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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs ANDRE MARTI

G.R. No. 81561 January 18, 1991


193 SCRA 57
VERSION 1:
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FACTS:
August 14, 1957, the appellant and his common-law wife, Sherly Reyes,
went to the booth of the Manila Packing and Export Forwarders
carrying Four (4) wrapped packages. The appellant informed Anita Reyes
that he was sending the packages to a friend in Zurich, Switzerland. Anita
Reyes asked if she could examine and inspect the packages. She refused
and assures her that the packages simply contained books, cigars, and
gloves.
Before the delivery of appellants box to the Bureau of Customs and
Bureau of Posts, Mr. Job Reyes (Proprietor), following the standard
operating procedure, opened the boxes for final inspection. A peculiar
odor emitted from the box and that the gloves contain dried leaves. He
prepared a letter and reported to the NBI and requesting a laboratory
examinations. The dried marijuana leaves were found to have contained
inside the cellophane wrappers.

delivery, Job Reyes, husband of Anita and proprietor of the courier


company, conducted an inspection of the package as part of standard
operating procedures. Upon opening the package, he noticed a suspicious
odor which made him took sample of the substance he found inside. He
reported this to the NBI and invited agents to his office to inspect the
package. In the presence of the NBI agents, Job Reyes opened the
suspicious package and found dried-marijuana leaves inside. A case was
filed against Andre Marti in violation of R.A. 6425 and was found guilty
by the court a quo. Andre filed an appeal in the Supreme Court claiming
that his constitutional right of privacy was violated and that the evidence
acquired from his package was inadmissible as evidence against him.
Issue:
Can the Constitutional Right of Privacy be enforced against private
individuals?
Ruling:
The Supreme Court held based on the speech of Commissioner Bernas
that the Bill of Rights governs the relationship between the individual and
the state.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the seizing of illegal objects is legal?

The constitutional proscription against unlawful searches and seizures


therefore applies as a restraint directed only against the government and
its agencies tasked with the enforcement of the law. It is not meant to be
invoked against acts of private individuals. It will be recalled that Mr Job
Reyes was the one who opened the box in the presence of the NBI agents
in his place of business. The mere presence of the NBI agents did not
convert the reasonable search effected by Mr. Reyes into a warrantless
search and siezure proscribed by the constitution. Merely to observe and
look at that which is in plain sight is not a search.

HELD:
Yes, appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

The judgement of conviction finding appeallant guilty beyond reasonable


doubt of the crime charged was AFFIRMED.

The accused appellant assigns the following errors: The lower court
erred in admitting in evidence the illegality of search and seized objects
contained in the four (4) parcels.

RATIONALE:
Article III, Sections 2 and 3, 1987 Constitution
Mapp vs Ohio, exclusionary rule
Stonehill vs Diokno, declared as inadmissible any evidence obtained
by virtue of a defective search warrant, abandoning in the process the
ruling earlier adopted in Mercado vs Peoples Court.
The case at the bar assumes a peculiar character since the evidence
sought to be excluded was primarily discovered and obtained by a private
person, acting in a private capacity and without the intervention and
participation of state authorities. Under the circumstances, can accused /
appellant validly claim that his constitutional right against unreasonable
search and seizure.
The contraband in this case at bar having come into possession of the
government without the latter transgressing appellants rights against
unreasonable search and seizure, the Court sees no cogent reason whty
the same should not be admitted.
FACTUAL CONSIDERATIONS Readily foreclose the proportion
that NBI agents conducted an illegal search and seizure of the prohibited
merchandise, clearly that the NBI agents made no search and seizure
much less an illegal one, contrary to the postulate of accused / appellant.
CHADWICK vs STATE, having observed that which is open, where no
trespass has been committed in aid thereof
BILL OF RIGHTS
The protection of fundamental liberties in the essence of constitutional
democracy, protection against whom, protection against the STATE.

VERSION 2:

Facts:
On August 14, 1987, the appellant and his common-law wife, Shirley
Reyes went to Manila Packaging and Export Forwarders to send packages
to Zurich, Switzerland. It was received by Anita Reyes and ask if she could
inspect the packages. Shirley refused and eventually convinced Anita to
seal the package making it ready for shipment. Before being sent out for

VERSION 3:

Facts :
Andre Marti and his wife went to Manila Packing and Export Forwarders,
carrying with them four gift wrapped packages to be delivered to his
friend in Zurich, Switzerland. Anita Reyes (wife of the proprietor) asked if
she could inspect the packages, however, Marti refused assuring that it
only contained books, cigars and gloves as gift to his friend.
Before delivery to Bureau of Customs/Posts, the proprietor Job Reyes,
following standard operating procedure, opened the boxes for final
inspection. When he opened Marti's boxes, a particular odor emitted
therefrom and he soon found out that the boxes contained dried
marijuana leaves. He reported the incident to the NBI who acknowledged
custody of the incident. Marti was convicted for violation of R.A. 6425,
otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act.
Constitutional Issues :
1. Marti contends that the evidence had been obtained in violation of his
constitutional rights against unreasonable seach and siezure and privacy
of communication.
Ruling :
1. Evidence sought to be excluded was primarily discovered and obtained
by a private person, acting in a private capacity and without the
intervention and participation of State authorities. In the absence of
governmental interference, the libertied guaranteed by the Constitution
cannot be invoked against the State.
2. Mere presence of NBI agents does not convert it to warrantless search
and siezure. Merely to look at that which is plain sight is not search.
Having observed that which is open, where no trespass has been
committed is not search.
Commissioner Bernas :
The protection of fundamental liberties in the essence of constitutional
democracy...is a protection against the State. The Bill of Rights governs
the relationship between the individual and the State. Its concern is not
the relation between individuals, between a private individual and other
individuals. What the Bill of Rights does is to declare some forbidden
zones in the private sphere inaccessible to any power holder.
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