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HUMAN RIGHT CASES seeks to annul the Decision of public respondent Commission in Case No.

seeks to annul the Decision of public respondent Commission in Case No. RAB-VII-01 70-83 upon the ground that the Labor
Arbiter and the Commission have no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case.
G.R. No. 80774 May 31, 1988 The jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the National Labor Relations Commission is outlined in Article 217 of the Labor Code, as
SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION, petitioner, last amended by Batas Pambansa Blg. 227 which took effect on 1 June 1982:
vs. ART. 217. Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the commission. (a) The Labor Arbiters shall have the original and exclusive
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and RUSTICO VEGA, respondents. jurisdiction to hear and decide within thirty (30) working days after submission of the case by the parties for decision, the
Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako Law Offices for petitioner. following cases involving are workers, whether agricultural or non-agricultural:
The Solicitor General for public respondent. 1. Unfair labor practice cases;
FELICIANO, J.: 2. Those that workers may file involving wages, hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment;
In line with an Innovation Program sponsored by petitioner San Miguel Corporation ("Corporation;" "SMC") and under which 3. All money claims of workers, including those based on non-payment or underpayment of wages, overtime compensation,
management undertook to grant cash awards to "all SMC employees ... except [ED-HO staff, Division Managers and higher- separation pay and other benefits provided by law or appropriate agreement, except claims for employees' compensation, social
ranked personnel" who submit to the Corporation Ideas and suggestions found to be beneficial to the Corporation, private security, medicare and maternity benefits;
respondent Rustico Vega submitted on 23 September 1980 an innovation proposal. Mr. Vega's proposal was entitled "Modified 4. Cases involving household services; and
Grande Pasteurization Process," and was supposed to eliminate certain alleged defects in the quality and taste of the product "San 5. Cases arising from any violation of Article 265 of this; Code, including questions involving the legality of strikes and lockouts.
Miguel Beer Grande:" (b) The Commission shall have exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all cases decided by Labor Arbiters. (Emphasis supplied)
Title of Proposal While paragraph 3 above refers to "all money claims of workers," it is not necessary to suppose that the entire universe of money
Modified Grande Pasteurization Process claims that might be asserted by workers against their employers has been absorbed into the original and exclusive jurisdiction of
Present Condition or Procedure Labor Arbiters. In the first place, paragraph 3 should be read not in isolation from but rather within the context formed by
At the early stage of beer grande production, several cases of beer grande full goods were received by MB as returned beer fulls paragraph 1 related to unfair labor practices), paragraph 2 (relating to claims concerning terms and conditions of employment),
(RBF). The RBF's were found to have sediments and their contents were hazy. These effects are usually caused by paragraph 4 (claims relating to household services, a particular species of employer-employee relations), and paragraph 5 (relating
underpasteurization time and the pasteurzation units for beer grande were almost similar to those of the steinie. to certain activities prohibited to employees or to employers).<äre||anº•1àw> It is evident that there is a unifying element which
Proposed lnnovation (Attach necessary information) runs through paragraphs 1 to 5 and that is, that they all refer to cases or disputes arising out of or in connection with an employer-
In order to minimize if not elienate underpasteurization of beer grande, reduce the speed of the beer grande pasteurizer thereby, employee relationship. This is, in other words, a situation where the rule of noscitur a sociis may be usefully invoked in clarifying
increasing the pasteurization time and the pasteurization acts for grande beer. In this way, the self-life (sic) of beer grande will also the scope of paragraph 3, and any other paragraph of Article 217 of the Labor Code, as amended. We reach the above conclusion
be increased. 1 from an examination of the terms themselves of Article 217, as last amended by B.P. Blg. 227, and even though earlier versions of
Mr. Vega at that time had been in the employ of petitioner Corporation for thirteen (1 3) years and was then holding the position of Article 217 of the Labor Code expressly brought within the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiters and the NLRC "cases arising from
"mechanic in the Bottling Department of the SMC Plant Brewery situated in Tipolo, Mandaue City. employer employee relations," 6 which clause was not expressly carried over, in printer's ink, in Article 217 as it exists today. For
Petitioner Corporation, however, did not find the aforequoted proposal acceptable and consequently refused Mr. Vega's subsequent it cannot be presumed that money claims of workers which do not arise out of or in connection with their employer-employee
demands for a cash award under the Innovation Program. On 22 February 1983., a Complaint 2 (docketed as Case No. RAB-VII- relationship, and which would therefore fall within the general jurisdiction of the regular courts of justice, were intended by the
0170-83) was filed against petitioner Corporation with Regional Arbitration Branch No. VII (Cebu City) of the then.", Ministry of legislative authority to be taken away from the jurisdiction of the courts and lodged with Labor Arbiters on an exclusive basis. The
Labor and Employment. Frivate respondent Vega alleged there that his proposal "[had] been accepted by the methods analyst and Court, therefore, believes and so holds that the money claims of workers" referred to in paragraph 3 of Article 217 embraces
implemented by the Corporation [in] October 1980," and that the same "ultimately and finally solved the problem of the money claims which arise out of or in connection with the employer-employee relationship, or some aspect or incident of such
Corporation in the production of Beer Grande." Private respondent thus claimed entitlement to a cash prize of P60,000.00 (the relationship. Put a little differently, that money claims of workers which now fall within the original and exclusive jurisdiction of
maximum award per proposal offered under the Innovation Program) and attorney's fees. Labor Arbiters are those money claims which have some reasonable causal connection with the employer-employee relationship.
In an Answer With Counterclaim and Position Paper, 3 petitioner Corporation alleged that private respondent had no cause of Applying the foregoing reading to the present case, we note that petitioner's Innovation Program is an employee incentive scheme
action. It denied ever having approved or adopted Mr. Vega's proposal as part of the Corporation's brewing procedure in the offered and open only to employees of petitioner Corporation, more specifically to employees below the rank of manager. Without
production of San Miguel Beer Grande. Among other things, petitioner stated that Mr. Vega's proposal was tumed down by the the existing employer-employee relationship between the parties here, there would have been no occasion to consider the
company "for lack of originality" and that the same, "even if implemented [could not] achieve the desired result." Petitioner petitioner's Innovation Program or the submission by Mr. Vega of his proposal concerning beer grande; without that relationship,
further alleged that the Labor Arbiter had no jurisdiction, Mr. Vega having improperly bypassed the grievance machinery private respondent Vega's suit against petitioner Corporation would never have arisen. The money claim of private respondent
procedure prescribed under a then existing collective bargaining agreement between management and employees, and available Vega in this case, therefore, arose out of or in connection with his employment relationship with petitioner.
administrative remedies provided under the rules of the Innovation Program. A counterclaim for moral and exemplary damages, The next issue that must logically be confronted is whether the fact that the money claim of private respondent Vega arose out of
attorney's fees, and litigation expenses closed out petitioner's pleading. or in connection with his employment relation" with petitioner Corporation, is enough to bring such money claim within the
In an Order 4 dated 30 April 1986, the Labor Arbiter, noting that the money claim of complainant Vega in this case is "not a original and exclusive jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters.
necessary incident of his employment" and that said claim is not among those mentioned in Article 217 of the Labor Code, In Molave Motor Sales, Inc. v. Laron, 7 the petitioner was a corporation engaged in the sale and repair of motor vehicles, while
dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction. However, in a gesture of "compassion and to show the government's concern for private respondent was the sales Manager of petitioner. Petitioner had sued private respondent for non-payment of accounts which
the workingman," the Labor Arbiter also directed petitioner to pay Mr. Vega the sum of P2,000.00 as "financial assistance." had arisen from private respondent's own purchases of vehicles and parts, repair jobs on cars personally owned by him, and cash
The Labor Arbiter's order was subsequently appealed by both parties, private respondent Vega assailing the dismissal of his advances from the corporation. At the pre-trial in the lower court, private respondent raised the question of lack of jurisdiction of
complaint for lack of jurisdiction and petitioner Corporation questioning the propriety of the award of "financial assistance" to Mr. the court, stating that because petitioner's complaint arose out of the employer-employee relationship, it fell outside the
Vega. Acting on the appeals, the public respondent National Labor Relations Commission, on 4 September 1987, rendered a jurisdiction of the court and consequently should be dismissed. Respondent Judge did dismiss the case, holding that the sum of
Decision, 5 the dispositive portion of which reads: money and damages sued for by the employer arose from the employer-employee relationship and, hence, fell within the
WHEREFORE, the appealed Order is hereby set aside and another udgment entered, order the respondent to pay the complainant jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC. In reversing the order of dismissal and requiring respondent Judge to take
the amount of P60,000.00 as explained above. cognizance of the case below, this Court, speaking through Mme. Justice Melencio-Herrera, said:
SO ORDERED. Before the enactment of BP Blg. 227 on June 1, 1982, Labor Arbiters, under paragraph 5 of Article 217 of the Labor Code had
In the present Petition for certiorari filed on 4 December 1987, petitioner Corporation, invoking Article 217 of the Labor Code, jurisdiction over" all other cases arising from employer-employee relation, unless, expressly excluded by this Code." Even then,
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the principle followed by this Court was that, although a controversy is between an employer and an employee, the Labor Arbiters - versus - CARPIO MORALES,
have no jurisdiction if the Labor Code is not involved. In Medina vs. Castro-Bartolome, 11 SCRA 597, 604, in negating TINGA, and
jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter, although the parties were an employer and two employees, Mr. Justice Abad Santos stated: VELASCO, JR., JJ.
The pivotal question to Our mind is whether or not the Labor Code has any relevance to the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs. For if
the Labor Code has no relevance, any discussion concerning the statutes amending it and whether or not they have retroactive
effect is unnecessary.
It is obvious from the complaint that the plaintiffs have not alleged any unfair labor practice. Theirs is a simple action for damages
for tortious acts allegedly committed by the defendants. Such being the case, the governing statute is the Civil Code and not the RICARDO MASONGSONG, Promulgated:
Labor Code. It results that the orders under review are based on a wrong premise. Respondent. May 28, 2007
And in Singapore Airlines Limited v. Paño, 122 SCRA 671, 677, the following was said: x--------------------------------------------------x
Stated differently, petitioner seeks protection under the civil laws and claims no benefits under the Labor Code. The primary relief
sought is for liquidated damages for breach of a contractual obligation. The other items demanded are not labor benefits demanded DECISION
by workers generally taken cognizance of in labor disputes, such as payment of wages, overtime compensation or separation pay.
The items claimed are the natural consequences flowing from breach of an obligation, intrinsically a civil dispute. CARPIO, J.:

In the case below, PLAINTIFF had sued for monies loaned to DEFENDANT, the cost of repair jobs made on his personal cars, The Case
and for the purchase price of vehicles and parts sold to him. Those accounts have no relevance to the Labor Code. The cause of
action was one under the civil laws, and it does not breach any provision of the Labor Code or the contract of employment of This is a petition for review on certiorari[1] of the Decision[2] promulgated on 9 August 2001 and of the Resolution[3]
DEFENDANT. Hence the civil courts, not the Labor Arbiters and the NLRC should have jurisdiction. 8 promulgated on 22 October 2001 by the Court of Appeals (appellate court) in CA-G.R. CV No. 60555. The Decision dismissed
It seems worth noting that Medina v. Castro-Bartolome, referred to in the above excerpt, involved a claim for damages by two (2) Nestorio Memitas (Memita) appeal and affirmed the Decision[4] dated 30 April 1998 of Branch 50 of the Regional Trial Court of
employees against the employer company and the General Manager thereof, arising from the use of slanderous language on the Negros Occidental (trial court), while the Resolution denied Memitas motion for reconsideration.
occasion when the General Manager fired the two (2) employees (the Plant General Manager and the Plant Comptroller). The
Court treated the claim for damages as "a simple action for damages for tortious acts" allegedly committed by private respondents, The trial court ordered Memita to pay Ricardo Masongsong (Masongsong) P603,520.50 with interest at 12% per annum, attorneys
clearly if impliedly suggesting that the claim for damages did not necessarily arise out of or in connection with the employer- fees and costs of litigation.
employee relationship. Singapore Airlines Limited v. Paño, also cited in Molave, involved a claim for liquidated damages not by a
worker but by the employer company, unlike Medina. The important principle that runs through these three (3) cases is that where
the claim to the principal relief sought 9 is to be resolved not by reference to the Labor Code or other labor relations statute or a The Facts
collective bargaining agreement but by the general civil law, the jurisdiction over the dispute belongs to the regular courts of
justice and not to the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC. In such situations, resolution of the dispute requires expertise, not in labor Masongsong, under the business name of RM Integrated Services, was the distributor of San Miguel Foods, Inc.s Magnolia
management relations nor in wage structures and other terms and conditions of employment, but rather in the application of the chicken products. Masongsong supplied Magnolia chicken products on a 25-day payment credit to Memitas Vicor Store in Burgos
general civil law. Clearly, such claims fall outside the area of competence or expertise ordinarily ascribed to Labor Arbiters and Public Market, Bacolod City.
the NLRC and the rationale for granting jurisdiction over such claims to these agencies disappears.
Applying the foregoing to the instant case, the Court notes that the SMC Innovation Program was essentially an invitation from On 12 August 1996, Masongsong filed a complaint[5] before the trial court and alleged that from 11 March 1996 to 25 June 1996,
petitioner Corporation to its employees to submit innovation proposals, and that petitioner Corporation undertook to grant cash Memitas credit on goods purchased already reached the amount of P603,520.50. Masongsong made several demands upon
awards to employees who accept such invitation and whose innovation suggestions, in the judgment of the Corporation's officials, Memita to pay before Masongsong filed the complaint. Masongsong even sent a demand letter to Memita on 25 July 1996, but did
satisfied the standards and requirements of the Innovation Program 10 and which, therefore, could be translated into some not receive any reply. Aside from payment, Masongsong also prayed for the issuance of a writ of attachment against Memita.
substantial benefit to the Corporation. Such undertaking, though unilateral in origin, could nonetheless ripen into an enforceable
contractual (facio ut des) 11 obligation on the part of petitioner Corporation under certain circumstances. Thus, whether or not an On 21 August 1996, the trial court ordered[6] the issuance of a writ of attachment against Memita, taking into account the
enforceable contract, albeit implied arid innominate, had arisen between petitioner Corporation and private respondent Vega in the following: (1) the allegations of the verified complaint; (2) the testimonies of Masongsong and Joel Go, his sales person; and (3)
circumstances of this case, and if so, whether or not it had been breached, are preeminently legal questions, questions not to be Masongsongs bond. According to the sheriffs return of service[7] dated 16 September 1996, the Provincial Sheriff issued a notice
resolved by referring to labor legislation and having nothing to do with wages or other terms and conditions of employment, but of levy on attachment to the Registrar of the Land Transportation Office and a notice of embargo to the Register of Deeds of
rather having recourse to our law on contracts. Bacolod City.
WEREFORE, the Petition for certiorari is GRANTED. The decision dated 4 September 1987 of public respondent National Labor
Relations Commission is SET ASIDE and the complaint in Case No. RAB-VII-0170-83 is hereby DISMISSED, without prejudice In his answer,[8] Memita did not deny that he purchased goods on credit from Masongsong. Memita further stated that his refusal
to the right of private respondent Vega to file a suit before the proper court, if he so desires. No pronouncement as to costs. to pay was based on the following grounds: (1) questionable deliveries; (2) short deliveries and discrepancies; and (3) possible
SO ORDERED. manipulation of delivery receipts. Memita made a counterclaim and asked for P300,000 in actual damages for the seizure of two
of his vehicles; P500,000 as moral damages; at least P200,000 as exemplary damages; and P150,000 as attorneys fees.
NESTORIO MEMITA, G.R. No. 150912
Petitioner, Trial proceeded soon thereafter. The trial court found that:
Present:
The evidence ineluctably show that the transaction between [Masongsong] and [Memita] is documented by the Sales Invoices
QUISUMBING, J., annexed as Annexes A to TTT of the Complaint. In his Answer, [Memita] admits the purchases but raised the issue of questionable
Chairperson, and short deliveries. [Memita] also speculates that [Masongsong] may have manipulated the receipts.
CARPIO, As stated, the Sales Invoices were attached as annexes to the Complaint but [Memitas] Answer failed to explicitly deny or contest
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the genuineness and due execution of any of the receipt or of the signature of [Memita] or of his duly authorized representative hearing on 22 January 1998. Atty. Zamora filed an Urgent Motion for Postponement on 21 January 1998 because he had to
appearing in the Sales Invoice acknowledging receipt of the goods. It is to be noted that except for two (2) Sales Invoices Sales proceed to Iloilo City to attend to an urgent personal matter that requires his personal attendance. Furthermore, Atty. Zamora
Invoice No. 6557 dated June 4, 1996 and Sales Invoice No. 6300 dated May 29, 1996 all sales invoices bears [sic] the signature of alleged that only minor details were being discussed in the negotiation for the settlement of the collection case. [10] The trial court,
[Memita] or his authorized representative acknowledging receipt of the deliveries. however, agreed with the reasons given by Masongsongs counsel, Atty. Vicente Sabornay (Atty. Sabornay). Atty. Sabornay stated
xxxx that the parties and their counsels expressly agreed in the 9 December 1997 hearing that the setting for 22 January 1998 was
There are Sales Invoices where the signature of [Masongsongs] Salesman, Mr. Joel Go, appears in the portion, Payment Received intransferrable in character. Moreover, the motion for postponement did not conform to the three-day notice rule. Finally, Atty.
by:. Mr. Go explained that these signatures were inadvertently written but that he received no payment as [Memita] always obtains Sabornay manifested that Memitas settlement offer was not acceptable to Masongsong. The trial court thus denied the motion for
the goods on credit. [Memita] pays only after a period of time and the payment is always in the form of a check. postponement and deemed the case submitted for decision.[11]
The Court gives credence to this declaration of Mr. Go as the testimony is credible and was not contradicted. Moreover, [Memita]
failed to explicitly raise the defense of payment in his Answer. It is reiterated that the Sales Invoices were attached as annexes to Atty. Zamora filed a motion for reconsideration of the 22 January 1998 order. He stated that the personal matters had something to
the Complaint and their genuineness and due execution are deemed admitted for failure of [Memita] to deny them under oath. do with the ailment of his aunt to whom he owed so much for his education[12] and that said aunt just died recently.[13]
In his Answer, [Memita] expressly admitted the deliveries of the frozen poultry products made by [Masongsong] and that these
deliveries were not paid. [Memita], however, claims that there were short deliveries, questionable deliveries or discrepancies. In an order dated 6 March 1998, the trial court denied the motion for reconsideration. Portions of the trial courts order read:
Implicitly [Memita] admits that the [Masongsongs] claim is substantially correct but there were short deliveries, questionable
deliveries or discrepancies. In his Motion for [R]econsideration, [Memitas] counsel failed to justify his failure to appear in the hearing. Even if it is true that
It is reiterated that all the deliveries are evidenced by Sales Invoices on which the whole of [Masongsongs] claim is based. he has to visit a sick aunt in Iloilo, the visit could have been timed late in the day for there are several ferry boats [from Bacolod]
Defendant failed to point out any particular Sales Invoice which substantiates his claim of short deliveries or questionable going to Iloilo late in the afternoon.
deliveries. The records disclose that [Memita] had asked for several postponements, specifically on January 17, 1997, January 22, 1997,
It is also reiterated that as [Masongsong] declared, [Memita] belatedly raised the issue of short deliveries and discrepancies after August 18, 1997, September 17, 1997, December 19, 1997 and lastly January 22, 1998.[14]
he failed to pay and demands were made on him to pay. The Ruling of the Trial Court
To bolster his claim of short deliveries and discrepancies, [Memita] attempted to show to the Court that there were other
documents, namely: the Load Order Manifest and the Issue Form wherein the actual deliveries to the defendant are reflected. In so In its decision dated 30 April 1998, the trial court ruled that Masongsong was entitled to the reliefs prayed for in his Complaint.
far as the Issue Form is concerned, this document reflects the quantity of goods obtained by [Masongsong] from San Miguel Thus:
Foods for delivery to [Masongsongs] customers. The Issue Form does not at all show the quantity of goods delivered to each
particular customer of [Masongsong]. The Load Order Manifest is [Masongsongs] own document which reflects the quantity of
goods to be delivered to the customer. When the goods are actually delivered, a Sales Invoice is prepared wherein the details of IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:
the transaction is reflected. It is on this Sales Invoice where [Memita] or his representative affixes his signature acknowledging
receipt of the goods. Clearly, the Sales Invoice is the document evidencing the transaction between the parties. Clearly, there was 1. [Memita] is ordered to pay [Masongsong] the sum of P603,520.50. This amount shall bear interests [sic] at the rate of Twelve
no need for [Masongsong] to preserve the Load Order Manifest as it is a private document and is not the evidence of the (12) per cent per annum reckoned from the time this suit was filed until paid;
transaction between the parties.
[Memita] himself could have taken the witness stand and pointed out the alleged short deliveries and discrepancies. But [Memita] 2. [Memita] is ordered to pay attorneys fees of ten (10) per cent of the foregoing principal amount;
dilly-dallied and took the risky and speculative move of calling and presenting as his witnesses, personnel of the San Miguel
Foods, Inc. The testimonies of the two (2) San Miguel officials, namely Mr. Defante and Mr. Reynaldo Geaga, strengthened the 3. Defendant is ordered to pay litigation expenses of P5,301.40.[15]
claim of [Masongsong] that the Issue Form[s] do not reflect the quantity of frozen foods delivered to [Memita]. Moreover, Mr.
Defante categorically declared that he was not privy to the transaction between [Masongsong] and [Memita] but as Sales Manager,
it was his duty to win back the patronage of [Memita]. The only favorable declaration of Mr. Defante for [Memita] is that
[Memita] used to be a good customer in the past. This, by itself, however, does not carry much load for [Memitas] cause. On 19 May 1998, Memita notified the trial court of his desire to file an appeal before the appellate court. In his brief, Memita
The testimonies of Mr. Defante and Mr. Geaga are credible as they are disinterested witnesses. The testimonies bind [Memita] assigned the following errors of the trial court:
who presented them. This is fundamental.
The testimony of [Memitas] other witness, Mr. Alberto Valenzuela, a former employee of San Miguel Foods is not of much help to 1. In denying [Memita] of his right to a day in court and/or right to due process;
[Memitas] cause. For while Mr. Valenzuela asserts that during his tenure with San Miguel Foods, the Issue Form for the quantity 2. In admitting as evidence the machine copies of the seventy-two (72) pieces [of] sales invoices (Exhibit A) despite the patent
of stocks to be delivered tallies with the Sales Invoice, this situation obtained at the time when [Memita] directly made purchases lack of proof of due execution and authenticity; and
from San Miguel. He is not in the position to say whether this procedure was adopted by [Masongsong]. 3. In holding that [Memita] acknowledged receipt of the deliveries made by [Masongsong].[16]
Be that as it may, it is quite obvious that the best evidence of the transaction between [Masongsong] and [Memita] is the Sales
Invoice for this document reflects the particulars of the transaction between the parties for a specific day. In this document, The Ruling of the Appellate Court
[Memita] acknowledges receipt of the deliveries made by [Masongsong].
In the course of [Masongsongs] cross-examination, he was confronted with UCPB Check No. 05760 dated July 1, 1996. The appellate court did not agree with Memita. It upheld the trial courts decision in toto.
[Masongsong] admits that he received the check as payment of [Memita] before the filing of the present suit but explained that the
payment is for [Memitas] other past account. This claim of [Masongsong] is credible. Moreover, the issue of payments or that the The appellate court identified two issues for its resolution: (1) whether Memita was deprived of his right to due process when the
account or portions of it was already paid was not even raised in [Memitas] Answer. In fact, this issue is not one of those trial court denied his motion for postponement; and (2) whether the trial court erred in admitting the sales invoices submitted by
submitted for resolution as reflected in the Pre-Trial Order. Finally, the foregoing checks [sic] affirms the claim of [Masongsong] Masongsong. In resolving the first issue, the appellate court reiterated Masongsongs argument that the trial court committed no
that [Memita] does not pay on delivery of the goods but on [sic] a cumulative manner and with the use of a check.[9] error in denying Memitas motion to postpone the hearing. The appellate court emphasized that due process demands proper
obedience to procedural rules. As to the second issue, the appellate court pointed out that Memita failed to explicitly deny or
Memita failed to testify in his own behalf. Memita and his counsel, Atty. Allan L. Zamora (Atty. Zamora), failed to appear for the contest the genuineness and due execution of the receipts or any of the signatures on the receipts. The appellate court also stated
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that Memita failed to discharge the burden of proving his allegations of short or questionable deliveries. The appellate court ruled A motion for postponement is a privilege and not a right. A movant for postponement should not assume beforehand that his
thus: motion will be granted.[28] The grant or denial of a motion for postponement is a matter that is addressed to the sound discretion
of the trial court. Indeed, an order declaring a party to have waived the right to present evidence for performing dilatory actions
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the instant appeal is ordered DISMISSED and the challenged Decision dated April 30, upholds the trial courts duty to ensure that trial proceeds despite the deliberate delay and refusal to proceed on the part of one
1998 is AFFIRMED in toto. Costs against the appellant. party.[29]
SO ORDERED.[17]
In Limpot v. Court of Appeals,[30] this Court underscored the value of procedural rules, thus:

[P]rocedural rules are not to be belittled or dismissed simply because their non-observance may have resulted in prejudice to a
partys substantive rights, as in this case. Like all rules, they are required to be followed except only when for the most persuasive
The Issues of reasons they may be relaxed to relieve a litigant of an injustice not commensurate with the degree of his thoughtlessness in not
complying with the procedure prescribed. x x x While it is true that a litigation is not a game of technicalities, this does not mean
Dissatisfied with the appellate courts ruling, Memita filed a petition before this Court and assigned the following as errors of the that the Rules of Court may be ignored at will and at random to the prejudice of the orderly presentation and assessment of the
appellate court: issues and their just resolution.

1. [Memita] was denied of his right to a day in court when he was not allowed by the [trial] court to testify. Admissibility of the Sales Invoices

In his Answer, Memita admitted that he purchased goods from Masongsong. However, without specifying the date of purchase or
the receipt number, Memita denied the quantities and value of the purchases. Memita alleged that there were questionable
2. [Memita] was denied of his right to due process when he was precluded by the [trial] court from offering his documental deliveries and questionable number of kilos per crate. Memita further alleged that he discovered short deliveries and
[sic] exhibits for admission. discrepancies. Through these unsubstantiated allegations, Memita concluded that Masongsong might have manipulated the
delivery receipts.
3. Rule 8, Section 8 of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, relied upon by the Honorable Court of Appeals[,] does not apply
because the Answer with Counterclaim of [Memita] was verified and under oath. Memita insists that the trial court should not have admitted the sales invoices attached to Masongsongs complaint. In its decision,
the trial court stated that [Memita] failed to point out any particular Sales Invoice which substantiates his claim of short deliveries
4. Also, Rule 8, Section 8 of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, is inapplicable as petitioner does not appear to be a party to or questionable deliveries.[31] The appellate court reiterated the trial courts position and stated that [Memitas] Answer failed to
all of the seventy-two (72) sales invoices admitted in evidence by the lower court. explicitly deny or contest the genuineness and due execution of any of the receipts nor any of his signatures or that of his
authorized representative appearing therein.[32]
5. The seventy-two (72) sales invoices should have been excluded and denied admission for failure of [Masongsong] to prove in
the course of the trial their authenticity and due execution.[18] Section 8 of Rule 8 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure reads as follows:

Sec. 8. How to contest such documents. When an action or defense is founded upon a written instrument, copied in or attached to
The Ruling of the Court the corresponding pleading as provided in the preceding section, the genuineness and due execution of the instrument shall be
deemed admitted unless the adverse party, under oath, specifically denies them, and sets forth what he claims to be the facts; but
The petition has no merit. the requirement of an oath does not apply when the adverse party does not appear to be a party to the instrument or when
compliance with an order for inspection of the original instrument is refused. (Emphasis added)
Due Process
Section 10 of the same Rule further describes how a specific denial should be made:
Memita claims that he was deprived of his right to due process when the trial court denied his motion for postponement. He
further asserts that he was not given the opportunity to offer his exhibits. Sec. 10. Specific denial. A defendant must specify each material allegation of fact the truth of which he does not admit and,
whenever practicable, shall set forth the substance of the matters upon which he relies to support his denial. Where a defendant
The essence of due process is that a party is given a reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit any evidence one may have in desires to deny only a part of an averment, he shall specify so much of it as is true and material and shall deny only the
support of ones defense.[19] Where a party was afforded an opportunity to participate in the proceedings but failed to do so, he remainder.Where a defendant is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of a material averment
cannot complain of deprivation of due process. If the opportunity is not availed of, it is deemed waived or forfeited without made in the complaint, he shall so state, and this shall have the effect of a denial. (Emphasis added)
violating the constitutional guarantee.[20]
Memita, in alleging questionable and short deliveries, in effect alleges that Masongsong committed fraud. As the party invoking
Before the trial court considered the case submitted for resolution, Memita asked to postpone the hearing six times: on 17 January fraud, Memita has the burden of proof. Whoever alleges fraud or mistake affecting a transaction must substantiate his allegation,
1997, 22 January 1997, 18 August 1997, 17 September 1997, 9 December 1997, and lastly 22 January 1998.[21] Memita advanced since it is presumed that a person takes ordinary care of his concerns and private concerns have been fair and regular.[33]
varying reasons for the postponements: counsels involvement in a traffic accident;[22]counsels hearing in another branch of the
court;[23] need for further time for finalizing a settlement;[24] counsels severe migraine brought about by an eye ailment;[25] and Memita chose to present evidence which did not set forth the facts nor the substance of the matters upon which he relies to support
counsels need to personally attend to an urgent matter.[26] Moreover, the trial court, as evidenced by its orders dated 18 August his denial. Memita chose to present the concepts of the load order manifest and the issue form. He also presented witnesses who
1997, 15 September 1997, and 9 December 1997,[27] repeatedly stated that it would no longer entertain further postponement are current and former employees of San Miguel Foods, Inc. However, per the explanation of Mr. Alberto Valenzuela, a former
because the resolution of the case was much delayed. issuer/receiver and route salesman of San Miguel Foods, Inc., the load order manifest shows the goods ordered by Masongsong
from San Miguel Foods, Inc. But the load order manifest cannot be considered as the only basis of a customers order as the
4
customer is not precluded from calling up the San Miguel Foods, Inc. office and make additional orders.[34] Mr. Reynaldo Geaga, Private respondent Malate Tourist Development Corporation (MTDC) is a corporation engaged in the business of operating hotels,
an employee in charge of the warehouse of San Miguel Foods, Inc., explained that the issue form reflects the quantity of goods motels, hostels and lodging houses.[5] It built and opened Victoria Court in Malate which was licensed as a motel although duly
actually obtained by Masongsong from San Miguel Foods, Inc. San Miguel Foods, Inc. then uses the issue form as basis for accredited with the Department of Tourism as a hotel.[6] On 28 June 1993, MTDC filed a Petition for Declaratory Relief with
billing Masongsong.[35] Prayer for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order[7] (RTC Petition) with the lower court
impleading as defendants, herein petitioners City of Manila, Hon. Alfredo S. Lim (Lim), Hon. Joselito L. Atienza, and the
The best evidence of the transaction between Memita and Masongsong are the sales invoices. The sales invoices show that members of the City Council of Manila (City Council). MTDC prayed that the Ordinance, insofar as it includes motels and inns as
Memita or his representative acknowledged receipt of Masongsongs deliveries without protest. Memita aired his doubts about the among its prohibited establishments, be declared invalid and unconstitutional.[8]
amounts only after Masongsong asked him to pay his credit. Moreover, although Memita confronted Masongsong with a check Enacted by the City Council[9] on 9 March 1993 and approved by petitioner City Mayor on 30 March 1993, the said Ordinance is
dated 1 July 1996 in the amount of P127,238.40 payable to RM Integrated Services, Masongsong stated that the said amount did entitled
not include any transaction in the present case.[36] AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING THE ESTABLISHMENT OR OPERATION OF BUSINESSES PROVIDING CERTAIN
FORMS OF AMUSEMENT, ENTERTAINMENT, SERVICES AND FACILITIES IN THE ERMITA-MALATE AREA,
Memitas evidence reveal that Memita failed to prove fraud on Masongsongs part. Therefore, the trial court is correct in stating that PRESCRIBING PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION THEREOF, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.[10]
Memita is liable to Masongsong in the amount of P603,520.50 plus interest of 12% per annum as agreed upon by the parties and The Ordinance is reproduced in full, hereunder:
as stated in the sales invoices. Memita is further liable for attorneys fees in the amount of 10% of the principal claim and costs of SECTION 1. Any provision of existing laws and ordinances to the contrary notwithstanding, no person, partnership, corporation
litigation. or entity shall, in the Ermita-Malate area bounded by Teodoro M. Kalaw Sr. Street in the North, Taft Avenue in the East, Vito Cruz
Street in the South and Roxas Boulevard in the West, pursuant to P.D. 499 be allowed or authorized to contract and engage in, any
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated 9 August 2001 and the Resolution dated 22 October 2001 of the business providing certain forms of amusement, entertainment, services and facilities where women are used as tools in
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 60555 are AFFIRMED. entertainment and which tend to disturb the community, annoy the inhabitants, and adversely affect the social and moral welfare
of the community, such as but not limited to:
SO ORDERED. 1. Sauna Parlors
2. Massage Parlors
3. Karaoke Bars
[G.R. No. 118127. April 12, 2005] 4. Beerhouses
CITY OF MANILA, HON. ALFREDO S. LIM as the Mayor of the City of Manila, HON. JOSELITO L. ATIENZA, in his 5. Night Clubs
capacity as Vice-Mayor of the City of Manila and Presiding Officer of the City Council of Manila, HON. ERNESTO A. NIEVA, 6. Day Clubs
HON. GONZALO P. GONZALES, HON. AVELINO S. CAILIAN, HON. ROBERTO C. OCAMPO, HON. ALBERTO 7. Super Clubs
DOMINGO, HON. HONORIO U. LOPEZ, HON. FRANCISCO G. VARONA, JR., HON. ROMUALDO S. MARANAN, HON. 8. Discotheques
NESTOR C. PONCE, JR., HON. HUMBERTO B. BASCO, HON. FLAVIANO F. CONCEPCION, JR., HON. ROMEO G. 9. Cabarets
RIVERA, HON. MANUEL M. ZARCAL, HON. PEDRO S. DE JESUS, HON. BERNARDITO C. ANG, HON. MANUEL L. 10. Dance Halls
QUIN, HON. JHOSEP Y. LOPEZ, HON. CHIKA G. GO, HON. VICTORIANO A. MELENDEZ, HON. ERNESTO V.P. 11. Motels
MACEDA, JR., HON. ROLANDO P. NIETO, HON. DANILO V. ROLEDA, HON. GERINO A. TOLENTINO, JR., HON. MA. 12. Inns
PAZ E. HERRERA, HON. JOEY D. HIZON, HON. FELIXBERTO D. ESPIRITU, HON. KARLO Q. BUTIONG, HON. SEC. 2 The City Mayor, the City Treasurer or any person acting in behalf of the said officials are prohibited from issuing permits,
ROGELIO P. DELA PAZ, HON. BERNARDO D. RAGAZA, HON. MA. CORAZON R. CABALLES, HON. CASIMIRO C. temporary or otherwise, or from granting licenses and accepting payments for the operation of business enumerated in the
SISON, HON. BIENVINIDO M. ABANTE, JR., HON. MA. LOURDES M. ISIP, HON. ALEXANDER S. RICAFORT, HON. preceding section.
ERNESTO F. RIVERA, HON. LEONARDO L. ANGAT, and HON. JOCELYN B. DAWIS, in their capacity as councilors of the SEC. 3. Owners and/or operator of establishments engaged in, or devoted to, the businesses enumerated in Section 1 hereof are
City of Manila, petitioners, vs. HON. PERFECTO A.S. LAGUIO, JR., as Presiding Judge, RTC, Manila and MALATE TOURIST hereby given three (3) months from the date of approval of this ordinance within which to wind up business operations or to
DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, respondents. transfer to any place outside of the Ermita-Malate area or convert said businesses to other kinds of business allowable within the
DECISION area, such as but not limited to:
TINGA, J.: 1. Curio or antique shop
I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after. 2. Souvenir Shops
Ernest Hermingway 3. Handicrafts display centers
Death in the Afternoon, Ch. 1 4. Art galleries
It is a moral and political axiom that any dishonorable act, if performed by oneself, is less immoral than if performed by someone 5. Records and music shops
else, who would be well-intentioned in his dishonesty. 6. Restaurants
J. Christopher Gerald 7. Coffee shops
Bonaparte in Egypt, Ch. I 8. Flower shops
The Courts commitment to the protection of morals is secondary to its fealty to the fundamental law of the land. It is foremost a 9. Music lounge and sing-along restaurants, with well-defined activities for wholesome family entertainment that cater to both
guardian of the Constitution but not the conscience of individuals. And if it need be, the Court will not hesitate to make the local and foreign clientele.
hammer fall, and heavily in the words of Justice Laurel, and uphold the constitutional guarantees when faced with laws that, 10. Theaters engaged in the exhibition, not only of motion pictures but also of cultural shows, stage and theatrical plays, art
though not lacking in zeal to promote morality, nevertheless fail to pass the test of constitutionality. exhibitions, concerts and the like.
The pivotal issue in this Petition[1] under Rule 45 (then Rule 42) of the Revised Rules on Civil Procedure seeking the reversal of 11. Businesses allowable within the law and medium intensity districts as provided for in the zoning ordinances for Metropolitan
the Decision[2] in Civil Case No. 93-66511 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 18 (lower court), [3] is the Manila, except new warehouse or open-storage depot, dock or yard, motor repair shop, gasoline service station, light industry with
validity of Ordinance No. 7783 (the Ordinance) of the City of Manila.[4] any machinery, or funeral establishments.
The antecedents are as follows: SEC. 4. Any person violating any provisions of this ordinance, shall upon conviction, be punished by imprisonment of one (1)
5
year or fine of FIVE THOUSAND (P5,000.00) PESOS, or both, at the discretion of the Court, PROVIDED, that in case of penalties for the violation of ordinances which shall not exceed two hundred pesos fine or six months imprisonment, or both such
juridical person, the President, the General Manager, or person-in-charge of operation shall be liable thereof; PROVIDED fine and imprisonment, for a single offense.
FURTHER, that in case of subsequent violation and conviction, the premises of the erring establishment shall be closed and Further, the petitioners noted, the Ordinance had the presumption of validity; hence, private respondent had the burden to prove its
padlocked permanently. illegality or unconstitutionality.[21]
SEC. 5. This ordinance shall take effect upon approval. Petitioners also maintained that there was no inconsistency between P.D. 499 and the Ordinance as the latter simply disauthorized
Enacted by the City Council of Manila at its regular session today, March 9, 1993. certain forms of businesses and allowed the Ermita-Malate area to remain a commercial zone.[22] The Ordinance, the petitioners
Approved by His Honor, the Mayor on March 30, 1993. (Emphasis supplied) likewise claimed, cannot be assailed as ex post facto as it was prospective in operation. [23] The Ordinance also did not infringe
In the RTC Petition, MTDC argued that the Ordinance erroneously and improperly included in its enumeration of prohibited the equal protection clause and cannot be denounced as class legislation as there existed substantial and real differences between
establishments, motels and inns such as MTDCs Victoria Court considering that these were not establishments for amusement or the Ermita-Malate area and other places in the City of Manila.[24]
entertainment and they were not services or facilities for entertainment, nor did they use women as tools for entertainment, and On 28 June 1993, respondent Judge Perfecto A.S. Laguio, Jr. (Judge Laguio) issued an ex-parte temporary restraining order
neither did they disturb the community, annoy the inhabitants or adversely affect the social and moral welfare of the community. against the enforcement of the Ordinance.[25] And on 16 July 1993, again in an intrepid gesture, he granted the writ of
[11] preliminary injunction prayed for by MTDC.[26]
MTDC further advanced that the Ordinance was invalid and unconstitutional for the following reasons: (1) The City Council has After trial, on 25 November 1994, Judge Laguio rendered the assailed Decision, enjoining the petitioners from implementing the
no power to prohibit the operation of motels as Section 458 (a) 4 (iv)[12] of the Local Government Code of 1991 (the Code) Ordinance. The dispositive portion of said Decision reads:[27]
grants to the City Council only the power to regulate the establishment, operation and maintenance of hotels, motels, inns, pension WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring Ordinance No. 778[3], Series of 1993, of the City of Manila null and void,
houses, lodging houses and other similar establishments; (2) The Ordinance is void as it is violative of Presidential Decree (P.D.) and making permanent the writ of preliminary injunction that had been issued by this Court against the defendant. No costs.
No. 499[13] which specifically declared portions of the Ermita-Malate area as a commercial zone with certain restrictions; (3) The SO ORDERED.[28]
Ordinance does not constitute a proper exercise of police power as the compulsory closure of the motel business has no reasonable Petitioners filed with the lower court a Notice of Appeal[29] on 12 December 1994, manifesting that they are elevating the case to
relation to the legitimate municipal interests sought to be protected; (4) The Ordinance constitutes an ex post facto law by this Court under then Rule 42 on pure questions of law.[30]
punishing the operation of Victoria Court which was a legitimate business prior to its enactment; (5) The Ordinance violates On 11 January 1995, petitioners filed the present Petition, alleging that the following errors were committed by the lower court in
MTDCs constitutional rights in that: (a) it is confiscatory and constitutes an invasion of plaintiffs property rights; (b) the City its ruling: (1) It erred in concluding that the subject ordinance is ultra vires, or otherwise, unfair, unreasonable and oppressive
Council has no power to find as a fact that a particular thing is a nuisance per se nor does it have the power to extrajudicially exercise of police power; (2) It erred in holding that the questioned Ordinance contravenes P.D. 499[31] which allows operators of
destroy it; and (6) The Ordinance constitutes a denial of equal protection under the law as no reasonable basis exists for all kinds of commercial establishments, except those specified therein; and (3) It erred in declaring the Ordinance void and
prohibiting the operation of motels and inns, but not pension houses, hotels, lodging houses or other similar establishments, and unconstitutional.[32]
for prohibiting said business in the Ermita-Malate area but not outside of this area.[14] In the Petition and in its Memorandum,[33] petitioners in essence repeat the assertions they made before the lower court. They
In their Answer[15] dated 23 July 1993, petitioners City of Manila and Lim maintained that the City Council had the power to contend that the assailed Ordinance was enacted in the exercise of the inherent and plenary power of the State and the general
prohibit certain forms of entertainment in order to protect the social and moral welfare of the community as provided for in welfare clause exercised by local government units provided for in Art. 3, Sec. 18 (kk) of the Revised Charter of Manila and
Section 458 (a) 4 (vii) of the Local Government Code,[16] which reads, thus: conjunctively, Section 458 (a) 4 (vii) of the Code.[34] They allege that the Ordinance is a valid exercise of police power; it does
Section 458. Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation. (a) The sangguniang panlungsod, as the legislative body of the city, not contravene P.D. 499; and that it enjoys the presumption of validity.[35]
shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to In its Memorandum[36] dated 27 May 1996, private respondent maintains that the Ordinance is ultra vires and that it is void for
Section 16 of this Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the city as provided for under Section 22 of this being repugnant to the general law. It reiterates that the questioned Ordinance is not a valid exercise of police power; that it is
Code, and shall: violative of due process, confiscatory and amounts to an arbitrary interference with its lawful business; that it is violative of the
.... equal protection clause; and that it confers on petitioner City Mayor or any officer unregulated discretion in the execution of the
(4) Regulate activities relative to the use of land, buildings and structures within the city in order to promote the general welfare Ordinance absent rules to guide and control his actions.
and for said purpose shall: This is an opportune time to express the Courts deep sentiment and tenderness for the Ermita-Malate area being its home for
.... several decades. A long-time resident, the Court witnessed the areas many turn of events. It relished its glory days and endured its
(vii) Regulate the establishment, operation, and maintenance of any entertainment or amusement facilities, including theatrical days of infamy. Much as the Court harks back to the resplendent era of the Old Manila and yearns to restore its lost grandeur, it
performances, circuses, billiard pools, public dancing schools, public dance halls, sauna baths, massage parlors, and other places believes that the Ordinance is not the fitting means to that end. The Court is of the opinion, and so holds, that the lower court did
for entertainment or amusement; regulate such other events or activities for amusement or entertainment, particularly those which not err in declaring the Ordinance, as it did, ultra vires and therefore null and void.
tend to disturb the community or annoy the inhabitants, or require the suspension or suppression of the same; or, prohibit certain The Ordinance is so replete with constitutional infirmities that almost every sentence thereof violates a constitutional provision.
forms of amusement or entertainment in order to protect the social and moral welfare of the community. The prohibitions and sanctions therein transgress the cardinal rights of persons enshrined by the Constitution. The Court is called
Citing Kwong Sing v. City of Manila,[17] petitioners insisted that the power of regulation spoken of in the above-quoted provision upon to shelter these rights from attempts at rendering them worthless.
included the power to control, to govern and to restrain places of exhibition and amusement.[18] The tests of a valid ordinance are well established. A long line of decisions has held that for an ordinance to be valid, it must not
Petitioners likewise asserted that the Ordinance was enacted by the City Council of Manila to protect the social and moral welfare only be within the corporate powers of the local government unit to enact and must be passed according to the procedure
of the community in conjunction with its police power as found in Article III, Section 18(kk) of Republic Act No. 409,[19] prescribed by law, it must also conform to the following substantive requirements: (1) must not contravene the Constitution or any
otherwise known as the Revised Charter of the City of Manila (Revised Charter of Manila)[20] which reads, thus: statute; (2) must not be unfair or oppressive; (3) must not be partial or discriminatory; (4) must not prohibit but may regulate
ARTICLE III trade; (5) must be general and consistent with public policy; and (6) must not be unreasonable.[37]
THE MUNICIPAL BOARD Anent the first criterion, ordinances shall only be valid when they are not contrary to the Constitution and to the laws.[38] The
... Ordinance must satisfy two requirements: it must pass muster under the test of constitutionality and the test of consistency with
Section 18. Legislative powers. The Municipal Board shall have the following legislative powers: the prevailing laws. That ordinances should be constitutional uphold the principle of the supremacy of the Constitution. The
... requirement that the enactment must not violate existing law gives stress to the precept that local government units are able to
(kk) To enact all ordinances it may deem necessary and proper for the sanitation and safety, the furtherance of the prosperity, and legislate only by virtue of their derivative legislative power, a delegation of legislative power from the national legislature. The
the promotion of the morality, peace, good order, comfort, convenience, and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, and delegate cannot be superior to the principal or exercise powers higher than those of the latter.[39]
such others as may be necessary to carry into effect and discharge the powers and duties conferred by this chapter; and to fix This relationship between the national legislature and the local government units has not been enfeebled by the new provisions in
6
the Constitution strengthening the policy of local autonomy. The national legislature is still the principal of the local government on the level of scrutiny used.[55] For example, if a law is in an area where only rational basis review is applied, substantive due
units, which cannot defy its will or modify or violate it.[40] process is met so long as the law is rationally related to a legitimate government purpose. But if it is an area where strict scrutiny
The Ordinance was passed by the City Council in the exercise of its police power, an enactment of the City Council acting as is used, such as for protecting fundamental rights, then the government will meet substantive due process only if it can prove that
agent of Congress. Local government units, as agencies of the State, are endowed with police power in order to effectively the law is necessary to achieve a compelling government purpose.[56]
accomplish and carry out the declared objects of their creation.[41] This delegated police power is found in Section 16 of the The police power granted to local government units must always be exercised with utmost observance of the rights of the people
Code, known as the general welfare clause, viz: to due process and equal protection of the law. Such power cannot be exercised whimsically, arbitrarily or despotically[57] as its
SECTION 16. General Welfare.Every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied exercise is subject to a qualification, limitation or restriction demanded by the respect and regard due to the prescription of the
therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are fundamental law, particularly those forming part of the Bill of Rights. Individual rights, it bears emphasis, may be adversely
essential to the promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial jurisdictions, local government units shall affected only to the extent that may fairly be required by the legitimate demands of public interest or public welfare. [58] Due
ensure and support, among other things, the preservation and enrichment of culture, promote health and safety, enhance the right process requires the intrinsic validity of the law in interfering with the rights of the person to his life, liberty and property.[59]
of the people to a balanced ecology, encourage and support the development of appropriate and self-reliant scientific and Requisites for the valid exercise
technological capabilities, improve public morals, enhance economic prosperity and social justice, promote full employment of Police Power are not met
among their residents, maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants. To successfully invoke the exercise of police power as the rationale for the enactment of the Ordinance, and to free it from the
Local government units exercise police power through their respective legislative bodies; in this case, the sangguniang panlungsod imputation of constitutional infirmity, not only must it appear that the interests of the public generally, as distinguished from those
or the city council. The Code empowers the legislative bodies to enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for of a particular class, require an interference with private rights, but the means adopted must be reasonably necessary for the
the general welfare of the province/city/municipality and its inhabitants pursuant to Section 16 of the Code and in the proper accomplishment of the purpose and not unduly oppressive upon individuals.[60] It must be evident that no other alternative for the
exercise of the corporate powers of the province/city/ municipality provided under the Code.[42] The inquiry in this Petition is accomplishment of the purpose less intrusive of private rights can work. A reasonable relation must exist between the purposes of
concerned with the validity of the exercise of such delegated power. the police measure and the means employed for its accomplishment, for even under the guise of protecting the public interest,
The Ordinance contravenes personal rights and those pertaining to private property will not be permitted to be arbitrarily invaded.[61]
the Constitution Lacking a concurrence of these two requisites, the police measure shall be struck down as an arbitrary intrusion into private
The police power of the City Council, however broad and far-reaching, is subordinate to the constitutional limitations thereon; and rights[62] a violation of the due process clause.
is subject to the limitation that its exercise must be reasonable and for the public good.[43] In the case at bar, the enactment of the The Ordinance was enacted to address and arrest the social ills purportedly spawned by the establishments in the Ermita-Malate
Ordinance was an invalid exercise of delegated power as it is unconstitutional and repugnant to general laws. area which are allegedly operated under the deceptive veneer of legitimate, licensed and tax-paying nightclubs, bars, karaoke bars,
The relevant constitutional provisions are the following: girlie houses, cocktail lounges, hotels and motels. Petitioners insist that even the Court in the case of Ermita-Malate Hotel and
SEC. 5. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of the general welfare Motel Operators Association, Inc. v. City Mayor of Manila[63] had already taken judicial notice of the alarming increase in the
are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy.[44] rate of prostitution, adultery and fornication in Manila traceable in great part to existence of motels, which provide a necessary
SEC. 14. The State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the fundamental equality before the law of atmosphere for clandestine entry, presence and exit and thus become the ideal haven for prostitutes and thrill-seekers.[64]
women and men.[45] The object of the Ordinance was, accordingly, the promotion and protection of the social and moral values of the community.
SEC. 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the Granting for the sake of argument that the objectives of the Ordinance are within the scope of the City Councils police powers, the
equal protection of laws.[46] means employed for the accomplishment thereof were unreasonable and unduly oppressive.
Sec. 9. Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.[47] It is undoubtedly one of the fundamental duties of the City of Manila to make all reasonable regulations looking to the promotion
A. The Ordinance infringes of the moral and social values of the community. However, the worthy aim of fostering public morals and the eradication of the
the Due Process Clause communitys social ills can be achieved through means less restrictive of private rights; it can be attained by reasonable restrictions
The constitutional safeguard of due process is embodied in the fiat (N)o person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property rather than by an absolute prohibition. The closing down and transfer of businesses or their conversion into businesses allowed
without due process of law. . . .[48] under the Ordinance have no reasonable relation to the accomplishment of its purposes. Otherwise stated, the prohibition of the
There is no controlling and precise definition of due process. It furnishes though a standard to which governmental action should enumerated establishments will not per se protect and promote the social and moral welfare of the community; it will not in itself
conform in order that deprivation of life, liberty or property, in each appropriate case, be valid. This standard is aptly described as eradicate the alluded social ills of prostitution, adultery, fornication nor will it arrest the spread of sexual disease in Manila.
a responsiveness to the supremacy of reason, obedience to the dictates of justice, [49] and as such it is a limitation upon the Conceding for the nonce that the Ermita-Malate area teems with houses of ill-repute and establishments of the like which the City
exercise of the police power.[50] Council may lawfully prohibit,[65] it is baseless and insupportable to bring within that classification sauna parlors, massage
The purpose of the guaranty is to prevent governmental encroachment against the life, liberty and property of individuals; to parlors, karaoke bars, night clubs, day clubs, super clubs, discotheques, cabarets, dance halls, motels and inns. This is not
secure the individual from the arbitrary exercise of the powers of the government, unrestrained by the established principles of warranted under the accepted definitions of these terms. The enumerated establishments are lawful pursuits which are not per se
private rights and distributive justice; to protect property from confiscation by legislative enactments, from seizure, forfeiture, and offensive to the moral welfare of the community.
destruction without a trial and conviction by the ordinary mode of judicial procedure; and to secure to all persons equal and That these are used as arenas to consummate illicit sexual affairs and as venues to further the illegal prostitution is of no moment.
impartial justice and the benefit of the general law.[51] We lay stress on the acrid truth that sexual immorality, being a human frailty, may take place in the most innocent of places that it
The guaranty serves as a protection against arbitrary regulation, and private corporations and partnerships are persons within the may even take place in the substitute establishments enumerated under Section 3 of the Ordinance. If the flawed logic of the
scope of the guaranty insofar as their property is concerned.[52] Ordinance were to be followed, in the remote instance that an immoral sexual act transpires in a church cloister or a court
This clause has been interpreted as imposing two separate limits on government, usually called procedural due process and chamber, we would behold the spectacle of the City of Manila ordering the closure of the church or court concerned. Every house,
substantive due process. building, park, curb, street or even vehicles for that matter will not be exempt from the prohibition. Simply because there are no
Procedural due process, as the phrase implies, refers to the procedures that the government must follow before it deprives a person pure places where there are impure men. Indeed, even the Scripture and the Tradition of Christians churches continually recall the
of life, liberty, or property. Classic procedural due process issues are concerned with what kind of notice and what form of hearing presence and universality of sin in mans history.[66]
the government must provide when it takes a particular action.[53] The problem, it needs to be pointed out, is not the establishment, which by its nature cannot be said to be injurious to the health or
Substantive due process, as that phrase connotes, asks whether the government has an adequate reason for taking away a persons comfort of the community and which in itself is amoral, but the deplorable human activity that may occur within its premises.
life, liberty, or property. In other words, substantive due process looks to whether there is a sufficient justification for the While a motel may be used as a venue for immoral sexual activity, it cannot for that reason alone be punished. It cannot be
governments action.[54] Case law in the United States (U.S.) tells us that whether there is such a justification depends very much classified as a house of ill-repute or as a nuisance per se on a mere likelihood or a naked assumption. If that were so and if that
7
were allowed, then the Ermita-Malate area would not only be purged of its supposed social ills, it would be extinguished of its Liberty in the constitutional sense not only means freedom from unlawful government restraint; it must include privacy as well, if
soul as well as every human activity, reprehensible or not, in its every nook and cranny would be laid bare to the estimation of the it is to be a repository of freedom. The right to be let alone is the beginning of all freedomit is the most comprehensive of rights
authorities. and the right most valued by civilized men.[74]
The Ordinance seeks to legislate morality but fails to address the core issues of morality. Try as the Ordinance may to shape The concept of liberty compels respect for the individual whose claim to privacy and interference demands respect. As the case of
morality, it should not foster the illusion that it can make a moral man out of it because immorality is not a thing, a building or Morfe v. Mutuc,[75] borrowing the words of Laski, so very aptly stated:
establishment; it is in the hearts of men. The City Council instead should regulate human conduct that occurs inside the Man is one among many, obstinately refusing reduction to unity. His separateness, his isolation, are indefeasible; indeed, they are
establishments, but not to the detriment of liberty and privacy which are covenants, premiums and blessings of democracy. so fundamental that they are the basis on which his civic obligations are built. He cannot abandon the consequences of his
While petitioners earnestness at curbing clearly objectionable social ills is commendable, they unwittingly punish even the isolation, which are, broadly speaking, that his experience is private, and the will built out of that experience personal to himself.
proprietors and operators of wholesome, innocent establishments. In the instant case, there is a clear invasion of personal or If he surrenders his will to others, he surrenders himself. If his will is set by the will of others, he ceases to be a master of himself.
property rights, personal in the case of those individuals desirous of owning, operating and patronizing those motels and property I cannot believe that a man no longer a master of himself is in any real sense free.
in terms of the investments made and the salaries to be paid to those therein employed. If the City of Manila so desires to put an Indeed, the right to privacy as a constitutional right was recognized in Morfe, the invasion of which should be justified by a
end to prostitution, fornication and other social ills, it can instead impose reasonable regulations such as daily inspections of the compelling state interest. Morfe accorded recognition to the right to privacy independently of its identification with liberty; in
establishments for any violation of the conditions of their licenses or permits; it may exercise its authority to suspend or revoke itself it is fully deserving of constitutional protection. Governmental powers should stop short of certain intrusions into the
their licenses for these violations;[67] and it may even impose increased license fees. In other words, there are other means to personal life of the citizen.[76]
reasonably accomplish the desired end. There is a great temptation to have an extended discussion on these civil liberties but the Court chooses to exercise restraint and
Means employed are restrict itself to the issues presented when it should. The previous pronouncements of the Court are not to be interpreted as a
constitutionally infirm license for adults to engage in criminal conduct. The reprehensibility of such conduct is not diminished. The Court only reaffirms
The Ordinance disallows the operation of sauna parlors, massage parlors, karaoke bars, beerhouses, night clubs, day clubs, super and guarantees their right to make this choice. Should they be prosecuted for their illegal conduct, they should suffer the
clubs, discotheques, cabarets, dance halls, motels and inns in the Ermita-Malate area. In Section 3 thereof, owners and/or consequences of the choice they have made. That, ultimately, is their choice.
operators of the enumerated establishments are given three (3) months from the date of approval of the Ordinance within which to Modality employed is
wind up business operations or to transfer to any place outside the Ermita-Malate area or convert said businesses to other kinds of unlawful taking
business allowable within the area. Further, it states in Section 4 that in cases of subsequent violations of the provisions of the In addition, the Ordinance is unreasonable and oppressive as it substantially divests the respondent of the beneficial use of its
Ordinance, the premises of the erring establishment shall be closed and padlocked permanently. property.[77] The Ordinance in Section 1 thereof forbids the running of the enumerated businesses in the Ermita-Malate area and
It is readily apparent that the means employed by the Ordinance for the achievement of its purposes, the governmental in Section 3 instructs its owners/operators to wind up business operations or to transfer outside the area or convert said businesses
interference itself, infringes on the constitutional guarantees of a persons fundamental right to liberty and property. into allowed businesses. An ordinance which permanently restricts the use of property that it can not be used for any reasonable
Liberty as guaranteed by the Constitution was defined by Justice Malcolm to include the right to exist and the right to be free from purpose goes beyond regulation and must be recognized as a taking of the property without just compensation. [78] It is intrusive
arbitrary restraint or servitude. The term cannot be dwarfed into mere freedom from physical restraint of the person of the citizen, and violative of the private property rights of individuals.
but is deemed to embrace the right of man to enjoy the facilities with which he has been endowed by his Creator, subject only to The Constitution expressly provides in Article III, Section 9, that private property shall not be taken for public use without just
such restraint as are necessary for the common welfare.[68] In accordance with this case, the rights of the citizen to be free to use compensation. The provision is the most important protection of property rights in the Constitution. This is a restriction on the
his faculties in all lawful ways; to live and work where he will; to earn his livelihood by any lawful calling; and to pursue any general power of the government to take property. The constitutional provision is about ensuring that the government does not
avocation are all deemed embraced in the concept of liberty.[69] confiscate the property of some to give it to others. In part too, it is about loss spreading. If the government takes away a persons
The U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Roth v. Board of Regents,[70] sought to clarify the meaning of liberty. It said: property to benefit society, then society should pay. The principal purpose of the guarantee is to bar the Government from forcing
While the Court has not attempted to define with exactness the liberty. . . guaranteed [by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments], some people alone to bear public burdens which, in all fairness and justice, should be borne by the public as a whole.[79]
the term denotes not merely freedom from bodily restraint but also the right of the individual to contract, to engage in any of the There are two different types of taking that can be identified. A possessory taking occurs when the government confiscates or
common occupations of life, to acquire useful knowledge, to marry, establish a home and bring up children, to worship God physically occupies property. A regulatory taking occurs when the governments regulation leaves no reasonable economically
according to the dictates of his own conscience, and generally to enjoy those privileges long recognizedas essential to the orderly viable use of the property.[80]
pursuit of happiness by free men. In a Constitution for a free people, there can be no doubt that the meaning of liberty must be In the landmark case of Pennsylvania Coal v. Mahon,[81] it was held that a taking also could be found if government regulation of
broad indeed. the use of property went too far. When regulation reaches a certain magnitude, in most if not in all cases there must be an exercise
In another case, it also confirmed that liberty protected by the due process clause includes personal decisions relating to marriage, of eminent domain and compensation to support the act. While property may be regulated to a certain extent, if regulation goes too
procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education. In explaining the respect the Constitution demands far it will be recognized as a taking.[82]
for the autonomy of the person in making these choices, the U.S. Supreme Court explained: No formula or rule can be devised to answer the questions of what is too far and when regulation becomes a taking. In Mahon,
These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal Justice Holmes recognized that it was a question of degree and therefore cannot be disposed of by general propositions. On many
dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to other occasions as well, the U.S. Supreme Court has said that the issue of when regulation constitutes a taking is a matter of
define ones own concept of existence, of meaning, of universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could considering the facts in each case. The Court asks whether justice and fairness require that the economic loss caused by public
not define the attributes of personhood where they formed under compulsion of the State.[71] action must be compensated by the government and thus borne by the public as a whole, or whether the loss should remain
Persons desirous to own, operate and patronize the enumerated establishments under Section 1 of the Ordinance may seek concentrated on those few persons subject to the public action.[83]
autonomy for these purposes. What is crucial in judicial consideration of regulatory takings is that government regulation is a taking if it leaves no reasonable
Motel patrons who are single and unmarried may invoke this right to autonomy to consummate their bonds in intimate sexual economically viable use of property in a manner that interferes with reasonable expectations for use. [84] A regulation that
conduct within the motels premisesbe it stressed that their consensual sexual behavior does not contravene any fundamental state permanently denies all economically beneficial or productive use of land is, from the owners point of view, equivalent to a taking
policy as contained in the Constitution.[72] Adults have a right to choose to forge such relationships with others in the confines of unless principles of nuisance or property law that existed when the owner acquired the land make the use prohibitable.[85] When
their own private lives and still retain their dignity as free persons. The liberty protected by the Constitution allows persons the the owner of real property has been called upon to sacrifice all economically beneficial uses in the name of the common good, that
right to make this choice.[73] Their right to liberty under the due process clause gives them the full right to engage in their is, to leave his property economically idle, he has suffered a taking.[86]
conduct without intervention of the government, as long as they do not run afoul of the law. Liberty should be the rule and A regulation which denies all economically beneficial or productive use of land will require compensation under the takings
restraint the exception. clause. Where a regulation places limitations on land that fall short of eliminating all economically beneficial use, a taking
8
nonetheless may have occurred, depending on a complex of factors including the regulations economic effect on the landowner, Ordinance for lack of comprehensible standards to guide the law enforcers in carrying out its provisions.
the extent to which the regulation interferes with reasonable investment-backed expectations and the character of government Petitioners cannot therefore order the closure of the enumerated establishments without infringing the due process clause. These
action. These inquiries are informed by the purpose of the takings clause which is to prevent the government from forcing some lawful establishments may be regulated, but not prevented from carrying on their business. This is a sweeping exercise of police
people alone to bear public burdens which, in all fairness and justice, should be borne by the public as a whole.[87] power that is a result of a lack of imagination on the part of the City Council and which amounts to an interference into personal
A restriction on use of property may also constitute a taking if not reasonably necessary to the effectuation of a substantial public and private rights which the Court will not countenance. In this regard, we take a resolute stand to uphold the constitutional
purpose or if it has an unduly harsh impact on the distinct investment-backed expectations of the owner.[88] guarantee of the right to liberty and property.
The Ordinance gives the owners and operators of the prohibited establishments three (3) months from its approval within which to Worthy of note is an example derived from the U.S. of a reasonable regulation which is a far cry from the ill-considered Ordinance
wind up business operations or to transfer to any place outside of the Ermita-Malate area or convert said businesses to other kinds enacted by the City Council.
of business allowable within the area. The directive to wind up business operations amounts to a closure of the establishment, a In FW/PBS, INC. v. Dallas,[95] the city of Dallas adopted a comprehensive ordinance regulating sexually oriented businesses,
permanent deprivation of property, and is practically confiscatory. Unless the owner converts his establishment to accommodate which are defined to include adult arcades, bookstores, video stores, cabarets, motels, and theaters as well as escort agencies, nude
an allowed business, the structure which housed the previous business will be left empty and gathering dust. Suppose he transfers model studio and sexual encounter centers. Among other things, the ordinance required that such businesses be licensed. A group
it to another area, he will likewise leave the entire establishment idle. Consideration must be given to the substantial amount of of motel owners were among the three groups of businesses that filed separate suits challenging the ordinance. The motel owners
money invested to build the edifices which the owner reasonably expects to be returned within a period of time. It is apparent that asserted that the city violated the due process clause by failing to produce adequate support for its supposition that renting room
the Ordinance leaves no reasonable economically viable use of property in a manner that interferes with reasonable expectations for fewer than ten (10) hours resulted in increased crime and other secondary effects. They likewise argued than the ten (10)-hour
for use. limitation on the rental of motel rooms placed an unconstitutional burden on the right to freedom of association. Anent the first
The second and third options to transfer to any place outside of the Ermita-Malate area or to convert into allowed businessesare contention, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the reasonableness of the legislative judgment combined with a study which the city
confiscatory as well. The penalty of permanent closure in cases of subsequent violations found in Section 4 of the Ordinance is considered, was adequate to support the citys determination that motels permitting room rentals for fewer than ten (10 ) hours
also equivalent to a taking of private property. should be included within the licensing scheme. As regards the second point, the Court held that limiting motel room rentals to ten
The second option instructs the owners to abandon their property and build another one outside the Ermita-Malate area. In every (10) hours will have no discernible effect on personal bonds as those bonds that are formed from the use of a motel room for fewer
sense, it qualifies as a taking without just compensation with an additional burden imposed on the owner to build another than ten (10) hours are not those that have played a critical role in the culture and traditions of the nation by cultivating and
establishment solely from his coffers. The proffered solution does not put an end to the problem, it merely relocates it. Not only is transmitting shared ideals and beliefs.
this impractical, it is unreasonable, onerous and oppressive. The conversion into allowed enterprises is just as ridiculous. How The ordinance challenged in the above-cited case merely regulated the targeted businesses. It imposed reasonable restrictions;
may the respondent convert a motel into a restaurant or a coffee shop, art gallery or music lounge without essentially destroying hence, its validity was upheld.
its property? This is a taking of private property without due process of law, nay, even without compensation. The case of Ermita Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Association, Inc. v. City Mayor of Manila,[96] it needs pointing out, is also
The penalty of closure likewise constitutes unlawful taking that should be compensated by the government. The burden on the different from this case in that what was involved therein was a measure which regulated the mode in which motels may conduct
owner to convert or transfer his business, otherwise it will be closed permanently after a subsequent violation should be borne by business in order to put an end to practices which could encourage vice and immorality. Necessarily, there was no valid objection
the public as this end benefits them as a whole. on due process or equal protection grounds as the ordinance did not prohibit motels. The Ordinance in this case however is not a
Petitioners cannot take refuge in classifying the measure as a zoning ordinance. A zoning ordinance, although a valid exercise of regulatory measure but is an exercise of an assumed power to prohibit.[97]
police power, which limits a wholesome property to a use which can not reasonably be made of it constitutes the taking of such The foregoing premises show that the Ordinance is an unwarranted and unlawful curtailment of property and personal rights of
property without just compensation. Private property which is not noxious nor intended for noxious purposes may not, by zoning, citizens. For being unreasonable and an undue restraint of trade, it cannot, even under the guise of exercising police power, be
be destroyed without compensation. Such principle finds no support in the principles of justice as we know them. The police upheld as valid.
powers of local government units which have always received broad and liberal interpretation cannot be stretched to cover this B. The Ordinance violates Equal
particular taking. Protection Clause
Distinction should be made between destruction from necessity and eminent domain. It needs restating that the property taken in Equal protection requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to rights conferred and
the exercise of police power is destroyed because it is noxious or intended for a noxious purpose while the property taken under responsibilities imposed. Similar subjects, in other words, should not be treated differently, so as to give undue favor to some and
the power of eminent domain is intended for a public use or purpose and is therefore wholesome.[89] If it be of public benefit that unjustly discriminate against others.[98] The guarantee means that no person or class of persons shall be denied the same
a wholesome property remain unused or relegated to a particular purpose, then certainly the public should bear the cost of protection of laws which is enjoyed by other persons or other classes in like circumstances.[99] The equal protection of the laws is
reasonable compensation for the condemnation of private property for public use.[90] a pledge of the protection of equal laws.[100] It limits governmental discrimination. The equal protection clause extends to
Further, the Ordinance fails to set up any standard to guide or limit the petitioners actions. It in no way controls or guides the artificial persons but only insofar as their property is concerned.[101]
discretion vested in them. It provides no definition of the establishments covered by it and it fails to set forth the conditions when The Court has explained the scope of the equal protection clause in this wise:
the establishments come within its ambit of prohibition. The Ordinance confers upon the mayor arbitrary and unrestricted power What does it signify? To quote from J.M. Tuason & Co. v. Land Tenure Administration: The ideal situation is for the laws benefits
to close down establishments. Ordinances such as this, which make possible abuses in its execution, depending upon no to be available to all, that none be placed outside the sphere of its coverage. Only thus could chance and favor be excluded and the
conditions or qualifications whatsoever other than the unregulated arbitrary will of the city authorities as the touchstone by which affairs of men governed by that serene and impartial uniformity, which is of the very essence of the idea of law. There is
its validity is to be tested, are unreasonable and invalid. The Ordinance should have established a rule by which its impartial recognition, however, in the opinion that what in fact exists cannot approximate the ideal. Nor is the law susceptible to the
enforcement could be secured.[91] reproach that it does not take into account the realities of the situation. The constitutional guarantee then is not to be given a
Ordinances placing restrictions upon the lawful use of property must, in order to be valid and constitutional, specify the rules and meaning that disregards what is, what does in fact exist. To assure that the general welfare be promoted, which is the end of law, a
conditions to be observed and conduct to avoid; and must not admit of the exercise, or of an opportunity for the exercise, of regulatory measure may cut into the rights to liberty and property. Those adversely affected may under such circumstances invoke
unbridled discretion by the law enforcers in carrying out its provisions.[92] the equal protection clause only if they can show that the governmental act assailed, far from being inspired by the attainment of
Thus, in Coates v. City of Cincinnati,[93] as cited in People v. Nazario,[94] the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an ordinance that the common weal was prompted by the spirit of hostility, or at the very least, discrimination that finds no support in reason.
had made it illegal for three or more persons to assemble on any sidewalk and there conduct themselves in a manner annoying to Classification is thus not ruled out, it being sufficient to quote from the Tuason decision anew that the laws operate equally and
persons passing by. The ordinance was nullified as it imposed no standard at all because one may never know in advance what uniformly on all persons under similar circumstances or that all persons must be treated in the same manner, the conditions not
annoys some people but does not annoy others. being different, both in the privileges conferred and the liabilities imposed. Favoritism and undue preference cannot be allowed.
Similarly, the Ordinance does not specify the standards to ascertain which establishments tend to disturb the community, annoy For the principle is that equal protection and security shall be given to every person under circumstances which, if not identical,
the inhabitants, and adversely affect the social and moral welfare of the community. The cited case supports the nullification of the are analogous. If law be looked upon in terms of burden or charges, those that fall within a class should be treated in the same
9
fashion, whatever restrictions cast on some in the group equally binding on the rest.[102] forms of amusement or entertainment in order to protect the social and moral welfare of the community.
Legislative bodies are allowed to classify the subjects of legislation. If the classification is reasonable, the law may operate only Clearly, with respect to cafes, restaurants, beerhouses, hotels, motels, inns, pension houses, lodging houses, and other similar
on some and not all of the people without violating the equal protection clause.[103] The classification must, as an indispensable establishments, the only power of the City Council to legislate relative thereto is to regulate them to promote the general welfare.
requisite, not be arbitrary. To be valid, it must conform to the following requirements: The Code still withholds from cities the power to suppress and prohibit altogether the establishment, operation and maintenance of
1) It must be based on substantial distinctions. such establishments. It is well to recall the rulings of the Court in Kwong Sing v. City of Manila[106] that:
2) It must be germane to the purposes of the law. The word regulate, as used in subsection (l), section 2444 of the Administrative Code, means and includes the power to control, to
3) It must not be limited to existing conditions only. govern, and to restrain; but regulate should not be construed as synonymous with suppress or prohibit. Consequently, under the
4) It must apply equally to all members of the class.[104] power to regulate laundries, the municipal authorities could make proper police regulations as to the mode in which the
In the Courts view, there are no substantial distinctions between motels, inns, pension houses, hotels, lodging houses or other employment or business shall be exercised.[107]
similar establishments. By definition, all are commercial establishments providing lodging and usually meals and other services And in People v. Esguerra,[108] wherein the Court nullified an ordinance of the Municipality of Tacloban which prohibited the
for the public. No reason exists for prohibiting motels and inns but not pension houses, hotels, lodging houses or other similar selling, giving and dispensing of liquor ratiocinating that the municipality is empowered only to regulate the same and not
establishments. The classification in the instant case is invalid as similar subjects are not similarly treated, both as to rights prohibit. The Court therein declared that:
conferred and obligations imposed. It is arbitrary as it does not rest on substantial distinctions bearing a just and fair relation to the (A)s a general rule when a municipal corporation is specifically given authority or power to regulate or to license and regulate the
purpose of the Ordinance. liquor traffic, power to prohibit is impliedly withheld.[109]
The Court likewise cannot see the logic for prohibiting the business and operation of motels in the Ermita-Malate area but not These doctrines still hold contrary to petitioners assertion[110] that they were modified by the Code vesting upon City Councils
outside of this area. A noxious establishment does not become any less noxious if located outside the area. prohibitory powers.
The standard where women are used as tools for entertainment is also discriminatory as prostitutionone of the hinted ills the Similarly, the City Council exercises regulatory powers over public dancing schools, public dance halls, sauna baths, massage
Ordinance aims to banishis not a profession exclusive to women. Both men and women have an equal propensity to engage in parlors, and other places for entertainment or amusement as found in the first clause of Section 458 (a) 4 (vii). Its powers to
prostitution. It is not any less grave a sin when men engage in it. And why would the assumption that there is an ongoing immoral regulate, suppress and suspend such other events or activities for amusement or entertainment, particularly those which tend to
activity apply only when women are employed and be inapposite when men are in harness? This discrimination based on gender disturb the community or annoy the inhabitants and to prohibit certain forms of amusement or entertainment in order to protect the
violates equal protection as it is not substantially related to important government objectives.[105] Thus, the discrimination is social and moral welfare of the community are stated in the second and third clauses, respectively of the same Section. The several
invalid. powers of the City Council as provided in Section 458 (a) 4 (vii) of the Code, it is pertinent to emphasize, are separated by semi-
Failing the test of constitutionality, the Ordinance likewise failed to pass the test of consistency with prevailing laws. colons (;), the use of which indicates that the clauses in which these powers are set forth are independent of each other albeit
C. The Ordinance is repugnant closely related to justify being put together in a single enumeration or paragraph.[111] These powers, therefore, should not be
to general laws; it is ultra vires confused, commingled or consolidated as to create a conglomerated and unified power of regulation, suppression and prohibition.
The Ordinance is in contravention of the Code as the latter merely empowers local government units to regulate, and not prohibit, [112]
the establishments enumerated in Section 1 thereof. The Congress unequivocably specified the establishments and forms of amusement or entertainment subject to regulation among
The power of the City Council to regulate by ordinances the establishment, operation, and maintenance of motels, hotels and other which are beerhouses, hotels, motels, inns, pension houses, lodging houses, and other similar establishments (Section 458 (a) 4
similar establishments is found in Section 458 (a) 4 (iv), which provides that: (iv)), public dancing schools, public dance halls, sauna baths, massage parlors, and other places for entertainment or amusement
Section 458. Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation. (a) The sangguniang panlungsod, as the legislative body of the city, (Section 458 (a) 4 (vii)). This enumeration therefore cannot be included as among other events or activities for amusement or
shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to entertainment, particularly those which tend to disturb the community or annoy the inhabitants or certain forms of amusement or
Section 16 of this Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the city as provided for under Section 22 of this entertainment which the City Council may suspend, suppress or prohibit.
Code, and shall: The rule is that the City Council has only such powers as are expressly granted to it and those which are necessarily implied or
... incidental to the exercise thereof. By reason of its limited powers and the nature thereof, said powers are to be construed
(4) Regulate activities relative to the use of land, buildings and structures within the city in order to promote the general welfare strictissimi juris and any doubt or ambiguity arising out of the terms used in granting said powers must be construed against the
and for said purpose shall: City Council.[113] Moreover, it is a general rule in statutory construction that the express mention of one person, thing, or
... consequence is tantamount to an express exclusion of all others. Expressio unius est exclusio alterium. This maxim is based upon
(iv) Regulate the establishment, operation and maintenance of cafes, restaurants, beerhouses, hotels, motels, inns, pension houses, the rules of logic and the natural workings of human mind. It is particularly applicable in the construction of such statutes as
lodging houses, and other similar establishments, including tourist guides and transports . . . . create new rights or remedies, impose penalties or punishments, or otherwise come under the rule of strict construction.[114]
While its power to regulate the establishment, operation and maintenance of any entertainment or amusement facilities, and to The argument that the City Council is empowered to enact the Ordinance by virtue of the general welfare clause of the Code and
prohibit certain forms of amusement or entertainment is provided under Section 458 (a) 4 (vii) of the Code, which reads as of Art. 3, Sec. 18 (kk) of the Revised Charter of Manila is likewise without merit. On the first point, the ruling of the Court in
follows: People v. Esguerra,[115] is instructive. It held that:
Section 458. Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation. (a) The sangguniang panlungsod, as the legislative body of the city, The powers conferred upon a municipal council in the general welfare clause, or section 2238 of the Revised Administrative Code,
shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to refers to matters not covered by the other provisions of the same Code, and therefore it can not be applied to intoxicating liquors,
Section 16 of this Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the city as provided for under Section 22 of this for the power to regulate the selling, giving away and dispensing thereof is granted specifically by section 2242 (g) to municipal
Code, and shall: councils. To hold that, under the general power granted by section 2238, a municipal council may enact the ordinance in question,
... notwithstanding the provision of section 2242 (g), would be to make the latter superfluous and nugatory, because the power to
(4) Regulate activities relative to the use of land, buildings and structures within the city in order to promote the general welfare prohibit, includes the power to regulate, the selling, giving away and dispensing of intoxicating liquors.
and for said purpose shall: On the second point, it suffices to say that the Code being a later expression of the legislative will must necessarily prevail and
... override the earlier law, the Revised Charter of Manila. Legis posteriores priores contrarias abrogant, or later statute repeals prior
(vii) Regulate the establishment, operation, and maintenance of any entertainment or amusement facilities, including theatrical ones which are repugnant thereto. As between two laws on the same subject matter, which are irreconcilably inconsistent, that
performances, circuses, billiard pools, public dancing schools, public dance halls, sauna baths, massage parlors, and other places which is passed later prevails, since it is the latest expression of legislative will. [116] If there is an inconsistency or repugnance
for entertainment or amusement; regulate such other events or activities for amusement or entertainment, particularly those which between two statutes, both relating to the same subject matter, which cannot be removed by any fair and reasonable method of
tend to disturb the community or annoy the inhabitants, or require the suspension or suppression of the same; or, prohibit certain interpretation, it is the latest expression of the legislative will which must prevail and override the earlier.[117]
10
Implied repeals are those which take place when a subsequently enacted law contains provisions contrary to those of an existing The requirement that the enactment must not violate existing law explains itself. Local political subdivisions are able to legislate
law but no provisions expressly repealing them. Such repeals have been divided into two general classes: those which occur where only by virtue of a valid delegation of legislative power from the national legislature (except only that the power to create their
an act is so inconsistent or irreconcilable with an existing prior act that only one of the two can remain in force and those which own sources of revenue and to levy taxes is conferred by the Constitution itself). They are mere agents vested with what is called
occur when an act covers the whole subject of an earlier act and is intended to be a substitute therefor. The validity of such a the power of subordinate legislation. As delegates of the Congress, the local government units cannot contravene but must obey at
repeal is sustained on the ground that the latest expression of the legislative will should prevail.[118] all times the will of their principal. In the case before us, the enactment in question, which are merely local in origin cannot
In addition, Section 534(f) of the Code states that All general and special laws, acts, city charters, decrees, executive orders, prevail against the decree, which has the force and effect of a statute.[123]
proclamations and administrative regulations, or part or parts thereof which are inconsistent with any of the provisions of this Petitioners contend that the Ordinance enjoys the presumption of validity. While this may be the rule, it has already been held that
Code are hereby repealed or modified accordingly. Thus, submitting to petitioners interpretation that the Revised Charter of although the presumption is always in favor of the validity or reasonableness of the ordinance, such presumption must
Manila empowers the City Council to prohibit motels, that portion of the Charter stating such must be considered repealed by the nevertheless be set aside when the invalidity or unreasonableness appears on the face of the ordinance itself or is established by
Code as it is at variance with the latters provisions granting the City Council mere regulatory powers. proper evidence. The exercise of police power by the local government is valid unless it contravenes the fundamental law of the
It is well to point out that petitioners also cannot seek cover under the general welfare clause authorizing the abatement of land, or an act of the legislature, or unless it is against public policy or is unreasonable, oppressive, partial, discriminating or in
nuisances without judicial proceedings. That tenet applies to a nuisance per se, or one which affects the immediate safety of derogation of a common right.[124]
persons and property and may be summarily abated under the undefined law of necessity. It can not be said that motels are Conclusion
injurious to the rights of property, health or comfort of the community. It is a legitimate business. If it be a nuisance per accidens it All considered, the Ordinance invades fundamental personal and property rights and impairs personal privileges. It is
may be so proven in a hearing conducted for that purpose. A motel is not per se a nuisance warranting its summary abatement constitutionally infirm. The Ordinance contravenes statutes; it is discriminatory and unreasonable in its operation; it is not
without judicial intervention.[119] sufficiently detailed and explicit that abuses may attend the enforcement of its sanctions. And not to be forgotten, the City Council
Notably, the City Council was conferred powers to prevent and prohibit certain activities and establishments in another section of under the Code had no power to enact the Ordinance and is therefore ultra vires, null and void.
the Code which is reproduced as follows: Concededly, the challenged Ordinance was enacted with the best of motives and shares the concern of the public for the cleansing
Section 458. Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation. (a) The sangguniang panlungsod, as the legislative body of the city, of the Ermita-Malate area of its social sins. Police power legislation of such character deserves the full endorsement of the
shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to judiciary we reiterate our support for it. But inspite of its virtuous aims, the enactment of the Ordinance has no statutory or
Section 16 of this Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the city as provided for under Section 22 of this constitutional authority to stand on. Local legislative bodies, in this case, the City Council, cannot prohibit the operation of the
Code, and shall: enumerated establishments under Section 1 thereof or order their transfer or conversion without infringing the constitutional
(1) Approve ordinances and pass resolutions necessary for an efficient and effective city government, and in this connection, shall: guarantees of due process and equal protection of laws not even under the guise of police power.
... WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DENIED and the decision of the Regional Trial Court declaring the Ordinance void is
(v) Enact ordinances intended to prevent, suppress and impose appropriate penalties for habitual drunkenness in public places, AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.
vagrancy, mendicancy, prostitution, establishment and maintenance of houses of ill repute, gambling and other prohibited games SO ORDERED.
of chance, fraudulent devices and ways to obtain money or property, drug addiction, maintenance of drug dens, drug pushing, [G.R. No. 144037. September 26, 2003]
juvenile delinquency, the printing, distribution or exhibition of obscene or pornographic materials or publications, and such other PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. NOEL TUDTUD y PAYPA and DINDO BOLONG y NARET, accused-
activities inimical to the welfare and morals of the inhabitants of the city; appellants.
... DECISION
If it were the intention of Congress to confer upon the City Council the power to prohibit the establishments enumerated in TINGA, J.:
Section 1 of the Ordinance, it would have so declared in uncertain terms by adding them to the list of the matters it may prohibit . It is desirable that criminals should be detected, and to that end that all available evidence should be used. It also is desirable that
under the above-quoted Section. The Ordinance now vainly attempts to lump these establishments with houses of ill-repute and the government should not itself foster and pay for other crimes, when they are the means by which the evidence is to be obtained.
expand the City Councils powers in the second and third clauses of Section 458 (a) 4 (vii) of the Code in an effort to overreach its If it pays its officers for having got evidence by crime, I do not see why it may not as well pay them for getting it in the same way,
prohibitory powers. It is evident that these establishments may only be regulated in their establishment, operation and and I can attach no importance to protestations of disapproval if it knowingly accepts and pays and announces that it will pay for
maintenance. the fruits. We have to choose, and for my part I think it a less evil that some criminals should escape than that the government
It is important to distinguish the punishable activities from the establishments themselves. That these establishments are should play an ignoble part.
recognized legitimate enterprises can be gleaned from another Section of the Code. Section 131 under the Title on Local So wrote Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in Olmstead v. U.S.[1] On this occasion, this Court is made to choose between letting
Government Taxation expressly mentioned proprietors or operators of massage clinics, sauna, Turkish and Swedish baths, hotels, suspected criminals escape or letting the government play an ignoble part.
motels and lodging houses as among the contractors defined in paragraph (h) thereof. The same Section also defined amusement Sometime during the months of July and August 1999, the Toril Police Station, Davao City received a report from a civilian asset
as a pleasurable diversion and entertainment, synonymous to relaxation, avocation, pastime or fun; and amusement places to named Bobong Solier about a certain Noel Tudtud.[2] Solier related that his neighbors have been complaining about Tudtud, who
include theaters, cinemas, concert halls, circuses and other places of amusement where one seeks admission to entertain oneself by was allegedly responsible for the proliferation of marijuana in their area.[3]
seeing or viewing the show or performances. Thus, it can be inferred that the Code considers these establishments as legitimate Reacting to the report, PO1 Ronald Desierto, PO1 Ramil Floreta and their superior, SPO1 Villalonghan,[4] all members of the
enterprises and activities. It is well to recall the maxim reddendo singula singulis which means that words in different parts of a Intelligence Section of the Toril Police Station, conducted surveillance in Soliers neighborhood in Sapa, Toril, Davao City.[5] For
statute must be referred to their appropriate connection, giving to each in its place, its proper force and effect, and, if possible, five days, they gathered information and learned that Tudtud was involved in illegal drugs.[6] According to his neighbors, Tudtud
rendering none of them useless or superfluous, even if strict grammatical construction demands otherwise. Likewise, where words was engaged in selling marijuana.[7]
under consideration appear in different sections or are widely dispersed throughout an act the same principle applies.[120] On August 1, 1999, Solier informed the police that Tudtud had headed to Cotabato and would be back later that day with new
Not only does the Ordinance contravene the Code, it likewise runs counter to the provisions of P.D. 499. As correctly argued by stocks of marijuana.[8] Solier described Tudtud as big-bodied and short, and usually wore a hat.[9] At around 4:00 in the
MTDC, the statute had already converted the residential Ermita-Malate area into a commercial area. The decree allowed the afternoon that same day, a team composed of PO1 Desierto, PO1 Floreta and SPO1 Villalonghan posted themselves at the corner
establishment and operation of all kinds of commercial establishments except warehouse or open storage depot, dump or yard, of Saipon and McArthur Highway to await Tudtuds arrival.[10] All wore civilian clothes.[11]
motor repair shop, gasoline service station, light industry with any machinery or funeral establishment. The rule is that for an About 8:00 later that evening, two men disembarked from a bus and helped each other carry a carton [12] marked King Flakes.[13]
ordinance to be valid and to have force and effect, it must not only be within the powers of the council to enact but the same must Standing some five feet away from the men, PO1 Desierto and PO1 Floreta observed that one of the men fit Tudtuds description.
not be in conflict with or repugnant to the general law.[121] As succinctly illustrated in Solicitor General v. Metropolitan Manila [14] The same man also toted a plastic bag.[15]
Authority:[122] PO1 Floreta and PO1 Desierto then approached the suspects and identified themselves as police officers.[16] PO1 Desierto
11
informed them that the police had received information that stocks of illegal drugs would be arriving that night. [17] The man who The rule is that a search and seizure must be carried out through or with a judicial warrant; otherwise, such search and seizure
resembled Tudtuds description denied that he was carrying any drugs.[18] PO1 Desierto asked him if he could see the contents of becomes unreasonable within the meaning of the above-quoted constitutional provision, and any evidence secured thereby, will be
the box.[19] Tudtud obliged, saying, it was alright.[20] Tudtud opened the box himself as his companion looked on.[21] inadmissible in evidence for any purpose in any proceeding.[61] Section 3 (2), Article III of the Constitution explicitly provides:
The box yielded pieces of dried fish, beneath which were two bundles, one wrapped in a striped plastic bag[22] and another in (2) Any evidence obtained in violation of the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.
newspapers.[23] PO1 Desierto asked Tudtud to unwrap the packages.[24] They contained what seemed to the police officers as The proscription in Section 2, Article III, however, covers only unreasonable searches and seizures. The following instances are
marijuana leaves.[25] not deemed unreasonable even in the absence of a warrant:
The police thus arrested Tudtud and his companion, informed them of their rights and brought them to the police station.[26] The 1. Warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest. (Sec. 12, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court and prevailing jurisprudence);
two did not resist.[27] 2. Search of evidence in plain view. The elements are: (a) a prior valid intrusion based on the valid warrantless arrest in which the
The confiscated items were turned over to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory for examination.[28] Forensic police are legally present in the pursuit of their official duties; (b) the evidence was inadvertently discovered by the police who
tests conducted by Police Chief Inspector Noemi Austero, forensic chemist of the PNP Crime Laboratory, Region XI, on have the right to be where they are; (c) the evidence must be immediately apparent; (d) plain view justified mere seizure of
specimens taken from the confiscated items confirmed the police officers suspicion. The plastic bag contained 3,200 grams of evidence without further search;
marijuana leaves while the newspapers contained another 890 grams.[29] Police Chief Inspector Austero reduced her findings in 3. Search of a moving vehicle. Highly regulated by the government, the vehicles inherent mobility reduces expectation of privacy
her report, Physical Sciences Report No. D-220-99 dated 2 August 1999.[30] especially when its transit in public thoroughfares furnishes a highly reasonable suspicion amounting to probable cause that the
Noel Tudtud and his companion, Dindo Bulong, were subsequently charged[31] before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Davao occupant committed a criminal activity;
City with illegal possession of prohibited drugs.[32] Upon arraignment, both accused pleaded not guilty.[33] The defense, 4. Consented warrantless search;
however, reserved their right to question the validity of their arrest and the seizure of the evidence against them.[34] 5. Customs search;
Trial ensued thereafter. 6. Stop and Frisk; and
The prosecution presented five witnesses, namely, arresting officers PO1 Desierto and PO1 Floreta, their civilian informant 7. Exigent and emergency circumstances.[62]
Bobong Solier, forensic chemist Police Chief Inspector Noemi Austero, and SPO3 Nicolas Algabre, exhibit custodian of the PNP The RTC justified the warrantless search of appellants belongings under the first exception, as a search incident to a lawful arrest.
Crime Laboratory. Said witnesses testified to the foregoing narration of facts. It cited as authorities this Courts rulings in People v. Claudio,[63] People v. Tangliben,[64] People v. Montilla,[65] and People v.
The accused, denying the charges against them, cried frame-up. Valdez.[66] The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), in arguing for the affirmance of the appealed decision, invokes the cases of
Noel Tudtud recalled that on August 1, 1999 he had gone to Kabacan, North Cotabato to sell pairs of Levis pants, which was his People v. Maspil, Jr.,[67] People v. Malmstedt,[68] and People v. Bagista.[69]
sideline.[35] At about 5:00 in the afternoon, he returned to Davao City by bus.[36] Upon reaching Toril, Tudtud, along with less A search incidental to a lawful arrest is sanctioned by the Rules of Court. Prior to its revision in 2000, Section 12, [70] Rule 126 of
than ten passengers, got down the bus.[37] said Rules read as follows:
Suddenly, a man who identified himself as a police officer approached him, pointing a .38 caliber revolver. [38] The man told him SEC. 12. Search incident to lawful arrest. A person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous weapons or anything which
not to run.[39] Tudtud raised his arms and asked, Sir, what is this about?[40] The man answered that he would like to inspect the may be used as proof of the commission of an offense, without a search warrant.
plastic bag Tudtud was carrying, and instructed Tudtud to open the bag, which revealed several pairs of Levis pants.[41] Section 5 (a), Rule 113 of the Rules, in turn, allows warrantless arrests:
The man then directed Tudtud to open a carton box some two meters away.[42] According to Tudtud, the box was already there SEC. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
when he disembarked the bus.[43] Tudtud told the man the box was not his, but proceeded to open it out of fear after the man (a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
again pointed his revolver at him.[44] Tudtud discovered pieces of dried fish, underneath which was something wrapped in .
cellophane.[45] It is significant to note that the search in question preceded the arrest. Recent jurisprudence holds that the arrest must precede the
What is that? the man asked.[46] Tudtud replied that he did not know.[47] Without even unwrapping the cellophane, the man said search; the process cannot be reversed.[71] Nevertheless, a search substantially contemporaneous with an arrest can precede the
it was marijuana and abruptly handcuffed Tudtud.[48] arrest if the police have probable cause to make the arrest at the outset of the search. [72] The question, therefore, is whether the
Simultaneously, another man was pointing a firearm at Dindo Bolong at the other side of the street, some eight meters from police in this case had probable cause to arrest appellants. Probable cause has been defined as:
Tudtud.[49] an actual belief or reasonable grounds of suspicion. The grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in the absence of actual belief
Bolong recounted that he was on his way to a relative in Daliao after attending a cousins wedding in Hagonoy, Davao del Sur of the arresting officers, the suspicion that the person to be arrested is probably guilty of committing the offense, is based on actual
when he was accosted.[50] After alighting the bus, Bolong crossed the street.[51] Someone then approached him and pointed a facts, i.e., supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable cause of guilt of the person to be
gun at him.[52] The man ordered him not to move and handcuffed him.[53] Bolong asked why he was being arrested but the man arrested. A reasonable suspicion therefore must be founded on probable cause, coupled with good faith of the peace officers
just told him to go with them.[54] making the arrest.[73]
The suspects were then taken to the police station where, they would later claim, they met each other for the first time.[55] The long-standing rule in this jurisdiction, applied with a great degree of consistency, is that reliable information alone is not
Assailing the credibility of informant Bobong Solier, the defense offered the testimonies of Felicia Julaton,[56] Branch 3 Clerk of sufficient to justify a warrantless arrest under Section 5 (a), Rule 113. The rule requires, in addition, that the accused perform
Court, Claudio Bohevia,[57] Branch 7 Clerk of Court, and Mercedita Abunda,[58] Branch 9 Utility Clerk, all of the Davao City some overt act that would indicate that he has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense.
Municipal Trial Circuit Court. They testified and presented court documents showing that one Bobo or Bobong Ramirez was In the leading case of People v. Burgos,[74] this Court held that the officer arresting a person who has just committed, is
charged in their respective branches with various crimes, specifically, light threats, less serious physical injuries and robbery. The committing, or is about to commit an offense must have personal knowledge of that fact. The offense must also be committed in
defense asserted that the Bobo or Bobong Ramirez accused in these cases is the same person as the informant Bobong Solier.[59] his presence or within his view.[75] In Burgos, the authorities obtained information that the accused had forcibly recruited one
Swayed by the prosecutions evidence beyond reasonable doubt, the RTC rendered judgment convicting both accused as charged Cesar Masamlok as member of the New Peoples Army, threatening the latter with a firearm. Upon finding the accused, the
and sentencing them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of P500,000.00.[60] arresting team searched his house and discovered a gun as well as purportedly subversive documents. This Court, in declaring then
On appeal, Noel Tudtud and Dindo Bolong assign, among other errors, the admission in evidence of the marijuana leaves, which Section 6 (a), Rule 113 of the Rules of Court inapplicable, ruled that:
they claim were seized in violation of their right against unreasonable searches and seizures. There is no such personal knowledge in this case. Whatever knowledge was possessed by the arresting officers, it came in its
The right against unreasonable searches and seizures is secured by Section 2, Article III of the Constitution, which states: entirety from the information furnished by Cesar Masamlok. The location of the firearm was given by the appellants wife.
SEC. 2. The right of the people to be secured in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and At the time of the appellants arrest, he was not in actual possession of any firearm or subversive document. Neither was he
seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except committing any act which could be described as subversive. He was, in fact, plowing his field at the time of the arrest.
upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and The right of a person to be secure against any unreasonable seizure of his body and any deprivation of his liberty is a most basic
the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the places to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. and fundamental one. The statute or rule which allows exceptions to the requirement of warrants of arrest is strictly construed.
12
Any exception must clearly fall within the situations when securing a warrant would be absurd or is manifestly unnecessary as that appellant was then actually committing a crime by illegally transporting prohibited drugs. With these attendant facts, it is
provided by the Rule. We cannot liberally construe the rule on arrests without warrant or extend its application beyond the cases ineluctable that appellant was caught in flagrante delicto, hence his arrest and the search of his belongings without the requisite
specifically provided by law. To do so would infringe upon personal liberty and set back a basic right so often violated and so warrant were both justified.[100]
deserving of full protection.[76] While concurring with the majority, Mr. Justice Vitug reserved his vote on the discussion on the warrantless search being
Consequently, the items seized were held inadmissible, having been obtained in violation of the accuseds constitutional rights incidental to a lawful arrest. Mr. Justice Panganiban, joined by Messrs. Justices Melo and Puno, filed a Separate Opinion.
against unreasonable searches and seizures. Although likewise concurring in the majoritys ruling that appellant consented to the inspection of his baggage, Justice Panganiban
In People v. Aminnudin,[77] this Court likewise held the warrantless arrest and subsequent search of appellant therein illegal, disagreed with the conclusion that the warrantless search was incidental to a lawful arrest. He argued that jurisprudence required
given the following circumstances: personal knowledge on the part of the officers making the in flagrante delicto arrest. In Montilla, the appellant did not exhibit any
the accused-appellant was not, at the moment of his arrest, committing a crime nor was it shown that he was about to do so or that overt act or strange conduct that would reasonably arouse in their minds suspicion that he was embarking on some felonious
he had just done so. What he was doing was descending the gangplank of the M/V Wilcon 9 and there was no outward indication enterprise.
that he called for his arrest. To all appearances, he was like any of the other passengers innocently disembarking from the vessel. It Law and jurisprudence in fact require stricter grounds for valid arrests and searches without warrant than for the issuance of
was only when the informer pointed to him as the carrier of the marijuana that he suddenly became suspect and so subject to warrants therefore. In the former, the arresting person must have actually witnessed the crime being committed or attempted by
apprehension. It was the furtive finger that triggered his arrest. The identification by the informer was the probable cause as the person sought to be arrested; or he must have personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested perpetrated
determined by the officers (and not a judge) that authorized them to pounce upon Aminnudin and immediately arrest him.[78] the crime that had just occurred. In the latter case, the judge simply determines personally from testimonies of witnesses that there
Thus, notwithstanding tips from confidential informants and regardless of the fact that the search yielded contraband, the mere act exists reasonable grounds to believe that a crime was committed by the accused.
of looking from side to side while holding ones abdomen,[79]or of standing on a corner with ones eyes moving very fast, looking .
at every person who came near,[80] does not justify a warrantless arrest under said Section 5 (a). Neither does putting something To say that reliable tips constitute probable cause for a warrantless arrest or search is in my opinion, a dangerous precedent and
in ones pocket,[81] handing over ones baggage,[82] riding a motorcycle,[83] nor does holding a bag on board a places in great jeopardy the doctrines laid down in many decisions made by this Court, in its effort to zealously guard and protect
trisikad[84]sanction State intrusion. The same rule applies to crossing the street per se.[85] the sacred constitutional right against unreasonable arrests, searches and seizures. Everyone would be practically at the mercy of
Personal knowledge was also required in the case of People v. Doria.[86] Recently, in People v. Binad Sy Chua,[87] this Court so-called informants, reminiscent of the makapilis during the Japanese occupation. Any one whom they point out to a police
declared invalid the arrest of the accused, who was walking towards a hotel clutching a sealed Zest-O juice box. For the exception officer as a possible violator of the law could then be subject to search and possible arrest. This is placing limitless power upon
in Section 5 (a), Rule 113 to apply, this Court ruled, two elements must concur: (1) the person to be arrested must execute an overt informants who will no longer be required to affirm under oath their accusations, for they can always delay their giving of tips in
act indicating he has just committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit a crime; and (2) such overt act is done in order to justify warrantless arrests and searches. Even law enforcers can use this as an oppressive tool to conduct searches without
the presence or within the view of the arresting officer.Reliable information alone is insufficient. warrants, for they can always claim that they received raw intelligence information only on the day or afternoon before. This
In the following cases, the search was held to be incidental to a lawful arrest because of suspicious circumstances: People v. would clearly be a circumvention of the legal requisites for validly effecting an arrest or conducting a search and seizure. Indeed
Tangliben[88] (accused was acting suspiciously), People v. Malmstedt[89] (a bulge on the accuseds waist), and People v. de the majoritys ruling would open loopholes that would allow unreasonable arrests, searches and seizures.[101]
Guzman[90] (likewise a bulge on the waist of the accused, who was wearing tight-fitting clothes). Montilla would shortly find mention in Justice Panganibans concurring opinion in People v. Doria, supra, where this Court ruled:
There is, however, another set of jurisprudence that deems reliable information sufficient to justify a search incident to a Accused-Appellant Gaddao was arrested solely on the basis of the alleged identification made by her co-accused. PO3 Manlangit,
warrantless arrest under Section 5 (a), Rule 113, thus deviating from Burgos. To this class of cases belong People v. Maspil, Jr., however, declared in his direct examination that appellant Doria named his co-accused in response to his (PO3 Manlangits) query
[91] People v. Bagista,[92] People v. Balingan,[93] People v. Lising,[94] People v. Montilla,[95] People v. Valdez,[96] and People as to where the marked money was. Appellant Doria did not point to appellant Gaddao as his associate in the drug business, but as
v. Gonzales.[97] In these cases, the arresting authorities were acting on information regarding an offense but there were no overt the person with whom he left the marked bills. This identification does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that appellant
acts or suspicious circumstances that would indicate that the accused has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to Gaddao conspired with her co-accused in pushing drugs. Appellant Doria may have left the money in her house, with or without
commit the same. Significantly, these cases, except the last two, come under some other exception to the rule against warrantless any conspiracy. Save for accused-appellant Dorias word, the Narcom agents had no showing that the person who affected the
searches. Thus, Maspil, Jr. involved a checkpoint search, Balingan was a search of a moving vehicle, Bagista was both, and Lising warantless arrest had, in his own right, knowledge of facts implicating the person arrested to the perpetration of a criminal offense,
and Montilla were consented searches. the arrest is legally objectionable.[102] [Italics in the original.]
Nevertheless, the great majority of cases conforms to the rule in Burgos, which, in turn, more faithfully adheres to the letter of Expressing his accord with Mr. Justice Punos ponencia, Justice Panganiban said that Doria rightfully brings the Court back to
Section 5(a), Rule 113. Note the phrase in his presence therein, connoting personal knowledge on the part of the arresting officer. well-settled doctrines on warrantless arrests and searches, which have seemingly been modified through an obiter in People v.
The right of the accused to be secure against any unreasonable searches on and seizure of his own body and any deprivation of his Ruben Montilla.[103]
liberty being a most basic and fundamental one, the statute or rule that allows exception to the requirement of a warrant of arrest is Montilla, therefore, has been seemingly discredited insofar as it sanctions searches incidental to lawful arrest under similar
strictly construed. Its application cannot be extended beyond the cases specifically provided by law.[98] circumstances. At any rate, Montilla was a consented search. As will be demonstrated later, the same could not be said of this case.
The cases invoked by the RTC and the OSG are, therefore, gravely misplaced. In Claudio,[99] the accused, who was seated aboard That leaves the prosecution with People v. Valdez, which, however, involved an on-the-spot information. The urgency of the
a bus in front of the arresting officer, put her bag behind the latter, thus arousing the latters suspicion. In Tangliben and Malmstedt, circumstances, an element not present in this case, prevented the arresting officer therein from obtaining a warrant.
the accused had also acted suspiciously. Appellants in this case were neither performing any overt act or acting in a suspicious manner that would hint that a crime has
As noted earlier, Maspil, Jr., Bagista and Montilla were justified by other exceptions to the rule against warrantless searches. been, was being, or was about to be, committed. If the arresting officers testimonies are to be believed, appellants were merely
Montilla, moreover, was not without its critics. There, majority of the Court held: helping each other carry a carton box. Although appellant Tudtud did appear afraid and perspiring,[104] pale[105] and trembling,
Appellant insists that the mere fact of seeing a person carrying a traveling bag and a carton box should not elicit the slightest [106]this was only after, not before, he was asked to open the said box.
suspicion of the commission of any crime since that is normal. But precisely, it is in the ordinary nature of things that drugs being In no sense can the knowledge of the herein arresting officers that appellant Tudtud was in possession of marijuana be described
illegally transported are necessarily hidden in containers and concealed from view. Thus, the officers could reasonably assume, as personal, having learned the same only from their informant Solier. Solier, for his part, testified that he obtained his information
and not merely on a hollow suspicion since the informant was by their side and had so informed them, that the drugs were in only from his neighbors and the friends of appellant Tudtud:
appellants luggage. It would obviously have been irresponsible, if now downright absurd under the circumstances, to require the Q What was your basis in your report to the police that Tudtud is going to Cotabato and get stocks of marijuana?
constable to adopt a wait and see attitude at the risk of eventually losing the quarry. A Because of the protest of my neighbors who were saying who will be the person whou [sic] would point to him because he had
Here, there were sufficient facts antecedent to the search and seizure that, at the point prior to the search were already constitutive been giving trouble to the neighborhood because according to them there are [sic] proliferation of marijuana in our place. That
of probable cause, and which by themselves could properly create in the minds of the officers a well-grounded and reasonable was the complained [sic] of our neighbors.
belief that appellant was in the act of violating the law. The search yielded affirmance both of that probable cause and the actuality Q Insofar as the accused Tudtud is concerned what was your basis in reporting him particularly?
13
A His friends were the once who told me about it. 4. Any judge acting on such application shall immediately and without delay personally conduct the examination of the applicant
Q For how long have you know [sic] this fact of alleged activity of Tudtud in proliferation of marijuana? and his witnesses to prevent the possible leakage of information. He shall observe the procedures, safeguards, and guidelines for
A About a month. the issuance of search warrants provided for in this Courts Administrative Circular No. 13, dated October 1, 1985.[112] [Italics in
. the original.]
Q Regarding the report that Tudtud went to Cotabato to get stocks of marijuana which led to his apprehension sometime in the Given that the police had adequate time to obtain the warrant, PO1 Floretas testimony that the real reason for their omission was
evening of August 1 and according to the report [which] is based on your report my question is, how did you know that Tudtud their belief that they lacked sufficient basis to obtain the same assumes greater significance. This was PO1 Floretas familiar
will be bringing along with him marijuana stocks on August 1, 1999? refrain:
. Q When Solier reported to you that fact, that Tudtud will be coming from Cotabato to get that (sic) stocks, you did not go to court
A Because of the information of his neighbor.[107] to get a search warrant on the basis of the report of Bobot Solier?
In other words, Soliers information itself is hearsay. He did not even elaborate on how his neighbors or Tudtuds friends acquired A No.
their information that Tudtud was responsible for the proliferation of drugs in their neighborhood. Q Why?
Indeed, it appears that PO1 Floreta himself doubted the reliablility of their informant. He testified on cross-examination: A Because we have no real basis to secure the search warrant.
Q You mean to say that Bobot Solier, is not reliable? Q When you have no real basis to secure a search warrant, you have also no real basis to search Tudtud and Bulong at that time?
A He is trustworthy. A Yes, sir.
Q Why [did] you not consider his information not reliable if he is reliable? .
A (witness did not answer). Q And Bobot Solier told you that Tudtud, that he would already bring marijuana?
ATTY. CAETE: A Yes, sir.
Never mind, do not answer anymore. Thats all.[108] Q And this was 9:00 a.m.?
The prosecution, on re-direct examination, did not attempt to extract any explanation from PO1 Floreta for his telling silence. A Yes, sir.
Confronted with such a dubious informant, the police perhaps felt it necessary to conduct their own surveillance. This Q The arrival of Tudtud was expected at 6:00 p.m.?
surveillance, it turns out, did not actually consist of staking out appellant Tudtud to catch him in the act of plying his illegal trade, A Yes, sir.
but of a mere gather[ing] of information from the assets there.[109] The police officers who conducted such surveillance did not Q Toril is just 16 kilometers from Davao City?
identify who these assets were or the basis of the latters information. Clearly, such information is also hearsay, not of personal A Yes, sir.
knowledge. Q And the Office of the Regional Trial Court is only about 16 kilometers, is that correct?
Neither were the arresting officers impelled by any urgency that would allow them to do away with the requisite warrant, PO1 A Yes, sir.
Desiertos assertions of lack of time[110] notwithstanding. Records show that the police had ample opportunity to apply for a Q And it can be negotiated by thirty minutes by a jeep ride?
warrant, having received Soliers information at around 9:00 in the morning; Tudtud, however, was expected to arrive at around A Yes, sir.
6:00 in the evening of the same day.[111] In People v. Encinada, supra, the Court ruled that there was sufficient time to procure a Q And you can asked [sic] the assistance of any prosecutor to apply for the search warrant or the prosecutor do [sic] not assist?
warrant where the police officers received at 4:00 in the afternoon an intelligence report that the accused, who was supposedly A They help.
carrying marijuana, would arrive the next morning at 7:00 a.m.: Q But you did not come to Davao City, to asked [sic] for a search warrant?
Even if the information was received by Bolonia about 4:00 p.m. of May 20, 1992 at his house, there was sufficient time to secure A As I said, we do not have sufficient basis.[113]
a warrant of arrest, as the M/V Sweet Pearl was not expected to dock until 7:00 a.m. the following day. Administrative Circular It may be conceded that the mere subjective conclusions of a police officer concerning the existence of probable cause is not
No. 13 allows application for search warrants even after office hours: binding on [the courts] which must independently scrutinize the objective facts to determine the existence of probable cause and
3. Raffling shall be strictly enforced, except only in case where an application for search warrant may be filed directly with any that a court may also find probable cause in spite of an officers judgment that none exists.[114] However, the fact that the arresting
judge whose jurisdiction the place to be searched is located, after office hours, or during Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, officers felt that they did not have sufficient basis to obtain a warrant, despite their own information-gathering efforts, raises
in which case the applicant is required to certify under oath the urgency of the issuance thereof after office hours, or during serious questions whether such surveillance actually yielded any pertinent information and even whether they actually conducted
Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays; . . .. any information-gathering at all, thereby eroding any claim to personal knowledge.
The same procedural dispatch finds validation and reiteration in Circular No. 19, series of 1987, entitled Amended Guidelines and Finally, there is an effective waiver of rights against unreasonable searches and seizures if the following requisites are present:
Procedures on Application for search warrants for Illegal Possession of Firearms and Other Serious Crimes Filed in Metro Manila 1. It must appear that the rights exist;
Courts and Other Courts with Multiple Salas: 2. The person involved had knowledge, actual or constructive, of the existence of such right;
This Court has received reports of delay while awaiting raffle, in acting on applications for search warrants in the campaign 3. Said person had an actual intention to relinquish the right.[115]
against loose firearms and other serious crimes affecting peace and order. There is a need for prompt action on such applications Here, the prosecution failed to establish the second and third requisites. Records disclose that when the police officers introduced
for search warrant. Accordingly, these amended guidelines in the issuance of a search warrant are issued: themselves as such and requested appellant that they see the contents of the carton box supposedly containing the marijuana,
1. All applications for search warrants relating to violation of the Anti-subversion Act, crimes against public order as defined in appellant Tudtud said it was alright. He did not resist and opened the box himself.
the Revised Penal Code, as amended, illegal possession of firearms and/or ammunition and violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act The fundamental law and jurisprudence require more than the presence of these circumstances to constitute a valid waiver of the
of 1972, as amended, shall no longer be raffled and shall immediately be taken cognizance of and acted upon by the Executive constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures. Courts indulge every reasonable presumption against waiver of
Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, and Municipal Trial Court under whose jurisdiction the place to be fundamental constitutional rights; acquiescence in the loss of fundamental rights is not to be presumed.[116] The fact that a person
searched is located. failed to object to a search does not amount to permission thereto.
2. In the absence of the Executive Judge, the Vice-Executive Judge shall take cognizance of and personally act on the same. In the . As the constitutional guaranty is not dependent upon any affirmative act of the citizen, the courts do not place the citizen in the
absence of the Executive Judge or Vice-Executive Judge, the application may be taken cognizance of and acted upon by any judge position of either contesting an officers authority by force, or waiving his constitutional rights; but instead they hold that a
of the Court where application is filed. peaceful submission to a search or seizure is not a consent or an invitation thereto, but is merely a demonstration of regard for the
3. Applications filed after office hours, during Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, shall likewise be taken cognizance of and acted supremacy of the law.[117] [Underscoring supplied.]
upon by any judge of the Court having jurisdiction of the place to be searched, but in such cases the applicant shall certify and Thus, even in cases where the accused voluntarily handed her bag[118] or the chairs[119] containing marijuana to the arresting
state the facts under oath, to the satisfaction of the judge, that its issuance is urgent. officer, this Court held there was no valid consent to the search.
14
On the other hand, because a warrantless search is in derogation of a constitutional right, peace officers who conduct it cannot SO ORDERED.
invoke regularity in the performance of official functions and shift to the accused the burden of proving that the search was
unconsented.[120] Malaloan vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 104879, 6 May 1994, 232 SCRA 249.
In any case, any presumption in favor of regularity would be severely diminished by the allegation of appellants in this case that
the arresting officers pointed a gun at them before asking them to open the subject box. Appellant Tudtud testified as follows: G.R. No. 104879 May 6, 1994
Q This person who approached you according to you pointed something at you[.] [What] was that something? ELIZALDE MALALOAN and MARLON LUAREZ, petitioners,
A A 38 cal. Revolver. vs.
Q How did he point it at you? COURT OF APPEALS; HON. ANTONIO J. FINEZA, in his capacity as Presiding Judge, Branch 131, Regional Trial Court of
A Like this (Witness demonstrating as if pointing with his two arms holding something towards somebody). Kalookan City; HON. TIRSO D.C. VELASCO, in his capacity as Presiding Judge, Branch 88, Regional Trial Court of Quezon
Q This man[,] what did he tell you when he pointed a gun at you? City; and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
A He said do not run. Alexander A. Padilla for petitioners.
Q What did you do? The Solicitor General for the People of the Philippines.
A I raised my hands and said Sir, what is this about?
Q Why did you call him Sir? REGALADO, J.:
A I was afraid because when somebody is holding a gun, I am afraid. Creative legal advocacy has provided this Court with another primae impressionis case through the present petition wherein the
Q Precisely, why did you address him as Sir? parties have formulated and now pose for resolution the following issue: Whether or not a court may take cognizance of an
A Because he was holding a gun and I believed that somebody who is carrying a gun is a policeman. application for a search warrant in connection with an offense committed outside its territorial boundary and, thereafter, issue the
Q When you asked him what is this? What did he say? warrant to conduct a search on a place outside the court's supposed territorial jurisdiction. 1
A He said I would like to inspect what you are carrying.[] The factual background and judicial antecedents of this case are best taken from the findings of respondent Court of Appeals 2 on
Q What did you say when you were asked to open that carton box? which there does not appear to be any dispute, to wit:
A I told him that is not mine. From the pleadings and supporting documents before the Court, it can be gathered that on March 22, 1990, 1st Lt. Absalon V.
Q What did this man say? Salboro of the CAPCOM Northern Sector (now Central Sector) filed with the Regional Trial Court of Kalookan City an
A He again pointed to me his revolver and again said to open. application for search warrant. The search warrant was sought for in connection with an alleged violation of P.D. 1866 (Illegal
Q What did you do? Possession of Firearms and Ammunitions) perpetrated at No. 25 Newport St., corner Marlboro St., Fairview, Quezon City. On
A So I proceeded to open for fear of being shot.[121] March 23, 1990, respondent RTC Judge of Kalookan City issued Search Warrant No. 95-90. On the same day, at around 2:30 p.m.,
Appellants implied acquiescence, if at all, could not have been more than mere passive conformity given under coercive or members of the CAPCOM, armed with subject search warrant, proceeded to the situs of the offense alluded to, where a labor
intimidating circumstances and is, thus, considered no consent at all within the purview of the constitutional guarantee. [122] seminar of the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) was then taking place. According to CAPCOM's
Consequently, appellants lack of objection to the search and seizure is not tantamount to a waiver of his constitutional right or a "Inventory of Property Seized," firearms, explosive materials and subversive documents, among others, were seized and taken
voluntary submission to the warrantless search and seizure.[123] during the search. And all the sixty-one (61) persons found within the premises searched were brought to Camp Karingal, Quezon
As the search of appellants box does not come under the recognized exceptions to a valid warrantless search, the marijuana leaves City but most of them were later released, with the exception of the herein petitioners, EILER Instructors, who were indicated for
obtained thereby are inadmissible in evidence. And as there is no evidence other than the hearsay testimony of the arresting violation of P.D. 1866 in Criminal Case No. Q-90-11757 before Branch 88 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, presided
officers and their informant, the conviction of appellants cannot be sustained. over by respondent Judge Tirso D.C. Velasco.
The Bill of Rights is the bedrock of constitutional government. If people are stripped naked of their rights as human beings, On July 10, 1990, petitioners presented a "Motion for Consolidation, Quashal of Search Warrant and For the Suppression of All
democracy cannot survive and government becomes meaningless.This explains why the Bill of Rights, contained as it is in Article Illegally Acquired Evidence" before the Quezon City court; and a "Supplemental Motion to the Motion for Consolidation, Quashal
III of the Constitution, occupies a position of primacy in the fundamental law way above the articles on governmental power.[124] of Search Warrant and Exclusion of Evidence Illegally Obtained.
The right against unreasonable search and seizure in turn is at the top of the hierarchy of rights,[125] next only to, if not on the On September 21, 1990, the respondent Quezon City Judge issued the challenged order, consolidating subject cases but denying
same plane as, the right to life, liberty and property, which is protected by the due process clause. [126] This is as it should be for, the prayer for the quashal of the search warrant under attack, the validity of which warrant was upheld; opining that the same falls
as stressed by a couple of noted freedom advocates,[127] the right to personal security which, along with the right to privacy, is under the category of Writs and Processes, within the contemplation of paragraph 3(b) of the Interim Rules and Guidelines, and
the foundation of the right against unreasonable search and seizure includes the right to exist, and the right to enjoyment of life can be served not only within the territorial jurisdiction of the issuing court but anywhere in the judicial region of the issuing court
while existing. Emphasizing such right, this Court declared in People v. Aruta: (National Capital Judicial Region);. . .
Unreasonable searches and seizures are the menace against which the constitutional guarantees afford full protection. While the Petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the said Order under challenge, having been denied by the assailed Order of October 5,
power to search and seize may at times be necessary to the public welfare, still it may be exercised and the law enforced without 1990, petitioners have come to this Court via the instant petition, raising the sole issue:
transgressing the constitutional rights of the citizens, for the enforcement of no statute is of sufficient importance to justify WHETHER OR NOT A COURT MAY TAKE COGNIZANCE OF AN APPLICATION FOR A SEARCH WARRANT IN
indifference to the basic principles of government. CONNECTION WITH AN OFFENSE ALLEGEDLY COMMITTED OUTSIDE ITS TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION AND TO
Those who are supposed to enforce the law are not justified in disregarding the rights of the individual in the name of order. Order ISSUE A WARRANT TO CONDUCT A SEARCH ON A PLACE LIKEWISE OUTSIDE ITS TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION.
is too high a price to pay for the loss of liberty. As Justice Holmes declared: I think it is less evil that some criminals escape than xxx xxx xxx
that the government should play an ignoble part. It is simply not allowed in free society to violate a law to enforce another, Respondent Court of Appeals rendered judgment, 3 in effect affirming that of the trial court, by denying due course to the petition
especially if the law violated is the Constitution itself.[128] for certiorari and lifting the temporary restraining order it had issued on November 29, 1990 in connection therewith. This
Thus, given a choice between letting suspected criminals escape or letting the government play an ignoble part, the answer, to this judgment of respondent court is now impugned in and sought to be reversed through the present recourse before us.
Court, is clear and ineluctable. We are not favorably impressed by the arguments adduced by petitioners in support of their submissions. Their disquisitions
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City is REVERSED. Appellants Noel Tudtud y Paypa and postulate interpretative theories contrary to the letter and intent of the rules on search warrants and which could pose legal
Dindo Bolong y Naret are hereby ACQUITTED for insufficiency of evidence. The Director of the Bureau of Prisons is ordered to obstacles, if not dangerous doctrines, in the area of law enforcement. Further, they fail to validly distinguish, hence they do not
cause the immediate release of appellants from confinement, unless they are being held for some other lawful cause, and to report convincingly delineate the difference, between the matter of (1) the court which has the competence to issue a search warrant
to this Court compliance herewith within five (5) days from receipt hereof. under a given set of facts, and (2) the permissible jurisdictional range in the enforcement of such search warrant vis-a-vis the
15
court's territorial jurisdiction. These issues while effectively cognate are essentially discrete since the resolution of one does not Our Rules of Court, whether of the 1940, 1964 or the present vintage, and, for that matter, the Judiciary Act of 1948 12 or the
necessarily affect or preempt the other. Accordingly, to avoid compounding the seeming confusion, these questions shall be recent Judiciary Reorganization Act, 13 have never required the jurisdictional strictures that the petitioners' thesis would seek to be
discussedseriatim. inferentially drawn from the silence of the reglementary provisions. On the contrary, we are of the view that said statutory
I omission was both deliberate and significant. It cannot but mean that the formulators of the Rules of Court, and even Congress
Petitioners invoke the jurisdictional rules in the institution of criminal actions to invalidate the search warrant issued by the itself, did not consider it proper or correct, on considerations of national policy and the pragmatics of experience, to clamp a legal
Regional Trial Court of Kalookan City because it is directed toward the seizure of firearms and ammunition allegedly cached manacle on those who would ferret out the evidence of a crime. For us to now impose such conditions or restrictions, under the
illegally in Quezon City. This theory is sought to be buttressed by the fact that the criminal case against petitioners for violation of guise of judicial interpretation, may instead be reasonably construed as trenching on judicial legislation. It would be tantamount to
Presidential Decree No. 1866 was subsequently filed in the latter court. The application for the search warrant, it is claimed, was a judicial act of engrafting upon a law something that has been omitted but which someone believes ought to have been embraced
accordingly filed in a court of improper venue and since venue in criminal actions involves the territorial jurisdiction of the court, therein. 14
such warrant is void for having been issued by a court without jurisdiction to do so. Concededly, the problem of venue would be relatively easier to resolve if a criminal case has already been filed in a particular
The basic flaw in this reasoning is in erroneously equating the application for and the obtention of a search warrant with the court and a search warrant is needed to secure evidence to be presented therein. Obviously, the court trying the criminal case may
institution and prosecution of a criminal action in a trial court. It would thus categorize what is only a special criminal process, the properly issue the warrant, upon proper application and due compliance with the requisites therefor, since such application would
power to issue which is inherent in all courts, as equivalent to a criminal action, jurisdiction over which is reposed in specific only be an incident in that case and which it can resolve in the exercise of its ancillary jurisdiction. If the contraband articles are
courts of indicated competence. It ignores the fact that the requisites, procedure and purpose for the issuance of a search warrant within its territorial jurisdiction, there would appear to be no further complications. The jurisdictional problem would resurrect,
are completely different from those for the institution of a criminal action. however, where such articles are outside its territorial jurisdiction, which aspect will be addressed hereafter.
For, indeed, a warrant, such as a warrant of arrest or a search warrant, merely constitutes process. 4 A search warrant is defined in 3. Coming back to the first issue now under consideration, petitioners, after discoursing on the respective territorial jurisdictions
our jurisdiction as an order in writing issued in the name of the People of the Philippines signed by a judge and directed to a peace of the thirteen Regional Trial Courts which correspond to the thirteen judicial regions, 15invite our attention to the fact that this
officer, commanding him to search for personal property and bring it before the court. 5 A search warrant is in the nature of a Court, pursuant to its authority granted by
criminal process akin to a writ of discovery. It is a special and peculiar remedy, drastic in its nature, and made necessary because law, 16 has defined the territorial jurisdiction of each branch of a Regional Trial Court 17 over which the particular branch
of a public necessity. 6 concerned shall exercise its
In American jurisdictions, from which we have taken our jural concept and provisions on search warrants, 7 such warrant is authority. 18 From this, it is theorized that "only the branch of a Regional Trial Court which has jurisdiction over the place to be
definitively considered merely as a process, generally issued by a court in the exercise of its ancillary jurisdiction, and not a searched could grant an application for and issue a warrant to search that place." Support for such position is sought to be drawn
criminal action to be entertained by a court pursuant to its original jurisdiction. We emphasize this fact for purposes of both issues from issuances of this Court, that is, Circular No. 13 issued on October 1, 1985, as amended by Circular No. 19 on August 4,
as formulated in this opinion, with the catalogue of authorities herein. 1987.
Invariably, a judicial process is defined as a writ, warrant, subpoena, or other formal writing issued by authority of law; also the We reject that proposition. Firstly, it is evident that both circulars were not intended to be of general application to all instances
means of accomplishing an end, including judicial proceedings, 8 or all writs, warrants, summonses, and orders of courts of justice involving search warrants and in all courts as would be the case if they had been adopted as part of the Rules of Court. These
or judicial officers. 9 It is likewise held to include a writ, summons, or order issued in a judicial proceeding to acquire jurisdiction circulars were issued by the Court to meet a particular exigency, that is, as emergency guidelines on applications for search
of a person or his property, to expedite the cause or enforce the judgment, 10 or a writ, warrant, mandate, or other process issuing warrants filed only in the courts of Metropolitan Manila and other courts with multiple salas and only with respect to violations of
from a court of justice. 11 the Anti-Subversion Act, crimes against public order under the Revised Penal Code, illegal possession of firearms and/or
2. It is clear, therefore, that a search warrant is merely a judicial process designed by the Rules to respond only to an incident in ammunitions, and violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act. In other words, the aforesaid theory on the court's jurisdiction to issue
the main case, if one has already been instituted, or in anticipation thereof. In the latter contingency, as in the case at bar, it would search warrants would not apply tosingle-sala courts and other crimes. Accordingly, the rule sought by petitioners to be adopted by
involve some judicial clairvoyance to require observance of the rules as to where a criminal case may eventually be filed where, in the Court would actually result in a bifurcated procedure which would be vulnerable to legal and constitutional objections.
the first place, no such action having as yet been instituted, it may ultimately be filed in a territorial jurisdiction other than that For that matter, neither can we subscribe to petitioners' contention that Administrative Order No. 3 of this Court, supposedly
wherein the illegal articles sought to be seized are then located. This is aside from the consideration that a criminal action may be "defining the limits of the territorial jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts," was the source of thesubject matter jurisdiction of,
filed in different venues under the rules for delitos continuados or in those instances where different trial courts have concurrent as distinguished from the exercise of jurisdiction by, the courts. As earlier observed, this administrative order was issued pursuant
original jurisdiction over the same criminal offense. to the provisions of Section 18 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, the pertinent portion of which states:
In fact, to illustrate the gravity of the problem which petitioners' implausible position may create, we need not stray far from the Sec. 18. Authority to define territory appurtenant to each branch. — The Supreme Court shall define the territory over which a
provisions of Section 15, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court on the venue of criminal actions and which we quote: branch of the Regional Trial Court shall exercise its authority. The territory thus defined shall be deemed to be the territorial area
Sec. 15. Place where action to be instituted. — of the branch concerned for purposes of determining the venue of all writs, proceedings or actions, whether civil or criminal, . . . .
(a) Subject to existing laws, in all criminal prosecutions the action shall be instituted and tried in the court of the municipality or (Emphasis ours.)
territory wherein the offense was committed or any one of the essential ingredients thereof took place. Jurisdiction is conferred by substantive law, in this case Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, not by a procedural law and, much less, by an
(b) Where an offense is committed on a railroad train, in an aircraft, or any other public or private vehicle while in the course of its administrative order or circular. The jurisdiction conferred by said Act on regional trial courts and their judges is basically regional
trip, the criminal action may be instituted and tried in the court of any municipality or territory where such train, aircraft or other in scope. Thus, Section 17 thereof provides that "(e)very Regional Trial Judge shall be appointed to a region which shall be his
vehicle passed during such trip, including the place of departure and arrival. permanent station," and he "may be assigned by the Supreme Court to any branch or city or municipality within the same region
(c) Where an offense is committed on board a vessel in the course of its voyage, the criminal action may be instituted and tried in as public interest may require, and such assignment shall not be deemed an assignment to another station . . ." which, otherwise,
the proper court of the first port of entry or of any municipality or territory through which the vessel passed during such voyage, would necessitate a new appointment for the judge.
subject to the generally accepted principles of international law. In fine, Administrative Order No. 3 and, in like manner, Circulars Nos. 13 and 19, did not per se confer jurisdiction on the covered
(d) Other crimes committed outside of the Philippines but punishable therein under Article 2 of the Revised Penal Code shall be regional trial court or its branches, such that non-observance thereof would nullify their judicial acts. The administrative order
cognizable by the proper court in which the charge is first filed. (14a) merely defines the limits of the administrative area within which a branch of the court may exercise its authority pursuant to the
It would be an exacting imposition upon the law enforcement authorities or the prosecutorial agencies to unerringly determine jurisdiction conferred by Batas Pambansa Blg. 129. The circulars only allocated to the three executive judges the administrative
where they should apply for a search warrant in view of the uncertainties and possibilities as to the ultimate venue of a case under areas for which they may respectively issue search warrants under the special circumstance contemplated therein, but likewise
the foregoing rules. It would be doubly so if compliance with that requirement would be under pain of nullification of said warrant pursuant to the jurisdiction vested in them by Batas Pambansa Blg, 129.
should they file their application therefor in and obtain the same from what may later turn out to be a court not within the ambit of Secondly, and more importantly, we definitely cannot accept the conclusion that the grant of power to the courts mentioned
the aforequoted Section 15. therein, to entertain and issue search warrants where the place to be searched is within their territorial jurisdiction, was intended to
16
exclude other courts from exercising the same power. It will readily be noted that Circular No. 19 was basically intended to (a) Writs of certiorari, prohibition mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus and injunction issued by a regional trial court may be
provide prompt action on applications for search warrants. Its predecessor, Administrative Circular No. 13, had a number of enforced in any part of the region.
requirements, principally a raffle of the applications for search warrants, if they had been filed with the executive judge, among (b) All other processes, whether issued by a regional trial court or a metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court or municipal
the judges within his administrative area. Circular No. 19 eliminated, by amendment, that required raffle and ordered instead that circuit trial court may be served anywhere in the Philippines, and, in the last three cases, without a certification by the judge of the
such applications should immediately be "taken cognizance of and acted upon by the Executive Judges of the Regional Trial regional trial court. (Emphasis ours.)
Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, and Municipal Trial Court under whose jurisdiction the place to be searched is located," or by We feel that the foregoing provision is too clear to be further belabored or enmeshed in unwarranted polemics. The rule
their substitutes enumerated therein. enumerates the writs and processes which, even if issued by a regional trial court, are enforceable only within its judicial region.
Evidently, that particular provision of Circular No. 19 was never intended to confer exclusive jurisdiction on said executive In contrast, it unqualifiedly provides that all other writs and processes, regardless of which court issued the same, shall be
judges. In view of the fact, however, that they were themselves directed to personally act on the applications, instead of farming enforceable anywhere in the Philippines. As earlier demonstrated, a search warrant is but a judicial process, not a criminal action.
out the same among the other judges as was the previous practice, it was but necessary and practical to require them to so act only No legal provision, statutory or reglementary, expressly or impliedly provides a jurisdictional or territorial limit on its area of
on applications involving search of places located within their respective territorial jurisdictions. The phrase above quoted was, enforceability. On the contrary, the above-quoted provision of the interim Rules expressly authorizes its enforcement anywhere in
therefore, in the nature of an allocation in the assignment of applications among them, in recognition of human capabilities and the country, since it is not among the processes specified in paragraph (a) and there is no distinction or exception made regarding
limitations, and not a mandate for the exclusion of all other courts. In truth, Administrative Circular No. 13 even specifically the processes contemplated in
envisaged and anticipated the non-exclusionary nature of that provision, thus: paragraph (b).
4. If, in the implementation of the search warrant properties are seized thereunder and the corresponding case is filed in court, said 2. This is but a necessary and inevitable consequence of the nature and purpose of a search warrant. The Court cannot be blind to
case shall be distributed conformably with Circular No. 7 dated September 23, 1974, of this Court, and thereupon tried and the fact that it is extremely difficult, as it undeniably is, to detect or elicit information regarding the existence and location of
decided by the judge to whom it has been assigned, and not necessarily by the judge who issued the search warrant. (Emphasis illegally possessed or prohibited articles. The Court is accordingly convinced that it should not make the requisites for the
supplied.) apprehension of the culprits and the confiscation of such illicit items, once detected, more onerous if not impossible by imposing
It is, therefore, incorrect to say that only the court which has jurisdiction over the criminal case can issue the search warrant, as further niceties of procedure or substantive rules of jurisdiction through decisional dicta. For that matter, we are unaware of any
would be the consequence of petitioners' position that only the branch of the court with jurisdiction over the place to be searched instance wherein a search warrant was struck down on objections based on territorial jurisdiction. In the landmark case of
can issue a warrant to search the same. It may be conceded, as a matter of policy, that where a criminal case is pending, the court Stonehill, et al. vs. Diokno,et al., 24 the searches in the corporate offices in Manila and the residences in Makati of therein
wherein it was filed, or the assigned branch thereof, has primary jurisdiction to issue the search warrant; and where no such petitioners were conducted pursuant to search warrants issued by the Quezon City and Pasig branches of the Court of First
criminal case has yet been filed, that the executive judges or their lawful substitutes in the areas and for the offenses contemplated Instance of Rizal and by the Municipal Courts of Manila and Quezon City, 25 but the same were never challenged on
in Circular No. 19 shall have primary jurisdiction. jurisdictional grounds although they were subsequently nullified for being general warrants.
This should not, however, mean that a court whose territorial jurisdiction does not embrace the place to be searched cannot issue a 3. A clarion call supposedly of libertarian import is further sounded by petitioners, dubiously invoking the constitutional
search warrant therefor, where the obtention of that search warrant is necessitated and justified by compelling considerations of proscription against illegal searches and seizures. We do not believe that the enforcement of a search warrant issued by a court
urgency, subject, time and place. Conversely, neither should a search warrant duly issued by a court which has jurisdiction over a outside the territorial jurisdiction wherein the place to be searched is located would create a constitutional question. Nor are we
pending criminal case, or one issued by an executive judge or his lawful substitute under the situations provided for by Circular swayed by the professed apprehension that the law enforcement authorities may resort to what could be a permutation of forum
No. 19, be denied enforcement or nullified just because it was implemented outside the court's territorial jurisdiction. shopping, by filing an application for the warrant with a "friendly" court. It need merely be recalled that a search warrant is only a
This brings us, accordingly, to the second issue on the permissible jurisdictional range of enforcement of search warrants. process, not an action. Furthermore, the constitutional mandate is translated into specifically enumerated safeguards in Rule 126
II of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure for the issuance of a search warrant, 26 and all these have to be observed regardless of
As stated in limine, the affiliated issue raised in this case is whether a branch of a regional trial court has the authority to issue a whatever court in whichever region is importuned for or actually issues a search warrant. Said requirements, together with the ten-
warrant for the search of a place outside its territorial jurisdiction. Petitioners insistently answer the query in the negative. We hold day lifetime of the warrant 27 would discourage resort to a court in another judicial region, not only because of the distance but
otherwise. also the contingencies of travel and the danger involved, unless there are really compelling reasons for the authorities to do so.
1. We repeat what we have earlier stressed: No law or rule imposes such a limitation on search warrants, in the same manner that Besides, it does seem odd that such constitutional protests have not been made against warrants of arrest which are enforceable
no such restriction is provided for warrants of arrest. Parenthetically, in certain states within the American jurisdiction, there were indefinitely and anywhere although they involve, not only property and privacy, but persons and liberty.
limitations of the time wherein a warrant of arrest could be enforced. In our jurisdiction, no period is provided for the On the other hand, it is a matter of judicial knowledge that the authorities have to contend now and then with local and national
enforceability of warrants of arrest, and although within ten days from the delivery of the warrant of arrest for execution a return criminal syndicates of considerable power and influence, political or financial in nature, and so pervasive as to render foolhardy
thereon must be made to the issuing judge, 19 said warrant does not become functus officio but is enforceable indefinitely until any attempt to obtain a search warrant in the very locale under their sphere of control. Nor should we overlook the fact that to do
the same is enforced or recalled. On the other hand, the lifetime of a search warrant has been expressly set in our Rules at ten days so will necessitate the transportation of applicant's witnesses to and their examination in said places, with the attendant risk,
20 but there is no provision as to the extent of the territory wherein it may be enforced, provided it is implemented on and within danger and expense. Also, a further well-founded precaution, obviously born of experience and verifiable data, is articulated by
the premises specifically described therein which may or may not be within the territorial jurisdiction of the issuing court. the court a quo, as quoted by respondent court:
We make the foregoing comparative advertence to emphasize the fact that when the law or rules would provide conditions, This court is of the further belief that the possible leakage of information which is of utmost importance in the issuance of a search
qualifications or restrictions, they so state. Absent specific mention thereof, and the same not being inferable by necessary warrant is secured (against) where the issuing magistrate within the region does not hold court sessions in the city or municipality,
implication from the statutory provisions which are presumed to be complete and expressive of the intendment of the framers, a within the region, where the place to be searched is located. 28
contrary interpretation on whatever pretext should not be countenanced. The foregoing situations may also have obtained and were taken into account in the foreign judicial pronouncement that, in the
A bit of legal history on this contestation will be helpful. The jurisdictional rule heretofore was that writs and processes of the so- absence of statutory restrictions, a justice of the peace in one district of the county may issue a search warrant to be served in
called inferior courts could be enforced outside the province only with the approval of the former court of first instance. 21 Under another district of the county and made returnable before the justice of still another district or another court having jurisdiction to
the Judiciary Reorganization Act, the enforcement of such writs and processes no longer needs the approval of the regional trial deal with the matters involved. 29 In the present state of our law on the matter, we find no such statutory restrictions both with
court. 22 On the other hand, while, formerly, writs and processes of the then courts of first instance were enforceable throughout respect to the court which can issue the search warrant and the enforcement thereof anywhere in the Philippines.
the Philippines, 23 under the Interim or Transitional Rules and Guidelines, certain specified writs issued by a regional trial court III
are now enforceable only within its judicial region. In the interest of clarity and contrast, it is necessary that said provision be set Concern is expressed over possible conflicts of jurisdiction (or, more accurately, in the exercise of jurisdiction) where the criminal
out in full: case is pending in one court and the search warrant is issued by another court for the seizure of personal property intended to be
3. Writs and processes. — used as evidence in said criminal case. This arrangement is not unknown or without precedent in our jurisdiction. In fact, as
17
hereinbefore noted, this very situation was anticipated in Circular No. 13 of this Court under the limited scenario contemplated xxx
therein. (8) Administer oaths, issue subpoena and subpoena duces tecum and take testimony in any investigation or inquiry, including the
Nonetheless, to put such presentiments to rest, we lay down the following policy guidelines: power to examine and have access to bank accounts and records;
1. The court wherein the criminal case is pending shall have primary jurisdiction to issue search warrants necessitated by and for (9) Punish for contempt in accordance with the Rules of Court and under the same procedure and with the same penalties provided
purposes of said case. An application for a search warrant may be filed with another court only under extreme and compelling therein.
circumstances that the applicant must prove to the satisfaction of the latter court which may or may not give due course to the Clearly, the specific provision of R.A. 6770, a later legislation, modifies the law on the Secrecy of Bank Deposits (R.A. 1405) and
application depending on the validity of the justification offered for not filing the same in the court with primary jurisdiction places the office of the Ombudsman in the same footing as the courts of law in this regard.[2]
thereover. The basis of the Ombudsman in ordering an in camera inspection of the accounts is a trail of managers checks purchased by one
2. When the latter court issues the search warrant, a motion to quash the same may be filed in and shall be resolved by said court, George Trivinio, a respondent in OMB-0-97-0411, pending with the office of the Ombudsman.
without prejudice to any proper recourse to the appropriate higher court by the party aggrieved by the resolution of the issuing It would appear that Mr. George Trivinio, purchased fifty one (51) Managers Checks (MCs) for a total amount of P272.1 Million
court. All grounds and objections then available, existent or known shall be raised in the original or subsequent proceedings for at Traders Royal Bank, United Nations Avenue branch, on May 2 and 3, 1995. Out of the 51 MCs, eleven (11) MCs
the quashal of the warrant, otherwise they shall be deemed waived. in the amount of P70.6 million, were deposited and credited to an account maintained at the Union Bank, Julia Vargas Branch.[3]
3. Where no motion to quash the search warrant was filed in or resolved by the issuing court, the interested party may move in the On May 26, 1998, the FFIB panel met in conference with petitioner Lourdes T. Marquez and Atty. Fe B. Macalino at the banks
court where the criminal case is pending for the suppression as evidence of the personal property seized under the warrant if the main office, Ayala Avenue, Makati City. The meeting was for the purpose of allowing petitioner and Atty. Macalino to view the
same is offered therein for said purpose. Since two separate courts with different participations are involved in this situation, a checks furnished by Traders Royal Bank. After convincing themselves of the veracity of the checks, Atty. Macalino advised Ms.
motion to quash a search warrant and a motion to suppress evidence are alternative and not cumulative remedies. In order to Marquez to comply with the order of the Ombudsman. Petitioner agreed to an in camera inspection set on June 3, 1998.[4]
prevent forum shopping, a motion to quash shall consequently be governed by the omnibus motion rule, provided, however, that However, on June 4, 1998, petitioner wrote the Ombudsman explaining to him that the accounts in question cannot readily be
objections not available, existent or known during the proceedings for the quashal of the warrant may be raised in the hearing of identified and asked for time to respond to the order. The reason forwarded by petitioner was that despite diligent efforts and from
the motion to suppress. The resolution of the court on the motion to suppress shall likewise be subject to any proper remedy in the the account numbers presented, we can not identify these accounts since the checks are issued in cash or bearer. We surmised that
appropriate higher court. these accounts have long been dormant, hence are not covered by the new account number generated by the Union Bank system.
4. Where the court which issued the search warrant denies the motion to quash the same and is not otherwise prevented from We therefore have to verify from the Interbank records archives for the whereabouts of these accounts.[5]
further proceeding thereon, all personal property seized under the warrant shall forthwith be transmitted by it to the court wherein The Ombudsman, responding to the request of the petitioner for time to comply with the order, stated: firstly, it must be
the criminal case is pending, with the necessary safeguards and documentation therefor. emphasized that Union Bank, Julia Vargas Branch was the depositary bank of the subject Traders Royal Bank Managers Checks
5. These guidelines shall likewise be observed where the same criminal offense is charged in different informations or complaints (MCs), as shown at its dorsal portion and as cleared by the Philippine Clearing House, not the International Corporate Bank.
and filed in two or more courts with concurrent original jurisdiction over the criminal action. Where the issue of which court will Notwithstanding the fact that the checks were payable to cash or bearer, nonetheless, the name of the depositor(s) could easily be
try the case shall have been resolved, such court shall be considered as vested with primary jurisdiction to act on applications for identified since the account numbers x x x where said checks were deposited are identified in the order.
search warrants incident to the criminal case. Even assuming that the accounts xxx were already classified as dormant accounts, the bank is still required to preserve the records
WHEREFORE, on the foregoing premises, the instant petition is DENIED and the assailed judgment of respondent Court of pertaining to the accounts within a certain period of time as required by existing banking rules and regulations.
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 23533 is hereby AFFIRMED. And finally, the in camera inspection was already extended twice from May 13, 1998 to June 3, 1998, thereby giving the bank
SO ORDERED. enough time within which to sufficiently comply with the order.[6]
OURDES T. MARQUEZ, in her capacity as Branch Manager, Union Bank of the Philippines, petitioners, vs. HON. ANIANO A. Thus, on June 16, 1998, the Ombudsman issued an order directing petitioner to produce the bank documents relative to the
DESIERTO, (in his capacity as OMBUDSMAN, Evaluation and Preliminary Investigation Bureau, Office of the Ombudsman, accounts in issue. The order states:
ANGEL C. MAYOR-ALGO, JR., MARY ANN CORPUZ-MANALAC and JOSE T. DE JESUS, JR., in their capacities as Viewed from the foregoing, your persistent refusal to comply with Ombudsmans order is unjustified, and is merely intended to
Chairman and Members of the Panel, respectively, respondents. delay the investigation of the case. Your act constitutes disobedience of or resistance to a lawful order issued by this office and is
DECISION punishable as Indirect Contempt under Section 3(b) of R.A. 6770. The same may also constitute obstruction in the lawful exercise
PARDO, J.: of the functions of the Ombudsman which is punishable under Section 36 of R.A. 6770.[7]
In the petition at bar, petitioner seeks to-- On July 10, 1998, petitioner together with Union Bank of the Philippines, filed a petition for declaratory relief, prohibition and
a. Annul and set aside, for having been issued without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to injunction[8] with the Regional Trial Court, Makati City, against the Ombudsman.
lack of jurisdiction, respondents order dated September 7, 1998 in OMB-0-97-0411, In Re: Motion to Cite Lourdes T. Marquez for The petition was intended to clear the rights and duties of petitioner. Thus, petitioner sought a declaration of her rights from the
indirect contempt, received by counsel of September 9, 1998, and their order dated October 14, 1998, denying Marquezs motion court due to the clear conflict between R. A. No. 6770, Section 15 and R. A. No. 1405, Sections 2 and 3.
for reconsideration dated September 10, 1998, received by counsel on October 20, 1998. Petitioner prayed for a temporary restraining order (TRO) because the Ombudsman and other persons acting under his authority
b. Prohibit respondents from implementing their order dated October 14, 1998, in proceeding with the hearing of the motion to were continuously harassing her to produce the bank documents relative to the accounts in question. Moreover, on June 16, 1998,
cite Marquez for indirect contempt, through the issuance by this Court of a temporary restraining order and/or preliminary the Ombudsman issued another order stating that unless petitioner appeared before the FFIB with the documents requested,
injunction.[1] petitioner manager would be charged with indirect contempt and obstruction of justice.
The antecedent facts are as follows: In the meantime,[9] on July 14, 1998, the lower court denied petitioners prayer for a temporary restraining order and stated thus:
Sometime in May 1998, petitioner Marquez received an Order from the Ombudsman Aniano A. Desierto dated April 29, 1998, to After hearing the arguments of the parties, the court finds the application for a Temporary Restraining Order to be without merit.
produce several bank documents for purposes of inspection in camera relative to various accounts maintained at Union Bank of Since the application prays for the restraint of the respondent, in the exercise of his contempt powers under Section 15 (9) in
the Philippines, Julia Vargas Branch, where petitioner is the branch manager. The accounts to be inspected are Account Nos. 011- relation to paragraph (8) of R.A. 6770, known as The Ombudsman Act of 1989, there is no great or irreparable injury from which
37270, 240-020718, 245-30317-3 and 245-30318-1, involved in a case pending with the Ombudsman entitled, Fact-Finding and petitioners may suffer, if respondent is not so restrained. Respondent should he decide to exercise his contempt powers would still
Intelligence Bureau (FFIB) v. Amado Lagdameo, et. al. The order further states: have to apply with the court. x x x Anyone who, without lawful excuse x x x refuses to produce documents for inspection, when
It is worth mentioning that the power of the Ombudsman to investigate and to require the production and inspection of records and thereunto lawfully required shall be subject to discipline as in case of contempt of Court and upon application of the individual or
documents is sanctioned by the 1987 Philippine Constitution, Republic Act No. 6770, otherwise known as the Ombudsman Act of body exercising the power in question shall be dealt with by the Judge of the First Instance (now RTC) having jurisdiction of the
1989 and under existing jurisprudence on the matter. It must be noted that R. A. 6770 especially Section 15 thereof provides, case in a manner provided by law (section 580 of the Revised Administrative Code). Under the present Constitution only judges
among others, the following powers, functions and duties of the Ombudsman, to wit: may issue warrants, hence, respondent should apply with the Court for the issuance of the warrant needed for the enforcement of
18
his contempt orders. It is in these proceedings where petitioners may question the propriety of respondents exercise of his amended, declares bank deposits to be absolutely confidential except:
contempt powers. Petitioners are not therefore left without any adequate remedy. (1) In an examination made in the course of a special or general examination of a bank that is specifically authorized by the
The questioned orders were issued with the investigation of the case of Fact-Finding and Intelligence Bureau vs. Amado Monetary Board after being satisfied that there is reasonable ground to believe that a bank fraud or serious irregularity has been or
Lagdameo, et. el., OMB-0-97-0411, for violation of R.A. 3019. Since petitioner failed to show prima facie evidence that the is being committed and that it is necessary to look into the deposit to establish such fraud or irregularity,
subject matter of the investigation is outside the jurisdiction of the Office of the Ombudsman, no writ of injunction may be issued (2) In an examination made by an independent auditor hired by the bank to conduct its regular audit provided that the examination
by this Court to delay this investigation pursuant to Section 14 of the Ombudsman Act of 1989.[10] is for audit purposes only and the results thereof shall be for the exclusive use of the bank,
On July 20, 1998, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration based on the following grounds: (3) Upon written permission of the depositor,
a. Petitioners application for Temporary Restraining Order is not only to restrain the Ombudsman from exercising his contempt (4) In cases of impeachment,
powers, but to stop him from implementing his Orders dated April 29,1998 and June 16,1998; and (5) Upon order of a competent court in cases of bribery or dereliction of duty of public officials, or
b. The subject matter of the investigation being conducted by the Ombudsman at petitioners premises is outside his jurisdiction. (6) In cases where the money deposited or invested is the subject matter of the litigation[27]
[11] In the case at bar, there is yet no pending litigation before any court of competent authority. What is existing is an investigation by
On July 23, 1998, the Ombudsman filed a motion to dismiss the petition for declaratory relief [12] on the ground that the Regional the office of the Ombudsman. In short, what the Office of the Ombudsman would wish to do is to fish for additional evidence to
Trial Court has no jurisdiction to hear a petition for relief from the findings and orders of the Ombudsman, citing R. A. No. 6770, formally charge Amado Lagdameo, et. al., with the Sandiganbayan. Clearly, there was no pending case in court which would
Sections 14 and 27. On August 7, 1998, the Ombudsman filed an opposition to petitioners motion for reconsideration dated July warrant the opening of the bank account for inspection.
20, 1998.[13] Zones of privacy are recognized and protected in our laws. The Civil Code provides that "[e]very person shall respect the dignity,
On August 19, 1998, the lower court denied petitioners motion for reconsideration,[14] and also the Ombudsmans motion to personality, privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons" and punishes as actionable torts several acts for
dismiss.[15] meddling and prying into the privacy of another. It also holds a public officer or employee or any private individual liable for
On August 21, 1998, petitioner received a copy of the motion to cite her for contempt, filed with the Office of the Ombudsman by damages for any violation of the rights and liberties of another person, and recognizes the privacy of letters and other private
Agapito B. Rosales, Director, Fact Finding and Intelligence Bureau (FFIB).[16] communications. The Revised Penal Code makes a crime of the violation of secrets by an officer, the revelation of trade and
On August 31, 1998, petitioner filed with the Ombudsman an opposition to the motion to cite her in contempt on the ground that industrial secrets, and trespass to dwelling. Invasion of privacy is an offense in special laws like the Anti-Wiretapping Law, the
the filing thereof was premature due to the petition pending in the lower court. [17]Petitioner likewise reiterated that she had no Secrecy of Bank Deposits Act, and the Intellectual Property Code.[28]
intention to disobey the orders of the Ombudsman. However, she wanted to be clarified as to how she would comply with the IN VIEW WHEREOF, we GRANT the petition. We order the Ombudsman to cease and desist from requiring Union Bank
orders without her breaking any law, particularly R. A. No. 1405.[18] Manager Lourdes T. Marquez, or anyone in her place to comply with the order dated October 14, 1998, and similar orders. No
Respondent Ombudsman panel set the incident for hearing on September 7, 1998.[19] After hearing, the panel issued an order costs.
dated September 7, 1998, ordering petitioner and counsel to appear for a continuation of the hearing of the contempt charges SO ORDERED.
against her.[20] RUBEN DEL CASTILLO @ BOY CASTILLO, G.R. No. 185128
On September 10, 1998, petitioner filed with the Ombudsman a motion for reconsideration of the above order.[21] Her motion Petitioner, [Formerly UDK No. 13980]
was premised on the fact that there was a pending case with the Regional Trial Court, Makati City, [22] which would determine
whether obeying the orders of the Ombudsman to produce bank documents would not violate any law. Present:
The FFIB opposed the motion,[23] and on October 14, 1998, the Ombudsman denied the motion by order the dispositive portion
of which reads: - versus - VELASCO, JR., J., Chairperson,
Wherefore, respondent Lourdes T. Marquezs motion for reconsideration is hereby DENIED, for lack of merit. Let the hearing of PERALTA,
the motion of the Fact Finding Intelligence Bureau (FFIB) to cite her for indirect contempt be intransferrably set to 29 October MENDOZA,
1998 at 2:00 oclock p.m. at which date and time she should appear personally to submit her additional evidence. Failure to do so REYES,* and
shall be deemed a waiver thereof.[24] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PERLAS-BERNABE, JJ.
Hence, the present petition.[25] Respondent.
The issue is whether petitioner may be cited for indirect contempt for her failure to produce the documents requested by the Promulgated:
Ombudsman. And whether the order of the Ombudsman to have an in camera inspection of the questioned account is allowed as January 30, 2012
an exception to the law on secrecy of bank deposits (R. A. No. 1405). x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
An examination of the secrecy of bank deposits law (R. A. No. 1405) would reveal the following exceptions:
1. Where the depositor consents in writing;
2. Impeachment case; DECISION
3. By court order in bribery or dereliction of duty cases against public officials;
4. Deposit is subject of litigation;
5. Sec. 8, R. A. No. 3019, in cases of unexplained wealth as held in the case of PNB vs. Gancayco[26] PERALTA, J.:
The order of the Ombudsman to produce for in camera inspection the subject accounts with the Union Bank of the Philippines,
Julia Vargas Branch, is based on a pending investigation at the Office of the Ombudsman against Amado Lagdameo, et. al. for For this Court's consideration is the Petition for Review[1] on Certiorari under Rule 45 of Ruben del Castillo assailing the
violation of R. A. No. 3019, Sec. 3 (e) and (g) relative to the Joint Venture Agreement between the Public Estates Authority and Decision[2] dated July 31, 2006 and Resolution[3]dated December 13, 2007 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No.
AMARI. 27819, which affirmed the Decision[4] dated March 14, 2003 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 12, Cebu, in Criminal
We rule that before an in camera inspection may be allowed, there must be a pending case before a court of competent jurisdiction. Case No. CBU-46291, finding petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section 16, Article III of Republic Act
Further, the account must be clearly identified, the inspection limited to the subject matter of the pending case before the court of (R.A.) 6425.
competent jurisdiction. The bank personnel and the account holder must be notified to be present during the inspection, and such The facts, as culled from the records, are the following:
inspection may cover only the account identified in the pending case.
In Union Bank of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals, we held that Section 2 of the Law on Secrecy of Bank Deposits, as Pursuant to a confidential information that petitioner was engaged in selling shabu, police officers headed by SPO3 Bienvenido
19
Masnayon, after conducting surveillance and test-buy operation at the house of petitioner, secured a search warrant from the RTC
and around 3 o'clock in the afternoon of September 13, 1997, the same police operatives went to Gil Tudtud St., Mabolo, Cebu The four (4) small plastic packets of white crystalline substance having a total weight of 0.31 gram, positive for the presence of
City to serve the search warrant to petitioner. methamphetamine hydrochloride, are ordered confiscated and shall be destroyed in accordance with the law.

Upon arrival, somebody shouted raid, which prompted them to immediately disembark from the jeep they were riding and went SO ORDERED.[8]
directly to petitioner's house and cordoned it. The structure of the petitioner's residence is a two-storey house and the petitioner
was staying in the second floor. When they went upstairs, they met petitioner's wife and informed her that they will implement the
search warrant. But before they can search the area, SPO3 Masnayon claimed that he saw petitioner run towards a small structure, Aggrieved, petitioner appealed his case with the CA, but the latter affirmed the decision of the RTC, thus:
a nipa hut, in front of his house. Masnayon chased him but to no avail, because he and his men were not familiar with the
entrances and exits of the place. WHEREFORE, the challenged Decision is AFFIRMED in toto and the appeal is DISMISSED, with costs against accused-
appellant.
They all went back to the residence of the petitioner and closely guarded the place where the subject ran for cover. SPO3
Masnayon requested his men to get a barangay tanodand a few minutes thereafter, his men returned with two barangay tanods. SO ORDERED.[9]

In the presence of the barangay tanod, Nelson Gonzalado, and the elder sister of petitioner named Dolly del Castillo, searched the
house of petitioner including the nipa hut where the petitioner allegedly ran for cover. His men who searched the residence of the After the motion for reconsideration of petitioner was denied by the CA, petitioner filed with this Court the present petition for
petitioner found nothing, but one of the barangay tanods was able to confiscate from the nipa hut several articles, including four certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court with the following arguments raised:
(4) plastic packs containing white crystalline substance. Consequently, the articles that were confiscated were sent to the PNP
Crime Laboratory for examination. The contents of the four (4) heat- sealed transparent plastic packs were subjected to laboratory 1. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ITS APPLICATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION,
examination, the result of which proved positive for the presence of methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu. THE RULES OF COURT AND ESTABLISHED JURISPRUDENCE VIS-A-VIS VALIDITY OF SEARCH WARRANT NO.
570-9-1197-24;
Thus, an Information was filed before the RTC against petitioner, charging him with violation of Section 16, Article III of R.A.
6425, as amended. The Information[5] reads: 2. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE FOUR (4) PACKS OF WHITE CRYSTALLINE
POWDER ALLEGEDLY FOUND ON THE FLOOR OF THE NIPA HUT OR STRUCTURE ARE ADMISSIBLE IN
That on or about the 13th day of September 1997, at about 3:00 p.m. in the City of Cebu, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of EVIDENCE AGAINST THE PETITIONER, NOT ONLY BECAUSE THE SAID COURT SIMPLY PRESUMED THAT IT WAS
this Honorable Court, the said accused, with deliberate intent, did then and there have in his possession and control four (4) packs USED BY THE PETITIONER OR THAT THE PETITIONER RAN TO IT FOR COVER WHEN THE SEARCHING TEAM
of white crystalline powder, having a total weight of 0.31 gram, locally known as shabu, all containing methamphetamine ARRIVED AT HIS RESIDENCE, BUT ALSO, PRESUMING THAT THE SAID NIPA HUT OR STRUCTURE WAS INDEED
hydrochloride, a regulated drug, without license or prescription from any competent authority. USED BY THE PETITIONER AND THE FOUR (4) PACKS OF WHITE CRYSTALLINE POWDER WERE FOUND
THEREAT. THE SUBJECT FOUR (4) PACKS OF WHITE CRYSTALLINE POWDER ARE FRUITS OF THE POISONOUS
CONTRARY TO LAW.[6] TREE; and

3. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ITS APPLICATION OF THE ELEMENT OF POSSESSION AS AGAINST
During arraignment, petitioner, with the assistance of his counsel, pleaded not guilty.[7] Subsequently, trial on the merits ensued. THE PETITIONER, AS IT WAS IN VIOLATION OF THE ESTABLISHED JURISPRUDENCE ON THE MATTER. HAD THE
SAID COURT PROPERLY APPLIED THE ELEMENT IN QUESTION, IT COULD HAVE BEEN ASSAYED THAT THE
To prove the earlier mentioned incident, the prosecution presented the testimonies of SPO3 Bienvenido Masnayon, PO2 Milo SAME HAD NOT BEEN PROVEN.[10]
Arriola, and Forensic Analyst, Police Inspector Mutchit Salinas.

The defense, on the other hand, presented the testimonies of petitioner, Jesusa del Castillo, Dalisay del Castillo and Herbert Aclan, The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), in its Comment dated February 10, 2009, enumerated the following counter-
which can be summarized as follows: arguments:

On September 13, 1997, around 3 o'clock in the afternoon, petitioner was installing the electrical wirings and airconditioning units I
of the Four Seasons Canteen and Beauty Parlor at Wacky Bldg., Cabancalan, Cebu. He was able to finish his job around 6 o'clock SEARCH WARRANT No. 570-9-11-97-24 issued by Executive Judge Priscilla S. Agana of Branch 24, Regional Trial Court of
in the evening, but he was engaged by the owner of the establishment in a conversation. He was able to go home around 8:30-9 Cebu City is valid.
o'clock in the evening. It was then that he learned from his wife that police operatives searched his house and found nothing.
According to him, the small structure, 20 meters away from his house where they found the confiscated items, was owned by his II
older brother and was used as a storage place by his father. The four (4) packs of shabu seized inside the shop of petitioner are admissible in evidence against him.

After trial, the RTC found petitioner guilty beyond reasonable of the charge against him in the Information. The dispositive III
portion of the Decision reads: The Court of Appeals did not err in finding him guilty of illegal possession of prohibited drugs.[11]

WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court finds the accused Ruben del Castillo alyas Boy Castillo, GUILTY of violating
Section 16, Article III, Republic Act No. 6425, as amended. There being no mitigating nor aggravating circumstances proven Petitioner insists that there was no probable cause to issue the search warrant, considering that SPO1 Reynaldo Matillano, the
before this Court, and applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, he is sentenced to suffer the penalty of Six (6) Months and One police officer who applied for it, had no personal knowledge of the alleged illegal sale of drugs during a test-buy operation
(1) Day as Minimum and Four (4) Years and Two (2) Months as Maximum of Prision Correccional. conducted prior to the application of the same search warrant. The OSG, however, maintains that the petitioner, aside from failing
20
to file the necessary motion to quash the search warrant pursuant to Section 14, Rule 127 of the Revised Rules on Criminal
Procedure, did not introduce clear and convincing evidence to show that Masnayon was conscious of the falsity of his assertion or Fiscal Centino:
representation.
Q For how long did the chase take place?
Anent the second argument, petitioner asserts that the nipa hut located about 20 meters away from his house is no longer within A Just a very few moments.
the permissible area that may be searched by the police officers due to the distance and that the search warrant did not include the
same nipa hut as one of the places to be searched. The OSG, on the other hand, argues that the constitutional guaranty against Q After that, what did you [do] when you were not able to reach him?
unreasonable searches and seizure is applicable only against government authorities and not to private individuals such as the A I watched his shop and then I requested my men to get a barangay tanod.
barangay tanod who found the folded paper containing packs of shabu inside the nipa hut.
Q Were you able to get a barangay tanod?
As to the third argument raised, petitioner claims that the CA erred in finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of illegal A Yes.
possession of prohibited drugs, because he could not be presumed to be in possession of the same just because they were found
inside the nipa hut. Nevertheless, the OSG dismissed the argument of the petitioner, stating that, when prohibited and regulated Q Can you tell us what is the name of the barangay tanod?
drugs are found in a house or other building belonging to and occupied by a particular person, the presumption arises that such A Nelson Gonzalado.
person is in possession of such drugs in violation of law, and the fact of finding the same is sufficient to convict.
Q For point of clarification, how many barangay tanod [did] your driver get?
This Court finds no merit on the first argument of petitioner. A Two.

Q What happened after that?


A We searched the house, but we found negative.
The requisites for the issuance of a search warrant are: (1) probable cause is present; (2) such probable cause must be determined
personally by the judge; (3) the judge must examine, in writing and under oath or affirmation, the complainant and the witnesses Q Who proceeded to the second floor of the house?
he or she may produce; (4) the applicant and the witnesses testify on the facts personally known to them; and (5) the warrant A SPO1 Cirilo Pogoso and Milo Areola went upstairs and found nothing.
specifically describes the place to be searched and the things to be seized.[12] According to petitioner, there was no probable
cause. Probable cause for a search warrant is defined as such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and Q What about you, where were you?
prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the A I [was] watching his shop and I was with Matillano.
place sought to be searched.[13] A finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that, more likely than not, a
crime has been committed and that it was committed by the accused. Probable cause demands more than bare suspicion; it Q What about the barangay tanod?
requires less than evidence which would justify conviction.[14] The judge, in determining probable cause, is to consider the A Together with Milo and Pogoso.
totality of the circumstances made known to him and not by a fixed and rigid formula,[15] and must employ a flexible, totality of
the circumstances standard.[16] The existence depends to a large degree upon the finding or opinion of the judge conducting the Q When the search at the second floor of the house yielded negative what did you do?
examination. This Court, therefore, is in no position to disturb the factual findings of the judge which led to the issuance of the A They went downstairs because I was suspicious of his shop because he ran from his shop, so we searched his shop.
search warrant. A magistrate's determination of probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant is paid great deference by a
reviewing court, as long as there was substantial basis for that determination.[17] Substantial basis means that the questions of the Q Who were with you when you searched the shop?
examining judge brought out such facts and circumstances as would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an A The barangay tanod Nilo Gonzalado, the elder sister of Ruben del Castillo named Dolly del Castillo.
offense has been committed, and the objects in connection with the offense sought to be seized are in the place sought to be
searched.[18] A review of the records shows that in the present case, a substantial basis exists. Q You mean to say, that when (sic) SPO1 Reynaldo Matillano, Barangay Tanod Nilo Gonzalado and the elder sister of Ruben del
Castillo were together in the shop?
With regard to the second argument of petitioner, it must be remembered that the warrant issued must particularly describe the A Yes.
place to be searched and persons or things to be seized in order for it to be valid. A designation or description that points out the
place to be searched to the exclusion of all others, and on inquiry unerringly leads the peace officers to it, satisfies the Q What happened at the shop?
constitutional requirement of definiteness.[19] In the present case, Search Warrant No. 570-9-1197-24[20] specifically designates A One of the barangay tanods was able to pick up white folded paper.
or describes the residence of the petitioner as the place to be searched. Incidentally, the items were seized by a barangay tanod in a
nipa hut, 20 meters away from the residence of the petitioner.The confiscated items, having been found in a place other than the Q What [were] the contents of that white folded paper?
one described in the search warrant, can be considered as fruits of an invalid warrantless search, the presentation of which as an A A plastic pack containing white crystalline.
evidence is a violation of petitioner's constitutional guaranty against unreasonable searches and seizure. The OSG argues that,
assuming that the items seized were found in another place not designated in the search warrant, the same items should still be Q Was that the only item?
admissible as evidence because the one who discovered them was a barangay tanod who is a private individual, the constitutional A There are others like the foil, scissor.
guaranty against unreasonable searches and seizure being applicable only against government authorities. The contention is
devoid of merit. Q Were you present when those persons found those tin foil and others inside the electric shop?
A Yes.[21]
It was testified to during trial by the police officers who effected the search warrant that they asked the assistance of the barangay
tanods, thus, in the testimony of SPO3 Masnayon:
The fact that no items were seized in the residence of petitioner and that the items that were actually seized were found in another
21
structure by a barangay tanod, was corroborated by PO2 Arriola, thus:

FISCAL: SPO1 Pogoso also testified on the same matter, thus:

Q So, upon arriving at the house of Ruben del Castillo alias Boy, can you still recall what took place? FISCAL CENTINO:
A We cordoned the area.
Q And where did you conduct the search, Mr. Witness?
Q And after you cordoned the area, did anything happen? A At his residence, the two-storey house.
A We waited for the barangay tanod.
Q Among the three policemen, who were with you in conducting the search at the residence of the accused?
Q And did the barangay tanod eventually appear? A I, Bienvenido Masnayon.
A Yes. And then we started our search in the presence of Ruben del Castillo's wife.
Q And what transpired after you searched the house of Ruben del Castillo?
Q What is the name of the wife of Ruben del Castillo? A Negative, no shabu.
A I cannot recall her name, but if I see her I can recall [her] face.
Q And what happened afterwards, if any?
Q What about Ruben del Castillo, was she around when [you] conducted the search? A We went downstairs and proceeded to the small house.
A No. Ruben was not in the house. But our team leader, team mate Bienvenido Masnayon saw that Ruben ran away from his
adjacent electronic shop near his house, in front of his house. Q Can you please describe to this Honorable Court, what was that small house which you proceeded to?
A It is a nipa hut.
Q Did you find anything during the search in the house of Ruben del Castillo?
A After our search in the house, we did not see anything. The house was clean. Q And more or less, how far or near was it from the house of Ruben del Castillo?
A 5 to 10 meters.
Q What did you do afterwards, if any?
A We left (sic) out of the house and proceeded to his electronic shop. Q And could you tell Mr. Witness, what was that nipa hut supposed to be?
A That was the electronic shop of Ruben del Castillo.
Q Do you know the reason why you proceeded to his electronic shop?
A Yes. Because our team leader Bienvenido Masnayon saw that (sic) Ruben run from that store and furthermore the door was
open. Q And what happened when your team proceeded to the nipa hut?
A I was just outside the nipa hut.
Q How far is the electronic shop from the house of Ruben del Castillo?
A More or less, 5 to 6 meters in front of his house. Q And who among the team went inside?
A PO2 Milo Areola and the Barangay Tanod.[23]
xxxx

Q So, who entered inside the electronic shop? Having been established that the assistance of the barangay tanods was sought by the police authorities who effected the searched
warrant, the same barangay tanods therefore acted as agents of persons in authority. Article 152 of the Revised Penal Code defines
A The one who first entered the electronic shop is our team leader Bienvenido Masnayon. persons in authority and agents of persons in authority as:

Q You mentioned that Masnayon entered first. Do you mean to say that there were other persons or other person that followed x x x any person directly vested with jurisdiction, whether as an individual or as a member of some court or governmental
after Masnayon? corporation, board or commission, shall be deemed a person in authority. A barangay captain and a barangay chairman shall also
A Then we followed suit. be deemed a person in authority.

Q All of your police officers and the barangay tanod followed suit? A person who, by direct provision of law or by election or by appointment by competent authority, is charged with the
A I led Otadoy and the barangay tanod. maintenance of public order and the protection and security of life and property, such as barrio councilman, barrio policeman and
barangay leader, and any person who comes to the aid of persons in authority, shall be deemed an agent of a person in authority.
Q What about you?
A I also followed suit.
The Local Government Code also contains a provision which describes the function of a barangay tanod as an agent of persons in
Q And did anything happen inside the shop of Ruben del Castillo? authority. Section 388 of the Local Government Code reads:
A It was the barangay tanod who saw the folded paper and I saw him open the folded paper which contained four shabu deck.
SEC. 388. Persons in Authority. - For purposes of the Revised Penal Code, the punong barangay, sangguniang barangay members,
Q How far were you when you saw the folded paper and the tanod open the folded paper? and members of the lupong tagapamayapa in each barangay shall be deemed as persons in authority in their jurisdictions, while
A We were side by side because the shop was very small.[22] other barangay officials and members who may be designated by law or ordinance and charged with the maintenance of public
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order, protection and security of life and property, or the maintenance of a desirable and balanced environment, and any barangay A It is a nipa hut.
member who comes to the aid of persons in authority, shall be deemed agents of persons in authority.
Q And more or less, how far or near was it from the house of Ruben del Castillo?
A 5 to 10 meters.

By virtue of the above provisions, the police officers, as well as the barangay tanods were acting as agents of a person in authority Q And could you tell Mr. Witness, what was that nipa hut supposed to be?
during the conduct of the search. Thus, the search conducted was unreasonable and the confiscated items are inadmissible in A That was the electronic shop of Ruben del Castillo.
evidence. Assuming ex gratia argumenti that the barangay tanod who found the confiscated items is considered a private
individual, thus, making the same items admissible in evidence, petitioner's third argument that the prosecution failed to establish Q And what happened when your team proceeded to the nipa hut?
constructive possession of the regulated drugs seized, would still be meritorious. A I was just outside the nipa hut.[33]

Appellate courts will generally not disturb the factual findings of the trial court since the latter has the unique opportunity to
weigh conflicting testimonies, having heard the witnesses themselves and observed their deportment and manner of testifying, [24] However, during cross-examination, SPO3 Masnayon admitted that there was an electrical shop but denied what he said in his
unless attended with arbitrariness or plain disregard of pertinent facts or circumstances, the factual findings are accorded the earlier testimony that it was owned by petitioner, thus:
highest degree of respect on appeal[25] as in the present case.
ATTY. DAYANDAYAN:
It must be put into emphasis that this present case is about the violation of Section 16 of R.A. 6425. In every prosecution for the
illegal possession of shabu, the following essential elements must be established: (a) the accused is found in possession of a Q You testified that Ruben del Castillo has an electrical shop, is that correct?
regulated drug; (b) the person is not authorized by law or by duly constituted authorities; and (c) the accused has knowledge that A He came out of an electrical shop. I did not say that he owns the shop.
the said drug is a regulated drug.[26]
Q Now, this shop is within a structure?
In People v. Tira,[27] this Court explained the concept of possession of regulated drugs, to wit: A Yes.

This crime is mala prohibita, and, as such, criminal intent is not an essential element. However, the prosecution must prove that Q How big is the structure?
the accused had the intent to possess (animus posidendi) the drugs. Possession, under the law, includes not only actual possession, A It is quite a big structure, because at the other side is a mahjong den and at the other side is a structure rented by a couple.[34]
but also constructive possession. Actual possession exists when the drug is in the immediate physical possession or control of the
accused. On the other hand, constructive possession exists when the drug is under the dominion and control of the accused or
when he has the right to exercise dominion and control over the place where it is found. Exclusive possession or control is not The prosecution must prove that the petitioner had knowledge of the existence and presence of the drugs in the place under his
necessary. The accused cannot avoid conviction if his right to exercise control and dominion over the place where the contraband control and dominion and the character of the drugs.[35] With the prosecution's failure to prove that the nipa hut was under
is located, is shared with another.[28] petitioner's control and dominion, there casts a reasonable doubt as to his guilt. In considering a criminal case, it is critical to start
with the law's own starting perspective on the status of the accused - in all criminal prosecutions, he is presumed innocent of the
charge laid unless the contrary is proven beyond reasonable doubt.[36] Proof beyond reasonable doubt, or that quantum of proof
While it is not necessary that the property to be searched or seized should be owned by the person against whom the search sufficient to produce a moral certainty that would convince and satisfy the conscience of those who act in judgment, is
warrant is issued, there must be sufficient showing that the property is under appellants control or possession. [29] The CA, in its indispensable to overcome the constitutional presumption of innocence.[37]
Decision, referred to the possession of regulated drugs by the petitioner as a constructive one. Constructive possession exists when
the drug is under the dominion and control of the accused or when he has the right to exercise dominion and control over the place WHEREFORE, the Decision dated July 31, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. R. No. 27819, which affirmed the Decision
where it is found.[30] The records are void of any evidence to show that petitioner owns the nipa hut in question nor was it dated March 14, 2003 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 12, Cebu, in Criminal Case No. CBU-46291 is hereby REVERSED and
established that he used the said structure as a shop. The RTC, as well as the CA, merely presumed that petitioner used the said SET ASIDE. Petitioner Ruben del Castillo is ACQUITTED on reasonable doubt.
structure due to the presence of electrical materials, the petitioner being an electrician by profession. The CA, in its Decision,
noted a resolution by the investigating prosecutor, thus: SO ORDERED

x x x As admitted by respondent's wife, her husband is an electrician by occupation. As such, conclusion could be arrived at that
the structure, which housed the electrical equipments is actually used by the respondent. Being the case, he has control of the
things found in said structure.[31]

In addition, the testimonies of the witnesses for the prosecution do not also provide proof as to the ownership of the structure
where the seized articles were found. During their direct testimonies, they just said, without stating their basis, that the same
structure was the shop of petitioner.[32] During the direct testimony of SPO1 Pogoso, he even outrightly concluded that the
electrical shop/nipa hut was owned by petitioner, thus:

FISCAL CENTINO:

Q Can you please describe to this Honorable Court, what was that small house which you proceeded to?
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