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G.R. No.

174238

July 7, 2009

ANITA CHENG, Petitioner,


vs.
SPOUSES WILLIAM SY and TESSIE SY, Respondents.
DECISION
NACHURA, J.:
This is a petition1 for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court of the Order dated January 2,
20062of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 18, Manila in Civil Case No. 05-112452 entitled Anita
Cheng v. Spouses William Sy and Tessie Sy.
The antecedents are as follows
Petitioner Anita Cheng filed two (2) estafa cases before the RTC, Branch 7, Manila against respondent
spouses William and Tessie Sy (Criminal Case No. 98-969952 against Tessie Sy and Criminal Case No.
98-969953 against William Sy) for issuing to her Philippine Bank of Commerce (PBC) Check Nos. 171762
and 71860 for P300,000.00 each, in payment of their loan, both of which were dishonored upon
presentment for having been drawn against a closed account.
Meanwhile, based on the same facts, petitioner, on January 20, 1999, filed against respondents two (2)
cases for violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang (BP Blg.) 22 before the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC),
Branch 25, Manila (Criminal Case Nos. 341458-59).
On March 16, 2004, the RTC, Branch 7, Manila dismissed the estafa cases for failure of the prosecution to
prove the elements of the crime. The Order dismissing Criminal Case No. 98-969952 contained no
declaration as to the civil liability of Tessie Sy.3 On the other hand, the Order in Criminal Case No. 98969953 contained a statement, "Hence, if there is any liability of the accused, the same is purely civil, not
criminal in nature."4
Later, the MeTC, Branch 25, Manila, dismissed, on demurrer, the BP Blg. 22 cases in its Order5 dated
February 7, 2005 on account of the failure of petitioner to identify the accused respondents in open court.
The Order also did not make any pronouncement as to the civil liability of accused respondents.1avvphi1
On April 26, 2005, petitioner lodged against respondents before the RTC, Branch 18, Manila, a
complaint6 for collection of a sum of money with damages (Civil Case No. 05-112452) based on the same
loaned amount ofP600,000.00 covered by the two PBC checks previously subject of the estafa and BP Blg.
22 cases.
In the assailed Order7 dated January 2, 2006, the RTC, Branch 18, Manila, dismissed the complaint for lack
of jurisdiction, ratiocinating that the civil action to collect the amount of P600,000.00 with damages was
already impliedly instituted in the BP Blg. 22 cases in light of Section 1, paragraph (b) of Rule 111 of the
Revised Rules of Court.
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration8 which the court denied in its Order9 dated June 5, 2006.
Hence, this petition, raising the sole legal issue
Whether or not Section 1 of Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure and Supreme Court Circular
No. 57-97 on the Rules and Guidelines in the filing and prosecution of criminal cases under BP Blg. 22 are
applicable to the present case where the nature of the order dismissing the cases for bouncing checks

against the respondents was [based] on the failure of the prosecution to identify both the accused
(respondents herein)?10
Essentially, petitioner argues that since the BP Blg. 22 cases were filed on January 20, 1999, the 2000
Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure promulgated on December 1, 2000 should not apply, as it must be
given only prospective application. She further contends that that her case falls within the following
exceptions to the rule that the civil action correspondent to the criminal action is deemed instituted with the
latter
(1) additional evidence as to the identities of the accused is necessary for the resolution of the civil
aspect of the case;
(2) a separate complaint would be just as efficacious as or even more expedient than a timely
remand to the trial court where the criminal action was decided for further hearings on the civil
aspect of the case;
(3) the trial court failed to make any pronouncement as to the civil liability of the accused amounting
to a reservation of the right to have the civil liability litigated in a separate action;
(4) the trial court did not declare that the facts from which the civil liability might arise did not exist;
(5) the civil complaint is based on an obligation ex-contractu and not ex-delicto pursuant to Article
3111 of the Civil Code; and
(6) the claim for civil liability for damages may be had under Article 2912 of the Civil Code.
Petitioner also points out that she was not assisted by any private prosecutor in the BP Blg. 22
proceedings.
The rule is that upon the filing of the estafa and BP Blg. 22 cases against respondents, where the petitioner
has not made any waiver, express reservation to litigate separately, or has not instituted the corresponding
civil action to collect the amount of P600,000.00 and damages prior to the criminal action, the civil action is
deemed instituted with the criminal cases.13
This rule applies especially with the advent of the 2000 Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure. Thus, during
the pendency of both the estafa and the BP Blg. 22 cases, the action to recover the civil liability was
impliedly instituted and remained pending before the respective trial courts. This is consonant with our
ruling in Rodriguez v. Ponferrada14 that the possible single civil liability arising from the act of issuing a
bouncing check can be the subject of both civil actions deemed instituted with the estafa case and the
prosecution for violation of BP Blg. 22, simultaneously available to the complaining party, without traversing
the prohibition against forum shopping.15Prior to the judgment in either the estafa case or the BP Blg. 22
case, petitioner, as the complainant, cannot be deemed to have elected either of the civil actions both
impliedly instituted in the said criminal proceedings to the exclusion of the other.16
The dismissal of the estafa cases for failure of the prosecution to prove the elements of the crime beyond
reasonable doubtwhere in Criminal Case No. 98-969952 there was no pronouncement as regards the
civil liability of the accused and in Criminal Case No. 98-969953 where the trial court declared that the
liability of the accused was only civil in natureproduced the legal effect of a reservation by the petitioner
of her right to litigate separately the civil action impliedly instituted with the estafa cases, following Article 29
of the Civil Code.17

However, although this civil action could have been litigated separately on account of the dismissal of the
estafa cases on reasonable doubt, the petitioner was deemed to have also elected that such civil action be
prosecuted together with the BP Blg. 22 cases in light of the Rodriguez v. Ponferrada ruling.
With the dismissal of the BP Blg. 22 cases for failure to establish the identity of the accused, the question
that arises is whether such dismissal would have the same legal effect as the dismissed estafa cases. Put
differently, may petitioners action to recover respondents civil liability be also allowed to prosper separately
after the BP Blg. 22 cases were dismissed?
Section 1 (b), Rule 111 of the 2000 Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure states
Section 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions.
xxx
(b) The criminal action for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 shall be deemed to include the
corresponding civil action. No reservation to file such civil action separately shall be allowed.
Upon filing of the joint criminal and civil actions, the offended party shall pay in full the filing fees based on
the amount of the check involved, which shall be considered as the actual damages claimed. Where the
complaint or information also seeks to recover liquidated, moral, nominal, temperate or exemplary
damages, the offended party shall pay the filing fees based on the amounts alleged therein. If the amounts
are not so alleged but any of these damages [is] subsequently awarded by the court, the filing fees based
on the amount awarded shall constitute a first lien on the judgment.
Where the civil action has been filed separately and trial thereof has not yet commenced, it may be
consolidated with the criminal action upon application with the court trying the latter case. If the application
is granted, the trial of both actions shall proceed in accordance with section 2 of this Rule governing
consolidation of the civil and criminal actions.
Petitioner is in error when she insists that the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure should not apply because
she filed her BP Blg. 22 complaints in 1999. It is now settled that rules of procedure apply even to cases
already pending at the time of their promulgation. The fact that procedural statutes may somehow affect the
litigants rights does not preclude their retroactive application to pending actions. It is axiomatic that the
retroactive application of procedural laws does not violate any right of a person who may feel that he is
adversely affected, nor is it constitutionally objectionable. The reason for this is that, as a general rule, no
vested right may attach to, nor arise from, procedural laws.18
Indeed, under the present revised Rules, the criminal action for violation of BP Blg. 22 includes the
corresponding civil action to recover the amount of the checks. It should be stressed, this policy is intended
to discourage the separate filing of the civil action. In fact, the Rules even prohibits the reservation of a
separate civil action, i.e., one can no longer file a separate civil case after the criminal complaint is filed in
court. The only instance when separate proceedings are allowed is when the civil action is filed ahead of
the criminal case. Even then, the Rules encourages the consolidation of the civil and criminal cases. Thus,
where petitioners rights may be fully adjudicated in the proceedings before the court trying the BP Blg. 22
cases, resort to a separate action to recover civil liability is clearly unwarranted on account of res judicata,
for failure of petitioner to appeal the civil aspect of the cases. In view of this special rule governing actions
for violation of BP Blg. 22, Article 31 of the Civil Code is not applicable.19
Be it remembered that rules governing procedure before the courts, while not cast in stone, are for the
speedy, efficient, and orderly dispensation of justice and should therefore be adhered to in order to attain
this objective.20

However, in applying the procedure discussed above, it appears that petitioner would be left without a
remedy to recover from respondents the P600,000.00 allegedly loaned from her. This could prejudice even
the petitioners Notice of Claim involving the same amount filed in Special Proceedings No. 98-88390
(Petition for Voluntary Insolvency by Kolin Enterprises, William Sy and Tessie Sy), which case was
reportedly archived for failure to prosecute the petition for an unreasonable length of time.21 Expectedly,
respondents would raise the same defense that petitioner had already elected to litigate the civil action to
recover the amount of the checks along with the BP Blg. 22 cases.
It is in this light that we find petitioners contention that she was not assisted by a private prosecutor during
the BP Blg. 22 proceedings critical. Petitioner indirectly protests that the public prosecutor failed to protect
and prosecute her cause when he failed to have her establish the identities of the accused during the trial
and when he failed to appeal the civil action deemed impliedly instituted with the BP Blg. 22 cases. On this
ground, we agree with petitioner.
Faced with the dismissal of the BP Blg. 22 cases, petitioners recourse pursuant to the prevailing rules of
procedure would have been to appeal the civil action to recover the amount loaned to respondents
corresponding to the bounced checks. Hence, the said civil action may proceed requiring only a
preponderance of evidence on the part of petitioner. Her failure to appeal within the reglementary period
was tantamount to a waiver altogether of the remedy to recover the civil liability of respondents. However,
due to the gross mistake of the prosecutor in the BP Blg. 22 cases, we are constrained to digress from this
rule.
It is true that clients are bound by the mistakes, negligence and omission of their counsel.22 But this rule
admits of exceptions (1) where the counsels mistake is so great and serious that the client is prejudiced
and denied his day in court, or (2) where the counsel is guilty of gross negligence resulting in the clients
deprivation of liberty or property without due process of law.23 Tested against these guidelines, we hold that
petitioners lot falls within the exceptions.
It is an oft-repeated exhortation to counsels to be well-informed of existing laws and rules and to keep
abreast with legal developments, recent enactments and jurisprudence. Unless they faithfully comply with
such duty, they may not be able to discharge competently and diligently their obligations as members of the
Bar.24 Further, lawyers in the government service are expected to be more conscientious in the
performance of their duties as they are subject to public scrutiny. They are not only members of the Bar but
are also public servants who owe utmost fidelity to public service.25 Apparently, the public prosecutor
neglected to equip himself with the knowledge of the proper procedure for BP Blg. 22 cases under the 2000
Rules on Criminal Procedure such that he failed to appeal the civil action impliedly instituted with the BP
Blg. 22 cases, the only remaining remedy available to petitioner to be able to recover the money she
loaned to respondents, upon the dismissal of the criminal cases on demurrer. By this failure, petitioner was
denied her day in court to prosecute the respondents for their obligation to pay their loan.
Moreover, we take into consideration the trial courts observation when it dismissed the estafa charge in
Criminal Case No. 98-969953 that if there was any liability on the part of respondents, it was civil in nature.
Hence, if the loan be proven true, the inability of petitioner to recover the loaned amount would be
tantamount to unjust enrichment of respondents, as they may now conveniently evade payment of their
obligation merely on account of a technicality applied against petitioner.
There is unjust enrichment when (1) a person is unjustly benefited, and (2) such benefit is derived at the
expense of or with damages to another. This doctrine simply means that a person shall not be allowed to
profit or enrich himself inequitably at anothers expense. One condition for invoking this principle of unjust
enrichment is that the aggrieved party has no other recourse based on contract, quasi-contract, crime,
quasi-delict or any other provision of law.26

Court litigations are primarily designed to search for the truth, and a liberal interpretation and application of
the rules which will give the parties the fullest opportunity to adduce proof is the best way to ferret out the
truth. The dispensation of justice and vindication of legitimate grievances should not be barred by
technicalities.27 For reasons of substantial justice and equity, as the complement of the legal jurisdiction that
seeks to dispense justice where courts of law, through the inflexibility of their rules and want of power to
adapt their judgments to the special circumstances of cases, are incompetent to do so,28 we thus rule, pro
hac vice, in favor of petitioner.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. Civil Case No. 05-112452 entitled Anita Cheng v. Spouses
William Sy and Tessie Sy is hereby ordered REINSTATED. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 191240

July 30, 2014

CRISTINA B. CASTILLO, Petitioner,


vs.
PHILLIP R. SALVADOR, Respondent.
DECISION
PERALTA, J.:
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari which assails the Decision1 dated February 11, 2010 of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 30151 with respect only to the civil aspect of the case as respondent Phillip R.
Salvador had been acquitted of the crime of estafa. Respondent Phillip Salvador and his brother Ramon
Salvador were charged with estafa under Article 315, paragraph 2 (a) of the Revised Penal Code in an
Information2 which reads:
That during the period from March 2001 up to May 2002, in the City of Las Pias, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and confederating together and both
of them mutually helping and aiding one another, with intent to gain and by means of false pretenses or
fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously defraud the complainant CRISTINA B. CASTILLO, in the amount of US$100,000.00 in
the following manner, to wit: Respondents convinced the complainant to invest into the remittance business in
the name of accused PHILLIP R. SALVADOR in Hongkong, representing to her that they will personally take
charge of the operations and marketing of the said business, assuring her with huge profits because of the
popularity of accused PHILLIP R. SALVADOR, knowing very well that the said manifestations/representations
and fraudulent manifestations were false and were intended only to exact money from the Complainant, and by

reason of the said false representations made by both accused, the Complainant gave and entrusted to the
accused the amount of US$100,000.00 as seed money to start the operations of the business and the said
accused, once in the possession of the said amount of money, misappropriated, misapplied and/or converted the
same to their own personal use and benefit, to the damage and prejudice of the Complainant in the
aforementioned amount of US$100,000.00.
CONTRARY TO LAW.3
Upon their arraignment, respondentand his brother Ramon pleaded not guilty 4 to the offense charged.
Trial on the merits thereafter ensued.
Petitioner Cristina B. Castillo testified that she is engaged in real estate business, educational institution,
boutique, and trading business.5 She met respondent through a common friend in December 2000 and became
close since then. Respondent had told her that his friends, Jinggoy Estrada and Rudy Fernandez, were engaged
in the freight and remittance business and that Jinggoy even brought him toHong Kong and Singapore to
promote the former's business.6 Petitioner eventually met respondents brother and manager, Ramon Salvador,
to whom she volunteered to financially help respondent in his bid for the Vice-Mayoralty race in Mandaluyong. 7 It
was also in the same meeting that they talked about the matter of engaging in a freight and remittance
business.8Respondent enticed petitioner to go to Hong Kong to see for herself the viability of such business and
Ramon suggested to use respondents name to attract the overseas contract workers. 9
In March 2001, petitioner and her husband, together with respondent and a certain Virgilio Calubaquib wentto
Hong Kong and they witnessed respondents popularity among the Filipino domestic helpers. 10 In April 2001, the
same group, with Ramon this time, went to Bangkok where respondents popularity was again shown among the
overseas Filipinos.11 In both instances, respondent promoted their prospective business. In both trips, petitioner
paid for all the travelexpenses and even gave respondent US$10,000.00 as pocket money for the Hong Kong
trip and another US$10,000.00 for the Bangkok trip. 12 Her accountant introduced her to a certain Roy Singun
who is into the freight and money remittance business.13 In August 2001, respondent initiated a trip to Palau, to
observe Singuns business thereat to which petitioner acceded. 14 Petitioner paid for the travel expenses and
even gaverespondent US$20,000.00.15 In October 2001, she and respondent had a training at Western Union at
First World Center in Makati City.16
As petitioner had deeply fallen in love with respondent and since she trusted him very much as heeven acted as
a father to her children when her annulment was ongoing, she agreed to embark on the remittance business. In
December 2001, she, accompanied by her mother, Zenaida G. Bondoc (Zenaida), and Ramon, went to Hong
Kong and had the Phillip Salvador Freight and Remittance International Limited registered on December 27,
2001.17 A Memorandum of Articles of Incorporation and a Certificate of Incorporation were issued. 18 They also
rented an office space in Tsimshatsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong which they registered as their office address as a
requirement for opening a business in Hong Kong, thus, a Notification of Situation of Registered Office was also
issued.19 She agreed with respondent and Ramon that any profit derived from the business would be equally
divided among them and thatrespondent would be in charge of promotion and marketing in Hong Kong,while
Ramon would take charge of the operations of business in the Philippines and she would be financing the
business.20
The business has not operated yet as petitioner was still raising the amount of US$100,000.00 as capital for the
actual operation.21 When petitioner already had the money, she handed the same to respondent in May 2002 at
her mothers house in Las Pias City, which was witnessed by her disabled half-brother Enrico B. Tan
(Enrico).22She also gave respondent P100,000.00 in cash to begiven to Charlie Chau, who is a resident of Hong
Kong, as payment for the heart-shaped earrings she bought from him while she was there. Respondent and
Ramon went to Hong Kong in May 2002. However, the proposed business never operated as respondent only
stayed in Hong Kongfor three days. When she asked respondent about the money and the business, the latter
told her that the money was deposited in a bank.23 However, upon further query, respondent confessed that he
used the money to pay for his other obligations.24 Since then, the US$100,000.00 was not returned at all.

On cross-examination, petitioner testified that she fell deeply in love with respondent and was convinced thathe
truly loved her and intended to marry her once there would beno more legal impediment; 25 that she helped in
financing respondents campaign in the May 2001 elections.26 As she loved respondent so much, she gave him
monthly allowances amounting to hundreds of thousands of pesos because he had no work back then. 27 She
filed the annulment case against her husband on November 21, 2001 and respondent promised her
marriage.28 She claimed that respondent and Ramon lured her with sweet words in going into the freight and
remittance business, which never operated despite the money she had given respondent. 29 She raised the
US$100,000.00 by means of selling and pawning her pieces of diamond jewelry.30
Petitioner admitted being blinded by her love for respondent which made her follow all the advice given by him
and his brother Ramon, i.e., to save money for her and respondents future because after the annulment, they
would get married and to give the capital for the remittance business in cash so as not to jeopardize her
annulment case.31 She did not ask for a receipt for the US$100,000.00 she gave to respondent as it was for the
operational expenses of a business which will be for their future, as all they needed to do was to get
married.32She further testified that after the US$100,000.00 was not returned, she still deposited the amount
ofP500,000.00 in respondents UCPB bank account33 and also to Ramons bank accounts.34 And while
respondent was in the United States in August 2003, she still gave him US$2,000.00as evidenced by a
Prudential Telegraphic Transfer Application35 dated August 27, 2003.
Petitioners mother, Zenaida, corroborated her daughters testimony that she was with her and Ramon when
they went to Hong Kong in December 2001 to register the freight and remittance business. 36 She heard Charlie
Chau, her daughter's friend, that a part of his office building will be used for the said remittance
business.37 Enrico Tan, also corroborated her sister's claim that she handed the money to respondent in his
presence.38
Respondent testified that he and petitioner became close friends and eventually fell in love and had an
affair.39They traveled to Hong Kong and Bangkok where petitioner saw how popular he was among the Filipino
domestic helpers,40 which led her to suggest a remittance business. Although hesitant, he has friends with such
business.41He denied that petitioner gave him US$10,000.00 whenhe went to Hong Kong and Bangkok. 42 In July
2001, after he came back from the United States, petitioner had asked him and his brother Ramon for a
meeting.43 During the meeting, petitioner brought up the money remittance business, but Ramon told her that
they should make a study of it first.44 He was introduced to Roy Singun, owner of a money remittance business
in Pasay City.45 Upon the advise of Roy, respondent and petitioner, her husband and Ramon went to Palau in
August 2001.46 He denied receiving US$20,000.00 from petitioner but admitted that it was petitioner who paid for
the plane tickets.47 After their Palau trip, they went into training at Western Union at the First World Center in
Makati City.48 It was only in December 2001 that Ramon, petitioner and her mother went to Hong Kong to
register the business, while he took care of petitioners children here. 49 In May 2002, he and Ramon went back
to Hong Kong but deniedhaving received the amount of US$100,000.00 from petitioner but then admitted receipt
of the amount of P100,000.00 which petitioner asked him to give to Charlie Chau as payment for the pieces of
diamond jewelry she got from him,50 which Chau had duly acknowledged.51 He denied Enricos testimony that
petitioner gave him the amount of US$100,000.00 in his mothers house. 52 He claimed that no remittance
business was started in Hong Kong as they had no license, equipment, personnel and money to operate the
same.53 Upon his return to the Philippines, petitioner never asked him about the business as she never gave him
such amount.54 In October 2002, he intimated that he and petitioner even went to Hong Kong again to buy some
goods for the latters boutique.55 He admitted that he loved petitioner and her children very much as there was a
time when petitioners finances were short, he gave her P600,000.00 for the enrollment of her children in very
expensive schools.56 It is also not true that he and Ramon initiated the Hong Kong and Bangkok trips. 57
Ramon testified that it was his brother respondent who introduced petitioner to him. 58 He learned of petitioners
plan of a remittance business in July 2001 and even told her that they should study it first. 59 He was introduced
to Roy Singun who operates a remittancebusiness in Pasay and who suggested that their group observehis
remittance business in Palau. After their Palau trip, petitioner decided to put up a similar business in Hong Kong
and it was him who suggested to use respondents name because of name recall. 60 It was decided thathe would
manage the operation in Manila and respondent would be in charge of promotion and marketing in Hong Kong,
while petitioner would be in charge of all the business finances.61 He admitted that he wentto Hong Kong with

petitioner and her mother to register said business and also to buy goods for petitioners boutique. 62 He said that
it was also impossible for Chau to offer a part of his office building for the remittance business because there
was no more space to accommodate it.63 He and respondent went to Hong Kong in May 2002 to examine the
office recommended by Chau and the warehouse of Rudy Fernandez thereatwho also offered to help. 64 He then
told Chau that the remittance office should be in Central Park, Kowloon, because majority of the Filipinos in
Hong Kong live there.65 He concluded that it was impossible for the business to operate immediately because
they had no office, no personnel and no license permit. 66 He further claimed that petitioner never mentioned to
him about the US$100,000.00 she gave to respondent,67 and that he even traveled again with petitioner to
Bangkok in October 2002, and in August 2003.68 He denied Enricos allegation that he saw him at his mothers
house as he only saw Enrico for the first time in court. 69
On April 21, 2006, the RTC rendered a Decision,70 the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE,
accused PHILLIP SALVADOR is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime ofEstafa under Article
315, par. 2 (a) of the Revised Penal Code and is hereby sentenced to suffer the indeterminate sentence of four
(4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day of prisyon (sic) correctional (sic)maximum as minimum to twenty (20)
years of reclusion temporal maximumas maximum and to indemnify the private complainant in the amount of
ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS (US$100,000.00) or its equivalent in Philippine currency. With respect
to accused RAMON SALVADOR, he is ACQUITTED for insufficiency of evidence. SO ORDERED. 71
Respondent appealed his conviction to the CA. The parties filed their respective pleadings, after which, the case
was submitted for decision.
On February 11, 2010, the CA rendered its Decision reversing the decision of the RTC, the decretal portion of
which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appealed decision of Branch 202 of the RTC of Las Pias City, dated
April 21, 2006, is hereby REVERSED AND SET ASIDE and accused appellant PHILLIP R. SALVADOR is
ACQUITTED of the crime of Estafa.72
Petitioner files the instant petition onthe civil aspect of the case alleging that:
THE TRIAL COURT WAS CORRECT IN CONVICTING THE RESPONDENT SO THAT EVEN IF THE COURT
OF APPEALS DECIDED TO ACQUIT HIM IT SHOULD HAVE AT LEAST RETAINED THE AWARD OF
DAMAGES TO THE PETITIONER.73
We find no merit in the petition.
To begin with, in Manantan v. CA,74 we discussed the consequences of an acquittal on the civil liability of the
accused as follows:
Our law recognizes two kinds of acquittal, with different effects on the civil liability of the accused. First is an
acquittal on the ground that the accused is not the author of the actor omission complained of. This instance
closes the door to civil liability, for a person who has been found to be not the perpetrator of any act or omission
cannot and can never be held liable for such act oromission. There being no delict, civil liability ex delictois out of
the question, and the civil action, if any, which may be instituted must be based on grounds other than the delict
complained of. This is the situation contemplated in Rule III of the Rules of Court. The second instance is an
acquittal based on reasonable doubt on the guilt of the accused. In this case, even if the guilt of the accused has
not been satisfactorily established, he is not exempt from civil liability which may be proved by preponderance of
evidence only. This is the situation contemplated in Article 29 of the Civil Code, where the civil action for
damages is "for the same act or omission." x x x.75
A reading of the CA decision would show that respondent was acquitted because the prosecution failed to prove
his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Said the CA:

The evidence for the prosecution being insufficient to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the crime as charged
had been committed by appellant, the general presumption, "that a person is innocent of the crime or wrong,
stands in his favor. The prosecution failed to prove that all the elements of estafa are present in this case as
would overcome the presumption of innocence in favor of appellant. For in fact, the prosecution's primary
witness herself could not even establish clearly and precisely how appellant committed the alleged fraud. She
failed to convince us that she was deceived through misrepresentations and/or insidious actions, in venturing
into a remittance business. Quite the contrary, the obtaining circumstance inthis case indicate the weakness of
her submissions.76
Thus, since the acquittal is based on reasonable doubt, respondent is not exempt from civil liability which may
be proved by preponderance of evidence only. In Encinas v. National Bookstore, Inc., 77 we explained the concept
of preponderance of evidence as follows:
x x x Preponderance of evidence is the weight, credit, and value of the aggregate evidence on either side and is
usually considered to be synonymous with the term "greater weight of the evidence" or "greater weight of the
credible evidence." Preponderance of evidence is a phrase which, in the last analysis, means probability of the
truth. It is evidence which is more convincing to the court as worthy of belief than that which is offered in
opposition thereto.78
The issue of whether petitioner gave respondent the amount of US$100,000.00 is factual. While we are not a
trier of facts, there are instances, however, when we are called upon to re-examine the factual findings of the
trial court and the Court of Appeals and weigh, after considering the records of the case, which of the conflicting
findings is more in accord with law and justice.79 Such is the case before us.
In discrediting petitioners allegation that she gave respondent US$100,000.00 in May 2002, the CA found that:
(1) petitioner failed to show how she was able to raise the money in such a short period of time and even gave
conflicting versions on the source of the same; (2) petitioner failed to require respondent to sign a receipt so she
could have a record of the transaction and offered no plausible reason why the money was allegedly handcarried toHong Kong; (3) petitioners claim of trust as reason for not requiring respondent to sign a receipt was
inconsistent with the way she conducted her previous transactions with him; and (4) petitioners behavior after
the alleged fraud perpetrated against her was inconsistent with the actuation ofsomeone who had been
swindled.
We find no reversible error committed by the CA in its findings.
Petitioner failed to prove on how she raised the money allegedly given to respondent. She testified that from
December 2001 to May 2002, she was raising the amount of US$100,000.00 as the capital for the actual
operation of the Phillip Salvador Freight and Remittance International Limited in Hong Kong, 80 and that she was
ableto raise the same in May 2002.81 She did so by selling82 or pawning83 her pieces of diamond jewelry.
However, there was no documentary evidence showing those transactions within the period mentioned. Upon
further questioning on cross-examination on where she got the money, she then said that she had plenty of
dollars as she is a frequent traveler to Hong Kong and Bangkok to shop for her boutique in Glorietta and Star
Mall.84 Such testimony contradicts her claim that she was still raising the money for 5 months and that she was
only able to formally raise the money in May 2002.
There was also no receipt that indeed US$100,000.00 was given by petitioner to respondent.1wphi1 Petitioner
in her testimony, both in the direct and cross examinations, said that the US$100,000.00 given to respondent
was for the actual expenses for setting up the office and the operation of the business in Hong Kong. 85 She
claimed that she treated the freight and remittance business like any of her businesses; 86 that she, respondent,
and the latters brother even agreed to divide whatever profits they would have from the business; 87 and that
giving US$100,000.00 to respondent was purely business to her.88 She also said that she kept records of all her
business, such that, if there are no records, there are no funds entrusted89 . Since petitioner admitted that giving
the money to respondent was for business, there must be some records ofsuch transaction as what she did in
her other businesses.

In fact, it was not unusual for petitioner to ask respondent for some documents evidencing the latter's receipt of
money for the purpose of business as this was done in her previous business dealings with respondent. She had
asked respondent to execute a real estate mortgage on his condominium unit 90 for the P5 million she loaned him
in August 2001. Also, when petitioner gave respondent an additional loan of P10 million in December 2001, for
the latter to redeem the title to his condominium unit from the bank, she had asked him to sign an
acknowledgment receipt for the total amount of P15 million he got from her.91 She had done all these despite her
testimony that she trusted respondent from the day they met in December 2000 until the day he ran away from
her in August 2003.92
Petitioner insists that she did not ask for any acknowledgment receipt from respondent, because the latter told
her not to have traces that she was giving money to him as it might jeopardize her then ongoing annulment
proceedings. However, petitioner's testimony would belie such claim of respondent being cautious of the
annulment proceedings. She declared that when she and her husband separated, respondent stood as a father
to her children.93 Respondent attended school programs of her children, 94 and fetched them from school
whenever the driver was not around.95 In fact, at the time the annulment case was already pending, petitioner
registered the freight and remittance business under respondents name and the local branch office of the
business would be in petitioner's condominium unit in Makati.96 Also, when petitioner went with her mother and
Ramon to Hong Kong to register the business, it was respondent who tookcare of her children. She intimated
that it was respondent who was insistent in going to their house.
Worthy to mention is that petitioner deposited the amount of P500,000.00 to respondent's account with United
Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) in July 2003.97 Also, when respondent was in New York in August 2003,
petitioner sent him the amount of US$2,000.00 by telegraphic transfer.98 Petitioner's act ofdepositing money to
respondent's account contradicted her claim that there should be no traces that she was giving money to
respondent during the pendency of the annulment case.
Petitioner conceded that she could have either bought a manager's check in US dollars from the bank orsend
the money by bank transfer, but she did not do so on the claim that there might be traces of the
transaction.99However, the alleged US$100,000.00was supposed to be given to respondent because of the
freight and remittance business; thus, there is nothing wrong to have a record of the same, specially since
respondent had to account for the valid expenseshe incurred with the money.100
The testimony of Enrico, petitioner's brother, declaring that he was present when petitioner gave respondent the
US$100,000.00 did not help. Enrico testified that when petitioner filed the instant case in September 2004,
another case was also filed by petitioner against respondent and his brother Ramon in the same City
Prosecutor's office in Las Pias where Enrico had submitted his affidavit. Enrico did not submit an affidavit in this
case even when he allegedly witnessed the giving of the money to respondent as petitioner told him that he
could just testify for the other case. However, when the other case was dismissed, it was then that petitioner told
him to be a witness in this case. Enrico should have been considered at the first opportunity if he indeed had
personal knowledge of the alleged giving of money to respondent. Thus, presenting Enrico as a witness only
after the other case was dismissed would create doubt as to the veracity of his testimony.
WHEREFORE, the petition for review is DENIED. The Decision dated February 11, 2010, of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 30151, is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 133917

February 19, 2001

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
NASARIO MOLINA y MANAMA @ "BOBONG" and GREGORIO MULA y MALAGURA @
"BOBOY", accused-appellants.
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
To sanction disrespect and disregard for the Constitution in the name of protecting the society from
lawbreakers is to make the government itself lawless and to subvert those values upon which our ultimate
freedom and liberty depend.1
For automatic review is the Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City, Branch 17, in Criminal Case
No. 37,264-96, finding accused-appellants Nasario Molina y Manamat alias "Bobong" and Gregorio Mula y
Malaguraalias "Boboy," guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section 8,3 of the Dangerous Drugs
Act of 1972 (Republic Act No. 6425), as amended by Republic Act No. 7659,4 and sentencing them to suffer
the supreme penalty of death.
The information against accused-appellants reads:
That on or about August 8, 1996, in the City of Davao, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, in conspiracy with each other, did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously was found in their possession 946.9 grants of dried marijuana
which are prohibited.
CONTRARY TO LAW.5
Upon arraignment on September 4, 1996, accused-appellants pleaded not guilty to the accusation against
them.6Trial ensued, wherein the prosecution presented Police Superintendent Eriel Mallorca, SPO1
Leonardo Y. Pamplona, Jr., and SPO1 Marino S. Paguidopon, Jr. as witnesses.
The antecedent facts are as follows:
Sometime in June 1996, SPO1 Marino Paguidopon, then a member of the Philippine National Police
detailed at Precinct No. 3, Matina, Davao City, received an information regarding the presence of an
alleged marijuana pusher in Davao City.7 The first time he came to see the said marijuana pusher in person
was during the first week of July 1996. SPO1 Paguidopon was then with his informer when a motorcycle
passed by. His informer pointed to the motorcycle driver, accused-appellant Mula, as the pusher. As to
accused-appellant Molina, SPO1 Paguidopon had no occasion to see him before the arrest. Moreover, the
names and addresses of the accused- appellants came to the knowledge of SPO1 Paguidopon only after
they were arrested.8

At about 7:30 in the morning of August 8, 1996, SPO1 Paguidopon received an information that the alleged
pusher will be passing at NHA, Ma- a, Davao City any time that morning.9 Consequently, at around 8:00
A.M. of the same day, he called for assistance at the PNP, Precinct No. 3, Matina, Davao City, which
immediately dispatched the team of SPO4 Dionisio Cloribel (team leader), SPO2 Paguidopon (brother of
SPO1 Marino Paguidopon), and SPO1 Pamplona, to proceed to the house of SPO1 Marino Paguidopon
where they would wait for the alleged pusher to pass by.10
At around 9:30 in the morning of August 8, 1996, while the team were positioned in the house of SPO1
Paguidopon, a "trisikad" carrying the accused-appellants passed by. At that instance, SPO1 Paguidopon
pointed to the accused-appellants as the pushers. Thereupon, the team boarded their, vehicle and overtook
the "trisikad."11 SPO1 Paguidopon was left in his house, thirty meters from where the accused-appellants
were accosted.12
The police officers then ordered the "trisikad" to stop. At that point, accused-appellant Mula who was
holding a black bag handed the same to accused-appellant Molina. Subsequently, SPO1 Pamplona
introduced himself as a police officer and asked accused-appellant Molina to open the bag.13 Molina
replied, "Boss, if possible we will settle this."14 SPO1 Pamplona insisted on opening the bag, which
revealed dried marijuana leaves inside. Thereafter; accused-appellants Mula and Molina were handcuffed
by the police officers.15
On December 6, 1996, accused-appellants, through counsel, jointly filed a Demurrer to Evidence,
contending that the marijuana allegedly seized from them is inadmissible as evidence for having been
obtained in violation of their constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures.16 The
demurrer was denied by the trial court.17A motion for reconsideration was filed by accused-appellants, but
this was likewise denied. Accused-appellants waived presentation of evidence and opted to file a joint
memorandum.
On April 25, 1997, the trial court rendered the assailed decision,18 the decretal portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, finding the evidence of the prosecution alone without any evidence from both
accused who waived presentation of their own evidence through their counsels, more than sufficient
to prove the guilt of both accused of the offense charged beyond reasonable doubt, pursuant to
Sec. 20, sub. par. 5 of Republic Act 7659, accused NASARIO MOLINA and GREGORIO MULA, are
sentenced to suffer a SUPREME PENALTY OF DEATH through lethal injection under Republic Act
8176, to be effected and implemented as therein provided for by law, in relation to Sec. 24 of Rep.
Act 7659.
The Branch Clerk of Court of this court, is ordered to immediately elevate the entire records of this
case with the Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court, Manila, for the automatic review of their case by
the Supreme Court and its appropriate action as the case may be.
SO ORDERED.19
Pursuant to Article 47 of the Revised penal Code and Rule 122, Section 10 of the Rules of Court, the case
was elevated to this Court on automatic review. Accused-appellants contend:
I.
THAT THE MARIJUANA IS IN ADMISSIBLE IN EVIDENCE FOR HAVING BEEN SEIZED IN
VIOLATION OF APPELLANTS' CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AGAINST UNREASONABLE,
SEARCHES AND SEIZURES;
II.

THAT ASSUMING IT IS ADMISSIBLE IN EVIDENCE, THE GOVERNMENT HAS NOT


OTHERWISE PROVED THEIR GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT; AND
III.
THAT, FINALLY, ASSUMING THEIR GUILT HAS BEEN PROVED BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT, THE IMPOSABLE PENALTY FOR VIOLATION OF SEC. 8 OF RA No. 7659 (sic), IN THE
ABSENCE OF ANY AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCE, IS LIFE IMPRISONMENT, NOT DEATH.20
The Solicitor General filed a Manifestation and MO1ion (In Lieu of Brief), wherein he prayed for the
acquittal of both accused-appellants.
The fundamental law of the land mandates that searches and seizures be carried out in a reasonable
fashion, that is, by virtue or on the strength of a search warrant predicated upon the existence of a probable
cause. The pertinent provision of the Constitution provides:
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,
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 and the
witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or
things to be seized.21
Complementary to the foregoing provision is the exclusionary rule enshrined under Article III, Section 3,
paragraph 2, which bolsters and solidifies the protection against unreasonable searches and
seizures.22 Thus:
Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any
purpose in any proceeding.
Without this rule, the right to privacy would be a form of words, valueless and undeserving of mention in a
perpetual charter of inestimable human liberties; so too, without this rule, the freedom from state invasions
of privacy would be so ephemeral and so neatly severed from its conceptual nexus with the freedom from
all brutish means of coercing evidence as not to merit this Court's high regard as a freedom implicit in the
concept of ordered liberty.23
The foregoing constitutional proscription, however, is not without exceptions. Search and seizure may be
made without a warrant and the evidence obtained therefrom may be admissible in the following instances:
(1) search incident to a lawful arrest; (2) search of a moving motor vehicle; (3) search in violation of
customs laws; (4) seizure of evidence in plain view; (5) when the accused himself waives his right against
unreasonable searches and seizures;24 and (6) stop and frisk situations (Terry search).25
The first exception (search incidental to a lawful arrest) includes a valid warrantless search and seizure
pursuant to an equally valid warrantless arrest which must precede the search. In this instance, the law
requires that there be first a lawful arrest before a search can be made --- the process cannot be
reversed.26 As a rule, an arrest is considered legitimate if effected with .a valid warrant of arrest. The Rules
of Court, however, recognizes permissible warrantless arrests. Thus, a peace officer or a private person
may, without warrant, arrest a person: (a) when, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed,
is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense (arrest in flagrante delicto); (b) when an
offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of
facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it (arrest effected in hot pursuit); and
(c) when the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or a place

where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped
while being transferred from one confinement to another ( arrest of escaped prisoners ).27
In the case at bar, the court a quo anchored its judgment of conviction on a finding that the warrantless
arrest of accused-appellants, and the subsequent search conducted by the peace officers, are valid
because accused-appellants were caught in flagrante delicto in possession of prohibited drugs.28 This
brings us to the issue of whether or not the warrantless arrest, search and seizure in the present case fall
within the recognized exceptions to the warrant requirement.
In People v. Chua Ho San,29 the Court held that in cases of in flagrante delicto arrests, a peace officer or a
private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person when, in his presence, the person to be arrested has
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense. The arresting officer, therefore,
must have personal knowledge of such fact or, as recent case law adverts to, personal knowledge of facts
or circumstances convincingly indicative or constitutive of probable cause. As discussed in People v.
Doria,30probable cause means an actual belief or reasonable grounds of suspicion. The grounds of
suspicion are reasonable when, in the absence of actual belief of the arresting 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 the probable cause of guilt
of the person to be arrested. A reasonable suspicion therefore must be founded on probable cause,
coupled with good faith on the part of the peace officers making the arrest.
As applied to in flagrante delicto arrests, it is settled that "reliable information" alone, absent any overt act
indicative of a felonious enterprise in the presence and within the view of the arresting officers, are not
sufficient to constitute probable cause that would justify an in flagrante delicto arrest. Thus, in People v.
Aminnudin,31 it was held that "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
descending the gangplank of the MNWilcon 9 and there was no outward indication that called for 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 he suddenly became suspect
and so subject to apprehension."
Likewise, in People v. Mengote,32 the Court did not consider "eyes... darting from side to side :.. [while]
holding ... [one's] abdomen", in a crowded street at 11:30 in the morning, as overt acts and circumstances
sufficient to arouse suspicion and indicative of probable cause. According to the Court, "[b]y no stretch of
the imagination could it have been inferred from these acts that an offense had just been committed, or was
actually being committed or was at least being attempted in [the arresting officers'] presence." So also,
in People v. Encinada,33the Court ruled that no probable cause is gleanable from the act of riding
a motorela while holding two plastic baby chairs.1wphi1.nt
Then, too, in Malacat v. Court of Appeals,34 the trial court concluded that petitioner was attempting to
commit a crime as he was "`standing at the comer of Plaza Miranda and Quezon Boulevard' with his eyes
'moving very fast' and 'looking at every person that come (sic) nearer (sic) to them.'" 35 In declaring the
warrantless arrest therein illegal, the Court said:
Here, there could have been no valid in flagrante delicto ... arrest preceding the search in light of the
lack of personal knowledge on the part of V u, the arresting officer, or an overt physical act, on the
part of petitioner, indicating that a crime had just been committed, was being committed or was
going to be committed.36
It went on to state that
Second, there was nothing in petitioner's behavior or conduct which could have reasonably elicited
even mere suspicion other than that his eyes were "moving very fast" - an observation which leaves

us incredulous since Yu and his teammates were nowhere near petitioner and it was already 6:30
p.m., thus presumably dusk. Petitioner and his companions were merely standing at the comer and
were not creating any commotion or trouble...
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.37
Clearly, to constitute a valid in flagrante delicto arrest, two requisites must concur: (1) the person to be
arrested must execute an overt act indicating that he has just committed, is actually committing, or is
attempting to commit a crime; and (2) such overt act is done in the presence or within the view of the
arresting officer.38
In the case at bar, accused-appellants manifested no outward indication that would justify their arrest. In
holding a bag on board a trisikad, accused-appellants could not be said to be committing, attempting to
commit or have committed a crime. It matters not that accused-appellant Molina responded "Boss, if
possible we will settle this" to the request of SPO1 Pamplona to open the bag. Such response which
allegedly reinforced the "suspicion" of the arresting officers that accused-appellants were committing a
crime, is an equivocal statement which standing alone will not constitute probable cause to effect an
inflagrante delicto arrest. Note that were it not for SPO1 Marino Paguidopon (who did not participate in the
arrest but merely pointed accused-appellants to the arresting officers), accused-appellants could not be the
subject of any suspicion, reasonable or otherwise.
While SPO1 Paguidopon claimed that he and his informer conducted a surveillance of accused-appellant
Mula, SPO1 Paguidopon, however, admitted that he only learned Mula's name and address after the arrest.
What is more, it is doubtful if SPO1 Paguidopon indeed recognized accused-appellant Mula. It is worthy to
note that, before the arrest, he was able to see Mula in person only once, pinpointed to him by his informer
while they were on the side of the road. These circumstances could not have afforded SPO1 Paguidopon a
closer look at accused-appellant Mula, considering that the latter was then driving a motorcycle when,
SPO1 Paguidopon caught a glimpse of him. With respect to accused-appellant Molina, SPO1 Paguidopon
admitted that he had never seen him before the arrest.
This belies the claim of SPO1 Pamplona that he knew the name of accused-appellants even before the
arrest, to wit
"QWhen you said that certain Mula handed a black bag to another person and how did you
know that it was Mula who handed the black bag to another person?
ABecause I have already information from Paguidopon, regarding Mula and Molina, when they
pass by through the street near the residence of Paguidopon. He told that the one who is big one
that is Gregorio Mula and the thin one is Nazario Molina"39
The aforecited testimony of SPO1 Pamplona, therefore, is entirely baseless SPO1 Pamplona could not
have learned the name of accused-appellants from SPO1 Paguipodon because Paguipodon himself, who
allegedly conducted the surveillance, was not even aware of accused-appellants' name and address prior
to the arrest.
Evidently, SPO1 Paguidopon, who acted as informer of the arresting officers, more so the arresting officers
themselves, could not have been certain of accused-appellants' identity, and were, from all indications,
merely fishing for evidence at the time of the arrest.

Compared to People v. Encinada, the arresting officer in the said case knew appellant Encinada even
before the arrest because of the latter's illegal gambling activities, thus, lending at least a semblance of
validity on the arrest effected by the peace officers. Nevertheless, the Court declared in said case that the
warrantless arrest and the consequent search were illegal, holding that "[t]he prosecution's evidence did not
show any suspicious behavior when the appellant disembarked from the ship or while he rode
the motorela. No act or fact demonstrating a felonious enterprise could be ascribed to appellant under such
bare circumstances."40
Moreover, it could not be said that accused-appellants waived their right against unreasonable searches
and seizure. Implied acquiescence to the 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 within the purview of the constitutional guarantee.41
Withal, the Court holds that the arrest of accused-appellants does not fall under the exceptions allowed by
the rules. Hence, the search conducted on their person was likewise illegal. Consequently, the marijuana
seized by the peace officers could not be admitted as evidence against accused-appellants, and the Court
is thus, left with no choice but to find in favor of accused-appellants.
While the Court strongly supports the campaign of the government against drug addiction and commends
the efforts of our law-enforcement officers towards this drive, all efforts for the achievement of a drug-free
society must not encroach on the fundamental rights and liberties of individuals as guaranteed in the Bill of
Rights, which protection extends even to the basest of criminals.
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City, Branch 17, in Criminal Case No. 37,
264-96, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. For lack of evidence to establish their guilt beyond reasonable
doubt, accused-appellants Nasario Molina y Manamat alias "Bobong" and Gregorio Mula y
Malagura alias "Boboy", areACQUITTED and ordered RELEASED from confinement unless they are
validly detained for other offenses. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 158211

August 31, 2004

ERNESTO J. SAN AGUSTIN, petitioner,


vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
DECISION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari filed by Ernesto J. San Agustin of the Decision 1 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 71925 dismissing his petition for certiorari.

The Antecedents
Luz Tan executed a notarized criminal complaint and filed the same with the National Bureau of
Investigation (NBI) charging the petitioner, the Barangay Chairman of Barangay La Huerta, Paraaque
City, with serious illegal detention alleging that the petitioner detained her husband Vicente Tan, on
June 19, 2002, without lawful ground therefor.2
On June 25, 2002, the petitioner received a subpoena from Ferdinand M. Lavin, the Chief of the AntiOrganized Crime Division of the NBI, requiring him to appear before said office the next day, on June
26, 2002, in order to give his evidence in connection with said complaint and to bring with him the
barangay logbook for June 19, 2002. The petitioner complied with the subpoena and presented himself
at the NBI with the barangay logbook. However, the petitioner was placed under arrest and prevented
from going back home.
On June 27, 2002, the NBI Director transmitted to the Department of Justice the findings of the NBI on
its investigation of the case:
On June 19, 2002 at around 9:00 o'clock in the morning while Victim RICARDO TAN and
Witness ANTONIO GERONIMO were selling their wares of kitchen utensils along the highway
of La Huerta, Paraaque City, Victim TAN was mistaken as a "snatcher" by two tricycle drivers,
namely, ROMEO C. ALCANTARA and JOSEFINO FERRER, JR. Victim was turned-over to
Subject SAN AGUSTIN and other Subjects at the Barangay Hall of La Huerta, Paraaque City;
witness GERONIMO followed them. GERONIMO witnessed that Victim was beaten by Subjects
and locked-up at the Barangay jail so he decided to inform the wife of the Victim (Complainant)
who was residing in San Pedro, Laguna. When Complainant went to the Barangay Hall on the
same day and inquired on the whereabouts of his husband, two female clerks thereat denied
having seen the Victim. Complainant was able to talk to Subject SAN AGUSTIN the following
day but he also denied having seen Victim, worst Subject SAN AGUSTIN was furious and even
shouted at them and brought out his knife. Up to date, Victim, never resurfaced nor his
whereabouts located. Record at the NBI central file of Subject SAN AGUSTIN revealed that he
has several cases of homicide, murder and multiple murder.3
The NBI Director stated that the basis for the arrest of the petitioner was:
BASIS OF ARREST:
Subject SAN AGUSTIN was subpoenaed to appear before the NBI-AOCD to controvert
allegations filed against him for kidnapping by Ms. Luz Tan. He was enjoined to come with his
Counsel and bring the logbook of the Barangay. When Subject appeared at the NBI, he
presented at once the logbook of the Barangay. It was noted at the said logbook that there was
no entry on June 19, 2002 that Victim RICARDO TAN was arrested or transmitted to any law
enforcement agency or proper authority.4
State Prosecutor Elizabeth L. Berdal conducted an inquest investigation on June 27, 2002 and came
out with a Resolution, on the same day, affirmed by the Assistant Chief State Prosecutor, finding
probable cause against the petitioner for serious illegal detention under Article 267 of the Revised
Penal Code.5
On June 28, 2002, an Information was filed before the Regional Trial Court of Paraaque City,
charging the petitioner with kidnapping/serious illegal detention with no bail recommended. The case
was raffled to Branch 258 of the court and docketed as Criminal Case No. 02-0759.
On July 1, 2002, the petitioner filed a Motion to Quash the Information on the ground that he was
illegally arrested and subjected to an inquest investigation; hence, he was deprived of his right to a
preliminary investigation. He also prayed that he be released from detention and that, in the meantime,
the NBI be ordered to refile the complaint against him withthe Office of the Paraaque City Prosecutor
and for the latter to conduct a preliminary investigation. On July 4, 2002, the petitioner filed a Motion to

Quash the Information, this time, on the ground that the facts alleged therein do not constitute the
felony of kidnapping/serious illegal detention. He claimed that he was a barangay chairman when the
private complainant was allegedly detained; hence, he should be charged only with arbitrary detention,
the most severe penalty for which is reclusion temporal.
The prosecution opposed the petitioner's motion to quash the Information on the ground that when he
detained the private complainant, he acted in his private capacity and not as a barangay chairman.6
On July 24, 2002, the RTC issued an Order directing the City Prosecutor to conduct a reinvestigation
within a non-extendible period of forty-five (45) days. 7 Assistant City Prosecutor Antonietta Pablo
Medina was assigned to conduct the reinvestigation. The petitioner opposed the reinvestigation
contending that the prosecutor should conduct a regular preliminary investigation since the inquest
investigation was void. He refused to submit a counter-affidavit.
On July 31, 2002, the petitioner filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals assailing the July
24, 2002 Order of the RTC. He raised in his petition the following issues:
1. Whether or not respondent Judge De Leon acted arbitrarily and in grave abuse of discretion
in not granting petitioner's "Urgent Motion to Quash Information" dated 01 July 2002.
2. Whether or not respondent Judge De Leon acted arbitrarily and in grave abuse of discretion
in not granting petitioner's "Urgent Motion to Quash On The Ground That The Facts Charged
Do Not Constitute An Offense" dated 04 July 2002.
3. Whether or not respondent Judge De Leon acted arbitrarily and in grave abuse of discretion
in not granting bail as a matter of right in favor of the petitioner.
4. Whether or not respondent Judge Jose S. Jacinto, Jr. of the Metropolitan Trial Court of
Paraaque, Branch 77, can validly and legally proceed with the hearing of Criminal Case No.
02-2486.8
In the meantime, on August 27, 2002, the Assistant City Prosecutor came out with a Resolution finding
probable cause of arbitrary detention against the petitioner and recommending that the Information for
arbitrary detention and the Motion to Withdraw Information appended thereto be approved. 9 The City
Prosecutor opposed the said Resolution.
On August 28, 2002, the Assistant City Prosecutor filed with the trial court a "Motion to Withdraw
Information."10On August 30, 2002, the RTC issued an Order granting the motion and considered the
Information withdrawn.
On the same day, an Information was filed with the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) docketed as
Criminal Case No. 02-2486, charging the petitioner with arbitrary detention, viz:
That on or about the 19th day of June 2002 and subsequent thereto, in the City of Paraaque,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused,
being a Barangay Chairman of Brgy. La Huerta, Paraaque City, a public officer, committing the
offense in relation to office, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously detain one
RICARDO TAN, an act done as he well knew, arbitrary and without legal ground (sic).
CONTRARY TO LAW.11
The case was raffled to Branch 77 of the court. The petitioner posted a cash bond of P3,000.00 for his
provisional release without prejudice to the outcome of his petition in the Court of Appeals. 12
On April 15, 2003, the Court of Appeals rendered its decision denying due course and dismissing the
petition for certiorari of the petitioner.

The petitioner filed the petition at bar contending that:


4.1 THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN FINDING THAT NO GRAVE ABUSE
OF DISCRETION WAS COMMITTED BY JUDGE RAUL E. DE LEON WHEN HE DENIED
PETITIONER'S "URGENT MOTION TO QUASH INFORMATION" DATED JULY 01, 2002.
4.2. THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN FINDING THAT NO GRAVE ABUSE
OF DISCRETION WAS COMMITTED BY JUDGE RAUL E. DE LEON WHEN HE DENIED
PETITIONER'S "URGENT MOTION TO QUASH ON THE GROUND THAT THE FACTS
CHARGED DO NOT CONSTITUTE AN OFFENSE" DATED 04 JULY 2002.
4.3. THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN FINDING THAT NO GRAVE ABUSE
OF DISCRETION WAS COMMITED BY JUDGE RAUL E. DE LEON WHEN HE DENIED
PETITIONER OF HIS CONSTITUTIONALLY-GUARANTEED RIGHT TO BAIL.
4.4. THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT JUDGE JOSE S.
JACINTO OF THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT OF PARAAQUE, BRANCH, (sic) CAN
VALIDLY AND LEGALLY PROCEED WITH THE HEARINGS IN CRIMINAL CASE NO. 022486.13
The petitioner asserts that he was illegally arrested by the NBI; hence, he was entitled to a regular
preliminary investigation, not merely to an inquest investigation. He contends that since the Information
charging him with kidnapping/serious illegal detention was filed before the Regional Trial Court without
affording him a preliminary investigation, the Information is void. The RTC, the petitioner avers, should
have granted his motion to quash the Information and ordered the NBI to refile its complaint against
him with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Paraaque for the appropriate preliminary investigation
and that, in the meantime, the RTC should have ordered his release from detention. The petitioner
posits that the RTC committed a grave abuse of its discretion amounting to excess or lack of
jurisdiction in denying his motion to quash the Information and directing the City Prosecutor to conduct
a reinvestigation. On the other hand, since the Assistant City Prosecutor did not conduct a regular
preliminary investigation before filing the Information for arbitrary detention against him with the MeTC,
the Information is void. Hence, the MeTC should be ordered to quash the Information filed therein.
In its Comment to the petition, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) contends that the petition for
certiorari of the petitioner in the Court of Appeals and in this Court had become moot and academic by
the withdrawal of the Information from the Regional Trial Court and filing of the Information for arbitrary
detention against the petitioner in the MTC. The inquest investigation conducted by the State
Prosecutor was valid because the petitioner refused to execute a waiver under Article 125 of the
Revised Penal Code. The OSG asserts that the investigation conducted by the Assistant City
Prosecutor, as directed by the RTC, was valid. The petitioner is estopped from assailing the Resolution
of the Assistant City Prosecutor finding probable cause for arbitrary detention because of his failure to
submit his counter-affidavit.
The Court of Appeals ruled that the petitioner was unlawfully arrested; hence, he was entitled to
preliminary investigation and release from detention subject to his appearance during the preliminary
investigation. However, the Court of Appeals declared that the lack of preliminary investigation did not
impair the validity of the Information filed with the RTC. Moreover, the Court of Appeals declared that
the petitioner had already been granted a reinvestigation after which the Information filed with the RTC
was withdrawn. Consequently, the appellate court further declared that the petition had been mooted
by the withdrawal of the Information from the RTC and the filing of another Information in the MeTC for
arbitrary detention. The appellate court also held that the RTC did not commit grave abuse of its
discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed Order. It ruled that even if
the reinvestigation conducted by the City Prosecutor is defective, the Information filed with the MeTC is
valid because under the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, there is no need for a preliminary
investigation for crimes cognizable by the Metropolitan Trial Court.
The petition is partially granted.

We agree with the Court of Appeals that the petitioner was unlawfully arrested without a warrant of
arrest against him for kidnapping/serious illegal detention. As correctly ruled by the Court of Appeals:
Furthermore, warrantless arrest or the detention of petitioner in the instant case does not fall
within the provision of Section 5, Rule 113, Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended,
which provides:
"Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or a private person may,
without a warrant, arrest a person:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
(b) When an offense has been committed and he has probable cause to believe, based
on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances, that the person to be arrested has
committed it; and
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped while being
transferred from one confinement to another.
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."
considering that petitioner only went to the Office of the NBI to answer the subpoena it issued
which was seven (7) days after the supposed turning over of the custody of Ricardo Tan to
petitioner who was then the Barangay Chairman of La Huerta, Paraaque City, and his locking
up in the barangay jail and, thereafter, he was already arrested and detained. Certainly, the
"arresting" officers were not present within the meaning of Section 5(a) at the time when the
supposed victim, Ricardo Tan, was turned over to petitioner. Neither could the "arrest" which
was effected seven (7) days after the incident be seasonably regarded as "when the turning
over and locking up in the Barangay jail had in fact just been committed within the meaning of
Section 5(b). Moreover, none of the "arresting" officers had any "personal knowledge" of facts
indicating that petitioner was the person to whom the custody of the victim Ricardo Tan was
turned over and who locked up the latter in the Barangay jail. The information upon which the
"arresting" officers acted upon had been derived from the statements made by the alleged
eyewitnesses to the incident which information did not, however, constitute personal
knowledge.14
Consequently, the petitioner is entitled to a preliminary investigation before an Information may be filed
against him for said crime. The inquest investigation conducted by the State Prosecutor is void
because under Rule 112, Section 7 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, an inquest
investigation is proper only when the suspect is lawfully arrested without a warrant:
SEC. 7. When accused lawfully arrested without warrant. When a person is lawfully arrested
without a warrant involving an offense which requires a preliminary investigation, the complaint
or information may be filed by a prosecutor without need of such investigation provided an
inquest investigation has been conducted in accordance with existing rules. In the absence or
unavailability of an inquest prosecutor, the complaint may be filed by the offended party or a
peace officer directly with the proper court on the basis of the affidavit of the offended party or
arresting officer or person.15
We also agree with the Court of Appeals that the absence of a preliminary investigation does not affect
the jurisdiction of the trial court but merely the regularity of the proceedings. It does not impair the
validity of the Information or otherwise render it defective. 16 Neither is it a ground to quash the
Information or nullify the order of arrest issued against him or justify the release of the accused from
detention.17 However, the trial court should suspend proceedings and order a preliminary

investigation18 considering that the inquest investigation conducted by the State Prosecutor is null and
void.19 In sum, then, the RTC committed grave abuse of its discretion amounting to excess or lack of
jurisdiction in ordering the City Prosecutor to conduct a reinvestigation which is merely a review by the
Prosecutor of his records and evidence instead of a preliminary investigation as provided for in Section
3, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure.
However, we do not agree with the ruling of the Court of Appeals that there was no need for the City
Prosecutor to conduct a preliminary investigation since the crime charged under the Information filed
with the MeTC was arbitrary detention under Article 124, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code
punishable by arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period, which
has a range of four months and one day to two years and four months. Whether or not there is a need
for a preliminary investigation under Section 1 in relation to Section 9 of Rule 112 of the Revised Rules
on Criminal Procedure depends upon the imposable penalty for the crime charged in the complaint
filed with the City or Provincial Prosecutor's Office and not upon the imposable penalty for the crime
found to have been committed by the respondent after a preliminary investigation. In this case, the
crime charged in the complaint of the NBI filed in the Department of Justice was kidnapping/serious
illegal detention, the imposable penalty for which is reclusion perpetua to death.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The Order of the
Regional Trial Court of Paraaque City, dated July 24, 2004, ordering the City Prosecutor to conduct a
reinvestigation is SET ASIDE. The Regional Trial Court is directed to ORDER the City Prosecutor of
Paraaque City to conduct a preliminary investigation as provided for in Section 3, Rule 112 of the
Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure. In the meantime, the Metropolitan Trial Court of Paraaque City,
Branch 77, is ordered to suspend the proceedings in Criminal Case No. 02-2486 pending the outcome
of said preliminary investigation.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 188611

June 16, 2010

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee,


vs.
BELEN MARIACOS, Appellant.
DECISION
NACHURA, J.:
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 Fernando City, La
Union, in Criminal Case No. 7144, finding appellant Belen Mariacos guilty of violating Article II, Section 5 of
Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

The facts of the case, as summarized by the CA, are as follows:


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:
"That on or about the 27th day of October, 2005, in the Municipality of San Gabriel, Province of La Union,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously transport, deliver 7,030.3, (sic) grams of dried marijuana fruiting
tops without the necessary permit or authority from the proper government agency or office.
CONTRARY TO LAW."
When arraigned on December 13, 2005, accused-appellant pleaded not guilty. During the pre-trial, the
following were stipulated upon:
"1. Accused admits that she is the same person identified in the information as Belen Mariacos;
2. That accused is a resident of Brgy. Lunoy, San Gabriel, La Union;
3. That at the time of the arrest of the accused, accused had just alighted from a passenger
jeepney;
4. That the marijuana allegedly taken from the possession of the accused contained in two (2) bags
were submitted for examination to the Crime Lab;
5. That per Chemistry Report No. D-109-2005, the alleged drug submitted for examination gave
positive result for the presence of marijuana;
6. That the drugs allegedly obtained from the accused contained (sic) and submitted for examination
weighed 7,030.3 grams;
7. The Prosecutor admits the existence of a counter-affidavit executed by the accused; and
8. The existence of the affidavits executed by the witnesses of the accused family (sic): Lyn
Punasen, Mercedes Tila and Magdalena Carino."
During the trial, the prosecution established the following evidence:
On October 26, 2005, in the evening, the San Gabriel Police Station of San Gabriel, La Union, conducted a
checkpoint near the police station at the poblacion to intercept a suspected transportation of marijuana from
Barangay Balbalayang, San Gabriel, La Union. The group at the 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 instructed PO2 Pallayoc to proceed to Barangay Balbalayang
to conduct surveillance operation (sic).
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 three (3) bags and one
(1) blue plastic bag. Further, the agent described a backpack bag with an "O.K." marking. PO2 Pallayoc
then boarded the said jeepney and positioned himself on top thereof. While the vehicle was in motion, he
found the black backpack with an "O.K." marking and peeked inside its contents. PO2 Pallayoc found bricks
of marijuana wrapped in newspapers. He then asked the other passengers on top of the jeepney about the
owner of the bag, but no one knew.

When the jeepney reached the poblacion, PO2 Pallayoc alighted together with the other passengers.
Unfortunately, he did not notice who took the black backpack from atop the jeepney. 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 introduced himself as a policeman. He
told them that they were under arrest, but one of the women got away.
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 Mayor of San
Gabriel to witness the opening of the bags. When the Mayor arrived about fifteen (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 newspaper, were recovered.
Thereafter, the investigators marked, inventoried and forwarded the confiscated marijuana to the crime
laboratory for examination. The laboratory examination showed that the stuff found in the bags all tested
positive for marijuana, a dangerous drug.
When it was accused-appellants turn to present evidence, she testified that:
On October 27, 2005, at around 7:00 in the morning, accused-appellant, together with Lani Herbacio, was
inside a passenger jeepney bound for the poblacion. While the jeepney was still at the terminal waiting for
passengers, one Bennie Lao-ang ("Lao-ang"), her neighbor, requested her to carry a few bags which had
been loaded on top of the jeepney. At first, accused-appellant refused, but she was persuaded later when
she was told that she would only be carrying the bags. When they reached the poblacion, Lao-ang handed
accused-appellant and her companion, Lani Herbacio, the bags, and then Lao-ang suddenly ran away. A
few moments later, PO2 Pallayoc was upon them, arresting them. Without explanation, they were brought
to the police station. 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
contained in the bags. At the police station (sic) she executed a Counter-Affidavit.3
On January 31, 2007, the RTC promulgated a decision, the dispositive portion of which states:
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 P500,000.00.
The 7,030.3 grams of marijuana are ordered confiscated and turned over to the Philippine Drug
Enforcement Agency for destruction in the presence of the Court personnel and media.
SO ORDERED.4
Appellant appealed her conviction to the CA. She argued that the trial court erred in considering 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 searched the bag, assuming
it was hers, without a search warrant and with no permission from her. She averred that PO2 Pallayocs
purpose for apprehending her was to verify if the bag she was carrying was the same one he had illegally
searched earlier. Moreover, appellant contended that there was no probable cause for her arrest.6
Further, appellant claimed that the prosecution failed to prove the corpus delicti of the crime.7 She alleged
that the apprehending police officers violated Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 3, Series of 1979, as
amended by Board Regulation No. 2, Series of 1990, which prescribes the procedure in the custody of
seized prohibited and regulated drugs, instruments, apparatuses, and articles. The said regulation directs
the apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs and/or paraphernalia, immediately
after seizure or confiscation, to have the same physically inventoried and photographed in the presence of

appellant or her representative, who shall be 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, averred that the prosecution failed to prove that the items allegedly confiscated
were indeed prohibited drugs, and to establish the chain of custody over the same.
On the other hand, the People, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), argued that the
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 reliable information from their agent,
which was confirmed when he peeked into the bags and smelled the distinctive odor of marijuana.9 The
OSG also argued that appellant was now estopped from questioning the illegality of her arrest since she
voluntarily entered a plea of "not guilty" upon arraignment and participated in the trial and presented her
evidence.10 The OSG brushed aside appellants argument that the bricks of marijuana were not
photographed and inventoried in her presence or that of her counsel immediately after confiscation,
positing that physical inventory may be done at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the
apprehending team, whichever was practicable.11
In a Decision dated January 19, 2009, the CA dismissed appellants appeal and affirmed the RTC decision
in toto.12 It 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 bag that contained the illegal
drugs, and thus held that appellants warrantless arrest was valid. The appellate court ratiocinated:
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 was on board
the jeepney to be delivered to a specified destination was already unlawful. PO2 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 of accused-appellant.
xxxx
Firstly, this Court opines that the invocation of Section 2, Article III of the Constitution is misplaced. At the
time, when PO2 Pallayoc looked into the contents of the suspicious bags, there was no identified owner. He
asked the other passengers atop the jeepney but no one knew who owned the bags. Thus, there could be
no violation of the right when no one was entitled thereto at that time.
Secondly, the facts of the case show the urgency of the situation. The local police has been trying to
intercept the transport of the illegal drugs for more than a day, to no avail. Thus, when PO2 Pallayoc was
tipped by the secret agent of the Barangay Intelligence Network, PO2 Pallayoc had no other recourse than
to verify as promptly as possible the tip and check the contents of the bags.
Thirdly, x x x the search was conducted in a moving vehicle. Time and again, a search of a moving 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, under the facts, PO2
Pallayoc could not be expected to secure a search warrant in order to check the contents of the bags which
were loaded on top of the moving jeepney. Otherwise, a search warrant would have been of no use
because the motor vehicle had already left the locality.13
Appellant is now before this Court, appealing her conviction.
Once again, we are asked to determine the limits of the powers of the States agents to conduct 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 not.1avvphi1

Appellants 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.
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.
Article III, Section 2 of the Philippine Constitution provides:
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 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.
Law and jurisprudence have laid down the instances when a warrantless search is valid. These are:
1. Warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest recognized under Section 12 [now Section 13],
Rule 126 of the Rules of Court and by prevailing jurisprudence;
2. Seizure of evidence in "plain view," the elements of which are:
(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[;] and;
(d) "plain view" justified mere seizure of evidence without further search.
3. Search of a moving vehicle. Highly regulated by the government, the vehicle's 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 activity;
4. Consented warrantless search;
5. Customs search;
6. Stop and Frisk; and
7. Exigent and Emergency Circumstances.14
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.
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
In People v. Bagista,16 the Court said:

The constitutional proscription against warrantless searches and seizures admits of certain exceptions.
Aside from a search incident to a lawful arrest, a warrantless search had been upheld in cases of a moving
vehicle, and the seizure of evidence in plain view.
With regard to the search of moving vehicles, this had been justified on the ground that the mobility of
motor vehicles makes it possible for the vehicle to be searched to move out of the locality or jurisdiction in
which the warrant must be sought.
This in no way, however, gives the police officers unlimited discretion to conduct warrantless 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 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.
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 impelled to do
so because of probable cause. The essential requisite of probable cause must be 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
Probable cause is defined as a reasonable ground of suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently
strong in themselves to induce a cautious man to believe that the person accused is 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 that the items, articles or objects sought in
connection with said offense or subject to seizure and destruction by law are in the place to be searched.19
The grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in the absence of actual belief of the arresting 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 the probable cause of guilt
of the person to be arrested. A reasonable suspicion therefore must be founded on probable cause,
coupled with good faith on the part of the peace officers making the arrest.20
Over the years, the rules governing search and seizure have been steadily liberalized whenever a moving
vehicle is the object of the search on the basis of practicality. This is so considering that before a warrant
could be obtained, the place, things and persons to be searched must be 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
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 since they can quickly be
moved out of the locality or jurisdiction where the warrant must be sought.22
Given the discussion above, it is readily apparent that the search in this case is valid. The vehicle 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 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 vehicle before the same left for its destination.
It is well to remember that on October 26, 2005, the night before appellants arrest, the police received
information that marijuana was to be transported from Barangay Balbalayang, and had set up a checkpoint
around the area to intercept the suspects. At dawn of October 27, 2005, PO2 Pallayoc met the secret agent
from the Barangay Intelligence Network, who informed him that a 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.
This Court has also, time and again, upheld as valid a warrantless search incident to a lawful arrest. Thus,
Section 13, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court provides:
SEC. 13. Search incident to lawful arrest.A person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous
weapons or anything which may have been used or constitute proof in the commission of an offense
without a search warrant.23
For this rule to apply, it is imperative that there be a prior valid arrest. Although, generally, a warrant is
necessary for a valid arrest, the Rules of Court provides the exceptions therefor, to wit:
SEC. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful.A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant,
arrest a person:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is
attempting to commit an offense;
(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on
personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it; and
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or
place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has
escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.
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
Be that as it may, we have held that a search substantially contemporaneous with an arrest can precede
the arrest if the police has probable cause to make the arrest at the outset of the search.25
Given that the search was valid, appellants arrest based on that search is also valid.
Article II, Section 5 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 states:
SEC. 5 Sale, Trading, Administration, Dispensation, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of 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 (P500,000.00) to Ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00)
shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, trade, administer, dispense,
deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport any dangerous drug, including any
and all species of opium poppy regardless of the quantity and purity involved, or shall act as a broker in any
of such transactions.
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 (P100,000.00) to Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00)
shall be imposed upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, 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 transactions.
In her defense, appellant averred that the packages she was carrying did not belong to her but to a
neighbor who had asked her to carry the same for him. This contention, however, is of no consequence.

When an accused is charged with illegal possession or transportation of prohibited drugs, the ownership
thereof is immaterial. Consequently, proof of ownership of the confiscated marijuana is not necessary.26
Appellants alleged lack of knowledge does not constitute a valid defense. Lack of criminal intent and good
faith are not exempting circumstances where the crime charged is malum prohibitum, as in this
case.27 Mere possession and/or delivery of a prohibited drug, without legal authority, is punishable under
the Dangerous Drugs Act.28
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 to crimes
mala prohibita. Laws defining crimes mala prohibita condemn behavior directed not against particular
individuals, but against public order.29
Jurisprudence defines "transport" as "to carry or convey from one place to another."30 There is no definitive
moment when an accused "transports" a prohibited drug. When the circumstances establish the purpose of
an accused to transport and the fact of transportation itself, there should be no question as to the
perpetration of the criminal act.31 The fact that there is actual conveyance suffices to support a finding that
the act of transporting was committed and it is immaterial whether or not the place of destination is
reached.32
Moreover, appellants possession of the packages containing illegal drugs gave rise to the disputable
presumption33 that she is the owner of the packages and their contents.34 Appellant failed to rebut this
presumption. Her uncorroborated claim of lack of knowledge that she had prohibited drug in her possession
is insufficient.
Appellants narration of facts deserves little credence. If it is true that Bennie Lao-ang merely asked her and
her companion to carry some baggages, it is but logical to first ask what the packages contained and where
these would be taken. Likewise, if, as appellant said, Lao-ang ran away after they disembarked from the
jeepney, appellant and her companion should have ran after him to give him the bags he had left with them,
and not to continue on their journey without knowing where they were taking the bags.
Next, appellant argues that the prosecution failed to prove the corpus delicti of the crime. In particular, she
alleged that the apprehending police officers failed to follow the procedure in the custody of seized
prohibited and regulated drugs, instruments, apparatuses, and articles.
In all prosecutions for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act, the existence of all dangerous drugs is a sine
qua non for conviction. The dangerous drug is the very corpus delicti of that crime.35
Thus, Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165 prescribes the procedure for custody and disposition of seized
dangerous drugs, to wit:
Section 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized, and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs, Plant
Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals, 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 essential chemicals, as well as
instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated, seized and/or surrendered, for
proper disposition in the following manner:
(1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately after seizure
and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the
person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a
representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who
shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof.

The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. No. 9165 further provides:
SECTION 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized and/or Surrendered Dangerous
Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals,
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 essential
chemicals, as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated, seized and/or
surrendered, for proper disposition in the following manner:
(a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately after
seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or
the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a
representative from the media and the Department of 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 the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team, whichever is practicable, in
case of warrantless seizures; Provided, further, that non-compliance with these requirements under
justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly
preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody
over said items.
PO2 Pallayoc testified that after apprehending appellant, he immediately brought her to the police station.
At the station, the police requested the Mayor to witness the opening of the bags seized from appellant.
When the Mayor arrived, he opened the bag in front of appellant and the other 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 Pallayoc identified the bricks. He and PO3
Stanley Campit then marked the same. Then the seized items were brought to the PNP Crime Laboratory
for examination.
It is admitted that there were no photographs taken of the drugs seized, that appellant was not
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 accuseds 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 appellants 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 appellants claim, the prosecutions evidence establishes the chain of custody
from the time of appellants 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 appellants 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 appellants 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.

G.R. No. L-69401 June 23, 1987


RIZAL ALIH, NASIM ALIH, AISAN ALIH, MIJAL ALIH, OMAR ALIH, EDRIS MUKSAN, MULSIDI
WARADIL, BILLY ASMAD RAMSID ASALI, BANDING USMAN, ANGGANG HADANI, WARMIKHAN
HAPA, GABRAL JIKIRI, ALLAN TAN, MUJAHIRIN MARAJUKI, KENNEDY GONZALES, URDUJA ALIH,
MERLA ALIH, and NURAISA ALIH VDA DE FEROLINO, petitioners,
vs.
MAJOR GENERAL DELFIN C. CASTRO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS COMMANDER SOUTHCOM AND
REGIONAL UNIFIED COMMAND, REGION IX, ZAMBOANGA CITY, COLONEL ERNESTO CALUPIG, IN
HIS CAPACITY AS COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE SPECIAL FORCES GROUP (AIRBORNE) AND
INTERNAL DEFENSE COMMAND, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS IdC MAJOR ARNOLD BLANCO IN HIS
CAPACITY AS COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE PHILIPPINE MARINES AND 1ST LIEUTENANT
DARWIN GUERRA IN HIS CAPACITY AS ACTS SUPERVISOR, INTERNAL DEFENSE COMMAND,
ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
CRUZ, J.:
On November 25, 1984, a contingent of more than two hundred Philippine marines and elements of the
home defense forces raided the compound occupied by the petitioners at Gov. Alvarez street, Zamboanga
City, in search of loose firearms, ammunition and other explosives. 1
The military operation was commonly known and dreaded as a "zona," which was not unlike the feared
practice of the kempeitai during the Japanese Occupation of rounding up the people in a locality, arresting
the persons fingered by a hooded informer, and executing them outright (although the last part is not
included in the modern refinement).
The initial reaction of the people inside the compound was to resist the invasion with a burst of gunfire. No
one was hurt as presumably the purpose was merely to warn the intruders and deter them from entering.

Unfortunately, as might be expected in incidents like this, the situation aggravated soon enough. The
soldiers returned fire and a bloody shoot-out ensued, resulting in a number of casualties. 2
The besieged compound surrendered the following morning, and sixteen male occupants were arrested,
later to be finger-printed, paraffin-tested and photographed over their objection. The military also
inventoried and confiscated nine M16 rifles, one M14 rifle, nine rifle grenades, and several rounds of
ammunition found in the premises. 3
On December 21, 1984, the petitioners came to this Court in a petition for prohibition and mandamus with
preliminary injunction and restraining order. Their purpose was to recover the articles seized from them, to
prevent these from being used as evidence against them, and to challenge their finger-printing,
photographing and paraffin-testing as violative of their right against self-incrimination. 4
The Court, treating the petition as an injunction suit with a prayer for the return of the articles alleged to
have been illegally seized, referred it for hearing to Judge Omar U. Amin of the regional trial court,
Zamboanga City. 5After receiving the testimonial and documentary evidence of the parties, he submitted the
report and recommendations on which this opinion is based. 6
The petitioners demand the return of the arms and ammunition on the ground that they were taken without
a search warrant as required by the Bill of Rights. This is confirmed by the said report and in fact admitted
by the respondents, "but with avoidance. 7
Article IV, Section 3, of the 1973 Constitution, which was in force at the time of the incident in question,
provided as follows:
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 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 other responsible officer as may be authorized
by law, 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.
It was also declared in Article IV, Section 4(2) thatSec. 4(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be
inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.
The respondents, while admitting the absence of the required such warrant, sought to justify their act on the
ground that they were acting under superior orders. 8 There was also the suggestion that the measure was
necessary because of the aggravation of the peace and order problem generated by the assassination of
Mayor Cesar Climaco. 9
Superior orders" cannot, of course, countermand the Constitution. The fact that the
petitioners were suspected of the Climaco killing did not excuse the constitutional short-cuts
the respondents took. As eloquently affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Ex parte
Milligan: 10
The Constitution is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with
the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times and under all circumstances. No
doctrine, involving more pernicious consequences, was ever invented by the wit of man than
that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of
government.

The precarious state of lawlessness in Zamboanga City at the time in question certainly did not excuse the
non-observance of the constitutional guaranty against unreasonable searches and seizures. There was no
state of hostilities in the area to justify, assuming it could, the repressions committed therein against the
petitioners.
It is so easy to say that the petitioners were outlaws and deserved the arbitrary treatment they received to
take them into custody; but that is a criminal argument. It is also fallacious. Its obvious flaw lies in the
conclusion that the petitioners were unquestionably guilty on the strength alone of unsubstantiated reports
that they were stockpiling weapons.
The record does not disclose that the petitioners were wanted criminals or fugitives from justice. At the time
of the "zona," they were merely suspected of the mayor's slaying and had not in fact even been
investigated for it. As mere suspects, they were presumed innocent and not guilty as summarily
pronounced by the military.
Indeed, even if were assumed for the sake of argument that they were guilty, they would not have been any
less entitled to the protection of the Constitution, which covers both the innocent and the guilty. This is not
to say, of course, that the Constitution coddles criminals. What it does simply signify is that, lacking the
shield of innocence, the guilty need the armor of the Constitution, to protect them, not from a deserved
sentence, but from arbitrary punishment. Every person is entitled to due process. It is no exaggeration that
the basest criminal, ranged against the rest of the people who would condemn him outright, is still, under
the Bill of Rights, a majority of one.
If the respondents did not actually disdain the Constitution when they made their illegal raid, they certainly
gave every appearance of doing so. This is truly regrettable for it was incumbent on them, especially during
those tense and tindery times, to encourage rather than undermine respect for the law, which it was their
duty to uphold.
In acting as they did, they also defied the precept that "civilian authority is at all times supreme over the
military" so clearly proclaimed in the 1973 Constitution. 11 In the instant case, the respondents simply bypassed the civil courts, which had the authority to determine whether or not there was probable cause to
search the petitioner's premises. Instead, they proceeded to make the raid without a search warrant on
their own unauthorized determination of the petitioner's guilt.
The respondents cannot even plead the urgency of the raid because it was in fact not urgent. They knew
where the petitioners were. They had every opportunity to get a search warrant before making the raid. If
they were worried that the weapons inside the compound would be spirited away, they could have
surrounded the premises in the meantime, as a preventive measure. There was absolutely no reason at all
why they should disregard the orderly processes required by the Constitution and instead insist on
arbitrarily forcing their way into the petitioner's premises with all the menace of a military invasion.
Conceding that the search was truly warrantless, might not the search and seizure be nonetheless
considered valid because it was incidental to a legal arrest? Surely not. If all the law enforcement
authorities have to do is force their way into any house and then pick up anything they see there on the
ground that the occupants are resisting arrest, then we might as well delete the Bill of Rights as a fussy
redundancy.
When the respondents could have easily obtained a search warrant from any of the TEN civil courts then
open and functioning in Zamboanga City, 12 they instead simply barged into the beleaguered premises on
the verbal order of their superior officers. One cannot just force his way into any man's house on the illegal
orders of a superior, however lofty his rank. Indeed, even the humblest hovel is protected from official
intrusion because of the ancient rule, revered in all free regimes, that a man's house is his castle.

It may be frail; its roof may shake; the wind may enter; the rain may enter. But the King of
England may not enter. All the forces of the Crown dare not cross the threshold of the ruined
tenement. 13
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 justification. 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. 14
If follows that as the search of the petitioners' premises was violative of the Constitution, all the firearms
and ammunition taken from the raided compound are inadmissible in evidence in any of the proceedings
against the petitioners. These articles are "fruits of the poisonous tree. 15 As Judge Learned Hand
observed, "Only in case the prosecution which itself controls the seizing officials, knows that it cannot profit
by their wrong, will the wrong be repressed. 16 Pending determination of the legality of such articles,
however, they shall remain in custodia legis, subject to such appropriate disposition as the corresponding
courts may decide. 17
The objection to the photographing, fingerprinting and paraffin-testing of the petitioners deserves slight
comment. The prohibition against self-incrimination applies to testimonial compulsion only. As Justice
Holmes put it in Holt v. United States, 18 "The prohibition of compelling a man in a criminal court to be a
witness against himself is a prohibition of the use of physical or moral compulsion to extort communications
from him, not an exclusion of his body as evidence when it may be material."
The fearful days of hamleting salvaging, "zona" and other dreaded operations should remain in the past,
banished with the secret marshals and their covert license to kill without trial. We must be done with
lawlessness in the name of law enforcement. Those who are supposed to uphold the law must not be the
first to violate it. As Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee stressed in his concurring opinion in Lacanilao v. De
Leon, 19 "It is time that the martial law regime's legacy of the law of force be discarded and that there be a
return to the force and rule of law."
All of us must exert efforts to make our country truly free and democratic, where every individual is entitled
to the full protection of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights can stand as a stolid sentinel for all, the
innocent as well as the guilty, including the basest of criminals.
WHEREFORE, the search of the petitioners' premises on November 25, 1984, is hereby declared ILLEGAL
and all the articles seized as a result thereof are inadmissible in evidence against the petitioners in any
proceedings. However, the said articles shall remain in custodia legis pending the outcome of the criminal
cases that have been or may later be filed against the petitioners.

G.R. No. 182677

August 3, 2010

JOSE ANTONIO C. LEVISTE, Petitioner,


vs.
HON. ELMO M. ALAMEDA, HON. RAUL M. GONZALEZ, HON. EMMANUEL Y. VELASCO, HEIRS
OF THE LATE RAFAEL DE LAS ALAS, Respondents.
DECISION
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
Jose Antonio C. Leviste (petitioner) assails via the present petition for review filed on May 30, 2008 the
August 30, 2007 Decision1 and the April 18, 2008 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP

No. 97761 that affirmed the trial courts Orders of January 24, 31, February 7, 8, all in 2007, and
denied the motion for reconsideration, respectively.
Petitioner was, by Information3 of January 16, 2007, charged with homicide for the death of Rafael de
las Alas on January 12, 2007 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City. Branch 150 to
which the case was raffled, presided by Judge Elmo Alameda, forthwith issued a commitment
order4 against petitioner who was placed under police custody while confined at the Makati Medical
Center.5
After petitioner posted a P40,000 cash bond which the trial court approved, 6 he was released from
detention, and his arraignment was set on January 24, 2007.
The private complainants-heirs of De las Alas filed, with the conformity of the public prosecutor, an
Urgent Omnibus Motion7 praying, inter alia, for the deferment of the proceedings to allow the public
prosecutor to re-examine the evidence on record or to conduct a reinvestigation to determine the
proper offense.
The RTC thereafter issued the (1) Order of January 24, 20078 deferring petitioners arraignment and
allowing the prosecution to conduct a reinvestigation to determine the proper offense and submit a
recommendation within 30 days from its inception, inter alia; and (2) Order of January 31,
20079 denying reconsideration of the first order. Petitioner assailed these orders via certiorari and
prohibition before the Court of Appeals.
Meantime, petitioner filed an Urgent Ex-Parte Manifestation and Motion before the trial court to defer
acting on the public prosecutors recommendation on the proper offense until after the appellate court
resolves his application for injunctive reliefs, or alternatively, to grant him time to comment on the
prosecutors recommendation and thereafter set a hearing for the judicial determination of probable
cause.10 Petitioner also separately moved for the inhibition of Judge Alameda with prayer to defer
action on the admission of the Amended Information. 11
The trial court nonetheless issued the other assailed orders, viz: (1) Order of February 7, 200712 that
admitted the Amended Information13 for murder and directed the issuance of a warrant of arrest; and
(2) Order of February 8, 200714 which set the arraignment on February 13, 2007. Petitioner questioned
these two orders via supplemental petition before the appellate court.
The appellate court dismissed petitioners petition, hence, his present petition, arguing that:
PRIVATE RESPONDENT DID NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO CAUSE THE REINVESTIGATION OF THE
CRIMINAL CASE BELOW WHEN THE CRIMINAL INFORMATION HAD ALREADY BEEN FILED
WITH THE LOWER COURT. HENCE, THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE ERROR IN
FINDING THAT RESPONDENT JUDGE DID NOT ACT WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN
GRANTING SUCH REINVESTIGATION DESPITE HAVING NO BASIS IN THE RULES OF COURT[;]
RESPONDENT JUDGE ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN ADMITTING STATE
PROSECUTOR VELASCOS AMENDED INFORMATION, ISSUING A WARRANT OF ARREST, AND
SETTING THE CASE BELOW FOR ARRAIGNMENT, CONSIDERING THAT THE VALIDITY AND
LEGALITY OF HIS ORDERS DATED 24 AND 31 JANUARY 2007, WHICH LED TO THE
QUESTIONABLE REINVESTIGATION AND ILLEGAL AMENDED INFORMATION[,] ARE YET TO BE
RESOLVED BY THIS HONORABLE COURT (sic); [AND]

CONSIDERING THAT PROSECUTOR VELASCOS FINDINGS IN HIS RESOLUTION DATED 2


FEBRUARY 2007 ARE BLATANTLY BASED ON MERE SPECULATIONS AND CONJECTURES,
WITHOUT ANY SUBSTANTIAL OR MATERIAL NEW EVIDENCE BEING ADDUCED DURING THE
REINVESTIGATION, RESPONDENT JUDGE SHOULD HAVE AT LEAST ALLOWED PETITIONERS
MOTION FOR A HEARING FOR JUDICIAL DETERMINATION OF PROBABLE CAUSE.15 (emphasis
in the original omitted)
Records show that the arraignment scheduled on March 21, 2007 pushed through during which
petitioner refused to plead, drawing the trial court to enter a plea of "not guilty" for him.
Prior thereto or on February 23, 2007, petitioner filed an Urgent Application for Admission to Bail Ex
Abundanti Cautela16 which the trial court, after hearings thereon, granted by Order of May 21, 2007, 17 it
finding that the evidence of guilt for the crime of murder is not strong. It accordingly allowed petitioner
to post bail in the amount of P300,000 for his provisional liberty.
The trial court, absent any writ of preliminary injunction from the appellate court, went on to try
petitioner under the Amended Information. By Decision of January 14, 2009, the trial court found
petitioner guilty of homicide, sentencing him to suffer an indeterminate penalty of six years and one
day of prision mayor as minimum to 12 years and one day of reclusion temporal as maximum. From
the Decision, petitioner filed an appeal to the appellate court, docketed as CA-G.R. CR No. 32159,
during the pendency of which he filed an urgent application for admission to bail pending appeal. The
appellate court denied petitioners application which this Court, in G.R. No. 189122, affirmed by
Decision of March 17, 2010.
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) later argued that the present petition had been rendered
moot since the presentation of evidence, wherein petitioner actively participated, had been
concluded.18
Waiver on the part of the accused must be distinguished from mootness of the petition, for in the
present case, petitioner did not, by his active participation in the trial, waive his stated objections.
Section 26, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court provides:
SEC. 26. Bail not a bar to objections on illegal arrest, lack of or irregular preliminary investigation. An
application for or admission to bail shall not bar the accused from challenging the validity of his arrest
or the legality of the warrant issued therefor, or from assailing the regularity or questioning the absence
of a preliminary investigation of the charge against him, provided that he raises them before entering
his plea. The court shall resolve the matter as early as practicable but not later than the start of the trial
of the case.
By applying for bail, petitioner did not waive his right to challenge the regularity of the reinvestigation of
the charge against him, the validity of the admission of the Amended Information, and the legality of his
arrest under the Amended Information, as he vigorously raised them prior to his arraignment. During
the arraignment on March 21, 2007, petitioner refused to enter his plea since the issues he raised
were still pending resolution by the appellate court, thus prompting the trial court to enter a plea of "not
guilty" for him.
The principle that the accused is precluded after arraignment from questioning the illegal arrest
or the lack of or irregular preliminary investigation applies "only if he voluntarily
enters his plea and participates during trial, without previously invoking his objections thereto."19 There
must be clear and convincing proof that petitioner had an actual intention to relinquish his right to

question the existence of probable cause. When the only proof of intention rests on what a party does,
his act should be so manifestly consistent with, and indicative of, an intent to voluntarily and
unequivocally relinquish the particular right that no other explanation of his conduct is possible. 20
From the given circumstances, the Court cannot reasonably infer a valid waiver on the part of
petitioner to preclude him from obtaining a definite resolution of the objections he so timely invoked.
Other than its allegation of active participation, the OSG offered no clear and convincing proof that
petitioners participation in the trial was unconditional with the intent to voluntarily and unequivocally
abandon his petition. In fact, on January 26, 2010, petitioner still moved for the early resolution of the
present petition.21
Whatever delay arising from petitioners availment of remedies against the trial courts Orders cannot
be imputed to petitioner to operate as a valid waiver on his part. Neither can the non-issuance of a writ
of preliminary injunction be deemed as a voluntary relinquishment of petitioners principal prayer. The
non-issuance of such injunctive relief only means that the appellate court did not preliminarily find any
exception22 to the long-standing doctrine that injunction will not lie to enjoin a criminal
prosecution.23 Consequently, the trial of the case took its course.
The petition is now moot, however, in view of the trial courts rendition of judgment.
A moot and academic case is one that ceases to present a justiciable controversy by virtue of
supervening events, so that a declaration thereon would be of no practical use or value. 24
The judgment convicting petitioner of homicide under the Amended Information for murder operates as
a supervening event that mooted the present petition. Assuming that there is ground 25 to annul the
finding of probable cause for murder, there is no practical use or value in abrogating the concluded
proceedings and retrying the case under the original Information for homicide just to arrive, more likely
or even definitely, at the same conviction of homicide. Mootness would have also set in had petitioner
been convicted of murder, for proof beyond reasonable doubt, which is much higher than probable
cause, would have been established in that instance.
Instead, however, of denying the petition outright on the ground of mootness, the Court proceeds to
resolve the legal issues in order to formulate controlling principles to guide the bench, bar and
public.26 In the present case, there is compelling reason to clarify the remedies available before and
after the filing of an information in cases subject of inquest.
After going over into the substance of the petition and the assailed issuances, the Court finds no
reversible error on the part of the appellate court in finding no grave abuse of discretion in the issuance
of the four trial court Orders.
In his first assignment of error, petitioner posits that the prosecution has no right under the Rules to
seek from the trial court an investigation or reevaluation of the case except through a petition for
review before the Department of Justice (DOJ). In cases when an accused is arrested without a
warrant, petitioner contends that the remedy of preliminary investigation belongs only to the accused.
The contention lacks merit.
Section 6,27 Rule 112 of the Rules of Court reads:
When a person is lawfully arrested without a warrant involving an offense which requires a preliminary
investigation, the complaint or information may be filed by a prosecutor without need of such

investigation provided an inquest has been conducted in accordance with existing rules. In the
absence or unavailability of an inquest prosecutor, the complaint may be filed by the offended party or
a peace officer directly with the proper court on the basis of the affidavit of the offended party or
arresting officer or person.
Before the complaint or information is filed, the person arrested may ask for a preliminary
investigation in accordance with this Rule, but he must sign a waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of
the Revised Penal Code, as amended, in the presence of his counsel. Notwithstanding the waiver, he
may apply for bail and the investigation must be terminated within fifteen (15) days from its inception.
After the filing of the complaint or information in court without a preliminary investigation, the accused
may, within five (5) days from the time he learns of its filing, ask for a preliminary investigation with the
same right to adduce evidence in his defense as provided in this Rule. (underscoring supplied)
A preliminary investigation is required before the filing of a complaint or information for an offense
where the penalty prescribed by law is at least four years, two months and one day without regard to
fine.28 As an exception, the rules provide that there is no need for a preliminary investigation in cases
of a lawful arrest without a warrant 29 involving such type of offense, so long as an inquest, where
available, has been conducted.30
Inquest is defined as an informal and summary investigation conducted by a public prosecutor in
criminal cases involving persons arrested and detained without the benefit of a warrant of arrest issued
by the court for the purpose of determining whether said persons should remain under custody and
correspondingly be charged in court.31
It is imperative to first take a closer look at the predicament of both the arrested person and the private
complainant during the brief period of inquest, to grasp the respective remedies available to them
before and after the filing of a complaint or information in court.
BEFORE THE FILING OF COMPLAINT OR INFORMATION IN COURT, the private complainant may
proceed in coordinating with the arresting officer and the inquest officer during the latters conduct of
inquest. Meanwhile, the arrested person has the option to avail of a 15-day preliminary investigation,
provided he duly signs a waiver of any objection against delay in his delivery to the proper judicial
authorities under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code. For obvious reasons, this remedy is not
available to the private complainant since he cannot waive what he does not have. The benefit of the
provisions of Article 125, which requires the filing of a complaint or information with the proper judicial
authorities within the applicable period,32 belongs to the arrested person.
The accelerated process of inquest, owing to its summary nature and the attendant risk of running
against Article 125, ends with either the prompt filing of an information in court or the immediate
release of the arrested person.33 Notably, the rules on inquest do not provide for a motion for
reconsideration.34
Contrary to petitioners position that private complainant should have appealed to the DOJ Secretary,
such remedy is not immediately available in cases subject of inquest.
Noteworthy is the proviso that the appeal to the DOJ Secretary is by "petition by a proper party under
such rulesas the Department of Justice may prescribe." 35 The rule referred to is the 2000 National
Prosecution Service Rule on Appeal,36 Section 1 of which provides that the Rule shall "apply to
appeals from resolutions x x x in cases subject of preliminary investigation/ reinvestigation." In cases

subject of inquest, therefore, the private party should first avail of a preliminary investigation or
reinvestigation, if any, before elevating the matter to the DOJ Secretary.
In case the inquest proceedings yield no probable cause, the private complainant may pursue the case
through the regular course of a preliminary investigation.
ONCE A COMPLAINT OR INFORMATION IS FILED IN COURT, the rules yet provide the accused with
another opportunity to ask for a preliminary investigation within five days from the time he learns of its
filing. The Rules of Court and the New Rules on Inquest are silent, however, on whether the private
complainant could invoke, as respondent heirs of the victim did in the present case, a similar right to
ask for a reinvestigation.
The Court holds that the private complainant can move for reinvestigation, subject to and in light of the
ensuing disquisition.
All criminal actions commenced by a complaint or information shall be prosecuted under the direction
and control of the public prosecutor.37 The private complainant in a criminal case is merely a witness
and not a party to the case and cannot, by himself, ask for the reinvestigation of the case after the
information had been filed in court, the proper party for that being the public prosecutor who has the
control of the prosecution of the case. 38 Thus, in cases where the private complainant is allowed to
intervene by counsel in the criminal action, 39 and is granted the authority to prosecute,40 the private
complainant, by counsel and with the conformity of the public prosecutor, can file a motion for
reinvestigation.
In fact, the DOJ instructs that before the arraignment of the accused, trial prosecutors must "examine
the Information vis--vis the resolution of the investigating prosecutor in order to make the necessary
corrections or revisions and to ensure that the information is sufficient in form and substance."41
x x x Since no evidence has been presented at that stage, the error would appear or be discoverable
from a review of the records of the preliminary investigation. Of course, that fact may be perceived by
the trial judge himself but, again, realistically it will be the prosecutor who can initially determine
the same. That is why such error need not be manifest or evident, nor is it required that such nuances
as offenses includible in the offense charged be taken into account. It necessarily follows, therefore,
that the prosecutor can and should institute remedial measures[.]42 (emphasis and underscoring
supplied)
The prosecution of crimes appertains to the executive department of the government whose principal
power and responsibility is to see that our laws are faithfully executed. A necessary component of this
power to execute our laws is the right to prosecute their violators. The right to prosecute vests the
prosecutor with a wide range of discretion the discretion of what and whom to charge, the exercise of
which depends on a smorgasbord of factors which are best appreciated by prosecutors. 43
The prosecutions discretion is not boundless or infinite, however.44 The standing principle is that once
an information is filed in court, any remedial measure such as a reinvestigation must be addressed to
the sound discretion of the court. Interestingly, petitioner supports this view. 45 Indeed, the Court ruled in
one case that:
The rule is now well settled that once a complaint or information is filed in court, any disposition of the
case, whether as to its dismissal or the conviction or the acquittal of the accused, rests in the sound
discretion of the court. Although the prosecutor retains the direction and control of the prosecution of
criminal cases even when the case is already in court, he cannot impose his opinion upon the tribunal.

For while it is true that the prosecutor has the quasi-judicial discretion to determine whether or not a
criminal case should be filed in court, once the case had already been brought therein any disposition
the prosecutor may deem proper thereafter
should be addressed to the court for its consideration and approval. The only qualification is that the
action of the court must not impair the substantial rights of the accused or the right of the People to
due process of law.
xxxx
In such an instance, before a re-investigation of the case may be conducted by the public prosecutor,
the permission or consent of the court must be secured. If after such re-investigation the prosecution
finds a cogent basis to withdraw the information or otherwise cause the dismissal of the case, such
proposed course of action may be taken but shall likewise be addressed to the sound discretion of the
court.46 (underscoring supplied)
While Abugotal v. Judge Tiro47 held that to ferret out the truth, a trial is to be preferred to a
reinvestigation, the Court therein recognized that a trial court may, where the interest of justice so
requires, grant a motion for reinvestigation of a criminal case pending before it.
Once the trial court grants the prosecutions motion for reinvestigation, the former is deemed to have
deferred to the authority of the prosecutorial arm of the Government. Having brought the case back to
the drawing board, the prosecution is thus equipped with discretion wide and far reaching
regarding the disposition thereof,48 subject to the trial courts approval of the resulting proposed course
of action.
Since a reinvestigation may entail a modification of the criminal information as what happened in the
present case, the Courts holding is bolstered by the rule on amendment of an information under
Section 14, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court:
A complaint or information may be amended, in form or in substance, without leave of court, at
any time before the accused enters his plea. After the plea and during the trial, a formal amendment
may only be made with leave of court and when it can be done without causing prejudice to the rights
of the accused.
However, any amendment before plea, which downgrades the nature of the offense charged in or
excludes any accused from the complaint or information, can be made only upon motion by the
prosecutor, with notice to the offended party and with leave of court. The court shall state its reasons in
resolving the motion and copies of its order shall be furnished all parties, especially the offended party.
If it appears at any time before judgment that a mistake has been made in charging the proper offense,
the court shall dismiss the original complaint or information upon the filing of a new one charging the
proper offense in accordance with section 11, Rule 119, provided the accused would not be placed in
double jeopardy. The court may require the witnesses to give bail for their appearance at the trial.
(emphasis supplied)
In fine, before the accused enters a plea, a formal or substantial amendment of the complaint or
information may be made without leave of court. 49 After the entry of a plea, only a formal amendment
may be made but with leave of court and only if it does not prejudice the rights of the accused. After
arraignment, a substantial amendment is proscribed except if the same is beneficial to the accused. 50

It must be clarified though that not all defects in an information are curable by amendment prior to
entry of plea. An information which is void ab initio cannot be amended to obviate a ground for
quashal.51 An amendment which operates to vest jurisdiction upon the trial court is likewise
impermissible.52
Considering the general rule that an information may be amended even in substance and even without
leave of court at any time before entry of plea, does it mean that the conduct of a reinvestigation at that
stage is a mere superfluity?
It is not.
Any remedial measure springing from the reinvestigation be it a complete disposition or an
intermediate modification53 of the charge is eventually addressed to the sound discretion of the trial
court, which must make an independent evaluation or assessment of the merits of the case. Since the
trial court would ultimately make the determination on the proposed course of action, it is for the
prosecution to consider whether a reinvestigation is necessary to adduce and review the evidence for
purposes of buttressing the appropriate motion to be filed in court.
More importantly, reinvestigation is required in cases involving a substantial amendment of the
information. Due process of law demands that no substantial amendment of an information may be
admitted without conducting another or a new preliminary investigation. In Matalam v. The 2nd Division
of the Sandiganbayan,54 the Court ruled that a substantial amendment in an information entitles an
accused to another preliminary investigation, unless the amended information contains a charge
related to or is included in the original Information.
The question to be resolved is whether the amendment of the Information from homicide to murder is
considered a substantial amendment, which would make it not just a right but a duty of the prosecution
to ask for a preliminary investigation.
The Court answers in the affirmative.
A substantial amendment consists of the recital of facts constituting the offense charged and
determinative of the jurisdiction of the court. All other matters are merely of form. The following
have been held to be mere formal amendments: (1) new allegations which relate only to the range of
the penalty that the court might impose in the event of conviction; (2) an amendment which does not
charge another offense different or distinct from that charged in the original one; (3) additional
allegations which do not alter the prosecutions theory of the case so as to cause surprise to the
accused and affect the form of defense he has or will assume; (4) an amendment which does not
adversely affect any substantial right of the accused; and (5) an amendment that merely adds
specifications to eliminate vagueness in the information and not to introduce new and material facts,
and merely states with additional precision something which is already contained in the original
information and which adds nothing essential for conviction for the crime charged.
The test as to whether a defendant is prejudiced by the amendment is whether a defense under the
information as it originally stood would be available after the amendment is made, and whether any
evidence defendant might have would be equally applicable to the information in the one form as in the
other. An amendment to an information which does not change the nature of the crime alleged therein
does not affect the essence of the offense or cause surprise or deprive the accused of an opportunity
to meet the new averment had each been held to be one of form and not of substance. 55 (emphasis
and underscoring supplied)

Matalam adds that the mere fact that the two charges are related does not necessarily or automatically
deprive the accused of his right to another preliminary investigation. Notatu dignum is the fact that both
the original Information and the amended Information in Matalam were similarly charging the accused
with violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
In one case,56 it was squarely held that the amendment of the Information from homicide to murder is
"one of substance with very serious consequences." 57 The amendment involved in the present case
consists of additional averments of the circumstances of treachery, evident premeditation, and cruelty,
which qualify the offense charged from homicide to murder. It being a new and material element of the
offense, petitioner should be given the chance to adduce evidence on the matter. Not being merely
clarificatory, the amendment essentially varies the prosecutions original theory of the case and
certainly affects not just the form but the weight of defense to be mustered by petitioner.
The Court distinguishes the factual milieus in Buhat v. CA58 and Pacoy v. Cajigal,59 wherein the
amendment of the caption of the Information from homicide to murder was not considered substantial
because there was no real change in the recital of facts constituting the offense charged as alleged in
the body of the Information, as the allegations of qualifying circumstances were already clearly
embedded in the original Information. Buhat pointed out that the original Information for homicide
already alleged the use of superior strength, while Pacoy states that the averments in the amended
Information for murder are exactly the same as those already alleged in the original Information for
homicide. None of these peculiar circumstances obtains in the present case.
Considering that another or a new preliminary investigation is required, the fact that what was
conducted in the present case was a reinvestigation does not invalidate the substantial amendment of
the Information. There is no substantial distinction between a preliminary investigation and a
reinvestigation since both are conducted in the same manner and for the same objective of
determining whether there exists sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has
been committed and the respondent is probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial. 60 What is
essential is that petitioner was placed on guard to defend himself from the charge of murder 61 after the
claimed circumstances were made known to him as early as the first motion.
Petitioner did not, however, make much of the opportunity to present countervailing evidence on the
proposed amended charge. Despite notice of hearing, petitioner opted to merely observe the
proceedings and declined to actively participate, even with extreme caution, in the
reinvestigation. Mercado v. Court of Appeals states that the rules do not even require, as a condition
sine qua non to the validity of a preliminary investigation, the presence of the respondent as long as
efforts to reach him were made and an opportunity to controvert the complainants evidence was
accorded him.62
In his second assignment of error, petitioner basically assails the hurried issuance of the last two
assailed RTC Orders despite the pendency before the appellate court of the petition for certiorari
challenging the first two trial court Orders allowing a reinvestigation.
The Rules categorically state that the petition shall not interrupt the course of the principal case unless
a temporary retraining order or a writ of preliminary injunction has been issued. 63 The appellate court,
by Resolution of February 15, 2007,64 denied petitioners application for a temporary restraining order
and writ of preliminary injunction. Supplementary efforts to seek injunctive reliefs proved futile. 65 The
appellate court thus did not err in finding no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court
when it proceeded with the case and eventually arraigned the accused on March 21, 2007, there being
no injunction order from the appellate court. Moreover, petitioner opted to forego appealing to the DOJ

Secretary, a post-inquest remedy that was available after the reinvestigation and which could have
suspended the arraignment.661avvphi1
Regarding petitioners protestations of haste, suffice to state that the pace in resolving incidents of the
case is not per se an indication of bias. In Santos-Concio v. Department of Justice, 67 the Court held:
Speed in the conduct of proceedings by a judicial or quasi-judicial officer cannot per se be instantly
attributed to an injudicious performance of functions. For ones prompt dispatch may be anothers
undue haste. The orderly administration of justice remains as the paramount and constant
consideration, with particular regard of the circumstances peculiar to each case.
The presumption of regularity includes the public officers official actuations in all phases of work.
Consistent with such presumption, it was incumbent upon petitioners to present contradictory evidence
other than a mere tallying of days or numerical calculation. This, petitioners failed to discharge. The
swift completion of the Investigating Panels initial task cannot be relegated as shoddy or shady without
discounting the presumably regular performance of not just one but five state prosecutors. 68
There is no ground for petitioners protestations against the DOJ Secretarys sudden designation of
Senior State Prosecutor Emmanuel Velasco as Acting City Prosecutor of Makati City for the present
case69 and the latters conformity to the motion for reinvestigation.
In granting the reinvestigation, Judge Alameda cannot choose the public prosecutor who will conduct
the reinvestigation or preliminary investigation. 70 There is a hierarchy of officials in the prosecutory arm
of the executive branch headed by the Secretary of Justice 71 who is vested with the prerogative to
appoint a special prosecutor or designate an acting prosecutor to handle a particular case, which
broad power of control has been recognized by jurisprudence. 72
As for the trial courts ignoring the DOJ Secretarys uncontested statements to the media which aired
his opinion that if the assailant merely intended to maim and not to kill the victim, one bullet would
have sufficed the DOJ Secretary reportedly uttered that "the filing of the case of homicide against
ano against Leviste lintek naman eh I told you to watch over that case there should be a report
about the ballistics, about the paraffin, etc., then thats not a complete investigation, thats why you
should use that as a ground" no abuse of discretion, much less a grave one, can be imputed to it.
The statements of the DOJ Secretary do not evince a "determination to file the Information even in the
absence of probable cause."73 On the contrary, the remarks merely underscored the importance of
securing basic investigative reports to support a finding of probable cause. The original Resolution
even recognized that probable cause for the crime of murder cannot be determined based on the
evidence obtained "[u]nless and until a more thorough investigation is conducted and eyewitness/es
[is/]are presented in evidence[.]"74
The trial court concluded that "the wound sustained by the victim at the back of his head, the absence
of paraffin test and ballistic examination, and the handling of physical evidence," 75 as rationalized by
the prosecution in its motion, are sufficient circumstances that require further inquiry.
That the evidence of guilt was not strong as subsequently assessed in the bail hearings does not affect
the prior determination of probable cause because, as the appellate court correctly stated, the
standard of strong evidence of guilt which is sufficient to deny bail to an accused is markedly higher
than the standard of judicial probable cause which is sufficient to initiate a criminal case. 76

In his third assignment of error, petitioner faults the trial court for not conducting, at the very least, a
hearing for judicial determination of probable cause, considering the lack of substantial or material new
evidence adduced during the reinvestigation.
Petitioners argument is specious.
There are two kinds of determination of probable cause: executive and judicial. The executive
determination of probable cause is one made during preliminary investigation. It is a function that
properly pertains to the public prosecutor who is given a broad discretion to determine whether
probable cause exists and to charge those whom he believes to have committed the crime as defined
by law and thus should be held for trial. Otherwise stated, such official has the quasi-judicial authority
to determine whether or not a criminal case must be filed in court. Whether that function has been
correctly discharged by the public prosecutor, i.e., whether he has made a correct ascertainment of the
existence of probable cause in a case, is a matter that the trial court itself does not and may not be
compelled to pass upon.77
The judicial determination of probable cause is one made by the judge to ascertain whether a warrant
of arrest should be issued against the accused. The judge must satisfy himself that based on the
evidence submitted, there is necessity for placing the accused under custody in order not to frustrate
the ends of justice. If the judge finds no probable cause, the judge cannot be forced to issue the arrest
warrant.78 Paragraph (a), Section 5,79Rule 112 of the Rules of Court outlines the procedure to be
followed by the RTC.
To move the court to conduct a judicial determination of probable cause is a mere superfluity, for with
or without such motion, the judge is duty-bound to personally evaluate the resolution of the public
prosecutor and the supporting evidence. In fact, the task of the presiding judge when the Information is
filed with the court is first andforemost to determine the existence or non-existence of probable cause
for the arrest of the accused.80
What the Constitution underscores is the exclusive and personal responsibility of the issuing judge to
satisfy himself of the existence of probable cause. But the judge is not required to personally
examine the complainant and his witnesses. Following established doctrine and procedure, he shall
(1) personally evaluate the report and the supporting documents submitted by the prosecutor
regarding the existence of probable cause, and on the basis thereof, he may already make a personal
determination of the existence of probable cause; and (2) if he is not satisfied that probable cause
exists, he may disregard the prosecutors report and require the submission of supporting affidavits of
witnesses to aid him in arriving at a conclusion as to the existence of probable cause. 81 (emphasis and
underscoring supplied)
The rules do not require cases to be set for hearing to determine probable cause for the issuance of a
warrant of arrest of the accused before any warrant may be issued. 82 Petitioner thus cannot, as a
matter of right, insist on a hearing for judicial determination of probable cause. Certainly, petitioner
"cannot determine beforehand how cursory or exhaustive the [judge's] examination of the records
should be [since t]he extent of the judges examination depends on the exercise of his sound discretion
as the circumstances of the case require." 83 In one case, the Court emphatically stated:
The periods provided in the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure are mandatory, and as such, the
judge must determine the presence or absence of probable cause within such periods. The
Sandiganbayans determination of probable cause is made ex parte and is summary in nature, not
adversarial. The Judge should not be stymied and distracted from his determination of probable

cause by needless motions for determination of probable cause filed by the


accused.84 (emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Petitioner proceeds to discuss at length evidentiary matters, arguing that no circumstances exist that
would qualify the crime from homicide to murder.
The allegation of lack of substantial or material new evidence deserves no credence, because new
pieces of evidence are not prerequisites for a valid conduct of reinvestigation. It is not material that no
new matter or evidence was presented during the reinvestigation of the case. It should be stressed that
reinvestigation, as the word itself implies, is merely a repeat investigation of the case. New matters or
evidence are not prerequisites for a reinvestigation, which is simply a chance for the prosecutor to
review and re-evaluate its findings and the evidence already submitted. 85
Moreover, under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, only questions of law may be raised in, and be subject
of, a petition for review on certiorari since this Court is not a trier of facts. The Court cannot thus review
the evidence adduced by the parties on the issue of the absence or presence of probable cause, as
there exists no exceptional circumstances to warrant a factual review.86
In a petition for certiorari, like that filed by petitioner before the appellate court, the jurisdiction of the
court is narrow in scope. It is limited to resolving only errors of jurisdiction.1avvphi1 It is not to stray at
will and resolve questions and issues beyond its competence, such as an error of judgment. 87 The
courts duty in the pertinent case is confined to determining whether the executive and judicial
determination of probable cause was done without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of
discretion. Although it is possible that error may be committed in the discharge of lawful functions, this
does not render the act amenable to correction and annulment by the extraordinary remedy of
certiorari, absent any showing of grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction. 88
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals
in CA-G.R. SP No. 97761 are AFFIRMED.

G.R. No. 87059 June 22, 1992


THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
ROGELIO MENGOTE y TEJAS, accused-appellant.
CRUZ, J.:
Accused-appellant Rogelio Mengote was convicted of illegal possession of firearms on the strength mainly
of the stolen pistol found on his person at the moment of his warrantless arrest. In this appeal, he pleads
that the weapon was not admissible as evidence against him because it had been illegally seized and was
therefore the fruit of the poisonous tree. The Government 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.
The incident occurred shortly before noon of August 8, 1987, after the Western Police District received a
telephone call from an informer that there were three suspicious-looking persons at the corner of Juan Luna
and North Bay Boulevard in Tondo, Manila. A surveillance team of plainclothesmen was forthwith
dispatched to the place. As later narrated at the trial by Patrolmen 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 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 bullets in the chamber. His companion, later identified as Nicanor
Morellos, had a fan knife secreted in his front right pants pocket. The weapons were taken from them.
Mengote and Morellos were then turned over to police headquarters for investigation by the Intelligence
Division.
On August 11, 1987, the following information was filed against the accused-appellant before the Regional
Trial Court of Manila:
The undersigned accuses ROGELIO MENGOTE y TEJAS of a violation of Presidential
Decree No. 1866, committed as follows:
That on or about August 8, 1987, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then
and there wilfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession and under his custody
and control a firearm, to wit:
one (1) cal. 38 "S & W" bearing
Serial No. 8720-T
without first having secured the necessary license or permit therefor from the proper
authorities.
Besides the police officers, one other witness presented by the prosecution was Rigoberto Danganan, who
identified the subject weapon as among the articles stolen from him during the 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

The gun, together with the live bullets and its holster, were offered as Exhibits A, B, and C and admitted
over the objection of the defense. As previously stated, the weapon was the principal evidence that led to
Mengote's conviction for violation of P.D. 1866. He was sentenced to reclusion
perpetua. 4
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 have been seized
as an incident of a lawful arrest because the arrest of Mengote was itself unlawful, having been also
effected without a warrant. The defense also contends that the testimony regarding the alleged robbery in
Danganan's house was irrelevant and should also have been disregarded by the trial court.
The following are the pertinent provision of the Bill of Rights:
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, 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 and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place
to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.
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 otherwise as
prescribed by law.
(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible
for any purpose in any proceeding.
There is no question that evidence obtained as a result of an illegal search or seizure is inadmissible in any
proceeding for any purpose. That is the absolute prohibition of Article III, Section 3(2), of the Constitution.
This is the celebrated exclusionary rule based on the justification 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 General, while conceding the rule, maintains that it is not
applicable in the case at bar. His reason is that the arrest and search of Mengote and the seizure of the
revolver from him were lawful under Rule 113, Section 5, of the Rules of Court reading as follows:
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant when lawful. A peace officer or private person may, without
a warrant, arrest a person;
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing,
or is attempting to commit an offense;
(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
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal
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 confinement to another.
In cases failing under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the person arrested without a warrant
shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or jail, and he shall be proceeded
against in accordance with Rule 112, Section 7.

We have carefully examined the wording of this Rule and cannot see how we can agree with the
prosecution.
Par. (c) of Section 5 is obviously inapplicable as Mengote was not an escapee from a penal institution when
he was arrested. We therefore confine ourselves to determining the lawfulness of his arrest under either
Par. (a) or Par. (b) of this section.
Par. (a) requires that the person be arrested (1) after he has committed or while he is actually committing or
is at least attempting to commit an offense, (2) in the presence of the arresting officer.
These requirements have not been established in the case at bar. At the time of the arrest in question, the
accused-appellant was merely "looking from side to side" and "holding his 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 in their presence.
The Solicitor General submits that the actual existence of an offense was not necessary as long 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 committed it." The
question is, What offense? What offense could possibly have been suggested by a person "looking from
side to side" and "holding his abdomen" and in a place not exactly forsaken?
These are certainly not sinister acts. And the setting of the arrest made them less so, if at all. It might have
been different if Mengote bad been apprehended at an ungodly hour and in a place where he had no
reason to be, like a darkened alley at 3 o'clock in the morning. But he was 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. There was nothing clandestine about his being
on that street at that busy hour in the blaze of the noonday sun.
On the other hand, there could have been a number of reasons, all of them innocent, why his eyes 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 dispatched to that place only
because of the telephone call from the informer that there were "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 elaborate on the impending crime.
In the recent case of People v. Malmstedt, 5 the Court sustained the warrantless arrest of the 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 accused boarded a bus
and placed the buri bag she was carrying behind the seat of the arresting officer while she herself sat in the
seat before him. His suspicion aroused, be surreptitiously 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 sufficiently established.
The case before us is different because there was nothing to support the arresting officers' suspicion other
than Mengote's darting eyes and his hand on his abdomen. By no stretch of the imagination could it have
been inferred from these acts that an offense had just been committed, or was actually being committed, or
was at least being attempted in their presence.
This case is similar to People v. Aminnudin, 7 where the Court held that the warrantless arrest of the
accused was unconstitutional. This was effected while be was coming down a vessel, to all 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 officers. He was not even

acting suspiciously. In short, there was no probable cause that, as the prosecution incorrectly suggested,
dispensed with the constitutional requirement of a warrant.
Par. (b) is no less applicable because its no less stringent requirements have also not been 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 that Mengote had committed it. All
they had was hearsay information from the telephone caller, and about a crime that had yet to be
committed.
The truth is that they did not know then what offense, if at all, had been committed and neither were they
aware of the participation therein of the accused-appellant. It was only later, after Danganan had appeared
at the Police headquarters, that they learned of the robbery in his house and of Mengote's supposed
involvement therein. 8 As for the illegal possession of the firearm found on Mengote's person, the
policemen discovered this only after he had been searched and the investigation conducted later revealed
that he was not its owners nor was he licensed to possess it.
Before these events, the Peace officers had no knowledge even of Mengote' identity, let alone the fact (or
suspicion) that he was unlawfully carrying a firearm or that he was involved in the robbery of Danganan's
house.
In the landmark case of People v. Burgos, 9 this Court declared:
Under Section 6(a) of Rule 113, the officer arresting a person who has just committed, is
committing, or is about to commit an offense must have personal knowledge of the fact. The
offense must also be committed in his presence or within his view. (Sayo v. Chief of Police,
80 Phil. 859). (Emphasis supplied)
xxx xxx xxx
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 committed a crime. A crime
must in fact or actually have been committed first. That a crime has actually been committed
is an essential precondition. It is not 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 applies only to the identity of the perpetrator. (Emphasis supplied)
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 have committed a criminal act or is
actually committing or attempting it. This simply cannot be done in a free society. This is not a police state
where order is exalted over liberty or, worse, personal malice on the part of the arresting officer may be
justified in the name of security.

There is no need to discuss the other issues raised by the accused-appellant as the ruling we here make is
sufficient to sustain his exoneration. Without the evidence of the firearm taken from him at the time of his
illegal arrest, the prosecution has lost its most important exhibit and must therefore fail. The testimonial
evidence against Mengote (which is based on the said firearm) is not sufficient to prove his guilt beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime imputed to him.
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 same to stress the
constitutional rights of her client. The fact that she was acting only as a counsel de oficio with no
expectation of material reward makes her representation even more commendable.
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 allowed their overzealousness to get the better of them, resulting in their disregard of the requirements of a valid search and
seizure that rendered inadmissible the vital evidence they had invalidly seized.
This should be a lesson to other peace officers. Their impulsiveness may be the very cause of the 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.
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The accused-appellant is
ACQUITTED and ordered released immediately unless he is validly detained for other offenses. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R.No. 74869 July 6, 1988


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
IDEL AMINNUDIN y AHNI, defendant-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Herminio T. Llariza counsel de-officio for defendant-appellant.

CRUZ, J.:
The accused-appellant claimed his business was selling watches but he was nonetheless arrested, tried and
found guilty of illegally transporting marijuana. The trial court, disbelieving him, held it was high time to put him
away and sentenced him to life imprisonment plus a fine of P20,000.00. 1
Idel Aminnudin was arrested on June 25, 1984, shortly after disembarking from the M/V Wilcon 9 at about 8:30
in the evening, in Iloilo City. The PC officers who were in fact waiting for him simply accosted him, inspected his
bag and finding what looked liked marijuana leaves took him to their headquarters for investigation. The two
bundles of suspect articles were confiscated from him and later taken to the NBI laboratory for examination.
When they were verified as marijuana leaves, an information for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act was filed
against him. 2Later, the information 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 arresting officers
absolving her after a 'thorough investigation." 5 The motion was granted, and trial proceeded only against the accusedappellant, who was eventually convicted . 6

According to the prosecution, the PC officers had earlier received a tip from one of their informers that the
accused-appellant was on board a vessel bound for Iloilo City and was carrying marijuana. 7 He was Identified by
name. 8 Acting 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 contain three kilos of what were later analyzed as marijuana leaves by an NBI forensic
examiner, 10 who testified that she conducted microscopic, chemical and chromatographic tests on them. On the basis
of this finding, the corresponding charge was then filed against Aminnudin.
In his defense, Aminnudin disclaimed the marijuana, averring that all he had in his bag was his clothing
consisting of a jacket, two shirts and two pairs of pants. 11 He alleged that he was 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 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 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
The trial court was unconvinced, noting from its own examination of the accused that he claimed 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 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 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
There is no justification to reverse these factual findings, considering that it was the trial judge who had
immediate access to the testimony of the witnesses and had the opportunity to weigh their credibility on the
stand. Nuances of tone or voice, meaningful pauses and hesitation, flush of face and dart of eyes, which may
reveal the truth or expose the lie, are not described in the impersonal record. But the trial judge sees all of this,
discovering for himself the truant fact amidst the falsities.
The only exception we may make in this case is the trial court's conclusion that the accused-appellant was not
really beaten up because he did not complain about it later nor did he submit to a medical examination. That is
hardly fair or realistic. It is possible Aminnudin never had that opportunity as he was at that time under detention
by the PC authorities and in fact has never been set free since he was arrested in 1984 and up to the present.
No bail has been allowed for his release.
There is one point that deserves closer examination, however, and it is Aminnudin's claim that he was arrested
and searched without warrant, making the marijuana allegedly found in his 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 the Rules of Court on warrantless arrests. This made the search also valid as
incidental to a lawful arrest.
It is not disputed, and in fact it is admitted by the PC officers who testified for the prosecution, that they had no
warrant when they arrested Aminnudin and seized the bag he was carrying. Their only justification was the tip
they had earlier received from a reliable and regular informer who 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 of the chief of the arresting team, Lt. Cipriano Querol, Jr., who testified as follows:

Q You mentioned an intelligence report, you mean with respect to the coming of
Idel Aminnudin on June 25, 1984?
A Yes, sir.
Q When did you receive this intelligence report?
A Two days before June 25, 1984 and it was supported by reliable sources.
Q Were you informed of the coming of the Wilcon 9 and the possible trafficking of
marijuana leaves on that date?
A Yes, sir, two days before June 25, 1984 when we received this information from
that particular informer, prior to June 25, 1984 we have already reports of the
particular operation which was being participated by Idel Aminnudin.
Q You said you received an intelligence report two days before June 25, 1984
with respect to the coming of Wilcon 9?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you receive any other report aside from this intelligence report?
A Well, I have received also other reports but not pertaining to the coming of
Wilcon 9. For instance, report of illegal gambling operation.
COURT:
Q Previous to that particular information which you said two days before June 25,
1984, did you also receive daily report regarding the activities of Idel Aminnudin
A Previous to June 25, 1984 we received reports on the activities of Idel
Aminnudin.
Q What were those activities?
A Purely marijuana trafficking.
Q From whom did you get that information?
A It came to my hand which was written in a required sheet of information, maybe
for security reason and we cannot Identify the person.
Q But you received it from your regular informer?
A Yes, sir.
ATTY. LLARIZA:
Q Previous to June 25, 1984, you were more or less sure that Idel Aminnudin is
coming with drugs?
A Marijuana, sir.

Q And this information respecting Idel Aminnudin's coming to Iloilo with marijuana
was received by you many days before you received the intelligence report in
writing?
A Not a report of the particular coming of Aminnudin but his activities.
Q You only knew that he was coming on June 25,1984 two days before?
A Yes, sir.
Q You mean that before June 23, 1984 you did not know that minnudin was
coming?
A Before June 23,1984, I, in my capacity, did not know that he was coming but on
June 23, 1984 that was the time when I received the information that he was
coming. Regarding the reports on his activities, we have reports that he was
already consummated the act of selling and shipping marijuana stuff.
COURT:
Q And as a result of that report, you put him under surveillance?
A Yes, sir.
Q In the intelligence report, only the name of Idel Aminnudin was mentioned?
A Yes, sir.
Q Are you sure of that?
A On the 23rd he will be coming with the woman.
Q So that even before you received the official report on June 23, 1984, you had
already gathered information to the effect that Idel Aminnudin was coming to Iloilo
on June 25, 1984?
A Only on the 23rd of June.
Q You did not try to secure a search warrant for the seizure or search of the
subject mentioned in your intelligence report?
A No, more.
Q Why not?
A Because we were very very sure that our operation will yield positive result.
Q Is that your procedure that whenever it will yield positive result you do not need
a search warrant anymore?
A Search warrant is not necessary. 23
That last answer is a cavalier pronouncement, especially as it comes from a mere lieutenant of the PC. The
Supreme Court cannot countenance such a statement. This is still a government of laws and not of men.

The mandate of the Bill of Rights is clear:


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,
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 and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be
searched and the persons or things to be seized.
In the case at bar, there was no warrant of arrest or search warrant issued by a judge after 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 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 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.
The present case presented no such urgency. From the conflicting declarations of the PC witnesses, it is clear
that they had at least two days within which they could have obtained a warrant to arrest and search Aminnudin
who was coming to Iloilo on the M/V Wilcon 9. His name 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, 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 head of
the arresting team, had determined on his own authority that a "search warrant was not necessary."
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 "buybust" operations of the narcotics agents. 25 Rule 113 was clearly applicable because at the precise time of arrest the
accused was in the act of selling the prohibited drug.
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 descending the
gangplank of the M/V Wilcon 9 and there was no outward indication that called for 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 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
arrest him.
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 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 Rights guarantees.
While this is not to say that the accused-appellant is innocent, for indeed his very own words suggest that he is
lying, that fact alone does not justify a finding that he is guilty. The constitutional presumption is that he is
innocent, and he will be so declared even if his defense is weak as long as the prosecution is not strong enough
to convict him.
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.
Separate Opinions
AQUINO, J., dissenting:
I respectfully dissent. I hold that the accused was caught in flagrante, for he was carrying marijuana leaves in his
bag at the moment of his arrest. He was not "innocently disembarking from the vessel." The unauthorized
transportation of marijuana (Indian hemp), which is a prohibited drug, is a crime. (Sec. 4, Rep. Act No. 6425).
Since he was committing a crime, his arrest could be lawfully effected without a warrant (Sec. 6a, Rule 113,
Rules of Court), and the search of his bag (which yielded the marijuana leaves) without a search warrant was
also lawful (Sec. 12, Rule 126, Rules of Court). I vote to affirm the judgment of the trial court finding him guilty of
illegally transporting marijuana.
Separate Opinions
AQUINO, J., dissenting:
I respectfully dissent. I hold that the accused was caught in flagrante, for he was carrying marijuana leaves in his
bag at the moment of his arrest. He was not "innocently disembarking from the vessel." The unauthorized
transportation of marijuana (Indian hemp), which is a prohibited drug, is a crime. (Sec. 4, Rep. Act No. 6425).
Since he was committing a crime, his arrest could be lawfully effected without a warrant (Sec. 6a, Rule 113,
Rules of Court), and the search of his bag (which yielded the marijuana leaves) without a search warrant was
also lawful (Sec. 12, Rule 126, Rules of Court). I vote to affirm the judgment of the trial court finding him guilty of
illegally transporting marijuana.

G.R. No. L-68955 September 4, 1986


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
RUBEN BURGOS y TITO, defendant-appellant.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Davao del Sur, 11 th Judicial Region, Digos,
Davao del Sur convicting defendant- appellant Ruben Burgos y Tito of The crime of Illegal Possession of
Firearms in Furtherance of Subversion. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, finding the guilt of accused Ruben Burgos sufficiently established beyond
reasonable doubt, of the offense charges , pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 9, in relation to
General Order No. 6, dated September 22, 1972, and General Order No. 7, dated September 23,
1972, in relation further to Presidential Decree No. 885, and considering that the firearm subject
of this case was not used in the circumstances as embraced in paragraph I thereof, applying the
provision of indeterminate sentence law, accused Ruben Burgos is hereby sentenced to suffer an
imprisonment of twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal maximum, as minimum penalty, to
reclusion perpetua, as maximum penalty, pursuant to sub-paragraph B, of Presidential Decree
No. 9, as aforementioned, with accessory penalties, as provided for by law.
As a result of this judgment, the subject firearm involved in this case (Homemade revolver,
caliber .38, Smith and Wesson, with Serial No. 8.69221) is hereby ordered confiscated in favor of
the government, to be disposed of in accordance with law. Likewise, the subversive documents,
leaflets and/or propaganda seized are ordered disposed of in accordance with law.
The information charged the defendant-appellant with the crime of illegal possession of firearm in furtherance of
subversion in an information which reads as follows:
That in the afternoon of May 13, 1982 and thereabout at Tiguman, Digos, Davao del Sur,
Philippines, within the jurisdiction of this Court, the above- named accused with intent to possess
and without the necessary license, permit or authority issued by the proper government
agencies, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously keep, possess, carry and have in
his possession, control and custody one (1) homemade revolver, caliber .38, make Smith and
Wesson, with Serial No. 8.69221, which firearm was issued to and used by the accused at
Tiguman, Digos, Davao del Sur, his area of operations by one Alias Commander Pol for the New
People's Army (NPA), a subversive organization organized for the purpose of overthrowing the
Government of the Republic of the Philippines through lawless and violent means, of which the
accused had knowledge, and which firearm was used by the accused in the performance of his
subversive tasks such as the recruitment of New Members to the NPA and collection of
contributions from the members.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
The evidence for the prosecution is summarized in the decision of the lower court as follows:
xxx xxx xxx
. . . Through the testimony of Pat. Pepito Bioco, and Sgt. Romeo Taroy, it appears that by virtue
of an intelligent information obtained by the Constabulary and INP units, stationed at Digos,
Davao del Sur, on May 12, 1982, one Cesar Masamlok personally and voluntarily surre0ndered
to the authorities at about 9:00 o'clock A.M. at Digos, Davao del Sur Constabulary Headquarters,
stating that he was forcibly recruited by accused Ruben Burgos as member of the NPA,
threatening him with the use of firearm against his life, if he refused.

Along with his recruitment, accused was asked to contribute one (1) chopa of rice and one peso
(P1.00) per month, as his contribution to the NPA TSN, page 5, Hearing-October 14, 1982).
Immediately, upon receipt of said information, a joint team of PC-INP units, composed of fifteen
(15) members, headed by Captain Melchesideck Bargio, (PC), on the following day, May 13,
1982, was dispatched at Tiguman; Davao del Sur, to arrest accused Ruben Burgos. The team
left the headquarter at 1:30 P.M., and arrived at Tiguman, at more or less 2:00 o'clock PM where
through the help of Pedro Burgos, brother of accused, the team was able to locate accused, who
was plowing his field. (TSN, pages 6-7, Hearing-October 14, 1982).
Right in the house of accused, the latter was caned by the team and Pat. Bioco asked accused
about his firearm, as reported by Cesar Masamlok. At first accused denied possession of said
firearm but later, upon question profounded by Sgt. Alejandro Buncalan with the wife of the
accused, the latter pointed to a place below their house where a gun was buried in the ground.
(TSN, page 8, Hearing-October 14, 1982).
Pat. Bioco then verified the place pointed by accused's wife and dug the grounds, after which he
recovered the firearm, Caliber .38 revolver, marked as Exhibit "A" for the prosecution.
After the recovery of the firearm, accused likewise pointed to the team, subversive documents
which he allegedly kept in a stock pile of qqqcogon at a distance of three (3) meters apart from
his house. Then Sgt. Taroy accordingly verified beneath said cogon grass and likewise recovered
documents consisting of notebook colored maroon with spiral bound, Exhibit "B" for the
prosecution; a pamphlet consisting of eight (8) leaves, including the front and back covers
entitled Ang Bayan, Pahayagan ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas, Pinapatnubayan ng
Marxismo, Leninismo Kaisipang Mao qqqZedong dated December 31, 1980, marked as Exhibit
"C", and another pamphlet Asdang Pamantalaang Masa sa Habagatang Mindanao, March and
April 1981 issue, consisting of ten (10) pages, marked as Exhibit "D" for the prosecution.
Accused, when confronted with the firearm Exhibit "A", after its recovery, readily admitted the
same as issued to him by Nestor Jimenez, otherwise known as a certain Alias Pedipol, allegedly
team leader of the sparrow unit of New People's Army, responsible in the liquidation of target
personalities, opposed to NPA Ideological movement, an example was the killing of the late
Mayor Llanos and Barangay Captain of Tienda Aplaya Digos, Davao del Sur. (TSN, pages 1-16,
Hearing-October 14,1982).
To prove accused's subversive activities, Cesar Masamlok, a former NPA convert was presented,
who declared that on March 7, 1972, in his former residence at Tiguman Digos, Davao del Sur,
accused Ruben Burgos, accompanied by his companions Landrino Burgos, Oscar Gomez and
Antonio Burgos, went to his house at about 5:00 o'clock P.M. and called him downstair.
Thereupon, accused told Masamlok, their purpose was to ask rice and one (1) peso from him, as
his contribution to their companions, the NPA of which he is now a member. (TSN, pages 70, 71,
72, Hearing-January 4, 1983).
Accused and his companions told Masamlok, he has to join their group otherwise, he and his
family will be killed. He was also warned not to reveal anything with the government authorities.
Because of the threat to his life and family, Cesar Masamlok joined the group. Accused then told
him, he should attend a seminar scheduled on April 19, 1982. Along with this invitation, accused
pulled gut from his waistline a .38 caliber revolver which Masamlok really saw, being only about
two (2) meters away from accused, which make him easily Identified said firearm, as that marked
as Exhibit "A" for the prosecution. (TSN, pages 72, 73, and 74, Hearing-January 4, 1983).
On April 19, 1982, as previously invited, Masamlok, accompanied by his father, Matuguil
Masamlok, Isabel Ilan and Ayok Ides went to the house of accused and attended the seminar,

Those present in the seminar were: accused Ruben Burgos, Antonio Burgos, Oscar Gomez,
Landrino Burgos, alias Pedipol and one alias Jamper.
The first speaker was accused Ruben Burgos, who said very distinctly that he is an NPA together
with his companions, to assure the unity of the civilian. That he encouraged the group to
overthrow the government, emphasizing that those who attended the seminar were already
members of the NPA, and if they reveal to the authorities, they will be killed.
Accused, while talking, showed to the audience pamphlets and documents, then finally shouted,
the NPA will be victorious. Masamlok likewise Identified the pamphlets as those marked as Exh.
exhibits "B", "C", and "D" for the prosecution. (TSN, pages 75, 76 and 77, Hearing-January 4,
1983)
Other speakers in said meeting were Pedipol, Jamper and Oscar Gomez, who likewise
expounded their own opinions about the NPA. It was also announced in said seminar that a
certain Tonio Burgos, will be responsible for the collection of the contribution from the members.
(TSN, pages 78-79, Hearing- January 4, 1983)
On May 12, 1982, however, Cesar Masamlok surrendered to Captain Bargio of the Provincial
Headquarters of the Philippine Constabulary, Digos, Davao del Sur.
Assistant Provincial Fiscal Panfilo Lovitos was presented t prove that on May 19, 1982, he
administered the subscription of th extra-judicial confession of accused Ruben Burgos, marked
as Exhibit "E " for the prosecution, consisting of five (5) pages.
Appearing voluntarily in said office, for the subscription of his confession, Fiscal Lovitos, realizing
that accused was not represented by counsel, requested the services of Atty. Anyog, whose
office is adjacent to the Fiscal's Office, to assist accused in the subscription of his extra-judicial
statement.
Atty. Anyog assisted accused in the reading of his confession from English to Visayan language,
resulting to the deletion of question No. 19 of the document, by an inserted certification of Atty.
Anyog and signature of accused, indicating his having understood, the allegations of his extrajudicial statement.
Fiscal Lovitos, before accused signed his statement, explained to him his constitutional rights to
remain silent, right to counsel and right to answer any question propounded or not.
With the aid of Atty. Anyog, accused signed his confession in the presence of Atty. Anyog and
Fiscal Lovitos, without the presence of military authorities, who escorted the accused, but were
sent outside the cubicle of Fiscal Lovitos while waiting for the accused. (TSN, pages 36-40,
nearing November 15, 1982)
Finally, in order to prove illegal possession by accused of the subject firearm, Sgt. Epifanio
Comabig in-charge of firearms and explosives, NCO Headquarter, Philippine Constabulary,
Digos, Davao del Sur, was presented and testified, that among the lists of firearm holders in
Davao del Sur, nothing was listed in the name of accused Ruben Burgos, neither was his name
included among the lists of persons who applied for the licensing of the firearm under
Presidential Decree No. 1745.
After the above-testimony the prosecution formally closed its case and offered its exhibits, which
were all admitted in evidence, despite objection interposed by counsel for accused, which was
accordingly overruled.
On the other hand, the defendant-appellant's version of the case against him is stated in the decision as follows:

From his farm, the military personnel, whom he said he cannot recognize, brought him to the PC
Barracks at Digos, Davao del Sur, and arrived there at about 3:00 o'clock, on the same date. At
about 8:00 o'clock P.M., in the evening, he was investigated by soldiers, whom he cannot Identify
because they were wearing a civilian attire. (TSN, page 14 1, Hearing-June 15, 1983)
The investigation was conducted in the PC barracks, where he was detained with respect to the
subject firearm, which the investigator, wished him to admit but accused denied its ownership.
Because of his refusal accused was mauled, hitting him on the left and right side of his body
which rendered him unconscious. Accused in an atmosphere of tersed solemnity, crying and with
emotional attachment, described in detail how he was tortured and the ordeals he was subjected.
He said, after recovery of his consciousness, he was again confronted with subject firearm,
Exhibit "A", for him to admit and when he repeatedly refused to accept as his own firearm, he
was subjected to further prolong (sic) torture and physical agony. Accused said, his eyes were
covered with wet black cloth with pungent effect on his eyes. He was undressed, with only
blindfold, pungent water poured in his body and over his private parts, making his entire body,
particularly his penis and testicle, terribly irritating with pungent pain.
All along, he was investigated to obtain his admission, The process of beating, mauling, pain
and/or ordeal was repeatedly done in similar cycle, from May 13 and 14, 1982. intercepted only
whenever he fell unconscious and again repeated after recovery of his senses,
Finally on May 15, 1982, after undergoing the same torture and physical ordeal he was seriously
warned, if he will still adamantly refuse to accept ownership of the subject firearm, he will be
salvaged, and no longer able to bear any further the pain and agony, accused admitted
ownership of subject firearm.
After his admission, the mauling and torture stopped, but accused was made to sign his affidavit
marked as Exhibit "E" for the prosecution, consisting of five (5) pages, including the certification
of the administering officer, (TSN, pages 141-148, Hearing-June 15, 1983)
In addition to how he described the torture inflicted on him, accused, by way of explanation and
commentary in details, and going one by one, the allegations and/or contents of his alleged
extrajudicial statement, attributed his answers to those questions involuntarily made only
because of fear, threat and intimidation of his person and family, as a result of unbearable
excruciating pain he was subjected by an investigator, who, unfortunately he cannot Identify and
was able to obtain his admission of the subject firearm, by force and violence exerted over his
person.
To support denial of accused of being involved in any subversive activities, and also to support
his denial to the truth of his alleged extra-judicial confession, particularly questions Nos. 35, 38,
41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46 and 47, along with qqqs answers to those questions, involving Honorata
Arellano ahas Inday Arellano, said Honorata Arellano appeared and declared categorically, that
the above-questions embraced in the numbers allegedly stated in the extrajudicial confession of
accused, involving her to such NPA personalities, as Jamper, Pol, Anthony, etc., were not true
because on the date referred on April 28, 1982, none of the persons mentioned came to her
house for treatment, neither did she meet the accused nor able to talk with him. (TSN, pages
118- 121, Hearing-May 18, 1983)
She, however, admitted being familiar with one Oscar Gomez, and that she was personally
charged with subversion in the Office of the Provincial Commander, Philippine Constabulary,
Digos, Davao del Sur, but said charge was dismissed without reaching the Court. She likewise
stated that her son, Rogelio Arellano, was likewise charged for subversion filed in the Municipal
Trial Court of Digos, Davao del Sur, but was likewise dismissed for lack of sufficient evidence to

sustain his conviction. (TSN, pages 121-122, in relation to her cross-examination, Hearing-May
18, 1983)
To support accused's denial of the charge against him, Barangay Captain of Tiguman, Digos,
Davao del Sur, Salvador qqqGalaraga was presented, who declared, he was not personally
aware of any subversive activities of accused, being his neighbor and member of his barrio. On
the contrary, he can personally attest to his good character and reputation, as a law abiding
citizen of his barrio, being a carpenter and farmer thereat. (TSl pages 128-129, Hearing-May 18,
1983)
He however, admitted in cross-examination, that there were a lot of arrests made by the
authorities in his barrio involving subversive activities but they were released and were not
formally charged in Court because they publicly took their oath of allegiance with the
government. (TSN, pages 133-134, in relation to page 136, Hearing-May 18, 1983)
Finally, to support accused's denial of the subject firearm, his wife, Urbana Burgos, was
presented and who testified that the subject firearm was left in their house by Cesar Masamlok
and one Pedipol on May 10, 1982. It was night time, when the two left the gun, alleging that it
was not in order, and that they will leave it behind, temporarily for them to claim it later. They
were the ones who buried it. She said, her husband, the accused, was not in their house at that
time and that she did not inform him about said firearm neither did she report the matter to the
authorities, for fear of the life of her husband. (TSN, page 24, November 22, 1983)
On cross-examination, she said, even if Masamlok during the recovery of the firearm, was
wearing a mask, she can still Identify him. (TSN, page 6, Hearing-November 22, 1983)
After the above-testimony, accused through counsel formally rested his case in support of
accused's through counsel manifestation for the demurrer to evidence of the prosecution, or in
the alternative for violation merely of simple illegal possession of firearm, 'under the Revised
Administrative Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 4, reflected in the manifestation of
counsel for accused. (TSN, pages 113-114, Hearing-May 18, 1983)
Accused-appellant Ruben Burgos now raises the following assignments of error, to wit:
I THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT (SIC) THE ARREST OF ACCUSEDAPPELLANT WITHOUT VALID WARRANT TO BE LAWFUL.
II THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THE SEARCH IN THE HOUSE OF ACCUSEDAPPELLANT FOR FIREARM WITHOUT VALID WARRANT TO BE LAWFUL.
III THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT FOR VIOLATION OF P.D. No. 9 IN RELATION TO GENERAL ORDERS
NOS. 6 AND 7
Was the arrest of Ruben Burgos lawful? Were the search of his house and the subsequent confiscation of a
firearm and documents allegedly found therein conducted in a lawful and valid manner? Does the evidence
sustaining the crime charged meet the test of proving guilt beyond reasonable doubt?
The records of the case disclose that when the police authorities went to the house of Ruben Burgos for the
purpose of arresting him upon information given by Cesar Masamlok that the accused allegedly recruited him to
join the New People's Army (NPA), they did not have any warrant of arrest or search warrant with them (TSN, p.
25, October 14, 1982; and TSN, p. 61, November 15, 1982).
Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution provides:

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 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 other responsible officer as may be authorized by law, 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.
The constitutional provision is a safeguard against wanton and unreasonable invasion of the privacy and liberty
of a citizen as to his person, papers and effects. This Court explained in Villanueva vs. Querubin (48 SCRA 345)
why this right is so important:
It is deference to one's personality that lies at the core of this right, but it could be also looked
upon as a recognition of a constitutionally protected area, primarily one's home, but not
necessarily thereto confined. (Cf. Hoffa v. United States, 385 US 293 [19661) What is sought to
be guarded is a man's prerogative to choose who is allowed entry to his residence. In that haven
of refuge, his individuality can assert itself not only in the choice of who shall be welcome but
likewise in the kind of objects he wants around him. There the state, however powerful, does not
as such have access except under the circumstances above noted, for in the traditional
formulation, his house, however humble, is his castle. Thus is outlawed any unwarranted
intrusion by government, which is called upon to refrain from any invasion of his dwelling and to
respect the privacies of his life, (Cf. Schmerber v. California, 384 US 757 [1966], Brennan, J. and
Boyd v. United States, 116 US 616, 630 [1886]). In the same vein, Landynski in his authoritative
work (Search and Seizure and the Supreme Court [1966], could fitly characterize this
constitutional right as the embodiment of a 'spiritual concept: the belief that to value the privacy
of home and person and to afford its constitutional protection against the long reach of
government is no legs than to value human dignity, and that his privacy must not be disturbed
except in case of overriding social need, and then only under stringent procedural safeguards.'
(Ibid, p. 47).
The trial court justified the arrest of the accused-appelant without any warrant as falling under one of the
instances when arrests may be validly made without a warrant. Rule 113, Section 6 * of the Rules of Court,
provides the exceptions as follows:
a) When the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is about to commit an offense in his
presence;
b) When an offense has in fact been committed, and he has reasonable ground to believe that the person to be
arrested has committed it;
c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal 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 confinement to another.
The Court stated that even if there was no warrant for the arrest of Burgos, the fact that "the authorities received
an urgent report of accused's involvement in subversive activities from a reliable source (report of Cesar
Masamlok) the circumstances of his arrest, even without judicial warrant, is lawfully within the ambit of Section 6A of Rule 113 of the Rules of Court and applicable jurisprudence on the matter."
If the arrest is valid, the consequent search and seizure of the firearm and the alleged subversive documents
would become an incident to a lawful arrest as provided by Rule 126, Section 12, which states:
A person charged with an offense may be searched for dangerous weapons or anything which
may be used as proof of the commission of the offense.
The conclusions reached by the trial court are erroneous.

Under Section 6(a) of Rule 113, the officer arresting a person who has just committed, is committing, or is about
to commit an offense must have personal knowledge of that fact. The offense must also be committed in his
presence or within his view. (Sayo v. Chief of Police, 80 Phil. 859).
There is no such personal knowledge in this case. Whatever knowledge was possessed by the arresting officers,
it came in its entirety from the information furnished by Cesar Masamlok. The location of the firearm was given
by the appellant's wife.
At the time of the appellant's arrest, he was not in actual possession of any firearm or subversive document.
Neither was he committing any act which could be described as subversive. He was, in fact, plowing his field at
the time of the arrest.
The right of a person to be secure against any unreasonable seizure of his body and any deprivation of his
liberty is a most basic and fundamental one. The statute or rule which allows exceptions to the requirement of
warrants of arrest is strictly construed. Any exception must clearly fall within the situations when securing a
warrant would be absurd or is manifestly unnecessary as provided by the Rule. We cannot liberally construe the
rule on arrests without warrant or extend its application beyond the cases specifically provided by law. To do so
would infringe upon personal liberty and set back a basic right so often violated and so deserving of full
protection.
The Solicitor General is of the persuasion that the arrest may still be considered lawful under Section 6(b) using
the test of reasonableness. He submits that. the information given by Cesar Masamlok was sufficient to induce a
reasonable ground that a crime has been committed and that the accused is probably guilty thereof.
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 committed a crime. A crime must in fact or actually have been
committed first. That a crime has actually been committed is an essential precondition. It is not 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 applies only to the identity of the perpetrator.
In this case, the accused was arrested on the sole basis of Masamlok's verbal report. Masamlok led the
authorities to suspect that the accused had committed a crime. They were still fishing for evidence of a crime not
yet ascertained. The subsequent recovery of the subject firearm on the basis of information from the lips of a
frightened wife cannot make the arrest lawful, If an arrest without warrant is unlawful at the moment it is made,
generally nothing that happened or is discovered afterwards can make it lawful. The fruit of a poisoned tree is
necessarily also tainted.
More important, we find no compelling reason for the haste with which the arresting officers sought to arrest the
accused. We fail to see why they failed to first go through the process of obtaining a warrant of arrest, if indeed
they had reasonable ground to believe that the accused had truly committed a crime. There is no showing that
there was a real apprehension that the accused was on the verge of flight or escape. Likewise, there is no
showing that the whereabouts of the accused were unknown,
The basis for the action taken by the arresting officer was the verbal report made by Masamlok who was not
required to subscribe his allegations under oath. There was no compulsion for him to state truthfully his charges
under pain of criminal prosecution. (TSN, p. 24, October 14, 1982). Consequently, the need to go through the
process of securing a search warrant and a warrant of arrest becomes even more clear. The arrest of the
accused while he was plowing his field is illegal. The arrest being unlawful, the search and seizure which
transpired afterwards could not likewise be deemed legal as being mere incidents to a valid arrest.
Neither can it be presumed that there was a waiver, or that consent was given by the accused to be searched
simply because he failed to object. 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 a right; and lastly, that said
person had an actual intention to relinquish the right (Pasion Vda. de Garcia v. Locsin, 65 Phil. 689). The fact
that the accused failed to object to the entry into his house does not amount to a permission to make a search

therein (Magoncia v. Palacio, 80 Phil. 770). As pointed out by Justice Laurel in the case of Pasion Vda. de
Garcia V. Locsin (supra)
xxx xxx xxx
. . . 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 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. (56 C.J., pp. 1180, 1181).
We apply the rule that: "courts indulge every reasonable presumption against waiver of fundamental
constitutional rights and that we do not presume acquiescence in the loss of fundamental rights." (Johnson v.
Zerbst 304 U.S. 458).
That the accused-appellant was not apprised of any of his constitutional rights at the time of his arrest is evident
from the records:
A CALAMBA:
Q When you went to the area to arrest Ruben Burgos, you were not armed with
an arrest warrant?
A None Sir.
Q Neither were you armed with a search warrant?
A No Sir.
Q As a matter of fact, Burgos was not present in his house when you went there?
A But he was twenty meters away from his house.
Q Ruben Burgos was then plowing his field?
A Yes Sir.
Q When you called for Ruben Burgos you interviewed him?
A Yes Sir.
Q And that you told him that Masamlok implicated him?
A No Sir.
Q What did you tell him?
A That we received information that you have a firearm, you surrender that
firearm, first he denied but when Sgt. Buncalan interviewed his wife, his wife told
him that it is buried, I dug the firearm which was wrapped with a cellophane.
Q In your interview of Burgos you did not remind him of his rights under the
constitution considering that he was purposely under arrest?
A I did not.

Q As a matter of fact, he denied that he has ever a gun?


A Yes Sir.
Q As a matter of fact, the gun was not in his possession?
A It was buried down in his horse.
Q As a matter of fact, Burgos did not point to where it was buried?
A Yes Sir.
(TSN, pp. 25-26, Hearing-October 14, 1982)
Considering that the questioned firearm and the alleged subversive documents were obtained in violation of the
accused's constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, it follows that they are inadmissible
as evidence.
There is another aspect of this case.
In proving ownership of the questioned firearm and alleged subversive documents, the prosecution presented
the two arresting officers who testified that the accused readily admitted ownership of the gun after qqqs wife
pointed to the place where it was buried. The officers stated that it was the accused himself who voluntarily
pointed to the place where the alleged subversive documents were hidden.
Assuming this to be true, it should be recalled that the accused was never informed of his constitutional rights at
the time of his arrest. So that when the accused allegedly admitted ownership of the gun and pointed to the
location of the subversive documents after questioning, the admissions were obtained in violation of the
constitutional right against self-incrimination under Sec. 20 of Art. IV of the Bill of Rights winch provides:
No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. Any person under investigation for
the commission of an offense shall have the right to remain silent and to counsel, and to be
informed of such right.. . .
The Constitution itself mandates that any evidence obtained in violation of this right is inadmissible in evidence.
Consequently, the testimonies of the arresting officers as to the admissions made by the appellant cannot be
used against him.
The trial court validly rejected the extra-judicial confession of the accused as inadmissible in evidence. The court
stated that the appellant's having been exhaustively subjected to physical terror, violence, and third degree
measures may not have been supported by reliable evidence but the failure to present the investigator who
conducted the investigation gives rise to the "provocative presumption" that indeed torture and physical violence
may have been committed as stated.
The accused-appellant was not accorded his constitutional right to be assisted by counsel during the custodial
interrogation. The lower court correctly pointed out that the securing of counsel, Atty. Anyog, to help the accused
when he subscribed under oath to his statement at the Fiscal's Office was too late. It could have no palliative
effect. It cannot cure the absence of counsel at the time of the custodial investigation when the extrajudicial
statement was being taken.
With the extra-judicial confession, the firearm, and the alleged subversive documents inadmissible in evidence
against the accused-appellant, the only remaining proof to sustain the charge of Illegal Possession of Firearm in
Furtherance of Subversion is the testimony of Cesar Masamlok.

We find the testimony of Masamlok inadequate to convict Burgos beyond reasonable doubt. It is true that the
trial court found Masamlok's testimony credible and convincing. However, we are not necessarily bound by the
credibility which the trial court attaches to a particular witness. As stated in People vs.. Cabrera (100 SCRA 424):
xxx xxx xxx
. . .Time and again we have stated that when it comes to question of credibility the findings of the
trial court are entitled to great respect upon appeal for the obvious reason th+at it was able to
observe the demeanor, actuations and deportment of the witnesses during the trial. But we have
also said that this rule is not absolute for otherwise there would be no reversals of convictions
upon appeal. We must reject the findings of the trial court where the record discloses
circumstances of weight and substance which were not properly appreciated by the trial court.
The situation under which Cesar Masamlok testified is analogous to that found in People vs. Capadocia (17
SCRA 98 1):
. . . The case against appellant is built on Ternura's testimony, and the issue hinges on how much
credence can be accorded to him. The first consideration is that said testimony stands
uncorroborated. Ternura was the only witness who testified on the mimeographing incident. . . .
xxx xxx xxx
. . .He was a confessed Huk under detention at the time. He knew his fate depended upon how
much he cooperated with the authorities, who were then engaged in a vigorous anti-dissident
campaign. As in the case of Rodrigo de Jesus, whose testimony We discounted for the same
reason, that of Ternura cannot be considered as proceeding from a totally unbiased source. . . .
In the instant case, Masamlok's testimony was totally uncorroborated. Considering that Masamlok surrendered
to the military certainly his fate depended on how eagerly he cooperated with the authorities. Otherwise, he
would also be charged with subversion. The trade-off appears to be his membership in the Civil Home Defense
Force. (TSN, p. 83, January 4, 1983). Masamlok may be considered as an interested witness. It can not be said
that his testimony is free from the opportunity and temptation to be exaggerated and even fabricated for it was
intended to secure his freedom.
Despite the fact that there were other persons present during the alleged NPA seminar of April 19, 1982 i.e.,
Masamlok's father ,Matuguil Masamlok, Isabel Ilan and Ayok Ides (TSN, p. 74, January 4, 1983) who could have
corroborated Cesar Masamlok's testimony that the accused used the gun in furtherance of subversive activities
or actually engaged in subversive acts, the prosecution never presented any other witness.
This Court is, therefore, constrained to rule that the evidence presented by the prosecution is insufficient to
prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.
As held in the case of People vs. Baia (34 SCRA 347):
It is evident that once again, reliance can be placed on People v. Dramayo (42 SCRA 59), where
after stressing that accusation is not, according to the fundamental law, synonymous with guilt, it
was made clear: 'Only if the judge below and the appellate tribunal could arrive at a conclusion
that the crime had been committed precisely by the person on trial under such an exacting test
should the sentence be one of conviction. It is thus required that every circumstance favoring his
innocence be duly taken into account. The proof against him must survive the test of reason; the
strongest suspicion must not be permitted to sway judgment. The conscience must be satisfied
that on the defendant could be laid the responsibility for the offense charged; that not only did he
perpetrate the act but that it amounted to a crime. What is required then is moral certainty.'
(Ibid, 64. Cf. People v. Alvarez, 55 SCRA 81; People v. Joven, 64 SCRA 126; People vs.
Ramirez, 69 SCRA 144; People vs. Godov 72 SCRA 69; People v. Lopez, 74 SCRA 205; People

v. Poblador, 76 SCRA 634; People v. Quiazon, 78 SCRA 513; People v. Nazareno, 80 SCRA 484;
People vs. Gabilan 115 SCRA 1; People v. Gabiana, 117 SCRA 260; and People vs. Ibanga 124
SCRA 697).
We are aware of the serious problems faced by the military in Davao del Sur where there appears to be a wellorganized plan to overthrow the Government through armed struggle and replace it with an alien system based
on a foreign ideology. The open defiance against duly constituted authorities has resulted in unfortunate levels of
violence and human suffering publicized all over the country and abroad. Even as we reiterate the need for all
freedom loving citizens to assist the military authorities in their legitimate efforts to maintain peace and national
security, we must also remember the dictum in Morales vs. Enrile (1 21 SCRA 538, 569) when this Court stated:
While the government should continue to repel the communists, the subversives, the rebels, and
the lawless with an the means at its command, it should always be remembered that whatever
action is taken must always be within the framework of our Constitution and our laws.
Violations of human rights do not help in overcoming a rebellion. A cavalier attitude towards constitutional
liberties and protections will only fan the increase of subversive activities instead of containing and suppressing
them.
WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction rendered by the trial court is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The
accused-appellant is hereby ACQUITTED, on grounds of reasonable doubt, of the crime with which he has been
charged.
The subject firearm involved in this case (homemade revolver, caliber .38, Smith and Wesson, with Serial No.
8.69221) and the alleged subversive documents are ordered disposed of in accordance with law.
Cost de oficio.

G.R. No. 91107

June 19, 1991

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
MIKAEL MALMSTEDT, *defendant-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Romulo, Mabanta, Buenaventura, Sayoc & De los Angeles for defendant-appellant.
PADILLA, J.:
In an information dated 15 June 1989, accused-appellant Mikael Malmstedt (hereinafter referred to as
the accused) was charged before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of La Trinidad, Benguet, Branch 10,
in Criminal Case No. 89-CR-0663, for violation of Section 4, Art. II of Republic Act 6425, as amended,
otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as amended. The factual background of the
case is as follows:
Accused Mikael Malmstedt, a Swedish national, entered the Philippines for the third time in December
1988 as a tourist. He had visited the country sometime in 1982 and 1985.
In the evening of 7 May 1989, accused left for Baguio City. Upon his arrival thereat in the morning of
the following day, he took a bus to Sagada and stayed in that place for two (2) days.
At around 7:00 o'clock in the morning of 11 May 1989, accused went to the Nangonogan bus stop in
Sagada to catch the first available trip to Baguio City. From Baguio City, accused planned to 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 8005 and Plate number
AVC 902.1
At about 8: 00 o'clock in the morning of that same day (11 May 1989), Captain Alen Vasco, the
Commanding Officer of the First Regional Command (NARCOM) stationed at Camp Dangwa, ordered
his men to set up a temporary checkpoint at Kilometer 14, Acop, Tublay, Mountain Province, for the
purpose of checking all vehicles coming from the Cordillera Region. The order to 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 received by the
Commanding Officer of NARCOM, that same morning, that a Caucasian coming from Sagada had in
his possession prohibited drugs.2
The group composed of seven (7) NARCOM officers, in coordination with Tublay Police Station, set up
a checkpoint at the designated area at about 10:00 o'clock in the morning and inspected all vehicles
coming from the Cordillera Region.
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 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.
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 was bulging
on his waist. The bulging object turned out to be a pouch bag and when accused 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 bus,
accused stopped to get two (2) travelling bags from the luggage carrier.
Upon stepping out of the bus, the officers got the bags and opened them. A teddy bear was found in
each bag. Feeling the teddy bears, the officer noticed that there were bulges inside the same which did
not feel like foam stuffing. It was only after the officers had opened the bags that accused finally
presented his passport.
Accused was then brought to the headquarters of the NARCOM at Camp Dangwa, La Trinidad,
Benguet for further investigation. At the investigation room, the officers opened the teddy bears 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 Laboratory for
chemical analysis.
In the chemistry report, it was established that the objects examined were hashish. a prohibited drug
which is a derivative of marijuana. Thus, an information was filed against accused for violation of the
Dangerous Drugs Act.
During the arraignment, accused entered a plea of "not guilty." For his defense, he raised the 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, but were merely
entrusted to him by an Australian couple whom he met in Sagada. He further claimed that the
Australian couple intended to take the same bus with him but because there were no more seats
available in said bus, they decided to take the next ride and asked accused to take charge of the bags,
and that they would meet each other at the Dangwa Station.
Likewise, accused alleged that when the NARCOM officers demanded for his passport and other
Identification papers, he handed to one of the officers his pouch bag which was hanging on his 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 back, he
charged the accused that there was hashish in the bag. He was told to get off the bus and his picture
was taken with the pouch bag placed around his neck. The trial court did not give credence to
accused's defense.
The claim of the accused that the hashish was planted by the NARCOM officers, was belied by his
failure to raise such defense at the earliest opportunity. When accused was investigated at the
Provincial Fiscal's Office, he did not inform the Fiscal or his lawyer that the hashish was planted by 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 hashish in
his pouch bag.
In a decision dated 12 October 1989, the trial court found accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt 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:
WHEREFORE, finding the guilt of the accused Mikael Malmstedt established beyond
reasonable doubt, this Court finds him GUILTY of violation of Section 4, Article 11 of 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 imprisonment in case of
insolvency and to pay the costs.
Let the hashish subject of this case be turned over to the First Narcotics Regional Unit at Camp
Bado; Dangwa, La Trinidad Benguet for proper disposition under Section 20, Article IV of
Republic Act 6425, as amended.
SO ORDERED.4

Seeking the reversal of the decision of the trial court finding him guilty of the crime charged, 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 search are not
admissible as evidence against him.
The Constitution guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and
effects against unreasonable searches and seizures. 5 However, where the search is made 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
Sec. 5 Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or a private person may, without a
warrant, arrest a person:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed is actually committing, or is
attempting to commit an offense;
(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
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal 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 confinement to another.
In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the person arrested without a warrant shall
be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or jail, and he shall be proceeded against in
accordance with Rule 112, Section 7. (6a 17a).
Accused was searched and arrested while transporting prohibited drugs (hashish). A crime was
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 law,
which allow a warrantless search incident to a lawful arrest. 7
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, there was
sufficient probable cause for said officers to believe that accused was then and there committing a
crime.
Probable cause has been defined as such facts and circumstances which could lead a 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 required probable cause
that will justify a warrantless search and seizure is not determined by any fixed formula but is resolved
according to the facts of each case.9
Warrantless search of the personal effects of an accused has been declared by this Court as valid,
because of existence of probable cause, where the smell of marijuana emanated from a plastic bag
owned by the accused,10or where the accused was acting suspiciously,11 and attempted to flee.12
Aside from the persistent reports received by the NARCOM that vehicles coming from Sagada 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 his possession.
Said information was received by the Commanding Officer of NARCOM the very same morning that
accused came down by bus from Sagada on his way to Baguio City.
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 drugs, there
was no time to obtain a search warrant. In the Tangliben case,13 the police authorities 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 an informer was
apprehended and searched by the police authorities. It was held that when faced with on-the-spot
information, the police officers had to act quickly and there was no time to secure a search warrant.
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.