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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 81561 January 18, 1991
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee
vs.
ANDRE MARTI, accused-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Reynaldo B. Tatoy and Abelardo E. Rogacion for accused-appellant.
BIDIN, J.:p
This is an appeal from a decision * rendered by the Special Criminal Court of Manila (Regional Trial Court,
Branch XLIX) convicting accused-appellant of violation of Section 21 (b), Article IV in relation to Section 4,
Article 11 and Section 2 (e) (i), Article 1 of Republic Act 6425, as amended, otherwise known as the
Dangerous Drugs Act.
The facts as summarized in the brief of the prosecution are as follows:
On August 14, 1987, between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m., the appellant and his common-law
wife, Shirley Reyes, went to the booth of the "Manila Packing and Export Forwarders" in the
Pistang Pilipino Complex, Ermita, Manila, carrying with them four (4) gift wrapped packages.
Anita Reyes (the proprietress and no relation to Shirley Reyes) attended to them. The
appellant informed Anita Reyes that he was sending the packages to a friend in Zurich,
Switzerland. Appellant filled up the contract necessary for the transaction, writing therein his
name, passport number, the date of shipment and the name and address of the consignee,
namely, "WALTER FIERZ, Mattacketr II, 8052 Zurich, Switzerland" (Decision, p. 6)
Anita Reyes then asked the appellant if she could examine and inspect the packages.
Appellant, however, refused, assuring her that the packages simply contained books,
cigars, and gloves and were gifts to his friend in Zurich. In view of appellant's
representation, Anita Reyes no longer insisted on inspecting the packages. The four (4)
packages were then placed inside a brown corrugated box one by two feet in size (1' x 2').
Styro-foam was placed at the bottom and on top of the packages before the box was sealed
with masking tape, thus making the box ready for shipment (Decision, p. 8).
Before delivery of appellant's box to the Bureau of Customs and/or Bureau of
Posts, Mr. Job Reyes (proprietor) and husband of Anita (Reyes), following standard
operating procedure, opened the boxes for final inspection. When he opened appellant's
box, a peculiar odor emitted therefrom. His curiousity aroused, he squeezed one of the
bundles allegedly containing gloves and felt dried leaves inside. Opening one of the
bundles, he pulled out a cellophane wrapper protruding from the opening of one of the
gloves. He made an opening on one of the cellophane wrappers and took several grams of
the contents thereof (tsn, pp. 29-30, October 6, 1987; Emphasis supplied).
Job Reyes forthwith prepared a letter reporting the shipment to the NBI and requesting a
laboratory examination of the samples he extracted from the cellophane wrapper (tsn, pp. 56, October 6, 1987).
He brought the letter and a sample of appellant's shipment to the Narcotics Section of the
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), at about 1:30 o'clock in the afternoon of that
date, i.e., August 14, 1987. He was interviewed by the Chief of Narcotics Section. Job
Reyes informed the NBI that the rest of the shipment was still in his office. Therefore, Job

Reyes and three (3) NBI agents, and a photographer, went to the Reyes' office at Ermita,
Manila (tsn, p. 30, October 6, 1987).
Job Reyes brought out the box in which appellant's packages were placed and, in the
presence of the NBI agents, opened the top flaps, removed the styro-foam and took out the
cellophane wrappers from inside the gloves. Dried marijuana leaves were found to have
been contained inside the cellophane wrappers (tsn, p. 38, October 6, 1987; Emphasis
supplied).
The package which allegedly contained books was likewise opened by Job Reyes. He
discovered that the package contained bricks or cake-like dried marijuana leaves. The
package which allegedly contained tabacalera cigars was also opened. It turned out that
dried marijuana leaves were neatly stocked underneath the cigars (tsn, p. 39, October 6,
1987).
The NBI agents made an inventory and took charge of the box and of the contents thereof,
after signing a "Receipt" acknowledging custody of the said effects (tsn, pp. 2-3, October 7,
1987).
Thereupon, the NBI agents tried to locate appellant but to no avail. Appellant's stated address in his
passport being the Manila Central Post Office, the agents requested assistance from the latter's Chief
Security. On August 27, 1987, appellant, while claiming his mail at the Central Post Office, was invited by
the NBI to shed light on the attempted shipment of the seized dried leaves. On the same day the Narcotics
Section of the NBI submitted the dried leaves to the Forensic Chemistry Section for laboratory examination.
It turned out that the dried leaves were marijuana flowering tops as certified by the forensic chemist.
(Appellee's Brief, pp. 9-11, Rollo, pp. 132-134).
Thereafter, an Information was filed against appellant for violation of RA 6425, otherwise known as the
Dangerous Drugs Act.
After trial, the court a quo rendered the assailed decision.
In this appeal, accused/appellant assigns the following errors, to wit:
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING IN EVIDENCE THE ILLEGALLY SEARCHED
AND SEIZED OBJECTS CONTAINED IN THE FOUR PARCELS.
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING APPELLANT DESPITE THE
UNDISPUTED FACT THAT HIS RIGHTS UNDER THE CONSTITUTION WHILE UNDER
CUSTODIAL PROCEEDINGS WERE NOT OBSERVED.
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT GIVING CREDENCE TO THE EXPLANATION OF
THE APPELLANT ON HOW THE FOUR PARCELS CAME INTO HIS POSSESSION
(Appellant's Brief, p. 1; Rollo, p. 55)
1. Appellant contends that the evidence subject of the imputed offense had been obtained in violation of his
constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure and privacy of communication (Sec. 2 and 3,
Art. III, Constitution) and therefore argues that the same should be held inadmissible in evidence (Sec. 3
(2), Art. III).
Sections 2 and 3, Article III of the Constitution provide:
Sec. 2. 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.
Sec. 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except
upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise as
prescribed by law.

(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible
for any purpose in any proceeding.
Our present constitutional provision on the guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure had its
origin in the 1935 Charter which, worded as follows:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against
unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but
uponprobable cause, to be determined 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. (Sec. 1 [3],
Article III)
was in turn derived almost verbatim from the Fourth Amendment ** to the United States Constitution. As
such, the Court may turn to the pronouncements of the United States Federal Supreme Court and State
Appellate Courts which are considered doctrinal in this jurisdiction.
Thus, following the exclusionary rule laid down in Mapp v. Ohio by the US Federal Supreme Court (367 US
643, 81 S.Ct. 1684, 6 L.Ed. 1081 [1961]), this Court, in Stonehill v. Diokno (20 SCRA 383 [1967]), declared
as inadmissible any evidence obtained by virtue of a defective search and seizure warrant, abandoning in
the process the ruling earlier adopted in Moncado v. People's Court (80 Phil. 1 [1948]) wherein the
admissibility of evidence was not affected by the illegality of its seizure. The 1973 Charter (Sec. 4 [2], Art.
IV) constitutionalized the Stonehill ruling and is carried over up to the present with the advent of the 1987
Constitution.
In a number of cases, the Court strictly adhered to the exclusionary rule and has struck down the
admissibility of evidence obtained in violation of the constitutional safeguard against unreasonable
searches and seizures. (Bache & Co., (Phil.), Inc., v. Ruiz, 37 SCRA 823 [1971]; Lim v. Ponce de Leon, 66
SCRA 299 [1975]; People v. Burgos, 144 SCRA 1 [1986]; Roan v. Gonzales, 145 SCRA 687 [1987]; See
also Salazar v. Hon. Achacoso, et al., GR No. 81510, March 14, 1990).
It must be noted, however, that in all those cases adverted to, the evidence so obtained were invariably
procured by the State acting through the medium of its law enforcers or other authorized government
agencies.
On the other hand, the case at 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 searches and seizure has been violated? Stated
otherwise, may an act of a private individual, allegedly in violation of appellant's constitutional rights, be
invoked against the State?
We hold in the negative. In the absence of governmental interference, the liberties guaranteed by the
Constitution cannot be invoked against the State.
As this Court held in Villanueva v. Querubin (48 SCRA 345 [1972]:
1. This constitutional right (against unreasonable search and seizure) refers to the immunity
of one's person, whether citizen or alien, from interference by government, included in
which is his residence, his papers, and other possessions. . . .
. . . There the state, however powerful, does not as such have the access except under the
circumstances above noted, for in the traditional formulation, his house, however humble, is
his castle. Thus is outlawed any unwarranted intrusion by government, which is called upon
to refrain from any invasion of his dwelling and to respect the privacies of his life. . . . (Cf.
Schermerber v. California, 384 US 757 [1966] and Boyd v. United States, 116 US 616
[1886]; Emphasis supplied).
In Burdeau v. McDowell (256 US 465 (1921), 41 S Ct. 547; 65 L.Ed. 1048), the Court there in construing
the right against unreasonable searches and seizures declared that:

(t)he Fourth Amendment gives protection against unlawful searches and seizures, and as
shown in previous cases, its protection applies to governmental action. Its origin and history
clearly show that it was intended as a restraint upon the activities of sovereign authority, and
was not intended to be a limitation upon other than governmental agencies; as against such
authority it was the purpose of the Fourth Amendment to secure the citizen in the right of
unmolested occupation of his dwelling and the possession of his property, subject to the
right of seizure by process duly served.
The above ruling was reiterated in State v. Bryan (457 P.2d 661 [1968]) where a parking attendant who
searched the automobile to ascertain the owner thereof found marijuana instead, without the knowledge
and participation of police authorities, was declared admissible in prosecution for illegal possession of
narcotics.
And again in the 1969 case of Walker v. State (429 S.W.2d 121), it was held that the search and seizure
clauses are restraints upon the government and its agents, not upon private individuals (citing People v.
Potter, 240 Cal. App.2d 621, 49 Cap. Rptr, 892 (1966); State v. Brown, Mo., 391 S.W.2d 903 (1965); State
v. Olsen, Or., 317 P.2d 938 (1957).
Likewise appropos is the case of Bernas v. US (373 F.2d 517 (1967). The Court there said:
The search of which appellant complains, however, was made by a private citizen the owner
of a motel in which appellant stayed overnight and in which he left behind a travel case
containing the evidence*** complained of. The search was made on the motel owner's own
initiative. Because of it, he became suspicious, called the local police, informed them of the
bag's contents, and made it available to the authorities.

The fourth amendment and the case law applying it do not require exclusion of evidence
obtained through a search by a private citizen. Rather, the amendment only proscribes
governmental action."
The contraband in the case at bar having come into possession of the Government without the latter
transgressing appellant's rights against unreasonable search and seizure, the Court sees no cogent reason
why the same should not be admitted against him in the prosecution of the offense charged.
Appellant, however, would like this court to believe that NBI agents made an illegal search and seizure of
the evidence later on used in prosecuting the case which resulted in his conviction.
The postulate advanced by accused/appellant needs to be clarified in two days. In both instances, the
argument stands to fall on its own weight, or the lack of it.
First, the factual considerations of the case at bar readily foreclose the proposition that NBI agents
conducted an illegal search and seizure of the prohibited merchandise. Records of the case clearly indicate
that it was Mr. Job Reyes, the proprietor of the forwarding agency, who made search/inspection of the
packages. Said inspection was reasonable and a standard operating procedure on the part of Mr. Reyes as
a precautionary measure before delivery of packages to the Bureau of Customs or the Bureau of Posts
(TSN, October 6 & 7, 1987, pp. 15-18; pp. 7-8; Original Records, pp. 119-122; 167-168).
It will be recalled that after Reyes opened the box containing the illicit cargo, he took samples of the same
to the NBI and later summoned the agents to his place of business. Thereafter, he opened the parcel
containing the rest of the shipment and entrusted the care and custody thereof to the NBI agents. Clearly,
the NBI agents made no search and seizure, much less an illegal one, contrary to the postulate of
accused/appellant.
Second, the mere presence of the NBI agents did not convert the reasonable search effected by Reyes into
a warrantless search and seizure proscribed by the Constitution. Merely to observe and look at that which
is in plain sight is not a search. Having observed that which is open, where no trespass has been
committed in aid thereof, is not search (Chadwick v. State, 429 SW2d 135). Where the contraband articles
are identified without a trespass on the part of the arresting officer, there is not the search that is prohibited
by the constitution (US v. Lee 274 US 559, 71 L.Ed. 1202 [1927]; Ker v. State of California 374 US 23, 10
L.Ed.2d. 726 [1963]; Moore v. State, 429 SW2d 122 [1968]).

In Gandy v. Watkins (237 F. Supp. 266 [1964]), it was likewise held that where the property was taken into
custody of the police at the specific request of the manager and where the search was initially made by the
owner there is no unreasonable search and seizure within the constitutional meaning of the term.
That the Bill of Rights embodied in the Constitution is not meant to be invoked against acts of private
individuals finds support in the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission. True, the liberties
guaranteed by the fundamental law of the land must always be subject to protection. But protection against
whom? Commissioner Bernas in his sponsorship speech in the Bill of Rights answers the query which he
himself posed, as follows:
First, the general reflections. The protection of fundamental liberties in the essence of
constitutional democracy. Protection against whom? 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. (Sponsorship Speech of Commissioner Bernas , Record of the
Constitutional Commission, Vol. 1, p. 674; July 17, 1986; Emphasis supplied)
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. Thus, it
could only be invoked against the State to whom the restraint against arbitrary and unreasonable exercise
of power is imposed.
If the search is made upon the request of law enforcers, a warrant must generally be first secured if it is to
pass the test of constitutionality. However, if the search is made at the behest or initiative of the proprietor
of a private establishment for its own and private purposes, as in the case at bar, and without the
intervention of police authorities, the right against unreasonable search and seizure cannot be invoked for
only the act of private individual, not the law enforcers, is involved. In sum, the protection against
unreasonable searches and seizures cannot be extended to acts committed by private individuals so as to
bring it within the ambit of alleged unlawful intrusion by the government.
Appellant argues, however, that since the provisions of the 1935 Constitution has been modified by the
present phraseology found in the 1987 Charter, expressly declaring as inadmissible any evidence obtained
in violation of the constitutional prohibition against illegal search and seizure, it matters not whether the
evidence was procured by police authorities or private individuals (Appellant's Brief, p. 8, Rollo, p. 62).
The argument is untenable. For one thing, the constitution, in laying down the principles of the government
and fundamental liberties of the people, does not govern relationships between individuals. Moreover, it
must be emphasized that the modifications introduced in the 1987 Constitution (re: Sec. 2, Art. III) relate to
the issuance of either a search warrant or warrant of arrest vis-a-vis the responsibility of the judge in the
issuance thereof (See Soliven v. Makasiar, 167 SCRA 393 [1988]; Circular No. 13 [October 1, 1985] and
Circular No. 12 [June 30, 1987]. The modifications introduced deviate in no manner as to whom the
restriction or inhibition against unreasonable search and seizure is directed against. The restraint stayed
with the State and did not shift to anyone else.
Corolarilly, alleged violations against unreasonable search and seizure may only be invoked against the
State by an individual unjustly traduced by the exercise of sovereign authority. To agree with appellant that
an act of a private individual in violation of the Bill of Rights should also be construed as an act of the State
would result in serious legal complications and an absurd interpretation of the constitution.
Similarly, the admissibility of the evidence procured by an individual effected through private seizure
equally applies, in pari passu, to the alleged violation, non-governmental as it is, of appellant's
constitutional rights to privacy and communication.
2. In his second assignment of error, appellant contends that the lower court erred in convicting him despite
the undisputed fact that his rights under the constitution while under custodial investigation were not
observed.
Again, the contention is without merit, We have carefully examined the records of the case and found
nothing to indicate, as an "undisputed fact", that appellant was not informed of his constitutional rights or
that he gave statements without the assistance of counsel. The law enforcers testified that

accused/appellant was informed of his constitutional rights. It is presumed that they have regularly
performed their duties (See. 5(m), Rule 131) and their testimonies should be given full faith and credence,
there being no evidence to the contrary. What is clear from the records, on the other hand, is that appellant
refused to give any written statement while under investigation as testified by Atty. Lastimoso of the NBI,
Thus:
Fiscal Formoso:
You said that you investigated Mr. and Mrs. Job Reyes. What about the accused here, did
you investigate the accused together with the girl?
WITNESS:
Yes, we have interviewed the accused together with the girl but the accused availed of his
constitutional right not to give any written statement, sir. (TSN, October 8, 1987, p. 62;
Original Records, p. 240)
The above testimony of the witness for the prosecution was not contradicted by the defense on crossexamination. As borne out by the records, neither was there any proof by the defense that appellant gave
uncounselled confession while being investigated. What is more, we have examined the assailed judgment
of the trial court and nowhere is there any reference made to the testimony of appellant while under
custodial investigation which was utilized in the finding of conviction. Appellant's second assignment of
error is therefore misplaced.
3. Coming now to appellant's third assignment of error, appellant would like us to believe that he was not
the owner of the packages which contained prohibited drugs but rather a certain Michael, a German
national, whom appellant met in a pub along Ermita, Manila: that in the course of their 30-minute
conversation, Michael requested him to ship the packages and gave him P2,000.00 for the cost of the
shipment since the German national was about to leave the country the next day (October 15, 1987, TSN,
pp. 2-10).
Rather than give the appearance of veracity, we find appellant's disclaimer as incredulous, self-serving and
contrary to human experience. It can easily be fabricated. An acquaintance with a complete stranger struck
in half an hour could not have pushed a man to entrust the shipment of four (4) parcels and shell out
P2,000.00 for the purpose and for appellant to readily accede to comply with the undertaking without first
ascertaining its contents. As stated by the trial court, "(a) person would not simply entrust contraband and
of considerable value at that as the marijuana flowering tops, and the cash amount of P2,000.00 to a
complete stranger like the Accused. The Accused, on the other hand, would not simply accept such
undertaking to take custody of the packages and ship the same from a complete stranger on his mere sayso" (Decision, p. 19, Rollo, p. 91). As to why he readily agreed to do the errand, appellant failed to explain.
Denials, if unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence, are negative self-serving evidence which
deserve no weight in law and cannot be given greater evidentiary weight than the testimony of credible
witnesses who testify on affirmative matters (People v. Esquillo, 171 SCRA 571 [1989]; People vs. Sariol,
174 SCRA 237 [1989]).
Appellant's bare denial is even made more suspect considering that, as per records of the Interpol, he was
previously convicted of possession of hashish by the Kleve Court in the Federal Republic of Germany on
January 1, 1982 and that the consignee of the frustrated shipment, Walter Fierz, also a Swiss national, was
likewise convicted for drug abuse and is just about an hour's drive from appellant's residence in Zurich,
Switzerland (TSN, October 8, 1987, p. 66; Original Records, p. 244; Decision, p. 21; Rollo, p. 93).
Evidence to be believed, must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness, but it must be
credible in itself such as the common experience and observation of mankind can approve as probable
under the circumstances (People v. Alto, 26 SCRA 342 [1968], citing Daggers v. Van Dyke, 37 N.J. Eg.
130; see alsoPeople v. Sarda, 172 SCRA 651 [1989]; People v. Sunga, 123 SCRA 327 [1983]); Castaares
v. CA, 92 SCRA 567 [1979]). As records further show, appellant did not even bother to ask Michael's full
name, his complete address or passport number. Furthermore, if indeed, the German national was the
owner of the merchandise, appellant should have so indicated in the contract of shipment (Exh. "B",
Original Records, p. 40). On the contrary, appellant signed the contract as the owner and shipper thereof
giving more weight to the presumption that things which a person possesses, or exercises acts of

ownership over, are owned by him (Sec. 5 [j], Rule 131). At this point, appellant is therefore estopped to
claim otherwise.
Premises considered, we see no error committed by the trial court in rendering the assailed judgment.
WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
charged is hereby AFFIRMED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Fernan, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr. and Feliciano, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-19550

June 19, 1967

HARRY S. STONEHILL, ROBERT P. BROOKS, JOHN J. BROOKS and KARL BECK, petitioners,
vs.
HON. JOSE W. DIOKNO, in his capacity as SECRETARY OF JUSTICE; JOSE LUKBAN, in his
capacity as Acting Director, National Bureau of Investigation; SPECIAL PROSECUTORS PEDRO D.
CENZON, EFREN I. PLANA and MANUEL VILLAREAL, JR. and ASST. FISCAL MANASES G. REYES;
JUDGE AMADO ROAN, Municipal Court of Manila; JUDGE ROMAN CANSINO, Municipal Court of
Manila; JUDGE HERMOGENES CALUAG, Court of First Instance of Rizal-Quezon City Branch, and
JUDGE DAMIAN JIMENEZ, Municipal Court of Quezon City, respondents.
Paredes, Poblador, Cruz and Nazareno and Meer, Meer and Meer and Juan T. David for petitioners.
Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General Pacifico P. de Castro, Assistant
Solicitor General Frine C. Zaballero, Solicitor Camilo D. Quiason and Solicitor C. Padua for respondents.
CONCEPCION, C.J.:
Upon application of the officers of the government named on the margin 1 hereinafter referred to as
Respondents-Prosecutors several judges 2 hereinafter referred to as Respondents-Judges issued,
on different dates,3 a total of 42 search warrants against petitioners herein 4 and/or the corporations of
which they were officers,5 directed to the any peace officer, to search the persons above-named and/or the
premises of their offices, warehouses and/or residences, and to seize and take possession of the following
personal property to wit:
Books of accounts, financial records, vouchers, correspondence, receipts, ledgers, journals,
portfolios, credit journals, typewriters, and other documents and/or papers showing all business
transactions including disbursements receipts, balance sheets and profit and loss statements and
Bobbins (cigarette wrappers).
as "the subject of the offense; stolen or embezzled and proceeds or fruits of the offense," or "used or
intended to be used as the means of committing the offense," which is described in the applications
adverted to above as "violation of Central Bank Laws, Tariff and Customs Laws, Internal Revenue (Code)
and the Revised Penal Code."
Alleging that the aforementioned search warrants are null and void, as contravening the Constitution and
the Rules of Court because, inter alia: (1) they do not describe with particularity the documents, books
and things to be seized; (2) cash money, not mentioned in the warrants, were actually seized; (3) the
warrants were issued to fish evidence against the aforementioned petitioners in deportation cases filed
against them; (4) the searches and seizures were made in an illegal manner; and (5) the documents,
papers and cash money seized were not delivered to the courts that issued the warrants, to be disposed of
in accordance with law on March 20, 1962, said petitioners filed with the Supreme Court this original
action for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus and injunction, and prayed that, pending final disposition of the
present case, a writ of preliminary injunction be issued restraining Respondents-Prosecutors, their agents
and /or representatives from using the effects seized as aforementioned or any copies thereof, in the
deportation cases already adverted to, and that, in due course, thereafter, decision be rendered quashing
the contested search warrants and declaring the same null and void, and commanding the respondents,
their agents or representatives to return to petitioners herein, in accordance with Section 3, Rule 67, of the
Rules of Court, the documents, papers, things and cash moneys seized or confiscated under the search
warrants in question.
In their answer, respondents-prosecutors alleged, 6 (1) that the contested search warrants are valid and
have been issued in accordance with law; (2) that the defects of said warrants, if any, were cured by
petitioners' consent; and (3) that, in any event, the effects seized are admissible in evidence against herein
petitioners, regardless of the alleged illegality of the aforementioned searches and seizures.

On March 22, 1962, this Court issued the writ of preliminary injunction prayed for in the petition. However,
by resolution dated June 29, 1962, the writ was partially lifted or dissolved, insofar as the papers,
documents and things seized from the offices of the corporations above mentioned are concerned; but, the
injunction was maintained as regards the papers, documents and things found and seized in the
residences of petitioners herein.7
Thus, the documents, papers, and things seized under the alleged authority of the warrants in question
may be split into two (2) major groups, namely: (a) those found and seized in the offices of the
aforementioned corporations, and (b) those found and seized in the residences of petitioners herein.
As regards the first group, we hold that petitioners herein have no cause of action to assail the legality of
the contested warrants and of the seizures made in pursuance thereof, for the simple reason that said
corporations have their respective personalities, separate and distinct from the personality of herein
petitioners, regardless of the amount of shares of stock or of the interest of each of them in said
corporations, and whatever the offices they hold therein may be. 8 Indeed, it is well settled that the legality
of a seizure can be contested only by the party whose rights have been impaired thereby, 9 and that the
objection to an unlawful search and seizure ispurely personal and cannot be availed of by third
parties. 10 Consequently, petitioners herein may not validly object to the use in evidence against them of
the documents, papers and things seized from the offices and premises of the corporations adverted to
above, since the right to object to the admission of said papers in evidence belongs exclusively to the
corporations, to whom the seized effects belong, and may not be invoked by the corporate officers in
proceedings against them in their individual capacity. 11 Indeed, it has been held:
. . . that the Government's action in gaining possession of papers belonging to the corporation did
not relate to nor did it affect the personal defendants. If these papers were unlawfully seized and
thereby the constitutional rights of or any one were invaded, they were the rights of
the corporation and not the rights of the other defendants. Next, it is clear that a question of the
lawfulness of a seizure can be raised onlyby one whose rights have been invaded. Certainly, such a
seizure, if unlawful, could not affect the constitutional rights of defendants whose property had not
been seized or the privacy of whose homes had not been disturbed; nor could they claim for
themselves the benefits of the Fourth Amendment, when its violation, if any, was with reference to
the rights of another. Remus vs. United States (C.C.A.)291 F. 501, 511. It follows, therefore, that the
question of the admissibility of the evidence based on an alleged unlawful search and seizure
does not extend to the personal defendants but embraces only thecorporation whose property was
taken. . . . (A Guckenheimer & Bros. Co. vs. United States, [1925] 3 F. 2d. 786, 789, Emphasis
supplied.)
With respect to the documents, papers and things seized in the residences of petitioners herein, the
aforementioned resolution of June 29, 1962, lifted the writ of preliminary injunction previously issued by this
Court, 12 thereby, in effect, restraining herein Respondents-Prosecutors from using them in evidence
against petitioners herein.
In connection with said documents, papers and things, two (2) important questions need be settled,
namely: (1) whether the search warrants in question, and the searches and seizures made under the
authority thereof, are valid or not, and (2) if the answer to the preceding question is in the negative, whether
said documents, papers and things may be used in evidence against petitioners herein.
1wph1.t

Petitioners maintain that the aforementioned search warrants are in the nature of general warrants and that
accordingly, the seizures effected upon the authority there of are null and void. In this connection, the
Constitution 13 provides:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against
unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon
probable cause, to be determined 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.
Two points must be stressed in connection with this constitutional mandate, namely: (1) that no warrant
shall issue but upon probable cause, to be determined by the judge in the manner set forth in said
provision; and (2) that the warrant shall particularly describe the things to be seized.

None of these requirements has been complied with in the contested warrants. Indeed, the same were
issued upon applications stating that the natural and juridical person therein named had committed a
"violation of Central Ban Laws, Tariff and Customs Laws, Internal Revenue (Code) and Revised Penal
Code." In other words, no specific offense had been alleged in said applications. The averments thereof
with respect to the offense committed were abstract. As a consequence, it was impossible for the judges
who issued the warrants to have found the existence of probable cause, for the same presupposes the
introduction of competent proof that the party against whom it is sought has performed particular acts, or
committed specific omissions, violating a given provision of our criminal laws. As a matter of fact, the
applications involved in this case do not allege any specific acts performed by herein petitioners. It would
be the legal heresy, of the highest order, to convict anybody of a "violation of Central Bank Laws, Tariff and
Customs Laws, Internal Revenue (Code) and Revised Penal Code," as alleged in the aforementioned
applications without reference to any determinate provision of said laws or
To uphold the validity of the warrants in question would be to wipe out completely one of the most
fundamental rights guaranteed in our Constitution, for it would place the sanctity of the domicile and the
privacy of communication and correspondence at the mercy of the whims caprice or passion of peace
officers. This is precisely the evil sought to be remedied by the constitutional provision above quoted to
outlaw the so-called general warrants. It is not difficult to imagine what would happen, in times of keen
political strife, when the party in power feels that the minority is likely to wrest it, even though by legal
means.
Such is the seriousness of the irregularities committed in connection with the disputed search warrants,
that this Court deemed it fit to amend Section 3 of Rule 122 of the former Rules of Court 14 by providing in
its counterpart, under the Revised Rules of Court 15 that "a search warrant shall not issue but upon
probable cause in connection with one specific offense." Not satisfied with this qualification, the Court
added thereto a paragraph, directing that "no search warrant shall issue for more than one specific
offense."
The grave violation of the Constitution made in the application for the contested search warrants was
compounded by the description therein made of the effects to be searched for and seized, to wit:
Books of accounts, financial records, vouchers, journals, correspondence, receipts, ledgers,
portfolios, credit journals, typewriters, and other documents and/or papers showing all business
transactions including disbursement receipts, balance sheets and related profit and loss
statements.
Thus, the warrants authorized the search for and seizure of records pertaining to all business
transactions of petitioners herein, regardless of whether the transactions were legal or illegal. The warrants
sanctioned the seizure of all records of the petitioners and the aforementioned corporations, whatever their
nature, thus openly contravening the explicit command of our Bill of Rights that the things to be seized
be particularly described as well as tending to defeat its major objective: the elimination
of general warrants.
Relying upon Moncado vs. People's Court (80 Phil. 1), Respondents-Prosecutors maintain that, even if the
searches and seizures under consideration were unconstitutional, the documents, papers and things thus
seized are admissible in evidence against petitioners herein. Upon mature deliberation, however, we are
unanimously of the opinion that the position taken in the Moncado case must be abandoned. Said position
was in line with the American common law rule, that the criminal should not be allowed to go free merely
"because the constable has blundered," 16 upon the theory that the constitutional prohibition against
unreasonable searches and seizures is protected by means other than the exclusion of evidence unlawfully
obtained, 17 such as the common-law action for damages against the searching officer, against the party
who procured the issuance of the search warrant and against those assisting in the execution of an illegal
search, their criminal punishment, resistance, without liability to an unlawful seizure, and such other legal
remedies as may be provided by other laws.
However, most common law jurisdictions have already given up this approach and eventually adopted the
exclusionary rule, realizing that this is the only practical means of enforcing the constitutional
injunction against unreasonable searches and seizures. In the language of Judge Learned Hand:

As we understand it, the reason for the exclusion of evidence competent as such, which has been
unlawfully acquired, is that exclusion is the only practical way of enforcing the constitutional
privilege. In earlier times the action of trespass against the offending official may have been
protection enough; but that is true no longer. Only in case the prosecution which itself controls the
seizing officials, knows that it cannot profit by their wrong will that wrong be repressed.18
In fact, over thirty (30) years before, the Federal Supreme Court had already declared:
If letters and private documents can thus be seized and held and used in evidence against a citizen
accused of an offense, the protection of the 4th Amendment, declaring his rights to be secure
against such searches and seizures, is of no value, and, so far as those thus placed are concerned,
might as well be stricken from the Constitution. The efforts of the courts and their officials to bring
the guilty to punishment, praiseworthy as they are, are not to be aided by the sacrifice of those
great principles established by years of endeavor and suffering which have resulted in their
embodiment in the fundamental law of the land.19
This view was, not only reiterated, but, also, broadened in subsequent decisions on the same Federal
Court. 20After reviewing previous decisions thereon, said Court held, in Mapp vs. Ohio (supra.):
. . . Today we once again examine the Wolf's constitutional documentation of the right of privacy
free from unreasonable state intrusion, and after its dozen years on our books, are led by it to close
the only courtroom door remaining open to evidence secured by official lawlessness in flagrant
abuse of that basic right, reserved to all persons as a specific guarantee against that very same
unlawful conduct. We hold that all evidence obtained by searches and seizures in violation of the
Constitution is, by that same authority, inadmissible in a State.
Since the Fourth Amendment's right of privacy has been declared enforceable against the States
through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth, it is enforceable against them by the same
sanction of exclusion as it used against the Federal Government. Were it otherwise, then just as
without the Weeks rule the assurance against unreasonable federal searches and seizures would
be "a form of words," valueless and underserving of mention in a perpetual charter of inestimable
human liberties, so too,without that rule the freedom from state invasions of privacy would be so
ephemeral and so neatly severed from its conceptual nexus with the freedom from all brutish
means of coercing evidence as not to permit this Court's high regard as a freedom "implicit in the
concept of ordered liberty." At the time that the Court held in Wolf that the amendment was
applicable to the States through the Due Process Clause, the cases of this Court as we have seen,
had steadfastly held that as to federal officers the Fourth Amendment included the exclusion of the
evidence seized in violation of its provisions. Even Wolf "stoutly adhered" to that proposition. The
right to when conceded operatively enforceable against the States, was not susceptible of
destruction by avulsion of the sanction upon which its protection and enjoyment had always been
deemed dependent under the Boyd, Weeks and Silverthorne Cases. Therefore, in extending the
substantive protections of due process to all constitutionally unreasonable searches state or
federal it was logically and constitutionally necessarily that the exclusion doctrine an essential
part of the right to privacy be also insisted upon as an essential ingredient of the right newly
recognized by the Wolf Case. In short, the admission of the new constitutional Right by Wolf could
not tolerate denial of its most important constitutional privilege, namely, the exclusion of the
evidence which an accused had been forced to give by reason of the unlawful seizure. To hold
otherwise is to grant the right but in reality to withhold its privilege and enjoyment. Only last year the
Court itself recognized that the purpose of the exclusionary rule to "is to deter to compel respect
for the constitutional guaranty in the only effectively available way by removing the incentive to
disregard it" . . . .
The ignoble shortcut to conviction left open to the State tends to destroy the entire system of
constitutional restraints on which the liberties of the people rest. Having once recognized that the
right to privacy embodied in the Fourth Amendment is enforceable against the States, and that the
right to be secure against rude invasions of privacy by state officers is, therefore constitutional in
origin, we can no longer permit that right to remain an empty promise. Because it is enforceable in
the same manner and to like effect as other basic rights secured by its Due Process Clause, we
can no longer permit it to be revocable at the whim of any police officer who, in the name of law

enforcement itself, chooses to suspend its enjoyment. Our decision, founded on reason and truth,
gives to the individual no more than that which the Constitution guarantees him to the police officer
no less than that to which honest law enforcement is entitled, and, to the courts, that judicial
integrity so necessary in the true administration of justice. (emphasis ours.)
Indeed, the non-exclusionary rule is contrary, not only to the letter, but also, to the spirit of the constitutional
injunction against unreasonable searches and seizures. To be sure, if the applicant for a search warrant
has competent evidence to establish probable cause of the commission of a given crime by the party
against whom the warrant is intended, then there is no reason why the applicant should not comply with the
requirements of the fundamental law. Upon the other hand, if he has no such competent evidence, then it
is not possible for the Judge to find that there is probable cause, and, hence, no justification for the
issuance of the warrant. The only possible explanation (not justification) for its issuance is the necessity
of fishing evidence of the commission of a crime. But, then, this fishing expedition is indicative of the
absence of evidence to establish a probable cause.
Moreover, the theory that the criminal prosecution of those who secure an illegal search warrant and/or
make unreasonable searches or seizures would suffice to protect the constitutional guarantee under
consideration, overlooks the fact that violations thereof are, in general, committed By agents of the party in
power, for, certainly, those belonging to the minority could not possibly abuse a power they do not have.
Regardless of the handicap under which the minority usually but, understandably finds itself in
prosecuting agents of the majority, one must not lose sight of the fact that the psychological and moral
effect of the possibility 21 of securing their conviction, is watered down by the pardoning power of the party
for whose benefit the illegality had been committed.
In their Motion for Reconsideration and Amendment of the Resolution of this Court dated June 29, 1962,
petitioners allege that Rooms Nos. 81 and 91 of Carmen Apartments, House No. 2008, Dewey Boulevard,
House No. 1436, Colorado Street, and Room No. 304 of the Army-Navy Club, should be included among
the premises considered in said Resolution as residences of herein petitioners, Harry S. Stonehill, Robert
P. Brook, John J. Brooks and Karl Beck, respectively, and that, furthermore, the records, papers and other
effects seized in the offices of the corporations above referred to include personal belongings of said
petitioners and other effects under their exclusive possession and control, for the exclusion of which they
have a standing under the latest rulings of the federal courts of federal courts of the United States. 22
We note, however, that petitioners' theory, regarding their alleged possession of and control over the
aforementioned records, papers and effects, and the alleged "personal" nature thereof, has Been
Advanced, notin their petition or amended petition herein, but in the Motion for Reconsideration and
Amendment of the Resolution of June 29, 1962. In other words, said theory would appear to be
readjustment of that followed in said petitions, to suit the approach intimated in the Resolution sought to be
reconsidered and amended. Then, too, some of the affidavits or copies of alleged affidavits attached to said
motion for reconsideration, or submitted in support thereof, contain either inconsistent allegations, or
allegations inconsistent with the theory now advanced by petitioners herein.
Upon the other hand, we are not satisfied that the allegations of said petitions said motion for
reconsideration, and the contents of the aforementioned affidavits and other papers submitted in support of
said motion, have sufficiently established the facts or conditions contemplated in the cases relied upon by
the petitioners; to warrant application of the views therein expressed, should we agree thereto. At any rate,
we do not deem it necessary to express our opinion thereon, it being best to leave the matter open for
determination in appropriate cases in the future.
We hold, therefore, that the doctrine adopted in the Moncado case must be, as it is hereby, abandoned;
that the warrants for the search of three (3) residences of herein petitioners, as specified in the Resolution
of June 29, 1962, are null and void; that the searches and seizures therein made are illegal; that the writ of
preliminary injunction heretofore issued, in connection with the documents, papers and other effects thus
seized in said residences of herein petitioners is hereby made permanent; that the writs prayed for are
granted, insofar as the documents, papers and other effects so seized in the aforementioned residences
are concerned; that the aforementioned motion for Reconsideration and Amendment should be, as it is
hereby, denied; and that the petition herein is dismissed and the writs prayed for denied, as regards the
documents, papers and other effects seized in the twenty-nine (29) places, offices and other premises
enumerated in the same Resolution, without special pronouncement as to costs.

Republic
SUPREME
Manila

of

the

Philippines
COURT

THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 109633 July 20, 1994
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
NORMANDO DEL ROSARIO Y LOPEZ, accused-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Topacio and Topacio for accused-appellants.
MELO, J.:
Normando del Rosario was charged before Branch 17 of the Regional Trial Court of the Fourth Judicial
Region stationed in Cavite City with Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunitions in Criminal Case No.
236-91 and Illegal Sale of Regulated Drugs in Criminal Case No. 237-91, under two informations reading,
respectively, as follows:
Criminal Case No. 236-91
That on or about September 4, 1991, in the City of Cavite, Republic of the Philippines and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, without legal
authority, did, then and there, willfully, unlawfully, feloniously and knowingly have in his
possession and control a homemade (paltik)caliber .22 revolver with three (3) live
ammunition.
Contrary to law.
Criminal Case No. 237-91
That on or about September 4, 1991, in the City of Cavite, Republic of the Philippines and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, without legal
authority, did, then and there, willfully, unlawfully, feloniously and knowingly sell to a poseur
buyer an aluminum foil containing Methamphetamine Hydrochloride also known as "Shabu",
a regulated drug.
Contrary to law.
(pp. 20-21, Rollo.)
Upon arraignment, accused-appellant pleaded not guilty to both charges, and after joint trial of the two
cases, the court a quo rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court finds the accused Normando del Rosario
y Lopez guilty beyond reasonable doubt in the above-entitled cases and he is hereby
sentenced to undergo imprisonment: in Crim. Case No. 236-91 for Violation of P.D. 1866 of
Seventeen (17) years, Four (4) months and One (1) day of reclusion temporal, as minimum
to Twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal, as maximum and in Crim. Case No. 237-91 for a
violation of Section 15, Article III of Republic Act 6425, as amended of life imprisonment and
to pay a fine of P30,000.00, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to
pay the costs in both cases.
The shabu, the One Hundred Peso bill and other paraphernalia are hereby ordered
confiscated in favor of the government.
(pp. 28-29, Rollo.)

From said decision, the instant appeal has been interposed.


The prosecution's version of the case, as set forth in appellee's brief, is as follows:
Upon application of SPO3 Raymundo Untiveros of the Philippine National Police (PNP) of
Cavite City, Regional Trial Court Judge Arturo de Guia issued in the morning of September
4,
1991
a
search
warrant
(Exh. T, p. 50, Rec. Crim. Case No. 237-91) authorizing the search and seizure of an
"undetermined quantity of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride commonly known as shabu and
its paraphernalias" in the premises of appellant's house located at 828 R. Basa St., San
Roque, Cavite City. However, the search warrant was not implemented immediately due to
the lack of police personnel to form the raiding team (pp. 4, 7, tsn., Feb. 4, 1992).
At about 9 o'clock in the evening of that day, a raiding team was finally organized. SPO3
Untiveros headed the raiding team with PO3 Rogelio Francisco, SPO1 Eduardo Novero,
SPO3 Reynaldo de la Cruz, PO1 Carlito Barbuco, PO3 Onrubio and SPO2 Villegas as
members
(pp. 5, 10, tsn., Feb. 4, 1992; p. 7, tsn., Dec. 11, 1991).
In the final briefing of the raiding team at the police station, it was agreed upon that PO1
Venerando Luna will buy shabu from appellant and after his return from appellant's house,
the raiding team will implement the search warrant (p. 10, tsn., Feb. 4, 1992; pp. 17-18, tsn.,
Dec. 11, 1991). A marked money consisting of a P100 bill bearing serial no. PQ 329406
(Exh. P, p. 51, Rec.) was given by the Station Commander to PO1 Luna and entered in the
police logbook (p. 12, Feb. 4, 1992). PO1 Luna with a companion proceeded to appellant's
house to implement the search warrant. Barangay Capt. Maigue, Norma del Rosario and
appellant witnessed the search at appellant's house (p. 10, tsn., Dec. 11, 1991). SPO3 de la
Cruz and PO3 Francisco found a black canister containing shabu, an aluminum foil, a
paltik .22 caliber (Exh. O) atop the TV set, three used ammunitions in a cup and three
wallets (Exhs. Q, R, S), one containing the marked money (Exh. P; pp. 11-12, tsn., Dec. 11,
1992). SPO1 Novero found inside a show box aluminum foils, napkins and a burner (p. 9,
tsn., March 11, 1992). SPO3 de la Cruz turned over the wallet containing the marked money
to PO3 Onrubio (p. 8, 32, tsn., Jan. 7, 1992). The seized items were photographed thereat
by Fred Agana and then turned over to PO3 Onrubio (pp. 8, 32, tsn., Jan. 7, 1992). SPO3
Untiveros issued receipts (Exhs. V, V-1, pp. 53-54, Rec.) for the seized items with Barangay
Capt. Maigue and appellant's sister Norma as signing witnesses. He also made a return
(Exh. U, p. 52, Rec.) of the seized items to the court (pp. 11-155, tsn., Feb. 18, 1992.).
At police station, the seized items were taped and initialed by SPO3 de la Cruz (p. 33, tsn.,
Jan. 7, 1992). The next day, SPO4 Pilapil, through PO1 Barbuco, forwarded to NBI Forensic
Chemist Mary Ann Aranas for laboratory analysis the aluminum foil (Exhs. A, J, pp. 37, 46,
Rec.) containing suspected shabu bought by PO1 Luna from appellant in the
buy-bust operation as well as the aluminum foils (Exhs. G, K, pp. 43, 47, Rec.) containing
suspected marijuana which were confiscated by virtue of the search warrant.
The findings of NBI Forensic Chemist Aranas disclosed that all the specimen submitted to
her for laboratory analysis by SPO1 Pilapil, thru PO1 Barbuco, gave positive results for
Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (pp. 2-9, tsn., Dec. 3, 1991; Exh. B, C, H, I, pp. 38, 39, 44,
45, Rec.).
(pp. 102-105, Rollo.)
Carefully evaluating the evidence on record, we believe that the prosecution has failed to prove the guilt of
accused-appellant. Much is to be desired in the manner the police authorities effected the arrest of
accused-appellant and the same observation may be made with regard to the way the prosecution
conducted its case.
Foremost among the inadequacies of the prosecution is its failure to call to the witness stand PO1
Venerando Luna, the alleged poseur-buyer. There is, thus, a total absence of evidence to establish the
purported sale of shabu by accused-appellant to Venerando Luna, the supposed poseur-buyer. The

omission to present the poseur-buyer casts serious doubts that an illegal sale of a dangerous drug actually
took place.
The trial court gave much weight to the testimonies of the police members of the buy-bust
operation. However, the prosecution did not present as witness the supposed poseur-buyer.
Such omission casts serious doubt on appellant's guilt because without the testimony of the
poseur-buyer, there is no convincing evidence to show that appellant sold marijuana. The
testimonies of the rest of the buy-bust operation are hearsay in view of the fact that the
poseur-buyer, was never presented at the trial. There was even no testimony that when the
accused-appellant handed the stuff to the poseur-buyer that the latter in turn handed the
marked money. The failure of the prosecution to present the alleged buyer of the marijuana
was a fatal flaw in the case against the accused.
(People vs. Fulgarillas, 212 SCRA 76, 80 [1992])
The testimony of prosecution witness PO3 Rogelio Francisco that Veneracion Luna, the alleged Poseurbuyer, bought shabu from accused-appellant was derived solely from what Luna supposedly told him (pp.
19-20, tsn., December 11, 1991) and, therefore, is patently hearsay evidence, without any evidentiary
weight whatsoever. Likewise, the statements of prosecution witnesses Policemen Reynaldo de la Cruz,
Raymundo Untiveros, and Eduardo Novera, Jr. as to the alleged sale of shabu are hearsay, without weight,
as all of them were not present during the alleged sale.
According to the version of the prosecution, during the alleged buy-bust operation, accused-appellant
handed over to Veneracion Luna, the alleged poseur-buyer, a quantity of shabu, and Luna in turn paid
accused-appellant a marked P100 bill and then returned to the police station and informed the raiding team
that he had already bought the shabu from accused-appellant. Thereupon, the raiding team proceeded to
the house of accused-appellant to implement the search warrant. The version of the prosecution is highly
incredible. The record is devoid of any reason why the police officers did not make any attempt to arrest
accused-appellant at the time he allegedly sold the shabu to Veneracion Luna who was accompanied by
another police officer. That was the opportune moment to arrest accused-appellant. The version foisted by
the prosecution upon this Court is contrary to human experience in the ordinary course of human conduct.
The usual procedure in a buy-bust operation is for the police officers to arrest the pusher of drugs at the
very moment he hands over the dangerous drug to the poseur-buyer. That is the very reason why such a
police operation is called a "buy-bust" operation. The police poseur-buyer "buys" dangerous drugs from the
pusher and "busts" (arrests) him the moment the pusher hands over the drug to the police officer.
We thus entertain serious doubts that the shabu contained in a small canister was actually seized or
confiscated at the residence of accused-appellant. In consequence, the manner the police officers
conducted the subsequent and much-delayed search is highly irregular. Upon bargaining into the residence
of accused-appellant, the police officers found him lying down and they immediately arrested and detained
him in the living room while they searched the other parts of the house. Although they fetched two persons
to witness the search, the witnesses were called in only after the policemen had already entered accusedappellant's residence (pp. 22-23, tsn, December 11, 1991), and, therefore, the policemen had more than
ample time to plant the shabu. Corollary to the constitutional precept that, in all criminal prosecutions, the
accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved (Sec. 14(2), Article III, Constitution of the
Republic of the Philippines) is the rule that in order to convict an accused the circumstances of the case
must exclude all and each and every hypothesis consistent with his innocence (People vs. Tanchoco; 76
Phil. 463 [1946]; People vs. Constante, 12 SCRA 653 [1964]; People vs. Jara, 144 SCRA 516 [1986]). The
facts of the case do not rule out the hypothesis that accused- appellant is innocent.
At any rate, accused-appellant cannot be convicted of possession of the shabu contained in a canister and
allegedly seized at his house, for the charge against him was for selling shabu with the information alleging
that the "accused, without legal authority did . . . sell to a poseur buyer an aluminum foil containing
Methamphetamine Hydrochloride . . ." Sale is totally different from possession. Article 1458 of the Civil
Code defines sale as a contract whereby "one of the contracting parties obligates himself to transfer the
ownership of and to deliver a determine thing, and the other to pay therefor a price certain in money or its
equivalent", while "possession is the holding of a thing or the enjoyment of a right" as defined by Article 523
of the Civil Code. Accused-appellant cannot be convicted of a crime which is not charged in the information

for to do so would deny him the due process of law (People vs. Despavellador, 1 SCRA 205 [1961]; People
vs. Mori, 55 SCRA 382 [1974]).
Neither can accused-appellant be convicted of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition. The search
warrant implemented by the raiding party authorized only the search and seizure of ". . . the described
quantity of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride commonly known as shabu and its paraphernalia" (Exh. O, p.
50, original record). Thus, the raiding party was authorized to seize only shabu and paraphernalia for the
use thereof and no other. A search warrant is not a sweeping authority empowering a raiding party to
undertake a finishing expedition to seize and confiscate any and all kinds of evidence or articles relating to
a crime. The Constitution itself (Section 2, Article III) and the Rules of Court (Section 3, Rule 126)
specifically mandate that the search warrant must particularly describe the things to be seized. Thus, the
search warrant was no authority for the police officers to seize the firearm which was not mentioned, much
less described with particularity, in the search warrant. Neither may it be maintained that the gun was
seized in the course of an arrest, for as earlier observed, accused-appellant's arrest was far from regular
and legal. Said firearm, having been illegally seized, the same is not admissible in evidence (Stonehill vs.
Diokno, 20 SCRA 383 [1967]). The Constitution expressly ordains the exclusion in evidence of illegally
seized articles.
Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for
any purpose in any proceeding.
(Section 3[2], Article III, Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines).
With the exclusion in evidence of the illegally seized firearm, there is, therefore, a total absence of evidence
to support the charge of illegal possession of firearm, against accused-appellant.
The same may be said of the charge of illegal possession of ammunition.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby REVERSED and accused-appellant is hereby
ACQUITTED in Criminal Case No. 236-91 and Criminal Case No. 237-91.
The immediate release of accused-appellant is hereby ordered unless there exists a pending valid cause
against him.
The shabu, the marked P100 bill, firearm, and ammunition are hereby ordered confiscated in favor of the
government.
SO ORDERED.

Republic
SUPREME
Manila

of

the

Philippines
COURT

SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 89373. March 9, 1993.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. YOLANDA GESMUNDO, accused-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Reynaldo M. Alcantara for accused-appellant.
SYLLABUS
1. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; IRRECONCILABLE CONTRADICTIONS IN TESTIMONIES OF
PROSECUTION WITNESSES CAST DOUBT ON GUILT OF ACCUSED. Irreconcilable and unexplained
contradictions in the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses cast doubt on the guilt of appellant and his
culpability to the crime charged. (People of the Philippines vs. Romeo F. Remorosa)
2. ID.; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; SEARCH WARRANT; SEARCH MADE WITHOUT THE PRESENCE OF
OCCUPANT, HIGHLY IRREGULAR; CASE AT BAR. The claim of the accused-appellant that the
marijuana was planted is strengthened by the manner in which the search was conducted by the police
authorities. The accused-appellant was seated at the sala together with Sgt. Yte when they heard someone
in the kitchen uttered "ito na." Apparently, the search of the accused-appellant's house was conducted in
violation of Section 7, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court which specifically provides that no search of a house,
room or any other premise shall be made except in the presence of the lawful occupant thereof or any
member of his family or in the absence of the latter, in the presence of two (2) witnesses of sufficient age
and discretion residing in the same locality. This requirement is mandatory to ensure regularity in the
execution of the search warrant. Violation of said rule is in fact punishable under Article 130 of the Revised
Penal Code.
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; VIOLATIVE OF THE SPIRIT AND LETTER OF THE LAW. As we have ruled in
Eduardo Quintero vs. The National Bureau of Investigation, et al. a procedure, wherein members of a
raiding party can roam around the raided premises unaccompanied by any witness, as the only witnesses
available as prescribed by law are made to witness a search conducted by the other members of the
raiding party in another part of the house, is violative of both the spirit and the letter of the law.
4. ID.; EVIDENCE; ADMISSION; OBTAINED IN VIOLATION OF RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED,
INADMISSIBLE. It is true that the police were able to get an admission from the accused-appellant that
marijuana was found in her possession but said admission embodied in a document entitled
"PAGPAPATUNAY" previously prepared by the police, is inadmissible in evidence against the accusedappellant for having been obtained in violation of her rights as a person under custodial investigation for the
commission of an offense. The records show that the accused-appellant was not informed of her right not
to sign the document; neither was she informed of her right to the assistance of counsel and the fact that
the document may be used as evidence against her.
5. ID.; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; SEARCH; PROPERTY SEIZED MUST BE DELIVERED TO THE JUDGE
WHO ISSUED THE WARRANT. Not only does the law require the presence of witnesses when the
search is conducted, but it also imposes upon the person making the search the duty to issue a detailed
receipt for the property seized. He is likewise required to deliver the property seized to the judge who
issued the warrant, together with a true and accurate inventory thereof duly verified under oath. Again,
these duties are mandatory and are required to preclude substitution of the items seized by interested
parties.
6. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; EXCEPTION. The trial judge cites the case of Yee Sue Koy, et al. vs. Mariano
Almeda, et al. (70 Phil. 141) to justify the retention by the police and the NBI of the custody of the allegedly
confiscated specimens. While in said decision, this Court recognized the fact that the objects seized were
retained by the agents of the Anti-Usury Board, instead of being turned over to the Justice of the Peace of

Sagay, yet the Court also held that it was "for the reason that the custody of said agents is the custody of
the issuing officer or court, the retention having been approved by the latter." Thus, approval by the court
which issued the search warrant is necessary for the retention of the property seized by the police officers;
and only then will their custody be considered custody of the court. Absent such approval, the police
officers have authority to retain possession of the marijuana and more so, to deliver the property to another
agency, like the NBI.
DECISION
PADILLA, J p:
Appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of San Pablo City, Branch 30, * in Criminal
Case No. 4358-SP imposing the penalty of reclusion perpetua on the accused-appellant for violation of
Section 4, Article II of Republic Act No. 6425 (Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972), as amended; sentencing her
to pay a fine of Twenty-Five Thousand (P25,000.00) pesos with subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency and to pay the costs.
In the Information filed by Second Assistant City Fiscal Rogelio B. Javier of San Pablo City, it was alleged:
"That on or about November 17, 1986, in the City of San Pablo, Republic of the Philippines and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the accused above-named, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously distribute and sell marijuana and confiscated in her possession is a plastic bag containing 100
grams of dried marijuana leaves and three (3) rolls of magazine newspaper containing marijuana, a
dangerous drug, without being authorized by law.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
City of San Pablo, November 21, 1986." 1
The facts as presented by the prosecution are stated in the decision of the trial court as follows:
" . . . in the morning of November 17, 1986, police officer Jose Luciano gave money and instructed his
civilian informer to buy marijuana from the accused at the back of the Cocoland Hotel at Brgy. Del
Remedio, San Pablo City, thereafter with another police officer, Luciano positioned himself at the ground
floor of the hotel and watched. He actually saw the accused selling marijuana to his civilian informer by the
door outside the house of the accused. Immediately thereafter, that same day Luciano applied for a search
warrant.
"At about 2:00 p.m. of that day, a raiding police team armed with Search Warrant No. 10 issued by Hon.
Judge Geronima Pueblo Atanacio of RTC, Branch XXXII of the Court, went to the residence of the Brgy.
Capt. Angel Capuno for them to be accompanied by him in serving the said warrant at the residence of the
accused located at the Cocoland Compound of said barangay.
"Upon reaching the residence of the accused, the police team were allowed entry inside the house on the
strength of the said search warrant shown to the accused. The accused cried upon reading the contents of
the warrant. She begged the team not to search and to leave her house. But the police team insisted on
their search. The accused led the team into her kitchen and she pointed to a metal basin on top of a table
as the hiding place of the dried marijuana flowering tops contained in a plastic bag marked ISETANN. The
police also recovered from a native "uway" cabinet dried marijuana flowering tops wrapped separately in
three (3) pieces of Komiks paper. After the discovery, the accused was photographed together with the
confiscated items. Thereafter, accused was made to acknowledge in writing that the dried marijuana
flowering tops were taken from her possession and control inside her residence. Brgy. Capt. Capuno also
affixed his countersignature thereto.
"The police forthwith brought the accused to the police station where she was properly booked. Pfc.
Luciano, Pat. Rizalde Perez and Brgy. Captain Capuno executed their sworn statements.
"On November 18, 1986, Pat. Angelito Caraan was dispatched to the NBI requesting for the lab
examination of the items confiscated from the accused. On that same day, the NBI Forensic Chemist Salud
Manguba issued a Certification with a finding that per preliminary examination which she made, the
confiscated items gave positive results for marijuana (Exh. "E"). This was confirmed later on by her with the
issuance of her Report No. DDN-86-2639 (Exh. "H")." 2

Accused-Appellant's version, on the other hand, is as follows:


"On November 17, 1986 at around 1:00 p.m. while accused-appellant was in the terrace of their house
located at Barangay del Remedio, San Pablo City, a jeep with policemen on board arrived. (Tsn, p 3,
December 16, 1988). She identified Sgt. Yte and PFC Jose Luciano to be among the group. Sgt. Yte was
invited by accused appellant to enter the house while PFC Luciano was left in the jeep that was parked
near the house. (TSN, p 4, ibid). While seated at the sala, Sgt. Yte was showing to accused-appellant
something which he claimed to be a search warrant when someone uttered the following words "ito na"
coming from the direction where the kitchen of the house is. She, together with Sgt. Yte proceeded to the
kitchen and saw PFC Luciano holding a plastic bag with four other companions who entered the house
through the back door which was opened at that time. (TSN, p 5, ibid). Luciano handed the bag to Sgt.
Yte who, after examining the contents, confronted the accused-appellant and insisted that the plastic bag
came from her. (TSN, p 6, ibid). She vehemently denied the accusation of Sgt. Yte and told him that she
does not know anything about it. But Sgt. Yte persisted and accused-appellant, who was then seven (7)
months on the family way, was seized by abdominal pains which made her cry. Then she was made to sign
a prepared document with her name already printed on it. Under extreme pressure and promised that they
will just talk with her at the City Hall, accused-appellant was constrained to sign said document. Afterwards,
she was brought to the police station and detained. (TSN, pp. 7-8, ibid). That before the incident in
question, Sgt. Yte asked help from accused-appellant to testify against one Warner Marquez, son of her
former landlord, for drug pushing. Accused refused, reasoning out that it would be unfair since she is totally
unaware of this thing. But Sgt. Yte remained undaunted and was forcing her for the second time to testify
against Marquez. Spurned, Sgt. Yte left word that she, accused, should be careful as she might be the next
to be charged with drug pushing. (TSN, pp. 11-13, ibid)." 3
On 14 April 1989, the trial court rendered its decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court hereby renders judgment finding the accused Yolanda
Gesmundo guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of violation of Section 4, Article II, R.A. 6425, as
amended without any modifying circumstance to consider, hereby sentences her to suffer the penalty of
reclusion perpetua, to pay the fine of P25,000,00, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and
to pay the costs.
"The confiscated specimens are forfeited in favor of the government and to be disposed of in accordance
with law.
"The bail bond for her provisional liberty is hereby cancelled and the accused is hereby ordered
immediately incarcerated." 4
A notice of appeal was filed on 21 April 1989 with the Regional Trial Court which, on the same day, ordered
the elevation of the records of the case to this Court.
Assailing the Regional Trial Court's decision both on questions of law and fact, accused-appellant assigns
the following errors allegedly committed by the trial court:
"I. LOWER COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED ON THE BASIS OF AN ILLEGALLY
SEIZED AND OR PLANTED EVIDENCE.
II. LOWER COURT ERRED IN GIVING FAITH AND CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONIES OF THE
WITNESSES FOR THE PROSECUTION DESPITE VARIANCE AND MATERIAL CONTRADICTIONS.
III. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING PROSECUTION'S EXHIBITS "F" "F-1" AND "F-2" IN
THE ABSENCE OF COMPETENT EVIDENCE THAT THEY WERE THE ONES ALLEGEDLY SEIZED AND
RECOVERED FROM THE HOUSE OF THE ACCUSED." 5
The accused-appellant's conviction by the lower court is anchored on the marijuana seized in her
possession and control by virtue of a Search Warrant issued by Judge Atanacio. Her arrest did not result
from a "buy-bust" operation supposedly conducted by police officers. Although Pfc. Luciano states that he
actually saw the accused-appellant selling marijuana to his civilian informer outside the house of the
accused-appellant, she (accused) was not placed under police custody at that very moment. Rather, the
police officers decided to let her go and effect her arrest later in the day through a search warrant, so as to
apprehend her with a larger amount. 6

There is no question that a search warrant was issued by Judge Geronima P. Atanacio of the RTC of San
Pablo City, Branch 32, as declared by the Court Interpreter of said Branch (a defense witness). 7 The
accused-appellant herself also testified that Sgt. Yte showed her the search warrant obtained by the police.
8 The controversy centers on the allegation by the accused-appellant that the marijuana supposedly seized
by the raiding police team in her possession, was planted by the police officers.
The Investigation Report prepared by Pfc. Jose V. Luciano as Investigating Officer and which was noted by
Sgt. Bayani R. Yte as Chief of Intelligence and Investigation Division stated that:
"5. At about 171430 H November 1986, we conducted raid at said residence and premises. During the
search we discovered a hole at the backyard of the house of the suspect with a big biscuit can inside the
hole and on top of the cover a flower pot was placed wherein the marijuana were kept. Confiscated were
more or less 100 grams of dried marijuana leaves and three rolls of magazine newspaper containing
marijuana which is ready for disposal." 9
On direct examination, however, Pfc. Luciano said that the marijuana leaves contained inside the plastic
bag covered by a basin weighed about 800 grams since he himself weighed them on the weighing scale
found in the accused-appellant's house; and he also saw other marijuana wrapped in a komiks magazine
found in an uway cabinet or rattan cabinet. 10 Sgt. Bayani Yte, on the other hand, affirmed the investigation
report when he testified that during the search, they found dried marijuana leaves, more or less 100 grams
on top of the dining table, placed inside a plastic bag and covered by a metal basin. 11 Angel Capuno, the
Barangay Chairman, on cross-examination, said that the only marijuana confiscated by the police was the
one contained in the white plastic bag. 12
In all their testimonies, there was no mention of any marijuana obtained from a flower pot placed on top of
a biscuit can inside a hole at the backyard of the accused's house as stated in the investigation report. It
would seem that the raiding party "could not put their act together", as to how much marijuana was
recovered and where. The trial court held that the fact of discovery of the hole at the backyard was merely
for the purpose of reporting the hiding place of the marijuana. 13 But how, it may be asked, could one
conclude that it was the hiding place, if no marijuana was actually seen inside?
Moreover, during the pre-trial, Fiscal Javier requested the marking of a photograph depicting buried
marijuana on the ground for the purpose of showing the place where the dried marijuana was recovered.
14
Not only are there inconsistencies as to what was recovered and where but also as to whom the marijuana
was supposed to have been surrendered by the accused. Pfc. Luciano pointed out during his direct
examination that it was the accused-appellant who actually gave the marijuana leaves to Sgt. Yte in the
kitchen, and that he (Pfc. Luciano) was asked by Sgt. Puhawan to come inside the house and they saw the
other marijuana leaves wrapped in a magazine located at the uway cabinet. 15 Unfortunately, Sgt. Yte
contradicted Pfc. Luciano's testimony. During his cross examination, Sgt. Yte asserted that the marijuana
leaves were surrendered by the accused-appellant to Pfc. Luciano upon the presentation of the search
warrant and before the search was actually conducted. 16 When asked to explain why their inconsistent
statements, Sgt. Yte merely answered: "That was the testimony of Pat. Luciano that accused personally . . .
" 17
We do not agree with the trial court in its conclusion that these discrepancies are trivial. We must be
absolutely convinced that marijuana was actually surrendered by the accused-appellant and not planted as
claimed by her. As held in People of the Philippines vs. Romeo F. Remorosa: 18
"Irreconcilable and unexplained contradictions in the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses cast doubt
on the guilt of appellant and his culpability to the crime charged."
Furthermore, the claim of the accused-appellant that the marijuana was planted is strengthened by the
manner in which the search was conducted by the police authorities. The accused-appellant was seated at
the sala together with Sgt. Yte when they heard someone in the kitchen uttered "ito na". Apparently, the
search of the accused-appellant's house was conducted in violation of Section 7, Rule 126 of the Rules of
Court which specifically provides that no search of a house, room or any other premise shall be made
except in the presence of the lawful occupant thereof or any member of his family or in the absence of the
latter, in the presence of two (2) witnesses of sufficient age and discretion residing in the same locality. This

requirement is mandatory to ensure regularity in the execution of the search warrant. Violation of said rule
is in fact punishable under Article 130 of the Revised Penal Code. 19
As we have ruled in Eduardo Quintero vs. The National Bureau of Investigation, et al. 20 a procedure,
wherein members of a raiding party can roam around the raided premises unaccompanied by any witness,
as the only witnesses available as prescribed by law are made to witness a search conducted by the other
members of the raiding party in another part of the house, is violative of both the spirit and the letter of the
law.
It is true that the police were able to get an admission from the accused-appellant that marijuana was found
in her possession but said admission embodied in a document entitled "PAGPAPATUNAY" previously
prepared by the police, is inadmissible in evidence against the accused-appellant for having been obtained
in violation of her rights as a person under custodial investigation for the commission of an offense. 21 The
records show that the accused-appellant was not informed of her right not to sign the document; neither
was she informed of her right to the assistance of counsel and the fact that the document may be used as
evidence against her. 22
The accused-appellant also contends that the prosecution failed to present evidence to prove that the
marijuana marked as exhibit in court are the same marijuana allegedly confiscated by the police from her.
The contention is well taken.
Not only does the law require the presence of witnesses when the search is conducted. but it also imposes
upon the person making the search the duty to issue a detailed receipt for the property seized. 23 He is
likewise required to deliver the property seized to the judge who issued the warrant, together with a true
and accurate inventory thereof duly verified under oath. 24 Again, these duties are mandatory and are
required to preclude substitution of the items seized by interested parties.
The police authorities in the case at bar testified that they submitted an inventory to the court without the
marijuana, the latter having been turned over to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). Whether an
inventory was actually made by the police was not clearly established in the trial court. The records show
that an inventory was not part of the documents transmitted from Branch 32 (the warrant issuing branch) to
Branch 30 (the trial branch) of the RTC of San Pablo City. And when asked by the trial judge, the court
Interpreter said that Judge Atanacio (who issued the warrant) confirmed that she does not have among her
files the inventory supposedly submitted by the police. 25 If indeed an inventory of the seized items was
made, it must be part of the records of the case. But this was not so.
On the issue of non-delivery of the seized marijuana to the court, the trial court held that it takes "judicial
notice of the usual practice of the San Pablo City police force of retaining possession of confiscated
specimens suspected of being marijuana by immediately forwarding them to the NBI or to an NBI
accredited physician for preliminary examination and/or laboratory examination before filing a case with the
city prosecutor's office." 26 The mere tolerance by the trial court of such a practice does not make it right.
Clearly, such practice violates the mandatory requirements of the law and defeats the very purpose for
which they were enacted. Speculations as to the probability of tampering with the evidence cannot then be
avoided.
The trial judge cites the case of Yee Sue Koy, et al. vs. Mariano Almeda, et al. (70 Phil. 141) to justify the
retention by the police and the NBI of the custody of the allegedly confiscated specimens. While in said
decision, this Court recognized the fact that the objects seized were retained by the agents of the AntiUsury Board, instead of being turned over to the Justice of the Peace of Sagay, yet the Court also held that
it was "for the reason that the custody of said agents is the custody of the issuing officer or court, the
retention having been approved by the latter." 27 Thus, approval by the court which issued the search
warrant is necessary for the retention of the property seized by the police officers; and only then will their
custody be considered custody of the court. Absent such approval, the police officers have no authority to
retain possession of the marijuana and more so, to deliver the property to another agency, like the NBI.
Having made no return or inventory to the warrant-issuing court, there is no proof that the police really
found marijuana in the house of the accused. Besides, Salud Manguba, the Forensic Chemist who
examined the marijuana allegedly confiscated by the police from the appellant, asserted that when the
police officer turned over said items to the NBI, there were no identifying marks on the plastic bag. 28 How

sure are we then that the marijuana submitted for examination was the same marijuana allegedly seized
from the accused-appellant?
Lastly, the prosecution in the Information averred that the accused-appellant engaged in the distribution
and sale of marijuana. And yet, as held by this Court,
" . . . In order to sustain conviction for selling prohibited drugs, the element of sale must be unequivocally
established. Also, what the law proscribes is not only the act of selling but also, albeit not limited to, the act
of delivering. The commission of the offense of illegal sale of marijuana requires merely the consummation
of the selling transaction. What is important is that the poseur-buyer received the marijuana from the
accused." 29
It is also required that the marijuana received by the poseur-buyer be presented as evidence in court. The
identity of the marijuana which constitutes the corpus delicti must be established before the court. 30
Undisputedly, the accused-appellant was not caught in the act of selling marijuana. Sgt. Yte himself
testified during cross-examination that accused-appellant was not actually dispensing marijuana when the
search warrant was served. 31 Neither was the marijuana, object of the supposed sale, presented in court
to support the allegation of the prosecution that accused-appellant was engaged in the sale of marijuana.
The trial court held that the possession of a considerable quantity of marijuana, coupled with the fact that
the accused-appellant is not a user of prohibited drugs, indicates an intention of the accused-appellant to
sell, distribute and deliver marijuana as held in People of the Philippines vs. Roberto Toledo y Tejario alias
"OBET ." 32
The reliance of the trial court on the above-mentioned case is not quite accurate. The basis of the
conviction of the accused in said case was his confession, and thus, the reiteration by the Court of the trial
court's pronouncement amounts to an obiter dictum. Moreover, a person is always presumed innocent until
proven guilty.
From a careful review of the proceedings a quo, this Court is constrained to set aside the lower court's
findings, and we hold that the guilt of the accused-appellant Yolanda Gesmundo has not been established
beyond reasonable doubt.
If the inculpatory facts and circumstances are capable of two (2) or more explanations, one of which is
consistent with the innocence of the accused and the other consistent with his guilt, then the evidence does
not fulfill the test of moral certainty and is not sufficient to support a conviction. (People v. Parayno, 24
SCRA 3; U.S. v. Maano, 2 Phil. 718; People v. Pacana, 47 Phil. 48). 33
WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment is REVERSED, and on reasonable doubt, the appellant is hereby
ACQUITTED of the crime charged. She is ordered immediately released from detention unless she is being
held for some other legal cause or ground.
SO ORDERED.

Republic
SUPREME
Manila

of

the

Philippines
COURT

EN BANC
G.R. No. 81567 October 3, 1991
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF ROBERTO UMIL, ROLANDO DURAL
and RENATO VILLANUEVA, MANOLITA O. UMIL and NICANOR P. DURAL, FELICITAS V.
SESE, petitioners,
vs.
FIDEL V. RAMOS, MAJ. GEN. RENATO DE VILLA, BRIG. GEN. RAMON MONTANO, BRIG. GEN.
ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, respondents.
G.R. Nos. 84581-82 October 3, 1991
AMELIA ROQUE and WILFREDO BUENAOBRA, petitioners,
vs.
GEN. RENATO DE VILLA and GEN, RAMON MONTANO, respondents.
G.R. Nos. 84583-84 October 3, 1991
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF ATTY. DOMINGO T. ANONUEVO and
RAMON CASIPLE: DOMINGO T. ANONUEVO and RAMON CASIPLE, petitioners,
vs.
HON. FIDEL V. RAMOS, GEN. RENATO S. DE VILLA, COL. EVARISTO CARIO, LT. COL. REX D.
PIAD, T/SGT. CONRADO DE TORRES, S/SGT. ARNOLD DURIAN, and Commanding Officer, PC-INP
Detention Center, Camp Crame, Quezon City, respondents.
G.R. No. 83162 October 3, 1991
IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF VICKY A. OCAYA AND DANNY
RIVERA: VIRGILIO A. OCAYA, petitioners,
vs.
BRIG. GEN. ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, COL. HERCULES CATALUNA, COL. NESTOR
MARIANO, respondents.
G.R. No. 85727 October 3, 1991
IN THE MATTER OF APPLICATION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF DEOGRACIAS ESPIRITU, petitioner,
vs.
BRIG. GEN.ALFREDO S. LIM, COL. RICARDO REYES, respondents.
G.R. No. 86332 October 3, 1991
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF NARCISO B. NAZARENO: ALFREDO
NAZARENO,petitioner,
vs.
THE STATION COMMANDER OF THE MUNTINGLUPA POLICE STATION, Muntinglupa, Metro Manila,
P/SGT. JACINTO MEDINA, P/SGT. ELADIO TAGLE, P/SGT. LEVI SOLEDAD, and P/SGT. MALTRO
AROJADO, respondents.
Efren H. Mercado for petitioners in G.R. No. 81567 and G. R. No. 83162.
Ricardo C. Valmonte for petitioners in G.R. Nos. 84581-82
Josefina G. Campbell-Castillo for petitioners in G.R. Nos. 84583-84.
Potenciano A. Flores, Jr. for petitioner in G.R. No. 85727.
The Solicitor General for the respondents.
RESOLUTION

PER CURIAM:p
Before the Court are separate motions filed by the petitioners in the above-entitled petitions, seeking
reconsideration of the Court's decision promulgated on 9 July 1990 (the decision, for brevity) which
dismissed the petitions, with the following dispositive part:
WHEREFORE, the petitions are hereby DISMISSED, except that in G.R. No.
85727 (Espiritu vs. Lim), the bail bond for petitioner's provisional liberty is hereby ordered
reduced from P60,000.00 to P10,000.00. No costs.
The Court avails of this opportunity to clarify its ruling a begins with the statement that the decision
did not rule as many misunderstood it to do that mere suspicion that one is Communist Party or New
People's Army member is a valid ground for his arrest without warrant. Moreover, the decision merely
applied long existing lawsto the factual situations obtaining in the several petitions. Among these laws are
th outlawing the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) similar organizations and penalizing
membership therein be dealt with shortly). It is elementary, in this connection, if these laws no longer reflect
the thinking or sentiment of the people, it is Congress as the elected representative of the people not the
Court that should repeal, change or modify them.
In their separate motions for reconsideration, petitioners, in sum, maintain:
1. That the assailed decision, in upholding the validity of the questioned arrests made
without warrant, and in relying on the provisions of the Rules of Court, particularly Section 5
of Rule 113 (Arrest), disregards the fact that such arrests violated the constitutional rights of
the persons arrested;
2. That the doctrine laid down in Garcia vs. Enrile 1 and Ilagan vs. Enrile 2 should be abandoned;

3. That the decision erred in considering the admissions made by the persons arrested as to
their membership in the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army, and their
ownership of the unlicensed firearms, ammunitions and subversive documents found in
their possession at the time of arrest, inasmuch as those confessions do not comply with
the requirements on admissibility of extrajudicial admissions;
4. That the assailed decision is based on a misappreciation of facts;
5. That G.R. No. 81567 (the Umil case) should not be deemed moot and academic.
We find no merit in the motions for reconsideration.
It can not be overlooked that these are petitions for the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus,
petitioners under the Rules of Court. 3 The writ of habeas corpus exists as a speedy and effective
to relieve persons from unlawful restraint. 4 Therefore, the function of the special proceedings of
corpus is to inquire into the legality of one's detention, 5 so that if detention is illegal, the detainee
ordered forthwit released.

filed by
remedy
habeas
may be

In the petitions at bar, to ascertain whether the detention petitioners was illegal or not, the Court before
rendering decision dated 9 July 1990, looked into whether their questioned arrests without warrant were
made in accordance with law. For, if the arrests were made in accordance with law, would follow that the
detention resulting from such arrests also in accordance with law.
There can be no dispute that, as a general rule, no peace officer or person has the power or authority to
arrest anyo without a warrant of arrest, except in those cases express authorized by law. 6 The law
expressly allowing arrests witho warrant is found in Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court which states
the grounds upon which a valid arrest, without warrant, can be conducted.
In the present cases, the focus is understandably on Section 5, paragraphs (a) and (b) of the said Rule
113, which read:
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or a private person
may, without a warrant, arrest a person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to he arrested has committed, is actually committing,
or is attempting to commit an offense;
(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of
facts indicating that the person to be arrest has committed it; and
. . . (Emphasis supplied).
The Court's decision of 9 July 1990 rules that the arrest Rolando Dural (G.R. No. 81567) without warrant is
justified it can be said that, within the contemplation of Section 5 Rule 113, he (Dural) was committing an
offense, when arrested because Dural was arrested for being a member of the New People's Army, an
outlawed organization, where membership penalized, 7 and for subversion which, like rebellion is, under the
doctrine ofGarcia vs. Enrile, 8 a continuing offense, thus:
The crimes of insurrection or rebellion, subversion, conspiracy or proposal to commit such
crimes, and other crimes and offenses committed in the furtherance (sic) on the occasion
thereof, or incident thereto, or in connection therewith under Presidential Proclamation No.
2045, are all in the nature of continuing offenses which set them apart from the common
offenses, aside from their essentially involving a massive conspiracy of nationwide
magnitude. . . .
Given the ideological content of membership in the CPP/NPA which includes armed struggle for the
overthrow of organized government, Dural did not cease to be, or became less of a subversive, FOR
PURPOSES OF ARREST, simply because he was, at the time of arrest, confined in the St. Agnes Hospital.
Dural was identified as one of several persons who the day before his arrest, without warrant, at the St.
Agnes Hospital, had shot two (2) CAPCOM policemen in their patrol car. That Dural had shot the two (2)
policemen in Caloocan City as part of his mission as a "sparrow" (NPA member) did not end there and
then. Dural, given another opportunity, would have shot or would shoot other policemen anywhere as
agents or representatives of organized government. It is in this sense that subversion like rebellion (or
insurrection) is perceived here as a continuing offense. Unlike other so-called "common" offenses, i.e.
adultery, murder, arson, etc., which generally end upon their commission, subversion and rebellion are
anchored on an ideological base which compels the repetition of the same acts of lawlessness and
violence until the overriding objective of overthrowing organized government is attained.
Nor can it be said that Dural's arrest was grounded on mere suspicion by the arresting officers of his
membership in the CPP/NPA. His arrest was based on "probable cause," as supported by actual facts that
will be shown hereafter.
Viewed from another but related perspective, it may also be said, under the facts of the Umil case, that the
arrest of Dural falls under Section 5, paragraph (b), Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, which requires two (2)
conditions for a valid arrestt without warrant: first, that the person to be arrested has just committed an
offense, andsecond, that the arresting peace officer or private person has personal knowledge of facts
indicating that the person to be arrested is the one who committed the offense. Section 5(b), Rule 113, it
will be noted, refers to arrests without warrant, based on "personal knowledge of facts" acquired by the
arresting officer or private person.
It has been ruled that "personal knowledge of facts," in arrests without warrant must be based
upon probable cause, which means an actual belief or reasonable grounds of suspicion 9
The grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in the absence of actual belief of the arresting officers, the
suspicion that the person to be arrested is probably guilty of committing the offense, is based on actual
facts, i.e., supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable cause of
guilt of the person to be arrested. 10 A reasonable suspicion therefore must be founded on probable
cause, coupled with good faith on the part of the peace officers making the arrest. 11
These requisites were complied with in the Umil case and in the other cases at bar.
In G.R. No. 81567 (Umil case), military agents, on 1 February 1988, were dispatched to the St. Agnes
Hospital, Roosevelt Avenue, Quezon City, to verify a confidential information which was received by their
office, about a "sparrow man" (NPA member) who had been admitted to the said hospital with a gunshot
wound; that the information further disclosed that the wounded man in the said hospital was among the five

(5) male "sparrows" who murdered two (2) Capcom mobile patrols the day before, or on 31 January 1988
at about 12:00 o'clock noon, before a road hump along Macanining St., Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City; that
based on the same information, the wounded man's name was listed by the hospital management as
"Ronnie Javellon," twenty-two (22) years old of Block 10, Lot 4, South City Homes, Bian, Laguna. 12
Said confidential information received by the arresting officers, to the effect that an NPA member ("sparrow
unit") was being treated for a gunshot wound in the named hospital, is deemed reasonable and with cause
as it was based on actual facts and supported by circumstances sufficient to engender a belief that an NPA
member was truly in the said hospital. The actual facts supported by circumstances are: first the day
before, or on 31 January 1988, two (2) CAPCOM soldiers were actually killed in Bagong Bario, Caloocan
City by five (5) "sparrows" including Dural; second a wounded person listed in the hospital records as
"Ronnie Javellon" was actually then being treated in St. Agnes Hospital for a gunshot wound; third as
the records of this case disclosed later, "Ronnie Javellon" and his address entered in the hospital records
were fictitious and the wounded man was in reality Rolando Dural.
In fine, the confidential information received by the arresting officers merited their immediate attention and
action and, in fact, it was found to be true. Even the petitioners in their motion for
reconsideration, 13 believe that the confidential information of the arresting officers to the effect that Dural
was then being treated in St. Agnes Hospital was actually received from the attending doctor and hospital
management in compliance with the directives of the law, 14 and, therefore, came from reliable sources.
As to the condition that "probable cause" must also be coupled with acts done in good faith by the officers
who make the arrest, the Court notes that the peace officers wno arrested Dural are deemed to have
conducted the same in good faith, considering that law enforcers are presumed to regularly perform their
official duties. The records show that the arresting officers did not appear to have been ill-motivated in
arresting Dural. 15 It is therefore clear that the arrest, without warrant, of Dural was made in compliance with
the requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 5, Rule 113.
Parenthetically, it should be mentioned here that a few day after Dural's arrest, without warrant, an
information charging double murder with assault against agents of persons in authority was filed against
Dural in the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City (Criminal Case No. C-30112). He was thus promptly
placed under judicial custody (as distinguished fro custody of the arresting officers). On 31 August 1988, he
wa convicted of the crime charged and sentenced to reclusion perpetua. The judgment of conviction is now
on appeal before this Court in G.R. No. 84921.
As to Amelia Roque and Wilfredo Buenaobra (G.R. Nos. 84581-82), Domingo Anonuevo and Ramon
Casiple(G.R. Nos. 84583-84) and Vicky Ocaya (G.R. No. 83162), their arrests, without warrant, are also
justified. They were searched pursuant to search warrants issued by a court of law and were found wit
unlicensed firearms, explosives and/or ammunition in their persons. They were, therefore, caught
in flagrante delicto which justified their outright arrests without warrant, under Sec 5(a), Rule 113, Rules of
Court. Parenthetically, it should be mentioned here that a few davs after their arrests without warrant,
informations were filed in court against said petitioners, thereby placing them within judicial custody and
disposition. Furthermore, Buenaobra mooted his own petition fo habeas corpus by announcing to this Court
during the hearing of these petitions that he had chosen to remain in detention in the custody of the
authorities.
More specifically, the antecedent facts in the "in flagrante" cases are:
1. On 27 June 1988, the military agents received information imparted by a former NPA about
the operations of the CPP and NPA in Metro Manila and that a certain house occupied by one
Renato Constantine, located in the Villaluz Compound, Molave St., Marikina Heights, Marikina,
Metro Manila was being used as their safehouse; that in view of this information, the said house
was placed under military surveillance and on 12 August 1988,pursuant to a search warrant duly
issued by court, a search of the house was conducted; that when Renato Constantine was then
confronted he could not produce any permit to possess the firearms, ammunitions, radio and
other communications equipment, and he admitted that he was a ranking member of the CPP. 16

2. In the case of Wilfredo Buenaobra, he arrived at the house of Renato Constantino in the
evening of 12 August 1988, and admitted that he was an NPA courier and he had with him
letters to Renato Constantine and other members of the rebel group.

3. On the other hand, the arrest of Amelia Roque was a consequence of the arrest of Buenaobra
who had in his possession papers leading to the whereabouts of Roque; 17 that, at the time of
her arrest, the military agents found subversive documents and live ammunitions, and she
admitted then that the documents belonged to her. 18
4. As regards Domingo Anonuevo and Ramon Casiple they were arrested without warrant on 13
August 1988, when they arrived at the said house of Renato Constantine in the evening of said
date; that when the agents frisked them, subversive documents, and loaded guns were found in
the latter's possession but failing to show a permit to possess them. 19
5. With regard to Vicky Ocaya, she was arrested, without warrant when she arrived (on 12 May
1988) at the premises ofthe house of one Benito Tiamzon who was believed to be the head of
the CPP/NPA, and whose house was subject of a search warrant duly issued by the court. At the
time of her arrest without warrant the agents of the PC-Intelligence and Investigation found
ammunitions and subversive documents in the car of Ocaya. 20

It is to be noted in the above cases (Roque, Buenaobra, Anonuevo, Casiple and Ocaya) that the reason
which compelled the military agents to make the arrests without warrant was the information given to the
military authorities that two (2) safehouses (one occupied by Renato Constantine and the other by Benito
Tiamzon) were being used by the CPP/NPA for their operations, with information as to their exact location
and the names of Renato Constantine and Benito Tiamzon as residents or occupants thereof.
And at the time of the actual arrests, the following circumstances surrounded said arrests (of Roque,
Buenaobra, Anonuevo and Casiple), which confirmed the belief of the military agents that the information
they had received was true and the persons to be arrested were probably guilty of the commission of
certain crimes: first: search warrant was duly issued to effect the search of the Constantine
safehouse; second: found in the safehouse was a person named Renato Constantine, who admitted that
he was a ranking member of the CPP, and found in his possession were unlicensed firearms and
communications equipment; third: at the time of their arrests, in their possession were unlicensed firearms,
ammunitions and/or subversive documents, and they admitted ownership thereof as well as their
membership in the CPP/NPA. And then, shortly after their arrests, they were positively identified by their
former comrades in the organization as CPP/NPA members. In view of these circumstances, the
corresponding informations were filed in court against said arrested persons. The records also show that,
as in the case of Dural, the arrests without warrant made by the military agents in the Constantino
safehouse and later in the Amelia Roque house, do not appear to have been ill-motivated or irregularly
performed.
With all these facts and circumstances existing before, during and after the arrest of the afore-named
persons (Dural, Buenaobra, Roque, Anonuevo, Casiple and Ocaya), no prudent an can say that it would
have been better for the military agents not to have acted at all and made any arrest. That would have
been an unpardonable neglect of official duty and a cause for disciplinary action against the peace officers
involved.
For, one of the duties of law enforcers is to arrest lawbreakers in order to place them in the hands of
executive and judicial authorities upon whom devolves the duty to investigate the acts constituting the
alleged violation of law and to prosecute and secure the punishment therefor. 21 An arrest is therefore in the
nature of an administrative measure. The power to arrest without warrant is without limitation as long as the
requirements of Section 5, Rule 113 are met. This rule is founded on an overwhelming public interest in
peace and order in our communities.
In ascertaining whether the arrest without warrant is conducted in accordance with the conditions set forth
in Section 5, Rule 113, this Court determines not whether the persons arrested are indeed guilty of
committing the crime for which they were arrested. 22 Not evidence of guilt, but "probable cause" is the
reason that can validly compel the peace officers, in the performance of their duties and in the interest of
public order, to conduct an arrest without warrant. 23
The courts should not expect of law-enforcers more than what the law requires of them. Under the
conditions set forth in Section 5, Rule 113, particularly paragraph (b) thereof, even if the arrested persons
are later found to be innocent and acquitted, the arresting officers are not liable. 24 But if they do not strictly

comply with the said conditions, the arresting officers can be held liable for the crime of arbitrary
detention, 25 for damages under Article 32 of the Civil Code 26 and/or for other administrative sanctions.
In G.R. No. 85727, Espiritu, on 23 November 1988, was arrested without warrant, on the basis of the
attestation of certain witnesses: that about 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon of 22 November 1988, at the
corner of Magsaysay Boulevard and Velencia St., Sta. Mesa, Manila, Espiritu spoke at a gathering of
drivers and sympathizers, where he said, among other things:
Bukas tuloy ang welga natin . . . hanggang sa magkagulona. 27 (Emphasis supplied)

and that the police authorities were present during the press conference held at the National Press Club
(NPC) on 22 November 1988 where Espiritu called for a nationwide strike (of jeepney and bus drivers) on
23 November 1988. 28 Espiritu was arrested without warrant, not for subversion or any "continuing offense,"
but for uttering the above-quoted language which, in the perception of the arresting officers, was inciting to
sedition.
Many persons may differ as to the validity of such perception and regard the language as falling within free
speech guaranteed by the Constitution. But, then, Espiritu had not lost the right to insist, during the pre-trial
or trial on the merits, that he was just exercising his right to free speech regardless of the charged
atmosphere in which it was uttered. But, the authority of the peace officers to make the arrest, without
warrant, at the time the words were uttered, or soon thereafter, is still another thing. In the balancing of
authority and freedom, which obviously becomes difficult at times, the Court has, in this case, tilted the
scale in favor of authority but only for purposes of the arrest (not conviction). Let it be noted that the Court
has ordered the bail for Espiritu's release to be reduced from P60,000.00 to P10,000.00.
Let it also be noted that supervening events have made the Espiritu case moot and academic. For Espiritu
had before arraignment asked the court a quo for re-investigation, the peace officers did not appear.
Because of this development, the defense asked the court a quo at the resumption of the hearings to
dismiss the case. Case against Espiritu (Criminal Case No. 88-68385) has been provisionally dismissed
and his bail bond cancelled.
In G.R. No. 86332 (Nazareno), the records show that in the morning of 14 December 1988, Romulo Bunye
II was killed by a group of men in Alabang, Muntinlupa, Metro Manila; that at about 5:00 o'clock in the
morning of 28 December 1988, Ramil Regala, one of the suspects in the said killing, was arrested and he
pointed to Narciso Nazareno as one of his companions during the killing of Bunye II; that at 7:20 of the
same morning (28 December 1988), the police agents arrested Nazareno, without warrant, for
investigation. 29
Although the killing of Bunye II occurred on 14 December 1988, while Nazareno's arrest without warrant
was made only on 28 December 1988, or 14 days later, the arrest fans under Section 5(b) of Rule 113,
since it was only on 28 December 1988 that the police authorities came to know that Nazareno was
probably one of those guilty in the killing of Bunye II and the arrest had to be made promptly, even without
warrant, (after the police were alerted) and despite the lapse of fourteen (14) days to prevent possible
flight.
As shown in the decision under consideration, this Court, in upholding the arrest without warrant of
Nazareno noted several facts and events surrounding his arrest and detention, as follows:
. . . on 3 January 1989 (or six (6) days after his arrest without warrant), an information
charging Narciso Nazareno, Ramil Regala and two (2) others, with the killing of Romulo
Bunye II was filed wit the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Metro Manila. The case is dock
eted therein as Criminal Case No. 731.
On 7 January 1989, Narciso Nazareno filed a motion to post bail but the motion was denied
by the trial court in an order dated 10 January 1989, even as the motion to post bail, earlier
filed by his co-accused, Manuel Laureaga, was granted by the same trial court.
On 13 January 1989, a petition for habeas corpus was filed with this Court on behalf of
Narciso Nazareno and on 13 January 1989, the Court issued the writ of habeas corpus,
retumable to the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Bifian, Laguna, Branch 24,
ordering said court to hear the case on 30 January 1989 and thereafter resolve the petition.

At the conclusion of the hearing, or on 1 February 1989, the Presiding Judge of the
Regional Trial Court of Bian, Laguna issued a resolution denying the petition for habeas
corpus, it appearing that the said Narciso Nazareno is in the custody of the respondents by
reason of an information filed against him with the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Metro
Manila which liad taken cognizance of said case and had, in fact, denied the motion for bail
filed by said Narciso Nazareno (presumably because of the strength of the evidence against
him).
This Court reiterates that shortly after the arrests of Espiritu and Nazareno, the corresponding informations
against them were filed in court. The arrests of Espiritu and Nazareno were based on probable cause and
supported by factual circumstances. They complied with conditions set forth in Section 5(b) of Rule 113.
They were not arbitrary or whimsical arrests.
Parenthetically, it should be here stated that Nazareno has since been convicted by the court a quo for
murder and sentenced to reclusion perpetua. He has appealed the judgment of conviction to the Court of
Appeals where it is pending as of this date ( CA-G.R. No. still undocketed).
Petitioners contend that the decision of 9 July 1990 ignored the contitution requisiteds for admissibility of an
extrajudicial admission.
In the case of Buenaobra (G.R. Nos. 84581-82), he admitted 30 that he was an NPA courier. On the other
hand, in the case of Amelia Roque, she admitted 31 that the unlicensed firearms, ammunition and
subversive documents found in her possession during her arrest, belonged to her.
The Court, it is true, took into account the admissions of the arrested persons of their membership in the
CPP/NPA, as well as their ownership of the unlicensed firearms, ammunitions and documents in their
possession. But again, these admissions, as revealed by the records, strengthen the Court's perception
that truly the grounds upon which the arresting officers based their arrests without warrant, are supported
by probable cause, i.e. that the persons arrested were probably guilty of the commission of certain
offenses, in compliance with Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court. To note these admissions, on the
other hand, is not to rule that the persons arrested are already guilty of the offenses upon which their
warrantless arrests were predicated. The task of determining the guilt or innocence of persons arrested
without warrant is not proper in a petition forhabeas corpus. It pertains to the trial of the case on the merits.
As to the argument that the doctrines in Garcia vs. Enrile, and Ilagan vs. Enrile should be abandoned, this
Court finds no compelling reason at this time to disturb the same, particularly ln the light of prevailing
conditions where national security and liability are still directly challenged perhaps with greater vigor from
the communist rebels. What is important is that everv arrest without warrant be tested as to its
legality via habeas corpus proceeding. This Court. will promptly look into and all other appropriate courts
are enjoined to do the same the legality of the arrest without warrant so that if the conditions under Sec.
5 of Rule 113, Rules of Court, as elucidated in this Resolution, are not met, then the detainee shall forthwith
be ordered released; but if such conditions are met, then the detainee shall not be made to languish in his
detention but must be promptly tried to the end that he may be either acquitted or convicted, with the least
delay, as warranted by the evidence.
A Final Word
This Resolution ends as it began, reiterating that mere suspicion of being a Communist Party member or a
subversive is absolutely not a ground for the arrest without warrant of the suspect. The Court predicated
the validity of the questioned arrests without warrant in these petitions, not on mere unsubstantiated
suspicion, but on compliance with the conditions set forth in Section 5, Rule 113, Rules of Court, a long
existing law, and which, for stress, are probable cause and good faith of the arresting peace officers, and,
further, on the basis of, as the records show, the actual facts and circumstances supporting the arrests.
More than the allure of popularity or palatability to some groups, what is important is that the Court be right.
ACCORDINGLY, the motions for reconsideration of the decision dated 9 July 1990, are DENIED. This
denial is FINAL.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Paras, Padilla, Bidin, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea and Davide, Jr., JJ., concur.

FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. Nos. 136066-67. February 4, 2003]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. BINAD SY CHUA, accused-appellant.
DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
Accused-appellant Binad Sy Chua was charged with violation of Section 16, Article III of R.A. 6425, as
amended by R.A. 7659, and for Illegal Possession of ammunitions in two separate Informations which read
as follows:
Criminal Case No. 96-507[1]
That on or about the 21st day of September 1996, in the City of Angeles, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously have in his possession and under his control two (2) plastic bags containing Methamphetamine
Hydrochloride (SHABU) weighing more or less two (2) kilos and one (1) small plastic bag
containing Methamphetamine Hydrocloride weighing more or less fifteen (15) grams, which is a regulated
drug, without any authority whatsoever.
Criminal Case No. 96-513[2]
That on or about the 21st day of September 1996, in the City of Angeles, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously have in his possession and under his control twenty (20) pieces of live .22 cal. ammunitions,
without first having obtained a license or permit to possess or carry the same.
Accused-appellant pleaded not guilty on arraignment. The two cases were then jointly tried.
The prosecution presented three (3) witnesses, all members of the police force of Angeles City. Their
testimonies can be synthesized as follows:
On September 21, 1996, at around 10:00 in the evening, SPO2 Mario Nulud and PO2 Emmeraldo
Nunag received a report from their confidential informant that accused-appellant was about to deliver drugs
that night at the Thunder Inn Hotel in Balibago, Angeles City. The informer further reported that accusedappellant distributes illegal drugs in different karaoke bars in Angeles City. On the basis of this lead, the
PNP Chief of Angeles City, Col. Neopito Gutierrez, immediately formed a team of operatives composed of
Major Bernardino, Insp. Tullao, Insp. Emmanuel Nunag, P02 Emmeraldo Nunag, SP01 Fernando Go, and
some civilian assets, with SPO2 Mario Nulud, as team investigator. The group of SPO2 Nulud, PO2 Nunag
and the civilian informer positioned themselves across McArthur Highway near Bali Hai Restaurant, fronting
Thunder Inn Hotel. The other group acted as their back up.
At around 11:45 in the evening, their informer pointed to a car driven by accused-appellant which just
arrived and parked near the entrance of the Thunder Inn Hotel. After accused-appellant alighted from the
car carrying a sealed Zest-O juice box, SPO2 Nulud and PO2 Nunag hurriedly accosted him and
introduced themselves as police officers. As accused-appellant pulled out his wallet, a small transparent
plastic bag with a crystalline substance protruded from his right back pocket. Forthwith, SPO2 Nulud
subjected him to a body search which yielded twenty (20) pieces of live .22 caliber firearm bullets from his
left back pocket. When SPO2 Nunag peeked into the contents of the Zest-O box, he saw that it contained a
crystalline substance. SPO2 Nulud instantly confiscated the small transparent plastic bag, the Zest-O juice

box, the twenty (20) pieces of .22 caliber firearm bullets and the car used by accused-appellant.
Afterwards, SPO2 Nulud and the other police operatives who arrived at the scene brought the confiscated
items to the office of Col. Guttierez at the PNP Headquarters in Camp Pepito, Angeles City.[3]
When Col. Gutierrez opened the sealed Zest-O juice box, he found 2 big plastic bags containing
crystalline substances. The initial field test conducted by SPO2 Danilo Cruz at the PNP Headquarters
revealed that the siezed items contained shabu.[4] Thereafter, SPO2 Nulud together with accusedappellant brought these items for further laboratory examination to the Crime Laboratory at Camp Olivas,
San Fernando, Pampanga. After due testing, forensic chemist S/Insp. Daisy Babor concluded that the
crystalline substances yielded positive results for shabu. The small plastic bag weighed 13.815 grams while
the two big plastic bags weighed 1.942 kilograms of shabu.[5]
Accused-appellant vehemently denied the accusation against him and narrated a different version of
the incident.
Accused-appellant alleged that on the night in question, he was driving the car of his wife to follow her
and his son to Manila. He felt sleepy, so he decided to take the old route along McArthur Highway. He
stopped in front of a small store near Thunder Inn Hotel in Balibago, Angeles City to buy cigarettes and
candies. While at the store, he noticed a man approach and examine the inside of his car. When he called
the attention of the onlooker, the man immediately pulled out a .45 caliber gun and made him face his car
with raised hands. The man later on identified himself as a policeman. During the course of the arrest, the
policeman took out his wallet and instructed him to open his car. He refused, so the policeman took his car
keys and proceeded to search his car. At this time, the police officers companions arrived at the scene in
two cars. PO2 Nulud, who just arrived at the scene, pulled him away from his car in a nearby bank, while
the others searched his car.
Thereafter, he was brought to the Salakot Police Station and was held inside a bathroom for about
fifteen minutes until Col. Guttierez arrived, who ordered his men to call the media. In the presence of
reporters, Col. Guttierez opened the box and accused-appellant was made to hold the box while pictures
were being taken.[6]
Wilfredo Lagman corroborated the story of the accused-appellant in its material points. He testified that
he witnessed the incident while he was conducting a routine security check around the premises of the
Guess Building, near Thunder Inn Hotel.[7]
On September 15, 1998 the Regional Trial Court of Angeles City, Branch 59, rendered a decision,
[8]the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the foregoing considered, judgement is hereby rendered as follows:
1.
In Criminal Case No. 96-513 for Illegal Possession of Ammunitions, the accused is hereby acquitted
of the crime charged for insufficiency of evidence.
2.
In Criminal Case No. 96-507 for Illegal Possession of 1,955.815 grams of shabu, accused Binad Sy
Chua is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charge and is hereby sentenced to suffer the
penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of One Million (P1,000,000.00) Pesos.
SO ORDERED.[9]
Hence, the instant appeal where accused-appellant raised the following errors:
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED GRAVELY IN ITS FOLLOWING FINDINGS:
A.

THE ARREST OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT BINAD SY CHUA WAS LAWFUL;

B.
THE SEARCH OF HIS PERSON AND THE SUBSEQUENT CONFISCATION OF SHABU
ALLEGEDLY FOUND ON HIM WERE CONDUCTED IN A LAWFUL AND VALID MANNER;

C.
THE PROSECUTION EVIDENCE SUPPORTING THE CRIME CHARGED IS SUFICIENT TO
PROVE THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT BEYOND REAONABLE DOUBT.[10]
Accused-appellant maintains that the warrantless arrest and search made by the police operatives
was unlawful; that in the light of the testimony of SPO2 Nulud that prior to his arrest he has been under
surveillance for two years, there was therefore no compelling reason for the haste within which the
arresting officers sought to arrest and search him without a warrant; that the police officers had sufficient
information about him and could have easily arrested him. Accused-appellant further argues that since his
arrest was null an void, the drugs that were seized should likewise be inadmissible in evidence since they
were obtained in violation of his constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizures and arrest.
Accused-appellants argument is impressed with merit.
Although the trial courts evaluation of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies is entitled to
great respect and will not be disturbed on appeal, however, this rule is not a hard and fast one.
It is a time-honored rule that the assessment of the trial court with regard to the credibility of witnesses
deserves the utmost respect, if not finality, for the reason that the trial judge has the prerogative, denied to
appellate judges, of observing the demeanor of the declarants in the course of their testimonies. The only
exception is if there is a showing that the trial judge overlooked, misunderstood, or misapplied some fact or
circumstance of weight and substance that would have affected the case.[11]
In the case at bar, there appears on record some facts of weight and substance that have been
overlooked, misapprehended, or misapplied by the trial court which casts doubt on the guilt of accusedappellant. An appeal in a criminal case opens the whole case for review and this includes the review of the
penalty and indemnity imposed by the trial court.[12] We are clothed with ample authority to review matters,
even those not raised on appeal, if we find that their consideration is necessary in arriving at a just
disposition of the case. Every circumstance in favor of the accused shall be considered.[13] This is in
keeping with the constitutional mandate that every accused shall be presumed innocent unless his guilt is
proven beyond reasonable doubt.
First, with respect to the warrantless arrest and consequent search and seizure made upon accusedappellant, the court a quo made the following findings:
Accused was searched and arrested while in possession of regulated drugs (shabu). A crime was actually
being committed by the accused and he was caught in flagrante delicto. Thus, the search made upon his
personal effects x x x allow a warrantless search incident to a lawful arrest. x x x x
While it is true that the police officers were not armed with a search warrant when the search was made
over the personal affects (sic) of the accused, however, under the circumstances of the case, there was
sufficient probable cause for said officers to believe that accused was then and there committing a crime.
xxx

xxx

xxx

In the present case, the police received information that the accused will distribute illegal drugs that
evening at the Thunder Inn Hotel and its vicinities. The police officer had to act quickly and there was no
more time to secure a search warrant. The search is valid being akin to a stop and frisk.[14]
A thorough review of the evidence on record belies the findings and conclusion of the trial court. It
confused the two different concepts of a search incidental to a lawful arrest (in flagrante delicto) and of a
stop-and-frisk.
In Malacat v. Court of Appeals,[15] we distinguished the concepts of a stop-and-frisk and of a search
incidental to a lawful arrest, to wit:

At the outset, we note that the trial court confused the concepts of a stop-and-frisk and of a search
incidental to a lawful arrest. These two types of warrantless searches differ in terms of the requisite
quantum of proof before they may be validly effected and in their allowable scope.
In a search incidental to a lawful arrest, as the precedent arrest determines the validity of the
incidental search, the legality of the arrest is questioned in a large majority of these cases, e.g., whether
an arrest was merely used as a pretext for conducting a search. In this instance, the law requires that
there first be arrest before a search can be madethe process cannot be reversed. At bottom,
assuming a valid arrest, the arresting officer may search the person of the arrestee and the area within
which the latter may reach for a weapon or for evidence to destroy, and seize any money or property found
which was used in the commission of the crime, or the fruit of the crime, or that which may be used as
evidence, or which might furnish the arrestee with the means of escaping or committing violence.
xxx

xxx

xxx

We now proceed to the justification for and allowable scope of a stop-and-frisk as a limited protective
search of outer clothing for weapons, as laid down in Terry, thus:
We merely hold today that where a police officer observes unusual conduct which leads him
reasonably to conclude in light of his experience that criminal activity may be afoot and that the persons
with whom he is dealing may be armed and presently dangerous, where in the course of investigating
this behavior he identifies himself as a policeman and makes reasonable inquiries, and where
nothing in the initial stages of the encounter serves to dispel his reasonable fear for his own or others
safety, he is entitled for the protection of himself and others in the area to conduct a carefully limited
search of the outer clothing of such persons in an attempt to discover weapons which might be used to
assault him. Such a search is a reasonable search under the Fourth amendment.
Other notable points of Terry are that while probable cause is not required to conduct a stop-and-frisk, it
nevertheless holds that mere suspicion or a hunch will not validate a stop-and-frisk. A genuine
reason must exist, in light of the police officers experience and surrounding conditions, to warrant
the belief that the person detained has weapons concealed about him. Finally, a stop-and-frisk
serves a two-fold interest: (1) the general interest of effective crime prevention and detection, which
underlies the recognition that a police officer may, under appropriate circumstances and in an appropriate
manner, approach a person for purposes of investigating possible criminal behavior even without probable
cause; and (2) the more pressing interest of safety and self-preservation which permit the police officer to
take steps to assure himself that the person with whom he deals is not armed with a deadly weapon that
could unexpectedly and fatally be used against the police officer.[16] (Emphasis ours)
In the case at bar, neither the in flagrante delicto nor the stop and frisk principles is applicable to
justify the warrantless arrest and consequent search and seizure made by the police operatives on
accused-appellant.
In in flagrante delicto arrests, the accused is apprehended at the very moment he is committing or
attempting to commit or has just committed an offense in the presence of the arresting officer. Emphasis
should be laid on the fact that the law requires that the search be incidental to a lawful arrest. Therefore it is
beyond cavil that a lawful arrest must precede the search of a person and his belongings. [17] Accordingly,
for this exception to apply two elements must concur: (1) the person to be arrested must execute an overt
act indicating that he has just committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit a crime; and (2)
such overt act is done in the presence or within the view of the arresting officer.[18]
We find the two aforementioned elements lacking in the case at bar. The record reveals that when
accused-appellant arrived at the vicinity of Thunder Inn Hotel, he merely parked his car along the McArthur
Highway, alighted from it and casually proceeded towards the entrance of the Hotel clutching a sealed
Zest-O juice box. Accused-appellant did not act in a suspicious manner. For all intents and purposes, there
was no overt manifestation that accused-appellant has just committed, is actually committing, or is
attempting to commit a crime.

However, notwithstanding the absence of any overt act strongly manifesting a violation of the law, the
group of SPO2 Nulud hurriedly accosted[19] accused-appellant and later on introduced themselves as
police officers.[20] Accused-appellant was arrested before the alleged drop-off of shabu was done.
Probable cause in this case was more imagined than real. Thus, there could have been no in flagrante
delicto arrest preceding the search, in light of the lack of an overt physical act on the part of accusedappellant that he had committed a crime, was committing a crime or was going to commit a crime. As
applied to in flagrante delicto arrests, it has been held that reliable information alone, absent any overt act
indicative of a felonious enterprise in the presence and within the view of the arresting officers, is not
sufficient to constitute probable cause that would justify an in flagrante delicto arrest.[21] Hence,
in People v. Aminudin,[22] we ruled that the accused-appellant was not, at the moment of his arrest,
committing a crime nor was it shown that he was about to do so or that he had just done so. What
he was doing was descending the gangplank of the M/V Wilcon 9 and there was no outward indication that
called for his arrest. To all appearances, he was like any of the other passengers innocently disembarking
from the vessel. It was only when the informer pointed to him as the carrier of the marijuana that he
suddenly became suspect and so subject to apprehension (Emphasis supplied).
The reliance of the prosecution in People v. Tangliben[23] to justify the polices actions is misplaced. In
the said case, based on the information supplied by informers, police officers conducted a surveillance at
the Victory Liner Terminal compound in San Fernando, Pampanga against persons who may commit
misdemeanors and also on those who may be engaged in the traffic of dangerous drugs. At 9:30 in the
evening, the policemen noticed a person carrying a red travelling bag who was acting suspiciously. They
confronted him and requested him to open his bag but he refused. He acceded later on when the
policemen identified themselves. Inside the bag were marijuana leaves wrapped in a plastic wrapper. The
police officers only knew of the activities of Tangliben on the night of his arrest.
In the instant case, the apprehending policemen already had prior knowledge from the very same
informant of accused-appellants activities. No less than SPO2 Mario Nulud, the team leader of the
arresting operatives, admitted that their informant has been telling them about the activities of accusedappellant for two years prior to his actual arrest on September 21, 1996. An excerpt of the testimony of
SPO2 Mario Nulud reveals the illegality of the arrest of accused-appellant as follows:
Q. Did the civilian informer of yours mentioned to you the name of this chinese drug pusher?
A.

He is mentioning the name of Binad or Jojo Chua.

Q. And he had been mentioning these names to you even before September 21, 1996?
A.

Yes, sir.

Q. How long did this civilian informant have been telling you about the activities of this chinese
drug pusher reckoning in relation to September 21, 1996?
A.

That was about two years already.

Q. Nothwithstanding his two years personal knowledge which you gained from the civilian
informant that this chinese drug pusher have been engaged pushing drugs here in Angeles
City, you did not think of applying for a search warrant for this chinese drug pusher?
A.

No, sir.

xxx
xx

xxx

Q. When you accosted this Binad Chua, he was casually walking along the road near the
Thunder Inn Hotel, is that right?
A.

He was pinpointed by the civilian informer that he is the chinese drug pusher that will deliver
to him also.

Q. My question Mr. Witness, is this Jojo Chua or Binad Chua the accused in this case he
alighted with a Corolla car with plate number 999, I think, he just alighted when you saw him?
A.

Yes, sir.

Q. From the car when he alighted, he casually walked towards near the entrance of the Thunder
Inn Hotel?
A.

He was about to proceed towards Thunder Inn Hotel but he was pinpointed already by the
civilian informer.

Q. But he was just walking towards the entrance of the Thunder Inn Hotel?
A.

Yes, sir, he is about to enter Thunder Inn Hotel.

xxx

xxx

xx
Q. While he was walking, then you and PO2 Nunag pounced on him as you used pounced on
him in your affidavit?
A.

Yes, sir.

xxx

xxx

xx
Q. And you pounced on Jojo Chua before you saw that alleged small plastic bag, is that correct?
A.

Yes, sir.

Q. And after that you also confiscated this Zesto juice box?
A.

Yes, sir.

xxx

xxx

xx
Q. But would you agree with me that not all crystalline substance is shabu?
A.

No, that is shabu and it is been a long time that we have been tailing the accused that he is
really a drug pusher.

Q. So you have been tailing this accused for quite a long time that you are very sure that what
was brought by him was shabu?
A.

Yes, sir.[24]

The police operatives cannot feign ignorance of the alleged illegal activities of accused-appellant.
Considering that the identity, address and activities of the suspected culprit was already ascertained two
years previous to the actual arrest, there was indeed no reason why the police officers could not have
obtained a judicial warrant before arresting accused-appellant and searching his person. Whatever
information their civilian asset relayed to them hours before accused-appellants arrest was not a product of
an on-the-spot tip which may excuse them from obtaining a warrant of arrest. Accordingly, the arresting
teams contention that their arrest of accused-appellant was a product of an on-the-spot tip is untenable.
In the same vein, there could be no valid stop-and-frisk in this case. A stop-and-frisk was defined as
the act of a police officer to stop a citizen on the street, interrogate him, and pat him for weapon(s)[25] or
contraband. The police officer should properly introduce himself and make initial inquiries, approach and
restrain a person who manifests unusual and suspicious conduct, in order to check the latters outer
clothing for possibly concealed weapons.[26] The apprehending police officer must have a genuine reason,
in accordance with the police officers experience and the surrounding conditions, to warrant the belief that
the person to be held has weapons (or contraband) concealed about him.[27] It should therefore be
emphasized that a search and seizure should precede the arrest for this principle to apply.[28]
This principle of stop-and-frisk search was invoked by the Court in Manalili v. Court of Appeals.
[29] In said case, the policemen chanced upon the accused who had reddish eyes, walking in a swaying
manner, and who appeared to be high on drugs. Thus, we upheld the validity of the search as akin to a
stop-and-frisk. In People v. Solayao,[30] we also found justifiable reason to stop-and-frisk the accused
after considering the following circumstances: the drunken actuations of the accused and his companions,
the fact that his companions fled when they saw the policemen, and the fact that the peace officers were
precisely on an intelligence mission to verify reports that armed persons where roaming the vicinity.
The foregoing circumstances do not obtain in the case at bar. There was no valid stop-and-frisk in
the case of accused-appellant. To reiterate, accused-appellant was first arrested before the search and
seizure of the alleged illegal items found in his possession. The apprehending police operative failed to
make any initial inquiry into accused-appellants business in the vicinity or the contents of the Zest-O juice
box he was carrying. The apprehending police officers only introduced themselves when they already had
custody of accused-appellant. Besides, at the time of his arrest, accused-appellant did not exhibit manifest
unusual and suspicious conduct reasonable enough to dispense with the procedure outlined by
jurisprudence and the law. There was, therefore, no genuine reasonable ground for the immediacy of
accused-appellants arrest.
Obviously, the acts of the police operatives wholly depended on the information given to them by their
confidential informant. Accordingly, before and during that time of the arrest, the arresting officers had no
personal knowledge that accused-appellant had just committed, was committing, or was about to commit a
crime.
At any rate, even if the fact of delivery of the illegal drugs actually occurred, accused-appellants
warrantless arrest and consequent search would still not be deemed a valid stop-and frisk. For a valid
stop-and-frisk the search and seizure must precede the arrest, which is not so in this case. Besides, as
we have earlier emphasized, the information about the illegal activities of accused-appellant was not
unknown to the apprehending officers. Hence, the search and seizure of the prohibited drugs cannot be
deemed as a valid stop-and-frisk.
Neither can there be valid seizure in plain view on the basis of the seized items found in accusedappellants possession. First, there was no valid intrusion. Second, the evidence, i.e., the plastic bags
found in the Zest-O juice box which contained crystalline substances later on identified as
methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) and the 20 rounds of .22 caliber ammunition, were not
inadvertently discovered. The police officers first arrested accused-appellant and intentionally searched his
person and peeked into the sealed Zest-O juice box before they were able to see and later on ascertain
that the crystalline substance was shabu. There was no clear showing that the sealed Zest-O juice box

accused-appellant carried contained prohibited drugs. Neither were the small plastic bags which allegedly
contained crystalline substance and the 20 rounds of .22 caliber ammunition visible. These prohibited
substances were not in plain view of the arresting officers; hence, inadmissible for being the fruits of the
poisonous tree.
In like manner, the search cannot be categorized as a search of a moving vehicle, a consented
warrantless search, or a customs search. It cannot even fall under exigent and emergency circumstances,
for the evidence at hand is bereft of any such showing.
All told, the absence of ill-motive on the part of the arresting team cannot simply validate, much more
cure, the illegality of the arrest and consequent warrantless search of accused-appellant. Neither can the
presumption of regularity of performance of function be invoked by an officer in aid of the process when he
undertakes to justify an encroachment of rights secured by the Constitution.[31] In People v. Nubla,[32] we
clearly stated that:
The presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty cannot be used as basis for affirming
accused-appellants conviction because, first, the presumption is precisely just that a mere presumption.
Once challenged by evidence, as in this case, xxx [it] cannot be regarded as binding truth. Second, the
presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions cannot preponderate over the presumption
of innocence that prevails if not overthrown by proof beyond reasonable doubt.
Furthermore, we entertain doubts whether the items allegedly seized from accused-appellant were the
very same items presented at the trial of this case. The record shows that the initial field test where the
items seized were identified as shabu, was only conducted at the PNP headquarters of Angeles City.
[33] The items were therefore not marked at the place where they were taken. In People v. Casimiro,
[34] we struck down with disbelief the reliability of the identity of the confiscated items since they were not
marked at the place where they were seized, thus:
The narcotics field test, which initially identified the seized item as marijuana, was likewise not conducted at
the scene of the crime, but only at the narcotics office. There is thus reasonable doubt as to whether the
item allegedly seized from accused-appellant is the same brick of marijuana marked by the policemen in
their headquarters and given by them to the crime laboratory.
The governments drive against illegal drugs needs the support of every citizen. But it should not
undermine the fundamental rights of every citizen as enshrined in the Constitution. The constitutional
guarantee against warrantless arrests and unreasonable searches and seizures cannot be so carelessly
disregarded as overzealous police officers are sometimes wont to do. Fealty to the constitution and the
rights it guarantees should be paramount in their minds, otherwise their good intentions will remain as such
simply because they have blundered. The criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him
free. Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its
disregard of the charter of its own existence.[35]
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Angeles City,
Branch 59, in Criminal Cases Nos. 96-507 and 96-513, convicting accused-appellant Binad Sy Chua of
violation of Section 16, Article III, Republic Act No. 6425 and sentencing him to suffer the penalty
ofreclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of P1,000,000.00, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accusedappellant Binad Sy Chua is ACQUITTED on the ground of reasonable doubt. Consequently, he is ordered
forthwith released from custody, unless he is being lawfully held for another crime.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Vitug, Carpio and Azcuna. JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 110995 September 5, 1994
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
ALVARO SAYCON y BUQUIRAN, accused-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Francisco S. Garcia and Marcelo G. Flores for accused-appellant.
FELICIANO, J.:
Alvaro Saycon was charged with violating Section 15, Article III of R.A. No. 6425 as amended, the
Dangerous Drugs Act, in an information which read as follows:
That on or about the 8th day of July 1992, in the City of Dumaguete, Philippines, and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, not being then authorized by law,
did, then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, deliver and transport[] from Manila
to Dumaguete City approximately 4 grams of methamphetam[ine] hydrochloride commonly
known as "shabu," a regulated drug.
Contrary to Sec. 15, Art. III of R.A. 6425 (Dangerous Drugs Act) as amended. 1 (Brackets supplied)
At arraignment, Alvaro Saycon entered a plea of not guilty.
After trial, the trial court rendered, on 15 June 1993, a judgment of conviction. The court found Saycon
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of having transported four (4) grams of metamphetamine hydrochloride
("shabu") and sentenced him to life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P20,000.00. 2
The relevant facts as found by the trial court were gleaned from the testimonies of the arresting officers
Senior Police Officers Winifredo S. Noble and Ruben Laddaran of the Narcotics Command, PNP; Police
Officer Emmanuelito C. Lajot of the Philippine Coastguard Office in Dumaguete City; and Forensic Analyst
N.G. Salinas of the PNP Crime Laboratory. The trial court summarized the facts in the following manner:
. . . that on or about 8 July 1992, at about 6:00 in the morning, the Coastguard personnel
received information from NARCOM agent Ruben Laddaran that a suspected "shabu"
courier by the name of Alvaro Saycon was on board the MV Doa Virginia, which was
arriving at that moment in Dumaguete City. Upon receipt of the information, the Coastguard
chief officer CPO Tolin, instructed them to intercept the suspect. A combined team of
NARCOM agents and Philippine Coastguard personnel consisting of CPO Tolin, a certain
Miagme, and Senior Police Officers Ruben Laddaran and Winifredo Noble of NARCOM
posted themselves at the gate of Pier 1.
The MV Doa Virginia docked at 6:00 a.m. that same morning at Pier 1 in Dumaguete City.
Alvaro Saycon alighted from the boat carrying a black bag and went through the checkpoint
manned by the Philippine Coastguard where he was identified by police officer Winifredo Noble
of NARCOM. Saycon was then invited to the Coastguard Headquarters at the Pier area. He
willingly went with them. At the headquarters, the coastguard asked Saycon to open his bag, and
the latter willingly obliged. In it were personal belongings and a maong wallet. Inside
that maong wallet, there was a Marlboro pack containing the suspected "shabu". When police
officer Winifredo Noble asked Saycon whether the Marlboro pack containing the suspected
"shabu" was his, Saycon merely bowed his head. Then Saycon, his bag and the suspected
"shabu" were brought to the NARCOM office for booking. When Alvaro Saycon was arrested, the
NARCOM agents did not have a warrant of arrest. 3

After the arrest of Saycon, the suspected drug material taken from him was brought to the PNP Crime
Laboratory in Cebu City for chemical examination.
The PNP's Forensic Analyst declared in court that she had conducted an examination of the specimens
which had been taken from appellant Saycon and submitted to the Crime Laboratory on 9 July 1992. Her
findings were, basically, that the specimens she examined weighing 4.2 grams in total, consisted of the
regulated
drug
methamphetamine
hydrochloride,
more
widely
known
as
"shabu." 4
For his part, appellant Saycon denied ownership of the "shabu" taken from his black bag. He claimed that
upon disembarking from the ship at the pier in Dumaguete City, he was met by two (2) unfamiliar persons
who snatched his bag from him. Thereafter, he was taken to the office of the port collector, at gunpoint, and
there his bag was searched by four (4) men despite his protests. The four (4) persons were later identified
by appellant Saycon as Noble, Sixto, Edjec and Ruben Laddaran. When appellant Saycon asked why his
belongings were being searched, the four (4) answered that there was "shabu" inside his bag. After the
search of his bag, appellant continued, he was shown a small wallet purportedly taken from his black bag
which contained "shabu." Appellant Saycon was then detained at the Dumaguete City Jail. 5
In his appeal before this Court seeking reversal of the decision of the court a quo finding him guilty of the
crime charged, Saycon contends that the search of his bag was illegal because it had been made without a
search warrant and that, therefore, the "shabu" discovered during the illegal search was inadmissible in
evidence against him.
It is not disputed that the arresting officers were not armed with a search warrant or a warrant of arrest
when they searched Saycon's bag and thereafter effected his arrest.
The relevant constitutional provisions are set out in Sections 2 and 3 [2], Article III of the 1987 Constitution
which read as follows:
Sec. 2. 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 issued except upon probable
cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation
of the complainant and the witness as he may produce, and particularly describing the place
to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.
Sec. 3. xxx xxx xxx
(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible
for any purpose in any proceeding.
The general rule, therefore, is that the search and seizure must be carried out through or with a judicial
warrant; otherwise, such search and seizure becomes "unreasonable" within the meaning of the above
constitutional provisions. 6 The evidence secured in the process of search and seizure i.e., the "fruits"
thereof will be inadmissible in evidence "for any purpose in any proceeding. 7
The requirement that a judicial warrant must be obtained prior to the carrying out of a search and seizure
is, however, not absolute. "There are certain exceptions recognized in our law," the Court noted in People
v. Barros.8 The exception which appears most pertinent in respect of the case at bar is that relating to the
search of moving vehicles. 9 In People v. Barros, the Court said:
Peace officers may lawfully conduct searches of moving vehicles automobiles, trucks, etc.
without need of a warrant, it not being practicable to secure a judicial warrant before
searching a vehicle, since such vehicle can be quickly moved out of the locality or
jurisdiction in which the warrant may be sought. (People v. Bagista, supra; People v. Lo Ho
Wing, supra) In carrying out warrantless searches of moving vehicles, however, peace
officers are limited to routine checks, that is, the vehicles are neither really searched nor
their occupants subjected to physical or body searches, the examination of the vehicles
being limited to visual inspection. In Valmonte v. De Villa(178 SCRA 211 [1989]), the Court
stated:

[N]ot all searches and seizures are prohibited. Those which are reasonable
are not forbidden. A reasonable search is not to be determined by any fixed
formula but is to be resolved according to the facts of each case.
Where, for example, the officer merely draws aside the curtain of a vacant
vehicle which is parked on the public fair grounds, or simply looks into a
vehicle, or flashes a light therein, these do not constitute unreasonable
search. (Citations omitted)
When, however, a vehicle is stopped and subjected to an extensive search, such a
warrantless search would be constitutionally permissible only if the officers conducting the
search have reasonable or probable cause to believe, before the search, that either the
motorist is a law-offender or the contents or cargo of the vehicle are or have been
instruments or the subject matter or the proceeds of some criminal offense. (People v.
Bagista, supra; Valmonte v. de Villa, 185 SCRA 665 [1990]).
While the analogy is perhaps not perfect, we consider that appellant Saycon stands in the same situation
as the driver or passenger of a motor vehicle that is stopped by police authorities and subjected to an
extensive search. In this situation, the warrantless search and arrest of appellant Saycon would be
constitutionally permissible only if the officer conducting the search had reasonable or probable cause to
believe, before the search, that Saycon who had just disembarked from the MV Doa Virginia upon arrival
of that vessel at 6:00 a.m. of 8 July 1992 at Pier I of Dumaguete city, was violating some law or that the
contents of his luggage included some instrument or the subjects matter or the proceeds of some criminal
offense.
It is important to note that unlike in the case of crimes like, e.g., homicide, murder, physical injuries, robbery
or rape which by their nature involve physical, optically perceptible, overt acts, the offense of possessing or
delivering or transporting some prohibited or regulated drug is customarily carried out without any external
signs or indicia visible to police officers and the rest of the outside world. Drug "pushers" or couriers do not
customarily go about their enterprise or trade with some external visible sign advertising the fact that they
are carrying or distributing or transporting prohibited drugs. Thus, the application of the rules in Section 5
(a) and (b), Rule 133 of the Rules of Court needs to take that circumstance into account. The Court has
had to resolve the question of valid or invalid warrantless arrest or warrantless search or seizure in such
cases by determining the presence or absence of a reasonable or probable cause, before the search and
arrest, that led the police authorities to believe that such a felony (possessing or transporting or delivering
prohibited drugs) was then in progress. InBarros, the Court listed the kinds of causes which have been
characterized as probable or reasonable cause supporting the legality and validity of a warrantless search
and a warrantless arrest in cases of this type:
This Court has in the past found probable cause to conduct without a judicial warrant an
extensive search of moving vehicles in situations where (1) there had emanated from a
package the distinctive smell of marijuana (People v. Claudio, 160 SCRA 646 [1988]); (2)
agents of the Narcotics Command ("Narcom") of the Philippine National Police ("PNP") had
received a confidential report from informers that a sizeable volume of marijuana would be
transported along the route where the search was conducted (People v. Maspil, 188 SCRA
751 [1990]); (3) Narcom agents were informed or "tipped off" by an undercover "deep
penetration" agent that prohibited drugs would be brought into the country on a particular
airline flight on a given date (People v. Lo Ho Wing, supra); (4) Narcom agents had received
information that a Caucasian coming from Sagada, Mountain Province, had in his
possession prohibited drugs and when the Narcom agents confronted the accused
Caucasian, because of as conspicuous bulge in this waistline, he failed to present his
passport and other identification papers when requested to do so (People v. Malmstedt, 198
SCRA 401 [1991]); and (5) Narcom agents had received confidential information that a
woman having the same physical appearance as that of the accused would be transporting
marijuana (People v. Bagista, supra.).
Close examination of the record of the case at bar shows that there did exist reasonable or probable cause
to believe that appellant Alvaro Saycon would be carrying or transporting prohibited drugs upon arriving in
Dumaguete City on the MV Doa Virginia on 8 July 1992. This probable cause in fact consisted of two (2)

parts. Firstly, Senior Police Officer Winifredo Noble had testified in court that the NARCOM Agents had,
approximately three (3) weeks before 8 July 1992, conducted a test-buy which confirmed that appellant
Saycon was indeed engaged in transporting and selling "shabu." The police authorities did not, on that
occasion, arrest Alvaro Saycon, but what should be noted is that the identity of Saycon as a drug courier or
drug distributor was established in the minds of the police authorities. 10 Secondly, the arresting officers
testified that they had received confidential information that very early morning of 8 July 1992, Alvaro
Saycon would probably be on board the MV Doa Virginia which was scheduled to arrive in Dumaguete
City at 6:00 a.m. on 8 July 1992, probably carrying "shabu" with him.
In respect of the first element of the probable cause here involved, the testimony of Police Officer Winifredo
Noble had not been denied or rebutted by the defense; as it happened, Officer Noble was not even crossexamined on this point by defense counsel.
In respect of the second element of the probable cause here involved, appellant Saycon contended that the
testimonies of the prosecution witnesses showed that the NARCOM Agents knew three (3) weeks before 8
July 1992 that the MV Doa Virginia would be arriving and that the would probably be on board that vessel.
It was argued by Saycon that the police authorities should have procured, and had the time to procure, the
necessary judicial warrants for search and arrest. Saycon also sought to underscore a supposed confusion
in the testimonies of NARCOM Officer Winifredo Noble and Coastguard Officer Lajot relating to who, as
between the NARCOM agent and the Coastguard elements, had informed the other that appellant would
probably be arriving on board the MV Doa Virginia. The relevant portion of NARCOM Agent Winifredo
Noble's testimony includes the following:
Q: Despite the lapse of three (3) weeks, more or less, from acquiring
knowledge through this informant, did you not secure the necessary search
warrant and warrant of arrest on the effect(s) and person of the subject
Alvaro Saycon?
A: All the time we were only informed by the Coastguard that this certain
fellow in the name of Alvaro Saycon is travelling through and through from
Manila to Dumaguete will be carrying shabu from Manila to Dumaguete and
we could not ascertain (with) the time when he will be at the pier area.
Q: You have not answered my question. My question is: Despite the lapse of
more than three (3) weeks upon being informed by your informer that this
Alvaro Saycon, the accused in this case, has been a courier from time to
time of prohibited drugs, did you not bother to secure the necessary warrant:
search as well as the arrest?
A: As I said earlier, we could not obtain the necessary search warrant to that effect because we do not know or
ascertain when Alvaro Saycon will arrive [from] Manila. On that particular morning, we were informed by the
Coastguard that Doa Virginia would be arriving and they told us that probably this suspect will be among the
passengers, so you better come over and (to) identify the subject. 11 (Emphasis supplied)

Upon the other hand, Coastguard Police Officer Emmanuelito Lajot, Jr. testified in the following way:
Q: What time were you in your office?
A: Before 6:00 o'clock, I was there.
xxx xxx xxx
Q: While you were there, did you receive any communication?
A: Yes.
Q: What communication was that?
A: That a certain Alvaro Saycon was on board MV Doa Virginia arriving at
6:00 o'clock in the morning?
Q: Who gave you that information?
A: Ruben Laddaran(a).

Q: Who is this Ruben Laddaran?


A: NARCOM Agent. 12 (Emphasis supplied)

If there was any confusion or uncertainty in the testimonies of NARCOM Officer Noble and
Coastguard Officer Lajot, that confusion was a minor detail. It was in any case clarified by
NARCOM Officer Noble's explanation that after the NARCOM Command had received information
appellant Saycon would be transporting drugs from Manila to Dumaguete City, they advised the
Coastguard that they (the Narcotics Command) wanted to set up a checkpoint at Pier I at
Dumaguete City because appellant Saycon could be on board one of the vessels arriving in
Dumaguete City. The Coastguard in turn informed the NARCOM Officers of the arrival of the
MV Doa Virginia and assisted the NARCOM Officers in their operation that morning of 8 July 1992.
The record shows that the NARCOM Officers were uncertain as to the precise date and time appellant
Saycon would arrive from Manila; all they knew was that Saycon would be taking a boat from Manila to
Dumaguete City Pier. 13 The MV Doa Virginia docked at the Port of Pier I of Dumaguete City between
6:00 and 6:30 in the morning of 8 July 1992. Earlier on that same morning, the NARCOM Officers received
more specific information that appellant Saycon could be on board the MV Doa Virginia which was arriving
that morning. 14 Clearly, the NARCOM Agents had to act quickly but there was not enough time to obtain a
search warrant or a warrant of arrest. It was realistically not possible for either the NARCOM Agents or the
Coastguard Officers to obtain a judicial search warrant or warrant of arrest in the situation presented by the
case
at
bar. 15
The Court considers, therefore, that a valid warrantless search had been conducted by the NARCOM and
Coastguard Officers of the "black bag" of appellant Saycon that morning of 8 July 1992 at the checkpoint
nearby the docking place of the MV Doa Virginia and at the office of the Coastguard at Dumaguete City. It
follows that the warrantless arrest of appellant Saycon which ensued forthwith, was also valid and lawful,
since the police had determined, he was in fact carrying or transporting "shabu." The further consequence
is that the four (4) grams of "shabu" obtained from his maong wallet found inside his black bag was lawfully
before the court a quo. We agree with the court a quo that the evidence before the latter proved beyond
reasonable doubt that appellant Saycon had been carrying with him "shabu" at the time of his search and
arrest and his guilt of the offense charged was established beyond reasonable doubt.
In view of the foregoing, the decision of the trial court dated 15 June 1993, in Criminal Case No. 10325,
should be affirmed, but the penalty properly impassable upon appellant Alvaro Saycon must be reduced to
imprisonment for an indeterminate period ranging from six (6) months of arresto mayor as minimum to six
(6) years of prision correctional as maximum, and the fine of P20,000.00 must be deleted. This reduction of
penalty is required by the provisions of Section 20, Article IV of R.A. NO. 6425, as last amended by Section
17, of R.A. No. 7659 (effective 13 December 1993) as construed and given retroactive effect in People v.
Martin Simon(G.R. No. 93028, 29 July 1994) considering that the amount of "shabu" here involved (four [4]
grams) is obviously less than the 200 grams of "shabu" cut-off quantity established in the amended Section
20 of the Dangerous Drugs Act.
WHEREFORE, for all the foregoing, the decision of the trial court in Criminal Case No. 10325, is hereby
AFFIRMED, with the MODIFICATIONS, however, that appellant shall suffer imprisonment for an
indeterminate period ranging from six (6) months of arresto mayor as minimum to six (6) years of prision
correctional as maximum, and that the fine of P20,000.00 shall be DELETED. No pronouncement as to
costs.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. L-63630 April 6, 1990
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
MEDEL TANGLIBEN Y BERNARDINO, defendant-appellant.
The Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Katz N. Tierra for defendant-appellant.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 41, Third Judicial Region at San
Fernando, Pampanga, Branch 41, finding appellant Medel Tangliben y Bernardino guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of violating Section 4, Article II of Republic Act 6425 (Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 as
amended) and sentencing him to life imprisonment, to pay a fine of P20,000 and to pay the costs.
The information filed against the appellant alleged:
That on or about the 2nd day of March, 1982, in the municipality of San Fernando, Province
of Pampanga, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused MEDEL TANGLIBEN y BERNARDINO, knowing fully well that Marijuana is
a prohibited drug, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have his
possession, control and custody one (1) bag of dried marijuana leaves with an approximate
weight of one (1) kilo and to transport (sic) the same to Olongapo City, without authority of
law to do so. (At p. 6, Rollo)
The prosecution's evidence upon which the finding of guilt beyond reasonable doubt was based is narrated
by the trial court as follows:
It appears from the evidence presented by the prosecution that in the late evening of March
2, 1982, Patrolmen Silverio Quevedo and Romeo L. Punzalan of the San Fernando Police
Station, together with Barangay Tanod Macario Sacdalan, were conducting surveillance
mission at the Victory Liner Terminal compound located at Barangay San Nicolas, San
Fernando, Pampanga; that the surveillance was aimed not only against persons who may
commit misdemeanors at the said place but also on persons who may be engaging in the
traffic of dangerous drugs based on informations supplied by informers; that it was around
9:30 in the evening that said Patrolmen noticed a person caring a traveling bag (Exhibit G)
who was acting suspiciously and they confronted him; that the person was requested by
Patrolmen Quevedo and Punzalan to open the red traveling bag but the person refused,
only to accede later on when the patrolmen identified themselves; that found inside the bag
were marijuana leaves (Exhibit B) wrapped in a plastic wrapper and weighing one kilo, more
or less; that the person was asked of his name and the reason why he was at the said place
and he gave his name as Medel Tangliben and explained that he was waiting for a ride to
Olongapo City to deliver the marijuana leaves; that the accused was taken to the police
headquarters at San Fernando, Pampanga, for further investigation; and that Pat. Silverio
Quevedo submitted to his Station Commander his Investigator's Report (Exhibit F).
It appears also from the prosecution's evidence that in the following morning or on March 3,
1982, Pat. Silverio Quevedo asked his co-policeman Pat. Roberto Quevedo, who happens
to be his brother and who has had special training on narcotics, to conduct a field test on a
little portion of the marijuana leaves and to have the remaining portion examined by the
PCCL at Camp Olivas, San Fernando, Pampanga; that Pat. Roberto Quevedo conducted a
field test (Exhibit H) on the marijuana leaves and found positive result for marijuana (Exhibit

E); that the remaining bigger quantity of the marijuana leaves were taken to the PCCL at
Camp Olivas by Pat. Roberto Quevedo that same day of March 3, 1982 (Exhibit A and A-1)
and when examined, the same were also found to be marijuana (Exhibit C and C-1). (At pp.
9-10, Rollo)
Only the accused testified in his defense. His testimony is narrated by the trial court as follows:
The accused declared that he got married on October 25, 1981 and his wife begot a child
on June 10, 1982; that he was formerly employed in the poultry farm of his uncle Alejandro
Caluma in Antipolo, Rizal; that he is engaged in the business of selling poultry medicine and
feeds, including chicks, and used to conduct his business at Taytay, Rizal; that he goes to
Subic at times in connection with his business and whenever he is in Subic, he used to buy
C-rations from one Nena Ballon and dispose the same in Manila; that he never left his
residence at Antipolo, Rizal, on March 2, 1982; that on March 3, 1982, he went to Subic to
collect a balance of P100.00 from a customer thereat and to buy C-rations; that he was able
to meet Nena Ballon at 6:00 o'clock in the evening and he stayed in Nena's house up to
8:00 o'clock because he had a drinking spree with Nena's son; that he tried to catch the
8:00 o'clock trip to Manila from Olongapo City but he failed and was able to take the bus
only by 9:00 o'clock that evening that it was a Victory Liner Bus that he rode and because
he was tipsy, he did not notice that the bus was only bound for San Fernando, Pampanga;
that upon alighting at the Victory Liner Compound at San Fernando, Pampanga he crossed
the street to wait for a bus going to Manila; that while thus waiting for a bus, a man whom
he came to know later as Pat. Punzalan, approached him and asked him if he has any
residence certificate; that when he took out his wallet, Pat. Punzalan got the wallet and took
all the money inside the wallet amounting to P545.00; that Pat. Punzalan told him that he'll
be taken to the municipal building for verification as he may be an NPA member; that at the
municipal building, he saw a policeman, identified by him later as Pat. Silverio Quevedo,
sleeping but was awakened when he arrived that Pat. Quevedo took him upstairs and told
him to take out everything from his pocket saying that the prisoners inside the jail may get
the same from him; that inside his pocket was a fifty-peso bill and Pat. Quevedo took the
same, telling him that it shall be returned to him but that it was never returned to him; that
he was thereafter placed under detention and somebody told him that he is being charged
with possession of marijuana and if he would like to be bailed out, somebody is willing to
help him; and, that when he was visited by his wife, he told his wife that Patrolman Silverio
Quevedo took away all his money but he told his wife not to complain anymore as it would
be useless. (Rollo, pp. 10-11)
Appellant, through counsel de oficio Atty. Enrique Chan, raised the lone assignment of error in his appeal:
THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT AND
FINDING HIM GUILTY OF THE CRIME CHARGED ON INSUFFICIENT AND DOUBTFUL
EVIDENCE. (At p. 48,Rollo)
The Solicitor-General likewise filed his brief, basically reiterating ating the lower court's findings.
However, before this Court had the chance to act on appeal, counsel de oficio Atty. Enrique Chan died.
Thereafter, this court appointed a new counsel de oficio, Atty. Katz Tierra and pursuant thereto, the Deputy
Clerk of Court, in behalf of the Clerk of Court, required the new counsel to file her appellant's brief. The
latter complied and, in her brief, raised the following assignment of errors:
I
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING AS EVIDENCE THE PACKAGE OF
MARIJUANA ALLEGEDLY SEIZED FROM DEFENDANT-APPELLANT AS IT WAS A
PRODUCT OF AN UNLAWFUL SEARCH WITHOUT A WARRANT.
II
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING AS EVIDENCE THE ALLEGED PACKAGE
OF MARIJUANA LEAVES AS THE LEAVES SUPPOSEDLY SEIZED FROM ACCUSED
WHEN IT WAS NEVER AUTHENTICATED.

III
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT RULING THAT THE PROSECUTION FAILED TO
PROVE THE GUILT OF DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. (At pp. 92-93, Rollo)
It is contended that the marijuana allegedly seized from the accused was a product of an unlawful search
without a warrant and is therefore inadmissible in evidence.
This contention is devoid of merit.
One of the exceptions to the general rule requiring a search warrant is a search incident to a lawful arrest.
Thus, Section 12 of Rule 126 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure provides:
Section 12. Search incident to a lawful arrest. A person lawfully arrested may be searched
for dangerous weapons or anything which may be used as proof of the commission of an
offense, without a search warrant.
Meanwhile, Rule 113, Sec. 5(a) provides:
. . . A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing,
or is attempting to commit an offense.
Accused was caught in flagrante, since he was carrying marijuana at the time of his arrest. This case
therefore falls squarely within the exception. The warrantless search was incident to a lawful arrest and is
consequently valid.
In the case of People v. Claudia, 160 SCRA 646, [1988] this Court, confronted with the same issue, held
that:
Appellant Claudio was caught transporting prohibited drugs. Pat. Daniel did not need a
warrant to arrest Claudio as the latter was caught in flagrante delicto. The warrantless
search being an incident to a lawful arrest is in itself lawful. (Nolasco V. Pao, 147 SCRA
509). Therefore, there was no infirmity in the seizure of the 1.1 kilos of marijuana.
We are not unmindful of the decision of this Court in People v. Amininudin, 163 SCRA 402 [1988]. In that
case the PC officers had earlier received a tip from an informer that accused-appellant. was on board a
vessel bound for Iloilo City and was carrying marijuana. Acting on this tip, they waited for him one evening,
approached him as he descended from the gangplank, detained him and inspected the bag he was
carrying. Said bag contained marijuana leaves. The Court held that the marijuana could not be admitted in
evidence since it was seized illegally. The records show, however, that there were certain facts, not sing in
the case before us, which led the Court to declare the seizure as invalid. As stated therein:
The present case presented no such urgency From the conflicting declarations of the PC
witnesses, it is clear that they had at react two days within which they could have obtained a
warrant of arrest and search Aminnudin who was coming to Iloilo on the M/V Wilcon 9. His
name was known. The vehicle was identified. The date of its arrival was certain. And from
the information they had received, they could have persuaded a judge that there was
probable cause, indeed, to justify the issuance of a warrant. Yet they did nothing. No effort
was made to comply with the law. The Bill of Rights was ignored altogether because the PC
lieutenant who was the head of the arresting team, had determined on his own authority
that a "search warrant was not necessary."
In contrast, the case before us presented urgency. Although the trial court's decision did not mention it, the
transcript of stenographic notes reveals that there was an informer who pointed to the accused-appellant
as carrying marijuana. (TSN, pp. 52-53) Faced with such on-the-spot information, the police officers had to
act quickly. There was not enough time to secure a search warrant. We cannot therefore apply the ruling
inAminnudin to the case at bar. To require search warrants during on-the-spot apprehensions of drug
pushers, illegal possessors of firearms, jueteng collectors, smugglers of contraband goods, robbers, etc.
would make it extremely difficult, if not impossible to contain the crimes with which these persons are
associated.

Accused-appellant likewise asserts that the package of marijuana leaves supposedly seized from him was
never authenticated and therefore should not have been admitted as evidence. He capitalizes on the fact
that the marijuana package brought by patrolman Roberto Quevedo to the PC Crime Laboratory for
examination did not contain a tag bearing the name of the accused. We rule, however, that since Patrolman
Quevedo testified that he gave the marijuana package together with a letter-request for examination, and
the forensic chemist Marilene Salangad likewise testified that she received the marijuana together with the
letter-request and said letter-request bore the name of the accused, then the requirements of proper
authentication of evidence were sufficiently complied with. The marijuana package examined by the
forensic checklist was satisfactorily identified as the one seized from accused.
Even assuming arguendo that the marijuana sent to the PC Crime Laboratory was not properly
authenticated, still, we cannot discount the separate field test conducted by witness Roberto Quevedo
which yielded positive results for marijuana.
Lastly, the appellant claims that the evidence upon which he was convicted was insufficient and doubtful
and that the prosecution failed to prove his guilt.
In attacking the sufficiency of evidence, the appellant avers that the informer should have been presented
before the lower court. We discard this argument as a futile attempt to revive an already settled issue. This
Court has ruled in several cases that non-presentation of the informer, where his testimony would be
merely corroborative or cumulative, is not fatal to the prosecution's case. (People v. Asio, G.R. No. 84960,
September 1, 1989; (People v. Viola, G.R. No. 64262, March 16, 1989; People v. Capulong, 160 SCRA 533
[1988]; People v. Cerelegia, 147 SCRA 538).
As to doubtfulness of evidence, well-settled is the rule that findings of the trial court on the issue of
credibility of witnesses and their testimonies are entitled to great respect and accorded the highest
consideration by the appellate court. Since credibility is a matter that is peculiarly within the province of the
trial judge, who had first hand opportunity to watch and observe the demeanor and behavior of witnesses
both for the prosecution and the defense at the time of their testimony (People v. Tejada, G.R. No. 81520,
February 21, 1989; People v. Turla, 167 SCRA 278), we find no reason to disturb the following findings:
The testimony of prosecution witnesses Patrolmen Silverio Quevedo and Romeo Punzalan
are positive and sufficiently clean to show the commission by the accused of the offense
herein chatted. These prosecution witnesses have no motive to fabricate the facts and to
foist a very serious offense against the accused. The knowledge on what these witnesses
testified to were (sic) acquired by them in the official performance of their duties and then,
(sic) being no showing that they are prejudiced against the accused, their testimonies
deserve full credit.
The testimonies of the afore-mentioned petitioner that what they found in the possession of
the accused were marijuana leaves were corroborated by the examination findings
conducted by Pat. October to Salangad of the PCCL, with station at camp Olivas, San
Fernando, Pampanga (Exhibits C and C-1). (Rollo, p. 11)
Moreover, if there is truth in the testimony of the accused to the effect that Pat. Punzalan got
all the money from his wallet when he was accosted at the Victory Liner Terminal and was
told just to keep quiet otherwise he will be "salvaged" why will Pat. Punzalan still bring the
accused to the municipal Building for interrogation and/or verification? Would not Pat.
Punzalan be exposing his identity to the accused? This is unnatural. And this is also true on
the testimony to the accused that Pat. Silverio Quevedo got his fifty-peso bill arid never
returned the same to him. If the policemen really got any money from the accused and that
the marijuana leaves do not belong to the accused, why will the two policemen still produce
in Court as evidence that expensive-looking traveling red bag (Exhibit G) taken from the
accused and which contained the marijuana in question if the instant case is a mere
fabrication?
As already stated, all the evidence, oral and documentary, presented by the prosecution in
this case were all based on personal knowledge acquired by the prosecution witnesses in
the regular performance of their official duties and there is nothing in their testimonies to
show that they are bias (sic) or that they have any prejudice against the herein accused.

Between the testimonies of these prosecution witnesses and that of the uncorroborated and
self-serving testimony of the accused, the former should prevail. (Rollo, p. 13)
Likewise, the appellant chose to limit his defense to his own testimony. He could have availed himself
through compulsory court processes of several witnesses to buttress his defense. Since not one other
witness was presented nor was any justification for the non-appearance given, the inadequacy of his lone
and uncorroborated testimony remains. It cannot prevail vis-a-vis the positive testimonies given by the
prosecution witnesses.
Moreover, the appellant's having jumped bail is akin to flight which, as correctly observed by the lower
court, is an added circumstance tending to establish his guilt.
We take exception, however, to the trial court's finding that:
The dried marijuana leaves found in the possession of the accused weighs one (1) kilo,
more or less. The intent to transport the same is clear from the testimony of Pat. Silverio
Quevedo who declared, among other things, that when he confronted the accused that
night, the latter told him that he (accused) is bringing the marijuana leaves to Olongapo City.
Moreover, considering the quantity of the marijuana leaves found in the possession of the
accused and the place he was arrested which is at San Fernando, Pampanga, a place
where the accused is not residing, it can be said that the intent to transport the marijuana
leaves has been clearly established. (Rollo, pp. 13-14)
The alleged extrajudicial confession of the accused which, on the other hand, he categorically denied in
court, that he is transporting the marijuana leaves to Olongapo City cannot be relied upon. Even assuming
it to be true, the extrajudicial confession cannot be admitted because it does not appear in the records that
the accused, during custodial investigation, was apprised of his rights to remain silent and to counsel and
to be informed of such rights. In People v. Duero 104 SCRA 379 [1981], the Court pronounced that
"inasmuch as the prosecution failed to prove that before Duero made his alleged oral confession he was
informed of his rights to remain silent and to have counsel and because there is no proof that he knowingly
and intelligently waived those rights, his confession is inadmissible in evidence. This ruling was reiterated
in People v. Tolentino, 145 SCRA 597 [1986], where the Court added that:
In effect, the Court not only abrogated the rule on presumption of regularity of official acts
relative to admissibility of statements taken during in-custody interrogation but likewise
dispelled any doubt as to the full adoption of the Miranda doctrine in this jurisdiction. It is
now incumbent upon the prosecution to prove during a trial that prior to questioning, the
confessant was warned of his constitutionally protected rights.
The trial judge likewise found the marijuana to weigh one kilo, more or less, and from this finding extracted
a clear intent to transport the marijuana leaves. It may be pointed out, however, that although the
information stated the weight to be approximately one kilo, the forensic chemist who examined the
marijuana leaves testified that the marijuana weighed only 600 grams Such amount is not a considerable
quantity as to conclusively confer upon the accused an intent to transport the marijuana leaves.
Nor can it be said that the intent to transport is clearly established from the fact that the accused was
arrested at San Fernando, Pampanga, a place which is not his residence. Conviction of a crime with an
extremely severe penalty must be based on evidence which is clearer and more convincing than the
inferences in this case.
What was therefore proved beyond reasonable doubt is not his intent to transport the marijuana leaves but
his actual session.
The offense committed by the appellant is possession of marijuana under Section 8 of Republic Act No.
6425 (Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 as amended).
WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction by the trial court is hereby AFFIRMED but MODIFIED. The
appellant is sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment ranging from six (6) years and one (1) day to
twelve (12) years and fine of Six Thousand (P6,000.00) Pesos.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 87059 June 22, 1992
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
ROGELIO MENGOTE y TEJAS, accused-appellant.
CRUZ, J.:
Accused-appellant Rogelio Mengote was convicted of illegal possession of firearms on the strength mainly
of the stolen pistol found on his person at the moment of his warrantless arrest. In this appeal, he pleads
that the weapon was not admissible as evidence against him because it had been illegally seized and was
therefore the fruit of the poisonous tree. The Government disagrees. It insists that the revolver was validly
received in evidence by the trial judge because its seizure was incidental to an arrest that was doubtless
lawful even if admittedly without warrant.
The incident occurred shortly before noon of August 8, 1987, after the Western Police District received a
telephone call from an informer that there were three suspicious-looking persons at the corner of Juan
Luna and North Bay Boulevard in Tondo, Manila. A surveillance team of plainclothesmen was forthwith
dispatched to the place. As later narrated at the trial by Patrolmen Rolando Mercado and Alberto
Juan, 1 they there saw two men "looking from side to side," one of whom was holding his abdomen. They
approached these persons and identified themselves as policemen, whereupon the two tried to run away
but were unable to escape because the other lawmen had surrounded them. The suspects were then
searched. One of them, who turned out to be the accused-appellant, was found with a .38 caliber Smith
and Wesson revolver with six live bullets in the chamber. His companion, later identified as Nicanor
Morellos, had a fan knife secreted in his front right pants pocket. The weapons were taken from them.
Mengote and Morellos were then turned over to police headquarters for investigation by the Intelligence
Division.
On August 11, 1987, the following information was filed against the accused-appellant before the Regional
Trial Court of Manila:
The undersigned accuses ROGELIO MENGOTE y TEJAS of a violation of Presidential
Decree No. 1866, committed as follows:
That on or about August 8, 1987, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession and under his
custody and control a firearm, to wit:
one
(1)
Serial No. 8720-T

cal.

38

"S

&

W"

bearing

without first having secured the necessary license or permit therefor from the proper
authorities.
Besides the police officers, one other witness presented by the prosecution was Rigoberto Danganan, who
identified the subject weapon as among the articles stolen from him during the robbery in his house in
Malabon on June 13, 1987. He pointed to Mengote as one of the robbers. He had duly reported the
robbery to the police, indicating the articles stolen from him, including the revolver. 2 For his part, Mengote
made no effort to prove that he owned the firearm or that he was licensed to possess it and claimed instead
that the weapon had been "Planted" on him at the time of his arrest. 3
The gun, together with the live bullets and its holster, were offered as Exhibits A, B, and C and admitted
over the objection of the defense. As previously stated, the weapon was the principal evidence that led to

Mengote's
perpetua. 4

conviction

for

violation

of

P.D.

1866.

He

was

sentenced

to reclusion

It is submitted in the Appellant's Brief that the revolver should not have been admitted in evidence because
of its illegal seizure. no warrant therefor having been previously obtained. Neither could it have been seized
as an incident of a lawful arrest because the arrest of Mengote was itself unlawful, having been also
effected without a warrant. The defense also contends that the testimony regarding the alleged robbery in
Danganan's house was irrelevant and should also have been disregarded by the trial court.
The following are the pertinent provision of the Bill of Rights:
Sec. 2. 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.
Sec. 3 (1). The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except
upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise as
prescribed by law.
(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible
for any purpose in any proceeding.
There is no question that evidence obtained as a result of an illegal search or seizure is inadmissible in any
proceeding for any purpose. That is the absolute prohibition of Article III, Section 3(2), of the Constitution.
This is the celebrated exclusionary rule based on the justification given by Judge Learned Hand that "only
in case the prosecution, which itself controls the seizing officials, knows that it cannot profit by their wrong
will the wrong be repressed." The Solicitor General, while conceding the rule, maintains that it is not
applicable in the case at bar. His reason is that the arrest and search of Mengote and the seizure of the
revolver from him were lawful under Rule 113, Section 5, of the Rules of Court reading as follows:
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant when lawful. A peace officer or private person may, without
a warrant, arrest a person;
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing,
or is attempting to commit an offense;
(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of
facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it; and
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal
establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his
case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.
In cases failing under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the person arrested without a warrant
shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or jail, and he shall be proceeded
against in accordance with Rule 112, Section 7.
We have carefully examined the wording of this Rule and cannot see how we can agree with the
prosecution.
Par. (c) of Section 5 is obviously inapplicable as Mengote was not an escapee from a penal institution when
he was arrested. We therefore confine ourselves to determining the lawfulness of his arrest under either
Par. (a) or Par. (b) of this section.
Par. (a) requires that the person be arrested (1) after he has committed or while he is actually committing or
is at least attempting to commit an offense, (2) in the presence of the arresting officer.
These requirements have not been established in the case at bar. At the time of the arrest in question, the
accused-appellant was merely "looking from side to side" and "holding his abdomen," according to the

arresting officers themselves. There was apparently no offense that had just been committed or was being
actually committed or at least being attempted by Mengote in their presence.
The Solicitor General submits that the actual existence of an offense was not necessary as long as
Mengote's acts "created a reasonable suspicion on the part of the arresting officers and induced in them
the belief that an offense had been committed and that the accused-appellant had committed it." The
question is, What offense? What offense could possibly have been suggested by a person "looking from
side to side" and "holding his abdomen" and in a place not exactly forsaken?
These are certainly not sinister acts. And the setting of the arrest made them less so, if at all. It might have
been different if Mengote bad been apprehended at an ungodly hour and in a place where he had no
reason to be, like a darkened alley at 3 o'clock in the morning. But he was arrested at 11:30 in the morning
and in a crowded street shortly after alighting from a passenger jeep with I his companion. He was not
skulking in the shadows but walking in the clear light of day. There was nothing clandestine about his being
on that street at that busy hour in the blaze of the noonday sun.
On the other hand, there could have been a number of reasons, all of them innocent, why his eyes were
darting from side to side and be was holding his abdomen. If they excited suspicion in the minds of the
arresting officers, as the prosecution suggests, it has nevertheless not been shown what their suspicion
was all about. In fact, the policemen themselves testified that they were dispatched to that place only
because of the telephone call from the informer that there were "suspicious-looking" persons in that vicinity
who were about to commit a robbery at North Bay Boulevard. The caller did not explain why he thought the
men looked suspicious nor did he elaborate on the impending crime.
In the recent case of People v. Malmstedt, 5 the Court sustained the warrantless arrest of the accused
because there was a bulge in his waist that excited the suspicion of the arresting officer and, upon
inspection, turned out to be a pouch containing hashish. In People v. Claudio, 6 the accused boarded a bus
and placed the buri bag she was carrying behind the seat of the arresting officer while she herself sat in the
seat before him. His suspicion aroused, be surreptitiously examined the bag, which he found to contain
marijuana. He then and there made the warrantless arrest and seizure that we subsequently upheld on the
ground that probable cause had been sufficiently established.
The case before us is different because there was nothing to support the arresting officers' suspicion other
than Mengote's darting eyes and his hand on his abdomen. By no stretch of the imagination could it have
been inferred from these acts that an offense had just been committed, or was actually being committed, or
was at least being attempted in their presence.
This case is similar to People v. Aminnudin, 7 where the Court held that the warrantless arrest of the
accused was unconstitutional. This was effected while be was coming down a vessel, to all appearances
no less innocent than the other disembarking passengers. He had not committed nor was be actually
committing or attempting to commit an offense in the presence of the arresting officers. He was not even
acting suspiciously. In short, there was no probable cause that, as the prosecution incorrectly suggested,
dispensed with the constitutional requirement of a warrant.
Par. (b) is no less applicable because its no less stringent requirements have also not been satisfied. The
prosecution has not shown that at the time of Mengote's arrest an offense had in fact just been committed
and that the arresting officers had personal knowledge of facts indicating that Mengote had committed it. All
they had was hearsay information from the telephone caller, and about a crime that had yet to be
committed.
The truth is that they did not know then what offense, if at all, had been committed and neither were they
aware of the participation therein of the accused-appellant. It was only later, after Danganan had appeared
at the Police headquarters, that they learned of the robbery in his house and of Mengote's supposed
involvement therein. 8 As for the illegal possession of the firearm found on Mengote's person, the
policemen discovered this only after he had been searched and the investigation conducted later revealed
that he was not its owners nor was he licensed to possess it.
Before these events, the Peace officers had no knowledge even of Mengote' identity, let alone the fact (or
suspicion) that he was unlawfully carrying a firearm or that he was involved in the robbery of Danganan's
house.

In the landmark case of People v. Burgos, 9 this Court declared:


Under Section 6(a) of Rule 113, the officer arresting a person who has just committed, is
committing, or is about to commit an offense must have personal knowledge of the fact. The
offense must also be committed in his presence or within his view. (Sayo v. Chief of Police,
80 Phil. 859). (Emphasis supplied)
xxx xxx xxx
In arrests without a warrant under Section 6(b), however, it is not enough that there is
reasonable ground to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a crime. A crime
must in fact or actually have been committed first. That a crime has actually been
committed is an essential precondition. It is not enough to suspect that a crime may have
been committed. The fact of the commission of the offense must be undisputed. The test of
reasonable ground applies only to the identity of the perpetrator. (Emphasis supplied)
This doctrine was affirmed in Alih v. Castro, 10 thus:
If the arrest was made under Rule 113, Section 5, of the Rules of Court in connection with a
crime about to be committed, being committed, or just committed, what was that crime?
There is no allegation in the record of such a falsification. Parenthetically, it may be
observed that under the Revised Rule 113, Section 5(b), the officer making the arrest must
have personal knowledge of the ground therefor as stressed in the recent case of People v.
Burgos. (Emphasis supplied)
It would be a sad day, indeed, if any person could be summarily arrested and searched just because he is
holding his abdomen, even if it be possibly because of a stomach-ache, or if a peace officer could clamp
handcuffs on any person with a shifty look on suspicion that he may have committed a criminal act or is
actually committing or attempting it. This simply cannot be done in a free society. This is not a police state
where order is exalted over liberty or, worse, personal malice on the part of the arresting officer may be
justified in the name of security.
There is no need to discuss the other issues raised by the accused-appellant as the ruling we here make is
sufficient to sustain his exoneration. Without the evidence of the firearm taken from him at the time of his
illegal arrest, the prosecution has lost its most important exhibit and must therefore fail. The testimonial
evidence against Mengote (which is based on the said firearm) is not sufficient to prove his guilt beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime imputed to him.
We commend Atty. Violeta Calvo-Drilon for her able and spirited defense of the accused-appellant not only
in the brief but also in the reply brief, which she did not have to file but did so just the same to stress the
constitutional rights of her client. The fact that she was acting only as a counsel de oficio with no
expectation of material reward makes her representation even more commendable.
The Court feels that if the peace officers had been more mindful of the provisions of the Bill of Rights, the
prosecution of the accused-appellant might have succeeded. As it happened, they allowed their overzealousness to get the better of them, resulting in their disregard of the requirements of a valid search and
seizure that rendered inadmissible the vital evidence they had invalidly seized.
This should be a lesson to other peace officers. Their impulsiveness may be the very cause of the acquittal
of persons who deserve to be convicted, escaping the clutches of the law because, ironically enough, it has
not been observed by those who are supposed to enforce it.
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The accused-appellant is
ACQUITTED and ordered released immediately unless he is validly detained for other offenses. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 80806 October 5, 1989
LEO PITA doing business under the name and style of PINOY PLAYBOY, petitioner,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS, RAMON BAGATSING, and NARCISO CABRERA, respondents.
William C. Arceno for petitioner.
Casibang, Perello and De Dios for private respondent.
SARMIENTO, J.:
The petitioner, publisher of Pinoy Playboy, a "men's magazine", seeks the review of the decision of the
Court of Appeals, 1 rejecting his appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court, dismissing his
complaint for injunctive relief. He invokes, in particular, the guaranty against unreasonable searches and
seizures of the Constitution, as well as its prohibition against deprivation of property without due process of
law. There is no controversy as to the facts. We quote:
On December 1 and 3, 1983, pursuing an Anti-Smut Campaign initiated by the Mayor of the
City of Manila, Ramon D. Bagatsing, elements of the Special Anti-Narcotics Group,
Auxilliary Services Bureau, Western Police District, INP of the Metropolitan Police Force of
Manila, seized and confiscated from dealers, distributors, newsstand owners and peddlers
along Manila sidewalks, magazines, publications and other reading materials believed to be
obscene, pornographic and indecent and later burned the seized materials in public at the
University belt along C.M. Recto Avenue, Manila, in the presence of Mayor Bagatsing and
several officers and members of various student organizations.
Among the publications seized, and later burned, was "Pinoy Playboy" magazines published
and co-edited by plaintiff Leo Pita.
On December 7, 1983, plaintiff filed a case for injunction with prayer for issuance of the writ
of preliminary injunction against Mayor Bagatsing and Narcisco Cabrera, as superintendent
of Western Police District of the City of Manila, seeking to enjoin and/or restrain said
defendants and their agents from confiscating plaintiffs magazines or from otherwise
preventing the sale or circulation thereof claiming that the magazine is a decent, artistic and
educational magazine which is not per se obscene, and that the publication is protected by
the Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and of the press.
By order dated December 8, 1 983 the Court set the hearing on the petition for preliminary
injunction on December 14,1983 and ordered the defendants to show cause not later than
December 13, 1983 why the writ prayed for should not be granted.
On December 12, 1983, plaintiff filed an Urgent Motion for issuance of a temporary
restraining order. against indiscriminate seizure, confiscation and burning of plaintiff's "Pinoy
Playboy" Magazines, pending hearing on the petition for preliminary injunction in view of
Mayor Bagatsing's pronouncement to continue the Anti-Smut Campaign. The Court granted
the temporary restraining order on December 14, 1983.
In his Answer and Opposition filed on December 27,1983 defendant Mayor Bagatsing
admitted the confiscation and burning of obscence reading materials on December 1 and 3,
1983, but claimed that the said materials were voluntarily surrendered by the vendors to the
police authorities, and that the said confiscation and seizure was (sic) undertaken pursuant
to P.D. No. 960, as amended by P.D. No. 969, which amended Article 201 of the Revised
Penal Code. In opposing the plaintiffs application for a writ of preliminary injunction,
defendant pointed out that in that anti- smut campaign conducted on December 1 and 3,

1983, the materials confiscated belonged to the magazine stand owners and peddlers who
voluntarily surrendered their reading materials, and that the plaintiffs establishment was not
raided.
The other defendant, WPD Superintendent, Narcisco Cabrera, filed no answer.
On January 5,1984, plaintiff filed his Memorandum in support of the issuance of the writ of
preliminary injunction, raising the issue as to "whether or not the defendants and/or their
agents can without a court order confiscate or seize plaintiffs magazine before any judicial
finding is made on whether said magazine is obscene or not".
The restraining order issued on December 14,1983 having lapsed on January 3,1984, the
plaintiff filed an urgent motion for issuance of another restraining order, which was opposed
by defendant on the ground that issuance of a second restraining order would violate the
Resolution of the Supreme Court dated January 11, 1983, providing for the Interim Rules
Relative to the Implementation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, which provides that a
temporary restraining order shall be effective only for twenty days from date of its issuance.
On January 9, 1984 defendant filed his Comment and/or Rejoinder Memorandum in support
of his opposition to the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction.
On January 11, 1984, the trial court issued an Order setting the case for hearing on January
16, 1984 "for the parties to adduce evidence on the question of whether the publication
'Pinoy Playboy Magazine alleged (sic) seized, confiscated and/or burned by the defendants,
are obscence per se or not".
On January 16, 1984, the Court issued an order granting plaintiffs motion to be given three
days "to file a reply to defendants' opposition dated January 9, 1984, serving a copy thereof
to the counsel for the defendants, who may file a rejoinder within the same period from
receipt, after which the issue of Preliminary Injunction shall be resolved".
Plaintiff's supplemental Memorandum was filed on January 18, 1984. Defendant filed his
Comment on plaintiff s supplemental Memorandum on January 20, 1984, and plaintiff filed
his "Reply-Memorandum" to defendants' Comment on January 25, 1984.
On February 3, 1984, the trial court promulgated the Order appealed from denying the motion for
a writ of preliminary injunction, and dismissing the case for lack of merit. 2

The Appellate Court dismissed the appeal upon the grounds, among other things, as follows:
We cannot quarrel with the basic postulate suggested by appellant that seizure of allegedly
obscene publications or materials deserves close scrutiny because of the constitutional
guarantee protecting the right to express oneself in print (Sec. 9, Art. IV), and the protection
afforded by the constitution against unreasonable searches and seizure (Sec. 3, Art.IV). It must
be equally conceded, however, that freedom of the press is not without restraint as the state has
the right to protect society from pornographic literature that is offensive to public morals, as
indeed we have laws punishing the author, publishers and sellers of obscene publications (Sec. I
, Art. 201, Revised Penal Code, as amended by P.D. No. 960 and P.D. No. 969). Also well settled
is the rule that the right against unreasonable searches and seizures recognizes certain
exceptions, as when there is consent to the search or seizure, (People vs. Malesugui 63 Phil.
22) or search is an incident to an arrest, (People vs. Veloso, 48 Phil. 169; Alvero vs. Dizon, 76
Phil. 637) or is conducted in a vehicle or movable structure (See Papa vs. Magno, 22 SCRA
857). 3

The petitioner now ascribes to the respondent court the following errors:
1. The Court of Appeals erred in affirming the decision of the trial court and, in effect,
holding that the police officers could without any court warrant or order seize and confiscate
petitioner's magazines on the basis simply of their determination that they are obscene.
2. The Court of Appeals erred in affirming the decision of the trial court and, in effect, holding that
the trial court could dismiss the case on its merits without any hearing thereon when what was

submitted to it for resolution was merely the application of petitioner for the writ of preliminary
injunction. 4

The Court states at the outset that it is not the first time that it is being asked to pronounce what "obscene"
means or what makes for an obscene or pornographic literature. Early on, in People vs. Kottinger, 5 the
Court laid down the test, in determining the existence of obscenity, as follows: "whether the tendency of the
matter charged as obscene, is to deprave or corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral
influences and into whose hands a publication or other article charged as being obscene may
fall." 6 "Another test," so Kottingerfurther declares, "is that which shocks the ordinary and common sense of
men as an indecency. " 7 Kottingerhastened to say, however, that "[w]hether a picture is obscene or
indecent must depend upon the circumstances of the case, 8 and that ultimately, the question is to be
decided by the "judgment of the aggregate sense of the community reached by it." 9
Yet Kottinger, in its effort to arrive at a "conclusive" definition, succeeded merely in generalizing a problem
that has grown increasingly complex over the years. Precisely, the question is: When does a
publication have a corrupting tendency, or when can it be said to be offensive to human sensibilities? And
obviously, it is to beg the question to say that a piece of literature has a corrupting influence because it is
obscene, and vice-versa.
Apparently, Kottinger was aware of its own uncertainty because in the same breath, it would leave the final
say to a hypothetical "community standard" whatever that is and that the question must supposedly
be judged from case to case.
About three decades later, this Court promulgated People v. Go Pin, 10 a prosecution under Article 201 of
the Revised Penal Code. Go Pin, was also even hazier:
...We agree with counsel for appellant in part. If such pictures, sculptures and paintings are
shown in art exhibit and art galleries for the cause of art, to be viewed and appreciated by people
interested in art, there would be no offense committed. However, the pictures here in question
were used not exactly for art's sake but rather for commercial purposes. In other words, the
supposed artistic qualities of said pictures were being commercialized so that the cause of art
was of secondary or minor importance. Gain and profit would appear to have been the main, if
not the exclusive consideration in their exhibition; and it would not be surprising if the persons
who went to see those pictures and paid entrance fees for the privilege of doing so, were not
exactly artists and persons interested in art and who generally go to art exhibitions and galleries
to satisfy and improve their artistic tastes, but rather people desirous of satisfying their morbid
curiosity and taste, and lust, and for love for excitement, including the youth who because of
their immaturity are not in a position to resist and shield themselves from the ill and perverting
effects of these pictures. 11

xxx xxx xxx


As the Court declared, the issue is a complicated one, in which the fine lines have neither been drawn nor
divided. It is easier said than done to say, indeed, that if "the pictures here in question were used not
exactly for art's sake but rather for commercial purposes," 12 the pictures are not entitled to any
constitutional protection.
It was People v. Padan y Alova , 13 however, that introduced to Philippine jurisprudence the "redeeming"
element that should accompany the work, to save it from a valid prosecution. We quote:
...We have had occasion to consider offenses like the exhibition of still or moving pictures of
women in the nude, which we have condemned for obscenity and as offensive to morals. In
those cases, one might yet claim that there was involved the element of art; that connoisseurs of
the same, and painters and sculptors might find inspiration in the showing of pictures in the
nude, or the human body exhibited in sheer nakedness, as models intableaux vivants. But an
actual exhibition of the sexual act, preceded by acts of lasciviousness, can have no redeeming
feature. In it, there is no room for art. One can see nothing in it but clear and unmitigated
obscenity, indecency, and an offense to public morals, inspiring and causing as it does, nothing
but lust and lewdness, and exerting a corrupting influence specially on the youth of the
land. ... 14

Padan y Alova, like Go Pin, however, raised more questions than answers. For one thing, if the exhibition
was attended by "artists and persons interested in art and who generally go to art exhibitions and galleries
to satisfy and improve their artistic tastes," 15 could the same legitimately lay claim to "art"? For another,
suppose that the exhibition was so presented that "connoisseurs of [art], and painters and sculptors might
find inspiration," 16 in it, would it cease to be a case of obscenity?
Padan y Alova, like Go Pin also leaves too much latitude for judicial arbitrament, which has permitted an ad
libof Ideas and "two-cents worths" among judges as to what is obscene and what is art.
In a much later decision, Gonzalez v. Kalaw Katigbak, 17 the Court, following trends in the United States,
adopted the test: "Whether to the average person, applying contemporary standards, the dominant theme
of the material taken as a whole appeals to prurient interest." 18 Kalaw-Katigbak represented a marked
departure fromKottinger in the sense that it measured obscenity in terms of the "dominant theme" of the
work, rather than isolated passages, which were central to Kottinger (although both cases are agreed that
"contemporary community standards" are the final arbiters of what is "obscene"). KalawKatigbak undertook moreover to make the determination of obscenity essentially a judicial question and as
a consequence, to temper the wide discretion Kottinger had given unto law enforcers.
It is significant that in the United States, constitutional law on obscenity continues to journey from
development to development, which, states one authoritative commentator (with ample sarcasm), has been
as "unstable as it is unintelligible." 19
Memoirs v. Massachusettes, 20 a 1966 decision, which characterized obscenity as one "utterly without any
redeeming social value," 21 marked yet another development.
The latest word, however, is Miller v. California, 22 which expressly abandoned Massachusettes, and
established "basic guidelines," 23 to wit: "(a) whether 'the average person, applying contemporary
standards' would find the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest . . .; (b) whether the work
depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state
law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific
value." 24
(A year later, the American Supreme Court decided Hamling v. United States 25 which repeated Miller, and
Jenkins v. Georgia, 26 yet another reiteration of Miller. Jenkins, curiously, acquitted the producers of the
motion picture, Carnal Knowledge, in the absence of "genitals" portrayed on screen, although the film
highlighted contemporary American sexuality.)
The lack of uniformity in American jurisprudence as to what constitutes "obscenity" has been attributed to
the reluctance of the courts to recognize the constitutional dimension of the problem . 27 Apparently, the
courts have assumed that "obscenity" is not included in the guaranty of free speech, an assumption that, as
we averred, has allowed a climate of opinions among magistrates predicated upon arbitrary, if vague
theories of what is acceptable to society. And "[t]here is little likelihood," says Tribe, "that this development
has reached a state of rest, or that it will ever do so until the Court recognizes that obscene speech is
speech nonetheless, although it is subject as in all speech to regulation in the interests of [society as
a whole] but not in the interest of a uniform vision of how human sexuality should be regarded and
portrayed." 28
In the case at bar, there is no challenge on the right of the State, in the legitimate exercise of police power,
to suppress smut provided it is smut. For obvious reasons, smut is not smut simply because one insists it is
smut. So is it equally evident that individual tastes develop, adapt to wide-ranging influences, and keep in
step with the rapid advance of civilization. What shocked our forebears, say, five decades ago, is not
necessarily repulsive to the present generation. James Joyce and D.H. Lawrence were censored in the
thirties yet their works are considered important literature today. 29 Goya's La Maja desnuda was once
banned from public exhibition but now adorns the world's most prestigious museums.
But neither should we say that "obscenity" is a bare (no pun intended) matter of opinion. As we said earlier,
it is the divergent perceptions of men and women that have probably compounded the problem rather than
resolved it.
What the Court is impressing, plainly and simply, is that the question is not, and has not been, an easy one
to answer, as it is far from being a settled matter. We share Tribe's disappointment over the discouraging

trend in American decisional law on obscenity as well as his pessimism on whether or not an "acceptable"
solution is in sight.
In the final analysis perhaps, the task that confronts us is less heroic than rushing to a "perfect" definition of
"obscenity", if that is possible, as evolving standards for proper police conduct faced with the problem,
which, after all, is the plaint specifically raised in the petition.
However, this much we have to say.
Undoubtedly, "immoral" lore or literature comes within the ambit of free expression, although not its
protection. In free expression cases, this Court has consistently been on the side of the exercise of the
right, barring a "clear and present danger" that would warrant State interference and action. 30 But, so we
asserted in Reyes v. Bagatsing, 31 "the burden to show the existence of grave and imminent danger that
would justify adverse action ... lies on the. . . authorit[ies]." 32
"There must be objective and convincing, not subjective or conjectural, proof of the existence of such clear
and present danger." 33 "It is essential for the validity of ... previous restraint or censorship that the ...
authority does not rely solely on his own appraisal of what the public welfare, peace or safety may
require." 34
"To justify such a limitation, there must be proof of such weight and sufficiency to satisfy the clear and
present danger test." 35
The above disposition must not, however, be taken as a neat effort to arrive at a solution-so only we may
arrive at one-but rather as a serious attempt to put the question in its proper perspective, that is, as a
genuine constitutional issue.
It is also significant that in his petition, the petitioner asserts constitutional issues, mainly, due process and
illegal search and seizure.
As we so strongly stressed in Bagatsing, a case involving the delivery of a political speech, the
presumption is that the speech may validly be said. The burden is on the State to demonstrate the
existence of a danger, a danger that must not only be: (1) clear but also, (2) present, to justify State action
to stop the speech. Meanwhile, the Government must allow it (the speech). It has no choice. However, if it
acts notwithstanding that (absence of evidence of a clear and present danger), it must come to terms with,
and be held accountable for, due process.
The Court is not convinced that the private respondents have shown the required proof to justify a ban and
to warrant confiscation of the literature for which mandatory injunction had been sought below. First of all,
they were not possessed of a lawful court order: (1) finding the said materials to be pornography, and (2)
authorizing them to carry out a search and seizure, by way of a search warrant.
The Court of Appeals has no "quarrel that ... freedom of the press is not without restraint, as the state has
the right to protect society from pornographic literature that is offensive to public morals." 36 Neither do we.
But it brings us back to square one: were the "literature" so confiscated "pornographic"? That we have laws
punishing the author, publisher and sellers of obscence publications (Sec. 1, Art. 201, Revised Penal Code,
as amended by P.D. No. 960 and P.D. No. 969)," 37 is also fine, but the question, again, is: Has the
petitioner been found guilty under the statute?
The fact that the former respondent Mayor's act was sanctioned by "police power" is no license to seize
property in disregard of due process. In Philippine Service Exporters, Inc. v. Drilon, 38 We defined police
power as "state authority to enact legislation that may interfere with personal liberty or property in order to
promote the general welfare ." 39 Presidential Decrees Nos. 960 and 969 are, arguably, police power
measures, but they are not, by themselves, authorities for high-handed acts. They do not exempt our law
enforcers, in carrying out the decree of the twin presidential issuances (Mr. Marcos'), from the
commandments of the Constitution, the right to due process of law and the right against unreasonable
searches and seizures, specifically. Significantly, the Decrees themselves lay down procedures for
implementation. We quote:
Sec. 2. Disposition of the Prohibited Articles. The disposition of the literature, films, prints,
engravings, sculptures, paintings, or other materials involved in the violation referred to in
Section 1 hereof (Art. 201), RPC as amended) shall be governed by the following rules:

(a) Upon conviction of the offender, to be forfeited in favor of the Government to be


destroyed.
(b) Where the criminal case against any violator of this decree results in an acquittal, the
obscene/immoral literature, films, prints, engravings, sculptures, paintings or other materials
and articles involved in the violation referred to in Section 1 (referring to Art. 201) hereof
shall nevertheless be forfeited in favor of the government to be destroyed, after forfeiture
proceedings conducted by the Chief of Constabulary.
(c) The person aggrieved by the forfeiture action of the Chief of Constabulary may, within
fifteen (15) days after his receipt of a copy of the decision, appeal the matter to the
Secretary of National Defense for review. The decision of the Secretary of National Defense
shall be final and unappealable. (Sec. 2, PD No, 960 as amended by PD No. 969.)
Sec. 4. Additional Penalties. Additional penalties shall be imposed as follows:
1. In case the offender is a government official or employee who allows the violations of Section I
hereof, the penalty as provided herein shall be imposed in the maximum period and, in addition,
the accessory penalties provided for in the Revised Penal Code, as amended, shall likewise be
imposed . 40

Under the Constitution, on the other hand:


SEC. 3. 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
not be violated, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable
cause to be determined by the judge, or such other responsible officer as may be
authorized by law, 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.
It is basic that searches and seizures may be done only through a judicial warrant, otherwise, they become
unreasonable and subject to challenge. In Burgos v. Chief of Staff, AFP, 43 We counter-minded the orders
of the Regional Trial Court authorizing the search of the premises of We Forum and Metropolitan Mail, two
Metro Manila dailies, by reason of a defective warrant. We have greater reason here to reprobate the
questioned raid, in the complete absence of a warrant, valid or invalid. The fact that the instant case
involves an obscenity rap makes it no different from Burgos, a political case, because, and as we have
indicated, speech is speech, whether political or "obscene".
The Court is not ruling out warrantless searches, as the Rules of Court (1964 rev.) (the Rules then
prevailing), provide:
SEC. 12. Search without warrant of personarrested. A person charged with an offense may be
searched for dangerous weapons or anything which may be used as proof of the commission of
the offense. 44

but as the provision itself suggests, the search must have been an incident to a lawful arrest, and the arrest
must be on account of a crime committed. Here, no party has been charged, nor are such charges being
readied against any party, under Article 201, as amended, of the Revised Penal Code.
We reject outright the argument that "[t]here is no constitutional nor legal provision which would free the
accused of all criminal responsibility because there had been no warrant," 45 and that "violation of penal
law [must] be punished." 46 For starters, there is no "accused" here to speak of, who ought to be
"punished". Second, to say that the respondent Mayor could have validly ordered the raid (as a result of an
anti-smut campaign) without a lawful search warrant because, in his opinion, "violation of penal laws" has
been committed, is to make the respondent Mayor judge, jury, and executioner rolled into one. And
precisely, this is the very complaint of the petitioner.
We make this resume.
1. The authorities must apply for the issuance of a search warrant from a judge, if in their
opinion, an obscenity rap is in order;

2. The authorities must convince the court that the materials sought to be seized are
"obscene", and pose a clear and present danger of an evil substantive enough to warrant
State interference and action;
3. The judge must determine whether or not the same are indeed "obscene:" the question is
to be resolved on a case-to-case basis and on His Honor's sound discretion.
4. If, in the opinion of the court, probable cause exists, it may issue the search warrant
prayed for;
5. The proper suit is then brought in the court under Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code;
6. Any conviction is subject to appeal. The appellate court may assess whether or not the
properties seized are indeed "obscene".
These do not foreclose, however, defenses under the Constitution or applicable statutes, or remedies
against abuse of official power under the Civil Code" 47 or the Revised Penal code . 48
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the respondent court is REVERSED and SET
ASIDE. It appearing, however, that the magazines subject of the search and seizure ave been destroyed,
the Court declines to grant affirmative relief. To that extent, the case is moot and academic.
SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Paras, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Cortes, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea and Regalado,
JJ., concur.
Fernan (C.J.), Narvasa and Feliciano, JJ., concur in the result.
Gutierrez, Jr., J., is on leave.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 80508 January 30, 1990
EDDIE GUAZON, JOSEFINA CABRERA, YOLANDA DACUNES, VIOLETA SEVILLA, QUERUBIN
BILLONES, ESTELITA BILLONES, GORGONIA MACARAEG, LAUREANA JOAQUIN, CRESTITA
LICUP, SOLIDAD ABURDO, ROSALINA VILLARDA, CONRADA HOBALANE, ERLINDA RESTORAN,
VERIDIAN FLORA, ROSELA CONDE, SOSIMA COSTO, JOSEFINA ALDIANO, ROSALINA DOMINGO,
ARESTIO YANGA, MILAGROS GONZALES, ESTRELITA ESTARES, BONIFACIA ANTIVO, PATRIA
VALLES, ERLINDA LEE, MELANIO GAROFIL, ERIBERTO MATEO, FRANCISCO HORTILLANO,
ANATALIA PESIMO, LOSENDO GARBO, VIRGINIA LORESTO, LYDIA ELA, RAFAEL VILLABRILLE,
MA. RECHILDA SABALZA, EDITHA MAAMO, ELENIETA BANOSA, ALEXANDER LABADO, ANDREW
GO, WYNEFREDO REYES, ROSARIO SESPENE, ROSA MARTIN and JAIME BONGAT, petitioners,
vs.
MAJ. GEN. RENATO DE VILLA, BRIG. GEN. ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, BRIG. GEN. RAMON MONTANO,
BRIG. GEN. ALFREDO LIM, and COL. JESUS GARCIA, respondents.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
This is a petition for prohibition with preliminary injunction to prohibit the military and police officers
represented by public respondents from conducting "Areal Target Zonings" or "Saturation Drives" in Metro
Manila.
The forty one (41) petitioners state that they are all of legal age, bona fide residents of Metro Manila and
taxpayers and leaders in their respective communities. They maintain that they have a common or general
interest in the preservation of the rule of law, protection of their human rights and the reign of peace and
order in their communities. They claim to represent "the citizens of Metro Manila who have similar interests
and are so numerous that it is impracticable to bring them all before this Court."
The public respondents, represented by the Solicitor General, oppose the petition contending inter alia that
petitioners lack standing to file the instant petition for they are not the proper parties to institute the action.
According to the petitioners, the following "saturation drives" were conducted in Metro Manila:
1. March 5, 1987 at about 9:30 PM in Tindalo, Kagitingan, and Magdalena Streets, Tondo, Manila.
2. June l9, 1987 at about l0:00 PM in Mata Street, Panday Pira Extension and San Sebastian Street,
Tondo, Manila.
3. July 20, 1987 at about 8:00 AM in Bangkusay Street, Tondo, Manila.
4. August 11 to l3, 1987 between 11:00 PM and 2:00 AM in six blocks along Aroma Beach up to Happy
Land, Magsaysay Village, Tondo, Manila.
5. August 19, 1987 at 9:00 PM in Herbosa Extension, Quirino Street, and Pacheco Street, Tondo, Manila.
6. August 28, 1987 at l0:30 PM, in Block 34, Dagat-dagatan Navotas, Metro Manila.
7. August 30, 1987 at 9:30 PM at Paraiso Extension, Magsaysay Village, Tondo, Manila.
8. October 12, 1987 at 12:00 midnight in Apelo Cruz Compound, Quezon City.
9. October 17, 1987 at 11:00 PM in Quirino Street, Tondo, Manila.
10. October 23, 1987 at 2:30 A.M. in Sun Valley Drive, Manila International Airport, Pasay City.
11. November 1, 1987 at 4:00 A.M. in Cordillera Street, Sta. Mesa, Manila.
12. November 3, 1987 at 5:00 A.M. in Lower Maricaban, Pasay City, Metro Manila.

According to the petitioners, the "areal target zonings" or saturation drives" are in critical areas pinpointed
by the military and police as places where the subversives are hiding. The arrests range from seven (7)
persons during the July 20 saturation drive in Bangkusay, Tondo to one thousand five hundred (1,500)
allegedly apprehended on November 3 during the drive at Lower Maricaban, Pasay City. The petitioners
claim that the saturation drives follow a common pattern of human rights abuses. In all these drives, it is
alleged that the following were committed:
1. Having no specific target house in mind, in the dead of the night or early morning hours,
police and military units without any search warrant or warrant of arrest cordon an area of
more than one residence and sometimes whole barangay or areas of barangay in Metro
Manila. Most of them are in civilian clothes and without nameplates or identification cards.
2. These raiders rudely rouse residents from their sleep by banging on the walls and
windows of their homes, shouting, kicking their doors open (destroying some in the
process), and then ordering the residents within to come out of their respective residences.
3. The residents at the point of high-powered guns are herded like cows, the men are
ordered to strip down to their briefs and examined for tattoo marks and other imagined
marks.
4. While the examination of the bodies of the men are being conducted by the raiders, some
of the members of the raiding team force their way into each and every house within the
cordoned off area and then proceed to conduct search of the said houses without civilian
witnesses from the neighborhood.
5. In many instances, many residents have complained that the raiders ransack their
homes, tossing about the residents' belongings without total regard for their value. In
several instances, walls are destroyed, ceilings are damaged in the raiders' illegal effort to
'fish' for incriminating evidence.
6. Some victims of these illegal operations have complained with increasing frequency that
their money and valuables have disappeared after the said operations.
7. All men and some women who respond to these illegal and unwelcome intrusions are
arrested on the spot and hauled off to waiting vehicles that take them to detention centers
where they are interrogated and 'verified.' These arrests are all conducted without any
warrants of arrest duly issued by a judge, nor under the conditions that will authorize
warrantless arrest. Some hooded men are used to fingerpoint suspected subversives.
8. In some instances, arrested persons are released after the expiration of the period
wherein they can be legally detained without any charge at all. In other instances, some
arrested persons are released without charge after a few days of arbitrary detention.
9. The raiders almost always brandish their weapons and point them at the residents during
these illegal operations.
10. Many have also reported incidents of on-the-spotbeatings, maulings and maltreatment.
11. Those who are detained for further 'verification' by the raiders are subjected to mental
and physical torture to extract confessions and tactical information. (Rollo, pp. 2-4)
The public respondents stress two points in their Comment which was also adopted as their Memorandum
after the petition was given due course.
First, the respondents have legal authority to conduct saturation drives. And second, they allege that the
accusations of the petitioners about a deliberate disregard for human rights are total lies.
Insofar as the legal basis for saturation drives is concerned, the respondents cite Article VII, Section 17 of
the Constitution which provides:
The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus and offices. He
shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed. (Emphasis supplied )
They also cite Section 18 of the same Article which provides:

The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and
whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress
lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. ...
There can be no question that under ordinary circumstances, the police action of the nature described by
the petitioners would be illegal and blantantly violative of the express guarantees of the Bill of Rights. If the
military and the police must conduct concerted campaigns to flush out and catch criminal elements, such
drives must be consistent with the constitutional and statutory rights of all the people affected by such
actions.
There is, of course, nothing in the Constitution which denies the authority of the Chief Executive, invoked
by the Solicitor General, to order police actions to stop unabated criminality, rising lawlessness, and
alarming communist activities. The Constitution grants to Government the power to seek and cripple
subversive movements which would bring down constituted authority and substitute a regime where
individual liberties are suppressed as a matter of policy in the name of security of the State. However, all
police actions are governed by the limitations of the Bill of Rights. The Government cannot adopt the same
reprehensible methods of authoritarian systems both of the right and of the left, the enlargement of whose
spheres of influence it is trying hard to suppress. Our democratic institutions may still be fragile but they are
not in the least bit strengthened through violations of the constitutional protections which are their
distinguishing features.
In Roan v. Gonzales (145 SCRA 687; 690-691 [1986]), the Court stated:
One of the most precious rights of the citizen in a free society is the right to be left alone in
the privacy of his own house. That right has ancient roots, dating back through the mists of
history to the mighty English kings in their fortresses of power. Even then, the lowly subject
had his own castle where he was monarch of all he surveyed. This was his humble cottage
from which he could bar his sovereign lord and all the forces of the Crown.
That right has endured through the ages albeit only in a few libertarian regimes. Their
number, regrettably, continues to dwindle against the onslaughts of authoritarianism. We are
among the fortunate few, able again to enjoy this right after the ordeal of the past
despotism. We must cherish and protect it all the more now because it is like a prodigal son
returning.
That right is guaranteed in the following provisions of Article IV of the 1973 Constitution:
SEC. 3. 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
not be violated, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable
cause to be determined by the judge, or such other responsible officer as may be
authorized by law, 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.
xxx xxx xxx
Only last year, the Court again issued this reminder in 20th Century Fox Film Corporation v. Court of
Appeals(164 SCRA 655; 660- 661 [1988]):
This constitutional right protects a citizen against wanton and unreasonable invasion of his
privacy and liberty as to his person, papers and effects. We have explained in the case
of People vs. Burgos (144 SCRA 1) citing Villanueva v. Querubin (48 SCRA 345) why the
right is so important:
It is deference to one's personality that lies at the core of this right, but it could be also
looked upon as a recognition of a constitutionally protected area, primarily one's home, but
not necessarily thereto confined. (Cf. Hoffa v. United States, 385 US 293 [1966]) What is
sought to be guarded is a man's prerogative to choose who is allowed entry to his
residence. In that haven of refuge, his individuality can assert itself not only in the choice of
who shall be welcome but likewise in the kind of objects he wants around him. There the

state, however powerful, does not as such have access except under the circumstances
above noted, for in the traditional formulation, his house, however humble, is his castle.
Thus is outlawed any unwarranted intrusion by government, which is called upon to refrain
from any invasion of his dwelling and to respect the privacies of his life. (Cf. Schmerber v.
California, 384 US 757 [1966], Brennan J. and Boyd v. United States, 11 6 630 [1886]). In
the same vein, Landynski in his authoritative work (Search and Seizure and the Supreme
Court [1966]), could fitly characterize constitutional right as the embodiment of a spiritual
concept: the belief that to value the privacy of home and person and to afford its
constitutional protection against the long reach of government is no less than to value
human dignity, and that his privacy must not be disturbed except in case of overriding social
need, and then only under stringent procedural safeguards. (ibid, p. 74.)
The decision of the United States Supreme Court in Rochin v. California, (342 US 165; 96 L. Ed. 183
[1952]) emphasizes clearly that police actions should not be characterized by methods that offend a sense
of justice. The court ruled:
Applying these general considerations to the circumstances of the present case, we are
compelled to conclude that the proceedings by which this conviction was obtained do more
than offend some fastidious squeamishness or private sentimentalism about combatting
crime too energetically. This is conduct that shocks the conscience. Illegally breaking into
the privacy of the petitioner, the struggle to open his mouth and remove what was there, the
forcible extraction of his stomach's contents this course of proceeding by agents of
government to obtain evidence is bound to offend even hardened sensibilities. They are
methods too close to the rack and the screw to permit of constitutional differentiation.
It is significant that it is not the police action perse which is impermissible and which should be prohibited.
Rather, it is the procedure used or in the words of the court, methods which "offend even hardened
sensibilities." In Breithaupt v. Abram (352 US 432, 1 L. Ed. 2nd 448 [1957]), the same court validated the
use of evidence, in this case blood samples involuntarily taken from the petitioner, where there was nothing
brutal or offensive in the taking. The Court stated:
Basically the distinction rests on the fact that there is nothing 'brutal' or 'offensive' in the
taking of a sample of blood when done, as in this case, under the protective eye of a
physician. To be sure, the driver here was unconscious when the blood was taken, but the
absence of conscious consent, without more, does not necessarily render the taking a
violation of a constitutional light; and certainly the rest was administered here would not be
considered offensive by even the most delicate. Furthermore, due process is not measured
by the yardstick of personal reaction or the sphygmogram of the most sensitive person, but
by that whole community sense of 'decency and fairness that has been woven by common
experience into the fabric of acceptable conduct....
The individual's right to immunity from such invasion of his body was considered as "far outweighed by the
value of its deterrent effect" on the evil sought to be avoided by the police action.
It is clear, therefore, that the nature of the affirmative relief hinges closely on the determination of the exact
facts surrounding a particular case.
The violations of human rights alleged by the petitioners are serious. If an orderly procedure ascertains
their truth, not only a writ of prohibition but criminal prosecutions would immediately issue as a matter of
course. A persistent pattern of wholesale and gross abuse of civil liberties, as alleged in the petition, has no
place in civilized society.
On the other hand, according to the respondents, the statements made by the petitioners are a complete
lie.
The Solicitor General argues:
This a complete lie.
Just the contrary, they had been conducted with due regard to human rights. Not only that,
they were intelligently and carefully planned months ahead of the actual operation. They

were executed in coordination with barangay officials who pleaded with their constituents to
submit themselves voluntarily for character and personal verification. Local and foreign
correspondents, who had joined these operations, witnessed and recorded the events that
transpired relative thereto. (After Operation Reports: November 5, 1987, Annex 12;
November 20, 1987, Annex 13; November 24, 1987, Annex 14). That is why in all the drives
so far conducted, the alleged victims who numbered thousands had not themselves
complained.
In her speech during turn-over rites on January 26, 1987 at Camp Aguinaldo, President
Aquino branded all accusations of deliberate disregard for human rights as 'total lies'. Here
are excerpts from her strongest speech yet in support of the military:
All accusations of a deliberate disregard for human rights have been shown- up to be total
lies.
...To our soldiers, let me say go out and fight, fight with every assurance that I will stand by
you through thick and thin to share the blame, defend your actions, mourn the losses and
enjoy with you the final victory that I am certain will be ours.
You and I will see this through together.
I've sworn to defend and uphold the Constitution.
We have wasted enough time answering their barkings for it is still a long way to lasting
peace. . . . The dangers and hardships to our men in the field are great enough as it is
without having them distracted by tills worthless carping at their backs.
Our counter-insurgency policy remains the same: economic development to pull out the
roots-and military operations to slash the growth of the insurgency.
The answer to terror is force now.
Only feats of arms can buy us the time needed to make our economic and social initiatives
bear fruit. . . Now that the extreme Right has been defeated, I expect greater vigor in the
prosecution of the war against the communist insurgency, even as we continue to watch our
backs against attacks from the Right. (Philippine Star, January 27, 1988, p. 1, Annex 15;
emphasis supplied)
Viewed in the light of President Aquino's observation on the matter, it can be said that
petitioners misrepresent as human rights violations the military and police's zealous
vigilance over the people's right to live in peace and safety. (Rollo, pp. 36-38)
Herein lies the problem of the Court. We can only guess the truth. Everything before us consists of
allegations. According to the petitioners, more than 3,407 persons were arrested in the saturation drives
covered by the petition. No estimates are given for the drives in Block 34, Dagat-dagatan, Navotas; Apelo
Cruz Compound, Pasig; and Sun Valley Drive near the Manila International Airport area. Not one of the
several thousand persons treated in the illegal and inhuman manner described by the petitioners appears
as a petitioner or has come before a trial court to present the kind of evidence admissible in courts of
justice. Moreover, there must have been tens of thousands of nearby residents who were inconvenienced
in addition to the several thousand allegedly arrested. None of those arrested has apparently been charged
and none of those affected has apparently complained.
A particularly intriguing aspect of the Solicitor General's comments is the statement that local and foreign
co-respondents actually joined the saturation drives and witnessed and recorded the events. In other
words, the activities sought to be completely proscribed were in full view of media. The sight of hooded
men allegedly being used to fingerpoint suspected subversives would have been good television copy. If
true, this was probably effected away from the ubiquitous eye of the TV cameras or, as the Solicitor
General contends, the allegation is a "complete lie."
The latest attempt to stage a coup d'etat where several thousand members of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines sought to overthrow the present Government introduces another aspect of the problem and
illustrates quite clearly why those directly affected by human rights violations should be the ones to institute

court actions and why evidence of what actually transpired should first be developed before petitions are
filed with this Court.
Where there is large scale mutiny or actual rebellion, the police or military may go in force to the combat
areas, enter affected residences or buildings, round up suspected rebels and otherwise quell the mutiny or
rebellion without having to secure search warrants and without violating the Bill of Rights. This is exactly
what happened in the White Plains Subdivision and the commercial center of Makati during the first week
of December, 1989.
The areal target zonings in this petition were intended to flush out subversives and criminal elements
particularly because of the blatant assassinations of public officers and police officials by elements
supposedly coddled by the communities where the "drives" were conducted.
It is clear from the pleadings of both petitioners and respondents, however, that there was no rebellion or
criminal activity similar to that of the attempted coup d' etats. There appears to have been no impediment
to securing search warrants or warrants of arrest before any houses were searched or individuals roused
from sleep were arrested. There is no strong showing that the objectives sought to be attained by the "areal
zoning" could not be achieved even as the rights of squatter and low income families are fully protected.
Where a violation of human rights specifically guaranteed by the Constitution is involved, it is the duty of
the court to stop the transgression and state where even the awesome power of the state may not
encroach upon the rights of the individual. It is the duty of the court to take remedial action even in cases
such as the present petition where the petitioners do not complain that they were victims of the police
actions, where no names of any of the thousands of alleged victims are given, and where the prayer is a
general one to stop all police "saturation drives," as long as the Court is convinced that the event actually
happened.
The Court believes it highly probable that some violations were actually committed. This is so inspite of the
alleged pleas of barangay officials for the thousands of residents "to submit themselves voluntarily for
character and personal verification." We cannot imagine police actions of the magnitude described in the
petitions and admitted by the respondents, being undertaken without some undisciplined soldiers and
policemen committing certain abuses. However, the remedy is not to stop all police actions, including the
essential and legitimate ones. We see nothing wrong in police making their presence visibly felt in troubled
areas. Police cannot respond to riots or violent demonstrations if they do not move in sufficient numbers. A
show of force is sometimes necessary as long as the rights of people are protected and not violated. A
blanket prohibition such as that sought by the petitioners would limit all police actions to one on one
confrontations where search warrants and warrants of arrests against specific individuals are easily
procured. Anarchy may reign if the military and the police decide to sit down in their offices because all
concerted drives where a show of force is present are totally prohibited.
The remedy is not an original action for prohibition brought through a taxpayers' suit. Where not one victim
complains and not one violator is properly charged, the problem is not initially for the Supreme Court. It is
basically one for the executive departments and for trial courts. Well meaning citizens with only second
hand knowledge of the events cannot keep on indiscriminately tossing problems of the executive, the
military, and the police to the Supreme Court as if we are the repository of all remedies for all evils. The
rules of constitutional litigation have been evolved for an orderly procedure in the vindication of rights. They
should be followed. If our policy makers sustain the contention of the military and the police that occasional
saturation drives are essential to maintain the stability of government and to insure peace and order, clear
policy guidelines on the behavior of soldiers and policemen must not only be evolved, they should also be
enforced. A method of pinpointing human rights abuses and identifying violators is necessary.
The problem is appropriate for the Commission on Human Rights. A high level conference should bring
together the heads of the Department of Justice, Department of National Defense and the operating heads
of affected agencies and institutions to devise procedures for the prevention of abuses.
Under the circumstances of this taxpayers' suit, there is no erring soldier or policeman whom we can order
prosecuted. In the absence of clear facts ascertained through an orderly procedure, no permanent relief
can be given at this time. Further investigation of the petitioners' charges and a hard look by administration
officials at the policy implications of the prayed for blanket prohibition are also warranted.

In the meantime and in the face of a prima facie showing that some abuses were probably committed and
could be committed during future police actions, we have to temporarily restrain the alleged banging on
walls, the kicking in of doors, the herding of half-naked men to assembly areas for examination of tattoo
marks, the violation of residences even if these are humble shanties of squatters, and the other alleged
acts which are shocking to the conscience.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby REMANDED to the Regional Trial Courts of Manila, Malabon, and
Pasay City where the petitioners may present evidence supporting their allegations and where specific
erring parties may be pinpointed and prosecuted.
Copies of this decision are likewise forwarded to the Commission on Human Rights, the Secretary of
Justice, the Secretary of National Defense, and the Commanding General PC-INP for the drawing up and
enforcement of clear guidelines to govern police actions intended to abate riots and civil disturbances, flush
out criminal elements, and subdue terrorist activities.
In the meantime, the acts violative of human rights alleged by the petitioners as committed during the
police actions are ENJOINED until such time as permanent rules to govern such actions are promulgated.
SO ORDERED.
Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Bidin, Cortes, Medialdea and
Regalado, JJ., concur.
Grio-Aquino, J., I join JJ. Cruz, Padilla and Sarmiento's dissents.