Sie sind auf Seite 1von 6

Romer Sy Tan vs Sy Tiong Gue, et al.

G.R. No. 174570

December 15, 2010

Facts:
Petitioner (Romer Sy Tan) filed a criminal case against respondents (Tiong Gue, et al.). The Respondents
moved for the withdrawal of the information which was subsequently granted by the RTC on the ground
that the information for robbery did not contain the essential elements of robbery as decided upon by
the Court of Appeals on an prior complaint. Hence the case was dismissed. Now the petitioner, seeking
shelter from the Supreme Court contended that he filed information for qualified theft based on the
same subject matter of the dismissed robbery and would like to use the item seized in the previously
conducted search for the new information of qualified theft.
Issue:
Whether or not the items seized in the previously conducted search warrant issued by the court for
robbery be included and used for the filing of for an information for qualified theft.
Ruling:
No, petitioner cannot iclude the seized items as part of the evidence in the new information. Sec. 4 of
Rule 126 of the Rules of Court provides:
Section 4. Requisites for issuing search warrant. A search warrant shall not issue except 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
particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be seized which may be anywhere in
the Philippines.
Thus, as search warrant may be issued only if there is probable cause in connection with only one
specific offense alleged in an application on the basis of the applicant's personal knowledge and his or
her witnesses. Therefore, petitioner cannot utilize the evidence seized by virtue of the search warrant
issued in connection with the case of robbery in a separate case of qualified theft, even if both cases
emanated form the same incident. Also, the withdrawal of the information was justifiable, since there
was no probable cause as to indict respondents of the crime of robbery since unlawful taking which is an
essential element for Robbery and likewise for Qualified Theft is not present.

G.R. No. 174570

February 22, 2010

ROMER SY TAN, Petitioner,


vs.
SY TIONG GUE, FELICIDAD CHAN SY, SY CHIM, SY TIONG SAN, SY YU BUN, SY YU SHIONG,
SY YU SAN and BRYAN SY LIM, Respondents.
DECISION
PERALTA, J.:
This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari seeking to annul and set aside the Decision1 dated
December 29, 2005 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 81389 and the
Resolution2 dated August 18, 2006 denying petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.
The antecedents are as follows:
On January 11, 2006, an Information3 for the crime of Robbery was filed against respondents Sy
Tiong Gue, Felicidad Chan Sy, Sy Chim, Sy Tiong Yan, Sy Yu Bun, Sy Yu Siong, Sy Yu San, Bryan
Sy Lim, Sy Yu Hui-Pabilona, Police Officer 1 (PO1) Mamerto J. Madronio, and PO1 Marvin Sumang
for the alleged taking of P6,500,000.00 cash, 286 postdated checks, five boxes of Hennessy
Cognac, a television set, a computer set, and other documents from the Guan Yiak Hardware,
committed as follows:
That on or about April 15, 2003, in the city of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, conspiring and
confederating together and helping one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously with intent of gain and by means of violence against or intimidation of persons and force
upon things, to wit: by forcibly entering the Office of Guan Yiak Hardware located at 453-455 Tomas
Pinpin Street, Binondo, Manila, while being armed with guns, and thereafter, take rob and carry
away cash in the amount of P6,500,000.00 from the vault; 286 postdated checks with total face
value of P4,325,642.00 issued by several customers payable to Guan Yiak Hardware, Five (5) boxes
of Hennessy XO Cognac valued at P240,000.00 more or less; a television set valued at P20,000.00
more or less; Computer set valued at P50,000.00 more or less and other papers/documents or all
valued at P11,135,642.00 more or less belonging to SY SIY HO AND SONS, INC. (Guan Yiak
Hardware) represented by Romer S. Tan, to the damage and prejudice of the aforesaid owner in the
total amount of P11,135,642.00 more or less, Philippine Currency.
Contrary to law.4
Consequently, on April 22, 2003, Police Inspector (P/Insp.) Edgar A. Reyes filed two separate
applications for the issuance of a search warrant before the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Manila. The
applications were later docketed as Search Warrant Case Nos. 03-3611 and 03-3612 and raffled off
to Branch 7, RTC, Manila.
In the said applications, P/Insp. Reyes alleged that he had personal knowledge that respondent
Felicidad Chan Sy had in her possession five boxes of Hennessy XO, as well as 286 company
checks taken from Guan Yiak Hardware. He prayed that the court issue a search warrant authorizing
him or any other agent of the law to take possession of the subject property and bring them before
the court.

In support of the applications, P/Insp. Reyes submitted the sworn statements of petitioner Romer Sy
Tan5 and witnesses Maricho Sabelita6 and Anicita Almedilla.7 On April 22, 2003, presiding Judge
Enrico A. Lanzanas posed searching questions to the applicant and his witnesses to determine if
probable cause existed to justify the issuance of the search warrants.
Thereafter, or on April 22, 2003, Judge Lanzanas issued Search Warrant Nos. 03-36118 and 033612,9 directing any peace officer to make an immediate search of the 8th floor, 524 T. Pinpin,
Binondo, Manila for five boxes of Hennessy XO; and the 7th floor, 524 T. Pinpin, Binondo, Manila for
various checks payable to the Guan Yiak Hardware, respectively; and, if found, to take possession
thereof and bring the same before the court.
The warrants were later served in the afternoon of April 22, 2003. Under Search Warrant No. 033611, three boxes containing twelve Hennessy XOs and one box containing seven Hennessy XOs,
were seized. However, the enforcement of Search Warrant No. 03-3612 yielded negative results.
On May 21, 2003, respondents filed a Motion to Quash Search Warrants,10 which petitioner
opposed.11
On September 1, 2003, the RTC issued an Order12 denying the motion. Respondents filed a Motion
for Reconsideration,13 but it was denied in the Order14 dated October 28, 2003.
Aggrieved, respondents filed a Petition for Certiorari15 under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court before the
CA arguing that:
I.
The respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction when he refused to quash the subject search warrants, notwithstanding the manifest
absence of probable cause.
II.
There is no appeal, nor any other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law
from the assailed Orders.16
On December 29, 2005, the CA rendered the assailed Decision, the decretal portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed orders of the
respondent court in Search Warrant Case Nos. 03-3611 and 03-3612 are REVERSED and SET
ASIDE. Accordingly, the Motion to Quash Search Warrant Case Nos. 03-3611 and 03-3612 is
GRANTED.
SO ORDERED.17
The CA opined that quashing the search warrants for lack of personal knowledge was unwarranted.
It added that the description of the items to be seized complied with the requirement of particularity.
Moreover, the CA found the inquiries made by the judge to be sufficiently probing. However, the CA
agreed with the respondents and concluded that there was no probable cause for the issuance of
the subject search warrants; thus, respondents motion to quash should have been granted by the
RTC.

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, but it was denied in the assailed Resolution dated
August 18, 2006.
Hence, the petition assigning the following errors:
A
The honorable Court of Appeals committed error of law and error of jurisdiction in setting aside the
search warrants issued by honorable executive judge enrico a. lanzanas of rtc 7, manila.
B
The honorable court of appeals committed error of law and error of jurisdiction in granting the
petition for certiorari filed with it by the respondents, despite lack of showing that honorable
executive judge enrico a. lanzanas of rtc 7, manila, committed grave abuse of discretion amounting
to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing its orders (annexes "l" and "p") denying respondents
motion to quash search warrants and motion for reconsideration.
Petitioner argues that there was substantial basis for the findings of facts and circumstances, which
led the issuing court to determine and conclude that the offense of robbery had been committed by
the respondents. Petitioner insists that there was probable cause, which justified the issuing judge to
issue the questioned search warrants. Petitioner maintains that the RTC issued the search warrants
after determining the existence of probable cause based on the Sinumpaang Salaysay of the affiants
and the testimonies given by them during the hearing of the applications for search warrant.
On their part, respondents maintain that the CAs finding that there was no probable cause for the
issuance of the search warrants was in accordance with the facts and the law. Respondents contend
that the CA correctly appreciated the numerous statements and admissions of petitioner and his
witnesses, all of which, taken together, clearly negate any finding of probable cause for the issuance
of the subject search warrants.
The sole issue to be determined in the instant action is whether or not there was probable cause
warranting the issuance by RTC of the subject search warrants. We answer in the affirmative
A search warrant is an order in writing issued in the name of the People of the Philippines, signed by
a judge and directed to a peace officer, commanding him to search for personal property described
therein and to bring it before the court.18 The issuance of a search warrant is governed by Rule 126
of the Rules of Court, the relevant sections of which provide:
Section 4. Requisites for issuing search warrant. A search warrant shall not issue except 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 particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be seized which may be
anywhere in the Philippines.
1avvphi1

Section 5. 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 the witnesses he may produce on facts personally known to them and attach to the
record their sworn statements together with the affidavits submitted.

Section 6. Issuance and form of search warrant. If the judge is satisfied of the existence of facts
upon which the application is based or that there is probable cause to believe that they exist, he
shall issue the warrant, which must be substantially in the form prescribed by these Rules.
Therefore, the validity of the issuance of a search warrant rests upon the following factors: (1) it must
be issued upon probable cause; (2) the probable cause must be determined by the judge himself
and not by the applicant or any other person; (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 (4) the warrant issued must particularly describe the place to be searched and persons
or things to be seized.19
In the case at bar, the CA concluded that the RTC did not comply with any of the requisites required
for the issuance of the subject search warrants. The CA ratiocinated that although the RTC judge
personally determined if probable cause existed by examining the witnesses through searching
questions, and although the search warrants sufficiently described the place to be searched and
things to be seized, there was no probable cause warranting the issuance of the subject search
warrants. We do not agree.
Jurisprudence dictates that probable cause, as a condition for the issuance of a search warrant, is
such reasons supported by facts and circumstances as will warrant a cautious man to believe that
his action and the means taken in prosecuting it are legally just and proper. Probable cause requires
facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonably prudent man to believe that an offense has
been committed and that the objects sought in connection with that offense are in the place to be
searched.20 In Microsoft Corporation v. Maxicorp, Inc.,21 this Court stressed that:
The determination of probable cause does not call for the application of rules and standards of proof
that a judgment of conviction requires after trial on the merits. As implied by the words themselves,
"probable cause" is concerned with probability, not absolute or even moral certainty. The prosecution
need not present at this stage reasonable doubt. The standards of judgment are those of a
reasonably prudent man, not the exacting calibrations of a judge after a full-blown trial.
Applying these set standards, this Court finds that there was no grave abuse of discretion on the part
of the RTC judge in issuing the subject search warrants.
A perusal of the Sinumpaang Salaysay22 and the Transcript of Stenographic Notes23 reveals that
Judge Lanzanas, through searching and probing questions, was satisfied that there were good
reasons to believe that respondents, accompanied by five maids, took five boxes of Hennessy XO
owned by the Guan Yiak Hardware and brought them to the 8th floor of 524 T. Pinpin St., Binondo,
Manila; and that a person named "Yubol" took various checks from the companys vault, which was
later brought to the 7th floor of 524 T. Pinpin St., Binondo, Manila. When they entered the premises,
Felicidad Chan Sy was accompanied by two policemen, which stunned Romer Sy Tan, so that he
was not able to do anything in the face of the calculated and concerted actions of his grandmother,
Felicidad Chan Sy, and her seven companions. Based on the foregoing circumstances, Romer Sy
Tan believed that the crime of robbery was committed by the respondents.24
The power to issue search warrants is exclusively vested in the trial judges in the exercise of their
judicial functions.25 A finding of probable cause, which would merit the issuance of a search warrant,
needs only to rest on evidence showing that, more likely than not, a crime has been committed and
that it was committed by the accused.26 The determination of whether probable cause exists as to
justify the issuance of a search warrant is best left to the sound discretion of a judge.27 Apparent in
the case at bar and as aptly found by the RTC judge, there was probable cause justifying the
issuance of the search warrants. This was established by the Sinumpaang Salaysay and the

testimonies, consisting of no less than 37 pages, given by witnesses who had personal knowledge of
facts indicating that the crime of robbery had been committed and that the objects sought in
connection with the offense were in the place sought to be searched. The facts narrated by the
witnesses while under oath, when they were asked by the examining judge, were sufficient
justification for the issuance of the subject search warrants.
A Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is intended for the correction of errors of
jurisdiction only, or grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Its principal
office is only to keep the inferior court within the parameters of its jurisdiction, or to prevent it from
committing such grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.28 This Court
finds nothing irregular, much less, grave abuse of discretion, committed by the RTC judge in issuing
the subject search warrants. The RTC judge complied with all the procedural and substantive
requirements for the issuance of a search warrant. This Court is, therefore, bound by the RTC
judges finding of probable cause for issuing Search Warrant Nos. 03-3611 and 03-3612.
It is to be noted, however, that while this Court affirms the sufficiency of probable cause in the
issuance of the search warrants in connection with the crime of robbery allegedly committed by the
respondents, the guilt of the accused still remains to be determined in the appropriate criminal action
against them, not in the present case which is limited only to the propriety of the issuance of the
subject search warrants by the RTC.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision and Resolution dated
December 29, 2005 and August 18, 2006, respectively, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.
81389 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Orders of the RTC dated September 1, 2003 and
October 28, 2003 are REINSTATED. The validity of Search Warrant Nos. 03-3611 and 03-3612 is
SUSTAINED.
SO ORDERED.