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G.R. No.

L-95630 June 18, 1992 was promoted to the position of Assistant the house in Davao City as it was reportedly
Administrator of the Social Security System being used as a hideout and recruitment
SPOUSES LEOPOLDO and MA. LUISA sometime in June, 1988, he and his family center of rebel soldiers. Petitioner Ma. Luisa
VEROY, petitioners, transferred to 130 K-8th St., East Kamias, Veroy responded that she is flying to Davao
vs. Quezon City, where they are presently City to witness the search but relented if the
THE HON. WILLIAM L. LAYAGUE, residing. The care and upkeep of their search would not be conducted in the
Presiding Judge, Branch XIV, Regional residence in Davao City was left to two (2) presence of Major Ernesto Macasaet, an
Trial Court at Davao City; and BRIG. houseboys, Jimmy Favia and Eric Burgos, officer of the PC/INP, Davao City and a long
GEN. PANTALEON DUMLAO, who had their assigned quarters at a portion time family friend of the Veroys. The
Commanding General, PC-Criminal of the premises. The Veroys would authority given by Ma. Luisa Veroy was
Investigation Service, respondents. occasionally send money to Edna Soguilon relayed by Capt. Obrero to Major Macasaet
for the salary of the said houseboys and who answered that Ma. Luisa Veroy has
other expenses for the upkeep of their called him twice by telephone on the matter
house. While the Veroys had the keys to the and that the permission was given on the
PARAS, J.: interior of the house, only the key to the condition that the search be conducted in
kitchen, where the circuit breakers were his presence.
located, was entrusted to Edna Soguilon to
This was originally a petition for certiorari, give her access in case of an emergency.
mandamus and prohibition under Rule 65 of The following day, Capt. Obrero and Major
Hence, since 1988, the key to the master's Macasaet met at the house of herein
the Rules of Court: certiorari, to review the bedroom as well as the keys to the
Order of the respondent Judge dated petitioners in Skyline Village to conduct the
children's rooms were retained by herein search pursuant to the authority granted by
October 2, 1990 denying herein petitioner's Petitioners so that neither Edna Soguilon
Motion for Hospital petitioner Ma. Luisa Veroy. The caretakers
nor the caretakers could enter the house. facilitated their entry into the yard, and using
Confinement; mandamus, to compel
respondent Judge to resolve petitioners' the key entrusted to Edna Soguilon, they
long pending motion for bail; and On April 12, 1990, Capt. Reynaldo Obrero were able to gain entrance into the kitchen.
prohibition, to enjoin further proceedings on of the Talomo Patrol Station, PC/INP, acting However, a locksmith by the name of
the ground that the legal basis therefore is upon a directive issued by Metrodiscom George Badiang had to be employed to
unconstitutional for being violative of the Commander Col. Franco Calida, raided the open the padlock of the door leading to the
due process and equal protection clauses of house of herein petitioners in Davao City on children's room. Capt. Obrero and Major
the Constitution. information that the said residence was Macasaet then entered the children's room
being used as a safehouse of rebel soldiers. and conducted the search. Capt. Obrero
They were able to enter the yard with the recovered a .45 cal. handgun with a
The facts of this case are as follows: help of the caretakers but did not enter the magazine containing seven (7) live bullets in
house since the owner was not present and a black clutch bag inside an unlocked
Petitioners are husband and wife who they did not have a search warrant. drawer. Three (3) half-full jute sacks
owned and formerly resided at No. 13 Isidro Petitioner Ma. Luisa was contacted by containing printed materials of RAM-SFP
St., Skyline Village. Catalunan Grande, telephone in her Quezon City residence by (samples of which were attached as
Davao City. When petitioner Leopoldo Veroy Capt. Obrero to ask permission to search Annexes "H" and "H-1" of the petition)

(Rollo, pp. 49-55) were also found in the 1990. an Information for the said offense In an Indorsement dated August 20, 1990,
children's room. A search of the children's was filed by the Office of the City the CIS through Capt. Benjamin de los
recreation and study area revealed a big Prosecutor of Davao City before the Santos, made its return to the trial court
travelling bag containing assorted polo Regional Trial Court, 11th Judicial Region, informing the latter of the voluntary
shirts, men's brief, two (2) pieces polo Davao City, docketed as Criminal Case No. surrender of herein petitioners and the fact
barong and short sleeve striped gray polo. 20595-90 and entitled "People of the that they were under hospital confinement.
sweat shirt, two (2) pairs men's socks, a Philippines v. Atty. Leopoldo Veroy and Mrs. Herein Petitioner reiterated their Motion for
towel made in U.S.A., one blanket, a small Maria Luisa Veroy" (Annex "K" of the Bail. In an Order dated August 24, 1990
black bag, Gandhi brand, containing a book Petition, Rollo, p. 70). No bail was (Annex "M" of the Petition, Rollo, p. 74), the
entitled "Islamic Revolution Future Path of recommended by the prosecution. hearing for the Motion for Ball was set for
the Nation", a road map of the Philippines, a August 31, 1990 to enable the prosecution
telescope, a plastic bag containing assorted The aforementioned resolution dated to present evidence it opposition to said
medicines and religious pamphlets was August 6, 1990 of Fiscal Ponferrada was motion. The prosecution filed its written
found in the master's bedroom. Sgt. Leo received by the petitioners on August 13, opposition (Annex "N" of the Petition, Rollo,
Justalero was instructed by Capt. Obrero to 1990. On the same day, the latter filed a p. 75) on August 28, 1990, arguing that the
make an inventory and receipt of the articles Motion for Bail before herein respondent evidence of petitioners' guilt was strong and
seized, in the house (Annex "F" of the Judge Layague which was denied on thereafter presented its evidence.
Petition, Rollo, p. 48). Said receipt was August 17, 1990 for being premature since
signed by Eric Burgos, one of the at that time, petitioners had not yet been On September 21, 1990, respondent Judge
caretakers, and George Badiang, the arrested. Despite the fact that the warrants required the CIS to produce the bodies of
locksmith, as witnesses. Sgt. Justalero for their arrest have not yet been served on herein petitioners on October 1, 1990 for
turned over the articles to Sgt. Rodolfo them, herein petitioners voluntarily arraignment (Annex "O" of the
Urbano at the police station. surrendered themselves to Brig. Gen. Petition, Rollo, p. 76). Upon their
Pantaleon Dumlao, PC-CIS Chief, since it arraignment, herein Petitioners entered a
The case was referred for preliminary was the CIS that initiated the complaint. plea of not guilty and filed an "Urgent Motion
investigation to Quezon City Assistant However, the latter refused to receive them for Hospital Confinement" (Annex "OO" of
Prosecutor Rodolfo Ponferrada who was on the ground that his office has not yet the Petition Rollo, p. 77) which was denied
designated Acting Provincial Prosecutor for received copies of their warrants of arrest. by the court in its Order dated October 2,
Davao City by the Department of Justice 1990 (Annex "P" of the Petition, Rollo, p.
through Department Order No. 88 dated In the meantime, on August 15, 1990, 80). It likewise ordered their commitment at
May 16, 1990. In a resolution dated August herein petitioners were admitted to the St. the Davao City Rehabilitation Center, Ma-a,
6, 1990, Fiscal Ponferrada recommended Luke's Hospital for various ailments brought Davao City pending trial on the merits.
the filing of an information against herein about or aggravated by the stress and Herein petitioners argued orally a motion for
petitioners for Violation of Presidential anxiety caused by the filing of the criminal reconsideration which was opposed by the
Decree No. 1866 (Illegal Possession of complaint. On August 17, 1990, Brig. Gen. prosecution. At the conclusion thereof, the
Firearms and Ammunitions in Furtherance Dumlao granted their request that they be court a quo issued a second order annex
of Rebellion) (Annex "L" of the allowed to be confined at the hospital and "Q" of the Petition, Rollo, p. 83) denying
Petition, Rollo, p. 71). Hence, on August 8, placed under guard thereat. then motion for reconsideration and as to

the alternative prayer to reopen the motion petitioners from the St. Luke's Hospital Memorandum while, petitioners filed their
for hospital confinement, set the (Rollo, pp. 84-A to 84-C). Memorandum on September 9, 1991 (Rollo,
continuance thereof to October 17, 1990. It pp. 218-269).
was further ordered that the petitioners shall On November 2, 1990, respondent Judge
remain under the custody of the PC-CIS issued an order denying petitioners' Motion As submitted by the respondents, and
pending resolution of the case. for Bail (Annex "A" of the Second accepted by petitioners, the petition
Supplemental Petition, Rollo, p. 133). for mandamus to compel respondent Judge
Meanwhile, petitioners were returned to the Petitioners filed a Supplemental Petition on to resolve petitioners' Motion for Bail, and
St. Luke's Hospital where their physical November 7, 1990 (Rollo, P. 105) and a the petition for certiorari to review the order
condition remained erratic. On or about Second Supplemental Petition on of respondent judge initially denying their
October 18, 1990, herein petitioners were November 16, 1990 (Rollo, p. 120) which Motion for Hospital Confinement, were
informed that Brig. Gen. Dumlao had issued sought to review the order of the trial court rendered moot and academic by the
a directive for their transfer from the St. dated November 2, 1990 denying their resolutions of this Court dated November
Luke's Hospital to Camp Crame on the petition for bail. 20, 1990 and October 25, 1990,
basis of the October 2, 1990 Order (Annex respectively. What remains to be resolved is
"Q" of the Petition, Rollo, p. 83). Petitioners Acting on the Supplemental Petition filed by the petition for prohibition where petitioners
made representations that the tenor of the Petitioners and taking into consideration raised the following issues:
court order warranted maintenance of several factors such as: a) that the
the status quo, i.e., they were to continue possibility that they will flee or evade the 1. Presidential Decree No.
their hospital confinement. However, Brig, processes of the court is fairly remote; b) 1866, or at least the third
Gen. Dumlao informed them that unless their poor medical condition; and c) the paragraph of Section 1
otherwise restrained by the court, they matters in their Second Supplemental thereof, is unconstitutional
would proceed with their transfer pursuant Petition especially since the prosecution's for being violative of the due
to the order of the trial court. evidence refers to constructive possession process and equal
of the disputed firearms in Davao City protection clauses of the
Hence, this petition on October 25, 1990 through the two (2) caretakers while Constitution;
this Court issued a Temporary Restraining petitioners lived in Manila since 1988, this
Order, effective immediately and continuing Court, on November 20, 1990, granted 2. Presidential Decree No.
until further orders from this Court, ordering: petitioners' provisional liberty and set the 1866 has been repealed by
(a) respondent Hon. William L. Layague to bail bond at P20,000.00 each (Rollo, p. Republic Act No. 6968;
refrain from further proceeding with 141). Petitioners posted a cash bond in the
petitioners' "Motion for Hospital said amount on November 23, 1990 (Rollo, 3. Assuming the validity of
Confinement" in Criminal Case No. 20595- pp. 143-145). Presidential Decree No.
90 entitled "People of the Philippines v. 1866 the respondent judge
Leopoldo Veroy and Ma. Luisa Veroy"; and The petition was given due course on July gravely abused his
(b) respondent Brig. Gen. Pantaleon 16, 1991 (Rollo, p. 211). Respondents discretion in admitting in
Dumlao to refrain from transferring adopted their Comment dated December evidence certain articles
28, 1990 (Rollo, pp. 182-191) as their which were clearly

inadmissible for being But petitioners contend that Section 1 of The animus possidendi must
violative of the prohibition Presidential Decree No. 1866 is couched in be proved in opium cases
against unreasonable general or vague terms. The terms "deal in", where the prohibited drug
searches and seizures. "acquire", "dispose" or "possess" are was found on the premises
capable of various interpretations such that of the accused and the
The issue of constitutionality of Presidential there is no definiteness as to whether or not same rule is applicable to
Decree No. 1866 has been laid to rest in the the definition includes "constructive the possession of firearms.
case of Misolas v. Panga, G.R. No. 83341, possession" or how the concept of The appellant denied all
January 30, 1990 (181 SCRA 648), where constructive possession should be applied. knowledge of the existence
this Court held that the declaration of Petitioners were not found in actual of the revolver, and the
unconstitutionality of the third paragraph of possession of the firearm and ammunitions. Government's principal
Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1866 is They were in Quezon City while the witness stated that there
wanting in legal basis since it is neither a bill prohibited articles were found in Davao City. were a number of
of attainder nor does it provide a possibility Yet they were being charged under employees in the store. The
of a double jeopardy. Presidential Decree No. 1866 upon the sole only testimony which tends
circumstance that the house wherein the to show that the appellant
Likewise, petitioners' contention that items were found belongs to them had the possession or
Republic Act 6968 has repealed Presidential (Memorandum for Petitioners, Rollo, pp. custody of this revolver is
Decree No. 1866 is bereft of merit. It is a 242-244). the inference drawn from the
cardinal rule of statutory construction that fact that it was found in his
where the words and phrases of a statute Otherwise stated, other than their ownership store, but we think that this
are not obscure or ambiguous. its meaning of the house in Skyline Village, there was no inference is overcome by the
and the intention of the legislature must be other evidence whatsoever that herein positive testimony of the
determined from the language employed, petitioners possessed or had in their control appellant, when considered
and where there is no ambiguity in the the items seized (Ibid., pp. 248-250). with the fact that there were
words, there is no room for construction Neither was it shown that they had the a number of employees in
(Provincial Board of Cebu v. Presiding intention to possess the Firearms or to the store, who, of course,
Judge of Cebu, CFI, Br. IV, G.R. No. 34695, further rebellion (Ibid., P. 252). could have placed the
March 7, 1989 [171 SCRA 1]). A perusal of revolver in the secret place
the aforementioned laws would reveal that In a similar case, the revolver in question where it was found without
the legislature provided for two (2) distinct was found in appellant's store and the the knowledge of the
offenses: (1) illegal possession of firearms question arouse whether he had possession appellant. At least there is a
under Presidential Decree No. 1866; and (2) or custody of it within the meaning of the very serious doubt whether
rebellion, coup d' etat, sedition and law. he knew of the existence of
disloyalty under Republic Act 6968; this revolver. In such case
evidently involving different subjects which the doubt must be resolved
This Court held that:
were not clearly shown to have eliminated in favor of the appellant.
the others.

(U.S. v. Jose and Tan Bo., house of herein petitioners is that it was necessarily illegal per se. Motive is
34 Phil. 724 [1916]) reportedly being used as a hideout and immaterial in mala prohibita but the subjects
recruitment center for rebel soldiers. While of this kind of offense may not be summarily
But more importantly, petitioners question Capt. Obrero was able to enter the seized simply because they are prohibited.
the admissibility in evidence of the articles compound, he did not enter the house A search warrant is still necessary. Hence,
seized in violation of their constitutional right because he did not have a search warrant the rule having been violated and no
against unreasonable search and seizure. and the owners were not present. This exception being applicable, the articles
shows that he himself recognized the need seized were confiscated illegally and are
Petitioners aver that while they concede that for a search warrant, hence, he did not therefore protected by the exclusionary
Capt. Obrero had permission from Ma. persist in entering the house but rather principle. They cannot be used as evidence
Luisa Veroy to break open the door of their contacted the Veroys to seek permission to against the petitioners in the criminal action
residence, it was merely for the purpose of enter the same. Permission was indeed against them for illegal possession of
ascertaining thereat the presence of the granted by Ma. Luisa Veroy to enter the firearms. (Roan v. Gonzales, 145 SCRA
alleged "rebel" soldiers. The permission did house but only to ascertain the presence of 689-690 [1986]). Besides, assuming that
not include any authority to conduct a room rebel soldiers. Under the circumstances it is there was indeed a search warrant, still
to room search once inside the house. The undeniable that the police officers had in mala prohibita, while there is no need of
items taken were, therefore, products of an ample time to procure a search warrant but criminal intent, there must
illegal search, violative of their constitutional did not. be knowledge that the same existed.
rights As such, they are inadmissible in Without the knowledge or voluntariness
evidence against them. In a number of cases decided by this Court, there is no crime.
(Guazon v. De Villa, supra.; People v.
The Constitution guarantees the right of the Aminnudin, G.R. No. L-74869, July 6, 1988 PREMISES CONSIDERED, the petition as
people to be secure in their persons, [163 SCRA 402]; Alih v. Castro, G.R. No. L- granted and the criminal case against the
houses, papers and effects against 69401, June 23, 1987 [151 SCRA 279]), petitioners for illegal possession of firearms
unreasonable searches and seizures warrantless searches were declared illegal is DISMISSED.
(Article III, Section 2 of the 1987 because the officials conducting the search
Constitution). However, the rule that had every opportunity to secure a search SO ORDERED.
searches and seizures must be supported Warrant. The objects seized, being products
by a valid warrant is not an absolute one. of illegal searches, were inadmissible in
Among the recognized exceptions thereto evidence in the criminal actions
are: (1) a search incidental to an arrest; (2) subsequently instituted against the
a search of a moving vehicle; and (3) accused-appellants (People v. Cendana,
seizure of evidence in plain view (People v. G.R. No. 84715, October 17, 1990 [190
Lo Ho Wing, G.R. No. 88017, January 21, SCRA 538]).
1991 [193 SCRA 122]).
Undeniably, the offense of illegal possession
None of these exceptions pertains to the of firearms is malum prohibitum but it does
case at bar. The reason for searching the not follow that the subject thereof is