framed.[8]
The 1987 Constitution guarantees freedom against unreasonable searches and seizures
Furthermore, the defense set up by petitioner does not deserve any consideration. He simply under Article III, Section 2 which provides:
contended that he was in his house sleeping at the time of the incident. This Court has
consistently held that alibi is the weakest of all defenses; and for it to prosper, the accused has the The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against
burden of proving that he was not at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission and that unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable,
it was physically impossible for him to be there. Moreover, the claim of a frame-up, like alibi, is a and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be
defense that has been invariably viewed by the Court with disfavor for it can just as easily be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant
concocted but difficult to prove, and is a common and standard line of defense in most and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the
prosecutions arising from violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act. [9] No clear and convincing persons or things to be seized.
evidence was presented by petitioner to prove his defense of alibi.
Second, petitioner contends that the prosecutions failure to present the alleged informant in An exception to the said rule is a warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest for
court cast a reasonable doubt which warrants his acquittal. This is again without merit, since dangerous weapons or anything which may be used as proof of the commission of an offense.[11] It
failure of the prosecution to produce the informant in court is of no moment especially when he is may extend beyond the person of the one arrested to include the premises or surroundings under
not even the best witness to establish the fact that a buy-bust operation had indeed been his immediate control. In this case, the ten cellophane bags of marijuana seized at petitioners
conducted. In this case, Pat. Pagilagan, one of the policemen who apprehended petitioner, house after his arrest at Pandacan and Zamora Streets do not fall under the said exceptions.
testified on the actual incident of July 14, 1991, and identified him as the one they caught in In the case of People v. Lua,[12] this Court held:
possession of prohibited drugs.Thus,
As regards the brick of marijuana found inside the appellants house, the trial court correctly
We find that the prosecution had satisfactorily proved its case against appellants. There is no ignored it apparently in view of its inadmissibility. While initially the arrest as well as the body
compelling reason for us to overturn the finding of the trial court that the testimony of Sgt. search was lawful, the warrantless search made inside the appellants house became unlawful
Gamboa, the lone witness for the prosecution, was straightforward, spontaneous and convincing. since the police operatives were not armed with a search warrant. Such search cannot fall under
The testimony of a sole witness, if credible and positive and satisfies the court beyond reasonable search made incidental to a lawful arrest, the same being limited to body search and to that point
doubt, is sufficient to convict.[10] within reach or control of the person arrested, or that which may furnish him with the means of
committing violence or of escaping. In the case at bar, appellant was admittedly outside his house
Thus on the basis of Pat. Pagilagans testimony, the prosecution was able to prove that when he was arrested. Hence, it can hardly be said that the inner portion of his house was within
petitioner indeed committed the crime charged; consequently, the finding of conviction was proper. his reach or control.
Lastly, the issue on the admissibility of the marijuana seized should likewise be ruled
upon. Rule 113 Section 5(a) of the Rules of Court provides: The articles seized from petitioner during his arrest were valid under the doctrine of search
made incidental to a lawful arrest. The warrantless search made in his house, however, which
yielded ten cellophane bags of marijuana became unlawful since the police officers were not
A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person: armed with a search warrant at the time. Moreover, it was beyond the reach and control
of petitioner.
a. when, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is
attempting to commit an offense; In sum, this Court finds petitioner Rodolfo Espano guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating
Article II, Section 8, in relation to Section 2 (e-L) (I) of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended. Under
the said provision, the penalty imposed is six years and one day to twelve years and a fine ranging
x x x x x x x x x.
from six thousand to twelve thousand pesos. With the passage of Republic Act No. 7659, which
took effect on December 31, 1993, the imposable penalty shall now depend on the quantity of
drugs recovered. Under the provisions of Republic Act No. 7629, Section 20, and as interpreted
in People v. Simon[13] and People v. Lara,[14] if the quantity of marijuana involved is less than 750
grams, the imposable penalty ranges from prision correccional to reclusion temporal. Taking into
consideration that petitioner is not a habitual delinquent, the amendatory provision is favorable to
him and the quantity of marijuana involved is less than 750 grams, the penalty imposed under
Republic Act No. 7659 should be applied. There being no mitigating nor aggravating
circumstances, the imposable penalty shall be prision correccional in its medium period. Applying
the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the maximum penalty shall be taken from the medium period
of prision correccional, which is two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day to four (4) years
and two (2) months, while the minimum shall be taken from the penalty next lower in degree,
which is one (1) month and one (1) day to six (6) months of arresto mayor.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DENIED. The decision of the Court of Appeals
in C.A.-G.R. CR No. 13976 dated January 16, 1995 is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that
petitioner Rodolfo Espano is sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of TWO (2) months and
ONE (1) day of arresto mayor, as minimum to TWO (2) years, FOUR (4) months and ONE (1) day
of prision correccional, as maximum.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., (Chairman), Kapunan, and Purisima, JJ., concur.
Republic of the Philippines That on or about August 8, 1987, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said
SUPREME COURT accused did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in his
Manila possession and under his custody and control a firearm, to wit:

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


Serial No. 8720-T

without first having secured the necessary license or permit therefor from the
G.R. No. 87059 June 22, 1992 proper authorities.

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, Besides the police officers, one other witness presented by the prosecution was Rigoberto
vs. Danganan, who identified the subject weapon as among the articles stolen from him during the
ROGELIO MENGOTE y TEJAS, accused-appellant. 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
CRUZ, J.:
The gun, together with the live bullets and its holster, were offered as Exhibits A, B, and C and
Accused-appellant Rogelio Mengote was convicted of illegal possession of firearms on the admitted over the objection of the defense. As previously stated, the weapon was the principal
strength mainly of the stolen pistol found on his person at the moment of his warrantless arrest. In evidence that led to Mengote's conviction for violation of P.D. 1866. He was sentenced
this appeal, he pleads that the weapon was not admissible as evidence against him because it to reclusion
had been illegally seized and was therefore the fruit of the poisonous tree. The Government perpetua. 4
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.
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
The incident occurred shortly before noon of August 8, 1987, after the Western Police District have been seized as an incident of a lawful arrest because the arrest of Mengote was itself
received a telephone call from an informer that there were three suspicious-looking persons at the unlawful, having been also effected without a warrant. The defense also contends that the
corner of Juan Luna and North Bay Boulevard in Tondo, Manila. A surveillance team of testimony regarding the alleged robbery in Danganan's house was irrelevant and should also have
plainclothesmen was forthwith dispatched to the place. As later narrated at the trial by Patrolmen been disregarded by the trial court.
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 The following are the pertinent provision of the Bill of Rights:
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 Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
bullets in the chamber. His companion, later identified as Nicanor Morellos, had a fan knife effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for
secreted in his front right pants pocket. The weapons were taken from them. Mengote and any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall
Morellos were then turned over to police headquarters for investigation by the Intelligence issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after
Division. 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.
On August 11, 1987, the following information was filed against the accused-appellant before the
Regional Trial Court of Manila:
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
The undersigned accuses ROGELIO MENGOTE y TEJAS of a violation of otherwise as prescribed by law.
Presidential Decree No. 1866, committed as follows:
(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be The Solicitor General submits that the actual existence of an offense was not necessary as long
inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding. 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
There is no question that evidence obtained as a result of an illegal search or seizure is committed it." The question is, What offense? What offense could possibly have been suggested
inadmissible in any proceeding for any purpose. That is the absolute prohibition of Article III, by a person "looking from side to side" and "holding his abdomen" and in a place not exactly
Section 3(2), of the Constitution. This is the celebrated exclusionary rule based on the justification forsaken?
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 These are certainly not sinister acts. And the setting of the arrest made them less so, if at all. It
General, while conceding the rule, maintains that it is not applicable in the case at bar. His reason might have been different if Mengote bad been apprehended at an ungodly hour and in a place
is that the arrest and search of Mengote and the seizure of the revolver from him were lawful where he had no reason to be, like a darkened alley at 3 o'clock in the morning. But he was
under Rule 113, Section 5, of the Rules of Court reading as follows: arrested at 11:30 in the morning and in a crowded street shortly after alighting from a passenger
jeep with I his companion. He was not skulking in the shadows but walking in the clear light of day.
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant when lawful. — A peace officer or private person There was nothing clandestine about his being on that street at that busy hour in the blaze of the
may, without a warrant, arrest a person; noonday sun.

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually On the other hand, there could have been a number of reasons, all of them innocent, why his eyes
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; were darting from side to side and be 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
(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal
dispatched to that place only because of the telephone call from the informer that there were
knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it; and
"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
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal elaborate on the impending crime.
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
In the recent case of People v. Malmstedt, 5 the Court sustained the warrantless arrest of the
confinement to another.
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
In cases failing under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the person arrested without accused boarded a bus and placed the buri bag she was carrying behind the seat of the arresting
a warrant shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or jail, and he officer while she herself sat in the seat before him. His suspicion aroused, be surreptitiously
shall be proceeded against in accordance with Rule 112, Section 7. 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
We have carefully examined the wording of this Rule and cannot see how we can agree with the sufficiently established.
prosecution.
The case before us is different because there was nothing to support the arresting officers'
Par. (c) of Section 5 is obviously inapplicable as Mengote was not an escapee from a penal suspicion other than Mengote's darting eyes and his hand on his abdomen. By no stretch of the
institution when he was arrested. We therefore confine ourselves to determining the lawfulness of imagination could it have been inferred from these acts that an offense had just been committed,
his arrest under either Par. (a) or Par. (b) of this section. or was actually being committed, or was at least being attempted in their presence.

Par. (a) requires that the person be arrested (1) after he has committed or while he is actually This case is similar to People v. Aminnudin, 7 where the Court held that the warrantless arrest of
committing or is at least attempting to commit an offense, (2) in the presence of the arresting the accused was unconstitutional. This was effected while be was coming down a vessel, to all
officer. appearances no less innocent than the other disembarking passengers. He had not committed nor
was be actually committing or attempting to commit an offense in the presence of the arresting
These requirements have not been established in the case at bar. At the time of the arrest in officers. He was not even acting suspiciously. In short, there was no probable cause that, as the
question, the accused-appellant was merely "looking from side to side" and "holding his prosecution incorrectly suggested, dispensed with the constitutional requirement of a warrant.
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 Par. (b) is no less applicable because its no less stringent requirements have also not been
in their presence. 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 have committed a criminal act or is actually committing or attempting it. This simply cannot be
that Mengote had committed it. All they had was hearsay information from the telephone caller, done in a free society. This is not a police state where order is exalted over liberty or, worse,
and about a crime that had yet to be committed. personal malice on the part of the arresting officer may be justified in the name of security.

The truth is that they did not know then what offense, if at all, had been committed and neither There is no need to discuss the other issues raised by the accused-appellant as the ruling we here
were they aware of the participation therein of the accused-appellant. It was only later, after make is sufficient to sustain his exoneration. Without the evidence of the firearm taken from him at
Danganan had appeared at the Police headquarters, that they learned of the robbery in his house the time of his illegal arrest, the prosecution has lost its most important exhibit and must therefore
and of Mengote's supposed involvement therein. 8 As for the illegal possession of the firearm fail. The testimonial evidence against Mengote (which is based on the said firearm) is not sufficient
found on Mengote's person, the policemen discovered this only after he had been searched and to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt of the crime imputed to him.
the investigation conducted later revealed that he was not its owners nor was he licensed to
possess it. 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
Before these events, the Peace officers had no knowledge even of Mengote' identity, let alone the same to stress the constitutional rights of her client. The fact that she was acting only as a
fact (or suspicion) that he was unlawfully carrying a firearm or that he was involved in the robbery counsel de oficio with no expectation of material reward makes her representation even more
of Danganan's house. commendable.

In the landmark case of People v. Burgos, 9 this Court declared: 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
Under Section 6(a) of Rule 113, the officer arresting a person who has just allowed their over-zealousness to get the better of them, resulting in their disregard of the
committed, is committing, or is about to commit an offense must have personal requirements of a valid search and seizure that rendered inadmissible the vital evidence they had
knowledge of the fact. The offense must also be committed in his presence or invalidly seized.
within his view. (Sayo v. Chief of Police, 80 Phil. 859). (Emphasis supplied)
This should be a lesson to other peace officers. Their impulsiveness may be the very cause of the
xxx xxx xxx 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.
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 WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The accused-appellant is
committed a crime. A crime must in fact or actually have been committed first. ACQUITTED and ordered released immediately unless he is validly detained for other offenses.
That a crime has actually been committed is an essential precondition. It is not No costs.
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 SO ORDERED.
applies only to the identity of the perpetrator. (Emphasis supplied)
Griño-Aquino, Medialdea and Bellosillo, JJ., concur.
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
falsification. 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 stomach-ache, or if a
peace officer could clamp handcuffs on any person with a shifty look on suspicion that he may
FIRST DIVISION With appellant's consent, the police officers checked the cargo and they discovered bundles of
3.08 mm aluminum/galvanized conductor wires exclusively owned by National Power Corporation
(NPC). The conductor wires weighed 700 kilos and valued at P55, 244.45. Noceja asked appellant
where the wires came from and appellant answered that they came from Cavinti, a town
[G.R. No. 136292. January 15, 2002] approximately 8 kilometers away from Sampalucan.Thereafter, appellant and the vehicle with the
high-voltage wires were brought to the Pagsanjan Police Station. Danilo Cabale took pictures of
the appellant and the jeep loaded with the wires which were turned over to the Police Station
Commander of Pagsanjan, Laguna. Appellant was incarcerated for 7 days in the Municipal jail.
RUDY CABALLES y TAIO, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, respondents. In defense, appellant interposed denial and alibi. He testified that he is a driver and resident
of Pagsanjan, Laguna; a NARCOM civilian agent since January, 1988 although his identification
card (ID) has already expired.In the afternoon of June 28, 1989, while he was driving a
DECISION passenger jeepney, he was stopped by one Resty Fernandez who requested him to transport in
PUNO, J.: his jeepney conductor wires which were in Cavinti, Laguna. He told Resty to wait until he had
finished his last trip for the day from Santa Cruz, Laguna. On his way to Santa Cruz, Laguna, he
dropped by the NARCOM headquarters and informed his superior, Sgt. Callos, that something
This is an appeal by certiorari from the decision[1] of respondent Court of Appeals dated unlawful was going to happen. Sgt. Callos advised him to proceed with the loading of the wires
September 15, 1998 which affirmed the judgment rendered by the Regional Trial Court of Santa and that the former would act as back-up and intercept the vehicle at the Sambat Patrol Base
Cruz, Laguna, finding herein petitioner, Rudy Caballes y Taio, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of in Pagsanjan.
the crime of theft, and the resolution[2] dated November 9, 1998 which denied petitioner's motion
for reconsideration.
After receiving those instructions, he went back to see Resty. Although Resty had his own vehicle,
In an Information[3] dated October 16, 1989, petitioner was charged with the crime of theft its tires were old so the cable wires were loaded in appellant's jeep and covered
committed as follows: with kakawati leaves. The loading was done by about five (5) masked men. He was
promised P1,000.00 for the job. Upon crossing a bridge, the two vehicles separated but in his
"That on or about the 28th day of June, 1989, in the Municipality of Pagsanjan, and/or elsewhere case, he was intercepted by Sgt. Noceja and Pat. De Castro. When they discovered the cables,
in the Province of Laguna, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named he told the police officers that the cables were loaded in his jeep by the
accused, with intent of gain, and without the knowledge and consent of the owner thereof, the owner, Resty Fernandez. But despite his explanation, he was ordered to proceed to police
NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, headquarters where he was interrogated. The police officers did not believe him and instead
steal and carry away about 630-kg of Aluminum Cable Conductors, valued at P27, 450.00, locked him up in jail for a week."[4]
belonging to and to the damage and prejudice of said owner National Power Corp., in the
aforesaid amount. On April 27, 1993, the court a quo rendered judgment[5] the dispositive portion of which
reads:
CONTRARY TO LAW."
"WHEREFORE, finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Theft of
During the arraignment, petitioner pleaded not guilty and hence, trial on the merits ensued. property worth P55,244.45, the Court hereby sentences him to suffer imprisonment from TWO (2)
[YEARS], FOUR (4) MONTHS, and ONE (1) DAY of Prision Correccional, as minimum, to TEN
The facts are summarized by the appellate court as follows: (10) YEARS of Prision Mayor, as maximum, to indemnify the complainant National Power
Corporation in the amount of P55, 244.45, and to pay the costs."
"[At] about 9:15 p.m. of June 28, 1989, Sgt. Victorino Noceja and Pat. Alex de Castro, while on a
routine patrol in Barangay Sampalucan, Pagsanjan, Laguna, spotted a passenger jeep unusually On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of conviction but deleted the award
covered with "kakawati" leaves. for damages on the ground that the stolen materials were recovered and modified the penalty
imposed, to wit:
Suspecting that the jeep was loaded with smuggled goods, the two police officers flagged down
the vehicle. The jeep was driven by appellant. When asked what was loaded on the jeep, he did "WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is hereby AFFIRMED with the modification that appellant
not answer; he appeared pale and nervous. RUDY CABALLES is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principal in theft, defined and
penalized under Articles 308 and 309, par. 1, Revised Penal Code, and there being no modifying
circumstances, he is hereby meted an indeterminate penalty of Four (4) years, Nine (9) months
and Eleven (11) days of prision correccional, as minimum term, to Eight (8) years, Eight (8) or implied, to the search of the vehicle. Perforce, any evidence obtained in violation of his right
months and one (1) day of prision mayor, as maximum term. No civil indemnity and no costs."[6] against unreasonable search and seizure shall be deemed inadmissible.
Enshrined in our Constitution is the inviolable right of the people to be secure in their persons
Petitioner comes before us and raises the following issues: and properties against unreasonable searches and seizures, as defined under Section 2, Article III
thereof, which reads:
"(a) Whether or not the constitutional right of petitioner was violated when the police officers
searched his vehicle and seized the wires found therein without a search warrant and when "Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against
samples of the wires and references to them were admitted in evidence as basis for his conviction; 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
(b) Whether or not respondent Court erred in rejecting petitioner's defense that he was engaged in determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant
an entrapment operation and in indulging in speculation and conjecture in rejecting said and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the
defense; and persons or things to be seized."

(c) Whether or not the evidence of the prosecution failed to establish the guilt of petitioner beyond The exclusionary rule under Section 3(2), Article III of the Constitution bars the admission of
reasonable doubt and thus failed to overcome the constitutional right of petitioner to presumption evidence obtained in violation of such right.
of innocence."
The constitutional proscription against warrantless searches and seizures is not absolute but
admits of certain exceptions, namely: (1) warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest
The conviction or acquittal of petitioner hinges primarily on the validity of
recognized under Section 12, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court and by prevailing jurisprudence; [8] (2)
the warrantless search and seizure made by the police officers, and the admissibility of the
seizure of evidence in plain view;[9] (3) search of moving vehicles;[10] (4)
evidence obtained by virtue thereof. [11]
consented warrantless search; (5) customs search; (6) stop and frisk situations
In holding that the warrantless search and seizure is valid, the trial court ruled that: (Terry search);[12] and (7) exigent and emergency circumstances.[13]
In cases where warrant is necessary, the steps prescribed by the Constitution and reiterated
"As his last straw of argument, the accused questions the constitutionality of the search and in the Rules of Court must be complied with. In the exceptional events where warrant is not
validity of his arrest on the ground that no warrant was issued to that effect. The Court cannot necessary to effect a valid search or seizure, or when the latter cannot be performed except
again sustain such view. In the case of People v. Lo Ho [Wing], G.R. No. 88017, January 21, without a warrant, what constitutes a reasonable or unreasonable search or seizure is purely a
1991, it has been held that considering that before a warrant can be obtained, the place, things judicial question, determinable from the uniqueness of the circumstances involved, including the
and persons to be searched must be described to the satisfaction of the issuing judge - a purpose of the search or seizure, the presence or absence of probable cause, the manner in
requirement which borders on the impossible in the case of smuggling effected by the use of a which the search and seizure was made, the place or thing searched and the character of the
moving vehicle that can transport contraband from one place to another with impunity, articles procured.[14]
a warrantless search of a moving vehicle is justified on grounds of practicability. The doctrine is
not of recent vintage. In the case of Valmonte vs. de Villa, G.R. No. 83988, May 24, It is not controverted that the search and seizure conducted by the police officers in the case
1990 (Resolution on Motion for Reconsideration, September 29, 1989), it was ruled that at bar was not authorized by a search warrant. The main issue is whether the evidence taken from
automobiles because of their mobility may be searched without a warrant upon facts not the warrantless search is admissible against the appellant. Without said evidence, the prosecution
justifying warrantless search of a resident or office. x x x To hold that no criminal can, in any case, cannot prove the guilt of the appellant beyond reasonable doubt.
be arrested and searched for the evidence and tokens of his crime without a warrant, would be to
leave society, to a large extent, at the mercy of the shrewdest, the most expert, and the most
depraved of criminals, facilitating their escape in many instances (Ibid.). In Umil v. Ramos, 187
I. Search of moving vehicle
SCRA 311, and People vs. Ortiz, 191 SCRA 836, the Supreme Court held that a search may be
made even without a warrant where the accused is caught in flagrante. Under the circumstances,
the police officers are not only authorized but are also under obligation to arrest the accused even
Highly regulated by the government, the vehicle's inherent mobility reduces expectation of
without a warrant."[7]
privacy especially when its transit in public thoroughfares furnishes a highly reasonable suspicion
amounting to probable cause that the occupant committed a criminal activity.[15] Thus, the rules
Petitioner contends that the flagging down of his vehicle by police officers who were on governing search and seizure have over the years been steadily liberalized whenever a moving
routine patrol, merely on "suspicion" that "it might contain smuggled goods," does not constitute vehicle is the object of the search on the basis of practicality. This is so considering that before a
probable cause that will justify a warrantless search and seizure. He insists that, contrary to the warrant could be obtained, the place, things and persons to be searched must be described to the
findings of the trial court as adopted by the appellate court, he did not give any consent, express satisfaction of the issuing judge a requirement which borders on the impossible in the case of
smuggling effected by the use of a moving vehicle that can transport contraband from one place to by either inquisitive passersby or diligent police officers, and into the area protected by the Fourth
another with impunity. We might add that a warrantless search of a moving vehicle is justified on amendment, just as much as if he had stuck his head inside the open window of a home."
the ground that it is not practicable to secure a warrant because the vehicle can be quickly moved
out of the locality or jurisdiction in which the warrant must be sought. [16] Searches without warrant On the other hand, when a vehicle is stopped and subjected to an extensive search, such
of automobiles is also allowed for the purpose of preventing violations of smuggling or immigration a warrantless search would be constitutionally permissible only if the officers conducting the
laws, provided such searches are made at borders or 'constructive borders' like checkpoints near search have reasonable or probable cause to believe, before the search, that either the motorist is
the boundary lines of the State.[17] a law-offender or they will find the instrumentality or evidence pertaining to a crime in the vehicle
The mere mobility of these vehicles, however, does not give the police officers unlimited to be searched.[31]
discretion to conduct indiscriminate searches without warrants if made within the interior of the This Court has in the past found probable cause to conduct without a judicial warrant an
territory and in the absence of probable cause.[18] Still and all, the important thing is that there was extensive search of moving vehicles in situations where (1) there had emanated from a package
probable cause to conduct the warrantless search, which must still be present in such a case. the distinctive smell of marijuana; (2) agents of the Narcotics Command ("Narcom") of the
Although the term eludes exact definition, probable cause signifies a reasonable ground of Philippine National Police ("PNP") had received a confidential report from informers that a sizeable
suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a cautious volume of marijuana would be transported along the route where the search was
man's belief that the person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is charged; or the conducted; (3) Narcom agents had received information that a Caucasian coming from Sagada,
existence of such facts and circumstances which could lead a reasonably discreet and prudent Mountain Province, had in his possession prohibited drugs and when the Narcom agents
man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the items, articles or objects sought confronted the accused Caucasian, because of a conspicuous bulge in his waistline, he failed to
in connection with said offense or subject to seizure and destruction by law is in the place to be present his passport and other identification papers when requested to do so; (4) Narcom agents
searched.[19] The required probable cause that will justify a warrantless search and seizure is not had received confidential information that a woman having the same physical appearance as that
determined by a fixed formula but is resolved according to the facts of each case. [20] of the accused would be transporting marijuana;[32] (5) the accused who were riding
a jeepney were stopped and searched by policemen who had earlier received confidential reports
One such form of search of moving vehicles is the "stop-and-search" without warrant at that said accused would transport a large quantity of marijuana; and (6) where the moving vehicle
military or police checkpoints which has been declared to be not illegal per se, [21] for as long as it is was stopped and searched on the basis of intelligence information and clandestine reports by a
warranted by the exigencies of public order[22] and conducted in a way least intrusive to deep penetration agent or spy - one who participated in the drug smuggling activities of the
motorists.[23] A checkpoint may either be a mere routine inspection or it may involve an extensive syndicate to which the accused belonged - that said accused were bringing prohibited drugs into
search. the country.[33]
Routine inspections are not regarded as violative of an individual's right against In the case at bar, the vehicle of the petitioner was flagged down because the police officers
unreasonable search. The search which is normally permissible in this instance is limited to the who were on routine patrol became suspicious when they saw that the back of the vehicle was
following instances: (1) where the officer merely draws aside the curtain of a vacant vehicle which covered with kakawati leaves which, according to them, was unusual and uncommon.
is parked on the public fair grounds;[24] (2) simply looks into a vehicle;[25] (3) flashes a light therein
without opening the car's doors;[26] (4) where the occupants are not subjected to a physical or body Pat. Alex de Castro recounted the incident as follows:
search;[27] (5) where the inspection of the vehicles is limited to a visual search or visual "ATTY. SANTOS
inspection;[28] and (6) where the routine check is conducted in a fixed area.[29]
Q Now on said date and time do you remember of any unusual incident while you were
None of the foregoing circumstances is obtaining in the case at bar. The police officers did performing your duty?
not merely conduct a visual search or visual inspection of herein petitioner's vehicle. They had to
reach inside the vehicle, lift the kakawati leaves and look inside the sacks before they were able to A Yes, sir, at that time and date myself and Police Sgt. Noceja were conducting patrol in
see the cable wires. It cannot be considered a simple routine check. the said place when we spotted a suspicious jeepney so we stopped
the jeepney and searched the load of the jeepneyand we found out (sic) these
In the case of United States vs. Pierre,[30] the Court held that the physical intrusion of a part conductor wires.
of the body of an agent into the vehicle goes beyond the area protected by the Fourth
Amendment, to wit: Q You mentioned about the fact that when you saw the jeepney you became
suspicious, why did you become suspicious?
"The Agent . . . stuck his head through the driver's side window. The agent thus effected a A Because the cargo was covered with leaves and branches, sir.
physical intrusion into the vehicle. . . [W]e are aware of no case holding that an officer did not
conduct a search when he physically intruded part of his body into a space in which the suspect Q When you became suspicious upon seeing those leaves on top of the load what did
had a reasonable expectation of privacy. [The] Agent['s] . . . physical intrusion allowed him to see you do next, if any?
and to smell things he could not see or smell from outside the vehicle. . . In doing so, his
inspection went beyond that portion of the vehicle which may be viewed from outside the vehicle A We stopped the jeepney and searched the contents thereof, sir."[34]
The testimony of Victorino Noceja did not fare any better: It cannot likewise be said that the cable wires found in petitioner's vehicle were in plain view,
making its warrantless seizure valid.
"ATTY SANTOS
Jurisprudence is to the effect that an object is in plain view if the object itself is plainly
Q When you saw the accused driving the said vehicle, what did you do? exposed to sight. Where the object seized was inside a closed package, the object itself is not in
A Because I saw that the vehicle being drawn by Caballes was covered plain view and therefore cannot be seized without a warrant. However, if the package proclaims its
by kakawati leaves, I became suspicious since such vehicle should not be contents, whether by its distinctive configuration, its transparency, or if its contents are obvious to
covered by those and I flagged him, sir."[35] an observer, then the contents are in plain view and may be seized. In other words, if the package
is such that an experienced observer could infer from its appearance that it contains the prohibited
We hold that the fact that the vehicle looked suspicious simply because it is not common for article, then the article is deemed in plain view. It must be immediately apparent to the police that
such to be covered with kakawati leaves does not constitute "probable cause" as would justify the the items that they observe may be evidence of a crime, contraband or otherwise subject to
conduct of a search without a warrant. seizure.[38]
In People vs. Chua Ho San,[36] we held that the fact that the watercraft used by the accused It is clear from the records of this case that the cable wires were not exposed to sight
was different in appearance from the usual fishing boats that commonly cruise over because they were placed in sacks[39] and covered with leaves. The articles were neither
the Bacnotanseas coupled with the suspicious behavior of the accused when he attempted to flee transparent nor immediately apparent to the police authorities. They had no clue as to what was
from the police authorities do not sufficiently establish probable cause. Thus: hidden underneath the leaves and branches. As a matter of fact, they had to ask petitioner what
was loaded in his vehicle. In such a case, it has been held that the object is not in plain view which
"In the case at bar, the Solicitor General proposes that the following details are suggestive of could have justified mere seizure of the articles without further search.[40]
probable cause - persistent reports of rampant smuggling of firearm and other contraband
articles, CHUA's watercraft differing in appearance from the usual fishing boats that commonly
cruise over the Bacnotan seas, CHUA's illegal entry into the Philippines x x x, CHUA's suspicious III. Consented search
behavior, i.e., he attempted to flee when he saw the police authorities, and the apparent ease by
which CHUA can return to and navigate his speedboat with immediate dispatch towards the high
seas, beyond the reach of Philippine laws. Petitioner contends that the statement of Sgt. Victorino Noceja that he checked the vehicle
"with the consent of the accused" is too vague to prove that petitioner consented to the search. He
This Court, however, finds that these do not constitute "probable cause." None of the telltale clues, claims that there is no specific statement as to how the consent was asked and how it was given,
e.g., bag or package emanating the pungent odor of marijuana or other prohibited drug, nor the specific words spoken by petitioner indicating his alleged "consent." At most, there was
confidential report and/or positive identification by informers of courier of prohibited drug and/or only an implied acquiescence, a mere passive conformity, which is no "consent" at all within the
the time and place where they will transport/deliver the same, suspicious demeanor or behavior, purview of the constitutional guarantee.
and suspicious bulge in the waist - accepted by this Court as sufficient to justify
a warrantless arrest exists in this case. There was no classified information that a foreigner would Doubtless, the constitutional immunity against unreasonable searches and seizures is a
disembark at Tammocalao beach bearing prohibited drug on the date in question. CHUA was not personal right which may be waived. The consent must be voluntary in order to validate an
identified as a drug courier by a police informer or agent. The fact that the vessel that ferried otherwise illegal detention and search, i.e., the consent is unequivocal, specific, and intelligently
him to shore bore no resemblance to the fishing boats of the area did not automatically given, uncontaminated by any duress or coercion.[41] Hence, consent to a search is not to be lightly
mark him as in the process of perpetrating an offense. x x x." (emphasis supplied) inferred, but must be shown by clear and convincing evidence.[42] The question whether a consent
to a search was in fact voluntary is a question of fact to be determined from the totality of all the
circumstances.[43] Relevant to this determination are the following characteristics of the person
In addition, the police authorities do not claim to have received any confidential report or
giving consent and the environment in which consent is given: (1) the age of the
tipped information that petitioner was carrying stolen cable wires in his vehicle which could
defendant; (2) whether he was in a public or secluded location; (3) whether he objected to the
otherwise have sustained their suspicion. Our jurisprudence is replete with cases where tipped
search or passively looked on;[44] (4) the education and intelligence of the defendant; (5) the
information has become a sufficient probable cause to effect a warrantless search and
presence of coercive police procedures; (6) the defendant's belief that no incriminating evidence
seizure.[37] Unfortunately, none exists in this case.
will be found;[45] (7) the nature of the police questioning; (8) the environment in which the
questioning took place; and (9) the possibly vulnerable subjective state of the person
consenting.[46] It is the State which has the burden of proving, by clear and positive testimony, that
II. Plain view doctrine the necessary consent was obtained and that it was freely and voluntarily given. [47]
In the case at bar, Sgt. Victorino Noceja testified on the manner in which the search was
conducted in this wise:
"WITNESS agreed. In upholding the validity of the consented search, the Court held that appellant himself
who was "urbanized in mannerism and speech" expressly said that he was consenting to the
Q On June 28, 1989, where were you? search as he allegedly had nothing to hide and had done nothing wrong. In People
A We were conducting patrol at the poblacion and some barangays, sir. vs. Cuizon,[52] the accused admitted that they signed a written permission stating that they freely
consented to the search of their luggage by the NBI agents to determine if they were
xxxxxxxxx carrying shabu. In People vs. Montilla,[53] it was held that the accused spontaneously performed
affirmative acts of volition by himself opening the bag without being forced or intimidated to do so,
Q After conducting the patrol operation, do you remember of any unusual incident on which acts should properly be construed as a clear waiver of his right. In People
said date and time? vs. Omaweng,[54] the police officers asked the accused if they could see the contents of his bag to
A Yes, sir. which the accused said "you can see the contents but those are only clothings." Then the
policemen asked if they could open and see it, and accused answered "you can see it." The Court
Q What is that incident? said there was a valid consented search.
A While I was conducting my patrol at barangay Sampalucan, I saw In case of consented searches or waiver of the constitutional guarantee against obtrusive
Rudy Caballes driving a vehicle and the vehicle contained aluminum wires, sir. searches, it is fundamental that to constitute a waiver, it must first appear that (1) the right exists;
(2) that the person involved had knowledge, either actual or constructive, of the existence of such
xxxxxxxxx right; and (3) the said person had an actual intention to relinquish the right.[55]
Q When you saw the accused driving the said vehicle, what did you do? In the case at bar, the evidence is lacking that the petitioner intentionally surrendered his
A Because I saw that the vehicle being driven by Caballes was covered right against unreasonable searches. The manner by which the two police officers allegedly
by kakawati leaves, I became suspicious since such vehicle should not be covered obtained the consent of petitioner for them to conduct the search leaves much to be
by those and I flagged him, sir. desired. When petitioner's vehicle was flagged down, Sgt. Noceja approached petitioner and "told
him I will look at the contents of his vehicle and he answered in the positive." We are hard
Q Did the vehicle stop? put to believe that by uttering those words, the police officers were asking or requesting for
permission that they be allowed to search the vehicle of petitioner. For all intents and purposes,
A Yes, sir, and after said vehicle stop[ped], I removed the cover of said vehicle they were informing, nay, imposing upon herein petitioner that they will search his vehicle. The
and by so doing, I saw the aluminum wires. "consent" given under intimidating or coercive circumstances is no consent within the purview of
Q Before you saw the aluminum wires, did you talk to the accused? the constitutional guaranty. In addition, in cases where this Court upheld the validity of consented
search, it will be noted that the police authorities expressly asked, in no uncertain terms, for the
A Yes, sir, I asked him what his load was. consent of the accused to be searched. And the consent of the accused was established by clear
and positive proof. In the case of herein petitioner, the statements of the police officers were not
Q What was the answer of Caballes? asking for his consent; they were declaring to him that they will look inside his vehicle. Besides,
A He did not answer and I observed him to be pale, "nagpapamutla" (sic), so I told it is doubtful whether permission was actually requested and granted because when
him I will look at the contents of his vehicle and he answered in the positive. Sgt. Noceja was asked during his direct examination what he did when the vehicle of petitioner
stopped, he answered that he removed the cover of the vehicle and saw the aluminum wires. It
Q And after you saw for yourself the aluminum wires loaded on the jeep, what did you was only after he was asked a clarificatory question that he added that he told petitioner he will
do? inspect the vehicle. To our mind, this was more of an afterthought. Likewise, when Pat. de Castro
was asked twice in his direct examination what they did when they stopped the jeepney, his
A I asked him where those wires came from and he answered those came from
consistent answer was that they searched the vehicle. He never testified that he asked petitioner
the Cavinti area, sir."[48]
for permission to conduct the search.[56]
This Court is not unmindful of cases upholding the validity of consented warrantless searches
Neither can petitioner's passive submission be construed as an implied acquiescence to
and seizure. But in these cases, the police officers' request to search personnel effects was orally
the warrantless search. In People vs. Barros,[57] appellant Barros, who was carrying a carton box,
articulated to the accused and in such language that left no room for doubt that the latter fully
boarded a bus where two policemen were riding. The policemen inspected the carton and found
understood what was requested. In some instance, the accused even verbally replied to the
marijuana inside. When asked who owned the box, appellant denied ownership of the box and
request demonstrating that he also understood the nature and consequences of such request.[49]
failed to object to the search. The Court there struck down the warrantless search as illegal and
In Asuncion vs. Court of Appeals,[50] the apprehending officers sought the permission of held that the accused is not to be presumed to have waived the unlawful search conducted simply
petitioner to search the car, to which the latter agreed. Petitioner therein himself freely gave his because he failed to object, citing the ruling in the case of People vs. Burgos,[58] to wit:
consent to said search. In People vs. Lacerna,[51] the appellants who were riding in a taxi were
stopped by two policemen who asked permission to search the vehicle and the appellants readily
"As the constitutional guaranty is not dependent upon any affirmative act of the citizen, the courts
do not place the citizens in the position of either contesting an officer's authority by force, or
waiving his constitutional rights; but instead they hold that a peaceful submission to a search or
seizure is not a consent or an invitation thereto, but is merely a demonstration of regard for the
supremacy of the law."

Casting aside the cable wires as evidence, the remaining evidence on record are insufficient
to sustain petitioners conviction. His guilt can only be established without violating the
constitutional right of the accused against unreasonable search and seizure.
WHEREFORE, the impugned decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and accused
Rudy Caballes is hereby ACQUITTED of the crime charged. Cost de oficio.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Kapunan, Pardo and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.
THIRD DIVISION WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, this Court finds the accused ALAIN MANALILI Y
DIZON guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section 8, Article II, of Republic Act No.
6425, as amended (Illegal Possession of Marijuana residue), and hereby snetences (sic) said
accused to suffer imprisonment of SIX (6) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY; and to pay a fine of
[G.R. No. 113447. October 9, 1997] P6,000.00; and to pay the costs.

xxx xxx xxx.


Appellant remained on provisional liberty.[7] Atty. Benjamin Razon, counsel for the defense,
ALAIN MANALILI y DIZON, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE filed a Notice of Appeal[8] dated May 31, 1989. On April 19, 1993, Respondent
PHILIPPINES, respondents. Court[9] promulgated its assailed Decision, denying the appeal and affirming the trial court:[10]

DECISION ACCORDINGLY, the decision appealed from dated May 19, 1989 is hereby AFFIRMED in all
PANGANIBAN, J.: respects. Costs against appellant.

When dealing with a rapidly unfolding and potentially criminal situation in the city streets Respondent Court[11] denied reconsideration via its assailed Resolution dated January 20,
where unarguably there is no time to secure an arrest or a search warrant, policemen should 1994, disposing:
employ limited, flexible responses -- like stop-and-frisk -- which are graduated in relation to the
amount of information they possess, the lawmen being ever vigilant to respect and not to violate or ACCORDINGLY, accused-appellants motion for reconsideration is, as is hereby DENIED.
to treat cavalierly the citizens constitutional rights against unreasonable arrest, search and
seizure.
The Facts
Version of the Prosecution
The Case

The facts, as found by the trial court, are as follows:[12]


This rule is reiterated as we resolve this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the
Rules of Court, seeking the reversal of the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated April 19, 1993 At about 2:10 oclock in the afternoon of April 11, 1988, policemen from the Anti-Narcotics Unit of
and its Resolution dated January 20, 1994 in CA G.R. CR No. 07266, entitled People of the the Kalookan City Police Station were conducting a surveillance along A. Mabini street, Kalookan
Philippines vs. Alain Manalili y Dizon. City, in front of the Kalookan City Cemetery. The policemen were Pat. Romeo Espiritu and Pat.
Anger Lumabas and a driver named Arnold Enriquez was driving a Tamaraw vehicle which was
In an Information dated April 11, 1988,[1] Petitioner Alain Manalili y Dizon was charged by
the official car of the Police Station of Kalookan City. The surveillance was being made because of
Assistant Caloocan City Fiscal E. Juan R. Bautista with violation of Section 8, Article II of Republic
information that drug addicts were roaming the area in front of the Kalookan City Cemetery.
Act No. 6425, allegedly committed as follows:[2]

Upon reaching the Kalookan City Cemetery, the policemen alighted from their vehicle. They then
That on or about the 11th day of April 1988 in Caloocan City, MM, Philippines and within the
chanced upon a male person in front of the cemetery who appeared high on drugs. The male
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused without any authority of law, did
person was observed to have reddish eyes and to be walking in a swaying manner. When this
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in his custody, possession and control
male person tried to avoid the policemen, the latter approached him and introduced themselves as
crushed marijuana residue, which is a prohibited drug and knowing the same to be such.
police officers. The policemen then asked the male person what he was holding in his hands. The
male person tried to resist. Pat. Romeo Espiritu asked the male person if he could see what said
Contrary to Law. male person had in his hands. The latter showed the wallet and allowed Pat. Romeo Espiritu to
examine the same. Pat. Espiritu took the wallet and examined it. He found suspected crushed
Upon his arraignment on April 21, 1988, appellant pleaded not guilty to the charge.[3] With the marijuana residue inside. He kept the wallet and its marijuana contents.
agreement of the public prosecutor, appellant was released after filing a P10,000.00 bail
bond.[4]After trial in due course, the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City, Branch 124, acting as a The male person was then brought to the Anti-Narcotics Unit of the Kalookan City Police
Special Criminal Court, rendered on May 19, 1989 a decision[5] convicting appellant of illegal Headquarters and was turned over to Cpl. Wilfredo Tamondong for investigation. Pat. Espiritu also
possession of marijuana residue. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:[6]
turned over to Cpl. Tamondong the confiscated wallet and its suspected marijuana contents. The house. Three policemen ordered the driver of the tricycle to stop because the tricycle driver and
man turned out to be the accused ALAIN MANALILI y DIZON. his lone passenger were under the influence of marijuana. The policemen brought the accused
and the tricycle driver inside the Ford Fiera which the policemen were riding in. The policemen
Upon receipt of the confiscated suspected marijuana residue from Pat. Espiritu, Cpl. Tamondong then bodily searched the accused and the tricycle driver. At this point, the accused asked the
wrapped the same with a white sheet of paper on which he wrote Evidence A 4/11/88 Alain policemen why he was being searched and the policemen replied that he (accused) was carrying
Manalili. The white sheet of paper was marked as Exhibit E-3. The residue was originally wrapped marijuana. However, nothing was found on the persons of the accused and the driver. The
in a smaller sheet of folded paper. (Exhibit E-4). policemen allowed the tricycle driver to go while they brought the accused to the police
headquarters at Kalookan City where they said they would again search the accused.
Cpl. Tamondong next prepared a referral slip addressed to the NBI Forensic Chemistry Section
requesting a chemical analysis of the subject marijuana residue (Exhibit D). Cpl. Tamondong On the way to the police headquarters, the accused saw a neighbor and signaled the latter to
thereafter prepared a Joint Affidavit of the apprehending policemen (Exhibit A). Pat. Angel follow him. The neighbor thus followed the accused to the Kalookan City Police
Lumabas handcarried the referral slip (Exhibit D) to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Headquarters. Upon arrival thereat, the accused was asked to remove his pants in the presence
including the subject marijuana residue for chemical analysis. The signature of Pat. Lumabas of said neighbor and another companion. The policemen turned over the pants of the accused
appears on the left bottom corner of Exhibit D. over a piece of bond paper trying to look for marijuana. However, nothing was found, except for
some dirt and dust. This prompted the companion of the neighbor of the accused to tell the
policemen to release the accused. The accused was led to a cell. The policemen later told the
The Forensic Chemistry Section of the NBI received the aforesaid referral slip and the subject accused that they found marijuana inside the pockets of his pants.
marijuana residue at 7:40 oclock in the evening of April 11, 1988 as shown on the stamped portion
of Exhibit D.
At about 5:00 oclock in the afternoon on the same day, the accused was brought outside the cell
and was led to the Ford Fiera. The accused was told by the policemen to call his parents in order
It was NBI Aida Pascual who conducted the microscopic and chemical examinations of the
to settle the case. The policemen who led the accused to the Ford Fiera were Pat. Lumabas, Pat.
specimen which she identified. (Exhibit E)[13] Mrs. Pascual referred to the subject specimen as
Espiritu and Cpl. Tamondong. Pat. Lumabas was the policeman who told the accused to call his
crushed marijuana leaves in her Certification dated April 11, 1988 (Exhibit F). [14] These crushed
parents. The accused did not call his parents and he told the policemen that his parents did not
marijuana leaves gave positive results for marijuana, according to the Certificate. have any telephone.

Mrs. Pascual also conducted a chromatographic examination of the specimen. In this examination,
At about 5:30 oclock in the afternoon of the same day, the accused was brought in the office of an
she also found that the crushed marijuana leaves gave positive results for marijuana. She then
inquest Fiscal. There, the accused told the Fiscal that no marijuana was found on his person but
prepared a Final Report of her examinations (Exhibit G).
the Fiscal told the accused not to say anything. The accused was then brought back to the
Kalookan City Jail.
After conducting the examinations, Ms. Pascual placed the specimen in a white letter-envelope
and sealed it. (Exhibit E). She then wrote identification notes on this letter-envelope. (Exhibit E-1).
Loreto Medenilla, the tricycle driver who was allegedly with the accused when he and the accused
were stopped by policemen and then bodily searched on April 11, 1988, testified. He said that the
Pat. Lumabas carried the Certification marked as Exhibit F from the NBI Forensic Chemistry policemen found nothing either on his person or on the person of the accused when both were
Section to Cpl. Tamondong. Upon receipt thereof, Cpl. Tamondong prepared a referral slip searched on April 11, 1988.
addressed to the City Fiscal of Kalookan City. (Exhibit C)
Roberto Abes, a neighbor of the accused, testified that he followed the accused at the Kalookan
On rebuttal, Pat. Espiritu testified that appellant was not riding a tricycle but was walking in City Police Headquarters on April 11, 1988. He said that the police searched the accused who
front of the cemetery when he was apprehended.[15] was made to take off his pants at the police headquarters but no marijuana was found on the body
of the accused.

Version of the Defense Appellant, who was recalled to the stand as sur-rebuttal witness, presented several pictures
showing that tricycles were allowed to ply in front of the Caloocan Cemetery.[17]

The trial court summarized the testimonies of the defense witnesses as follows:[16]
The Rulings of the Trial and the Appellate Courts
At about 2:00 oclock in the afternoon of April 11, 1988, the accused ALAIN MANALILI was aboard
a tricycle at A. Mabini street near the Kalookan City Cemetery on the way to his boarding
The trial court convicted petitioner of illegal possession of marijuana residue largely on the VI
strength of the arresting officers testimony. Patrolmen Espiritu and Lumabas were neutral and
disinterested witnesses, testifying only on what transpired during the performance of their The Court of Appeals erred in admitting the evidence of the prosecution which are
duties. Substantially, they asserted that the appellant was found to be in possession of a inadmissible in evidence.
substance which was later identified as crushed marijuana residue.
The trial court disbelieved appellants defense that this charge was merely trumped up, Restated more concisely, petitioner questions (1) the admissibility of the evidence against
because the appellant neither took any legal action against the allegedly erring policemen nor him, (2) the credibility of prosecution witnesses and the rejection by the trial and the appellate
moved for a reinvestigation before the city fiscal of Kalookan City. courts of the defense of extortion, and (3) the sufficiency of the prosecution evidence to sustain his
conviction.
On appeal, Respondent Court found no proof that the decision of the trial court was based on
speculations, surmises or conjectures. On the alleged serious discrepancies in the testimonies of
the arresting officers, the appellate court ruled that the said inconsistencies were insubstantial to
impair the essential veracity of the narration. It further found petitioners contention -- that he could The Courts Ruling
not be convicted of illegal possession of marijuana residue -- to be without merit, because the
forensic chemist reported that what she examined were marijuana leaves.
The petition has no merit.

Issues
First Issue: Admissibility of the Evidence Seized During a Stop-and-Frisk

Petitioner assigns the following errors on the part of Respondent Court:


Petitioner protests the admission of the marijuana leaves found in his possession, contending
I that they were products of an illegal search. The Solicitor General, in his Comment, dated July 5,
1994, which was adopted as memorandum for respondent, counters that the inadmissibility of the
The Court of Appeals erred in upholding the findings of fact of the trial court. marijuana leaves was waived because petitioner never raised this issue in the proceedings below
nor did he object to their admissibility in evidence. He adds that, even assuming arguendo that
II there was no waiver, the search was legal because it was incidental to a warrantless arrest under
Section 5 (a), Rule 113 of the Rules of Court.
The Court of Appeals erred in upholding the conviction of (the) accused (and) in ruling that We disagree with petitioner and hold that the search was valid, being akin to a stop-and-
the guilt of the accused had been proved (beyond) reasonable doubt. frisk. In the landmark case of Terry vs. Ohio,[18] a stop-and-frisk was defined as the vernacular
designation of the right of a police officer to stop a citizen on the street, interrogate him, and pat
III him for weapon(s):

The Court of Appeals erred in not ruling that the inconsistencies in the testimonies of the x x x (W)here a police officer observes an unusual conduct which leads him reasonably to
prosecution witnesses were material and substantial and not minor. 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 identified himself as a policeman and makes reasonable inquiries, and where
IV
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
The Court of Appeals erred in not appreciating the evidence that the accused was framed for carefully limited search of the outer clothing of such persons in an attempt to discover weapons
the purpose of extorting money. which might be used to assault him. Such a search is a reasonable search under the Fourth
Amendment, and any weapon seized may properly be introduced in evidence against the person
V from whom they were taken.[19]

The Court of Appeals erred in not acquitting the accused when the evidence presented is In allowing such a search, the United States Supreme Court held that the interest of effective
consistent with both innocence and guilt. crime prevention and detection allows a police officer to approach a person, in appropriate
circumstances and manner, for purposes of investigating possible criminal behavior even though
there is insufficient probable cause to make an actual arrest. This was the legitimate investigative Stop-and-frisk has already been adopted as another exception to the general rule against a
function which Officer McFadden discharged in that case, when he approached petitioner and his search without a warrant. In Posadas vs. Court of Appeals ,[24] the Court held that there are many
companion whom he observed to have hovered alternately about a street corner for an extended instances where a search and seizure can be effected without necessarily being preceded by an
period of time, while not waiting for anyone; paused to stare in the same store window roughly 24 arrest, one of which is stop-and-frisk. In said case, members of the Integrated National Police of
times; and conferred with a third person. It would have been sloppy police work for an officer of 30 Davao stopped petitioner, who was carrying a buri bag and acting suspiciously. They found inside
years experience to have failed to investigate this behavior further. petitioners bag one .38-cal. revolver with two rounds of live ammunition, two live ammunitions for a
.22-cal. gun and a tear gas grenade. In upholding the legality of the search, the Court said that to
In admitting in evidence two guns seized during the stop-and-frisk, the US Supreme Court require the police officers to search the bag only after they had obtained a search warrant might
held that what justified the limited search was the more immediate interest of the police officer in prove to be useless, futile and much too late under the circumstances. In such a situation, it was
taking steps to assure himself that the person with whom he was dealing was not armed with a reasonable for a police officer to stop a suspicious individual briefly in order to determine his
weapon that could unexpectedly and fatally be used against him. identity or to maintain the status quo while obtaining more information, rather than to simply shrug
It did not, however, abandon the rule that the police must, whenever practicable, obtain his shoulders and allow a crime to occur.
advance judicial approval of searches and seizures through the warrant procedure, excused only In the case at hand, Patrolman Espiritu and his companions observed during their
by exigent circumstances. surveillance that appellant had red eyes and was wobbling like a drunk along the Caloocan City
In Philippine jurisprudence, the general rule is that a search and seizure must be validated by Cemetery, which according to police information was a popular hangout of drug addicts. From his
a previously secured judicial warrant; otherwise, such search and seizure is unconstitutional and experience as a member of the Anti-Narcotics Unit of the Caloocan City Police, such suspicious
subject to challenge.[20] Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, gives this guarantee: behavior was characteristic of drug addicts who were high. The policemen therefore had sufficient
reason to stop petitioner to investigate if he was actually high on drugs. During such investigation,
they found marijuana in petitioners possession:[25]
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, FISCAL RALAR:
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 Q And why were you conducting surveillance in front of the Caloocan Cemetery,
and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the Sangandaan, Caloocan City?
persons or things to be seized. A Because there were some informations that some drug dependents were roaming
around at A. Mabini Street in front of the Caloocan Cemetery, Caloocan City.
Any evidence obtained in violation of the mentioned provision is legally inadmissible in
evidence as a fruit of the poisonous tree, falling under the exclusionary rule: xxx xxx xxx
Q While you were conducting your surveillance, together with Pat. Angel Lumabas and
SEC. 3. x x x one Arnold Enriquez, what happened, if any?
A We chanced upon one male person there in front of the Caloocan Cemetery then
(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of x x x the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any
when we called his attention, he tried to avoid us, then prompting us to approach
purpose in any proceeding.
him and introduce ourselves as police officers in a polite manner.

This right, however, is not absolute.[21] The recent case of People vs. Lacerna enumerated xxx xxx xxx
five recognized exceptions to the rule against warrantless search and seizure, viz.: (1) search
Q Could you describe to us the appearance of that person when you chanced upon
incidental to a lawful arrest, (2) search of moving vehicles, (3) seizure in plain view, (4) customs
him?
search, and (5) waiver by the accused themselves of their right against unreasonable search and
seizure.[22] In People vs. Encinada,[23] the Court further explained that [i]n these cases, the search A That person seems like he is high on drug.
and seizure may be made only with probable cause as the essential requirement. Although the
term eludes exact definition, probable cause for a search is, at best, defined as a reasonable Q How were you able to say Mr. Witness that that person that you chanced upon was
ground of suspicion, supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a high on drug?
cautious man in the belief that the person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is
A Because his eyes were red and he was walking on a swaying manner.
charged; or the existence of such facts and circumstances which could lead a reasonably discreet
and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the item(s), article(s) or Q What was he doing in particular when you chanced upon him?
object(s) sought in connection with said offense or subject to seizure and destruction by law is in
the place to be searched. A He was roaming around, sir.
Q You said that he avoided you, what did you do when he avoided you? We disagree. Time and again, this Court has ruled that the trial courts assessment of the
credibility of witnesses, particularly when affirmed by the Court of Appeals as in this case, is
A We approached him and introduced ourselves as police officers in a polite manner, accorded great weight and respect, since it had the opportunity to observe their demeanor and
sir. deportment as they testified before it. Unless substantial facts and circumstances have been
Q How did you introduce yourselves? overlooked or misappreciated by the trial court which, if considered, would materially affect the
result of the case, we will not countenance a departure from this rule.[28]
A In a polite manner, sir.
We concur with Respondent Courts ruling:
Q What did you say when you introduced yourselves?
A We asked him what he was holding in his hands, sir. (e)ven assuming as contended by appellant that there had been some inconsistencies in the
prosecution witnesses testimonies, We do not find them substantial enough to impair the essential
Q And what was the reaction of the person when you asked him what he was holding in veracity of their narration. In People vs. Avila, it was held that As long as the witnesses concur on
his hands? the material points, slight differences in their remembrance of the details, do not reflect on the
essential veracity of their statements.
A He tried to resist, sir.
Q When he tried to resist, what did you do? However, we find that, aside from the presumption of regularity in the performance of duty,
the bestowal of full credence on Pat. Espiritus testimony is justified by tangible evidence on
A I requested him if I can see what was he was(sic) holding in his hands. record.Despite Pat. Lumabas contradictory testimony, that of Espiritu is supported by the Joint
Q What was the answer of the person upon your request? Affidavit[29] signed by both arresting policemen. The question of whether the marijuana was found
inside petitioners wallet or inside a plastic bag is immaterial, considering that petitioner did not
A He allowed me to examine that something in his hands, sir. deny possession of said substance. Failure to present the wallet in evidence did not negate that
marijuana was found in petitioners possession. This shows that such contradiction is minor, and
xxx xxx xxx does not destroy Espiritus credibility.[30]
Q What was he holding?
A He was holding his wallet and when we opened it, there was a marijuana (sic)
crushed residue. Third Issue: Sufficiency of Evidence

Furthermore, we concur with the Solicitor Generals contention that petitioner effectively
waived the inadmissibility of any evidence illegally obtained when he failed to raise this issue or to The elements of illegal possession of marijuana are: (a) the accused is in possession of an
object thereto during the trial. A valid waiver of a right, more particularly of the constitutional right item or object which is identified to be a prohibited drug; (b) such possession is not authorized by
against unreasonable search, requires the concurrence of the following requirements: (1) the right law; and (c) the accused freely and consciously possessed the said drug. [31]
to be waived existed; (2) the person waiving it had knowledge, actual or constructive, thereof; and
(3) he or she had an actual intention to relinquish the right.[26] Otherwise, the Courts will indulge The substance found in petitioners possession was identified by NBI Forensic Chemist Aida
every reasonable presumption against waiver of fundamental safeguards and will not deduce Pascual to be crushed marijuana leaves. Petitioners lack of authority to possess these leaves was
acquiescence from the failure to exercise this elementary right. In the present case, however, established. His awareness thereof was undeniable, considering that petitioner was high on drugs
petitioner is deemed to have waived such right for his failure to raise its violation before the trial when stopped by the policemen and that he resisted when asked to show and identify the thing he
court. In petitions under Rule 45, as distinguished from an ordinary appeal of criminal cases where was holding. Such behavior clearly shows that petitioner knew that he was holding marijuana and
the whole case is opened for review, the appeal is generally limited to the errors assigned by that it was prohibited by law.
petitioner. Issues not raised below cannot be pleaded for the first time on appeal.[27] Furthermore, like the trial and the appellate courts, we have not been given sufficient grounds
to believe the extortion angle in this case. Petitioner did not file any administrative or criminal case
against the arresting officers or present any evidence, other than his bare claim. His argument that
Second Issue: Assessment of Evidence he feared for his life was lame and unbelievable, considering that he was released on bail and
continued to be on bail as early as April 26, 1988.[32] Since then, he could have made the charge
in relative safety, as he was no longer in the custody of the police. His defense of frame-up, like
Petitioner also contends that the two arresting officers testimony contained polluted, alibi, is viewed by this Court with disfavor, because it is easy to concoct and fabricate. [33]
irreconcilable and unexplained contradictions which did not support petitioners conviction.
The Proper Penalty

The trial and the appellate courts overlooked the Indeterminate Sentence Law (Act No. 4103,
as amended) by sentencing petitioner to a straight penalty of six years and one day of
imprisonment, aside from the imposed fine of six thousand pesos. This Act requires the imposition
of an indeterminate penalty:

SECTION 1. Hereafter, in imposing a prison sentence for an offense punished by the Revised
Penal Code, or its amendments, the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate
sentence the maximum term of which shall be that which, in view of the attending circumstances,
could be properly imposed under the rules of the said Code, and the minimum which shall be
within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Code for the offense; and if the
offense is punished by any other law, the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate
sentence, the maximum term of which shall not exceed the maximum fixed by said law and the
minimum shall not be less than the minimum term prescribed by the same. (As amended by Act
No. 4225.)

SEC. 2. This Act shall not apply to persons convicted of offenses punished with death penalty or
life-imprisonment; to those convicted of treason; to those convicted of misprision of treason,
rebellion, sedition or espionage; to those convicted of piracy; to those who are habitual
delinquents; to those who shall have escaped from confinement or evaded sentence; to those who
having been granted conditional pardon by the Chief Executive shall have violated the terms
thereof; to those whose maximum term of imprisonment does not exceed one year, not to those
already sentenced by final judgment at the time of approval of this Act, except as provided in
Section 5 hereof. (Underscoring supplied)

The Dangerous Drugs Law, R.A. 6425, as amended by B.P. 179, imposes the following
penalty for illegal possession of marijuana:

Sec. 8. x x x x

The penalty of imprisonment ranging from six years and one day to twelve years and a fine
ranging from six thousand to twelve thousand pesos shall be imposed upon any person who,
unless authorized by law, shall possess or use Indian hemp.

Prescinding from the foregoing, the Court holds that the proper penalty is an indeterminate
sentence of imprisonment ranging from six years and one day to twelve years.[34]
WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision and Resolution are
hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Petitioner is sentenced to
suffer IMPRISONMENT of SIX (6) YEARS, as minimum, to TWELVE (12) YEARS, as maximum,
and to PAY a FINE of SIX THOUSAND PESOS. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., (Chairman), Romero, Melo, and Francisco, JJ., concur.
EN BANC 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
[G.R. No. 123595. December 12, 1997] 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
SAMMY MALACAT y MANDAR, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, and PEOPLE OF THE of Quezon Boulevard when Yu saw them on 27 August 1990. Although they were not creating a
PHILIPPINES, respondents. 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]
DECISION Josefino G. Serapio declared that at about 9:00 a.m. of 28 August 1990, petitioner and a
DAVIDE, JR., J.: 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 Serapios advice, petitioner and Casan
In an Information[1] filed on 30 August 1990, in Criminal Case No. 90-86748 before the
manifested their willingness to answer questions even without the assistance of a lawyer. Serapio
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 5, petitioner Sammy Malacat y Mandar was charged
then took petitioners uncounselled confession (Exh. E), there being no PAO lawyer available,
with violating Section 3 of Presidential Decree No. 1866,[2] as follows:
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
That on or about August 27, 1990, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and Intelligence and Special Action Division (ISAD) of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit for
there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly keep, possess and/or acquire a hand grenade, without first examination.[11]
securing the necessary license and/or permit therefor from the proper authorities.
On cross-examination, Serapio admitted that he took petitioners confession knowing it was
[3] inadmissible in evidence.[12]
At arraignment on 9 October 1990, petitioner, assisted by counsel de oficio, entered a plea
of not guilty. 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
At pre-trial on 11 March 1991, petitioner admitted the existence of Exhibits A, A-1, and A-
received a request dated 19 March 1991 from Lt. Eduardo Cabrera and PO Diosdado Diotoy for
2,[4] while the prosecution admitted that the police authorities were not armed with a search
examination of a grenade. Ramilo then affixed an orange tag on the subject grenade detailing his
warrant nor warrant of arrest at the time they arrested petitioner.[5]
name, the date and time he received the specimen. During the preliminary examination of the
At trial on the merits, the prosecution presented the following police officers as its witnesses: grenade, he [f]ound that [the] major components consisting of [a] high filler and fuse assembly
Rodolfo Yu, the arresting officer; Josefino G. Serapio, the investigating officer; and Orlando [were] all present, and concluded that the grenade was [l]ive and capable of exploding. On even
Ramilo, who examined the grenade. date, he issued a certification stating his findings, a copy of which he forwarded to Diotoy on 11
August 1991.[13]
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 Petitioner was the lone defense witness. He declared that he arrived in Manila on 22 July
6:30 p.m., in response to bomb threats reported seven days earlier, he was on foot patrol with 1990 and resided at the Muslim Center in Quiapo, Manila. At around 6:30 in the evening of 27
three other police officers (all of them in uniform) along Quezon Boulevard, Quiapo, Manila, near August 1990, he went to Plaza Miranda to catch a breath of fresh air. Shortly after, several
the Mercury Drug store at Plaza Miranda. They chanced upon two groups of Muslim-looking men, policemen arrived and ordered all males to stand aside. The policemen searched petitioner and
with each group, comprised of three to four men, posted at opposite sides of the corner of Quezon two other men, but found nothing in their possession. However, he was arrested with two others,
Boulevard near the Mercury Drug Store. These men were acting suspiciously with [t]heir eyes brought to and detained at Precinct No. 3, where he was accused of having shot a police
moving very fast.[6] 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 petitioners
Yu and his companions positioned themselves at strategic points and observed both groups mouth and said, [y]ou are the one who shot me. Petitioner denied the charges and explained that
for about thirty minutes. The police officers then approached one group of men, who then fled in he only recently arrived in Manila. However, several other police officers mauled him, hitting him
different directions. As the policemen gave chase, Yu caught up with and apprehended petitioner. with benches and guns. Petitioner was once again searched, but nothing was found on him. He
Upon searching petitioner, Yu found a fragmentation grenade tucked inside petitioners front waist saw the grenade only in court when it was presented.[14]
line.[7] Yus 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.
The trial court ruled that the warrantless search and seizure of petitioner was akin to a stop In its decision of 24 January 1996,[25] the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court, noting, first,
and frisk, where a warrant and seizure can be effected without necessarily being preceded by an that petitioner abandoned his original theory before the court a quo that the grenade was planted
arrest and whose object is either to maintain the status quo momentarily while the police officer by the police officers; and second, the factual finding of the trial court that the grenade was seized
seeks to obtain more information.[15] Probable cause was not required as it was not certain that a from petitioners possession was not raised as an issue. Further, respondent court focused on the
crime had been committed, however, the situation called for an investigation, hence to require admissibility in evidence of Exhibit D, the hand grenade seized from petitioner. Meeting the issue
probable cause would have been premature.[16] The RTC emphasized that Yu and his companions squarely, the Court of Appeals ruled that the arrest was lawful on the ground that there was
were [c]onfronted with an emergency, in which the delay necessary to obtain a warrant, threatens probable cause for the arrest as petitioner was attempting to commit an offense, thus:
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 We are at a loss to understand how a man, who was in possession of a live grenade and in the
bombing. Further, petitioners group suddenly ran away in different directions as they saw the company of other suspicious character[s] with unlicensed firearm[s] lurking in Plaza Miranda at a
arresting officers approach, thus [i]t is reasonable for an officer to conduct a limited search, the time when political tension ha[d] been enkindling a series of terroristic activities, [can] claim that he
purpose of which is not necessarily to discover evidence of a crime, but to allow the officer to was not attempting to commit an offense. We need not mention that Plaza Miranda is historically
pursue his investigation without fear of violence.[18] notorious for being a favorite bomb site especially during times of political upheaval. As the mere
The trial court then ruled that the seizure of the grenade from petitioner was incidental to a possession of an unlicensed grenade is by itself an offense, Malacats posture is simply too
lawful arrest, and since petitioner [l]ater voluntarily admitted such fact to the police investigator for preposterous to inspire belief.
the purpose of bombing the Mercury Drug Store, concluded that sufficient evidence existed to
establish petitioners guilt beyond reasonable doubt. In so doing, the Court of Appeals took into account petitioners failure to rebut the testimony of
the prosecution witnesses that they received intelligence reports of a bomb threat at Plaza
In its decision[19] dated 10 February 1994 but promulgated on 15 February 1994, the trial Miranda; the fact that PO Yu chased petitioner two days prior to the latters arrest, or on 27 August
court thus found petitioner guilty of the crime of illegal possession of explosives under Section 3 of 1990; and that petitioner and his companions acted suspiciously, the accumulation of which was
P.D. No. 1866, and sentenced him to suffer: more than sufficient to convince a reasonable man that an offense was about to be
committed. Moreover, the Court of Appeals observed:
[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 The police officers in such a volatile situation would be guilty of gross negligence and dereliction of
OF RECLUSION PERPETUA, as maximum. 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
On 18 February 1994, petitioner filed a notice of appeal[20] indicating that he was appealing to would then be an assured but moot conclusion that there was indeed probable cause for an
this Court. However, the record of the case was forwarded to the Court of Appeals which docketed arrest. We are in agreement with the lower court in saying that the probable cause in such a
it as CA-G.R. CR No. 15988 and issued a notice to file briefs.[21] situation should not be the kind of proof necessary to convict, but rather the practical
[22] considerations of everyday life on which a reasonable and prudent mind, and not legal
In his Appellants Brief filed with the Court of Appeals, petitioner asserted that: technicians, will ordinarily act.
1. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE SEARCH UPON THE
PERSON OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT AND THE SEIZURE OF THE ALLEGED Finally, the Court of Appeals held that the rule laid down in People v. Mengote, [26] which
HANDGRENADE FROM HIM WAS AN APPROPRIATE INCIDENT TO HIS petitioner relied upon, was inapplicable in light of [c]rucial differences, to wit:
ARREST.
[In Mengote] the police officers never received any intelligence report that someone [at] the corner
2. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING AS EVIDENCE AGAINST ACCUSED-
of a busy street [would] be in possession of a prohibited article. Here the police officers were
APPELLANT THE HANDGRENADE ALLEGEDLY SEIZED FROM HIM AS IT WAS
responding to a [sic] public clamor to put a check on the series of terroristic bombings in the
A PRODUCT OF AN UNREASONABLE AND ILLEGAL SEARCH.
Metropolis, and, after receiving intelligence reports about a bomb threat aimed at the vicinity of the
In sum, petitioner argued that the warrantless arrest was invalid due to absence of any of the historically notorious Plaza Miranda, they conducted foot patrols for about seven days to observe
conditions provided for in Section 5 of Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, citing People vs. suspicious movements in the area. Furthermore, in Mengote, the police officers [had] no personal
Mengote.[23]As such, the search was illegal, and the hand grenade seized, inadmissible in knowledge that the person arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to
evidence. 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.
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]
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 First, serious doubt surrounds the story of police officer Yu that a grenade was found in and
COURT THAT THE WARRANTLESS ARREST OF PETITIONER WAS VALID AND seized from petitioners possession. Notably, Yu did not identify, in court, the grenade he allegedly
LEGAL. 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
2. THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE RULING IN PEOPLE grenade presented in court and identified by police officer Ramilo referred to what the latter
VS. MENGOTE DOES NOT FIND APPLICATION IN THE INSTANT CASE. received from Lt. Eduardo Cabrera and police officer Diotoy not immediately after petitioners
In support thereof, petitioner merely restates his arguments below regarding the validity of the arrest, but nearly seven (7) months later, or on 19 March 1991; further, there was no evidence
warrantless arrest and search, then disagrees with the finding of the Court of Appeals that he was whatsoever that what Ramilo received was the very same grenade seized from petitioner. In his
attempting to commit a crime, as the evidence for the prosecution merely disclosed that he was testimony, Yu never declared that the grenade passed on to Ramilo was the grenade the former
standing at the corner of Plaza Miranda and Quezon Boulevard with his eyes moving very fast and confiscated from petitioner. Yu did not, and was not made to, identify the grenade examined by
looking at every person that come (sic) nearer (sic) to them. Finally, petitioner points out the Ramilo, and the latter did not claim that the grenade he examined was that seized from
factual similarities between his case and that of People v. Mengote to demonstrate that the Court petitioner. Plainly, the law enforcement authorities failed to safeguard and preserve the chain of
of Appeals miscomprehended the latter. evidence so crucial in cases such as these.

In its Comment, the Office of the Solicitor General prays that we affirm the challenged Second, if indeed petitioner had a grenade with him, and that two days earlier he was with a
decision. 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
For being impressed with merit, we resolved to give due course to the petition. 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
The challenged decision must immediately fall on jurisdictional grounds. To repeat, the observed petitioner for thirty minutes and must have been close enough to petitioner in order to
penalty imposed by the trial court was: discern petitioners eyes moving very fast.

[N]ot less than SEVENTEEN (17) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS AND ONE (1) DAY Finally, even assuming that petitioner admitted possession of the grenade during his
OF RECLUSION TEMPORAL, as minimum, and not more than THIRTY (30) YEARS custodial investigation by police officer Serapio, such admission was inadmissible in evidence for it
OF RECLUSION PERPETUA, as maximum. was taken in palpable violation of Section 12(1) and (3) of Article III of the Constitution, which
provide as follows:
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. 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
For purposes of determining appellate jurisdiction in criminal cases, the maximum of the preferably of his own choice.If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be
penalty, and not the minimum, is taken into account. Since the maximum of the penalty provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of
is reclusion perpetua, the appeal therefrom should have been to us, and not the Court of Appeals, counsel.
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 xxx
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 (3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall
include reclusion perpetua in view of Section 5(2) of Article VIII of the Constitution. be inadmissible in evidence against him.
Petitioners Notice of Appeal indicated that he was appealing from the trial courts decision to Serapio conducted the custodial investigation on petitioner the day following his arrest. No lawyer
this Court, yet the trial court transmitted the record to the Court of Appeals and the latter was present and Serapio could not have requested a lawyer to assist petitioner as no PAO lawyer
proceeded to resolve the appeal. 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
We then set aside the decision of the Court of Appeals for having been rendered without in the presence of counsel.
jurisdiction, and consider the appeal as having been directly brought to us, with the petition for
review as petitioners Brief for the Appellant, the comment thereon by the Office of the Solicitor Even granting ex gratia that petitioner was in possession of a grenade, the arrest and search
General as the Brief for the Appellee and the memoranda of the parties as their Supplemental of petitioner were invalid, as will be discussed below.
Briefs.
The general rule as regards arrests, searches and seizures is that a warrant is needed in
Deliberating on the foregoing pleadings, we find ourselves convinced that the prosecution order to validly effect the same.[31] The Constitutional prohibition against unreasonable arrests,
failed to establish petitioners guilt with moral certainty. 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 in Section 5, Rule 113 of We merely hold today that where a police officer observes unusual conduct which leads him
the Rules of Court, which reads, in part: 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
Sec. 5. -- Arrest, without warrant; when lawful -- A peace officer or a private person may, without a course of investigating this behavior he identifies himself as a policeman and makes
warrant, arrest a person: 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
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually
persons in an attempt to discover weapons which might be used to assault him. Such a
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; search is a reasonable search under the Fourth Amendment ***[39]
(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 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
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped *** genuine reason must exist, in light of the police officer's experience and surrounding conditions, to
A warrantless arrest under the circumstances contemplated under Section 5(a) has been warrant the belief that the person detained has weapons concealed about him.[41] Finally, a "stop-
denominated as one "in flagrante delicto," while that under Section 5(b) has been described as a and-frisk" serves a two-fold interest: (1) the general interest of effective crime prevention and
"hot pursuit" arrest. 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
Turning to valid warrantless searches, they are limited to the following: (1) customs possible criminal behavior even without probable cause; and (2) the more pressing interest of
searches; (2) search of moving vehicles; (3) seizure of evidence in plain view; (4) consent safety and self-preservation which permit the police officer to take steps to assure himself that the
searches;[33] (5) a search incidental to a lawful arrest;[34] and (6) a "stop and frisk."[35] person with whom he deals is not armed with a deadly weapon that could unexpectedly and fatally
be used against the police officer.
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 Here, here are at least three (3) reasons why the stop-and-frisk was invalid:
necessitating a brief discussion on the nature of these exceptions to the warrant requirement.
First, we harbor grave doubts as to Yus claim that petitioner was a member of the group
At the outset, we note that the trial court confused the concepts of a "stop-and-frisk" and of a which attempted to bomb Plaza Miranda two days earlier. This claim is neither supported by any
search incidental to a lawful arrest. These two types of warrantless searches differ in terms of the police report or record nor corroborated by any other police officer who allegedly chased that
requisite quantum of proof before they may be validly effected and in their allowable scope. 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
In a search incidental to a lawful arrest, as the precedent arrest determines the validity of the credibility of Yu's testimony, contrary to his claim that petitioner and his companions had to be
incidental search, the legality of the arrest is questioned in a large majority of these cases, e.g., chased before being apprehended, the affidavit of arrest (Exh. "A") expressly declares otherwise,
whether an arrest was merely used as a pretext for conducting a search. [36] In this instance, the i.e., upon arrival of five (5) other police officers, petitioner and his companions were "immediately
law requires that there first be a lawful arrest before a search can be made -- the process cannot collared."
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 Second, there was nothing in petitioners behavior or conduct which could have reasonably
destroy, and seize any money or property found which was used in the commission of the crime, elicited even mere suspicion other than that his eyes were moving very fast an observation which
or the fruit of the crime, or that which may be used as evidence, or which might furnish the leaves us incredulous since Yu and his teammates were nowhere near petitioner and it was
arrestee with the means of escaping or committing violence.[38] 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-
Here, there could have been no valid in flagrante delicto or hot pursuit arrest preceding the examination:
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 Q And what were they doing?
committed or was going to be committed.
A They were merely standing.
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. Q You are sure of that?

We now proceed to the justification for and allowable scope of a "stop-and-frisk" as a "limited A Yes, sir.
protective search of outer clothing for weapons," as laid down in Terry, thus: 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 petitioners 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.
Costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Regalado, Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza,
Francisco, and Martinez, JJ., concur.
Panganiban, J., please see separate opinion.
Republic of the Philippines Laboratory of Regional Command (RECOM) 9. The evidence of the prosecution was summarized
SUPREME COURT by the trial court as follows:
Manila
Prosecution evidence shows that in the morning of December 13, 1989, T/Sgt.
THIRD DIVISION Jesus Belarga, leader of a NARCOTICS COMMAND (NARCOM) team based at
Calarian, Zamboanga City, instructed Sgt. Amado Ani to conduct surveillance
and test buy on a certain Mari Musa of Suterville, Zamboanga City. Information
received from civilian informer was that this Mari Musa was engaged in selling
marijuana in said place. So Sgt. Amado Ani, another NARCOM agent, proceeded
G.R. No. 96177 January 27, 1993
to Suterville, in company with a NARCOM civilian informer, to the house of Mari
Musa to which house the civilian informer had guided him. The same civilian
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, informer had also described to him the appearance of Mari Musa. Amado Ani
vs. was able to buy one newspaper-wrapped dried marijuana (Exh. "E") for P10.00.
MARI MUSA y HANTATALU, accused-appellant. Sgt. Ani returned to the NARCOM office and turned over the newspaper-wrapped
marijuana to T/Sgt. Jesus Belarga. Sgt. Belarga inspected the stuff turned over to
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. him and found it to be marijuana.

Pablo L. Murillo for accused-appellant. The next day, December 14, 1989, about 1:30 P.M., a buy-bust was planned.
Sgt. Amado Ani was assigned as the poseur buyer for which purpose he was
given P20.00 (with SN GA955883) by Belarga. The
buy-bust money had been taken by T/Sgt. Jesus Belarga from M/Sgt. Noh Sali
Mihasun, Chief of Investigation Section, and for which Belarga signed a receipt
ROMERO, J.: (Exh. "L" & "L-l" ) The team under Sgt. Foncargas was assigned as back-up
security. A pre-arranged signal was arranged consisting of Sgt. Ani's raising his
The appellant, Mari Musa, seeks, in this appeal, the reversal of the decision, dated August 31, right hand, after he had succeeded to buy the marijuana. The two NARCOM
1990,1 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Zamboanga City, Branch XII, finding him guilty of teams proceeded to the target site in two civilian vehicles. Belarga's team was
selling marijuana in violation of Article II, Section 4 of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, composed of Sgt. Belarga, team leader, Sgt. Amado Ani, poseur buyer, Sgt.
otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972. Lego and Sgt. Biong.

The information filed on December 15, 1989 against the appellant reads: Arriving at the target site, Sgt. Ani proceeded to the house of Mari Musa, while
the rest of the NARCOM group positioned themselves at strategic places about
That on or about December 14, 1989, in the City of Zamboanga, Philippines, and 90 to 100 meters from Mari Musa's house. T/Sgt. Belarga could see what went
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the on between Ani and suspect Mari Musa from where he was. Ani approached
above-named accused, not being authorized by law, did then and there, wilfully, Mari Musa, who came out of his house, and asked Ani what he wanted. Ani said
unlawfully and feloniously sell to one SGT. AMADO ANI, two (2) wrappers he wanted some more stuff. Ani gave Mari Musa the P20.00 marked money.
containing dried marijuana leaves, knowing the same to be a prohibited drug. After receiving the money, Mari Musa went back to his house and came back
and gave Amado Ani two newspaper wrappers containing dried marijuana. Ani
opened the two wrappers and inspected the contents. Convinced that the
CONTRARY TO LAW.2
contents were marijuana, Ani walked back towards his companions and raised
his right hand. The two NARCOM teams, riding the two civilian vehicles, sped
Upon his arraignment on January 11, 1990, the appellant pleaded not guilty.3 towards Sgt. Ani. Ani joined Belarga's team and returned to the house.

At the trial, the prosecution presented three (3) witnesses, namely: (1) Sgt. Amado Ani, Jr. of the At the time Sgt. Ani first approached Mari Musa, there were four persons inside
9th Narcotics Command (NARCOM) of Zamboanga City, who acted as poseur-buyer in the buy- his house: Mari Musa, another boy, and two women, one of whom Ani and
bust operation made against the appellant; (2) T/Sgt. Jesus Belarga, also of the 9th Narcotics Belarga later came to know to be Mari Musa's wife. The second time, Ani with the
Command of Zamboanga City, who was the NARCOM team leader of the buy-bust operation; and NARCOM team returned to Mari Musa's house, the woman, who was later known
(3) Athena Elisa P. Anderson, the Document Examiner and Forensic Chemist of PC-INP Crime as Mari Musa's wife, slipped away from the house. Sgt. Belarga frisked Mari
Musa but could not find the P20.00 marked money with him. Mari Musa was then
asked where the P20.00 was and he told the NARCOM team he has given the sleep. Three NARCOM agents, who introduced themselves as NARCOM agents,
money to his wife (who had slipped away). Sgt. Belarga also found a plastic bag dressed in civilian clothes, got inside Mari Musa's house whose door was open.
containing dried marijuana inside it somewhere in the kitchen. Mari Musa was The NARCOM agents did not ask permission to enter the house but simply
then placed under arrest and brought to the NARCOM office. At Suterville, Sgt. announced that they were NARCOM agents. The NARCOM agents searched
Ani turned over to Sgt. Belarga the two newspaper-wrapped marijuana he had Mari Musa's house and Mari Musa asked them if they had a search warrant. The
earlier bought from Mari Musa (Exhs. "C" & "D"). NARCOM agents were just silent. The NARCOM agents found a red plastic bag
whose contents, Mari Musa said, he did not know. He also did not know if the
In the NARCOM office, Mari Musa first gave his name as Hussin Musa. Later on, plastic bag belonged to his brother, Faisal, who was living with him, or his father,
Mari Musa gave his true name — Mari Musa. T/Sgt. Jesus Belarga turned over who was living in another house about ten arms-length away. Mari Musa, then,
the two newspaper-wrapped marijuana (bought at the buy-bust), the one was handcuffed and when Mari Musa asked why, the NARCOM agents told him
newspaper-wrapped marijuana (bought at the test-buy) and the plastic bag for clarification.
containing more marijuana (which had been taken by Sgt. Lego inside the
kitchen of Mari Musa) to the PC Crime Laboratory, Zamboanga City, for Mari Musa was brought in a pick-up, his wife joining him to the NARCOM Office
laboratory examination. The turnover of the marijuana specimen to the PC Crime at Calarian, Zamboanga City. Inside the NARCOM Office, Mari Musa was
Laboratory was by way of a letter-request, dated December 14, 1989 (Exh. "B"), investigated by one NARCOM agent which investigation was reduced into
which was stamped "RECEIVED" by the PC Crime Laboratory (Exh. "B-1") on writing. The writing or document was interpreted to Mari Musa in Tagalog. The
the same day. document stated that the marijuana belonged to Mari Musa and Mari Musa was
asked to sign it. But Mari Musa refused to sign because the marijuana did not
Mrs. Athena Elisa P. Anderson, the Forensic Chemist of the PC Crime belong to him. Mari Musa said he was not told that he was entitled to the
Laboratory, examined the marijuana specimens subjecting the same to her three assistance of counsel, although he himself told the NARCOM agents he wanted
tests. All submitted specimens she examined gave positive results for the to be assisted by counsel.
presence of marijuana. Mrs. Anderson reported the results of her examination in
her Chemistry Report D-100-89, dated December 14, 1989, (Exh. "J", "J-1", "J- Mari Musa said four bullets were then placed between the fingers of his right
2", "J-3", "J-4" and "J-5"). Mrs. Anderson identified in court the two newspaper hand and his fingers were pressed which felt very painful. The NARCOM agents
wrapped marijuana bought at the boxed him and Mari Musa lost consciousness. While Mari Musa was maltreated,
buy-bust on December 14, 1989, through her initial and the weight of each he said his wife was outside the NARCOM building. The very day he was
specimen written with red ink on each wrapper (Exhs. "C-1" and "D-1"). She also arrested (on cross-examination Mari Musa said it was on the next day), Mari
identified the one newspaper-wrapped marijuana bought at the test-buy on Musa was brought to the Fiscal's Office by three NARCOM agents. The fiscal
December 13, 1989, through her markings (Exh. "E-1"). Mrs. Anderson also asked him if the marijuana was owned by him and he said "not." After that single
identified her Chemistry Report (Exh. "J" & sub-markings.) question, Mari Musa was brought to the City Jail. Mari Musa said he did not tell
the fiscal that he had been maltreated by the NARCOM agents because he was
T. Sgt. Belarga identified the two buy-bust newspaper wrapped marijuana afraid he might be maltreated in the fiscal's office.
through his initial, the words "buy-bust" and the words "December 14, 1989, 2:45
P.M." (written on Exhs. "C" and "D"). Belarga also identified the receipt of the Mari Musa denied the NARCOM agents' charge that he had sold two wrappers of
P20 marked money (with SN GA955883) (Exh. "L"), dated December 14, 1989, marijuana to them; that he had received from them a P20.00 bill which he had
and his signature thereon (Exh. given to his wife. He did not sell marijuana because he was afraid that was
"L-1"). He also identified the letter-request, dated December 14, 1989, addressed against the law and that the person selling marijuana was caught by the
to the PC Crime Laboratory (Exh. "B") and his signature thereon (Exh. "B-2") and authorities; and he had a wife and a very small child to support. Mari Musa said
the stamp of the PC Crime Laboratory marked "RECEIVED" (Exh. "B-1").4 he had not been arrested for selling marijuana before.5

For the defense, the following testified as witnesses: (1) the accused-appellant Mari H. Musa; and After trial, the trial court rendered the assailed decision with the following disposition:
(2) Ahara R. Musa, his wife. The trial court summarized the version of the defense, thus:
WHEREFORE, finding accused Mari Musa y Hantatalu guilty beyond reasonable
[O]n December 14, 1989, at about 1:30 in the afternoon, Mari Musa was in his doubt of selling marijuana and pursuant to Sec. 4, Art II of Rep. Act No. 6425, he
house at Suterville, Zamboanga City. With him were his wife, Ahara Musa, is sentenced to life imprisonment and to pay the fine of P20,000.00, the latter
known as Ara, his one-year old child, a woman manicurist, and a male cousin imposed without subsidiary imprisonment.6
named Abdul Musa. About 1:30 that afternoon, while he was being manicured at
one hand, his wife was inside the one room of their house, putting their child to
In this appeal, the appellant contends that his guilt was not proved beyond reasonable doubt and The appellant, again to cast doubt on the credibility of Sgt. Ani, argues that it was impossible for
impugns the credibility of the prosecution witnesses. the appellant to sell marijuana while his wife, cousin and manicurist were present. But the place of
the commission of the crime of selling prohibited drugs has been held to be not crucial 18 and the
The appellant claims that the testimony of Sgt. Ani, the poseur-buyer, is not credible because: (1) presence of other people apart from the buyer and seller will not necessarily prevent the
prior to the buy-bust operation, neither Sgt. Ani nor the other NARCOM agents were personally consummation of the illegal sale. As the Court observed in People v. Paco,19 these factors may
known by the appellant or vice-versa; and (2) there was no witness to the alleged giving of the two sometimes camouflage the commission of the crime. In the instant case, the fact that the other
wrappers of marijuana by the appellant to Sgt. Ani. people inside the appellant's house are known to the appellant may have given him some
assurance that these people will not report him to the authorities.
Sgt. Ani testified that on December 13, 1989, upon instruction by T/Sgt. Jesus Belarga, he
conducted a test-buy operation on the appellant whereby he bought one wrapper of marijuana for The appellant, besides assailing Sgt. Ani's credibility, also questions the credibility of T/Sgt.
P15.00 from the latter.7 He reported the successful operation to T/Sgt. Belarga on the same Belarga. The appellant submits that since T/Sgt. Belarga admitted that he was about 90 meters
day.8 Whereupon, T/Sgt. Belarga conducted a conference to organize a buy-bust operation for the away from Sgt. Ani and the appellant, he could not have possibly witnessed the sale. The
following day.9 appellant invokes People v.
Ale20 where the Court observed that from a distance of 10-15 meters, a policeman cannot
distinguish between marijuana cigarette from ordinary ones by the type of rolling done on the
On December 14, 1989, at 1:30 p.m., two NARCOM teams in separate vehicles headed by T/Sgt.
cigarette sticks. And since T/Sgt. Belarga allegedly did not see the sale, the appellant contends
Belarga and a certain Sgt. Foncardas went to the place of operation, which was the appellant's that the uncorroborated testimony of Sgt. Ani can not stand as basis for his conviction.
house located in Laquian Compound, Suterville, Zamboanga City. Sgt. Ani was with the team of
T/Sgt. Belarga, whose other members were Sgts. Lego and Biong. 10 Sgt. Ani was given a marked
P20.00 bill by T/Sgt. Belarga, which was to be used in the operation. People v. Ale does not apply here because the policeman in that case testified that he and his
companion were certain that the appellant therein handed marijuana cigarettes to the poseur-
buyer based on the appearance of the cigarette sticks. The Court rejected this claim, stating that:
Upon reaching the place, the NARCOM agents positioned themselves at strategic places.11 Sgt.
Ani approached the house. Outside the house, the appellant asked Sgt. Ani what he wanted. Sgt.
Ani asked him for some more marijuana.12 Sgt. Ani gave him the marked P20.00 bill and the This Court cannot give full credit to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses
appellant went inside the house and brought back two paper wrappers containing marijuana which marked as they are with contradictions and tainted with inaccuracies.
he handed to Sgt. Ani.13 From his position, Sgt. Ani could see that there were other people in the
house.14 Biñan testified that they were able to tell that the four cigarettes were marijuana
cigarettes because according to him, the rolling of ordinary cigarettes are
After the exchange, Sgt. Ani approached the other NARCOM agents and made the pre-arranged different from those of marijuana cigarettes. (tsn, November 13, 1984, p. 10).
signal of raising his right hand.15 The NARCOM agents, accompanied by Sgt. Ani, went inside the
house and made the arrest. The agents searched the appellant and unable to find the marked It is however, incredible to believe that they could discern the type of rolling done
money, they asked him where it was. The appellant said that he gave it to his wife.16 on those cigarettes from the distance where they were observing the alleged sale
of more or less 10 to 15 meters.21
The Court, after a careful reading of the record, finds the testimony of Sgt. Ani regarding the buy-
bust operation, which resulted in the apprehension, prosecution and subsequent conviction of the In the case at bar, however, T/Sgt. Belarga did not positively claim that he saw the appellant hand
appellant, to be direct, lucid and forthright. Being totally untainted by contradictions in any of the over marijuana to Sgt. Ani. What he said was that there was an exchange of certain articles
material points, it deserves credence. between the two. The relevant portion of T/Sgt. Belarga's testimony reads:22

The contention that the appellant could not have transacted with Sgt. Ani because they do not Q Now, do you remember whether Sgt. Ani was able to reach
know each other is without merit. The day before the the house of Mari Musa?
buy-bust operation, Sgt. Ani conducted a test-buy and he successfully bought a wrapper of
marijuana from the appellant. Through this previous transaction, Sgt. Ani was able to gain the A Yes, ma'am.
appellant's confidence for the latter to sell more marijuana to Sgt. Ani the following day, during the
buy-bust operation. Moreover, the Court has held that what matters is not an existing familiarity
Q After reaching Mari Musa, did you see what happened (sic)?
between the buyer and the seller, for quite often, the parties to the transaction may be strangers,
but their agreement and the acts constituting the sale and delivery of the marijuana.17
A Yes, ma'am.
Q Could you please tell us? Built into the Constitution are guarantees on the freedom of every individual against unreasonable
searches and seizures by providing in Article III, Section 2, the following:
A From our vehicle the stainless owner type jeep where Sgt.
Lego, Sgt. Biong were boarded, I saw that Sgt. Ani proceeded The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects
to the house near the road and he was met by one person and against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any
later known as Mari Musa who was at the time wearing short purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue
pants and later on I saw that Sgt. Ani handed something to him, except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after
thereafter received by Mari Musa and went inside the house examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witness he may
and came back later and handed something to Sgt. Ani. produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or
things to be seized.
Contrary to the contention of the appellant, it was not impossible for T/Sgt. Belarga to have seen,
from a distance of 90-100 meters, Sgt. Ani hand to the appellant "something" and for the latter to Furthermore, the Constitution, in conformity with the doctrine laid down in Stonehill v.
give to the former "something." Diokno, 34 declares inadmissible, any evidence obtained in violation of the freedom from
unreasonable searches and seizures.35
Notwithstanding the fact that T/Sgt. Belarga could not have been certain that what Sgt. Ani
received from the appellant was marijuana because of the distance, his testimony, nevertheless, While a valid search warrant is generally necessary before a search and seizure may be effected,
corroborated the direct evidence, which the Court earlier ruled to be convincing, presented by Sgt. exceptions to this rule are recognized. Thus, in Alvero v. Dizon,36 the Court stated that. "[t]he most
Ani on the following material points: (1) T/Sgt. Belarga instructed Sgt. Ani to conduct a surveillance important exception to the necessity for a search warrant is the right of search and seizure as an
and test-buy operation on the appellant at Suterville, Zamboanga City on December 13, incident to a lawful arrest."37
1989; 23 (2) later that same day, Sgt. Ani went back to their office and reported a successful
operation and turned over to T/Sgt. Belarga one wrapper of marijuana; 24 (3) T/Sgt. Belarga then Rule 126, Section 12 of the Rules of Court expressly authorizes a warrantless search and seizure
organized a team to conduct a buy-bust operation the following day; 25 (4) on December 14, 1989, incident to a lawful arrest, thus:
T/Sgt. Belarga led a team of NARCOM agents who went to Suterville, Zamboanga City;26 (5)
T/Sgt. Belarga gave a P20.00 marked bill to Sgt. Ani which was to be used in the buy-bust
Sec. 12. Search incident to lawful arrest. — A person lawfully arrested may be
operation; 27 (6) upon the arrival of the NARCOM agents in Suterville, Zamboanga City, Sgt. Ani
searched for dangerous weapons or anything which may be used as proof of the
proceeded to the house of the appellant while some agents stayed in the vehicles and others
commission of an offense, without a search warrant.
positioned themselves in strategic places;28 the appellant met Sgt. Ani and an exchange of articles
took place.29
There is no doubt that the warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest authorizes the arresting
officer to make a search upon the person of the person arrested. As early as 1909, the Court has
The corroborative testimony of T/Sgt. Belarga strengthens the direct evidence given by Sgt. Ani.
ruled that "[a]n officer making an arrest may take from the person arrested any money or property
Additionally, the Court has ruled that the fact that the police officers who accompanied the poseur-
found upon his person which was used in the commission of the crime or was the fruit of the crime
buyer were unable to see exactly what the appellant gave the poseur-buyer because of their
or which might furnish the prisoner with the means of committing
distance or position will not be fatal to the prosecution's case30 provided there exists other
violence or of escaping, or which may be used as evidence in the trial of the cause . . . "38 Hence,
evidence, direct or circumstantial, e.g., the testimony of the poseur-buyer, which is sufficient to
prove the consummation of the sale of the prohibited drug in a buy-bust operation conducted to entrap a drug-pusher, the law enforcement agents may seize
the marked money found on the person
of the pusher immediately after the arrest even without arrest and search warrants.39
The appellant next assails the seizure and admission as evidence of a plastic bag containing
marijuana which the NARCOM agents found in the appellant's kitchen. It appears that after Sgt.
Ani gave the pre-arranged signal to the other NARCOM agents, the latter moved in and arrested In the case at bar, the NARCOM agents searched the person of the appellant after arresting him
the appellant inside the house. They searched him to retrieve the marked money but didn't find it. in his house but found nothing. They then searched the entire house and, in the kitchen, found
and seized a plastic bag hanging in a corner.
Upon being questioned, the appellant said that he gave the marked money to his
wife.31 Thereafter, T/Sgt. Belarga and Sgt. Lego went to the kitchen and noticed what T/Sgt.
Belarga described as a "cellophane colored white and stripe hanging at the corner of the The warrantless search and seizure, as an incident to a suspect's lawful arrest, may extend
kitchen."32 They asked the appellant about its contents but failing to get a response, they opened it beyond the person of the one arrested to include the premises or surroundings under his
and found dried marijuana leaves. At the trial, the appellant questioned the admissibility of the immediate control.40 Objects in the "plain view" of an officer who has the right to be in the position
plastic bag and the marijuana it contains but the trial court issued an Order ruling that these are to have that view are subject to seizure and may be presented as evidence.41
admissible in evidence.33
In Ker v. California42 police officers, without securing a search warrant but having information that Moreover, when the NARCOM agents saw the plastic bag hanging in one corner of the kitchen,
the defendant husband was selling marijuana from his apartment, obtained from the building they had no clue as to its contents. They had to ask the appellant what the bag contained. When
manager a passkey to defendants' apartment, and entered it. There they found the defendant the appellant refused to respond, they opened it and found the marijuana. Unlike Ker v. California,
husband in the living room. The defendant wife emerged from the kitchen, and one of the officers, where the marijuana was visible to the police officer's eyes, the NARCOM agents in this case
after identifying himself, observed through the open doorway of the kitchen, a small scale atop the could not have discovered the inculpatory nature of the contents of the bag had they not forcibly
kitchen sink, upon which lay a brick-shaped package containing green leafy substance which he opened it. Even assuming then, that the NARCOM agents inadvertently came across the plastic
recognized as marijuana. The package of marijuana was used as evidence in prosecuting bag because it was within their "plain view," what may be said to be the object in their "plain view"
defendants for violation of the Narcotic Law. The admissibility of the package was challenged was just the plastic bag and not the marijuana. The incriminating nature of the contents of the
before the U.S. Supreme Court, which held, after observing that it was not unreasonable for the plastic bag was not immediately apparent from the "plain view" of said object. It cannot be claimed
officer to walk to the doorway of the adjacent kitchen on seeing the defendant wife emerge that the plastic bag clearly betrayed its contents, whether by its distinctive configuration, its
therefrom, that "the discovery of the brick of marijuana did not constitute a search, since the officer transprarency, or otherwise, that its contents are obvious to an observer.48
merely saw what was placed before him in full view.43 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the
warrantless seizure of the marijuana was legal on the basis of the "plain view" doctrine and upheld We, therefore, hold that under the circumstances of the case, the "plain view" doctrine does not
the admissibility of the seized drugs as part of the prosecution's evidence. 44 apply and the marijuana contained in the plastic bag was seized illegally and cannot be presented
in evidence pursuant to Article III, Section 3(2) of the Constitution.
The "plain view" doctrine may not, however, be used to launch unbridled searches and
indiscriminate seizures nor to extend a general exploratory search made solely to find evidence of The exclusion of this particular evidence does not, however, diminish, in any way, the damaging
defendant's guilt. The "plain view" doctrine is usually applied where a police officer is not effect of the other pieces of evidence presented by the prosecution to prove that the appellant sold
searching for evidence against the accused, but nonetheless inadvertently comes across an marijuana, in violation of Article II, Section 4 of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972. We hold that by
incriminating object.45 Furthermore, the U.S. Supreme Court stated the following limitations on the virtue of the testimonies of Sgt. Ani and T/Sgt. Belarga and the two wrappings of marijuana sold
application of the doctrine: by the appellant to Sgt. Ani, among other pieces of evidence, the guilt of the appellant of the crime
charged has been proved beyond reasonable doubt.
What the "plain view" cases have in common is that the police officer in each of them had a prior
justification for an intrusion in the course of which he came inadvertently across a piece of WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED and the judgment of the Regional Trial Court
evidence incriminating the accused. The doctrine serves to supplement the prior justification — AFFIRMED.
whether it be a warrant for another object, hot pursuit, search incident to lawful arrest, or some
other legitimate reason for being present unconnected with a search directed against the accused
SO ORDERED.
— and permits the warrantless seizure. Of course, the extension of the original justification is
legitimate only where it is immediately apparent to the police that they have evidence before them;
the "plain view" doctrine may not be used to extend a general exploratory search from one object Gutierrez, Jr., Bidin, Davide, Jr. and Melo, JJ., concur.
to another until something incriminating at last emerges.46

It has also been suggested that even if an object is observed in "plain view," the "plain view"
doctrine will not justify the seizure of the object where the incriminating nature of the object is not
apparent from the "plain view" of the object.47 Stated differently, it must be immediately apparent
to the police that the items that they observe may be evidence of a crime, contraband, or
otherwise subject to seizure.

In the instant case, the appellant was arrested and his person searched in the living room. Failing
to retrieve the marked money which they hoped to find, the NARCOM agents searched the whole
house and found the plastic bag in the kitchen. The plastic bag was, therefore, not within their
"plain view" when they arrested the appellant as to justify its seizure. The NARCOM agents had to
move from one portion of the house to another before they sighted the plastic bag. Unlike Ker vs.
California, where the police officer had reason to walk to the doorway of the adjacent kitchen and
from which position he saw the marijuana, the NARCOM agents in this case went from room to
room with the obvious intention of fishing for more evidence.
SECOND DIVISION City, and PO3 Rolando Duazo of Station 10, Kamuning, Quezon City, a field operative. The
prosecution evidence established the following:
On December 26, 1995, Sr. Insp. Aguilar applied for a warrant[5] in the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 90, Dasmarias, Cavite, to search the residence of accused-appellant Robert Salanguit y
[G.R. Nos. 133254-55. April 19, 2001] Ko on Binhagan St., Novaliches, Quezon City. He presented as his witness SPO1 Edmund
Badua, who testified that as a poseur-buyer, he was able to purchase 2.12 grams of shabu from
accused-appellant. The sale took place in accused-appellants room, and Badua saw that
the shabu was taken by accused-appellant from a cabinet inside his room. The application was
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROBERTO SALANGUIT y granted, and a search warrant was later issued by Presiding Judge Dolores L. Espaol.
KO, accused-appellant.
At about 10:30 p.m. of December 26, 1995, a group of about 10 policemen, along with one
civilian informer, went to the residence of accused-appellant to serve the warrant.[6]
DECISION
The police operatives knocked on accused-appellants door, but nobody opened it. They
MENDOZA, J.: heard people inside the house, apparently panicking. The police operatives then forced the door
open and entered the house.[7]
This is an appeal from the decision,[1] dated January 27, 1998, of the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 96, Quezon City, finding accused-appellant Roberto Salanguit y Ko guilty of violation of 16 After showing the search warrant to the occupants of the house, Lt. Cortes and his group
of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, and sentencing him accordingly to suffer imprisonment started searching the house.[8] They found 12 small heat-sealed transparent plastic bags
ranging from six (6) months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to four (4) years and two (2) months containing a white crystalline substance, a paper clip box also containing a white crystalline
of prision correccional, as maximum, and of 8 of the same law and sentencing him for such substance, and two bricks of dried leaves which appeared to be marijuana wrapped in
violation to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of P700,000.00. newsprint[9] having a total weight of approximately 1,255 grams.[10] A receipt of the items seized
was prepared, but the accused-appellant refused to sign it.[11]
Charges against accused-appellant for violations of R.A. No. 6425 were filed on December
28, 1995. In Criminal Case No. Q-95-64357, the information alleged: After the search, the police operatives took accused-appellant with them to Station 10,
EDSA, Kamuning, Quezon City, along with the items they had seized.[12]
That on or about the 26th day of December 1995, in Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused, PO3 Duazo requested a laboratory examination of the confiscated evidence.[13] The white
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly possess and/or use 11.14 grams of crystalline substance with a total weight of 2.77 grams and those contained in a small box with a
Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (Shabu) a regulated drug, without the necessary license and/or total weight of 8.37 grams were found to be positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride. On the
prescription therefor, in violation of said law. other hand, the two bricks of dried leaves, one weighing 425 grams and the other 850 grams,
were found to be marijuana.[14]
CONTRARY TO LAW.[2]
For the defense, accused-appellant testified in his own behalf. His testimony was
corroborated by his mother-in-law, Soledad Arcano.
In Criminal Case No. Q-95-64358, the information charged:
Accused-appellant testified that on the night of December 26, 1995, as they were about to
That on or about the 26th day of December 1995, in Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused leave their house, they heard a commotion at the gate and on the roof of their house. Suddenly,
not being authorized by law to possess or use any prohibited drug, did, then and there willfully, about 20 men in civilian attire, brandishing long firearms, climbed over the gate and descended
unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession and under his custody and control 1,254 grams through an opening in the roof.[15]
of Marijuana, a prohibited drug. When accused-appellant demanded to be shown a search warrant, a piece of paper inside a
folder was waved in front of him. As accused-appellant fumbled for his glasses, however, the
CONTRARY TO LAW.[3] paper was withdrawn and he had no chance to read it.[16]
Accused-appellant claimed that he was ordered to stay in one place of the house while the
When arraigned on May 21, 1996, accused-appellant pleaded not guilty,[4] whereupon he was policemen conducted a search, forcibly opening cabinets and taking his bag containing money, a
tried. licensed .45 caliber firearm, jewelry, and canned goods.[17]
Three witnesses were presented by the prosecution: P/Insp. Sonia S. Ludovico, forensic The policemen left at around 12:30 a.m. of December 27, 1995, and, after putting handcuffs
chemist and chief of the Physical Science Branch of the Philippine National Police Crime on accused-appellant, took him with them to the NARCOM on EDSA, Quezon City, where
Laboratory, Senior Inspector Rodolfo Aguilar of the Narcotics Command, Camp Crame, Quezon accused-appellant was detained.[18]
Accused-appellants mother-in law, Soledad Arcano, corroborated his testimony. Arcano warrant used in obtaining it was invalid. Second, the admissibility in evidence of the marijuana
testified that the policemen ransacked their house, ate their food, and took away canned goods allegedly seized from accused-appellant pursuant to the plain view doctrine. Third, the
and other valuables.[19] employment of unnecessary force by the police in the execution of the warrant.
After hearing, the trial court rendered its decision, the dispositive portion of which reads: First. Rule 126, 4 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure[21] provides that a search
warrant shall not issue except upon probable cause in connection with one specific offense to be
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered: 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
things to be seized which may be anywhere in the Philippines.
1. In Criminal Case No. Q-95-64357, for violation of Sec. 16, Republic Act No. 6425, as amended,
finding the accused ROBERTO SALANGUIT y KO guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime In issuing a search warrant, judges must comply strictly with the requirements of the
charged and he is hereby accordingly sentenced to suffer an indeterminate sentence with a Constitution and the Rules of Criminal Procedure. No presumption of regularity can be invoked in
minimum of six (6) months of arresto mayor and a maximum of four (4) years and two (2) months aid of the process when an officer undertakes to justify its issuance. [22] Nothing can justify the
of prision correccional; and, issuance of the search warrant unless all the legal requisites are fulfilled.
In this case, the search warrant issued against accused-appellant reads:
2. In Criminal Case No. Q-95-64358, for violation of Sec. 8, Republic Act No. 6425, as amended,
finding the accused ROBERTO SALANGUIT y KO guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
charged and he is hereby accordingly sentenced to suffer reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of SEARCH WARRANT NO. 160
P700,000.00.
For: Violation of RA 6425
The accused shall further pay the costs of suit.
SEARCH WARRANT
The 11.14 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride and the 1,254 grams of marijuana bricks are
hereby confiscated and condemned for disposition according to law. The evidence custodian of TO ANY PEACE OFFICER:
this Court is hereby directed to turn such substances over to the National Bureau of Investigation
pursuant to law. GREETINGS:

SO ORDERED.[20] It appearing to the satisfaction of the undersigned after examining under oath SR. INSP.
RODOLFO V. AGUILAR, PNP and his witness SPO1 EDMUND M. BADUA, PNP that there is
Hence this appeal. Accused-appellant contends that - probable cause to believe that ROBERT SALANGUIT has in his possession and control in his
premises Binhagan St., San Jose, Quezon City as shown in Annex A, the properties to wit:
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN DECLARING THE SEARCH WARRANT VALID
UNDETERMINED QUANTITY OF SHABU AND DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN CONVICTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT FOR ILLEGAL
POSSESSION OF METHAMPHETAMINE HYDRO-CHLORIDE (SHABU) which should be seized and brought to the undersigned.

THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT FOR You are hereby commanded to make an immediate search anytime of the day/night of the
VIOLATION 8, R.A. NO. 6425 premises above-described and forthwith seize and take possession of the above-stated properties
and bring said properties to the undersigned to be dealt with as the law directs.
THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN ADMITTING IN EVIDENCE THE TWO (2) BRICKS OF
MARIJUANA GIVEN UNDER MY HAND this 26th day of December 1995 at Imus, Cavite, Philippines.

THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE POLICEMEN USED (SGD.) DOLORES L. ESPAOL
EXCESSIVE FORCE IN ENFORCING THE SEARCH WARRANT. Judge
Accused-appellant assails the validity of the warrant on three grounds: (1) that there was no
Accused-appellant is contesting his conviction on three grounds. First, the admissibility of probable cause to search for drug paraphernalia; (2) that the search warrant was issued for more
the shabu allegedly recovered from his residence as evidence against him on the ground that the
than one specific offense; and (3) that the place to be searched was not described with sufficient Q - How were you able to know the place where he kept the stuff?
particularity.
A - When I first bought the 2.12 grams of shabu from him, it was done inside his room and I
saw that the shabu was taken by him inside his cabinet.
Existence of Probable Cause Q - Do you know who is in control of the premises?
A - Yes, sir, it was ROBERT SALANGUIT @ Robert.
The warrant authorized the seizure of undetermined quantity of shabu and drug Q - How sure are you, that the shabu that you bought from ROBERT SALANGUIT @ Robert is
paraphernalia. Evidence was presented showing probable cause of the existence of genuine shabu?
methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. Accused-appellant contends, however, that the search
warrant issued is void because no evidence was presented showing the existence of drug A - After I left the house of ROBERT SALANGUIT @ Robert, I proceeded back to our office
paraphernalia and the same should not have been ordered to be seized by the trial court.[23] and reported the progress of my mission to our Chief and presented to him the 2.12
grams of shabu I bought from the subject. Then afterwards, our Chief formally requested
The contention has no merit. To be sure, SPO1 Edmund Badua, the intelligence officer who the Chief PNP Central Crime Laboratory Services, NPDC, for Technical Analysis which
acted as a poseur-buyer, did not testify in the proceedings for the issuance of a search warrant on yielded positive result for shabu, a regulated drug as shown in the attached certification of
anything about drug paraphernalia. He stated: PNP CLS result No. D-414-95 dated 19 Dec. 95.
Q - Being a member of the Intelligence and Operation Section, NMDU, NARCOM, do you Q - Do you have anything more to add or retract from your statement?
remember if you were assigned into a monitoring or surveillance work?
A - Yes, sir, I was offered by him (ROBERT SALANGUIT @ Robert) that anything I wish to buy
A - Yes, sir. bigger quantity of shabu, he is willing to transact to me on cash basis at his price of One
Thousand Seven Hundred Fifty (P1,750.00) pesos per gram.
Q - Of what particular assignment or area were you assigned for monitoring or surveillance?
Q - Are you willing to sign your statement freely and voluntarily?
A - Its within the Quezon City area particularly a house without a number located at Binhagan
St., San Jose, Quezon City, sir. A - Yes, sir.[24]
Q - Do you know the person who occupies the specific place? However, the fact that there was no probable cause to support the application for the seizure
of drug paraphernalia does not warrant the conclusion that the search warrant is void. This fact
A - Yes, sir, he is ROBERT SALANGUIT @ Robert. would be material only if drug paraphernalia was in fact seized by the police. The fact is that none
Q - Are you familiar with that place? was taken by virtue of the search warrant issued. If at all, therefore, the search warrant is void only
insofar as it authorized the seizure of drug paraphernalia, but it is valid as to the seizure of
A - Yes, sir, as part of my surveillance, I was able to penetrate inside the area and established methamphetamine hydrochloride as to which evidence was presented showing probable cause as
contract with ROBERT SALANGUIT alias Robert through my friend who introduced me to to its existence. Thus, in Aday v. Superior Court,[25] the warrant properly described two obscene
the former. books but improperly described other articles. It was held:
Q - In what particular occasion did you meet ROBERT SALANGUIT alias Robert? Although the warrant was defective in the respects noted, it does not follow that it was invalid
as a whole. Such a conclusion would mean that the seizure of certain articles, even though proper
A - When I was introduced by my friend as a good buyer and drug pusher of shabu, sir. if viewed separately, must be condemned merely because the warrant was defective with respect
Q - Were you able to buy at that time? to other articles. The invalid portions of the warrant are severable from the authorization relating to
the named books, which formed the principal basis of the charge of obscenity. The search for and
A - Yes, sir. seizure of these books, if otherwise valid, were not rendered illegal by the defects concerning
other articles. . . . In so holding we do not mean to suggest that invalid portions of a warrant will be
Q - How much if you can still remember the amount involved? treated as severable under all circumstances. We recognize the danger that warrants might be
A - I was able to buy two point twelve (2.12) grams of shabu in the amount of Two Thousand obtained which are essentially general in character but as to minor items meet the requirement of
Seven Hundred Fifty (P2,750.00) pesos, sir. particularity, and that wholesale seizures might be made under them, in the expectation that the
seizure would in any event be upheld as to the property specified. Such an abuse of the warrant
Q - Having established contact with ROBERT SALANGUIT @ Robert, do you know where the procedure, of course, could not be tolerated.
stuff (shabu) were being kept?
It would be a drastic remedy indeed if a warrant, which was issued on probable cause and
A - Yes, sir, inside a cabinet inside his room. particularly describing the items to be seized on the basis thereof, is to be invalidated in
toto because the judge erred in authorizing a search for other items not supported by the penalized under 1 of P.D. No. 1866 and illegal possession of explosives is penalized under 3
evidence.[26] Accordingly, we hold that the first part of the search warrant, authorizing the search of thereof, the decree is a codification of the various laws on illegal possession of firearms,
accused-appellants house for an undetermined quantity of shabu, is valid, even though the ammunitions, and explosives which offenses are so related as to be subsumed within the category
second part, with respect to the search for drug paraphernalia, is not. of illegal possession of firearms, etc. under P.D. No. 1866. Thus, only one warrant was necessary
to cover the violations under the various provisions of the said law.

Specificity of the Offense Charged


Particularity of the Place

Accused-appellant contends that the warrant was issued for more than one specific offense
because possession or use of methamphetamine hydrochloride and possession of drug Accused-appellant contends that the search warrant failed to indicate the place to be
paraphernalia are punished under two different provisions of R.A. No. 6425.[27] It will suffice to searched with sufficient particularity.
quote what this Court said in a similar case to dispose of this contention:
This contention is without merit. As the Solicitor General states:
While it is true that the caption of the search warrant states that it is in connection with Violation of
R.A. 6425, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, it is clearly recited in the text . . . While the address stated in the warrant is merely Binhagan St., San Jose, Quezon City, the
thereof that There is probable cause to believe that Adolfo Olaes alias Debie and alias Baby of trial court took note of the fact that the records of Search Warrant Case No. 160 contained several
No. 628 Comia St., Filtration, Sta. Rita, Olongapo City, has in their session and control and documents which identified the premises to be searched, to wit: 1) the application for search
custody of marijuana dried stalks/leaves/seeds/cigarettes and other regulated/prohibited and warrant which stated that the premises to be searched was located in between No. 7 and 11 at
exempt narcotics preparations which is the subject of the offense stated above. Although the Binhagan Street, San Jose, Quezon City; 2) the deposition of witness which described the
specific section of the Dangerous Drugs Act is not pinpointed, there is no question at all of the premises as a house without a number located at Binhagan St., San Jose, Quezon City; and 3)
specific offense alleged to have been committed as a basis for the finding of probable cause. The the pencil sketch of the location of the premises to be searched. In fact, the police officers who
search warrant also satisfies the requirement in the Bill of Rights of the particularity of the raided appellants house under the leadership of Police Senior Inspector Rodolfo Aguilar could not
description to be made of the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. [28] have been mistaken as Inspector Aguilar resides in the same neighborhood in Binhagan where
appellant lives and in fact Aguilars place is at the end of appellants place in Binhagan. Moreover,
the house raided by Aguilars team is undeniably appellants house and it was really appellant who
Indeed, in People v. Dichoso[29] the search warrant was also for Violation of R.A. 6425, was the target. The raiding team even first ascertained through their informant that appellant was
without specifying what provisions of the law were violated, and it authorized the search and inside his residence before they actually started their operation.[32]
seizure of dried marijuana leaves and methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) and sets of
paraphernalias (sic). This Court, however, upheld the validity of the warrant:
The rule is that a description of the place to be searched is sufficient if the officer with the
warrant can, with reasonable effort, ascertain and identify the place intended to be
Appellants contention that the search warrant in question was issued for more than (1) offense, searched.[33] For example, a search warrant authorized a search of Apartment Number 3 of a
hence, in violation of Section 3, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court, is unpersuasive. He engages in building at 83 Pleasant Street, Malborough, Massachusetts. As it turned out, there were five
semantic juggling by suggesting that since illegal possession of shabu, illegal possession of apartments in the basement and six apartments on both the ground and top floors and that there
marijuana and illegal possession of paraphernalia are covered by different articles and sections of was an Apartment Number 3 on each floor. However, the description was made determinate by a
the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, the search warrant is clearly for more than one (1) specific reference to the affidavit supporting the warrant that the apartment was occupied by the accused
offense. In short, following this theory, there should have been three (3) separate search warrants, Morris Ferrante of 83 Pleasant Street, Malboro Mass.[34] In this case, the location of accused-
one for illegal possession of shabu, the second for illegal possession of marijuana and the third for appellants house being indicated by the evidence on record, there can be no doubt that the
illegal possession of paraphernalia. This argument is pedantic. The Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 warrant described the place to be searched with sufficient particularity.
is a special law that deals specifically with dangerous drugs which are subsumed into prohibited
and regulated drugs and defines and penalizes categories of offenses which are closely related or In sum, we hold that with respect to the seizure of shabu from accused-appellants residence,
which belong to the same class or species. Accordingly, one (1) search warrant may thus be Search Warrant No. 160 was properly issued, such warrant being founded on probable cause
validly issued for the said violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act.[30] personally determined by the judge under oath or affirmation of the deposing witness and
particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be seized.
Similarly, in another case,[31] the search warrant was captioned: For Violation of P.D. No. Second. The search warrant authorized the seizure of methamphetamine hydrochloride
1866 (Illegal Possession of Firearms, etc.). The validity of the warrant was questioned on the or shabu but not marijuana. However, seizure of the latter drug is being justified on the ground that
ground that it was issued without reference to any particular provision in P.D. No. 1866, which the drug was seized within the plain view of the searching party. This is contested by accused-
punished several offenses. We held, however, that while illegal possession of firearms is appellant.
Under the plain view doctrine, unlawful objects within the plain view of an officer who has the Moreover, when the NARCOM agents saw the plastic bag hanging in one corner of the kitchen,
right to be in the position to have that view are subject to seizure and may be presented in they had no clue as to its contents. They had to ask the appellant what the bag contained. When
evidence.[35] For this doctrine to apply, there must be: (a) prior justification; (b) inadvertent the appellant refused to respond, they opened it and found the marijuana. Unlike Ker v. California,
discovery of the evidence; and (c) immediate apparent illegality of the evidence before the where the marijuana was visible to the police officers eyes, the NARCOM agents in this case
police.[36] The question is whether these requisites were complied with by the authorities in seizing could not have discovered the inculpatory nature of the contents of the bag had they not forcibly
the marijuana in this case. opened it. Even assuming then, that the NARCOM agents inadvertently came across the plastic
bag because it was within their plain view, what may be said to be the object in their plain view
was just the plastic bag and not the marijuana. The incriminating nature of the contents of the
Prior Justification and Discovery by Inadvertence plastic bag was not immediately apparent from the plain view of said object. It cannot be claimed
that the plastic bag clearly betrayed its contents, whether by its distinctive configuration, is
transparency, or otherwise, that its contents are obvious to an observer.[40]
Because the location of the shabu was indicated in the warrant and thus known to the police
operatives, it is reasonable to assume that the police found the packets of the shabu first. Once No presumption of regularity may be invoked by an officer in aid of the process when he
the valid portion of the search warrant has been executed, the plain view doctrine can no longer undertakes to justify an encroachment of rights secured by the Constitution. [41] In this case, the
provide any basis for admitting the other items subsequently found. As has been explained: marijuana allegedly found in the possession of accused-appellant was in the form of two bricks
wrapped in newsprint. Not being in a transparent container, the contents wrapped in newsprint
could not have been readily discernible as marijuana. Nor was there mention of the time or
What the plain view cases have in common is that the police officer in each of them had a prior manner these items were discovered. Accordingly, for failure of the prosecution to prove that the
justification for an intrusion in the course of which he came inadvertently across a piece of seizure of the marijuana without a warrant was conducted in accordance with the plain view
evidence incriminating the accused. The doctrine serves to supplement the prior doctrine, we hold that the marijuana is inadmissible in evidence against accused-
justification whether it be a warrant for another object, hot pursuit, search incident to lawful arrest, appellant. However, the confiscation of the drug must be upheld.
or some other legitimate reason for being present unconnected with a search directed against the
accused and permits the warrantless seizure. Of course, the extension of the original justification Third. Accused-appellant claims that undue and unnecessary force was employed by the
is legitimate only where it is immediately apparent to the police that they have evidence before searching party in effecting the raid.
them; the plain view doctrine may not be used to extend a general exploratory search from one
object to another until something incriminating at last emerges.[37] Rule 126, 7 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure[42] provides:

The only other possible justification for an intrusion by the police is the conduct of a search Right to break door or window to effect search. The officer, if refused admittance to the place of
pursuant to accused-appellants lawful arrest for possession of shabu. However, a search incident directed search after giving notice of his purpose and authority, may break open any outer or inner
to a lawful arrest is limited to the person of the one arrested and the premises within his immediate door or window of a house or any part of a house or anything therein to execute the warrant or
control.[38] The rationale for permitting such a search is to prevent the person arrested from liberate himself or any person lawfully aiding him when unlawfully detained therein.
obtaining a weapon to commit violence, or to reach for incriminatory evidence and destroy it.
Accused-appellants claim that the policemen had clambered up the roof of his house to gain
The police failed to allege in this case the time when the marijuana was found, i.e., whether entry and had broken doors and windows in the process is unsupported by reliable and competent
prior to, or contemporaneous with, the shabu subject of the warrant, or whether it was recovered proof. No affidavit or sworn statement of disinterested persons, like the barangay officials or
on accused-appellants person or in an area within his immediate control. Its recovery, therefore, neighbors, has been presented by accused-appellant to attest to the truth of his claim.
presumably during the search conducted after the shabu had been recovered from the cabinet, as
attested to by SPO1 Badua in his depostion, was invalid. In contrast, Aguilar and Duanos claim that they had to use some force in order to gain entry
cannot be doubted. The occupants of the house, especially accused-appellant, refused to open
the door despite the fact that the searching party knocked on the door several times. Furthermore,
Apparent Illegality of the Evidence the agents saw the suspicious movements of the people inside the house. These circumstances
justified the searching partys forcible entry into the house, founded as it is on the apprehension
that the execution of their mission would be frustrated unless they do so.
The marijuana bricks were wrapped in newsprint. There was no apparent illegality to justify WHEREFORE, in Criminal Case No. Q-95-64357, the decision of the Regional Trial Court,
their seizure. This case is similar to People. v. Musa[39] in which we declared inadmissible the Branch 96, Quezon City, finding accused-appellant Roberto Salanguit y Ko guilty of possession of
marijuana recovered by NARCOM agents because the said drugs were contained in a plastic bag illegal drugs under 16 of R.A. No. 6425, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act, as
which gave no indication of its contents. We explained: amended, and sentencing him to suffer a prison term ranging from six (6) months of arresto
mayor, as minimum, and four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional, as maximum,
and ordering the confiscation of 11.14 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride is AFFIRMED.
In Criminal Case No. Q-95-64358, the decision of the same court finding accused-appellant
Roberto Salanguit y Ko guilty of possession of prohibited drugs under 8 of R.A. No. 6425, as
amended, and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine
of P700,000.00 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and accused-appellant is ACQUITTED of
the crime charged. However, the confiscation of the 1,254 grams of marijuana, as well as the
11.14 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride, and its disposition as ordered by the trial court is
AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, (Chairman), Quisumbing, Buena, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.
Republic of the Philippines In his defense, Aminnudin disclaimed the marijuana, averring that all he had in his bag was his
SUPREME COURT clothing consisting of a jacket, two shirts and two pairs of pants. 11 He alleged that he was
Manila 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
FIRST DIVISION 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
G.R.No. 74869 July 6, 1988
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
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
The trial court was unconvinced, noting from its own examination of the accused that he claimed
IDEL AMINNUDIN y AHNI, defendant-appellant.
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
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. 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
Herminio T. Llariza counsel de-officio for defendant-appellant. were they damaged as a result of his manhandling. 16 He 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
CRUZ, J.:
There is no justification to reverse these factual findings, considering that it was the trial judge who
The accused-appellant claimed his business was selling watches but he was nonetheless had immediate access to the testimony of the witnesses and had the opportunity to weigh their
arrested, tried and found guilty of illegally transporting marijuana. The trial court, disbelieving him, credibility on the stand. Nuances of tone or voice, meaningful pauses and hesitation, flush of face
held it was high time to put him away and sentenced him to life imprisonment plus a fine of and dart of eyes, which may reveal the truth or expose the lie, are not described in the impersonal
P20,000.00. 1 record. But the trial judge sees all of this, discovering for himself the truant fact amidst the falsities.

Idel Aminnudin was arrested on June 25, 1984, shortly after disembarking from the M/V Wilcon 9 The only exception we may make in this case is the trial court's conclusion that the accused-
at about 8:30 in the evening, in Iloilo City. The PC officers who were in fact waiting for him simply appellant was not really beaten up because he did not complain about it later nor did he submit to
accosted him, inspected his bag and finding what looked liked marijuana leaves took him to their a medical examination. That is hardly fair or realistic. It is possible Aminnudin never had that
headquarters for investigation. The two bundles of suspect articles were confiscated from him and opportunity as he was at that time under detention by the PC authorities and in fact has never
later taken to the NBI laboratory for examination. When they were verified as marijuana leaves, an been set free since he was arrested in 1984 and up to the present. No bail has been allowed for
information for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act was filed against him. 2 Later, the information his release.
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 There is one point that deserves closer examination, however, and it is Aminnudin's claim that he
arresting officers absolving her after a 'thorough investigation." 5 The motion was granted, and trial was arrested and searched without warrant, making the marijuana allegedly found in his
proceeded only against the accused-appellant, who was eventually convicted .6 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
According to the prosecution, the PC officers had earlier received a tip from one of their informers the Rules of Court on warrantless arrests. This made the search also valid as incidental to a lawful
that the accused-appellant was on board a vessel bound for Iloilo City and was carrying arrest.
marijuana. 7 He was Identified by name. 8Acting 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 It is not disputed, and in fact it is admitted by the PC officers who testified for the prosecution, that
contain three kilos of what were later analyzed as marijuana leaves by an NBI forensic they had no warrant when they arrested Aminnudin and seized the bag he was carrying. Their
examiner, 10who testified that she conducted microscopic, chemical and chromatographic tests on only justification was the tip they had earlier received from a reliable and regular informer who
them. On the basis of this finding, the corresponding charge was then filed against Aminnudin. 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 Q From whom did you get that information?
of the chief of the arresting team, Lt. Cipriano Querol, Jr., who testified as follows:
A It came to my hand which was written in a required sheet of
Q You mentioned an intelligence report, you mean with respect information, maybe for security reason and we cannot Identify
to the coming of Idel Aminnudin on June 25, 1984? the person.

A Yes, sir. Q But you received it from your regular informer?

Q When did you receive this intelligence report? A Yes, sir.

A Two days before June 25, 1984 and it was supported by ATTY. LLARIZA:
reliable sources.
Q Previous to June 25, 1984, you were more or less sure that
Q Were you informed of the coming of the Wilcon 9 and the Idel Aminnudin is coming with drugs?
possible trafficking of marijuana leaves on that date?
A Marijuana, sir.
A Yes, sir, two days before June 25, 1984 when we received
this information from that particular informer, prior to June 25, Q And this information respecting Idel Aminnudin's coming to
1984 we have already reports of the particular operation which Iloilo with marijuana was received by you many days before you
was being participated by Idel Aminnudin. received the intelligence report in writing?

Q You said you received an intelligence report two days before A Not a report of the particular coming of Aminnudin but his
June 25, 1984 with respect to the coming of Wilcon 9? activities.

A Yes, sir. Q You only knew that he was coming on June 25,1984 two days
before?
Q Did you receive any other report aside from this intelligence
report? A Yes, sir.

A Well, I have received also other reports but not pertaining to Q You mean that before June 23, 1984 you did not know that
the coming of Wilcon 9. For instance, report of illegal gambling minnudin was coming?
operation.
A Before June 23,1984, I, in my capacity, did not know that he
COURT: was coming but on June 23, 1984 that was the time when I
received the information that he was coming. Regarding the
Q Previous to that particular information which you said two reports on his activities, we have reports that he was already
days before June 25, 1984, did you also receive daily report consummated the act of selling and shipping marijuana stuff.
regarding the activities of Idel Aminnudin
COURT:
A Previous to June 25, 1984 we received reports on the
activities of Idel Aminnudin. Q And as a result of that report, you put him under surveillance?

Q What were those activities? A Yes, sir.

A Purely marijuana trafficking.


Q In the intelligence report, only the name of Idel Aminnudin In the case at bar, there was no warrant of arrest or search warrant issued by a judge after
was mentioned? 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
A Yes, sir. 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
Q Are you sure of that?
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.
A On the 23rd he will be coming with the woman.
The present case presented no such urgency. From the conflicting declarations of the PC
Q So that even before you received the official report on June witnesses, it is clear that they had at least two days within which they could have obtained a
23, 1984, you had already gathered information to the effect warrant to arrest and search Aminnudin who was coming to Iloilo on the M/V Wilcon 9. His name
that Idel Aminnudin was coming to Iloilo on June 25, 1984? 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,
A Only on the 23rd of June. 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
Q You did not try to secure a search warrant for the seizure or head of the arresting team, had determined on his own authority that a "search warrant was not
search of the subject mentioned in your intelligence report? necessary."

A No, more. 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 a result of
what are popularly called "buy-bust" operations of the narcotics agents. 25 Rule 113 was clearly
Q Why not? applicable because at the precise time of arrest the accused was in the act of selling the
prohibited drug.
A Because we were very very sure that our operation will yield
positive result. 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
Q Is that your procedure that whenever it will yield positive descending the gangplank of the M/V Wilcon 9 and there was no outward indication that called for
result you do not need a search warrant anymore? 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
A Search warrant is not necessary. 23 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
That last answer is a cavalier pronouncement, especially as it comes from a mere lieutenant of the
arrest him.
PC. The Supreme Court cannot countenance such a statement. This is still a government of laws
and not of men.
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
The mandate of the Bill of Rights is clear:
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
Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and Rights guarantees.
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
While this is not to say that the accused-appellant is innocent, for indeed his very own words
issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after
suggest that he is lying, that fact alone does not justify a finding that he is guilty. The constitutional
examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he
presumption is that he is innocent, and he will be so declared even if his defense is weak as long
may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the
as the prosecution is not strong enough to convict him.
persons or things to be seized.
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 criminals 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.


Republic of the Philippines 4. That the marijuana allegedly taken from the possession of the accused contained in
SUPREME COURT two (2) bags were submitted for examination to the Crime Lab;
Manila
5. That per Chemistry Report No. D-109-2005, the alleged drug submitted for examination
SECOND DIVISION gave positive result for the presence of marijuana;

G.R. No. 188611 June 16, 2010 6. That the drugs allegedly obtained from the accused contained (sic) and submitted for
examination weighed 7,030.3 grams;
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee,
vs. 7. The Prosecutor admits the existence of a counter-affidavit executed by the accused;
BELEN MARIACOS, Appellant. and

DECISION 8. The existence of the affidavits executed by the witnesses of the accused family (sic):
Lyn Punasen, Mercedes Tila and Magdalena Carino."
NACHURA, J.:
During the trial, the prosecution established the following evidence:
Before this Court is an appeal from the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-HC
No. 02718, which affirmed the decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 29, San On October 26, 2005, in the evening, the San Gabriel Police Station of San Gabriel, La Union,
Fernando City, La Union, in Criminal Case No. 7144, finding appellant Belen Mariacos guilty of conducted a checkpoint near the police station at the poblacion to intercept a suspected
violating Article II, Section 5 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous transportation of marijuana from Barangay Balbalayang, San Gabriel, La Union. The group at the
Drugs Act of 2002. checkpoint was composed of PO2 Lunes B. Pallayoc ("PO2 Pallayoc"), the Chief of Police, and
other policemen. When the checkpoint did not yield any suspect or marijuana, the Chief of Police
The facts of the case, as summarized by the CA, are as follows: instructed PO2 Pallayoc to proceed to Barangay Balbalayang to conduct surveillance operation
(sic).
Accused-appellant Belen Mariacos was charged in an Information, dated November 7, 2005 of
violating Section 5, Article II of Republic Act [No.] 9165, allegedly committed as follows: At dawn on October 27, 2005, in Barangay Balbalayang, PO2 Pallayoc met with a secret agent of
the Barangay Intelligence Network who informed him that a baggage of marijuana had been
loaded on a passenger jeepney that was about to leave for the poblacion. The agent mentioned
"That on or about the 27th day of October, 2005, in the Municipality of San Gabriel, Province of La three (3) bags and one (1) blue plastic bag. Further, the agent described a backpack bag with an
Union, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, "O.K." marking. PO2 Pallayoc then boarded the said jeepney and positioned himself on top
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously transport, deliver 7,030.3, (sic) grams of thereof. While the vehicle was in motion, he found the black backpack with an "O.K." marking and
dried marijuana fruiting tops without the necessary permit or authority from the proper government peeked inside its contents. PO2 Pallayoc found bricks of marijuana wrapped in newspapers. He
agency or office.
then asked the other passengers on top of the jeepney about the owner of the bag, but no one
knew.
CONTRARY TO LAW."
When the jeepney reached the poblacion, PO2 Pallayoc alighted together with the other
When arraigned on December 13, 2005, accused-appellant pleaded not guilty. During the pre-trial, passengers. Unfortunately, he did not notice who took the black backpack from atop the jeepney.
the following were stipulated upon: He only realized a few moments later that the said bag and three (3) other bags, including a blue
plastic bag, were already being carried away by two (2) women. He caught up with the women and
"1. Accused admits that she is the same person identified in the information as Belen introduced himself as a policeman. He told them that they were under arrest, but one of the
Mariacos; women got away.

2. That accused is a resident of Brgy. Lunoy, San Gabriel, La Union; PO2 Pallayoc brought the woman, who was later identified as herein accused-appellant Belen
Mariacos, and the bags to the police station. At the police station, the investigators contacted the
3. That at the time of the arrest of the accused, accused had just alighted from a Mayor of San Gabriel to witness the opening of the bags. When the Mayor arrived about fifteen
passenger jeepney; (15) minutes later, the bags were opened and three (3) bricks of marijuana wrapped in newspaper,
two (2) round bundles of marijuana, and two (2) bricks of marijuana fruiting tops, all wrapped in a inventoried and photographed in the presence of appellant or her representative, who shall be
newspaper, were recovered. required to sign copies of the inventory. The failure to comply with this directive, appellant claimed,
casts a serious doubt on the identity of the items allegedly confiscated from her. She, likewise,
Thereafter, the investigators marked, inventoried and forwarded the confiscated marijuana to the averred that the prosecution failed to prove that the items allegedly confiscated were indeed
crime laboratory for examination. The laboratory examination showed that the stuff found in the prohibited drugs, and to establish the chain of custody over the same.
bags all tested positive for marijuana, a dangerous drug.
On the other hand, the People, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), argued that the
When it was accused-appellant’s turn to present evidence, she testified that: warrantless arrest of appellant and the warrantless seizure of marijuana were valid and
legal,8 justified as a search of a moving vehicle. It averred that PO2 Pallayoc had reasonable
ground to believe that appellant had committed the crime of delivering dangerous drugs based on
On October 27, 2005, at around 7:00 in the morning, accused-appellant, together with Lani
reliable information from their agent, which was confirmed when he peeked into the bags and
Herbacio, was inside a passenger jeepney bound for the poblacion. While the jeepney was still at
smelled the distinctive odor of marijuana.9 The OSG also argued that appellant was now estopped
the terminal waiting for passengers, one Bennie Lao-ang ("Lao-ang"), her neighbor, requested her
from questioning the illegality of her arrest since she voluntarily entered a plea of "not guilty" upon
to carry a few bags which had been loaded on top of the jeepney. At first, accused-appellant
arraignment and participated in the trial and presented her evidence.10 The OSG brushed aside
refused, but she was persuaded later when she was told that she would only be carrying the bags.
appellant’s argument that the bricks of marijuana were not photographed and inventoried in her
When they reached the poblacion, Lao-ang handed accused-appellant and her companion, Lani
presence or that of her counsel immediately after confiscation, positing that physical inventory may
Herbacio, the bags, and then Lao-ang suddenly ran away. A few moments later, PO2 Pallayoc
be done at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending team, whichever
was upon them, arresting them. Without explanation, they were brought to the police station. was practicable.11
When they were at the police station, Lani Herbacio disappeared. It was also at the police station
that accused-appellant discovered the true contents of the bags which she was asked to carry.
She maintained that she was not the owner of the bags and that she did not know what were In a Decision dated January 19, 2009, the CA dismissed appellant’s appeal and affirmed the RTC
contained in the bags. At the police station (sic) she executed a Counter-Affidavit.3 decision in toto.12It held that the prosecution had successfully proven that appellant carried away
from the jeepney a number of bags which, when inspected by the police, contained dangerous
drugs. The CA ruled that appellant was caught in flagrante delicto of "carrying and conveying" the
On January 31, 2007, the RTC promulgated a decision, the dispositive portion of which states:
bag that contained the illegal drugs, and thus held that appellant’s warrantless arrest was valid.
The appellate court ratiocinated:
WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused Belen Mariacos GUILTY as charged and sentences
here (sic) to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of ₱500,000.00.
It must be stressed that PO2 Pallayoc had earlier ascertained the contents of the bags when he
was aboard the jeep. He saw the bricks of marijuana wrapped in newspaper. That said marijuana
The 7,030.3 grams of marijuana are ordered confiscated and turned over to the Philippine Drug was on board the jeepney to be delivered to a specified destination was already unlawful. PO2
Enforcement Agency for destruction in the presence of the Court personnel and media. Pallayoc needed only to see for himself to whom those bags belonged. So, when he saw accused-
appellant carrying the bags, PO2 Pallayoc was within his lawful duty to make a warrantless arrest
SO ORDERED.4 of accused-appellant.

Appellant appealed her conviction to the CA. She argued that the trial court erred in considering xxxx
the evidence of the prosecution despite its inadmissibility.5 She claimed that her right against an
unreasonable search was flagrantly violated by Police Officer (PO)2 Pallayoc when the latter Firstly, this Court opines that the invocation of Section 2, Article III of the Constitution is misplaced.
searched the bag, assuming it was hers, without a search warrant and with no permission from At the time, when PO2 Pallayoc looked into the contents of the suspicious bags, there was no
her. She averred that PO2 Pallayoc’s purpose for apprehending her was to verify if the bag she identified owner. He asked the other passengers atop the jeepney but no one knew who owned
was carrying was the same one he had illegally searched earlier. Moreover, appellant contended the bags. Thus, there could be no violation of the right when no one was entitled thereto at that
that there was no probable cause for her arrest.6 time.

Further, appellant claimed that the prosecution failed to prove the corpus delicti of the crime. 7 She Secondly, the facts of the case show the urgency of the situation. The local police has been trying
alleged that the apprehending police officers violated Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 3, to intercept the transport of the illegal drugs for more than a day, to no avail. Thus, when PO2
Series of 1979, as amended by Board Regulation No. 2, Series of 1990, which prescribes the Pallayoc was tipped by the secret agent of the Barangay Intelligence Network, PO2 Pallayoc had
procedure in the custody of seized prohibited and regulated drugs, instruments, apparatuses, and no other recourse than to verify as promptly as possible the tip and check the contents of the
articles. The said regulation directs the apprehending team having initial custody and control of the bags.
drugs and/or paraphernalia, immediately after seizure or confiscation, to have the same physically
Thirdly, x x x the search was conducted in a moving vehicle. Time and again, a search of a moving (d) "plain view" justified mere seizure of evidence without further search.
vehicle has been justified on the ground that the mobility of motor vehicles makes it possible for
the vehicle to move out of the locality or jurisdiction in which the warrant must be sought. Thus, 3. Search of a moving vehicle. Highly regulated by the government, the vehicle's inherent
under the facts, PO2 Pallayoc could not be expected to secure a search warrant in order to check mobility reduces expectation of privacy especially when its transit in public thoroughfares
the contents of the bags which were loaded on top of the moving jeepney. Otherwise, a search furnishes a highly reasonable suspicion amounting to probable cause that the occupant
warrant would have been of no use because the motor vehicle had already left the locality.13 committed a criminal activity;

Appellant is now before this Court, appealing her conviction. 4. Consented warrantless search;

Once again, we are asked to determine the limits of the powers of the State’s agents to conduct 5. Customs search;
searches and seizures. Over the years, this Court had laid down the rules on searches and
seizures, providing, more or less, clear parameters in determining which are proper and which are
6. Stop and Frisk; and
not.1avvphi1

7. Exigent and Emergency Circumstances.14


Appellant’s main argument before the CA centered on the inadmissibility of the evidence used
against her. She claims that her constitutional right against unreasonable searches was flagrantly
violated by the apprehending officer. Both the trial court and the CA anchored their respective decisions on the fact that the search was
conducted on a moving vehicle to justify the validity of the search.
Thus, we must determine if the search was lawful. If it was, then there would have been probable
cause for the warrantless arrest of appellant. Indeed, the search of a moving vehicle is one of the doctrinally accepted exceptions to the
Constitutional mandate that no search or seizure shall be made except by virtue of a warrant
issued by a judge after personally determining the existence of probable cause.15
Article III, Section 2 of the Philippine Constitution provides:

In People v. Bagista,16 the Court said:


Section 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 The constitutional proscription against warrantless searches and seizures admits of certain
be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the exceptions. Aside from a search incident to a lawful arrest, a warrantless search had been upheld
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be in cases of a moving vehicle, and the seizure of evidence in plain view.
searched and the persons or things to be seized.
With regard to the search of moving vehicles, this had been justified on the ground that the
Law and jurisprudence have laid down the instances when a warrantless search is valid. These mobility of motor vehicles makes it possible for the vehicle to be searched to move out of the
are: locality or jurisdiction in which the warrant must be sought.

1. Warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest recognized under Section 12 [now This in no way, however, gives the police officers unlimited discretion to conduct warrantless
Section 13], Rule 126 of the Rules of Court and by prevailing jurisprudence; searches of automobiles in the absence of probable cause. When a vehicle is stopped and
subjected to an extensive search, such a warrantless search has been held to be valid only as
2. Seizure of evidence in "plain view," the elements of which are: long as the officers conducting the search have reasonable or probable cause to believe before
the search that they will find the instrumentality or evidence pertaining to a crime, in the vehicle to
be searched.
(a) a prior valid intrusion based on the valid warrantless arrest in which the police
are legally present in the pursuit of their official duties;
It is well to remember that in the instances we have recognized as exceptions to the requirement
of a judicial warrant, it is necessary that the officer effecting the arrest or seizure must have been
(b) the evidence was inadvertently discovered by the police who had the right to impelled to do so because of probable cause. The essential requisite of probable cause must be
be where they are; satisfied before a warrantless search and seizure can be lawfully conducted.17 Without probable
cause, the articles seized cannot be admitted in evidence against the person arrested.18
(c) the evidence must be immediately apparent[;] and;
Probable cause is defined as a reasonable ground of suspicion supported by circumstances For this rule to apply, it is imperative that there be a prior valid arrest. Although, generally, a
sufficiently strong in themselves to induce a cautious man to believe that the person accused is warrant is necessary for a valid arrest, the Rules of Court provides the exceptions therefor, to wit:
guilty of the offense charged. It refers to the existence of such facts and circumstances that can
lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed, and SEC. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful.—A peace officer or a private person may, without a
that the items, articles or objects sought in connection with said offense or subject to seizure and warrant, arrest a person:
destruction by law are in the place to be searched.19
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually
The grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in the absence of actual belief of the arresting committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
officers, the suspicion that the person to be arrested is probably guilty of committing the offense is
based on actual facts, i.e., supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create
(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe
the probable cause of guilt of the person to be arrested. A reasonable suspicion therefore must be
based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested
founded on probable cause, coupled with good faith on the part of the peace officers making the
has committed it; and
arrest.20

(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal
Over the years, the rules governing search and seizure have been steadily liberalized whenever a
establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while
moving vehicle is the object of the search on the basis of practicality. This is so considering that
his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to
before a warrant could be obtained, the place, things and persons to be searched must be
another.
described to the satisfaction of the issuing judge – a requirement which borders on the impossible
in instances where moving vehicle is used to transport contraband from one place to another with
impunity.21 In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) above, the person arrested without a warrant shall
be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or jail and shall be proceeded against in
accordance with section 7 of Rule 112.24
This exception is easy to understand. A search warrant may readily be obtained when the search
is made in a store, dwelling house or other immobile structure. But it is impracticable to obtain a
warrant when the search is conducted on a mobile ship, on an aircraft, or in other motor vehicles Be that as it may, we have held that a search substantially contemporaneous with an arrest can
since they can quickly be moved out of the locality or jurisdiction where the warrant must be precede the arrest if the police has probable cause to make the arrest at the outset of the
sought.22 search.25

Given the discussion above, it is readily apparent that the search in this case is valid. The vehicle Given that the search was valid, appellant’s arrest based on that search is also valid.
that carried the contraband or prohibited drugs was about to leave. PO2 Pallayoc had to make a
quick decision and act fast. It would be unreasonable to require him to procure a warrant before Article II, Section 5 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 states:
conducting the search under the circumstances. Time was of the essence in this case. The
searching officer had no time to obtain a warrant. Indeed, he only had enough time to board the SEC. 5 Sale, Trading, Administration, Dispensation, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of
vehicle before the same left for its destination. Dangerous Drugs and/or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. – The penalty of life
imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (₱500,000.00) to
It is well to remember that on October 26, 2005, the night before appellant’s arrest, the police Ten million pesos (₱10,000,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by
received information that marijuana was to be transported from Barangay Balbalayang, and had law, shall sell, trade, administer, dispense, deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch in
set up a checkpoint around the area to intercept the suspects. At dawn of October 27, 2005, PO2 transit or transport any dangerous drug, including any and all species of opium poppy regardless
Pallayoc met the secret agent from the Barangay Intelligence Network, who informed him that a of the quantity and purity involved, or shall act as a broker in any of such transactions.
baggage of marijuana was loaded on a passenger jeepney about to leave for the poblacion. Thus,
PO2 Pallayoc had probable cause to search the packages allegedly containing illegal drugs. The penalty of imprisonment ranging from twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years
and a fine ranging from One hundred thousand pesos (₱100,000.00) to Five hundred thousand
This Court has also, time and again, upheld as valid a warrantless search incident to a lawful pesos (₱500,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall sell,
arrest. Thus, Section 13, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court provides: trade, administer, dispense, deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or
transport any controlled precursor and essential chemical, or shall act as a broker in such
SEC. 13. Search incident to lawful arrest.—A person lawfully arrested may be searched for transactions.
dangerous weapons or anything which may have been used or constitute proof in the commission
of an offense without a search warrant.23
In her defense, appellant averred that the packages she was carrying did not belong to her but to Section 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized, and/or Surrendered Dangerous
a neighbor who had asked her to carry the same for him. This contention, however, is of no Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals,
consequence. Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. – The PDEA shall take charge and have
custody of all dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and
When an accused is charged with illegal possession or transportation of prohibited drugs, the essential chemicals, as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so
ownership thereof is immaterial. Consequently, proof of ownership of the confiscated marijuana is confiscated, seized and/or surrendered, for proper disposition in the following manner:
not necessary.26
(1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately after
Appellant’s alleged lack of knowledge does not constitute a valid defense. Lack of criminal intent seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the
and good faith are not exempting circumstances where the crime charged is malum prohibitum, as accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her
in this case.27 Mere possession and/or delivery of a prohibited drug, without legal authority, is representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ),
punishable under the Dangerous Drugs Act.28 and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be
given a copy thereof.
Anti-narcotics laws, like anti-gambling laws, are regulatory statutes. They are rules of convenience
designed to secure a more orderly regulation of the affairs of society, and their violation gives rise The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. No. 9165 further provides:
to crimes mala prohibita. Laws defining crimes mala prohibita condemn behavior directed not
against particular individuals, but against public order.29 SECTION 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized and/or Surrendered
Dangerous Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential
Jurisprudence defines "transport" as "to carry or convey from one place to another."30 There is no Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. – The PDEA shall take
definitive moment when an accused "transports" a prohibited drug. When the circumstances charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled
establish the purpose of an accused to transport and the fact of transportation itself, there should precursors and essential chemicals, as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory
be no question as to the perpetration of the criminal act.31The fact that there is actual conveyance equipment so confiscated, seized and/or surrendered, for proper disposition in the following
suffices to support a finding that the act of transporting was committed and it is immaterial whether manner:
or not the place of destination is reached.32
(a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall,
Moreover, appellant’s possession of the packages containing illegal drugs gave rise to the immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the
disputable presumption33that she is the owner of the packages and their contents.34 Appellant presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized,
failed to rebut this presumption. Her uncorroborated claim of lack of knowledge that she had or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of
prohibited drug in her possession is insufficient. Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the
inventory and be given a copy thereof: Provided, that the physical inventory and photograph shall
be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served; or at the nearest police station or at
Appellant’s narration of facts deserves little credence. If it is true that Bennie Lao-ang merely
the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team, whichever is practicable, in case of
asked her and her companion to carry some baggages, it is but logical to first ask what the
warrantless seizures; Provided, further, that non-compliance with these requirements under
packages contained and where these would be taken. Likewise, if, as appellant said, Lao-ang ran
justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are
away after they disembarked from the jeepney, appellant and her companion should have ran
properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such
after him to give him the bags he had left with them, and not to continue on their journey without seizures of and custody over said items.
knowing where they were taking the bags.
PO2 Pallayoc testified that after apprehending appellant, he immediately brought her to the police
Next, appellant argues that the prosecution failed to prove the corpus delicti of the crime. In station. At the station, the police requested the Mayor to witness the opening of the bags seized
particular, she alleged that the apprehending police officers failed to follow the procedure in the from appellant. When the Mayor arrived, he opened the bag in front of appellant and the other
custody of seized prohibited and regulated drugs, instruments, apparatuses, and articles.
police officers. The black bag yielded three bricks of marijuana wrapped in newspaper, while the
plastic bag yielded two bundles of marijuana and two bricks of marijuana fruiting tops. 36 PO2
In all prosecutions for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act, the existence of all dangerous drugs Pallayoc identified the bricks. He and PO3 Stanley Campit then marked the same. Then the
is a sine qua non for conviction. The dangerous drug is the very corpus delicti of that crime.35 seized items were brought to the PNP Crime Laboratory for examination.

Thus, Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165 prescribes the procedure for custody and disposition of seized It is admitted that there were no photographs taken of the drugs seized, that appellant was not
dangerous drugs, to wit: accompanied by counsel, and that no representative from the media and the DOJ were present.
However, this Court has already previously held that non-compliance with Section 21 is not fatal
and will not render an accused’s arrest illegal, or make the items seized inadmissible. What is of
utmost importance is the preservation of the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items. 37

Based on the testimony of PO2 Pallayoc, after appellant’s arrest, she was immediately brought to
the police station where she stayed while waiting for the Mayor. It was the Mayor who opened the
packages, revealing the illegal drugs, which were thereafter marked and sent to the police crime
laboratory the following day. Contrary to appellant’s claim, the prosecution’s evidence establishes
the chain of custody from the time of appellant’s arrest until the prohibited drugs were tested at the
police crime laboratory.

While it is true that the arresting officer failed to state explicitly the justifiable ground for non-
compliance with Section 21, this does not necessarily mean that appellant’s arrest was illegal or
that the items seized are inadmissible. The justifiable ground will remain unknown because
appellant did not question the custody and disposition of the items taken from her during the
trial.38 Even assuming that the police officers failed to abide by Section 21, appellant should have
raised this issue before the trial court. She could have moved for the quashal of the information at
the first instance. But she did not. Hence, she is deemed to have waived any objection on the
matter.

Further, the actions of the police officers, in relation to the procedural rules on the chain of
custody, enjoyed the presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions. Courts
accord credence and full faith to the testimonies of police authorities, as they are presumed to be
performing their duties regularly, absent any convincing proof to the contrary.39

In sum, the prosecution successfully established appellant’s guilt. Thus, her conviction must be
affirmed.

WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, the appeal is DISMISSED. The Decision of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 02718 is AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA


Associate Justice
THIRD DIVISION group, made up of P/Lt. Abello, P/Lt. Domingo and the informant posted themselves near the PNB
building while the other group waited near the Caltex gasoline station.

While thus positioned, a Victory Liner Bus with body number 474 and the letters BGO printed on
[G.R. No. 120915. April 3, 1998] its front and back bumpers stopped in front of the PNB building at around 6:30 in the evening of
the same day from where two females and a male got off. It was at this stage that the informant
pointed out to the team Aling Rosa who was then carrying a travelling bag.

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROSA ARUTA y Having ascertained that accused-appellant was Aling Rosa, the team approached her and
MENGUIN, accused-appellant. introduced themselves as NARCOM agents. When P/Lt. Abello asked Aling Rosa about the
contents of her bag, the latter handed it to the former.
DECISION
Upon inspection, the bag was found to contain dried marijuana leaves packed in a plastic bag
ROMERO, J.: marked Cash Katutak. The team confiscated the bag together with the Victory Liner bus ticket to
which Lt. Domingo affixed his signature. Accused-appellant was then brought to the NARCOM
With the pervasive proliferation of illegal drugs and its pernicious effects on our society, our office for investigation where a Receipt of Property Seized was prepared for the confiscated
law enforcers tend at times to overreach themselves in apprehending drug offenders to the extent marijuana leaves.
of failing to observe well-entrenched constitutional guarantees against illegal searches and
arrests. Consequently, drug offenders manage to evade the clutches of the law on mere Upon examination of the seized marijuana specimen at the PC/INP Crime Laboratory, Camp
technicalities. Olivas, Pampanga, P/Maj. Marlene Salangad, a Forensic Chemist, prepared a Technical Report
Accused-appellant Rosa Aruta y Menguin was arrested and charged with violating Section 4, stating that said specimen yielded positive results for marijuana, a prohibited drug.
Article II of Republic Act No. 6425 or the Dangerous Drugs Act. The information reads:
After the presentation of the testimonies of the arresting officers and of the above technical report,
That on or about the fourteenth (14th) day of December, 1988, in the City of Olongapo, the prosecution rested its case.
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, without
being lawfully authorized, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and knowingly engage in Instead of presenting its evidence, the defense filed a Demurrer to Evidence alleging the illegality
transporting approximately eight (8) kilos and five hundred (500) grams of dried marijuana packed of the search and seizure of the items thereby violating accused-appellants constitutional right
in plastic bag marked Cash Katutak placed in a travelling bag, which are prohibited drugs. against unreasonable search and seizure as well as their inadmissibility in evidence.

Upon arraignment, she pleaded not guilty. After trial on the merits, the Regional Trial Court of The said Demurrer to Evidence was, however, denied without the trial court ruling on the
Olongapo City convicted and sentenced her to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a alleged illegality of the search and seizure and the inadmissibility in evidence of the items seized
fine of twenty thousand (P20,000.00) pesos.[1] to avoid pre-judgment. Instead, the trial court continued to hear the case.

The prosecution substantially relied on the testimonies of P/Lt. Ernesto Abello, Officer-in- In view of said denial, accused-appellant testified on her behalf. As expected, her version of
Charge of the Narcotics Command (NARCOM) of Olongapo City and P/Lt. Jose Domingo. Based the incident differed from that of the prosecution. She claimed that immediately prior to her
on their testimonies, the court a quo found the following: arrest, she had just come from Choice Theater where she watched the movie Balweg. While about
to cross the road, an old woman asked her help in carrying a shoulder bag. In the middle of the
On December 13, 1988, P/Lt. Abello was tipped off by his informant, known only as Benjie, that a road, Lt. Abello and Lt. Domingo arrested her and asked her to go with them to the NARCOM
certain Aling Rosa would be arriving from Baguio City the following day, December 14, 1988, with Office.
a large volume of marijuana. Acting on said tip, P/Lt. Abello assembled a team composed of P/Lt. During investigation at said office, she disclaimed any knowledge as to the identity of the
Jose Domingo, Sgt. Angel Sudiacal, Sgt. Oscar Imperial, Sgt. Danilo Santiago and Sgt. Efren woman and averred that the old woman was nowhere to be found after she was
Quirubin. arrested. Moreover, she added that no search warrant was shown to her by the arresting officers.

Said team proceeded to West Bajac-Bajac, Olongapo City at around 4:00 in the afternoon of After the prosecution made a formal offer of evidence, the defense filed a Comment and/or
December 14, 1988 and deployed themselves near the Philippine National Bank (PNB) building Objection to Prosecutions Formal Offer of Evidence contesting the admissibility of the items seized
along Rizal Avenue and the Caltex gasoline station. Dividing themselves into two groups, one as they were allegedly a product of an unreasonable search and seizure.
Not convinced with her version of the incident, the Regional Trial Court of Olongapo City Section 3(2). Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be
convicted accused-appellant of transporting eight (8) kilos and five hundred (500) grams of inadmissible in evidence for any purpose in any proceeding.
marijuana from Baguio City to Olongapo City in violation of Section 4, Article 11 of R.A. No. 6425,
as amended, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 and sentenced her to life From the foregoing, it can be said that the State cannot simply intrude indiscriminately into
imprisonment and to pay a fine of twenty thousand (P20,000.00) pesos without subsidiary the houses, papers, effects, and most importantly, on the person of an individual. The
imprisonment in case of insolvency.[2] constitutional provision guaranteed an impenetrable shield against unreasonable searches and
In this appeal, accused-appellant submits the following: seizures. As such, it protects the privacy and sanctity of the person himself against unlawful
arrests and other forms of restraint.[6]
1. The trial court erred in holding that the NARCOM agents could not apply for a warrant for the Therewithal, the right of a person to be secured against any unreasonable seizure of his body
search of a bus or a passenger who boarded a bus because one of the requirements for applying and any deprivation of his liberty is a most basic and fundamental one. A statute, rule or situation
a search warrant is that the place to be searched must be specifically designated and described. which allows exceptions to the requirement of a warrant of arrest or search warrant must perforce
be strictly construed and their application limited only to cases specifically provided or allowed by
2. The trial court erred in holding or assuming that if a search warrant was applied for by the law. To do otherwise is an infringement upon personal liberty and would set back a right so basic
NARCOM agents, still no court would issue a search warrant for the reason that the same would and deserving of full protection and vindication yet often violated.[7]
be considered a general search warrant which may be quashed. The following cases are specifically provided or allowed by law:

3. The trial court erred in not finding that the warrantless search resulting to the arrest of accused- 1. Warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest recognized under Section 12, Rule 126 of the
appellant violated the latters constitutional rights. Rules of Court[8] and by prevailing jurisprudence;

4. The trial court erred in not holding that although the defense of denial is weak yet the evidence 2. Seizure of evidence in plain view, the elements of which are:
of the prosecution is even weaker.
(a) a prior valid intrusion based on the valid warrantless arrest in which the police are legally
These submissions are impressed with merit. present in the pursuit of their official duties;
In People v. Ramos,[3] this Court held that a search may be conducted by law enforcers only
on the strength of a search warrant validly issued by a judge as provided in Article III, Section 2 of (b) the evidence was inadvertently discovered by the police who had the right to be where they
the Constitution which provides: are;

Section 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects (c) the evidence must be immediately apparent, and
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 (d) plain view justified mere seizure of evidence without further search;
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. 3. Search of a moving vehicle. Highly regulated by the government, the vehicles inherent mobility
reduces expectation of privacy especially when its transit in public thoroughfares furnishes a
highly reasonable suspicion amounting to probable cause that the occupant committed a criminal
This constitutional guarantee is not a blanket prohibition against all searches and seizures as activity;
it operates only against unreasonable searches and seizures. The plain import of the language of
the Constitution, which in one sentence prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and at the
4. Consented warrantless search;
same time prescribes the requisites for a valid warrant, is that searches and seizures are normally
unreasonable unless authorized by a validly issued search warrant or warrant of arrest. Thus, the
fundamental protection accorded by the search and seizure clause is that between person and 5. Customs search;[9]
police must stand the protective authority of a magistrate clothed with power to issue or refuse to
issue search warrants or warrants of arrest.[4] 6. Stop and Frisk;[10] and
Further, articles which are the product of unreasonable searches and seizures are
inadmissible as evidence pursuant to the doctrine pronounced in Stonehill v. Diokno.[5] This 7. Exigent and Emergency Circumstances.[11]
exclusionary rule was later enshrined in Article III, Section 3(2) of the Constitution, thus:
The above exceptions, however, should not become unbridled licenses for law enforcement ascertained. His actuations also aroused the suspicion of the officers conducting the
officers to trample upon the constitutionally guaranteed and more fundamental right of persons operation. The Court held that in light of such circumstances, to deprive the agents of the ability
against unreasonable search and seizures. The essential requisite of probable cause must still be and facility to act promptly, including a search without a warrant, would be to sanction impotence
satisfied before a warrantless search and seizure can be lawfully conducted. and ineffectiveness in law enforcement, to the detriment of society.
Although probable cause eludes exact and concrete definition, it generally signifies a Note, however, the glaring differences of Malmstedt to the instant case. In present case, the
reasonable ground of suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to police officers had reasonable time within which to secure a search warrant. Second, Arutas
warrant a cautious man to believe that the person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is identity was priorly ascertained. Third, Aruta was not acting suspiciously. Fourth, Malmstedt was
charged. It likewise refers to the existence of such facts and circumstances which could lead a searched aboard a moving vehicle, a legally accepted exception to the warrant
reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the requirement. Aruta, on the other hand, was searched while about to cross a street.
item(s), article(s) or object(s) sought in connection with said offense or subject to seizure and
destruction by law is in the place to be searched.[12] In People v. Bagista,[16] the NARCOM officers had probable cause to stop and search all
vehicles coming from the north to Acop, Tublay, Benguet in view of the confidential information
It ought to be emphasized that in determining probable cause, the average man weighs facts they received from their regular informant that a woman having the same appearance as that of
and circumstances without resorting to the calibrations of our rules of evidence of which his accused-appellant would be bringing marijuana from up north. They likewise had probable cause
knowledge is technically nil. Rather, he relies on the calculus of common sense which all to search accused-appellants belongings since she fitted the description given by the NARCOM
reasonable men have in abundance. The same quantum of evidence is required in determining informant. Since there was a valid warrantless search by the NARCOM agents, any evidence
probable cause relative to search. Before a search warrant can be issued, it must be shown by obtained in the course of said search is admissible against accused-appellant. Again, this case
substantial evidence that the items sought are in fact seizable by virtue of being connected with differs from Aruta as this involves a search of a moving vehicle plus the fact that the police officers
criminal activity, and that the items will be found in the place to be searched.[13] erected a checkpoint. Both are exceptions to the requirements of a search warrant.
In searches and seizures effected without a warrant, it is necessary for probable cause to be In Manalili v. Court of Appeals and People,[17] the policemen conducted a surveillance in an
present. Absent any probable cause, the article(s) seized could not be admitted and used as area of the Kalookan Cemetery based on information that drug addicts were roaming
evidence against the person arrested. Probable cause, in these cases, must only be based on therein. Upon reaching the place, they chanced upon a man in front of the cemetery who
reasonable ground of suspicion or belief that a crime has been committed or is about to be appeared to be high on drugs. He was observed to have reddish eyes and to be walking in a
committed. swaying manner. Moreover, he appeared to be trying to avoid the policemen. When approached
and asked what he was holding in his hands, he tried to resist. When he showed his wallet, it
In our jurisprudence, there are instances where information has become a sufficient probable contained marijuana. The Court held that the policemen had sufficient reason to accost accused-
cause to effect a warrantless search and seizure. appellant to determine if he was actually high on drugs due to his suspicious actuations, coupled
In People v. Tangliben,[14] acting on information supplied by informers, police with the fact that based on information, this area was a haven for drug addicts.
officers conducted a surveillance at the Victory Liner Terminal compound in San Fernando, In all the abovecited cases, there was information received which became the bases for
Pampanga against persons who may commit misdemeanors and also on those who may be conducting the warrantless search. Furthermore, additional factors and circumstances were
engaging in the traffic of dangerous drugs. At 9:30 in the evening, the policemen noticed a person present which, when taken together with the information, constituted probable causes which
carrying a red travelling bag who was acting suspiciously. They confronted him and requested him justified the warrantless searches and seizures in each of the cases.
to open his bag but he refused. He acceded later on when the policemen identified
themselves. Inside the bag were marijuana leaves wrapped in a plastic wrapper. The police In the instant case, the determination of the absence or existence of probable cause
officers only knew of the activities of Tangliben on the night of his arrest. necessitates a reexamination of the facts. The following have been established: (1) In the morning
of December 13, 1988, the law enforcement officers received information from an informant
In instant case, the apprehending officers already had prior knowledge from their informant named Benjie that a certain Aling Rosa would be leaving for Baguio City on December 14, 1988
regarding Arutas alleged activities. In Tangliben policemen were confronted with an on-the-spot and would be back in the afternoon of the same day carrying with her a large volume of marijuana;
tip.Moreover, the policemen knew that the Victory Liner compound is being used by drug (2) At 6:30 in the evening of December 14, 1988, accused-appellant alighted from a Victory Liner
traffickers as their business address. More significantly, Tangliben was acting suspiciously. His Bus carrying a travelling bag even as the informant pointed her out to the law enforcement
actuations and surrounding circumstances led the policemen to reasonably suspect that Tangliben officers; (3) The law enforcement officers approached her and introduced themselves as
is committing a crime. In instant case, there is no single indication that Aruta was acting NARCOM agents; (4) When asked by Lt. Abello about the contents of her travelling bag, she gave
suspiciously. the same to him; (5) When they opened the same, they found dried marijuana leaves; (6)
In People v. Malmstedt,[15] the Narcom agents received reports that vehicles coming from Accused-appellant was then brought to the NARCOM office for investigation.
Sagada were transporting marijuana. They likewise received information that a Caucasian coming This case is similar to People v. Aminnudin where the police received information two days
from Sagada had prohibited drugs on his person. There was no reasonable time to obtain a before the arrival of Aminnudin that the latter would be arriving from Iloilo on board the M/V Wilcon
search warrant, especially since the identity of the suspect could not be readily 9.His name was known, the vehicle was identified and the date of arrival was certain. From the
information they had received, the police could have persuaded a judge that there was probable Emphasis is to be laid on the fact that the law requires that the search be incidental to a
cause, indeed, to justify the issuance of a warrant. Instead of securing a warrant first, they lawful arrest, in order that the search itself may likewise be considered legal. Therefore, it is
proceeded to apprehend Aminnudin. When the case was brought before this Court, the arrest was beyond cavil that a lawful arrest must precede the search of a person and his belongings. Where a
held to be illegal; hence any item seized from Aminnudin could not be used against him. search is first undertaken, and an arrest effected based on evidence produced by the search, both
such search and arrest would be unlawful, for being contrary to law.[18]
Another recent case is People v. Encinada where the police likewise received confidential
information the day before at 4:00 in the afternoon from their informant that Encinada would be As previously discussed, the case in point is People v. Aminnudin[19] where, this Court
bringing in marijuana from Cebu City on board M/V Sweet Pearl at 7:00 in the morning of the observed that:
following day. This intelligence information regarding the culprits identity, the particular crime he
allegedly committed and his exact whereabouts could have been a basis of probable cause for the x x x accused-appellant was not, at the moment of his arrest, committing a crime nor was it shown
lawmen to secure a warrant. This Court held that in accordance with Administrative Circular No. that he was about to do so or that he had just done so. What he was doing was descending the
13 and Circular No. 19, series of 1987, the lawmen could have applied for a warrant even after gangplank of the M/V Wilcon 9 and there was no outward indication that called for his arrest. To all
court hours. The failure or neglect to secure one cannot serve as an excuse for violating appearances, he was like any of the other passengers innocently disembarking from the vessel. It
Encinadas constitutional right. was only when the informer pointed to him as the carrier of the marijuana that he suddenly
In the instant case, the NARCOM agents were admittedly not armed with a warrant of became suspect and so subject to apprehension. It was the furtive finger that triggered his
arrest. To legitimize the warrantless search and seizure of accused-appellants bag, accused- arrest. The identification by the informer was the probable cause as determined by the officers
appellant must have been validly arrested under Section 5 of Rule 113 which provides inter alia: (and not a judge) that authorized them to pounce upon Aminnudin and immediately arrest him.

Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace officer or a private person may, without a In the absence of probable cause to effect a valid and legal warrantless arrest, the search
warrant, arrest a person: and seizure of accused-appellants bag would also not be justified as seizure of evidence in plain
viewunder the second exception. The marijuana was obviously not immediately apparent as
shown by the fact that the NARCOM agents still had to request accused-appellant to open the bag
(a) When in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is to ascertain its contents.
attempting to commit an offense;
Neither would the search and seizure of accused-appellants bag be justified as a search of a
xxx xxx xxx. moving vehicle. There was no moving vehicle to speak of in the instant case as accused-
appellant was apprehended several minutes after alighting from the Victory Liner bus. In fact, she
was accosted in the middle of the street and not while inside the vehicle.
Accused-appellant Aruta cannot be said to be committing a crime. Neither was she about to
commit one nor had she just committed a crime. Accused-appellant was merely crossing the street People v. Solayao,[20] applied the stop and frisk principle which has been adopted
and was not acting in any manner that would engender a reasonable ground for the NARCOM in Posadas v. Court of Appeals.[21] In said case, Solayao attempted to flee when he and his
agents to suspect and conclude that she was committing a crime. It was only when the informant companions were accosted by government agents. In the instant case, there was no observable
pointed to accused-appellant and identified her to the agents as the carrier of the marijuana that manifestation that could have aroused the suspicion of the NARCOM agents as to cause them to
she was singled out as the suspect. The NARCOM agents would not have apprehended accused- stop and frisk accused-appellant. To reiterate, accused-appellant was merely crossing the street
appellant were it not for the furtive finger of the informant because, as clearly illustrated by the when apprehended. Unlike in the abovementioned cases, accused-appellant never attempted to
evidence on record, there was no reason whatsoever for them to suspect that accused-appellant flee from the NARCOM agents when the latter identified themselves as such. Clearly, this is
was committing a crime, except for the pointing finger of the informant. This the Court could another indication of the paucity of probable cause that would sufficiently provoke a suspicion that
neither sanction nor tolerate as it is a clear violation of the constitutional guarantee against accused-appellant was committing a crime.
unreasonable search and seizure. Neither was there any semblance of any compliance with the
rigid requirements of probable cause and warrantless arrests. The warrantless search and seizure could not likewise be categorized under exigent and
emergency circumstances, as applied in People v. De Gracia.[22] In said case, there were
Consequently, there was no legal basis for the NARCOM agents to effect a warrantless intelligence reports that the building was being used as headquarters by the RAM during a coup
search of accused-appellants bag, there being no probable cause and the accused-appellant not detat. A surveillance team was fired at by a group of armed men coming out of the building and
having been lawfully arrested. Stated otherwise, the arrest being incipiently illegal, it logically the occupants of said building refused to open the door despite repeated requests. There were
follows that the subsequent search was similarly illegal, it being not incidental to a lawful large quantities of explosives and ammunitions inside the building. Nearby courts were closed and
arrest. The constitutional guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure must perforce general chaos and disorder prevailed. The existing circumstances sufficiently showed that a crime
operate in favor of accused-appellant. As such, the articles seized could not be used as evidence was being committed. In short, there was probable cause to effect a warrantless search of the
against accused-appellant for these are fruits of a poisoned tree and, therefore, must be rejected, building. The same could not be said in the instant case.
pursuant to Article III, Sec. 3(2) of the Constitution.
The only other exception that could possibly legitimize the warrantless search and seizure Q: By the way, when Roel Encinada agreed to allow you to examine the two chairs that
would be consent given by the accused-appellant to the warrantless search as to amount to he carried, what did you do next?
a waiver of her constitutional right. The Solicitor General argues that accused-appellant voluntarily
submitted herself to search and inspection citing People v. Malasugui[23] where this Court ruled: A: I examined the chairs and I noticed that something inside in between the two chairs.
We are not convinced. While in principle we agree that consent will validate an
When one voluntarily submits to a search or consents to have it made on his person or premises, otherwise illegal search, we believe that appellant -- based on the transcript quoted above -
he is precluded from complaining later thereof. (Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, 8th ed., [V]ol. I, - did not voluntarily consent to Bolonias search of his belongings. Appellants silence
p. 631.) The right to be secure from unreasonable search may, like every right, be waived and should not be lightly taken as consent to such search. The implied acquiscence to the
such waiver may be made either expressly or impliedly. 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
In support of said argument, the Solicitor General cited the testimony of Lt. Abello, thus: within the purview of the constitutional guarantee. Furthermore, considering that the search
was conducted irregularly, i.e., without a warrant, we cannot appreciate consent based merely on
Q When this informant by the name of alias Benjie pointed to Aling Rosa, what the presumption of regularity of the performance of duty.(Emphasis supplied)
happened after that?
Thus, accused-appellants lack of objection to the search is not tantamount to a waiver of her
A We followed her and introduced ourselves as NARCOM agents and confronted her constitutional rights or a voluntary submission to the warrantless search. As this Court held
with our informant and asked her what she was carrying and if we can see the bag in People v. Barros:[27]
she was carrying.
Q What was her reaction? x x x [T]he accused is not to be presumed to have waived the unlawful search conducted on the
occasion of his warrantless arrest simply because he failed to object-
A She gave her bag to me.
Q So what happened after she gave the bag to you? x x x. To constitute a waiver, it must appear first that the right exists; secondly, that the person
involved had knowledge, actual or constructive, of the existence of such right; and lastly, that said
A I opened it and found out plastic bags of marijuana inside.[24] person had an actual intention to relinquish the right (Pasion Vda. de Garcia v. Locsin, 65 Phil.
698). The fact that the accused failed to object to the entry into his house does not amount to a
This Court cannot agree with the Solicitor Generals contention for the Malasugui case is permission to make a search therein (Magoncia v. Palacio, 80 Phil. 770). As pointed out by Justice
inapplicable to the instant case. In said case, there was probable cause for the warrantless arrest Laurel in the case of Pasion Vda. de Garcia v. Locsin (supra):
thereby making the warrantless search effected immediately thereafter equally lawful. [25] On the
contrary, the most essential element of probable cause, as expounded above in detail, is wanting
in the instant case making the warrantless arrest unjustified and illegal. Accordingly, the search xxx xxx xxx
which accompanied the warrantless arrest was likewise unjustified and illegal. Thus, all the articles
seized from the accused-appellant could not be used as evidence against her. x x x As the constitutional guaranty is not dependent upon any affirmative act of the citizen, the
courts do not place the citizen in the position of either contesting an officers authority by force, or
Aside from the inapplicability of the abovecited case, the act of herein accused-appellant in waiving his constitutional rights; but instead they hold that a peaceful submission to a search or
handing over her bag to the NARCOM agents could not be construed as voluntary submission or seizure is not a consent or an invitation thereto, but is merely a demonstration of regard for the
animplied acquiescence to the unreasonable search. The instant case is similar to People v. supremacy of the law. (Citation omitted).
Encinada,[26] where this Court held:
We apply the rule that: courts indulge every reasonable presumption against waiver of
[T]he Republics counsel avers that appellant voluntarily handed the chairs containing the package fundamental constitutional rights and that we do not presume acquiescence in the loss of
of marijuana to the arresting officer and thus effectively waived his right against the warrantless fundamental rights.[28] (Emphasis supplied)
search. This he gleaned from Bolonias testimony.
To repeat, to constitute a waiver, there should be an actual intention to relinquish the
Q: After Roel Encinada alighted from the motor tricycle, what happened next? right. As clearly illustrated in People v. Omaweng,[29] where prosecution witness Joseph Layong
A: I requested to him to see his chairs that he carried. testified thus:

Q: Are you referring to the two plastic chairs? PROSECUTOR AYOCHOK:

A: Yes, sir. Q - When you and David Fomocod saw the travelling bag, what did you do?
A - When we saw that travelling bag, we asked the driver if we could see the discretion regarding what articles they shall seize to the end that unreasonable searches and
contents. seizures may not be made.[30]
Q - And what did or what was the reply of the driver, if there was any? Had the NARCOM agents only applied for a search warrant, they could have secured one
without too much difficulty, contrary to the assertions of the Solicitor General. The person intended
A - He said you can see the contents but those are only clothings (sic). to be searched has been particularized and the thing to be seized specified. The time was also
Q - When he said that, what did you do? sufficiently ascertained to be in the afternoon of December 14, 1988. Aling Rosa turned out to be
accused-appellant and the thing to be seized was marijuana. The vehicle was identified to be a
A - We asked him if we could open and see it. Victory Liner bus. In fact, the NARCOM agents purposely positioned themselves near the spot
where Victory Liner buses normally unload their passengers. Assuming that the NARCOM agents
Q - When you said that, what did he tell you? failed to particularize the vehicle, this would not in any way hinder them from securing a search
A - He said you can see it. warrant. The above particulars would have already sufficed. In any case, this Court has held that
the police should particularly describe the place to be searched and the person or things to be
Q - And when he said you can see and open it, what did you do? seized, wherever and whenever it is feasible.[31] (Emphasis supplied)
A - When I went inside and opened the bag, I saw that it was not clothings (sic) that was While it may be argued that by entering a plea during arraignment and by actively
contained in the bag. participating in the trial, accused-appellant may be deemed to have waived objections to the
illegality of the warrantless search and to the inadmissibility of the evidence obtained thereby, the
Q - And when you saw that it was not clothings (sic), what did you do? same may not apply in the instant case for the following reasons:
A - When I saw that the contents were not clothes, I took some of the contents and
showed it to my companion Fomocod and when Fomocod smelled it, he said it was 1. The waiver would only apply to objections pertaining to the illegality of the arrest as her plea of
marijuana.(Emphasis supplied) not guilty and participation in the trial are indications of her voluntary submission to the
courts jurisdiction.[32] The plea and active participation in the trial would not cure the illegality of the
In the above-mentioned case, accused was not subjected to any search which may be search and transform the inadmissible evidence into objects of proof. The waiver simply does not
stigmatized as a violation of his Constitutional right against unreasonable searches and extend this far.
seizures. If one had been made, this Court would be the first to condemn it as the protection of the
citizen and the maintenance of his constitutional rights is one of the highest duties and privileges
of the Court. He willingly gave prior consent to the search and voluntarily agreed to have it 2. Granting that evidence obtained through a warrantless search becomes admissible upon failure
conducted on his vehicle and traveling bag, which is not the case with Aruta. to object thereto during the trial of the case, records show that accused-appellant filed a Demurrer
to Evidence and objected and opposed the prosecutions Formal Offer of Evidence.
In an attempt to further justify the warrantless search, the Solicitor General next argues that
the police officers would have encountered difficulty in securing a search warrant as it could be It is apropos to quote the case of People v. Barros,[33] which stated:
secured only if accused-appellants name was known, the vehicle identified and the date of its
arrival certain, as in the Aminnudin case where the arresting officers had forty-eight hours within
It might be supposed that the non-admissibility of evidence secured through an invalid warrantless
which to act.
arrest or a warrantless search and seizure may be waived by an accused person. The a
This argument is untenable. priori argument is that the invalidity of an unjustified warrantless arrest, or an arrest effected with a
defective warrant of arrest may be waived by applying for and posting of bail for provisional liberty,
Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution provides: so as to estop an accused from questioning the legality or constitutionality of his detention or the
failure to accord him a preliminary investigation. We do not believe, however, that waiver of the
x x x [N]o search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be latter necessarily constitutes, or carries with it, waiver of the former--an argument that the Solicitor
determined by the judge, or such other responsible officer as may be authorized by law, after General appears to be making impliedly. Waiver of the non-admissibility of the fruits of an
examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, invalid warrantless arrest and of a warrantless search and seizure is not casually to be
and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. (Italics presumed, if the constitutional right against unlawful searches and seizures is to retain its
supplied) vitality for the protection of our people. In the case at bar, defense counsel had expressly
objected on constitutional grounds to the admission of the carton box and the four (4) kilos of
Search warrants to be valid must particularly describe the place to be searched and the marijuana when these were formally offered in evidence by the prosecution. We consider that
persons or things to be seized. The purpose of this rule is to limit the things to be seized to those appellants objection to the admission of such evidence was made clearly and seasonably
and only those, particularly described in the warrant so as to leave the officers of the law with no and that, under the circumstances, no intent to waive his rights under the premises can be
reasonably inferred from his conduct before or during the trial.(Emphasis supplied)
In fine, there was really no excuse for the NARCOM agents not to procure a search warrant
considering that they had more than twenty-four hours to do so. Obviously, this is again an
instance of seizure of the fruit of the poisonous tree, hence illegal and inadmissible subsequently
in evidence.
The exclusion of such evidence is the only practical means of enforcing the constitutional
injunction against unreasonable searches and seizure. The non-exclusionary rule is contrary to
the letter and spirit of the prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.[34]
While conceding that the officer making the unlawful search and seizure may be held
criminally and civilly liable, the Stonehill case observed that most jurisdictions have realized that
the exclusionary rule is the only practical means of enforcing the constitutional injunction against
abuse. This approach is based on the justification made 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.[35]
Unreasonable searches and seizures are the menace against which the constitutional
guarantees afford full protection. While the power to search and seize may at times be necessary
to the public welfare, still it may be exercised and the law enforced without transgressing the
constitutional rights of the citizens, for the enforcement of no statute is of sufficient importance to
justify indifference to the basic principles of government.[36]
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 to pay for the loss of liberty. As Justice
Holmes declared: I think it is less evil that some criminals 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.[37]
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 73,
Olongapo City, is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. For lack of evidence to establish her guilt
beyond reasonable doubt, accused-appellant ROSA ARUTA Y MENGUIN is hereby
ACQUITTED and ordered RELEASED from confinement unless she is being held for some other
legal grounds.No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., (Chairman), Kapunan, and Purisima, JJ., concur.
Republic of the Philippines The group composed of seven (7) NARCOM officers, in coordination with Tublay Police Station,
SUPREME COURT set up a checkpoint at the designated area at about 10:00 o'clock in the morning and inspected all
Manila vehicles coming from the Cordillera Region.

EN BANC At about 1:30 o'clock in the afternoon, the bus where accused was riding was stopped. Sgt. Fider
and CIC Galutan boarded the bus and announced that they were members of the NARCOM and
G.R. No. 91107 June 19, 1991 that they would conduct an inspection. The two (2) NARCOM officers started their inspection from
the front going towards the rear of the bus. Accused who was the sole foreigner riding the bus was
seated at the rear thereof.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
MIKAEL MALMSTEDT, *defendant-appellant. During the inspection, CIC Galutan noticed a bulge on accused's waist. Suspecting the bulge on
accused's waist to be a gun, the officer asked for accused's passport and other identification
papers. When accused failed to comply, the officer required him to bring out whatever it was that
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
was bulging on his waist. The bulging object turned out to be a pouch bag and when accused
Romulo, Mabanta, Buenaventura, Sayoc & De los Angeles for defendant-appellant.
opened the same bag, as ordered, the officer noticed four (4) suspicious-looking objects wrapped
in brown packing tape, prompting the officer to open one of the wrapped objects. The wrapped
objects turned out to contain hashish, a derivative of marijuana.

Thereafter, accused was invited outside the bus for questioning. But before he alighted from the
PADILLA, J.: bus, accused stopped to get two (2) travelling bags from the luggage carrier.

In an information dated 15 June 1989, accused-appellant Mikael Malmstedt (hereinafter referred Upon stepping out of the bus, the officers got the bags and opened them. A teddy bear was found
to as the accused) was charged before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of La Trinidad, Benguet, in each bag. Feeling the teddy bears, the officer noticed that there were bulges inside the same
Branch 10, in Criminal Case No. 89-CR-0663, for violation of Section 4, Art. II of Republic Act which did not feel like foam stuffing. It was only after the officers had opened the bags that
6425, as amended, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as amended. The accused finally presented his passport.
factual background of the case is as follows:
Accused was then brought to the headquarters of the NARCOM at Camp Dangwa, La Trinidad,
Accused Mikael Malmstedt, a Swedish national, entered the Philippines for the third time in Benguet for further investigation. At the investigation room, the officers opened the teddy bears
December 1988 as a tourist. He had visited the country sometime in 1982 and 1985. and they were found to also contain hashish. Representative samples were taken from the
hashish found among the personal effects of accused and the same were brought to the PC Crime
In the evening of 7 May 1989, accused left for Baguio City. Upon his arrival thereat in the morning Laboratory for chemical analysis.
of the following day, he took a bus to Sagada and stayed in that place for two (2) days.
In the chemistry report, it was established that the objects examined were hashish. a prohibited
At around 7:00 o'clock in the morning of 11 May 1989, accused went to the Nangonogan bus stop drug which is a derivative of marijuana. Thus, an information was filed against accused for
in Sagada to catch the first available trip to Baguio City. From Baguio City, accused planned to violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act.
take a late afternoon trip to Angeles City, then proceed to Manila to catch his flight out of the
country, scheduled on 13 May 1989. From Sagada, accused took a Skyline bus with body number During the arraignment, accused entered a plea of "not guilty." For his defense, he raised the
8005 and Plate number AVC 902.1 issue of illegal search of his personal effects. He also claimed that the hashish was planted by the
NARCOM officers in his pouch bag and that the two (2) travelling bags were not owned by him,
At about 8: 00 o'clock in the morning of that same day (11 May 1989), Captain Alen Vasco, the but were merely entrusted to him by an Australian couple whom he met in Sagada. He further
Commanding Officer of the First Regional Command (NARCOM) stationed at Camp Dangwa, claimed that the Australian couple intended to take the same bus with him but because there were
ordered his men to set up a temporary checkpoint at Kilometer 14, Acop, Tublay, Mountain no more seats available in said bus, they decided to take the next ride and asked accused to take
Province, for the purpose of checking all vehicles coming from the Cordillera Region. The order to charge of the bags, and that they would meet each other at the Dangwa Station.
establish a checkpoint in the said area was prompted by persistent reports that vehicles coming
from Sagada were transporting marijuana and other prohibited drugs. Moreover, information was Likewise, accused alleged that when the NARCOM officers demanded for his passport and other
received by the Commanding Officer of NARCOM, that same morning, that a Caucasian coming Identification papers, he handed to one of the officers his pouch bag which was hanging on his
from Sagada had in his possession prohibited drugs.2 neck containing, among others, his passport, return ticket to Sweden and other papers. The officer
in turn handed it to his companion who brought the bag outside the bus. When said officer came (c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal
back, he charged the accused that there was hashish in the bag. He was told to get off the bus establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while
and his picture was taken with the pouch bag placed around his neck. The trial court did not give his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to
credence to accused's defense. another.

The claim of the accused that the hashish was planted by the NARCOM officers, was belied by his In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the person arrested without a
failure to raise such defense at the earliest opportunity. When accused was investigated at the warrant shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or jail, and he shall be
Provincial Fiscal's Office, he did not inform the Fiscal or his lawyer that the hashish was planted by proceeded against in accordance with Rule 112, Section 7. (6a 17a).
the NARCOM officers in his bag. It was only two (2) months after said investigation when he told
his lawyer about said claim, denying ownership of the two (2) travelling bags as well as having Accused was searched and arrested while transporting prohibited drugs (hashish). A crime was
hashish in his pouch bag. actually being committed by the accused and he was caught in flagrante delicto. Thus, the search
made upon his personal effects falls squarely under paragraph (1) of the foregoing provisions of
In a decision dated 12 October 1989, the trial court found accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt law, which allow a warrantless search incident to a lawful arrest.7
for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act, specifically Section 4, Art. II of RA 6425, as
amended.3 The dispositive portion of the decision reads as follows: While it is true that the NARCOM officers were not armed with a search warrant when the search
was made over the personal effects of accused, however, under the circumstances of the case,
WHEREFORE, finding the guilt of the accused Mikael Malmstedt established beyond there was sufficient probable cause for said officers to believe that accused was then and there
reasonable doubt, this Court finds him GUILTY of violation of Section 4, Article 11 of committing a crime.
Republic Act 6425, as amended, and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of life
imprisonment and to pay a fine of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00), with subsidiary Probable cause has been defined as such facts and circumstances which could lead a
imprisonment in case of insolvency and to pay the costs. reasonable, discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed, and that the
objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched.8 The
Let the hashish subject of this case be turned over to the First Narcotics Regional Unit at required probable cause that will justify a warrantless search and seizure is not determined by any
Camp Bado; Dangwa, La Trinidad Benguet for proper disposition under Section 20, fixed formula but is resolved according to the facts of each case.9
Article IV of Republic Act 6425, as amended.
Warrantless search of the personal effects of an accused has been declared by this Court as
SO ORDERED.4 valid, because of existence of probable cause, where the smell of marijuana emanated from a
plastic bag owned by the accused,10 or where the accused was acting suspiciously,11 and
Seeking the reversal of the decision of the trial court finding him guilty of the crime charged, attempted to flee.12
accused argues that the search of his personal effects was illegal because it was made without a
search warrant and, therefore, the prohibited drugs which were discovered during the illegal Aside from the persistent reports received by the NARCOM that vehicles coming from Sagada
search are not admissible as evidence against him. were transporting marijuana and other prohibited drugs, their Commanding Officer also received
information that a Caucasian coming from Sagada on that particular day had prohibited drugs in
The Constitution guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers his possession. Said information was received by the Commanding Officer of NARCOM the very
and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.5 However, where the search is made same morning that accused came down by bus from Sagada on his way to Baguio City.
pursuant to a lawful arrest, there is no need to obtain a search warrant. A lawful arrest without a
warrant may be made by a peace officer or a private person under the following circumstances.6 When NARCOM received the information, a few hours before the apprehension of herein
accused, that a Caucasian travelling from Sagada to Baguio City was carrying with him prohibited
Sec. 5 Arrest without warrant; when lawful. –– A peace officer or a private person may, drugs, there was no time to obtain a search warrant. In the Tangliben case,13 the police authorities
without a warrant, arrest a person: conducted a surveillance at the Victory Liner Terminal located at Bgy. San Nicolas, San Fernando
Pampanga, against persons engaged in the traffic of dangerous drugs, based on information
supplied by some informers. Accused Tangliben who was acting suspiciously and pointed out by
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed is actually
an informer was apprehended and searched by the police authorities. It was held that when faced
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
with on-the-spot information, the police officers had to act quickly and there was no time to secure
a search warrant.
(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
It must be observed that, at first, the NARCOM officers merely conducted a routine check of the
bus (where accused was riding) and the passengers therein, and no extensive search was initially
made. It was only when one of the officers noticed a bulge on the waist of accused, during the
course of the inspection, that accused was required to present his passport. The failure of
accused to present his identification papers, when ordered to do so, only managed to arouse the
suspicion of the officer that accused was trying to hide his identity. For is it not a regular norm for
an innocent man, who has nothing to hide from the authorities, to readily present his identification
papers when required to do so?

The receipt of information by NARCOM that a Caucasian coming from Sagada had prohibited
drugs in his possession, plus the suspicious failure of the accused to produce his passport, taken
together as a whole, led the NARCOM officers to reasonably believe that the accused was trying
to hide something illegal from the authorities. From these circumstances arose a probable
cause which justified the warrantless search that was made on the personal effects of the
accused. In other words, the acts of the NARCOM officers in requiring the accused to open his
pouch bag and in opening one of the wrapped objects found inside said bag (which was
discovered to contain hashish) as well as the two (2) travelling bags containing two (2) teddy bears
with hashish stuffed inside them, were prompted by accused's own attempt to hide his identity by
refusing to present his passport, and by the information received by the NARCOM that a
Caucasian coming from Sagada had prohibited drugs in his possession. To deprive the NARCOM
agents of the ability and facility to act accordingly, including, to search even without warrant, in the
light of such circumstances, would be to sanction impotence and ineffectiveness in law
enforcement, to the detriment of society.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appealed judgment of conviction by the trial court is
hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against the accused-appellant.

SO ORDERED.

Melencio-Herrera, Paras, Feliciano, Bidin, Griño-Aquino, Medialdea, Regalado and Davide, Jr.,
JJ., concur.
Sarmiento, J., is on leave.
Republic of the Philippines Claiming to have been prejudiced by the seizure and detention of the two trucks and their
SUPREME COURT cargo, Remedios Mago and Valentin B. Lanopa filed with the Court of First Instance of Manila a
Manila petition "for mandamus with restraining order or preliminary injunction, docketed as Civil Case No.
67496, alleging, among others, that Remedios Mago was the owner of the goods seized, having
EN BANC purchased them from the Sta. Monica Grocery in San Fernando, Pampanga; that she hired the
trucks owned by Valentin Lanopa to transport, the goods from said place to her residence at 1657
Laon Laan St., Sampaloc, Manila; that the goods were seized by members of the Manila Police
G.R. No. L-27360 February 28, 1968
Department without search warrant issued by a competent court; that anila Chief of Police Ricardo
Papa denied the request of counsel for Remedios Mago that the bales be not opened and the
HON. RICARDO G. PAPA, as Chief of Police of Manila; HON. JUAN PONCE ENRILE, as goods contained therein be not examined; that then Customs Commissioner Jacinto Gavino had
Commissioner of Customs; PEDRO PACIS, as Collector of Customs of the Port of Manila; illegally assigned appraisers to examine the goods because the goods were no longer under the
and MARTIN ALAGAO, as Patrolman of the Manila Police Department, petitioners, control and supervision of the Commissioner of Customs; that the goods, even assuming them to
vs. have been misdeclared and, undervalued, were not subject to seizure under Section 2531 of the
REMEDIOS MAGO and HILARION U. JARENCIO, as Presiding Judge of Branch 23, Court of Tariff and Customs Code because Remedios Mago had bought them from another person without
First Instance of Manila, respondents. knowledge that they were imported illegally; that the bales had not yet been opened, although
Chief of Police Papa had arranged with the Commissioner of Customs regarding the disposition of
Office of the Solicitor General for petitioners. the goods, and that unless restrained their constitutional rights would be violated and they would
Juan T. David for respondents. truly suffer irreparable injury. Hence, Remedios Mago and Valentin Lanopa prayed for the
issuance of a restraining order, ex parte, enjoining the above-named police and customs
ZALDIVAR, J.: authorities, or their agents, from opening the bales and examining the goods, and a writ
of mandamus for the return of the goods and the trucks, as well as a judgment for actual, moral
and exemplary damages in their favor.
This is an original action for prohibition and certiorari, with preliminary injunction filed by
Ricardo Papa, Chief of Police of Manila; Juan once Enrile, Commissioner of Customs; Pedro
Pacis, Collector of Customs of the Port of Manila; and Martin Alagao, a patrolman of the Manila On November 10, 1966, respondent Judge Hilarion Jarencio issued an order ex
Police Department, against Remedios Mago and Hon. Hilarion Jarencio, Presiding Judge of parte restraining the respondents in Civil Case No. 67496 — now petitioners in the instant case
Branch 23 of the Court of First Instance of Manila, praying for the annulment of the order issued before this Court — from opening the nine bales in question, and at the same time set the hearing
by respondent Judge in Civil Case No. 67496 of the Court of First Instance of Manila under date of of the petition for preliminary injunction on November 16, 1966. However, when the restraining
March 7, 1967, which authorized the release under bond of certain goods which were seized and order was received by herein petitioners, some bales had already been opened by the examiners
held by petitioners in connection with the enforcement of the Tariff and Customs Code, but which of the Bureau of Customs in the presence of officials of the Manila Police Department, an assistant
were claimed by respondent Remedios Mago, and to prohibit respondent Judge from further city fiscal and a representative of herein respondent Remedios Mago.
proceeding in any manner whatsoever in said Civil Case No. 67496. Pending the determination of
this case this Court issued a writ of preliminary injunction restraining the respondent Judge from Under date of November 15, 1966, Remedios Mago filed an amended petition in Civil Case
executing, enforcing and/or implementing the questioned order in Civil Case No. 67496 and from No. 67496, including as party defendants Collector of Customs Pedro Pacis of the Port of Manila
proceeding with said case. and Lt. Martin Alagao of the Manila Police Department. Herein petitioners (defendants below)
filed, on November 24, 1966, their "Answer with Opposition to the Issuance of a Writ of
Petitioner Martin Alagao, head of the counter-intelligence unit of the Manila Police Preliminary Injunction", denying the alleged illegality of the seizure and detention of the goods and
Department, acting upon a reliable information received on November 3, 1966 to the effect that a the trucks and of their other actuations, and alleging special and affirmative defenses, to wit: that
certain shipment of personal effects, allegedly misdeclared and undervalued, would be released the Court of First Instance of Manila had no jurisdiction to try the case; that the case fell within the
the following day from the customs zone of the port of Manila and loaded on two trucks, and upon exclusive jurisdiction of the Court of Tax Appeals; that, assuming that the court had jurisdiction
orders of petitioner Ricardo Papa, Chief of Police of Manila and a duly deputized agent of the over the case, the petition stated no cause of action in view of the failure of Remedios Mago to
Bureau of Customs, conducted surveillance at gate No. 1 of the customs zone. When the trucks exhaust the administrative remedies provided for in the Tariff and Customs Code; that the Bureau
left gate No. 1 at about 4:30 in the afternoon of November 4, 1966, elements of the counter- of Customs had not lost jurisdiction over the goods because the full duties and charges thereon
intelligence unit went after the trucks and intercepted them at the Agrifina Circle, Ermita, Manila. had not been paid; that the members of the Manila Police Department had the power to make the
The load of the two trucks consisting of nine bales of goods, and the two trucks, were seized on seizure; that the seizure was not unreasonable; and the persons deputized under Section 2203 (c)
instructions of the Chief of Police. Upon investigation, a person claimed ownership of the goods of the Tariff and Customs Code could effect search, seizures and arrests in inland places in
and showed to the policemen a "Statement and Receipts of Duties Collected in Informal Entry No. connection with the enforcement of the said Code. In opposing the issuance of the writ of
147-5501", issued by the Bureau of Customs in the name of a certain Bienvenido Naguit. preliminary injunction, herein petitioners averred in the court below that the writ could not be
granted for the reason that Remedios Mago was not entitled to the main reliefs she prayed for;
that the release of the goods, which were subject to seizure proceedings under the Tariff and In due time, the respondents filed their answer to the petition for prohibition and certiorari in
Customs Code, would deprive the Bureau of Customs of the authority to forfeit them; and that this case. In their answer, respondents alleged, among others: (1) that it was within the jurisdiction
Remedios Mago and Valentin Lanopa would not suffer irreparable injury. Herein petitioners prayed of the lower court presided by respondent Judge to hear and decide Civil Case No. 67496 and to
the court below for the lifting of the restraining order, for the denial of the issuance of the writ of issue the questioned order of March 7, 1967, because said Civil Case No. 67496 was instituted
preliminary injunction, and for the dismissal of the case. long before seizure, and identification proceedings against the nine bales of goods in question
were instituted by the Collector of Customs; (2) that petitioners could no longer go after the goods
At the hearing on December 9, 1966, the lower Court, with the conformity of the parties, in question after the corresponding duties and taxes had been paid and said goods had left the
ordered that an inventory of the goods be made by its clerk of court in the presence of the customs premises and were no longer within the control of the Bureau of Customs; (3) that
representatives of the claimant of the goods, the Bureau of Customs, and the Anti-Smuggling respondent Remedios Mago was purchaser in good faith of the goods in question so that those
Center of the Manila Police Department. On December 13, 1966, the above-named persons filed goods can not be the subject of seizure and forfeiture proceedings; (4) that the seizure of the
a "Compliance" itemizing the contents of the nine bales. goods was affected by members of the Manila Police Department at a place outside control of
jurisdiction of the Bureau of Customs and affected without any search warrant or a warrant of
seizure and detention; (5) that the warrant of seizure and detention subsequently issued by the
Herein respondent Remedios Mago, on December 23, 1966, filed an ex parte motion to Collector of Customs is illegal and unconstitutional, it not being issued by a judge; (6) that the
release the goods, alleging that since the inventory of the goods seized did not show any article of seizing officers have no authority to seize the goods in question because they are not articles of
prohibited importation, the same should be released as per agreement of the patties upon her
prohibited importation; (7) that petitioners are estopped to institute the present action because
posting of the appropriate bond that may be determined by the court. Herein petitioners filed their
they had agreed before the respondent Judge that they would not interpose any objection to the
opposition to the motion, alleging that the court had no jurisdiction to order the release of the
release of the goods under bond to answer for whatever duties and taxes the said goods may still
goods in view of the fact that the court had no jurisdiction over the case, and that most of the be liable; and (8) that the bond for the release of the goods was sufficient.
goods, as shown in the inventory, were not declared and were, therefore, subject to forfeiture. A
supplemental opposition was filed by herein petitioners on January 19, 1967, alleging that on
January 12, 1967 seizure proceedings against the goods had been instituted by the Collector of The principal issue in the instant case is whether or not, the respondent Judge had acted
Customs of the Port of Manila, and the determination of all questions affecting the disposal of with jurisdiction in issuing the order of March 7, 1967 releasing the goods in question.
property proceeded against in seizure and forfeiture proceedings should thereby be left to the
Collector of Customs. On January 30, 1967, herein petitioners filed a manifestation that the The Bureau of Customs has the duties, powers and jurisdiction, among others, (1) to assess
estimated duties, taxes and other charges due on the goods amounted to P95,772.00. On and collect all lawful revenues from imported articles, and all other dues, fees, charges, fines and
February 2, 1967, herein respondent Remedios Mago filed an urgent manifestation and reiteration penalties, accruing under the tariff and customs laws; (2) to prevent and suppress smuggling and
of the motion for the release under bond of the goods. other frauds upon the customs; and (3) to enforce tariff and customs laws. 1 The goods in question
were imported from Hongkong, as shown in the "Statement and Receipts of Duties Collected on
On March 7, 1967, the respondent Judge issued an order releasing the goods to herein Informal Entry". 2 As long as the importation has not been terminated the imported goods remain
respondent Remedios Mago upon her filing of a bond in the amount of P40,000.00, and on March under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of customs. Importation is deemed terminated only upon the
13, 1967, said respondent filed the corresponding bond. payment of the duties, taxes and other charges upon the articles, or secured to be paid, at the port
of entry and the legal permit for withdrawal shall have been granted. 3 The payment of the duties,
taxes, fees and other charges must be in full. 4
On March 13, 1967, herein petitioner Ricardo Papa, on his own behalf, filed a motion for
reconsideration of the order of the court releasing the goods under bond, upon the ground that the
Manila Police Department had been directed by the Collector of Customs of the Port of Manila to The record shows, by comparing the articles and duties stated in the aforesaid "Statement
hold the goods pending termination of the seizure proceedings. and Receipts of Duties Collected on Informal Entry" with the manifestation of the Office of the
Solicitor General 5 wherein it is stated that the estimated duties, taxes and other charges on the
goods subject of this case amounted to P95,772.00 as evidenced by the report of the appraiser of
Without waiting for the court's action on the motion for reconsideration, and alleging that
the Bureau of Customs, that the duties, taxes and other charges had not been paid in full.
they had no plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, herein petitioners
Furthermore, a comparison of the goods on which duties had been assessed, as shown in the
filed the present action for prohibition and certiorari with preliminary injunction before this Court. In
"Statement and Receipts of Duties Collected on Informal Entry" and the "compliance" itemizing the
their petition petitioners alleged, among others, that the respondent Judge acted without articles found in the bales upon examination and inventory, 6 shows that the quantity of the goods
jurisdiction in ordering the release to respondent Remedios Mago of the disputed goods, for the was underdeclared, presumably to avoid the payment of duties thereon. For example, Annex B
following reasons: (1) the Court of First Instance of Manila, presided by respondent Judge, had no (the statement and receipts of duties collected) states that there were 40 pieces of ladies'
jurisdiction over the case; (2) respondent Remedios Mago had no cause of action in Civil Case sweaters, whereas Annex H (the inventory contained in the "compliance") states that in bale No. 1
No. 67496 of the Court of First Instance of Manila due to her failure to exhaust all administrative alone there were 42 dozens and 1 piece of ladies' sweaters of assorted colors; in Annex B, only
remedies before invoking judicial intervention; (3) the Government was not estopped by the 100 pieces of watch bands were assessed, but in Annex H, there were in bale No. 2, 209 dozens
negligent and/or illegal acts of its agent in not collecting the correct taxes; and (4) the bond fixed and 5 pieces of men's metal watch bands (white) and 120 dozens of men's metal watch band
by respondent Judge for the release of the goods was grossly insufficient.
(gold color), and in bale No. 7, 320 dozens of men's metal watch bands (gold color); in Annex B, filed a motion to dismiss the petition on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction, lack of cause of action,
20 dozens only of men's handkerchief were declared, but in Annex H it appears that there were and in view of the pending seizure and forfeiture proceedings. The Court of First Instance held
224 dozens of said goods in bale No. 2, 120 dozens in bale No. 6, 380 dozens in bale No. 7, 220 resolution on the motion to dismiss in abeyance pending decision on the merits. On December 14,
dozens in bale No. 8, and another 200 dozens in bale No. 9. The articles contained in the nine 1964, the Court of First Instance of Manila issued a preventive and mandatory injunction, on
bales in question, were, therefore, subject to forfeiture under Section 2530, pars. e and m, (1), (3), prayer by Francindy Commercial, upon a bond of P20,000.00. The Commissioner of Customs and
(4), and (5) of the Tariff and Customs Code. And this Court has held that merchandise, the the Collector of Customs sought the lifting of the preliminary and mandatory injunction, and the
importation of which is effected contrary to law, is subject to forfeiture, 7 and that goods released resolution of their motion to dismiss. The Court of First Instance of Manila, however, on January
contrary to law are subject to seizure and forfeiture. 8 12, 1965, ordered them to comply with the preliminary and mandatory injunction, upon the filing by
Francindy Commercial of an additional bond of P50,000.00. Said customs authorities thereupon
Even if it be granted, arguendo, that after the goods in question had been brought out of the filed with this Court, on January 14, 1965, a petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary
customs area the Bureau of Customs had lost jurisdiction over the same, nevertheless, when said injunction. In resolving the question raised in that case, this Court held:
goods were intercepted at the Agrifina Circle on November 4, 1966 by members of the Manila
Police Department, acting under directions and orders of their Chief, Ricardo C. Papa, who had This petition raises two related issues: first, has the Customs bureau jurisdiction to
been formally deputized by the Commissioner of Customs, 9 the Bureau of Customs had regained seize the goods and institute forfeiture proceedings against them? and (2) has the Court
jurisdiction and custody of the goods. Section 1206 of the Tariff and Customs Code imposes upon of First Instance jurisdiction to entertain the petition for mandamus to compel the Customs
the Collector of Customs the duty to hold possession of all imported articles upon which duties, authorities to release the goods?
taxes, and other charges have not been paid or secured to be paid, and to dispose of the same
according to law. The goods in question, therefore, were under the custody and at the disposal of Francindy Commercial contends that since the petition in the Court of first Instance
the Bureau of Customs at the time the petition for mandamus, docketed as Civil Case No. 67496, was filed (on October 26, 1964) ahead of the issuance of the Customs warrant of seizure
was filed in the Court of First Instance of Manila on November 9, 1966. The Court of First Instance and forfeiture (on November 12, 1964),the Customs bureau should yield the jurisdiction of
of Manila, therefore, could not exercise jurisdiction over said goods even if the warrant of seizure the said court.
and detention of the goods for the purposes of the seizure and forfeiture proceedings had not yet
been issued by the Collector of Customs.
The record shows, however, that the goods in question were actually seized on
October 6, 1964, i.e., before Francindy Commercial sued in court. The purpose of the
The ruling in the case of "Alberto de Joya, et al. v. Hon. Gregorio Lantin, et al.," G.R. No. L- seizure by the Customs bureau was to verify whether or not Custom duties and taxes
24037, decided by this Court on April 27, 1967, is squarely applicable to the instant case. In were paid for their importation. Hence, on December 23, 1964, Customs released 22
the De Joya case, it appears that Francindy Commercial of Manila bought from Ernerose bales thereof, for the same were found to have been released regularly from the Cebu
Commercial of Cebu City 90 bales of assorted textiles and rags, valued at P117,731.00, which Port (Petition Annex "L"). As to goods imported illegally or released irregularly from
had been imported and entered thru the port of Cebu. Ernerose Commercial shipped the goods to Customs custody, these are subject to seizure under Section 2530 m. of the Tariff and
Manila on board an inter-island vessel. When the goods where about to leave the customs Customs Code (RA 1957).
premises in Manila, on October 6, 1964, the customs authorities held them for further verification,
and upon examination the goods were found to be different from the declaration in the cargo
manifest of the carrying vessel. Francindy Commercial subsequently demanded from the customs The Bureau of Customs has jurisdiction and power, among others to collect
authorities the release of the goods, asserting that it is a purchaser in good faith of those goods; revenues from imported articles, fines and penalties and suppress smuggling and other
frauds on customs; and to enforce tariff and customs laws (Sec. 602, Republic Act 1957).
that a local purchaser was involved so the Bureau of Customs had no right to examine the goods;
and that the goods came from a coastwise port. On October 26, 1964, Francindy Commercial filed
in the Court of First Instance of Manila a petition for mandamus against the Commissioner of The goods in question are imported articles entered at the Port of Cebu. Should
Customs and the Collector of Customs of the port of Manila to compel said customs authorities to they be found to have been released irregularly from Customs custody in Cebu City, they
release the goods. are subject to seizure and forfeiture, the proceedings for which comes within the
jurisdiction of the Bureau of Customs pursuant to Republic Act 1937.
Francindy Commercial alleged in its petition for mandamus that the Bureau of Customs had
no jurisdiction over the goods because the same were not imported to the port of Manila; that it Said proceeding should be followed; the owner of the goods may set up defenses
was not liable for duties and taxes because the transaction was not an original importation; that therein (Pacis v. Averia, L-22526, Nov. 20, 1966.) From the decision of the Commissioner
the goods were not in the hands of the importer nor subject to importer's control, nor were the of Customs appeal lies to the Court of Tax Appeals, as provided in Sec. 2402 of Republic
goods imported contrary to law with its (Francindy Commercial's) knowledge; and that the Act 1937 and Sec. 11 of Republic Act, 1125. To permit recourse to the Court of First
importation had been terminated. On November 12, 1964, the Collector of Customs of Manila Instance in cases of seizure of imported goods would in effect render ineffective the
issued a warrant of seizure and identification against the goods. On December 3, 1964, the power of the Customs authorities under the Tariff and Customs Code and deprive the
Commissioner of Customs and the Collector of Customs, as respondents in the mandamus case, Court of Tax Appeals of one of its exclusive appellate jurisdictions. As this Court has ruled
in Pacis v. Averia, supra, Republic Acts 1937 and 1125 vest jurisdiction over seizure and and examine any vessel or aircraft and any trunk, package, or envelope or any person on board,
forfeiture proceedings exclusively upon the Bureau of Customs and the Court of Tax or to stop and search and examine any vehicle, beast or person suspected of holding or
Appeals. Such law being special in nature, while the Judiciary Act defining the jurisdiction conveying any dutiable or prohibited article introduced into the Philippines contrary to law, without
of Courts of First Instance is a general legislation, not to mention that the former are later mentioning the need of a search warrant in said cases. 16 But in the search of a dwelling house,
enactments, the Court of First Instance should yield to the jurisdiction of the Customs the Code provides that said "dwelling house may be entered and searched only upon
authorities. warrant issued by a judge or justice of the peace. . . ." 17 It is our considered view, therefor, that
except in the case of the search of a dwelling house, persons exercising police authority under the
It is the settled rule, therefore, that the Bureau of Customs acquires exclusive jurisdiction customs law may effect search and seizure without a search warrant in the enforcement of
over imported goods, for the purposes of enforcement of the customs laws, from the moment the customs laws.
goods are actually in its possession or control, even if no warrant of seizure or detention had
previously been issued by the Collector of Customs in connection with seizure and forfeiture Our conclusion finds support in the case of Carroll v. United States, 39 A.L.R., 790, 799,
proceedings. In the present case, the Bureau of Customs actually seized the goods in question on wherein the court, considering a legal provision similar to Section 2211 of the Philippine Tariff and
November 4, 1966, and so from that date the Bureau of Customs acquired jurisdiction over the Customs Code, said as follows:
goods for the purposes of the enforcement of the tariff and customs laws, to the exclusion of the
regular courts. Much less then would the Court of First Instance of Manila have jurisdiction over Thus contemporaneously with the adoption of the 4th Amendment, we find in the
the goods in question after the Collector of Customs had issued the warrant of seizure and first Congress, and in the following second and fourth Congresses, a difference made as
detention on January 12, 1967. 10And so, it cannot be said, as respondents contend, that the to the necessity for a search warrant between goods subject to forfeiture, when concealed
issuance of said warrant was only an attempt to divest the respondent Judge of jurisdiction over in a dwelling house of similar place, and like goods in course of transportation and
the subject matter of the case. The court presided by respondent Judge did not acquire jurisdiction concealed in a movable vessel, where readily they could be put out of reach of a search
over the goods in question when the petition for mandamus was filed before it, and so there was warrant. . . .
no need of divesting it of jurisdiction. Not having acquired jurisdiction over the goods, it follows that
the Court of First Instance of Manila had no jurisdiction to issue the questioned order of March 7,
1967 releasing said goods. Again, by the 2d section of the Act of March 3, 1815 (3 Stat. at L.231, 232, chap.
94), it was made lawful for customs officers not only to board and search vessels within
their own and adjoining districts, but also to stop, search and examine any vehicle, beast
Respondents also aver that petitioner Martin Alagao, an officer of the Manila Police or person on which or whom they should suspect there was merchandise which was
Department, could not seize the goods in question without a search warrant. This contention subject to duty, or had been introduced into the United States in any manner contrary to
cannot be sustained. The Chief of the Manila Police Department, Ricardo G. Papa, having been law, whether by the person in charge of the vehicle or beast or otherwise, and if they
deputized in writing by the Commissioner of Customs, could, for the purposes of the enforcement should find any goods, wares, or merchandise thereon, which they had probably cause to
of the customs and tariff laws, effect searches, seizures, and arrests, 11 and it was his duty to believe had been so unlawfully brought into the country, to seize and secure the same,
make seizure, among others, of any cargo, articles or other movable property when the same may and the vehicle or beast as well, for trial and forfeiture. This Act was renewed April 27,
be subject to forfeiture or liable for any fine imposed under customs and tariff laws. 12 He could 1816 (3 Sta. at L. 315, chap. 100), for a year and expired. The Act of February 28, 1865,
lawfully open and examine any box, trunk, envelope or other container wherever found when he revived § 2 of the Act of 1815, above described, chap. 67, 13 Stat. at L. 441. The
had reasonable cause to suspect the presence therein of dutiable articles introduced into the substance of this section was re-enacted in the 3d section of the Act of July 18, 1866,
Philippines contrary to law; and likewise to stop, search and examine any vehicle, beast or person chap. 201, 14 Stat. at L. 178, and was thereafter embodied in the Revised Statutes as §
reasonably suspected of holding or conveying such article as aforesaid. 13 It cannot be doubted, 3061, Comp. Stat. § 5763, 2 Fed. Stat. Anno. 2d ed. p. 1161. Neither § 3061 nor any of
therefore, that petitioner Ricardo G. Papa, Chief of Police of Manila, could lawfully effect the its earlier counterparts has ever been attacked as unconstitutional. Indeed, that section
search and seizure of the goods in question. The Tariff and Customs Code authorizes him to was referred to and treated as operative by this court in Von Cotzhausen v. Nazro, 107
demand assistance of any police officer to effect said search and seizure, and the latter has the U.S. 215, 219, 27 L. ed. 540, 541, 2 Sup. Ct. Rep. 503. . . .
legal duty to render said assistance. 14This was what happened precisely in the case of Lt. Martin
Alagao who, with his unit, made the search and seizure of the two trucks loaded with the nine
In the instant case, we note that petitioner Martin Alagao and his companion policemen did
bales of goods in question at the Agrifina Circle. He was given authority by the Chief of Police to
make the interception of the cargo. 15 not have to make any search before they seized the two trucks and their cargo. In their original
petition, and amended petition, in the court below Remedios Mago and Valentin Lanopa did not
even allege that there was a search. 18 All that they complained of was,
Petitioner Martin Alagao and his companion policemen had authority to effect the seizure
without any search warrant issued by a competent court. The Tariff and Customs Code does not
require said warrant in the instant case. The Code authorizes persons having police authority That while the trucks were on their way, they were intercepted without any search
under Section 2203 of the Tariff and Customs Code to enter, pass through or search any land, warrant near the Agrifina Circle and taken to the Manila Police Department, where they
were detained.
inclosure, warehouse, store or building, not being a dwelling house; and also to inspect, search
But even if there was a search, there is still authority to the effect that no search warrant Having declared that the seizure by the members of the Manila Police Department of the
would be needed under the circumstances obtaining in the instant case. Thus, it has been held goods in question was in accordance with law and by that seizure the Bureau of Customs had
that: acquired jurisdiction over the goods for the purpose of the enforcement of the customs and tariff
laws, to the exclusion of the Court of First Instance of Manila, We have thus resolved the principal
The guaranty of freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures is construed as and decisive issue in the present case. We do not consider it necessary, for the purposes of this
recognizing a necessary difference between a search of a dwelling house or other decision, to discuss the incidental issues raised by the parties in their pleadings.
structure in respect of which a search warrant may readily be obtained and a search of a
ship, motorboat, wagon, or automobile for contraband goods, where it is not practicable to WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered, as follows:
secure a warrant because the vehicle can be quickly moved out of the locality or
jurisdiction in which the warrant must be sought. (47 Am. Jur., pp. 513-514, citing Carroll (a) Granting the writ of certiorari and prohibition prayed for by petitioners;
v. United States, 267 U.S. 132, 69 L. ed., 543, 45 S. Ct., 280, 39 A.L.R., 790; People v.
Case, 320 Mich., 379, 190 N.W., 389, 27 A.L.R., 686.)
(b) Declaring null and void, for having been issued without jurisdiction, the order of
respondent Judge Hilarion U. Jarencio, dated March 7, 1967, in Civil Code No. 67496 of the Court
In the case of People v. Case (320 Mich., 379, 190 N.W., 389, 27 A.L.R., 686), the question of First Instance of Manila;
raised by defendant's counsel was whether an automobile truck or an automobile could be
searched without search warrant or other process and the goods therein seized used afterwards
(c) Declaring permanent the preliminary injunction issued by this Court on March 31, 1967
as evidence in a trial for violation of the prohibition laws of the State. Same counsel contended the
restraining respondent Judge from executing, enforcing and/or implementing his order of March 7,
negative, urging the constitutional provision forbidding unreasonable searches and seizures. The
Court said: 1967 in Civil Case No. 67496 of the Court of First Instance of Manila, and from proceeding in any
manner in said case;
. . . Neither our state nor the Federal Constitution directly prohibits search and
(d) Ordering the dismissal of Civil Case No. 67496 of the Court of First Instance of Manila;
seizure without a warrant, as is sometimes asserted. Only "unreasonable" search and
and1äwphï1.ñët
seizure is forbidden. . . .

(e) Ordering the private respondent, Remedios Mago, to pay the costs.
. . . The question whether a seizure or a search is unreasonable in the language of
the Constitution is a judicial and not a legislative question; but in determining whether a
seizure is or is not unreasonable, all of the circumstances under which it is made must be It is so ordered.
looked to.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Sanchez, Castro, Angeles and
The automobile is a swift and powerful vehicle of recent development, which has Fernando, JJ., concur.1äwphï1.
multiplied by quantity production and taken possession of our highways in battalions until
the slower, animal-drawn vehicles, with their easily noted individuality, are rare.
Constructed as covered vehicles to standard form in immense quantities, and with a
capacity for speed rivaling express trains, they furnish for successful commission of crime
a disguising means of silent approach and swift escape unknown in the history of the
world before their advent. The question of their police control and reasonable search on
highways or other public places is a serious question far deeper and broader than their
use in so-called &qu