Archive for the ‘criminal procedure cases’ Category

Search warrants. Place to be searched. People vs. C.A., 291 SCRA 400

By: Randel Bejasa

 

G.R. No. 126379                      June 26, 1998

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by Provincial Prosecutor FAUSTINO T.

CHIONG, petitioner,

COURT OF APPEALS, JUDGE CAESAR CASANOVA, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial

Court, Branch 80, Malolos, Bulacan, AZFAR HUSSAIN, MOHAMMAD SAGED,

MUJAHID KHAN, MOHAMMAD ASLAM, and MEHMOOD ALI, respondents.

 

 

FACTS:

– A petition for certiorari has been filed to invalidate the order of Judge Casanova which quashed search warrant issued by Judge Bacalla and declared inadmissible for any purpose the items seized under the warrant.

– An application for a search warrant was made by S/Insp Brillantes against Mr. Azfar Hussain who had allegedly in his possession firearms and explosives at Abigail Variety Store, Apt 1207 Area F. Bagon Buhay Avenue, Sarang Palay, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.

– The following day Search Warrant No. 1068 was issued but was served not at Abigail Variety Store but at Apt. No. 1, immediately adjacent to Abigail Variety Store resulting in the arrest of 4 Pakistani nationals and the seizure of a number of different explosives and firearms.

 

ISSUE:

  1. WON a search warrant was validly issued as regard the apartment in which private respondents were then actually residing, or more explicitly, WON that particular apartment had been specifically described in the warrant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HELD:

In applying for a search warrant, the police officers had in their mind the first four (4) separate apartment units at the rear of ABIGAIL VARIETY STORE in Quezon City to be the subject of their search.

The same was not, however, what the Judge who issued the warrant had in mind, AND WAS NOT WHAT WAS ULTIMATELY DESCRIBED IN THE SEARCH WARRANT.

As such, any evidence obtained from the place searched which is different from that indicated in the search warrant is inadmissible in evidence for any purpose and in any proceeding.

The ambiguity lies outside the instrument, arising from the absence of a meeting of minds as to the place to be searched between the applicants for the warrant and the Judge issuing the same; and what was done was to substitute for the place that the Judge had written down in the warrant, the premises that the executing officers had in their mind. This should not have been done.

It is neither fair nor licit to allow police officers to search a place different from that stated in the warrant on the claim that the place actually searched — although not that specified in the warrant — is exactly what they had in view when they applied for the warrant and had demarcated in their supporting evidence. What is material in determining the validity of a search is the place stated in the warrant itself, not what the applicants had in their thoughts, or had represented in the proofs they submitted to the court issuing the warrant.

The place to be searched, as set out in the warrant, cannot be amplified or modified by the officers’ own personal knowledge of the premises, or the evidence they adduced in support of their application for the warrant. Such a change is proscribed by the Constitution which requires inter alia the search warrant to particularly describe the place to be searched as well as the persons or things to be seized.

It would concede to police officers the power of choosing the place to be searched, even if it not be that delineated in the warrant. It would open wide the door to abuse of the search process, and grant to officers executing a search warrant that discretion which the Constitution has precisely removed from them. The particularization of the description of the place to be searched may properly be done only by the Judge, and only in the warrant itself; it cannot be left to the discretion of the police officers conducting the search.

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.

 

Search warrants. Justification. People vs. canton. 394 SCRA 478

By: Randel Bejasa

CASE DIGEST:

 

G.R. No. 148825                    December 27, 2002

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee,

SUSAN CANTON, appellant.

 

Facts:

 

  • February 12, 1998 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Canton was a departing passenger bound to go to Saigon, Vietnam.
  • She passed through a metal detector which emitted a beeping sound.
  • Cabunoc, who was a civilian employee of the NATCH and the frisker duty called her attention. They checked Canton.
  • Cabunoc felt something bulging in several parts of Canton. This was reported to her supervisor.
  • Canton was requested to go the comfort room for a physical examination wherein she was asked to take her clothes off.
  • The packages that she carried was examined and turned out to be NINE HUNDRED NINETY EIGHT POINT TWO EIGHT HUNDRED ZERO NINE (998.2809) GRAMS of methamphetamine hydrochloride or SHABU, a regulated drug, without the corresponding prescription or license.
  • She was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating the Article 3, Section 16 of the RA 6425 or the Dangerous Drugs Act.
  • Canton filed for Motion for reconsideration but this was denied.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Issues:

 

  1. WON the search conducted on Canton was incidental to lawful arrest
  2. WON the scope of search pursuant to airport security is not confined only to search warrant for weapons under the Terry Search Doctrine.
  3. WON the ruling in People v. Johnson is applicable to this case
  4. WON the appellant having been caught in flagrante delicto, was lawfully arrested.
  5. WON the constitutional right to counsel afforded an accused under the custodial investigation was not violated.
  6. WON the admission of the medical report was erroneous.

 

 

Held:

  1. No. Susan’s arrest did not precede the search. She was arrested after the shabu was discovered by the authorities.

As pointed out by the appellant, prior to the strip search in the ladies’ room, the airport security personnel had no knowledge yet of what were hidden on SUSAN’s body; hence, they did not know yet whether a crime was being committed.  It was only after the strip search upon the discovery by the police officers of the white crystalline substances inside the packages, which they believed to be shabu, that SUSAN was arrested.  The search cannot, therefore, be said to have been done incidental to a lawful arrest.  In a search incidental to a lawful arrest, the law requires that there be first a lawful arrest before a search can be made; the process cannot be reversed.

Such restraint during the time she was being frisked / search is not tantamount to an arrest or taking of a person into custody.

 

  1. No.

In the present case, the search was made pursuant to routine airport security procedure, which is allowed under Section 9 of Republic Act No. 6235 reading as follows:

SEC. 9. 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.

This constitutes another exception to the proscription against warrantless searches and seizures.  As admitted by SUSAN and shown in Annex “D” of her Brief, the afore-quoted provision is stated in the “Notice to All Passengers” located at the final security checkpoint at the departure lounge.  From the said provision, it is clear that the search, unlike in the Terry search, is not limited to weapons.  Passengers are also subject to search for prohibited materials or substances.

 

  1. Yes.

Persons may lose the protection of the search and seizure clause by exposure of their persons or property to the public in a manner reflecting a lack of subjective expectation of privacy, which expectation society is prepared to recognize as reasonable.  Such recognition is implicit in airport security procedures.

The maxim – stare decisis et non quieta movere – invokes adherence to precedents and mandates not to unsettle things which are established.

Materials acquired legitimately in airport security checks are admissible as evidence.

 

  1. Yes.

Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, as amended, provides:

SEC. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. — A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:

  1. When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;

In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) above, the person arrested without a warrant shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or jail and shall be proceeded against in accordance with section 7 of Rule 112.

 

The present case falls under paragraph (a) of the afore-quoted Section.  The search conducted on SUSAN resulted in the discovery and recovery of three packages containing white crystalline substances, which upon examination yielded positive results for methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.  As discussed earlier, such warrantless search and seizure were legal.  Armed with the knowledge that SUSAN was committing a crime, the airport security personnel and police authorities were duty-bound to arrest her.  As held in People v. Johnson, her subsequent arrest without a warrant was justified, since it was effected upon the discovery and recovery of shabu in her person flagrante delicto.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. No.

Custodial investigation refers to the “questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way.”[32] This presupposes that he is suspected of having committed a crime and that the investigator is trying to elicit information or a confession from him.[33] And the right to counsel attaches upon the start of such investigation.[34] The objective is to prohibit “incommunicado” interrogation of individuals in a police-dominated atmosphere, resulting in self-incriminating statements without full warnings of constitutional rights.[35]

In this case, as testified to by the lone witness for the defense, SPO2 Jerome Cause, no custodial investigation was conducted after SUSAN’s arrest.  She affixed her signature to the receipt of the articles seized from her, but before she did so, she was told that she had the option to sign or not to sign it.  In any event, her signature to the packages was not relied upon by the prosecution to prove its case. Moreover, no statement was taken from her during her detention and used in evidence against her.[36] Hence, her claim of violation of her right to counsel has no leg to stand on.

 

  1. No.

On subsequent examinations, she was seen behaved and cooperative.  She related that she was an illegitimate daughter, married, but divorced in 1995.  She verbalized, “I gamble like an addict.  I gambled since I was young and I lost control of myself when I played cards.  When I lost control, I want my money back.  I owe other people lots of money.  I lost all the cash of my husband.  This is the first time I carried shabu.  I need the money.”  She denied having any morbid thoughts and perceptual disturbances. (Emphasis supplied).

This argument is meritorious.  The admission of the questioned document was erroneous because it was not properly identified.  Nevertheless, even without the medical report, appellant’s conviction will stand, as the court’s finding of guilt was not based on that document.

Having found the warrantless search and seizure conducted in this case to be valid, we do not hesitate to rule that that the three packages of shabu recovered from SUSAN are admissible in evidence against her.  Supported by this evidence and the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, her conviction must inevitably be sustained sentencing her to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of One Million Pesos (P1,000,000).

 

G.R. No. 124540.  November 14, 1997

MERLINDA JACINTO, ET.AL. vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS; THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION; and THE SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, CULTURE AND SPORTS, respondents.

By:Wea Matriz

 

FACTS: Petitioners are public school teachers from various schools in Metropolitan Manila.  They incurred unauthorized absences in connection with the mass actions then staged. DECS Sec. Cariño immediately issued a return-to-work order, but it was ignored by petitioners. Sec. Cariño issued formal charges and preventive suspension orders against them.  They were administratively charged with gross misconduct; gross neglect of duty, etc. for joining unauthorized mass actions; ignoring report-to-work directives; etc. During the investigation, petitioners did not file their answers or controvert the charges against them.  As a consequence, Sec. Cariño, in his decisions found them guilty as charged and imposed the penalty of dismissal except Jacinto which is and Agustin who were meted only six (6) months suspension.

Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB): dismissed the appeals for lack of merit

CSC: set aside the Orders of the MSPB; found the petitioners (except Merlinda Jacinto) guilty of Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service; imposed upon them the penalty of six (6) months suspension without pay; and automatically reinstated them to the service without payment of back salaries; the CSC found her guilty of Violation of Reasonable Office Rules and Regulations; imposed upon her the penalty of reprimand; and automatically reinstated her in the service without payment of back salaries

CA: Affirmed decision of CSC

Hence, this petition.

ISSUE: Whether civil servants are guilty of grave misconduct in participating in mass actions.

HELD: Yes. The terms and conditions of employment in the government, including any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof and government-owned and controlled corporations with original charters are governed by law and employees therein shall not strike for the purpose of securing changes. Workers in the public sector do not enjoy the right to strike, the Constitution itself qualifies its exercise with the proviso “in accordance with law.”  This is a clear manifestation that the state may, by law, regulate the use of this right, or even deny certain sectors such right. The Civil Service law and rules governing concerted activities and strikes in the government service shall be observed.

The teachers have given cause for their suspension, for being absent in their classes and joining in the mass actions. They were not fully innocent of the charges against them although they were eventually found guilty only of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and not grave misconduct or other offense warranting their dismissal from the service; “being found liable for a lesser offense is not equivalent to exoneration.” In the case of Merlinda Jacinto, there was a finding that there was no proof that she joined the unlawful mass actions.

DISPOSITIVE: Petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals is affirmed with modification.

LABREL CASE DIGEST POOL / ATTORNEY JHONELLE ESTRADA / MONDAYS / 5:30 PM TO 8:30 PM / NEW ERA UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LAW

Hi, just sharing some of my notes when I took up Criminal Procedure. Hope na makatulong sa lahat.

Criminal Procedure flowchart

Criminal Procedure flowchart