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HIZON vs. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS (GR No.

119619) quickly moved out of the locality or jurisdiction in which the search
December 13, 1996 | Puno, J. warrant must be sought and secured.
Admissibility of Evidence On Illegal Fishing i. These vessels are normally powered by high-speed motors
that enable them to elude arresting ships of the Navy, the
FACTS: Coast Guard, and other authorities enforcing our fishery
 On September 30, 1992, the Police received a report that a boat and several small laws.
crafts were fishing by muro ami within the shoreline of Barangay San Rafael of Puerto b. The fish and other evidence seized in the course of the search were
Princesa. properly admitted by the trial court.
o They proceeded verify the report, boarded, and inspected F/B Robinson 2. Weight of evidence
 Saw two foreigners in the captains deck with only photocopies of a. The only basis for the charge of fishing with poisonous substance is the
their passports result of the first NBI laboratory test on the four fish specimens.
 Discovered a large aquarium full of live lapu-lapu and assorted b. The testimony of the handlers of the seized evidence were not
fish weighing approximately one ton consistent
 The boat’s personnel were brought to Puerto Princesa for further investigation. i. (SPO1) The Certification that four (4) fish samples were taken
o After interrogation, the crew were charged with from the boat shows on its face the number of pieces as
 Illegal fishing (fishing without mayor’s permit) originally five (5) but this was erased with correction fluid
 Overloading (Authorized--26; On board--36)) and four (4) written over it.
 Two (2) Hongkong nationals on board without original passports ii. The specimens were taken, sealed inside the plastic bag and
 4 random samples were taken and tested in the laboratory of the NBI and found that brought to Manila by the police authorities in the absence of
they contained sodium cyanide petitioners or their representative.
o After such findings, the PNP Maritime Command of Puerto Princesa City iii. The testimony on how the pieces of evidence were sealed
filed the complaint at bar against were inconsistent
 The owner and operator of the F/B Robinson 1. SPO2 Enriquez – specimen was sealed with a
 The First Fishermen Fishing Industries, Inc., represented by lighter
petitioner Richard Hizon 2. NBI Forensic Chemist, Emilia Rosaldes – received
 Other personnel specimen were only knotted on the two ends
o In their defense claimed that: iv. The time interval from the taking of the fish samples to their
 Their operations were licensed and legitimate actual examination was questionable
 They used the hook and line method c. Apparently, the members of the PNP Maritime Command and the Task
 The police boarded their vessel, intimidated them, and forcibly Force Bantay Dagat were the ones engaged in an illegal fishing
took them to the police station expedition.
 The specimen that the police were using against them were d. The allegation of muro-ami was neither proved as this method of
tampered with fishing needs approximately two hundred (200) fishermen to execute.
 The RTC convicted the petitioners with Illegal Fishing with the use of sodium cyanide, What the apprehending officers instead discovered were twenty eight
in violation of section 33 and penalized in section 38 of Presidential Decree No. 704 (28) fishermen in their discovered were twenty eight (28) fishermen in
their sampans fishing by hook and line.
ISSUES:
1. W/N the evidence gathered, despite not having search warrant, are admissible, DISPOSITION: CA decision, REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Appellant-petitioners, ACQUITTED.
YES
2. W/N the subject evidence warrants the conviction of the accused beyond
reasonable doubt, NO

RULING:
1. Admissibility of evidence
a. Search and seizure without search warrant of vessels and aircrafts for
violations of customs laws have been the traditional exception to the
constitutional requirement of a search warrant because such can be