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G.R. No.

182601, November 10, 2014 investigation should have been performed pursuant to Rule 112 of the Rules of
Court.13chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
JOEY M. PESTILOS, DWIGHT MACAPANAS, MIGUEL GACES, JERRY FERNANDEZ AND
RONALD MUNOZ, Petitioners, v. MORENO GENEROSO AND PEOPLE OF THE On March 16, 2005, the RTC issued its order denying the petitioners' Urgent Motion for Regular
PHILIPPINES, Respondents. Preliminary Investigation.14 The court likewise denied the petitioners' motion for
reconsideration.15chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
DECISION
The petitioners challenged the lower court's ruling before the CA on a Rule 65 petition
for certiorari.They attributed grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or excess of
BRION, J.: jurisdiction, on the RTC for the denial of their motion for preliminary
investigation.16chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
We resolve the petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court challenging
the decision1 dated January 21, 2008 and the resolution2 dated April 17, 2008 of the Court of The Assailed CA Decision
Appeals (CA)in CA G.R. SP No. 91541.

The appealed decision affirmed the Order dated March 16, 2005 of the Regional Trial
On January 21, 2008, the CA issued its decision dismissing the petition for lack of merit. 17 The CA
Court (RTC), Branch 96, Quezon City, denying Joey M. Pestilos, Dwight Macapanas, Miguel
ruled that the word "invited" in the Affidavit of Arrest executed by SP02 Javier carried the
Gaces, Jerry Fernandez, and Ronald Munoz's (petitioners) Urgent Motion for Regular Preliminary
meaning of a command. The arresting officer clearly meant to arrest the petitioners to answer
Investigation, as well as their subsequent motion for reconsideration.cralawred
for the mauling of Atty. Generoso. The CA also recognized that the arrest was pursuant to a valid
warrantless arrest so that an inquest proceeding was called for as a consequence. Thus, the RTC
The Antecedent Facts did not commit any grave abuse of discretion in denying the Urgent Motion for Regular
Preliminary Investigation.

The records of the case reveal that on February 20, 2005, at around 3:15 in the morning, an The CA saw no merit in the petitioners' argument that the order denying the Urgent Motion for
altercation ensued between the petitioners and Atty. Moreno Generoso (Atty. Regular Preliminary Investigation is void for failure to clearly state the facts and the law upon
Generoso) at Kasiyahan Street, Barangay Holy Spirit, Quezon City where the petitioners and which it was based, pursuant to Rule 16, Section 3 of the Revised Rules of Court. The CA found
Atty. Generoso reside.3chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary that the RTC had sufficiently explained the grounds for the denial of the motion.

Atty. Generoso called the Central Police District, Station 6 (Batasan Hills Police Station) to report The petitioners moved for reconsideration, but the CA denied the motion in its Resolution of April
the incident.4 Acting on this report, Desk Officer SPOI Primitivo Monsalve (SPO1 Monsalve) 17, 2008;18 hence, the present petition.cralawred
dispatched SP02 Dominador Javier (SP02 Javier) to go to the scene of the crime and to render
assistance.5 SP02 Javier, together with augmentation personnel from the Airforce, A2C Alano The Issues
Sayson and Airman Ruel Galvez, arrived at the scene of the crime less than one hour after the
alleged altercation6 and they saw Atty. Generoso badly beaten.7chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
The petitioners cited the following assignment of errors:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Atty. Generoso then pointed to the petitioners as those who mauled him. This prompted the
police officers to "invite" the petitioners to go to Batasan Hills Police Station for
investigation.8chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary I.

The petitioners went with the police officers to Batasan Hills Police Station. 9 At the inquest
proceeding, the City Prosecutor of Quezon City found that the petitioners stabbed Atty. Generoso WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITIONERS WERE VALIDLY ARRESTED WITHOUT A WARRANT.cralawred
with a bladed weapon. Atty. Generoso fortunately survived the
attack.10chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary II.

In an Information dated February 22, 2005, the petitioners were indicted for attempted murder
allegedly committed as follows:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITIONERS WERE LAWFULLY ARRESTED WHEN THEY WERE MERELY
INVITED TO THE POLICE PRECINCT.cralawred
th
That on or about the 20 day of February, 2005, in Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused,
conspiring together, confederating with and mutually helping one another, with intent to kill,
III.
qualified with evident premeditation, treachery and taking advantage of superior strength, did
then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously commence the commission of the crime of
Murder directly by overt acts, by then and there stabbing one Atty. MORENO GENEROSO y
FRANCO, with a bladed weapon, but said accused were not able to perform all the acts of WHETHER OR NOT THE ORDER DENYING THE MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION IS VOID
execution which would produce the crime of Murder by reason of some cause/s or accident other FOR FAILURE TO STATE THE FACTS AND THE LAW UPON WHICH IT WAS BASED.
than their own spontaneous desistance, that is, said complainant was able to parry the attack, to
his damage and prejudice.
The petitioners primarily argue that they were not lawfully arrested. No arrest warrant was ever
CONTRARY TO LAW.11 issued; they went to the police station only as a response to the arresting officers' invitation.
They even cited the Affidavit of Arrest, which actually used the word "invited."

On March 7, 2005, the petitioners filed an Urgent Motion for Regular Preliminary The petitioners also claim that no valid warrantless arrest took place under the terms of Rule
Investigation12 on the ground that they had not been lawfully arrested. They alleged that no valid 112, Section 7 of the Revised Rules of Court. The incident happened two (2) hours before the
warrantless arrest took place since the police officers had no personal knowledge that they were police officers actually arrived at the crime scene. The police officers could not have undertaken
the perpetrators of the crime. They also claimed that they were just "invited" to the police a valid warrantless arrest as they had no personal knowledge that the petitioners were the
station. Thus, the inquest proceeding was improper, and a regular procedure for preliminary authors of the crime.
The Court also ruled in The United States v. Santos39 that the rules on warrantless arrest were
The petitioners additionally argue that the RTC's Order denying the Urgent Motion for Regular based on common sense and reason.40 It further held that warrantless arrest found support
Preliminary Investigation is void because it was not properly issued.cralawred under the then Administrative Code41 which directed municipal policemen to exercise vigilance in
the prevention of public offenses.
The Court's Ruling
In The United States v. Fortaleza,42 the Court applied Rules 27, 28, 29 and 3043 of the Provisional
Law for the Application of the Penal Code which were provisions taken from the Spanish Law.

These rules were subsequently established and incorporated in our Rules of Court and
We find the petition unmeritorious and thus uphold the RTC Order. The criminal
jurisprudence. Presently, the requirements of a warrantless arrest are now summarized in Rule
proceedings against the petitioners should now proceed.
113, Section 5 which states that:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
It is unfortunate that the kind of motion that the petitioners filed has to reach this Court for its
resolution. The thought is very tempting that the motion was employed simply to delay the Section 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. -A peace officer or a private person may, without
proceedings and that the use of Rule 65 petition has been abused. a warrant, arrest a person:

But accepting things as they are, this delay can be more than compensated by fully examining in (a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or
this case the legalities surrounding warrantless warrants and establishing the proper is attempting to commit an offense;
interpretation of the Rules for the guidance of the bench and the bar. These Rules have evolved
over time, and the present case presents to us the opportunity to re-trace their origins,
(b) When an offense has just been committed, and he has probable cause to believe based on
development and the current applicable interpretation.
personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed
it; and
I. Brief history on warrantless arrests

The organic laws of the Philippines, specifically, the Philippine Bill of 1902 19 and the (c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment
1935,20 197321 and 198722 Constitutions all protect the right of the people to be secure in their or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is
persons against unreasonable searches and seizures. Arrest falls under the term pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.
"seizure."23chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

This constitutional mandate is identical with the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the In cases falling under paragraph (a) and (b) above, the person arrested without a warrant shall
United States. The Fourth Amendment traces its origins to the writings of Sir Edward Coke24 and be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or jail and shall be proceeded against in
The Great Charter of the Liberties of England (Magna Carta Libertatum), sealed under oath by accordance with section 7 of Rule 112.
King John on the bank of the River Thames near Windsor, England on June 15,
1215.25 The Magna Carta Libertatum limited the King of England's powers and required the
Crown to proclaim certain liberties26 under the feudal vassals' threat of civil war.27 The
A warrantless arrest under the circumstances contemplated under Section 5(a) above has been
declarations in Chapter 29 of the Magna Carta Libertatum later became the foundational
denominated as one "in flagrante delicto," while that under Section S(b) has been described as a
component of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. 28 It
"hot pursuit" arrest.44chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
provides:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
For purposes of this case, we shall focus on Section 5(b) - the provision applicable in the present
No freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or be disseised 29 of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free case. This provision has undergone changes through the years not just in its phraseology but
Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any otherwise destroyed; nor will we not pass upon him, also in its interpretation in our jurisprudence.
nor condemn him, but by lawful Judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land, We
will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right.30 [Emphasis We shall first trace the evolution of Section 5(b) and examine the applicable American and
supplied] Philippine jurisprudence to fully understand its roots and its appropriate present application.

II. Evolution of Section 5(b), Rule 113


In United States v. Snyder,31 the United States Supreme Court held that this constitutional
provision does not prohibit arrests, searches and seizures without judicial warrant, but only A. Prior to the 1940 Rules of Court
those that are unreasonable.32 With regard to an arrest, it is considered a seizure, which
must also satisfy the test of reasonableness.33chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Prior to 1940, the Court based its rulings not just on American and English common law principle
on warrantless arrests but also on laws then existing in the Philippines. In Fortaleza,45 the Court
In our jurisdiction, early rulings of the Court have acknowledged the validity of warrantless
cited Rule 28 of the Provisional Law for the Application of the Penal Code which provided
arrests. The Court based these rulings on the common law of America and England that,
that:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
according to the Court, were not different from the Spanish laws. 34 These court rulings likewise
justified warrantless arrests based on the provisions of separate laws then existing in the
Philippines.35chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary Judicial and administrative authorities have power to detain, or to cause to be
detained, persons whom there is reasonable ground to believe guilty of some offense.
In 1905, the Court held in The United States v. Wilson36 that Section 3737 of Act No. 183, or the It will be the duty of the authorities, as well as of their agents, to arrest:
Charter of Manila, defined the arresting officer's power to arrest without a warrant, at least
insofar as the City of Manila was concerned. First. Such persons as may be arrested under the provisions of rule 27. Second. A person
charged with a crime for which the code provides a penalty greater than that of confinamiento.
In The United States v. Vallejo, et al.,38 the Court held that in the absence of any provisions under
statutes or local ordinances, a police officer who held similar functions as those of the officers Third. A person charged with a crime for which the code provides a penalty less than that
established under the common law of England and America, also had the power to arrest without of conjinamiento, if his antecedents or the circumstances of the case would warrant the
a warrant in the Philippines. presumption that he would fail to appear when summoned by the judicial authorities.
The provisions of the preceding paragraph shall not apply, however, to a defendant who gives an offense in his presence;
sufficient bond, to the satisfaction of the authority or agent who may arrest him, and who it may
reasonably be presumed will appear whenever summoned by the judge or court competent to (b) When an offense has in fact been committed, and he has reasonable ground to
try him. believe that the person to be arrested has committed it;

Fourth. A person coining under the provisions of the preceding paragraph may be (c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or
arrested, although no formal complaint has been filed against him, provided the place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or
following circumstances are present: has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another. [Emphasis and
underscoring supplied]
First. That the authority or agent had reasonable cause to believe that an unlawful
act, amounting to a crime had been committed.
These provisions were adopted in toto in Section 6, Rule 113 of the 1964 Rules of Court.
Second. That the authority or agent had sufficient reason to believe that the person
arrested participated in the commission of such unlawful act or crime." [Emphasis and Notably, the 1940 and 1964 Rules have deviated from the old rulings of the Court. Prior to the
underscoring supplied] 1940 Rules, the actual commission of the offense was not necessary in determining the validity
of the warrantless arrest. Too, the arresting officer's determination of probable cause (or
reasonable suspicion) applied both as to whether a crime has been committed and
In the same decision, the Court likewise cited Section 37 of the Charter of Manila, which provided whether the person to be arrested has committed it.
that certain officials, including police officers may, within the territory defined in the law,
pursue and arrest without warrant, any person found in suspicious places or under However, under the 1940 and the 1964 Rules of Court, the Rules required that there should be
suspicious circumstances, reasonably tending to show that such person has actual commission of an offense, thus, removing the element of the arresting officer's
committed, or is about to commit any crime or breach of the peace. "reasonable suspicion of the commission of an offense." Additionally, the determination of
probable cause, or reasonable suspicion, was limited only to the determination of whether the
In Santos,46 the Court cited Miles v. Weston,47 which ruled that a peace. officer may arrest person to be arrested has committed the offense. In other words, the 1940 and 1964 Rules of
persons walking in the street at night when there is reasonable ground to suspect the Court restricted the arresting officer's discretion in warrantless arrests under Section 6(b), Rule
commission of a crime, although there is no proof of a felony having been committed. 113 of the 1964 Rules of Court.

The Court ruled in Santos that the arresting officer must justify that there was a probable C. The more restrictive 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure
cause for an arrest without a warrant. The Court defined probable cause as a reasonable
ground of suspicion, supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves as to warrant Section 6, Rule 113 of the 1964 Rules of Court again underwent substantial changes and was re-
a reasonable man in believing that the accused is guilty. Besides reasonable ground of suspicion, worded and re-numbered when it became Section 5, Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal
action in good faith is another requirement. Once these conditions are complied with, the peace Procedure, to wit:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
officer is not liable even if the arrested person turned out to be innocent.
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when. lawful. A peace officer or a private person may,
Based on these discussions, it appears clear that prior to the 1940 Rules of Court, it was not without a warrant, arrest a person:
necessary for the arresting officer to first have knowledge that a crime was actually committed.
What was necessary was the presence of reasonably sufficient grounds to believe the existence (a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is
of an act having the characteristics of a crime; and that the same grounds exist to believe that attempting to commit an offense;
the person sought to be detained participated in it. In addition, it was also established under the
old court rulings that the phrase "reasonable suspicion" was tantamount to probable cause (b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge
without which, the warrantless arrest would be invalid and the arresting officer may be held of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it; and
liable for its breach.48chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or
In The U.S. v. Hachaw,49 the Court invalidated the warrantless arrest of a Chinaman because the place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or
arresting person did not state in what way the Chinaman was acting suspiciously or the has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.
particular act or circumstance which aroused the arresting person's curiosity.
In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the person arrested without a warrant shall
It appears, therefore, that prior to the establishment in our Rules of Court of the rules on be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or jail, and he shall be proceeded against in
warrantless arrests, the gauge for a valid warrantless arrest was the arresting officer's accordance with Rule 112, Section 7. [Emphasis and underscoring supplied]
reasonable suspicion (probable cause) that a crime was committed and the person sought to be
arrested has participated in its commission. This principle left so much discretion and leeway on
the part of the arresting officer. However, the 1940 Rules of Court has limited this discretion. As amended, Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of Court retained the restrictions
introduced under the 1964 Rules of Court. More importantly, however, it added a qualification
B. The 1940 Rules of Court that the commission of the offense should not only have been "committed" but should have
(Restricting the arresting officer's been "just committed." This limited the arresting officer's time frame for conducting an
determination of probable cause) investigation for purposes of gathering information indicating that the person sought to be
arrested has committed the crime.
Rules 27 and 28 of the Provisional Law for the Application of the Penal Code were substantially
incorporated in Section 6, Rule 109 of the 1940 Rules of Court as D. The Present Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
follows:50chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure was further amended with the
SEC. 6. Arrest without warrant -When lawful. - A peace officer or a private person may, without a incorporation of the word "probable cause" as the basis of the arresting officer's determination
warrant, arrest a person: on whether the person to be arrested has committed the crime.

(a) When the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is about to commit
Hence, as presently worded, Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
provides that:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary In determining probable cause, the arresting officer may rely on all the information in his
possession, his fair inferences therefrom, including his observations. Mere suspicion does not
When an offense has just been committed, and he has probable cause to believe based on meet the requirements of showing probable cause to arrest without warrant especially if it is a
personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it. mere general suspicion. Probable cause may rest on reasonably trustworthy information
as well as personal knowledge. Thus, the arresting officer may rely on information supplied
by a witness or a victim of a crime; and under the circumstances, the arresting officer need not
verify such information.58chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
From the current phraseology of the rules on warrantless arrest, it appears that for purposes of
Section S(b), the following are the notable changes: first, the contemplated offense was
In our jurisdiction, the Court has likewise defined probable cause in the context of Section 5(b),
qualified by the word "just," connoting immediacy; and second, the warrantless arrest of a
Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.
person sought to be arrested should be based on probable cause to be determined by the
arresting officer based on his personal knowledge of facts and circumstances that the
In Abelita III v. Doria et al.,59 the Court held that personal knowledge of facts must be based on
person to be arrested has committed it.
probable cause, which means an actual belief or reasonable grounds of suspicion. The grounds
of suspicion are reasonable when, in the absence of actual belief of the arresting officers, the
It is clear that the present rules have objectified" the previously subjective determination of the
suspicion that the person to be arrested is probably guilty of committing the offense is based on
arresting officer as to the (1) commission of the crime; and (2) whether the person sought to be
actual facts, i.e., supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create the
arrested committed the crime. According to Feria, these changes were adopted to minimize
probable cause of guilt of the person to be arrested. A reasonable suspicion, therefore, must be
arrests based on mere suspicion or hearsay.51chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
founded on probable cause, coupled with good faith on the part of the peace officers making the
arrest.
As presently worded, the elements under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure are: first, an offense has just been committed; and second, the arresting
i.b) Probable cause under Section 5(b), Rule 113
officer has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances
of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure,
that the person to be arrested has committed it.
distinguished from probable cause in preliminary
investigations and the judicial proceeding for the
For purposes of this case, we shall discuss these elements separately below, starting with the
issuance of a warrant of arrest
element of probable cause, followed by the elements that the offense has just been committed,
and the arresting officer's personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be
The purpose of a preliminary investigation is to determine whether a crime has been
arrested has committed the crime.
committed and whether there is probable cause to believe that the accused is guilty
of the crime and should be held for trial.60 In Buchanan v. Viuda de Esteban,61 we defined
i) First Element of Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised probable cause as the existence of facts and circumstances as would excite the belief in
Rules of Criminal Procedure: Probable cause a reasonable mind, acting on the facts within the knowledge of the prosecutor, that
the person charged was guilty of the crime for which he was prosecuted.
The existence of ''probable cause" is now the "objectifier" or the determinant on how the
arresting officer shall proceed on the facts and circumstances, within his personal knowledge, for In this particular proceeding, the finding of the existence of probable cause as to the guilt of the
purposes of determining whether the person to be arrested has committed the crime. respondent was based on the submitted documents of the complainant, the
respondent and his witnesses.62chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
i.a) U.S. jurisprudence on probable
cause in warrantless arrests On the other hand, probable cause in judicial proceedings for the issuance of a warrant of
arrestis defined as the existence of such facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonably
In Payton v. New York,52 the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment of the Federal discreet and prudent person to believe that an offense has been committed by the person
Constitution does not prohibit arrests without a warrant although such arrests must be sought to be arrested.
reasonable. According to State v. Quinn,53 the warrantless arrest of a person who was discovered
in the act of violating the law is not a violation of due process. Hence, before i suing a warrant of arrest, the judge must be satisfied that based on the
evidence submitted, there is sufficient proof that a crime has been committed and
The U.S. Supreme Court, however indicated in Henry v. United States54 that the Fourth that the person to be arrested is probably guilty thereof. At this stage of the criminal
Amendment limited the circumstances under which warrantless arrests may be made. The proceeding, the judge is not yet tasked to review in detail the evidence submitted during the
necessary inquiry is not whether there was a warrant or whether there was time to preliminary investigation. It is sufficient that he personally evaluates the evidence in
get one, but whether at the time of the arrest probable cause existed. The term determining probable cause63 to issue a warrant of arrest.
probable cause is synonymous to "reasonable cause" and "reasonable
grounds."55chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary In contrast, the arresting officer's determination of probable cause under Section 5(b),
Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure is based on his personal knowledge of facts
In determining the existence of probable cause, the arresting officer should make a thorough or circumstances that the person sought to be arrested has committed the crime. These facts or
investigation and exercise reasonable judgment. The standards for evaluating the factual circumstances pertain to actual facts or raw evidence, i.e., supported by circumstances
basis supporting a probable cause assessment are not less stringent in warrantless sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable cause of guilt of the person to be
arrest situation than in a case where a warrant is sought from a judicial officer. The arrested. A reasonable suspicion therefore must be founded on probable cause, coupled with
probable cause determination of a warrantless arrest is based on information that the arresting good faith on the part of the peace officers making the arrest
officer possesses at the time of the arrest and not on the information acquired
later.56chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary The probable cause to justify warrantless arrest ordinarily signifies a reasonable ground of
suspicionsupported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a cautious
In evaluating probable cause, probability and not certainty is the determinant of reasonableness man to believe that the person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is charged, 64 or an
under the Fourth Amendment. Probable cause involves probabilities similar to the factual and actual belief or reasonable ground of suspicion, based on actual
practical questions of everyday life upon which reasonable and prudent persons act. It is a facts.65chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
pragmatic question to be determined in each case in light of the particular
circumstances and the particular offense involved. 57chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary It is clear therefore that the standard for determining "probable cause" is invariable for the
officer arresting without a warrant, the public prosecutor, and the judge issuing a warrant of
arrest. It is the existence of such facts and circumstances that would lead a In People v. Cendana,71 the accused was arrested one (1) day after the killing of the victim and
reasonably discreet and prudent person to believe that an offense has been only on the basis of information obtained from unnamed sources. The unlawful arrest was held
committed by the person sought to be arrested or held for trial, as the case may be. invalid.

However, while the arresting officer, the public prosecutor and the judge all determine In Rolito Go v. CA,72 the arrest of the accused six (6) days after the commission of the crime was
"probable cause," within the spheres of their respective functions, its existence is influenced held invalid because the crime had not just been committed. Moreover, the "arresting" officers
heavily by the available facts and circumstance within their possession. In short, although these had no "personal knowledge" of facts indicating that the accused was the gunman who had shot
officers use the same standard of a reasonable man, they possess dissimilar quantity of the victim. The information upon which the police acted came from statements made by alleged
facts or circumstances, as set by the rules, upon which they must determine probable cause. eyewitnesses to the shooting; one stated that the accused was the gunman; another was able to
take down the alleged gunman's car's plate number which turned out to be registered in the
Thus, under the present rules and jurisprudence, the arresting officer should base his name of the accused's wife. That information did not constitute "personal knowledge."
determination of probable cause on his personal knowledge of facts and circumstances that the
person sought to be arrested has committed the crime; the public prosecutor and the judge In People v. Tonog, Jr.,73 the warrantless arrest which was done on the same day was held valid.
must base their determination on the evidence submitted by the parties. In this case, the arresting officer had knowledge of facts which he personally gathered in the
course of his investigation, indicating that the accused was one of the perpetrators.
In other words, the arresting officer operates on the basis of more limited facts, evidence or
available information that he must personally gather within a limited time frame. In People v. Gerente,74 the policemen arrested Gerente only about three (3) hours after
Gerente and his companions had killed the victim. The Court held that the policemen had
Hence, in Santos,66 the Court acknowledged the inherent limitations of determining personal knowledge of the violent death of the victim and of facts indicating that Gerente and
probable cause in warrantless arrests due to the urgency of its determination in these two others had killed him. The warrantless arrest was held valid.
instances. The Court held that one should not expect too much of an ordinary policeman. He is
not presumed to exercise the subtle reasoning of a judicial officer. Oftentimes, he has no In People v. Alvario,75 the warrantless arrest came immediately after the arresting officers
opportunity to make proper investigation but must act in haste on his own belief to received information from the victim of the crime. The Court held that the personal knowledge of
prevent the escape of the criminal.67chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary the arresting officers was derived from the information supplied by the victim herself who
pointed to Alvario as the man who raped her at the time of his arrest. The Court upheld the
ii) Second and Third Elements of Section 5(b), Rule 113: warrantless arrest.

The crime has just been committed/personal In People v. Jayson,76 there was a shooting incident. The policemen who were summoned to the
knowledge of facts or circumstances that the scene of the crime found the victim. The informants pointed to the accused as the assailant only
person to be arrested has committed it moments after the shooting. The Court held that the arresting officers acted on the basis of
personal knowledge of the death of the victim and of facts indicating that the accused was the
assailant. Thus, the warrantless arrest was held valid.
We deem it necessary to combine the discussions of these two elements as our jurisprudence
In People v. Acol,77 a group held up the passengers in a jeepney and the policemen immediately
shows that these were usually taken together in the Court's determination of the validity of the
responded to the report of the crime. One of the victims saw four persons walking towards Fort
warrantless arrests that were made pursuant to Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of
Bonifacio, one of whom was wearing his jacket. The victim pointed them to the policemen. When
Criminal Procedure.
the group saw the policemen coming, they ran in different directions. The Court held that the
arrest was valid.
In Posadas v. Ombudsman,68 the killing of Dennis Venturina happened on December 8, 1994. It
was only on December 11, 1994 that Chancellor Posadas requested the NBI's assistance. On the
In Cadua v. CA,78 there was an initial report to the police concerning a robbery. A radio dispatch
basis of the supposed identification of two (2) witnesses, the NBI attempted to arrest Francis
was then given to the arresting officers, who proceeded to Alden Street to verify the authenticity
Carlo Taparan and Raymundo Narag three (3) days after the commission of the crime. With
of the radio message. When they reached the place, they met with the complainants who
this set of facts, it cannot be said that the officers have personal knowledge of facts or
initiated the report about the robbery. Upon the officers' invitation, the victims joined them in
circumstances that the persons sought to be arrested committed the crime. Hence, the Court
conducting a search of the nearby area where the accused was spotted in the vicinity. Based on
invalidated the warrantless arrest.
the reported statements of the complainants, he was identified as a logical suspect in the
offense just committed. Hence, the arrest was held valid.
Similarly, in People v. Burgos,69 one Cesar Masamlok personally and voluntarily surrendered to
the authorities, stating that Ruben Burgos forcibly recruited him to become a member of the
In Doria,79 the Court held that Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure
NPA, with a threat of physical harm. Upon receipt of this information, a joint team of PC-INP units
does not require the arresting officers to personally witness the commission of the offense.
was dispatched to arrest Burgos who was then plowing the field. Indeed, the arrest was invalid
considering that the only information that the police officers had in effecting the arrest was the
In this case, P/Supt. Doria alleged that his office received a telephone call from a relative of Rosa
information from a third person. It cannot be also said in this case that there was certainty as
Sia about a shooting incident. He dispatched a team headed by SP03 Ramirez to investigate the
regards the commission of a crime.
incident. SP03 Ramirez later reported that a certain William Sia was wounded while Judge Abelita
III, who was implicated in the incident, and his wife just left the place of the incident. P/Supt.
In People v. del Rosario,70 the Court held that the requirement that an offense has just been
Doria looked for Abelita III and when he found him, he informed him of the incident report.
committed means that there must be a large measure of immediacy between the time the
P/Supt. Doria requested Abelita III to go with him to the police headquarters as he had been
offense was committed and the time of the arrest. If there was an appreciable lapse of time
reported to be involved in the incident. Abelita III agreed but suddenly sped up his vehicle and
between the arrest and the commission of the crime, a warrant of arrest must be secured.
proceeded to his residence where P/Supt. Doria caught him up as he was about to run towards
his house.
The Court held that the arrest of del Rosario did not comply with these requirements because he
was arrested only a day after the commission of the crime and not immediately thereafter.
The police officers saw a gun in the front seat of the vehicle beside the driver's seat as Abelita III
Additionally, the arresting officers were not present and were not actual eyewitnesses to the
opened the door. They also saw a shotgun at the back of the driver's seat. The police officers
crime. Hence, they had no personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested
confiscated the firearms and arrested Abelita III. The Court held that the petitioner's act of trying
had committed the offense. They became aware of del Rosario's identity as the driver of the
to get away, coupled with the incident report which they investigated, were enough to raise a
getaway tricycle only during the custodial investigation.
reasonable suspicion on the part of the police authorities as to the existence of probable cause.
Based on these discussions, it appears that the Court's appreciation of the elements that "the Based on the police blotter82 entry taken at 4:15a.m. on February 20, 2005, the date that the
offense has just been committed" and ''personal knowledge of facts and circumstances that the alleged crime was committed, the petitioners were brought in for investigation at the Batasan
person to be arrested committed it" depended on the particular circumstances of the case. Hills Police Station. The police blotter stated that the alleged crime was committed at 3:15 a.m.
on February 20, 2005, along Kasiyahan St., Brgy. Holy Spirit, Quezon City.
However, we note that the element of ''personal knowledge of facts or circumstances" under
Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure requires clarification. The time of the entry of the complaint in the police blotter at 4:15 a.m., with Atty. Generoso and
the petitioners already inside the police station, would connote that the arrest took place less
The phrase covers facts or, in the alternative, circumstances. According to the Black's Law than one hour from the time of the occurrence of the crime. Hence, . the CA finding that the
Dictionary,80 "circumstances are attendant or accompanying facts, events or conditions." arrest took place two (2) hours after the commission of the crime is unfounded.
Circumstances may pertain to events or actions within the actual perception, personal
evaluation or observation of the police officer at the scene of the crime. Thus, even though the The arresting officers' personal observation of Atty. Generoso's bruises when they arrived at the
police officer has not seen someone actually fleeing, he could still make a warrantless arrest if, scene of the crime is corroborated by the petitioners' admissions that Atty: Generoso indeed
based on his personal evaluation of the circumstances at the scene of the crime, he could suffered blows from petitioner Macapanas and his brother Joseph Macapanas,83 although they
determine the existence of probable cause that the person sought to be arrested has committed asserted that they did it in self-defense against Atty. Generoso.
the crime. However, the determination of probable cause and the gathering of facts or
circumstances should be made immediately after the commission of the crime in order to Atty. Generoso's bruises were also corroborated by the Medico-Legal Certificate84 that was
comply with the element of immediacy. issued by East Avenue Medical Center on the same date of the alleged mauling. The medical
check-up of Atty. Generoso that was made about 8:10 a.m. on the date of the incident, showed
In other words, the clincher in the element of "personal knowledge of facts or circumstances" is the following findings: "Contusion Hematoma, Left Frontal Area; Abrasion, T6 area, right
the required element of immediacy within which these facts or circumstances should be midclavicular line periorbital hematoma, left eye; Abrasion, distal 3 rd posterolateral aspect of
gathered. This required time element acts as a safeguard to ensure that the police officers have right forearm; Abrasion, 4th and fifth digit, right hand; Abrasion on area of 7th rib (L ant. Chest
gathered the facts or perceived the circumstances within a very limited time frame. This wall), tenderness on L peripheral area, no visible abrasion. In addition, the attending physician,
guarantees that the police officers would have no time to base their probable cause finding on Dr. Eva P. Javier, diagnosed Atty. Generoso of contusion hematoma, periorbital L., and traumatic
facts or circumstances obtained after an exhaustive investigation. conjunctivitis, o.s.

The reason for the element of the immediacy is this - as the time gap from the commission of To summarize, the arresting officers went to the scene of the crime upon the complaint of Atty.
the crime to the arrest widens, the pieces of information gathered are prone to become Generoso of his alleged mauling; the police officers responded to the scene of the crime less
contaminated and subjected to external factors, interpretations and hearsay. On the other hand, than one (1) hour after the alleged mauling; the alleged crime transpired in a community
with the element of immediacy imposed under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of where Atty. Generoso and the petitioners reside; Atty. Generoso positively identified the
Criminal Procedure, the police officer's determination of probable cause would necessarily be petitioners as those responsible for his mauling and, notably, the petitioners85 and Atty.
limited to raw or uncontaminated facts or circumstances, gathered as they were within a very Generoso86 lived almost in the same neighborhood; more importantly, when the petitioners were
limited period of time. The same provision adds another safeguard with the requirement of confronted by the arresting officers, they did not deny their participation in the incident with
probable cause as the standard for evaluating these facts of circumstances before the police Atty. Generoso, although they narrated a different version of what
officer could effect a valid warrantless arrest. transpired.87chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

In light of the discussion above on the developments of Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised With these facts and circumstances that the police officers gathered and which they have
Rules of Criminal Procedure and our jurisprudence on the matter, we hold that the following personally observed less than one hour from the time that they have arrived at the scene of
must be present for a valid warrantless arrest: 1) the crime should have been just the crime until the time of the arrest of the petitioners, we deem it reasonable to conclude that
committed; and 2) the arresting officer's exercise of discretion is limited by the standard of the police officers had personal knowledge of facts or circumstances justifying the petitioners'
probable cause to be determined from the facts and circumstances within his personal warrantless arrests. These circumstances were well within the police officers' observation,
knowledge. The requirement of the existence of probable cause objectifies the reasonableness perception and evaluation at the time of the arrest. These circumstances qualify as the police
of the warrantless arrest for purposes of compliance with the Constitutional mandate officers' personal observation, which are within their personal knowledge, prompting
against unreasonable arrests. them to make the warrantless arrests.

Hence, for purposes of resolving the issue on the validity of the warrantless arrest of the present Similar to the factual antecedents in Jayson,88 the police officers in the present case saw Atty.
petitioners, the question to be resolved is whether the requirements for a valid warrantless Generoso in his sorry bloodied state. As the victim, he positively identified the petitioners as the
arrest under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure were complied persons who mauled him; however, instead of fleeing like what happened in Jayson, the
with, namely: 1) has the crime just been committed when they were arrested? 2) did the petitioners agreed to go with the police officers.
arresting officer have personal knowledge of facts and circumstances that the petitioners
committed the crime? and 3) based on these facts and circumstances that the arresting officer This is also similar to what happened in People v. Tonog, Jr.89 where Tonog did not flee but
possessed at the time of the petitioners' arrest, would a reasonably discreet and prudent person voluntarily went with the police officers. More than this, the petitioners in the present case even
believe that the attempted murder of Atty. Generoso was committed by the petitioners? admitted to have been involved in the incident with Atty. Generoso, although they had another
version of what transpired.
We rule in the affirmative.
In determining the reasonableness of the warrantless arrests, it is incumbent upon the courts to
III. Application of Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the consider if the police officers have complied with the requirements set under Section S(b), Rule
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure in the 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, specifically, the requirement of immediacy; the
present case: there was a valid warrantless arrest police officer's personal knowledge of facts or circumstances; and lastly, the propriety of the
determination of probable cause that the person sought to be arrested committed the crime.
We deem it necessary to review the records of the CA because it has misapprehended the facts
in its decision.81 From a review of the records, we conclude that the police officers had personal The records show that soon after the report of the incident occurred, SPOl Monsalve immediately
knowledge of facts or circumstances upon which they had properly determined probable cause dispatched the arresting officer, SP02 Javier, to render personal assistance to the victim. 90 This
in effecting a warrantless arrest against the petitioners. We note, however, that the fact alone negates the petitioners' argument that the police officers did not have personal
determination of the facts in the present case is purely limited to the resolution of the issue on knowledge that a crime had been committed the police immediately responded and had
the validity of the warrantless arrests of the petitioners. personal knowledge that a crime had been committed.
with the criminal proceedings against the petitioners.
To reiterate, personal knowledge of a crime just committed under the terms of the above-cited
provision, does not require actual presence at the scene while a crime was being committed; it is SO ORDERED.
enough that evidence of the recent commission of the crime is patent (as in this case) and the
police officer has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or
circumstances, that the person to be arrested has recently committed the crime.

Considering the circumstances of the stabbing, particularly the locality where it took place, its G.R. No. 197293 April 21, 2014
occasion, the personal circumstances of the parties, and the immediate on-the-spot
investigation that took place, the immediate and warrantless arrests of the perpetrators were ALFREDO C. MENDOZA, Petitioner,
proper. Consequently, the inquest proceeding that the City Prosecutor conducted was vs.
appropriate under the circumstances. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND JUNO CARS, INC., Respondents.

IV. The term "invited" in the Affidavit of Arrest is DECISION


construed to mean as an authoritative command
LEONEN, J.:
After the resolution of the validity of the warrantless arrest, the discussion of the petitioners'
second issue is largely academic. Arrest is defined as the taking of a person into custody in order
that he may be bound to answer for the commission of an offense. An arrest is made by an While the determination of probable cause to charge a person of a crime is the sole function of
actual restraint of the person to be arrested, or by his submission to the custody of the person the. prosecutor, the trial court may, in the protection of one's fundamental right to liberty,
making the arrest.91 Thus, application of actual force, manual touching of the body, physical dismiss the case if, upon a personal assessment of the evidence, it finds that the evidence does
restraint or a formal declaration of arrest is not required. It is enough that there be an intention not establish probable cause.
on the part of one of the parties to arrest the other and the intent of the other to submit, under
the belief and impression that submission is necessary.92chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary This is a petition for review on certiorari 1 assailing the Court of Appeals' decision2 dated January
14, 2011, which reversed the Regional Trial Court's dismissal of the complaint against petitioner
Notwithstanding the term "invited" in the Affidavit of Arrest,93 SP02 Javier could not but have the Alfredo C. Mendoza for qualified theft and estafa.
intention of arresting the petitioners following Atty. Generoso's account. SP02 Javier did not need
to apply violent physical restraint when a simple directive to the petitioners to follow him to the This case stems from a complaint-affidavit filed by Juno Cars, Inc. through its representative,
police station would produce a similar effect. In other words, the application of actual force Raul C. Evangelista, on January 8, 2008 for qualified theft and estafa against Alfredo. 3
would only be an alternative if the petitioners had exhibited resistance.
In the complaint-affidavit, Juno Cars alleged that on June 2, 2007, it hired Alfredo as Trade-
To be sure, after a crime had just been committed and the attending policemen have acquired In/Used Car Supervisor. On November 19, 2007, its Dealer/Operator, Rolando Garcia, conducted
personal knowledge of the incidents of the crime, including the alleged perpetrators, the arrest a partial audit of the used cars and discovered that five (5) cars had been sold and released by
of the petitioners as the perpetrators pointed to by the victim, was not a mere random act but Alfredo without Rolandos or the finance managers permission. 4
was in connection with a particular offense. Furthermore, SP02 Javier had informed the
petitioners, at the time of their arrest, of the charges against them before taking them to
Batasan Hills Police Station for investigation.94chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary The partial audit showed that the buyers of the five cars made payments, but Alfredo failed to
remit the payments totalling 886,000.00. It was further alleged that while there were 20 cars
V. The Order denying the motion for under Alfredos custody, only 18 were accounted for. Further investigation revealed that Alfredo
preliminary investigation is valid failed to turn over the files of a 2001 Hyundai Starex and a Honda City 1.5 LXI. Juno Cars alleged
that taking into account the unremitted amounts and the acquisition cost of the Honda City,
In their last ditch attempt at avoidance, the petitioners attack the RTC Order denying the Alfredo pilfered a total amount of 1,046,000.00 to its prejudice and damage.5
petitioners' urgent motion for regular preliminary investigation for allegedly having been issued
in violation of Article VIII, Section 14 of the 1987 Constitution95 and Rule 16, Section 3 of the In his counter-affidavit, Alfredo raised, among others, Juno Cars supposed failure to prove
Revised Rules of Court.96chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary ownership over the five (5) cars or its right to possess them with the purported unremitted
payments. Hence, it could not have suffered damage.6
The RTC, in its Order dismissing the motion, clearly states that the Court is not persuaded by the
evidentiary nature of the allegations in the said motion of the accused. Aside from lack of clear On March 4, 2008, Provincial Prosecutor Rey F. Delgado issued a Resolution 7 finding probable
and convincing proof, the Court, in the exercise of its sound discretion on the matter, is legally cause and recommending the filing of an information against Alfredo for qualified theft and
bound to pursue and hereby gives preference to the speedy disposition of the case." estafa.

We do not see any taint of impropriety or grave abuse of discretion in this Order. The RTC, in Alfredo moved for reconsideration, but the motion was denied. 8 He then filed a petition for
resolving the motion, is not required to state all the facts found in the record of the case. review with the Department of Justice on May 16, 2008.9
Detailed evidentiary matters, as the RTC decreed, is best reserved for the full-blown trial of the
case, not in the preliminary incidents leading up to the triaL
While Alfredos motion for reconsideration was still pending before the Office of the City
Prosecutor of Mandaluyong, two informations for qualified theft 10 and estafa11 were filed before
Additionally, no less than the Constitution itself provides that it is the decision that should state
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 212, Mandaluyong City. On March 31, 2008, Alfredo filed a
clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based. In resolving a motion, the
motion for determination of probable cause12 before the trial court. On April 28, 2008, he also
court is only required to state clearly and distinctly the reasons therefor. A contrary system
filed a motion to defer arraignment.
would only prolong the proceedings, which was precisely what happened to this case. Hence, we
uphold the validity of the RTC's order as it correctly stated the reason for its denial of the
petitioners' Urgent Motion for Regular Preliminary Investigation.chanrobleslaw Several clarificatory hearings were scheduled but were not conducted.13 On February 4, 2009,
the parties agreed to submit all pending incidents, including the clarificatory hearing, for
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby DENY the petition, and hereby AFFIRM the resolution.14
decision dated January 21, 2008 and the resolution dated April 17, 2008 of the Court of Appeals
in CA-G.R. SP No. 91541. The City Prosecutor of Quezon City is hereby ORDERED to proceed
On March 3, 2009, the trial court, through Presiding Judge Rizalina Capco-Umali, issued an There are two kinds of determination of probable cause: executive and judicial. The executive
order15 dismissing the complaint, stating that: determination of probable cause is one made during preliminary investigation. It is a function
that properly pertains to the public prosecutor who is given a broad discretion to determine
After conducting an independent assessment of the evidence on record which includes the whether probable cause exists and to charge those whom he believes to have committed the
assailed Resolution dated 04 March 2008, the court holds that the evidence adduced does not crime as defined by law and thus should be held for trial. Otherwise stated, such official has the
support a finding of probable cause for the offenses of qualified theft and estafa. x x x.16 quasi-judicial authority to determine whether or not a criminal case must be filed in court.
Whether or not that function has been correctly discharged by the public prosecutor, i.e.,
whether or not he has made a correct ascertainment of the existence of probable cause in a
Juno Cars filed a motion for reconsideration, which the trial court denied on July 3, 2009. 17
case, is a matter that the trial court itself does not and may not be compelled to pass upon.
Juno Cars then filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals, arguing that the trial court
The judicial determination of probable cause, on the other hand, is one made by the judge to
acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction and with grave abuse of discretion when it dismissed
ascertain whether a warrant of arrest should be issued against the accused. The judge must
the complaint. It argued that "the determination of probable cause and the decision whether or
satisfy himself that based on the evidence submitted, there is necessity for placing the accused
not to file a criminal case in court, rightfully belongs to the public prosecutor." 18
under custody in order not to frustrate the ends of justice. If the judge finds no probable cause,
the judge cannot be forced to issue the arrest warrant.32
On January 14, 2011, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision, 19 reversed the trial court, and
reinstated the case. In its decision, the appellate court ruled that the trial court acted without or
The difference is clear: The executive determination of probable cause concerns itself with
in excess of its jurisdiction "in supplanting the public prosecutors findings of probable cause
whether there is enough evidence to support an Information being filed. The judicial
with her own findings of insufficiency of evidence and lack of probable cause." 20
determination of probable cause, on the other hand, determines whether a warrant of arrest
should be issued. In People v. Inting:33
Aggrieved, Alfredo filed a petition for review under Rule 45 before this court. In essence, he
argued that the trial court was correct in finding that there was no probable cause as shown by
x x x Judges and Prosecutors alike should distinguish the preliminary inquiry which determines
the evidence on record. He argued that "judicial determination of probable cause is broader than
probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest from the preliminary investigation proper
[the] executive determination of probable cause"21 and that "[i]t is not correct to say that the
which ascertains whether the offender should be held for trial or released. Even if the two
determination of probable cause is exclusively vested on the prosecutor x x x." 22
inquiries are conducted in the course of one and the same proceeding, there should be no
confusion about the objectives. The determination of probable cause for the warrant of arrest is
In its comment,23 Juno Cars argued that Alfredo presented questions, issues, and arguments that made by the Judge. The preliminary investigation properwhether or not there is reasonable
were a mere rehash of those already considered and passed upon by the appellate court. ground to believe that the accused is guilty of the offense charged and, therefore, whether or
not he should be subjected to the expense, rigors and embarrassment of trialis the function of
The Office of the Solicitor General, arguing for public respondent, stated in its comment 24 that the Prosecutor.34 (Emphasis supplied)
the appellate court correctly sustained the public prosecutor in his findings of probable cause
against Alfredo. Since there was no showing of grave abuse of discretion on the part of While it is within the trial courts discretion to make an independent assessment of the evidence
Prosecutor Rey F. Delgado, the trial court should respect his determination of probable cause. on hand, it is only for the purpose of determining whether a warrant of arrest should be issued.
The judge does not act as an appellate court of the prosecutor and has no capacity to review the
In his reply,25 Alfredo reiterated that "judicial determination of probable cause[,] while not a prosecutors determination of probable cause; rather, the judge makes a determination of
superior faculty[,] covers a broader encompassing perspective in the disposition of the issue on probable cause independent of the prosecutors finding.
the existence of probable cause."26 He argued that the findings of the trial court should be
accorded greater weight than the appellate courts. It merely reviewed the findings of the trial People v. Court of Appeals and Jonathan Cerbo 35 discussed the rationale. In that case, Jonathan
court. Cerbo allegedly shot Rosalinda Dy in the presence of his father, Billy Cerbo. An information for
murder was filed against Jonathan Cerbo. The daughter of Rosalinda Dy, as private complainant,
The primordial issue is whether the trial court may dismiss an information filed by the prosecutor executed a complaint-affidavit charging Billy Cerbo with conspiracy. The prosecutor then filed a
on the basis of its own independent finding of lack of probable cause. motion to amend the information, which was granted by the court. The information was then
amended to include Billy Cerbo as one of the accused, and a warrant of arrest was issued
Time and again, this court has been confronted with the issue of the difference between the against him.
determination of probable cause by the prosecutor on one hand and the determination of
probable cause by the judge on the other. We examine these two concepts again. Billy Cerbo filed a motion to quash the warrant arguing that it was issued without probable
cause. The trial court granted this motion, recalled the warrant, and dismissed the case against
27
Juno Cars filed a complaint against Alfredo for qualified theft and estafa under Article 315, him. The Court of Appeals affirmed this dismissal. This court, however, reversed the Court of
fourth paragraph, no. 3(c)28 of the Revised Penal Code. Since qualified theft is punishable by Appeals and ordered the reinstatement of the amended information against Billy Cerbo, stating
reclusion perpetua, a preliminary investigation must first be conducted "to determine whether that:
there is sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed
and the respondent is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial," in accordance with In granting this petition, we are not prejudging the criminal case or the guilt or innocence of
Rule 112, Section 1 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure. Private Respondent Billy Cerbo. We are simply saying that, as a general rule, if the information is
valid on its face and there is no showing of manifest error, grave abuse of discretion or prejudice
At this stage, the conduct of the preliminary investigation and the subsequent determination of on the part of the public prosecutor, courts should not dismiss it for want of evidence, because
the existence of probable cause lie solely within the discretion of the public prosecutor. 29 If upon evidentiary matters should be presented and heard during the trial. The functions and duties of
evaluation of the evidence, the prosecutor finds sufficient basis to find probable cause, he or she both the trial court and the public prosecutor in "the proper scheme of things" in our criminal
shall then cause the filing of the information with the court. justice system should be clearly understood.

Once the information has been filed, the judge shall then "personally evaluate the resolution of The rights of the people from what could sometimes be an "oppressive" exercise of government
the prosecutor and its supporting evidence"30 to determine whether there is probable cause to prosecutorial powers do need to be protected when circumstances so require. But just as we
issue a warrant of arrest. At this stage, a judicial determination of probable cause exists. recognize this need, we also acknowledge that the State must likewise be accorded due process.
Thus, when there is no showing of nefarious irregularity or manifest error in the performance of a
In People v. Castillo and Mejia,31 this court has stated:
public prosecutors duties, courts ought to refrain from interfering with such lawfully and It is also settled that "once a complaint or information is filed in court, any disposition of the
judicially mandated duties. case, whether as to its dismissal or the conviction or the acquittal of the accused, rests in the
sound discretion of the court."40
In any case, if there was palpable error or grave abuse of discretion in the public prosecutors
finding of probable cause, the accused can appeal such finding to the justice secretary and move In this case, Judge Capco-Umali made an independent assessment of the evidence on record and
for the deferment or suspension of the proceedings until such appeal is resolved.36 (Emphasis concluded that "the evidence adduced does not support a finding of probable cause for the
supplied) offenses of qualified theft and estafa."41Specifically, she found that Juno Cars "failed to prove by
competent evidence"42 that the vehicles alleged to have been pilfered by Alfredo were lawfully
In this case, the resolution dated March 4, 2008 of Prosecutor Rey F. Delgado found that the facts possessed or owned by them, or that these vehicles were received by Alfredo, to be able to
and evidence were "sufficient to warrant the indictment of [petitioner] x x x." 37 There was substantiate the charge of qualified theft. She also found that the complaint "[did] not state with
nothing in his resolution which showed that he issued it beyond the discretion granted to him by particularity the exact value of the alleged office files or their valuation purportedly have been
law and jurisprudence. removed, concealed or destroyed by the accused,"43 which she found crucial to the prosecution
of the crime of estafa under Article 315, fourth paragraph, no. 3(c) of the Revised Penal Code.
She also noted that:
While the information filed by Prosecutor Delgado was valid, Judge Capco-Umali still had the
discretion to make her own finding of whether probable cause existed to order the arrest of the
accused and proceed with trial. x x x As a matter of fact, this court had even ordered that this case be set for clarificatory
hearing to clear out essential matters pertinent to the offense charged and even directed the
private complainant to bring documents relative to the same/payment as well as affidavit of
Jurisdiction over an accused is acquired when the warrant of arrest is served. Absent this, the
witnesses/buyers with the end view of satisfying itself that indeed probable cause exists to
court cannot hold the accused for arraignment and trial.
commit the present case which private complainant failed to do.44
Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution states:
Accordingly, with the present laws and jurisprudence on the matter, Judge Capco-Umali correctly
dismissed the case against Alfredo.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against
unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable,
Although jurisprudence and procedural rules allow it, a judge must always proceed with caution
and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be
in dismissing cases due to lack of probable cause, considering the preliminary nature of the
determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the
evidence before it. It is only when he or she finds that the evidence on hand absolutely fails to
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be
support a finding of probable cause that he or she can dismiss the case. On the other hand, if a
searched and the persons or things to be seized.
judge finds probable cause, he or she must not hesitate to proceed with arraignment and trial in
order that justice may be served.
The Constitution prohibits the issuance of search warrants or warrants of arrest where the judge
has not personally determined the existence of probable cause. The phrase "upon probable
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision dated January 14, 2011 of the Court of
cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP. No. 110774 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Criminal Case Nos. MC08-11604-
the complainant and the witnesses he may produce" allows a determination of probable cause
05 against Alfredo C. Mendoza are DISMISSED.
by the judge ex parte.

SO ORDERED.
For this reason, Section 6, paragraph (a) of Rule 112 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure
mandates the judge to "immediately dismiss the case if the evidence on record fails to establish
probable cause." Section 6, paragraph (a) of Rule 112 reads:

Section 6. When warrant of arrest may issue. (a) By the Regional Trial Court. Within ten (10) Notan Lumbos, A.M. No. MTJ-06-1641
days from the filing of the complaint or information, the judge shall personally evaluate the
resolution of the prosecutor and its supporting evidence. He may immediately dismiss the case if Complainant, (formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 05-1756-MTJ)
the evidence on record clearly fails to establish probable cause. If he finds probable cause, he
shall issue a warrant of arrest, or a commitment order if the accused has already been arrested
Present:
pursuant to a warrant issued by the judge who conducted the preliminary investigation or when
the complaint or information was filed pursuant to section 7 of this Rule. In case of doubt on the
existence of probable cause, the judge may order the prosecutor to present additional evidence
within five (5) days from notice and the issue must be resolved by the court within thirty (30)
days from the filing of the complaint of information. PANGANIBAN, C.J., Chairperson,

In People v. Hon. Yadao:38 - versus - YNARES-SANTIAGO,

Section 6, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court gives the trial court three options upon the filing of the AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
criminal information: (1) dismiss the case if the evidence on record clearly failed to establish
probable cause; (2) issue a warrant of arrest if it finds probable cause; and (3) order the CALLEJO, SR., and
prosecutor to present additional evidence within five days from notice in case of doubt as to the
existence of probable cause.
CHICO-NAZARIO, JJ.

But the option to order the prosecutor to present additional evidence is not
Judge Marie Ellengrid S.L.
mandatory.1wphi1 The courts first option under the above is for it to "immediately dismiss the
case if the evidence on record clearly fails to establish probable cause." That is the situation
here: the evidence on record clearly fails to establish probable cause against the Baliguat, Municipal Trial Court
respondents.39 (Emphasis supplied)
in Cities, Branch 1, General Santos respondent resolved the cases and forwarded its records to the City Prosecutors Office for the
filing of proper Information.
City, Promulgated:
Respondent claims that: the conduct of the PI and the subsequent issuance of the warrant of
Respondent. July 27, 2006 arrest are well within the authority given in the City Charter which remains valid and enforceable
until revoked by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of General Santos City; there was no usurpation of
authority of an RTC Judge when she issued the assailed warrant of arrest as she has authority to
x--------------------------------------------------x
do so under the City Charter; she examined only Acharon and Yagat because they were the
witnesses to the alleged crimes and the questions propounded were never leading; there was no
grave abuse of discretion when she held in abeyance the resolution of the prayer for the lifting of
the warrant of arrest because the primary reason why it was withheld was the complainants
RESOLUTION failure to submit a counter-affidavit; she did not personally know Acharon as she did not grow up
in General Santos City; there is no conflict that the Rules on Criminal Procedure had undergone
amendments but it would be very safe to say that the General Santos City Charter is not yet
amended, hence, it still stands; and she believes that she did her duty to her very best in
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J. accordance with law and feels strongly offended and harassed by the filing of the instant case.

Before us is an administrative complaint [1] dated July 28, 2005 filed


by Notan Lumbos (complainant) against Judge Marie Ellengrid S.L. Baliguat (respondent),
Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Branch 1, General Santos City, for Gross Ignorance of the For her defense, respondent avers that: in clean conscience she conducted the PI and thereafter
Law, Grave Abuse of Authority, Dereliction of Duty, Grave Misconduct, Oppression and issued the warrant of arrest in good faith and in accordance with law, jurisprudence and the
Disbarment (under Resolution A.M. No. 02-9-02-SC, October 1, 2002). rules and procedures; as a government employee since 1979, she had maintained a clean
reputation; she even sacrificed and left her post as Senior Legal Officer of the Department of
Labor and Employment (DOLE), National Capital Region (NCR) in 1990 on the ground that she
could not take the corruption around her; she had always kept her impartiality in making her
decisions and never looked into the persons behind the party litigants; she rose through the
Complainant alleges that: he is one of the accused in a complaint for arson and robbery in ranks asking no favors from anyone and relied on her own skills, abilities, knowledge of the
Criminal Cases Nos. 46246 and 46247 filed by P/Insp. Richie Siong Bucol on July 14, 2004 before Constitution, laws, rules, regulations and jurisprudence and most especially her unblemished
respondents sala; instead of dismissing the case for patent lack of jurisdiction, respondent reputation; and with utmost dignity and head held high, respondent reiterates that she had not
propounded a series of leading questions on the witnesses i.e., Jose Orlando Acharon (Acharon) violated any of the provisions of the Constitution, or the Lawyers' and Judges' Oath, or any of the
and Edwin Yagat (Yagat) even without prior application for the issuance of warrant of arrest; with provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct, Code of Professional Responsibility, or Canons of
the object of issuing a warrant of arrest against all accused, respondent propounded a series of Professional Ethics; and she had observed due process and did not misuse it to defeat the ends
suggestive rather than searching questions on Acharon, who did not actually witness the alleged of justice.
crime; the purported eye witness Yagat never categorically named the alleged malefactors and
their specific participation in the alleged crimes; respondent merely tried to confirm her
preconceived presumption of guilt of all accused via suggestive questions; respondent issued an In its Memorandum[4] dated November 21, 2005, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA)
Order for the issuance of a warrant of arrest against complainant and his co-accused without submitted its evaluation and recommendation, to wit:
giving them a fair chance to file their respective counter-affidavits; he with his co-accused, filed
two motions dated July 24, 2004 and August 17, 2004, respectively, for purposes of lifting the EVALUATION: After a careful perusal and consideration of the
warrant of arrest and proper referral of subject cases to the Office of the City Prosecutor so they parties respective positions and arguments, this Office finds no reasonable
can file their respective counter-affidavits; attached to the motion is an excerpt from the police ground to hold the respondent administratively liable.
blotter certifying that on July 11, 2004 at 8:30 in the evening, complainant was in Philippine
National Police-Camp Lira, which is approximately 25 kilometers from Bawing, Tambler where the Paragraph (5) Section 5 of the 1987 Constitution provides as
alleged crimes were committed; his presence in Camp Lira was precipitated by the suspicious follows:
apprehension of some relatives who were detained in the said camp; on September 1, 2004, the
Provincial Office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples intervened through a Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the
Manifestation dated August 30, 2004, praying for the dismissal of the subject cases stating following powers:
that Acharon, the complainant in the said cases, has no real right or interest to protect, none of
his rights were violated, he (Acharon) is even vulnerable to criminal prosecution under Republic
xxx
Act No. 947, and, the filing of the subject cases in an effort to restrain the legitimate claimants
appears to be a mockery of the judicial process; respondent issued an Order dated October 26,
2004 holding in abeyance the prayer for the lifting of the warrant of arrest, pending the (5) Promulgate rules concerning the
submission of counter-affidavits within 10 days from receipt of the Order. protection and enforcement of constitutional rights,
pleadings, practice and [enforcement of constitutional
rights, pleading practice and] procedure in all courts,
In her Comment[2] dated September 9, 2005, respondent avers that: the criminal cases subject of
the admission to the practice of law, the Integrated Bar,
this complaint were filed before the MTCC, General Santos City, for Preliminary Investigation (PI);
and legal assistance to the underprivileged. Such rules
on July 15, 2004, being the Executive Judge and by virtue of Sections 84 and 86, Republic Act No.
shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for
5412,[3] otherwise known as the City Charter of General Santos City, Acharon (the complainant in
the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all
the said cases) and Yagat (the eye witness to the alleged crimes) were duly examined under
courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish,
oath and through searching questions; finding probable cause, a warrant of arrest was issued
increase or modify substantive rights. Rules of
against all the accused; the accused were directed to file their counter-affidavits but, instead of
procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies
doing so, the defense filed a Motion to Correct Caption and to Lift the Warrant of Arrest issued;
shall remain effective unless disapproved by the
the first prayer was granted but the resolution of the second motion was held in abeyance until
Supreme Court.
the counter-affidavits of all the accused are submitted; no counter-affidavits were filed so
Under the City Charter of General Santos City, the city court may also It appears that the City of General Santos already has sufficient number of
conduct preliminary investigation for any offense without regard to the prosecutors who can handle the preliminary investigation of criminal
limits of punishment and may release or commit and bind over any person cases. Hence, the same should be referred to them for appropriate action.
charged with such offense to secure his appearance before the proper
court. However, considering the Honorable Courts power of supervision over It is worth mentioning here that lately, the Honorable Court in A.M. No. 05-8-
all courts, rules of pleading, practice and procedure in all courts have been 26-SC dated 30 August 2005 has already withdrawn the power to conduct
promulgated. And as a matter of policy and procedure, criminal cases preliminary investigation from the judges of the first level courts.
covered by the Rule and initiated by a complaint is being referred to the City
Prosecutor for appropriate action.
Insofar as the issuance of warrant of arrest is concerned, par. (b), Sec. 6,
Rule 112 provides:
In the case of Salcedo vs. Nobles-Banz, 134 SCRA 207, the Supreme Court
ruled that:
Sec. 6. When warrant of arrest may issue.

There is no question that under the Olongapo City


xxx
Charter, the Municipal Trial Court can conduct
preliminary investigation of all offenses. That is
substantive law. However, pursuant to our (b) By the Municipal Trial Court. When required pursuant
constitutional supervision over all Courts, as a matter of to the second paragraph of section 1 of this Rule, the
policy, we direct the Municipal Trial Court in the City preliminary investigation of cases falling under the
of Olongapo [that] whenever a criminal case covered by original jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Trial Court,
the Rule is initiated by complaint, to refer the same to Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Municipal Trial Court, or
the City Fiscal for the filing of the corresponding Municipal Circuit Trial Court may be conducted by either
Information x x x. the judge or the prosecutor. x x x. When the
investigation is conducted by the judge himself, he shall
follow the procedure provided in Section 3 of this
xxx
Rule. If his findings and recommendations are affirmed
by the provincial or city prosecutor, or by the
The primary function of courts is to try and decide Ombudsman or his deputy, and the corresponding
cases, not to conduct preliminary investigation. Thus, in information is filed, he shall issue a warrant of
Section 9 of the Rule on Summary Procedure in Special arrest. However, without waiting for the conclusion of
Cases effective August 1, 1983, the Court provided the investigation, the judge may issue a warrant of
expressly that in Metro-Manila and chartered cities, arrest if he finds after an examination in writing and
(criminal) cases shall be commenced only by under oath of the complainant and his witnesses in the
information at the instance of the metropolitan form of searching questions and answers, that a
municipal trial court judges themselves who feared that probable cause exists and that there is a necessity of
they would be swamped with preliminary investigation placing the respondent under immediate custody not to
which they would have to conduct (instead of cities frustrate the ends of justice.
fiscals) if criminal complaints were to be directly filed
with them. The Court has likewise adopted the same
Under the above-quoted rule, the power or authority of the
rule and policy in the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure
investigating judge to issue a warrant of arrest is limited to those instances
effective January 1, 1985 governing the institution of all
where there is a necessity of placing him in custody in order not to frustrate
other offenses that in Metropolitan Manila and other
the ends of justice. In the case of Mantaring vs. Roman, 254 SCRA 158, the
chartered cities, the complaint may be filed only with
respondent judge was reprimanded for issuing a warrant without any finding
the office of the fiscal. (Rule 110, sec.1[b]).
that it was necessary to place the accused in immediate custody in order to
prevent a frustration of justice. And we quote:

Moreover, we think it was improper for


Further, it is worthy to state herein that it is the Public Prosecutor who is respondent judge to have issued the warrants of arrest
given by law direction and control of all criminal actions. It is he who is against complainant and his son without any finding
primarily responsible for ascertaining through a preliminary inquiry or that it was necessary to place them in immediate
proceeding whether there is reasonable ground to believe that an offense custody in order to prevent a frustration of justice. It is
has been committed and the accused is probably guilty thereof. Therefore, now settled that in issuing warrants of arrest in
the preliminary investigation proper is not a judicial function, but an preliminary investigations, the investigating judge
executive function, which is part of the prosecutions job. The assignment of must:
this non-judicial function to judges of inferior courts was dictated by
necessity and practical considerations because there are not enough fiscals
(a) have examined in writing and under oath
and prosecutors to investigate crimes in all municipalities all over the
the complainant and his witnesses by searching
country. In the case of Castillo vs. Villaluz, 171 SCRA 39, citing Salta vs.
questions and answers;
Court Administrator, 143 SCRA 228, the Honorable Court ruled that:
(b) be satisfied that probable cause exists;
Whenever there are enough fiscals or prosecutors to
and
conduct preliminary investigation, courts are counseled
to leave this job which is essentially executive to them.
(c) that there is a need to place the Preliminary investigation is an inquiry or proceeding to determine whether there is sufficient
respondent under immediate custody in order not to ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and the respondent
frustrate the ends of justice. is probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial. [9] And prior to the issuance of A.M. No. 05-
8-26-SC[10] which took effect on October 3, 2005, among the officers authorized by Sec. 2, Rule
In the instant case, it appears that respondent ordered the issuance of 112[11] of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure to conduct preliminary investigation are the
warrants of arrest against the complainant and his co-accused not only city prosecutors and judges of the MTC and MCTC.
because of the existence of probable cause, but because of her finding that
it was necessary to place them under immediate custody in order not to As provided under Sec. 37 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, Judges of Metropolitan Trial Courts,
frustrate the ends of justice. Pertinent portion of the Order of the court except those in the National Capital Region, of Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial
during the preliminary investigation held on 15 July 2004 is hereunder Courts shall have authority to conduct preliminary investigation of crimes alleged to have been
quoted as follows: committed within their respective territorial jurisdictions which are cognizable by the Regional
Trial Courts. x x x Provided, however, that, if after the preliminary investigation the Judge finds
ORDER: For preliminary investigation and request for a prima facie case, he shall forward the records of the case to the Provincial/City Fiscal for the
immediate issuance of warrant of filing of the corresponding information with the proper court. No warrant of arrest shall be issued
arrest. After a thorough examination of by the Judge in connection with any criminal complaint filed with him for preliminary
the complaining witness, Jose investigation, unless after an examination in writing and under oath or affirmation of the
Orlando Acharon together with the eye- complainant and his witnesses, he finds that a probable cause exists. x x x
witness Edwin Yagat through searching
questions under oath, the undersigned
finds that there is reason to believe that
the crimes of arson and robbery and The Charter of General Santos City, specifically Sec. 84, [12] authorizes the city court to conduct
there is a need to place in custody the preliminary investigations for any offense without regard to the limits of punishment and may
named accused herein in order not to release or commit and bind over any person charge[d] with such offense to secure his
frustrate the ends of justice and also to appearance before the proper court.
prevent them from possibly committing
the same crime in the other bunkhouses
Under Sec. 6(b), Rule 112 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, without waiting for the conclusion
of the complaining witness, issue warrant
of the investigation, the judge may issue a warrant of arrest if he finds after an examination in
of arrest against all the named accused
writing and under oath of the complainant and his witnesses in the form of searching questions
with bailbond fixed at P200,000.00 each
and answers, that a probable cause exists and that there is a necessity of placing the
for Robbery and no bail for Arson. x x x
respondent under immediate custody not to frustrate the ends of justice.

And as can be gleaned from the provision of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, [13] in Manila and
other chartered cities, the complaint shall be filed with the office of the prosecutor unless
RECOMMENDATION: Respectfully submitted for the otherwise provided in their charters.
consideration and approval of the Honorable Court our recommendations as
follows:
Thus, respondent did not commit gross ignorance of the law nor grave abuse of
discretion in conducting the said PI. It is very clear from the aforementioned provision that city
1. The instant case against Judge judges are authorized to conduct preliminary investigation and examination. The conduct by
Marie Ellengrid S.L. Baliguat of MTCC, Branch 01 respondent of the PI and the subsequent issuance of the warrant of arrest are well within the
[G]eneral Santos City be DISMISSED for lack of merit; authority given under the substantive law as well as the Charter of General Santos City.
and
Salcedo v. Nobles-Bans,[14] cited by the complainant, is not on all fours with the present case. In
2. Judge Baliguat be ADVISED to refer criminal cases the said case, respondent judge dismissed the criminal cases covered by the Rules on Summary
filed for preliminary investigation to the Office of the Procedure, instead of referring the same to the City Fiscal for the filing of the
City Prosecutor, General Santos City for appropriate corresponding Informations. In the present case, what is being questioned was the PI conducted
action.[5] by the respondent and the subsequent issuance of the warrant of arrest, which is neither
covered by the Rules on Summary Procedure nor dismissed by the respondent.
Meanwhile, in a Resolution[6] dated February 22, 2006, respondent was required to inform the
Court as to the action taken by her on complainant's and his co-accused's motions dated July 24, In Ribaya v. Binamira-Parcia,[15] we held that as long as the constitutional mandate was complied
2004 and August 17, 2004, respectively, to lift the warrant of arrest and referral of Criminal with, that is, the warrant of arrest was issued upon a finding of probable cause personally by the
Cases Nos. 46246 and 46247 to the Office of the City Prosecutor. judge after an examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he
may produce, the warrant of arrest was valid. After all, the purpose of issuing the warrant of
In her Compliance[7] dated March 10, 2006, respondent avers that despite ample time given to arrest was to place the respondents under immediate custody in order not to frustrate the ends
the respondents to submit their counter-affidavit, they failed to do so and attaching thereto the of justice;[16] and whether it is necessary to place the accused in custody is left to the judges
Resolution[8] dated January 14, 2005, denying the Motion to Quash Warrant of Arrest for lack of sound judgment.[17] As aptly found by the OCA in its evaluation,[18] respondent ordered the
merit and forwarded the records of Criminal Cases Nos. 46246 and 46247-I to the Office of the issuance of the warrants of arrest not only because of the existence of probable cause, but
City Prosecutor for further proceedings. because of her finding that it was necessary to place the accused under immediate custody in
order not to frustrate the ends of justice. We find nothing irregular in the course of action taken
At issue is whether or not the acts committed by respondent judge constitute gross ignorance of by the respondent.
the law, abuse of authority, dereliction of duty, and oppression warranting dismissal from judicial
service and disbarment. We held in Jamora v. Bersales,[19] that when a preliminary investigation is conducted by a
municipal court trial judge, he is obligated, upon conclusion of the preliminary investigation, to
We adopt the evaluation and recommendation of the OCA. transmit to the provincial or city fiscal, for appropriate action, the resolution of the case. In this
case, immediately after the determination of a probable cause, respondent judge forwarded the
records of the criminal cases to the Office of the City Prosecutor for further proceedings which Prosecutor and Officer-in-Charge, ROSULO U. VIVERO, in his capacity as Investigating
bespeaks of respondents knowledge of the law, both substantive and procedural. Prosecutor, RAUL M. GONZALEZ, in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of
Justice, Respondents.
However, as adverted to earlier, under A.M. No 05-8-26-SC, which took effect on October 3,
2005, the officers authorized to conduct preliminary investigations are the: (a) Provincial or City x-----------------------x
Prosecutors and their assistants; (b) National and Regional State Prosecutors; and (c) other
officers as may be authorized by law. xxx[20] The preliminary investigation of cases falling under G.R. No. 185587
the original jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Municipal
Trial Court or Municipal Circuit Trial Court shall be conducted by the prosecutor. xxx
RANDALL B. ECHANIS, Petitioner,
vs.
The above-mentioned administrative matter included the following proviso: HON. THELMA BUNYl-MEDINA, in her capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial
Court of Manila, Branch 32, HON. EPHREM S. ABANDO, in his capacity as Presiding
All First Level Courts shall continue with the preliminary investigation of Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Hilongos, Leyte, Branch 18, CESAR M. MERIN, in
cases pending with them and terminate them not later than December 31, his capacity as Approving Prosecutor and Officer-in-Charge, ROSULO U. VIVERO, in his
2005. capacity as Investigating Prosecutor, RAUL M. GONZALEZ, in his capacity as Secretary
of the Department of Justice, Respondents.
Upon the date of effectivity of these amendments, First Level Courts shall
no longer accept new cases for preliminary investigation, which fall under x-----------------------x
the exclusive jurisdiction of courts of other levels.
G.R. No. 185636
It must be emphasized that the conduct of respondent in the handling of the PI and
the subsequent issuance of the warrants of arrest is well within the mandate of the law and not RAFAEL G. BAYLOSIS, Petitioner,
indicative of any grave abuse of discretion on her part. The criminal cases subject of this vs.
complaint were filed on July 15, 2004 and still governed by Rule 112 of the Revised Rules on HON. THELMA BUNYI-MEDINA, in her capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial
Criminal Procedure in force at the time of the commission of the crime charged; while A.M. No. Court of Manila, Branch 32, HON. EPHREM S. ABANDO, in his capacity as Presiding
05-8-26-SC which took effect on October 3, 2005, commanded the first level courts to continue Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Hilongos, Leyte, Branch 18, CESAR M. MERIN, in
with the preliminary investigation of cases pending with them and terminate them not later than his capacity as Approving Prosecutor and Officer-in-Charge, ROSULO U. VIVERO, in his
December 31, 2005. capacity as Investigating Prosecutor, RAUL M. GONZALEZ, in his capacity as Secretary
of the Department of Justice, Respondents.
It is settled that as a matter of policy, the acts of a judge in his judicial capacity are not subject
to disciplinary action. He cannot be subjected to liability civil, criminal or administrative for any x-----------------------x
of his official acts, no matter how erroneous, as long as he acts in good faith. [21] To hold,
otherwise, would be to render judicial office untenable, for no one called upon to try the facts or
G.R. No. 190005
interpret the law in the process of administering justice can be infallible in his judgment. [22] An
inquiry into the administrative liability of a judge may be resorted to only after the available
remedies have been exhausted and decided with finality. [23] For until there is a final declaration VICENTE P. LADLAD, Petitioner,
by the appellate court that the challenged order or judgment is manifestly erroneous, there will vs.
be no basis to conclude whether respondent is administratively liable. [24] HON. THELMA BUNYI-MEDINA, in her capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial
Court of Manila, Branch 32, and the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.
To constitute gross ignorance of the law, it is not enough that the subject decision,
order or actuation of the judge in the performance of his official duties is contrary to existing law DECISION
and jurisprudence but, most importantly, he must be moved by bad faith, fraud, dishonesty, or
corruption.[25] Good faith and absence of malice, corrupt motives or improper considerations, are SERENO, CJ.:
sufficient defenses in which a judge charged with ignorance of the law can find refuge. [26] In this
case, we are convinced that respondent conducted the PI and the subsequent issuance of the On 26 August 2006, a mass grave was discovered by elements of the 43rd Infantry Brigade of
warrants of arrest in clean conscience, in good faith and in accordance with law, jurisprudence, the Philippine Army at Sitio Sapang Daco, Barangay Kaulisihan, Inopacan, Leyte.1 The mass
rules and procedures. grave contained skeletal remains of individuals believed to be victims of "Operation Venereal
Disease" (Operation VD) launched by members of the Communist Party of the Philippines/New
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the administrative case against Judge Peoples Army/National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP/NPA/NDFP) to purge their ranks
Marie Ellengrid S.L. Baliguat, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch of suspected military informers.
1, General Santos City is DISMISSED. And in line with A.M. No. 05-8-26-SC, withdrawing the
power to conduct preliminary investigation from judges of first level courts, she is ADVISED to While the doctrine of hierarchy of courts normally precludes a direct invocation of this Courts
refer criminal cases filed for preliminary investigation to the Office of the City jurisdiction, we take cognizance of these petitions considering that petitioners have chosen to
Prosecutor, General Santos City for appropriate action. SO ORDERED. take recourse directly before us and that the cases are of significant national interest.

Petitioners have raised several issues, but most are too insubstantial to require consideration.
Accordingly, in the exercise of sound judicial discretion and economy, this Court will pass
G.R. No. 176830 February 11, 2014 primarily upon the following:

SATURNINO C. OCAMPO, Petitioner, 1. Whether petitioners were denied due process during preliminary investigation and
vs. in the issuance of the warrants of arrest.
HON. EPHREM S. ABANDO, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial
Court of Hilongos, Leyte, Branch 18, CESAR M. MERIN, in. his capacity as Approving
2. Whether the murder charges against petitioners should be dismissed under the On the basis of the 12 letters and their attachments, Prosecutor Vivero issued a subpoena
political offense doctrine. requiring, among others, petitioners to submit their counter-affidavits and those of their
witnesses.22 Petitioner Ocampo submitted his counter-affidavit.23 Petitioners Echanis24 and
ANTECEDENT FACTS Baylosis25 did not file counter-affidavits because they were allegedly not served the copy of the
complaint and the attached documents or evidence. Counsel of petitioner Ladlad made a formal
entry of appearance on 8 December 2006 during the preliminary investigation.26 However,
These are petitions for certiorari and prohibition2 seeking the annulment of the orders and
petitioner Ladlad did not file a counter-affidavit because he was allegedly not served a
resolutions of public respondents with regard to the indictment and issuance of warrants of
subpoena.27
arrest against petitioners for the crime of multiple murder.

In a Resolution28 dated 16 February 2007, Prosecutor Vivero recommended the filing of an


Police Chief Inspector George L. Almaden (P C/Insp. Almaden) of the Philippine National Police
Information for 15 counts of multiple murder against 54 named members of the CPP/NPA/NDFP,
(PNP) Regional Office 8 and Staff Judge Advocate Captain Allan Tiu (Army Captain Tiu) of the 8th
including petitioners herein, for the death of the following: 1) Juanita Aviola, 2) Concepcion
Infantry Division of the Philippine Army sent 12 undated letters to the Provincial Prosecutor of
Aragon, 3) Gregorio Eras, 4) Teodoro Recones, Jr., 5) Restituto Ejoc, 6) Rolando Vasquez, 7) Junior
Leyte through Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Rosulo U. Vivero (Prosecutor Vivero). 3 The letters
Milyapis, 8) Crispin Dalmacio, 9) Zacarias Casil, 10) Pablo Daniel, 11) Romeo Tayabas, 12)
requested appropriate legal action on 12 complaint-affidavits attached therewith accusing 71
Domingo Napoles, 13) Ciriaco Daniel, 14) Crispin Prado, and 15) Ereberto Prado. 29
named members of the Communist Party of the Philippines/New Peoples Army/National
Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP/NPA/NDFP) of murder, including petitioners herein along
with several other unnamed members. Prosecutor Vivero also recommended that Zacarias Piedad, Leonardo Tanaid, Numeriano
Beringuel and Glecerio Roluna be dropped as respondents and utilized as state witnesses, as
their testimonies were vital to the success of the prosecution.30 The Resolution was silent with
The letters narrated that on 26 August 2006, elements of the 43rd Infantry Brigade of the
regard to Veronica Tabara.
Philippine Army discovered a mass grave site of the CPP/NPA/NDFP at Sitio Sapang Daco,
Barangay Kaulisihan, Inopacan, Leyte.4Recovered from the grave site were 67 severely
deteriorated skeletal remains believed to be victims of Operation VD.5 The Information was filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Hilongos, Leyte, Branch 18 (RTC
Hilongos, Leyte) presided by Judge Ephrem S. Abando (Judge Abando) on 28 February 2007, and
docketed as Criminal Case No. H-1581.31 Petitioner Ocampo filed an Ex Parte Motion to Set Case
The PNP Scene of the Crime Operation (SOCO) Team based in Regional Office 8 was immediately
for Clarificatory Hearing dated 5 March 2007 prior to receiving a copy of the Resolution
dispatched to the mass grave site to conduct crime investigation, and to collect, preserve and
recommending the filing of the Information.32
analyze the skeletal remains.6 Also, from 11-17 September 2006, an investigation team
composed of intelligence officers, and medico-legal and DNA experts, conducted forensic crime
analysis and collected from alleged relatives of the victims DNA samples for matching. 7 On 6 March 2007, Judge Abando issued an Order finding probable cause "in the commission by
all mentioned accused of the crime charged."33 He ordered the issuance of warrants of arrest
against them with no recommended bail for their temporary liberty. 34
The Initial Specialist Report8 dated 18 September 2006 issued by the PNP Crime Laboratory in
Camp Crame, Quezon City, was inconclusive with regard to the identities of the skeletal remains
and even the length of time that they had been buried. The report recommended the conduct of On 16 March 2007, petitioner Ocampo filed before us this special civil action for certiorari and
further tests to confirm the identities of the remains and the time window of death. 9 prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court and docketed as G.R. No. 176830 seeking the
annulment of the 6 March 2007 Order of Judge Abando and the 16 February 2007 Resolution of
Prosecutor Vivero.35 The petition prayed for the unconditional release of petitioner Ocampo from
However, in a Special Report10 dated 2 October 2006, the Case Secretariat of the Regional and
PNP custody, as well as the issuance of a temporary restraining order/ writ of preliminary
National Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) came up with the names of ten (10) possible
injunction to restrain the conduct of further proceedings during the pendency of the petition. 36
victims after comparison and examination based on testimonies of relatives and witnesses. 11

Petitioner Ocampo argued that a case for rebellion against him and 44 others (including
The 12 complaint-affidavits were from relatives of the alleged victims of Operation VD. All of
petitioners Echanis and Baylosis37 and Ladlad38) docketed as Criminal Case No. 06-944 was then
them swore that their relatives had been abducted or last seen with members of the
pending before the RTC Makati, Branch 150 (RTC Makati). 39 Putting forward the political offense
CPP/NPA/NDFP and were never seen again.
doctrine, petitioner Ocampo argues that common crimes, such as murder in this case, are
already absorbed by the crime of rebellion when committed as a necessary means, in
They also expressed belief that their relatives remains were among those discovered at the connection with and in furtherance of rebellion.40
mass grave site.
We required41 the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to comment on the petition and the
Also attached to the letters were the affidavits of Zacarias Piedad, 12 Leonardo C. Tanaid, Floro M. prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order/ writ of preliminary injunction, and
Tanaid, Numeriano Beringuel, Glecerio Roluna and Veronica P. Tabara. They narrated that they set42 the case for oral arguments on 30 March 2007. The OSG filed its Comment on 27 March
were former members of the CPP/NPA/NDFP.13 According to them, Operation VD was ordered in 2007.43
1985 by the CPP/NPA/NDFP Central Committee.14 Allegedly, petitioners Saturnino C. Ocampo
(Ocampo),15 Randall B. Echanis (Echanis),16 Rafael G. Baylosis (Baylosis),17 and Vicente P. Ladlad
The following were the legal issues discussed by the parties during the oral arguments:
(Ladlad)18 were then members of the Central Committee.

1. Whether the present petition for certiorari and prohibition is the proper remedy of
According to these former members, four sub-groups were formed to implement Operation VD,
petitioner Ocampo;
namely, (1) the Intel Group responsible for gathering information on suspected military spies and
civilians who would not support the movement; (2) the Arresting Group charged with their
arrests; (3) the Investigation Group which would subject those arrested to questioning; and (4) 2. Assuming it is the proper remedy, whether he was denied due process during
the Execution Group or the "cleaners" of those confirmed to be military spies and civilians who preliminary investigation and in the issuance of the warrant of arrest;
would not support the movement.19
3. Whether the murder charges against him are already included in the rebellion
From 1985 to 1992, at least 100 people had been abducted, hog-tied, tortured and executed by charge against him in the RTC.44
members of the CPP/NPA/NDF20 pursuant to Operation VD.21
Afterwards, the parties were ordered to submit their memoranda within 10 days.45 On 3 April
2007, the Court ordered the provisional release of petitioner Ocampo under a 100,000 cash
bond.46 On 6 May 2009, Judge Medina issued an Order70 denying the motion to quash. The motion for
Acting on the observation of the Court during the oral arguments that the single Information filed reconsideration filed by petitioner Ladlad was also denied on 27 August 2009.71
before the RTC Hilongos, Leyte was defective for charging 15 counts of murder, the prosecution
filed a Motion to Admit Amended Information and New Informations on 11 April 2007. 47 In an On 9 November 2009, petitioner Ladlad filed before us a special civil action for certiorari under
Order dated 27 July 2007, Judge Abando held in abeyance the resolution thereof and effectively Rule 65 of the Rules of Court seeking the annulment of the 6 May 2009 and 27 August 2009
suspended the proceedings during the pendency of G.R. No. 176830 before this Court.48 Orders of Judge Medina.72 The petition was docketed as G.R. No. 190005.

While the proceedings were suspended, petitioner Echanis was arrested on 28 January 2008 by On 11 January 2010, we ordered the consolidation of G.R. No. 190005 with G.R. Nos. 176830,
virtue of the warrant of arrest issued by Judge Abando on 6 March 2007.49 On 1 February 2008, 185587 and 185636.73 We also required the OSG to file its comment thereon. The OSG submitted
petitioners Echanis and Baylosis filed a Motion for Judicial Reinvestigation/ Determination of its Comment74 on 7 May 2010.
Probable Cause with Prayer to Dismiss the Case Outright and Alternative Prayer to Recall/
Suspend Service of Warrant.50
On 27 July 2010, we likewise required the OSG to file its Comment in G.R. Nos. 185636 and
185587.75 These Comments were filed by the OSG on 13 December 201076 and on 21 January
51
On 30 April 2008, Judge Abando issued an Order denying the motion. Petitioners Echanis and 2011,77 respectively. Petitioners Echanis and Baylosis filed their Consolidated Reply78 on 7 June
Baylosis filed a Motion for Reconsideration52 dated 30 May 2008, but before being able to rule 2011.
thereon, Judge Abando issued an Order dated 12 June 2008 transmitting the records of Criminal
Case No. H-1581 to the Office of the Clerk of Court, RTC Manila. 53 The Order was issued in
On 2 May 2011, petitioner Ladlad filed an Urgent Motion to Fix Bail.79 On 21 July 2011, petitioner
compliance with the Resolution dated 23 April 2008 of this Court granting the request of then
Baylosis filed A Motion to Allow Petitioner to Post Bail.80 The OSG interposed no objection to the
Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzales to transfer the venue of the case.
grant of a 100,000 cash bail to them considering that they were consultants of the NDFP
negotiating team, which was then holding negotiations with the GRP peace panel for the signing
The case was re-raffled to RTC Manila, Branch 32 (RTC Manila) presided by Judge Thelma Bunyi- of a peace accord.81
Medina (Judge Medina) and re-docketed as Criminal Case No. 08-262163.54 Petitioner Echanis
was transferred to the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City. On 12 August 2008,
On 17 January 2012, we granted the motions of petitioners Ladlad and Baylosis and fixed their
petitioners Echanis and Baylosis filed their Supplemental Arguments to Motion for
bail in the amount of 100,000, subject to the condition that their temporary release shall be
Reconsideration.55
limited to the period of their actual participation in the peace negotiations. 82

In an Order56 dated 27 October 2008, Judge Medina suspended the proceedings of the case
Petitioner Ladlad filed his Reply83 to the OSG Comment on 18 January 2013.
pending the resolution of G.R. No. 176830 by this Court.
OUR RULING
On 18 December 2008, petitioner Ladlad filed with the RTC Manila a Motion to Quash and/or
Dismiss.57
Petitioners were accorded due
process during preliminary
On 23 December 2008, petitioner Echanis filed before us a special civil action for certiorari and
investigation and in the issuance of
prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court seeking the annulment of the 30 April 2008 Order
the warrants of arrest.
of Judge Abando and the 27 October 2008 Order of Judge Medina. 58 The petition, docketed as
G.R. No. 185587, prayed for the unconditional and immediate release of petitioner Echanis, as
well as the issuance of a temporary restraining order/writ of preliminary injunction to restrain his A. Preliminary Investigation
further incarceration.59
A preliminary investigation is "not a casual affair." 84 It is conducted to protect the innocent from
On 5 January 2009, petitioner Baylosis filed before us a special civil action for certiorari and the embarrassment, expense and anxiety of a public trial. 85 While the right to have a preliminary
prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court also seeking the annulment of the 30 April 2008 investigation before trial is statutory rather than constitutional, it is a substantive right and a
Order of Judge Abando and the 27 October 2008 Order of Judge Medina.60 The petition, docketed component of due process in the administration of criminal justice. 86
as G.R. No. 185636, prayed for the issuance of a temporary restraining order/ writ of preliminary
injunction to restrain the implementation of the warrant of arrest against petitioner Baylosis. 61 In the context of a preliminary investigation, the right to due process of law entails the
opportunity to be heard.87 It serves to accord an opportunity for the presentation of the
The Court consolidated G.R. Nos. 185587 and 185636 on 12 January 2009.62 respondents side with regard to the accusation. Afterwards, the investigating officer shall decide
whether the allegations and defenses lead to a reasonable belief that a crime has been
committed, and that it was the respondent who committed it. Otherwise, the investigating
On 3 March 2009, the Court ordered the further consolidation of these two cases with G.R. No.
officer is bound to dismiss the complaint.
176830.63 We required64 the OSG to comment on the prayer for petitioner Echaniss immediate
release, to which the OSG did not interpose any objection on these conditions: that the
temporary release shall only be for the purpose of his attendance and participation in the formal "The essence of due process is reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit evidence in
peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the support of one's defense."88 What is proscribed is lack of opportunity to be heard. 89 Thus, one
CPP/NPA/NDFP, set to begin in August 2009; and that his temporary release shall not exceed six who has been afforded a chance to present ones own side of the story cannot claim denial of
(6) months.65 The latter condition was later modified, such that his temporary liberty shall due process.90
continue for the duration of his actual participation in the peace negotiations. 66
Petitioners Echanis and Baylosis allege that they did not receive a copy of the complaint and the
On 11 August 2009, the Court ordered the provisional release of petitioner Echanis under a attached documents or evidence.91 Petitioner Ladlad claims that he was not served a subpoena
100,000 cash bond, for the purpose of his participation in the formal peace negotiations. 67 due to the false address indicated in the 12 undated letters of P C/Insp. Almaden and Army
Captain Tiu to Prosecutor Vivero.92 Furthermore, even though his counsels filed their formal entry
of appearance before the Office of the Prosecutor, petitioner Ladlad was still not sent a
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed its Opposition 68 to petitioner Ladlads motion to
subpoena through his counsels addresses.93 Thus, they were deprived of the right to file
quash before the RTC Manila. The trial court conducted a hearing on the motion on 13 February
counter-affidavits.
2009.69
Petitioner Ocampo claims that Prosecutor Vivero, in collusion with P C/Insp. Almaden and Army admits the mistake committed regarding the date of the alleged meeting. The date of the
Captain Tiu, surreptitiously inserted the Supplemental Affidavit of Zacarias Piedad in the records execution of the Supplemental Affidavit was also clearly stated. Thus, it was clear that it was
of the case without furnishing petitioner Ocampo a copy.94 The original affidavit of Zacarias executed after petitioner Ocampo had submitted his counter-affidavit. Should the case go to
Piedad dated 14 September 2006 stated that a meeting presided by petitioner Ocampo was held trial, that will provide petitioner Ocampo with the opportunity to question the execution of
in 1984, when the launching of Operation VD was agreed upon.95Petitioner Ocampo refuted this Zacarias Piedads Supplemental Affidavit.
claim in his Counter-affidavit dated 22 December 2006 stating that he was in military custody
from October 1976 until his escape in May 1985.96 Thereafter, the Supplemental Affidavit of Neither can we uphold petitioner Ocampos contention that he was denied the right to be heard.
Zacarias Piedad dated 12 January 2007 admitted that he made a mistake in his original affidavit, For him to claim that he was denied due process by not being furnished a copy of the
and that the meeting actually took place in June 1985.97 Petitioner Ocampo argues that he was Supplemental Affidavit of Zacarias Piedad would imply that the entire case of the prosecution
denied the opportunity to reply to the Supplemental Affidavit by not being furnished a copy rested on the Supplemental Affidavit. The OSG has asserted that the indictment of petitioner
thereof. Ocampo was based on the collective affidavits of several other witnesses 107 attesting to the
allegation that he was a member of the CPP/NPA/NDFP Central Committee, which had ordered
Petitioner Ocampo also claims that he was denied the right to file a motion for reconsideration or the launch of Operation VD.
to appeal the Resolution of Prosecutor Vivero, because the latter deliberately delayed the service
of the Resolution by 19 days, effectively denying petitioner Ocampo his right to due process. 98 As to his claim that he was denied the right to file a motion for reconsideration or to appeal the
Resolution of Prosecutor Vivero due to the 19-day delay in the service of the Resolution, it must
As to the claim of petitioners Echanis and Baylosis, we quote the pertinent portion of Prosecutor be pointed out that the period for filing a motion for reconsideration or an appeal to the
Viveros Resolution, which states: Secretary of Justice is reckoned from the date of receipt of the resolution of the prosecutor, not
from the date of the resolution. This is clear from Section 3 of the 2000 National Prosecution
In connection with the foregoing and pursuant to the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure[,] the Service Rule on Appeal:
respondents were issued and served with Subpoena at their last known address for them to
submit their counter-affidavits and that of their witnesses. Sec. 3. Period to appeal. The appeal shall be taken within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the
resolution, or of the denial of the motion for reconsideration/ reinvestigation if one has been filed
Majority of the respondents did not submit their counter-affidavits because they could no longer within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the assailed resolution. Only one motion for
be found in their last known address, per return of the subpoenas. On the other hand, Saturnino reconsideration shall be allowed. (Emphasis supplied)
Ocampo @ Satur, Fides Lim, Maureen Palejaro and Ruben Manatad submitted their Counter-
Affidavits. However, Vicente Ladlad and Jasmin Jerusalem failed to submit the required Counter Thus, when petitioner Ocampo received the Resolution of Prosecutor Vivero on 12 March
Affidavits in spite entry of appearance by their respective counsels.99 2007,108 the former had until 27 March 2007 within which to file either a motion for
reconsideration before the latter or an appeal before the Secretary of Justice. Instead, petitioner
Section 3(d), Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, allows Prosecutor Vivero to resolve the complaint Ocampo chose to file the instant petition for certiorari directly before this Court on 16 March
based on the evidence before him if a respondent could not be subpoenaed. As long as efforts to 2007.
reach a respondent were made, and he was given an opportunity to present countervailing
evidence, the preliminary investigation remains valid.100The rule was put in place in order to foil B. Issuance of the Warrants of Arrest
underhanded attempts of a respondent to delay the prosecution of offenses. 101
Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution provides that "no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall
In this case, the Resolution stated that efforts were undertaken to serve subpoenas on the issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination
named respondents at their last known addresses. This is sufficient for due process. It was only under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce."
because a majority of them could no longer be found at their last known addresses that they
were not served copies of the complaint and the attached documents or evidence. Petitioner Ocampo alleges that Judge Abando did not comply with the requirements of the
Constitution in finding the existence of probable cause for the issuance of warrants of arrest
Petitioner Ladlad claims that his subpoena was sent to the nonexistent address "53 Sct. Rallos against petitioners.109
St., QC,"102 which had never been his address at any time.103 In connection with this claim, we
take note of the fact that the subpoena to Fides Lim, petitioner Ladlads wife,104 was sent to the Probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest has been defined as "such facts and
same address, and that she was among those mentioned in the Resolution as having timely circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an
submitted their counter-affidavits. offense has been committed by the person sought to be arrested." 110 Although the Constitution
provides that probable cause shall be determined by the judge after an examination under oath
Despite supposedly never receiving a subpoena, petitioner Ladlads counsel filed a formal entry or an affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses, we have ruled that a hearing is not
of appearance on 8 December 2006.105 Prosecutor Vivero had a reason to believe that petitioner necessary for the determination thereof.111 In fact, the judges personal examination of the
Ladlad had received the subpoena and accordingly instructed his counsel to prepare his defense. complainant and the witnesses is not mandatory and indispensable for determining the aptness
of issuing a warrant of arrest.112
Petitioner Ladlad, through his counsel, had every opportunity to secure copies of the complaint
after his counsels formal entry of appearance and, thereafter, to participate fully in the It is enough that the judge personally evaluates the prosecutors report and supporting
preliminary investigation. Instead, he refused to participate. documents showing the existence of probable cause for the indictment and, on the basis
thereof, issue a warrant of arrest; or if, on the basis of his evaluation, he finds no probable
We have previously cautioned that "litigants represented by counsel should not expect that all cause, to disregard the prosecutor's resolution and require the submission of additional affidavits
they need to do is sit back, relax and await the outcome of their case." 106 Having opted to of witnesses to aid him in determining its existence.113
remain passive during the preliminary investigation, petitioner Ladlad and his counsel cannot
now claim a denial of due process, since their failure to file a counter-affidavit was of their own Petitioners Echanis and Baylosis claim that, had Judge Abando painstakingly examined the
doing. records submitted by Prosecutor Vivero, the judge would have inevitably dismissed the charge
against them.114 Additionally, petitioner Ocampo alleges that Judge Abando did not point out
Neither do we find any merit in petitioner Ocampos allegation of collusion to surreptitiously facts and evidence in the record that were used as bases for his finding of probable cause to
insert the Supplemental Affidavit of Zacarias Piedad in the records. There was nothing issue a warrant of arrest.115
surreptitious about the Supplemental Affidavit since it clearly alludes to an earlier affidavit and
The determination of probable cause for the issuance of warrants of arrest against petitioners is But when the political offense doctrine is asserted as a defense in the trial court, it becomes
addressed to the sound discretion of Judge Abando as the trial judge.116 Further elucidating on crucial for the court to determine whether the act of killing was done in furtherance of a political
the wide latitude given to trial judges in the issuance of warrants of arrest, this Court stated in end, and for the political motive of the act to be conclusively demonstrated. 124
Sarigumba v. Sandiganbayan117 as follows:
Petitioners aver that the records show that the alleged murders were committed in furtherance
x x x. The trial court's exercise of its judicial discretion should not, as a general rule, be of the CPP/NPA/NDFP rebellion, and that the political motivation behind the alleged murders can
interfered with in the absence of grave abuse of discretion. Indeed, certiorari will not lie to cure be clearly seen from the charge against the alleged top leaders of the CPP/NPA/NDFP as co-
errors in the trial court's appreciation of the evidence of the parties, the conclusion of facts it conspirators.
reached based on the said findings, as well as the conclusions of law. x x x.
We had already ruled that the burden of demonstrating political motivation must be discharged
Whether or not there is probable cause for the issuance of warrants for the arrest of the accused by the defense, since motive is a state of mind which only the accused knows. 125 The proof
is a question of fact based on the allegations in the Informations, the Resolution of the showing political motivation is adduced during trial where the accused is assured an opportunity
Investigating Prosecutor, including other documents and/or evidence appended to the to present evidence supporting his defense. It is not for this Court to determine this factual
Information. matter in the instant petitions.

Here, the allegations of petitioners point to factual matters indicated in the affidavits of the As held in the case of Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Zamboanga Del Norte v. CA, 126 if
complainants and witnesses as bases for the contention that there was no probable cause for during trial, petitioners are able to show that the alleged murders were indeed committed in
petitioners indictment for multiple murder or for the issuance of warrants for their arrest. As furtherance of rebellion, Section 14, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court provides the remedy, to wit:
stated above, the trial judges appreciation of the evidence and conclusion of facts based
thereon are not interfered with in the absence of grave abuse of discretion. Again, "he SECTION 14. Amendment or substitution. A complaint or information may be amended, in
sufficiently complies with the requirement of personal determination if he reviews the form or in substance, without leave of court, at any time before the accused enters his plea.
[I]nformation and the documents attached thereto, and on the basis thereof forms a belief that After the plea and during the trial, a formal amendment may only be made with leave of court
the accused is probably guilty of the crime with which he is being charged."118 and when it can be done without causing prejudice to the rights of the accused.

Judge Abandos review of the Information and the supporting documents is shown by the However, any amendment before plea, which downgrades the nature of the offense charged in
following portion of the judges 6 March 2007 Order: or excludes any accused from the complaint or information, can be made only upon motion by
the prosecutor, with notice to the offended party and with leave of court. The court shall state its
On the evaluation of the Resolution and its Information as submitted and filed by the Provincial reasons in resolving the motion and copies of its order shall be furnished all parties, especially
Prosecution of Leyte Province supported by the following documents: Affidavits of Complainants, the offended party. (n)
Sworn Statements of Witnesses and other pertinent documents issued by the Regional Crime
Laboratory Office, PNP, Region VIII and Camp Crame, Quezon City, pictures of the grave site and If it appears at any time before judgment that a mistake has been made in charging the proper
skeletal remains, this court has the findings [sic] of probable cause in the commission by all offense, the court shall dismiss the original complaint or information upon the filing of a new one
mentioned accused of the crime charged.119 charging the proper offense in accordance with Section 19, Rule 119, provided the accused shall
not be placed in double jeopardy. The court may require the witnesses to give bail for their
At bottom, issues involving the finding of probable cause for an indictment and issuance of a appearance at the trial. (Emphasis supplied)
warrant of arrest, as petitioners are doubtless aware, are primarily questions of fact that are
normally not within the purview of a petition for certiorari, 120 such as the petitions filed in the Thus, if it is shown that the proper charge against petitioners should have been simple rebellion,
instant consolidated cases. the trial court shall dismiss the murder charges upon the filing of the Information for simple
rebellion, as long as petitioners would not be placed in double jeopardy.
The political offense doctrine is not a
ground to dismiss the charge against Section 7, Rule 117 of the Rules of Court, states:
petitioners prior to a determination
by the trial court that the murders
SEC. 7. Former conviction or acquittal; double jeopardy. When an accused has been convicted
were committed in furtherance of
or acquitted, or the case against him dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express
rebellion.
consent by a court of competent jurisdiction, upon a valid complaint or information or other
formal charge sufficient in form and substance to sustain a conviction and after the accused had
Under the political offense doctrine, "common crimes, perpetrated in furtherance of a political pleaded to the charge, the conviction or acquittal of the accused or the dismissal of the case
offense, are divested of their character as "common" offenses and assume the political shall be a bar to another prosecution for the offense charged, or for any attempt to commit the
complexion of the main crime of which they are mere ingredients, and, consequently, cannot be same or frustration thereof, or for any offense which necessarily includes or is necessarily
punished separately from the principal offense, or complexed with the same, to justify the included in the offense charged in the former complaint or information.
imposition of a graver penalty."121
Based on the above provision, double jeopardy only applies when: (1) a first jeopardy attached;
Any ordinary act assumes a different nature by being absorbed in the crime of rebellion. 122 Thus, (2) it has been validly terminated; and (3) a second jeopardy is for the same offense as in the
when a killing is committed in furtherance of rebellion, the killing is not homicide or murder. first.127
Rather, the killing assumes the political complexion of rebellion as its mere ingredient and must
be prosecuted and punished as rebellion alone.
A first jeopardy attaches only after the accused has been acquitted or convicted, or the case has
been dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent, by a competent court in a
However, this is not to say that public prosecutors are obliged to consistently charge valid indictment for which the accused has entered a valid plea during arraignment.128
respondents with simple rebellion instead of common crimes. No one disputes the well-
entrenched principle in criminal procedure that the institution of criminal charges, including
To recall, on 12 May 2006, an Information for the crime of rebellion, as defined and penalized
whom and what to charge, is addressed to the sound discretion of the public prosecutor. 123
under Article 134 in relation to Article 135 of the Revised Penal Code, docketed as Criminal Case
No. 06-944 was filed before the RTC Makati against petitioners and several others. 129
However, petitioners were never arraigned in Criminal Case No. 06-944.1awp++i1 Even before Respondent Atty. Magdaleno M. Pea (Atty. Pea) instituted a civil case for recovery of agents
the indictment for rebellion was filed before the RTC Makati, petitioners Ocampo, Echanis and compensation and expenses, damages, and attorneys fees2 against Urban Bank and herein
Ladlad had already filed a petition before this Court to seek the nullification of the Orders of the petitioners, before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Negros Occidental, Bago City. The case was
DOJ denying their motion for the inhibition of the members of the prosecution panel due to lack raffled to Branch 62 and was docketed as Civil Case No. 754. Atty. Pea anchored his claim for
of impartiality and independence.130 When the indictment was filed, petitioners Ocampo, Echanis compensation on the Contract of Agency3 allegedly entered into with the petitioners, wherein
and Ladlad filed supplemental petitions to enjoin the prosecution of Criminal Case No. 06- the former undertook to perform such acts necessary to prevent any intruder and squatter from
944.131We eventually ordered the dismissal of the rebellion case. It is clear then that a first unlawfully occupying Urban Banks property located along Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City.
jeopardy never had a chance to attach. Petitioners filed a Motion to Dismiss4 arguing that they never appointed the respondent as agent
or counsel. Attached to the motion were the following documents: 1) a Letter 5 dated 19
Petitioner Ocampo shall remain on provisional liberty under the 100,000 cash bond posted December 1994 signed by Herman Ponce and Julie Abad on behalf of Isabela Sugar Company,
before the Office of the Clerk of Court. He shall remain on provisional liberty until the termination Inc. (ISCI), the original owner of the subject property; 2) an unsigned Letter 6 dated 7 December
of the proceedings before the RTC Manila.1wphi1 1994 addressed to Corazon Bejasa from Marilyn G. Ong; 3) a Letter 7 dated 9 December 1994
addressed to Teodoro Borlongan, Jr. and signed by Marilyn G. Ong; and 4) a Memorandum 8 dated
20 November 1994 from Enrique Montilla III. Said documents were presented in an attempt to
The OSG has given its conformity to the provisional liberty of petitioners Echanis, Baylosis and
show that the respondent was appointed as agent by ISCI and not by Urban Bank or by the
Ladlad in view of the ongoing peace negotiations. Their provisional release from detention under
petitioners.
the cash bond of 100,000 each shall continue under the condition that their temporary release
shall be limited to the period of their actual participation as CPP-NDF consultants in the peace
negotiations with the government or until the termination of the proceedings before the RTC In view of the introduction of the above-mentioned documents, Atty. Pea filed his Complaint-
Manila, whichever is sooner. It shall be the duty of the government to inform this Court the Affidavit9 with the Office of the City Prosecutor, Bago City.10 He claimed that said documents
moment that peace negotiations are concluded. were falsified because the alleged signatories did not actually affix their signatures, and the
signatories were neither stockholders nor officers and employees of ISCI. 11 Worse, petitioners
introduced said documents as evidence before the RTC knowing that they were falsified.
WHEREFORE, the instant consolidated petitions are DISMISSED. The RTC of Manila, Branch 32, is
hereby ORDERED to proceed with dispatch with the hearing of Criminal Case No. 08-262163.
Petitioner Saturnino C. Ocampo shall remain on temporary liberty under the same bail granted In a Resolution12 dated 24 September 1998, the City Prosecutor found probable cause for the
by this Court until the termination of the proceedings before the RTC Manila. Petitioners Randall indictment of petitioners for four (4) counts of the crime of Introducing Falsified Documents,
B. Echanis, Rafael G. Baylosis and Vicente P. Ladlad shall remain on temporary liberty under the penalized by the second paragraph of Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code. The City Prosecutor
same bail granted by this Court until their actual participation as CPP-NDF consultants in the concluded that the documents were falsified because the alleged signatories untruthfully stated
peace negotiations with the government are concluded or terminated, or until the termination of that ISCI was the principal of the respondent; that petitioners knew that the documents were
the proceedings before the RTC Manila, whichever is sooner. falsified considering that the signatories were mere dummies; and that the documents formed
part of the record of Civil Case No. 754 where they were used by petitioners as evidence in
support of their motion to dismiss, and then adopted in their answer and in their Pre-Trial
SO ORDERED.
Brief.13 Subsequently, the corresponding Informations14 were filed with the MTCC, Bago City. The
cases were docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 6683, 6684, 6685, and 6686. Thereafter, Judge
Primitivo Blanca issued the warrants15 for the arrest of the petitioners.

On 1 October 1998, petitioners filed an Omnibus Motion to Quash, Recall Warrants of Arrest
and/or For Reinvestigation.16 Petitioners insisted that they were denied due process because of
the non-observance of the proper procedure on preliminary investigation prescribed in the Rules
of Court. Specifically, they claimed that they were not afforded the right to submit their counter-
affidavit. Then they argued that since no such counter-affidavit and supporting documents were
G.R. No. 143591 May 5, 2010
submitted by the petitioners, the trial judge merely relied on the complaint-affidavit and
attachments of the respondent in issuing the warrants of arrest, also in contravention with the
TEODORO C. BORLONGAN, JR., CORAZON M. BEJASA, ARTURO E. MANUEL, JR., ERIC L. Rules of Court. Petitioners further prayed that the information be quashed for lack of probable
LEE, P. SIERVO H. DIZON, BENJAMIN DE LEON, DELFIN C. GONZALES, JR., and BEN YU cause. Moreover, one of the accused, i.e., Ben Lim, Jr., is not even a director of Urban Bank,
LIM, JR., Petitioners, contrary to what complainant stated. Lastly, petitioners posited that the criminal cases should
vs. have been suspended on the ground that the issue being threshed out in the civil case is a
MAGDALENO M. PEA and HON. MANUEL Q. LIMSIACO, JR., as Judge Designate of the prejudicial question.
Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Bago City, Respondents.
In an Order17 dated 13 November 1998, the MTCC denied the omnibus motion primarily on the
DECISION ground that preliminary investigation was not available in the instant case which fell within the
jurisdiction of the first-level court. The court, likewise, upheld the validity of the warrant of
PEREZ, J.: arrest, saying that it was issued in accordance with the Rules of Court. Besides, the court added,
petitioners could no longer question the validity of the warrant since they already posted bail.
The pivotal issue in this case is whether or not the Court of Appeals, in its Decision 1 dated 20 The court also believed that the issue involved in the civil case was not a prejudicial question,
June 2000 in CA-G.R. SP No. 49666, is correct when it dismissed the petition for certiorari filed by and, thus, denied the prayer for suspension of the criminal proceedings. Lastly, the court was
petitioners Teodoro C. Borlongan, Jr., Corazon M. Bejasa, Arturo E. Manuel, Jr., Benjamin de Leon, convinced that the Informations contained all the facts necessary to constitute an offense.
P. Siervo H. Dizon, Delfin C. Gonzales, Jr., Eric L. Lee and Ben Yu Lim, Jr., and ruled that the
Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Bago City, did not gravely abuse its discretion in denying Petitioners immediately instituted a special civil action for Certiorari and Prohibition with Prayer
the motion for reinvestigation and recall of the warrants of arrest in Criminal Case Nos. 6683, for Writ of Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) before the Court of
6684, 6685, and 6686. Appeals, ascribing grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the
part of the MTCC in issuing and not recalling the warrants of arrest, reiterating the arguments in
The factual antecedents of the case are as follows: their omnibus motion.18 They, likewise, questioned the courts conclusion that by posting bail,
petitioners already waived their right to assail the validity of the warrants of arrest.
On 20 June 2000, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition. 19 Thus, petitioners filed the instant It bears stressing that Section 26, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure is a new
petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, raising the following issues: one, intended to modify previous rulings of this Court that an application for bail or the
admission to bail by the accused shall be considered as a waiver of his right to assail the warrant
A. issued for his arrest on the legalities or irregularities thereon. The new rule has reverted to the
ruling of this Court in People v. Red. The new rule is curative in nature because precisely, it was
designed to supply defects and curb evils in procedural rules. Hence, the rules governing
Where the offense charged in a criminal complaint is not cognizable by the Regional Trial Court
curative statutes are applicable. Curative statutes are by their essence retroactive in application.
and not covered by the Rule on Summary Procedure, is the finding of probable cause required for
Besides, procedural rules as a general rule operate retroactively, even without express
the filing of an Information in court?
provisions to that effect, to cases pending at the time of their effectivity, in other words to
actions yet undetermined at the time of their effectivity. Before the appellate court rendered its
If the allegations in the complaint-affidavit do not establish probable cause, should not the decision on January 31, 2001, the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure was already in effect. It
investigating prosecutor dismiss the complaint, or at the very least, require the respondent to behoved the appellate court to have applied the same in resolving the petitioners petition for
submit his counter-affidavit? certiorari and her motion for partial reconsideration.1avvphi1

B. Moreover, considering the conduct of the petitioner after posting her personal bail bond, it
cannot be argued that she waived her right to question the finding of probable cause and to
Can a complaint-affidavit containing matters which are not within the personal knowledge of the assail the warrant of arrest issued against her by the respondent judge. There must be clear and
complainant be sufficient basis for the finding of probable cause? convincing proof that the petitioner had an actual intention to relinquish her right to question the
existence of probable cause. When the only proof of intention rests on what a party does, his act
C. should be so manifestly consistent with, and indicative of, an intent to voluntarily and
unequivocally relinquish the particular right that no other explanation of his conduct is possible.
Where there is offense charged in a criminal complaint is not cognizable by the Regional Trial x x x.
Court and not covered by the Rule on Summary Procedure, and the record of the preliminary
investigation does not show the existence of probable cause, should not the judge refuse to Herein petitioners filed the Omnibus Motion to Quash, Recall Warrants of Arrest and/or For
issue a warrant of arrest and dismiss the criminal case, or at the very least, require the accused Reinvestigation on the same day that they posted bail. Their bail bonds likewise expressly
to submit his counter-affidavit in order to aid the judge in determining the existence of probable contained a stipulation that they were not waiving their right to question the validity of their
cause? arrest.24 On the date of their arraignment, petitioners refused to enter their plea due to the fact
that the issue on the legality of their arrest is still pending with the Court. Thus, when the court a
D. quo entered a plea of not guilty for them, there was no valid waiver of their right to preclude
them from raising the same with the Court of Appeals or this Court. The posting of bail bond was
a matter of imperative necessity to avert their incarceration; it should not be deemed as a
Can a criminal prosecution be restrained? waiver of their right to assail their arrest. The ruling to which we have returned in People v.
Red25 stated:
E.
x x x The present defendants were arrested towards the end of January, 1929, on the Island and
Can this Honorable Court itself determine the existence of probable cause?20 Province of Marinduque by order of the judge of the Court of First Instance of Lucena, Tayabas, at
a time when there were no court sessions being held in Marinduque. In view of these
On the other hand, respondent contends that the issues raised by the petitioners had already circumstances and the number of the accused, it may properly be held that the furnishing of the
become moot and academic when the latter posted bail and were already arraigned. bond was prompted by the sheer necessity of not remaining in detention, and in no way implied
their waiver of any right, such as the summary examination of the case before their detention.
On 2 August 2000, this Court issued a TRO21 enjoining the judge of the MTCC from proceeding in That they had no intention of waiving this right is clear from their motion of January 23, 1929,
any manner with Criminal Case Nos. 6683 to 6686, effective during the entire period that the the same day on which they furnished a bond, and the fact that they renewed this petition on
case is pending before, or until further orders of, this Court. February 23, 1929, praying for the stay of their arrest for lack of the summary examination; the
first motion being denied by the court on January 24, 1929 (G.R. No. 33708, page 8), and the
second remaining undecided, but with an order to have it presented in Boac, Marinduque.
We will first discuss the issue of mootness.

Therefore, the defendants herein cannot be said to have waived the right granted to them by
The issues raised by the petitioners have not been mooted by the fact that they had posted bail
section 13, General Order No. 58, as amended by Act No. 3042.
and were already arraigned.

The rest of the issues raised by the petitioners may be grouped into two, which are: (1) the
It appears from the records that upon the issuance of the warrant of arrest, petitioners
procedural aspect, i.e., whether the prosecution and the court a quo properly observed the
immediately posted bail as they wanted to avoid embarrassment, being then the officers of
required procedure in the instant case, and, (2) the substantive aspect, which is whether there
Urban Bank. On the scheduled date for the arraignment, despite the petitioners refusal to enter
was probable cause to pursue the criminal cases to trial.
a plea, the court a quo entered a plea of "Not Guilty" for them.

The procedural aspect:


The erstwhile ruling of this Court was that posting of bail constitutes a waiver of any irregularity
in the issuance of a warrant of arrest, that has already been superseded by Section 26, Rule 114
of the Revised Rule of Criminal Procedure. The principle that the accused is precluded from Petitioners contend that they were denied due process as they were unable to submit their
questioning the legality of the arrest after arraignment is true only if he voluntarily enters his counter-affidavits and were not accorded the right to a preliminary investigation. Considering
plea and participates during trial, without previously invoking his objections thereto. 22 that the complaint of Atty. Pea was filed in September 1998, the rule then applicable was the
1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure.
As held in Okabe v. Hon. Gutierrez:23
The provisions of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure relevant to the issue are Sections 1, 3(a)
and 9(a) of Rule 112, to wit:
Section 1. Definition. Preliminary investigation is an inquiry or proceeding for the purpose of The complaint of respondent, verbatim, is as follows:
determining whether there is sufficient ground to engender a well founded belief that a crime
cognizable by the Regional Trial Court has been committed and that the respondent is probably COMPLAINT AFFIDAVIT
guilty thereof, and should be held for trial.
I, MAGDALENO M. PEA, Filipino, of legal age, with address at Brgy. Ubay, Pulupandan, Negros
Sec. 3. Procedure. Except as provided for in Section 7 hereof, no complaint or information for an Occidental, after having been sworn in accordance with law hereby depose and state:
offense cognizable by the Regional Trial Court shall be filed without a preliminary investigation
having been first conducted in the following manner:
1. I am the Plaintiff in Civil Case No. 754 pending with the Regional Trial Court of Bago City
entitled "Atty. Magdaleno M. Pea v. Urban Bank, et al" Impleaded therein as defendants of the
(a) The complaint shall state the known address of the respondent and be board of the bank, namely, Teodoro Borlongan, Delfin Gonzales, Jr., Benjamin De Leon, P. Siervo
accompanied by affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses as well as other Dizon, Eric Lee, Ben Lim Jr., Corazon Bejasa and Arturo Manuel.(underlining ours)
supporting documents, in such number of copies as there are respondents, plus two
(2) copies for the official file. The said affidavits shall be sworn to before any fiscal,
2. I filed the said case to collect my fees as agent of Urban Bank, Inc.(hereinafter referred to as
state prosecutor or government official authorized to administer oath, or, in their
the "bank") in ridding a certain parcel of land in Pasay City of squatters and intruders. A certified
absence or unavailability, a notary public, who must certify that he personally
true copy of the Complaint in the said case is hereto attached as Annex "A".
examined the affiants and that he is satisfied that they voluntarily executed and
understood their affidavits.
3. In the Motion to Dismiss dated 12 March 1996 (a certified true copy of which is attached as
Annex "B"), Answer dated 28 October 1996 (Annex "C"), and Pre-Trial Brief dated 28 January
Sec. 9. Cases not falling under the original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts nor covered by
1997 (Annex "D") filed by the bank and the respondent members of the board, the said
the Rule on Summary Procedure.
respondents used as evidence the following documents:

(a) Where filed with the fiscal. If the complaint is filed directly with the fiscal or state
a. Letter dated 19 December 1994 supposedly signed by a certain Herman Ponce and Julie Abad
prosecutor, the procedure outlined in Section 3(a) of this Rule shall be observed. The
for Isabela Sugar Company (ISC) (a copy of which is attached as Annex "E"), which states:
fiscal shall take appropriate action based on the affidavits and other supporting
documents submitted by the complainant. (underscoring supplied)
December 19, 1994
Urban Bank
The crime to which petitioners were charged was defined and penalized under second paragraph
Urban Avenue, Makati
of Article 172 in relation to Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code.
Metro Manila

Art. 172. Falsification by private individual and use of falsified documents. The penalty of
Gentlemen:
prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods and a fine of not more than 5,000
pesos shall be imposed upon:
This has reference to your property located among Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City which you
purchased from Isabela Sugar Company under a Deed of Absolute Sale executed on December
1. Any private individual who shall commit any of the falsifications enumerated in the
1, 1994.
next preceding article in any public or official document or letter of exchange or any
other kind of commercial document; and
In line with our warranties as the Seller of the said property and our undertaking to deliver to
you the full and actual possession and control of said property, free from tenants, occupants or
2. Any person who, to the damage of a third party, or with the intent to cause such
squatters and from any obstruction or impediment to the free use and occupancy of the property
damage, shall in any private document commit any of the acts of falsification
and to prevent the former tenants or occupants from entering or returning to the premises. In
enumerated in the next preceding article.
view of the transfer of ownership of the property to Urban Bank, it may be necessary for Urban
Bank to appoint Atty. Pea likewise as its authorized representative for purposes of
Any person who shall knowingly introduce in evidence in any judicial proceeding or to the holding/maintaining continued possession of the said property and to represent Urban Bank in
damage of another or who, with the intent to cause such damage, shall use any of the false any court action that may be instituted for the abovementioned purposes.
documents embraced in the next preceding article or in any of the foregoing subdivisions of this
article, shall be punished by the penalty next lower in degree.
It is understood that any attorneys fees, cost of litigation and any other charges or expenses
that may be incurred relative to the exercise by Atty. Pea of his abovementioned duties shall be
Prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods translates to imprisonment of 2 years, for the account of Isabela Sugar Company and any loss or damage that may be incurred to third
4 months and 1 day.26 The next lower in degree to prision correccional is arresto mayor in its parties shall be answerable by Isabela Sugar Company.
maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period which translates to 4 months and
1 day to 2 years and 4 months27 of imprisonment. Since the crime committed is not covered by
Very truly yours,
the Rules of Summary Procedure,28 the case falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the first level
courts but applying the ordinary rules. In such instance, preliminary investigation as defined in
Section 1, Rule 112 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure is not applicable since such section Isabela Sugar Company
covers only crimes cognizable by the RTC. That which is stated in Section 9(a) is the applicable
rule. By:

Under this Rule, while probable cause should first be determined before an information may be HERMAN PONCE
filed in court, the prosecutor is not mandated to require the respondent to submit his counter- JULIE ABAD
affidavits to oppose the complaint. In the determination of probable cause, the prosecutor may
solely rely on the complaint, affidavits and other supporting documents submitted by the b. Memorandum dated 7 December 1994 supposedly executed by a certain Marilyn Ong on
complainant. If he does not find probable cause, the prosecutor may dismiss outright the behalf of ISC, a copy of which is hereto attached as annex "F", which states:
complaint or if he finds probable cause or sufficient reason to proceed with the case, he shall
issue a resolution and file the corresponding information. December 7, 1994
To: ATTY. CORA BEJASA 6. No persons by the name of Herman Ponce and Julie Abad were ever stockholders, officers,
employees or representatives of ISC. In the letter, Herman Ponce was represented to be the
From: MARILYN G. ONG President of ISC and Julie Abad, the Corporate Secretary. However, as of 19 December 1994, the
real President of plaintiff was Enrique Montilla, III and Cristina Montilla was the Corporate
Secretary. A copy of the Minutes of the Regular Meeting of ISC for the year 1994, during which
RE: ISABELA SUGAR CO., INC.
Montilla, et al. Were elected is hereto attached as Annex "I". On the otherhand, a list of the
stockholders of ISC on or about the time of the transaction is attached as Annex "J".
Atty. Magdaleno M. Pea, who has been assigned by Isabela Sugar Company inc. to take charge
of inspecting the tenants would like to request an authority similar to this from the Bank to new
7. The same holds true with respect to the Memorandum dated 7 December 1994 and athe
owners. Can you please issue something like this today as he (unreadable) this.
letter dated 9 December 1994 allegedly written by a ceratin Marilyn Ong. Nobody by the said
name was ever a stockholder of ISC.
b. Letter dated 9 December 1994 supposedly executed by the same Marilyn Ong, a copy of
which is hereto attached as Annex "G", which states:
8. Lastly, with respect to the supposed Memorandum issued by Enrique Montilla, III his signature
thereon was merely forged by respondents. Enrique Montilla III, did not affix his signature on any
December 9, 1994 such document.

Atty. Ted Borlongan 9. I am executing this affidavit for the purpose of charging Teodoro C. Borlongan, Corazon M.
URBAN BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES Bejasa and Arturo E. Manuel, Delfin C. Gonzales Jr., Benjamin L. De Leon, P. Siervo H. Dizon and
MAKATI, METRO MANILA Eric Lee, with the crime of use of falsified documents under Artilce 172, paragraph 2, of the
Revised Penal Code.(underlining ours)
Attention: Mr. Ted Borlongan
10. I am likewise executing this affidavit for whatever legal purpose it may serve.
Dear Mr. Borlongan
FURTHER AFFIANT SAYETH NAUGHT.
I would like to request for an authority from Urban Bank per attached immediately as the
tenants are questioning authority of the people who are helping us to take possession of the Sgd. MAGDALENO M. PEA
property.
It is evident that in the affidavit-complaint, specifically in paragraph 1, respondent merely
Marilyn Ong introduced and identified "the board of the bank, namely, Teodoro Borlongan, Jr., Delfin
Gonzales, Jr., Benjamin De Leon, P. Siervo Dizon, Eric Lee, Ben Lim, Jr., Corazon Bejasa and Arturo
c. Memorandum dated 20 November 1994, copy of which is attached as annex "H", which states: Manuel, Sr." However, in the accusatory portion of the complaint which is paragraph number 9,
Mr. Ben Lim, Jr. was not included among those charged with the crime of use of falsified
MEMORANDUM documents under Article 172, paragraph 2, of the Revised Penal Code. The omission indicates
that respondent did not intend to criminally implicate Mr. Ben Lim, Jr., even as he was
To: Atty. Magadaleno M. Pea acknowledged to be a member of the board. And there was no explanation in the Resolution and
Director Information by the City Prosecutor why Mr. Ben Lim, Jr. was included. Moreover, as can be
gleaned from the body of the complaint and the specific averments therein, Mr. Ben Lim, Jr. was
never mentioned.
From: Enrique C. Montilla III
President
The City Prosecutor should have cautiously reviewed the complaint to determine whether there
were inconsistencies which ought to have been brought to the attention of the respondent or, on
Date: 20 November 1994 his own, considered for due evaluation. It is a big mistake to bring a man to trial for a crime he
did not commit.
You are hereby directed to recover and take possession of the property of the corporation
situated at Roxas Boulevard covered by TCT No. 5382 of the Registry of Deeds for Pasay City, Prosecutors are endowed with ample powers in order that they may properly fulfill their assigned
immediately upon the expiration of the contract of lease over the said property on 29 November role in the administration of justice. It should be realized, however, that when a man is hailed to
1994. For this purpose, you are authorized to engage the services of security guards to protect court on a criminal charge, it brings in its wake problems not only for the accused but for his
the property against intruders. You may also engage the services of a lawyer in case there is a family as well. Therefore, it behooves a prosecutor to weigh the evidence carefully and to
need to go to court to protect the said property of the corporation. In addition, you may take deliberate thereon to determine the existence of a prima facie case before filing the information
whatever steps or measures are necessary to ensure our continued possession of the property. in court. Anything less would be a dereliction of duty.29

ENRIQUE C. MONTILLA III Atty. Pea, in his Second Manifestation30 dated 16 June 1999, averred that petitioners, including
President Mr. Ben Lim, Jr., were already estopped from raising the fact that Mr. Ben Lim, Jr. was not a
member of the board of directors of Urban Bank, as the latter participated and appeared through
4. The respondent member of the board of the bank used and introduced the aforestated counsel in Civil Case No. 754 without raising any opposition. However, this does not detract from
documents as evidence in the civil case knowing that the same are falsified. They used thae said the fact that the City Prosecutor, as previously discussed, did not carefully scrutinize the
documents to justify their refusal to pay my agents fees, to my damage and prejudice. complaint of Atty. Pea, which did not charge Mr. Ben Lim, Jr. of any crime.

5. The 19 December 1994 letter (Annex E") is a falsified document, in that the person who What tainted the procedure further was that the Judge issued a warrant for the arrest of the
supposedly executed the letter on behalf of ISC, a certain Herman Ponce and Julie Abad did not petitioners, including, Mr. Ben Lim, Jr. despite the filing of the Omnibus Motion to Quash, Recall
actually affix their signatures on the document. The execution of the letter was merely simulated Warrants of Arrest and/or For Reinvestigation raising among others the issue that Mr. Ben Lim, Jr.,
by making it appear that Ponce and Abad executed the letter on behalf of ISC when they did not was not even a member of the board of directors. With the filing of the motion, the judge is put
in fact do so.
on alert that an innocent person may have been included in the complaint. In the Order 31 dated Measured against the constitutional mandate and established rulings, there was here a clear
13 November 1998, in denying the motion to quash, Judge Primitivo Blanca ruled that: abdication of the judicial function and a clear indication that the judge blindly followed the
certification of a city prosecutor as to the existence of probable cause for the issuance of a
Courts in resolving a motion to quash cannot consider facts contrary to those alleged in the warrant of arrest with respect to all of the petitioners. The careless inclusion of Mr. Ben Lim, Jr., in
information or which do not appear on the face of the information because said motion is the warrant of arrest gives flesh to the bone of contention of petitioners that the instant case is a
hypothethical admission of the facts alleged in the information x x x. (citations omitted.) matter of persecution rather than prosecution. 37 On this ground, this Court may enjoin the
criminal cases against petitioners. As a general rule, criminal prosecutions cannot be enjoined.
However, there are recognized exceptions which, as summarized in Brocka v. Enrile,38 are:
We cannot accept as mere oversight the mistake of respondent judge since it was at the
expense of liberty. This cannot be condoned.
a. To afford adequate protection to the constitutional rights of the accused; 39
In the issuance of a warrant of arrest, the mandate of the Constitution is for the judge to
personally determine the existence of probable cause: b. When necessary for the orderly administration of justice or to avoid oppression or
multiplicity of actions; 40
Section 2, Article III of the Constitution provides:
c. When there is a prejudicial question which is sub judice;41
Section 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects
against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be d. When the acts of the officer are without or in excess of authority; 42
inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to
be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the e. Where the prosecution is under an invalid law, ordinance or regulation; 43
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be
searched and the persons or things to be seized. f. When double jeopardy is clearly apparent;44

Corollary thereto, Section 9(b) of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure provides: g. Where the court had no jurisdiction over the offense;45

Sec. 9. Cases not falling under the original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts nor covered by h. Where it is a case of persecution rather than prosecution;46
the Rule on Summary Procedure.
i. Where the charges are manifestly false and motivated by the lust for
(a) x x x. vengeance;47 and

(b) Where filed directly with the Municipal Trial Court. If the complaint or information is filed j. When there is clearly no prima facie case against the accused and a motion to quash
directly with the Municipal Trial Court, the procedure provided for in Section 3(a) of this Rule shall on that ground has been denied.48
likewise be observed. If the judge finds no sufficient ground to hold the respondent for trial, he
shall dismiss the complaint or information. Otherwise, he shall issue a warrant of arrest after
The substantive aspect:
personally examining in writing and under oath the complainant and his witnesses in the form of
searching questions and answers.
Petitioners were charged with violation of par. 2, Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code or
Introduction of Falsified Document in a judicial proceeding. The elements of the offense are as
Enshrined in our Constitution is the rule that "[n]o x x x warrant of arrest shall issue except upon
follows:
probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or
affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing x
x x the persons x x x to be seized."32 Interpreting the words "personal determination," we said in 1. That the offender knew that a document was falsified by another person.
Soliven v. Makasiar33 that it does not thereby mean that judges are obliged to conduct the
personal examination of the complainant and his witnesses themselves. To require thus would be 2. That the false document is embraced in Article 171 or in any subdivisions Nos. 1 or
to unduly laden them with preliminary examinations and investigations of criminal complaints 2 of Article 172.
instead of concentrating on hearing and deciding cases filed before them. Rather, what is
emphasized merely is the exclusive and personal responsibility of the issuing judge to satisfy 3. That he introduced said document in evidence in any judicial proceeding.49
himself as to the existence of probable cause. To this end, he may: (a) personally evaluate the
report and the supporting documents submitted by the prosecutor regarding the existence of The falsity of the document and the defendants knowledge of its falsity are essential elements
probable cause and, on the basis thereof, issue a warrant of arrest; or (b) if on the basis thereof of the offense. The Office of the City Prosecutor filed the Informations against the petitioners on
he finds no probable cause, disregard the prosecutor's report and require the submission of the basis of the Complaint-Affidavit of respondent Atty. Pea, attached to which were the
supporting affidavits of witnesses to aid him in determining its existence. What he is never documents contained in the Motion to Dismiss filed by the petitioners in Civil Case No. 754. Also
allowed to do is to follow blindly the prosecutor's bare certification as to the existence of included as attachments to the complaint were the Answers, Pre-Trial Brief, the alleged falsified
probable cause. Much more is required by the constitutional provision. Judges have to go over documents, copy of the regular meetings of ISCI during the election of the Board of Directors and
the report, the affidavits, the transcript of stenographic notes if any, and other documents the list of ISCI Stockholders.50 Based on these documents and the complaint-affidavit of Atty.
supporting the prosecutor's certification. Although the extent of the judge's personal Pea, the City Prosecutor concluded that probable cause for the prosecution of the charges
examination depends on the circumstances of each case, to be sure, he cannot just rely on the existed. On the strength of the same documents, the trial court issued the warrants of arrest.
bare certification alone but must go beyond it. This is because the warrant of arrest issues not
on the strength of the certification standing alone but because of the records which sustain
it.34 He should even call for the complainant and the witnesses to answer the court's probing This Court, however, cannot find these documents sufficient to support the existence of probable
questions when the circumstances warrant.35 cause.

An arrest without a probable cause is an unreasonable seizure of a person, and violates the Probable cause is such set of facts and circumstances as would lead a reasonably discreet and
privacy of persons which ought not to be intruded by the State.36 prudent man to believe that the offense charged in the Information or any offense included
therein has been committed by the person sought to be arrested. In determining probable cause,
the average man weighs the facts and circumstances without restoring to the calibrations of the
rules of evidence of which he has no technical knowledge. He relies on common sense. A finding would be a flagrant violation of a basic right which the courts are created to uphold. It bears
of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that, more likely than not, a crime has repeating that the judiciary lives up to its mission by visualizing and not denigrating
been committed and that it was committed by the accused. Probable cause demands more than constitutional rights. So it has been before. It should continue to be so.
suspicion; it requires less than evidence that would justify conviction. 51
On the foregoing discussion, we find that the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the findings of
As enunciated in Baltazar v. People,52 the task of the presiding judge when the Information is the prosecutor as well as the court a quo as to the existence of probable cause. The criminal
filed with the court is first and foremost to determine the existence or non-existence of probable complaint against the petitioners should be dismissed.
cause for the arrest of the accused.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 20
The purpose of the mandate of the judge to first determine probable cause for the arrest of the June 2000, in CA-G.R. SP No. 49666, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Temporary Restraining
accused is to insulate from the very start those falsely charged with crimes from the tribulations, Order dated 2 August 2000 is hereby made permanent. Accordingly, the Municipal Trial Court in
expenses and anxiety of a public trial.53 Cities, Negros Occidental, Bago City, is hereby DIRECTED to DISMISS Criminal Case Nos. 6683,
6684, 6685 and 6686.
We do not see how it can be concluded that the documents mentioned by respondent in his
complaint-affidavit were falsified. In his complaint, Atty. Pea stated that Herman Ponce, Julie SO ORDERED.
Abad and Marilyn Ong, the alleged signatories of the questioned letters, did not actually affix
their signatures therein; and that they were not actually officers or stockholders of ISCI. 54 He
further claimed that Enrique Montillas signature appearing in another memorandum addressed
to respondent was forged.55 These averments are mere assertions which are insufficient to
warrant the filing of the complaint or worse the issuance of warrants of arrest. These averments
cannot be considered as proceeding from the personal knowledge of herein respondent who
failed to, basically, allege that he was present at the time of the execution of the documents.
Neither was there any mention in the complaint-affidavit that herein respondent was familiar
with the signatures of the mentioned signatories to be able to conclude that they were forged.
What Atty. Pea actually stated were but sweeping assertions that the signatories are mere
dummies of ISCI and that they are not in fact officers, stockholders or representatives of the
corporation. Again, there is no indication that the assertion was based on the personal
knowledge of the affiant.
G.R. No. 188024 June 5, 2013
The reason for the requirement that affidavits must be based on personal knowledge is to guard
against hearsay evidence. A witness, therefore, may not testify as what he merely learned from RODRIGO RONTOS y DELA TORRE, Petitioner,
others either because he was told or read or heard the same. Such testimony is considered vs.
hearsay and may not be received as proof of the truth of what he has learned. 56 Hearsay is not PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
limited to oral testimony or statements; the general rule that excludes hearsay as evidence
applies to written, as well as oral statements.57 DECISION

The requirement of personal knowledge should have been strictly applied considering that SERENO, CJ.:
herein petitioners were not given the opportunity to rebut the complainants allegation through
counter-affidavits. This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the
Decision1 dated 28 October 2008 and Resolution2 dated 29 May 2009 of the Court of Appeals
Quite noticeable is the fact that in the letter dated 19 December 1994 of Herman Ponce and Julie (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 30412. The CA Decision affirmed the Decision3 in Criminal Case No. C-
Abad, neither of the two made the representation that they were the president or secretary of 69394 of the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City, Branch 123 (RTC) finding petitioner guilty
ISCI. It was only Atty. Pea who asserted that the two made such representation. He alleged that beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of violation of Section 11, Article II of Republic Act No.
Marilyn Ong was never a stockholder of ISCI but he did not present the stock and transfer book (R.A.) 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act).
of ISCI. And, there was neither allegation nor proof that Marilyn Ong was not connected to ISCI in
any other way.lawphil Moreover, even if Marilyn Ong was not a stockholder of ISCI, such would At 4:00 p.m. on 19 October 2003, PO2 Emil Masi (PO2 Masi) of the Caloocan North City Police
not prove that the documents she signed were falsified. Station dispatched PO1 Joven Pacis (PO1 Pacis) and PO1 Greg Labaclado (PO1 Labaclado) of the
Station Anti-Illegal Drugs Task Force to conduct surveillance in Sampaloc St., Camarin, Caloocan
The Court may not be compelled to pass upon the correctness of the exercise of the public City because of reports of illegal drug activity in the said area.4 When they got there around 5:00
prosecutors function without any showing of grave abuse of discretion or manifest error in his p.m., PO1 Pacis and PO1 Labaclado noticed petitioner standing about five meters away from
findings.58 Considering, however, that the prosecution and the court a quo committed manifest them, apparently preoccupied with scrutinizing two plastic sachets in his hand.
errors in their findings of probable cause, this Court therefore annuls their findings.
Upon coming closer, they saw that the plastic sachets appeared to contain a white crystalline
Our pronouncement in Jimenez v. Jimenez59 as reiterated in Baltazar v. People is apropos: substance similar to shabu.5 PO1 Pacis approached petitioner and confiscated the plastic
sachets. Thereafter, he introduced himself as a police officer and informed petitioner of the
It is x x x imperative upon the fiscal or the judge as the case may be, to relieve the accused from offense the latter had committed.6 The two police officers informed petitioner of his
the pain of going through a trial once it is ascertained that the evidence is insufficient to sustain constitutional rights, while he just remained silent.7 PO1 Pacis marked the plastic sachets with
a prima facie case or that no probable cause exists to form a sufficient belief as to the guilt of his initials "JCP-1" and JCP-2" and placed them in a makeshift envelope. 8
the accused. Although there is no general formula or fixed rule for the determination of probable
cause since the same must be decided in the light of the conditions obtaining in given situations They then brought petitioner to the station and turned him over to PO2 Masi together with the
and its existence depends to a large degree upon the finding or opinion of the judge conducting plastic sachets.9 PO2 Masi conducted an investigation and prepared a request for a laboratory
the examination, such a finding should not disregard the facts before the judge nor run counter examination10 of the contents of the plastic sachets.11 PO1 Pacis brought the request and the
to the clear dictates of reasons. The judge or fiscal, therefore, should not go on with the plastic sachets to the crime laboratory, and forensic chemist Police Inspector Jessie dela Rosa
prosecution in the hope that some credible evidence might later turn up during trial for this (P/Insp. dela Rosa) conducted the examination.12 The tests on the contents of the plastic sachets
yielded a positive result for methylamphetamine hydrochloride, a dangerous drug more In his arraignment before the trial court, petitioner never raised any issue and instead "freely
commonly known as shabu.13 and voluntarily pleaded Not Guilty to the offense charged." 29 Thus, he was estopped from raising
the issue of the legality of his arrest before the trial court, more so on appeal before the CA or
A Complaint14 for violation of Section 11 (possession of dangerous drugs), Article II of R.A. 9165, this Court.
was drawn up and referred15 to the city prosecutor for the filing of charges before the court.
However, on the basis of the nonobservance of the rules of procedure for handling illegal drug
On the other hand, petitioner narrated a different version of the incident. According to him, on items, we resolve to acquit petitioner on the ground of reasonable doubt.
the date and time mentioned, he was at home with his parents, sister, nephews and a visitor
named Cassandra Francisco (Cassandra) when PO1 Pacis and PO1 Labaclado suddenly barged In illegal drugs cases, the identity and integrity of the drugs seized must be established with the
in.16 The police officers searched the house, claiming that they were looking for same unwavering exactitude as that required to arrive at a finding of guilt. 30 The case against
something.17 When the search proved fruitless, they arrested petitioner and Cassandra and the accused hinges on the ability of the prosecution to prove that the illegal drug presented in
detained them at the Drug Enforcement Unit in Camarin, Caloocan City.18 Cassandra was later court is the same one that was recovered from the accused upon his arrest.
released when her uncle allegedly gave money to the police officers. 19
The procedure set forth in Section 21 of R.A. 9165 is intended precisely to ensure the identity
After trial on the merits, the RTC rendered a Decision20 dated 23 August 2006, the dispositive and integrity of dangerous drugs seized.31 This provision requires that upon seizure of illegal
portion of which states: drug items, the apprehending team having initial custody of the drugs shall (a) conduct a
physical inventory of the drugs and (b) take photographs thereof (c) in the presence of the
Wherefore, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused RODRIGO person from whom these items were seized or confiscated and (d) a representative from the
RONTOS Y DELA TORRE guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Violation of Section 11, media and the Department of Justice and any elected public official (e) who shall all be required
Article II, RA 9165 and hereby sentencing him to suffer imprisonment of TWELVE YEARS AND to sign the inventory and be given copies thereof.
ONE DAY TO THIRTEEN YEARS, NINE MONTHS AND TEN DAYS and to pay a fine of 500,000.00
without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.21 This Court has emphasized the import of Section 21 as a matter of substantive law that
mandates strict compliance.32 It was laid down by Congress as a safety precaution against
Through the testimonies of PO1 Pacis, PO1 Labaclado and P/Insp. dela Rosa, the RTC ruled that potential abuses by law enforcement agents who might fail to appreciate the gravity of the
the prosecution was able to establish the concurrence of all the elements of possession of penalties faced by those suspected to be involved in the sale, use or possession of illegal
dangerous drugs: (a) an item or object identified to be a dangerous drug was in a persons drugs.33 Under the principle that penal laws are strictly construed against the government,
possession; (b) the possession was not authorized by law; and (c) the person freely and stringent compliance therewith is fully justified.34
consciously possessed the dangerous drug. The RTC also found no evil motive on the part of the
police officers to testify falsely against petitioner. Despite the defenses of denial, frame-up and Here, the procedure was not observed at all. Where it is clear that Section 21 was not observed,
evidence-planting interposed by petitioner, the RTC held that his guilt was proven beyond as in this case, such noncompliance brings to the fore the question of whether the illegal drug
reasonable doubt. items were the same ones that were allegedly seized from petitioner.

On appeal to the CA, petitioner contended that, since his warrantless arrest was illegal, the The direct testimony of PO1 Pacis in connection with his identification of the envelope where he
allegedly confiscated items were inadmissible in evidence. He further claimed that the police placed the two plastic sachets allegedly confiscated from petitioner does not really inspire
officers failed to faithfully comply with the procedure for ensuring the identity and integrity of confidence, to wit:
the plastic sachets containing shabu.
Q: What did you do with the plastic sachet that you have confiscated from the accused?
The CA ruled22 that the question over the legality of the arrest was deemed waived by petitioner
when he voluntarily submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court by entering a plea of "Not A: After confiscating them, I marked them and placed them in an envelope in order to preserve
Guilty" and participating in the trial of the case.23 In any case, the CA explained that while the the evidence, maam.
arrest was without a warrant, it was with probable cause since petitioner was arrested in
flagrante delicto. He committed a crime in plain view of the police officers, as he was spotted in
Q: I am showing toy [sic] you this white envelope, will you please have a look at it and tell the
the act of holding and examining plastic sachets containing shabu.
Honorable Court if this is the same envelope which contained the two plastic sachets?

While the CA admitted that no photograph or inventory of the confiscated items was taken or
A: I am not sure, maam, it is not actually an envelope but an improvised envelope.35
made, it entertained no doubt that the dangerous drugs presented in court were the same ones
confiscated from petitioner. Furthermore, the failure of the police officers to observe the proper
procedure for handling confiscated dangerous drugs may only result in administrative liability on We cannot, in good conscience, affirm the conviction of petitioner for possession of illegal drugs
their part. That failure does not cast doubt on the identity and integrity of the illegal drugs. 24 if the police officer charged with the preservation of the evidence cannot even be certain in the
identification of the envelope that was presented in court. As held in Dolera v. People, 36 there
also exists in the present case a reasonable likelihood of substitution, in that the two plastic
Thus, the CA affirmed the Decision of the RTC with the modification that the fine imposed was
sachets that tested positive for shabu and were presented in court were not the items allegedly
reduced from 500,000 to 300,000.25 As the motion for reconsideration26 of petitioner was seized from petitioner.1wphi1 This possibility of substitution is fatal for the prosecution,37 for
denied,27 he now comes before us raising the same issues presented before the CA. there is then a failure to prove the identity of the corpus delicti beyond reasonable doubt. 38

OUR RULING We are not unaware of the rule that justifiable grounds may excuse noncompliance with the
requirements of Section 21 as long as the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are
We acquit petitioner on the ground of reasonable doubt. We cannot uphold the contention of properly preserved.39 The problem in this case is that the police officers presented no justifiable
petitioner that his warrantless arrest was illegal. The CA correctly ruled that his failure to reason why they neglected to observe the proper procedure. Considering that PO1 Pacis himself
question the legality of his arrest before entering his plea during arraignment operated as a expressed misgivings on the identity of the envelope shown to him in court, with the envelope
waiver of that defense. "It has been ruled time and again that an accused is estopped from that he had placed the confiscated illegal drug items in, neither can we confirm that the chain of
assailing any irregularity with regard to his arrest if he fails to raise this issue or to move for the custody had been sufficiently established.
quashal of the information against him on this ground before his arraignment."28
Corpus delicti is the "actual commission by someone of the particular crime charged." 40 In illegal Arraigned on 2 July 2003, petitioner, assisted by counsel, entered a plea of "Not guilty" to the
drug cases, it refers to the illegal drug item itself.41 When courts are given reason to entertain charge of illegal possession of dangerous drugs. Pretrial was terminated on 24 September 2003,
reservations about the identity of the illegal drug item allegedly seized from the accused, the after which, trial ensued.
actual commission of the crime charged is put into serious question. In those cases, courts have
no alternative but to acquit on the ground of reasonable doubt. During trial, Police Officer 3 (PO3) Emmanuel Alteza and a forensic chemist testified for the
prosecution. On the other hand, petitioner testified for himself and raised the defense of planting
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated 28 October 2008 in CA-G.R. CR No. 30412 of the Court of of evidence and extortion.
Appeals is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. RODRIGO RONTOS y DELA TORRE is hereby ACQUITTED of
the crime of Violation of Section 11, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 (Comprehensive In its 19 February 2009 Decision,4 the RTC convicted petitioner of illegal possession of dangerous
Dangerous Drugs Act) on the ground of reasonable doubt. drugs5 committed on 10 March 2003. It found the prosecution evidence sufficient to show that he
had been lawfully arrested for a traffic violation and then subjected to a valid search, which led
The Director of the Bureau of Corrections is hereby ORDERED to immediately RELEASE petitioner to the discovery on his person of two plastic sachets later found to contain shabu. The RTC also
from custody, unless he is detained for some other lawful cause. found his defense of frame-up and extortion to be weak, self-serving and unsubstantiated. The
dispositive portion of its Decision held:
SO ORDERED.
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered, finding accused RODEL LUZ y ONG GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt for the crime of violation of Section 11, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 and
sentencing him to suffer the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment ranging from twelve (12)
years and (1) day, as minimum, to thirteen (13) years, as maximum, and to pay a fine of Three
Hundred Thousand Pesos ( 300,000.00).

The subject shabu is hereby confiscated for turn over to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency
for its proper disposition and destruction in accordance with law.
G.R. No. 197788 February 29, 2012
SO ORDERED.6
RODEL LUZ y ONG, Petitioner,
vs. Upon review, the CA affirmed the RTCs Decision.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,1 Respondent.
On 12 September 2011, petitioner filed under Rule 45 the instant Petition for Review on
DECISION Certiorari dated 1 September 2011. In a Resolution dated 12 October 2011, this Court required
respondent to file a comment on the Petition. On 4 January 2012, the latter filed its Comment
SERENO, J.: dated 3 January 2012.

This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 seeking to set aside the Court of Appeals Petitioner raised the following grounds in support of his Petition:
(CA) Decision in CA-G.R. CR No. 32516 dated 18 February 20112 and Resolution dated 8 July
2011. (i) THE SEARCH AND SEIZURE OF THE ALLEGED SUBJECT SHABU IS INVALID.

Statement of the Facts and of the Case (ii) THE PRESUMPTION OF REGULARITY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF DUTY OF THE POLICE
OFFICER CANNOT BE RELIED UPON IN THIS CASE.
The facts, as found by the Regional Trial Court (RTC), which sustained the version of the
prosecution, are as follows: (iii) THE INTEGRITY AND EVIDENTIARY VALUE OF THE ALLEGED SUBJECT SPECIMEN
HAS BEEN COMPROMISED.
PO2 Emmanuel L. Alteza, who was then assigned at the Sub-Station 1 of the Naga City Police
Station as a traffic enforcer, substantially testified that on March 10, 2003 at around 3:00 oclock (iv) THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED-PETITIONER WAS NOT PROVEN BEYOND THE
in the morning, he saw the accused, who was coming from the direction of Panganiban Drive and REASONABLE DOUBT (sic).7
going to Diversion Road, Naga City, driving a motorcycle without a helmet; that this prompted
him to flag down the accused for violating a municipal ordinance which requires all motorcycle
Petitioner claims that there was no lawful search and seizure, because there was no lawful
drivers to wear helmet (sic) while driving said motor vehicle; that he invited the accused to
arrest. He claims that the finding that there was a lawful arrest was erroneous, since he was not
come inside their sub-station since the place where he flagged down the accused is almost in
even issued a citation ticket or charged with violation of the city ordinance. Even assuming there
front of the said sub-station; that while he and SPO1 Rayford Brillante were issuing a citation
was a valid arrest, he claims that he had never consented to the search conducted upon him.
ticket for violation of municipal ordinance, he noticed that the accused was uneasy and kept on
getting something from his jacket; that he was alerted and so, he told the accused to take out
the contents of the pocket of his jacket as the latter may have a weapon inside it; that the On the other hand, finding that petitioner had been lawfully arrested, the RTC held thus:
accused obliged and slowly put out the contents of the pocket of his jacket which was a nickel-
like tin or metal container about two (2) to three (3) inches in size, including two (2) cellphones, It is beyond dispute that the accused was flagged down and apprehended in this case by Police
one (1) pair of scissors and one (1) Swiss knife; that upon seeing the said container, he asked Officers Alteza and Brillante for violation of City Ordinance No. 98-012, an ordinance requiring
the accused to open it; that after the accused opened the container, he noticed a cartoon cover the use of crash helmet by motorcycle drivers and riders thereon in the City of Naga and
and something beneath it; and that upon his instruction, the accused spilled out the contents of prescribing penalties for violation thereof. The accused himself admitted that he was not wearing
the container on the table which turned out to be four (4) plastic sachets, the two (2) of which a helmet at the time when he was flagged down by the said police officers, albeit he had a
were empty while the other two (2) contained suspected shabu.3 helmet in his possession. Obviously, there is legal basis on the part of the apprehending officers
to flag down and arrest the accused because the latter was actually committing a crime in their
presence, that is, a violation of City Ordinance No. 98-012. In other words, the accused, being
caught in flagrante delicto violating the said Ordinance, he could therefore be lawfully stopped States, it is a crime either to ignore a policemans signal to stop ones car or, once having
or arrested by the apprehending officers. x x x.8 stopped, to drive away without permission. x x x

We find the Petition to be impressed with merit, but not for the particular reasons alleged. In However, we decline to accord talismanic power to the phrase in the Miranda opinion
criminal cases, an appeal throws the entire case wide open for review and the reviewing tribunal emphasized by respondent. Fidelity to the doctrine announced in Miranda requires that it be
can correct errors, though unassigned in the appealed judgment, or even reverse the trial courts enforced strictly, but only in those types of situations in which the concerns that powered the
decision based on grounds other than those that the parties raised as errors. 9 decision are implicated. Thus, we must decide whether a traffic stop exerts upon a detained
person pressures that sufficiently impair his free exercise of his privilege against self-
First, there was no valid arrest of petitioner. When he was flagged down for committing a traffic incrimination to require that he be warned of his constitutional rights.
violation, he was not, ipso facto and solely for this reason, arrested.
Two features of an ordinary traffic stop mitigate the danger that a person questioned will be
Arrest is the taking of a person into custody in order that he or she may be bound to answer for induced "to speak where he would not otherwise do so freely," Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U. S., at
the commission of an offense.10 It is effected by an actual restraint of the person to be arrested 467. First, detention of a motorist pursuant to a traffic stop is presumptively temporary and brief.
or by that persons voluntary submission to the custody of the one making the arrest. Neither The vast majority of roadside detentions last only a few minutes. A motorists expectations,
the application of actual force, manual touching of the body, or physical restraint, nor a formal when he sees a policemans light flashing behind him, are that he will be obliged to spend a
declaration of arrest, is required. It is enough that there be an intention on the part of one of the short period of time answering questions and waiting while the officer checks his license and
parties to arrest the other, and that there be an intent on the part of the other to submit, under registration, that he may then be given a citation, but that in the end he most likely will be
the belief and impression that submission is necessary.11 allowed to continue on his way. In this respect, questioning incident to an ordinary traffic stop is
quite different from stationhouse interrogation, which frequently is prolonged, and in which the
detainee often is aware that questioning will continue until he provides his interrogators the
Under R.A. 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, the general procedure for dealing
answers they seek. See id., at 451.
with a traffic violation is not the arrest of the offender, but the confiscation of the drivers license
of the latter:
Second, circumstances associated with the typical traffic stop are not such that the motorist
feels completely at the mercy of the police. To be sure, the aura of authority surrounding an
SECTION 29. Confiscation of Driver's License. Law enforcement and peace officers of other
armed, uniformed officer and the knowledge that the officer has some discretion in deciding
agencies duly deputized by the Director shall, in apprehending a driver for any violation of this
whether to issue a citation, in combination, exert some pressure on the detainee to respond to
Act or any regulations issued pursuant thereto, or of local traffic rules and regulations not
questions. But other aspects of the situation substantially offset these forces. Perhaps most
contrary to any provisions of this Act, confiscate the license of the driver concerned and issue a
importantly, the typical traffic stop is public, at least to some degree. x x x
receipt prescribed and issued by the Bureau therefor which shall authorize the driver to operate
a motor vehicle for a period not exceeding seventy-two hours from the time and date of issue of
said receipt. The period so fixed in the receipt shall not be extended, and shall become invalid In both of these respects, the usual traffic stop is more analogous to a so-called "Terry stop," see
thereafter. Failure of the driver to settle his case within fifteen days from the date of Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. 1 (1968), than to a formal arrest. x x x The comparatively nonthreatening
apprehension will be a ground for the suspension and/or revocation of his license. character of detentions of this sort explains the absence of any suggestion in our opinions that
Terry stops are subject to the dictates of Miranda. The similarly noncoercive aspect of ordinary
traffic stops prompts us to hold that persons temporarily detained pursuant to such stops are not
Similarly, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Operations Manual12 provides the following
"in custody" for the purposes of Miranda.
procedure for flagging down vehicles during the conduct of checkpoints:

xxx xxx xxx


SECTION 7. Procedure in Flagging Down or Accosting Vehicles While in Mobile Car. This rule is a
general concept and will not apply in hot pursuit operations. The mobile car crew shall undertake
the following, when applicable: x x x We are confident that the state of affairs projected by respondent will not come to pass. It is
settled that the safeguards prescribed by Miranda become applicable as soon as a suspects
freedom of action is curtailed to a "degree associated with formal arrest." California v. Beheler,
m. If it concerns traffic violations, immediately issue a Traffic Citation Ticket (TCT) or Traffic
463 U. S. 1121, 1125 (1983) (per curiam). If a motorist who has been detained pursuant to a
Violation Report (TVR). Never indulge in prolonged, unnecessary conversation or argument with
traffic stop thereafter is subjected to treatment that renders him "in custody" for practical
the driver or any of the vehicles occupants;
purposes, he will be entitled to the full panoply of protections prescribed by Miranda. See Oregon
v. Mathiason, 429 U. S. 492, 495 (1977) (per curiam). (Emphasis supplied.)
At the time that he was waiting for PO3 Alteza to write his citation ticket, petitioner could not be
said to have been "under arrest." There was no intention on the part of PO3 Alteza to arrest him,
The U.S. Court in Berkemer thus ruled that, since the motorist therein was only subjected to
deprive him of his liberty, or take him into custody. Prior to the issuance of the ticket, the period
modest questions while still at the scene of the traffic stop, he was not at that moment placed
during which petitioner was at the police station may be characterized merely as waiting time. In
under custody (such that he should have been apprised of his Miranda rights), and neither can
fact, as found by the trial court, PO3 Alteza himself testified that the only reason they went to
treatment of this sort be fairly characterized as the functional equivalent of a formal arrest.
the police sub-station was that petitioner had been flagged down "almost in front" of that place.
Similarly, neither can petitioner here be considered "under arrest" at the time that his traffic
Hence, it was only for the sake of convenience that they were waiting there. There was no
citation was being made.
intention to take petitioner into custody.

It also appears that, according to City Ordinance No. 98-012, which was violated by petitioner,
In Berkemer v. McCarty,13 the United States (U.S.) Supreme Court discussed at length whether
the failure to wear a crash helmet while riding a motorcycle is penalized by a fine only. Under the
the roadside questioning of a motorist detained pursuant to a routine traffic stop should be
Rules of Court, a warrant of arrest need not be issued if the information or charge was filed for
considered custodial interrogation. The Court held that, such questioning does not fall under
an offense penalized by a fine only. It may be stated as a corollary that neither can a warrantless
custodial interrogation, nor can it be considered a formal arrest, by virtue of the nature of the
arrest be made for such an offense.
questioning, the expectations of the motorist and the officer, and the length of time the
procedure is conducted. It ruled as follows:
This ruling does not imply that there can be no arrest for a traffic violation. Certainly, when there
is an intent on the part of the police officer to deprive the motorist of liberty, or to take the latter
It must be acknowledged at the outset that a traffic stop significantly curtails the "freedom of
into custody, the former may be deemed to have arrested the motorist. In this case, however,
action" of the driver and the passengers, if any, of the detained vehicle. Under the law of most
the officers issuance (or intent to issue) a traffic citation ticket negates the possibility of an
arrest for the same violation.
Even if one were to work under the assumption that petitioner was deemed "arrested" upon Neither does the search qualify under the "stop and frisk" rule. While the rule normally applies
being flagged down for a traffic violation and while awaiting the issuance of his ticket, then the when a police officer observes suspicious or unusual conduct, which may lead him to believe
requirements for a valid arrest were not complied with. that a criminal act may be afoot, the stop and frisk is merely a limited protective search of outer
clothing for weapons.20
This Court has held that at the time a person is arrested, it shall be the duty of the arresting
officer to inform the latter of the reason for the arrest and must show that person the warrant of In Knowles v. Iowa,21 the U.S. Supreme Court held that when a police officer stops a person for
arrest, if any. Persons shall be informed of their constitutional rights to remain silent and to speeding and correspondingly issues a citation instead of arresting the latter, this procedure
counsel, and that any statement they might make could be used against them. 14 It may also be does not authorize the officer to conduct a full search of the car. The Court therein held that
noted that in this case, these constitutional requirements were complied with by the police there was no justification for a full-blown search when the officer does not arrest the motorist.
officers only after petitioner had been arrested for illegal possession of dangerous drugs. Instead, police officers may only conduct minimal intrusions, such as ordering the motorist to
alight from the car or doing a patdown:
In Berkemer, the U.S. Court also noted that the Miranda warnings must also be given to a person
apprehended due to a traffic violation: In Robinson, supra, we noted the two historical rationales for the "search incident to arrest"
exception: (1) the need to disarm the suspect in order to take him into custody, and (2) the need
The purposes of the safeguards prescribed by Miranda are to ensure that the police do not to preserve evidence for later use at trial. x x x But neither of these underlying rationales for the
coerce or trick captive suspects into confessing, to relieve the "inherently compelling pressures" search incident to arrest exception is sufficient to justify the search in the present case.
"generated by the custodial setting itself," "which work to undermine the individuals will to
resist," and as much as possible to free courts from the task of scrutinizing individual cases to We have recognized that the first rationaleofficer safetyis "both legitimate and weighty," x
try to determine, after the fact, whether particular confessions were voluntary. Those purposes x x The threat to officer safety from issuing a traffic citation, however, is a good deal less than in
are implicated as much by in-custody questioning of persons suspected of misdemeanors as the case of a custodial arrest. In Robinson, we stated that a custodial arrest involves "danger to
they are by questioning of persons suspected of felonies. an officer" because of "the extended exposure which follows the taking of a suspect into custody
and transporting him to the police station." 414 U. S., at 234-235. We recognized that "[t]he
If it were true that petitioner was already deemed "arrested" when he was flagged down for a danger to the police officer flows from the fact of the arrest, and its attendant proximity, stress,
traffic violation and while he waiting for his ticket, then there would have been no need for him and uncertainty, and not from the grounds for arrest." Id., at 234, n. 5. A routine traffic stop, on
to be arrested for a second timeafter the police officers allegedly discovered the drugsas he the other hand, is a relatively brief encounter and "is more analogous to a so-called Terry
was already in their custody. stop . . . than to a formal arrest." Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U. S. 420, 439 (1984). See also
Cupp v. Murphy, 412 U. S. 291, 296 (1973) ("Where there is no formal arrest . . . a person might
well be less hostile to the police and less likely to take conspicuous, immediate steps to destroy
Second, there being no valid arrest, the warrantless search that resulted from it was likewise
incriminating evidence").
illegal.

This is not to say that the concern for officer safety is absent in the case of a routine traffic
The following are the instances when a warrantless search is allowed: (i) a warrantless search
stop.1wphi1 It plainly is not. See Mimms, supra, at 110; Wilson, supra, at 413-414. But while
incidental to a lawful arrest; (ii) search of evidence in "plain view;" (iii) search of a moving
the concern for officer safety in this context may justify the "minimal" additional intrusion of
vehicle; (iv) consented warrantless search; (v) customs search; (vi) a "stop and frisk" search; and
ordering a driver and passengers out of the car, it does not by itself justify the often
(vii) exigent and emergency circumstances.15 None of the above-mentioned instances, especially
considerably greater intrusion attending a full fieldtype search. Even without the search
a search incident to a lawful arrest, are applicable to this case.
authority Iowa urges, officers have other, independent bases to search for weapons and protect
themselves from danger. For example, they may order out of a vehicle both the driver, Mimms,
It must be noted that the evidence seized, although alleged to be inadvertently discovered, was supra, at 111, and any passengers, Wilson, supra, at 414; perform a "patdown" of a driver and
not in "plain view." It was actually concealed inside a metal container inside petitioners pocket. any passengers upon reasonable suspicion that they may be armed and dangerous, Terry v.
Clearly, the evidence was not immediately apparent.16 Ohio, 392 U. S. 1 (1968); conduct a "Terry patdown" of the passenger compartment of a vehicle
upon reasonable suspicion that an occupant is dangerous and may gain immediate control of a
Neither was there a consented warrantless search. Consent to a search is not to be lightly weapon, Michigan v. Long, 463 U. S. 1032, 1049 (1983); and even conduct a full search of the
inferred, but shown by clear and convincing evidence. 17 It must be voluntary in order to validate passenger compartment, including any containers therein, pursuant to a custodial arrest, New
an otherwise illegal search; that is, the consent must be unequivocal, specific, intelligently given York v. Belton, 453 U. S. 454, 460 (1981).
and uncontaminated by any duress or coercion. While the prosecution claims that petitioner
acceded to the instruction of PO3 Alteza, this alleged accession does not suffice to prove valid Nor has Iowa shown the second justification for the authority to search incident to arrestthe
and intelligent consent. In fact, the RTC found that petitioner was merely "told" to take out the need to discover and preserve evidence. Once Knowles was stopped for speeding and issued a
contents of his pocket.18 citation, all the evidence necessary to prosecute that offense had been obtained. No further
evidence of excessive speed was going to be found either on the person of the offender or in the
Whether consent to the search was in fact voluntary is a question of fact to be determined from passenger compartment of the car. (Emphasis supplied.)
the totality of all the circumstances. Relevant to this determination are the following
characteristics of the person giving consent and the environment in which consent is given: (1) The foregoing considered, petitioner must be acquitted. While he may have failed to object to
the age of the defendant; (2) whether the defendant was in a public or a secluded location; (3) the illegality of his arrest at the earliest opportunity, a waiver of an illegal warrantless arrest
whether the defendant objected to the search or passively looked on; (4) the education and does not, however, mean a waiver of the inadmissibility of evidence seized during the illegal
intelligence of the defendant; (5) the presence of coercive police procedures; (6) the defendants warrantless arrest.22
belief that no incriminating evidence would be found; (7) the nature of the police questioning;
(8) the environment in which the questioning took place; and (9) the possibly vulnerable
The Constitution guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers
subjective state of the person consenting. It is the State that has the burden of proving, by clear
and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.23 Any evidence obtained in violation of
and positive testimony, that the necessary consent was obtained, and was freely and voluntarily
said right shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding. While the power to search
given.19 In this case, all that was alleged was that petitioner was alone at the police station at
and seize may at times be necessary to the public welfare, still it must be exercised and the law
three in the morning, accompanied by several police officers. These circumstances weigh heavily
implemented without contravening the constitutional rights of citizens, for the enforcement of no
against a finding of valid consent to a warrantless search.
statute is of sufficient importance to justify indifference to the basic principles of government. 24
The subject items seized during the illegal arrest are inadmissible. 25 The drugs are the very No. 98-164174 in the RTC of Manila, Branch 41.8 On arraignment, the appellant pleaded not
corpus delicti of the crime of illegal possession of dangerous drugs. Thus, their inadmissibility guilty to both charges.9 The pre-trial conference of the cases was held on July 27, 1998, but the
precludes conviction and calls for the acquittal of the accused. 26 same was terminated without the parties entering into any stipulation of facts.10

WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The 18 February 2011 Decision of the Court of Appeals in During the trial of the cases, the prosecution presented the testimonies of the following
CA-G.R. CR No. 32516 affirming the judgment of conviction dated 19 February 2009 of the witnesses: (1) Police Inspector (P/Insp.) Jean Fajardo, 11 (2) P/Insp. Marilyn Dequito,12 and (3)
Regional Trial Court, 5th Judicial Region, Naga City, Branch 21, in Criminal Case No. RTC 2003- Police Officer (PO) 2 Christian Trambulo.13 Thereafter, the defense presented in court the
0087, is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner Rodel Luz y Ong is hereby ACQUITTED and testimonies of: (1) the appellant Donald Vasquez y Sandigan,14 (2) Angelina Arejado,15 and (3)
ordered immediately released from detention, unless his continued confinement is warranted by Anatolia Caredo.16
some other cause or ground.
The Prosecutions Case
SO ORDERED.
The prosecutions version of the events was primarily drawn from the testimonies of P/Insp.
Fajardo and PO2 Trambulo.

P/Insp. Fajardo testified that in the morning of April 1, 1998, a confidential informant went to
their office and reported that a certain Donald Vasquez was engaged in illegal drug activity. This
alias Don supposedly claimed that he was an employee of the National Bureau of Investigation
(NBI). According to the informant, alias Don promised him a good commission if he (the
informant) would present a potential buyer of drugs. P/Insp. Fajardo relayed the information to
G.R. No. 200304, January 15, 2014 Police Superintendent (P/Supt.) Pepito Domantay, the commanding officer of their office. P/Insp.
Fajardo was then instructed to form a team and conduct a possible buy-bust against alias Don.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. DONALD VASQUEZ y SANDIGAN @ She formed a team on the same day, which consisted of herself, PO2 Trambulo, PO1 Agravante,
"DON,"Accused-Appellant, PO1 Pedrosa, PO1 Sisteno, and PO1 De la Rosa. P/Insp. Fajardo was the team leader. With the
help of the informant, she was able to set up a meeting with alias Don. The meeting was to be
DECISION held at around 9:00 p.m. on that day at Cindys Restaurant located in Welcome Rotonda. She
was only supposed to meet alias Don that night but she decided to bring the team along for
security reasons.17
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:

At about 9:00 p.m. on even date, P/Insp. Fajardo and her team went to the meeting place with
The case before this Court is an appeal from the Decision1 dated May 31, 2011 of the Court of
the informant. The members of her team positioned themselves strategically inside the
Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 04201. Said decision affirmed with modification the Joint
restaurant. The informant introduced P/Insp. Fajardo to alias Don as the buyer of shabu. She
Decision2 dated August 6 2009 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 41, in Criminal
asked alias Don if he was indeed an employee of the NBI and he replied in the affirmative. They
Case Nos. 98-164174 and 98-164175, which convicted the appellant Donald Vasquez y Sandigan
agreed to close the deal wherein she would buy 250 grams of shabu for P250,000.00. They also
of the crimes of illegal sale and illegal possession of regulated drugs under Sections 15 and 16
agreed to meet the following day at Cindys Restaurant around 10:00 to 11:00 p.m.18
Article III of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of
1972.
In the evening of April 2, 1998, P/Insp. Fajardo and her team went back to Cindys Restaurant.
Alias Don was already waiting for her outside the establishment when she arrived. He asked for
Criminal Case No. 98-164174 stemmed from a charge of violation of Section 15 Article III of
the money and she replied that she had the money with her. She brought five genuine P500.00
Republic Act No. 6425, as amended,3 which was allegedly committed as follows:
bills, which were inserted on top of five bundles of play money to make it appear that she
had P250,000.00 with her. After she showed the money to alias Don, he suggested that they go
That on or about April 3, 1998 in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused not having to a more secure place. They agreed for the sale to take place at around 1:30 to 2:00 a.m. on
been authorized by law to sell, dispense, deliver, transport or distribute any regulated drug, did April 3, 1998 in front of alias Dons apartment at 765 Valdez St., Sampaloc, Manila. The team
then and there [willfully], unlawfully and knowingly sell or offer for sale, dispense, deliver, proceeded to the Western Police District (WPD) Station along U.N. Avenue for coordination.
transport or distribute 45.46 grams, 44.27 grams, 45.34 grams, 51.45 grams, 41.32 grams and Afterwards, the team held their final briefing before they proceeded to the target area. They
20.14 grams or with a total weight of TWO HUNDRED FORTY-SEVEN POINT NINETY-EIGHT agreed that the pre-arranged signal was for P/Insp. Fajardo to scratch her hair, which would
(247.98) grams contained in six (6) transparent plastic sachets of white crystalline substance signify that the deal had been consummated and the rest of the team would rush up to the
known as "Shabu" containing methamphetamine hydrochloride, which is a regulated drug. 4 scene. The team then travelled to the address given by alias Don. 19

Criminal Case No. 98-164175, on the other hand, arose from an alleged violation of Section 16, When the team arrived at the target area around 1:15 a.m. on April 3, 1998, the two vehicles
Article III of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended,5 which was said to be committed in this they used were parked along the corner of the street. P/Insp. Fajardo and the informant walked
manner: towards the apartment of alias Don and stood in front of the apartment gate. Around 1:45 a.m.,
alias Don came out of the apartment with a male companion. Alias Don demanded to see the
That on or about April 3, 1998 in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused without being money, but P/Insp. Fajardo told him that she wanted to see the drugs first. Alias Don gave her
authorized by law to possess or use any regulated drug, did then and there [willfully], unlawfully the big brown envelope he was carrying and she checked the contents thereof. Inside she found
and knowingly have in his possession and under his custody and control 1.61 grams, 0.58 a plastic sachet, about 10x8 inches in size, which contained white crystalline substance. After
grams, 0.29 grams, 0.09 [grams], 0.10 grams, 0.17 grams, 0.21 grams, 0.24 grams, 0.12 grams, checking the contents of the envelope, she assumed that the same was indeed shabu. She then
0.06 grams, 0.04 grams, [0].51 grams or all with a total weight of four point zero three grams of gave the buy-bust money to alias Don and scratched her hair to signal the rest of the team to
white crystalline substance contained in twelve (12) transparent plastic sachets known as rush to the scene. P/Insp. Fajardo identified herself as a narcotics agent. The two suspects tried
"SHABU" containing methamphetamine hydrochloride, a regulated drug, without the to flee but PO2 Trambulo was able to stop them from doing so. P/Insp. Fajardo took custody of
corresponding license or prescription thereof.6 the shabu. When she asked alias Don if the latter had authority to possess or sell shabu, he
replied in the negative. P/Insp. Fajardo put her initials "JSF" on the genuine P500.00 bills below
Initially, Criminal Case No. 98-164175 was raffled to the RTC of Manila, Branch 23. Upon the name of Benigno Aquino. After the arrest of the two suspects, the buy-bust team brought
motion7 of the appellant, however, said case was allowed to be consolidated with Criminal Case
them to the police station. The suspects rights were read to them and they were subsequently inside alias Dons waist. PO2 Trambulo marked each of the 12 sachets with his initials "CVT" and
booked.20 the date. The police officers then informed the suspects of their rights and they proceeded to the
police headquarters in Fort Bonifacio.24
P/Insp. Fajardo said that she found out that alias Don was in fact the appellant Donald Vasquez.
She learned of his name when he brought out his NBI ID while he was being booked. P/Insp. As regards the brown envelope that alias Don handed to P/Insp. Fajardo, the latter retained
Fajardo also learned that the name of the appellants companion was Reynaldo Siscar, who was possession thereof. The envelope contained six pieces of plastic bags of white crystalline
also arrested and brought to the police station. P/Insp. Fajardo explained that after she gave the substance. When they got back to their office, the team reported the progress of their operation
buy-bust money to the appellant, the latter handed the same to Siscar who was present the to P/Supt. Domantay. The arrested suspects were booked and the required documentations were
entire time the sale was being consummated. Upon receiving the buy-bust money placed inside prepared. Among such documents was the Request for Laboratory Examination of the drug
a green plastic bag, Siscar looked at the contents thereof and uttered "okey na to." P/Insp. specimens seized. PO2 Trambulo said that he was the one who brought the said request to the
Fajardo marked the drug specimen and brought the same to the Crime Laboratory. She was PNP Crime Laboratory, along with the drug specimens.25
accompanied there by PO2 Trambulo and PO1 Agravante. She handed over the drug specimen to
PO1 Agravante who then turned it over to P/Insp. Taduran, the forensic chemist on duty. The P/Insp. Marilyn Dequito, the forensic chemist, testified on the results of her examination of the
police officers previously weighed the drug specimen. Thereafter, the personnel at the crime drug specimens seized in this case. She explained that P/Insp. Macario Taduran, Jr. initially
laboratory weighed the specimen again. P/Insp. Fajardo and her team waited for the results of examined the drug specimens but the latter was already assigned to another office. The results
the laboratory examination.21 of the examination of P/Insp. Taduran were laid down in Physical Science Report No. D-1071-98.
P/Insp. Dequito first studied the data contained in Physical Science Report No. D-1071-98 and
P/Insp. Fajardo further testified that the six plastic bags of shabu seized during the buy-bust retrieved the same from their office. She entered that fact in their logbook RD-17-98. She then
operation were actually contained in a self-sealing plastic envelope placed inside a brown weighed the drug specimens and examined the white crystalline substance from each of the
envelope. When the brown envelope was confiscated from the appellant, she put her initials plastic sachets. She examined first the specimens marked as "A-1," "A-2," "A-3," "A-4," "A-5" and
"JSF" therein and signed it. She noticed that there were markings on the envelope that read "DD- "A-6." P/Insp. Dequitos examination revealed that the white crystalline substances were positive
93-1303 re Antonio Roxas y Sunga" but she did not bother to check out what they were for or for methamphetamine hydrochloride.26 She also examined the contents of 12 heat-sealed
who made them. When she interrogated the appellant about the brown envelope, she found out transparent plastic sachets that also contained crystalline substances. The 12 plastic sachets
that the same was submitted as evidence to the NBI Crime Laboratory. She also learned that the were marked "B-1" to "B-12." The white crystalline powder inside the 12 plastic sachets also
appellant worked as a Laboratory Aide at the NBI Crime Laboratory. She identified in court the tested positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride. P/Insp. Dequitos findings were contained in
six plastic sachets of drugs that her team recovered, which sachets she also initialed and signed. Physical Science Report No. RD-17-98.27
P/Insp. Fajardo also stated that after the appellant was arrested, PO2 Trambulo conducted a body
search on the two suspects. The search yielded 12 more plastic sachets of drugs from the The prosecution, thereafter, adduced the following object and documentary evidence: (1)
appellant. The 12 sachets were varied in sizes and were contained in a white envelope. P/Insp. photocopies of the five original P500.00 bills28 used as buy-bust money (Exhibits A-E); (2)
Fajardo placed her initials and signature on the envelope. As to the 12 sachets, the same were Request for Laboratory Examination29 dated April 3, 1998 (Exhibit F); (3) Initial Laboratory
initialed by P/Insp. Fajardo and signed by PO2 Trambulo.22 Report30 dated April 3, 1998, stating that the specimen submitted for examination tested
positive for methylamphetamine hydrochloride (Exhibit G); (4) Court Order31 dated September 2,
The testimony of PO2 Trambulo corroborated that of P/Insp. Fajardos. PO2 Trambulo testified 1998 (Exhibit H); (5) Physical Sciences Report No. D-1071-9832 dated April 3, 1998 (Exhibit I); (6)
that in the morning of April 1, 1998, a confidential informant reported to them about the illegal Drug specimens A-1 to A-6 (Exhibits J-O); (7) Big brown envelope (Exhibit P); (8) Small white
drug activities of alias Don. P/Supt. Domantay then tasked P/Insp. Fajardo to form a buy-bust envelope (Exhibit Q); (9) Drug specimens B-1 to B-12 (Exhibits R-CC); (10) Physical Sciences
team. P/Insp. Fajardo was able to set up a meeting with alias Don at Cindys Restaurant in Report No. RD-17-9833 (Exhibit DD); (11) Joint Affidavit of Arrest34 (Exhibit EE); (12) Play money
Welcome Rotonda, Quezon City. At that meeting, PO2 Trambulo saw P/Insp. Fajardo talk to alias (Exhibit FF); (13) Booking Sheet and Arrest Report35 (Exhibit GG); (14) Request for Medical
Don. P/Insp. Fajardo later told the members of the team that she convinced alias Don that she Examination36 (Exhibit HH); (15) Medico Legal Slip37 of Donald Vasquez (Exhibit II); and (16)
was a good buyer of shabu and the latter demanded a second meeting to see the money. After Medico Legal Slip38 of Reynaldo Siscar (Exhibit JJ).
the initial meeting, P/Insp. Fajardo briefed P/Supt. Domantay about what happened. PO2
Trambulo stated that on April 2, 1998, P/Insp. Fajardo was furnished with five genuine P500.00 The Defenses Case
bills together with the boodle play money. P/Insp. Fajardo placed her initials in the genuine bills
below the name "Benigno Aquino, Jr." Afterwards, the team left the office. When they arrived at
As expected, the defense belied the prosecutions version of events. The appellants
Cindys Restaurant past 10:00 p.m., alias Don was waiting outside. P/Insp. Fajardo showed the
brief39 before the Court of Appeals provides a concise summary of the defenses counter-
boodle money to alias Don and after some time, they parted ways. P/Insp. Fajardo later told the
statement of facts. According to the defense:
team that alias Don decided that the drug deal would take place in front of alias Dons rented
apartment on Valdez St., Sampaloc, Manila. After an hour, the team went to Valdez St. to
familiarize themselves with the area. They then proceeded to the WPD station to coordinate Donald Vasquez was a regular employee of the NBI, working as a Laboratory Aide II at the NBI
their operation. Thereafter, P/Insp. Fajardo conducted a final briefing wherein PO2 Trambulo was Forensics Chemistry Division. His duties at the time included being a subpoena clerk, receiving
designated as the immediate back-up arresting officer. The agreed pre-arranged signal was for chemistry cases as well as requests from different police agencies to have their specimens
P/Insp. Fajardo to scratch her hair to indicate the consummation of the deal. PO2 Trambulo was examined by the chemist. He also rendered day and night duties, and during regular office hours
to signal the same to the other members of the team.23 and in the absence of the laboratory technician, he would weigh the specimens. As subpoena
clerk, he would receive subpoenas from the trial courts. When there is no chemist, he would get
a Special Order to testify, or bring the drug specimens, to the courts.
The buy-bust team went to the target area at around 1:30 to 2:00 a.m. on April 3, 1998. P/Insp.
Fajardo and the informant walked towards the direction of alias Dons apartment, while PO2
Trambulo positioned himself near a parked jeepney about 15 to 20 meters from the apartment On 1 April 1998, Donald Vasquez took his examination in Managerial Statistics between 6:00 to
gate. The rest of the team parked their vehicles at the street perpendicular to Valdez St. Later, 9:00 o?clock p.m. Thereafter, he took a jeepney and alighted at Stop and Shop at Quiapo. From
alias Don went out of the gate with another person. PO2 Trambulo saw alias Don gesturing to there, he took a tricycle to his house, arriving at 9:45 o?clock that evening, where he saw
P/Insp. Fajardo as if asking for something but P/Insp. Fajardo gestured that she wanted to see Reynaldo Siscar and Sonny San Diego, the latter a confidential informant of the narcotics agents.
something first. Alias Don handed P/Insp. Fajardo a big brown envelope, which the latter opened.
P/Insp. Fajardo then handed to alias Don a green plastic bag containing the buy-bust money and On 3 April 1998, at 1:45 o?clock in the morning, Donalds household help, Anatolia Caredo, who
gave the pre-arranged signal. When PO2 Trambulo saw this, he immediately summoned the rest had just arrived from Antipolo that time, was eating while Donald was asleep. She heard a knock
of the team and rushed to the suspects. He was able to recover the buy-bust money from alias on the door. Reynaldo Siscar opened the door and thereafter two (2) men entered, poking guns
Dons male companion. Upon frisking alias Don, PO2 Trambulo retrieved 12 pieces of plastic at Reynaldo. They were followed by three (3) others. The door to Donalds room was kicked down
sachets of suspected drugs. The same were placed inside a white envelope that was tucked and they entered his room. Donald, hearing noise, woke up to see P./Insp. Fajardo pointing a gun
at him. He saw that there were six (6) policemen searching his room, picking up what they could The subject shabu (247.98 grams and 4.03 grams, respectively) are hereby forfeited in favor of
get. One of them opened a cabinet and got drug specimens in [Donalds] possession in relation the government and the Branch Clerk of Court is hereby directed to deliver and/or cause the
to his work as a laboratory aide. The drugs came from two (2) cases and marked as DD-93-1303 delivery of the said shabu to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), upon the finality of
owned by Antonio Roxas, and DD-96-5392 owned by SPO4 Emiliano Anonas. The drug specimen this Decision.48
contained in the envelope marked as DD-93-1303 was intended for presentation on 3 April 1998.
Aside from the drug specimens, the policemen also took his jewelry, a VHS player, and his wallet The Judgment of the Court of Appeals
containing P2,530.00.
On appeal,49 the Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction of the appellant. The appellate court
Angelina Arejado, Donalds neighbor, witnessed the policemen entering the apartment and ruled that the prosecution sufficiently proved the elements of the crimes of illegal sale and
apprehending Donald and Reynaldo from the apartment terrace.40 (Citations omitted.) illegal possession of shabu. The testimony of P/Insp. Fajardo on the conduct of the buy-bust
operation was found to be clear and categorical. As the appellant failed to adduce any evidence
The defense then offered the following evidence: (1) NBI Disposition Form 41 dated April 3, 1998 that tended to prove any ill motive on the part of the police officers to falsely charge the
(Exhibit 1); (2) Sworn Statement of Idabel Bernabe Pagulayan42 (Exhibit 2); (3) Photocopy of the appellant, the Court of Appeals held that the presumption of regularity in the performance of
buy-bust money43 (Exhibit 3); (4) List of Hearings44 attended by Donald Vasquez (Exhibit 4); (5) official duties on the part of the police officers had not been controverted in this case.
Authorization Letter45 prepared by Acting Deputy Director Arturo A. Figueras dated March 27,
1998 (Exhibit 5); and (6) List of Evidence46 taken by Donald Vasquez from 1996-1998 (Exhibit 6). The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals decision stated:

The Decision of the RTC WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal is hereby DENIED. The August 6, 2009
Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 41 of the City of Manila in Criminal Cases No. 98-
On August 6, 2009, the RTC convicted the appellant of the crimes charged. The RTC gave more 164174-75, finding appellant Donald Vasquez y Sandigan guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the
credence to the prosecutions evidence given that the presumption of regularity in the crimes of Violation of Section 15 and Section 16, Article III of Republic Act No. 6425 is AFFIRMED
performance of official duty on the part of the police officers was not overcome. The trial court with the MODIFICATION that in Criminal Case No. 98-164175, appellant is hereby sentenced to
held that the appellant did not present any evidence that would show that the police officers in suffer the indeterminate penalty of six months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to two years, four
this case were impelled by an evil motive to charge him of very serious crimes and falsely testify months and one day of prision correccional in its medium period, as maximum. 50
against him. Also, the trial court noted that the volume of the shabu involved in this case was
considerable, i.e., 247.98 grams and 4.03 grams for illegal sale and illegal possession, The Ruling of the Court
respectively. To the mind of the trial court, such fact helped to dispel the possibility that the drug
specimens seized were merely planted by the police officers. Furthermore, the RTC ruled that the
The appellant appealed his case to this Court to once again impugn his conviction on two
positive testimonies of the police officers regarding the illegal drug peddling activities of the
grounds: (1) the purported illegality of the search and the ensuing arrest done by the police
appellant prevailed over the latters bare denials.
officers and (2) his supposed authority to possess the illegal drugs seized from him. 51 He argues
that the police officers did not have a search warrant or a warrant of arrest at the time he was
Assuming for the sake of argument that the appellant was merely framed up by the police, the arrested. This occurred despite the fact that the police officers allegedly had ample time to
trial court pointed out that: secure a warrant of arrest against him. Inasmuch as his arrest was illegal, the appellant avers
that the evidence obtained as a result thereof was inadmissible in court. As the corpus delicti of
[T]he accused should have reported the said incident to the proper authorities, or asked help the crime was rendered inadmissible, the appellant posits that his guilt was not proven beyond
from his Acting Chief [Idabel] Pagulayan from the NBI to testify and identify in Court the xerox reasonable doubt. Appellant further insists that he was able to prove that he was authorized to
copy of the Disposition Form which she issued to the accused and the Affidavit dated April 17, keep the drug specimens in his custody, given that he was an employee of the NBI Forensic
1998 (xerox copy) executed by her or from Mr. Arturo A. Figueras, Acting Deputy Director, Chemistry Laboratory who was tasked with the duty to bring drug specimens in court.
Technical Services of the NBI to testify and identify the Letter issued by the said Acting Deputy
Director in order to corroborate and strengthen his testimony that he was indeed authorized to After an assiduous review of the evidence adduced by both parties to this case, we resolve to
keep in his custody the said shabu to be presented or turned over to the Court as evidence, and deny this appeal.
he should have filed the proper charges against those police officers who were responsible for
such act. But the accused did not even bother to do the same. Further, the pieces of evidence
At the outset, the Court rules that the appellant can no longer assail the validity of his arrest. We
(Disposition Form, Affidavit of [Idabel] Pagulayan and Letter dated March 27, 1998 issued by
reiterated in People v. Tampis52 that "[a]ny objection, defect or irregularity attending an arrest
Acting Deputy Director) presented by the accused in Court could not be given weight and
must be made before the accused enters his plea on arraignment. Having failed to move for the
credence considering that the said persons were not presented in Court to identify the said
quashing of the information against them before their arraignment, appellants are now estopped
documents and that the prosecution has no opportunity to cross-examine the same, thus, it has
from questioning the legality of their arrest. Any irregularity was cured upon their voluntary
no probative value.47
submission to the trial courts jurisdiction." 53 Be that as it may, the fact of the matter is that the
appellant was caught in flagrante delicto of selling illegal drugs to an undercover police officer in
The trial court, thus, decreed: a buy-bust operation. His arrest, thus, falls within the ambit of Section 5(a), Rule 113 54 of the
Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure when an arrest made without warrant is deemed lawful.
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered as follows: Having established the validity of the warrantless arrest in this case, the Court holds that the
warrantless seizure of the illegal drugs from the appellant is likewise valid. We held in People v.
1. In Crim. Case No. 98-164174, finding accused, DONALD VASQUEZ y SANDIGAN @ "DON" guilty Cabugatan55 that:
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Violation of Sec. 15, Art. III in Relation to Sec.
This interdiction against warrantless searches and seizures, however, is not absolute and such
2 (e), (f), (m), (o), Art. I of R.A. No. 6425 and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of warrantless searches and seizures have long been deemed permissible by jurisprudence in
reclusion perpetua and a fine of P5,000,000.00; and 2. In Crim. Case No. 98-164175, judgment is instances of (1) search of moving vehicles, (2) seizure in plain view, (3) customs searches, (4)
hereby rendered finding the accused, DONALD VASQUEZ y SANDIGAN @ "DON" guilty beyond waiver or consented searches, (5) stop and frisk situations (Terry search), and search incidental
reasonable doubt of the crime of Violation of Sec. 16, Art. III in Relation to Sec. 2 (e-2) Art. I of to a lawful arrest. The last includes a valid warrantless arrest, for, while as a rule, an arrest is
R.A. 6425 as Amended by Batas Pambansa Bilang 179 and hereby sentences him to suffer the considered legitimate [if] effected with a valid warrant of arrest, the Rules of Court recognize
penalty of SIX (6) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY to FOUR (4) YEARS and a fine of FOUR THOUSAND permissible warrantless arrest, to wit: (1) arrest in flagrante delicto, (2) arrest effected in hot
(P4,000.00) PESOS. pursuit, and (3) arrest of escaped prisoners. (Citation omitted.)
Thus, the appellant cannot seek exculpation by invoking belatedly the invalidity of his arrest and On the basis of the foregoing, the Court is convinced that the prosecution was able to establish
the subsequent search upon his person. the guilt of the appellant of the crimes charged.

We now rule on the substantive matters. The Penalties

To secure a conviction for the crime of illegal sale of regulated or prohibited drugs, the following Anent the proper imposable penalties, Section 15 and Section 16, Article III, in relation to Section
elements should be satisfactorily proven: (1) the identity of the buyer and seller, the object, and 20(3) of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, state:
the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor.56 As held in
People v. Chua Tan Lee,57 in a prosecution of illegal sale of drugs, "what is material is proof that SEC. 15. Sale, Administration, Dispensation, Delivery, Transportation and Distribution of
the accused peddled illicit drugs, coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti." On Regulated Drugs. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five
the other hand, the elements of illegal possession of drugs are: (1) the accused is in possession hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, unless
of an item or object which is identified to be a prohibited drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law, shall sell, dispense, deliver, transport or distribute any regulated drug.
authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the said drug. 58 Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 20 of this Act to the contrary, if the victim of the
offense is a minor, or should a regulated drug involved in any offense under this Section be the
In the case at bar, the testimonies of P/Insp. Fajardo and PO2 Trambulo established that a buy- proximate cause of the death of a victim thereof, the maximum penalty herein provided shall be
bust operation was legitimately carried out in the wee hours of April 3, 1998 to entrap the imposed. SEC. 16. Possession or Use of Regulated Drugs. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua to
appellant. P/Insp. Fajardo, the poseur-buyer, positively identified the appellant as the one who death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed
sold to her six plastic bags of shabu that were contained in a big brown envelope for the price upon any person who shall possess or use any regulated drug without the corresponding license
of P250,000.00. She likewise identified the six plastic bags of shabu, which contained the or prescription, subject to the provisions of Section 20 hereof.
markings she placed thereon after the same were seized from the appellant. When subjected to
laboratory examination, the white crystalline powder contained in the plastic bags tested SEC. 20. Application of Penalties, Confiscation and Forfeiture of the Proceeds or Instruments of
positive for shabu. We find that P/Insp. Fajardos testimony on the events that transpired during the Crime. - The penalties for offenses under Sections 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9 of Article II and Sections
the conduct of the buy-bust operation was detailed and straightforward. She was also consistent 14, 14-A, 15 and 16 of Article III of this Act shall be applied if the dangerous drugs involved is in
and unwavering in her narration even in the face of the opposing counsels cross-examination. any of the following quantities:

Apart from her description of the events that led to the exchange of the drug specimens seized 1. 40 grams or more of opium;
and the buy-bust money, P/Insp. Fajardo further testified as to the recovery from the appellant of
another 12 pieces of plastic sachets of shabu. After the latter was arrested, P/Insp. Fajardo
2. 40 grams or more of morphine;
stated that PO2 Trambulo conducted a body search on the appellant. This search resulted to the
confiscation of 12 more plastic sachets, the contents of which also tested positive for shabu. The
testimony of P/Insp. Fajardo was amply corroborated by PO2 Trambulo, whose own account 3. 200 grams or more of shabu or methylamphetamine hydrochloride;
dovetailed the formers narration of events. Both police officers also identified in court the
twelve plastic sachets of shabu that were confiscated from the appellant. 4. 40 grams or more of heroin;

In People v. Ting Uy,59 the Court explains that "credence shall be given to the narration of the 5. 750 grams or more of Indian hemp or marijuana;
incident by prosecution witnesses especially so when they are police officers who are presumed
to have performed their duties in a regular manner, unless there be evidence to the contrary." In 6. 50 grams or more of marijuana resin or marijuana resin oil;
the instant case, the appellant failed to ascribe, much less satisfactorily prove, any improper
motive on the part of the prosecution witnesses as to why they would falsely incriminate him. 7. 40 grams or more of cocaine or cocaine hydrocholoride; or
The appellant himself even testified that, not only did he not have any misunderstanding with
P/Insp. Fajardo and PO2 Trambulo prior to his arrest, he in fact did not know them at all. 60 In the
absence of evidence of such ill motive, none is presumed to exist.61 8. In the case of other dangerous drugs, the quantity of which is far beyond therapeutic
requirements, as determined and promulgated by the Dangerous Drugs Board, after public
consultations/hearings conducted for the purpose.
The records of this case are also silent as to any measures undertaken by the appellant to
criminally or administratively charge the police officers herein for falsely framing him up for
selling and possessing illegal drugs. Such a move would not have been a daunting task for the Otherwise, if the quantity involved is less than the foregoing quantities, the penalty shall range
appellant under the circumstances. Being a regular employee of the NBI, the appellant could from prision correccional to reclusion perpetua depending upon the quantity. (Emphases
have easily sought the help of his immediate supervisors and/or the chief of his office to supplied.)
extricate him from his predicament. Instead, what the appellant offered in evidence were mere
photocopies of documents that supposedly showed that he was authorized to keep drug In Criminal Case No. 98-164174 involving the crime of illegal sale of regulated drugs, the
specimens in his custody. That the original documents and the testimonies of the signatories appellant was found to have sold to the poseur-buyer in this case a total of 247.98 grams of
thereof were not at all presented in court did nothing to help the appellants case. To the mind of shabu, which amount is more than the minimum of 200 grams required by the law for the
the Court, the evidence offered by the appellant failed to persuade amid the positive and imposition of either reclusion perpetua or, if there be aggravating circumstances, the death
categorical testimonies of the arresting officers that the appellant was caught red-handed selling penalty.
and possessing a considerable amount of prohibited drugs on the night of the buy-bust
operation. Pertinently, Article 6363 of the Revised Penal Code mandates that when the law prescribes a
penalty composed of two indivisible penalties and there are neither mitigating nor aggravating
It is apropos to reiterate here that where there is no showing that the trial court overlooked or circumstances in the commission of the crime, the lesser penalty shall be applied. Thus, in this
misinterpreted some material facts or that it gravely abused its discretion, the Court will not case, considering that no mitigating or aggravating circumstances attended the appellants
disturb the trial courts assessment of the facts and the credibility of the witnesses since the RTC violation of Section 15, Article III of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, the Court of Appeals
was in a better position to assess and weigh the evidence presented during trial. Settled too is correctly affirmed the trial courts imposition of reclusion perpetua. The P5,000,000.00 fine
the rule that the factual findings of the appellate court sustaining those of the trial court are imposed by the RTC on the appellant is also in accord with Section 15, Article III of Republic Act
binding on this Court, unless there is a clear showing that such findings are tainted with No. 6425, as amended.
arbitrariness, capriciousness or palpable error.62
As to the charge of illegal possession of regulated drugs in Criminal Case No. 98-164175, the MENDOZA, J.:
Court of Appeals properly invoked our ruling in People v. Tira 64 in determining the proper
imposable penalty. Indeed, we held in Tira that: This is an appeal from the September 7, 2012 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA), in CA-G.R.
CR-I-IC No. 03446, which affirmed the December 14, 2007 Decision 2 of the Regional Trial Court,
Under Section 16, Article III of Rep. Act No. 6425, as amended, the imposable penalty of Branch 214, Mandaluyong City (RTC). in Criminal Case No. MC-04-7923. The RTC found accused-
possession of a regulated drug, less than 200 grams, in this case, shabu, is prision correccional appellant Petrus Yau (Petrus) guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principal of the crime of
to reclusion perpetua. Based on the quantity of the regulated drug subject of the offense, the kidnapping for ransom and serious illegal detention, as defined and penalized in Article 267 of
imposable penalty shall be as follows: the Revised Penal Code (RPC), as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, (R.A. No. 7659), and
convicted accused-appellant Susana Yau y Sumogba (Susana)as an accomplice to the
commission of the same crime.
IMPOSABLE
QUANTITY
PENALTY
The Facts

Less than one (1) gram to 49.25 Petrus and Susana were charged with the crime of Kidnapping For Ransom in the
prision correccional Information,3 dated February 13, 2004, the accusatory portion of which reads:
grams

That on or about January 20, 2004, at around 2:00 P.M. in the vicinity of Shoemart Mega Mall,
49.26 grams to 98.50 grams prision mayor Mandaluyong City, the abovenamed accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping
one another, with the use of a sleeping substance, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously kidnap and take away ALASTAIR JOSEPH ONGLINGSWAM inthe following manner, to
wit: while said ALASTAIR JOSEPH ONGLINGSWAM was on board a white Toyota taxi cab with plate
98.51 grams to 147.75 grams reclusion temporal
number PVD-115 being driven by the above-named accused Petrus Yau a.k.a. "John" and "Ricky"
and the taxi cab was travelling along Epifanio Delos Santos (EDSA) Avenue, he suddenly fell
unconscious and upon regaining consciousness he was already handcuffed and in chains inside a
147.76 grams to 199 grams reclusion perpetua house located at B23, L2, Ponsettia St., Camilla Sorrento Homes, Panapaan IV, Bacoor, Cavite,
(Emphases ours.) where he was kept for twenty two (22) days, which house is owned by accused Susana Yau y
Sumogba and while therein he was maltreated; that ransom in the amount of SIX HUNDRED
Given that the additional 12 plastic sachets of shabu found in the possession of the appellant THOUSAND DOLLARS (US$600,000.00) and TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (Php20,000.00) for each
amounted to 4.03 grams, the imposable penalty for the crime is prision correccional. Applying day of detention was demanded in exchangefor his safe release until he was finally rescued on
the Indeterminate Sentence Law, there being no aggravating or mitigating circumstance in this February 11,2004, by PACER operatives of the Philippine National Police.
case, the imposable penalty on the appellant should be the indeterminate sentence of six
months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to four years and two months of prision correccional, as CONTRARY TO LAW.
maximum. The penalty imposed by the Court of Appeals, thus, falls within the range of the
proper imposable penalty. In Criminal Case No. 98-164175, no fine is imposable considering that Version of the Prosecution
in Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, a fine can be imposed as a conjunctive penalty only if the
penalty is reclusion perpetua to death.65 In the Appellees Brief,4 the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) presented the following
narration of the kidnapping:
Incidentally, the Court notes that both parties in this case admitted that the appellant was a
regular employee of the NBI Forensics Chemistry Division. Such fact, however, cannot be taken On January 20, 2004, at around 1:30 in the afternoon, private complainant Alastair
into consideration to increase the penalties in this case to the maximum, in accordance with Onglingswam, who is a practicing lawyer and businessman from the United States, went out of
Section 24 of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended.66 Such a special aggravating circumstance, Makati Shangrila Hotel, where he was billeted, and hailed a white Toyota taxi cab with plate
i.e., one that which arises under special conditions to increase the penalty for the offense to its number PVD-115 to take him from the said hotel to Virra Mall Shopping Center in San Juan, Metro
maximum period,67 was not alleged and charged in the informations. Thus, the same was Manila. While the said taxicab was plying along EDSA, and within the vicinity of SM Megamall,
properly disregarded by the lower courts. private complainant received a phone call from his associate Kelly Wei in Hong Kong. He noted
that while he was on the phone conversing with his associate, appellant Petrus Yau, whom he
All told, the Court finds no reason to overturn the conviction of the appellant. noted to have short black hair, a moustache and gold framed eyeglasses, would from time to
time turn to him and talk as if he was also being spoken to. Thereafter, he felt groggy and
WHEREFORE, the Court of Appeals Decision dated May 31, 2011 in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 04201 is decided to hang-up his phone. He no longer knew what transpired except that when he woke up
AFFIRMED. No costs. lying down, his head was already covered with a plastic bag and he was handcuffed and
chained.
SO ORDERED.
When private complainant complained that the handcuffs were too tight, a man who was
wearing a red mask and introduced himself as "John" approached him and removed the plastic
bag from his head and loosened his handcuff. John informed him that he was being kidnapped
for ransom and that he will be allowed to make phone calls to his family and friends. Hours later,
G.R. No. 208170 August 20, 2014 John returned with telephony equipment, tape recorder, phone and a special antennae cap for
the cellphone. With these equipment, private complainant was allowed to call his girlfriend and
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, father and asked them for the PIN of his ATM cards and for money, however, with instructions
vs. not to inform them that he was kidnapped. A day after, he was told by his captor to call his
PETRUS YAU a.k.a. "John" and "Ricky" and SUSANA YAU y SUMOGBA a.k.a. girlfriend and father to tell them thathe was still alive as well as to reveal to them that he was
"Susan", Accused-Appellants. kidnapped for ransom and his kidnappers were demanding Six Hundred Thousand Dollars
(US$600,000.00) as ransom and Twenty Thousand Pesos (Php20,000.00) a day as room and
DECISION board fee.
The private complainants family, girlfriend (Iris Chau) and friends received a text message On February 11, 2004 (the date the victim was allegedly rescued) at around 8:30 9:00 oclock
purportedly from the former informing them that he was kidnapped and ransom for his liberty in the morning, he went to his wife Susana in her shop and got money to be deposited to the
was demanded. Asia Trust Bank. He parked his car outside the bank. After he alighted from his car, three (3) men
bigger than him held his hands: one (1) of them held his neck. They pushed him inside their van.
On January 21, 2004, the family of the victim informed the United States Embassy in Manila They tied his hands with packing tape, covered his eyes with the same tape, and his head with a
about the situation and a meeting with the representatives of the Philippine National Police was plastic bag. They kicked and beat him until he became unconscious.
arranged.
When he regained consciousness, he was inside an airconditioned room. His hands were
Subsequently, Chau received an email from the purported kidnapper demanding US$2,000.00. handcuffed and he felt very cold because his body was wet. His head was still being covered. He
Chau then wired US$1,000.00, upon instructions, to Ong Kwai Ping thru Metro Bank and Trust shouted asking where he was. People came in and he heard them talking in Tagalog. They kicked
Company. Likewise, private complainants brother Aaron Onglingswam made eight (8) deposits him for about twenty (20) seconds. Later, he was made to sit, as he was lying on the floor. He
to Ong Kwai Pings account in Metro Bank, amounting to Two Hundred Thousand Pesos said that he could not see anything, thus, someone removed the cover of his head. They
(Php200,000.00), to ensure his brothers safety and eventual release. accused him of being a kidnapper, to which he replied that he was not. He pleaded to them to
allow him to make a call to the British Embassy, his friends and his wife, but to no avail.
During private complainants twenty-two (22) days of captivity, while he was allowed to
communicate with his family almost daily to prove that he was still alive and was served with When he was taken into custody, he had his wedding ring, watch and a waist bag containing his
meals almost five times a day either by John or the other accused Susan Yau, he was also British passport, alien certificate, drivers license, Asia Trust bankbook in the name of Susana
maltreated i.e. beaten with sticks, made to lay-down biting a piece of wood which was made as Yau, ATM Cards (in his name) of Metrobank, PCI Equitable Bank and Banco de Oro, VISA Card,
target for a rifle. and some cash given to him by his wife . He lost those personal properties.

On February 10, 2004, the PACER received information that a taxi with plate number PVD 115 After four (4) to five (5) hours, he was transferred to another room without a window. The
plying along Bacoor was victimizing passengers. Upon instructions of P/Supt. Isagani Nerez, following day, he was brought to and detained at the PACER Custodial Center.
members of the Police Anti-Crimeand Emergency Response Task Force (PACER) were ordered to
proceed to Bacoor, Cavite to look for Toyota Corolla White Taxicab with Plate No. PVD 115. On Petrus Yau can speak English but he is better in the Chinese language, both Mandarin and
February 11, 2004, at around 4:00 oclock in the morning, the PACER group proceeded to Bacoor Cantonese. He bought the taxi he was driving in August 2003 for Eighty Five Thousand Pesos
and positioned themselves along Aguinaldo Highway under the overpass fronting SM Bacoor. Not (Php85,000.00) for personal use and/or for resale. It had a defective engine (usually overheats),
having caught sight of the taxi, after three hours, the group moved to a different location along without an aircon and cannot travel for long journey. He does not drive a taxi to earn a living. He
the Aguinaldo Highway where they were able to chance upon the said vehicle. Thus, they had police friends who told him that he cannot drive a taxi as an occupation since his drivers
followed it, then flagged it down and approached the driver. The driver was asked to scroll down license is non-professional.
his window and was told that the vehicle was being used to victimize foreign nationals. Appellant
did not offer to make any comment. Hence, this prompted the officers to ask for his name and Sometime on June 2003, he and his wife Susana had a heated argument over his womanizing.
since he answered that he was Petrus Yau, a British national, they asked him for his drivers Hence, she decided to live separately from him (though she was pregnant at that time) and
license and car registration but appellant was not able to produce any. Since he could not moved to another house (Block 5, Lot 4, Tulip Street, Andrea Village, Bacoor, Cavite).
produce any drivers license and car registration, they were supposed to bring him to the police Sometimes, she would visit him.
station for investigation, however, when shown a picture of private complainant and asked if he
knew him, he answered that the man is being kept in his house. He was immediately informed
Petrus claimed that his house does not have a basement, contrary to the victims testimony that
that he was being placed under arrest for kidnapping private complainant Alastair Onglingswam
he was placed in the basement. He was not in his house when the police officers allegedly
after being informed of his constitutional rights. Thereafter, appellants cellphones, a QTEK
rescued the kidnapped victim. He left his house in good condition in the morning before his
Palmtop and Sony Erickson were confiscated. Upon instructions of P/Supt. Nerez, [appellant] was
arrest. The white Toyota Corolla taxi he was driving had markings of faded grey, not black, as
brought to the parking lot of SM City Bacoor for a possible rescue operations of the victim.
claimed by Alastair.

Appellant led the team to his house and after opening the gate of his residence, hewas led back
During the inquest proceedings, Petrus Yau was not assisted by a counsel and was not
to the police car. The rest of the members of PACER proceeded inside the house and found a
informedof his constitutional rights.
man sitting on the floor chained and handcuffed. The man later identified himself as Alastair
Onglingswam.
Susana Sumogba Yau denied the accusation that she was in the company of the kidnapper every
time the latter served Alastairs food (lunch and dinner). She is legally married to Petrus Yau.
During the trial of the case, private complainant positively identified Petrus Yau as his captor and
They have two (2) children named Charlie and Vivian. On February 11, 2004, she lived at Block
the taxi driver. Test conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation reveals that
5, Lot 4, Tulips Street, Andrea Village, Bacoor, Cavite, while Petrus Yau lived at Block 23, Lot 2,
the DNA found in the mask used by private complainants captor matched that of appellant
Ponsettia Street, Sorrento Town Homes, Bacoor, Cavite, with his girlfriend. Susana and Petrus
Petrus Yau.5
were separated since June 2003.

Version of the Defense


On February 11, 2004, she called him to pick up the amount of Php7,000.00 (earnings of her
sari-sari store) and to deposit it in her account at Asia Trust Bank. She would request Petrus to do
6
Petrus and Susana denied the accusation, and stated the following in their Brief to substantiate such errand for her as she does not trust her househelp. Petrus came to her at around 7:00
their claim of innocence: oclock in the morning. At around 11:00 oclock a.m. of the same day, four(4) to five (5)
policemen arrived at her residence and told her to come with them to the hospital where Petrus
Accused Petrus Yau denied having committed the crime. He averred that the supposed kidnap was brought because he met a vehicular accident along Aguinaldo Highway.
victim coordinated with the police to set up the subject case against him and his family. He is a
British national. He had been in the Philippines for many times since he was 14 years old. He Susana, together with her children and helpers, went with them, and rode in their van. They,
came to the country in July 2001 for a vacation and had not left since then. On September 2001, however, were not brought to the hospital but to an office. Thereat, Susana saw her husband
he got married to Susana Yau. Prior thereto, he was in Singapore running some businesses. On (almost dead) inside a small room with a one-way mirror. She was not able to talk to him. She,
January 20, 2004, at around 2:00 oclock in the afternoon (the date and time the victim was together with her children and helpers, were detained for three (3) days inside a small room.
kidnapped), Petrus Yau was at home sleeping.
After three (3) days, her children and helpers were released and they went home. At that time, THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT WAS
she was not provided with the assistance of a counsel. ILLEGALLY ARRESTED AND AS SUCH, THE PIECES OF OBJECT EVIDENCE ALLEGEDLY SEIZED ARE
INADMISSIBLE.
Susana stated that her husbands name is Petrus Yau. He is not known either as John or Ong
Kwai Ping. He is engaged in the business of buying cars for resale. They owned three (3) houses II
and lots, all registered in her name. At the time she was taken into custody by the police, she
had withher Five Thousand Pesos cash, Allied Bank passbook and ATM Cards (Allied Bank and THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THERE WAS POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION OF
Asia Trust Bank), VISA card, passport, wedding ring, necklace and cellphone, which were taken THE ACCUSEDAPPELLANT AS THE ALLEGED KIDNAPPER.
away by persons whom she does not know.7
III
The Ruling of the RTC
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND
In its judgment, dated December 14,2007, the RTC convicted Petrus Yau, as principal, of the REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME CHARGED.10
crime of kidnapping for ransom and serious illegal detention, and Susana Yau,as an accomplice
to the commission thereof. The RTC found the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses credible
Susana insisted that the trial court erred: 1] in not giving credence to her claim that she was
and sufficient, with their versions of the incident dovetailing with each other even on minor
living separately with her husband, Petrus Yau; 2] in not considering that she was not mentioned
details. It observed that Petrus failed to rebut his positive identification by the victim, Alastair
in the sworn statement executed by Alastair, dated February 12, 2004, even when said victim
and his brother Aaron John Onglingswam (Aaron John), with whom he talked for several times
was asked if there was another person assisting Petrus in the perpetration of the crime; 3] in not
over the phone. It stated that the circumstantial evidence proffered by the prosecution had
considering the Resolution of the Department of Justice, dated February 13, 2004, finding
adequately reinforced its theory that Petrus was the perpetrator of the heinous act.
probable cause against her because she is the registered owner of the house where Alastair was
held captive and not because she served food on the victim; and 4] in convicting her as an
With respect to Susana, the RTC wrote that she was positively identified by Alastair as the accomplice.11
Filipino woman who fed him or accompanied Petrus in bringing him food during his 22 days of
captivity and, for said reason, should be held liable as an accomplice.
On September 11, 2013, the Court issued a resolution12 notifying the parties that they could file
their respective supplemental briefs if they so desire. The People of the Philippines, represented
The RTC rejected the twin defenses of alibi and frame-up submitted by Petrus and Susana by the OSG, opted not to file any supplemental brief, maintaining its positions and arguments in
because the same were unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence. The dispositive its brief earlier filed in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 03446.13Petrus filed his Supplemental Brief14 on
portion of the said decision states: December 27, 2013 in amplification of his arguments raised in his brief filed before the CA.

WHEREFORE, this court renders judgment finding the accused Petrus Yau GUILTY BEYOND The Courts Ruling
REASONABLE DOUBT as principal of the crime of kidnapping for ransom and serious illegal
detention and pursuant to Republic Act No. 9346, he is hereby sentenced to suffer the prison
The appeal is bereft of merit.
term of RECLUSION PERPETUA. The court also finds the accused Susana Yau GUILTY BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT as accomplice to the commission of the crime of kidnapping for ransom
and serious illegal detention and applying to her the benefit of the Indeterminate Sentence Law Encapsulated, the issues herein focus on: (a) the credibility of the prosecution witnesses; (b) the
wherein her minimum penalty shall be taken from the penalty next lower in degree of the sufficiency of the prosecution evidence to prove the commission of kidnapping for ransom and
imposable penalty of RECLUSION TEMPORAL which is prision mayor, she is hereby therefore the identity of the culprits thereof; and (c) the degree of responsibility of each accusedappellant
sentenced to suffer the prison term of EIGHT (8) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of PRISION MAYOR for the crime of kidnapping for ransom.
MINIMUM AS MINIMUM to TWELVE (12) YEARS and TEN (10) MONTHS of RECLUSION TEMPORAL
MINIMUM AS MAXIMUM.Accused are credited in full of the preventive imprisonment they have Worth reiterating on the issue of the credibility of the witnesses is the ruling of the Court in
already served in confinement. People v. Maxion15 that:

Further, both accused are sentenced to pay, jointly and severally, the victim ALASTAIR JOSEPH The issue raised by accused-appellant involves the credibility of witness, which is best addressed
ONGLINGSWAM actual damages of Two Hundred Seventy Three Thousand and One Hundred by the trial court, it being in a better position to decide such question, having heard the witness
Thirty Two Pesos (273, 132.00) plus interest from the filing of the information until full payment, and observed his demeanor, conduct, and attitude under grueling examination. These are the
moral damages of One Million Pesos (1,000,000.00), and exemplary damages of Two Hundred most significant factors in evaluating the sincerity of witnesses and in unearthing the truth,
Thousand Pesos (200,000.00). especially in the face of conflicting testimonies.Through its observations during the entire
proceedings, the trial court can be expected to determine, with reasonable discretion, whose
SO ORDERED.8 testimony to accept and which witness to believe. Verily, findings of the trial court on such
matters will not be disturbed on appeal unless some facts or circumstances of weight have been
overlooked, misapprehended or misinterpreted so as to materially affect the disposition of the
Unfazed, Petrus and Susana appealed the RTC judgment of conviction before the CA.
case.16

The Ruling of the CA


It has been an established rule in appellate review that the trial courts factual findings, such as
its assessment of the credibility of the witnesses, the probative weight of their testimonies, and
The CA affirmed the conviction of Petrus and Susana. 9 The appellate court likewise lent credence the conclusions drawn from the factual findings, are accorded great respect and have even
to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, who were able to establish with certitude the conclusive effect. Such factual findings and conclusions assume even greater weight when they
commission of the crime and the identities of the culprits thereof. are affirmed by the CA17

Hence, this appeal. In the case at bench, the RTC gavemore weight and credence to the testimonies of the
prosecution witnesses compared to those of the accusedappellants. After a judicious review of
ASSIGNED ERRORS: the evidence on record, the Court finds no cogent reason to deviate from the factual findings of
the RTC and the CA, and their respective assessment and calibration of the credibility of the
I prosecution witnesses.
In every criminal case, the task ofthe prosecution is always two-fold, that is, (1) to prove beyond 5] Two (2) cellphones, a QTEK Palmtop and a Sony Erickson were found in the
reasonable doubt the commission of the crime charged; and (2) to establish with the same possession of Petrus. Incidentally, it was reported that the owner ofthe QTEK Palmtop
quantumof proof the identity of the person or persons responsible therefor, because, evenif the cellphone was a certain Jasper Beltran, also a kidnapped victim whose whereabouts
commission of the crime is a given, there can be no conviction without the identity of the had not been known yet; and
malefactor being likewise clearly ascertained. 18 Here, the prosecution was able to satisfactorily
discharge this burden. 6] The DNA examination on the red mask worn by the kidnapper that was recovered
inside the house and on the buccal swab taken from Petrus showed that both DNA
Victim Alastair positively identified Petrus as the driver of the white Toyota Corolla taxicab with profiles matched.23
Plate No. PVD 115 which he boarded before he lost consciousness on the afternoon ofJanuary 20,
2004. He claimed that while he was conversing with his business associate Kelly Wei over his The Court agrees with the findings of the RTC and the CA that the foregoing pieces of
phone inside the taxicab, Petrus would turn his face towards him, from time to time, and would circumstantial evidence, when analyzed and taken together, definitely lead to no other
talk as if he was being spoken to. Alastair claimed that he had a good look and an ample conclusion than that Petrus was the author of the kidnapping for ransom. When viewed as a
opportunity toremember the facial features of the driver as to be able to recognize and identify whole, the prosecution evidence effectively established his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
him in court. It is the most natural reaction for victims of crimes to strive to remember the faces
of their accosters and the manner in which the craven acts are committed.19
The elements of Kidnapping For Ransom under Article 267 of the RPC, as amended by R.A. No.
7659, are asfollows: (a) intent on the part of the accused to deprive the victim of his liberty; (b)
Alastair also recognized the voice behind the red mask used by his kidnapper as belonging to actual deprivation of the victim of his liberty; and (c) motive of the accused, which is extorting
Petrus. It was established that from the first to the twentieth day of Alastairs captivity,his ransom for the release of the victim.24
kidnapper would meet him five times a day and would talk to him for an hour, thus, enabling him
to remember the culprits voice which had a unique tone and noticeable Chinese accent. Alastair
All of the foregoing elements were duly established by the testimonial and documentary
declared with certainty that it was the voice of Petrus. Witness Aaron John insisted that the
evidences for the prosecution in the case at bench. First, Petrus is a private individual. Second,
person who introduced himself as Ong Kwai Ping and with whom he had talked over the phone
Petrus kidnapped Alastair by using sleeping substance which rendered the latter unconscious
for three weeks, demanding necessity money and ransom for the release of his brother Alastair,
while inside a taxicab driven by the said accused-appellant. Third, Petrus took and detained
was Petrus because of the distinct tone of his voice with Chinese accent. There was no showing
Alastair inside the house owned by him and Susana Yau in Bacoor, Cavite, where said victim was
that Alastair and Aaron John had any ill motive to falsely testify against Petrus. As a rule, absent
handcuffed and chained, and hence, deprived of his liberty. Fourth, Alastair was taken against
any evidence showing any reason or motive for prosecution witnesses to perjure, the logical
his will. And fifth, Petrus made demands for the delivery of a ransomin the amount of
conclusion is that no suchimproper motive exists, and their testimonies are, thus, worthy of full
US$600,000.00 for the release of the victim.
faith and credit.20
Anent the criminal liability of eachaccused-appellant, there is no doubt that Petrus is liable as
Further, the prosecution presented credible and sufficient pieces of circumstantial evidence that
principal of the crime of kidnapping for ransom. Susana, on the other hand, is liable only as an
led tothe inescapable and reasonable conclusion that Petrus committed the crime charged. The
accomplice to the crime as correctly found by the lower courts. It must be emphasized that there
settled rule is that a judgment of conviction based on circumstantial evidence can be upheld
was no evidence indubitably proving that Susanaparticipated in the decision to commit the
only if the following requisites concur: (1) there is more than one circumstance; (2) the facts
criminal act. The only evidence the prosecution had against her was the testimony of Alastair to
from which the inferencesare derived are proven; and (3) the combination of all the
the effect that he remembered her as the woman who gave food to him or who accompanied his
circumstances is such as to produce conviction beyond reasonable doubt. 21 The corollary rule is
kidnapper whenever he would bring food to him every breakfast, lunch and dinner.
that the circumstances proven must constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and
Jurisprudence25 is instructive of the elements required, in accordance with Article 18 of the RPC,
reasonable conclusion pointing to the accused, to the exclusion of all others, as the guilty
in order that a person may be considered an accomplice, namely, (1) that there bea community
person.22
of design; that is, knowing the criminal design of the principal by direct participation, he concurs
with the latter in his purpose; (2) that he cooperates in the execution by previous or
The combination of the following established facts and circumstances affirm the findings of guilt simultaneous act, with the intention of supplying material or moral aid in the execution of the
by the RTC and the CA: crime in an efficacious way; and (3) that there be a relation between the acts done by the
principal and those attributed to the person charged as accomplice.
1] The victim was rescued by the police inside the house owned by Petrus and Susana,
located at Block 23, Lot 2, Ponsettia St., Camella Sorrento Homes, Bacoor, Cavite; In the case at bench, Susana knew of the criminal design of her husband, Petrus, but she kept
quiet and never reported the incident to the police authorities. Instead, she stayed with Petrus
2] The Toyota Corolla white taxicab bearing Plate No. PVD 115, which the victim inside the house and gave food to the victim or accompanied her husband when he brought food
recalled boarding in going to Virra Mall Greenhills Shopping Center on the afternoon of to the victim. Susana not only countenancedPetrus illegal act, but also supplied him with
January 20, 2004 and where he lost consciousness, was found in the possession of the material and moral aid. It has been held that being present and giving moral support when a
accused-appellant Petrus on February 11, 2004; crime is being committed make a person responsible as an accomplice in the crime
committed.26 As keenly observed by the RTC, the act of giving food by Susana to the victim was
3] The drivers license of Petrus and an ATM card in the name of Ong Kwai Ping were not essential and indispensable for the perpetration ofthe crime of kidnapping for ransom but
recovered inside the Toyota Corolla taxicab of Petrus Yau; merely an expression of sympathy orfeeling of support to her husband.27 Moreover, this Court is
guided by the ruling in People v. De Vera,28 where it was stressed that in case of doubt, the
participation of the offender will be considered as that of an accomplice rather thanthat of a
4] In the house where the victim was rescued, the following evidence were found: one
principal.
(1) chain with padlock; handcuffs; short broken chain; checkered pajama; black blazer;
one (1) Onesimus black coat; two (2) video camera cartridges, one showing the victim
in lying down position and family footages, and the other one labeled "sex scandal"; Alastairs positive identification of Susana is not in any bit prejudiced by his failure to mention
eight (8) pieces of cellphones; notebook; two (2) Talk n Tex SIM cards; Globe SIM card; her name in his sworn statement, dated February 12, 2004. It is well-settled that affidavits, being
two (2) Transfer Certificates of Title for two pieces of land in Bacoor, Cavite, under the ex parte, are almost always incomplete and often inaccurate, butdo not really detract from the
name of Susana Sumogba; original copy of the OfficialReceipts and Certificate of credibility of witnesses.29 Oftentimes, the allegationscontained in affidavits involved mere
Registration of a Suzuki 1993 motorcycle bearing Plate No. 2M9748; business license passive mention of details anchored entirely on the investigators questions. The discrepancies
and mayors permit issued to Susana Yau; marriage contract of Petrus Yau and Susana between a sworn statement and a testimony in court do not outrightly justify the acquittal ofan
Yau; birth certificate of Susana Sumogba; birth certificates of their children; ACR of accused, as testimonial evidence carries moreweight than an affidavit. 30 Testimonies given
Petrus Yau; Meralco bills; Asia Trust deposit slips; five ATM deposit slips; and PLDT bills; during the trial are more exact and elaborate. Besides, sworn statements are often executed
when an affiants mental faculties are not in such a state as to afford the affiant a fair The RTC, however, erred in ruling that Susana was solidarily liable with Petrus for the payment of
opportunity of narrating in full the incident which transpired.31 damages. This is an erroneous apportionment of the damages awarded because it does not take
into account the difference in the nature and degree of participation between the principal,
Given the overwhelming picture of their complicity in the crime, this Court cannot accept the Petrus, and the accomplice, Susana. The ruling of this Court in People v. Montesclaros 39 is
defenses of alibi and frame-up interposed by the accused-appellants. Alibi is the weakest of all instructive on the apportionment of civil liabilities among all the accusedappellants. The entire
defenses, for it is easy to contrive and difficult to prove. Alibi must be proven by the accused amount of the civil liabilities should be apportioned among all those who cooperated in the
with clear and convincing evidence; otherwise it cannot prevail over the positive testimonies of commission of the crime according to the degrees of their liability, respective responsibilities
credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters.32 The defense of frame-up, like alibi, has and actual participation. Accordingly, Petrus should shoulder a greater share in the total amount
been invariably viewed by this Court with disfavor, for it can easily be concocted but is difficult of damages than Susana who was adjudged only as an accomplice.
to prove.1wphi1 In order to prosper, the defense of frame-up must be proven by the accused
with clear and convincing evidence.33 Apart from their bare allegations, no competent and In fine, the accused-appellants are ordered to pay the victim, Alastair Onglingswam actual
independent evidence was adduced by the accused-appellants to substantiate their twin damages in the amount of 273, 132.00; moral damages in the amount of 200,000.00; and
defenses of alibi and frame-up and, thus, remain selfserving and do not merit any evidentiary exemplary damages in the amount of 100,000.00, or a total amount of 573, 132.00. Taking
value. More importantly, nowhere in the records does it show of any dubious reasons or into consideration the degree of their participation, the principal, Petrus, should be liable for two-
improper motive that could have impelled the prosecution witnesses, particularly victim Alastair thirds (2/3) of the total amount of the damages (573, 132.00 x 213) or 382,088.00; and the
Onglingswam, to falsely testify and fabricate documentary or object evidence just to implicate accomplice, Susana, should be ordered to pay the remaining one-third (1/3) or 191,044.00.
accused-appellants in such a heinous crime as kidnapping for ransom. Their only motive was to Specifically, Petrus shall be liable for actual damages in the amount of P 182,088.00; moral
see to it that the kidnapper be brought to justice and sentencedwith the appropriate penalty. damages in the amount of 133,333.33; and exemplary damages in the amount or 66,666.6 7;
and Susana for the amount of 91,044.00 as actual damages; 66,666.67 as moral damages;
As a last-ditch effort to exculpate themselves from any criminal culpability, the accused- and 33,333.33 as exemplary damages.
appellants questioned the legality of their warrantless arrests. This too must fail.
WHEREFORE, the September 7, 2012 Decisi0n of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No.
Any objection to the procedure followed in the matter of the acquisition by a court of jurisdiction 03446 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that accused-appellants Petrus Yau and Susana Yau y
over the person of the accused must be opportunely raised before he enters his plea; otherwise, Sumogba are ordered to pay the victim Alastair Joseph Onglingswam moral damages in the
the objection is deemed waived.34 The accused-appellants never objected to or questioned the amount of 200,000.00 and exemplary damages in the amount of Pl 00,000.00. The award of
legality of their warrantless arrests or the acquisition of jurisdiction by the RTC over their persons actual damages in the amount or 273, 132.00 is maintained. The civil liabilities of the accused-
before theyentered their respective pleas to the kidnapping for ransom charge. Considering this appellants shall be apportioned as follows:
lapse and coupled with their full and active participation in the trial of the case, accused-
appellants were deemed to have waived any objection to their warrantless arrests. The accused- 1] Petrus Yau is directed to pay actual damages in the amount of 182,088.00; moral
appellants voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction of the RTC thereby curing whatever defects damages in the amount of P 133,333.33; and exemplary damages in the amount of
that might have attended their arrest. It bears stressing that the legality of the arrest affects 66,666.67; and
only the jurisdiction of the court over their persons.35Their warrantless arrests cannot, by
themselves, be the bases of their acquittal. 2] Susana Yau y Sumogba is directed to pay actual damages in the amount of
91,044.00, moral damages in the amount of 66,666.67 and exemplary damages in
Even assuming arguendo that the accused-appellants made a timely objection to their the amount of 33,333.33.
warrantless arrests, jurisprudence is replete with rulings that support the view that their
conviction was proper despite being illegally arrested without a warrant. In People v. SO ORDERED.
Manlulu,36 the Court ruled that the illegality of the warrantless arrest cannot deprive the State of
its right to prosecute the guilty when all other facts on record point to their culpability. Indeed,
the illegal arrest of an accused is not a sufficient cause for setting aside a valid judgment
rendered upon a sufficient complaint after a trial free from error.37
G.R. No. 199042 November 17, 2014
With respect to the penalty, the Court finds that the RTC was correct in imposing the penalty of
reclusion perpetuawithout eligibility of parole against Petrus as principal in the charge of DANILO VILLANUEVA y ALCARAZ, Petitioner,
kidnapping for ransom in view of R.A. No. 9346, prohibiting the death penalty. Also, the Court vs.
finds that the penalty of eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as minimum, to twelve PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
(12) years and ten (10) months of reclusion temporal, as maximum, meted out against Susana,
an accomplice, to be proper. DECISION

The Court also sustains the RTC in awarding actual damages in the amount of 273,132.00 plus SERENO, CJ:
interest committed from the filing of the information until fully paid. As regards the moral
damages against the accused-appellants, the Court findsthe award of 1,000,000.00 to be
exorbitant. Hence, the same is being reduced to 200,000.00, as the reasonable compensation We resolve the Petition1 filed by Danilo Villanueva y Alcaraz from the Decision2 dated 4 May 2011
and Resolution3dated 18 October 2011 issued by the Fourteenth Division of the Court of Appeals
for the ignominy and sufferings that Alastair and his family endured because of the accused-
appellants inhumane acts of detaining him in handcuffs and chains, and mentally torturing him (CA) in CA-G.R. C.R. No. 32582.
and his family to raise the ransom money. The fact that they suffered the trauma from mental,
physical and psychologicalordeal which constitutes the basis for moral damages under Article THE ANTECEDENT FACTS
2219 of the Civil Code is too obvious to still require its recital at the trial through the superfluity
of a testimonial charade. The Court also finds the award of exemplary damages to be in order in Petitioner Danilo Villanueva was charged with violation of Section 11, Article II of Republic Act
view of the presence of the qualifying circumstance of demand for ransom, and to serve as an (R.A.) No. 9165 or The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. The Information 4 reads:
example and deterrence for the public good. The Court, however, reduces the amount from
200,000.00 to 100,000.00 in line with prevailing jurisprudence.38 That on or about the 15th day of June 2004 in Caloocan City, Metro Manila, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above named accused, without being authorized by law,
did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession, custody and
control METHAMPHETAMINE HYDROCHLORIDE (Shabu) weighing 0.63 gram knowing the same to Hence, the instant Petition, which revolves around the following lone issue:
[be a] dangerous drug under the provisions of the above-cited law.
WHETHER THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE PETITIONERS
CONTRARY TO LAW. CONVICTION FOR VIOLATION OF SECTION 11 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9165 DESPITE THE
ILLEGALITY OF THE ARREST AND THE LAPSES ON THE PART OF THE POLICE OFFICERS IN THE
On 15 July 2004, the accused, duly assisted by counsel de oficio, pleaded not guilty to the HANDLING OF THE CONFISCATED DRUG.15
offense charged.5
Petitioner claims that his arrest does not fall within the purview of valid warrantless arrests,
PROSECUTIONS VERSION since it took place on the day of the alleged shooting incident. Hence, to "invite" him to the
precinct without any warrant of arrest was illegal. The evidence obtained is, consequently,
inadmissible. The Office of the Solicitor General filed its Comment 16 stating that the shabu
Four witnesses testified for the prosecution: (1) Police Senior Inspector (PSI) Albert Arturo, (2)
confiscated from petitioner was admissible in evidence against him; that the search conducted
Police Officer (PO) 3 Jonathan Coralde, (3) PO2 Reynante Mananghaya, and (4) Senior Police
on him was valid; and that he cannot raise the issue regarding the apprehending officers non-
Officer 1 (SPO1) Antonio Asiones.6 Their testimonies reveal that a Complaint was filed by Brian
compliance with Section 21, Article II of R.A. 9165 for the first time on appeal.
Resco against Danilo Villanueva for allegedly shooting the former along C-3 Road, Navotas City.
After recording the incident in the police blotter, PO3 Jonathan Coralde, SPO3 Enrique de Jesus,
SPO2 Henry Martin and SPO1 Anthony Asiones, together with Resco, proceeded to the house of OUR RULING
Villanueva. They informed Villanueva about the Complaint lodged against him. They invited him
to the police station. There, he was subjected to a body search and, in the process, a plastic We find the instant appeal meritorious.
sachet of shabu was recovered from the left pocket of his pants. PO3 Coralde marked the sachet
with the initial "DAV 06-15-04", and PO2 Reynante Mananghaya brought it to the National Police Accused-appellant is estopped from questioning the legality of his arrest.
District Scene of the Crime Operatives (NPD-SOCO) for examination.7DEFENSES VERSION
Accused-appellant was arrested without a warrant. Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of
The accused testified that at the time of the incident, he was at home watching TV when PO3 Criminal Procedure, lays down the basic rules on lawful warrantless arrests either by a peace
Coralde, along with three others, invited him to go with them to the police station. Informed that officer or a private person, as follows:
he had been identified as responsible for shooting Resco, the accused was then frisked and
detained at the police station.8
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or a private person may, without a
warrant, arrest a person:
RULING OF THE RTC
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually
The Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 127 of Caloocan City, in its Decision 9 dated 6 April 2009, committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
convicted petitioner of the offense charged. The dispositive portion of the Decision reads:
(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered declaring accused DANILO based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested
VILLANUEVA y ALCARAZ, GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT of the offense of Violation of has committed it; and
Section 11, Article II,R.A. 9165. Henceforth, this Court hereby sentences him to suffer an
imprisonment of twelve (12) years and one (1) day as the minimum to seventeen (17) years and
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal
eight (8) months as the maximum and to pay the fine of Three Hundred Thousand Pesos
establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined
(300,000.00).
while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one
confinement to another.
The drugs subject matter of this case is ordered confiscated and forfeited in favor of the
government to be dealt with in accordance with the law.
The circumstances that transpired between accused-appellant and the arresting officer show
none of the above that would make the warrantless arrest lawful. Nevertheless, records reveal
SO ORDERED.10 that accused-appellant never objected to the irregularity of his arrest before his arraignment. He
pleaded not guilty upon arraignment. He actively participated in the trial of the case. Thus, he is
The CA reviewed the appeal, which hinged on one issue, viz: considered as one who had properly and voluntarily submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the
trial court and waived his right to question the validity of his arrest. 17
THE COURT A QUOGRAVELY ERRED IN NOT FINDING AS ILLEGAL THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS
WARRANTLESS ARREST AND SEARCH.11 The warrantless search conducted is not among those allowed by law.

RULING OF THE CA A waiver of an illegal arrest, however, is not a waiver of an illegal search. 18 Records have
established that both the arrest and the search were made without a warrant. While the accused
On 4 May 2011, the CA affirmed the ruling of the lower court: has already waived his right to contest the legality of his arrest, he is not deemed to have
equally waived his right to contest the legality of the search.
WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision dated April 6, 2009 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 127,
Caloocan City in Criminal Case No. 70854 finding the accused-appellant guilty beyond Jurisprudence is replete with pronouncements on when a warrantless search can be
reasonable doubt is hereby AFFIRMED. conducted.1wphi1 These searches include: (1) search of a moving vehicle; (2) seizure in plain
view; (3) customs search; (4) waiver or consented search; (5) stop-and-frisk situation; (6) search
incidental to a lawful arrest and (7) exigent and emergency circumstance. 19
SO ORDERED.12

The search made was not among the enumerated instances. Certainly, it was not of a moving
On 27 May 2011, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration,13 which the CA denied in a
vehicle, a customs search, or a search incidental to a lawful arrest. There could not have been a
Resolution14 dated 18 October 2011.
seizure in plain view as the seized item was allegedly found inside the left pocket of accused-
appellants pants. Neither was it a stop-and-frisk situation. While thistype may seemingly fall On February 17, 2000, accused-appellants Rolando S. delos Reyes and Raymundo G. Reyes,
under the consented search exception, we reiterate that "[c]onsent to a search is not to be Emmanuel de Claro, and Mary Jane Lantion-Tom (Lantion-Tom) were all arrested for illegal
lightly inferred, but shown by clear and convincing evidence." 20 possession, sale, delivery, distribution, and/or transportation of Methamphetamine
Hydrochloride, a regulated drug commonly known as shabu. The Office of the City Prosecutor of
Consent must also be voluntary inorder to validate an otherwise illegal search; that is, the Mandaluyong City, in its Resolution dated March 3, 2000, found probable cause to indict
consent mustbe unequivocal, specific, intelligently given, and uncontaminated by any duress or accused-appellants, together with Emmanuel de Claro, for violation of Republic Act No. 6425,
coercion.21 In this case, petitioner was merely "ordered" to take out the contents of his pocket. and resolved to continue the preliminary investigation in so far as Lantion-Tom was concerned.
The testimony of the police officer on the matter is clear: The criminal information against accused-appellants and Emmanuel de Claro, filed with the RTC,
reads:
Q: And what did you do when you frisked a small plastic sachet?
The undersigned 2nd Asst. City Prosecutor accuses ROLANDO DELOS REYES y SANTOS @
BOTONG, RAYMUNDO REYES y GUINZON @ MAC-MAC and EMMANUEL DE CLARO y ENRIQUEZ @
A: When I felt something inside his pocket, I ordered him to bring out the thing which I felt.
COCOY of the crime of VIOLATION OF SEC. 21 ART. IV IN REL. TO SEC. 16 ART. III OF R.A. 6425 AS
AMENDED, committed in the manner herein narrated as follows:
Q. : And what did Danilo Villanueva do when you instructed him to bring out the contents of his
pocket?
That on or about the 17th day of February, 2000, in the City of Mandaluyong, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, not being lawfully
A: He took out the contents of his pocket and I saw the plastic containing shabu. 22 authorized to possess any regulated drug, conspiring and confederating together and mutually
helping and aiding one another, commit to sell, deliver, distribute and/or transport a carton of
The evidence obtained is not admissible. ten (10) heat-sealed transparent plastic bags containing white crystalline substance with the
following grams, to wit: 99.2, 94.9, 99.6, 93.5, 98.3, 99.5, 99.6, 99.5, 98.4 and 98.4 grams or a
Having been obtained through an unlawful search, the seized item is thus inadmissible in total of 980.9 grams, which substance when submitted for drug examination, were found
evidence against accused-appellant. Obviously, this is an instance of seizure of the "fruit of the positive to the test for Methamphetamine Hydrochloride, commonly known as "shabu," a
poisonous tree." Hence, the confiscated item is inadmissible in evidence consonant with Article regulated drug, without the corresponding license and prescription. 3
III, Section 3(2) of the 1987 Constitution: "Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the
preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding." 23 Without the seized On March 7, 2000, accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes, Emmanuel de Claro, and Lantion-
item, therefore, the conviction of accused appellant cannot be sustained. This being the case, Tom, insisting on their innocence, moved for a reinvestigation of their case before the RTC, which
we see no more reason to discuss the alleged lapses of the officers in the handling of the said trial court granted in an Order4dated March 15, 2000.
confiscated drug.
After the reinvestigation, the Office of the City Prosecutor issued a Resolution dated April 3,
As a final word, we reiterate that "[ w ]hile this Court appreciates and encourages the efforts of 2000, recommending that the RTC proceed with the indictment of accused-appellant Reyes and
law enforcers to uphold the law and to preserve the peace and security of society, we Emmanuel de Claro, and dismiss the charges against accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes
nevertheless admonish them to act with deliberate care and within the parameters set by the and Lantion-Tom. The Office of the City Prosecutor considered the different versions of events
Constitution and the law. Truly, the end never justifies the means." 24 presented by the parties during the preliminary investigation and reinvestigation (except
accused-appellant Reyes who did not participate in the proceedings), which it summarized as
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed Decision dated 4 May 2011 and Resolution follows:
dated 18 October 2011 issued by the Fourteenth Division of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. C.R.
No. 32582 are SET ASIDE. Petitioner is hereby ACQUITTED. In their Joint Affidavit of Arrest, the arresting officers, members of the Intelligence and
Investigation of the Regional Mobile Group (RMG) of the National Capital Region Police Office
SO ORDERED. (NCRPO) claims that on 17 February 2000 a confidential informant called up relative to a
narcotics drug deal to commence at the vicinity of the parking area of Shangrila Plaza Hotel,
Mandaluyong City; that they were dispatched to verify the reports and conduct police
operations; that about 2:00 p.m. after meeting with the confidential agent, they strategically
positioned themselves at the vicinity parking area of said hotel; that about 10:00 p.m.,
G.R. No. 174774 August 31, 2011 accused/respondent Reyes a.k.a. Mac-Mac, on board a white Toyota Corolla, and
accused/respondent [Rolando] delos Reyes, a.k.a. "Botong," on board a red Toyota Corolla,
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, arrived with accused/respondent Reyes subsequently proceeding inside Whistletop Bar and
vs. Restaurant, and accused/respondent [Rolando] delos Reyes calling accused/respondent
ROLANDO S. DELOS REYES, alias "Botong," and RAYMUNDO G. REYES, alias "Mac- [Emmanuel] de Claro through his cellular phone; that accused/respondent [Rolando] delos Reyes
Mac," Accused-Appellants. and [Emmanuel] de Claro then proceeded to the latters parked Mazda car where respondent
Lantion-Tom was waiting; from the parked car, a box in transparent plastic bag was taken, which
DECISION accused/respondent [Emmanuel] de Claro handed-over to accused/respondent [Rolando] delos
Reyes; accused/respondent [Rolando] delos Reyes in turn handed the box in a plastic bag to
accused/respondent Reyes; that the arresting officers accosted the accused/respondents who
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.: according to the arresting officers admitted having in their possession illegal drugs; that the
recovered items containing ten (10) pcs. of heat sealed transparent plastic bags of white
On appeal is the Decision1 dated July 12, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. crystalline substance with a total weight of 980.9 grams turned positive to the test for
01733, which affirmed with modification the Decision 2 dated September 23, 2003 of Branch 214 methylamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, a regulated drug.
of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Mandaluyong City in Criminal Case No. MC-00-2375-D. The
Court of Appeals found accused-appellants Rolando S. delos Reyes and Raymundo G. Reyes In his "Sinumpaang Kontra-Salaysay," accused/respondent [Rolando] delos Reyes claims that on
(Reyes) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section 21 of Article IV, in relation to 17 February 2000, he went to Buenas Market, Manggahan, Pasig City, together with a neighbor,
Section 16 of Article III, of Republic Act No. 6425, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act one Marlon David, to talk to Raymundo Reyes who was to pay his indebtedness; that while
of 1972, and imposing upon them the penalty of reclusion perpetua. looking for a parking space, several men with firearms suddenly appeared, with one shouting,
"buksan mo ang pintuan ng sasakyan at kung hindi babasagin ko ito"; that he and Marlon David
The following antecedent facts are culled from the records:
were forced out of their vehicle with one of the armed men bringing out a plastic shopping bag fabrication) and the arresting officers (i.e., that Emmanuel de Claro was the seller/pusher in the
of Shoe Mart, asking where the said bag allegedly containing "shabu" came from; that drug deal and the shabu was seized from his vehicle) would be best ventilated during the trial on
accused/respondent [Rolando] delos Reyes answered "hindi ko alam," that he and Marlon David the merits.
were blindfolded when forcibly taken to the groups vehicle and continuously asked who the
source of the shabu was, with respondent/accused [Rolando] delos Reyes replying, "hindi ko In accordance with the foregoing resolution, the prosecution filed with the RTC a motion with
alam at wala akong kinalaman diyan;" that Marlon David was separated from leave of court to admit amended information.
accused/respondent [Rolando] delos Reyes and later released on 18 February 2000; that when
accused/respondent [Rolando] delos Reyes blindfold was removed, he found himself at Camp
In its Order6 dated April 4, 2000, the RTC denied the prosecutions motion. Contrary to the
Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig, Metro Manila.
finding of the Office of the City Prosecutor, the RTC adjudged that probable cause exists not only
against accused-appellant Reyes and Emmanuel de Claro, but accused-appellant Rolando delos
xxxx Reyes as well.

To confirm respondent/accused [Rolando] delos Reyes claim, that he was arrested in Brgy. Accused-appellants were arraigned on May 23, 2000,7 while Emmanuel de Claro was arraigned
Manggahan, Pasig City, and not in the vicinity of Whistletop Bar and Restaurant in Mandaluyong on July 12, 2000.8All three pleaded not guilty. After the pre-trial conference, trial ensued.
City, respondent/accused [Emmanuel] de Claros spouse submitted a certified true xerox copy of
barangay blotter of Barangay Manggahan, Pasig City, reflecting the entry on 19 February 2000
The prosecution presented in evidence the testimonies of Police Officer (PO) 3 Virgilio
made by Mrs. Delos Reyes, on the incident reported to by Marlon David thus:
Santiago,9 Senior Police Officer (SPO) 1 Eraldo Lectura,10 PO3 Angel Yumul,11 and SPO1
Benjamin David,12 members of the Regional Mobile Group (RMG) of the Philippine National Police
"BLOTTER" (PNP) National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) who apprehended and/or investigated the
case against accused-appellants, Emmanuel de Claro, and Lantion-Tom; and P/Insp. Benjamin
"Dumulog po rito sa himpilan ng Punong Barangay si Gng. Virginia Delos Reyes, upang ipagbigay Cruto, Jr.13 (Cruto), the forensic chemist of the PNP Crime Laboratory.
alam ang pagkawala ng kanyang asawa na si Mr. Rolando delos Reyes, nuong petsa 17 ng
Pebrero taong dalawang libo (2000) na ayon sa batang pamangkin na si Marlon David, ay hinuli PO3 Santiago was one of the police officers who arrested Emmanuel de Claro and Lantion-Tom on
ng mga hindi kilalang lalaki sa Buenas Market, Manggahan, Pasig City nais niyang alamin kung February 17. 2000. He testified that at around 10:30 a.m., their operation chief, Major Arnold
ang nasabing insidente ay coordinated dito sa himpilan o tanggapan ng Barangay." Aguilar, received information from a confidential informant regarding an illegal drug deal that
would take place between Botong and Mac-Mac at the parking lot of Shangri-La Plaza in
(Sgd) Virginia delos Reyes Madaluyong City. Botong and Mac-Mac were identified during the investigation as accused-
Nagpapahayag" appellants Rolando delos Reyes and Reyes, respectively.

The blotter was apparently made after Marlon David informed Mrs. [Virginia] Delos Reyes of the As narrated by PO3 Santiago, a team to bust the illegal drug deal was organized by Major
incident upon his release on 18 February 2000. Another witness, one Joel Navarro, claims having Aguilar, composed of PO3 Santiago himself, SPO1 Lectura, and PO3 Yumul, along with PO3 Elmer
seen the actual incident confirming the events as narrated to by accused/respondent [Rolando] Corbe, PO3 Marcelo Arcancia, Jr., PO3 Randy Fuentes, PO3 Dennis Padpad, and PO3 Edwin dela
delos Reyes and Marlon David. Cruz. At around 1:00 p.m. of the same day, the police team was dispatched, using four vehicles,
to the location of the drug deal and upon arrival, they waited for the confidential informant to
Accused/respondent [Emmanuel] de Claro and his common law wife, respondent Lantion-Tom, arrive. When the confidential informant arrived at around 3:30 p.m., he told the police team that
submitted their separate Counter-Affidavits jointly denying the charges and claiming that they the drug deal would possibly take place between 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., and that the
were at the Whistlestop Bar and Restaurant to talk to respondent Lantion-Toms accountant Ms. suspects would utilize a red Toyota Corolla with plate number TRP-868 and a white Toyota Corolla
Daisy Milan regarding the Mayors Permit, Business Location Clearance issued by the Office of with plate number ULF-706. The police team then positioned their cars strategically in such a
the Barangay Captain, insurance documents, BIR Certificate of Registration of her business; that way that they could see the vehicles coming from St. Francis Street and EDSA.
they were with accused/respondent [Emmanuel] de Claros brother, Roberto and a friend, James,
with the two remaining outside the restaurant; that respondent Lantion-Tom went to accompany PO3 Santiago further recounted that at around 10:00 p.m., the suspected vehicles arrived, both
Ms. Milan, while accused/respondent [Emmanuel] de Claro was left inside; that after Ms. Milan stopping along the driveway of Shangri-La Plaza. The drivers of the vehicles alighted and talked
left, respondent Lantion-Tom was suddenly surrounded by men who introduced themselves as to each other. The confidential informant recognized the driver of the white Toyota car as Mac-
police officers and were arresting them for being the source of "shabu" in a drug deal; that all of Mac and the driver of the red Toyota car as Botong. After a few minutes, Botong made a call on
them, accused/respondent [Emmanuel] de Claro, Roberto and James were likewise arrested and his cellular phone and then proceeded inside Whistle Stop Restaurant, leaving Mac-Mac behind.
continuously questioned on their complicity in the drug deal; that they were taken to Camp Inside the restaurant, Botong talked to another person, who was identified during the
Bagong Diwa, Taguig, Metro Manila and subjected to further investigation; that Roberto and investigation as Emmanuel de Claro alias Cocoy. PO3 Santiago was about three to five meters
James were released the following day. Both respondents maintain that the allegations of the away. Thereafter, Botong and Cocoy went out of the restaurant and approached a car parked
arresting officers as to the circumstances on the alleged "drug deal" leading to their arrest are right outside. The person at the back seat of the car, later on identified as Lantion-Tom, handed
unfounded and purely fabricated. to Cocoy a white plastic bag containing a box. Cocoy gave the bag to Botong, who, in turn,
handed the same bag to Mac-Mac. In the meantime, Cocoy went back inside the restaurant.
During the preliminary investigation proceedings on 21 March 2000, the arresting officers
manifested that they are going to submit reply-affidavit on 29 March 2000. However, no such PO3 Santiago related that their team leader "sensed" that the drug deal had already been
reply-affidavit was submitted.5 consummated, so the police team immediately effected the arrest of the suspected drug
dealers. PO3 Santiago and PO3 Yumul arrested Cocoy and Lantion-Tom, while SPO1 Lectura and
The Office of the City Prosecutor pointed out that the arresting police officers failed to refute the remaining police team members arrested Botong and Mac-Mac. The plastic bag containing
accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes counter-allegation that he was not arrested at Shangri- the box was seized from Mac-Mac. The arrested suspects were brought to the police office for
La Plaza in Mandaluyong City, but he was illegally arrested without warrant at Buenas Market in investigation. The plastic bag, the box, and the 10 heat-sealed sachets of white crystalline
Cainta, Rizal, as corroborated by Marlon David and Joel Navarro (Navarro) in their respective substance inside the box, were marked for identification and physical examination at the police
sworn statements (Sinumpaang Salaysay) dated March 14, 2000. The Office of the City office.
Prosecutor also observed that Lantion-Tom was "merely in the company of the other respondents
without performing any overt act showing her to be part of the illicit transaction" and her drug According to PO3 Santiago, the physical examination of the contents of each of the 10 heat-
test revealed negative results. On the other hand, it considered the conflicting claims of sealed sachets yielded positive test results for methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. PO3
Emmanuel de Claro (i.e., that he was illegally arrested and that the drug deal was a mere Santiago then signed a Joint Affidavit of Arrest dated February 18, 2000 together with the other
arresting police officers, namely, SPO1 Lectura, PO3 Corbe, PO3 Arcancia, PO3 Fuentes, and PO3 At around 10:00 p.m., the suspects Botong and Mac-Mac arrived in separate cars, stopping in
Nelson Gene Javier. front of Shangri-La Plaza. Botong and Mac-Mac alighted from their cars and talked to each other.
At that time, PO3 Yumul was about five meters away from the two suspects. Moments later,
On cross-examination, PO3 Santiago admitted that he did not actually see what was inside the Botong called someone on his cellular phone, and then went inside Whistle Stop Restaurant,
plastic bag and that he did not even see Botong hand over such plastic bag to Mac-Mac. From leaving Mac-Mac behind. PO3 Yumul followed Botong inside the restaurant and saw the latter
PO3 Santiagos position, he could not conclude that the suspects were committing an illegal drug talking to Cocoy. PO3 Yumul though did not hear the conversation between Botong and Cocoy.
deal as he had no prior knowledge of the contents of the plastic bag, and that he and the other Afterwards, Botong and Cocoy went out of the restaurant and approached a parked car. From his
arresting officers just relied on the information relayed by the confidential informant. Also, the position about three meters away, PO3 Yumul saw the passenger at the back seat of the car,
police team did not recover any money from the arrested suspects. The confidential informant Lantion-Tom, opening the window and handing over "a white plastic bag with carton inside" to
merely informed the police the following morning that the money for the illegal drugs was Cocoy, who, in turn, gave the plastic bag to Botong. Cocoy then returned inside the restaurant
already deposited in the bank. The police, however, failed to make further queries from the and "[Botong] went back to [Mac-Mac]." PO3 Yumul followed Cocoy inside the restaurant. A few
confidential informant about the bank. minutes later, PO3 Santiago also went inside the restaurant informing PO3 Yumul that they
would be arresting Cocoy, and that Botong and Mac-Mac were already arrested outside the
restaurant. PO3 Santiago, assisted by PO3 Yumul, approached Cocoy and arrested him. The
SPO1 Lectura related that their office received a telephone call from a confidential informant
police team proceeded to the police office with all the arrested suspects for further investigation.
about an illegal drug deal involving Cocoy, Botong, and Mac-Mac in the vicinity of Shangri-La
PO3 Yumul, however, failed to join the other arresting officers in signing the Joint Affidavit of
Plaza in Mandaluyong City on February 17, 2000. SPO1 Lectura was designated as the leader of
Arrest dated February 18, 2000.
the team that will bust said illegal drug deal. After the briefing, SPO1 Lecturas team proceeded
to the subject location.
SPO1 David was an investigator at the Intelligence and Investigation Section of the RMG at
Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig, assigned to the instant case following the arrests of
The confidential informant arrived and met SPO1 Lecturas team at around 3:30 p.m. SPO1
accused-appellants, Emmanuel de Claro and Lantion-Tom. He also referred the case for inquest
Lectura conducted a short briefing then positioned his team strategically within the vicinity. The
to the Office of the City Prosecutor.
confidential informant told the police team that the drug deal would take place between 6:00
p.m. and 11:00 p.m. At around 10:00 p.m., the confidential informant identified the suspected
drug dealers Botong and Mac-Mac, who were arriving in two cars. After conversing for a moment SPO1 David testified that on February 17, 2000, he received from SPO1 Lectura a plastic bag
with Mac-Mac, Botong went inside Whistle Stop Restaurant to talk to Cocoy. Botong and Cocoy containing a box with 10 heat-sealed sachets of suspected shabu inside. SPO1 Lectura told SPO1
then went outside the restaurant and approached another car. Cocoy took a white plastic bag David that the articles were seized from the suspected drug dealers. SPO1 David marked his
from the car, which he handed to Botong. Thereafter, Cocoy went back inside the restaurant, initials "BSD" on the confiscated articles, then prepared a request to the PNP Crime Laboratory
while "[Botong] proceeded to his car near [Mac-Mac]." SPO1 Lectura was positioned at the other for examination of the specimens. SPO1 David disclosed that he prepared the Affidavit of Arrest
lane of the road, approximately 10 to 15 meters away from the suspects. At that moment, SPO1 of the arresting officers.
Lectura "sensed" that the drug deal had been consummated, so he decided to already arrest the
suspects. SPO1 Lectura arrested Mac-Mac, from whom he seized the white plastic bag. PO3 The last witness for the prosecution was P/Insp. Cruto of the PNP Crime Laboratory. P/Insp. Cruto
Yumul and PO3 Padpad arrested Botong; and PO3 Santiago apprehended Cocoy. The police team was the forensic chemist who conducted the physical, chemical, and confirmatory examinations
brought the arrested suspects to the police office for investigation. of the contents of the 10 heat-sealed plastic sachets submitted by the RMG-NCRPO on February
18, 2000.
SPO1 Lectura submitted to SPO1 David the white plastic bag containing a box with 10 heat-
sealed plastic sachets inside. In front of SPO1 Lectura, SPO1 David marked the said articles with P/Insp. Cruto conducted the physical examination by weighing the contents of each sachet,
his initials. After physical and chemical examinations revealed that the contents of the sachets revealing that two sachets weighed 99.6 grams each; two sachets, 99.5 grams each; one sachet,
were shabu, SPO1 Lectura signed the Joint Affidavit of Arrest dated February 18, 2000. 99.2 grams; two sachets, 98.4 grams each; one sachet, 98.3 grams; one sachet, 94.9 grams;
and one sachet, 93.5 grams. P/Insp. Cruto then took a representative sample from each plastic
During cross-examination, SPO1 Lectura initially denied that Marlon David was with Botong when sachet and proceeded with his chemical and confirmatory examinations. The contents of the 10
the latter was arrested, but he later admitted that the police also arrested Marlon David. Marlon heat-sealed plastic sachets all tested positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride, otherwise
David was brought to Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig, together with the other arrested suspects, for known as shabu. P/Insp. Cruto recorded the result of the examinations in his Physical Sciences
"verification," and was released the following day. SPO1 Lectura also admitted that during the Report No. D-097-2000.14
preliminary investigation, he and PO3 Corbe, PO3 Arcancia, and PO3 Javier, answered that it was
PO3 Santiago who seized the shabu from Mac-Mac; but SPO1 Lectura explained that what the The prosecution submitted the following object and documentary evidence: the Joint Affidavit of
investigating prosecutor actually asked during preliminary investigation was who saw where the Arrest15 dated February 18, 2000 signed by SPO1 Lectura, PO3 Santiago, PO3 Corbe, PO3
shabu came from and that he signed the minutes of the preliminary investigation without Arcancia, PO3 Dela Cruz and PO3 Javier; the Sketch prepared in open court by SPO1
reading the same. SPO1 Lectura maintained that it was he who recovered the shabu from Mac- Lectura;16 the 10 heat-sealed plastic sachets recovered from the possession of accused-
Mac. Lastly, SPO1 Lectura acknowledged that his team heavily relied on the information given by appellants;17 the PNP-RMG Request for Laboratory Examination of the contents of the 10 heat-
the confidential informant in identifying the suspects in the illegal drug deal, who were sealed plastic sachets;18 the PNP Crime Laboratory Physical Sciences Report No. D-097-2000
eventually arrested. dated February 18, 2000 which revealed that the contents of the 10 heat-sealed plastic sachets
positively tested for methamphetamine hydrochloride; 19 and the Letter (Referral of the case to
PO3 Yumul substantially narrated the same version of events as that of PO3 Santiago and SPO1 the Office of the City Prosecutor)20 dated February 18, 2000. The RTC admitted all the
Lectura. On February 17, 2000, he was assigned at the Intelligence Investigation Division of the aforementioned evidence for the prosecution in its Order21 dated March 1, 2001.
RMG based in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig. He was with SPO1 Lectura, PO3 Santiago,
PO3 Fuentes, PO3 Padpad, and several other police officers at the vicinity of Shangri-La Plaza in The defense, on the other hand, presented the testimonies of Marlon David,22 accused-appellant
Mandaluyong City, conducting surveillance operation regarding the tipped-off illegal drug deal. Rolando delos Reyes,23 Emmanuel de Claro,24 Roberto de Claro,25 and Mary Jane Lantion-
He was with SPO1 Lectura and PO3 Padpad in the car parked in front of Shangri-La Plaza, while Tom.26 Accused-appellant Reyes did not testify.
PO3 Fuentes, PO3 Dela Cruz, and their confidential informant were in another car also parked
along the driveway of Shangri-La Plaza. PO3 Santiago, PO3 Arcancia, and PO3 Corbe were in the Marlon David was 17 years old and a fourth year high school student of Rizal High School in
car stationed in front of Whistle Stop Restaurant. PO3 Yumul could not recall where the other Pasig City. He recalled that on February 17, 2000, at about 1:00 p.m., he accompanied accused-
members of the team were located. appellant Rolando delos Reyes, whom he referred to as Kuya Botong, to the Buenas Market in
Cainta, Rizal, to collect some money.
While accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes and Marlon David were inside their car at the a cigarette, then, returned inside to wait for the meeting between Lantion-Tom and Milan to
parking area of said market, another car suddenly arrived, from which an armed male passenger finish. After their meeting, Lantion-Tom walked Milan outside the restaurant, while Emmanuel de
alighted and approached them. Four other armed men followed and poked their guns at Claro waited for Lantion-Tom inside.
accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes and Marlon David. The armed men, in civilian attire,
were carrying an SM plastic shopping bag and questioned accused-appellant Rolando delos Three male persons suddenly approached Emmanuel de Claro and introduced themselves as
Reyes if he knew the owner of said plastic bag. Accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes denied police officers. They warned Emmanuel de Claro not to make a scene and just go with them
any knowledge about the plastic bag. Marlon David was also asked and he answered that he peacefully. Emmanuel de Claro obeyed. He was brought outside the restaurant and was forced to
knew nothing about the plastic bag. get into a waiting car. For about three hours inside the car, he was punched, handcuffed,
blindfolded, and told to bow down his head. He was likewise being forced to admit something
Thereafter, the armed men, who later introduced themselves as police officers, pulled accused- about the shabu, but he denied knowing anything about it. He heard from the radio inside the
appellant Rolando delos Reyes from the driver seat of the latters car, transferred him and car that the police officers were waiting for another car. After three hours of traveling, the car
Marlon David to the back seat of said car, and blindfolded both of them. Two of the armed men finally stopped and when his blindfold was removed, he learned that they were already at Camp
sat in the front seats of the car, while one of them sat at the back, beside accused-appellant Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig.
Rolando delos Reyes and Marlon David. The armed men drove the car around (paikot-ikot). The
armed men then separated accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes from Marlon David. They Emmanuel de Claro was placed in one room where he stayed for almost an hour, until he was
ordered Marlon David to alight from the car and transfer to another vehicle. While in the other called into another room where he met his co-accused for the first time. He later saw Lantion-
car, the armed men boxed and mauled Marlon David to force him to admit to be the source of Tom at the office of one of the police officers. They were interrogated by the police and being
the plastic bag. Each question was accompanied with one punch. Marlon David remained forced to admit that the drugs being shown to them belonged to them. They asked for a lawyer
blindfolded until they arrived at the police camp in Bicutan, Taguig, where he again saw accused- but their plea was ignored. The police told Emmanuel de Claro and Lantion-Tom that somebody
appellant Rolando delos Reyes. Marlon David was released the following morning, leaving should be held responsible for the shabu so they were made to choose whether both of them or
accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes behind at the police camp. Marlon David went home and only one of them would be charged. Emmanuel de Claro was compelled to choose the latter
told Virginia delos Reyes, the wife of accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes, about the incident. option.

Marlon David, during his cross examination, denied knowing any person with the name Mac-Mac. Roberto de Claro corroborated Emmanuel de Claros testimony. On February 17, 2000, Roberto
Marlon David additionally relayed that he was told by accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes de Claro was at home playing video games when his brother Emmanuel de Claro and the latters
that the latter was likewise mauled by the armed men. wife, Lantion-Tom, arrived and requested him to drive their car because Emmanuel was not
feeling well. James, Roberto de Claros friend, rode with them. They first went to Las Pias City to
Accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes or Botong gave a similar account of the incident that check on Emmanuel de Claros car at the auto shop, then they proceeded to Libertad, Pasay
took place at 1:00 p.m. on February 17, 2000, while he and Marlon David were at the Buenas City, where they had dinner at Duty Free Philippines. They next drove to Whistle Stop Restaurant
Market in Cainta, Rizal. Their car was surrounded by four armed men. The armed men poked at Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong City to meet "Ms. Milan." Only Emmanuel de Claro and
their guns at him and Marlon David, shouting at them to open the car doors. He lowered the car Lantion-Tom went inside the restaurant. Roberto de Claro and James stayed in the car.
window and the armed men opened the car door. The armed men forced him and Marlon David
to get down from the front seats of the car and to transfer to the back seat, blindfolded them, Two hours later, Roberto de Claro saw Lantion-Tom and "Ms. Milan" walking towards them. As the
and asked them who were the owners of the SM plastic bag. After they left Buenas Market, he two women were approaching, armed men suddenly appeared, surrounded their car, and
noticed that they were just driving around. The car stopped only when Marlon David was taken pointed guns at them. Roberto de Claro got terrified. It was as if an armed robbery ("hold-up")
out and transferred to another car. It was already late in the evening when the car finally was taking place. The armed men knocked at the car window. Out of fear, Roberto de Claro
stopped. He then realized, after his blindfold had been removed, that he was at Camp Bagong opened the window, then the door of the car. Roberto de Claro, James, and Lantion-Tom were
Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig. made to sit at the back seat of the car. Two of the armed men sat on the front seats of the car,
while one sat at the back with Roberto de Claro, James, and Lantion-Tom. The armed men
Accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes denied the accusation of the police that he was selling introduced themselves as police officers.
or delivering shabu to anyone. He asserted that he was not arrested at Whistle Stop restaurant
in Mandaluyong City, rather, he was illegally arrested at Buenas Market in Cainta, Rizal. Accused- Inside the car, the police officers mauled (siniko, sinuntok sa ulo) Roberto de Claro, James, and
appellant Reyes or Mac-Mac was his friend who owed him money. He and accused-appellant Lantion-Tom, all the while ordering them to keep their heads bowed down. The police officers
Reyes agreed to meet at Buenas Market for the settlement of the latters loan, but the meeting drove the car for two hours, stopping at a gas station for about five minutes. At this moment,
did not take place because the armed men arrived. He further claimed that he only met Roberto de Claro was able to raise his head but was immediately told to bow down his head
Emmanuel de Claro at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig. He never knew Emmanuel de Claro again. Roberto de Claro also heard from the police officers radio that they were still waiting for
before that time, and he found out the latters name only when they were already detained at somebody. They travelled again for quite a long time and stopped in a dark place. The police
the Mandaluyong City Jail. officers took Roberto de Claros wallet containing 7,000.00 cash. Early in the following morning,
they arrived at the police station where Roberto de Claro saw his brother Emmanuel de Claro
Emmanuel de Claro or Cocoy testified that on February 17, 2000 at around 10:00 a.m., he was at once more. They stayed in one room until Roberto de Claro and James were released by the
the Department of Trade and Industry in Buendia, Makati City, with his common-law wife Mary police the next day.
Jane Lantion-Tom to follow up their application for business permit. At around 1:00 p.m., they had
lunch at Glorietta. Emmanuel de Claro was no longer feeling well so he and Lantion-Tom passed When Lantion-Tom was called to testify, the prosecution and the defense agreed to consider her
by the house of his brother Roberto de Claro to request the latter to drive for them. James, Counter Affidavit dated March 23, 2000 and Supplemental Affidavit dated March 29, 2000 as her
Roberto de Claros friend, also went with them. direct examination.

The vehicle driven by Emmanuel de Claro was a rented car because his own car was in the auto On cross-examination, Lantion-Tom confirmed that she was among those arrested on February
shop. Emmanuel de Claro, Lantion-Tom, Roberto de Claro, and James first went to Las Pias City 17, 2000 at the vicinity of Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong City for her alleged involvement in
to check on Emmanuel de Claros car at the auto shop. From there, they proceeded to Libertad in an illegal drug deal. At the time of the arrest, she was with Emmanuel de Claro, Roberto de
Pasay City and ate dinner at the Duty Free Philippines. Afterwards, the group made their way to Claro, and James. She was also brought to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig where she was
Mandaluyong City where Lantion-Tom had a scheduled appointment with Daisy Milan (Milan), her interrogated without a lawyer. She was shown a box containing shabu which she had never seen
accountant. Emmanuel de Claro and Lantion-Tom met Milan at Whistle Stop Restaurant located before. Lantion-Tom insisted that she was in Mandaluyong City to meet her accountant, Milan,
at Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong City. Milan and Lantion-Tom discussed matters pertaining to regarding her application for a business permit. Lantion-Tom pointed out that the charge against
the business permit. Emmanuel de Claro stepped outside the restaurant for a moment to smoke her was eventually dismissed.
The documentary evidence for the defense consisted of Emmanuel de Claros Counter Affidavit Mandaluyong City to meet his wifes accountant, so they could attend to several documents
dated March 23, 2000,27 Lantion-Toms Counter Affidavit dated March 23, 2000,28 Emmanuel de pertaining to a business permit. Emmanuel de Claro further insisted that the RTC should have
Claro and Lantion-Toms Supplemental Affidavit dated March 29, 2000,29 Roberto de Claros highly regarded accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes testimony which directly contradicted
Witness Affidavit dated March 29, 2000,30Marlon Davids Sinumpaang Salaysay dated March 14, the police officers statements.
2000,31 Virginia delos Reyes Sinumpaang Salaysay dated March 14, 2000,32 Navarros
Sinumpaang Salaysay dated March 14, 2000,33 accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes In its Order44 dated November 11, 2003, the RTC granted Emmanuel de Claros motion to
Sinumpaang Kontra Salaysay dated March 14, 2000,34 and a Barangay Blotter dated February 19, withdraw his notice of appeal and required the prosecution to comment to his motions for
2000 by Virginia delos Reyes.35 The RTC admitted all these documentary evidence for the reconsideration.
defense in its Order36 dated September 13, 2002.
The prosecution filed its Comment/Opposition45 on December 19, 2003, objecting to Emmanuel
In its Decision dated September 23, 2003, the RTC found accused-appellants and Emmanuel de de Claros motions for reconsideration and maintaining that its police-witnesses categorical,
Claro guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged, and decreed: consistent, and straight-forward testimonies were sufficient to convict Emmanuel de Claro.

WHEREFORE, the prosecution having successfully proved the guilt of the accused beyond In a complete turnabout from its previous findings and conclusion, the RTC, in its Order46 dated
reasonable doubt for unlawfully possessing/selling, delivering, transporting and distributing January 12, 2004, acquitted Emmanuel de Claro of the crime charged. The RTC explicitly
methamphetamine hydrochloride otherwise known as shabu, a regulated drug, without lawful admitted that it erred in giving full faith and credit to the testimonies of prosecution witnesses
authority in violation of Sections 15 and 16 of Article III in relation to Section 21 of Article IV of SPO1 Lectura, PO3 Santiago, and PO3 Yumul, and in entirely rejecting the alibi of the defense.
R.A. No. 6425, as amended, they are hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of LIFE Thus, the RTC disposed:
IMPRISONMENT and to pay a fine of 20,000.00 each and the costs of suit.
WHEREFORE, the motion of accused-movant Emmanuel De Claro is hereby GRANTED and a new
Further, all the methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) taken and seized from the accused one entered, ACQUITTING him of the crime charged. Consequently, his immediate release from
during the aforesaid operation are forfeited and confiscated in favor of the government shall be detention is hereby ordered unless he is detained for other cause or causes. 47
turned over to the PDEA pursuant to law for proper disposal without delay. 37
Nevertheless, in view of the pending notices of appeal of accused-appellants, the RTC forwarded
Emmanuel de Claro filed his notice of appeal38 on October 23, 2003. Accused-appellants Roberto the complete records of the case to us on March 29, 2004, and we gave due course to the said
delos Reyes and Reyes each filed his notice of appeal39 on October 29, 2003 and December 30, appeals in our Resolution48 dated June 21, 2004.
2003, respectively.
Accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes filed his Appellants Brief49 on September 15, 2004, while
Emmanuel de Claro, however, subsequently moved to withdraw his notice of appeal, 40 instead, accused-appellant Reyes filed his Appellants Brief50 on November 26, 2004. Pursuant to our
filing before the RTC an Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and to Re-Open Proceedings pronouncement in People v. Mateo,51 we transferred the case to the Court of Appeals for
Pursuant [to] Section 24, Rule 119 of the Rules of Court41 on October 30, 2003, and a appropriate action and disposition. 52 Accordingly, the plaintiff-appellee, represented by the Office
Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration42 on November 3, 2003. Emmanuel de Claro asked the of the Solicitor General (OSG), filed before the appellate court its Consolidated Brief 53 on January
RTC to review its judgment of conviction based on the following grounds: 21, 2005.

I. THE HONORABLE COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN RULING THAT THE ACCUSED DEFENSE The Court of Appeals, in its Decision dated July 12, 2006, sustained the conviction of accused-
OF FRAME-UP IS A MERE ALIBI AND HAS THUS ERRED IN ADOPTING THE THEORY OF appellants, and merely modified the penalty imposed upon them, from life imprisonment to
THE PROSECUTION THAT ALL THE THREE (3) ACCUSED WERE PICKED-UP AT THE reclusion perpetua. According to the appellate court, the police officers testimonies deserve
VICINITY OF EDSA SHANGRI-LA PLAZA HOTEL. credence than accused-appellants defenses of denial and alibi, there being no evidence to rebut
the presumption that the police officers regularly performed their official duties.
II. THAT THE HONORABLE COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN RULING THAT THE WARRANTLESS
ARREST WAS LAWFUL SINCE THE ACCUSED WERE CAUGHT IN FLAGRANTE DELICTO. The case was then elevated to us for final review. In our Resolution 54 dated January 31, 2007, we
required the parties to submit their supplemental briefs. Plaintiff-appellee and accused-
III. THE HONORABLE COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THERE WAS appellants Rolando delos Reyes and Reyes filed their manifestations55 on March 14, 2007, April
CONSPIRACY AMONG THE THREE (3) ACCUSED IN THE ALLEGED COMMISSION OF THE 10, 2007, and April 13, 2007, respectively, opting to stand by the briefs they had already filed
CRIME OF UNLAWFUL SALE, DELIVERY AND TRANSPORTATION OF THE PROHIBITED before the Court of Appeals.
DRUG.
In his Appellants Brief, accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes assigned the following errors of
IV. THE HONORABLE COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING BOTH ACCUSED GUILTY the RTC:
BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME CHARGED IN THE INFORMATION ON THE
BASIS MAINLY OF A DISPUTABLE PRESUMPTION OF LACK OF IMPROPER MOTIVE ON THE I. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN FAILING TO RESOLVE THE CONTRADICTORY TESTIMONY
PART OF THE POLICE OFFICERS. AS TO THE PLACE OF THE ARREST IN FAVOR OF THE ACCUSED.

V. THAT THE HONORABLE COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN ITS FAILURE TO CONSIDER THE II. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN FINDING [THE] TESTIMONIES OF PO3 VIRGILIO
FACT THAT ACCUSED EMMANUEL DE CLARO WAS NOT AFFORDED HIS SANTIAGO CREDIBLE.
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS DURING CUSTODIAL INVESTIGATION.43
III. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN FAILING TO APPRECIATE THE PROSECUTIONS
Emmanuel de Claro principally contended that the accusation that he was engaging in an illegal EVIDENCE WHICH WAS PREVIOUSLY CATEGORIZE[D] AS WEAK WHEN THE COURT A
drug deal, levied against him by prosecution witnesses SPO1 Lectura, PO3 Santiago, and PO3 QUO GRANTED BAIL TO THE ACCUSED.56
Yumul was suspicious, if not incredible. Emmanuel de Claro pointed out that although these
police officers testified that Lantion-Tom, from the car, handed to him the plastic bag containing
Accused-appellant Reyes cited these errors in his Appellants Brief:
the box with sachets of shabu, the prosecution still dropped the criminal charges against
Lantion-Tom. Emmanuel de Claro also strongly argued that the prosecution failed to contradict
his well-supported alibi that he, his wife, and his brother went to Shangri-La Plaza in I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THE WARRANTLESS ARREST OF ACCUSED-
APPELLANT RAYMUNDO REYES AS UNLAWFUL.
II. ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT THE WARRANTLESS ARREST WAS VALID, ACCUSED- warrantless arrests executed by the police officers enjoy the presumption that "official duty has
APPELLANT RAYMUNDO REYES CANNOT BE CONVICTED FOR VIOLATION OF R.A. been regularly performed."
6425.57
We grant the appeal and reverse the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals.
Accused-appellants essentially assert that the charge of illegal drug deal lodged against them by
the police is a complete fabrication and frame-up. Accused-appellants called attention to the At the outset, we observe that the prosecutors and the RTC both displayed uncertainty as to the
material inconsistencies in the prosecutions evidence. PO3 Santiago testified during direct facts surrounding accused-appellants arrest on the night of February 17, 2000.
examination that accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes handed the "plastic bag with box
inside" to accused-appellant Reyes, but he admitted during cross-examination that he did not
The Office of the City Prosecutor of Mandaluyong City, after preliminary investigation and
see such transfer. The prosecution was unable to present any evidence to prove the source of
reinvestigation, recommended that the RTC drop accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes and
the plastic bag containing the box with sachets of shabu, and the money paid as consideration
Lantion-Tom from the criminal charge. The RTC only partially adopted the recommendations of
for the illegal drugs. The prosecution likewise failed to rebut accused-appellant Rolando delos
the Office of the City Prosecutor: dropping the criminal charge against Lantion-Tom, but still
Reyes straightforward, coherent, and truthful narration, corroborated by Marlon David, that he
finding probable cause against accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes.59
was illegally arrested at Buenas Market in Cainta, Rizal, and not at Shangri-la Plaza in
Mandaluyong City.
Even after trial, the RTC wavered in its findings and conclusion. In its Decision60 dated September
23, 2003, the RTC initially convicted accused-appellants and Emmanuel de Claro, but acting on
Accused-appellants additionally argued that even the prosecutions version of the arrests of the
Emmanuel de Claros motions for reconsideration, said trial court, in its Order 61 dated January
suspects and seizure of the shabu shows that the same were effected in violation of accused-
12, 2004, totally reversed itself and acquitted Emmanuel de Claro. This time, the RTC gave more
appellants fundamental rights. The arrests were executed without any warrant or any of the
weight to the evidence presented by the defense.
exceptional circumstances to justify a warrantless arrest. The suspects, including accused-
appellants, were arrested without warrants based on a mere tip from a confidential informant
and not because of any apparent criminal activity. A tip does not constitute probable cause for a The Court of Appeals, on appeal, refused to consider the subsequent acquittal of Emmanuel de
warrantless arrest or search and seizure incidental thereto. Thus, the shabu allegedly seized Claro by the RTC. Instead, the appellate court upheld the earlier ruling of the RTC giving absolute
from accused-appellants is inadmissible in evidence. credence to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses and convicted accused-appellants of
the crime charged. Despite the varying judgments of the RTC, the Court of Appeals speciously
ratiocinated in its assailed decision that "when the issue involves the credibility of a witness, the
Plaintiff-appellee, on the other hand, stand by the convictions of accused-appellants, maintaining
trial courts assessment is entitled to great weight."62
that:
Guided by the settled rule that "where the inculpatory facts admit of several interpretations, one
I. THE POSITIVE AND CREDIBLE TESTIMONIES OF THE PROSECUTION WITNESSES HAVE
consistent with accused's innocence and another with his guilt, the evidence thus adduced
ESTABLISHED THE GUILT OF APPELLANTS BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.
fail[ed] to meet the test of moral certainty,"63 we find that the findings and conclusion of the RTC
in its subsequent Order64 dated January 12, 2004 (in which it acquitted Emmanuel de Claro) is
II. THE WARRANTLESS ARREST CONDUCTED BY THE POLICE IS VALID SINCE IT FALLS more in keeping with the evidence on record in this case. It bears to stress that the very same
SQUARELY UNDER RULE 113, SECTION 5(A) OF THE REVISED RULES ON CRIMINAL evidence were presented against Emmanuel de Claro and accused-appellants; if the evidence is
PROCEDURE. insufficient to convict the former, then it is also insufficient to convict the latter.

III. THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED BY THE PROSECUTION MORE THAN SUFFICE TO Indeed, the testimonies of prosecution witnesses SPO1 Lectura, PO3 Santiago, and PO3 Yumul
CONVICT APPELLANTS OF THE CRIME CHARGED. are unreliable and suspiciously fabricated. In its Order dated January 12, 2004, the RTC correctly
observed that:
IV. CONSPIRACY ATTENDED THE COMMISSION OF THE OFFENSE.
Viewed vis--vis the peculiar factual milieu of this case, not to say the insistence by the accused-
V. MERE DENIAL AND "HULIDAP," WITHOUT MORE, CANNOT EXCULPATE APPELLANTS movant [Emmanuel de Claro] that a reevaluation or reassessment of the evidence by the
FROM CRIMINAL LIABILITY. prosecution be considered, this court has decided to revisit the evidence put forward by the
prosecution through the crucible of a severe testing by taking a more than casual consideration
VI. THE PRESUMPTION OF REGULARITY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL DUTY of every circumstance of the case.
UNDER SECTION 3(M) OF RULE 131 OF THE REVISED RULES OF COURT HAD NOT BEEN
OVERCOME BY DEFENSE EVIDENCE. It is noted that the testimony given by the witnesses for the prosecution and that of the defense
are diametrically opposed to each other. While this court had already made its conclusion that
VII. CONCLUSION OF THE TRIAL JUDGE REGARDING THE CREDIBILITY OF WITNESSES the testimonies of prosecution witnesses PO3 Santiago, SPO1 Lectura and PO3 Yumul are given
COMMANDS GREAT RESPECT AND CONSIDERATION.58 full faith and credit and reject the frame-up and alibi story of the accused-movant [Emmanuel de
Claro], nonetheless, upon reassessment of the same it appears that the court erred.
Plaintiff-appellee avers that the inconsistencies in the police officers statements, as pointed out
by accused-appellants, are trivial and do not affect the weight of their testimonies; while In sum, the conveniently dovetailing accounts of the prosecution eyewitnesses, all of them
accused-appellants defenses of denial and frame-up could be easily concocted and, thus, should police officers, with regard to the material facts of how the crime was allegedly committed
be looked upon with disfavor. Moreover, there is no need for proof of consideration for the illegal engenders doubt as to their credibility. Firstly, the court noted that these police officers gave
drug deal, since consideration is not an element of the crime charged. identical testimonies of the events that happened from the moment they arrived at 2 oclock in
the afternoon until the arrest of the accused at 10:30 oclock in the evening at the EDSA
Shangri-La premises. This uniform account given by these witnesses cannot but generate the
Plaintiff-appellee avows that accused-appellants were caught while in the commission of a crime
suspicion that the material circumstances testified to by them were integral parts of a well
or in flagrante delicto, which justifies their warrantless arrests under Section 5(a), Rule 113 of
thought-out and prefabricated story. Because of the close camaraderie of these witnesses who
the Rules of Court. Accused-appellants were arrested while in possession and in the act of
belong to the same police force it is not difficult for them to make the same story. Furthermore,
distributing, without legal authority, a total of 980.9 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride
their testimonies are so general which shows only too clearly that they testified uniformly only
or shabu, on the night of February 17, 2000 at the parking area of Shangri-La Plaza in
as to material facts but have not given the particulars and the details having relation with the
Mandaluyong City. In addition, in the absence of satisfactory proof to the contrary, the
principal facts. While they testified that they were at Shangri-La from 2 in the afternoon to 10 in
the evening, they were not able to tell the court how their group positioned strategically at the Section 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon
premises without being noticed by their target. They could not also gave (sic) an explanation lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise as prescribed by law.
how their confidential informant was able to obtain information regarding the drug deal that was
supposed to take place on that date involving several personalities. Except for their bare (2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for
allegation that they have that information regarding the drug deal they were not able to present any purpose in any proceeding. (Emphases supplied.)
any proof of such report, say, entry in their logbook of such confidential report and a spot report.
Even their operation is not recorded as no documentary evidence was presented. Worth
The foregoing constitutional proscription is not without exceptions. Search and seizure may be
remembering in this regard is People v. Alviar, 59 SCRA 136, where it is said that: . . . "[i]t often
made without a warrant and the evidence obtained therefrom may be admissible in the following
happens with fabricated stories that minute particulars have not been thought of." It has also
instances: (1) search incident to a lawful arrest; (2) search of a moving motor vehicle; (3) search
been said that "an honest witness, who has sufficient memory to state one fact, and that fact a
in violation of customs laws; (4) seizure of evidence in plain view; (5) when the accused himself
material one, cannot be safely relied upon as such weakness of memory not only leaves the
waives his right against unreasonable searches and seizures; and (6) stop and frisk situations. 67
case incomplete, but throws doubt upon the accuracy of the statements made. Such a witness
may be honest, but his testimony is not reliable."65 (Emphasis supplied.)
The first exception (search incidental to a lawful arrest) includes a valid warrantless search and
seizure pursuant to an equally valid warrantless arrest which must precede the search. In this
There are also material inconsistencies between the police-witnesses sworn statements
instance, the law requires that there be first a lawful arrest before a search can be made the
following accused-appellants arrest and their testimonies before the RTC. The police officers
process cannot be reversed. As a rule, an arrest is considered legitimate if effected with a valid
attested in their Joint Affidavit of Arrest dated February 18, 2000 that "upon sensing suspicious
warrant of arrest. The Rules of Court, however, recognizes permissible warrantless arrests. Thus,
transactions being undertaken thereat, team leader thru hand signaled immediately accosted
a peace officer or a private person may, without warrant, arrest a person: (a) when, in his
the suspects and introduced themselves as Police Officers and after that, subject persons
presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to
deliberately admitted that they have in their possession illegal drugs and thereafter showed the
commit an offense (arrest in flagrante delicto); (b) when an offense has just been committed and
same to the herein undersigned arresting officers thus they were placed under arrest." 66 Yet,
he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that
during trial before the RTC, the police officers uniformly testified that they brought accused-
the person to be arrested has committed it (arrest effected in hot pursuit); and (c) when the
appellants, Emmanuel de Claro and Lantion-Tom to the police office after arresting the four
person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or a place
suspects in flagrante delicto, without mention at all of the suspects purported admission.
where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has
escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another (arrest of escaped
We also consider the fact that Lantion-Tom was never charged with any criminal involvement prisoners).68
even when, according to the prosecutions version of events, she was the first person to deliver
the shabu. This seriously dents the prosecutions sequence of events on the night of February
In People v. Molina,69 we cited several cases involving in flagrante delicto arrests preceding the
17, 2000.
search and seizure that were held illegal, to wit:

In contrast, accused-appellants presented clear and convincing evidence in support of their


In People v. Chua Ho San, the Court held that in cases of in flagrante delicto arrests, a peace
defenses, which the prosecution failed to rebut. Specifically, accused-appellant Rolando delos
officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person when, in his presence, the
Reyes testified that he was illegally arrested without warrant at Buenas Market, Cainta, Rizal, not
person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an
at Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong City; and that he and Marlon David were coerced to
offense. The arresting officer, therefore, must have personal knowledge of such fact or, as recent
incriminate themselves for possession of shabu. His claims were corroborated by Marlon Davids
case law adverts to, personal knowledge of facts or circumstances convincingly indicative or
testimony and Navarros Sinumpaang Salaysay dated March 14, 2000. Also, Emmanuel de Claro,
constitutive of probable cause. As discussed in People v. Doria, probable cause means an actual
Lantion-Tom, and Roberto de Claro consistently testified that they were at Shangri-La Plaza to
belief or reasonable grounds of suspicion. The grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in the
meet Milan, Lantion-Toms accountant, regarding documents for a business permit (photocopies
absence of actual belief of the arresting officers, the suspicion that the person to be arrested is
of the said documents were presented during trial); and that they were illegally arrested without
probably guilty of committing the offense, is based on actual facts, i.e., supported by
warrant and forced to admit criminal liability for possession of shabu. These pieces of evidence
circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable cause of guilt of the
are overwhelmingly adequate to overthrow the presumption of regularity in the performance by
person to be arrested. A reasonable suspicion therefore must be founded on probable cause,
the arresting police officers of their official duties and raise reasonable doubt in accused-
coupled with good faith on the part of the peace officers making the arrest.
appellants favor.
As applied to in flagrante delicto arrests, it is settled that "reliable information" alone, absent
Furthermore, even assuming that the prosecutions version of the events that took place on the
any overt act indicative of a felonious enterprise in the presence and within the view of the
night of February 17, 2000 were true, it still failed to establish probable cause to justify the in
arresting officers, are not sufficient to constitute probable cause that would justify an in
flagrante delicto arrests of accused-appellants and search of accused-appellants persons,
flagrante delicto arrest. Thus, in People v. Aminnudin, it was held that "the accused-appellant
incidental to their arrests, resulting in the seizure of the shabu in accused-appellants
was not, at the moment of his arrest, committing a crime nor was it shown that he was about to
possession.
do so or that he had just done so. What he was doing was descending the gangplank of the M/V
Wilcon 9 and there was no outward indication that called for his arrest. To all appearances, he
Section 2, Article III of the Constitution provides: was like any of the other passengers innocently disembarking from the vessel. It was only when
the informer pointed to him as the carrier of the marijuana that he suddenly became suspect
Section 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects and so subject to apprehension."
against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be
inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to Likewise, in People v. Mengote, the Court did not consider "eyes . . . darting from side to side . . .
be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the [while] holding . . . [one's] abdomen," in a crowded street at 11:30 in the morning, as overt acts
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be and circumstances sufficient to arouse suspicion and indicative of probable cause. According to
searched and the persons or things to be seized. the Court, "[b]y no stretch of the imagination could it have been inferred from these acts that an
offense had just been committed, or was actually being committed, or was at least being
Complementary to the above provision is the exclusionary rule enshrined in Section 3, paragraph attempted in [the arresting officers'] presence." So also, in People v. Encinada, the Court ruled
2 of Article III of the Constitution, which solidifies the protection against unreasonable searches that no probable cause is gleanable from the act of riding a motorela while holding two plastic
and seizures, thus: baby chairs.
Then, too, in Malacat v. Court of Appeals, the trial court concluded that petitioner was xxxx
attempting to commit a crime as he was "'standing at the corner of Plaza Miranda and Quezon
Boulevard' with his eyes 'moving very fast' and 'looking at every person that come (sic) nearer Q: When this two (2) cars arrive what happened next?
(sic) to them."' In declaring the warrantless arrest therein illegal, the Court said:
A: They talked for a while after few minutes Botong entered, sir.
Here, there could have been no valid in flagrante delicto ... arrest preceding the search in light of
the lack of personal knowledge on the part of Yu, the arresting officer, or an overt physical act,
xxxx
on the part of petitioner, indicating that a crime had just been committed, was being committed
or was going to be committed.
Q: Do you know this Botong prior this incident?
It went on to state that
A: No, sir.
Second, there was nothing in petitioner's behavior or conduct which could have reasonably
elicited even mere suspicion other than that his eyes were "moving very fast" an observation Q: How did you come to know that he is Botong?
which leaves us incredulous since Yu and his teammates were nowhere near petitioner and it
was already 6:30 p.m., thus presumably dusk. Petitioner and his companions were merely A: Through our informant, sir.
standing at the corner and were not creating any commotion or trouble . . .
Q: When Botong went to the Whistle Stop, what happened next?
Third, there was at all no ground, probable or otherwise, to believe that petitioner was armed
with a deadly weapon. None was visible to Yu, for as he admitted, the alleged grenade was A: According to my other companion he talked to another person then after that they went out,
"discovered" "inside the front waistline" of petitioner, and from all indications as to the distance sir.
between Yu and petitioner, any telltale bulge, assuming that petitioner was indeed hiding a
grenade, could not have been visible to Yu. xxxx

Clearly, to constitute a valid in flagrante delicto arrest, two requisites must concur: (1) the Q: How long did Botong stay in Whistle Stop Restaurant?
person to be arrested must execute an overt act indicating that he has just committed, is
actually committing, or is attempting to commit a crime; and (2) such overt act is done in the
presence or within the view of the arresting officer. 70 (Emphases supplied.) A: One (1) minute, sir.

Similar to the above-cited cases in Molina, there is a dearth of evidence in this case to justify the xxxx
in flagrante delicto arrests of accused-appellants and search of their persons incidental to the
arrests. Q: When you say they who is the companion?

A close examination of the testimonies of SPO1 Lectura, PO3 Santiago, and PO3 Yumul reveal A: Cocoy, sir.
that they simply relied on the information provided by their confidential informant that an illegal
drug deal was to take place on the night of February 17, 2000 at Shangri-la Plaza in xxxx
Mandaluyong City. Without any other independent information, and by simply seeing the
suspects pass from one to another a white plastic bag with a box or carton inside, the police Q: What happened next after they went out to the car?
team was already able to conclude that the box contained shabu and "sensed" that an illegal
drug deal took place.
A: They went to another car and Cocoy got something from his car and handed to Botong, sir.

SPO1 Lectura testified on direct examination as follows:


xxxx

Q: What was the information gathered by your informant?


Q: Did you see that something that was taken inside that car?

A: That there will be a drug deal between 6 to 11 in the evening, sir.


A: White plastic bag, sir.

Q: You were there as early as 2:00 p.m.?


Q: What happened after that?

A: Yes, sir.
A: Cocoy went inside the Whistle Stop, sir.

Q: What did you do after briefing?


Q: With the bag?

A: We positioned ourselves strategically, we waited for the arrival of the subject, sir.
A: No, it was left with Botong, sir.

xxxx
Q: What happened next after that?

Q: When you are already positioned in your respective area at the vicinity of Shangri-La Plaza,
A: Botong proceeded to his car near Mac-Mac, sir.
what happened next, if any?

Q: What happened next after that?


A: At around 10:00 p.m. two (2) cars arrived and they were identified by the informant that they
were the personalities involved.
A: We already sensed that drug deal has transpired, sir. We accosted him. A: Our team leader, sensing that the drug deal have been consummated, we apprehended them,
sir.
xxxx
Q: How did you come to know that there was a drug deal at that particular place and time?
Q: What did you do?
A: Because of the information given to us by the informant, sir.
A: I arrested Mac-Mac, sir.
Q: Are you aware of the contents of that box at that time?
xxxx
A: No, sir.
Q: Who of your companion apprehended Botong or Rolando delos Reyes?
Q: How did you come to know that there was a consummation of a drug deal?
A: Botong was arrested by Yumul and Padpad, sir.
A: Because of the information given to us by the informant that there will be a drug-deal, sir.
Q: How about De Claro?
xxxx
A: Arrested by Santiago, sir.
Q: Then what did you do?
xxxx
A: We brought them to our office for proper investigation, sir.
Q: Then what did you do after apprehending these people?
Q: At your office, what else did you do?
A: We brought them to our office for investigation, sir. 71 (Emphases supplied.)
A: We confiscated the evidence, marked them and a request for laboratory examination was
PO3 Santiagos testimony also did not offer much justification for the warrantless arrest of made and other pertaining papers regarding the arrest of the accused.
accused-appellants and search of their persons:
Q: You mentioned about the confiscated evidence. What is that confiscated evidence that you
Q: When these two (2) persons went out of the restaurant and went to the place where blue are saying?
Mazda car was parked, what happened next?
A: Ten (10) pieces of white plastic transparent plastic bag with white crystalline substance
A: The person inside the Mazda car, from the backseat, handed a white plastic bag with a box suspected to be methamphetamine hydrochloride, sir.
inside to Emmanuel de Claro [Cocoy], sir. Then, Emmanuel de Claro [Cocoy] gave it to Rolando
Delos Reyes [Botong], sir. Q: How were these evidences confiscated by your group?

Q: You mentioned about somebody handling box to De Claro [Cocoy] from inside that Mazda car? A: They were confiscated from Mac-Mac, sir.

A: Yes, sir. Q: In what condition were they at that time that they were confiscated from Mac-Mac?

Q: Who was this somebody handling that box? A: They were placed inside the box, sir.72 (Emphases supplied.)

A: It was Mary Jane Lantion, sir. PO3 Yumuls narration of events was not any different from those of SPO1 Lectura and PO3
Santiago:
xxxx
Q: When did you meet the confidential informant?
Q: When you see De Claro [Cocoy] handling the box to Botong, what happened after that?
A: At the vicinity of EDSA Shangri-La Plaza, sir.
A: Botong proceeded to the place of Mac-Mac and Emmanuel De Claro [Cocoy] returned back
inside the said restaurant, sir. Q: And what was the information that was relayed to you by the confidential informant?

Q: Where was Mac-Mac then at that time? A: The identities of the persons, sir.

A: Near their car, sir. He was waiting for Botong. Q: What did he particularly tells you in that particular time you meet the confidential informant
at the vicinity of EDSA Shangri-La Plaza?
Q: After that what happened next?
A: That there will be a drug-deal and the people involved will arrived together with their car, sir.
A: When Botong returned to Mac-Mac, he gave white plastic bag with box inside to Mac-Mac, sir.
xxxx
Q: What happened after that?
Q: And what happened after the confidential informant relayed to you the information?
A: After we were brief by the confidential informant, we strategically positioned ourselves in the Q: How about the one calling over the cellphone, did you hear also what was the subject of their
place where the drug-deal will occur, sir. conversation?

xxxx A: No, sir.

Q: So what did you do after positioning yourselves in that place of EDSA Shangri-La Plaza and Q: So what happened next after seeing them having a conversation with each other?
Whistle Stop restaurant, what happened next after that?
A: Botong immediately walked and proceeding to the Whistle Stop, sir.
A: At around 10:00, one car arrived, a white Toyota corolla . . .
xxxx
Q: 10:00 what? In the morning or in the evening?
Q: Then what happened when Botong went to Whistle Stop?
A: In the evening, sir, of February 17, 2000, sir.
A: He talked to somebody inside, sir.
Q: And you stated that two vehicles arrived?
xxxx
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And did you hear what was the subject of their conversation?
xxxx
A: No, sir.
Q: So what happened when this vehicle arrived?
Q: Then what happened next when Botong talked to somebody inside the Whistle Stop?
A: The red Toyota corolla follows, sir.
A: The companion stood up and they went outside and both of them went to the side of Whistle
xxxx Stop in front of the blue car, sir.

Q: Then what happened? What did you do, if any? xxxx

A: Our confidential informant told us that, that is our subject, sir. Q: What did you do then?

xxxx A: Somebody opened the window in back of the blue car, sir.

Q: What happened next, if any, were they alighted from the car? Q: And then what happened next, if any?

A: Yes, sir. A: A white plastic bag was handed to him with carton inside, sir.

xxxx xxxx

Q: Then, what happened next, if any? Q: And who received that item or article from the car?

A: They talked after they alighted from their car, sir. A: Cocoy, sir.

Q: When you say "nag-usap sila" to whom are you referring? xxxx

A: To Mac-Mac and Botong, sir. Q: Were you able to know the person inside that car and who handed to Cocoy the white plastic
bag?
xxxx
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What happened next after you see them talking to each other?
Q: Who was that person?
A: When they talk Mac-Mac called through cellphone, sir.
A: Mary Jane Lantion, sir.
Q: By the way, did you hear the conversation of this two?
xxxx
A: No, sir.
Q: And when this white plastic bag with carton placed inside handed to Cocoy, what did you do?
xxxx
A: It was first handed by Cocoy to Botong, the plastic bag and then they walked in different
direction, Cocoy went back inside the Whistle Stop and then Botong went back to Mac-Mac, sir.
xxxx The narcotics field test, which initially identified the seized item as marijuana, was likewise not
conducted at the scene of the crime, but only at the narcotics office. There is thus reasonable
Q: And then what happened next after that? doubt as to whether the item allegedly seized from accused-appellant is the same brick
of marijuana marked by the policemen in their headquarters and given by them to the crime
laboratory.75 (Emphases supplied.)1avvphi1
A: I followed Cocoy inside the Whistle Stop, sir.

In the instant case, SPO1 Lectura, PO3 Santiago, and PO3 Yumul uniformly testified before the
xxxx
RTC that they brought the arrested suspects to the police office for investigation. SPO1 Lectura
and PO3 Santiago were vague as to how they ascertained as shabu the contents of the box
Q: So what did you do then? inside the white plastic bag, immediately after seizing the same from accused-appellant Reyes
and before proceeding to the police office; while PO3 Yumul explicitly testified on cross-
A: I observed him inside but after a few minutes PO3 Virgilio Santiago went inside and told me examination76 that he saw the shabu for the first time at the police office. At any rate, all three
that we will going to get them, sir. police officers recounted that the shabu was marked by SPO1 Benjamin David only at the police
office.
Q: Why are you going to get them?
Without valid justification for the in flagrante delicto arrests of accused-appellants, the search of
A: Because the two were already arrested outside the Whistle Stop, Mac-Mac and Botong, sir. accused-appellants persons incidental to said arrests, and the eventual seizure of the shabu
from accused-appellants possession, are also considered unlawful and, thus, the seized shabu is
xxxx excluded in evidence as fruit of a poisonous tree. Without the corpus delicti for the crime
charged, then the acquittal of accused-appellants is inevitable.
Q: So what did you do when PO3 Santiago told you that?
As we aptly held in People v. Sy Chua77 :
A: PO3 Santiago approached Cocoy and I am just assisting him, PO3 Santiago to avoid
commotion, sir. All told, the absence of ill-motive on the part of the arresting team cannot simply validate, much
more cure, the illegality of the arrest and consequent warrantless search of accused-appellant.
Neither can the presumption of regularity of performance of function be invoked by an officer in
Q: Then what did you do next after that? aid of the process when he undertakes to justify an encroachment of rights secured by the
Constitution. In People v. Nubla, we clearly stated that:
A: We were able to get Cocoy and we went outside, sir.
The presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty cannot be used as basis for
Q: And then what did you do, if any? affirming accused-appellant's conviction because, first, the presumption is precisely just that
a mere presumption. Once challenged by evidence, as in this case, . . . [it] cannot be regarded
A: After arresting them we boarded to the car and we went to the office, sir.73 (Emphases as binding truth. Second, the presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions
supplied.) cannot preponderate over the presumption of innocence that prevails if not overthrown by proof
beyond reasonable doubt.
Evident from the foregoing excerpts that the police officers arrested accused-appellants and
searched the latters persons without a warrant after seeing Rolando delos Reyes and Emmanuel The government's drive against illegal drugs needs the support of every citizen. But it should not
de Claro momentarily conversing in the restaurant, and witnessing the white plastic bag with a undermine the fundamental rights of every citizen as enshrined in the Constitution. The
box or carton inside being passed from Lantion-Tom to Emmanuel de Claro, to accused-appellant constitutional guarantee against warrantless arrests and unreasonable searches and seizures
Rolando delos Reyes, and finally, to accused-appellant Reyes. These circumstances, however, cannot be so carelessly disregarded as overzealous police officers are sometimes wont to do.
hardly constitute overt acts "indicative of a felonious enterprise." SPO1 Lectura, PO3 Santiago, Fealty to the constitution and the rights it guarantees should be paramount in their minds,
and PO3 Yumul had no prior knowledge of the suspects identities, and they completely relied on otherwise their good intentions will remain as such simply because they have blundered. The
their confidential informant to actually identify the suspects. None of the police officers actually criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him free. Nothing can destroy a
saw what was inside that box. There is also no evidence that the confidential informant himself government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the
knew that the box contained shabu. No effort at all was taken to confirm that the arrested charter of its own existence.78
suspects actually knew that the box or carton inside the white plastic bag, seized from their
possession, contained shabu. The police officers were unable to establish a cogent fact or WHEREFORE, the Decision dated July 12, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No.
circumstance that would have reasonably invited their attention, as officers of the law, to 01733 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accused-appellants Rolando delos Reyes and
suspect that accused-appellants, Emmanuel de Claro, and Lantion-Tom "has just committed, is Raymundo Reyes are ACQUITTED on the ground of reasonable doubt and they are ORDERED
actually committing, or is attempting to commit" a crime, particularly, an illegal drug deal. forthwith released from custody, unless they are being lawfully held for another crime. SO
ORDERED.
Finally, from their own account of the events, the police officers had compromised the integrity
of the shabu purportedly seized from accused-appellants.

In People v. Sy Chua,74 we questioned whether the shabu seized from the accused was the same
G.R. No. 204589 November 19, 2014
one presented at the trial because of the failure of the police to mark the drugs at the place
where it was taken, to wit:
RIZALDY SANCHEZ y CAJILI, Petitioner,
vs.
Furthermore, we entertain doubts whether the items allegedly seized from accused-appellant
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
were the very same items presented at the trial of this case. The record shows that the initial
field test where the items seized were identified as shabu, was only conducted at the PNP
headquarters of Angeles City. The items were therefore not marked at the place where they were DECISION
taken. In People v. Casimiro, we struck down with disbelief the reliability of the identity of the
confiscated items since they were not marked at the place where they were seized, thus: MENDOZA, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 seeking to reverse and set aside the July 25, 2012 Said specimen/s were allegedly confiscated from RIZALDY SANCHEZ y CAJILI and DARWIN REYES
Decision1 and the November 20, 2012 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA), in CA-G.R. CR No. y VILLARENTE.
31742 filed by petitioner Rizaldy Sanchez y Cajili (Sanchez), affirming the April 21, 2005
Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court of Imus, Cavite, Branch 20 (RTC), which convicted him for Official report follows:
Violation of Section 11, Article l l of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9165. The dispositive portion of the
RTC decision reads:
This certification was issued uponrequest for purpose of filing the case.8

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is rendered convicting accused Rizaldy Sanchez y


Version of the Defense
Cajili of Violation of Section 11, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 and hereby sentences him to
suffer imprisonment from twelve (12) to fifteen (15) years and to pay a fine of Php300,000.00.
SO ORDERED.4 In the present petition,9 Sanchez denied the accusation against him and presented a different
version of the events that transpired in the afternoon of March 19, 2003, to substantiate his
claim of innocence:
Sanchez was charged with violation of Section 11, Article II of R.A. No. 9165, otherwise known as
the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, in the Information, 5 dated March 20, 2003,
filed before the RTC and docketed as Criminal Case No. 10745-03. The accusatory portion of the On 24 February 2005, the accused Rizaldy Sanchez took the witness stand. He testified that on
Information indicting Sanchez reads: the date and time in question, he, together with a certain Darwin Reyes, were on their way home
from Brgy. Alapan, Imus, Cavite, where they transported a passenger, when their way was
blocked by four (4) armed men riding an owner-type jeepney. Without a word, the four men
That on or about the 19th day of March 2003, in the Municipality of Imus, Province of Cavite,
frisked him and Darwin. He protested and asked what offense did they commit. The arresting
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, not
officers told him that they had just bought drugs from Alapan. He reasoned out that he merely
being authorized by law, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in his
transported a passenger there but the policemen still accosted him and he was brought to the
possession, control and custody, 0.1017 gram of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride, commonly
Imus Police Station where hewas further investigated. The police officer, however, let
known as "shabu," a dangerous drug, in violation of the provisions of Republic Act No. 9165,
DarwinReyes go. On cross-examination, the accused admitted that it was the first time that he
otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
saw the police officers at the time he was arrested. He also disclosed that he was previously
charged with the same offense before Branch 90 of this court which was already dismissed, and
When arraigned, Sanchez pleaded not guilty to the offense charged. During the pre-trial, the that the police officers who testified in the said case are not the same as those involved in this
prosecution and the defense stipulated on the existence and due execution of the following case.10
pieces of evidence: 1] the request for laboratory examination; 2]certification issued by the
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI);3] Dangerous Drugs Report; and 4] transparent plastic
The Ruling of the RTC
sachet containing small transparent plastic sachet of white crystalline substance. 6Thereafter,
trial on the merits ensued.
On April 21, 2005, the RTC rendered its decision11 finding that Sanchez was caught in flagrante
delicto,in actual possession of shabu. It stated that the police operatives had reasonable ground
Version of the Prosecution
to believe that Sanchez was in possession of the said dangerous drug and such suspicion was
confirmed when the match box Sanchez was carrying was found to contain shabu. The RTC lent
The prosecutions version of the events as summarized by the Office of the Solicitor General credence to the testimony of prosecution witness, SPO1 Elmer Amposta (SPO1 Amposta)
(OSG)in its Comment7on the petition is as follows: because there was no showing that he had been impelled by any ill motive to falsely testify
against Sanchez. The dispositive portion of which reads:
Around 2:50 pm of March 19, 2003, acting on the information that Jacinta Marciano, aka
"Intang," was selling drugs to tricycle drivers, SPO1 Elmer Amposta, together with CSU Edmundo WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is rendered convicting accused Rizaldy Sanchez y
Hernandez, CSU Jose Tagle, Jr., and CSU Samuel Monzon, was dispatched to Barangay Alapan 1- Cajili of Violation of Section 11, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 and hereby sentences him to
B, Imus, Cavite to conduct an operation. suffer imprisonment from twelve (12) to fifteen (15) years and to pay a fine of Php300,000.00.
SO ORDERED.12
While at the place, the group waited for a tricycle going to, and coming from, the house of
Jacinta. After a few minutes, they spotted a tricycle carrying Rizaldy Sanchez coming out of the Unfazed, Sanchez appealed the RTC judgment of conviction before the CA. He faulted the RTC for
house. The group chased the tricycle. After catching up with it, they requested Rizaldy to alight. giving undue weight on the testimony of SPO1 Amposta anchored merely on the presumption of
It was then that they noticed Rizaldy holding a match box. regularity in the performance of duty of the said arresting officer. He insisted that the
prosecution evidence was insufficient to establish his guilt.
SPO1 Amposta asked Rizaldy if he could see the contents of the match box. Rizaldy agreed.
While examining it, SPO1 Amposta found a small transparent plastic sachet which contained a The Ruling of the CA
white crystalline substance. Suspecting that the substance was a regulated drug, the group
accosted Rizaldy and the tricycle driver. The group brought the two to the police station.
The CA found no cogent reason to reverse or modify the findings of facts and conclusions
reached by the RTC and, thus, upheld the conviction of the accused for violation of Section 11,
On March 20, 2003, Salud M. Rosales, a forensic chemist from the NBI, submitted a Certification Article II of R.A. No. 9165. According to the CA, there was probable cause for the police officers
which reads: to believe that Sanchez was then and there committing a crime considering that he was seen
leaving the residence of a notorious drug dealer where, according to a tip they received, illegal
This certifies that on the above date at 9:25 a.m. one PO1 Edgardo Nario of Imus, Mun. PS, PNP, drug activities were being perpetrated. It concluded that the confiscation by the police operative
Imus, Cavite submitted to this office for laboratory examinations the following specimen/s to wit: of the subject narcotic from Sanchez was pursuant to a valid search. The CA then went on to
write that non-compliance by the police officers on the requirements of Section 21, paragraph 1,
White crystalline substance contained in a small plastic sachet, marked "RSC," placed in a plastic Article II of R.A. No. 9165, particularly on the conduct of inventory and photograph of the seized
pack, marked "Mar. 19, 2003." (net wt. = 0.1017 gm) drug, was not fatal to the prosecutions causesince its integrity and evidentiary value had been
duly preserved. The falloof the decision reads:
Examinations conducted on the above-mentioned specimen/s gave POSITIVE RESULTS for
METHAMPHETAMINE HYDROCHLORIDE. WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 20, Imus, Cavite dated April 21,
2005 and Order dated October 1, 2007 in Criminal Case No. 10745-03 finding accused appellant
Rizaldy C. Sanchez guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section 11, Article II of that the trial judge has the prerogative, denied to appellate judges, of observing the demeanor
Republic Act No. 9165, is AFFIRMED. of the declarants in the course of their testimonies. But an exception exists if there is a showing
that the trial judge overlooked, misunderstood, or misapplied some facts or circumstances of
SO ORDERED.13 weight and substance that would have affected the case.19 After going over the records of the
case at bench, the Court finds some facts of weight and substance that have been overlooked,
misapprehended, or misapplied by the trial court which cast doubt on the guilt of Sanchez.
Sanchez filed a motion for reconsideration of the July 25, 2012 Decision, but it was denied by the
CA in its November 20, 2012 Resolution.
In sustaining the conviction of Sanchez, the CA ratiocinated that this was a clear case of an in
flagrante delicto arrest under paragraph (a) Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules on Criminal
Hence, this petition.
Procedure. In this regard, the CA wrote:
Bewailing his conviction, Sanchez filed the present petition for "certiorari"under Rule 65 of the
In the case at Bar, the acquisition of the regulated drug by the police officers qualifies as a valid
Rules of Court and anchored on the following
search following a lawful operation by the police officers. The law enforcers acted on the
directive of their superior based on an information that the owner of the residence where
GROUNDS: Sanchez came from was a notorious drug dealer. As Sanchez was seen leaving the said
residence, the law enforcers had probable cause to stop Sanchez on the road since there was
1. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, COMMITTED GRAVE already a tip that illegal drug-related activities were perpetrated in the place where he came
ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK AND/OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN from and seeing a match box held on one hand, the police officers action were justified to
IT HELD THAT ACCUSED WAS CAUGHT IN FLAGRANTE DELICTO, HENCE,A SEARCH inspect the same. The search therefore, is a sound basis for the lawful seizure of the confiscated
WARRANT WAS NO LONGER NECESSARY; AND drug, arrest and conviction of Sanchez.

2. THE HONORABLE COURT OFAPPEALS, WITH DUE RESPECT, COMMITTED GRAVE The case of People vs. Valdez (G.R. No. 127801, March 3, 1999) is instructive. In that case, the
ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK AND/OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN police officers, by virtue of an information that a person having been previously described by the
IT HELD THAT NON-COMPLIANCE WITH SECTION 21, PARAGRAPH 1, ARTICLE II OF informant, accosted Valdez and upon inspection of the bag he was carrying, the police officers
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9165 DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY RENDER THE SEIZED ITEMS found the information given to them to be true as it yielded marijuana leaves hidden in the
INADMISSIBLE IN EVIDENCE.14 water jug and lunch box inside Valdezs bag. The Supreme Court in affirming the trial courts
ruling convicting Valdez declared that:
Sanchez insists on his acquittal. He argues that the warrantless arrest and search on him were
invalid due to the absence of probable cause on the part of the police officers to effect an in In this case, appellant was caught in flagrante since he was carrying marijuana at the time of his
flagrante delicto arrest under Section 15, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court. He also contends that arrest.1wphi1 A crime was actually being committed by the appellant, thus, the search made
the failure of the police operatives to comply with Section 21, paragraph 1, Article II of R.A. No. upon his personal effects falls squarely under paragraph (a) of the foregoing provisions of law,
9165 renders the seized item inadmissible in evidence and creates reasonable doubt on his guilt. which allow a warrantless search incident to lawful arrest. While it is true that SPO1 Mariano was
By way of Comment15 to the petition, the OSG prays for the affirmance of the challenged July 25, not armed with a search warrant when the search was conducted over the personal effects of
2012 decision of the CA. The OSG submits that the warrantless search and seizure of the subject appellant, nevertheless, under the circumstances of the case, there was sufficient probable
narcotic were justified under the plain view doctrine where a police officer is not searching for cause for said police officer to believe that appellant was then and there committing a crime.
evidence against the accused, but nonetheless inadvertently comes across an incriminating The cited case is akin to the circumstances in the instant appeal as in this case, Sanchez,
object. coming from the house of the identified drug dealer, previously tipped by a concerned citizen,
walked to a parked tricycle and sped towards the direction of Kawit, Cavite. The search that gave
The Courts Ruling way to the seizure of the match box containing shabu was a reasonable course of event that led
to the valid warrantless arrest since there was sufficient probable cause for chasing the tricycle
Preliminarily, the Court notes that this petition suffers from procedural infirmity. Under Section 1, he was in. (Underscoring supplied)
Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, the proper remedy to question the CA judgment,final order or
resolution, as in the present case, is a petition for review on certiorari, which would be but a A judicious examination of the evidence on record belies the findings and conclusions of the RTC
continuation of the appellate process over the original case.16By filing a special civil action for and the CA.
certiorari under Rule 65, Sanchez therefore clearly availed himself of the wrong remedy.
At the outset, it is observed that the CA confused the search incidental to a lawful arrest withthe
Be that as it may, the Court, in several cases before, had treated a petition for certiorari as a stop-and-frisk principle, a wellrecognized exception to the warrant requirement. Albeit it did not
petition for review under Rule 45, in accordance with the liberal spirit and in the interest of expressly state so, the CA labored under the confused view that one and the other were
substantial justice, particularly (1) if the petition was filed within the reglementary period for indistinct and identical. That confused view guided the CA to wrongly affirm the petitioner's
filing a petition for review; (2) errors of judgment are averred; and (3) there is sufficient reason conviction. The Court must clear this confusion and correct the error.
to justify the relaxation of the rules.17 The case at bench satisfies all the above requisites and,
hence, there is ample justification to treat this petition for certiorari as a petition for review. It is necessary to remind the RTC and the CA that the Terry20 stop- and-frisk search is entirely
Besides, it is axiomatic that the nature of an action is determined by the allegations of the different from and should not be confused with the search incidental to a lawful arrest
complaint or petition and the character of the relief sought. 18 Here, stripped of allegations of envisioned under Section 13, Rule 126 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure. The distinctions have
"grave abuse of discretion," the petition actually avers errors of judgment rather than of been made clear in Malacat v. Court of Appeals21:
jurisdiction, which are the appropriate subjects of a petition for review on certiorari.
In a search incidental to a lawful arrest, as the precedent arrest determines the validity of the
Going now into the substance of the petition, the Court finds the same to be impressed with incidental search, the legality of the arrest is questioned in a large majority of these cases, e.g.,
merit. whether an arrest was merely used as a pretext for conducting a search. In this instance, the law
requires that there first be a lawful arrest before a search can be made -- the process cannot be
Although it is true that the trial courts evaluation of the credibility of witnesses and their reversed. At bottom, assuming a valid arrest, the arresting officer may search the person of the
testimonies is entitled to great respect and not to be disturbed on appeal, this rule, however, is arrestee and the area within which the latter may reach for a weapon or for evidence to destroy,
not a hard and fast one. It is a time-honored rule that the assessment of the trial court with and seize any money or property found which was used in the commission of the crime, or the
regard to the credibility of witnesses deserves the utmost respect, if not finality, for the reason
fruit of the crime, or that which may be used as evidence, or which might furnish the arrestee A: A tricycle with a passenger went to the house of "Intang" and when the passenger boarded
with the means of escaping or committing violence. the tricycle, we chase[d] them.

xxxx Q: After that, what happened next?

We now proceed to the justification for and allowable scope of a "stop-and-frisk" as a "limited A: When we were able to catch the tricycle, the tricycle driver and the passenger alighted from
protective search of outer clothing for weapons," as laid down in Terry, thus: the tricycle.

We merely hold today that where a police officer observes unusual conduct which leads him Q: What did you do after they alighted from the tricycle?
reasonably to conclude in light of his experience that criminal activity may be afoot and that the
persons with whom he is dealing may be armed and presently dangerous, where in the course of A: I saw the passenger holding a match box.
investigating this behavior he identifies himself as a policeman and makes reasonable inquiries,
and where nothing in the initial stages of the encounter serves to dispel his reasonable fear for
Q: What did you do after you saw the passenger holding a match box?
his own or others' safety, he is entitled for the protection of himself and others in the area to
conduct a carefully limited search of the outer clothing of such persons in an attempt to discover
weapons which might be used to assault him. Such a search is a reasonable search under the A: I asked him if I can see the contents of the match box.
Fourth Amendment x x x x.
Q: Did he allow you?
Other notable points of Terry are that while probable cause is not required to conduct a "stop-
and-frisk," it nevertheless holds that mere suspicion or a hunch will not validate a "stop-and- A: Yes, mam. He handed to me voluntarily the match box.
frisk." A genuine reason must exist, in light of the police officer's experience and surrounding
conditions, to warrant the belief that the person detained has weapons concealed about him. Court:
Finally, a "stop-and-frisk" serves a two-fold interest: (1) the general interest of effective crime
prevention and detection, which underlies the recognition that a police officer may, under Q: Who, the driver or the passenger?
appropriate circumstances and in an appropriate manner, approach a person for purposes of
investigating possible criminal behavior even without probable cause; and (2) the more pressing
interest of safety and self-preservation which permit the police officer to take steps to assure A: The passenger, sir.
himself that the person with whom he deals is not armed with a deadly weapon that could
unexpectedly and fatally be used against the police officer. 22 Pros. Villarin:

In the case at bench, neither the in flagrante delictoarrest nor the stop- and-frisk principle was Q: After that what did you find out?
applicableto justify the warrantless search and seizure made by the police operatives on
Sanchez. An assiduous scrutiny of the factual backdrop of this case shows that the search and A: I opened the match box and I found out that it contained a small transparent plastic sachet
seizure on Sanchez was unlawful. A portion of SPO1 Ampostas testimony on direct examination containing white crystalline substance.23
is revelatory, viz:
A search as an incident to a lawfularrest is sanctioned by the Rules of Court. 24 It bears emphasis
Pros. Villarin: that the law requires that the search be incidental to a lawful arrest. Therefore it is beyond cavil
that a lawful arrest must precede the search of a person and his belongings; the process cannot
Q: On March 19, 2003 at around 2:50 p.m., can you recall where were you? be reversed.25

A: Yes, Mam. Here, the search preceded the arrest of Sanchez. There was no arrest prior to the conduct of the
search. Arrest is defined under Section 1, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court as the taking of a person
Q: Where were you? A: We were in Brgy. Alapan 1-B, Imus, Cavite. into custody that he may be bound to answer for the commission of an offense. Under Section 2,
of the same rule, an arrest is effected by an actual restraint of the person to be arrested or by
his voluntary submission to the custody of the person making the arrest. 26 Even casting aside
Q: What were you doing at Alapan 1-B, Imus, Cavite? A: We were conducting an operation the petitioners version and basing the resolution of this case on the general thrust of the
against illegal drugs. prosecution evidence, no arrest was effected by the police operatives upon the person of
Sanchez before conducting the search on him. It appears from the above quoted testimony of
Q: Who were with you? A: CSU Edmundo Hernandez, CSU Jose Tagle, Jr. and CSU Samuel SPO1 Amposta that after they caught up with the tricycle, its driver and the passenger, Sanchez,
alighted from it; that he noticed Sanchez holding a match box; and that he requested Sanchez if
Monzon. he could see the contents of the match box, to which the petitioner acceded and handed it over
to him. The arrest of Sanchez was made only after the discovery by SPO1 Amposta of the shabu
Q: Was the operation upon the instruction of your Superior? inside the match box. Evidently, what happened in this case was that a search was first
undertaken and then later an arrest was effected based on the evidence produced by the search.
A: Our superior gave us the information that there were tricycle drivers buying drugs from
"Intang" or Jacinta Marciano. Even granting arguendo that Sanchez was arrested before the search, still the warrantless
search and seizure must be struck down as illegal because the warrantless arrest was unlawful.
Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure lays down the basic rules on lawful
Q: What did you do after that?
warrantless arrests, either by a peace officer or a private person, as follows:

A: We waited for a tricycle who will go to the house of Jacinta Marciano.


Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace officer or a private person may, without a
warrant, arrest a person:
Q: After that what did you do?
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actuallly appeared to be "high" on drugs as he was observed to have reddish eyes and to be walking in a
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; swaying manner. Moreover, he appeared to be trying to avoid the policemen and when
approached and asked what he was holding in his hands, he tried to resist. When he showed his
(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe wallet, it contained marijuana. The Court held that the policeman had sufficient reason to accost
based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested Manalili to determine if he was actually "high" on drugs due to his suspicious actuations, coupled
has committed it; and with the fact that the area was a haven for drug addicts.

(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal In People v. Solayao,32 the Court also found justifiable reason for the police to stop and frisk the
establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined accused after considering the following circumstances: the drunken actuations of the accused
while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one and his companions; the fact that his companions fled whenthey saw the policemen; and the
confinement to another. fact that the peace officers were precisely on an intelligence mission to verify reports that armed
persons where roaming the vicinity. Seemingly, the common thread of these examples isthe
presence of more than one seemingly innocent activity, which, taken together, warranted a
xxx
reasonable inference of criminal activity. It was not so in the case at bench.
For warrantless arrest under paragraph (a) of Section 5 (in flagrante delicto arrest) to operate,
The Court does not find the totality of the circumstances described by SPO1 Amposta as
two elements must concur: (1) the person to be arrested must execute an overt act indicating
sufficient to incite a reasonable suspicion that would justify a stop-and-frisk search on Sanchez.
that he has just committed, is actually committing, or is attempting tocommit a crime; and (2)
Coming out from the house of a drug pusher and boarding a tricycle, without more, were
such overt act is done in the presence or withinthe view of the arresting officer. 27 On the other
innocuous movements, and by themselves alone could not give rise in the mind of an
hand, paragraph (b) of Section 5 (arrest effected in hot pursuit) requires for its application that
experienced and prudent police officer of any belief that hehad shabu in his possession, or that
at the time of the arrest, an offense has in fact just been committed and the arresting officer has
he was probably committing a crime in the presence of the officer. There was even no allegation
personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be apprehended has committed it.
that Sanchez left the house of the drug dealer in haste or that he acted in any other suspicious
These elements would be lacking in the case at bench.
manner. There was no showing either that he tried toevade or outmaneuver his pursuers or that
he attempted to flee when the police officers approached him. Truly, his acts and the
The evidence on record reveals that no overt physical act could be properly attributed to surrounding circumstances could not have engendered any reasonable suspicion on the part of
Sanchez as to rouse suspicion in the minds of the police operatives that he had just committed, the police officers that a criminal activity had taken place or was afoot.
was committing, or was about to commit a crime. Sanchez was merely seen by the police
operatives leaving the residence of a known drug peddler, and boarding a tricycle that
In the recent case of People v. Cogaed,33 where not a single suspicious circumstance preceded
proceeded towards the direction of Kawit, Cavite. Such acts cannot in any way be considered
the search on the accused, the Court ruled that the questioned act of the police officer did not
criminal acts. In fact, even if Sanchez had exhibited unusual or strange acts, or at the veryleast
constitute a valid stop-and-frisk operation. Cogaed was a mere passenger carrying a blue bag
appeared suspicious, the same would not have been considered overt acts in order for the police
and a sack and travelling aboard a jeepney. He did not exhibit any unusual or suspicious
officers to effect a lawful warrantless arrest under paragraph (a) of Section 5, Rule 113.
behavior sufficient to justify the law enforcer in believing that he was engaged in a criminal
activity. Worse, the assessment of suspicion was made not by the police officer but by the
It has not been established either that the rigorous conditions set forth in paragraph (b) of jeepney driver, who signaled to the police officer that Cogaed was "suspicious." In view of the
Section 5 have been complied with in this warrantless arrest. When the police officers chased illegality of the search and seizure, the 12,337.6 grams of marijuana confiscated from the
the tricycle, they had no personal knowledge to believe that Sanchez bought shabu from the accused was held as inadmissible.
notorious drug dealer and actually possessed the illegal drug when he boarded the tricycle.
Probable cause has been held to signify a reasonable ground of suspicion supported by
The OSG characterizes the seizure of the subject shabu from Sanchez as seizure of evidence in
circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a cautious man's belief that the
plain view. The Court disagrees.
person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is charged.28 The police officers in this case
had no inkling whatsoever as to what Sanchez did inside the house of the known drug dealer.
Besides, nowhere in the prosecution evidence does it show that the drug dealer was conducting Under the plain view doctrine, objects falling in the plain view of an officer who has a right to be
her nefarious drug activities inside her house so as to warrant the police officers to draw a in the position to have that view are subject to seizure and may be presented as evidence. 34 The
reasonable suspicion that Sanchez must have gotten shabu from her and possessed the illegal plain view doctrine applies when the following requisites concur: (1) the law enforcement officer
drug when he came out of the house. In other words, there was no overt manifestation on the in search of the evidence has a prior justification for an intrusion or is in a position from which he
part of Sanchez that he had just engaged in, was actually engaging in or was attempting to can view a particular area; (2) the discovery of the evidence in plain view is inadvertent; and (3)
engage in the criminal activity of illegal possession of shabu. Verily, probable cause in thiscase it is immediately apparent to the officer that the item he observes may be evidence of a crime,
was more imagined than real. contraband or otherwise subject to seizure.35

In the same vein, there could be no valid "stop-and-frisk" search in the case at bench. Measured against the foregoing standards, it is readily apparent that the seizure of the subject
Elucidating on what constitutes "stop-and-frisk" operation and how it is to be carried out, the shabu does notfall within the plain view exception. First, there was no valid intrusion. As already
Court in People v. Chua29 wrote: discussed, Sanchez was illegally arrested. Second, subject shabu was not inadvertently
discovered, and third, it was not plainly exposed to sight. Here, the subject shabu was allegedly
inside a match box being thenheld by Sanchez and was not readily apparent or transparent to
A stop and frisk was defined as the act of a police officer to stop a citizen on the street,
the police officers. In fact, SPO1 Amposta had to demand from Sanchez the possession of the
interrogate him, and pat him for weapon(s) or contraband. The police officer should properly
match box in order for him to open it and examine its content. The shabu was not in plain view
introduce himself and make initial inquiries, approach and restrain a person who manifests
and its seizure without the requisite search warrant is in violation of the law and the
unusual and suspicious conduct, in order to check the latters outer clothing for possibly
Constitution. In the light of the foregoing, there being no lawful warrantless arrest and
concealed weapons. The apprehending police officer must have a genuine reason, in accordance
warrantless search and seizure, the shabu purportedly seized from Sanchez is inadmissible in
with the police officers experience and the surrounding conditions, to warrant the belief that the
evidence for being the proverbial fruit of the poisonous tree. As the confiscated shabu is the very
person to be held has weapons (or contraband) concealed about him. It should therefore be
corpus delicti of the crime charged, the accused must be acquitted and exonerated from the
emphasized that a search and seizure should precede the arrest for this principle to apply. 30
criminal charge of violation of Section 11, Article II of R.A. No. 9165.
In this jurisdiction, what may be regarded as a genuine reason or a reasonable suspicion
Furthermore, the Court entertains doubts whether the shabu allegedly seized from Sanchez was
justifying a Terry stop-and-frisk search had been sufficiently illustrated in two cases. In Manalili v.
the very same item presented during the trial of this case. The Court notes that there
Court of Appeals and People,31 a policeman chanced upon Manalili in front of the cemetery who
wereseveral lapses in the law enforcers handling of the seized item which, when taken Firearms); and (3) Criminal Case No. 96-149992 for Violation of Comelec Resolution No. 2828 in
collectively, render the standards of chain of custody seriously breached. relation to R.A. No. 7166 (COMELEC Gun Ban).

Chain of custody means the duly recorded authorized movements and custody of seized drugs The three (3) separate Informations filed against Lawrence C. Wang in the court of origin
or controlled chemicals from the time of seizure/confiscation to receipt in the forensic laboratory respectively read:
to safekeeping to presentation in court for destruction.36 The function of the chain of custody
requirement is to ensure that the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are Criminal Case No. 96-149990 (Violation of Dangerous Drugs Act):
preserved, so much so that unnecessary doubts as to the identity of the evidence are
removed.37 Thus, the chain of custody requirement has a two-fold purpose: (1) the preservation
That on or about the 17th day of May 1996, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused
of the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items, and (2) the removal of unnecessary
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession and under his
doubts as to the identity of the evidence.38
custody and control a bulk of white and yellowish crystalline substance known as SHABU
contained in thirty-two (32) transparent plastic bags weighing approximately 29.2941 kilograms,
In this case, the prosecution failed to account for each and every link in the chain of custody of containing methamphetamine hydrochloride, a regulated drug, without the corresponding
the shabu, from the moment it was allegedly confiscated up to the time it was presented before license or prescription therefor.
the court as proof of the corpus delicti. The testimony of SPO 1 Amposta was limited to the fact
that he placed the marking "RSC" on the seized drug; and that he and the three other police
Contrary to law.2
officers brought Sanchez and the subject shabu to their station and turned them over to their
investigator. The prosecution evidence did not disclose where the marking of the confiscated
shabu took place and who witnessed it. The evidence does not show who was in possession of Criminal Case No. 96-149991 (Illegal Possession of Firearms):
the seized shabu from the crime scene to the police station. A reading of the Certification, dated
March 20, 2003, issued by Forensic Chemist Salud Rosales shows that a certain PO I Edgardo That on or about the 17th day of May 1996, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused
Nario submitted the specimen to the NBI for laboratory examination, but this piece of evidence did then and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession and under his
does not establish the identity of the police investigator to whom SPO 1 Amposta and his group custody and control one (1) DAEWOO Cal. 9mm, automatic pistol with one loaded magazine and
turned over the seized shabu. The identities of the person who received the specimen at the NBI one AMT Cal. .380 9mm automatic backup pistol with magazine loaded with ammunitions
laboratory and the person who had the custody and safekeeping of the seized marijuana after it without first having secured the necessary license or permit therefor from the proper authorities.
was chemically analyzed pending its presentation in court were also not disclosed.
Contrary to law. 3

Given the procedural lapses pointed out above, a serious uncertainty hangs over the identity of
the seized shabu that the prosecution introduced in evidence. The prosecution failed to establish Criminal Case No. 96-149992 (Violation of Comelec Gun Ban):
an unbroken chain of custody, resulting in rendering the seizure and confiscation of the shabu
open to doubt and suspicion. Hence, the incriminatory evidence cannot pass judicial scrutiny. That on or about the 17th day of May 1996, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed July 25, 2012 Decision and the November did then and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession and under his
20, 2012 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 31742 are REVERSED and SET custody and control one (1) DAEWOO Cal. 9mm automatic pistol with one loaded magazine and
ASIDE. Petitioner Rizaldy Sanchez y Cajili is ACQUITTED on reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the one (1) AMT Cal. 380 9mm automatic backup pistol with magazine loaded with ammunitions,
Court orders the immediate release of the petitioner, unless the latter is being lawfully held for carrying the same along Maria Orosa St., Ermita, Manila, which is a public place, on the date
another cause; and to inform the Court of the date of his release, or reason for his continued which is covered by an election period, without first securing the written permission or authority
confinement, within ten (10) days from receipt of notice. from the Commission on Elections, as provided by the COMELEC Resolution 2828 in relation to
Republic Act 7166.
SO ORDERED.
Contrary to law. 4

During his arraignment, accused Wang refused to enter a plea to all the Informations and
instead interposed a continuing objection to the admissibility of the evidence obtained by the
police operatives. Thus, the trial court ordered that a plea of "Not Guilty" be entered for
G.R. No. 128587 March 16, 2007 him.5 Thereafter, joint trial of the three (3) consolidated cases followed.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, The pertinent facts are as follows:


vs.
HON. PERFECTO A.S. LAGUIO, JR., in his capacity as Presiding Judge, Branch 18, RTC, On 16 May 1996, at about 7:00 p.m., police operatives of the Public Assistance and Reaction
Manila, and LAWRENCE WANG Y CHEN, Respondents. Against Crime of the Department of Interior and Local Government, namely, Captain Margallo,
Police Inspector Cielito Coronel and SPO3 Reynaldo Cristobal, arrested SPO2 Vergel de Dios,
DECISION Rogelio Anoble and a certain Arellano, for unlawful possession of methamphetamine
hydrochloride, a regulated drug popularly known as shabu. In the course of the investigation of
the three arrested persons, Redentor Teck, alias Frank, and Joseph Junio were identified as the
GARCIA, J.: source of the drug. An entrapment operation was then set after the three were prevailed upon to
call their source and pretend to order another supply of shabu.
On pure questions of law, petitioner People of the Philippines has directly come to this Court via
this petition for review on certiorari to nullify and set aside the Resolution1 dated 13 March 1997 At around 11:00 p.m. that same date, Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio were arrested while they
of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 18, in Criminal Case Nos. 96-149990 to 96-149992, were about to hand over another bag of shabu to SPO2 De Dios and company. Questioned,
entitled People of the Philippines v. Lawrence Wang y Chen, granting private respondent Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio informed the police operatives that they were working as talent
Lawrence C. Wangs Demurrer to Evidence and acquitting him of the three (3) charges filed manager and gymnast instructor, respectively, of Glamour Modeling Agency owned by Lawrence
against him, namely: (1) Criminal Case No. 96-149990 for Violation of Section 16, Article III in Wang. Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio did not disclose their source of shabu but admitted that
relation to Section 2(e)(2), Article I of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6425 (Dangerous Drugs Act); (2) they were working for Wang.6 They also disclosed that they knew of a scheduled delivery of
Criminal Case No. 96-149991 for Violation of Presidential Decree No. 1866 (Illegal Possession of shabu early the following morning of 17 May 1996, and that their employer (Wang) could be
found at the Maria Orosa Apartment in Malate, Manila. The police operatives decided to look for ll
Wang to shed light on the illegal drug activities of Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio. Police
Inspector Cielito Coronel and his men then proceeded to Maria Orosa Apartment and placed the XXX IN HOLDING, IN EFFECT, THAT A WARRANTLESS SEARCH IS CONSTITUTIONALLY ALLOWABLE
same under surveillance. AND CAN ONLY BE VALID AS AN INCIDENT TO A LAWFUL ARREST.

Prosecution witness Police Inspector Cielito Coronel testified that at about 2:10 a.m. of 17 May lII
1996, Wang, who was described to the operatives by Teck, came out of the apartment and
walked towards a parked BMW car. On nearing the car, he (witness) together with Captain
XXX IN DECLARING THE WARRANTLESS ARREST OF THE ACCUSED AND THE SEARCH AND
Margallo and two other police officers approached Wang, introduced themselves to him as police
SEIZURE OF HIS HANDGUNS UNLAWFUL.
officers, asked his name and, upon hearing that he was Lawrence Wang, immediately frisked him
and asked him to open the back compartment of the BMW car. 7 When frisked, there was found
inside the front right pocket of Wang and confiscated from him an unlicensed AMT Cal. 380 9mm IV
automatic Back-up Pistol loaded with ammunitions. At the same time, the other members of the
operatives searched the BMW car and found inside it were the following items: (a) 32 XXX IN NOT DECLARING THE ACCUSED AS HAVING WAIVED, AS A RESULT OF HIS SUBMISSION
transparent plastic bags containing white crystalline substance with a total weight of 29.2941 AND FAILURE TO PROTEST THE SEARCH AND HIS ARREST, HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT AGAINST
kilograms, which substance was later analyzed as positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride, UNREASONABLE SEARCH AND SEIZURE AND HIS OBJECTION TO THE ADMISSION OF THE
a regulated drug locally known as shabu; (b) cash in the amount of 650,000.00; (c) one EVIDENCE SEIZED.
electronic and one mechanical scales; and (d) an unlicensed Daewoo 9mm Pistol with magazine.
Then and there, Wang resisted the warrantless arrest and search.8 V

On 6 December 1996, the prosecution rested its case and upon motion, accused Wang was XXX IN NOT ADMITTING IN EVIDENCE THE EVIDENCE SEIZED AND OFFERED BY THE
granted 25 days from said date within which to file his intended Demurrer to Evidence. 9 On 19 PROSECUTION AND IN NOT DENYING ACCUSED'S DEMURRER TO EVIDENCE.
December 1996, the prosecution filed a Manifestation10 to the effect that it had rested its case
only in so far as the charge for Violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act in Criminal Case No. 96- In its Resolution16 of 9 July 1997, the Court, without giving due course to the petition, required
149990 is concerned, and not as regards the two cases for Illegal Possession of Firearms (Crim. the public and private respondents to comment thereon within ten days from notice. Private
Case No. 96-149991) and Violation of the Comelec Gun Ban (Crim. Case No. 96-149992). respondent Wang filed his comment17on 18 August 1997.
Accordingly, trial continued.
On 10 September 1997, the Court required the People to file a reply,18 which the Office of the
On 9 January 1997, Wang filed his undated Demurrer to Evidence,11 praying for his acquittal and Solicitor General did on 5 December 1997, after several extensions.19
the dismissal of the three (3) cases against him for lack of a valid arrest and search warrants and
the inadmissibility of the prosecutions evidence against him. Considering that the prosecution
has not yet filed its Opposition to the demurrer, Wang filed an Amplification 12 to his Demurrer of On 20 October 2004, the Court resolved to give due course to the petition and required the
parties to submit their respective memoranda,20 which they did.
Evidence on 20 January 1997. On 12 February 1997, the prosecution filed its
Opposition13 alleging that the warrantless search was legal as an incident to the lawful arrest and
that it has proven its case, so it is now time for the defense to present its evidence. The case presents two main issues: (a) whether the prosecution may appeal the trial courts
resolution granting Wangs demurrer to evidence and acquitting him of all the charges against
On 13 March 1997, the respondent judge, the Hon. Perfecto A.S. Laguio, Jr., issued the herein him without violating the constitutional proscription against double jeopardy; and (b) whether
there was lawful arrest, search and seizure by the police operatives in this case despite the
assailed Resolution14 granting Wangs Demurrer to Evidence and acquitting him of all charges for
lack of evidence, thus: absence of a warrant of arrest and/or a search warrant.

First off, it must be emphasized that the present case is an appeal filed directly with this Court
WHEREFORE, the accused's undated Demurrer to Evidence is hereby granted; the accused is
acquitted of the charges against him for the crimes of Violation of Section 16, Article III of the via a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 in relation to Rule 41, Section 2, paragraph
(c) of the Rules of Court raising only pure questions of law, ordinary appeal by mere filing of a
Dangerous Drugs Act, Illegal Possession of Firearms, and Violation of Comelec Gun Ban, for lack
of evidence; the 32 bags of shabu with a total weight of 29.2941 kilograms and the two notice of appeal not being allowed as a mode of appeal directly to this Court. Then, too, it bears
stressing that the right to appeal is neither a natural right nor a part of due process, it being
unlicensed pistols, one AMT Cal. .380 9mm and one Daewoo Cal. 9mm. are ordered confiscated
in favor of the government and the branch clerk is directed to turn over the 32 bags of shabu to merely a statutory privilege which may be exercised only in the manner provided for by law
(Velasco v. Court of Appeals21). Although Section 2, Rule 122 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure
the Dangerous Drugs Board in Intramuros, Manila, and the two firearms to the Firearms and
Explosive Units, PNP, Camp Crame, Quezon City, for proper disposition, and the officer-in-charge states that any party may appeal, the right of the People to appeal is, in the very same
provision, expressly made subject to the prohibition against putting the accused in double
of PARAC, Department of Interior and Local Government, is ordered to return the confiscated
amount of P650,000.00 to the accused, and the confiscated BMW car to its registered owner, jeopardy. It also basic that appeal in criminal cases throws the whole records of the case wide
open for review by the appellate court, that is why any appeal from a judgment of acquittal
David Lee. No costs.
necessarily puts the accused in double jeopardy. In effect, the very same Section 2 of Rule 122
of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, disallows appeal by the People from judgments of acquittal.
SO ORDERED.
An order granting an accuseds demurrer to evidence is a resolution of the case on the merits,
Hence, this petition15 for review on certiorari by the People, submitting that the trial court erred - and it amounts to an acquittal. Generally, any further prosecution of the accused after an
acquittal would violate the constitutional proscription on double jeopardy. To this general rule,
I however, the Court has previously made some exceptions.

XXX IN HOLDING THAT THE UNDISPUTED FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES DID NOT CONSTITUTE The celebrated case of Galman v. Sandiganbayan 22 presents one exception to the rule on double
PROBABLE CAUSE WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF SECTION 2, ARTICLE III OF THE jeopardy, which is, when the prosecution is denied due process of law:
CONSTITUTION, AND IN HOLDING THAT SUCH FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES NEITHER JUSTIFIED
THE WARRANTLESS SEARCH OF ACCUSED'S VEHICLE AND THE SEIZURE OF THE CONTRABAND No court whose Presiding Justice has received "orders or suggestions" from the very President
THEREIN. who by an amendatory decree (disclosed only at the hearing of oral arguments on November 8,
1984 on a petition challenging the referral of the Aquino-Galman murder cases to the In effect, the first jeopardy was never terminated, and the remand of the criminal case for
Tanodbayan and Sandiganbayan instead of to a court martial, as mandatorily required by the further hearing and/or trial before the lower courts amounts merely to a continuation of the first
known P.D. 1850 at the time providing for exclusive jurisdiction of courts martial over criminal jeopardy, and does not expose the accused to a second jeopardy.
offenses committed by military men) made it possible to refer the cases to the Sandiganbayan,
can be an impartial court, which is the very essence of due process of law. As the writer then Another exception is when the trial court commits grave abuse of discretion in dismissing a
wrote, "jurisdiction over cases should be determined by law, and not by preselection of the criminal case by granting the accuseds demurrer to evidence. In point is the fairly recent case
Executive, which could be much too easily transformed into a means of predetermining the of People v. Uy,23 which involved the trial courts decision which granted the two separate
outcome of individual cases." This criminal collusion as to the handling and treatment of the demurrers to evidence filed by the two accused therein, both with leave of court, resulting in
cases by public respondents at the secret Malacaang conference (and revealed only after their acquittal of their respective charges of murder due to insufficiency of evidence. In resolving
fifteen months by Justice Manuel Herrera) completely disqualified respondent Sandiganbayan the petition for certiorari filed directly with this Court, we had the occasion to explain:
and voided ab initio its verdict. This renders moot and irrelevant for now the extensive
arguments of respondents accused, particularly Generals Ver and Olivas and those categorized
The general rule in this jurisdiction is that a judgment of acquittal is final and
as accessories, that there has been no evidence or witness suppressed against them, that the
unappealable. People v. Court of Appeals explains the rationale of this rule:
erroneous conclusions of Olivas as police investigator do not make him an accessory of the
crimes he investigated and the appraisal and evaluation of the testimonies of the witnesses
presented and suppressed. There will be time and opportunity to present all these arguments In our jurisdiction, the finality-of-acquittal doctrine as a safeguard against double jeopardy
and considerations at the remand and retrial of the cases herein ordered before a neutral and faithfully adheres to the principle first enunciated in Kepner v. United States. In this case,
impartial court. verdicts of acquittal are to be regarded as absolutely final and irreviewable. The cases of United
States v. Yam Tung Way, People v. Bringas, Gandicela v. Lutero, People v. Cabarles, People v.
Bao, to name a few, are illustrative cases. The fundamental philosophy behind the constitutional
The Supreme Court cannot permit such a sham trial and verdict and travesty of justice to stand
proscription against double jeopardy is to afford the defendant, who has been acquitted, final
unrectified. The courts of the land under its aegis are courts of law and justice and equity. They
repose and safeguard him from government oppression through the abuse of criminal processes.
would have no reason to exist if they were allowed to be used as mere tools of injustice,
As succinctly observed in Green v. United States "(t)he underlying idea, one that is deeply
deception and duplicity to subvert and suppress the truth, instead of repositories of judicial
ingrained in at least the Anglo-American system of jurisprudence, is that the State with all its
power whose judges are sworn and committed to render impartial justice to all alike who seek
resources and power should not be allowed to make repeated attempts to convict an individual
the enforcement or protection of a right or the prevention or redress of a wrong, without fear or
for an alleged offense, thereby subjecting him to embarrassment, expense and ordeal and
favor and removed from the pressures of politics and prejudice. More so, in the case at bar
compelling him to live in a continuing state of anxiety and insecurity, as well as enhancing the
where the people and the world are entitled to know the truth, and the integrity of our judicial
possibility that even though innocent, he may be found guilty." (Underscoring supplied)
system is at stake. In life, as an accused before the military tribunal Ninoy had pleaded in vain
that as a civilian he was entitled to due process of law and trial in the regular civil courts before
an impartial court with an unbiased prosecutor. In death, Ninoy, as the victim of the "treacherous The same rule applies in criminal cases where a demurrer to evidence is granted. As held in the
and vicious assassination" and the relatives and sovereign people as the aggrieved parties plead case of People v. Sandiganbayan:
once more for due process of law and a retrial before an impartial court with an unbiased
prosecutor. The Court is constrained to declare the sham trial a mock trial the non-trial of the The demurrer to evidence in criminal cases, such as the one at bar, is "filed after the
century and that the predetermined judgment of acquittal was unlawful and void ab initio. prosecution had rested its case," and when the same is granted, it calls "for an appreciation of
the evidence adduced by the prosecution and its sufficiency to warrant conviction beyond
1. No double jeopardy. It is settled doctrine that double jeopardy cannot be invoked against reasonable doubt, resulting in a dismissal of the case on the merits, tantamount to an acquittal
this Court's setting aside of the trial courts' judgment of dismissal or acquittal where the of the accused." Such dismissal of a criminal case by the grant of demurrer to evidence may not
prosecution which represents the sovereign people in criminal cases is denied due process. As be appealed, for to do so would be to place the accused in double-jeopardy. The verdict being
the Court stressed in the 1985 case of People vs. Bocar, one of acquittal, the case ends there. (Italics in the original)

Where the prosecution is deprived of a fair opportunity to prosecute and prove its case, its right Like any other rule, however, the above-said rule is not absolute. By way of exception, a
to due process is thereby violated. judgment of acquittal in a criminal case may be assailed in a petition for certiorari under Rule 65
of the Rules of Court upon a clear showing by the petitioner that the lower court, in acquitting
the accused, committed not merely reversible errors of judgment but also grave abuse of
The cardinal precept is that where there is a violation of basic constitutional rights, courts are
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction or a denial of due process, thus rendering
ousted of their jurisdiction. Thus, the violation of the State's right to due process raises a serious
the assailed judgment void. (Emphasis supplied.)
jurisdictional issue (Gumabon vs. Director of the Bureau of Prisons, L-30026, 37 SCRA 420 [Jan.
30, 1971]) which cannot be glossed over or disregarded at will. Where the denial of the
fundamental right of due process is apparent, a decision rendered in disregard of that right is In Sanvicente v. People,24 the Court allowed the review of a decision of the Court of Appeals (CA)
void for lack of jurisdiction (Aducayen vs. Flores, L-30370 [May 25, 19731, 51 SCRA 78; Shell Co. which reversed the accuseds acquittal upon demurrer to evidence filed by the accused with
vs. Enage, L-30111-12, 49 SCRA 416 Feb. 27, 1973]). Any judgment or decision rendered leave of court, the CA ruling that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in
notwithstanding such violation may be regarded as a "lawless thing, which can be treated as an preventing the prosecution from establishing the due execution and authenticity of certain letter
outlaw and slain at sight, or ignored wherever it exhibits its head" (Aducayen vs. Flores, supra). marked therein as Exhibit "LL," which supposedly "positively identified therein petitioner as the
perpetrator of the crime charged." The Court, in a petition for certiorari, sustained the CAs
power to review the order granting the demurrer to evidence, explaining thus:
Respondent Judge's dismissal order dated July 7, 1967 being null and void for lack of jurisdiction,
the same does not constitute a proper basis for a claim of double jeopardy (Serino vs. Zosa,
supra). Under Rule 119, Section 23 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended, the trial
court may dismiss the action on the ground of insufficiency of evidence upon a demurrer to
evidence filed by the accused with or without leave of court. In resolving accuseds demurrer to
xxx xxx xxx
evidence, the court is merely required to ascertain whether there is competent or sufficient
evidence to sustain the indictment or support a verdict of guilt.
Legal jeopardy attaches only (a) upon a valid indictment, (b) before a competent court, (c) after
arraignment, (d) a valid plea having been entered; and (e) the case was dismissed or otherwise
The grant or denial of a demurrer to evidence is left to the sound discretion of the trial court and
terminated without the express consent of the accused (People vs. Ylagan, 58 Phil. 851). The
its ruling on the matter shall not be disturbed in the absence of a grave abuse of discretion.
lower court was not competent as it was ousted of its jurisdiction when it violated the right of the
Significantly, once the court grants the demurrer, such order amounts to an acquittal and any
prosecution to due process.
further prosecution of the accused would violate the constitutional proscription on double
jeopardy. This constitutes an exception to the rule that the dismissal of a criminal case made Consequently, an error of judgment that the court may commit in the exercise of its jurisdiction
with the express consent of the accused or upon his own motion bars a plea of double jeopardy. is not correct[a]ble through the original civil action of certiorari."
The finality-of-acquittal rule was stressed thus in People v. Velasco:
The supervisory jurisdiction of a court over the issuance of a writ of certiorari cannot be
The fundamental philosophy highlighting the finality of an acquittal by the trial court cuts deep exercised for the purpose of reviewing the intrinsic correctness of a judgment of the lower court
into the "humanity of the laws and in jealous watchfulness over the rights of the citizens, when -- on the basis either of the law or the facts of the case, or of the wisdom or legal soundness of
brought in unequal contest with the State xxx. Thus Green expressed the concern that "(t)he the decision. Even if the findings of the court are incorrect, as long as it has jurisdiction over the
underlying idea, one that is deeply ingrained in at least the Anglo-American system of case, such correction is normally beyond the province of certiorari. Where the error is not one of
jurisprudence, is that the State with all its resources and power should not be allowed to make jurisdiction, but of an error of law or fact -- a mistake of judgment -- appeal is the remedy.
repeated attempts to convict an individual for an alleged offense thereby subjecting him to
embarrassment, expense and ordeal and compelling him to live in a continuing state of anxiety As to the Manner of Filing. Over an appeal, the CA exercises its appellate jurisdiction and power
and insecurity, as well as enhancing the possibility that even though innocent, he may be found of review. Over a certiorari, the higher court uses its original jurisdiction in accordance with its
guilty." power of control and supervision over the proceedings of lower courts. An appeal is thus a
continuation of the original suit, while a petition for certiorari is an original and independent
It is axiomatic that on the basis of humanity, fairness and justice, an acquitted defendant is action that was not part of the trial that had resulted in the rendition of the judgment or order
entitled to the right of repose as a direct consequence of the finality of his acquittal. The complained of. The parties to an appeal are the original parties to the action. In contrast, the
philosophy underlying this rule establishing the absolute nature of acquittals is "part of the parties to a petition for certiorari are the aggrieved party (who thereby becomes the petitioner)
paramount importance criminal justice system attaches to the protection of the innocent against against the lower court or quasi-judicial agency, and the prevailing parties (the public and the
wrongful conviction." The interest in the finality-of-acquittal rule, confined exclusively to verdicts private respondents, respectively).
of not guilty, is easy to understand: it is a need for "repose", a desire to know the exact extent of
ones liability. With this right of repose, the criminal justice system has built in a protection to As to the Subject Matter. Only judgments or final orders and those that the Rules of Court so
insure that the innocent, even those whose innocence rests upon a jurys leniency, will not be declared are appealable. Since the issue is jurisdiction, an original action for certiorari may be
found guilty in a subsequent proceeding. directed against an interlocutory order of the lower court prior to an appeal from the judgment;
or where there is no appeal or any plain, speedy or adequate remedy.
Given the far-reaching scope of an accuseds right against double jeopardy, even an appeal
based on an alleged misappreciation of evidence will not lie. The only instance when double As to the Period of Filing. Ordinary appeals should be filed within fifteen days from the notice of
jeopardy will not attach is when the trial court acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to judgment or final order appealed from. Where a record on appeal is required, the appellant must
lack or excess of jurisdiction, such as where the prosecution was denied the opportunity to file a notice of appeal and a record on appeal within thirty days from the said notice of judgment
present its case or where the trial was a sham. However, while certiorari may be availed of to or final order. A petition for review should be filed and served within fifteen days from the notice
correct an erroneous acquittal, the petitioner in such an extraordinary proceeding must clearly of denial of the decision, or of the petitioners timely filed motion for new trial or motion for
demonstrate that the trial court blatantly abused its authority to a point so grave as to deprive it reconsideration. In an appeal by certiorari, the petition should be filed also within fifteen days
of its very power to dispense justice. (Emphasis supplied.) from the notice of judgment or final order, or of the denial of the petitioners motion for new trial
or motion for reconsideration.
By this time, it is settled that the appellate court may review dismissal orders of trial courts
granting an accuseds demurrer to evidence. This may be done via the special civil action of On the other hand, a petition for certiorari should be filed not later than sixty days from the
certiorari under Rule 65 based on the ground of grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or notice of judgment, order, or resolution. If a motion for new trial or motion for reconsideration
excess of jurisdiction. Such dismissal order, being considered void judgment, does not result in was timely filed, the period shall be counted from the denial of the motion.
jeopardy. Thus, when the order of dismissal is annulled or set aside by an appellate court in an
original special civil action via certiorari, the right of the accused against double jeopardy is not
As to the Need for a Motion for Reconsideration. A motion for reconsideration is generally
violated.
required prior to the filing of a petition for certiorari, in order to afford the tribunal an opportunity
to correct the alleged errors. Note also that this motion is a plain and adequate remedy
Unfortunately, what petitioner People of the Philippines, through then Secretary of Justice expressly available under the law. Such motion is not required before appealing a judgment or
Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. and then Solicitor General Silvestre H. Bello, III, filed with the Court in the final order.
present case is an appeal by way of a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 raising a
pure question of law, which is different from a petition for certiorari under Rule 65.
Also in Madrigal, we stressed that the special civil action of certiorari and appeal are two
different remedies mutually exclusive; they are neither alternative nor successive. Where appeal
In Madrigal Transport Inc. v. Lapanday Holdings Corporation, 25
we have enumerated the is available, certiorari will not prosper. In the dismissal of a criminal case upon demurrer to
distinction between the two remedies/actions, to wit: evidence, appeal is not available as such an appeal will put the accused in double jeopardy.
Certiorari, however, is allowed.
Appeal and Certiorari Distinguished
For being the wrong remedy taken by petitioner People of the Philippines in this case, this
Between an appeal and a petition for certiorari, there are substantial distinctions which shall be petition is outrightly dismissible. The Court cannot reverse the assailed dismissal order of the
explained below. trial court by appeal without violating private respondents right against double jeopardy.

As to the Purpose. Certiorari is a remedy designed for the correction of errors of jurisdiction, not Even assuming that the Court may treat an "appeal" as a special civil action of certiorari, which
errors of judgment. In Pure Foods Corporation v. NLRC, we explained the simple reason for the definitely this Court has the power to do, when there is a clear showing of grave abuse of
rule in this light: discretion committed by the lower court, the instant petition will nevertheless fail on the merits
as the succeeding discussion will show.
"When a court exercises its jurisdiction, an error committed while so engaged does not deprive it
of the jurisdiction being exercised when the error is committed. If it did, every error committed There are actually two (2) acts involved in this case, namely, the warrantless arrest and the
by a court would deprive it of its jurisdiction and every erroneous judgment would be a void warrantless search. There is no question that warrantless search may be conducted as an
judgment. This cannot be allowed. The administration of justice would not survive such a rule. incident to a valid warrantless arrest. The law requires that there be first a lawful arrest before a
search can be made; the process cannot be reversed.26 However, if there are valid reasons to
conduct lawful search and seizure which thereafter shows that the accused is currently Q. What was the reason why you together with other policemen effected the arrest of the
committing a crime, the accused may be lawfully arrested in flagrante delicto 27 without need for accused?
a warrant of arrest.
A. We arrested him because of the information relayed to us by one of those whom we have
Finding that the warrantless arrest preceded the warrantless search in the case at bar, the trial previously apprehended in connection with the delivery of shabu somewhere also in Ermita,
court granted private respondent's demurrer to evidence and acquitted him of all the three Manila.
charges for lack of evidence, because the unlawful arrest resulted in the inadmissibility of the
evidence gathered from an invalid warrantless search. The trial courts ratiocination is quoted as xxx xxx xxx
follows:
Q. When you established that he was somewhere at Maria Orosa, what did you do?
The threshold issue raised by the accused in his Demurrer to Evidence is whether his warrantless
arrest and search were lawful as argued by the prosecution, or unlawful as asserted by the
A. We waited for him.
defense.
xxx xxx xxx
Under Section 5, Rule 113 of the New Rules of Court, a peace officer may arrest a person without
a warrant: (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 Q. You yourself, Mr. Witness, where did you position yourself during that time?
committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has
committed it, and (c) when the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal A. I was inside a vehicle waiting for the accused to appear.
establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while being
transferred from one confinement to another. None of these circumstances were present when Q. What about your other companions where were they?
the accused was arrested. The accused was merely walking from the Maria Orosa Apartment and
was about to enter the parked BMW car when the police officers arrested and frisked him and A. They were position in strategic places within the area.
searched his car. The accused was not committing any visible offense at the time of his arrest.
Neither was there an indication that he was about to commit a crime or that he had just
committed an offense. The unlicensed AMT Cal.380 9mm Automatic Back-up Pistol that the Q. What happened when you and your companions were positioned in that place?
accused had in his possession was concealed inside the right front pocket of his pants. And the
handgun was bantam and slim in size that it would not give an outward indication of a concealed A. That was when the accused arrived.
gun if placed inside the pant's side pocket as was done by the accused. The arresting officers
had no information and knowledge that the accused was carrying an unlicensed handgun, nor Q. How many of your approached him.
did they see him in possession thereof immediately prior to his arrest.
A. Inspector Margallo, myself and two other operatives.
Ditto on the 32 bags of shabu and the other unlicensed Daewoo Cal. 9mm Pistol with magazine
that were found and seized from the car. The contraband items in the car were not in plain view. Q. What happened when you approached the accused, Mr. Witness?
The 32 bags of shabu were in the trunk compartment, and the Daewoo handgun was underneath
the drivers seat of the car. The police officers had no information, or knowledge that the banned
A. We introduced ourselves as police officers and we frisked him and we asked him to open the
articles were inside the car, or that the accused had placed them there. The police officers
back compartment of his car.
searched the car on mere suspicion that there was shabu therein.

Q. You said you frisked him, what was the result of that?
On this matter, pertinent portions of the testimonies of Police Inspector Cielito Coronel and SP03
Reynaldo are hereunder quoted:
A. He was found in possession of one back-up pistol with one loaded magazine and likewise
when the compartment was opened several plastic bags containing white crystalline substance
POLICE INSPECTOR CIELITO CORONELS TESTIMONY
suspected to be shabu (were found).

"PROSECUTOR TO WITNESS: Direct-Examination


Q. What did you do when you found out Mr. Witness?

Q. Mr. Witness, what was your role or participation in this case?


A. When the car was further search we later found another firearm, a Daewoo Pistol at the place
under the seat of the driver.
A. I am one of those responsible for the arrest of the accused.
Q. Then what happened?
xxx xxx xxx
A. He was brought to our headquarters at Mandaluyong for further investigation.
Q. Where did you make that arrest, Mr. Witness?
Q. What about the suspected shabu that you recovered, what did you do with that?
A. The apprehension was made in front of an apartment along Maria Orosa Street, Ermita,
Manila.
A. The suspected shabu that we recovered were forwarded to the NBI for laboratory
examination.
Q. What date was that when you arrested the accused?
Q. Did you come to know the results?
A. It was on May 17, 1996, at about 2:10 a.m.
A. It was found positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride. (TSN, pp. 3-8, November 15,
xxx xxx xxx 1996).
ATTY. LOZANO TO WITNESS: CROSS SPO3 REYNALDO CRISTOBALS TESTIMONY

Q. You arrested Joseph Junio and Redentor Teck for alleged transporting of shabu on May 16, PROSECUTOR TO WITNESS: DIRECT EXAMINATION
1996, at 11:00 p.m., is it not?
Q. What is you role or participation in this case?
A. Yes, Sir.
A. I was one of the arresting officers and investigator, Sir.
Q. You asked Redentor Teck where he is employed, is it not?
xxx xxx xxx
A. Yes, Sir.
Q. What kind of specific offense did the accused allegedly do so that you arrested him, Mr.
xxx xxx xxx Witness?

Q. Redentor Teck told you that he is a talent manager at the Glenmore Modeling Agency, is it A. He was arrested on the basis of the recovered drugs in his possession placed inside his car.
not?
xxx xxx xxx
A. Yes, Sir.
Q. Mr. witness, you said that you recovered drug from the car of the accused, please tell us the
.Q. The Glenmore Modeling Agency is owned by Lawrence Wang, is it not? antecedent circumstances which led you to recover or confiscate these items?

A. I supposed, Sir. A. Earlier in the evening about 11:00 p.m. of May 16, we arrested one Redentor Teck and Joseph
Junio.
Q. And that is why immediately after Redentor Teck told you that he is an employee of the
Glenmore Modeling Agency owned by Lawrence Wang, naturally, you and your companions look COURT: Where did you arrest these people?
for Lawrence Wang to shed light on the transporting of shabu by Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio,
is it not? A They were arrested in Metro Manila also.

A. Yes, Sir. COURT: The same date?

Q. Thereafter, you spotted a person previously described by Redentor Teck as Lawrence Wang, is A. May 16, about 11:00 p.m. They were arrested and when they were investigated, Teck
it not? mentioned the name of Lawrence Wang as his employer.

A. Yes, Sir. COURT: Why were these people, arrested?

Q. While you were arresting Lawrence Wang, your companions at the same time searched the A. For violation of R.A. 6425.
BMW car described in your affidavit of arrest, is it not?
COURT: How were they arrested?
A. Yes, Sir.
A. They were arrested while in the act of transporting shabu or handling shabu to another
xxx xxx xxx previously arrested person. It was a series of arrest.

Q. Lawrence Wang was not inside the BMW car while the same was searched, is it not? COURT: So, this involved a series of operation?

A. He was outside, Sir. A. Yes, Your Honor. About 11:00 p.m. of May 16, we arrested three (3) persons, SPO2 Vergel de
Dios, a certain Arellano and a certain Rogelio Noble. When they were arrested they divulged the
Q. The driver of the car was inside the car when the arrest and search were made, is it not? name of the source.

A. He was likewise outside, Sir. COURT: They were arrested for what, for possession?

Q. Lawrence Wang did resist arrest and search is it not? A. Yes, Your Honor. For unlawful possession of shabu . Then they divulged to us the name of the
person from whom they get shabu.
A. Yes, Sir.
COURT: Whose name did they mention:
Q. When you effected the arrest, there was no warrant of arrest, is it not?
A. One Alias Frank, who turned out to be Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio. We let them call
A. Yes, Sir. Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio thru the cellphone and pretend and to order another supply of
shabu.
Q. When the search was made on the BMW car, there was no search warrant, is it not?
COURT: So there was an entrapment?
A. Yes, none, Sir. (TSN, pp. 3-12, November 15, 1996)
A. Yes, Your Honor. CLARIFICATORY QUESTIONING OF SPO3 CRISTOBAL BY THE COURT

COURT: So, these two (2) were arrested? COURT: From your testimony and that of Police Inspector Cielito Coronel, this Court has gathered
that prior to the arrest of the accused there were three (3) men that your team arrested. One of
A. While they were about to hand over another bag of shabu to Noble and company. whom is a police officer.

COURT: And these two reveals (revealed) some information to you as to the source of the shabu? A: Yes, Sir.

A. Yes, Your Honor. xxx xxx xxx

COURT: What was the information? COURT: And on the occasion of the arrest of these three men shabu were confiscated from them?

A. Teck told us that he is an employee of Lawrence Wang. A: Yes, Sir.

COURT: What did you do when you were told about that? Q: And in the course of the investigation of these three men, you were able to discover that
Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio were the source of the regulated drug that were confiscated from
the three men that you have arrested?
A. They also told us that there was an ongoing delivery of shabu on that morning.

A: Yes, Sir.
COURT: When?

Q: Now, thru entrapment base[d] on your testimony you were able to apprehend also these two
A. Of that date early morning of May 17, 1996.
men, Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio?
COURT: At what place?
A: Yes, Sir.
A. We asked them where we could find Lawrence Wang and Teck lead us to Maria Orosa
xxx xxx xxx
Apartment where we conducted a stake out which lasted up to 2:00 a.m.

Q: These two men, Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio they were also investigated by your team?
xxx xxx xxx

A: Yes, Sir.
COURT: What happened during the stake out?

Q: You were present while they were investigated?


A. When the person of the accused was identified to us, we saw him opening his car together
with his driver.
A: I was the one whom investigated them.
COURT: So, he was about to leave when you saw him?
xxx xxx xxx
A. Probably, Sir.
Q: Did you ask Redentor and Joseph the source of shabu that you confiscated from them at the
time of the (their) arrest?
COURT: What did you do?

A: Yes, Sir. They refuse to say the source, however, they told me that they were working for the
A. We saw him opened his car and we have a suspicion that there was a shabu inside the
accused.
compartment of the car.

Q: You also testified that Redentor informed you that there was another delivery of shabu
xxx xxx xxx
scheduled that morning of (stop) was it May 16 or 17? The other delivery that is scheduled on?
COURT: All right, when you saw the accused opened his car, what did you do?
A: On the 17th.
A. We approached him.
xxx xxx xxx
COURT: What happened when you approached him?
Q: Did he tell you who was to make the delivery?
A. We suspected the shabu inside the compartment of his car.
A: No, Sir.
COURT: And this shabu that you saw inside the compartment of the car, what did you do with
xxx xxx xxx
that?

Q: At that time when you decided to look for the accused to ask him to shed light on the matter
A. Well, he was first arrested by Captain Margallo and Lt. Coronel while I was the one who
concerning the arrest of these two employees in possession of shabu. Did you and did your team
inspected and opened the compartment of the car and saw the shabu. (TSN, pp. 15-24,
suspect the accused as being involved in the transaction that lead (led) to the arrest of Redentor
December 16, 1996).
and Joseph?
A: Yes, Sir. We suspected that he was the source of the shabu. committed grave abuse of discretion in excess of jurisdiction when it ruled that there was no
legal basis to lawfully effect a warrantless arrest.
xxx xxx xxx
The pertinent provisions of Rule 113 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure on warrantless arrest
Q: When you saw the accused walking towards his car, did you know whether he was carrying a provide:
gun?
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace officer or a private person may, without a
A: No, Sir. It cannot be seen. warrant, arrest a person:

Q: It was concealed? a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
A: Yes, Sir.
b) When an offense has just been committed, and he has probable cause to believe
based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested
Q: So, the only time that you and your team learned that he was in possession of the gun is
has committed it; and
when he was bodily search?

c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal
A: Yes, Sir. That is the only time that I came to know about when Capt. Margallo handed to me
establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined
the gun.
while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one
confinement to another.
Q: Other than walking towards his car, the accused was not doing anything else?
Section 5, above, provides three (3) instances when warrantless arrest may be lawfully effected:
A: None, Sir. (a) arrest of a suspect in flagrante delicto; (b) arrest of a suspect where, based on personal
knowledge of the arresting officer, there is probable cause that said suspect was the author of a
Q: That would invite your suspicion or give indication that he was intending to do something crime which had just been committed; (c) arrest of a prisoner who has escaped from custody
unlawful or illegal? serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending.

A: No, Sir. For a warrantless arrest of an accused caught in flagrante delicto under paragraph (a) of Section
5 to be valid, two requisites must concur: (1) the person to be arrested must execute an overt
Q: When you searched the car, did the accused protest or try to prevent your team from act indicating that he has just committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit a
searching his car? crime; and (2) such overt act is done in the presence or within the view of the arresting
officer.291awphi1.nt
A: No, Sir." (TSN pp. 3-16, Feb. 26, 1997)
The facts and circumstances surrounding the present case did not manifest any suspicious
Clearly therefore, the warrantless arrest of the accused and the search of his person and the car behavior on the part of private respondent Lawrence Wang that would reasonably invite the
were without probable cause and could not be licit. The arrest of the accused did not fall under attention of the police. He was merely walking from the Maria Orosa Apartment and was about
any of the exception to the requirements of warrantless arrests, (Sec. 5, Rule 113, Rules of to enter the parked BMW car when the police operatives arrested him, frisked and searched his
Court) and is therefore, unlawful and derogatory of his constitutional right of liberty. x x x person and commanded him to open the compartment of the car, which was later on found to be
owned by his friend, David Lee. He was not committing any visible offense then. Therefore, there
can be no valid warrantless arrest in flagrante delicto under paragraph (a) of Section 5. It is
The trial court resolved the case on the basis of its findings that the arrest preceded the search, settled that "reliable information" alone, absent any overt act indicative of a felonious enterprise
and finding no basis to rule in favor of a lawful arrest, it ruled that the incidental search is in the presence and within the view of the arresting officers, is not sufficient to constitute
likewise unlawful. Any and all pieces of evidence acquired as a consequence thereof are probable cause that would justify an in flagrante delicto arrest. 30
inadmissible in evidence. Thus, the trial court dismissed the case for lack of evidence.
Neither may the warrantless arrest be justified under paragraph (b) of Section 5. What is clearly
Contrary to its position at the trial court, the People, however, now posits that "inasmuch as it established from the testimonies of the arresting officers is that Wang was arrested mainly on
has been shown in the present case that the seizure without warrant of the regulated drugs and the information that he was the employer of Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio who were previously
unlicensed firearms in the accuseds possession had been validly made upon probable cause and arrested and charged for illegal transport of shabu. Teck and Junio did not even categorically
under exigent circumstances, then the warrantless arrest of the accused must necessarily have identify Wang to be their source of the shabu they were caught with in flagrante delicto. Upon
to be regarded as having been made on the occasion of the commission of the crime in flagrante the duos declaration that there will be a delivery of shabu on the early morning of the following
delicto, and therefore constitutionally and statutorily permissible and lawful." 28In effect, the day, May 17, which is only a few hours thereafter, and that Wang may be found in Maria Orosa
People now contends that the warrantless search preceded the warrantless arrest. Since the Apartment along Maria Orosa Street, the arresting officers conducted "surveillance" operation in
case falls under an exception to the general rule requiring search warrant prior to a valid search front of said apartment, hoping to find a person which will match the description of one
and seizure, the police officers were justified in requiring the private respondent to open his Lawrence Wang, the employer of Teck and Junio. These circumstances do not sufficiently
BMW cars trunk to see if he was carrying illegal drugs. establish the existence of probable cause based on personal knowledge as required in paragraph
(b) of Section 5.
The conflicting versions as to whether the arrest preceded the search or vice versa, is a matter
of credibility of evidence. It entails appreciation of evidence, which may be done in an appeal of And doubtless, the warrantless arrest does not fall under paragraph (c) of Section 5.
a criminal case because the entire case is thrown open for review, but not in the case of a
petition for certiorari where the factual findings of the trial court are binding upon the Court.
Since a dismissal order consequent to a demurrer to evidence is not subject to appeal and The inevitable conclusion, as correctly made by the trial court, is that the warrantless arrest was
reviewable only by certiorari, the factual finding that the arrest preceded the search is illegal. Ipso jure, the warrantless search incidental to the illegal arrest is likewise unlawful.
conclusive upon this Court. The only legal basis for this Court to possibly reverse and set aside
the dismissal order of the trial court upon demurrer to evidence would be if the trial court
In People v. Aminnudin,31 the Court declared as inadmissible in evidence the marijuana found in 3. The Order issued on 24 July 2008, which: a) denied petitioner's Motion for Inhibition,
appellants possession during a search without a warrant, because it had been illegally seized, in b) denied petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration of the 24 July 2008 Order; and c)
disregard of the Bill of Rights: granted respondents Motion to withdraw their cash bonds. 3

In the case at bar, the accused-appellant was not, at the moment of his arrest, committing a On 30 March 2007, at 11:00 a.m., a confidential informant (CI) appeared before the Anti-Illegal
crime nor was it shown that he was about to do so or that he had just done so. What he was Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Camp
doing was descending the gangplank of the M/V Wilcon 9 and there was no outward indication Crame, Quezon City. The CI relayed to Police Senior Inspector Fidel Fortaleza, Jr. (P S/Insp.
that called for his arrest. To all appearances, he was like any of the other passengers innocently Fortaleza) that an individual using the alias "Brian" was engaged in the illegal sale of the
disembarking from the vessel. It was only when the informer pointed to him as the carrier of the prohibited drug "ecstasy" in BF Homes, Paraaque City.4 The CI further reported that "Brian,"
marijuana that he suddenly became a suspect and so subject to apprehension. It was the who was later identified as herein private respondent Castel Vinci Estacio y Tolentino (Estacio),
fugitive finger that triggered his arrest. The identification of the informer was the probable cause promised a commission from any transaction the former would help arrange. P S/Insp. Fortaleza,
as determined by the officer (and not a judge) that authorized them to pounce upon Aminnudin as team leader of the AIDSOTF, assembled and briefed the team that would conduct the buy-
and immediately arrest him. bust operation. Police Officer (PO) 2 Marlo V. Frando (PO2 Frando) was assigned to act as the
poseur-buyer and PO2 Ruel P. Cubian (PO2 Cubian) as back-up, while the rest of the team
The Peoples contention that Wang waived his right against unreasonable search and seizure has members were to serve as perimeter security. P S/Insp. Fortaleza and PO2 Leonard So prepared
no factual basis. While we agree in principle that consent will validate an otherwise illegal and dusted two 500 bills for use as buy-bust money. The CI then called respondent Estacio,
search, however, based on the evidence on record, Wang resisted his arrest and the search on informing him that a prospective buyer wished to purchase thirty (30) tablets of ecstasy with a
his person and belongings.32 The implied acquiescence to the search, if there was any, could not total value of 50,000.5 That afternoon, respondent Estacio instructed them to proceed to
have been more than mere passive conformity given under intimidating or coercive Tandang Sora Avenue, Quezon City, where the transaction was to take place.6
circumstances and is thus considered no consent at all within the purview of the constitutional
guarantee.33Moreover, the continuing objection to the validity of the warrantless arrest made of At 11:00 p.m. of the same day, Estacio alighted from a Toyota Vios car at the Jollibee branch
record during the arraignment bolsters Wangs claim that he resisted the warrantless arrest and located at the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Tandang Sora. PO2 Frando, accompanied by
search. the CI, approached Estacio. After PO2 Frando was introduced to Estacio as the prospective buyer,
the latter demanded to see the payment. However, PO2 Frando asked him to first show the
We cannot close this ponencia without a word of caution: those who are supposed to enforce the ecstasy pills.7 Estacio then opened the doors of the vehicle and introduced his two companions,
law are not justified in disregarding the rights of the individual in the name of order. Order is too Carlo and Jonathan (later identified as herein respondents Jonathan Dy and Carlo Castro), to PO2
high a price for the loss of liberty. As Justice Holmes once said, "I think it is less evil that some Frando and the CI. Respondent Castro handed PO2 Frando one sealed plastic sachet containing
criminals should escape than that the government should play an ignoble part." It is simply not several pink pills. The latter gave the "boodle" money to respondent Dy and immediately
allowed in free society to violate a law to enforce another, especially if the law violated is the removed his baseball cap. The removal of the cap was the prearranged signal to the rest of the
Constitution itself.34 buy-bust team that the transaction was complete.8

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. PO2 Frando introduced himself as a police officer and informed respondents of their
constitutional rights.9 PO2 Cubian frisked respondent Dy and was able to recover the buy-bust
money.10 Respondents were then escorted to the AIDSOTF office in Camp Crame, where they
SO ORDERED.
identified themselves as Castel Vinci Estacio y Tolentino, Carlo Castro y Cando, and Jonathan Dy
y Rubic. As officer in charge of the inventory of the evidence seized, PO2 Cubian turned over the
plastic sachet to PO3 Jose Rey Serrona, who was in charge of the investigation. 11 On 31 March
2007, forensic chemist and Police Senior Inspector Yelah C. Manaog (P S/Insp. Manaog)
conducted a laboratory examination of the contents of the sachet, which was completed at
10:50 a.m. that same day.12 The 30 pink pills were found positive for
G.R. No. 184658 March 6, 2013 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) hydrochloride, commonly known as ecstasy, a
dangerous drug.13
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner,
vs. An Information dated 3 April 2007 was filed against respondents for the sale of dangerous drugs,
JUDGE RAFAEL R. LAGOS, IN HIS CAPACITY AS PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL in violation of Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No. (R.A.) 9165. The case was raffled to the sala
COURT, QUEZON CITY, BRANCH 79, JONATHAN DY y RUBIC, CASTEL VINCI ESTACIO y of Judge Fernando Sagum, Jr. of the Quezon City RTC. Upon arraignment, respondents pleaded
TOLENTINO, AND CARLO CASTRO y CANDO, Respondents. not guilty to the charges. Trial ensued, and the prosecution presented its evidence, including the
testimonies of four witnesses: PO2 Marlo V. Frando, PO2 Ruel P. Cubian, Police Senior Inspector
Yelah C. Manaog, and PO3 Jose Rey Serrona. After the prosecution submitted its Formal Offer of
DECISION Evidence on 17 November 2007, respondents filed a Motion for leave of court to file their
demurrer, as well as a Motion to resolve their Petition for Bail. On 2 January 2008, Judge Sagum
SERENO, CJ.: issued a Resolution denying both the Petition for Bail and the Motion for leave of court to file a
demurrer. Respondent Estacio then sought the inhibition of Judge Sagum, a move subsequently
Before this Court is a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 seeking to reverse the adopted by respondents Dy and Castro. On 15 January 2008, Presiding Judge Sagum inhibited
following Orders in Criminal Case No. Q-07-146628 issued by public respondent Judge Rafael R. himself from the case. On 31 January 2008, the case was re-raffled to public respondent Judge
Lagos (Judge Lagos), presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 79: Lagos.

1. The Order issued on 23 April 2008, granting respondents' Petition for Bail and Judge Lagos issued the first assailed Order on 23 April 2008 granting respondents Petition for
Motion for Leave to File Demurrer to Evidence;1 Bail and allowing them to file their demurrer. On 24 June 2008, he issued the second assailed
Order, acquitting all the accused. On Motion for Reconsideration filed by the People, he issued
2. The Order issued on 24 June 2008 granting the demurrer to evidence filed by the third assailed Order denying the above motion and granting the Motion to Withdraw Cash
respondents and acquitting them of the crime of illegal sale of drugs punishable under Bonds filed by the accused.
Section 5, Article II, Republic Act 9165;2
Before this Court, the prosecution argues that Judge Lagos committed grave abuse of discretion operation, in which respondents were caught in flagrante delicto engaged in the illegal sale of
tantamount to lack or excess of jurisdiction in granting the demurrer despite clear proof of the dangerous drugs. Due to the investigative work of the AIDSOTF members, the illegal sale was
elements of the illegal sale, the existence of the corpus delicti, and the arrest in flagrante consummated in their presence, and the elements of the sale the identity of the sellers, the
delicto.14 Private respondents counter that the Petition is dismissible on the ground of double delivery of the drugs, and the payment therefor were confirmed. That the CI initially provided
jeopardy and is violative of the principle of hierarchy of courts. this information or "tip" does not negate the subsequent consummation of the illegal sale.

We grant the petition. In the Courts Resolution on People v. Utoh, the accused was caught in flagrante delicto selling
36,000 worth of shabu in a buy-bust operation conducted by the Philippine Drug Enforcement
Respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion in granting the demurrer. Agency (PDEA). The accused argued that mere reliable information from the CI was an
insufficient ground for his warrantless arrest. The Court stated:
It has long been settled that the grant of a demurrer is tantamount to an acquittal. An acquitted
defendant is entitled to the right of repose as a direct consequence of the finality of his Utoh was arrested not, as he asserts, on the basis of "reliable information" received by the
acquittal.15 This rule, however, is not without exception. The rule on double jeopardy is subject to arresting officers from a confidential informant. His arrest came as a result of a valid buy-bust
the exercise of judicial review by way of the extraordinary writ of certiorari under Rule 65 of the operation, a form of entrapment in which the violator is caught in flagrante delicto. The police
Rules of Court. The Supreme Court is endowed with the power to determine whether or not there officers conducting a buy-bust operation are not only authorized but also duty-bound to
has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of apprehend the violators and to search them for anything that may have been part of or used in
any branch or instrumentality of the government.16 Here, the party asking for the review must the commission of the crime.
show the presence of a whimsical or capricious exercise of judgment equivalent to lack of
jurisdiction; a patent and gross abuse of discretion amounting to an evasion of a positive duty or The testimonies of arresting officers IOI Apiit and IOI Mosing were straightforward, positive, and
to a virtual refusal to perform a duty imposed by law or to act in contemplation of law; an categorical. From the time they were tipped off by the confidential informant at around 9:00 a.m.
exercise of power in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and hostility; or a of November 22, 2008 or up to the time until the informant confirmed Utohs impending arrival
blatant abuse of authority to a point so grave and so severe as to deprive the court of its very at a very late hour that night, and the latter's eventual arrest, the intelligence officers credibly
power to dispense justice.17 In such an event, the accused cannot be considered to be at risk of accounted for the briefings held, the preparations, and actions taken by them. 23
double jeopardy.18
It is well-settled that the testimony of the CI in the sale of illegal drugs is not indispensable.
The trial court declared that the testimonies of PO2 Frando, PO2 Cubian, P S/Insp. Manaog, and
AIDSOTF Chief Leonardo R. Suan were insufficient to prove the culmination of the illegal sale, or Given the foregoing, respondent Judge Lagos erred in requiring the testimony of the
to show their personal knowledge of the offer to sell and the acceptance thereof. In granting the CI.1wphi1 Respondent judge based his ruling on a 2004 case, People v. Ong, the facts of which
demurrer filed by the accused, respondent judge surmised that it was the CI who had initiated purportedly "mirror" those of the present case. However, there is no basis for this conclusion, as
the negotiation of the sale and should have thus been presented at trial. Ong involved a conviction based on the lone testimony of one apprehending officer, Senior
Police Officer (SPO1) Gonzales. The Court found that SPO1 Gonzales was merely the
Accused were caught in flagrante delicto; AIDSOTF police officers witnessed the actual sale. deliveryman, while the CI was the one who acted as the poseur-buyer. In this case, one of the
witnesses, PO2 Frando, was a buy-bust team member who also acted as the poseur-buyer. He
The trial courts assessment that the witnesses had no personal knowledge of the illegal sale participated in the actual sale transaction. His testimony was a firsthand account of what
starkly contrasts with the facts borne out by the records. PO2 Frando was present during the transpired during the buy-bust and thus stemmed from his personal knowledge of the arrest in
negotiation and the actual buy-bust operation. PO2 Frando himself acted as the poseur-buyer flagrante delicto.
and testified in open court. PO2 Cubian frisked the accused and recovered the buy-bust money;
he also testified in court. P S/Insp. Manaog testified as to the corpus delicti of the crime; and the Requiring the CI to testify is an added imposition that runs contrary to jurisprudential doctrine,
30 pills of ecstasy were duly marked, identified, and presented in court. The validity of buy-bust since the Court has long established that the presentation of an informant is not a requisite for
transactions as an effective way of apprehending drug dealers in the act of committing an the prosecution of drug cases. The testimony of the CI is not indispensable, since it would be
offense is well-settled.19 merely corroborative of and cumulative with that of the poseur-buyer who was presented in
court, and who testified on the facts and circumstances of the sale and delivery of the prohibited
The only elements necessary to consummate the crime of illegal sale of drugs is proof that the drug.24
illicit transaction took place, coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti or the
illicit drug as evidence.20 In buy-bust operations, the delivery of the contraband to the poseur- Informants are usually not presented in court because of the need to hide their identities and
buyer and the sellers receipt of the marked money successfully consummate the buy-bust preserve their invaluable services to the police. Except when the accused vehemently denies
transaction between the entrapping officers and the accused. Unless there is clear and selling prohibited drugs and there are material inconsistencies in the testimonies of the arresting
convincing evidence that the members of the buy-bust team were inspired by any improper officers, or there are reasons to believe that the officers had motives to falsely testify against the
motive or were not properly performing their duty, their testimonies on the operation deserve accused, or that it was the informant who acted as the poseur-buyer, the informant's testimony
faith and credit. 21 may be dispensed with, as it will merely be corroborative of the apprehending officers'
eyewitness accounts.25 In People v. Lopez, the Court ruled that the "informant's testimony, then,
The Court has held that when police officers have no motive to testify falsely against the would have been merely corroborative and cumulative because the fact of sale of the prohibited
accused, courts are inclined to uphold the presumption of regularity accorded to them in the drug was already established by the direct testimony of SP04 Jamisolamin who actively took part
performance of their official duties.22 In the present case, there is no contention that the in the transaction. If the prosecution has several eyewitnesses, as in the instant case, it need not
members of AIDSOTF who conducted the buy-bust operation were motivated by ill will or malice. present all of them but only as many as may be needed to meet the quantum of proof necessary
Neither was there evidence adduced to show that they neglected to perform their duties to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt."26
properly. Hence, their testimonies as to the conduct of the buy-bust operation deserves full faith
and credence. Similarly, in the present case, the fact of the illegal sale has already been established by
testimonies of the members of the buy-bust team. Judge Lagos need not have characterized the
Respondent judge harps on the fact that it was the CI who had personal knowledge of the Cl's testimony as indispensable to the prosecution's case. We find and so hold that the grant of
identity of the seller, the initial offer to purchase the ecstasy pills, and the subsequent the demurrer for this reason alone was not supported by prevailing jurisprudence and
acceptance of the offer. It is clear from the testimonies of PO2 Frando and the other arresting constituted grave abuse of discretion. The prosecution's evidence was, prima facie, sufficient to
officers that they conducted the buy-bust operation based on the information from the CI. prove the criminal charges filed against respondents, subject to the defenses they may present
However, the arrest was made, not on the basis of that information, but of the actual buy-bust in the course of a full-blown trial.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed Orders of the Regional Trial Court dated 23 April private complainants filing of the cases without attaching the requisite certifications to file action
2008, 24 June 2008, and 24 July 2008 are ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The RTC is ORDERED to from the barangay. On the date the two cases were filed, respondent immediately issued two
reinstate Criminal Case No. Q-07-146628 to the court's docket and proceed with trial. warrants for his arrest. He was arrested on a Friday and languished in the municipal jail for two
days and two nights. He posted bail and filed a motion to inhibit respondent from hearing the
SO ORDERED. case, but the same was not acted upon. He received an envelope from the court with nothing
inside and found out later that the same was supposed to be a notice of hearing; thus, he was
ordered arrested in view of his non-appearance in court.

On February 22, 2001, respondent compulsorily retired from the judiciary.

In a 1st Indorsement dated June 8, 2001, respondent was directed to file his comment on the
complaint. A 1st Tracer dated October 17, 2001 was sent to respondent giving him a non-
extendible period of five days to file his comment. However, the said tracer was
returned unserved due to respondents retirement from the judiciary. Another Tracer datedJuly
30, 2002 was sent to respondent in his residential address giving him a chance to file his
comment, but none was filed.

Acting on the complaint, the Court, in its Resolution of March 24, 2003, required respondent to
manifest whether he was willing to submit the administrative matter against him for resolution
without his comment. Respondent failed to comply with the Court Resolution. Thus, in the
MIGUEL E. COLORADO, A.M. No. MTJ-06-1658
Resolution of January 26, 2005, the Court ordered respondent to show cause why he should not
be disciplinarily dealt with or held in contempt for failure to manifest and to comply with the
Complainant, [Formerly OCA IPI No. 01-1014-MTJ] Resolution of March 24, 2003. Still, respondent failed to comply with the Resolution of January
26, 2005. In the Resolution of August 24, 2005, the Court imposed upon respondent a fine
of P1,000.00 and deemed respondent to have waived the filing of a comment on the complaint.

Present: In the Agenda Report[2] dated October 12, 2005, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA)
found respondent guilty as charged and recommended that he be fined in the amount of Twenty
- versus - YNARES-SANTIAGO, J., Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00) to be deducted from his retirement benefits.

Chairperson, On November 8, 2005, respondent paid the fine of P1,000.00 imposed on him in the Resolution
of August 24, 2005 and submitted his Comment on the complaint.
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
In his Comment[3] dated October 31, 2005, respondent denied the allegations contained in the
CHICO-NAZARIO, and complaint reasoning that he acted in good faith and within the scope of his duties.He further
contends: Based on Administrative Circular No. 140-93, the crimes committed by the accused
are not within the Katarungan Pambarangay Law because the imposable penalty exceeds one
JUDGE RICARDO M. AGAPITO, NACHURA, JJ. year. Both cases are within the original jurisdiction of the court and, finding a probable cause
against the accused, the court issued the warrant of arrest. There is no law or circular issued by
Municipal Circuit Trial Court, this Court that a court cannot issue a warrant of arrest on Friday. If the accused was not able to
post bail on time, it is not his fault or of the court. The motion for inhibition filed by complainant
Laur, Nueva Ecija, Promulgated: must be set for hearing. But in spite of several settings to hear the motion, complainant failed to
appear. In the hearing of both cases, complainant failed to appear in court; thus, the assistant
Respondent. July 3, 2007 provincial prosecutor moved for the arrest of the complainant. At the hearing of November 17,
2000 and January 5, 2001, complainant failed to appear in court, and orders of arrest were
issued against him, but said orders were reconsidered by the court. In spite of all the orders of
x--------------------------------------------------x
the court for the arrest of complainant, none of the orders were implemented. Neither was the
accused arrested and detained in jail. And if the complainant received an envelope from the
RESOLUTION MCTC of Laur without content, complainant should have immediately informed the court of the
said circumstance so that proper action may be done on the employee in charge of the mailing
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J. of notices.

Before us is a sworn letter-complaint[1] dated January 31, 2001 of Miguel E. Colorado In the Resolution of March 29, 2006, the Court referred back the instant administrative matter to
(complainant) charging Judge Ricardo M. Agapito (respondent), Municipal Circuit Trial Court the OCA for evaluation, report and recommendation.
(MCTC), Laur, Nueva Ecija, with Gross Ignorance of the Law and Grave Abuse of Authority
relative to Criminal Case Nos. 3461-G and 3462-G, entitled People v. Miguel Colorado, with In a letter[4] dated November 21, 2005, respondent requested the Court that his retirement
Grave Slander and Grave Threats. benefits be released subject to the withholding of P20,000.00 pending resolution of the present
complaint.
Complainant alleges: He is the accused in the aforementioned criminal cases. The cases were
directly filed with the court without first passing the Office of the BarangayChairman, although
he and private complainants are permanent residents
of Barangay Bagong Sikat, Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija. Respondent ignored the glaring deficiency in
In the Resolution[5] of June 28, 2006, the Court granted the partial release of respondent's After careful evaluation of the record of the case, the undersigned
compulsory retirement benefits and withheld therefrom the amount of P20,000.00 to answer for finds merit in the neglect of respondent judge to resolve the pending issue
whatever liability respondent may incur in the present administrative case. of the motion for inhibition which was not acted upon up to the time of his
compulsory retirement from the service.
In the Agenda Report dated August 30, 2006, the OCA submitted its evaluation and
recommendation, to wit: It should be noted that respondent never gave any valid justification for the
delay in the filing of his comment. It seems that he believed that the mere
The charges against respondent judge are summarized as follows: payment of the fine obliterated the charge of contumacious refusal to obey
the order of this Court. Respondent's conduct cannot be left unnoticed by
the Court. Judges are the visible representations of law and justice, from
1. Gross Ignorance of the law for his failure to remand or
whom the people draw the will and inclination to obey the law
dismiss the case in view of the absence of the requisite
(Moroo v. Lomeda, 316 Phil. 103, July 14, 1995) How can the respondent
certificate to file action issued by the Barangay as a
judge expect others to respect the law when he himself cannot obey orders
mandatory requirement of the Katarungan Pambarangay Law
as simple as the show-cause resolution? {Longboan v. Hon. Polig (A.M.
and the Local Government Code.
No. R-704-RTJ, June 14, 1990, 186 SCRA 557) cited in the case
of Bonifacio Guintu v. Judge Aunario L. Lucero, A.M. No. MTJ-93-794, August
2. Grave abuse of authority for the issuance of a warrant of 23, 1996}.
arrest on a Friday to ensure complainants incarceration for
two days.
In a catena of cases this Court has unhesitatingly imposed the penalty of
dismissal on those who have persistently failed to comply with orders
3. Grave abuse of authority and bias in continuing the hearing requiring them either to file comment or to show cause and
of the cases and for failure to act on the motion for inhibition. comply. Respondent's belated filing of his comment cannot cure or
obliterate[d] his shortcomings with this Court. The fact remains that he
4. An intention on the part of respondent to prevent ignored the lawful directive of the Court and in fact offered no valid
complainants appearance in court by sending an envelope, justification or excuse for it. This Court could have imposed the penalty of
with a supposed notice of hearing but with nothing inside. dismissal and forfeiture of all of respondent's retirement benefit had it not
been for this Courts compassion in allowing him to retire with the mere
xxxx retention of P20,000.00. Respondents comment should not have been
received in the first place as the same was already considered waived
Respondent judge argued that under Administrative Circular No. pursuant to the Resolution of the Honorable Court dated 24 August 2005.
14-93 dated August 3, 1993 issued by this Court as Guidelines for the
Implementation of the Barangay Conciliation Procedure, based on the Local
Government Code of 1991, R.A. 7160, which took effect on January 1, 1992,
one of the exceptions to the coverage of the circular is Offense[s] for which IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the undersigned respectfully recommends
the law prescribes a maximum penalty of imprisonment exceeding one (1) to the Honorable Court that:
year or a fine over five thousand pesos (P5,000.00). Considering that the
offenses for which accused was charged have corresponding penalties of 1. Judge Ricardo M. Agapito, former judge of
more than one year there is no need for a certification to file action from MCTC, Laur, Nueva Ecija be found guilty of gross neglect for
the Barangay. failure to act on the motion for inhibition filed by accused-
complainant and for his failure to promptly comply with the
There was likewise no grave abuse of discretion in the issuance of lawful order of Court and not offering a valid
warrant of arrest. The subject criminal cases were within the original excuse therefor and should be FINED in the amount of
jurisdiction of the MTC and after finding probable cause against the accused, Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000); and
respondent issued the questioned warrant of arrest. Respondent pointed out
that there is no law or circular issued by the Honorable Court prohibiting the 2. The withheld amount of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000)
issuance of a warrant of arrest on Friday. shall be considered the payment of the fine.[6]

We agree in toto with the findings and recommendations of the OCA.

With regard to the charge of grave abuse of discretion relative to First of all, we deem it necessary to determine the applicability of A.M. No. 03-10-01-SC, a
the motion for inhibition, respondent submitted that there should be a Resolution Prescribing Measures to Protect Members of the Judiciary from Baseless and
hearing on the motion before it could be acted upon. But in spite of the Unfounded Administrative Complaints, which took effect on November 3, 2003.
several settings of said motion the complainant as accused failed to appear.
Recognizing the proliferation of unfounded or malicious administrative or criminal
Respondent contended that if it were true that complainant cases against members of the judiciary for purposes of harassment, we issued said
received an envelope from the MCTC of Laur, Nueva Ecija, without any Resolution, which provides:
contents, he should have immediately informed the court about it so that
the proper action could have been done.
2. If the complaint is (a) filed within six months before the compulsory
retirement of a Justice or Judge; (b) for an alleged cause of action that
Lastly, respondent invited the Courts attention to the fact that occurred at least a year before such filing; and (c) shown prima facie that it is
complainant was also accused of Grave Slander intended to harass the respondent, it must forthwith be recommended for
by Darlito Urbano and Violeta Urbano which case were docketed as Criminal dismissal. If such is not the case, the Office of the Court Administrator must
Case No. 3648-G and 3649-G, MCTC Laur-Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija. It is argued require the respondent to file a comment within ten (10) days from receipt of
that this shows the character of Miguel Colorado.
the complaint, and submit to the Court a report and recommendation not Complainant faults respondent for having been arrested on a Friday, causing him to
later than thirty (30) days from receipt of the comment.The Court shall act on languish in jail for two days and two nights. Respondent cannot be held administratively liable
the recommendation before the date of compulsory retirement of the for this particular matter.
respondent, or if it is not possible to do so, within six (6) months from such
date without prejudice to the release of the retirement benefits less such Section 6, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that an arrest may be
amount as the Court may order to be withheld, taking into account the gravity made on any day and at any time of the day or night.
of the cause of action alleged in the complaint.
It is of no moment that the warrant of arrest was issued by respondent on a Friday, because it is
Thus, in order for an administrative complaint against a retiring judge or justice to be dismissed clear from the foregoing that an arrest may be made on any day regardless of what day the
outright, the following requisites must concur: (1) the complaint must have been filed within six warrant of arrest was issued. Nowhere in the Rules or in our jurisprudence can we find that a
months from the compulsory retirement of the judge or justice; (2) the cause of action must warrant of arrest issued on a Friday is prohibited.
have occurred at least a year before such filing; and (3) it is shown that the complaint was
intended to harass the respondent.

In the present case, the first two requisites are present. The sworn letter-complaint was received
Granting that complainant was arrested on a Friday, he was not without recourse, as he could
by the Office of the Court Administrator on January 31, 2001. The respondent retired
have posted bail for his temporary liberty in view of Supreme Court Circular No. 95-96 [10] dated
compulsorily from the service barely three weeks after or on February 22, 2001; and the ground
December 5, 1996, providing for a skeletal force on a Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00
for disciplinary action alleged to have been committed by the respondent occurred five months
p.m. primarily to act on petitions for bail and other urgent matters. And on Saturday afternoons,
before the respondents separation from the service.
Sundays and non-working holidays, any judge may act on bailable offenses. Thus, we agree with
the OCA that respondent did not commit grave abuse of authority for issuing the warrant of
arrest on a Friday, the same not being prohibited by law.

As to the third requirement, although the first and second charges against 3. Grave abuse of authority and bias in continuing the hearing of the cases and for
respondent are outrightly without merit as aptly found by the OCA, the complaint that failure to act on the motion for inhibition.
respondent failed to act on his motion for inhibition and intentionally prevented complainant
from appearing in a scheduled hearing was not prima facie shown to be without merit; nor
While there is no evidence in support of the claim that respondent committed grave abuse of
wasthe filing thereof shown to be intended merely to harass the respondent. [7] Thus, the OCA
authority and bias in continuing the hearing of cases, we find respondent liable for failure to act
correctly proceeded with the administrative case against respondent.
upon complainants motion for inhibition.

Moreover, the fact that a judge has retired or has otherwise been separated from the service
As borne by the records, complainant filed his motion for respondent's inhibition
does not necessarily divest the Court of its jurisdiction to determine the veracity of the
sometime in September 2000 but up to the time of respondents compulsory retirement from the
allegations of the complaint, pursuant to its disciplinary authority over members of the
judiciary on February 22, 2001, the same remained unacted upon. Verily, the undue delay of
bench. As we held in Gallo v. Cordero,[8] citing Zarate v. Judge Romanillos:[9]
respondent by five months in resolving the pending incident before his court erodes the peoples
faith in the judiciary and the same is tantamount to gross inefficiency. Respondents explanation
The jurisdiction that was ours at the time of the filing of the administrative that despite the fact that the motion was set for hearing several times, complainant repeatedly
complaint was not lost by the mere fact that the respondent had ceased in failed to appear thereat, is untenable. Respondent must know that he may act motu proprio on
office during the pendency of his case. The Court retains jurisdiction either the motion for inhibition without requiring the attendance of complainant. A judge, in the
to pronounce the respondent public official innocent of the charges or exercise of his sound discretion, may disqualify himself from sitting on a case for just or valid
declare him guilty thereof. A contrary rule would be fraught with injustice reasons.[11]
and pregnant with dreadful and dangerous implications... If innocent,
respondent public official merits vindication of his name and integrity as he
Section 5, Canon 6 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, [12] mandates
leaves the government which he has served well and faithfully; if guilty, he
judges to perform all judicial duties, including the delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently,
deserves to receive the corresponding censure and a penalty proper and
fairly and with reasonable promptness. Similarly, Supreme Court Circular No. 13 dated July 1,
imposable under the situation.
1987 directs judges to observe unscrupulously the periods prescribed by the Constitution in the
adjudication and resolution of all cases or matters submitted to their court.
We now go to the four charges against respondent.
In Visbal v. Buban,[13] the Court held that failure to decide cases and other matters within
1. Gross Ignorance of the law for his failure to remand or dismiss the case in view of the absence the reglementary period constitutes gross inefficiency and warrants the imposition of
of the requisite certificate to file action issued by the barangay as a mandatory requirement of administrative sanction against the erring magistrate. [14] Delay in resolving motions and
the Katarungan Pambarangay Law and the Local Government Code. incidents pending before a judge within the reglementary period of ninety (90) days fixed by the
Constitution and the law is not excusable and constitutes gross inefficiency. [15] Further, such
As we earlier stated, the Court finds that the OCA is correct in not finding respondent delay constitutes a violation of Rule 3.05, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which
administratively liable therefor. Complainant is charged with grave slander, the maximum mandates that a judge should dispose of the courts business promptly and decide cases within
penalty for which is 2 years and 4 months under Article 358 of the Revised Penal Code. Thus, the required periods. As a trial judge, respondent is a frontline official of the judiciary and should
respondent is not guilty of gross ignorance of the law in taking jurisdiction over said criminal at all times act with efficiency and with probity. [16] Undue delay in the disposition of cases and
case, considering that prior recourse to barangay conciliation is not required where the law motions erodes the faith and confidence of the people in the judiciary and unnecessarily
provides a maximum penalty of imprisonment exceeding one year. blemishes its stature.[17]

2. Grave abuse of authority for the issuance of a warrant of arrest on a Friday to ensure 4. An intention on the part of respondent to prevent complainants appearance in court
complainants incarceration for two days. by sending an envelope, with a supposed notice of hearing but with nothing inside.
Suffice it to be stated that in the absence of evidence to show that the sending of an empty
envelope to complainant was malicious on the part of respondent, he cannot be held
liable therefor.

Section 9 (1) and 11 (B), Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as amended by A.M. No. 01-8-10-SC,
classifies gross neglect or undue delay in rendering a decision or order as a less serious charge
which carries any of the following sanctions: suspension from office without salary and other
benefits for not less than one (1) nor more than three (3) months or a fine of more
than P10,000.00 but not exceeding P20,000.00. We adopt the recommendation of the OCA that
respondent should be imposed a fine in the amount of P20,000.00.[18]

WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondent Judge Ricardo M. Agapito guilty of gross neglect and
is FINED in the amount of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00). The withheld amount of Twenty
Thousand Pesos (P20,000.0) from respondents retirement benefits is considered as payment of
the fine.

SO ORDERED.