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CASE DIGESTS IN CRIMINAL LAW II

1. MALACAT V. CA
GR No. 123595
December 12, 1997

FACTS:

According to the police officers on August 27, 1990, in response to bomb


threats reported seven days earlier, Rodolfo Yu, a western police district
officer was on foot patrol with three other police officers along Quiapo,
Manila. They chanced upon two groups of Muslim-looking men, with each
group, comprised of three to four men who were acting suspiciously. Yu
and his companions positioned themselves at strategic points and
observed both groups for about thirty minutes. The police officers then
approached one group of men who then fled in different directions. As the
policemen gave chase, Yu caught up with and apprehended Malacat. Upon
searching Malacat, Yu found a fragmentation grenade tucked inside
Malacat’s front waistline. A companion of Malacat was apprehended and
caught with a .38 caliber revolver. They were both brought to the police
station. Serapio, the investigating officer, conducted the inquest of the two
suspects and took their uncounseled confession. Before this incident, Yu,
other policemen and the group of Malacat already had an encounter due
to a report that there are persons who were going to detonate a grenade.

Malacat counters that the policemen searched them, despite finding


nothing in their possession, and arrested them. Malacat was accused of
having shot a police officer. He also alleged that a police officer accused
him of having shot one of them thereby hit him with benches and guns.

The Trial Court ruled that the warrantless search and seizure was akin to
a stop and frisk, where a warrant and seizure can be affected without
necessarily being preceded an arrest and whose object is either to maintain
the status quo momentarily while the police officer seeks to obtain more
information. Probable cause was not required as it was not certain that a
crime had been committed, however, the situation called for an
investigation, hence to require probable cause would have been
premature. Malacat was then found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of illegal possession of explosives. The Court of Appeals affirmed the
same. Hence, this petition.

ISSUE/S:
a. Whether or not the warrantless arrest is valid and legal
b. Whether or not the warrantless search is valid and legal

HELD:
The general rule as regards arrests, searches and seizures is that a warrant is
needed in order to validly effect the same. The constitutional prohibition against
unreasonable arrests, searches and seizures refers to those effected without a
validly issued warrant, subject to certain exceptions. As regards valid
warrantless arrests, these are found in Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court
which reads in part:

Sec. 5 – Arrest without warrant, when lawful – a peace officer or a private person
may, without a warrant, arrest a person;
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is
actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has
personal knowledge of facts indication that the person to be arrested
has committed it; and
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped.

A warrantless arrest under the circumstances contemplated in Sec. 5(a)


has been denominated as one “in flagrante delicto” while under section
5(b) has been described as a “hot pursuit” arrest.

Turning to valid warrantless searched, they are limited to the following: (1)
customs search; (2) search of moving vehicles; (3) seizure of evidence in plain
view (4) consent searches (5) a search incidental to a lawful arrest and (6) a stop
and frisk.
The trial court confused the concepts of stop and frisk and of a search incidental
to a lawful arrest. These two types of warrantless searchs differ in terms of the
requisite quantum of proof before they may be validly effected and in their
allowable scope.
In a search incidental to a lawful arrest, as the arrest determines the validity of
the search, the legality of the arrest is questioned largely because it might be
used merely as an excuse for conducting a search. Here, there could be no valid
in flagrante delicto or hot pursuit preceding the search in light of the lack of
personal knowledge on the part of Yu or an overt physical act of the part of
Malacat that a crime has just been committed, was being committed or was going
to be committed. This case rather falls under the stop and frisk. A careful review,
however, of the evidences of the case warrant that the stop and frisk was invalid,
to wit:
FIRST, on Yu’s claim the Malacat was a member of the group which attempted
to bomb Plaza Miranda two days earlier. This claim is neither supported by any
police report or record nor corroborated by any other police officer who allegedly
chased that group.
SECOND, there was nothing in Malacat’s behavior or conduct which could have
reasonably elicited even mere suspicion other than that his eyes were moving
very fast – an observation so incredulous since Yu and his mates were nowhere
near the accused and considering that is was already dusk.
THIRD, there was no probable ground to believe that malacat was armed with a
deadly weapon. None was visible to Yu, for as he admitted, the alleged grenade
was discovered inside the front waistline but considering the distance then
between Yu and Malacat any indication of a grenade being hidden could not have
been visible to Yu.
2. Agbay v. Ombudsman
GR No. 134503
July 2, 1999
FACTS:

On September 7, 1997, Agbay together with Shewin Jugalbot was arrested


and detained at a police station in Cebu for an alleged violation of R.A.
7610; the following day, a complaint for violating the said Act was filed
against them by one Joan Gicaraya for and in behalf of her daughter Gayle.
Sherwin Jugalbot was released while Jasper Agbay is presently detained
at the police station jail. The counsel for Agbay demanded the chief of
police to release Agbay considering that the latter has failed to deliver
Jasper Agbay to the proper judicial authorities within 36 hours. No action
was taken regarding this demand.

On September 12, 1997 the Municipal Trial Court issued an order


committing Agbay to the jail warden of Cebu City but he was subsequently
released after he posted bond.

A complaint for delay in the delivery of detained persons was filed against
the police officers of the police station before the Ombudsman. Meanwhile,
Jugalbot and Agbay was found guilty in their case filed against them for
violating R.A. 7610. A memorandum circular was subsequently issued by
the Deputy Ombudsman remanding the case (filed against the police
officers) to the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military.

Hence this petition.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the police officers are guilty of delay in the delivery of
detained persons to the proper judicial authorities
HELD:

No. The duty of filing the corresponding complaint in court was fulfilled by the
police officers when the formal complaint was filed on September 8, 1997 with
the Municipal Trial Court, barely 20 hours after the arrest of Agbay on September
7, 1997. The Solicitor General argues that while a municipal trial court judge
may conduct preliminary investigations as an exception to his normal judicial
duties, he retains the authority to issue an order of release or commitment. As
such, upon the filing of the complaint with the MTC, there was already
compliance with the very purpose of Art. 12 of the RPC.

The core issue is whether the filing of the complaint with the Municipal Trial
Court constitutes delivery to a proper judicial authority as contemplated by Art.
125 of the Revised Penal Code.

Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code is intended to prevent any abuse resulting
from confining a person without informing him of his offense and without
permitting him to go on bail. More specifically, it punishes public officials or
employees who shall detain any person for some legal ground and shall fail to
deliver such person to the proper judicial authorities within the periods
prescribed by law. The continued detention of the accused becomes illegal upon
the expiration of the periods provided for by Art. 125 without such detainee
having been delivered to the corresponding judicial authorities.

The words judicial authority as contemplated by Art. 125 mean the courts of
justices or judges of said courts vested with judicial power to order the temporary
detention or confinement of a person charged with having committed a public
offense, that is, the Supreme Court and other such inferior courts as may be
established by law.

Contrary to Agbay’s contention that when the MTC Judge conducted preliminary
investigation he was not acting as a judge but rather as a fiscal.
3. Villavicencio et al. v. Lukban
G.R. No. L-14639
March 25, 1919

FACTS:

The Mayor of Manila Justo Lukban, for the best of all reasons, to
exterminate vice, ordered the segregated district for women of ill repute,
which has been permitted for a number of years in the City of Manila,
closed. Between October 16 and 25 1918 the women were kept confined
to their houses in the district by the police. During this period too, the city
authorities quietly perfected arrangements with Labor Bureau for sending
the women to Davao, Mindanao as laborers; with some government office
for the use of the coastguard cutters Corregidor and Negros, and with the
Constabulary for a guard of soldiers. At midnight on October 25, 1918 the
police pursuant to an order by the Mayor, hustled some 170 inmates into
patrol wagons and placed them aboard the steamers. The women were
given no opportunity to collect their belongings and were under the
impression that they were being taken to a police station for an
investigation. They had no knowledge that they were destined for a life in
Davao. They has not been asked if they wished to depart from that region
and had neither directly nor indirectly given their consent to the
deportation. Without their consent, they were sailed towards Davao.

Just about time the Corregidor and the Negros were putting in to Davao,
the lawyer for the relatives and friends of a considerable number of the
deportees presented an application for habeas corpus to a member of the
Supreme Court. Subsequently, the application, through the stipulation of
the parties, was made to include all of the women who were sent away
from Manila to Davao. The Supreme Court granted the said petition for
habeas corpus and proceeded to ask the respondents Lukban et al to bring
those people before the court.

Hence this petition.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the deportation of the 170 from Manila to Davao was valid
and legal

HELD:
NO. Alien prostitutes can be expelled from the Philippines in conformity
with an act of congress. There are certain laws which can be used as basis
for the deportation of such number of women from one place to another.
On the contrary, Philippine penal law specifically punishes any public
officer, who not being expressly authorized by law or regulation, compels
any person to change his residence.