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Uy vs. BIR G.R. No. 129651 October 20, 2000 Kapunan, J.

Facts: On September 30, 1993, Rodrigo Abos, a former employee of Unifish Packaging Corporation (UPC) reported to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) that UPC and Uy Chin Ho alias Frank Uy, manager of UPC, were engaged in activities constituting violations of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC). On October 1, 1993, the BIR requested and successfully secured, before the RTC of Cebu, a search warrant. On the same day, a second warrant was issued with contents almost identical to that of the first warrant but consisted of only one page. These warrants were issued for the alleged violation by Uy of Section 253. A third warrant, however, was issued on that same day for Uys alleged violation of Section 238 in relation to Section 263. On the strength of these warrants, agents of the BIR, accompanied by members of the PNP searched the premises of the UPC on October 2, 1993. They seized the items as listed on the said warrant. A return of said search was duly made by Labaria with the RTC of Cebu. Uy and UPC filed a motion to quash the warrants before the RTC. Said motion was denied. A petition for certiorari filed before the Court of Appeals was likewise dismissed as it is not the proper remedy. ISSUE: Whether the search warrant issued was valid. HELD: The Supreme Court ruled in the affirmative. It sustained the validity of the search warrant and comprehensively discussed each and every defect alleged by petitioners. A search warrant must conform strictly to the requirements of the constitutional and statutory provisions. One of which is that, the warrant issued must particularly describe the place to be searched and persons or things to be seized. Although it noted inconsistencies in the description of the place to be searched as indicated on said warrants, the Court ruled that the description of the place to be searched is sufficient if the officers enforcing the warrant can, with reasonable effort, ascertain and identify the place intended and distinguish it from other places in the community. It was not established that the enforcing officers had any difficulty in locating the premises of petitioner corporation, hence, inconsistency in identifying the city where the premises to be searched is not a defect that would spell the warrants invalidation in this case. The warrants were also inconsistent as to who should be searchedone warrant was directed only against Uy while the other was against Uy and UPC. The Court, however, ruled that where the warrant was issued not for search of the persons occupying the premises, but only a search of the premises occupied by them, the search could not be declared unlawful or in violation of the constitutional rights of the owner or occupants of the premises, because of the inconsistencies in stating their name. Furthermore, the Court said that where the apparent intent in issuing another warrant was to supersede an earlier warrant, the latter should be deemed revoked by the former. Also the thing to be seized was not clearly defined by the judge as she used generic terms. As a rule, the use of a generic term or a generic description in a warrant is acceptable only when a more specific description of the things to be seized is unavailable. But where, however, by the nature of the goods to be seized, their description must rather be general, it is not required that a technical description be given, as this would mean no warrant could issue. As regards the terms unregistered delivery receipts and unregistered purchase and sales invoices, the Solicitor General correctly argued that these documents need not be specified as it is not possible to do so precisely because they are unregistered. Lastly, general description of most of the documents listed in the warrants does not render the entire warrant voidthe search warrant is severable, and those items not particularly described may be cut off without destroying the whole warrant. Hence, insofar as the warrants authorize the search and seizure of unregistered delivery receipts and unregistered purchase and sales invoices, the warrants remain valid.