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WWC v.

PEOPLE SEARCH WARRANTS


Motion to Quash search warrants are not criminal actions. As such, they are excluded from
direct supervision and control of the Public Prosecutor.
An order quashing a search warrant (issued independently prior to the filing of a criminal
action) partakes of a final order that can be the proper subject of an appeal.
PNP filed applications for warrants before the RTC QC to search the office premises of Worldwide
Web Corporation located in Eastwood as well as the premises of Planet Internet in Pasig. The
applications alleged that these corporations were conducting illegal toll bypass operations,
penalized under P.D. 401 (unauthorized installation of telephone connections) to the prejudice of
PLDT. The RTC QC conducted a hearing on the applications for search warrants, and granted three
applications (two in Pasig one in QC). Thereafter, over a hundred items were seized. WWC &
Planet Internet filed motions to quash. The RTC granted the motions to quash as they were in the
nature of general warrants, so the properties were released to WWC & Planet Internet. PLDT
moved for reconsideration, but the motion was denied on the ground that it had failed to get
the conformity of the City Prosecutor prior to filing the motion as required under Sec. 5,
Rule 110 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure.
The CA reversed the RTC decision. Petitioners moved for reconsideration, averring that the
PLDT should have filed a petition for certiorari rather than an appeal when it questioned the
RTC.
The SC upheld the decision of the CA, in that conformity of the public prosecutor is not
necessary to give the aggrieved party personality to question an order quashing search
warrants. An application for a search warrant is not a criminal action, but is a special criminal
process. It is obtained not by the filing of a complaint or information, but by the filing of an
application conducted either as an incident in a main criminal case already filed in court or in
anticipation of one yet to be filed.
Where the search warrant is issued as an incident in a pending criminal case, the quashal of
a search warrant is merely interlocutory. The determination of the guilt of the accused still needs
to be settled. In contrast, where a search warrant is applied for and issued in anticipation of a
criminal case yet to be filed, the order of quashing the warrant (and denial of a motion for
reconsideration of the grant) ends the judicial process. There is nothing more to be done
after.
SANTOS-CONCIO v. DOJ SEC
When the complaint is submitted by the NBI, there is no need for a sworn statement by the
complainant if a sworn affidavit by the witness is also attached, because the NBI is already
under oath. Furthermore, the original complainant is converted into the witness when the
NBI files the complaint with the prosecutor.
Wowowee stampede Wowowee had an anniversary episode at Ultra, which resulted in a
stampede claiming 71 lives and injured hundreds. The DILG investigated the stampede and the
DOJ created an evaluating panel to evaluate the report and determine if there was basis to proceed
with the PI. It concluded that there was no sufficient basis to proceed with the P.I., because there
was not enough information submitted. The case was referred to the NBI for further investigation.
The NBI found probable cause, and thereby recommended a P.I. for reckless imprudence resulting
in multiple homicide and multiple physical injuries. It submitted to the DOJ an investigation
report (this is the complaint). Attached to the report was a letter from one of the victims, and
a sworn affidavit by a witness. The petitioners contend that the NBI report was not a proper
complaint since it was not under oath as required by Rule 110.
A P.I. can validly proceed on the basis of an affidavit of any competent person without the
referral document (like the NBI Report) having been sworn to because the law officer (NBI) is
the nominal complainant. Sec. 3(a) of Rule 112 is substantially complied with even if only the

witnesses execute affidavits before a competent officer. What is required is to reduce the evidence
into affidavits, for while reports and even raw information may justify the initiation of an
investigation, the P.I. stage can be held only after sufficient evidence has been gathered and
evaluated which may warrant eventual prosecution.
Extra Issue: A complaint for purposes of conducting a P.I. differs from a complaint for purposes of
instituting a criminal prosecution. The complaint in a P.I. is not entirely the affidavit of the
complainant, for the affidavit is treated as a component of the complaint.