C. Arrests, Searches, and Seizures

Atty. Jericho Del Puerto

Atty. Jericho Del Puerto

Lawyer, Author, Mentor

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1. Requisites of a valid warrant

Requisites of a valid warrant:
A search warrant shall not issue except:
1) Upon probable cause;
2) In connection with one specific offense;
3) To be determined personally by the judge;
4) After examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce; and
5) Particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be seized which may be anywhere in the Philippines. (Section 4, Rule 126, Rules of Court)

Probable cause. No search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. (Section 2, Article III, 1987 Constitution)

Requisites for an application for a search warrant:
1) Any court within whose territorial jurisdiction a crime was committed;
2) For compelling reasons stated in the application, any court within the judicial region where the crime was committed if the place of the commission of the crime is known, or any court within the judicial region where the warrant shall be enforced. (Section 4, Rule 126, Rules of Court)
However, if the criminal action has already been filed, the application shall only be made in the court where the criminal action is pending. (Paragraph 2, Section 4, Rule 126, Ibid.)
When a search warrant may be issued for the search and seizure of personal property:
1) Subject of the offense;
2) Stolen or embezzled and other proceeds, or fruits of the offense; or
3) Used or intended to be used as the means of committing an offense. (Section 3, Rule 126, Ibid.)

2. Warrantless arrests and detention

Arrest; Warrant. For an arrest to be lawful, a warrant of arrest must have been judicially issued or there was a lawful warrantless arrest as provided for in Rule 113, Section 5 of the Rules of Court. (Manibog v. People, G.R. No. 211214, 20 March 2019)

Warrantless arrests. –

A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
1) In flagrante delicto (Section 5[a], Rule 113, Rules of Court);
2) Hot pursuit arrest (Section 5[b], Rule 113, Ibid.);
3) Prisoner who escaped or detainee who absconded (Section 5[c], Rule 113, Ibid.);
4) Arrest after escape or rescue (Section 13, Rule 113, Ibid.); and
5) Arrest via bondsman. (Section 23, Rule 114, Ibid.)

Personal knowledge. For valid warrantless arrests under Nos. 1 and 2, the arresting officer must have personal knowledge of the offense. The difference is that under No. 1, the arresting officer must have personally witnessed the crime; meanwhile, under No. 2, the arresting officer must have had probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested committed an offense. Nonetheless, whether under Nos. 1 or 2, the lawful arrest generally precedes, or is substantially contemporaneous, with the search. (Manibog v. People, supra.)

Lapi v. People (2019)
In People v. Balasa, the police were tipped off by an informant that people were packing drugs in a certain house. Upon reaching it, the police officers peeked into a window, where they saw a man and a woman repacking marijuana. The officers entered the house, introduced themselves as police officers, and arrested the pair. This Court held that the arrests and the subsequent searches and seizures were invalid as the arresting officers had no personal knowledge that the people in the house were committing a crime.

a. In flagrante delicto

Concept; In flagrante delicto.  When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense, he may be arrested without a warrant. (Section 5[a], Rule 113, Rules of Court)

Same; Compliance of overt acts. The validity of this warrantless arrest requires compliance with the overt act test. (Veridiano v. People, supra.)

Requisites for a warrantless arrest:
1) The person to be arrested must execute an overt act indicating that he/she has just committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit a crime; and
2) Such overt act is done in the presence or within the view of the arresting officer. (People v. Cogaed, supra.)

Concept: Hot pursuit arrest. When an offense has just been committed, and he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it, he may be arrested without a warrant. (Section 5[b], Rule 113, Ibid.)

Same; Immediacy in point of time. Rule 113, Section 5(b) of the Rules of Court pertains to a hot pursuit arrest. The rule requires that an offense has just been committed. It connotes “immediacy in point of time.” That a crime was in fact committed does not automatically bring the case under this rule. An arrest under Rule 113, Section 5(b) of the Rules of Court entails a time element from the moment the crime is committed up to the point of arrest. (Veridiano v. People, supra.)

Same; Personal knowledge. Law enforcers need not personally witness the commission of a crime. However, they must have personal knowledge of facts and circumstances indicating that the person sought to be arrested committed it. (Ibid.)

People v. Uyboco (2011)
It is sufficient for the arresting team that they were monitoring the pay-off for a number of hours long enough for them to be informed that it was indeed appellant, who was the kidnapper.  This is equivalent to personal knowledge based on probable cause.
People v. Gerente (1993)
In People v. Gerente, the policemen arrested Gerente only some three (3) hours after Gerente and his companions had killed Blace. They saw Blace dead in the hospital and when they inspected the scene of the crime, they found the instruments of death: a piece of wood and a concrete hollow block which the killers had used to bludgeon him to death. The eye-witness, Edna Edwina Reyes, reported the happening to the policemen and pinpointed her neighbor, Gerente, as one of the killers. Under those circumstances, since the policemen had personal knowledge of the violent death of Blace and of facts indicating that Gerente and two others had killed him, they could lawfully arrest Gerente without a warrant. If they had postponed his arrest until they could obtain a warrant, he would have fled the law as his two companions did.

Same; Hearsay tip – insufficient. A hearsay tip by itself does not justify a warrantless arrest. Law enforcers must have personal knowledge of facts, based on their observation, that the person sought to be arrested has just committed a crime. This is what gives rise to probable cause that would justify a warrantless search under Rule 113, Section 5(b) of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. (Ibid.)

•••••

BAR EXAM QUESTION

(Question XVIII, Political Law, 2018 Bar Exam)

Two police teams monitored the payment of ransom in a kidnapping case.

The bag containing the ransom money was placed inside an unlocked trunk of a car which was parked at the Angola Commercial Center in Mandaluyong City.

The first police team, stationed in an area near where the car was parked, witnessed the retrieval by the kidnappers of the bag from the unlocked trunk. The kidnappers thereafter boarded their car and proceeded towards the direction of Amorsolo St. in Makati City where the second police team was waiting.

Upon confirmation by radio report from the first police team that the kidnappers were heading towards their direction, the second police team proceeded to conduct surveillance on the car of the kidnappers, eventually saw it enter Ayala Commercial Center in Makati City, and the police team finally blocked it when it slowed down. The members of the second police team approached the vehicle and proceeded to arrest the kidnappers.

Is the warrantless arrest of the kidnappers by the second police team lawful? (5%)

Suggested Answer:

Yes. Answer

Under the Rules of Court, a warrantless arrest may be performed in cases involving hot pursuit. In such a case, when an offense has just been committed, and law enforcers have probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it, said person may be arrested without a warrant. Rule

Further, under jurisprudence, it is sufficient for the arresting team that they were monitoring the pay-off for a number of hours long enough for them to be informed that it was indeed the accused, who was the kidnapper. This is equivalent to personal knowledge based on probable cause. Rule

In the case at bar, the first team and second team of police officers were working in tandem in that operation. The second team was monitoring the pay-off. Accordingly, when the second team received information from the first team on the retrieval of the ransom money and the description of the car, the second team acted on it resulting in the valid arrest of the kidnappers. Apply

Thus, the warrantless arrest of the kidnappers by the second police team was lawful. Conclusion

•••••

c. Escapee or detainee who absconded

Escapee or detainee. When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another, he may be arrested without a warrant. (Section 5[c], Rule 113, Ibid.)

In re Saliba v. Warden (2015)
In In re Saliba v. Warden, it is undisputed that petitioner Salibo presented himself before the Datu Hofer Police Station to clear his name and to prove that he is not the accused Butukan S. Malang. When petitioner Salibo was in the presence of the police officers of Datu Hofer Police Station, he was neither committing nor attempting to commit an offense. The police officers had no personal knowledge of any offense that he might have committed. Petitioner Salibo was also not an escapee prisoner.

d. Arrest after escape or rescue

Immediate pursue or retake escapee. If a person lawfully arrested escapes or is rescued, any person may immediately pursue or retake him without a warrant at any time and in any place within the Philippines. (Section 13, Rule 113, Ibid.)

e. Arrest via bondsman

For the purpose of surrendering the accused, the bondsmen may arrest him or, upon written authority endorsed on a certified copy of the undertaking, cause him to be arrested by a police officer or any other person of suitable age and discretion. (Section 23, Rule 114, Rules of Court)

An accused released on bail may be re-arrested without the necessity of a warrant if he attempts to depart from the Philippines without permission of the court where the case is pending. (Paragraph 2, Section 23, Rule 114, Ibid.)

3. Warrantles searches

General Rule: To be valid, searches must proceed from a warrant issued by a judge. (People v. Sison, G.R. No. 238453, 31 July 2019)
Exceptions:
1) Warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest;
2) Seizure of evidence in “plain view;”
3) Search of a moving vehicle;
4) Consented warrantless search;
5) Customs search;
6) Stop and Frisk;
7) Exigent and Emergency Circumstances; and
8) Searches incident of inspection, supervision and regulation sanctioned by the State. (Manibog v. People, G.R. No. 211214, 20 March 2019 cf. Pilapil, Jr. v. Cu, G.R. Nos. 228608 and 228589, 27 August 2020)

Limitation. While there are exceptions to this rule, warrantless searches can only be carried out when founded on probable cause, or “a reasonable ground of suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a cautious man to believe that the person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is charged.” There must be a confluence of several suspicious circumstances. A solitary tip hardly suffices as probable cause; items seized during warrantless searches based on solitary tips are inadmissible as evidence. (People v. Sison, supra.)

Purpose. The purpose of allowing a warrantless search and seizure incident to a lawful arrest is “to protect the 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.” 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 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. (People v. Calantiao, G.R. No. 203984, 18 June 2014)

a. Warrantless search incidental to a 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. (Section 13, Rule 126, Rules of Court)

A search incidental to a lawful arrest requires that there must first be a lawful arrest before a search is made. Otherwise stated, a lawful arrest must precede the search; the process cannot be reversed. (Veridiano v. People, G.R. No. 200370, 07 June 2017)

Warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest is recognized under Section 13, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court and by prevailing jurisprudence. (Manibog v. People, supra.)

b. Seizure of evidence in “plain view”

Elements of aseizure of evidence in “plain view”:
1) A prior valid intrusion based on the valid warrantless arrest in which the police are legally present in the pursuit of their official duties;
2) The evidence was inadvertently discovered by the police who had the right to be where they are;
3) The evidence must be immediately apparent, and
4) “Plain view” justified mere seizure of evidence without further search. (Manibog v. People, supra.)

Concept: Plain view doctrine. Under the plain view doctrine, objects falling within the plain view of a law enforcement officer, who has a right to be in a position to have that view, may be validly seized by such officer without a warrant and, thus, may be introduced in evidence. An object is deemed in plain view when it is “open to eye and hand” or is “plainly exposed to sight.” (Pilapil, Jr. v. Cu, G.R. Nos. 228608 and 228589, 27 August 2020)

Same; Exception to the inadmissibility of evidence in a warrantless search incident to a lawful arrest. The plain view doctrine is actually the exception to the inadmissibility of evidence obtained in a warrantless search incident to a lawful arrest outside the suspect’s person and premises under his immediate control. This is so because objects in the “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. (People v. Calantiao, supra.)

Same; When doctrine is applied. 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. 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 present unconnected with a search directed against the accused – and permits the warrantless seizure. (Ibid.)

People v. Calantiao
The plain view doctrine finds no applicability in Calantiao’s situation because the police officers purposely searched him 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.
Requisites to validly invoke the plain view doctrine:
1) The law enforcement officer in search of the evidence has a prior justification for an intrusion or is in a position from which he can view a particular area;
2) The discovery of evidence in plain view is inadvertent;
3) It is immediately apparent to the officer that the item he observes may be evidence of a crime, contraband or otherwise subject to seizure. (Pilapil, Jr. v. Cu, supra.)

Prior justification. The first requisite of the plain view doctrine assumes that the law enforcement officer has “prior justification for an intrusion or is in a position from which he can view a particular area.” This means that the officer who made the warrantless seizure must have been in a lawful position when he discovered the target contraband or evidence in plain view. (Ibid.)

Appears as a contraband or an evidence of a crime. In order to satisfy the third requisite of the plain view doctrine, it must be established that the seized item-on the basis of the attending facts and surrounding circumstances-reasonably appeared, to the officer who made the seizure, as a contraband or an evidence of a crime. (Ibid.)

Same; Immediately apparent test. The immediately apparent test does not require an unduly high degree of certainty as to the incriminating character of evidence. It requires merely that the seizure be presumptively reasonable assuming that there is probable cause to associate the property with criminal activity; that a nexus exists between a viewed object and criminal activity. (Ibid.)

Concept: Incriminating. Incriminating – means the furnishing of evidence as proof of circumstances tending to prove the guilt of a person. (Ibid.)

Same; Incriminating in character. Even in the midst of a valid intrusion by a law enforcement officer, the plain view doctrine cannot be used to justify the indiscriminate seizure of any item that happens to fall within such officer’s open view. A contrary rule is nothing short of allowing government agents to conduct general exploratory searches of evidence – a scenario precisely condemned by the Constitution. Thus, as conceived in jurisprudence, only items whose incriminating character is immediately apparent to the law enforcement officer may be seized pursuant to the plain view doctrine. (Ibid.)

c. Search of a moving vehicle

Inherent mobility – reduces expectation of privacy. Highly regulated by the government, the vehicle’s inherent mobility reduces expectation of privacy especially when its transit in public thoroughfares furnishes a highly reasonable suspicion amounting to probable cause that the occupant committed a criminal activity. (Manibog v. People, supra.)

Impracticality. A search warrant may readily be obtained when the search is made in a store, dwelling house or other immobile structure. But it is impracticable to obtain a warrant when the search is conducted on a mobile ship, on an aircraft, or in other motor vehicles since they can quickly be moved out of the locality or jurisdiction where the warrant must be sought. (People v. Mariacos, G.R. No. 188611, 16 June 2010)

Probable cause. For a warrantless search of a moving vehicle to be valid, probable cause remains imperative. Law enforcers do not enjoy unbridled discretion to conduct searches. (People v. Sison, supra.)

Same; No unlimited discretion to conduct search. The mere mobility of these vehicles, however, does not give the police officers unlimited discretion to conduct indiscriminate searches without warrants if made within the interior of the territory and in the absence of probable cause. Still and all, the important thing is that there was probable cause to conduct the warrantless search, which must still be present in such a case. (Caballes v. CA, G.R. No. 136292, 15 January 2002)

Same; Bare suspicion – never enough. In determining the existence of probable cause, bare suspicion is never enough. While probable cause does not demand moral certainty, or evidence sufficient to justify conviction, it requires the existence of “a reasonable ground of suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a cautious man to believe that the person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is charged.” (People v. Sison, supra.)

People v. Sison
1) In People v. Malmstedt, Narcotics Command officers set up a temporary checkpoint in response to “persistent reports that vehicles coming from Sagada were transporting marijuana and other prohibited drugs.” These included information that a Caucasian coming from Sagada had prohibited drugs in his possession. At the checkpoint, the officers intercepted a bus and inspected it, starting from the front, going towards the rear. The bus turned out to be the vehicle boarded by the accused. Upon reaching the accused, an officer noticed a bulge on his waist. This prompted the officer to ask for the accused’s passport and identification papers, which the accused failed to provide. The accused was then made to reveal what was bulging on his waist. It turned out to be hashish, a derivative of marijuana.
2) In People v. Que, police officers went on patrol after receiving information that “a ten-wheeler truck bearing plate number PAD-548 loaded with illegally cut lumber will pass through Ilocos Norte.” When they saw the truck resembling this description pass by, the officers flagged it down.

Implied acquiescence – No consent. Consent given under intimidating or coercive circumstances is no consent within the purview of the constitutional guaranty. (Aniag, Jr. v. COMELEC, En Banc, G.R. No. 104961, 07 October 1994)

Aniag, Jr. v. COMELEC (1994)
In the face of fourteen (14) armed policemen conducting the operation, driver Arellano being alone and a mere employee of petitioner could not have marshalled the strength and the courage to protest against the extensive search conducted in the vehicle. In such scenario, the “implied acquiescence,” if there was any, could not be more than a mere passive conformity on Arellano’s part to the search, and “consent” given under intimidating or coercive circumstances is no consent within the purview of the constitutional guaranty.

d. Consented warrantless search

Consent via waiver – allowed. Doubtless, the constitutional immunity against unreasonable searches and seizures is a personal right which may be waived. The consent must be voluntary in order to validate an otherwise illegal detention and search, i.e., the consent is unequivocal, specific, and intelligently given, uncontaminated by any duress or coercion. (Caballes v. CA, G.R. No. 136292, 15 January 2002)

Same; Clear and convincing evidence. Consent to a search is not to be lightly inferred, but must be shown by clear and convincing evidence. The question whether a consent to a search was in fact voluntary is a question of fact to be determined from the totality of all the circumstances. (Ibid.)

To consider: Characteristics of the person giving consent and the environment in which consent is given:
1) The age of the defendant;
2) Whether he was in a public or secluded location;
3) Whether he objected to the search or passively looked on;
4) The education and intelligence of the defendant;
5) The presence of coercive police procedures;
6) The defendant’s belief that no incriminating evidence will be found;
7) The nature of the police questioning;
8) The environment in which the questioning took place; and
9) The possibly vulnerable subjective state of the person consenting. (Ibid.)
Caballes v. CA (2002)
1) In Asuncion vs. Court of Appeals the apprehending officers sought the permission of petitioner to search the car, to which the latter agreed. Petitioner therein himself freely gave his consent to said search.
2) In People vs. Lacerna, the appellants who were riding in a taxi were stopped by two policemen who asked permission to search the vehicle and the appellants readily agreed. In upholding the validity of the consented search, the Court held that appellant himself who was “urbanized in mannerism and speech” expressly said that he was consenting to the search as he allegedly had nothing to hide and had done nothing wrong.
3) In People vs. Cuizon, the accused admitted that they signed a written permission stating that they freely consented to the search of their luggage by the NBI agents to determine if they were carrying shabu.
4) In People vs. Montilla, it was held that the accused spontaneously performed affirmative acts of volition by himself opening the bag without being forced or intimidated to do so, which acts should properly be construed as a clear waiver of his right.
5) In People vs. Omaweng, the police officers asked the accused if they could see the contents of his bag to which the accused said “you can see the contents but those are only clothings.” Then the policemen asked if they could open and see it, and accused answered “you can see it.” The Court said there was a valid consented search.
To constitute a waiver, it must first appear that:
1) The right exists;
2) That the person involved had knowledge, either actual or constructive, of the existence of such right; and
3) The said person had an actual intention to relinquish the right.

Totality of circumstances. The validity of a consented warrantless search is determined by the totality of the circumstances. This may involve an inquiry into the environment in which the consent was given such as “the presence of coercive police procedures.” (Veridiano v. People, G.R. No. 200370, 07 June 2017)

Passive conformity/silence – implied acquiescence, amounts to no consent. Mere passive conformity or silence to the warrantless search is only an implied acquiescence, which amounts to no consent at all. (Ibid.)

Burden of proof: law enforcers. It is the State which has the burden of proving, by clear and positive testimony, that the necessary consent was obtained and that it was freely and voluntarily given. (Caballes v. CA, supra.)

Same; Waivers – not presumed. The prosecution and the police carry the burden of showing that the waiver of a constitutional right is one which is knowing, intelligent, and free from any coercion. In all cases, such waivers are not to be presumed. (People v. Cogaed, G.R. No. 200334, 30 July 2014)

Same; Coercive environment. The presence of a coercive environment negates the claim that the accused consented to the warrantless search. (Ibid.)

e. Customs search

Enforcement of customs law. Except in the case of the search of a dwelling house, persons exercising police authority under the customs law may effect search and seizure without a search warrant in the enforcement of customs laws. (People v. CFI Rizal, G.R. No. L-41686, 17 November 1980)

f. Stop and Frisk

Concept: Stop and frisk searches. “Stop and frisk” searches (sometimes referred to as Terry searches) are necessary for law enforcement. That is, law enforcers should be given the legal arsenal to prevent the commission of offenses. However, this should be balanced with the need to protect the privacy of citizens in accordance with Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution. (People v. Cogaed, G.R. No. 200334, 30 July 2014)

Same; Concept of suspiciousness. The balance lies in the concept of “suspiciousness” present in the situation where the police officer finds himself or herself in. This may be undoubtedly based on the experience of the police officer. Experienced police officers have personal experience dealing with criminals and criminal behavior. Hence, they should have the ability to discern – based on facts that they themselves observe – whether an individual is acting in a suspicious manner. Clearly, a basic criterion would be that the police officer, with his or her personal knowledge, must observe the facts leading to the suspicion of an illicit act. (Ibid.)

Purpose. In direct contrast with warrantless searches incidental to a lawful arrest, stop and frisk searches are conducted to deter crime. (Manibog v. People, supra.)

Personal knowledge – required. For a valid stop and frisk search, the arresting officer must have had personal knowledge of facts, which would engender a reasonable degree of suspicion of an illicit act. Anything less than the arresting officer’s personal observation of a suspicious circumstance as basis for the search is an infringement of the “basic right to security of one’s person and effects.” (People v. Cogaed, supra.)

Same; Mere suspicion – not enough. For a stop and frisk search to be valid, mere suspicion is not enough; there should be a genuine reason, as determined by the police officer, to warrant a belief that the person searched was carrying a weapon. In short, the totality of circumstances should result in a genuine reason to justify a stop and frisk search. (Ibid.)

People v. Cogaed (2014)
1) In Posadas v. Court of Appeals, the Court upheld the warrantless search and seizure done as a valid stop and frisk search. There, the accused’s suspicious actions, coupled with his attempt to flee when the police officers introduced themselves to him, amounted to a reasonable suspicion that he was concealing something illegal in his buri bag. However, Posadas failed to elaborate on or describe what the police officers observed as the suspicious act that led them to search the accused’s buri bag.
2) In Manalili v. Court of Appeals, the police responded to a report that drug addicts were roaming in front of the Kalookan City Cemetery. There, they saw a man with bloodshot eyes who had trouble walking straight. This Court upheld the validity of the warrantless arrest as a stop and frisk search, since the police officers’ observation and assessment led them to believe that the man was high on drugs and compelled them to investigate and search him.
3) In People v. Solayao, police officers were investigating reports that a group of armed men was roaming the barangay at night. As they patrolled the streets, they saw seemingly drunk men, among them Solayao in a camouflage uniform. The men fled upon seeing the police, but Solayao was caught and found with an unlicensed firearm. This Court upheld the validity of the warrantless search and seizure conducted as a stop and frisk search, since the unfolding events did not leave the police officers enough time to procure a search warrant.
4) In Esquillo v. People, the police officer approached and searched the accused after seeing her put a clear plastic sachet in her cigarette case and try to flee from him. This Court upheld the validity of the stop and frisk search conducted, since the police officer’s experience led him to reasonably suspect that the plastic sachet with white crystalline substance in the cigarette case was a dangerous drug.

•••••

BAR EXAM QUESTION

(Question A.5, Political Law, 2019 Bar Exam)

At about 5:30 A.M. of September 15, 2019 Police Senior Inspector Officer A of the Manila Police District Station received a text message from an unidentified civilian informer that one Mr. Z would be meeting up later that morning with two (2) potential sellers of drugs at a nearby restaurant. As such, Officer A decided to hang around the said place immediately.

At about 9:15 A.M., two (2) male passengers. Named A and Y, who were each carrying a traveling bag, alighted from a bus in front of the restaurant. A transport barker, serving as a lookout for Officer A, signaled to the latter that X and Y were “suspicious-looking.”

As the two were about to enter the restaurant, Officer A stopped them and asked about the contents of their bags. Dissatisfied with their response that the bags contained only clothes, Officer A proceeded to search the bags and found packs of shabu therein. Thus, X and Y were arrested, and the drugs were seized from them. According to Officer A, a warrantless search was validly made pursuant to the stop and frisk rule; hence, the consequent seizure of the drugs was likewise valid.

(a) What is the stop and frisk rule? (2.5%)

Suggested Answer:

Stop and frisk rule – refers to a valid warrantless search made by a law enforcer who has personal knowledge of facts, which would engender a reasonable degree of suspicion of an illicit act. Law enforcers are given the legal arsenal to prevent the commission of offenses based on a genuine reason, as determined by the police officer, to warrant a belief that the person searched was carrying a weapon.

(b) Was the stop and frisk rule validly invoked by Officer A? If not, what is the effect on the drugs seized as evidence? Explain. (2.5%)

Suggested Answer:

No. Answer

Under the jurisprudence, for a valid stop and frisk search, the arresting officer must have had personal knowledge of facts, which would engender a reasonable degree of suspicion of an illicit act. Rule

In the case at bar, Officer A had no personal knowledge of a possible illicit act that was being committed by X and Y. Instead, his knowledge is based on hearsay from an anonymous text and a signal from a transport barker identifying X and Y as “suspicious-looking”. Apply

Thus, Officer A did not validly invoke the stop and frisk rule resulting in the inadmissibility as evidence of the seized drugs. Conclusion

•••••

g. Searches incident of inspection, supervision and regulation sanctioned by the State in the exercise of its police power

Administrative inspections. Administrative inspections, duly authorized and reasonably limited by statute and regulation, are examples of inspections sanctioned by the State in the exercise of its police power that may be considered as among the instances of valid warrantless searches. (Pilapil, Jr. v. People, G.R. No. 228608, 27 August 2020)

Reduced expectation of privacy. A reduced expectation of privacy is the reason why the inspection of persons and their effects under routine inspections, such as those done in airports, seaports, bus terminals, malls, and similar public places, does not require a search warrant. These routine inspections are considered reasonable searches, clearly done to ensure public safety. (Acosta v. Ochoa, G.R. No. 211559, 15 October 2019)

Compelling urgency to inspect. A warrantless inspection of a home is deemed reasonable if it involves an emergency situation concerning health and safety. For instance, the seizure of unwholesome food, compulsory smallpox vaccination, health quarantine, and summary destruction of tubercular cattle were found as proper subjects of prompt inspections. However, if “there is no compelling urgency to inspect at a particular time or on a particular day[,]” a warrant should “be sought only after entry is refused unless there has been a citizen complaint or there is other satisfactory reason for securing immediate entry.” (Ibid. citing Camara v. Municipal Court, 387 U.S. 523 [1967])

Mayor – no authority to conduct warrantless inspections of mining sites. Section 444(b)(3)(iv) of the LGC does not-whether expressly or impliedly-authorize a municipal mayor to conduct warrantless inspections of mining sites. The power of a mayor “to inspect and investigate private commercial establishments for any violation of the conditions of their [business] licenses and permits,” could not extend to searches of mining sites in view of the unique inspection scheme over such sites established under RA No. 7942, or the Mining Act, and its RIRR. (Pilapil, Jr. v. People, G.R. No. 228608, 27 August 2020)

Pilapil, Jr. v. People (2020)
Mayor Pilapil’s seizure of the subject explosives is illegal and cannot be justified under the plain view doctrine. The warrantless ocular inspection of the mining site operated by BCMC and Prime Rock that preceded such seizure, and which allowed Mayor Pilapil and his team of police officers and barangay officials to catch a view of the subject explosives, finds no authority under any provision of any law. In addition, established circumstances suggest that the incriminating nature of the subject explosives could not have been immediately apparent to Mayor Pilapil and his inspection team.

h. Exigent and Emergency Circumstances

Warrante by exigencies of public order; Conducted in a way least intrusive. The Supreme Court has ruled that not all checkpoints are illegal. Those which are warranted by the exigencies of public order and are conducted in a way least intrusive to motorists are allowed. For, admittedly, routine checkpoints do intrude, to a certain extent, on motorists’ right to “free passage without interruption,” but it cannot be denied that, as a rule, it involves only a brief detention of travelers during which the vehicle’s occupants are required to answer a brief question or two. For as long as the vehicle is neither searched nor its occupants subjected to a body search, and the inspection of the vehicle is limited to a visual search, said routine checks cannot be regarded as violative of an individual’s right against unreasonable search. In fact, these routine checks, when conducted in a fixed area, are even less intrusive. (Abenes v. CA, G.R. No. 156320, 14 February 2007)

Checkpoints. The setting up of the questioned checkpoints may be considered as a security measure to enable law enforcers to pursue its mission of establishing effective territorial defense and maintaining peace and order for the benefit of the public. Checkpoints may also be regarded as measures to thwart plots to destabilize the government, in the interest of public security. (Valmonte v. De Villa, En Banc, G.R. No. 83988, 29 September 1989)

Same; Right of the State to protect its existence and promote public welfare. Between the inherent right of the state to protect its existence and promote public welfare and an individual’s right against a warrantless search which is however reasonably conducted, the former should prevail. (Ibid.)

Body checks in airports. Every ticket issued to a passenger by the airline or air carrier concerned shall contain among others the following condition printed thereon: “Holder hereof and his hand-carried luggage(s) are subject to search for, and seizure of, prohibited materials or substances. Holder refusing to be searched shall not be allowed to board the aircraft,” which shall constitute a part of the contract between the passenger and the air carrier. (Section 9, R.A. 6235)

4. Exclusionary rule

Concept: Exclusionary rule. Any evidence obtained in violation of the right against unreasonable searches and seizures shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding. (People v. Sison, G.R. No. 238453, 31 July 2019 citing Section 2, Article III, 1987 Constitution)

Same; Purpose. To protect people from unreasonable searches and seizures, Section 3 (2), Article III of the Constitution provides an exclusionary rule which instructs that evidence obtained and confiscated on the occasion of such unreasonable searches and seizures are deemed tainted and should be excluded for being the proverbial fruit of a poisonous tree. In other words, evidence obtained from unreasonable searches and seizures shall be inadmissible in evidence for any purpose in any proceeding. (Gonzales v. People, G.R. No. 205926, 22 July 2015)

Same; Same; Protection against erring officers. This exclusionary rule is a protection against erring officers who deliberately or negligently disregard the proper procedure in effecting searches, and would so recklessly trample on one’s right to privacy. By negating the admissibility in evidence of items seized in illegal searches and seizures, the Constitution declines to validate the law enforcers’ illicit conduct. Evidence obtained and confiscated on the occasion of such an unreasonable search and seizure is tainted and should be excluded for being the proverbial fruit of a poisonous tree. (People v. Sison, G.R. No. 238453, 31 July 2019)

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Subjects

Political Law, Labor Law

B. Employment of non-resident alien

Frequency: ★★★★★ 1. Alien Employment Permit (AEP) ART. 40. Employment Permit of Non-resident Aliens. Any alien seeking admission to the Philippines for employment purposes and

P. Right against self-incrimination

The right against self-incrimination is accorded to every person who gives evidence, whether voluntary or under compulsion of subpoena, in any civil, criminal or administrative

L. Crimes against honor

Frequency: ★★★★★ GENERAL PROVISIONS 1) Persons responsible Any person who shall publish, exhibit, or cause the publication or exhibition of any defamation in writing or

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