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1. People vs. Gerente


2. People vs Doria
3. People vs Ruben Montilla Gatdula
4. People vs Acol

G.R. No. 95847-48. March 10, 1993.

People vs. Gerente [GR 95847-48, 10 March 1993] First Division, Grino-Aquino (J): 3 concur

Facts: At about 7:00 a.m. of 30 April 1990, Gabriel Gerente, together with Fredo Echigoren and Totoy Echigoren,
allegedly started drinking liquor and smoking marijuana in Gerente's house which is about 6 meters away from the
house of Edna Edwina Reyes who was in her house on that day. She overheard the three men talking about their
intention to kill Clarito Blace. She testified that she heard Fredo Echigoren saying, "Gabriel, papatayin natin si
Clarito Blace." Fredo and Totoy Echigoren and Gerente carried out their plan to kill Clarito Blace at about 2:00 p.m.
of the same day. Reyes allegedly witnessed the killing. Fredo Echigoren struck the first blow against Clarito Blace,
followed by Totoy Echigoren and Gabriel Gerente who hit him twice with a piece of wood in the head and when he
fell, Totoy Echigoren dropped a hollow block on the victim's head. Thereafter, the three men dragged Blace to a
place behind the house of Gerente. At about 4:00 p.m. of the same day, Patrolman Jaime Urrutia of the Valenzuela
Police Station received a report from the Palo Police Detachment about a mauling incident. He went to the
Valenzuela District Hospital where the victim was brought. He was informed by the hospital officials that the victim
died on arrival. The cause of death was massive fracture of the skull caused by a hard and heavy object. Right
away, Patrolman Urrutia, together with Police Corporal Romeo Lima and Patrolman Alex Umali, proceeded to
Paseo de Blas where the mauling incident took place. There they found a piece of wood with blood stains, a hollow
block and two roaches of marijuana. They were informed by Reyes that she saw the killing and she pointed to
Gabriel Gerente as one of the three men who killed Clarito. The policemen proceeded to the house of Gerente,
who was then sleeping. They told him to come out of the house and they introduced themselves as policemen.
Constitutional Law II, 2005 ( 97 ) Narratives (Berne Guerrero) Patrolman Urrutia frisked Gerente and found a coin
purse in his pocket which contained dried leaves wrapped in cigarette foil. The dried leaves were sent to the
National Bureau of Investigation for examination. The Forensic Chemist found them to be marijuana. Only Gerente
was apprehended by the police. The other suspects, Fredo and Totoy Echigoren, are still at large. On 2 May 1990,
two separate informations were filed by Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Benjamin Caraig against him for Violation
of Section 8, Art. II, of RA 6425, and for Murder. When arraigned on 16 May 1990, Gerente pleaded not guilty to
both charges. A joint trial of the two cases was held. On 24 September 1990, the Regional Trial Court of
Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Branch 172, found Gerente guilty of Violation of Section 8 of Republic Act 6425 and
sentenced him to suffer the penalty of imprisonment for a term of 12 years and 1 day, as minimum, to 20 years, as
maximum; and also found him guilty of Murder for which crime he was sentenced to suffer the penalty of
reclusion perpetua. . Gerente appealed.
Issue: Whether the police officers have the personal knowledge of the killing of Blace to allow them to arrest, and
the subsequent searchly Gerentes person, without the necessary warrant.

Held: The search of Gerente's person and the seizure of the marijuana leaves in his possession were valid because
they were incident to a lawful warrantless arrest. Paragraphs (a) and (b), Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules
of Court provide that "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;"

The policemen arrested Gerente only some 3 hours after Gerente and his companions had killed Blace. They saw
Blace dead in the hospital and when they inspected the scene of the crime, they found the instruments of death: a
piece of wood and a concrete hollow block which the killers had used to bludgeon him to death. The eye-witness,
Edna Edwina Reyes, reported the happening to the policemen and pinpointed her neighbor, Gerente, as one of the
killers. Under those circumstances, since the policemen had personal knowledge of the violent death of Blace and
of facts indicating that Gerente and two others had killed him, they could lawfully arrest Gerente without a
warrant. If they had postponed his arrest until they could obtain a warrant, he would have fled the law as his two
companions did. The search conducted on Gerente's person was likewise lawful because it was made as an
incident to a valid arrest. This is in accordance with Section 12, Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Court which
provides that "A person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous weapons or anything which may be used
as proof of the commission of an offense, without a search warrant." The frisk and search of Gerente's person
upon his arrest was a permissible precautionary measure of arresting officers to protect themselves, for the person
who is about to be arrested may be armed and might attack them unless he is first disarmed.

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 123872. January 30, 1998]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. RUBEN MONTILLA y GATDULA, accused-


appellant.

DECISION
REGALADO, J.:

Accused-Appellant Ruben Montilla y Gatdula, alias "Joy," was charged on August 22, 1994 for
violating Section 4, Article II of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, Republic Act No. 6425, as amended by
Republic Act No. 7659, before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 90, of Dasmarias, Cavite in an
information which alleges:
That on or about the 20th day of June 1994, at Barangay Salitran, Municipality of Dasmarias, Province of
Cavite, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, not
being authorized by law, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, administer, transport, and
deliver twenty-eight (28) kilos of dried marijuana leaves, which are considered prohibited drugs, in
violation of the provisions of R.A. 6425 thereby causing damage and prejudice to the public interest. [1]

The consequent arraignment conducted on September 14, 1994 elicited a plea of not guilty from
appellant who was assisted therein by his counsel de parte.[2] Trial was held on scheduled dates
thereafter, which culminated in a verdict of guilty in a decision of the trial court dated June 8, 1995 and
which imposed the extreme penalty of death on appellant. He was further ordered to pay a fine in the
amount of P500,000.00 and to pay the costs of the proceedings.[3]
It appears from the evidence of the prosecution that appellant was apprehended at around 4:00 A.M.
of June 20, 1994 near a waiting shed located at Barangay Salitran, Dasmarias, Cavite by SPO1
Concordio Talingting and SPO1 Armando Clarin, both members of the Cavite Philippine National Police
Command based in Dasmarias. Appellant, according to the two officers, was caught transporting 28
marijuana bricks contained in a traveling bag and a carton box, which marijuana bricks had a total weight
of 28 kilos.
These two officers later asserted in court that they were aided by an informer in the arrest of
appellant. That informer, according to Talingting and Clarin, had informed them the day before, or on
June 19, 1994 at about 2:00 P.M., that a drug courier, whom said informer could recognize, would be
arriving somewhere in Barangay Salitran, Dasmarias from Baguio City with an undetermined amount of
marijuana. It was the same informer who pinpointed to the arresting officers the appellant when the latter
alighted from a passenger jeepney on the aforestated day, hour, and place.[4]
Upon the other hand, appellant disavowed ownership of the prohibited drugs. He claimed during the
trial that while he indeed came all the way from Baguio City, he traveled to Dasmarias, Cavite with only
some pocket money and without any luggage. His sole purpose in going there was to look up his cousin
who had earlier offered a prospective job at a garment factory in said locality, after which he would return
to Baguio City. He never got around to doing so as he was accosted by SPO1 Talingting and SPO1
Clarin at Barangay Salitran.
He further averred that when he was interrogated at a house in Dasmarias, Cavite, he was never
informed of his constitutional rights and was in fact even robbed of the P500.00 which he had with
him. Melita Adaci, the cousin, corroborated appellant's testimony about the job offer in the garment
factory where she reportedly worked as a supervisor,[5] although, as the trial court observed, she never
presented any document to prove her alleged employment.
In the present appellate review, appellant disputes the trial court's finding that he was legally caught
in flagrante transporting the prohibited drugs. This Court, after an objective and exhaustive review of the
evidence on record, discerns no reversible error in the factual findings of the trial court. It finds
unassailable the reliance of the lower court on the positive testimonies of the police officers to whom no ill
motives can be attributed, and its rejection of appellant's fragile defense of denial which is evidently self-
serving in nature.
1. Firstly, appellant asserts that the court a quo grossly erred in convicting him on the basis of
insufficient evidence as no proof was proffered showing that he wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously
administered, transported, and delivered 28 kilos of dried marijuana leaves, since the police officers
"testified only on the alleged transporting of Marijuana from Baguio City to Cavite."
Further, the failure of the prosecution to present in court the civilian informant is supposedly
corrosive of the People's cause since, aside from impinging upon appellant's fundamental right to confront
the witnesses against him, that informant was a vital personality in the operation who would have
contradicted the hearsay and conflicting testimonies of the arresting officers on how appellant was
collared by them.
The pertinent provision of the penal law here involved, in Section 4 of Article II thereof, as amended,
is as follows:
SEC. 4. Sale, Administration, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of Prohibited Drugs. - The penalty
of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos
shall be imposed upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, administer, deliver, give
away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport any prohibited drug, or shall act as a broker in
any of such transactions.

Notwithstanding the provision of Section 20 of this Act to the contrary, if the victim of the offense is a
minor, or should a prohibited drug involved in any offense under this Section be the proximate cause of
the death of a victim thereof, the maximum penalty herein provided shall be imposed.

Now, the offense ascribed to appellant is a violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act, some of the
various modes of commission[6] being the sale, administration, delivery, distribution, and transportation of
prohibited drugs as set forth in the epigraph of Section 4, Article II of said law. The text of Section 4
expands and extends its punitive scope to other acts besides those mentioned in its headnote by
including these who shall sell, administer, deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or
transport any prohibited drug, or shall act as a broker in any of such transactions." Section 4 could thus
be violated by the commission of any of the acts specified therein, or a combination thereof, such as
selling, administering, delivering, giving away, distributing, dispatching in transit or transporting, and the
like.
As already stated, appellant was charged with a violation of Section 4, the transgressive acts alleged
therein and attributed to appellant being that he administered, delivered, and transported marijuana. The
governing rule with respect to an offense which may be committed in any of the different modes provided
by law is that an indictment would suffice if the offense is alleged to have been committed in one, two or
more modes specified therein. This is so as allegations in the information of the various ways of
committing the offense should be considered as a description of only one offense and the information
cannot be dismissed on the ground of multifariousness.[7] In appellant's case, the prosecution adduced
evidence clearly establishing that he transported marijuana from Baguio City to Cavite. By that act alone
of transporting the illicit drugs, appellant had already run afoul of that particular section of the statute,
hence, appellant's asseverations must fail.
The Court also disagrees with the contention of appellant that the civilian informer should have been
produced in court considering that his testimony was "vital" and his presence in court was essential in
order to give effect to or recognition of appellant's constitutional right to confront the witnesses arrayed by
the State against him. These assertions are, however, much too strained. Far from compromising the
primacy of appellant's right to confrontation, the non-presentation of the informer in this instance was
justified and cannot be faulted as error.
For one, the testimony of said informer would have been, at best, merely corroborative of the
declarations of SPO1 Talingting and SPO1 Clarin before the trial court, which testimonies are not hearsay
as both testified upon matters in which they had personally taken part. As such, the testimony of the
informer could be dispensed with by the prosecution,[8] more so where what he would have corroborated
are the narrations of law enforcers on whose performance of duties regularity is the prevailing legal
presumption. Besides, informants are generally not presented in court because of the need to hide their
identities and preserve their invaluable services to the police.[9] Moreover, it is up to the prosecution
whom to present in court as its witnesses, and not for the defense to dictate that course. [10] Finally,
appellant could very well have resorted to the coercive process of subpoena to compel that eyewitness to
appear before the court below,[11] but which remedy was not availed of by him.
2. Appellant contends that the marijuana bricks were confiscated in the course of an unlawful
warrantless search and seizure. He calls the attention of the Court to the fact that as early as 2:00 P.M. of
the preceding day, June 19, 1994, the police authorities had already been apprised by their so-called
informer of appellant's impending arrival from Baguio City, hence those law enforcers had the opportunity
to procure the requisite warrant. Their misfeasance should therefore invalidate the search for and seizure
of the marijuana, as well as the arrest of appellant on the following dawn. Once again, the Court is not
persuaded.
Section 2, Article III of the Constitution lays down the general rule that a search and seizure must be
carried out through or on the strength of a judicial warrant, absent which such search and seizure
becomes "unreasonable" within the meaning of said constitutional provision. [12] Evidence secured on the
occasion of such an unreasonable search and seizure is tainted and should be excluded for being the
proverbial fruit of a poisonous tree. In the language of the fundamental law, it shall be inadmissible in
evidence for any purpose in any proceeding. This
exclusionary rule is not, however, an absolute and rigid proscription. Thus, (1) customs searches;[13] (2)
searches of moving vehicles,[14] (3) seizure of evidence in plain view;[15] (4) consented searches;[16] (5)
searches incidental to a lawful arrest;[17] and (6) "stop and frisk" measures[18] have been invariably
recognized as the traditional exceptions.
In appellant's case, it should be noted that the information relayed by the civilian informant to the law
enforcers was that there would be delivery of marijuana at Barangay Salitran by a courier coming from
Baguio City in the "early morning" of June 20, 1994. Even assuming that the policemen were not pressed
for time, this would be beside the point for, under these circumstances, the information relayed was too
sketchy and not detailed enough for the obtention of the corresponding arrest or search warrant. While
there is an indication that the informant knew the courier, the records do not reveal that he knew him by
name.
While it is not required that the authorities should know the exact name of the subject of the warrant
applied for, there is the additional problem that the informant did not know to whom the drugs would be
delivered and at which particular part of the barangay there would be such delivery. Neither did this asset
know the precise time of the suspect's arrival, or his means of transportation, the container or contrivance
wherein the drugs were concealed and whether the same were arriving together with, or were being
brought by someone separately from, the courier.
On such bare information, the police authorities could not have properly applied for a warrant,
assuming that they could readily have access to a judge or a court that was still open by the time they
could make preparations for applying therefor, and on which there is no evidence presented by the
defense. In determining the opportunity for obtaining warrants, not only the intervening time is controlling
but all the coincident and ambient circumstances should be considered, especially in rural areas. In fact,
the police had to form a surveillance team and to lay down a dragnet at the possible entry points to
Barangay Salitran at midnight of that day notwithstanding the tip regarding the "early morning" arrival of
the courier. Their leader, SPO2 Cali, had to reconnoiter inside and around the barangay as backup,
unsure as they were of the time when and the place in Barangay Salitran, where their suspect would
show up, and how he would do so.
On the other hand, that they nonetheless believed the informant is not surprising for, as both SPO1
Clarin and SPO1 Talingting recalled, he had proved to be a reliable source in past operations. Moreover,
experience shows that although information gathered and passed on by these assets to law enforcers are
vague and piecemeal, and not as neatly and completely packaged as one would expect from a
professional spymaster, such tip-offs are sometimes successful as it proved to be in the apprehension of
appellant. If the courts of justice are to be of understanding assistance to our law enforcement agencies,
it is necessary to adopt a realistic appreciation of the physical and tactical problems of the latter, instead
of critically viewing them from the placid and clinical environment of judicial chambers.
3. On the defense argument that the warrantless search conducted on appellant invalidates the
evidence obtained from him, still the search on his belongings and the consequent confiscation of the
illegal drugs as a result thereof was justified as a search incidental to a lawful arrest under Section 5(a),
Rule 113 of the Rules of Court. Under that provision, 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.
A legitimate warrantless arrest, as above contemplated, necessarily cloaks the arresting police
officer with authority to validly search and seize from the offender (1) dangerous weapons, and (2) those
that may be used as proof of the commission of an offense.[19] On the other hand, the apprehending
officer must have been spurred by probable cause in effecting an arrest which could
be classified as one in cadence with the instances of permissible arrests set out in Section 5(a). [20] These
instances have been applied to arrests carried out on persons caught in flagrante delicto. The
conventional view is that probable cause, while largely a relative term the determination of which must be
resolved according to the facts of each case, is understood as having reference to such facts and
circumstances which could lead a reasonable, discreet, and prudent man to believe and conclude as to
the commission of an offense, and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place
sought to be searched.[21]
Parenthetically, if we may digress, it is time to observe that the evidentiary measure for the propriety
of filing criminal charges and, correlatively, for effecting a warrantless arrest, has been reduced and
liberalized. In the past, our statutory rules and jurisprudence required prima facie evidence, which was of
a higher degree or quantum,[22] and was even used with dubiety as equivalent to "probable cause." Yet,
even in the American jurisdiction from which we derived the term and its concept, probable cause is
understood to merely mean a reasonable ground for belief in the existence of facts warranting the
proceedings complained of,[23] or an apparent state of facts found to exist upon reasonable inquiry which
would induce a reasonably intelligent and prudent man to believe that the accused person had committed
the crime.[24]
Felicitously, those problems and confusing concepts were clarified and set aright, at least on the
issue under discussion, by the 1985 amendment of the Rules of Court which provides in Rule 112 thereof
that the quantum of evidence required in preliminary investigation is such evidence as suffices to
"engender a well founded belief" as to the fact of the commission of a crime and the respondent's
probable guilt thereof.[25] It has the same meaning as the related phraseology used in other parts of the
same Rule, that is, that the investigating fiscal "finds cause to hold the respondent for trial," or where "a
probable cause exists."[26] It should, therefore, be in that sense, wherein the right to effect a warrantless
arrest should be considered as legally authorized.
In the case at bar, as soon as appellant had alighted from the passenger jeepney the informer at
once indicated to the officers that their suspect was at hand by pointing to him from the waiting shed.
SPO1 Clarin recounted that the informer told them that the marijuana was likely hidden inside the
traveling bag and carton box which appellant was carrying at the time. The officers thus realized that he
was their man even if he was simply carrying a seemingly innocent looking pair of luggage for personal
effects. Accordingly, they approached appellant, introduced themselves as policemen, and requested him
to open and show them the contents of the traveling bag, which appellant voluntarily and readily
did. Upon cursory inspection by SPO1 Clarin, the bag yielded the prohibited drugs, so, without bothering
to further search the box, they brought appellant and his luggage to their headquarters for questioning.
Appellant insists that the mere fact of seeing a person carrying a traveling bag and a carton box
should not elicit the slightest suspicion of the commission of any crime since that is normal. But, precisely,
it is in the ordinary nature of things that drugs being illegally transported are necessarily hidden in
containers and concealed from view. Thus, the officers could reasonably assume, and not merely on a
hollow suspicion since the informant was by their side and had so informed them, that the drugs were in
appellant's luggage. It would obviously have been irresponsible, if not downright absurd under the
circumstances, to require the constable to adopt a "wait and see" attitude at the risk of eventually losing
the quarry.
Here, there were sufficient facts antecedent to the search and seizure that, at the point prior to the
search, were already constitutive of probable cause, and which by themselves could properly create in
the minds of the officers a well-grounded and reasonable belief that appellant was in the act of violating
the law. The search yielded affirmance both of that probable cause and the actuality that appellant was
then actually committing a crime by illegally transporting prohibited drugs. With these attendant facts, it is
ineluctable that appellant was caught in flagrante delicto, hence his arrest and the search of his
belongings without the requisite warrant were both justified.
Furthermore, that appellant also consented to the search is borne out by the evidence. To repeat,
when the officers approached appellant and introduced themselves as policemen, they asked him about
the contents of his luggage, and after he replied that they contained personal effects, the officers asked
him to open the traveling bag. Appellant readily acceded, presumably or in all likelihood resigned to the
fact that the law had caught up with his criminal activities. When an individual voluntarily submits to a
search or consents to have the same conducted upon his person or premises, he is precluded from later
complaining thereof.
After all, the right to be secure from unreasonable search may, like other rights, be waived either
expressly or impliedly.[27] Thus, while it has been held that the silence of the accused during a warrantless
search should not be taken to mean consent to the search but as a demonstration of that person's regard
for the supremacy of the law,[28] the case of herein appellant is evidently different for, here, he
spontaneously performed affirmative acts of volition by himself opening the bag without being forced or
intimidated to do so, which acts should properly be construed as a clear waiver of his right. [29]
4. Appellant likewise harps on the alleged failure of the prosecution to "legally, properly and
adequately establish that the 28 bricks of marijuana allegedly confiscated from (him) were the same
marijuana examined by the forensic chemist and presented in court." Indeed, the arresting officers did not
identify in court the marijuana bricks seized from appellant since, in fact they did not have to do so. It
should be noted that the prosecution presented in the court below and formally offered in evidence those
28 bricks of marijuana together with the traveling bag and the carton box in which the same were
contained. The articles were properly marked as confiscated evidence and proper safeguards were taken
to ensure that the marijuana turned over to the chemist for examination, and which subsequently proved
positive as such, were the same drugs taken from appellant. The trial court, therefore, correctly admitted
them in evidence, satisfied that the articles were indubitably no other than those taken from appellant.
Complementarily, the corpus delicti was firmly established by SPO1 Clarin and SPO1 Talingting who
categorically related that when they had ascertained that the contents of the traveling bag of appellant
appeared to be marijuana, they forthwith asked him where he had come from, and the latter readily
answered "Baguio City," thus confirming the veracity of the report of the informer. No other conclusion
can therefore be derived than that appellant had transported the illicit drugs all the way to Cavite from
Baguio City. Coupled with the presentation in court of the subject matter of the crime, the marijuana
bricks which had tested positive as being indian hemp, the guilt of appellant for transporting the prohibited
drugs in violation of the law is beyond doubt.
Appellant questions the interrogation conducted by the police authorities, claiming that he was not
allowed to communicate with anybody, and that he was not duly informed of his right to remain silent and
to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. Indeed, appellant has a
point. The police authorities here could possibly have violated the provision of Republic Act No.
7438[30] which defines certain rights of persons arrested, detained, or under custodial investigation, as
well as the duties of the arresting, detaining, and investigating officers, and providing corresponding
penalties for violations thereof.
Assuming the existence of such irregularities, however, the proceedings in the lower court will not
necessarily be struck down. Firstly, appellant never admitted or confessed anything during his custodial
investigation. Thus, no incriminatory evidence in the nature of a compelled or involuntary confession or
admission was elicited from him which would otherwise have been inadmissible in evidence. Secondly
and more importantly, the guilt of appellant was clearly established by other evidence adduced by the
prosecution, particularly the testimonies of the arresting officers together with the documentary and object
evidence which were formally offered and admitted in evidence in the court below.
5. The reversible error of the trial court lies in its imposition of the penalty of death on appellant. As
amended by Republic Act No. 7659, Section 20, Article IV of the Dangerous Drugs Act now provides inter
alia that the penalty in Section 4 of Article II shall be applied if the dangerous drugs involved is, in the
case of indian hemp or marijuana, 750 grams or more. In said Section 4, the transporting of prohibited
drugs carries with it the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred
thousand pesos to ten million pesos. Thus, the law prescribes a penalty composed of two indivisible
penalties, reclusion perpetua and death. In the present case, Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code
consequently provides the rules to be observed in the application of said penalties.
As found by the trial court, there were neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstances attending
appellant's violation of the law, hence the second paragraph of Article 63 must necessarily apply, in which
case the lesser penalty of reclusion perpetua is the proper imposable penalty. Contrary to the
pronouncement of the court a quo, it was never intended by the legislature that where the quantity of the
dangerous drugs involved exceeds those stated in Section 20, the maximum penalty of death shall be
imposed. Nowhere in the amendatory law is there a provision from which such a conclusion may be
gleaned or deduced. On the contrary, this Court has already concluded that Republic Act No. 7659 did
not amend Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code,[31] the rules wherein were observed although the
cocaine subject of that case was also in excess of the quantity provided in Section 20.
It is worth mentioning at this juncture that the law itself provides a specific penalty where the violation
thereof is in its aggravated form as laid down in the second paragraph of Section 4 whereby, regardless
of Section 20 of Article IV, if the victim is a minor, or should a prohibited drug involved in any offense in
said section be the proximate cause of the death of a victim thereof, the maximum penalty shall be
imposed.[32] While the minority or the death of the victim will increase the liability of the offender, these
two facts do not constitute generic aggravating circumstances, as the law simply provides for the
imposition of the single indivisible penalty of death if the offense is attended by either of such factual
features. In that situation, obviously the rules on the graduation of penalties in Article 63 cannot apply. In
herein appellant's case, there was neither a minor victim nor a consequent death of any victim. Hence,
the basic rules in Article 63 of the Code govern.
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 90, of Dasmarias, Cavite in
Criminal Case No. 3401-94 is hereby MODIFIED in the sense that accused-appellant Ruben Montilla y
Gatdula shall suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. In all other respects, the judgment of the trial court
is hereby AFFIRMED, with costs against accused-appellant.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Kapunan, Mendoza, Francisco, and Martinez,
JJ, concur.
Melo, and Puno, JJ., join Panganiban J., separate opinion.
Vitug, J., concur but reserve his vote on the discussion on the warrantless search of appellant as his
incidental to a lawful arrest.

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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT

Manila

THIRD DIVISION
G.R. Nos. 106288-89 May 17, 1994

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,

vs.

TIRSO ACOL Y BARNUBAL and PIO BOSES Y DOLFO, defendants, PIO BOSES, appellant.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.

Public Attorney's Office for accused-appellant.

MELO, J.:

Two passengers who were apprehended after they supposedly staged a hold-up inside a passenger jeepney on
September 29, 1990 were haled to court, not for the felonious asportation, but for possession of the two
unlicensed firearms and bullets recovered from them which were instrumental in the commission of the robo (pp.
7-8, Rollo.)

Of the two persons accused, only Pio Boses interposed an appeal from the trial court's judgment (p. 23, Rollo)
inasmuch as Tirso Acol y Barnubal had escaped from incarceration (p. 5, Brief for the Accused-Appellant, p. 60,
Rollo ) thereby abating any review of his culpability for the misdeed.

The People's inculpatory accusations during the joint trial were to the effect that at around 3:45 in the morning of
September 29, 1990, when Percival Tan was driving his jeepney, two men boarded the vehicle in Cubao. When
they crossed Pasay Road, the two wayfarers, together with two other companions, announced a hold-up. Percival
Tan was instructed to proceed atop the Magallanes interchange where the other passengers were divested of their
personal belongings, including the jacket of passenger Rene Araneta. Thereafter, the robbers alighted at the Shell
Gas Station near the Magallanes Commercial Center after which Percival Tan and his passengers went to Fort
Bonifacio to report the crime. A CAPCOM team was forthwith formed to track down the culprits. Victim Rene
Araneta who went with the responding police officers, upon seeing four persons, one of whom was wearing his
stolen jacket, walking casually towards Fort Bonifacio, told the police authorities to accost said persons. After the
CAPCOM officers introduced themselves, the four men scampered to different directions but three of them,
namely, Tirso Acol, Pio Boses, and Albert Blanco, were apprehended. Tirso Acol and Pio Boses were each found in
possession of an unlicensed .38 caliber revolver with bullets. After the arrest, the three men were brought to Fort
Bonifacio and were identified by Percival Tan and the passengers who ganged up on the accused.

To reinforce the theory of unauthorized possession of firearms, Sgt. Garcia presented a certification (Exhibit I)
issued by the Firearms and Explosives Unit stating that the accused are not licensed firearm holders.

On the other hand, Pio Boses and Tirso Acol pleaded innocent to the charges levelled against them, proferring a
general denial.

Accused-appellant Pio Boses asserted on the witness stand that after establishing his residence at Pasay City for
about six months, he engaged in the business of vending "balut". During the incident in question, he recalled that
while so engaged in his trade, three persons allegedly acosted him, took his money, "balut" and "penoy", and that
he was thereafter brought to a cell where he was forced to confess ownership of one gun which was shown to him.
He nonetheless denied participation in the hold up.

For his part, Tirso Acol, a laborer and at that time having resided in Metro Manila for about two months,
recollected that he spent the night at his cousin's house in Paraaque on September 28, 1990, and that he left
Paraaque at around 5 in the morning of September 29, 1990. According to him, the jeepney he was then riding
developed engine trouble, and alighting therefrom he was arrested for no apparent reason. When he was brought
to the cell, he was allegedly coerced into admiting possession of the other gun. Just like his co-accused, he too,
denied knowledge of the hold up.

The court a quo was unpersuaded by these general denials, observing:

As can be gathered from the foregoing testimonies of the accused, the line of defense they have adopted is one of
denial. Indeed, they denied that the firearms and ammunition in question were found in their persons in the early
morning of September 29, 1989. They also denied the truth of the testimonies of Sgt. Faltado, Percival Tan, and
Rene Araneta. The defense however did not cite any valid reasons for the Court not to give credence to the
testimonies. In the circumstance, the Court is constrained to consider the testimonies of the accused to be self-
serving. In the face of the positive testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, the Court can only take their denials
with the proverbial grain of salt. Verily, it is simply hard for the Court to believe that the accused are simple
provincial who are lost in the big city; that accused Pio Boses who is a resident of Pasay City, does not know well-
known places in Metro Manila such as the South Super Highway and the Fort Bonifacio-Nichols interchange; that
he did not know the streets where he plied his trade as a balut vendor. Indeed, how can this be true when he
himself admitted that from 7:00 p.m. of September 28, 1989, he spent his time walking in the street in the area
and yet he never claimed he had ever lost his way.

The same is true with accused Tirso Acol. The Court is convinced that he lied on the witness stand. He claimed that
he was in the place where he was arrested because he had just come from the residence of his cousin, Genny Acol,
and the passenger jeepney he had boarded on his way home just happened to break down at that place. In the
mind of the Court this alibi of the accused is too much of a coincidence, and too convenient an excuse, for the
Court to believe. In this connection, the Court notes his testimony on cross examination that he was unable to get
in touch with his relatives, including Genny Acol, for possible assistance and to get Genny Acol to corroborate his
testimony, because the latter had already left for the province and that none of his other relatives knew that he
had been charged in this case. But when queried how he was able to say this, he testified that he had written to his
uncle and that he received a reply letter from him and that it was from this reply letter of his uncle that he learned
that Genny Acol had already left for the province. This testimony of accused Tirso Acol, if it accomplished anything,
helped convinced the Court that he is given to lying. For sure, if he had written to his uncle and that the latter had
replied to him, it is plain that he must have informed his uncle about the case and that the latter knew about the
case and the fact that he was in jail and needed help. In any event, established jurisprudence dictates that
between the positive testimonies of prosecution witnesses and the denials of the accused the Court must place its
reliance on the former. As a matter of fact, jurisprudence also indicates that greater weight must be given to the
testimonies of the prosecution witnesses when they are officers of the law. (People vs. Mostoles, Jr., 124 SCRA
906; People vs. Patog, 144 SCRA 129).

(pp. 21-22, Rollo.)

As initially intimated herein, Tirso Acol escaped from detention during the trial below, thus obviating any review of
his conviction, as indeed, even if he had appealed and thereafter escaped, he would be considered as having
abandoned his appeal (People vs. Quinitan, 197 SCRA 32 [1991]; Section 8, Rule 124, Revised Rules on Criminal
Procedure).

With respect to Pio Boses, he chose to articulate his protestation of innocence by claiming that the trial court
below erred:

. . . IN NOT GIVING DUE COURSE TO THE URGENT MOTION OF ACCUSED PIO BOSES TO REOPEN THE CASE HENCE
DEPRIVING HIM TO PRESENT HIS WITNESSES WHOSE TESTIMONIES WOULD HAVE BEEN MATERIAL TO HIS DEFENSE
THEREBY AMOUNTING TO A DENIAL OF DUE PROCESS.
II

. . . IN NOT GIVING CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONIES OF BOTH ACCUSED PIO BOSES AND TIRSO ACOL; INSTEAD, IT
RELIED SOLELY ON THE TESTIMONIES OF THE PROSECUTION'S WITNESSES.

III

. . . IN ADMITTING THE PROSECUTIONS EVIDENCE CONSISTING OF EXHIBITS "E", "F", "F-1" TO "F-5", "G", "G- 1" TO
"G-5", SINCE THE ARRESTING OFFICERS ADMITTED THEY WERE NOT ARMED WITH A WARRANT OF ARREST, NOR A
SEARCH WARRANT WHEN THEY CHASED AND FRISKED ACCUSED-APPELLANTS AND PROCEEDED TO ARREST THEM.

IV

. . . IN CONVICTING BOTH ACCUSED AS THERE WAS NOT CLEAR SHOWING THAT EXHIBITS "F", "F-1" TO "F-5", "G",
"G-1" TO "G-4" WERE THE ONES USED BY THE ROBBERS IN COMMITTING THE CRIME OF ROBBERY/HOLD UP.

(p. 1, Appellant's Brief; p. 60, Rollo.)

But the appeal leaves much to be desired.

It is axiomatic to the point of being elementary that herein accused- appellant can not feign denial of due process
where he had the opportunity to present his defense, through his own narration on the witness stand (Domingo
vs. Development Bank of the Philippines, 207 SCRA 766 [1992]; Gonzales vs. Court of Appeals, 212 SCRA 595
[1992]. Withal, and as correctly pointed out by the People, the omission of a party to present witnesses to
corroborate the principal basis for exculpation, on account of the witnesses' admitted tardiness in arriving in court,
is a puerile proposition to support re-opening of the case.

In regard to the second ascription aired by the accused-appellant, emphasis is laid on the fact that the court a quo
should have relied more on the explanation offered by the defense rather than giving credence to the testimony of
the People's witnesses. For one thing, accused- appellant asseverates that they could not have been positively
identified by Percival Tan and Rene Araneta considering that it was then still dark when the accused boarded the
jeep, up to the time they were apprehended. But counsel for accused-appellant concedes that the jeep was lighted
subject to the caveat that it was not well lighted (p. 12, Brief for Accused-Appellant) which does not entirely
foreclose positive identification of the culprits who admittedly shared a ride with their victims and were thus
seated within the closed quarters of the jeepney. Moreover, it was established by the prosecution that Rene
Araneta's jacket was one of the items which was asported, that it was worn by one of the felons, and that the
jacket was recognized by Rene Araneta from a distance of 1-1/2 meters (p. 7, Brief for Accused-Appellant). To
lessen the impact of the affirmative statements uttered against accused- appellant, it is argued that the immediate
propensity of a criminal is to move out from the scene of the locus criminis and not merely to walk casually within
the vicinity. We said in People vs. Ocampo (G.R. No. 80262, September 1, 1993) that indeed, there can be no legal
dispute to the legal proposition that flight from the scene of the felony is one of the indicia of a guilty conscience,
but it is equally true, we proceeded to say, that culprits, in exceptional cases, have become bolder by returning to
the scene of the crime to feign innocence. At any rate, it has been repeatedly stressed by this Court that the
factual findings of the trial court and the conclusions drawn therefrom are accorded utmost respect since the
magistrate at the court of origin had the first hand impression of the demeanor and deportment of witnesses
(People vs. Lim, 206 SCRA 176 [1992]; People vs. Castillo, 208 SCRA 62).

With respect to the so-called warrantless arrest of accused--appellant, we are of the view that the search falls
within the purview of Section 5(b) of Rule 113 which serves as an exception to the requisite warrant prior to arrest:

When an offense has in fact been committed, and the has

personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it;

inasmuch as the police team was formed and dispatched to look for the persons responsible for the crime on
account of the information related by Percival Tan and Rene Araneta that they had just been robbed (People vs.
Gerente, 219 SCRA 756 [1993]; People vs. Tonog, Jr., 205 SCRA 772 [1992]). And since accused-appellant's arrest
was lawful, it follows that the search made incidental thereto was valid (People vs. Tanilon, 221 SCRA 671 [1993]).
Moreover, the unlicensed firearms were found when the police team apprehended the accused for the robbery
and not for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition (People vs. Cruz, 165 SCRA 135 [1988]). The principle
imparted by Justice Padilla in Cruz was based on the ruling of this Court in Magoncia vs. Palacio (90 Phil. 771
[1948]) that:

. . . When, in pursuing an illegal action or in the commission of a criminal offense, the offending police officers
should happen to discover a criminal offense being committed by any person, they are not precluded from
performing their duties as police officers for the apprehension of the guilty person and the taking of the corpus
delicti.

Nonetheless, the penalty of "reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment" as erroneously imposed by the lower court
must be modified to read only as reclusion perpetua, as provided by Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1866,
said penalty being distinct from life imprisonment.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed with the slight modification that the proper penalty to
be imposed is reclusion perpetua. Further, the court orders the forfeiture of the firearms and other incidental
paraphernalia in favor of the Philippine National Police to be disposed of in accordance with law.

No pronouncement is made as to costs.

5. 205 SCRA 774

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 144497


Appellee

Present:
-versus-
PUNO, J.,
Chairman
QUISUMBING,
IGNACIO TONOG, JR., also known as ABDUL
MARTINEZ,*
TONOG, JR.,
CALLEJO, SR., and
ALVIN ROLANDO SOLAMILLO, also known
TINGA, JJ.
as ALLAN SOLAMILLO, JOHN DOE, and
PETER DOE,
Accused. Promulgated:

June 29, 2004


ALVIN ROLANDO SOLAMILLO also known
as ALLAN SOLAMILLO,
Appellant

x- - - ------ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x

DECISION

CALLEJO, SR., J.:

This is an appeal from the Decision[1] of the Regional Trial Court of Negros Oriental, Branch 34,

Dumaguete City, finding the appellant, Alvin Rolando Solamillo alias Allan Solamillo, guilty of murder in Criminal

Case No. 8123.

The appellant, along with accused Ignacio Tonog, Jr. and two others, was charged in an Amended

Information[2] which reads, thus:


The undersigned Fiscals accuses [sic] IGNACIO TONOG, JR. alias ABDUL TONOG, ALVIN
ROLANDO SALAMILLO alyas [sic] ALLAN SALAMILLO, JOHN DOE and PETER DOE of
the crime of MURDER, committed as follows:

That on or about the 24th day of April, 1988, in the City of Dumaguete, Philippines and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, conspiring and mutually aiding one
another, with the use of a motorvehicle [sic] in which they brought said EFREN FLORES to an
uninhabited place, and taking advantage of their superior strength and with intent to kill said
EFREN FLORES, and armed with a deadly weapon, to wit: a Batangas knife, did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously stab and wound therewith said EFREN FLORES during
nighttime, inflicting upon said EFREN FLORES the following injuries to wit:

which injuries directly caused the death of said EFREN FLORES.

That the crime was committed with the qualifying circumstances of use of a motorvehicle [sic],
taking advantage of superior strength, nighttime, uninhabited place and cruelty.

Contrary to Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code.[3]

The accused Ignacio Tonog, Jr. moved for a separate trial, because his co-accused were still at large.[4] The court

granted the motion. The case as against the appellant was archived. After trial, the court rendered judgment

convicting Tonog, Jr. of murder and sentenced him to reclusion perpetua. The dispositive portion of the said

decision reads:

WHEREFORE, the accused Ignacio Tonog, Jr. alias Abdul Tonog is hereby found guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder and the Court hereby imposes on him the penalty
of Reclusion Perpetua.
Accused is likewise ordered to indemnify the heirs of the deceased victim the sum of
THIRTY THOUSAND PESOS (P30,000.00) and to pay the costs.

The case filed against his co-accused Allan Solamillo and two other unidentified
individuals are hereby ordered archived, without prejudice to their further prosecution, considering
that until this time they have not yet been apprehended and still remain at large. [5]

The ruling of the trial court was affirmed by this Court in G.R. No. 94533 [6] on February 4, 1992, the

dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED, except with respect
to the indemnity, which is hereby increased to P50,000.00. Costs against accused-appellant,
Ignacio Tonog, Jr.[7]

More than six years later, or on April 8, 1998, the appellant was arrested in Cabato Road, Tetuan,

Zamboanga City.[8] Upon motion[9] of the Assistant City Prosecutor, Criminal Case No. 8123 was revived. The
appellant, with the assistance of counsel, pleaded not guilty to the charge against him. [10] Trial commenced as to the

appellant.

The Case for the Prosecution[11]

Thirty-eight-year-old Liberato Solamillo, Jr., the appellants first cousin, was a fish vendor in Tinago, Dumaguete

City. In the year 1988, he worked as a driver of his fathers motorcab. He was also a part-time driver of Jun

Salabante, and drove the motorcab owned by the latter, bearing sidecar number 0164. The appellant was its regular

driver.

On April 24, 1988, Liberato started plying his route at around 6:00 a.m. and was still driving until about

5:30 p.m. Liberatos uncle and the appellants father, Teodoro Solamillo, arrived from Zamboanga and asked to be

accompanied to look for his son. Liberato and Teodoro searched for the appellant using the motorcab with sidecar

no. 0164, and found the appellant sleeping at the house of his grandmother, Felisa Solamillo. Teodoro awakened his

son and the two of them conversed. Liberato was told to wait, so he stood by the motorcab and did as he was told.

Thereafter, the appellant, Teodoro and Liberato boarded the motorcab and left. Teodoro alighted at the house of his

father, Paulo Solamillo, in Lawisid, Sitio Bacong. The appellant was then wearing a plain white shirt and maong

pants.[12]

At around 7:00 p.m., Liberato and the appellant then went to Noras Store located at Sitio Bacong. Ignacio

Tonog, Jr. was also at the store. Liberato drank soft drinks, while the appellant and Tonog, Jr. drank beer. At around

7:30 p.m., the appellant requested Liberato to bring a certain Emil to the cockpit in Dumaguete City. Liberato did as

he was told, and no longer collected the fare because the passenger was a friend of the appellants. The trip from

Bacong to Dumaguete and back took about forty-five minutes.[13]

At around this time, Patrolman Remigio Biyok was watching a movie at the house of Charlie Yee with many others.

The place was about one hundred fifty meters from Noras Store. [14] At 8:00 pm., Julian Valencia approached Pat.

Biyok and informed the latter that the appellant had fired a gun somewhere within the vicinity of the store. Pat.

Biyok went to the police station which was about a hundred meters away from Noras Store, before proceeding to the
place.[15] His companions, Patrolman Mendoza, Patrolman Tao and Patrolman Tuballa had already gone ahead to

investigate the matter. Pat. Biyok saw the appellant within the vicinity of the Noras Store. He also saw Tonog, Jr.,

who asked to be conveyed to Tinago, Dumaguete City, to the house his brother was renting. Pat. Biyok obliged,

since Tonog, Jr. also happened to be the brother of then Chief of Police Lt. Isaias Tonog. [16] Tonog, Jr. then left with

Pat. Biyok on board the latters Yamaha 80 motorcycle. It was about 9:30 p.m.[17]

When Liberato went back to Sitio Bacong, Dumaguete City, he saw the appellant and Tonog, Jr. standing

outside Noras Store. Divina, the store owners daughter, was also there. Three policemen were within the vicinity.

Liberator heard that one of them, either Tonog, Jr. or the appellant, had caused a commotion by firing a gun. [18] He

also saw Tonog, Jr. leave with Pat. Biyok.

At about 9:30 p.m., Liberato and the appellant went looking for Tonog, Jr. using the motorcab bearing

sidecar no. 0164. They passed by Pat. Biyoks house in Banilad, Dumaguete City, which was about five kilometers

from Sitio Bacong. Efren Flores, the son of former Philippine National Police Chief Nick Flores, was then at Pat.

Biyoks house, drinking beer with friends.[19] Pat. Biyok arrived from the trip to Tinago, Dumaguete City, which was

about five to six kilometers away[20] and saw Efren at his house. Liberato and the appellant arrived and inquired on

the whereabouts of Tonog, Jr. The appellant asked Pat. Biyok where Tonog, Jr. had gone, and Pat. Biyok replied that

he had already brought the latter to Sitio Tinago.[21]

In the meantime, Efren Flores came near Liberato and the appellant, and said, I would like to ride with you

to Dumaguete. The appellant told Liberato to stay at Pat. Biyoks residence as he (the appellant) would be the one to

take Efren Flores to Dumaguete City. Stay here, the appellant told Liberato. [22] The appellant promised that he would

be back within five minutes.[23] Pat. Biyok saw Efren Flores on board the motorcab driven by the appellant. [24] The

motorcab was about ten to fifteen meters away, and Pat. Biyok saw them as he was sitting on the porch of his house.

The place was lit by a Meralco lamp post, about twenty to twenty-five meters away.[25]
Liberato waited in vain for the appellant to return. He watched an on-going amateur contest and decided to

leave the place about thirty minutes later.[26]

Liberato then waited for a ride and saw his friend, Gorio, pass by in a motorcab. He requested Gorio to

accompany him to look for the appellant in Sitio Tinago. They went around Dumaguete City, but did not find the

appellant. They then decided to go home. Along the way, they passed by the store owned by Liberatos aunt,

Francisca Bueno, which was located along the national highway at Sitio Bacong, Banilad, Dumaguete City. They

saw the motorcab bearing sidecar no. 0164 and approached the vehicle. Liberato saw Tonog, Jr. inside.

Liberato then went into his aunts house. He saw the appellant buying sardines and one family-sized soft

drink. He asked the appellant why he showed up only now, and the latter told him to keep quiet and to let Gorio go

ahead.[27] Thereafter, he saw the appellant and his other cousin, Elvis Bueno, conversing. They were about one meter

away from each other.[28] Liberato then overheard the appellant say Nakuha na gyod, Bes (Already taken Bes).[29] As

the appellant uttered those words, Liberato noticed that the latters fatigue shirt had plenty of red stains. He then

remembered that the appellant was wearing a white shirt while they were still at the store. He did not ask the

appellant about the red stains, because the latter seemed fearful at the time. Nothing was said of the incident. It was

by then past 11:00 p.m.[30]

Later, the group went back to the house of Liberatos grandfather, Paulo Solamillo. Paulo was angry at

Liberato for going home so late. Tonog, Jr. and the appellant ate and conversed, while Liberato slept. Liberato woke

up at 6:00 a.m. and started plying his usual route, using the motorcab owned by Jun Salabante.

At about 6:00 a.m. on April 25, 1988, the Dumaguete Police Station received reports that a lifeless body

had been found at the crossing of Cantil-e, Dumaguete City.[31]Upon receiving the report, SPO1 Walter R. Leguarda

immediately went to the place where the body was reported found and conducted an investigation. He learned that

the Flores family, who lived near the place where the body of the victim was found, spotted the motorcab bearing

sidecar number 0164 within the vicinity. After learning that the vehicle belonged to Jun Salabante, SPO1 Leguarda

proceeded to the latters house where he was informed that the drivers of the vehicle were Liberato Solamillo and the
appellant. SPO1 Leguarda then went to Liberatos place to investigate the matter further. Liberato told him that the

appellant borrowed the motorcab that day. Thus, the police operatives went toSitio Bacong to arrest Tonog, Jr., but

did not find the suspect there.

Afterwards, however, Tonog, Jr. voluntarily went with the police authorities to the police station for

questioning. After the investigation, SPO1 Leguarda saw Tonog, Jr. seated on a bench, and appeared to be crying.

SPO1 Leguarda approached him and asked why his pants had so many blood stains. Tonog, Jr. looked surprised and

asked where the station commander was. He then politely confessed to Police Captain Pedro Centeno that he was

one of the killers of Efren Flores and that he used a Batangas knife, which, however, he gave to the appellant.[32]

SPO1 Leguarda also testified that he saw the appellant talking with Captain Nick Flores, the father of the

victim, near the kampanaryo at the Quezon Park, Dumaguete City, at the corner of Perdices and Colon

Streets. According to Leguarda, he saw the two of them talking early in the morning, after their formation before

reporting to their respective duties, on three or four occasions. He did not think much about it at the time. [33]

SPO1 Leguarda also recounted that he was able to talk to the late Captain Flores before the latter died. It

was the first week of January, 1995. Captain Flores requested him to appear in court if ever the appellant would be

arrested. He was told that the appellant was an informer or asset, and that in connection with a tire he helped to

recover, the appellant was promised reward money in the amount of P5,000.00. However, Captain Flores was unable

to give the money to the appellant. Captain Flores narrated that the appellant threatened to kill him because of the

incident.[34]

SPO1 Leguarda also recounted that Tonog, Jr. had a grudge on the victim, and learned of the motive behind

the killing from Tonog, Jr.s girlfriend. Efren Flores and Tonog apparently had an argument while both were drunk,

which led the victim to strangle the latter with his hands.

Liberato found out about the killing from some of his passengers, as he was plying his usual route. He was

then invited for questioning by the police in the afternoon of April 25, 1988. When the police asked him were he

was the night before, he replied that he and the appellant were together.
SPO3 Vilma Beltran testified she was on duty at the Police Station of Dumaguete City. At around 11:00

a.m. of April 25, 1988, Sgt. Patricio brought Tonog, Jr. to the station. The suspect was made to remove his pants,

which Sgt. Patricio handed to her. Tonog, Jr. also turned over a stainless knife. Both items were placed in a

transparent plastic pack and labeled. The bag containing the items was then forwarded to Forensic Chemist Myrna

Areola.[35]

City Health Officer Urbano E. Diga examined the cadaver of the victim and documented the following

findings in his medico-legal report:

1. Wound at the pre-auricular area 2 cm. from the right ear measuring 0.2 cm x 1.5 cm. non-
penetrating;
2. Wound 3 cm. above wound no. 1 measuring 0.2 cm. x 1 cm. non-penetrating;
3. Wound at the angle of the right mandible measuring 1 cm. x 2.8 cm. x 9 c.m.;
4. Wound above wound no. 3 measuring 0.3 cm. x 1 cm. non-penetrating;
5. Wound at the right lateral neck measuring 0.3 cm. x 1 cm. x 6.5 cm.;
6. Wound below wound no. 5 (4 cm. distance) measuring 0.5 cm. x 1 cm. x 6 cm.;
7. Wound 6 cm. below right middle portion of the clavicle measuring 1 cm. x 2 cm. x 13.5 cm.;
8. Wound 4 cm. below medial 3rd of the right clavicle measuring 1 cm. x 2 cm. x 13.6 cm.;

9. Wound 4 cm. above the right nipple measuring 0.5 cm. x 1.4 cm. non-penetrating;
10. Wound 2 cm. from the level of the right nipple measuring 1 cm. x 1.5 cm. The direction of the
wound is upward measuring 14 cm. deep.
11. Wound at the third medial portion of the left clavicle measuring 1 cm. x 3 cm. x 13.7 cm.
12. Wound 1 cm. below wound no. 11 measuring 0.3 cm. x 1 cm.
13. Wound 2 cm. below wound no. 12 measuring 0.3 cm. x 1.5 cm. non-penetrating;
14. Wound 1 cm. below wound no. 13 measuring 0.3 cm. x 7.5 cm.;
15. Wound 7 cm. above the left nipple measuring 1 cm. x 1.5 cm x 14.5 cm.;
16. Wound 1 cm. below wound no. 15 measuring 1 cm. x 1.5 cm. x 14.5 cm.;
17. Wound 1.8 cm. above and to the right of the left nipple measuring 0.5 cm. x 0.2 cm. x 2 cm. x
13.5 cm.
18. Wound just below the left nipple horizontally directed measuring 0.2 cm. x 2 cm. x 13.5 cm.;
19. Wound 2 cm. to the right of wound no. 18 measuring 0.6 cm. x 1.5 cm. x 15 cm.;
20. Wound just above the right subcostal region measuring 1.3 cm. x 4 cm. The wound is directed
upward measuring 15 cm. deep;
21. Wound 3 cm. below the right subcostal region among (sic) nipple line measuring 1 cm. x 2
cm. The wound is directed upward measuring 10.5 cm. deep;
22. Wound along right midaxillary line (lumbar region) measuring 1 cm. x 2 cm. x 2 cm.;
23. Wound at the right 11th posterior rib measuring 0.8 cm. x 7.9 cm. non[-]penetrating directed
horizontally;
24. Wound 1.5 cm. above wound no. 23 directed obliquely 0.8 cm. x 1.5 cm.;
25. Wound right posterior lumbar measuring 0.5 cm. x 2 cm. directed horizontally. The wound is
15 cm. deep;
26. Wound 7 cm. above wound no. 25 measuring 0.5 cm. x 1.5 cm. x 4.5 cm.;
27. Hematoma and swelling of both lips.[36]
The doctor also testified that of the twenty-six (26) wounds inflicted on the victim, fourteen (14) were

fatal,[37] and that the weapon used by the assailant could have been a long, sharp, bladed instrument. [38] The doctor

also executed the victims certificate of death.[39] He testified that the victim was his nephew by affinity, as his wife

was the cousin of the victims father. The victim also happened to be their neighbor in Banilad. [40]

Wilna Portugaleza, the custodian of the medical records at the Holy Child Hospital, testified that the

records of the victim Efren Flores were no longer available as of 1996. The blood type of the victim as indicated in

the certified true copy of the records of the hospital was Type O. [41]

The Case for the Appellant

The appellant, for his part, filed a Manifestation[42] submitting the attached Demurrer to Evidence,[43] with a

reservation that in the event an adverse decision would be rendered, such decision would be appealed to this Court.

The appellant, through counsel, prayed that judgment be rendered acquitting him for insufficiency of the evidence

for the prosecution.

The Trial Courts Ruling

The court thereafter rendered judgment convicting the appellant of murder in its decision dated May 17,

2000, thus:

WHEREFORE, accused ALVIN ROLANDO SOLAMILLO, alias ALLAN SOLAMILLO, is


hereby found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder and the court hereby imposes
upon him the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA.

Accused is likewise ordered to indemnify the heirs of the deceased victim the sum of FIFTY
THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00), and to pay the costs.

There is no more need to pronounce judgment against co-accused Ignacio Tonog, Jr. alias Abdul,
considering the fact that in this case, he was earlier convicted by this Court of the crime of Murder
and meted the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua, which conviction was affirmed by the Supreme
Court.

In line with Section 5, Rule 114 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended, the City
Warden of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Dumaguete City, is hereby directed to
immediately transmit the living body of accused Alvin Rolando Solamillo, alias Allan Solamillo,
to the New Bilibid Prison at Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila, where he may remain to be detained.

SO ORDERED.[44]
The Present Appeal

The appellant now appeals the decision of the trial court, contending as follows:

A) THAT THE HONORABLE TRIAL COURT HAS ERRED IN ITS APPRECIATION OF


THE EVIDENCE OF THE PROSECUTION CONVICTING THE ACCUSED/APPELLANT OF
THE CRIME CHARGED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT;
B) THAT THE HONORABLE TRIAL COURT WAS MANIFESTLY BIASED AGAINST
AND/OR HAS PREJUDGED THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED EVEN BEFORE [THE]
PROSECUTION PRESENTED ITS EVIDENCE WHICH IS VIOLATIVE OF DUE PROCESS;
C) THAT THE CONDUCT OF THE HONORABLE PRESIDING JUDGE DURING THE
HEARING APPEARS TO BE UNETHICAL, UNPLEASANT AND UNCALLED FOR. [45]

According to the appellant, the prosecution miserably failed to prove the existence of circumstantial

evidence to establish his participation in the crime. He avers that no bloodstain was found in the motorcab bearing

sidecar no. 0164, precisely because it was never inspected, verified, nor examined by the police authorities.

Furthermore, prosecution witness SPO1 Walter Leguarda testified that a certain Flores, the owner of the house near

the place where the victim was found, told him that the said motorcab was seen that evening within the vicinity of

the crime scene. However, the said Flores was not presented as a witness.

The appellant also points out that that there are inconsistencies in the testimony of prosecution witness

Police Inspector Orlando Patricio, who testified that he found the knife in the morning of April 25, 1988, but

admitted that the knife presented in open court was not the Batangas knife recovered at the crime scene. He also

testified that he merely placed the said knife inside the tools compartment of the jeep, and never confronted the

appellant with such knife.

The appellant also questions the trial courts reliance on the testimony of Medical Record Custodian Wilna

Portugaleza, as she candidly admitted in open court that she could not remember the blood type of the victim as his

medical records in the Holy Child Hospital in Dumaguete City were already destroyed as of 1996. The appellant

also points out that there is serious doubt as to whether the witness Liberato Solamillo, Jr. actually heard the

appellant utter the words Nakuha na gyod bes to Elvis Bueno, considering that his testimony remained

uncorroborated.
According to the appellant, the fact that he left Dumaguete City for Zamboanga City after the commission

of the crime is not evidence of his flight. He was never in hiding in Zamboanga City. As a matter of fact, the

appellants father, Teodoro Solamillo, arrived in Dumaguete City in the afternoon of April 24, 1988 for the purpose

of fetching his son (the appellant) to help in the management and operation of their motorized tricycle transportation

business in Zamboanga City. Liberato further testified that he even accompanied his uncle, Teodoro Solamillo, to

look for the appellant that afternoon of April 24, 1988, and found the latter sleeping in their grandmothers house.

The appellant also posits that he had no motive to kill Efren Flores, which, in this case, is relevant,

considering that the identity of the assailant is in serious doubt. The motive presented by the prosecution, that the

appellant killed the victim because he was not given his share of the reward money of P5,000, is incredible and

farfetched. The prosecution witnesses failure to testify that the appellant was in fact an asset of the late Capt. Nick

Flores (the victims father) when they testified in 1989 raises doubts as to their veracity. Thus, such testimony was a

mere afterthought on the part of the prosecution witnesses.

In fine, the appellant questions the veracity of the testimonies of the witnesses for the prosecution. As such,

the appellant asserts that the prosecution failed to prove conspiracy and the guilt of the appellant beyond reasonable

doubt.

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), for its part, contends that the appellants guilt was proven

beyond reasonable doubt by interlocking circumstantial evidence. Furthermore, the flight of the appellant from

Negros Oriental immediately after the incident, until he was finally arrested ten years later in Mindanao, is an

indication of his guilt. The OSG concludes that the obtaining circumstantial evidence against the appellant serves as

sufficient basis to convict the appellant of the crime charged, as his participation in the crime charged had already

been established in Ignacio Tonog, Jr.s conviction.

The Ruling of the Court


The appellants contentions are without merit.

It is a well-entrenched rule that the trial courts findings of facts, its calibration of the collective testimonies

of witnesses, its assessment of the probative weight of the evidence of the parties, as well as its conclusions
anchored on the said findings, are accorded great weight, and even conclusive effect, unless the trial court ignored,

misunderstood or misinterpreted cogent facts and circumstances of substance which, if considered, would alter the

outcome of the case. This is because of the unique advantage of the trial court to observe, at close range, the

conduct, demeanor and the deportment of the witnesses as they testify. [46] Upon a careful review of the records of

the instant case, the Court finds no cogent reason to overrule the trial courts finding that the appellant stabbed the

victim in cold blood.

The Circumstantial Evidence


Against the Appellant is
Sufficient to Sustain a
Conviction

The counsel for the appellant filed a demurrer to evidence without leave of court, which, under Section 23, Rule 119

of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, constitutes a waiver of the right to present evidence. The case is then

considered submitted for judgment on the basis of the evidence for the prosecution. In fact, in his demurrer before

the trial court, the appellant specifically prayed that judgment be rendered in the case, and manifested that he was no

longer presenting evidence on his behalf, on the ground that the evidence for the prosecution was insufficient to

convict him.

Contrary to the appellants contention, the prosecution was able to prove his motive to commit the crime, albeit

belatedly. SPO1 Leguarda testified as follows:

Q Will you please tell this Honorable Court, when did you learn from the late Captain Flores that
accused Allan Solamillo was his informer or asset?
A Before [the] first week of January sir. Before he died, January 1995.

Q Now, Captain Nick Flores is the father of Efren Flores, isnt it?
A Yes, Sir.

Q And, Efren Flores was murdered sometime in the evening of April 24, 1998, is it not?
A Yes, Sir.

Q And per your investigation, Allan Solamillo has something to do in (sic) the killing of Efren
Flores, isnt it?
A Yes, Sir.

COURT:
Lets clarify this.
Q In your investigation, was Allan Solamillo involved in the killing of the victim Efren Flores?
A Yes, Sir.
Q Are you sure of that?
A Yes sir, because that was [what] Liberato Solamillo told me that he saw Allan Solamillo bought
some sardines and pepsi cola at the store of Francisca Buena with some blood stains on
his T-shirt Sir.

ATTY. EDDING:

Q But did you not reduce in writing about (sic) this important informations (sic) that you learned
from Liberato Solamillo?
A I did not.

Q So, to your best knowledge, the late Captain Flores also knew that Allan Solamillo has
involvement (sic) in the killing of his son Efren Flores as early as April 25, 1988?
A After his son was murdered Sir.

Q So he has knowledge already?


A After his son was murdered Sir, he has knowledge already Sir.

Q About the alleged involvement of Allan Solamillo?


A Yes, Sir.

Q And of course, even if you were not so closed (sic) with the late Captain Flores, you were
always seeing each other because you were at the same station?
A Yes, Sir.

Q So, you would like to tell us that from 1988, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94 up to sometime January 1995
or for the period of eight (8) years, only [a] few days before Captain Flores died, that they
revealed to you that Allan Solamillo was his former asset or informer?
A Because I was relieved in the Dumaguete Police Station Sir and was assigned in Canlaon Sir.

Q The late Captain Flores told you that Allan Solamillo was his asset or informer, isnt it?
A Yes, Sir.

Q And that, he also told you at one time [that] the police was able to recover lost article[s] like [a]
tire, and it was recovered because of the assistance provided by Allan Solamillo?
A Yes, Sir.

Q And, he also told you that Allan Solamillo was supposed to be entitled to Five Thousand Pesos
(P5,000.00), a (sic) reward money, isnt it?
A Yes, Sir.

Q And also Captain Flores told you that he failed to give the Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) to
Allan Solamillo?
A Yes, Sir.

Q And he also told you that he was able to make use of the Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00)?
A Yes, Sir.[47]

SPO1 Leguarda could not be faulted for not having disclosed the matter earlier. The victims father, Captain Nick

Flores, revealed that the appellant was an asset, and threatened to kill him upon his failure to pay the reward money
of five thousand pesos (P5,000) only after eight years. Captain Flores was probably unsure whether he would reveal

such information, as it would incriminate him, having himself used the reward money intended for the appellant.

Furthermore, SPO1 Leguardas account of the investigation corroborates that of Liberato Solamillos version of the

incident. Even during the trial of the case for Tonog, Jr., SPO1 Leguarda testified, thus:

Q And where did you gather information that Abdul Tonog was one of the suspected killers? From
whom?
A When I asked Jun Salabante who the driver of the pedicab was, he told me that the driver of that
motorcab on that day, April 24, was Liberato Solamillo but the regular driver was Allan
Solamillo. So I went to the house of Liberato Solamillo and asked him if he was the
driver of that motorcab that day; and this Liberato Solamillo told me that in the early day
of April 24, 1988, this Allan Solamillo borrowed his motorcab. On the same date, April
24, about twelve oclock in the evening, Liberato Solamillo told me that he saw his
motorcab parked in front of the store of Francisca Bueno and he saw this Abdul Tonog
sitting inside his motorcab while Allan Solamillo bought some sardines and Pepsi-cola at
the store of Francisca Bueno, with some blood stains in (sic) his t-shirt.

Q So it was Liberato Solamillo that you questioned[,] and [you] identified one suspect as one Mr.
Ignacio Tonog, is that correct?
A Yes.

Q And by information you identified Allan Solamillo as one of the suspects?


A Yes.

Q Inasmuch as Allan Solamillo was supposed to be identified as one of the suspects, did you
effect an arrest against Allan Solamillo?
A We were not able to locate Allan Solamillo.

Q How about Liberato Solamillo, did you not effect an arrest against him?
A We invited him for investigation.

Q You invited him?


A Yes.[48]

A comparison of the testimonies of SPO1 Leguarda taken during the trial for Tonog, Jr., and for the appellant,

reveals that there was no substantial variance between both accounts. Such consistency lends veracity to the

testimony of SPO1 Leguarda, considering the ten-year interval of time between the testimonies.

Liberatos account of the events on that fateful night seemed, likewise, to have been etched in his mind. His

unwavering testimony, in both trials, was that the appellant took motorcab bearing sidecar no. 0164, and volunteered

to convey the victim to Dumaguete City. The appellant told Liberato that he would be back shortly, and instructed
the latter to stay put and wait for him at the house of Pat. Biyok. His testimony during the trial of Tonog, Jr. was

almost identical to his account during the trial for the appellant.

ESCOREAL:

Q Upon arrival at the house of Patrolman Remegio Biyok at Banilad, Dumaguete City, Allan
Solamillo asked Patrolman Biyok where Abdul was; can you remember what was your
answer?
A Patrolman Biyok answered that he conveyed Abdul Tonog to Tinago.

Q Then after that, what transpired next?


A Efren Flores went near Allan, and Efren Flores requested that he be conveyed here in
Dumaguete City.

Q Did Allan heed the request of Efren Flores?


A Allan said You stay behind Jun because I will first convey Efren Flores.[]

Q Who is this June (sic) whom Allan is referring to?


A Myself.

Q Where was this Patrolman Biyok when Allan told you to stay behind?
A He was at the gate of their (Biyoks) fence.

Q How far was this fence of Patrolman Biyok from where you were situated?
A Less than one meter.

Q And after the request made by Efren Flores that he be conveyed to Dumaguete City proper,
what transpired next?
A When Allan conveyed Efren Flores here in Dumaguete City, Efren remained in conversation
with Patrolman Biyok at their place. It was already about 11:45 in the evening, Allan
Solamillo had not returned yet. And so, Patrolamn Biyok told me to go home.

Q Did you heed the advice of Patrolman Remegio Biyok?


A Yes, Sir.

Q And what did you do next upon hearing the advice of Patrolman Biyok?
A We waited for a pedicab and fortunately Gorio happened to pass by, and so, I road (sic) on his
pedicab and made a search for Allan Solamillo.

Q And where did you search for Allan Solamillo?


A Here in Tinago and at the pier.

Q And were you able to locate Allan?


A No, Sir.

Q Then after you went inside the house of your aunt Francisca Bueno, what did you observe
inside?
A I heard Allan said (sic): Kuha na gyod Vis. (He is already taken, vis.)

Q To whom was he addressing that statement?


A Elvis Bueno.
Q And who is this Elvis Bueno?
A My cousin, the son of Francisca Bueno.

Q Was Elvis Bueno around when Allan Solamillo uttered that statement addressed to Elvis
Bueno?
A Yes, Sir.

Q What about this Francisca Bueno, was she also around?


A She was upstairs.

Q When Allan Solamillo uttered these words, did you see Allan Solamillo?
A Yes.

Q Who were around when Allan Solamillo uttered these words Kuha na gyod vis?
A The three of us, Elvis, Allan and myself.

Q What did you notice in Allan Solamillo?


A I noticed or observed that the t-shirt he was wearing before was no longer the same.

Q Why, what was the t-shirt that was worn by Allan Solamillo on that early evening?
A It was a white t-shirt.

Q Was it a printed t-shirt?


A Plain white.

Q And on that particular place and time, what did you observe? What was the t-shirt or what was
Allan wearing during that time?

SEDILLO:

Which particular time and place?

ESCOREAL:

At the time when Allan was already, when Allan and you were inside the house of
Francisca Bueno?

A It was a fatigue t-shirt.

Q What did you observe on the fatigue t-shirt of Allan Solamillo?


A I noticed that there were many blood stains.

ESCOREAL:

Q Why did you notice that the fatigue t-shirt that was used by Allan Solamillo has plenty of blood
stains?

SEDILLO:

We will object to that, there was still no basis of (sic) the word plenty. The witness did
not testify yet that there was plenty of blood stains.

ESCOREAL:

I will omit that word plenty, your Honor, and let the witness answer.
WITNESS:

A Because it seemed that there were many red spots.

Q And after that, what happened next?


A Allan bought a family size coke and sardines and then we went home to Banilad, Bacong.

Q And what happened to Abdul Tonog?


A The three of us including Abdul went home together.

Q And did it not occur to your mind the whereabouts of your motorcab?
A No, Sir.

Q Did you not inquire from Allan or Abdul?


A I asked Allan but he got angry with me.

Q Why did you say that Allan got angry with you?
A Because I asked him why there seemed to be red spots on his t-shirt.

Q How are you related to Francisca Bueno when you said she is your aunt?
A My father and Francisca Bueno are brothers (sic) and sisters (sic).[49]

Thus, the appellant failed to discredit the testimony of prosecution witness Liberato Solamillo who saw him

wearing blood-stained clothes. Neither did he succeed in discrediting the testimony of SPO1 Leguarda, who saw

him drive off with the victim in the motorcab bearing sidecar number 0164 owned by Jun Salabante. In fact, even

the late Elvis Bueno testified,

during the hearing of the case for Tonog, Jr., that the appellant told him thus:

Q Aside from that, were there other statements uttered by Allan Solamillo when you were
conversing with each other?

A Only that he said, KUHA NA VIS, meaning it was already taken, VIS.

Q Do you know what he mean[t] by those words. Kuha na Vis?


A I do not know.[50]

Doubtless, it is not only by direct evidence that an accused may be convicted of the crime for which he is

charged. There is, in fact, consensus that resort to the circumstantial evidence is essential since to insist on direct

evidence would, in many cases, result in setting felons free and deny proper protection to the

community.[51]However, for the accused to be convicted based on circumstantial evidence, the following requisites

must concur: (a) there is more than one circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven;

and (c) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. For
circumstantial evidence to be sufficient to support a conviction, all circumstances must be consistent with each

other, consistent with the hypothesis that the accused is guilty, and at the same time inconsistent with the hypothesis

that he is innocent and with every other rational hypothesis except that of guilt. [52]

In the case at bar, the circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution is sufficient to sustain a

conviction: the victim was last seen in the company of the appellant; not long thereafter, the victim was found dead;

and, the appellant was nowhere to be found within the vicinity of the killing. [53]

The Appellants Flight From Dumaguete


To Zamboanga, Where He Was Arrested
Ten (10) Years Later, Is Evidence Of His
Guilt For The Crime Charged

Indeed, flight per se is not synonymous with guilt and must not always be attributed to ones consciousness

of guilt.[54] However, the flight of an accused, in the absence of a credible explanation, would be a circumstance

from which an inference of guilt may be established, for a truly innocent person would normally grasp the first

available opportunity to defend himself and assert his innocence. [55] Although the appellants silence and refusal to

testify, let alone refusal to present evidence, cannot be construed as evidence of guilt, this Court has consistently

held that the fact that an accused never testified in his defense even in the face of accusations against him goes

against the principle that the first impulse of an innocent man when accused of wrongdoing is to express his

innocence at the first opportune time.[56] In this case, the appellant has not even attempted to explain his absence, nor

presented evidence to corroborate his claim that he went with his father to help in the latters tricycle business in

Zamboanga. His bare claim, as against the evidence supporting his conviction, cannot be given credence by this

Court.

The Appellant was Correctly


Convicted Of Murder, Qualified
By Abuse Of Superior Strength

We agree with the trial court that the appellant is guilty of murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal

Code, qualified by abuse of superior strength.[57] In this case, the appellant and Tonog, Jr., armed with a knife,
attacked the victim, and took advantage of their combined strength in order to consummate the offense, considering

that the victim sustained no less than twenty-seven (27) stab wounds, fourteen (14) of which were fatal.

Conspiracy must be shown to exist by direct or circumstantial evidence, as clearly and convincingly as the

commission of the offense itself.[58] The prosecution in this case, was able to show that the appellant conspired with

Ignacio Tonog, Jr. to kill the victim.

Although alleged in the Information, the aggravating circumstance of nighttime cannot be considered

against the appellant, since there is no proof that the appellant purposely sought the period to facilitate the

commission of the crime, or to prevent its discovery, or to evade capture. [59] Neither can the aggravating

circumstance of use of a motor vehicle be appreciated, as there is, likewise, no evidence that it facilitated the killing

of the victim, whether directly or indirectly.[60] Furthermore, the fact that the victim sustained numerous stab wounds

does not necessarily mean that cruelty attended the killing. The test in appreciating cruelty as an aggravating

circumstance is whether the accused deliberately and sadistically augmented the wrong by causing another wrong

not necessary for its commission and inhumanely caused the victims suffering or outraged or scoffed at the victims

corpse.[61]

The crime was committed in 1988, when murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code was punishable

by reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death. There being no mitigating nor aggravating circumstances

attendant to the crime, the appellant was correctly sentenced to reclusion perpetua, conformably to paragraph 1,

Article 64 of the Revised Penal Code.

WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED. The appellant Alvin Rolando Solamillo alias

Allan Solamillo is found GUILTY of murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. There

being no modifying circumstances attendant to the crime, the appellant is sentenced to suffer the penalty

of reclusion perpetua. In line with current jurisprudence,[62] the appellant is ORDERED to pay to the heirs

of the victim, Efren Flores, the amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) as civil indemnity.

SO ORDERED.
ROMEO J. CALLEJO, SR.
Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

REYNATO S. PUNO
Associate Justice
Chairman

On leave
LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ
Associate Justice Associate Justice

DANTE O. TINGA
Associate Justice

ATTESTATION

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the
writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.

REYNATO S. PUNO
Associate Justice
Chairman, Second Division

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairmans Attestation, it is hereby
certified that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the
writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.

HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR.


Chief Justice

G.R. No. 113930 March 5, 1996PAUL G. ROBERTS, JR., RODOLFO C. SALAZAR, LUIS LORENZO,
SR., LUIS LORENZO, JR., AMAURY R.GUTIERREZ, BAYANI N. FABIC, JOSE YULO, JR., ESTEBAN
B. PALANNUAYAN, and WONG FONG FUI,
petitioners,vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS, THE HON. MAXIMIANO ASUNCION, in his capacity as the Presiding
Judge of theRegional Trial Court, Quezon City, Branch 104, HON. APOLINARIO G. EXEVEA, HON.
HENRICK F. GINGOYON,and HON. PHILIP A. AGUINALDO, in their capacities as Members of the
Department of Justice "349" Committee,and the CITY PROSECUTOR OF QUEZON CITY,
respondents.FACTS:

Several thousand holders


6

of "349" Pepsi crowns in connection with the Pepsi Cola Products Phils., Inc.'s(PEPSI's) Number Fever
Promotion
7

filed with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City complaintsagainst the petitioner's

The complaints respectively accuse the petitioners and the other PEPSI officials of the following crimes:
(a)estafa; (b) violation of R.A. No. 7394, otherwise known as the Consumer Act of the Philippines; (c)
violation ofE.O. No. 913;
8

and (d) violation of Act No. 2333, entitled "


An Act Relative to Untrue, Deceptive and Misleading Advertisements
," as amended by Act No. 3740.

After appropriate proceedings, the investigating prosecutor released a Joint Resolution

where he recommendedthe filing of an information against the petitioners and others for the violation of
Article 318 of the Revised PenalCode (OTHER DECEITS) and the dismissal of the complaints for the
violation of Article 315, 2(d) of the RevisedPenal Code; R.A. No. 7394; Act No. 2333, as amended by Act
No. 3740; and E.O. No. 913.

City Prosecutor Candido V. Rivera approved the recommendation with the modification that Rosemarie
Vera,Quintin Gomez, Jr., and Chito Gonzales be excluded from the charge on the ground of insufficiency
of evidence.

the petitioners filed with the Office of the City Prosecutor a motion for the reconsideration of
the JointResolution

alleging therein that (a) there was neither fraud in the Number Fever Promotion nor deviation from
ormodification of the promotional rules approved by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), for from
the start ofthe promotion, it had always been clearly explained to the public that for one to be entitled to
the cash prize hiscrown must bear both the winning number and the correct security code as they appear
in the DTI list; (b) thecomplainants failed to allege, much less prove with
prima facie
evidence, the specific overt criminal acts oromissions purportedly committed by each of the petitioners;
(c) the compromise agreement entered into by PEPSIis not an admission of guilt; and (d) the evidence
establishes that the promo was carried out with utmost goodfaith and without malicious intent.

petitioners filed with the DOJ a Petition for Review

Petitioners filed Motions to Suspend Proceedings and to Hold in Abeyance Issuance of Warrants of
Arrest on theground that they had filed the aforesaid Petition for Review.
Private prosecutor Julio Contreras filed an
Ex-Parte
Motion for Issuance of Warrants of Arrest.

In the afternoon of that same day, petitioner Paul Roberts, Jr., filed a Supplemental Urgent Motion to
Hold in Abeyance Issuance of Warrant of Arrest and to Suspend Proceedings.

He stressed that the DOJ had takencognizance of the Petition for Review by directing the City Prosecutor
to elevate the records

The next day, respondent Judge Asuncion issued an order advising the parties that his court would
"be guided bythe doctrine laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of
Crespo vs
.
Mogul
, and not by the resolution of theDepartment of Justice on the petition for review undertaken by the
accused."

respondent Judge Asuncion issued the challenged order (1) denying the petitioners' Motion
to SuspendProceedings and to Hold in Abeyance Issuance of Warrants of Arrest and the public
prosecutor's Motion to Defer Arraignment and (2) directing the issuance of the warrants of arrest

Upon receipt of the original records of the criminal case, the Court of Appeals found that a copy of the
JointResolution had in fact been forwarded to, and received by, the trial court on 22 April 1993, which fact
belied thepetitioners' claim that the respondent Judge had not the slightest basis at all for determining
probable cause whenhe ordered the issuance of warrants of arrest.

It ruled that the Joint Resolution "was sufficient in itself to have been relied upon by respondent Judge
inconvincing himself that probable cause indeed exists for the purpose of issuing the corresponding
warrants ofarrest"; and that the "mere silence of the records or the absence of any express declaration" in
the questionedorder as to the basis of such finding does not give rise to an adverse inference, for the
respondent Judge enjoysin his favor the presumption of regularity in the performance of his official duty.

The Court of Appeals then issued a resolution denying the application for a writ of preliminary injunction.

HELD:

ON CRESPO v. MOGUL

There is nothing in
Crespo vs
.
Mogul

which bars the DOJ from taking cognizance of an appeal, by way 'of apetition for review, by an accused in
a criminal case from an unfavorable ruling of the investigating prosecutor. Itmerely advised the DOJ to,
"as far as practicable, refrain from entertaining a petition for review or appeal from theaction of the fiscal,
when the complaint or information has already been filed in Court."
Crespo
could not have intended otherwise without doing violence to, or repealing, the last paragraph of Section
4,Rule 112 of the Rules of Court
54
which recognizes the authority of the Secretary of Justice to reverse theresolution of the provincial or city
prosecutor or chief state prosecutor upon petition by a proper party.

Section 2, Article III of the present Constitution provides that no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall
issueexcept upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath
or affirmationof the complainant and the witnesses he may produce.

Under existing laws, warrants of arrest may be issued:(1) by the Metropolitan Trial Courts (MeTCs)
except those in the National Capital Region, Municipal Trial Courts(MTCs), and Municipal Circuit Trial
Courts (MCTCs) in cases falling within their exclusive original jurisdiction;

incases covered by the rule on summary procedure where the accused fails to appear when required;

and in casesfiled with them which are cognizable by the Regional Trial Courts (RTCs); and(2) by the
Metropolitan Trial Courts in the National Capital Region (MeTCs-NCR) and the RTCs in cases filed
withthem after appropriate preliminary investigations conducted by officers authorized to do so other than
judges ofMeTCs, MTCs and MCTCs.

As to the first, a warrant can issue only if the judge is satisfied after
an examination in writing and under oath

of the complainant and the witnesses, in the form of searching questions and answers
, that a probable

cause exists and that there is a necessity of placing the respondent under immediate custody in order not
tofrustrate the ends of justice.

As to the second, this Court held in


Soliven vs
.
Makasiar

63

that the
judge is not required to personallyexamine the complainant and the witnesses, but

[f]ollowing established doctrine and procedure, he shall:(1) personally evaluate the report and supporting
documents submitted by the fiscal regarding theexistence of probable cause and, on the basis thereof;
issue a warrant of arrest; or(2) if on the basis thereof he finds no probable cause, he may disregard the
fiscal's report and require thesubmission of supporting affidavits of witnesses to aid him in arriving at a
conclusion as to the existenceof probable cause.PROBABLE CAUSE

In satisfying himself of the existence of a probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest,
the judge,following established doctrine and procedure, may either:(a) Rely upon the fiscal's certification
of the existence of probable cause whether or notthe case is cognizable only by the Regional Trial Court
and on the basis thereof,issue a warrant of arrest. . . .
This requirement of evaluation not only of the report or certification of the fiscal but also of the
supportingdocuments was further explained in
People

vs
.
Inting
,

where this Court specified what the


documents may

consist of,
viz
., "the affidavits, the transcripts of stenographic notes (if any), and all other supporting

documents behind the Prosecutor's certification which are material in assisting the Judge to
make his

determination" of probable cause.


Thus:
We emphasize the important features of the constitutional mandate that ". . . no search warrant or
warrantof arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge . . ."
(Article III,Section 2, Constitution).First, the determination of probable cause is a function of the Judge. It
is not for the Provincial Fiscal orProsecutor nor the Election Supervisor to ascertain.
Only the Judge and the Judge alone makes thisdetermination
.Second, the preliminary inquiry made by a Prosecutor does not bind the Judge. It merely assists him
tomake the determination of probable cause. By itself, the Prosecutor's certification of probable cause
isineffectual. It is the report, the affidavits, the transcripts of stenographic notes (if any), and all
othersupporting documents behind the Prosecutor's certification which are material in assisting the Judge
tomake
his
determination.

The teachings then of


Soliven
,
Inting
,
Lim
,
Allado
, and
Webb
reject the proposition that the investigatingprosecutor's certification in an information or his resolution
which is made the basis for the filing of the information,or both, would suffice in the judicial determination
of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest.

Unfortunately, nothing accompanied the information upon its filing on 12 April 1993 with the trial court.
As foundby the Court of Appeals in its resolution of 1 July 1993, a
c o p y o f t h e J o i n t R e s o l u t i o n
was forwarded to, andreceived by, the trial court only on 22 April 1993.

no affidavits of the witnesses, transcripts of stenographic notes of the proceedings during the
preliminaryinvestigation, or other documents submitted in the course thereof were found in the records

Clearly, when respondent Judge Asuncion issued the assailed order of 17 May 1993 directing,
among otherthings, the issuance of warrants of arrest, he had only the information, amended information,
and Joint Resolutionas bases thereof. He did not have the records or evidence supporting the
prosecutor's finding of probable cause. .NOTES:

In criminal prosecutions, the determination of probable cause may either be an executive or a


judicial prerogative.We reiterate that preliminary investigation should be distinguished as to whether it is
an investigation forthe determination of a sufficient ground for the filing of the information or it is an
investigation for thedetermination of a probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest. The first
kind of preliminaryinvestigation is executive in nature. It is part of the prosecution's job. The second kind
of preliminaryinvestigation which is more properly called preliminary examination is judicial in nature and
is lodged withthe judge. . . .

PEOPLE VS SY JUCO 64 PHIL 667


Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-41957 August 28, 1937

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
SANTIAGO SY JUCO, defendant.
TEOPISTO B. REMO, petitioner-appellant.

Laurel, Del Rosario and Sabido for appellant.


Office of the Solicitor-General for appellee.

DIAZ, J.:

Upon petition of the agent and representatives of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, named Narciso
Mendiola, who alleged that, according to information given him by a person whom he considered reliable,
certain fraudulent bookletters and papers or records were being kept in the building marked No. 482 on
Juan Luna Street, Binondo, Manila, occupied by Santiago Sy Juco, a warrant to search the building in
question was issued against said person on March 7, 1933, by the Court of First Instance of Manila,
through Judge Mariano A. Albert. In said warrant, the peace officers to whom it was directed for execution
were required to seize the above-stated articles for the purpose of delivering them to the court, for the
proper action to be taken in due time. After making the required search the officers concerned seized,
among things, an art metal filing cabinet claimed by Attorney Teopisto B. Remo to be his and to contain
some letters, documents and papers belonging to his clients. Inasmuch as said officers later refused to
return the filing cabinet in question to him, he filed a petition in the Court of First Instance of Manila,
praying that the Collector of Internal Revenue and his agents be prohibited from opening said art metal
filing cabinet and that the sheriff of the City of Manila likewise be ordered to take charge of said property
in the meantime, on the ground that the warrant by virtue of which the search was made is null and void,
being illegal and against the Constitution. A similar petition was later filed in the same case by the
Salakan Lumber Co., Inc., the same agents of the Bureau of Internal Revenue having also seized some
books belonging to it by virtue of the above-mentioned search warrant.

After due hearing, the Court of First Instance through Judge Delfin Jaranilla, decided to overrule both
petitions, declaring that the art metal filing cabinet and the books and papers claimed by the Salakan
Lumber Co., Inc., would be returned to Attorney Teopisto B. Remo and to the company, respectively, as
soon as it be proven, by means of an examination thereof to be made in the presence of the interested
parties, that they contain nothing showing that they have been used to commit fraud against the
Government. Only Attorney Teopisto B. Remo appealed from the decision of the court and he now
contends that it committed the nine errors assigned by him as follows:

1. The lower court erred in not holding that the search warrant, Exhibit B, issued in the case at bar is
unconstitutional and void ab initio and hence can confer no legal right upon the Government to seize,
much less to retain or open the filing cabinet in question, Exhibit 3.

2. The lower court erred in not holding that the search warrant, which is void ab initio may not be legalized
by evidence secured subsequent to the issuance, or in consequence, of said illegal search warrant.

3. The lower court erred in not holding that the doctrine of the case of People vs. Rubio (G. R. No. 35500,
57 Phil., 384), is not applicable to the case at bar.
4. The lower court erred in not holding that the search warrant, Exhibit B, was procured in order to obtain
evidence against the defendant Santiago Sy Juco.

5. The lower court erred in not holding that the search warrant, Exhibit B, was issued solely against the
premised occupied by the defendant Santiago Sy Juco, and hence cannot be used against the premises
occupied by a stranger, or the petitioner, Teopisto B. Remo.

6. The lower court erred in not holding that the filing cabinet, Exhibit 3, is the personal property of the
petitioner, Teopisto B. Remo, and not of the defendant Santiago Sy Juco.

7. The lower court erred in not upholding the inviolability of the contents of the filing cabinet, Exhibit 3, the
same being confidential documents entrusted to the herein petitioner, Attorney Teopisto B. Remo, by his
clients, in his professional capacity and in connection with cases pending before the courts of justice and
administrative tribunals.

8. The lower court erred in not holding that the Internal Revenue agents gave infringed the penal laws not
only by procuring the search warrant, Exhibit B, against the premises of the defendant, Santiago Sy Juco,
without just cause, but also by exceeding their authority in enforcing said search warrant against the
premises of the petitioner, Teopisto B. Remo, who is stranger to said search warrant, which acts also
constitute a violation of the domicile of said petitioner; and in not endorsing the matter to the city fiscal for
proper action.

9. The lower court erred in not ordering the return of the filing cabinet, Exhibit 3, intact and unopened, to
its lawful owner, the petitioner Teopisto B. Remo.

The pertinent part of the search warrant in question was couched in the following language:

Proof by affidavit having this day been made before me, Mariano Albert, Judge of the Court of First
Instance of the City of Manila, Philippine Islands, by the complainant on oath of Narciso Mendiola, special
investigator, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Manila, that the defendant, Santiago Sy Juco, of No. 482 Juan
Luna, Manila, keeps illegally and feloniously fraudulent books, correspondence, and records and that he
verily believes upon probable cause that the said books, correspondence and records at No. 482 Juan
Luna, Manila, and the said (personal) property is now being used in the commission of fraud of the
revenue of the Government.

You are therefore commanded to take with you the necessary and proper assistance and to enter, in the
daytime, into the said premises and there diligently search for fraudulent books, correspondence and
records and that you seize and bring them before the court to be disposed of according to law.

Given under my hands this 7th day of March, 1933, in the City of Manila.

[SEAL] (Sgd.) MARIANO A. ALBERT


Judge of Court of First instance of Manila

The affidavit or deposition referred to in the warrant above-quoted contained the following questions and
answers:

TESTIMONY TAKEN BEFORE HON. JUDGE MARIANO A. ALBERT, Narciso Mendiola, being duly
sworn, testifies as follows:

Q. What is your name, residence and occupation? A. Narciso Mendiola, special investigator, Bureau of
Internal Revenue, Manila.

Q. Are you the applicant for this search warrant? A. Yes, sir.

Q. do you know the premises situated at No. 482 Juan Luna, Manila? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know who occupy said premises? A. According to the best of my information, the house is
occupied by Santiago Sy Juco.

Q. What are your reasons for applying for a search warrant? A. It has been reported to us by person
whom I considered reliable that in said premises are fraudulent books, correspondence and records.

I. Narciso Mendiola, being duly sworn, depose and say that I have read the foregoing questions and
answers and that I found the same to be correct and true to the best of my knowledge and belief.

(Sgd.) NARCISCO MENDIOLA.

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 7th day of March, 1933, in the City of Manila, P. I.

[SEAL] (Sgd.) MARIANO A. ALBERT


Judge, Court of First Instance, Manila

It appears clear to this court that the question that the appellant wishes to raise by means of the allege
errors attributed by him to the lower court, may be reduced to the following:

1. Is the search warrant in question valid or not, taking into consideration the provisions of the law and of
the Constitution relative thereto?

2. Does the art metal filing cabinet seized by the agents of the Bureau of Internal Revenue belong to
Santiago Sy Juco or to Teopisto B. Remo?

3. Could the search warrant in question affect Attorney Teopisto B. Remo, not being the person against
whom it was directed?

4. Had the court authority to order the opening of the cabinet in question for the purpose of determining,
by an examination of the books, documents and records contained therein, whether or not same were
used to commit fraud against the Government?

1. A question which is very similar to the first one herein raised by the appellant, has been decided by this
court in the negative in its judgment rendered in the case of Alvarez vs. Court of First Instance of Tayabas
and Anti Usury Board, p. 33, ante. According to our laws in force on the date in question, which do not
differ substantially from the provisions of the Constitution of the Commonwealth in matters regarding
search, in order that a search warrant may be valid, the following requisites, among others, must be
present: That the application upon which it is issued be supported by oath; That the search warrant
particularly describes not only place to be searched but also the person or thing to be seized and that
there be probable cause (sec. 97, General Orders, No. 58: sec. 3, Jones Law; Article III, sec. 1,
paragraph 3, Constitution of the Commonwealth).

In the above-cited case of Alvarez vs. Court of First Instance of Tayabas and Anti-Usury Board, supra,
and in that of United States vs. Addison (28 Phil., 566), this court held that the oath required must be
such that it constitutes a guaranty that the person taking it has personal knowledge of the facts of the
case and that it convince the committing magistrate, not the individual seeking the issuance of the
warrant or the person making the averment by hearsay, of the existence of the requisite of probable
cause. It has likewise been held by this court that by probable cause are meant such facts and
circumstances antecedent to the issuance thereof. It has furthermore been held that the true test of the
sufficiency of an affidavit to warrant issuance of a search warrant is whether it has been drawn in such a
manner that perjury could be charged thereon in case the allegations contained therein prove false (Sate
vs. Roosevelt, 244 Pac., 280), and that the provisions of the Constitution and the statutes relative to
searches and seizures must be construed liberally in favor of the individual who may be affected thereby,
and strictly against the State and against the person invoking them for the issuance of the warrant
ordering their execution (Elardo vs. State of Misissippi, 145 So., 615; Fowler vs. U. S., 62 Fed. [2d], 656;
Saforik vs. U. S. Feed. [2d], 892; Boyd vs. U. S., 116 U. S., 616; 29 Law. ed., 746), for the simple reason
that the proceedings of search and seizure are, by their very nature, summary and drastic ones (Alvarez
vs. Court of First Instance of Tayabas and Anti-Usury Board, supra, and the authorities cited therein).

By reading the affidavit which gave rise to the issuance of the search warrant in question, it will be seen
that the latter does not fulfill the necessary conditions in support of its validity. In the first place, it is not
stated in said affidavit that the books, documents or records referred to therein are being used or are
intended to be used in the commission of fraud against the Government and, notwithstanding the lack of
such allegation, the warrant avers that they are actually being used for such purpose. In the second
place, it assumes that the entire building marked No. 482 on Juan Luna Street is occupied by Santiago
Sy Juco against whom the warrant was exclusively issued, when the only ground upon which such
assumption is based is Narciso Mendiola's statement which is mere hearsay and when in fact part thereof
was occupied by the appellant. In the third place, it was not asked that the things belonging to the
appellant and to others also be searched. In otherwords, the warrant in question has gone beyond what
had been applied for by Narciso Mendiola and the agent who executed it performed acts not authorized
by the warrant, and it is for this and the above-stated reason why it is unreasonable, it being evidence
that the purpose thereof was solely to fish for evidence or search for it by exploration, in case some could
be found. It is of common knowledge that search warrants have not been designed for such purpose
(Gouled vs. U. S., 255 U. S., 298, S. C. R., 65 Law. ed., 647; Uy Kheytin vs. Villareal, 42 Phil., 886) much
less in a case as the one under consideration where it has not even been alleged in the affidavit of
Narciso Mendiola what crime had been committed by Santiago Sy Juco or what crime he was about
commit. On this point said affidavit merely contained the following allegation: "It has been reported to us
by a person whom I considered reliable that in said premises are fraudulent books, correspondence and
records." Therefore, the first question raised should be decided in the negative.

2. The resolution of the second question depends entirely on the nature of the evidence presented and
the relative preponderance thereof. The only witness who testified that the art metal filing cabinet belongs
to the accused Santiago Sy Juco, is Macario Garcia. Against Garcia's testimony, we certainly have that of
the appellant himself and his witnesses Rufino C. Wenceslao, Vicente del Rosario, Jose Jeuquenco and
Feliciano Belmonte, besides Exhibits E, F, G, H and L, which conclusively proves that the furniture in
question was purchased by said appellant at the beginning of January, 1933, and that he had it precisely
in a room on one of the upper floors of building No. 482 on Juan Luna Street, which he was then
subleasing from Santiago Sy Juco, to keep his records and those of his clients. On the otherhand, it is
unimportant now to determine whether the furniture in question belongs to Santiago Sy Juco or to the
appellant Attorney Topisto B. Remo. It should have been alleged at the time he applied for the issuance
of the search warrant, to show with the other allegations, reason and evidence that the issuance thereof
was justified because of the existence of probable cause, the latter being a requisite without which the
issuance of the judicial warrant authorizing such search would be unwarranted. For these reasons, this
court concludes that the second question raised calls for an answer in the negative.

3. After the considerations just made, the third question cannot be resolved except in the negative. The
search warrant in question could not and should not in any way affect the appellant attorney on the
ground that he is not the person against whom it had been sought. It is Santiago Sy Juco alone against
whom the search warrant could be used, because it had been obtained precisely against him; so much so
that Narciso Mendiola, who applied for it, mentioned him expressly in his affidavit and again did so in his
report to his superior, that is, the Collector of Internal Revenue (Exhibit C); and at the trial of this case, it
was insisted that there was necessity of making the search in the premises occupied by Santiago Sy Juco
because an investigation was then pending against him, for having defrauded the Government in its
public revenue. The doctrine laid down in the case of People vs. Rubio (57 Phil., 384), invoked against
the appellant, is not applicable to the case at bar because, unlike in the above-cited case, neither books
nor record indicating fraud were found in his possession, and it is not he against whom the warrant was
issued.

4. It is clear that the court could not and can not order the opening of the art metal filing cabinet in
question because, it having been proven that it belongs to the appellant attorney and that in it he keeps
the records and documents of his clients, to do so would be in violation of his right as such attorney, since
it would be tantamount to compelling him to disclose or divulge facts or things belonging to his clients,
which should be kept secret, unless she is authorized by them to make such disclosure, it being a duty
imposed by law upon an attorney to strictly preserve the secrets or communications made to him. Such
an act would constitute a qualified violation of section 383, No. 4, and of section 31 of Act No. 190, which
read as follows:

An attorney can not, without the consent of his client, be examined as to any communication made by the
client to him, or his advice given thereon in the course of professional employment; nor can an attorney's
secretary stenographer, or clerk be examined, without the consent of client and his employer, concerning
any fact, the knowledge of which has been acquired in such capacity. (Sec. 383, No. 4, Act No. 190.)

A lawyer must strictly maintain inviolate the confidence and preserve the secrets of his client. He shall not
be permitted in any court without the consent of his client, given in open court, to testify to any facts
imparted to him by his client in professional consultation, or for the purpose of obtaining advice upon legal
matters. (Sec. 31, Act No. 190.)

For all the foregoing reasons, and finding that the errors assigned by the appellant are very well founded,
the appealed judgment is reversed, and it is ordered that the art metal filing cabinet, together with the key
thereof seized by the internal revenue agent by virtue of the judicial warrant in question, which is hereby
declared null and void, be immediately returned unopened to the appellant; and that a copy of this
decision be sent to the Solicitor-General for him to take action, if he deems it justified, upon careful
investigation of the facts, against the internal revenue agent or agents who obtained and executed the
warrant in question, in accordance with the provisions of article 129 of the Revised Penal Code, without
special pronouncement as to costs. So ordered.

Avancea, C.J., Villa-Real, Abad Santos, Imperial and Concepcion, JJ., concur.

epublic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-19550 June 19, 1967

HARRY S. STONEHILL, ROBERT P. BROOKS, JOHN J. BROOKS and KARL BECK, petitioners,
vs.
HON. JOSE W. DIOKNO, in his capacity as SECRETARY OF JUSTICE; JOSE LUKBAN, in his
capacity as Acting Director, National Bureau of Investigation; SPECIAL PROSECUTORS
PEDRO D. CENZON, EFREN I. PLANA and MANUEL VILLAREAL, JR. and ASST. FISCAL
MANASES G. REYES; JUDGE AMADO ROAN, Municipal Court of Manila; JUDGE ROMAN
CANSINO, Municipal Court of Manila; JUDGE HERMOGENES CALUAG, Court of First
Instance of Rizal-Quezon City Branch, and JUDGE DAMIAN JIMENEZ, Municipal Court of
Quezon City, respondents.

Paredes, Poblador, Cruz and Nazareno and Meer, Meer and Meer and Juan T. David for petitioners.
Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General Pacifico P. de Castro,
Assistant Solicitor General Frine C. Zaballero, Solicitor Camilo D. Quiason and Solicitor C. Padua for
respondents.
CONCEPCION, C.J.:

Upon application of the officers of the government named on the margin1 hereinafter referred to
as Respondents-Prosecutors several judges2 hereinafter referred to as Respondents-Judges
issued, on different dates,3 a total of 42 search warrants against petitioners herein4 and/or the
corporations of which they were officers,5 directed to the any peace officer, to search the persons
above-named and/or the premises of their offices, warehouses and/or residences, and to seize and
take possession of the following personal property to wit:

Books of accounts, financial records, vouchers, correspondence, receipts, ledgers, journals,


portfolios, credit journals, typewriters, and other documents and/or papers showing all
business transactions including disbursements receipts, balance sheets and profit and loss
statements and Bobbins (cigarette wrappers).

as "the subject of the offense; stolen or embezzled and proceeds or fruits of the offense," or "used or
intended to be used as the means of committing the offense," which is described in the applications
adverted to above as "violation of Central Bank Laws, Tariff and Customs Laws, Internal Revenue
(Code) and the Revised Penal Code."

Alleging that the aforementioned search warrants are null and void, as contravening the Constitution
and the Rules of Court because, inter alia: (1) they do not describe with particularity the
documents, books and things to be seized; (2) cash money, not mentioned in the warrants, were
actually seized; (3) the warrants were issued to fish evidence against the aforementioned petitioners
in deportation cases filed against them; (4) the searches and seizures were made in an illegal
manner; and (5) the documents, papers and cash money seized were not delivered to the courts that
issued the warrants, to be disposed of in accordance with law on March 20, 1962, said petitioners
filed with the Supreme Court this original action for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus and injunction,
and prayed that, pending final disposition of the present case, a writ of preliminary injunction be
issued restraining Respondents-Prosecutors, their agents and /or representatives from using the
effects seized as aforementioned or any copies thereof, in the deportation cases already adverted
to, and that, in due course, thereafter, decision be rendered quashing the contested search warrants
and declaring the same null and void, and commanding the respondents, their agents or
representatives to return to petitioners herein, in accordance with Section 3, Rule 67, of the Rules of
Court, the documents, papers, things and cash moneys seized or confiscated under the search
warrants in question.

In their answer, respondents-prosecutors alleged, 6 (1) that the contested search warrants are valid
and have been issued in accordance with law; (2) that the defects of said warrants, if any, were
cured by petitioners' consent; and (3) that, in any event, the effects seized are admissible in
evidence against herein petitioners, regardless of the alleged illegality of the aforementioned
searches and seizures.

On March 22, 1962, this Court issued the writ of preliminary injunction prayed for in the petition.
However, by resolution dated June 29, 1962, the writ was partially lifted or dissolved, insofar as the
papers, documents and things seized from the offices of the corporations above mentioned are
concerned; but, the injunction was maintained as regards the papers, documents and things found
and seized in the residences of petitioners herein.7

Thus, the documents, papers, and things seized under the alleged authority of the warrants in
question may be split into two (2) major groups, namely: (a) those found and seized in the offices of
the aforementioned corporations, and (b) those found and seized in the residences of petitioners
herein.
As regards the first group, we hold that petitioners herein have no cause of action to assail the
legality of the contested warrants and of the seizures made in pursuance thereof, for the simple
reason that said corporations have their respective personalities, separate and distinct from the
personality of herein petitioners, regardless of the amount of shares of stock or of the interest of
each of them in said corporations, and whatever the offices they hold therein may be.8 Indeed, it is
well settled that the legality of a seizure can be contested only by the party whose rights have been
impaired thereby,9 and that the objection to an unlawful search and seizure is purely personal and
cannot be availed of by third parties. 10 Consequently, petitioners herein may not validly object to the
use in evidence against them of the documents, papers and things seized from the offices and
premises of the corporations adverted to above, since the right to object to the admission of said
papers in evidence belongs exclusively to the corporations, to whom the seized effects belong, and
may not be invoked by the corporate officers in proceedings against them in their individual
capacity. 11 Indeed, it has been held:

. . . that the Government's action in gaining possession of papers belonging to


the corporation did not relate to nor did it affect the personal defendants. If these papers
were unlawfully seized and thereby the constitutional rights of or any one were invaded, they
were the rights of the corporation and not the rights of the other defendants. Next, it is clear
that a question of the lawfulness of a seizure can be raised only by one whose rights have
been invaded. Certainly, such a seizure, if unlawful, could not affect the constitutional rights
of defendants whose property had not been seized or the privacy of whose homes had not
been disturbed; nor could they claim for themselves the benefits of the Fourth Amendment,
when its violation, if any, was with reference to the rights of another. Remus vs. United
States (C.C.A.)291 F. 501, 511. It follows, therefore, that the question of the admissibility of
the evidence based on an alleged unlawful search and seizure does not extend to the
personal defendants but embraces only the corporation whose property was taken. . . . (A
Guckenheimer & Bros. Co. vs. United States, [1925] 3 F. 2d. 786, 789, Emphasis supplied.)

With respect to the documents, papers and things seized in the residences of petitioners herein, the
aforementioned resolution of June 29, 1962, lifted the writ of preliminary injunction previously issued
by this Court, 12 thereby, in effect, restraining herein Respondents-Prosecutors from using them in
evidence against petitioners herein.

In connection with said documents, papers and things, two (2) important questions need be settled,
namely: (1) whether the search warrants in question, and the searches and seizures made under the
authority thereof, are valid or not, and (2) if the answer to the preceding question is in the negative,
whether said documents, papers and things may be used in evidence against petitioners herein. 1w ph1.t

Petitioners maintain that the aforementioned search warrants are in the nature of general warrants
and that accordingly, the seizures effected upon the authority there of are null and void. In this
connection, the Constitution 13 provides:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against
unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but
upon probable cause, to be determined 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.

Two points must be stressed in connection with this constitutional mandate, namely: (1) that no
warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, to be determined by the judge in the manner set forth
in said provision; and (2) that the warrant shall particularly describe the things to be seized.
None of these requirements has been complied with in the contested warrants. Indeed, the same
were issued upon applications stating that the natural and juridical person therein named had
committed a "violation of Central Ban Laws, Tariff and Customs Laws, Internal Revenue (Code) and
Revised Penal Code." In other words, no specific offense had been alleged in said applications. The
averments thereof with respect to the offense committed were abstract. As a consequence, it
was impossible for the judges who issued the warrants to have found the existence of probable
cause, for the same presupposes the introduction of competent proof that the party against whom it
is sought has performed particular acts, or committed specific omissions, violating a given provision
of our criminal laws. As a matter of fact, the applications involved in this case do not allege any
specific acts performed by herein petitioners. It would be the legal heresy, of the highest order, to
convict anybody of a "violation of Central Bank Laws, Tariff and Customs Laws, Internal Revenue
(Code) and Revised Penal Code," as alleged in the aforementioned applications without
reference to any determinate provision of said laws or

To uphold the validity of the warrants in question would be to wipe out completely one of the most
fundamental rights guaranteed in our Constitution, for it would place the sanctity of the domicile and
the privacy of communication and correspondence at the mercy of the whims caprice or passion of
peace officers. This is precisely the evil sought to be remedied by the constitutional provision above
quoted to outlaw the so-called general warrants. It is not difficult to imagine what would happen,
in times of keen political strife, when the party in power feels that the minority is likely to wrest it,
even though by legal means.

Such is the seriousness of the irregularities committed in connection with the disputed search
warrants, that this Court deemed it fit to amend Section 3 of Rule 122 of the former Rules of
Court 14 by providing in its counterpart, under the Revised Rules of Court 15 that "a search warrant
shall not issue but upon probable cause in connection with one specific offense." Not satisfied with
this qualification, the Court added thereto a paragraph, directing that "no search warrant shall issue
for more than one specific offense."

The grave violation of the Constitution made in the application for the contested search warrants was
compounded by the description therein made of the effects to be searched for and seized, to wit:

Books of accounts, financial records, vouchers, journals, correspondence, receipts, ledgers,


portfolios, credit journals, typewriters, and other documents and/or papers showing all
business transactions including disbursement receipts, balance sheets and related profit and
loss statements.

Thus, the warrants authorized the search for and seizure of records pertaining to all business
transactions of petitioners herein, regardless of whether the transactions were legal or illegal. The
warrants sanctioned the seizure of all records of the petitioners and the aforementioned
corporations, whatever their nature, thus openly contravening the explicit command of our Bill of
Rights that the things to be seized be particularly described as well as tending to defeat its
major objective: the elimination of general warrants.

Relying upon Moncado vs. People's Court (80 Phil. 1), Respondents-Prosecutors maintain that, even
if the searches and seizures under consideration were unconstitutional, the documents, papers and
things thus seized are admissible in evidence against petitioners herein. Upon mature deliberation,
however, we are unanimously of the opinion that the position taken in the Moncado case must be
abandoned. Said position was in line with the American common law rule, that the criminal should
not be allowed to go free merely "because the constable has blundered," 16 upon the theory that the
constitutional prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures is protected by means other
than the exclusion of evidence unlawfully obtained, 17 such as the common-law action for damages
against the searching officer, against the party who procured the issuance of the search warrant and
against those assisting in the execution of an illegal search, their criminal punishment, resistance,
without liability to an unlawful seizure, and such other legal remedies as may be provided by other
laws.

However, most common law jurisdictions have already given up this approach and eventually
adopted the exclusionary rule, realizing that this is the only practical means of enforcing the
constitutional injunction against unreasonable searches and seizures. In the language of Judge
Learned Hand:

As we understand it, the reason for the exclusion of evidence competent as such, which has
been unlawfully acquired, is that exclusion is the only practical way of enforcing the
constitutional privilege. In earlier times the action of trespass against the offending official
may have been protection enough; but that is true no longer. Only in case the prosecution
which itself controls the seizing officials, knows that it cannot profit by their wrong will that
wrong be repressed.18

In fact, over thirty (30) years before, the Federal Supreme Court had already declared:

If letters and private documents can thus be seized and held and used in evidence against a
citizen accused of an offense, the protection of the 4th Amendment, declaring his rights to be
secure against such searches and seizures, is of no value, and, so far as those thus placed
are concerned, might as well be stricken from the Constitution. The efforts of the courts and
their officials to bring the guilty to punishment, praiseworthy as they are, are not to be aided
by the sacrifice of those great principles established by years of endeavor and suffering
which have resulted in their embodiment in the fundamental law of the land.19

This view was, not only reiterated, but, also, broadened in subsequent decisions on the same
Federal Court. 20After reviewing previous decisions thereon, said Court held, in Mapp vs.
Ohio (supra.):

. . . Today we once again examine the Wolf's constitutional documentation of the right of
privacy free from unreasonable state intrusion, and after its dozen years on our books, are
led by it to close the only courtroom door remaining open to evidence secured by official
lawlessness in flagrant abuse of that basic right, reserved to all persons as a specific
guarantee against that very same unlawful conduct. We hold that all evidence obtained by
searches and seizures in violation of the Constitution is, by that same authority, inadmissible
in a State.

Since the Fourth Amendment's right of privacy has been declared enforceable against the
States through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth, it is enforceable against them by
the same sanction of exclusion as it used against the Federal Government. Were it
otherwise, then just as without the Weeks rule the assurance against unreasonable federal
searches and seizures would be "a form of words," valueless and underserving of mention in
a perpetual charter of inestimable human liberties, so too, without that 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 permit this
Court's high regard as a freedom "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty." At the time that
the Court held in Wolf that the amendment was applicable to the States through the Due
Process Clause, the cases of this Court as we have seen, had steadfastly held that as to
federal officers the Fourth Amendment included the exclusion of the evidence seized in
violation of its provisions. Even Wolf "stoutly adhered" to that proposition. The right to when
conceded operatively enforceable against the States, was not susceptible of destruction by
avulsion of the sanction upon which its protection and enjoyment had always been deemed
dependent under the Boyd, Weeks and Silverthorne Cases. Therefore, in extending the
substantive protections of due process to all constitutionally unreasonable searches state
or federal it was logically and constitutionally necessarily that the exclusion doctrine an
essential part of the right to privacy be also insisted upon as an essential ingredient of the
right newly recognized by the Wolf Case. In short, the admission of the new constitutional
Right by Wolf could not tolerate denial of its most important constitutional privilege, namely,
the exclusion of the evidence which an accused had been forced to give by reason of the
unlawful seizure. To hold otherwise is to grant the right but in reality to withhold its privilege
and enjoyment. Only last year the Court itself recognized that the purpose of the
exclusionary rule to "is to deter to compel respect for the constitutional guaranty in the
only effectively available way by removing the incentive to disregard it" . . . .

The ignoble shortcut to conviction left open to the State tends to destroy the entire system of
constitutional restraints on which the liberties of the people rest. Having once recognized that
the right to privacy embodied in the Fourth Amendment is enforceable against the States,
and that the right to be secure against rude invasions of privacy by state officers is, therefore
constitutional in origin, we can no longer permit that right to remain an empty promise.
Because it is enforceable in the same manner and to like effect as other basic rights secured
by its Due Process Clause, we can no longer permit it to be revocable at the whim of any
police officer who, in the name of law enforcement itself, chooses to suspend its enjoyment.
Our decision, founded on reason and truth, gives to the individual no more than that which
the Constitution guarantees him to the police officer no less than that to which honest law
enforcement is entitled, and, to the courts, that judicial integrity so necessary in the true
administration of justice. (emphasis ours.)

Indeed, the non-exclusionary rule is contrary, not only to the letter, but also, to the spirit of the
constitutional injunction against unreasonable searches and seizures. To be sure, if the applicant for
a search warrant has competent evidence to establish probable cause of the commission of a given
crime by the party against whom the warrant is intended, then there is no reason why the applicant
should not comply with the requirements of the fundamental law. Upon the other hand, if he has no
such competent evidence, then it is not possible for the Judge to find that there is probable cause,
and, hence, no justification for the issuance of the warrant. The only possible explanation (not
justification) for its issuance is the necessity of fishing evidence of the commission of a crime. But,
then, this fishing expedition is indicative of the absence of evidence to establish a probable cause.

Moreover, the theory that the criminal prosecution of those who secure an illegal search warrant
and/or make unreasonable searches or seizures would suffice to protect the constitutional guarantee
under consideration, overlooks the fact that violations thereof are, in general, committed By agents
of the party in power, for, certainly, those belonging to the minority could not possibly abuse a power
they do not have. Regardless of the handicap under which the minority usually but,
understandably finds itself in prosecuting agents of the majority, one must not lose sight of the
fact that the psychological and moral effect of the possibility 21 of securing their conviction, is watered
down by the pardoning power of the party for whose benefit the illegality had been committed.

In their Motion for Reconsideration and Amendment of the Resolution of this Court dated June 29,
1962, petitioners allege that Rooms Nos. 81 and 91 of Carmen Apartments, House No. 2008, Dewey
Boulevard, House No. 1436, Colorado Street, and Room No. 304 of the Army-Navy Club, should be
included among the premises considered in said Resolution as residences of herein petitioners,
Harry S. Stonehill, Robert P. Brook, John J. Brooks and Karl Beck, respectively, and that,
furthermore, the records, papers and other effects seized in the offices of the corporations above
referred to include personal belongings of said petitioners and other effects under their exclusive
possession and control, for the exclusion of which they have a standing under the latest rulings of
the federal courts of federal courts of the United States. 22

We note, however, that petitioners' theory, regarding their alleged possession of and control over the
aforementioned records, papers and effects, and the alleged "personal" nature thereof, has Been
Advanced, not in their petition or amended petition herein, but in the Motion for Reconsideration and
Amendment of the Resolution of June 29, 1962. In other words, said theory would appear to be
readjustment of that followed in said petitions, to suit the approach intimated in the Resolution
sought to be reconsidered and amended. Then, too, some of the affidavits or copies of alleged
affidavits attached to said motion for reconsideration, or submitted in support thereof, contain either
inconsistent allegations, or allegations inconsistent with the theory now advanced by petitioners
herein.

Upon the other hand, we are not satisfied that the allegations of said petitions said motion for
reconsideration, and the contents of the aforementioned affidavits and other papers submitted in
support of said motion, have sufficiently established the facts or conditions contemplated in the
cases relied upon by the petitioners; to warrant application of the views therein expressed, should
we agree thereto. At any rate, we do not deem it necessary to express our opinion thereon, it being
best to leave the matter open for determination in appropriate cases in the future.

We hold, therefore, that the doctrine adopted in the Moncado case must be, as it is hereby,
abandoned; that the warrants for the search of three (3) residences of herein petitioners, as
specified in the Resolution of June 29, 1962, are null and void; that the searches and seizures
therein made are illegal; that the writ of preliminary injunction heretofore issued, in connection with
the documents, papers and other effects thus seized in said residences of herein petitioners is
hereby made permanent; that the writs prayed for are granted, insofar as the documents, papers
and other effects so seized in the aforementioned residences are concerned; that the
aforementioned motion for Reconsideration and Amendment should be, as it is hereby, denied; and
that the petition herein is dismissed and the writs prayed for denied, as regards the documents,
papers and other effects seized in the twenty-nine (29) places, offices and other premises
enumerated in the same Resolution, without special pronouncement as to costs.

It is so ordered.

Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar and Sanchez, JJ., concur.

CASTRO, J., concurring and dissenting:

From my analysis of the opinion written by Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion and from the import of
the deliberations of the Court on this case, I gather the following distinct conclusions:

1. All the search warrants served by the National Bureau of Investigation in this case are
general warrants and are therefore proscribed by, and in violation of, paragraph 3 of section
1 of Article III (Bill of Rights) of the Constitution;

2. All the searches and seizures conducted under the authority of the said search warrants
were consequently illegal;

3. The non-exclusionary rule enunciated in Moncado vs. People, 80 Phil. 1, should be, and is
declared, abandoned;
4. The search warrants served at the three residences of the petitioners
are expressly declared null and void the searches and seizures therein made
are expressly declared illegal; and the writ of preliminary injunction heretofore issued against
the use of the documents, papers and effect seized in the said residences is made
permanent; and

5. Reasoning that the petitioners have not in their pleadings satisfactorily demonstrated that
they have legal standing to move for the suppression of the documents, papers and effects
seized in the places other than the three residences adverted to above, the opinion written
by the Chief Justice refrains from expressly declaring as null and void the such warrants
served at such other places and as illegal the searches and seizures made therein, and
leaves "the matter open for determination in appropriate cases in the future."

It is precisely the position taken by the Chief Justice summarized in the immediately preceding
paragraph (numbered 5) with which I am not in accord.

I do not share his reluctance or unwillingness to expressly declare, at this time, the nullity of the
search warrants served at places other than the three residences, and the illegibility of the searches
and seizures conducted under the authority thereof. In my view even the exacerbating passions and
prejudices inordinately generated by the environmental political and moral developments of this case
should not deter this Court from forthrightly laying down the law not only for this case but as well for
future cases and future generations. All the search warrants, without exception, in this case are
admittedly general, blanket and roving warrants and are therefore admittedly and indisputably
outlawed by the Constitution; and the searches and seizures made were therefore unlawful. That the
petitioners, let us assume in gratia argumente, have no legal standing to ask for the suppression of
the papers, things and effects seized from places other than their residences, to my mind, cannot in
any manner affect, alter or otherwise modify the intrinsic nullity of the search warrants and the
intrinsic illegality of the searches and seizures made thereunder. Whether or not the petitioners
possess legal standing the said warrants are void and remain void, and the searches and seizures
were illegal and remain illegal. No inference can be drawn from the words of the Constitution that
"legal standing" or the lack of it is a determinant of the nullity or validity of a search warrant or of the
lawfulness or illegality of a search or seizure.

On the question of legal standing, I am of the conviction that, upon the pleadings submitted to this
Court the petitioners have the requisite legal standing to move for the suppression and return of the
documents, papers and effects that were seized from places other than their family residences.

Our constitutional provision on searches and seizures was derived almost verbatim from the Fourth
Amendment to the United States Constitution. In the many years of judicial construction and
interpretation of the said constitutional provision, our courts have invariably regarded as doctrinal the
pronouncement made on the Fourth Amendment by federal courts, especially the Federal Supreme
Court and the Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals.

The U.S. doctrines and pertinent cases on standing to move for the suppression or return of
documents, papers and effects which are the fruits of an unlawful search and seizure, may be
summarized as follows; (a) ownership of documents, papers and effects gives "standing;" (b)
ownership and/or control or possession actual or constructive of premises searched gives
"standing"; and (c) the "aggrieved person" doctrine where the search warrant and the sworn
application for search warrant are "primarily" directed solely and exclusively against the "aggrieved
person," gives "standing."
An examination of the search warrants in this case will readily show that, excepting three, all were
directed against the petitioners personally. In some of them, the petitioners were named personally,
followed by the designation, "the President and/or General Manager" of the particular corporation.
The three warrants excepted named three corporate defendants. But the
"office/house/warehouse/premises" mentioned in the said three warrants were also the same
"office/house/warehouse/premises" declared to be owned by or under the control of the petitioners in
all the other search warrants directed against the petitioners and/or "the President and/or General
Manager" of the particular corporation. (see pages 5-24 of Petitioners' Reply of April 2, 1962). The
searches and seizures were to be made, and were actually made, in the
"office/house/warehouse/premises" owned by or under the control of the petitioners.

Ownership of matters seized gives "standing."

Ownership of the properties seized alone entitles the petitioners to bring a motion to return and
suppress, and gives them standing as persons aggrieved by an unlawful search and seizure
regardless of their location at the time of seizure. Jones vs. United States, 362 U.S. 257, 261 (1960)
(narcotics stored in the apartment of a friend of the defendant); Henzel vs. United States, 296 F. 2d.
650, 652-53 (5th Cir. 1961), (personal and corporate papers of corporation of which the defendant
was president), United States vs. Jeffers, 342 U.S. 48 (1951) (narcotics seized in an apartment not
belonging to the defendant); Pielow vs. United States, 8 F. 2d 492, 493 (9th Cir. 1925) (books seized
from the defendant's sister but belonging to the defendant); Cf. Villano vs. United States, 310 F. 2d
680, 683 (10th Cir. 1962) (papers seized in desk neither owned by nor in exclusive possession of the
defendant).

In a very recent case (decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on December 12, 1966), it was held that
under the constitutional provision against unlawful searches and seizures, a person places himself
or his property within a constitutionally protected area, be it his home or his office, his hotel room or
his automobile:

Where the argument falls is in its misapprehension of the fundamental nature and scope of
Fourth Amendment protection. What the Fourth Amendment protects is the security a man
relies upon when he places himself or his property within a constitutionally protected area, be
it his home or his office, his hotel room or his automobile. There he is protected from
unwarranted governmental intrusion. And when he puts some thing in his filing cabinet, in his
desk drawer, or in his pocket, he has the right to know it will be secure from an unreasonable
search or an unreasonable seizure. So it was that the Fourth Amendment could not tolerate
the warrantless search of the hotel room in Jeffers, the purloining of the petitioner's private
papers in Gouled, or the surreptitious electronic surveilance in Silverman. Countless other
cases which have come to this Court over the years have involved a myriad of differing
factual contexts in which the protections of the Fourth Amendment have been appropriately
invoked. No doubt, the future will bring countless others. By nothing we say here do we
either foresee or foreclose factual situations to which the Fourth Amendment may be
applicable. (Hoffa vs. U.S., 87 S. Ct. 408 (December 12, 1966). See also U.S. vs. Jeffers,
342 U.S. 48, 72 S. Ct. 93 (November 13, 1951). (Emphasis supplied).

Control of premises searched gives "standing."

Independent of ownership or other personal interest in the records and documents seized, the
petitioners have standing to move for return and suppression by virtue of their proprietary or
leasehold interest in many of the premises searched. These proprietary and leasehold interests have
been sufficiently set forth in their motion for reconsideration and need not be recounted here, except
to emphasize that the petitioners paid rent, directly or indirectly, for practically all the premises
searched (Room 91, 84 Carmen Apts; Room 304, Army & Navy Club; Premises 2008, Dewey
Boulevard; 1436 Colorado Street); maintained personal offices within the corporate offices (IBMC,
USTC); had made improvements or furnished such offices; or had paid for the filing cabinets in
which the papers were stored (Room 204, Army & Navy Club); and individually, or through their
respective spouses, owned the controlling stock of the corporations involved. The petitioners'
proprietary interest in most, if not all, of the premises searched therefore independently gives them
standing to move for the return and suppression of the books, papers and affects seized therefrom.

In Jones vs. United States, supra, the U.S. Supreme Court delineated the nature and extent of the
interest in the searched premises necessary to maintain a motion to suppress. After reviewing what
it considered to be the unduly technical standard of the then prevailing circuit court decisions, the
Supreme Court said (362 U.S. 266):

We do not lightly depart from this course of decisions by the lower courts. We are
persuaded, however, that it is unnecessarily and ill-advised to import into the law
surrounding the constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures
subtle distinctions, developed and refined by the common law in evolving the body of private
property law which, more than almost any other branch of law, has been shaped by
distinctions whose validity is largely historical. Even in the area from which they derive, due
consideration has led to the discarding of those distinctions in the homeland of the common
law. See Occupiers' Liability Act, 1957, 5 and 6 Eliz. 2, c. 31, carrying out Law Reform
Committee, Third Report, Cmd. 9305. Distinctions such as those between "lessee",
"licensee," "invitee," "guest," often only of gossamer strength, ought not be determinative in
fashioning procedures ultimately referable to constitutional safeguards. See also Chapman
vs. United States, 354 U.S. 610, 616-17 (1961).

It has never been held that a person with requisite interest in the premises searched must own the
property seized in order to have standing in a motion to return and suppress. In Alioto vs. United
States, 216 F. Supp. 48 (1963), a Bookkeeper for several corporations from whose apartment the
corporate records were seized successfully moved for their return. In United States vs. Antonelli,
Fireworks Co., 53 F. Supp. 870, 873 (W D. N. Y. 1943), the corporation's president successfully
moved for the return and suppression is to him of both personal and corporate documents seized
from his home during the course of an illegal search:

The lawful possession by Antonelli of documents and property, "either his own or the
corporation's was entitled to protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Under the
circumstances in the case at bar, the search and seizure were unreasonable and unlawful.
The motion for the return of seized article and the suppression of the evidence so obtained
should be granted. (Emphasis supplied).

Time was when only a person who had property in interest in either the place searched or the
articles seize had the necessary standing to invoke the protection of the exclusionary rule. But
in MacDonald vs. Unite States, 335 U.S. 461 (1948), Justice Robert Jackson joined by Justice Felix
Frankfurter, advanced the view that "even a guest may expect the shelter of the rooftree he is under
against criminal intrusion." This view finally became the official view of the U.S. Supreme Court and
was articulated in United States vs. Jeffers, 432 U.S 48 (1951). Nine years later, in 1960, in Jones
vs. Unite States, 362 U.S. 257, 267, the U.S. Supreme Court went a step further. Jones was a mere
guest in the apartment unlawfully searched but the Court nonetheless declared that the exclusionary
rule protected him as well. The concept of "person aggrieved by an unlawful search and seizure"
was enlarged to include "anyone legitimately on premise where the search occurs."
Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court's Jones decision the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
held that the defendant organizer, sole stockholder and president of a corporation had standing in a
mail fraud prosecution against him to demand the return and suppression of corporate
property. Henzel vs. United States, 296 F 2d 650, 652 (5th Cir. 1961), supra. The court conclude
that the defendant had standing on two independent grounds: First he had a sufficient interest in
the property seized, and second he had an adequate interest in the premises searched (just like
in the case at bar). A postal inspector had unlawfully searched the corporation' premises and had
seized most of the corporation's book and records. Looking to Jones, the court observed:

Jones clearly tells us, therefore, what is not required qualify one as a "person aggrieved by
an unlawful search and seizure." It tells us that appellant should not have been precluded
from objecting to the Postal Inspector's search and seizure of the corporation's books and
records merely because the appellant did not show ownership or possession of the books
and records or a substantial possessory interest in the invade premises . . . (Henzel vs.
United States, 296 F. 2d at 651). .

Henzel was soon followed by Villano vs. United States, 310 F. 2d 680, 683, (10th Cir. 1962).
In Villano, police officers seized two notebooks from a desk in the defendant's place of employment;
the defendant did not claim ownership of either; he asserted that several employees (including
himself) used the notebooks. The Court held that the employee had a protected interest and that
there also was an invasion of privacy. Both Henzel and Villano considered also the fact that the
search and seizure were "directed at" the moving defendant. Henzel vs. United States, 296 F. 2d at
682; Villano vs. United States, 310 F. 2d at 683.

In a case in which an attorney closed his law office, placed his files in storage and went to Puerto
Rico, the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recognized his standing to move to quash as
unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution a grand jury
subpoena duces tecum directed to the custodian of his files. The Government contended that the
petitioner had no standing because the books and papers were physically in the possession of the
custodian, and because the subpoena was directed against the custodian. The court rejected the
contention, holding that

Schwimmer legally had such possession, control and unrelinquished personal rights in the
books and papers as not to enable the question of unreasonable search and seizure to be
escaped through the mere procedural device of compelling a third-party naked possessor to
produce and deliver them. Schwimmer vs. United States, 232 F. 2d 855, 861 (8th Cir. 1956).

Aggrieved person doctrine where the search warrant s primarily directed against said person
gives "standing."

The latest United States decision squarely in point is United States vs. Birrell, 242 F. Supp. 191
(1965, U.S.D.C. S.D.N.Y.). The defendant had stored with an attorney certain files and papers,
which attorney, by the name of Dunn, was not, at the time of the seizing of the records, Birrell's
attorney. * Dunn, in turn, had stored most of the records at his home in the country and on a farm
which, according to Dunn's affidavit, was under his (Dunn's) "control and management." The papers
turned out to be private, personal and business papers together with corporate books and records of
certain unnamed corporations in which Birrell did not even claim ownership. (All of these type
records were seized in the case at bar). Nevertheless, the search in Birrell was held invalid by the
court which held that even though Birrell did not own the premises where the records were stored,
he had "standing" to move for the return of all the papers and properties seized. The court, relying
on Jones vs. U.S., supra; U.S. vs. Antonelli Fireworks Co., 53 F. Supp. 870, Aff'd 155 F. 2d
631: Henzel vs. U.S., supra; and Schwimmer vs. U.S., supra, pointed out that
It is overwhelmingly established that the searches here in question were directed solely and
exclusively against Birrell. The only person suggested in the papers as having violated the
law was Birrell. The first search warrant described the records as having been used "in
committing a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341, by the use of the mails
by one Lowell M. Birrell, . . ." The second search warrant was captioned: "United States of
America vs. Lowell M. Birrell. (p. 198)

Possession (actual or constructive), no less than ownership, gives standing to move to


suppress. Such was the rule even before Jones. (p. 199)

If, as thus indicated Birrell had at least constructive possession of the records stored with
Dunn, it matters not whether he had any interest in the premises searched. See also Jeffers
v. United States, 88 U.S. Appl. D.C. 58, 187 F. 2d 498 (1950), affirmed 432 U.S. 48, 72 S.
Ct. 93, 96 L. Ed. 459 (1951).

The ruling in the Birrell case was reaffirmed on motion for reargument; the United States did not
appeal from this decision. The factual situation in Birrell is strikingly similar to the case of the present
petitioners; as in Birrell, many personal and corporate papers were seized from premises not
petitioners' family residences; as in Birrell, the searches were "PRIMARILY DIRECTED SOLETY
AND EXCLUSIVELY" against the petitioners. Still both types of documents were suppressed
in Birrell because of the illegal search. In the case at bar, the petitioners connection with the
premises raided is much closer than in Birrell.

Thus, the petitioners have full standing to move for the quashing of all the warrants regardless
whether these were directed against residences in the narrow sense of the word, as long as the
documents were personal papers of the petitioners or (to the extent that they were corporate papers)
were held by them in a personal capacity or under their personal control.

Prescinding a from the foregoing, this Court, at all events, should order the return to the petitioners
all personal and private papers and effects seized, no matter where these were seized, whether from
their residences or corporate offices or any other place or places. The uncontradicted sworn
statements of the petitioners in their, various pleadings submitted to this Court indisputably show
that amongst the things seized from the corporate offices and other places
were personal and private papers and effects belonging to the petitioners.

If there should be any categorization of the documents, papers and things which where the objects
of the unlawful searches and seizures, I submit that the grouping should be:
(a) personal or private papers of the petitioners were they were unlawfully seized, be it their family
residences offices, warehouses and/or premises owned and/or possessed (actually or
constructively) by them as shown in all the search and in the sworn applications filed in securing the
void search warrants and (b) purely corporate papers belonging to corporations. Under such
categorization or grouping, the determination of which unlawfully seized papers, documents and
things are personal/private of the petitioners or purely corporate papers will have to be left to the
lower courts which issued the void search warrants in ultimately effecting the suppression and/or
return of the said documents.

And as unequivocally indicated by the authorities above cited, the petitioners likewise have clear
legal standing to move for the suppression of purely corporate papers as "President and/or General
Manager" of the corporations involved as specifically mentioned in the void search warrants.
Finally, I must articulate my persuasion that although the cases cited in my disquisition were criminal
prosecutions, the great clauses of the constitutional proscription on illegal searches and seizures do
not withhold the mantle of their protection from cases not criminal in origin or nature.

Footnotes

1Hon. Jose W. Diokno, in his capacity as Secretary of Justice, Jose Lukban, in his capacity
as Acting Director, National Bureau of Investigation, Special Prosecutors Pedro D. Cenzon,
Efren I. Plana and Manuel Villareal, Jr. and Assistant Fiscal Maneses G. Reyes, City of
Manila.

2Hon. Amado Roan, Judge of the Municipal (now City) Court of Manila, Hon. Roman
Cansino, Judge of the Municipal (now City) Court of Manila, Hon. Hermogenes Caluag,
Judge of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City Branch, Hon. Eulogio Mencias,
Judge of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Pasig Branch, and Hon. Damian Jimenez,
Judge of the Municipal (now City) Court of Quezon City.

3 Covering the period from March 3 to March 9, 1962.

4 Harry S. Stonehill, Robert P. Brooks, John J. Brooks and Karl Beck.

5U.S. Tobacco Corporation, Atlas Cement Corporation, Atlas Development Corporation, Far
East Publishing Corporation (Evening News), Investment Inc., Industrial Business
Management Corporation, General Agricultural Corporation, American Asiatic Oil
Corporation, Investment Management Corporation, Holiday Hills, Inc., Republic Glass
Corporation, Industrial and Business Management Corporation, United Housing Corporation,
The Philippine Tobacco-Flue-Curing and Redrying Corporation, Republic Real Estate
Corporation and Merconsel Corporation.

6 Inter alia.

7"Without prejudice to explaining the reasons for this order in the decision to be rendered in
the case, the writ of preliminary injunction issued by us in this case against the use of the
papers, documents and things from the following premises: (1) The office of the U.S.
Tobacco Corp. at the Ledesma Bldg., Arzobispo St., Manila; (2) 932 Gonzales, Ermita,
Manila; (3) office at Atlanta St. bounded by Chicago, 15th & 14th Sts., Port Area, Manila; (4)
527 Rosario St., Mla.; (5) Atlas Cement Corp. and/or Atlas Development Corp., Magsaysay
Bldg., San Luis, Ermita, Mla.; (6) 205 13th St., Port Area, Mla.; (7) No. 224 San Vicente St.,
Mla.; (8) Warehouse No. 2 at Chicago & 23rd Sts., Mla.; (9) Warehouse at 23rd St., between
Muelle de San Francisco & Boston, Port Area, Mla.; (10) Investment Inc., 24th St. & Boston;
(11) IBMC, Magsaysay Bldg., San Luis, Mla.; (12) General Agricultural Corp., Magsaysay
Bldg., San Luis, Manila; (13) American Asiatic Oil Corp., Magsaysay Bldg., San Luis, Manila;
(14) Room 91, Carmen Apts.; Dewey Blvd., Manila; (15) Warehouse Railroad St. between 17
& 12 Sts., Port Area, Manila; (16) Rm. 304, Army & Navy Club, Manila, South Blvd.; (17)
Warehouse Annex Bldg., 18th St., Port Area, Manila; (18) Rm. 81 Carmen Apts.; Dewey
Blvd., Manila; (19) Holiday Hills, Inc., Trinity Bldg., San Luis, Manila; (20) No. 2008 Dewey
Blvd.; (21) Premises of 24th St. & Boston, Port Area, Manila; (22) Republic Glass Corp.,
Trinity Bldg., San Luis, Manila; (23) IBMC, 2nd Floor, Trinity Bldg., San Luis, Manila; (24)
IBMC, 2nd Flr., Gochangco Blg., 610 San Luis, Manila; (25) United Housing Corp., Trinity
Bldg., San Luis, Manila; (26) Republic Real Estate Corp., Trinity Bldg., San Luis, Manila; (27)
1437 Colorado St., Malate, Manila; (28) Phil. Tobacco Flue-Curing, Magsaysay Bldg., San
Luis, Manila and (29) 14 Baldwin St., Sta. Cruz, Manila, in the hearing of Deportation Cases
Nos. R-953 and 955 against petitioners, before the Deportation Board, is hereby lifted. The
preliminary injunction shall continue as to the papers, documents and things found in the
other premises namely: in those of the residences of petitioners, as follows: (1) 13 Narra
Road, Forbes Park, Makati, Rizal; (2) 15 Narra Road, Forbes Park, Makati, Rizal; and (3) 8
Urdaneta Avenue, Urdaneta Village, Makati, Rizal."

8 Newingham, et al. vs. United States, 4 F. 2d. 490.

9 Lesis vs. U.S., 6 F. 2d. 22.

In re Dooley (1931) 48 F 2d. 121; Rouda vs. U.S., 10 F. 60 2d 916; Lusco vs. U.S. 287 F.
10

69; Ganci vs. U.S., 287 F. Moris vs. U.S., 26 F. 2d 444.

11
U.S. vs. Gass 17 F. 2d. 997; People vs. Rubio, 57 Phil. 384, 394.

12 On March 22, 1962.

13 Section 1, paragraph 3, of Article III thereof.

Reading: . . . A search warrant shall not issue but upon probable cause to be determined
14

by the judge or justice of the peace 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.

. . . A search warrant shall not issue but upon probable cause in connection with one
15

specific offense to be determined by the judge or justice of the peace after examination
under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and
particularly describing the place to be searched and persons or things to be seized.

No search warrant shall issue for more than one specific offense. (Sec. 3, Rule 126.)

.R. No. L-25232 December 20, 1973

ASIAN SURETY and INSURANCE COMPANY, INC., petitioner,


vs.
HON. JOSE HERRERA, as Judge, City Court of Manila, NBI Agent CELSO J. ZOLETA, JR. and
MANUEL CUARESMA, respondents.

Astraquillo, Laquio, Brillantes and Associates, Taada, Carmon and Taada and Alidio, Elegir,
Anchete and Catipon petitioner.

Assistant Solicitor General Pacifico P. de Castro and Solicitor Augusto M. Amores for respondent
Celso J. Zoleta, Jr.

Antonio Barredo for respondent Manuel Cuaresma.


ESGUERRA, J.:

Petition to quash and annul a search warrant issued by respondent Judge Jose Herrera of the City
Court of Manila, and to command respondents to return immediately the documents, papers,
receipts and records alleged to have been illegally seized thereunder by agents of the National
Bureau of Investigation (NBI) led by respondent Celso Zoleta, Jr.

On October 27, 1965, respondent Judge Herrera, upon the sworn application of NBI agent Celso
Zoleta, Jr. supported by the deposition of his witness, Manuel Cuaresma, issued a search warrant in
connection with an undocketed criminal case for estafa, falsification, insurance fraud, and tax
evasion, against the Asian Surety and Insurance Co., a corporation duly organized and existing
under the laws of the Philippines, with principal office at Room 200 Republic Supermarket Bldg.,
Rizal Avenue, Manila. The search warrant is couched in the following language:

It appearing to the satisfaction of the undersigned, after examining under oath NBI
Agent Celso J. Zoleta, Jr. and his witness Manuel Cuaresma that there are good and
sufficient reasons to believe that Mr. William Li Yao or his employees has/have in
his/their control in premises No. 2nd Floor Republic Supermarket Building, in Rizal
Avenue district of Sta. Cruz, Manila, property (Subject of the offense; stolen or
embezzled and proceeds or fruits of the offense used or intended to be used as the
means of committing the offense) should be seized and brought to the undersigned.

You are hereby commanded to make an immediate search at any time in the ----- of
the premises above-described and forthwith seize and take possession of the
following personal property to wit: Fire Registers, Loss Bordereau, Adjusters Report
including subrogation receipt and proof of loss, Loss Registers, Books of Accounts,
including cash receipts and disbursements and general ledger, check vouchers,
income tax returns, and other papers connected therewith ... for the years 1961 to
1964 to be dealt with as the law directs.

Armed with the search warrant Zoleta and other agents assigned to the Anti-graft Division of the NBI
entered the premises of the Republic Supermarket Building and served the search warrant upon
Atty. Alidio of the insurance company, in the presence of Mr. William Li Yao, president and chairman
of the board of directors of the insurance firm. After the search they seized and carried away two (2)
carloads of documents, papers and receipts.

Petitioner assails the validity of the search warrant, claiming that it was issued in contravention of the
explicit provisions of the Constitution and the Rules of Court, particularly Section 1, of Art. III of the
1935 Constitution, now Section 3, of Art. IV of the new Constitution, and Sections 3, 5, 8 and 10 of
Rule 126 of the Rules of Court, hereunder quoted for convenience of reference, viz:

Sec. 3 The rights of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and
effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no
warrant shall issue but upon probable cause to be determined by the judge after
examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnessed he may
produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons, or
things to be seized." (Art. IV, Section 3, New Constitution)

Sec. 3 Requisites for issuing search warrant A search warrant shall not issue
but upon probable cause in connection with one specific offense to be determined by
the judge or justice of the peace 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.

No search warrant shall issue for more than one specific offense. (Sec. 3, Rule 126,
Rules of Court)

Sec. 5 Issuance and form of search warrant If the judge or justice of the peace
is thereupon satisfied of the existence of facts upon which the application is based,
or that there is probable cause to believe that they exist, he must issue the warrant in
the form prescribed by these rules. (Sec. 5, Rule 126)

Sec. 8 Time of making search The warrant must direct that it be served in the
day time, unless the affidavit asserts that the property is on the person or in the place
ordered to be searched, in which case a direction may be inserted that it be served at
any time of the night or day. (Sec. 8, Rule 126)

Sec. 10 Receipt for property seized. The officer seizing property under the warrant
must give a detailed receipt for the same to the person on whom or in whose
possession it was found, or in the absence of any person, must, in the presence of at
least one witness, leave a receipt in the place in which he found the seized property.
(Sec. 10, Rule 126) .

"Of all the rights of a citizen, few are of greater importance or more essential to his peace and
happiness than the right of personal security, and that involves the exemption of his private affairs,
books, and papers from the inspection and scrutiny of others. 1 While the power to search and seize is
necessary to the public welfare, still it must be exercised and the law enforced without transgressing the
constitutional rights of the citizens, for the enforcement of no statute is of sufficient importance to justify
indifference to the basic principles of government (People v. Elias, 147 N.E. 472)."

I.

In the case at bar, the search warrant was issued for four separate and distinct offenses of : (1)
estafa, (2) falsification, (3) tax evasion and (4) insurance fraud, in contravention of the explicit
command of Section 3, Rule 126, of the Rules providing that: "no search warrant shall issue for more
than one specific offense." The aforequoted provision, which is found in the last paragraph of the
same section, is something new. "There is no precedent on this amendment prohibition against
the issuance of a search warrant for more than one specific offense either in the American books
on Criminal procedure or in American decisions." 2 It was applied in the celebrated case of Harry S.
Stonehill v. Secretary of Justice 3 where this Court said:

To uphold the validity of the warrants in question would be to wipe out completely
one of the most fundamental rights guaranteed in our Constitution, for it would place
the sanctity of the domicile and the privacy of communication and correspondence at
the mercy of the whims, caprice or passion of peace officers. This is precisely the evil
sought to be remedied by the constitutional provision abovequoted to outlaw the
so-called general warrants. It is not difficult to imagine what would happen in times of
keen political strife, when the party in power feels that the minority is likely to wrest it,
even though by legal means.

Such is the seriousness of the irregularities committed in connection with the


disputed search warrants, that this Court deemed it fit to amend section 3 of Rule
122 of the former Rules of Court by providing in its counterpart, under the Revised
Rules of Court, that a search warrant shall not issue but upon probable cause in
connection with one specific offense. Not satisfied with this qualification, the court
added thereto a paragraph, directing that no search warrant shall issue for more than
one specific offense.

II.

Petitioner likewise contests the validity of the search warrant on the ground that it authorized the
search and seizures of personal properties so vaguely described and not particularized, thereby
infringing the constitutional mandate requiring particular description of the place to be searched and
the persons or things to be seized. It also assails the noncompliance with the above-requirement as
likewise openly violative of Section 2 of Rule 126 which provides:

SEC. 2. A search warrant may be issued for the search and seizure of the following
personal property:

(a) Property subject of the offense;

(b) Property stolen or embezzled and other proceeds or fruits of the offense; and

(c) Property used or intended to be used as the means of committing an offense.

The search warrant herein involved reads in part: "... property (Subject of the offense, stolen or
embezzled and proceeds or fruits of the offense used or intended to be used as the means of
committing the offense) should be seized and brought to the undersigned." The claim of respondents
that by not cancelling the description of one or two of the classes of property contained in the form
when not applicable to the properties sought to be seized, the respondent judge intended the search
to apply to all the three classes of property. This is a patent impossibility because the description of
the property to be searched and seized, viz: Fire Registers, Loss Bordereau, Adjusters Report,
including subrogation receipts and proof of loss, Loss Registers, Books of Accounts including cash
receipts and disbursements and general ledger, etc. and the offenses alleged to have been
committed by the corporation to wit: estafa, falsification, tax evasion and insurance fraud, render it
impossible for Us to see how the above-described property can simultaneously be contraband
goods, stolen or embezzled and other proceeds or fruits of one and the same offense. What is plain
and clear is the fact that the respondent Judge made no attempt to determine whether the property
he authorized to be searched and seized pertains specifically to any one of the three classes of
personal property that may be searched and seized under a search warrant under Rule 126, Sec. 2
of the Rules. The respondent Judge simply authorized search and seizure under an omnibus
description of the personal properties to be seized. Because of this all embracing description which
includes all conceivable records of petitioner corporation, which if seized (as it was really seized in
the case at bar), could possibly paralyze its business, 4 petitioner in several motions, filed for early
resolution of this case, manifested that the seizure of TWO carloads of their papers has paralyzed their
business to the grave prejudice of not only the company, its workers, agents, employees but also of its
numerous insured and beneficiaries of bonds issued by it, including the government itself, and of the
general public. 5 And correlating the same to the charges for which the warrant was issued, We have
before Us the infamous general warrants of old. In the case of Uy Kheytin, et al., v. Villareal, 42 Phil. 896,
cited with approval in the Bache case, supra, We had occasion to explain the purpose of the requirement
that the warrant should particularly describe the place to be searched and the things to be seized, to wit:

"... Both the Jones Law (sec. 3) and General Orders No. 58 (sec. 97) specifically
require that a search warrant should particularly describe the place to be searched
and the things to be seized. The evident purpose and intent of this requirement is to
limit the things to be seized to those, and only those, particularly described in the
search warrant to leave the officers of the law with no discretion regarding what
articles they shall seize, to the end that "unreasonable searches and seizures" may
not be made. That this is the correct interpretation of this constitutional provision is
borne out by American authorities."

The purpose as thus explained could, surely and effectively, be defeated under the search warrant
issued in this case.

III.

Moreover, as contended by petitioner, respondents in like manner transgressed Section 10 of Rule


126 of the Rules for failure to give a detailed receipt of the things seized. Going over the receipts
(Annexes "B", "B-1", B-2", "B-3" and "B-4" of the Petition) issued, We found the following: one
bordereau of reinsurance, 8 fire registers, 1 marine register, four annual statements, folders
described only as Bundle gm-1 red folders; bundle 17-22 big carton folders; folders of various sizes,
etc., without stating therein the nature and kind of documents contained in the folders of which there
were about a thousand of them that were seized. In the seizure of two carloads of documents and
other papers, the possibility that the respondents took away private papers of the petitioner, in
violation of his constitutional rights, is not remote, for the NBI agents virtually had a field day with the
broad and unlimited search warrant issued by respondent Judge as their passport.

IV.

The search warrant violated the specific injunctions of Section 8 of Rule 126. 6 Annex "A" of the
Petition which is the search warrant in question left blank the "time" for making search, while actual
search was conducted in the evening of October 27, 1965, at 7:30 p.m., until the wee hours of the
morning of October 28, 1965, thus causing untold inconveniences to petitioners herein. Authorities 7 are of
the view that where a search is to be made during the night time, the authority for executing the same at
that time should appear in the directive on the face of the warrant.

In their Memorandum 8 respondents, relying on the case of Moncado v. Peoples Court (80 Phil. 1),
argued:

Even assuming that the search warrant in question is null and void, the illegality
thereof would not render the incriminating documents inadmissible in evidence.

This Court has reverted to the old rule and abandoned the Moncado ruling (Stonehill case, supra).
Most common law jurisdictions have already given up this approach and eventually adopted the
exclusionary rule, realizing that this is the only practical means of enforcing the constitutional
injunction against unreasonable searches and seizures. Thus the Supreme Court of the United
States declared: 9

If letters and private documents can thus be seized and held and used in evidence
against a citizen accused of an offense the protection of the 4th Amendment,
declaring his right to be secured against such searches and seizures is of no value,
and so far as those thus placed are concerned, might as well be stricken from the
Constitution. The efforts of the courts and their officials to bring the guilty to
punishment, praise-worthy as they are, are not to be aided by the sacrifice of those
great principles established by years of endeavor and suffering which have resulted
in their embodiment in the fundamental law of the land.
Moreover, the criminal charges filed by the NBI have all been dismissed and/or dropped by the Court
or by the office of the City Fiscal of Manila in 1968, as manifested in the petition filed by petitioner
dated October 24, 1972, for early resolution of this case.

V.

It has likewise been observed that the offenses alleged took place from 1961 to 1964, and the
application for search warrant was made on October 27, 1965. The time of the application is so far
remote in time as to make the probable cause of doubtful veracity and the warrant vitally defective.
Thus Mr. Joseph Varon, an eminent authority on Searches, Seizures and Immunities, has this to say
on this point:

From the examination of the several cases touching upon this subject, the following
general rules are said to apply to affidavits for search warrants:

(1) xxx xxx xxx

(2) Such statement as to the time of the alleged offense must be clear and
definite and must not be too remote from the time of the making of the affidavit and
issuance of the search warrant.

(3) There is no rigid rule for determining whether the stated time of observation of the
offense is too remote from the time when the affidavit is made or the search warrant
issued, but, generally speaking, a lapse of time of more than three weeks will be held
not to invalidate the search warrant while a lapse of four weeks will be held to be so.

A good and practical rule of thumb to measure the nearness of time given in the
affidavit as to the date of the alleged offense, and the time of making the affidavit is
thus expressed: The nearer the time at which the observation of the offense is
alleged to have been made, the more reasonable the conclusion of establishment of
probable cause. [Emphasis Ours]

PREMISES CONSIDERED, petition is hereby granted; the search warrant of October 27, 1965, is
nullified and set aside, and the respondents are hereby ordered to return immediately all documents,
papers and other objects seized or taken thereunder. Without costs.

Makalintal, C.J., Castro, Fernandez * and Muoz Palma, JJ., concur.

Makasiar, J., concurs in the result.

May 1994, 232 SCRA 249.

G.R. No. 104879 May 6, 1994

ELIZALDE MALALOAN and MARLON LUAREZ, petitioners,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS; HON. ANTONIO J. FINEZA, in his capacity as
Presiding Judge, Branch 131, Regional Trial Court of Kalookan City;
HON. TIRSO D.C. VELASCO, in his capacity as Presiding Judge,
Branch 88, Regional Trial Court of Quezon City; and PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, respondents.

Alexander A. Padilla for petitioners.

The Solicitor General for the People of the Philippines.

REGALADO, J.:

Creative legal advocacy has provided this Court with another primae
impressionis case through the present petition wherein the parties have
formulated and now pose for resolution the following issue: Whether or not a
court may take cognizance of an application for a search warrant in
connection with an offense committed outside its territorial boundary and,
thereafter, issue the warrant to conduct a search on a place outside the
court's supposed territorial jurisdiction. 1

The factual background and judicial antecedents of this case are best taken
from the findings of respondent Court of Appeals 2 on which there does not
appear to be any dispute, to wit:

From the pleadings and supporting documents before the Court, it can be
gathered that on March 22, 1990, 1st Lt. Absalon V. Salboro of the CAPCOM
Northern Sector (now Central Sector) filed with the Regional Trial Court of
Kalookan City an application for search warrant. The search warrant was
sought for in connection with an alleged violation of P.D. 1866 (Illegal
Possession of Firearms and Ammunitions) perpetrated at No. 25 Newport
St., corner Marlboro St., Fairview, Quezon City. On March 23, 1990,
respondent RTC Judge of Kalookan City issued Search Warrant No. 95-90.
On the same day, at around 2:30 p.m., members of the CAPCOM, armed
with subject search warrant, proceeded to the situs of the offense alluded to,
where a labor seminar of the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and
Research (EILER) was then taking place. According to CAPCOM's "Inventory
of Property Seized," firearms, explosive materials and subversive
documents, among others, were seized and taken during the search. And all
the sixty-one (61) persons found within the premises searched were brought
to Camp Karingal, Quezon City but most of them were later released, with
the exception of the herein petitioners, EILER Instructors, who were
indicated for violation of P.D. 1866 in Criminal Case No. Q-90-11757 before
Branch 88 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, presided over by
respondent Judge Tirso D.C. Velasco.

On July 10, 1990, petitioners presented a "Motion for Consolidation, Quashal


of Search Warrant and For the Suppression of All Illegally Acquired
Evidence" before the Quezon City court; and a "Supplemental Motion to the
Motion for Consolidation, Quashal of Search Warrant and Exclusion of
Evidence Illegally Obtained.

On September 21, 1990, the respondent Quezon City Judge issued the
challenged order, consolidating subject cases but denying the prayer for the
quashal of the search warrant under attack, the validity of which warrant
was upheld; opining that the same falls under the category of Writs and
Processes, within the contemplation of paragraph 3(b) of the Interim Rules
and Guidelines, and can be served not only within the territorial jurisdiction
of the issuing court but anywhere in the judicial region of the issuing court
(National Capital Judicial Region);. . .

Petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the said Order under challenge,


having been denied by the assailed Order of October 5, 1990, petitioners
have come to this Court via the instant petition, raising the sole issue:

WHETHER OR NOT A COURT MAY TAKE COGNIZANCE OF AN APPLICATION


FOR A SEARCH WARRANT IN CONNECTION WITH AN OFFENSE ALLEGEDLY
COMMITTED OUTSIDE ITS TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION AND TO ISSUE A
WARRANT TO CONDUCT A SEARCH ON A PLACE LIKEWISE OUTSIDE ITS
TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION.

xxx xxx xxx

Respondent Court of Appeals rendered judgment, 3 in effect affirming that of


the trial court, by denying due course to the petition for certiorari and lifting
the temporary restraining order it had issued on November 29, 1990 in
connection therewith. This judgment of respondent court is now impugned in
and sought to be reversed through the present recourse before us.

We are not favorably impressed by the arguments adduced by petitioners in


support of their submissions. Their disquisitions postulate interpretative
theories contrary to the letter and intent of the rules on search warrants and
which could pose legal obstacles, if not dangerous doctrines, in the area of
law enforcement. Further, they fail to validly distinguish, hence they do not
convincingly delineate the difference, between the matter of (1) the court
which has the competence to issue a search warrant under a given set of
facts, and (2) the permissible jurisdictional range in the enforcement of such
search warrant vis-a-vis the court's territorial jurisdiction. These issues while
effectively cognate are essentially discrete since the resolution of one does
not necessarily affect or preempt the other. Accordingly, to avoid
compounding the seeming confusion, these questions shall be
discussedseriatim.

I
Petitioners invoke the jurisdictional rules in the institution of criminal actions
to invalidate the search warrant issued by the Regional Trial Court of
Kalookan City because it is directed toward the seizure of firearms and
ammunition allegedly cached illegally in Quezon City. This theory is sought
to be buttressed by the fact that the criminal case against petitioners for
violation of Presidential Decree No. 1866 was subsequently filed in the latter
court. The application for the search warrant, it is claimed, was accordingly
filed in a court of improper venue and since venue in criminal actions
involves the territorial jurisdiction of the court, such warrant is void for
having been issued by a court without jurisdiction to do so.

The basic flaw in this reasoning is in erroneously equating the application for
and the obtention of a search warrant with the institution and prosecution of
a criminal action in a trial court. It would thus categorize what is only a
special criminal process, the power to issue which is inherent in all courts, as
equivalent to a criminal action, jurisdiction over which is reposed in specific
courts of indicated competence. It ignores the fact that the requisites,
procedure and purpose for the issuance of a search warrant are completely
different from those for the institution of a criminal action.

For, indeed, a warrant, such as a warrant of arrest or a search warrant,


merely constitutes process. 4 A search warrant is defined in our jurisdiction
as an order in writing issued in the name of the People of the Philippines
signed by a judge and directed to a peace officer, commanding him to
search for personal property and bring it before the court. 5 A search warrant
is in the nature of a criminal process akin to a writ of discovery. It is a
special and peculiar remedy, drastic in its nature, and made necessary
because of a public necessity. 6

In American jurisdictions, from which we have taken our jural concept and
provisions on search warrants, 7 such warrant is definitively considered
merely as a process, generally issued by a court in the exercise of its
ancillary jurisdiction, and not a criminal action to be entertained by a court
pursuant to its original jurisdiction. We emphasize this fact for purposes of
both issues as formulated in this opinion, with the catalogue of authorities
herein.

Invariably, a judicial process is defined as a writ, warrant, subpoena, or


other formal writing issued by authority of law; also the means of
accomplishing an end, including judicial proceedings, 8 or all writs, warrants,
summonses, and orders of courts of justice or judicial officers. 9 It is likewise
held to include a writ, summons, or order issued in a judicial proceeding to
acquire jurisdiction of a person or his property, to expedite the cause or
enforce the judgment, 10 or a writ, warrant, mandate, or other process
issuing from a court of justice. 11
2. It is clear, therefore, that a search warrant is merely a judicial process
designed by the Rules to respond only to an incident in the main case, if one
has already been instituted, or in anticipation thereof. In the latter
contingency, as in the case at bar, it would involve some judicial
clairvoyance to require observance of the rules as to where a criminal case
may eventually be filed where, in the first place, no such action having as
yet been instituted, it may ultimately be filed in a territorial jurisdiction other
than that wherein the illegal articles sought to be seized are then located.
This is aside from the consideration that a criminal action may be filed in
different venues under the rules for delitos continuados or in those instances
where different trial courts have concurrent original jurisdiction over the
same criminal offense.

In fact, to illustrate the gravity of the problem which petitioners' implausible


position may create, we need not stray far from the provisions of Section 15,
Rule 110 of the Rules of Court on the venue of criminal actions and which we
quote:

Sec. 15. Place where action to be instituted.

(a) Subject to existing laws, in all criminal prosecutions the action shall be
instituted and tried in the court of the municipality or territory wherein the
offense was committed or any one of the essential ingredients thereof took
place.

(b) Where an offense is committed on a railroad train, in an aircraft, or any


other public or private vehicle while in the course of its trip, the criminal
action may be instituted and tried in the court of any municipality or
territory where such train, aircraft or other vehicle passed during such trip,
including the place of departure and arrival.

(c) Where an offense is committed on board a vessel in the course of its


voyage, the criminal action may be instituted and tried in the proper court of
the first port of entry or of any municipality or territory through which the
vessel passed during such voyage, subject to the generally accepted
principles of international law.

(d) Other crimes committed outside of the Philippines but punishable therein
under Article 2 of the Revised Penal Code shall be cognizable by the proper
court in which the charge is first filed. (14a)

It would be an exacting imposition upon the law enforcement authorities or


the prosecutorial agencies to unerringly determine where they should apply
for a search warrant in view of the uncertainties and possibilities as to the
ultimate venue of a case under the foregoing rules. It would be doubly so if
compliance with that requirement would be under pain of nullification of said
warrant should they file their application therefor in and obtain the same
from what may later turn out to be a court not within the ambit of the
aforequoted Section 15.

Our Rules of Court, whether of the 1940, 1964 or the present vintage, and,
for that matter, the Judiciary Act of 1948 12 or the recent Judiciary
Reorganization Act, 13 have never required the jurisdictional strictures that
the petitioners' thesis would seek to be inferentially drawn from the silence
of the reglementary provisions. On the contrary, we are of the view that said
statutory omission was both deliberate and significant. It cannot but mean
that the formulators of the Rules of Court, and even Congress itself, did not
consider it proper or correct, on considerations of national policy and the
pragmatics of experience, to clamp a legal manacle on those who would
ferret out the evidence of a crime. For us to now impose such conditions or
restrictions, under the guise of judicial interpretation, may instead be
reasonably construed as trenching on judicial legislation. It would be
tantamount to a judicial act of engrafting upon a law something that has
been omitted but which someone believes ought to have been embraced
therein. 14

Concededly, the problem of venue would be relatively easier to resolve if a


criminal case has already been filed in a particular court and a search
warrant is needed to secure evidence to be presented therein. Obviously, the
court trying the criminal case may properly issue the warrant, upon proper
application and due compliance with the requisites therefor, since such
application would only be an incident in that case and which it can resolve in
the exercise of its ancillary jurisdiction. If the contraband articles are within
its territorial jurisdiction, there would appear to be no further complications.
The jurisdictional problem would resurrect, however, where such articles are
outside its territorial jurisdiction, which aspect will be addressed hereafter.

3. Coming back to the first issue now under consideration, petitioners, after
discoursing on the respective territorial jurisdictions of the thirteen Regional
Trial Courts which correspond to the thirteen judicial regions, 15invite our
attention to the fact that this Court, pursuant to its authority granted by
law, 16 has defined the territorial jurisdiction of each branch of a Regional
Trial Court 17 over which the particular branch concerned shall exercise its
authority. 18 From this, it is theorized that "only the branch of a Regional
Trial Court which has jurisdiction over the place to be searched could grant
an application for and issue a warrant to search that place." Support for such
position is sought to be drawn from issuances of this Court, that is, Circular
No. 13 issued on October 1, 1985, as amended by Circular No. 19 on August
4, 1987.
We reject that proposition. Firstly, it is evident that both circulars were not
intended to be of general application to all instances involving search
warrants and in all courts as would be the case if they had been adopted as
part of the Rules of Court. These circulars were issued by the Court to meet
a particular exigency, that is, as emergency guidelines on applications for
search warrants filed only in the courts of Metropolitan Manila and other
courts with multiple salas and only with respect to violations of the Anti-
Subversion Act, crimes against public order under the Revised Penal Code,
illegal possession of firearms and/or ammunitions, and violations of the
Dangerous Drugs Act. In other words, the aforesaid theory on the court's
jurisdiction to issue search warrants would not apply tosingle-
sala courts and other crimes. Accordingly, the rule sought by petitioners to
be adopted by the Court would actually result in a bifurcated procedure
which would be vulnerable to legal and constitutional objections.

For that matter, neither can we subscribe to petitioners' contention that


Administrative Order No. 3 of this Court, supposedly "defining the limits of
the territorial jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts," was the source of
thesubject matter jurisdiction of, as distinguished from the exercise of
jurisdiction by, the courts. As earlier observed, this administrative order was
issued pursuant to the provisions of Section 18 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129,
the pertinent portion of which states:

Sec. 18. Authority to define territory appurtenant to each branch. The


Supreme Court shall define the territory over which a branch of the Regional
Trial Court shall exercise its authority. The territory thus defined shall be
deemed to be the territorial area of the branch concerned for purposes of
determining the venue of all writs, proceedings or actions, whether civil or
criminal, . . . . (Emphasis ours.)

Jurisdiction is conferred by substantive law, in this case Batas Pambansa


Blg. 129, not by a procedural law and, much less, by an administrative order
or circular. The jurisdiction conferred by said Act on regional trial courts and
their judges is basically regional in scope. Thus, Section 17 thereof provides
that "(e)very Regional Trial Judge shall be appointed to a region which shall
be his permanent station," and he "may be assigned by the Supreme Court
to any branch or city or municipality within the same region as public
interest may require, and such assignment shall not be deemed an
assignment to another station . . ." which, otherwise, would necessitate a
new appointment for the judge.

In fine, Administrative Order No. 3 and, in like manner, Circulars Nos. 13


and 19, did not per se confer jurisdiction on the covered regional trial court
or its branches, such that non-observance thereof would nullify their judicial
acts. The administrative order merely defines the limits of
the administrative area within which a branch of the court may exercise its
authority pursuant to the jurisdiction conferred by Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.
The circulars only allocated to the three executive judges the administrative
areas for which they may respectively issue search warrants under the
special circumstance contemplated therein, but likewise pursuant to
the jurisdiction vested in them by Batas Pambansa Blg, 129.

Secondly, and more importantly, we definitely cannot accept the conclusion


that the grant of power to the courts mentioned therein, to entertain and
issue search warrants where the place to be searched is within their
territorial jurisdiction, was intended to exclude other courts from exercising
the same power. It will readily be noted that Circular No. 19 was basically
intended to provide prompt action on applications for search warrants. Its
predecessor, Administrative Circular No. 13, had a number of requirements,
principally a raffle of the applications for search warrants, if they had been
filed with the executive judge, among the judges within his administrative
area. Circular No. 19 eliminated, by amendment, that required raffle and
ordered instead that such applications should immediately be "taken
cognizance of and acted upon by the Executive Judges of the Regional Trial
Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, and Municipal Trial Court under whose
jurisdiction the place to be searched is located," or by their substitutes
enumerated therein.

Evidently, that particular provision of Circular No. 19 was never intended to


confer exclusive jurisdiction on said executive judges. In view of the fact,
however, that they were themselves directed to personally act on the
applications, instead of farming out the same among the other judges as
was the previous practice, it was but necessary and practical to require them
to so act only on applications involving search of places located within their
respective territorial jurisdictions. The phrase above quoted was, therefore,
in the nature of an allocation in the assignment of applications among them,
in recognition of human capabilities and limitations, and not a mandate for
the exclusion of all other courts. In truth, Administrative Circular No. 13
even specifically envisaged and anticipated the non-exclusionary nature of
that provision, thus:

4. If, in the implementation of the search warrant properties are seized


thereunder and the corresponding case is filed in court, said case shall be
distributed conformably with Circular No. 7 dated September 23, 1974, of
this Court, and thereupon tried and decided by the judge to whom it has
been assigned, and not necessarily by the judge who issued the search
warrant. (Emphasis supplied.)

It is, therefore, incorrect to say that only the court which has jurisdiction
over the criminal case can issue the search warrant, as would be the
consequence of petitioners' position that only the branch of the court with
jurisdiction over the place to be searched can issue a warrant to search the
same. It may be conceded, as a matter of policy, that where a criminal case
is pending, the court wherein it was filed, or the assigned branch thereof,
has primary jurisdiction to issue the search warrant; and where no such
criminal case has yet been filed, that the executive judges or their lawful
substitutes in the areas and for the offenses contemplated in Circular No. 19
shall have primary jurisdiction.

This should not, however, mean that a court whose territorial jurisdiction
does not embrace the place to be searched cannot issue a search warrant
therefor, where the obtention of that search warrant is necessitated and
justified by compelling considerations of urgency, subject, time and place.
Conversely, neither should a search warrant duly issued by a court which
has jurisdiction over a pending criminal case, or one issued by an executive
judge or his lawful substitute under the situations provided for by Circular
No. 19, be denied enforcement or nullified just because it was implemented
outside the court's territorial jurisdiction.

This brings us, accordingly, to the second issue on the permissible


jurisdictional range of enforcement of search warrants.

II

As stated in limine, the affiliated issue raised in this case is whether a branch
of a regional trial court has the authority to issue a warrant for the search of
a place outside its territorial jurisdiction. Petitioners insistently answer the
query in the negative. We hold otherwise.

1. We repeat what we have earlier stressed: No law or rule imposes such a


limitation on search warrants, in the same manner that no such restriction is
provided for warrants of arrest. Parenthetically, in certain states within the
American jurisdiction, there were limitations of the time wherein a warrant
of arrest could be enforced. In our jurisdiction, no period is provided for the
enforceability of warrants of arrest, and although within ten days from the
delivery of the warrant of arrest for execution a return thereon must be
made to the issuing judge, 19 said warrant does not become functus
officio but is enforceable indefinitely until the same is enforced or recalled.
On the other hand, the lifetime of a search warrant has been expressly set in
our Rules at ten days 20 but there is no provision as to the extent of the
territory wherein it may be enforced, provided it is implemented on and
within the premises specifically described therein which may or may not be
within the territorial jurisdiction of the issuing court.

We make the foregoing comparative advertence to emphasize the fact that


when the law or rules would provide conditions, qualifications or restrictions,
they so state. Absent specific mention thereof, and the same not being
inferable by necessary implication from the statutory provisions which are
presumed to be complete and expressive of the intendment of the framers, a
contrary interpretation on whatever pretext should not be countenanced.

A bit of legal history on this contestation will be helpful. The jurisdictional


rule heretofore was that writs and processes of the so-called inferior courts
could be enforced outside the province only with the approval of the former
court of first instance. 21 Under the Judiciary Reorganization Act, the
enforcement of such writs and processes no longer needs the approval of the
regional trial court. 22 On the other hand, while, formerly, writs and
processes of the then courts of first instance were enforceable throughout
the Philippines, 23 under the Interim or Transitional Rules and Guidelines,
certain specified writs issued by a regional trial court are now enforceable
only within its judicial region. In the interest of clarity and contrast, it is
necessary that said provision be set out in full:

3. Writs and processes.

(a) Writs of certiorari, prohibition mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus


and injunction issued by a regional trial court may be enforced in any part of
the region.

(b) All other processes, whether issued by a regional trial court or a


metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court or municipal circuit trial court
may be served anywhere in the Philippines, and, in the last three cases,
without a certification by the judge of the regional trial court. (Emphasis
ours.)

We feel that the foregoing provision is too clear to be further belabored or


enmeshed in unwarranted polemics. The rule enumerates the writs and
processes which, even if issued by a regional trial court, are enforceable only
within its judicial region. In contrast, it unqualifiedly provides that all other
writs and processes, regardless of which court issued the same, shall be
enforceable anywhere in the Philippines. As earlier demonstrated, a search
warrant is but a judicial process, not a criminal action. No legal provision,
statutory or reglementary, expressly or impliedly provides a jurisdictional or
territorial limit on its area of enforceability. On the contrary, the above-
quoted provision of the interim Rules expressly authorizes its enforcement
anywhere in the country, since it is not among the processes specified in
paragraph (a) and there is no distinction or exception made regarding the
processes contemplated in
paragraph (b).

2. This is but a necessary and inevitable consequence of the nature and


purpose of a search warrant. The Court cannot be blind to the fact that it is
extremely difficult, as it undeniably is, to detect or elicit information
regarding the existence and location of illegally possessed or prohibited
articles. The Court is accordingly convinced that it should not make the
requisites for the apprehension of the culprits and the confiscation of such
illicit items, once detected, more onerous if not impossible by imposing
further niceties of procedure or substantive rules of jurisdiction through
decisional dicta. For that matter, we are unaware of any instance wherein a
search warrant was struck down on objections based on territorial
jurisdiction. In the landmark case of Stonehill, et al. vs. Diokno,et al., 24 the
searches in the corporate offices in Manila and the residences in Makati of
therein petitioners were conducted pursuant to search warrants issued by
the Quezon City and Pasig branches of the Court of First Instance of Rizal
and by the Municipal Courts of Manila and Quezon City, 25 but the same
were never challenged on jurisdictional grounds although they were
subsequently nullified for being general warrants.

3. A clarion call supposedly of libertarian import is further sounded by


petitioners, dubiously invoking the constitutional proscription against illegal
searches and seizures. We do not believe that the enforcement of a search
warrant issued by a court outside the territorial jurisdiction wherein the
place to be searched is located would create a constitutional question. Nor
are we swayed by the professed apprehension that the law enforcement
authorities may resort to what could be a permutation of forum shopping, by
filing an application for the warrant with a "friendly" court. It need merely be
recalled that a search warrant is only a process, not an action. Furthermore,
the constitutional mandate is translated into specifically enumerated
safeguards in Rule 126 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure for the
issuance of a search warrant, 26 and all these have to be observed
regardless of whatever court in whichever region is importuned for or
actually issues a search warrant. Said requirements, together with the ten-
day lifetime of the warrant 27 would discourage resort to a court in another
judicial region, not only because of the distance but also the contingencies of
travel and the danger involved, unless there are really compelling reasons
for the authorities to do so. Besides, it does seem odd that such
constitutional protests have not been made against warrants of arrest which
are enforceable indefinitely and anywhere although they involve, not only
property and privacy, but persons and liberty.

On the other hand, it is a matter of judicial knowledge that the authorities


have to contend now and then with local and national criminal syndicates of
considerable power and influence, political or financial in nature, and so
pervasive as to render foolhardy any attempt to obtain a search warrant in
the very locale under their sphere of control. Nor should we overlook the fact
that to do so will necessitate the transportation of applicant's witnesses to
and their examination in said places, with the attendant risk, danger and
expense. Also, a further well-founded precaution, obviously born of
experience and verifiable data, is articulated by the court a quo, as quoted
by respondent court:

This court is of the further belief that the possible leakage of information
which is of utmost importance in the issuance of a search warrant is secured
(against) where the issuing magistrate within the region does not hold court
sessions in the city or municipality, within the region, where the place to be
searched is located. 28

The foregoing situations may also have obtained and were taken into
account in the foreign judicial pronouncement that, in the absence of
statutory restrictions, a justice of the peace in one district of the county may
issue a search warrant to be served in another district of the county and
made returnable before the justice of still another district or another court
having jurisdiction to deal with the matters involved. 29 In the present state
of our law on the matter, we find no such statutory restrictions both with
respect to the court which can issue the search warrant and the enforcement
thereof anywhere in the Philippines.

III

Concern is expressed over possible conflicts of jurisdiction (or, more


accurately, in the exercise of jurisdiction) where the criminal case is pending
in one court and the search warrant is issued by another court for the
seizure of personal property intended to be used as evidence in said criminal
case. This arrangement is not unknown or without precedent in our
jurisdiction. In fact, as hereinbefore noted, this very situation was
anticipated in Circular No. 13 of this Court under the limited scenario
contemplated therein.

Nonetheless, to put such presentiments to rest, we lay down the following


policy guidelines:

1. The court wherein the criminal case is pending shall have primary
jurisdiction to issue search warrants necessitated by and for purposes of said
case. An application for a search warrant may be filed with another court
only under extreme and compelling circumstances that the applicant must
prove to the satisfaction of the latter court which may or may not give due
course to the application depending on the validity of the justification offered
for not filing the same in the court with primary jurisdiction thereover.

2. When the latter court issues the search warrant, a motion to quash the
same may be filed in and shall be resolved by said court, without prejudice
to any proper recourse to the appropriate higher court by the party
aggrieved by the resolution of the issuing court. All grounds and objections
then available, existent or known shall be raised in the original or
subsequent proceedings for the quashal of the warrant, otherwise they shall
be deemed waived.

3. Where no motion to quash the search warrant was filed in or resolved by


the issuing court, the interested party may move in the court where the
criminal case is pending for the suppression as evidence of the personal
property seized under the warrant if the same is offered therein for said
purpose. Since two separate courts with different participations are involved
in this situation, a motion to quash a search warrant and a motion to
suppress evidence are alternative and not cumulative remedies. In order to
prevent forum shopping, a motion to quash shall consequently be governed
by the omnibus motion rule, provided, however, that objections not
available, existent or known during the proceedings for the quashal of the
warrant may be raised in the hearing of the motion to suppress. The
resolution of the court on the motion to suppress shall likewise be subject to
any proper remedy in the appropriate higher court.

4. Where the court which issued the search warrant denies the motion to
quash the same and is not otherwise prevented from further proceeding
thereon, all personal property seized under the warrant shall forthwith be
transmitted by it to the court wherein the criminal case is pending, with the
necessary safeguards and documentation therefor.

5. These guidelines shall likewise be observed where the same criminal


offense is charged in different informations or complaints and filed in two or
more courts with concurrent original jurisdiction over the criminal action.
Where the issue of which court will try the case shall have been resolved,
such court shall be considered as vested with primary jurisdiction to act on
applications for search warrants incident to the criminal case.

WHEREFORE, on the foregoing premises, the instant petition is DENIED and


the assailed judgment of respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.
23533 is hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., Cruz, Feliciano, Bidin, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo,
Quiason, Puno, Vitug and Kapunan, JJ., concur.

Padilla, J., took no part.


Separate Opinions

DAVIDE, JR., J.,

The majority opinion enunciates these two principles:

1. Before the criminal action is filed with the appropriate court, a court which
has no territorial jurisdiction over the crime may validly entertain an
application for and thereafter issue a search warrant in connection with the
commission of such crime; and

2. After the filing of the criminal action, the court with which it was filed has
primary jurisdiction to issue search warrants necessitated by and for
purposes of said case; however, under extreme and compelling
circumstances, another court may issue a search warrant in connection with
said case.

I am unable to agree with the first and with the exception to the second.

A.. By the very definition of a search warrant which the majority opinion
adopts, it is clear to me that only a court having territorial jurisdiction over
the crime committed can validly entertain an application for and issue a
search warrant in connection with said crime. The majority opinion says:

For, indeed, a warrant, such as a warrant of arrest or a search warrant,


merely constitutes process. A search warrant is defined in our jurisdiction as
an order in writing issued in the name of the People of the Philippines signed
by a judge and directed to a peace officer, commanding him to search for
personal property and bring it before the court. A search warrant is in the
nature of a criminal process akin to a writ of discovery. It is a special and
peculiar remedy, drastic in nature, and made necessary because of a public
necessity.

In American jurisdictions, from which we have taken our jural concept and
provisions on search warrants, such warrant is definitively considered merely
as a process generally issued by a court in the exercise of its ancillary
jurisdiction, and not a criminal action to be entertained by a court pursuant
to its original jurisdiction. We emphasize this fact for purposes of both issues
as formulated in this opinion, with the catalogue of authorities herein.

Invariably, a judicial process is defined as a writ, warrant, subpoena, or


other formal writing issued by authority of law; also the means of
accomplishing an end, including judicial proceedings, or all writs, warrants,
summonses, and orders of courts of justice or judicial officers. It is likewise
held to include a writ, summons, or order in a judicial proceeding to acquire
jurisdiction of a person or his property, to expedite the cause or enforce
judgment, or a writ, warrant, mandate, or other processes issuing from a
court of justice.

2. It is clear, therefore, that a search warrant is merely a judicial process


designed by the Rules to respond only to an incident in the main case, if one
has already been instituted, or in anticipation thereof. . . ." (citations
omitted)

What are to be underscored in the foregoing definition or disquisition on the


concept of a search warrant are the following: (a) it is "in the nature of a
criminal process akin to a writ of discovery," (b) it is generally issued by a
court "in the exercise of its ancillary jurisdiction," and (c) it is "designed by
the Rules to respond only to an incident in the main case . . . or in
anticipation thereof." All of these are premised on the assumption that the
court entertaining the application for and issuing the search warrant has
jurisdiction over the main case, meaning, of course, the crime in connection
with whose commission the warrant was issued.

The writ of discovery is the discovery in federal criminal cases governed by


the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Rule 16 thereof provides:

Upon motion of the defendant at any time after the filing of the indictment
or information, the court may order the attorney for the government to
permit the defendant to inspect and copy or photograph designated books,
papers, documents or tangible objects, obtained from or belonging to the
defendant or obtained from others by seizure or process, upon a showing
that the items sought may be material to the presentation of his defense and
that the request is reasonable. (4 Federal Practice and Procedure with
Forms, Rules Edition, 1951 ed., 124).

Note that the required motion is filed after the filing of the indictment or
information.

"Ancillary," in reference to jurisdiction can only mean in aid of or incidental


to an original jurisdiction. Ancillary jurisdiction is defined as follows:

Ancillary jurisdiction. Power of court to adjudicate and determine matters


incidental to the exercise of its primary jurisdiction of an action.

Under "ancillary jurisdiction doctrine" federal district court acquires


jurisdiction of case or controversy as an entirety and may, as incident to
disposition of matter properly before it, possess jurisdiction to decide other
matters raised by case, though district court could not have taken
cognizance of them if they had been independently presented.
. . ."Ancillary jurisdiction" of federal court generally involves either
proceedings which are concerned with pleadings, processes, records or
judgments of court in principal case or proceedings which affect property
already in court's custody. . . . (Black's Law Dictionary 79 [5th ed., 1979]).

"Incident in the main case" also presupposes a main case which, perforce,
must be within the court's jurisdiction.Incident is defined thus:

Incident. Used both substantively and adjectively of a thing which, either


usually or naturally and inseparably, depends upon, appertains to, or follows
another that is more worthy. Used as a noun, it denotes anything which
inseparably belongs to, or is connected with, or inherent in, another thing,
called the "principal". Also, less strictly, it denotes anything which is usually
connected with another, or connected for some purposes, though not
inseparably. . . . (Id., at 686)

Reliance upon Section 3 of the Interim or Transitional Rules and Guidelines


Implementing B.P. Blg. 129 which reads:

3. Writs and processes. (a) Writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus,


quo warranto, habeas corpus and injunction issued by a regional trial court
may be enforced in any part of the region.

(b) All other processes, whether issued by a regional trial court or a


metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court or municipal circuit trial court
may be served anywhere in the Philippines, and, in the last three cases,
without a certification by the judge of the regional trial court.

is misplaced for the reason that said section refers to writs or processes
issued by a court in a case pending before it and not to a case yet to be filed
with it or pending in another court.

The absence of any express statutory provision prohibiting a court from


issuing a search warrant in connection with a crime committed outside its
territorial jurisdiction should not be construed as a grant of blanket authority
to any court of justice in the country to issue a search warrant in connection
with a crime committed outside its territorial jurisdiction. The majority view
suggests or implies that a municipal trial court in Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, or
Batanes can validly entertain an application for a search warrant and issue
one in connection with a crime committed in Manila. Elsewise stated, all
courts in the Philippines, including the municipal trial courts, can validly
issue a search warrant in connection with a crime committed anywhere in
the Philippines. Simply put, all courts of justice in the Philippines have, for
purposes of issuing a search warrant, jurisdiction over the entire
archipelago.
I cannot subscribe to this view since, in the first place, a search warrant is
but an incident to a main case and involves the exercise of an ancillary
jurisdiction therefore, the authority to issue it must necessarily be co-
extensive with the court's territorial jurisdiction. To hold otherwise would be
to add an exception to the statutory provisions defining the territorial
jurisdiction of the various courts of the country, which would amount to
judicial legislation. The territorial jurisdiction of the courts is determined by
law, and a reading of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 discloses that the territorial
jurisdiction of regional trial courts, metropolitan trial courts, municipal trial
courts and municipal circuit trial courts are confined to specific territories. In
the second place, the majority view may legitimize abuses that would result
in the violation the civil rights of an accused or the infliction upon him of
undue and unwarranted burdens and inconvenience as when, for instance,
an accused who is a resident of Basco, Batanes, has to file a motion to
quash a search warrant issued by the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila in
connection with an offense he allegedly committed in Itbayat, Batanes.

Nor can Stonehill vs. Diokno (20 SCRA 383) be an authoritative confirmation
of the unlimited or unrestricted power of any court to issue search warrants
in connection with crimes committed outside its territorial jurisdiction. While
it may be true that the forty-two search warrants involved therein were
issued by several Judges specifically Judges (a) Amado Roan of the City
Court of Manila, (b) Roman Cansino of the City Court of Manila, (c)
Hermogenes Caluag of the Court of First Instance of Rizal (Quezon City
Branch), (d) Eulogio Mencias of the Court of First Instance of Rizal (Pasig
Branch), and (e) Damian Jimenez of the City Court of Quezon City (Footnote
2, page 387) there is no definite showing that the forty-two search
warrants were for the searches and seizures of properties outside the
territorial jurisdiction of their respective courts. The warrants were issued
against the petitioners and corporations of which they were officers and
some of the corporations enumerated in Footnote 7 have addresses in Manila
and Makati. (pp. 388-89). Rizal (which includes Makati) and Quezon City
both belonged to the Seventh Judicial District. That nobody challenged on
jurisdictional ground the issuance of these search warrants is no argument in
favor of the unlimited power of a court to issue search warrants.

B. I have serious misgivings on the exception to the second principle where


another court may, because of extreme and compelling circumstances, issue
a search warrant in connection with a criminal case pending in an
appropriate court. To illustrate this exception, the Municipal Trial Court of
Argao, Cebu, may validly issue a warrant for the search of a house in Davao
City and the seizure of any property therein that may have been used in
committing an offense in Manila already the subject of an information filed
with the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila. I submit that the exception
violates the settled principle that even in cases of concurrent jurisdiction, the
first court which acquires jurisdiction over the case acquires it to the
exclusion of the other. (People vs. Fernando, 23 SCRA 867, 870 [1968]).
This being so, it is with more reason that a court which does not have
concurrent jurisdiction with the first which had taken cognizance of the case
does not also have the authority to issue writs or processes, including search
warrants, in connection with the pending case. Moreover, since the issuance
of a search warrant is an incident to a main case or is an exercise of the
ancillary jurisdiction of a court, the court where the main case is filed has
exclusive jurisdiction over all incidents thereto and in the issuance of all
writs and processes in connection therewith. Furthermore, instead of serving
the ends of justice, the exception may provide room for unwarranted abuse
of the judicial process, wreak judicial havoc and procedural complexities
which effective law enforcement apparently cannot justify. I cannot conceive
of any extreme and compelling circumstance which the court that first
acquired jurisdiction over the case cannot adequately meet within its broad
powers and authority.

In the light of the foregoing, and after re-examining my original view in this
case, I respectfully submit that:

1. Any court within whose territorial jurisdiction a crime was committed may
validly entertain an application for and issue a search warrant in connection
with said crime. However, in the National Capital Judicial Region,
Administrative Circulars No. 13 of 1 October 1985, and No. 19 of 4 August
1987 must be observed.

2. After the criminal complaint or information is filed with the appropriate


court, search warrants in connection with the crime charged may only be
issued by said court.

# Separate Opinions

DAVIDE, JR., J.:

The majority opinion enunciates these two principles:

1. Before the criminal action is filed with the appropriate court, a court which
has no territorial jurisdiction over the crime may validly entertain an
application for and thereafter issue a search warrant in connection with the
commission of such crime; and

2. After the filing of the criminal action, the court with which it was filed has
primary jurisdiction to issue search warrants necessitated by and for
purposes of said case; however, under extreme and compelling
circumstances, another court may issue a search warrant in connection with
said case.

I am unable to agree with the first and with the exception to the second.

A.. By the very definition of a search warrant which the majority opinion
adopts, it is clear to me that only a court having territorial jurisdiction over
the crime committed can validly entertain an application for and issue a
search warrant in connection with said crime. The majority opinion says:

For, indeed, a warrant, such as a warrant of arrest or a search warrant,


merely constitutes process. A search warrant is defined in our jurisdiction as
an order in writing issued in the name of the People of the Philippines signed
by a judge and directed to a peace officer, commanding him to search for
personal property and bring it before the court. A search warrant is in the
nature of a criminal process akin to a writ of discovery. It is a special and
peculiar remedy, drastic in nature, and made necessary because of a public
necessity.

In American jurisdictions, from which we have taken our jural concept and
provisions on search warrants, such warrant is definitively considered merely
as a process generally issued by a court in the exercise of its ancillary
jurisdiction, and not a criminal action to be entertained by a court pursuant
to its original jurisdiction. We emphasize this fact for purposes of both issues
as formulated in this opinion, with the catalogue of authorities herein.

Invariably, a judicial process is defined as a writ, warrant, subpoena, or


other formal writing issued by authority of law; also the means of
accomplishing an end, including judicial proceedings, or all writs, warrants,
summonses, and orders of courts of justice or judicial officers. It is likewise
held to include a writ, summons, or order in a judicial proceeding to acquire
jurisdiction of a person or his property, to expedite the cause or enforce
judgment, or a writ, warrant, mandate, or other processes issuing from a
court of justice.

2. It is clear, therefore, that a search warrant is merely a judicial process


designed by the Rules to respond only to an incident in the main case, if one
has already been instituted, or in anticipation thereof. . . (citations omitted)

What are to be underscored in the foregoing definition or disquisition on the


concept of a search warrant are the following: (a) it is "in the nature of a
criminal process akin to a writ of discovery," (b) it is generally issued by a
court "in the exercise of its ancillary jurisdiction," and (c) it is "designed by
the Rules to respond only to an incident in the main case... or in anticipation
thereof." All of these are premised on the assumption that the court
entertaining the application for and issuing the search warrant has
jurisdiction over the main case, meaning, of course, the crime in connection
with whose commission the warrant was issued.

The writ of discovery is the discovery in federal criminal cases governed by


the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Rule 16 thereof provides:

Upon motion of the defendant at any time after the filing of the indictment
or information, the court may order the attorney for the government to
permit the defendant to inspect and copy or photograph designated books,
papers, documents or tangible objects, obtained from or belonging to the
defendant or obtained from others by seizure or process, upon a showing
that the items sought may be material to the presentation of his defense and
that the request is reasonable. (4 Federal Practice and Procedure with
Forms, Rules Edition, 1951 ed., 124).

Note that the required motion is filed after the filing of the indictment or
information.

"Ancillary," in reference to jurisdiction can only mean in aid of or incidental


to an original jurisdiction. Ancillary jurisdiction is defined as follows:

Ancillary jurisdiction. Power of court to adjudicate and determine matters


incidental to the exercise of its primary jurisdiction of an action.

Under "ancillary jurisdiction doctrine" federal district court acquires


jurisdiction of case or controversy as an entirety and may, as incident to
disposition of matter property before it, possess jurisdiction to decide other
matters raised by case, though district court could not have taken
cognizance of them if they had been independently presented. . . . "Ancillary
jurisdiction" of federal court generally involves either proceedings which are
concerned with pleadings, processes, records or judgments of court in
principal case or proceedings which affect property already in court's
custody. . . . (Black's Law Dictionary 79 [5th ed., 1979]).

"Incident in the main case" also presupposes a main case which, perforce,
must be within the court's jurisdiction.Incident is defined thus:

Incident. Used both substantively and adjectively of a thing which, either


usually or naturally and inseparably, depends upon, appertains to, or follows
another that is more worthy. Used as a noun, it denotes anything which
inseparably belongs to, or is connected with, or inherent in, another thing,
called the 'principal'. Also, less strictly, it denotes anything which is usually
connected with another, or connected for some purposes, though not
inseparably. . . . (Id., at 686)

Reliance upon Section 3 of the Interim or Transitional Rules and Guidelines


Implementing B.P. Blg. 129 which reads:
3. Writs and processes. (a) Writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus,
quo warranto, habeas corpus and injunction issued by a regional trial court
may be enforced in any part of the region.

(b) All other processes, whether issued by a regional trial court or a


metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court or municipal circuit trial court
may be served anywhere in the Philippines, and, in the last three cases,
without a certification by the judge of the regional trial court.

is misplaced for the reason that said section refers to writs or processes
issued by a court in a case pending before it and not to a case yet to be filed
with it or pending in another court.

The absence of any express statutory provision prohibiting a court from


issuing a search warrant in connection with a crime committed outside its
territorial jurisdiction should not be construed as a grant of blanket authority
to any court of justice in the country to issue a search warrant in connection
with a crime committed outside its territorial jurisdiction. The majority view
suggests or implies that a municipal trial court in Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, or
Batanes can validly entertain an application for a search warrant and issue
one in connection with a crime committed in Manila. Elsewise stated, all
courts in the Philippines, including the municipal trial courts, can validly
issue a search warrant in connection with a crime committed anywhere in
the Philippines. Simply put, all courts of justice in the Philippines have, for
purposes of issuing a search warrant, jurisdiction over the entire
archipelago.

I cannot subscribe to this view since, in the first place, a search warrant is
but an incident to a main case and involves the exercise of an ancillary
jurisdiction therefore, the authority to issue it must necessarily be co-
extensive with the court's territorial jurisdiction. To hold otherwise would be
to add an exception to the statutory provisions defining the territorial
jurisdiction of the various courts of the country, which would amount to
judicial legislation. The territorial jurisdiction of the courts is determined by
law, and a reading of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 discloses that the territorial
jurisdiction of regional trial courts, metropolitan trial courts, municipal trial
courts and municipal circuit trial courts are confined to specific territories. In
the second place, the majority view may legitimize abuses that would result
in the violation the civil rights of an accused or the infliction upon him of
undue and unwarranted burdens and inconvenience as when, for instance,
an accused who is a resident of Basco, Batanes, has to file a motion to
quash a search warrant issued by the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila in
connection with an offense he allegedly committed in Itbayat, Batanes.

Nor can Stonehill vs. Diokno (20 SCRA 383) be an authoritative confirmation
of the unlimited or unrestricted power of any court to issue search warrants
in connection with crimes committed outside its territorial jurisdiction. While
it may be true that the forty-two search warrants involved therein were
issued by several Judges specifically Judges (a) Amado Roan of the City
Court of Manila, (b) Roman Cansino of the City Court of Manila, (c)
Hermogenes Caluag of the Court of First Instance of Rizal (Quezon City
Branch), (d) Eulogio Mencias of the Court of First Instance of Rizal (Pasig
Branch), and (e) Damian Jimenez of the City Court of Quezon City (Footnote
2, page 387) there is no definite showing that the forty-two search
warrants were for the searches and seizures of properties outside the
territorial jurisdiction of their respective courts. The warrants were issued
against the petitioners and corporations of which they were officers and
some of the corporations enumerated in Footnote 7 have addresses in Manila
and Makati. (pp. 388-89). Rizal (which includes Makati) and Quezon City
both belonged to the Seventh Judicial District. That nobody challenged on
jurisdictional ground the issuance of these search warrants is no argument in
favor of the unlimited power of a court to issue search warrants.

B. I have serious misgivings on the exception to the second principle where


another court may, because of extreme and compelling circumstances, issue
a search warrant in connection with a criminal case pending in an
appropriate court. To illustrate this exception, the Municipal Trial Court of
Argao, Cebu, may validly issue a warrant for the search of a house in Davao
City and the seizure of any property therein that may have been used in
committing an offense in Manila already the subject of an information filed
with the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila. I submit that the exception
violates the settled principle that even in cases of concurrent jurisdiction, the
first court which acquires jurisdiction over the case acquires it to the
exclusion of the other. (People vs. Fernando, 23 SCRA 867, 870 [1968]).
This being so, it is with more reason that a court which does not have
concurrent jurisdiction with the first which had taken cognizance of the case
does not also have the authority to issue writs or processes, including search
warrants, in connection with the pending case. Moreover, since the issuance
of a search warrant is an incident to a main case or is an exercise of the
ancillary jurisdiction of a court, the court where the main case is filed has
exclusive jurisdiction over all incidents thereto and in the issuance of all
writs and processes in connection therewith. Furthermore, instead of serving
the ends of justice, the exception may provide room for unwarranted abuse
of the judicial process, wreak judicial havoc and procedural complexities
which effective law enforcement apparently cannot justify. I cannot conceive
of any extreme and compelling circumstance which the court that first
acquired jurisdiction over the case cannot adequately meet within its broad
powers and authority.

In the light of the foregoing, and after re-examining my original view in this
case, I respectfully submit that:
1. Any court within whose territorial jurisdiction a crime was committed may
validly entertain an application for and issue a search warrant in connection
with said crime. However, in the National Capital Judicial Region,
Administrative Circulars No. 13 of 1 October 1985, and No. 19 of 4 August
1987 must be observed.

2. After the criminal complaint or information is filed with the appropriate


court, search warrants in connection with the crime charged may only be
issued by said court.

Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT

Manila

SECOND DIVISION

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 extra-
judicial 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 ACCUSED-
APPELLANT WITHOUT VALID WARRANT TO BE LAWFUL.

II THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THE SEARCH IN THE HOUSE OF ACCUSED-
APPELLANT 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 6-A 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 well-organized 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.

SO ORDERED.

Feria (Chairman), Fernan, Alampay and Paras, JJ., concur.