(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%)
(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%)
(a) 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) 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
(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)
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