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Case Title Case # 70, People vs Malmstedt

G.R. no. GR. No. 91108


Main Topic Searches and Seizures
Other Related Topic Taxation
Date: June 19, 1991

DOCTRINES
 "SEC. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. — A peace officer or a
private
person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;

 Probable cause has been defined as such facts and circumstances


which could lead a reasonable, discreet and prudent man to believe that
an offense has been committed, and that the objects sought in
connection with the offense are in the place sought to be
searched.

FACTS:

 June 15, 1989 – Mikael Malmstedt was charged before the RTC of Benguet for vilation of
Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972
 Malmstedt, Swedisn National, entered the Philippines in December 1998 as a tourists.
 He went to Baguio City and then went to Sagada ang stayed there for 2 days.
 May 11, 1989 his supposed to be flight out of the country back to Sweden
 On May 11, 1989 Captain Vasco (NARCOM) ordered men to set-up temporary checkpoint
along Mountain Province
 NARCOM was tipped of Caucasian from Sagada possessing drugs
 1:30pm, officers where inspecting the bus where the Swedish national was on board.
 In his possession was found Marijuana derivative hash located in his waist and 2 teddy
bear that also contains the same marijuana derivative.
 During arraignment accused entered not guilty
 Accused raised the issue of illegal search of his personal effects, drugs were planted by
NARCOM and the bags was not his but to an Australian couple
 He did not raise planting defense at earliest time, hence belied.
 RTC
 Guilty, sentence to life imprisonment
 Appeal
 Search was illegally made without search warrant. Hence inadmissible evidences
ISSUE:
Was there a violation of the Constitution amounting to inadminissible evidence?

HELD:
 The accused was searched and arrested while transporting prohibited drugs. He was
therefore caught in flagrante delicto. Hence falls under paragraph 1
Par 1: “When in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually
committing, or is attempting to commit and offense.
 Even if no search warrant, there was probable cause to believe a crime was committed
“Probable cause – such facts and circumstances which could lead a reasonable, discreet
and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed, and that the objects
sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched”
 When NARCOM received information, there was little time to furnish a search warrant.
Like in Tangliben Case suspicion even without warrant is admissible
 Circumstances therefore justified probable cause

Separate Opinios

J. Narvasa Concurring and Dissenting

 If a person is searched without a warrant or under circumstances other than those justifying
an arrest without warrant in accordance with law, merely a suspicion that he is engaged in
some felony, (ie. He was arrested and searched in order to know if he committed a crime”
- The arrest and the search is illegal (Fruit of the poisonous tree)
- The soliders had no idea that he was committing a crime. They only had suspicion that
Malmstedt has drugs with him.
- Peo vs Aminnudin: No search warrant, no urgency, arrest was illegal
- People vs Claudio: Identified himself as policemen, brought to station to search criminal,
search was valid (because examination was conducted in the station)
- People vs Tangliben: Cited Claudio case, criminal was searched in hq after being filed for
suspicion of carrying drugs.
 Whats the point?
- Officers secretly ascertained possession that lead to arrest/search
- In case at hand, the search was not made by virtue of a warrant or a lawful warrantless
arrest. Hence should have been uncsonstitutional.

J. Cruz, Dissenting

 Inclination of some judges to wink at an illegal search and seizure as long as the subject was
subsequently possessing illegal articles.
- The existence of probable cause may have influence by the subsequent discovery of
drugs.