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People vs.

Aruta [GR 120915, 13 April 1998]

Third Division, Romero (J): 3 concur
Facts: On 13 December 1988, P/Lt. Abello was tipped off by his informant, known only as Benjie, that
a certain “Aling Rosa” would be arriving from Baguio City the following day, with a large volume of
marijuana. Acting on said tip, P/Lt. Abello assembled a team composed of P/Lt. Jose Domingo, Sgt.
Angel Sudiacal, Sgt. Oscar Imperial, Sgt. Danilo Santiago and Sgt. Efren Quirubin. Said team
proceeded to West Bajac-Bajac, Olongapo City at around 4:00 p.m. of 14 December 1988 and deployed
themselves near the Philippine National Bank (PNB) building along Rizal Avenue and the Caltex
gasoline station. Dividing themselves into two groups, one 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 its front and back bumpers stopped in front of the PNB building at around
6:30 p.m. 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. Having
ascertained that Rosa Aruta y Menguin was “Aling Rosa,” the team approached her and 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. Upon inspection, the bag was found to contain dried marijuana leaves
packed in a plastic bag marked “Cash Katutak.” The team confiscated the bag together with the Victory
Liner bus ticket to which Lt. Domingo affixed his signature. Aruta was then brought to the NARCOM
office for investigation where a Receipt of Property Seized was prepared for the confiscated marijuana
leaves. Upon examination of the seized marijuana specimen at the PC/INP Crime Laboratory, Camp
Olivas, Pampanga, P/Maj. Marlene Salangad, a Forensic Chemist, prepared a Technical Report stating
that said specimen yielded positive results for marijuana, a prohibited drug. Aruta was charged with
violating Section 4, Article II of Republic Act 6425 or the Dangerous Drugs Act. Upon arraignment,
she pleaded “not guilty.” Aruta claimed that immediately prior to her 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 road, Lt. Abello and Lt. Domingo
arrested her and asked her to go with them to the NARCOM Office. After trial on the merits, the
Regional Trial Court of Olongapo City convicted and sentenced her to suffer the penalty of life
imprisonment and to pay a fine of P20,000.00 without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.
Aruta appealed.
Issue: Whether the plea of “not guilty” during Aruta’s arraigment effectly waived the non-admissibility
of the evidence acquired in the invalid warrantless search and seizure.
Held: Articles which are the product of unreasonable searches and seizures are inadmissible as
evidence pursuant to the doctrine pronounced in Stonehill v. Diokno. This exclusionary rule was later
enshrined in Article III, Section 3(2) of the Constitution. From the foregoing, it can be said that the
State cannot simply intrude indiscriminately into the houses, papers, effects, and most importantly, on
the person of an individual. The constitutional provision guaranteed an impenetrable shield against
unreasonable searches and seizures. As such, it protects the privacy and sanctity of the person himself
against unlawful arrests and other forms of restraint. Therewithal, the right of a person to be secured
against any unreasonable seizure of his body and any deprivation of his liberty is a most basic and
fundamental one. A statute, rule or situation 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 law. To do otherwise is an infringement upon personal liberty and
would set back a right so basic and deserving of full protection and vindication yet often violated.
While it may be argued that by entering a plea during arraignment and by actively participating in the
trial, Aruta may be deemed to have waived objections to the illegality of the warrantless search and to
the inadmissibility of the evidence obtained thereby, the same may not apply herein for the following
reasons: (1) The waiver would only apply to objections pertaining to the illegality of the arrest as her
plea of “not guilty” and participation in the trial are indications of her voluntary submission to the
court’s jurisdiction. 32 The plea and active participation in the trial would not cure the illegality of the
search and transform the inadmissible evidence into objects of proof. The waiver simply does not
extend this far. (2) Granting that evidence obtained through a warrantless search becomes admissible
upon failure to object thereto during the trial of the case, records show that accused-appellant filed a
Demurrer to Evidence and objected and opposed the prosecution’s Formal Offer of Evidence. As held
in People vs. Barros, waiver of the non-admissibility of the ” fruits” of an invalid warrantless arrest and
of a warrantless search and seizure is not casually to be presumed, if the constitutional right against
unlawful searches and seizures is to retain its vitality for the protection of our people. In fine, there was
really no excuse for the NARCOM agents not to procure a search warrant considering that they had
more than 24 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.

People vs. Aruta

288 SCRA 626 (1998)

FACTS: The crime alleged is a violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act. Pursuant to a tip received two
days before, police officers conducted a surveillance to verify the information. When accused Aruta
stepped out of a bus, the informant pointed at her saying that it was she who was carrying marijuana.
The officers approached her and introduced themselves. They asked her what the contents were in her
bag. The accused handed her bag. Inside the bag, the officers discovered marijuana tucked in a plastic

1. Whether or not the search and seizure was valid.
2. Whether or not the evidence may be admissible.

1. No, the search and seizure was not valid.

The authorities had ample time to get a warrant. They received the information 2 days before and the
tip given sufficiently described the circumstances attending the event.

During the event, they had no probable cause to suspect that the accused was committing an illegal act.
Likewise, no consent was given by the accused. Mere silence is not to be taken as consent.

2. No, the evidence is not admissible.

The exclusionary rule in Stonehill vs. Diokno is now enshrined in the 1987 constitution.

NOTE: The following cases are specifically provided or allowed by law:

1. Warrantless search incident to a lawful arrest;

2. Seizure of evidence in “plain view;”

Elements of "plain view":

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;
b. The evidence was inadvertently discovered by the police who had the right to be where they are;
c. The evidence must be immediately apparent;
d. “Plain view” justified mere seizure of evidence without further search.

3. Search of a moving vehicle;

4. Consented warrantless search;

5. Customs search;

6. Stop and frisk;

7. Exigent and Emergency circumstances.

Reyes v bagatsing

Sunday, February 08, 2009 Posted by Coffeeholic Writes
Labels: Case Digests, Political Law

Facts: Petitioner sought a permit from the City of Manila to hold a peaceful march
and rally on October 26, 1983 from 2:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon, starting from
the Luneta to the gates of the United States Embassy. Once there, and in an open
space of public property, a short program would be held. The march would be
attended by the local and foreign participants of such conference. That would be
followed by the handing over of a petition based on the resolution adopted at the
closing session of the Anti-Bases Coalition. There was likewise an assurance in the
petition that in the exercise of the constitutional rights to free speech and
assembly, all the necessary steps would be taken by it "to ensure a peaceful
march and rally. However the request was denied. Reference was made to
persistent intelligence reports affirming the plans of subversive/criminal elements
to infiltrate or disrupt any assembly or congregations where a large number of
people is expected to attend. Respondent suggested that a permit may be issued
if it is to be held at the Rizal Coliseum or any other enclosed area where the
safety of the participants themselves and the general public may be ensured. An
oral argument was heard and the mandatory injunction was granted on the
ground that there was no showing of the existence of a clear and present danger
of a substantive evil that could justify the denial of a permit. However Justice
Aquino dissented that the rally is violative of Ordinance No. 7295 of the City of
Manila prohibiting the holding of rallies within a radius of five hundred (500) feet
from any foreign mission or chancery and for other purposes. Hence the Court

Issue: Whether or Not the freedom of expression and the right to peaceably
assemble violated.

Held: Yes. The invocation of the right to freedom of peaceable assembly carries
with it the implication that the right to free speech has likewise been disregarded.
It is settled law that as to public places, especially so as to parks and streets,
there is freedom of access. Nor is their use dependent on who is the applicant for
the permit, whether an individual or a group. There can be no legal objection,
absent the existence of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil, on the
choice of Luneta as the place where the peace rally would start. Time immemorial
Luneta has been used for purposes of assembly, communicating thoughts
between citizens, and discussing public questions.

Such use of the public places has from ancient times, been a part of the
privileges, immunities, rights, and liberties of citizens.

With regard to the ordinance, there was no showing that there was violation and
even if it could be shown that such a condition is satisfied it does not follow that
respondent could legally act the way he did. The validity of his denial of the
permit sought could still be challenged.

A summary of the application for permit for rally: The applicants for a permit to
hold an assembly should inform the licensing authority of the date, the public
place where and the time when it will take place. If it were a private place, only
the consent of the owner or the one entitled to its legal possession is required.
Such application should be filed well ahead in time to enable the public official
concerned to appraise whether there may be valid objections to the grant of the
permit or to its grant but at another public place. It is an indispensable condition
to such refusal or modification that the clear and present danger test be the
standard for the decision reached. Notice is given to applicants for the denial.
Malabanan vs. Ramento
Facts: Petitioners were officers of the Supreme Student Council of respondent
University. They sought and were granted by the school authorities a permit to
hold a meeting from 8:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M, on August 27, 1982. Pursuant to
such permit, along with other students, they held a general assembly at the
Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science basketball court (VMAS), the place
indicated in such permit, not in the basketball court as therein stated but at the
second floor lobby. At such gathering they manifested in vehement and vigorous
language their opposition to the proposed merger of the Institute of Animal
Science with the Institute of Agriculture. The same day, they marched toward the
Life Science Building and continued their rally. It was outside the area covered by
their permit. Even they rallied beyond the period allowed. They were asked to
explain on the same day why they should not be held liable for holding an illegal
assembly. Then on September 9, 1982, they were informed that they were under
preventive suspension for their failure to explain the holding of an illegal
assembly. The validity thereof was challenged by petitioners both before the
Court of First Instance of Rizal against private respondents and before the
Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports. Respondent Ramento found petitioners
guilty of the charge of illegal assembly which was characterized by the violation of
the permit granted resulting in the disturbance of classes and oral defamation.
The penalty was suspension for one academic year. Hence this petition.

Issue: Whether on the facts as disclosed resulting in the disciplinary action and
the penalty imposed, there was an infringement of the right to peaceable
assembly and its cognate right of free speech.

Held: Yes. Student leaders are likely to be assertive and dogmatic. They would be
ineffective if during a rally they speak in the guarded and judicious language of
the academe. But with the activity taking place in the school premises and during
the daytime, no clear and present danger of public disorder is discernible. This is
without prejudice to the taking of disciplinary action for conduct, "materially
disrupts classwork or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of

The rights to peaceable assembly and free speech are guaranteed students of
educational institutions. Necessarily, their exercise to discuss matters affecting
their welfare or involving public interest is not to be subjected to previous
restraint or subsequent punishment unless there be a showing of a clear and
present danger to a substantive evil that the state, has a right to present. As a
corollary, the utmost leeway and scope is accorded the content of the placards
displayed or utterances made. The peaceable character of an assembly could be
lost, however, by an advocacy of disorder under the name of dissent, whatever
grievances that may be aired being susceptible to correction through the ways of
the law. If the assembly is to be held in school premises, permit must be sought
from its school authorities, who are devoid of the power to deny such request
arbitrarily or unreasonably. In granting such permit, there may be conditions as
to the time and place of the assembly to avoid disruption of classes or stoppage
of work of the non-academic personnel. Even if, however, there be violations of its
terms, the penalty incurred should not be disproportionate to the offense.

Facts: Petitioner has a television program entitled "Ang Iglesia ni Cristo" aired on
Channel 2 every Saturday and on Channel 13 every Sunday. The program
presents and propagates petitioner's religious beliefs, doctrines and practices
often times in comparative studies with other religions. Petitioner submitted to
the respondent Board of Review for Moving Pictures and Television the VTR tapes
of its TV program Series Nos. 116, 119, 121 and 128. The Board classified the
series as "X" or not for public viewing on the ground that they "offend and
constitute an attack against other religions which is expressly prohibited by law."
On November 28, 1992, it appealed to the Office of the President the
classification of its TV Series No. 128 which allowed it through a letter of former
Executive Secretary Edelmiro A. Amante, Sr., addressed for Henrietta S. Mendez
reversing the decision of the respondent Board. According to the letter the
episode in is protected by the constitutional guarantee of free speech and
expression and no indication that the episode poses any clear and present danger.
Petitioner also filed Civil Case. Petitioner alleged that the respondent Board acted
without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in requiring petitioner to
submit the VTR tapes of its TV program and in x-rating them. It cited its TV
Program Series Nos. 115, 119, 121 and 128. In their Answer, respondent Board
invoked its power under PD No. 19861 in relation to Article 201 of the Revised
Penal Code. The Iglesia ni Cristo insists on the literal translation of the bible and
says that our (Catholic) veneration of the Virgin Mary is not to be condoned
because nowhere it is found in the bible. The board contended that it outrages
Catholic and Protestant's beliefs. RTC ruled in favor of petitioners. CA however
reversed it hence this petition.

Issue: Whether or Not the "ang iglesia ni cristo" program is not constitutionally
protected as a form of religious exercise and expression.

Held: Yes. Any act that restrains speech is accompanied with presumption of
invalidity. It is the burden of the respondent Board to overthrow this presumption.
If it fails to discharge this burden, its act of censorship will be struck down. This is
true in this case. So-called "attacks" are mere criticisms of some of the deeply
held dogmas and tenets of other religions. RTC’s ruling clearly suppresses
petitioner's freedom of speech and interferes with its right to free exercise of
religion. “attack” is different from “offend” any race or religion. The respondent
Board may disagree with the criticisms of other religions by petitioner but that
gives it no excuse to interdict such criticisms, however, unclean they may be.
Under our constitutional scheme, it is not the task of the State to favor any
religion by protecting it against an attack by another religion. Religious dogmas
and beliefs are often at war and to preserve peace among their followers,
especially the fanatics, the establishment clause of freedom of religion prohibits
the State from leaning towards any religion. Respondent board cannot censor the
speech of petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo simply because it attacks other religions,
even if said religion happens to be the most numerous church in our country. The
basis of freedom of religion is freedom of thought and it is best served by
encouraging the marketplace of dueling ideas. It is only where it is unavoidably
necessary to prevent an immediate and grave danger to the security and welfare
of the community that infringement of religious freedom may be justified, and
only to the smallest extent necessary to avoid the danger. There is no showing
whatsoever of the type of harm the tapes will bring about especially the gravity
and imminence of the threatened harm. Prior restraint on speech, including
religious speech, cannot be justified by hypothetical fears but only by the showing
of a substantive and imminent evil. It is inappropriate to apply the clear and
present danger test to the case at bar because the issue involves the content of
speech and not the time, place or manner of speech. Allegedly, unless the speech
is first allowed, its impact cannot be measured, and the causal connection
between the speech and the evil apprehended cannot be established. The
determination of the question as to whether or not such vilification, exaggeration
or fabrication falls within or lies outside the boundaries of protected speech or
expression is a judicial function which cannot be arrogated by an administrative
body such as a Board of Censors." A system of prior restraint may only be validly
administered by judges and not left to administrative agencies.