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[G.R. Nos. 135667-70[1].

March 1, 2001] took off his shorts, pressed her legs apart with his two (2) legs, and rubbed his penis against her thighs,
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JESSIE VENTURA COLLADO, accused-appellant. until it touched her vagina. She told him to stop because she was hurting but he did not heed her plea.The
DECISION intimate encounter went on for some ten (10) to fifteen (15) minutes. Metheor heard her screams for
BELLOSILLO, J.: help, went upstairs and saw what Jessie was doing. He told Jessie to let his sister go, but Jessie merely
TO TIE A CHILD of tender years spread-eagled to her bed to abuse her in the privacy of her home is ignored him. Metheor went downstairs and got a 7" to 8"-inch breadknife which had a narrow point at the
despicable enough; to encroach on her innocence unashamedly in front of her younger brother is to end. Metheor again told Jessie to let his sister go, and threw the knife at Jessies back. Jessie felt the knife
descend to the deepest recesses of depravity. Thus the incorrigible lothario transgressed all norms of hit his back that left a reddish mark, and let Messeah go. Before he left, he told the children that he would
decency, morality and rectitude when he molested his nine (9)-year old victim in the presence of her six throw them into a volcano if they told anybody about what happened.[3]
(6)-year old brother and severed all strands of gratefulness to her parents who gave him food, shelter and The third molestation happened on 7 July 1993. Again, only Metheor, Jessie and Messeah were at
livelihood for four (4) years. home. Metheor was upstairs sleeping while Messeah was resting on the sofa when Jessie suddenly
Messeah is the daughter of Jose Noli Dumaoal, a seaman. His household was composed of his wife entered the living room armed with a knife. Messeah called for her older brother twice, but Reggie had
Julie, and their three (3) children, Reggie, Messeah and Metheor. The accused Jessie Ventura Collado, son already gone out. She only stopped when Jessie pointed the knife at her and threatened to stab her if she
of Jose Nolis cousin Benjamin, was living with them since 1989. While waiting for an opportunity to shouted again. He then forced her to walk backwards to the kitchen where he told her again to remove
become a seaman himself like his uncle Jose, Jessie served as the family driver. Aside from driving Julie, her shorts and panties. She resisted but Jessie insisted and even tried twice to stab her if she did not
Jessie would also drive the school service vehicle operated by the Dumaoal spouses. Since Jose was almost comply. He used one of his hands to remove his shorts and briefs. He forced Messeah to sit on a steel chair
always at sea and having no househelp, their children were oftentimes left in the care of Jessie. But, and told her to spread her legs. She sat with her legs closed together but he got mad and threatened to
instead of taking care of them as their surrogate father, he took advantage of Messeah by sexually stab her if she did not open her legs. She reluctantly opened her legs slightly and Jessie spread them wider
molesting her at home, and worse, even in the presence of her younger brother. with his free hand as the other hand was holding the knife. Jessie then told Messeah to sit at the edge of
The first of four (4) unfortunate occasions was on 27 April 1993 when Julie and her oldest son Reggie the steel chair, like before. He stood with one hand holding on to her shoulder, the other holding the knife,
went to Cubao. Messeah was resting in her bedroom upstairs when Jessie suddenly barged into her and stood straddling her legs. He then inserted his penis between her thighs and used his legs to press her
room. "What are you doing here?" she demanded, knowing fully well that he was not allowed upstairs thighs together (apart?). Then he rubbed his penis against her thighs for some three (3) to five (5) minutes
without her parents permission. Jessie simply smiled and said, "Wala," and added that her mother was until it touched her vagina. She could then feel something sticky coming out from his penis and reaching
not around to get mad at him. Then he left only to return after three (3) to five (5) minutes with a straw her vagina. Although her hands were free, she could not slap, box or scratch him because she was afraid
rope in hand. Messeah asked him why he was holding the rope, and Jessie told her to keep quiet and not that he might stab her as he threatened. Jessie only stopped when he heard a noise.It was Reggie entering
to ask questions or else he would hurt her. Alarmed, Messeah rushed to the window and screamed for her the gate. Jessie ordered Messeah to get dressed immediately. Although she did not want to, Messeah
brother Metheor, but Jessie reached out to cover her mouth with one hand while he closed the window stood up, got dressed, and met her brother in the living room. As she walked away, Jessie, who had also
with the other. She heard Metheor call out from downstairs, "Whats going on?" but Jessie stopped her put his clothes back on, threatened to kill her whole family and Messeah knew that she could not get any
from answering. help from her brother Reggie, who was only thirteen (13) years old and no match for Jessie who was much
Hearing no response from Messeah upstairs, Metheor went up to her room and discovered that older and bigger.[4]
Jessie had tied Messeahs hands to the bed and was about to tie her feet down. Metheor asked, "What are In August 1993 Jose came home for his annual vacation, but Messeah and Metheor were too afraid
you doing to my Ate?" Messeah screamed to her brother to call for help from the neighbors, but Jessie of Jessie and his threats that they did not tell their father about the ongoing abuse by Jessie. Once Jessie
threatened to hurt him if he left the room. Jessie then moved the bed to block the way to the door. At even borrowed a video tape of the Vizconde Massacre and forced Messeah and Metheor to watch it,
some point, he also punched Messeah on her right cheek. Jessie then parted her legs and tied them apart, telling them that the same thing would happen to them if they revealed to their parents what he was doing
pulling down her garterized shorts and panties until her ankles. He tried forcing his penis into her vagina, to them.[5] Not even the arrival in May 1993 of Julies relative, Alipio Martin, could prevent Jessie's sexual
but when he failed in his attempt, he inserted it into her anus instead. assaults as he always waited until he was alone in the house with the children.
Messeah felt pain in her anus and something sticky "like paste" flowed out from his penis. Her Jessie again took advantage of the situation on 17 October 1993 when everybody in the Dumaoal
vagina ached from Jessies earlier attempt to defile her. She saw Jessie close his eyes as though he was household, except for the two (2) youngest children, were away from home. Messeahs parents had gone
enjoying himself. She cried out and Metheor, unable to bear what Jessie was doing to his sister, told the shopping, while Reggie was playing computer with his friends at a neighbors house. Julies parents, who
older man, "Let my Ate go," and boxed him futilely with his baby fists. Jessie punched Metheor in the were staying for a visit, were busy with other things. Her mother was at the parlor having a cold wave,
stomach and the latter was rendered helpless by the pain. Jessie told Messeah to dress up and threatened while her father was talking to a neighbor at the latters house some distance away. Alipio was also out of
to set them and their house on fire if they said anything. the house and Metheor was playing in the garage. Messeah was aware of how alone she was and felt
When Julie and Reggie arrived home in the afternoon she noticed that Messeahs cheek was red. She afraid that she might be molested again, but she could not do anything since the door of her room still had
asked her what was the matter, but Messeah saw Jessie listening close by and looking at her with dagger no lock. She had wanted to go to Cubao with her parents but Jessie had convinced them to leave her and
eyes, so she simply lied and told her mother that she hurt herself while playing. Metheor also gave their Metheor behind since they had been invited to go to a birthday party. By the time they returned from the
mother the same excuse. That night, although she knew that Jessie was no longer on the second floor party, Jose and Julie had already left for Cubao.
where she and her family slept, she could not muster enough courage to tell her mother what happened As Messeah was changing her clothes after coming from the party, Jessie again entered her room,
because of Jessies threats.[2] told her to remove her panty, and inserted his smallest finger (kalingkingan) into her vagina while telling
Because of this incident, Messeah asked her mother to buy a lock for her bedroom door, but her her to keep silent. He then removed his pants and briefs and went on top of her. This time, he was not
mother passed the errand on to Jessie, who, predictably did not buy the lock. Messeah began to hate able to touch her vagina with his penis because Messeah cried and screamed and called for Metheor who
Jessie and asked her mother to find another driver without however telling her what he did, but her again went up and told Jessie, "Get away from my sister." Jessie stopped but threatened to throw the
mother only told her that it would be difficult to find another one. children to the sharks if they told their parents what happened.[6]
That was not the end of Messeahs ordeal. On 5 June 1993 Julie and Reggie went to the Marikina That night Messeah learned from her father that he was about to board his ship again. The next
public market, again leaving Messeah and Metheor alone with Jessie. Messeah was resting on the sofa day, 18 October, she waited until Jessie left to drive the schoolbus to school. She was crying, and it was
while Metheor was in the garage when Jessie grabbed Messeah and dragged her upstairs. She screamed only after some prompting that she told her mother, "Tinorotot ako ni Jessie."[7] Julie brought her to Jose
and Jessie tried to cover her mouth. She was crying as Jessie told her to take off her shorts and panties, and asked her what she meant by "tinorotot." Messeah replied, "Jessie was forcing his penis into [my]
vagina." She also mentioned that Jessie had inserted his penis into her anus, and that he had also inserted It is clear from Messeahs testimony that when Jessie carried out his lecherous intent on 5 June 1993,
his finger into her vagina.[8] he did not commit rape, consummated nor attempted, despite the victims testimony that he succeeded
Jose was shocked because he had treated Jessie as if he were his own child, and that morning, had in touching her genitalia with his private parts -
even told Jessie to make sure his papers were in order because he might be able to bring him along with Q: And what happened when he brought you to your room?
him to sea.[9] After promising Messeah that they would talk to Jessie, Jose and Julie brought her to school, A: He told me to take off my shorts as well as my panty.
then went home and talked to Jessie, who denied everything. However, Jessie looked pale, and told the Q: Then what happened after that?
Dumaoal spouses to just send him back to Paoay, Ilocos Norte. They were not able to talk to Jessie further A: And while my legs were apart, he pressed them apart.
because it was time for him to fetch the other children from school. The Dumaoal spouses went back to Q: Now, you said that Jessie pressed your legs apart, with what part of his body did he press your
school where they found Messeah crying. When Messeah saw them, she asked them why they did not legs apart?
stay with her so they could have protected her. Apparently, Jessie had tried to bring her out of the school A: With his two legs, sir.
but was prevented from doing so by the school guard. The Dumaoals asked the principals permission to Q: And after he pressed your legs apart, what did he do?
bring her home. But before going home, they went to church and again asked her what happened, and A: He rubbed his penis between my thighs.
reminded her that no one was supposed to tell a lie in church. Messeah insisted that she was telling the Q: Near your private part?
truth, and even offered to draw Jessies penis for them. She also told them to talk to Metheor, who had A: Yes, sir, near my private part x x x x
witnessed the incidents, and insisted that they confront Jessie before a policeman. Q: You said that kinukuskos, or he was rubbing his penis near your vagina, what happened when he
Since they did not know what to do, the Dumaoal spouses consulted a lawyer, as well as Jose's was rubbing his penis near your vagina?
uncle, Anastacio Dumaoal. The latter suggested that they talk to Jessie in the presence of Jessie's father, A: I told him dont, because I was hurt, because he is pressing his legs on my legs.
Benjamin Collado. Since they did not know Benjamin's exact address in Valenzuela, Bulacan, they left a Q: And what did he do?
message with his employer. Benjamin came on 22 October, and in the presence of Benjamin, Anastacio, A: He told me to shut up.
and Julie Dumaoal's father Geronimo Martin, the Dumaoal spouses reached an agreement with Jessie Q: And what did he do after he told you to shut up?
whereby they would not press charges provided that he kept away from the Dumaoal family, and not A: He continued what he was doing.
threaten, coerce or do harm to any of them. The agreement was reduced to writing, and after signing the Q: And what was he exactly doing at that time?
document, Jessie boarded a bus for Paoay. A: Rubbing his penis near my vagina.
Because of Jessie's threats, the Dumaoals were forced to transfer residence even though they did Q: How near was it to your vagina?
not have money to spend for the purpose. Before All Saint's Day, Jose went to the province to visit his A: It touches my vagina (emphasis supplied)
parents' grave. While in Paoay, he learned from his cousin Josephine Collado, Jessie's aunt, that Jessie only Q: If you can calculate the time, how long did it last?
stayed in Paoay for four (4) days after which he returned to Manila. Jose hurriedly returned to Manila and A: Maybe 10 - 15 minutes.[14]
went to their former residence and learned from bystanders that Jessie had been seen drinking in front of Nowhere can we find from the foregoing any indication that accused-appellant successfully
the house. When Messeah learned about this, she got angry and told her father that he should have penetrated at least the labia of the victim; neither can we glean therein any grain of intent on his part to
reported Jessie to the police since she had seen him lurking outside her school. Since Jessie violated his invade Messeahs privities. The victim only said in her testimony that Jessie initially "pressed her legs apart
undertaking, they decided to file complaints against him for one (1) count of consummated rape and three with his two (2) legs, and rubbed his penis against her thighs, until it touched her vagina." Further, Messeah
(3) counts of acts of lasciviousness. might have told the accused-appellant to "stop because she was hurting" yet she did so only because "he
Jessie denied all the allegations against him and attacked instead the credibility of Messeah and was pressing his legs on her legs." She did not mention having felt pain in her vagina. As narrated by
Metheor. But the trial court found accused-appellant Jessie Ventura Collado guilty of statutory rape and Messeah, "the intimate encounter went on for some 10-15 minutes." If accused-appellant was penetrating
sentenced him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Likewise, it found him guilty of three (3) counts her or trying to penetrate her for such a considerable period, she should have likewise cried out in anguish
of acts of lasciviousness and sentenced him to suffer imprisonment of six (6) years of prision correctional in for the pain in her sex organ. To compare, she cried out in pain when accused-appellant tried forcing his
its maximum period for each count. It also ordered him to indemnify the private complainant in the penis into her vagina and anus during the first incident.
amount of P50,000.00, and P100,000.00 for moral damages.[10] We recall that during the first incident of 27 April 1993, accused-appellant tried forcing his penis
In his appeal, the accused Jessie Ventura Collado, aside from attacking the credibility of Messeah into her vagina, but when he failed in his first attempt, he inserted it into her anus instead. This could have
and Metheor, insisted that Messeah clearly testified that there was no penetration whatsoever in her been attempted rape, or even consummated rape but the Complaint filed was only for acts of
vagina. But assuming arguendo that he was found guilty of acts of lasciviousness, the trial court erred lasciviousness. Thus, accused-appellant cannot be convicted of attempted or consummated
nonetheless in imposing a penalty that did not take into account the Indeterminate Sentence Law. rape. Noteworthy is that the victim was already in a spread-eagle position yet he was unsuccessful in his
The trial court in its assailed Decision ruled that it found "Messeahs testimony of her harrowing attempt to defile her. By then he must have realized that it was difficult to penetrate his victims sex organ
experience, although not absolutely consistent in all their details, to be still credible and thus entitled to such that during the second incident of 5 June 1993, he merely "rubbed his penis between her thighs"
full faith and credit."[11] And we agree with the trial court in this regard. In People v. Dado[12] the Court held although in the process "touched her vagina."
that "assessing the credibility of witnesses is an area within the almost exclusive province of a trial judge We recall further that during the third incident of 7 July 1993, accused-appellant "inserted his penis
whose findings and conclusions are normally accorded great weight and respect. In determining the between her thighs and used his legs to press her thighs together, then he rubbed his penis against her
credulity of testimony, significant focus is held to lie on the deportment of, as well as the peculiar manner thighs for some three (3) to five (5) minutes until it touched her vagina and she felt something sticky
in which the declaration is made by the witness in open court. Hardly can an appellate court come close coming out of his penis." As in the second incident, there was no showing he inserted his penis into
to a trial court in making, from a mere reading of the transcript of stenographic notes, that kind of herlabias, much less tried to do so. This recourse to a "simulated means" of achieving orgasm is another
evaluation."[13] manifestation of his realization of, or resignation to, the difficulty of penetrating his preys sex organ.
The trial court was correct in finding accused-appellant guilty of three (3) counts of acts of In according significance to the word "touched," it would be instructive to revisit our ruling in People
lasciviousness. We take exception however to its finding that statutory rape was committed by him on 5 v. Campuhan[15] where we said -
June 1993. A thorough evaluation of the records will show that accused-appellant Jessie Ventura Collado x x x Thus, touching when applied to rape cases does not simply mean mere epidermal contact, stroking
should only be convicted for acts of lasciviousness and not for consummated rape. or grazing of organs, a slight brush or a scrape of the penis on the external layer of the victims vagina, or
the mons pubis x x x x There must be sufficient and convincing proof that the penis indeed touched the he had already left the household as early as 22 October 1993. Neither does this explain why the Dumaoal
labias or slid into the female organ, and not merely stroked the external surface thereof for the accused spouses felt compelled to change residences in such a short period of time. As Jose Noli testified, they
to be convicted of consummated rape x x x x made the move even before All Saints Day,[25] which shows that they left their familiar surroundings and
x x x Absent any showing of the slightest penetration of the female organ, i.e. touching of either the labia uprooted their family all within ten (10) days just so they could ensure Messeahs safety.
of the pudendum by the penis, there can be no consummated rape; at most, it can only be attempted Moreover, we agree with the Solicitor General that the only reason why the Dumaoal spouses
rape, if not acts of lasciviousness. agreed to let Jessie go home to the province instead of filing charges against him was because they were
In other words, "touching" of the female organ will result in consummated rape if the penis slid into "torn between seeking justice for their daughter and preserving her and the familys reputation. There was
or touched either labia of the pudendum. Anything short of that will only result in either attempted rape also the Christian desire to forgive and give a blood kin a new chance at life knowing the gravity of the
or acts of lasciviousness. Significantly, People v. Campuhan did not set a demarcation line separating penalty that would be meted out to him. To interpret their actuation any other way would be most unfair
attempted rape from acts of lasciviousness. The difference lies in the intent of the perpetrator deducible to parents who are equally suffering with what befell their only daughter."[26]
from his external acts. Thus when the "touching" of the vagina by the penis is coupled with the intent to Parenthetically, it may be noted that the trial court failed to consider the provisions of
penetrate, attempted rape is committed. Otherwise, it is merely acts of lasciviousness. the Indeterminate Sentence Law when it imposed the penalty of "imprisonment of six (6) years of prision
Inasmuch as the touching of the victims organ by the penis of accused-appellant on 5 June 1993 correccional in its maximum period."
was but a mere incident of the "rubbing against or between the victims thighs" which in no way manifests Under the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the imposable penalty provided by Art. 336 of The Revised
an act preliminary to sexual intercourse, accused-appellant should only be convicted of acts of Penal Code is prision correccional the range of which is six (6) months and one (1) day to six (6) years. With
lasciviousness instead of consummated rape. the presence of one (1) generic aggravating circumstance, i.e., obvious ungratefulness, the maximum shall
Messeah's testimony regarding the other acts of lasciviousness committed against her person on be taken from the maximum period of the imposable penalty, which is, four (4) years two (2) months and
different instances by Jessie is also credible, more so when we consider how Metheor's testimony one (1) day to six (6) years, while the minimum shall be taken from the penalty next lower in degree, which
corroborated the appalling tale of molestation and assault. Messeah told the trial court how on several is, arresto mayor the range of which is one (1) month and one (1) day to six (6) months.
occasions Jessie had inserted his penis into her anus, and also his smallest finger into her vagina, and how WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 267, finding accused-
he straddled her legs between his legs with his penis pressed between her thighs. The defense tried to appellant JESSIE VENTURA COLLADO guilty of Statutory Rape in G.R. No. 135667 (Crim. Case No. 106257)
show that it was impossible for a man to have inserted his penis into the anus of a young girl tied spread- and three (3) counts of Acts of Lasciviousness in G.R. Nos. 135668 - 70 (Crim. Cases Nos. 106258-106260)
eagle to the bed with her garterized shorts and panties pulled down to her ankles, but the garter would is MODIFIED as follows:
stretch to allow the victims legs to spread far apart and Jessies beastly act would not have been a physical In G.R. No. 135667 (Crim. Case No. 106257), accused-appellant is found guilty of Acts of
impossibility. Further, Messeah testified that both her anus and vagina hurt during the first Lasciviousness (instead of Statutory Rape) under Art. 336 of The Revised Penal Code, aggravated by
incident,[16] which could only have resulted from the penetration. obvious ungratefulness. In G.R. Nos. 135668-70 (Crim. Cases Nos. 106258-106260), accused-appellant is
On his part, Metheor testified as to how he heard his sister scream for his help, how he saw her tied likewise found guilty of three (3) counts of Acts of Lasciviousness under the same Art. 336, also aggravated
down on the bed like an animal, how he twice saw Jessie lie on top of his sister, first on 27 April 1993, and by obvious ungratefulness in each count.
again on 5 June 1993, and how Jessie pushed and threatened him if he ever said a word about what he Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, accused-appellant JESSIE VENTURA COLLADO is
had seen.[17] He also told the court how on 17 October 1993, he saw Jessie insert his smallest finger into sentenced to an indeterminate prison term of four (4) months and twenty (20) days of arresto
Messeahs vagina.[18] mayormaximum as minimum, to four (4) years six (6) months and ten (10) days of prision
Neither Messeah nor Metheor had any motive to implicate Jessie except to stop the abuses. It correccional maximum as maximum, in each count of Acts of Lasciviousness. Accused-appellant is further
should be noted that these are children forced to live in fear for a long time, and had suffered many directed to pay the private complainant Messeah M. Dumaoal P30,000.00 as civil indemnity, P40,000.00
indignities at the hands of Jessie. In fact, in his desire to prevent Jessie from hurting his sister, young for moral damages, P20,000.00 for exemplary damages, in each of the four (4) counts of Acts of
Metheor repeatedly tried to push Jessie away from his sister's helpless body by punching him and even Lasciviousness, and to pay the costs.
attempting to stab him with a bread knife, the only weapon he could handle. SO ORDERED.
Messeahs failure to reveal the sexual abuses to her mother does not taint her credibility. Her silence Mendoza, Quisumbing, Buena, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.
was impelled by both fear for her life and shame for the degradation that had befallen her. It is not
uncommon for a young girl of tender age to be intimidated into silence by the mildest threat against her G.R. No. 94953 September 5, 1994
life. Silence is not an odd behavior of a rape victim.[19] In fact, the burden of keeping such a secret took its PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
toll on her health. Jose Noli testified that when he arrived for a vacation in August 1993, he noticed that vs.
his children looked blank and pale, especially Messeah who looked thin, complained of dizziness and ARMANDO DE LARA Y GALARO, accused-appellant.
headaches and sometimes threw up. He and his wife had brought Messeah to several doctors, before one The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
finally diagnosed Messeah as suffering from nervous breakdown and psychological trauma.[20] Tan, Manzano & Velez for accused-appellant.
The rule is that affirmative testimony is far weightier than a mere denial, especially when it comes
from the mouth of a credible witness.[21] Jessie's alibi that he was driving the family car on the disputed QUIASON, J.:
occasions cannot stand up to his positive identification as the perpetrator of the crime by both Messeah This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 28, Manila in Criminal Case No.
and Metheor. 94953, finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section 4 of Republic Act No. 6425,
Neither can we believe Jessie's allegation that Julie only wanted him out of their house because she as amended by B.P. Blg. 179.
favored her own relative over him. No mother in her right mind would subject her child to the humiliation, I
disgrace and trauma attendant to a prosecution for rape, if she were not motivated solely by the desire to The Information charged appellant as follows:
incarcerate the person responsible for her child's defilement.[22] Furthermore, it is highly improbable that That on or about January 9, 1987, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said
a rape victim and her family would publicly disclose the incident and thus sully their honor and reputation accused, not being authorized by law to sell, deliver, give away to another or
in the community unless the charge is true.[23] In fact, if Julie only wanted Jessie out of her house,[24] then distribute any prohibited drug, did then and there willfully and unlawfully sell or
why would the Dumaoal family file the complaints against him only on 13 April 1994, when it is clear that
offer for sale two (2) foils of flowering tops of marijuana and one (1) plastic bag of he saw the blue plastic bag containing prohibited drugs was when he was at the police station (TSN, June
flowering tops of marijuana, which are prohibited drugs (Rollo, p. 6). 14, 1988, pp. 1-11).
Upon arraignment, appellant, assisted by his counsel de parte, pleaded not guilty to the information To corroborate his story, appellant presented his younger brother, Gerry de Lara.
(Records p. 5). On October 2, 1989, the trial court rendered its decision, disposing as follows:
II WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding the accused guilty beyond
On December 15, 1986, Capt. Restituto Cablayan of the National Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) of reasonable doubt of violation of Sec 4, Art II of R.A. 6425 as amended as charged
the Western Police District (WPD), instructed Sgt. Enrique David to conduct a surveillance operation in in the Information; and this Court hereby sentences the accused to suffer a
the vicinity of Garrido and Zamora Streets at Sta. Ana, Manila, after receiving reports of rampant drug- penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P20,000.00 (Rollo,p. 24).
pushing in that area (TSN, December 14, 1987, p. 21). Hence, this appeal.
In compliance thereof, a team led by Sgt. Enrique David, conducted a surveillance operation on III
December 15 and 17, and confirmed the reported drug-pushing activities in that area by the group of In his appeal, appellant questions the legality of his arrest and the seizure of prohibited drugs found
appellant and a certain Ricky alias "Pilay" (TSN, December 2, 1987, pp. 5-6). No arrest was made because inside his house. Furthermore, he claims that he was not assisted by counsel during his custodial
the team was instructed by their superior to conduct a surveillance operation only (TSN, January 11, interrogation (Rollo, pp. 55-57).
1988, p. 28). As to the legality of appellant's arrest, we find that the police operatives acted within the bounds of law.
On January 8, 1987, Malaya (Exh. "F") and People's Tonight (Exh. "K"), reported that there were rampant, Section 5, Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedures dealing with warrantless arrests provides:
drug-pushing activities in the vicinity of Garrido and Zamora Streets in Sta. Ana, Manila, prompting Gen. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. — A peace officer or a private person may,
Alfredo Lim, then WPD Superintendent, to reprimand the NCIS office (TSN, December 2, 1987, p. 2). without a warrant, arrest a person;
On January 9, because of the reprimand given by Gen. Lim, Capt. Cablayan instructed Sgt. David to plan a a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually
buy-bust operation and to form a committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
six-man team with Pfc. Martin Orolfo, Jr. as the poseur-buyer (TSN, December 2, 1987, p. 6, January 11, b) When an offense has in fact just been committed and he has personal
1988, p. 6). knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it;
At around 4:45 P.M. of the same day, the team, together with their confidential informant, went to xxx xxx xxx
Garrido Street. Upon arriving threat, they strategically positioned themselves. Pfc. Orolfo, Jr. and the In the case at bench, appellant was caught red-handed in delivering two tin foils of marijuana to Pat.
confidential informant proceeded to the house of appellant located at No. 2267 Garrido Street, where Orolfo, Jr., the poseur-buyer. Applying the aforementioned provision of law, appellant's arrest was
they saw him standing outside. The confidential informant introduced Pfc. Orolfo, Jr. to appellant as an lawfully effected without need of a warrant of arrest. "Having caught the appellant in flagrante as a
interested buyer of marijuana. Appellant asked Pfc. Orolfo, Jr. "Ilan ang bibilhin ninyo?" (How much will result of the buy-bust operation, the policemen were not only authorized but were also under obligation
you buy?). Pfc. Orolfo, Jr., replied: "Two foils" handing at the same time the marked twenty-peso bill to apprehend the drug pusher even without a warrant of arrest" (People v. Kalubiran, 196 SCRA 644
(Exh. "E") to appellant. The latter, after placing the money in the right pocket of his pants, went inside his [1991]; People vs. De Los Santos, 200 SCRA 431 [1991]).
house (TSN, January 11, 1988, pp. 7-9). Minutes later, appellant came back and handed two foils (Exhs. Appellant, however, asseverates that his arrest was precipitated only by newspaper publications about
"D-1-a" and "D-1-b") wrapped in onion paper (TSN, January 11, 1988, p. 8). It was after he handed the the rampant sale of drugs along Garrido and Zamora Streets, Sta. Ana, Manila (Rollo, p. 53). If appellant
two foils to Pfc. Orolfo Jr., that he sensed the presence of the police operatives. He then tried to retrieve implies that the police merely stage-managed his arrest in order to show that they were not remiss in
the two foils but Pfc. Orolfo, Jr. prevented him from doing so. During the scuffle, one foil was torn. their duties, then appellant is wrong. A surveillance on the illegal activities of the appellant was already
Appellant then ran inside his house with Pfc. Orolfo, Jr. in pursuit. The latter was able to subdue conducted by the police as early as December 15 and 17, 1986. The newspaper reports concerning the
appellant. Sgt. David confronted appellant, who admitted that he kept prohibited drugs in his house. illegal drug activities came out only on January 8 and 14, 1987, long after the police knew of the said
Appellant showed the arresting officers a blue plastic bag with white lining containing prohibited drugs. illegal activities. Appellant's eventual arrest on January 9, 1987 was the result of the surveillance
A receipt of the articles seized (Exh. "F") was made by Pfc. Orolfo, Jr. (TSN, January 11, 1988, pp. 12-15). conducted and the buy-bust operation.
Thereafter, the team, together with appellant, proceeded to the WPD headquarters for investigation. The evidence shows that appellant ran inside his house upon sensing the presence of the police
Thereat, Sgt. David ordered Pfc. Orolfo, Jr. to commence the investigation of appellant (TSN, January 11, operatives. The testimony of Pat. Orolfo, Jr., the poseur-buyer, is as follows:
1988, pp. 19-21). FISCAL:
During the investigation, appellant was apprised of his constitutional rights to remain silent and to have Q: After placing the P20 bill in his right pocket, what did he
the assistance of counsel. When appellant was asked to give a written statement, he refused to do so do?
pending arrival of his lawyer (TSN, January 11, 1988, p. 23). A: He went to his house and minutes later, he came back,
The prohibited drugs seized from appellant were brought to the NBI for chemical analysis. A report and sir.
certification of Ms. Aida Pascual, Forensic Chemist of the NBI (Exhs. "C" and "D"), show the drugs to be Q: When he came back what happened?
positive for marijuana. A: He handed to me two tin foils containing suspected
Appellant denied having sold marijuana to anyone and claimed that the arresting officers merely planted marijuana leaves wrapped in onion paper.
the marijuana on his person. He testified that on January 9, 1987, he arrived home from work as a Q: And what happened next when he returned with those
security guard of the Vergara Brothers Agency at around 3:00 P.M. After changing his clothes, he went items?
out to fetch his son, who was left in the care of a neighbor. Upon returning to his house with his son, he A: After he handed to me two foils, he sensed the presence
was arrested by the police. The police proceeded to search his house, without any search warrant shown of the operatives and he tried to retrieve the two foils, sir,
to him. After the search, he and his wife were brought to the WPD headquarters. He claimed that inspite and I prevented him and during the scuffle one piece of foil
of his protestation that he would like to wait for his lawyer before giving any statement, the police was broken, he tried to run inside the house, so I subdued
continued their interrogation. him immediately and apprehended him while he was inside
Appellant denied that the twenty-peso bill was given to him by the poseur-buyer. He claimed that he was the house.
merely forced to sign his name on the photocopy of the twenty-peso bill (Exh. "F") and that the first time Q: After he was subdued by your group, what happened?
A: Sgt. David confronted him regarding this case and he In order to determine the penalty to be imposed on appellant, we first divide the amount of 750 grams
voluntarily admitted that he was still keeping prohibited into three to correspond to the three applicable penalties, namely, prision correccional, prision
drugs inside his house? mayor and reclusion temporal.
Q: What did the group do after he voluntarily admitted that If the marijuana involved is from 500 to 749 grams, the penalty to be imposed is reclusion temporal. If
he was keeping prohibited drugs inside his house? the marijuana involved is from 250 to 499 grams, the penalty to be imposed is prision mayor and if the
A: He pointed inside his house (sic) one plastic bag colored weight of the marijuana involved is below 250 grams, the penalty to be imposed is prision correccional.
blue with white lining containing prohibited drug" (TSN, Since there is no evidence as to the weight of the two foils and one plastic bag of flowering tops of
January 11, 1988, pp. 12-14). marijuana seized from appellant, we resolve the doubt in favor of appellant and conclude that the
The policemen's entry into the house of appellant without a search warrant was in hot-pursuit of a quantity involved was: (i) below 750 grams; and (ii) not less than 250 but not more than 499 grams.
person caught committing an offense in flagrante. The arrest that followed the hot-pursuit was valid Hence, the maximum penalty that can be imposed on appellant is prision mayor. Applying the
(1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, Rule 113, Section 5[a]). Indeterminate Sentence Law to appellant, who was convicted under a special law (People vs.
We also find as valid the seizure of the plastic bag of prohibited drugs found inside appellant's house. Macantando, 109 SCRA 35 [1981]), and as such law was interpreted in People v. Simon, G.R. No. 93028,
The seizure of the plastic bag containing prohibited drugs was the result of appellant's arrest inside his July 29, 1994, the minimum penalty that can be imposed on appellant should be within the range
house. A contemporaneous search may be conducted upon the person of the arrestee and the of prision correccional.
immediate vicinity where the arrest was made (People v. Castiller, 188 SCRA 376 [1990]). WHEREFORE, the Decision appealed from is AFFIRMED with the modification that appellant shall suffer
We find to be meritorious appellant's claim that he was not assisted by counsel during the custodial an indeterminate penalty of FOUR (4) years and TWO (2) days of prision correccional, as minimum, to
investigation, specifically when he was forced to sign the photocopy of the marked twenty-peso bill (Exh. EIGHT (8) years and ONE (1) day of prision mayor, as maximum.
"E"), Receipt of Property Seized (Exh. "F"), and the Booking and Information Sheet (Exh. "H"). SO ORDERED.
The said documents are inadmissible in evidence for the reason that there was no showing that G.R. No. 133917 February 19, 2001
appellant was then assisted by counsel nor his waiver thereto put into writing (Constitution, Art. III, Sec. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
3[2]). vs.
Be that as it may, the rejection of said evidence would not affect the conviction of appellant in view of NASARIO MOLINA y MANAMA @ "BOBONG" and GREGORIO MULA y MALAGURA @
the abundance of other evidence establishing his guilt. The ruling in People v. Mauyao, 207 SCRA 732 "BOBOY", accused-appellants.
(1992) is apropos: YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
It bears emphasis, however, that the accused appellant's conformity to the To sanction disrespect and disregard for the Constitution in the name of protecting the society from
questioned documents has not been a factor at all in his conviction. For even if lawbreakers is to make the government itself lawless and to subvert those values upon which our
these documents were disregarded, still the accused-appellant's guilt has been ultimate freedom and liberty depend.1
adequately established by other evidence of record. The trial court's verdict was For automatic review is the Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City, Branch 17, in Criminal
based on the evidence of the prosecution not on his signatures on the questioned Case No. 37,264-96, finding accused-appellants Nasario Molina y Manamat alias "Bobong" and Gregorio
documents. Accused-appellant's denial simply can not prevail over the detailed Mula y Malagura alias "Boboy," guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section 8,3 of the
and unshaken testimonies of the apprehending officers who caught him red- Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 (Republic Act No. 6425), as amended by Republic Act No. 7659,4 and
handed selling marijuana and who have not shown to have any ulterior motive to sentencing them to suffer the supreme penalty of death.
testify falsely against accused-appellant. The information against accused-appellants reads:
IV That on or about August 8, 1996, in the City of Davao, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction
The trial court sentenced appellant to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, in conspiracy with each other, did then
P20,000.00 pursuant to Section 4, Article II of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as amended by B.P. Blg. and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously was found in their possession 946.9 grants of
179. However, said law was further amended by R.A. No. 7659. dried marijuana which are prohibited.
Under Section 17 of R.A. No. 7659, the penalty to be imposed for selling, administering, delivering or CONTRARY TO LAW.5
distributing less than 750 grams of marijuana, shall range from "prision correccional to reclusion Upon arraignment on September 4, 1996, accused-appellants pleaded not guilty to the accusation
perpetua depending upon the quantity." against them.6Trial ensued, wherein the prosecution presented Police Superintendent Eriel Mallorca,
Under Section 4 of R.A. No. 7659, the penalty for selling, dispensing, delivering, transporting or SPO1 Leonardo Y. Pamplona, Jr., and SPO1 Marino S. Paguidopon, Jr. as witnesses.
distributing marijuana in excess of 750 grams or more shall be "reclusion perpetua to death and a fine The antecedent facts are as follows:
ranging from Five Hundred Thousand Pesos to Ten Million Pesos." Sometime in June 1996, SPO1 Marino Paguidopon, then a member of the Philippine National Police
We noticed that the penalty of reclusion perpetua was imposed by R.A. No. 7659 as the maximum detailed at Precinct No. 3, Matina, Davao City, received an information regarding the presence of an
penalty when the quantity of the marijuana involved in the offense is less than 750 grams and at the alleged marijuana pusher in Davao City.7 The first time he came to see the said marijuana pusher in
same time as the minimum penalty when the quantity of marijuana involved is 750 grams or more. It is person was during the first week of July 1996. SPO1 Paguidopon was then with his informer when a
the duty of the Court to harmonize conflicting provisions to give effect to the whole law (Rufino Lopez motorcycle passed by. His informer pointed to the motorcycle driver, accused-appellant Mula, as the
and Sons v. Court of Appeals, 100 Phil. 850 [1957]). Furthermore, one of this Court's primordial pusher. As to accused-appellant Molina, SPO1 Paguidopon had no occasion to see him before the arrest.
responsibilities is to give a statute its sensible construction. This is to effectuate the intention of the Moreover, the names and addresses of the accused- appellants came to the knowledge of SPO1
legislature so as to avoid an absurd conclusion with regard to its meaning (Lamb v. Phipps, 22 Phil. 456 Paguidopon only after they were arrested.8
[1912]). Therefore, when the quantity involved is less than 750 grams, Section 17 of R.A. No. 7659 should At about 7:30 in the morning of August 8, 1996, SPO1 Paguidopon received an information that the
be read correctly to provide a penalty ranging from prision correccional to reclusion temporal only. alleged pusher will be passing at NHA, Ma- a, Davao City any time that morning.9 Consequently, at
The provision of Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code, which states that "penal laws shall have a around 8:00 A.M. of the same day, he called for assistance at the PNP, Precinct No. 3, Matina, Davao
retroactive effect insofar as they favor the person guilty of a felony," finds meaning in this case. City, which immediately dispatched the team of SPO4 Dionisio Cloribel (team leader), SPO2 Paguidopon
Appellant is entitled to benefit from the reduction of the penalty introduced by R.A. No. 7659.
(brother of SPO1 Marino Paguidopon), and SPO1 Pamplona, to proceed to the house of SPO1 Marino Complementary to the foregoing provision is the exclusionary rule enshrined under Article III, Section 3,
Paguidopon where they would wait for the alleged pusher to pass by.10 paragraph 2, which bolsters and solidifies the protection against unreasonable searches and
At around 9:30 in the morning of August 8, 1996, while the team were positioned in the house of SPO1 seizures.22 Thus:
Paguidopon, a "trisikad" carrying the accused-appellants passed by. At that instance, SPO1 Paguidopon Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for
pointed to the accused-appellants as the pushers. Thereupon, the team boarded their, vehicle and any purpose in any proceeding.
overtook the "trisikad."11 SPO1 Paguidopon was left in his house, thirty meters from where the accused- Without this rule, the right to privacy would be a form of words, valueless and undeserving of mention in
appellants were accosted.12 a perpetual charter of inestimable human liberties; so too, without this rule, the freedom from state
The police officers then ordered the "trisikad" to stop. At that point, accused-appellant Mula who was invasions of privacy would be so ephemeral and so neatly severed from its conceptual nexus with the
holding a black bag handed the same to accused-appellant Molina. Subsequently, SPO1 Pamplona freedom from all brutish means of coercing evidence as not to merit this Court's high regard as a
introduced himself as a police officer and asked accused-appellant Molina to open the bag.13 Molina freedom implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.23
replied, "Boss, if possible we will settle this."14 SPO1 Pamplona insisted on opening the bag, which The foregoing constitutional proscription, however, is not without exceptions. Search and seizure may be
revealed dried marijuana leaves inside. Thereafter; accused-appellants Mula and Molina were made without a warrant and the evidence obtained therefrom may be admissible in the following
handcuffed by the police officers.15 instances: (1) search incident to a lawful arrest; (2) search of a moving motor vehicle; (3) search in
On December 6, 1996, accused-appellants, through counsel, jointly filed a Demurrer to Evidence, violation of customs laws; (4) seizure of evidence in plain view; (5) when the accused himself waives his
contending that the marijuana allegedly seized from them is inadmissible as evidence for having been right against unreasonable searches and seizures;24 and (6) stop and frisk situations (Terry search).25
obtained in violation of their constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures.16 The The first exception (search incidental to a lawful arrest) includes a valid warrantless search and seizure
demurrer was denied by the trial court.17 A motion for reconsideration was filed by accused-appellants, pursuant to an equally valid warrantless arrest which must precede the search. In this instance, the law
but this was likewise denied. Accused-appellants waived presentation of evidence and opted to file a requires that there be first a lawful arrest before a search can be made --- the process cannot be
joint memorandum. reversed.26 As a rule, an arrest is considered legitimate if effected with .a valid warrant of arrest. The
On April 25, 1997, the trial court rendered the assailed decision,18 the decretal portion of which reads: Rules of Court, however, recognizes permissible warrantless arrests. Thus, a peace officer or a private
WHEREFORE, finding the evidence of the prosecution alone without any evidence from both person may, without warrant, arrest a person: (a) when, in his presence, the person to be arrested has
accused who waived presentation of their own evidence through their counsels, more than committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense (arrest in flagrante delicto); (b)
sufficient to prove the guilt of both accused of the offense charged beyond reasonable doubt, when an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on personal
pursuant to Sec. 20, sub. par. 5 of Republic Act 7659, accused NASARIO MOLINA and knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it (arrest effected in
GREGORIO MULA, are sentenced to suffer a SUPREME PENALTY OF DEATH through lethal hot pursuit); and (c) when the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal
injection under Republic Act 8176, to be effected and implemented as therein provided for by establishment or a place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is
law, in relation to Sec. 24 of Rep. Act 7659. pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another ( arrest of escaped
The Branch Clerk of Court of this court, is ordered to immediately elevate the entire records prisoners ).27
of this case with the Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court, Manila, for the automatic review of In the case at bar, the court a quo anchored its judgment of conviction on a finding that the warrantless
their case by the Supreme Court and its appropriate action as the case may be. arrest of accused-appellants, and the subsequent search conducted by the peace officers, are valid
SO ORDERED.19 because accused-appellants were caught in flagrante delicto in possession of prohibited drugs.28 This
Pursuant to Article 47 of the Revised penal Code and Rule 122, Section 10 of the Rules of Court, the case brings us to the issue of whether or not the warrantless arrest, search and seizure in the present case fall
was elevated to this Court on automatic review. Accused-appellants contend: within the recognized exceptions to the warrant requirement.
I. In People v. Chua Ho San,29 the Court held that in cases of in flagrante delicto arrests, a peace officer or a
THAT THE MARIJUANA IS IN ADMISSIBLE IN EVIDENCE FOR HAVING BEEN SEIZED IN private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person when, in his presence, the person to be arrested
VIOLATION OF APPELLANTS' CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AGAINST UNREASONABLE, SEARCHES has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense. The arresting officer,
AND SEIZURES; therefore, must have personal knowledge of such fact or, as recent case law adverts to, personal
II. knowledge of facts or circumstances convincingly indicative or constitutive of probable cause. As
THAT ASSUMING IT IS ADMISSIBLE IN EVIDENCE, THE GOVERNMENT HAS NOT OTHERWISE discussed in People v. Doria,30 probable cause means an actual belief or reasonable grounds of suspicion.
PROVED THEIR GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT; AND The grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in the absence of actual belief of the arresting officers,
III. the suspicion that the person to be arrested is probably guilty of committing the offense, is based on
THAT, FINALLY, ASSUMING THEIR GUILT HAS BEEN PROVED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT, actual facts, i.e., supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable
THE IMPOSABLE PENALTY FOR VIOLATION OF SEC. 8 OF RA No. 7659 (sic), IN THE ABSENCE OF cause of guilt of the person to be arrested. A reasonable suspicion therefore must be founded on
ANY AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCE, IS LIFE IMPRISONMENT, NOT DEATH.20 probable cause, coupled with good faith on the part of the peace officers making the arrest.
The Solicitor General filed a Manifestation and MO1ion (In Lieu of Brief), wherein he prayed for the As applied to in flagrante delicto arrests, it is settled that "reliable information" alone, absent any overt
acquittal of both accused-appellants. act indicative of a felonious enterprise in the presence and within the view of the arresting officers, are
The fundamental law of the land mandates that searches and seizures be carried out in a reasonable not sufficient to constitute probable cause that would justify an in flagrante delicto arrest. Thus,
fashion, that is, by virtue or on the strength of a search warrant predicated upon the existence of a in People v. Aminnudin,31 it was held that "the accused-appellant was not, at the moment of his arrest,
probable cause. The pertinent provision of the Constitution provides: committing a crime nor was it shown that he was about to do so or that he had just done so. What he
SEC. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects was doing was descending the gangplank of the MN Wilcon 9 and there was no outward indication that
against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be called for his arrest. To all appearances, he was like any of the other passengers innocently disembarking
inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause from the vessel. It was only when the informer pointed to him as the carrier of the marijuana that he
to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the suddenly became suspect and so subject to apprehension."
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be Likewise, in People v. Mengote,32 the Court did not consider "eyes... darting from side to side :.. [while]
searched and the persons or things to be seized.21 holding ... [one's] abdomen", in a crowded street at 11:30 in the morning, as overt acts and
circumstances sufficient to arouse suspicion and indicative of probable cause. According to the Court, allegedly conducted the surveillance, was not even aware of accused-appellants' name and address prior
"[b]y no stretch of the imagination could it have been inferred from these acts that an offense had just to the arrest.
been committed, or was actually being committed or was at least being attempted in [the arresting Evidently, SPO1 Paguidopon, who acted as informer of the arresting officers, more so the arresting
officers'] presence." So also, in People v. Encinada,33 the Court ruled that no probable cause is gleanable officers themselves, could not have been certain of accused-appellants' identity, and were, from all
from the act of riding a motorela while holding two plastic baby chairs.1âwphi1.nêt indications, merely fishing for evidence at the time of the arrest.
Then, too, in Malacat v. Court of Appeals,34 the trial court concluded that petitioner was attempting to Compared to People v. Encinada, the arresting officer in the said case knew appellant Encinada even
commit a crime as he was "`standing at the comer of Plaza Miranda and Quezon Boulevard' with his eyes before the arrest because of the latter's illegal gambling activities, thus, lending at least a semblance of
'moving very fast' and 'looking at every person that come (sic) nearer (sic) to them.'"35 In declaring the validity on the arrest effected by the peace officers. Nevertheless, the Court declared in said case that
warrantless arrest therein illegal, the Court said: the warrantless arrest and the consequent search were illegal, holding that "[t]he prosecution's evidence
Here, there could have been no valid in flagrante delicto ... arrest preceding the search in light did not show any suspicious behavior when the appellant disembarked from the ship or while he rode
of the lack of personal knowledge on the part of V u, the arresting officer, or an overt physical the motorela. No act or fact demonstrating a felonious enterprise could be ascribed to appellant under
act, on the part of petitioner, indicating that a crime had just been committed, was being such bare circumstances."40
committed or was going to be committed.36 Moreover, it could not be said that accused-appellants waived their right against unreasonable searches
It went on to state that – and seizure. Implied acquiescence to the search, if there was any, could not have been more than mere
Second, there was nothing in petitioner's behavior or conduct which could have reasonably passive conformity given under intimidating or coercive circumstances and is thus considered no consent
elicited even mere suspicion other than that his eyes were "moving very fast" - an at all within the purview of the constitutional guarantee.41
observation which leaves us incredulous since Yu and his teammates were nowhere near Withal, the Court holds that the arrest of accused-appellants does not fall under the exceptions allowed
petitioner and it was already 6:30 p.m., thus presumably dusk. Petitioner and his companions by the rules. Hence, the search conducted on their person was likewise illegal. Consequently, the
were merely standing at the comer and were not creating any commotion or trouble... marijuana seized by the peace officers could not be admitted as evidence against accused-appellants,
Third, there was at all no ground, probable or otherwise, to believe that petitioner was armed and the Court is thus, left with no choice but to find in favor of accused-appellants.
with a deadly weapon. None was visible to Yu, for as he admitted, the alleged grenade was While the Court strongly supports the campaign of the government against drug addiction and
"discovered" "inside the front waistline" of petitioner, and from all indications as to the commends the efforts of our law-enforcement officers towards this drive, all efforts for the achievement
distance between Yu and petitioner, any telltale bulge, assuming that petitioner was indeed of a drug-free society must not encroach on the fundamental rights and liberties of individuals as
hiding a grenade, could not have been visible to Yu.37 guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, which protection extends even to the basest of criminals.
Clearly, to constitute a valid in flagrante delicto arrest, two requisites must concur: (1) the person to be WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City, Branch 17, in Criminal Case No. 37,
arrested must execute an overt act indicating that he has just committed, is actually committing, or is 264-96, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. For lack of evidence to establish their guilt beyond reasonable
attempting to commit a crime; and (2) such overt act is done in the presence or within the view of the doubt, accused-appellants Nasario Molina y Manamat alias "Bobong" and Gregorio Mula y
arresting officer.38 Malagura alias "Boboy", are ACQUITTED and ordered RELEASED from confinement unless they are
In the case at bar, accused-appellants manifested no outward indication that would justify their arrest. In validly detained for other offenses. No costs.
holding a bag on board a trisikad, accused-appellants could not be said to be committing, attempting to SO ORDERED.
commit or have committed a crime. It matters not that accused-appellant Molina responded "Boss, if
possible we will settle this" to the request of SPO1 Pamplona to open the bag. Such response which PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 174774
allegedly reinforced the "suspicion" of the arresting officers that accused-appellants were committing a Plaintiff-Appellee,
crime, is an equivocal statement which standing alone will not constitute probable cause to effect an Present:
inflagrante delicto arrest. Note that were it not for SPO1 Marino Paguidopon (who did not participate in
the arrest but merely pointed accused-appellants to the arresting officers), accused-appellants could not CORONA, C.J.,
be the subject of any suspicion, reasonable or otherwise. - versus - Chairperson,
While SPO1 Paguidopon claimed that he and his informer conducted a surveillance of accused-appellant LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
Mula, SPO1 Paguidopon, however, admitted that he only learned Mula's name and address after the BERSAMIN,
arrest. What is more, it is doubtful if SPO1 Paguidopon indeed recognized accused-appellant Mula. It is DEL CASTILLO, and
worthy to note that, before the arrest, he was able to see Mula in person only once, pinpointed to him ROLANDO S. DELOS REYES, alias Botong, and VILLARAMA, JR., JJ.
by his informer while they were on the side of the road. These circumstances could not have afforded RAYMUNDO G. REYES, alias Mac-Mac,
SPO1 Paguidopon a closer look at accused-appellant Mula, considering that the latter was then driving a Accused-Appellants. Promulgated:
motorcycle when, SPO1 Paguidopon caught a glimpse of him. With respect to accused-appellant Molina,
SPO1 Paguidopon admitted that he had never seen him before the arrest. August 31, 2011
This belies the claim of SPO1 Pamplona that he knew the name of accused-appellants even before the x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
arrest, to wit –
"Q- When you said that certain Mula handed a black bag to another person and how did
you know that it was Mula who handed the black bag to another person? DECISION
A- Because I have already information from Paguidopon, regarding Mula and Molina,
when they pass by through the street near the residence of Paguidopon. He told that the one
who is big one that is Gregorio Mula and the thin one is Nazario Molina"39 LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
The aforecited testimony of SPO1 Pamplona, therefore, is entirely baseless SPO1 Pamplona could not
have learned the name of accused-appellants from SPO1 Paguipodon because Paguipodon himself, who
On appeal is the Decision[1] dated July 12, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. On March 7, 2000, accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes, Emmanuel de Claro, and Lantion-Tom, insisting

01733, which affirmed with modification the Decision[2] dated September 23, 2003 of Branch 214 of the on their innocence, moved for a reinvestigation of their case before the RTC, which said trial court granted

Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Mandaluyong City in Criminal Case No. MC-00-2375-D. The Court of Appeals in an Order[4] dated March 15, 2000.

found accused-appellants Rolando S. delos Reyes and Raymundo G. Reyes (Reyes) guilty beyond

reasonable doubt of violation of Section 21 of Article IV, in relation to Section 16 of Article III, of Republic After the reinvestigation, the Office of the City Prosecutor issued a Resolution dated April 3, 2000,

Act No. 6425, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, and imposing upon them the penalty recommending that the RTC proceed with the indictment of accused-appellant Reyes and Emmanuel de

of reclusion perpetua. Claro, and dismiss the charges against accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes and Lantion-Tom. The Office

The following antecedent facts are culled from the records: of the City Prosecutor considered the different versions of events presented by the parties during the

preliminary investigation and reinvestigation (except accused-appellant Reyes who did not participate in

On February 17, 2000, accused-appellants Rolando S. delos Reyes and Raymundo G. Reyes, the proceedings), which it summarized as follows:

Emmanuel de Claro, and Mary Jane Lantion-Tom (Lantion-Tom) were all arrested for illegal possession,
In their Joint Affidavit of Arrest, the arresting officers, members of the
sale, delivery, distribution, and/or transportation of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride, a regulated drug Intelligence and Investigation of the Regional Mobile Group (RMG) of the National
Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) claims that on 17 February 2000 a confidential
commonly known as shabu. The Office of the City Prosecutor of Mandaluyong City, in its Resolution dated informant called up relative to a narcotics drug deal to commence at the vicinity of
the parking area of Shangrila Plaza Hotel, Mandaluyong City; that they were
March 3, 2000, found probable cause to indict accused-appellants, together with Emmanuel de Claro, for
dispatched to verify the reports and conduct police operations; that about 2:00 p.m.
violation of Republic Act No. 6425, and resolved to continue the preliminary investigation in so far as after meeting with the confidential agent, they strategically positioned themselves
at the vicinity parking area of said hotel; that about 10:00 p.m., accused/respondent
Lantion-Tom was concerned. The criminal information against accused-appellants and Emmanuel de Reyes a.k.a. Mac-Mac, on board a white Toyota Corolla, and accused/respondent
[Rolando] delos Reyes, a.k.a. Botong, on board a red Toyota Corolla, arrived with
Claro, filed with the RTC, reads: accused/respondent Reyes subsequently proceeding inside Whistletop Bar and
The undersigned 2nd Asst. City Prosecutor accuses ROLANDO DELOS REYES y SANTOS Restaurant, and accused/respondent [Rolando] delos Reyes calling
@ BOTONG, RAYMUNDO REYES y GUINZON @ MAC-MAC and EMMANUEL DE accused/respondent [Emmanuel] de Claro through his cellular phone; that
CLARO y ENRIQUEZ @ COCOY of the crime of VIOLATION OF SEC. 21 ART. IV IN REL. accused/respondent [Rolando] delos Reyes and [Emmanuel] de Claro then
TO SEC. 16 ART. III OF R.A. 6425 AS AMENDED, committed in the manner herein proceeded to the latters parked Mazda car where respondent Lantion-Tom was
narrated as follows: waiting; from the parked car, a box in transparent plastic bag was taken, which
accused/respondent [Emmanuel] de Claro handed-over to accused/respondent
That on or about the 17th day of February, 2000, in [Rolando] delos Reyes; accused/respondent [Rolando] delos Reyes in turn handed
the City of Mandaluyong, Philippines, and within the the box in a plastic bag to accused/respondent Reyes; that the arresting officers
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accosted the accused/respondents who according to the arresting officers admitted
accused, not being lawfully authorized to possess any having in their possession illegal drugs; that the recovered items containing ten (10)
regulated drug, conspiring and confederating together and pcs. of heat sealed transparent plastic bags of white crystalline substance with a
mutually helping and aiding one another, commit to sell, total weight of 980.9 grams turned positive to the test for methylamphetamine
deliver, distribute and/or transport a carton of ten (10) heat- hydrochloride or shabu, a regulated drug.
sealed transparent plastic bags containing white crystalline
substance with the following grams, to wit: 99.2, 94.9, 99.6, In his Sinumpaang Kontra-Salaysay, accused/respondent [Rolando] delos Reyes
93.5, 98.3, 99.5, 99.6, 99.5, 98.4 and 98.4 grams or a total of claims that on 17 February 2000, he went to Buenas Market, Manggahan, Pasig City,
980.9 grams, which substance when submitted for drug together with a neighbor, one Marlon David, to talk to Raymundo Reyes who was
examination, were found positive to the test for to pay his indebtedness; that while looking for a parking space, several men with
Methamphetamine Hydrochloride, commonly known as firearms suddenly appeared, with one shouting, buksan mo ang pintuan ng sasakyan
shabu, a regulated drug, without the corresponding license at kung hindi babasagin ko ito; that he and Marlon David were forced out of their
and prescription.[3] vehicle with one of the armed men bringing out a plastic shopping bag of Shoe Mart,
asking where the said bag allegedly containing shabu came from; that
accused/respondent [Rolando] delos Reyes answered hindi ko alam, that he and
Marlon David were blindfolded when forcibly taken to the groups vehicle and
continuously asked who the source of the shabu was, with respondent/accused During the preliminary investigation proceedings on 21 March 2000, the arresting
[Rolando] delos Reyes replying, hindi ko alam at wala akong kinalaman diyan; that officers manifested that they are going to submit reply-affidavit on 29 March
Marlon David was separated from accused/respondent [Rolando] delos Reyes and 2000. However, no such reply-affidavit was submitted.[5]
later released on 18 February 2000; that when accused/respondent [Rolando] delos
Reyes blindfold was removed, he found himself at Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan,
Taguig, Metro Manila.
The Office of the City Prosecutor pointed out that the arresting police officers failed to refute
xxxx
accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes counter-allegation that he was not arrested at Shangri-La Plaza in
To confirm respondent/accused [Rolando] delos Reyes claim, that he was arrested
Mandaluyong City, but he was illegally arrested without warrant at Buenas Market in Cainta, Rizal, as
in Brgy. Manggahan, Pasig City, and not in the vicinity of Whistletop Bar and
Restaurant in Mandaluyong City, respondent/accused [Emmanuel] de Claros spouse corroborated by Marlon David and Joel Navarro (Navarro) in their respective sworn statements
submitted a certified true xerox copy of barangay blotter of Barangay Manggahan,
Pasig City, reflecting the entry on 19 February 2000 made by Mrs. Delos Reyes, on (Sinumpaang Salaysay) dated March 14, 2000. The Office of the City Prosecutor also observed that
the incident reported to by Marlon David thus:
Lantion-Tom was merely in the company of the other respondents without performing any overt act
BLOTTER
showing her to be part of the illicit transaction and her drug test revealed negative results. On the other
Dumulog po rito sa himpilan ng Punong Barangay si Gng.
Virginia Delos Reyes, upang ipagbigay alam ang pagkawala ng hand, it considered the conflicting claims of Emmanuel de Claro (i.e., that he was illegally arrested and that
kanyang asawa na si Mr. Rolando delos Reyes, nuong petsa
17 ng Pebrero taong dalawang libo (2000) na ayon sa batang the drug deal was a mere fabrication) and the arresting officers (i.e., that Emmanuel de Claro was the
pamangkin na si Marlon David, ay hinuli ng mga hindi kilalang
seller/pusher in the drug deal and the shabu was seized from his vehicle) would be best ventilated during
lalaki sa Buenas Market, Manggahan, Pasig City nais niyang
alamin kung ang nasabing insidente ay coordinated dito sa the trial on the merits.
himpilan o tanggapan ng Barangay.

(Sgd) Virginia delos Reyes


Nagpapahayag In accordance with the foregoing resolution, the prosecution filed with the RTC a motion with leave of

The blotter was apparently made after Marlon David informed Mrs. [Virginia] Delos court to admit amended information.
Reyes of the incident upon his release on 18 February 2000. Another witness, one
Joel Navarro, claims having seen the actual incident confirming the events as
narrated to by accused/respondent [Rolando] delos Reyes and Marlon David.
In its Order[6] dated April 4, 2000, the RTC denied the prosecutions motion. Contrary to the finding of the
Accused/respondent [Emmanuel] de Claro and his common law wife, respondent Office of the City Prosecutor, the RTC adjudged that probable cause exists not only against accused-
Lantion-Tom, submitted their separate Counter-Affidavits jointly denying the
charges and claiming that they were at the Whistlestop Bar and Restaurant to talk appellant Reyes and Emmanuel de Claro, but accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes as well.
to respondent Lantion-Toms accountant Ms. Daisy Milan regarding the Mayors
Permit, Business Location Clearance issued by the Office of the Barangay Captain,
insurance documents, BIR Certificate of Registration of her business; that they were
with accused/respondent [Emmanuel] de Claros brother, Roberto and a friend, Accused-appellants were arraigned on May 23, 2000,[7] while Emmanuel de Claro was arraigned on July
James, with the two remaining outside the restaurant; that respondent Lantion-Tom
went to accompany Ms. Milan, while accused/respondent [Emmanuel] de Claro was 12, 2000.[8] All three pleaded not guilty. After the pre-trial conference, trial ensued.
left inside; that after Ms. Milan left, respondent Lantion-Tom was suddenly
The prosecution presented in evidence the testimonies of Police Officer (PO) 3 Virgilio Santiago,[9] Senior
surrounded by men who introduced themselves as police officers and were
arresting them for being the source of shabu in a drug deal; that all of them, Police Officer (SPO) 1 Eraldo Lectura,[10] PO3 Angel Yumul,[11] and SPO1 Benjamin David,[12] members of
accused/respondent [Emmanuel] de Claro, Roberto and James were likewise
arrested and continuously questioned on their complicity in the drug deal; that they the Regional Mobile Group (RMG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) National Capital Regional Police
were taken to Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig, Metro Manila and subjected to further
investigation; that Roberto and James were released the following day. Both Office (NCRPO) who apprehended and/or investigated the case against accused-appellants, Emmanuel de
respondents maintain that the allegations of the arresting officers as to the
circumstances on the alleged drug deal leading to their arrest are unfounded and Claro, and Lantion-Tom; and P/Insp. Benjamin Cruto, Jr.[13] (Cruto), the forensic chemist of the PNP Crime
purely fabricated.
Laboratory.
PO3 Santiago related that their team leader sensed that the drug deal had already been

PO3 Santiago was one of the police officers who arrested Emmanuel de Claro and Lantion-Tom consummated, so the police team immediately effected the arrest of the suspected drug dealers. PO3

on February 17. 2000. He testified that at around 10:30 a.m., their operation chief, Major Arnold Aguilar, Santiago and PO3 Yumul arrested Cocoy and Lantion-Tom, while SPO1 Lectura and the remaining police

received information from a confidential informant regarding an illegal drug deal that would take place team members arrested Botong and Mac-Mac. The plastic bag containing the box was seized from Mac-

between Botong and Mac-Mac at the parking lot of Shangri-La Plaza in Madaluyong City. Botong and Mac- Mac. The arrested suspects were brought to the police office for investigation. The plastic bag, the box,

Mac were identified during the investigation as accused-appellants Rolando delos Reyes and Reyes, and the 10 heat-sealed sachets of white crystalline substance inside the box, were marked for

respectively. identification and physical examination at the police office.

As narrated by PO3 Santiago, a team to bust the illegal drug deal was organized by Major According to PO3 Santiago, the physical examination of the contents of each of the 10 heat-

Aguilar, composed of PO3 Santiago himself, SPO1 Lectura, and PO3 Yumul, along with PO3 Elmer Corbe, sealed sachets yielded positive test results for methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. PO3 Santiago

PO3 Marcelo Arcancia, Jr., PO3 Randy Fuentes, PO3 Dennis Padpad, and PO3 Edwin dela Cruz. At around then signed a Joint Affidavit of Arrest dated February 18, 2000 together with the other arresting police

1:00 p.m. of the same day, the police team was dispatched, using four vehicles, to the location of the drug officers, namely, SPO1 Lectura, PO3 Corbe, PO3 Arcancia, PO3 Fuentes, and PO3 Nelson Gene Javier.

deal and upon arrival, they waited for the confidential informant to arrive. When the confidential

informant arrived at around 3:30 p.m., he told the police team that the drug deal would possibly take place On cross-examination, PO3 Santiago admitted that he did not actually see what was inside the

between 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., and that the suspects would utilize a red Toyota Corolla with plate plastic bag and that he did not even see Botong hand over such plastic bag to Mac-Mac. From PO3

number TRP-868 and a white Toyota Corolla with plate number ULF-706. The police team then positioned Santiagos position, he could not conclude that the suspects were committing an illegal drug deal as he had

their cars strategically in such a way that they could see the vehicles coming from St. Francis Street and no prior knowledge of the contents of the plastic bag, and that he and the other arresting officers just

EDSA. relied on the information relayed by the confidential informant. Also, the police team did not recover any

money from the arrested suspects. The confidential informant merely informed the police the following

PO3 Santiago further recounted that at around 10:00 p.m., the suspected vehicles arrived, both morning that the money for the illegal drugs was already deposited in the bank. The police, however, failed

stopping along the driveway of Shangri-La Plaza. The drivers of the vehicles alighted and talked to each to make further queries from the confidential informant about the bank.

other. The confidential informant recognized the driver of the white Toyota car as Mac-Mac and the driver

of the red Toyota car as Botong. After a few minutes, Botong made a call on his cellular phone and then SPO1 Lectura related that their office received a telephone call from a confidential informant

proceeded inside Whistle Stop Restaurant, leaving Mac-Mac behind. Inside the restaurant, Botong talked about an illegal drug deal involving Cocoy, Botong, and Mac-Mac in the vicinity of Shangri-La Plaza in

to another person, who was identified during the investigation as Emmanuel de Claro alias Cocoy. PO3 Mandaluyong City on February 17, 2000. SPO1 Lectura was designated as the leader of the team that will

Santiago was about three to five meters away. Thereafter, Botong and Cocoy went out of the restaurant bust said illegal drug deal. After the briefing, SPO1 Lecturas team proceeded to the subject location.

and approached a car parked right outside. The person at the back seat of the car, later on identified as

Lantion-Tom, handed to Cocoy a white plastic bag containing a box. Cocoy gave the bag to Botong, who, The confidential informant arrived and met SPO1 Lecturas team at around 3:30 p.m. SPO1

in turn, handed the same bag to Mac-Mac. In the meantime, Cocoy went back inside the restaurant. Lectura conducted a short briefing then positioned his team strategically within the vicinity. The

confidential informant told the police team that the drug deal would take place between 6:00 p.m. and
11:00 p.m. At around 10:00 p.m., the confidential informant identified the suspected drug in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig. He was with SPO1 Lectura, PO3 Santiago, PO3 Fuentes, PO3

dealers Botong and Mac-Mac, who were arriving in two cars. After conversing for a moment with Mac- Padpad, and several other police officers at the vicinity of Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong City,

Mac, Botong went inside Whistle Stop Restaurant to talk to Cocoy. Botong and Cocoy then went outside conducting surveillance operation regarding the tipped-off illegal drug deal. He was with SPO1 Lectura and

the restaurant and approached another car. Cocoy took a white plastic bag from the car, which he handed PO3 Padpad in the car parked in front of Shangri-La Plaza, while PO3 Fuentes, PO3 Dela Cruz, and their

to Botong. Thereafter, Cocoy went back inside the restaurant, while [Botong] proceeded to his car near confidential informant were in another car also parked along the driveway of Shangri-La Plaza. PO3

[Mac-Mac]. SPO1 Lectura was positioned at the other lane of the road, approximately 10 to 15 meters Santiago, PO3 Arcancia, and PO3 Corbe were in the car stationed in front of Whistle Stop Restaurant. PO3

away from the suspects. At that moment, SPO1 Lectura sensed that the drug deal had been consummated, Yumul could not recall where the other members of the team were located.

so he decided to already arrest the suspects. SPO1 Lectura arrested Mac-Mac, from whom he seized the

white plastic bag. PO3 Yumul and PO3 Padpad arrested Botong; and PO3 Santiago At around 10:00 p.m., the suspects Botong and Mac-Mac arrived in separate cars, stopping in

apprehended Cocoy. The police team brought the arrested suspects to the police office for investigation. front of Shangri-La Plaza. Botong and Mac-Mac alighted from their cars and talked to each other. At that

time, PO3 Yumul was about five meters away from the two suspects. Moments later, Botong called

SPO1 Lectura submitted to SPO1 David the white plastic bag containing a box with 10 heat- someone on his cellular phone, and then went inside Whistle Stop Restaurant, leaving Mac-

sealed plastic sachets inside. In front of SPO1 Lectura, SPO1 David marked the said articles with his Mac behind. PO3 Yumul followed Botong inside the restaurant and saw the latter talking to Cocoy. PO3

initials. After physical and chemical examinations revealed that the contents of the sachets were shabu, Yumul though did not hear the conversation

SPO1 Lectura signed the Joint Affidavit of Arrest dated February 18, 2000. between Botong and Cocoy. Afterwards, Botong and Cocoy went out of the restaurant and approached a

parked car. From his position about three meters away, PO3 Yumul saw the passenger at the back seat of

During cross-examination, SPO1 Lectura initially denied that Marlon David was the car, Lantion-Tom, opening the window and handing over a white plastic bag with carton inside

with Botong when the latter was arrested, but he later admitted that the police also arrested Marlon to Cocoy, who, in turn, gave the plastic bag to Botong. Cocoy then returned inside the restaurant and

David. Marlon David was brought to Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig, together with the other arrested [Botong] went back to [Mac-Mac]. PO3 Yumul followed Cocoy inside the restaurant. A few minutes later,

suspects, for verification, and was released the following day. SPO1 Lectura also admitted that during the PO3 Santiago also went inside the restaurant informing PO3 Yumul that they would be arresting Cocoy,

preliminary investigation, he and PO3 Corbe, PO3 Arcancia, and PO3 Javier, answered that it was PO3 and that Botong and Mac-Mac were already arrested outside the restaurant. PO3 Santiago, assisted by

Santiago who seized the shabu from Mac-Mac; but SPO1 Lectura explained that what the investigating PO3 Yumul, approached Cocoy and arrested him. The police team proceeded to the police office with all

prosecutor actually asked during preliminary investigation was who saw where the shabu came from and the arrested suspects for further investigation. PO3 Yumul, however, failed to join the other arresting

that he signed the minutes of the preliminary investigation without reading the same. SPO1 Lectura officers in signing the Joint Affidavit of Arrest dated February 18, 2000.

maintained that it was he who recovered the shabu from Mac-Mac. Lastly, SPO1 Lectura acknowledged

that his team heavily relied on the information given by the confidential informant in identifying the SPO1 David was an investigator at the Intelligence and Investigation Section of the RMG at

suspects in the illegal drug deal, who were eventually arrested. Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig, assigned to the instant case following the arrests of accused-

appellants, Emmanuel de Claro and Lantion-Tom. He also referred the case for inquest to the Office of the

PO3 Yumul substantially narrated the same version of events as that of PO3 Santiago and SPO1 City Prosecutor.

Lectura. On February 17, 2000, he was assigned at the Intelligence Investigation Division of the RMG based
SPO1 David testified that on February 17, 2000, he received from SPO1 Lectura a plastic bag The defense, on the other hand, presented the testimonies of Marlon David,[22] accused-

containing a box with 10 heat-sealed sachets of suspected shabu inside.SPO1 Lectura told SPO1 David that appellant Rolando delos Reyes,[23] Emmanuel de Claro,[24] Roberto de Claro,[25] and Mary Jane Lantion-

the articles were seized from the suspected drug dealers. SPO1 David marked his initials BSD on the Tom.[26] Accused-appellant Reyes did not testify.

confiscated articles, then prepared a request to the PNP Crime Laboratory for examination of the
Marlon David was 17 years old and a fourth year high school student of Rizal High School in
specimens. SPO1 David disclosed that he prepared the Affidavit of Arrest of the arresting officers.
Pasig City. He recalled that on February 17, 2000, at about 1:00 p.m., he accompanied accused-appellant

Rolando delos Reyes, whom he referred to as Kuya Botong, to the Buenas Market in Cainta, Rizal, to collect
The last witness for the prosecution was P/Insp. Cruto of the PNP Crime Laboratory. P/Insp.
some money.
Cruto was the forensic chemist who conducted the physical, chemical, and confirmatory examinations of

the contents of the 10 heat-sealed plastic sachets submitted by the RMG-NCRPO on February 18, 2000.
While accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes and Marlon David were inside their car at the

parking area of said market, another car suddenly arrived, from which an armed male passenger alighted
P/Insp. Cruto conducted the physical examination by weighing the contents of each sachet,
and approached them. Four other armed men followed and poked their guns at accused-appellant
revealing that two sachets weighed 99.6 grams each; two sachets, 99.5 grams each; one sachet, 99.2
Rolando delos Reyes and Marlon David. The armed men, in civilian attire, were carrying an SM plastic
grams; two sachets, 98.4 grams each; one sachet, 98.3 grams; one sachet, 94.9 grams; and one sachet,
shopping bag and questioned accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes if he knew the owner of said plastic
93.5 grams. P/Insp. Cruto then took a representative sample from each plastic sachet and proceeded with
bag.Accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes denied any knowledge about the plastic bag. Marlon David
his chemical and confirmatory examinations. The contents of the 10 heat-sealed plastic sachets all tested
was also asked and he answered that he knew nothing about the plastic bag.
positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride, otherwise known as shabu. P/Insp. Cruto recorded the

result of the examinations in his Physical Sciences Report No. D-097-2000.[14]


Thereafter, the armed men, who later introduced themselves as police officers, pulled accused-

appellant Rolando delos Reyes from the driver seat of the latters car, transferred him and Marlon David
The prosecution submitted the following object and documentary evidence: the Joint Affidavit
to the back seat of said car, and blindfolded both of them. Two of the armed men sat in the front seats of
of Arrest[15] dated February 18, 2000 signed by SPO1 Lectura, PO3 Santiago, PO3 Corbe, PO3 Arcancia, PO3
the car, while one of them sat at the back, beside accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes and Marlon
Dela Cruz and PO3 Javier; the Sketch prepared in open court by SPO1 Lectura;[16] the 10 heat-sealed plastic
David. The armed men drove the car around (paikot-ikot). The armed men then separated accused-
sachets recovered from the possession of accused-appellants;[17] the PNP-RMG Request for Laboratory
appellant Rolando delos Reyes from Marlon David. They ordered Marlon David to alight from the car and
Examination of the contents of the 10 heat-sealed plastic sachets;[18] the PNP Crime Laboratory Physical
transfer to another vehicle. While in the other car, the armed men boxed and mauled Marlon David to
Sciences Report No. D-097-2000 dated February 18, 2000 which revealed that the contents of the 10 heat-
force him to admit to be the source of the plastic bag. Each question was accompanied with one
sealed plastic sachets positively tested for methamphetamine hydrochloride;[19] and the Letter (Referral
punch. Marlon David remained blindfolded until they arrived at the police camp in Bicutan, Taguig, where
of the case to the Office of the City Prosecutor)[20] dated February 18, 2000. The RTC admitted all the
he again saw accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes. Marlon David was released the following morning,
aforementioned evidence for the prosecution in its Order[21] dated March 1, 2001.
leaving accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes behind at the police camp. Marlon David went home and

told Virginia delos Reyes, the wife of accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes, about the incident.
Marlon David, during his cross examination, denied knowing any person with the name Mac-

Mac. Marlon David additionally relayed that he was told by accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes that The vehicle driven by Emmanuel de Claro was a rented car because his own car was in the auto

the latter was likewise mauled by the armed men. shop. Emmanuel de Claro, Lantion-Tom, Roberto de Claro, and James first went to Las Pias City to check

on Emmanuel de Claros car at the auto shop. From there, they proceeded to Libertad in Pasay City and ate

Accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes or Botong gave a similar account of the incident that dinner at the Duty Free Philippines.Afterwards, the group made their way to Mandaluyong City where

took place at 1:00 p.m. on February 17, 2000, while he and Marlon David were at the Buenas Market in Lantion-Tom had a scheduled appointment with Daisy Milan (Milan), her accountant. Emmanuel de Claro

Cainta, Rizal. Their car was surrounded by four armed men. The armed men poked their guns at him and and Lantion-Tom met Milan at Whistle Stop Restaurant located at Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong

Marlon David, shouting at them to open the car doors. He lowered the car window and the armed men City. Milan and Lantion-Tom discussed matters pertaining to the business permit. Emmanuel de Claro

opened the car door. The armed men forced him and Marlon David to get down from the front seats of stepped outside the restaurant for a moment to smoke a cigarette, then, returned inside to wait for the

the car and to transfer to the back seat, blindfolded them, and asked them who were the owners of the meeting between Lantion-Tom and Milan to finish. After their meeting, Lantion-Tom walked Milan outside

SM plastic bag. After they left Buenas Market, he noticed that they were just driving around. The car the restaurant, while Emmanuel de Claro waited for Lantion-Tom inside.

stopped only when Marlon David was taken out and transferred to another car. It was already late in the

evening when the car finally stopped. He then realized, after his blindfold had been removed, that he was Three male persons suddenly approached Emmanuel de Claro and introduced themselves as

at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig. police officers. They warned Emmanuel de Claro not to make a scene and just go with them

peacefully. Emmanuel de Claro obeyed. He was brought outside the restaurant and was forced to get into

Accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes denied the accusation of the police that he was selling a waiting car. For about three hours inside the car, he was punched, handcuffed, blindfolded, and told to

or delivering shabu to anyone. He asserted that he was not arrested at Whistle Stop restaurant in bow down his head. He was likewise being forced to admit something about the shabu, but he denied

Mandaluyong City, rather, he was illegally arrested at Buenas Market in Cainta, Rizal. Accused-appellant knowing anything about it.He heard from the radio inside the car that the police officers were waiting for

Reyes or Mac-Mac was his friend who owed him money. He and accused-appellant Reyes agreed to meet another car. After three hours of traveling, the car finally stopped and when his blindfold was removed,

at Buenas Market for the settlement of the latters loan, but the meeting did not take place because the he learned that they were already at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig.

armed men arrived. He further claimed that he only met Emmanuel de Claro at Camp Bagong Diwa in

Bicutan, Taguig. He never knew Emmanuel de Claro before that time, and he found out the latters name Emmanuel de Claro was placed in one room where he stayed for almost an hour, until he was

only when they were already detained at the Mandaluyong City Jail. called into another room where he met his co-accused for the first time. He later saw Lantion-Tom at the

office of one of the police officers. They were interrogated by the police and being forced to admit that

Emmanuel de Claro or Cocoy testified that on February 17, 2000 at around 10:00 a.m., he was the drugs being shown to them belonged to them. They asked for a lawyer but their plea was ignored. The

at the Department of Trade and Industry in Buendia, Makati City, with his common-law wife Mary Jane police told Emmanuel de Claro and Lantion-Tom that somebody should be held responsible for

Lantion-Tom to follow up their application for business permit. At around 1:00 p.m., they had lunch at the shabu so they were made to choose whether both of them or only one of them would be

Glorietta. Emmanuel de Claro was no longer feeling well so he and Lantion-Tom passed by the house of charged. Emmanuel de Claro was compelled to choose the latter option.

his brother Roberto de Claro to request the latter to drive for them. James, Roberto de Claros friend, also

went with them.


Roberto de Claro corroborated Emmanuel de Claros testimony. On February 17, 2000, Roberto

de Claro was at home playing video games when his brother Emmanuel de Claro and the latters wife, On cross-examination, Lantion-Tom confirmed that she was among those arrested on February

Lantion-Tom, arrived and requested him to drive their car because Emmanuel was not feeling well. James, 17, 2000 at the vicinity of Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong City for her alleged involvement in an illegal

Roberto de Claros friend, rode with them.They first went to Las Pias City to check on Emmanuel de Claros drug deal. At the time of the arrest, she was with Emmanuel de Claro, Roberto de Claro, and James. She

car at the auto shop, then they proceeded to Libertad, Pasay City, where they had dinner at Duty Free was also brought to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig where she was interrogated without a lawyer. She was

Philippines. They next drove to Whistle Stop Restaurant at Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong City to meet shown a box containing shabu which she had never seen before. Lantion-Tom insisted that she was in

Ms. Milan. Only Emmanuel de Claro and Lantion-Tom went inside the restaurant. Roberto de Claro and Mandaluyong City to meet her accountant, Milan, regarding her application for a business permit. Lantion-

James stayed in the car. Tom pointed out that the charge against her was eventually dismissed.

Two hours later, Roberto de Claro saw Lantion-Tom and Ms. Milan walking towards them. As The documentary evidence for the defense consisted of Emmanuel de Claros Counter Affidavit

the two women were approaching, armed men suddenly appeared, surrounded their car, and pointed dated March 23, 2000,[27] Lantion-Toms Counter Affidavit dated March 23, 2000,[28] Emmanuel de Claro

guns at them. Roberto de Claro got terrified. It was as if an armed robbery (hold-up) was taking place. The and Lantion-Toms Supplemental Affidavit dated March 29, 2000,[29] Roberto de Claros Witness Affidavit

armed men knocked at the car window. Out of fear, Roberto de Claro opened the window, then the door dated March 29, 2000,[30] Marlon Davids Sinumpaang Salaysay dated March 14, 2000,[31] Virginia delos

of the car. Roberto de Claro, James, and Lantion-Tom were made to sit at the back seat of the car. Two of Reyes Sinumpaang Salaysay dated March 14, 2000,[32] Navarros Sinumpaang Salaysay dated March 14,

the armed men sat on the front seats of the car, while one sat at the back with Roberto de Claro, James, 2000,[33] accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes Sinumpaang Kontra Salaysay dated March 14,

and Lantion-Tom. The armed men introduced themselves as police officers. 2000,[34] and a Barangay Blotter dated February 19, 2000 by Virginia delos Reyes.[35] The RTC admitted all

these documentary evidence for the defense in its Order[36] dated September 13, 2002.

Inside the car, the police officers mauled (siniko, sinuntok sa ulo) Roberto de Claro, James, and
In its Decision dated September 23, 2003, the RTC found accused-appellants and Emmanuel de
Lantion-Tom, all the while ordering them to keep their heads bowed down.The police officers drove the
Claro guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged, and decreed:
car for two hours, stopping at a gas station for about five minutes. At this moment, Roberto de Claro was WHEREFORE, the prosecution having successfully proved the guilt of the
accused beyond reasonable doubt for unlawfully possessing/selling, delivering,
able to raise his head but was immediately told to bow down his head again. Roberto de Claro also heard transporting and distributing methamphetamine hydrochloride otherwise known
as shabu, a regulated drug, without lawful authority in violation of Sections 15 and
from the police officers radio that they were still waiting for somebody. They travelled again for quite a 16 of Article III in relation to Section 21 of Article IV of R.A. No. 6425, as amended,
they are hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of LIFE IMPRISONMENT and to pay
long time and stopped in a dark place. The police officers took Roberto de Claros wallet a fine of P20,000.00 each and the costs of suit.
containing P7,000.00 cash. Early in the following morning, they arrived at the police station where Roberto Further, all the methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) taken and
seized from the accused during the aforesaid operation are forfeited and
de Claro saw his brother Emmanuel de Claro once more. They stayed in one room until Roberto de Claro
confiscated in favor of the government shall be turned over to the PDEA pursuant
and James were released by the police the next day. to law for proper disposal without delay.[37]

Emmanuel de Claro filed his notice of appeal[38] on October 23, 2003. Accused-appellants Roberto delos
When Lantion-Tom was called to testify, the prosecution and the defense agreed to consider
Reyes and Reyes each filed his notice of appeal[39] on October 29, 2003 and December 30, 2003,
her Counter Affidavit dated March 23, 2000 and Supplemental Affidavit dated March 29, 2000 as her direct respectively.

examination.
Emmanuel de Claro, however, subsequently moved to withdraw his notice of appeal,[40] instead, filing The prosecution filed its Comment/Opposition[45] on December 19, 2003, objecting to
before the RTC an Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and to Re-Open Proceedings Pursuant [to] Section Emmanuel de Claros motions for reconsideration and maintaining that its police-witnesses categorical,
24, Rule 119 of the Rules of Court[41] on October 30, 2003, and a Supplemental Motion for consistent, and straight-forward testimonies were sufficient to convict Emmanuel de Claro.
Reconsideration[42] on November 3, 2003.Emmanuel de Claro asked the RTC to review its judgment of
conviction based on the following grounds: In a complete turnabout from its previous findings and conclusion, the RTC, in its Order[46] dated
January 12, 2004, acquitted Emmanuel de Claro of the crime charged.The RTC explicitly admitted that it
I. THE HONORABLE COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN RULING THAT THE erred in giving full faith and credit to the testimonies of prosecution witnesses SPO1 Lectura, PO3 Santiago,
ACCUSED DEFENSE OF FRAME-UP IS A MERE ALIBI AND HAS THUS ERRED
and PO3 Yumul, and in entirely rejecting the alibi of the defense. Thus, the RTC disposed:
IN ADOPTING THE THEORY OF THE PROSECUTION THAT ALL THE THREE
(3) ACCUSED WERE PICKED-UP AT THE VICINITY OF EDSA SHANGRI-LA
PLAZA HOTEL. WHEREFORE, the motion of accused-movant Emmanuel De Claro is hereby
GRANTED and a new one entered, ACQUITTING him of the crime
II. THAT THE HONORABLE COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN RULING THAT THE charged. Consequently, his immediate release from detention is hereby ordered
WARRANTLESS ARREST WAS LAWFUL SINCE THE ACCUSED WERE unless he is detained for other cause or causes.[47]
CAUGHT IN FLAGRANTE DELICTO.

III. THE HONORABLE COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THERE WAS Nevertheless, in view of the pending notices of appeal of accused-appellants, the RTC
CONSPIRACY AMONG THE THREE (3) ACCUSED IN THE ALLEGED forwarded the complete records of the case to us on March 29, 2004, and we gave due course to the said
COMMISSION OF THE CRIME OF UNLAWFUL SALE, DELIVERY AND appeals in our Resolution[48] dated June 21, 2004.
TRANSPORTATION OF THE PROHIBITED DRUG.

IV. THE HONORABLE COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING BOTH ACCUSED Accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes filed his Appellants Brief[49] on September 15, 2004,
GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME CHARGED IN THE while accused-appellant Reyes filed his Appellants Brief[50] on November 26, 2004. Pursuant to our
INFORMATION ON THE BASIS MAINLY OF A DISPUTABLE PRESUMPTION pronouncement in People v. Mateo,[51] we transferred the case to the Court of Appeals for appropriate
OF LACK OF IMPROPER MOTIVE ON THE PART OF THE POLICE OFFICERS.
action and disposition.[52] Accordingly, the plaintiff-appellee, represented by the Office of the Solicitor
V. THAT THE HONORABLE COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN ITS FAILURE TO General (OSG), filed before the appellate court its Consolidated Brief[53] on January 21, 2005.
CONSIDER THE FACT THAT ACCUSED EMMANUEL DE CLARO WAS NOT
AFFORDED HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS DURING CUSTODIAL The Court of Appeals, in its Decision dated July 12, 2006, sustained the conviction of accused-
INVESTIGATION.[43]
appellants, and merely modified the penalty imposed upon them, from life imprisonment to reclusion
perpetua. According to the appellate court, the police officers testimonies deserve credence than accused-
Emmanuel de Claro principally contended that the accusation that he was engaging in an illegal appellants defenses of denial and alibi, there being no evidence to rebut the presumption that the police
drug deal, levied against him by prosecution witnesses SPO1 Lectura, PO3 Santiago, and PO3 Yumul was officers regularly performed their official duties.
suspicious, if not incredible. Emmanuel de Claro pointed out that although these police officers testified
that Lantion-Tom, from the car, handed to him the plastic bag containing the box with sachets of shabu, The case was then elevated to us for final review. In our Resolution[54] dated January 31, 2007,
the prosecution still dropped the criminal charges against Lantion-Tom. Emmanuel de Claro also strongly we required the parties to submit their supplemental briefs. Plaintiff-appellee and accused-appellants
argued that the prosecution failed to contradict his well-supported alibi that he, his wife, and his brother Rolando delos Reyes and Reyes filed their manifestations[55] on March 14, 2007, April 10, 2007, and April
went to Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong City to meet his wifes accountant, so they could attend to several 13, 2007, respectively, opting to stand by the briefs they had already filed before the Court of Appeals.
documents pertaining to a business permit. Emmanuel de Claro further insisted that the RTC should have
highly regarded accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes testimony which directly contradicted the police In his Appellants Brief, accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes assigned the following errors of
officers statements. the RTC:

In its Order[44] dated November 11, 2003, the RTC granted Emmanuel de Claros motion to I. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN FAILING TO RESOLVE THE CONTRADICTORY
withdraw his notice of appeal and required the prosecution to comment to his motions for TESTIMONY AS TO THE PLACE OF THE ARREST IN FAVOR OF THE
ACCUSED.
reconsideration.
II. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN FINDING [THE] TESTIMONIES OF PO3
VIRGILIO SANTIAGO CREDIBLE.
III. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN FAILING TO APPRECIATE THE PROSECUTIONS I. THE POSITIVE AND CREDIBLE TESTIMONIES OF THE PROSECUTION
EVIDENCE WHICH WAS PREVIOUSLY CATEGORIZE[D] AS WEAK WHEN WITNESSES HAVE ESTABLISHED THE GUILT OF APPELLANTS BEYOND
THE COURT A QUO GRANTED BAIL TO THE ACCUSED.[56] REASONABLE DOUBT.

II. THE WARRANTLESS ARREST CONDUCTED BY THE POLICE IS VALID SINCE


IT FALLS SQUARELY UNDER RULE 113, SECTION 5(A) OF THE REVISED
Accused-appellant Reyes cited these errors in his Appellants Brief: RULES ON CRIMINAL PROCEDURE.

III. THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED BY THE PROSECUTION MORE THAN SUFFICE TO


I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THE WARRANTLESS ARREST CONVICT APPELLANTS OF THE CRIME CHARGED.
OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT RAYMUNDO REYES AS UNLAWFUL.
IV. CONSPIRACY ATTENDED THE COMMISSION OF THE OFFENSE.
II. ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT THE WARRANTLESS ARREST WAS VALID,
ACCUSED-APPELLANT RAYMUNDO REYES CANNOT BE CONVICTED FOR V. MERE DENIAL AND HULIDAP, WITHOUT MORE, CANNOT EXCULPATE
VIOLATION OF R.A. 6425.[57] APPELLANTS FROM CRIMINAL LIABILITY.

VI. THE PRESUMPTION OF REGULARITY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL


DUTY UNDER SECTION 3(M) OF RULE 131 OF THE REVISED RULES OF
Accused-appellants essentially assert that the charge of illegal drug deal lodged against them
COURT HAD NOT BEEN OVERCOME BY DEFENSE EVIDENCE.
by the police is a complete fabrication and frame-up. Accused-appellants called attention to the material
VII. CONCLUSION OF THE TRIAL JUDGE REGARDING THE CREDIBILITY OF
inconsistencies in the prosecutions evidence. PO3 Santiago testified during direct examination that WITNESSES COMMANDS GREAT RESPECT AND CONSIDERATION.[58]

accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes handed the plastic bag with box inside to accused-appellant Reyes,

but he admitted during cross-examination that he did not see such transfer. The prosecution was unable Plaintiff-appellee avers that the inconsistencies in the police officers statements, as pointed

to present any evidence to prove the source of the plastic bag containing the box with sachets of shabu, out by accused-appellants, are trivial and do not affect the weight of their testimonies; while accused-

and the money paid as consideration for the illegal drugs. The prosecution likewise failed to rebut accused- appellants defenses of denial and frame-up could be easily concocted and, thus, should be looked upon

appellant Rolando delos Reyes straightforward, coherent, and truthful narration, corroborated by Marlon with disfavor. Moreover, there is no need for proof of consideration for the illegal drug deal, since

David, that he was illegally arrested at Buenas Market in Cainta, Rizal, and not at Shangri-la Plaza in consideration is not an element of the crime charged.

Mandaluyong City.

Plaintiff-appellee avows that accused-appellants were caught while in the commission of a

Accused-appellants additionally argued that even the prosecutions version of the arrests of the crime or in flagrante delicto, which justifies their warrantless arrests under Section 5(a), Rule 113 of the

suspects and seizure of the shabu shows that the same were effected in violation of accused-appellants Rules of Court. Accused-appellants were arrested while in possession and in the act of distributing, without

fundamental rights. The arrests were executed without any warrant or any of the exceptional legal authority, a total of 980.9 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, on the night of

circumstances to justify a warrantless arrest. The suspects, including accused-appellants, were arrested February 17, 2000 at the parking area of Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong City. In addition, in the absence

without warrants based on a mere tip from a confidential informant and not because of any apparent of satisfactory proof to the contrary, the warrantless arrests executed by the police officers enjoy the

criminal activity. A tip does not constitute probable cause for a warrantless arrest or search and seizure presumption that official duty has been regularly performed.

incidental thereto. Thus, the shabu allegedly seized from accused-appellants is inadmissible in evidence.

Plaintiff-appellee, on the other hand, stand by the convictions of accused-appellants, maintaining that: We grant the appeal and reverse the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals.
had already made its conclusion that the testimonies of prosecution witnesses PO3
At the outset, we observe that the prosecutors and the RTC both displayed uncertainty as to Santiago, SPO1 Lectura and PO3 Yumul are given full faith and credit and reject the
frame-up and alibi story of the accused-movant [Emmanuel de Claro], nonetheless,
the facts surrounding accused-appellants arrest on the night of February 17, 2000. upon reassessment of the same it appears that the court erred.

In sum, the conveniently dovetailing accounts of the prosecution


The Office of the City Prosecutor of Mandaluyong City, after preliminary investigation and eyewitnesses, all of them police officers, with regard to the material facts of how
the crime was allegedly committed engenders doubt as to their credibility. Firstly,
reinvestigation, recommended that the RTC drop accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes and Lantion-Tom the court noted that these police officers gave identical testimonies of the events
that happened from the moment they arrived at 2 oclock in the afternoon until
from the criminal charge. The RTC only partially adopted the recommendations of the Office of the City the arrest of the accused at 10:30 oclock in the evening at the EDSA Shangri-La
premises. This uniform account given by these witnesses cannot but generate the
Prosecutor: dropping the criminal charge against Lantion-Tom, but still finding probable cause against suspicion that the material circumstances testified to by them were integral parts
of a well thought-out and prefabricated story. Because of the close camaraderie
accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes.[59] of these witnesses who belong to the same police force it is not difficult for them
to make the same story. Furthermore, their testimonies are so general which
Even after trial, the RTC wavered in its findings and conclusion. In its Decision[60] dated shows only too clearly that they testified uniformly only as to material facts but
have not given the particulars and the details having relation with the principal
September 23, 2003, the RTC initially convicted accused-appellants and Emmanuel de Claro, but acting on
facts. While they testified that they were at Shangri-La from 2 in the afternoon to
Emmanuel de Claros motions for reconsideration, said trial court, in its Order[61] dated January 12, 2004, 10 in the evening, they were not able to tell the court how their group positioned
totally reversed itself and acquitted Emmanuel de Claro. This time, the RTC gave more weight to the strategically at the premises without being noticed by their target.They could not
evidence presented by the defense. also gave (sic) an explanation how their confidential informant was able to obtain
information regarding the drug deal that was supposed to take place on that date
involving several personalities. Except for their bare allegation that they have that
The Court of Appeals, on appeal, refused to consider the subsequent acquittal of Emmanuel de
information regarding the drug deal they were not able to present any proof of
Claro by the RTC. Instead, the appellate court upheld the earlier ruling of the RTC giving absolute credence such report, say, entry in their logbook of such confidential report and a spot
to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses and convicted accused-appellants of the crime report. Even their operation is not recorded as no documentary evidence was
charged. Despite the varying judgments of the RTC, the Court of Appeals speciously ratiocinated in its presented. Worth remembering in this regard is People v. Alviar, 59 SCRA 136,
where it is said that: . . . [i]t often happens with fabricated stories that minute
assailed decision that when the issue involves the credibility of a witness, the trial courts assessment is
particulars have not been thought of. It has also been said that an honest witness,
entitled to great weight.[62] who has sufficient memory to state one fact, and that fact a material one, cannot
Guided by the settled rule that where the inculpatory facts admit of several interpretations, be safely relied upon as such weakness of memory not only leaves the case
one consistent with accused's innocence and another with his guilt, the evidence thus adduced fail[ed] to incomplete, but throws doubt upon the accuracy of the statements made. Such a
meet the test of moral certainty,[63] we find that the findings and conclusion of the RTC in its subsequent witness may be honest, but his testimony is not reliable.[65] (Emphasis supplied.)
Order[64] dated January 12, 2004 (in which it acquitted Emmanuel de Claro) is more in keeping with the
evidence on record in this case. It bears to stress that the very same evidence were presented against
Emmanuel de Claro and accused-appellants; if the evidence is insufficient to convict the former, then it is There are also material inconsistencies between the police-witnesses sworn statements
also insufficient to convict the latter. following accused-appellants arrest and their testimonies before the RTC. The police officers attested in

Indeed, the testimonies of prosecution witnesses SPO1 Lectura, PO3 Santiago, and PO3 Yumul their Joint Affidavit of Arrest dated February 18, 2000 that upon sensing suspicious transactions being
are unreliable and suspiciously fabricated. In its Order dated January 12, 2004, the RTC correctly observed undertaken thereat, team leader thru hand signaled immediately accosted the suspects and introduced
that:
themselves as Police Officers and after that, subject persons deliberately admitted that they have in their
Viewed vis--vis the peculiar factual milieu of this case, not to say the
insistence by the accused-movant [Emmanuel de Claro] that a reevaluation or possession illegal drugs and thereafter showed the same to the herein undersigned arresting officers thus
reassessment of the evidence by the prosecution be considered, this court has
they were placed under arrest.[66] Yet, during trial before the RTC, the police officers uniformly testified
decided to revisit the evidence put forward by the prosecution through the crucible
of a severe testing by taking a more than casual consideration of every circumstance that they brought accused-appellants, Emmanuel de Claro and Lantion-Tom to the police office after
of the case.
arresting the four suspects in flagrante delicto, without mention at all of the suspects purported
It is noted that the testimony given by the witnesses for the prosecution
and that of the defense are diametrically opposed to each other. While this court admission.
Complementary to the above provision is the exclusionary rule enshrined in Section 3,
We also consider the fact that Lantion-Tom was never charged with any criminal involvement
even when, according to the prosecutions version of events, she was the first person to deliver paragraph 2 of Article III of the Constitution, which solidifies the protection against unreasonable searches
the shabu. This seriously dents the prosecutions sequence of events on the night of February 17, 2000.
and seizures, thus:

In contrast, accused-appellants presented clear and convincing evidence in support of their Section 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall
be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order
defenses, which the prosecution failed to rebut. Specifically, accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes
requires otherwise as prescribed by law.
testified that he was illegally arrested without warrant at Buenas Market, Cainta, Rizal, not at Shangri-La
(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section
Plaza in Mandaluyong City; and that he and Marlon David were coerced to incriminate themselves for shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding. (Emphases supplied.)

possession of shabu. His claims were corroborated by Marlon Davids testimony and Navarros Sinumpaang

Salaysaydated March 14, 2000. Also, Emmanuel de Claro, Lantion-Tom, and Roberto de Claro consistently The foregoing constitutional proscription is not without exceptions. Search and seizure may be

testified that they were at Shangri-La Plaza to meet Milan, Lantion-Toms accountant, regarding documents made without a warrant and the evidence obtained therefrom may be admissible in the following

for a business permit (photocopies of the said documents were presented during trial); and that they were instances: (1) search incident to a lawful arrest; (2) search of a moving motor vehicle; (3) search in violation

illegally arrested without warrant and forced to admit criminal liability for possession of shabu. These of customs laws; (4) seizure of evidence in plain view; (5) when the accused himself waives his right against

pieces of evidence are overwhelmingly adequate to overthrow the presumption of regularity in the unreasonable searches and seizures; and (6) stop and frisk situations.[67]

performance by the arresting police officers of their official duties and raise reasonable doubt in accused-

appellants favor. The first exception (search incidental to a lawful arrest) includes a valid warrantless search and

seizure pursuant to an equally valid warrantless arrest which must precede the search. In this instance,

Furthermore, even assuming that the prosecutions version of the events that took place on the the law requires that there be first a lawful arrest before a search can be made the process cannot be

night of February 17, 2000 were true, it still failed to establish probable cause to justify the in flagrante reversed. As a rule, an arrest is considered legitimate if effected with a valid warrant of arrest. The Rules

delicto arrests of accused-appellants and search of accused-appellants persons, incidental to their arrests, of Court, however, recognizes permissible warrantless arrests. Thus, a peace officer or a private person

resulting in the seizure of the shabu in accused-appellants possession. may, without 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 (arrest in flagrante delicto); (b) when an

Section 2, Article III of the Constitution provides: offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of

facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it (arrest effected in hot pursuit); and
Section 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,
papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature (c) when the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or a place
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 where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped
after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses
while being transferred from one confinement to another (arrest of escaped prisoners).[68]
he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the
persons or things to be seized.

In People v. Molina,[69] we cited several cases involving in flagrante delicto arrests preceding

the search and seizure that were held illegal, to wit:


In People v. Chua Ho San, the Court held that in cases of in flagrante observation which leaves us incredulous since Yu and his
delicto arrests, a peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a teammates were nowhere near petitioner and it was already
person when, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually 6:30 p.m., thus presumably dusk. Petitioner and his
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense. The arresting officer, therefore, companions were merely standing at the corner and were not
must have personal knowledge of such fact or, as recent case law adverts to, creating any commotion or trouble . . .
personal knowledge of facts or circumstances convincingly indicative or constitutive
of probable cause. As discussed in People v. Doria, probable cause means an actual Third, there was at all no ground, probable or
belief or reasonable grounds of suspicion. The grounds of suspicion are reasonable otherwise, to believe that petitioner was armed with a deadly
when, in the absence of actual belief of the arresting officers, the suspicion that the weapon. None was visible to Yu, for as he admitted, the
person to be arrested is probably guilty of committing the offense, is based on actual alleged grenade was "discovered" "inside the front waistline"
facts, i.e., supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create of petitioner, and from all indications as to the distance
the probable cause of guilt of the person to be arrested. A reasonable suspicion between Yu and petitioner, any telltale bulge, assuming that
therefore must be founded on probable cause, coupled with good faith on the part petitioner was indeed hiding a grenade, could not have been
of the peace officers making the arrest. visible to Yu.

As applied to in flagrante delicto arrests, it is settled that "reliable Clearly, to constitute a valid in flagrante delicto arrest, two requisites
information" alone, absent any overt act indicative of a felonious enterprise in the must concur: (1) the person to be arrested must execute an overt act indicating
presence and within the view of the arresting officers, are not sufficient to that he has just committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit a
constitute probable cause that would justify an in flagrante delicto arrest. Thus, crime; and (2) such overt act is done in the presence or within the view of the
in People v. Aminnudin, it was held that "the accused-appellant was not, at the arresting officer.[70] (Emphases supplied.)
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 Similar to the above-cited cases in Molina, there is a dearth of evidence in this case to justify
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." the in flagrante delicto arrests of accused-appellants and search of their persons incidental to the arrests.

Likewise, in People v. Mengote, the Court did not consider "eyes . . .


darting from side to side . . . [while] holding . . . [one's] abdomen," in a crowded A close examination of the testimonies of SPO1 Lectura, PO3 Santiago, and PO3 Yumul reveal
street at 11:30 in the morning, as overt acts and circumstances sufficient to arouse
suspicion and indicative of probable cause. According to the Court, "[b]y no stretch that they simply relied on the information provided by their confidential informant that an illegal drug deal
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 was to take place on the night of February 17, 2000 at Shangri-la Plaza in Mandaluyong City. Without any
attempted in [the arresting officers'] presence." So also, in People v. Encinada, the
Court ruled that no probable cause is gleanable from the act of riding other independent information, and by simply seeing the suspects pass from one to another a white plastic
a motorela while holding two plastic baby chairs.
bag with a box or carton inside, the police team was already able to conclude that the box
Then, too, in Malacat v. Court of Appeals, the trial court concluded that
petitioner was attempting to commit a crime as he was "'standing at the corner of contained shabuand sensed that an illegal drug deal took place.
Plaza Miranda and Quezon Boulevard' with his eyes 'moving very fast' and 'looking
at every person that come (sic) nearer (sic) to them."' In declaring the warrantless
arrest therein illegal, the Court said:

Here, there could have been no valid in flagrante SPO1 Lectura testified on direct examination as follows:
delicto ... arrest preceding the search in light of the lack of Q: What was the information gathered by your informant?
personal knowledge on the part of Yu, the arresting officer, A: That there will be a drug deal between 6 to 11 in the evening, sir.
or an overt physical act, on the part of petitioner, indicating
that a crime had just been committed, was being committed Q: You were there as early as 2:00 p.m.?
or was going to be committed. A: Yes, sir.

It went on to state that Q: What did you do after briefing?


A: We positioned ourselves strategically, we waited for the arrival of the subject, sir.
Second, there was nothing in petitioner's behavior
or conduct which could have reasonably elicited even mere xxxx
suspicion other than that his eyes were "moving very fast" an
Q: When you are already positioned in your respective area at the vicinity of xxxx
Shangri-La Plaza, what happened next, if any?
A: At around 10:00 p.m. two (2) cars arrived and they were identified by the Q: What did you do?
informant that they were the personalities involved. A: I arrested Mac-Mac, sir.

xxxx xxxx

Q: When this two (2) cars arrive what happened next? Q: Who of your companion apprehended Botong or Rolando delos Reyes?
A: They talked for a while after few minutes Botong entered, sir. A: Botong was arrested by Yumul and Padpad, sir.

xxxx Q: How about De Claro?


A: Arrested by Santiago, sir.
Q: Do you know this Botong prior this incident?
A: No, sir. xxxx

Q: How did you come to know that he is Botong? Q: Then what did you do after apprehending these people?
A: Through our informant, sir. A: We brought them to our office for investigation, sir.[71] (Emphases supplied.)

Q: When Botong went to the Whistle Stop, what happened next?


A: According to my other companion he talked to another person then after that
they went out, sir. PO3 Santiagos testimony also did not offer much justification for the warrantless arrest of

xxxx accused-appellants and search of their persons:


Q: When these two (2) persons went out of the restaurant and went to the place
Q: How long did Botong stay in Whistle Stop Restaurant? where blue Mazda car was parked, what happened next?
A: One (1) minute, sir. A: The person inside the Mazda car, from the backseat, handed a white plastic bag
with a box inside to Emmanuel de Claro [Cocoy], sir. Then, Emmanuel
xxxx de Claro [Cocoy] gave it to Rolando Delos Reyes [Botong], sir.

Q: When you say they who is the companion? Q: You mentioned about somebody handling box to De Claro [Cocoy] from inside
A: Cocoy, sir. that Mazda car?
A: Yes, sir.
xxxx
Q: Who was this somebody handling that box?
Q: What happened next after they went out to the car? A: It was Mary Jane Lantion, sir.
A: They went to another car and Cocoy got something from his car and handed to
Botong, sir. xxxx

xxxx Q: When you see De Claro [Cocoy] handling the box to Botong, what happened after
that?
Q: Did you see that something that was taken inside that car? A: Botong proceeded to the place of Mac-Mac and Emmanuel De Claro [Cocoy]
A: White plastic bag, sir. returned back inside the said restaurant, sir.

Q: What happened after that? Q: Where was Mac-Mac then at that time?
A: Cocoy went inside the Whistle Stop, sir. A: Near their car, sir. He was waiting for Botong.

Q: With the bag? Q: After that what happened next?


A: No, it was left with Botong, sir. A: When Botong returned to Mac-Mac, he gave white plastic bag with box inside
to Mac-Mac, sir.
Q: What happened next after that?
A: Botong proceeded to his car near Mac-Mac, sir. Q: What happened after that?
A: Our team leader, sensing that the drug deal have been consummated, we
Q: What happened next after that? apprehended them, sir.
A: We already sensed that drug deal has transpired, sir. We accosted him.
Q: How did you come to know that there was a drug deal at that particular place Q: And what happened after the confidential informant relayed to you the
and time? information?
A: Because of the information given to us by the informant, sir. A: After we were brief by the confidential informant, we strategically positioned
ourselves in the place where the drug-deal will occur, sir.
Q: Are you aware of the contents of that box at that time?
A: No, sir. xxxx

Q: How did you come to know that there was a consummation of a drug deal? Q: So what did you do after positioning yourselves in that place of EDSA Shangri-La
A: Because of the information given to us by the informant that there will be a Plaza and Whistle Stop restaurant, what happened next after that?
drug-deal, sir. A: At around 10:00, one car arrived, a white Toyota corolla . . .

xxxx Q: 10:00 what? In the morning or in the evening?


A: In the evening, sir, of February 17, 2000, sir.
Q: Then what did you do?
A: We brought them to our office for proper investigation, sir. Q: And you stated that two vehicles arrived?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: At your office, what else did you do?
A: We confiscated the evidence, marked them and a request for laboratory xxxx
examination was made and other pertaining papers regarding the arrest
of the accused. Q: So what happened when this vehicle arrived?
A: The red Toyota corolla follows, sir.
Q: You mentioned about the confiscated evidence. What is that confiscated
evidence that you are saying? xxxx
A: Ten (10) pieces of white plastic transparent plastic bag with white crystalline
substance suspected to be methamphetamine hydrochloride, sir. Q: Then what happened? What did you do, if any?
A: Our confidential informant told us that, that is our subject, sir.
Q: How were these evidences confiscated by your group?
A: They were confiscated from Mac-Mac, sir. xxxx

Q: In what condition were they at that time that they were confiscated from Mac- Q: What happened next, if any, were they alighted from the car?
Mac? A: Yes, sir.
A: They were placed inside the box, sir.[72] (Emphases supplied.)
xxxx

Q: Then, what happened next, if any?


PO3 Yumuls narration of events was not any different from those of SPO1 Lectura and PO3 A: They talked after they alighted from their car, sir.

Santiago: Q: When you say nag-usap sila to whom are you referring?
A: To Mac-Mac and Botong, sir.
Q: When did you meet the confidential informant?
xxxx
A: At the vicinity of EDSA Shangri-La Plaza, sir.
Q: What happened next after you see them talking to each other?
Q: And what was the information that was relayed to you by the confidential
A: When they talk Mac-Mac called through cellphone, sir.
informant?
A: The identities of the persons, sir.
Q: By the way, did you hear the conversation of this two?
A: No, sir.
Q: What did he particularly tells you in that particular time you meet the confidential
informant at the vicinity of EDSA Shangri-La Plaza?
xxxx
A: That there will be a drug-deal and the people involved will arrived together with
their car, sir.
Q: How about the one calling over the cellphone, did you hear also what was the
subject of their conversation?
xxxx
A: No, sir.

Q: So what happened next after seeing them having a conversation with each other?
A: Botong immediately walked and proceeding to the Whistle Stop, sir. A: I observed him inside but after a few minutes PO3 Virgilio Santiago went inside
and told me that we will going to get them, sir.
xxxx
Q: Why are you going to get them?
Q: Then what happened when Botong went to Whistle Stop? A: Because the two were already arrested outside the Whistle Stop, Mac-Mac and
A: He talked to somebody inside, sir. Botong, sir.

xxxx xxxx

Q: And did you hear what was the subject of their conversation? Q: So what did you do when PO3 Santiago told you that?
A: No, sir. A: PO3 Santiago approached Cocoy and I am just assisting him, PO3 Santiago to
avoid commotion, sir.
Q: Then what happened next when Botong talked to somebody inside the Whistle
Stop? Q: Then what did you do next after that?
A: The companion stood up and they went outside and both of them went to the A: We were able to get Cocoy and we went outside, sir.
side of Whistle Stop in front of the blue car, sir.
Q: And then what did you do, if any?
xxxx A: After arresting them we boarded to the car and we went to the office,
sir.[73] (Emphases supplied.)
Q: What did you do then?
A: Somebody opened the window in back of the blue car, sir.

Q: And then what happened next, if any? Evident from the foregoing excerpts that the police officers arrested accused-appellants and
A: A white plastic bag was handed to him with carton inside, sir.
searched the latters persons without a warrant after seeing Rolando delos Reyes and Emmanuel de Claro
xxxx
momentarily conversing in the restaurant, and witnessing the white plastic bag with a box or carton inside
Q: And who received that item or article from the car? being passed from Lantion-Tom to Emmanuel de Claro, to accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes, and
A: Cocoy, sir.
finally, to accused-appellant Reyes. These circumstances, however, hardly constitute overt acts indicative
xxxx
of a felonious enterprise. SPO1 Lectura, PO3 Santiago, and PO3 Yumul had no prior knowledge of the
Q: Were you able to know the person inside that car and who handed to Cocoy the
white plastic bag? suspects identities, and they completely relied on their confidential informant to actually identify the
A: Yes, sir.
suspects. None of the police officers actually saw what was inside that box. There is also no evidence that
Q: Who was that person?
A: Mary Jane Lantion, sir. the confidential informant himself knew that the box contained shabu. No effort at all was taken to

confirm that the arrested suspects actually knew that the box or carton inside the white plastic bag, seized
xxxx
from their possession,contained shabu. The police officers were unable to establish a cogent fact or
Q: And when this white plastic bag with carton placed inside handed to Cocoy, what
did you do? circumstance that would have reasonably invited their attention, as officers of the law, to suspect that
A: It was first handed by Cocoy to Botong, the plastic bag and then they walked in
different direction, Cocoy went back inside the Whistle Stop and then accused-appellants, Emmanuel de Claro, and Lantion-Tom has just committed, is actually committing, or
Botong went back to Mac-Mac, sir.
is attempting to commit a crime, particularly, an illegal drug deal.
xxxx

Q: And then what happened next after that?


Finally, from their own account of the events, the police officers had compromised the integrity
A: I followed Cocoy inside the Whistle Stop, sir.
of the shabu purportedly seized from accused-appellants.
xxxx

Q: So what did you do then?


All told, the absence of ill-motive on the part of the arresting team
In People v. Sy Chua,[74] we questioned whether the shabu seized from the accused was the cannot simply validate, much more cure, the illegality of the arrest and consequent
warrantless search of accused-appellant. Neither can the presumption of regularity
same one presented at the trial because of the failure of the police to mark the drugs at the place where 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. In
it was taken, to wit:
People v. Nubla, we clearly stated that:
Furthermore, we entertain doubts whether the items allegedly seized
from accused-appellant were the very same items presented at the trial of this
The presumption of regularity in the performance
case. The record shows that the initial field test where the items seized were
of official duty cannot be used as basis for affirming accused-
identified as shabu, was only conducted at the PNP headquarters of Angeles
appellant's conviction because, first, the presumption is
City. The items were therefore not marked at the place where they were
precisely just that a mere presumption. Once challenged by
taken. In People v. Casimiro, we struck down with disbelief the reliability of the
evidence, as in this case, . . . [it] cannot be regarded as binding
identity of the confiscated items since they were not marked at the place where
truth. Second, the presumption of regularity in the
they were seized, thus:
performance of official functions cannot preponderate over
the presumption of innocence that prevails if not overthrown
The narcotics field test, which initially identified
by proof beyond reasonable doubt.
the seized item as marijuana, was likewise not conducted at
the scene of the crime, but only at the narcotics office. There
xxxx
is thus reasonable doubt as to whether the item allegedly
seized from accused-appellant is the same brick
The government's drive against illegal drugs needs the support of every
of marijuana marked by the policemen in their headquarters
citizen. But it should not undermine the fundamental rights of every citizen as
and given by them to the crime laboratory.[75] (Emphases
enshrined in the Constitution. The constitutional guarantee against warrantless
supplied.)
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
In the instant case, SPO1 Lectura, PO3 Santiago, and PO3 Yumul uniformly testified before the 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
RTC that they brought the arrested suspects to the police office for investigation. SPO1 Lectura and PO3 a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its
disregard of the charter of its own existence.[78]
Santiago were vague as to how they ascertained as shabu the contents of the box inside the white plastic

bag, immediately after seizing the same from accused-appellant Reyes and before proceeding to the police
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated July 12, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 01733 is
office; while PO3 Yumul explicitly testified on cross-examination[76] that he saw the shabu for the first time
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accused-appellants Rolando delos Reyes and Raymundo Reyes
at the police office. At any rate, all three police officers recounted that the shabu was marked by SPO1
are ACQUITTED on the ground of reasonable doubt and they are ORDERED forthwith released from
Benjamin David only at the police office.
custody, unless they are being lawfully held for another crime.
SO ORDERED.

Without valid justification for the in flagrante delicto arrests of accused-appellants, the search G.R. No. 201363 March 18, 2013
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,
of accused-appellants persons incidental to said arrests, and the eventual seizure of the shabu from vs.
NAZARENO VILLAREAL y LUALHATI, Accused-Appellant.
accused-appellants possession, are also considered unlawful and, thus, the seized shabu is excluded in
DECISION
evidence as fruit of a poisonous tree. Without the corpus delicti for the crime charged, then the acquittal PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:
This is an appeal from the May 25, 2011 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 31320
of accused-appellants is inevitable. which affirmed in toto the December 11, 2007 Decision2
of the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City, Branch 123 (RTC), convicting appellant Nazareno Villareal y
Lualhati (appellant) of violation of Section 11, Article II of Republic Act No. 91653 (RA 9165) and
sentencing him to suffer the penalty of imprisonment for twelve (12) years and one (1) day to fourteen
As we aptly held in People v. Sy Chua[77]: (14) years and eight (8) months and to pay a fine of ₱300,000.00.
The Factual Antecedents
On December 25, 2006 at around 11:30 in the morning, as PO3 Renato de Leon (PO3 de Leon) was found the plain view doctrine to be applicable, as the confiscated item was in plain view of PO3 de Leon
driving his motorcycle on his way home along 5th Avenue, he saw appellant from a distance of about 8 at the place and time of the arrest.
to 10 meters, holding and scrutinizing in his hand a plastic sachet of shabu. Thus, PO3 de Leon, a On the other hand, the RTC gave scant consideration to the defenses of denial and frame-up proffered
member of the Station Anti-Illegal Drugs-Special Operation Unit (SAID-SOU) in Caloocan City, alighted by the appellant, being uncorroborated, and in the light of the positive assertions of PO3 de Leon. It
from his motorcycle and approached the appellant whom he recognized as someone he had previously refused to give credence to appellant’s claim that PO3 de Leon robbed him of his money, since he failed
arrested for illegal drug possession.4 to bring the incident to the attention of PO3 de Leon’s superiors or to institute any action against the
Upon seeing PO3 de Leon, appellant tried to escape but was quickly apprehended with the help of a latter.
tricycle driver. Despite appellant’s attempts to resist arrest, PO3 de Leon was able to board appellant Consequently, the RTC sentenced appellant to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of twelve (12) years
onto his motorcycle and confiscate the plastic sachet of shabu in his possession. Thereafter, PO3 de Leon and one (1) day to fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months and to pay a fine of ₱300,000.00.
brought appellant to the 9th Avenue Police Station to fix his handcuffs, and then they proceeded to the The CA Ruling
SAID-SOU office where PO3 de Leon marked the seized plastic sachet with "RZL/NV 12-25-06," In its assailed Decision, the CA sustained appellant’s conviction, finding "a clear case of in flagrante
representing his and appellant’s initials and the date of the arrest.5 delicto warrantless arrest"17 as provided under Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Subsequently, PO3 de Leon turned over the marked evidence as well as the person of appellant to the Procedure. The CA held that appellant "exhibited an overt act or strange conduct that would reasonably
investigator, PO2 Randulfo Hipolito (PO2 Hipolito) who, in turn, executed an acknowledgment arouse suspicion,"18aggravated by the existence of his past criminal citations and his attempt to flee
receipt6 and prepared a letter request7 for the laboratory examination of the seized substance. PO2 when PO3 de Leon approached him.
Hipolito personally delivered the request and the confiscated item to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Citing jurisprudence, the appellate court likewise ruled that the prosecution had adequately shown the
Crime Laboratory, which were received by Police Senior Inspector Albert Arturo (PSI Arturo), the forensic continuous and unbroken chain of custody of the seized item, from the time it was confiscated from
chemist.8 appellant by PO3 de Leon, marked at the police station, turned over to PO2 Hipolito and delivered to the
Upon qualitative examination, the plastic sachet, which contained 0.03 gram of white crystalline crime laboratory, where it was received by PSI Arturo, the forensic chemist, up to the time it was
substance, tested positive for methylamphetamine hydrochloride, a dangerous drug.9 presented in court for proper identification.
Consequently, appellant was charged with violation of Section 11, Article II of RA 9165 for illegal The Issue
possession of dangerous drugs in an Information10 which reads: The sole issue advanced before the Court for resolution is whether the CA erred in affirming in toto the
That on or about the 25th day of December, 2006 in Caloocan City, Metro Manila and within the RTC’s Decision convicting appellant of the offense charged.
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, without being authorized by law, did The Ruling of the Court
then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession, custody and control, The appeal is meritorious.
METHYLAMPHETAMINE HYDROCHLORIDE (Shabu) weighing 0.03 gram which, when subjected to Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure lays down the basic rules on lawful
chemistry examination gave positive result of METHYLAMPHETAMIME HYDROCHLORIDE, a dangerous warrantless arrests, either by a peace officer or a private person, as follows:
drug. Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. – A peace officer or a private person may, without a
CONTRARY TO LAW. warrant, arrest a person:
When arraigned, appellant, assisted by counsel de oficio, entered a plea of not guilty to the offense (a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or
charged.11 is attempting to commit an offense;
In his defense, appellant denied PO3 de Leon’s allegations and instead claimed that on the date and time (b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on
of the incident, he was walking alone along Avenida, Rizal headed towards 5th personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed
Avenue when someone who was riding a motorcycle called him from behind. Appellant approached the it; and
person, who turned out to be PO3 de Leon, who then told him not to run, frisked him, and took his (c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment
wallet which contained ₱1,000.00.12 or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is
Appellant was brought to the 9th Avenue police station where he was detained and mauled by eight pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.
other detainees under the orders of PO3 de Leon. Subsequently, he was brought to the Sangandaan xxx
Headquarters where two other police officers, whose names he recalled were "Michelle" and "Hipolito," For the warrantless arrest under paragraph (a) of Section 5 to operate, two elements must concur: (1)
took him to the headquarters’ firing range. There, "Michelle" and "Hipolito" forced him to answer the person to be arrested must execute an overt act indicating that he has just committed, is actually
questions about a stolen cellphone, firing a gun right beside his ear each time he failed to answer and committing, or is attempting to commit a crime; and (2) such overt act is done in the presence or within
eventually mauling him when he continued to deny knowledge about the cellphone.13 Thus, appellant the view of the arresting officer.19 On the other hand, paragraph (b) of Section 5 requires for its
sustained head injuries for which he was brought to the Diosdado Macapagal Hospital for proper application that at the time of the arrest, an offense had in fact just been committed and the arresting
treatment.14 officer had personal knowledge of facts indicating that the appellant had committed it.20
The following day, he underwent inquest proceedings before one Fiscal Guiyab, who informed him that In both instances, the officer’s personal knowledge of the fact of the commission of an offense is
he was being charged with resisting arrest and "Section 11."15 The first charge was eventually dismissed. absolutely required. Under paragraph (a), the officer himself witnesses the crime while under paragraph
The RTC Ruling (b), he knows for a fact that a crime has just been committed.
After trial on the merits, the RTC convicted appellant as charged upon a finding that all the elements of In sustaining appellant’s conviction in this case, the appellate court ratiocinated that this was a clear case
the crime of illegal possession of dangerous drugs have been established, to wit: (1) the appellant is in of an "in flagrante delicto warrantless arrest" under paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 5, Rule 113 of the
possession of an item or object which is identified to be a prohibited drug; (2) that such possession is not Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, as above-quoted.
authorized by law; and (3) that the accused freely and consciously possesses said drug. Finding no ill The Court disagrees.
motive on the part of PO3 de Leon to testify falsely against appellant, coupled with the fact that the A punctilious assessment of the factual backdrop of this case shows that there could have been no lawful
former had previously arrested the latter for illegal possession of drugs under Republic Act No. warrantless arrest. A portion of PO3 de Leon’s testimony on direct examination in court is revelatory:
642516 (RA 6425), the RTC gave full faith and credit to PO3 de Leon’s testimony. Moreover, the RTC FISCAL LARIEGO: While you were there at 5th
Avenue, was there anything unusual that transpired?
PO3 DE LEON: Yes Ma’am. It was therefore error on the part of the CA to rule on the validity of appellant’s arrest based on
Q: What was this incident? "personal knowledge of facts regarding appellant’s person and past criminal record," as this is
A: While I was on board my motorcycle on my home, I saw a man looking at the shabu in his hand, unquestionably not what "personal knowledge" under the law contemplates, which must be strictly
Ma’am. construed.24
Q: And exactly what time was this? Furthermore, appellant’s act of darting away when PO3 de Leon approached him should not be
A: Around 11:30 in the morning, Ma’am. construed against him. Flight per se is not synonymous with guilt and must not always be attributed to
Q: How far were you from this person that you said was verifying something in his hand? one’s consciousness of guilt.25It is not a reliable indicator of guilt without other circumstances,26 for even
A: Eight to ten meters, Ma’am. in high crime areas there are many innocent reasons for flight, including fear of retribution for speaking
Q: What exactly did you see he was verifying? A: The shabu that he was holding, Ma’am. to officers, unwillingness to appear as witnesses, and fear of being wrongfully apprehended as a guilty
Q: After seeing what the man was doing, what did you do next? party.27 Thus, appellant’s attempt to run away from PO3 de Leon is susceptible of various explanations; it
A: I alighted from my motorcycle and approached him, Ma’am. could easily have meant guilt just as it could likewise signify innocence.
Q: In the first place why do you say that what he was examining and holding in his hand was a shabu? In fine, appellant’s acts of walking along the street and holding something in his hands, even if they
A: Because of the numerous arrests that I have done, they were all shabu, Ma’am.21 (Underscoring appeared to be dubious, coupled with his previous criminal charge for the same offense, are not by
supplied) themselves sufficient to incite suspicion of criminal activity or to create probable cause enough to justify
On the basis of the foregoing testimony, the Court finds it inconceivable how PO3 de Leon, even with his a warrantless arrest under Section 5 above-quoted. "Probable cause" has been understood to mean a
presumably perfect vision, would be able to identify with reasonable accuracy, from a distance of about reasonable ground of suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant
8 to 10 meters and while simultaneously driving a motorcycle, a negligible and minuscule amount of a cautious man's belief that the person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is
powdery substance (0.03 gram) inside the plastic sachet allegedly held by appellant. That he had charged.28 Specifically with respect to arrests, it is such facts and circumstances which would lead a
previously effected numerous arrests, all involving shabu, is insufficient to create a conclusion that what reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed by the person
he purportedly saw in appellant’s hands was indeed shabu. sought to be arrested,29 which clearly do not obtain in appellant’s case.
Absent any other circumstance upon which to anchor a lawful arrest, no other overt act could be Thus, while it is true that the legality of an arrest depends upon the reasonable discretion of the officer
properly attributed to appellant as to rouse suspicion in the mind of PO3 de Leon that he (appellant) had or functionary to whom the law at the moment leaves the decision to characterize the nature of the act
just committed, was committing, or was about to commit a crime, for the acts per se of walking along or deed of the person for the urgent purpose of suspending his liberty,30 it cannot be arbitrarily or
the street and examining something in one’s hands cannot in any way be considered criminal acts. In capriciously exercised without unduly compromising a citizen’s constitutionally-guaranteed right to
fact, even if appellant had been exhibiting unusual or strange acts, or at the very least appeared liberty. As the Court succinctly explained in the case of People v. Tudtud:31
suspicious, the same would not have been sufficient in order for PO3 de Leon to effect a lawful The right of a person to be secure against any unreasonable seizure of his body and any deprivation of
warrantless arrest under paragraph (a) of Section 5, Rule 113. his liberty is a most basic and fundamental one. The statute or rule which allows exceptions to the
Neither has it been established that the rigorous conditions set forth in paragraph (b) of Section 5, Rule requirement of warrants of arrest is strictly construed. Any exception must clearly fall within the
113 have been complied with, i.e., that an offense had in fact just been committed and the arresting situations when securing a warrant would be absurd or is manifestly unnecessary as provided by the
officer had personal knowledge of facts indicating that the appellant had committed it. Rule. We cannot liberally construe the rule on arrests without warrant or extend its application beyond
The factual circumstances of the case failed to show that PO3 de Leon had personal knowledge that a the cases specifically provided by law. To do so would infringe upon personal liberty and set back a basic
crime had been indisputably committed by the appellant. It is not enough that PO3 de Leon had right so often violated and so deserving of full protection.
reasonable ground to believe that appellant had just committed a crime; a crime must in fact have been Consequently, there being no lawful warrantless arrest, the shabu purportedly seized from appellant is
committed first, which does not obtain in this case. rendered inadmissible in evidence for being the proverbial fruit of the poisonous tree. As the confiscated
Without the overt act that would pin liability against appellant, it is therefore clear that PO3 de Leon was shabu is the very corpus delicti of the crime charged, appellant must be acquitted and exonerated from
merely impelled to apprehend appellant on account of the latter’s previous charge22 for the same all criminal liability.
offense. The CA stressed this point when it said: WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 31320 is REVERSED and SET
It is common for drugs, being illegal in nature, to be concealed from view.1âwphi1 PO3 Renato de Leon ASIDE. Appellant Nazareno Villareal y Lualhati is ACQUITTED on reasonable doubt of the offense charged
saw appellant holding and scrutinizing a piece of plastic wrapper containing a white powderly substance. and ordered immediately released from detention, unless his continued confinement is warranted by
PO3 Renato de Leon was quite familiar with appellant, having arrested him twice before for the same some other cause or ground.
illegal possession of drug. It was not just a hollow suspicion. The third time around, PO3 de Leon had SO ORDERED.
reasonably assumed that the piece of plastic wrapper appellant was holding and scrutinizing also G.R. No. 144037. September 26, 2003]
contained shabu as he had personal knowledge of facts regarding appellant’s person and past criminal PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. NOEL TUDTUD y PAYPA and DINDO
record. He would have been irresponsible to just ‘wait and see’ and give appellant a chance to scamper BOLONG y NARET, accused-appellants.
away. For his part, appellant being, in fact, in possession of illegal drug, sensing trouble from an equally DECISION
familiar face of authority, ran away. Luckily, however, PO3 de Leon caught up with him through the aid TINGA, J.:
of a tricycle driver. Appellant’s act of running away, indeed, validated PO3 de Leon’s reasonable . It is desirable that criminals should be detected, and to that end that all available evidence should be
suspicion that appellant was actually in possession of illegal drug. x x x23 used. It also is desirable that the government should not itself foster and pay for other crimes, when they
However, a previous arrest or existing criminal record, even for the same offense, will not suffice to are the means by which the evidence is to be obtained. If it pays its officers for having got evidence by
satisfy the exacting requirements provided under Section 5, Rule 113 in order to justify a lawful crime, I do not see why it may not as well pay them for getting it in the same way, and I can attach no
warrantless arrest. "Personal knowledge" of the arresting officer that a crime had in fact just been importance to protestations of disapproval if it knowingly accepts and pays and announces that it will
committed is required. To interpret "personal knowledge" as referring to a person’s reputation or past pay for the fruits. We have to choose, and for my part I think it a less evil that some criminals should
criminal citations would create a dangerous precedent and unnecessarily stretch the authority and escape than that the government should play an ignoble part.
power of police officers to effect warrantless arrests based solely on knowledge of a person’s previous So wrote Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in Olmstead v. U.S.[1] On this occasion, this Court is made
criminal infractions, rendering nugatory the rigorous requisites laid out under Section 5. to choose between letting suspected criminals escape or letting the government play an ignoble part.
Sometime during the months of July and August 1999, the Toril Police Station, Davao City received What is that? the man asked.[46] Tudtud replied that he did not know.[47] Without even unwrapping
a report from a civilian asset named Bobong Solier about a certain Noel Tudtud.[2]Solier related that his the cellophane, the man said it was marijuana and abruptly handcuffed Tudtud.[48]
neighbors have been complaining about Tudtud, who was allegedly responsible for the proliferation of Simultaneously, another man was pointing a firearm at Dindo Bolong at the other side of the street,
marijuana in their area.[3] some eight meters from Tudtud.[49]
Reacting to the report, PO1 Ronald Desierto, PO1 Ramil Floreta and their superior, SPO1 Bolong recounted that he was on his way to a relative in Daliao after attending a cousins wedding
Villalonghan,[4] all members of the Intelligence Section of the Toril Police Station, conducted surveillance in Hagonoy, Davao del Sur when he was accosted.[50] After alighting the bus, Bolong crossed the
in Soliers neighborhood in Sapa, Toril, Davao City.[5] For five days, they gathered information and learned street.[51] Someone then approached him and pointed a gun at him.[52] The man ordered him not to move
that Tudtud was involved in illegal drugs.[6] According to his neighbors, Tudtud was engaged in selling and handcuffed him.[53] Bolong asked why he was being arrested but the man just told him to go with
marijuana.[7] them.[54]
On August 1, 1999, Solier informed the police that Tudtud had headed to Cotabato and would be The suspects were then taken to the police station where, they would later claim, they met each
back later that day with new stocks of marijuana.[8] Solier described Tudtud as big-bodied and short, and other for the first time.[55]
usually wore a hat.[9] At around 4:00 in the afternoon that same day, a team composed of PO1 Desierto, Assailing the credibility of informant Bobong Solier, the defense offered the testimonies of Felicia
PO1 Floreta and SPO1 Villalonghan posted themselves at the corner of Saipon and McArthur Highway to Julaton,[56] Branch 3 Clerk of Court, Claudio Bohevia,[57] Branch 7 Clerk of Court, and Mercedita
await Tudtuds arrival.[10] All wore civilian clothes.[11] Abunda,[58] Branch 9 Utility Clerk, all of the Davao City Municipal Trial Circuit Court. They testified and
About 8:00 later that evening, two men disembarked from a bus and helped each other carry a presented court documents showing that one Bobo or Bobong Ramirez was charged in their respective
carton[12] marked King Flakes.[13] Standing some five feet away from the men, PO1 Desierto and PO1 Floreta branches with various crimes, specifically, light threats, less serious physical injuries and robbery. The
observed that one of the men fit Tudtuds description.[14] The same man also toted a plastic bag.[15] defense asserted that the Bobo or Bobong Ramirez accused in these cases is the same person as the
PO1 Floreta and PO1 Desierto then approached the suspects and identified themselves as police informant Bobong Solier.[59]
officers.[16] PO1 Desierto informed them that the police had received information that stocks of illegal Swayed by the prosecutions evidence beyond reasonable doubt, the RTC rendered judgment
drugs would be arriving that night.[17] The man who resembled Tudtuds description denied that he was convicting both accused as charged and sentencing them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and
carrying any drugs.[18] PO1 Desierto asked him if he could see the contents of the box.[19] Tudtud obliged, to pay a fine of P500,000.00.[60]
saying, it was alright.[20] Tudtud opened the box himself as his companion looked on.[21] On appeal, Noel Tudtud and Dindo Bolong assign, among other errors, the admission in evidence of
The box yielded pieces of dried fish, beneath which were two bundles, one wrapped in a striped the marijuana leaves, which they claim were seized in violation of their right against unreasonable
plastic bag[22] and another in newspapers.[23] PO1 Desierto asked Tudtud to unwrap the packages.[24] They searches and seizures.
contained what seemed to the police officers as marijuana leaves.[25] The right against unreasonable searches and seizures is secured by Section 2, Article III of the
The police thus arrested Tudtud and his companion, informed them of their rights and brought them Constitution, which states:
to the police station.[26] The two did not resist.[27] SEC. 2. The right of the people to be secured in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against
The confiscated items were turned over to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no
for examination.[28] Forensic tests conducted by Police Chief Inspector Noemi Austero, forensic chemist of search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally
the PNP Crime Laboratory, Region XI, on specimens taken from the confiscated items confirmed the police by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may
officers suspicion. The plastic bag contained 3,200 grams of marijuana leaves while the newspapers produce, and particularly describing the places to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.
contained another 890 grams.[29] Police Chief Inspector Austero reduced her findings in her report, Physical The rule is that a search and seizure must be carried out through or with a judicial warrant;
Sciences Report No. D-220-99 dated 2 August 1999.[30] otherwise, such search and seizure becomes unreasonable within the meaning of the above-quoted
Noel Tudtud and his companion, Dindo Bulong, were subsequently charged[31] before the Regional constitutional provision, and any evidence secured thereby, will be inadmissible in evidence for any
Trial Court (RTC) of Davao City with illegal possession of prohibited drugs. [32] Upon arraignment, both purpose in any proceeding.[61] Section 3 (2), Article III of the Constitution explicitly provides:
accused pleaded not guilty.[33] The defense, however, reserved their right to question the validity of their (2) Any evidence obtained in violation of the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in
arrest and the seizure of the evidence against them.[34] any proceeding.
Trial ensued thereafter. The proscription in Section 2, Article III, however, covers only unreasonable searches and
The prosecution presented five witnesses, namely, arresting officers PO1 Desierto and PO1 Floreta, seizures. The following instances are not deemed unreasonable even in the absence of a warrant:
their civilian informant Bobong Solier, forensic chemist Police Chief Inspector Noemi Austero, and SPO3 1. Warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest. (Sec. 12, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court and prevailing
Nicolas Algabre, exhibit custodian of the PNP Crime Laboratory. Said witnesses testified to the foregoing jurisprudence);
narration of facts. 2. Search of evidence in plain view. The elements are: (a) a prior valid intrusion based on the valid
The accused, denying the charges against them, cried frame-up. warrantless arrest in which the police are legally present in the pursuit of their official duties; (b) the
Noel Tudtud recalled that on August 1, 1999 he had gone to Kabacan, North Cotabato to sell pairs evidence was inadvertently discovered by the police who have the right to be where they are; (c) the
of Levis pants, which was his sideline.[35] At about 5:00 in the afternoon, he returned to Davao City by evidence must be immediately apparent; (d) plain view justified mere seizure of evidence without
bus.[36] Upon reaching Toril, Tudtud, along with less than ten passengers, got down the bus.[37] further search;
Suddenly, a man who identified himself as a police officer approached him, pointing a .38 caliber 3. Search of a moving vehicle. Highly regulated by the government, the vehicles inherent mobility
revolver.[38] The man told him not to run.[39] Tudtud raised his arms and asked, Sir, what is this reduces expectation of privacy especially when its transit in public thoroughfares furnishes a highly
about?[40] The man answered that he would like to inspect the plastic bag Tudtud was carrying, and reasonable suspicion amounting to probable cause that the occupant committed a criminal activity;
instructed Tudtud to open the bag, which revealed several pairs of Levis pants.[41] 4. Consented warrantless search;
The man then directed Tudtud to open a carton box some two meters away.[42] According to Tudtud, 5. Customs search;
the box was already there when he disembarked the bus.[43] Tudtud told the man the box was not his, but 6. Stop and Frisk; and
proceeded to open it out of fear after the man again pointed his revolver at him.[44] Tudtud discovered 7. Exigent and emergency circumstances.[62]
pieces of dried fish, underneath which was something wrapped in cellophane.[45] The RTC justified the warrantless search of appellants belongings under the first exception, as a
search incident to a lawful arrest. It cited as authorities this Courts rulings in People v. Claudio,[63] People
v. Tangliben,[64] People v. Montilla,[65] and People v. Valdez.[66] The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), in M/V Wilcon 9 and there was no outward indication that he called for his arrest. To all appearances, he
arguing for the affirmance of the appealed decision, invokes the cases of People v. Maspil, Jr.,[67] People v. was like any of the other passengers innocently disembarking from the vessel. It was only when the
Malmstedt,[68] and People v. Bagista.[69] informer pointed to him as the carrier of the marijuana that he suddenly became suspect and so subject
A search incidental to a lawful arrest is sanctioned by the Rules of Court. Prior to its revision in 2000, to apprehension. It was the furtive finger that triggered his arrest. The identification by the informer was
Section 12,[70] Rule 126 of said Rules read as follows: the probable cause as determined by the officers (and not a judge) that authorized them to pounce upon
SEC. 12. Search incident to lawful arrest. A person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous Aminnudin and immediately arrest him.[78]
weapons or anything which may be used as proof of the commission of an offense, without a search Thus, notwithstanding tips from confidential informants and regardless of the fact that the search
warrant. yielded contraband, the mere act of looking from side to side while holding ones abdomen,[79] or of
Section 5 (a), Rule 113 of the Rules, in turn, allows warrantless arrests: standing on a corner with ones eyes moving very fast, looking at every person who came near,[80] does not
SEC. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, justify a warrantless arrest under said Section 5 (a). Neither does putting something in ones
arrest a person: pocket,[81] handing over ones baggage,[82] riding a motorcycle,[83] nor does holding a bag on board
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is a trisikad[84]sanction State intrusion. The same rule applies to crossing the street per se.[85]
attempting to commit an offense; Personal knowledge was also required in the case of People v. Doria.[86] Recently, in People v. Binad
. Sy Chua,[87] this Court declared invalid the arrest of the accused, who was walking towards a hotel clutching
It is significant to note that the search in question preceded the arrest. Recent jurisprudence holds a sealed Zest-O juice box. For the exception in Section 5 (a), Rule 113 to apply, this Court ruled, two
that the arrest must precede the search; the process cannot be reversed.[71]Nevertheless, a search elements must concur: (1) the person to be arrested must execute an overt act indicating he has just
substantially contemporaneous with an arrest can precede the arrest if the police have probable cause to committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit a crime; and (2) such overt act is done in
make the arrest at the outset of the search.[72] The question, therefore, is whether the police in this case the presence or within the view of the arresting officer. Reliable information alone is insufficient.
had probable cause to arrest appellants. Probable cause has been defined as: In the following cases, the search was held to be incidental to a lawful arrest because of suspicious
an actual belief or reasonable grounds of suspicion. The grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in circumstances: People v. Tangliben[88] (accused was acting suspiciously), People v. Malmstedt[89] (a bulge
the absence of actual belief of the arresting officers, the suspicion that the person to be arrested is on the accuseds waist), and People v. de Guzman[90] (likewise a bulge on the waist of the accused, who was
probably guilty of committing the offense, is based on actual facts, i.e., supported by circumstances wearing tight-fitting clothes).
sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable cause of guilt of the person to be arrested. A There is, however, another set of jurisprudence that deems reliable information sufficient to justify
reasonable suspicion therefore must be founded on probable cause, coupled with good faith of the a search incident to a warrantless arrest under Section 5 (a), Rule 113, thus deviating from Burgos. To this
peace officers making the arrest.[73] class of cases belong People v. Maspil, Jr.,[91] People v. Bagista,[92] People v. Balingan,[93] People v.
The long-standing rule in this jurisdiction, applied with a great degree of consistency, is that reliable Lising,[94] People v. Montilla,[95] People v. Valdez,[96] and People v. Gonzales.[97] In these cases, the arresting
information alone is not sufficient to justify a warrantless arrest under Section 5 (a), Rule 113. The rule authorities were acting on information regarding an offense but there were no overt acts or suspicious
requires, in addition, that the accused perform some overt act that would indicate that he has committed, circumstances that would indicate that the accused has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting
is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense. to commit the same. Significantly, these cases, except the last two, come under some other exception to
In the leading case of People v. Burgos,[74] this Court held that the officer arresting a person who has the rule against warrantless searches. Thus, Maspil, Jr. involved a checkpoint search, Balingan was a
just committed, is committing, or is about to commit an offense must have personal knowledge of that search of a moving vehicle, Bagista was both, and Lising and Montilla were consented searches.
fact. The offense must also be committed in his presence or within his view.[75] In Burgos, the authorities Nevertheless, the great majority of cases conforms to the rule in Burgos, which, in turn, more
obtained information that the accused had forcibly recruited one Cesar Masamlok as member of the New faithfully adheres to the letter of Section 5(a), Rule 113. Note the phrase in his presence therein, connoting
Peoples Army, threatening the latter with a firearm. Upon finding the accused, the arresting team personal knowledge on the part of the arresting officer. The right of the accused to be secure against any
searched his house and discovered a gun as well as purportedly subversive documents. This Court, in unreasonable searches on and seizure of his own body and any deprivation of his liberty being a most basic
declaring then Section 6 (a), Rule 113 of the Rules of Court inapplicable, ruled that: and fundamental one, the statute or rule that allows exception to the requirement of a warrant of arrest
There is no such personal knowledge in this case. Whatever knowledge was possessed by the arresting is strictly construed. Its application cannot be extended beyond the cases specifically provided by law.[98]
officers, it came in its entirety from the information furnished by Cesar Masamlok. The location of the The cases invoked by the RTC and the OSG are, therefore, gravely misplaced. In Claudio,[99] the
firearm was given by the appellants wife. accused, who was seated aboard a bus in front of the arresting officer, put her bag behind the latter, thus
At the time of the appellants arrest, he was not in actual possession of any firearm or subversive arousing the latters suspicion. In Tangliben and Malmstedt, the accused had also acted suspiciously.
document. Neither was he committing any act which could be described as subversive. He was, in fact, As noted earlier, Maspil, Jr., Bagista and Montilla were justified by other exceptions to the rule
plowing his field at the time of the arrest. against warrantless searches. Montilla, moreover, was not without its critics. There, majority of the Court
The right of a person to be secure against any unreasonable seizure of his body and any deprivation of held:
his liberty is a most basic and fundamental one. The statute or rule which allows exceptions to the Appellant insists that the mere fact of seeing a person carrying a traveling bag and a carton box should
requirement of warrants of arrest is strictly construed. Any exception must clearly fall within the not elicit the slightest suspicion of the commission of any crime since that is normal. But precisely, it is in
situations when securing a warrant would be absurd or is manifestly unnecessary as provided by the the ordinary nature of things that drugs being illegally transported are necessarily hidden in containers
Rule. We cannot liberally construe the rule on arrests without warrant or extend its application beyond and concealed from view. Thus, the officers could reasonably assume, and not merely on a hollow
the cases specifically provided by law. To do so would infringe upon personal liberty and set back a basic suspicion since the informant was by their side and had so informed them, that the drugs were in
right so often violated and so deserving of full protection.[76] appellants luggage. It would obviously have been irresponsible, if now downright absurd under the
Consequently, the items seized were held inadmissible, having been obtained in violation of the accuseds circumstances, to require the constable to adopt a wait and see attitude at the risk of eventually losing
constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. the quarry.
In People v. Aminnudin,[77] this Court likewise held the warrantless arrest and subsequent search of Here, there were sufficient facts antecedent to the search and seizure that, at the point prior to the
appellant therein illegal, given the following circumstances: search were already constitutive of probable cause, and which by themselves could properly create in
the accused-appellant was not, at the moment of his arrest, committing a crime nor was it shown that he the minds of the officers a well-grounded and reasonable belief that appellant was in the act of violating
was about to do so or that he had just done so. What he was doing was descending the gangplank of the the law. The search yielded affirmance both of that probable cause and the actuality that appellant was
then actually committing a crime by illegally transporting prohibited drugs. With these attendant facts, it testimonies are to be believed, appellants were merely helping each other carry a carton box. Although
is ineluctable that appellant was caught in flagrante delicto, hence his arrest and the search of his appellant Tudtud did appear afraid and perspiring,[104] pale[105] and trembling,[106] this was only after, not
belongings without the requisite warrant were both justified.[100] before, he was asked to open the said box.
While concurring with the majority, Mr. Justice Vitug reserved his vote on the discussion on the In no sense can the knowledge of the herein arresting officers that appellant Tudtud was in
warrantless search being incidental to a lawful arrest. Mr. Justice Panganiban, joined by Messrs. Justices possession of marijuana be described as personal, having learned the same only from their informant
Melo and Puno, filed a Separate Opinion. Solier. Solier, for his part, testified that he obtained his information only from his neighbors and the friends
Although likewise concurring in the majoritys ruling that appellant consented to the inspection of of appellant Tudtud:
his baggage, Justice Panganiban disagreed with the conclusion that the warrantless search was incidental Q What was your basis in your report to the police that Tudtud is going to Cotabato and get
to a lawful arrest. He argued that jurisprudence required personal knowledge on the part of the officers stocks of marijuana?
making the in flagrante delicto arrest. In Montilla, the appellant did not exhibit any overt act or strange A Because of the protest of my neighbors who were saying who will be the person whou
conduct that would reasonably arouse in their minds suspicion that he was embarking on some felonious [sic] would point to him because he had been giving trouble to the neighborhood
enterprise. because according to them there are [sic] proliferation of marijuana in our
Law and jurisprudence in fact require stricter grounds for valid arrests and searches without warrant place. That was the complained [sic] of our neighbors.
than for the issuance of warrants therefore. In the former, the arresting person must have actually Q Insofar as the accused Tudtud is concerned what was your basis in reporting him
witnessed the crime being committed or attempted by the person sought to be arrested; or he must particularly?
have personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested perpetrated the crime that A His friends were the once who told me about it.
had just occurred. In the latter case, the judge simply determines personally from testimonies of Q For how long have you know [sic] this fact of alleged activity of Tudtud in proliferation of
witnesses that there exists reasonable grounds to believe that a crime was committed by the accused. marijuana?
. A About a month.
To say that reliable tips constitute probable cause for a warrantless arrest or search is in my opinion, a .
dangerous precedent and places in great jeopardy the doctrines laid down in many decisions made by Q Regarding the report that Tudtud went to Cotabato to get stocks of marijuana which led
this Court, in its effort to zealously guard and protect the sacred constitutional right against to his apprehension sometime in the evening of August 1 and according to the report
unreasonable arrests, searches and seizures. Everyone would be practically at the mercy of so-called [which] is based on your report my question is, how did you know that Tudtud will
informants, reminiscent of the makapilis during the Japanese occupation. Any one whom they point out be bringing along with him marijuana stocks on August 1, 1999?
to a police officer as a possible violator of the law could then be subject to search and possible .
arrest. This is placing limitless power upon informants who will no longer be required to affirm under A Because of the information of his neighbor.[107]
oath their accusations, for they can always delay their giving of tips in order to justify warrantless arrests In other words, Soliers information itself is hearsay. He did not even elaborate on how his neighbors
and searches. Even law enforcers can use this as an oppressive tool to conduct searches without or Tudtuds friends acquired their information that Tudtud was responsible for the proliferation of drugs
warrants, for they can always claim that they received raw intelligence information only on the day or in their neighborhood.
afternoon before. This would clearly be a circumvention of the legal requisites for validly effecting an Indeed, it appears that PO1 Floreta himself doubted the reliablility of their informant. He testified
arrest or conducting a search and seizure. Indeed the majoritys ruling would open loopholes that would on cross-examination:
allow unreasonable arrests, searches and seizures.[101] Q You mean to say that Bobot Solier, is not reliable?
Montilla would shortly find mention in Justice Panganibans concurring opinion in People v. A He is trustworthy.
Doria, supra, where this Court ruled: Q Why [did] you not consider his information not reliable if he is reliable?
Accused-Appellant Gaddao was arrested solely on the basis of the alleged identification made by her co- A (witness did not answer).
accused. PO3 Manlangit, however, declared in his direct examination that appellant Doria named his co- ATTY. CAETE:
accused in response to his (PO3 Manlangits) query as to where the marked money was. Appellant Doria Never mind, do not answer anymore. Thats all.[108]
did not point to appellant Gaddao as his associate in the drug business, but as the person with whom he The prosecution, on re-direct examination, did not attempt to extract any explanation from PO1 Floreta
left the marked bills. This identification does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that appellant for his telling silence.
Gaddao conspired with her co-accused in pushing drugs. Appellant Doria may have left the money in her Confronted with such a dubious informant, the police perhaps felt it necessary to conduct their own
house, with or without any conspiracy. Save for accused-appellant Dorias word, the Narcom agents had surveillance. This surveillance, it turns out, did not actually consist of staking out appellant Tudtud to catch
no showing that the person who affected the warantless arrest had, in his own right, knowledge of facts him in the act of plying his illegal trade, but of a mere gather[ing] of information from the assets
implicating the person arrested to the perpetration of a criminal offense, the arrest is legally there.[109] The police officers who conducted such surveillance did not identify who these assets were or
objectionable.[102] [Italics in the original.] the basis of the latters information. Clearly, such information is also hearsay, not of personal knowledge.
Expressing his accord with Mr. Justice Punos ponencia, Justice Panganiban said that Doria rightfully Neither were the arresting officers impelled by any urgency that would allow them to do away with
brings the Court back to well-settled doctrines on warrantless arrests and searches, which have seemingly the requisite warrant, PO1 Desiertos assertions of lack of time[110] notwithstanding.Records show that the
been modified through an obiter in People v. Ruben Montilla.[103] police had ample opportunity to apply for a warrant, having received Soliers information at around 9:00
Montilla, therefore, has been seemingly discredited insofar as it sanctions searches incidental to in the morning; Tudtud, however, was expected to arrive at around 6:00 in the evening of the same
lawful arrest under similar circumstances. At any rate, Montilla was a consented search.As will be day.[111] In People v. Encinada, supra, the Court ruled that there was sufficient time to procure a warrant
demonstrated later, the same could not be said of this case. where the police officers received at 4:00 in the afternoon an intelligence report that the accused, who
That leaves the prosecution with People v. Valdez, which, however, involved an on-the-spot was supposedly carrying marijuana, would arrive the next morning at 7:00 a.m.:
information. The urgency of the circumstances, an element not present in this case, prevented the Even if the information was received by Bolonia about 4:00 p.m. of May 20, 1992 at his house, there was
arresting officer therein from obtaining a warrant. sufficient time to secure a warrant of arrest, as the M/V Sweet Pearl was not expected to dock until 7:00
Appellants in this case were neither performing any overt act or acting in a suspicious manner that a.m. the following day. Administrative Circular No. 13 allows application for search warrants even after
would hint that a crime has been, was being, or was about to be, committed. If the arresting officers office hours:
3. Raffling shall be strictly enforced, except only in case where an application for search warrant may be Q And you can asked [sic] the assistance of any prosecutor to apply for the search warrant
filed directly with any judge whose jurisdiction the place to be searched is located, after office hours, or or the prosecutor do [sic] not assist?
during Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, in which case the applicant is required to certify under A They help.
oath the urgency of the issuance thereof after office hours, or during Saturdays, Sundays and legal Q But you did not come to Davao City, to asked [sic] for a search warrant?
holidays; . . .. A As I said, we do not have sufficient basis.[113]
The same procedural dispatch finds validation and reiteration in Circular No. 19, series of 1987, entitled It may be conceded that the mere subjective conclusions of a police officer concerning the existence
Amended Guidelines and Procedures on Application for search warrants for Illegal Possession of of probable cause is not binding on [the courts] which must independently scrutinize the objective facts
Firearms and Other Serious Crimes Filed in Metro Manila Courts and Other Courts with Multiple Salas: to determine the existence of probable cause and that a court may also find probable cause in spite of an
This Court has received reports of delay while awaiting raffle, in acting on applications for search officers judgment that none exists.[114] However, the fact that the arresting officers felt that they did not
warrants in the campaign against loose firearms and other serious crimes affecting peace and have sufficient basis to obtain a warrant, despite their own information-gathering efforts, raises serious
order. There is a need for prompt action on such applications for search warrant. Accordingly, these questions whether such surveillance actually yielded any pertinent information and even whether they
amended guidelines in the issuance of a search warrant are issued: actually conducted any information-gathering at all, thereby eroding any claim to personal knowledge.
1. All applications for search warrants relating to violation of the Anti-subversion Act, crimes against Finally, there is an effective waiver of rights against unreasonable searches and seizures if the
public order as defined in the Revised Penal Code, as amended, illegal possession of firearms and/or following requisites are present:
ammunition and violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as amended, shall no longer be raffled 1. It must appear that the rights exist;
and shall immediately be taken cognizance of and acted upon by the Executive Judge of the Regional 2. The person involved had knowledge, actual or constructive, of the existence of such right;
Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, and Municipal Trial Court under whose jurisdiction the place to be 3. Said person had an actual intention to relinquish the right.[115]
searched is located. Here, the prosecution failed to establish the second and third requisites. Records disclose that when
2. In the absence of the Executive Judge, the Vice-Executive Judge shall take cognizance of the police officers introduced themselves as such and requested appellant that they see the contents of
and personally act on the same. In the absence of the Executive Judge or Vice-Executive Judge, the the carton box supposedly containing the marijuana, appellant Tudtud said it was alright. He did not resist
application may be taken cognizance of and acted upon by any judge of the Court where application is and opened the box himself.
filed. The fundamental law and jurisprudence require more than the presence of these circumstances to
3. Applications filed after office hours, during Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, shall likewise be taken constitute a valid waiver of the constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures. Courts
cognizance of and acted upon by any judge of the Court having jurisdiction of the place to be searched, indulge every reasonable presumption against waiver of fundamental constitutional rights; acquiescence
but in such cases the applicant shall certify and state the facts under oath, to the satisfaction of the in the loss of fundamental rights is not to be presumed.[116] The fact that a person failed to object to a
judge, that its issuance is urgent. search does not amount to permission thereto.
4. Any judge acting on such application shall immediately and without delay personally conduct the . As the constitutional guaranty is not dependent upon any affirmative act of the citizen, the courts do
examination of the applicant and his witnesses to prevent the possible leakage of information. He shall not place the citizen in the position of either contesting an officers authority by force, or waiving his
observe the procedures, safeguards, and guidelines for the issuance of search warrants provided for in constitutional rights; but instead they hold that a peaceful submission to a search or seizure is not a
this Courts Administrative Circular No. 13, dated October 1, 1985.[112] [Italics in the original.] consent or an invitation thereto, but is merely a demonstration of regard for the supremacy of the
Given that the police had adequate time to obtain the warrant, PO1 Floretas testimony that the real law.[117][Underscoring supplied.]
reason for their omission was their belief that they lacked sufficient basis to obtain the same assumes Thus, even in cases where the accused voluntarily handed her bag[118] or the chairs[119] containing
greater significance. This was PO1 Floretas familiar refrain: marijuana to the arresting officer, this Court held there was no valid consent to the search.
Q When Solier reported to you that fact, that Tudtud will be coming from Cotabato to get On the other hand, because a warrantless search is in derogation of a constitutional right, peace
that (sic) stocks, you did not go to court to get a search warrant on the basis of the officers who conduct it cannot invoke regularity in the performance of official functions and shift to the
report of Bobot Solier? accused the burden of proving that the search was unconsented.[120]
A No. In any case, any presumption in favor of regularity would be severely diminished by the allegation
Q Why? of appellants in this case that the arresting officers pointed a gun at them before asking them to open the
A Because we have no real basis to secure the search warrant. subject box. Appellant Tudtud testified as follows:
Q When you have no real basis to secure a search warrant, you have also no real basis to Q This person who approached you according to you pointed something at you[.] [What]
search Tudtud and Bulong at that time? was that something?
A Yes, sir. A A 38 cal. Revolver.
. Q How did he point it at you?
Q And Bobot Solier told you that Tudtud, that he would already bring marijuana? A Like this (Witness demonstrating as if pointing with his two arms holding something
A Yes, sir. towards somebody).
Q And this was 9:00 a.m.? Q This man[,] what did he tell you when he pointed a gun at you?
A Yes, sir. A He said do not run.
Q The arrival of Tudtud was expected at 6:00 p.m.? Q What did you do?
A Yes, sir. A I raised my hands and said Sir, what is this about?
Q Toril is just 16 kilometers from Davao City? Q Why did you call him Sir?
A Yes, sir. A I was afraid because when somebody is holding a gun, I am afraid.
Q And the Office of the Regional Trial Court is only about 16 kilometers, is that correct? Q Precisely, why did you address him as Sir?
A Yes, sir. A Because he was holding a gun and I believed that somebody who is carrying a gun is a
Q And it can be negotiated by thirty minutes by a jeep ride? policeman.
A Yes, sir. Q When you asked him what is this? What did he say?
A He said I would like to inspect what you are carrying.[] No. 9, in relation to General Order No. 6, dated September 22, 1972, and General
Q What did you say when you were asked to open that carton box? Order No. 7, dated September 23, 1972, in relation further to Presidential Decree
A I told him that is not mine. No. 885, and considering that the firearm subject of this case was not used in the
Q What did this man say? circumstances as embraced in paragraph I thereof, applying the provision of
A He again pointed to me his revolver and again said to open. indeterminate sentence law, accused Ruben Burgos is hereby sentenced to suffer
Q What did you do? an imprisonment of twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal maximum, as
A So I proceeded to open for fear of being shot.[121] minimum penalty, to reclusion perpetua, as maximum penalty, pursuant to sub-
Appellants implied acquiescence, if at all, could not have been more than mere passive conformity paragraph B, of Presidential Decree No. 9, as aforementioned, with accessory
given under coercive or intimidating circumstances and is, thus, considered no consent at all within the penalties, as provided for by law.
purview of the constitutional guarantee.[122] Consequently, appellants lack of objection to the search and As a result of this judgment, the subject firearm involved in this case (Homemade
seizure is not tantamount to a waiver of his constitutional right or a voluntary submission to the revolver, caliber .38, Smith and Wesson, with Serial No. 8.69221) is hereby ordered
warrantless search and seizure.[123] confiscated in favor of the government, to be disposed of in accordance with law.
As the search of appellants box does not come under the recognized exceptions to a valid Likewise, the subversive documents, leaflets and/or propaganda seized are
warrantless search, the marijuana leaves obtained thereby are inadmissible in evidence. And as there is ordered disposed of in accordance with law.
no evidence other than the hearsay testimony of the arresting officers and their informant, the conviction The information charged the defendant-appellant with the crime of illegal possession of firearm in
of appellants cannot be sustained. furtherance of subversion in an information which reads as follows:
The Bill of Rights is the bedrock of constitutional government. If people are stripped naked of their That in the afternoon of May 13, 1982 and thereabout at Tiguman, Digos, Davao
rights as human beings, democracy cannot survive and government becomes meaningless. This explains del Sur, Philippines, within the jurisdiction of this Court, the above- named accused
why the Bill of Rights, contained as it is in Article III of the Constitution, occupies a position of primacy in with intent to possess and without the necessary license, permit or authority
the fundamental law way above the articles on governmental power.[124] issued by the proper government agencies, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully
The right against unreasonable search and seizure in turn is at the top of the hierarchy of and feloniously keep, possess, carry and have in his possession, control and
rights,[125] next only to, if not on the same plane as, the right to life, liberty and property, which is protected custody one (1) homemade revolver, caliber .38, make Smith and Wesson, with
by the due process clause.[126] This is as it should be for, as stressed by a couple of noted freedom Serial No. 8.69221, which firearm was issued to and used by the accused at
advocates,[127] the right to personal security which, along with the right to privacy, is the foundation of the Tiguman, Digos, Davao del Sur, his area of operations by one Alias Commander Pol
right against unreasonable search and seizure includes the right to exist, and the right to enjoyment of life for the New People's Army (NPA), a subversive organization organized for the
while existing. Emphasizing such right, this Court declared in People v. Aruta: purpose of overthrowing the Government of the Republic of the Philippines
Unreasonable searches and seizures are the menace against which the constitutional guarantees afford through lawless and violent means, of which the accused had knowledge, and
full protection. While the power to search and seize may at times be necessary to the public welfare, still which firearm was used by the accused in the performance of his subversive tasks
it may be exercised and the law enforced without transgressing the constitutional rights of the citizens, such as the recruitment of New Members to the NPA and collection of
for the enforcement of no statute is of sufficient importance to justify indifference to the basic principles contributions from the members.
of government. CONTRARY TO LAW.
Those who are supposed to enforce the law are not justified in disregarding the rights of the individual in The evidence for the prosecution is summarized in the decision of the lower court as follows:
the name of order. Order is too high a price to pay for the loss of liberty. As Justice Holmes declared: I xxx xxx xxx
think it is less evil that some criminals escape than that the government should play an ignoble part. It is . . . Through the testimony of Pat. Pepito Bioco, and Sgt. Romeo Taroy, it appears
simply not allowed in free society to violate a law to enforce another, especially if the law violated is the that by virtue of an intelligent information obtained by the Constabulary and INP
Constitution itself.[128] units, stationed at Digos, Davao del Sur, on May 12, 1982, one Cesar Masamlok
Thus, given a choice between letting suspected criminals escape or letting the government play an personally and voluntarily surre0ndered to the authorities at about 9:00 o'clock
ignoble part, the answer, to this Court, is clear and ineluctable. A.M. at Digos, Davao del Sur Constabulary Headquarters, stating that he was
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City is REVERSED. Appellants Noel forcibly recruited by accused Ruben Burgos as member of the NPA, threatening
Tudtud y Paypa and Dindo Bolong y Naret are hereby ACQUITTED for insufficiency of evidence. The him with the use of firearm against his life, if he refused.
Director of the Bureau of Prisons is ordered to cause the immediate release of appellants from Along with his recruitment, accused was asked to contribute one (1) chopa of rice
confinement, unless they are being held for some other lawful cause, and to report to this Court and one peso (P1.00) per month, as his contribution to the NPA TSN, page 5,
compliance herewith within five (5) days from receipt hereof. Hearing-October 14, 1982).
SO ORDERED. Immediately, upon receipt of said information, a joint team of PC-INP units,
G.R. No. L-68955 September 4, 1986 composed of fifteen (15) members, headed by Captain Melchesideck Bargio, (PC),
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, on the following day, May 13, 1982, was dispatched at Tiguman; Davao del Sur, to
vs. arrest accused Ruben Burgos. The team left the headquarter at 1:30 P.M., and
RUBEN BURGOS y TITO, defendant-appellant. arrived at Tiguman, at more or less 2:00 o'clock PM where through the help of
Pedro Burgos, brother of accused, the team was able to locate accused, who was
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: plowing his field. (TSN, pages 6-7, Hearing-October 14, 1982).
This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Davao del Sur, 11 th Judicial Region, Right in the house of accused, the latter was caned by the team and Pat. Bioco
Digos, Davao del Sur convicting defendant- appellant Ruben Burgos y Tito of The crime of Illegal asked accused about his firearm, as reported by Cesar Masamlok. At first accused
Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of Subversion. The dispositive portion of the decision reads: denied possession of said firearm but later, upon question profounded by Sgt.
WHEREFORE, finding the guilt of accused Ruben Burgos sufficiently established Alejandro Buncalan with the wife of the accused, the latter pointed to a place
beyond reasonable doubt, of the offense charges , pursuant to Presidential Decree
below their house where a gun was buried in the ground. (TSN, page 8, Hearing- Other speakers in said meeting were Pedipol, Jamper and Oscar Gomez, who
October 14, 1982). likewise expounded their own opinions about the NPA. It was also announced in
Pat. Bioco then verified the place pointed by accused's wife and dug the grounds, said seminar that a certain Tonio Burgos, will be responsible for the collection of
after which he recovered the firearm, Caliber .38 revolver, marked as Exhibit "A" the contribution from the members. (TSN, pages 78-79, Hearing- January 4, 1983)
for the prosecution. On May 12, 1982, however, Cesar Masamlok surrendered to Captain Bargio of the
After the recovery of the firearm, accused likewise pointed to the team, subversive Provincial Headquarters of the Philippine Constabulary, Digos, Davao del Sur.
documents which he allegedly kept in a stock pile of qqqcogon at a distance of Assistant Provincial Fiscal Panfilo Lovitos was presented t prove that on May 19,
three (3) meters apart from his house. Then Sgt. Taroy accordingly verified 1982, he administered the subscription of th extra-judicial confession of accused
beneath said cogon grass and likewise recovered documents consisting of Ruben Burgos, marked as Exhibit "E " for the prosecution, consisting of five (5)
notebook colored maroon with spiral bound, Exhibit "B" for the prosecution; a pages.
pamphlet consisting of eight (8) leaves, including the front and back covers Appearing voluntarily in said office, for the subscription of his confession, Fiscal
entitled Ang Bayan, Pahayagan ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas, Pinapatnubayan Lovitos, realizing that accused was not represented by counsel, requested the
ng Marxismo, Leninismo Kaisipang Mao qqqZedong dated December 31, 1980, services of Atty. Anyog, whose office is adjacent to the Fiscal's Office, to assist
marked as Exhibit "C", and another pamphlet Asdang Pamantalaang Masa sa accused in the subscription of his extra-judicial statement.
Habagatang Mindanao, March and April 1981 issue, consisting of ten (10) pages, Atty. Anyog assisted accused in the reading of his confession from English to
marked as Exhibit "D" for the prosecution. Visayan language, resulting to the deletion of question No. 19 of the document, by
Accused, when confronted with the firearm Exhibit "A", after its recovery, readily an inserted certification of Atty. Anyog and signature of accused, indicating his
admitted the same as issued to him by Nestor Jimenez, otherwise known as a having understood, the allegations of his extra-judicial statement.
certain Alias Pedipol, allegedly team leader of the sparrow unit of New People's Fiscal Lovitos, before accused signed his statement, explained to him his
Army, responsible in the liquidation of target personalities, opposed to NPA constitutional rights to remain silent, right to counsel and right to answer any
Ideological movement, an example was the killing of the late Mayor Llanos and question propounded or not.
Barangay Captain of Tienda Aplaya Digos, Davao del Sur. (TSN, pages 1-16, With the aid of Atty. Anyog, accused signed his confession in the presence of Atty.
Hearing-October 14,1982). Anyog and Fiscal Lovitos, without the presence of military authorities, who
To prove accused's subversive activities, Cesar Masamlok, a former NPA convert escorted the accused, but were sent outside the cubicle of Fiscal Lovitos while
was presented, who declared that on March 7, 1972, in his former residence at waiting for the accused. (TSN, pages 36-40, nearing November 15, 1982)
Tiguman Digos, Davao del Sur, accused Ruben Burgos, accompanied by his Finally, in order to prove illegal possession by accused of the subject firearm, Sgt.
companions Landrino Burgos, Oscar Gomez and Antonio Burgos, went to his house Epifanio Comabig in-charge of firearms and explosives, NCO Headquarter,
at about 5:00 o'clock P.M. and called him downstair. Thereupon, accused told Philippine Constabulary, Digos, Davao del Sur, was presented and testified, that
Masamlok, their purpose was to ask rice and one (1) peso from him, as his among the lists of firearm holders in Davao del Sur, nothing was listed in the name
contribution to their companions, the NPA of which he is now a member. (TSN, of accused Ruben Burgos, neither was his name included among the lists of
pages 70, 71, 72, Hearing-January 4, 1983). persons who applied for the licensing of the firearm under Presidential Decree No.
Accused and his companions told Masamlok, he has to join their group otherwise, 1745.
he and his family will be killed. He was also warned not to reveal anything with the After the above-testimony the prosecution formally closed its case and offered its
government authorities. Because of the threat to his life and family, Cesar exhibits, which were all admitted in evidence, despite objection interposed by
Masamlok joined the group. Accused then told him, he should attend a seminar counsel for accused, which was accordingly overruled.
scheduled on April 19, 1982. Along with this invitation, accused pulled gut from his On the other hand, the defendant-appellant's version of the case against him is stated in the decision as
waistline a .38 caliber revolver which Masamlok really saw, being only about two follows:
(2) meters away from accused, which make him easily Identified said firearm, as From his farm, the military personnel, whom he said he cannot recognize, brought
that marked as Exhibit "A" for the prosecution. (TSN, pages 72, 73, and 74, him to the PC Barracks at Digos, Davao del Sur, and arrived there at about 3:00
Hearing-January 4, 1983). o'clock, on the same date. At about 8:00 o'clock P.M., in the evening, he was
On April 19, 1982, as previously invited, Masamlok, accompanied by his father, investigated by soldiers, whom he cannot Identify because they were wearing a
Matuguil Masamlok, Isabel Ilan and Ayok Ides went to the house of accused and civilian attire. (TSN, page 14 1, Hearing-June 15, 1983)
attended the seminar, Those present in the seminar were: accused Ruben Burgos, The investigation was conducted in the PC barracks, where he was detained with
Antonio Burgos, Oscar Gomez, Landrino Burgos, alias Pedipol and one alias respect to the subject firearm, which the investigator, wished him to admit but
Jamper. accused denied its ownership. Because of his refusal accused was mauled, hitting
The first speaker was accused Ruben Burgos, who said very distinctly that he is an him on the left and right side of his body which rendered him unconscious.
NPA together with his companions, to assure the unity of the civilian. That he Accused in an atmosphere of tersed solemnity, crying and with emotional
encouraged the group to overthrow the government, emphasizing that those who attachment, described in detail how he was tortured and the ordeals he was
attended the seminar were already members of the NPA, and if they reveal to the subjected.
authorities, they will be killed. He said, after recovery of his consciousness, he was again confronted with subject
Accused, while talking, showed to the audience pamphlets and documents, then firearm, Exhibit "A", for him to admit and when he repeatedly refused to accept as
finally shouted, the NPA will be victorious. Masamlok likewise Identified the his own firearm, he was subjected to further prolong (sic) torture and physical
pamphlets as those marked as Exh. exhibits "B", "C", and "D" for the prosecution. agony. Accused said, his eyes were covered with wet black cloth with pungent
(TSN, pages 75, 76 and 77, Hearing-January 4, 1983) effect on his eyes. He was undressed, with only blindfold, pungent water poured in
his body and over his private parts, making his entire body, particularly his penis her husband, the accused, was not in their house at that time and that she did not
and testicle, terribly irritating with pungent pain. inform him about said firearm neither did she report the matter to the authorities,
All along, he was investigated to obtain his admission, The process of beating, for fear of the life of her husband. (TSN, page 24, November 22, 1983)
mauling, pain and/or ordeal was repeatedly done in similar cycle, from May 13 and On cross-examination, she said, even if Masamlok during the recovery of the
14, 1982. intercepted only whenever he fell unconscious and again repeated after firearm, was wearing a mask, she can still Identify him. (TSN, page 6, Hearing-
recovery of his senses, November 22, 1983)
Finally on May 15, 1982, after undergoing the same torture and physical ordeal he After the above-testimony, accused through counsel formally rested his case in
was seriously warned, if he will still adamantly refuse to accept ownership of the support of accused's through counsel manifestation for the demurrer to evidence
subject firearm, he will be salvaged, and no longer able to bear any further the of the prosecution, or in the alternative for violation merely of simple illegal
pain and agony, accused admitted ownership of subject firearm. possession of firearm, 'under the Revised Administrative Code, as amended by
After his admission, the mauling and torture stopped, but accused was made to Republic Act No. 4, reflected in the manifestation of counsel for accused. (TSN,
sign his affidavit marked as Exhibit "E" for the prosecution, consisting of five (5) pages 113-114, Hearing-May 18, 1983)
pages, including the certification of the administering officer, (TSN, pages 141-148, Accused-appellant Ruben Burgos now raises the following assignments of error, to wit:
Hearing-June 15, 1983) I THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT (SIC) THE ARREST OF ACCUSED-
In addition to how he described the torture inflicted on him, accused, by way of APPELLANT WITHOUT VALID WARRANT TO BE LAWFUL.
explanation and commentary in details, and going one by one, the allegations II THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THE SEARCH IN THE HOUSE OF ACCUSED-
and/or contents of his alleged extrajudicial statement, attributed his answers to APPELLANT FOR FIREARM WITHOUT VALID WARRANT TO BE LAWFUL.
those questions involuntarily made only because of fear, threat and intimidation of III THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND
his person and family, as a result of unbearable excruciating pain he was subjected REASONABLE DOUBT FOR VIOLATION OF P.D. No. 9 IN RELATION TO GENERAL
by an investigator, who, unfortunately he cannot Identify and was able to obtain ORDERS NOS. 6 AND 7
his admission of the subject firearm, by force and violence exerted over his person. Was the arrest of Ruben Burgos lawful? Were the search of his house and the subsequent confiscation of
To support denial of accused of being involved in any subversive activities, and a firearm and documents allegedly found therein conducted in a lawful and valid manner? Does the
also to support his denial to the truth of his alleged extra-judicial confession, evidence sustaining the crime charged meet the test of proving guilt beyond reasonable doubt?
particularly questions Nos. 35, 38, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46 and 47, along with qqqs The records of the case disclose that when the police authorities went to the house of Ruben Burgos for
answers to those questions, involving Honorata Arellano ahas Inday Arellano, said the purpose of arresting him upon information given by Cesar Masamlok that the accused allegedly
Honorata Arellano appeared and declared categorically, that the above-questions recruited him to join the New People's Army (NPA), they did not have any warrant of arrest or search
embraced in the numbers allegedly stated in the extrajudicial confession of warrant with them (TSN, p. 25, October 14, 1982; and TSN, p. 61, November 15, 1982).
accused, involving her to such NPA personalities, as Jamper, Pol, Anthony, etc., Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution provides:
were not true because on the date referred on April 28, 1982, none of the persons The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects
mentioned came to her house for treatment, neither did she meet the accused nor against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any
able to talk with him. (TSN, pages 118- 121, Hearing-May 18, 1983) purpose shall not be violated, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall
She, however, admitted being familiar with one Oscar Gomez, and that she was issue except upon probable cause to be determined by the judge, or such other
personally charged with subversion in the Office of the Provincial Commander, responsible officer as may be authorized by law, after examination under oath or
Philippine Constabulary, Digos, Davao del Sur, but said charge was dismissed affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly
without reaching the Court. She likewise stated that her son, Rogelio Arellano, was describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
likewise charged for subversion filed in the Municipal Trial Court of Digos, Davao The constitutional provision is a safeguard against wanton and unreasonable invasion of the privacy and
del Sur, but was likewise dismissed for lack of sufficient evidence to sustain his liberty of a citizen as to his person, papers and effects. This Court explained in Villanueva vs.
conviction. (TSN, pages 121-122, in relation to her cross-examination, Hearing-May Querubin (48 SCRA 345) why this right is so important:
18, 1983) It is deference to one's personality that lies at the core of this right, but it could be
To support accused's denial of the charge against him, Barangay Captain of also looked upon as a recognition of a constitutionally protected area, primarily
Tiguman, Digos, Davao del Sur, Salvador qqqGalaraga was presented, who one's home, but not necessarily thereto confined. (Cf. Hoffa v. United States, 385
declared, he was not personally aware of any subversive activities of accused, US 293 [19661) What is sought to be guarded is a man's prerogative to choose
being his neighbor and member of his barrio. On the contrary, he can personally who is allowed entry to his residence. In that haven of refuge, his individuality can
attest to his good character and reputation, as a law abiding citizen of his barrio, assert itself not only in the choice of who shall be welcome but likewise in the kind
being a carpenter and farmer thereat. (TSl pages 128-129, Hearing-May 18, 1983) of objects he wants around him. There the state, however powerful, does not as
He however, admitted in cross-examination, that there were a lot of arrests made such have access except under the circumstances above noted, for in the
by the authorities in his barrio involving subversive activities but they were traditional formulation, his house, however humble, is his castle. Thus is outlawed
released and were not formally charged in Court because they publicly took their any unwarranted intrusion by government, which is called upon to refrain from
oath of allegiance with the government. (TSN, pages 133-134, in relation to page any invasion of his dwelling and to respect the privacies of his life, (Cf. Schmerber
136, Hearing-May 18, 1983) v. California, 384 US 757 [1966], Brennan, J. and Boyd v. United States, 116 US 616,
Finally, to support accused's denial of the subject firearm, his wife, Urbana Burgos, 630 [1886]). In the same vein, Landynski in his authoritative work (Search and
was presented and who testified that the subject firearm was left in their house by Seizure and the Supreme Court [1966], could fitly characterize this constitutional
Cesar Masamlok and one Pedipol on May 10, 1982. It was night time, when the right as the embodiment of a 'spiritual concept: the belief that to value the privacy
two left the gun, alleging that it was not in order, and that they will leave it behind, of home and person and to afford its constitutional protection against the long
temporarily for them to claim it later. They were the ones who buried it. She said, reach of government is no legs than to value human dignity, and that his privacy
must not be disturbed except in case of overriding social need, and then only More important, we find no compelling reason for the haste with which the arresting officers sought to
under stringent procedural safeguards.' (Ibid, p. 47). arrest the accused. We fail to see why they failed to first go through the process of obtaining a warrant
The trial court justified the arrest of the accused-appelant without any warrant as falling under one of of arrest, if indeed they had reasonable ground to believe that the accused had truly committed a crime.
the instances when arrests may be validly made without a warrant. Rule 113, Section 6 * of the Rules of There is no showing that there was a real apprehension that the accused was on the verge of flight or
Court, provides the exceptions as follows: escape. Likewise, there is no showing that the whereabouts of the accused were unknown,
a) When the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is about to commit an The basis for the action taken by the arresting officer was the verbal report made by Masamlok who was
offense in his presence; not required to subscribe his allegations under oath. There was no compulsion for him to state truthfully
b) When an offense has in fact been committed, and he has reasonable ground to believe that the his charges under pain of criminal prosecution. (TSN, p. 24, October 14, 1982). Consequently, the need to
person to be arrested has committed it; go through the process of securing a search warrant and a warrant of arrest becomes even more clear.
c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place The arrest of the accused while he was plowing his field is illegal. The arrest being unlawful, the search
where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending or has escaped while and seizure which transpired afterwards could not likewise be deemed legal as being mere incidents to a
being transferred from one confinement to another. valid arrest.
The Court stated that even if there was no warrant for the arrest of Burgos, the fact that "the authorities Neither can it be presumed that there was a waiver, or that consent was given by the accused to be
received an urgent report of accused's involvement in subversive activities from a reliable source (report searched simply because he failed to object. To constitute a waiver, it must appear first that the right
of Cesar Masamlok) the circumstances of his arrest, even without judicial warrant, is lawfully within the exists; secondly, that the person involved had knowledge, actual or constructive, of the existence of such
ambit of Section 6-A of Rule 113 of the Rules of Court and applicable jurisprudence on the matter." a right; and lastly, that said person had an actual intention to relinquish the right (Pasion Vda. de Garcia
If the arrest is valid, the consequent search and seizure of the firearm and the alleged subversive v. Locsin, 65 Phil. 689). The fact that the accused failed to object to the entry into his house does not
documents would become an incident to a lawful arrest as provided by Rule 126, Section 12, which amount to a permission to make a search therein (Magoncia v. Palacio, 80 Phil. 770). As pointed out by
states: Justice Laurel in the case of Pasion Vda. de Garcia V. Locsin (supra)
A person charged with an offense may be searched for dangerous weapons or xxx xxx xxx
anything which may be used as proof of the commission of the offense. . . . As the constitutional guaranty is not dependent upon any affirmative act of the
The conclusions reached by the trial court are erroneous. citizen, the courts do not place the citizen in the position of either contesting an
Under Section 6(a) of Rule 113, the officer arresting a person who has just committed, is committing, or officer's authority by force, or waiving his constitutional rights; but instead they
is about to commit an offense must have personal knowledge of that fact. The offense must also be hold that a peaceful submission to a search or seizure is not a consent or an
committed in his presence or within his view. (Sayo v. Chief of Police, 80 Phil. 859). invitation thereto, but is merely a demonstration of regard for the supremacy of
There is no such personal knowledge in this case. Whatever knowledge was possessed by the arresting the law. (56 C.J., pp. 1180, 1181).
officers, it came in its entirety from the information furnished by Cesar Masamlok. The location of the We apply the rule that: "courts indulge every reasonable presumption against waiver of fundamental
firearm was given by the appellant's wife. constitutional rights and that we do not presume acquiescence in the loss of fundamental rights."
At the time of the appellant's arrest, he was not in actual possession of any firearm or subversive (Johnson v. Zerbst 304 U.S. 458).
document. Neither was he committing any act which could be described as subversive. He was, in fact, That the accused-appellant was not apprised of any of his constitutional rights at the time of his arrest is
plowing his field at the time of the arrest. evident from the records:
The right of a person to be secure against any unreasonable seizure of his body and any deprivation of A CALAMBA:
his liberty is a most basic and fundamental one. The statute or rule which allows exceptions to the Q When you went to the area to arrest Ruben Burgos, you
requirement of warrants of arrest is strictly construed. Any exception must clearly fall within the were not armed with an arrest warrant?
situations when securing a warrant would be absurd or is manifestly unnecessary as provided by the A None Sir.
Rule. We cannot liberally construe the rule on arrests without warrant or extend its application beyond Q Neither were you armed with a search warrant?
the cases specifically provided by law. To do so would infringe upon personal liberty and set back a basic A No Sir.
right so often violated and so deserving of full protection. Q As a matter of fact, Burgos was not present in his house
The Solicitor General is of the persuasion that the arrest may still be considered lawful under Section when you went there?
6(b) using the test of reasonableness. He submits that. the information given by Cesar Masamlok was A But he was twenty meters away from his house.
sufficient to induce a reasonable ground that a crime has been committed and that the accused is Q Ruben Burgos was then plowing his field?
probably guilty thereof. A Yes Sir.
In arrests without a warrant under Section 6(b), however, it is not enough that there is reasonable Q When you called for Ruben Burgos you interviewed him?
ground to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a crime. A crime must in fact A Yes Sir.
or actually have been committed first. That a crime has actually been committed is an essential Q And that you told him that Masamlok implicated him?
precondition. It is not enough to suspect that a crime may have been committed. The fact of the A No Sir.
commission of the offense must be undisputed. The test of reasonable ground applies only to the Q What did you tell him?
identity of the perpetrator. A That we received information that you have a firearm, you
In this case, the accused was arrested on the sole basis of Masamlok's verbal report. Masamlok led the surrender that firearm, first he denied but when Sgt.
authorities to suspect that the accused had committed a crime. They were still fishing for evidence of a Buncalan interviewed his wife, his wife told him that it is
crime not yet ascertained. The subsequent recovery of the subject firearm on the basis of information buried, I dug the firearm which was wrapped with a
from the lips of a frightened wife cannot make the arrest lawful, If an arrest without warrant is unlawful cellophane.
at the moment it is made, generally nothing that happened or is discovered afterwards can make it Q In your interview of Burgos you did not remind him of his
lawful. The fruit of a poisoned tree is necessarily also tainted. rights under the constitution considering that he was
purposely under arrest?
A I did not. . . . The case against appellant is built on Ternura's testimony, and the issue hinges
Q As a matter of fact, he denied that he has ever a gun? on how much credence can be accorded to him. The first consideration is that said
A Yes Sir. testimony stands uncorroborated. Ternura was the only witness who testified on
Q As a matter of fact, the gun was not in his possession? the mimeographing incident. . . .
A It was buried down in his horse. xxx xxx xxx
Q As a matter of fact, Burgos did not point to where it was . . .He was a confessed Huk under detention at the time. He knew his fate
buried? depended upon how much he cooperated with the authorities, who were then
A Yes Sir. engaged in a vigorous anti-dissident campaign. As in the case of Rodrigo de Jesus,
(TSN, pp. 25-26, Hearing-October 14, 1982) whose testimony We discounted for the same reason, that of Ternura cannot be
Considering that the questioned firearm and the alleged subversive documents were obtained in considered as proceeding from a totally unbiased source. . . .
violation of the accused's constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, it follows that In the instant case, Masamlok's testimony was totally uncorroborated. Considering that Masamlok
they are inadmissible as evidence. surrendered to the military certainly his fate depended on how eagerly he cooperated with the
There is another aspect of this case. authorities. Otherwise, he would also be charged with subversion. The trade-off appears to be his
In proving ownership of the questioned firearm and alleged subversive documents, the prosecution membership in the Civil Home Defense Force. (TSN, p. 83, January 4, 1983). Masamlok may be
presented the two arresting officers who testified that the accused readily admitted ownership of the considered as an interested witness. It can not be said that his testimony is free from the opportunity
gun after qqqs wife pointed to the place where it was buried. The officers stated that it was the accused and temptation to be exaggerated and even fabricated for it was intended to secure his freedom.
himself who voluntarily pointed to the place where the alleged subversive documents were hidden. Despite the fact that there were other persons present during the alleged NPA seminar of April 19, 1982
Assuming this to be true, it should be recalled that the accused was never informed of his constitutional i.e., Masamlok's father ,Matuguil Masamlok, Isabel Ilan and Ayok Ides (TSN, p. 74, January 4, 1983) who
rights at the time of his arrest. So that when the accused allegedly admitted ownership of the gun and could have corroborated Cesar Masamlok's testimony that the accused used the gun in furtherance of
pointed to the location of the subversive documents after questioning, the admissions were obtained in subversive activities or actually engaged in subversive acts, the prosecution never presented any other
violation of the constitutional right against self-incrimination under Sec. 20 of Art. IV of the Bill of Rights witness.
winch provides: This Court is, therefore, constrained to rule that the evidence presented by the prosecution is insufficient
No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. Any person under to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.
investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to remain silent As held in the case of People vs. Baia (34 SCRA 347):
and to counsel, and to be informed of such right.. . . It is evident that once again, reliance can be placed on People v. Dramayo (42 SCRA
The Constitution itself mandates that any evidence obtained in violation of this right is inadmissible in 59), where after stressing that accusation is not, according to the fundamental law,
evidence. Consequently, the testimonies of the arresting officers as to the admissions made by the synonymous with guilt, it was made clear: 'Only if the judge below and the
appellant cannot be used against him. appellate tribunal could arrive at a conclusion that the crime had been committed
The trial court validly rejected the extra-judicial confession of the accused as inadmissible in evidence. precisely by the person on trial under such an exacting test should the sentence be
The court stated that the appellant's having been exhaustively subjected to physical terror, violence, and one of conviction. It is thus required that every circumstance favoring his
third degree measures may not have been supported by reliable evidence but the failure to present the innocence be duly taken into account. The proof against him must survive the test
investigator who conducted the investigation gives rise to the "provocative presumption" that indeed of reason; the strongest suspicion must not be permitted to sway judgment. The
torture and physical violence may have been committed as stated. conscience must be satisfied that on the defendant could be laid the responsibility
The accused-appellant was not accorded his constitutional right to be assisted by counsel during the for the offense charged; that not only did he perpetrate the act but that it
custodial interrogation. The lower court correctly pointed out that the securing of counsel, Atty. Anyog, amounted to a crime. What is required then is moral certainty.' (Ibid, 64. Cf.
to help the accused when he subscribed under oath to his statement at the Fiscal's Office was too late. It People v. Alvarez, 55 SCRA 81; People v. Joven, 64 SCRA 126; People vs. Ramirez,
could have no palliative effect. It cannot cure the absence of counsel at the time of the custodial 69 SCRA 144; People vs. Godov 72 SCRA 69; People v. Lopez, 74 SCRA 205; People
investigation when the extrajudicial statement was being taken. v. Poblador, 76 SCRA 634; People v. Quiazon, 78 SCRA 513; People v. Nazareno, 80
With the extra-judicial confession, the firearm, and the alleged subversive documents inadmissible in SCRA 484; People vs. Gabilan 115 SCRA 1; People v. Gabiana, 117 SCRA 260; and
evidence against the accused-appellant, the only remaining proof to sustain the charge of Illegal People vs. Ibanga 124 SCRA 697).
Possession of Firearm in Furtherance of Subversion is the testimony of Cesar Masamlok. We are aware of the serious problems faced by the military in Davao del Sur where there appears to be a
We find the testimony of Masamlok inadequate to convict Burgos beyond reasonable doubt. It is true well-organized plan to overthrow the Government through armed struggle and replace it with an alien
that the trial court found Masamlok's testimony credible and convincing. However, we are not system based on a foreign ideology. The open defiance against duly constituted authorities has resulted
necessarily bound by the credibility which the trial court attaches to a particular witness. As stated in unfortunate levels of violence and human suffering publicized all over the country and abroad. Even as
in People vs.. Cabrera (100 SCRA 424): we reiterate the need for all freedom loving citizens to assist the military authorities in their legitimate
xxx xxx xxx efforts to maintain peace and national security, we must also remember the dictum in Morales vs.
. . .Time and again we have stated that when it comes to question of credibility the Enrile (1 21 SCRA 538, 569) when this Court stated:
findings of the trial court are entitled to great respect upon appeal for the obvious While the government should continue to repel the communists, the subversives,
reason th+at it was able to observe the demeanor, actuations and deportment of the rebels, and the lawless with an the means at its command, it should always be
the witnesses during the trial. But we have also said that this rule is not absolute remembered that whatever action is taken must always be within the framework
for otherwise there would be no reversals of convictions upon appeal. We must of our Constitution and our laws.
reject the findings of the trial court where the record discloses circumstances of Violations of human rights do not help in overcoming a rebellion. A cavalier attitude towards
weight and substance which were not properly appreciated by the trial court. constitutional liberties and protections will only fan the increase of subversive activities instead of
The situation under which Cesar Masamlok testified is analogous to that found in People vs. containing and suppressing them.
Capadocia (17 SCRA 98 1):
WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction rendered by the trial court is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The been also effected without a warrant. The defense also contends that the testimony regarding the
accused-appellant is hereby ACQUITTED, on grounds of reasonable doubt, of the crime with which he alleged robbery in Danganan's house was irrelevant and should also have been disregarded by the trial
has been charged. court.
The subject firearm involved in this case (homemade revolver, caliber .38, Smith and Wesson, with Serial The following are the pertinent provision of the Bill of Rights:
No. 8.69221) and the alleged subversive documents are ordered disposed of in accordance with law. Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
Cost de oficio. effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any
SO ORDERED. purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue
G.R. No. 87059 June 22, 1992 except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he
vs. may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons
ROGELIO MENGOTE y TEJAS, accused-appellant. or things to be seized.
Sec. 3 (1). The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable
CRUZ, J.: except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires
Accused-appellant Rogelio Mengote was convicted of illegal possession of firearms on the strength otherwise as prescribed by law.
mainly of the stolen pistol found on his person at the moment of his warrantless arrest. In this appeal, he (2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be
pleads that the weapon was not admissible as evidence against him because it had been illegally seized inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.
and was therefore the fruit of the poisonous tree. The Government disagrees. It insists that the revolver There is no question that evidence obtained as a result of an illegal search or seizure is inadmissible in
was validly received in evidence by the trial judge because its seizure was incidental to an arrest that was any proceeding for any purpose. That is the absolute prohibition of Article III, Section 3(2), of the
doubtless lawful even if admittedly without warrant. Constitution. This is the celebrated exclusionary rule based on the justification given by Judge Learned
The incident occurred shortly before noon of August 8, 1987, after the Western Police District received a Hand that "only in case the prosecution, which itself controls the seizing officials, knows that it cannot
telephone call from an informer that there were three suspicious-looking persons at the corner of Juan profit by their wrong will the wrong be repressed." The Solicitor General, while conceding the rule,
Luna and North Bay Boulevard in Tondo, Manila. A surveillance team of plainclothesmen was forthwith maintains that it is not applicable in the case at bar. His reason is that the arrest and search of Mengote
dispatched to the place. As later narrated at the trial by Patrolmen Rolando Mercado and Alberto and the seizure of the revolver from him were lawful under Rule 113, Section 5, of the Rules of Court
Juan, 1 they there saw two men "looking from side to side," one of whom was holding his abdomen. They reading as follows:
approached these persons and identified themselves as policemen, whereupon the two tried to run Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant when lawful. — A peace officer or private person
away but were unable to escape because the other lawmen had surrounded them. The suspects were may, without a warrant, arrest a person;
then searched. One of them, who turned out to be the accused-appellant, was found with a .38 caliber (a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually
Smith and Wesson revolver with six live bullets in the chamber. His companion, later identified as committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
Nicanor Morellos, had a fan knife secreted in his front right pants pocket. The weapons were taken from (b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal
them. Mengote and Morellos were then turned over to police headquarters for investigation by the knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it; and
Intelligence Division. (c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal
On August 11, 1987, the following information was filed against the accused-appellant before the establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined
Regional Trial Court of Manila: while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one
The undersigned accuses ROGELIO MENGOTE y TEJAS of a violation of Presidential confinement to another.
Decree No. 1866, committed as follows: In cases failing under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the person arrested without a
That on or about August 8, 1987, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said warrant shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or jail, and he
accused did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in his shall be proceeded against in accordance with Rule 112, Section 7.
possession and under his custody and control a firearm, to wit: We have carefully examined the wording of this Rule and cannot see how we can agree with the
one (1) cal. 38 "S & W" bearing prosecution.
Serial No. 8720-T Par. (c) of Section 5 is obviously inapplicable as Mengote was not an escapee from a penal institution
without first having secured the necessary license or permit therefor from the when he was arrested. We therefore confine ourselves to determining the lawfulness of his arrest under
proper authorities. either Par. (a) or Par. (b) of this section.
Besides the police officers, one other witness presented by the prosecution was Rigoberto Danganan, Par. (a) requires that the person be arrested (1) after he has committed or while he is actually
who identified the subject weapon as among the articles stolen from him during the robbery in his house committing or is at least attempting to commit an offense, (2) in the presence of the arresting officer.
in Malabon on June 13, 1987. He pointed to Mengote as one of the robbers. He had duly reported the These requirements have not been established in the case at bar. At the time of the arrest in question,
robbery to the police, indicating the articles stolen from him, including the revolver. 2 For his part, the accused-appellant was merely "looking from side to side" and "holding his abdomen," according to
Mengote made no effort to prove that he owned the firearm or that he was licensed to possess it and the arresting officers themselves. There was apparently no offense that had just been committed or was
claimed instead that the weapon had been "Planted" on him at the time of his arrest. 3 being actually committed or at least being attempted by Mengote in their presence.
The gun, together with the live bullets and its holster, were offered as Exhibits A, B, and C and admitted The Solicitor General submits that the actual existence of an offense was not necessary as long as
over the objection of the defense. As previously stated, the weapon was the principal evidence that led Mengote's acts "created a reasonable suspicion on the part of the arresting officers and induced in them
to Mengote's conviction for violation of P.D. 1866. He was sentenced to reclusion the belief that an offense had been committed and that the accused-appellant had committed it." The
perpetua. 4 question is, What offense? What offense could possibly have been suggested by a person "looking from
It is submitted in the Appellant's Brief that the revolver should not have been admitted in evidence side to side" and "holding his abdomen" and in a place not exactly forsaken?
because of its illegal seizure. no warrant therefor having been previously obtained. Neither could it have These are certainly not sinister acts. And the setting of the arrest made them less so, if at all. It might
been seized as an incident of a lawful arrest because the arrest of Mengote was itself unlawful, having 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 This doctrine was affirmed in Alih v. Castro, 10 thus:
morning and in a crowded street shortly after alighting from a passenger jeep with I his companion. He If the arrest was made under Rule 113, Section 5, of the Rules of Court in
was not skulking in the shadows but walking in the clear light of day. There was nothing clandestine connection with a crime about to be committed, being committed, or just
about his being on that street at that busy hour in the blaze of the noonday sun. committed, what was that crime? There is no allegation in the record of such a
On the other hand, there could have been a number of reasons, all of them innocent, why his eyes were falsification. Parenthetically, it may be observed that under the Revised Rule 113,
darting from side to side and be was holding his abdomen. If they excited suspicion in the minds of the Section 5(b), the officer making the arrest must have personal knowledge of the
arresting officers, as the prosecution suggests, it has nevertheless not been shown what their suspicion ground therefor as stressed in the recent case of People v. Burgos. (Emphasis
was all about. In fact, the policemen themselves testified that they were dispatched to that place only supplied)
because of the telephone call from the informer that there were "suspicious-looking" persons in that It would be a sad day, indeed, if any person could be summarily arrested and searched just because he is
vicinity who were about to commit a robbery at North Bay Boulevard. The caller did not explain why he holding his abdomen, even if it be possibly because of a stomach-ache, or if a peace officer could clamp
thought the men looked suspicious nor did he elaborate on the impending crime. handcuffs on any person with a shifty look on suspicion that he may have committed a criminal act or is
In the recent case of People v. Malmstedt, 5 the Court sustained the warrantless arrest of the accused actually committing or attempting it. This simply cannot be done in a free society. This is not a police
because there was a bulge in his waist that excited the suspicion of the arresting officer and, upon state where order is exalted over liberty or, worse, personal malice on the part of the arresting officer
inspection, turned out to be a pouch containing hashish. In People v. Claudio, 6 the accused boarded a may be justified in the name of security.
bus and placed the buri bag she was carrying behind the seat of the arresting officer while she herself sat There is no need to discuss the other issues raised by the accused-appellant as the ruling we here make
in the seat before him. His suspicion aroused, be surreptitiously examined the bag, which he found to is sufficient to sustain his exoneration. Without the evidence of the firearm taken from him at the time
contain marijuana. He then and there made the warrantless arrest and seizure that we subsequently of his illegal arrest, the prosecution has lost its most important exhibit and must therefore fail. The
upheld on the ground that probable cause had been sufficiently established. testimonial evidence against Mengote (which is based on the said firearm) is not sufficient to prove his
The case before us is different because there was nothing to support the arresting officers' suspicion guilt beyond reasonable doubt of the crime imputed to him.
other than Mengote's darting eyes and his hand on his abdomen. By no stretch of the imagination could We commend Atty. Violeta Calvo-Drilon for her able and spirited defense of the accused-appellant not
it have been inferred from these acts that an offense had just been committed, or was actually being only in the brief but also in the reply brief, which she did not have to file but did so just the same to
committed, or was at least being attempted in their presence. stress the constitutional rights of her client. The fact that she was acting only as a counsel de oficio with
This case is similar to People v. Aminnudin, 7 where the Court held that the warrantless arrest of the no expectation of material reward makes her representation even more commendable.
accused was unconstitutional. This was effected while be was coming down a vessel, to all appearances The Court feels that if the peace officers had been more mindful of the provisions of the Bill of Rights,
no less innocent than the other disembarking passengers. He had not committed nor was be actually the prosecution of the accused-appellant might have succeeded. As it happened, they allowed their
committing or attempting to commit an offense in the presence of the arresting officers. He was not over-zealousness to get the better of them, resulting in their disregard of the requirements of a valid
even acting suspiciously. In short, there was no probable cause that, as the prosecution incorrectly search and seizure that rendered inadmissible the vital evidence they had invalidly seized.
suggested, dispensed with the constitutional requirement of a warrant. This should be a lesson to other peace officers. Their impulsiveness may be the very cause of the
Par. (b) is no less applicable because its no less stringent requirements have also not been satisfied. The acquittal of persons who deserve to be convicted, escaping the clutches of the law because, ironically
prosecution has not shown that at the time of Mengote's arrest an offense had in fact just been enough, it has not been observed by those who are supposed to enforce it.
committed and that the arresting officers had personal knowledge of facts indicating that Mengote had WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The accused-appellant is ACQUITTED
committed it. All they had was hearsay information from the telephone caller, and about a crime that and ordered released immediately unless he is validly detained for other offenses. No costs.
had yet to be committed. SO ORDERED.
The truth is that they did not know then what offense, if at all, had been committed and neither were G.R. No. 182601 November 10, 2014
they aware of the participation therein of the accused-appellant. It was only later, after Danganan had JOEY M. PESTILOS, DWIGHT MACAPANAS, MIGUEL GACES, JERRY FERNANDEZ and RONALD
appeared at the Police headquarters, that they learned of the robbery in his house and of Mengote's MUNOZ,Petitioners,
supposed involvement therein. 8 As for the illegal possession of the firearm found on Mengote's person, vs.
the policemen discovered this only after he had been searched and the investigation conducted later MORENO GENEROSO and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.
revealed that he was not its owners nor was he licensed to possess it. DECISION
Before these events, the Peace officers had no knowledge even of Mengote' identity, let alone the fact BRION, J.:
(or suspicion) that he was unlawfully carrying a firearm or that he was involved in the robbery of We resolve the petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court challenging the
Danganan's house. decision1 dated January 21, 2008 and the resolution2 dated April 17, 2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in
In the landmark case of People v. Burgos, 9 this Court declared: CAG.R. SP No. 91541.
Under Section 6(a) of Rule 113, the officer arresting a person who has just The appealed decision affirmed the Order dated March 16, 2005 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch
committed, is committing, or is about to commit an offense must have personal 96, Quezon City, denying Joey M. Pestilos, Dwight Macapanas, Miguel Gaces, Jerry Fernandez, and
knowledge of the fact. The offense must also be committed in his presence or Ronald Munoz's (petitioners) Urgent Motion for Regular Preliminary Investigation, as well as their
within his view. (Sayo v. Chief of Police, 80 Phil. 859). (Emphasis supplied) subsequent motion for reconsideration.
xxx xxx xxx The Antecedent Facts
In arrests without a warrant under Section 6(b), however, it is not enough that The records of the case reveal that on February 20, 2005, at around 3: 15 in the morning, an altercation
there is reasonable ground to believe that the person to be arrested has ensued between the petitioners and Atty. Moreno Generoso (Atty. Generoso) at Kasiyahan Street,
committed a crime. A crime must in fact or actually have been committed first. Barangay Holy Spirit, Quezon City where the petitioners and Atty. Generoso reside.3
That a crime has actually been committed is an essential precondition. It is not Atty. Generoso called the Central Police District, Station 6 (Batas an Hills Police Station) to report the
enough to suspect that a crime may have been committed. The fact of the incident.4Acting on this report, Desk Officer SPOl Primitivo Monsalve (SPOJ Monsalve) dispatched SP02
commission of the offense must be undisputed. The test of reasonable ground Dominador Javier (SP02 Javier) to go to the scene of the crime and to render assistance.5 SP02 Javier,
applies only to the identity of the perpetrator. (Emphasis supplied) together with augmentation personnel from the Airforce, A2C Alano Sayson and Airman Ruel Galvez,
arrived at the scene of the crime less than one hour after the alleged altercation6 and they saw Atty. The petitioners also claim that no valid warrantless arrest took place under the terms of Rule 112,
Generoso badly beaten.7 Section 7 of the Revised Rules of Court. The incident happened two (2) hours before the police officers
Atty. Generoso then pointed to the petitioners as those who mauled him. This prompted the police actually arrived at the crime scene. The police officers could not have undertaken a valid warrantless
officers to "invite" the petitioners to go to Batasan Hills Police Station for investigation.8 The petitioners arrest as they had no personal knowledge that the petitioners were the authors of the crime.
went with the police officers to Batasan Hills Police Station.9 At the inquest proceeding, the City The petitioners additionally argue that the R TC' s Order denying the Urgent Motion for Regular
Prosecutor of Quezon City found that the petitioners stabbed Atty. Generoso with a bladed weapon. Preliminary Investigation is void because it was not properly issued.
Atty. Generoso fortunately survived the attack.10 The Court's Ruling
In an Information dated February 22, 2005, the petitioners were indicted for attempted murder allegedly We find the petition unmeritorious and thus uphold the RTC Order. The criminal proceedings against the
committed as follows: petitioners should now proceed.
That on or about the 20th h day of February, 2005, in Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused, It is unfortunate that the kind of motion that the petitioners filed has to reach this Court for its
conspiring together, confederating with and mutually helping one another, with intent to kill, qualified resolution. The thought is very tempting that the motion was employed simply to delay the proceedings
with evident premeditation, treachery and taking advantage of superior strength, did then and there, and that the use of Rule 65 petition has been abused.
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously commence the commission of the crime of Murder directly by overt But accepting things as they are, this delay can be more than compensated by fully examining in this case
acts, by then and there stabbing one Atty. MORENO GENEROSO y FRANCO, with a bladed weapon, but the legalities surrounding warrantless warrants and establishing the proper interpretation of the Rules
said accused were not able to perform all the acts of execution which would produce the crime of for the guidance of the bench and the bar. These Rules have evolved over time, and the present case
Murder by reason of some cause/s or accident other than their own spontaneous desistance, that is, said presents to us the opportunity to re-trace their origins, development and the current applicable
complainant was able to parry the attack, to his damage and prejudice. interpretation.
CONTRARY TO LAW.11 I. Brief history on warrantless arrests
On March 7, 2005, the petitioners filed an Urgent Motion for Regular Preliminary Investigation12 on the The organic laws of the Philippines, specifically, the Philippine Bill of 1902,19 and the 1935,20 197321 and
ground that they had not been lawfully arrested. They alleged that no valid warrantless arrest took place 198722Constitutions all protect the right of the people to be secure in their persons against unreasonable
since the police officers had no personal knowledge that they were the perpetrators of the crime. They searches and seizures. Arrest falls under the term "seizure. "23
also claimed that they were just "invited" to the police station. Thus, the inquest proceeding was This constitutional mandate is identical with the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United
improper, and a regular procedure for preliminary investigation should have been performed pursuant States. The Fourth Amendment traces its origins to the writings of Sir Edward Coke24 and The Great
to Rule 112 of the Rules of Court.13 Charter of the Liberties of England (Magna Carta Libertatum), sealed under oath by King John on the
On March 16, 2005, the RTC issued its order denying the petitioners' Urgent Motion for Regular bank of the River Thames near Windsor, England on June 15, 1215.25 The Magna Carta Libertatum
Preliminary Investigation.14 The court likewise denied the petitioners' motion for reconsideration.15 limited the King of England's powers and required the Crown to proclaim certain liberties26 under the
The petitioners challenged the lower court's ruling before the CA on a Rule 65 petition for certiorari. feudal vassals' threat of civil war.27 The declarations in Chapter 29 of the Magna Carta Libertatum later
They attributed grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, on the R TC for the became the foundational component of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.28 It
denial of their motion for preliminary investigation.16 provides:
The Assailed CA Decision No freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or be disseised29 of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs,
On January 21, 2008, the CA issued its decision dismissing the petition for lack of merit.17 The CA ruled or be outlawed, or exiled, or any otherwise destroyed; nor will we not pass upon him, nor condemn him,
that the word "invited" in the Affidavit of Arrest executed by SP02 Javier carried the meaning of a but by lawful Judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land, We will sell to no man, we will not deny
command. The arresting officer clearly meant to arrest the petitioners to answer for the mauling of Atty. or defer to any man either Justice or Right.30 [Emphasis supplied]
Generoso. The CA also recognized that the arrest was pursuant to a valid warrantless arrest so that an In United States v. Snyder,31 the United States Supreme Court held that this constitutional provision does
inquest proceeding was called for as a consequence. Thus, the R TC did not commit any grave abuse of not prohibit arrests, searches and seizures without judicial warrant, but only those that are
discretion in denying the Urgent Motion for Regular Preliminary Investigation. unreasonable.32 With regard to an arrest, it is considered a seizure, which must also satisfy the test of
The CA saw no merit in the petitioners' argument that the order denying the Urgent Motion for Regular reasonableness.33
Preliminary Investigation is void for failure to clearly state the facts and the law upon which it was based, In our jurisdiction, early rulings of the Court have acknowledged the validity of warrantless arrests. The
pursuant to Rule 16, Section 3 of the Revised Rules of Court. The CA found that the RTC had sufficiently Court based these rulings on the common law of America and England that, according to the Court, were
explained the grounds for the denial of the motion. not different from the Spanish laws.34 These court rulings likewise justified warrantless arrests based on
The petitioners moved for reconsideration, but the CA denied the motion in its Resolution of April 17, the provisions of separate laws then existing in the Philippines.35
2008;18 hence, the present petition. In 1905, the Court held in The United States v. Wilson36 that Section 3737 of Act No. 183, or the Charter of
The Issues Manila, defined the arresting officer's power to arrest without a warrant, at least insofar as the City of
The petitioners cited the following assignment of errors: Manila was concerned.
I. In The United States v. Vallejo, et al.,38 the Court held that in the absence of any provisions under
WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITIONERS WERE VALIDLY ARRESTED WITHOUT A WARRANT. statutes or local ordinances, a police officer who held similar functions as those of the officers
II. established under the common law of England and America, also had the power to arrest without a
WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITIONERS WERE LAWFULLY ARRESTED WHEN THEY WERE MERELY warrant in the Philippines.
INVITED TO THE POLICE PRECINCT. The Court also ruled in The United States v. Santos39 that the rules on warrantless arrest were based on
III. common sense and reason.40 It further held that warrantless arrest found support under the then
WHETHER OR NOT THE ORDER DENYING THE MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION IS Administrative Code41 which directed municipal policemen to exercise vigilance in the prevention of
VOID FOR FAILURE TO STATE THE FACTS AND THE LAW UPON WHICH IT WAS BASED. public offenses.
The petitioners primarily argue that they were not lawfully arrested. No arrest warrant was ever issued; In The United States v. Fortaleza,42 the Court applied Rules 27, 28, 29 and 3043 of the Provisional Law for
they went to the police station only as a response to the arresting officers' invitation. They even cited the the Application of the Penal Code which were provisions taken from the Spanish Law.
Affidavit of Arrest, which actually used the word "invited. "
These rules were subsequently established and incorporated in our Rules of Court and jurisprudence. The Court ruled in Santos that the arresting officer must justify that there was a probable cause for an
Presently, the requirements of a warrantless arrest are now summarized in Rule 113, Section 5 which arrest without a warrant. The Court defined probable cause as a reasonable ground of suspicion,
states that: Section 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace officer or a private person may, supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves as to warrant a reasonable man in believing
without a warrant, arrest a person: that the accused is guilty. Besides reasonable ground of suspicion, action in good faith is another
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or requirement. Once these conditions are complied with, the peace officer is not liable even if the arrested
is attempting to commit an offense; person turned out to be innocent.
(b) When an offense has just been committed, and he has probable cause to believe based on Based on these discussions, it appears clear that prior to the 1940 Rules of Court, it was not necessary
personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed for the arresting officer to first have knowledge that a crime was actually committed. What was
it; and necessary was the presence of reasonably sufficient grounds to believe the existence of an act having the
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment characteristics of a crime; and that the same grounds exist to believe that the person sought to be
or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is detained participated in it. In addition, it was also established under the old court rulings that the phrase
pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another. "reasonable suspicion" was tantamount to probable cause without which, the warrantless arrest would
In cases falling under paragraph (a) and (b) above, the person arrested without a warrant shall be forth be invalid and the arresting officer may be held liable for its breach.48
with delivered to the nearest police station or jail and shall be proceeded against in accordance with In The US. v. Hachaw,49 the Court invalidated the warrantless arrest of a Chinaman because the arresting
section 7 of Rule 112. person did not state in what way the Chinaman was acting suspiciously or the particular act or
A warrantless arrest under the circumstances contemplated under Section 5(a) above has been circumstance which aroused the arresting person's curiosity.
denominated as one "in flagrante delicto," while that under Section 5(b) has been described as a "hot It appears, therefore, that prior to the establishment in our Rules of Court of the rules on warrantless
pursuit" arrest.44 arrests, the gauge for a valid warrantless arrest was the arresting officer's reasonable suspicion
For purposes of this case, we shall focus on Section 5(b) – the provision applicable in the present case. (probable cause) that a crime was committed and the person sought to be arrested has participated in
This provision has undergone changes through the years not just in its phraseology but also in its its commission. This principle left so much discretion and leeway on the part of the arresting officer.
interpretation in our jurisprudence. However, the 1940 Rules of Court has limited this discretion.
We shall first trace the evolution of Section 5(b) and examine the applicable American and Philippine B. The 1940 Rules of Court
jurisprudence to fully understand its roots and its appropriate present application. (Restricting the arresting
II. Evolution of Section 5(b), Rule 113 officer's determination of
A. Prior to the 1940 Rules of Court probable cause)
Prior to 1940, the Court based its rulings not just on American and English common law principle on Rules 27 and 28 of the Provisional Law for the Application of the Penal Code were substantially
warrantless arrests but also on laws then existing in the Philippines. In Fortaleza,45 the Court cited Rule incorporated in Section 6, Rule 109 of the 1940 Rules of Court as follows:50
28 of the Provisional Law for the Application of the Penal Code which provided that: SEC. 6. Arrest without warrant - When lawful. - A peace officer or a private person may, without a
Judicial and administrative authorities have power to detain, or to cause to be detained, persons whom warrant, arrest a person:
there is reasonable ground to believe guilty of some offense. It will be the duty of the authorities, as well (a) When the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is about to
as of their agents, to arrest: commit an offense in his presence;
First. Such persons as may be arrested under the provisions of rule 27. (b) When an offense has in fact been committed, and he has reasonable ground to believe
Second. A person charged with a crime for which the code provides a penalty greater than that of that the person to be arrested has committed it;
confinamiento. (c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment
Third. A person charged with a crime for which the code provides a penalty less than that of or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending,
confinamiento, if his antecedents or the circumstances of the case would warrant the presumption that or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another. [Emphasis and
he would fail to appear when summoned by the judicial authorities. underscoring supplied]
The provisions of the preceding paragraph shall not apply, however, to a defendant who gives sufficient These provisions were adopted in toto in Section 6, Rule 113 of the 1964 Rules of Court. Notably, the
bond, to the satisfaction of the authority or agent who may arrest him, and who it may reasonably be 1940 and 1964 Rules have deviated from the old rulings of the Court. Prior to the 1940 Rules, the actual
presumed will appear whenever summoned by the judge or court competent to try him. commission of the offense was not necessary in determining the validity of the warrantless arrest. Too,
Fourth. A person coining under the provisions of the preceding paragraph may be arrested, although no the arresting officer's determination of probable cause (or reasonable suspicion) applied both as to
formal complaint has been filed against him, provided the following circumstances are present: whether a crime has been committed and whether the person to be arrested has committed it.
First. That the authority or agent had reasonable cause to believe that an unlawful act, amounting to a However, under the 1940 and the 1964 Rules of Court, the Rules required that there should be actual
crime had been committed. commission of an offense, thus, removing the element of the arresting officer's "reasonable suspicion of
Second. That the authority or agent had sufficient reason to believe that the person arrested the commission of an offense." Additionally, the determination of probable cause, or reasonable
participated in the commission of such unlawful act or crime." [Emphasis and underscoring supplied] suspicion, was limited only to the determination of whether the person to be arrested has committed
In the same decision, the Court likewise cited Section 3 7 of the Charter of Manila, which provided that the offense. In other words, the 1940 and 1964 Rules of Court restricted the arresting officer's discretion
certain officials, including police officers may, within the territory defined in the law, pursue and arrest in warrantless arrests under Section 6(b), Rule 113 of the 1964 Rules of Court.
without warrant, any person found in suspicious places or under suspicious circumstances, reasonably C. The more restrictive 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure
tending to show that such person has committed, or is about to commit any crime or breach of the Section 6, Rule 113 of the 1964 Rules of Court again underwent substantial changes and was re-worded
peace. and re-numbered when it became Section 5, Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure, to wit:
In Santos,46 the Court cited Miles v. Weston,47 which ruled that a peace officer may arrest persons Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when. lawful. - A peace officer or a private person may, without a
walking in the street at night when there is reasonable ground to suspect the commission of a crime, warrant, arrest a person:
although there is no proof of a felony having been committed. (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 case where a warrant is sought from a judicial officer. The probable cause determination of a warrantless
indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it; and arrest is based on information that the arresting officer possesses at the time of the arrest and not on
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment the information acquired later.56
or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, In evaluating probable cause, probability and not certainty is the determinant of reasonableness under
or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another. In cases falling the Fourth Amendment. Probable cause involves probabilities similar to the factual and practical
under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the person arrested without a warrant shall be forthwith questions of everyday life upon which reasonable and prudent persons act. It is a pragmatic question to
delivered to the nearest police station or jail, and he shall be proceeded against in accordance be determined in each case in light of the particular circumstances and the particular offense involved.57
with Rule 112, Section 7. [Emphasis and underscoring supplied] In determining probable cause, the arresting officer may rely on all the information in his possession, his
As amended, Section 5(b ), Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of Court retained the restrictions introduced fair inferences therefrom, including his observations. Mere suspicion does not meet the requirements of
under the 1964 Rules of Court. More importantly, however, it added a qualification that the commission showing probable cause to arrest without warrant especially if it is a mere general suspicion. Probable
of the offense should not only have been "committed" but should have been "just committed." This cause may rest on reasonably trustworthy information as well as personal knowledge. Thus, the
limited the arresting officer's time frame for conducting an investigation for purposes of gathering arresting officer may rely on information supplied by a witness or a victim of a crime; and under the
information indicating that the person sought to be arrested has committed the crime. circumstances, the arresting officer need not verify such information.58
D. The Present Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure In our jurisdiction, the Court has likewise defined probable cause in the context of Section 5(b), Rule 113
Section 5(b ), Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure was further amended with the of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.
incorporation of the word "probable cause" as the basis of the arresting officer's determination on In Abelita Ill v. Doria et al.,59 the Court held that personal knowledge of facts must be based on probable
whether the person to be arrested has committed the crime. cause, which means an actual belief or reasonable grounds of suspicion. The grounds of suspicion are
Hence, as presently worded, Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides reasonable when, in the absence of actual belief of the arresting officers, the suspicion that the person
that: to be arrested is probably guilty of committing the offense is based on actual facts, i.e., supported by
When an offense has just been committed, and he has probable cause to believe based on personal circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable cause of guilt of the person to be
knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it. arrested. A reasonable suspicion, therefore, must be founded on probable cause, coupled with good
From the current phraseology of the rules on warrantless arrest, it appears that for purposes of Section faith on the part of the peace officers making the arrest.
S(b ), the following are the notable changes: first, the contemplated offense was qualified by the word i.b) Probable cause under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure,
"just," connoting immediacy; and second, the warrantless arrest of a person sought to be arrested distinguished from probable cause in preliminary investigations and the judicial proceeding for the
should be based on probable cause to be determined by the arresting officer based on his personal issuance of a warrant of arrest
knowledge of facts and circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it. The purpose of a preliminary investigation is to determine whether a crime has been committed and
It is clear that the present rules have "objectified" the previously subjective determination of the whether there is probable cause to believe that the accused is guilty of the crime and should be held for
arresting officer as to the (1) commission of the crime; and (2) whether the person sought to be arrested triat.60 In Buchanan v. Viuda de Esteban,61 we defined probable cause as the existence of facts and
committed the crime. According to Feria, these changes were adopted to minimize arrests based on circumstances as would excite the belief in a reasonable mind, acting on the facts within the knowledge
mere suspicion or hearsay.51 of the prosecutor, that the person charged was guilty of the crime for which he was prosecuted.
As presently worded, the elements under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal In this particular proceeding, the finding of the existence of probable cause as to the guilt of the
Procedure are: first, an offense has just been committed; and second, the arresting officer has probable respondent was based on the submitted documents of the complainant, the respondent and his
cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested witnesses.62
has committed it. On the other hand, probable cause in judicial proceedings for the issuance of a warrant of arrest is
For purposes of this case, we shall discuss these elements separately below, starting with the element of defined as the existence of such facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonably discreet and
probable cause, followed by the elements that the offense has just been committed, and the arresting prudent person to believe that an offense has been committed by the person sought to be arrested.
officer's personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed the Hence, before issuing a warrant of arrest, the judge must be satisfied that based on the evidence
crime. submitted, there is sufficient proof that a crime has been committed and that the person to be arrested
i) First Element of Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure: Probable cause is probably guilty thereof. At this stage of the criminal proceeding, the judge is not yet tasked to review
The existence of "probable cause" is now the "objectifier" or the determinant on how the arresting in detail the evidence submitted during the preliminary investigation. It is sufficient that he personally
officer shall proceed on the facts and circumstances, within his personal knowledge, for purposes of evaluates the evidence in determining probable cause63 to issue a warrant of arrest.
determining whether the person to be arrested has committed the crime. In contrast, the arresting officer's determination of probable cause under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the
i.a) U.S. jurisprudence on probable cause in warrantless arrests Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure is based on his personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that
In Payton v. New York,52 the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment of the Federal the person sought to be arrested has committed the crime. These facts or circumstances pertain to
Constitution does not prohibit arrests without a warrant although such arrests must be reasonable. actual facts or raw evidence, i.e., supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create
According to State v. Quinn,53 the warrantless arrest of a person who was discovered in the act of the probable cause of guilt of the person to be arrested. A reasonable suspicion therefore must be
violating the law is not a violation of due process. founded on probable cause, coupled with good faith on the part of the peace officers making.the arrest.
The U.S. Supreme Court, however indicated in Henry v. United States54 that the Fourth Amendment The probable cause to justify warrantless arrest ordinarily signifies a reasonable ground of suspicion
limited the circumstances under which warrantless arrests may be made. The necessary inquiry is not supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a cautious man to believe that
whether there was a warrant or whether there was time to get one, but whether at the time of the the person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is charged,64 or an actual belief or reasonable
arrest probable cause existed. The term probable cause is synonymous to "reasonable cause" and ground of suspicion, based on actual facts.65
"reasonable grounds."55 It is clear therefore that the standard for determining "probable cause" is invariable for the officer
In determining the existence of probable cause, the arresting officer should make a thorough arresting without a warrant, the public prosecutor, and the judge issuing a warrant of arrest. It is the
investigation and exercise reasonable judgment. The standards for evaluating the factual basis existence of such facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent person to
supporting a probable cause assessment are not less stringent in warrantless arrest situation than in a
believe that an offense has been committed by the person sought to be arrested or held for trial, as the gunman's car's plate number which turned out to be registered in the name of the accused's wife. That
case may be. information did not constitute "personal knowledge."
However, while the arresting officer, the public prosecutor and the judge all determine "probable In People v. Tonog, Jr.,73 the warrantless arrest which was done on the same day was held valid. In this
cause," within the spheres of their respective functions, its existence is influenced heavily by the case, the arresting officer had knowledge of facts which he personally gathered in the course of his
available facts and circumstance within their possession. In short, although these officers use the same investigation, indicating that the accused was one of the perpetrators.
standard of a reasonable man, they possess dissimilar quantity of facts or circumstances, as set by the In People v. Gerente,74 the policemen arrested Gerente only about three (3) hours after Gerente and his
rules, upon which they must determine probable cause. companions had killed the victim. The Court held that the policemen had personal knowledge of the
Thus, under the present rules and jurisprudence, the arresting officer should base his determination of violent death of the victim and of facts indicating that Gerente and two others had killed him. The
probable cause on his personal knowledge of facts and circumstances that the person sought to be warrantless arrest was held valid.
arrested has committed the crime; the public prosecutor and the judge must base their determination In People v. Alvario,75 the warrantless arrest came immediately after the arresting officers received
on the evidence submitted by the parties. information from the victim of the crime. The Court held that the personal knowledge of the arresting
In other words, the arresting officer operates on the basis of more limited facts, evidence or available officers was derived from the information supplied by the victim herself who pointed to Alvario as the
information that he must personally gather within a limited time frame. man who raped her at the time of his arrest. The Court upheld the warrantless arrest. In People v.
Hence, in Santos,66 the Court acknowledged the inherent limitations of determining probable cause in Jayson,76 there was a shooting incident. The policemen who were summoned to the scene of the crime
warrantless arrests due to the urgency of its determination in these instances. The Court held that one found the victim. The informants pointed to the accused as the assailant only moments after the
should not expect too much of an ordinary policeman. He is not presumed to exercise the subtle shooting. The Court held that the arresting officers acted on the basis of personal knowledge of the
reasoning of a judicial officer. Oftentimes, he has no opportunity to make proper investigation but must death of the victim and of facts indicating that the accused was the assailant. Thus, the warrantless
act in haste on his own belief to prevent the escape of the criminal.67 arrest was held valid.
ii) Second and Third Elements of Section 5(b), Rule 113: In People v. Acol,77 a group held up the passengers in a jeepney and the policemen immediately
The crime has just been committed/personal responded to the report of the crime. One of the victims saw four persons walking towards Fort
knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person Bonifacio, one of whom was wearing his jacket. The victim pointed them to the policemen. When the
to be arrested has committed it group saw the policemen coming, they ran in different directions. The Court held that the arrest was
We deem it necessary to combine the discussions of these two elements as our jurisprudence shows that valid.
these were usually taken together in the Court's determination of the validity of the warrantless arrests In Cadua v. CA,78 there was an initial report to the police concerning a robbery. A radio dispatch was then
that were made pursuant to Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. given to the arresting officers, who proceeded to Alden Street to verify the authenticity of the radio
In Posadas v. Ombudsman,68 the killing of Dennis Venturina happened on December 8, 1994. It was only message. When they reached the place, they met with the complainants who initiated the report about
on December 11, 1994 that Chancellor Posadas requested the NBI's assistance. On the basis of the the robbery. Upon the officers' invitation, the victims joined them in conducting a search of the nearby
supposed identification of two (2) witnesses, the NBI attempted to arrest Francis Carlo Taparan and area where the accused was spotted in the vicinity. Based on the reported statements of the
Raymundo Narag three (3) days after the commission of the crime. With this set of facts, it cannot be complainants, he was identified as a logical suspect in the offense just committed. Hence, the arrest was
said that the officers have personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the persons sought to be held valid.
arrested committed the crime. Hence, the Court invalidated the warrantless arrest. In Doria,79 the Court held that Section S(b ), Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure does not
Similarly, in People v. Burgos,69 one Cesar Masamlok personally and voluntarily surrendered to the require the arresting officers to personally witness the commission of the offense.
authorities, stating that Ruben Burgos forcibly recruited him to become a member of the NPA, with a In this case, P/Supt. Doria alleged that his office received a telephone call from a relative of Rosa Sia
threat of physical harm. Upon receipt of this information, a joint team of PC-INP units was dispatched to about a shooting incident. He dispatched a team headed by SP03 Ramirez to investigate the incident.
arrest Burgos who was then plowing the field. Indeed, the arrest was invalid considering that the only SP03 Ramirez later reported that a certain William Sia was wounded while Judge Abelita III, who was
information that the police officers had in effecting the arrest was the information from a third person. It implicated in the incident, and his wife just left the place of the incident. P/Supt. Doria looked for Abelita
cannot be also said in this case that there was certainty as regards the commission of a crime. III and when he found him, he informed him of the incident report. P/Supt. Doria requested Abelita III to
In People v. del Rosario,70 the Court held that the requirement that an offense has just been committed go with him to the police headquarters as he had been reported to be involved in the incident. Abelita III
means that there must be a large measure of immediacy between the time the offense was committed agreed but suddenly sped up his vehicle and proceeded to his residence where P/Supt. Doria caught him
and the time of the arrest. If there was an appreciable lapse of time between the arrest and the up as he was about to run towards his house.
commission of the crime, a warrant of arrest must be secured. The police officers saw a gun in the front seat of the vehicle beside the driver's seat as Abelita III opened
The Court held that the arrest of del Rosario did not comply with these requirements because he was the door. They also saw a shotgun at the back of the driver's seat. The police officers confiscated the
arrested only a day after the commission of the crime and not immediately thereafter. Additionally, the firearms and arrested Abelita III. The Court held that the petitioner's act of trying to get away, coupled
arresting officers were not present and were not actual eyewitnesses to the crime. Hence, they had no with the incident report which they investigated, were enough to raise a reasonable suspicion on the
personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested had committed the offense. They part of the police authorities as to the existence of probable cause. Based on these discussions, it
became aware of del Rosario's identity as the driver of the getaway tricycle only during the custodial appears that the Court's appreciation of the elements that "the offense has just been committed" and
investigation. ''personal knowledge of facts and circumstances that the person to be arrested committed it" depended
In People v. Cendana,71 the accused was arrested one (1) day after the killing of the victim and only on on the particular circumstances of the case. However, we note that the element of ''personal knowledge
the basis of information obtained from unnamed sources. The unlawful arrest was held invalid. of facts or circumstances" under Section S(b ), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
In Rolito Go v. CA,72 the arrest of the accused six ( 6) days after the commission of the crime was held requires clarification.
invalid because the crime had not just been committed. Moreover, the "arresting" officers had no The phrase covers facts or, in the alternative, circumstances. According to the Black's Law
"personal knowledge" of facts indicating that the accused was the gunman who had shot the victim. The Dictionary,80"circumstances are attendant or accompanying facts, events or conditions. " Circumstances
information upon which the police acted came from statements made by alleged eyewitnesses to the may pertain to events or actions within the actual perception, personal evaluation or observation of the
shooting; one stated that the accused was the gunman; another was able to take down the alleged police officer at the scene of the crime. Thus, even though the police officer has not seen someone
actually fleeing, he could still make a warrantless arrest if, based on his personal evaluation of the
circumstances at the scene of the crime, he could determine the existence of probable cause that the Atty. Generoso's bruises were also corroborated by the Medico-Legal Certificate84 that was issued by
person sought to be arrested has committed the crime. However, the determination of probable cause East Avenue Medical Center on the same date of the alleged mauling. The medical check-up of Atty.
and the gathering of facts or circumstances should be made immediately after the commission of the Generoso that was made about 8:10 a.m. on the date of the incident, showed the following findings:
crime in order to comply with the element of immediacy. "Contusion Hematoma, Left Frontal Area; Abrasion, T6 area, right midclavicular line periorbital
In other words, the clincher in the element of ''personal knowledge of facts or circumstances" is the hematoma, left eye; Abrasion, distal 3rd posterolateral aspect of right forearm; Abrasion, 4th and fifth
required element of immediacy within which these facts or circumstances should be gathered. This digit, right hand; Abrasion on area of ih rib (L ant. Chest wall), tenderness on L peripheral area, no visible
required time element acts as a safeguard to ensure that the police officers have gathered the facts or abrasion. In addition, the attending physician, Dr. Eva P. Javier, diagnosed Atty. Generoso of contusion
perceived the circumstances within a very limited time frame. This guarantees that the police officers hematoma, periorbital L., and traumatic conjunctivitis, o.s.
would have no time to base their probable cause finding on facts or circumstances obtained after an To summarize, the arresting officers went to the scene of the crime upon the complaint of Atty.
exhaustive investigation. Generoso of his alleged mauling; the police officers responded to the scene of the crime less than one (1)
The reason for the element of the immediacy is this - as the time gap from the commission of the crime hour after the alleged mauling; the alleged crime transpired in a community where Atty. Generoso and
to the arrest widens, the pieces of information gathered are prone to become contaminated and the petitioners reside; Atty. Generoso positively identified the petitioners as those responsible for his
subjected to external factors, interpretations and hearsay. On the other hand, with the element of mauling and, notably, the petitioners85 and Atty. Generoso86 lived almost in the same neighborhood;
immediacy imposed under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, the police more importantly, when the petitioners were confronted by the arresting officers, they did not deny
officer's determination of probable cause would necessarily be limited to raw or uncontaminated facts or their participation in the incident with Atty. Generoso, although they narrated a different version of what
circumstances, gathered as they were within a very limited period of time. The same provision adds transpired.87
another safeguard with the requirement of probable cause as the standard for evaluating these facts of With these facts and circumstances that the police officers gathered and which they have personally
circumstances before the police officer could effect a valid warrantless arrest. observed less than one hour from the time that they have arrived at the scene of the crime until the time
In light of the discussion above on the developments of Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of of the arrest of the petitioners, we deem it reasonable to conclude that the police officers had personal
Criminal Procedure and our jurisprudence on the matter, we hold that the following must be present for knowledge of facts or circumstances justifying the petitioners' warrantless arrests. These circumstances
a valid warrantless arrest: 1) the crime should have been just committed; and 2) the arresting officer's were well within the police officers' observation, perception and evaluation at the time of the arrest.
exercise of discretion is limited by the standard of probable cause to be determined from the facts and These circumstances qualify as the police officers' personal observation, which are within their personal
circumstances within his personal knowledge. The requirement of the existence of probable cause knowledge, prompting them to make the warrantless arrests.
objectifies the reasonableness of the warrantless arrest for purposes of compliance with the Similar to the factual antecedents in Jayson,88 the police officers in the present case saw Atty. Generoso
Constitutional mandate against unreasonable arrests. in his sorry bloodied state. As the victim, he positively identified the petitioners as the persons who
Hence, for purposes of resolving the issue on the validity of the warrantless arrest of the present mauled him; however, instead of fleeing like what happened in Jayson, the petitioners agreed to go with
petitioners, the question to be resolved is whether the requirements for a valid warrantless arrest under the police officers.
Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure were complied with, namely: 1) has the This is also similar to what happened in People v. Tonog, Jr.89 where Tonog did not flee but voluntarily
crime just been committed when they were arrested? 2) did the arresting officer have personal went with the police officers. More than this, the petitioners in the present case even admitted to have
knowledge of facts and circumstances that the petitioners committed the crime? and 3) based on these been involved in the incident with Atty. Generoso, although they had another version of what transpired.
facts and circumstances that the arresting officer possessed at the time of the petitioners' arrest, would In determining the reasonableness of the warrantless arrests, it is incumbent upon the courts to consider
a reasonably discreet and prudent person believe that the attempted murder of Atty. Generoso was if the police officers have complied with the requirements set under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the
committed by the petitioners? We rule in the affirmative. Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, specifically, the requirement of immediacy; the police officer's
III. Application of Section S(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules personal knowledge of facts or circumstances; and lastly, the propriety of the determination of probable
of Criminal Procedure in the present case: there was a cause that the person sought to be arrested committed the crime.
valid warrantless arrest The records show that soon after the report of the incident occurred, SPOl Monsalve immediately
We deem it necessary to review the records of the CA because it has misapprehended the facts in its dispatched the arresting officer, SP02 Javier, to render personal assistance to the victim.90 This fact alone
decision.81From a review of the records, we conclude that the police officers had personal knowledge of negates the petitioners' argument that the police officers did not have personal knowledge that a crime
facts or circumstances upon which they had properly determined probable cause in effecting a had been committed - the police immediately responded and had personal knowledge that a crime had
warrantless arrest against the petitioners. We note, however, that the determination of the facts in the been committed.1âwphi1
present case is purely limited to the resolution of the issue on the validity of the warrantless arrests of To reiterate, personal knowledge of a crime just committed under the terms of the above-cited
the petitioners. provision, does not require actual presence at the scene while a crime was being committed; it is enough
Based on the police blotter82 entry taken at 4:15 a.m. on February 20, 2005, the date that the alleged that evidence of the recent commission of the crime is patent (as in this case) and the police officer has
crime was committed, the petitioners were brought in for investigation at the Batasan Hills Police probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances, that the person to be
Station. The police blotter stated that the alleged crime was committed at 3:15 a.m. on February 20, arrested has recently committed the crime.
2005, along Kasiyahan St., Brgy. Holy Spirit, Quezon City. Considering the circumstances of the stabbing, particularly the locality where it took place, its occasion,
The time of the entry of the complaint in the police blotter at 4:15 a.m., with Atty. Generoso and the the personal circumstances of the parties, and the immediate on-the-spot investigation that took place,
petitioners already inside the police station, would connote that the arrest took place less than one hour the immediate and warrantless arrests of the perpetrators were proper. Consequently, the inquest
from the time of the occurrence of the crime. Hence, the CA finding that the arrest took place two (2) proceeding that the City Prosecutor conducted was appropriate under the circumstances.
hours after the commission of the crime is unfounded. IV. The term "invited" in the Affidavit of Arrest is construed to
The arresting officers' personal observation of Atty. Generoso's bruises when they arrived at the scene of mean as an authoritative command
the crime is corroborated by the petitioners' admissions that Atty: Generoso indeed suffered blows from After the resolution of the validity of the warrantless arrest, the discussion of the petitioners' second
petitioner Macapanas and his brother Joseph Macapanas,83 although they asserted that they did it in issue is largely academic. Arrest is defined as the taking of a person into custody in order that he may be
self-defense against Atty. Generoso. bound to answer for the commission of an offense. An arrest is made by an actual restraint of the person
to be arrested, or by his submission to the custody of the person making the arrest.91 Thus, application of
actual force, manual touching of the body, physical restraint or a formal declaration of arrest is not On November 13, 2003[,] at around 5:30 x x x in the afternoon, while PO1 NELSON MARIANO and PO3
required. It is enough that there be an intention on the part of one of the parties to arrest the other and EDUARDO RAMIREZ were on duty, a certain EDWIN LOJERA arrived at their office and asked for police
the intent of the other to submit, under the belief and impression that submission is necessary.92 assistance regarding a shooting incident. Per report of the latter, it appears that while driving a towing
Notwithstanding the term "invited" in the Affidavit of Arrest,93 SP02 Javier could not but have the truck and traversing along EDSA, Balintawak, Quezon City, he had a traffic dispute (gitgitan) with a white
intention of arresting the petitioners following Atty. Generoso' s account. SP02 Javier did not need to taxi cab prompting him to follow said vehicle until they reached along 8th Avenue Street corner C-3
apply violent physical restraint when a simple directive to the petitioners to follow him to the police Road, Caloocan City. Thereat, the passengers of said taxi cab, one of them was accused Calantiao,
station would produce a similar effect. In other words, the application of actual force would only be an alighted and fired their guns. Surprised, Lojera could not do anything but continued his driving until he
alternative if the petitioners had exhibited resistance. reached a police station nearby where he reported the incident.
To be sure, after a crime had just been committed and the attending policemen have acquired personal The police officers on duty then were PO1 NELSON MARIANO and PO3 EDUARDO RAMIREZ. PO1
knowledge of the incidents of the crime, including the alleged perpetrators, the arrest of the petitioners Mariano testified that they immediately responded to said complaint by proceeding to 5th Avenue
as the perpetrators pointed to by the victim, was not a mere random act but was in connection with a corner 8th Street, Caloocan City where they found the white taxi. While approaching said vehicle, two
particular offense. Furthermore, SP02 Javier had informed the petitioners, at the time of their arrest, of armed men alighted therefrom, fired their guns towards them (police officers) and ran away. PO1
the charges against them before taking them to Batasan Hills Police Station for investigation.94 Mariano and PO3 Ramirez chased them but they were subdued. PO1 Mariano recovered from Calantiao
V. The Order denying the motion for preliminary a black bag containing two (2) bricks of dried marijuana fruiting tops and a magazine of super 38
investigation is valid stainless with ammos, while PO3 Ramirez recovered from Calantiao’s companion [a] .38 revolver.
In their last ditch attempt at avoidance, the petitioners attack the R TC Order denying the petitioners' The suspects and the confiscated items were then turned over to SPO3 PABLO TEMENA, police
urgent motion for regular preliminary investigation for allegedly having been issued in violation of Article investigator at Bagong Barrio Police Station for investigation. Thereat, PO1 Mariano marked the bricks of
VIII, Section 14 of the 1987 Constitution95 and Rule 16, Section 3 of the Revised Rules of Court.96 marijuana contained in a black bag with his initials, "NM". Thereafter, said specimen were forwarded to
The RTC, in its Order dismissing the motion, clearly states that the Court is not persuaded by the the PNP Crime Laboratory for chemical analysis. The result of the examination conducted by P/SINSP.
evidentiary nature of the allegations in the said motion of the accused. Aside from lack of clear and JESSSE DELA ROSA revealed that the same was positive for marijuana, a dangerous drug.
convincing proof, the Court, in the exercise of its sound discretion on the matter, is legally bound to The foregoing testimony of PO1 MARIANO was corroborated by PO3 RAMIREZ who testified that he
pursue and hereby gives preference to the speedy disposition of the case." personally saw those bricks of marijuana confiscated from the accused. He confirmed that he was with
We do not see any taint of impropriety or grave abuse of discretion in this Order. The RTC, in resolving PO1 Mariano when they apprehended said accused and his companion and testified that while PO1
the motion, is not required to state all the facts found in the record of the case. Detailed evidentiary Mariano recovered from the accused a black bag containing marijuana, on his part, he confiscated from
matters, as the RTC decreed, is best reserved for the full-blown trial of the case, not in the preliminary accused’s companion a .38 revolver.
incidents leading up to the trial. MR. CRISENDO AMANSEC, the driver of the taxi where the suspects boarded was also presented in open
Additionally, no less than the Constitution itself provides that it is the decision that should state clearly court and testified as to what he knows about the incident. He confirmed that on that date, two (2)
and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based. In resolving a motion, the court is only required persons boarded on his taxi and upon reaching C-3 Road, they alighted and fired three (3) shots and ran
to state clearly and distinctly the reasons therefor. A contrary system would only prolong the away.
proceedings, which was precisely what happened to this case. Hence, we uphold the validity of the RTC's Aside from the oral testimonies of the witnesses, the prosecution also offered the following
order as it correctly stated the reason for its denial of the petitioners' Urgent Motion for Regular documentary evidence to boost their charge against the accused:
Preliminary Investigation. WHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby DENY the petition, and hereby Exh. "A" – Request for Laboratory Examination dated November 12, 2003
AFFIRM the decision dated January 21, 2008 and the resolution dated April 17, 2008 of the Court of Exh. "B" – Physical Sciences Report No. D-1423-03 dated November 12, 2003
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 91541. The City Prosecutor of Quezon City is hereby ORDERED to proceed with Exh. "C-1" – Picture of First brick of marijuana fruiting tops
the criminal proceedings against the petitioners. Exh. "C-2" – Picture of Second brick of marijuana fruiting tops
SO ORDERED. Exh. "D" – Referral Slip dated November 12, 2003
G.R. No. 203984 June 18, 2014 Exh. "E" – Pinagsamang Sinumpaang Salaysay dated November 12, 2003 of PO3 Eduardo
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, Ramirez and PO1 Nelson Mariano
vs. Exh. "E-1" – Their respective signatures
MEDARIO CALANTIAO y DIMALANTA, Accused-Appellant. Exh. "F" – Sinumpaang Salaysay of Crisendo Amansec (Erroneously marked as Exh. "E")
DECISION EVIDENCE OF THE DEFENSE
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.: The accused offered a different version of the story. According to his testimony, this instant case
This is an appeal from the January 1 7, 2012 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. originated from a traffic mishap where the taxi he and his companion Rommel Reyes were riding almost
04069, affirming in toto the July 23, 2009 Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Caloocan City, collided with another car. Reyes then opened the window and made a "fuck you" sign against the
Branch 127, finding accused-appellant Medario Calantiao y Dimalanta (Calantiao) guilty beyond persons on board of that car. That prompted the latter to chase them and when they were caught in a
reasonable doubt of violating Section 11, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive traffic jam, PO1 Nelson Mariano, one of the persons on board of that other car alighted and kicked their
Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. taxi. Calantiao and Reyes alighted and PO1 Mariano slapped the latter and uttered, "Putang ina mo bakit
On November 13, 2003, Calantiao was charged before the RTC of violation of Section 11, Article II of mo ako pinakyu hindi mo ba ako kilala?" Said police officer poked his gun again[st] Reyes and when
Republic Act No. 9165 in an Information,3 the pertinent portion of which reads: That on or about the Calantiao tried to grab it, the gun fired. Calantiao and Reyes were then handcuffed and were brought to
11th day of November, 2003 in Caloocan City, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of the police station. Thereat, they were subjected to body frisking and their wallets and money were
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, without any authority of law, did then and there taken. PO1 Mariano then prepared some documents and informed them that they will be charged for
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession, custody and control two (2) bricks of dried drugs. A newspaper containing marijuana was shown to them and said police officer told them that it
marijuana fruiting tops with a total weight of 997 .9 grams, knowing the same to be a dangerous drug. would be sufficient evidence against them. They were detained and subjected to medical examination
The facts, as synthesized by the RTC and adopted by the Court of Appeals, are as follows: before they were submitted for inquest at the prosecutor’s office.4
EVIDENCE OF THE PROSECUTION Ruling of the RTC
On July 23, 2009, the RTC rendered its Decision giving credence to the prosecution’s case. The dispositive The purpose of allowing a warrantless search and seizure incident to a lawful arrest is "to protect the
portion of the Decision reads: arresting officer from being harmed by the person arrested, who might be armed with a concealed
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered declaring accused MEDARIO weapon, and to prevent the latter from destroying evidence within reach."13 It is therefore a reasonable
CALANTIAO y DIMALANTA, GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT of the offense of Violation of Section exercise of the State’s police power to protect (1) law enforcers from the injury that may be inflicted on
11, Article II, R.A. 9165, for illegally possessing997.9 grams of marijuana fruiting tops. Henceforth, this them by a person they have lawfully arrested; and (2) evidence from being destroyed by the arrestee. It
Court hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of Five Hundred seeks to ensure the safety of the arresting officers and the integrity of the evidence under the control
Thousand Pesos (Php500,000.00).5 and within the reach of the arrestee.
In convicting Calantiao, the RTC held that the illegal drug seized was admissible in evidence as it was In People v. Valeroso,14 this Court had the occasion to reiterate the permissible reach of a valid
discovered during a body search after Calantiao was caught in flagrante delicto of possessing a gun and warrantless search and seizure incident to a lawful arrest, viz:
firing at the police officers. Moreover, the RTC found all the elements of the offense to have been duly When an arrest is made, it is reasonable for the arresting officer to search the person arrested in order
established by the prosecution.6 to remove any weapon that the latter might use in order to resist arrest or effect his escape. Otherwise,
Aggrieved, Calantiao appealed7 his conviction to the Court of Appeals, assigning the following errors: the officer’s safety might well be endangered, and the arrest itself frustrated. In addition, it is entirely
I reasonable for the arresting officer to search for and seize any evidence on the arrestee’s person in
THE COURT A QUOGRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND order to prevent its concealment or destruction.
REASONABLE DOUBT FOR VIOLATION OF SECTION 11, ARTICLE II, REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9165, Moreover, in lawful arrests, it becomes both the duty and the right of the apprehending officers to
NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT THE ALLEGEDLY SEIZED ITEMS ARE INADMISSIBLE IN conduct a warrantless search not only on the person of the suspect, but also in the permissible area
EVIDENCE. within the latter’s reach. Otherwise stated, a valid arrest allows the seizure of evidence or dangerous
II weapons either on the person of the one arrested or within the area of his immediate control. The
THE COURT A QUOGRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT DESPITE THE phrase "within the area of his immediate control" means the area from within which he might gain
ARRESTING OFFICERS’ PATENT NON-COMPLIANCE WITHTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE possession of a weapon or destructible evidence. A gun on a table or in a drawer in front of one who is
PROPER CUSTODY OF SEIZED DANGEROUS DRUGS. arrested can be as dangerous to the arresting officer as one concealed in the clothing of the person
III arrested. (Citations omitted.)
THE COURT A QUOGRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT DESPITE THE In Valeroso, however, the Court held that the evidence searched and seized from him could not be used
PROSECUTION’S FAILURE TO PROVE THE PROPER CHAIN OF CUSTODY OF THE SEIZED against him because they were discovered in a room, different from where he was being detained, and
DANGEROUS DRUGS.8 was in a locked cabinet. Thus, the area searched could not be considered as one within his immediate
Ruling of the Court of Appeals control that he could take any weapon or destroy any evidence against him.15
The Court of Appeals found no reason to overturn Calantiao’s conviction. It found that there was In the case at bar, the marijuana was found in a black bag in Calantiao’s possession and within his
sufficient reason to justify a warrantless arrest, as the police officers were acting on a legitimate immediate control. He could have easily taken any weapon from the bag or dumped it to destroy the
complaint and had a reasonable suspicion that the persons identified at the scene were the perpetrators evidence inside it. As the black bag containing the marijuana was in Calantiao’s possession, it was within
of the offense. Likewise, the Court of Appeals held that the search and subsequent seizure of the the permissible area that the apprehending officers could validly conduct a warrantless search.
marijuana in question was lawful and valid, being incidental to a lawful arrest.9 Finding that all the Calantiao’s argument that the marijuana cannot be used as evidence against him because its discovery
elements of the charge of illegal possession of dangerous drugs to be present and duly proven,10 the was in violation of the Plain View Doctrine, is misplaced.
Court of Appeals, on January 17, 2012, promulgated its Decision, affirming in toto the RTC’s ruling. The Plain View Doctrine is actually the exception to the inadmissibility of evidence obtained in a
Undaunted, Calantiao is now before this Court praying for an acquittal, adding the following arguments warrantless search incident to a lawful arrest outside the suspect’s person and premises under his
in support of his position: immediate control. This is so because "[o]bjects in the ‘plain view’ of an officer who has the right to be in
First, the plain view doctrine is not an exception to a search incident to a valid warrantless arrest. the position to have that view are subject to seizure and may be presented as evidence."16 "The doctrine
xxxx is usually applied where a police officer is not searching for evidence against the accused, but
Second, Calantiao did not waive the inadmissibility of the seized items. nonetheless inadvertently comes across an incriminating object x x x. [It] serves to supplement the prior
xxxx justification – whether it be a warrant for another object, hot pursuit, search incident to lawful arrest, or
Finally, the seized items’ custodial chain is broken.11 some other legitimate reason for being present unconnected with a search directed against the accused
In essence, Calantiao is questioning the admissibility of the marijuana found in his possession, as – and permits the warrantless seizure."17
evidence against him on the grounds of either it was discovered via an illegal search, or because its The Plain View Doctrine thus finds no applicability in Calantiao’s situation because the police officers
custodial chain was broken. purposely searched him upon his arrest. The police officers did not inadvertently come across the black
Ruling of this Court bag, which was in Calantiao’s possession; they deliberately opened it, as part of the search incident to
This Court finds no merit in Calantiao’s arguments. Calantiao’s lawful arrest.
Search and Seizure of Inventory and Chain of
Marijuana valid Custody of Evidence
This Court cannot subscribe to Calantiao’s contention that the marijuana in his possession cannot be Calantiao claims that even if the search and seizure were validly effected, the marijuana is still
admitted as evidence against him because it was illegally discovered and seized, not having been within inadmissible as evidence against him for failure of the apprehending officers to comply with the rules on
the apprehending officers’ "plain view."12 chain of custody, as the item was marked at the police station.18
Searches and seizure incident to a lawful arrest are governed by Section 13, Rule 126 of the Revised The pertinent provisions of Republic Act No. 9165 provide as follows:
Rules of Criminal Procedure, to wit: Section 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized, and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs, Plant
Section 13.Search incident to lawful arrest.– A person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia
weapons or anything which may have been used or constitute proof in the commission of an offense and/or Laboratory Equipment. – The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs,
without a search warrant. plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, as well as
instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated, seized and/or surrendered, for The defenses of denial and frame-up have been invariably viewed by this Court with disfavor for it can
proper disposition in the following manner: easily be concocted and is a common and standard defense ploy in prosecutions for violation of
(1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately Dangerous Drugs Act. In order to prosper, the defenses of denial and frame-up must be proved with
after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence strong and convincing evidence. In the cases before us, appellant failed to present sufficient evidence in
of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or support of his claims. Aside from his self-serving assertions, no plausible proof was presented to bolster
his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of his allegations.24
Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the Hence, as Calantiao failed to show clear and convincing evidence that the apprehending officers were
inventory and be given a copy thereof[.] stirred by illicit motive or failed to properly perform their duties, their testimonies deserve full faith and
Its Implementing Rules and Regulations state: credit.25
SECTION 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs, Plant WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court hereby AFFIRMS the January 17, 2012 Decision of the
Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 04069.
and/or Laboratory Equipment. — The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs, SO ORDERED.
plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, as well as SR. INSP. JERRY C. VALEROSO, G.R. No. 164815
instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated, seized and/or surrendered, for Petitioner,
proper disposition in the following manner: Present:
(a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,
immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in Chair
the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or person,
seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the - versus - AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the CHICO-NAZARIO,
copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof; Provided, that the physical inventory and NACHURA, and
photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served; or at the REYES, JJ.
nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team, whichever is
practicable, in case of warrantless seizures; Provided, further, that non-compliance with these THE PEOPLE OF THE Promulgated:
requirements under justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of PHILIPPINES,
the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall not render Respondent. February 22, 2008
void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items[.] (Emphasis supplied.) x--------------------------------------------------x
This Court has held that the failure to strictly comply with Section 21, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165,
such as immediately marking seized drugs, will not automatically impair the integrity of chain of custody DECISION
because what is of utmost importance is the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of
the seized items, as these would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the
accused.19 REYES, R.T., J.:
Section 21 and its IRR do not even mention "marking." What they require are (1) physical inventory, and
(2) taking of photographs. As this Court held in People v. Ocfemia20:
What Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165 and its implementing rule do not expressly specify is the matter of THE law looks forward, never backward. Lex prospicit, non respicit. A new law has a prospective,
"marking" of the seized items in warrantless seizures to ensure that the evidence seized upon
apprehension is the same evidence subjected to inventory and photography when these activities are not retroactive, effect.[1] However, penal laws that favor a guilty person, who is not a habitual criminal,
undertaken at the police station rather than at the place of arrest. Consistency with the "chain of
custody" rule requires that the "marking" of the seized items – to truly ensure that they are the same shall be given retroactive effect.1-a These are the rule, the exception and exception to the exception on
items that enter the chain and are eventually the ones offered in evidence – should be done (1) in the
effectivity of laws.
presence of the apprehended violator (2) immediately upon confiscation.
The prosecution was able to establish the chain of custody of the seized marijuana from the time the
police officers confiscated it, to the time it was turned over to the investigating officer, up to the time it
was brought to the forensic chemist for laboratory examination.21 This Court has no reason to overrule Ang batas ay tumitingin sa hinaharap, hindi sa nakaraan. Gayunpaman, ang parusa ng bagong batas
the RTC and the Court of Appeals, which both found the chain of custody of the seized drugs to have not
been broken so as to render the marijuana seized from Calantiao inadmissible in evidence. ay iiral kung ito ay pabor sa taong nagkasala na hindi pusakal na kriminal.
Furthermore, unless it can be shown that there was bad faith, ill will, or tampering of the evidence, the
presumption that the integrity of the evidence has been preserved will remain. The burden of showing
the foregoing to overcome the presumption that the police officers handled the seized drugs with
regularity, and that they properly discharged their duties is on Calantiao. Unfortunately, Calantiao failed We apply the exception rather than the rule in this petition for review on certiorari of the
to discharge such burden.22
decision of the Court of Appeals (CA), affirming with modification that of the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
It is worthy to note that these arguments were only raised by Calantiao on his appeal. He himself admits
this.23 His theory, from the very beginning, was that he did not do it, and that he was being framed for in Quezon City, finding petitioner liable for illegal possession of a firearm.
having offended the police officers. Simply put, his defense tactic was one of denial and frame-up.
However, those defenses have always been frowned upon by the Court, to wit:
without first having secured the necessary license/permit issued by the proper
The Facts authorities.

CONTRARY TO LAW.
On July 10, 1996, at around 9:30 a.m., SPO2 Antonio M. Disuanco of the Criminal Investigation

Division, Central Police District Command, received a dispatch order[2]from the desk officer.[3] The order

directed him and three (3) other policemen to serve a warrant of arrest[4] issued by Judge Ignacio Salvador
Quezon City, Philippines, July 15, 1996.
against petitioner Sr. Insp. Jerry C. Valeroso in a case for kidnapping with ransom.[5]
(Sgd.)
GLORIA VICTORIA C. YAP
After a briefing, the team conducted the necessary surveillance on petitioner, checking his hideouts Assistant City Prosecutor[18]

in Cavite, Caloocan, and Bulacan.[6] Eventually, the team proceeded to the Integrated National Police (INP)

Central Station at Culiat, Quezon City, where they saw petitioner as he was about to board a With the assistance of his counsel de parte, Atty. Oscar Pagulayan, petitioner pleaded not guilty

tricycle.[7] SPO2 Disuanco and his team approached petitioner.[8] They put him under arrest, informed him when arraigned on October 9, 1996.[19] Trial on the merits ensued.

of his constitutional rights, and bodily searched him.[9] Found tucked in his waist[10] was a Charter Arms,

bearing Serial Number 52315[11] with five (5) live ammunition.[12] SPO2 Disuanco and Deriquito testified for the prosecution in the manner stated above.

Petitioner was then brought to the police station for questioning.[13] Upon the other hand, the defense version was supplied by the combined testimonies of

petitioner Sr. Insp. Jerry C. Valeroso, SPO3 Agustin R. Timbol, Jr. and Adrian Yuson.

A verification of the subject firearm at the Firearms and Explosives Division at Camp Crame revealed that Petitioner recounted that on July 10, 1996, he was fast asleep in the boarding house of his children located

it was not issued to petitioner but to a certain Raul Palencia Salvatierra of Sampaloc, Manila.[14] Epifanio at Sagana Homes, Barangay New Era, Quezon City.[20] He was roused from his slumber when four (4)

Deriquito, the records verifier, presented a certification[15] to that effect signed by Edwin C. Roque, chief heavily armed men in civilian clothes bolted the room.[21] They trained their guns at him[22] and pulled him

records officer of the Firearms and Explosive Division.[16] out of the room. They then tied his hands and placed him near the faucet.[23] The raiding team went back

inside and searched and ransacked the room.[24] SPO2 Disuanco stood guard outside with him.[25] Moments

Petitioner was then charged with illegal possession of firearm and ammunition under later, an operative came out of the room and exclaimed, Hoy, may nakuha akong baril sa loob![26]

Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1866,[17] as amended. The Information read:

Petitioner was told by SPO2 Disuanco that we are authorized to shoot you because theres a shoot to kill
That on or about the 10th day of July, 1996, in Quezon City, Philippines,
the said accused without any authority of law, did then and there willfully, order against you, so if you are planning do so something, do it right now.[27] He was also told that there
unlawfully and knowingly have in his/her possession and under his/her custody and
was a standing warrant for his arrest.[28] However, he was not shown any proof when he asked for
control
it.[29] Neither was the raiding group armed with a valid search warrant.[30]
One (1) cal. 38 Charter Arms revolver bearing Serial No. 52315
with five (5) live ammo.
According to petitioner, the search done in the boarding house was illegal. The gun seized from On May 6, 1998, the trial court found petitioner guilty as charged, disposing as follows:

him was duly licensed and covered by necessary permits. He was, however, unable to present the
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby finds the accused guilty beyond
documentation relative to the firearm because it was confiscated by the police. Petitioner further reasonable doubt of Violation of Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1866 as
amended by Republic Act No. 8294 and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty
lamented that when he was incarcerated, he was not allowed to engage the services of a counsel. Neither
of prision correccional in its maximum period or from 4 years, 2 months and 1 day
was he allowed to see or talk to his family.[31] as minimum to 6 years as maximum and to pay the fine in the amount of Fifteen
Thousand Pesos (P15,000.00).

The gun subject of this case is hereby ordered confiscated in favor of the
Petitioner contended that the police had an axe to grind against him. While still with the Narcotics
government. Let the same be put in trust in the hands of the Chief of the PNP.
Command, he turned down a request of Col. Romulo Sales to white-wash a drug-related investigation
SO ORDERED.[46]
involving friends of the said police officer. Col. Sales was likewise subject of a complaint filed with the

Ombudsman by his wife. Col. Sales was later on appointed as the head of the unit that conducted the

search in his boarding house.[32]

SPO3 Timbol, Jr. of the Narcotics Command testified that he issued to petitioner a Memorandum Receipt
Petitioner moved to reconsider[47] but his motion was denied on August 27, 1998.[48] He
dated July 1, 1993[33] covering the subject firearm and its ammunition.This was upon the verbal instruction
appealed to the CA.
of Col. Angelito Moreno. SPO3 Timbol identified his signature[34] on the said receipt.[35]

On May 4, 2004, the appellate court affirmed with modification


Adrian Yuson, an occupant of the room adjacent to where petitioner was arrested, testified
the RTC disposition. The fallo of the CA decision reads:
that on July 10, 1996, two (2) policemen suddenly entered his room as he was preparing for school.[36] They

grabbed his shoulder and led him out.[37] During all those times, a gun was poked at him.[38] He was asked Verily, the penalty imposed by the trial court upon the accused-appellant
is modified to 4 years and 2 months as minimum up to 6 years as maximum.
where petitioner was staying. Fearing for his life, he pointed to petitioners room.[39]
WHEREFORE, with the foregoing MODIFICATION as to the penalty, the decision
appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED in all other respects.
Four (4) policemen then entered the room.[40] He witnessed how they pointed a gun at
SO ORDERED.[49]
petitioner, who was clad only in his underwear.[41] He also witnessed how they forcibly brought petitioner

out of his room.[42] While a policeman remained near the faucet to guard petitioner, three (3) others went
His motion for reconsideration[50] having been denied through a Resolution dated August 3,
back inside the room.[43] They began searching the whole place. They forcibly opened his locker,[44] which
2004,[51] petitioner resorted to the present petition under Rule 45.
yielded the subject firearm.[45]

Issues
RTC and CA Dispositions

Petitioner raises the following issues for Our consideration:


The Court on several occasions ruled that either the testimony of a representative of, or a
I. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERRORS OF LAW IN certification from, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Firearms and Explosive Office attesting that a person
AFFIRMING THE CONVICTION OF PETITIONER DESPITE THE ABSENCE OF
PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. is not a licensee of any firearm would suffice to prove beyond reasonable doubt the second element of

II. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERRORS possession of illegal firearms.[59] The prosecution more than complied when it presented both.
OF FACT AND LAW IN SUSTAINING THE LEGALITY OF THE SEARCH AND THE
VALIDITY AND ADMISSIBILITY OF THE EVIDENCE OBTAINED
The certification is outside the scope
THEREFROM DESPITE THE OVERWHELMING PROOF THAT THE SAME IS THE
of the hearsay rule.
FRUIT OF THE POISONOUS TREE.

III. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERRORS OF LAW IN


NOT UPHOLDING THE REGULARITY AND VALIDITY SURROUNDING THE The general rule is that a witness can testify only to those facts which he knows of his personal
ISSUANCE OF THE MEMORANDUM RECEIPTS (SIC) IN FAVOR OF PETITIONER
WHICH PROVES HIS INNOCENCE OF THE CRIME CHARGE knowledge; that is, which are derived from his own perception.[60]Otherwise, the testimony is objectionable
(SIC).[52] (Underscoring supplied)
for being hearsay.[61]

Our Ruling On this score, the certification from the Firearms and Explosives Division is an exception to the

hearsay rule by virtue of Rule 130, Section 44 of the Rules of Court which provides:

In illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, the prosecution has the burden of proving the

twin elements of (1) the existence of the subject firearm and ammunition, and (2) the fact that the accused
Sec. 44. Entries in official records. Entries in official records made in the
who possessed or owned the same does not have the corresponding license for it.[53] performance of his official duty by a public officer of the Philippines, or by a person
in the performance of a duty specifically enjoined by law, are prima facie evidence
of the facts therein stated.
The prosecution was able to discharge its burden.

It may be true that the contents of said certification are only prima facie evidence of the facts

The existence of the subject firearm and its ammunition was established through the testimony stated there. However, the failure of petitioner to present controverting evidence makes the presumption
unrebutted. Thus, the presumption stands.
of SPO2 Disuanco.[54] Defense witness Yuson also identified the firearm.[55] Its existence was likewise

admitted by no less than petitioner himself.[56]


Petitioner, however, raises several points which he says entitles him to no less than an acquittal.

As for petitioners lack of authority to possess the firearm, Deriquito testified that a verification The assessment of credibility of
witnesses lies with the trial court.
of the Charter Arms Caliber .38 bearing Serial No. 52315 with the Firearms and Explosives Division at Camp

Crame revealed that the seized pistol was not issued to petitioner. It was registered in the name of a
First, petitioner says that the seizure of the subject firearm was invalid. The search was
certain Raul Palencia Salvatierra of Sampaloc, Manila.[57] As proof, Deriquito presented a certification
conducted after his arrest and after he was taken out of the room he was occupying.[62]
signed by Roque, the chief records officer of the same office.[58]

This contention deserves scant consideration.


Petitioners version of the manner and place of his arrest goes into the factual findings made by the trial Although petitioner is correct in his submission that public officers like policemen are accorded

court and its calibration of the credibility of witnesses. However, as aptly put by Justice Ynares-Santiago presumption of regularity in the performance of their official duties,[68] it is only a presumption; it may be

in People v. Rivera:[63] overthrown by evidence to the contrary. The prosecution was able to rebut the presumption when it

proved that the issuance to petitioner of the Memorandum Receipt was anything but regular.
x x x the manner of assigning values to declarations of witnesses on the
witness stand is best and most competently performed by the trial judge who had
the unmatched opportunity to observe the witnesses and assess their credibility by
SPO3 Timbol, Jr. testified that he issued the Memorandum Receipt to petitioner based on the
the various indicia available but not reflected on record. The demeanor of the
person on the stand can draw the line between fact and fancy or evince if the verbal instruction of his immediate superior, Col. Moreno.[69] However, a reading of Timbols testimony on
witness is telling the truth or lying through his teeth. We have consistently ruled
that when the question arises as to which of the conflicting versions of the cross-examination[70] would reveal that there was an unusual facility by which said receipt was issued to
prosecution and the defense is worthy of belief, the assessment of the trial courts
petitioner. Its issuance utterly lacked the usual necessary bureaucratic constraints. Clearly, it was issued
are generally viewed as correct and entitled to great weight. Furthermore, in an
appeal, where the culpability or innocence of the accused depends on the issue of to petitioner under questionable circumstances.
credibility of witnesses and the veracity of their testimonies, findings of the trial
court are given the highest degree of respect if not finality.[64] (Underscoring
supplied) Failure to offer an unlicensed firearm
as evidence is not fatal provided there
is competent testimony as to its
existence.
The trial court found the prosecution version worthy of credence and belief. We find no

compelling reason not to accept its observation on this score.


Third, petitioner claims that the subject firearm and ammunition should have been excluded

as evidence because they were not formally offered by the prosecution[71] in violation of Section 34, Rule
Worth noting is the fact that petitioner is a ranking police officer who not only claims to be
132 of the Rules of Court.[72]
highly decorated,[65] but have effected a number of successful arrests[66] as well. Common sense would

dictate that he must necessarily be authorized to carry a gun. We thus agree with the Office of the Solicitor
We note that petitioner contradicted himself when he argued for the validity of the
General that framing up petitioner would have been a very risky proposition. Had the arresting officers
Memorandum Receipt and, at the same time, for the exclusion in evidence of the subject firearm and its
really intended to cause the damnation of petitioner by framing him up, they could have easily planted a
ammunition. Petitioners act may result to an absurd situation where the Memorandum Receipt is declared
more incriminating evidence rather than a gun. That would have made their nefarious scheme easier,
valid, while the subject firearm and its ammunition which are supposedly covered by the Memorandum
assuming that there indeed was one.
Receipt are excluded as evidence. That would have made the Memorandum Receipt useless.
The pieces of evidence show that
petitioner is not legally authorized to
possess the subject firearm and its five In any case, petitioners contention has no leg to stand on.
(5) ammunition.

Contrary to petitioners claim, the subject firearm [73] and its five (5) live ammunition[74] were
Second, petitioner insists that he is legally authorized to possess the subject firearm and its
offered in evidence by the prosecution.[75] Even assuming arguendo that they were not offered, petitioners
ammunition on the basis of the Memorandum Receipt issued to him by the PNPNarcotics Command.[67]
manufacture, deal in, acquire, dispose, or possess any low-powered firearm, such as
stance must still fail. The existence of an unlicensed firearm may be established by testimony, even rimfire handgun, .380 or .32 and other firearm of similar firepower, part of firearm,
ammunition, or machinery, tool or instrument used or intended to be used in the
without its presentation at trial. In People v. Orehuela,[76] the non-presentation of the pistol did not
manufacture of any firearm or ammunition: Provided, That no other crime was
prevent the conviction of the accused. committed. (Underscoring supplied)

The doctrine was affirmed in the recent case of People v. Malinao.[77] As a general rule, penal laws should not have retroactive application, lest they acquire the

character of an ex post facto law.[82] An exception to this rule, however, is when the law is advantageous

As previously stated, the existence of the subject firearm and its five (5) live ammunition were to the accused. According to Mr. Chief Justice Araullo, this is not as a right of the offender, but founded

established through the testimony of SPO2 Disuanco.[78] Yuson also identified said firearm.[79] Petitioner on the very principles on which the right of the State to punish and the commination of the penalty are

even admitted its existence.[80] based, and regards it not as an exception based on political considerations, but as a rule founded on

principles of strict justice.[83]

We hasten to add that there may also be conviction where an unlicensed firearm is presented

during trial but through inadvertence, negligence, or fortuitous event (for example, if it is lost), it is not

offered in evidence, as long as there is competent testimony as to its existence. Although an additional fine of P15,000.00 is imposed by R.A. No. 8294, the same is still

advantageous to the accused, considering that the imprisonment is lowered to prision correccional in its
Penal and civil liabilities
maximum period[84] from reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua[85] under P.D.

No. 1866.
Petitioner was charged with the crime of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition under

the first paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866, as amended. It provides that [t]he penalty of reclusion
Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, prision correccional maximum which ranges from
temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon any person who shall
four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day to six (6) years, is the prescribed penalty and will form the
unlawfully manufacture, deal in, acquire, dispose, or possess any firearm, part of firearm, ammunition or
maximum term of the indeterminate sentence. The minimum term shall be one degree lower, which
machinery, tool or instrument used or intended to be used in the manufacture of any firearm or
is prision correccional in its medium period (two [2] years, four [4] months and one [1] day to four [4] years
ammunition.
and two [2] months).[86] Hence, the penalty imposed by the CA is correct. The penalty of four (4) years and

two (2) months of prision correccional medium, as minimum term, to six (6) years of prision
P.D. No. 1866, as amended, was the governing law at the time petitioner committed the offense
correccional maximum, as maximum term, is in consonance with the Courts ruling in Gonzales v. Court of
on July 10, 1996. However, R.A. No. 8294 amended P.D. No. 1866 on July 6, 1997,[81] during the pendency
Appeals[87] and Barredo v. Vinarao.[88]
of the case with the trial court. The present law now states:

SECTION 1. Unlawful Manufacture, Sale, Acquisition, Disposition or As to the subject firearm and its five (5) live ammunition, their proper disposition should be
Possession of Firearms or Ammunition or Instruments Used or Intended to be Used
made under Article 45 of the Revised Penal Code[89] which provides, among others, that the proceeds and
in the Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunition. The penalty of prision
correccional in its maximum period and a fine of not less than Fifteen Thousand instruments or tools of the crime shall be confiscated and forfeited in favor of the government.
Pesos (P15,000) shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully
the team to stop and their occupants were then politely requested to alight in order to allow routine
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated May 4, 2004 is AFFIRMED in full. inspection and checking of their vehicles. Motorists who refused the request were not forced to do so.
At about 10:30 in the morning of the same day, a red Tamaraw FX trying to pass through the check point
was stopped by the team and directed to park at the side of the road. As the occupants within the
SO ORDERED. vehicle could not be seen through its tinted windows, SPO1 Eliezer Requejo, a member of the team,
G.R. No. 156320 February 14, 2007 knocked on the vehicle’s window and requested the occupants to step down for a routine inspection.
RODOLFO ABENES y GACUTAN, Petitioner, The eight occupants, which included the accused-appellant Rodolfo Abenes who is the Barangay
vs. Chairman of Tawagan Norte, Labangan, Zamboanga Del Sur, alighted from the vehicle. At this juncture,
HE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents. SPO1 Requejo and SPO3 Pascua noticed that a holstered firearm was tucked at the right waist of Abenes.
DECISION The firearm was readily visible to the policemen; it was not covered by the shirt worn by Abenes. Abenes
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: was then asked by SPO3 Pascua whether he had a license and authority to carry the firearm, and
For review before the Court is the Decision1 dated November 29, 2002 of the Court of Appeals (CA) whether his possession was exempted from the Gun Ban being enforced by the COMELEC. Accused
which affirmed the Joint Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pagadian City, Branch 19, dated answered in the affirmative. The policemen then demanded for the pertinent documents to be shown to
June 5, 2000, finding Rodolfo Abenes y Gacutan (petitioner) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Illegal support Abenes’ claim. He could not show any. Hence, SPO1 Requejo confiscated Abenes’ firearm, which
Possession of High Powered Firearm and Ammunition under Presidential Decree No. 1866 (P.D. No. was later identified as a Norinco .45 caliber pistol bearing Serial No. 906347, including its magazine
1866) in Criminal Case No. 4559-98, and of violating Section 261(q) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 (B.P. containing seven live ammunitions.
Blg. 881), otherwise known as the Omnibus Election Code, vis-à-vis COMELEC Resolution No. 2958 (Gun Subsequently SPO3 Pascua, using his privately owned jeep, brought Abenes to the PNP Headquarters at
Ban) in Criminal Case No. 4563-98. Camp Abelon in Pagadian City. Upon reaching the Headquarters, SPO3 Pascua indorsed Abenes to Major
Petitioner was charged under the following Informations: Quano who in turn referred Abenes to a certain SPO2 Benvienido Albon for further investigation (TSN,
In Criminal Case No. 4559-98 — August 24, 1998 [SPO3 Cipriano Q. Pascua] pp. 5-27, [SPO1 Eliezer Requejo] pp. 29-50).
The undersigned Assistant City Prosecutor hereby accuses RODOLFO ABENES Y GACUTAN of the offense A certification dated May 18, 1998 from the Firearms and Explosives License Processing Section of the
of ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF HIGH POWERED FIREARM & ITS AMMUNITIONS (Violation of P.D. No. 1866, PNP, Pagadian City disclosed that Abenes is not a registered nor a licensed firearm holder (Record of
as amended by R.A. No. 8294), committed as follows: Criminal Case No. 4559-98, p. 56).
On May 8, 1998, at about 10:30 a.m., in Danlugan, Pagadian City, Philippines, within the jurisdiction of After the prosecution presented its evidence, [the] accused filed a Demurrer to Evidence with Motion to
this Honorable Court, said RODOLFO ABENES Y GACUTAN did, then and there, willfully, unlawfully, and Dismiss (supra, pp. 72-79), which was denied by the trial court in a Resolution dated March 5, 1999
without any prior authority, license or permit to possess or carry the firearm hereunder described, have (supra, pp. 80-82).
in his possession and control the following firearm classified as high powered, with its corresponding In his defense, accused-appellant tried to establish that the firearm did not belong to and was not
ammunitions and accessory, viz: recovered from him; that the firearm was recovered by the policemen from the floor of the vehicle
- one (1) cal. 45 pistol (NORINCO) bearing SN 906347; inside a clutch bag which was allegedly left by an unidentified person who hitched a ride somewhere
- one (1) magazine for pistol cal. 45 along the national highway of Tawagan Norte Zamboanga Del Sur and alighted near the Mabuhay Bazaar
- seven (7) rounds live ammunitions for cal. 45, in Pagadian City (TSN, July 12, 1999 [Noel Rivera], pp. 7-13; September 15, 1999 [Rodolfo Abenes], pp.
in gross violation of P.D. No. 1866 as amended by R.A. No. 8294. 11-15; September 27, 1999 [Manuel Sabado Gengania], pp. 9-16).5
CONTRARY TO LAW.2 On June 5, 2000, the RTC rendered its Joint Decision convicting the petitioner on both charges, the
In Criminal Case No. 4563-98 — dispositive portion of which states:
The undersigned Assistant City Prosecutor hereby accuses RODOLFO ABENES Y GACUTAN of Election WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing discussion, this Court hereby finds accused Rodolfo Abenes y
Offense in violation of Sec. 261 (9)3 , BP 881 (OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE), vis-à-vis COMELEC Gacutan GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt for Violation of P.D. No. 1866, as amended by Republic Act
RESOLUTION # 1958 (GUN BAN), committed as follows: No. 8294, having been found in possession without license/permit of a Norinco .45 caliber pistol bearing
On May 8, 1998, at about 10:30 a.m. within the Election period which is from January 11, 1998 to June Serial No. 906347 and 7 rounds of ammunitions and sentences him to imprisonment ranging from TWO
30, 1998, in Danlugan, Pagadian City, Philippines, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, said (2) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY of PRISION CORRECCIONAL in its MEDIUM PERIOD, as
RODOLFO ABENES Y GACUTAN did, then and there, willfully, and unlawfully, carry in his person a cal. .45 MINIMUM, to EIGHT (8) YEARS of PRISION MAYOR in its MINIMUM, as MAXIMUM and a FINE of THIRTY
(NORINCO) pistol, bearing serial number 906347, and loaded with seven (7) rounds of live ammunitions, THOUSAND PESOS (₱30,000.00), Philippine currency. Insofar as Criminal Case No. 4559-98 is concerned.
without any prior authority from the COMELEC in gross violation of Sec. 261 (9) of BP 881 (OMNIBUS The .45 Caliber Pistol aforementioned and the seven (7) rounds of ammunitions are hereby forfeited in
ELECTION CODE) in relation to COMELEC RESOLUTION No. 2958 (GUN BAN). favor of the government the same being effects of the Violation of P.D. 1866, amended.
CONTRARY TO LAW.4 As regards Criminal Case No. 4563-98, this Court also finds herein accused Rodolfo Abenes y Gacutan
Upon arraignment, the petitioner pleaded not guilty. Trial ensued. GUILTY of Violation of Section 264, in relation to Section 261, paragraphs (p) and (q) of Batas Pambansa
The facts, as found by the RTC and summarized by the CA, are as follows: Blg. 881, otherwise known as the Omnibus Election Code and sentences him to imprisonment for a
The prosecution showed that three days prior to the May 11, 1998 national and local elections, the period of ONE (1) YEAR, and in addition thereto, herein accused is disqualified to hold any public office
Philippine National Police (PNP) of Pagadian City, through its Company Commander Major Pedronisto and deprived [of] the right of suffrage. It shall be understood that the sentence herein imposed shall be
Quano, created a team composed of seven policemen with a directive to establish and man a checkpoint served simultaneously with the sentence imposed in Criminal Case No. 4559-98.
in Barangay Danlugan at said city, for the purpose of enforcing the Gun Ban which was then being SO ORDERED.6
implemented by the COMELEC. SPO3 Cipriano Q. Pascua was the designated team leader. The RTC found that, as between the positive and categorical assertions of facts by the two policemen –
The team proceeded to Barangay Danlugan, arriving thereat at 8:15 in the morning of May 8, 1998. Team the witnesses for the prosecution – and the mere denial of the accused and his witnesses, the former
leader SPO3 Pascua coordinated with the Barangay Chairman of Danlugan, and the team put up a road must prevail over the latter; that the prosecution successfully proved that the petitioner had no license
block with the marking "COMELEC GUN BAN". Vehicles passing through the road block were required by or permit to carry the firearm through the officer-in-charge of the firearms and explosives office who
testified that, based on his records, the petitioner had not been issued a license, and whose testimony
had not been impugned by the defense; and that the testimonies of the accused and his two witnesses credibility of witnesses is primarily for the trial court to determine.11 For this reason, its observations and
to the effect that while aboard their private vehicle and on their way to attend an election campaign conclusions are accorded great respect on appeal.12
meeting, they simply stopped and allowed a complete stranger to hitch a ride who was carrying a clutch The trial court's assessment of the credibility of a witness is entitled to great weight. It is conclusive and
bag, left the same in the vehicle when he alighted, and which later turned out to contain the subject binding unless shown to be tainted with arbitrariness or unless, through oversight, some fact or
firearm, were flimsy and unbelievable. The RTC ruled that the defense of alibi or denial cannot prevail circumstance of weight and influence has not been considered.13 Absent any showing that the trial judge
over the positive identification by eyewitnesses who have no improper motive to falsely testify against overlooked, misunderstood, or misapplied some facts or circumstances of weight which would affect the
the petitioner, especially where the policemen and the petitioner do not know each other; and, that the result of the case, or that the judge acted arbitrarily, his assessment of the credibility of witnesses
petitioner failed to show any license or any other document to justify his lawful possession of the deserves high respect by appellate courts.14 Thus, the Court finds no cogent reason to disturb the
firearm. findings of the lower courts that the police found in plain view a gun tucked into the waist of the
The petitioner appealed to the CA claiming that the checkpoint was not shown to have been legally set petitioner during the Gun Ban period enforced by the COMELEC.
up, and/or that the frisking of the petitioner who was ordered to alight from the Tamaraw FX, along with So too must this Court uphold the validity of the checkpoint. The petitioner insists that the prosecution
his companions in the vehicle, violated his constitutional right against unlawful search and seizure; and, should have produced the mission order constituting the checkpoint, and invokes Aniag, Jr. v.
that the trial court erred in believing the version of the incident as testified to by the policemen instead Comelec,15 where the Court purportedly held that firearms seized from a motor vehicle without a
of the version presented by the defense’s witness which is more consistent with truth and human warrant are inadmissible because there was no indication that would trigger any suspicion from the
experience.7 policemen nor any other circumstance showing probable cause.
On November 29, 2002, the CA rendered its Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads: On both points the petitioner is wrong. In the present case, the production of the mission order is not
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Joint Decision appealed from is AFFIRMED with the necessary in view of the fact that the checkpoint was established three days before the May 11, 1998
MODIFICATION that with respect to Criminal Case No. 4559-98, accused-appellant is sentenced to an elections; and, the circumstances under which the policemen found the gun warranted its seizure
indeterminate penalty of 4 years, 2 months and 1 day of prision correccional as minimum to 7 years and without a warrant.
4 months of prision mayor as maximum. In People v. Escaño,16 the Court, through the ponencia of Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., held:
SO ORDERED.8 Accused-appellants assail the manner by which the checkpoint in question was conducted. They contend
With respect to the validity of the checkpoint, the CA found that not only do the police officers have in that the checkpoint manned by elements of the Makati Police should have been announced. They also
their favor the presumption that official duties have been regularly performed, but also that the complain of its having been conducted in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner.
proximity of the day the checkpoint had been set up, to the day of the May 11, 1998 elections, We take judicial notice of the existence of the COMELEC resolution imposing a gun ban during the
specifically for the purpose of enforcing the COMELEC gun ban, gives a strong badge of the legitimacy of election period issued pursuant to Section 52(c) in relation to Section 26(q) of the Omnibus Election
the checkpoint; that after a review of the records, the evidence adduced by the prosecution prevails over Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881). The national and local elections in 1995 were held on 8 May, the
the self-serving and uncorroborated claim of the petitioner that he had been "framed"; and, that with second Monday of the month. The incident, which happened on 5 April 1995, was well within the
respect to the admissibility of the firearm as evidence, the prosecution witnesses convincingly election period.
established that the .45 caliber pistol, tucked into the right waist of the petitioner when he alighted from This Court has ruled that not all checkpoints are illegal. Those which are warranted by the exigencies of
the vehicle, was readily visible, and, therefore, could be seized without a search warrant under the "plain public order and are conducted in a way least intrusive to motorists are allowed. For, admittedly, routine
view" doctrine. checkpoints do intrude, to a certain extent, on motorists’ right to "free passage without interruption,"
The petitioner is now before this Court, raising the following issues: but it cannot be denied that, as a rule, it involves only a brief detention of travelers during which the
I. vehicle’s occupants are required to answer a brief question or two. For as long as the vehicle is neither
Given the circumstances, and the evidence adduced, was the check-point validly established? searched nor its occupants subjected to a body search, and the inspection of the vehicle is limited to a
II. visual search, said routine checks cannot be regarded as violative of an individual’s right against
Given the circumstances, and the evidence adduced, was the petitioner’s constitutional right unreasonable search. In fact, these routine checks, when conducted in a fixed area, are even less
against unlawful search and seizure violated? intrusive.
III. The checkpoint herein conducted was in pursuance of the gun ban enforced by the COMELEC. The
Given the circumstances, and the evidence adduced, did not the honorable court of appeals COMELEC would be hard put to implement the ban if its deputized agents were limited to a visual search
commit a grave abuse of discretion for adopting the trial court’s unsubstantiated findings of of pedestrians. It would also defeat the purpose for which such ban was instituted. Those who intend to
fact? bring a gun during said period would know that they only need a car to be able to easily perpetrate their
IV. malicious designs.
Given the circumstances, and the evidence adduced, is not the petitioner entitled to an The facts adduced do not constitute a ground for a violation of the constitutional rights of the accused
acquittal, if not on the ground that the prosecution failed to prove guilt beyond reasonable against illegal search and seizure. PO3 Suba admitted that they were merely stopping cars they deemed
doubt, on the ground of reasonable doubt itself . . . as to where the gun was taken: from the suspicious, such as those whose windows are heavily tinted just to see if the passengers thereof were
floor of the vehicle or from the waist of petitioner?9 carrying guns. At best they would merely direct their flashlights inside the cars they would stop, without
The appeal is partly meritorious. The Court reverses the CA’s finding of his conviction in Criminal Case opening the car’s doors or subjecting its passengers to a body search. There is nothing discriminatory in
No. 4559-98. this as this is what the situation demands.17(Emphasis supplied)
After a thorough review of the records, this Court is of the view that the courts a quo – except for a Thus, the Court agrees with the Solicitor General that petitioner’s reliance on Aniag is misplaced.
notable exception with respect to the negative allegation in the Information – are correct in their In Aniag, the police officers manning the checkpoint near the Batasang Pambansa complex stopped the
findings of fact. Indeed, the version of the defense, as found by the lower courts, is implausible and vehicle driven by the driver of Congressman Aniag. After stopping the vehicle, the police opened a
belies the common experience of mankind. Evidence to be believed must not only proceed from the package inside the car which contained a firearm purportedly belonging to Congressman Aniag. In
mouth of a credible witness but it must be credible in itself such as the common experience and declaring the search illegal, the Supreme Court stated that the law enforcers who conducted the search
observation of mankind can approve as probable under the circumstances.10In addition, the question of had no probable cause to check the content of the package because the driver did not behave
suspiciously nor was there any previous information that a vehicle hiding a firearm would pass by the Thus, for failure of the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that petitioner was carrying a
checkpoint. firearm without prior authority, license or permit, the latter must be exculpated from criminal liability
In the instant case, the firearm was seized from the petitioner when in plain view, the policemen saw it under P.D. No. 1866, as amended.
tucked into his waist uncovered by his shirt. With respect to the charge of violating Section 261(q) of B.P. Blg. 881, as amended, otherwise known as
Under the plain view doctrine, objects falling in the "plain view" of an officer who has a right to be in the the Omnibus Election Code, the Court is constrained to affirm the conviction of the petitioner, since the
position to have that view are subject to seizure and may be presented as evidence.18 The "plain view" prosecution successfully discharged its burden of proof.
doctrine applies when the following requisites concur: (a) the law enforcement officer in search of the Section 261 of B.P. Blg. 881 (Omnibus Election Code), as originally worded, provides:
evidence has a prior justification for an intrusion or is in a position from which he can view a particular Sec. 261. Prohibited Acts. – The following shall be guilty of an election offense:
area; (b) the discovery of the evidence in plain view is inadvertent; and (c) it is immediately apparent to (q) Carrying firearms outside residence or place of business. – Any person who, although possessing a
the officer that the item he observes may be evidence of a crime, contraband or otherwise subject to permit to carry firearms, carries any firearms outside his residence or place of business during the
seizure.19 election period, unless authorized in writing by the Commission: Provided, That a motor vehicle, water or
All the foregoing requirements are present in the instant case. The law enforcement officers lawfully air craft shall not be considered a residence or place of business or extension hereof.
made an initial intrusion because of the enforcement of the Gun Ban and were properly in a position x x x x (Emphasis supplied)
from which they particularly viewed the area. In the course of such lawful intrusion, the policemen came Section 32 of Republic Act No. 7166 (R.A. No. 7166), amending Section 261 of the Omnibus Election
inadvertently across a piece of evidence incriminating the petitioner where they saw the gun tucked into Code, provides:
his waist. The gun was in plain view and discovered inadvertently when the petitioner alighted from the SEC. 32. Who May Bear Firearms. – During the election period, no person shall bear, carry or transport
vehicle. firearms or other deadly weapons in public places, including any building, street, park, private vehicle or
As accurately found by the CA: public conveyance, even if licensed to possess or carry the same, unless authorized in writing by the
xxx It must be emphasized that the policemen discovered the firearm [on] the person of the [petitioner] Commission. The issuance of firearm licenses shall be suspended during the election period. (Emphasis
shortly after he alighted from the vehicle and before he was frisked. SPO3 Pascua’s testimony[,] supplied)
corroborated by that of SPO1 Requejo[,] convincingly established that the holstered .45 caliber pistol In view of the foregoing provisions, while it is well-settled that under P.D. No. 1866, as amended, the
tucked at the right waist of the [petitioner] was readily visible to the policemen (TSN, August 24, 1998, burden to prove the negative allegation that the accused has no license or permit to carry a firearm lies
pp. 18, 37). Thus, notwithstanding the absence of a Search Warrant, the policemen may validly seize the with the prosecution; under the Omnibus Election Code, however, the burden to adduce evidence that
firearm and the same is admissible in evidence against the [petitioner] pursuant to the "plain view accused is exempt from the COMELEC Gun Ban, lies with the accused.
doctrine" xxx.20 Section 32 of R.A. No. 7166 is clear and unequivocal25 that the prohibited act to which this provision
Nor can the Court believe petitioner’s claim that he could not have freely refused the "police orders" refers is made up of the following elements: 1) the person is bearing, carrying, or transporting firearms
issued by the police team who were "armed to the teeth" and "in the face of such show of force." The or other deadly weapons; 2) such possession occurs during the election period; and, 3) the weapon is
courts a quo consistently found that the police team manning the checkpoint politely requested the carried in a public place. Under said provision, it is explicit that even if the accused can prove that he is
passengers to alight from their vehicles, and the motorists who refused this request were not forced to holding a valid license to possess such firearm, this circumstance by itself cannot exculpate him from
do so. These findings of fact are fully supported by the evidence in the record. criminal liability. The burden is on the accused to show that he has a written authority to possess such
However, the Court must underscore that the prosecution failed to satisfactorily prove the negative firearm issued by no less than the COMELEC.
allegation in the Information that the petitioner possessed no license or permit to bear the subject On this point, the petitioner failed to present any form of such authority, and, therefore, his conviction
firearm. must be affirmed.
It is a well-entrenched rule "that in crimes involving illegal possession of firearm, the prosecution has the Section 264 of the Omnibus Election Code provides:
burden of proving the elements thereof, viz: the existence of the subject firearm, and the fact that the Sec. 264. Penalties. – Any person found guilty of any election offense under this Code shall be punished
accused who owned or possessed the firearm does not have the corresponding license or permit to with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years and shall not be subject to
possess the same."21 probation. In addition, the guilty party shall be sentenced to suffer disqualification to hold public office
Undoubtedly, it is the constitutional presumption of innocence that lays such burden upon the and deprivation of the right of suffrage. If he is a foreigner, he shall be sentenced to deportation which
prosecution. The absence of such license and legal authority constitutes an essential ingredient of the shall be enforced after the prison term has been served.
offense of illegal possession of firearm, and every ingredient or essential element of an offense must be The CA affirmed the penalty imposed by the RTC. However, the RTC failed to apply Section 1 of the
shown by the prosecution by proof beyond reasonable doubt.22 Indeterminate Sentence Law26 which provides:
Witness for the prosecution SPO4 Gilbert C. Senados admitted that his records were outdated, i.e., that SECTION 1. Hereafter, in imposing a prison sentence for an offense punished by the Revised Penal Code,
his Master List of holders of firearms only covered licenses up to 1994; that it was possible for the or its amendments, the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence the maximum
petitioner to acquire a license after 1994; and that he issued the Certification, dated May 18, 1998, term of which shall be that which, in view of the attending circumstances, could be properly imposed
stating that the petitioner carried no license or permit to possess the guns because he was ordered to do under the rules of the said Code, and the minimum which shall be within the range of the penalty next
so by his superiors.23 lower to that prescribed by the Code for the offense; and if the offense is punished by any other law, the
There is no evidence that between 1994 and May 8, 1998, the date the crime was allegedly committed, court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence, the maximum term of which shall not
no license was issued to petitioner. exceed the maximum fixed by said law and the minimum shall not be less than the minimum term
While the prosecution was able to establish the fact that the subject firearm was seized by the police prescribed by the same.
from the possession of the petitioner, without the latter being able to present any license or permit to Thus, the penalty that should be meted out to petitioner should have a minimum and a maximum
possess the same, such fact alone is not conclusive proof that he was not lawfully authorized to carry period. The Court deems it reasonable that petitioner should suffer imprisonment for a period of one (1)
such firearm. In other words, such fact does not relieve the prosecution from its duty to establish the year as the minimum and two (2) years, as the maximum.
lack of a license or permit to carry the firearm by clear and convincing evidence, like a certification from Furthermore, under Section 34 of R.A. No. 7166, the subject firearm shall be disposed of according to
the government agency concerned.24 existing laws, which, in this case, must be read in light of Article 45 of the Revised Penal Code, to wit:
Art. 45. Confiscation and forfeiture of the proceeds or instruments of the crime.— Every penalty They knocked on the door of Room 504. Leangsiri stood up from the bed in which he sat,[23] opened
imposed for the commission of a felony shall carry with it the forefeiture of the proceeds of the crime the door, and let the three appellants in.[24] Leangsiri took the black suitcase[25] and brought it to the dining
and the instruments or tools with which it was committed. area of the room where appellants stood in full view of NARCOM agents Gapiangao and Balneg. Leangsiri
Such proceeds and instruments or tools shall be confiscated and forfeited in favor of the Government, opened the suitcase and displayed its contents to his visitors.[26]
unless they be the property of a third person not liable for the offense, but those articles which are not Appellants briefly examined the black suitcase and two (2) transparent plastic bags which contained
subject of lawful commerce shall be destroyed.1awphi1.net the heroin.[27] After the examination, Leangsiri closed the suitcase and handed it over to
WHEREFORE, the petition is partly GRANTED. The Decision dated November 29, 2002 of the Court of appellants.[28] Appellants started to leave the hotel room with the contraband when Gapiangao and Balneg
Appeals is REVERSED and SET ASIDE insofar as Criminal Case No. 4559-98 is concerned. Petitioner barged out of the washroom, identified themselves as NARCOM agents, and made the arrest.[29]
Rodolfo Abenes Y Gacutan is ACQUITTED from the charge of illegal possession of firearm under P.D. No. Minutes later, Samala and his companions joined Gapiangao, Balneg, and the four foreigners in
1866, as amended, for failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond unreasonable doubt. Room 504.[30] Appellants Omogbolahan and Bhola identified themselves by presenting their respective
With respect to Criminal Case No. 4563-98, the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals passports. Appellant Amidu, on the other hand, merely said she was staying in Room 413 of the same
is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS that petitioner is sentenced to an indeterminate sentence of one hotel.[31] Further questioning of appellants revealed that Omogbolahan and Bhola were billeted at the
year of imprisonment as minimum to two years of imprisonment as maximum, not subject to probation; Royal Palm Hotel, also located in Manila.[32]
and he shall suffer DISQUALIFICATION to hold public office and DEPRIVATION of the right of suffrage. Accompanied by the hotels owner and security officer, Samala searched appellant Amidus room.
The subject firearm is CONFISCATED and FORF Tucked within the pages of her telephone and address book was a piece of paper with the name SUCHINDA
[G.R. No. 112659. January 24, 1996] LEANGSIRI written on it.[33] The paper and Amidus other possessions were confiscated.[34]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. SUCHINDA LEANGSIRI (at large), accused, FATI The NARCOM and Customs teams then proceeded to the Royal Palm Hotel where appellants
OMOGBOLAHAN Y ALABI, YAMBA LISASI BHOLA, and ZARIATU AMIDU, accused-appellants. Omogbolahan and Bhola were billeted. The agents coordinated with the security officers of the hotel, who
DECISION stood as witnesses when the former entered and searched said appellants room. Their efforts yielded two
PUNO, J.: black suitcases each with false bottoms and both smaller than that confiscated from Leangsiri.[35] Masking
On June 7, 1993, appellants FATI OMOGBOLAHAN Y ALABI,[1] YAMBA LISASI tape and an empty transparent bag were also found in the room.[36]
BHOLA,[2] and ZARIATU AMIDU[3] pleaded not guilty to the charge of Violation of Section 4, Article II, Appellants denied any involvement in the transport of heroin by Leangsiri. They told a different
Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6425[4] embodied in an Information, dated April 2, 1993, as follows: tale.[37]
xxx xxx xxx Appellants Omogbolahan and Bhola were staying at Royal Palm Hotel. On that fateful night
That on or about the 31st of March, 1993 and sometime prior thereto in Manila and other parts of Metro of March 31, 1993, they went to the Las Palmas Hotel to meet co-appellant Amidu and an American named
Manila, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above named accused, conspiring, David. When they got to the fourth floor of the hotel, and as they made their way to Room 413 (Amidus
confederating, and mutually helping one another, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and room), they were accosted by some people who forcibly brought them to Room 504. They explained that
feloniously, without authority of law, deliver, give away, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport they were at the hotel to meet Amidu. Some of those who intercepted them left the room and returned
8,225.31 grams of heroin, a prohibited drug, and/or act as brokers in any of the aforesaid transactions with Amidu. Appellants money and jewelry were taken from them. Those who dispossesed them turned
with or without consideration. out to be policemen.
CONTRARY TO LAW. Appellants were driven to the Royal Palm Hotel. Only one of the policemen entered its premises as
A fourth accused, Thai national SUCHINDA LEANGSIRI, escaped from the Pasay City Jail before the appellants and the others remained in the car. Afterwards, appellants were brought to NARCOM
arraignment. He remains at large.[5] headquarters. Together with Leangsiri, they were presented to the media as members of an international
The evidence of the prosecution establish that in the early afternoon of May 31, 1993, accused drug syndicate.
Leangsiri was arrested at the arrival area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). He was in the On August 31, 1993, the trial court convicted appellants, finding them guilty of conspiring to
act of bringing into the country 8,225.31 grams of heroin[6] hidden under the false bottom of a black transport heroin in violation of Section 4, R.A. 6425. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
suitcase.[7] He informed the authorities that he was to deliver the contraband to three (3) people[8] at the xxx xxx xxx
Las Palmas Hotel in Manila.[9] WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered, finding all the accused (herein
Leangsiri was brought to the headquarters of the Narcotics Command (NARCOM) at the Old MIA appellants) FATI OMOGBOLAHAN y ALABI, YAMBA LISASI BHOLA and ZARIATU AMIDU, guilty beyond
for further investigation.[10] The head of the command, MAJOR ALBINO SABLAYAN, formed a team, reasonable doubt of the crime described in the Information, and hereby sentences them to suffer a
headed by SR. INSP. ADOLFO SAMALA,[11] to conduct follow-up operations in the case.[12] The team and penalty of life imprisonment plus a fine of P30,000 for each of (them).
agents of the Bureau of Customs proceeded to the Las Palmas Hotel,[13] where they allowed Leangsiri to The case as against accused Suchinda Leangsiri is hereby ordered archived.
check into Room 504 with the confiscated black suitcase containing the heroin.[14] The Heroin of about 8,225.31 kgs. is hereby ordered destroyed in the manner provided by law.
At around eight oclock in the evening, two hours after checking in, Leangsiri received a telephone SO ORDERED.
call from his contact. Leangsiri was told that the black suitcase would be picked up at about ten oclock that On September 9, 1993, appellants filed a motion for new trial grounded on the following
night.[15] He relayed the information to his escorts, NARCOM agents SPO3 FABIAN I. THAT ERRORS OF LAW OR IRREGULARITIES HAVE BEEN COMMITTED DURING THE TRIAL PREJUDICIAL
GAPIANGAO[16] and SPO4 ELPIDIO BALNEG.[17] Thereupon, the two NARCOM agents positioned TO THE SUBSTANTIAL RIGHTS OF HEREIN ACCUSED (HEREIN APPELLANTS);
themselves inside the washroom, with its door opened a fraction to give them visual access to the rest of II. THAT NEW AND MATERIAL EVIDENCE HAS BEEN DISCOVERED WHICH THE ACCUSED (APPELLANTS)
the hotel room.[18] COULD NOT WITH REASONABLE DILIGENCE HAVE DISCOVERED AND PRODUCED AT THE TRIAL, AND
On the ground floor and outside perimeters of the Las Palmas hotel, Samala and other NARCOM WHICH IF INTRODUCED AND ADMITTED, WOULD PROBABLY CHANGE THE JUDGMENT.
and Bureau of Customs agents were watching for unusual and suspicious events.[19]From where he sat at The purported new and material evidence consists of the testimony of a certain Julita Thach Camerino, a
the hotels coffee shop, Samala noticed appellant Amidu paced around the lobby for nearly an hour.[20] At Thai citizen, who narrated in her affidavit:
about ten p.m., Amidus co-appellants, Omogbolahan and Bhola, arrived at the hotel.[21] As Amidu flashed 1. That (she) is at present a detention prisoner at the Manila City Jail, Old Bilibid Prison Compound, Sta.
a thumbs up sign to them, they all headed for the elevator and went up to the fifth floor of the hotel.[22] Cruz, Manila;
2. That on or about 11:00 oclock in the morning of 31 August 1993, (she) noticed the arrival of (appellants) on September 24, 1993, does not inspire confidence, considering that this witness was
inmates (appellants) into (the prison) compound, and (Amidu) was still crying; convicted by this Court for violation of the dangerous drugs law, as amended.
3. That after a few minutes, Zariatu Amidu started banging her head against the concrete wall, but after xxx xxx xxx[39]
a few attempts she was prevailed upon to stop by another woman; Appellants now impugn the trial courts decision and its denial of their motion for new trial, and
4. That (she) inquired from some of the inmates the reason why Zariatu Amidu was behaving that way, raise the following assignments of error:
and found out that she and the two other male detainees were just sentenced by the Court of very I. THAT THE LOWER COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONSIDERING THE EXISTENCE OF
severe penalty of life imprisonment; CONSPIRACY BETWEEN AND AMONG THE ACCUSED;
5. That (she) pitied (appellants) of the fate that befell them and (her) conscience rebelled and started II. THAT THE PROSECUTION FAILED TO INTRODUCE DIRECT AND/OR CIRCUMSTANTIAL
tormenting (her) since (she) knows that they are innocent of the crime charged against them of EVIDENCE TO PROVE THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT;
transporting heroin into the country; III. THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN DISREGARDING THE CREDIBLE TESTIMONIES AND
6. That (her) conscience compelled (her) to approach them and voluntarily offered (her) help, if it is still OTHER SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE PRESENTED BY THE THREE ACCUSED.
possible under the situation, whatever assistance (she) could extend to let justice prevail and reveal the IV. THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN DISREGARDING THE CONFLICTING TESTIMONIES OF
truth out of that incident on the evening of 31 March 1993, at Las Palmas Hotel, because (she) was with THE PROSECUTION AND OTHER EVIDENCE FAVORABLE TO THE ACCUSED;
the police at the NAIA, acting as an interpreter between Suchinda Leangsiri and the police when the V. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DENYING ACCUSEDS MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL.[40]
former was being interrogated at the NARCOM Headquarters at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport We affirm appellants conviction for reasons we shall discuss in seriatim.
(NAIA) in the afternoon of 31 March 1993, and into the evening of said date at Las Palmas Hotel; One. We hold that the trial court correctly found that appellants conspired with Leangsiri to
7. That in the process of (her) questioning of Leangsiri, the latter revealed to (them) that he was going to transport eight-and-a-half kilos of heroin.
deliver his stuff of heroin to someone at Las Palmas Hotel but did not identify the person whom he was Appellants submit a two-pronged argument assailing the finding of conspiracy. The first prong urges
going to meet at the hotel nor mention the name/s of the same; that there is neither direct nor circumstantial evidence linking them to the transport of heroin by
8. That on or about 6:00 oclock in the evening of 31 March 1993, (she), Suchinda Leangsiri, and the Leangsiri. The second prong posits that only Leangsiris testimony can prove their alleged conspiracy. The
police team arrived at Las Palmas Hotel wherein (she) and Leangsiri were instructed to proceed to the running fault in appellants line of reasoning is obvious to the eye.
desk counter and check-in, and got Room 504 to occupy; Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of
9. That (she), Suchinda Leangsiri and a police officer whom (she) knew as Emil went to Room 504 to a felony and decide to commit it.[41] It is well-entrenched in our jurisprudence that conspiracy need not be
await for someone who would allegedly pick up the stuff of heroin but the claim or testimony that SPO3 proved by direct evidence.[42] Proof of previous agreement to commit the crime is not also essential to
Gapiangao and SPO4 Balneg were also inside Room 504 together with Suchinda Leangsiri is absolutely establish conspiracy. Conspiracy may be inferred from the acts of the accused, whose conduct before,
false; during, and after the commission of the crime can show its existence. In a host of cases, we have upheld
10.That at around 9:30 that evening, the police brought inside Room 504 two black males whom (she) the finding of conspiracy where it is shown that the accused acted in concert to attain the same objective.
later knew as Yamba Lisasi Bhola and Fati Omogbolahan Alabi; In the case at bar, the positive testimonies of prosecution witnesses Gapiangao,
11 . That while inside Room 504, (she) heard the two, Yamba Lisasi Bhola and Fati Omogbolahan Alabi, Balneg, and Samala established the concerted acts of appellants aimed at carrying out the unlawful design
protesting and complaining to the police why they were brought inside Room 504; of transporting the heroin confiscated from Leangsiri. When Leangsiri was interrogated after his arrest,
12. That the two further explained to the police that they were about to visit a lady friend billeted at he revealed to the authorities that he was to deliver the contraband to three (3) people at the Las Palmas
Room 413 of the same hotel; Hotel. Later, while in Room 504 of said hotel, Leangsiri received a telephone call in the presence of
13. That after hearing that information, (she) was requested by Sr. Insp. Dela Cruz to go with him, and Gapiangao and Balneg, by which he was informed that the heroin would be picked up from him at ten
(they) immediately went inside Room 413 and forcibly brought Zariatu Amidu to Room 504 to join with oclock in the evening. Shortly before the designated pick-up time, Samala saw appellant Amidu (who
the two male black nationals already inside; had been waiting in the lobby of the hotel for almost an hour) flash a thumbs up sign to appellants
14. That afterwards, (they) brought (appellants) in the vicinity of Royal Palm Hotel, where (they) search Omogbolahan and Bhola when they arrived at the hotel. The three (3) appellants then took the elevator
the room of the two black males and found no prohibited drugs; and went up to the fifth floor. They knocked on the door of Room 504, and Leangsiri let them into the
15. That from Royal Palm Hotel, (they) went back to NARCOM Headquarters at NAIA, where (she) room. In full view of Gapiangao and Balneg, appellants examined Leangsiris heroin, and took it and the
divested the three black nationals of their cash and pieces of jewelry, and turn them over to Sr. Insp. suitcase with the false bottom in which it was hidden. Appellants were on their way out of the room
Dela Cruz for safekeeping; with the suitcase and heroin when they were arrested by Gapiangao and Balneg. These facts show
16. That (she is) am going to state further the other details and related matters in court during my beyond doubt that appellants conspired with Leangsiri to transport the illegal drug heroin.
testimony in the trial of the case against (appellants); Two. We also hold that there was delivery of the heroin under Section 4 of R.A. 6425, from Leangsiri
xxx xxx xxx[38] to appellants even though Leangsiri and the heroin were already under the control of the NARCOM on the
The trial court denied the motion, ratiocinating thus: evening of March 31, 1993. Too far out from the fringes of reason is appellants argument that since the
xxx xxx xxx NARCOM agents had already taken Leangsiri and the heroin into their custody and control, it is the
The Court reviewed the records of the case, the transcript of stenographic notes, and the pertinent laws NARCOM agents who should be liable for transporting the said heroin confiscated from Leangsiri.
and jurisprudence, and the Court finds, and so holds, that the findings and conclusions regarding the Section 4, Article II of R.A. 6425 provides, inter alia:
guilt of the herein accused (appellants), as well as the sufficiency of the evidence against them, are The penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from twenty thousand to thirty thousand
amply supported by the evidence, and the present motion did not ventilate any new matter as to pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, administer, deliver,
warrant the said findings to be disturbed and/or set aside. give away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport any prohibited drug, or shall act as a
With respect to the alleged newly discovered evidence, the Court disagrees with the stance taken by the broker in any of such transactions. xxx (Emphasis supplied)
accused (appellants) on this point. The testimony of Julita Thach Camerino could not be considered The proviso applies to the NARCOM agents in the case at bar. In bringing Leangsiri and the heroin
newly discovered, as said person was brought to the premises of the Court for identification during the to Las Palmas Hotel, the NARCOM agents were performing a lawful act in furtherance of their follow-up
trial of this case. Besides, her testimony, summarized in the undated Affidavit submitted by the accused operations. They went to the hotel to apprehend appellants to whom delivery of the illegal drug was to be
made.
Appellants also argue that, even assuming arguendo, they were caught in possession of the heroin, the commission of the offense. Such warrantless search obviously cannot be made in a place other than
they cannot be held liable under Section 4 of R.A. 6425 because they were neither delivering nor the place of arrest.
transporting the drug. They postulate that said provision does not penalize the recipient of the delivered We then held that the warrantless search made by the authorities on the accuseds apartment which
contraband.[43] was located a few blocks away from where she was arrested was illegal for being an untenable violation,
The same argument was raised and rejected by this Court in People vs. Lo Ho Wing.[44] In Lo Hong if not nullification, of the basic constitutional right and guarantee against unreasonable searches and
Wing, the authorities gathered from their intelligence and surveillance activities that the accused were seizures.
going to bring illegal drugs (shabu) into the country. The accused were arrested while on-board a taxi cab Nolasco, however, has undergone some mutations. In subsequent cases, we validated warrantless
which they hailed and boarded at the NAIA. In rejecting the defense argument that there was no delivery, searches made not only on the person of the suspect but also in a permissible area within his
transporting or dispatching of shabu made by the accused therein, we held: reach.[49] We ruled that the reach of a valid warrantless search goes beyond the person of the one arrested
xxx xxx xxx and includes the premises or surroundings under his immediate control.[50] The immediate control
The information charged the accused of delivering, transporting or dispatching fifty-six (56) tea bags test was enunciated in the American case of Chimel vs. State of California.[51] In that case, defendant was
containing metamphetamine, a regulated drug. The conjunction or was used, thereby implying that the arrested in his home for burglary of a coin shop. Afterwards, the arresting officers conducted a search of
accused were being charged of the three specified acts in the alternative. Appellant argues that he his entire three-bedroom house, including the attic, the garage, a small workshop, and drawers. Various
cannot be convicted of delivery because the term connotes a source and a recipient, the latter being items -primarily coins - were found through the search, and were admitted in evidence against him by the
absent under the facts of the case. It is also argued that dispatching cannot apply either since appellant trial court, which convicted him of burglary. The United States Supreme Court reversed the conviction as
never sent off or disposed of drugs. As for transporting, appellant contends that he cannot also be held it struck down the warrantless search on the ground that the search of the accuseds home went far
liable therefor because the act of transporting necessarily requires a point of destination, which again is beyond his person and the area from within which he might have obtained either a weapon or
non-existent under the given facts. something that could have been used as evidence against him.
The contentions are futile attempts to strain the meaning of the operative acts of which appellant and The inadmissibility of evidence obtained in a warrantless search incident to a lawful arrest outside
his co-accused were charged in relation to the facts of the case. There is no doubt that law enforcers the suspects person and the premises under his immediate control admits of an exception. The exception
caught appellant and his co-accused in flagrante delicto of transporting a prohibited drug. The term obtains when the Plain View Doctrine applies as explained in People vs. Musa,[52] in this wise:
transport is defined as to carry or convey from one place to another. The operative words in the xxx Objects in the plain view of an officer who has the right to be in the position to have that view are
definition are to carry or convey. The fact that there is actual conveyance suffices to support a finding subject to seizure and may be presented as evidence.
that the act of transporting was committed. It is immaterial whether or not the place of destination is In Ker v. California, police officers, without securing a search warrant but having information that the
reached.Furthermore, the argument of appellant gives rise to the illogical conclusion that he and his co- defendant husband was selling marijuana from his apartment, obtained from the building manager a
accused did not intend to bring the metamphetamine anywhere, i.e., they had no place of destination. passkey to defendants apartment, and entered it. There they found the defendant husband in the living
The situation in the instant case is one where the transport of a prohibited drug was interrupted by the room. The defendant wife emerged from the kitchen, and one of the officers, after identifying himself,
search and arrest of the accused. Interruption necessarily infers that an act had already been observed through the open doorway of the kitchen, as small scale atop the kitchen sink, upon which lay
commenced. Otherwise, there would be nothing to interrupt. a brick-shaped package containing green leafy substance which he recognized as marijuana. The package
xxx xxx xxx of marijuana was used as evidence in prosecuting defendants for violation of the Narcotic Law. The
In the case at bar, appellants were on their way out of Room 504 of the Las Palmas Hotel carrying the admissibility of the package was challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court, which held, after observing
suitcase with a false bottom containing 8.5 kilos of heroin when they were arrested by the NARCOM that it was not unreasonable for the officer to walk to the doorway of the adjacent kitchen on seeing the
agents. At that point, they were in the act of conveying the heroin to an unknown destination. Their act defendant wife emerge therefrom, that the discovery of the brick of marijuana did not constitute a
was part of the process of transporting the heroin. They were all involved in a conspiracy. The act of search, since the officer merely saw what was placed before him in full view. x x x The U.S. Supreme
Leangsiri in transporting the heroin is appellants act. They cannot isolate and separate themselves from Court ruled that the warrantless seizure of the marijuana was legal on the basis of the plain view
Leangsiri, for in conspiracy, the act of one is the act of all. doctrine and upheld the admissibility of the seized drugs as part of the prosecutions evidence.
Three. We further rule that the heroin (Exhs. C and its sub-exhibits) and the suitcase with false The plain view doctrine may not, however, be used to launch unbridled searches and indiscriminate
bottom (Exh. F) are admissible against appellants. seizures nor to extend a general exploratory search made solely to find evidence of defendants guilt. The
It is inaccurate for appellants to claim that these evidentiary exhibits were formally offered only plain view doctrine is usually applied where a police officer is not searching for evidence against the
against Leangsiri. They were also offered against them. As correctly noted by the Solicitor General in his accused, but nonetheless inadvertently comes across an incriminating object. x x x Furthermore, the U.S.
Brief: Supreme Court stated the following limitations on the application of the doctrine.
xxx xxx xxx What the plain view cases have in common is that the police officer in each of them had a prior
The records show that on July 2, 1993, Assistant Chief State Prosecutor Jovencio Zuo and State justification for an intrusion in the course of which he came inadvertently across a piece of evidence
Prosecutor Reynaldo Lugtu formally offered Exhibits A to Q and their submarkings against Leangsiri, incriminating the accused. The doctrine serves to supplement the prior justification - whether it be a
(Omogbolahan), Bhola and Amidu (Original Records, pp. 67-71). xxx[45] warrant for another object, hot pursuit, search incident to lawful arrest, or some other legitimate reason
Four. We now come to the argument of appellants that the piece of paper found in Amidus hotel for being present unconnected with a search directed against the accused - and permits the warrantless
room, with the name SUCHINDA LEANGSIRI written on it,[46] should not have been admitted by the trial seizure. Of course, the extension of the original justification is legitimate only where it is immediately
court. apparent to the police that they have evidence before them; the plain view doctrine may not be used to
The Revised Rules of Court provide that (a) person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous extend a general exploratory search from one object to another until something incriminating at last
weapons or anything which may be used as proof of the commission of an offense, without a search emerges.
warrant.[47] We interpreted this provision in Nolasco vs. Pao,[48] thus: In the case at bar, appellants were arrested in Room 504 of the Las Palmas Hotel. The piece of paper
xxx xxx xxx bearing Leangsiris name was obtained through a warrantless search of Room 413 of the same hotel, and
The better and established rule is a strict application of the exception provided xxx that is to found tucked within the pages of appellant Amidus telephone and address book. Clearly, the warrantless
absolutely limit a warrantless search of a person who is lawfully arrested to his or her person at the time search is illegal and the piece of paper bearing Leangsiris name cannot be admitted as evidence against
of and incident to his or her arrest and to dangerous weapons or anything which may be used as proof of appellants. The inadmissibility of this evidence will not, however, exculpate appellants. Its exclusion does
not destroy the prosecutions case against appellants. The remaining evidence still established their guilt Appellants second argument as to the necessity of a new trial is likewise unmeritorious. Section 1,
beyond reasonable doubt. Rule 37 of the Revised Rules of Court grants an aggrieved party the right to move for new trial on the
Five. We uphold the calibration of the credibility of witnesses made by the court a quo. The trial ground, among others, of (n)ewly discovered evidence, which he could not, with reasonable diligence,
court judge had the opportunity to observe the demeanor of the witnesses first-hand, and his findings are have discovered, and produced at the trial, and which if presented would probably alter the result
entitled to great weight. (thereof).[64] Newly discovered evidence, in order to warrant a new trial, must meet three
The inconsistencies in Gapiangaos, Balnegs, and Samalas testimonies alluded to by appellants hardly requirements, viz: (1) it must have been discovered after trial; (2) it could not have been discovered and
relate to the material parts of their testimonies which sufficiently proved the elements of the crime at produced at the trial despite reasonable diligence; and (3) if presented, it would probably alter the results
bar. It is a well-entrenched rule of evidence that corroborative testimonies, in order to be credible, need of the action.[65]
not coincide on all aspects. Given the natural limitations of the human senses, the immaterial and slight In the case at bar, appellants were unable to prove that, even with the use of reasonable diligence,
discrepancies in the testimonies of witnesses, far from weakening their probative value, serve to they could not have obtained Camerinos testimony during the trial. On the contrary, as correctly noted by
strengthen their credibility. Imperfect senses cannot be the source of perfect testimonies.[53] the trial court, Camerino was identified in open court by appellant Bhola on July 26, 1993.
Neither is the credibility of the prosecution witnesses crumpled by the fact that the testimonies of Furthermore, it is unlikely that Camerinos prospective testimony would acquit appellants. Firstly,
some prosecution witnesses during the trial were not exactly and totally reflected in their Joint Affidavit, her affidavit embodies a narration of events almost identical to that presented by appellants. As has been
dated April 1, 1993.[54] We have held before that: discussed earlier, the defense version of what occurred on the evening of March 31, 1993 is incredible and
The general rule has always been that discrepancies between the statements of the affiant in his affidavit difficult to believe. Secondly, Camerinos claim that she was a member of the team that arrested appellants
and those made by him on the witness stand do not necessarily discredit him since ex parte affidavits are is belied by the testimony of prosecution witness Samala on rebuttal, viz:
generally incomplete. Affidavits are generally subordinated in importance to open court declarations xxx xxx xxx
because they are oftentimes not in such a state as to afford him a fair opportunity of narrating in full the STATE PROS.:
incident which has transpired. xxx[55] One Julita Camerino appeared before this Honorable Court and accused through
In checkered contrast, the testimonies of appellants are incongruous with reality. The story counsel claim she was a member of the team which arrested the three Africans now the
proffered by appellant Omogbolahan, for instance, is too obviously melodramatic and incredible to be accused in this case.What can you say to that?
believed. His story begins in February, 1992, with his wife and two children being killed in a civil war in his A: I dont know that person, sir.
native land of Liberia. Distraught, he decided to migrate to the United States of America.[56] He first flew Q: Were there instances or occasions before the date of March 31, 1993 when you met this
to Thailand, where he stayed for six months without managing to learn a single Thai word.[57] Despite his Julita Camerino?
language inadequacy, he was able to land a job in a cargo company in that country. He did not befriend A: I dont know, sir.
any Thai national. Neither did he apply for an American visa in Thailand.[58] Q: You dont recall any?
He then heard from two co-Liberians named Jabar and Samsi that it was easy to obtain an American A: I dont recall any, sir.
visa from the United States embassy in the Philippines. Omogbolahan flew from Thailand to our xxx xxx xxx
country. He stepped on Philippine soil on March 16, 1993, only to learn that Jabar and Samsi had long left Court:
the country.[59] Instead of going to the United States embassy at Roxas Boulevard or any of the many travel Cross?
agencies doing business in the country, he spent his first two weeks here making the rounds of bars and ATTY. BORJA:
clubs in the Ermita area, hoping to meet fellow Africans and American citizens who could help him obtain Capt. Samala, is it not a fact that Julita Camerino served as your interpreter during the
an American visa. In this clubs, he allegedly befriended his co-appellant Bhola[60] and an American named custodial investigation after the arrest of the Thai National in the person of Suchinda
David whom he was supposed to meet on the fateful night of March 31, 1993. Omogbolahan soon moved Leangsiri?
in with Bhola at the Royal Palm Hotel, and David promised to help him obtain his American passport.[61] A: No, sir.
Omogbolahans story is clearly a fabrication designed to provide him with a convenient defense and ATTY. BORJA:
to elicit sympathy from the courts. The testimonies of his co-appellants are equally incredulous. They are She was not there at any moment from March 31 to April 1, 1993 at the police
also tattered with inconsistencies. As observed by the Solicitor General, they could not even get their headquarters or at the Las Palmas Hotel?
occupations straight, viz.: A: I dont know that person, sir.[66]
xxx xxx xxx Her credibility is also questionable considering the fact that she herself has been previously convicted of
Appellant Zariatu Amidu is a native of Ghana, Africa, 38 years old at the time she testified, a widow and violating the Dangerous Drugs Act.
as shown in her passport, a seamstress by occupation. However, in her testimony, she stated that she is IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Decision, dated August 31, 1993, and the Order, dated October 11, 1993,
a plain housewife. (tsn July 21, 1993, pp. 4 and 27) of the RTC of Manila, Branch 47, in Criminal Case No. 93-118913 are AFFIRMED. Costs against appellants.
On the other hand, appellant Yamba Lisasi Bhola is a native of Kinshasha, Zaire, Central Africa, 37 years [G.R. Nos. 133254-55. April 19, 2001]
old at the time he testified, married and a high school graduate xxx. In his testimony, he stated that he is THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROBERTO SALANGUIT y KO, accused-appellant.
a trader xxx. Later on, he stated that he was working for the New Star Investment in Thailand as DECISION
marketing officer.[62] (tsn July 16, 1993, p. 23) MENDOZA, J.:
Lastly, Fati Omogbolahan Alabi was 27 years old at the time he testified and an elementary graduate and This is an appeal from the decision,[1] dated January 27, 1998, of the Regional Trial Court, Branch
plumber according to his passport. In his testimony, however, he claimed to be a technician.[63](tsnJuly 96, Quezon City, finding accused-appellant Roberto Salanguit y Ko guilty of violation of 16 of Republic Act
13, 1993 p. 4). No. 6425, as amended, and sentencing him accordingly to suffer imprisonment ranging from six (6) months
Six. We finally hold that the trial court did not gravely abuse its discretion in denying appellants of arresto mayor, as minimum, to four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional, as
motion for new trial. maximum, and of 8 of the same law and sentencing him for such violation to suffer the penalty of reclusion
We find appellants first argument in moving for a new trial as baseless. As discussed above, the perpetua and to pay a fine of P700,000.00.
purported errors and irregularities committed in the course of the trial against the substantive rights of Charges against accused-appellant for violations of R.A. No. 6425 were filed on December 28,
appellants do not exist. 1995. In Criminal Case No. Q-95-64357, the information alleged:
That on or about the 26th day of December 1995, in Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused, did then Accused-appellants mother-in law, Soledad Arcano, corroborated his testimony. Arcano testified
and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly possess and/or use 11.14 grams of Methamphetamine that the policemen ransacked their house, ate their food, and took away canned goods and other
Hydrochloride (Shabu) a regulated drug, without the necessary license and/or prescription therefor, in valuables.[19]
violation of said law. After hearing, the trial court rendered its decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
CONTRARY TO LAW.[2] WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered:
In Criminal Case No. Q-95-64358, the information charged: 1. In Criminal Case No. Q-95-64357, for violation of Sec. 16, Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, finding
That on or about the 26th day of December 1995, in Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused not being the accused ROBERTO SALANGUIT y KO guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged and he is
authorized by law to possess or use any prohibited drug, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully and hereby accordingly sentenced to suffer an indeterminate sentence with a minimum of six (6) months
knowingly have in his possession and under his custody and control 1,254 grams of Marijuana, a of arresto mayor and a maximum of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional; and,
prohibited drug. 2. In Criminal Case No. Q-95-64358, for violation of Sec. 8, Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, finding
CONTRARY TO LAW.[3] the accused ROBERTO SALANGUIT y KO guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged and he is
When arraigned on May 21, 1996, accused-appellant pleaded not guilty,[4] whereupon he was tried. hereby accordingly sentenced to suffer reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of P700,000.00.
Three witnesses were presented by the prosecution: P/Insp. Sonia S. Ludovico, forensic chemist and The accused shall further pay the costs of suit.
chief of the Physical Science Branch of the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory, Senior Inspector The 11.14 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride and the 1,254 grams of marijuana bricks are
Rodolfo Aguilar of the Narcotics Command, Camp Crame, Quezon City, and PO3 Rolando Duazo of Station hereby confiscated and condemned for disposition according to law. The evidence custodian of this
10, Kamuning, Quezon City, a field operative. The prosecution evidence established the following: Court is hereby directed to turn such substances over to the National Bureau of Investigation pursuant to
On December 26, 1995, Sr. Insp. Aguilar applied for a warrant[5] in the Regional Trial Court, Branch law.
90, Dasmarias, Cavite, to search the residence of accused-appellant Robert Salanguit y Ko on Binhagan St., SO ORDERED.[20]
Novaliches, Quezon City. He presented as his witness SPO1 Edmund Badua, who testified that as a poseur- Hence this appeal. Accused-appellant contends that -
buyer, he was able to purchase 2.12 grams of shabu from accused-appellant. The sale took place in THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN DECLARING THE SEARCH WARRANT VALID
accused-appellants room, and Badua saw that the shabu was taken by accused-appellant from a cabinet THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN CONVICTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT FOR ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF
inside his room. The application was granted, and a search warrant was later issued by Presiding Judge METHAMPHETAMINE HYDRO-CHLORIDE (SHABU)
Dolores L. Espaol. THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT FOR VIOLATION 8, R.A.
At about 10:30 p.m. of December 26, 1995, a group of about 10 policemen, along with one civilian NO. 6425
informer, went to the residence of accused-appellant to serve the warrant.[6] THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN ADMITTING IN EVIDENCE THE TWO (2) BRICKS OF MARIJUANA
The police operatives knocked on accused-appellants door, but nobody opened it. They heard THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE POLICEMEN USED EXCESSIVE FORCE IN
people inside the house, apparently panicking. The police operatives then forced the door open and ENFORCING THE SEARCH WARRANT.
entered the house.[7] Accused-appellant is contesting his conviction on three grounds. First, the admissibility of
After showing the search warrant to the occupants of the house, Lt. Cortes and his group started the shabu allegedly recovered from his residence as evidence against him on the ground that the warrant
searching the house.[8] They found 12 small heat-sealed transparent plastic bags containing a white used in obtaining it was invalid. Second, the admissibility in evidence of the marijuana allegedly seized
crystalline substance, a paper clip box also containing a white crystalline substance, and two bricks of dried from accused-appellant pursuant to the plain view doctrine. Third, the employment of unnecessary force
leaves which appeared to be marijuana wrapped in newsprint[9] having a total weight of approximately by the police in the execution of the warrant.
1,255 grams.[10] A receipt of the items seized was prepared, but the accused-appellant refused to sign it.[11] First. Rule 126, 4 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure[21] provides that a search warrant shall
After the search, the police operatives took accused-appellant with them to Station 10, EDSA, not issue except upon probable cause in connection with one specific offense to be determined personally
Kamuning, Quezon City, along with the items they had seized.[12] by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may
PO3 Duazo requested a laboratory examination of the confiscated evidence.[13] The white crystalline produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be seized which may be
substance with a total weight of 2.77 grams and those contained in a small box with a total weight of 8.37 anywhere in the Philippines.
grams were found to be positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride. On the other hand, the two bricks In issuing a search warrant, judges must comply strictly with the requirements of the Constitution
of dried leaves, one weighing 425 grams and the other 850 grams, were found to be marijuana.[14] and the Rules of Criminal Procedure. No presumption of regularity can be invoked in aid of the process
For the defense, accused-appellant testified in his own behalf. His testimony was corroborated by when an officer undertakes to justify its issuance.[22] Nothing can justify the issuance of the search warrant
his mother-in-law, Soledad Arcano. unless all the legal requisites are fulfilled.
Accused-appellant testified that on the night of December 26, 1995, as they were about to leave In this case, the search warrant issued against accused-appellant reads:
their house, they heard a commotion at the gate and on the roof of their house. Suddenly, about 20 men SEARCH WARRANT NO. 160
in civilian attire, brandishing long firearms, climbed over the gate and descended through an opening in For: Violation of RA 6425
the roof.[15] SEARCH WARRANT
When accused-appellant demanded to be shown a search warrant, a piece of paper inside a folder TO ANY PEACE OFFICER:
was waved in front of him. As accused-appellant fumbled for his glasses, however, the paper was GREETINGS:
withdrawn and he had no chance to read it.[16] It appearing to the satisfaction of the undersigned after examining under oath SR. INSP. RODOLFO V.
Accused-appellant claimed that he was ordered to stay in one place of the house while the AGUILAR, PNP and his witness SPO1 EDMUND M. BADUA, PNP that there is probable cause to believe
policemen conducted a search, forcibly opening cabinets and taking his bag containing money, a licensed that ROBERT SALANGUIT has in his possession and control in his premises Binhagan St., San Jose, Quezon
.45 caliber firearm, jewelry, and canned goods.[17] City as shown in Annex A, the properties to wit:
The policemen left at around 12:30 a.m. of December 27, 1995, and, after putting handcuffs on UNDETERMINED QUANTITY OF SHABU AND DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
accused-appellant, took him with them to the NARCOM on EDSA, Quezon City, where accused-appellant which should be seized and brought to the undersigned.
was detained.[18]
You are hereby commanded to make an immediate search anytime of the day/night of the premises A - Yes, sir, I was offered by him (ROBERT SALANGUIT @ Robert) that anything I wish to buy bigger
above-described and forthwith seize and take possession of the above-stated properties and bring said quantity of shabu, he is willing to transact to me on cash basis at his price of One Thousand
properties to the undersigned to be dealt with as the law directs. Seven Hundred Fifty (P1,750.00) pesos per gram.
GIVEN UNDER MY HAND this 26th day of December 1995 at Imus, Cavite, Philippines. Q - Are you willing to sign your statement freely and voluntarily?
(SGD.) DOLORES L. ESPAOL A - Yes, sir.[24]
Judge However, the fact that there was no probable cause to support the application for the seizure of
Accused-appellant assails the validity of the warrant on three grounds: (1) that there was no drug paraphernalia does not warrant the conclusion that the search warrant is void. This fact would be
probable cause to search for drug paraphernalia; (2) that the search warrant was issued for more than one material only if drug paraphernalia was in fact seized by the police. The fact is that none was taken by
specific offense; and (3) that the place to be searched was not described with sufficient particularity. virtue of the search warrant issued. If at all, therefore, the search warrant is void only insofar as it
Existence of Probable Cause
authorized the seizure of drug paraphernalia, but it is valid as to the seizure of methamphetamine
The warrant authorized the seizure of undetermined quantity of shabu and drug hydrochloride as to which evidence was presented showing probable cause as to its existence. Thus,
paraphernalia. Evidence was presented showing probable cause of the existence of methamphetamine in Aday v. Superior Court,[25] the warrant properly described two obscene books but improperly described
hydrochloride or shabu. Accused-appellant contends, however, that the search warrant issued is void other articles. It was held:
because no evidence was presented showing the existence of drug paraphernalia and the same should not Although the warrant was defective in the respects noted, it does not follow that it was invalid as a
have been ordered to be seized by the trial court.[23] whole. Such a conclusion would mean that the seizure of certain articles, even though proper if viewed
The contention has no merit. To be sure, SPO1 Edmund Badua, the intelligence officer who acted separately, must be condemned merely because the warrant was defective with respect to other
as a poseur-buyer, did not testify in the proceedings for the issuance of a search warrant on anything about articles. The invalid portions of the warrant are severable from the authorization relating to the named
drug paraphernalia. He stated: books, which formed the principal basis of the charge of obscenity. The search for and seizure of these
Q - Being a member of the Intelligence and Operation Section, NMDU, NARCOM, do you remember books, if otherwise valid, were not rendered illegal by the defects concerning other articles. . . . In so
if you were assigned into a monitoring or surveillance work? holding we do not mean to suggest that invalid portions of a warrant will be treated as severable under all
A - Yes, sir. circumstances. We recognize the danger that warrants might be obtained which are essentially general in
Q - Of what particular assignment or area were you assigned for monitoring or surveillance? character but as to minor items meet the requirement of particularity, and that wholesale seizures might
A - Its within the Quezon City area particularly a house without a number located at Binhagan St., be made under them, in the expectation that the seizure would in any event be upheld as to the property
San Jose, Quezon City, sir. specified. Such an abuse of the warrant procedure, of course, could not be tolerated.
Q - Do you know the person who occupies the specific place? It would be a drastic remedy indeed if a warrant, which was issued on probable cause and
A - Yes, sir, he is ROBERT SALANGUIT @ Robert. particularly describing the items to be seized on the basis thereof, is to be invalidated in toto because the
Q - Are you familiar with that place? judge erred in authorizing a search for other items not supported by the evidence.[26] Accordingly, we hold
A - Yes, sir, as part of my surveillance, I was able to penetrate inside the area and established that the first part of the search warrant, authorizing the search of accused-appellants house for an
contract with ROBERT SALANGUIT alias Robert through my friend who introduced me to the undetermined quantity of shabu, is valid, even though the second part, with respect to the search for drug
former. paraphernalia, is not.
Q - In what particular occasion did you meet ROBERT SALANGUIT alias Robert? Specificity of the Offense Charged

A - When I was introduced by my friend as a good buyer and drug pusher of shabu, sir. Accused-appellant contends that the warrant was issued for more than one specific offense because
Q - Were you able to buy at that time? possession or use of methamphetamine hydrochloride and possession of drug paraphernalia are punished
A - Yes, sir. under two different provisions of R.A. No. 6425.[27] It will suffice to quote what this Court said in a similar
Q - How much if you can still remember the amount involved? case to dispose of this contention:
A - I was able to buy two point twelve (2.12) grams of shabu in the amount of Two Thousand Seven While it is true that the caption of the search warrant states that it is in connection with Violation of R.A.
Hundred Fifty (P2,750.00) pesos, sir. 6425, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, it is clearly recited in the text thereof that
Q - Having established contact with ROBERT SALANGUIT @ Robert, do you know where the stuff There is probable cause to believe that Adolfo Olaes alias Debie and alias Baby of No. 628 Comia St.,
(shabu) were being kept? Filtration, Sta. Rita, Olongapo City, has in their session and control and custody of marijuana dried
A - Yes, sir, inside a cabinet inside his room. stalks/leaves/seeds/cigarettes and other regulated/prohibited and exempt narcotics preparations which
Q - How were you able to know the place where he kept the stuff? is the subject of the offense stated above. Although the specific section of the Dangerous Drugs Act is
A - When I first bought the 2.12 grams of shabu from him, it was done inside his room and I saw that not pinpointed, there is no question at all of the specific offense alleged to have been committed as a
the shabu was taken by him inside his cabinet. basis for the finding of probable cause. The search warrant also satisfies the requirement in the Bill of
Q - Do you know who is in control of the premises? Rights of the particularity of the description to be made of the place to be searched and the persons or
A - Yes, sir, it was ROBERT SALANGUIT @ Robert. things to be seized. [28]
Q - How sure are you, that the shabu that you bought from ROBERT SALANGUIT @ Robert is genuine Indeed, in People v. Dichoso[29] the search warrant was also for Violation of R.A. 6425, without
shabu? specifying what provisions of the law were violated, and it authorized the search and seizure of dried
A - After I left the house of ROBERT SALANGUIT @ Robert, I proceeded back to our office and marijuana leaves and methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) and sets of paraphernalias (sic). This
reported the progress of my mission to our Chief and presented to him the 2.12 grams of Court, however, upheld the validity of the warrant:
shabu I bought from the subject.Then afterwards, our Chief formally requested the Chief PNP Appellants contention that the search warrant in question was issued for more than (1) offense, hence,
Central Crime Laboratory Services, NPDC, for Technical Analysis which yielded positive result in violation of Section 3, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court, is unpersuasive. He engages in semantic juggling
for shabu, a regulated drug as shown in the attached certification of PNP CLS result No. D- by suggesting that since illegal possession of shabu, illegal possession of marijuana and illegal possession
414-95 dated 19 Dec. 95. of paraphernalia are covered by different articles and sections of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, the
Q - Do you have anything more to add or retract from your statement? search warrant is clearly for more than one (1) specific offense. In short, following this theory, there
should have been three (3) separate search warrants, one for illegal possession of shabu, the second for
illegal possession of marijuana and the third for illegal possession of paraphernalia. This argument is What the plain view cases have in common is that the police officer in each of them had a prior
pedantic. The Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 is a special law that deals specifically with dangerous drugs justification for an intrusion in the course of which he came inadvertently across a piece of evidence
which are subsumed into prohibited and regulated drugs and defines and penalizes categories of incriminating the accused. The doctrine serves to supplement the prior justification whether it be a
offenses which are closely related or which belong to the same class or species. Accordingly, one (1) warrant for another object, hot pursuit, search incident to lawful arrest, or some other legitimate reason
search warrant may thus be validly issued for the said violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act.[30] for being present unconnected with a search directed against the accused and permits the warrantless
Similarly, in another case,[31] the search warrant was captioned: For Violation of P.D. No. 1866 seizure. Of course, the extension of the original justification is legitimate only where it is immediately
(Illegal Possession of Firearms, etc.). The validity of the warrant was questioned on the ground that it was apparent to the police that they have evidence before them; the plain view doctrine may not be used to
issued without reference to any particular provision in P.D. No. 1866, which punished several offenses. We extend a general exploratory search from one object to another until something incriminating at last
held, however, that while illegal possession of firearms is penalized under 1 of P.D. No. 1866 and illegal emerges.[37]
possession of explosives is penalized under 3 thereof, the decree is a codification of the various laws on The only other possible justification for an intrusion by the police is the conduct of a search pursuant
illegal possession of firearms, ammunitions, and explosives which offenses are so related as to be to accused-appellants lawful arrest for possession of shabu. However, a search incident to a lawful arrest
subsumed within the category of illegal possession of firearms, etc. under P.D. No. 1866. Thus, only one is limited to the person of the one arrested and the premises within his immediate control.[38] The rationale
warrant was necessary to cover the violations under the various provisions of the said law. for permitting such a search is to prevent the person arrested from obtaining a weapon to commit
Particularity of the Place violence, or to reach for incriminatory evidence and destroy it.
Accused-appellant contends that the search warrant failed to indicate the place to be searched with The police failed to allege in this case the time when the marijuana was found, i.e., whether prior
sufficient particularity. to, or contemporaneous with, the shabu subject of the warrant, or whether it was recovered on accused-
This contention is without merit. As the Solicitor General states: appellants person or in an area within his immediate control. Its recovery, therefore, presumably during
. . . While the address stated in the warrant is merely Binhagan St., San Jose, Quezon City, the trial court the search conducted after the shabu had been recovered from the cabinet, as attested to by SPO1 Badua
took note of the fact that the records of Search Warrant Case No. 160 contained several documents in his depostion, was invalid.
which identified the premises to be searched, to wit: 1) the application for search warrant which stated Apparent Illegality of the Evidence

that the premises to be searched was located in between No. 7 and 11 at Binhagan Street, San Jose, The marijuana bricks were wrapped in newsprint. There was no apparent illegality to justify their
Quezon City; 2) the deposition of witness which described the premises as a house without a number seizure. This case is similar to People. v. Musa[39] in which we declared inadmissible the marijuana
located at Binhagan St., San Jose, Quezon City; and 3) the pencil sketch of the location of the premises to recovered by NARCOM agents because the said drugs were contained in a plastic bag which gave no
be searched. In fact, the police officers who raided appellants house under the leadership of Police indication of its contents. We explained:
Senior Inspector Rodolfo Aguilar could not have been mistaken as Inspector Aguilar resides in the same Moreover, when the NARCOM agents saw the plastic bag hanging in one corner of the kitchen, they had
neighborhood in Binhagan where appellant lives and in fact Aguilars place is at the end of appellants no clue as to its contents. They had to ask the appellant what the bag contained. When the appellant
place in Binhagan. Moreover, the house raided by Aguilars team is undeniably appellants house and it refused to respond, they opened it and found the marijuana. Unlike Ker v. California, where the
was really appellant who was the target. The raiding team even first ascertained through their informant marijuana was visible to the police officers eyes, the NARCOM agents in this case could not have
that appellant was inside his residence before they actually started their operation.[32] discovered the inculpatory nature of the contents of the bag had they not forcibly opened it. Even
The rule is that a description of the place to be searched is sufficient if the officer with the warrant assuming then, that the NARCOM agents inadvertently came across the plastic bag because it was within
can, with reasonable effort, ascertain and identify the place intended to be searched.[33] For example, a their plain view, what may be said to be the object in their plain view was just the plastic bag and not the
search warrant authorized a search of Apartment Number 3 of a building at 83 Pleasant Street, marijuana. The incriminating nature of the contents of the plastic bag was not immediately apparent
Malborough, Massachusetts. As it turned out, there were five apartments in the basement and six from the plain view of said object. It cannot be claimed that the plastic bag clearly betrayed its contents,
apartments on both the ground and top floors and that there was an Apartment Number 3 on each whether by its distinctive configuration, is transparency, or otherwise, that its contents are obvious to an
floor. However, the description was made determinate by a reference to the affidavit supporting the observer.[40]
warrant that the apartment was occupied by the accused Morris Ferrante of 83 Pleasant Street, Malboro No presumption of regularity may be invoked by an officer in aid of the process when he undertakes
Mass.[34] In this case, the location of accused-appellants house being indicated by the evidence on record, to justify an encroachment of rights secured by the Constitution.[41] In this case, the marijuana allegedly
there can be no doubt that the warrant described the place to be searched with sufficient particularity. found in the possession of accused-appellant was in the form of two bricks wrapped in newsprint. Not
In sum, we hold that with respect to the seizure of shabu from accused-appellants residence, Search being in a transparent container, the contents wrapped in newsprint could not have been readily
Warrant No. 160 was properly issued, such warrant being founded on probable cause personally discernible as marijuana. Nor was there mention of the time or manner these items were discovered.
determined by the judge under oath or affirmation of the deposing witness and particularly describing the Accordingly, for failure of the prosecution to prove that the seizure of the marijuana without a warrant
place to be searched and the things to be seized. was conducted in accordance with the plain view doctrine, we hold that the marijuana is inadmissible in
Second. The search warrant authorized the seizure of methamphetamine hydrochloride evidence against accused-appellant. However, the confiscation of the drug must be upheld.
or shabu but not marijuana. However, seizure of the latter drug is being justified on the ground that the Third. Accused-appellant claims that undue and unnecessary force was employed by the searching
drug was seized within the plain view of the searching party. This is contested by accused-appellant. party in effecting the raid.
Under the plain view doctrine, unlawful objects within the plain view of an officer who has the right Rule 126, 7 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure[42] provides:
to be in the position to have that view are subject to seizure and may be presented in evidence.[35] For this Right to break door or window to effect search. The officer, if refused admittance to the place of directed
doctrine to apply, there must be: (a) prior justification; (b) inadvertent discovery of the evidence; and (c) search after giving notice of his purpose and authority, may break open any outer or inner door or
immediate apparent illegality of the evidence before the police.[36] The question is whether these window of a house or any part of a house or anything therein to execute the warrant or liberate himself
requisites were complied with by the authorities in seizing the marijuana in this case. or any person lawfully aiding him when unlawfully detained therein.
Prior Justification and Discovery by Inadvertence
Accused-appellants claim that the policemen had clambered up the roof of his house to gain entry
Because the location of the shabu was indicated in the warrant and thus known to the police and had broken doors and windows in the process is unsupported by reliable and competent proof. No
operatives, it is reasonable to assume that the police found the packets of the shabu first. Once the valid affidavit or sworn statement of disinterested persons, like the barangay officials or neighbors, has been
portion of the search warrant has been executed, the plain view doctrine can no longer provide any basis presented by accused-appellant to attest to the truth of his claim.
for admitting the other items subsequently found. As has been explained:
In contrast, Aguilar and Duanos claim that they had to use some force in order to gain entry cannot present. SPO1 Casugod requested appellant to open the box. He appeared tense and reluctant and started
be doubted. The occupants of the house, especially accused-appellant, refused to open the door despite to leave, but SPO1 Casugod called him.Eventually he consented, saying in faltering English, open, open.
the fact that the searching party knocked on the door several times. Furthermore, the agents saw the SPO1 Casugod opened the box and found therein eighteen (18) small packs, seventeen (17) of which were
suspicious movements of the people inside the house. These circumstances justified the searching partys wrapped in aluminum foil. SPO1 Casugod opened one pack. Inside were dried fruiting tops which looked
forcible entry into the house, founded as it is on the apprehension that the execution of their mission like marijuana. Upon seeing this, appellant ran outside the pre-departure area but he was chased by PO3
would be frustrated unless they do so. Poyugao, SPO1 Linda and Donato Barnezo of the PASCOM.
WHEREFORE, in Criminal Case No. Q-95-64357, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 96, They apprehended appellant near the entrance of the terminal and brought him to the PASCOM
Quezon City, finding accused-appellant Roberto Salanguit y Ko guilty of possession of illegal drugs under office. They also brought Takeshi and his wife, Lourdes Linsangan, to the office, being suspects as
16 of R.A. No. 6425, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act, as amended, and sentencing him to conspirators with appellant in drug trafficking. Lourdes asked permission to call Atty. Silvestre
suffer a prison term ranging from six (6) months of arresto mayor, as minimum, and four (4) years and two Tayson. When he arrived, the police apprised appellant of his constitutional rights.
(2) months of prision correccional, as maximum, and ordering the confiscation of 11.14 grams of Meanwhile, SPO1 Casugod weighed the contents of the box and inventoried the same. The total
methamphetamine hydrochloride is AFFIRMED. weight of the suspected marijuana fruiting tops was 1.9 kilograms or 1,900 grams. He then drafted a
In Criminal Case No. Q-95-64358, the decision of the same court finding accused-appellant Roberto confiscation receipt which appellant, upon the advice of Atty. Tayson, refused to
Salanguit y Ko guilty of possession of prohibited drugs under 8 of R.A. No. 6425, as amended, and acknowledge. SPO1 Casugod turned over appellant to SPO1 Linda for investigation.
sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of P700,000.00 is hereby Subsequently, appellant and his companions were brought to the prosecutors office for inquest and
REVERSED and SET ASIDE and accused-appellant is ACQUITTED of the crime charged. However, the placed under the custody of C/Inspector Ernesto Alcantara at the NARCOM office.The box with its contents
confiscation of the 1,254 grams of marijuana, as well as the 11.14 grams of methamphetamine was brought to the PNP Crime Laboratory. Inspector Villavicencio conducted three tests on the specimen
hydrochloride, and its disposition as ordered by the trial court is AFFIRMED. samples which proved positive for marijuana.
SO ORDERED. The defense presented appellant as its sole witness whose testimony is as follows: On April 9, 1994,
[G.R. No. 120670. October 23, 2003] he and Takeshi Koketsu arrived in Manila from Osaka, Japan. The purpose of his trip was to collect from
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. HEDISHI SUZUKI, appellant. Takeshi Y2.5 million or P500,000.00 which the latter owed him. Waiting for them at the airport was
DECISION Takeshis wife, Lourdes. On the same day, the three flew to Bacolod City. Appellant stayed at the house of
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: Takeshi.
For automatic review is the Decision[1] of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 45, Bacolod City in Two days later, appellant asked Takeshi to pay. When Takeshi admitted he had no money, appellant
Criminal Case No. 94-16100 convicting Hedishi Suzuki, appellant, of illegal possession of marijuana, defined got angry and went to the Casino Filipino where he stayed until 10:30 in the evening. Upon leaving the
and penalized under Section 8, Article II of R.A. No. 6525, as amended,[2] and sentencing him to suffer the casino, he met Pinky who enticed him to have sex with her. They then proceeded to the Moonlight
penalty of death and to pay a fine of P10,000,000.00. Motel. Moments later, Pinky left, while appellant stayed there for the night. He told her he was leaving
The Information[3] against appellant reads: the following morning.
That on or about the 12th day of April, 1994, in the City of Bacolod, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction The following day or on April 12, 1994, appellant went to the airport. Pinky, who was there waiting,
of this Honorable Court, the herein accused, not being lawfully authorized to possess, prepare, gave him a box of Bongbongs piaya as pasalubong from Bacolod City. He did not ascertain the contents of
administer or otherwise use any prohibited drug, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously the box since he trusted Pinky although he just met her the previous night.
have in his possession and under his custody and control 1.9 kilos or 1,900 grams, more or less, of Appellant found and joined Takeshi and Lourdes at the coffee shop. Takeshi apologized for his
marijuana which is a prohibited drug, in violation of the aforementioned laws. failure to pay his debt, assuring him that he would settle his obligation next month.
Acts contrary to law. When it was time to leave, appellant, accompanied by Takeshi, proceeded to the pre-departure
Upon arraignment, appellant entered a plea of not guilty. Thereafter, trial followed. area. When he passed through the metal detector, a policeman frisked him, got the box and placed it
The prosecution presented P/Inspector Rea Abastillas Villavicencio, the forensic chemist of the inside the metal detector. The machine produced a red light, hence, the policeman brought the box to the
Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory, SPO1 Arturo Casugod, Sr. of the Police Aviation Security inspection table, with appellant following him. Thereafter, the policeman, whom he later knew as SPO1
Command (PASCOM), PO3 Rhodelin Poyugao, also of the PASCOM, and SPO1 Gilbert Linda of the Narcotics Arturo Casugod, pointed to the box uttering something appellant did not understand. Appellant said, wait
Command (NARCOM), all of Bacolod City. Their testimonies, woven together, established the following a minute, (in Japanese) and went outside to ask Takeshi and Lourdes to interpret for him, but they did not
facts: respond. When PO3 Rhodelin Poyugao called him back to the pre-departure area, he found Takeshi near
Sometime in November, 1993, the PNP Narcotics Command issued a directive to all Chiefs of the table and the box containing something wrapped in aluminum foil already opened. Takeshi told him
Narcotics Regional Field Units to cover all domestic airport terminals within their respective areas of that he was carrying marijuana. He replied it was given to him by a woman that morning. Then he and
responsibility, following reports that drug trafficking is prevalent in domestic airports; and to coordinate SPO1 Casugod went to the PASCOM office where the latter weighed the contents of the box. He did not
with local airport authorities and the PASCOM. sign the Confiscation Receipt presented to him. They then proceeded to the NARCOM office with
In the morning of April 12, 1994, while the prosecution witnesses were in their respective stations, C/Inspector Ernesto Alcantara, SPO1 Linda, PO3 Poyugao, and three other officers. From the NARCOM
appellant and Takeshi Koketsu, both Japanese nationals, entered the pre-departure area of the Bacolod office, appellant was brought to the Bacolod Police Station.
Airport Terminal. Appellant was bound for Manila via flight No. 132 of the Philippine Airlines and was Shortly thereafter, they went to the Nagoya Restaurant owned by Takeshi where appellant saw
carrying a small traveling bag and a box marked Bongbongs piaya.[4] At the pre-departure area, upon the C/Inspector Alcantara and Lourdes talking. When he inquired from Takeshi what was going on, he was told
advice of Corazon Sinosa, a civilian personnel of the PASCOM, appellant proceeded to the walk-through they needed money in dealing with the police. Appellant was then brought to the prosecutors office. There
metal detector, a machine which produces a red light and an alarm once it detects the presence of metallic Takeshi told him to keep silent as he would make a deal with the prosecutor. Then they went to Takeshis
substance or object. Thereupon, the red light switched on and the alarm sounded, signifying the presence house where appellant stayed for two days.
of metallic substance either in his person or in the box he was carrying. This prompted PO3 Poyugao to On April 14, 1994, C/Inspector Alcantara and SPO1 Linda brought appellant to the Bacolod City
frisk him bodily. Finding no metallic object in his body, PO3 Poyugao picked up the box of piayaand passed Jail. Takeshi visited him twice, advising him to ask someone from Japan to send him money and be
it through the machine. Again, the machine was activated. PO3 Poyugao then ordered appellant to go to discreet, otherwise he would be killed; and to admit he has in his possession less than 750 grams of
the hand-carried luggage inspection counter where several PASCOM and NARCOM personnel were marijuana so he could post bail. However, he refused.
Five days later, appellant, escorted by the police, went to Takeshis house to retrieve his money THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN GOING BEYOND THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED BY THE PROSECUTION
(Y120,000 equivalent to P30,000.00), but Takeshi told him that it was already spent for the food and drinks IN SUPPORT OF ITS DECISION CONVICTING APPELLANT.
of the NARCOM agents and the airport policemen. XIV
On December 7, 1994, the trial court rendered its Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads: THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN SENTENCING APPELLANT TO THE MAXIMUM PENALTY OF DEATH
WHEREFORE, finding the accused HEDISHI SUZUKI guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense AND IMPOSING A FINE OF TEN MILLION PESOS.
charged, he is hereby sentenced to suffer the maximum penalty of death, to pay a fine of Ten Million XV
Pesos (P10,000,000.00), and to pay the costs. THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE GUILT OF THE APPELLANT WAS PROVEN BY
Pursuant to Section 20, Article IV of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended by Section 17 of Republic Act No. THE PROSECUTION BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT AND IN NOT ACQUITTING HIM.
7659, let the 1,547.07 grams of dried marijuana fruiting tops, subject matter of this case, be confiscated Considering that the above assigned errors are interrelated, they will be discussed jointly.
and forfeited in favor of the government and be turned over to the Dangerous Drugs Board Custodian, Appellant invokes his constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure, contending that:
NBI, to be disposed according to law. (1) the authority to open and investigate suspicious packages and cargoes under Section 8 of Republic Act
SO ORDERED. No. 6235[5] does not apply to PASCOM and NARCOM agents but is limited only to aircraft companies or
Hence the instant mandatory review. operators of aircraft for hire; (2) he did not consent to be searched by the authorities; (3) the prohibited
In his brief, appellant ascribes to the trial court the following errors: substances confiscated by the authorities were not actually in their plain view; and (4) the search they
I conducted was not incidental to a lawful arrest.
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE GOVERNMENT AGENTS HAD THE LEGAL Pertinent is Section 8 of Republic Act No. 6235 which reads:
AUTHORITY WHEN THEY OPENED AND SEARCHED THE SMALL CARTON IN QUESTION. SECTION 8. Aircraft companies which operate as public utilities or operators of aircraft which are for
II hire are authorized to open and investigate suspicious packages and cargoes in the presence of the
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT SUFFICIENT PROBABLE CAUSE EXISTS FOR THE owner or shipper, or his authorized representatives if present, in order to help the authorities in the
OPENING AND SEARCH OF THE SUBJECT CARTON AND IN DECLARING LEGAL AND VALID THE SEIZURE OF enforcement of the provisions of this Act: Provided, That if the owner, shipper or his representative
SAID CARTON AND THE SUBSEQUENT ARREST OF THE APPELLANT. refuses to have the same opened and inspected, the airline or air carrier is authorized to refuse the
III loading thereof.
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN ADMITTING IN EVIDENCE THE MARIJUANA CONTENTS OF THE In line with the afore-cited law, the trial court correctly upheld the PASCOMs authority to open
SUBJECT CARTON AGAINST THE APPELLANT. packages and cargoes, thus:
IV This Court does not subscribe to the contention of the accused. The Police Aviation Security Command
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE SEARCH ON THE CARTON IN QUESTION WAS (PASCOM) is the implementing arm of the National Action Committee on Anti-Hijacking (NACAH), which
INCIDENTAL TO A LAWFUL ARREST. is a creation of Presidential Letter of Instruction (LOI) No. 399, dated April 28, 1976.
V On February 18, 1978, a Memorandum of Understanding among the Secretary of National Defense, the
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE SEARCH ON THE SUBJECT CARTON WAS MADE Secretary of Public Works, Transportation and Communication, the Secretary of Justice, the Director
UNDER THE EXCEPTION OF SEIZURE OF EVIDENCE IN PLAIN VIEW. General, National Intelligence and Security Authority and the Secretary of Finance was signed. The
VI purpose was to establish a working arrangement among cognizant agencies, set up guidelines and
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE ARREST OF THE APPELLANT WAS VALID AS HE procedures for the security of the airport complex throughout the Philippines particularly handling,
WAS CAUGHT IN FLAGRANTE DELICTO POSSESSING MARIJUANA. coordination and disposition of hijacking and other criminal incidents that may occur thereat (PAFM 3-
VII 9, page 1-3).
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THERE WAS UNQUALIFIED, VOLUNTARY AND Under the said Memorandum of Understanding the then AVSECOM (now PASCOM) shall have the
AUTHORITATIVE CONSENT GIVEN BY THE APPELLANT TO THE OPENING OF THE CARTON. following functions and responsibilities:
VIII 1. Secure all airports against offensive and terroristic acts that threaten civil aviation;
ON THE ASSUMPTION EX GRATIA ARGUMENTI THAT THE APPELLANT WAS CAUGHT IN POSSESSION OF 2. Undertake aircraft anti-hijacking operations;
MARIJUANA, THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING HIM, FOR THE PROSECUTION FAILED TO 3. Exercise operational control and supervision over all agencies involved in airport security operations;
PROVE THE NEGATIVE ELEMENT OF THE OFFENSE. 4. Take all necessary preventive measures to maintain peace and order, and provide other pertinent
IX public safety services within the airports;
ON THE ASSUMPTION EX GRATIA ARGUMENTI THAT HE WAS CAUGHT IN PHYSICAL POSSESSION OF THE xxx
CARTON IN QUESTION (CONTAINING MARIJUANA), THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT One of its guidelines before the passenger can enter the sanitized area (pre-departure area) is to check
APPELLANT INTENDED TO POSSESS SAID PACKS OF MARIJUANA. the hand-carried luggage and personal effects of passengers (PAFM 3-9, page 2-3).
X Passengers are allowed one hand-carried bag or attach case with the following limitation:
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT APPELLANTS PETITION TO BE RELEASED ON BAIL a. x x x x x x
CONSTITUTES WAIVER OF ANY IRREGULARITY ATTENDING HIS ARREST AND ESTOPS HIM FROM b. x x x x x x
QUESTIONING ITS VALIDITY. c. It can be readily opened for inspection (PAFM 3-9, page 2-4).
XI Based upon the Memorandum of Understanding, pursuant to President LOI 399, in relation to R.A. 6235,
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT GIVING DUE WEIGHT, CONSIDERATION AND CREDIT TO THE the PASCOM had the legal authority to be at the Bacolod Airport, Bacolod City and to inspect luggages or
TESTIMONY OF THE APPELLANT AND IN DECLARING THE SAME SELF-SERVING AND NOT AMPLY PROVEN. hand-carried bags.
XII Under DOC 8973/3, Security Manual for Safeguarding Civil Aviation against Acts of Unlawful
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN DISREGARDING SUBSTANTIAL CONTRADICTIONS IN THE EVIDENCE Interference, particularly paragraph 3.6.4 when x-ray inspection is not possible or when the x-ray image
FOR THE PROSECUTION WHICH CREATE REASONABLE DOUBT ON THE GUILT OF THE APPELLANT. of a bag gives rise to suspicion, x x x, a manual search must be carried out (Memorandum of the
XIII Prosecution, pp. 15-16; underscoring supplied).
The prosecution correctly argued that the PASCOM established a system of checkpoint at the pre- Q What happened after he asked the accused to open the box?
departure area of the Bacolod Airport to quickly inspect or screen persons or hand-carried baggages for A Mr. Hedishi Suzuki refused to open, sir. He signaled no, no.
illegal items pursuant to said Memorandum of Agreement, which in turn derived its life from LOI 399. In Q What happened then?
short, the setting up of checkpoint at the Bacolod Airport on April 12, 1994 does not have only A At that juncture, sir. I advised the said passenger, Mr. Hedishi Suzuki: Very sorry, sir, we
jurisprudential basis (Valmonte vs. De Villa, et al., G.R. No. 83288, September 29, 1989, 178 SCRA 211, need to open your luggage because it indicated a red light.
more popularly known as the checkpoints cases) but also statutory basis. Q When you say open the luggage you are referring to the box?
Moreover, to sustain the stand of the accused exclusively limiting the authority to open and search A Referring to the small carton marked Bongbong Piaya.
suspicious luggages would result to absurdity. It would deprive law enforcers of their authority to Q What happened then?
perform their duty of maintaining order, preserving peace, protecting life and property and other police A Mr. Hedishi Suzuki tried to get outside of the pre-departure area instead of opening the
works such as crime detection, while within the airport premises. The construction given by the accused box.
conveniently omitted the phrase found in Section 8 of Republic Act No. 6235 which reads in order to Q Where did Mr. Suzuki go if he went away?
help the authorities in the enforcement of the provisions of this Act. The word authorities evidently A Before he could get out of the door of the pre-departure area I called his attention to come
refers to police officers and other law enforcers such as the PASCOM officers. It follows that in allowing back.
or authorizing aircraft companies which operate as public utilities or operators of aircraft which are for Q Did he come back?
hire, to open and investigate suspicious packages and seizures, the authors of the law does not disallow A He came back and I explained to him again, sir, that we are very sorry but we need to open
or prohibit law enforcement agencies of the government from assisting or conducting the opening and your small carton marked Bongbong Piaya. I told him, I am very sorry, sir, but we need
investigation of suspicious packages and cargoes. Otherwise, they will be remiss in their sworn duty of to open your small carton marked Bongbong Piaya.
protecting the public in general and more particularly those in the aviation industry. x x x. It becomes Q And what did Mr. Suzuki do?
crystal-clear that the PASCOM officers and personnel had the legal authority when they opened and A Mr. Suzuki answered me, open.
investigated the box in the presence of the accused and his counsel. Q What did you do?
This is not the first time we recognize a search conducted pursuant to routine airport security A I said kindly open your carton and he repeated, open.
procedure as an exception to the proscription against warrantless searches. In People vs. Q For the second time?
Canton,[6] and People vs. Johnson,[7] we validated the search conducted on the departing passengers and A Yes, sir.
the consequent seizure of the shabu found in their persons, thus: Q What did you do then because he said open?
Persons may lose the protection of the search and seizure clause by exposure of their persons or A I explained to him, sir, and I asked him again, sir, I am going to open this and he told me
property to the public in a manner reflecting a lack of subjective expectation of privacy, which you open.
expectation society is prepared to recognize as reasonable. Such recognition is implicit in airport Q Then, what did you do?
security procedures. With increased concern over airplane hijacking and terrorism has come increased A I got hold of the carton and opened it by means of cutting the masking tape that bound
security at the nations airports. Passengers attempting to board an aircraft routinely pass through metal both ends of the carton.
detectors; their carry-on baggage as well as checked luggage are routinely subjected to x-ray Q And what did you find inside the said box?
scans.Should these procedures suggest the presence of suspicious objects, physical searches are A When I opened the box, sir, I found out that it contained suspected dried marijuana fruiting
conducted to determine what the objects are. There is little question that such searches are reasonable, tops wrapped in an aluminum foil, sir, and transparent cellophane.
given their minimal intrusiveness, the gravity of the safety interests involved, and the reduced privacy x x x.[10]
expectations associated with airline travel. Indeed, travelers are often notified through airport public That appellant gave his consent when PO1 Casugod asked him to open the box was confirmed by
address systems, signs and notices in their airline tickets that they are subject to search and, if any SPO1 Linda and PO3 Poyugao.[11] As succinctly found by the trial court, appellant cannot deny that he
prohibited materials or substances are found, such would be subject to seizure. These announcements consented by feigning ignorance of the English language, thus:
place passengers on notice that ordinary constitutional protections against warrantless searches and Accused through counsel would want this Court to believe that the opening of the carton containing
seizures do not apply to routine airport procedures. (Underscoring ours) marijuana fruiting tops was without the consent of the accused. The defense relied on the alleged
Clearly, the PASCOM agents have the right under the law to conduct search of prohibited materials inability of the accused to understand nor speak the English language because he is a Japanese
or substances. To simply refuse passengers carrying suspected illegal items to enter the pre-departure national. It made capital on the presence of Japanese interpreters, Tsuyushi Tsuchida and Hideo Agarie,
area, as claimed by appellant, is to deprive the authorities of their duty to conduct search, thus sanctioning who assisted during the trial.
impotence and ineffectivity of the law enforcers, to the detriment of society.[8] The Court has no doubt in the positive testimonies of the prosecution witnesses and their categorical
It should be stressed, however, that whenever the right against unreasonable search and seizure is declaration that accused Hedishi Suzuki gave his consent not only nodding his head but also by saying
challenged, an individual may choose between invoking the constitutional protection or waiving his right Open. Open. Open. There was even a third-party consent given by his Japanese companion Takeshi
by giving consent to the search or seizure.[9] Koketsu.
Here, appellant voluntarily gave his consent to the search conducted by the PASCOM agents. The The allegation of the accused that he does not understand English is indeed incredible to believe. As
testimony of SPO1 Arturo Casugod, Sr. is quite revealing, thus: aptly observed by Assistant City Prosecutor Rafael Guanco, the trial prosecutor, the accused might not
Q And when the said carton box was passed for the second time thru the walk-through be able to speak straight English yet he might understand English (Memorandum of the Prosecution,
machine it indicated this metallic element by flashing a red light, is that correct? page 21). The prosecution witnesses categorically declared that accused Hedishi Suzuki was speaking
A Yes, sir. English during the airport encounter with the PASCOM and NARCOM operatives and while being
Q And because of that, what did you do? investigated at the PASCOM Office. While it may be true that Lourdes Linsangan participated on some
A Rhodelin Poyugao put the box on top of the inspection table. occasions, her participation merely facilitated the conversation.
Q What happened then? The Court cannot believe accuseds protestation of ignorance of the English language. There are several
A And then our non-uniformed personnel, Mr. Donato Barnezo, asked the passenger Mr. indications that accused understand the English language. It may be noted that in filing a motion to
Hedishi Suzuki, saying, kindly open your box for inspection. terminate the legal services of Atty. Nicanor Villarosa, it appeared that accused caused its preparation or
filing without the assistance of a lawyer (Motion To Terminate Services of Counsel, page In the case at bar, there being no mitigating or aggravating circumstance, appellants possession of
53, expediente). The accused testified that his wife is proficient in English. Accused was able to play 1,547.70 grams[24] of marijuana does not merit the supreme penalty of death but only reclusion perpetua.
games in the casino, the night before the airport incident. He was able to give direction to the driver While the imposition of a fine is mandatory in cases of conviction of possession of illegal
from the motel to the airport. He has traveled to the Philippines about ten (10) times. He claims to be an drugs,[25] we, however, reduce the fine imposed by the trial court to P1,000,000.00, considering that courts
owner and manager of a company where some clients or customers are non-Japanese such as Germans may fix any amount within the limits established by law.[26]
and Americans. During the trial accused appeared to be an intelligent witness and this Court has keenly WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 45, Bacolod City in Criminal Case No.
observed that accused had shown eagerness and readiness to answer the questions propounded in the 94-16100 finding appellant Hedishi Suzuki guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section 8, Article
English language even before the Japanese translation. Above all, accused answered in the affirmative II of R.A. No. 6425, as amended, is hereby AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION in the sense that he is
when queried by the Court whether he was able to attend English classes while in college. In short, the sentenced to reclusion perpetua and fined One Million (P1,000,000.00) Pesos.
Court was literally taken for a ride when initially made to believe that the accused could not read, speak Costs de oficio.
and understand the English language. SO ORDERED.
It is axiomatic that a reasonable search is not to be determined by any fixed formula but is to be G.R. No. 120915. April 3, 1998]
resolved according to the facts of each case.[12] Given the circumstances obtaining here, we find the search THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROSA ARUTA y MENGUIN, accused-appellant.
conducted by the airport authorities reasonable and, therefore, not violative of his constitutional DECISION
rights. Hence, when the search of the box of piaya revealed several marijuana fruiting tops, appellant is ROMERO, J.:
deemed to have been caught in flagrante delicto, justifying his arrest even without a warrant under With the pervasive proliferation of illegal drugs and its pernicious effects on our society, our law
Section 5(a), Rule 113 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure.[13] The packs of marijuana obtained in the course enforcers tend at times to overreach themselves in apprehending drug offenders to the extent of failing
of such valid search are thus admissible as evidence against appellant.[14] to observe well-entrenched constitutional guarantees against illegal searches and arrests. Consequently,
Nonetheless, we find the trial courts reliance on the plain view doctrine misplaced. Such doctrine drug offenders manage to evade the clutches of the law on mere technicalities.
finds application only when the incriminating nature of the object is in the plain view of the police Accused-appellant Rosa Aruta y Menguin was arrested and charged with violating Section 4, Article
officer.[15] Here, it is beyond cavil that the marijuana seized from appellant is contained in the box II of Republic Act No. 6425 or the Dangerous Drugs Act. The information reads:
of piaya, wrapped in aluminum foil and not immediately apparent to the airport authorities. That on or about the fourteenth (14th) day of December, 1988, in the City of Olongapo, Philippines, and
Neither was the search incidental to a lawful arrest since appellant was not yet arrested at the time within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, without being lawfully
of the search. To be considered a search incidental to a lawful arrest, the law requires that there must be authorized, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and knowingly engage in transporting approximately
a lawful arrest before the search can be made.[16] eight (8) kilos and five hundred (500) grams of dried marijuana packed in plastic bag marked Cash
At this point, it bears stressing that mere possession of the prohibited substance is a crime per Katutak placed in a travelling bag, which are prohibited drugs.
se and the burden of proof is upon appellant to show that he has a license or permit under the law to Upon arraignment, she pleaded not guilty. After trial on the merits, the Regional Trial Court of
possess the prohibited drug.[17] Here, appellant failed to prove that he has a license to possess the Olongapo City convicted and sentenced her to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of
marijuana. In People vs. Bongcarawan,[18] we held that such possession constitutes prima facie evidence twenty thousand (P20,000.00) pesos.[1]
of animus possidendi sufficient to convict an accused in the absence of any satisfactory explanation. The prosecution substantially relied on the testimonies of P/Lt. Ernesto Abello, Officer-in-Charge of
Appellant vigorously contends that the trial court should have sustained his unrebutted testimony the Narcotics Command (NARCOM) of Olongapo City and P/Lt. Jose Domingo.Based on their testimonies,
that he was a victim of frame-up contrived by Takeshi in connivance with the arresting officers, especially the court a quo found the following:
C/Inspector Ernesto Alcantara, accused in several criminal charges. On December 13, 1988, P/Lt. Abello was tipped off by his informant, known only as Benjie, that a certain
It is noteworthy that aside from appellants testimony, not a shred of evidence was presented by Aling Rosa would be arriving from Baguio City the following day, December 14, 1988, with a large volume
the defense to prove his claim that he was framed-up. Not even Pinky who allegedly gave him the box of marijuana. Acting on said tip, P/Lt. Abello assembled a team composed of P/Lt. Jose Domingo, Sgt.
of piaya containing marijuana was presented as a witness to confirm his story. We have ruled that clear Angel Sudiacal, Sgt. Oscar Imperial, Sgt. Danilo Santiago and Sgt. Efren Quirubin.
and convincing evidence is required to prove the defense of frame-up because in the absence of proof of Said team proceeded to West Bajac-Bajac, Olongapo City at around 4:00 in the afternoon of December
any intent on the part of the police authorities to falsely impute such crime against appellant, the 14, 1988 and deployed themselves near the Philippine National Bank (PNB) building along Rizal Avenue
presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty stands.[19] Also, allegations of frame-up are and the Caltex gasoline station. Dividing themselves into two groups, one group, made up of P/Lt. Abello,
easily fabricated, making it the common and standard line of defense in prosecutions involving the P/Lt. Domingo and the informant posted themselves near the PNB building while the other group waited
Dangerous Drugs Law.[20] near the Caltex gasoline station.
We are not swayed by appellants reference to C/Inspector Alcantaras criminal records. Suffice it to While thus positioned, a Victory Liner Bus with body number 474 and the letters BGO printed on its front
state that he is neither an accused in this case or a prosecution witness. and back bumpers stopped in front of the PNB building at around 6:30 in the evening of the same day
We have carefully reviewed the records and found no cogent reason to overthrow the findings of from where two females and a male got off. It was at this stage that the informant pointed out to the
fact and conclusions of law by the trial court. That this is a matter exclusively within its competence, since team Aling Rosa who was then carrying a travelling bag.
it had the unique opportunity of observing the witnesses and their manner of testifying during trial, had Having ascertained that accused-appellant was Aling Rosa, the team approached her and introduced
long been established. Hence, its findings are accorded respect and will not be disturbed on appeal, except themselves as NARCOM agents. When P/Lt. Abello asked Aling Rosa about the contents of her bag, the
when there is a clear showing that facts of weight and substance which would affect the outcome of the latter handed it to the former.
case have been overlooked, misunderstood, or misapplied.[21] This exception is not present here. Upon inspection, the bag was found to contain dried marijuana leaves packed in a plastic bag marked
However, the trial court imposed the wrong penalty. Cash Katutak. The team confiscated the bag together with the Victory Liner bus ticket to which Lt.
Under Republic Act No. 6425, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, the penalty of reclusion Domingo affixed his signature. Accused-appellant was then brought to the NARCOM office for
perpetua to death and a fine ranging from P500,000.00 to P10,000,000.00 shall be imposed if the quantity investigation where a Receipt of Property Seized was prepared for the confiscated marijuana leaves.
of marijuana or Indian hemp shall be 750 grams or more.[22] Section 63 of the Revised Penal Code provides Upon examination of the seized marijuana specimen at the PC/INP Crime Laboratory, Camp Olivas,
that when the law prescribes a penalty composed of two indivisible penalties, the lesser penalty shall be Pampanga, P/Maj. Marlene Salangad, a Forensic Chemist, prepared a Technical Report stating that said
applied in the absence of any aggravating or mitigating circumstance. [23] specimen yielded positive results for marijuana, a prohibited drug.
After the presentation of the testimonies of the arresting officers and of the above technical report, the Section 3(2). Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible in
prosecution rested its case. evidence for any purpose in any proceeding.
Instead of presenting its evidence, the defense filed a Demurrer to Evidence alleging the illegality of the From the foregoing, it can be said that the State cannot simply intrude indiscriminately into the
search and seizure of the items thereby violating accused-appellants constitutional right against houses, papers, effects, and most importantly, on the person of an individual. The constitutional provision
unreasonable search and seizure as well as their inadmissibility in evidence. guaranteed an impenetrable shield against unreasonable searches and seizures. As such, it protects the
The said Demurrer to Evidence was, however, denied without the trial court ruling on the alleged privacy and sanctity of the person himself against unlawful arrests and other forms of restraint.[6]
illegality of the search and seizure and the inadmissibility in evidence of the items seized to avoid pre- Therewithal, the right of a person to be secured against any unreasonable seizure of his body and
judgment. Instead, the trial court continued to hear the case. any deprivation of his liberty is a most basic and fundamental one. A statute, rule or situation which allows
In view of said denial, accused-appellant testified on her behalf. As expected, her version of the exceptions to the requirement of a warrant of arrest or search warrant must perforce be strictly construed
incident differed from that of the prosecution. She claimed that immediately prior to her arrest, she had and their application limited only to cases specifically provided or allowed by law. To do otherwise is an
just come from Choice Theater where she watched the movie Balweg. While about to cross the road, an infringement upon personal liberty and would set back a right so basic and deserving of full protection and
old woman asked her help in carrying a shoulder bag. In the middle of the road, Lt. Abello and Lt. Domingo vindication yet often violated.[7]
arrested her and asked her to go with them to the NARCOM Office. The following cases are specifically provided or allowed by law:
During investigation at said office, she disclaimed any knowledge as to the identity of the woman 1. Warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest recognized under Section 12, Rule 126 of the Rules of
and averred that the old woman was nowhere to be found after she was arrested.Moreover, she added Court[8] and by prevailing jurisprudence;
that no search warrant was shown to her by the arresting officers. 2. Seizure of evidence in plain view, the elements of which are:
After the prosecution made a formal offer of evidence, the defense filed a Comment and/or (a) a prior valid intrusion based on the valid warrantless arrest in which the police are legally present in
Objection to Prosecutions Formal Offer of Evidence contesting the admissibility of the items seized as they the pursuit of their official duties;
were allegedly a product of an unreasonable search and seizure. (b) the evidence was inadvertently discovered by the police who had the right to be where they are;
Not convinced with her version of the incident, the Regional Trial Court of Olongapo City convicted (c) the evidence must be immediately apparent, and
accused-appellant of transporting eight (8) kilos and five hundred (500) grams of marijuana from Baguio (d) plain view justified mere seizure of evidence without further search;
City to Olongapo City in violation of Section 4, Article 11 of R.A. No. 6425, as amended, otherwise known 3. Search of a moving vehicle. Highly regulated by the government, the vehicles inherent mobility
as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 and sentenced her to life imprisonment and to pay a fine of twenty reduces expectation of privacy especially when its transit in public thoroughfares furnishes a highly
thousand (P20,000.00) pesos without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.[2] reasonable suspicion amounting to probable cause that the occupant committed a criminal activity;
In this appeal, accused-appellant submits the following: 4. Consented warrantless search;
1. The trial court erred in holding that the NARCOM agents could not apply for a warrant for the search 5. Customs search;[9]
of a bus or a passenger who boarded a bus because one of the requirements for applying a search 6. Stop and Frisk;[10] and
warrant is that the place to be searched must be specifically designated and described. 7. Exigent and Emergency Circumstances.[11]
2. The trial court erred in holding or assuming that if a search warrant was applied for by the NARCOM The above exceptions, however, should not become unbridled licenses for law enforcement officers
agents, still no court would issue a search warrant for the reason that the same would be considered a to trample upon the constitutionally guaranteed and more fundamental right of persons against
general search warrant which may be quashed. unreasonable search and seizures. The essential requisite of probable cause must still be satisfied before
3. The trial court erred in not finding that the warrantless search resulting to the arrest of accused- a warrantless search and seizure can be lawfully conducted.
appellant violated the latters constitutional rights. Although probable cause eludes exact and concrete definition, it generally signifies a reasonable
4. The trial court erred in not holding that although the defense of denial is weak yet the evidence of the ground of suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a cautious
prosecution is even weaker. man to believe that the person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is charged. It likewise refers
These submissions are impressed with merit. to the existence of such facts and circumstances which could lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man
In People v. Ramos,[3] this Court held that a search may be conducted by law enforcers only on the to believe that an offense has been committed and that the item(s), article(s) or object(s) sought in
strength of a search warrant validly issued by a judge as provided in Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution connection with said offense or subject to seizure and destruction by law is in the place to be searched.[12]
which provides: It ought to be emphasized that in determining probable cause, the average man weighs facts and
Section 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against circumstances without resorting to the calibrations of our rules of evidence of which his knowledge is
unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no technically nil. Rather, he relies on the calculus of common sense which all reasonable men have in
search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally abundance. The same quantum of evidence is required in determining probable cause relative to search.
by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may Before a search warrant can be issued, it must be shown by substantial evidence that the items sought are
produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. in fact seizable by virtue of being connected with criminal activity, and that the items will be found in the
This constitutional guarantee is not a blanket prohibition against all searches and seizures as it place to be searched.[13]
operates only against unreasonable searches and seizures. The plain import of the language of the In searches and seizures effected without a warrant, it is necessary for probable cause to be
Constitution, which in one sentence prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and at the same time present. Absent any probable cause, the article(s) seized could not be admitted and used as evidence
prescribes the requisites for a valid warrant, is that searches and seizures are normally unreasonable against the person arrested. Probable cause, in these cases, must only be based on reasonable ground of
unless authorized by a validly issued search warrant or warrant of arrest. Thus, the fundamental protection suspicion or belief that a crime has been committed or is about to be committed.
accorded by the search and seizure clause is that between person and police must stand the protective In our jurisprudence, there are instances where information has become a sufficient probable cause
authority of a magistrate clothed with power to issue or refuse to issue search warrants or warrants of to effect a warrantless search and seizure.
arrest.[4] In People v. Tangliben,[14] acting on information supplied by informers, police officers conducted a
Further, articles which are the product of unreasonable searches and seizures are inadmissible as surveillance at the Victory Liner Terminal compound in San Fernando, Pampanga against persons who may
evidence pursuant to the doctrine pronounced in Stonehill v. Diokno.[5] This exclusionary rule was later commit misdemeanors and also on those who may be engaging in the traffic of dangerous drugs. At 9:30
enshrined in Article III, Section 3(2) of the Constitution, thus: 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 was known, the vehicle was identified and the date of arrival was certain. From the information they had
acceded later on when the policemen identified themselves.Inside the bag were marijuana leaves wrapped received, the police could have persuaded a judge that there was probable cause, indeed, to justify the
in a plastic wrapper. The police officers only knew of the activities of Tangliben on the night of his arrest. issuance of a warrant. Instead of securing a warrant first, they proceeded to apprehend Aminnudin. When
In instant case, the apprehending officers already had prior knowledge from their informant the case was brought before this Court, the arrest was held to be illegal; hence any item seized from
regarding Arutas alleged activities. In Tangliben policemen were confronted with an on-the-spot Aminnudin could not be used against him.
tip. Moreover, the policemen knew that the Victory Liner compound is being used by drug traffickers as Another recent case is People v. Encinada where the police likewise received confidential
their business address. More significantly, Tangliben was acting suspiciously.His actuations and information the day before at 4:00 in the afternoon from their informant that Encinada would be bringing
surrounding circumstances led the policemen to reasonably suspect that Tangliben is committing a in marijuana from Cebu City on board M/V Sweet Pearl at 7:00 in the morning of the following day. This
crime. In instant case, there is no single indication that Aruta was acting suspiciously. intelligence information regarding the culprits identity, the particular crime he allegedly committed and
In People v. Malmstedt,[15] the Narcom agents received reports that vehicles coming from Sagada his exact whereabouts could have been a basis of probable cause for the lawmen to secure a warrant. This
were transporting marijuana. They likewise received information that a Caucasian coming from Sagada Court held that in accordance with Administrative Circular No. 13 and Circular No. 19, series of 1987, the
had prohibited drugs on his person. There was no reasonable time to obtain a search warrant, especially lawmen could have applied for a warrant even after court hours. The failure or neglect to secure one
since the identity of the suspect could not be readily ascertained. His actuations also aroused the cannot serve as an excuse for violating Encinadas constitutional right.
suspicion of the officers conducting the operation. The Court held that in light of such circumstances, to In the instant case, the NARCOM agents were admittedly not armed with a warrant of arrest. To
deprive the agents of the ability and facility to act promptly, including a search without a warrant, would legitimize the warrantless search and seizure of accused-appellants bag, accused-appellant must have
be to sanction impotence and ineffectiveness in law enforcement, to the detriment of society. been validly arrested under Section 5 of Rule 113 which provides inter alia:
Note, however, the glaring differences of Malmstedt to the instant case. In present case, the police Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant,
officers had reasonable time within which to secure a search warrant. Second, Arutas identity was priorly arrest a person:
ascertained. Third, Aruta was not acting suspiciously. Fourth, Malmstedt was searched aboard a moving (a) When in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is
vehicle, a legally accepted exception to the warrant requirement.Aruta, on the other hand, was searched attempting to commit an offense;
while about to cross a street. xxx xxx xxx.
In People v. Bagista,[16] the NARCOM officers had probable cause to stop and search all vehicles Accused-appellant Aruta cannot be said to be committing a crime. Neither was she about to commit
coming from the north to Acop, Tublay, Benguet in view of the confidential information they received from one nor had she just committed a crime. Accused-appellant was merely crossing the street and was not
their regular informant that a woman having the same appearance as that of accused-appellant would be acting in any manner that would engender a reasonable ground for the NARCOM agents to suspect and
bringing marijuana from up north. They likewise had probable cause to search accused-appellants conclude that she was committing a crime. It was only when the informant pointed to accused-appellant
belongings since she fitted the description given by the NARCOM informant. Since there was a valid and identified her to the agents as the carrier of the marijuana that she was singled out as the suspect.
warrantless search by the NARCOM agents, any evidence obtained in the course of said search is The NARCOM agents would not have apprehended accused-appellant were it not for the furtive finger of
admissible against accused-appellant. Again, this case differs from Aruta as this involves a search of a the informant because, as clearly illustrated by the evidence on record, there was no reason whatsoever
moving vehicle plus the fact that the police officers erected a checkpoint. Both are exceptions to the for them to suspect that accused-appellant was committing a crime, except for the pointing finger of the
requirements of a search warrant. informant. This the Court could neither sanction nor tolerate as it is a clear violation of the constitutional
In Manalili v. Court of Appeals and People,[17] the policemen conducted a surveillance in an area of guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure. Neither was there any semblance of any compliance
the Kalookan Cemetery based on information that drug addicts were roaming therein. Upon reaching the with the rigid requirements of probable cause and warrantless arrests.
place, they chanced upon a man in front of the cemetery who appeared to be high on drugs. He was Consequently, there was no legal basis for the NARCOM agents to effect a warrantless search of
observed to have reddish eyes and to be walking in a swaying manner. Moreover, he appeared to be trying accused-appellants bag, there being no probable cause and the accused-appellant not having been
to avoid the policemen. When approached and asked what he was holding in his hands, he tried to lawfully arrested. Stated otherwise, the arrest being incipiently illegal, it logically follows that the
resist. When he showed his wallet, it contained marijuana. The Court held that the policemen had subsequent search was similarly illegal, it being not incidental to a lawful arrest.The constitutional
sufficient reason to accost accused-appellant to determine if he was actually high on drugs due to his guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure must perforce operate in favor of accused-
suspicious actuations, coupled with the fact that based on information, this area was a haven for drug appellant. As such, the articles seized could not be used as evidence against accused-appellant for these
addicts. are fruits of a poisoned tree and, therefore, must be rejected, pursuant to Article III, Sec. 3(2) of the
In all the abovecited cases, there was information received which became the bases for conducting Constitution.
the warrantless search. Furthermore, additional factors and circumstances were present which, when Emphasis is to be laid on the fact that the law requires that the search be incidental to a lawful
taken together with the information, constituted probable causes which justified the warrantless searches arrest, in order that the search itself may likewise be considered legal. Therefore, it is beyond cavil that a
and seizures in each of the cases. lawful arrest must precede the search of a person and his belongings. Where a search is first undertaken,
In the instant case, the determination of the absence or existence of probable cause necessitates a and an arrest effected based on evidence produced by the search, both such search and arrest would be
reexamination of the facts. The following have been established: (1) In the morning of December 13, 1988, unlawful, for being contrary to law.[18]
the law enforcement officers received information from an informant named Benjie that a certain Aling As previously discussed, the case in point is People v. Aminnudin[19] where, this Court observed that:
Rosa would be leaving for Baguio City on December 14, 1988 and would be back in the afternoon of the x x x accused-appellant was not, at the moment of his arrest, committing a crime nor was it shown that
same day carrying with her a large volume of marijuana; (2) At 6:30 in the evening of December 14, 1988, he was about to do so or that he had just done so. What he was doing was descending the gangplank of
accused-appellant alighted from a Victory Liner Bus carrying a travelling bag even as the informant pointed the M/V Wilcon 9 and there was no outward indication that called for his arrest. To all appearances, he
her out to the law enforcement officers; (3) The law enforcement officers approached her and introduced was like any of the other passengers innocently disembarking from the vessel. It was only when the
themselves as NARCOM agents; (4) When asked by Lt. Abello about the contents of her travelling bag, she informer pointed to him as the carrier of the marijuana that he suddenly became suspect and so subject
gave the same to him; (5) When they opened the same, they found dried marijuana leaves; (6) Accused- to apprehension. It was the furtive finger that triggered his arrest. The identification by the informer was
appellant was then brought to the NARCOM office for investigation. the probable cause as determined by the officers (and not a judge) that authorized them to pounce upon
This case is similar to People v. Aminnudin where the police received information two days before Aminnudin and immediately arrest him.
the arrival of Aminnudin that the latter would be arriving from Iloilo on board the M/V Wilcon 9. His name
In the absence of probable cause to effect a valid and legal warrantless arrest, the search and seizure [T]he Republics counsel avers that appellant voluntarily handed the chairs containing the package of
of accused-appellants bag would also not be justified as seizure of evidence in plain view under the second marijuana to the arresting officer and thus effectively waived his right against the warrantless
exception. The marijuana was obviously not immediately apparent as shown by the fact that the NARCOM search. This he gleaned from Bolonias testimony.
agents still had to request accused-appellant to open the bag to ascertain its contents. Q: After Roel Encinada alighted from the motor tricycle, what happened next?
Neither would the search and seizure of accused-appellants bag be justified as a search of a moving A: I requested to him to see his chairs that he carried.
vehicle. There was no moving vehicle to speak of in the instant case as accused-appellant was Q: Are you referring to the two plastic chairs?
apprehended several minutes after alighting from the Victory Liner bus. In fact, she was accosted in the A: Yes, sir.
middle of the street and not while inside the vehicle. Q: By the way, when Roel Encinada agreed to allow you to examine the two chairs that he
People v. Solayao,[20] applied the stop and frisk principle which has been adopted in Posadas v. carried, what did you do next?
Court of Appeals.[21] In said case, Solayao attempted to flee when he and his companions were accosted A: I examined the chairs and I noticed that something inside in between the two chairs.
by government agents. In the instant case, there was no observable manifestation that could have aroused We are not convinced. While in principle we agree that consent will validate an otherwise illegal
the suspicion of the NARCOM agents as to cause them to stop and frisk accused-appellant. To reiterate, search, we believe that appellant -- based on the transcript quoted above -- did not voluntarily consent
accused-appellant was merely crossing the street when apprehended. Unlike in the abovementioned to Bolonias search of his belongings. Appellants silence should not be lightly taken as consent to such
cases, accused-appellant never attempted to flee from the NARCOM agents when the latter identified search. The implied acquiscence to the search, if there was any, could not have been more than mere
themselves as such. Clearly, this is another indication of the paucity of probable cause that would passive conformity given under intimidating or coercive circumstances and is thus considered no
sufficiently provoke a suspicion that accused-appellant was committing a crime. consent at all within the purview of the constitutional guarantee. Furthermore, considering that the
The warrantless search and seizure could not likewise be categorized under exigent and emergency search was conducted irregularly, i.e., without a warrant, we cannot appreciate consent based merely on
circumstances, as applied in People v. De Gracia.[22] In said case, there were intelligence reports that the the presumption of regularity of the performance of duty.(Emphasis supplied)
building was being used as headquarters by the RAM during a coup detat. A surveillance team was fired at Thus, accused-appellants lack of objection to the search is not tantamount to a waiver of her
by a group of armed men coming out of the building and the occupants of said building refused to open constitutional rights or a voluntary submission to the warrantless search. As this Court held in People v.
the door despite repeated requests. There were large quantities of explosives and ammunitions inside the Barros:[27]
building. Nearby courts were closed and general chaos and disorder prevailed. The existing circumstances x x x [T]he accused is not to be presumed to have waived the unlawful search conducted on the occasion
sufficiently showed that a crime was being committed. In short, there was probable cause to effect a of his warrantless arrest simply because he failed to object-
warrantless search of the building. The same could not be said in the instant case. x x x. To constitute a waiver, it must appear first that the right exists; secondly, that the person involved
The only other exception that could possibly legitimize the warrantless search and seizure would be had knowledge, actual or constructive, of the existence of such right; and lastly, that said person had an
consent given by the accused-appellant to the warrantless search as to amount to a waiver of her actual intention to relinquish the right (Pasion Vda. de Garcia v. Locsin, 65 Phil. 698). The fact that the
constitutional right. The Solicitor General argues that accused-appellant voluntarily submitted herself to accused failed to object to the entry into his house does not amount to a permission to make a search
search and inspection citing People v. Malasugui[23] where this Court ruled: therein (Magoncia v. Palacio, 80 Phil. 770). As pointed out by Justice Laurel in the case of Pasion Vda. de
When one voluntarily submits to a search or consents to have it made on his person or premises, he is Garcia v. Locsin (supra):
precluded from complaining later thereof. (Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, 8th ed., [V]ol. I, p. xxx xxx xxx
631.)The right to be secure from unreasonable search may, like every right, be waived and such waiver x x x As the constitutional guaranty is not dependent upon any affirmative act of the citizen, the courts do
may be made either expressly or impliedly. not place the citizen in the position of either contesting an officers authority by force, or waiving his
In support of said argument, the Solicitor General cited the testimony of Lt. Abello, thus: constitutional rights; but instead they hold that a peaceful submission to a search or seizure is not a
Q When this informant by the name of alias Benjie pointed to Aling Rosa, what happened consent or an invitation thereto, but is merely a demonstration of regard for the supremacy of the law.
after that? (Citation omitted).
A We followed her and introduced ourselves as NARCOM agents and confronted her with We apply the rule that: courts indulge every reasonable presumption against waiver of fundamental
our informant and asked her what she was carrying and if we can see the bag she constitutional rights and that we do not presume acquiescence in the loss of fundamental
was carrying. rights.[28](Emphasis supplied)
Q What was her reaction? To repeat, to constitute a waiver, there should be an actual intention to relinquish the right. As
A She gave her bag to me. clearly illustrated in People v. Omaweng,[29] where prosecution witness Joseph Layong testified thus:
Q So what happened after she gave the bag to you? PROSECUTOR AYOCHOK:
A I opened it and found out plastic bags of marijuana inside.[24] Q - When you and David Fomocod saw the travelling bag, what did you do?
This Court cannot agree with the Solicitor Generals contention for the Malasugui case is inapplicable A - When we saw that travelling bag, we asked the driver if we could see the contents.
to the instant case. In said case, there was probable cause for the warrantless arrest thereby making the Q - And what did or what was the reply of the driver, if there was any?
warrantless search effected immediately thereafter equally lawful.[25] On the contrary, the most essential A - He said you can see the contents but those are only clothings (sic).
element of probable cause, as expounded above in detail, is wanting in the instant case making the Q - When he said that, what did you do?
warrantless arrest unjustified and illegal. Accordingly, the search which accompanied the warrantless A - We asked him if we could open and see it.
arrest was likewise unjustified and illegal.Thus, all the articles seized from the accused-appellant could not Q - When you said that, what did he tell you?
be used as evidence against her. A - He said you can see it.
Aside from the inapplicability of the abovecited case, the act of herein accused-appellant in handing Q - And when he said you can see and open it, what did you do?
over her bag to the NARCOM agents could not be construed as voluntary submission or an implied A - When I went inside and opened the bag, I saw that it was not clothings (sic) that was
acquiescence to the unreasonable search. The instant case is similar to People v. Encinada,[26] where this contained in the bag.
Court held: Q - And when you saw that it was not clothings (sic), what did you do?
A - When I saw that the contents were not clothes, I took some of the contents and showed unlawful searches and seizures is to retain its vitality for the protection of our people. In the case at
it to my companion Fomocod and when Fomocod smelled it, he said it was bar, defense counsel had expressly objected on constitutional grounds to the admission of the carton
marijuana.(Emphasis supplied) box and the four (4) kilos of marijuana when these were formally offered in evidence by the
In the above-mentioned case, accused was not subjected to any search which may be stigmatized prosecution. We consider that appellants objection to the admission of such evidence was made
as a violation of his Constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures.If one had been made, clearly and seasonably and that, under the circumstances, no intent to waive his rights under the
this Court would be the first to condemn it as the protection of the citizen and the maintenance of his premises can be reasonably inferred from his conduct before or during the trial.(Emphasis supplied)
constitutional rights is one of the highest duties and privileges of the Court. He willingly gave prior consent In fine, there was really no excuse for the NARCOM agents not to procure a search warrant
to the search and voluntarily agreed to have it conducted on his vehicle and traveling bag, which is not the considering that they had more than twenty-four hours to do so. Obviously, this is again an instance of
case with Aruta. seizure of the fruit of the poisonous tree, hence illegal and inadmissible subsequently in evidence.
In an attempt to further justify the warrantless search, the Solicitor General next argues that the The exclusion of such evidence is the only practical means of enforcing the constitutional injunction
police officers would have encountered difficulty in securing a search warrant as it couldbe secured only against unreasonable searches and seizure. The non-exclusionary rule is contrary to the letter and spirit of
if accused-appellants name was known, the vehicle identified and the date of its arrival certain, as in the prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.[34]
the Aminnudin case where the arresting officers had forty-eight hours within which to act. While conceding that the officer making the unlawful search and seizure may be held criminally and
This argument is untenable. civilly liable, the Stonehill case observed that most jurisdictions have realized that the exclusionary rule is
Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution provides: the only practical means of enforcing the constitutional injunction against abuse. This approach is based
x x x [N]o search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined on the justification made by Judge Learned Hand that only in case the prosecution which itself controls
by the judge, or such other responsible officer as may be authorized by law, after examination under the seizing officials, knows that it cannot profit by their wrong, will the wrong be repressed.[35]
oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing Unreasonable searches and seizures are the menace against which the constitutional guarantees
the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. (Italics supplied) afford full protection. While the power to search and seize may at times be necessary to the public welfare,
Search warrants to be valid must particularly describe the place to be searched and the persons or still it may be exercised and the law enforced without transgressing the constitutional rights of the citizens,
things to be seized. The purpose of this rule is to limit the things to be seized to those and only those, for the enforcement of no statute is of sufficient importance to justify indifference to the basic principles
particularly described in the warrant so as to leave the officers of the law with no discretion regarding of government.[36]
what articles they shall seize to the end that unreasonable searches and seizures may not be made.[30] Those who are supposed to enforce the law are not justified in disregarding the rights of the
Had the NARCOM agents only applied for a search warrant, they could have secured one without individual in the name of order. Order is too high a price to pay for the loss of liberty. As Justice Holmes
too much difficulty, contrary to the assertions of the Solicitor General. The person intended to be searched declared: I think it is less evil that some criminals escape than that the government should play an ignoble
has been particularized and the thing to be seized specified. The time was also sufficiently ascertained to part. It is simply not allowed in free society to violate a law to enforce another, especially if the law violated
be in the afternoon of December 14, 1988. Aling Rosa turned out to be accused-appellant and the thing to is the Constitution itself.[37]
be seized was marijuana. The vehicle was identified to be a Victory Liner bus. In fact, the NARCOM agents WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 73, Olongapo
purposely positioned themselves near the spot where Victory Liner buses normally unload their City, is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. For lack of evidence to establish her guilt beyond reasonable
passengers. Assuming that the NARCOM agents failed to particularize the vehicle, this would not in any doubt, accused-appellant ROSA ARUTA Y MENGUIN is hereby ACQUITTED and ordered RELEASED from
way hinder them from securing a search warrant. The above particulars would have already sufficed. In confinement unless she is being held for some other legal grounds. No costs.
any case, this Court has held that the police should particularly describe the place to be searched and the SO ORDERED.
person or things to be seized, wherever and whenever it is feasible.[31] (Emphasis supplied) SUSAN ESQUILLO Y ROMINES, G.R. No. 182010
While it may be argued that by entering a plea during arraignment and by actively participating in Petitioner,
the trial, accused-appellant may be deemed to have waived objections to the illegality of the warrantless Present:
search and to the inadmissibility of the evidence obtained thereby, the same may not apply in the instant
case for the following reasons: CARPIO MORALES, Chairperson,
1. The waiver would only apply to objections pertaining to the illegality of the arrest as her plea of not - versus - BRION,
guilty and participation in the trial are indications of her voluntary submission to the BERSAMIN,
courts jurisdiction.[32] The plea and active participation in the trial would not cure the illegality of the VILLARAMA, JR., and
search and transform the inadmissible evidence into objects of proof. The waiver simply does not extend SERENO, JJ.
this far.
2. Granting that evidence obtained through a warrantless search becomes admissible upon failure to PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Promulgated:
object thereto during the trial of the case, records show that accused-appellant filed a Demurrer to Respondent. August 25, 2010
Evidence and objected and opposed the prosecutions Formal Offer of Evidence.
It is apropos to quote the case of People v. Barros,[33] which stated:
It might be supposed that the non-admissibility of evidence secured through an invalid warrantless
arrest or a warrantless search and seizure may be waived by an accused person. The a priori argument is
that the invalidity of an unjustified warrantless arrest, or an arrest effected with a defective warrant of
arrest may be waived by applying for and posting of bail for provisional liberty, so as to estop an accused
from questioning the legality or constitutionality of his detention or the failure to accord him a
preliminary investigation. We do not believe, however, that waiver of the latter necessarily constitutes,
or carries with it, waiver of the former--an argument that the Solicitor General appears to be making
impliedly. Waiver of the non-admissibility of the fruits of an invalid warrantless arrest and of a
warrantless search and seizure is not casually to be presumed, if the constitutional right against
x--------------------------------------------------x Net Weight of specimen = 0.1224 gram

DECISION Examinations conducted on the above-mentioned specimen


gave POSITIVE RESULTS for METHAMPHETAMINE HYDROCHLORIDE, a dangerous
CARPIO MORALES, J.: drug. x x x

x x x x (emphasis and underscoring supplied)


Via petition erroneously captioned as one for Certiorari, Susan Esquillo y Romines (petitioner) challenges

the November 27, 2007 Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 27894 which affirmed the July

28, 2003 Decision of Branch 116 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasay City in Criminal Case No. 02- With respect to the examination of the urine of petitioner, de Belen recorded the results

2297 convicting Susan Esquillo y Romines (petitioner) for violating Section 11, Article II of Republic Act thereof in Toxicology Report No. TDD-02-4128[5] reading:

(R.A.) No. 9165 (the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) possession of methamphetamine
xxxx
hydrochloride or shabu.
SPECIMEN:
The accusatory portion of the Information dated December 12, 2002 indicting petitioner reads:
Urine of one SUSAN ESQUILLO Y ROMINES. 37 y/o, married, jobless, of no. 1159 Bo.
That on or about the 10th day of December, 2002 in Pasay City, Metro Bayanihan, Maricaban, Pasay City.
Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-
named accused, without authority of law, did then and there willfully, unlawfully xxxx
and feloniously have in her possession, custody and control 0.1224 gram of
Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride (shabu).[2](underscoring supplied) F I N D I N G S:

Volume of urine = 60 mL.


pH of urine = 5.0
Appearance = yellow orange, turbid
At the trial, petitioner admitted the genuineness and due execution of the documentary
Examinations conducted on the above-mentioned specimen gave POSITIVE RESULTS for the
evidence of the prosecution, particularly the Dangerous Drugs and Toxicology Reports issued by National presence of METHAMPHETAMINE HYDROCHLORIDE, and its metabolite AMPHETAMINE. x x x

Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Forensic Chemist Antonino de Belen (de Belen),[3] subject to her defenses, to x x x x (emphasis and underscoring supplied)
thus dispense with the testimony of de Belen.

De Belen recorded the results of the laboratory examination of the contents of the sachet in Based on its documentary evidence and the testimony of PO1 Alvin Cruzin (PO1 Cruzin), [6] a
Dangerous Drugs Report No. DD-02-613,[4] viz: member of the Pasay City Police Station Special Operations Group (SOG), the prosecution established its

version as follows:
xxxx

SPECIMEN:
On the basis of an informants tip, PO1 Cruzin, together with PO2 Angel Aguas (PO2 Aguas),
White crystalline substance contained in a heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet
marked SRE and further placed in bigger marked transparent plastic sachet. proceeded at around 4:00 p.m. on December 10, 2002 to Bayanihan St., Malibay, Pasay City to conduct

xxxx surveillance on the activities of an alleged notorious snatcher operating in the area known only as Ryan.

F I N D I N G S:
As PO1 Cruzin alighted from the private vehicle that brought him and PO2 Aguas to the target In fine, petitioner claimed that the evidence against her was planted, stemming from an all too

area, he glanced in the direction of petitioner who was standing three meters away and seen placing inside obvious attempt by the police officers to extort money from her and her family.

a yellow cigarette case what appeared to be a small heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet containing

white substance. While PO1 Cruz was not sure what the plastic sachet contained, he became suspicious Two other witnesses for the defense, petitioners daughter Josan Lee[11] and family friend Ma.

when petitioner started acting strangely as he began to approach her. He then introduced himself as a Stella Tolentino,[12] corroborated petitioners account. They went on to relate that the police officers never

police officer to petitioner and inquired about the plastic sachet she was placing inside her cigarette informed them of the reason why they were taking custody of petitioner.

case. Instead of replying, however, petitioner attempted to flee to her house nearby but was timely

restrained by PO1 Cruzin who then requested her to take out the transparent plastic sachet from the By Decision[13] of July 28, 2003, the trial court found petitioner guilty of illegal possession of

cigarette case. Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride or shabu, disposing as follows:

WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing premises and considerations, this Court


After apprising petitioner of her constitutional rights, PO1 Cruzin confiscated the plastic hereby renders judgment finding the accused Susan Esquillo y Romines GUILTY
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Violation of par. 3 of Section 11, Article II
sachet[7] on which he marked her initials SRE. With the seized item, petitioner was brought for of R. A. 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002,
and absent any modifying circumstance to either aggravate or mitigate the criminal
investigation to a Pasay City Police Station where P/Insp. Aquilino E. Almanza, Chief of the Drug
liability of the same accused, and furthermore, applying the provisions of the
Enforcement Unit, prepared a memorandum[8] dated December 10, 2002 addressed to the Chief Forensic Indeterminate Sentence Law, the same accused is hereby sentenced to suffer
the penalty of imprisonment ranging from Eight (8) years and One (1) day, as
Chemist of the NBI in Manila requesting for: 1) a laboratory examination of the substance contained in the minimum, to Fourteen (14) years, Eight (8) months and One (1) day, as
maximum, and to pay a fine of P350,000.00, Philippine Currency, plus costs.
plastic sachet to determine the presence of shabu, and 2) the conduct of a drug test on the person of
The 0.1224 gram of Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride or Shabu involved in this
petitioner. PO1 Cruzin and PO2 Aguas soon executed a Joint Affidavit of Apprehension[9]recounting the case is declared forfeited in favor of the Government and ordered to be turned over
to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for proper and appropriate
details of their intended surveillance and the circumstances leading to petitioners arrest. disposition in accordance with the provisions of the law.[14] (underscoring supplied)

Before the Court of Appeals, appellant questioned as illegal her arrest without warrant to thus
Repudiating the charges, petitioner[10] gave the following tale: render any evidence obtained on the occasion thereof inadmissible.

At around 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. of the date in question, while she was sick and resting at home, In its challenged Decision affirming petitioners conviction, the appellate court, citing People v.
several policemen in civilian garb with guns tucked in their waists barged in and asked her whether she Chua, [15]
held that the police officers had probable cause to search petitioner under the stop-and-frisk
knew one named Ryan who they claimed was a notorious snatcher operating in the area, to which she concept, a recognized exception to the general rule prohibiting warrantless searches.[16]
replied in the negative. The police officers then forced her to go with them to the Pasay City Police Station-

SOG office where she was detained. Brushing aside petitioners defense of frame-up, the appellate court noted that petitioner failed

to adduce evidence that the arresting officers were impelled by any evil motive to falsely charge her, and
While she was under detention, the police officers were toying with a wallet which they claimed that she was even found positive for substance abuse.
contained shabu and recovered from her.
(1) consented searches; (2) as an incident to a lawful arrest; (3) searches of vessels
In her present petition, petitioner assails the appellate courts application of the stop-and-frisk and aircraft for violation of immigration, customs, and drug laws; (4) searches of
moving vehicles; (5) searches of automobiles at borders or constructive borders; (6)
principle in light of PO1 Cruzins failure to justify his suspicion that a crime was being committed, he having where the prohibited articles are in plain view; (7) searches of buildings and
premises to enforce fire, sanitary, and building regulations; and (8) stop and
merely noticed her placing something inside a cigarette case which could hardly be deemed suspicious. To
frisk operations.[20] (emphasis underscoring supplied)
petitioner, such legal principle could only be invoked if there were overt acts constituting unusual conduct

that would arouse the suspicion.[17]


In the instances where a warrant is not necessary to effect a valid search or seizure, the

Respondent, through the Office of the Solicitor General, prays for the affirmance of the determination of what constitutes a reasonable or unreasonable search or seizure is purely a judicial

appealed decision but seeks a modification of the penalty to conform to the pertinent provisions of R.A. question, taking into account, among other things, the uniqueness of the circumstances involved including

No. 9165. the purpose of the search or seizure, the presence or absence of probable cause, the manner in which the

search and seizure was made, the place or thing searched, and the character of the articles procured.[21]

Appellants conviction stands.


Elucidating on what includes stop-and-frisk operation and how it is to be carried out, the Court

Petitioner did not question early on her warrantless arrest before her arraignment. Neither did in People v. Chua[22] held:

she take steps to quash the Information on such ground. Verily, she raised the issue of warrantless arrest
. . . the act of a police officer to stop a citizen on the street, interrogate
as well as the inadmissibility of evidence acquired on the occasion thereof for the first time only on appeal him, and pat him for weapon(s) or contraband. The police officer should properly
introduce himself and make initial inquiries, approach and restrain a person who
before the appellate court.[18] By such omissions, she is deemed to have waived any objections on the manifests unusual and suspicious conduct, in order to check the latters outer
clothing for possibly concealed weapons. The apprehending police officer must
legality of her arrest.[19] 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. It should therefore be emphasized
that a search and seizure should precede the arrest for this principle to apply.
Be that as it may, the circumstances under which petitioner was arrested indeed engender the
This principle of stop-and-frisk search was invoked by the Court
belief that a search on her was warranted. Recall that the police officers were on a surveillance operation
in Manalili v. Court of Appeals. In said case, the policemen chanced upon the
as part of their law enforcement efforts. When PO1 Cruzin saw petitioner placing a plastic sachet 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-
containing white crystalline substance into her cigarette case, it was in his plain view. Given his training as frisk. In People v. Solayao, we also found justifiable reason to stop-and-frisk the
accused after considering the following circumstances: the drunken actuations of
a law enforcement officer, it was instinctive on his part to be drawn to curiosity and to approach her. That 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
petitioner reacted by attempting to flee after he introduced himself as a police officer and inquired about mission to verify reports that armed persons w[h]ere roaming the
vicinity. (emphasis and underscoring supplied; citations omitted)
the contents of the plastic sachet all the more pricked his curiosity.

That a search may be conducted by law enforcers only on the strength of a valid search warrant What is, therefore, essential is that a genuine reason must exist, in light of the police officers
is settled. The same, however, admits of exceptions, viz: experience and surrounding conditions, to warrant the belief that the person who manifests unusual

suspicious conduct has weapons or contraband concealed about him. Such a stop-and-frisk practice serves
a dual purpose: (1) the general interest of effective crime prevention and detection, which underlies the Courts have tended to look with disfavor on claims of accused, such as those of petitioners,

recognition that a police officer may, under appropriate circumstances and in an appropriate manner, that they are victims of a frame-up. The defense of frame-up, like alibi, has been held as a shop-worn

approach a person for purposes of investigating possible criminal behavior even without probable defense of the accused in drug-related cases, the allegation being easily concocted or contrived. For this

cause; and (2) the more pressing interest of safety and self-preservation which permit the police officer to claim to prosper, the defense must adduce clear and convincing evidence to overcome the presumption

take steps to assure himself that the person with whom he deals is not armed with a deadly weapon that of regularity of official acts of government officials. This it failed to do.

could unexpectedly and fatally be used against the police officer.[23]

Absent any proof of motive to falsely accuse petitioner of such a grave offense, the

From these standards, the Court finds that the questioned act of the police officers constituted presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty and the findings of the trial court with respect

a valid stop-and-frisk operation. The search/seizure of the suspected shabuinitially noticed in petitioners to the credibility of witnesses prevail over that of petitioner.[25]

possession later voluntarily exhibited[24] to the police operative was undertaken after she was

interrogated on what she placed inside a cigarette case, and after PO1 Cruzin introduced himself to A word on the penalty.

petitioner as a police officer. And, at the time of her arrest, petitioner was exhibiting suspicious behavior

and in fact attempted to flee after the police officer had identified himself. While the appellate court affirmed the trial courts decision, it overlooked the error in the

penalty imposed by the trial court. The trial court, applying the provisions of the Indeterminate Sentence

It bears recalling that petitioner admitted the genuineness and due execution of the Dangerous Law, sentenced petitioner to suffer the penalty of imprisonment ranging from Eight (8) years and One (1)

Drugs and Toxicology Reports, subject, however, to whatever available defenses she would raise. While day, as minimum, to Fourteen (14) years, Eight (8) months and One (1) day, as maximum.

such admissions do not necessarily control in determining the validity of a warrantless search or seizure, Article II, Section 11 of R.A. No. 9165 provides, however:

they nevertheless provide a reasonable gauge by which petitioners credibility as a witness can be
Section 11. Possession of Dangerous Drugs.
measured, or her defense tested.
xxxx

Otherwise, if the quantity involved is less than the foregoing quantities, the
It has not escaped the Courts attention that petitioner seeks exculpation by adopting two
penalties shall be graduated as follows:
completely inconsistent or incompatible lines of defense. On one hand, she argues that the stop-and-frisk
xxxx
search upon her person and personal effects was unjustified as it constituted a warrantless search in
(3) Imprisonment of twelve (12) years and one (1) day to
violation of the Constitution. In the same breadth, however, she denies culpability by holding fast to her twenty (20) years and a fine ranging from Three hundred thousand
pesos (P300,000) to Four hundred thousand pesos (P400,000), if the quantities of
version that she was at home resting on the date in question and had been forcibly dragged out of the dangerous drugs are less than five (5) grams of opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine
or cocaine hydrochloride, marijuana resin or marijuana resin oil, metamphetamine
house by the police operatives and brought to the police station, for no apparent reason than to try and hydrochloride or shabu or other dangerous drugs such as, but not limited to MDMA
or ecstacy, PMA, TMA, LSD, GHB and those similarly designed or newly introduced
extort money from her. That her two witnesses a daughter and a friend who were allegedly present at the drugs and their derivatives, without having any therapeutic value or if the quantity
possesses is far behind therapeutic requirements; or less than three hundred (300)
time of her arrest did not do anything to report it despite their claim that they were not informed why she
grams of marijuana. (emphasis and underscoring supplied)
was being arrested, should dent the credibility of their testimony.
entrance of the road going to Sapang Biabas. While they were in their car, the informer pointed to them
Section 1 of the Indeterminate Sentence Law provides that when the offense is punished by a a woman bearing the same description given by the former. The woman alighted from the tricycle and
subsequently loaded two sacks with camote fruits on top. The two officers proceeded to the place where
law other than the Revised Penal Code, the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence, the woman was and noticed marijuana dried leaves protruding through a hole of one of the sacks.
Sagum and Galvez introduced themselves as police officers and requested the woman to put out the
the maximum term of which shall not exceed the maximum fixed by law and the minimum shall not be
contents of the said sacks. The sacks yielded sweet potatoes mixed with 15 brick-like substance wrapped
less than the minimum term prescribed by the same. in brown paper and masking tape. A brick, which was damaged on the side and in plain view of the
officers revealed dried marijuana leaves. The woman who was arrested identified herself as accused Lita
Ayangao y Batong-Og of Lacnog, Agbanawag Tabuk, Kalinga Province. Ayangao and the suspected dried
marijuana leaves were brought to the police officers headquarter at Diamond Subdivision, Angeles City.
The prayer of the Office of the Solicitor General for a modification of the penalty is thus in The evidence confiscated from the accused were sent to the PNP Crime Laboratory at Camp Olivas
where it was examined by Chief Forensic Chemist Daisy P. Babor. The Initial Laboratory Report issued
order. indicated that the specimens from the 15 bricks of suspected dried marijuana leaves weighing 14.75
kilograms were found to be positive for marijuana.
The defense, through the testimonies of the appellant and Reynaldo Nunag, purok chairman of Sitio
Makabakle, presented a different version, again summarized by the trial court:[5]
The Court, therefore, imposes on petitioner the penalty of imprisonment of twelve (12) years Accused Lita Ayangao denied the charge made against her and alleged that she has nothing to do with
the marijuana allegedly found in her possession. She went to Sapang Biabas Marimar, Camachile,
and one (1) day, as minimum, to fourteen (14) years, as maximum.
Mabalacat, Pampanga from Tabuk, Kalinga Province on August 13, 1999 only upon the request of a
certain Magda Dumpao. Allegedly, Magda bought a house in Mawaque, Mabalacat and learned that it
was being sold again. Magda then requested her (accused) to talk to Jaime Alarcon who acted as Magdas
agent in buying the house. It was Magda who instructed her on how to go to the house of Jaime Alarcon.
She arrived at the house of Alarcon at around 3:00 oclock in the morning and was welcomed inside by
Gloria and Jocelyn Alarcon, Jaimes wife and daughter-in-law. As Jaime was not around, she asked the
[G.R. No. 142356. April 14, 2004] Alarcons permission if she can have a nap. Gloria and Jocelyn allowed her to sleep on the sofa and while
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. LITA AYANGAO y BATONG-OG, appellant. she was resting, at around 6:00 oclock in the morning, somebody knocked at the door. Gloria opened it
DECISION and two men, who identified themselves as CIS agents, told Gloria that they were looking for somebody
CORONA, J.: who came from Baguio City. One of the men went to where she was then lying and asked Gloria who she
This is an appeal from the February 29, 2000 decision[1] of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 59, was. Gloria answered that she came from Tabuk. The police officers asked her (accused) to go with them
Angeles City in Criminal Case no. 99-1261 convicting the appellant of violating Section 4, Article 2 of RA as they wanted to talk to her. When she refused, the policemen forced her out of the house and boarded
7659, as amended, also known as the Dangerous Drugs Act. her to their car. While she was inside the car, she saw a sack and a carton box. The police brought her to
Appellant Lita Ayangao was charged with transporting 14.75 kilograms of marijuana in an their headquarters at Diamond Subd., Angeles City. She was made to sit in a chair and in her view, the
information[2] that read: sack was opened and its contents were placed in (sic) a table. She then heard from the policemen that
That on or about the 13th day of August, 1999, in the Municipality of Mabalacat, Province of Pampanga, the contents of the sack were marijuana and accused her of owning it.
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, LITA Reynaldo Nunag, purok chairman of Sitio Makabakle, Marimar, Biabas, Mabalacat, Pampanga, testified
AYANGAO y BATONG-OG, without any authority of law, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and that, as tricycle driver whose terminal is near the house of Jaime Alarcon, he did not see any unusual
feloniously dispatch in transit or transport fifteen (15) bricks of dried marijuana leaves with the actual incident that happened in said vicinity in the morning of August 13, 1999. He also did not see how the
total weight of FOURTEEN KILOGRAMS AND SEVENTY FIVE HUNDREDTHS (14.75) of kilogram, a accused was arrested and did not see the policemens car.
prohibited drug. The trial court found the prosecutions version to be credible, reasoning that appellants defense of
The appellant, through counsel, filed a motion to quash on the ground that the facts charged did frame-up was not supported by evidence and thus could not prevail over the testimonies of the
not constitute an offense. This was denied by the trial court. Upon arraignment, the appellant pleaded not prosecution witnesses. The law enforcers testimonies carried the presumption of regularity in the
guilty.[3] Thereafter, trial ensued. performance of official duties. The dispositive portion of the decision read:
The prosecution presented three witnesses: PO3 Nestor Galvez, PO3 Bienvenido Sagum and Chief WHEREFORE, premises considered, accused Lita Ayangao y Batong-og is found GUILTY beyond
Forensic Chemist Daisy Panganiban-Babor. The prosecutions version[4] of the facts, as aptly summarized reasonable doubt of violating Section 4 of Article II of R.A. 6425 as amended by R.A. 7659 by transporting
by the trial court, was: fourteen kilograms and seventy five hundredths (14.75) of a kilogram of marijuana, a prohibited drug,
Two weeks before August 13, 1999, PO3 Bienvenido Sagum and PO3 Nestor A. Galvez, members of the without authority. Said accused is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Accused
Criminal Detection and Intelligence Group based at Diamond Subdivision, Balibago, Angeles City, Lita Ayangao-Batong-og (sic) is further ordered to pay a fine of five hundred thousand (P500,000.00)
received information from one of their informants that a certain woman from Mountain Province pesos.
delivers dried marijuana leaves for sale at Sapang Biabas, Mabalacat, Pampanga to some drug pushers. SO ORDERED. [6]
Said information was also relayed by the informant to C/Insp. Rhodel O. Sermonia who instructed the The following assignments of error are raised in this appeal:[7]
two operatives to conduct surveillance operation against their target female who was described by their I.
informant as about 50 years old, 5 feet in height, straight long hair and coming from Kalinga province. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN GIVING FULL FAITH AND CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONIES OF THE
At around 5:00 oclock in the morning of August 13, 1999, their informant went to their headquarters and PROSECUTION WITNESSES DESPITE EXISTING SERIOUS INCONSISTENCIES AND INCREDIBILITY THEREBY
informed them that their suspect is due to arrive at Sapang Biabas, Mabalacat. PO3 Sagum and PO3 CREATING DOUBT REGARDING THEIR TRUTHFULNESS AND CREDIBILITY.
Galvez, together with the informant, immediately went to Sapang Biabas and parked their car near the II.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT CONSIDERING FAVORABLY THE DEFENSE OF ALIBI AS A GROUND FOR A He told us that somebody will be delivering marijuana at Sapang Bayabas and the informer
ACQUITTAL OF THE DEFENDANT-APPELLANT IN SPITE OF THE WEAKNESS OF THE PROSECUTION knew the person.
EVIDENCE WHICH IS INSUFFICIENT TO OVERCOME THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE IN HER FAVOR. Q Give us the complete report?
III. A Sinabi po ng hepe namin na sinabi ng informant na merong babaeng magdedeliver ng
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT ACQUITTING HEREIN DEFENDANT-APPELLANT ON GROUND OF marijuana sa Sapang Bayabas at babalik daw po siya kung kailan magdedeliver.
REASONABLE DOUBT. Q On the date in question August 13 at around 6:00 oclock in the morning you were in your
IV. office?
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO HOLD THAT THE APPREHENDING OFFICERS VIOLATED A We were already at Sapang Bayabas, sir.
DEFENDANT-APPELLANTS MIRANDA RIGHTS. Q Which is which now?
After a thorough review of the records, this Court finds that the prosecution was able to discharge A Nasa Sapang Bayabas na po, sir.
its burden of proving the appellants guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The decision of the trial court was Q Before going to Sapang Bayabas where did you come from?
supported by the evidence on record. A We were in the office, sir.
Regarding the credibility of witnesses, this Court has ruled time and again that this is a matter best Q What time where you in the office?
assessed by the trial court judge since he has the opportunity to observe the witnesses demeanor and A That is where we were sleeping.
deportment on the stand.[8] Besides, in this case, the inconsistencies criticized by the appellant were minor Q You were sleeping there?
ones involving negligible details which did not negate the truth of the witnesses testimonies nor detract A Yes, sir, we are stay-in.
from their credibility.[9] Q And then what happened?
Appellant also assigns as error the illegality of her arrest because she was not read her Miranda A Our informant came, sir.
rights. (This is in addition to her argument that the 15 bricks of marijuana were inadmissible since the Q What time?
warrantless search was invalid, not having been made pursuant to a lawful arrest.) This contention is A 5:00 oclock, sir.
without merit since this Court has repeatedly ruled that, by entering a plea upon arraignment and by Q What was the purpose of the informant?
actively participating in the trial, an accused is deemed to have waived any objection to his arrest and A Sinabi po niya sa amin na darating na raw po iyong ano.
warrantless search.[10] Any objection to the arrest or acquisition of jurisdiction over the person of the Q I thought that your superior already informed you that the suspect or the accused will be
accused must be made before he enters his plea, otherwise the objection is deemed waived.[11] Here, in arriving at 6:00 oclock the first time?
submitting herself to the jurisdiction of the trial court when she entered a plea of not guilty and A Sabi po sa amin noong magpunta iyong informer sa office namin August 13 darating daw
participated in the trial, the appellant waived any irregularity that may have attended her arrest.[12] po iyong babae.
Assuming, however, that there was no such waiver, pursuant to People vs. Barros,[13] reiterated Q It was on August 13 when he said that?
in People vs. Aruta,[14] the waiver of the non-admissibility of the fruits of an invalid warrantless arrest and A Yes, sir.
warrantless search and seizure is not to be casually presumed for the constitutional guarantee against Q Who was he talking with then?
unreasonable searches and seizures to retain vitality. The Court finds that the arrest was lawful as A Iyong Chief po namin tapos kinausap ko rin po siya.
appellant was actually committing a crime when she was arrested transporting marijuana, are act Q What time was that?
prohibited by law. Since a lawful arrest was made, the resulting warrantless search on appellant was also A Before 5:00, sir.
valid as the legitimate warrantless arrest authorized the arresting police officers to validly search and seize Q So they were talking before 5:00 with your Chief?
from the offender (1) any dangerous weapons and (2) the things which may be used as proof of the A Yes, sir.
commission of the offense.[15] Q Where were you?
In the present case, the warrantless arrest was lawful because it fell under Rule 113, Section 5(a) of A I was outside, sir.
the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. This section provides that a peace officer may arrest a person Q So you were not listening to them?
even without a warrant when, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually A No, sir.
committing or is attempting to commit an offense. However, the police officer should be spurred Q So you do not know what they have talked about?
by probable cause in making the arrest. Although the term eludes exact definition, probable cause signifies A Yes, sir.
a reasonable ground of suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant Q And then what were the instruction given by your superior?
a cautious mans belief that the person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is charged.[16] The A He said we will proceed to Sapang Bayabas because there is a lady going there bringing
determination of probable cause must be resolved according to the facts of each case. In this case, the marijuana.
arresting officers had probable cause to make the arrest in view of the tip they received from their Q Did you ask the identity of the woman?
informant.This Court has already ruled that tipped information is sufficient probable cause to effect a A Yes, sir.
warrantless search.[17] Although the apprehending officers received the tip two weeks prior to the arrest, Q What did he say?
they could not be faulted for not applying for a search warrant inasmuch as the exact date of appellants A About 50 years of age, 5 feet and with straight long hair?
arrival was not known by the informant. Apprehending officer PO3 Sagum testified[18] as follows: Q How about the name, was the name given to you?
Q So what were the information given you by your informer? A No, sir, he just said she came from Kalinga.
A Ang kausap po nila iyong hepe namin[g] si Maj. Rhodel Sermonia tapos po sinabi lang po Q Aside from that, was the quantity of the drugs given to you that was to be brought?
sa amin ni Maj. Sermonia ang sinabi ng informant. A No, sir.
Q So you did not hear the report of the informant? Q So you just learned that the woman will be arriving at Sapang Bayabas at 6:00 oclock?
A Yes, sir. A I do not know the time she is arriving.
Q What was the information given by your superior? Q He did not tell you?
A He does not know, sir.
Q The informant did not tell you? SO ORDERED.
A Yes, sir, he just said she will be coming in Sapang Bayabas. [G.R. No. 127753. December 11, 2000]
Q You did not ask for the time? PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. DOMINGO VALDEZ Y DULAY, accused-appellant.
A He does not know, sir. DECISION
Q What about the particular place where the woman will deliver the drugs? BUENA, J.:
A Hindi niya po alam basta doon sa entrance daw po ng Sapang Bayabas doon na po kami For automatic review is the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 45, Anonas, Urdaneta,
mag-istambay. (Emphasis and Italics supplied). Pangasinan convicting appellant Domingo Valdez y Dulay guilty of two crimes: (1) murder for which he was
Although there was testimony by PO3 Galvez that the informant told them the exact date of arrival, sentenced to suffer the death penalty and (2) illegal possession of Firearms and Ammunition under
the trial court gave more weight to the testimony of PO3 Sagum that stated otherwise, as evidenced by Presidential Decree No. 1866 for which he was sentenced to suffer reclusion perpetua based on the
his finding that the informant arrived at the police station at 5:00 A.M. on August 13, 1999 and informed following criminal indictments:
them that the appellant was arriving at 6:00 A.M.[19] The judgment call of the trial court on which of these CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-8719
two conflicting testimonies to believe should prevail because it involved the assessment of the credibility That on or about 31st day of October, 1995 at barangay San Roque, Municipality of San Manuel, Province
of witnesses.[20] Thus, without proof that some facts or circumstances of weight or substance having a of Pangasinan, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused with intent to kill and
bearing on the result of the case have been overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied, this Court will not with treachery and evident premeditation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously attack
overturn such finding as the judge was in a better position to observe the demeanor of the two and shot one Labrador Valdez y Madrid, hitting the latters chest and the gunshot wounds inflicted being
witnesses.[21] mortal, caused the direct and immediate death of the said victim, to the damage and prejudice of his
In those cases where this Court invalidated a warrantless search on the ground that the officers heirs.
could have applied for a search warrant, the concerned officers received the tip either days prior to the Contrary to Article 248, Revised Penal Code.[1]
arrival or in the afternoon of a working day. In People vs. Aminudin,[22] this Court found that the officers CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-8720
received the tip two days prior to the actual date of arrival of accused Aminudin. In People vs. That on or about the 31st day of October, 1995 at barangay San Roque, Municipality of San Manuel,
Encinadak,[23] the police officers were tipped off at 4:00 P.M. on May 20, 1992 that accused Encinada Province of Pangasinan, and within the jurisdiction of this honorable Court, the said accused did then
would arrive at 7:00 A.M. the next day. Thus, the officers had time to obtain search warrants inasmuch as and there, wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously have in his possession, control and custody a firearm of an
Administrative Circulars 13 and 19 of the Supreme Court allowed the application for search warrants even unknown caliber, make and brand without authority of law, and which he used in shooting to death
after office hours. In People vs. Aruta,[24] the police officers received the information on December 13, Labrador Valdez y Madrid.
1988 that accused Aruta would arrive on a Victory Liner Bus at 6:30 P.M. on December 14, 1999, giving Contrary to Presidential Decree No. 1866.[2]
them a day to obtain a warrant. On October 31, 1995, at around 9:00 oclock in the evening at Sitio Laclac, Barangay San Roque, San
In the present case, the informant arrived at the police station at 5:00 A.M. on August 13, 1999 and Manuel, Pangasinan, Marcelo Valdez was under his nipa house talking with his son Labrador Valdez. At
informed the officers that the appellant would be arriving at 6:00 A.M. (just an hour later) that day. The that time, Marcelos other housemates his wife, son Rolando Valdez, daughter-in-law Imelda Umagtang
circumstances clearly called for an immediate response from the officers. In People vs. Valdez,[25] this Court and an eight-year-old boy named Christopher Centeno were staying upstairs preparing to sleep. In the
upheld the validity of the warrantless arrest and corresponding search of accused Valdez as the officer course of their conversation, Labrador was lying sideways on a carabao sled, placed under the
made the arrest on the strength of a similar on-the-spot tip. In the case at bar, though all other pertinent family nipa house. He was facing his father at the eastern side of the house, at a distance of about less
details were known by the officers except the date, they could not have applied for a search warrant since than two (2) meters from each other.[3] TSN, June 13, 1996, pp. 14 and 17. 3 Suddenly, two consecutive
the validity of a warrant was only for 10 days.[26] Considering that the officers did not know when the gunshots were fired coming from the western side of the house by an assailant.[4] The first shot landed on
appellant was going to arrive, prudence made them act the way they did. the left forefinger and thumb of Labrador, while the second shot hit him two (2) inches from the left
The appellant also faults the trial court for failing to give weight to her defense of alibi. Appellants shoulder, below the neck which exited at the right side just below his breast.[5] After firing, the assailant
alibi could not prevail over the overwhelming evidence presented by the prosecution.Alibi as a defense is immediately ran away towards the west direction.[6]
inherently weak[27] and for it to serve as basis for an acquittal, the accused must establish by clear and Marcelo Valdez who was talking to his son, immediately called for help while the victim managed
convincing evidence (a) his presence at another place at the time of the perpetration of the offense and to walk upstairs towards the kitchen. The stunning sound of the two gunfire and Marcelos cry for help
(b) the physical impossibility to be at the scene of the crime.[28] The appellant failed to meet these two alerted Imelda Umagtang and her common-law husband Rolando Valdez, who were both lying on bed, to
requirements. Jaime Alarcons house where appellant claimed to be sleeping at the time of her arrest, was verge upon the kitchen where they saw the victim bathed in his own blood. When Rolando inquired from
only 10 meters from the tricycle terminal where she was arrested by the officers.[29] Thus, the trial court the victim who shot him, the latter replied that it was the appellant. At this time, the victims brother and
was correct in ruling that the alibi of appellant was not enough to acquit her of the charges. in-laws arrived. They also asked the victim what happened and the latter once more said that it was
With the effectivity of RA 7659, Section 4 of RA 6425, provides the penalty of reclusion perpetua to appellant who shot him. At such time, the search for the passenger jeep that will transport the victim to
death and a fine ranging from P500,000 to P10,000,000 if the marijuana involved weighs 750 grams or the hospital continued. After an hour, they were able to find a passenger jeep but the victim already
more. Since the penalty is composed of two indivisible penalties, the rules for applying the penalties in succumbed to death prior to his transport to the hospital.
Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code are applicable, pursuant to the ruling in People vs. Simon[30] wherein The next day, on November 1, 1995, Dr. Asuncion Tuvera of San Manuel Rural Health Unit
the Court recognized the suppletory application of the rules on penalties in the Revised Penal Code and conducted the autopsy on the cadaver of the deceased in the latters house. The medical examination
the Indeterminate Sentence Law to the Dangerous Drugs Act after its amendment by RA 7659. Thus, as revealed the following gunshot wounds-
the appellant was found to be transporting 14.75 kilograms of marijuana, the trial court was correct in A. External findings:
imposing the lesser penalty of reclusion perpetua since there was no aggravating or mitigating Chest - gunshot wound at the left sternal line 2 inches below the left clavicle, 2 cm in diameter
circumstance, and in not applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law which is not applicable when indivisible penetrating
penalties are imposed. - gunshot wound at the right enterior axillary line at the level of the lumbar area.
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 59, of Angeles City, finding the Extremities lacuated wound on the left thumb and index finger with fracture of the phalanges.
appellant guilty of transporting a prohibited drug and sentencing her to reclusion perpetua and to pay the B. Internal findings:
fine of P500,000, is hereby AFFIRMED. Chest fracture of the 3rd enterior left rib.
Abdomen placuated wound of the liver. impossibility of identification in a period of a few seconds look at the time of the second shot, which was
Cause of death: fired successively, was negated by the fact that appellant shot the victim at a distance of around two
Cardio respiratory arrest secondary to severe hemorrhage secondary to gunshot wound on the chest and meters from the kerosene lamp. The distance of the appellant from the kerosene lamp does not preclude
lumbar area. (Exhibit E; records, p. 7) the possibility of identification since the place was properly illumined capacitating the witness to identify
Thereafter, appellant was charged before the trial court with two separate information for murder the assailant. In fact, both Marcelo and the deceased were able to identify appellant.
and illegal possession of firearms to which he pleaded not guilty. After trial, judgment was rendered Appellant capitalizes on the alleged failure of Lilia Valdez (wife of the deceased) to mention to the
convicting appellant as earlier mentioned. The dispositive portion of the decision reads: officer who investigated the killing, that she heard her husband say that the appellant was his assailant. He
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the Court finds: argues that her testimony in court that she heard her husband say that it was appellant who shot him, was
IN CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-8719: merely an afterthought. In support thereof, appellant quotes the following answers of Lilia Valdez during
The accused DOMINGO VALDEZ Y DULAY GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of MURDER cross-examination -
defined and penalized under republic Act No. 7659 otherwise known as the Heinous Crime Law, the ATTY. VIRAY-
offense having been committed with the attendant aggravating circumstances of evident premeditation, Q: Now, in the sworn statement Madam witness which you gave to the police authorities of San
abuse of superior strength and nighttime, hereby sentences him the ultimum supplicium of DEATH to be Manuel, Pangasinan, you never mentioned that your husband told you that he was allegedly
executed pursuant to Republic Act No. 8177 known as the Lethal Injection Law, to pay the heirs of the shot by the accused, is this correct?
victim LABRADOR VALDEZ in the amount of P50,000.00 as indemnity; P23,500.00 as actual A: Yes, sir.
damages; P200,000.00 as moral damages; and to pay the costs. ATTY. VIRAY:
IN CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-8720: The answer is not responsive, we request the question to be read back.
The accused DOMINGO VALDEZ Y DULAY, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Illegal COURT: She said, she did not tell that to the police.
Possession of Firearm and Ammunition penalized under Presidential Decree No. 1866 and hereby ATTY. VIRAY:
sentences him to suffer imprisonment of RECLUSION PERPETUA and to pay the costs. Q: Why did you not tell to the police authorities that your husband told you that your husband was
Finally, it is said: Dura lex, sed lex, translated as The law is harsh, but that is the law. shot by Domingo Valdez?
SO ORDERED.[7] A: I forgot, sir. [TSN, July 3, 1996, pp. 24-25]
Appellant questions his conviction arguing that the court a quo erred - We have thoroughly reviewed the records and studied the alleged contradiction between the court
I. in convicting the accused of murder notwithstanding the failure of the prosecution to prove testimony and the sworn statement of Lilia Valdez only to find that appellant is misleading the court. In
his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. her sworn statement Lilia Valdez stated -
II. in appreciating the qualifying circumstance of treachery and the aggravating 15. Q: Was you (sic) husband able to identify his assailant?
circumstances of evident premeditation, abuse of superior strength and nighttime on A: Yes, sir. He identified Domingo Valdez as his assailant when asked by brother-in-law Rolando Valdez
the assumption that indeed accused appellant shot the victim. before he was brought down to kitchen on the way to the hospital, sir. [Exhibit D, Folder II,
III. in not applying the provision of R.A. 8294, amending P.D. 1866 Records, p. 3]
IV. in convicting the accused for two separate offenses It is also clear from the records that as early as November 1, 1995, the day after the killing, the
V. finding the accused guilty of violating P.D. 1866[8] principal prosecution witness Marcelo Valdez (father of the deceased), along with Lilia Valdez (wife of the
After a careful examination of the records, appellants conviction should be upheld. The elements deceased), Imelda Umagtang (sister-in-law of the deceased) alluded to appellant as the killer before police
of murder concur in this case. Appellant shot the victim twice. The wounds sustained by the deceased at officer Avelino Sandi, Jr. who conducted the investigation.Their respective sworn statements were
the left thumb, index finger and at the left shoulder below the neck exiting to the right side just below the reduced into writing denouncing and identifying appellant as responsible for the death of Labrador Valdez.
breast were caused by bullets. As a result of these gunshot wounds, the victim suffered Cardio respiratory Imelda Umagtang[12] testified to these utterances of the deceased in court.
arrest secondary to severe hemorrhage secondary to gunshot wound on the chest and lumbar area which The victims septuagenarian father Marcelo Valdez likewise affirmed the identity of the appellant as
was described in the medico-legal report as the proximate cause resulting to his death. the assailant. He testified in court that he recognized the assailant with the lighting coming from the
Appellants defense is premised primarily on denial and alibi. He argues that on the day of the kerosene lamp hanging on the wall, which illuminated the whole ground of the nipa hut.[13] He claimed
incident he was hauling and transporting 27 cavans of palay with Reymante and Conrado Centino[9] from that he recognized appellant at the second shot[14] at a distance of around three meters (3) away from
6 to 9 oclock in the evening of October 31, 1995, to the house of Mrs. Juanita Centino. Thereafter, they him.[15] At the time appellant fired the second shot, appellant was less than a meter away from the
took supper at Conrados house and drank wine and went home around 11 oclock in the evening. His victim[16] and around two meters from the kerosene lamp.[17]
version was corroborated by Reymante and Conrado and the latters mother, Mrs. Centino, a Lilia Valdez, the victims wife, recounting that fateful day, similarly attested appellants culpability in
sexagenarian. Such defenses, however, aside from being inherently weak, cannot prevail against a positive court. She testified that when her husband was shot she was in her house with her children, about 25 to
and explicit identification of him not only by Marcelo Valdez but also by the victim himself. To exculpate 30 meters[18] from the victims location. When she heard the gunfire and the summons of her parents-in-
himself, appellant must not only show that it was impossible for him to be at the place where the crime law that her husband was shot, she rushed to her husband and saw him bloodied, lying prostrate in the
was committed, but it must likewise be demonstrated that he was so far away that he could not have been kitchen. She asked the victim what happened and the latter answered that appellant shot him.
physically present at the place of the crime or its immediate vicinity at the time of its commission.[10] The Appellant likewise debunks the probative value given to Imelda Umagtangs testimony that she
distance between the place where the crime happened, to the Centinos house where appellant claimed heard the victim say that it was appellant who shot him because such statement was not directed to her
he was, is more or less one (1) kilometer, which could be negotiated by walking for thirty (30) minutes, by the victim but to Rolando Valdez.[19] This according to appellant finds support in the following testimony
and twenty (20) minutes by riding a vehicle.[11] Appellants whereabouts at the time of the incident was of Imelda
insufficient to foreclose any possibility for him to be present at the scene of the crime, given the proximity ATTY. VIRAY
of the two places. Q: So it is very clear from your statement that it was your live-in boyfriend, Rolando Valdez, who asked
Appellant further contends that witness Marcelo Valdez could not have positively identified him question from the victim not you, is this correct?
because there was only a single kerosene lamp lighting the area and the witness was already seventy years A: Yes, sir.
old, who, at such age, would have a nebulous identification of the assailant. Appellants assertion of Q: You never asked questions from the victim, is this correct?
A: No, sir. I heard what he revealed to my live-in boyfriend, sir.[20] In a further but futile attempt to exculpate himself from liability, appellant contends that he has no
There is no rule that a person who hears something cannot testify on what she heard. A dying declaration motive to kill the victim. While he admitted that the victim eloped with his wife, he was not the only
need not be particularly directed only to the person inquiring from the declarant.Anyone who has suspect having a motive to kill the victim. Suffice it to say that the evidence on motive is inconsequential
knowledge of the fact of what the declarant said, whether it was directed to him or not, or whether he when the identity of the culprit has been positively established[28] as in this case.
had made inquiries from the declarant or not, can testify thereto. Ultimately, the issues raised by appellant fall within the sphere of credibility of witnesses which, the
Hearsay evidence, whether objected to or not, possesses no probative value unless the proponent reviewing court on appeal, ordinarily gives deference to the assessments and conclusion of the trial court
can show that the same falls within the exception to the hearsay rule.[21] The statement of the deceased provided it is supported by the evidence on record. Findings of facts by the trial court are usually not
uttered shortly after being wounded by the gunfire is a dying declaration, which falls under the exception disturbed on appeal on the proposition that the lower court had the unique opportunity of having
to the hearsay rule.[22] It may be proved by the testimony of the witness who heard the same or to whom observed the elusive and incommunicable evidence of the witnesses deportment on the stand while
it was made.[23] Appellant contends that the identification by the deceased of his assailant, which was testifying.
admitted as a dying declaration under Section 37, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, cannot be admitted The killing was attended by treachery when the deceased was shot at his back while lying on a
because when the said statements were uttered the declarant was not conscious of his imminent carabao sledge conversing with his father, in a sudden and unexpected manner giving him no opportunity
death,[24] relying on the following testimony of Imelda Umagtang and Lilia Valdez, thus to repel it or defend himself against such attack,[29] and without any provocation on his part. With respect
Q: What was your observation when he was lying down waiting for the ride to come? to the other aggravating circumstances of evident premeditation, abuse of superior strength, and
A: He was already very weak, sir. nighttime, this Court cannot appreciate the same against the appellant for lack of factual basis. There is
Q: Did somebody ask of his physical condition at that time? no evidence on record that appellant contemplated and took some time of cool reflection before
A: Yes, sir. performing his evil act for evident premeditation to set in. The abuse of superior strength, assuming there
Q: Who? is any, is already absorbed in treachery. Nighttime as an aggravating circumstance was not established for
A: Lago Valdez, sir. lack of proof that appellant specifically sought the darkness of night to perpetuate his deed. In the absence
Q: What did he ask? of any evidence that nocturnity was specifically sought for by the offender in the commission of the crime,
A: He asked if he can still manage, sir. such aggravating circumstance may not be validly appreciated.
Q: What did Labrador Valdez answer? In criminal prosecutions, the accused is entitled to an acquittal, unless his guilt is shown beyond a
A: He said, no more, sir. reasonable doubt. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt does not mean such a degree of proof as, excluding
Q: What do you mean by he cannot manage anymore? possibility of error, produces absolute certainty. Moral certainty only is required, or that degree of proof
A: He was already very weak at that time, sir. which produces conviction in an unprejudiced mind.[30] The prosecution ably discharged its duty by
Q: And? establishing its case against appellant through the required quantum of proof.
A: And he was dying, sir. In Criminal Case No. U-8720, appellant was found guilty of the crime of Illegal Possession of Firearms
Q: He said he was dying? and Ammunition punished under P.D. 1866 and was sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion
A: No, sir. perpetua and to pay the costs. His separate indictment was on account of the unlicensed firearm used in
Q: But he was feeling weak already? the killing. Under Section 1 of Republic Act No. 8294,[31] if homicide or murder is committed with the use
A: Yes, sir.[25] of an unlicensed firearm, such use of an unlicensed firearm shall be considered as an aggravating
and circumstance. Although the crime in this case was committed in 1995, the amendatory law (R.A. No. 8294)
Q: When you were there near your husband lying in the kitchen in the house of your father-in-law, which became effective on July 6, 1997, fifteen (15) days after its publication in Malaya and Philippine
what was your observation regarding his physical condition? Journal on June 21, 1997, since it is favorable to appellant,[32] shall be given a retroactive effect. Therefore,
A: He was shot, Your Honor. the illegal possession or use of the unlicensed firearm may no longer be separately charged[33]and only one
Q: Did you ask him what was he feeling at that time? offense should be punished, viz., murder in this case, and the use of unlicensed firearm should only be
A: Yes, sir. considered as an aggravating circumstance.[34] Considering that appellant is liable for murder, the illegal
Q: What did he answer? possession case can no longer be pursued because it is merely treated as an aggravating circumstance.
A: He said, he was weak, Your Honor. Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code penalizes murder with reclusion perpetua to death. Since the
Q: Did he tell you that he is going to die? killing was committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, such circumstance will be treated merely as
A: No, Your Honor.[26] an aggravating circumstance under R.A. 8294. Pursuant to Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code, when the
The victims statements prior to his death identifying appellant as his assailant have the vestiges of law prescribes a penalty composed of two indivisible penalties, such as reclusion perpetua to death, there
a dying declaration, the elements for its admissibility are: being one aggravating circumstance, the greater penalty (death) shall be applied. However, the
(1) the declaration was made by the deceased under consciousness of his impending death; (2) the aggravating circumstance of use of an unlicensed firearm cannot be appreciated in this case because its
deceased was at time competent as a witness; (3) the declaration concerns the cause and surrounding retroactive application would be unfavorable to the accused, since the higher penalty of death would
circumstances of the declarants death; and (4) it offered in a criminal case wherein the declarants death necessarily be imposed. Thus, we could only impose the penalty of reclusion perpetua in line with the
is subject of inquiry.[27] ruling in People vs. Nepomuceno, Jr.[35] -
These requirements are present in this case. The deceased made, before his death, more than one It must be underscored that although R.A. No. 7659 had already taken effect at the time the violation of
statement, naming the person who shot him. The statements uttered by the deceased were in response P.D. No. 1866 was allegedly committed x x x there is nothing in R. A. No. 7659 which specifically
to the queries about the identity of the assailant. Such utterances are admissible as a declaration of the reimposed the death penalty in P.D. No. 1866. Without such reimposition, the death penalty imposed in
surrounding circumstances of the victims death, which were uttered under the consciousness of an Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 for aggravated illegal possession of firearm shall remain suspended pursuant
impending death. That the victim was conscious of his impending death is shown by the extent and to Section 19(1) of Article III of the Constitution. Conformably therewith, what the trial court could
seriousness of the wounds inflicted upon the victim. The victim, prior to his death, was competent to be a impose was reclusion perpetua.
witness in court and such dying declaration is offered in a criminal prosecution for murder where he was WHEREFORE, the assailed judgment is hereby MODIFIED as follows:
himself a victim.
1. In Criminal Case No. U-8719 for MURDER, the penalty imposed on accused-appellant aroused, PO3 Manlangit entered "Neneth's" house and took hold of the box. He peeked inside the box and
DOMINGO VALDEZ Y DULAY is reduced to reclusion perpetua. In addition to the death found that it contained ten (10) bricks of what appeared to be dried marijuana leaves.
indemnity of P50,000.00, the P200,000.00 moral damages awarded by the trial court to Simultaneous with the box's discovery, SPO1 Badua recovered the marked bills from
the heirs of Labrador Valdez y Madrid is reduced to P50,000.00, and the P23,500.00 "Neneth."[8] The policemen arrested "Neneth." They took "Neneth" and "Jun," together with the box, its
awarded as actual damages is likewise reduced to P19,000.00, the amount actually contents and the marked bills and turned them over to the investigator at headquarters. It was only then
proved. that the police learned that "Jun" is Florencio Doria y Bolado while "Neneth" is Violeta Gaddao y Catama.
2. In Criminal Case No. U-8720 for ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS, the sentence imposed The one (1) brick of dried marijuana leaves recovered from "Jun" plus the ten (10) bricks recovered from
on accused-appelant DOMINGO VALDEZ y DULAY is SET ASIDE and ANNULLED and the "Neneth's" house were examined at the PNP Crime Laboratory.[9] The bricks, eleven (11) in all, were found
case is DISMISSED, the act charged therein being considered merely as an aggravating to be dried marijuana fruiting tops of various weights totalling 7,641.08 grams.[10]
circumstance pursuant to P.D. 1866, as amended by Rep. Act No. 8294. The prosecution story was denied by accused-appellants Florencio Doria and Violeta
SO ORDERED. Gaddao. Florencio Doria, a 33-year old carpenter, testified that on December 5, 1995, at 7:00 in the
G.R. No. 125299. January 22, 1999] morning, he was at the gate of his house reading a tabloid newspaper. Two men appeared and asked him
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. FLORENCIO DORIA y BOLADO, and VIOLETA GADDAO if he knew a certain "Totoy." There were many "Totoys" in their area and as the men questioning him were
y CATAMA @ "NENETH," accused-appellants. strangers, accused-appellant denied knowing any "Totoy." The men took accused-appellant inside his
DECISION house and accused him of being a pusher in their community. When accused-appellant denied the charge,
PUNO, J.: the men led him to their car outside and ordered him to point out the house of "Totoy." For five (5)
On December 7, 1995, accused-appellants Florencio Doria y Bolado and Violeta Gaddao y Catama minutes, accused-appellant stayed in the car. Thereafter, he gave in and took them to "Totoy's" house.
@ "Neneth" were charged with violation of Section 4, in relation to Section 21 of the Dangerous Drugs Act Doria knocked on the door of "Totoy's" house but no one answered. One of the men, later identified
of 1972.[1] The information reads: as PO3 Manlangit, pushed open the door and he and his companions entered and looked around the house
"That on or about the 5th day of December, 1995 in the City of Mandaluyong, Philippines, a place within for about three minutes. Accused-appellant Doria was left standing at the door. The policemen came out
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating and of the house and they saw Violeta Gaddao carrying water from the well. He asked Violeta where "Totoy"
mutually helping and aiding one another and without having been authorized by law, did, then and there was but she replied he was not there. Curious onlookers and kibitzers were, by that time, surrounding
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sell, administer, deliver and give away to another eleven (11) plastic them. When Violeta entered her house, three men were already inside. Accused-appellant Doria, then still
bags of suspected marijuana fruiting tops weighing 7,641.08 grams in violation of the above-cited law. at the door, overheard one of the men say that they found a carton box. Turning towards them, Doria saw
CONTRARY TO LAW."[2] a box on top of the table. The box was open and had something inside. PO3 Manlangit ordered him and
The prosecution contends the offense was committed as follows: In November 1995, members of Violeta to go outside the house and board the car. They were brought to police headquarters where they
the North Metropolitan District, Philippine National Police (PNP) Narcotics Command (Narcom), received were investigated.
information from two (2) civilian informants (CI) that one "Jun" was engaged in illegal drug activities in Accused-appellant Doria further declared that his co-accused, Violeta Gaddao, is the wife of his
Mandaluyong City. The Narcom agents decided to entrap and arrest "Jun" in a buy-bust operation. As acquaintance, Totoy Gaddao. He said that he and Totoy Gaddao sometimes drank together at the
arranged by one of the CI's, a meeting between the Narcom agents and "Jun" was scheduled on December neighborhood store. This closeness, however, did not extend to Violeta, Totoy's wife.[11]
5, 1995 at E. Jacinto Street in Mandaluyong City. Accused-appellant Violeta Gaddao, a 35-year old rice vendor, claimed that on December 5, 1995,
On December 5, 1995, at 6:00 in the morning, the CI went to the PNP Headquarters at EDSA, she was at her house at Daang Bakal, Mandaluyong City where she lived with her husband and five (5)
Kamuning, Quezon City to prepare for the buy-bust operation. The Narcom agents formed Team Alpha children, namely, Arvy, aged 10, Arjay, aged 8, the twins Raymond and Raynan, aged 5, and Jason, aged
composed of P/Insp. Nolasco Cortes as team leader and PO3 Celso Manlangit, SPO1 Edmund Badua and 3. That day, accused-appellant woke up at 5:30 in the morning and bought pan de sal for her children's
four (4) other policemen as members. P/Insp. Cortes designated PO3 Manlangit as the poseur-buyer and breakfast. Her husband, Totoy, a housepainter, had left for Pangasinan five days earlier. She woke her
SPO1 Badua as his back-up, and the rest of the team as perimeter security. Superintendent Pedro children and bathed them. Her eldest son, Arvy, left for school at 6:45 A.M. Ten minutes later, she carried
Alcantara, Chief of the North Metropolitan District PNP Narcom, gave the team P2,000.00 to cover her youngest son, Jayson, and accompanied Arjay to school. She left the twins at home leaving the door
operational expenses. From this sum, PO3 Manlangit set aside P1,600.00-- a one thousand peso bill and open. After seeing Arjay off, she and Jayson remained standing in front of the school soaking in the sun for
six (6) one hundred peso bills[3]-- as money for the buy-bust operation. The market price of one kilo of about thirty minutes. Then they headed for home. Along the way, they passed the artesian well to fetch
marijuana was then P1,600.00. PO3 Manlangit marked the bills with his initials and listed their serial water. She was pumping water when a man clad in short pants and denim jacket suddenly appeared and
numbers in the police blotter.[4] The team rode in two cars and headed for the target area. grabbed her left wrist. The man pulled her and took her to her house. She found out later that the man
At 7:20 of the same morning, "Jun" appeared and the CI introduced PO3 Manlangit as interested in was PO3 Manlangit.
buying one (1) kilo of marijuana. PO3 Manlangit handed "Jun" the marked bills worth P1,600.00. "Jun" Inside her house were her co-accused Doria and three (3) other persons. They asked her about a
instructed PO3 Manlangit to wait for him at the corner of Shaw Boulevard and Jacinto Street while he got box on top of the table. This was the first time she saw the box. The box was closed and tied with a piece
the marijuana from his associate.[5] An hour later, "Jun" appeared at the agreed place where PO3 of green straw. The men opened the box and showed her its contents. She said she did not know anything
Manlangit, the CI and the rest of the team were waiting. "Jun" took out from his bag an object wrapped in about the box and its contents.
plastic and gave it to PO3 Manlangit. PO3 Manlangit forthwith arrested "Jun" as SPO1 Badua rushed to Accused-appellant Violeta Gaddao confirmed that her co-accused Florencio Doria was a friend of
help in the arrest. They frisked "Jun" but did not find the marked bills on him. Upon inquiry, "Jun" revealed her husband, and that her husband never returned to their house after he left for Pangasinan. She denied
that he left the money at the house of his associate named "Neneth."[6] "Jun" led the police team to the charge against her and Doria and the allegation that marked bills were found in her person.[12]
"Neneth's" house nearby at Daang Bakal. After trial, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 156, Pasig City convicted the accused-appellants. The
The team found the door of "Neneth's" house open and a woman inside. "Jun" identified the woman trial court found the existence of an "organized/syndicated crime group" and sentenced both accused-
as his associate.[7] SPO1 Badua asked "Neneth" about the P1,600.00 as PO3 Manlangit looked over appellants to death and pay a fine of P500,000.00 each. The dispositive portion of the decision reads as
"Neneth's" house. Standing by the door, PO3 Manlangit noticed a carton box under the dining table. He follows:
saw that one of the box's flaps was open and inside the box was something wrapped in plastic. The plastic
wrapper and its contents appeared similar to the marijuana earlier "sold" to him by "Jun." His suspicion
"WHEREFORE, the guilt of accused, FLORENCIO DORIA y BOLADO @ "Jun" and VIOLETA GADDAO y Accused-appellants were caught by the police in a buy-bust operation. A buy-bust operation is a
CATAMA @ "Neneth" having been established beyond reasonable doubt, they are both CONVICTED of form of entrapment employed by peace officers as an effective way of apprehending a criminal in the act
the present charge against them. of the commission of an offense.[16] Entrapment has received judicial sanction when undertaken with due
According to the amendatory provisions of Sec. 13 of Republic Act No. 7659 which cover violations of regard to constitutional and legal safeguards.[17]
Sec. 4 of Republic Act No. 6425 and which was exhaustively discussed in People v. Simon, 234 SCRA 555, Entrapment was unknown in common law. It is a judicially created twentieth-century American
the penalty imposable in this case is reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred doctrine that evolved from the increasing use of informers and undercover agents in the detection of
thousand pesos to ten million pesos. Taking into consideration, however, the provisions of Sec. 23, also crimes, particularly liquor and narcotics offenses.[18] Entrapment sprouted from the doctrine of estoppel
of Republic Act No. 7659 which explicitly state that: and the public interest in the formulation and application of decent standards in the enforcement of
'The maximum penalty shall be imposed if the offense was committed by any person who belongs to an criminal law.[19] It also took off from a spontaneous moral revulsion against using the powers of
organized/syndicated crime group. government to beguile innocent but ductile persons into lapses that they might otherwise resist.[20]
An organized/syndicated crime group means a group of two or more persons collaborating, In the American jurisdiction, the term "entrapment" has a generally negative meaning because it is
confederating or mutually helping one another for purposes of gain in the commission of any crime.' understood as the inducement of one to commit a crime not contemplated by him, for the mere purpose
the Court is hereby constrained to sentence (hereby sentences) said FLORENCIO DORIA y BOLADO @ of instituting a criminal prosecution against him.[21] The classic definition of entrapment is that articulated
"Jun" and VIOLETA GADDAO y CATAMA @ "Neneth" to DEATH and to pay a fine of Five Hundred by Justice Roberts in Sorrells v. United States,[22] the first Supreme Court decision to acknowledge the
Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) each without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to pay concept: "Entrapment is the conception and planning of an offense by an officer, and his procurement of
the costs. its commission by one who would not have perpetrated it except for the trickery, persuasion or fraud of
The confiscated marijuana bricks (7,641.08 grams) shall be turned over to the Dangerous Drugs Board, the officer."[23] It consists of two (2) elements: (a) acts of persuasion, trickery, or fraud carried out by law
NBI for destruction in accordance with law. enforcement officers or the agents to induce a defendant to commit a crime; and (b) the origin of the
Let a Commitment Order be issued for the transfer of accused DORIA from the Mandaluyong City Jail to criminal design in the minds of the government officials rather than that of the innocent defendant, such
the New Bilibid Prisons, Muntinlupa City and also for accused GADDAO for her transfer to the that the crime is the product of the creative activity of the law enforcement officer.[24]
Correctional Institute for Women, Mandaluyong City. It is recognized that in every arrest, there is a certain amount of entrapment used to outwit the
Let the entire records of this case be forwarded immediately to the Supreme Court for mandatory persons violating or about to violate the law. Not every deception is forbidden. The type of entrapment
review. the law forbids is the inducing of another to violate the law, the "seduction" of an otherwise innocent
SO ORDERED."[13] person into a criminal career.[25] Where the criminal intent originates in the mind of the entrapping person
Before this Court, accused-appellant Doria assigns two errors, thus: and the accused is lured into the commission of the offense charged in order to prosecute him, there is
"I entrapment and no conviction may be had.[26] Where, however, the criminal intent originates in the mind
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING WEIGHT TO THE TESTIMONY OF THE WITNESSES FOR THE of the accused and the criminal offense is completed, the fact that a person acting as a decoy for the state,
PROSECUTION WHEN THEIR TESTIMONIES WERE SHOT WITH DISCREPANCIES, INCONSISTENCIES AND or public officials furnished the accused an opportunity for commission of the offense, or that the accused
THAT THE CORPUS DELICTI OF THE MARIJUANA ALLEGEDLY TAKEN FROM APPELLANT WAS NOT is aided in the commission of the crime in order to secure the evidence necessary to prosecute him, there
POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED BY THE POSEUR-BUYER. is no entrapment and the accused must be convicted.[27] The law tolerates the use of decoys and other
II artifices to catch a criminal.
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN ADMITTING AS EVIDENCE THE MARIJUANA FRUITINGS FOUND Entrapment is recognized as a valid defense[28] that can be raised by an accused and partakes of the
INSIDE THE CARTON BOX AS THESE WERE OBTAINED THROUGH A WARRANTLESS SEARCH AND DOES nature of a confession and avoidance.[29] It is a positive defense. Initially, an accused has the burden of
NOT COME WITHIN THE PLAIN VIEW DOCTRINE."[14] providing sufficient evidence that the government induced him to commit the offense. Once established,
Accused-appellant Violeta Gaddao contends: the burden shifts to the government to show otherwise.[30] When entrapment is raised as a defense,
"I American federal courts and a majority of state courts use the "subjective" or "origin of intent" test laid
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING APPELLANT GUILTY DESPITE THE INCREDIBILITY OF THE POLICE down in Sorrells v. United States[31] to determine whether entrapment actually occurred. The focus of the
VERSION OF THE MANNER THE ALLEGED BUY-BUST AS CONDUCTED. inquiry is on the accused's predisposition to commit the offense charged, his state of mind and inclination
II before his initial exposure to government agents.[32] All relevant facts such as the accused's mental and
THE PNP OFFICERS' VERSIONS AS TO WHERE THE BUY-BUST MONEY CAME FROM ARE INCONSISTENT character traits, his past offenses, activities, his eagerness in committing the crime, his reputation, etc.,
WITH ONE ANOTHER AND ALSO REEKS WITH INCREDIBILITY. are considered to assess his state of mind before the crime.[33] The predisposition test emphasizes the
III accused's propensity to commit the offense rather than the officer's misconduct[34] and reflects an attempt
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING APPELLANT GUILTY AND SENTENCING HER TO DEATH DESPITE to draw a line between a "trap for the unwary innocent and the trap for the unwary criminal."[35] If the
THE MANIFESTLY IRRECONCILABLE INCONSISTENCIES IN THE VERSIONS OF THE POLICE AS TO HOW AND accused was found to have been ready and willing to commit the offense at any favorable opportunity,
BY WHOM THE ALLEGED BUY-BUST MONEY WAS RECOVERED FROM HER, WHICH IN CONSEQUENCE the entrapment defense will fail even if a police agent used an unduly persuasive inducement.[36] Some
RESULTS IN THE EVIDENCE, OF RETRIEVAL FROM HER OF THE SAME, NEBULOUS, AT BEST, NIL, AT states, however, have adopted the "objective" test.[37] This test was first authoritatively laid down in the
WORST. case of Grossman v. State[38] rendered by the Supreme Court of Alaska. Several other states have
IV subsequently adopted the test by judicial pronouncement or legislation. Here, the court considers the
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE VALIDITY OF THE WARRANTLESS SEARCH LEADING TO nature of the police activity involved and the propriety of police conduct.[39] The inquiry is focused on the
THE SEIZURE OF THE MARIJUANA ALLEGEDLY FOUND INSIDE THE HOUSE OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT."[15] inducements used by government agents, on police conduct, not on the accused and his predisposition to
The assigned errors involve two principal issues: (1) the validity of the buy-bust operation in the commit the crime. For the goal of the defense is to deter unlawful police conduct.[40]The test of
apprehension of accused-appellant Doria; and (2) the validity of the warrantless arrest of accused- entrapment is whether the conduct of the law enforcement agent was likely to induce a normally law-
appellant Gaddao, the search of her person and house, and the admissibility of the pieces of evidence abiding person, other than one who is ready and willing, to commit the offense;[41] for purposes of this
obtained therefrom. test, it is presumed that a law-abiding person would normally resist the temptation to commit a crime that
is presented by the simple opportunity to act unlawfully.[42] Official conduct that merely offers such an
opportunity is permissible, but overbearing conduct, such as badgering, cajoling or importuning, [43] or prevent the act from being criminal or punishable, the general rule is that it is no defense to the
appeals to sentiments such as pity, sympathy, friendship or pleas of desperate illness, are perpetrator of a crime that facilities for its commission were purposely placed in his way, or that the
not.[44] Proponents of this test believe that courts must refuse to convict an entrapped accused not criminal act was done at the 'decoy solicitation' of persons seeking to expose the criminal, or that
because his conduct falls outside the legal norm but rather because, even if his guilt has been established, detectives feigning complicity in the act were present and apparently assisting in its commission.
the methods employed on behalf of the government to bring about the crime "cannot be Especially is this true in that class of cases where the offense is one of a kind habitually committed, and
countenanced." To some extent, this reflects the notion that the courts should not become tainted by the solicitation merely furnishes evidence of a course of conduct. Mere deception by the detective will
condoning law enforcement improprieties.[45] Hence, the transactions leading up to the offense, the not shield defendant, if the offense was committed by him, free from the influence or instigation of the
interaction between the accused and law enforcement officer and the accused's response to the officer's detective. The fact that an agent of an owner acts as a supposed confederate of a thief is no defense to
inducements, the gravity of the crime, and the difficulty of detecting instances of its commission are the latter in a prosecution for larceny, provided the original design was formed independently of such
considered in judging what the effect of the officer's conduct would be on a normal person.[46] agent; and where a person approached by the thief as his confederate notifies the owner or the public
Both the "subjective" and "objective" approaches have been criticized and objected to. It is claimed authorities, and, being authorised by them to do so, assists the thief in carrying out the plan, the larceny
that the "subjective" test creates an "anything goes" rule, i.e., if the court determines that an accused was is nevertheless committed. It is generally held that it is no defense to a prosecution for an illegal sale of
predisposed to commit the crime charged, no level of police deceit, badgering or other unsavory practices liquor that the purchase was made by a 'spotter,' detective, or hired informer; but there are cases
will be deemed impermissible.[47] Delving into the accused's character and predisposition obscures the holding the contrary."[65]
more important task of judging police behavior and prejudices the accused more generally. It ignores the The distinction above-quoted was reiterated in two (2) decisions of the Court of Appeals. In People v.
possibility that no matter what his past crimes and general disposition were, the accused might not have Galicia,[66] the appellate court declared that "there is a wide difference between entrapment and
committed the particular crime unless confronted with inordinate inducements.[48] On the other extreme, instigation." The instigator practically induces the would-be accused into the commission of the offense
the purely "objective" test eliminates entirely the need for considering a particular accused's and himself becomes a co-principal. In entrapment, ways and means are resorted to by the peace officer
predisposition. His predisposition, at least if known by the police, may have an important bearing upon for the purpose of trapping and capturing the lawbreaker in the execution of his criminal plan.[67] In People
the question of whether the conduct of the police and their agents was proper. [49] The undisputed fact v. Tan Tiong,[68] the Court of Appeals further declared that "entrapment is no bar to the prosecution and
that the accused was a dangerous and chronic offender or that he was a shrewd and active member of a conviction of the lawbreaker."[69]
criminal syndicate at the time of his arrest is relegated to irrelevancy.[50] The pronouncement of the Court of Appeals in People v. Galicia was affirmed by this Court in People
Objections to the two tests gave birth to hybrid approaches to entrapment. Some states in the v. Tiu Ua.[70] Entrapment, we further held, is not contrary to public policy. It is instigation that is deemed
United States now combine both the "subjective" and "objective" tests.[51] In Cruz v. State,[52] the Florida contrary to public policy and illegal.[71]
Supreme Court declared that the permissibility of police conduct must first be determined. If this objective It can thus be seen that the concept of entrapment in the American jurisdiction is similar to
test is satisfied, then the analysis turns to whether the accused was predisposed to commit the instigation or inducement in Philippine jurisprudence. Entrapment in the Philippines is not a defense
crime.[53] In Baca v. State,[54] the New Mexico Supreme Court modified the state's entrapment analysis by available to the accused. It is instigation that is a defense and is considered an absolutory cause.[72] To
holding that "a criminal defendant may successfully assert a defense of entrapment, either by showing determine whether there is entrapment or instigation, our courts have mainly examined the conduct of
lack of predisposition to commit the crime for which he is charged, or, that the police exceeded the the apprehending officers, not the predisposition of the accused to commit the crime. The "objective" test
standards of proper investigation.[55] The hybrid approaches combine and apply the "objective" and first applied in United States v. Phelps has been followed in a series of similar cases.[73] Nevertheless,
"subjective" tests alternatively or concurrently. adopting the "objective" approach has not precluded us from likewise applying the "subjective"
As early as 1910, this Court has examined the conduct of law enforcers while apprehending the test. In People v. Boholst,[74] we applied both tests by examining the conduct of the police officers in a buy-
accused caught in flagrante delicto. In United States v. Phelps,[56] we acquitted the accused from the bust operation and admitting evidence of the accused's membership with the notorious and dreaded
offense of smoking opium after finding that the government employee, a BIR personnel, actually induced Sigue-Sigue Sputnik Gang. We also considered accused's previous convictions of other crimes[75] and held
him to commit the crime in order to prosecute him. Smith, the BIR agent, testified that Phelps' that his opprobrious past and membership with the dreaded gang strengthened the state's evidence
apprehension came after he overheard Phelps in a saloon say that he liked smoking opium on some against him. Conversely, the evidence that the accused did not sell or smoke marijuana and did not have
occasions. Smith's testimony was disregarded. We accorded significance to the fact that it was Smith who any criminal record was likewise admitted in People v. Yutuc[76] thereby sustaining his defense that led to
went to the accused three times to convince him to look for an opium den where both of them could his acquittal.
smoke this drug.[57] The conduct of the BIR agent was condemned as "most reprehensible."[58] In People v. The distinction between entrapment and instigation has proven to be very material in anti-narcotics
Abella,[59] we acquitted the accused of the crime of selling explosives after examining the testimony of the operations. In recent years, it has become common practice for law enforcement officers and agents to
apprehending police officer who pretended to be a merchant. The police officer offered "a tempting price, engage in buy-bust operations and other entrapment procedures in apprehending drug offenders. Anti-
xxx a very high one" causing the accused to sell the explosives. We found that there was inducement, narcotics laws, like anti-gambling laws are regulatory statutes.[77] They are rules of convenience designed
"direct, persistent and effective" by the police officer and that outside of his testimony, there was no to secure a more orderly regulation of the affairs of society, and their violation gives rise to crimes mala
evidence sufficient to convict the accused.[60] In People v. Lua Chu and Uy Se Tieng,[61] we convicted the prohibita.[78] They are not the traditional type of criminal law such as the law of murder, rape, theft, arson,
accused after finding that there was no inducement on the part of the law enforcement officer. We stated etc. that deal with crimes mala in se or those inherently wrongful and immoral.[79] Laws defining
that the Customs secret serviceman smoothed the way for the introduction of opium from Hongkong to crimes mala prohibita condemn behavior directed, not against particular individuals, but against public
Cebu after the accused had already planned its importation and ordered said drug. We ruled that the order.[80] Violation is deemed a wrong against society as a whole and is generally unattended with any
apprehending officer did not induce the accused to import opium but merely entrapped him by pretending particular harm to a definite person.[81] These offenses are carried on in secret and the violators resort to
to have an understanding with the Collector of Customs of Cebu to better assure the seizure of the many devices and subterfuges to avoid detection. It is rare for any member of the public, no matter how
prohibited drug and the arrest of the surreptitious importers.[62] furiously he condemns acts mala prohibita, to be willing to assist in the enforcement of the law. It is
It was also in the same case of People v. Lua Chu and Uy Se Tieng[63] we first laid down the distinction necessary, therefore, that government in detecting and punishing violations of these laws, rely, not upon
between entrapment vis-a-vis instigation or inducement. Quoting 16 Corpus Juris,[64] we held: the voluntary action of aggrieved individuals, but upon the diligence of its own officials. This means that
"ENTRAPMENT AND INSTIGATION. -- While it has been said that the practice of entrapping persons into the police must be present at the time the offenses are committed either in an undercover capacity or
crime for the purpose of instituting criminal prosecutions is to be deplored, and while instigation, as through informants, spies or stool pigeons.[82]
distinguished from mere entrapment, has often been condemned and has sometimes been held to
Though considered essential by the police in enforcing vice legislation, the confidential informant informant was the poseur-buyer who actually witnessed the entire transaction,[96] the testimony of the
system breeds abominable abuse. Frequently, a person who accepts payment from the police in the informant may be dispensed with as it will merely be corroborative of the apprehending officers'
apprehension of drug peddlers and gamblers also accept payment from these persons who deceive the eyewitness testimonies.[97] There is no need to present the informant in court where the sale was actually
police. The informant himself may be a drug addict, pickpocket, pimp, or other petty criminal. For witnessed and adequately proved by prosecution witnesses.[98]
whatever noble purpose it serves, the spectacle that government is secretly mated with the underworld The inconsistencies in PO3 Manlangit's and SPO1 Badua's testimonies and the other police officers'
and uses underworld characters to help maintain law and order is not an inspiring one.[83] Equally odious testimonies are minor and do not detract from the veracity and weight of the prosecution evidence. The
is the bitter reality of dealing with unscrupulous, corrupt and exploitative law enforcers. Like the source of the money for the buy-bust operation is not a critical fact in the case at bar. It is enough that the
informant, unscrupulous law enforcers' motivations are legion-- harassment, extortion, vengeance, prosecution proved that money was paid to accused-appellant Doria in consideration of which he sold and
blackmail, or a desire to report an accomplishment to their superiors. This Court has taken judicial notice delivered the marijuana.
of this ugly reality in a number of cases[84] where we observed that it is a common modus operandi of Contrary to accused-appellant Doria's claim, the one kilo of marijuana "sold" by him to PO3
corrupt law enforcers to prey on weak and hapless persons, particularly unsuspecting provincial Manlangit was actually identified by PO3 Manlangit himself before the trial court. After appellants'
hicks.[85] The use of shady underworld characters as informants, the relative ease with which illegal drugs apprehension, the Narcom agents placed this one (1) brick of marijuana recovered from appellant Doria
may be planted in the hands or property of trusting and ignorant persons, and the imposed secrecy that inside the carton box lumping it together with the ten (10) bricks inside. This is why the carton box
inevitably shrouds all drug deals have compelled this Court to be extra-vigilant in deciding drug contained eleven (11) bricks of marijuana when brought before the trial court. The one (1) brick recovered
cases.[86]Criminal activity is such that stealth and strategy, although necessary weapons in the arsenal of from appellant Doria and each of the ten (10) bricks, however, were identified and marked in court. Thus:
the police officer, become as objectionable police methods as the coerced confession and the unlawful "ATTY. ARIAS, Counsel for Florencio Doria:
search.As well put by the Supreme Court of California in People v. Barraza,[87] Mr. Police Officer, when you identified that box,. Tell the court, how were you able to identify
"[E]ntrapment is a facet of a broader problem. Along with illegal search and seizures, wiretapping, false that box?
arrest, illegal detention and the third degree, it is a type of lawless enforcement. They all spring from A This is the box that I brought to the crime laboratory which contained the eleven pieces of
common motivations. Each is a substitute for skillful and scientific investigation. Each is condoned by the marijuana brick we confiscated from the suspect, sir.
sinister sophism that the end, when dealing with known criminals of the 'criminal classes,' justifies the Q Please open it and show those eleven bricks.
employment of illegal means."[88] PROSECUTOR Witness bringing out from the said box...
It is thus imperative that the presumption, juris tantum, of regularity in the performance of official duty ATTY. VALDEZ, Counsel for Violeta Gaddao:
by law enforcement agents raised by the Solicitor General be applied with studied restraint. This Your Honor, I must protest the line of questioning considering the fact that we are now dealing
presumption should not by itself prevail over the presumption of innocence and the constitutionally- with eleven items when the question posed to the witness was what was handed to him by
protected rights of the individual.[89] It is the duty of courts to preserve the purity of their own temple from Jun?
the prostitution of the criminal law through lawless enforcement.[90] Courts should not allow themselves COURT So be it.
to be used as an instrument of abuse and injustice lest an innocent person be made to suffer the unusually ATTY. ARIAS May we make it of record that the witness is pulling out item after item from the box
severe penalties for drug offenses.[91] showed to him and brought in front of him.
We therefore stress that the "objective" test in buy-bust operations demands that the details of the COURT Noted.
purported transaction must be clearly and adequately shown. This must start from the initial contact Q Now tell the court, how did you know that those are the eleven bricks?
between the poseur-buyer and the pusher, the offer to purchase, the promise or payment of the x x x.
consideration until the consummation of the sale by the delivery of the illegal drug subject of the A I have markings on these eleven bricks, sir.
sale.[92] The manner by which the initial contact was made, whether or not through an informant, the offer Q Point to the court, where are those markings?
to purchase the drug, the payment of the "buy-bust" money, and the delivery of the illegal drug, whether A Here, sir, my signature, my initials with the date, sir.
to the informant alone or the police officer, must be the subject of strict scrutiny by courts to insure that PROSECUTOR Witness showed a white wrapper and pointing to CLM and the signature.
law-abiding citizens are not unlawfully induced to commit an offense. Criminals must be caught but not at Q Whose signature is that?
all cost. At the same time, however, examining the conduct of the police should not disable courts into ATTY VALDEZ Your Honor, may we just limit the inquiry to the basic question of the fiscal as to what
ignoring the accused's predisposition to commit the crime. If there is overwhelming evidence of habitual was handed to him by the accused Jun, your Honor?
delinquency, recidivism or plain criminal proclivity, then this must also be considered. Courts should look PROSECUTOR Your Honor, there is already a ruling by this Honorable Court, your Honor, despite
at all factors to determine the predisposition of an accused to commit an offense in so far as they are reconsideration.
relevant to determine the validity of the defense of inducement. COURT Let the prosecution do its own thing and leave the appreciation of what it has done to the
In the case at bar, the evidence shows that it was the confidential informant who initially contacted court.
accused-appellant Doria. At the pre-arranged meeting, the informant was accompanied by PO3 Manlangit ATTY. VALDEZ We submit, your Honor.
who posed as the buyer of marijuana. PO3 Manlangit handed the marked money to accused-appellant A This brick is the one that was handed to me by the suspect Jun, sir.
Doria as advance payment for one (1) kilo of marijuana. Accused-appellant Doria was apprehended when COURT Why do you know that that is the thing? Are you sure that is not "tikoy?"
he later returned and handed the brick of marijuana to PO3 Manlangit. A Yes, your Honor.
PO3 Manlangit testified in a frank, spontaneous, straighforward and categorical manner and his Q What makes you so sure?
credibility was not crumpled on cross-examination by defense counsel. Moreover, PO3 Manlangit's A I am sure that this is the one, your Honor. This is the Exhibit "A" which I marked before I brought
testimony was corroborated on its material points by SPO1 Badua, his back-up security. The non- it to the PCCL, your Honor.
presentation of the confidential informant is not fatal to the prosecution. Informants are usually not Q What are you sure of?
presented in court because of the need to hide their identity and preserve their invaluable service to the A I am sure that this is the brick that was given to me by one alias Jun, sir.
police.[93] It is well-settled that except when the appellant vehemently denies selling prohibited drugs and Q What makes you so sure?
there are material inconsistencies in the testimonies of the arresting officers,[94] or there are reasons to A Because I marked it with my own initials before giving it to the investigator and before we brought
believe that the arresting officers had motives to testify falsely against the appellant,[95] or that only the it to the PCCL, your Honor.
x x x. x x x."[103]
PROSECUTOR May we request that a tag be placed on this white plastic bag and this be marked as Under Section 5 (a), as above-quoted, a person may be arrested without a warrant if he "has committed,
Exhibit "D?" is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense." Appellant Doria was caught in the act of
COURT Mark it as Exhibit "D." committing an offense. When an accused is apprehended in flagrante delicto as a result of a buy-bust
Q To stress, who made the entries of this date, Exhibit "A" then the other letters and figures on this operation, the police are not only authorized but duty-bound to arrest him even without a warrant.[104]
plastic? The warrantless arrest of appellant Gaddao, the search of her person and residence, and the seizure
A This one, the signature, I made the signature, the date and the time and this Exhibit "A." of the box of marijuana and marked bills are different matters.
Q How about this one? Our Constitution proscribes search and seizure without a judicial warrant and any evidence
A I don't know who made this marking, sir. obtained without such warrant is inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.[105] The rule is, however,
PROSECUTOR May it be of record that this was just entered this morning. not absolute. Search and seizure may be made without a warrant and the evidence obtained therefrom
Q I am asking you about this "itim" and not the "asul." may be admissible in the following instances:[106] (1) search incident to a lawful arrest;[107] (2) search of a
A This CLM, the date and the time and the Exhibit "A," I was the one who made these markings, sir. moving motor vehicle;[108] (3) search in violation of customs laws;[109] (4) seizure of evidence in plain
PROSECUTOR May we place on record that the one that was enclosed... view;[110] (5) when the accused himself waives his right against unreasonable searches and seizures.[111]
ATTY. ARIAS Your Honor, there are also entries included in that enclosure where it appears D-394-95, The prosecution admits that appellant Gaddao was arrested without a warrant of arrest and the
also Exhibit "A," etc. etc., that was not pointed to by the witness. I want to make it of record search and seizure of the box of marijuana and the marked bills were likewise made without a search
that there are other entries included in the enclosure. warrant. It is claimed, however, that the warrants were not necessary because the arrest was made in "hot
COURT Noted. The court saw it. pursuit" and the search was an incident to her lawful arrest.
Q Now, and this alleged brick of marijuana with a piece of paper, with a newspaper wrapping with To be lawful, the warrantless arrest of appellant Gaddao must fall under any of the three (3)
a piece of paper inside which reads: "D-394-95, Exhibit A, 970 grams SSL" be marked as our instances enumerated in Section 5 of Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure as
Exhibit "D-2?" aforequoted. The direct testimony of PO3 Manlangit, the arresting officer, however shows otherwise:
COURT Tag it. Mark it. "ATTY VALDEZ, Counsel for appellant Gaddao:
Q This particular exhibit that you identified, the wrapper and the contents was given to you by We submit at this juncture, your Honor, that there will be no basis for that question.
whom? Q This particular exhibit that you identified, the wrapper and the contents was given to you by whom?
A It was given to me by suspect Jun, sir. A It was given to me by suspect Jun, sir.
Q Whereat? Q Whereat?
A At the corner of Boulevard and Jacinto St., sir. A At the corner of Boulevard and Jacinto Street, sir.
Q How about the other items that you were able to recover? Q How about the other items that you were able to recover?
x x x. ATTY. VALDEZ: We submit at this juncture, your Honor, that there will be no basis for that question.
A These other marijuana bricks, because during our follow-up, because according to Jun the money COURT There is. Answer.
which I gave him was in the hands of Neneth and so we proceeded to the house of Neneth, A These other marijuana bricks, because during our follow-up, because according to Jun the money
sir. which I gave him was in the hands of Neneth and so we proceeded to the house of Neneth,
x x x."[99] sir.
The first brick identified by P03 Manlangit was the brick of marijuana "given to [him] by suspect Jun" at Q Whereat?
the corner of Boulevard and Jacinto Streets. This brick, including the newspaper and white plastic wrapping A At Daang Bakal near the crime scene at Shaw Boulevard, sir.
were marked as Exhibits "D," "D-1," and "D-2" and described as weighing nine hundred seventy (970) Q And what happened upon arrival thereat?
grams.[100] A We saw alias Neneth inside the house and we asked him to give us the buy-bust money, sir.
We also reject appellant's submission that the fact that PO3 Manlangit and his team waited for Q You mentioned "him?"
almost one hour for appellant Doria to give them the one kilo of marijuana after he "paid" P1,600.00 A Her, sir. We asked her to give us the money, the marked money which Jun gave her, sir.
strains credulity. Appellant cannot capitalize on the circumstance that the money and the marijuana in the Q And what happened?
case at bar did not change hands under the usual "kaliwaan" system. There is no rule of law which requires A At this instance, it was SPO1 Badua who can testify regarding this buy-bust money, sir.
that in "buy-bust" operations there must be a simultaneous exchange of the marked money and the x x x."[112]
prohibited drug between the poseur-buyer and the pusher.[101] Again, the decisive fact is that the poseur- SPO1 Badua testified on cross-examination that:
buyer received the marijuana from the accused-appellant.[102] Q What was your intention in going to the house of Aling Neneth?
We also hold that the warrantless arrest of accused-appellant Doria is not unlawful. Warrantless A To arrest her, sir.
arrests are allowed in three instances as provided by Section 5 of Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Q But the fact is, Mr. Witness, when you reached the house of Aling Neneth, Aling Neneth was
Procedure, to wit: there?
"Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. -- A peace officer or a private person may, without a A Yes, sir.
warrant, arrest a person: Q As far as you can see, she was just inside her house?
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, A I saw her outside, sir.
or is attempting to commit an offense; Q She was fetching water as a matter of fact?
(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of A She was `sa bandang poso.'
facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it; and Q Carrying a baby?
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who escaped from a penal establishment or A No, sir.
place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has Q At that particular time when you reached the house of Aling Neneth and saw her outside the
escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another. house, she was not committing any crime, she was just outside the house?
A No, sir. guilt of the person to be arrested.[116] A reasonable suspicion therefore must be founded on probable
Q She was not about to commit any crime because she was just outside the house doing her daily cause, coupled with good faith on the part of the peace officers making the arrest.[117]
chores. Am I correct? Accused-appellant Gaddao was arrested solely on the basis of the alleged identification made by
A I just saw her outside, sir. her co-accused. PO3 Manlangit, however, declared in his direct examination that appellant Doria named
Q And at that point in time you already wanted to arrest her. That is correct, is it not? his co-accused in response to his (PO3 Manlangit's) query as to where the
A Yes, sir. marked money was.[118] Appellant Doria did not point to appellant Gaddao as his associate in the drug
Q Now, if any memory of your testimony is correct, according to you SPO1 Manlangit approached business, but as the person with whom he left the marked bills. This identification does not necessarily
her? lead to the conclusion that appellant Gaddao conspired with her co-accused in pushing drugs. Appellant
A PO3 Manlangit, sir. Doria may have left the money in her house,[119] with or without her knowledge, with or without any
Q You did not approach her because PO3 Manlangit approached her? conspiracy. Save for accused-appellant Doria's word, the Narcom agents had no reasonable grounds to
A Yes, sir. believe that she was engaged in drug pushing. If there is no showing that the person who effected the
Q During all the time that this confrontation, arrest or whatever by SPO3 Manlangit was taking place, warrantless arrest had, in his own right, knowledge of facts implicating the person arrested to the
you were just in the side lines? perpetration of a criminal offense, the arrest is legally objectionable.[120]
A I was just watching, sir. Since the warrantless arrest of accused-appellant Gaddao was illegal, it follows that the search of
Q So you were just an on-looker to what Manlangit was doing, because precisely according to you her person and home and the subsequent seizure of the marked bills and marijuana cannot be deemed
your role in this buy-bust operation was as a back-up? legal as an incident to her arrest. This brings us to the question of whether the trial court correctly found
A Yes, sir. that the box of marijuana was in plain view, making its warrantless seizure valid.
Q Who got the alleged marijuana from inside the house of Mrs. Neneth? Objects falling in plain view of an officer who has a right to be in the position to have that view are
A PO3 Manlangit, sir. subject to seizure even without a search warrant and may be introduced in evidence.[121] The "plain view"
Q Manlangit got the marijuana? doctrine applies when the following requisites concur: (a) the law enforcement officer in search of the
A Yes, sir. evidence has a prior justification for an intrusion or is in a position from which he can view a particular
Q And the money from Aling Neneth? area; (b) the discovery of the evidence in plain view is inadvertent; (c) it is immediately apparent to the
A I don't know, sir. officer that the item he observes may be evidence of a crime, contraband or otherwise subject to
Q You did not even know who got the money from Aling Neneth? seizure.[122] The law enforcement officer must lawfully make an initial intrusion or properly be in a position
PROSECUTOR: from which he can particularly view the area.[123] In the course of such lawful intrusion, he came
There is no basis for this question, your Honor. Money, there's no testimony on that. inadvertently across a piece of evidence incriminating the accused.[124] The object must be open to eye and
ATTY. VALDEZ: hand[125] and its discovery inadvertent.[126]
I was asking him precisely. It is clear that an object is in plain view if the object itself is plainly exposed to sight. The difficulty
PROSECUTOR: arises when the object is inside a closed container. Where the object seized was inside a closed package,
No basis. the object itself is not in plain view and therefore cannot be seized without a warrant. However, if the
COURT: package proclaims its contents, whether by its distinctive configuration, its transparency, or if its contents
Sustained. are obvious to an observer, then the contents are in plain view and may be seized.[127] In other words, if
Q Alright. I will ask you a question and I expect an honest answer. According to the records, the the package is such that an experienced observer could infer from its appearance that it contains the
amount of P1,600.00 was recovered from the person of Aling Neneth. That's right? prohibited article, then the article is deemed in plain view. [128] It must be immediately apparent to the
A Yes, sir, the buy-bust money. police that the items that they observe may be evidence of a crime, contraband or otherwise subject to
Q What you are now saying for certain and for the record is the fact that you were not the one who seizure.[129]
retrieved the money from Aling Neneth, it was Manlangit maybe? PO3 Manlangit, the Narcom agent who found the box, testified on cross-examination as follows:
A I saw it, sir. "ATTY. VALDEZ:
Q It was Manlangit who got the money from Aling Neneth? So here we are. When you and Badua arrived, Aling Neneth was inside the house?
A The buy-bust money was recovered from the house of Aling Neneth, sir. A Yes, sir.
Q It was taken from the house of Aling Neneth, not from the person of Aling Neneth. Is that what you Q Badua demanded from Aling Neneth the buy-bust money?
are trying to tell the Court? A Yes, sir.
A No, sir. Q At that particular instance, you saw the carton?
ATTY. VALDEZ: I am through with this witness, your Honor."[113] A Yes, sir.
Accused-appellant Gaddao was not caught red-handed during the buy-bust operation to give Q This carton, according to you was under a table?
ground for her arrest under Section 5 (a) of Rule 113. She was not committing any crime. Contrary to the A Yes, sir, dining table.
finding of the trial court, there was no occasion at all for appellant Gaddao to flee from the policemen to Q I noticed that this carton has a cover?
justify her arrest in "hot pursuit."[114] In fact, she was going about her daily chores when the policemen A Yes, sir.
pounced on her. Q I ask you were the flaps of the cover raised or closed?
Neither could the arrest of appellant Gaddao be justified under the second instance of Rule A It was open, sir. Not like that.
113. "Personal knowledge" of facts in arrests without warrant under Section 5 (b) of Rule 113 must be COURT
based upon "probable cause" which means an "actual belief or reasonable grounds of suspicion."[115] The Go down there. Show to the court.
grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in the absence of actual belief of the arresting officers, the INTERPRETER
suspicion that the person to be arrested is probably guilty of committing the offense, is based on actual Witness went down the witness stand and approached a carton box.
facts, i.e., supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable cause of A Like this, sir.
PROSECUTOR Q You were only able to verify according to you...
Can we describe it? PROSECUTOR
ATTY. VALDEZ Panero, wait. Because I am objecting to the words a piece of plastic. By reading it...
Yes. ATTY. VALDEZ
PROSECUTOR That's a piece of plastic.
One flap is inside and the other flap is standing and with the contents visible. PROSECUTOR
COURT By reading it, it will connote... this is not a piece of plastic.
Noted. ATTY. VALDEZ
Q At this juncture, you went inside the house? What is that? What can you say, Fiscal? I'm asking you?
A Yes, sir. PROSECUTOR
Q And got hold of this carton? With due respect, what I am saying is, let's place the size of the plastic. A piece of plastic may
A Yes, sir. be big or a small one, for record purposes.
Q Did you mention anything to Aling Neneth? COURT
A I asked her, what's this... Leave that to the court.
Q No, no. no. did you mention anything to Aling Neneth before getting the carton? PROSECUTOR
A I think it was Badua who accosted Aling Neneth regarding the buy-bust money and he asked "Sa iyo Leave that to the court.
galing ang marijuanang ito, nasaan ang buy-bust money namin?" sir. Q The only reason according to you, you were able to... Look at this, no even Superman... I withdraw
Q Making reference to the marijuana that was given by alias Jun? that. Not even a man with very kin [sic] eyes can tell the contents here. And according to the
A Yes, sir. Court, it could be "tikoy," is it not [sic]?
Q When you proceeded to take hold of this carton, Aling Neneth was not yet frisked, is it not [sic]? A Yes, sir.
A I just don't know if she was frisked already by Badua, sir. Q Siopao?
Q Who got hold of this? A Yes, sir.
A I was the one, sir. Q Canned goods?
Q You were the one who got this? A Yes, sir.
A Yes, sir. Q It could be ice cream because it says Snow Pop, Ice Pop?
Q At that particular point in time, you did not know if the alleged buy-bust money was already A I presumed it was also marijuana because it may ...
retrieved by Badua? Q I am not asking you what your presumptions are. I'm asking you what it could possibly be.
A Yes, sir. A It's the same plastic, sir.
Q You went inside the house? ATTY. VALDEZ
A Yes, sir. I'm not even asking you that question so why are you voluntarily saying the information. Let
Q You did not have any search warrant? the prosecutor do that for you.
A Yes, sir. COURT
Q In fact, there was nothing yet as far as you were concerned to validate the fact that Mrs. Gadao was Continue. Next question.
in possession of the buy-bust money because according to you, you did not know whether x x x."[130]
Badua already retrieved the buy-bust money from her? PO3 Manlangit and the police team were at appellant Gaddao's house because they were led there by
A Yes, sir. appellant Doria. The Narcom agents testified that they had no information on appellant Gaddao until
Q How far was this from the door? appellant Doria named her and led them to her.[131] Standing by the door of appellant Gaddao's house,
A Two and a half meters from the door, sir. It was in plain view. PO3 Manlangit had a view of the interior of said house. Two and a half meters away was the dining table
Q Under the table according to you? and underneath it was a carton box. The box was partially open and revealed something wrapped in
A Yes, sir, dining table. plastic.
Q Somewhere here? In his direct examination, PO3 Manlangit said that he was sure that the contents of the box were
A It's far, sir. marijuana because he himself checked and marked the said contents.[132] On cross-examination, however,
PROSECUTOR he admitted that he merely presumed the contents to be marijuana because it had the same plastic
May we request the witness to place it, where he saw it? wrapping as the "buy-bust marijuana." A close scrutiny of the records reveals that the plastic wrapper was
A Here, sir. not colorless and transparent as to clearly manifest its contents to a viewer. Each of the ten (10) bricks of
Q What you see is a carton? marijuana in the box was individually wrapped in old newspaper and placed inside plastic bags-- white,
A Yes, sir, with plastic. pink or blue in color.[133] PO3 Manlangit himself admitted on cross-examination that the contents of the
Q Marked "Snow Time Ice Pop?" box could be items other than marijuana. He did not know exactly what the box contained that he had
A Yes, sir. to ask appellant Gaddao about its contents.[134] It was not immediately apparent to PO3 Manlangit that
Q With a piece of plastic visible on top of the carton? the content of the box was marijuana. The marijuana was not in plain view and its seizure without the
A Yes, sir. requisite search warrant was in violation of the law and the Constitution.[135] It was fruit of the poisonous
Q That is all that you saw? tree and should have been excluded and never considered by the trial court.[136]
A Yes, sir. The fact that the box containing about six (6) kilos of marijuana[137] was found in the house of
PROSECUTOR accused-appellant Gaddao does not justify a finding that she herself is guilty of the crime
For the record, your Honor... charged.[138]Apropos is our ruling in People v. Aminnudin,[139] viz:
"The Court strongly supports the campaign of the government against drug addiction and commends the distance of about one and a-half (1) meters in front of him was a tricycle driven by accused Joselito del
efforts of our law enforcement officers against those who would inflict this malediction upon our people, Rosario. At that point, Alonzo saw two (2) men and a woman grappling for possession of a bag. After taking
especially the susceptible youth. But as demanding as this campaign may be, it cannot be more so than hold of the bag one of the two men armed with a gun started chasing a man who was trying to help the
the compulsions of the Bill of Rights for the protection of the liberty of every individual in the realm, woman, while the other snatcher kicked the woman sending her to the ground. Soon after, the armed man
including the basest of criminals. The Constitution covers with the mantle of its protection the innocent returned and while the woman was still on the ground he shot her on the head. The bag taken by the man
and the guilty alike against any manner of high-handedness from the authorities, however praiseworthy was brought to the tricycle of accused del Rosario where someone inside received the bag.The armed man
their intentions. then sat behind the driver while his companion entered the sidecar. When the tricycle sped away Alonzo
Those who are supposed to enforce the law are not justified in disregarding the right of the individual in gave chase and was able to get the plate number of the tricycle.He also recognized the driver, after which
the name of order. Order is too high a price for the loss of liberty. As Justice Holmes, again, said, 'I think he went to the nearest police headquarters and reported the incident.[4]
it a less evil that some criminals should escape than that the government should play an ignoble part.' It Accused Joselito del Rosario gave his own version of the incident: At around 5:30 in the afternoon
is simply not allowed in the free society to violate a law to enforce another, especially if the law violated he was hired for P120.00[5] by a certain Boy Santos,[6] his co-accused. Their original agreement was that he
is the Constitution itself."[140] would drive him to cockpit at the Blas Edward Coliseum.[7] However, despite their earlier arrangement boy
Section 4 of Republic Act No. 6425, the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as amended by Section 13 of Santos directed him to proceed to the market place to fetch Jun Marquez and Dodong Bisaya. He (del
Republic Act No. 7659 punishes the "sale, administration, delivery, distribution and transportation of a Rosario) acceded.[8] Marquez and Bisaya boarded in front of the parking lot of Merced Drugstore at the
prohibited drug" with the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from P500,000.00 public market.[9] Subsequently, he was asked to proceed and stop at the corner of Burgos and General
to P10 million, to wit: Luna Sts. where Bisaya alighted on the pretest of buying a cigarette. The latter then accosted the victim
"Sec. 4. Sale, Administration, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of Prohibited Drugs.-- The penalty Virginia Bernas and grappled with her for the possession of her bag. Jun Marquez alighted from the tricycle
of reclusion perpetua to death, and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos to help Dodong Bisaya.[10] Accused del Rosario tried to leave and seek help but Boy Santos who stayed
shall be imposed upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, administer, deliver, give inside the tricycle prevented him from leaving and threatened in fact to shoot him.
away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport any prohibited drug, or shall act as a broker Meanwhile, Dodong Bisaya succeeded in taking the victims bag, but before boarding the tricycle
in any of such transactions. Jun Marquez mercilessly shot the victim on the head while she was lying prone on the ground. After the
x x x." shooting, Dodong Bisaya boarded the sidecar of the tricycle while Jun Marquez rode behind del Rosario
In every prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs, what is material is the submission of proof that and ordered him to start the engine and drive towards Dicarma.While inside his tricycle, del Rosario
the sale took place between the poseur-buyer and the seller thereof and the presentation of the drug, i.e., overheard his passengers saying that they would throw the bag at Zulueta St. where there were cogon
the corpus delicti, as evidence in court.[141] The prosecution has clearly established the fact that in grasses.[11] Upon arriving at Dicarma, the three (3) men alighted and warned del Rosario not to inform the
consideration of P1,600.00 which he received, accused-appellant Doria sold and delivered nine hundred police authorities about the incident otherwise he and his family would be harmed.[12] Del Rosario then
seventy (970) grams of marijuana to PO3 Manlangit, the poseur-buyer. The prosecution, however, has went home.[13] Because of the threat, however, he did not report the matter to the owner of the tricycle
failed to prove that accused-appellant Gaddao conspired with accused-appellant Doria in the sale of said nor to the barangay captain and the police.[14]
drug. There being no mitigating or aggravating circumstances, the lower penalty of reclusion As earlier stated, the court a quo found accused Joselito del Rosario guilty as charged and sentenced
perpetua must be imposed.[142] him to death. He now contends in this automatic review that the court a quo erred in: (1) Not finding the
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 156, Pasig City acting as a presence of threat and irresistible force employed upon him by his co-accused Virgilio Boy Santos, Ernesto
Special Court in Criminal Case No. 3307-D is reversed and modified as follows: Jun Marquez and Dodong Bisaya; (2) Not considering his defense that he was not part of the conspiracy
1. Accused-appellant Florencio Doria y Bolado is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion among co-accused "Boy" Santos, "Jun" Marquez and "Dodong" Bisaya to commit the crime of Robbery
perpetua and to pay a fine of five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00). with Homicide; (3) Not considering the violations on his constitutional rights as an accused; and, (4) Not
2. Accused-appellant Violeta Gaddao y Catama is acquitted. considering that there was no lawful warrantless arrest within the meaning of Sec. 5, Rule 113, of the Rules
SO ORDERED. of Court.[15]
G.R. No. 127755. April 14, 1999] The conviction of del Rosario must be set aside. His claim for exemption from criminal liability under
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JOSELITO DEL ROSARIO y PASCUAL, accused- Art. 12, par. 5, Revised Penal Code as he acted under the compulsion of an irresistible force must be
appellant. sustained. He was then unarmed and unable to protect himself when he was prevented at gunpoint by his
DECISION co-accused from leaving the crime scene during the perpetration of the robbery and killing, and was only
BELLOSILLO, J.: forced to help them escape after the commission of the crime.[16]
ON AUTOMATIC REVIEW is the decision of the court a quo finding accused Joselito del Rosario y But the trial court ruled that his fear was merely speculative, fanciful and remote, hence, could not
Pascual guilty as co-principal in the crime of Robbery with Homicide and sentencing him to death and to be considered uncontrollable; and that a gun pointed at him did not constitute irresistible force because
pay the heirs of the victim Virginia Bernas P550,000.00 as actual damages and P100,000.00 as moral and it fell short of the test required by law and jurisprudence.[17]
exemplary damages.[1] We disagree. A person who acts under the compulsion of an irresistible force, like one who acts
Joselito del Rosario y Pascual, Ernesto Marquez alias Jun, Virgilio Santos alias Boy Santos and John under the impulse of an uncontrollable fear of equal or greater injury, is exempt from criminal liability
Doe alias Dodong were charged with special complex crime of Robbery with Homicide for having robbed because he does not act with freedom. Actus me invito factus non est meus actus. An act done by me
Virginia Bernas, a 66-year old businesswoman, of P200,000.00 in cash and jewelry and on the occasion against my will is not my act. The force contemplated must be so formidable as to reduce the actor to a
thereof shot and killed her.[2] mere instrument who acts not only without will but against his will. The duress, force, fear or intimidation
While accused Joselito del Rosario pleaded not guilty,[3] Virgilio Boy Santos and John Doe alias must be present, imminent and impending, and of such nature as to induce a well-grounded apprehension
Dodong remained at large. Ernesto Jun Marquez was killed in a police encounter. Only Joselito del Rosario of death or serious bodily harm if the act be done. A threat of future injury is not enough. The compulsion
was tried. must be of such a character as to leave no opportunity for the accused for escape or self-defense in equal
These facts were established by the prosecution from the eyewitness account of tricycle driver Paul combat.[18]
Vincent Alonzo: On 13 May 1996 between 6:00 and 6:30 in the evening, Alonzo stopped his tricycle by the As a rule, it is natural for people to be seized by fear when threatened with weapons, even those
side of Nitas Drugstore, General Luna St., Cabanatuan City, when three women flagged him. Parked at a less powerful that a gun, such as knives and clubs. People will normally, usually and probably do what an
armed man asks them to do, nothing more, nothing less. In the instant case, del Rosario was threatened Q: x x x x On the evening of May 13, 1996 you were the driver of the tricycle as testified to by Eduardo
with a gun. He could not therefore be expected to flee nor risk his life to help a stranger. A person under Nalagon?
the same circumstances would be more concerned with his personal welfare and security rather than the A: Yes, sir.
safety of a person whom he only saw for the first time that day.[19] Q: Now, you also heard that there was a shoot out near the Cathedral and the Nitas Drugstore at Gen.
Corollary with defense of del Rosario, we hold that the trial court erred when it said that it was Boy Tinio St.?
Santos who left the tricycle to chase the companion of the victim and then shot the victim on the head, A: Yes, sir.
instantly killing her.[20] A careful and meticulous scrutiny of the transcripts and records of the case, xxxx
particularly the testimonies of the witness Alonzo and del Rosario himself, reveals that it was Jun Marquez Court: At that time you were seated at the tricycle, which tricycle was used by the assailants?
who ran after the victims helper and fired at the victim. Witness Alonzo testified on direct examination - A: Yes, sir.
Q: What was that unusual incident that transpired in that place at that time? Q: Then what did you do?
A: I saw two men and a lady grappling for the possession of a bag, sir x x x x A: I tried to escape, sir, but I was stopped by them.
Q: What happened after the bag of the lady was grabbed by the two men? Q: When you said they to whom are you referring?
A: One helper of the lady was chased by the other man, sir. A: Boy Santos and Jun Marquez, sir.
Q: Who was that man who chased the helper of the lady? Q: And at that time where was Boy Santos?
A: He was the one holding the gun, sir x x x x A: He was inside the tricycle, sir.
Q: What happened when the bag of the woman was already taken by the two men who grappled the Q: And what about Jun Marquez?
same from her? A: He alighted from the tricycle and helped him grabbed (sic) the bag of the victim.
A: The man who chased the helper of the lady returned to the scene while the other man was then Q: And was the bag grabbed and by whom?
kicking the lady who in turn fell to the ground, sir. A: Yes, sir, by Dodong Visaya was able to grab the bag.
Q: What happened to the lady who to the ground? Q: And after that what happened?
A: The man who chased the helper of the lady returned and then shot the woman who was then lying A: Both of them rode inside my tricycle, sir.
on the ground, sir x x x x Court: Did you not see any shooting?
Q: What about the bag, what happened to the bag? A: There was, sir.
A: The bag was taken to a motorcycle, sir. Q: Who was shot?
Q: Will you please state before the Court what you noticed from the tricycle which was at a distance A: Jun Marquez shot the woman, sir x x x x
of about one and a half meter? Q: When the bag of the woman was being grabbed you know that what was transpiring was wrong
A: There was a passenger inside the tricycle, sir x x x x and illegal?
Q: What happened to that woman that was shot by the man who grappled for the possession of the A: Yes, sir.
bag? Q: But you did not try to leave?
A: She was no longer moving and lying down, sir. A: I tried to leave but Boy Santos who was inside my tricycle prevented me.
Q: After the shooting by one of the two men of the woman what else happened? Q: During that time before you leave (sic) how many firearms did you see?
A: They went away, sir x x x x A: Two firearms, sir, one in the possession of Boy (Jun?) Marquez and one in the possession of Boy
Q: Will you please tell the Court in what portion of the tricycle did these men sit in the tricycle? Santos x x x x
A: The man who was holding the gun sat himself behind the driver while the other man entered the Q: And at the time when the shooting took place where was Boy Santos?
sidecar, sir.[21] A: He was still inside my tricycle, sir.
On the continuation of his direct examination, after an ocular inspection on the crime scene Q: And during the shooting when Boy Santos was inside the tricycle and when you tried to escape that
conducted by the trial court, witness Alonzo categorically stated was the time when Boy Santos threatened you if you will escape something will happen to your
Q: Will you please tell us where in particular did you see the accused who was then holding the gun family?
fired at the victim? A: Yes, sir.
A: At the time one man was kicking the victim it was then his other companion holding the gun chased Q: After the shooting who first boarded the tricycle, Boy (Jun?) Marquez or Dodong Visaya?
the helper of the deceased going towards Burgos Avenue, sir. A: Dodong Visaya, sir.
Q: What happen (sic) afterwards? Q: And immediately thereafter Jun Marquez boarded your tricycle sitting at your back?
A: The man with the gun returned and then while the victim was lying down in this spot the man A: Yes, sir.[24]
holding the gun shot the victim, sir.[22] On cross-examination, accused further stated
On cross-examination, the same witness further clarified Q: After shopping in that place for one minute what else happened?
Q: So, you saw the two other accused returned back to the tricycle? A: I saw Dodong Bisaya grabbing the bag of the woman, sir.
A: Yes, sir. Q: How about your two companions, what are (sic) they doing while Dodong Bisaya was grabbing the
Q: And one of their companion was already inside the tricycle? bag of the woman?
xxxx A: Jun Marquez was helping Dodong Bisaya, sir.
Court: There was somebody inside the tricycle where the handbag was given. Q: What happened after Jun Marquez helped Dodong Bisaya?
xxxx A: I heard a gunshot and I saw the woman lying down x x x x
A: Yes, sir. Q: You could have ran away to seek the help of the police or any private persons?
Q: And the one who sat at the back of the tricycle driver was the person with the gun? A: I was not able to ask for help because Boy Santos pointed his gun to me, sir.
A: Yes, sir.[23] Q: Was the gun being carried by Boy Santos, is the one that is used in shooting the old woman?
On the other hand, accused Del Rosario declared during the direct examination that A: No, sir x x x x.
Q: Where was Boy Santos when Dodong Bisaya and Jun Marquez were grappling for the possession of intent. There is need for concurrence of wills or unity of action and purpose or for common and joint
the handbag? purpose and design. Its manifestation could be shown by united and concerted action.[31]
A: He was then inside the tricycle, sir x x x x[25] Admittedly, direct proof is not essential to establish conspiracy. Since by its nature conspiracy is
Q: Mr. Witness, you testified that the reason why you just cannot leave the area where the incident planned in utmost secrecy, it can rarely be proved by direct evidence. Consequently, the presence of the
occurred is because a gun was pointed to you by Boy Santos and he was telling you that you concurrence of minds which is involved in conspiracy may be inferred from proof of facts and
should not do anything against their will, they will kill you and your family will be killed also, is circumstances which, taken together, apparently indicate that they are merely parts of some complete
that correct? whole. If it is proved that two or more persons aimed by their acts towards the accomplishment of the
A: Yes, sir. same unlawful object, each doing a part so that their combined acts, though apparently independent, were
Q: Now, is it not a fact that at the time you stop (sic) your tricycle which was loaded by your other in fact connected and cooperative, indicating a closeness of personal association and a concurrence of
three co-accused in this case, all of them alighted and that Boy Santos ran after a helper of the sentiment, a conspiracy may be inferred though no actual meeting among them to concert means is
victim going towards the public market along Burgos Street? proved. That would be termed an implied conspiracy.[32] Nevertheless, mere knowledge, acquiescence or
A: He did not alight from the tricycle, sir. approval of the act, without the cooperation or agreement to cooperate, is not enough to constitute one
Court: Are you quite sure of that? a party to a conspiracy, but that there must be intentional participation in the transaction with a view to
A: Yes, sir.[26] the furtherance of the common design and purpose. Conspiracy must be established, not by conjectures,
Del Rosario maintains that Boy Santos never left the tricycle and that the latter pointed his gun at but by positive and conclusive evidence. In fact, the same degree of proof necessary to establish the crime
him and threatened to shoot if he tried to escape. He also asserted that it was Jun Marquez who shot the is required to support a finding of the presence of a criminal conspiracy, which is, proof beyond reasonable
victim and sat behind him in the tricycle. doubt.[33]
From the narration of witness Alonzo, these events stood out: that after the bag of the victim was In the instant case, while del Rosario admits that he was at the locus criminis as he was the driver
grabbed, her male helper was chased by a man holding a gun; that the gunwielder returned and shot the of the getaway vehicle, he nonetheless rebuts the imputation of guilt against him by asserting that he had
victim and then sat behind the driver of the tricycle; and, the bag was given to a person who was inside no inkling of the malevolent design of his co-accused to rob and kill since he was not given any briefing
the tricycle. Taking the testimony of witness Alonzo in juxtaposition with the testimony of del Rosario, it thereof. He was merely hired by Boy Santos to drive to an agreed destination and he was prevented at
can be deduced that Jun Marquez was the person witness Alonzo was referring to when he mentioned gunpoint from leaving the scene of the crime since he was ordered to help them escape.
that a helper of the lady was chased by the other man and that this other man could not be Boy Santos In this case, the trial court stated that "there is no evidence that the accused came to an agreement
who stayed inside the tricycle and to whom the bag was handed over. This conclusion gives credence to concerning the commission of the felony and decided to commit the same."[34]Therefore, in order to
the claim of del Rosario that Boy Santos never left the tricycle, and to his allegation that Boy Santos stayed convict the accused, the presence of an implied conspiracy is required to be proved beyond reasonable
inside the tricycle precisely to threaten him with violence and prevent him from fleeing; that there could doubt. However, the fact that del Rosario was with the other accused when the crime was committed is
have been no other plausible reason for Boy Santos to stay in the tricycle if the accused was indeed a insufficient proof to show cabal. Mere companionship does not establish conspiracy.[35] The only
conspirator; that Boy Santos could have just left the tricycle and helped in the commission of the crime, incriminating evidence against del Rosario is that he was at the scene of the crime but he has amply
particularly when he saw the victim grappling with Dodong Bisaya and resisting the attempts to grab her explained the reason for his presence and the same has not been successfully refuted by the
bag; and, that Boy Santos opted to remain inside the tricycle to fulfill his preordained role of threatening prosecution. As stated earlier, he feared for his safety and security because of the threat made by his co-
del Rosario and insuring that he would not escape and leave them behind.[27] accused that he would, be killed should he shout for help. No complicity can be deduced where there is
Even if the tricycle of del Rosario was only parked one meter and a half (1) in front of the tricycle of absolutely no showing that the accused directly participated in the overt act of robbing and shooting
witness Alonzo, the latter still could not have totally seen and was not privy to events that were transpiring although he was with the persons who robbed and killed the victim.[36]
inside the vehicle, i.e., the pointing of the gun by Boy Santos at del Rosario simultaneously with the robbing That del Rosario did not disclose what he knew about the incident to the authorities, to his employer
and shooting of the victim. From the exhibits submitted by the prosecution panel the back of the sidecar or to the barangay captain does not affect his credibility. The natural hesitance of most people to get
of del Rosario tricycle was not transparent.[28] involved in a criminal case is of judicial notice.[37] It must be recalled that del Rosario was merely a tricycle
There is no doubt that the fear entertained by del Rosario because of the gun directly pointed at driver with a family to look after. Given his quite limited means, del Rosario understandably did not want
him was real and imminent. Such fear rendered him immobile and subject to the will of Boy Santos, making to get involved in the case so he chose to keep his silence. Besides, he was threatened with physical harm
him for the moment of automaton without a will of his own. In other words, in effect, he could not be any should he squeal.
more than a mere instrument acting involuntarily an against his will. He is therefore exempt from criminal Del Rosario further contends that there was violation of his right to remain silent, right to have
liability since by reason of fear of bodily harm he was compelled against his will to transport his co-accused competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice, and right to be informed of these rights
away from the crime scene. as enshrined and guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.[38] As testified to by SP04 Geronimo de Leon, the
On the issue of conspiracy, the trial court anchored del Rosarios conviction on his participation in prosecution witness who was the team leader of the policemen who investigated the 13 May incident,
the orchestrated acts of Boy Santos, Jun Marquez and Dodong Bisaya. According to the trial court, del during his cross-examination -
Rosario facilitated the escape of the other malefactors from the crime scene and conspiracy between Upon finding the name of the owner of the tricycle, they proceeded to Bakod Bayan in the house of the
accused and his passengers was evident because while the grappling of the bag, the chasing of the helper barangay captain where the owner of the tricycle was summoned and who in turn revealed the driver's
of the victim and the shooting that led to the death of Virginia Bernas were happening, accused Joselito name and was invited for interview. The driver was accused Joselito del Rosario who volunteered to
del Rosario was riding on his tricycle and the engine of the motor was running;[29] that the accused did not name his passengers on May 13, 1996. On the way to the police station, accused informed them of the
deny that the tricycle driven by him and under his control was hired and used by his co-accused in the bag and lunch kit's location and the place where the hold-uppers may be found and they reported these
commission of the crime; neither did he deny his failure to report to the authorities the incident of robbery, findings to their officers, Capt. Biag and Capt.Cruz. After lunch, they proceeded to Brgy. Dicarma
killing and fleeing away from the scene of the crime.[30] composed of 15 armed men where a shoot-out transpired that lasted from 1:00 to 4:00 o'clock in the
We disagree with the trial court. A conspiracy in the statutory language exists when two or more afternoon. After a brief encounter, they went inside the house where they found Marquez dead holding
persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. The a magazine and a gun. While all of these were happening, accused del Rosario was at the back of the
objective of the conspirators is to perform an act or omission punishable by law. That must be their school, after which they went back to the police station. The investigator took the statement of the
accused on May 14,1996, and was only subscribed on May 22,1996. All the while, he was detained in the
police station as ordered by the Fiscal. His statements were only signed on May 16, 1996. He also and not immediately thereafter. As such, the crime had not been "just committed" at the time the accused
executed a waiver of his detention. His Sinumpaang Salaysay was done with the assistance of Ex-Judge was arrested. Likewise, the arresting officers had no personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person
Talavera.[39] to be arrested had committed the offense since they were not present and were not actual eyewitnesses
A further perusal of the transcript reveals that during the encounter at Brgy. Dicarma, del Rosario was to the crime, and they became aware of his identity as the driver of the getaway tricycle only during the
handcuffed by the police because allegedly they had already gathered enough evidence against him and custodial investigation.
they were afraid that he might attempt to escape.[40] However the conspicuous illegality of del Rosario's arrest cannot affect the jurisdiction of the
Custodial investigation is the stage where the police investigation is no longer a general inquiry into court a quo because even in instances not allowed by law, a warrantless arrest is not a jurisdictional defect
an unsolved crime but has begun to focus on a particular suspect taken into custody by the police who and any objection thereto is waived when the person arrested submits to arraignment without any
carry out a process of interrogation that lends itself to elicit incriminating statements. It is well-settled that objection, as in this case.[46]
it encompasses any question initiated by law enforcers after a person has been taken into custody or A transgression of the law has occurred. Unfortunately, an innocent person lost her life and
otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way.[41] This concept of custodial property in the process. Someone therefore must be held accountable, but it will not be accused Joselito
investigation has been broadened by RA 7438[42] to include "the Practice of issuing an 'invitation' to a del Rosario; we must acquit him. Like victim Virginia Bernas, he too was a hapless victim who was forcibly
person who is investigated in connection with an offense he is suspected to have committed." Section 2 of used by other persons with nefarious designs to perpetrate a dastardly act. Del Rosario's defense of
the same Act further provides that - "irresistible force" has been substantiated by clear and convincing evidence. On the other hand, conspiracy
x x x x Any public officer or employee, or anyone acting under his order or in his place, who arrests, between him and his co-accused was not proved beyond a whimper of a doubt by the prosecution, thus
detains or investigates any person for the commission of an offense shall inform the latter, in a language clearing del Rosario of any complicity in the crime charged.
known and understood by him of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan City convicting accused
counsel, preferably of his own choice, who shall at all times be allowed to confer privately with the JOSELITO DEL ROSARIO Y PASCUAL of Robbery with Homicide and sentencing him to death, is REVERSED
person arrested, detained or under custodial investigation. If such person cannot afford the services of and SET ASIDE, and the accused is ACQUITTED of the crime charged. His immediate RELEASE from
his own counsel, he must be provided with a competent and independent counsel by the investigating confinement is ordered unless held for some other lawful cause. In this regard, the Director of Prisons is
officer. directed to report to the Court his compliance herewith within five (5) days from receipt hereof.
From the foregoing, it is clear that del Rosario was deprived of his rights during custodial SO ORDERED.
investigation. From the time he was "invited" for questioning at the house of the barangay captain, he was G.R. No. 84715 October 17, 1990
already under effective custodial investigation, but he was not apprised nor made aware thereof by the THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
investigating officers. The police already knew the name of the tricycle driver and the latter was already a vs.
suspect in the robbing and senseless slaying of Virginia Bernas. Since the prosecution failed to establish ARNULFO CENDANA y REYES, accused-appellant.
that del Rosario had waived his right to remain silent, his verbal admissions on his participation in the The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
crime even before his actual arrest were inadmissible against him, as the same transgressed the safeguards Edmundo M. Manaois for accused-appellant.
provided by law and the Bill of Rights.
Del Rosario also avers that his arrest was unlawful since there was no warrant therefor. Section 5, CORTES, J.:
Rule 113 of the Rules of Court provides:[43] In the early morning of November 24, 1986, the Police Station at Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan received a
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, report that a man was found dead on the field near the ricemill of a Mrs. Thelma Bautista at Barangay
arrest a person: (a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually Ventinilla West, Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan. Upon investigation, policemen found the cadaver, Identified to
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; (b) When an offense has in fact been committed and be that of Dominador Manongdo, lying prostrate on the ground with one gunshot wound on the head.
he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it; and, (c) Subsequently, accused-appellant Arnulfo Cendana y Reyes was apprehended and later charged with the
When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from penal establishment or place where crime of murder "thru illegally possessed firearm" on the basis of the following information:
he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being That on or about November 23, 1986, in the evening at a
transferred from one confinement to another. ricefield in barangay Ventinilla West, municipality of Sta.
It must be recalled that del Rosario was arrested by SPO4 De Leon during the police raid at the place Barbara, province of Pangasinan, Philippines and within the
of "Jun" Marquez at Brgy. Dicarma on 14 May 1996. In People vs Sucro[44] we held that when a police officer jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
sees the offense, although at a distance, or hears the disturbances created thereby, and proceeds at once accused, armed with an unlicensed shotgun, with intent to
to the scene thereof, he may effect an arrest without a warrant on the basis of Sec. 5, par. (a), Rule 113, kill, with treachery and evident premeditation, did then and
since the offense is deemed committed in his presence or within his view. In essence, Sec. 5, par. (a), Rule there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously shoot one
113, requires that the accused be caught in flagrante delicto or caught immediately after the Dominador Manongdo y Loresco, inflicting upon him a
consummation of the act. The arrest of del Rosario is obviously outside the purview of the aforequoted gunshot wound which caused his instantaneous death, to
rule since he was arrested on the day following the commission of the robbery with homicide. the damage and prejudice of his heirs.
On the other hand, Sec. 5, par. (b), Rule 113, necessitates two (2) stringent requirements before a Contrary to Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. [Record,
warrantless arrest can be effected: (1) an offense has just been committed; and (2) the person making the p. 1].
arrest has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested had committed it. Hence, Upon arraignment, accused-appellant pleaded not guilty. The pre-trial conference was terminated on