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Case Title Case# 72 Papa v.

Mago
G.R. no. L-27360
Main Topic Section 2 – Searches & Seizures
Other Related Topic
Date: February 28, 1968

DOCTRINES
1. CUSTOMS BUREAU; POWERS AND DUTIES OF BUREAU OF CUSTOMS. — Among others, the
Bureau of Customs has the duties, powers and the jurisdiction to assess and collect all lawful revenues
from imported articles and all other dues, fees, charges, nes and penalties accruing under the tariff and
customs laws; to prevent and suppress smuggling and other frauds upon the customs; and to enforce tariff
and customs laws.

2. ID.; JURISDICTION; CUSTOMS BUREAU HAS JURISDICTION OVER IMPORTED GOODS;


"IMPORTATION", MEANING OF. — Where the goods in question were imported from Hongkong as
shown in the statement and receipts of duties collected on informal entry and where the importation has
not been terminated, the imported goods remain under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Customs.
Importation is terminated only upon the payment of 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.
Payment of the duties, taxes, fees and other charges must be in full.

3. ID; ID; BUREAU OF CUSTOMS, NOT THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE, HAS JURISDICTION
OVER THE CASE WHERE GOODS ARE UNDER CUSTODY OF SAID BUREAU, EVEN IF NO
WARRANT OF SEIZURE AND DETENTION IS YET ISSUED ON GOODS. — Since the goods were
under the custody and at the disposal of the Bureau of Customs when the petition for mandamus was led
in the Court of First Instance, the latter could not exercise jurisdiction over said goods even if the warrant
of seizure and detention of goods for purposes of seizure and forfeiture proceedings had not yet been
issued by the Collector. It is settled that the Bureau of Customs acquires exclusive jurisdiction over
imported goods for purposes of enforcing the Customs laws, from the moment the goods are actually in
possession and control of said Bureau even in the absence on any warrant of seizure or detention.

4. ID.; ID.; SEIZURE OF GOODS BY MPD, DEPUTIZED BY BUREAU OF CUSTOMS GAVE THE
LATTER EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION OVER CASE; ISSUANCE OF WARRANT OF SEIZURE BY
CUSTOMS BUREAU AFTER FILLING OF MANDAMUS SUIT IN CFI, DID NOT DIVEST THE
LATTER OF JURISDICTION IT DID NOT ACQUIRE. — Where the Bureau of Customs, through

the Manila Police Department acting under petitioner police chief Papa who was formally deputized by
the Commissioner of Customs seized the goods on November 4, 1966, the Bureau from that date acquired
jurisdiction over the goods to the exclusion of the regular courts. The issuance of the warrant of seizure
and detention by the Customs Collector after the ling of the mandamus suit in the regular court, did not
deprive the latter of its jurisdiction which it never acquired in the rst place, as the Bureau of Customs had
already previously acquired jurisdiction on the case to the exclusion of regular courts for purposes of
enforcement of customs and tariff laws.

5. ID.; ID.; GOODS, EVEN IF BROUGHT OUT OF CUSTOMS AREA, STILL FALL WITHIN
JURISDICTION OF BUREAU OF CUSTOMS; JURISDICTION OF CUSTOMS BUREAU IS
REGAINED. — Even if it be conceded, arguendo, that after the goods have been brought out of the
customs area, the Bureau of Customs lost jurisdiction over the same, still when said goods were
intercepted at the Agri na Circle by members of the MPD acting under directions and orders of petitioner
Papa who had been formally deputized by the Commissioner of Customs, such jurisdiction was regained
by the Bureau of Customs. Sec. 1206 of the Tariff and Customs Code imposes upon the Collector of
Customs the duty to hold possession of all imported articles upon which duties, taxes and other charges
have not been paid or secured to be paid and to dispose of the same according to law.

6. ID.; IMPORTATIONS MADE CONTRARY TO LAW ARE SUBJECT TO FORFEITURE. — Where


from the record, the duties, taxes and other charges on the imported articles have not been paid in full,
such articles are subject to forfeiture under Section 2530 pars. e and m, (1), (4) and (5) of the Tariff and
Customs Code; for well settled is the rule that merchandise imported contrary to law is subject to
forfeiture and goods released contrary to law are likewise subject to seizure and forfeiture.

7. ID.; ID.; SEARCH WARRANT; LAWFUL SEARCH WITHOUT SEARCH WARRANT CAN BE
EFFECTED. — The Tariff and Customs Code does not require a search warrant for purposes of enforcing
customs and tariff laws. Under Sec. 2203 thereof, persons having police authority may enter, pass through
or search any land, inclosure, warehouse, store or building not being a dwelling house and also, to inspect,
search and examine any vehicle or aircraft and any trunk, package, box or envelope or any person on
board or stop and search and examine any vehicle, beast or person suspected of holding or conveying any
dutiable or prohibited article introduced into the Philippines contrary to law, without mentioning the need
of a search warrant in said cases. Except in the search of a dwelling house, therefore, persons exercising
police authority under the customs law may effect search and seizure without search warrant in the
enforcement of customs laws.

FACTS:
HON. RICARDO G. PAPA, as Chief of Police of Manila, HON. JUAN PONCE ENRILE, as
Commissioner of Customs, PEDRO PACIS, as Collector of Customs of the Port of Manila, and MARTIN
ALAGAO, as Patrolman of the Manila Police-Department, petitioners, vs. REMEDIOS MAGO and
HON. HILARION U. JARENCIO, as Presiding Judge of Branch 23, Court of First Instance of Manila,
respondents.

• November 4, 1966 – they have received an information that a certain shipment of misdeclared
and undervalued personal effects would be released from the customs zone of the port of Manila,
Alagao and a duly deputized agent of the Bureau of Customs zone, elements of the counter-
intelligence unit interceped them in Ermita. The rucks and the nine bales of goods they carried
were seized on instructions of the chief of police. Upon investigation those claiming ownership
showed the policeman a “Statement of Receipts of Duties Collected in Informal Entry No. 147-
5501” issued by the Bureau of Customs in the name of one Bienvenido Naguit.
• Mago filed with CFI of Manila a petition for Mandamus with restraining order or preliminary
injunction, alleging that she was the owner of the goods seized, which were purchased from
Sta.Monica Grocery in San Fernando, Pampanga. She hired the trucks owned by Lanopa (who
filed with her) to bring the goods to her in her residence in Sampaloc, Manila. She complained
that the goods were seized without a warrant, and that they were not subject to seizure under
Section 2531 of the Tariff and Customs Code even if they were misdeclared and undervalued
because she had bought them without knowing they had been imported illegally. They asked that
the police not to open the bales, the goods be returned, and for moral and exemplary damages.
• November 10, 1966 – Judge issued an order restraining the police from opening the nine bales in
question but by then some had already been opened. Five days later Mage filed an amended
petition including as party defendants Pacis and Martin Alagao.
• December 23, 1966- Mago filed a motion to release the goods, alleging that since the inventoy
ordered by the court of the goods seized did not show any article of prohibited importation, the
same should be released upon her posting of the appropriate bond. The petitioners in the case
filed the opposition, alleging that the court had no jurisdiction over the case and this no
jurisdiction to order the release and as the goods were not declared they were subject to forfeiture.
• March 7, 1967 – assailed order issued by Jarencio, authorized release under bond of goods seized
and held by petitioners in connection with the enforcement of the tariff and Customs Code. The
bond of P40,000 was filed five days later. On the same day, Papa filed on his own behalf a
motion for reconsideration on the ground that the Manila Police Department had been directed by
the collector of Customs to hold the goods pending termination of the seizure proceedings.
Without waiting for the court’s action on the MR, petitioners filed the present action.
• Argument of petitioners (1) CFI had no jurisdiction over the case (2) Mago had no cause of
action in the civil case filed with the CFI due to her failure to exhaust all administrative remedies
before invoking judicial intervention
• Arguments of respondents (1) It was within the jurisdiction of the lower court presided by
respondent Judge to hear and decide the civil case and to issue the questioned order of March 7,
1967, because said Civil Case was instituted long before seizure, and identification proceedings
against the nine bales of goods in question were instituted by the Collector of Customs. 2.
Petitioners could no longer go after the goods in question after the corresponding duties and taxes
had been paid and said goods had left the customs premises and were no longer within the control
of the Bureau of Customs.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the search conducted by the BOC valid?
HELD:
Yes the search conducted by BOC is valid.
Petitioner Martin Alagao and his companion policemen had authority to effect the the seizure without any
search warrant issue 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 under Section 2203 of the Tarrif
and customs Code to enter, pass through or search any land, inclosure, warehouse, store or building, not
being a dwelling house; and also to inspect, search and examine any vessel or aircraft and any trunk,
package, or envelope or any person on board, or to stop and search and examine any vehicle, beast or
person suspected of holding or conveying any dutiable or prohibited article introduced into the
Philippines contrary to law, without mentioning the need of a search warrant in said cases. But in the
search of a dwelling house, the code provides that said “dwelling house may be entered and searched only
upon warrant issued by a judge or justice of peace… it is our considered view, therefor, that except in the
case of the search of a dwelling house, persons exercising police authority under the customs law may
effect search and seizure without a search warrant in the enforcement of customs law may effect search
and seizure without a search warrant in the enforcement of custom laws