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G.R. No.

148117 March 22, 2007 When SPO4 Quitoriano lifted a womboc, he found some pieces of lumber under it. The driver and his companions
admitted they have no permit to transport the lumber. The police immediately arrested and investigated petitioners,
Marso Insiong Dumpit, Armando Palasi, and Ben Arinos. Only petitioners were charged with violation of Section 68
MABINI EPIE, JR. and RODRIGO PALASI, Petitioners,
of the Revised Forestry Code.
vs.
THE HON. NELSONIDA T. ULAT-MARREDO, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 10, La Trinidad,
Benguet and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents. After the prosecution presented its evidence, petitioners, through counsel, filed a "Motion to Suppress Evidence of
the Prosecution" on the ground that the pieces of Benguet pine lumber were illegally seized.
DECISION
In a Resolution4 dated July 26, 1999, respondent judge denied the motion.
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:
Petitioners then filed a motion for reconsideration. Likewise, it was denied in a Resolution dated September 27,
1999.
Assailed in this Petition for Review on Certiorari is the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals dated September 15, 2000
in CA-G.R. SP No. 55684.
Subsequently, petitioners filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari and prohibition, docketed as CA-G.R.
SP No. 55684 assailing the said Resolutions of the trial court.
The facts of the case as gleaned from the records are:

On September 15, 2000, the Court of Appeals rendered its Decision dismissing the petition, holding that respondent
In an Information dated September 22, 1998, the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Benguet Province charged
judge did not commit grave abuse of discretion tantamount to lack or excess of jurisdiction; that the search
Mabini Epie, Jr. and Rodrigo Palasi, petitioners, with violation of Section 68 of Presidential Decree No. 705,2 as
conducted without warrant by the police officers is valid; and that the confiscated pieces of lumber are admissible in
amended. The Informtion reads:
evidence against the accused.

That on or about the 6th day of September 1998, along the Halsema National Highway at Acop, Municipality of
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration of the Decision. However, it was denied in a Resolution 5 dated April 11,
Tublay, Province of Benguet, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
2001.
accused, conspiring, confederating, and mutually aiding each other and without any authority of law or without any
license or permit granted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and with intent of gain
and without the knowledge and consent of the owner thereof, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously Hence, the instant petition raising the sole issue of whether the police officers have a probable cause to believe that
possess and transport 870 bd. ft. of Benguet Pine lumber having a total market value of TWENTY FOUR the subject vehicle was loaded with illegal cargo and that, therefore, it can be stopped and searched without a
THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED SIXTY PESOS (₱24,360.00), Philippine Currency, belonging to the REPUBLIC OF warrant.
THE PHILIPPINES, to the damage and prejudice of the GOVERNMENT in the actual sum aforesaid.
In this jurisdiction, the fundamental law of the land recognizes and protects the right of a person to privacy against
CONTRARY TO LAW. unreasonable intrusions by the agents of the State. This right to undisturbed privacy is guaranteed by Section 2,
Article III of the Constitution which provides:
The case was raffled to the Regional Trial Court, Branch 10, La Trinidad, Benguet (presided by respondent Judge
Nelsonida T. Ulat-Marredo), docketed as Criminal Case No. 98-CR-3138. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and
seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall
issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or
When arraigned, both petitioners, with the assistance of counsel de parte, pleaded not guilty to the charge. Trial then
affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be
ensued.
searched and the persons or things to be seized.

The evidence for the prosecution shows that at around 2:30 p.m. of September 6, 1998, SPO2 Alberto Ngina of the
Section 3(2), also of Article III, provides that any evidence obtained in violation of the above provision shall be
Philippine National Police (PNP) Tublay Station received an information from a confidential agent that a jeepney with
inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.
Plate No. AYB 117 at Km. 96, Atok, Benguet was loaded with Benguet pine lumber.

Hence, as a general rule, a search and seizure must be carried through with judicial warrant, otherwise, such search
SPO2 Ngina immediately relayed the information to SPO4 Rentao Quitoriano and SPO1 Domingo Pulig. They then
and seizure constitutes derogation of a constitutional right. 6
swiftly established a checkpoint in Acop, Tublay, Benguet.

The above rule, however, is not devoid of exceptions. In People v. Sarap,7 we listed the exceptions where search
At around 4:00 p.m. of the same day, the PNP operatives spotted the jeepney heading toward La Trinidad. They
and seizure may be conducted without warrant, thus: (1) search incident to a lawful arrest; (2) search of a moving
flagged it down but it did not stop. Hence, they chased the vehicle up to Shilan, La Trinidad where it finally halted.
motor vehicle; (3) search in violation of customs laws; (4) seizure of the evidence in plain view; (5) search when the
accused himself waives his right against unreasonable searches and seizures; (6) stop and frisk; and (7) exigent and
The police saw five persons inside the jeepney then loaded with assorted vegetables, like womboc3 and chili. emergency circumstances. The only requirement in these exceptions is the presence of probable cause. Probable
cause is the existence of such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonable, discreet, and prudent man to
believe that an offense has been committed and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the
place to be searched.8 In People v. Aruta,9 we ruled that in warrantless searches, probable cause must only be
based on reasonable ground of suspicion or belief that a crime has been committed or is about to be committed.
There is no hard and fast rule or fixed formula in determining probable cause for its determination varies according to
the facts of each case.

Here, the search involved a moving vehicle, an instance where a warrantless search and seizure may be conducted
by peace officers. The only issue we should determine is whether there was probable cause to justify such
warrantless search and seizure.

We recall that at around 2:30 p.m. of September 6, 1998, a confidential informer disclosed to SPO2 Ngina that a
passenger jeepney with Plate No. AYB 117 loaded with Benguet pine lumber was at Km. 96, Atok, Benguet. The
lumber was covered with assorted vegetables. A PNP roadblock was then placed in Acop, Tublay, Benguet to
intercept the jeepney. At around 4:00 p.m. of that same day, the police spotted the vehicle. They flagged it down
but it did not stop, forcing the police to chase it until it reached Shilan, La Trinidad. A search of the vehicle
disclosed several pieces of Benguet pine lumber. Petitioners could not produce the required DENR permit to
cut and transport the same.

In People v. Vinecarao,10 we ruled that where a vehicle sped away after noticing a checkpoint and even after having
been flagged down by police officers, in an apparent attempt to dissuade the police from proceeding with their
inspection, there exists probable cause to justify a reasonable belief on the part of the law enforcers that the persons
on board said vehicle were officers of the law or that the vehicle contained objects which were instruments of some
offense. This ruling squarely applies to the present case. Verily, the Court of Appeals did not err in holding that
respondent judge did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when she
ruled that the warrantless search is valid and that the lumber seized is admissible in evidence against petitioners.

WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition and AFFIRM the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.
55684. Costs against petitioners.

SO ORDERED.
the contents of which appellant allegedly admitted to be shabu. Appellant was thereafter immediately brought to the
police station.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 175783
In the Joint Affidavit executed by PO3 Bueno and PO1 Padlan, it was stated that when they frisked appellant, they
Plaintiff-Appellee,
discovered 2 big plastic bag (sic) and 5 medium size plastic (sic) and a 9 mm. pistol marked Parabellum bearing
Present:
serial number C-9890 with one loaded magazine with eleven ammunition.[7]
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,
The white crystalline substance confiscated from appellant was then forwarded to the Philippine National Police
Chairperson,
Crime Laboratory in Camp Crame, Quezon City for examination. The test conducted on the specimen turned over to
- versus - AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
the crime laboratory yielded the following:
CHICO-NAZARIO, and
NACHURA, and
FINDINGS:
REYES, JJ.
Qualitative examination conducted on the above-stated specimen gave POSITIVE result to the test for
BERNARDO TUAZON Y NICOLAS,
Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride, a regulated drug. x x x.
Accused-Appellant. Promulgated:
CONCLUSION:
September 3, 2007
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
Specimens A-1 through A-7 contains Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride, a regulated drug. x x x.[8]

DECISION
Expectedly, appellant presented a vastly different account of the events that led to his indictment. According to him,
he used to work as a caretaker of Curacha, a beer house/videoke bar located along Circumferential Road, Marville II
Subdivision and owned by a certain Bong Reyes. On 6 March 1999, he reported for work at six oclock in the
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
evening. Later that night, unidentified men walked up to him. One of these men asked him regarding the ownership
of the car parked outside the bar. He allegedly accompanied the men outside so he could confirm the identity of the
For Review is the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals promulgated on 31 July 2006 in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 01799
owner of the car that the men were inquiring about. Thereupon, the men pointed to him a green colored Isuzu
entitled, People of the Philippines v. Bernardo Tuazon y Nicolas, affirming the Decision[2] dated 14 October 2002 of
Gemini car which according to him was driven by his employer, Reyes. After revealing this information to the
the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Antipolo City, Branch 71, in Criminal Case No. 99-16114, finding accused-appellant
unidentified men, the latter purportedly pointed guns at him and ordered him to board an owner-type jeepney. The
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section 16, Article III of Republic Act No. 6425, [3] as amended.
men allegedly asked him regarding the whereabouts of Reyes and threatened to include him in whatever trouble
Reyes was in. A few hours passed and he was then brought to the police headquarters where he was asked
The Information filed against appellant alleged:
regarding his address and the name of his employer. After two days, he was allegedly forced to admit that he was in
fact the owner of the Gemini car as well as of the shabu and the gun recovered from said vehicle. He learned later
The undersigned State Prosecutor accuses BERNARDO TUAZON y NICOLAS of the crime of Violation of Section
on that he was charged with violations of Republic Act No. 6425 for illegal possession of shabu and Presidential
16, Article III, R.A. 6425, as amended, committed as follows:
Decree No. 1866 for illegal possession of firearm. The latter case was eventually dismissed. At the end of his direct
examination, appellant reiterated that he should not have been the one charged with illegal possession of shabu, but
That, on or about the 7th day of March, 1999, in the City of Antipolo, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
Reyes who was driving the Gemini car.
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, not being lawfully authorized to possess any regulated drug, did then
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession, custody and control seven (7) heat-sealed
The trial court found the evidence presented by the prosecution sufficient to support a guilty verdict and imposed
transparent plastic bags each containing 97.92 grams, 95.46 grams, 40.47 grams, 5.36 grams, 5.41 grams, 2.95
upon appellant the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of P500,000.00.[9]
grams and 3.17 grams for a total weight of 250.74 grams of white crystalline substance, which after the
corresponding laboratory examination conducted gave positive result to the test for methylamphetamine
On 17 September 2003, we resolved to accept the appeal interposed by appellant, the records of the case having
hydrochloride also known as shabu a regulated drug, in violation of the above-cited law.[4]
been forwarded to this Court by the RTC, Antipolo City, Branch 71. We also required the parties to file their
respective briefs.[10]
Upon arraignment, appellant, duly assisted by counsel de oficio, pleaded not guilty.[5]
In addition to the required brief, appellant filed a supplementary pleading in which he questioned the validity of his
arrest and the admissibility of the evidence presented against him. He contends that at the time of his warrantless
The prosecutions version of the case relied heavily on the testimony of PO3 Glenon Bueno (PO3 Bueno) who
arrest, he was merely driving within Marville Subdivision. He had not committed, was not committing, and was not
testified that in the morning of 7 March 1999, the Antipolo City Police Station received through telephone, a
about to commit any crime which could have justified his apprehension. He goes on to argue that even if he had
confidential information that a Gemini car bearing plate number PFC 411[6] would deliver an unspecified amount
waived the issue regarding the validity of his arrest by his failure to raise the matter before entering his plea, such
of shabu in Marville Subdivision, Antipolo City. Acting on said tip, Antipolo City Chief of Police Major Rene Quintana
waiver did not affect the unlawfulness of the search and seizure conducted by the police. Appellant claims that as the
dispatched a team of policemen to the area to conduct a surveillance.When the team arrived in Marville Subdivision,
confidential informant had been cooperating with the police for three weeks prior to his arrest, the authorities were
they saw the said Gemini car and immediately flagged it down. The driver of the car pulled to a stop and opened a
already informed of his identity and his alleged illegal activities. They should have conducted a prior surveillance and
window of said vehicle giving the policemen the opportunity to identify themselves as members of the Antipolo City
then sought a search warrant from the court. Absent said warrant, the shabu seized from him should be excluded
Police Station. It was then that PO1 Manuel Padlan (PO1 Padlan) saw a gun tucked on appellants waist. PO1
from evidence.[11]
Padlan inquired about the gun and appellant allegedly replied it did not belong to him nor could he produce any
On 23 February 2005, we ordered the transfer of this case to the Court of Appeals conformably with our decision
pertinent document relating to said firearm. This prompted PO3 Bueno to order appellant to get down from the
in People v. Mateo, which modified the pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court with respect to direct appeals from
car. As soon as appellant stepped down from the vehicle, PO3 Bueno saw five plastic sachets on the drivers seat,
the RTCs to this Court of cases where the penalty imposed is death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment.[12]
Q: Mr. Witness, do you know accused Bernardo Tuazon?
The Court of Appeals affirmed the findings and conclusion of the court a quo. The dispositive portion of the Court of
Appeals Decision states: A: Yes, sir.

WHEREFORE, the October 14, 2002 Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 71, Antipolo City, in Criminal Case Q: How did you come to know him?
No. 99-16114, is hereby AFFIRMED.[13]
A: Because we arrested Bernardo Tuazon.

In sustaining the trial court, the Court of Appeals found PO3 Buenos testimony to be clear and unequivocal [14] and Q: If the accused in this case is present before this Court, will you please point him out?
should therefore prevail over appellants defense of denial.[15] The Court of Appeals likewise brushed aside appellants
contention that he was a victim of frame-up as this defense has been viewed with disfavor and has become a A: He is that person wearing yellow T-shirt.
standard line of defense in most prosecutions arising from violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act. [16] It also took note
of appellants failure to give any credible reason why the police singled him out considering that they were strangers LEGAL RESEARCHER ACTING AS INTERPRETER:
to one another prior to the date of the incident.[17]
The witness is pointing to a male person inside the courtroom when confronted give his name as Bernardo Tuazon.
Appellant is again before this Court pleading his innocence by making a lone assignment of error
PROS. LUNA:
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT FOR VIOLATION OF
SECTION 16, ARTICLE III, REPUBLIC ACT 6425, AS AMENDED.[18] Q: Do you recall where were you at about 12:10 in the morning of March 7, 1999?

Appellant contends that the trial courts reliance on the prosecutions evidence was erroneous considering that he, as WITNESS:
a mere grade school graduate, could not have concocted his narration of the events that led to his arrest. [19] He also
maintains that he was an easy target of police operatives, since he was a new employee in the videoke bar and was A: At the Antipolo Police Station, sir.
therefore unfamiliar with the people who frequented said establishment. In addition, he insists that the prosecution
failed to meet the exacting test of moral certainty required for conviction and that the trial court should not have Q: What were you doing then at that time?
applied the presumption of regularity in the performance of duties on the part of the police officers. [20]
A: We were doing our duty as police investigator, sir.
Appellant likewise points out the trial courts supposed failure to substantiate the factual and legal bases for his
conviction. He notes that the court a quos evaluation of the facts and evidence was contained in only two paragraphs Q: Who were your companions at that time?
and was utterly lacking in substantial discussion, in contravention of this Courts edict that the decisions must
distinctly and clearly express their factual and legal bases.[21] A: PO1 Manuel Padlan, and CA Ronald Naval, sir.

On 19 February 2007, we required the parties to file their respective supplemental briefs, if they so desired. On 17 Q: While performing your functions, do you remember any unusual incident at that time?
April 2007, appellant filed a Manifestation stating that he would no longer file a supplemental brief as all relevant
matters for his defense were already discussed in his previous pleadings. [22] The Office of the Solicitor General A: One of our confidential agents gave an information thru telephone, sir.
likewise manifested that it would no longer file a supplemental brief. [23]
Q: About what?
The appeal must fail.
A: About delivery of shabu of undetermined amount in the area of Marville Subdivision, Antipolo City, sir.
In insisting that the trial court should not have given credence to the testimony of PO3 Bueno, appellant is basically
making an issue about a witnesss credibility. In this regard, we reiterate the rule that appellate courts will generally Q: Do you know that person involved or who is the person supposed to deliver an undetermined amount of shabu?
not disturb factual findings of the trial court since the latter has the unique opportunity to weigh conflicting
testimonies, having heard the witnesses themselves and observed their deportment and manner of A: The asset did not say who will deliver the shabu but he only said on the telephone that the car is a Gemini bearing
testifying.[24] Thus, unless attended with arbitrariness or plain disregard of pertinent facts or circumstances, the plate number PFC 411 who will deliver at said place.
factual findings are accorded the highest degree of respect on appeal. [25] Our careful review of the records of this
case reveals that the trial court did not err in relying on the testimony of PO3 Bueno. In open court, PO3 Bueno Q: Upon receipt of said information what did you do next?
recounted their encounter with appellant as follows:
A: We informed our Chief of Police Major Rene Quintana, sir.
PROS. LUNA:
Q: What was the reaction of Major Quintana?
Thank you, your honor.
A: Our Chief of Police told us to do surveillance in the area.
Q: Mr. Witness, where were you assigned as police officer sometime in the month of March 1999?
Q: What did you do next?
WITNESS:
A: We immediately recorded the dispatch and we boarded a marked vehicle and proceeded to the area in Marville
A: At the Antipolo Police Station, sir. Subdivision, sir.
Q: Where is this located? PROS. LUNA:

A: In Barangay San Roque fronting along the highway in Antipolo City. Q: What was the reaction of Bernardo Tuazon?

Q: Upon reaching that place what happened? WITNESS:

A: When we arrived in the subdivision we saw a Gemini car with plate number PFC 411, sir. A: He said that the gun is not his.

Q: If a picture of that car would be shown to you would you be able to identify it? Q: Upon hearing that the gun was not owned by Bernardo Tuazon what did you do as police officer?

A: Yes, sir. A: I ordered him to get down from the car.

Q: I am showing to you a picture already marked as Exhibit B,. B-1 and B-2. What relation has this to the one you COURT:
mentioned?
Q: After he got down from the car, what happened?
A: This is the car where the accused was then on board, sir.
WITNESS:
Q: Upon seeing the car what did you do?
A: I saw five (5) plastic bags on the drivers seat.
A: We immediately conduct a check point, sir.
Q: Upon seeing that plastic bag what did you do?
Q: Specifically, what did you do?
A: I asked him the contents of that plastic and he replied that it contained shabu, sir.
A: We flagged down the vehicle, sir.
Q: What did you do upon hearing the answer of the accused?
Q: What happened after flagging down the car?
A: We immediately brought him to the headquarters together with the evidence, sir.
A: When we flagged down the vehicle, we identified ourselves as police officers, sir.
Q: What did you do with the shabu?
Q: What was the reaction of the driver of the vehicle?
A: We brought it to the PNP Crime Laboratory for examination, sir.
A: The driver opened the window and we identified ourselves as members of the Antipolo City Police Station, sir.
Q: What was the result of the examination, if you know?
Q: What was the reaction of the driver?
A: It gave positive result to the tests for methylamphetamine hydrochloride sir.[26]
A: When he opened the window, PO1 Padlan saw a gun tucked on his waist.

Q: What did you do next? In your case what did you do? We agree with the Court of Appeals that the foregoing testimony of PO3 Bueno establishes beyond reasonable
doubt appellants culpability. His testimony regarding the circumstances that occurred in the early hours of 7 March
A: We identified ourselves as policem[e]n. 1999 from the moment their office received a confidential tip from their informer up to the time they accosted
appellant deserved to be given significance as it came from the mouth of a law enforcement officer who enjoys the
COURT: presumption of regularity in the performance of his duty. Police officers are presumed to have acted regularly in the
performance of their official functions in the absence of clear and convincing proof to the contrary or that they were
Q: Did you know what Padlan did? moved by ill-will.[27]

Appellants bare-faced defense of denial cannot surmount the positive and affirmative testimony offered by the
WITNESS: prosecution. It is well-settled that positive declarations of a prosecution witness prevail over the bare denials of an
accused.[28] A defense of denial which is unsupported and unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence
A: Yes, sir. becomes negative and self-serving, deserving no weight in law and cannot be given greater evidentiary value over
convincing, straightforward and probable testimony on affirmative matters.[29] Denial is an inherently weak defense
Q: What did he do? which must be supported by strong evidence of non-culpability to merit credibility.[30]

A: He questioned his gun and it turned out that there is no pertinent document for his gun. We shall now resolve the issue raised by appellant regarding the admissibility of the physical evidence presented
against him. No less than our Constitution recognizes the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,
Q: What do you mean he was asked? Who was asked? papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures. This right is encapsulated in Article III, Section 2 of
the Constitution which states:
A: The driver, Bernardo Tuazon, sir.
SEC. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable strengthened the polices suspicion. After he was told to step out of the car, they found on the drivers seat plastic
searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant sachets containing white powdery substance. These circumstances, taken together, are sufficient to establish
of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under probable cause for the warrantless search of the Gemini car and the eventual admission into evidence of the plastic
oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be packets against appellant.
searched and the persons or things to be seized.
In any case, appellant failed to timely object to the admissibility of the evidence against him on the ground that the
Complementing this provision is the so-called exclusionary rule embodied in Section 3(2) of the same article same was obtained through a warrantless search. His failure amounts to a waiver of the objection on the legality of
the search and the admissibility of the evidence obtained by the police. It was only proper for the trial court to admit
(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any said evidence. [36]
proceeding.
Appellant also faults the trial court for its failure to abide by the Constitutional requirement that (n)o decision shall be
rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is
It is recognized, however, that these constitutional provisions against warrantless searches and seizures admit of based.[37] Again, we disagree.
certain exceptions, as follows: (1) warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest recognized under Section 12, Rule
126 of the Rules of Court and by prevailing jurisprudence; (2) seizure of evidence in plain view; (3) search of a Faithful adherence to the aforementioned constitutional provision is a vital component of due process and fair
moving vehicle; (4) consented warrantless search; (5) customs search; (6) stop and frisk; and (7) exigent and play.[38] The rule takes an even more important significance for the losing party who is entitled to know why he lost so
emergency circumstances.[31] that he may appeal to a higher court, if permitted, should he believe that the decision needs to be reversed. A
decision that does not clearly and distinctly state the facts and the law on which it is based leaves the parties in the
In the case of People v. Lo Ho Wing,[32] this Court had the occasion to elucidate on the rationale for the exemption of dark as to how it was reached and is especially prejudicial to the losing party, who is unable to pinpoint the possible
searches of moving vehicles from the requirement of search warrant, thus: errors of the court for review by a higher tribunal.[39]

[T]he rules governing search and seizure have over the years been steadily liberalized whenever a moving vehicle is In this case, we find that the assailed decision of the trial court substantially complied with the requirements of the
the object of the search on the basis of practicality. This is so considering that before a warrant could be obtained, Constitution. The decision contained a summary of the facts of the case as presented by the prosecution and by the
the place, things and persons to be searched must be described to the satisfaction of the issuing judge a defense. It likewise contained an explanation as to why it found appellant guilty as charged. Admittedly, the decision
requirement which borders on the impossible in the case of smuggling effected by the use of a moving vehicle that is brief but to our mind, it sufficiently informed appellant as regards the bases for his conviction. It readily informs
can transport contraband from one place to another with impunity. We might add that a warrantless search of a appellant that the trial court disregarded his defense of bare denial in favor of the presumption of regularity in the
moving vehicle is justified on the ground that it is not practicable to secure a warrant because the vehicle can be performance of duties enjoyed by police officers.
quickly moved out of the locality or jurisdiction in which the warrant must be sought.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 01799 dated 31
July 2006, finding appellant Bernardo Tuazon y Nicolas guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section 16,
Nevertheless, the exception from securing a search warrant when it comes to moving vehicles does not give the Article III of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, is AFFIRMED. No costs.
police authorities unbridled discretion to conduct a warrantless search of an automobile. To do so would render the
aforementioned constitutional stipulations inutile and expose the citizenry to indiscriminate police distrust which could SO ORDERED.
amount to outright harassment. Surely, the policy consideration behind the exemption of search of moving vehicles
does not encompass such arbitrariness on the part of the police authorities. In recognition of the possible abuse,
jurisprudence dictates that at all times, it is required that probable cause exist in order to justify the warrantless
search of a vehicle.[33]

In Caballes v. Court of Appeals,[34] the term probable cause was explained to mean

[A] reasonable ground of suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a
cautious mans belief that the person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is charged; or the existence of
such facts and circumstances which could lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense
has been committed and that the items, articles or objects sought in connection with said offense or subject to
seizure and destruction by law is in the place to be searched. The required probable cause that will justify a
warrantless search and seizure is not determined by a fixed formula but is resolved according to the facts of the
case.

When a vehicle is flagged down and subjected to an extensive search, such a warrantless search has been held to
be valid as long as the officers conducting the search have reasonable or probable cause to believe prior to the
search that they would find the instrumentality or evidence pertaining to a crime, in the vehicle to be searched. [35]

In this case, we hold that the police had probable cause to effect the warrantless search of the Gemini car driven by
appellant. A confidential informer tipped them off that said car was going to deliver shabu at Marville
Subdivision. Pursuing said lead, the Antipolo City police sent a team to Marville Subdivision to monitor said
vehicle. The information provided by the informer turned out to be correct as, indeed, the Gemini car was spotted in
the place where it was said to be bringing shabu. When they stopped the car, they saw a gun tucked in appellants
waist. Appellant did not have any document to support his possession of said firearm which all the more
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs BELEN MARIACOS PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs BELEN MARIACOS
GR NO. 188611 June 16 2010 GR NO. 188611 June 16 2010

FACTS: FACTS:
October 27, 2005 in Brgy Balbalayang, PO2 Pallayoc met with secret agent of the Barangay Intelligence Network who informed October 27, 2005 in Brgy Balbalayang, PO2 Pallayoc met with secret agent of the Barangay Intelligence Network who informed
him that a baggage of marijuana had been loaded in a passenger jeepney that was about to leave for the poblacion. The agent him that a baggage of marijuana had been loaded in a passenger jeepney that was about to leave for the poblacion. The agent
mentioned 3 bags and 1 plastic bag. Further, the agent described a backpack bag with O.K. marking. PO2 Pallayoc boarded the mentioned 3 bags and 1 plastic bag. Further, the agent described a backpack bag with O.K. marking. PO2 Pallayoc boarded the
said jeepney and positioned himself on top thereof. He found bricks of marijuana wrapped in newspapers. He them asked the said jeepney and positioned himself on top thereof. He found bricks of marijuana wrapped in newspapers. He them asked the
other passengers about the owner of the bag, but no one know. other passengers about the owner of the bag, but no one know.

When the jeepney reached the poblacion, PO2 Pallayoc alighted together with other passengers. Unfortunately, he did not When the jeepney reached the poblacion, PO2 Pallayoc alighted together with other passengers. Unfortunately, he did not
noticed who took the black backpack from atop the jeepney. He only realized a few moments later that the said bag and 3 noticed who took the black backpack from atop the jeepney. He only realized a few moments later that the said bag and 3
other bags were already being carried away by two (2) women. He caught up with the women and introduced himself as a other bags were already being carried away by two (2) women. He caught up with the women and introduced himself as a
policeman. He told them that they were under arrest, but on the women got away. policeman. He told them that they were under arrest, but on the women got away.

DOCTRINES: DOCTRINES:

ARTICLE III, SECTION 2 OF THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION PROVIDES: The right of the People to be secure in their persons, ARTICLE III, SECTION 2 OF THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION PROVIDES: The right of the People to be secure in their persons,
houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be
inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by
the Judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly the Judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly
describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Purpose: MOVING VEHICLE (WARRANTLESS SEARCH) Purpose: MOVING VEHICLE (WARRANTLESS SEARCH)
1. This has been justified on the ground that the mobility of motor vehicles makes it possible for the vehicle to be 1. This has been justified on the ground that the mobility of motor vehicles makes it possible for the vehicle to be
searched to move out of the locality or jurisdiction in which the warrant must be sought. searched to move out of the locality or jurisdiction in which the warrant must be sought.
2. This is no way, however, gives the police officers unlimited discretion to conduct warrantless searches of 2. This is no way, however, gives the police officers unlimited discretion to conduct warrantless searches of
automobiles in the absence of probable cause when a vehicle is stopped and subjected to an extension search, such automobiles in the absence of probable cause when a vehicle is stopped and subjected to an extension search, such
a warrantless search has been held to be valid only as long as officers conducting the search have reasonable or a warrantless search has been held to be valid only as long as officers conducting the search have reasonable or
probable cause to believe before the search that they will find the instrumentality or evidence pertaining to a crime, probable cause to believe before the search that they will find the instrumentality or evidence pertaining to a crime,
in the vehicle to be searched. in the vehicle to be searched.

MALUM PROHIBITUM MALUM PROHIBITUM


When an accused is charged with illegal possession or transportation of prohibited drugs, the ownership thereof is immaterial. When an accused is charged with illegal possession or transportation of prohibited drugs, the ownership thereof is immaterial.
Consequently, proof of ownership of the confiscated marijuana is not necessary. Consequently, proof of ownership of the confiscated marijuana is not necessary.

Appellant’s alleged lack of knowledge does not constitute a valid defence. Lack of criminal intent and good faith are not Appellant’s alleged lack of knowledge does not constitute a valid defence. Lack of criminal intent and good faith are not
exempting circumstances where the crime charge is malum prohibitum exempting circumstances where the crime charge is malum prohibitum
LUZ VS PEOPLE

DECISION Upon review, the CA affirmed the RTCs Decision.

SERENO, J.: On 12 September 2011, petitioner filed under Rule 45 the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari dated 1 September 2011. In
a Resolution dated 12 October 2011, this Court required respondent to file a comment on the Petition. On 4 January 2012, the
This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 seeking to set aside the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision in CA-G.R. CR latter filed its Comment dated 3 January 2012.
No. 32516 dated 18 February 2011[2]and Resolution dated 8 July 2011.
Petitioner raised the following grounds in support of his Petition:

(i) THE SEARCH AND SEIZURE OF THE ALLEGED SUBJECT SHABU IS INVALID.
Statement of the Facts and of the Case
(ii) THE PRESUMPTION OF REGULARITY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF DUTY OF THE POLICE OFFICER CANNOT BE RELIED
The facts, as found by the Regional Trial Court (RTC), which sustained the version of the prosecution, are as follows: UPON IN THIS CASE.

PO2 Emmanuel L. Alteza, who was then assigned at the Sub-Station 1 of the Naga City Police Station as a traffic enforcer, (iii) THE INTEGRITY AND EVIDENTIARY VALUE OF THE ALLEGED SUBJECT SPECIMEN HAS BEEN COMPROMISED.
substantially testified that on March 10, 2003 at around 3:00 oclock in the morning, he saw the accused, who was coming from
the direction of Panganiban Drive and going to Diversion Road, Naga City, driving a motorcycle without a helmet; that this (iv) THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED-PETITIONER WAS NOT PROVEN BEYOND THE REASONABLE DOUBT (sic).[7]
prompted him to flag down the accused for violating a municipal ordinance which requires all motorcycle drivers to wear
helmet (sic) while driving said motor vehicle; that he invited the accused to come inside their sub-station since the place where
he flagged down the accused is almost in front of the said sub-station; that while he and SPO1 Rayford Brillante were issuing a
citation ticket for violation of municipal ordinance, he noticed that the accused was uneasy and kept on getting something Petitioner claims that there was no lawful search and seizure, because there was no lawful arrest. He claims that the finding
from his jacket; that he was alerted and so, he told the accused to take out the contents of the pocket of his jacket as the latter that there was a lawful arrest was erroneous, since he was not even issued a citation ticket or charged with violation of the city
may have a weapon inside it; that the accused obliged and slowly put out the contents of the pocket of his jacket which was a ordinance. Even assuming there was a valid arrest, he claims that he had never consented to the search conducted upon him.
nickel-like tin or metal container about two (2) to three (3) inches in size, including two (2) cellphones, one (1) pair of scissors
and one (1) Swiss knife; that upon seeing the said container, he asked the accused to open it; that after the accused opened On the other hand, finding that petitioner had been lawfully arrested, the RTC held thus:
the container, he noticed a cartoon cover and something beneath it; and that upon his instruction, the accused spilled out the
contents of the container on the table which turned out to be four (4) plastic sachets, the two (2) of which were empty while It is beyond dispute that the accused was flagged down and apprehended in this case by Police Officers Alteza and Brillante for
the other two (2) contained suspected shabu.[3] violation of City Ordinance No. 98-012, an ordinance requiring the use of crash helmet by motorcycle drivers and riders
thereon in the City of Naga and prescribing penalties for violation thereof. The accused himself admitted that he was not
wearing a helmet at the time when he was flagged down by the said police officers, albeit he had a helmet in his
possession. Obviously, there is legal basis on the part of the apprehending officers to flag down and arrest the accused because
Arraigned on 2 July 2003, petitioner, assisted by counsel, entered a plea of Not guilty to the charge of illegal possession of the latter was actually committing a crime in their presence, that is, a violation of City Ordinance No. 98-012. In other words,
dangerous drugs. Pretrial was terminated on 24 September 2003, after which, trial ensued. the accused, being caught in flagrante delicto violating the said Ordinance, he could therefore be lawfully stopped or arrested
by the apprehending officers. x x x.[8]
During trial, Police Officer 3 (PO3) Emmanuel Alteza and a forensic chemist testified for the prosecution. On the other hand,
petitioner testified for himself and raised the defense of planting of evidence and extortion.

In its 19 February 2009 Decision,[4] the RTC convicted petitioner of illegal possession of dangerous drugs[5] committed on 10 We find the Petition to be impressed with merit, but not for the particular reasons alleged. In criminal cases, an appeal throws
March 2003. It found the prosecution evidence sufficient to show that he had been lawfully arrested for a traffic violation and the entire case wide open for review and the reviewing tribunal can correct errors, though unassigned in the appealed
then subjected to a valid search, which led to the discovery on his person of two plastic sachets later found to contain shabu. judgment, or even reverse the trial courts decision based on grounds other than those that the parties raised as errors.[9]
The RTC also found his defense of frame-up and extortion to be weak, self-serving and unsubstantiated. The dispositive portion
of its Decision held: First, there was no valid arrest of petitioner. When he was flagged down for committing a traffic violation, he was not, ipso
facto and solely for this reason, arrested.
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered, finding accused RODEL LUZ y ONG GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt for the crime
of violation of Section 11, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 and sentencing him to suffer the indeterminate penalty of Arrest is the taking of a person into custody in order that he or she may be bound to answer for the commission of an
imprisonment ranging from twelve (12) years and (1) day, as minimum, to thirteen (13) years, as maximum, and to pay a fine of offense.[10] It is effected by an actual restraint of the person to be arrested or by that persons voluntary submission to the
Three Hundred Thousand Pesos (₱300,000.00). custody of the one making the arrest. Neither the application of actual force, manual touching of the body, or physical
restraint, nor a formal declaration of arrest, is required. It is enough that there be an intention on the part of one of the parties
The subject shabu is hereby confiscated for turn over to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency for its proper disposition and to arrest the other, and that there be an intent on the part of the other to submit, under the belief and impression that
destruction in accordance with law. submission is necessary.[11]

SO ORDERED.[6] Under R.A. 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, the general procedure for dealing with a traffic violation is not
the arrest of the offender, but the confiscation of the drivers license of the latter:
SECTION 29. Confiscation of Driver's License. Law enforcement and peace officers of other agencies duly deputized by the some discretion in deciding whether to issue a citation, in combination, exert some pressure on the detainee to respond to
Director shall, in apprehending a driver for any violation of this Act or any regulations issued pursuant thereto, or of local questions. But other aspects of the situation substantially offset these forces. Perhaps most importantly, the typical traffic stop
traffic rules and regulations not contrary to any provisions of this Act, confiscate the license of the driver concerned and issue a is public, at least to some degree. x x x
receipt prescribed and issued by the Bureau therefor which shall authorize the driver to operate a motor vehicle for a period
not exceeding seventy-two hours from the time and date of issue of said receipt. The period so fixed in the receipt shall not be In both of these respects, the usual traffic stop is more analogous to a so-called Terry stop, see Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. 1
extended, and shall become invalid thereafter. Failure of the driver to settle his case within fifteen days from the date of (1968), than to a formal arrest. x x x The comparatively nonthreatening character of detentions of this sort explains the
apprehension will be a ground for the suspension and/or revocation of his license. absence of any suggestion in our opinions that Terry stops are subject to the dictates of Miranda. The similarly noncoercive
aspect of ordinary traffic stops prompts us to hold that persons temporarily detained pursuant to such stops are not in custody
for the purposes of Miranda.

Similarly, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Operations Manual[12] provides the following procedure for flagging down xxxxxxxxx
vehicles during the conduct of checkpoints:
We are confident that the state of affairs projected by respondent will not come to pass. It is settled that the safeguards
SECTION 7. Procedure in Flagging Down or Accosting Vehicles While in Mobile Car. This rule is a general concept and will not prescribed by Miranda become applicable as soon as a suspects freedom of action is curtailed to a degree associated with
apply in hot pursuit operations. The mobile car crew shall undertake the following, when applicable: x x x formal arrest. California v. Beheler, 463 U. S. 1121, 1125 (1983) (per curiam). If a motorist who has been detained pursuant to a
traffic stop thereafter is subjected to treatment that renders him in custody for practical purposes, he will be entitled to the
m. If it concerns traffic violations, immediately issue a Traffic Citation Ticket (TCT) or Traffic Violation Report (TVR). Never full panoply of protections prescribed by Miranda. See Oregon v. Mathiason, 429 U. S. 492, 495 (1977) (per curiam). (Emphasis
indulge in prolonged, unnecessary conversation or argument with the driver or any of the vehicles occupants; supplied.)

At the time that he was waiting for PO3 Alteza to write his citation ticket, petitioner could not be said to have been under The U.S. Court in Berkemer thus ruled that, since the motorist therein was only subjected to modest questions while still at the
arrest. There was no intention on the part of PO3 Alteza to arrest him, deprive him of his liberty, or take him into custody. Prior scene of the traffic stop, he was not at that moment placed under custody (such that he should have been apprised of
to the issuance of the ticket, the period during which petitioner was at the police station may be characterized merely as his Miranda rights), and neither can treatment of this sort be fairly characterized as the functional equivalent of a formal
waiting time. In fact, as found by the trial court, PO3 Alteza himself testified that the only reason they went to the police sub- arrest. Similarly, neither can petitioner here be considered under arrest at the time that his traffic citation was being made.
station was that petitioner had been flagged down almost in front of that place. Hence, it was only for the sake of convenience
that they were waiting there. There was no intention to take petitioner into custody. It also appears that, according to City Ordinance No. 98-012, which was violated by petitioner, the failure to wear a crash
helmet while riding a motorcycle is penalized by a fine only. Under the Rules of Court, a warrant of arrest need not be issued if
In Berkemer v. McCarty,[13] the United States (U.S.) Supreme Court discussed at length whether the roadside questioning of a the information or charge was filed for an offense penalized by a fine only. It may be stated as a corollary that neither can a
motorist detained pursuant to a routine traffic stop should be considered custodial interrogation. The Court held that, such warrantless arrest be made for such an offense.
questioning does not fall under custodial interrogation, nor can it be considered a formal arrest, by virtue of the nature of the
questioning, the expectations of the motorist and the officer, and the length of time the procedure is conducted. It ruled as This ruling does not imply that there can be no arrest for a traffic violation. Certainly, when there is an intent on the part of the
follows: police officer to deprive the motorist of liberty, or to take the latter into custody, the former may be deemed to have arrested
the motorist. In this case, however, the officers issuance (or intent to issue) a traffic citation ticket negates the possibility of an
It must be acknowledged at the outset that a traffic stop significantly curtails the freedom of action of the driver and the arrest for the same violation.
passengers, if any, of the detained vehicle. Under the law of most States, it is a crime either to ignore a policemans signal to
stop ones car or, once having stopped, to drive away without permission. x x x Even if one were to work under the assumption that petitioner was deemed arrested upon being flagged down for a traffic
violation and while awaiting the issuance of his ticket, then the requirements for a valid arrest were not complied with.
However, we decline to accord talismanic power to the phrase in the Miranda opinion emphasized by respondent. Fidelity to
the doctrine announced in Miranda requires that it be enforced strictly, but only in those types of situations in which the This Court has held that at the time a person is arrested, it shall be the duty of the arresting officer to inform the latter of the
concerns that powered the decision are implicated. Thus, we must decide whether a traffic stop exerts upon a detained person reason for the arrest and must show that person the warrant of arrest, if any. Persons shall be informed of their constitutional
pressures that sufficiently impair his free exercise of his privilege against self-incrimination to require that he be warned of his rights to remain silent and to counsel, and that any statement they might make could be used against them.[14] It may also be
constitutional rights. noted that in this case, these constitutional requirements were complied with by the police officers only after petitioner had
been arrested for illegal possession of dangerous drugs.
Two features of an ordinary traffic stop mitigate the danger that a person questioned will be induced to speak where he would
not otherwise do so freely, Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U. S., at 467. First, detention of a motorist pursuant to a traffic stop is In Berkemer, the U.S. Court also noted that the Miranda warnings must also be given to a person apprehended due to a traffic
presumptively temporary and brief. The vast majority of roadside detentions last only a few minutes. A motorists violation:
expectations, when he sees a policemans light flashing behind him, are that he will be obliged to spend a short period of time
answering questions and waiting while the officer checks his license and registration, that he may then be given a citation, but The purposes of the safeguards prescribed by Miranda are to ensure that the police do not coerce or trick captive suspects into
that in the end he most likely will be allowed to continue on his way. In this respect, questioning incident to an ordinary traffic confessing, to relieve the inherently compelling pressures generated by the custodial setting itself, which work to undermine
stop is quite different from stationhouse interrogation, which frequently is prolonged, and in which the detainee often is aware the individuals will to resist, and as much as possible to free courts from the task of scrutinizing individual cases to try to
that questioning will continue until he provides his interrogators the answers they seek. See id., at 451. determine, after the fact, whether particular confessions were voluntary. Those purposes are implicated as much by in-custody
questioning of persons suspected of misdemeanors as they are by questioning of persons suspected of felonies.
Second, circumstances associated with the typical traffic stop are not such that the motorist feels completely at the mercy of
the police. To be sure, the aura of authority surrounding an armed, uniformed officer and the knowledge that the officer has
If it were true that petitioner was already deemed arrested when he was flagged down for a traffic violation and while he This is not to say that the concern for officer safety is absent in the case of a routine traffic stop. It plainly is not. See Mimms,
waiting for his ticket, then there would have been no need for him to be arrested for a second timeafter the police officers supra, at 110; Wilson, supra, at 413-414. But while the concern for officer safety in this context may justify the minimal
allegedly discovered the drugsas he was already in their custody. additional intrusion of ordering a driver and passengers out of the car, it does not by itself justify the often considerably
greater intrusion attending a full fieldtype search. Even without the search authority Iowa urges, officers have other,
Second, there being no valid arrest, the warrantless search that resulted from it was likewise illegal. independent bases to search for weapons and protect themselves from danger. For example, they may order out of a vehicle
both the driver, Mimms, supra, at 111, and any passengers, Wilson, supra, at 414; perform a patdown of a driver and any
The following are the instances when a warrantless search is allowed: (i) a warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest; (ii) passengers upon reasonable suspicion that they may be armed and dangerous, Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. 1 (1968); conduct a
search of evidence in plain view; (iii) search of a moving vehicle; (iv) consented warrantless search; (v) customs search; (vi) a Terry patdown of the passenger compartment of a vehicle upon reasonable suspicion that an occupant is dangerous and may
stop and frisk search; and (vii) exigent and emergency circumstances.[15] None of the above-mentioned instances, especially a gain immediate control of a weapon, Michigan v. Long, 463 U. S. 1032, 1049 (1983); and even conduct a full search of the
search incident to a lawful arrest, are applicable to this case. passenger compartment, including any containers therein, pursuant to a custodial arrest, New York v. Belton, 453 U. S. 454,
460 (1981).
It must be noted that the evidence seized, although alleged to be inadvertently discovered, was not in plain view. It was
actually concealed inside a metal container inside petitioners pocket. Clearly, the evidence was not immediately apparent.[16] Nor has Iowa shown the second justification for the authority to search incident to arrestthe need to discover and preserve
evidence. Once Knowles was stopped for speeding and issued a citation, all the evidence necessary to prosecute that offense
Neither was there a consented warrantless search. Consent to a search is not to be lightly inferred, but shown by clear and had been obtained. No further evidence of excessive speed was going to be found either on the person of the offender or in
convincing evidence.[17] It must be voluntary in order to validate an otherwise illegal search; that is, the consent must be the passenger compartment of the car. (Emphasis supplied.)
unequivocal, specific, intelligently given and uncontaminated by any duress or coercion. While the prosecution claims that
petitioner acceded to the instruction of PO3 Alteza, this alleged accession does not suffice to prove valid and intelligent The foregoing considered, petitioner must be acquitted. While he may have failed to object to the illegality of his arrest at the
consent. In fact, the RTC found that petitioner was merely told to take out the contents of his pocket.[18] earliest opportunity, a waiver of an illegal warrantless arrest does not, however, mean a waiver of the inadmissibility of
evidence seized during the illegal warrantless arrest.[22]
Whether consent to the search was in fact voluntary is a question of fact to be determined from the totality of all the
circumstances. Relevant to this determination are the following characteristics of the person giving consent and the The Constitution guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against
environment in which consent is given: (1) the age of the defendant; (2) whether the defendant was in a public or a secluded unreasonable searches and seizures.[23] Any evidence obtained in violation of said right shall be inadmissible for any purpose in
location; (3) whether the defendant objected to the search or passively looked on; (4) the education and intelligence of the any proceeding. While the power to search and seize may at times be necessary to the public welfare, still it must be exercised
defendant; (5) the presence of coercive police procedures; (6) the defendants belief that no incriminating evidence would be and the law implemented without contravening the constitutional rights of citizens, for the enforcement of no statute is of
found; (7) the nature of the police questioning; (8) the environment in which the questioning took place; and (9) the possibly sufficient importance to justify indifference to the basic principles of government.[24]
vulnerable subjective state of the person consenting. It is the State that has the burden of proving, by clear and positive
testimony, that the necessary consent was obtained, and was freely and voluntarily given.[19] In this case, all that was alleged The subject items seized during the illegal arrest are inadmissible.[25] The drugs are the very corpus delicti of the crime of illegal
was that petitioner was alone at the police station at three in the morning, accompanied by several police officers. These possession of dangerous drugs. Thus, their inadmissibility precludes conviction and calls for the acquittal of the accused.[26]
circumstances weigh heavily against a finding of valid consent to a warrantless search.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The 18 February 2011 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 32516
Neither does the search qualify under the stop and frisk rule. While the rule normally applies when a police officer observes affirming the judgment of conviction dated 19 February 2009 of the Regional Trial Court, 5th Judicial Region, Naga City, Branch
suspicious or unusual conduct, which may lead him to believe that a criminal act may be afoot, the stop and frisk is merely a 21, in Criminal Case No. RTC 2003-0087, is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner Rodel Luz y Ong is
limited protective search of outer clothing for weapons.[20] hereby ACQUITTED and ordered immediately released from detention, unless his continued confinement is warranted by some
other cause or ground.
In Knowles v. Iowa,[21] the U.S. Supreme Court held that when a police officer stops a person for speeding and correspondingly
issues a citation instead of arresting the latter, this procedure does not authorize the officer to conduct a full search of the car. SO ORDERED.
The Court therein held that there was no justification for a full-blown search when the officer does not arrest the motorist.
Instead, police officers may only conduct minimal intrusions, such as ordering the motorist to alight from the car or doing a
patdown:

In Robinson, supra, we noted the two historical rationales for the search incident to arrest exception: (1) the need to disarm
the suspect in order to take him into custody, and (2) the need to preserve evidence for later use at trial. x x x But neither of
these underlying rationales for the search incident to arrest exception is sufficient to justify the search in the present case.

We have recognized that the first rationaleofficer safetyis both legitimate and weighty, x x x The threat to officer safety from
issuing a traffic citation, however, is a good deal less than in the case of a custodial arrest. In Robinson, we stated that a
custodial arrest involves danger to an officer because of the extended exposure which follows the taking of a suspect into
custody and transporting him to the police station. 414 U. S., at 234-235. We recognized that [t]he danger to the police officer
flows from the fact of the arrest, and its attendant proximity, stress, and uncertainty, and not from the grounds for arrest. Id.,
at 234, n. 5. A routine traffic stop, on the other hand, is a relatively brief encounter and is more analogous to a so-called
Terry stop . . . than to a formal arrest. Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U. S. 420, 439 (1984). See also Cupp v. Murphy, 412 U. S. 291,
296 (1973) (Where there is no formal arrest . . . a person might well be less hostile to the police and less likely to take
conspicuous, immediate steps to destroy incriminating evidence).
Margarita Ambre y Cayuni, petitioner, vs. People of the Philippines, respondent. PEOPLE VS BELOCURA (G.R. NO. 173474 AUGUST 29, 2012)

Facts: People of the Philippines vs Belocura


G.R. No. 173474 August 29, 2012

On or about April 20, 2005, the Caloocan Police Station Anti-Illegal Drug-Special Operation Unit conducted a buy-bust Facts: Belocura was charged on April 13, 1999 by the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila with a violation of Section 8 of
operation pursuant to a tip from a police informant that a certain Abdullah Sultan and his wife Ina Aderp was engaged in the Republic Act No. 6425, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, in the Manila RTC through the information: That on or about
selling of dangerous drugs at a residential compound in Caloocan City; that buy-bust operation resulted in the arrest of Aderp March 22, 1999, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly have
and a certain Moctar Tagoranao; that Sultan run away from the scene of the entrapment operation and PO3 Moran, PO2 Masi in his possession and under his custody and control one (1) plastic bag colored red and white, with label “SHIN TON YON”,
and PO1 Mateo, pursued him; that in the course of the chase, Sultan led the said police officers to his house; that inside the containing the following: One (1) newspaper leaf used to wrap one (1) brick of dried marijuana fruiting tops weighing 830.532
house, he police operatives found Ambre, Castro and Mendoza having a pot session; that Ambre in particular, was caught grams; One (1) newspaper leaf used to wrap one (1) brick of dried marijuana fruiting tops weighing 959.291 grams. With a total
sniffing what was suspected to be a shabu in a rolled up alumni foil; and that PO3 Moran ran after Sultan while PO2 Masi and weight of 1,789.823 grams, a prohibited drug.
PO1 Mateo arrested Ambre, Castro and Mendoza for illegal use of shabu.
Issue: Whether or not the prosecution established the guilt of the accused using the evidence obtained.
Issue:
Whether or not the arrest of and search done against petitioner is valid. Held: No. The Court holds that the guilt of Belocura for the crime charged was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. Mere
suspicion of his guilt, no matter how strong, should not sway judgment against him. Every evidence favoring him must be duly
Ruling: considered. Indeed, the presumption of innocence in his favor was not overcome.
Yes, the Court held that the arrest of and search done against the petitioner is valid. In arrest in flagrante delicto, the accused is
apprehended at the very moment he is committing or attempting to commit or has just committed an offense in the presence The elements of illegal possession of marijuana under Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, are that: (a) the accused is in
of the arresting officer. Clearly, to constitute a valid in flagrante delicto arrest, two requisites must concur: (1) the person to be possession of an item or object that is identified to be marijuana, a prohibited drug; (b) such possession is not authorized by
arrested must execute an overt act indicating that he has just committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit a law; and (c) the accused freely and consciously possessed the said drug. What must be proved beyond reasonable doubt is the
crime; and (2) such overt act is done in the presence or within the view of the arresting officer. fact of possession of the prohibited drug itself. This may be done by presenting the police officer who actually recovered the
prohibited drugs as a witness, being the person who has the direct knowledge of the possession.

The Prosecution thereby failed to establish the linkage between the bricks of marijuana supposedly seized by PO2 Santos from
Belocura’s jeep following his arrest and the bricks of marijuana that the Prosecution later presented as evidence in court. That
linkage was not dispensable, because the failure to prove that the specimens of marijuana submitted to the forensic chemist
for examination were the same marijuana allegedly seized from Belocura irreparably broke the chain of custody that linked the
confiscated marijuana to the marijuana ultimately presented as evidence against Belocura during the trial. Proof beyond
reasonable doubt demanded that unwavering exactitude must be observed in establishing the corpus delicti – the body of the
crime whose core was the confiscated prohibited substances. Thus, every fact necessary to constitute the crime must be
established.

That this case was a prosecution brought under Republic Act No. 6425 (Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972), as amended by Republic
Act No. 7659, did not matter. The chain-of-custody requirement applied under both laws by virtue of the universal need to
competently and sufficiently establish the corpus delicti. It is basic under the Rules of Court, indeed, that evidence, to be
relevant, must throw light upon, or have a logical relation to, the facts in issue to be established by one party or disproved by
the other. The test of relevancy is whether an item of evidence will have any value, as determined by logic and experience, in
proving the proposition for which it is offered, or whether it would reasonably and actually tend to prove or disprove any
matter of fact in issue, or corroborate other relevant evidence. The test is satisfied if there is some logical connection either
directly or by inference between the fact offered and the fact to be proved.
been committed by the person sought to be arrested.

Ramon Martinez y Goco/Ramon Goco y Martinez, Petitioner, v. People of the Philippines, Respondent. Based on the records in the case at bar, PO2 Soque arrested Ramon for allegedly violating Section 844 (breaches of peace) of
the Manila City Ordinance. Evidently, the gravamen of these offenses is the disruption of communal tranquillity. Thus, to justify
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.: a warrantless arrest based on the same, it must be established that the apprehension was effected after a reasonable
assessment by the police officer that a public disturbance is being committed. However, PO2 Soques testimony surrounding
FACTS: circumstances leading to Ramons warrantless warrant clearly negates the presence of probable cause when the police officers
conducted their warrantless arrest of Ramon.
On December 29, 2007, while PO2 Roberto Soque, et. al, conducting a routine foot patrol along Balingkit Street, Malate,
Manila, they heard a man shouting Putanginamo! Limangdaannabaito?. For purportedly violating Section 844 of the Revised To elucidate, it cannot be said that the act of shouting in a thickly populated place, with many people conversing with each
Ordinance of the City of Manila which punishes breaches of the peace, the man, later identified as Ramon, was apprehended other on the street, would constitute any of the acts punishable under Section 844 of the said ordinance. The words he
and asked to empty his pockets. In the course thereof, the police officers were able to recover from him a small transparent allegedly shouted "Putangina mo! Limang daan na ba ito?" are not slanderous, threatening or abusive, and thus, could not
plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance suspected to be shabu. Consequently, Ramon was charged with have tended to disturb the peace or excite a riot considering that at the time of the incident, Balingkit Street was still teeming
possession of dangerous drugs under Section 11(3), Article II of RA 9165. with people and alive with activity. Further, no one present at the place of arrest ever complained that Ramons shouting
disturbed the public. On the contrary, a disinterested member of the community (a certain Rosemarie Escobal) even testified
In defense, Ramon denied the charge and contented that hile walking along Balingkit Street to borrow a welding machine, a that Ramon was merely standing in front of the store of a certain Mang Romy when a man in civilian clothes, later identified as
man in civilian clothing approached and asked him if he is Ramon Goco. Upon affirming his identity, he was immediately PO2 Soque, approached Ramon, immediately handcuffed and took him away.
handcuffed by the man who eventually introduced himself as a police officer. Together, they boarded a tricycle (sidecar)
wherethe said officer asked him if he was carrying illegal drugs. Despite his denial, he was still brought to a precinct to be In its totality, the facts and circumstances could not have engendered a well-founded belief that any breach of the peace had
detained. Thereafter, PO2 Soque for P20, 000.00 in exchange for his release, unable to give the money asked for, Ramon was been committed by Ramon at the time that his warrantless arrest was effected. Thus, no probable cause existed to justify
brought to the Manila City Hall for inquest proceedings. Ramons warrantless arrest.

The RTC convicted Ramon of the crime of possession of dangerous drugs; finding all its elements to have been established POLITICAL LAW: inadmissible evidence
through the testimonies of the prosecutions disinterested witnesses. It also upheld the legality of Ramons warrantless arrest,
observing that Ramon was disturbing the peace in violation of the Manila City Ordinance during the time of his apprehension. Consequently, since it cannot be said that Ramon was validly arrested, the warrantless search that resulted from it was also
illegal. Thus, the subject shabu purportedly seized from Ramon is inadmissible evidence.
On appeal, the CA affirmed the factual findings of RTC and likewise sustained the validity of the body search made on Ramon
as an incident of a lawful warrantless arrest for breach of the peace which he committed in the presence of the police officers, The decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals is reversed and set aside.
notwithstanding its (the case for breach of the peace) subsequent dismissal for failure to prosecute.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the warrantless arrest was valid?

HELD:

The petition is meritorious.

POLITICAL LAW: exclusionary rule

Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution enshrines a persons right against unwarranted intrusions by the
government. Accordingly, so as to ensure that the same sacrosanct right remains revered, effects secured by government
authorities in contravention of the said provision rendered inadmissible in evidence for any purpose, in any proceeding in
relation to Section 3(2), Article III of the Constitution.

Commonly known as the exclusionary rule, the above-cited proscription is not, however, an absolute and rigid one. As found in
jurisprudence, one of the traditional exceptions, among others, is searches incidental to a lawful arrest which is of particular
significance to this case and thus, necessitates further disquisition.

REMEDIAL LAW: valid warrantless arrest

A valid warrantless arrest which justifies a subsequent search is one that is carried out under the parameters of Section 5(a),
Rule 113 of the Rules of Court14which requires that the apprehending officer must have been spurred by probable cause to
arrest a person caught in flagrante delicto. The term probable cause, specifically with respect to arrests has been understood
to mean such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, buy-bust operation against the appellant. They were all assigned at the Vice Control Section of the Cebu City Police Office (VCS-
vs. CCPO). The testimony, however, of P/Sr. Insp. Mutchit G. Salinas (P/Sr. Insp. Salinas), the forensic analyst, was dispensed13 with
VICENTE ROM, Accused-Appellant. in view of the admission made by the defense as to the authenticity and due existence of Chemistry Report No. D-1782-
200014 dated 1 September 2000 and the expertise of the forensic analyst.
DECISION
The prosecution’s evidence established the following facts:
PEREZ, J.:
Two weeks prior to 31 August 2000, the VCS-CCPO received confidential information from their informant that alias Dodong,
On appeal is the Decision1 dated 9 August 2010 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00579 affirming with who turned out later to be the appellant, whose real name is Vicente Rom, was engaged in the illegal sale of shabu and also
modification the Decision2 dated 24 June 2002 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu City, Branch 10, in Criminal Case Nos. maintained a drug den at his residence in Barangay T. Padilla, Cebu City. Thus, the VCS-CCPO, particularly PO2 Martinez,
CBU-55062, CBU-55063 and CBU-55067, finding herein appellant Vicente Rom guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating conducted surveillance and monitoring operation.15
Sections 153 (illegal sale of shabu), 15-A4 (maintenance of a drug den) and 165 (illegal possession of shabu), Article III of
Republic Act No. 6425, also known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659.6 In Criminal On 31 August 2000, at around 10:15 p.m., P/Sr. Insp. Sanchez, Chief of VCS-CCPO, formed a team to conduct a buy-bust
Case Nos. CBU-55062 and CBU-55063, for respectively violating Sections 15 and 16, Article III of Republic Act No. 6425, as operation against the appellant. The buy-bust team was composed of PO2 Martinez (poseur-buyer), Senior Police Officer 1
amended, the trial court imposed on the appellant the penalty of prision correccional in its medium period ranging between Jesus Elmer Fernandez (SPO1 Fernandez), PO3 Yanson, PO3 Benicer Tamboboy (PO3 Tamboboy), PO3 Jaime Otadoy (PO3
two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day, as minimum, to four (4) years and two (2) months, as maximum. While in Otadoy) and P/Sr. Insp. Sanchez (team leader). Being the designated poseur-buyer, PO2 Martinez was provided with a ₱100.00
Criminal Case No. CBU-55067, that is for violating Section 15-A, Article III of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, the trial court peso bill and a ₱10.00 peso bill buy-bust money bearing Serial Nos. AD336230 and AM740786, respectively, and both were
sentenced the appellant to reclusion perpetua and he was likewise ordered to pay a fine of ₱500,000.00. The Court of Appeals, marked with the initials of PO2 Martinez, i.e. "MM." The former amount would be used to buy shabu while the latter amount
however, modified and reduced the penalty in Criminal Case Nos. CBU-55062 and CBU-55063 to an imprisonment of six (6) would serve as payment for the use of the drug den.16
months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional, as maximum, after
applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law. After the briefing, the buy-bust team proceeded to the target area and upon arrival there at around 10:20 p.m., PO2 Martinez
proceeded directly to the appellant’s house, which was earlier pointed to by their informant, who was also with them during
In three separate Informations7 all dated 1 September 2000, the appellant was charged with violation of Sections 15, 15-A and the buy-bust operation. The rest of the buy-bust team strategically positioned themselves nearby. Once PO2 Martinez reached
16, Article III of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended. The three Informations read: the appellant’s house, he knocked on the door, which the appellant opened. PO2 Martinez subsequently told the appellant
that he wanted to buy shabu worth ₱100.00. The appellant looked around to check if PO2 Martinez had a companion. Seeing
Criminal Case No. CBU-55062 none, the appellant took out his wallet from his pocket and got one heat-sealed plastic packet containing white crystalline
substance, later confirmed to be shabu, and gave it to PO2 Martinez. The latter, in turn, gave the ₱100.00 peso bill marked
That on or about the 31st day of August 2000, at about 10:30 P.M. in the City of Cebu, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction money to the appellant. While this sale transaction was going on, PO3 Yanson and P/Sr. Insp. Sanchez were only five to eight
of this Honorable Court, [herein appellant], with deliberate intent and without being authorized by law, did then and there sell, meters away from PO2 Martinez and the appellant. P/Sr. Insp. Sanchez clearly witnessed the sale transaction as it happened
deliver or give away to a poseur buyer one (1) heat sealed plastic packet of white crystalline substance weighing 0.03 gram right outside the door of the appellant’s house.17
locally known as "shabu", containing Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride, a regulated drug.8 (Emphasis and italics supplied).
Afterwards, PO2 Martinez told the appellant that he wanted to sniff the shabu, so the latter required the former to pay an
Criminal Case No. CBU-55063 additional amount of ₱10.00 as rental fee for the use of his place. After paying the said amount, the appellant allowed PO2
Martinez to enter his house. Once inside the house, PO2 Martinez was directed by the appellant to proceed to the room
That on or about the 31st day of August 2000, at about 10:30 P.M., in the City of Cebu, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction located at the right side of the sala. Upon entering the said room, PO2 Martinez saw three persons, later identified to be Jose
of this Honorable Court, [appellant], with deliberate intent and without being authorized by law, did then and there have in Delloso (Delloso), Danilo Empuerto (Empuerto) and Arnie Ogong (Ogong), already sniffing shabu.18
[his] possession and control or use the following:
Thereupon, PO2 Martinez made a missed call to P/Sr. Insp. Sanchez, which was their pre-arranged signal, to signify that the
Four (4) heat sealed plastic packets of white crystalline substance weighing 0.15 gram locally known as "shabu", containing whole transaction was consummated. After the lapsed of about 10 to 15 seconds, the rest of the team, who were just few
Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride, a regulated drug, without the corresponding license or prescription.9(Emphasis and italics meters away from the appellant’s house, barged in and identified themselves as police officers. PO2 Martinez then told PO3
supplied). Yanson to hold the appellant. PO3 Yanson grabbed the appellant and made a body search on the latter that led to the recovery
of four heat-sealed transparent plastic packets containing white crystalline substance, which were inside the appellant’s brown
Criminal Case No. CBU-55067 wallet that was tucked in his pocket; the buy-bust money consisting of ₱100.00 peso bill and ₱10.00 peso bill; and ₱280.00
consisting of two ₱100.00 peso bills, one ₱50.00 peso bill and three ₱10.00 peso bills believed to be the proceeds of the
That on the 31s[t] day of August, 2000, at about 10:30 P.M., in the City of Cebu, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this appellant’s illegal activities. The one heat-sealed plastic packet of shabu bought by PO2 Martinez from the appellant remained
Honorable Court, [appellant], with deliberate intent, did then and there knowingly maintain a den for regulated users along the in the possession of the former.19
interior portion of Barangay T. Padilla in violation to (sic) the provision of Sec. 15-A of Art. III of RA 6425.10 (Emphasis supplied).
The appellant, Delloso, Empuerto and Ogong were informed of their constitutional rights and were later brought by the buy-
On arraignment, the appellant, with the assistance of counsel de parte, pleaded NOT GUILTY 11 to all the charges. A pre-trial bust team to their office, together with the confiscated items, for documentation. At the office of the buy-bust team, the
conference was conducted on 2 April 2001, but no stipulation or agreement was arrived at.12 The pre-trial conference was then confiscated items were given to their investigator, SPO1 Fernandez, who marked the one heat-sealed plastic packet containing
terminated and trial on the merits thereafter ensued. white crystalline substance, which was the subject of the sale transaction, with VRR-8-31-2000-01 (buy-bust) while the other
four heat-sealed plastic packets containing white crystalline substance, which were recovered from the appellant, were
The prosecution presented as witnesses Police Officer 2 Marvin Martinez (PO2 Martinez), the designated poseur-buyer; PO3 similarly marked with VRR-8-31-2000-02 to VRR-8-31-2000-05. The "VRR" in the markings are the initials of the appellant, i.e.,
Franco Mateo Yanson (PO3 Yanson); and Police Senior Inspector Marvin Sanchez (P/Sr. Insp. Sanchez), the team leader of the Vicente Ramonida Rom.20
Thereafter, all the five heat-sealed plastic packets containing white crystalline substance, together with the Request for The five (5) heat-sealed plastic packets of white crystalline substance containing methylamphetamine hydrochloride, locally
Laboratory Examination, were brought by PO3 Yanson to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory for chemical known as shabu, are hereby CONFISCATED in favor of the government and shall be destroyed in accordance with the law
analysis, which examination yielded positive results for the presence of methylamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu,"21 as prohibiting said drug.26 (Emphasis, italics and underscoring supplied).
evidenced by Chemistry Report No. D-1782-2000.22
The appellant appealed the trial court’s Decision to this Court via Notice of Appeal. 27 However, pursuant to this Court’s
For its part, the defense presented the appellant and Teresita Bitos, whose testimonies consist of sheer denials. Their version decision in People v. Mateo,28 the case was transferred to the Court of Appeals for intermediate review.
of the 31 August 2000 incident is as follows:
On 9 August 2010, the Court of Appeals rendered the now assailed Decision affirming with modification the ruling of the trial
At around 10:15 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. of 31 August 2000, the appellant was at the house of his daughter, Lorena Cochera court. Its decretal portion reads, thus:
(Lorena), in Barangay T. Padilla, Cebu City, as Lorena had asked her father to get the monthly house rental fee from Teresita
Bitos, whose nickname is "Nene." While the appellant and Nene were talking, the police officers suddenly barged in. The WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the Decision of the RTC, Branch 10, Cebu City in Criminal Cases No. CBU-55062, CBU-
appellant noticed that PO2 Martinez proceeded to the inner portion of the house and opened the door of the rooms. Nene 55063 and CBU-55067 is hereby AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION concerning Criminal Cases No. CBU-55062 and CBU-55063,
stopped them but the police officers told her to just keep quiet. The police officers went on opening the door of the two for which [the herein appellant] is sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment from six months of arresto mayor, as
rooms, where they saw three male persons. The police officers frisked the appellant and the three other men. The police minimum, to four years and two months of prision correccional, as maximum of the Indeterminate Sentence Law.29
officers likewise took appellant’s wallet containing ₱360.00. The appellant then requested Nene to tell his daughter that he
was arrested. Thereafter, the police officers brought the appellant and the three other men to the police station. 23 The Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of the appellant on all the charges against him as the prosecution was able to
establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt since all the essential elements of illegal sale and possession of shabu were duly
The appellant denied that he sold shabu to PO2 Martinez. He also denied that he was maintaining a drug den and that he proven by the prosecution. As to the charge of maintaining a drug den, the same was also established by the fact that PO2
allowed persons to sniff shabu inside the house in Barangay T. Padilla, Cebu City, in exchange for a sum of money. The Martinez himself paid ₱10.00 to sniff the shabu in one of the rooms of the appellant’s house. The appellant’s denial, therefore,
appellant likewise denied that he knew the three other men who were arrested inside the room in the said house. The cannot prevail over the evidence hurled against him.
appellant claimed instead that he knew PO2 Martinez prior to 31 August 2000 because the latter usually stayed at the house to
apprehend snatchers. Also, a week before 31 August 2000, he and PO2 Martinez had a conversation and he was asked to The Court of Appeals, however, deemed it necessary to modify the penalty in Criminal Case Nos. CBU-55062 and CBU-55063. It
pinpoint the "fat fish," which is the code for the big time pusher. When he said that he does not know of such pusher, PO2 explained that the sale of less than 200 grams of shabu is punishable with a penalty ranging from prision correccional to
Martinez got angry. The appellant maintained that on 31 August 2000, he was no longer living in the house in Barangay T. reclusion temporal, depending on the quantity. In this case, the quantity of shabu illegally sold to the poseur-buyer by the
Padilla, Cebu City, as his daughter had already brought him to Minglanilla, Cebu, as early as July 1999. On the said date, Nene appellant was 0.03 gram. Pursuant to the second paragraph of Section 20,30 Article IV of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended,
was already occupying the house and had subleased one of its rooms as his daughter Maya told him so. The appellant admitted the proper penalty to be imposed for the illegal sale of 0.03 gram of shabu would be prision correccional. Also, in this case, the
that a year prior to 31 August 2000, and before he transferred to Minglanilla, he was apprehended for illegal possession of appellant had in his possession 0.15 gram of shabu, which is punishable also with imprisonment of prision correccional. Thus,
shabu.24 applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the appellant must be sentenced to an imprisonment of six months of arresto
mayor, as minimum, to four years and two months of prision correccional, as maximum, in Criminal Case No. CBU-55062, as
The narration of the appellant was corroborated by Nene on all material points. well as in Criminal Case No. CBU-55063.31

Testifying on rebuttal, PO2 Martinez denied that he knew the appellant prior to 31 August 2000. PO2 Martinez clarified that he Still unsatisfied, the appellant appealed the Court of Appeals’ Decision to this Court via Notice of Appeal.32
came to know the appellant only on the night that they conducted the buy-bust operation.25
Both the appellant and the Office of the Solicitor General manifested 33 that they would no longer file their respective
Finding the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses to be credible, competent and convincing as they were able to supplemental briefs as the issues have already been fully discussed in their respective appeal briefs34 with the Court of
satisfactorily prove all the elements of the offenses charged against the appellant, the trial court, in its Decision dated 24 June Appeals.
2002, held the appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Sections 15, 15-A and 16, Article III of Republic Act No.
6425, as amended. The trial court disposed of the case as follows: The appellant’s assignment of errors as stated in his Appellant’s Brief are as follows:

IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING CIRCUMSTANCES, the Court finds the [herein appellant] for – I. The Regional Trial Court erred in convicting the [herein appellant] notwithstanding the inherent incredibility of evidence for
the prosecution;
1) Criminal Case No. CBU-55062, for violating Section 15, Article III, Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, GUILTY. There being no
mitigating nor any aggravating circumstance proven, the Court hereby imposes the penalty of PRISION CORRECCIONAL in the II. The Regional Trial Court gravely erred in allowing the evidence of the prosecution despite the indubitable evidence that the
MEDIUM PERIOD ranging between TWO (2) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY, as minimum[,] to FOUR (4) YEARS and [appellant] i[s] innocent of the crime[s] charged; [and]
TWO (2) MONTHS, as maximum;
III. The Regional Trial Court erred in convicting the [appellant] in spite of the failure of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the
2) Criminal Case No. CBU-55063, for violating Section 16, Article III, Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, GUILTY. In the absence [appellant] beyond reasonable doubt.35
of any mitigating or aggravating circumstance, the Court imposes the penalty of PRISION CORRECCIONAL in the MEDIUM
PERIOD ranging between TWO (2) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY, as minimum to FOUR (4) YEARS and TWO (2) The appellant avers that the testimony of the poseur-buyer was absurd, illogical, contrary to reason and highly incredible for
MONTHS, as maximum; and no person who is engaged in an illegal transaction would leave the door of the house open after such transaction. Moreover,
no person would sell shabu to a buyer when he knew all along that the said buyer was a police officer as it was ridiculous to
3) Criminal Case No. CBU-55067, for violating Section 15-A, Article III, Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, GUILTY. The court expose oneself to the danger of being caught and arrested.
hereby imposes upon the [appellant] the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA and a FINE of FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND
(₱500,000.00) PESOS.
The appellant similarly holds that the entry in the house was illegal and there was certainly no transaction that took place With regard to the offense of illegal possession of dangerous drugs, like shabu, the following elements must be proven: (1) the
therein. The search and the seizure made in connection thereto were also invalid. Thus, the pieces of evidence allegedly accused is in possession of an item or object that is identified to be a prohibited drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by
obtained by the police officers were inadmissible for being the "fruit of a poisonous tree." The same cannot be used against law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously possesses the said drug.44 All these elements have been established in this case.
him in violation of his rights.
On the occasion of the appellant’s arrest for having been caught in flagrante delicto selling shabu, PO3 Yanson conducted a
The appellant believes that the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt as their testimonies as to the body search on the former resulting to the recovery of four more heat-sealed plastic packets containing white crystalline
facts and circumstances surrounding the case were contrary to human conduct, especially with regard to the allegation that he substance inside his wallet that was tucked in his pocket with an aggregate weight of 0.15 gram, which were later confirmed to
knowingly maintained a drug den, since he was no longer the owner of the house, which was the subject of the search, and he be methylamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. PO3 Yanson identified in open the court the said four heat-sealed plastic
did not live there anymore. packets of shabu with markings "VRR-8-31-2000-02" to "VRR-8-31-2000-05" written thereon by SPO1 Fernandez to be the
same objects recovered from the appellant.45 PO2 Martinez, the poseur-buyer, corroborated this testimony of PO3 Yanson.46
The appellant’s contentions are devoid of merit.
Definitely, the records do not show that the appellant has the legal authority to possess the four heat-sealed plastic packets of
In essence, the issues in this case hinge on the credibility of the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. shabu. Settled is the rule that possession of dangerous drugs constitutes prima facie evidence of knowledge or animus
possidendi sufficient to convict an accused in the absence of a satisfactory explanation of such possession. As such, the burden
It is a fundamental rule that findings of the trial court which are factual in nature and which involve the credibility of witnesses of evidence is shifted to the accused to explain the absence of knowledge or animus possidendi,47 which the appellant in this
are accorded with respect, more so, when no glaring errors, gross misapprehension of facts, and speculative, arbitrary, and case miserably failed to do.
unsupported conclusions can be gathered from such findings. The reason behind this rule is that the trial court is in a better
position to decide the credibility of witnesses having heard their testimonies and observed their deportment and manner of There is also no truth on the appellant’s claim that the entry in the house was illegal making the search and the seizure in
testifying during the trial.36 The rule finds an even more stringent application where the trial court’s findings are sustained by connection thereto invalid, rendering the pieces of evidence obtained by the police officers inadmissible for being the "fruit of
the Court of Appeals.37 a poisonous tree."

After a careful perusal of the records, this Court finds no cogent or compelling reason to overturn the findings of both lower This Court in Dimacuha v. People48 clearly states:
courts, which were adequately supported by the evidence on record.
The Constitution enshrines in the Bill of Rights the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects
To secure a conviction for illegal sale of dangerous drugs, like shabu, the following essential elements must be duly established: against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose. To give full protection to it, the Bill of
(1) identity of the buyer and the seller, the object, and consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment Rights also ordains the exclusionary principle that any evidence obtained in violation of said right is inadmissible for any
therefor.38 Succinctly, the delivery of the illicit drug to the poseur-buyer, as well as the receipt of the marked money by the purpose in any proceeding.
seller, successfully consummates the buy-bust transaction. Hence, what is material is the proof that the transaction or sale
transpired, coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti as evidence.39 In People v. Chua Ho San [citation omitted] we pointed out that the interdiction against warrantless searches and seizures is
not absolute and that warrantless searches and seizures have long been deemed permissible by jurisprudence in the following
In the case at bench, the prosecution was able to establish the above-enumerated elements beyond moral certainty. The instances: (1) search of moving vehicles; (2) seizure in plain view; (3) customs searches; (4) waiver or consented searches; (5)
prosecution witnesses adequately proved that a buy-bust operation actually took place on which occasion the appellant was stop and frisk situations (Terry search); and (6) search incidental to a lawful arrest. The last includes a valid warrantless search
caught red-handed giving one heat-sealed plastic packet containing white crystalline substance to PO2 Martinez, the poseur- and seizure pursuant to an equally warrantless arrest, for, while as a rule, an arrest is considered legitimate if effected with a
buyer, in exchange for ₱100.00. PO2 Martinez, being the poseur-buyer, positively identified the appellant in open court to be valid warrant of arrest, the Rules of Court recognizes permissible warrantless arrest, to wit: (1) arrest in flagrante delicto; (2)
the same person who sold to him the said one-heat sealed plastic packet of white crystalline substance for a consideration of arrest effected in hot pursuit; and (3) arrest of escaped prisoners.
₱100.00,40 which when examined was confirmed to be methylamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu per Chemistry Report No.
D-1782-2000 issued by P/Sr. Insp. Salinas, Head, Chemistry Branch, PNP Regional Crime Laboratory Office 7. Upon presentation Here, the petitioner was caught in flagrante delicto while in the act of delivering 1.15 grams and in actual possession of
thereof in open court, PO2 Martinez duly identified it to be the same object sold to him by the appellant as it had the marking another 10.78 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) as a result of an entrapment operation conducted by the
"VRR-8-31-2000 (buy-bust)," which SPO1 Fernandez had written thereon in their presence.41 This testimony of PO2 Martinez police on the basis of information received from Benito Marcelo regarding petitioner's illegal drug trade. Petitioner's arrest,
was corroborated by P/Sr. Insp. Sanchez, who was just five to eight meters away from the former and the appellant during the therefore, was lawful and the subsequent seizure of a bag of shabu inserted inside the cover of her checkbook was justified
sale transaction.42 and legal in light of the prevailing rule that an officer making an arrest may take from the person arrested any property found
upon his person in order to find and seize things connected with the crime. The seized regulated drug is, therefore, admissible
Evidently, the prosecution had established beyond reasonable doubt the appellant’s guilt for the offense of illegal sale of shabu in evidence, being the fruit of the crime.49 (Emphasis supplied).
in violation of Section 15, Article III of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended.
To repeat, the appellant, in this case, was caught in flagrante delicto selling shabu, thus, he was lawfully arrested. Following
We already had occasion to show the unacceptability of the contention of the appellant that the testimony of the poseur- Dimacuha, the subsequent seizure of four heat-sealed plastic packets of shabu in the appellant’s wallet that was tucked in his
buyer was absurd, illogical, contrary to reason and highly incredible for no person who is engaged in an illegal transaction pocket was justified and admissible in evidence for being the fruit of the crime.
would leave the door of the house open after such transaction. In case after case, we observed that drug pushers sell their
prohibited articles to any prospective customer, be he a stranger or not, in private as well as in public places, even in the With the foregoing, this Court is fully convinced that the prosecution had likewise proved beyond a shadow of reasonable
daytime. Indeed, the drug pushers have become increasingly daring, dangerous and, worse, openly defiant of the law. Hence, doubt that the appellant is guilty of the offense of illegal possession of shabu in violation of Section 16, Article III of Republic
what matters is not the existing familiarity between the buyer and the seller or the time and venue of the sale, but the fact of Act No. 6425, as amended.
agreement and the acts constituting the sale and the delivery of the prohibited drugs.43
Going to the charge of maintaining a drug den in violation of Section 15-A, Article III of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, the
prosecution had also established appellant’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
A drug den is a lair or hideaway where prohibited or regulated drugs are used in any form or are found. Its existence may be
proved not only by direct evidence but may also be established by proof of facts and circumstances, including evidence of the
general reputation of the house, or its general reputation among police officers. 50 In this case, this fact was proven by none
other than the testimony of PO2 Martinez, the poseur-buyer, who after buying the shabu had told the appellant that he
wanted to sniff the same to which the latter responded by requiring the former to pay a rental fee of ₱10.00. The appellant,
thereafter, allowed PO2 Martinez to enter his house and directed him to proceed to one of the rooms located at the right side
of the sala. Upon entering the said room, PO2 Martinez saw three other persons already sniffing shabu. 51 This testimony of
PO2 Martinez was corroborated by PO3 Yanson and P/Sr. Insp. Sanchez.52

Moreover, as aptly observed by the Court of Appeals, several peso bills were found in the appellant’s wallet, including three
₱10.00 peso bills, which circumstances bolstered the prosecution’s assertion that the appellant has indeed allowed his house
to be used as a drug den for a fee of ₱10.00 per person.53

In his attempt to exonerate himself, the appellant vehemently asserts that he was no longer the owner of the house in
Barangay T. Padilla, Cebu City, and he was no longer residing therein. The defense also presented Teresita Bitos to corroborate
this claim of the appellant.

The testimony of Teresita Bitos corroborating the appellant’s testimony was not credible.1âwphi1 She herself admitted that
the appellant requested her to testify in his favor.54

Also, considering the seriousness of the charges against the appellant, he did not bother to present his daughter, who is the
alleged owner of the house in Barangay T. Padilla, Cebu City, to bolster his claim.

Time and again, this Court held that denial is an inherently weak defense and has always been viewed upon with disfavor by
the courts due to the ease with which it can be concocted. Inherently weak, denial as a defense crumbles in the light of
positive identification of the appellant, as in this case. The defense of denial assumes significance only when the prosecution’s
evidence is such that it does not prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt, which is not the case here. Verily, mere denial,
unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence, is negative self-serving evidence which cannot be given greater evidentiary
weight than the testimony of the prosecution witness who testified on affirmative matters.55 Moreover, there is a presumption
that public officers, including the arresting officers, regularly perform their official duties.56 In this case, the defense failed to
overcome this presumption by presenting clear and convincing evidence. Furthermore, this Court finds no ill motive that could
be attributed to the police officers who had conducted the buy-bust operation. Even the allegation of the appellant that PO2
Martinez got angry with him when he failed to pinpoint the big time pusher cannot be considered as the ill motive in
implicating the appellant on all the three charges against him for this is self-serving and uncorroborated.

Given all the foregoing, this Court sustains the appellant's conviction on all the charges against him.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00579 dated 9 August 2010 is
hereby AFFIRMED in toto. No Costs.

SO ORDERED.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. VICTOR COGAED
G.R. No. 200334, July 30, 2014, 731 SCRA 427 “Stop and frisk” are conducted to prevent the occurrence of a crime. It’s object is either to determine the identity of a
suspicious individual or to maintain the status quo momentarily while the police officer to obtain more information.
FACTS: An informant thru a text message told the police that a certain Marvin would be transporting marijuana from Barangay
Lun-Oy. There can be no valid waiver of Victor’s constitutional rights even if we assume that he did not object when the police asked
him to open his bag.
The police organized checkpoints in order “to intercept the suspect.” A passenger jeepney from Barangay Lun-Oy arrived at the
checkpoint. The jeepney driver disembarked and signaled to SPO1 Taracatas indicating a male passenger was carrying His silence should not be lightly taken as consent to such search as it is a mere passive conformity given under intimidating or
marijuana. coercive circumstances created by the presence of the police officer and thus no consent at all within the purview of the
constitutional guarantee.
SPO1 Taracatas approached the male passenger who was identified as Victor who was carrying a blue bag. SPO1 Taracatas
asked Victor about the contents of his bag and he said he did not know since he was transporting the bag as a favor to his
barrio mate named Marvin.

After this exchange, Victor opened the blue bag revealing three bricks of marijuana. SPO1 arrested Victor and was brought to
the police station.

The RTC and the CA found Victor guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violation of RA 9165 when Victor waived his right against
warrantless searches “without prompting from SPO1 Taracatac, he voluntarily opened his bag.

ISSUE: Whether the search and seizure was illegal.

HELD: YES. “Stop and frisk” searches should be balanced with the need to protect the privacy of citizens in accordance with
Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution.

The balance lies in the concept of “suspiciousness” present in the situation where the police officer finds himself in.
Experienced police officers have personal experience dealing with criminal and criminal behavior. Thus, a basic criterion would
be that the police officer, with his personal knowledge, must observe the facts leading to the suspicion of an illicit act.

In the case at bar, Victor was simply a passenger carrying a bag and traveling aboard a jeepney. There was nothing suspicious,
moreover, criminal, about riding jeepney or carrying a bag. Hence, the search and seizure against the accused Victor is illegal
because of the absence of the requisite of “suspiciousness.”

The assessment of suspicion was not made by the police officer but by the jeepney driver who signaled to the police that Victor
was “suspicious.”

The known jurisprudential instances of reasonable warrantless searches and seizures are:

1. warrantless search incident to a lawful arrest.

2. seizure of evidence in “plain view”

3. search of moving vehicle

4. consented warrantless search

5. customs search

6. stop and frisk, and

7. exigent and emergency circumstances.

Searches incidental to a lawful arrest require that a crime be committed in flagrante delicto, and the search conducted within
the vicinity and within reach by the person arrested is done to ensure that there are no weapons, as well as to preserve the
evidence.
Sanchez v. People, G.R. No. 204589, November 19, 2014FACTS:

Around 2:50 pm of March 19, 2003, acting on the information that Jacinta Marciano, aka "Intang,"was selling drugs to tricycle
drivers, a group of police officers was dispatched to Barangay Alapan1-B, Imus, Cavite to conduct an operation. While at the
place, the group waited for a tricycle goingto, and coming from, the house of Jacinta. After a few minutes, they spotted a
tricycle carryingRizaldy Sanchez coming out of the house. The group chased the tricycle. After catching up withit, they
requested Rizaldy to alight. It was then that they noticed Rizaldy holding a match box. An officer asked Rizaldy if he could see
the contents of the match box. Rizaldy agreed. Whileexamining it, the officer found a small transparent plastic sachet which
contained a whitecrystalline substance. Suspecting that the substance was a regulated drug, the group accostedRizaldy and the
tricycle driver. The group brought the two to the police station.On March 20, 2003, Salud M. Rosales, a forensic chemist from
the NBI, submitted a Certificationthat the white crystalline substance contained in a small plastic sachet was shabu; and on
April21, 2005, the trial court rendered its decision convicting accused Sanchez which was affirmed bythe CA.Sanchez insisting
on his acquittal, filed a petition arguing that the warrantless arrest and searchon him were invalid due to the absence of
probable cause on the part of the police officers toeffect an in flagrante delicto arrest under Section 15, Rule 113 of the Rules
of Court. He alsocontends that the failure of the police operatives to comply with Section 21, paragraph 1, ArticleII of R.A. No.
9165 renders the seized item inadmissible in evidence and creates reasonabledoubt on his guilt.

ISSUE:

Is the warrantless arrest and search on the accused valid?

RULING:

No. In a search incidental to a lawful arrest, the law requires that there first be a lawful arrestbefore a search can be made --
the process cannot be reversed. At bottom, assuming a validarrest, the arresting officer may search the person of the arrestee
and the area within which thelatter may reach for a weapon or for evidence to destroy, and seize any money or property
foundwhich was used in the commission of the crime, or the fruit of the crime, or that which may beused as evidence, or which
might furnish the arrestee with the means of escaping or committingviolence.In the case, the search preceded the arrest of
Sanchez. There was no arrest prior to the conductof the search. Arrest is defined under Section 1, Rule 113 of the Rules of
Court as the taking of aperson into custody that he may be bound to answer for the commission of an offense. UnderSection 2,
of the same rule, an arrest is effected by an actual restraint of the person to be arrestedor by his voluntary submission to the
custody of the person making the arrest. No arrest waseffected by the police operatives upon the person of Sanchez before
conducting the search onhim. The arrest of Sanchez was made only after the discovery of the shabu inside the match
box.Evidently, what happened in this case was that a search was first undertaken and then later anarrest was effected based
on the evidence produced by the search. Also, the evidence on record reveals that no overt physical act could be properly
attributed toSanchez as to rouse suspicion in the minds of the police operatives that he had just committed.
G.R. No. 183202 June 2, 2014 The evidence for the defense showed that on November 21, 1993, Almojuela was cooking pulutan for his drinking buddies
Felicisimo Venezuela and Winfred Evangelista, when his daughter told him that smoke was entering their house. He checked
ALBERTO ALMOJUELA y VILLANUEVA, Petitioner, the report and saw the group of Paz, Quejong, Masula, and others, smoking marijuana. Almojuela confronted the group, to
vs. which Paz responded by cursing him. Despite this response, Almojuela simply went inside his house and continued with his
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. cooking.13

DECISION When Paz’s group was already high on drugs, they called on Almojuela and challenged him to a fistfight, which he accepted.
The fight only ended when Almojuela’s neighbors came to pacify them. But as Almojuela was about to enter his house,
BRION, J.: Quejong pulled him, leading to another fight. They were grappling on the ground when Kagawad Abarquez arrived to intervene
to stop the fight. No one heeded the kagawad; hence, he fired two warning shots in the air. The shots forced Quejong and his
Before this Court is a petition for review on certiorari1 under Rule 45, seeking the reversal of the Court of Appeals' (CA) group to scamper away.14
decision2 dated March 17, 2008 and resolution3 dated June 2, 2008 in CA-G.R. CR. No. 29268. These assailed rulings affirmed
with modification the decision4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, dated January 27, 2005 in Criminal Case No. 93- At around 10:30 in the evening of the same day, policemen came to Almojuela’s house. They did not find him because he hid at
129891, finding petitioner Alberto Almojuela y Villanueva (Almojuela) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of the kamoteng kahoy thicket near his house. He did not know though that Quejong sustained any serious injury since they only
homicide. engaged in a fistfight; no bladed weapon was used. He voluntarily surrendered himself, however, when he learned from
Kagawad Abarquez that Quejong had died from stab wounds. He surrendered to SPO1 Danilo Vidad through the assistance of a
Factual Antecedents certain SPO4 Soriano, the following day.15

This case stemmed from two informations for attempted homicide and homicide filed with the RTC of Manila, Branch 39, The RTC’s Ruling
against accused Almojuela.5 The trial court dismissed the charge for attempted homicide for insufficiency of evidence.6 The
information for homicide is quoted below: In its decision dated January 27, 2005, the RTC found Almojuela guilty beyond reasonable doubt of homicide, and sentenced
him to suffer the indeterminate penalty of six (6) years and one (1) day as minimum, to fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months
That on or about November 21, 1993, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused conspiring and confederating with one and one (1) day as maximum. It also ordered him to pay the following indemnities to the heirs of Quejong: ₱50,000.00 as civil
whose true name, identity and present whereabouts are (sic)still unknown and mutually helping each other, did then and there indemnity; ₱50,000.00 as moral damages; ₱832,000.00 for loss of earning capacity; ₱35,000.00 for funeral expenses; and
willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously with intent to kill, attack, assault and use personal violence upon one Ricardo Quejong y ₱10,000.00 for litigation expenses.
Bello by then and there stabbing him with a bladed weapon twice, hitting him on the left side of his back, thereby inflicting
upon the latter mortal wounds which were the direct and immediate cause of his death thereafter. The RTC gave great weight to Masula’s testimony. Although Masula did not actually see Almojuela use a knife on Quejong,
strong evidence still existed to support his conviction.
Contrary to law.7
Only three persons were actually involved in the fight – Almojuela, Quejong and Paz. Since only Almojuela was armed with a
During arraignment, Almojuela entered a plea of "not guilty". Pre-trial conference was conducted then trial on the merits knife and in fact he wounded Paz in his right arm, it was reasonable to conclude that he also stabbed Quejong.16 The RTC noted
followed.8 Two different versions of the facts surrounding the victim Ricardo Quejong’s (Quejong) death surfaced. that Paz could not have stabbed Quejong as he himself was wounded.

The Prosecution’s Version The RTC did not give credence to the testimony of Winfred Evangelista that Almojuela never held a bladed weapon during the
fight. This statement was inconsistent with his earlier claim that Almojuela tried to take a knife away from Quejong’s hand. The
Sanito Masula (Masula) narrated the prosecution’s account of the events which transpired on November 21, 1993, the crime’s RTC concluded that Evangelista lied in open court.17
date.9
The CA’s Ruling
At around 8:00 in the evening, Masula, Quejong, Jose Buenhijo Paz (Paz), along with some others, were on their way home
from a party when they encountered Almojuela, who was having a drinking spree with his friends in front of his house. The CA affirmed Almojuela’s conviction but reduced the RTC’s imposed penalty to six (6) years and eight (8) months of prision
mayor as minimum, to twelve (12) years and one (1) day of reclusion temporal as maximum.18
Almojuela called on Paz and shouted, "Matagal ka nang namumuro sa akin," to which, Paz replied, "Ganoon ba? What do you
want?" Immediately, a fight ensued between the two. In the course of the fight, Almojuela stabbed Paz in his right arm, The CA appreciated the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender; and noted that, although Almojuela hid when
causing the latter to retreat. It was at this point that Quejong joined in the fight and grappled with Almojuela to the ground. A policemen first visited him in his home, he still voluntarily surrendered to the authorities the day after the incident.19
certain Dale Abarquez (Kagawad Abarquez) at that point, came to pacify the parties. But the two men did not heed the
kagawad’s order and continued wrestling with each other. This prompted Kagawad Abarquez to hit Quejong twice in his back The CA also gave evidentiary weight to the attendant circumstantial evidence. It noted that the pieces of circumstantial
and to fire two warning shots in the air. On hearing the gunshots, Quejong and his group immediately ran away.10 evidence, taken together, form an unbroken chain leading to the reasonable conclusion that Almojuela committed the crime
charged. The CA reasoned out:
Masula testified that he did not actually see Almojuela stab Quejong when they were grappling on the ground. However, he
also said that he noticed blood on Quejong’s back.11 On Quejong’s way home, their friends saw that he had stab wounds in his As established by the testimonies, it is apparent that only Jose Buenhijo Paz, victim Ricardo Quejong and accused ALMOJUELA
back. They immediately rushed him to the University of Santo Tomas Hospital where he died approximately two to three hours were involved in the brawl and of the three of them it was accused ALMOJUELA who was likely to have stabbed the victim. He
from admission.12 was the one who had the motive since he held a grudge against Jose Buenhijo Paz and he was the one who confronted the
group of the victim. It was accused ALMOJUELA and the victim Ricardo Quejong who wrestled with each other, thus only
The Defense’s Version accused ALMOJUELA could have inflicted the fatal injury to the (sic) Ricardo Quejong. It was also highly unlikely that Jose
Buenhijo Paz had inflicted the injury since he himself was injured by the knife that stabbed the victim Ricardo Quejong. It was commission of a felony is appreciated not singly but collectively. The guilt of the accused cannot be deduced from scrutinizing
in fact Jose Buenhijo Paz who was being aided by the victim Ricardo Quejong against the assault of accused ALMOJUELA.20 just one(1) particular piece of evidence.

The Petition They are like puzzle pieces which when put together reveal a convincing picture pointing to the conclusion that the accused is
the author of the crime.27
In his Rule 45 petition before us, Almojuela imputes error on the CA for finding that the prosecution’s evidence was sufficient
to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. In the present case, the RTC and the CA relied on the following circumstances in concluding that Almojuela was the perpetrator
of the crime:
He maintains that the circumstantial evidence is not strong enough to identify him as the crime’s perpetrator. Even assuming
that he did stab Quejong, he submits that the CA failed to appreciate the mitigating circumstance of incomplete self-defense. 1. Almojuela orally provoked Paz when the latter and his group passed by Almojuela’s house;
Paz and Quejong ganged up on him, forcing him to repel their unlawful aggression with a bladed weapon.21
2. A fight ensued between them and Almojuela wounded Paz’s right arm with a knife;
On the other hand, respondent People of the Philippines, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), argues that only
questions of law may be reviewed in a Rule 45 petition, and that the findings of fact by the trial court, if affirmed by the CA, are 3. The wounded Paz retreated and Quejong next fought with Almojuela;
generally conclusive and binding on the Supreme Court.
4. During Quejong and Almojuela’s fight, they grappled and wrestled with each other on the ground;
The OSG also maintains that the circumstantial evidence is sufficient to support Almojuela’s conviction. Also, the mitigating
circumstance of incomplete self-defense should not be appreciated since it was Almojuela who started the unlawful 5. Quejong and Almojuela were only pacified when Kagawad Abarquez came and fired two gunshots in the air;
aggression.22
6. Masula did not see Almojuela stab Quejong but he saw blood in Quejong’s back during the fight;
The Court’s Ruling
7. Quejong’s group scampered away after the gunshots. On Quejong’s way home, one of his friends noticed that he had stab
We DENY the petition. wounds in his back;

Circumstantial evidence as basis for conviction 8. Quejong was immediately rushed to the hospital where he expired a few hours after; and

We find it clear, based on the records and the evidence adduced by both parties, that no direct evidence points to Almojuela as 9. Almojuela hid when policemen came to his home to investigate.
the one who stabbed Quejong in the night of November 21, 1993.
The nine circumstances, individually, are not sufficient to support Almojuela’s conviction. But taken together, they constitute
Lest this statement be misunderstood, a finding of guilt is still possible despite the absence of direct evidence. Conviction an unbroken chain leading to the reasonable conclusion that Almojuela is guilty of the crime of homicide.
based on circumstantial evidence may result if sufficient circumstances, proven and taken together, create an unbroken chain
leading to the reasonable conclusion that the accused, to the exclusion of all others, was the author of the crime.23 First,Almojuela was the one whoprovoked Paz and his group to a fight. His unlawful aggression was the starting cause of the
events which led to Quejong’s death.
Circumstantial evidence may be characterized as that evidence that proves a fact or series of facts from which the facts in issue
may be established by inference.24 Under the Revised Rules on Evidence, a conviction based on circumstantial evidence may be Second, Masula categorically testified that only Almojuela was armed with a knife during the fight. In fact, he hit Paz in his right
sustained if the following requisites are all present: arm, forcing the latter to retreat.

a. There is more than one circumstance; Third, only three persons actually were involved in the fight: Almojuela, Paz and Quejong. Paz was wounded, forcing him to
retreat. This fact renders it improbable that Paz was the one who stabbed Quejong. Thus, Almojuela alone was the
b. The facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and perpetrator.

c. The combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.25 Fourth, although Masula admitted that he did not actually see Almojuela stab Quejong, he testified that he saw blood on
Quejong’s back during his fight with Almojuela.
In People v. Galvez,26 we laid down the basic guidelines that judges must observe when faced with merely circumstantial
evidence in deciding criminal cases. The probative value of such circumstantial evidence must be distilled using the following: Fifth, after Quejong and his group scurried away from the scene, his friend noticed that he had stab wounds in his back.
Almojuela did not present any evidence that Quejong figured in any other fight with another person after the fight with
a. Circumstantial evidence should be acted upon with caution; Almojuela. In fact, Quejong was immediately rushed to the hospital.

b. All the essential facts must be consistent with the hypothesis of guilt; Sixth, Almojuela hidin the kamoteng kahoy thicket near his house when policemen visited him for investigation. We have
repeatedly held that flight is an indication of guilt. The flight of an accused, in the absence of a credible explanation, is a
c. The facts must exclude every other theory but that of the guilt of the accused; and circumstance from which guilt may be inferred. An innocent person will normally grasp the first available opportunity to
defend himself and assert his innocence.28
d. The facts must establish with certainty the guilt of the accused so as to convince beyond reasonable doubt that the accused
was the perpetrator of the offense. The peculiarity of circumstantial evidence is that the series of events pointing to the
These proven circumstances lead to the reasonable conclusion that Almojuela stabbed Quejong during their fight, causing the These factual findings should not be disturbed on appeal, unless these are facts of weight and substance that were overlooked
latter’s subsequent death. or misinterpreted and that would materially affect the disposition of the case.34 We have carefully scrutinized the records and
we find no reason to deviate from the RTC and CA's findings. We see no indication that the trial court, whose findings the CA
The mitigating circumstances of incomplete self-defense and voluntary surrender affirmed -overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied the surrounding facts and circumstances of the case. Thus, we defer to the
trial court on the findings of facts as it was in the best position to assess and determine the credibility of the witnesses
Almojuela argues that even if he did stab Quejong, the mitigating circumstance of incomplete self-defense should be presented by both parties.35
appreciated in his favor. An incomplete self-defense is appreciated when:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby DENY the petition and AFFIRM the March 17, 2008 decision and June 2, 2008
a. there is unlawful aggression on the part of the victim; resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR. No. 29268 with the following MODIFICATIONS: (a) the awarded funeral and
litigation expenses are deleted; (b) the petitioner is ordered to pay the victim's heirs ₱25,000.00 as temperate damages in lieu
b. the means employed to prevent or repel the unlawful aggression is not reasonably necessary; and of actual damages; and (c) he is further ordered to pay the victim's heirs interest on all damages awarded at the legal rate of six
percent (6%) per annum from the date of finality of this judgment until fully paid.36
c. there is lack of provocation on the part of the person defending himself.

There can be no self-defense, whether complete or incomplete, unless the victim had committed unlawful aggression against
the person who resorted to self-defense.29 This mitigating circumstance is inapplicable in the present case because the
unlawful aggression did not start from the victim Quejong but from Almojuela. The prosecution proved that it was Almojuela
who first challenged Paz and his group to a fight. Almojuela came prepared to fight and was in fact armed with a bladed
weapon.

Moreover, the third element is also absent since there is no lack of sufficient provocation on Almojuela’s part as shown by his
confrontational stance right from the start.

We affirm, however, the CA’s ruling that the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender should be appreciated in favor of
Almojuela. For voluntary surrender to apply, the following requisites must concur:

a. the offender had not been actually arrested;

b. the offender surrendered himself to a person in authority or the latter’s agent; and

c. the surrender was voluntary.

The essence of voluntary surrender is spontaneity and the intent of the accused to submit himself to the authorities either
because he acknowledged his guilt or he wished to save the authorities the trouble and expense that may be incurred for his
search and capture.30

Although Almojuela hid when policemen first visited him in his home, it was also duly proven that soon after he learned of
Quejong’s death, Almojuela voluntarily gave himself up to a certain SPO4 Soriano who then turned him over to SPO1 Danilo
Vidad of the Western Police District.31 Under these facts, all the elements of the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender
are present in this case.

The awarded indemnities

We note that the RTC awarded ₱35,000.00 as funeral expenses to the heirs of Quejong; this amount was affirmed by the
CA.1âwphi1 However, since no documentary evidence was presented to support this claim, it cannot be awarded.
Nonetheless, an award of₱25,000.00 as temperate damages in homicide or murder cases is proper when no evidence of the
said expenses is presented during trial. Under Article 2224 of the Civil Code, temperate damages may be recovered since it
cannot be denied that the heirs of the victim suffered pecuniary loss, though the exact amount was not proven.32

We also -delete the award of litigation expenses for lack of actual proof. We additionally impose a 6% interest on all the
monetary awards for damages to be reckoned from the date of finality of this decision until fully paid.

As a final note, the general rule is that factual findings of the trial court, especially when affirmed by the CA, deserve great
weight and respect.33
MR. CRISENDO AMANSEC, the driver of the taxi where the suspects boarded was also presented in open court and testified as
to what he knows about the incident. He confirmed that on that date, two (2) persons boarded on his taxi and upon reaching
G.R. No. 203984 June 18, 2014 C-3 Road, they alighted and fired three (3) shots and ran away.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, Aside from the oral testimonies of the witnesses, the prosecution also offered the following documentary evidence to boost
vs. their charge against the accused:
MEDARIO CALANTIAO y DIMALANTA, Accused-Appellant.
Exh. "A" – Request for Laboratory Examination dated November 12, 2003
DECISION
Exh. "B" – Physical Sciences Report No. D-1423-03 dated November 12, 2003
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
Exh. "C-1" – Picture of First brick of marijuana fruiting tops
This is an appeal from the January 1 7, 2012 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 04069, affirming in toto
the July 23, 2009 Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Caloocan City, Branch 127, finding accused-appellant Medario Exh. "C-2" – Picture of Second brick of marijuana fruiting tops
Calantiao y Dimalanta (Calantiao) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section 11, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 or
the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. Exh. "D" – Referral Slip dated November 12, 2003

On November 13, 2003, Calantiao was charged before the RTC of violation of Section 11, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 in Exh. "E" – Pinagsamang Sinumpaang Salaysay dated November 12, 2003 of PO3 Eduardo Ramirez and PO1 Nelson Mariano
an Information,3 the pertinent portion of which reads: That on or about the 11th day of November, 2003 in Caloocan City,
Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, without any authority Exh. "E-1" – Their respective signatures
of law, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession, custody and control two (2) bricks of
dried marijuana fruiting tops with a total weight of 997 .9 grams, knowing the same to be a dangerous drug. Exh. "F" – Sinumpaang Salaysay of Crisendo Amansec (Erroneously marked as Exh. "E")

The facts, as synthesized by the RTC and adopted by the Court of Appeals, are as follows: EVIDENCE OF THE DEFENSE

EVIDENCE OF THE PROSECUTION The accused offered a different version of the story. According to his testimony, this instant case originated from a traffic
mishap where the taxi he and his companion Rommel Reyes were riding almost collided with another car. Reyes then opened
On November 13, 2003[,] at around 5:30 x x x in the afternoon, while PO1 NELSON MARIANO and PO3 EDUARDO RAMIREZ the window and made a "fuck you" sign against the persons on board of that car. That prompted the latter to chase them and
were on duty, a certain EDWIN LOJERA arrived at their office and asked for police assistance regarding a shooting incident. Per when they were caught in a traffic jam, PO1 Nelson Mariano, one of the persons on board of that other car alighted and kicked
report of the latter, it appears that while driving a towing truck and traversing along EDSA, Balintawak, Quezon City, he had a their taxi. Calantiao and Reyes alighted and PO1 Mariano slapped the latter and uttered, "Putang ina mo bakit mo ako pinakyu
traffic dispute (gitgitan) with a white taxi cab prompting him to follow said vehicle until they reached along 8th Avenue Street hindi mo ba ako kilala?" Said police officer poked his gun again[st] Reyes and when Calantiao tried to grab it, the gun fired.
corner C-3 Road, Caloocan City. Thereat, the passengers of said taxi cab, one of them was accused Calantiao, alighted and fired Calantiao and Reyes were then handcuffed and were brought to the police station. Thereat, they were subjected to body
their guns. Surprised, Lojera could not do anything but continued his driving until he reached a police station nearby where he frisking and their wallets and money were taken. PO1 Mariano then prepared some documents and informed them that they
reported the incident. will be charged for drugs. A newspaper containing marijuana was shown to them and said police officer told them that it would
be sufficient evidence against them. They were detained and subjected to medical examination before they were submitted for
The police officers on duty then were PO1 NELSON MARIANO and PO3 EDUARDO RAMIREZ. PO1 Mariano testified that they inquest at the prosecutor’s office.4
immediately responded to said complaint by proceeding to 5th Avenue corner 8th Street, Caloocan City where they found the
white taxi. While approaching said vehicle, two armed men alighted therefrom, fired their guns towards them (police officers) Ruling of the RTC
and ran away. PO1 Mariano and PO3 Ramirez chased them but they were subdued. PO1 Mariano recovered from Calantiao a
black bag containing two (2) bricks of dried marijuana fruiting tops and a magazine of super 38 stainless with ammos, while On July 23, 2009, the RTC rendered its Decision giving credence to the prosecution’s case. The dispositive portion of the
PO3 Ramirez recovered from Calantiao’s companion [a] .38 revolver. Decision reads:

The suspects and the confiscated items were then turned over to SPO3 PABLO TEMENA, police investigator at Bagong Barrio WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered declaring accused MEDARIO CALANTIAO y DIMALANTA,
Police Station for investigation. Thereat, PO1 Mariano marked the bricks of marijuana contained in a black bag with his initials, GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT of the offense of Violation of Section 11, Article II, R.A. 9165, for illegally
"NM". Thereafter, said specimen were forwarded to the PNP Crime Laboratory for chemical analysis. The result of the possessing997.9 grams of marijuana fruiting tops. Henceforth, this Court hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of life
examination conducted by P/SINSP. JESSSE DELA ROSA revealed that the same was positive for marijuana, a dangerous drug. imprisonment and a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (Php500,000.00).5

The foregoing testimony of PO1 MARIANO was corroborated by PO3 RAMIREZ who testified that he personally saw those In convicting Calantiao, the RTC held that the illegal drug seized was admissible in evidence as it was discovered during a body
bricks of marijuana confiscated from the accused. He confirmed that he was with PO1 Mariano when they apprehended said search after Calantiao was caught in flagrante delicto of possessing a gun and firing at the police officers. Moreover, the RTC
accused and his companion and testified that while PO1 Mariano recovered from the accused a black bag containing found all the elements of the offense to have been duly established by the prosecution.6
marijuana, on his part, he confiscated from accused’s companion a .38 revolver.
Aggrieved, Calantiao appealed7 his conviction to the Court of Appeals, assigning the following errors:

I
THE COURT A QUOGRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT FOR The purpose of allowing a warrantless search and seizure incident to a lawful arrest is "to protect the arresting officer from
VIOLATION OF SECTION 11, ARTICLE II, REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9165, NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT THE ALLEGEDLY SEIZED being harmed by the person arrested, who might be armed with a concealed weapon, and to prevent the latter from
ITEMS ARE INADMISSIBLE IN EVIDENCE. destroying evidence within reach."13 It is therefore a reasonable exercise of the State’s police power to protect (1) law
enforcers from the injury that may be inflicted on them by a person they have lawfully arrested; and (2) evidence from being
II destroyed by the arrestee. It seeks to ensure the safety of the arresting officers and the integrity of the evidence under the
control and within the reach of the arrestee.
THE COURT A QUOGRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT DESPITE THE ARRESTING OFFICERS’ PATENT
NON-COMPLIANCE WITHTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE PROPER CUSTODY OF SEIZED DANGEROUS DRUGS. In People v. Valeroso,14 this Court had the occasion to reiterate the permissible reach of a valid warrantless search and seizure
incident to a lawful arrest, viz:
III
When an arrest is made, it is reasonable for the arresting officer to search the person arrested in order to remove any weapon
THE COURT A QUOGRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT DESPITE THE PROSECUTION’S FAILURE TO that the latter might use in order to resist arrest or effect his escape. Otherwise, the officer’s safety might well be endangered,
PROVE THE PROPER CHAIN OF CUSTODY OF THE SEIZED DANGEROUS DRUGS.8 and the arrest itself frustrated. In addition, it is entirely reasonable for the arresting officer to search for and seize any evidence
on the arrestee’s person in order to prevent its concealment or destruction.
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
Moreover, in lawful arrests, it becomes both the duty and the right of the apprehending officers to conduct a warrantless
The Court of Appeals found no reason to overturn Calantiao’s conviction. It found that there was sufficient reason to justify a search not only on the person of the suspect, but also in the permissible area within the latter’s reach. Otherwise stated, a
warrantless arrest, as the police officers were acting on a legitimate complaint and had a reasonable suspicion that the persons valid arrest allows the seizure of evidence or dangerous weapons either on the person of the one arrested or within the area of
identified at the scene were the perpetrators of the offense. Likewise, the Court of Appeals held that the search and his immediate control. The phrase "within the area of his immediate control" means the area from within which he might gain
subsequent seizure of the marijuana in question was lawful and valid, being incidental to a lawful arrest.9 Finding that all the possession of a weapon or destructible evidence. A gun on a table or in a drawer in front of one who is arrested can be as
elements of the charge of illegal possession of dangerous drugs to be present and duly proven,10 the Court of Appeals, on dangerous to the arresting officer as one concealed in the clothing of the person arrested. (Citations omitted.)
January 17, 2012, promulgated its Decision, affirming in toto the RTC’s ruling.
In Valeroso, however, the Court held that the evidence searched and seized from him could not be used against him because
Undaunted, Calantiao is now before this Court praying for an acquittal, adding the following arguments in support of his they were discovered in a room, different from where he was being detained, and was in a locked cabinet. Thus, the area
position: searched could not be considered as one within his immediate control that he could take any weapon or destroy any evidence
against him.15
First, the plain view doctrine is not an exception to a search incident to a valid warrantless arrest.
In the case at bar, the marijuana was found in a black bag in Calantiao’s possession and within his immediate control. He could
xxxx have easily taken any weapon from the bag or dumped it to destroy the evidence inside it. As the black bag containing the
marijuana was in Calantiao’s possession, it was within the permissible area that the apprehending officers could validly
Second, Calantiao did not waive the inadmissibility of the seized items. conduct a warrantless search.

xxxx Calantiao’s argument that the marijuana cannot be used as evidence against him because its discovery was in violation of the
Plain View Doctrine, is misplaced.
Finally, the seized items’ custodial chain is broken.11
The Plain View Doctrine is actually the exception to the inadmissibility of evidence obtained in a warrantless search incident to
In essence, Calantiao is questioning the admissibility of the marijuana found in his possession, as evidence against him on the a lawful arrest outside the suspect’s person and premises under his immediate control. This is so because "[o]bjects in the
grounds of either it was discovered via an illegal search, or because its custodial chain was broken. ‘plain view’ of an officer who has the right to be in the position to have that view are subject to seizure and may be presented
as evidence."16 "The doctrine is usually applied where a police officer is not searching for evidence against the accused, but
Ruling of this Court nonetheless inadvertently comes across an incriminating object x x x. [It] serves to supplement the prior justification – whether
it be a warrant for another object, hot pursuit, search incident to lawful arrest, or some other legitimate reason for being
This Court finds no merit in Calantiao’s arguments. present unconnected with a search directed against the accused – and permits the warrantless seizure."17

Search and Seizure of The Plain View Doctrine thus finds no applicability in Calantiao’s situation because the police officers purposely searched him
Marijuana valid upon his arrest. The police officers did not inadvertently come across the black bag, which was in Calantiao’s possession; they
deliberately opened it, as part of the search incident to Calantiao’s lawful arrest.
This Court cannot subscribe to Calantiao’s contention that the marijuana in his possession cannot be admitted as evidence
against him because it was illegally discovered and seized, not having been within the apprehending officers’ "plain view."12 Inventory and Chain of
Custody of Evidence
Searches and seizure incident to a lawful arrest are governed by Section 13, Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure, to wit: Calantiao claims that even if the search and seizure were validly effected, the marijuana is still inadmissible as evidence against
him for failure of the apprehending officers to comply with the rules on chain of custody, as the item was marked at the police
Section 13.Search incident to lawful arrest.– A person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous weapons or anything station.18
which may have been used or constitute proof in the commission of an offense without a search warrant.
The pertinent provisions of Republic Act No. 9165 provide as follows:
Section 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized, and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous It is worthy to note that these arguments were only raised by Calantiao on his appeal. He himself admits this.23 His theory,
Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. – The PDEA from the very beginning, was that he did not do it, and that he was being framed for having offended the police officers. Simply
shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and put, his defense tactic was one of denial and frame-up. However, those defenses have always been frowned upon by the
essential chemicals, as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated, seized and/or Court, to wit:
surrendered, for proper disposition in the following manner:
The defenses of denial and frame-up have been invariably viewed by this Court with disfavor for it can easily be concocted and
(1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, is a common and standard defense ploy in prosecutions for violation of Dangerous Drugs Act. In order to prosper, the defenses
physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were of denial and frame-up must be proved with strong and convincing evidence. In the cases before us, appellant failed to present
confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of sufficient evidence in support of his claims. Aside from his self-serving assertions, no plausible proof was presented to bolster
Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy his allegations.24
thereof[.]
Hence, as Calantiao failed to show clear and convincing evidence that the apprehending officers were stirred by illicit motive or
Its Implementing Rules and Regulations state: failed to properly perform their duties, their testimonies deserve full faith and credit.25

SECTION 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court hereby AFFIRMS the January 17, 2012 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. — The PDEA CR.-H.C. No. 04069.
shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and
essential chemicals, as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated, seized and/or SO ORDERED.
surrendered, for proper disposition in the following manner:
SEARCH INCIDENTAL TO LAWFUL ARREST:
(a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately after seizure and
confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such Searches and seizure incident to a lawful arrest are governed by Section 13, Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Procedure. The purpose of allowing a warrantless search and seizure incident to a lawful arrest is “to protect the arresting
Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be officer from being harmed by the person arrested, who might be armed with a concealed weapon, and to prevent the latter
given a copy thereof; Provided, that the physical inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search from destroying evidence within reach.” It is therefore a reasonable exercise of the State’s police power to protect (1) law
warrant is served; or at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team, whichever is enforcers from the injury that may be inflicted on them by a person they have lawfully arrested; and (2) evidence from being
practicable, in case of warrantless seizures; Provided, further, that non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable destroyed by the arrestee. It seeks to ensure the safety of the arresting officers and the integrity of the evidence under the
grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending control and within the reach of the arrestee. (PEOPLE VS. CALANTIAO
officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items[.] (Emphasis supplied.)

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 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

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 "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 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 items that enter the chain and are eventually the ones offered in evidence – should be done (1) in the 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 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.

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 to discharge such burden.22
That on or about the 15th day of March, 1994, in the municipality of Talibon, Bohol, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused with intent to possess and to gain for her own benefit, without any legal
G.R. No. 205015 November 19, 2014 document as required under existing jurisprudence, laws and regulations, and without any lawful authority under existing rules
and regulation of DENR Forest Management Sector, willfully, unlawfully and illegally possess and have under her custody and
MA. MIMIE CRESCENCIO, Petitioner, control forest products consisting of twenty-four (24) pieces of magsihagon lumber with a volume of 452 board feet and a total
vs. value of Nine Thousand Forty (₱9,040.00) Pesos, Philippine Currency; to the damage and prejudice of the Republic of the
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. Philippines.14

DECISION During the arraignment on July 15,1997, the petitioner pleaded not guilty to the offense charged.Thereafter, trial ensued.15

REYES, J.: On August 12, 2008, the RTC rendered judgment16 convicting the petitioner of the offense charged and sentenced her to
imprisonment of six (6) years and one (1) day of prision mayoras minimum to eleven (11) years and six (6) months and twenty-
This case stemmed from Ma. Mimie Crescencio's (petitioner) conviction for violation of Section 681 of Presidential Decree one (21) days of prision mayoras maximum. The RTC also ordered the confiscation of the seized lumber owned by the
(P.D.) No. 705,2 otherwise known as the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines (Forestry Code), as amended by Executive petitioner.17
Order (E.O.) No. 277,3 rendered by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) ofTalibon, Bohol, Branch 52, in Criminal Case No. 96-27, on
August 12, 2008.4 The Court of Appeals (CA), in CA-G.R. CR No. 01162, dismissed the appeal in its Resolution5 dated April 15, As expected, the petitioner appealed the decision to the CA. However, in its Resolution18 dated April 15, 2011, the CA
2011 for failure to serve a copy of the Appellant’s Brief to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). The CA, in its dismissed the appeal outright because the petitioner failed to furnish the OSG a copy of the Appellant’s Brief in violation of the
Resolution6 dated November 19, 2012, also denied the petitioner’s motion for reconsideration of the said resolution. Rules of Court. The petitioner moved for reconsideration but it was denied by the CA,in its Resolution19 dated November 19,
2012. Hence, this petition for review on certiorari.
The Facts
The Issue
Acting on an information that there was a stockpile of lumber or forest products in the vicinity of the house of the petitioner,
Eufemio Abaniel (Abaniel), the Chief of the ForestProtection Unit of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) The core issue to be resolved is whether or not the CA’s dismissal of the appeal due to the petitioner’s failureto serve a copy of
- Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, Talibon, Bohol, together with Forest Rangers Urcino Butal (Butal), the Appellant’s Brief to the OSG is proper, in view of the attendant factual circumstances and in the interest of substantial
Alfredo Bastasa and Celso Ramos (Ramos) went to the petitioner’s house at Balico, Talibon, Bohol on March 15, 1994 at 3:00 justice.
p.m. Upon arriving thereat, they saw forest products lying under the house of the petitioner and at the shoreline about two
meters away from the petitioner’s house. As the DENR personnel tried to investigate from the neighborhood as to who was the Ruling of the Court
owner of the lumber, the petitioner admitted its ownership. Thereafter, the DENR personnel entered the premises of the
petitioner’s house without a search warrant.7 In this case, the petitioner asks for a relaxation of the rigid rules of technical procedure and submits that the CA erred in
dismissing her appeal purely on the basis of mere technicalities.
Upon inspection, 24 pieces of magsihagonlumber, which is equivalent to 452 board feet, were discovered. When the DENR
personnel asked for documents to support the petitioner’s claim of ownership, the latter showed to them Official Receipt No. Confronted with issues of this nature, this Court is mindful of the policy of affording litigants the amplest opportunity for the
35053 issued by Pengavitor Enterprises where she allegedly bought the said lumber. However, when the DENR personnel determination of their cases on the merits and of dispensing with technicalities whenever compelling reasons so warrant or
scaled the lumber, they found out that the dimensions and the species of the lumber did not tally with the items mentioned in when the purpose of justice requires it.20
the receipt. The said receipt showed that the petitioner bought 10 pieces of red lawaan lumber with sizes 2x6x18 and 5 pieces
with sizes 2x8x16 on March 13, 1994. On the other hand, the lumber in the petitioner’s house, on March 15, 1994, was 24 The Court has constantly pronouncedthat "[t]he rules of procedure ought not to be applied in a very rigid,technical sense, for
pieces of magsihagonlumber of three different sizes, to wit: 20 pieces 2x6x18; 3 pieces 2x8x18; and 1 piece 2x10x12.8 they have been adopted to help secure – not override – substantial justice. For this reason, courts must proceed with caution
so asnot to deprive a party of statutory appeal; rather, they must ensure thatall litigants are granted the amplest opportunity
Since the petitioner could not present any other receipt, Abaniel ordered the confiscation of the lumber, asked for police for the proper and just ventilation of their causes, free from the constraint of technicalities."21
assistance, and told the petitioner that they were going to transport the confiscated lumber to the DENR office for safekeeping.
Seizure Receipt No. 004157 and a Statement Showing the Number/Pieces and Volume of Lumber Being Confiscated,9 which It is clear that without at all touching on the substantive aspects of the petitioner’s cause, the appellate court opted not to
showed the value of the lumber to be 9,040.00, were issued to the petitioner. Forest Rangers Butal and Ramos corroborated decide the case on the merits. The subject of the appeal was the decision of the RTC convicting the petitioner of violation of
Abaniel’s testimony.10 the Forestry Code and sentencing her to suffer an imprisonment of no less than six (6) years to eleven (11) years.

SPO1 Desiderio Garcia testified that upon the request of Abaniel for police assistance, he and PO3 Antonio Crescencio went to In this case, there is nothing in the record that shows any deliberate intent on the part of the petitioner to subvert and delay
the house of the petitioner where they saw some lumberwhich was later loaded on a cargo truck. Thereafter, they escorted the final disposition of the case. In fact, when the petitioner learned that her appeal was dismissed by the CA for failure to
the transport of the lumber to the DENR office in San Roque, Talibon, Bohol.11 serve a copy of her Appellant’s Brief to the OSG, she immediately confronted her previous counsel who denied having filed
such brief. Asthe petitioner was very much worried of being incarcerated, she asked her previous counsel to withdraw from
On the other hand, the lone witness of the defense, Lolita Crescencio, admitted that the seized lumber were owned by the the case. Thus, the petitioner submits that the outright denial of her appeal is due to the incompetence and ignorance of her
petitioner but claimed that the latter bought it from Pengavitor Enterprises of Trinidad, Bohol and from Java Marketing in former counsel who even lied about the fact thathe has indeed filed an Appellant’s Brief.
Ubay, Bohol.12 However, the defense had only the Official Receipt No. 35053 issued by Pengavitor Enterprises which, however,
did not tally with the forest products confiscated. As a general rule, the inadvertence of counsel cannot be considered as an adequate excuse as to call for the appellate court’s
indulgence except: (a) where the reckless or gross negligence of counsel deprives the client of due process of law; (b) when
On May 17, 1994, the petitioner was charged by the Provincial Prosecutor of Tagbilaran City, Bohol, with violation of Section 68 application of the rule will result in outright deprivation of the client’s liberty or property; or (c) where the interests of justice
of P.D. No. 705, as amended by E.O. No. 277. The Information13 alleged: so require.22
Here, the petitioner submits that the inadvertence of her counsel to serve a copy of the Appellant’s Brief tothe OSG is a The Court does not agree. This Court notes that the estimated value of the confiscated pieces of lumber, as appearing in the
persuasive reason or a compelling justification to forego the Rules of Procedure as the wanton recklessness or gross negligence Statement Showing the Number/Pieces and Volume of Lumber Being Confiscated is ₱9,040.00 which is alleged in the
of her counsel has deprived her of due process of law which will result in the outright deprivation of her liberty. Information. However, except for the testimonies of Abaniel and Butal that this amount is the estimate based on prevailing
local price as stated in the apprehension receipt they issued, the prosecution did not present any proof as tothe value of the
In this regard, the Court agrees that the CA should have taken a liberal view of the rules and ruled on the meritsof the appeal, lumber.
especially when what is involved is no less than the petitioner’s liberty.
Clearly, this evidence does not suffice. The Court had ruled that in order to prove the amount of the property taken for fixing
Nonetheless, even if the Court brushes aside the technicality issue, it will still find that the prosecution was able to prove the penalty imposable against the accused under Article 309 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), the prosecution must present
beyond reasonable doubt the petitioner’s culpability. more than a mereuncorroborated "estimate" of such fact. In the absence of independent and reliable corroboration of such
estimate, courts may either apply the minimum penalty under Article 309 or fix the value of the property taken based on the
In attempting to escape liability, the petitioner contends that: (a) she had the supporting documents to show that she bought attendant circumstances of the case.28 Hence, the lower court erred in finding that the value of the confiscated lumber is
the questioned lumber from legitimate sources; and (b) the warrantless search and seizure conducted by the DENR personnel ₱9,040.00 for no evidence of such value was established during the trial.
was illegal and, thus, the items seized should not have been admitted in evidence against her.
Accordingly, the Court imposes on the petitioner the minimum penalty under Article 309(6)29 of the RPC, whichis arresto
The Constitution recognizes the right of the people to be secured in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against mayorin its minimum and medium periods. However, considering that violation of Section 68 of the Forestry Code is punished
unreasonable searches and seizures.23 Nonetheless, the constitutional prohibition against warrantless searches and seizures as Qualified Theft under Article 31030 in relation to Article 309 of the RPC, the statutory penalty shall be increased by two
admits of certainexceptions, one of which is seizure of evidence in plain view.1âwphi1 Under the plain view doctrine, objects degrees, that is, to prision correccionalin its medium and maximum periods or within the range ofthree (3) years, six (6)
falling in the "plain view" of an officer, who has a right to be in the position to have that view, are subject to seizure and may months and twenty-one (21) days to four (4) years, nine (9) months and ten (10) days, considering that there are no attending
be presented as evidence.24 mitigating or aggravating circumstance in the commission of the offense.

There is no question that the DENR personnel were not armed with a search warrant when they went to the house of the In accordance with current jurisprudence31 and taking into account the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the Court finds it proper
petitioner. When the DENR personnel arrived at the petitioner’s house, the lumbers were lying under the latter’s house and at to impose on the petitioner, in view of the circumstances obtaining here, the penalty of frmr (4) months and one (1) day of
the shoreline about two meters away from the house of the petitioner. It isclear, therefore, that the said lumber is plainly arresto mayor, as minimum, to three (3) years, six (6) months and twenty-one (21) days of prision correccional, as maximum.
exposed to sight. Hence, the seizure of the lumber outside the petitioner’s house falls within the purview of the plain view WHEREFORE, the Decision on August 12, 2008 of the Regional Trial Court of Talibon, Bohol, Branch 52, in Criminal Case No. 96-
doctrine. 27, is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that petitioner Ma. Mimie Crescencio is sentenced to suffer the indeterminate
penalty of four ( 4) months and one (1) day of arresto mayor, as minimum, to three (3) years, six (6) months and twenty-one
Besides, the DENR personnel had the authority to arrest the petitioner, even without a warrant. Section 8025 of the Forestry (21) days of prision correccional, as maximum.
Code authorizes the forestry officer or employee of the DENR or any personnel of the Philippine National Police to arrest, even
without a warrant, any person who has committed or is committing in his presence any of the offenses defined by the Forestry SO ORDERED.
Code and to seize and confiscate the tools and equipment used in committing the offense orthe forest products gathered or
taken by the offender. Clearly, in the course ofsuch lawful intrusion, the DENR personnel had inadvertently come across the
lumber which evidently incriminated the petitioner.

The fact of possession by the petitioner of the 24 pieces of magsihagonlumber, as well as her subsequent failure to produce
the legal documents as required under existing forest laws and regulations constitute criminal liability for violation of the
Forestry Code. Under Section 68 of the Forestry Code, there are two distinctand separate offenses punished, namely: (1)
cutting, gathering, collecting and removing timber or other forest products from any forest land, or timber from alienable or
disposable public land, or from private land withoutany authority; and (2) possession of timber or other forest products
without the legal documents required under existing forest laws and regulations.26

In the second offense, it is immaterial whether the cutting, gathering, collecting and removal of the forest products are legal or
not. Mere possession of forest products withoutthe proper documents consummates the crime. Whether or not the lumber
comes from a legal source is immaterial because the Forestry Code is a special law which considers mere possession of timber
or other forest products without the proper documentation as malum prohibitum.27

In the present case, the magsihagonlumber were admittedly owned by the petitioner but unfortunately no permit evidencing
authority to possess said lumber was duly presented. Thus, the Information correctly charged the petitioner with the second
offense which is consummated by the mere possession of forest products without the proper documents. The prosecution
adduced several documents to prove that the lumber was confiscated from the petitioner, namely: a Statement Showing the
Number/Pieces and Volume of Lumber Being Confiscated on March 15, 1994, seizure receipt, a photograph of the house of the
petitioner, and a photograph of the confiscated lumber. Moreso, the direct and affirmative testimony of the DENR personnel
as state witnesses on the circumstances surrounding the apprehension well establishes the petitioner’s liability.

As to the imposable penalty on the petitioner, the RTC imposed an indeterminate sentence of six (6) years and one (1) day of
prision mayoras minimum to eleven (11) years, six (6) months and twenty-one (21) days of prision mayoras maximum.
SR. INSP. JERRY C. VALEROSO, G.R. No. 164815
Petitioner, Valeroso was then brought to the police station for questioning. Upon verification in the Firearms and Explosives Division
Present: in Camp Crame, Deriquito presented a certification[8] that the subject firearm was not issued to Valeroso, but was licensed in
the name of a certain Raul Palencia Salvatierra of Sampaloc, Manila.[9]
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,
Chairperson, On the other hand, Valeroso, SPO3 Agustin R. Timbol, Jr. (Timbol), and Adrian Yuson testified for the defense. Their testimonies
- versus - CHICO-NAZARIO, are summarized as follows:
VELASCO, JR.,
NACHURA, and On July 10, 1996, Valeroso was sleeping inside a room in the boarding house of his children located at Sagana Homes, Barangay
PERALTA, JJ. New Era, Quezon City. He was awakened by four (4) heavily armed men in civilian attire who pointed their guns at him and
pulled him out of the room.[10] The raiding team tied his hands and placed him near the faucet (outside the room) then went
COURT OF APPEALS and Promulgated: back inside, searched and ransacked the room. Moments later, an operative came out of the room and exclaimed, Hoy, may
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, nakuha akong baril sa loob![11]
Respondents. September 3, 2009
Disuanco informed Valeroso that there was a standing warrant for his arrest. However, the raiding team was not armed with a
x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x search warrant.[12]

Timbol testified that he issued to Valeroso a Memorandum Receipt[13] dated July 1, 1993 covering the subject firearm and its
RESOLUTION ammunition, upon the verbal instruction of Col. Angelito Moreno.[14]

NACHURA, J.: On May 6, 1998, the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 97, Quezon City, convicted Valeroso as charged and sentenced him to
suffer the indeterminate penalty of four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day, as minimum, to six (6) years, as
maximum. The gun subject of the case was further ordered confiscated in favor of the government.[15]
For resolution is the Letter-Appeal[1] of Senior Inspector (Sr. Insp.) Jerry C. Valeroso (Valeroso) praying that our February 22,
2008 Decision[2] and June 30, 2008 Resolution[3]be set aside and a new one be entered acquitting him of the crime of illegal On appeal, the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed[16] the RTC decision but the minimum term of the indeterminate penalty was
possession of firearm and ammunition. lowered to four (4) years and two (2) months.

The facts are briefly stated as follows: On petition for review, we affirmed[17] in full the CA decision. Valeroso filed a Motion for Reconsideration[18] which was denied
with finality[19] on June 30, 2008.
Valeroso was charged with violation of Presidential Decree No. 1866, committed as follows:
That on or about the 10th day of July, 1996, in Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused without any authority of law, did then Valeroso is again before us through this Letter-Appeal[20] imploring this Court to once more take a contemplative reflection and
and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in his/her possession and under his/her custody and control deliberation on the case, focusing on his breached constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure.[21]

One (1) cal. 38 Charter Arms revolver bearing serial no. 52315 with five (5) live ammo. Meanwhile, as the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) failed to timely file its Comment on Valerosos Motion for
Reconsideration, it instead filed a Manifestation in Lieu of Comment.[22]
without first having secured the necessary license/permit issued by the proper authorities.
In its Manifestation, the OSG changed its previous position and now recommends Valerosos acquittal. After a second look at
CONTRARY TO LAW.[4] the evidence presented, the OSG considers the testimonies of the witnesses for the defense more credible and thus concludes
that Valeroso was arrested in a boarding house. More importantly, the OSG agrees with Valeroso that the subject firearm was
obtained by the police officers in violation of Valerosos constitutional right against illegal search and seizure, and should thus
When arraigned, Valeroso pleaded not guilty.[5] Trial on the merits ensued. be excluded from the evidence for the prosecution. Lastly, assuming that the subject firearm was admissible in evidence, still,
Valeroso could not be convicted of the crime, since he was able to establish his authority to possess the gun through the
During trial, the prosecution presented two witnesses: Senior Police Officer (SPO)2 Antonio Disuanco (Disuanco) of the Memorandum Receipt issued by his superiors.
Criminal Investigation Division of the Central Police District Command; and Epifanio Deriquito (Deriquito), Records Verifier of
the Firearms and Explosives Division in Camp Crame. Their testimonies are summarized as follows: After considering anew Valerosos arguments through his Letter-Appeal, together with the OSGs position recommending his
acquittal, and keeping in mind that substantial rights must ultimately reign supreme over technicalities, this Court is swayed to
On July 10, 1996, at around 9:30 a.m., Disuanco received a Dispatch Order from the desk officer directing him and three (3) reconsider.[23]
other policemen to serve a Warrant of Arrest, issued by Judge Ignacio Salvador, against Valeroso for a case of kidnapping with
ransom.[6] The Letter-Appeal is actually in the nature of a second motion for reconsideration. While a second motion for reconsideration
is, as a general rule, a prohibited pleading, it is within the sound discretion of the Court to admit the same, provided it is filed
After a briefing, the team conducted the necessary surveillance on Valeroso checking his hideouts in Cavite, Caloocan, and with prior leave whenever substantive justice may be better served thereby.[24]
Bulacan. Eventually, the team members proceeded to the Integrated National Police (INP) Central Police Station in
Culiat, Quezon City, where they saw Valeroso about to board a tricyle. Disuanco and his team approached Valeroso. They put This is not the first time that this Court is suspending its own rules or excepting a particular case from the operation of the
him under arrest, informed him of his constitutional rights, and bodily searched him. They found a Charter Arms revolver, rules. In De Guzman v. Sandiganbayan,[25]despite the denial of De Guzmans motion for reconsideration, we still entertained his
bearing Serial No. 52315, with five (5) pieces of live ammunition, tucked in his waist.[7] Omnibus Motion, which was actually a second motion for reconsideration. Eventually, we reconsidered our earlier decision
and remanded the case to the Sandiganbayan for reception and appreciation of petitioners evidence. In that case, we said that 1. Warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest;
if we would not compassionately bend backwards and flex technicalities, petitioner would surely experience the disgrace and 2. [Seizure] of evidence in plain view. The elements are: a) a prior valid intrusion based on the valid warrantless arrest in
misery of incarceration for a crime which he might not have committed after all.[26] Also in Astorga v. People,[27] on a second which the police are legally present in the pursuit of their official duties; b) the evidence was inadvertently discovered by the
motion for reconsideration, we set aside our earlier decision, re-examined the records of the case, then finally acquitted Benito police who have the right to be where they are; c) the evidence must be immediately apparent; and d) plain view justified
Astorga of the crime of Arbitrary Detention on the ground of reasonable doubt. And in Sta. Rosa Realty Development mere seizure of evidence without further search;
Corporation v. Amante,[28] by virtue of the January 13, 2004 En Banc Resolution, the Court authorized the Special First Division 3. Search of a moving vehicle. Highly regulated by the government, the vehicles inherent mobility reduces expectation of
to suspend the Rules, so as to allow it to consider and resolve respondents second motion for reconsideration after the motion privacy especially when its transit in public thoroughfares furnishes a highly reasonable suspicion amounting to probable cause
was heard on oral arguments. After a re-examination of the merits of the case, we granted the second motion for that the occupant committed a criminal activity;
reconsideration and set aside our earlier decision. 4. Consented warrantless search;
5. Customs search;
Clearly, suspension of the rules of procedure, to pave the way for the re-examination of the findings of fact and conclusions of 6. Stop and Frisk;
law earlier made, is not without basis. 7. Exigent and emergency circumstances.[32]
8. Search of vessels and aircraft; [and]
We would like to stress that rules of procedure are merely tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice. They are 9. Inspection of buildings and other premises for the enforcement of fire, sanitary and building regulations. [33]
conceived and promulgated to effectively aid the courts in the dispensation of justice. Courts are not slaves to or robots of
technical rules, shorn of judicial discretion. In rendering justice, courts have always been, as they ought to be, conscientiously In the exceptional instances where a warrant is not necessary to effect a valid search or seizure, what constitutes a reasonable
guided by the norm that, on the balance, technicalities take a backseat to substantive rights, and not the other way or unreasonable search or seizure is purely a judicial question, determinable from the uniqueness of the circumstances
around. Thus, if the application of the Rules would tend to frustrate rather than to promote justice, it would always be within involved, including the purpose of the search or seizure, the presence or absence of probable cause, the manner in which the
our power to suspend the rules or except a particular case from its operation.[29] search and seizure was made, the place or thing searched, and the character of the articles procured.[34]

Now on the substantive aspect. In light of the enumerated exceptions, and applying the test of reasonableness laid down above, is the warrantless search and
seizure of the firearm and ammunition valid?
The Court notes that the version of the prosecution, as to where Valeroso was arrested, is different from the version of the
defense. The prosecution claims that Valeroso was arrested near the INP Central Police Station in Culiat, Quezon City, while he We answer in the negative.
was about to board a tricycle. After placing Valeroso under arrest, the arresting officers bodily searched him, and they found For one, the warrantless search could not be justified as an incident to a lawful arrest. Searches and seizures incident to lawful
the subject firearm and ammunition. The defense, on the other hand, insists that he was arrested inside the boarding house of arrests are governed by Section 13, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court, which reads:
his children. After serving the warrant of arrest (allegedly for kidnapping with ransom), some of the police officers searched the
boarding house and forcibly opened a cabinet where they discovered the subject firearm. SEC. 13. Search incident to lawful arrest. A person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous weapons or anything which
may have been used or constitute proof in the commission of an offense without a search warrant.
After a thorough re-examination of the records and consideration of the joint appeal for acquittal by Valeroso and the OSG, we
find that we must give more credence to the version of the defense. We would like to stress that the scope of the warrantless search is not without limitations. In People v. Leangsiri,[35] People v.
Valerosos appeal for acquittal focuses on his constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure alleged to have been Cubcubin, Jr.,[36] and People v. Estella,[37]we had the occasion to lay down the parameters of a valid warrantless search and
violated by the arresting police officers; and if so, would render the confiscated firearm and ammunition inadmissible in seizure as an incident to a lawful arrest.
evidence against him.
When an arrest is made, it is reasonable for the arresting officer to search the person arrested in order to remove any weapon
The right against unreasonable searches and seizures is secured by Section 2, Article III of the Constitution which states: that the latter might use in order to resist arrest or effect his escape. Otherwise, the officers safety might well be endangered,
and the arrest itself frustrated. In addition, it is entirely reasonable for the arresting officer to search for and seize any evidence
SEC. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and on the arrestees person in order to prevent its concealment or destruction. [38]
seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue
except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the Moreover, in lawful arrests, it becomes both the duty and the right of the apprehending officers to conduct a warrantless
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things search not only on the person of the suspect, but also in the permissible area within the latters reach. [39] Otherwise stated, a
to be seized. valid arrest allows the seizure of evidence or dangerous weapons either on the person of the one arrested or within the area
of his immediate control.[40] The phrase within the area of his immediate control means the area from within which he might
gain possession of a weapon or destructible evidence.[41] A gun on a table or in a drawer in front of one who is arrested can be
From this constitutional provision, it can readily be gleaned that, as a general rule, the procurement of a warrant is required as dangerous to the arresting officer as one concealed in the clothing of the person arrested.[42]
before a law enforcer can validly search or seize the person, house, papers, or effects of any individual.[30]
In the present case, Valeroso was arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest allegedly for kidnapping with ransom. At that time,
To underscore the significance the law attaches to the fundamental right of an individual against unreasonable searches and Valeroso was sleeping inside the boarding house of his children. He was awakened by the arresting officers who were heavily
seizures, the Constitution succinctly declares in Article III, Section 3(2), that any evidence obtained in violation of this or the armed. They pulled him out of the room, placed him beside the faucet outside the room, tied his hands, and then put him
preceding section shall be inadmissible in evidence for any purpose in any proceeding.[31] under the care of Disuanco.[43] The other police officers remained inside the room and ransacked the locked cabinet[44] where
they found the subject firearm and ammunition.[45] With such discovery, Valeroso was charged with illegal possession of
The above proscription is not, however, absolute. The following are the well-recognized instances where searches and seizures firearm and ammunition.
are allowed even without a valid warrant:
From the foregoing narration of facts, we can readily conclude that the arresting officers served the warrant of arrest without
any resistance from Valeroso. They placed him immediately under their control by pulling him out of the bed, and bringing him
out of the room with his hands tied. To be sure, the cabinet which, according to Valeroso, was locked, could no longer be Without the illegally seized firearm, Valerosos conviction cannot stand. There is simply no sufficient evidence to convict
considered as an area within his immediate control because there was no way for him to take any weapon or to destroy any him.[56] All told, the guilt of Valeroso was not proven beyond reasonable doubt measured by the required moral certainty for
evidence that could be used against him. conviction. The evidence presented by the prosecution was not enough to overcome the presumption of innocence as
constitutionally ordained. Indeed, it would be better to set free ten men who might probably be guilty of the crime charged
The arresting officers would have been justified in searching the person of Valeroso, as well as the tables or drawers in front of than to convict one innocent man for a crime he did not commit.[57]
him, for any concealed weapon that might be used against the former. But under the circumstances obtaining, there was no
comparable justification to search through all the desk drawers and cabinets or the other closed or concealed areas in that With the foregoing disquisition, there is no more need to discuss the other issues raised by Valeroso.
room itself.[46]
One final note. The Court values liberty and will always insist on the observance of basic constitutional rights as a
It is worthy to note that the purpose of the exception (warrantless search as an incident to a lawful arrest) is to protect the condition sine qua non against the awesome investigative and prosecutory powers of the government.[58]
arresting officer from being harmed by the person arrested, who might be armed with a concealed weapon, and to prevent the
latter from destroying evidence within reach. The exception, therefore, should not be strained beyond what is needed to serve WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the February 22, 2008 Decision and June 30, 2008 Resolution
its purpose.[47] In the case before us, search was made in the locked cabinet which cannot be said to have been within are RECONSIDERED and SET ASIDE. Sr. Insp. Jerry Valeroso is hereby ACQUITTED of illegal possession of firearm and
Valerosos immediate control. Thus, the search exceeded the bounds of what may be considered as an incident to a lawful ammunition.
arrest.[48]
SO ORDERED.
Nor can the warrantless search in this case be justified under the plain view doctrine.

The plain view doctrine may not be used to launch unbridled searches and indiscriminate seizures or to extend a general
exploratory search made solely to find evidence of defendants guilt. The doctrine is usually applied where a police officer is not
searching for evidence against the accused, but nonetheless inadvertently comes across an incriminating object.[49]

As enunciated in People v. Cubcubin, Jr.[50] and People v. Leangsiri:[51]

What the plain view cases have in common is that the police officer in each of them had a prior justification for an intrusion in
the course of which[,] he came inadvertently across a piece of evidence incriminating the accused. The doctrine serves to
supplement the prior justification whether it be a warrant for another object, hot pursuit, search incident to lawful arrest, or
some other legitimate reason for being present unconnected with a search directed against the accused and permits the
warrantless seizure. Of course, the extension of the original justification is legitimate only where it is immediately apparent to
the police that they have evidence before them; the plain view doctrine may not be used to extend a general exploratory
search from one object to another until something incriminating at last emerges.[52]

Indeed, the police officers were inside the boarding house of Valerosos children, because they were supposed to serve a
warrant of arrest issued against Valeroso. In other words, the police officers had a prior justification for the intrusion.
Consequently, any evidence that they would inadvertently discover may be used against Valeroso. However, in this case, the
police officers did not just accidentally discover the subject firearm and ammunition; they actually searched for evidence
against Valeroso.

Clearly, the search made was illegal, a violation of Valerosos right against unreasonable search and seizure. Consequently, the
evidence obtained in violation of said right is inadmissible in evidence against him.

Unreasonable searches and seizures are the menace against which the constitutional guarantees afford full protection. While
the power to search and seize may at times be necessary for public welfare, still it may be exercised and the law enforced
without transgressing the constitutional rights of the citizens, for no enforcement of any statute is of sufficient importance to
justify indifference to the basic principles of government. Those who are supposed to enforce the law are not justified in
disregarding the rights of an individual in the name of order. Order is too high a price to pay for the loss of liberty.[53]

Because a warrantless search is in derogation of a constitutional right, peace officers who conduct it cannot invoke regularity in
the performance of official functions.[54]

The Bill of Rights is the bedrock of constitutional government. If people are stripped naked of their rights as human beings,
democracy cannot survive and government becomes meaningless. This explains why the Bill of Rights, contained as it is in
Article III of the Constitution, occupies a position of primacy in the fundamental law way above the articles on governmental
power.[55]