Prudente vs. Dayrit

Posted: April 13, 2017 in case digests, criminal procedure cases, Uncategorized
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Search warrants. Basis of probable cause. Prudente vs. dayrit. 180 SCRA 69

By: Randel Bejasa

 

 

G.R. No. 82870                       December 14, 1989

  1. NEMESIO E. PRUDENTE,petitioner,
    vs.
    THE HON. EXECUTIVE JUDGE ABELARDO M. DAYRIT, RTC Manila, Branch 33 and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

 

 

FACTS:

 

  • P/Major Alladin Dimagmaliw, filed with the (RTC) an application for the issuance of a search warrant. In his application for search warrant, P/Major Alladin Dimagmaliw alleged, among others, as follows:

1) That he has been informed and has good and sufficient reasons to believe that Nemesio Prudente has in his control or possession firearms, explosives handgrenades and ammunition which are illegally possessed or intended to be used as the means of committing an offense which the said Nemesio Prudente is keeping and concealing at the following premises of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines;

2) That the undersigned has verified the report and found it to be a fact, and therefore, believes that a Search Warrant should be issued

 

 

  • Respondent Judge issued Search Warrant which was enforced by some 200 WPD operatives.

 

  • Petitioner moved to quash the search warrant. He claimed that

(1) the complainant’s lone witness, Lt. Florenio C. Angeles, had no personal knowledge of the facts which formed the basis for the issuance of the search warrant;

(2) the examination of the said witness was not in the form of searching questions and answers;

(3) the search warrant was a general warrant, for the reason that it did not particularly describe the place to be searched and that it failed to charge one specific offense; and

(4) the search warrant was issued in violation of Circular No. 19 of the Supreme Court in that the complainant failed to allege under oath that the issuance of the search warrant on a Saturday was urgent.

 

  • Respondent Judge issued an order, denying the petitioner’s motion and supplemental motion to quash. Petitioner’s motion for reconsideration 10 was likewise denied

 

 

 

 

ISSUE:

 

  • Whether or not there was probable cause to satisfy the issuance of a search warrant.

 

 

HELD:

 

No.

 

For a valid search warrant to issue, there must be PROBABLE CAUSE, which is 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. The probable cause must be in connection with one specific offense and the judge must, before issuing the warrant, personally examine in the form of searching questions and answers, in writing and under oath, the complainant and any witness he may produce, on facts personally known to them and attach to the record their sworn statements together with any affidavits submitted.

 

“Probable cause” for a valid search warrant, has been defined “as such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed, and that objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched.”  This probable cause must be shown to be within the personal knowledge of the complainant or the witnesses he may produce and not based on mere hearsay.

 

In his application for search warrant, P/Major Alladin Dimagmaliw stated that “he has been informed” that Nemesio Prudente “has in his control and possession” the firearms and explosives described therein, and that he “has verified the report and found it to be a fact.” On the other hand, in his supporting deposition, P/Lt. Florenio C. Angeles declared that, as a result of their continuous surveillance for several days, they “gathered informations from verified sources” that the holders of the said fire arms and explosives are not licensed to possess them. In other words, the applicant and his witness had no personal knowledge of the facts and circumstances which became the basis for issuing the questioned search warrant, but acquired knowledge thereof only through information from other sources or persons.

 

Moreover, a perusal of the deposition of P/Lt. Florenio Angeles shows that it was too brief and short. Respondent Judge did not examine him “in the form of searching questions and answers.” On the contrary, the questions asked were leading as they called for a simple “yes” or “no” answer.  Asking of leading questions to the deponent in an application for search warrant, and conducting of examination in a general manner, would not satisfy the requirements for issuance of a valid search warrant.”

 

 

 

PARTICULARITY OF DESCRIPTION

The rule is, that a description of a place to be searched is sufficient if the officer with the warrant can, with reasonable effort, ascertain and Identify the place intended .  In the case at bar, the application for search warrant and the search warrant itself described the place to be searched as the premises of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. The designation of the places to be searched sufficiently complied with the constitutional injunction that a search warrant must particularly describe the place to be searched, even if there were several rooms at the ground floor and second floor of the PUP.

 

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