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FIRST DIVISION

[G. R. No. 128822. May 4, 2001]

PEOPLE
OF
THE
PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ALBERTO
PASUDAG y BOKANG @ BERTING, accused-appellant.
DECISION
PARDO, J. :

The case is an appeal from the decision[1] of the Regional Trial Court, Pangasinan, Branch
46, Urdaneta finding accused Alberto Pasudag y Bokang guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
illegal cultivation of marijuana[2] and sentencing him to reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine
of P500,000.00, without subsidiary penalty and other accessories of the law.
On December 17, 1996, 4th Assistant Provincial Prosecutor of Pangasinan Emiliano M.
Matro filed with the Regional Trial Court, Pangasinan, Urdaneta an Information[3]charging
accused Alberto Pasudag y Bokang with violation of R.A. No. 6425, Sec. 9, reading as follows:

That on or about September 26, 1995 and prior dates thereto at barangay Artacho,
municipality of Sison, province of Pangasinan and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully
and feloniously plant, cultivate, and culture seven (7) hills of marijuana in the land
tilled by him and situated beside the house of the accused, without authority or permit
to do so.
Contrary to Sec. 9 of R.A. 6425 as amended.
On February 10, 1997, the trial court arraigned the accused. He pleaded not guilty.[4] Trial
ensued.
On September 26, 1995, at around 1:30 in the afternoon, SPO2 Pepito Calip of the PNP
Sison, Pangasinan, went to Brgy. Artacho to conduct anti-jueteng operations. He urinated at a
bushy bamboo fence behind the public school. About five (5) meters away, he saw a garden of
about 70 square meters. There were marijuana plants in between corn plants and camote
tops. He inquired from a storekeeper nearby as to who owned the house with the garden. The
storeowner told him that Alberto Pasudag owned it.[5]
SPO2 Calip went to the Police Station and reported to Chief of Police Romeo C.
Astrero. The latter dispatched a team (composed of SPO2 Calip, SPO3 Fajarito, SPO3 Alcantara
and PO3 Rasca) to conduct an investigation. At around 2:30 in that same afternoon, the team
arrived at Brgy. Artacho and went straight to the house of accused Pasudag. SPO3 Fajarito

looked for accused Pasudag and asked him to bring the team to his backyard garden which was
about five (5) meters away.[6]
Upon seeing the marijuana plants, the policemen called for a photographer, who took
pictures of accused Pasudag standing beside one of the marijuana plants.[7] They uprooted seven
(7) marijuana plants. The team brought accused Pasudag and the marijuana plants to the police
station.[8]
At the police station, accused Pasudag admitted, in the presence of Chief of Police Astrero,
that he owned the marijuana plants.[9] SPO3 Fajarito prepared a confiscation report[10] which
accused Pasudag signed.[11] He kept the six marijuana plants inside the cabinet in the office of the
Chief of Police and brought the tallest plant[12] to the PNP Crime Laboratory for examination.[13]
Major Theresa Ann Bugayong Cid, a forensic chemist at the PNP Crime Laboratory,
received the specimen[14] (brown envelope con-containing leaves taken from Exh. B).14on October 11,
1995. She testified that she took some leaves from the marijuana plant because the leaves had
the most concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol. As per her Chemistry Report No. D-08795,[15] the examination was positive for marijuana (tetrahydrocannabinol).[16]
On March 18, 1997, the trial court rendered a decision finding the accused guilty as charged
and, taking into consideration his educational attainment (he reached only grade IV), imposed
the minimum of the imposable penalty, thus:

WHEREFORE, JUDGMENT is rendered CONVICTING ALBERTO PASUDAG of


the crime charged in the information and he is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty
of Reclusion Perpetua and to pay a fine of P500,000.00 without subsidiary penalty
and other accessories of the law.
The 7 fully grown marijuana plants are confiscated in favor of the government.
The Warden of Urdaneta, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, is hereby
ordered to commit the body of Alberto Pasudag to the National Bilibid Prison
immediately upon receipt hereof.
SO ORDERED.
Done this 17th day of March, 1997, at Urdaneta, Pangasinan.

(Sgd.) MODESTO C. JUANSON


J u d g e[17]
Hence, this appeal.[18]
In his brief, accused-appellant contended that the trial court erred in finding that the
marijuana plant submitted for laboratory examination was one of the seven (7) marijuana plants
confiscated from his garden; that the trial court erred in concluding that the confiscation report

was not an extrajudicial admission which required the intervention of his


counsel; and in convicting him on the basis of inference that he planted, cultivated and cultured
the seven (7) plants, owned the same or that he permitted others to cultivate the same.[19]
The Solicitor General contended that accused-appellant admitted before the lower court that
the specimen[20] was one of the plants confiscated in his backyard; that appellant was not under
custodial investigation when he signed the confiscation report; and that the inferences deduced
by the lower court strengthened the conviction of accused-appellant.[21]
We find the appeal meritorious.
As a general rule, the procurement of a search warrant is required before a law enforcer may
validly search or seize the person, house, papers or effects of any individual.[22] The Constitution
provides that the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects
against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be
inviolable, x x x.[23] Any evidence obtained in violation of this provision is inadmissible.[24]
In the case at bar, the police authorities had ample opportunity to secure from the court a
search warrant. SPO2 Pepito Calip inquired as to who owned the house. [25] He was acquainted
with marijuana plants and immediately recognized that some plants in the backyard of the house
were marijuana plants.[26] Time was not of the essence to uproot and confiscate the plants. They
were three months old[27] and there was no sufficient reason to believe that they would be
uprooted on that same day.
In People vs. Valdez,[28] the Court ruled that search and seizure conducted without the
requisite judicial warrant is illegal and void ab initio. The prosecutions evidence clearly
established that the police conducted a search of accuseds backyard garden without a warrant;
they had sufficient time to obtain a search warrant; they failed to secure one. There was no
showing of urgency or necessity for the warrantless search, or the immediate seizure of the
marijuana plants.
Lawmen cannot be allowed to violate the very law they are expected to enforce.[29] The
Court is not unmindful of the difficulties of law enforcement agencies in suppressing the illegal
traffic of dangerous drugs. However, quick solutions of crimes and apprehension of malefactors
do not justify a callous disregard of the Bill of Rights.[30] We need not underscore that the
protection against illegal search and seizure is constitutionally mandated and only under specific
instances are searches allowed without warrants.[31] The mantle of protection extended by the
Bill of Rights covers both innocent and guilty alike against any form of high-handedness of law
enforcers, regardless of the praiseworthiness of their intentions.[32]
With the illegal seizure of the marijuana plants subject of this case, the seized plants are
inadmissible in evidence against accused-appellant.[33]
The arrest of accused-appellant was tainted with constitutional infirmity. The testimony of
SPO3 Jovencio Fajarito[34] reveals that appellant was not duly informed of his constitutional
rights, thus:
ATTY. ESTRADA:
Q:

In fact, you went to the house of Alberto Pasudag?

A:

Yes sir.

Q:

And in fact you invited him to the place where marijuana plants were planted?

A:

Yes sir.

Q: Then and there, you started asking question from him?


A:

Yes sir.

Q:

In fact you started asking questions to elucidate from him information of admission regarding the
ownership of the plants in question?

A:

I only asked who really planted and cultivated the plants sir.

Q:

Before you propounded questions to Alberto Pasudag, as according to you, you were already
informed that he was the cultivator by some persons whose name until now you do not know?

A:

Yes sir.

Q:

Did you not inform Alberto Pasudag his constitutional rights?

A:

I did not inform him because only when I will took (sic) his statement in the presence of his
counsel and to be reduced in writing, sir.

Q:

What you want to impress, you will inform only a person of his constitutional rights if you take
his statement in writing?

A:

Yes sir.

Q:

Is that your method?

A:

I informed the accused if I have to place his statement into writing, sir.

Q:

According to you, you invited Alberto Pasudag to the alleged place where the marijuana
were planted, then and there, you asked him who planted the same, and according to you, he said
he planted the same?

A:

Yes sir.

xxx

xxx

xxx

Q:

According to you, you brought Alberto Pasudag to the Office of the Chief of Police of Sison,
Pangasinan?

A:

Yes sir.

Q:

In fact the Chief of Police was there?

A:

Yes sir.

Q:

Romeo Astrero was the Senior Inspector?

A:

Yes sir.

Q:

In other words, SPO2 Calip, Alcantara, Romeo Rasca and Alberto Pasudag were inside the office
of the Chief of Police?

A:

Yes sir.

Q:

And according to you, Alberto Pasudag was interrogated by the Chief of Police?

A: Yes sir.

Q:

In fact the Chief of Police was asking Alberto Pasudag in your presence? who planted the
marijuana plants and according to you, Alberto Pasudag admitted in your presence that he planted
the alleged marijuana plants?

A:

Yes sir.

Q:

Before Chief Inspector Romeo Astrero interrogated Alberto Pasudag, he did not also inform
Alberto Pasudag his constitutional rights, particularly the rights of a person under custodial
interrogation?

A:

What I know, he just asked Alberto Pasudag the veracity whether or not he planted the said
plants.

Q:

In other words, your answer is, your Chief of Police did not inform Alberto Pasudag his
constitutional rights?

A:

No sir. (emphasis supplied)

After the interrogation, SPO3 Fajarito prepared a confiscation report,[35] which was part of
the investigation.[36] Accused-appellant signed the confiscation report.[37] In both the interrogation
and the signing of the confiscation receipt, no counsel assisted accused-appellant. He was the
only civilian present in the Office of the Chief of Police.[38]
We do not agree with the Solicitor General that accused-appellant was not under custodial
investigation when he signed the confiscation receipt. It has been held repeatedly that custodial
investigation commences when a person is taken into custody and is singled out as a suspect in
the commission of a crime under investigation and the police officers begin to ask questions on
the suspect's participation therein and which tend to elicit an admission.[39] Obviously, accusedappellant was a suspect from the moment the police team went to his house and ordered the
uprooting of the marijuana plants in his backyard garden.
The implied acquiescence to the search, if there was any, could not have been more that
mere passive conformity given under intimidating or coercive circumstances and is thus
considered no consent at all within the purview of the constitutional guarantee.[40] Even if the
confession or admission were gospel truth, if it was made without assistance of counsel and
without a valid waiver of such assistance, the confession is inadmissible in evidence.[41]
In light of the foregoing, we uphold the constitutional right of accused-appellant to a
presumption of innocence. The prosecution failed to establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the trial court is hereby REVERSED and SET
ASIDE. Accused-appellant ALBERTO PASUDAG y BOKANG is ACQUITTED of the
crime charged for lack of proof beyond reasonable doubt. The Director of Corrections is
hereby directed to forthwith release accused-appellant unless he is held for another case, and to
inform the Court of the action taken hereon within ten (10) days from notice.
Costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J. (Chairman), Puno, Kapunan, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.

[1]

Judge Modesto C. Juanson, presiding. Crim. Case No. U-9139, promulgated on March 18, 1997, Original Record,
pp. 58-71.
[2]

Violation of R.A. No. 6425, Sec. 9, as amended, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act.

[3]

Original Record, p. 13.3

[4]

Ibid., p. 30.

[5]

TSN, February 20, 1997, pp. 2-4.

[6]

Ibid., pp. 5-6.

[7]

Exhs. D, D-1 and D-2.

[8]

TSN, February 20, 1997, pp. 6-9.

[9]

Ibid., p. 11.

charging

[10]

Exh. I.

[11]

TSN, February 27, 1997, p. 9.

[12]

Exh. B. The six other marijuana plants were marked as Exhs. H-4 to H-9.12

[13]

TSN, February 17, 1997, p. 13.

[14]

Exh. B (the tallest marijuana plant, as per TSN, February 17, 1997, p. 19 and TSN, February 25, 1997, p. 3)
and Exh. B-2
[15]

Exh. C.

[16]

TSN, February 13, 1997, pp. 5-7.

[17]

Decision, p. 14 (Original Record, p. 71).

[18]

Notice of Appeal, Original Record, p. 74, Rollo, p. 39.

[19]

Appellants Brief, Rollo, pp. 73-83.

[20]

Exh. B.

[21]

Appellees Brief, Rollo, pp. 109-115.

[22]

People v. Sevilla, G.R. No. 124077, September 5, 2000.

[23]

Article III, Sec. 2, Constitution.

[24]

Article III, Sec. 3, Constitution.

[25]

TSN, February 20, 1997, p. 4.

[26]

Ibid., p. 11.

[27]

TSN, February 17, 1997, pp. 25-26.

[28]

G.R. No. 129296, September 25, 2000.

[29]

People v. Encinada, 345 Phil. 301, 321 [1997].

[30]

Ibid., at p. 323.

[31]

People v. Valdez, supra, Note 28.

[32]

Ibid.

[33]

Ibid.

[34]

TSN, February 17, 1997, pp. 26-29.

[35]

Exh. I.

[36]

TSN, February 17, 1997, p. 30.

[37]

TSN, February 27, 1997, p. 9.

[38]

TSN, February 17, 1997, p. 28.

[39]

People v. Pavillare, G.R. No. 129970, April 5, 2000, citing People v. Mara, 236 SCRA 565, 573 [1994].

[40]

People v. Encinada, supra, Note 29, at p. 322.

[41]

People v. Valdez, supra, Note 28.

FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. No. 112177. January 28, 2000]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. TITO ZUELA y


MORANDARTE, MAXIMO VELARDE y DE LOS REYES, and NELSON
GARCIA y TEMPORAS, accused-appellants.
DECISION
PARDO, J.:
The case is an appeal of accused Maximo Velarde y de los Reyes, Nelson Garcia y Temporas
and Tito Zuela y Morandarte from the decision[1] of the Regional Trial Court, Camarines Sur,
Libmanan, Branch 24, finding them guilty beyond reasonable doubt of robbery with homicide
and sentencing each of them to reclusion perpetua, and to pay jointly and severally the amount
of one hundred thousand (P100,000.00) pesos to the heirs of Maria Abendao and John
Abendao, and fifty thousand (P50,000.00) pesos to the heirs of Hegino Hernandez, without
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs.[2]
On July 29, 1985, Assistant Provincial Fiscal Julian C. Ocampo III filed with the Regional Trial
Court, Libmanan, Camarines Sur an information charging accused Maximo Velarde y de los
Reyes, Nelson Garcia y Temporas and Tito Zuela y Morandarte with "robbery with triple
homicide" committed as follows:
"That in the evening of April 27, 1985 in Camagong, Cabusao, Camarines Sur,
Philippines, the above-named accused, conspiring and confederating together and
mutually aiding each other, with intent to gain, did then and there, willfully,
unlawfully, and feloniously, with violence and intimidation gainst [sic] persons,
that is by shooting and stabbing one Hegino Hernandez, Sr., Maria S. Abendao
and John-John Abendao, thereby inflicting upon them mortal injuries that caused
their instantaneous death, take, rob and carry away the following personal
properties belonging to the said Maria Abendao, to wit:
(1) Cash money. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .P21,000.00
(2) one gold ring. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .P 750.00
(3) one Seiko wrist watch. . . . . . . . . . . . . P 1,250.00
.--------------................................... P23,000.00
"That as a consequence of the felonious act of the accused, the heirs of the
deceased suffered damages in the amount of P25,000.00 each, representing
indemnity for death, loss of earning capacity and moral damages.

"CONTRARY TO LAW."[3]
On June 1, 1985, Maximo Velarde was arrested at Magallanes, Sorsogon, while accused Nelson
Garcia and Tito Zuela were arrested at Cabusao, Camarines Sur on June 4, 1985 and June 9,
1985, respectively.
On March 26, 1987, all three accused, were arraigned with the assistance of their counsel, and
pleaded not guilty to the charge. Trial ensued.
The evidence established the following facts:
Maria Abendao was engaged in business. She had a store, operated a passenger jeepney and
engaged in the buy and sale of palay. Her house cum store was beside that of her sister
Romualda Algarins house, by the roadside in Barcelonita, Cabusao, Camarines Sur. Romualda
also had a store.
Accused Nelson Garcia was Marias store helper. Accused Tito Zuela alias "Anting" helped
Romualda in her store during palay season. The other accused Maximo Velarde was known to
Romualda because she met him at a birthday party held at Marias house on April 19, 1985. The
three accused were friends.
On April 27, 1985, Maria made three (3) deliveries of palay on board her jeepney, driven by
Hegino Hernandez, Jr., to the ricemill of Gerardo Benitez in San Juan, Libmanan, Camarines
Sur. Every delivery costs seven thousand (P7,000.00) pesos. The three deliveries were made at
9:00 in the morning, 2:00 in the afternoon and 7:30 in the evening.[4]
Between 6:30 and 7:00 in the evening of that day, from a distance of five (5) arms length,
Romualda saw the three (3) accused board the jeepney of Maria, bound for San Juan, Libmanan,
Camarines Sur. Because the jeepney was filled with palay, they merely held on the railing of the
jeepney.[5] There were other passengers namely, Pablo Abendao and Roberto Echiaca.[6]
Gerardo Atienza, the buyer of palay, saw Maximo inside the jeepney during the second and third
delivery of palay to his ricemill.[7] For each delivery, Gerardo paid Maria the amount of seven
thousand (P7,000.00) pesos.
The following morning, the bodies of Hegino Hernandez, Maria and John-John Abendao were
found in rigor mortis condition at New Poblacion, Cabusao, Camarines Sur.[8]
Dr. Restituto Sampilo, municipal health officer of Cabusao, found Maria in a reclining position
on the front seat of the jeepney. John was in a semi-kneeling position, facing his mother with
both hands clasping her left hand. Hegino was at the steering wheel with his body, from the
abdomen up, resting on the side of the vehicle and his head outside of it.[9] A bullet that exited
from Heginos left eyebrow caused the wound near his right ear.[10]
Maria had a horizontal stab wound at the front part of her neck just above the xyphoid
process.[11] Her seven (7) year old son, John, had a three (3) inch slashed horizontal wound at the

front base of the neck, a two (2) inch wound on the left upper arm and two (2) stab wounds on
the lateral side of the neck at the junction of the right shoulder.[12] Hegino had a small wound with
slightly depressed edges, about an inch from the highest tip of the right ear, a wound with
everted and lacerated edges above the middle part of the left eyebrow, and seven (7) stab wounds
at the back.[13]
Though there were no eyewitnesses, the prosecution established how the crime was committed
with the testimony of Romualda Algarin, which was in turn based on the extrajudicial admission
given by Maximo Velarde to Romualda when she visited the latter at the Camaligan municipal
jail on June 6, 1985.
Maximo, Tito and Nelson conceived the plan to hold-up Maria while drinking in front of
Romualdas store because Maximo needed money for his fare to Manila.
When the palay-laden jeepney of Maria left for Libmanan, Camarines Sur Maximo, Tito and
Nelson boarded it. They alighted at sitio Cagumpis, Camagong, Cabusao, Camarines Sur to
attend a wedding.[14] Maximo was supposed to board the jeepney on its way back to Barcelonita,
while the other two (2) accused, Tito and Nelson would wait along the road at the crossing of
New Poblacion and Camagong, Camarines Sur to board the jeepney and hold-up Maria.
Everything went according to plan. Nelson and Tito hailed the jeepney at the crossing of
Cabusao, Camarines Sur. Upon reaching an uninhabited place, Tito alias "Anting" told Velarde:
"Oragui na ngaya ang driver."[15] Maximo poked a gun at the driver and shot him. He also shot
Maria at the neck when the latter shouted.[16]
Nelson and Tito alighted from the jeepney. Nelson went to the left front side of the jeepney,
while Tito approached the right front side of the jeepney, in the process stepping on the sleeping
John-John who was then awakened. The boy stood up and said, "You will see I will tell my
father that you killed my mother."[17] To avoid being identified by the boy, Tito told Maximo
"Oragui na ini."[18] Maximo took hold of the boys hair and slashed his neck.
Tito took Marias money and divided it, each accused receiving about seven thousand
(P7,000.00) pesos from the loot.
Tito and Nelson went back to Barcelonita, Cabusao, Camarines Sur. Maximo proceeded to
Manila.
On June 1, 1985, Lt. Ernesto J. Idian, Station Commander, Cabusao Police Station, Cabusao,
Camarines Sur assisted by two (2) other policemen, arrested Maximo in Magallanes, Sorsogon.
Though no warrant of arrest had been issued, Maximo was immediately brought to the
Camaligan police station in Camaligan, Camarines Sur where he was investigated and asked to
give a written statement in the presence of Atty. Jose Ocampo from the Citizens Legal
Assistance Office (CLAO), Naga City.[19]

On June 4, and 9, 1985, Tito and Nelson were taken into police custody without a warrant. They
underwent custodial investigation without the assistance of counsel because no lawyer could be
found in Cabusao, Camarines Sur.
On the last page of each accuseds confession appeared a statement, in their own handwriting, to
the effect that they voluntarily gave their statements and that no one coerced or promised them
anything to admit responsibility for the crime.
Maximo, Nelson and Tito signed their individual statements before Judge Lore R. Valencia
Bagalacsa, Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Libmanan, Camarines Sur on three (3) different
dates.[20] She followed the same procedure and line of questioning, using the local dialect, in
ascertaining the voluntariness of the three (3) accuseds confessions. She ordered Lt. Idian and
his companions to leave her and the accused inside the chamber.[21] Satisfied that they were
properly apprised of their rights and that they voluntarily executed their statements, she had them
sign their individual extrajudicial statements.
Antonio Abendao, the husband of Maria, was working at Saudi Arabia when his family was
killed. He came to know about the tragic death of his wife and son through an overseas call from
his brother Renato Abendao. When he learned about it, he became unconscious. He arrived in
the Philippines five (5) days after.[22] He knew Nelson Garcia because he was the son of his
cousin. He was also familiar with Tito Zuela, but he did not know Maximo Velarde. He spent
twenty thousand (P20,000.00) pesos for the funeral of his wife and son. He gave one thousand
(P1,000.00) pesos financial assistance to the family of their driver, Hegino.[23]
On the other hand, Maximo, Tito and Nelson interposed common defenses: (1) denial and (2)
that they were tortured and forced to make a confession. In addition, Tito and Nelson claimed
they were not assisted by counsel when their confessions were taken, while Maximo alleged the
defense of alibi saying that he did not leave Magallanes, Sorsogon anytime in 1985.
On June 1, 1985, five (5) persons, led by Lt. Idian, went to the house of Maximo Velarde in
Magallanes, Sorsogon to fetch him because his parents wanted him at Cabusao, Camarines Sur
as his brother Benito Velarde died. He was shown the picture of the cadaver of his brother.
Maximo went with the group of Lt. Idian on board a red car and traveled to Naga City, arriving
there between 7:00 and 8:00 in the evening.
In a dark place before reaching Naga City, the driver stopped the vehicle to urinate. Before the
driver could return, Maximo felt a hard object hit his head and he passed out. When he regained
consciousness, he was already handcuffed. Pointing a gun at him, Lt. Idian told him that he had
two choices, either to die or sign the statement they prepared because his brother had wronged
them. He was warned not to tell anyone that he was mauled. Thereafter, they proceeded to the
Camaligan municipal jail.
Two days later or on June 3, 1985, Maximo was brought out of the jail and ushered into a small
room where he saw three persons, namely Lt. Idian, Atty. Jose Ocampo from CLAO, Naga City
and Pat. Gonsalo Refe, a police investigator from Cabusao, Camarines Sur. Atty. Ocampo read
to him the contents of a prepared statement, which in substance mentioned that some people died

and that he was responsible for their death. Maximo refused to sign. Atty. Ocampo stepped out
of the room, followed by Lt. Idian and he overheard that he would be made to sign the statement
in Atty. Ocampos office in Naga City. Atty. Ocampo then left and Lt. Idian returned to the
room.
Upon Lt. Idians return to the smaller room, he kicked Maximo in the stomach and poked a gun
at him. Consumed by fear, Maximo promised that he would sign the prepared statement. He was
then handed a piece of paper and ordered to copy its contents on the prepared statement. Found
on page 5 of his extrajudicial confession was this statement, in his own handwriting:
"Opo binasa ko po ang apedabeth na ito na may 5# pahina na pawang totoo at
sasareling kagustohan at walang nantakot o nangako."[24]
On June 4, 1985, Maximo again signed the statement before Judge Lore R. Valencia Bagalacsa,
Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Libmanan, Camarines Sur. From the time accused Maximo was
arrested, he was never released. Maximo denied that he saw and talked to Romualda on June 6,
1985 at the Camaligan municipal jail because he had been detained at the Libmanan municipal
jail since June 4, 1985.
For his part, Nelson Garcia denied any knowledge of the crime. On June 4, 1985, the group of
Pat. Gonsalo Refe went to his house and invited him to the office of Lt. Idian. He was brought to
the Camaligan Police Station. Upon their arrival, Lt. Idian talked to him and tried to convince
him to confess to the killing of the Abendaos. Because Nelson refused, Lt. Idian brought him
upstairs and mauled him. He was transferred to Naga City jail, where he was detained for two (2)
hours.
Thereafter, he was brought to the Cabusao Police Station where Pat. Rodolfo O. Cario
subjected him to another investigation. Because of his continued refusal to confess, he was
mauled again, this time by Pat. Cario.
To avoid further injury to his person, on June 5, 1985, Nelson Garcia was forced to sign the
prepared statement. He was neither informed of its contents nor assisted by counsel. He was
handed a piece of paper, the contents of which he was ordered to copy, in his own handwriting,
and in substance was similar to what Maximo was ordered to copy as his own extrajudicial
statement. He was brought to the office of Judge Bagalacsa that same afternoon so that he could
sign his extrajudicial statement.
From the time he was invited to the office of Lt. Idian, Nelson was never released from police
custody. He was first detained at the Libmanan municipal jail, and later on transferred to the
Tinangis Penal Farm in Pili, Camarines Sur. Though he suffered physically from the beatings he
got from the policemen, he was never permitted to see a doctor. His relatives were not able to
visit or talk to him because the policemen prohibited visitors.[25]
Like Nelson, Tito alias "Anting," denied participation in the crime. On July 9, 1985, Pat. Refe
invited him to the office of Lt. Idian in Cabusao, Camarines Sur. Upon arrival at the police

station, he was investigated about his knowledge of the crime. Failing to elicit any information
from him, he was brought to Libmanan jail where he spent the night.
The following day, Tito was again brought to Cabusao Police Station and presented to Lt. Idian.
In Lt. Idians office, he was investigated about his involvement in the crime. When he could not
provide any answer, he was made to board the police jeep, to be brought back to the Libmanan
jail.
Along the way, the police jeep stopped and Pat. Cabrera got off and kicked Tito who fell to the
ground. He heard a gunshot and was shown the piece of paper that he was ordered to sign before
Judge Bagalacsa. He was threatened with death should he refuse to sign the prepared statement.
Out of fear for his life, Tito promised to sign. Thereafter, they boarded the police jeep and
proceeded to the office of Judge Bagalacsa in Libmanan, Camarines Sur.
Upon arrival at the office of Judge Bagalacsa, he was ordered to sign the statement without the
assistance of counsel and without being informed of its contents. Thereafter, he was brought to
Libmanan municipal jail and later to Tinangis Penal Farm. Like his co-accused, he was never
released from police custody from the time of arrest.
On August 26, 1993, the trial court promulgated its decision convicting the three (3) accused of
robbery with homicide, the dispositive portion of which reads:
"WHEREFORE, after a careful and serious evaluation of the evidence presented
by the prosecution and the defense, the Court is morally convinced beyond
reasonable doubt, that the three (3) accused Maximo Velarde, Tito Zuela and
Nelson Garcia had committed the crime of Robbery with Homicide and,
therefore, sentences them to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of reclusion
perpetua and to pay jointly and severally an indemnity in the amount of ONE
HUNDRED THOUSAND (P100,000.00) PESOS for the Heirs of Maria
Abendao and John Abendao and FIFTY THOUSAND (P50,000.00) PESOS for
the Heirs of Hegino Hernandez, without imprisonment in case of insolvency, and
to pay the costs.
"SO ORDERED.
"GIVEN this 26th day of July, 1993 at Libmanan, Camarines Sur, Philippines.
"(Sgd.) SALVADOR G. CAJOT
.."Presiding Judge"[26]
On the same day, all three (3) accused filed a notice of appeal with the trial court.
In their appeal, accused-appellants claim that the trial court erred in:
(1) relying on Maximo Velardes extra-judicial confession notwithstanding the
violation of his constitutional rights;

(2) giving full faith and credit to Romualda Algarins testimony; and
(3) finding all three (3) accused guilty as charged despite the prosecutions failure
to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
Considering that there were no eyewitnesses to the commission of the crime, the extra-judicial
confessions of the three (3) accused play a pivotal role in the determination of their culpability.
The Court is duty-bound, therefore, to resolve the issue of whether or not the extra-judicial
confessions were executed in accordance with the provisions of the 1973 Constitution, in light of
the fact that the crime took place in 1985.
The pertinent provision of the 1973 Constitution provides:
"Article IV, Section 20. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against
himself. Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall
have the right to remain silent and to counsel, and to be informed of such right.
No force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means, which vitiates the
free will, shall be used against him. Any confession obtained in violation of this
section shall be inadmissible in evidence."[27]
The right to counsel attaches the moment an investigating officer starts to ask questions to elicit
information on the crime from the suspected offender. It is at this point that the law requires the
assistance of counsel to avoid the pernicious practice of extorting forced or coerced admissions
or confessions from the person undergoing interrogation. In other words, "the moment there is a
move or even urge of said investigators to elicit admissions or confessions or even plain
information which may appear innocent or innocuous at the time, from said suspect, he should
then and there be assisted by counsel, unless he waives the right, but the waiver shall be made in
writing and in the presence of counsel."[28]
Lt. Idians team apprehended appellant Maximo in Magallanes, Sorsogon on June 1, 1985 when
no warrant had been issued for his arrest. Immediately thereafter, the arresting peace officers
investigated appellant Maximo. His statement was reduced in writing when they were in
Camaligan, Camarines Sur. It was in Camaligan that CLAO lawyer Ocampo was summoned to
assist appellant Maximo in the execution of his written confession. Atty. Ocampo was not
present during the entire duration that accused Maximo was subjected to custodial investigation
as could be inferred from the testimony of Pat. Rodolfo Cario, to wit:
"Q: And after taking the statement of Velarde, what did you do with the statement
of Velarde?
A: It was presented to Atty. Ocampo.
Q: Do you want to tell me that inspite of the fact that he was present when the
confession was made you still present the statement to Atty. Ocampo?
A: In order to let him sign the statement.

Q: And where did Atty. Ocampo sign the confession of Velarde?


A: It was sign [sic] at Naga because he went ahead.
Q: Do you mean to tell me now that after the confession was made, the confession
was left to you and after the confession was brought to his office at the CLAO
Office in Naga, is that what you want to tell this court.
A: We went to Naga with Lt. Idian and Velarde.
Q: But it remains a fact that Atty. Ocampo was already at Naga when the
statement of Velarde was presented to him for signature, is that correct?
A: Yes he went ahead to Naga."[29]
There was no evidence that Maximo executed a waiver of his right to counsel. In light of these
facts, we are constrained to rule that Maximo Velardes extra-judicial statement is inadmissible
in evidence.[30] "An uncounselled extra-judicial confession without a valid waiver of the right to
counsel - that is, in writing and in the presence of counsel - is inadmissible in evidence."[31]
The respective sworn statements of appellants Tito and Nelson were likewise inadmissible in
evidence because they were executed without the assistance of counsel. Despite the fact that the
reason for the absence of lawyer during the custodial investigation was the scarcity of lawyers in
the area, the Court could not be lenient in this case. The absence or scarcity of lawyers in any
given place is not a valid reason for defying the constitutional mandate on counseled
confessions.
Contrary to the ruling of the trial court, the defect in the confessions of Tito and Nelson was not
cured by their signing the extra-judicial statements before Judge Bagalacsa.
Nevertheless, the infirmity of accused-appellants sworn statements did not leave a void in the
prosecutions case. Accused-appellant Maximo repeated the contents of his sworn statement to
Romualda Algarin who, in turn, related these in court. Such declaration to a private person is
admissible in evidence against accused-appellant Maximo pursuant to Rule 130, Section 26 of
the Rules of Court stating that the "act, declaration or omission of a party as to a relevant fact
may be given in evidence against him." The trial court, therefore, correctly gave evidentiary
value to Romualdas testimony. In People vs. Maqueda,[32] we held:
"However, the extrajudicial admissions of Maqueda to Prosecutor Zarate and to
Ray Dean Salvosa stand on a different footing. These are not governed by the
exclusionary rules under the Bill of Rights. Maqueda voluntarily and freely made
them to Prosecutor Zarate not in the course of an investigation, but in connection
with Maquedas plea to be utilized as a state witness; and as to the other
admission, it was given to a private person. The provisions of the Bill of Rights
are primarily limitations on government, declaring the rights that exist without
governmental grant, that may not be taken away by government and that

government has the duty to protect; or restrictions on the power of the


government found not in particular specific types of action prohibited, but in the
general principle that keeps alive in the public mind the doctrine that
governmental power is not unlimited. They are the fundamental safeguards
against aggressions of arbitrary power, or state tyranny and abuse of authority. In
laying down the principles of the government and fundamental liberties of the
people, the Constitution did not govern the relationships between individuals.
"Accordingly, Maquedas admissions to Ray Dean Salvosa, a private party, are
admissible in evidence against the former under Section 26, Rule 130 of the Rules
of Court. In Aballe vs. People (183 SCRA 196 [1990]), this Court held that the
declaration of an accused expressly acknowledging his guilt of the offense may be
given in evidence against him and any person, otherwise competent to testify as a
witness, who heard the confession, is competent to testify as to the substance of
what he heard if he heard and understood it. The said witness need not
repeat verbatim the oral confession; it suffices if he gives its substance. By
analogy, that rule applies to oral extrajudicial admission." (Underscoring
supplied.)[33]
And in the recent case of People vs. Andan[34] the Court reiterated the doctrine enunciated in
the Maqueda case. In Andan, the Court said that "when the accused talked with the mayor as
confidant and not as a law enforcement officer, his uncounselled confession did not violate his
constitutional rights. Constitutional procedures on custodial investigation do not apply to a
spontaneous statement, not elicited through questioning by the authorities, but given in an
ordinary manner whereby appellant orally admitted having committed the crime." Of course,
accused-appellant Maximo attempted to discredit Romualda's credibility as a witness when he
swore that he could not have been in Camaligan on June 6, 1985 because since June 4, 1985 until
some three weeks later, he was detained at the Libmanan jail.[35] The trial court correctly
disregarded this self-serving uncorroborated assertion.
The defense failed to attribute any ill-motive on the part of Romualda for testifying on accusedappellant Maximos admission and therefore the presumption that in so testifying, she was
impelled by no other reason than to tell the truth, stands. The fact that she is related to two of the
victims did not render her testimony incredible. Relationship per se is not proof of
prejudice.[36] She might have been mistaken as to the date when she talked with accused-appellant
Maximo while he was detained considering the more than three-year gap between June 1985 and
September to October 1988 when Romualda testified. However, it is not necessary that the
witness should be able to fix accurately the date of the conversation in which the admission was
made. What is important is that the witness is able to state the substance of the conversation or
declaration.[37]
Romualdas testimony on accused-appellant Maximos admission sealed not only the latters fate
but also that of appellants Tito and Nelson. The rule that an extrajudicial confession is binding
only upon the confessant and is not admissible against his co-accused because the latter has no
opportunity to cross-examine the confessant and therefore, as against him, the confession is

hearsay,[38] is not applicable here. What is involved here is an admission, not a confession.
Wharton distinguished these terms as follows:
"A confession is an acknowledgment in express terms, by a party in a criminal
case, of his guilt of the crime charged, while an admission is a statement by the
accused, direct or implied, of facts pertinent to the issue and tending, in
connection with proof of other facts, to prove his guilt. In other words, an
admission is something less than a confession, and is but an acknowledgment of
some fact or circumstance which in itself is insufficient to authorize a conviction
and which tends only to establish the ultimate fact of guilt."[39]
Appellants Tito and Nelson were afforded the opportunity to cross-examine witness Romualda
on accused-appellant Maximos declaration. They could have questioned its veracity by
presenting evidence in support of their defenses of denial and alibi so they could put to test
Romualdas credibility. Having failed to do so, Romualdas testimony, which the trial court
correctly considered as credible, stands unscathed.
Romualdas testimony on the substance of accused-appellant Maximos admission standing
alone, may not be the basis for conviction of the appellants. However, such testimony, taken with
circumstances duly established by the prosecution, point unerringly to accused-appellants
culpability. These circumstances are: (1) accused-appellants and the victims were all residents of
Barcelonita, Cabusao, Camarines Sur, a small barangay where everyone knew everybody; (2)
accused-appellants Tito and Nelson helped in the stores of the sisters Maria and Romualda a
week before the incident; (3) Romualda saw the three accused-appellants as they boarded
Marias jeepney during its lastpalay delivery to Libmanan; (4) Gerardo Atienza saw accusedappellant Maximo with Marias group during the jeepneys second delivery of palay; (5) Atienza
saw accused-appellant Maximo riding in Marias jeepney after the last delivery; (6) after the
commission of the crime, accused-appellants Tito and Nelson no longer went to the store of
Romualda; (7) accused-appellants never attended the wake of the victims, and (8) accusedappellant Maximo fled to Manila.
These circumstances form an unbroken chain, which, by themselves, lead to a fair and
reasonable conclusion that accused-appellants were the culprits in the robbery with
homicide.[40] Under the law, circumstantial evidence is sufficient basis for conviction as long as:
(1) there is more than one circumstance; (2) the facts from which the inferences are derived are
proved, and (3) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce conviction beyond
reasonable doubt.[41] These requisites were present in this case.
Accused-appellants diverse courses of action after the commission of the crime, with accusedappellant Maximo going to Manila and accused-appellants Tito and Nelson staying in
Barcelonita, do not negate their guilt. As regards accused-appellant Maximo, his flight to Manila
and to Magallanes, Sorsogon with no plausible explanation therefor is a clear indication of
guilt.[42] With respect to accused-appellants Tito and Nelson, their decision to stay in Barcelonita
did not mean that they were not equally guilty as accused-appellant Maximo. As this Court once
said:

"Accused-appellant argues that had he participated in the crime, his natural


reaction would have been to flee. We do not agree. Each culprit behaves
differently in externalizing and manifesting his guilt. Others may escape or flee
which circumstance is strongly indicative of guilt, while others may remain in the
same vicinity so as to create a semblance of normalcy, careful not to arouse
suspicion in the community."[43]
Conspiracy may be inferred from the acts of accused-appellants before, during and after the
commission of the crime, which indicate a joint purpose, concerted action and concurrence of
sentiments.[44] Whenever homicide is committed as a consequence or on the occasion of the
robbery, all those who took part as principals in the conspiracy are also guilty as principals in the
special complex crime of robbery with homicide although they did not actually take part in the
killing, unless there is proof that they tried to prevent the crime.[45] There is no evidence that any
of the accused-appellants desisted from the malevolent intent of the others to kill the victims
during the robbery. As such, they shall equally bear the responsibility for the resulting crime.
Treachery was not alleged in the information but the suddenness of the assault upon Hegino and
Maria from behind was proven beyond reasonable doubt. As such, treachery may be appreciated
as a generic aggravating circumstance.[46] As regards seven-year-old John, even if the manner by
which he was attacked was not shown, treachery may be deemed to have attended his killing.
Treachery exists when an adult person illegally attacks a child of tender years and causes his
death.[47]
The crime committed is the special complex crime of robbery with homicide defined and
penalized in Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code. The trial court correctly considered the
crime as robbery with homicide and not "robbery with triple homicide" as charged in the
information. The term "homicide" in Article 294(1) is used in its generic sense, embracing not
only the act which results in death but also all other acts producing anything short of
death.[48] Neither is the nature of the offense altered by the number of killings in connection with
the robbery.[49] The multiplicity of victims slain on the occasion of the robbery is only appreciated
as an aggravating circumstance. This would preclude an anomalous situation where, from the
standpoint of the gravity of the offense, robbery with one killing would be treated in the same
way that robbery with multiple killings would be.[50]
Under Article 294 (1) of the Revised Penal Code, robbery with homicide is punishable
by reclusion perpetua to death. By the presence of two aggravating circumstances, namely,
treachery and multiplicity of slain victims, the proper penalty should be death in view of Article
63 (1) of the same Code.[51] However, considering that when this case happened, the imposition of
the death penalty was proscribed, the proper imposable penalty was reclusion perpetua. The
heinousness of the crime they committed notwithstanding, accused-appellants may not be
deprived of such favorable factor in their case.
The Solicitor Generals plea for modification of the penalty in accordance with Republic Act No.
7659 which "has already expressly converted reclusion perpetua into a divisible penalty" and on
account of the decision in People vs. Lucas,[52] is untenable. It must be stressed that
the Lucas ruling has been reconsidered and, accordingly, the Court has held:

"After deliberating on the motion and re-examining the legislative history of R.A.
No. 7659, the Court concludes that although Section 17 of the R.A. No. 7659 has
fixed the duration of reclusion perpetua from twenty (20) years and one (1) day to
forty (40) years, there was no clear legislative intent to alter its original
classification as an indivisible penalty. It shall then remain as an indivisible
penalty."[53]
The trial court failed to award the heirs of Maria Abendao the amount of twenty three thousand
(P23,000.00) pesos in reimbursement of the stolen cash, ring and wristwatch and the expenses
amounting to twenty thousand (P20,000.00) pesos for her wake and that of her son, which were
duly proved.[54] The heirs are entitled to those amounts as reparation of the damage caused by
accused-appellants. They shall also be liable for exemplary damages in view of the presence of
two aggravating circumstances in the commission of the crime.[55]
WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS with MODIFICATION the decision of the trial court. The
Court renders judgment finding accused-appellants Tito Zuela y Morandarte, Maximo Velarde y
de los Reyes, and Nelson Garcia y Temporas guilty beyond reasonable doubt of robbery with
homicide, defined and penalized under Article 294 (1) of the Revised Penal Code, and sentences
each of them to reclusion perpetua with all its accessory penalties and to pay civil indemnity of
one hundred thousand (P100,000.00) pesos to the heirs of Maria Abendao and John Abendao
and fifty thousand (P50,000.00) pesos to the heirs of Hegino Hernandez, Jr.
In addition, the Court sentences each of the accused-appellants solidarily to pay the additional
amounts of forty three thousand (P43,000.00) pesos as reimbursement of damages to the heirs of
Maria Abendao, and fifty thousand (P50,000.00) pesos as exemplary damages to the heirs of
each of the three (3) victims.
With costs.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Puno, Kapunan, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.2/22/00 9:49 AM

[1]

In Criminal Case No. l-337, dated July 26, 1993, Judge Salvador G. Cajot, presiding.
Trial Court Decision, Rollo, pp. 23-44.
[3]
Information, Trial Court Records, p. 35.
[4]
TSN, April 11, 1988, p. 420.
[5]
TSN, October 17, 1988, p. 480.
[6]
TSN, September 14, 1988, p. 465.
[7]
TSN, April 11, 1988, p. 420.
[8]
Original Record, Exhs. "G", "H", "I", pp. 4, 6, 8.
[9]
TSN, May 11, 1988, pp. 8-9.
[10]
Ibid, p. 11.
[11]
Exh. E, Trial Court Records, p. 5.
[12]
Exh. D, Trial Court Records, p. 3.
[2]

[13]

Exh. F, Trial Court Records, p. 7.


TSN, September 14, 1988, pp. 468-470.
[15]
When translated in Filipino, this means "Tirahin mo na ang driver."
[16]
TSN, ibid, p. 472.
[17]
TSN, ibid.
[18]
In Filipino, it means, "Tirahin mo na ito."
[19]
TSN, March 10, 1988, pp. 8, 16.
[20]
Judge Bagalacsa administered the oath on the extrajudicial statements of the three accused on different dates:
Maximo Velarde on June 4, 1985, while Nelson Garcia and Tito Zuela on June 6, 1985 and June 10, respectively.
[21]
TSN, December 1, 1989, p. 521.
[22]
TSN, August 16, 1988, p. 451.
[23]
TSN, ibid, pp. 456-457.
[24]
Regional Trial Court Records, p. 19.
[25]
TSN, September 6, 1990, pp. 11-14.
[26]
Trial Court Decision, Rollo, p. 44.
[27]
The above provision is carried over in the 1987 Constitution, but has been broken into two sections. The
traditional right against self-incrimination has been placed in Section 17 and the right of persons under investigation
was set apart and put in Section 12 to emphasize that it is not just a right against self-incrimination but also a
guarantee of the right to proper treatment of those under investigation. Bernas, S. J., The 1987 Constitution of the
Republic of the Philippines A Commentary, 1996 edtion, p. 409.
[28]
Gamboa vs. Cruz, 162 SCRA 642, 648, 651 (1988)
[29]
TSN, February 23, 1989, p. 508.
[30]
People vs. Quidato, Jr., 297 SCRA 1, 9 (1998)
[31]
People vs. Cabiles, 284 SCRA 199, 211 (1998), citing People vs. Cabintoy, 241 SCRA 442 (1995)
[32]
312 Phil. 646 (1995)
[33]
People vs. Maqueda, supra, at 675-676 (1995)
[34]
269 SCRA 95, 110 (1997)
[35]
TSN, April 30, 1990, pp. 13-14.
[36]
People vs. Escandor, 333 Phil. 277, 282 (1996)
[37]
7 Francisco, The Revised Rules of Court of the Philippines, Part I, 1990 ed., 307.
[38]
People vs. Pamon, 217 SCRA 501, 515-516 (1993)
[39]
People vs. Maqueda, supra, pp. 667-668 citing 2 WHARTONS CRIMINAL EVIDENCE S. 337, 12th ed.,
(1935)
[40]
People vs. Cedenio, 233 SCRA 356, 363 (1994)
[41]
People vs. Olivarez, Jr., 299 SCRA 635, 651 (1998)
[42]
People vs. Igat, 291 SCRA 100, 109-110 (1998)
[43]
People vs. Ocampo, 218 SCRA 609, 618 (1993)
[44]
People vs. De Leon, 315 Phil. 584, 594 (1995)
[45]
People vs. Angeles, 315 Phil. 23, 38 (1995)
[46]
People vs. Cantre, 186 SCRA 76, 79 (1990)
[47]
People vs. Ganohon, 196 SCRA 431, 446 (1991), citing People vs. Retubado, 162 SCRA 276 (1988);
People vs. Valerio, 112 SCRA 208 (1982); U.S. vs. Lansangan, 27 Phil. 474 (1914); U.S. vs. Baul, 39 Phil. 846
(1919)
[48]
People vs. Servillon, 236 SCRA 385, 392 (1994)
[49]
People vs. Sinoc, 341 Phil. 355, 375 (1997)
[50]
People vs. Timple, 237 SCRA 52, 70 (1994)
[14]

[51]

The pertinent provision of this Article states: "In all cases in which the law prescribes a penalty composed of two
indivisible penalties, the following rules shall be observed in the application thereof:
1. When in the commission of the deed there is present only one aggravating circumstance, the greater penalty shall
be applied; x x x."
[52]
232 SCRA 537 (1994)
[53]
310 Phil. 77, 80 (1995)
[54]
Arts. 104 & 106, Revised Penal Code.
[55]

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 129296. September 25, 2000]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ABE VALDEZ y


DELA CRUZ, accused-appellant.
DECISION
QUISUMBING, J.:

For automatic review is the decision[1] promulgated on February 18, 1997, by the
Regional Trial Court of Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, Branch 27, in Criminal Case No.
3105. It found appellant Abe Valdez y Dela Cruz guilty beyond reasonable doubt for
violating Section 9 of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 (R.A. No. 6425), as amended by
R.A. No. 7659. He was sentenced to suffer the penalty of death by lethal injection.
In an Information dated September 26, 1996, appellant was charged as
follows:"That on or about September 25, 1996, at Sitio Bulan, Barangay Sawmill,
Municipality of Villaverde, Province of Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, who was caught
in flagrante delicto and without authority of law, did then and there wilfully (sic),
unlawfully and feloniously plant, cultivate and culture seven (7) fully grown marijuana
plants known as Indian Hemp weighing 2.194 kilos, from which dangerous drugs maybe
(sic) manufactured or derived, to the damage and prejudice of the government of the
Republic of the Philippines.

"That the property where the said seven (7) fully grown marijuana plants were
planted, cultivated and cultured shall be confiscated and escheated in favor of the
government.
"CONTRARY TO LAW."[2]
On November 15, 1996, appellant was arraigned and, with assistance of counsel,
pleaded not guilty to the charge. Trial on the merits then ensued.
The first witness for the prosecution was SPO3 Marcelo Tipay, a member of the
police force of Villaverde, Nueva Vizcaya. He testified that at around 10:15 a.m. of
September 24, 1996, he received a tip from an unnamed informer about the presence of
a marijuana plantation, allegedly owned by appellant at Sitio Bulan, Ibung, Villaverde,
Nueva Vizcaya.[3] The prohibited plants were allegedly planted close to appellant's
hut. Police Inspector Alejandro R. Parungao, Chief of Police of Villaverde, Nueva
Vizcaya then formed a reaction team from his operatives to verify the report. The team
was composed of SPO3 Marcelo M. Tipay, SPO2 Noel V. Libunao, SPO2 Pedro S.

Morales, SPO1 Romulo G. Tobias and PO2 Alfelmer I. Balut. Inspector Parungao gave
them specific instructions to "uproot said marijuana plants and arrest the cultivator of
same.[4]
At approximately 5:00 o'clock A.M. the following day, said police team,
accompanied by their informer, left for the site where the marijuana plants were
allegedly being grown. After a three-hour, uphill trek from the nearest barangay road,
the police operatives arrived at the place pinpointed by their informant.The police found
appellant alone in his nipa hut. They, then, proceeded to look around the area where
appellant had his kaingin and saw seven (7) five-foot high, flowering marijuana plants in
two rows, approximately 25 meters from appellant's hut. [5] PO2 Balut asked appellant
who owned the prohibited plants and, according to Balut, the latter admitted that they
were his.[6] The police uprooted the seven marijuana plants, which weighed 2.194
kilograms.[7] The police took photos of appellant standing beside the cannabis
plants.[8] Appellant was then arrested. One of the plants, weighing 1.090 kilograms, was
sent to the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya
for analysis.[9] Inspector Prevy Fabros Luwis, the Crime Laboratory forensic analyst,
testified that upon microscopic examination of said plant, she found cystolitic hairs
containing calcium carbonate, a positive indication for marijuana. [10] She next conducted
a chemical examination, the results of which confirmed her initial impressions. She
found as follows:

"SPECIMEN SUBMITTED: Exh "A" - 1.090 grams of uprooted suspected marijuana


plant placed inside a white sack with markings.
xxx
"FINDINGS: Qualitative examination conducted on the above stated specimen gave POSITIVE
result to the test for Marijuana, a prohibited drug."[11]
The prosecution also presented a certification from the Department of Environment
and Natural Resources that the land cultivated by appellant, on which the growing
marijuana plants were found, was Lot 3224 of Timberland Block B, which formed part of
the Integrated Social Forestry Area in Villaverde, Nueva Vizcaya. [12] This lot was part of
the public domain. Appellant was acknowledged in the certification as the occupant of
the lot, but no Certificate of Stewardship had yet been issued in his favor. [13]
As its sole witness, the defense presented appellant. He testified that at around
10:00 o'clock A.M., September 25, 1996, he was weeding his vegetable farm in Sitio
Bulan when he was called by a person whose identity he does not know. He was asked
to go with the latter to "see something."[14] This unknown person then brought appellant
to the place where the marijuana plants were found, approximately 100 meters away
from his nipa hut.[15] Five armed policemen were present and they made him stand in
front of the hemp plants. He was then asked if he knew anything about the marijuana
growing there.When he denied any knowledge thereof, SPO2 Libunao poked a fist at
him and told him to admit ownership of the plants.[16] Appellant was so nervous and
afraid that he admitted owning the marijuana.[17]

The police then took a photo of him standing in front of one of the marijuana
plants. He was then made to uproot five of the cannabis plants, and bring them to his
hut, where another photo was taken of him standing next to a bundle of uprooted
marijuana plants.[18] The police team then brought him to the police station at Villaverde.
On the way, a certain Kiko Pascua, a barangay peace officer of Barangay Sawmill,
accompanied the police officers. Pascua, who bore a grudge against him, because of
his refusal to participate in the former's illegal logging activities, threatened him to admit
owning the marijuana, otherwise he would "be put in a bad situation." [19] At the police
headquarters, appellant reiterated that he knew nothing about the marijuana plants
seized by the police.[20]
On cross-examination, appellant declared that there were ten other houses around
the vicinity of his kaingin, the nearest house being 100 meters away.[21] The latter house
belonged to one Carlito (Lito) Pascua, an uncle of the barangay peace officer who had a
grudge against him. The spot where the marijuana plants were found was located
between his house and Carlito Pascua's.[22]
The prosecution presented SPO3 Tipay as its rebuttal witness. His testimony was
offered to rebut appellant's claim that the marijuana plants were not planted in the lot he
was cultivating.[23] Tipay presented a sketch he made,[24] which showed the location of
marijuana plants in relation to the old and new nipa huts of appellant, as well as the
closest neighbor. According to Tipay, the marijuana plot was located 40 meters away
from the old hut of Valdez and 250 meters distant from the hut of Carlito
Pascua.[25] Tipay admitted on cross-examination that no surveyor accompanied him
when he made the measurements.[26] He further stated that his basis for claiming that
appellant was the owner or planter of the seized plants was the information given him
by the police informer and the proximity of appellant's hut to the location of said
plants.[27]
Finding appellant's defense insipid, the trial court held appellant liable as charged
for cultivation and ownership of marijuana plants as follows:

"WHEREFORE, finding the accused GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of cultivating


marijuana plants punishable under section 9 of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as
amended, accused is hereby sentenced to death by lethal injection. Costs against the
accused.
"SO ORDERED."[28]
Appellant assigns the following errors for our consideration:
I

THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN ADMITTING AS EVIDENCE


THE SEVEN (7) MARIJUANA PLANTS DESPITE THEIR
INADMISSIBILITY BEING PRODUCTS OF AN ILLEGAL SEARCH.
II

THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING APPELLANT OF


VIOLATION OF SECTION 9, REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6425 DESPITE THE
INADMISSIBILITY OF THE CORPUS DELICTI AND THE FAILURE OF
THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE HIS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT.
III

THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN IMPOSING THE SUPREME PENALTY OF


DEATH UPON APPELLANT DESPITE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE
THAT THE LAND WHERE THE MARIJUANA PLANTS WERE PLANTED IS A
PUBLIC LAND ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT INDEED APPELLANT PLANTED THE
SUBJECT MARIJUANA.[29]
Simply stated, the issues are:
(1) Was the search and seizure of the marijuana plants in the present case lawful?
(2) Were the seized plants admissible in evidence against the accused?
(3) Has the prosecution proved appellant's guilt beyond reasonable doubt?
(4) Is the sentence of death by lethal injection correct?

The first and second issues will be jointly discussed because they are interrelated.
Appellant contends that there was unlawful search. First, the records show that the
law enforcers had more than ample time to secure a search warrant.Second, that the
marijuana plants were found in an unfenced lot does not remove appellant from the
mantle of protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. He relies on the
ruling of the US Supreme Court in Terry v. Ohio, 392 US 1, 20 L. Ed 2d 898, 88 S. Ct.
1868 (1968), to the effect that the protection against unreasonable government intrusion
protects people, not places.
For the appellee, the Office of the Solicitor General argues that the records clearly
show that there was no search made by the police team, in the first place. The OSG
points out that the marijuana plants in question were grown in an unfenced lot and as
each grew about five (5) feet tall, they were visible from afar, and were, in fact,
immediately spotted by the police officers when they reached the site. The seized
marijuana plants were, thus, in plain view of the police officers. The instant case must,
therefore, be treated as a warrantless lawful search under the "plain view" doctrine.
The court a quo upheld the validity of the search and confiscation made by the
police team on the finding that:
"...It seems there was no need for any search warrant. The policemen went to the plantation site
merely to make a verification. When they found the said plants, it was too much to expect them
to apply for a search warrant. In view of the remoteness of the plantation site (they had to walk
for six hours back and forth) and the dangers lurking in the area if they stayed overnight, they
had a valid reason to confiscate the said plants upon discovery without any search

warrant. Moreover, the evidence shows that the lot was not legally occupied by the accused and
there was no fence which evinced the occupant's desire to keep trespassers out. There was,
therefore, no privacy to protect, hence, no search warrant was required."[30]
The Constitution[31] lays down the general rule that a search and seizure must be
carried on the strength of a judicial warrant. Otherwise, the search and seizure is
deemed "unreasonable." Evidence procured on the occasion of an unreasonable search
and seizure is deemed tainted for being the proverbial fruit of a poisonous tree and
should be excluded.[32] Such evidence shall be inadmissible in evidence for any purpose
in any proceeding.[33]
In the instant case, there was no search warrant issued by a judge after personal
determination of the existence of probable cause. From the declarations of the police
officers themselves, it is clear that they had at least one (1) day to obtain a warrant to
search appellant's farm. Their informant had revealed his name to them. The place
where the cannabis plants were planted was pinpointed. From the information in their
possession, they could have convinced a judge that there was probable cause to justify
the issuance of a warrant. But they did not. Instead, they uprooted the plants and
apprehended the accused on the excuse that the trip was a good six hours and
inconvenient to them. We need not underscore that the protection against illegal search
and seizure is constitutionally mandated and only under specific instances are searches
allowed without warrants.[34] The mantle of protection extended by the Bill of Rights
covers both innocent and guilty alike against any form of high-handedness of law
enforcers, regardless of the praiseworthiness of their intentions.
We find no reason to subscribe to Solicitor General's contention that we apply the
"plain view" doctrine. For the doctrine to apply, the following elements must be present:
(a) a prior valid intrusion based on the valid warrantless arrest in which the police are
legally present in the pursuit of their official duties;
(b) the evidence was inadvertently discovered by the police who have the right to be
where they are; and
(c) the evidence must be immediately apparent; and
(d) plain view justified mere seizure of evidence without further search.[35]

In the instant case, recall that PO2 Balut testified that they first located the
marijuana plants before appellant was arrested without a warrant. [36] Hence, there was
no valid warrantless arrest which preceded the search of appellant's premises. Note
further that the police team was dispatched to appellant'skaingin precisely to search for
and uproot the prohibited flora. The seizure of evidence in "plain view" applies only
where the police officer is not searching for evidence against the accused, but
inadvertently comes across an incriminating object.[37] Clearly, their discovery of the
cannabis plants was not inadvertent.We also note the testimony of SPO2 Tipay that
upon arriving at the area, they first had to "look around the area" before they could spot
the illegal plants.[38]Patently, the seized marijuana plants were not "immediately
apparent" and a "further search" was needed. In sum, the marijuana plants in question

were not in "plain view" or "open to eye and hand." The "plain view" doctrine, thus,
cannot be made to apply.
Nor can we sustain the trial court's conclusion that just because the marijuana
plants were found in an unfenced lot, appellant could not invoke the protection afforded
by the Charter against unreasonable searches by agents of the State. The right against
unreasonable searches and seizures is the immunity of one's person, which includes his
residence, his papers, and other possessions.[39] The guarantee refers to "the right of
personal security"[40] of the individual. As appellant correctly points out, what is sought to
be protected against the State's unlawful intrusion are persons, not places. [41] To
conclude otherwise would not only mean swimming against the stream, it would also
lead to the absurd logic that for a person to be immune against unreasonable searches
and seizures, he must be in his home or office, within a fenced yard or a private
place. The Bill of Rights belongs as much to the person in the street as to the individual
in the sanctuary of his bedroom.
We therefore hold, with respect to the first issue, that the confiscated plants were
evidently obtained during an illegal search and seizure. As to the second issue, which
involves the admissibility of the marijuana plants as evidence for the prosecution, we
find that said plants cannot, as products of an unlawful search and seizure, be used as
evidence against appellant. They are fruits of the proverbial poisoned tree. It was,
therefore, a reversible error on the part of the court a quo to have admitted and relied
upon the seized marijuana plants as evidence to convict appellant.
We now proceed to the third issue, which revolves around the sufficiency of the
prosecution's evidence to prove appellant's guilt. Having declared the seized marijuana
plants inadmissible in evidence against appellant, we must now address the question of
whether the remaining evidence for the prosecution suffices to convict appellant?
In convicting appellant, the trial court likewise relied on the testimony of the police
officers to the effect that appellant admitted ownership of the marijuana when he was
asked who planted them. It made the following observation:

"It may be true that the admission to the police by the accused that he planted the
marijuana plants was made in the absence of any independent and competent
counsel. But the accused was not, at the time of police verification; under custodial
investigation. His admission is, therefore, admissible in evidence and not violative of
the constitutional fiat that admission given during custodial investigation is not
admissible if given without any counsel."[42]
Appellant now argues that his admission of ownership of the marijuana plants in
question cannot be used against him for being violative of his right to counsel during the
police investigation. Hence, it was error for the trial court to have relied upon said
admission of ownership. He submits that the investigation conducted by the police
officers was not a general inquiry, but was meant to elicit information on the ownership
of the marijuana plants.Appellant theorizes that since the investigation had narrowed
down to him, competent and independent counsel should have assisted him, when the
police sought information from him regarding the ownership of the prohibited

plants. Appellant claims the presumption of regularity of duty of officers cannot be made
to apply to his purported voluntarily confession of ownership of the marijuana
plants. Nor can it override his constitutional right to counsel during investigation.
The Office of the Solicitor General believes otherwise. The OSG avers that
appellant was not yet under custodial investigation when he admitted to the police that
he owned the marijuana plants. His right to competent and independent counsel,
accordingly, had not yet attached. Moreover, appellants failure to impute any false
motive for the police officers to falsely accuse him indicates that the presumption of
regularity in the performance of official duties by police officers was not sufficiently
rebutted.
The Constitution plainly declares that any person under investigation for the
commission of an offense shall have the right: (1) to remain silent; (2) to have
competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice; and (3) to be
informed of such rights. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the
presence of counsel.[43] An investigation begins when it is no longer a general inquiry but
starts to focus on a particular person as a suspect, i.e., when the police investigator
starts interrogating or exacting a confession from the suspect in connection with an
alleged offense.[44] The moment the police try to elicit admissions or confessions or
even plain information from a person suspected of having committed an offense, he
should at that juncture be assisted by counsel, unless he waives the right in writing and
in the presence of counsel.[45]
In the instant case we find that, from the start, a tipster had furnished the police
appellant's name as well as the location of appellant's farm, where the marijuana plants
were allegedly being grown. While the police operation was supposedly meant to
merely "verify" said information, the police chief had likewise issued instructions to
arrest appellant as a suspected marijuana cultivator. Thus, at the time the police talked
to appellant in his farm, the latter was already under investigation as a suspect. The
questioning by the police was no longer a general inquiry.[46]
Under cross-examination, PO2 Balut stated, he "did not yet admit that he is the
cultivator of that marijuana so we just asked him and I think there is no need to inform
(him of) his constitutional rights because we are just asking him..."[47] In trying to elicit
information from appellant, the police was already investigating appellant as a
suspect. At this point, he was already under custodial investigation and had a right to
counsel even if he had not yet been arrested. Custodial investigation is "questioning
initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or
otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way." [48] As a suspect, two
armed policemen interrogated appellant. Behind his inquisitors were a barangay peace
officer and three other armed policemen.[49] All had been dispatched to arrest
him.[50] From these circumstances, we may infer that appellant had already been
deprived of his freedom of action in a significant way, even before the actual
arrest. Note that even before he was arrested, the police made him incriminatingly pose
for photos in front of the marijuana plants.
Moreover, we find appellant's extrajudicial confession flawed with respect to its
admissibility. For a confession to be admissible, it must satisfy the following

requirements: (1) it must be voluntary; (2) it must be made with the assistance of
competent and independent counsel; (3) it must be express; and (4) it must be in
writing.[51] The records show that the admission by appellant was verbal. It was also
uncounselled. A verbal admission allegedly made by an accused during the
investigation, without the assistance of counsel at the time of his arrest and even before
his formal investigation is not only inadmissible for being violative of the right to counsel
during criminal investigations, it is also hearsay.[52] Even if the confession or admission
were "gospel truth", if it was made without assistance of counsel and without a valid
waiver of such assistance, the confession is inadmissible in evidence, regardless of the
absence of coercion or even if it had been voluntarily given.[53]
It is fundamental in criminal prosecutions that before an accused may be convicted
of a crime, the prosecution must establish by proof beyond reasonable doubt that a
crime was committed and that the accused is the author thereof. [54] The evidence
arrayed against the accused, however, must not only stand the test of reason, [55] it must
likewise be credible and competent.[56] Competent evidence is "generally admissible"
evidence.[57] Admissible evidence, in turn, is evidence "of such a character that the court
or judge is bound to receive it, that is, allow it to be introduced at trial." [58]
In the instant case, the trial court relied on two pieces of probative matter to convict
appellant of the offense charged. These were the seized marijuana plants, and
appellant's purportedly voluntary confession of ownership of said marijuana plants to the
police. Other than these proofs, there was no other evidence presented to link appellant
with the offense charged. As earlier discussed, it was error on the trial court's part to
have admitted both of these proofs against the accused and to have relied upon said
proofs to convict him. For said evidence is doubly tainted.
First, as earlier pointed out, the seized marijuana plants were obtained in violation
of appellant's constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. The
search and seizure were void ab initio for having been conducted without the requisite
judicial warrant. The prosecution's very own evidence clearly establishes that the police
had sufficient time to obtain a warrant. There was no showing of such urgency or
necessity for the warrantless search or the immediate seizure of the marijuana plants
subject of this case. To reiterate, said marijuana plants cannot be utilized to prove
appellant's guilt without running afoul of the constitutional guarantees against illegal
searches and the inadmissibility of evidence procured pursuant to an unlawful search
and seizure.
Second, the confession of ownership of the marijuana plants, which appellant
allegedly made to the police during investigation, is not only hearsay but also violative of
the Bill of Rights. The purported confession was made without the assistance of
competent and independent counsel, as mandated by the Charter. Thus, said
confession cannot be used to convict appellant without running afoul of the
Constitution's requirement that a suspect in a criminal investigation must have the
services of competent and independent counsel during such investigation.
In sum, both the object evidence and the testimonial evidence as to appellant's
voluntary confession of ownership of the prohibited plants relied upon to prove
appellant's guilt failed to meet the test of Constitutional competence.

The Constitution decrees that, "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be
presumed innocent until the contrary is proved..."[59] To justify the conviction of the
accused, the prosecution must adduce that quantum of evidence sufficient to overcome
the constitutional presumption of innocence. The prosecution must stand or fall on its
evidence and cannot draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the
accused.[60] Absent the required degree of proof of an accused's guilt, he is entitled to an
acquittal.[61] In this case, the seized marijuana plants linking appellant to the crime
charged are miserably tainted with constitutional infirmities, which render these
inadmissible "for any purpose in any proceeding." [62] Nor can the confession obtained
during the uncounselled investigation be used against appellant, "it being inadmissible
in evidence against him.[63] Without these proffered but proscribed materials, we find
that the prosecution's remaining evidence did not even approximate the quantum of
evidence necessary to warrant appellant's conviction. Hence, the presumption of
innocence in his favor stands. Perforce, his acquittal is in order.
In acquitting an appellant, we are not saying that he is lily-white, or pure as driven
snow. Rather, we are declaring his innocence because the prosecution's evidence failed
to show his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. For that is what the basic law
requires. Where the evidence is insufficient to overcome the presumption of innocence
in favor of the accused, then his "acquittal must follow in faithful obeisance to the
fundamental law."[64]
WHEREFORE, the decision promulgated on February 18, 1997, by the Regional
Trial Court of Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, Branch 27, in Criminal Case No. 3105,
finding Abe Valdez y Dela Cruz, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section 9 of
the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, and imposing upon him the death penalty, is hereby
REVERSED and SET ASIDE for insufficiency of evidence. Appellant is
ACQUITTED and ordered RELEASED immediately from confinement unless held for
another lawful cause.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban,
Purisima, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.
Ynares-Santiago, J., on leave.

[1]

Records, pp. 54-58.

[2]

Id. at 1.

[3]

TSN, November 19, 1996, p. 3.

[4]

Exhibit 1, Exhibit C, Supra Note 1, at 3. See also TSN, November 20, 1996, p. 3.

[5]

TSN, November 20, 1996, pp. 5-6.

[6]

TSN, December 11, 1996, p. 3. See also Supra Note 5, at 6.

[7]

TSN, November 21, 1996, p. 3. See also Exhibit D, Supra Note 1, at 4.

[8]

Exhibits I, I-1, Supra Note 1, at 24-A-24-B. See also TSN, November 28, 1996, pp. 10-11.

[9]

TSN, November 28, 1996, pp. 5-6.

[10]

Ibid.

[11]

Exhibit A, Supra Note 1 at 16.

[12]

Exhibits J, J-1 to J-3, Supra Note 1, at 41.

[13]

Supra.

[14]

TSN, January 15, 1997, pp. 2-3.

[15]

Id. at 6.

[16]

Id. at 4.

[17]

Id. at 5.

[18]

Supra Note 15.

[19]

Supra Note 14, at 7.

[20]

Id.

[21]

Id. at 10.

[22]

Id. at 11.

[23]

TSN, January 28, 1997, p. 2.

[24]

Exhibit J (should be Exhibit K), Supra Note 1, at 49.

[25]

Supra Note 23, at 4.

[26]

Id. at 8.

[27]

Ibid.

[28]

Supra Note 1, at 58.

[29]

Rollo, pp. 31-32.

[30]

Supra Note 28.

[31]

Art. III, Sec. 2 states: the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects
against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable,
and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined
personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses
he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be
seized.
[32]

People v. Alicando, 251 SCRA 293, 314 (1995) citing Nardone v. US, 308 US 388, 60 S. Ct. 266, 84
L. Ed. 307 (1939).
[33]

Art. III, Sec. 3(2) provides: Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be
inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.
[34]

These instances include:

(a) A search as an incident to a lawful arrest, provided that the search is made contemporaneous to the
arrest and within a permissible area of search. See RULES OF COURT, Rule 126, Sec. 12.; People v.
Musa, 217 SCRA 59 (1992); People v. Catan, 205 SCRA 235 (1992); Posadas v. Court of Appeals, 188
SCRA 288 (1990); and People v. Tangliben, 184 SCRA 220 (1990).

(b) Searches of vessels and aircraft for violation of immigration, customs, and drug laws. See Hizon v.
Court of Appeals, 265 SCRA 517 (1996); Roldan v. Arca, 65 SCRA 336 (1975). C.f. People v.
Ammumudin, 163 SCRA 402 (1988)
(c) Searches of automobiles at borders or constructive borders. See Mustang Lumber v. Court of
Appeals, 257 SCRA 450 (1996); People v. Balingan, 241 SCRA 277 (1995); People v. Lo Hoi Wing, 193
SCRA 122 (1991); Valmonte v. de Villa, 185 SCRA 665 (1990), 178 SCRA 211 (1989); People v. Court of
First Instance of Rizal, 101 SCRA 86 (1980), and Papa v. Mago, 22 SCRA 857 (1968).
(d) Inspection of buildings and other premises to enforce fire safety, sanitary, and other building
regulations.
(e) Where the prohibited articles or contraband are in plain view See People v. Musa, supra; Chia v.
Acting Collector of Customs, 177 SCRA 735 (1989)
[35]

People v. Bolasa, G.R. No. 125754, December 22, 1999, p. 5, citing People v. Aruta, 288 SCRA
626, 637-638 (1998).
[36]

TSN, December 11, 1996, pp. 2-3.

[37]

People v. Musa, 217 SCRA 597, 611 (1993) citing Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 US 443, 29 L. Ed
2d 564 (1971).
[38]

TSN, November 19, 1996, p. 4.

[39]

Villanueva v. Querubin, 48 SCRA 345, 349 (1972).

[40]

Rodriguez v. Villamiel, 65 Phil. 230, 235 (1937); Alvarez v. CFI of Tayabas, 64 Phil. 33, 41 (1937).

[41]

Terry v. Ohio, 20 L. Ed.889, 899 (1968) citing Katz v. United States, 389 US 347, 351, 19 L. Ed 2d
576, 582, 88 S. Ct 507 (1967).
[42]

Supra Note 1, at 57.

[43]

Art. III, Sec. 12 (1).

[44]

Gamboa v. Cruz, 162 SCRA 642, 648 (1988); People v. Ayson, 175 SCRA 216, 231 (1989) uses
under investigation for the commission of an offense.
[45]

Gamboa v. Cruz, supra, 651.

[46]

People v. De Jesus, 213 SCRA 345, 351 (1992).

[47]

TSN, December 11, 1996, p. 5.

[48]

People v. Logronio, 214 SCRA 519, 528 (1992) citing People v. Caguioa, 95 SCRA 2, 9, (1980).

[49]

Supra Note 46, at 4.

[50]

Supra Note 4.

[51]

People v. Tan, 286 SCRA 207, 214 (1998); People v. Jerez, 285 SCRA 393, 399 (1998); People v.
Calvo, Jr., 269 SCRA 676, 682 (1997); People v. Cabiles, 284 SCRA 199, 211 (1997).
[52]

People v. Cabintoy, 247 SCRA 442, 449 (1995) citing People v. Dacoycoy, 208 SCRA 583 (1992);
People v. Rodriguez, 205 SCRA 791 (1992); and People v. Gonzales, 189 SCRA 343 (1990).
[53]

People v. Cabintoy, supra, 450, citing People v. Penillos, 205 SCRA 546 (1992); People v. Repe, 175
SCRA 422 (1989).
[54]

People v. Chavez, 278 SCRA 230, 242 (1997) citing People v. Bello, 237 SCRA 347, 352 (1994).

[55]

People v. Vasquez, 280 SCRA 160, 178 (1997) citing People v. Salcedo, 273 SCRA 473 (1997).

[56]

People v. Berroya, 283 SCRA 111, 121 (1997).

[57]

BLACKS LAW DICTIONARY (6 Ed. 1991) 284.

th

[58]

Id. at 47.

[59]

Art. III, Sec. 14 (2).

[60]

People v. Acuno, G.R. No. 130964, September 3, 1999.

[61]

People v. Elloreg, et al., G.R. No. 126998, September 14, 1999, pp. 30-31, citing People v. Fider, 223
SCRA 117 (1993).
[62]

CONST., Art. III, Sec. 3 (2).

[63]

CONST., Art. III, Sec. 12 (3).

[64]

People v. Bolasa and Delos Reyes, G.R. No. 125754, December 22, 1999, p. 7.