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G.R. No.

83988 September 29, 1989 military manning the checkpoints, considering that their cars and vehicles are
being subjected to regular searches and check-ups, especially at night or at
RICARDO C. VALMONTE AND UNION OF LAWYERS AND ADVOCATES dawn, without the benefit of a search warrant and/or court order. Their
FOR PEOPLE'S RIGHTS (ULAP), petitioners, alleged fear for their safety increased when, at dawn of 9 July 1988,
vs. Benjamin Parpon, a supply officer of the Municipality of Valenzuela, Bulacan,
GEN. RENATO DE VILLA AND NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION DISTRICT was gunned down allegedly in cold blood by the members of the NCRDC
COMMAND, respondents. manning the checkpoint along McArthur Highway at Malinta, Valenzuela, for
ignoring and/or refusing to submit himself to the checkpoint and for
Ricardo C. Valmonte for himself and his co-petitioners. continuing to speed off inspire of warning shots fired in the air. Petitioner
Valmonte also claims that, on several occasions, he had gone thru these
checkpoints where he was stopped and his car subjected to search/check-up
without a court order or search warrant.

PADILLA, J.: Petitioners further contend that the said checkpoints give the respondents a
blanket authority to make searches and/or seizures without search warrant or
This is a petition for prohibition with preliminary injunction and/or temporary court order in violation of the Constitution; 2 and, instances have occurred
restraining order, seeking the declaration of checkpoints in Valenzuela, Metro where a citizen, while not killed, had been harassed.
Manila or elsewhere, as unconstitutional and the dismantling and banning of
the same or, in the alternative, to direct the respondents to formulate Petitioners' concern for their safety and apprehension at being harassed by
guidelines in the implementation of checkpoints, for the protection of the the military manning the checkpoints are not sufficient grounds to declare the
people. checkpoints as per se illegal. No proof has been presented before the Court
to show that, in the course of their routine checks, the military indeed
Petitioner Ricardo C. Valmonte sues in his capacity as citizen of the committed specific violations of petitioners' right against unlawful search and
Republic, taxpayer, member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), seizure or other rights.
and resident of Valenzuela, Metro Manila; while petitioner Union of Lawyers
and Advocates for People's Rights (ULAP) sues in its capacity as an In a case filed by the same petitioner organization, Union of Lawyers and
association whose members are all members of the IBP. Advocates for People's Right (ULAP) vs. Integrated National Police, 3 it was
held that individual petitioners who do not allege that any of their rights were
The factual background of the case is as follows: violated are not qualified to bring the action, as real parties in interest.

On 20 January 1987, the National Capital Region District Command The constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures is a
(NCRDC) was activated pursuant to Letter of Instruction 02/87 of the personal right invocable only by those whose rights have been infringed, 4 or
Philippine General Headquarters, AFP, with the mission of conducting threatened to be infringed. What constitutes a reasonable or unreasonable
security operations within its area of responsibility and peripheral areas, for search and seizure in any particular case is purely a judicial question,
the purpose of establishing an effective territorial defense, maintaining peace determinable from a consideration of the circumstances involved. 5
and order, and providing an atmosphere conducive to the social, economic
and political development of the National Capital Region.1 As part of its duty Petitioner Valmonte's general allegation to the effect that he had been
to maintain peace and order, the NCRDC installed checkpoints in various stopped and searched without a search warrant by the military manning the
parts of Valenzuela, Metro Manila. checkpoints, without more, i.e., without stating the details of the incidents
which amount to a violation of his right against unlawful search and seizure,
Petitioners aver that, because of the installation of said checkpoints, the is not sufficient to enable the Court to determine whether there was a
residents of Valenzuela are worried of being harassed and of their safety violation of Valmonte's right against unlawful search and seizure. Not all
being placed at the arbitrary, capricious and whimsical disposition of the searches and seizures are prohibited. Those which are reasonable are not
1
forbidden. A reasonable search is not to be determined by any fixed formula Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Paras, Feliciano,
but is to be resolved according to the facts of each case. 6 Gancayco, Bidin, Cortes, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea and Regalado, JJ.,
concur.
Where, for example, the officer merely draws aside the curtain of a vacant
vehicle which is parked on the public fair grounds, 7 or simply looks into a
vehicle, 8 or flashes a light therein, 9 these do not constitute unreasonable
search.

The setting up of the questioned checkpoints in Valenzuela (and probably in


other areas) may be considered as a security measure to enable the NCRDC
to pursue its mission of establishing effective territorial defense and
maintaining peace and order for the benefit of the public. Checkpoints may
also be regarded as measures to thwart plots to destabilize the government,
in the interest of public security. In this connection, the Court may take
judicial notice of the shift to urban centers and their suburbs of the
insurgency movement, so clearly reflected in the increased killings in cities of
police and military men by NPA "sparrow units," not to mention the
abundance of unlicensed firearms and the alarming rise in lawlessness and
violence in such urban centers, not all of which are reported in media, most
likely brought about by deteriorating economic conditions which all sum up
to what one can rightly consider, at the very least, as abnormal times.
Between the inherent right of the state to protect its existence and promote
public welfare and an individual's right against a warrantless search which is
however reasonably conducted, the former should prevail.

True, the manning of checkpoints by the military is susceptible of abuse by


the men in uniform, in the same manner that all governmental power is
susceptible of abuse. But, at the cost of occasional inconvenience,
discomfort and even irritation to the citizen, the checkpoints during these
abnormal times, when conducted within reasonable limits, are part of the
price we pay for an orderly society and a peaceful community.

Finally, on 17 July 1988, military and police checkpoints in Metro Manila were
temporarily lifted and a review and refinement of the rules in the conduct of
the police and military manning the checkpoints was ordered by the National
Capital Regional Command Chief and the Metropolitan Police Director. 10

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

2
G.R. No. L-19550 June 19, 1967 Alleging that the aforementioned search warrants are null and void, as
contravening the Constitution and the Rules of Court because, inter alia:
HARRY S. STONEHILL, ROBERT P. BROOKS, JOHN J. BROOKS and (1) they do not describe with particularity the documents, books and things to
KARL BECK, petitioners, be seized; (2) cash money, not mentioned in the warrants, were actually
vs. seized; (3) the warrants were issued to fish evidence against the
HON. JOSE W. DIOKNO, in his capacity as SECRETARY OF JUSTICE; aforementioned petitioners in deportation cases filed against them; (4) the
JOSE LUKBAN, in his capacity as Acting Director, National Bureau of searches and seizures were made in an illegal manner; and (5) the
Investigation; SPECIAL PROSECUTORS PEDRO D. CENZON, EFREN I. documents, papers and cash money seized were not delivered to the courts
PLANA and MANUEL VILLAREAL, JR. and ASST. FISCAL MANASES G. that issued the warrants, to be disposed of in accordance with law on
REYES; JUDGE AMADO ROAN, Municipal Court of Manila; JUDGE March 20, 1962, said petitioners filed with the Supreme Court this original
ROMAN CANSINO, Municipal Court of Manila; JUDGE HERMOGENES action for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus and injunction, and prayed that,
CALUAG, Court of First Instance of Rizal-Quezon City Branch, and pending final disposition of the present case, a writ of preliminary injunction
JUDGE DAMIAN JIMENEZ, Municipal Court of Quezon City, respondents. be issued restraining Respondents-Prosecutors, their agents and /or
representatives from using the effects seized as aforementioned or any
Paredes, Poblador, Cruz and Nazareno and Meer, Meer and Meer and Juan copies thereof, in the deportation cases already adverted to, and that, in due
T. David for petitioners. course, thereafter, decision be rendered quashing the contested search
Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General warrants and declaring the same null and void, and commanding the
Pacifico P. de Castro, Assistant Solicitor General Frine C. Zaballero, Solicitor respondents, their agents or representatives to return to petitioners herein, in
Camilo D. Quiason and Solicitor C. Padua for respondents. accordance with Section 3, Rule 67, of the Rules of Court, the documents,
papers, things and cash moneys seized or confiscated under the search
warrants in question.
CONCEPCION, C.J.:
In their answer, respondents-prosecutors alleged, 6 (1) that the contested
Upon application of the officers of the government named on the margin 1 search warrants are valid and have been issued in accordance with law; (2)
hereinafter referred to as Respondents-Prosecutors several judges2 that the defects of said warrants, if any, were cured by petitioners' consent;
hereinafter referred to as Respondents-Judges issued, on different and (3) that, in any event, the effects seized are admissible in evidence
dates,3 a total of 42 search warrants against petitioners herein 4 and/or the against herein petitioners, regardless of the alleged illegality of the
corporations of which they were officers,5 directed to the any peace officer, to aforementioned searches and seizures.
search the persons above-named and/or the premises of their offices,
warehouses and/or residences, and to seize and take possession of the
following personal property to wit: On March 22, 1962, this Court issued the writ of preliminary injunction prayed
for in the petition. However, by resolution dated June 29, 1962, the writ was
partially lifted or dissolved, insofar as the papers, documents and things
Books of accounts, financial records, vouchers, correspondence, seized from the offices of the corporations above mentioned are concerned;
receipts, ledgers, journals, portfolios, credit journals, typewriters, and but, the injunction was maintained as regards the papers, documents and
other documents and/or papers showing all business transactions things found and seized in the residences of petitioners herein.7
including disbursements receipts, balance sheets and profit and loss
statements and Bobbins (cigarette wrappers).
Thus, the documents, papers, and things seized under the alleged authority
of the warrants in question may be split into two (2) major groups, namely:
as "the subject of the offense; stolen or embezzled and proceeds or fruits of (a) those found and seized in the offices of the aforementioned corporations,
the offense," or "used or intended to be used as the means of committing the and (b) those found and seized in the residences of petitioners herein.
offense," which is described in the applications adverted to above as
"violation of Central Bank Laws, Tariff and Customs Laws, Internal Revenue
As regards the first group, we hold that petitioners herein have no cause of
(Code) and the Revised Penal Code."
action to assail the legality of the contested warrants and of the seizures

3
made in pursuance thereof, for the simple reason that said corporations have In connection with said documents, papers and things, two (2) important
their respective personalities, separate and distinct from the personality of questions need be settled, namely: (1) whether the search warrants in
herein petitioners, regardless of the amount of shares of stock or of the question, and the searches and seizures made under the authority thereof,
interest of each of them in said corporations, and whatever the offices they are valid or not, and (2) if the answer to the preceding question is in the
hold therein may be.8 Indeed, it is well settled that the legality of a seizure negative, whether said documents, papers and things may be used in
can be contested only by the party whose rights have been impaired evidence against petitioners herein.1wph1.t
thereby,9 and that the objection to an unlawful search and seizure is purely
personal and cannot be availed of by third parties. 10 Consequently, Petitioners maintain that the aforementioned search warrants are in the
petitioners herein may not validly object to the use in evidence against them nature of general warrants and that accordingly, the seizures effected upon
of the documents, papers and things seized from the offices and premises of the authority there of are null and void. In this connection, the
the corporations adverted to above, since the right to object to the admission Constitution 13provides:
of said papers in evidence belongs exclusively to the corporations, to whom
the seized effects belong, and may not be invoked by the corporate officers
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers,
in proceedings against them in their individual capacity. 11 Indeed, it has and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be
been held: violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, to be
determined by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation
. . . that the Government's action in gaining possession of papers of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and
belonging to the corporation did not relate to nor did it affect particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or
the personal defendants. If these papers were unlawfully seized and things to be seized.
thereby the constitutional rights of or any one were invaded, they
were the rights of the corporation and not the rights of the other
Two points must be stressed in connection with this constitutional mandate,
defendants. Next, it is clear that a question of the lawfulness of a
namely: (1) that no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, to be
seizure can be raised only by one whose rights have been invaded.
determined by the judge in the manner set forth in said provision; and (2) that
Certainly, such a seizure, if unlawful, could not affect the the warrant shall particularly describe the things to be seized.
constitutional rights of defendants whose property had not been
seized or the privacy of whose homes had not been disturbed; nor
could they claim for themselves the benefits of the Fourth None of these requirements has been complied with in the contested
Amendment, when its violation, if any, was with reference to the warrants. Indeed, the same were issued upon applications stating that the
rights of another. Remus vs. United States (C.C.A.)291 F. 501, 511. natural and juridical person therein named had committed a "violation of
It follows, therefore, that the question of the admissibility of the Central Ban Laws, Tariff and Customs Laws, Internal Revenue (Code) and
evidence based on an alleged unlawful search and seizure Revised Penal Code." In other words, no specific offense had been alleged
does not extend to the personal defendants but in said applications. The averments thereof with respect to the offense
embraces only the corporation whose property was taken. . . . (A committed were abstract. As a consequence, it was impossible for the judges
Guckenheimer & Bros. Co. vs. United States, [1925] 3 F. 2d. 786, who issued the warrants to have found the existence of probable cause, for
789, Emphasis supplied.) the same presupposes the introduction of competent proof that the party
against whom it is sought has performed particular acts, or
committed specific omissions, violating a given provision of our criminal laws.
With respect to the documents, papers and things seized in the residences of
As a matter of fact, the applications involved in this case do not allege any
petitioners herein, the aforementioned resolution of June 29, 1962, lifted the
specific acts performed by herein petitioners. It would be the legal heresy, of
writ of preliminary injunction previously issued by this Court, 12 thereby, in
the highest order, to convict anybody of a "violation of Central Bank Laws,
effect, restraining herein Respondents-Prosecutors from using them in
Tariff and Customs Laws, Internal Revenue (Code) and Revised Penal
evidence against petitioners herein. Code," as alleged in the aforementioned applications without reference
to any determinate provision of said laws or

4
To uphold the validity of the warrants in question would be to wipe out with the American common law rule, that the criminal should not be allowed
completely one of the most fundamental rights guaranteed in our to go free merely "because the constable has blundered," 16 upon the theory
Constitution, for it would place the sanctity of the domicile and the privacy of that the constitutional prohibition against unreasonable searches and
communication and correspondence at the mercy of the whims caprice or seizures is protected by means other than the exclusion of evidence
passion of peace officers. This is precisely the evil sought to be remedied by unlawfully obtained, 17 such as the common-law action for damages against
the constitutional provision above quoted to outlaw the so-called general the searching officer, against the party who procured the issuance of the
warrants. It is not difficult to imagine what would happen, in times of keen search warrant and against those assisting in the execution of an illegal
political strife, when the party in power feels that the minority is likely to wrest search, their criminal punishment, resistance, without liability to an unlawful
it, even though by legal means. seizure, and such other legal remedies as may be provided by other laws.

Such is the seriousness of the irregularities committed in connection with the However, most common law jurisdictions have already given up this
disputed search warrants, that this Court deemed it fit to amend Section 3 of approach and eventually adopted the exclusionary rule, realizing that this
Rule 122 of the former Rules of Court 14 by providing in its counterpart, under is the only practical means of enforcing the constitutional injunction against
the Revised Rules of Court 15 that "a search warrant shall not issue but upon unreasonable searches and seizures. In the language of Judge Learned
probable cause in connection with one specific offense." Not satisfied with Hand:
this qualification, the Court added thereto a paragraph, directing that "no
search warrant shall issue for more than one specific offense." As we understand it, the reason for the exclusion of evidence
competent as such, which has been unlawfully acquired, is that
The grave violation of the Constitution made in the application for the exclusion is the only practical way of enforcing the constitutional
contested search warrants was compounded by the description therein made privilege. In earlier times the action of trespass against the offending
of the effects to be searched for and seized, to wit: official may have been protection enough; but that is true no longer.
Only in case the prosecution which itself controls the seizing officials,
Books of accounts, financial records, vouchers, journals, knows that it cannot profit by their wrong will that wrong be
correspondence, receipts, ledgers, portfolios, credit journals, repressed.18
typewriters, and other documents and/or papers showing all
business transactions including disbursement receipts, balance In fact, over thirty (30) years before, the Federal Supreme Court had already
sheets and related profit and loss statements. declared:

Thus, the warrants authorized the search for and seizure of records If letters and private documents can thus be seized and held and
pertaining to all business transactions of petitioners herein, regardless of used in evidence against a citizen accused of an offense, the
whether the transactions were legal or illegal. The warrants sanctioned the protection of the 4th Amendment, declaring his rights to be secure
seizure of all records of the petitioners and the aforementioned corporations, against such searches and seizures, is of no value, and, so far as
whatever their nature, thus openly contravening the explicit command of our those thus placed are concerned, might as well be stricken from the
Bill of Rights that the things to be seized be particularly described as Constitution. The efforts of the courts and their officials to bring the
well as tending to defeat its major objective: the elimination guilty to punishment, praiseworthy as they are, are not to be aided by
of general warrants. the sacrifice of those great principles established by years of
endeavor and suffering which have resulted in their embodiment in
Relying upon Moncado vs. People's Court (80 Phil. 1), Respondents- the fundamental law of the land.19
Prosecutors maintain that, even if the searches and seizures under
consideration were unconstitutional, the documents, papers and things thus This view was, not only reiterated, but, also, broadened in subsequent
seized are admissible in evidence against petitioners herein. Upon mature decisions on the same Federal Court. 20After reviewing previous decisions
deliberation, however, we are unanimously of the opinion that the position thereon, said Court held, in Mapp vs. Ohio (supra.):
taken in the Moncado case must be abandoned. Said position was in line
5
. . . Today we once again examine the Wolf's constitutional effectively available way by removing the incentive to disregard it"
documentation of the right of privacy free from unreasonable state ....
intrusion, and after its dozen years on our books, are led by it to
close the only courtroom door remaining open to evidence secured The ignoble shortcut to conviction left open to the State tends to
by official lawlessness in flagrant abuse of that basic right, reserved destroy the entire system of constitutional restraints on which the
to all persons as a specific guarantee against that very same liberties of the people rest. Having once recognized that the right to
unlawful conduct. We hold that all evidence obtained by searches privacy embodied in the Fourth Amendment is enforceable against
and seizures in violation of the Constitution is, by that same the States, and that the right to be secure against rude invasions of
authority, inadmissible in a State. privacy by state officers is, therefore constitutional in origin, we can
no longer permit that right to remain an empty promise. Because it is
Since the Fourth Amendment's right of privacy has been declared enforceable in the same manner and to like effect as other basic
enforceable against the States through the Due Process Clause of rights secured by its Due Process Clause, we can no longer permit it
the Fourteenth, it is enforceable against them by the same sanction to be revocable at the whim of any police officer who, in the name of
of exclusion as it used against the Federal Government. Were it law enforcement itself, chooses to suspend its enjoyment. Our
otherwise, then just as without the Weeks rule the assurance against decision, founded on reason and truth, gives to the individual no
unreasonable federal searches and seizures would be "a form of more than that which the Constitution guarantees him to the police
words," valueless and underserving of mention in a perpetual charter officer no less than that to which honest law enforcement is entitled,
of inestimable human liberties, so too, without that rule the freedom and, to the courts, that judicial integrity so necessary in the true
from state invasions of privacy would be so ephemeral and so neatly administration of justice. (emphasis ours.)
severed from its conceptual nexus with the freedom from all brutish
means of coercing evidence as not to permit this Court's high regard Indeed, the non-exclusionary rule is contrary, not only to the letter, but also,
as a freedom "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty." At the time to the spirit of the constitutional injunction against unreasonable searches
that the Court held in Wolf that the amendment was applicable to the and seizures. To be sure, if the applicant for a search warrant has competent
States through the Due Process Clause, the cases of this Court as evidence to establish probable cause of the commission of a given crime by
we have seen, had steadfastly held that as to federal officers the the party against whom the warrant is intended, then there is no reason why
Fourth Amendment included the exclusion of the evidence seized in the applicant should not comply with the requirements of the fundamental
violation of its provisions. Even Wolf "stoutly adhered" to that law. Upon the other hand, if he has no such competent evidence, then it
proposition. The right to when conceded operatively enforceable is not possible for the Judge to find that there is probable cause, and, hence,
against the States, was not susceptible of destruction by avulsion of no justification for the issuance of the warrant. The only possible explanation
the sanction upon which its protection and enjoyment had always (not justification) for its issuance is the necessity of fishing evidence of the
been deemed dependent under the Boyd, Weeks and Silverthorne commission of a crime. But, then, this fishing expedition is indicative of the
Cases. Therefore, in extending the substantive protections of due absence of evidence to establish a probable cause.
process to all constitutionally unreasonable searches state or
federal it was logically and constitutionally necessarily that the
Moreover, the theory that the criminal prosecution of those who secure an
exclusion doctrine an essential part of the right to privacy be
illegal search warrant and/or make unreasonable searches or seizures would
also insisted upon as an essential ingredient of the right newly suffice to protect the constitutional guarantee under consideration, overlooks
recognized by the Wolf Case. In short, the admission of the new
the fact that violations thereof are, in general, committed By agents of the
constitutional Right by Wolf could not tolerate denial of its most
party in power, for, certainly, those belonging to the minority could not
important constitutional privilege, namely, the exclusion of the
possibly abuse a power they do not have. Regardless of the handicap under
evidence which an accused had been forced to give by reason of the
which the minority usually but, understandably finds itself in
unlawful seizure. To hold otherwise is to grant the right but in reality
prosecuting agents of the majority, one must not lose sight of the fact that the
to withhold its privilege and enjoyment. Only last year the Court itself
psychological and moral effect of the possibility 21 of securing their
recognized that the purpose of the exclusionary rule to "is to deter
to compel respect for the constitutional guaranty in the only
6
conviction, is watered down by the pardoning power of the party for whose of herein petitioners is hereby made permanent; that the writs prayed for are
benefit the illegality had been committed. granted, insofar as the documents, papers and other effects so seized in the
aforementioned residences are concerned; that the aforementioned motion
In their Motion for Reconsideration and Amendment of the Resolution of this for Reconsideration and Amendment should be, as it is hereby, denied; and
Court dated June 29, 1962, petitioners allege that Rooms Nos. 81 and 91 of that the petition herein is dismissed and the writs prayed for denied, as
Carmen Apartments, House No. 2008, Dewey Boulevard, House No. 1436, regards the documents, papers and other effects seized in the twenty-nine
Colorado Street, and Room No. 304 of the Army-Navy Club, should be (29) places, offices and other premises enumerated in the same Resolution,
included among the premises considered in said Resolution as residences of without special pronouncement as to costs.
herein petitioners, Harry S. Stonehill, Robert P. Brook, John J. Brooks and
Karl Beck, respectively, and that, furthermore, the records, papers and other It is so ordered.
effects seized in the offices of the corporations above referred to include
personal belongings of said petitioners and other effects under their Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar and Sanchez, JJ.,
exclusive possession and control, for the exclusion of which they have a concur.
standing under the latest rulings of the federal courts of federal courts of the
United States. 22

We note, however, that petitioners' theory, regarding their alleged


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

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

We hold, therefore, that the doctrine adopted in the Moncado case must be,
as it is hereby, abandoned; that the warrants for the search of three (3)
residences of herein petitioners, as specified in the Resolution of June 29,
1962, are null and void; that the searches and seizures therein made are
illegal; that the writ of preliminary injunction heretofore issued, in connection
with the documents, papers and other effects thus seized in said residences

7
G.R. No. L-64261 December 26, 1984 In our Resolution dated June 21, 1983, respondents were required to answer
the petition. The plea for preliminary mandatory and prohibitory injunction
JOSE BURGOS, SR., JOSE BURGOS, JR., BAYANI SORIANO and J. was set for hearing on June 28, 1983, later reset to July 7, 1983, on motion
BURGOS MEDIA SERVICES, INC., petitioners, of the Solicitor General in behalf of respondents.
vs.
THE CHIEF OF STAFF, ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, THE At the hearing on July 7, 1983, the Solicitor General, while opposing
CHIEF, PHILIPPINE CONSTABULARY, THE CHIEF LEGAL OFFICER, petitioners' prayer for a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction, manifested
PRESIDENTIAL SECURITY COMMAND, THE JUDGE ADVOCATE that respondents "will not use the aforementioned articles as evidence in the
GENERAL, ET AL., respondents. aforementioned case until final resolution of the legality of the seizure of the
aforementioned articles. ..." 2 With this manifestation, the prayer for
Lorenzo M. Taada, Wigberto E. Taada, Martiniano Vivo, Augusto preliminary prohibitory injunction was rendered moot and academic.
Sanchez, Joker P. Arroyo, Jejomar Binay and Rene Saguisag for petitioners.
Respondents would have this Court dismiss the petition on the ground that
The Solicitor General for respondents. petitioners had come to this Court without having previously sought the
quashal of the search warrants before respondent judge. Indeed, petitioners,
before impugning the validity of the warrants before this Court, should have
filed a motion to quash said warrants in the court that issued them. 3 But this
procedural flaw notwithstanding, we take cognizance of this petition in view
ESCOLIN, J.: of the seriousness and urgency of the constitutional issues raised not to
mention the public interest generated by the search of the "We Forum"
Assailed in this petition for certiorari prohibition and mandamus with offices, which was televised in Channel 7 and widely publicized in all
preliminary mandatory and prohibitory injunction is the validity of two [2] metropolitan dailies. The existence of this special circumstance justifies this
search warrants issued on December 7, 1982 by respondent Judge Ernani Court to exercise its inherent power to suspend its rules. In the words of the
Cruz-Pano, Executive Judge of the then Court of First Instance of Rizal revered Mr. Justice Abad Santos in the case of C. Vda. de Ordoveza v.
[Quezon City], under which the premises known as No. 19, Road 3, Project Raymundo, 4 "it is always in the power of the court [Supreme Court] to
6, Quezon City, and 784 Units C & D, RMS Building, Quezon Avenue, suspend its rules or to except a particular case from its operation, whenever
Quezon City, business addresses of the "Metropolitan Mail" and "We Forum" the purposes of justice require it...".
newspapers, respectively, were searched, and office and printing machines,
equipment, paraphernalia, motor vehicles and other articles used in the Respondents likewise urge dismissal of the petition on ground of laches.
printing, publication and distribution of the said newspapers, as well as Considerable stress is laid on the fact that while said search warrants were
numerous papers, documents, books and other written literature alleged to issued on December 7, 1982, the instant petition impugning the same was
be in the possession and control of petitioner Jose Burgos, Jr. publisher- filed only on June 16, 1983 or after the lapse of a period of more than six [6]
editor of the "We Forum" newspaper, were seized. months.

Petitioners further pray that a writ of preliminary mandatory and prohibitory Laches is failure or negligence for an unreasonable and unexplained length
injunction be issued for the return of the seized articles, and that of time to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have
respondents, "particularly the Chief Legal Officer, Presidential Security been done earlier. It is negligence or omission to assert a right within a
Command, the Judge Advocate General, AFP, the City Fiscal of Quezon reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it
City, their representatives, assistants, subalterns, subordinates, substitute or either has abandoned it or declined to assert it. 5
successors" be enjoined from using the articles thus seized as evidence
against petitioner Jose Burgos, Jr. and the other accused in Criminal Case
No. Q- 022782 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, entitled People v. Petitioners, in their Consolidated Reply, explained the reason for the delay in
Jose Burgos, Jr. et al. 1 the filing of the petition thus:

8
Respondents should not find fault, as they now do [p. 1, Several and diverse reasons have been advanced by petitioners to nullify the
Answer, p. 3, Manifestation] with the fact that the Petition search warrants in question.
was filed on June 16, 1983, more than half a year after the
petitioners' premises had been raided. 1. Petitioners fault respondent judge for his alleged failure to conduct an
examination under oath or affirmation of the applicant and his witnesses, as
The climate of the times has given petitioners no other mandated by the above-quoted constitutional provision as wen as Sec. 4,
choice. If they had waited this long to bring their case to Rule 126 of the Rules of Court .6 This objection, however, may properly be
court, it was because they tried at first to exhaust other considered moot and academic, as petitioners themselves conceded during
remedies. The events of the past eleven fill years had taught the hearing on August 9, 1983, that an examination had indeed been
them that everything in this country, from release of public conducted by respondent judge of Col. Abadilla and his witnesses.
funds to release of detained persons from custody, has
become a matter of executive benevolence or largesse 2. Search Warrants No. 20-82[a] and No. 20- 82[b] were used to search two
distinct places: No. 19, Road 3, Project 6, Quezon City and 784 Units C & D,
Hence, as soon as they could, petitioners, upon suggestion RMS Building, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, respectively. Objection is
of persons close to the President, like Fiscal Flaminiano, interposed to the execution of Search Warrant No. 20-82[b] at the latter
sent a letter to President Marcos, through counsel Antonio address on the ground that the two search warrants pinpointed only one
Coronet asking the return at least of the printing equipment place where petitioner Jose Burgos, Jr. was allegedly keeping and
and vehicles. And after such a letter had been sent, through concealing the articles listed therein, i.e., No. 19, Road 3, Project 6, Quezon
Col. Balbino V. Diego, Chief Intelligence and Legal Officer of City. This assertion is based on that portion of Search Warrant No. 20- 82[b]
the Presidential Security Command, they were further which states:
encouraged to hope that the latter would yield the desired
results. Which have been used, and are being used as instruments
and means of committing the crime of subversion penalized
After waiting in vain for five [5] months, petitioners finally under P.D. 885 as amended and he is keeping and
decided to come to Court. [pp. 123-124, Rollo] concealing the same at 19 Road 3, Project 6, Quezon City.

Although the reason given by petitioners may not be flattering to our judicial The defect pointed out is obviously a typographical error. Precisely, two
system, We find no ground to punish or chastise them for an error in search warrants were applied for and issued because the purpose and intent
judgment. On the contrary, the extrajudicial efforts exerted by petitioners were to search two distinct premises. It would be quite absurd and illogical
quite evidently negate the presumption that they had abandoned their right to for respondent judge to have issued two warrants intended for one and the
the possession of the seized property, thereby refuting the charge of laches same place. Besides, the addresses of the places sought to be searched
against them. were specifically set forth in the application, and since it was Col. Abadilla
himself who headed the team which executed the search warrants, the
Respondents also submit the theory that since petitioner Jose Burgos, Jr. ambiguity that might have arisen by reason of the typographical error is more
had used and marked as evidence some of the seized documents in Criminal apparent than real. The fact is that the place for which Search Warrant No.
Case No. Q- 022872, he is now estopped from challenging the validity of the 20- 82[b] was applied for was 728 Units C & D, RMS Building, Quezon
search warrants. We do not follow the logic of respondents. These Avenue, Quezon City, which address appeared in the opening paragraph of
documents lawfully belong to petitioner Jose Burgos, Jr. and he can do the said warrant. 7 Obviously this is the same place that respondent judge
whatever he pleases with them, within legal bounds. The fact that he has had in mind when he issued Warrant No. 20-82 [b].
used them as evidence does not and cannot in any way affect the validity or
invalidity of the search warrants assailed in this petition. In the determination of whether a search warrant describes the premises to
be searched with sufficient particularity, it has been held "that the executing
officer's prior knowledge as to the place intended in the warrant is relevant.
9
This would seem to be especially true where the executing officer is the on in a building or on a piece of land and which tend directly to meet the
affiant on whose affidavit the warrant had issued, and when he knows that needs of the said industry or works" are considered immovable property.
the judge who issued the warrant intended the building described in the In Davao Sawmill Co. v. Castillo9 where this legal provision was invoked, this
affidavit, And it has also been said that the executing officer may look to the Court ruled that machinery which is movable by nature becomes immobilized
affidavit in the official court file to resolve an ambiguity in the warrant as to when placed by the owner of the tenement, property or plant, but not so
the place to be searched." 8 when placed by a tenant, usufructuary, or any other person having only a
temporary right, unless such person acted as the agent of the owner.
3. Another ground relied upon to annul the search warrants is the fact that
although the warrants were directed against Jose Burgos, Jr. alone, articles b In the case at bar, petitioners do not claim to be the owners of the land
belonging to his co-petitioners Jose Burgos, Sr., Bayani Soriano and the J. and/or building on which the machineries were placed. This being the case,
Burgos Media Services, Inc. were seized. the machineries in question, while in fact bolted to the ground remain
movable property susceptible to seizure under a search warrant.
Section 2, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court, enumerates the personal
properties that may be seized under a search warrant, to wit: 5. The questioned search warrants were issued by respondent judge upon
application of Col. Rolando N. Abadilla Intelligence Officer of the P.C.
Sec. 2. Personal Property to be seized. A search warrant Metrocom.10 The application was accompanied by the Joint Affidavit of
may be issued for the search and seizure of the following Alejandro M. Gutierrez and Pedro U. Tango, 11 members of the Metrocom
personal property: Intelligence and Security Group under Col. Abadilla which conducted a
surveillance of the premises prior to the filing of the application for the search
warrants on December 7, 1982.
[a] Property subject of the offense;

It is contended by petitioners, however, that the abovementioned documents


[b] Property stolen or embezzled and other
proceeds or fruits of the offense; and could not have provided sufficient basis for the finding of a probable cause
upon which a warrant may validly issue in accordance with Section 3, Article
IV of the 1973 Constitution which provides:
[c] Property used or intended to be used as
the means of committing an offense.
SEC. 3. ... and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall
issue except upon probable cause to be determined by the
The above rule does not require that the property to be seized should be judge, or such other responsible officer as may be
owned by the person against whom the search warrant is directed. It may or authorized by law, after examination under oath or
may not be owned by him. In fact, under subsection [b] of the above-quoted affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may
Section 2, one of the properties that may be seized is stolen property. produce, and particularly describing the place to be
Necessarily, stolen property must be owned by one other than the person in searched and the persons or things to be seized.
whose possession it may be at the time of the search and seizure.
Ownership, therefore, is of no consequence, and it is sufficient that the
We find petitioners' thesis impressed with merit. Probable cause for a search
person against whom the warrant is directed has control or possession of the
is defined as such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably
property sought to be seized, as petitioner Jose Burgos, Jr. was alleged to
discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and
have in relation to the articles and property seized under the warrants.
that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought
to be searched. And when the search warrant applied for is directed against
4. Neither is there merit in petitioners' assertion that real properties were a newspaper publisher or editor in connection with the publication of
seized under the disputed warrants. Under Article 415[5] of the Civil Code of subversive materials, as in the case at bar, the application and/or its
the Philippines, "machinery, receptables, instruments or implements intended supporting affidavits must contain a specification, stating with particularity the
by the owner of the tenement for an industry or works which may be carried alleged subversive material he has published or is intending to publish. Mere
10
generalization will not suffice. Thus, the broad statement in Col. Abadilla's printing of the "WE FORUM" newspaper and any and all
application that petitioner "is in possession or has in his control printing documents communication, letters and facsimile of prints
equipment and other paraphernalia, news publications and other documents related to the "WE FORUM" newspaper.
which were used and are all continuously being used as a means of
committing the offense of subversion punishable under Presidential Decree 2] Subversive documents, pamphlets, leaflets, books, and
885, as amended ..." 12 is a mere conclusion of law and does not satisfy the other publication to promote the objectives and piurposes of
requirements of probable cause. Bereft of such particulars as would justify a the subversive organization known as Movement for Free
finding of the existence of probable cause, said allegation cannot serve as Philippines, Light-a-Fire Movement and April 6 Movement;
basis for the issuance of a search warrant and it was a grave error for and,
respondent judge to have done so.
3] Motor vehicles used in the distribution/circulation of the
Equally insufficient as basis for the determination of probable cause is the "WE FORUM" and other subversive materials and
statement contained in the joint affidavit of Alejandro M. Gutierrez and Pedro propaganda, more particularly,
U. Tango, "that the evidence gathered and collated by our unit clearly shows
that the premises above- mentioned and the articles and things above-
1] Toyota-Corolla, colored yellow with Plate
described were used and are continuously being used for subversive
No. NKA 892;
activities in conspiracy with, and to promote the objective of, illegal
organizations such as the Light-a-Fire Movement, Movement for Free
Philippines, and April 6 Movement." 13 2] DATSUN pick-up colored white with Plate
No. NKV 969
In mandating that "no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause to be
determined by the judge, ... after examination under oath or affirmation of the 3] A delivery truck with Plate No. NBS 524;
complainant and the witnesses he may produce; 14 the Constitution requires
no less than personal knowledge by the complainant or his witnesses of the 4] TOYOTA-TAMARAW, colored white with
facts upon which the issuance of a search warrant may be justified. Plate No. PBP 665; and,
In Alvarez v. Court of First Instance, 15 this Court ruled that "the oath
required must refer to the truth of the facts within the personal knowledge of 5] TOYOTA Hi-Lux, pick-up truck with Plate
the petitioner or his witnesses, because the purpose thereof is to convince No. NGV 427 with marking "Bagong Silang."
the committing magistrate, not the individual making the affidavit and seeking
the issuance of the warrant, of the existence of probable cause." As In Stanford v. State of Texas 16 the search warrant which authorized the
couched, the quoted averment in said joint affidavit filed before respondent search for "books, records, pamphlets, cards, receipts, lists, memoranda,
judge hardly meets the test of sufficiency established by this Court in Alvarez pictures, recordings and other written instruments concerning the Communist
case. Party in Texas," was declared void by the U.S. Supreme Court for being too
general. In like manner, directions to "seize any evidence in connectionwith
Another factor which makes the search warrants under consideration the violation of SDC 13-3703 or otherwise" have been held too general, and
constitutionally objectionable is that they are in the nature of general that portion of a search warrant which authorized the seizure of any
warrants. The search warrants describe the articles sought to be seized in "paraphernalia which could be used to violate Sec. 54-197 of the Connecticut
this wise: General Statutes [the statute dealing with the crime of conspiracy]" was held
to be a general warrant, and therefore invalid. 17 The description of the
1] All printing equipment, paraphernalia, paper, ink, photo articles sought to be seized under the search warrants in question cannot be
(equipment, typewriters, cabinets, tables, characterized differently.
communications/recording equipment, tape recorders,
dictaphone and the like used and/or connected in the

11
In the Stanford case, the U.S. Supreme Courts calls to mind a notable On the basis of court orders, government agents went to the
chapter in English history: the era of disaccord between the Tudor We Forum offices in Quezon City and took a detailed
Government and the English Press, when "Officers of the Crown were given inventory of the equipment and all materials in the premises.
roving commissions to search where they pleased in order to suppress and
destroy the literature of dissent both Catholic and Puritan Reference herein Cendaa said that because of the denial the newspaper and
to such historical episode would not be relevant for it is not the policy of our its equipment remain at the disposal of the owners, subject
government to suppress any newspaper or publication that speaks with "the to the discretion of the court. 19
voice of non-conformity" but poses no clear and imminent danger to state
security. That the property seized on December 7, 1982 had not been sequestered is
further confirmed by the reply of then Foreign Minister Carlos P. Romulo to
As heretofore stated, the premises searched were the business and printing the letter dated February 10, 1983 of U.S. Congressman Tony P. Hall
offices of the "Metropolitan Mail" and the "We Forum newspapers. As a addressed to President Marcos, expressing alarm over the "WE FORUM "
consequence of the search and seizure, these premises were padlocked and case. 20 In this reply dated February 11, 1983, Minister Romulo stated:
sealed, with the further result that the printing and publication of said
newspapers were discontinued.
2. Contrary to reports, President Marcos turned down the
recommendation of our authorities to close the paper's
Such closure is in the nature of previous restraint or censorship abhorrent to printing facilities and confiscate the equipment and materials
the freedom of the press guaranteed under the fundamental law, 18 and it uses. 21
constitutes a virtual denial of petitioners' freedom to express themselves in
print. This state of being is patently anathematic to a democratic framework
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, Search Warrants Nos. 20-82[a] and 20-
where a free, alert and even militant press is essential for the political
82[b] issued by respondent judge on December 7, 1982 are hereby declared
enlightenment and growth of the citizenry.
null and void and are accordingly set aside. The prayer for a writ of
mandatory injunction for the return of the seized articles is hereby granted
Respondents would justify the continued sealing of the printing machines on and all articles seized thereunder are hereby ordered released to petitioners.
the ground that they have been sequestered under Section 8 of Presidential No costs.
Decree No. 885, as amended, which authorizes "the sequestration of the
property of any person, natural or artificial, engaged in subversive activities
SO ORDERED.
against the government and its duly constituted authorities ... in accordance
with implementing rules and regulations as may be issued by the Secretary
of National Defense." It is doubtful however, if sequestration could validly be Fernando, C.J., Teehankee, Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Melencio-Herrera,
effected in view of the absence of any implementing rules and regulations Plana, Relova, Gutierrez, Jr., De la Fuente and Cuevas, JJ., concur.
promulgated by the Minister of National Defense.
Aquino, J., took no part.
Besides, in the December 10, 1982 issue of the Daily Express, it was
reported that no less than President Marcos himself denied the request of the ROWLAND KIM SANTOS, G.R. No. 165122
military authorities to sequester the property seized from petitioners on Petitioner,
December 7, 1982. Thus: Present:

The President denied a request flied by government QUISUMBING, J.,


prosecutors for sequestration of the WE FORUM newspaper - versus - Chairperson,
and its printing presses, according to Information Minister CARPIO,
Gregorio S. Cendana. CARPIO MORALES,
TINGA, and

12
PRYCE GASES, INC., VELASCO, JR., JJ.
Respondent. exclusively manufactured for respondents use. The LPG cylinders are also
embossed with the Pryce marking and logo.[2]
Promulgated:

November 23, 2007 In the beginning of the year 2002, respondent noticed the decline in

x---------------------------------------------------------------------------------x the return of its LPG cylinders for refilling. Respondents employees
suspected that the LPG cylinders had been removed from market circulation
DECISION
and refilled by respondents competitors, one of whom was Sun Gas, Inc.
TINGA, J.:
Petitioner Rowland Kim Santos is the manager of Sun Gas, Inc.[3]

This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Arnold T. Figueroa, respondents sales manager for Panay, sought

Civil Procedure assailing the Decision dated 16 January 2004[1] and the assistance of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to

Resolution dated 26 July 2004of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. recover the LPG cylinders allegedly in the possession of Sun Gas, Inc.

74563. The decision reversed the twin orders of the Regional Trial Court Acting on Figueroas complaint, CIDG operatives conducted surveillance on

(RTC) of Iloilo City, Branch 29, quashing the search warrant it issued and the warehouse of Sun Gas, Inc. located at 130 Timawa Avenue, Molo, Iloilo.

ordering the return of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders seized from The CIDG operatives requested the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to

petitioner, whereas the resolution denied petitioners motion for conduct a routine fire inspection at Sun Gas, Inc.s warehouse with some of

reconsideration of the said decision. the CIDG operatives led by PO2 Vicente D. Demandara, Jr. posing as BFP
inspectors. The CIDG operatives entered the warehouse and were able to
As culled from the records, the following antecedents appear:
take photographs of the LPG cylinders.

Respondent Pryce Gases, Inc. is a domestic corporation engaged in the


On 4 June 2002, PO2 Vicente D. Demandara, Jr. applied before the
manufacture of oxygen, acetylene and other industrial gases as well as in the
RTC of Iloilo City for a warrant to search the premises described as No.
distribution of LPG products in the Visayas and Mindanao regions. Its branch
130, Timawa Avenue, Molo, Iloilo. The application alleged that petitioner was
in Iloilo City has been selling LPG products directly or through various
in possession of Pryce LPG tanks, the Pryce logos of some of which were
dealers to hospitals, restaurants and other business establishments. The
scraped off and replaced with a Sun Gas, Inc. marking, and other materials
LPG products are contained in 11-kg, 22-kg or 50-kg steel cylinders that are
used in tampering Pryce gas tanks.[4] It also averred that petitioner was
illegally distributing Pryce LPG products without the consent of respondent,

13
- One (1) filled 6 Kgs. PRYCE LPG tank cylinder
in violation of Section 2 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 623,[5] as amended by without seal.[8]
R.A. No. 5700.[6]
After conducting searching questions on witnesses PO1 Aldrin Ligan, a CIDG
operative, and Richard Oliveros, an employee of Pryce Gases, Inc., Hon. On 7 June 2002, petitioner filed a Motion to Quash[9] the search warrant on

Rene B. Honrado, the presiding judge of Branch 29, issued the the grounds of lack of probable cause as well as deception and fraud

corresponding search warrant. The search warrant authorized the seizure of employed in obtaining evidence in support of the application therefor, in

the following items: violation of Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution and Rule 126, Sections 4
and 5 of the Rules of Court. Respondent opposed petitioners Motion to
Quash.

1. Assorted sizes of PRYCE LPG GAS TANKS


CYLINDERS in different kilograms. On the same day, the CIDG filed a criminal complaint before the Office of the
2. Suspected LPG gas tanks cylinders with
printed/mark SUN GAS INC., trademark and embossed City Prosecutor of Iloilo against petitioner, charging the latter with violation of
Pryce Gas Trademark scrapped off.
3. Other materials used in tampering the PRYCE R.A. No. 623, as amended.
LPG GAS TANKS cylinders.[7]
After hearing, the trial court issued an Order[10] dated 16 July 2002,

On the same day, CIDG agents served the search warrant on granting petitioners Motion to Quash. The trial court upheld the validity of the

petitioner and were able to recover the following items: surveillance conducted on petitioners warehouse in order to obtain evidence
to support the application for a search warrant and declared that based on
- Five Hundred Forty Four (544) empty 11 Kgs[.] the evidence gathered in support of the application for search warrant, the
PRYCE LPG tank cylinders;
- Two (2) filled 11 Kgs. PRYCE LPG tank cylinders CIDG was able to establish probable cause that petitioner was tampering
with seal;
- Seven (7) filled 11 Kgs. Pryce LPG tank cylinders with Pryce LPG cylinders and making them appear to be those of Sun Gas,
without seal;
Inc. This conclusion, notwithstanding, the trial court made a turnaround,
- Forty Four (44) empty 22 Kgs. PRYCE LPG tank
cylinders; stating that the probable cause as found by it at the time of the application for
- Ten (10) empty 50 Kgs. Pryce LPG tank cylinders;
and
14
search warrant fell short of the requisite probable cause necessary to sustain seized items to respondent. Petitioner sought reconsideration but was denied
the validity of the search warrant. in an order dated 16 July 2004.[16]

The dispositive portion of the Order reads:


Hence, the instant petition for review on certiorari, raising the following
WHEREFORE, the Motion To Quash is hereby GRANTED. issues:
PO2 Vicente Dernadara, Jr. and the Criminal Investigation
and Detection Group, Region VI are hereby directed to
return the Pryce LPG cylinders enumerated in Return of I.
Search Warrant Seized by virtue of the invalid Search
Warrant No. 02-16 to the Rowland Kim Santos immediately WHETHER PETITIONER ROWLAND KIM SANTOS HAS
upon receipt of this Order. THE LEGAL PERSONALITY TO ASSAIL THE SEARCH
WARRANT FOR HE WAS NAMED RESPONDENT
SO ORDERED.[11] THEREIN AND WAS SUBSEQUENTLY CHARGED FOR
VIOLATION OF R.A. [No.] 623, AS AMENDED BY R.A.
5700, BEFORE THE OFFICE OF THE CITY PROSECUTOR
OF ILOILO IN I.S. NO. 2015-2000 ENTITLED PNP-CIDG V.
ROWLAND KIM SANTOS.
Respondent filed a manifestation and motion to hold in abeyance the release
II.
of the seized items. It also filed a motion for reconsideration [12] of the 16 July
WHETHER THE PETITIONER SHOULD RETURN THE
2002 Order but was denied in an Order[13] dated 9 August 2002. SUBJECT PRYCE LPG CYLINDER TO RESPONDENT
DESPITE UNCONTROVERTED EVIDENCE THAT THE
Respondent elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals via a special
SAME WERE SOLD BY THE LATTER TO ITS
civil action for certiorari,[14] arguing that the trial court committed grave abuse CUSTOMERS.

of discretion in quashing the search warrant. The petition essentially III.


questioned the quashal of the search warrant despite a prior finding of WHETHER THE PETITION FOR CERTIORARI FILED BY
probable cause and the failure of petitioner to prove that he bought the RESPONDENT PRYCE WITH THE COURT OF APPEALS
SHOULD BE DISMISSED FOR NOT BEING THE PROPER
seized items from respondent. It also challenged petitioners personality to file REMEDY TO ASSAIL THE ORDERS OF THE TRIAL
COURT.[17]
the motion to quash.

On 16 January 2004, the Court of Appeals rendered the assailed Briefly, the petition raises the following issues: (1) whether or not
Decision,[15] which set aside the two orders of the trial court dated 16 January petitioner has authority to seek the quashal of the search warrant; (2) who
2002 and 9 August 2002. The appellate court also ordered the return of the has proper custody of the seized items; and (3) whether or not respondent

15
correctly availed of the special civil action for certiorari to assail the quashal premises and articles over which petitioner had control and supervision.
of the search warrant. Petitioner was directly prejudiced or injured by the seizure of the gas tanks
because petitioner was directly accountable as manager to the purported
owner of the seized items. It is noteworthy that at the time of the application
for search warrant, respondent recognized the authority of petitioner as
As to the first issue, the Court of Appeals ruled against petitioner and
manager of Sun Gas, Inc. when the application averred that petitioner had in
reversed the trial courts quashal of the search warrant solely on the ground
his possession and control the items subject of the alleged criminal offense.
that petitioner, being a mere manager of Sun Gas, Inc., failed to show his
Respondent should not be allowed thereafter to question petitioners authority
authority to act on behalf of the corporation and, therefore, had no legal
to assail the search warrant. Moreover, the search warrant was directed
personality to question the validity of the search warrant. Thus, it concluded
against petitioner for allegedly using Pryce LPG cylinders without the
that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in entertaining and
authority of respondent.
subsequently granting petitioners motion to quash.

The Court of Appeals misapplied the ruling in Stonehill, et al.


Petitioner takes exception to the Court of Appeals conclusion,
v. Diokno, et al.[19] that only a corporation has the exclusive right to question
contending that petitioner may assail the questioned search warrant because
the seizure of items belonging to the corporation on the ground that the latter
he was named as respondent in the application for search warrant and in the
has a personality distinct from the officers and shareholders of the
criminal complaint subsequently filed before the Office of the City Prosecutor
corporation. Assuming arguendo that Sun Gas, Inc. was the owner of the
of Iloilo.
seized items, petitioner, as the manager of Sun Gas, Inc., had the authority
to question the seizure of the items belonging to Sun Gas, Inc. Unlike natural
Well-settled is the rule that the legality of a seizure can be contested
persons, corporations may perform physical actions only through properly
only by the party whose rights have been impaired thereby, and the objection
delegated individuals; namely, their officers and/or agents. [20] As stated
to an unlawful search and seizure is purely personal and cannot be availed of
above, respondent cannot belatedly question petitioners authority to act on
by third parties.[18]
behalf of Sun Gas, Inc. when it had already acknowledged petitioners
Petitioner is the real party-in-interest to seek the quashal of the authority at the time of the application of the search warrant.
search warrant for the obvious reason that the search warrant, in which
petitioner was solely named as respondent, was directed against the

16
The resolution of the second issue as to who has legal custody of the the latter may produce; and (4) the warrant issued must particularly describe
seized items depends upon the determination of the existence of probable the place to be searched and persons or things to be seized.[22]
cause in the issuance of the search warrant. In the questioned Order dated
The instant controversy pertains only to the existence of probable
16 July 2002, the trial court reversed its earlier finding of probable cause on
cause, which the trial court found wanting after evaluating the items seized
the ground that the failure of the CIDG agents to seize other materials and
from petitioner. Petitioner does not dispute that the items seized from him,
tools used by petitioner to tamper with the LPG cylinders invalidated the
consisting of Pryce LPG tanks of assorted weights, were particularly
search warrant because there would be nothing to show or prove that
enumerated in the search warrant. Petitioner is neither assailing the manner
accused had committed the offense.[21] The trial court elaborated that the
by which the trial court conducted the determination of probable cause.
mere possession of Pryce LPG cylinders seized from petitioner was not
illegal per se, absent any showing that petitioner illegally used the same
without the consent of respondent. Moreover, the trial court concluded that The trial court retracted its earlier finding of probable cause because

respondent had already parted ownership of its gas cylinders upon their sale the seized items were incomplete or insufficient to charge petitioner with a

to customers who paid not only for the contents but also for the value of the criminal offense, thus, negating its previous determination of probable cause.

gas cylinders.
We disagree. In quashing the search warrant, it would appear that
Although respondent advanced several arguments rebutting the
the trial court had raised the standard of probable cause to whether there
aforementioned conclusions in its petition for certiorari, the Court of Appeals
was sufficient cause to hold petitioner for trial. In so doing, the trial court
sidestepped those arguments and reversed the trial courts quashal of the
committed grave abuse of discretion.
search warrant only on the ground of the lack of legal personality on the part
of petitioner to assail the search warrant.
Probable cause for a search warrant is defined as such facts and

Supporting jurisprudence thus outlined the following requisites for a circumstances which would lead a reasonably discrete and prudent man to

search warrants validity, the absence of even one will cause its downright believe that an offense has been committed and that the objects

nullification: (1) it must be issued upon probable cause; (2) the probable
cause must be determined by the judge himself and not by the applicant or
any other person; (3) in the determination of probable cause, the judge must sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be

examine, under oath or affirmation, the complainant and such witnesses as searched.[23] A finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence
17
box, steel cylinders, tanks, flasks, accumulators, or other
showing that, more likely than not, a crime has been committed and that it similar containers, or the possession thereof without written
was committed by the accused. Probable cause demands more than bare permission of the manufacturer, by any junk dealer or dealer
in casks, barrels, kegs, boxes, steel cylinders, tanks, flasks,
suspicion; it requires less than evidence which would justify accumulators, or other similar containers, the same being
duly marked or stamped and registered as herein
conviction.[24] The existence depends to a large degree upon the finding or provided, shall give rise to a prima facie presumption that
such use or possession is unlawful.
opinion of the judge conducting the examination. However, the findings of the
judge should not disregard the facts before him nor run counter to the clear
Section 3 of R.A. No. 623, as amended, clearly creates a prima
dictates of reason.[25]
facie presumption of the unlawful use of gas cylinders based on two separate
acts, namely, the unauthorized use of the cylinder by a person other than the
The application for a search warrant was based on the alleged
registered manufacturer and the possession thereof by a dealer. The trial
violation by petitioner of certain provisions of R.A. No. 623, as amended by
courts conclusion that the mere possession by petitioner of the seized gas
R.A. No. 5700. Respondent claimed that petitioner was illegally using or
cylinders was not punishable under Section 2 of R.A. No. 623, as amended,
distributing its LPG cylinders without its authority. The amended provisions of
is not correct. The trial court failed to consider that petitioner was not only in
R.A. No. 623 state:
possession of the gas cylinders but was also distributing the same, as
Sec. 2. It shall be unlawful for any person, without alleged by PO1 Aldrin Ligan in his answer to the searching questions asked
the written consent of the manufacturer, bottler, or seller,
who has successfully registered the marks of ownership in by the trial court.[26]
accordance with the provisions of the next preceding
section, to fill such bottles, boxes, kegs, barrels, steel
cylinders, tanks, flasks, accumulators, or other similar As pointed out by respondent in its petition for certiorari, the failure of
containers so marked or stamped, for the purpose of sale, the CIDG operatives to confiscate articles and materials used in tampering
or to sell, dispose of, buy or traffic in, or wantonly destroy the
same, whether filled or not to use the same for drinking with the Pryce marking and logo did not negate the existence of probable
vessels or glasses or drain pipes, foundation pipes, for any
other purpose than that registered by the manufacturer, cause. The confluence of these circumstances, namely: the fact of
bottler or seller. Any violation of this section shall be possession and distribution of the gas cylinders and the claim by respondent
punished by a fine of not more than one thousand pesos or
imprisonment of not more than one year or both. that it did not authorize petitioner to distribute the same was a sufficient
indication that petitioner is probably guilty of the illegal use of the gas
cylinders punishable under Section 2 of R.A. No. 623, as amended.
Sec. 3. The use by any person other than the
registered manufacturer, bottler or seller, without written
permission of the latter of any such bottler, cask, barrel, keg,

18
More importantly, at the hearing of the application for the search The Court of Appeals, however, erred in ordering the return of the
warrant, various testimonies and documentary evidence based on the seized items to respondent. Section 4, Rule 126[29] of the Revised Criminal
surveillance by the CIDG operatives were presented. After hearing the Procedure expressly mandates the delivery of the seized items to the judge
testimonies and examining the documentary evidence, the trial court was who issued the search warrant to be kept in custodia legis in anticipation of
convinced that there were good and sufficient reasons for the issuance of the the criminal proceedings against petitioner. The delivery of the items seized
same. Thus, it issued the search warrant. The trial courts unwarranted to the court which issued the warrant together with a true and accurate
turnabout was brought about by its notion that the seized items were not inventory thereof, duly verified under oath, is mandatory in order to preclude
sufficient to indict petitioner for the crime charged. the substitution of said items by interested parties. The judge who issued the
search warrant is mandated to ensure compliance with the requirements for

In La Chemise Lacoste, S.A. v. Fernandez,[27] it was held: (1) the issuance of a detailed receipt for the property received, (2) delivery of
the seized property to the court, together with (3) a verified true inventory of
True, the lower court should be given the opportunity
to correct its errors, if there be any, but the rectification must, the items seized. Any violation of the foregoing constitutes contempt of
as earlier stated be based on sound and valid grounds. In
this case, there was no compelling justification for the about court.[30]
face.
The CIDG operatives properly delivered the seized items to the
xxxx
custody of the trial court which issued the search warrant. Thereafter, the trial
Moreover, an application for a search warrant is
heard ex parte. It is neither a trial nor a part of the trial. court ordered their return to petitioner after quashing the search warrant.
Action on these applications must be expedited for time is of
the essence. Great reliance has to be accorded by the judge When the Court of Appeals reversed the trial courts quashal of the search
to the testimonies under oath of the complainant and the warrant, it erred in ordering the return of the seized items to respondent
witnesses.[28]
because it would seem that respondent
instituted the special civil action for certiorari in order to regain
A word of caution, though. In affirming the sufficiency of probable
possession of its LPG tanks. This cannot be countenanced. The seized items
cause in the issuance of the search warrant, this Court is not preempting the
should remain in the custody of the trial court which issued the search
subsequent determination by the investigating prosecutor if there is cause to
warrant pending the institution of criminal action against petitioner.
hold the respondent for trial. After all, the investigating prosecutor is the
person tasked to evaluate all the evidence submitted by both parties. Last, the special civil action for certiorari was the proper recourse
availed by respondent in assailing the quashal of the search warrant. As
19
aforementioned, the trial courts unwarranted reversal of its earlier finding of
probable cause constituted grave abuse of discretion. In any case, the Court
had allowed even direct recourse to this Court [31] or to the Court of
Appeals[32] via a special civil action for certiorari from a trial courts quashal of
a search warrant.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED and the Decision of the Court
of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 74563 is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION
that the seized items should be kept in custodia legis. Costs against
petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

20
G.R. No. 176830 February 11, 2014 VICENTE P. LADLAD, Petitioner,
vs.
SATURNINO C. OCAMPO, Petitioner, HON. THELMA BUNYI-MEDINA, in her capacity as Presiding Judge of
vs. the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 32, and the PEOPLE OF THE
HON. EPHREM S. ABANDO, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of the PHILIPPINES, Respondents.
Regional Trial Court of Hilongos, Leyte, Branch 18, CESAR M. MERIN,
in. his capacity as Approving Prosecutor and Officer-in-Charge, DECISION
ROSULO U. VIVERO, in his capacity as Investigating Prosecutor, RAUL
M. GONZALEZ, in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of SERENO, CJ.:
Justice, Respondents.
On 26 August 2006, a mass grave was discovered by elements of the 43rd
x-----------------------x Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army at Sitio Sapang Daco, Barangay
Kaulisihan, Inopacan, Leyte.1 The mass grave contained skeletal remains of
G.R. No. 185587 individuals believed to be victims of "Operation Venereal Disease" (Operation
VD) launched by members of the Communist Party of the Philippines/New
RANDALL B. ECHANIS, Petitioner, Peoples Army/National Democratic Front of the Philippines
vs. (CPP/NPA/NDFP) to purge their ranks of suspected military informers.
HON. THELMA BUNYl-MEDINA, in her capacity as Presiding Judge of
the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 32, HON. EPHREM S. While the doctrine of hierarchy of courts normally precludes a direct
ABANDO, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court invocation of this Courts jurisdiction, we take cognizance of these petitions
of Hilongos, Leyte, Branch 18, CESAR M. MERIN, in his capacity as considering that petitioners have chosen to take recourse directly before us
Approving Prosecutor and Officer-in-Charge, ROSULO U. VIVERO, in and that the cases are of significant national interest.
his capacity as Investigating Prosecutor, RAUL M. GONZALEZ, in his
capacity as Secretary of the Department of Justice, Respondents. Petitioners have raised several issues, but most are too insubstantial to
require consideration. Accordingly, in the exercise of sound judicial discretion
x-----------------------x and economy, this Court will pass primarily upon the following:

G.R. No. 185636 1. Whether petitioners were denied due process during preliminary
investigation and in the issuance of the warrants of arrest.
RAFAEL G. BAYLOSIS, Petitioner,
vs. 2. Whether the murder charges against petitioners should be
HON. THELMA BUNYI-MEDINA, in her capacity as Presiding Judge of dismissed under the political offense doctrine.
the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 32, HON. EPHREM S.
ABANDO, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court ANTECEDENT FACTS
of Hilongos, Leyte, Branch 18, CESAR M. MERIN, in his capacity as
Approving Prosecutor and Officer-in-Charge, ROSULO U. VIVERO, in
These are petitions for certiorari and prohibition2 seeking the annulment of
his capacity as Investigating Prosecutor, RAUL M. GONZALEZ, in his
the orders and resolutions of public respondents with regard to the indictment
capacity as Secretary of the Department of Justice, Respondents.
and issuance of warrants of arrest against petitioners for the crime of multiple
murder.
x-----------------------x
Police Chief Inspector George L. Almaden (P C/Insp. Almaden) of the
G.R. No. 190005 Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Office 8 and Staff Judge Advocate
21
Captain Allan Tiu (Army Captain Tiu) of the 8th Infantry Division of the Glecerio Roluna and Veronica P. Tabara. They narrated that they were
Philippine Army sent 12 undated letters to the Provincial Prosecutor of Leyte former members of the CPP/NPA/NDFP.13 According to them, Operation VD
through Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Rosulo U. Vivero (Prosecutor was ordered in 1985 by the CPP/NPA/NDFP Central Committee.14 Allegedly,
Vivero).3 The letters requested appropriate legal action on 12 complaint- petitioners Saturnino C. Ocampo (Ocampo),15 Randall B. Echanis
affidavits attached therewith accusing 71 named members of the Communist (Echanis),16 Rafael G. Baylosis (Baylosis),17 and Vicente P. Ladlad
Party of the Philippines/New Peoples Army/National Democratic Front of the (Ladlad)18 were then members of the Central Committee.
Philippines (CPP/NPA/NDFP) of murder, including petitioners herein along
with several other unnamed members. According to these former members, four sub-groups were formed to
implement Operation VD, namely, (1) the Intel Group responsible for
The letters narrated that on 26 August 2006, elements of the 43rd Infantry gathering information on suspected military spies and civilians who would not
Brigade of the Philippine Army discovered a mass grave site of the support the movement; (2) the Arresting Group charged with their arrests; (3)
CPP/NPA/NDFP at Sitio Sapang Daco, Barangay Kaulisihan, Inopacan, the Investigation Group which would subject those arrested to questioning;
Leyte.4Recovered from the grave site were 67 severely deteriorated skeletal and (4) the Execution Group or the "cleaners" of those confirmed to be
remains believed to be victims of Operation VD.5 military spies and civilians who would not support the movement.19

The PNP Scene of the Crime Operation (SOCO) Team based in Regional From 1985 to 1992, at least 100 people had been abducted, hog-tied,
Office 8 was immediately dispatched to the mass grave site to conduct crime tortured and executed by members of the CPP/NPA/NDF20 pursuant to
investigation, and to collect, preserve and analyze the skeletal Operation VD.21
remains.6 Also, from 11-17 September 2006, an investigation team
composed of intelligence officers, and medico-legal and DNA experts, On the basis of the 12 letters and their attachments, Prosecutor Vivero
conducted forensic crime analysis and collected from alleged relatives of the issued a subpoena requiring, among others, petitioners to submit their
victims DNA samples for matching.7 counter-affidavits and those of their witnesses. 22 Petitioner Ocampo
submitted his counter-affidavit.23 Petitioners Echanis24 and Baylosis25 did not
The Initial Specialist Report8 dated 18 September 2006 issued by the PNP file counter-affidavits because they were allegedly not served the copy of the
Crime Laboratory in Camp Crame, Quezon City, was inconclusive with complaint and the attached documents or evidence. Counsel of petitioner
regard to the identities of the skeletal remains and even the length of time Ladlad made a formal entry of appearance on 8 December 2006 during the
that they had been buried. The report recommended the conduct of further preliminary investigation.26 However, petitioner Ladlad did not file a counter-
tests to confirm the identities of the remains and the time window of death. 9 affidavit because he was allegedly not served a subpoena.27

However, in a Special Report10 dated 2 October 2006, the Case Secretariat In a Resolution28 dated 16 February 2007, Prosecutor Vivero recommended
of the Regional and National Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) came the filing of an Information for 15 counts of multiple murder against 54 named
up with the names of ten (10) possible victims after comparison and members of the CPP/NPA/NDFP, including petitioners herein, for the death
examination based on testimonies of relatives and witnesses.11 of the following: 1) Juanita Aviola, 2) Concepcion Aragon, 3) Gregorio Eras,
4) Teodoro Recones, Jr., 5) Restituto Ejoc, 6) Rolando Vasquez, 7) Junior
The 12 complaint-affidavits were from relatives of the alleged victims of Milyapis, 8) Crispin Dalmacio, 9) Zacarias Casil, 10) Pablo Daniel, 11)
Operation VD. All of them swore that their relatives had been abducted or Romeo Tayabas, 12) Domingo Napoles, 13) Ciriaco Daniel, 14) Crispin
last seen with members of the CPP/NPA/NDFP and were never seen again. Prado, and 15) Ereberto Prado.29

They also expressed belief that their relatives remains were among those Prosecutor Vivero also recommended that Zacarias Piedad, Leonardo
discovered at the mass grave site. 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 regard to
Also attached to the letters were the affidavits of Zacarias
Veronica Tabara.
Piedad,12 Leonardo C. Tanaid, Floro M. Tanaid, Numeriano Beringuel,
22
The Information was filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Hilongos, 3. Whether the murder charges against him are already included in
Leyte, Branch 18 (RTC Hilongos, Leyte) presided by Judge Ephrem S. the rebellion charge against him in the RTC.44
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 Afterwards, the parties were ordered to submit their memoranda within 10
for Clarificatory Hearing dated 5 March 2007 prior to receiving a copy of the days.45 On 3 April 2007, the Court ordered the provisional release of
Resolution recommending the filing of the Information.32 petitioner Ocampo under a 100,000 cash bond.46
Acting on the observation of the Court during the oral arguments that the
On 6 March 2007, Judge Abando issued an Order finding probable cause "in single Information filed before the RTC Hilongos, Leyte was defective for
the commission by all mentioned accused of the crime charged." 33 He charging 15 counts of murder, the prosecution filed a Motion to Admit
ordered the issuance of warrants of arrest against them with no Amended Information and New Informations on 11 April 2007.47 In an Order
recommended bail for their temporary liberty.34 dated 27 July 2007, Judge Abando held in abeyance the resolution thereof
and effectively suspended the proceedings during the pendency of G.R. No.
On 16 March 2007, petitioner Ocampo filed before us this special civil action 176830 before this Court.48
for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court and
docketed as G.R. No. 176830 seeking the annulment of the 6 March 2007 While the proceedings were suspended, petitioner Echanis was arrested on
Order of Judge Abando and the 16 February 2007 Resolution of Prosecutor 28 January 2008 by virtue of the warrant of arrest issued by Judge Abando
Vivero.35 The petition prayed for the unconditional release of petitioner on 6 March 2007.49 On 1 February 2008, petitioners Echanis and Baylosis
Ocampo from PNP custody, as well as the issuance of a temporary filed a Motion for Judicial Reinvestigation/ Determination of Probable Cause
restraining order/ writ of preliminary injunction to restrain the conduct of with Prayer to Dismiss the Case Outright and Alternative Prayer to Recall/
further proceedings during the pendency of the petition.36 Suspend Service of Warrant.50

Petitioner Ocampo argued that a case for rebellion against him and 44 others On 30 April 2008, Judge Abando issued an Order denying the
(including petitioners Echanis and Baylosis37 and Ladlad38) docketed as motion.51 Petitioners Echanis and Baylosis filed a Motion for
Criminal Case No. 06-944 was then pending before the RTC Makati, Branch Reconsideration52 dated 30 May 2008, but before being able to rule thereon,
150 (RTC Makati).39 Putting forward the political offense doctrine, petitioner Judge Abando issued an Order dated 12 June 2008 transmitting the records
Ocampo argues that common crimes, such as murder in this case, are of Criminal Case No. H-1581 to the Office of the Clerk of Court, RTC
already absorbed by the crime of rebellion when committed as a necessary Manila.53 The Order was issued in compliance with the Resolution dated 23
means, in connection with and in furtherance of rebellion.40 April 2008 of this Court granting the request of then Secretary of Justice Raul
Gonzales to transfer the venue of the case.
We required41 the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to comment on the
petition and the prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order/ writ The case was re-raffled to RTC Manila, Branch 32 (RTC Manila) presided by
of preliminary injunction, and set42 the case for oral arguments on 30 March Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina (Judge Medina) and re-docketed as Criminal
2007. The OSG filed its Comment on 27 March 2007.43 Case No. 08-262163.54 Petitioner Echanis was transferred to the PNP
Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City. On 12 August 2008,
The following were the legal issues discussed by the parties during the oral petitioners Echanis and Baylosis filed their Supplemental Arguments to
arguments: Motion for Reconsideration.55

1. Whether the present petition for certiorari and prohibition is the In an Order56 dated 27 October 2008, Judge Medina suspended the
proper remedy of petitioner Ocampo; proceedings of the case pending the resolution of G.R. No. 176830 by this
Court.
2. Assuming it is the proper remedy, whether he was denied due
process during preliminary investigation and in the issuance of the On 18 December 2008, petitioner Ladlad filed with the RTC Manila a Motion
warrant of arrest; to Quash and/or Dismiss.57
23
On 23 December 2008, petitioner Echanis filed before us a special civil On 9 November 2009, petitioner Ladlad filed before us a special civil action
action for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court seeking the annulment of
seeking the annulment of the 30 April 2008 Order of Judge Abando and the the 6 May 2009 and 27 August 2009 Orders of Judge Medina.72 The petition
27 October 2008 Order of Judge Medina.58 The petition, docketed as G.R. was docketed as G.R. No. 190005.
No. 185587, prayed for the unconditional and immediate release of petitioner
Echanis, as well as the issuance of a temporary restraining order/writ of On 11 January 2010, we ordered the consolidation of G.R. No. 190005 with
preliminary injunction to restrain his further incarceration.59 G.R. Nos. 176830, 185587 and 185636.73 We also required the OSG to file
its comment thereon. The OSG submitted its Comment74 on 7 May 2010.
On 5 January 2009, petitioner Baylosis filed before us a special civil action
for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court also seeking On 27 July 2010, we likewise required the OSG to file its Comment in G.R.
the annulment of the 30 April 2008 Order of Judge Abando and the 27 Nos. 185636 and 185587.75 These Comments were filed by the OSG on 13
October 2008 Order of Judge Medina.60 The petition, docketed as G.R. No. December 201076 and on 21 January 2011,77 respectively. Petitioners
185636, prayed for the issuance of a temporary restraining order/ writ of Echanis and Baylosis filed their Consolidated Reply78 on 7 June 2011.
preliminary injunction to restrain the implementation of the warrant of arrest
against petitioner Baylosis.61
On 2 May 2011, petitioner Ladlad filed an Urgent Motion to Fix Bail. 79 On 21
July 2011, petitioner Baylosis filed A Motion to Allow Petitioner to Post
The Court consolidated G.R. Nos. 185587 and 185636 on 12 January Bail.80 The OSG interposed no objection to the grant of a 100,000 cash bail
2009.62 to them considering that they were consultants of the NDFP negotiating
team, which was then holding negotiations with the GRP peace panel for the
On 3 March 2009, the Court ordered the further consolidation of these two signing of a peace accord.81
cases with G.R. No. 176830.63 We required64 the OSG to comment on the
prayer for petitioner Echaniss immediate release, to which the OSG did not On 17 January 2012, we granted the motions of petitioners Ladlad and
interpose any objection on these conditions: that the temporary release shall Baylosis and fixed their bail in the amount of 100,000, subject to the
only be for the purpose of his attendance and participation in the formal condition that their temporary release shall be limited to the period of their
peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the actual participation in the peace negotiations.82
Philippines (GRP) and the CPP/NPA/NDFP, set to begin in August 2009; and
that his temporary release shall not exceed six (6) months. 65 The latter
Petitioner Ladlad filed his Reply83 to the OSG Comment on 18 January 2013.
condition was later modified, such that his temporary liberty shall continue for
the duration of his actual participation in the peace negotiations. 66
OUR RULING
On 11 August 2009, the Court ordered the provisional release of petitioner
Echanis under a 100,000 cash bond, for the purpose of his participation in Petitioners were accorded due
the formal peace negotiations.67 process during preliminary
investigation and in the issuance of
the warrants of arrest.
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed its Opposition 68 to
petitioner Ladlads motion to quash before the RTC Manila. The trial court
conducted a hearing on the motion on 13 February 2009.69 A. Preliminary Investigation

On 6 May 2009, Judge Medina issued an Order70 denying the motion to A preliminary investigation is "not a casual affair."84 It is conducted to protect
quash. The motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner Ladlad was also the innocent from the embarrassment, expense and anxiety of a public
denied on 27 August 2009.71 trial.85 While the right to have a preliminary investigation before trial is
statutory rather than constitutional, it is a substantive right and a component
of due process in the administration of criminal justice.86

24
In the context of a preliminary investigation, the right to due process of law In connection with the foregoing and pursuant to the Revised Rules of
entails the opportunity to be heard.87 It serves to accord an opportunity for Criminal Procedure[,] the respondents were issued and served with
the presentation of the respondents side with regard to the accusation. Subpoena at their last known address for them to submit their counter-
Afterwards, the investigating officer shall decide whether the allegations and affidavits and that of their witnesses.
defenses lead to a reasonable belief that a crime has been committed, and
that it was the respondent who committed it. Otherwise, the investigating Majority of the respondents did not submit their counter-affidavits because
officer is bound to dismiss the complaint. they could no longer be found in their last known address, per return of the
subpoenas. On the other hand, Saturnino Ocampo @ Satur, Fides Lim,
"The essence of due process is reasonable opportunity to be heard and Maureen Palejaro and Ruben Manatad submitted their Counter-Affidavits.
submit evidence in support of one's defense."88 What is proscribed is lack of However, Vicente Ladlad and Jasmin Jerusalem failed to submit the required
opportunity to be heard.89 Thus, one who has been afforded a chance to Counter Affidavits in spite entry of appearance by their respective counsels.99
present ones own side of the story cannot claim denial of due process. 90
Section 3(d), Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, allows Prosecutor Vivero to
Petitioners Echanis and Baylosis allege that they did not receive a copy of resolve the complaint based on the evidence before him if a respondent
the complaint and the attached documents or evidence.91 Petitioner Ladlad could not be subpoenaed. As long as efforts to reach a respondent were
claims that he was not served a subpoena due to the false address indicated made, and he was given an opportunity to present countervailing evidence,
in the 12 undated letters of P C/Insp. Almaden and Army Captain Tiu to the preliminary investigation remains valid.100The rule was put in place in
Prosecutor Vivero.92 Furthermore, even though his counsels filed their formal order to foil underhanded attempts of a respondent to delay the prosecution
entry of appearance before the Office of the Prosecutor, petitioner Ladlad of offenses.101
was still not sent a subpoena through his counsels addresses. 93 Thus, they
were deprived of the right to file counter-affidavits. In this case, the Resolution stated that efforts were undertaken to serve
subpoenas on the named respondents at their last known addresses. This is
Petitioner Ocampo claims that Prosecutor Vivero, in collusion with P C/Insp. sufficient for due process. It was only because a majority of them could no
Almaden and Army Captain Tiu, surreptitiously inserted the Supplemental longer be found at their last known addresses that they were not served
Affidavit of Zacarias Piedad in the records of the case without furnishing copies of the complaint and the attached documents or evidence.
petitioner Ocampo a copy. 94 The original affidavit of Zacarias Piedad dated
14 September 2006 stated that a meeting presided by petitioner Ocampo Petitioner Ladlad claims that his subpoena was sent to the nonexistent
was held in 1984, when the launching of Operation VD was agreed address "53 Sct. Rallos St., QC,"102 which had never been his address at any
upon.95Petitioner Ocampo refuted this claim in his Counter-affidavit dated 22 time.103 In connection with this claim, we take note of the fact that the
December 2006 stating that he was in military custody from October 1976 subpoena to Fides Lim, petitioner Ladlads wife,104 was sent to the same
until his escape in May 1985.96 Thereafter, the Supplemental Affidavit of address, and that she was among those mentioned in the Resolution as
Zacarias Piedad dated 12 January 2007 admitted that he made a mistake in having timely submitted their counter-affidavits.
his original affidavit, and that the meeting actually took place in June
1985.97 Petitioner Ocampo argues that he was denied the opportunity to Despite supposedly never receiving a subpoena, petitioner Ladlads counsel
reply to the Supplemental Affidavit by not being furnished a copy thereof. filed a formal entry of appearance on 8 December 2006.105 Prosecutor Vivero
had a reason to believe that petitioner Ladlad had received the subpoena
Petitioner Ocampo also claims that he was denied the right to file a motion and accordingly instructed his counsel to prepare his defense.
for reconsideration or to appeal the Resolution of Prosecutor Vivero, because
the latter deliberately delayed the service of the Resolution by 19 days, Petitioner Ladlad, through his counsel, had every opportunity to secure
effectively denying petitioner Ocampo his right to due process.98 copies of the complaint after his counsels formal entry of appearance and,
thereafter, to participate fully in the preliminary investigation. Instead, he
As to the claim of petitioners Echanis and Baylosis, we quote the pertinent refused to participate.
portion of Prosecutor Viveros Resolution, which states:
25
We have previously cautioned that "litigants represented by counsel should Thus, when petitioner Ocampo received the Resolution of Prosecutor Vivero
not expect that all they need to do is sit back, relax and await the outcome of on 12 March 2007,108 the former had until 27 March 2007 within which to file
their case."106 Having opted to remain passive during the preliminary either a motion for reconsideration before the latter or an appeal before the
investigation, petitioner Ladlad and his counsel cannot now claim a denial of Secretary of Justice. Instead, petitioner Ocampo chose to file the instant
due process, since their failure to file a counter-affidavit was of their own petition for certiorari directly before this Court on 16 March 2007.
doing.
B. Issuance of the Warrants of Arrest
Neither do we find any merit in petitioner Ocampos allegation of collusion to
surreptitiously insert the Supplemental Affidavit of Zacarias Piedad in the Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution provides that "no search warrant or
records. There was nothing surreptitious about the Supplemental Affidavit warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined
since it clearly alludes to an earlier affidavit and admits the mistake personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the
committed regarding the date of the alleged meeting. The date of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce."
execution of the Supplemental Affidavit was also clearly stated. Thus, it was
clear that it was executed after petitioner Ocampo had submitted his counter- Petitioner Ocampo alleges that Judge Abando did not comply with the
affidavit. Should the case go to trial, that will provide petitioner Ocampo with
requirements of the Constitution in finding the existence of probable cause
the opportunity to question the execution of Zacarias Piedads Supplemental
for the issuance of warrants of arrest against petitioners.109
Affidavit.
Probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest has been defined as
Neither can we uphold petitioner Ocampos contention that he was denied "such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and
the right to be heard. For him to claim that he was denied due process by not
prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed by the person
being furnished a copy of the Supplemental Affidavit of Zacarias Piedad
sought to be arrested."110 Although the Constitution provides that probable
would imply that the entire case of the prosecution rested on the
cause shall be determined by the judge after an examination under oath or
Supplemental Affidavit. The OSG has asserted that the indictment of
an affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses, we have ruled that a
petitioner Ocampo was based on the collective affidavits of several other hearing is not necessary for the determination thereof. 111 In fact, the judges
witnesses107 attesting to the allegation that he was a member of the
personal examination of the complainant and the witnesses is not mandatory
CPP/NPA/NDFP Central Committee, which had ordered the launch of
and indispensable for determining the aptness of issuing a warrant of
Operation VD.
arrest.112

As to his claim that he was denied the right to file a motion for It is enough that the judge personally evaluates the prosecutors report and
reconsideration or to appeal the Resolution of Prosecutor Vivero due to the
supporting documents showing the existence of probable cause for the
19-day delay in the service of the Resolution, it must be pointed out that the
indictment and, on the basis thereof, issue a warrant of arrest; or if, on the
period for filing a motion for reconsideration or an appeal to the Secretary of
basis of his evaluation, he finds no probable cause, to disregard the
Justice is reckoned from the date of receipt of the resolution of the
prosecutor's resolution and require the submission of additional affidavits of
prosecutor, not from the date of the resolution. This is clear from Section 3 of witnesses to aid him in determining its existence.113
the 2000 National Prosecution Service Rule on Appeal:
Petitioners Echanis and Baylosis claim that, had Judge Abando painstakingly
Sec. 3. Period to appeal. The appeal shall be taken within fifteen (15) days
examined the records submitted by Prosecutor Vivero, the judge would have
from receipt of the resolution, or of the denial of the motion for
inevitably dismissed the charge against them.114 Additionally, petitioner
reconsideration/ reinvestigation if one has been filed within fifteen (15) days Ocampo alleges that Judge Abando did not point out facts and evidence in
from receipt of the assailed resolution. Only one motion for reconsideration the record that were used as bases for his finding of probable cause to issue
shall be allowed. (Emphasis supplied)
a warrant of arrest.115

26
The determination of probable cause for the issuance of warrants of arrest petition for certiorari,120 such as the petitions filed in the instant consolidated
against petitioners is addressed to the sound discretion of Judge Abando as cases.
the trial judge.116 Further elucidating on the wide latitude given to trial judges
in the issuance of warrants of arrest, this Court stated in Sarigumba v. The political offense doctrine is not a
Sandiganbayan117 as follows: ground to dismiss the charge against
petitioners prior to a determination
x x x. The trial court's exercise of its judicial discretion should not, as a by the trial court that the murders
general rule, be interfered with in the absence of grave abuse of discretion. were committed in furtherance of
Indeed, certiorari will not lie to cure errors in the trial court's appreciation of rebellion.
the evidence of the parties, the conclusion of facts it reached based on the
said findings, as well as the conclusions of law. x x x. Under the political offense doctrine, "common crimes, perpetrated in
furtherance of a political offense, are divested of their character as "common"
Whether or not there is probable cause for the issuance of warrants for the offenses and assume the political complexion of the main crime of which they
arrest of the accused is a question of fact based on the allegations in the are mere ingredients, and, consequently, cannot be punished separately
Informations, the Resolution of the Investigating Prosecutor, including other from the principal offense, or complexed with the same, to justify the
documents and/or evidence appended to the Information. imposition of a graver penalty."121

Here, the allegations of petitioners point to factual matters indicated in the Any ordinary act assumes a different nature by being absorbed in the crime
affidavits of the complainants and witnesses as bases for the contention that of rebellion.122 Thus, when a killing is committed in furtherance of rebellion,
there was no probable cause for petitioners indictment for multiple murder or the killing is not homicide or murder. Rather, the killing assumes the political
for the issuance of warrants for their arrest. As stated above, the trial judges complexion of rebellion as its mere ingredient and must be prosecuted and
appreciation of the evidence and conclusion of facts based thereon are not punished as rebellion alone.
interfered with in the absence of grave abuse of discretion. Again, "he
sufficiently complies with the requirement of personal determination if he However, this is not to say that public prosecutors are obliged to consistently
reviews the [I]nformation and the documents attached thereto, and on the charge respondents with simple rebellion instead of common crimes. No one
basis thereof forms a belief that the accused is probably guilty of the crime disputes the well-entrenched principle in criminal procedure that the
with which he is being charged."118 institution of criminal charges, including whom and what to charge, is
addressed to the sound discretion of the public prosecutor.123
Judge Abandos review of the Information and the supporting documents is
shown by the following portion of the judges 6 March 2007 Order: But when the political offense doctrine is asserted as a defense in the trial
court, it becomes crucial for the court to determine whether the act of killing
On the evaluation of the Resolution and its Information as submitted and filed was done in furtherance of a political end, and for the political motive of the
by the Provincial Prosecution of Leyte Province supported by the following act to be conclusively demonstrated.124
documents: Affidavits of Complainants, Sworn Statements of Witnesses and
other pertinent documents issued by the Regional Crime Laboratory Office, Petitioners aver that the records show that the alleged murders were
PNP, Region VIII and Camp Crame, Quezon City, pictures of the grave site committed in furtherance of the CPP/NPA/NDFP rebellion, and that the
and skeletal remains, this court has the findings [sic] of probable cause in the political motivation behind the alleged murders can be clearly seen from the
commission by all mentioned accused of the crime charged.119 charge against the alleged top leaders of the CPP/NPA/NDFP as co-
conspirators.
At bottom, issues involving the finding of probable cause for an indictment
and issuance of a warrant of arrest, as petitioners are doubtless aware, are We had already ruled that the burden of demonstrating political motivation
primarily questions of fact that are normally not within the purview of a must be discharged by the defense, since motive is a state of mind which
only the accused knows.125 The proof showing political motivation is adduced
27
during trial where the accused is assured an opportunity to present evidence charged, or for any attempt to commit the same or frustration thereof, or for
supporting his defense. It is not for this Court to determine this factual matter any offense which necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the
in the instant petitions. offense charged in the former complaint or information.

As held in the case of Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Zamboanga Del Based on the above provision, double jeopardy only applies when: (1) a first
Norte v. CA,126 if during trial, petitioners are able to show that the alleged jeopardy attached; (2) it has been validly terminated; and (3) a second
murders were indeed committed in furtherance of rebellion, Section 14, Rule jeopardy is for the same offense as in the first.127
110 of the Rules of Court provides the remedy, to wit:
A first jeopardy attaches only after the accused has been acquitted or
SECTION 14. Amendment or substitution. A complaint or information may convicted, or the case has been dismissed or otherwise terminated without
be amended, in form or in substance, without leave of court, at any time his express consent, by a competent court in a valid indictment for which the
before the accused enters his plea. After the plea and during the trial, a accused has entered a valid plea during arraignment.128
formal amendment may only be made with leave of court and when it can be
done without causing prejudice to the rights of the accused. To recall, on 12 May 2006, an Information for the crime of rebellion, as
defined and penalized under Article 134 in relation to Article 135 of the
However, any amendment before plea, which downgrades the nature of the Revised Penal Code, docketed as Criminal Case No. 06-944 was filed before
offense charged in or excludes any accused from the complaint or the RTC Makati against petitioners and several others. 129
information, can be made only upon motion by the prosecutor, with notice to
the offended party and with leave of court. The court shall state its reasons in However, petitioners were never arraigned in Criminal Case No. 06-
resolving the motion and copies of its order shall be furnished all parties, 944.1awp++i1 Even before the indictment for rebellion was filed before the
especially the offended party. (n) RTC Makati, petitioners Ocampo, Echanis and Ladlad had already filed a
petition before this Court to seek the nullification of the Orders of the DOJ
If it appears at any time before judgment that a mistake has been made in denying their motion for the inhibition of the members of the prosecution
charging the proper offense, the court shall dismiss the original complaint or panel due to lack of impartiality and independence. 130 When the indictment
information upon the filing of a new one charging the proper offense in was filed, petitioners Ocampo, Echanis and Ladlad filed supplemental
accordance with Section 19, Rule 119, provided the accused shall not be petitions to enjoin the prosecution of Criminal Case No. 06-944.131We
placed in double jeopardy. The court may require the witnesses to give bail eventually ordered the dismissal of the rebellion case. It is clear then that a
for their appearance at the trial. (Emphasis supplied) first jeopardy never had a chance to attach.

Thus, if it is shown that the proper charge against petitioners should have Petitioner Ocampo shall remain on provisional liberty under the 100,000
been simple rebellion, the trial court shall dismiss the murder charges upon cash bond posted before the Office of the Clerk of Court. He shall remain on
the filing of the Information for simple rebellion, as long as petitioners would provisional liberty until the termination of the proceedings before the RTC
not be placed in double jeopardy. Manila.1wphi1

Section 7, Rule 117 of the Rules of Court, states: The OSG has given its conformity to the provisional liberty of petitioners
Echanis, Baylosis and Ladlad in view of the ongoing peace negotiations.
SEC. 7. Former conviction or acquittal; double jeopardy. When an Their provisional release from detention under the cash bond of 100,000
accused has been convicted or acquitted, or the case against him dismissed each shall continue under the condition that their temporary release shall be
or otherwise terminated without his express consent by a court of competent limited to the period of their actual participation as CPP-NDF consultants in
jurisdiction, upon a valid complaint or information or other formal charge the peace negotiations with the government or until the termination of the
sufficient in form and substance to sustain a conviction and after the accused proceedings before the RTC Manila, whichever is sooner. It shall be the duty
had pleaded to the charge, the conviction or acquittal of the accused or the of the government to inform this Court the moment that peace negotiations
dismissal of the case shall be a bar to another prosecution for the offense are concluded.
28
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 by this Court
until the termination of the proceedings before the RTC Manila. Petitioners
Randall B. Echanis, Rafael G. Baylosis and Vicente P. Ladlad shall remain
on temporary liberty under the same bail granted by this Court until their
actual participation as CPP-NDF consultants in the peace negotiations with
the government are concluded or terminated, or until the termination of the
proceedings before the RTC Manila, whichever is sooner.

SO ORDERED.

29
MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO
Chief Justice In an Information[2] dated November 11, 2002, petitioner Abraham C.

Miclat, Jr. was charged for Violation of Section 11, Article II of RA No. 9165,
ABRAHAM MICLAT, JR. y CERBO, G.R. No. 176077
Petitioner, Present: the accusatory portion of which reads:
VELASCO, JR., J., Chairperson,
PERALTA,
ABAD, That on or about the 08th day of November 2002, in
- versus - MENDOZA, and Caloocan City, Metro Manila and within the jurisdiction of this
SERENO,* JJ. Honorable Court, the above-named accused, without the
authority of law, did then and there willfully and feloniously
Promulgated: have in his possession, custody and control
[METHAMPHETAMINE] HYDROCHLORIDE
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, August 31, 2011 (SHABU) weighing 0.24 gram, knowing the same to be a
Respondent. dangerous drug under the provisions of the above-cited law.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x CONTRARY TO LAW. (Emphasis supplied.)[3]

DECISION
Upon arraignment, petitioner, with the assistance of counsel pleaded not

guilty to the crime charged. Consequently, trial on the merits ensued.


PERALTA, J.:

To establish its case, the prosecution presented Police Inspector


This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to reverse and set
Jessie Abadilla Dela Rosa (P/Insp Dela Rosa), Forensic Chemical Officer of
aside the Decision[1] dated October 13, 2006 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in
the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory, NPD-CLO, Caloocan
CA-G.R. CR No. 28846, which in turn affirmed in toto the Decision of the
City Police Station and Police Officer 3 Rodrigo Antonio (PO3 Antonio) of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 120, Caloocan City, in Criminal Case No.
Caloocan Police Station Drug Enforcement Unit.The testimony of the police
C-66765 convicting petitioner of Violation of Section 11, Article II of Republic
investigator, PO3 Fernando Moran (PO3 Moran), was dispensed with after
Act (RA) No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
petitioners counsel admitted the facts offered for stipulation by the
The factual and procedural antecedents are as follows:
prosecution.

On the other hand, the defense presented the petitioner as its sole

witness. The testimonies of Abraham Miclat, Sr. and Ma. Concepcion Miclat,

30
afternoon, they were [at] once led by their informant to the
the father and sister, respectively, of the petitioner was dispensed with after house of one Alias Abe. PO3 Antonio then positioned
himself at the perimeter of the house, while the rest of the
the prosecution agreed that their testimonies were corroborative in nature. members of the group deployed themselves nearby. Thru a
small opening in the curtain-covered window, PO3 Antonio
Evidence for the Prosecution
peeped inside and there at a distance of 1 meters, he saw
Abe arranging several pieces of small plastic sachets which
First to testify for the prosecution was P/Insp. Jessie he believed to be containing shabu. Slowly, said operative
Abadilla Dela Rosa, Forensic Chemical Officer of the PNP inched his way in by gently pushing the door as well as the
Crime Laboratory, NPD-CLO, Caloocan City Police Station plywood covering the same. Upon gaining entrance, PO3
who, on the witness stand, affirmed his own findings in Antonio forthwith introduced himself as a police officer while
Physical Science Report No. D-1222-02 (Exhs. D, D-1, and Abe, on the other hand, after being informed of such
D-2) that per qualitative examination conducted on the authority, voluntarily handed over to the former the four (4)
specimen submitted, the white crystalline substance pieces of small plastic sachets the latter was earlier sorting
weighing 0.05 gram, 0.06 gram, 0.07 gram, and 0.06 gram out. PO3 Antonio immediately placed the suspect under
then contained inside four (4) separate pieces of small heat- arrest and brought him and the four (4) pieces of plastic
sealed transparent plastic sachets (Exhs. D-4 to D-7) gave sachets containing white crystalline substance to their
positive result to the test for Methylamphetamine (sic) headquarters and turned them over to PO3 Fernando Moran
Hydrochloride, a dangerous drug. for proper disposition. The suspect was identified as
Abraham Miclat y Cerbo a.k.a ABE, 19 years old, single,
Also, thru the testimony of PO3 Rodrigo Antonio of jobless and a resident of Maginhawa Village, Palmera Spring
the Caloocan Police Station-Drug Enforcement II, Bagumbong, Caloocan City.[4]
Unit, Samson Road, Caloocan City, the prosecution further
endeavored to establish the following:
Evidence for the Defense
At about 1:00 oclock in the afternoon of November
8, 2002, P/Insp. Jose Valencia of the Caloocan City Police On the other hand, the [petitioner] has a different
Station-SDEU called upon his subordinates after the (sic) version of the incident completely opposed to the theory of
receiving an INFOREP Memo from Camp Crame relative to the prosecution. On the witness stand, he alleged that at
the illicit and down-right drug-trading activities being about 4:00 oclockin the afternoon of November 8, 2002,
undertaken along Palmera Spring II, Bagumbong, Caloocan while he, together with his sister and father, were at the
City involving Abe Miclat, Wily alias Bokbok and one Mic or upper level of their house watching the television soap
Jojo (Exhs. E, E-1, and (sic) E-3, and E-4). Immediately, Cindy, they suddenly heard a commotion downstairs
P/Insp. Valencia formed a surveillance team headed by prompting the three (3) of them to go down. There already
SPO4 Ernesto Palting and is composed of five (5) more inside were several male individuals in civilian clothes who
operatives from the Drug Enforcement Unit, namely: PO3 introduced themselves as raiding police operatives from the
Pagsolingan, PO2 Modina, PO2 De Ocampo, and herein SDEU out to effect his (Abe) arrest for alleged drug
witness PO3 Antonio. After a short briefing at their station, pushing. [Petitioner] and his father tried to plead his case to
the team boarded a rented passenger jeepney and these officers, but to no avail. Instead, one of the operatives
proceeded to the target area to verify the said informant even kicked [petitioner] at the back when he tried to resist
and/or memorandum. the arrest. Immediately, [petitioner] was handcuffed and
together with his father, they were boarded inside the police
When the group of SPO4 Palting arrived at Palmera vehicle. That on their way to the Bagong Silang Police
Spring II, Caloocan City at around 3:50 oclock that same
31
Station, PO3 Pagsolingan showed to [petitioner] a small
piece of plastic sachet containing white crystalline On October 13, 2006, the CA rendered a Decision[8] affirming in
substances allegedly recovered by the raiding police team
from their house. At around 9:00 oclock in the evening, toto the decision of the RTC, the dispositive portion of which reads:
[petitioner] was transferred to the Sangandaan Headquarters
where he was finally detained. That upon [petitioners]
WHEREFORE, the foregoing considered, the appeal
transfer and detention at the said headquarters, his father
is hereby DISMISSED and the assailed
was ordered to go home.[5]
Decision AFFIRMED in toto. Costs against the accused-
appellant.

On July 28, 2004, the RTC, after finding that the prosecution has SO ORDERED. (Emphasis supplied.)[9]

established all the elements of the offense charged, rendered a

Decision[6] convicting petitioner of Violation of Section 11, Article II of RA No. In affirming the RTC, the CA ratiocinated that contrary to the contention of

9165, the dispositive portion of which reads: the petitioner, the evidence presented by the prosecution were all admissible

against him. Moreover, it was established that he was informed of his


WHEREFORE, from the facts established, the Court
finds the accused ABRAHAM MICLAT Y CERBO constitutional rights at the time of his arrest. Hence, the CA opined that the
GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt all of the elements
possession of a dangerous drugs (sic) defined and penalized
under the provision of Section 11, sub-paragraph No. (3), necessary for the conviction of the petitioner for the offense of illegal
Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 and hereby imposes upon
him an indeterminate penalty of six (6) years and one (1) possession of dangerous drugs.
day to twelve (12) years of imprisonment, in view of the
absence of aggravating circumstances. The Court likewise
orders the accused to pay the amount of Three Hundred
Thousand Pesos (Php300,000.00) as fine. Hence, the petition raising the following errors:

Let the 0.24 gram of shabu subject matter of this


case be confiscated and forfeited in favor of the Government 1. WHETHER OR NOT A POLICE SURVEILLANCE TEAM
and to be turned over to the Philippine Drug Enforcement SENT TO DETERMINE THE VERACITY OF
Agency for proper disposition. A CAMP CRAME MEMORANDUM OF SHABU TRADING
ACTIVITY AT CALOOCAN CITY, WHICH CONVERTED
SO ORDERED. (Emphasis supplied.)[7] THEIR MISSION FROM SURVEILLANCE TO A RAIDING
TEAM, CAN VALIDLY MAKE AN ARREST AND SEARCH
Aggrieved, petitioner sought recourse before the CA, which appeal WITHOUT A VALID WARRANT HAVING BEEN FIRST
OBTAINED FROM A COURT OF COMPETENT
was later docketed as CA-G.R. CR No. 28846. JURISDICTION.

2. WHETHER OR NOT PEEPING THROUGH A CURTAIN-


COVERED WINDOW IS WITHIN THE MEANING OF PLAIN

32
VIEW DOCTRINE FOR A WARRANTLESS SEIZURE TO
BE LAWFUL. peeping through a window is not sufficient reason for the police authorities to

3. WHETHER OR NOT THE BELIEF OF PO3 ANTONIO enter his house without a valid search warrant and/or warrant of
THAT THE FOUR (4) PIECES OF PLASTIC SACHETS
arrest. Arguing that the act of arranging several plastic sachets by and in
ALLEGEDLY BEING ARRANGED BY PETITIONER
CONTAINED SHABU JUSTIFIED HIS ENTRY INTO THE itself is not a crime per se, petitioner maintains that the entry of the police
HOUSE AND ARREST PETITIONER WITHOUT ANY
WARRANT. surveillance team into his house was illegal, and no amount of incriminating

4. WHETHER OR NOT ARRANGING FOUR (4) PIECES OF evidence will take the place of a validly issued search warrant. Moreover,
PLASTIC SACHETS CONSTITUTE AS A CRIME WITHIN
THE MEANING OF SECTION 5 (3), RULE 113 OF THE peeping through a curtain-covered window cannot be contemplated as within
RULES OF COURT.
the meaning of the plain view doctrine, rendering the warrantless arrest
5. WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER WAS PROPERLY
unlawful.
APPRAISED (SIC) OF HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS TO
BE INFORMED OF THE CAUSE AND NATURE OF HIS
ARREST AND RIGHT TO BE ASSISTED BY COUNSEL
DURING THE PERIOD OF HIS ARREST AND CONTINUED Petitioner also contends that the chain of custody of the alleged
DETENTION.
illegal drugs was highly questionable, considering that the plastic sachets
6. WHETHER OR NOT THE CONVICTION BY THE LOWER
COURT OF THE PETITIONER, AS AFFIRMED BY THE were not marked at the place of the arrest and no acknowledgment receipt
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, ON THE BASIS OF
AN ILLEGAL SEARCH AND ARREST, IS CORRECT.[10] was issued for the said evidence.

Finally, petitioner claims that the arresting officer did not inform him
Simply stated, petitioner is assailing the legality of his arrest and the of his constitutional rights at any time during or after his arrest and even
subsequent seizure of the arresting officer of the suspected sachets of during his detention. Hence, for this infraction, the arresting officer should be
dangerous drugs from him.Petitioner insists that he was just watching punished accordingly.
television with his father and sister when police operatives suddenly barged

into their home and arrested him for illegal possession of shabu. The petition is bereft of merit.

Petitioner also posits that being seen in the act of arranging several At the outset, it is apparent that petitioner raised no objection to the
plastic sachets inside their house by one of the arresting officers who was irregularity of his arrest before his arraignment. Considering this and his

33
be determined personally by the judge after examination
active participation in the trial of the case, jurisprudence dictates that under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the
witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the
petitioner is deemed to have submitted to the jurisdiction of the trial court, place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.
thereby curing any defect in his arrest.[11] An accused is estopped from

assailing any irregularity of his arrest if he fails to raise this issue or to move
However, a settled exception to the right guaranteed by the above-
for the quashal of the information against him on this ground before
stated provision is that of an arrest made during the commission of a crime,
arraignment. Any objection involving a warrant of arrest or the procedure by
which does not require a previously issued warrant. Such warrantless arrest
which the court acquired jurisdiction over the person of the accused must be
is considered reasonable and valid under Section 5 (a), Rule 113 of the
made before he enters his plea; otherwise, the objection is deemed
Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, to wit:
waived.[12]
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. a
peace office of a private person may, without a warrant,
In the present case, at the time of petitioners arraignment, there was arrest a person:

no objection raised as to the irregularity of his arrest. Thereafter, he actively (a) When, in his presence, the person to be
arrested has committed, is actually
participated in the proceedings before the trial court. In effect, he is deemed committing, or is attempting to commit an
offense;[14]
to have waived any perceived defect in his arrest and effectively submitted

himself to the jurisdiction of the court trying his case. At any rate, the illegal
For the exception in Section 5 (a), Rule 113 to operate, this Court
arrest of an accused is not sufficient cause for setting aside a valid judgment
has ruled that two (2) elements must be present: (1) the person to be
rendered upon a sufficient complaint after a trial free from error. It will not
arrested must execute an overt act indicating that he has just committed, is
even negate the validity of the conviction of the accused. [13]
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. [15]
True, the Bill of Rights under the present Constitution provides in

part:
In the instant case, contrary to petitioners contention, he was
SEC. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their
persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable caught in flagrante delicto and the police authorities effectively made a valid
searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any
purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrantless arrest. The established facts reveal that on the date of the arrest,
warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to
34
agents of the Station Drug Enforcement Unit (SDEU) of the Caloocan City delicto as he was then committing a crime, violation of the Dangerous Drugs

Police Station were conducting a surveillance operation in the area of Act, within the view of the arresting officer.

Palmera Spring II to verify the reported drug-related activities of several

individuals, which included the petitioner. During the operation, PO3 Antonio, As to the admissibility of the seized drugs in evidence, it too falls

through petitioners window, saw petitioner arranging several plastic sachets within the established exceptions.

containing what appears to be shabu in the living room of their home. The

plastic sachets and its suspicious contents were plainly exposed to the view Verily, no less than the 1987 Constitution mandates that a search

of PO3 Antonio, who was only about one and one-half meters from where and consequent seizure must be carried out with a judicial warrant;

petitioner was seated. PO3 Antonio then inched his way in the house by otherwise, it becomes unreasonable, and any evidence obtained therefrom

gently pushing the door. Upon gaining entrance, the operative introduced shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.[17] The right against

himself as a police officer. After which, petitioner voluntarily handed over to warrantless searches and seizure, however, is subject to legal and judicial

PO3 Antonio the small plastic sachets. PO3 Antonio then placed petitioner exceptions, namely:

under arrest and, contrary to petitioners contention, PO3 Antonio informed


1. Warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest;
him of his constitutional rights.[16] PO3 Antonio then took the petitioner and 2. Search of evidence in "plain view";
3. Search of a moving vehicle;
the four (4) pieces of plastic sachets to their headquarters and turned them 4. Consented warrantless search;
5. Customs search;
over to PO3 Moran. Thereafter, the evidence were marked AMC 1-4, the
6. Stop and Frisk; and
initials of the name of the petitioner. The heat-sealed transparent sachets 7. Exigent and emergency circumstances.[18]

containing white crystalline substance were submitted to the PNP Crime

Laboratory for drug examination, which later yielded positive results for the What constitutes a reasonable or unreasonable warrantless search

presence of methamphetamine hydrochloride, a dangerous drug under RA or seizure is purely a judicial question, determinable from the uniqueness of

No. 9165. the circumstances involved, including the purpose of the search or seizure,

the presence or absence of probable cause, the manner in which the search

Considering the circumstances immediately prior to and surrounding and seizure was made, the place or thing searched, and the character of the

the arrest of the petitioner, petitioner was clearly arrested in flagrante articles procured.[19]

35
officer, the results of the ensuing search and seizure were admissible in

It is to be noted that petitioner was caught in the act of arranging the evidence to prove petitioners guilt of the offense charged.

heat-sealed plastic sachets in plain sight of PO3 Antonio and he voluntarily

surrendered them to him upon learning that he is a police officer. The seizure As to petitioners contention that the police failed to comply with the

made by PO3 Antonio of the four plastic sachets from the petitioner was not proper procedure in the transfer of custody of the seized evidence thereby

only incidental to a lawful arrest, but it also falls within the purview of casting serious doubt on its seizure, this too deserves scant consideration.

the plain view doctrine.

Section 21, paragraphs 1 and 2, Article II of RA No. 9165 provides:


Objects falling in plain view of an officer who has
a right to be in a position to have that view are subject
to seizure even without a search warrant Section 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated,
and may be introduced in evidence. The plain view Seized, and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs, Plant
doctrine applies when the following requisites concur: (a) the Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and
law enforcement officer in search of the evidence has a Essential Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or
prior justification for an intrusion or is in a position from Laboratory Equipment. - The PDEA shall take charge and
which he can view a particular area; (b) the discovery of have custody of all dangerous drugs, plant sources of
evidence in plain view is inadvertent; (c) it is dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential
immediately apparent to the officer that the item he chemicals, as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or
observes may be evidence of a crime, contraband or laboratory equipment so confiscated, seized and/or
otherwise subject to seizure. The law enforcement officer surrendered, for proper disposition in the following manner:
must lawfully make an initial intrusion or properly be in a
position from which he can particularly view the area. In the (1) The apprehending team having initial
course of such lawful intrusion, he came inadvertently across custody and control of the drugs
a piece of evidence incriminating the accused. The object shall, immediately after seizure and
must be open to eye and hand and its discovery inadvertent. confiscation, physically inventory
(Emphasis supplied.)[20] and photograph the same in the presence of
the accused or the person/s from whom
such items were confiscated and/or
It is clear, therefore, that an object is in plain view if the object itself is seized, or his/her representative or counsel,
a representative from the media and the
plainly exposed to sight. Since petitioners arrest is among the exceptions to Department of Justice (DOJ), and any
elected public official who shall be required
the rule requiring a warrant before effecting an arrest and the evidence to sign the copies of the inventory and be
given a copy thereof;
seized from the petitioner was the result of a warrantless search incidental to

a lawful arrest, which incidentally was in plain view of the arresting (2) Within twenty-four (24) hours upon
confiscation/seizure of dangerous drugs,
plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled
36
precursors and essential chemicals, as well
as instruments/paraphernalia and/or seized items, as the same would be utilized in the determination of the guilt
laboratory equipment, the same shall be
submitted to the PDEA Forensic Laboratory or innocence of the accused.[23]
for a qualitative and quantitative
examination;
Here, the requirements of the law were substantially complied with
x x x x.
and the integrity of the drugs seized from the petitioner was preserved. More

importantly, an unbroken chain of custody of the prohibited drugs taken from


Corolarilly, the implementing provision of Section 21 (a), Article II of
the petitioner was sufficiently established. The factual antecedents of the
the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA No. 9165, provides:
case reveal that the petitioner voluntarily surrendered the plastic sachets to

(a) The apprehending team having initial custody and control PO3 Antonio when he was arrested. Together with petitioner, the evidence
of the drugs shall, immediately after seizure and
confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same seized from him were immediately brought to the police station and upon
in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom
such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her arriving thereat, were turned over to PO3 Moran, the investigating
representative or counsel, a representative from the media
officer. There the evidence was marked. The turn-over of the subject sachets
and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public
official who shall be required to sign the copies of the and the person of the petitioner were then entered in the official
inventory and be given a copy thereof: Provided, further, that
non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable blotter. Thereafter, the Chief of the SDEU, Police Senior Inspector Jose
grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of
the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending Ramirez Valencia, endorsed the evidence for laboratory examination to the
officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such seizures
of and custody over said items. National Police District PNP Crime Laboratory. The evidence was delivered

x x x x.[21] by PO3 Moran and received by Police Inspector Jessie Dela Rosa. [24] After a

qualitative examination of the contents of the four (4) plastic sachets by the

latter, the same tested positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride, a


From the foregoing, it is clear that the failure of the law enforcers to dangerous drug.[25]
comply strictly with the rule is not fatal. It does not render petitioners arrest

illegal nor the evidence adduced against him inadmissible.[22] What is An unbroken chain of custody of the seized drugs had, therefore,
essential is the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the been established by the prosecution from the arresting officer, to the

investigating officer, and finally to the forensic chemist. There is no doubt that

37
the items seized from the petitioner at his residence were also the same distinguish spontaneous declaration from rehearsed spiel, straightforward

items marked by the investigating officer, sent to the Crime Laboratory, and assertion from a stuttering claim, definite statement from tentative disclosure,

later on tested positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride. and to a certain degree, truth from untruth.[29]

For conviction of illegal possession of a prohibited drug to lie, the In the present case, there is no compelling reason to reverse the

following elements must be established: (1) the accused was in possession findings of fact of the trial court. No evidence exist that shows any apparent

of an item or an object identified to be a prohibited or regulated drug; (2) inconsistencies in the narration of the prosecution witnesses of the events

such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) the accused was freely which transpired and led to the arrest of petitioner. After a careful evaluation

and consciously aware of being in possession of the drug. [26] Based on the of the records, We find no error was committed by the RTC and the CA to

evidence submitted by the prosecution, the above elements were duly disregard their factual findings that petitioner committed the crime charged

established in the present case. Mere possession of a regulated drug per against him.

seconstitutes prima facie evidence of knowledge or animus

possidendi sufficient to convict an accused absent a satisfactory explanation Against the overwhelming evidence of the prosecution, petitioner

of such possession the onus probandi is shifted to the accused, to explain merely denied the accusations against him and raised the defense of frame-

the absence of knowledge or animus possidendi.[27] up. The defense of denial and frame-up has been invariably viewed by this

Court with disfavor, for it can easily be concocted and is a common and

It is a settled rule that in cases involving violations of the standard defense ploy in prosecutions for violation of the Dangerous Drugs

Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, credence is given to prosecution Act. In order to prosper, the defense of denial and frame-up must be proved

witnesses who are police officers for they are presumed to have performed with strong and convincing evidence.[30]

their duties in a regular manner.[28] Although not constrained to blindly accept

the findings of fact of trial courts, appellate courts can rest assured that such As to the penalty, while We sustain the amount of fine, the

facts were gathered from witnesses who presented their statements live and indeterminate sentence imposed should, however, be modified.

in person in open court. In cases where conflicting sets of facts are Section 11, Article II, RA No. 9165, otherwise known as the

presented, the trial courts are in the best position to recognize and Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, provides:

38
twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years and a fine ranging
Section 11. Possession of Dangerous Drugs. The
penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from from Three Hundred Thousand Pesos (P300,000.00) to Four Hundred
Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten million
pesos (P10,000,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, Thousand Pesos (P400,000.00). The evidence adduced by the prosecution
who, unless authorized by law, shall possess any dangerous
established beyond reasonable doubt that petitioner had in his possession
drug in the following quantities, regardless of the degree of
purity thereof: 0.24 gram of shabu, or less than five (5) grams of the dangerous drug,
x x x x. without any legal authority.

Otherwise, if the quantity involved is less than the


foregoing quantities, the penalties shall be graduated as
follows: Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum period of

x x x x. the imposable penalty shall not fall below the minimum period set by the law;

the maximum period shall not exceed the maximum period allowed under the
(3) Imprisonment of twelve (12)
years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years law; hence, the imposable penalty should be within the range of twelve (12)
and a fine ranging from Three hundred
thousand pesos (P300,000.00) to Four years and one (1) day to fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months.
hundred thousand pesos (P400,000.00), if
the quantities of dangerous drugs are less WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal is DENIED. The
than five (5) grams of opium, morphine,
heroin, cocaine or cocaine hydrochloride, Decision dated October 13, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No.
marijuana resin or marijuana resin
oil, methamphetamine hydrochloride or 28846 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Petitioner is sentenced to suffer
"shabu", or other dangerous drugs such as, the indeterminate sentence of twelve (12) years and one (1) day to fourteen
but not limited to, MDMA or "ecstasy," PMA,
TMA, LSD, GHB, and those similarly (14) years and eight (8) months.
designed or newly-introduced drugs and
their derivatives, without having any
therapeutic value or if the quantity SO ORDERED.
possessed is far beyond therapeutic
requirements; or less than three hundred
(300) grams of marijuana.[31]

From the foregoing, illegal possession of less than five (5) grams of

methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu is penalized with imprisonment of

39
SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIETY (SJS), G.R. No. 157870
VELASCO, JR., J.:
Petitioner,
- versus - In these kindred petitions, the constitutionality of Section 36 of Republic Act

DANGEROUS DRUGS BOARD and No. (RA) 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs
PHILIPPINE DRUG ENFORCEMENT Act of 2002, insofar as it requires mandatory drug testing of candidates for
AGENCY (PDEA),
Respondents. public office, students of secondary and tertiary schools, officers and
x-----------------------------------------------x employees of public and private offices, and persons charged before the
ATTY. MANUEL J. LASERNA, JR., G.R. No. 158633
Petitioner, prosecutors office with certain offenses, among other personalities, is put in
issue.
- versus -

DANGEROUS DRUGS BOARD and


PHILIPPINE DRUG ENFORCEMENT As far as pertinent, the challenged section reads as follows:
AGENCY, SEC. 36. Authorized Drug Testing.Authorized drug
Respondents. testing shall be done by any government forensic
x-----------------------------------------------x laboratories or by any of the drug testing laboratories
AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, JR., G.R. No. 161658 accredited and monitored by the DOH to safeguard the
Petitioner, quality of the test results. x x x The drug testing shall
Present: employ, among others, two (2) testing methods, the
PUNO, C.J., screening test which will determine the positive result as well
QUISUMBING, as the type of drug used and the confirmatory test which will
YNARES-SANTIAGO, confirm a positive screening test. x x x The following shall be
CARPIO, subjected to undergo drug testing:
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
- versus - CORONA, xxxx
CARPIO MORALES,
AZCUNA, (c) Students of secondary and tertiary
TINGA, schools.Students of secondary and tertiary schools shall,
CHICO-NAZARIO, pursuant to the related rules and regulations as contained in
VELASCO, JR., the schools student handbook and with notice to the parents,
NACHURA, undergo a random drug testing x x x;
REYES,
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, and (d) Officers and employees of public and private
BRION, JJ. offices.Officers and employees of public and private offices,
whether domestic or overseas, shall be subjected to undergo
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Promulgated: a random drug test as contained in the companys work rules
Respondent. and regulations, x x x for purposes of reducing the risk in the
November 3, 2008 workplace. Any officer or employee found positive for use of
x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x dangerous drugs shall be dealt with administratively which
DECISION shall be a ground for suspension or termination, subject to

40
the provisions of Article 282 of the Labor Code and pertinent WHEREAS, Section 1, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution
provisions of the Civil Service Law; provides that public officers and employees must at all times
be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost
xxxx responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency;

(f) All persons charged before the prosecutors office WHEREAS, by requiring candidates to undergo mandatory
with a criminal offense having an imposable penalty of drug test, the public will know the quality of candidates they
imprisonment of not less than six (6) years and one (1) day are electing and they will be assured that only those who can
shall undergo a mandatory drug test; serve with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and
efficiency would be elected x x x.

NOW THEREFORE, The [COMELEC], pursuant to the


(g) All candidates for public office whether appointed or elected both
authority vested in it under the Constitution, Batas
in the national or local government shall undergo a
Pambansa Blg. 881 (Omnibus Election Code), [RA] 9165
mandatory drug test.
and other election laws, RESOLVED to promulgate, as it
hereby promulgates, the following rules and regulations on
In addition to the above stated penalties in this Section, the conduct of mandatory drug testing to candidates for
those found to be positive for dangerous drugs use shall be
public office[:]
subject to the provisions of Section 15 of this Act.
SECTION 1. Coverage.All candidates for public office,
both national and local, in the May 10, 2004
Synchronized National and Local Elections shall undergo
G.R. No. 161658 (Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. v. Commission on Elections) mandatory drug test in government forensic laboratories or
any drug testing laboratories monitored and accredited by
the Department of Health.
On December 23, 2003, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) issued
Resolution No. 6486, prescribing the rules and regulations on the mandatory SEC. 3. x x x

drug testing of candidates for public office in connection with the May 10, On March 25, 2004, in addition to the drug certificates filed
with their respective offices, the Comelec Offices and
2004 synchronized national and local elections. The pertinent portions of the
employees concerned shall submit to the Law Department
said resolution read as follows: two (2) separate lists of candidates. The first list shall consist
of those candidates who complied with the mandatory drug
test while the second list shall consist of those candidates
WHEREAS, Section 36 (g) of Republic Act No. 9165 who failed to comply x x x.
provides:
SEC. 4. Preparation and publication of names of
SEC. 36. Authorized Drug Testing.x x x candidates.Before the start of the campaign period, the
[COMELEC] shall prepare two separate lists of candidates.
xxxx The first list shall consist of those candidates who complied
with the mandatory drug test while the second list shall
(g) All candidates for public office x x x both in the national or consist of those candidates who failed to comply with said
local government shall undergo a mandatory drug test. drug test. x x x

41
SEC. 5. Effect of failure to undergo mandatory drug test and
file drug test certificate.No person elected to any public office qualification that all candidates for senator must first be certified as drug free.
shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has He adds that there is no provision in the Constitution authorizing the
undergone mandatory drug test and filed with the offices
enumerated under Section 2 hereof the drug test certificate Congress or COMELEC to expand the qualification requirements of
herein required. (Emphasis supplied.) candidates for senator.

G.R. No. 157870 (Social Justice Society v. Dangerous


Petitioner Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., a senator of the Republic and a Drugs Board and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency)
candidate for re-election in the May 10, 2004 elections,[1] filed a Petition for
Certiorari and Prohibition under Rule 65. In it, he seeks (1) to nullify Sec.
In its Petition for Prohibition under Rule 65, petitioner Social Justice Society
36(g) of RA 9165 and COMELEC Resolution No. 6486 dated December 23,
(SJS), a registered political party, seeks to prohibit the Dangerous Drugs
2003 for being unconstitutional in that they impose a qualification for
Board (DDB) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) from
candidates for senators in addition to those already provided for in the 1987
enforcing paragraphs (c), (d), (f), and (g) of Sec. 36 of RA 9165 on the
Constitution; and (2) to enjoin the COMELEC from implementing Resolution
ground that they are constitutionally infirm. For one, the provisions constitute
No. 6486.
undue delegation of legislative power when they give unbridled discretion to
schools and employers to determine the manner of drug testing. For another,
Pimentel invokes as legal basis for his petition Sec. 3, Article VI of the
the provisions trench in the equal protection clause inasmuch as they can be
Constitution, which states:
used to harass a student or an employee deemed undesirable. And for a
third, a persons constitutional right against unreasonable searches is also
SECTION 3. No person shall be a Senator unless he
is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, and, on the day of breached by said provisions.
the election, is at least thirty-five years of age, able to read
and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the G.R. No. 158633 (Atty. Manuel J. Laserna, Jr. v. Dangerous
Philippines for not less than two years immediately Drugs Board and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency)
preceding the day of the election.

Petitioner Atty. Manuel J. Laserna, Jr., as citizen and taxpayer, also seeks in
his Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition under Rule 65 that Sec. 36(c), (d),
According to Pimentel, the Constitution only prescribes a maximum of five (5)
(f), and (g) of RA 9165 be struck down as unconstitutional for infringing on
qualifications for one to be a candidate for, elected to, and be a member of
the constitutional right to privacy, the right against unreasonable search and
the Senate. He says that both the Congress and COMELEC, by requiring, via
seizure, and the right against self-incrimination, and for being contrary to the
RA 9165 and Resolution No. 6486, a senatorial aspirant, among other
due process and equal protection guarantees.
candidates, to undergo a mandatory drug test, create an additional
42
The Issue on Locus Standi The Consolidated Issues
First off, we shall address the justiciability of the cases at bench and
the matter of the standing of petitioners SJS and Laserna to sue. As The principal issues before us are as follows:
respondents DDB and PDEA assert, SJS and Laserna failed to allege any
incident amounting to a violation of the constitutional rights mentioned in their (1) Do Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 and COMELEC Resolution No. 6486 impose
separate petitions.[2] an additional qualification for candidates for senator? Corollarily, can
Congress enact a law prescribing qualifications for candidates for senator in
It is basic that the power of judicial review can only be exercised in addition to those laid down by the Constitution? and
connection with a bona fide controversy which involves the statute sought to (2) Are paragraphs (c), (d), (f), and (g) of Sec. 36, RA 9165 unconstitutional?
be reviewed.[3] But even with the presence of an actual case or controversy, Specifically, do these paragraphs violate the right to privacy, the right against
the Court may refuse to exercise judicial review unless the constitutional unreasonable searches and seizure, and the equal protection clause? Or do
question is brought before it by a party having the requisite standing to they constitute undue delegation of legislative power?
challenge it.[4] To have standing, one must establish that he or she has Pimentel Petition
suffered some actual or threatened injury as a result of the allegedly illegal (Constitutionality of Sec. 36[g] of RA 9165 and
COMELEC Resolution No. 6486)
conduct of the government; the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged
action; and the injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable action.[5]
In essence, Pimentel claims that Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 and
COMELEC Resolution No. 6486 illegally impose an additional qualification
The rule on standing, however, is a matter of procedure; hence, it can be
on candidates for senator. He points out that, subject to the provisions on
relaxed for non-traditional plaintiffs, like ordinary citizens, taxpayers, and
nuisance candidates, a candidate for senator needs only to meet the
legislators when the public interest so requires, such as when the matter is of
qualifications laid down in Sec. 3, Art. VI of the Constitution, to wit: (1)
transcendental importance, of overarching significance to society, or of
citizenship, (2) voter registration, (3) literacy, (4) age, and (5)
paramount public interest.[6] There is no doubt that Pimentel, as senator of
residency. Beyond these stated qualification requirements, candidates for
the Philippines and candidate for the May 10, 2004 elections, possesses the
senator need not possess any other qualification to run for senator and be
requisite standing since he has substantial interests in the subject matter of
voted upon and elected as member of the Senate. The Congress cannot
the petition, among other preliminary considerations. Regarding SJS and
validly amend or otherwise modify these qualification standards, as it cannot
Laserna, this Court is wont to relax the rule on locus standi owing primarily to
disregard, evade, or weaken the force of a constitutional mandate,[7] or alter
the transcendental importance and the paramount public interest involved in
or enlarge the Constitution.
the enforcement of Sec. 36 of RA 9165.

43
Rights[12] and other provisions, such as Sec. 3, Art. VI of the Constitution
Pimentels contention is well-taken. Accordingly, Sec. 36(g) of RA prescribing the qualifications of candidates for senators.
9165 should be, as it is hereby declared as, unconstitutional. It is basic that if
a law or an administrative rule violates any norm of the Constitution, that In the same vein, the COMELEC cannot, in the guise of enforcing
issuance is null and void and has no effect. The Constitution is the basic law and administering election laws or promulgating rules and regulations to
to which all laws must conform; no act shall be valid if it conflicts with the implement Sec. 36(g), validly impose qualifications on candidates for senator
Constitution.[8] In the discharge of their defined functions, the three in addition to what the Constitution prescribes. If Congress cannot require a
departments of government have no choice but to yield obedience to the candidate for senator to meet such additional qualification, the COMELEC, to
commands of the Constitution. Whatever limits it imposes must be be sure, is also without such power. The right of a citizen in the democratic
observed.[9] process of election should not be defeated by unwarranted impositions of
requirement not otherwise specified in the Constitution.[13]
Congress inherent legislative powers, broad as they may be, are Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165, as sought to be implemented by the assailed
subject to certain limitations. As early as 1927, in Government v. Springer, COMELEC resolution, effectively enlarges the qualification requirements
the Court has defined, in the abstract, the limits on legislative power in the enumerated in the Sec. 3, Art. VI of the Constitution. As couched, said Sec.
following wise: 36(g) unmistakably requires a candidate for senator to be certified illegal-

Someone has said that the powers of the legislative drug clean, obviously as a pre-condition to the validity of a certificate of
department of the Government, like the boundaries of the candidacy for senator or, with like effect, a condition sine qua non to be voted
ocean, are unlimited. In constitutional governments,
however, as well as governments acting under delegated upon and, if proper, be proclaimed as senator-elect. The COMELEC
authority, the powers of each of the departments x x x are resolution completes the chain with the proviso that [n]o person elected to
limited and confined within the four walls of the constitution
or the charter, and each department can only exercise such any public office shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has
powers as are necessarily implied from the given undergone mandatory drug test. Viewed, therefore, in its proper context, Sec.
powers. The Constitution is the shore of legislative authority
against which the waves of legislative enactment may dash, 36(g) of RA 9165 and the implementing COMELEC Resolution add another
but over which it cannot leap.[10]
qualification layer to what the 1987 Constitution, at the minimum, requires for
membership in the Senate. Whether or not the drug-free bar set up under the
Thus, legislative power remains limited in the sense that it is subject
challenged provision is to be hurdled before or after election is really of no
to substantive and constitutional limitations which circumscribe both the
moment, as getting elected would be of little value if one cannot assume
exercise of the power itself and the allowable subjects of legislation. [11] The
office for non-compliance with the drug-testing requirement.
substantive constitutional limitations are chiefly found in the Bill of

44
It may of course be argued, in defense of the validity of Sec. 36(g) of The drug test prescribed under Sec. 36(c), (d), and (f) of RA 9165 for
RA 9165, that the provision does not expressly state that non-compliance secondary and tertiary level students and public and private employees,
with the drug test imposition is a disqualifying factor or would work to nullify a while mandatory, is a random and suspicionless arrangement. The objective
certificate of candidacy. This argument may be accorded plausibility if the is to stamp out illegal drug and safeguard in the process the well being of
drug test requirement is optional. But the particular section of the law, without [the] citizenry, particularly the youth, from the harmful effects of dangerous
exception, made drug-testing on those covered mandatory, necessarily drugs. This statutory purpose, per the policy-declaration portion of the law,
suggesting that the obstinate ones shall have to suffer the adverse can be achieved via the pursuit by the state of an intensive and unrelenting
consequences for not adhering to the statutory command. And since the campaign against the trafficking and use of dangerous drugs x x x through an
provision deals with candidates for public office, it stands to reason that the integrated system of planning, implementation and enforcement of anti-drug
adverse consequence adverted to can only refer to and revolve around the abuse policies, programs and projects.[14] The primary legislative intent is not
election and the assumption of public office of the candidates. Any other criminal prosecution, as those found positive for illegal drug use as a result of
construal would reduce the mandatory nature of Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 into a this random testing are not necessarily treated as criminals. They may even
pure jargon without meaning and effect whatsoever. be exempt from criminal liability should the illegal drug user consent to
While it is anti-climactic to state it at this juncture, COMELEC undergo rehabilitation. Secs. 54 and 55 of RA 9165 are clear on this point:
Resolution No. 6486 is no longer enforceable, for by its terms, it was
intended to cover only the May 10, 2004 synchronized elections and the Sec. 54. Voluntary Submission of a Drug Dependent
to Confinement, Treatment and Rehabilitation.A drug
candidates running in that electoral event. Nonetheless, to obviate repetition, dependent or any person who violates Section 15 of this Act
the Court deems it appropriate to review and rule, as it hereby rules, on its may, by himself/herself or through his/her parent, [close
relatives] x x x apply to the Board x x x for treatment and
validity as an implementing issuance. rehabilitation of the drug dependency. Upon such
application, the Board shall bring forth the matter to the
Court which shall order that the applicant be examined for
It ought to be made abundantly clear, however, that the drug dependency. If the examination x x x results in the
certification that the applicant is a drug dependent, he/she
unconstitutionality of Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 is rooted on its having infringed
shall be ordered by the Court to undergo treatment and
the constitutional provision defining the qualification or eligibility requirements rehabilitation in a Center designated by the Board x x x.
for one aspiring to run for and serve as senator. xxxx

SJS Petition Sec. 55. Exemption from the Criminal Liability Under
the Voluntary Submission Program.A drug dependent under
(Constitutionality of Sec. 36[c], [d], [f], and [g] of RA 9165) the voluntary submission program, who is finally discharged
from confinement, shall be exempt from the criminal liability

45
under Section 15 of this Act subject to the following
In Vernonia, school administrators in Vernonia, Oregon wanted to
conditions:
address the drug menace in their respective institutions following the
xxxx
discovery of frequent drug use by school athletes. After consultation with the
parents, they required random urinalysis drug testing for the schools
School children, the US Supreme Court noted, are most vulnerable athletes. James Acton, a high school student, was denied participation in the
to the physical, psychological, and addictive effects of drugs. Maturing football program after he refused to undertake the urinalysis drug
nervous systems of the young are more critically impaired by intoxicants and testing. Acton forthwith sued, claiming that the schools drug testing policy
are more inclined to drug dependency. Their recovery is also at a violated, inter alia, the Fourth Amendment[19] of the US Constitution.
depressingly low rate.[15]

The US Supreme Court, in fashioning a solution to the issues raised


The right to privacy has been accorded recognition in this jurisdiction in Vernonia, considered the following: (1) schools stand in loco parentis over
as a facet of the right protected by the guarantee against unreasonable their students; (2) school children, while not shedding their constitutional
search and seizure[16] under Sec. 2, Art. III[17] of the Constitution. But while rights at the school gate, have less privacy rights; (3) athletes have less
the right to privacy has long come into its own, this case appears to be the privacy rights than non-athletes since the former observe communal undress
first time that the validity of a state-decreed search or intrusion through the before and after sports events; (4) by joining the sports activity, the athletes
medium of mandatory random drug testing among students and employees voluntarily subjected themselves to a higher degree of school supervision
is, in this jurisdiction, made the focal point. Thus, the issue tendered in these and regulation; (5) requiring urine samples does not invade a students
proceedings is veritably one of first impression. privacy since a student need not undress for this kind of drug testing; and (6)
there is need for the drug testing because of the dangerous effects of illegal
US jurisprudence is, however, a rich source of persuasive drugs on the young. The US Supreme Court held that the policy
jurisprudence. With respect to random drug testing among school children, constituted reasonable search under the Fourth[20] and 14th Amendments
we turn to the teachings of VernoniaSchool District 47J v. Acton (Vernonia) and declared the random drug-testing policy constitutional.
and Board of Education of Independent School District No. 92 of
Pottawatomie County, et al. v. Earls, et al. (Board of Education),[18]both fairly In Board of Education, the Board of Education of a school
pertinent US Supreme Court-decided cases involving the constitutionality of in Tecumseh, Oklahoma required a drug test for high school students
governmental search. desiring to join extra-curricular activities.Lindsay Earls, a member of the
show choir, marching band, and academic team declined to undergo a drug
test and averred that the drug-testing policy made to apply to non-athletes

46
violated the Fourth and 14th Amendments. As Earls argued, unlike athletes policies. To be sure, the right to enroll is not absolute; it is subject to fair,
who routinely undergo physical examinations and undress before their peers reasonable, and equitable requirements.
in locker rooms, non-athletes are entitled to more privacy.
The Court can take judicial notice of the proliferation of prohibited
The US Supreme Court, citing Vernonia, upheld the constitutionality drugs in the country that threatens the well-being of the people,[21] particularly
of drug testing even among non-athletes on the basis of the schools the youth and school children who usually end up as victims. Accordingly,
custodial responsibility and authority. In so ruling, said court made no and until a more effective method is conceptualized and put in motion, a
distinction between a non-athlete and an athlete. It ratiocinated that schools random drug testing of students in secondary and tertiary schools is not only
and teachers act in place of the parents with a similar interest and duty of acceptable but may even be necessary if the safety and interest of the
safeguarding the health of the students. And in holding that the school could student population, doubtless a legitimate concern of the government, are to
implement its random drug-testing policy, the Court hinted that such a test be promoted and protected. To borrow from Vernonia, [d]eterring drug use by
was a kind of search in which even a reasonable parent might need to our Nations schoolchildren is as important as enhancing efficient
engage. enforcement of the Nations laws against the importation of drugs; the
necessity for the State to act is magnified by the fact that the effects of a
In sum, what can reasonably be deduced from the above two cases and drug-infested school are visited not just upon the users, but upon the entire
applied to this jurisdiction are: (1) schools and their administrators stand in student body and faculty.[22] Needless to stress, the random testing scheme
loco parentis with respect to their students; (2) minor students have provided under the law argues against the idea that the testing aims to
contextually fewer rights than an adult, and are subject to the custody and incriminate unsuspecting individual students.
supervision of their parents, guardians, and schools; (3) schools, acting in
loco parentis, have a duty to safeguard the health and well-being of their Just as in the case of secondary and tertiary level students, the
students and may adopt such measures as may reasonably be necessary to mandatory but random drug test prescribed by Sec. 36 of RA 9165 for
discharge such duty; and (4) schools have the right to impose conditions on officers and employees of public and private offices is justifiable, albeit not
applicants for admission that are fair, just, and non-discriminatory. exactly for the same reason. The Court notes in this regard that petitioner
Guided by Vernonia and Board of Education, the Court is of the view and so SJS, other than saying that subjecting almost everybody to drug testing,
holds that the provisions of RA 9165 requiring mandatory, random, and without probable cause, is unreasonable, an unwarranted intrusion of the
suspicionless drug testing of students are constitutional. Indeed, it is within individual right to privacy,[23] has failed to show how the mandatory, random,
the prerogative of educational institutions to require, as a condition for and suspicionless drug testing under Sec. 36(c) and (d) of RA 9165 violates
admission, compliance with reasonable school rules and regulations and the right to privacy and constitutes unlawful and/or unconsented search

47
under Art. III, Secs. 1 and 2 of the Constitution.[24] Petitioner Lasernas lament determined by a judge. Given that the drug-testing policy for employeesand
is just as simplistic, sweeping, and gratuitous and does not merit serious students for that matterunder RA 9165 is in the nature of administrative
consideration. Consider what he wrote without elaboration: search needing what was referred to in Vernonia as swift and informal
disciplinary procedures, the probable-cause standard is not required or even
The US Supreme Court and US Circuit Courts of
Appeals have made various rulings on the constitutionality of practicable. Be that as it may, the review should focus on the
mandatory drug tests in the school and the workplaces. reasonableness of the challenged administrative search in question.
The US courts have been consistent in their rulings that the
mandatory drug tests violate a citizens constitutional right to
privacy and right against unreasonable search and seizure. The first factor to consider in the matter of reasonableness is the
They are quoted extensively hereinbelow.[25]
nature of the privacy interest upon which the drug testing, which effects a
search within the meaning of Sec. 2, Art. III of the Constitution, intrudes. In
The essence of privacy is the right to be left alone. [26] In context, the
this case, the office or workplace serves as the backdrop for the analysis of
right to privacy means the right to be free from unwarranted exploitation of
the privacy expectation of the employees and the reasonableness of drug
ones person or from intrusion into ones private activities in such a way as to
testing requirement. The employees privacy interest in an office is to a large
cause humiliation to a persons ordinary sensibilities. [27] And while there has
extent circumscribed by the companys work policies, the collective
been general agreement as to the basic function of the guarantee against
bargaining agreement, if any, entered into by management and the
unwarranted search, translation of the abstract prohibition against
bargaining unit, and the inherent right of the employer to maintain discipline
unreasonable searches and seizures into workable broad guidelines for the
and efficiency in the workplace. Their privacy expectation in a regulated
decision of particular cases is a difficult task, to borrow from C. Camara v.
office environment is, in fine, reduced; and a degree of impingement upon
Municipal Court.[28] Authorities are agreed though that the right to
such privacy has been upheld.
privacy yields to certain paramount rights of the public and defers to the
states exercise of police power.[29]
Just as defining as the first factor is the character of the intrusion
authorized by the challenged law. Reduced to a question form, is the scope
As the warrantless clause of Sec. 2, Art III of the Constitution is
of the search or intrusion clearly set forth, or, as formulated in Ople v. Torres,
couched and as has been held, reasonableness is the touchstone of the
is the enabling law authorizing a search narrowly drawn or narrowly
validity of a government search or intrusion.[30] And whether a search at issue
focused?[32]
hews to the reasonableness standard is judged by the balancing of the
government-mandated intrusion on the individuals privacy interest against
The poser should be answered in the affirmative. For one, Sec. 36 of
the promotion of some compelling state interest.[31] In the criminal context,
RA 9165 and its implementing rules and regulations (IRR), as couched,
reasonableness requires showing of probable cause to be personally
48
contain provisions specifically directed towards preventing a situation that operation of the drug testing. All told, therefore, the intrusion into the
would unduly embarrass the employees or place them under a humiliating employees privacy, under RA 9165, is accompanied by proper safeguards,
experience. While every officer and employee in a private establishment is particularly against embarrassing leakages of test results, and is relatively
under the law deemed forewarned that he or she may be a possible subject minimal.
of a drug test, nobody is really singled out in advance for drug testing. The
goal is to discourage drug use by not telling in advance anyone when and To reiterate, RA 9165 was enacted as a measure to stamp out illegal
who is to be tested. And as may be observed, Sec. 36(d) of RA 9165 itself drug in the country and thus protect the well-being of the citizens, especially
prescribes what, in Ople, is a narrowing ingredient by providing that the the youth, from the deleterious effects of dangerous drugs. The law intends
employees concerned shall be subjected to random drug test as contained in to achieve this through the medium, among others, of promoting and
the companys work rules and regulations x x x for purposes of reducing the resolutely pursuing a national drug abuse policy in the workplace via a
risk in the work place. mandatory random drug test.[36] To the Court, the need for drug testing to at
least minimize illegal drug use is substantial enough to override the
For another, the random drug testing shall be undertaken under individuals privacy interest under the premises. The Court can consider that
conditions calculated to protect as much as possible the employees privacy the illegal drug menace cuts across gender, age group, and social- economic
and dignity. As to the mechanics of the test, the law specifies that the lines. And it may not be amiss to state that the sale, manufacture, or
procedure shall employ two testing methods, i.e., the screening test and the trafficking of illegal drugs, with their ready market, would be an investors
confirmatory test, doubtless to ensure as much as possible the dream were it not for the illegal and immoral components of any of
trustworthiness of the results. But the more important consideration lies in the such activities. The drug problem has hardly abated since the martial law
fact that the test shall be conducted by trained professionals in access- public execution of a notorious drug trafficker. The state can no longer
controlled laboratories monitored by the Department of Health (DOH) to assume a laid back stance with respect to this modern-day scourge. Drug
safeguard against results tampering and to ensure an accurate chain of enforcement agencies perceive a mandatory random drug test to be an
custody.[33] In addition, the IRR issued by the DOH provides that access to effective way of preventing and deterring drug use among employees in
the drug results shall be on the need to know basis; [34] that the drug test private offices, the threat of detection by random testing being higher than
result and the records shall be [kept] confidential subject to the usual other modes. The Court holds that the chosen method is a reasonable and
accepted practices to protect the confidentiality of the test results.[35] Notably, enough means to lick the problem.
RA 9165 does not oblige the employer concerned to report to the prosecuting
agencies any information or evidence relating to the violation of Taking into account the foregoing factors, i.e., the reduced
the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act received as a result of the expectation of privacy on the part of the employees, the compelling state

49
concern likely to be met by the search, and the well-defined limits set forth in
the law to properly guide authorities in the conduct of the random testing, we Lest it be overlooked, Sec. 94 of RA 9165 charges the DDB to issue,
hold that the challenged drug test requirement is, under the limited context of in consultation with the DOH, Department of the Interior and Local
the case, reasonable and, ergo, constitutional. Government, Department of Education, and Department of Labor and
Like their counterparts in the private sector, government officials and Employment, among other agencies, the IRR necessary to enforce the
employees also labor under reasonable supervision and restrictions imposed law. In net effect then, the participation of schools and offices in the drug
by the Civil Service law and other laws on public officers, all enacted to testing scheme shall always be subject to the IRR of RA 9165. It is,
promote a high standard of ethics in the public service.[37] And if RA 9165 therefore, incorrect to say that schools and employers have unchecked
passes the norm of reasonableness for private employees, the more reason discretion to determine how often, under what conditions, and where the drug
that it should pass the test for civil servants, who, by constitutional command, tests shall be conducted.
are required to be accountable at all times to the people and to serve them
with utmost responsibility and efficiency.[38] The validity of delegating legislative power is now a quiet area in the
constitutional landscape.[39] In the face of the increasing complexity of the
Petitioner SJS next posture that Sec. 36 of RA 9165 is objectionable task of the government and the increasing inability of the legislature to cope
on the ground of undue delegation of power hardly commends itself for directly with the many problems demanding its attention, resort to delegation
concurrence. Contrary to its position, the provision in question is not so of power, or entrusting to administrative agencies the power of subordinate
extensively drawn as to give unbridled options to schools and employers to legislation, has become imperative, as here.
determine the manner of drug testing. Sec. 36 expressly provides how drug
Laserna Petition (Constitutionality of Sec. 36[c], [d],
testing for students of secondary and tertiary schools and officers/employees
[f], and [g] of RA 9165)
of public/private offices should be conducted. It enumerates the persons who
shall undergo drug testing. In the case of students, the testing shall be in
Unlike the situation covered by Sec. 36(c) and (d) of RA 9165, the
accordance with the school rules as contained in the student handbook and
Court finds no valid justification for mandatory drug testing for persons
with notice to parents. On the part of officers/employees, the testing shall
accused of crimes. In the case of students, the constitutional viability of the
take into account the companys work rules. In either case, the random
mandatory, random, and suspicionless drug testing for students emanates
procedure shall be observed, meaning that the persons to be subjected to
primarily from the waiver by the students of their right to privacy when they
drug test shall be picked by chance or in an unplanned way. And in all cases,
seek entry to the school, and from their voluntarily submitting their persons to
safeguards against misusing and compromising the confidentiality of the test
the parental authority of school authorities. In the case of private and public
results are established.

50
employees, the constitutional soundness of the mandatory, random, and petition in G.R. Nos. 157870 and 158633 by declaring Sec.
suspicionless drug testing proceeds from the reasonableness of the drug test
36(c) and (d) of RA 9165 CONSTITUTIONAL, but declaring its Sec.
policy and requirement.
36(f) UNCONSTITUTIONAL. All concerned agencies are, accordingly,

permanently enjoined from implementing Sec. 36(f) and (g) of RA 9165. No


We find the situation entirely different in the case of persons charged
before the public prosecutors office with criminal offenses punishable with six costs.

(6) years and one (1) day imprisonment. The operative concepts in the
mandatory drug testing are randomness and suspicionless. In the case of SO ORDERED.
persons charged with a crime before the prosecutors office, a mandatory
drug testing can never be random or suspicionless. The ideas of randomness
and being suspicionless are antithetical to their being made defendants in a
criminal complaint. They are not randomly picked; neither are they beyond
suspicion. When persons suspected of committing a crime are charged, they
are singled out and are impleaded against their will. The persons thus
charged, by the bare fact of being haled before the prosecutors office and
peaceably submitting themselves to drug testing, if that be the case, do not
necessarily consent to the procedure, let alone waive their right to
privacy.[40] To impose mandatory drug testing on the accused is a blatant
attempt to harness a medical test as a tool for criminal prosecution, contrary
to the stated objectives of RA 9165. Drug testing in this case would violate a
persons right to privacy guaranteed under Sec. 2, Art. III of the Constitution.
Worse still, the accused persons are veritably forced to incriminate
themselves.

WHEREFORE, the Court resolves to GRANT the petition in G.R. No.

161658 and declares Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 and COMELEC Resolution

No. 6486 as UNCONSTITUTIONAL; and to PARTIALLY GRANT the

51
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. FLORENCIO with his initials and listed their serial numbers in the police blotter. [4] The team
DORIA y BOLADO, and VIOLETA GADDAO y CATAMA @ rode in two cars and headed for the target area.
"NENETH," accused-appellants.
At 7:20 of the same morning, "Jun" appeared and the CI introduced
PO3 Manlangit as interested in buying one (1) kilo of marijuana. PO3
DECISION Manlangit handed "Jun" the marked bills worth P1,600.00. "Jun" instructed
PUNO, J.: PO3 Manlangit to wait for him at the corner of Shaw Boulevard and Jacinto
Street while he got the marijuana from his associate.[5] An hour later, "Jun"
appeared at the agreed place where PO3 Manlangit, the CI and the rest of
On December 7, 1995, accused-appellants Florencio Doria y Bolado
the team were waiting. "Jun" took out from his bag an object wrapped in
and Violeta Gaddao y Catama @ "Neneth" were charged with violation of
plastic and gave it to PO3 Manlangit. PO3 Manlangit forthwith arrested "Jun"
Section 4, in relation to Section 21 of the Dangerous Drugs Act of
as SPO1 Badua rushed to help in the arrest. They frisked "Jun" but did not
1972.[1] The information reads:
find the marked bills on him. Upon inquiry, "Jun" revealed that he left the
money at the house of his associate named "Neneth." [6] "Jun" led the police
"That on or about the 5th day of December, 1995 in the City of Mandaluyong, team to "Neneth's" house nearby at Daang Bakal.
Philippines, a place within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-
named accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping and aiding The team found the door of "Neneth's" house open and a woman inside.
one another and without having been authorized by law, did, then and there "Jun" identified the woman as his associate.[7] SPO1 Badua asked "Neneth"
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sell, administer, deliver and give away to about the P1,600.00 as PO3 Manlangit looked over "Neneth's" house.
another eleven (11) plastic bags of suspected marijuana fruiting tops Standing by the door, PO3 Manlangit noticed a carton box under the dining
weighing 7,641.08 grams in violation of the above-cited law. table. He saw that one of the box's flaps was open and inside the box was
something wrapped in plastic. The plastic wrapper and its contents appeared
CONTRARY TO LAW."[2] similar to the marijuana earlier "sold" to him by "Jun." His suspicion aroused,
PO3 Manlangit entered "Neneth's" house and took hold of the box. He
peeked inside the box and found that it contained ten (10) bricks of what
The prosecution contends the offense was committed as follows: In
appeared to be dried marijuana leaves.
November 1995, members of the North Metropolitan District, Philippine
National Police (PNP) Narcotics Command (Narcom), received information Simultaneous with the box's discovery, SPO1 Badua recovered the
from two (2) civilian informants (CI) that one "Jun" was engaged in illegal marked bills from "Neneth."[8] The policemen arrested "Neneth." They took
drug activities in Mandaluyong City. The Narcom agents decided to entrap "Neneth" and "Jun," together with the box, its contents and the marked bills
and arrest "Jun" in a buy-bust operation. As arranged by one of the CI's, a and turned them over to the investigator at headquarters. It was only then
meeting between the Narcom agents and "Jun" was scheduled on December that the police learned that "Jun" is Florencio Doria y Bolado while "Neneth"
5, 1995 at E. Jacinto Street in Mandaluyong City. is Violeta Gaddao y Catama. The one (1) brick of dried marijuana leaves
recovered from "Jun" plus the ten (10) bricks recovered from "Neneth's"
On December 5, 1995, at 6:00 in the morning, the CI went to the PNP
house were examined at the PNP Crime Laboratory.[9] The bricks, eleven
Headquarters at EDSA, Kamuning, Quezon City to prepare for the buy-bust
(11) in all, were found to be dried marijuana fruiting tops of various weights
operation. The Narcom agents formed Team Alpha composed of P/Insp.
totalling 7,641.08 grams.[10]
Nolasco Cortes as team leader and PO3 Celso Manlangit, SPO1 Edmund
Badua and four (4) other policemen as members. P/Insp. Cortes designated The prosecution story was denied by accused-appellants Florencio
PO3 Manlangit as the poseur-buyer and SPO1 Badua as his back-up, and Doria and Violeta Gaddao. Florencio Doria, a 33-year old carpenter, testified
the rest of the team as perimeter security. Superintendent Pedro Alcantara, that on December 5, 1995, at 7:00 in the morning, he was at the gate of his
Chief of the North Metropolitan District PNP Narcom, gave the house reading a tabloid newspaper. Two men appeared and asked him if he
team P2,000.00 to cover operational expenses. From this sum, PO3 knew a certain "Totoy." There were many "Totoys" in their area and as the
Manlangit set aside P1,600.00-- a one thousand peso bill and six (6) one men questioning him were strangers, accused-appellant denied knowing any
hundred peso bills[3]-- as money for the buy-bust operation. The market price "Totoy." The men took accused-appellant inside his house and accused him
of one kilo of marijuana was then P1,600.00. PO3 Manlangit marked the bills of being a pusher in their community. When accused-appellant denied the
52
charge, the men led him to their car outside and ordered him to point out the Accused-appellant Violeta Gaddao confirmed that her co-accused
house of "Totoy." For five (5) minutes, accused-appellant stayed in the Florencio Doria was a friend of her husband, and that her husband never
car. Thereafter, he gave in and took them to "Totoy's" house. returned to their house after he left for Pangasinan. She denied the charge
against her and Doria and the allegation that marked bills were found in her
Doria knocked on the door of "Totoy's" house but no one person.[12]
answered. One of the men, later identified as PO3 Manlangit, pushed open
the door and he and his companions entered and looked around the house After trial, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 156, Pasig City convicted the
for about three minutes. Accused-appellant Doria was left standing at the accused-appellants. The trial court found the existence of an
door. The policemen came out of the house and they saw Violeta Gaddao "organized/syndicated crime group" and sentenced both accused-appellants
carrying water from the well. He asked Violeta where "Totoy" was but she to death and pay a fine of P500,000.00 each. The dispositive portion of the
replied he was not there. Curious onlookers and kibitzers were, by that time, decision reads as follows:
surrounding them. When Violeta entered her house, three men were already
inside. Accused-appellant Doria, then still at the door, overheard one of the "WHEREFORE, the guilt of accused, FLORENCIO DORIA y BOLADO @
men say that they found a carton box. Turning towards them, Doria saw a "Jun" and VIOLETA GADDAO y CATAMA @ "Neneth" having been
box on top of the table. The box was open and had something inside. PO3 established beyond reasonable doubt, they are both CONVICTED of the
Manlangit ordered him and Violeta to go outside the house and board the present charge against them.
car. They were brought to police headquarters where they were investigated.
Accused-appellant Doria further declared that his co-accused, Violeta According to the amendatory provisions of Sec. 13 of Republic Act No. 7659
Gaddao, is the wife of his acquaintance, Totoy Gaddao. He said that he and which cover violations of Sec. 4 of Republic Act No. 6425 and which was
Totoy Gaddao sometimes drank together at the neighborhood store. This exhaustively discussed in People v. Simon, 234 SCRA 555, the penalty
closeness, however, did not extend to Violeta, Totoy's wife.[11] imposable in this case is reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from
five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos. Taking into consideration,
Accused-appellant Violeta Gaddao, a 35-year old rice vendor, claimed however, the provisions of Sec. 23, also of Republic Act No. 7659 which
that on December 5, 1995, she was at her house at Daang Bakal, explicitly state that:
Mandaluyong City where she lived with her husband and five (5) children,
namely, Arvy, aged 10, Arjay, aged 8, the twins Raymond and Raynan, aged 'The maximum penalty shall be imposed if the offense was committed by any
5, and Jason, aged 3. That day, accused-appellant woke up at 5:30 in the person who belongs to an organized/syndicated crime group.
morning and bought pan de sal for her children's breakfast. Her husband,
Totoy, a housepainter, had left for Pangasinan five days earlier. She woke
her children and bathed them. Her eldest son, Arvy, left for school at 6:45 An organized/syndicated crime group means a group of two or more persons
A.M. Ten minutes later, she carried her youngest son, Jayson, and collaborating, confederating or mutually helping one another for purposes of
accompanied Arjay to school. She left the twins at home leaving the door gain in the commission of any crime.'
open. After seeing Arjay off, she and Jayson remained standing in front of
the school soaking in the sun for about thirty minutes. Then they headed for the Court is hereby constrained to sentence (hereby sentences) said
home. Along the way, they passed the artesian well to fetch water. She was FLORENCIO DORIA y BOLADO @ "Jun" and VIOLETA GADDAO y
pumping water when a man clad in short pants and denim jacket suddenly CATAMA @ "Neneth" to DEATH and to pay a fine of Five Hundred
appeared and grabbed her left wrist. The man pulled her and took her to her Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) each without subsidiary imprisonment in
house. She found out later that the man was PO3 Manlangit. case of insolvency and to pay the costs.

Inside her house were her co-accused Doria and three (3) other The confiscated marijuana bricks (7,641.08 grams) shall be turned over to
persons. They asked her about a box on top of the table. This was the first the Dangerous Drugs Board, NBI for destruction in accordance with law.
time she saw the box. The box was closed and tied with a piece of green
straw. The men opened the box and showed her its contents. She said she
did not know anything about the box and its contents. Let a Commitment Order be issued for the transfer of accused DORIA from
the Mandaluyong City Jail to the New Bilibid Prisons, Muntinlupa City and
53
also for accused GADDAO for her transfer to the Correctional Institute for THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING APPELLANT GUILTY AND
Women, Mandaluyong City. SENTENCING HER TO DEATH DESPITE THE MANIFESTLY
IRRECONCILABLE INCONSISTENCIES IN THE VERSIONS OF THE
Let the entire records of this case be forwarded immediately to the Supreme POLICE AS TO HOW AND BY WHOM THE ALLEGED BUY-BUST MONEY
Court for mandatory review. WAS RECOVERED FROM HER, WHICH IN CONSEQUENCE RESULTS IN
THE EVIDENCE, OF RETRIEVAL FROM HER OF THE SAME, NEBULOUS,
AT BEST, NIL, AT WORST.
SO ORDERED."[13]

IV
Before this Court, accused-appellant Doria assigns two errors, thus:
"I THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE VALIDITY OF THE
WARRANTLESS SEARCH LEADING TO THE SEIZURE OF THE
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING WEIGHT TO THE MARIJUANA ALLEGEDLY FOUND INSIDE THE HOUSE OF ACCUSED-
TESTIMONY OF THE WITNESSES FOR THE PROSECUTION WHEN APPELLANT."[15]
THEIR TESTIMONIES WERE SHOT WITH DISCREPANCIES,
INCONSISTENCIES AND THAT THE CORPUS DELICTI OF THE The assigned errors involve two principal issues: (1) the validity of the
MARIJUANA ALLEGEDLY TAKEN FROM APPELLANT WAS NOT buy-bust operation in the apprehension of accused-appellant Doria; and (2)
POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED BY THE POSEUR-BUYER. the validity of the warrantless arrest of accused-appellant Gaddao, the
search of her person and house, and the admissibility of the pieces of
II evidence obtained therefrom.
Accused-appellants were caught by the police in a buy-bust operation. A
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN ADMITTING AS EVIDENCE buy-bust operation is a form of entrapment employed by peace officers as an
THE MARIJUANA FRUITINGS FOUND INSIDE THE CARTON BOX AS effective way of apprehending a criminal in the act of the commission of an
THESE WERE OBTAINED THROUGH A WARRANTLESS SEARCH AND offense.[16] Entrapment has received judicial sanction when undertaken with
DOES NOT COME WITHIN THE PLAIN VIEW DOCTRINE."[14] due regard to constitutional and legal safeguards.[17]

Accused-appellant Violeta Gaddao contends: Entrapment was unknown in common law. It is a judicially created
twentieth-century American doctrine that evolved from the increasing use of
"I informers and undercover agents in the detection of crimes, particularly liquor
and narcotics offenses.[18] Entrapment sprouted from the doctrine of estoppel
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING APPELLANT GUILTY DESPITE and the public interest in the formulation and application of decent standards
THE INCREDIBILITY OF THE POLICE VERSION OF THE MANNER THE in the enforcement of criminal law.[19] It also took off from a spontaneous
ALLEGED BUY-BUST AS CONDUCTED. moral revulsion against using the powers of government to beguile innocent
but ductile persons into lapses that they might otherwise resist.[20]
II In the American jurisdiction, the term "entrapment" has a generally
negative meaning because it is understood as the inducement of one to
THE PNP OFFICERS' VERSIONS AS TO WHERE THE BUY-BUST commit a crime not contemplated by him, for the mere purpose of instituting
MONEY CAME FROM ARE INCONSISTENT WITH ONE ANOTHER AND a criminal prosecution against him.[21] The classic definition of entrapment is
ALSO REEKS WITH INCREDIBILITY. that articulated by Justice Roberts in Sorrells v. United States,[22] the first
Supreme Court decision to acknowledge the concept: "Entrapment is the
III conception and planning of an offense by an officer, and his procurement of
its commission by one who would not have perpetrated it except for the
trickery, persuasion or fraud of the officer."[23] It consists of two (2) elements:
54
(a) acts of persuasion, trickery, or fraud carried out by law enforcement the court considers the nature of the police activity involved and the propriety
officers or the agents to induce a defendant to commit a crime; and (b) the of police conduct.[39] The inquiry is focused on the inducements used by
origin of the criminal design in the minds of the government officials rather government agents, on police conduct, not on the accused and his
than that of the innocent defendant, such that the crime is the product of the predisposition to commit the crime. For the goal of the defense is to deter
creative activity of the law enforcement officer.[24] unlawful police conduct.[40]The test of entrapment is whether the conduct of
the law enforcement agent was likely to induce a normally law-abiding
It is recognized that in every arrest, there is a certain amount of person, other than one who is ready and willing, to commit the offense; [41] for
entrapment used to outwit the persons violating or about to violate the law. purposes of this test, it is presumed that a law-abiding person would normally
Not every deception is forbidden. The type of entrapment the law forbids is resist the temptation to commit a crime that is presented by the simple
the inducing of another to violate the law, the "seduction" of an otherwise opportunity to act unlawfully.[42] Official conduct that merely offers such an
innocent person into a criminal career.[25] Where the criminal intent originates opportunity is permissible, but overbearing conduct, such as badgering,
in the mind of the entrapping person and the accused is lured into the cajoling or importuning,[43] or appeals to sentiments such as pity, sympathy,
commission of the offense charged in order to prosecute him, there is friendship or pleas of desperate illness, are not.[44] Proponents of this test
entrapment and no conviction may be had.[26] Where, however, the criminal believe that courts must refuse to convict an entrapped accused not because
intent originates in the mind of the accused and the criminal offense is his conduct falls outside the legal norm but rather because, even if his guilt
completed, the fact that a person acting as a decoy for the state, or public has been established, the methods employed on behalf of the government to
officials furnished the accused an opportunity for commission of the offense, bring about the crime "cannot be countenanced." To some extent, this
or that the accused is aided in the commission of the crime in order to secure reflects the notion that the courts should not become tainted by condoning
the evidence necessary to prosecute him, there is no entrapment and the law enforcement improprieties.[45] Hence, the transactions leading up to the
accused must be convicted.[27] The law tolerates the use of decoys and other offense, the interaction between the accused and law enforcement officer
artifices to catch a criminal. and the accused's response to the officer's inducements, the gravity of the
Entrapment is recognized as a valid defense[28] that can be raised by an crime, and the difficulty of detecting instances of its commission are
accused and partakes of the nature of a confession and avoidance. [29] It is a considered in judging what the effect of the officer's conduct would be on a
positive defense. Initially, an accused has the burden of providing sufficient normal person.[46]
evidence that the government induced him to commit the offense. Once Both the "subjective" and "objective" approaches have been criticized
established, the burden shifts to the government to show otherwise.[30] When and objected to. It is claimed that the "subjective" test creates an "anything
entrapment is raised as a defense, American federal courts and a majority of goes" rule, i.e., if the court determines that an accused was predisposed to
state courts use the "subjective" or "origin of intent" test laid down in Sorrells commit the crime charged, no level of police deceit, badgering or other
v. United States[31] to determine whether entrapment actually occurred. The unsavory practices will be deemed impermissible.[47] Delving into the
focus of the inquiry is on the accused's predisposition to commit the offense accused's character and predisposition obscures the more important task of
charged, his state of mind and inclination before his initial exposure to judging police behavior and prejudices the accused more generally. It
government agents.[32] All relevant facts such as the accused's mental and ignores the possibility that no matter what his past crimes and general
character traits, his past offenses, activities, his eagerness in committing the disposition were, the accused might not have committed the particular crime
crime, his reputation, etc., are considered to assess his state of mind before unless confronted with inordinate inducements.[48] On the other extreme, the
the crime.[33] The predisposition test emphasizes the accused's propensity to purely "objective" test eliminates entirely the need for considering a particular
commit the offense rather than the officer's misconduct [34] and reflects an accused's predisposition. His predisposition, at least if known by the police,
attempt to draw a line between a "trap for the unwary innocent and the trap may have an important bearing upon the question of whether the conduct of
for the unwary criminal."[35] If the accused was found to have been ready and the police and their agents was proper.[49] The undisputed fact that the
willing to commit the offense at any favorable opportunity, the entrapment accused was a dangerous and chronic offender or that he was a shrewd and
defense will fail even if a police agent used an unduly persuasive active member of a criminal syndicate at the time of his arrest is relegated to
inducement.[36] Some states, however, have adopted the "objective" irrelevancy.[50]
test.[37] This test was first authoritatively laid down in the case of Grossman v.
State[38] rendered by the Supreme Court of Alaska. Several other states have Objections to the two tests gave birth to hybrid approaches to
subsequently adopted the test by judicial pronouncement or legislation. Here, entrapment. Some states in the United States now combine both the
55
"subjective" and "objective" tests.[51] In Cruz v. State,[52] the Florida Supreme distinguished from mere entrapment, has often been condemned and has
Court declared that the permissibility of police conduct must first be sometimes been held to prevent the act from being criminal or punishable,
determined. If this objective test is satisfied, then the analysis turns to the general rule is that it is no defense to the perpetrator of a crime that
whether the accused was predisposed to commit the crime. [53] In Baca v. facilities for its commission were purposely placed in his way, or that the
State,[54] the New Mexico Supreme Court modified the state's entrapment criminal act was done at the 'decoy solicitation' of persons seeking to expose
analysis by holding that "a criminal defendant may successfully assert a the criminal, or that detectives feigning complicity in the act were present and
defense of entrapment, either by showing lack of predisposition to commit apparently assisting in its commission. Especially is this true in that class of
the crime for which he is charged, or, that the police exceeded the standards cases where the offense is one of a kind habitually committed, and the
of proper investigation.[55] The hybrid approaches combine and apply the solicitation merely furnishes evidence of a course of conduct. Mere deception
"objective" and "subjective" tests alternatively or concurrently. by the detective will not shield defendant, if the offense was committed by
him, free from the influence or instigation of the detective. The fact that an
As early as 1910, this Court has examined the conduct of law enforcers agent of an owner acts as a supposed confederate of a thief is no defense to
while apprehending the accused caught in flagrante delicto. In United States the latter in a prosecution for larceny, provided the original design was
v. Phelps,[56] we acquitted the accused from the offense of smoking opium formed independently of such agent; and where a person approached by the
after finding that the government employee, a BIR personnel, actually thief as his confederate notifies the owner or the public authorities, and,
induced him to commit the crime in order to prosecute him. Smith, the BIR being authorised by them to do so, assists the thief in carrying out the plan,
agent, testified that Phelps' apprehension came after he overheard Phelps in the larceny is nevertheless committed. It is generally held that it is no
a saloon say that he liked smoking opium on some occasions. Smith's defense to a prosecution for an illegal sale of liquor that the purchase was
testimony was disregarded. We accorded significance to the fact that it was made by a 'spotter,' detective, or hired informer; but there are cases holding
Smith who went to the accused three times to convince him to look for an the contrary."[65]
opium den where both of them could smoke this drug.[57] The conduct of the
BIR agent was condemned as "most reprehensible."[58] In People v.
Abella,[59] we acquitted the accused of the crime of selling explosives after The distinction above-quoted was reiterated in two (2) decisions of the Court
examining the testimony of the apprehending police officer who pretended to of Appeals. In People v. Galicia,[66] the appellate court declared that "there is
be a merchant. The police officer offered "a tempting price, xxx a very high a wide difference between entrapment and instigation." The instigator
one" causing the accused to sell the explosives. We found that there was practically induces the would-be accused into the commission of the offense
inducement, "direct, persistent and effective" by the police officer and that and himself becomes a co-principal. In entrapment, ways and means are
outside of his testimony, there was no evidence sufficient to convict the resorted to by the peace officer for the purpose of trapping and capturing the
accused.[60] In People v. Lua Chu and Uy Se Tieng,[61] we convicted the lawbreaker in the execution of his criminal plan.[67] In People v. Tan
accused after finding that there was no inducement on the part of the law Tiong,[68] the Court of Appeals further declared that "entrapment is no bar to
enforcement officer. We stated that the Customs secret serviceman the prosecution and conviction of the lawbreaker."[69]
smoothed the way for the introduction of opium from Hongkong to Cebu after The pronouncement of the Court of Appeals in People v. Galicia was
the accused had already planned its importation and ordered said drug. We affirmed by this Court in People v. Tiu Ua.[70] Entrapment, we further held, is
ruled that the apprehending officer did not induce the accused to import not contrary to public policy. It is instigation that is deemed contrary to public
opium but merely entrapped him by pretending to have an understanding policy and illegal.[71]
with the Collector of Customs of Cebu to better assure the seizure of the
prohibited drug and the arrest of the surreptitious importers.[62] It can thus be seen that the concept of entrapment in the American
jurisdiction is similar to instigation or inducement in Philippine
It was also in the same case of People v. Lua Chu and Uy Se jurisprudence. Entrapment in the Philippines is not a defense available to the
Tieng[63] we first laid down the distinction between entrapment vis-a-vis accused. It is instigation that is a defense and is considered an absolutory
instigation or inducement. Quoting 16 Corpus Juris,[64] we held: cause.[72] To determine whether there is entrapment or instigation, our courts
have mainly examined the conduct of the apprehending officers, not the
"ENTRAPMENT AND INSTIGATION. -- While it has been said that the predisposition of the accused to commit the crime. The "objective" test first
practice of entrapping persons into crime for the purpose of instituting applied in United States v. Phelps has been followed in a series of similar
criminal prosecutions is to be deplored, and while instigation, as cases.[73] Nevertheless, adopting the "objective" approach has not precluded
56
us from likewise applying the "subjective" test. In People v. Boholst,[74] we blackmail, or a desire to report an accomplishment to their superiors. This
applied both tests by examining the conduct of the police officers in a buy- Court has taken judicial notice of this ugly reality in a number of
bust operation and admitting evidence of the accused's membership with the cases[84] where we observed that it is a common modus operandi of corrupt
notorious and dreaded Sigue-Sigue Sputnik Gang. We also considered law enforcers to prey on weak and hapless persons, particularly
accused's previous convictions of other crimes [75] and held that his unsuspecting provincial hicks.[85] The use of shady underworld characters as
opprobrious past and membership with the dreaded gang strengthened the informants, the relative ease with which illegal drugs may be planted in the
state's evidence against him. Conversely, the evidence that the accused did hands or property of trusting and ignorant persons, and the imposed secrecy
not sell or smoke marijuana and did not have any criminal record was that inevitably shrouds all drug deals have compelled this Court to be extra-
likewise admitted in People v. Yutuc[76] thereby sustaining his defense that vigilant in deciding drug cases.[86]Criminal activity is such that stealth and
led to his acquittal. strategy, although necessary weapons in the arsenal of the police officer,
become as objectionable police methods as the coerced confession and the
The distinction between entrapment and instigation has proven to be unlawful search.As well put by the Supreme Court of California in People v.
very material in anti-narcotics operations. In recent years, it has become Barraza,[87]
common practice for law enforcement officers and agents to engage in buy-
bust operations and other entrapment procedures in apprehending drug
offenders. Anti-narcotics laws, like anti-gambling laws are regulatory "[E]ntrapment is a facet of a broader problem. Along with illegal search and
statutes.[77] They are rules of convenience designed to secure a more orderly seizures, wiretapping, false arrest, illegal detention and the third degree, it is
regulation of the affairs of society, and their violation gives rise to a type of lawless enforcement. They all spring from common
crimes mala prohibita.[78] They are not the traditional type of criminal law motivations. Each is a substitute for skillful and scientific investigation. Each
such as the law of murder, rape, theft, arson, etc. that deal with crimes mala is condoned by the sinister sophism that the end, when dealing with known
in se or those inherently wrongful and immoral.[79] Laws defining crimes mala criminals of the 'criminal classes,' justifies the employment of illegal
prohibita condemn behavior directed, not against particular individuals, but means."[88]
against public order.[80] Violation is deemed a wrong against society as a
whole and is generally unattended with any particular harm to a definite It is thus imperative that the presumption, juris tantum, of regularity in the
person.[81] These offenses are carried on in secret and the violators resort to performance of official duty by law enforcement agents raised by the Solicitor
many devices and subterfuges to avoid detection. It is rare for any member General be applied with studied restraint. This presumption should not by
of the public, no matter how furiously he condemns acts mala prohibita, to be itself prevail over the presumption of innocence and the constitutionally-
willing to assist in the enforcement of the law. It is necessary, therefore, that protected rights of the individual.[89] It is the duty of courts to preserve the
government in detecting and punishing violations of these laws, rely, not purity of their own temple from the prostitution of the criminal law through
upon the voluntary action of aggrieved individuals, but upon the diligence of lawless enforcement.[90] Courts should not allow themselves to be used as an
its own officials. This means that the police must be present at the time the instrument of abuse and injustice lest an innocent person be made to suffer
offenses are committed either in an undercover capacity or through the unusually severe penalties for drug offenses.[91]
informants, spies or stool pigeons.[82] We therefore stress that the "objective" test in buy-bust operations
Though considered essential by the police in enforcing vice legislation, demands that the details of the purported transaction must be clearly and
the confidential informant system breeds abominable abuse. Frequently, a adequately shown. This must start from the initial contact between the
person who accepts payment from the police in the apprehension of drug poseur-buyer and the pusher, the offer to purchase, the promise or payment
peddlers and gamblers also accept payment from these persons who of the consideration until the consummation of the sale by the delivery of the
deceive the police. The informant himself may be a drug addict, pickpocket, illegal drug subject of the sale.[92] The manner by which the initial contact was
pimp, or other petty criminal. For whatever noble purpose it serves, the made, whether or not through an informant, the offer to purchase the drug,
spectacle that government is secretly mated with the underworld and uses the payment of the "buy-bust" money, and the delivery of the illegal drug,
underworld characters to help maintain law and order is not an inspiring whether to the informant alone or the police officer, must be the subject of
one.[83] Equally odious is the bitter reality of dealing with unscrupulous, strict scrutiny by courts to insure that law-abiding citizens are not unlawfully
corrupt and exploitative law enforcers. Like the informant, unscrupulous law induced to commit an offense. Criminals must be caught but not at all cost.
enforcers' motivations are legion-- harassment, extortion, vengeance, At the same time, however, examining the conduct of the police should not
57
disable courts into ignoring the accused's predisposition to commit the crime. is why the carton box contained eleven (11) bricks of marijuana when
If there is overwhelming evidence of habitual delinquency, recidivism or plain brought before the trial court. The one (1) brick recovered from appellant
criminal proclivity, then this must also be considered. Courts should look at Doria and each of the ten (10) bricks, however, were identified and marked in
all factors to determine the predisposition of an accused to commit an court. Thus:
offense in so far as they are relevant to determine the validity of the defense
of inducement. "ATTY. ARIAS, Counsel for Florencio Doria:

In the case at bar, the evidence shows that it was the confidential Mr. Police Officer, when you identified that box,. Tell the court, how
informant who initially contacted accused-appellant Doria. At the pre- were you able to identify that box?
arranged meeting, the informant was accompanied by PO3 Manlangit who A This is the box that I brought to the crime laboratory which
posed as the buyer of marijuana. PO3 Manlangit handed the marked money contained the eleven pieces of marijuana brick we confiscated
to accused-appellant Doria as advance payment for one (1) kilo of marijuana. from the suspect, sir.
Accused-appellant Doria was apprehended when he later returned and
handed the brick of marijuana to PO3 Manlangit. Q Please open it and show those eleven bricks.

PO3 Manlangit testified in a frank, spontaneous, straighforward and PROSECUTOR Witness bringing out from the said box...
categorical manner and his credibility was not crumpled on cross-
ATTY. VALDEZ, Counsel for Violeta Gaddao:
examination by defense counsel. Moreover, PO3 Manlangit's testimony was
corroborated on its material points by SPO1 Badua, his back-up security. Your Honor, I must protest the line of questioning considering the
The non-presentation of the confidential informant is not fatal to the fact that we are now dealing with eleven items when the question
prosecution. Informants are usually not presented in court because of the posed to the witness was what was handed to him by Jun?
need to hide their identity and preserve their invaluable service to the
police.[93] It is well-settled that except when the appellant vehemently denies COURT So be it.
selling prohibited drugs and there are material inconsistencies in the ATTY. ARIAS May we make it of record that the witness is pulling out
testimonies of the arresting officers,[94] or there are reasons to believe that item after item from the box showed to him and brought in front of
the arresting officers had motives to testify falsely against the appellant,[95] or him.
that only the informant was the poseur-buyer who actually witnessed the
entire transaction,[96] the testimony of the informant may be dispensed with COURT Noted.
as it will merely be corroborative of the apprehending officers' eyewitness
testimonies.[97] There is no need to present the informant in court where the Q Now tell the court, how did you know that those are the eleven
sale was actually witnessed and adequately proved by prosecution bricks?
witnesses.[98] x x x.
The inconsistencies in PO3 Manlangit's and SPO1 Badua's testimonies A I have markings on these eleven bricks, sir.
and the other police officers' testimonies are minor and do not detract from
the veracity and weight of the prosecution evidence. The source of the Q Point to the court, where are those markings?
money for the buy-bust operation is not a critical fact in the case at bar. It is
A Here, sir, my signature, my initials with the date, sir.
enough that the prosecution proved that money was paid to accused-
appellant Doria in consideration of which he sold and delivered the PROSECUTOR Witness showed a white wrapper and pointing to CLM
marijuana. and the signature.
Contrary to accused-appellant Doria's claim, the one kilo of marijuana Q Whose signature is that?
"sold" by him to PO3 Manlangit was actually identified by PO3 Manlangit
himself before the trial court. After appellants' apprehension, the Narcom ATTY VALDEZ Your Honor, may we just limit the inquiry to the basic
agents placed this one (1) brick of marijuana recovered from appellant Doria question of the fiscal as to what was handed to him by the accused
inside the carton box lumping it together with the ten (10) bricks inside. This Jun, your Honor?
58
PROSECUTOR Your Honor, there is already a ruling by this Honorable A This CLM, the date and the time and the Exhibit "A," I was the one who
Court, your Honor, despite reconsideration. made these markings, sir.
COURT Let the prosecution do its own thing and leave the appreciation of PROSECUTOR May we place on record that the one that was enclosed...
what it has done to the court.
ATTY. ARIAS Your Honor, there are also entries included in that
ATTY. VALDEZ We submit, your Honor. enclosure where it appears D-394-95, also Exhibit "A," etc. etc., that
was not pointed to by the witness. I want to make it of record that
A This brick is the one that was handed to me by the suspect Jun, there are other entries included in the enclosure.
sir.
COURT Noted. The court saw it.
COURT Why do you know that that is the thing? Are you sure that is
not "tikoy?" Q Now, and this alleged brick of marijuana with a piece of paper,
with a newspaper wrapping with a piece of paper inside which
A Yes, your Honor. reads: "D-394-95, Exhibit A, 970 grams SSL" be marked as our
Q What makes you so sure? Exhibit "D-2?"

A I am sure that this is the one, your Honor. This is the Exhibit "A" COURT Tag it. Mark it.
which I marked before I brought it to the PCCL, your Honor. Q This particular exhibit that you identified, the wrapper and the
Q What are you sure of? contents was given to you by whom?

A I am sure that this is the brick that was given to me by one alias A It was given to me by suspect Jun, sir.
Jun, sir. Q Whereat?
Q What makes you so sure? A At the corner of Boulevard and Jacinto St., sir.
A Because I marked it with my own initials before giving it to the Q How about the other items that you were able to recover?
investigator and before we brought it to the PCCL, your Honor.
x x x.
x x x.
A These other marijuana bricks, because during our follow-up,
PROSECUTOR May we request that a tag be placed on this white because according to Jun the money which I gave him was in
plastic bag and this be marked as Exhibit "D?" the hands of Neneth and so we proceeded to the house of
COURT Mark it as Exhibit "D." Neneth, sir.

Q To stress, who made the entries of this date, Exhibit "A" then the other x x x."[99]
letters and figures on this plastic? The first brick identified by P03 Manlangit was the brick of marijuana "given
A This one, the signature, I made the signature, the date and the time and to [him] by suspect Jun" at the corner of Boulevard and Jacinto Streets. This
this Exhibit "A." brick, including the newspaper and white plastic wrapping were marked as
Exhibits "D," "D-1," and "D-2" and described as weighing nine hundred
Q How about this one? seventy (970) grams.[100]
A I don't know who made this marking, sir. We also reject appellant's submission that the fact that PO3 Manlangit
and his team waited for almost one hour for appellant Doria to give them the
PROSECUTOR May it be of record that this was just entered this
one kilo of marijuana after he "paid" P1,600.00 strains credulity. Appellant
morning.
cannot capitalize on the circumstance that the money and the marijuana in
Q I am asking you about this "itim" and not the "asul." the case at bar did not change hands under the usual "kaliwaan"
59
system. There is no rule of law which requires that in "buy-bust" operations in plain view;[110] (5) when the accused himself waives his right against
there must be a simultaneous exchange of the marked money and the unreasonable searches and seizures.[111]
prohibited drug between the poseur-buyer and the pusher.[101] Again, the
decisive fact is that the poseur-buyer received the marijuana from the The prosecution admits that appellant Gaddao was arrested without a
accused-appellant.[102] warrant of arrest and the search and seizure of the box of marijuana and the
marked bills were likewise made without a search warrant. It is claimed,
We also hold that the warrantless arrest of accused-appellant Doria is however, that the warrants were not necessary because the arrest was made
not unlawful. Warrantless arrests are allowed in three instances as provided in "hot pursuit" and the search was an incident to her lawful arrest.
by Section 5 of Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, to wit:
To be lawful, the warrantless arrest of appellant Gaddao must fall under
any of the three (3) instances enumerated in Section 5 of Rule 113 of the
"Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. -- A peace officer or a private 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure as aforequoted. The direct testimony of
person may, without a warrant, arrest a person: PO3 Manlangit, the arresting officer, however shows otherwise:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has "ATTY VALDEZ, Counsel for appellant Gaddao:
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an
We submit at this juncture, your Honor, that there will be no basis for
offense;
that question.
(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he
Q This particular exhibit that you identified, the wrapper and the contents
has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be
was given to you by whom?
arrested has committed it; and
A It was given to me by suspect Jun, sir.
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who escaped from
a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or Q Whereat?
temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while
being transferred from one confinement to another. A At the corner of Boulevard and Jacinto Street, sir.

x x x."[103] Q How about the other items that you were able to recover?

Under Section 5 (a), as above-quoted, a person may be arrested without a ATTY. VALDEZ: We submit at this juncture, your Honor, that there will be
warrant if he "has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to no basis for that question.
commit an offense." Appellant Doria was caught in the act of committing an COURT There is. Answer.
offense. When an accused is apprehended in flagrante delicto as a result of
a buy-bust operation, the police are not only authorized but duty-bound to A These other marijuana bricks, because during our follow-up,
arrest him even without a warrant.[104] because according to Jun the money which I gave him was in
the hands of Neneth and so we proceeded to the house of
The warrantless arrest of appellant Gaddao, the search of her person Neneth, sir.
and residence, and the seizure of the box of marijuana and marked bills are
different matters. Q Whereat?
Our Constitution proscribes search and seizure without a judicial A At Daang Bakal near the crime scene at Shaw Boulevard, sir.
warrant and any evidence obtained without such warrant is inadmissible for
Q And what happened upon arrival thereat?
any purpose in any proceeding.[105] The rule is, however, not absolute.
Search and seizure may be made without a warrant and the evidence A We saw alias Neneth inside the house and we asked him to give
obtained therefrom may be admissible in the following instances: [106] (1) us the buy-bust money, sir.
search incident to a lawful arrest;[107] (2) search of a moving motor
vehicle;[108] (3) search in violation of customs laws;[109] (4) seizure of evidence Q You mentioned "him?"

60
A Her, sir. We asked her to give us the money, the marked money A PO3 Manlangit, sir.
which Jun gave her, sir.
Q You did not approach her because PO3 Manlangit approached her?
Q And what happened?
A Yes, sir.
A At this instance, it was SPO1 Badua who can testify regarding this buy-
bust money, sir. Q During all the time that this confrontation, arrest or whatever by SPO3
Manlangit was taking place, you were just in the side lines?
x x x."[112]
A I was just watching, sir.
SPO1 Badua testified on cross-examination that:
Q So you were just an on-looker to what Manlangit was doing, because
Q What was your intention in going to the house of Aling Neneth? precisely according to you your role in this buy-bust operation was as
a back-up?
A To arrest her, sir.
A Yes, sir.
Q But the fact is, Mr. Witness, when you reached the house of Aling
Neneth, Aling Neneth was there? Q Who got the alleged marijuana from inside the house of Mrs. Neneth?
A Yes, sir. A PO3 Manlangit, sir.
Q As far as you can see, she was just inside her house? Q Manlangit got the marijuana?
A I saw her outside, sir. A Yes, sir.
Q She was fetching water as a matter of fact? Q And the money from Aling Neneth?
A She was `sa bandang poso.' A I don't know, sir.
Q Carrying a baby? Q You did not even know who got the money from Aling Neneth?
A No, sir. PROSECUTOR:
Q At that particular time when you reached the house of Aling There is no basis for this question, your Honor. Money, there's no
Neneth and saw her outside the house, she was not committing testimony on that.
any crime, she was just outside the house?
ATTY. VALDEZ:
A No, sir.
I was asking him precisely.
Q She was not about to commit any crime because she was just
outside the house doing her daily chores. Am I correct? PROSECUTOR:

A I just saw her outside, sir. No basis.

Q And at that point in time you already wanted to arrest her. That is COURT:
correct, is it not? Sustained.
A Yes, sir. Q Alright. I will ask you a question and I expect an honest
Q Now, if any memory of your testimony is correct, according to you answer. According to the records, the amount of P1,600.00 was
SPO1 Manlangit approached her? recovered from the person of Aling Neneth. That's right?
A Yes, sir, the buy-bust money.
61
Q What you are now saying for certain and for the record is the fact that without her knowledge, with or without any conspiracy. Save for accused-
you were not the one who retrieved the money from Aling Neneth, it appellant Doria's word, the Narcom agents had no reasonable grounds to
was Manlangit maybe? believe that she was engaged in drug pushing. If there is no showing that the
person who effected the warrantless arrest had, in his own right, knowledge
A I saw it, sir. of facts implicating the person arrested to the perpetration of a criminal
Q It was Manlangit who got the money from Aling Neneth? offense, the arrest is legally objectionable.[120]

A The buy-bust money was recovered from the house of Aling Neneth, Since the warrantless arrest of accused-appellant Gaddao was illegal, it
sir. follows that the search of her person and home and the subsequent seizure
of the marked bills and marijuana cannot be deemed legal as an incident to
Q It was taken from the house of Aling Neneth, not from the person of her arrest. This brings us to the question of whether the trial court correctly
Aling Neneth. Is that what you are trying to tell the Court? found that the box of marijuana was in plain view, making its warrantless
seizure valid.
A No, sir.
Objects falling in plain view of an officer who has a right to be in the
ATTY. VALDEZ: I am through with this witness, your Honor."[113]
position to have that view are subject to seizure even without a search
Accused-appellant Gaddao was not caught red-handed during the buy- warrant and may be introduced in evidence.[121] The "plain view" doctrine
bust operation to give ground for her arrest under Section 5 (a) of Rule applies when the following requisites concur: (a) the law enforcement officer
113. She was not committing any crime. Contrary to the finding of the trial in search of the evidence has a prior justification for an intrusion or is in a
court, there was no occasion at all for appellant Gaddao to flee from the position from which he can view a particular area; (b) the discovery of the
policemen to justify her arrest in "hot pursuit."[114] In fact, she was going evidence in plain view is inadvertent; (c) it is immediately apparent to the
about her daily chores when the policemen pounced on her. officer that the item he observes may be evidence of a crime, contraband or
otherwise subject to seizure.[122] The law enforcement officer must lawfully
Neither could the arrest of appellant Gaddao be justified under the make an initial intrusion or properly be in a position from which he can
second instance of Rule 113. "Personal knowledge" of facts in arrests particularly view the area.[123] In the course of such lawful intrusion, he came
without warrant under Section 5 (b) of Rule 113 must be based upon inadvertently across a piece of evidence incriminating the accused. [124] The
"probable cause" which means an "actual belief or reasonable grounds of object must be open to eye and hand[125] and its discovery inadvertent.[126]
suspicion."[115] The grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in the
absence of actual belief of the arresting officers, the suspicion that the It is clear that an object is in plain view if the object itself is plainly
person to be arrested is probably guilty of committing the offense, is based exposed to sight. The difficulty arises when the object is inside a closed
on actual facts, i.e., supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in container. Where the object seized was inside a closed package, the object
themselves to create the probable cause of guilt of the person to be itself is not in plain view and therefore cannot be seized without a
arrested.[116] A reasonable suspicion therefore must be founded on probable warrant. However, if the package proclaims its contents, whether by its
cause, coupled with good faith on the part of the peace officers making the distinctive configuration, its transparency, or if its contents are obvious to an
arrest.[117] observer, then the contents are in plain view and may be seized. [127] In other
words, if the package is such that an experienced observer could infer from
Accused-appellant Gaddao was arrested solely on the basis of the its appearance that it contains the prohibited article, then the article is
alleged identification made by her co-accused. PO3 Manlangit, however, deemed in plain view.[128] It must be immediately apparent to the police that
declared in his direct examination that appellant Doria named his co-accused the items that they observe may be evidence of a crime, contraband or
in response to his (PO3 Manlangit's) query as to where the otherwise subject to seizure.[129]
marked money was.[118] Appellant Doria did not point to appellant Gaddao as
his associate in the drug business, but as the person with whom he left the PO3 Manlangit, the Narcom agent who found the box, testified on cross-
marked bills. This identification does not necessarily lead to the conclusion examination as follows:
that appellant Gaddao conspired with her co-accused in pushing
"ATTY. VALDEZ:
drugs. Appellant Doria may have left the money in her house, [119] with or

62
So here we are. When you and Badua arrived, Aling Neneth was A Yes, sir.
inside the house?
Q And got hold of this carton?
A Yes, sir.
A Yes, sir.
Q Badua demanded from Aling Neneth the buy-bust money?
Q Did you mention anything to Aling Neneth?
A Yes, sir.
A I asked her, what's this...
Q At that particular instance, you saw the carton?
Q No, no. no. did you mention anything to Aling Neneth before getting the
A Yes, sir. carton?
Q This carton, according to you was under a table? A I think it was Badua who accosted Aling Neneth regarding the buy-bust
money and he asked "Sa iyo galing ang marijuanang ito, nasaan ang
A Yes, sir, dining table. buy-bust money namin?" sir.
Q I noticed that this carton has a cover? Q Making reference to the marijuana that was given by alias Jun?
A Yes, sir. A Yes, sir.
Q I ask you were the flaps of the cover raised or closed? Q When you proceeded to take hold of this carton, Aling Neneth was not
A It was open, sir. Not like that. yet frisked, is it not [sic]?

COURT A I just don't know if she was frisked already by Badua, sir.

Go down there. Show to the court. Q Who got hold of this?

INTERPRETER A I was the one, sir.

Witness went down the witness stand and approached a carton box. Q You were the one who got this?

A Like this, sir. A Yes, sir.

PROSECUTOR Q At that particular point in time, you did not know if the alleged buy-bust
money was already retrieved by Badua?
Can we describe it?
A Yes, sir.
ATTY. VALDEZ
Q You went inside the house?
Yes.
A Yes, sir.
PROSECUTOR
Q You did not have any search warrant?
One flap is inside and the other flap is standing and with the
contents visible. A Yes, sir.

COURT Q In fact, there was nothing yet as far as you were concerned to validate
the fact that Mrs. Gadao was in possession of the buy-bust money
Noted. because according to you, you did not know whether Badua already
retrieved the buy-bust money from her?
Q At this juncture, you went inside the house?

63
A Yes, sir. ATTY. VALDEZ
Q How far was this from the door? What is that? What can you say, Fiscal? I'm asking you?
A Two and a half meters from the door, sir. It was in plain view. PROSECUTOR
Q Under the table according to you? With due respect, what I am saying is, let's place the size of the
plastic. A piece of plastic may be big or a small one, for record
A Yes, sir, dining table. purposes.
Q Somewhere here? COURT
A It's far, sir. Leave that to the court.
PROSECUTOR PROSECUTOR
May we request the witness to place it, where he saw it? Leave that to the court.
A Here, sir. Q The only reason according to you, you were able to... Look at this,
Q What you see is a carton? no even Superman... I withdraw that. Not even a man with very
kin [sic] eyes can tell the contents here. And according to the
A Yes, sir, with plastic. Court, it could be "tikoy," is it not [sic]?
Q Marked "Snow Time Ice Pop?" A Yes, sir.
A Yes, sir. Q Siopao?
Q With a piece of plastic visible on top of the carton? A Yes, sir.
A Yes, sir. Q Canned goods?
Q That is all that you saw? A Yes, sir.
A Yes, sir. Q It could be ice cream because it says Snow Pop, Ice Pop?
PROSECUTOR A I presumed it was also marijuana because it may ...
For the record, your Honor... Q I am not asking you what your presumptions are. I'm asking you
what it could possibly be.
Q You were only able to verify according to you...
A It's the same plastic, sir.
PROSECUTOR
ATTY. VALDEZ
Panero, wait. Because I am objecting to the words a piece of
plastic. By reading it... I'm not even asking you that question so why are you voluntarily
saying the information. Let the prosecutor do that for you.
ATTY. VALDEZ
COURT
That's a piece of plastic.
Continue. Next question.
PROSECUTOR
x x x."[130]
By reading it, it will connote... this is not a piece of plastic.
64
PO3 Manlangit and the police team were at appellant Gaddao's house the loss of liberty. As Justice Holmes, again, said, 'I think it a less evil that
because they were led there by appellant Doria. The Narcom agents testified some criminals should escape than that the government should play an
that they had no information on appellant Gaddao until appellant Doria ignoble part.' It is simply not allowed in the free society to violate a law to
named her and led them to her.[131] Standing by the door of appellant enforce another, especially if the law violated is the Constitution itself."[140]
Gaddao's house, PO3 Manlangit had a view of the interior of said
house. Two and a half meters away was the dining table and underneath it Section 4 of Republic Act No. 6425, the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972,
was a carton box. The box was partially open and revealed something as amended by Section 13 of Republic Act No. 7659 punishes the "sale,
wrapped in plastic. administration, delivery, distribution and transportation of a prohibited drug"
In his direct examination, PO3 Manlangit said that he was sure that the with the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging
contents of the box were marijuana because he himself checked and marked from P500,000.00 to P10 million, to wit:
the said contents.[132] On cross-examination, however, he admitted that he
merely presumed the contents to be marijuana because it had the same "Sec. 4. Sale, Administration, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of
plastic wrapping as the "buy-bust marijuana." A close scrutiny of the records Prohibited Drugs.-- The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death, and a fine
reveals that the plastic wrapper was not colorless and transparent as to ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be
clearly manifest its contents to a viewer. Each of the ten (10) bricks of imposed upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall sell,
marijuana in the box was individually wrapped in old newspaper and administer, deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or
placed inside plastic bags-- white, pink or blue in color.[133] PO3 transport any prohibited drug, or shall act as a broker in any of such
Manlangit himself admitted on cross-examination that the contents of transactions.
the box could be items other than marijuana. He did not know exactly
what the box contained that he had to ask appellant Gaddao about its x x x."
contents.[134] It was not immediately apparent to PO3 Manlangit that the
content of the box was marijuana. The marijuana was not in plain view and In every prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs, what is material is
its seizure without the requisite search warrant was in violation of the law and the submission of proof that the sale took place between the poseur-buyer
the Constitution.[135] It was fruit of the poisonous tree and should have been and the seller thereof and the presentation of the drug, i.e., the corpus delicti,
excluded and never considered by the trial court.[136] as evidence in court.[141] The prosecution has clearly established the fact that
in consideration of P1,600.00 which he received, accused-appellant Doria
The fact that the box containing about six (6) kilos of marijuana [137] was sold and delivered nine hundred seventy (970) grams of marijuana to PO3
found in the house of accused-appellant Gaddao does not justify a finding Manlangit, the poseur-buyer. The prosecution, however, has failed to prove
that she herself is guilty of the crime charged.[138]Apropos is our ruling that accused-appellant Gaddao conspired with accused-appellant Doria in
in People v. Aminnudin,[139] viz: the sale of said drug. There being no mitigating or aggravating
circumstances, the lower penalty of reclusion perpetua must be imposed.[142]
"The Court strongly supports the campaign of the government against drug IN VIEW WHEREOF, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch
addiction and commends the efforts of our law enforcement officers against
156, Pasig City acting as a Special Court in Criminal Case No. 3307-D is
those who would inflict this malediction upon our people, especially the
reversed and modified as follows:
susceptible youth. But as demanding as this campaign may be, it cannot be
more so than the compulsions of the Bill of Rights for the protection of the 1. Accused-appellant Florencio Doria y Bolado is sentenced to
liberty of every individual in the realm, including the basest of criminals. The suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of five hundred
Constitution covers with the mantle of its protection the innocent and the thousand pesos (P500,000.00).
guilty alike against any manner of high-handedness from the authorities,
however praiseworthy their intentions. 2. Accused-appellant Violeta Gaddao y Catama is acquitted.
SO ORDERED.
Those who are supposed to enforce the law are not justified in disregarding
the right of the individual in the name of order. Order is too high a price for

65
G.R. Nos. 111771-77 November 9, 1993 Acting on this request, the Panel of State Prosecutors of the Department of
Justice conducted a preliminary investigation on August 9, 1993. Petitioner
ANTONIO L. SANCHEZ, petitioner, Sanchez was not present but was represented by his counsel, Atty. Marciano
vs. Brion, Jr.
The Honorable HARRIET O. DEMETRIOU (in her capacity as Presiding
Judge of Regional Trial Court, NCR, Branch 70, Pasig), The Honorable On August 12, 1993, PNP Commander Rex Piad issued an "invitation" to the
FRANKLIN DRILON (in his capacity as Secretary of Justice), petitioner requesting him to appear for investigation at Camp Vicente Lim in
JOVENCITO R. ZUO, LEONARDO C. GUIYAB, CARLOS L. DE LEON, Canlubang, Laguna. It was served on Sanchez in the morning of August
RAMONCITO C. MISON, REYNALDO J. LUGTU, and RODRIGO P. 13,1993, and he was immediately taken to the said camp.
LORENZO, the last six respondents in their official capacities as
members of the State Prosecutor's Office), respondents. At a confrontation that same day, Sanchez was positively identified by
Aurelio Centeno, and SPO III Vivencio Malabanan, who both executed
Mario E. Ongkiko and Marciano P. Brion, Jr. for petitioner. confessions implicating him as a principal in the rape-slay of Sarmenta and
the killing of Gomez. The petitioner was then placed on "arrest status" and
The Solicitor General for respondents. taken to the Department of Justice in Manila.

The respondent prosecutors immediately conducted an inquest upon his


arrival, with Atty. Salvador Panelo as his counsel.
CRUZ, J.:
After the hearing, a warrant of arrest was served on Sanchez. This warrant
was issued on August 13, 1993, by Judge Enrico A. Lanzanas of the
There is probably no more notorious person in the country today than Mayor
Antonio L. Sanchez of Calauan, Laguna, who stands accused of an Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 7, in connection with Criminal Cases
unspeakable crime. On him, the verdict has already been rendered by many Nos. 93-124634 to 93-124637 for violation of Section 8, in relation to Section
1, of R.A. No. 6713. Sanchez was forthwith taken to the CIS Detention
outraged persons who would immediately impose on him an angry sentence.
Center, Camp Crame, where he remains confined.
Yet, for all the prejudgments against him, he is under our Constitution
presumed innocent as long as the contrary has not been proved. Like any
other person accused of an offense, he is entitled to the full and vigilant On August 16, 1993, the respondent prosecutors filed with the Regional Trial
protection of the Bill of Rights. Court of Calamba, Laguna, seven informations charging Antonio L. Sanchez,
Luis Corcolon, Rogelio Corcolon, Pepito Kawit, Baldwin Brion, Jr., George
Medialdea and Zoilo Ama with the rape and killing of Mary Eileen Sarmenta.
Sanchez has brought this petition to challenge the order of the respondent
judge denying his motion to quash the informations for rape with homicide
filed against him and six other persons. We shall treat it as we would any On August 26, 1993, Judge Eustaquio P. Sto. Domingo of that court issued a
other suit filed by any litigant hoping to obtain a just and impartial judgment warrant for the arrest of all the accused, including the petitioner, in
from this Court. connection with the said crime.

The pertinent facts are as follows: The respondent Secretary of Justice subsequently expressed his
apprehension that the trial of the said cases might result in a miscarriage of
justice because of the tense and partisan atmosphere in Laguna in favor of
On July 28, 1993, the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission requested the
the petitioner and the relationship of an employee, in the trial court with one
filing of appropriate charges against several persons, including the petitioner,
of the accused. This Court thereupon ordered the transfer of the venue of the
in connection with the rape-slay of Mary Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of
seven cases to Pasig, Metro Manila, where they were raffled to respondent
Allan Gomez.
Judge Harriet Demetriou.

66
On September 10, 1993, the seven informations were amended to include Sanchez is concerned, We are not going to submit any
the killing of Allan Gomez as an aggravating circumstance. counter-affidavit.

On that same date, the petitioner filed a motion to quash the informations ACSP Zuo to Atty. Brion:
substantially on the grounds now raised in this petition. On September 13,
1993, after oral arguments, the respondent judge denied the motion. xxx xxx xxx
Sanchez then filed with this Court the instant petition for certiorari and
prohibition with prayer for a temporary restraining order/writ of injunction. Q. So far, there are no other statements.

The petitioner argues that the seven informations filed against him should be
A. If there is none then, we will not submit
quashed because: 1) he was denied the right to present evidence at the
any counter-affidavit because we believe
preliminary investigation; 2) only the Ombudsman had the competence to there is nothing to rebut or countermand
conduct the investigation; 3) his warrantless arrest is illegal and the court has with all these statements.
therefore not acquired jurisdiction over him, 4) he is being charged with
seven homicides arising from the death of only two persons; 5) the
informations are discriminatory because they do not include Teofilo Alqueza Q. So, you are waiving your submission of
and Edgardo Lavadia; and 6) as a public officer, he can be tried for the counter-affidavit?
offense only by the Sandiganbayan.
A. Yes, your honor, unless there are other
The respondents submitted a Comment on the petition, to which we required witnesses who will come up soon. 3
a Reply from the petitioner within a non-extendible period of five days.1 The
Reply was filed five days late. 2 The Court may consider his non-compliance Nonetheless, the head of the Panel of Prosecutors, respondent Jovencito
an implied admission of the respondents' arguments or a loss of interest in Zuo, told Atty. Brion that he could still file a counter-affidavit up to August
prosecuting his petition, which is a ground for its dismissal. Nevertheless, we 27, 1993. No such counter-affidavit was filed.
shall disregard this procedural lapse and proceed to discuss his petition on
the basis of the arguments before us. During the hearing on August 1'3, 1993, respondent Zuo furnished the
petitioner's counsel, this time Atty. Salvador Panelo, with copies of the sworn
The Preliminary Investigation. statements of Centeno and Malabanan, and told him he could submit
counter-affidavits on or before August 27, 1993. The following exchange
The records of the hearings held on August 9 and 13, 1993, belie the ensued:
petitioner's contention that he was not accorded the right to present counter-
affidavits. ACSP Zuo:

During the preliminary investigation on August 9, 1993, the petitioner's For the record, we are furnishing to you the
counsel, Atty. Marciano Brion, manifested that his client was waiving the sworn statement of witness Aurelio Centeno
presentation of a counter-affidavit, thus: y Roxas and the sworn statement of SPO3
Vivencio Malabanan y Angeles.
Atty. Brion, Jr.:
Do I understand from you that you are again
[W]e manifest that after reviewing them there is nothing to waiving the submission of counter-affidavit?
rebut or countermand all these statements as far as Mayor
Atty. Panelo:

67
Yes. Jurisdiction of the Ombudsman

ACSP Zuo: Invoking the case of Deloso v. Domingo, 8 the petitioner submits that the
proceedings conducted by the Department of Justice are null and void
So, insofar as the respondent, Mayor because it had no jurisdiction over the case. His claim is that it is the Office of
Antonio Sanchez is concerned, this case is the Ombudsman that is vested with the power to conduct the investigation of
submitted for resolution. 4 all cases involving public officers like him, as the municipal mayor of
Calauan, Laguna.
On the other hand, there is no support for the petitioner's subsequent
manifestation that his counsel, Atty. Brion, was not notified of the inquest The Ombudsman is indeed empowered under Section 15, paragraph (1) of
held on August 13, 1993, and that he was not furnished with the affidavits R.A. 6770 to investigate and prosecute, any illegal act or omission of any
sworn to on that date by Vivencio Malabanan and Aurelio Centeno, or with public official. However, as we held only two years ago in the case
their supplemental affidavits dated August 15, 1993. Moreover, the above- of Aguinaldo v. Domagas, 9 this authority "is not an exclusive authority but
quoted excerpt shows that the petitioner's counsel at the hearing held on rather a shared or concurrent authority in. respect of the offense charged."
August 13, 1993, was not Atty. Brion but Atty. Panelo.
Petitioners finally assert that the information and amended
The petitioner was present at that hearing and he never disowned Atty. information filed in this case needed the approval of the
Panelo as his counsel. During the entire proceedings, he remained quiet and Ombudsman. It is not disputed that the information and
let this counsel speak and argue on his behalf. It was only in his tardy Reply amended information here did not have the approval of the
that he has suddenly bestirred himself and would now question his Ombudsman. However, we do not believe that such
representation by this lawyer as unauthorized and inofficious. approval was necessary at all. In Deloso v. Domingo, 191
SCRA. 545 (1990), the Court held that the Ombudsman has
Section 3, Paragraph (d), Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, provides that if the authority to investigate charges of illegal or omissions on the
respondent cannot be subpoenaed or, if subpoenaed, does not submit part of any public official, i.e., any crime imputed to a public
official. It must, however, be pointed out that the authority of
counter-affidavits, the investigating officer shall base his resolution on the
the Ombudsman to investigate "any [illegal] act or omission
evidence presented by the complainant.
of any public official" (191 SCRA at 550)
is not an exclusiveauthority but rather a shared or concurrent
Just as the accused may renounce the right to be present at the preliminary authority in respect of the offense here charged, i.e., the
investigation5, so may he waive the right to present counter-affidavits or any crime of sedition. Thus, the non-involvement of the office of
other evidence in his defense. the Ombudsman in the present case does not have any
adverse legal consequence upon the authority the panel of
At any rate, it is settled that the absence of a preliminary investigation does prosecutors to file and prosecute the information or
not impair the validity of the information or otherwise render the same amended information.
defective and neither does it affect the jurisdiction of the court over the case
or constitute a ground for quashing the information.6 In fact, other investigatory agencies, of the government such as the
Department of Justice, in connection with the charge of sedition, 10 and the
If no preliminary investigation has been held, or if it is flawed, the trial court Presidential Commission on Good Government, in ill-gotten wealth
may, on motion of the accused, order an investigation or reinvestigation and cases,11 may conduct the investigation,
hold the proceedings in the criminal case in abeyance. 7 In the case at bar,
however, the respondent judge saw no reason or need for such a step. The Arrest
Finding no arbitrariness in her factual conclusions, we shall defer to her
judgment.
Was petitioner Sanchez arrested on August 13, 1993?
68
"Arrest" is defined under Section 1, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court as the It may not be amiss to observe that under R.A. No. 7438, the requisites of a
taking of a person into custody in order that he may be bound to answer for "custodial investigation" are applicable even to a person not formally arrested
the commission of an offense. Under Section 2 of the same Rule, an arrest is but merely "invited" for questioning.
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. It should likewise be noted that at Camp Vicente Lim, the petitioner was
placed on "arrest status" after he was pointed to by Centeno and Malabanan
Application of actual force, manual touching of the body, physical restraint or as the person who first raped Mary Eileen Sarmenta. Respondent Zuo
a formal declaration of arrest is not, required. It is enough that there be an himself acknowledged during the August 13, 1993 hearing that, on the basis
intent on the part of one of the parties to arrest the other and an intent onthe of the sworn statements of the two state witnesses, petitioner had been
part of the other to submit, under the belief and impression that submission is "arrested."
necessary. 12
We agree with the petitioner that his arrest did not come under Section 5,
The petitioner was taken to Camp Vicente Lim, Canlubang, Laguna, by virtue Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, providing as follows:
of a letter-invitation issued by PNP Commander Rex Piad requesting him to
appear at the said camp for investigation. Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace
officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a
In Babst v. National Intelligence Board 13 this Court declared: person:

Be that as it may, it is not idle to note that ordinarily, an (a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has
invitation to attend a hearing and answer some questions, committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit
which the person invited may heed or refuse at his pleasure, an offense;
is not illegal or constitutionally objectionable. Under certain
circumstances, however, such an invitation can easily (b) When an offense has in fact just been committed and he
assume a different appearance. Thus, where the invitation has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to
comes from a powerful group composed predominantly of be arrested has committed it; and
ranking military officers issued at a time when the country
has just emerged from martial rule and when the suspension
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has
of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus has not entirely
escapes from a penal establishment or place where he is
been lifted, and the designated interrogation site is a military
serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case
camp, the same can be easily taken, not as a strictly
is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one
voluntary invitation which it purports to be, but as an
confinement to another.
authoritative command which one can only defy at his peril. .
. . (Emphasis supplied)
It is not denied that the arresting officers were not present when the
petitioner allegedly participated in the killing of Allan Gomez and the rape-
In the case at bar, the invitation came from a high-ranking military official and
slay of Mary Eileen Sarmenta. Neither did they have any personal knowledge
the investigation of Sanchez was to be made at a military camp. Although in
that the petitioner was responsible therefor because the basis of the arrest
the guise of a request, it was obviously a command or an order of arrest that
was the sworn statements of Centeno and Malabanan. Moreover, as the
the petitioner could hardly he expected to defy. In fact, apparently cowed by rape and killing of Sarmenta allegedly took place on June 28-June 29, 1993,
the "invitation," he went without protest (and in informal clothes and slippers or forty-six days before the date of the arrest, it cannot be said that the
only) with the officers who had come to fetch him.
offense had "in fact just been committed" when the petitioner was arrested.

69
The original warrantless arrest of the petitioner was doubtless illegal. respondents declared that a new warrant specifically naming her had been
Nevertheless, the Regional Trial Court lawfully acquired jurisdiction over the issued, thus validating her detention. While frowning at the tactics of the
person of the petitioner by virtue of the warrant of arrest it issued on August respondents, the Court said:
26, 1993 against him and the other accused in connection with the rape-slay
cases. It was belated, to be sure, but it was nonetheless legal. The, case has, indeed, become moot and academic
inasmuch as the new warrant of arrest complies with the
Even on the assumption that no warrant was issued at all, we find that the requirements of the Constitution and the Rules of Court
trial court still lawfully acquired jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner. regarding the particular description of the person to be
The rule is that if the accused objects to the jurisdiction of the court over his arrested. While the first warrant was unquestionably void,
person, he may move to quash the information, but only on that ground. If, as being a general warrant, release of the petitioner for that
in this case, the accused raises other grounds in the motion to quash, he is reason will be a futile act as it will be followed by her
deemed to have waived that objection and to have submitted his person to immediate re-arrest pursuant to the new and valid warrant,
the jurisdiction of that court.14 returning her to the same prison she will just have left. This
Court will not participate in such a meaningless charade.
The Court notes that on August 13, 1993, after the petitioner was unlawfully
arrested, Judge Lanzanas issued a warrant of arrest against Antonio L. The same doctrine has been consistently followed by the Court, 17 more
Sanchez in connection with Criminal Cases Nos. 93-124634 to 93-124637 for recently in the Umil case. 18
violation of R.A No. 6713. 15 Pending the issuance of the warrant of arrest for
the rape-slay cases, this first warrant served as the initial justification for his The Informations
detention.
The petitioner submits that the seven informations charging seven separate
The Court also adverts to its uniform ruling that the filing of charges, and the homicides are absurd because the two victims in these cases could not have
issuance of the corresponding warrant of arrest, against a person invalidly died seven times.
detained will cure the defect of that detention or at least deny him the right to
be released because of such defect. * Applicable by analogy to the case at
This argument was correctly refuted by the Solicitor General in this wise:
bar is Rule 102 Section 4 of the Rules of Court that:
Thus, where there are two or more offenders who commit
Sec, 4. When writ is not allowed or discharge authorized.
rape, the homicide committed on the occasion or by reason
If it appears that the person alleged to be restrained of his
of each rape, must be deemed as a constituent of the
liberty is in the custody of an officer under process issued by
special complex crime of rape with homicide. Therefore,
a court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or order of a court
there will be as many crimes of rape with homicide as there
of record, and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue
are rapes committed.
the process, render the judgment, or make the order, the writ
shall not be allowed; or if the jurisdiction appears after the
writ is allowed, the person shall not be discharged by reason In effect, the presence of homicide qualifies the crime of
of any informality or defect in the process, judgment, or rape, thereby raising its penalty to the highest degree. Thus,
order. Nor shall, anything in this rule be held to authorize the homicide committed on the occasion or by reason of rape,
discharge of a person charged with or convicted of an loses its character as an independent offense, but assumes
offense in the Philippines or of a person suffering a new character, and functions like a qualifying
imprisonment under lawful judgment. circumstance. However,by fiction of law, it merged with rape
to constitute an constituent element of a special complex
crime of rape with homicide with a specific penalty which is
In one case, 16 the petitioner, sued on habeas corpus on the ground that she
in the highest degree, i.e. death (reduced to reclusion
had been arrested by virtue of a John Doe warrant. In their return, the
70
perpetua with the suspension of the application of the death While the prosecuting officer is required by law to charge all those who in his
penalty by the Constitution). opinion, appear to be guilty, he nevertheless cannot be compelled to include
in the information a person against whom he believes no sufficient evidence
It is clearly provided in Rule 110 of the Rules of Court that: of guilt exists. 19 The appreciation of the evidence involves the use of
discretion on the part of the prosecutor, and we do not find in the case at bar
Sec. 13. Duplicity of offense. A complaint or information a clear showing by the petitioner of a grave abuse of such discretion. 20
must charge but one offense, except only in those cases in
which existing laws prescribe a simple punishment for The decision of the prosecutor may be reversed or modified by the Secretary
various offenses. of Justice or in special cases by the President of the Philippines. 21 But even
this Court cannot order the prosecution of a person against whom the
prosecutor does not find sufficient evidence to support at least a prima
Rape with homicide comes within the exception under R.A. 2632 and R.A.
facie case. The courts try and absolve or convict the accused but as a rule
4111, amending the Revised Penal Code.
have no part in the initial decision to prosecute him.
The petitioner and his six co-accused are not charged with only one rape
The possible exception is where there is an unmistakable showing of a grave
committed by him in conspiracy with the other six. Each one of the seven
abuse of discretion that will justify judicial intrusion into the precincts of the
accused is charged with having himself raped Sarmenta instead of simply
executive. But in such a case the proper remedy to call for such exception is
helping Sanchez in committing only one rape. In other words, the allegation
a petition for mandamus, not certiorari or prohibition.22 Moreover, before
of the prosecution is that the girl was raped seven times, with each of the
seven accused taking turns in abusing her with the assistance of the other resorting to this relief, the party seeking the inclusion of another person as a
co-accused in the same case must first avail itself of other adequate
six. Afterwards, their lust satisfied, all seven of them decided to kill and thus
remedies such as the filing of a motion for such inclusion.23
silence Sarmenta.

Every one of the seven accused is being charged separately for actually At any rate, it is a preposterous contention that because no charges have
raping Sarmenta and later killing her instead of merely assisting the petitioner been filed against Alqueza and Lavadia, the charges against the petitioner
and his co-accused should also be dropped.
in raping and then slaying her. The separate informations filed against each
of them allege that each of the seven successive rapes is complexed by the
subsequent slaying of Sarmenta and aggravated by the killing of Allan Jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan
Gomez by her seven attackers. The separate rapes were committed in
succession by the seven accused, culminating in the slaying of Sarmenta. The petitioner argued earlier that since most of the accused were incumbent
public officials or employees at the time of the alleged commission of the
It is of course absurd to suggest that Mary Eileen Sarmenta and Allan crimes, the cases against them should come under the jurisdiction of the
Gomez were killed seven times, but the informations do not make such a Sandiganbayan and not of the regular courts. This contention was withdrawn
suggestion. It is the petitioner who does so and is thus hoist by his own in his Reply but we shall discuss it just the same for the guidance of all those
petard. concerned.

The Alleged Discrimination Section 4, paragraph (a) of P.D. No, 1606, as amended by P.D. No.1861,
provides:
The charge of discrimination against the petitioner because of the non-
inclusion of Teofilo Alqueza and Edgardo Lavadia in the informations must Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise:
also be dismissed.
a) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving:

71
(1) Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as But the use or abuse of office does not adhere to the crime
amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft as an element; and even as an aggravating circumstance, its
and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. materiality arises not from the allegations but on the proof,
1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of not from the fact that the criminals are public officials but
the Revised Penal Code: from the manner of the commission of the crime

(2) Other offenses or felonies committed by There is no direct relation between the commission of the crime of rape with
public officers and employees in relation to homicide and the petitioner's office as municipal mayor because public office
their office, including those employed in is not an essential element of the crime charged. The offense can stand
government-owned or controlled independently of the office. Moreover, it is not even alleged in the information
corporations, whether simple or complexed that the commission of the crime charged was intimately connected with the
with other crimes, where the penalty performance of the petitioner's official functions to make it fall under the
prescribed by law is higher than prision exception laid down in People v. Montejo. 25
correccional or imprisonment for six (6)
years, or a fine of P6,000.00. . . . (Emphasis In that case, a city mayor and several detectives were charged with murder
supplied) for the death of a suspect as a result of a "third degree" investigation held at
a police substation. The appearance of a senator as their counsel was
The crime of rape with homicide with which the petitioner stands charged questioned by the prosecution on the ground that he was inhibited by the
obviously does not fall under paragraph (1), which deals with graft and Constitution from representing them because they were accused of an
corruption cases. Neither is it covered by paragraph (2) because it is not an offense committed in relation to their office. The Court agreed. It held that
offense committed in relation to the office of the petitioner. even if their position was not an essential ingredient of the offense, there was
nevertheless an intimate connection between the office and the offense, as
In Montilla v, Hilario,24 this Court described the "offense committed in relation alleged in the information, that brought it within the definition of an offense
to the office" as follows: "committed in relation to the public office."

[T]he relation between the crime and the office contemplated As Chief Justice Concepcion said:
by the Constitution is, in our opinion, direct and not
accidental. To fall into the intent of the Constitution, the It is apparent from these allegations that, although public
relation has to be such that, in the legal sense, the offense office is not an element of the crime of murder in abstract, as
cannot exist without the office. In other words, the office committed by the main respondents herein, according to the
must be a constituent element of the crime as defined in the amended information, the offense therein charged
statute, such as, for instance, the crimes defined and is intimately connected with their respective offices and was
punished in Chapter Two to Six, Title Seven, of the Revised perpetrated while they were in the performance, though
Penal Code. improper or irregular, of their official functions. Indeed they
had no personal motive to commit the crime and they would
Public office is not of the essence of murder. The taking of not have committed it had they not held their aforesaid
human life is either murder or homicide whether done by a offices. The co-defendants of respondent Leroy S. Brown,
private citizen or public servant, and the penalty is the same obeyed his instructions because he was their superior
except when the perpetrator. being a public functionary took officer, as Mayor of Basilan City. (Emphasis supplied).
advantage of his office, as alleged in this case, in which
event the penalty is increased. We have read the informations in the case at bar and find no allegation
therein that the crime of rape with homicide imputed to the petitioner was
connected with the discharge of his functions as municipal mayor or that
72
there is an "intimate connection" between the offense and his office. It follows
that the said crime, being an ordinary offense, is triable by the regular courts
and not the Sandiganbayan.

Conclusion

As above demonstrated, all of the grounds invoked by the petitioner are not
supported by the facts and the applicable law and jurisprudence. They must,
therefore, all be rejected. In consequence, the respondent judge, who has
started the trial of the criminal cases against the petitioner and his co-
accused, may proceed therewith without further hindrance.

It remains to stress that the decision we make today is not a decision on the
merits of the criminal cases being tried below. These will have to be decided
by the respondent judge in accordance with the evidence that is still being
received. At this time, there is yet no basis for judgment, only uninformed
conjecture. The Court will caution against such irrelevant public speculations
as they can be based only on imperfect knowledge if not officious ignorance.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. The respondent judge is


DIRECTED to continue with the trial of Criminal Cases Nos. 101141, 101142,
101143, 101144, 101145, 101146 and 101147 and to decide them with
deliberate dispatch.

SO ORDERED.

Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Nocon, Melo,


Quiason, Puno and Vitug, JJ., concur.

Narvasa, C.J., took no part.

Bellosillo, J., is on leave.

73
G.R. No. 127685 July 23, 1998 services on social security and reduce, if not totally eradicate
fraudulent transactions and misrepresentations;
BLAS F. OPLE, petitioner,
WHEREAS, a concerted and collaborative effort among the
vs. various basic services and social security providing agencies
and other government intrumentalities is required to achieve
RUBEN D. TORRES, ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, HECTOR VILLANUEVA, such a system;
CIELITO HABITO, ROBERT BARBERS, CARMENCITA REODICA,
CESAR SARINO, RENATO VALENCIA, TOMAS P. AFRICA, HEAD OF NOW, THEREFORE, I, FIDEL V. RAMOS, President of the
THE NATIONAL COMPUTER CENTER and CHAIRMAN OF THE Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in
COMMISSION ON AUDIT, respondents. me by law, do hereby direct the following:

Sec. 1. Establishment of a National Compoterized


Identification Reference System. A decentralized
PUNO, J.: Identification Reference System among the key basic
services and social security providers is hereby established.
The petition at bar is a commendable effort on the part of Senator Blas F.
Sec. 2. Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee. An Inter-
Ople to prevent the shrinking of the right to privacy, which the revered Mr.
Agency Coordinating Committee (IACC) to draw-up the
Justice Brandeis considered as "the most comprehensive of rights and the
implementing guidelines and oversee the implementation of
right most valued by civilized men." 1 Petitioner Ople prays that we invalidate
the System is hereby created, chaired by the Executive
Administrative Order No. 308 entitled "Adoption of a National Computerized
Identification Reference System" on two important constitutional Secretary, with the following as members:
grounds, viz: one, it is a usurpation of the power of Congress to legislate, and
two, it impermissibly intrudes on our citizenry's protected zone of privacy. We Head, Presidential Management Staff
grant the petition for the rights sought to be vindicated by the petitioner need
stronger barriers against further erosion. Secretary, National Economic Development Authority

A.O. No. 308 was issued by President Fidel V. Ramos On December 12, Secretary, Department of the Interior and Local Government
1996 and reads as follows:
Secretary, Department of Health
ADOPTION OF A NATIONAL COMPUTERIZED
Administrator, Government Service Insurance System,
IDENTIFICATION REFERENCE SYSTEM
Administrator, Social Security System,
WHEREAS, there is a need to provide Filipino citizens and
foreign residents with the facility to conveniently transact Administrator, National Statistics Office
business with basic service and social security providers and
other government instrumentalities;
Managing Director, National Computer Center.

WHEREAS, this will require a computerized system to Sec. 3. Secretariat. The National Computer Center (NCC) is
properly and efficiently identify persons seeking basic
hereby designated as secretariat to the IACC and as such

74
shall provide administrative and technical support to the of the Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee, are charged with the
IACC. implementation of A.O. No. 308. On April 8, 1997, we issued a temporary
restraining order enjoining its implementation.
Sec. 4. Linkage Among Agencies. The Population Reference
Number (PRN) generated by the NSO shall serve as the Petitioner contends:
common reference number to establish a linkage among
concerned agencies. The IACC Secretariat shall coordinate A. THE ESTABLISNMENT OF A NATIONAL
with the different Social Security and Services Agencies to COMPUTERIZED IDENTIFICATION REFERENCE
establish the standards in the use of Biometrics Technology SYSTEM REQUIRES A LEGISLATIVE ACT. THE
and in computer application designs of their respective ISSUANCE OF A.O. NO. 308 BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE
systems. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES IS, THEREFORE, AN
UNCONSTITUTIONAL USURPATION OF THE
Sec. 5. Conduct of Information Dissemination Campaign. LEGISLATIVE POWERS OF THE CONGRESS OF THE
The Office of the Press Secretary, in coordination with the REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES.
National Statistics Office, the GSIS and SSS as lead
agencies and other concerned agencies shall undertake a B. THE APPROPRIATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS BY THE
massive tri-media information dissemination campaign to PRESIDENT FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A.O. NO.
educate and raise public awareness on the importance and 308 IS AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL USURPATION OF THE
use of the PRN and the Social Security Identification EXCLUSIVE RIGHT OF CONGRESS TO APPROPRIATE
Reference. PUBLIC FUNDS FOR EXPENDITURE.

Sec. 6. Funding. The funds necessary for the C. THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A.O. NO. 308
implementation of the system shall be sourced from the INSIDIOUSLY LAYS THE GROUNDWORK FOR A
respective budgets of the concerned agencies. SYSTEM WHICH WILL VIOLATE THE BILL OF RIGHTS
ENSHRINED IN THE CONSTITUTION. 2
Sec. 7. Submission of Regular Reports. The NSO, GSIS and
SSS shall submit regular reports to the Office of the Respondents counter-argue:
President through the IACC, on the status of implementation
of this undertaking.
A. THE INSTANT PETITION IS NOT A JUSTICIABLE CASE
AS WOULD WARRANT A JUDICIAL REVIEW;
Sec. 8. Effectivity. This Administrative Order shall take effect
immediately. B. A.O. NO. 308 [1996] WAS ISSUED WITHIN THE
EXECUTIVE AND ADMINISTRATIVE POWERS OF THE
DONE in the City of Manila, this 12th day of December in the PRESIDENT WITHOUT ENCROACHING ON THE
year of Our Lord, Nineteen Hundred and Ninety-Six. LEGISLATIVE POWERS OF CONGRESS;

(SGD.) FIDEL V. RAMOS C. THE FUNDS NECESSARY FOR THE


IMPLEMENTATION OF THE IDENTIFICATION
A.O. No. 308 was published in four newspapers of general circulation on REFERENCE SYSTEM MAY BE SOURCED FROM THE
January 22, 1997 and January 23, 1997. On January 24, 1997, petitioner BUDGETS OF THE CONCERNED AGENCIES;
filed the instant petition against respondents, then Executive Secretary
Ruben Torres and the heads of the government agencies, who as members

75
D. A.O. NO. 308 [1996] PROTECTS AN INDIVIDUAL'S identification that is all-encompassing in scope, affects the life and liberty of
INTEREST IN PRIVACY. 3 every Filipino citizen and foreign resident, and more particularly, violates their
right to privacy.
We now resolve.
Petitioner's sedulous concern for the Executive not to trespass on the
I lawmaking domain of Congress is understandable. The blurring of the
demarcation line between the power of the Legislature to make laws and the
As is usual in constitutional litigation, respondents raise the threshold issues power of the Executive to execute laws will disturb their delicate balance of
power and cannot be allowed. Hence, the exercise by one branch of
relating to the standing to sue of the petitioner and the justiciability of the
government of power belonging to another will be given a stricter scrutiny by
case at bar. More specifically, respondents aver that petitioner has no legal
this Court.
interest to uphold and that the implementing rules of A.O. No. 308 have yet
to be promulgated.
The line that delineates Legislative and Executive power is not indistinct.
Legislative power is "the authority, under the Constitution, to make laws, and
These submissions do not deserve our sympathetic ear. Petitioner Ople is a
to alter and repeal them." 8 The Constitution, as the will of the people in their
distinguished member of our Senate. As a Senator, petitioner is possessed
original, sovereign and unlimited capacity, has vested this power in the
of the requisite standing to bring suit raising the issue that the issuance of
Congress of the Philippines. 9 The grant of legislative power to Congress is
A.O. No. 308 is a usurpation of legislative power. 4 As taxpayer and member
of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), petitioner can also broad, general and comprehensive. 10 The legislative body possesses
impugn the legality of the misalignment of public funds and the misuse of plenary power for all purposes of civil government. 11 Any power, deemed to
be legislative by usage and tradition, is necessarily possessed by Congress,
GSIS funds to implement A.O. No. 308. 5
unless the Constitution has lodged it elsewhere. 12 In fine, except as limited
by the Constitution, either expressly or impliedly, legislative power embraces
The ripeness for adjudication of the Petition at bar is not affected by the fact all subjects and extends to matters of general concern or common interest. 13
that the implementing rules of A.O. No. 308 have yet to be promulgated.
Petitioner Ople assails A.O. No. 308 as invalid per se and as infirmed on its
While Congress is vested with the power to enact laws, the President
face. His action is not premature for the rules yet to be promulgated cannot
executes the laws. 14 The executive power is vested in the Presidents. 15 It is
cure its fatal defects. Moreover, the respondents themselves have started the
generally defined as the power to enforce and administer the laws. 16 It is the
implementation of A.O. No. 308 without waiting for the rules. As early as
January 19, 1997, respondent Social Security System (SSS) caused the power of carrying the laws into practical operation and enforcing their due
publication of a notice to bid for the manufacture of the National Identification observance. 17
(ID) card. 6 Respondent Executive Secretary Torres has publicly announced
that representatives from the GSIS and the SSS have completed the As head of the Executive Department, the President is the Chief Executive.
guidelines for the national identification system. 7 All signals from the He represents the government as a whole and sees to it that all laws are
respondents show their unswerving will to implement A.O. No. 308 and we enforced by the officials and employees of his department. 18 He has control
need not wait for the formality of the rules to pass judgment on its over the executive department, bureaus and offices. This means that he has
constitutionality. In this light, the dissenters insistence that we tighten the rule the authority to assume directly the functions of the executive department,
on standing is not a commendable stance as its result would be to throttle an bureau and office or interfere with the discretion of its officials. 19 Corollary to
important constitutional principle and a fundamental right. the power of control, the President also has the duty of supervising the
enforcement of laws for the maintenance of general peace and public order.
II Thus, he is granted administrative power over bureaus and offices under his
control to enable him to discharge his duties effectively. 20
We now come to the core issues. Petitioner claims that A.O. No. 308 is not a
Administrative power is concerned with the work of applying policies and
mere administrative order but a law and hence, beyond the power of the
enforcing orders as determined by proper governmental organs. 21 It enables
President to issue. He alleges that A.O. No. 308 establishes a system of
76
the President to fix a uniform standard of administrative efficiency and check It cannot be simplistically argued that A.O. No. 308 merely implements the
the official conduct of his agents. 22 To this end, he can issue administrative Administrative Code of 1987. It establishes for the first time a National
orders, rules and regulations. Computerized Identification Reference System. Such a System requires a
delicate adjustment of various contending state policies the primacy of
Prescinding from these precepts, we hold that A.O. No. 308 involves a national security, the extent of privacy interest against dossier-gathering by
subject that is not appropriate to be covered by an administrative order. An government, the choice of policies, etc. Indeed, the dissent of Mr. Justice
administrative order is: Mendoza states that the A.O. No. 308 involves the all-important freedom of
thought. As said administrative order redefines the parameters of some basic
Sec. 3. Administrative Orders. Acts of the President which rights of our citizenry vis-a-vis the State as well as the line that separates the
administrative power of the President to make rules and the legislative power
relate to particular aspects of governmental operation in
of Congress, it ought to be evident that it deals with a subject that should be
pursuance of his duties as administrative head shall be
covered by law.
promulgated in administrative orders. 23

An administrative order is an ordinance issued by the President Nor is it correct to argue as the dissenters do that A.D. No. 308 is not a law
because it confers no right, imposes no duty, affords no proctection, and
which relates to specific aspects in the administrative operation of
creates no office. Under A.O. No. 308, a citizen cannot transact business
government. It must be in harmony with the law and should be for
with government agencies delivering basic services to the people without the
the sole purpose of implementing the law and carrying out the
contemplated identification card. No citizen will refuse to get this identification
legislative policy. 24 We reject the argument that A.O. No. 308
implements the legislative policy of the Administrative Code of 1987. card for no one can avoid dealing with government. It is thus clear as daylight
The Code is a general law and "incorporates in a unified document that without the ID, a citizen will have difficulty exercising his rights and
enjoying his privileges. Given this reality, the contention that A.O. No. 308
the major structural, functional and procedural principles of
gives no right and imposes no duty cannot stand.
governance." 25 and "embodies changes in administrative structure
and procedures designed to serve the
people." 26 The Code is divided into seven (7) Books: Book I deals Again, with due respect, the dissenting opinions unduly expand the limits of
with Sovereignty and General Administration, Book II with the administrative legislation and consequently erodes the plenary power of
Distribution of Powers of the three branches of Government, Book III Congress to make laws. This is contrary to the established approach defining
on the Office of the President, Book IV on the Executive Branch, the traditional limits of administrative legislation. As well stated by Fisher: ". .
Book V on Constitutional Commissions, Book VI on National . Many regulations however, bear directly on the public. It is here that
Government Budgeting, and Book VII on Administrative Procedure. administrative legislation must he restricted in its scope and application.
These Books contain provisions on the organization, powers and Regulations are not supposed to be a substitute for the general policy-
general administration of the executive, legislative and judicial making that Congress enacts in the form of a public law. Although
branches of government, the organization and administration of administrative regulations are entitled to respect, the authority to prescribe
departments, bureaus and offices under the executive branch, the rules and regulations is not an independent source of power to make
organization and functions of the Constitutional Commissions and laws." 28
other constitutional bodies, the rules on the national government
budget, as well as guideline for the exercise by administrative III
agencies of quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial powers. The Code
covers both the internal administration of government, i.e, internal Assuming, arguendo, that A.O. No. 308 need not be the subject of a law, still
organization, personnel and recruitment, supervision and discipline, it cannot pass constitutional muster as an administrative legislation because
and the effects of the functions performed by administrative officials facially it violates the right to privacy. The essence of privacy is the "right to
on private individuals or parties outside government. 27 be let alone." 29 In the 1965 case of Griswold v. Connecticut, 30 the United
States Supreme Court gave more substance to the right of privacy when it
ruled that the right has a constitutional foundation. It held that there is a right

77
of privacy which can be found within the penumbras of the First, Third, This is indeed one of the basic distinctions between absolute
Fourth, Fifth and Ninth Amendments, 31 viz: and limited government. Ultimate and pervasive control of
the individual, in all aspects of his life, is the hallmark of the
Specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras absolute state. In contrast, a system of limited government
formed by emanations from these guarantees that help give safeguards a private sector, which belongs to the individual,
them life and substance . . . various guarantees create firmly distinguishing it from the public sector, which the state
zones of privacy. The right of association contained in the can control. Protection of this private sector protection, in
penumbra of the First Amendment is one, as we have seen. other words, of the dignity and integrity of the individual
The Third Amendment in its prohibition against the has become increasingly important as modern society has
quartering of soldiers "in any house" in time of peace without developed. All the forces of a technological age
the consent of the owner is another facet of that privacy. The industrialization, urbanization, and organization operate to
Fourth Amendment explicitly affirms the ''right of the people narrow the area of privacy and facilitate intrusion into it. In
to be secure in their persons, houses and effects, against modern terms, the capacity to maintain and support this
unreasonable searches and seizures." The Fifth Amendment enclave of private life marks the difference between a
in its Self-Incrimination Clause enables the citizen to create democratic and a totalitarian society."
a zone of privacy which government may not force him to
surrender to his detriment. The Ninth Amendment provides: Indeed, if we extend our judicial gaze we will find that the right of privacy is
"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall recognized and enshrined in several provisions of our Constitution. 33 It is
not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the expressly recognized in section 3 (1) of the Bill of Rights:
people."
Sec. 3. (1) The privacy of communication and
In the 1968 case of Morfe v. Mutuc, 32 we adopted the Griswold correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order
ruling that there is a constitutional right to privacy. Speaking thru Mr. of the court, or when public safety or order requires
Justice, later Chief Justice, Enrique Fernando, we held: otherwise as prescribed by law.

xxx xxx xxx Other facets of the right to privacy are protectad in various provisions
of the Bill of Rights, viz: 34
The Griswold case invalidated a Connecticut statute which
made the use of contraceptives a criminal offence on the Sec. 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or
ground of its amounting to an unconstitutional invasion of the property without due process of law, nor shall any person be
right of privacy of married persons; rightfully it stressed "a denied the equal protection of the laws.
relationship lying within the zone of privacy created by
several fundamental constitutional guarantees." It has wider Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons,
implications though. The constitutional right to privacy has houses papers, and effects against unreasonable searches
come into its own. and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall
be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest
So it is likewise in our jurisdiction. The right to privacy as shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined
such is accorded recognition independently of its personally by the judge after examination under oath or
identification with liberty; in itself, it is fully deserving of affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may
constitutional protection. The language of Prof. Emerson is produce, and particularly describing the place to be
particularly apt: "The concept of limited government has searched and the persons or things to be seized.
always included the idea that governmental powers stop
short of certain intrusions into the personal life of the citizen. xxx xxx xxx
78
Sec. 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within The heart of A.O. No. 308 lies in its Section 4 which provides for a Population
the limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired except Reference Number (PRN) as a "common reference number to establish a
upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the right to travel linkage among concerned agencies" through the use of "Biometrics
be impaired except in the interest of national security, public Technology" and "computer application designs."
safety, or public health as may be provided by law.
Biometry or biometrics is "the science of the applicatin of statistical methods
xxx xxx xxx to biological facts; a mathematical analysis of biological data." 45 The term
"biometrics" has evolved into a broad category of technologies which provide
Sec. 8. The right of the people, including those employed in precise confirmation of an individual's identity through the use of the
the public and private sectors, to form unions, associations, individual's own physiological and behavioral characteristics. 46 A
or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not be physiological characteristic is a relatively stable physical characteristic such
abridged. as a fingerprint, retinal scan, hand geometry or facial features. A behavioral
characteristic is influenced by the individual's personality and includes voice
Sec. 17. No person shall be compelled to be a witness print, signature and keystroke. 47 Most biometric idenfication systems use a
card or personal identificatin number (PIN) for initial identification. The
against himself.
biometric measurement is used to verify that the individual holding the card
or entering the PIN is the legitimate owner of the card or PIN. 48
Zones of privacy are likewise recognized and protected in our laws. The Civil
Code provides that "[e]very person shall respect the dignity, personality,
privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons" and punishes A most common form of biological encoding is finger-scanning where
technology scans a fingertip and turns the unique pattern therein into an
as actionable torts several acts by a person of meddling and prying into the
individual number which is called a biocrypt. The biocrypt is stored in
privacy of another. 35 It also holds a public officer or employee or any private
computer data banks 49 and becomes a means of identifying an individual
individual liable for damages for any violation of the rights and liberties of
using a service. This technology requires one's fingertip to be scanned every
another person, 36 and recognizes the privacy of letters and other private
communications. 37 The Revised Penal Code makes a crime the violation of time service or access is provided. 50 Another method is the retinal scan.
Retinal scan technology employs optical technology to map the capillary
secrets by an officer, 38the revelation of trade and industrial secrets, 39 and
pattern of the retina of the eye. This technology produces a unique print
trespass to dwelling. 40 Invasion of privacy is an offense in special laws like
similar to a finger print. 51 Another biometric method is known as the "artificial
the Anti-Wiretapping Law, 41 the Secrecy of Bank Deposits Act 42 and the
nose." This device chemically analyzes the unique combination of
Intellectual Property Code. 43 The Rules of Court on privileged
communication likewise recognize the privacy of certain information. 44 substances excreted from the skin of people. 52 The latest on the list of
biometric achievements is the thermogram. Scientists have found that by
taking pictures of a face using infra-red cameras, a unique heat distribution
Unlike the dissenters, we prescind from the premise that the right to privacy pattern is seen. The different densities of bone, skin, fat and blood vessels all
is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution, hence, it is the burden contribute to the individual's personal "heat signature." 53
of government to show that A.O. No. 308 is justified by some compelling
state interest and that it is narrowly drawn. A.O. No. 308 is predicated on two
considerations: (1) the need to provides our citizens and foreigners with the In the last few decades, technology has progressed at a galloping rate. Some
science fictions are now science facts. Today, biometrics is no longer limited
facility to conveniently transact business with basic service and social
to the use of fingerprint to identify an individual. It is a new science that uses
security providers and other government instrumentalities and (2) the need to
various technologies in encoding any and all biological characteristics of an
reduce, if not totally eradicate, fraudulent transactions and
individual for identification. It is noteworthy that A.O. No. 308 does not state
misrepresentations by persons seeking basic services. It is debatable
whether these interests are compelling enough to warrant the issuance of what specific biological characteristics and what particular biometrics
A.O. No. 308. But what is not arguable is the broadness, the vagueness, the technology shall be used to identify people who will seek its coverage.
Considering the banquest of options available to the implementors of A.O.
overbreadth of A.O. No. 308 which if implemented will put our people's right
to privacy in clear and present danger.
79
No. 308, the fear that it threatens the right to privacy of our people is not It is plain and we hold that A.O. No. 308 falls short of assuring that personal
groundless. information which will be gathered about our people will only be processed
for unequivocally specified purposes. 60 The lack of proper safeguards in this
A.O. No. 308 should also raise our antennas for a further look will show that regard of A.O. No. 308 may interfere with the individual's liberty of abode and
it does not state whether encoding of data is limited to biological information travel by enabling authorities to track down his movement; it may also enable
alone for identification purposes. In fact, the Solicitor General claims that the unscrupulous persons to access confidential information and circumvent the
adoption of the Identification Reference System will contribute to the right against self-incrimination; it may pave the way for "fishing expeditions"
"generation of population data for development planning." 54 This is an by government authorities and evade the right against unreasonable
admission that the PRN will not be used solely for identification but the searches and seizures. 61 The possibilities of abuse and misuse of the PRN,
generation of other data with remote relation to the avowed purposes of A.O. biometrics and computer technology are accentuated when we consider that
No. 308. Clearly, the indefiniteness of A.O. No. 308 can give the government the individual lacks control over what can be read or placed on his ID, much
the roving authority to store and retrieve information for a purpose other than less verify the correctness of the data encoded. 62 They threaten the very
the identification of the individual through his PRN. abuses that the Bill of Rights seeks to prevent. 63

The potential for misuse of the data to be gathered under A.O. No. 308 The ability of sophisticated data center to generate a comprehensive cradle-
cannot be undarplayed as the dissenters do. Pursuant to said administrative to-grave dossier on an individual and transmit it over a national network is
order, an individual must present his PRN everytime he deals with a one of the most graphic threats of the computer revolution. 64 The computer
government agency to avail of basic services and security. His transactions is capable of producing a comprehensive dossier on individuals out of
with the government agency will necessarily be recorded whether it be in information given at different times and for varied purposes. 65 It can continue
the computer or in the documentary file of the agency. The individual's file adding to the stored data and keeping the information up to date. Retrieval of
may include his transactions for loan availments, income tax returns, stored date is simple. When information of a privileged character finds its
statement of assets and liabilities, reimbursements for medication, way into the computer, it can be extracted together with other data on the
hospitalization, etc. The more frequent the use of the PRN, the better the subject. 66Once extracted, the information is putty in the hands of any person.
chance of building a huge formidable informatin base through the electronic The end of privacy begins.
linkage of the files. 55 The data may be gathered for gainful and useful
government purposes; but the existence of this vast reservoir of personal Though A.O. No. 308 is undoubtedly not narrowly drawn, the dissenting
information constitutes a covert invitation to misuse, a temptation that may be opinions would dismiss its danger to the right to privacy as speculative and
too great for some of our authorities to resist. 56 hypothetical. Again, we cannot countenance such a laidback posture. The
Court will not be true to its role as the ultimate guardian of the people's liberty
We can even grant, arguendo, that the computer data file will be limited to if it would not immediately smother the sparks that endanger their rights but
the name, address and other basic personal infomation about the would rather wait for the fire that could consume them.
individual. 57 Even that hospitable assumption will not save A.O. No. 308
from constitutional infirmity for again said order does not tell us in clear and We reject the argument of the Solicitor General that an individual has a
categorical terms how these information gathered shall he handled. It does reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to the Natioal ID and the use of
not provide who shall control and access the data, under what circumstances biometrics technology as it stands on quicksand. The reasonableness of a
and for what purpose. These factors are essential to safeguard the privacy person's expectation of privacy depends on a two-part test: (1) whether by
and guaranty the integrity of the information. 58 Well to note, the computer his conduct, the individual has exhibited an expectation of privacy; and (2)
linkage gives other government agencies access to the information. Yet, whether this expectation is one that society recognizes as reasonable. 67 The
there are no controls to guard against leakage of information. When the factual circumstances of the case determines the reasonableness of the
access code of the control programs of the particular computer system is expectation. 68 However, other factors, such as customs, physical
broken, an intruder, without fear of sanction or penalty, can make use of the surroundings and practices of a particular activity, may serve to create or
data for whatever purpose, or worse, manipulate the data stored within the diminish this expectation. 69 The use of biometrics and computer technology
system. 59 in A.O. No. 308 does not assure the individual of a reasonable expectation of

80
privacy. 70 As technology advances, the level of reasonably expected privacy sufficiently detailed. The law is clear on what practices were prohibited and
decreases. 71 The measure of protection granted by the reasonable penalized, and it was narrowly drawn to avoid abuses. IN the case at bar,
expectation diminishes as relevant technology becomes more widely A.O. No. 308 may have been impelled by a worthy purpose, but, it cannot
accepted. 72 The security of the computer data file depends not only on the pass constitutional scrutiny for it is not narrowly drawn. And we now hod that
physical inaccessibility of the file but also on the advances in hardware and when the integrity of a fundamental right is at stake, this court will give the
software computer technology. A.O. No. 308 is so widely drawn that a challenged law, administrative order, rule or regulation a stricter scrutiny. It
minimum standard for a reasonable expectation of privacy, regardless of will not do for the authorities to invoke the presumption of regularity in the
technology used, cannot be inferred from its provisions. performance of official duties. Nor is it enough for the authorities to prove that
their act is not irrational for a basic right can be diminished, if not defeated,
The rules and regulations to be by the IACC cannot remedy this fatal defect. even when the government does not act irrationally. They must satisfactorily
Rules and regulations merely implement the policy of the law or order. On its show the presence of compelling state interests and that the law, rule or
face, A.O. No. gives the IACC virtually infettered discretion to determine the regulation is narrowly drawn to preclude abuses. This approach is demanded
metes and bounds of the ID System. by the 1987 Constitution whose entire matrix is designed to protect human
rights and to prevent authoritarianism. In case of doubt, the least we can do
Nor do your present laws prvide adequate safeguards for a reasonable is to lean towards the stance that will not put in danger the rights protected
by the Constitutions.
expectation of privacy. Commonwealth Act. No. 591 penalizes the disclosure
by any person of data furnished by the individual to the NSO with
imprisonment and fine. 73 Republic Act. No. 1161 prohibits public disclosure The case of Whalen v. Roe 79 cited by the Solicitor General is also off-line. In
of SSS employment records and reports. 74 These laws, however, apply to Whalen, the United States Supreme Court was presented with the question
records and data with the NSO and the SSS. It is not clear whether they may of whether the State of New York could keep a centralized computer record
be applied to data with the other government agencies forming part of the of the names and addresses of all persons who obtained certain drugs
National ID System. The need to clarify the penal aspect of A.O. No. 308 is pursuant to a doctor's prescription. The New York State Controlled
another reason why its enactment should be given to Congress. Substance Act of 1972 required physicians to identify parties obtaining
prescription drugs enumerated in the statute, i.e., drugs with a recognized
Next, the Solicitor General urges us to validate A.O. No. 308's abridgment of medical use but with a potential for abuse, so that the names and addresses
of the patients can be recorded in a centralized computer file of the State
the right of privacy by using the rational relationship test. 75 He stressed that
Department of Health. The plaintiffs, who were patients and doctors, claimed
the purposes of A.O. No. 308 are: (1) to streamline and speed up the
that some people might decline necessary medication because of their fear
implementation of basic government services, (2) eradicate fraud by avoiding
that the computerized data may be readily available and open to public
duplication of services, and (3) generate population data for development
planning. He cocludes that these purposes justify the incursions into the right disclosure; and that once disclosed, it may stigmatize them as drug
to privacy for the means are rationally related to the end. 76 addicts. 80 The plaintiffs alleged that the statute invaded a constitutionally
protected zone of privacy, i.e., the individual interest in avoiding disclosure of
personal matters, and the interest in independence in making certain kinds of
We are not impressed by the argument. In Morfe v. Mutuc, 77 we upheld the important decisions. The U.S. Supreme Court held that while an individual's
constitutionality of R.A. 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as a interest in avoiding disclosuer of personal matter is an aspect of the right to
valid police power measure. We declared that the law, in compelling a public privacy, the statute did not pose a grievous threat to establish a constitutional
officer to make an annual report disclosing his assets and liabilities, his violation. The Court found that the statute was necessary to aid in the
sources of income and expenses, did not infringe on the individual's right to enforcement of laws designed to minimize the misuse of dangerous drugs.
privacy. The law was enacted to promote morality in public administration by The patient-identification requirement was a product of an orderly and
curtailing and minimizing the opportunities for official corruption and rational legislative decision made upon recommmendation by a specially
maintaining a standard of honesty in the public service. 78 appointed commission which held extensive hearings on the matter.
Moreover, the statute was narrowly drawn and contained numerous
The same circumstances do not obtain in the case at bar. For one, R.A. 3019 safeguards against indiscriminate disclosure. The statute laid down the
is a statute, not an administrative order. Secondly, R.A. 3019 itself is procedure and requirements for the gathering, storage and retrieval of the
81
informatin. It ebumerated who were authorized to access the data. It also other words, of the dignity and integrity of the individual
prohibited public disclosure of the data by imposing penalties for its violation. has become increasingly important as modern society has
In view of these safeguards, the infringement of the patients' right to privacy developed. All the forces of a technological age
was justified by a valid exercise of police power. As we discussed above, industrialization, urbanization, and organization operate to
A.O. No. 308 lacks these vital safeguards. narrow the area of privacy and facilitate intrusion into it. In
modern terms, the capacity to maintain and support this
Even while we strike down A.O. No. 308, we spell out in neon that the Court enclave of private life marks the difference between a
is not per se agains the use of computers to accumulate, store, process, democratic and a totalitarian society. 87
retvieve and transmit data to improve our bureaucracy. Computers work
wonders to achieve the efficiency which both government and private IV
industry seek. Many information system in different countries make use of
the computer to facilitate important social objective, such as better law The right to privacy is one of the most threatened rights of man living in a
enforcement, faster delivery of public services, more efficient management of mass society. The threats emanate from various sources governments,
credit and insurance programs, improvement of telecommunications and journalists, employers, social scientists, etc. 88 In th case at bar, the threat
streamlining of financial activities. 81 Used wisely, data stored in the computer comes from the executive branch of government which by issuing A.O. No.
could help good administration by making accurate and comprehensive 308 pressures the people to surrender their privacy by giving information
information for those who have to frame policy and make key about themselves on the pretext that it will facilitate delivery of basic
decisions. 82 The benefits of the computer has revolutionized information services. Given the record-keeping power of the computer, only the
technology. It developed the internet, 83 introduced the concept of indifferent fail to perceive the danger that A.O. No. 308 gives the government
cyberspace 84 and the information superhighway where the individual, armed the power to compile a devastating dossier against unsuspecting citizens. It
only with his personal computer, may surf and search all kinds and classes of is timely to take note of the well-worded warning of Kalvin, Jr., "the disturbing
information from libraries and databases connected to the net. result could be that everyone will live burdened by an unerasable record of
his past and his limitations. In a way, the threat is that because of its record-
In no uncertain terms, we also underscore that the right to privacy does not keeping, the society will have lost its benign capacity to forget." 89 Oblivious
bar all incursions into individual privacy. The right is not intended to stifle to this counsel, the dissents still say we should not be too quick in labelling
scientific and technological advancements that enhance public service and the right to privacy as a fundamental right. We close with the statement that
the common good. It merely requires that the law be narrowly focused 85 and the right to privacy was not engraved in our Constitution for flattery.
a compelling interest justify such intrusions. 86 Intrusions into the right must
be accompanied by proper safeguards and well-defined standards to prevent IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is granted and Adminisrative Order No. 308
unconstitutional invasions. We reiterate that any law or order that invades entitled "Adoption of a National Computerized Identification Reference
individual privacy will be subjected by this Court to strict scrutiny. The reason System" declared null and void for being unconstitutional.
for this stance was laid down in Morfe v. Mutuc, to wit:
SO ORDERED.
The concept of limited government has always included the
idea that governmental powers stop short of certain
intrusions into the personal life of the citizen. This is indeed
one of the basic disctinctions between absolute and limited
government. Ultimate and pervasive control of the individual,
in all aspects of his life, is the hallmark of the absolute state.
In contrast, a system of limited government safeguards a
private sector, which belongs to the individual, firmly
distinguishing it from the public sector, which the state can
control. Protection of this private sector protection, in

82
G.R. No. 179736, June 26, 2013 construction;12 and that the acts of respondents violate petitioners right to
privacy.13 Thus, petitioners prayed that respondents be ordered to remove
SPOUSES BILL AND VICTORIA HING, Petitioners, v. ALEXANDER the video surveillance cameras and enjoined from conducting illegal
CHOACHUY, SR. AND ALLAN CHOACHUY, Respondents. surveillance.14

DECISION In their Answer with Counterclaim,15 respondents claimed that they did not
install the video surveillance cameras,16 nor did they order their employees to
DEL CASTILLO, J.: take pictures of petitioners construction.17 They also clarified that they are
not the owners of Aldo but are mere stockholders.18
The concept of liberty would be emasculated if it does not likewise compel Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
respect for [ones] personality as a unique individual whose claim to privacy
and [non]-interference demands respect.1 On October 18, 2005, the RTC issued an Order19 granting the application
for a TRO. The dispositive portion of the said Order
This Petition for Review on Certiorari2 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court reads:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
assails the July 10, 2007 Decision3 and the September 11, 2007
Resolution4 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CEB-SP No. 01473. WHEREFORE, the application for a [T]emporary [R]estraining [O]rder or a
[W]rit of [P]reliminary [I]njunction is granted. Upon the filing and approval of
Factual Antecedents a bond by [petitioners], which the Court sets at P50,000.00, let a [W]rit of
[P]reliminary [I]njunction issue against the [respondents] Alexander
On August 23, 2005, petitioner-spouses Bill and Victoria Hing filed with the Choachuy, Sr. and Allan Choachuy. They are hereby directed to immediately
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Mandaue City a Complaint 5 for Injunction and remove the revolving camera that they installed at the left side of their
Damages with prayer for issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Mandatory building overlooking the side of [petitioners] lot and to transfer and operate it
Injunction/Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), docketed as Civil Case MAN- elsewhere at the back where [petitioners] property can no longer be viewed
5223 and raffled to Branch 28, against respondents Alexander Choachuy, Sr. within a distance of about 2-3 meters from the left corner of Aldo Servitec,
and Allan Choachuy. facing the road.
Petitioners alleged that they are the registered owners of a parcel of land (Lot IT IS SO ORDERED.20
1900-B) covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 42817 situated in
Barangay Basak, City of Mandaue, Cebu;6 that respondents are the owners Respondents moved for a reconsideration21 but the RTC denied the same in
of Aldo Development & Resources, Inc. (Aldo) located at Lots 1901 and its Order22 dated February 6, 2006.23 Thus:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
1900-C, adjacent to the property of petitioners;7 that respondents constructed
an auto-repair shop building (Aldo Goodyear Servitec) on Lot 1900-C; that in
WHEREFORE, the Motion for Reconsideration is hereby DENIED for lack of
April 2005, Aldo filed a case against petitioners for Injunction and Damages
merit. Issue a [W]rit of [P]reliminary [I]njunction in consonance with the
with Writ of Preliminary Injunction/TRO, docketed as Civil Case No. MAN- Order dated 18 October 2005.
5125;8 that in that case, Aldo claimed that petitioners were constructing a
fence without a valid permit and that the said construction would destroy the
IT IS SO ORDERED.24nadcralavvonlinelawlibrary
wall of its building, which is adjacent to petitioners property; 9 that the court,
in that case, denied Aldos application for preliminary injunction for failure to Aggrieved, respondents filed with the CA a Petition for Certiorari25 under
substantiate its allegations;10 that, in order to get evidence to support the said
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with application for a TRO and/or Writ of
case, respondents on June 13, 2005 illegally set-up and installed on the Preliminary Injunction.
building of Aldo Goodyear Servitec two video surveillance cameras facing
petitioners property;11 that respondents, through their employees and without
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
the consent of petitioners, also took pictures of petitioners on-going

83
On July 10, 2007, the CA issued its Decision 26 granting the Petition THAT SINCE THE OWNER OF THE BUILDING IS ALDO DEVELOPMENT
for Certiorari. The CA ruled that the Writ of Preliminary Injunction was issued AND RESOURCES, INC. THEN TO SUE RESPONDENTS CHOACHUY
with grave abuse of discretion because petitioners failed to show a clear and CONSTITUTE[S] A PURPORTEDLY UNWARRANTED PIERCING OF THE
unmistakable right to an injunctive writ.27 The CA explained that the right to CORPORATE VEIL.
privacy of residence under Article 26(1) of the Civil Code was not violated
since the property subject of the controversy is not used as a residence. 28 IV.
The CA also said that since respondents are not the owners of the building,
they could not have installed video surveillance cameras.29 They are mere THE X X X [CA] COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT
stockholders of Aldo, which has a separate juridical personality. 30 Thus, they IGNORED THE SERIOUS FORMAL DEFICIENCIES OF BOTH THE
are not the proper parties.31 The falloreads:cralavvonlinelawlibrary PETITION AND THE MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION DATED 15
MARCH 2006 OF RESPONDENT[S] CHOACH[U]Y AND GAVE X X X
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, judgment is hereby THEM DUE COURSE AND CONSIDERATION.33
rendered by us GRANTING the petition filed in this case. The assailed orders
dated October 18, 2005 and February 6, 2006 issued by the respondent Essentially, the issues boil down to (1) whether there is a violation of
judge are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. petitioners right to privacy, and (2) whether respondents are the proper
parties to this suit.
SO ORDERED.32nadcralavvonlinelawlibrary
Petitioners Arguments
Issues
Petitioners insist that they are entitled to the issuance of a Writ of Preliminary
Hence, this recourse by petitioners arguing that:cralavvonlinelawlibrary Injunction because respondents installation of a stationary camera directly
facing petitioners property and a revolving camera covering a significant
I. portion of the same property constitutes a violation of petitioners right to
privacy.34 Petitioners cite Article 26(1) of the Civil Code, which enjoins
THE X X X [CA] COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT persons from prying into the private lives of others.35 Although the said
ANNULLED AND SET ASIDE THE ORDERS OF THE [RTC] DATED 18 provision pertains to the privacy of anothers residence, petitioners opine that
OCTOBER 2005 AND 6 FEBRUARY 2006 HOLDING THAT THEY WERE it includes business offices, citing Professor Arturo M. Tolentino. 36 Thus,
ISSUED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION. even assuming arguendo that petitioners property is used for business, it is
still covered by the said provision.37
II.
As to whether respondents are the proper parties to implead in this case,
THE X X X [CA] COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT RULED petitioners claim that respondents and Aldo are one and the same, and that
THAT PETITIONER SPOUSES HING ARE NOT ENTITLED TO THE WRIT respondents only want to hide behind Aldos corporate fiction.38 They point
OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION ON THE GROUND THAT THERE IS NO out that if respondents are not the real owners of the building, where the
VIOLATION OF THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL AND CIVIL RIGHT TO PRIVACY video surveillance cameras were installed, then they had no business
DESPITE THE FACTUAL FINDINGS [OF] THE RTC, WHICH consenting to the ocular inspection conducted by the court.39
RESPONDENTS CHOACHUY FAILED TO REFUTE, THAT THE
ILLEGALLY INSTALLED SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS OF RESPONDENTS Respondents Arguments
CHOACH[U]Y WOULD CAPTURE THE PRIVATE ACTIVITIES OF
PETITIONER SPOUSES HING, THEIR CHILDREN AND EMPLOYEES. Respondents, on the other hand, echo the ruling of the CA that petitioners
cannot invoke their right to privacy since the property involved is not used as
III. a residence.40 Respondents maintain that they had nothing to do with the
installation of the video surveillance cameras as these were installed by Aldo,
THE X X X [CA] COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT RULED
84
the registered owner of the building,41 as additional security for its
building. 42 Hence, they were wrongfully impleaded in this case.43 This provision recognizes that a mans house is his castle, where his right to
privacy cannot be denied or even restricted by others. It includes any act of
Our Ruling intrusion into, peeping or peering inquisitively into the residence of another
without the consent of the latter.49 The phrase prying into the privacy of
The Petition is meritorious. anothers residence, however, does not mean that only the residence is
entitled to privacy. As elucidated by Civil law expert Arturo M.
The right to privacy is the right to be let alone. Tolentino:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

The right to privacy is enshrined in our Constitution44 and in our laws. It is Our Code specifically mentions prying into the privacy of anothers
defined as the right to be free from unwarranted exploitation of ones person residence. This does not mean, however, that only the residence is entitled
or from intrusion into ones private activities in such a way as to cause to privacy, because the law covers also similar acts. A business office is
humiliation to a persons ordinary sensibilities.45 It is the right of an entitled to the same privacy when the public is excluded therefrom and
individual to be free from unwarranted publicity, or to live without only such individuals as are allowed to enter may come in. x x x50
unwarranted interference by the public in matters in which the public is not (Emphasis supplied)
necessarily concerned.46 Simply put, the right to privacy is the right to be
let alone.47 Thus, an individuals right to privacy under Article 26(1) of the Civil Code
should not be confined to his house or residence as it may extend to places
The Bill of Rights guarantees the peoples right to privacy and protects them where he has the right to exclude the public or deny them access. The
against the States abuse of power. In this regard, the State recognizes the phrase prying into the privacy of anothers residence, therefore, covers
right of the people to be secure in their houses. No one, not even the State, places, locations, or even situations which an individual considers as private.
except in case of overriding social need and then only under the stringent And as long as his right is recognized by society, other individuals may not
procedural safeguards, can disturb them in the privacy of their homes.48 infringe on his right to privacy. The CA, therefore, erred in limiting the
application of Article 26(1) of the Civil Code only to residences.
The right to privacy under Article 26(1)
of the Civil Code covers business offices The reasonable expectation of privacy
where the public are excluded therefrom test is used to determine whether there
and only certain individuals are allowed is a violation of the right to privacy.
to enter.
In ascertaining whether there is a violation of the right to privacy, courts use
Article 26(1) of the Civil Code, on the other hand, protects an individuals the reasonable expectation of privacy test. This test determines whether a
right to privacy and provides a legal remedy against abuses that may be person has a reasonable expectation of privacy and whether the expectation
committed against him by other individuals. It states:cralavvonlinelawlibrary has been violated.51 In Ople v. Torres,52 we enunciated that the
reasonableness of a persons expectation of privacy depends on a two-part
Art. 26. Every person shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy and test: (1) whether, by his conduct, the individual has exhibited an expectation
peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons. The following and similar of privacy; and (2) this expectation is one that society recognizes as
acts, though they may not constitute a criminal offense, shall produce a reasonable. Customs, community norms, and practices may, therefore, limit
cause of action for damages, prevention and other or extend an individuals reasonable expectation of privacy. 53 Hence, the
relief:cralavvonlinelawlibrary reasonableness of a persons expectation of privacy must be determined on
a case-to-case basis since it depends on the factual circumstances
(1) Prying into the privacy of anothers residence;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary surrounding the case.54

xxxx In this day and age, video surveillance cameras are installed practically
everywhere for the protection and safety of everyone. The installation of
85
these cameras, however, should not cover places where there is reasonable
expectation of privacy, unless the consent of the individual, whose right to A real party defendant is one who has a
privacy would be affected, was obtained. Nor should these cameras be used correlative legal obligation to redress
to pry into the privacy of anothers residence or business office as it would be a wrong done to the plaintiff by reason
no different from eavesdropping, which is a crime under Republic Act No. of the defendant's act or omission which
4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Law. had violated the legal right of the former.

In this case, the RTC, in granting the application for Preliminary Injunction, Section 2, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court provides:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
ruled that:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
SEC. 2. Parties-in-interest. A real party-in-interest is the party who stands
After careful consideration, there is basis to grant the application for a to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit, or the party entitled to
temporary restraining order. The operation by [respondents] of a revolving the avails of the suit. Unless otherwise authorized by law or these Rules,
camera, even if it were mounted on their building, violated the right of privacy every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party-
of [petitioners], who are the owners of the adjacent lot. The camera does not in-interest.
only focus on [respondents] property or the roof of the factory at the back
(Aldo Development and Resources, Inc.) but it actually spans through a good A real party defendant is one who has a correlative legal obligation to
portion of [the] land of [petitioners]. redress a wrong done to the plaintiff by reason of the defendants act or
omission which had violated the legal right of the former. 57
Based on the ocular inspection, the Court understands why [petitioner] Hing
was so unyielding in asserting that the revolving camera was set up In ruling that respondents are not the proper parties, the CA reasoned that
deliberately to monitor the on[-]going construction in his property. The since they do not own the building, they could not have installed the video
monitor showed only a portion of the roof of the factory of [Aldo]. If the surveillance cameras.58 Such reasoning, however, is erroneous. The fact
purpose of [respondents] in setting up a camera at the back is to secure the that respondents are not the registered owners of the building does not
building and factory premises, then the camera should revolve only towards automatically mean that they did not cause the installation of the video
their properties at the back. [Respondents] camera cannot be made to surveillance cameras.
extend the view to [petitioners] lot. To allow the [respondents] to do that
over the objection of the [petitioners] would violate the right of [petitioners] as In their Complaint, petitioners claimed that respondents installed the video
property owners. The owner of a thing cannot make use thereof in such a surveillance cameras in order to fish for evidence, which could be used
manner as to injure the rights of a third person. 55 against petitioners in another case.59 During the hearing of the application
for Preliminary Injunction, petitioner Bill testified that when respondents
The RTC, thus, considered that petitioners have a reasonable expectation of installed the video surveillance cameras, he immediately broached his
privacy in their property, whether they use it as a business office or as a concerns but they did not seem to care,60 and thus, he reported the matter to
residence and that the installation of video surveillance cameras directly the barangay for mediation, and eventually, filed a Complaint against
facing petitioners property or covering a significant portion thereof, without respondents before the RTC.61 He also admitted that as early as 1998 there
their consent, is a clear violation of their right to privacy. As we see then, the has already been a dispute between his family and the Choachuy family
issuance of a preliminary injunction was justified. We need not belabor that concerning the boundaries of their respective properties.62 With these factual
the issuance of a preliminary injunction is discretionary on the part of the circumstances in mind, we believe that respondents are the proper parties to
court taking cognizance of the case and should not be interfered with, unless be impleaded.
there is grave abuse of discretion committed by the court.56 Here, there is no
indication of any grave abuse of discretion. Hence, the CA erred in finding Moreover, although Aldo has a juridical personality separate and distinct from
that petitioners are not entitled to an injunctive writ. its stockholders, records show that it is a family-owned corporation managed
by the Choachuy family.63
This brings us to the next question: whether respondents are the proper
parties to this suit. Also quite telling is the fact that respondents, notwithstanding their claim that
86
they are not owners of the building, allowed the court to enter the compound
of Aldo and conduct an ocular inspection. The counsel for respondents even
toured Judge Marilyn Lagura-Yap inside the building and answered all her
questions regarding the set-up and installation of the video surveillance
cameras.64 And when respondents moved for reconsideration of the Order
dated October 18, 2005 of the RTC, one of the arguments they raised is that
Aldo would suffer damages if the video surveillance cameras are removed
and transferred.65 Noticeably, in these instances, the personalities of
respondents and Aldo seem to merge.

All these taken together lead us to the inevitable conclusion that respondents
are merely using the corporate fiction of Aldo as a shield to protect
themselves from this suit. In view of the foregoing, we find that respondents
are the proper parties to this suit.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby GRANTED. The Decision dated July


10, 2007 and the Resolution dated September 11, 2007 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CEB-SP No. 01473 are hereby REVERSEDand SET
ASIDE. The Orders dated October 18, 2005 and February 6, 200[6] of
Branch 28 of the Regional Trial Court of Mandaue City in Civil Case No.
MAN-5223 are hereby REINSTATED and AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

Carpio, (Chairperson), Brion, Perez, and Perlas-Bernabe, JJ., concur.

87
G.R. No. 182601 November 10, 2014 Prosecutor of Quezon City found that the petitioners stabbed Atty. Generoso
with a bladed weapon. Atty. Generoso fortunately survived the attack.10
JOEY M. PESTILOS, DWIGHT MACAPANAS, MIGUEL GACES, JERRY
FERNANDEZ and RONALD MUNOZ,Petitioners, In an Information dated February 22, 2005, the petitioners were indicted for
vs. attempted murder allegedly committed as follows:
MORENO GENEROSO and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.
That on or about the 20th h day of February, 2005, in Quezon City,
DECISION Philippines, the said accused, conspiring together, confederating with and
mutually helping one another, with intent to kill, qualified with evident
BRION, J.: premeditation, treachery and taking advantage of superior strength, did then
and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously commence the commission of
We resolve the petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of the crime of Murder directly by overt acts, by then and there stabbing one
Court challenging the decision1 dated January 21, 2008 and the Atty. MORENO GENEROSO y FRANCO, with a bladed weapon, but said
accused were not able to perform all the acts of execution which would
resolution2 dated April 17, 2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CAG.R. SP
produce the crime of Murder by reason of some cause/s or accident other
No. 91541.
than their own spontaneous desistance, that is, said complainant was able to
parry the attack, to his damage and prejudice.
The appealed decision affirmed the Order dated March 16, 2005 of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 96, Quezon City, denying Joey M.
CONTRARY TO LAW.11
Pestilos, Dwight Macapanas, Miguel Gaces, Jerry Fernandez, and Ronald
Munoz's (petitioners) Urgent Motion for Regular Preliminary Investigation, as
well as their subsequent motion for reconsideration. On March 7, 2005, the petitioners filed an Urgent Motion for Regular
Preliminary Investigation12 on the ground that they had not been lawfully
The Antecedent Facts arrested. They alleged that no valid warrantless arrest took place since the
police officers had no personal knowledge that they were the perpetrators of
the crime. They also claimed that they were just "invited" to the police station.
The records of the case reveal that on February 20, 2005, at around 3: 15 in Thus, the inquest proceeding was improper, and a regular procedure for
the morning, an altercation ensued between the petitioners and Atty. Moreno preliminary investigation should have been performed pursuant to Rule 112
Generoso (Atty. Generoso) at Kasiyahan Street, Barangay Holy Spirit, of the Rules of Court.13
Quezon City where the petitioners and Atty. Generoso reside.3
On March 16, 2005, the RTC issued its order denying the petitioners' Urgent
Atty. Generoso called the Central Police District, Station 6 (Batas an Hills Motion for Regular Preliminary Investigation.14 The court likewise denied the
Police Station) to report the incident.4Acting on this report, Desk Officer SPOl petitioners' motion for reconsideration.15
Primitivo Monsalve (SPOJ Monsalve) dispatched SP02 Dominador Javier
(SP02 Javier) to go to the scene of the crime and to render
The petitioners challenged the lower court's ruling before the CA on a Rule
assistance.5 SP02 Javier, together with augmentation personnel from the
65 petition for certiorari. They attributed grave abuse of discretion, amounting
Airforce, A2C Alano Sayson and Airman Ruel Galvez, arrived at the scene of
to lack or excess of jurisdiction, on the R TC for the denial of their motion for
the crime less than one hour after the alleged altercation 6 and they saw Atty.
Generoso badly beaten.7 preliminary investigation.16

The Assailed CA Decision


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.8 The petitioners went with the police officers On January 21, 2008, the CA issued its decision dismissing the petition for
to Batasan Hills Police Station.9 At the inquest proceeding, the City lack of merit.17 The CA ruled that the word "invited" in the Affidavit of Arrest

88
executed by SP02 Javier carried the meaning of a command. The arresting The petitioners also claim that no valid warrantless arrest took place under
officer clearly meant to arrest the petitioners to answer for the mauling of the terms of Rule 112, Section 7 of the Revised Rules of Court. The incident
Atty. Generoso. The CA also recognized that the arrest was pursuant to a happened two (2) hours before the police officers actually arrived at the
valid warrantless arrest so that an inquest proceeding was called for as a crime scene. The police officers could not have undertaken a valid
consequence. Thus, the R TC did not commit any grave abuse of discretion warrantless arrest as they had no personal knowledge that the petitioners
in denying the Urgent Motion for Regular Preliminary Investigation. were the authors of the crime.

The CA saw no merit in the petitioners' argument that the order denying the The petitioners additionally argue that the R TC' s Order denying the Urgent
Urgent Motion for Regular Preliminary Investigation is void for failure to Motion for Regular Preliminary Investigation is void because it was not
clearly state the facts and the law upon which it was based, pursuant to Rule properly issued.
16, Section 3 of the Revised Rules of Court. The CA found that the RTC had
sufficiently explained the grounds for the denial of the motion. The Court's Ruling

The petitioners moved for reconsideration, but the CA denied the motion in We find the petition unmeritorious and thus uphold the RTC Order. The
its Resolution of April 17, 2008;18 hence, the present petition. criminal proceedings against the petitioners should now proceed.

The Issues 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
The petitioners cited the following assignment of errors: employed simply to delay the proceedings and that the use of Rule 65
petition has been abused.
I.
But accepting things as they are, this delay can be more than compensated
WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITIONERS WERE VALIDLY by fully examining in this case the legalities surrounding warrantless warrants
ARRESTED WITHOUT A WARRANT. and establishing the proper 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, development and
II.
the current applicable interpretation.
WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITIONERS WERE LAWFULLY
I. Brief history on warrantless arrests
ARRESTED WHEN THEY WERE MERELY INVITED TO THE
POLICE PRECINCT.
The organic laws of the Philippines, specifically, the Philippine Bill of
1902,19 and the 1935,20 197321 and 198722Constitutions all protect the right of
III.
the people to be secure in their persons against unreasonable searches and
seizures. Arrest falls under the term "seizure. "23
WHETHER OR NOT THE ORDER DENYING THE MOTION FOR
PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION IS VOID FOR FAILURE TO
STATE THE FACTS AND THE LAW UPON WHICH IT WAS This constitutional mandate is identical with the Fourth Amendment of the
Constitution of the United States. The Fourth Amendment traces its origins to
BASED.
the writings of Sir Edward Coke24 and The Great Charter of the Liberties of
England (Magna Carta Libertatum), sealed under oath by King John on the
The petitioners primarily argue that they were not lawfully arrested. No arrest bank of the River Thames near Windsor, England on June 15, 1215.25 The
warrant was ever issued; they went to the police station only as a response Magna Carta Libertatum limited the King of England's powers and required
to the arresting officers' invitation. They even cited the Affidavit of Arrest, the Crown to proclaim certain liberties26 under the feudal vassals' threat of
which actually used the word "invited. "
89
civil war.27 The declarations in Chapter 29 of the Magna Carta Libertatum These rules were subsequently established and incorporated in our Rules of
later became the foundational component of the Fourth Amendment of the Court and jurisprudence. Presently, the requirements of a warrantless arrest
United States Constitution.28 It provides: are now summarized in Rule 113, Section 5 which states that: Section 5.
Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace officer or a private person
No freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or be disseised29 of his Freehold, may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any otherwise
destroyed; nor will we not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful (a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed,
Judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land, We will sell to no man, we is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right. 30 [Emphasis
supplied] (b) When an offense has just been committed, and he has probable
cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or
In United States v. Snyder,31 the United States Supreme Court held that this circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it; and
constitutional provision does not prohibit arrests, searches and seizures
without judicial warrant, but only those that are unreasonable. 32 With regard (c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped
to an arrest, it is considered a seizure, which must also satisfy the test of from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final
reasonableness.33 judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has
escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.
In our jurisdiction, early rulings of the Court have acknowledged the validity
of warrantless arrests. The Court based these rulings on the common law of In cases falling under paragraph (a) and (b) above, the person arrested
America and England that, according to the Court, were not different from the without a warrant shall be forth with delivered to the nearest police station or
Spanish laws.34 These court rulings likewise justified warrantless arrests jail and shall be proceeded against in accordance with section 7 of Rule 112.
based on the provisions of separate laws then existing in the Philippines. 35
A warrantless arrest under the circumstances contemplated under Section
In 1905, the Court held in The United States v. Wilson36 that Section 3737 of 5(a) above has been denominated as one "in flagrante delicto," while that
Act No. 183, or the Charter of Manila, defined the arresting officer's power to under Section 5(b) has been described as a "hot pursuit" arrest.44
arrest without a warrant, at least insofar as the City of Manila was concerned.
For purposes of this case, we shall focus on Section 5(b) the provision
In The United States v. Vallejo, et al.,38 the Court held that in the absence of applicable in the present case. This provision has undergone changes
any provisions under statutes or local ordinances, a police officer who held through the years not just in its phraseology but also in its interpretation in
similar functions as those of the officers established under the common law our jurisprudence.
of England and America, also had the power to arrest without a warrant in
the Philippines. We shall first trace the evolution of Section 5(b) and examine the applicable
American and Philippine jurisprudence to fully understand its roots and its
The Court also ruled in The United States v. Santos 39 that the rules on appropriate present application.
warrantless arrest were based on common sense and reason. 40 It further
held that warrantless arrest found support under the then Administrative
II. Evolution of Section 5(b), Rule 113
Code41 which directed municipal policemen to exercise vigilance in the
prevention of public offenses.
A. Prior to the 1940 Rules of Court
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 Prior to 1940, the Court based its rulings not just on American and English
provisions taken from the Spanish Law. common law principle on warrantless arrests but also on laws then existing in

90
the Philippines. In Fortaleza,45 the Court cited Rule 28 of the Provisional Law In Santos,46 the Court cited Miles v. Weston,47 which ruled that a peace
for the Application of the Penal Code which provided that: officer may arrest persons walking in the street at night when there is
reasonable ground to suspect the commission of a crime, although there is
Judicial and administrative authorities have power to detain, or to cause to be no proof of a felony having been committed.
detained, persons whom there is reasonable ground to believe guilty of some
offense. It will be the duty of the authorities, as well as of their agents, to The Court ruled in Santos that the arresting officer must justify that there was
arrest: a probable cause for an arrest without a warrant. The Court defined probable
cause as a reasonable ground of suspicion, supported by circumstances
First. Such persons as may be arrested under the provisions of rule 27. sufficiently strong in themselves as to warrant a reasonable man in believing
that the accused is guilty. Besides reasonable ground of suspicion, action in
good faith is another requirement. Once these conditions are complied with,
Second. A person charged with a crime for which the code provides a
the peace officer is not liable even if the arrested person turned out to be
penalty greater than that of confinamiento.
innocent.
Third. A person charged with a crime for which the code provides a penalty
Based on these discussions, it appears clear that prior to the 1940 Rules of
less than that of confinamiento, if his antecedents or the circumstances of the
Court, it was not necessary for the arresting officer to first have knowledge
case would warrant the presumption that he would fail to appear when
that a crime was actually committed. What was necessary was the presence
summoned by the judicial authorities.
of reasonably sufficient grounds to believe the existence of an act having the
characteristics of a crime; and that the same grounds exist to believe that the
The provisions of the preceding paragraph shall not apply, however, to a person sought to be detained participated in it. In addition, it was also
defendant who gives sufficient bond, to the satisfaction of the authority or established under the old court rulings that the phrase "reasonable
agent who may arrest him, and who it may reasonably be presumed will suspicion" was tantamount to probable cause without which, the warrantless
appear whenever summoned by the judge or court competent to try him. arrest would be invalid and the arresting officer may be held liable for its
breach.48
Fourth. A person coining under the provisions of the preceding paragraph
may be arrested, although no formal complaint has been filed against him, In The US. v. Hachaw,49 the Court invalidated the warrantless arrest of a
provided the following circumstances are present: Chinaman because the arresting person did not state in what way the
Chinaman was acting suspiciously or the particular act or circumstance
First. That the authority or agent had reasonable cause to believe that an which aroused the arresting person's curiosity.
unlawful act, amounting to a crime had been committed.
It appears, therefore, that prior to the establishment in our Rules of Court of
Second. That the authority or agent had sufficient reason to believe that the the rules on warrantless arrests, the gauge for a valid warrantless arrest was
person arrested participated in the commission of such unlawful act or the arresting officer's reasonable suspicion (probable cause) that a crime
crime." [Emphasis and underscoring supplied] 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
In the same decision, the Court likewise cited Section 3 7 of the Charter of the arresting officer. However, the 1940 Rules of Court has limited this
Manila, which provided that certain officials, including police officers may, discretion.
within the territory defined in the law, pursue and arrest without warrant, any
person found in suspicious places or under suspicious circumstances, B. The 1940 Rules of Court
reasonably tending to show that such person has committed, or is about to (Restricting the arresting
commit any crime or breach of the peace. officer's determination of
probable cause)

91
Rules 27 and 28 of the Provisional Law for the Application of the Penal Code Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when. lawful. - A peace officer or a private
were substantially incorporated in Section 6, Rule 109 of the 1940 Rules of person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
Court as follows:50
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed,
SEC. 6. Arrest without warrant - When lawful. - A peace officer or a private is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has
(a) When the person to be arrested has committed, is actually personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested
committing, or is about to commit an offense in his presence; has committed it; and

(b) When an offense has in fact been committed, and he has (c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped
reasonable ground to believe that the person to be arrested has from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final
committed it; judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has
escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another. In
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the person
from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final arrested without a warrant shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest
judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has police station or jail, and he shall be proceeded against in
escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another. accordance with Rule 112, Section 7. [Emphasis and underscoring
[Emphasis and underscoring supplied] supplied]

These provisions were adopted in toto in Section 6, Rule 113 of the 1964 As amended, Section 5(b ), Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of Court retained the
Rules of Court. Notably, the 1940 and 1964 Rules have deviated from the old restrictions introduced under the 1964 Rules of Court. More importantly,
rulings of the Court. Prior to the 1940 Rules, the actual commission of the however, it added a qualification that the commission of the offense should
offense was not necessary in determining the validity of the warrantless not only have been "committed" but should have been "just committed." This
arrest. Too, the arresting officer's determination of probable cause (or limited the arresting officer's time frame for conducting an investigation for
reasonable suspicion) applied both as to whether a crime has been purposes of gathering information indicating that the person sought to be
committed and whether the person to be arrested has committed it. arrested has committed the crime.

However, under the 1940 and the 1964 Rules of Court, the Rules required D. The Present Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
that there should be actual commission of an offense, thus, removing the
element of the arresting officer's "reasonable suspicion of the commission of Section 5(b ), Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure was further
an offense." Additionally, the determination of probable cause, or reasonable amended with the incorporation of the word "probable cause" as the basis of
suspicion, was limited only to the determination of whether the person to be the arresting officer's determination on whether the person to be arrested has
arrested has committed the offense. In other words, the 1940 and 1964 committed the crime.
Rules of Court restricted the arresting officer's discretion in warrantless
arrests under Section 6(b), Rule 113 of the 1964 Rules of Court. Hence, as presently worded, Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure provides that:
C. The more restrictive 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure
When an offense has just been committed, and he has probable cause to
Section 6, Rule 113 of the 1964 Rules of Court again underwent substantial believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the
changes and was re-worded and re-numbered when it became Section 5, person to be arrested has committed it.
Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure, to wit:

92
From the current phraseology of the rules on warrantless arrest, it appears The U.S. Supreme Court, however indicated in Henry v. United States 54 that
that for purposes of Section S(b ), the following are the notable changes: the Fourth Amendment limited the circumstances under which warrantless
first, the contemplated offense was qualified by the word "just," connoting arrests may be made. The necessary inquiry is not whether there was a
immediacy; and second, the warrantless arrest of a person sought to be warrant or whether there was time to get one, but whether at the time of the
arrested should be based on probable cause to be determined by the arrest probable cause existed. The term probable cause is synonymous to
arresting officer based on his personal knowledge of facts and circumstances "reasonable cause" and "reasonable grounds."55
that the person to be arrested has committed it.
In determining the existence of probable cause, the arresting officer should
It is clear that the present rules have "objectified" the previously subjective make a thorough investigation and exercise reasonable judgment. The
determination of the arresting officer as to the (1) commission of the crime; standards for evaluating the factual basis supporting a probable cause
and (2) whether the person sought to be arrested committed the crime. assessment are not less stringent in warrantless arrest situation than in a
According to Feria, these changes were adopted to minimize arrests based case where a warrant is sought from a judicial officer. The probable cause
on mere suspicion or hearsay.51 determination of a warrantless arrest is based on information that the
arresting officer possesses at the time of the arrest and not on the
As presently worded, the elements under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the information acquired later.56
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure are: first, an offense has just been
committed; and second, the arresting officer has probable cause to believe In evaluating probable cause, probability and not certainty is the determinant
based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be of reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment. Probable cause involves
arrested has committed it. probabilities similar to the factual and practical questions of everyday life
upon which reasonable and prudent persons act. It is a pragmatic question to
For purposes of this case, we shall discuss these elements separately below, be determined in each case in light of the particular circumstances and the
starting with the element of probable cause, followed by the elements that particular offense involved.57
the offense has just been committed, and the arresting officer's personal
knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has In determining probable cause, the arresting officer may rely on all the
committed the crime. information in his possession, his fair inferences therefrom, including his
observations. Mere suspicion does not meet the requirements of showing
i) First Element of Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal probable cause to arrest without warrant especially if it is a mere general
Procedure: Probable cause 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
The existence of "probable cause" is now the "objectifier" or the determinant
circumstances, the arresting officer need not verify such information.58
on how the arresting officer shall proceed on the facts and circumstances,
within his personal knowledge, for purposes of determining whether the
person to be arrested has committed the crime. In our jurisdiction, the Court has likewise defined probable cause in the
context of Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure.
i.a) U.S. jurisprudence on probable cause in warrantless arrests

In Abelita Ill v. Doria et al.,59 the Court held that personal knowledge of facts
In Payton v. New York,52 the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Fourth
Amendment of the Federal Constitution does not prohibit arrests without a must be based on probable cause, which means an actual belief or
warrant although such arrests must be reasonable. According to State v. reasonable grounds of suspicion. The grounds of suspicion are reasonable
when, in the absence of actual belief of the arresting officers, the suspicion
Quinn,53 the warrantless arrest of a person who was discovered in the act of
that the person to be arrested is probably guilty of committing the offense is
violating the law is not a violation of due process.
based on actual facts, i.e., supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in
themselves to create the probable cause of guilt of the person to be arrested.
93
A reasonable suspicion, therefore, must be founded on probable cause, The probable cause to justify warrantless arrest ordinarily signifies a
coupled with good faith on the part of the peace officers making the arrest. reasonable ground of suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently
strong in themselves to warrant a cautious man to believe that the person
i.b) Probable cause under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of accused is guilty of the offense with which he is charged, 64 or an actual belief
Criminal Procedure, distinguished from probable cause in preliminary or reasonable ground of suspicion, based on actual facts.65
investigations and the judicial proceeding for the issuance of a warrant of
arrest It is clear therefore that the standard for determining "probable cause" is
invariable for the officer arresting without a warrant, the public prosecutor,
The purpose of a preliminary investigation is to determine whether a crime and the judge issuing a warrant of arrest. It is the existence of such facts and
has been committed and whether there is probable cause to believe that the circumstances that would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent person to
accused is guilty of the crime and should be held for triat. 60 In Buchanan v. believe that an offense has been committed by the person sought to be
Viuda de Esteban,61 we defined probable cause as the existence of facts and arrested or held for trial, as the case may be.
circumstances as would excite the belief in a reasonable mind, acting on the
facts within the knowledge of the prosecutor, that the person charged was However, while the arresting officer, the public prosecutor and the judge all
guilty of the crime for which he was prosecuted. determine "probable cause," within the spheres of their respective functions,
its existence is influenced heavily by the available facts and circumstance
In this particular proceeding, the finding of the existence of probable cause within their possession. In short, although these officers use the same
as to the guilt of the respondent was based on the submitted documents of standard of a reasonable man, they possess dissimilar quantity of facts or
the complainant, the respondent and his witnesses.62 circumstances, as set by the rules, upon which they must determine probable
cause.
On the other hand, probable cause in judicial proceedings for the issuance of
a warrant of arrest is defined as the existence of such facts and Thus, under the present rules and jurisprudence, the arresting officer should
circumstances that would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent person to base his determination of probable cause on his personal knowledge of facts
believe that an offense has been committed by the person sought to be and circumstances that the person sought to be arrested has committed the
arrested. crime; the public prosecutor and the judge must base their determination on
the evidence submitted by the parties.
Hence, before issuing a warrant of arrest, the judge must be satisfied that
based on the evidence submitted, there is sufficient proof that a crime has In other words, the arresting officer operates on the basis of more limited
been committed and that the person to be arrested is probably guilty thereof. facts, evidence or available information that he must personally gather within
At this stage of the criminal proceeding, the judge is not yet tasked to review a limited time frame.
in detail the evidence submitted during the preliminary investigation. It is
sufficient that he personally evaluates the evidence in determining probable Hence, in Santos,66 the Court acknowledged the inherent limitations of
cause63 to issue a warrant of arrest. determining probable cause in warrantless arrests due to the urgency of its
determination in these instances. The Court held that one should not expect
In contrast, the arresting officer's determination of probable cause under too much of an ordinary policeman. He is not presumed to exercise the
Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure is based subtle reasoning of a judicial officer. Oftentimes, he has no opportunity to
on his personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person sought make proper investigation but must act in haste on his own belief to prevent
to be arrested has committed the crime. These facts or circumstances the escape of the criminal.67
pertain to actual facts or raw evidence, i.e., supported by circumstances
sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable cause of guilt of the ii) Second and Third Elements of Section 5(b), Rule 113:
person to be arrested. A reasonable suspicion therefore must be founded on The crime has just been committed/personal
probable cause, coupled with good faith on the part of the peace officers knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person
making.the arrest. to be arrested has committed it
94
We deem it necessary to combine the discussions of these two elements as In Rolito Go v. CA,72 the arrest of the accused six ( 6) days after the
our jurisprudence shows that these were usually taken together in the Court's commission of the crime was held invalid because the crime had not just
determination of the validity of the warrantless arrests that were made been committed. Moreover, the "arresting" officers had no "personal
pursuant to Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal knowledge" of facts indicating that the accused was the gunman who had
Procedure. shot the victim. The information upon which the police acted came from
statements made by alleged eyewitnesses to the shooting; one stated that
In Posadas v. Ombudsman,68 the killing of Dennis Venturina happened on the accused was the gunman; another was able to take down the alleged
December 8, 1994. It was only on December 11, 1994 that Chancellor gunman's car's plate number which turned out to be registered in the name
Posadas requested the NBI's assistance. On the basis of the supposed of the accused's wife. That information did not constitute "personal
identification of two (2) witnesses, the NBI attempted to arrest Francis Carlo knowledge."
Taparan and Raymundo Narag three (3) days after the commission of the
crime. With this set of facts, it cannot be said that the officers have personal In People v. Tonog, Jr.,73 the warrantless arrest which was done on the same
knowledge of facts or circumstances that the persons sought to be arrested day was held valid. In this case, the arresting officer had knowledge of facts
committed the crime. Hence, the Court invalidated the warrantless arrest. which he personally gathered in the course of his investigation, indicating
that the accused was one of the perpetrators.
Similarly, in People v. Burgos,69 one Cesar Masamlok personally and
voluntarily surrendered to the authorities, stating that Ruben Burgos forcibly In People v. Gerente,74 the policemen arrested Gerente only about three (3)
recruited him to become a member of the NPA, with a threat of physical hours after Gerente and his companions had killed the victim. The Court held
harm. Upon receipt of this information, a joint team of PC-INP units was that the policemen had personal knowledge of the violent death of the victim
dispatched to arrest Burgos who was then plowing the field. Indeed, the and of facts indicating that Gerente and two others had killed him. The
arrest was invalid considering that the only information that the police officers warrantless arrest was held valid.
had in effecting the arrest was the information from a third person. It cannot
be also said in this case that there was certainty as regards the commission In People v. Alvario,75 the warrantless arrest came immediately after the
of a crime. arresting officers received information from the victim of the crime. The Court
held that the personal knowledge of the arresting officers was derived from
In People v. del Rosario,70 the Court held that the requirement that an the information supplied by the victim herself who pointed to Alvario as the
offense has just been committed means that there must be a large measure man who raped her at the time of his arrest. The Court upheld the
of immediacy between the time the offense was committed and the time of warrantless arrest. In People v. Jayson,76 there was a shooting incident. The
the arrest. If there was an appreciable lapse of time between the arrest and policemen who were summoned to the scene of the crime found the victim.
the commission of the crime, a warrant of arrest must be secured. The informants pointed to the accused as the assailant only moments after
the shooting. The Court held that the arresting officers acted on the basis of
The Court held that the arrest of del Rosario did not comply with these personal knowledge of the death of the victim and of facts indicating that the
requirements because he was arrested only a day after the commission of accused was the assailant. Thus, the warrantless arrest was held valid.
the crime and not immediately thereafter. Additionally, the arresting officers
were not present and were not actual eyewitnesses to the crime. Hence, they In People v. Acol,77 a group held up the passengers in a jeepney and the
had no personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested policemen immediately responded to the report of the crime. One of the
had committed the offense. They became aware of del Rosario's identity as victims saw four persons walking towards Fort Bonifacio, one of whom was
the driver of the getaway tricycle only during the custodial investigation. wearing his jacket. The victim pointed them to the policemen. When the
group saw the policemen coming, they ran in different directions. The Court
In People v. Cendana,71 the accused was arrested one (1) day after the held that the arrest was valid.
killing of the victim and only on the basis of information obtained from
unnamed sources. The unlawful arrest was held invalid. In Cadua v. CA,78 there was an initial report to the police concerning a
robbery. A radio dispatch was then given to the arresting officers, who
95
proceeded to Alden Street to verify the authenticity of the radio message. seen someone actually fleeing, he could still make a warrantless arrest if,
When they reached the place, they met with the complainants who initiated based on his personal evaluation of the circumstances at the scene of the
the report about the robbery. Upon the officers' invitation, the victims joined crime, he could determine the existence of probable cause that the person
them in conducting a search of the nearby area where the accused was sought to be arrested has committed the crime. However, the determination
spotted in the vicinity. Based on the reported statements of the complainants, of probable cause and the gathering of facts or circumstances should be
he was identified as a logical suspect in the offense just committed. Hence, made immediately after the commission of the crime in order to comply with
the arrest was held valid. the element of immediacy.

In Doria,79 the Court held that Section S(b ), Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of In other words, the clincher in the element of ''personal knowledge of facts or
Criminal Procedure does not require the arresting officers to personally circumstances" is the required element of immediacy within which these facts
witness the commission of the offense. or circumstances should be gathered. This required time element acts as a
safeguard to ensure that the police officers have gathered the facts or
In this case, P/Supt. Doria alleged that his office received a telephone call perceived the circumstances within a very limited time frame. This
from a relative of Rosa Sia about a shooting incident. He dispatched a team guarantees that the police officers would have no time to base their probable
headed by SP03 Ramirez to investigate the incident. SP03 Ramirez later cause finding on facts or circumstances obtained after an exhaustive
reported that a certain William Sia was wounded while Judge Abelita III, who investigation.
was implicated in the incident, and his wife just left the place of the incident.
P/Supt. Doria looked for Abelita III and when he found him, he informed him The reason for the element of the immediacy is this - as the time gap from
of the incident report. P/Supt. Doria requested Abelita III to go with him to the the commission of the crime to the arrest widens, the pieces of information
police headquarters as he had been reported to be involved in the incident. gathered are prone to become contaminated and subjected to external
Abelita III agreed but suddenly sped up his vehicle and proceeded to his factors, interpretations and hearsay. On the other hand, with the element of
residence where P/Supt. Doria caught him up as he was about to run immediacy imposed under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of
towards his house. Criminal Procedure, the police officer's determination of probable cause
would necessarily be limited to raw or uncontaminated facts or
The police officers saw a gun in the front seat of the vehicle beside the circumstances, gathered as they were within a very limited period of time.
driver's seat as Abelita III opened the door. They also saw a shotgun at the The same provision adds another safeguard with the requirement of probable
back of the driver's seat. The police officers confiscated the firearms and cause as the standard for evaluating these facts of circumstances before the
arrested Abelita III. The Court held that the petitioner's act of trying to get police officer could effect a valid warrantless arrest.
away, coupled with the incident report which they investigated, were enough
to raise a reasonable suspicion on the part of the police authorities as to the In light of the discussion above on the developments of Section 5(b), Rule
existence of probable cause. Based on these discussions, it appears that the 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure and our jurisprudence on the
Court's appreciation of the elements that "the offense has just been matter, we hold that the following must be present for a valid warrantless
committed" and ''personal knowledge of facts and circumstances that the arrest: 1) the crime should have been just committed; and 2) the arresting
person to be arrested committed it" depended on the particular officer's exercise of discretion is limited by the standard of probable cause to
circumstances of the case. However, we note that the element of ''personal be determined from the facts and circumstances within his personal
knowledge of facts or circumstances" under Section S(b ), Rule 113 of the knowledge. The requirement of the existence of probable cause objectifies
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure requires clarification. the reasonableness of the warrantless arrest for purposes of compliance with
the Constitutional mandate against unreasonable arrests.
The phrase covers facts or, in the alternative, circumstances. According to
the Black's Law Dictionary,80"circumstances are attendant or accompanying Hence, for purposes of resolving the issue on the validity of the warrantless
facts, events or conditions. " Circumstances may pertain to events or actions arrest of the present petitioners, the question to be resolved is whether the
within the actual perception, personal evaluation or observation of the police requirements for a valid warrantless arrest under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of
officer at the scene of the crime. Thus, even though the police officer has not the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure were complied with, namely: 1) has

96
the crime just been committed when they were arrested? 2) did the arresting findings: "Contusion Hematoma, Left Frontal Area; Abrasion, T6 area, right
officer have personal knowledge of facts and circumstances that the midclavicular line periorbital hematoma, left eye; Abrasion, distal 3rd
petitioners committed the crime? and 3) based on these facts and posterolateral aspect of right forearm; Abrasion, 4th and fifth digit, right hand;
circumstances that the arresting officer possessed at the time of the Abrasion on area of ih rib (L ant. Chest wall), tenderness on L peripheral
petitioners' arrest, would a reasonably discreet and prudent person believe area, no visible abrasion. In addition, the attending physician, Dr. Eva P.
that the attempted murder of Atty. Generoso was committed by the Javier, diagnosed Atty. Generoso of contusion hematoma, periorbital L., and
petitioners? We rule in the affirmative. traumatic conjunctivitis, o.s.

III. Application of Section S(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules To summarize, the arresting officers went to the scene of the crime upon the
of Criminal Procedure in the present case: there was a complaint of Atty. Generoso of his alleged mauling; the police officers
valid warrantless arrest responded to the scene of the crime less than one (1) hour after the alleged
mauling; the alleged crime transpired in a community where Atty. Generoso
We deem it necessary to review the records of the CA because it has and the petitioners reside; Atty. Generoso positively identified the petitioners
misapprehended the facts in its decision.81From a review of the records, we as those responsible for his mauling and, notably, the petitioners 85 and Atty.
conclude that the police officers had personal knowledge of facts or Generoso86 lived almost in the same neighborhood; more importantly, when
circumstances upon which they had properly determined probable cause in the petitioners were confronted by the arresting officers, they did not deny
effecting a warrantless arrest against the petitioners. We note, however, that their participation in the incident with Atty. Generoso, although they narrated
the determination of the facts in the present case is purely limited to the a different version of what transpired.87
resolution of the issue on the validity of the warrantless arrests of the
petitioners. With these facts and circumstances that the police officers gathered and
which they have personally observed less than one hour from the time that
Based on the police blotter82 entry taken at 4:15 a.m. on February 20, 2005, they have arrived at the scene of the crime until the time of the arrest of the
the date that the alleged crime was committed, the petitioners were brought petitioners, we deem it reasonable to conclude that the police officers had
in for investigation at the Batasan Hills Police Station. The police blotter personal knowledge of facts or circumstances justifying the petitioners'
stated that the alleged crime was committed at 3:15 a.m. on February 20, warrantless arrests. These circumstances were well within the police officers'
2005, along Kasiyahan St., Brgy. Holy Spirit, Quezon City. observation, perception and evaluation at the time of the arrest. These
circumstances qualify as the police officers' personal observation, which are
within their personal knowledge, prompting them to make the warrantless
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 arrests.
connote that the arrest took place less than one hour from the time of the
occurrence of the crime. Hence, the CA finding that the arrest took place two Similar to the factual antecedents in Jayson,88 the police officers in the
(2) hours after the commission of the crime is unfounded. present case saw Atty. Generoso in his sorry bloodied state. As the victim,
he positively identified the petitioners as the persons who mauled him;
The arresting officers' personal observation of Atty. Generoso's bruises when however, instead of fleeing like what happened in Jayson, the petitioners
they arrived at the scene of the crime is corroborated by the petitioners' agreed to go with the police officers.
admissions that Atty: Generoso indeed suffered blows from petitioner
Macapanas and his brother Joseph Macapanas,83 although they asserted This is also similar to what happened in People v. Tonog, Jr. 89 where Tonog
that they did it in self-defense against Atty. Generoso. did not flee but voluntarily went with the police officers. More than this, the
petitioners in the present case even admitted to have been involved in the
Atty. Generoso's bruises were also corroborated by the Medico-Legal incident with Atty. Generoso, although they had another version of what
transpired.
Certificate84 that was 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 the following
97
In determining the reasonableness of the warrantless arrests, it is incumbent the other and the intent of the other to submit, under the belief and
upon the courts to consider if the police officers have complied with the impression that submission is necessary.92
requirements set under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure, specifically, the requirement of immediacy; the police Notwithstanding the term "invited" in the Affidavit of Arrest, 93 SP02 Javier
officer's personal knowledge of facts or circumstances; and lastly, the could not but have the intention of arresting the petitioners following Atty.
propriety of the determination of probable cause that the person sought to be Generoso' s account. SP02 Javier did not need to apply violent physical
arrested committed the crime. restraint when a simple directive to the petitioners to follow him to the police
station would produce a similar effect. In other words, the application of
The records show that soon after the report of the incident occurred, SPOl actual force would only be an alternative if the petitioners had exhibited
Monsalve immediately dispatched the arresting officer, SP02 Javier, to resistance.
render personal assistance to the victim.90 This fact alone negates the
petitioners' argument that the police officers did not have personal To be sure, after a crime had just been committed and the attending
knowledge that a crime had been committed - the police immediately policemen have acquired personal knowledge of the incidents of the crime,
responded and had personal knowledge that a crime had been including the alleged perpetrators, the arrest of the petitioners as the
committed.1wphi1 perpetrators pointed to by the victim, was not a mere random act but was in
connection with a particular offense. Furthermore, SP02 Javier had informed
To reiterate, personal knowledge of a crime just committed under the terms the petitioners, at the time of their arrest, of the charges against them before
of the above-cited provision, does not require actual presence at the scene taking them to Batasan Hills Police Station for investigation.94
while a crime was being committed; it is enough that evidence of the recent
commission of the crime is patent (as in this case) and the police officer has V. The Order denying the motion for preliminary
probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or investigation is valid
circumstances, that the person to be arrested has recently committed the
crime.
In their last ditch attempt at avoidance, the petitioners attack the R TC Order
denying the petitioners' urgent motion for regular preliminary investigation for
Considering the circumstances of the stabbing, particularly the locality where allegedly having been issued in violation of Article VIII, Section 14 of the
it took place, its occasion, the personal circumstances of the parties, and the 1987 Constitution95 and Rule 16, Section 3 of the Revised Rules of Court.96
immediate on-the-spot investigation that took place, the immediate and
warrantless arrests of the perpetrators were proper. Consequently, the The RTC, in its Order dismissing the motion, clearly states that the Court is
inquest proceeding that the City Prosecutor conducted was appropriate not persuaded by the evidentiary nature of the allegations in the said motion
under the circumstances.
of the accused. Aside from lack of clear and convincing proof, the Court, in
the exercise of its sound discretion on the matter, is legally bound to pursue
IV. The term "invited" in the Affidavit of Arrest is construed to and hereby gives preference to the speedy disposition of the case."
mean as an authoritative command
We do not see any taint of impropriety or grave abuse of discretion in this
After the resolution of the validity of the warrantless arrest, the discussion of Order. The RTC, in resolving the motion, is not required to state all the facts
the petitioners' second issue is largely academic. Arrest is defined as the found in the record of the case. Detailed evidentiary matters, as the RTC
taking of a person into custody in order that he may be bound to answer for decreed, is best reserved for the full-blown trial of the case, not in the
the commission of an offense. An arrest is made by an actual restraint of the preliminary incidents leading up to the trial.
person to be arrested, or by his submission to the custody of the person
making the arrest.91 Thus, application of actual force, manual touching of the
Additionally, no less than the Constitution itself provides that it is the decision
body, physical restraint or a formal declaration of arrest is not required. It is
that should state clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is
enough that there be an intention on the part of one of the parties to arrest
based. In resolving a motion, the court is only required to state clearly and
distinctly the reasons therefor. A contrary system would only prolong the
98
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.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby DENY the petition, and
hereby AFFIRM the 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 with the
criminal proceedings against the petitioners.

SO ORDERED.

ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice

99
G.R. No. L-68955 September 4, 1986 That in the afternoon of May 13, 1982 and thereabout at
Tiguman, Digos, Davao del Sur, Philippines, within the
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, jurisdiction of this Court, the above- named accused with
vs. intent to possess and without the necessary license, permit
RUBEN BURGOS y TITO, defendant-appellant. or authority issued by the proper government agencies, did
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously keep,
possess, carry and have in his possession, control and
custody one (1) homemade revolver, caliber .38, make
Smith and Wesson, with Serial No. 8.69221, which firearm
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: was issued to and used by the accused at Tiguman, Digos,
Davao del Sur, his area of operations by one Alias
This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Davao del Commander Pol for the New People's Army (NPA), a
Sur, 11 th Judicial Region, Digos, Davao del Sur convicting defendant- subversive organization organized for the purpose of
appellant Ruben Burgos y Tito of The crime of Illegal Possession of Firearms overthrowing the Government of the Republic of the
in Furtherance of Subversion. The dispositive portion of the decision reads: Philippines through lawless and violent means, of which the
accused had knowledge, and which firearm was used by the
WHEREFORE, finding the guilt of accused Ruben Burgos accused in the performance of his subversive tasks such as
sufficiently established beyond reasonable doubt, of the the recruitment of New Members to the NPA and collection
offense charges , pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 9, in of contributions from the members.
relation to General Order No. 6, dated September 22, 1972,
and General Order No. 7, dated September 23, 1972, in CONTRARY TO LAW.
relation further to Presidential Decree No. 885, and
considering that the firearm subject of this case was not The evidence for the prosecution is summarized in the decision of the lower
used in the circumstances as embraced in paragraph I court as follows:
thereof, applying the provision of indeterminate sentence
law, accused Ruben Burgos is hereby sentenced to suffer an
xxx xxx xxx
imprisonment of twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal
maximum, as minimum penalty, to reclusion perpetua, as
maximum penalty, pursuant to sub-paragraph B, of . . . Through the testimony of Pat. Pepito Bioco, and Sgt.
Presidential Decree No. 9, as aforementioned, with Romeo Taroy, it appears that by virtue of an intelligent
accessory penalties, as provided for by law. information obtained by the Constabulary and INP units,
stationed at Digos, Davao del Sur, on May 12, 1982, one
Cesar Masamlok personally and voluntarily surre0ndered to
As a result of this judgment, the subject firearm involved in
this case (Homemade revolver, caliber .38, Smith and the authorities at about 9:00 o'clock A.M. at Digos, Davao
Wesson, with Serial No. 8.69221) is hereby ordered del Sur Constabulary Headquarters, stating that he was
forcibly recruited by accused Ruben Burgos as member of
confiscated in favor of the government, to be disposed of in
the NPA, threatening him with the use of firearm against his
accordance with law. Likewise, the subversive documents,
life, if he refused.
leaflets and/or propaganda seized are ordered disposed of in
accordance with law.
Along with his recruitment, accused was asked to contribute
one (1) chopa of rice and one peso (P1.00) per month, as
The information charged the defendant-appellant with the crime of illegal
his contribution to the NPA TSN, page 5, Hearing-October
possession of firearm in furtherance of subversion in an information which
14, 1982).
reads as follows:

100
Immediately, upon receipt of said information, a joint team of Nestor Jimenez, otherwise known as a certain Alias Pedipol,
PC-INP units, composed of fifteen (15) members, headed by allegedly team leader of the sparrow unit of New People's
Captain Melchesideck Bargio, (PC), on the following day, Army, responsible in the liquidation of target personalities,
May 13, 1982, was dispatched at Tiguman; Davao del Sur, opposed to NPA Ideological movement, an example was the
to arrest accused Ruben Burgos. The team left the killing of the late Mayor Llanos and Barangay Captain of
headquarter at 1:30 P.M., and arrived at Tiguman, at more Tienda Aplaya Digos, Davao del Sur. (TSN, pages 1-16,
or less 2:00 o'clock PM where through the help of Pedro Hearing-October 14,1982).
Burgos, brother of accused, the team was able to locate
accused, who was plowing his field. (TSN, pages 6-7, To prove accused's subversive activities, Cesar Masamlok, a
Hearing-October 14, 1982). former NPA convert was presented, who declared that on
March 7, 1972, in his former residence at Tiguman Digos,
Right in the house of accused, the latter was caned by the Davao del Sur, accused Ruben Burgos, accompanied by his
team and Pat. Bioco asked accused about his firearm, as companions Landrino Burgos, Oscar Gomez and Antonio
reported by Cesar Masamlok. At first accused denied Burgos, went to his house at about 5:00 o'clock P.M. and
possession of said firearm but later, upon question called him downstair. Thereupon, accused told Masamlok,
profounded by Sgt. Alejandro Buncalan with the wife of the their purpose was to ask rice and one (1) peso from him, as
accused, the latter pointed to a place below their house his contribution to their companions, the NPA of which he is
where a gun was buried in the ground. (TSN, page 8, now a member. (TSN, pages 70, 71, 72, Hearing-January 4,
Hearing-October 14, 1982). 1983).

Pat. Bioco then verified the place pointed by accused's wife Accused and his companions told Masamlok, he has to join
and dug the grounds, after which he recovered the firearm, their group otherwise, he and his family will be killed. He was
Caliber .38 revolver, marked as Exhibit "A" for the also warned not to reveal anything with the government
prosecution. authorities. Because of the threat to his life and family, Cesar
Masamlok joined the group. Accused then told him, he
After the recovery of the firearm, accused likewise pointed to should attend a seminar scheduled on April 19, 1982. Along
the team, subversive documents which he allegedly kept in a with this invitation, accused pulled gut from his waistline a
stock pile of qqqcogon at a distance of three (3) meters apart .38 caliber revolver which Masamlok really saw, being only
from his house. Then Sgt. Taroy accordingly verified about two (2) meters away from accused, which make him
beneath said cogon grass and likewise recovered easily Identified said firearm, as that marked as Exhibit "A"
documents consisting of notebook colored maroon with for the prosecution. (TSN, pages 72, 73, and 74, Hearing-
spiral bound, Exhibit "B" for the prosecution; a pamphlet January 4, 1983).
consisting of eight (8) leaves, including the front and back
covers entitled Ang Bayan, Pahayagan ng Partido On April 19, 1982, as previously invited, Masamlok,
Komunista ng Pilipinas, Pinapatnubayan ng Marxismo, accompanied by his father, Matuguil Masamlok, Isabel Ilan
Leninismo Kaisipang Mao qqqZedong dated December 31, and Ayok Ides went to the house of accused and attended
1980, marked as Exhibit "C", and another pamphlet Asdang the seminar, Those present in the seminar were: accused
Pamantalaang Masa sa Habagatang Mindanao, March and Ruben Burgos, Antonio Burgos, Oscar Gomez, Landrino
April 1981 issue, consisting of ten (10) pages, marked as Burgos, alias Pedipol and one alias Jamper.
Exhibit "D" for the prosecution.
The first speaker was accused Ruben Burgos, who said very
Accused, when confronted with the firearm Exhibit "A", after distinctly that he is an NPA together with his companions, to
its recovery, readily admitted the same as issued to him by assure the unity of the civilian. That he encouraged the

101
group to overthrow the government, emphasizing that those Fiscal Lovitos, before accused signed his statement,
who attended the seminar were already members of the explained to him his constitutional rights to remain silent,
NPA, and if they reveal to the authorities, they will be killed. right to counsel and right to answer any question
propounded or not.
Accused, while talking, showed to the audience pamphlets
and documents, then finally shouted, the NPA will be With the aid of Atty. Anyog, accused signed his confession in
victorious. Masamlok likewise Identified the pamphlets as the presence of Atty. Anyog and Fiscal Lovitos, without the
those marked as Exh. exhibits "B", "C", and "D" for the presence of military authorities, who escorted the accused,
prosecution. (TSN, pages 75, 76 and 77, Hearing-January 4, but were sent outside the cubicle of Fiscal Lovitos while
1983) waiting for the accused. (TSN, pages 36-40, nearing
November 15, 1982)
Other speakers in said meeting were Pedipol, Jamper and
Oscar Gomez, who likewise expounded their own opinions Finally, in order to prove illegal possession by accused of the
about the NPA. It was also announced in said seminar that a subject firearm, Sgt. Epifanio Comabig in-charge of firearms
certain Tonio Burgos, will be responsible for the collection of and explosives, NCO Headquarter, Philippine Constabulary,
the contribution from the members. (TSN, pages 78-79, Digos, Davao del Sur, was presented and testified, that
Hearing- January 4, 1983) among the lists of firearm holders in Davao del Sur, nothing
was listed in the name of accused Ruben Burgos, neither
On May 12, 1982, however, Cesar Masamlok surrendered to was his name included among the lists of persons who
Captain Bargio of the Provincial Headquarters of the applied for the licensing of the firearm under Presidential
Philippine Constabulary, Digos, Davao del Sur. Decree No. 1745.

Assistant Provincial Fiscal Panfilo Lovitos was presented t After the above-testimony the prosecution formally closed its
prove that on May 19, 1982, he administered the case and offered its exhibits, which were all admitted in
subscription of th extra-judicial confession of accused Ruben evidence, despite objection interposed by counsel for
Burgos, marked as Exhibit "E " for the prosecution, accused, which was accordingly overruled.
consisting of five (5) pages.
On the other hand, the defendant-appellant's version of the case against him
Appearing voluntarily in said office, for the subscription of his is stated in the decision as follows:
confession, Fiscal Lovitos, realizing that accused was not
represented by counsel, requested the services of Atty. From his farm, the military personnel, whom he said he
Anyog, whose office is adjacent to the Fiscal's Office, to cannot recognize, brought him to the PC Barracks at Digos,
assist accused in the subscription of his extra-judicial Davao del Sur, and arrived there at about 3:00 o'clock, on
statement. the same date. At about 8:00 o'clock P.M., in the evening, he
was investigated by soldiers, whom he cannot Identify
Atty. Anyog assisted accused in the reading of his because they were wearing a civilian attire. (TSN, page 14 1,
confession from English to Visayan language, resulting to Hearing-June 15, 1983)
the deletion of question No. 19 of the document, by an
inserted certification of Atty. Anyog and signature of The investigation was conducted in the PC barracks, where
accused, indicating his having understood, the allegations of he was detained with respect to the subject firearm, which
his extra-judicial statement. the investigator, wished him to admit but accused denied its
ownership. Because of his refusal accused was mauled,
hitting him on the left and right side of his body which
102
rendered him unconscious. Accused in an atmosphere of able to obtain his admission of the subject firearm, by force
tersed solemnity, crying and with emotional attachment, and violence exerted over his person.
described in detail how he was tortured and the ordeals he
was subjected. To support denial of accused of being involved in any
subversive activities, and also to support his denial to the
He said, after recovery of his consciousness, he was again truth of his alleged extra-judicial confession, particularly
confronted with subject firearm, Exhibit "A", for him to admit questions Nos. 35, 38, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46 and 47, along
and when he repeatedly refused to accept as his own with qqqs answers to those questions, involving Honorata
firearm, he was subjected to further prolong (sic) torture and Arellano ahas Inday Arellano, said Honorata Arellano
physical agony. Accused said, his eyes were covered with appeared and declared categorically, that the above-
wet black cloth with pungent effect on his eyes. He was questions embraced in the numbers allegedly stated in the
undressed, with only blindfold, pungent water poured in his extrajudicial confession of accused, involving her to such
body and over his private parts, making his entire body, NPA personalities, as Jamper, Pol, Anthony, etc., were not
particularly his penis and testicle, terribly irritating with true because on the date referred on April 28, 1982, none of
pungent pain. the persons mentioned came to her house for treatment,
neither did she meet the accused nor able to talk with him.
All along, he was investigated to obtain his admission, The (TSN, pages 118- 121, Hearing-May 18, 1983)
process of beating, mauling, pain and/or ordeal was
repeatedly done in similar cycle, from May 13 and 14, 1982. She, however, admitted being familiar with one Oscar
intercepted only whenever he fell unconscious and again Gomez, and that she was personally charged with
repeated after recovery of his senses, subversion in the Office of the Provincial Commander,
Philippine Constabulary, Digos, Davao del Sur, but said
Finally on May 15, 1982, after undergoing the same torture charge was dismissed without reaching the Court. She
and physical ordeal he was seriously warned, if he will still likewise stated that her son, Rogelio Arellano, was likewise
adamantly refuse to accept ownership of the subject firearm, charged for subversion filed in the Municipal Trial Court of
he will be salvaged, and no longer able to bear any further Digos, Davao del Sur, but was likewise dismissed for lack of
the pain and agony, accused admitted ownership of subject sufficient evidence to sustain his conviction. (TSN, pages
firearm. 121-122, in relation to her cross-examination, Hearing-May
18, 1983)
After his admission, the mauling and torture stopped, but
accused was made to sign his affidavit marked as Exhibit "E" To support accused's denial of the charge against him,
for the prosecution, consisting of five (5) pages, including the Barangay Captain of Tiguman, Digos, Davao del Sur,
certification of the administering officer, (TSN, pages 141- Salvador qqqGalaraga was presented, who declared, he
148, Hearing-June 15, 1983) was not personally aware of any subversive activities of
accused, being his neighbor and member of his barrio. On
the contrary, he can personally attest to his good character
In addition to how he described the torture inflicted on him,
and reputation, as a law abiding citizen of his barrio, being a
accused, by way of explanation and commentary in details,
carpenter and farmer thereat. (TSl pages 128-129, Hearing-
and going one by one, the allegations and/or contents of his
May 18, 1983)
alleged extrajudicial statement, attributed his answers to
those questions involuntarily made only because of fear,
threat and intimidation of his person and family, as a result of He however, admitted in cross-examination, that there were
unbearable excruciating pain he was subjected by an a lot of arrests made by the authorities in his barrio involving
investigator, who, unfortunately he cannot Identify and was subversive activities but they were released and were not

103
formally charged in Court because they publicly took their FOR VIOLATION OF P.D. No. 9 IN RELATION TO
oath of allegiance with the government. (TSN, pages 133- GENERAL ORDERS NOS. 6 AND 7
134, in relation to page 136, Hearing-May 18, 1983)
Was the arrest of Ruben Burgos lawful? Were the search of his house and
Finally, to support accused's denial of the subject firearm, his the subsequent confiscation of a firearm and documents allegedly found
wife, Urbana Burgos, was presented and who testified that therein conducted in a lawful and valid manner? Does the evidence
the subject firearm was left in their house by Cesar sustaining the crime charged meet the test of proving guilt beyond
Masamlok and one Pedipol on May 10, 1982. It was night reasonable doubt?
time, when the two left the gun, alleging that it was not in
order, and that they will leave it behind, temporarily for them The records of the case disclose that when the police authorities went to the
to claim it later. They were the ones who buried it. She said, house of Ruben Burgos for the purpose of arresting him upon information
her husband, the accused, was not in their house at that given by Cesar Masamlok that the accused allegedly recruited him to join the
time and that she did not inform him about said firearm New People's Army (NPA), they did not have any warrant of arrest or search
neither did she report the matter to the authorities, for fear of warrant with them (TSN, p. 25, October 14, 1982; and TSN, p. 61, November
the life of her husband. (TSN, page 24, November 22, 1983) 15, 1982).

On cross-examination, she said, even if Masamlok during Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution provides:
the recovery of the firearm, was wearing a mask, she can
still Identify him. (TSN, page 6, Hearing-November 22, 1983) The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,
papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and
After the above-testimony, accused through counsel formally seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall not be
rested his case in support of accused's through counsel violated, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall
manifestation for the demurrer to evidence of the issue except upon probable cause to be determined by the
prosecution, or in the alternative for violation merely of judge, or such other responsible officer as may be
simple illegal possession of firearm, 'under the Revised authorized by law, after examination under oath or
Administrative Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 4, affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may
reflected in the manifestation of counsel for accused. (TSN, produce, and particularly describing the place to be
pages 113-114, Hearing-May 18, 1983) searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Accused-appellant Ruben Burgos now raises the following assignments of The constitutional provision is a safeguard against wanton and unreasonable
error, to wit: invasion of the privacy and liberty of a citizen as to his person, papers and
effects. This Court explained in Villanueva vs. Querubin (48 SCRA 345) why
I THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT (SIC) this right is so important:
THE ARREST OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT WITHOUT
VALID WARRANT TO BE LAWFUL. It is deference to one's personality that lies at the core of this
right, but it could be also looked upon as a recognition of a
II THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THE SEARCH constitutionally protected area, primarily one's home, but not
IN THE HOUSE OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT FOR necessarily thereto confined. (Cf. Hoffa v. United States, 385
FIREARM WITHOUT VALID WARRANT TO BE LAWFUL. US 293 [19661) What is sought to be guarded is a man's
prerogative to choose who is allowed entry to his residence.
III THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING ACCUSED- In that haven of refuge, his individuality can assert itself not
APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT only in the choice of who shall be welcome but likewise in
the kind of objects he wants around him. There the state,
104
however powerful, does not as such have access except If the arrest is valid, the consequent search and seizure of the firearm and
under the circumstances above noted, for in the traditional the alleged subversive documents would become an incident to a lawful
formulation, his house, however humble, is his castle. Thus arrest as provided by Rule 126, Section 12, which states:
is outlawed any unwarranted intrusion by government, which
is called upon to refrain from any invasion of his dwelling and A person charged with an offense may be searched for
to respect the privacies of his life, (Cf. Schmerber v. dangerous weapons or anything which may be used as proof
California, 384 US 757 [1966], Brennan, J. and Boyd v. of the commission of the offense.
United States, 116 US 616, 630 [1886]). In the same vein,
Landynski in his authoritative work (Search and Seizure and The conclusions reached by the trial court are erroneous.
the Supreme Court [1966], could fitly characterize this
constitutional right as the embodiment of a 'spiritual concept:
the belief that to value the privacy of home and person and Under Section 6(a) of Rule 113, the officer arresting a person who has just
to afford its constitutional protection against the long reach of committed, is committing, or is about to commit an offense must
government is no legs than to value human dignity, and that have personal knowledge of that fact. The offense must also be committed in
his privacy must not be disturbed except in case of his presence or within his view. (Sayo v. Chief of Police, 80 Phil. 859).
overriding social need, and then only under stringent
procedural safeguards.' (Ibid, p. 47). There is no such personal knowledge in this case. Whatever knowledge was
possessed by the arresting officers, it came in its entirety from the
The trial court justified the arrest of the accused-appelant without any warrant information furnished by Cesar Masamlok. The location of the firearm was
as falling under one of the instances when arrests may be validly made given by the appellant's wife.
without a warrant. Rule 113, Section 6 * of the Rules of Court, provides the
exceptions as follows: At the time of the appellant's arrest, he was not in actual possession of any
firearm or subversive document. Neither was he committing any act which
a) When the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or could be described as subversive. He was, in fact, plowing his field at the
is about to commit an offense in his presence; time of the arrest.

b) When an offense has in fact been committed, and he has reasonable The right of a person to be secure against any unreasonable seizure of his
ground to believe that the person to be arrested has committed it; body and any deprivation of his liberty is a most basic and fundamental one.
The statute or rule which allows exceptions to the requirement of warrants of
arrest is strictly construed. Any exception must clearly fall within the
c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a
situations when securing a warrant would be absurd or is manifestly
penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or
unnecessary as provided by the Rule. We cannot liberally construe the rule
temporarily confined while his case is pending or has escaped while being
on arrests without warrant or extend its application beyond the cases
transferred from one confinement to another. specifically provided by law. To do so would infringe upon personal liberty
and set back a basic right so often violated and so deserving of full
The Court stated that even if there was no warrant for the arrest of Burgos, protection.
the fact that "the authorities received an urgent report of accused's
involvement in subversive activities from a reliable source (report of Cesar
The Solicitor General is of the persuasion that the arrest may still be
Masamlok) the circumstances of his arrest, even without judicial warrant, is considered lawful under Section 6(b) using the test of reasonableness. He
lawfully within the ambit of Section 6-A of Rule 113 of the Rules of Court and submits that. the information given by Cesar Masamlok was sufficient to
applicable jurisprudence on the matter."
induce a reasonable ground that a crime has been committed and that the
accused is probably guilty thereof.

105
In arrests without a warrant under Section 6(b), however, it is not enough that pointed out by Justice Laurel in the case of Pasion Vda. de Garcia V. Locsin
there is reasonable ground to believe that the person to be arrested has (supra)
committed a crime. A crime must in fact or actually have been committed
first. That a crime has actually been committed is an essential precondition. It xxx xxx xxx
is not enough to suspect that a crime may have been committed. The fact of
the commission of the offense must be undisputed. The test of reasonable
. . . As the constitutional guaranty is not dependent upon any
ground applies only to the identity of the perpetrator.
affirmative act of the citizen, the courts do not place the
citizen in the position of either contesting an officer's
In this case, the accused was arrested on the sole basis of Masamlok's authority by force, or waiving his constitutional rights; but
verbal report. Masamlok led the authorities to suspect that the accused had instead they hold that a peaceful submission to a search or
committed a crime. They were still fishing for evidence of a crime not yet seizure is not a consent or an invitation thereto, but is merely
ascertained. The subsequent recovery of the subject firearm on the basis of a demonstration of regard for the supremacy of the law. (56
information from the lips of a frightened wife cannot make the arrest lawful, If C.J., pp. 1180, 1181).
an arrest without warrant is unlawful at the moment it is made, generally
nothing that happened or is discovered afterwards can make it lawful. The We apply the rule that: "courts indulge every reasonable presumption against
fruit of a poisoned tree is necessarily also tainted. waiver of fundamental constitutional rights and that we do not presume
acquiescence in the loss of fundamental rights." (Johnson v. Zerbst 304 U.S.
More important, we find no compelling reason for the haste with which the 458).
arresting officers sought to arrest the accused. We fail to see why they failed
to first go through the process of obtaining a warrant of arrest, if indeed they
That the accused-appellant was not apprised of any of his constitutional
had reasonable ground to believe that the accused had truly committed a
rights at the time of his arrest is evident from the records:
crime. There is no showing that there was a real apprehension that the
accused was on the verge of flight or escape. Likewise, there is no showing
that the whereabouts of the accused were unknown, A CALAMBA:

The basis for the action taken by the arresting officer was the verbal report Q When you went to the area to arrest
made by Masamlok who was not required to subscribe his allegations under Ruben Burgos, you were not armed with an
oath. There was no compulsion for him to state truthfully his charges under arrest warrant?
pain of criminal prosecution. (TSN, p. 24, October 14, 1982). Consequently,
the need to go through the process of securing a search warrant and a A None Sir.
warrant of arrest becomes even more clear. The arrest of the accused while
he was plowing his field is illegal. The arrest being unlawful, the search and Q Neither were you armed with a search
seizure which transpired afterwards could not likewise be deemed legal as warrant?
being mere incidents to a valid arrest.
A No Sir.
Neither can it be presumed that there was a waiver, or that consent was
given by the accused to be searched simply because he failed to object. To Q As a matter of fact, Burgos was not
constitute a waiver, it must appear first that the right exists; secondly, that the present in his house when you went there?
person involved had knowledge, actual or constructive, of the existence of
such a right; and lastly, that said person had an actual intention to relinquish
A But he was twenty meters away from his
the right (Pasion Vda. de Garcia v. Locsin, 65 Phil. 689). The fact that the
house.
accused failed to object to the entry into his house does not amount to a
permission to make a search therein (Magoncia v. Palacio, 80 Phil. 770). As
Q Ruben Burgos was then plowing his field?
106
A Yes Sir. A Yes Sir.

Q When you called for Ruben Burgos you (TSN, pp. 25-26, Hearing-October 14, 1982)
interviewed him?
Considering that the questioned firearm and the alleged subversive
A Yes Sir. documents were obtained in violation of the accused's constitutional rights
against unreasonable searches and seizures, it follows that they are
Q And that you told him that Masamlok inadmissible as evidence.
implicated him?
There is another aspect of this case.
A No Sir.
In proving ownership of the questioned firearm and alleged subversive
Q What did you tell him? documents, the prosecution presented the two arresting officers who testified
that the accused readily admitted ownership of the gun after qqqs wife
pointed to the place where it was buried. The officers stated that it was the
A That we received information that you
have a firearm, you surrender that firearm, accused himself who voluntarily pointed to the place where the alleged
first he denied but when Sgt. Buncalan subversive documents were hidden.
interviewed his wife, his wife told him that it
is buried, I dug the firearm which was Assuming this to be true, it should be recalled that the accused was never
wrapped with a cellophane. informed of his constitutional rights at the time of his arrest. So that when the
accused allegedly admitted ownership of the gun and pointed to the location
Q In your interview of Burgos you did not of the subversive documents after questioning, the admissions were obtained
in violation of the constitutional right against self-incrimination under Sec. 20
remind him of his rights under the
of Art. IV of the Bill of Rights winch provides:
constitution considering that he was
purposely under arrest?
No person shall be compelled to be a witness against
A I did not. himself. Any person under investigation for the commission
of an offense shall have the right to remain silent and to
counsel, and to be informed of such right.. . .
Q As a matter of fact, he denied that he has
ever a gun?
The Constitution itself mandates that any evidence obtained in violation of
this right is inadmissible in evidence. Consequently, the testimonies of the
A Yes Sir. arresting officers as to the admissions made by the appellant cannot be used
against him.
Q As a matter of fact, the gun was not in his
possession? The trial court validly rejected the extra-judicial confession of the accused as
inadmissible in evidence. The court stated that the appellant's having been
A It was buried down in his horse. exhaustively subjected to physical terror, violence, and third degree
measures may not have been supported by reliable evidence but the failure
Q As a matter of fact, Burgos did not point to to present the investigator who conducted the investigation gives rise to the
where it was buried? "provocative presumption" that indeed torture and physical violence may
have been committed as stated.

107
The accused-appellant was not accorded his constitutional right to be . . .He was a confessed Huk under detention at the time. He
assisted by counsel during the custodial interrogation. The lower court knew his fate depended upon how much he cooperated with
correctly pointed out that the securing of counsel, Atty. Anyog, to help the the authorities, who were then engaged in a vigorous anti-
accused when he subscribed under oath to his statement at the Fiscal's dissident campaign. As in the case of Rodrigo de Jesus,
Office was too late. It could have no palliative effect. It cannot cure the whose testimony We discounted for the same reason, that of
absence of counsel at the time of the custodial investigation when the Ternura cannot be considered as proceeding from a totally
extrajudicial statement was being taken. unbiased source. . . .

With the extra-judicial confession, the firearm, and the alleged subversive In the instant case, Masamlok's testimony was totally uncorroborated.
documents inadmissible in evidence against the accused-appellant, the only Considering that Masamlok surrendered to the military certainly his fate
remaining proof to sustain the charge of Illegal Possession of Firearm in depended on how eagerly he cooperated with the authorities. Otherwise, he
Furtherance of Subversion is the testimony of Cesar Masamlok. would also be charged with subversion. The trade-off appears to be his
membership in the Civil Home Defense Force. (TSN, p. 83, January 4, 1983).
We find the testimony of Masamlok inadequate to convict Burgos beyond Masamlok may be considered as an interested witness. It can not be said
reasonable doubt. It is true that the trial court found Masamlok's testimony that his testimony is free from the opportunity and temptation to be
credible and convincing. However, we are not necessarily bound by the exaggerated and even fabricated for it was intended to secure his freedom.
credibility which the trial court attaches to a particular witness. As stated
in People vs.. Cabrera (100 SCRA 424): Despite the fact that there were other persons present during the alleged
NPA seminar of April 19, 1982 i.e., Masamlok's father ,Matuguil Masamlok,
xxx xxx xxx Isabel Ilan and Ayok Ides (TSN, p. 74, January 4, 1983) who could have
corroborated Cesar Masamlok's testimony that the accused used the gun in
furtherance of subversive activities or actually engaged in subversive acts,
. . .Time and again we have stated that when it comes to
the prosecution never presented any other witness.
question of credibility the findings of the trial court are
entitled to great respect upon appeal for the obvious reason
th+at it was able to observe the demeanor, actuations and This Court is, therefore, constrained to rule that the evidence presented by
deportment of the witnesses during the trial. But we have the prosecution is insufficient to prove the guilt of the accused beyond
also said that this rule is not absolute for otherwise there reasonable doubt.
would be no reversals of convictions upon appeal. We must
reject the findings of the trial court where the record As held in the case of People vs. Baia (34 SCRA 347):
discloses circumstances of weight and substance which
were not properly appreciated by the trial court. It is evident that once again, reliance can be placed
on People v. Dramayo (42 SCRA 59), where after stressing
The situation under which Cesar Masamlok testified is analogous to that that accusation is not, according to the fundamental law,
found in People vs. Capadocia (17 SCRA 98 1): synonymous with guilt, it was made clear: 'Only if the judge
below and the appellate tribunal could arrive at a conclusion
. . . The case against appellant is built on Ternura's that the crime had been committed precisely by the person
testimony, and the issue hinges on how much credence can on trial under such an exacting test should the sentence be
be accorded to him. The first consideration is that said one of conviction. It is thus required that every circumstance
testimony stands uncorroborated. Ternura was the only favoring his innocence be duly taken into account. The proof
witness who testified on the mimeographing incident. . . . against him must survive the test of reason; the strongest
suspicion must not be permitted to sway judgment. The
conscience must be satisfied that on the defendant could be
xxx xxx xxx
laid the responsibility for the offense charged; that not only
108
did he perpetrate the act but that it amounted to a crime. Feria (Chairman), Fernan, Alampay and Paras, JJ., concur.
What is required then is moral certainty.' (Ibid, 64. Cf. People
v. Alvarez, 55 SCRA 81; People v. Joven, 64 SCRA 126;
People vs. Ramirez, 69 SCRA 144; People vs. Godov 72
SCRA 69; People v. Lopez, 74 SCRA 205; People v.
Poblador, 76 SCRA 634; People v. Quiazon, 78 SCRA 513;
People v. Nazareno, 80 SCRA 484; People vs. Gabilan 115
SCRA 1; People v. Gabiana, 117 SCRA 260; and People vs.
Ibanga 124 SCRA 697).

We are aware of the serious problems faced by the military in Davao del Sur
where there appears to be a well-organized plan to overthrow the
Government through armed struggle and replace it with an alien system
based on a foreign ideology. The open defiance against duly constituted
authorities has resulted in unfortunate levels of violence and human suffering
publicized all over the country and abroad. Even as we reiterate the need for
all freedom loving citizens to assist the military authorities in their legitimate
efforts to maintain peace and national security, we must also remember the
dictum in Morales vs. Enrile (1 21 SCRA 538, 569) when this Court stated:

While the government should continue to repel the


communists, the subversives, the rebels, and the lawless
with an the means at its command, it should always be
remembered that whatever action is taken must always be
within the framework of our Constitution and our laws.

Violations of human rights do not help in overcoming a rebellion. A cavalier


attitude towards constitutional liberties and protections will only fan the
increase of subversive activities instead of containing and suppressing them.

WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction rendered by the trial court is


REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The accused-appellant is hereby
ACQUITTED, on grounds of reasonable doubt, of the crime with which he
has been charged.

The subject firearm involved in this case (homemade revolver, caliber .38,
Smith and Wesson, with Serial No. 8.69221) and the alleged subversive
documents are ordered disposed of in accordance with law.

Cost de oficio.

SO ORDERED.

109
G.R. No. 81567 July 9, 1990 G.R. No. 86332 July 9, 1990

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF
ROBERTO UMIL, ROLANDO DURAL and RENATO VILLANUEVA. NARCISO B. NAZARENO. ALFREDO NAZARENO, petitioner,
MANOLITA O. UMIL, and NICANOR P. DURAL, FELICITAS V. vs.
SESE, petitioners, THE STATION COMMANDER OF THE MUNTINGLUPA POLICE
vs. STATION, Muntinglupa, Metro Manila, P/SGT. JACINTO MEDINA, P/SGT.
FIDEL V. RAMOS, MAJ. GEN. RENATO DE VILLA, BRIG. GEN. RAMON ELADIO TAGLE, P/SGT. LEVI SOLEDAD, and P/SGT. MAURO
MONTANO, BRIG. GEN. ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, respondents. AROJADO, respondents.

G.R. Nos. 84581-82 July 9, 1990 Efren H. Mercado for petitioners in G.R. No. 81567.

AMELIA ROQUE and WILFREDO BUENAOBRA, petitioners, Ricardo C. Valmonte for petitioners in G.R. Nos. 84581-82.
vs.
GEN. RENATO DE VILLA and GEN. RAMON MONTANO, respondents. Ramon S. Esguerra, Barbara Anne C. Migallos and Agripino G. Morga for
petitioners in G.R. Nos. 84583-84.
G.R. Nos. 84583-84 July 9, 1990
Efren H. Mercado for petitioner in G.R. No. 83162.
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF ATTY.
DOMINGO T. ANONUEVO and RAMON CASIPLE. DOMINGO T. Banzuela, Flores, Miralles, Raneses, Sy, Taquio & Association for petitioner
ANONUEVO and RAMON CASIPLE, petitioners, in G.R. No. 85727.
vs.
HON. FIDEL V. RAMOS, GEN. RENATO S. DE VILLA, COL. EVARISTO
Josefina G. Campbell-Castillo for petitioners in G.R. No. 86332.
CARINO, LT. COL. REX D. PIAD, T/SGT. CONRADO DE TORRES, S/SGT.
ARNOLD DURIAN, and Commanding Officer, PC-INP Detention Center,
Camp Crame, Quezon City, respondents. The Solicitor General for the respondents.

G.R. No. 83162 July 9, 1990

IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF PER CURIAM:


VICKY A. OCAYA AND DANNY RIVERA. VIRGILIO A. OCAYA, petitioner,
vs. The are eight (8) petitioners for habeas corpus filed before the Court, which
BRIG. GEN. ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, COL. HERCULES CATALUNA, have been consolidated because of the similarity of issues raised, praying for
COL. NESTOR MARIANO, respondents. the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus, ordering the respective
respondents to produce the bodies of the persons named therein and to
G.R. No. 85727 July 9, 1990 explain why they should not be set at liberty without further delay.

IN THE MATTER OF APPLICATION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF: In their respective Returns, the respondents uniformly assert that the
DEOGRACIAS ESPIRITU, petitioner, privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is not available to the petitioners as
vs. they have been legally arrested and are detained by virtue of valid
BRIG. GEN. ALFREDO S. LIM, COL. RICARDO REYES, respondents. informations filed in court against them.

110
The petitioners counter that their detention is unlawful as their arrests were arrest has personal knowledge of the facts indicating that the person arrested
made without warrant and, that no preliminary investigation was first has committed it. The rationale behind lawful arrests, without warrant, was
conducted, so that the informations filed against them are null and void. stated by this Court in the case of People vs. Kagui Malasugui 1 thus:

The Court has carefully reviewed the contentions of the parties in their To hold that no criminal can, in any case, be arrested and
respective pleadings, and it finds that the persons detained have not been searched for the evidence and tokens of his crime without a
illegally arrested nor arbitrarily deprived of their constitutional right to liberty, warrant, would be to leave society, to a large extent, at the
and that the circumstances attending these cases do not warrant their mercy of the shrewdest, the most expert, and the most
release on habeas corpus. depraved of criminals, facilitating their escape in many
instances.
The arrest of a person without a warrant of arrest or previous complaint is
recognized in law. The occasions or instances when such an arrest may be The record of the instant cases would show that the persons in whose behalf
effected are clearly spelled out in Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, these petitions for habeas corpus have been filed, had freshly committed or
as amended, which provides: were actually committing an offense, when apprehended, so that their arrests
without a warrant were clearly justified, and that they are, further, detained by
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace virtue of valid informations filed against them in court.
officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a
person: A brief narration of the facts and events surrounding each of the eight (8)
petitions is in order.
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit I
an offense;
In G.R. No. 81567 (Umil vs. Ramos), the record shows that, on 1 February
(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he 1988, the Regional Intelligence Operations Unit of the Capital Command
has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to (RIOU-CAPCOM) received confidential information about a member of the
be arrested has committed it; and NPA Sparrow Unit (liquidation squad) being treated for a gunshot wound at
the St. Agnes Hospital in Roosevelt Avenue, Quezon City. Upon verification,
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has it was found that the wounded person, who was listed in the hospital records
escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is as Ronnie Javelon, is actually Rolando Dural, a member of the NPA
serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case liquidation squad, responsible for the killing of two (2) CAPCOM soldiers the
is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one day before, or on 31 January 1988, in Macanining Street, Bagong Barrio,
confinement to another. Caloocan City. In view of this verification, Rolando Dural was transferred to
the Regional Medical Services of the CAPCOM, for security reasons. While
confined thereat, or on 4 February 1988, Rolando Dural was positively
In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the
identified by eyewitnesses as the gunman who went on top of the hood of the
person arrested without a warrant shall be forthwith
CAPCOM mobile patrol car, and fired at the two (2) CAPCOM soldiers
delivered to the nearest police station or jail, and he shall be
seated inside the car identified as T/Sgt. Carlos Pabon and CIC Renato
proceeded against in accordance with Rule 112, Section 7.
Manligot.
An arrest without a warrant of arrest, under Section 5 paragraphs (a) and (b)
As a consequence of this positive identification, Rolando Dural was referred
of Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, as amended, is justified when the person
arrested is caught in flagranti delicto, viz., in the act of committing an offense; to the Caloocan City Fiscal who conducted an inquest and thereafter filed
with the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City an information charging
or when an offense has just been committed and the person making the
Rolando Dural alias Ronnie Javelon with the crime of "Double Murder with
111
Assault Upon Agents of Persons in Authority." The case was docketed continuing offenses which set them apart from the common
therein as Criminal Case No. C-30112 and no bail was recommended. On 15 offenses, aside from their essentially involving a massive
February 1988, the information was amended to include, as defendant, conspiracy of nationwide magnitude. Clearly then, the arrest
Bernardo Itucal, Jr. who, at the filing of the original information, was still of the herein detainees was well within the bounds of the law
unidentified. and existing jurisprudence in our jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, on 6 February 1988, a petition for habeas corpus was filed with 2. The arrest of persons involved in the rebellion whether as
this Court on behalf of Roberto Umil, Rolando Dural, and Renato Villanueva. its fighting armed elements, or for committing non-violent
The Court issued the writ of habeas corpus on 9 February 1988 and the acts but in furtherance of the rebellion, is more an act of
respondents filed a Return of the Writ on 12 February 1988. Thereafter, the capturing them in the course of an armed conflict, to quell
parties were heard on 15 February 1988. the rebellion, than for the purpose of immediately
prosecuting them in court for a statutory offense. The arrest,
On 26 February 1988, however, Roberto Umil and Renato Villanueva posted therefore, need not follow the usual procedure in the
bail before the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City where charges for violation prosecution of offenses which requires the determination by
of the Anti-Subversion Act had been filed against them, and they were a judge of the existence of probable cause before the
accordingly released. The petition for habeas corpus, insofar as Umil and issuance of a judicial warrant of arrest and the granting of
Villanueva are concerned, is now moot and academic and is accordingly bail if the offense is bailable. Obviously, the absence of a
dismissed, since the writ of habeas corpus does not lie in favor of an judicial warrant is no legal impediment to arresting or
accused in a criminal case who has been released on bail. 2 capturing persons committing overt acts of violence against
government forces, or any other milder acts but equally in
As to Rolando Dural, it clearly appears that he was not arrested while in the pursuance of the rebellious movement. The arrest or capture
is thus impelled by the exigencies of the situation that
act of shooting the two (2) CAPCOM soldiers aforementioned. Nor was he
arrested just after the commission of the said offense for his arrest came a involves the very survival of society and its government and
day after the said shooting incident. Seemingly, his arrest without warrant is duly constituted authorities. If killing and other acts of
unjustified. violence against the rebels find justification in the exigencies
of armed hostilities which is of the essence of waging a
rebellion or insurrection, most assuredly so in case of
However, Rolando Dural was arrested for being a member of the New invasion, merely seizing their persons and detaining them
Peoples Army (NPA), an outlawed subversive organization. Subversion while any of these contingencies continues cannot be less
being a continuing offense, the arrest of Rolando Dural without warrant is justified. . . . 3
justified as it can be said that he was committing an offense when arrested.
The crimes of rebellion, subversion, conspiracy or proposal to commit such
The record, moreover, shows that the criminal case filed against Rolando
crimes, and crimes or offenses committed in furtherance thereof or in
Dural and Bernardo Itucal, Jr. for "Double Murder, etc." was tried in the court
connection therewith constitute direct assaults against the State and are in
the nature of continuing crimes. As stated by the Court in an earlier case: below and at the conclusion thereof, or on 17 August 1988, Rolando Dural
and Bernardo Itucal, Jr. were found guilty of the charge and sentenced
accordingly. Rolando Dural is now serving the sentence imposed upon him
From the facts as above-narrated, the claim of the by the trial court. Thus, the writ of habeas corpus is no longer available to
petitioners that they were initially arrested illegally is, him. For, as held in the early case of U.S. vs. Wilson: 4
therefore, without basis in law and in fact. The crimes of
insurrection or rebellion, subversion, conspiracy or proposal
to commit such crimes, and other crimes and offenses In this case, whatever may be said about the manner of his
committed in the furtherance, on the occasion thereof, or arrest, the fact remains that the defendant was actually in
court in the custody of the law on March 29, when a
incident thereto, or in connection therewith under
complaint sufficient in form and substance was read to him.
Presidential Proclamation No. 2045, are all in the nature of
112
To this he pleaded not guilty. The trial followed, in which, a) One (1) Colt M16A1 long rifle with defaced serial number;
and in the judgment of guilty pronounced by the court, we
find no error. Whether, if there were irregularities in bringing b) One (1) Cal. .380 ACT/9mm Model PPK/8 SN: 260577 & 2605778;
him personally before the court, he could have been
released on a writ of habeas corpus or now has a civil action
c) Two (2) fragmentation hand grenades;
for damages against the person who arrested him we need
not inquire. It is enough to say that such irregularities are not
sufficient to set aside a valid judgment rendered upon a d) Fifty-six (56) live ammunition for Cal. 5.56 mm;
sufficient complaint and after a trial free from error.
e) Five (5) live ammunition for Cal. .380;
II
f) One (1) ICOM VHF FM Radio Transciever SN: 14903
In G.R. Nos. 84581-82 (Roque vs. De Villa), the arrest of Amelia
Roque and Wilfredo Buenaobra, without warrant, is also justified. When g) One (1) Regulated power supply 220V AC;
apprehended at the house of Renato Constantino in Marikina Heights,
Marikina, Metro Manila, Wilfredo Buenaobra admitted that he was an NPA h) One (1) Antennae (adjustable);
courier and he had with him letters to Renato Constantino and other
members of the rebel group. Amelia Roque, upon the other hand, was a i) One (1) Speaker with cord ALEXAR;
member of the National United Front Commission, in charge of finance,
and admitted ownership of subversive documents found in the house of her
j) Voluminous Subversive documents.
sister in Caloocan City. She was also in possession of ammunition and a
fragmentation grenade for which she had no permit or authority to possess.
When confronted, Renato Constatino could not produce any permit or
authority to possess the firearms, ammunition, radio and other
The record of these two (2) cases shows that on 27 June 1988, one Rogelio
communications equipment. Hence, he was brought to the CIS Headquarters
Ramos y Ibanes, a member of the NPA, who had surrendered to the military
for investigation. When questioned, he refused to give a written statement,
authorities, told military agents about the operations of the Communist Party
although he admitted that he was a staff member of the executive committee
of the Philippines (CPP) and the New Peoples Army (NPA) in Metro Manila.
of the NUFC and a ranking member of the International Department of the
He identified some of his former comrades as "Ka Mong", a staff member of
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
the Communications and Transportation Bureau; "Ka Nelia", a staff member
in charge of finance; "Ka Miller", an NPA courier from Sorsogon and Lopez,
Quezon; "Ka Ted", and "Ka Totoy". He also pointed to a certain house At about 8:00 o'clock in the evening of the same day (12 August 1988),
occupied by Renato Constantino located in the Villaluz Compound, Molave Wilfredo Buenaobra arrived at the house of Renato Constantino in the
St., Marikina Heights, Marikina, Metro Manila, which is used as a safehouse Villaluz Compound. When accosted, he readily admitted to the military
of the National United Front Commission (NUFC) of the CPP-NPA. agents that he is a regular member of the CPP/NPA and that he went to the
place to deliver letters to "Ka Mong", referring to Renato Constatino, and
other members of the rebel group. On further questioning, he also admitted
In view of these revelations, the Constantino house was placed under military
that he is known as "Ka Miller" and that he was from Barangay San Pedro,
surveillance and on 12 August 1988, pursuant to a search warrant issued by
Lopez, Quezon. Among the items taken from him were the following:
Judge Eutropio Migrino of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, a search of the
house was conducted at about 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon, by a combined
team of the Criminal Investigation Service, National Capital District (CIS- (1) Handwritten letter addressed to "Ka Bing & Co. from A &
NCD) and the Constabulary Security Group (CSG). In the course of the Co." dated August 11, 1988;
search, the following articles were found and taken under proper receipt:

113
(2) Handwritten letter addressed to "ROD from VIC (Schell On 24 August 1988, a petition for habeas corpus was filed before this Court
datre)" dated August 11, 1988; on behalf of Amelia Roque and Wilfredo Buenaobra. At the hearing of the
case, however, Wilfredo Buenaobra manifested his desire to stay in the PC-
(3) Handwritten letter addressed to "Suzie" from "Vic", dated INP Stockade at Camp Crame, Quezon City. According, the petition
August 11, 1988. for habeas corpus filed on his behalf is now moot and academic. Only the
petition of Amelia Roque remains for resolution.
Also found Buenaobra's possession was a piece of paper containing a
written but jumbled telephone number of Florida M. Roque, sister of Amelia The contention of respondents that petitioners Roque and Buenaobra are
Roque alias "Ka Nelia", at 69 Geronimo St., Caloocan City. Acting on the officers and/or members of the National United Front Commission (NUFC) of
lead provided as to the whereabouts of Amelia Roque, the military agents the CPP was not controverted or traversed by said petitioners. The
went to the given address the next day (13 August 1988). They arrived at the contention must be deemed admitted. 5 As officers and/or members of the
place at about 11:00 o'clock in the morning. After identifying themselves as NUFC-CPP, their arrest, without warrant, was justified for the same reasons
military agents and after seeking permission to search the place, which was earlier stated vis-a-vis Rolando Dural. The arrest without warrant of Roque
granted, the military agents conducted a search in the presence of the was additionally justified as she was, at the time of apprehension, in
occupants of the house and the barangay captain of the place, one Jesus D. possession of ammunitions without license to possess them.
Olba.
III
The military agents found the place to be another safehouse of the
NUFC/CPP. They found ledgers, journals, vouchers, bank deposit books, In G.R. Nos. 84583-84 (Anonuevo vs. Ramos), the arrest of Domingo
folders, computer diskettes, and subversive documents as well as live Anonuevo and Ramon Casiple, without warrant, is also justified under the
ammunition for a .38 SPL Winchester, 11 rounds of live ammunition for a cal. rules. Both are admittedly members of the standing committee of the NUFC
.45, 19 rounds of live ammunition for an M16 Rifle, and a fragmentation and, when apprehended in the house of Renato Constatino, they had a bag
grenade. As a result, Amelia Roque and the other occupants of the house containing subversive materials, and both carried firearms and ammunition
were brought to the PC-CIS Headquarters at Camp Crame, Quezon City, for for which they had no license to possess or carry.
investigation. Amelia Roque admitted to the investigators that the voluminous
documents belonged to her and that the other occupants of the house had no The record of these two (2) cases shows that at about 7:30 o'clock in the
knowledge of them. As a result, the said other occupants of the house were evening of 13 August 1988, Domingo T. Anonuevo and Ramon Casiple
released from custody. arrived at the house of Renato Constatino at Marikina Heights, Marikina,
which was still under surveillance by military agents. The military agents
On 15 August 1988, Amelia Roque was brought to the Caloocan City Fiscal noticed bulging objects on their waist lines. When frisked, the agents found
for inquest after which an information charging her with violation of PD 1866 them to be loaded guns. Anonuevo and Casiple were asked to show their
was filed with the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City. The case is permit or license to possess or carry firearms and ammunition, but they could
docketed therein as Criminal Case No. C-1196. Another information for not produce any. Hence, they were brought to PC Headquarters for
violation of the Anti-Subversion Act was filed against Amelia Roque before investigation. Found in their possession were the following articles:
the Metropolitan Trial Court of Caloocan City, which is docketed therein as
Criminal Case No. C-150458. a) Voluminous subversive documents

An information for violation of the Anti-Subversion Act was filed b) One (1) Cal. 7.65 MOD 83 2C Pistol SN: 001412 with one
against Wilfredo Buenaobra before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Marikina, (1) magazine for Cal. 7.65 containing ten (10) live
Metro Manila. The case is docketed therein as Criminal Case No. 23715. Bail ammunition of same caliber;
was set at P4,000.00.

114
c) One (1) Cal. 7.65 Pietro Barreta SN; A18868 last digit However, before the filing of such complaint or information,
tampered with one (1) magazine containing five (5) live the person arrested may ask for a preliminary investigation
ammunition of same caliber. by a proper officer in accordance with this Rule, but he must
sign a waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised
At the PC Stockade, Domingo Anonuevo was identified as "Ka Ted", and Penal Code, as amended, with the assistance of a lawyer
Ramon Casiple as "Ka Totoy" of the CPP, by their comrades who had and in case of non-availability of a lawyer, a responsible
previously surrendered to the military. person of his choice. Notwithstanding such waiver, he may
apply for bail as provided in the corresponding rule and the
On 15 August 1988, the record of the investigation and other documentary investigation must be terminated within fifteen (15) days from
its inception.
evidence were forwarded to the Provincial Fiscal at Pasig, Metro Manila, who
conducted an inquest, after which Domingo Anonuevo and Ramon Casiple
were charged with violation of Presidential Decree No. 1866 before the If the case has been filed in court without a preliminary
Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Metro Manila. The cases are docketed therein investigation having been first conducted, the accused may
as Criminal Cases Nos. 74386 ad 74387, respectively. No bail was within five (5) days from the time he learns of the filing of the
recommended. information, ask for a preliminary investigation with the same
right to adduced evidence in his favor in the manner
On 24 August 1988, a petition for habeas corpus was filed with this Court on prescribed in this Rule.
behalf of Domingo Anonuevo and Ramon Casiple, alleging that the said
Anonuevo and Casiple were unlawfully arrested without a warrant and that The petitioners Domingo Anonuevo and Ramon Casiple, however, refused to
the informations filed against them are null and void for having been filed sign a waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, as
without prior hearing and preliminary investigation. On 30 August 1988, the amended. In the informations filed against them, the prosecutor made
Court issued the writ of habeas corpus, and after the respondents had filed a identical certifications, as follows:
Return of the Writ, the parties were heard.
This is to certify that the accused has been charged in
The petitioners' (Anonuevo and Casiple) claim that they were unlawfully accordance with Sec. 7, Rule 112 of the 1985 Rules on
arrested because there was no previous warrant of arrest, is without merit Criminal Procedure, that no preliminary investigation was
The record shows that Domingo Anonuevo and Ramon Casiple were conducted because the accused has not made and signed a
carrying unlicensed firearms and ammunition in their person when they were waiver of the provisions of Art. 125 of the Revised Penal
apprehended. Code, as amended; that based on the evidence presented,
there is reasonable ground to believe that the crime has
been committed, and that the accused is probably guilty
There is also no merit in the contention that the informations filed against
thereof.
them are null and void for want of a preliminary investigation. The filing of an
information, without a preliminary investigation having been first conducted,
is sanctioned by the Rules. Sec. 7, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, as Nor did petitioners ask for a preliminary investigation after the informations
amended, reads: had been filed against them in court. Petitioners cannot now claim that they
have been deprived of their constitutional right to due process.
Sec. 7. When accused lawfully arrested without a warrant.
When a person is lawfully arrested without a warrant for an IV
offense cognizable by the Regional Trial Court the complaint
or information may be filed by the offended party, peace In G.R. No. 83162 (Ocaya vs. Aguirre), the arrest without warrant, of Vicky
officer or fiscal without a preliminary investigation having Ocaya is justified under the Rules, since she had with her unlicensed
been first conducted, on the basis of the affidavit of the ammunition when she was arrested. The record of this case shows that on
offended party or arresting officer or person. 12 May 1988, agents of the PC Intelligence and Investigation of the Rizal
115
PC-INP Command, armed with a search warrant issued by Judge Eutropio fishing expedition, but the result of an in-depth surveillance of NPA
Migrino of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Metro Manila, conducted a safehouses pointed to by no less than former comrades of the petitioners in
search of a house located at Block 19, Phase II, Marikina Green Heights, the rebel movement.
Marikina, Metro Manila, believed to be occupied by Benito Tiamson, head of
the CPP-NPA. In the course of the search, Vicky Ocaya arrived in a car The Solicitor General, in his Consolidated Memorandum, aptly observes:
driven by Danny Rivera. Subversive documents and several rounds of
ammunition for a .45 cal. pistol were found in the car of Vicky Ocaya. As a
. . . . To reiterate, the focal point in the case of petitioners
result, Vicky Ocaya and Danny Rivera were brought to the PC Headquarters Roque, Buenaobra, Anonuevo and Casiple, was the lawful
for investigation. When Vicky Ocaya could not produce any permit or search and seizure conducted by the military at the
authorization to possess the ammunition, an information charging her with
residence of Renato Constantino at Villaluz Compound,
violation of PD 1866 was filed with the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Metro
Molave St., Marikina Heights, Marikina, Metro Manila. The
Manila. The case is docketed therein as Criminal Case No. 73447. Danny
raid at Constantino's residence, was not a witch hunting or
Rivera, on the other hand, was released from custody.
fishing expedition on the part of the military. It was a result of
an in-depth military surveillance coupled with the leads
On 17 May 1988, a petition for habeas corpus was filed, with this Court on provided by former members of the underground subversive
behalf of Vicky Ocaya and Danny Rivera. It was alleged therein that Vicky organizations. That raid produced positive results. to date,
Ocaya was illegally arrested and detained, and denied the right to a nobody has disputed the fact that the residence of
preliminary investigation. Constantino when raided yielded communication equipment,
firearms and ammunitions, as well as subversive documents.
It would appear, however, that Vicky Ocaya was arrested in flagranti
delicto so that her arrest without a warrant is justified. No preliminary The military agents working on the information provided by
investigation was conducted because she was arrested without a warrant Constantino that other members of his group were coming to
and she refused to waive the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal his place, reasonably conducted a "stake-out" operation
Code, pursuant to Sec. 7, Rule 112 of the Rule of Court, as amended. whereby some members of the raiding team were left behind
the place. True enough, barely two hours after the raid and
V Constantino's arrest, petitioner Buenaobra arrived at
Constantino's residence. He acted suspiciously and when
The petitioners Vicky Ocaya, Domingo Anonuevo, Ramon Casiple, and frisked and searched by the military authorities, found in his
Amelia Roque claim that the firearms, ammunition and subversive person were letters. They are no ordinary letters, as even a
documents alleged to have been found in their possession when they were cursory reading would show. Not only that, Buenaobra
arrested, did not belong to them, but were "planted" by the military agents to admitted that he is a NPA courier and was there to deliver
justify their illegal arrest. the letters to Constantino.

The petitioners, however, have not introduced any evidence to support their Subsequently, less than twenty four hours after the arrest of
aforesaid claim. On the other hand, no evil motive or ill-will on the part of the Constantino and Buenaobra, petitioners Anonuevo and
arresting officers that would cause the said arresting officers in these cases Casiple arrived at Constantino's place. Would it be
to accuse the petitioners falsely, has been shown. Besides, the arresting unreasonable for the military agents to believe that
officers in these cases do not appear to be seekers of glory and bounty petitioners Anonuevo and Casiple are among those
hunters for, as counsel for the petitioners Anonuevo and Casiple say, "there expected to visit Constantino's residence considering that
is absolutely nothing in the evidence submitted during the inquest that Constatino's information was true, in that Buenaobra did
petitioners are on the 'AFP Order of Battle with a reward of P150,000.00 come to that place? Was it unreasonable under the
each on their heads.'" 6 On the other hand, as pointed out by the Solicitor circumstances, on the part of the military agents, not to frisk
General, the arrest of the petitioners is not a product of a witch hunt or a and search anyone who should visit the residence of

116
Constantino, such as petitioners Anonuevo and Casiple? Petitioner claims that at about 5:00 o'clock in the morning of 23 November
Must this Honorable Court yield to Anonuevo and Casiple's 1988, while he was sleeping in his home located at 363 Valencia St., Sta.
flimsy and bare assertion that they went to visit Constantino, Mesa, Manila, he was awakened by his sister Maria Paz Lalic who told him
who was to leave for Saudi Arabia on the day they were that a group of persons wanted to hire his jeepney. When he went down to
arrested thereat? talk to them, he was immediately put under arrest. When he asked for the
warrant of arrest, the men, headed by Col. Ricardo Reyes, bodily lifted him
As to petitioner Roque, was it unreasonable for the military and placed him in their owner-type jeepney. He demanded that his sister,
authorities to effect her arrest without warrant considering Maria Paz Lalic, be allowed to accompany him, but the men did not accede
that it was Buenaobra who provided the leads on her to his request and hurriedly sped away.
identity? It cannot be denied that Buenaobra had connection
with Roque. Because the former has the phone number of He was brought to Police Station No. 8 of the Western Police District at
the latter. Why the necessity of jumbling Roque's telephone Blumentritt, Manila where he was interrogated and detained. Then, at about
number as written on a piece of paper taken from 9:00 o'clock of the same morning, he was brought before the respondent Lim
Buenaobra's possession? Petitioners Roque and Buenaobra and, there and then, the said respondent ordered his arrest and detention.
have not offered any plausible reason so far. He was thereafter brought to the General Assignment Section, Investigation
Division of the Western Police District under Police Capt. Cresenciano A.
In all the above incidents, respondents maintain that they Cabasal where he was detained, restrained and deprived of his liberty. 7
acted reasonably, under the time, place and circumstances
of the events in question, especially considering that at the The respondents claim however, that the detention of the petitioner is
time of petitioner's arrest, incriminatory evidence, i.e, justified in view of the Information filed against him before the Regional Trial
firearms, ammunitions and/or subversive documents were Court of Manila, docketed therein as Criminal Case No. 88-683-85, charging
found in their possession. him with violation of Art. 142 of the Revised Penal Code (Inciting to Sedition).

Petitioners, when arrested, were neither taking their snacks The respondents also claim that the petitioner was lawfully arrested without a
nor innocently visiting a camp, but were arrested in such judicial warrant of arrest since petitioner when arrested had in fact just
time, place and circumstances, from which one can committed an offense in that in the afternoon of 22 November 1988, during a
reasonably conclude tat they were up to a sinister plot, press conference at the National Press Club.
involving utmost secrecy and comprehensive conspiracy.
Deogracias Espiritu through tri-media was heard urging all
IV drivers and operators to go on nationwide strike on
November 23, 1988, to force the government to give into
In. G.R. No. 85727 (Espiritu vs. Lim), the release on habeas corpus of the their demands to lower the prices of spare parts,
petitioner Deogracias Espiritu, who is detained by virtue of an Information for commodities, water and the immediate release from
Violation of Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code (Inciting to Sedition) filed detention of the president of the PISTON (Pinag-isang
with the Regional Trial Court of Manila, is similarly not warranted. Samahan ng Tsuper Operators Nationwide). Further, we
heard Deogracias Espiritu taking the place of PISTON
president Medardo Roda and also announced the formation
The record of the case shows that the said petitioner is the General
of the Alliance Drivers Association to go on nationwide strike
Secretary of the Pinagkaisahang Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators
Nationwide (PISTON), an association of drivers and operators of public on November 23, 1988. 8
service vehicles in the Philippines, organized for their mutual aid and
protection. Policemen waited for petitioner outside the National Pres Club in order to
investigate him, but he gave the lawmen the slip. 9 He was next seen at
about 5:00 o'clock that afternoon at a gathering of drivers and symphatizers
117
at the corner of Magsaysay Blvd. and Valencia Street, Sta. Mesa, Manila as the motion to post bail, earlier filed by his co-accused, Manuel Laureaga,
where he was heard to say: was granted by the same trial court.

Bukas tuloy ang welga natin, sumagot na ang Cebu at Bicol On 13 January 1989, a petition for habeas corpus was filed with this Court on
na kasali sila, at hindi tayo titigil hanggang hindi binibigay ng behalf of Narciso Nazareno and on 13 January 1989, the Court issued the
gobyerno ni Cory ang gusto nating pagbaba ng halaga ng writ of habeas corpus, returnable to the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial
spare parts, bilihin at and pagpapalaya sa ating pinuno na si Court of Bian, Laguna, Branch 24, ordering said court to hear the case on
Ka Roda hanggang sa magkagulo na. 10 (emphasis 30 January 1989 and thereafter resolve the petition.
supplied)
At the conclusion of the hearing, or on 1 February 1989, the Presiding Judge
The police finally caught up with the petitioner on 23 November 1988. He of the Regional Trial Court of Bian, Laguna issued a resolution denying the
was invited for questioning and brought to police headquarters after which an petition for habeas corpus, it appearing that the said Narciso Nazareno is in
Information for violation of Art. 142 of the Revised Penal Code was filed the custody of the respondents by reason of an information filed against him
against him before the Regional Trial Court of Manila. 11 with the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Metro Manila which had taken
cognizance of said case and had, in fact, denied the motion for bail filed by
Since the arrest of the petitioner without a warrant was in accordance with said Narciso Nazareno (presumably because of the strength of the evidence
the provisions of Rule 113, Sec. 5(b) of the Rules of Court and that the against him).
petitioner is detained by virtue of a valid information filed with the competent
court, he may not be released on habeas corpus. He may, however be The findings of the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Bian,
released upon posting bail as recommended. However, we find the amount Laguna are based upon the facts and the law. Consequently, we will not
of the recommended bail (P60,000.00) excessive and we reduce it to disturb the same. Evidently, the arrest of Nazareno was effected by the
P10,000.00 only. police without warrant pursuant to Sec. 5(b), Rule 113, Rules of Court after
he was positively implicated by his co-accused Ramil Regala in the killing of
VII Romulo Bunye
II; and after investigation by the police authorities. As held in People
vs. Ancheta: 12
In G.R. No. 86332 (Nazareno vs. Station Commander), we also find no merit
in the submission of Narciso Nazarenothat he was illegally arrested and is
unlawfully detained. The record of this case shows that at about 8:30 o'clock The obligation of an agent of authority to make an arrest by
in the morning of 14 December 1988, one Romulo Bunye II was killed by a reason of a crime, does not presuppose as a necessary
group of men near the corner of T. Molina and Mendiola Streets in Alabang, requisite for the fulfillment thereof, the indubitable existence
Muntinglupa, Metro Manila. One of the suspects in the killing was Ramil of a crime. For the detention to be perfectly legal, it is
Regal who was arrested by the police on 28 December 1988. Upon sufficient that the agent or person in authority making the
questioning, Regal pointed to Narciso Nazareno as on of his companions in arrest has reasonably sufficient grounds to believe the
the killing of the said Romulo Bunye II. In view thereof, the police officers, existence of an act having the characteristics of a crime and
without warrant, picked up Narciso Nazareno and brought him to the police that the same grounds exist to believe that the person
headquarters for questioning. Obviously, the evidence of petitioner's guilt is sought to be detained participated therein.
strong because on 3 January 1989, an information charging Narciso
Nazareno, Ramil Regala, and two (2) others, with the killing of Romulo VIII
Bunye II was filed with the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Metro Manila. The
case is docketed therein as Criminal Case No. 731. It is to be noted that, in all the petitions here considered, criminal charges
have been filed in the proper courts against the petitioners. The rule is, that if
On 7 January 1989, Narciso Nazareno filed a motion to post bail, but the a person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer
motion was denied by the trial court in an order dated 10 January 1989, even under process issued by a court judge, and that the court or judge had
118
jurisdiction to issue the process or make the order, of if such person is issued the process, judgment or order of commitment or before whom the
charged before any court, the writ of habeas corpus will not be allowed. detained person is charged, had jurisdiction or not to issue the process,
Section 4, Rule 102, Rules of Court, as amended is quite explicit in providing judgment or order or to take cognizance of the case, but rather, as the Court
that: itself states in Morales, Jr. vs. Enrile, 15 "in all petitions for habeas corpus the
court must inquire into every phase and aspect of petitioner's detention-from
Sec. 4. When writ is allowed or discharge authorized. If it the moment petition was taken into custody up to the moment the court
appears that the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty passes upon the merits of the petition;" and "only after such a scrutiny can
is in the custody of an officer under process issued by a the court satisfy itself that the due process clause of our Constitution has in
court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or order of a court fact been satisfied." This is exactly what the Court has done in the petitions
of record, and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue at bar. This is what should henceforth be done in all future cases of habeas
the process, render the judgment, or make the order, the writ corpus. In Short, all cases involving deprivation of individual liberty should be
shall not be allowed; or if the jurisdiction appears after the promptly brought to the courts for their immediate scrutiny and disposition.
writ is allowed, the person shall not be discharged by reason
of any informality or defect in the process, judgment, or WHEREFORE, the petitions are hereby DISMISSED, except that in
order. Nor shall anything in this rule be held to authorize the G.R. No. 85727 (Espiritu vs. Lim), the bail bond for petitioner's provisional
discharge of a person charged with a convicted of an offense liberty is hereby ordered reduced from P60,000.00 to P10,000.00. No costs.
in the Philippines or of a person suffering imprisonment
under lawful judgment. (emphasis supplied) SO ORDERED.

At this point, we refer to petitioner's plea for the Court of re-examine and, Fernan C.J., Narvasa, C.J., Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Paras,
thereafter, abandon its pronouncement in Ilagan vs. Enrile, 13 that a writ Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea and Regalado, JJ.,
of habeas corpus is no longer available after an information is filed against concur.
the person detained and a warrant of arrest or an order of commitment, is
issued by the court where said information has been filed. 14 The petitioners
claim that the said ruling, which was handed down during the past dictatorial
regime to enforce and strengthen said regime, has no place under the
present democratic dispensation and collides with the basic, fundamental,
and constitutional rights of the people. Petitioners point out that the said
doctrine makes possible the arrest and detention of innocent persons despite
lack of evidence against them, and, most often, it is only after a petition
for habeas corpus is filed before the court that the military authorities file the
criminal information in the courts of law to be able to hide behind the
protective mantle of the said doctrine. This, petitioners assert, stands as an
obstacle to the freedom and liberty of the people and permits lawless and
arbitrary State action.

We find, however, no compelling reason to abandon the said doctrine. It is


based upon express provision of the Rules of Court and the exigencies
served by the law. The fears expressed by the petitioners are not really
unremediable. As the Court sees it, re-examination or reappraisal, with a
view to its abandonment, of the Ilagan case doctrine is not the answer. The
answer and the better practice would be, not to limit the function of
the habeas corpus to a mere inquiry as to whether or not the court which

119
ARSENIO VERGARA VALDEZ, G.R. No. 170180
Petitioner, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section 11 of Republic Act No.
Present: 9165 (R.A. No. 9165)[5] and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of

QUISUMBING, J., imprisonment ranging from eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision
Chairperson, mayor medium as minimum to fifteen (15) years of reclusion
- versus - CARPIO,
CARPIO MORALES, temporal medium as maximum and ordering him to pay a fine
TINGA, and of P350,000.00.[6]
VELASCO, JJ.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


I.
Respondent. Promulgated:
November 23, 2007
x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
On 26 June 2003, petitioner was charged with violation of Section 11, par.
DECISION 2(2) of R.A. No. 9165 in an Information[7] which reads:
That on or about the 17th day of March 2003, in the
Municipality of Aringay, Province of La Union, Philippines
TINGA, J.: and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-named accused, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession, control
and custody dried marijuana leaves wrapped in a cellophane
The sacred right against an arrest, search or seizure without valid warrant is
and newspaper page, weighing more or less twenty-five (25)
not only ancient. It is also zealously safeguarded. The Constitution grams, without first securing the necessary permit, license or
prescription from the proper government agency.
guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,
papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures. [1] Any CONTRARY TO LAW.[8]

evidence obtained in violation of said right shall be inadmissible for any


purpose in any proceeding. Indeed, while the power to search and seize may On arraignment, petitioner pleaded not guilty. Thereafter, trial on the merits

at times be necessary to the public welfare, still it must be exercised and the ensued with the prosecution presenting the three (3) barangay tanods of San

law implemented without contravening the constitutional rights of the citizens, Benito Norte, Aringay, La Union namely, Rogelio Bautista (Bautista), Nestor

for the enforcement of no statute is of sufficient importance to justify Aratas (Aratas) and Eduardo Ordoo (Ordoo), who arrested petitioner.

indifference to the basic principles of government.[2]


Bautista testified that at around 8:00 to 8:30 p.m. of 17 March 2003, he was

On appeal is the Decision[3] of the Court of Appeals dated 28 July 2005, conducting the routine patrol along the National Highway in Barangay San

affirming the Judgment[4] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 31, Agoo, Benito Norte, Aringay, La Union together with Aratas and Ordoo when they

La Union dated 31 March 2004 finding petitioner Arsenio Vergara Valdez noticed petitioner, lugging a bag, alight from a mini-bus.

120
The tanods observed that petitioner, who appeared suspicious to them, The charges were denied by petitioner. As the defenses sole
seemed to be looking for something. They thus approached him but the latter witness, he testified that at around 8:30 p.m. on 17 March 2003, he arrived in
purportedly attempted to run away. They chased him, put him under arrest Aringay from his place in Curro-oy, Santol, La Union. After alighting from the
and thereafter brought him to the house of Barangay Captain Orencio bus, petitioner claimed that he went to the house of a friend to drink water
Mercado (Mercado) where he, as averred by Bautista, was ordered by and then proceeded to walk to his brothers house. As he was walking,
Mercado to open his bag. Petitioners bag allegedly contained a pair of denim prosecution witness Ordoo, a cousin of his brothers wife, allegedly
pants, eighteen pieces of eggplant and dried marijuana leaves wrapped in approached him and asked where he was going. Petitioner replied that he
newspaper and cellophane. It was then that petitioner was taken to the police was going to his brothers house. Ordoo then purportedly requested to see
station for further investigation.[9] the contents of his bag and appellant acceded. It was at this point that
Bautista and Aratas joined them. After inspecting all the contents of his bag,
Aratas and Ordoo corroborated Bautistas testimony on most material points. petitioner testified that he was restrained by the tanod and taken to the house
On cross-examination, however, Aratas admitted that he himself brought out of Mercado. It was Aratas who carried the bag until they reached their
the contents of petitioners bag before petitioner was taken to the house of destination.[13]
Mercado.[10] Nonetheless, he claimed that at Mercados house, it was
petitioner himself who brought out the contents of his bag upon orders from Petitioner maintained that at Mercados house, his bag was opened
Mercado. For his part, Ordoo testified that it was he who was ordered by by the tanod and Mercado himself. They took out an item wrapped in
Mercado to open petitioners bag and that it was then that they saw the newspaper, which later turned out to be marijuana leaves. Petitioner denied
purported contents thereof.[11] ownership thereof. He claimed to have been threatened with imprisonment
by his arrestors if he did not give the prohibited drugs to someone from the
The prosecution likewise presented Police Inspector Valeriano Laya II east in order for them to apprehend such person. As petitioner declined, he
(Laya), the forensic chemist who conducted the examination of the marijuana was brought to the police station and charged with the instant offense.
allegedly confiscated from petitioner. Laya maintained that the specimen Although petitioner divulged that it was he who opened and took out the
submitted to him for analysis, a sachet of the substance weighing 23.10 contents of his bag at his friends house, he averred that it was one of
grams and contained in a plastic bag, tested positive of marijuana. He the tanod who did so at Mercados house and that it was only there that they
disclosed on cross-examination, however, that he had knowledge neither of saw the marijuana for the first time.[14]
how the marijuana was taken from petitioner nor of how the said substance Finding that the prosecution had proven petitioners guilt beyond
reached the police officers. Moreover, he could not identify whose marking reasonable doubt, the RTC rendered judgment against him and sentenced
was on the inside of the cellophane wrapping the marijuana leaves. [12] him to suffer indeterminate imprisonment ranging from eight (8) years and

121
one (1) day of prision mayor medium as minimum to fifteen (15) years weight, in the absence of any clear showing that some facts and
of reclusion temporal medium as maximum and ordered him to pay a fine circumstances of weight or substance which could have affected the result of
of P350,000.00.[15] the case have been overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied.[17]

Aggrieved, petitioner appealed the decision of the RTC to the Court of After meticulous examination of the records and evidence on hand,
Appeals. On 28 July 2005, the appellate court affirmed the challenged however, the Court finds and so holds that a reversal of the decision a
decision. The Court of Appeals, finding no cogent reason to overturn the quo under review is in order.
presumption of regularity in favor of the barangay tanod in the absence of
evidence of ill-motive on their part, agreed with the trial court that there was II.
probable cause to arrest petitioner. It observed further:
At the outset, we observe that nowhere in the records can we find
That the prosecution failed to establish the chain of custody
of the seized marijuana is of no moment. Such circumstance any objection by petitioner to the irregularity of his arrest before his
finds prominence only when the existence of the seized arraignment. Considering this and his active participation in the trial of the
prohibited drugs is denied. In this case, accused-appellant
himself testified that the marijuana wrapped in a newspaper case, jurisprudence dictates that petitioner is deemed to have submitted to
was taken from his bag. The corpus delicti of the crime, i.e.[,] the jurisdiction of the trial court, thereby curing any defect in his arrest. The
the existence of the marijuana and his possession thereof,
was amply proven by accused-appellant Valdezs own legality of an arrest affects only the jurisdiction of the court over his
testimony.[16] person.[18] Petitioners warrantless arrest therefore cannot, in itself, be the
basis of his acquittal.
In this appeal, petitioner prays for his acquittal and asserts that his
guilt of the crime charged had not been proven beyond reasonable doubt. He However, to determine the admissibility of the seized drugs in
argues, albeit for the first time on appeal, that the warrantless arrest effected evidence, it is indispensable to ascertain whether or not the search which
against him by the barangay tanod was unlawful and that the warrantless yielded the alleged contraband was lawful. The search, conducted as it was
search of his bag that followed was likewise contrary to law. Consequently, without a warrant, is justified only if it were incidental to a lawful
he maintains, the marijuana leaves purportedly seized from him are arrest.[19] Evaluating the evidence on record in its totality, as earlier intimated,
inadmissible in evidence for being the fruit of a poisonous tree. the reasonable conclusion is that the arrest of petitioner without a warrant is
not lawful as well.
Well-settled is the rule that the findings of the trial court on the
credibility of witnesses and their testimonies are accorded great respect and

122
Petitioner maintains, in a nutshell, that after he was approached by It is obvious that based on the testimonies of the arresting
the tanod and asked to show the contents of his bag, he was simply herded barangay tanod, not one of these circumstances was obtaining at the time
without explanation and taken to the house of the barangay captain. On their petitioner was arrested. By their own admission, petitioner was not
way there, it was Aratas who carried his bag. He denies ownership over the committing an offense at the time he alighted from the bus, nor did he appear
contraband allegedly found in his bag and asserts that he saw it for the first to be then committing an offense.[20] The tanod did not have probable cause
time at the barangay captains house. either to justify petitioners warrantless arrest.

Even casting aside petitioners version and basing the resolution of For the exception in Section 5(a), Rule 113 to operate, this Court has
this case on the general thrust of the prosecution evidence, the unlawfulness ruled that two (2) elements must be present: (1) the person to be arrested
of petitioners arrest stands out just the same. 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
Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure provides the in the presence or within the view of the arresting officer. [21] Here, petitioners
only occasions on which a person may be arrested without a warrant, to wit: act of looking around after getting off the bus was but natural as he was
finding his way to his destination. That he purportedly attempted to run away
Section 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful.A peace
as the tanod approached him is irrelevant and cannot by itself be construed
officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a
person: as adequate to charge the tanod with personal knowledge that petitioner had

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be just engaged in, was actually engaging in or was attempting to engage in
arrested has committed, is actually committing, criminal activity. More importantly, petitioner testified that he did not run away
or is attempting to commit an offense;
(b) When an offense has just been committed and but in fact spoke with the barangay tanod when they approached him.
he has probable cause to believe based on
personal knowledge of facts or circumstances
that the person to be arrested has committed it; Even taking the prosecutions version generally as the truth, in line
and
with our assumption from the start, the conclusion will not be any different. It
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner
who has escaped from a penal establishment or is not unreasonable to expect that petitioner, walking the street at night, after
place where he is serving final judgment or
temporarily confined while his case is pending, being closely observed and then later tailed by three unknown persons,
or has escaped while being transferred from would attempt to flee at their approach. Flight per se is not synonymous with
one confinement to another.
guilt and must not always be attributed to ones consciousness of guilt.[22] Of
xxx persuasion was the Michigan Supreme Court when it ruled in People v.
Shabaz[23] that [f]light alone is not a reliable indicator of guilt without other

123
circumstances because flight alone is inherently ambiguous. Alone, and Accordingly, petitioners waiver of his right to question his arrest
under the circumstances of this case, petitioners flight lends itself just as notwithstanding, the marijuana leaves allegedly taken during the search
easily to an innocent explanation as it does to a nefarious one. cannot be admitted in evidence against him as they were seized during a
warrantless search which was not lawful.[29] As we pronounced in People v.
Moreover, as we pointed out in People v. Tudtud,[24] [t]he phrase in Bacla-an
his presence therein, connot[es] penal knowledge on the part of the arresting
A waiver of an illegal warrantless arrest does not
officer. The right of the accused to be secure against any unreasonable also mean a waiver of the inadmissibility of evidence
searches on and seizure of his own body and any deprivation of his liberty seized during an illegal warrantless arrest. The following
searches and seizures are deemed permissible by
being a most basic and fundamental one, the statute or rule that allows jurisprudence: (1) search of moving vehicles (2) seizure in
exception to the requirement of a warrant of arrest is strictly construed. Its plain view (3) customs searches (4) waiver or consent
searches (5) stop and frisk situations (Terry Search) and (6)
application cannot be extended beyond the cases specifically provided by search incidental to a lawful arrest. The last includes a valid
law.[25] warrantless search and seizure pursuant to an equally valid
warrantless arrest, for, while as a rule, an arrest is
considered legitimate if effected with a valid warrant of
arrest, the Rules of Court recognize permissible warrantless
Indeed, the supposed acts of petitioner, even assuming that they
arrests, to wit: (1) arrests in flagrante delicto, (2) arrests
appeared dubious, cannot be viewed as sufficient to incite suspicion of effected in hot pursuit, and, (3) arrests of escaped
prisoners.[30]
criminal activity enough to validate his warrantless arrest. [26] If at all, the
search most permissible for the tanod to conduct under the prevailing
When petitioner was arrested without a warrant, he was neither
backdrop of the case was a stop-and-frisk to allay any suspicion they have
caught in flagrante delicto committing a crime nor was the arrest effected in
been harboring based on petitioners behavior. However, a stop-and-frisk
hot pursuit. Verily, it cannot therefore be reasonably argued that the
situation, following Terry v. Ohio,[27] must precede a warrantless arrest, be
warrantless search conducted on petitioner was incidental to a lawful arrest.
limited to the persons outer clothing, and should be grounded upon a
genuine reason, in light of the police officers experience and surrounding In its Comment, the Office of the Solicitor General posits that apart
conditions, to warrant the belief that the person detained has weapons from the warrantless search being incidental to his lawful arrest, petitioner
concealed about him.[28] had consented to the search. We are not convinced. As we explained
in Caballes v. Court of Appeals[31]

Doubtless, the constitutional immunity against


unreasonable searches and seizures is a personal right
which may be waived. The consent must be voluntary in
order to validate an otherwise illegal detention and
124
search, i.e., the consent is unequivocal, specific, and
intelligently given, uncontaminated by any duress or search and seizure is not tantamount to a waiver of his constitutional right or
coercion. Hence, consent to a search is not to be lightly a voluntary submission to the warrantless search and seizure.[34]
inferred, but must be shown by clear and convincing
evidence. The question whether a consent to a search was in
fact voluntary is a question of fact to be determined from the III.
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 Notably, the inadmissibility in evidence of the seized marijuana
given: (1) the age of the defendant; (2) whether he was in a
public or secluded location; (3) whether he objected to the leaves for being the fruit of an unlawful search is not the lone cause that
search or passively looked on; (4) the education and
militates against the case of the prosecution. We likewise find that it has
intelligence of the defendant; (5) the presence of coercive
police procedures; (6) the defendant's belief that no failed to convincingly establish the identity of the marijuana leaves
incriminating evidence will be found; (7) the nature of the
police questioning; (8) the environment in which the purportedly taken from petitioners bag.
questioning took place; and (9) the possibly vulnerable
subjective state of the person consenting. It is the State
which has the burden of proving, by clear and positive In all prosecutions for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act, the
testimony, that the necessary consent was obtained and that following elements must concur: (1) proof that the transaction took place; and
it was freely and voluntarily given.[32]
(2) presentation in court of the corpus delicti or the illicit drug as
evidence.[35] The existence of dangerous drugs is a condition sine qua
non for conviction for the illegal sale of dangerous drugs, it being the
In the case at bar, following the theory of the prosecution albeit
very corpus delicti of the crime.[36]
based on conflicting testimonies on when petitioners bag was actually
opened, it is apparent that petitioner was already under the coercive control
In a line of cases, we have ruled as fatal to the prosecutions case its
of the public officials who had custody of him when the search of his bag was
failure to prove that the specimen submitted for laboratory examination was
demanded. Moreover, the prosecution failed to prove any specific statement
the same one allegedly seized from the accused.[37] There can be no crime of
as to how the consent was asked and how it was given, nor the specific
illegal possession of a prohibited drug when nagging doubts persist on
words spoken by petitioner indicating his alleged "consent." Even granting
whether the item confiscated was the same specimen examined and
that petitioner admitted to opening his bag when Ordoo asked to see its
established to be the prohibited drug.[38] As we discussed in People v.
contents, his implied acquiescence, if at all, could not have been more than
Orteza[39], where we deemed the prosecution to have failed in establishing all
mere passive conformity given under coercive or intimidating circumstances
the elements necessary for conviction of appellant for illegal sale of shabu
and hence, is considered no consent at all within the contemplation of the
constitutional guarantee.[33] As a result, petitioners lack of objection to the First, there appears nothing in the record showing
that police officers complied with the proper procedure in the

125
custody of seized drugs as specified in People v. Lim, i.e.,
any apprehending team having initial control of said drugs petitioner. Likewise, the Receipt[41] issued by the Aringay Police Station
and/or paraphernalia should, immediately after seizure or merely acknowledged receipt of the suspected drugs supposedly confiscated
confiscation, have the same physically inventoried and
photographed in the presence of the accused, if there be from petitioner.
any, and or his representative, who shall be required to sign
the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. The
failure of the agents to comply with the requirement raises Not only did the three tanod contradict each other on the matter of
doubt whether what was submitted for laboratory when petitioners bag was opened, they also gave conflicting testimony on
examination and presented in court was actually recovered
from appellant. It negates the presumption that official duties who actually opened the same. The prosecution, despite these material
have been regularly performed by the police officers.
inconsistencies, neglected to explain the discrepancies. Even more damning
In People v. Laxa, where the buy-bust team failed to to its cause was the admission by Laya, the forensic chemist, that he did not
mark the confiscated marijuana immediately after the
apprehension of the accused, the Court held that the know how the specimen was taken from petitioner, how it reached the police
deviation from the standard procedure in anti-narcotics authorities or whose marking was on the cellophane wrapping of the
operations produced doubts as to the origins of the
marijuana. Consequently, the Court concluded that the marijuana. The non-presentation, without justifiable reason, of the police
prosecution failed to establish the identity of the corpus officers who conducted the inquest proceedings and marked the seized
delicti.
drugs, if such was the case, is fatal to the case. Plainly, the prosecution
The Court made a similar ruling in People v. Kimura,
neglected to establish the crucial link in the chain of custody of the seized
where the Narcom operatives failed to place markings on the
seized marijuana at the time the accused was arrested and marijuana leaves from the time they were first allegedly discovered until they
to observe the procedure and take custody of the drug.
were brought for examination by Laya.
More recently, in Zarraga v. People, the Court held
that the material inconsistencies with regard to when and
where the markings on the shabu were made and the lack of The Court of Appeals found as irrelevant the failure of the
inventory on the seized drugs created reasonable doubt as prosecution to establish the chain of custody over the seized marijuana as
to the identity of the corpus delicti. The Court thus acquitted
the accused due to the prosecutions failure to indubitably such [f]inds prominence only when the existence of the seized prohibited
show the identity of the shabu.
drug is denied.[42] We cannot agree.

In the case at bar, after the arrest of petitioner by the


To buttress its ratiocination, the appellate court narrowed on
barangay tanod, the records only show that he was taken to the house of
petitioners testimony that the marijuana was taken from his bag, without
the barangay captain and thereafter to the police station. The Joint
taking the statement in full context.[43] Contrary to the Court of Appeals
Affidavit[40] executed by the tanod merely states that they confiscated the
findings, although petitioner testified that the marijuana was taken from his
marijuana leaves which they brought to the police station together with
bag, he consistently denied ownership thereof.[44]Furthermore, it defies logic

126
to require a denial of ownership of the seized drugs before the principle of more inferences, one inconsistent with the presumption of innocence and the
chain of custody comes into play. other compatible with the finding of guilt, the court must acquit the accused
for the reason that the evidence does not satisfy the test of moral certainty
The onus of proving culpability in criminal indictment falls upon the and is inadequate to support a judgment of conviction.[47]
State. In conjunction with this, law enforcers and public officers alike have
the corollary duty to preserve the chain of custody over the seized drugs. The
chain of evidence is constructed by proper exhibit handling, storage, labeling
and recording, and must exist from the time the evidence is found until the
time it is offered in evidence. Each person who takes possession of the
specimen is duty-bound to detail how it was cared for, safeguarded and Drug addiction has been invariably denounced as an especially
preserved while in his or her control to prevent alteration or replacement vicious crime,[48] and one of the most pernicious evils that has ever crept into
while in custody. This guarantee of the integrity of the evidence to be used our society,[49] for those who become addicted to it not only slide into the
against an accused goes to the very heart of his fundamental rights. ranks of the living dead, what is worse, they become a grave menace to the
The presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty safety of law-abiding members of society,[50]whereas peddlers of drugs are
invoked by the prosecution and relied upon by the courts a quo cannot by actually agents of destruction.[51] Indeed, the havoc created by the ruinous
itself overcome the presumption of innocence nor constitute proof of guilt effects of prohibited drugs on the moral fiber of society cannot be
beyond reasonable doubt.[45] Among the constitutional rights enjoyed by an underscored enough. However, in the rightfully vigorous campaign of the
accused, the most primordial yet often disregarded is the presumption of government to eradicate the hazards of drug use and drug trafficking, it
innocence. This elementary principle accords every accused the right to be cannot be permitted to run roughshod over an accuseds right to be
presumed innocent until the contrary is proven beyond reasonable presumed innocent until proven to the contrary and neither can it shirk from
doubt. Thus, the burden of proving the guilt of the accused rests upon the its corollary obligation to establish such guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
prosecution.
In this case, the totality of the evidence presented utterly fails to
Concededly, the evidence of the defense is weak and overcome the presumption of innocence which petitioner enjoys. The failure
uncorroborated. Nevertheless, this [c]annot be used to advance the cause of of the prosecution to prove all the elements of the offense beyond
the prosecution as its evidence must stand or fall on its own weight and reasonable doubt must perforce result in petitioners exoneration from
cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the criminal liability.
defense.[46] Moreover, where the circumstances are shown to yield two or

127
SO ORDERED.

IV.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 178039


A final word. We find it fitting to take this occasion to remind the
Plaintiff-Appellee,
courts to exercise the highest degree of diligence and prudence in
Present:
deliberating upon the guilt of accused persons brought before them,
CORONA, C.J.,
especially in light of the fundamental rights at stake. Here, we note that the Chairperson
courts a quo neglected to give more serious consideration to certain material VELASCO, JR.,
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
issues in the determination of the merits of the case. We are not oblivious to -versus-
DEL CASTILLO, and
the fact that in some instances, law enforcers resort to the practice of PEREZ, JJ.

planting evidence to extract information or even harass civilians. Accordingly,


courts are duty-bound to be [e]xtra vigilant in trying drug cases lest an
Promulgated:
innocent person be made to suffer the unusually severe penalties for drug ERNESTO UYBOCO y RAMOS,
offenses.[52] In the same vein, let this serve as an admonition to police January 19, 2011
Defendant-Appellant.
officers and public officials alike to perform their mandated duties with
commitment to the highest degree of diligence, righteousness and respect for x----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

the law.
DECISION

WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision is REVERSED and SET


PEREZ, J.:
ASIDE. Petitioner Arsenio Vergara Valdez is ACQUITTED on reasonable
doubt. The Director of the Bureau of Corrections is directed to cause the Subject of this appeal is the 27 September 2006 Decision[1] promulgated by
immediate release of petitioner, unless the latter the Court of Appeals, affirming the Regional Trial Courts (RTC)
is being lawfully held for another cause; and to inform the Court of Judgment[2] in Criminal Case Nos. 93-130980, 93-132606, and 93-132607,
finding Ernesto Uyboco y Ramos (appellant) guilty of three (3) counts of
kidnapping for ransom.

the date of his release, or the reasons for his continued confinement, within
ten (10) days from notice. No costs.
128
Appellant, along with now deceased Colonel Wilfredo Macias
(Macias) and several John Does were charged in three separate In Criminal Case No. 93-132607:
Informations, which read as follow:
That in the morning of December 20, 1993 and for
In Criminal Case No. 93-130980: sometime subsequent thereto in Manila and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one
That in the morning of December 20, 1993 and for sometime another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
subsequent thereto in Manila and within the jurisdiction of feloniously kidnap, carry away and detain NIMFA CELIZ,
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, against her will and consent, thus depriving her of liberty, for
confederating and mutually helping one another, did then the purpose of extorting ransom for her release, which after
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously kidnap, carry payment thereof in the amount of P1,320,000.00 in cash
away and detain the minor, JESON KEVIN DICHAVES, five and P175,000.00 worth of assorted jewelry, including a Colt
(5) years old, against his will and consent, thus depriving him .45 Caliber Pistol with SN 14836 or a total of ONE MILLION
of his liberty, for the purpose of extorting ransom for his FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P1,500,000.00) was
release, which after payment thereof in the amount divided by said accused between and/or among themselves
of P1,320,000.00 in cash and P175,000.00 worth of assorted to the damage and prejudice of the aforementioned victim.[5]
jewelry, including a Colt .45 Caliber Pistol with SN 14836 or
a total of ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND
PESOS (P1,500,000.00) was divided by said accused
between and/or among themselves to the damage and The arraignment was held in abeyance twice.[6] Finally, the
prejudice of the aforementioned victim/or his parents.[3] arraignment was set on 22 October 1996. Appellant and Macias, with the
assistance of their counsels, however refused to enter a plea. This prompted
the RTC to enter a plea of Not Guilty for each of them. Trial on the merits
In Criminal Case No. 93-132606:
ensued.
That in the morning of December 20, 1993 and for
sometime subsequent thereto in Manila and within the The prosecution presented the following witnesses: Nimfa Celiz
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one (Nimfa), Jepson Dichaves (Jepson), Police Superintendent Gilbert Cruz
another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and (P/Supt. Cruz), Police Superintendent Mario Chan (P/Supt. Chan), Police
feloniously kidnap, carry away and detain the minor, JESON
KIRBY DICHAVES, two (2) years old, against his will and Inspector Cesar Escandor (P/Insp. Escandor) and Carolina Alejo, whose
consent, thus depriving him of his liberty, for the purpose of version of facts are summarized as follows:
extorting ransom for his release, which after payment thereof
in the amount of P1,320,000.00 in cash and P175,000.00
worth of assorted jewelry, including a Colt .45 Caliber Pistol At around 10:30 a.m. on 20 December 1993, Nimfa and her wards,
with SN 14836 or a total of ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED
siblings Jeson Kevin and Jeson Kirby Dichaves were riding in the Isuzu car
THOUSAND PESOS (P1,500,000.00) was divided by said
accused between and/or among themselves to the damage of the Dichaves family, together with Yusan Dichaves (Yusan). Driver Pepito
and prejudice of the aforementioned victim/or his parents.[4] Acon (Acon) dropped off Yusan at Metrobank in Claro M. Recto Avenue,

129
Manila. While waiting for Yusan, Acon drove along Bilibid Viejo, Meanwhile in Merville Subdivision, the man in police uniform
Sampaloc. When the vehicle passed by in front of San Sebastian Church, a introduced himself to Nimfa as Sarge. He asked Nimfa for information
stainless jeep with two men and one woman described as a tomboy on regarding her name and her employers telephone number. She feigned
board, suddenly blocked its way. One of the men, who was in police uniform ignorance of those information. She even claimed that she was merely a new
accosted Acon and accused him of hitting the son of a Presidential Security employee.[10] Sarge informed Nimfa that they were in Fairview and that she
Group (PSG) General apparently with a stone when the vehicle ran over it. was asked if she knew how to go home. Nimfa chose to stay with her
Acon denied the charges but he was transferred to the stainless jeep while wards. When the phone rang, Sarge went out of the house and Nimfa again
the man in police uniform drove the Isuzu car. The tomboy sat next to Nimfa sneaked a phone call to her employer informing them that they were being
who then had Jeson Kirby sit on her lap while Jeson Kevin was sitting on held up in Merville Subdivision.[11]
the tomboys lap. They were brought to a house in Merville Subdivision,
Paraaque.[7] Jepson, through Jaimes help, went to the house of then Vice-
President Joseph Estrada (Vice-President Estrada) at 8:00 p.m. Thereat, he
While still in garage of the house, Nimfa was able to sneak out of the met General Jewel Canson (Gen. Canson), General Panfilo Lacson (Gen.
car and place a call to the secretary of her employer to inform the latter that Lacson) and Major Ray Aquino (Major Aquino). Vice-President Estrada
they were in Merville Subdivision. She came back to the car undetected and ordered the police generals to rescue Jepsons sons and arrest the
after a while, she and her wards were asked to alight from the car and they kidnappers.[12]
were locked inside the comfort room.[8]
At 6:00 p.m., the kidnappers called Jepson and reduced the ransom
Jepson was at his office at 10:00 a.m. of 20 December 1993. He to P10 Million.[13] That night, Nimfa was able to speak to Jepson when two
received a call from his wife asking him if Nimfa or Acon called up, as she men handed the telephone to her. She recognized one of them as appellant,
had been waiting for them at Metrobank where she was dropped off because she had seen the latter in her employers office sometime in the first
earlier. After 15 minutes, Yusan called again and was already hysterical week of December 1993.[14]
because she could not find the car when she roamed around the
area. Jepson immediately called up his brother Jaime and some police On the following noon of 21 December 1993, the kidnappers called
officers to inform them that his sons were missing. When Jepson arrived at up Jepson numerous times to negotiate for the ransom. In one of those calls,
Metrobank at around 11:30 a.m., he received a call from his secretary Jepson was able to recognize the voice of appellant because he had several
informing him that Nimfa called about their whereabouts. When Jepson got business transactions with the latter and they have talked for at least a
back to his office, his secretary informed him that an unidentified man called hundred times during a span of two to four years.[15]
to inform them that he has custody of the children and demanded P26
Million.[9] On 22 December 1993, the parties finally agreed to a ransom of P1.5
Million. Jepson offered P1.3 Million in cash and the balance to be paid in
130
kind, such as jewelry and a pistol.[16] Appellant asked Jepson to bring the P/Supt. Cruz is assigned to the now defunct Presidential Anti-Crime
ransom alone at Pancake House in Magallanes Commercial Center. Jepson Commission Task Force Habagat and one of the team leaders of Special
called up Gen. Canson and Gen. Lacson to inform them of the pay-off.[17] Project Task Force organized on 22 December 1993 with the primary task of
apprehending the kidnappers of Dichaves children and helper. His group was
At around 1:00 p.m. of even date, Nimfa was able to talk to Jepson assigned at Fort Bonifacio to await instructions from the overall Field
and the latter informed her that they would be released that afternoon. [18] At Command Officer Gen. Lacson. They had been waiting from 4:00 p.m. until
3:00 p.m., Jepson drove his white Toyota Corolla car and proceeded to 6:00 p.m. when they received information that the kidnap victims were
Pancake House in Magallanes Commercial Center. He placed the money released unharmed. They were further asked to maintain their position in Fort
inside a gray bag and put it on the backseat. Jepson received a call from Bonifacio. At around 7:45 p.m., they heard on their radio that the suspects
appellant at 4:00 p.m. who ordered him to put the bag in the trunk, leave the vehicle, a red Nissan Sentra was heading in their direction. A few minutes
trunk unlocked, and walk away for ten (10) minutes without turning later, they saw the red car and tailed it until it reached Dasmarias Village in
back. Later, appellant checked on his trunk and the bag was already Makati. They continuously followed the car inside the village. When said car
gone. Appellant then apprised him that his sons and helper were already at slowed down, they blocked it and immediately approached the vehicle.[23]
the Shell Gasoline Station along South Luzon Expressway. He immediately
went to the place and found his sons and helper seated at the corner of the They introduced themselves as police officers and accosted the
gas station.[19] suspect, who turned out to be appellant. Appellant suddenly pulled a .38
caliber revolver and a scuffle took place. They managed to subdue appellant
P/Insp. Escandor was assigned to proceed to Magallanes and handcuffed him. Appellant was requested to open the compartment and
Commercial Center, together with two other police officers. They reached the a gray bag was found inside. P/Supt. Cruz saw money, jewelry and a gun
place at 3:30 p.m. and positioned themselves in front of the Maranao Arcade inside the bag. Appellant was then brought to Camp Crame for
located at Magallanes Commercial Center. He brought a camera to cover the questioning.[24]
supposed pay-off. He took a total of 24 shots.[20] He identified Macias
together with appellant in Magallanes Commercial Center and the latter as At 8:00 p.m., Jepson received a call from Gen. Lacson asking him to
the one who took the ransom.[21] go to Camp Crame. He and Nimfa went to Camp Crame where he saw
appellant alone in the office of Gen. Canson. He then saw the bag containing
P/Supt. Chan was one of the team leaders dispatched also at the ransom money, pieces of jewelry and his gun on the table. Photographs
Magallanes Commercial Center in Makati on 22 December 1993 to take a were taken and Jepson was asked to identify them.[25]
video coverage on the supposed pay-off. He witnessed the pay-off and
identified appellant as the one who took the bag containing the ransom A written inventory was prepared on the contents of the bag.[26] It
money from the car trunk of Jepson.[22] was found out that a portion of the ransom money was missing. It was then
that appellant revealed that the missing money was in the possession of
131
Macias. Appellant accompanied P/Supt. Cruz and his team to the residence In December 1993, he rented a house in Merville Subdivision for his
of Macias in Camp Aguinaldo. P/Supt. Cruz waited for Macias until 4:00 a.m. mother. He was given the key to the house in 15 December 1993 but he
on the following day and placed him under arrest. Macias was asked where denied going to said place on 20, 21, 22, 23 of December 1993.
the rest of the ransom money was and Macias went inside the house and
retrieved a red bag inside a small cabinet. P/Supt. Cruz prepared a receipt of At 3:00 p.m. of 20 December 1993, he received a call from Jepson
the seized property from Macias. Macias placed his signature on the asking for P1 Million, as partial payment of his loan. Jepson informed
receipt.[27] appellant that his sons were kidnapped and he requested appellant to
negotiate with the kidnappers for the release of his children. Out of pity,
Carolina Alejo was the owner of the house in Merville Subdivision appellant agreed. He actively participated in the negotiations between 20 to
where the kidnap victims were detained. She stated that she leased the 22 of December 1993, where he successfully negotiated a lower ransom
house to appellant. On 23 December 1993, it came to her knowledge that of P1.5 Million.
said house was used in the kidnapping. She noticed that the lock of the
comfort room was reversed so that it could only be locked from the On 11:30 a.m. of 22 December 1993, Jepson again requested
outside. She considered this unusual because she personally caused the appellant to deliver the ransom money to the kidnappers. Appellant acceded
door knob to be installed.[28] to the request. He asked Macias, who was in his office that day, to
accompany him. The kidnappers asked appellant to proceed to the Makati
The defense, on its part, presented appellant, Florinda Sese area and wait for further instructions. Appellant called up Jepson who told
Barcelona (Ms. Sese), Dr. Jaime Leal (Dr. Leal), and retired Colonel Ramon him that he would deliver the money to appellant once instructions were
Navarro (Col. Navarro). given by the kidnappers. The kidnappers finally called and asked appellant to
proceed to Shell Gasoline Station-Magallanes. He informed Jepson of this
Appellant testified that he came to know Jepson when he was fact and the latter asked appellant to meet him in Magallanes Commercial
introduced to him by Col. Navarro in 1989 as the importer of police Center where he would just put the money inside the car trunk and leave it
equipment and accessories. Jepson wanted to buy revolving lights, police unlocked. Appellant took the money from Jepsons car and put it inside his
sirens and paging system. Through Navarro, appellant also met Macias who car trunk and proceeded to Shell Gasoline station.[30] Appellant and Macias
was then selling his security agency in July 1993. He admitted that Jepson did not see the kidnappers and Jepsons children at the station. He tried
had been lending him money since 1990 and his total borrowings amounted calling Jepson but failed to communicate with him. They then decided to go
to P8.5 Million in December 1993. Appellant also knew Nimfa since 1990 and back to the office in Cubao, Quezon City. At 7:00 p.m., he received a call
had met her five (5) times in the office of Jepson where Nimfa usually served from the kidnappers who were cursing him because they apparently went to
him coffee.[29] the Shell Gasoline Station and noticed that there were many policemen
stationed in the area, which prompted them to release the victims. Appellant
left his office at around 7:20 p.m. to go home in Dasmarias Village,
132
penalized by Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as
Makati.When he was about ten (10) meters away from the gate of his house,
amended by R.A. 1084. He is hereby ordered to suffer the
a car blocked his path. He saw P/Supt. Cruz, a certain Lt. Rodica and two prison term of reclusion perpetua for three (3) counts
other men alight from the car and were heavily armed. They pulled him out of together with the accessory penalties provided by law. He
should pay private complainant Jepson Dichaves the amount
the car and hit him with their firearms.[31] of P150,000.00 as moral damages.

The above-described .45 Caliber Colt Pistol and 12-gauge


Ms. Sese was at the office of appellant on 22 December 1993 when Remington shotgun as well as the Nissan Sentra 4-Door
she was told by the secretary, who appeared shaken, that a caller was Sedan are hereby confiscated in favor of the government.
looking for appellant. She saw appellant arrive at the office with Macias.[32]
The Warden of Metro Manila Rehabilitation Center, Camp
Ricardo R. Papa, Bicutan, Taguig, Metro Manila is hereby
Dr. Leal, the medico-legal officer at Philippine National Police (PNP) ordered to immediately transfer the said accused to the
Bureau of Corrections, National Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa
Crime Laboratory, presented the medico-legal certificate of appellant and City. The Jail Director of said bureau is ordered to inform this
testified that the injuries of appellant could have been sustained during the court in writing soonest as to when the said official took
custody of the accused.[36]
scuffle.[33]

Col. Navarro introduced appellant to Jepson. He was privy to the The trial court held that the prosecution had established with the required
loan transactions between appellant and Jepson where the former asked quantum of evidence that the elements of kidnapping for ransom were
loans from the latter. He even served as guarantor of some of the obligations present and that appellant was the author of said crime.
of appellant. When the checks issued by appellant were dishonored by the
bank, Jepson filed a case against Navarro for violation of Batas Appellant filed a notice of appeal to the Supreme Court. Conformably
Pambansa Blg. 22, wherein the latter was eventually acquitted.[34] to People v. Mateo,[37] this Court in a Resolution dated 6 September 2004,
referred the case to the Court of Appeals for appropriate action and
While the criminal cases were undergoing trial, Macias disposition.[38]
died. Consequently, his criminal liability is totally extinguished under Article
89, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code.[35] On 27 September 2006, the Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the Decision of
the RTC, the dispositive portion of which reads:
On 30 August 2002, the RTC rendered judgment finding appellant guilty
WHEREFORE, the August 30, 2002 Decision of the
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of kidnapping for ransom. The Regional Trial Court, national Capital Judicial Region, Br. 18,
dispositive portion reads: Manila, in Criminal Cases Nos. 93-130980, 93-132606, and
93-132607, in convicting Ernesto Uyboco of three (3) counts
of Kidnapping for Ransom is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. No
WHEREFORE, premises considered herein accused
costs.[39]
Ernesto Ramos Uyboco is hereby found guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of Kidnapping for Ransom
133
V. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING
MOST OF THE OBJECT EVIDENCE PRESENTED
A motion for reconsideration was filed by appellant but the same was denied AGAINST THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT SINCE
THEY WERE PROCURED IN VIOLATION OF HIS
in a Resolution dated 22 December 2006. Hence, this appeal. CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.

VI. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING OF


On 3 September 2007, this Court required the parties to file their respective FACT THAT THE MERVILLE PROPERTY LEASED
supplemental briefs. On 25 October 2007, appellants counsel filed a BY ACCUSED-APPELLANT FROM MS. CAROLINA
ALEJO WAS THE VERY SAME HOUSE WHERE
withdrawal of appearance.Appellee manifested that it is no longer filing a
NIMFA CELIZ AND HER WARDS WERE
Supplemental Brief.[40] Meanwhile, this Court appointed the Public Attorneys ALLEGEDLY DETAINED.
Office as counsel de oficio for appellant. Appellee also filed a manifestation
VII. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT
that it is merely adopting all the arguments in the appellants brief submitted ACCUSED UYBOCO AS HAVING PARTICIPATED
before the Court of Appeals.[41] IN THE ABDUCTION OF JESON KEVIN, JESON
KIRBY, AND NIMFA CELIZ AS NOT A SINGLE
EVIDENCE ON RECORD SUPPORTS THE SAME.
Appellant prays for a reversal of his conviction on three (3) counts of
VIII. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT ACQUITTING
kidnapping for ransom based on the following assignment of errors:
THE ACCUSED CONSIDERING THAT
ABDUCTION, AN IMPORTANT ELEMENT OF THE
I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING CRIME, WAS NEVER ESTABLISHED AGAINST
THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT DESPITE THE HIM.
DISTURBING WHISPERS OF DOUBT REPLETE IN
THE PROSECUTIONS THEORY. IX. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THE
ACCUSED GUILTY OF KIDNAPPING FOR
II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING RANSOM WITHOUT DISCUSSING THE
CREDENCE TO NIMFA CELIZ TESTIMONY PARTICIPATION OF ACCUSED MACIAS
NOTWITHSTANDING THE INCREDIBILITY OF CONSIDERING THAT THE CHARGE WAS FOR
HER STORY. CONSPIRACY.[42]

III. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN PRESUMING


REGULARITY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF The ultimate issue in every criminal case is whether appellants guilt
OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS OVER THE
CONSTITUTIONAL PRESUMPTION OF has been proven beyond reasonable doubt. Guided by the law and
INNOCENCE OF THE ACCUSED UYBOCO. jurisprudential precepts, this Court is unerringly led to resolve this issue in

IV. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING THE the affirmative, as we shall hereinafter discuss.
TESTIMONY OF JEPSON DICHAVEZ
NOTWITHSTANDING HIS DISPLAYED
In order for the accused to be convicted of kidnapping and serious
PROPENSITY FOR UNTRUTHFULNESS.
illegal detention under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, the
prosecution is burdened to prove beyond reasonable doubt all the elements
134
3) The act of the detention or kidnapping of the
of the crime, namely: (1) the offender is a private individual; (2) he kidnaps or
three victims was indubitably illegal. Their detention
detains another, or in any manner deprives the latter of his liberty; (3) the act was not ordered by any competent authority but by
of detention or kidnapping must be illegal; and (4) in the commission of the the private individual whose mind and heart were
focused to illegally amassed huge amount of money
offense any of the following circumstances is present: (a) the kidnapping or thru force and coercion for personal gain;
detention lasts for more than three days; (b) it is committed by simulating
xxxx
public authority; (c) serious physical injuries are inflicted upon the person
kidnapped or detained or threats to kill him are made; or (d) the person 5) Both accused Uyboco and Macias had
successfully extorted ransom by compelling the
kidnapped and kept in detained is a minor, the duration of his detention is
parents of the minors to give in to their unreasonable
immaterial. Likewise, if the victim is kidnapped and illegally detained for the demands to get the huge amount of money, a gun,
purpose of extorting ransom, the duration of his detention is immaterial.[43] and pieces of jewelry x x x.[44]

We are in full accord with the findings of the trial court that these These facts were based on the narrations of the prosecutions
elements were proven by the prosecution, thus: witnesses, particularly that of Nimfa, the victim herself and Jepson, the father
of the two children abducted and the person from whom ransom was
1) Accused Uyboco is a private individual;
extorted.
2) Accused Uyboco together with the unidentified
persons/companions of accused Uyboco, referred to
as John Does, forcibly abducted the two sons of
Nimfa recounted how she and her wards were abducted in the
private complainant Jepson Dichaves, namely: then
five-year-old Jeson Kevin and two-year old Jeson morning of 20 December 2003 and detained in a house in Merville
Kirby as well as their maid or yaya Nimfa Celiz. Their Subdivision, Paraaque, thus:
abduction occurred at about 10:30 in the morning of
December 20, 1993. The three victims were on
board Jepsons Isuzu pick-up driven by Jepsons A: When we arrived at the office after awhile we boarded the
driver Pepito Acon. The moving pick-up was in front pick-up and then we left, Sir.
of San Sebastian Church, Legarda, Manila when its xxxx
path was blocked by a stainless jeep. A man in white
t-shirt and brown vest accosted driver Pepito for A: Those who boarded the pick-up, the driver Pepito Acon,
having allegedly ran over a stone that hit a son of a Mrs. Yusan Dichavez, the two (2) children and myself,
general working at the Presidential Security Sir.
Group. Pepito was made to ride in a jeep. The same
xxxx
man drove the pick-up to a house in Merville
Subdivision, Paranaque, Metro Manila, where the A: We proceeded to Metrobank Recto, Sir.
victims were illegally detained from December 20 to
23, 1993. xxxx

xxxx Q: And when you stopped there, what happened?

135
A: Mrs. Yusan Dichavez alighted in order to cross the street xxxx
to go to Metrobank, Sir.
Q: What did Pepito Acon do? When told to alight?
Q: And then what followed next?
A: Pepito Acon alighted, Sir.
A: The driver, Jeson Kirvy, Jeson Kervin and myself made a
right turn and we entered an alley, Sir. Q: Then what followed next?

xxxx A: After that Pepito alighted and the man who came from the
stainless jeep boarded and he was the one who drove,
Q: Before reaching Legarda, do you know of any untowards Sir.
incident that happened?
xxxx
A: Yes, sir.
A: When that man boarded the pick-up there was a T-bird
ATTY. PAMARAN: who also boarded on the passengers side, Sir.

Q: What? xxxx

A: When we were already in front of the San Sebastian Q: When you entered the gate of Merville Subdivision, where
Church and Sta. Rita College there was a stainless jeep did you proceed?
that block our path, Sir.
A: When we entered the gate there was a street which I do
Q: How many persons were inside that stainless jeep, if you not know and when we went straight as to my estimate
know? we were going back to the main gate, Sir.

A: I have not notice, but there were many, Sir. xxxx

Q: How did that stainless jeep stop your vehicle? A: The pick-up stopped in front of a low house near the gate,
Sir.
A: Our driver Pepito Acon was signaled by the persons on
the stainless jeep to stay on the side, sir. Q: When you stopped in front of the gate, that house which
is low, what happened?
Q: What did your driver Pepito Acon do when the sign was
made to him? A: The tomboy alighted and opened the gate of that low
house, Sir.
A: The driver stopped the pick-up and set on the side, Sir.
Q: What followed next after the tomboy opened the gate?
Q: And then what followed next after he stopped?
A: After the tomboy opened the gate, the driver entered the
xxxx pick-up inside, Sir.
A: The man told us that we will be brought to the precinct xxxx
because when we then make a turn at Kentucky a stone
was ran and hit the son of the General of PSG from Q: And when you entered the house, what happened?
Malacaang, Sir.

136
A: When we entered the house we were confined at the
comfort room, Sir.[45] A: I offered it for 1.3 million, Sir.

Q: How about the different (sic), what will it be?


Jepson gave an account how appellant demanded ransom from him
A: At this point, he asked me to include my gun, Sir.
and eventually got hold of the money, thus:
Q: How about the other balance?
A: Then Macias offered the release of the two (2) boys for
1.5 Million each, Sir. A: My jewelry, Sir.[46]

A: Then I started begging and bargaining with them and then xxxx
suddenly Uyboco was again the one continuing the
conversation, Sir. Q: And what did you do after you were in possession of the
money, the jewelries, the gun and the bag?
Q: What did you say?
A: I returned to my office and put the cash in the bag.
A: After some bargaining and beggings he reduced the
demand to 1.7 million, and he asked for my wife to talk Q: In short, what were those inside the bag?
to because according to him I was very hard to talk too,
Sir. A: The P1.325 million money, the gun and the assorted
jewelries.
ATTY. PAMARAN:
Q: And after placing them inside the bag, what happened?
Q: You said he, to whom are you referring?
A: I left my office at 3:00 PM to proceed to the Pancake
A: To Mr. Uyboco, Sir. House at the
Magallanes Commercial Center.
Q: What followed?
Q: Where did you place that bag?
A: After some more bargaining and begins he further
reduced their demand to1.5 million x x x. A: That bag, at that time, was placed at the back seat when I
was going to the Pancake House.
xxxx
Q: And after that what followed? xxxx

A: I offered them to fill up the different (sic) in kind, Sir. Q: What else did he tell you?

Q: Why to offer the different (sic) in kind? A: x x x He told me to put the ransom bag x x x inside my
trunk compartment, leave it and lock the car, and walk
A: To fill up the different (sic) between 1.3 million to 1.5 away without looking back for ten (10) minutes.
million, Sir.
Q: After that instruction, what happened, or what did you do?
Q: So in short, how much cash did you offer?
137
A: After few minutes, he called again. He told me to drive Q: And after you parked the car, what followed?
and park the car beside the car Mitsubishi Colt Mirage
with Plate NO. NRZ-863. A: I walked towards the Pancake House without looking back
and then I turned to the back of the supermarket and I
Q: Did he tell you where was that Colt Mirage car parked? checked my trunk and saw that the bag is gone already.

A: Yes, in front of the Mercury Drug Store. Q: And what followed thereafter?

Q: And then, what did you do? A: A few minutes, Uyboco called up and told me that my
sons were at the shell station after the Magallanes
A: I followed his instruction. Commercial Center inside the Bibingkahan.[47]

Q: And what followed next?


Now, appellant seeks to destroy the credibility of these witnesses by
A: After few more minutes, he called again and asked if I am
in front of the Mercury Drug Store already. imputing inconsistencies, untruthfulness and incredibility in their testimonies.

Q: And what was your answer?


Appellant harps on the supposed inconsistencies in the testimony of
A: I told him yes and he again gave me the final Nimfa, namely: First, Nimfa stated that on the day they were to be released,
arrangement, but he uttered I walk back towards the
they, together with Macias, left Merville Subdivision at 4:00 p.m. while
Pancake House without looking back for ten (10)
minutes. appellant stayed behind. However, P/Insp. Escandor testified that at around
4:00 p.m., he saw Macias and appellant at Magallanes Commercial Center.
Q: And?
Second, Nimfa could not properly identify the number of kidnappers. Third,
A: And informing me the whereabouts of my sons. Nimfa failed to state in her affidavit and during the direct examination that

ATTY. PAMARAN: Sarge had a gun, but later on cross-examination, she intimated that Sarge
had a gun. Fourth, it was incredible that Nimfa was able to identify the route
Q: Did you comply with that instruction?
taken by the kidnappers to the safe house because she was not allegedly
A: Yes, sir. blindfolded. Fifth, it was strange for Nimfa to say that two persons, Macias
and appellant, were holding the receiver and the dialing mechanism
Q: What did you do?
whenever they hand the phone to her. Sixth, it was impossible for Nimfa to
A: I walked towards the Pancake House without looking back have access to an operational telephone while in captivity. [48] The Court of
for more than ten (10) minutes.
Appeals correctly dismissed these inconsistencies as immaterial, in this wise:
Q: That car that you parked near the Mitsubishi Colt, how far
was your car the parked form that Colt Mirage? The purported inconsistencies and discrepancies
involve estimations of time or number; hence, the reference
A: Beside the Colt Mirage, Sir. thereto would understandably vary. The rule is that
inconsistencies in the testimonies of prosecution witnesses
138
on minor details and collateral matters do not affect the
then Vice-President Estrada, Jepson crafted and executed a frame up of
substance of their declaration, their veracity or the weight of
their testimonies. The inconsistencies and discrepancies of appellant.
the testimonies, in the case at bar, are not of such nature as
would warrant the reversal of the decision appealed
from. On the contrary, such trivial inconsistencies And the Court of Appeals had this to say:
strengthen, rather than diminish, Celiz testimony as they
erase suspicion that the same was rehearsed. For one, the strategy used, which is the use of
unconventional or not so commonly used strategy, to
The fact that Uyboco and his companions neither apprehend the kidnappers of Celiz and the Dichaves
donned masks to hide their faces nor blindfolded or tied up children is, by reason of their special knowledge and
their victims goes to show their brazenness in perpetrating expertise, the police operatives call or
the crime.Besides, familiarity with the victims or their families prerogative. Accordingly, in the absence of any evidence
has never rendered the commission of the crime improbable, that said agents falsely testified against Uyboco, We shall
but has in fact at times even facilitated its presume regularity in their performance of official duties and
commission. Moreover, the fact that there was a usable disregard Uybocos unsubstantiated claim that he was
phone in the house where Celiz and the kids were held framed up.
captive only proves that, in this real world, mistakes or
blunders are made and there is no such thing as a perfect Secondly, matters of presentation of witnesses by the
crime.On a different view, it may even be posited that the prosecution and the determination of which evidence to
incredible happenings narrated by Celiz only highlights the present are not for Uyboco or even the trial court to decide,
brilliance of Uyboco and his companions. Verily, in but the same rests upon the prosecution. This is so since
committing the crime of kidnapping with ransom, they Section 5, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Court expressly
adopted and pursued unfamiliar strategies to confuse the vests in the prosecution the direction and control over the
police authorities, the victim, and the family of the victims.[49] prosecution of a case. As the prosecution had other
witnesses who it believes could sufficiently prove the case
against Uyboco, its non-presentation of other witnesses
Appellant then zeroes in on Jepson and accuses him of lying under cannot be taken against the same.[50]
oath when he claimed that appellant owed him only P2.3 Million when in fact,
appellant owed him P8.5 Million. Appellant charges Jepson of downplaying Time and again, this court has invariably viewed the defense of
his closeness to him when in fact they had several business deals and frame-up with disfavor. Like the defense of alibi, it can be just as easily
Jepson would address appellant as Ernie. Moreover, it was unbelievable for concocted.[51]
Jepson to be able to identify with utmost certainty that the kidnapper he was
supposedly talking to was appellant. Finally, appellant claims that Jepsons We are inclined to accord due weight and respect to the ruling of the
motive to maliciously impute a false kidnapping charge against him boils lower courts in giving credence to the positive testimonies of Nimfa and
down to money. Among the businesses that Jepson owns was along the Jepson, both pointing to appellant as one of the kidnappers. Both witnesses
same line of business as that of appellant, which is the supply of police testified in a clear and categorical manner, unfazed by efforts of the defense
equipment to the PNP. To eliminate competition and possibly procure all to discredit them. As a rule, the assessment of the credibility of witnesses
contracts from the PNP and considering his brothers close association to and their testimonies is a matter best undertaken by the trial court, which had
139
story focused only on the day of the ransom payment? Why
a unique opportunity to observe the witnesses firsthand and to note their
did they not apply for a warrant of arrest against accused-
demeanor, conduct and attitude.[52] While it is true that the trial judge who appellant Uyboco when they supposedly knew that from day
conducted the hearing would be in a better position to ascertain the truth or 1, he was the kidnapper?

falsity of the testimonies of the witnesses, it does not necessarily follow that a Why were there no tapes presented in evidence
judge who was not present during the trial, as in this case, cannot render a which recorded the conversations between the kidnappers x
x x.[54]
valid and just decision, since the latter can very well rely on the transcribed
stenographic notes taken during the trial as the basis of his decision. [53]
Furthermore, appellant stresses that his financial status as an
Appellant raises questions which purportedly tend to instill doubt on established and well-off businessman negates any motive on his part to
the prosecutions theory, thus: resort to kidnapping.
If we indulge appellants speculations, we could readily provide for the
If Uyboco is really the mastermind of the kidnapping answers to all these questions that appellant originally demanded P26 Million
syndicate, why would he demand only P1.325M x x x as
ransom? Why would he be the one to personally pick-up the but this had been substantially reduced due to aggressive bargaining and
ransom money using his own car registered in his sons negotiations; that appellant personally picked up the ransom money because
name? Why did he not open the bag containing the ransom
to check its contents? Why would he be the one to he could not trust anybody to do the work for him; that appellant did not open
personally hand the phone to Nimfa Celiz without any mask the bag containing the money because he trusted Jepson, who then out of
covering his face x x x. Why would he go back to his family
fear, would deliver as instructed; that appellant did not cover his face in front
residence x x x with the ransom money still intact in the trunk
of his car? of Nimfa because he thought Nimfa would not recognize him; that appellant
went back to his family residence because he never thought that Jepson
If Nimfa Celiz and her wards were indeed
kidnapped, why were they not blindfolded x x x? Why were would recognize him as the voice behind one of the kidnappers; that the
they not tied x x x? victims were not blindfolded or tied because Nimfa, who appeared to be

xxxx ignorant to the kidnappers and the two children barely 5 years old would be
emboldened to escape; that appellant never thought that the police would
If it is true that the house at Merville, Paraaque was
discover the place of detention; that the police employed a different strategy,
used by accused-appellant Uyboco as the place of the
alleged detention x x x how come Uyboco signed the lease which is to first secure the victims before they apprehend the kidnappers;
contract under his own name? x x x Certainly, any person that to secure a warrant would be futile as the police then did not have
with the education attainment of at least high school degree,
much more so an established businessman like accused- sufficient evidence to pin down appellant to the crime of kidnapping; that
appellant would know that the lease contract and the post- there were no actual record of the telephone conversations between Jepson
dated checks are incriminating evidence.
and the kidnappers.
x x x (h)ow come no effort was exerted in apprehending
Uyboco during day 1 of the kidnapping? x x x Why is their

140
However, to individually address each and every question would be Appellant then questions the validity of his arrest and the search conducted
tantamount to engaging in a battle of endless speculations, which do not inside his car in absence of a warrant. The arrest was validly executed
have a place in a court of law where proof or hard evidence takes pursuant to Section 5, paragraph (b) of Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, which
precedence. On the other hand, the prosecution presented testimonies and provides:
evidence to prove that kidnapping occurred and that appellant is the author
SEC. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A
thereof.
peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant,
arrest a person: (a) When, in his presence, the person to be
Appellant seeks to pierce the presumption of regularity enjoyed by police arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is
attempting to commit an offense; (b) When an offense has
officers to anchor his argument that he has been framed up. He belittles the in fact been committed and he has personal knowledge
efforts of the police officers who participated in the operation. Appellant of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has
committed it; and, (c) When the person to be arrested is a
claims that despite knowledge of the place of alleged detention, the police prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or
did not try to rescue the kidnap victims. Appellant also notes that while place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily
confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while
P/Supt. Chan denies installing any listening device to record the
being transferred from one confinement to another.
conversations of the kidnappers and Jepson, the interview made by a (Emphasis supplied)
reporter for a television network shows that Major Aquino admitted to taped
conversations of appellants alleged negotiations for the ransom with
The second instance of lawful warrantless arrest covered by
Jepson. Appellant insists that these taped conversations do exist.
paragraph (b) cited above necessitates two stringent requirements before a
warrantless arrest can be effected: (1) an offense has just been committed;
Appellant cannot rely on a vague mention of an interview, if it indeed exists,
and (2) the person making the arrest has personal knowledge of facts
to discredit the testimony of P/Supt. Chan. The truth of the matter is appellant
indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it.[56]
failed to prove the existence of the alleged taped conversations. The matters
of failure of the police officer to properly document the alleged pay-off, the
Records show that both requirements are present in the instant
non-production of the master copy of the video tape, and the chain of
case. The police officers present in Magallanes Commercial Center were
custody supposedly broken are not semblance of neglect so as to debunk
able to witness the pay-off which effectively consummates the crime of
the presumption of regularity. In the absence of proof of motive on the part of
kidnapping. They all saw appellant take the money from the car trunk of
the police officers to falsely ascribe a serious crime against the accused, the
Jepson. Such knowledge was then relayed to the other police officers
presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty, as well as the
stationed in Fort Bonifacio where appellant was expected to pass by.
trial court's assessment on the credibility of the apprehending officers, shall
prevail over the accused's self-serving and uncorroborated claim of frame-
Personal knowledge of facts must be based on probable cause,
up.[55]
which means an actual belief or reasonable grounds of suspicion. The

141
grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in the absence of actual belief of area of his immediate control. The phrase "within the area of his immediate
the arresting officers, the suspicion that the person to be arrested is probably control" means the area from within which he might gain possession of a
guilty of committing the offense is based on actual facts, i.e., supported by weapon or destructible evidence.[58] Therefore, it is only but expected and
circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable cause legally so for the police to search his car as he was driving it when he was
of guilt of the person to be arrested. A reasonable suspicion, therefore, must arrested.
be founded on probable cause, coupled with good faith on the part of the
peace officers making the arrest. Section 5, Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules on Appellant avers that it was not proven that appellant was present and
Criminal Procedure does not require the arresting officers to personally in fact participated in the abduction of the victims. Lacking this element,
witness the commission of the offense with their own eyes.[57] appellant should have been acquitted. In a related argument, appellant
contends that conspiracy was not proven in the execution of the crime,
It is sufficient for the arresting team that they were monitoring the therefore, appellants participation was not sufficiently established.
pay-off for a number of hours long enough for them to be informed that it was
indeed appellant, who was the kidnapper. This is equivalent to personal The Court of Appeal effectively addressed these issues, to wit:
knowledge based on probable cause.
The prosecution was able to prove that: 1) At the
time of the kidnapping, the house where Celiz and the
Likewise, the search conducted inside the car of appellant was legal Dichaves children were kept was being leased by Uyboco; 2)
because the latter consented to such search as testified by P/Supt. Uyboco was present in the said house at the time when
Celiz and the Dichaves children were being kept thereat; 3)
Cruz. Even assuming that appellant did not give his consent for the police to there being no evidence to the contrary, Uybocos presence
search the car, they can still validly do so by virtue of a search incident to a in the same is voluntary; 4) that Uyboco has in his
possession some of the ransom payment; and, 5) that
lawful arrest under Section 13, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court which states: Uyboco was the one who told them that the balance of the
ransom payment is with Macias. All these circumstances
SEC. 13. Search incident to lawful arrest. A person clearly point out that Uyboco, together with several
lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous weapons unidentified persons, agreed or decided and conspired, to
or anything which may have been used or constitute proof in commit kidnapping for ransom.
the commission of an offense without a search warrant.
xxxx

In lawful arrests, it becomes both the duty and the right of the x x x Uybocos claim, that since it was not proven that he was
one of the passengers of the jeep which waylaid the
apprehending officers to conduct a warrantless search not only on the person Dichaves vehicle on December 20, 1993, he could not be
of the suspect, but also in the permissible area within the latter's convicted of kidnapping for ransom considering that his
participation, if any, was merely to provide the house where
reach. Otherwise stated, a valid arrest allows the seizure of evidence or the victims were kept, is misplaced.
dangerous weapons either on the person of the one arrested or within the

142
Moreover, to Our mind, it is inconceivable that The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
members of a kidnapping syndicate would entrust the Reynaldo B. Tatoy and Abelardo E. Rogacion for accused-appellant.
performance of an essential and sensitive phase of their
criminal scheme, i.e. possession of the ransom payment, to
people not in cahoots with them, and who had no knowledge
whatsoever of the details of their nefarious plan.[59]
BIDIN, J.:

The testimonies of Nimfa and Jepson sufficiently point to the This is an appeal from a decision * rendered by the Special Criminal Court of
participation of appellant. While he was not present during the abduction, he Manila (Regional Trial Court, Branch XLIX) convicting accused-appellant of
violation of Section 21 (b), Article IV in relation to Section 4, Article 11 and
was present in the house where the victims were detained, oftentimes giving
Section 2 (e) (i), Article 1 of Republic Act 6425, as amended, otherwise
the phone to Nimfa to talk to Jepson. He also actively demanded ransom known as the Dangerous Drugs Act.
from Jepson. The conspiracy was likewise proven by the above
The facts as summarized in the brief of the prosecution are as follows:
testimonies. Appellant conspired with Macias and other John Does in
committing the crime. Therefore, even with the absence of appellant in the On August 14, 1987, between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m., the appellant
abduction stage, he is still liable for kidnapping for ransom because in and his common-law wife, Shirley Reyes, went to the booth of the
"Manila Packing and Export Forwarders" in the Pistang Pilipino
conspiracy, the act of one is the act of all.[60] Complex, Ermita, Manila, carrying with them four (4) gift wrapped
packages. Anita Reyes (the proprietress and no relation to Shirley
Reyes) attended to them. The appellant informed Anita Reyes that
Based on the foregoing, we sustain appellants conviction. he was sending the packages to a friend in Zurich, Switzerland.
Appellant filled up the contract necessary for the transaction, writing
therein his name, passport number, the date of shipment and the
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated 30 August 2002 in Criminal Case
name and address of the consignee, namely, "WALTER FIERZ,
Nos. 93-130980, 93-132606, and 93-132607 RTC, Branch 18, Manila, finding Mattacketr II, 8052 Zurich, Switzerland" (Decision, p. 6)
Ernesto Uyboco y Ramos guilty of kidnapping for ransom, and the Decision
Anita Reyes then asked the appellant if she could examine and
dated 27 September 2006 of the Court of Appeals, affirming in toto the
inspect the packages. Appellant, however, refused, assuring her that
Decision of the RTC, are AFFIRMED. the packages simply contained books, cigars, and gloves and were
gifts to his friend in Zurich. In view of appellant's representation,
Anita Reyes no longer insisted on inspecting the packages. The four
SO ORDERED. (4) packages were then placed inside a brown corrugated box one
by two feet in size (1' x 2'). Styro-foam was placed at the bottom and
on top of the packages before the box was sealed with masking
tape, thus making the box ready for shipment (Decision, p. 8).

G.R. No. 81561 January 18, 1991 Before delivery of appellant's box to the Bureau of Customs and/or
Bureau of Posts, Mr. Job Reyes (proprietor) and husband of Anita
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee (Reyes), following standard operating procedure, opened the boxes
vs. for final inspection. When he opened appellant's box, a peculiar odor
ANDRE MARTI, accused-appellant. emitted therefrom. His curiousity aroused, he squeezed one of the
143
bundles allegedly containing gloves and felt dried leaves inside. August 27, 1987, appellant, while claiming his mail at the Central Post Office,
Opening one of the bundles, he pulled out a cellophane wrapper was invited by the NBI to shed light on the attempted shipment of the seized
protruding from the opening of one of the gloves. He made an dried leaves. On the same day the Narcotics Section of the NBI submitted
opening on one of the cellophane wrappers and took several grams the dried leaves to the Forensic Chemistry Section for laboratory
of the contents thereof (tsn, pp. 29-30, October 6, 1987; Emphasis examination. It turned out that the dried leaves were marijuana flowering tops
supplied). as certified by the forensic chemist. (Appellee's Brief, pp. 9-11, Rollo, pp.
132-134).
Job Reyes forthwith prepared a letter reporting the shipment to the
NBI and requesting a laboratory examination of the samples he Thereafter, an Information was filed against appellant for violation of RA
extracted from the cellophane wrapper (tsn, pp. 5-6, October 6, 6425, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act.
1987).
After trial, the court a quo rendered the assailed decision.
He brought the letter and a sample of appellant's shipment to the
Narcotics Section of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), at In this appeal, accused/appellant assigns the following errors, to wit:
about 1:30 o'clock in the afternoon of that date, i.e., August 14, 1987.
He was interviewed by the Chief of Narcotics Section. Job Reyes
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING IN EVIDENCE THE
informed the NBI that the rest of the shipment was still in his office.
ILLEGALLY SEARCHED AND SEIZED OBJECTS CONTAINED IN
Therefore, Job Reyes and three (3) NBI agents, and a photographer, THE FOUR PARCELS.
went to the Reyes' office at Ermita, Manila (tsn, p. 30, October 6,
1987).
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING APPELLANT
DESPITE THE UNDISPUTED FACT THAT HIS RIGHTS UNDER
Job Reyes brought out the box in which appellant's packages were
THE CONSTITUTION WHILE UNDER CUSTODIAL
placed and, in the presence of the NBI agents, opened the top flaps,
PROCEEDINGS WERE NOT OBSERVED.
removed the styro-foam and took out the cellophane wrappers from
inside the gloves. Dried marijuana leaves were found to have been
contained inside the cellophane wrappers (tsn, p. 38, October 6, THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT GIVING CREDENCE TO
1987; Emphasis supplied). THE EXPLANATION OF THE APPELLANT ON HOW THE FOUR
PARCELS CAME INTO HIS POSSESSION (Appellant's Brief, p.
1; Rollo, p. 55)
The package which allegedly contained books was likewise opened
by Job Reyes. He discovered that the package contained bricks or
cake-like dried marijuana leaves. The package which allegedly 1. Appellant contends that the evidence subject of the imputed offense had
contained tabacalera cigars was also opened. It turned out that dried been obtained in violation of his constitutional rights against unreasonable
marijuana leaves were neatly stocked underneath the cigars (tsn, p. search and seizure and privacy of communication (Sec. 2 and 3, Art. III,
39, October 6, 1987). Constitution) and therefore argues that the same should be held inadmissible
in evidence (Sec. 3 (2), Art. III).
The NBI agents made an inventory and took charge of the box and
of the contents thereof, after signing a "Receipt" Sections 2 and 3, Article III of the Constitution provide:
acknowledging custody of the said effects (tsn, pp. 2-3, October 7,
1987). Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,
papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of
Thereupon, the NBI agents tried to locate appellant but to no avail. whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no
Appellant's stated address in his passport being the Manila Central Post search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable
Office, the agents requested assistance from the latter's Chief Security. On cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination

144
under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he Gonzales, 145 SCRA 687 [1987]; See also Salazar v. Hon. Achacoso, et al.,
may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched GR No. 81510, March 14, 1990).
and the persons or things to be seized.
It must be noted, however, that in all those cases adverted to, the evidence
Sec. 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall so obtained were invariably procured by the State acting through the medium
be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public of its law enforcers or other authorized government agencies.
safety or order requires otherwise as prescribed by law.
On the other hand, the case at bar assumes a peculiar character since the
(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section evidence sought to be excluded was primarily discovered and obtained by a
shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding. private person, acting in a private capacity and without the intervention and
participation of State authorities. Under the circumstances, can
Our present constitutional provision on the guarantee against unreasonable accused/appellant validly claim that his constitutional right against
search and seizure had its origin in the 1935 Charter which, worded as unreasonable searches and seizure has been violated? Stated otherwise,
follows: may an act of a private individual, allegedly in violation of appellant's
constitutional rights, be invoked against the State?
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers
and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be We hold in the negative. In the absence of governmental interference, the
violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, to be liberties guaranteed by the Constitution cannot be invoked against the State.
determined by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation
of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and As this Court held in Villanueva v. Querubin (48 SCRA 345 [1972]:
particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or
things to be seized. (Sec. 1 [3], Article III) 1. This constitutional right (against unreasonable search and
seizure) refers to the immunity of one's person, whether citizen or
was in turn derived almost verbatim from the Fourth Amendment ** to the alien, from interference by government, included in which is his
United States Constitution. As such, the Court may turn to the residence, his papers, and other possessions. . . .
pronouncements of the United States Federal Supreme Court and State
Appellate Courts which are considered doctrinal in this jurisdiction. . . . There the state, however powerful, does not as such have the
access except under the circumstances above noted, for in the
Thus, following the exclusionary rule laid down in Mapp v. Ohio by the US traditional formulation, his house, however humble, is his
Federal Supreme Court (367 US 643, 81 S.Ct. 1684, 6 L.Ed. 1081 [1961]), castle. Thus is outlawed any unwarranted intrusion by government,
this Court, in Stonehill v. Diokno (20 SCRA 383 [1967]), declared as which is called upon to refrain from any invasion of his dwelling and
inadmissible any evidence obtained by virtue of a defective search and to respect the privacies of his life. . . . (Cf. Schermerber v. California,
seizure warrant, abandoning in the process the ruling earlier adopted 384 US 757 [1966] and Boyd v. United States, 116 US 616 [1886];
in Moncado v. People's Court (80 Phil. 1 [1948]) wherein the admissibility of Emphasis supplied).
evidence was not affected by the illegality of its seizure. The 1973 Charter
(Sec. 4 [2], Art. IV) constitutionalized the Stonehill ruling and is carried over In Burdeau v. McDowell (256 US 465 (1921), 41 S Ct. 547; 65 L.Ed. 1048),
up to the present with the advent of the 1987 Constitution. the Court there in construing the right against unreasonable searches and
seizures declared that:
In a number of cases, the Court strictly adhered to the exclusionary rule and
has struck down the admissibility of evidence obtained in violation of the (t)he Fourth Amendment gives protection against unlawful searches
constitutional safeguard against unreasonable searches and seizures. and seizures, and as shown in previous cases, its protection applies
(Bache & Co., (Phil.), Inc., v. Ruiz, 37 SCRA 823 [1971]; Lim v. Ponce de to governmental action. Its origin and history clearly show that it was
Leon, 66 SCRA 299 [1975]; People v. Burgos, 144 SCRA 1 [1986]; Roan v.
145
intended as a restraint upon the activities of sovereign authority, and The postulate advanced by accused/appellant needs to be clarified in two
was not intended to be a limitation upon other than governmental days. In both instances, the argument stands to fall on its own weight, or the
agencies; as against such authority it was the purpose of the Fourth lack of it.
Amendment to secure the citizen in the right of unmolested
occupation of his dwelling and the possession of his property, First, the factual considerations of the case at bar readily foreclose the
subject to the right of seizure by process duly served. proposition that NBI agents conducted an illegal search and seizure of the
prohibited merchandise. Records of the case clearly indicate that it was Mr.
The above ruling was reiterated in State v. Bryan (457 P.2d 661 [1968]) Job Reyes, the proprietor of the forwarding agency, who made
where a parking attendant who searched the automobile to ascertain the search/inspection of the packages. Said inspection was reasonable and a
owner thereof found marijuana instead, without the knowledge and standard operating procedure on the part of Mr. Reyes as a precautionary
participation of police authorities, was declared admissible in prosecution for measure before delivery of packages to the Bureau of Customs or the
illegal possession of narcotics. Bureau of Posts (TSN, October 6 & 7, 1987, pp. 15-18; pp. 7-8; Original
Records, pp. 119-122; 167-168).
And again in the 1969 case of Walker v. State (429 S.W.2d 121), it was held
that the search and seizure clauses are restraints upon the government and It will be recalled that after Reyes opened the box containing the illicit cargo,
its agents, not upon private individuals (citing People v. Potter, 240 Cal. he took samples of the same to the NBI and later summoned the agents to
App.2d 621, 49 Cap. Rptr, 892 (1966); State v. Brown, Mo., 391 S.W.2d 903 his place of business. Thereafter, he opened the parcel containing the rest of
(1965); State v. Olsen, Or., 317 P.2d 938 (1957). the shipment and entrusted the care and custody thereof to the NBI agents.
Clearly, the NBI agents made no search and seizure, much less an illegal
Likewise appropos is the case of Bernas v. US (373 F.2d 517 (1967). The one, contrary to the postulate of accused/appellant.
Court there said:
Second, the mere presence of the NBI agents did not convert the reasonable
The search of which appellant complains, however, was made by a search effected by Reyes into a warrantless search and seizure proscribed
private citizen the owner of a motel in which appellant stayed by the Constitution. Merely to observe and look at that which is in plain sight
overnight and in which he left behind a travel case containing the is not a search. Having observed that which is open, where no trespass has
evidence***complained of. The search was made on the motel been committed in aid thereof, is not search (Chadwick v. State, 429 SW2d
owner's own initiative. Because of it, he became suspicious, called 135). Where the contraband articles are identified without a trespass on the
the local police, informed them of the bag's contents, and made it part of the arresting officer, there is not the search that is prohibited by the
available to the authorities. constitution (US v. Lee 274 US 559, 71 L.Ed. 1202 [1927]; Ker v. State of
California 374 US 23, 10 L.Ed.2d. 726 [1963]; Moore v. State, 429 SW2d 122
[1968]).
The fourth amendment and the case law applying it do not require
exclusion of evidence obtained through a search by a private citizen.
Rather, the amendment only proscribes governmental action." In Gandy v. Watkins (237 F. Supp. 266 [1964]), it was likewise held that
where the property was taken into custody of the police at the specific
request of the manager and where the search was initially made by the
The contraband in the case at bar having come into possession of the
owner there is no unreasonable search and seizure within the constitutional
Government without the latter transgressing appellant's rights against
meaning of the term.
unreasonable search and seizure, the Court sees no cogent reason why the
same should not be admitted against him in the prosecution of the offense
charged. That the Bill of Rights embodied in the Constitution is not meant to be
invoked against acts of private individuals finds support in the deliberations of
the Constitutional Commission. True, the liberties guaranteed by the
Appellant, however, would like this court to believe that NBI agents made an
fundamental law of the land must always be subject to protection. But
illegal search and seizure of the evidence later on used in prosecuting the
case which resulted in his conviction.
146
protection against whom? Commissioner Bernas in his sponsorship speech arrest vis-a-vis the responsibility of the judge in the issuance thereof
in the Bill of Rights answers the query which he himself posed, as follows: (SeeSoliven v. Makasiar, 167 SCRA 393 [1988]; Circular No. 13 [October 1,
1985] and Circular No. 12 [June 30, 1987]. The modifications introduced
First, the general reflections. The protection of fundamental liberties deviate in no manner as to whom the restriction or inhibition against
in the essence of constitutional democracy. Protection against unreasonable search and seizure is directed against. The restraint stayed
whom? Protection against the state. The Bill of Rights governs the with the State and did not shift to anyone else.
relationship between the individual and the state. Its concern is not
the relation between individuals, between a private individual and Corolarilly, alleged violations against unreasonable search and seizure may
other individuals. What the Bill of Rights does is to declare some only be invoked against the State by an individual unjustly traduced by the
forbidden zones in the private sphere inaccessible to any power exercise of sovereign authority. To agree with appellant that an act of a
holder. (Sponsorship Speech of Commissioner Bernas , Record of private individual in violation of the Bill of Rights should also be construed as
the Constitutional Commission, Vol. 1, p. 674; July 17, 1986; an act of the State would result in serious legal complications and an absurd
Emphasis supplied) interpretation of the constitution.

The constitutional proscription against unlawful searches and seizures Similarly, the admissibility of the evidence procured by an individual effected
therefore applies as a restraint directed only against the government and its through private seizure equally applies, in pari passu, to the alleged violation,
agencies tasked with the enforcement of the law. Thus, it could only be non-governmental as it is, of appellant's constitutional rights to privacy and
invoked against the State to whom the restraint against arbitrary and communication.
unreasonable exercise of power is imposed.
2. In his second assignment of error, appellant contends that the lower court
If the search is made upon the request of law enforcers, a warrant must erred in convicting him despite the undisputed fact that his rights under the
generally be first secured if it is to pass the test of constitutionality. However, constitution while under custodial investigation were not observed.
if the search is made at the behest or initiative of the proprietor of a private
establishment for its own and private purposes, as in the case at bar, and Again, the contention is without merit, We have carefully examined the
without the intervention of police authorities, the right against unreasonable records of the case and found nothing to indicate, as an "undisputed fact",
search and seizure cannot be invoked for only the act of private individual, that appellant was not informed of his constitutional rights or that he gave
not the law enforcers, is involved. In sum, the protection against statements without the assistance of counsel. The law enforcers testified that
unreasonable searches and seizures cannot be extended to acts committed accused/appellant was informed of his constitutional rights. It is presumed
by private individuals so as to bring it within the ambit of alleged unlawful that they have regularly performed their duties (See. 5(m), Rule 131) and
intrusion by the government. their testimonies should be given full faith and credence, there being no
evidence to the contrary. What is clear from the records, on the other hand,
Appellant argues, however, that since the provisions of the 1935 Constitution is that appellant refused to give any written statement while under
has been modified by the present phraseology found in the 1987 Charter, investigation as testified by Atty. Lastimoso of the NBI, Thus:
expressly declaring as inadmissible any evidence obtained in violation of the
constitutional prohibition against illegal search and seizure, it matters not Fiscal Formoso:
whether the evidence was procured by police authorities or private
individuals (Appellant's Brief, p. 8, Rollo, p. 62).
You said that you investigated Mr. and Mrs. Job Reyes. What about
the accused here, did you investigate the accused together with the
The argument is untenable. For one thing, the constitution, in laying down the girl?
principles of the government and fundamental liberties of the people, does
not govern relationships between individuals. Moreover, it must be
WITNESS:
emphasized that the modifications introduced in the 1987 Constitution (re:
Sec. 2, Art. III) relate to the issuance of either a search warrant or warrant of
147
Yes, we have interviewed the accused together with the girl but the and that the consignee of the frustrated shipment, Walter Fierz, also a Swiss
accused availed of his constitutional right not to give any written national, was likewise convicted for drug abuse and is just about an hour's
statement, sir. (TSN, October 8, 1987, p. 62; Original Records, p. drive from appellant's residence in Zurich, Switzerland (TSN, October 8,
240) 1987, p. 66; Original Records, p. 244; Decision, p. 21; Rollo, p. 93).

The above testimony of the witness for the prosecution was not contradicted Evidence to be believed, must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible
by the defense on cross-examination. As borne out by the records, neither witness, but it must be credible in itself such as the common experience and
was there any proof by the defense that appellant gave uncounselled observation of mankind can approve as probable under the circumstances
confession while being investigated. What is more, we have examined the (People v. Alto, 26 SCRA 342 [1968], citing Daggers v. Van Dyke, 37 N.J.
assailed judgment of the trial court and nowhere is there any reference made Eg. 130; see also People v. Sarda, 172 SCRA 651 [1989]; People v. Sunga,
to the testimony of appellant while under custodial investigation which was 123 SCRA 327 [1983]); Castaares v. CA, 92 SCRA 567 [1979]). As records
utilized in the finding of conviction. Appellant's second assignment of error is further show, appellant did not even bother to ask Michael's full name, his
therefore misplaced. complete address or passport number. Furthermore, if indeed, the German
national was the owner of the merchandise, appellant should have so
3. Coming now to appellant's third assignment of error, appellant would like indicated in the contract of shipment (Exh. "B", Original Records, p. 40). On
us to believe that he was not the owner of the packages which contained the contrary, appellant signed the contract as the owner and shipper thereof
prohibited drugs but rather a certain Michael, a German national, whom giving more weight to the presumption that things which a person possesses,
appellant met in a pub along Ermita, Manila: that in the course of their 30- or exercises acts of ownership over, are owned by him (Sec. 5 [j], Rule 131).
minute conversation, Michael requested him to ship the packages and gave At this point, appellant is therefore estopped to claim otherwise.
him P2,000.00 for the cost of the shipment since the German national was
about to leave the country the next day (October 15, 1987, TSN, pp. 2-10). Premises considered, we see no error committed by the trial court in
rendering the assailed judgment.
Rather than give the appearance of veracity, we find appellant's disclaimer
as incredulous, self-serving and contrary to human experience. It can easily WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction finding appellant guilty beyond
be fabricated. An acquaintance with a complete stranger struck in half an reasonable doubt of the crime charged is hereby AFFIRMED. No costs.
hour could not have pushed a man to entrust the shipment of four (4) parcels
and shell out P2,000.00 for the purpose and for appellant to readily accede to SO ORDERED.
comply with the undertaking without first ascertaining its contents. As stated
by the trial court, "(a) person would not simply entrust contraband and of Fernan, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr. and Feliciano, JJ., concur.
considerable value at that as the marijuana flowering tops, and the cash
amount of P2,000.00 to a complete stranger like the Accused. The Accused,
on the other hand, would not simply accept such undertaking to take custody
of the packages and ship the same from a complete stranger on his mere
say-so" (Decision, p. 19, Rollo, p. 91). As to why he readily agreed to do the
errand, appellant failed to explain. Denials, if unsubstantiated by clear and
convincing evidence, are negative self-serving evidence which deserve no
weight in law and cannot be given greater evidentiary weight than the
testimony of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters (People v.
Esquillo, 171 SCRA 571 [1989]; People vs. Sariol, 174 SCRA 237 [1989]).

Appellant's bare denial is even made more suspect considering that, as per
records of the Interpol, he was previously convicted of possession of hashish
by the Kleve Court in the Federal Republic of Germany on January 1, 1982

148
Near v. Minnesota, 283 U.S. 697 (1931) 5. Cutting through mere details of procedure, the operation and effect of the
statute is that public authorities may bring a publisher before a judge upon a
Near v. Minnesota charge of conducting a business of publishing scandalous and defamatory
matter -- in particular, that the matter consists of charges against public
officials of official dereliction -- and, unless the publisher is able and disposed
No. 91
to satisfy the judge that the charges are true and are published with good
motives and for justifiable ends, his newspaper or periodical is suppressed
Argued January 30, 1931 and further publication is made punishable as a contempt. This is the
essence of censorship. P. 283 U. S. 713.
Decided June 1, 1931
6. A statute authorizing such proceedings in restraint of publication is
283 U.S. 697 inconsistent with the conception of the liberty of the press as historically
conceived and guaranteed. P. 283 U. S. 713.
APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF MINNESOTA
7. The chief purpose of the guaranty is to prevent previous restraints upon
Syllabus publication. The libeler, however, remains criminally and civilly responsible
for his libels. P. 283 U. S. 713.
1. A Minnesota statute declares that one who engages "in the business of
regularly and customarily producing, publishing," etc., "a malicious, 8. There are undoubtedly limitations upon the immunity from previous
scandalous and defamatory newspaper, magazine or other periodical," is restraint of the press, but they are not applicable in this case. P. 283 U. S.
guilty of a nuisance, and authorizes suits, in the name of the State, in which 715.
such periodicals may be abated and their publishers enjoined from future
violations. In such a suit, malice may be inferred from the fact of publication. 9. The liberty of the press has been especially cherished in this country as
The defendant is permitted to prove, as a defense, that his publications were respects publications censuring public officials and charging official
true and published "with good motives and for justifiable ends." Disobedience misconduct. P. 283 U. S. 716.
of an injunction is punishable as a contempt. Held unconstitutional, as
applied to publications charging neglect of duty and corruption upon the part 10. Public officers find their remedies for false accusations in actions for
of law-enforcing officers of the State. Pp. 283 U. S. 704, 283 U. S. 709, 283 redress and punishment under the libel laws, and not in proceedings to
U. S. 712, 283 U. S. 722. restrain the publication of newspapers and periodicals. P. 283 U. S. 718.

2. Liberty of the press is within the liberty safeguarded by the due process 11. The fact that the liberty of the press may be abused by miscreant
clause of the Fourteenth Amendment from invasion by state action. P. 283 U. purveyors of scandal does not make any the less necessary the immunity
S. 707. from previous restraint in dealing with official misconduct. P. 283 U. S. 720.

3. Liberty of the press is not an absolute right, and the State may punish its 12. Characterizing the publication of charges of official misconduct as a
abuse. P. 283 U. S. 708. "business," and the business as a nuisance, does not avoid the constitutional
guaranty; nor does it matter that the periodical is largely or chiefly devoted to
4. In passing upon the constitutionality of the statute, the court has regard for such charges. P. 283 U. S. 720.
substance, and not for form; the statute must be tested by its operation and
effect. P. 283 U. S. 708. 13. The guaranty against previous restraint extends to publications charging
official derelictions that amount to crimes. P.283 U. S. 720.
Page 283 U. S. 698

149
14. Permitting the publisher to show in defense that the matter published is is guilty of a nuisance, and all persons guilty of such nuisance may be
true and is published with good motives and for justifiable ends does not enjoined, as hereinafter provided.
justify the statute. P. 283 U. S. 721.
"Participation in such business shall constitute a commission of such
15. Nor can it be sustained as a measure for preserving the public peace and nuisance and render the participant liable and subject to the proceedings,
preventing assaults and crime. Pp. 283 U. S. 721, 283 U. S. 722. orders and judgments provided for in this Act. Ownership, in whole or in part,
directly or indirectly, of any such periodical, or of any stock or interest in any
179 Minn. 40; 228 N.W. 326, reversed. corporation or organization which owns the same in whole or in part, or which
publishes the same, shall constitute such participation."
Page 283 U. S. 699
"In actions brought under (b) above, there shall be available the defen