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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-69803 October 8, 1985
CYNTHIA D. NOLASCO, MILA AGUILAR-ROQUE and WILLIE C. TOLENTINO, petitioners,
vs.
HON. ERNANI CRUZ PAO, Executive Judge, Regional Trial Court of Quezon City; HON. ANTONIO P. SANTOS, Presiding Judge, Branch
XLII, Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City: HON. SERGIO F. APOSTOL, City Fiscal, Quezon City; HON. JUAN PONCE ENRILE, LT. GEN.
FIDEL RAMOS and COL. JESUS ALTUNA, respondents.
Jose W .Diokno, Joker P. Arroyo, Rene A. V. Sarmiento, Dan Malabonga and Cesar Maravilla for petitioners.

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:
The facts before the Court in these Certiorari, Prohibition, and mandamus proceedings will be briefly stated. The three petitioners will
be referred to through their surnames of NOLASCO, AGUILAR-ROQUE and TOLENTINO.
1. Prior to August 6, 1984 (hereinafter to be referred to without the year), AGUILAR-ROQUE was one of the accused of Rebellion in
Criminal Case No. MC-25-113 of Military Commission No. 25, both cases being entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Jose Ma. Sison, et
al." She was then still at large.
2. At 11:30 A.M. on August 6th, AGUILAR-ROQUE and NOLASCO were arrested by a Constabulary Security Group (CSG) at the
intersection of Mayon Street and P. Margall Street, Quezon City. The stated time is an allegation of petitioners, not denied by
respondents. The record does not disclose that a warrant of arrest had previously beeen issued against NOLASCO.
3. At 12:00 N. on August 6th, elements of the CSG searched the premises at 239-B Mayon Street, Quezon City. The stated time is an
allegation of petitioners, not specifically denied by respondents. In their COMMENT, however, respondents have alleged that the
search was conducted "late on the same day"; that is late on august 6th.
4. On August 6th, at around 9:00 A.M., Lt. Col. Virgilio G. Saldajeno of the CSG, applied for a Search Warrant from respondent Hon.
Ernani Cruz Pao, Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court in Quezon City, to be served at No. 239-B Mayon Street, Quezon City,
determined tyo be the leased residence of AGUILAR-ROQUE, after almost a month of "round the clock surveillance" of the premises as
a "suspected underground house of the CPP/NPA." AGUILAR-ROQUE has been long wanted by the military for being a high ranking
officer of the Communist Party of the Philippines, particularly connected with the MV Karagatan/Doa Andrea cases.
In connection with the Search Warrant issued, the following may be stated:
(a) The Search Warrant was issued in proceedings entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Mila Aguilar-Roque, Accused, Search Warrant
No. 80- 84 for rebellion" (the SEARCH WARRANT CASE). Judge Panos Court was Branch 88.
(b) It does not appear from the records before us that an application in writing was submitted by Lt. Col. Saldajeno to Judge Pao.
(c) According to the record, Lt. Col. Saldajeno and his witness S/A Dionicio A. Lapus, were examined under oath by Judge Pao but only
the deposition of S/A Lapus has been submitted to us. The latter deposed that to his personal knowledge, there were kept in the
premises to be searched records, documents and other papers of the CPP/NPA and the National Democratic Front, including support
money from foreign and local sources intended to be used for rebellion.

5. In connection with the search made at 12:00 N. of August 6th the following may be stated:
(a) TOLENTINO was a person then in charge of the premises. He was arrested by the searching party presumably without a warrant of
arrest.
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(b) The searching party seized 428 documents and written materials, and additionally a portable typewriter, and 2 wooden boxes,
making 431 items in all.

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(c) According to the Return, submitted in the SEARCH WARRANT CASE on August 10th, the search was made in the presence of Dra.
Marciana Galang, owner of the premises, and of two (2) Barangay Tanods. No mention was made that TOLENTINO was present. The list
of the 428 articles and documents attached to the Return was signed by the two Barangay Tanods, but not by Dra. Galang.
6. (a) On August 10th, the three petitioners, AGUILAR-ROQUE, NOLASCO and TOLENTINO, were charged before the Quezon City Fiscal's
Office (the CITY FISCAL, for short) upon complaint filed by the CSG against petitioners for "Subversion/Rebellion and/or Conspiracy to
Commit Rebellion/Subversion."
(b) On August 13th, the CITY FISCAL filed an Information for Violation of Presidential Decree No. 33 (Illegal Possession of Subversive
Documents) against petitioners before Branch 42 of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City (the SUBVERSIVE DOCUMENTS CASE),
respondent Judge Antonio P. Santos, presiding.
(c) On August 16th, CSG filed a Motion for Reconsideration with the CITY FISCAL, praying that AGUILAR-ROQUE and NOLASCO be
charged with Subversion. The Motion was denied on November 16th.
7. (a) On September 10th, the CSG submitted an Amended Return in the SEARCH WARRANT CASE praying, inter alia, that the CSG be
allowed to retain the seized 431 documents and articles, in connection with cases that are presently pending against Mila Aguilar
Roque before the Quezon City Fiscal's Office and the court.

(b) On September 28th, petitioners were required by Judge Pano to comment on the Amended Return, which AGUILAR-ROQUE did on
October 18th, raising the issue of the inadmissibility of any evidence obtained pursuant to the Search Warrant.
(c) On December 13, 1984, Judge Pao admitted the Amended Return and ruled that the seized documents "shall be subject to
disposition of the tribunal trying the case against respondent."
8. (a) On December 12th, petitioners filed a Motion to Suppress in the SUBVERSIVE DOCUMENTS CASE, praying that such of the 431
items belonging to them be returned to them. It was claimed that the proceedings under the Search Warrant were unlawful. Judge
Santos denied the Motion on January 7, 1985 on the ground that the validity of the Search Warrant has to be litigated in the SEARCH
WARRANT CASE. He was apparently not aware of the Order of Judge Pao of December 13th issued in the SEARCH WARRANT CASE.
Hence, this Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and mandamus to annul and set aside the (1) Search Warrant issued by respondent RTC
Judge Pao; (2) his Order admitting the Amended Return and granting the Motion to Retain Seized Items; and (3) Order of respondent
MTC Judge Santos denying petitioners' Motion to Suppress.
This Court, on February 12, 1985, issued a Temporary Restraining Order enjoining the respondents or their duly authorized
representatives from introducing evidence obtained under the Search Warrant.
The PETITIONERS principally assert that the Search Warrant is void because it is a general warrant since it does not sufficiently describe
with particularity the things subject of the search and seizure, and that probable cause has not been properly established for lack of
searching questions propounded to the applicant's witness. The respondents, represented by the Solicitor General, contend otherwise,
adding that the questions raised cannot be entertained in this present petition without petitioners first moving for the quashal of the
disputed Search Warrant with the issuing Judge.
We find merit in the Petition.
Section 3, Article IV of the Constitution, guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects
against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose. It also specifically provides that no Search
Warrant shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined by the Judge or such other responsible officer as may be authorized
by law, 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 things to be seized.
The disputed Search Warrant (No. 80-84) describes the personalities to be seized as follows:
Documents, papers and other records of the Communist Party of the Phihppines/New Peoples Army and/or the
National Democratic Front, such as Minutes of the Party Meetings, Plans of these groups, Programs, List of possible

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supporters, subversive books and instructions, manuals not otherwise available to the public, and support money
from foreign or local sources.
It is at once evident that the foregoing Search Warrant authorizes the seizure of personal properties vaguely described and not
particularized. It is an all- embracing description which includes everything conceivable regarding the Communist Party of the
Philippines and the National Democratic Front. It does not specify what the subversive books and instructions are; what the manuals
not otherwise available to the public contain to make them subversive or to enable them to be used for the crime of rebellion. There is
absent a definite guideline to the searching team as to what items might be lawfully seized thus giving the officers of the law discretion
regarding what articles they should seize as, in fact, taken also were a portable typewriter and 2 wooden boxes. It is thus in the nature
of a general warrant and infringes on the constitutional mandate requiring particular description of the things to be seized. In the
recent rulings of this Court, search warrants of similar description were considered null and void for being too general. Thus:
Subversive documents, pamphlets, leaflets, books, and other publications to promote the objectives and purposes
of the subversive organizations known as Movement for Free Philippines. Light-a-Fire Movement and April 6
Movement.

The things to be seized under the warrant issued by respondent judge were described as 'subversive documents,
propaganda materials, FAs, printing paraphernalia and all other subversive materials Such description hardly
provided a definite guideline to the search team as to what articles might be lawfully seized thereunder. Said
description is no different from if not worse than, the description found in the search warrants in "Burgos, et al. v.
the Chief of Staff"which this Court declared null and void for being too general.

In the case at bar, the search warrant issued by respondent judge allowed the seizure of printed copies of the
Philippine Times, manuscripts/drafts of articles for publication, newspaper dummies subversive documents,
articles, etc., and even typewriters, duplicating machines, mimeographing and tape recording machines. Thus, the
language used is so all embracing as to include all conceivable records and equipment of petitioner regardless of
whether they are legal or illegal. The search warrant under consideration was in the nature of a general warrant
which is constitutionally objectionable.

The lack of particularization is also evident in the examination of the witness presented by the applicant for Search Warrant.
Q Mr. Dionicio Lapus, there is an application for search warrant filed by Lt. Col. Virgilio Saldajeno and the
Court would like to know if you affirm the truth of your answer in this deposition?
(The deposition instead)
A Yes, sir,
Q How long did it take you for the surveillance?
A Almost a month, sir.
Q Are you a lawyer, Mr. Lapus?
A No, Your Honor, but I was a student of law.
Q So, you are more or less familiar with the requisites of the application for search warrant?
A Yes, Your Honor.
Q How did you come to know of the person of Mila Aguilar-Roque?
A Because of our day and night surveillance, Your Honor, there were so many suspicious persons with
documents.
Q What kind of documents do you refer to?
A Documents related to the Communist Party of Philippines and New People's Army.
Q What else?
A Conferences of the top ranking officials from the National Democratic Front, Organization of the
Communist Party of the Philippines ...
Q And may include what else?
A Other papers and documents like Minutes of the Party Meetings, Plans of these groups, Programs, List of
possible supporters, subversive books and instructions, manuals not otherwise available to the public and
support money from foreign and local sources. 9

The foregoing questions propounded by respondent Executive Judge to the applicant's witness are not sufficiently searching to
establish probable cause. The "probable cause" required to justify the issuance of a search warrant comprehends such facts and
circumstances as will induce a cautious man to rely upon them and act in pursuant thereof.

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Of the 8 questions asked, the 1st, 2nd

and 4th pertain to Identity. The 3rd and 5th are leading not searching questions. The 6th, 7th and 8th refer to the description of the

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personalities to be seized, which is Identical to that in the Search Warrant and suffers from the same lack of particularity. The
examination conducted was general in nature and merely repetitious of the deposition of said witness. Mere generalization will not
suffice and does not satisfy the requirements of probable cause upon which a warrant may issue.

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Respondents claim, however, that the proper forum for questioning the illegality of a Search Warrant is with the Court that issued it
instead of this original, independent action to quash. The records show, however, that petitioners did raise that issue in the SEARCH
WARRANT CASE in their Comment, dated October 18, 1984. In fact, they already questioned the admissibility of the evidence obtained
under the Search Warrant, even during the inquest investigation on August 10, 1984. And in the SUBVERSIVE DOCUMENTS CASE, they
filed a Motion to Suppress on December 12, 1984 claiming that the proceedings under the Search Warrant were unlawful.
Substantially, therefore, while not denominated as a motion to quash, petitioners had questioned the legality of the Search Warrant.
Parenthetically, it strikes the Court that the pendency of the SEARCH WARRANT CASE and of the SUBVERSIVE DOCUMENTS CASE before
two different Courts is not conducive to an orderly administration of justice. It should be advisable that, whenever a Search Warrant
has been issued by one Court, or Branch, and a criminal prosecution is initiated in another Court, or Branch, as a result of the service of
the Search Warrant, the SEARCH WARRANT CASE should be consolidated with the criminal case for orderly procedure. The later
criminal case is more substantial than the Search Warrant proceeding, and the Presiding Judge in the criminal case should have the
right to act on petitions to exclude evidence unlawfully obtained.
Notwithstanding the irregular issuance of the Search Warrant and although, ordinarily, the articles seized under an invalid search
warrant should be returned, they cannot be ordered returned in the case at bar to AGUILAR-ROQUE. Some searches may be made
without a warrant. Thus, Section 12, Rule 126, Rules of Court, explicitly provides:
Section 12. Search without warrant of person arrested.A person charged with an offense may be searched for
dangerous weapons or anything which may be used as proof of the commission of the offense.
The provision is declaratory in the sense that it is confined to the search, without a search warrant, of a person who had been arrested.
It is also a general rule that, as an incident of an arrest, the place or premises where the arrest was made can also be search without a
search warrant. In this latter case, "the extent and reasonableness of the search must be decided on its own facts and circumstances,
and it has been stated that, in the application of general rules, there is some confusion in the decisions as to what constitutes the
extent of the place or premises which may be searched.

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"What must be considered is the balancing of the individual's right to privacy

and the public's interest in the prevention of crime and the apprehension of criminals."

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Considering that AGUILAR-ROQUE has been charged with Rebellion, which is a crime against public order; that the warrant for her
arrest has not been served for a considerable period of time; that she was arrested within the general vicinity of her dwelling; and that
the search of her dwelling was made within a half hour of her arrest, we are of the opinion that in her respect, the search at No. 239-B
Mayon Street, Quezon City, did not need a search warrant; this, for possible effective results in the interest of public order.
Such being the case, the personalities seized may be retained. by CSG, for possible introduction as evidence in the Rebellion Case,
leaving it to AGUILAR-ROQUE to object to their relevance and to ask Special Military Commission No.1 to return to her any and all
irrelevant documents and articles.
WHEREFORE, while Search Warrant No. 80-84 issued on August 6, 1984 by respondent Executive Judge Ernani Cruz Pao is hereby
annulled and set aside, and the Temporary Restraining Order enjoining respondent from introducing evidence obtained pursuant to the
Search Warrant in the Subversive Documents case hereby made permanent, the, personalities seized may be retained by the
Constabulary Security Group for possible introduction as evidence in Criminal Case No. SMC-1-1, pending before Special Military
commission No. 1, without prejudice to petitioner Mila Aguilar-Roque objecting to their relevance and asking said Commission to
return to her any and all irrelevant documents and articles.
SO ORDERED.
Plana, Escolin Relova, Gutierrez, Jr., De la Fuente, Alampay and Patajo concur.
Makasiar, C.J., concurs in the result.

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 4

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-64261 December 26, 1984
JOSE BURGOS, SR., JOSE BURGOS, JR., BAYANI SORIANO and J. BURGOS MEDIA SERVICES, INC.,petitioners,
vs.
THE CHIEF OF STAFF, ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, THE CHIEF, PHILIPPINE CONSTABULARY, THE CHIEF LEGAL OFFICER,
PRESIDENTIAL SECURITY COMMAND, THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL, ET AL., respondents.
Lorenzo M. Taada, Wigberto E. Taada, Martiniano Vivo, Augusto Sanchez, Joker P. Arroyo, Jejomar Binay and Rene Saguisag for
petitioners.
The Solicitor General for respondents.

ESCOLIN, J.:
Assailed in this petition for certiorari prohibition and mandamus with preliminary mandatory and prohibitory injunction is the validity
of two [2] search warrants issued on December 7, 1982 by respondent Judge Ernani Cruz-Pano, Executive Judge of the then Court of
First Instance of Rizal [Quezon City], under which the premises known as No. 19, Road 3, Project 6, Quezon City, and 784 Units C & D,
RMS Building, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, business addresses of the "Metropolitan Mail" and "We Forum" newspapers, respectively,
were searched, and office and printing machines, equipment, paraphernalia, motor vehicles and other articles used in the printing,
publication and distribution of the said newspapers, as well as numerous papers, documents, books and other written literature alleged
to be in the possession and control of petitioner Jose Burgos, Jr. publisher-editor of the "We Forum" newspaper, were seized.
Petitioners further pray that a writ of preliminary mandatory and prohibitory injunction be issued for the return of the seized articles,
and that respondents, "particularly the Chief Legal Officer, Presidential Security Command, the Judge Advocate General, AFP, the City
Fiscal of Quezon City, their representatives, assistants, subalterns, subordinates, substitute or successors" be enjoined from using the
articles thus seized as evidence against petitioner Jose Burgos, Jr. and the other accused in Criminal Case No. Q- 022782 of the Regional
Trial Court of Quezon City, entitled People v. Jose Burgos, Jr. et al. 1
In our Resolution dated June 21, 1983, respondents were required to answer the petition. The plea for preliminary mandatory and
prohibitory injunction was set for hearing on June 28, 1983, later reset to July 7, 1983, on motion of the Solicitor General in behalf of
respondents.
At the hearing on July 7, 1983, the Solicitor General, while opposing petitioners' prayer for a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction,
manifested that respondents "will not use the aforementioned articles as evidence in the aforementioned case until final resolution of
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the legality of the seizure of the aforementioned articles. ..." With this manifestation, the prayer for preliminary prohibitory injunction
was rendered moot and academic.
Respondents would have this Court dismiss the petition on the ground that petitioners had come to this Court without having
previously sought the quashal of the search warrants before respondent judge. Indeed, petitioners, before impugning the validity of the
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warrants before this Court, should have filed a motion to quash said warrants in the court that issued them. But this procedural flaw
notwithstanding, we take cognizance of this petition in view of the seriousness and urgency of the constitutional issues raised not to
mention the public interest generated by the search of the "We Forum" offices, which was televised in Channel 7 and widely publicized
in all metropolitan dailies. The existence of this special circumstance justifies this Court to exercise its inherent power to suspend its
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rules. In the words of the revered Mr. Justice Abad Santos in the case of C. Vda. de Ordoveza v. Raymundo, "it is always in the power
of the court [Supreme Court] to suspend its rules or to except a particular case from its operation, whenever the purposes of justice
require it...".

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Respondents likewise urge dismissal of the petition on ground of laches. Considerable stress is laid on the fact that while said search
warrants were issued on December 7, 1982, the instant petition impugning the same was filed only on June 16, 1983 or after the lapse
of a period of more than six [6] months.
Laches is failure or negligence for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could
or should have been done earlier. It is negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that
the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it.

Petitioners, in their Consolidated Reply, explained the reason for the delay in the filing of the petition thus:
Respondents should not find fault, as they now do [p. 1, Answer, p. 3, Manifestation] with the fact that the Petition
was filed on June 16, 1983, more than half a year after the petitioners' premises had been raided.
The climate of the times has given petitioners no other choice. If they had waited this long to bring their case to
court, it was because they tried at first to exhaust other remedies. The events of the past eleven fill years had
taught them that everything in this country, from release of public funds to release of detained persons from
custody, has become a matter of executive benevolence or largesse
Hence, as soon as they could, petitioners, upon suggestion of persons close to the President, like Fiscal Flaminiano,
sent a letter to President Marcos, through counsel Antonio Coronet asking the return at least of the printing
equipment and vehicles. And after such a letter had been sent, through Col. Balbino V. Diego, Chief Intelligence and
Legal Officer of the Presidential Security Command, they were further encouraged to hope that the latter would
yield the desired results.
After waiting in vain for five [5] months, petitioners finally decided to come to Court. [pp. 123-124, Rollo]
Although the reason given by petitioners may not be flattering to our judicial system, We find no ground to punish or chastise them for
an error in judgment. On the contrary, the extrajudicial efforts exerted by petitioners quite evidently negate the presumption that they
had abandoned their right to the possession of the seized property, thereby refuting the charge of laches against them.
Respondents also submit the theory that since petitioner Jose Burgos, Jr. had used and marked as evidence some of the seized
documents in Criminal Case No. Q- 022872, he is now estopped from challenging the validity of the search warrants. We do not follow
the logic of respondents. These documents lawfully belong to petitioner Jose Burgos, Jr. and he can do whatever he pleases with them,
within legal bounds. The fact that he has used them as evidence does not and cannot in any way affect the validity or invalidity of the
search warrants assailed in this petition.
Several and diverse reasons have been advanced by petitioners to nullify the search warrants in question.
1. Petitioners fault respondent judge for his alleged failure to conduct an examination under oath or affirmation of the applicant and his
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witnesses, as mandated by the above-quoted constitutional provision as wen as Sec. 4, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court . This objection,
however, may properly be considered moot and academic, as petitioners themselves conceded during the hearing on August 9, 1983,
that an examination had indeed been conducted by respondent judge of Col. Abadilla and his witnesses.
2. Search Warrants No. 20-82[a] and No. 20- 82[b] were used to search two distinct places: No. 19, Road 3, Project 6, Quezon City and
784 Units C & D, RMS Building, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, respectively. Objection is interposed to the execution of Search Warrant
No. 20-82[b] at the latter address on the ground that the two search warrants pinpointed only one place where petitioner Jose Burgos,
Jr. was allegedly keeping and concealing the articles listed therein, i.e., No. 19, Road 3, Project 6, Quezon City. This assertion is based on
that portion of Search Warrant No. 20- 82[b] which states:
Which have been used, and are being used as instruments and means of committing the crime of subversion
penalized under P.D. 885 as amended and he is keeping and concealing the same at 19 Road 3, Project 6, Quezon
City.
The defect pointed out is obviously a typographical error. Precisely, two search warrants were applied for and issued because the
purpose and intent were to search two distinct premises. It would be quite absurd and illogical for respondent judge to have issued two

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warrants intended for one and the same place. Besides, the addresses of the places sought to be searched were specifically set forth in
the application, and since it was Col. Abadilla himself who headed the team which executed the search warrants, the ambiguity that
might have arisen by reason of the typographical error is more apparent than real. The fact is that the place for which Search Warrant
No. 20- 82[b] was applied for was 728 Units C & D, RMS Building, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, which address appeared in the opening
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paragraph of the said warrant. Obviously this is the same place that respondent judge had in mind when he issued Warrant No. 20-82
[b].
In the determination of whether a search warrant describes the premises to be searched with sufficient particularity, it has been held
"that the executing officer's prior knowledge as to the place intended in the warrant is relevant. This would seem to be especially true
where the executing officer is the affiant on whose affidavit the warrant had issued, and when he knows that the judge who issued the
warrant intended the building described in the affidavit, And it has also been said that the executing officer may look to the affidavit in
the official court file to resolve an ambiguity in the warrant as to the place to be searched."

3. Another ground relied upon to annul the search warrants is the fact that although the warrants were directed against Jose Burgos, Jr.
alone, articles b belonging to his co-petitioners Jose Burgos, Sr., Bayani Soriano and the J. Burgos Media Services, Inc. were seized.
Section 2, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court, enumerates the personal properties that may be seized under a search warrant, to wit:
Sec. 2. Personal Property to be seized. A search warrant may be issued for the search and seizure of the following
personal property:
[a] Property subject of the offense;
[b] Property stolen or embezzled and other proceeds or fruits of the offense; and
[c] Property used or intended to be used as the means of committing an offense.
The above rule does not require that the property to be seized should be owned by the person against whom the search warrant is
directed. It may or may not be owned by him. In fact, under subsection [b] of the above-quoted Section 2, one of the properties that
may be seized is stolen property. Necessarily, stolen property must be owned by one other than the person in whose possession it may
be at the time of the search and seizure. Ownership, therefore, is of no consequence, and it is sufficient that the person against whom
the warrant is directed has control or possession of the property sought to be seized, as petitioner Jose Burgos, Jr. was alleged to have
in relation to the articles and property seized under the warrants.
4. Neither is there merit in petitioners' assertion that real properties were seized under the disputed warrants. Under Article 415[5] of
the Civil Code of the Philippines, "machinery, receptables, instruments or implements intended by the owner of the tenement for an
industry or works which may be carried on in a building or on a piece of land and which tend directly to meet the needs of the said
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industry or works" are considered immovable property. In Davao Sawmill Co. v. Castillo where this legal provision was invoked, this
Court ruled that machinery which is movable by nature becomes immobilized when placed by the owner of the tenement, property or
plant, but not so when placed by a tenant, usufructuary, or any other person having only a temporary right, unless such person acted as
the agent of the owner.
In the case at bar, petitioners do not claim to be the owners of the land and/or building on which the machineries were placed. This
being the case, the machineries in question, while in fact bolted to the ground remain movable property susceptible to seizure under a
search warrant.
5. The questioned search warrants were issued by respondent judge upon application of Col. Rolando N. Abadilla Intelligence Officer of
the P.C. Metrocom.

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The application was accompanied by the Joint Affidavit of Alejandro M. Gutierrez and Pedro U.

Tango, 11 members of the Metrocom Intelligence and Security Group under Col. Abadilla which conducted a surveillance of the
premises prior to the filing of the application for the search warrants on December 7, 1982.
It is contended by petitioners, however, that the abovementioned documents could not have provided sufficient basis for the finding of
a probable cause upon which a warrant may validly issue in accordance with Section 3, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution which
provides:

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SEC. 3. ... and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined by
the judge, or such other responsible officer as may be authorized by law, 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.
We find petitioners' thesis impressed with merit. Probable cause for a search is 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 the objects sought in connection
with the offense are in the place sought to be searched. And when the search warrant applied for is directed against a newspaper
publisher or editor in connection with the publication of subversive materials, as in the case at bar, the application and/or its
supporting affidavits must contain a specification, stating with particularity the alleged subversive material he has published or is
intending to publish. Mere generalization will not suffice. Thus, the broad statement in Col. Abadilla's application that petitioner "is in
possession or has in his control printing equipment and other paraphernalia, news publications and other documents which were used
and are all continuously being used as a means of committing the offense of subversion punishable under Presidential Decree 885, as
amended ..." 12 is a mere conclusion of law and does not satisfy the requirements of probable cause. Bereft of such particulars as
would justify a finding of the existence of probable cause, said allegation cannot serve as basis for the issuance of a search warrant and
it was a grave error for respondent judge to have done so.
Equally insufficient as basis for the determination of probable cause is the statement contained in the joint affidavit of Alejandro M.
Gutierrez and Pedro U. Tango, "that the evidence gathered and collated by our unit clearly shows that the premises above- mentioned
and the articles and things above-described were used and are continuously being used for subversive activities in conspiracy with, and
to promote the objective of, illegal organizations such as the Light-a-Fire Movement, Movement for Free Philippines, and April 6
Movement." 13
In mandating that "no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined by the judge, ... after examination under oath
or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce; 14 the Constitution requires no less than personal knowledge by
the complainant or his witnesses of the facts upon which the issuance of a search warrant may be justified. In Alvarez v. Court of First
Instance, 15 this Court ruled that "the oath required must refer to the truth of the facts within the personal knowledge of the petitioner
or his witnesses, because the purpose thereof is to convince the committing magistrate, not the individual making the affidavit and
seeking the issuance of the warrant, of the existence of probable cause." As couched, the quoted averment in said joint affidavit filed
before respondent judge hardly meets the test of sufficiency established by this Court in Alvarez case.
Another factor which makes the search warrants under consideration constitutionally objectionable is that they are in the nature of
general warrants. The search warrants describe the articles sought to be seized in this wise:
1] All printing equipment, paraphernalia, paper, ink, photo (equipment, typewriters, cabinets, tables,
communications/recording equipment, tape recorders, dictaphone and the like used and/or connected in the
printing of the "WE FORUM" newspaper and any and all documents communication, letters and facsimile of prints
related to the "WE FORUM" newspaper.
2] Subversive documents, pamphlets, leaflets, books, and other publication to promote the objectives and
piurposes of the subversive organization known as Movement for Free Philippines, Light-a-Fire Movement and April
6 Movement; and,
3] Motor vehicles used in the distribution/circulation of the "WE FORUM" and other subversive materials and
propaganda, more particularly,
1] Toyota-Corolla, colored yellow with Plate No. NKA 892;
2] DATSUN pick-up colored white with Plate No. NKV 969
3] A delivery truck with Plate No. NBS 524;
4] TOYOTA-TAMARAW, colored white with Plate No. PBP 665; and,

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 8

5] TOYOTA Hi-Lux, pick-up truck with Plate No. NGV 427 with marking "Bagong Silang."
In Stanford v. State of Texas 16 the search warrant which authorized the search for "books, records, pamphlets, cards, receipts, lists,
memoranda, pictures, recordings and other written instruments concerning the Communist Party in Texas," was declared void by the
U.S. Supreme Court for being too general. In like manner, directions to "seize any evidence in connectionwith the violation of SDC 133703 or otherwise" have been held too general, and that portion of a search warrant which authorized the seizure of any
"paraphernalia which could be used to violate Sec. 54-197 of the Connecticut General Statutes [the statute dealing with the crime of
conspiracy]" was held to be a general warrant, and therefore invalid. 17 The description of the articles sought to be seized under the
search warrants in question cannot be characterized differently.
In the Stanford case, the U.S. Supreme Courts calls to mind a notable chapter in English history: the era of disaccord between the Tudor
Government and the English Press, when "Officers of the Crown were given roving commissions to search where they pleased in order
to suppress and destroy the literature of dissent both Catholic and Puritan Reference herein to such historical episode would not be
relevant for it is not the policy of our government to suppress any newspaper or publication that speaks with "the voice of nonconformity" but poses no clear and imminent danger to state security.
As heretofore stated, the premises searched were the business and printing offices of the "Metropolitan Mail" and the "We Forum
newspapers. As a consequence of the search and seizure, these premises were padlocked and sealed, with the further result that the
printing and publication of said newspapers were discontinued.
Such closure is in the nature of previous restraint or censorship abhorrent to the freedom of the press guaranteed under the
fundamental law, 18 and constitutes a virtual denial of petitioners' freedom to express themselves in print. This state of being is
patently anathematic to a democratic framework where a free, alert and even militant press is essential for the political enlightenment
and growth of the citizenry.
Respondents would justify the continued sealing of the printing machines on the ground that they have been sequestered under
Section 8 of Presidential Decree No. 885, as amended, which authorizes "the sequestration of the property of any person, natural or
artificial, engaged in subversive activities against the government and its duly constituted authorities ... in accordance with
implementing rules and regulations as may be issued by the Secretary of National Defense." It is doubtful however, if sequestration
could validly be effected in view of the absence of any implementing rules and regulations promulgated by the Minister of National
Defense.
Besides, in the December 10, 1982 issue of the Daily Express, it was reported that no less than President Marcos himself denied the
request of the military authorities to sequester the property seized from petitioners on December 7, 1982. Thus:
The President denied a request flied by government prosecutors for sequestration of the WE FORUM newspaper
and its printing presses, according to Information Minister Gregorio S. Cendana.
On the basis of court orders, government agents went to the We Forum offices in Quezon City and took a detailed
inventory of the equipment and all materials in the premises.
Cendaa said that because of the denial the newspaper and its equipment remain at the disposal of the owners,
subject to the discretion of the court. 19
That the property seized on December 7, 1982 had not been sequestered is further confirmed by the reply of then Foreign Minister
Carlos P. Romulo to the letter dated February 10, 1983 of U.S. Congressman Tony P. Hall addressed to President Marcos, expressing
alarm over the "WE FORUM " case.

20

In this reply dated February 11, 1983, Minister Romulo stated:

2. Contrary to reports, President Marcos turned down the recommendation of our authorities to close the paper's
printing facilities and confiscate the equipment and materials it uses.

21

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, Search Warrants Nos. 20-82[a] and 20-82[b] issued by respondent judge on December 7, 1982 are hereby
declared null and void and are accordingly set aside. The prayer for a writ of mandatory injunction for the return of the seized articles is
hereby granted and all articles seized thereunder are hereby ordered released to petitioners. No costs.

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 9

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 78631 June 29, 1993


COLUMBIA PICTURES, INC., ORION PICTURES CORP., PARAMOUNT PICTURES CORP., TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORP., UNITED
ARTISTS CORP., UNIVERSAL CITY STUDIOS, INC., THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY, and WARNER BROS., INC., petitioners,
vs.
HON. JUDGE ALFREDO C. FLORES, FGT VIDEO NETWORK, INC., MANUEL MENDOZA, ALFREDO C. ONGYANCO, ERIC APOLONIO, SUSAN
YANG and EDUARDO A. YOTOKO, respondents.
Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako Law Office for petitioners.
Santos & Associates and San Jose, Enrique, Lucas, Santos & Borje Law Offices for respondents.

MELO, J.:
Before us is a petition for certiorari seeking to set aside the order dated May 29, 1987 of the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital
Region (Branch 167, Pasig) directing the immediate release and return of television sets, video cassette recorders, rewinders, tape head
cleaners, accessories, equipment, and other paraphernalia or pieces of machinery which had been seized by operatives of the National
Bureau of Investigation by virtue of a search warrant.
Petitioners herein are all foreign corporations organized and existing under the laws of the United States of America and represented in
the Philippines by their attorney-in-fact, Rebecca Benitez-Cruz of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA for brevity).
Private respondent FGT Video Network, Inc. is a merger of Fox, Galactic, and Technica Video. It is registered with and licensed by the
Videogram Regulatory Board as a distributor under License No. 1333 VMM. Technica Video, Inc. which is part of the merger, is
registered with and licensed as a reproducer by the said board under License No. 967 VMM (p. 11, Rollo).
In a letter dated April 20, 1987, the MPAA, through counsel Rico V. Domingo, lodged a complaint before then Director Antonio Carpio
of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against certain video establishments for violation of Presidential Decree No. 49 (Protection
of Intellectual Property), as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1988, in connection with its anti-piracy campaign. Specifically
complaining of the "unauthorized sale, rental, reproduction and/or disposition of copyrighted film", the MPAA sought the NBI's "urgent
assistance in the conduct of search and seizure operations in Metro Manila and elsewhere". (p. 29, Rollo.)
On the basis of said letter, NBI and private agents conducted discreet surveillance operations on certain video establishments, among
them private respondent FGT Video Network, Inc. (FGT). Thus, on April 20, 1987, Danilo Manalang, a.k.a. Ronaldo Lim, allegedly an NBI
agent, went to the office of FGT to have the copyrighted motion pictures "Cleopatra" owned by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. and
"The Ten Commandments" owned by Paramount Pictures, Inc. reproduced or retaped in video format. For the reproduction services,
FGT issued Order Slip No. 3482 dated April 20, 1987 and Delivery Slip No. 118667 dated April 22, 1987, for which services Danilo
Manalang paid P45.00. On May 5, 1987, Manalang also had MGM's copyrighted film "Walk Like a Man" reproduced or retaped by FGT
for P15.00 (p. 5, Rollo).
Consequently, on May 14, 1987, NBI Agent III Lauro C. Reyes, with Manalang and Rebecca Benitez-Cruz as witnesses, applied for a
search warrant with the Regional Trial Court in Pasig. Introduced as evidence in support of the application were the following: the letter
dated April 20, 1987 of the MPAA through Rico V. Domingo (Exh. A) FGT's Order Slip No. 3842 (Exh. B); FGT's Delivery Slip No. 118667
(Exh. B-1); video cassettes containing the film "The Ten Commandments" (Exhs. B-1-A, B-1-B); video cassette containing the film
"Cleopatra" (Exh. B-1-C); video cassette containing the film "Walk Like a Man" (Exh. B-1-D); FGT's Order Slip No. 3923 dated May 5,
1987 (Exh. B-2); FGT's Delivery Slip No. 123321 dated May 6, 1987 (Exh. B-3); list of copyrighted MPAA member company titles (Exh. C);

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sketch of location of FGT's office or premises (Exh. D); affidavit of Rebecca Benitez-Cruz (Exh. E); special power of attorney designating
Ms. Benitez-Cruz as petitioners' attorney-in- fact (Exh. F to F-8); and affidavit of Danilo Manalang (Exh. G).
Upon the offer of these pieces of evidence, Judge Alfredo C. Flores of the aforesaid court, issued Search Warrant No. 45 which reads:
TO ANY PEACE OFFICER:
GREETINGS:
It appearing to the satisfaction of the Undersigned after examining under oath NBI Senior Agent Lauro C. Reyes and
his witnesses Mr. Danilo Manalang and Ms. Rebecca Benitez-Cruz, that there is a probable cause to believe that
Violation of Section 56 P.D. No. 49 as amended by P.D. No. 1988 (otherwise known as the Decree on Protection of
Intellectual Property) has been committed and that there are good and sufficient reasons to believe that FGT Video
Network, Inc., Manuel Mendoza, Alfredo C. Ongyanco, Eric Apolonio, Susan Yang and Eduardo Yotoko are
responsible and have in control/possession at No. 4 Epifanio de los Santos corner Connecticut, Greenhills, San Juan,
Metro Manila (per attached sketch and list of MPAA member Company Titles) the following properties to wit:
(a) Pirated video tapes of the copyrighted motion pictures/films the titles of which are
mentioned in the attached list;
(b) Posters, advertising leaflets, flyers, brochures, invoices, lists of titles being reproduced or
retaped, journals, ledgers, jon (sic) order slips, delivery slips and books of accounts bearing
and/or mentioning the pirated films with titles (as per attached list), or otherwise used in the
reproduction/repating business of the defendants;
(c) Television sets, video cassette recorders, rewinders, tape head cleaners, accessories,
equipment and other machines and paraphernalia or materials used or intended to be used in
the unlawful sale, lease, distribution, or possession for purpose of sale, lease, distribution,
circulation or public exhibition of the above-mentioned pirated video tapes which they are
keeping and concealing in the premises above-described, which should be seized and brought to
the Undersigned.
You are hereby commanded to make an immediate search at any time in the day between 8:00
A.M. to 5:00 P.M. of the premises above-described and forthwith seize and take possession of
the above-enumerated personal properties, and bring said properties to the undersigned
immediately upon implementation to be dealt with as the law directs.
WITNESS MY HAND this 14th day of May 1987, at Pasig, Metro Manila. (pp. 30-31, Rollo;
Emphasis supplied.)
At or about high noon of the same day, agents from the NBI, led by Lauro C. Reyes and Mamerto Espartero, with the assistance of the
personnel of the Videogram Regulatory Board headed by Elmer San Pascual, duly served Search Warrant No. 45 on the operators or
representatives of FGT. In the course of the search of the premises of FGT, the NBI agents found and seized various video tapes of duly
copyrighted motion pictures or films owned and exclusively distributed by petitioners. Also seized were machines and equipment,
television sets, paraphernalia, materials, accessories, rewinders, tape head cleaners, statements of order, return slips, video prints,
flyers, production orders, and posters. Inventories of these seized articles were then prepared and copies thereof were furnished Jess
Ayson, production manager of FGT. On May 18, 1987, the NBI agents filed a return of the search warrant with a motion to retain
custody of the seized items (p. 32, Rollo).
Meanwhile, FGT filed an urgent motion for the immediate release of equipment and accessories "not covered" by the search warrant,
without prejudice to the filing of a motion to quash the said search warrant (p. 101, Rollo). It argued that as a licensed video
reproducer, FGT had the right to maintain possession of the seized reproduction equipment and paraphernalia which are not

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 11

contraband or illegal per se, but are rather "exclusively used and intended to be used for reproduction" and not in the "sale, lease,
distribution or possession for purposes of sale, lease distribution, circulation or public exhibition of pirated video tapes". (p. 102, Rollo.)
Petitioners opposed the motion, asserting that the seized articles were all lawfully taken. They explained that since FGT was a
videogram distributor and not a reproducer, "it may be logically concluded that such 634 VCRs, accessories, etc." were "used or
intended to be used in the unlawful sale, lease, distribution or possession for purposes of sale, lease, distribution, circulation or public
exhibition of, at the very least, the 310 videocassette tapes containing the copyrighted films/motion pictures." They asserted that
Search Warrant No. 45 was issued upon the proper determination of probable cause and that, therefore, it is not for FGT "to secondguess the wisdom" of the court's directive to seize the questioned VCRs and accessories "as an inquiry thereon would involve
evidentiary matters which are better ventilated in the criminal prosecution proper". (pp. 107-116, Rollo.)
Finding that FGT was a "registered and duly licensed distributor and in certain instances and under special instructions and conditions . .
. reproducer of videograms" and that, therefore, its right to possess and use the seized equipment had been "placed in serious doubt",
the lower court resolved the doubt "against the Government and in favor of a lawful business enterprise." Applying the constitutional
precept of presumption of innocence and considering that the seized articles are not contraband, respondent court ruled that to allow
the Government "to keep possession of the equipment(s) and machines where there is no actual criminal charge" would amount to a
"confiscation in violation of the due process clause of the constitution, notwithstanding the filing by the Director of the NBI of a letter
to the Department of Justice recommending that the defendants be charged with violation of Section 56 of P.D. No. 49, as amended by
P.D. No. 1988." (pp. 131-132, Rollo.)
Thus, in its order on May 29, 1987, the lower court granted FGT's motion and ordered the immediate release and return of the
"television sets, video cassette recorders, rewinders, tape head cleaners, accessories, equipment and other machines or
paraphernalias, as reflected in the "Receipt for Properties Seized" attached to the records of the case beginning from page 84 to page
130, to the defendants, excluding video cassette tapes reflected in the "Receipts for Properties Seized", beginning from page 132 to
page 146 of the records." Respondent court also ordered the inventory of all articles returned with individual descriptions "to evidence
their existence" copies of which inventory should be furnished the NBI and the court (p. 132, Rollo).
Hence, the present recourse.
As prayed for by petitioners, on June 17, 1987, the Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining respondents from
implementing the lower court's order of May 29, 1987 upon a bond in the amount of P750,000.00 which petitioners accordingly posted
on June 19, 1987, (pp. 138-141, Rollo.)
The sole issue to be resolved is whether or not the lower court acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in
ordering the immediate release and return of some of the items seized by virtue of the search warrant.
Petitioners insist that the search warrant was issued upon due determination of probable cause. They argue that FGT's act of illegally
reproducing copyrighted films had been clearly established by evidence on record and that FGT's principal ground in praying for the
immediate release of the seize articles is a matter of defense which should be ventilated at the trial of the case on the merits.
Private respondents, on the other hand, claim that the issuance of Search Warrant No. 45 is tainted with illegality as no particular or
specific acts or omissions constituting the offense charged had been alleged in the application for its issuance.
The right to security against unreasonable searches and seizures is guaranteed under Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution
which provides:
Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable
searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant
of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined 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.
Thus, Sections 3 and 4 of Rule 126 of the Rules of Court provide for the requisites in the issuance of search warrants:

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 12

Sec. 3. Requisites for issuing search warrant. A search warrant shall not issue but upon probable cause in
connection with one specific offense 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 things to be seized.
Sec. 4. Examination of complainant; record. 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 the witnesses he may
produce on facts personally known to them and attach to the record their sworn statements together with any
affidavits submitted.
In issuing a search warrant, the judge must strictly comply with the constitutional and statutory requirements. He must determine the
existence of probable cause by personally examining the applicant and his witnesses in the form of searching questions (Silva vs.
Presiding Judge, RTC of Negros Oriental, Br. XXXIII (203 SCRA 140 (1991]). The search warrant must contain a specific description of the
place to be searched and the articles sought to be seized must be described with particularity (Pendon vs. Court of Appeals, 191 SCRA
429 [1990]).
Withal, measured by the aforegoing constitutional and legal provisions as well as the existing jurisprudence on the matter, we find that
Search Warrant No. 45 fails to satisfy the test of legality. More so because the Court has previously decided a case dealing with virtually
the same search warrant.
In 20th Century Fox Film Corp. vs. Court of Appeals (164 SCRA 655 [1988]), wherein therein petitioner is also one of the petitioners
herein, we upheld the legality of the order of the lower court lifting the search warrant issued under circumstances similar to those
obtaining in the case at bar.
A striking similarity between the case at bar and 20th Century Fox is the fact that Search Warrant No. 45, specifically paragraph (c)
thereof describing the articles to be seized, contains an almost identical description as the warrant issued in the 20th Century Fox case,
to wit:
(c) Television sets, Video Cassettes Recorders, rewinders, tape head cleaners, accessories, equipments and other
machines used or intended to be used in the unlawful reproduction, sale, rental/lease, distribution of the abovementioned video tapes which she is keeping and concealing in the premises above-described. (at p. 664.)
On the propriety of the seizure of the articles above-described, we held in said case:
Television sets, video cassette recorders, rewinders and tape cleaners are articles which can be found in a video
tape store engaged in the legitimate business of lending or renting out betamax tapes. In short, these articles and
appliances are generally connected with, or related to a legitimate business not necessarily involving piracy of
intellectual property or infringement of copyright laws. Hence, including these articles without specification and/or
particularity that they were really instruments in violating an Anti-Piracy law makes the search warrant too general
which could result in the confiscation of all items found in any video store. (at p. 665.)
The language used in paragraph (c) of Search Warrant No. 45 is thus too all-embracing as to include all the paraphernalia of FGT in the
operation of its business. As the search warrant is in the nature of a general one, it is constitutionally objectionable (Corro vs. Lising,
137 SCRA 541 [1985]).
In consequence, respondent court was merely correcting its own erroneous conclusions in issuing Search Warrant No. 45 when it
ordered the return of the seized television sets and other paraphernalia specified in the motion filed by FGT. This can be gleaned from
its statement that ". . . the machines and equipment could have been used or intended to be used in the illegal reproduction of tapes of
the copyrighted motion pictures/films, yet, it cannot be said with moral certainty that the machines or equipment(s) were used in
violating the law by the mere fact that pirated video tapes of the copyrighted motion pictures/films were reproduced. As already
stated, FGT Video Network, Inc. is a registered and duly licensed distributor and in certain instances and under special instructions . . .

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 13

reproducer of videograms, and as such, it has the right to keep in its possession, maintain and operate reproduction equipment (s) and
paraphernalia (s)." (pp. 131-132, Rollo.)
Far from being despotic or arbitrary, respondent judge must be commended for rectifying his error when he found that his initial
conclusions were inaccurate and erroneous, colliding as they did with the constitutional rights of private respondent.
Much has been said in the media about piracy of films and videotapes and that violators of the law must be brought to the courts but,
as the Court said in Bagalihog vs. Fernandez (198 SCRA 614 [1991]), "[z]eal in the pursuit of criminals cannot ennoble the use of
arbitrary methods that the Constitution itself abhors." (at p. 622.)
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED, the assailed order of May 29, 1987 AFFIRMED, and the temporary restraining order issued on
June 18, 1987, vacated and lifted.
SO ORDERED.
EN BANC

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 14

[G.R. No. 94902-06. April 21, 1999]


BENJAMIN V. KHO and ELIZABETH ALINDOGAN, petitioners, vs. HON. ROBERTO L. MAKALINTAL and NATIONAL BUREAU OF
INVESTIGATION, respondents.
DECISION
PURISIMA, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari assailing the Order, dated July 26, 1990, of Branch LXXVII of the Metropolitan Trial Court of
Paranaque, which denied petitioners Motion to Quash Search Warrants emanating from the same Court. Petitioners sought to restrain
the respondent National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) from using the objects seized by virtue of such warrants in any case or cases
filed or to be filed against them and to return immediately the said items, including the firearms, ammunition and explosives, radio
communication equipment, hand sets, transceivers, two units of vehicles and motorcycle.
The antecedent facts are as follows:
On May 15, 1990, NBI Agent Max B. Salvador applied for the issuance of search warrants by the respondent Judge against
Banjamin V. Kho, now petitioner, in his residence at No. 45 Bb. Ramona Tirona St., BF Homes, Phase I, Paranaque. On the same day,
Eduardo T. Arugay, another NBI agent, applied with the same court for the issuance of search warrants against the said petitioner in his
house at No. 326 McDivitt St., Bgy. Moonwalk, Paranaque. The search warrants were applied for after teams of NBI agents had
conducted a personal surveillance and investigation in the two houses referred to on the basis of confidential information they
received that the said places were being used as storage centers for unlicensed firearms and chop-chop vehicles. Respondent NBI
sought for the issuance of search warrants in anticipation of criminal cases to be instituted against petitioner Kho.
On the same day, the respondent Judge conducted the necessary examination of the applicants and their witnesses, after which
he issued Search Warrant Nos. 90-11, 90-12, 90-13, 90-14, and 90-15.
On the following day, May 16, 1990, armed with Search Warrant Nos. 90-11 and 90-12, NBI agents searched subject premises
at BF Homes, Paranaque, and they recovered various high-powered firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Meanwhile,
another search was conducted at the house at No. 326 McDivitt St. Bgy. Moonwalk, Paranaque, by another team of NBI agents using
Search Warrant Nos. 90-13, 90-14 and 90-15. The said second search yielded several high-powered firearms with explosives and more
than a thousand rounds of ammunition. The simultaneous searches also resulted in the confiscation of various radio and
telecommunication equipment, two units of motor vehicles (Lite-Ace vans) and one motorcycle. Upon verification with the Firearms
and Explosives Unit in Camp Crame, the NBI agents found out that no license has ever been issued to any person or entity for the
confiscated firearms in question. Likewise, the radio agents found out that no license has ever been issued to any person or entity for
the confiscated firearms in question. Likewise, the radio tranceivers recovered and motor vehicles seized turned out to be unlicensed
and unregistered per records of the government agencies concerned.
On May 22, 1990, the raiding teams submitted separate returns to the respondent Judge requesting that the items seized be in
the continued custody of the NBI (Annexes O, P, and Q, Petition).
On May 28, 1990, the petitioners presented a Motion to Quash the said Search Warrants, contending that:
1. The subject search warrants were issued without probable cause;
2. The same search warrants are prohibited by the Constitution for being general warrants;
3. The said search warrants were issued in violation of the procedural requirements set forth by the Constitution;
4. The search warrants aforesaid were served in violation of the Revised Rules of Court; and
5. The objects seized were all legally possessed and issued.
On July 26, 1990, respondent Judge issued the assailed Order denying the said Motion To Quash interposed by petitioners.
Petitioners question the issuance of subject search warrants, theorizing upon the absence of any probable cause therefor. They
contend that the surveillance and investigation conducted by NBI agents within the premises involved, prior to the application for the

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 15

search warrants under controversy, were not sufficient to vest in the applicants personal knowledge of facts and circumstances
showing or indicating the commission of a crime by them (petitioners).
Petitioners contention is untenable. Records show that the NBI agents who conducted the surveillance and investigation
testified unequivocably that they saw guns being carried to and unloaded at the two houses searched, and motor vehicles and spare
parts were stored therein. In fact, applicant Max B. Salvador declared that he personally attended the surveillance together with his
witnesses (TSN, May 15, 1990, pp. 2-3), and the said witnesses personally saw the weapons being unloaded from motor vehicles and
carried to the premises referred to. NBI Agent Ali Vargas testified that he actually saw the firearms being unloaded from a Toyota LiteAce van and brought to the aformentioned house in BF Homes, Paranaque because he was there inside the compound posing as an
appliance agent (TSN, May 15, 1990, pp. 4-5). It is therefore decisively clear that the application for the questioned search warrants
was based on the personal knowledge of the applicants and their witnesses.
In the case of Central Bank v. Morfe (20 SCRA 507), this Court ruled that the question of whether or not a probable cause exists is
one which must be determined in light of the conditions obtaining in given situations. InLuna v. Plaza (26 SCRA 310), it held that the
existence of a probable cause depends to a large extent upon the finding or opinion of the judge who conducted the required
examination of the applicants and the witnesses.
After a careful study, the Court discerns no basis for disturbing the findings and conclusions arrived at by the respondent Judge
after examining the applicants and witnesses. Respondent judge had the singular opportunity to assess their testimonies and to find
out their personal knowledge of facts and circumstances enough to create a probable cause. The Judge was the one who personally
examined the applicants and witnesses and who asked searching questions vis-a-vis the applications for search warrants. He was thus
able to observe and determine whether subject applicants and their witnesses gave accurate accounts of the surveillance and
investigation they conducted at the premises to be searched. In the absence of any showing that respondent judge was recreant of his
duties in connection with the personal examination he so conducted on the affiants before him, there is no basis for doubting the
reliability and correctness of his findings and impressions.
Petitioners brand as fatally defective and deficient the procedure followed in the issuance of subject search warrants, reasoning
out that the same did not comply with constitutional and statutory requirements. They fault respondent Judge for allegedly failing to
ask specific questions they deem particularly important during the examination of the applicants and their witnesses. To buttress their
submission, petitioners invite attention to the following question, to wit:
How did you know that there are unlicensed firearms being kept by Benjamin Kho at No. 45 Bb. Ramona Tirona St., Phase I, BF
Homes, Paranaque, Metro Manila? (TSN, Ali Vargas, May 15, 1990, p. 4)
Petitioners argue that by propounding the aforequoted question, the respondent Judge assumed that the firearms at the
premises to be searched were unlicensed, instead of asking for a detailed account of how the NBI agents came to know that
the firearms being kept thereat were unlicensed.
This stance of petitioners is similarly devoid of any sustainable basis. Nothing improper is perceived in the manner the
respondent Judge conducted the examination of subject applicants for search warrants and their witnesses. He personally examined
them under oath, and asked them searching questions on the facts and circumstances personally known to them, in compliance with
prescribed procedure and legal requirements. It can be gleaned that the sworn statements and affidavits submitted by the witnesses
were duly attached to the pertinent records of the proceedings. It was within the discretion of the examining Judge to determine what
questions to ask the witnesses so long as the questions asked are germane to the pivot of inquiry - the existence or absence of a
probable cause.
Petitioners claim that subject search warrants are general warrants proscribed by the Constitution. According to them, the things
to be seized were not described and detailed out, i.e. the firearms listed were not classified as to size or make, etc.
Records on hand indicate that the search warrants under scrutiny specifically describe the items to be seized thus:
Search Warrant No. 90-11

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 16

Unlicensed radio communications equipments such as transmitters, transceivers, handsets, scanners, monitoring device and the like.
Search Warrant No. 90-13
Unlicensed radio communications equipments such as transmitters, transceivers, handsets, radio communications equipments,
scanners, monitoring devices and others.
The use of the phrase and the like is of no moment. The same did not make the search warrants in question general
warrants. In Oca v. Maiquez (14 SCRA 735), the Court upheld the warrant although it described the things to be seized as books of
accounts and allied papers.
Subject Search Warrant Nos. 90-12 and 90-15 refer to:
Unlicensed firearms of various calibers and ammunitions for the said firearms.
Search Warrant No. 90-14 states:
Chop-chop vehicles and other spare parts.
The Court believes, and so holds, that the said warrants comply with Constitutional and statutory requirements. The law does
not require that the things to be seized must be described in precise and minute detail as to leave no room for doubt on the part of the
searching authorities. Otherwise, it would be virtually impossible for the applicants to obtain a warrant as they would not know exactly
what kind of things they are looking for. Since the element of time is very crucial in criminal cases, the effort and time spent in
researching on the details to be embodied in the warrant would render the purpose of the search nugatory.
In the case under consideration, the NBI agents could not have been in a position to know before hand the exact caliber or make
of the firearms to be seized. Although the surveillance they conducted did disclose the presence of unlicensed firearms within the
premises to be searched, they could not have known the particular type of weapons involved before seeing such weapons at close
range, which was of course impossible at the time of the filing of the applications for subject search warrants.
Verily, the failure to specify detailed descriptions in the warrants did not render the same general. Retired Justice Ricardo
Franciscos book on Criminal Procedure has this useful insight:
A description of the property to be seized need not be technically accurate nor necessarily precise; and its nature will necessarily vary
according to whether the identity of the property, or its character, is the matter of concern. Further, the description is required to be
specific only so far as the circumstances will ordinarily allow. x x x
In People v. Rubio (57 Phil 384), the Court held that, ... But where, by the nature of the goods to be seized, their description must
be rather general, it is not required that a technical description be given, for this would mean that no warrant could issue.
It is indeed understandable that the agents of respondent Bureau have no way of knowing whether the guns they intend to seize
are a Smith and Wesson or a Beretta. The surveillance conducted could not give the NBI agents a close view of the weapons being
transported or brought to the premises to be searched. Thus, they could not be expected to know the detailed particulars of the
objects to be seized. Consequently, the list submitted in the applications for subject search warrants should be adjudged in substantial
compliance with the requirements of law.
Petitioners contend that the searching agents grossly violated the procedure in enforcing the search warrants in question. The
petition avers supposedly reprehensible acts perpetrated by the NBI agents. Among the irregularities alluded to, are:
1. The raiding team failed to perform the following before breaking into the premises:
a. Properly identify themselves and showing necessary credentials including presentation of the Search Warrants;
b. Furnishing of Search Warrants and allowing the occupants of the place to scrutinize the same;
c. Giving ample time to the occupants to voluntarily allow the raiders entry into the place and to search the premises.
2. The team entered the premises by climbing the fence and by forcing open the main door of the house.
3. Once inside the house, the raiders herded the maids and the sixteen year-old son of defendant Kho into the dining room where they
were confined for the duration of the raid. In the case of the son, he was gagged with a piece of cloth, his hands were tied behind his
back and he was made to lie face down.

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 17

4. Defendant Khos hands were immediately tied behind his back (initially with a rag and later with the electric cord of a rechargeable
lamp) and was restrained in a kneeling position with guns pointed at him throughout the duration of the search. It was only after the
search was completed and the seized items stuffed in carton boxes (and a T-bag) that his hands were untied so he can sign the search
warrants which he was forced to do.
5. All throughout the search, defendant Kho and his companions were kept in the dining room and continuously intimidated of being
shot while the raiders search all the rooms all by themselves and without anybody seeing whatever they were doing.
The question of whether there was abuse in the enforcement of the challanged search warrants is not within the scope of a
Motion to Quash. In a Motion to Quash, what is assailed is the validity of the issuance of the warrant. The manner of serving the
warrant and of effecting the search are not an issue to be resolved here. As aptly opined and ruled by the respondent Judge,
petitioners have remedies under pertinent penal, civil and administrative laws for their problem at hand, which cannot be solved by
their present motion to quash.
According to petitioner Kho, the premises searched and objects seized during the search sued upon belong to the Economic
Intelligence and Investigation Bureau (EIIB) of which he is an agent and therefore, the NBI agents involved had no authority to search
the aforesaid premises and to confiscate the objects seized.
Whether the places searched and objects seized are government properties are questions of fact outside the scope of the
petition under consideration. The Court does not see its way clear to rule on such issues lest it preempts the disposition of the cases
filed by the respondent NBI against the herein petitioners.
Considering that cases for Illegal Possession of Firearms and Explosives and Violation of Section 3 in relation to Section 14 of
Republic Act No. 6539, otherwise known as the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972, have been instituted against the petitioners, the petition
for mandamus with preliminary and mandatory injunction to return all objects seized and to restrain respondent NBI from using the
said objects as evidence, has become moot and academic.
WHEREFORE, for want of merit and on the ground that it has become moot and academic, the petition at bar is
hereby DISMISSED. No pronoucement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 18

SECOND DIVISION
[G.R. No. 50720. March 26, 1984.]
SORIANO MATA, petitioner, vs. HON. JOSEPHINE K. BAYONA, in her capacity as Presiding Judge of the City Court of Ormoc, BERNARDO
GOLES and REYNALDO MAYOTE, respondents.
Valeriano R. Ocubillo for petitioner.
The Solicitor General for respondents.
DECISION
DE CASTRO, J p:
The validity of the search warrant issued by respondent Judge (not reappointed) is challenged by petitioner for its alleged failure to
comply with the requisites of the Constitution and the Rules of Court.
Specifically, the contention is that the search warrant issued by respondent Judge was based merely on the application for search
warrant and a joint affidavit of private respondents which were wrongfully it is alleged subscribed, and sworn to before the Clerk of
Court of respondent Judge. Furthermore, there was allegedly a failure on the part of respondent Judge to attach the necessary papers
pertinent to the issuance of the search warrant to the records of Criminal Case No. 4298-CC wherein petitioner is accused under PD
810, as amended by PD 1306, the information against him alleging that Soriano Mata offered, took and arranged bets on the Jai Alai
game by "selling illegal tickets known as 'Masiao tickets' without any authority from the Philippine Jai Alai & Amusement Corporation or
from the government authorities concerned." 1
Petitioner claims that during the hearing of the case, he discovered that nowhere from the records of the said case could be found the
search warrant and other pertinent papers connected to the issuance of the same, so that he had to inquire from the City Fiscal its
whereabouts, and to which inquiry respondent Judge replied, "it is with the court". The Judge then handed the records to the Fiscal
who attached them to the records. prcd
This led petitioner to file a motion to quash and annul the search warrant and for the return of the articles seized, citing and invoking,
among others, Section 4 of Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Court. The motion was denied by respondent Judge on March 1, 1979,
stating that the court has made a thorough investigation and examination under oath of Bernardo U. Goles and Reynaldo T. Mayote,
members of the Intelligence Section of 352nd PC Co./Police District II INP; that in fact the court made a certification to that effect; and
that the fact that documents relating to the search warrant were not attached immediately to the record of the criminal case is of no
moment, considering that the rule does not specify when these documents are to be attached to the records. 2 Petitioner's motion for
reconsideration of the aforesaid order having been denied, he came to this Court, with the instant petition, praying, among others, that
this Court declare the search warrant to be invalid and all the articles confiscated under such warrant as inadmissible as evidence in the
case, or in any proceedings on the matter.
We hold that the search warrant is tainted with illegality for being violative of the Constitution and the Rules of Court.
Under the Constitution "no search warrant shall issue but upon probable cause to be determined by the Judge or such other
responsible officer as may be authorized by law after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he
may produce". More emphatic and detailed is the implementing rule of the constitutional injunction, Section 4 of Rule 126 which
provides that the judge must before issuing the warrant personally examine on oath or affirmation the complainant and any witnesses
he may produce and take their depositions in writing, and attach them to the record, in addition to any affidavits presented to him.
Mere affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses are thus not sufficient. The examining Judge has to take depositions in writing of
the complainant and the witnesses he may produce and to attach them to the record. Such written deposition is necessary in order that
the Judge may be able to properly determine the existence or non-existence of the probable cause, to hold liable for perjury the person
giving it if it will be found later that his declarations are false.
We, therefore, hold that the search warrant is tainted with illegality by the failure of the Judge to conform with the essential requisites
of taking the depositions in writing and attaching them to the record, rendering the search warrant invalid. cdll

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 19

The judge's insistence that she examined the complainants under oath has become dubious by petitioner's claim that at the particular
time when he examined all the relevant papers connected with the issuance of the questioned search warrant, after he demanded the
same from the lower court since they were not attached to the records, he did not find any certification at the back of the joint affidavit
of the complainants. As stated earlier, before he filed his motion to quash the search warrant and for the return of the articles seized,
he was furnished, upon his request, certified true copies of the said affidavits by the Clerk of Court but which certified true copies do
not bear any certification at the back. Petitioner likewise claims that his xerox copy of the said joint affidavit obtained at the outset of
this case does not show also the certification of respondent judge. This doubt becomes more confirmed by respondent Judge's own
admission, while insisting that she did examine thoroughly the applicants, that "she did not take the deposition of Mayote and Goles
because to have done so would be to hold a judicial proceeding which will be open and public", 3 such that, according to her, the
persons subject of the intended raid will just disappear and move his illegal operations somewhere else.
Could it be that the certification was made belatedly to cure the defect of the warrant? Be that as it may, there was no "deposition in
writing" attached to the records of the case in palpable disregard of the statutory prohibition heretofore quoted.
Respondent Judge impresses this Court that the urgency to stop the illegal gambling that lures every man, woman and child, and even
the lowliest laborer who could hardly make both ends meet justifies her action. She claims that in order to abate the proliferation of
this illegal "masiao" lottery, she thought it more prudent not to conduct the taking of deposition which is done usually and publicly in
the court room.
Two points must be made clear. The term "depositions" is sometimes used in a broad sense to describe any written statement verified
by oath; but in its more technical and appropriate sense the meaning of the word is limited to written testimony of a witness given in
the course of a judicial proceeding in advance of the trial or hearing upon oral examination. 4 A deposition is the testimony of a
witness, put or taken in writing, under oath or affirmation before a commissioner, examiner or other judicial officer, in answer to
interlocutory and cross interlocutory, and usually subscribed by the witnesses. 5 The searching questions propounded to the applicants
of the search warrant and his witnesses must depend to a large extent upon the discretion of the Judge just as long as the answers
establish a reasonable ground to believe the commission of a specific offense and that the applicant is one authorized by law, and said
answers particularly describe with certainty the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. The examination or
investigation which must be under oath may not be in public. It may even be held in the secrecy of his chambers. Far more important is
that the examination or investigation is not merely routinary but one that is thorough and elicit the required information. To repeat, it
must be under oath and must be in writing. LexLib
The other point is that nothing can justify the issuance of the search warrant but the fulfillment of the legal requisites. It might be well
to point out what has been said in Asian Surety & Insurance Co., Inc. vs. Herrera:
"It has been said that of all the rights of a citizen, few are of greater importance or more essential to his peace and happiness than the
right of personal security, and that involves the exemption of his private affairs, books, and papers from inspection and scrutiny of
others. While the power to search and seize is necessary to the public welfare, still it must be exercised and the law enforced without
transgressing the constitutional rights of the citizens, for the enforcement of no statute is of sufficient importance to justify
indifference to the basic principles of government." 6
Thus, in issuing a search warrant the Judge must strictly comply with the requirements of the Constitution and the statutory provisions.
A liberal construction should be given in favor of the individual to prevent stealthy encroachment upon, or gradual depreciation of the
rights secured by the Constitution. 7 No presumption of regularity are to be invoked in aid of the process when an officer undertakes to
justify it. 8
While We hold that the search warrant is illegal, the return of the things seized cannot be ordered. In Castro vs. Pabalan, 9 it was held
that the illegality of the search warrant does not call for the return of the things seized, the possession of which is prohibited.
WHEREFORE, the writ of certiorari is granted and the order of March 1, 1979 denying the motion to annul the search warrant as well as
the order of March 21, 1979 denying the motion for reconsideration are hereby reversed, the search warrant, being declared herein as

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 20

illegal. Notwithstanding such illegality, the things seized under such warrant, such as stock of "masiao" tickets; "masiao" issue tickets;
bet money; control pad or "masiao" numbers; stamping pad with rubber stamp marked Ormoc City Jai-Alai," cannot be returned as
sought by petitioner. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
FIRST DIVISION

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 21

[G.R. No. 129651. October 20, 2000]


FRANK UY and UNIFISH PACKING CORPORATION, petitioners, vs. BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE and HON. MERCEDES GOZODADOLE, respondents.
DECISION
KAPUNAN, J.:
Petitioners assail the validity of the warrants issued for the search of the premises of the Unifish Packing Corporation, and pray
for the return of the items seized by virtue thereof.
On 30 September 1993, a certain Rodrigo Abos reported to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) that petitioners Unifish Packing
Corporation and Uy Chin Ho alias Frank Uy were engaged in activities constituting violations of the National Internal Revenue
Code. Abos, who claimed to be a former employee of Unifish, executed an Affidavit

[1]

stating:

1. He has personal knowledge that UNIFISH PACKING CORPORATION (hereinafter referred to as UNIFISH), a canning factory located at
Hernan Cortes Street, under the active management of UY CHIN HO alias Frank Uy [,] is selling by the thousands of [sic] cartons of
canned sardines without issuing receipt. This is in violation of Sections 253 and 263 of the Internal Revenue Code.
2. This grand scale tax fraud is perpetrated through the following scheme:
(1) Uy Chin Ho a director of UNIFISH buys in bulk from the company;
(2) Being a director, Uy Chin Ho has a lot of clout in the distribution of the canned sardines processed by
UNIFISH;
(3) Uy Chin Ho dictates the value of canned sardines that he orders and buys from UNIFISH without any
receipt of his purchases;
(4) The moment he has the quantity he wants, UNIFISH through Uy Chin Ho delivers to the different
supermarkets such as White Gold, Gaisano, etc.;
(5) Payments made by these tax evading establishments are made by checks drawn payable to cash and
delivered to Uy Chin Ho; These payments are also not receipted (sic);
(6) Uy Chin Ho will then pay UNIFISH for the quantity of sardines he had withdrawn from the corporation;
3. Another fraudulent practice perpetrated by UNIFISH through Uy Chin Hos direction is the sale of imported oil locally to different
customers. This is a case of smuggling in the sense that UNIFISH, being an export company registered with the Board of Investments, is
enjoying certain exemptions in their importation of oil as one of the raw materials in its processing of canned tuna for export. These tax
exemptions are granted by the government on the condition that the oil is to be used only in the processing of tuna for export and that
it is not to be sold unprocessed as is to local customers.
4. Another fraudulent practice involves the sales of unused cans; UNIFISH also enjoys tax exemptions in its purchases of tin cans subject
to the condition that these are to be used as containers for its processed tuna for export. These cans are never intended to be sold
locally to other food processing companies.
5. Prior to 1990, that is from 1980 to 1990, the factory of the UNIFISH PACKING CORPORATION was then run by the PREMIER
INDUSTRIAL & DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (hereinafter referred to as PREMIER) [,] which corporation was being controlled by the
same majority stockholders as those now running and controlling UNIFISH; [a]t that time, PREMIER was also committing the same
fraudulent acts as what is being perpetrated by UNIFISH at present.
6. The records containing entries of actual volume of production and sales, of both UNIFISH AND PREMIER, are found in the office of
the corporation at its factory site at H. Cortes Street, Mandaue City. The particular place or spot where these records [official receipts,
sales invoices, delivery receipts, sales records or sales books, stock cards, accounting records (such as ledgers, journals, cash receipts
books, and check disbursements books)] are kept and may be found is best described in the herein attached sketch of the arrangement
of the offices furniture and fixture of the corporation which is made an integral part hereof and marked as Annex A,

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 22

7. He is executing this affidavit to attest under oath the veracity of the foregoing allegations and he is reserving his right to claim for
reward under the provisions of Republic Act No. 2338.
On 1 October 1993, Nestor N. Labaria, Assistant Chief of the Special Investigation Branch of the BIR, applied for search warrants
from Branch 28 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu. The application sought permission to search the premises of Unifish.
After hearing the depositions of Labaria and Abos, Judge Mercedes Gozo-Dadole issued the disputed search warrants. The
[2]

first is docketed as SEARCH WARRANT NO. 93-10-79 FOR: VIOLATION OF SECTION 253 ("Search Warrant A-1"), and consists of two
pages. A verbatim reproduction of Search Warrant A-1 appears below:
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF CEBU
7th Judicial Region
Branch 28
Mandaue City
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
Plaintiff,
- versus - SEARCH WARRANT NO. 93-10-79
FOR: VIOLATION OF SEC. 253
UY CHIN HO alias FRANK UY,
Unifish Packing Corporation
Hernan Cortes St., Cebu City
x-------------------------/
(with sketch)
SEARCH WARRANT
TO ANY PEACE OFFICER:
G R E E T I N G S:
It appearing to the satisfaction of the undersigned, after examination underoath (sic), Nestor N. Labaria, Asst. Chief, Special Investigation Branch, BIR
and witness Rodrigo Abos that there is a (sic) probable cause to believe that the crime of violation of Section 253 - attempt to evade or defeat the tax
has been committed and there is good and sufficient reason to believe that Uy Chin Ho c/o Unifish Packing Corporation, Hernan Cortes St., Mandaue
City has in his possession, care and control, the following:
1. Multiple sets of Books of Accounts; Ledgers, Journals, Columnar Books, Cash Register Books, Sales Books or Records; Provisional &
Official Receipts;
2. Production Record Books/Inventory Lists [,] Stock Cards;
3. Unregistered Delivery Receipts;
4. Unregistered Purchase & Sales Invoices;
5. Sales Records, Job Order;
6. Corporate Financial Records; and
7. Bank Statements/Cancelled Checks
You are hereby commanded to make an immediate search at any time of day or night of said premises and its immediate vicinity and to forthwith seize
and take possession of the articles above-mentioned and other properties relative to such violation and bring said properties to the undersigned to be
dealt with as the law directs.
WITNESS MY HAND this 1st day of October, 1993.
(sgd.)
MERCEDES GOZO-DADOLE
Judge
The second warrant[3]is similarly docketed as SEARCH WARRANT 93-10-79 FOR: VIOLATION OF SEC. 253 ("Search Warrant A-2"). Search Warrant
A-2, reproduced below, is almost identical in content to Search Warrant A-1, save for the portions indicated in bold print. It consisted of only one page.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF CEBU
7th Judicial Region
Branch 28
Mandaue City
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
Plaintiff,
- versus - SEARCH WARRANT NO. 93-10-79
FOR: VIOLATION OF SEC. 253
UY CHIN HO alias FRANK UY, and
Unifish Packing Corporation
Hernan Cortes St., Mandaue City
x-------------------------/
(with sketch)
SEARCH WARRANT
TO ANY PEACE OFFICER:
G R E E T I N G S:
It appearing to the satisfaction of the undersigned, after examination underoath [sic], Nestor N. Labaria, Asst. Chief, Special Investigation Branch, BIR
and witness Rodrigo Abos that there is a [sic] probable cause to believe that the crime of violation of Section 253 - attempt to evade or defeat the tax
has been committed and there is good and sufficient reason to believe that Uy Chin Ho alias Frank Uy and Unifish Packing Corporation, Hernan Cortes
St., Mandaue City has in his possession, care and control, the following:

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 23

1. Multiple sets of Books of Accounts; Ledgers, Journals, Columnar Books, Cash Register Books, Sales Books or Records; Provisional &
Official Receipts;
2. Production Record Books/Inventory Lists [,] Stock Cards;
3. Unregistered Delivery Receipts;
4. Unregistered Purchase & Sales Invoices;
5. Sales Records, Job Order;
6. Corporate Financial Records; and
7. Bank Statements/Cancelled Checks
You are hereby commanded to make an immediate search at any time of day or night of said premises and its immediate vicinity and to forthwith seize
and take possession of the articles above-mentioned and other properties relative to such violation and bring said properties to the undersigned to be
dealt with as the law directs.
WITNESS MY HAND this 1st day of October, 1993.
(sgd.)
MERCEDES GOZO-DADOLE
Judge
[4]

Judge Gozo-Dadole issued a third warrant, which was docketed as SEARCH WARRANT 93-10-80 FOR: VIOLATION OF SEC. 238 in
relation to SEC. 263 (hereinafter, "Search Warrant B"). Except for the docket number and the designation of the crime in the body of
the warrant (Section 238 in relation to Sec. 263 - non-issuance of sales invoice and use and possession of unregistered delivery
receipts and/or sales invoices), Search Warrant B is a verbatim reproduction of Search Warrant A-2.
On the strength of these warrants, agents of the BIR, accompanied by members of the Philippine National Police, on 2 October
1993, searched the premises of the Unifish Packing Corporation. They seized, among other things, the records and documents of
petitioner corporation. A return of said search was duly made by Nestor Labaria with the RTC of Cebu , Branch 28.
On 8 February 1995, the BIR filed against petitioners a case before the Department of Justice. The records, however, do not
reveal the nature of this case.
On 31 March 1995, petitioners filed motions to quash the subject search warrants with Branch 28 of the Cebu RTC.
The RTC, however, denied petitioners' motions to quash as well as their subsequent motion for reconsideration, prompting
petitioners to file a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals (CA). The CA dismissed their petition, holding that petitioners failed
to comply with Section 2(a), Rule 6 of the Revised Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals (RIRCA), which states:
a. What Should be Filed. - The petition shall be filed in seven (7) legible copies and a copy thereof shall be served on each of the
respondents, and must be accompanied by a certified true copy of the decision or order complained of and true copies of the pleadings
and other pertinent documents and papers. (As amended by S.Ct. Res., dated November 24, 1992).
The CA found that petitioners did not submit certified true copies of (1) the Motions to Quash, (2) the Motion for Reconsideration, and
(3) the Affidavit of Rodrigo Abos.
The CA also held that certiorari was not the proper remedy to question the resolution denying the motion to quash.
In this case now before us, the available remedies to the petitioners, assuming that the Department of Justice will eventually file the
case, are: a petition for reinvestigation; the right to post bail; a Motion to Quash the Information; and in case of denial, an appeal, after
judgment on the merits, or after the case shall have been tried. This brings us to the case of Lai vs. Intermediate 220 SCRA 149 and the
pronouncement, thus:
Criminal Procedure: Certiorari: Certiorari should not be allowed where petitioner has other remedies available. -- Anent the remedy
resorted to by petitioners (referring to the petition for certiorari) from the Regional Trial Court of Negros Oriental presided by Judge
Diez, the same should not have been granted. Petitioners were not without plain, speedy and adequate remedies in the ordinary
course of law against Judge Lomeda's order for their arrest. These remedies are as enumerated by respondent appellate court in its
decision: "1. they can post bail for their provisional release; 2. They can ask the Provincial Fiscal for a reinvestigation of the charge
against them. If unsatisfied with the fiscal's resolution they can ask for a review by the Minister of Justice; (Sec. 1(), RA 5180 as
amended

by

P.D.

911); 3. if their petition for review does not prosper, they can file a motion to quash the information in the trial court. (Rule 117, Rules
of Court). 4. If the motion is denied, they canappeal the judgment of the court after the case shall have been tried on the merits.

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 24

x x x Where motion to quash is denied, remedy is not certiorari, but to go to trial.-- Moreover, in the case of Acharon vs. Purisima, this
Court

held

that when a motion to quash a criminal case is denied, the remedy is not certiorari but to go to trialwithout prejudice to reiterating the
special defenses involved in said Motion. In

the

event

that

an

adverse

decision

is

rendered

after

trial

on

the

merits, an appeal therefrom should be the next legal step.


xxx
In this case now before Us, there is no pretention [sic] that the Court issued the Search Warrants without jurisdiction. On the contrary,
it had jurisdiction. The argument therefore that the Court committed an error in not describing the persons or things to be searched;
that the Search Warrants did not describe with particularity the things to be seized/taken; the absence of probable cause; and for
having allegedly condoned the discriminating manner in which the properties were taken, to us, are merely errors in the Court's
finding, certainly not correctible by certiorari, but instead thru an appeal.

[5]

In any event, the CA ruled, no grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction was committed by the RTC in the
issuance of the warrants.
As petitioners' motion for reconsideration proved futile, petitioners filed the instant petition for review.
Petitioners claim that they did submit to the CA certified true copies of the pleadings and documents listed above along with their
Petition, as well as in their Motion for Reconsideration. An examination of the CA Rollo, however, reveals that petitioners first
submitted the same in their Reply, after respondents, in their Comment, pointed out petitioners failure to attach them to the Petition.
Nevertheless, the CA should not have dismissed the petition on this ground although, to its credit, it did touch upon the merits of
the case. First, it appears that the case could have been decided without these pleadings and documents. Second, even if the CA
[6]

deemed them essential to the resolution of the case, it could have asked for the records from the RTC. Third, in a similar case, we
held that the submission of a document together with the motion for reconsideration constitutes substantial compliance with Section
3, Rule 46 of the Rules of Court, requiring the submission of a certified true copy of material portions of the record as are referred to
*in the petition+, and other documents relevant or pertinent thereto along with the petition. So should it be in this case, especially
considering that it involves an alleged violation of a constitutionally guaranteed right. The rules of procedure are not to be applied in a
very rigid, technical sense; rules of procedure are used only to help secure substantial justice. If a technical and rigid enforcement of
the rules is made, their aim could be defeated.

[7]

The CA likewise erred in holding that petitioners cannot avail of certiorari to question the resolution denying their motions to
quash the subject search warrants. We note that the case of Lai vs. Intermediate, cited by the appellate court as authority for its
ruling does not appear in 220 SCRA 149. The excerpt of the syllabus quoted by the court, as observed by petitioners,

[8]

appears to

have been taken from the case of Yap vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 220 SCRA 245 (1993). Yap, however, is inapplicable since that
case involved a motion to quash a complaint for qualified theft, not a motion to quash a search warrant.
[9]

The applicable case is Marcelo vs. De Guzman, where we held that the issuing judges disregard of the requirements for the
issuance of a search warrant constitutes grave abuse of discretion, which may be remedied by certiorari:
Expressly announced in Section 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is the general rule that certiorari is available where a tribunal or officer
exercising judicial functions has acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion and there is no
appeal, nor any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.
In the light of the findings of the lower court, herein above quoted, it is indisputable that Judge de Guzman gravely abused his
discretion in issuing the said search warrant. Indeed, he acted whimsically and capriciously when he ignored the explicit mandate of
Section 3, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court that a search warrant shall not issue but upon probable cause in connection with one specific
offense to be determined by the municipal or city 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; and that no
search warrant shall issue for more than one specific offense.

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 25

The utter disregard by Judge de Guzman of the requirements laid down by the said rule renders the warrant in question absolutely null
and void. It has been held that where the order complained of is a patent nullity, a petition for certiorari and mandamus may properly
be entertained despite the existence of the remedy of appeal.
Moreover, an appeal from the order of Judge de Guzman would neither be an adequate nor speedy remedy to relieve appellee of the
injurious effects of the warrant. The seizure of her personal property had resulted in the total paralization of the articles and
documents which had been improperly seized. Where the remedy of appeal cannot afford an adequate and expeditious relief,
certiorari can be allowed as a mode of redress to prevent irreparable damage and injury to a party.
This Court had occasion to reiterate the above pronouncement in Silva vs. Presiding Judge, RTC of Negros Oriental, Br.
XXXIII,

[10]

[11]

which also involved a special civil action for certiorari:

Thus, in issuing a search warrant, the judge must strictly comply with the constitutional requirement that he must determine the
existence of probable cause by examining the applicant and his witnesses in the form of searching questions and answers. His failure to
comply with this requirement constitutes grave abuse of discretion. As declared in Marcelo vs. De Guzman, G.R. No. L-29077, June 29,
1982, 114 SCRA 657, the capricious disregard by the judge in not complying with the requirements before issuance of search warrants
constitutes grave abuse of discretion.
In this case, petitioners alleged in their petition before the CA that the issuing judge violated the pertinent provisions of the
Constitution and the Rules of Court in issuing the disputed search warrants, which, if true, would have constituted grave abuse of
discretion. Petitioners also alleged that the enforcers of the warrants seized almost all the records and documents of the corporation
thus resulting in the paralysis of its business. Appeal, therefore, would not be an adequate remedy that would afford petitioners
expeditious relief.
We now proceed to the merits of the case.
Section 2, Article III of the Constitution guarantees the right of the people against unreasonable searches and seizures:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of
whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and 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.
In relation to the above provision, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court provides:
SEC. 3. Requisite for issuing search warrant. - A search warrant shall not issue but upon probable cause in connection with one specific
offense 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 things to be seized.
SEC. 4. Examination of complainant; record. - 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 witnesses he may produce on facts personally known to
them and attach to the record their sworn statements together with any affidavits submitted.
A search warrant must conform strictly to the requirements of the foregoing constitutional and statutory provisions. These
requirements, in outline form, are:
(1) the warrant must be issued upon probable cause;
(2) the probable cause must be determined by the judge himself and not by the applicant or any other person;
(3) in the determination of probable cause, the judge must examine, under oath or affirmation, the complainant and such
witnesses as the latter may produce; and
(4) the warrant issued must particularly describe the place to be searched and persons or things to be seized.
The absence of any of these requisites will cause the downright nullification of the search warrants.

[13]

[12]

The proceedings upon

search warrants must be absolutely legal, for there is not a description of process known to the law, the execution of which is more
distressing to the citizen. Perhaps there is none which excites such intense feeling in consequence of its humiliating and degrading

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 26

effect. The warrants will always be construed strictly without, however, going the full length of requiring technical accuracy. No
presumptions of regularity are to be invoked in aid of the process when an officer undertakes to justify under it.

[14]

Petitioners contend that there are several defects in the subject warrants that command their nullification. They point out
inconsistencies in the description of the place to be searched in Search Warrant A-1, as well as inconsistencies in the names of the
persons against whom Search Warrants A-1 and A-2 were issued. That two search warrants (Search Warrants A-1 and A-2) were issued
for the same crime, for the same place, at a single occasion is cited as another irregularity. Petitioners also dispute the existence of
probable cause that would justify the issuance of the warrants. Finally, they claim that the things to be seized were not described with
particularity. These defects, according to petitioners, render the objects seized inadmissible in evidence.

[15]

Inconsistencies in the description of the place to be


searched
Petitioners observe that the caption of Search Warrant A-1 indicates the address of Uy Chin Ho alias Frank Uy as Hernan Cortes
St., Cebu City while the body of the same warrant states the address as Hernan Cortes St., Mandaue City. Parenthetically, Search
Warrants A-2 and B consistently state the address of petitioner as Hernan Cortes St., Mandaue City.
The Constitution requires, for the validity of a search warrant, that there be a particular description of the place to be searched
and the persons of things to be seized.

[16]

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
community.

[18]

[17]

and distinguish it from other places in the

Any designation or description known to the locality that points out the place to the exclusion of all others, and on

inquiry leads the officers unerringly to it, satisfies the constitutional requirement.

[19]

Thus, in Castro vs. Pabalan,

[20]

where the search

warrant mistakenly identified the residence of the petitioners therein as Barrio Padasil instead of the adjoining Barrio Maria Cristina,
this Court "admitted that the deficiency in the writ is not of sufficient gravity to call for its invalidation."
In this case, it was not shown that a street similarly named Hernan Cortes could be found in Cebu City. Nor was it established that
the enforcing officers had any difficulty in locating the premises of petitioner corporation.That Search Warrant A-1, therefore,
inconsistently identified the city where the premises to be searched is not a defect that would spell the warrants invalidation in this
case.
Inconsistencies in the description of the persons
named in the two warrants
Petitioners also find fault in the description of the names of the persons in Search Warrants A-1 and A-2. Search Warrant A-1 was
issued solely against Uy Chin Ho alias Frank Uy. Search Warrant A-2, on the other hand, was directed against UY CHIN HO alias
FRANK UY, and Unifish Packing Corporation.
These discrepancies are hardly relevant.
In Miller v. Sigler,

[21]

it was held that the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, from which Section 2, Article III of

our own Constitution is historically derived, does not require the warrant to name the person who occupies the described
premises. Where the search warrant is issued for the search of specifically described premises only and not for the search of a person,
the failure to name the owner or occupant of such property in the affidavit and search warrant does not invalidate the warrant; and
where the name of the owner of the premises sought to be searched is incorrectly inserted in the search warrant, it is not a fatal defect
if the legal description of the premises to be searched is otherwise correct so that no discretion is left to the officer making the search
as to the place to be searched.

[22]

Since, in the case at bar, the warrant was issued not for search of the persons owning or occupying the premises, but only a
search of the premises occupied by them, the search could not be declared unlawful or in violation of the constitutional rights of the
owner or occupants of the premises, because of inconsistencies in stating their names.

[23]

Two warrants issued at one time for one crime and


one place

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 27

In any event, Search Warrant A-1 should be deemed superseded by Search Warrant A-2.
Two warrants, Search Warrants A-1 and A-2, were actually issued by the trial court for the same crime (violation of SEC. 253 of
the National Internal Revenue Code). It appears, however, that Search Warrant A-2 was issued merely to correct the inconsistencies in
the address in Search Warrant A-1, as well as to include Unifish Packing Corporation as a party against whom the warrant was
issued. Search Warrant A-2 was evidently an attempt by the issuing judge to be more precise in the names of the persons against whom
the warrant was issued and in the description of the place to be searched. Indeed, it would be absurd for the judge to issue on a single
occasion two warrants authorizing the search of a single place for a single offense. Inasmuch as the apparent intent in issuing Search
Warrant A-2 was to supersede Search Warrant A-1, the latter should be deemed revoked by the former.
The alleged absence of probable cause
Petitioners claim there was no probable cause for Judge Gozo-Dadole to issue the subject search warrants.
Probable cause is 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 the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be
searched.

[24]

In the determination of probable cause, the Constitution and the Rules of Court require an examination of the witnesses under
oath. The examination must be probing and exhaustive, not merely routine or pro forma. The examining magistrate must not simply
rehash the contents of the affidavit but must make his own inquiry on the intent and justification of the application.

[25]

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.

[26]

The witnesses, in turn, must testify under oath to facts of their own personal knowledge. The oath required must refer to the
truth of the facts within the personal knowledge of the petitioner or his witnesses, because the purpose thereof is to convince the
committing magistrate, not the individual making the affidavit and seeking the issuance of the warrant, of the existence of probable
cause.

[27]

Search warrants are not issued on loose, vague or doubtful basis of fact, nor on mere suspicion or belief.

[28]

It may be recalled that before issuing the warrants, the judge deposed two witnesses, namely, Nestor Labaria of the BIR, and
Rodrigo Abos, who claimed to be an old employee of Unifish. Petitioners claim that the testimonies of Labaria and Abos are
hearsay. We agree with this contention, but only as to the testimony of Labaria, who stated during the examination:
Q. Do you know of a certain Uy Chin Ho alias Frank Uy?
A. No.
Q. Do you know his establishment known as Unifish Packing Corporation?
A. I have only heard of that thru the affidavit of our informer, Mr. Abos.
Q. Why are you applying for search warrant in the premises of Unifish Packing Corporation?
A. Because of that information we received that they are using only delivery receipts instead of the legal sales invoices. It is highly indicative of
fraud.
Q. From where did you get that information?
A. From our informer, the former employee of that establishment.[29]

The above portion of the transcript shows that Labarias knowledge of the alleged illegal activities of petitioners was acquired not
through his own perception but was merely supplied by Abos. Therefore, the deposition of Labaria, which is based on hearsay, standing
alone, cannot justify the issuance of the search warrants.

[30]

The application for the warrants, however, is not based solely on Labarias deposition but is supported by that of Abos, whose
knowledge of petitioners alleged illegal practices was apparently obtained during his employment with Unifish. In his deposition, Abos
detailed the schemes employed by Frank Uy and Unifish to evade the payment of taxes, and described the place where the documents
supposedly evidencing these schemes were located:
Q Do you know Frank Uy?
A Yes.
Q Why do you know him?
A Because I were (sic) an employee of his from 1980 until August of 1993.
Q Where is this Unifish Packing Corporation located?
A Hernan Cortes St.
Q What is it being engaged of?

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 28

A It is engaged in canning of fish.


Q You have executed an affidavit here to the effect that it seems that in his business dealings that he is actually doing something that perpetrated
tax evasion. Is that correct?
A Yes.
Q How is it done?
A As an officer, he is an active member of the corporation who is at the same time making his authority as appointing himself as the distributor of
the company's products. He sells these products thru supermarkets in Visayas and Mindanao, in fact, the whole Philippines. He makes it
appear that it is the company which is selling when actually it is him selling the goods and he does not issue any invoices.
Q Since he does not issue any invoices, how is it done?
A Thru delivery receipts.
Q Is the delivery receipt official?
A No. It is unregistered.
Q For how long has this been going on?
A As far as I know, it is still in 1986 since we started producing the sardines.
Q When was the last time that you observed that that is what he is doing?
A August, 1993, last month.
Q How did you happen to know about this last month?
A Because he delivered to certain supermarkets and the payments of that supermarket did not go directly to the company. It went to him and he is
the one who paid the company for the goods that he sold.
Q Can you tell this Court the name of that certain supermarkets?
A White Gold and Gaisano.
Q How did you know this fact?
A As a manager of the company I have access to all the records of that company for the last three years. I was the Operating Chief.
Q Until now?
A No. I was separated already.
Q When?
A August, 1993.
Q How does he do this manipulation?
A He sells the goods to the supermarkets afterwhich the company, Unifish will deliver to his customers, then his customers will pay directly to him
and in turn, he pays to the company.
Q And these transactions, were they reflected in their books of account or ledger or whatever?
A It is written but it is supposed to be a secret transaction. It is not for the public, not for the BIR but it is only for the purpose of keeping the
transactions between the company and him. It is not made to be shown to the BIR.
Q In that books of account, is it reflected that they have made some deliveries to certain supermarkets?
A Yes.
Q For the consumption of the BIR what are the papers that they show?
A It is the private accounting firm that prepares everything.
Q Based on what?
A Based on some fictitious records just as they wish to declare.
Q In your affidavit you stated that there are sales invoices, official receipts, delivery receipts, sales records, etc. These documents are records that
you have stated, in your affidavit, which are only for the consumption of the company?
A Yes, not for the BIR.
Q Where are they kept now?
A They are kept on the table which I have drawn in the sketch. This is the bird's eyeview (sic) of the whole office. When you enter thru the door this
Gina Tan is the one recording all the confidential transactions of the company. In this table you can find all the ledgers and notebooks.
Q This sketch is a blow-up of this portion, Exh. "A"?
A Yes. Exh. "B" is the blow-up of Exh. "A" inside the office.
In this blow-up there are four personnel plus one new personnel. Gina Tan collects all the records from this girl and this girl makes the
statements. This first girl delivers the receipts. The second girl prepares the bill of lading. The third girl keeps the inventory of all the stocks.
This sketch here is the bodega where the records are kept. The records from these people are stored in this place which is marked as "C".
Q So what you want to impress on that now is that only current records are kept by Gina because according to you the whole records are already
placed in the bodega?
A Yes.
Q But how can you enter the bodega?
A Here, from the main entrance there is a door which will lead to this part here. If you go straight there is a bodega there and there is also a guard
from this exit right after opening the door.
Q The problem is that, when actually in August have you seen the current records kept by Gina?
A I cannot exactly recall but I have the xerox copies of the records.
Q Where are they now?
A They are in my possession (witness handling [sic] to the Court a bunch of records).
Q The transactions that are reflected in these xerox copies that you have given me, especially this one which seems to be pages of a ledger, they
show that these are for the months of January, February, March, April and May. Are these transactions reflected in these xerox copies which
appear in the ledger being shown to the BIR?
A As far as I know, it did not appear.
Q What about this one which says Columnar Book Cash Receipt for the month of January, what does it show?
A It shows that Frank Uy is the one purchasing from the company and these are his customers.
Q Do these entries appear in the columnar books which are the basis for the report to the BIR?
A As far as I know, it does not reflect.
Q What are these xerox copies of checks?

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 29

A I think we cannot trace it up. These ones are the memos received by Unifish for payment of sardines. This is the statement of the company given
to Uy Chin Ho for collection.
Q It is also stated in your affidavit that the company imported soya oil. How is it done?
A The company imports soya oil to be used as a component in the processing of canned tuna for export. The company enjoys certain BOI privilege
and so it is tax free. As far as I know, they profit more to dispose the product locally.Whatever excess of this soya oil are sold to another
company.
Q Is that fact reflected in the xerox copies?
A No. I have the actual delivery receipt.
Q In other words, the company imports soya oil supposedly to be used as a raw material but instead they are selling it locally?
A Yes. ([W]itness showing DR No. 3053 dated November 13, 1991.) This delivery receipt was the delivery receipt to Celebes Canning Corp. of the 90
grams soya oil.
Q In other words, this soya oil should have to be used by Unifish but instead they are seeling (sic) it?
A Yes, at a profit.
Q You also said that there is tax evasion in the selling of cans. What do you mean by this?
A There is another privileged [sic] by the BOI for a special price given to packaging materials. When you export the product there is a 50% price
difference. Now, taking that advantage of that exemption, they sold it to certain company here, again to Virginia Farms.
Q Do you have proof to that effect?
A No, but we can get it there.
Q Will that fact be shown in any listed articles in the application for search warrant since according to you, you have seen this manipulation
reflected on the books of account kept by Gina? Are you sure that these documents are still there?
A Yes. I have received information.
COURT: Alright.[31]

Abos stated that, as former Operating Chief of Unifish, he had access to the company records, and even showed the issuing judge
photocopies thereof. Thus, we reject the contention that this witness did not have personal knowledge of the facts to which he
testified. The contents of the deposition clearly demonstrate otherwise.
The deposition also shows that, contrary to petitioners submission, the inquiries made by the judge were far from leading or
being a rehash of the witness affidavit. We find such inquiries to be sufficiently probing.
Alleged lack of particularity in the description of
the things seized
Petitioners note the similarities in the description of the things to be seized in the subject warrants and those in Stonehill vs.
Diokno,

[32]

Bache & Co. (Phil.), Inc. vs. Ruiz,

[33]

and Asian Surety & Insurance Co., Inc. vs. Herrera.

[34]

In Stonehill, the effects to be searched and seized were described as:


Books of accounts, financial records, vouchers, journals correspondence, receipts, ledgers, portfolios, credit journals, typewriters, and
other documents and/or papers showing all business transactions including disbursement receipts, balance sheets and related profit
and loss statements.
This Court found that the foregoing description failed to conform to the requirements set forth by the Constitution since:
x x x the warrants authorized the search for and seizure of records pertaining to all business transactions of petitioners herein,
regardless of whether the transactions were legal or illegal. The warrants sanctioned the seizure of all records of the petitioners and
the aforementioned corporations, whatever their nature, thus openly contravening the explicit command of our Bill of Rights - that the
things to be seized be particularly described - as well as tending to defeat its major object: the elimination of general warrants.
In Bache & Co., this Court struck down a warrant containing a similar description as those in Stonehill:
The documents, papers, and effects sought to be seized are described in Search Warrant No. 2-M-70 in this manner:
Unregistered and private books of accounts (ledgers, journals, columnars, receipts and disbursements books, customers' ledgers);
receipts for payments received; certificates of stocks and securities; contracts, promissory notes and deeds of sale; telex and coded
messages; business communications; accounting and business records; checks and check stubs; records of bank deposits and
withdrawals; and records of foreign remittances, covering the years 1966 to 1970.
The description does not meet the requirement in Art. III, Sec. 1, of the Constitution, and of Sec. 3, Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of
Court, that the warrant should particularly describe the things to be seized.
xxx
In Uy Kheytin, et al. vs. Villareal, etc., et al., 42 Phil. 886, 896, this Court had occasion to explain the purpose of the requirement that
the warrant should particularly describe the place to be searched and the things to be seized, to wit:

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 30

x x x Both the Jones Law (sec. 3) and General Orders No. 68 (sec. 97) specifically require that a search warrant should particularly
describe the place to be searched and the things to be seized. The evident purpose and intent of this requirement is to limit the things
to be seized to those, and only those, particularly described in the search warrant - to leave the officers of the law with no discretion
regarding what articles they shall seize, to the end that unreasonable searches and seizures may not be made, - that abuses may not
be committed. That is the correct interpretation of this constitutional provision borne out by the American authorities.
The purpose as thus explained could, surely and effectively, be defeated under the search warrant issued in this case.
A search warrant may be said to particularly describe the things to be seized when the description therein is as specific as the
circumstances will ordinarily allow (People vs. Rubio, 57 Phil, 384); or when the description expresses a conclusion of fact - not of law by which the warrant officer may be guided in making the search and seizure (idem., dissent of Abad Santos, J.,); or when the things
described are limited to those which bear direct relation to the offense for which the warrant is being issued (Sec. 2, Rule 126, Revised
Rules of Court). The herein search warrant does not conform to any of the foregoing tests. If the articles desired to be seized have any
direct relation to an offense committed, the applicant must necessarily have some evidence, other than those articles, to prove the said
offense; and the articles subject of search and seizure should come in handy merely to strengthen such evidence. In this event, the
description contained in the herein disputed warrant should have mentioned, at least, the dates, amounts, persons, and other
pertinent data regarding the receipts of payments, certificates of stocks and securities, contracts, promissory notes, deeds of sale,
messages and communications, checks, bank deposits and withdrawals, records of foreign remittances, among others, enumerated in
the warrant.
In Asian Surety & Insurance Co., Inc. vs. Herrera, the description of the things to be seized, i.e., Fire Registers, Loss, Bordereau,
Adjusters' Report, including subrogation receipts and proof of loss, Loss Registers, Book of Accounts including cash receipts and
disbursements and general ledger, etc. was held to be an omnibus description and, therefore, invalid:
x x x Because of this all embracing description which includes all conceivable records of petitioner corporation, which if seized x x x,
could paralyze its business, petitioner in several motions filed for early resolution of this case, manifested that the seizure of TWO
carloads of their papers has paralyzed their business to the grave prejudice of not only the company, its workers, agents, employees
but also of its numerous insured and beneficiaries of bonds issued by it, including the government itself, and of the general public. And
correlating the same to the charges for which the warrant was issued, We have before Us the infamous general warrants of old.
In the case at bar, the things to be seized were described in the following manner:
1. Multiple sets of Books of Accounts; Ledgers, Journals, Columnar Books, Cash Register Books, Sales Books or Records;
Provisional & Official Receipts;
2. Production Record Books/Inventory Lists [,] Stock Cards;
3. Unregistered Delivery Receipts;
4. Unregistered Purchase & Sales Invoices;
5. Sales Records, Job Order;
6. Corporate Financial Records; and
7. Bank Statements/Cancelled Checks
We agree that most of the items listed in the warrants fail to meet the test of particularity, especially since witness Abos had
furnished the judge photocopies of the documents sought to be seized. The issuing judge could have formed a more specific description
of these documents from said photocopies instead of merely employing a generic description thereof. The use of a generic term or a
general description in a warrant is acceptable only when a more specific description of the things to be seized is unavailable. The failure
to employ the specificity available will invalidate a general description in a warrant.

[35]

The use by the issuing judge of the terms

multiple sets of books of accounts, ledgers, journals, columnar books, cash register books, sales books or records, provisional & official
receipts, production record books/inventory lists, stock cards, sales records, job order, corporate financial records, and bank
statements/cancelled checks is therefore unacceptable considering the circumstances of this case.

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 31

As regards the terms unregistered delivery receipts and unregistered purchase & sales invoices, however, we hold
otherwise. The Solicitor General correctly argues that the serial markings of these documents need not be specified as it is not possible
to do so precisely because they are unregistered.

[36]

Where, by the nature of the goods to be seized, their description must be rather

general, it is not required that a technical description be given, as this would mean that no warrant could issue. Taking into
consideration the nature of the articles so described, it is clear that no other more adequate and detailed description could have been
given, particularly because it is difficult to give a particular description of the contents thereof.

[37]

Although it appears that photocopies

of these unregistered documents were among those handed by Abos to the issuing judge, it would be impractical to require the latter
to specify each and every receipt and invoice, and the contents thereof, to the minutest detail.
The general description of most of the documents listed in the warrants does not render the entire warrant void. Insofar as the
warrants authorize the search and seizure of unregistered delivery receipts and unregistered purchase and sales invoices, the warrants
remain valid. The search warrant is severable, and those items not particularly described may be cut off without destroying the whole
warrant. In United States v. Cook,

[38]

the United States Court of Appeals (Fifth Circuit) made the following pronouncement:

x x x. The leading decision is Aday v. Superior Court, 53 Cal.2d 789, 362 P.2d 47, 13 Cal.Rptr. 415 (1961). In Aday, a warrant was issued
authorizing the seizure of two particularly described books and myriad other generally described items. On appeal, the California
Supreme Court held that only the books were particularly described in the warrant and lawfully seized. The court acknowledged that
the warrant was flawed, but rather than suppress everything seized, the court chose to sever the defective portions of the warrant and
suppress only those items that were not particularly described.
Although the warrant was defective x x x it does not follow that it was invalid as a whole. Such a conclusion would mean that the
seizure of certain articles, even though proper if viewed separately, must be condemned merely because the warrant was defective
with respect to other articles. The invalid portions of the warrant are severable from the authorization relating to the named books x x
x. The search for and seizure of these books, if otherwise valid, were not rendered illegal by the defects concerning other articles.
xxx
x x x We agree with the reasoning of the Supreme Court of California and the majority of state courts that have considered this
question and hold that in the usual case the district judge should sever the infirm portion of the search warrant as passes constitutional
muster. See United States v. Giresi, 488 F.Supp. 445, 459-60 (D.N.J.1980). Items that were not described with the requisite particularity
in the warrant should be suppressed, but suppression of all of the fruits of the search is hardly consistent with the purposes underlying
exclusion. Suppression of only the items improperly described prohibits the Government from profiting from its own wrong and
removes the court from considering illegally obtained evidence. Moreover, suppression of only those items that were not particularly
described serves as an effective deterrent to those in the Government who would be tempted to secure a warrant without the
necessary description. As the leading commentator has observed, it would be harsh medicine indeed if a warrant which was issued on
probable cause and which did particularly describe certain items were to be invalidated in toto merely because the affiant and the
magistrate erred in seeking and permitting a search for other items as well. 2 W. LaFave, Search and Seizure: A Treatise on the Fourth
Amendment 4.6(f) (1978).
Accordingly, the items not particularly described in the warrants ought to be returned to petitioners.
Petitioners allege that the following articles, though not listed in the warrants, were also taken by the enforcing officers:
1. One (1) composition notebook containing Chinese characters,
2. Two (2) pages writing with Chinese characters,
3. Two (2) pages Chinese character writing,
4. Two (2) packs of chemicals,
5. One (1) bound gate pass,
6. Surety Agreement.

[39]

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 32

In addition, the searching party also seized items belonging to the Premier Industrial and Development Corporation (PIDC), which
shares an office with petitioner Unifish.
The things belonging to petitioner not specifically mentioned in the warrants, like those not particularly described, must be
ordered returned to petitioners. In order to comply with the constitutional provisions regulating the issuance of search warrants, the
property to be seized under a warrant must be particularly described therein and no other property can be taken
thereunder.

[40]

In Tambasen vs. People,

[41]

it was held:

Moreover, by their seizure of articles not described in the search warrant, the police acted beyond the parameters of their authority
under the search warrant. Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution requires that a search warrant should particularly describe the
things to be seized. The evident purpose and intent of the requirement is to limit the things to be seized to those, and only those,
particularly described in the search warrant, to leave the officers of the law with no discretion regarding what articles they should seize,
to the end that unreasonable searches and seizures may not be made and that abuses may not be committed (Corro v. Lising, 137
SCRA 541, 547 [1985]); Bache & Co. [Phil.], Inc. v. Ruiz, 37 SCRA 823 [1971]; Uy Kheytin v. Villareal, 42 Phil. 886 [1920]). The same
constitutional provision is also aimed at preventing violations of security in person and property and unlawful invasions of the sanctity
of the home, and giving remedy against such usurpations when attempted (People v. Damaso, 212 SCRA 547 [1992] citing Alvero v.
Dizon, 76 Phil. 637, 646 [1946]).
Clearly then, the money which was not indicated in the search warrant, had been illegally seized from petitioner. The fact that the
members of the police team were doing their task of pursuing subversives is not a valid excuse for the illegal seizure.The
presumption juris tantum of regularity in the performance of official duty cannot by itself prevail against the constitutionally protected
right of an individual (People v. Cruz, 231 SCRA 759 [1994]; People v. Veloso, 48 Phil. 169, 176 [1925]).Although public welfare is the
foundation of the power to search and seize, such power must be exercised and the law enforced without transgressing the
constitutional rights of the citizens (People v. Damaso, supra, citing Rodriguez v. Evangelista, 65 Phil. 230, 235 [1937]). As the Court
aptly puts it in Bagahilog v. Fernandez, 198 SCRA 614 (1991), *z+eal in the pursuit of criminals cannot ennoble the use of arbitrary
methods that the Constitution itself abhors.
The seizure of the items not specified in the warrants cannot be justified by the directive in the penultimate paragraph thereof to
"seize and take possession of other properties relative to such violation," which in no way can be characterized as a particular
description of the things to be seized.
As regards the articles supposedly belonging to PIDC, we cannot order their return in the present proceedings. The legality of a
seizure can be contested only by the party whose rights have been impaired thereby, and the objection to an unlawful search and
seizure is purely personal and cannot be availed of by third parties.

[42]

WHEREFORE, the Resolutions of respondent Court of Appeals dated 27 June 1996 and 14 May 1987, affirming the Order of the
Regional Trial Court dated 17 July 1995, are hereby AFFIRMED insofar as said Resolutions upheld the validity of the subject Search
Warrants authorizing the seizure of the unregistered delivery receipts and unregistered purchase and sales invoices, but REVERSED with
respect to the rest of the articles subject of said warrants. The respondent Bureau of Internal Revenue is hereby ordered to return to
petitioners all items seized from the subject premises and belonging to petitioners, except the unregistered delivery receipts and
unregistered purchase and sales invoices.
SO ORDERED.

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 33

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 94396 November 27, 1992


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, HON. ABELARDO DAYRIT, presiding Judge of Manila, Regional Trial Court, Br. 39 and RUBEN
SIAO, respondents.

CRUZ, J.:
The Court of Appeals is faulted for its refusal to reinstate a search warrant, quashed by the same trial court that had earlier issued it.
The principal reason for the challenged decision is that the issue had become moot and academic with the dismantling of the
properties subject of the said warrant.
The properties consisted of 27 units of distribution transformers of various sizes sold to the University of the Philippines-Iloilo (UP, for
short) and delivered on June 15, 1987. The agreed price, including installation cost, was $39,516.00 and was fully paid by UP to the
seller, Varona Trading, through its general manager, Danilo Varona. On June 27, 1987, these same properties were pulled out by
Varona on the excuse that they had certain factory defects that had to be repaired. When Varona failed to comply with UP's demand
for their return pending their replacement, UP referred the matter to the National Bureau of Investigation, which found that the
properties were in the warehouse of Ruben Siao, herein private respondent. NBI applied for and secured the questioned search
1

warrant, which was issued by Judge Abelardo M. Dayrit of the Regional Trial Court of Manila on September 25, 1987. On the strength
of this warrant, NBI seized the said transformers, which were later ascertained to be the same transformers sold to UP, not only by
their serial numbers but also because the crates where they were contained were marked "UP-Iloilo."
On September 28, Siao filed an urgent motion to quash the search warrant on the ground that Nissen-Denki Philippine Corporation, of
which he was the manager, had bought the said transformers from Varona for the sum of P702,483.00. The motion was denied on
December 10, 1987, after a lengthy exchange of pleadings between the parties. However, on July 7, 1988, again after a spirited debate
between the petitioner and the private respondent, Judge Dayrit granted Siao's motion for reconsideration and dissolved the search
warrant. He also ordered the NBI to return the seized transformers to Siao.
Meanwhile, UP had filed a complaint for estafa against Varona and Siao and the City Prosecutor of Iloilo City had lodged the
corresponding information before the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo. Upon re-investigation of the complaint, however, it was found that
there was no cause to hold Siao for trial and accordingly, on motion of the prosecution, the case against him was dismissed by the trial
court on October 13, 1989.
Disagreeing with the quashal of the search warrant, the petitioner went to the respondent court, which as earlier noted, sustained the
action of the trial court.
The present petition is based principally on the argument that the search warrant issued by Judge Dayrit complied with all the
requirements set out in Article III, Section 2, of the Bill of Rights. There was probable cause to justify its issuance because the properties
were fraudulently taken by Varona from UP, the purchaser-owner. Siao, who claimed to have bought it also, was not a purchaser in
good faith because he knew or should have known that the transformers belonged to UP as the markings in the crates clearly indicated.
The Solicitor General also argues that the question of ownership cannot be litigated in search warrant proceedings and that any
property is subject to seizure, regardless of its ownership, as long as it is illegally possessed. He adds that, as required by the

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 34

Constitution, the probable cause was determined personally by Judge Dayrit and the warrant specifically described the properties to be
seized.
In his Comment, the private respondent supports the finding of the Court of Appeals that the issue and become moot and academic. He
points out that his company had bought the transformers from Varona not for use in their original condition but precisely for
dismantling and conversion to other transformers according to specifications set by the end-users. The transformers had been so
dismantled and converted and, at that, not immediately but only after two months following their recovery, when it appeared that the
petitioner was no longer interested in pursuing the matter. Even assuming that the properties were the subject of an offense, the
search warrant could not be directed of an offense, the search warrant could not be directed against him because the estafa case
against him had been dismissed and remained pending only against Varona. And while it was true that stolen property could be
recovered even from an innocent purchaser, this rule would not apply in the instant case because UP allowed the withdrawal of the
transformers by Danilo, who was consequently able to sell them to Nissen-Denki. Finally, he agrees with the petitioner that the issue of
ownership could not be resolved in the search warrant proceeding but in a separate civil action.
In justifying his dissolution of the search warrant, Judge Dayrit said in his order dated July 7, 1988:
(a) The warrant earlier issued omitted (perhaps by inadvertence) to indicate clearly what specific offense had been
violated;
(b) While it did mentioned that the subjects of the offense are "stolen or embezzled" goods or proceeds thereof,
this Court recognizes that the offense possibly committed from that description may either be robbery, theft,
qualified theft, or estafa;
(c) Furthermore, Danilo Varona's deposition, on which this Court relied heavily when it first issued the warrant,
stated that the transformers in question were brought to defendant Ruben Siao for repair; but during the hearing
on the motion to quash and after the evidences adduced therein, this Court discovered that defendant Siao had
strong evidence tending to establish his claim that he bought the transformers in good faith and in the ordinary
course of business from Varona Trading which was a merchant of such products;
(d) There was, therefore, no probable cause for the issuance of the search warrant in the first place; and
(e) The Court would not have issued the warrant if it had been confronted with that fact.
As correctly observed by the private respondent:
The search warrant issued by the trial court left the space in the caption intended for the nature of the offense in
blank, indicating the uncertainty of petitioner and the court as to the crime committed and for which the search
warrant was issued. On the other hand, all that the body of the search warrant stated was that the transformers
were "Stolen or Embezzled and proceeds or fruits of the offense, used or intended to be used as the means of
committing the offense." But, since the particular offense was not mentioned, the reason for the issuance of the
search warrant could be anything under the sun.
There is no question that the search warrant did not relate to a specific offense, in violation of the doctrine announced in Stonehill v.
Diokno 2 and of Section 3 of Rule 126 providing as follows:
Sec. 3. Requisites for issuing search warrant. A search warrant shall not issue but upon probable cause in
connection with one specific offense 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 searched
and the things to be seized. (Emphasis supplied.)
Significantly, the petitioner has not denied this defect in the search warrant and has merely said that there was probable cause,
omitting to continue that it was in connection with one specific offense. He could not, of course, for the warrant was a scatter-shot
warrant that could refer, in Judge Dayrit's own words "to robbery, theft, qualified theft or estafa." On this score alone, the search
warrant was totally null and void and was correctly declared to be so by the very judge who had issued it.

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 35

Probable cause is defined as referring to "such facts and circumstances antecedent to the issuance of the warrant that in themselves
3

are sufficient to induce a cautious person to rely on them, and to act in pursuance thereof." At the time he issued the search warrant,
there was in Judge Dayrit's view probable cause that a crime had been committed by Siao, who had possession of the subject
properties. However, such probable cause no longer exists now because the information for estafa against Siao has already been
dismissed by the Regional Trial Court of Manila on motion of the prosecution itself. Siao's guilt is no longer open for conjecture.
What is whether the search warrant could be issued against Siao, assuming he was an innocent purchaser for value, in connection with
the prosecution of Varona for estafa. But this is a question we need not decide here. It is clear that, even if it were resolved
affirmatively, the search warrant in question would still have to be annulled for its failure to state therein the specific offense for which
it was being issued.
The Solicitor General complains that unless the search warrant is reinstated, the properties subject thereof cannot be used in the
criminal action for estafa against Varona. The trouble is that the search warrant is in valid as already demonstrated, and the
Constitution clearly says that any evidence taken in violation of its Article III, Section 2, cannot be used for any purpose in any
proceeding. Moreover, as correctly ruled by the Court of Appeals, the subject of the warrant no longer exists, having been converted to
other articles not answering to the specific description of the properties ordered to be seized under the search warrant.
Both the petitioner and the respondents agree that ownership of the transformers is a question that cannot be determined in search
civil action. They are correct. Of course, UP is not left without recourse, for it may still claim restitution of the transformers or their
value in the civil action impliedly instituted with the criminal action for estafa against Varona or in a separate civil action if it has been
reserved. Any statement made by the trial court resolving that question shall be considered mere obiter dictum and not conclusive in
any such recovery case.
We find that the search warrant issued by Judge Dayrit on September 25, 1987, was null and void for the reasons above discussed and
so was correctly dissolved in the resolution dated July 7, 1988. The Court of Appeals committed no reversible error in refusing to
reinstate it.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 36

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 89103 July 14, 1995


LEON TAMBASEN, petitioner,
vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, 2ND ASSISTANT PROVINCIAL PROSECUTOR GLORIA LASTIMOSA MARCOS and HON. CICERO U.
QUERUBIN in his capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Negros Occidental, Branch 44, Bacolod City, respondents.

QUIASON, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court to set aside the Order dated July 20, 1989 of
the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 44, Bacolod City in Civil Case No. 5331, which nullified the order earlier issued by the Municipal
Trial Circuit Court (MTCC) of the City of Bacolod. The MTCC Order directed the return to petitioner of the amount of P14,000.00 which
had been seized by the police.
I
On August 31, 1988, P/Sgt. Flumar Natuel applied for the issuance of a search warrant from the MTCC, alleging that he received
information that petitioner had in his possession at his house at the North Capitol Road, Bacolod City, "M-16 Armalite Rifles (Mags &
Ammos), Hand Grenades, .45 Cal. Pistols (Mags & Ammos), Dynamite Sticks and Subversive Documents," which articles were "used or
intended to be used" for illegal purposes (Rollo, p. 14). On the same day, the application was granted by the MTCC with the issuance of
Search Warrant No. 365, which allowed the seizure of the items specified in the application (Rollo, p. 15).
At around 6:30 P.M. of September 9, 1988, a police team searched the house of petitioner and seized the following articles:
(1) Two (2) envelopes containing cash in the total amount of P14,000.00 (one envelope P10,000.00 and another
P4,000.00);
(2) one (1) AR 280 handset w/antenae (sic) SN-00485;
(3) one (1) YAESU FM Transceiver FT 23R w/Antenae (sic);
(4) one (1) ALINCO ELH 230D Base;
(5) one (1) DC Regulator Supply 150 V. 13.8 V 12 AMP 128 VAC;
(6) one (1) brown Academy Notebook & Assorted papers; and
(7) Four (4) handsets battery pack (Rollo, p. 16).
On September 19, 1988, the MTCC, acting on petitioner's urgent motion for the return of the seized articles, issued an order directing
Sgt. Natuel to make a return of the search warrant. The following day, Sgt. Natuel submitted a report to the court. Not considering the
report as a "return in contemplation of law," petitioner filed another motion praying that Sgt. Natuel be required to submit a complete
and verified inventory of the seized articles. Thereafter, Sgt. Natuel manifested that although he was the applicant for the issuance of
the search warrant, he was not present when it was served.
On October 7, 1988, petitioner filed before the MTCC a motion praying that the search and seizure be declared illegal and that the
seized articles be returned to him. In his answer to the motion, Lt. Col. Nicolas Torres, the station commander of the Bacolod City
Police, said that the amount of P14,000.00 had been earmarked for the payment of the allowance of the Armed City Partisan (ACP) and
other "known NPA personalities" operating in the City of Bacolod.

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 37

On December 23, 1988, the MTCC issued an order directing Lt. Col. Torres to return the money seized to petitioner. The court opined
that in the implementation of the search warrant, any seizure should be limited to the specific items covered thereby. It said that the
money could not be considered as "subversive documents"; it was neither stolen nor the effects of gambling.
Three months later, the Solicitor General filed before the RTC, Branch 44, Bacolod City a petition for certiorariseeking the annulment of
the order of the MTCC (Civil Case No. 5331). The petition alleged that assuming that the seizure of the money had been invalid,
petitioner was not entitled to its return citing the rulings in Alih v. Castro, 151 SCRA 279 (1987) and Roan v. Gonzales, 145 SCRA 687
(1986). In those cases, the Court held that pending the determination of the legality of the seizure of the articles, they should remain
in custodia legis. The petition also averred that a criminal complaint for "any of the crimes against public order as provided under
Chapter I, Title III of the Revised Penal Code" had been filed with the City Fiscal (BC I.S. No. 88-1239) and therefore, should the money
be found as having been earmarked for subversive activities, it should be confiscated pursuant to Article 45 of the Revised Penal Code.
On July 20, 1989, RTC, Branch 44 issued an order granting the petition for certiorari and directing the clerk of court to return to the
MTCC the money pending the resolution of the preliminary investigation being conducted by the city prosecutor on the criminal
complaint. In said order, the RTC held:
The Court observed that private respondent Leon Tambasen never questioned the validity of the search warrant
issued by respondent Judge Demosthenes L. Magallanes. A perusal of private respondent's "Motion to Declare
Search and Seizure Illegal and to Return Seized Properties" dated October 7, 1988 shows that respondent Tambasen
questions not the validity of the search warrant issued by respondent Judge Demosthenes Magallanes, but rather,
the execution or implementation of the said warrant principally on the ground that the articles seized are not
allegedly mentioned in the search warrant. However, the question thus raised involves matters determinative of
the admissibility in evidence and the legality of the articles seized. These matters, it is submitted, go beyond the
immediate and limited jurisdiction of the respondent Judge to inquire into the validity of the search warrant he
issued. These issues which relate exclusively or principally with the intrinsic and substantive merits of the case or
cases which are being prepared against respondent Tambasen, and insofar as Tambasen is concerned involve
matters of defense which should be properly raised at the criminal action or actions that may be filed against
respondent Leon Tambasen (see DOH v. Sy Chi Siong Co., Inc. et. al., G.R. No. 85289, Feb. 20, 1989). They cannot be
addressed to the respondent Judge because the respondent Judge has no jurisdiction over the said issue. It is clear
therefore that respondent Judge has transcended the boundaries of his limited jurisdiction and had in effect
encroached upon the jurisdiction of the appropriate trial court or courts that will try the criminal case or cases
against respondent Leon Tambasen, in issuing the assailed order dated December 23, 1988. Ostensibly, the assailed
order, if not corrected, will unduly deprive the prosecution of its right to present the evidence in question and,
consequently, will improperly oust the trial court, which will try the criminal case or cases against private
respondent Leon Tambasen of its original and exclusive jurisdiction to rule on the admissibility and legality of the
said evidence. This order of respondent court is tantamount to a denial of due process. It may be considered as a
grave

abuse

of

discretion

reviewable

by certiorari (Esparagoza

v.

Tan,

94

Phil.

749)

(Rollo,

pp.

47-48).
Consequently, petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari and prohibition praying for the issuance of a temporary restraining
order commanding the city prosecutor to cease and desist from continuing with the preliminary investigation in BC I.S. No. 88-1239 and
the RTC from taking any step with respect to Civil Case No. 5331. He also prayed that Search Warrant No. 365 and the seizure of his
personal effects be declared illegal and that the Order of July 20, 1989 be reversed and annulled.
Petitioner contended that the search warrant covered three offenses: "(1) illegal possession of armalite rifle and .45 cal. pistol; (2)
illegal possession of hand grenade and dynamite sticks; and (3) illegal possession of subversive documents" (Rollo, pp. 3-4) in violation
of Section 3 of Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Court. He assailed the legality of the seizure of the articles which were not mentioned in

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 38

the search warrant. Moreover, since a complaint against him was filed only after his house had been searched, petitioner claimed that
the police were "on a fishing expedition."
During the pendency of the instant petition, a series of events related to the questioned search and seizure transpired. At around 10:30
P.M. of March 1, 1990, petitioner, who was then on board a passenger vehicle, was arrested by intelligence operatives in Barangay
Mandalagan, Bacolod City and forthwith detained. On the strength of sworn statements of two rebel returnees, the police filed a
complaint for subversion against petitioner with the Office of the City Prosecutor. The following day, the City Prosecutor filed an
information for violation of the Anti-Subversion Law against petitioner with RTC, Branch 42, Bacolod City (Criminal Case No. 8517). An
order for the arrest of petitioner was issued on March 2, 1990.
On March 6, 1990, petitioner filed a motion to quash the information in Criminal Case No. 8517.
On March 15, 1990, RTC, Branch 42 granted petitioner's motion to quash and recalled the warrant of arrest. The court also directed the
City Prosecutor to resolve BC-I.S. Case No. 88-1239.
On March 20, 1990, Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Gloria Lastimosa Marcos manifested before RTC, Branch 42 that petitioner had
been "dropped" from BC-I.S. No. 88-1239. However, the City Prosecutor had, by then, filed a motion for the reconsideration of said
Resolution of March 15, 1990. The motion was denied.
Under this factual matrix, this Court is confronted with the question of whether RTC, Branch 44 gravely abused its discretion in directing
that the money seized from petitioner's house, specifically the amount of P14,000.00, be retained and kept in custodia legis.
On its face, the search warrant violates Section 3, Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Court, which prohibits the issuance of a search
warrant for more than one specific offense. The caption of Search Warrant No. 365 reflects the violation of two special laws: P.D. No.
1866 for illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives; and R.A. No. 1700, the Anti-Subversion Law. Search Warrant No.
365 was therefore a "scatter-shot warrant" and totally null and void (People v. Court of Appeals, 216 SCRA 101 [1992]).
Moreover, by their seizure of articles not described in the search warrant, the police acted beyond the parameters of their authority
under the search warrant. Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution requires that a search warrant should particularly describe the
things to be seized. "The evident purpose and intent of the requirement is to limit the things to be seized to those, and only those,
particularly described in the search warrant to leave the officers of the law with no discretion regarding what articles they should
seize, to the end that unreasonable searches and seizures may not be made and that abuses may not be committed" (Corro v. Lising,
137 SCRA 541, 547 [1985]); Bache & Co. [Phil.] Inc. v. Ruiz, 37 SCRA 823 [1971]; Uy Kheytin v. Villareal, 42 Phil. 886 [1920]). The same
constitutional provision is also aimed at preventing violations of security in person and property and unlawful invasions of the sanctity
of the home, and giving remedy against such usurpations when attempted (People v. Damaso, 212 SCRA 547 [1992] citing Alvero v.
Dizon, 76 Phil. 637, 646 [1946]).
Clearly then, the money which was not indicated in the search warrant, had been illegally seized from petitioner. The fact that the
members of the police team were doing their task of pursuing subversives is not a valid excuse for the illegal seizure. The
presumption juris tantum of regularity in the performance of official duty cannot by itself prevail against the constitutionally protected
rights of an individual (People v. Cruz, 231 SCRA 759 [1994]; People v. Veloso, 48 Phil. 169, 176 [1925]). Although public welfare is the
foundation of the power to search and seize, such power must be exercised and the law enforced without transgressing the
constitutional rights of the citizens (People v. Damaso, supra, citing Rodriguez v. Evangelista, 65 Phil. 230, 235 [1937]). As the Court
aptly puts it inBagalihog v. Fernandez, 198 SCRA 614 (1991), "[z]eal in the pursuit of criminals cannot ennoble the use of arbitrary
methods that the Constitution itself abhors."
For the retention of the money seized by the police officers, approval of the court which issued the search warrant is necessary (People
v. Gesmundo, 219 SCRA 743 [1993]). In like manner, only the court which issued the search warrant may order their release (Temple v.
Dela Cruz, 60 SCRA 295 [1974]; Pagkalinawan v. Gomez, 21 SCRA 1275 [1967]).
Section 3(2) of Article III of the 1987 Constitution provides that evidence obtained in violation of the right against unreasonable
searches and seizures shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 39

The information in Criminal Case No. 8517, with petitioner as the sole accused, was ordered quashed by the trial court and the
prosecution's motion for the reconsideration of the quashal order had been denied. Even in BC I.S. Case No. 88-1239, which was being
investigated by Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Marcos, petitioner was dropped as a respondent. Hence, there appears to be no
criminal prosecution which can justify the retention of the seized articles in custodia legis.
A subsequent legal development added another reason for the return to him of all the seized articles: R.A. No. 1700, the AntiSubversion Law, was repealed by R.A. No. 7636 and, therefore, the crimes defined in the repealed law no longer exist.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the People of the Philippines is ORDERED to RETURN the money seized to petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 40

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. L-25232 December 20, 1973


ASIAN SURETY and INSURANCE COMPANY, INC., petitioner,
vs.
HON. JOSE HERRERA, as Judge, City Court of Manila, NBI Agent CELSO J. ZOLETA, JR. and MANUEL CUARESMA, respondents.
Astraquillo, Laquio, Brillantes and Associates, Taada, Carmon and Taada and Alidio, Elegir, Anchete and Catipon petitioner.
Assistant Solicitor General Pacifico P. de Castro and Solicitor Augusto M. Amores for respondent Celso J. Zoleta, Jr.
Antonio Barredo for respondent Manuel Cuaresma.

ESGUERRA, J.:
Petition to quash and annul a search warrant issued by respondent Judge Jose Herrera of the City Court of Manila, and to command
respondents to return immediately the documents, papers, receipts and records alleged to have been illegally seized thereunder by
agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) led by respondent Celso Zoleta, Jr.
On October 27, 1965, respondent Judge Herrera, upon the sworn application of NBI agent Celso Zoleta, Jr. supported by the deposition
of his witness, Manuel Cuaresma, issued a search warrant in connection with an undocketed criminal case for estafa, falsification,
insurance fraud, and tax evasion, against the Asian Surety and Insurance Co., a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws
of the Philippines, with principal office at Room 200 Republic Supermarket Bldg., Rizal Avenue, Manila. The search warrant is couched
in the following language:
It appearing to the satisfaction of the undersigned, after examining under oath NBI Agent Celso J. Zoleta, Jr. and his
witness Manuel Cuaresma that there are good and sufficient reasons to believe that Mr. William Li Yao or his
employees has/have in his/their control in premises No. 2nd Floor Republic Supermarket Building, in Rizal
Avenue district of Sta. Cruz, Manila, property (Subject of the offense; stolen or embezzled and proceeds or fruits of
the offense used or intended to be used as the means of committing the offense) should be seized and brought to
the undersigned.
You are hereby commanded to make an immediate search at any time in the ----- of the premises above-described
and forthwith seize and take possession of the following personal property to wit: Fire Registers, Loss Bordereau,
Adjusters Report including subrogation receipt and proof of loss, Loss Registers, Books of Accounts, including cash
receipts and disbursements and general ledger, check vouchers, income tax returns, and other papers connected
therewith ... for the years 1961 to 1964 to be dealt with as the law directs.
Armed with the search warrant Zoleta and other agents assigned to the Anti-graft Division of the NBI entered the premises of the
Republic Supermarket Building and served the search warrant upon Atty. Alidio of the insurance company, in the presence of Mr.
William Li Yao, president and chairman of the board of directors of the insurance firm. After the search they seized and carried away
two (2) carloads of documents, papers and receipts.
Petitioner assails the validity of the search warrant, claiming that it was issued in contravention of the explicit provisions of the
Constitution and the Rules of Court, particularly Section 1, of Art. III of the 1935 Constitution, now Section 3, of Art. IV of the new
Constitution, and Sections 3, 5, 8 and 10 of Rule 126 of the Rules of Court, hereunder quoted for convenience of reference, viz:
Sec. 3 The rights of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable
searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause to be determined

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 41

by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnessed he may produce,
and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons, or things to be seized." (Art. IV, Section 3,
New Constitution)
Sec. 3 Requisites for issuing search warrant A search warrant shall not issue but upon probable cause in
connection with one specific offense to be determined by the judge or justice of the peace 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.
No search warrant shall issue for more than one specific offense. (Sec. 3, Rule 126, Rules of Court)
Sec. 5 Issuance and form of search warrant If the judge or justice of the peace is thereupon satisfied of the
existence of facts upon which the application is based, or that there is probable cause to believe that they exist, he
must issue the warrant in the form prescribed by these rules. (Sec. 5, Rule 126)
Sec. 8 Time of making search The warrant must direct that it be served in the day time, unless the affidavit
asserts that the property is on the person or in the place ordered to be searched, in which case a direction may be
inserted that it be served at any time of the night or day. (Sec. 8, Rule 126)
Sec. 10 Receipt for property seized. The officer seizing property under the warrant must give a detailed receipt
for the same to the person on whom or in whose possession it was found, or in the absence of any person, must, in
the presence of at least one witness, leave a receipt in the place in which he found the seized property. (Sec. 10,
Rule 126) .
"Of all the rights of a citizen, few are of greater importance or more essential to his peace and happiness than the right of personal
1

security, and that involves the exemption of his private affairs, books, and papers from the inspection and scrutiny of others. While
the power to search and seize is necessary to the public welfare, still it must be exercised and the law enforced without transgressing
the constitutional rights of the citizens, for the enforcement of no statute is of sufficient importance to justify indifference to the basic
principles of government (People v. Elias, 147 N.E. 472)."
I.
In the case at bar, the search warrant was issued for four separate and distinct offenses of : (1) estafa, (2) falsification, (3) tax evasion
and (4) insurance fraud, in contravention of the explicit command of Section 3, Rule 126, of the Rules providing that: "no search
warrant shall issue for more than one specific offense." The aforequoted provision, which is found in the last paragraph of the same
section, is something new. "There is no precedent on this amendment prohibition against the issuance of a search warrant for more
2

than one specific offense either in the American books on Criminal procedure or in American decisions." It was applied in the
3

celebrated case of Harry S. Stonehill v. Secretary of Justice where this Court said:
To uphold the validity of the warrants in question would be to wipe out completely one of the most fundamental
rights guaranteed in our Constitution, for it would place the sanctity of the domicile and the privacy of
communication and correspondence at the mercy of the whims, caprice or passion of peace officers. This is
precisely the evil sought to be remedied by the constitutional provision abovequoted to outlaw the so-called
general warrants. It is not difficult to imagine what would happen in times of keen political strife, when the party in
power feels that the minority is likely to wrest it, even though by legal means.
Such is the seriousness of the irregularities committed in connection with the disputed search warrants, that this
Court deemed it fit to amend section 3 of Rule 122 of the former Rules of Court by providing in its counterpart,
under the Revised Rules of Court, that a search warrant shall not issue but upon probable cause in connection with
one specific offense. Not satisfied with this qualification, the court added thereto a paragraph, directing that no
search warrant shall issue for more than one specific offense.
II.

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 42

Petitioner likewise contests the validity of the search warrant on the ground that it authorized the search and seizures of personal
properties so vaguely described and not particularized, thereby infringing the constitutional mandate requiring particular description of
the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. It also assails the noncompliance with the above-requirement as
likewise openly violative of Section 2 of Rule 126 which provides:
SEC. 2. A search warrant may be issued for the search and seizure of the following personal property:
(a) Property subject of the offense;
(b) Property stolen or embezzled and other proceeds or fruits of the offense; and
(c) Property used or intended to be used as the means of committing an offense.
The search warrant herein involved reads in part: "... property (Subject of the offense, stolen or embezzled and proceeds or fruits of the
offense used or intended to be used as the means of committing the offense) should be seized and brought to the undersigned." The
claim of respondents that by not cancelling the description of one or two of the classes of property contained in the form when not
applicable to the properties sought to be seized, the respondent judge intended the search to apply to all the three classes of property.
This is a patent impossibility because the description of the property to be searched and seized, viz: Fire Registers, Loss Bordereau,
Adjusters Report, including subrogation receipts and proof of loss, Loss Registers, Books of Accounts including cash receipts and
disbursements and general ledger, etc. and the offenses alleged to have been committed by the corporation to wit: estafa, falsification,
tax evasion and insurance fraud, render it impossible for Us to see how the above-described property can simultaneously be
contraband goods, stolen or embezzled and other proceeds or fruits of one and the same offense. What is plain and clear is the fact
that the respondent Judge made no attempt to determine whether the property he authorized to be searched and seized pertains
specifically to any one of the three classes of personal property that may be searched and seized under a search warrant under Rule
126, Sec. 2 of the Rules. The respondent Judge simply authorized search and seizure under an omnibus description of the personal
properties to be seized. Because of this all embracing description which includes all conceivable records of petitioner corporation,
4

which if seized (as it was really seized in the case at bar), could possibly paralyze its business, petitioner in several motions, filed for
early resolution of this case, manifested that the seizure of TWO carloads of their papers has paralyzed their business to the grave
prejudice of not only the company, its workers, agents, employees but also of its numerous insured and beneficiaries of bonds issued
5

by it, including the government itself, and of the general public. And correlating the same to the charges for which the warrant was
issued, We have before Us the infamous general warrants of old. In the case of Uy Kheytin, et al., v. Villareal, 42 Phil. 896, cited with
approval in the Bache case, supra, We had occasion to explain the purpose of the requirement that the warrant should particularly
describe the place to be searched and the things to be seized, to wit:
"... Both the Jones Law (sec. 3) and General Orders No. 58 (sec. 97) specifically require that a search warrant should
particularly describe the place to be searched and the things to be seized. The evident purpose and intent of this
requirement is to limit the things to be seized to those, and only those, particularly described in the search warrant
to leave the officers of the law with no discretion regarding what articles they shall seize, to the end that
"unreasonable searches and seizures" may not be made. That this is the correct interpretation of this constitutional
provision is borne out by American authorities."
The purpose as thus explained could, surely and effectively, be defeated under the search warrant issued in this case.
III.
Moreover, as contended by petitioner, respondents in like manner transgressed Section 10 of Rule 126 of the Rules for failure to give a
detailed receipt of the things seized. Going over the receipts (Annexes "B", "B-1", B-2", "B-3" and "B-4" of the Petition) issued, We
found the following: one bordereau of reinsurance, 8 fire registers, 1 marine register, four annual statements, folders described only as
Bundle gm-1 red folders; bundle 17-22 big carton folders; folders of various sizes, etc., without stating therein the nature and kind of
documents contained in the folders of which there were about a thousand of them that were seized. In the seizure of two carloads of
documents and other papers, the possibility that the respondents took away private papers of the petitioner, in violation of his

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 43

constitutional rights, is not remote, for the NBI agents virtually had a field day with the broad and unlimited search warrant issued by
respondent Judge as their passport.
IV.
6

The search warrant violated the specific injunctions of Section 8 of Rule 126. Annex "A" of the Petition which is the search warrant in
question left blank the "time" for making search, while actual search was conducted in the evening of October 27, 1965, at 7:30 p.m.,
7

until the wee hours of the morning of October 28, 1965, thus causing untold inconveniences to petitioners herein. Authorities are of
the view that where a search is to be made during the night time, the authority for executing the same at that time should appear in
the directive on the face of the warrant.
8

In their Memorandum respondents, relying on the case of Moncado v. Peoples Court (80 Phil. 1), argued:
Even assuming that the search warrant in question is null and void, the illegality thereof would not render the
incriminating documents inadmissible in evidence.
This Court has reverted to the old rule and abandoned the Moncado ruling (Stonehill case, supra). Most common law jurisdictions have
already given up this approach and eventually adopted the exclusionary rule, realizing that this is the only practical means of enforcing
the constitutional injunction against unreasonable searches and seizures. Thus the Supreme Court of the United States declared:

If letters and private documents can thus be seized and held and used in evidence against a citizen accused of an
offense the protection of the 4th Amendment, declaring his right to be secured against such searches and seizures
is of no value, and so far as those thus placed are concerned, might as well be stricken from the Constitution. The
efforts of the courts and their officials to bring the guilty to punishment, praise-worthy as they are, are not to be
aided by the sacrifice of those great principles established by years of endeavor and suffering which have resulted
in their embodiment in the fundamental law of the land.
Moreover, the criminal charges filed by the NBI have all been dismissed and/or dropped by the Court or by the office of the City Fiscal
of Manila in 1968, as manifested in the petition filed by petitioner dated October 24, 1972, for early resolution of this case.
V.
It has likewise been observed that the offenses alleged took place from 1961 to 1964, and the application for search warrant was made
on October 27, 1965. The time of the application is so far remote in time as to make the probable cause of doubtful veracity and the
warrant vitally defective. Thus Mr. Joseph Varon, an eminent authority on Searches, Seizures and Immunities, has this to say on this
point:
From the examination of the several cases touching upon this subject, the following general rules are said to apply
to affidavits for search warrants:
(1) xxx xxx xxx
(2) Such statement as to the time of the alleged offense must be clear and definite and must not be too remote
from the time of the making of the affidavit and issuance of the search warrant.
(3) There is no rigid rule for determining whether the stated time of observation of the offense is too remote from
the time when the affidavit is made or the search warrant issued, but, generally speaking, a lapse of time of more
than three weeks will be held not to invalidate the search warrant while a lapse of four weeks will be held to be so.
A good and practical rule of thumb to measure the nearness of time given in the affidavit as to the date of the
alleged offense, and the time of making the affidavit is thus expressed: The nearer the time at which the observation
of the offense is alleged to have been made, the more reasonable the conclusion of establishment of probable cause.
[Emphasis Ours]
PREMISES CONSIDERED, petition is hereby granted; the search warrant of October 27, 1965, is nullified and set aside, and the
respondents are hereby ordered to return immediately all documents, papers and other objects seized or taken thereunder. Without
costs.

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 44

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 82544 June 28, 1988
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF: ANDREW HARVEY, JOHN SHERMAN and ADRIAAN VAN DEL
ELSHOUT, petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE COMMISSIONER MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO, COMMISSION ON IMMIGRATION AND DEPORTATION, respondent.

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:
A petition for Habeas Corpus.
Petitioners Andrew Harvey and John Sherman, 52 and 72 years, respectively, are both American nationals residing at Pagsanjan,
Laguna, while Adriaan Van Elshout, 58 years old, is a Dutch citizen also residing at Pagsanjan, Laguna.
The case stems from the apprehension of petitioners on 27 February 1988 from their respective residences by agents of the
Commission on Immigration and Deportation (CID) by virtue of Mission Orders issued by respondent Commissioner Miriam Defensor
Santiago of the CID. Petitioners are presently detained at the CID Detention Center.
Petitioners were among the twenty-two (22) suspected alien pedophiles who were apprehended after three months of close
surveillance by CID agents in Pagsanjan, Laguna. Two (2) days after apprehension, or on 29 February 1988, seventeen (17) of the
twenty-two (22) arrested aliens opted for self-deportation and have left the country. One was released for lack of evidence; another
was charged not for being a pedophile but for working without a valid working visa. Thus, of the original twenty two (22), only the three
petitioners have chosen to face deportation.
Seized during petitioners apprehension were rolls of photo negatives and photos of the suspected child prostitutes shown in salacious
poses as well as boys and girls engaged in the sex act. There were also posters and other literature advertising the child prostitutes.
The "Operation Report," on Andrew Harvey and Richard Sherman dated 29 February 1988 stated:
xxx xxx xxx
ANDREW MARK HARVEY was found together with two young boys.
RICHARD SHERMAN was found with two naked boys inside his room.
In respect of Van Den Elshout the "After Mission Report," dated 27 February 1988 read in part:
Noted:
There were two (2) children ages 14 & 16 which subject readily accepted having been in his care
and live-in for quite sometime.
On 4 March 1988, deportation proceedings were instituted against petitioners for being undesirable aliens under Section 69 of the
Revised Administrative Code (Deportation Case No. 88-13). The "Charge Sheet" read inter alia:
Wherefore, this Office charges the respondents for deportation, as undesirable aliens, in that: they, being
pedophiles, are inimical to public morals, public health and public safety as provided in Section 69 of the Revised
Administrative Code.
On 7 March 1988, Warrants of Arrest were issued by respondent against petitioners for violation of Sections 37, 45 and 46 of the
Immigration Act and Section 69 of the Revised Administrative Code On the same date, the Board of Special Inquiry III commenced trial
against petitioners.

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 45

On 14 March 1988, petitioners filed an Urgent Petition for Release Under Bond alleging that their health was being seriously affected by
their continuous detention. Upon recommendation of the Board of Commissioners for their provisional release, respondent ordered
the CID doctor to examine petitioners, who certified that petitioners were healthy.
On 22 March 1988, petitioners filed a Petition for Bail which, however, respondent denied considering the certification by the CID
physician that petitioners were healthy. To avoid congestion, respondent ordered petitioners' transfer to the CID detention cell at Fort
Bonifacio, but the transfer was deferred pending trial due to the difficulty of transporting them to and from the CID where trial was ongoing.
On 4 April 1988 petitioner Andrew Harvey filed a Manifestation/Motion stating that he had "finally agreed to a self-deportation" and
praying that he be "provisionally released for at least 15 days and placed under the custody of Atty. Asinas before he voluntarily
departs the country." On 7 April 1988, the Board of Special Inquiry III allowed provisional release of five (5) days only under certain
conditions. However, it appears that on the same date that the aforesaid Manifestation/ Motion was filed, Harvey and his copetitioners had already filed the present petition.
On 4 April 1988, as heretofore stated, petitioners availed of this Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus. A Return of the Writ was filed by
the Solicitor General and the Court heard the case on oral argument on 20 April 1988. A Traverse to the Writ was presented by
petitioners to which a Reply was filed by the Solicitor General.
Petitioners question the validity of their detention on the following grounds:
1) There is no provision in the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 nor under Section 69 of the Revised Administrative Code, which
legally clothes the Commissioner with any authority to arrest and detain petitioners pending determination of the existence of a
probable cause leading to an administrative investigation.
2) Respondent violated Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizures since the CID
agents were not clothed with valid Warrants of arrest, search and seizure as required by the said provision.
3) Mere confidential information made to the CID agents and their suspicion of the activities of petitioners that they are pedophiles,
coupled with their association with other suspected pedophiles, are not valid legal grounds for their arrest and detention unless they
are caught in the act. They further allege that being a pedophile is not punishable by any Philippine Law nor is it a crime to be a
pedophile.
We reject petitioners' contentions and uphold respondent's official acts ably defended by the Solicitor General.
There can be no question that the right against unreasonable searches and seizures guaranteed by Article III, Section 2 of the 1987
Constitution, is available to all persons, including aliens, whether accused of crime or not (Moncado vs. People's Court, 80 Phil. 1
[1948]. One of the constitutional requirements of a valid search warrant or warrant of arrest is that it must be based upon probable
cause. Probable cause has been defined as referring to "such facts and circumstances antecedent to the issuance of the warrant that in
themselves are sufficient to induce a cautious man to rely on them and act in pursuance thereof." (People vs. Syjuco 64 Phil. 667
[1937]; Alverez vs. CFI, 64 Phil. 33 [1937]).
The 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure also provide that an arrest wit a warrant may be effected by a peace officer or even a private
person (1) when such person has committed, actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense in his presence; and (2) when
an offense has, in fact, been committed and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has
committed it (Rule 113, Section 5).
In this case, the arrest of petitioners was based on probable cause determined after close surveillance for three (3) months during
which period their activities were monitored. The existence of probable cause justified the arrest and the seizure of the photo
negatives, photographs and posters without warrant (See Papa vs. Mago, L-27360, February 28, 1968,22 SCRA 857; People vs. Court of
First Instance of Rizal, L-41686, November 17, 1980, 101 SCRA 86, cited in CRUZ, Constitutional Law, 1987 ed., p. 143). Those articles
were seized as an incident to a lawful arrest and, are therefore, admissible in evidence (Section 12, Rule 126,1985 Rules on criminal
Procedure).

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 46

But even assuming arguendo that the arrest of petitioners was not valid at its inception, the records show that formal deportation
charges have been filed against them, as undesirable aliens, on 4 March 1988. Warrants of arrest were issued against them on 7 March
1988 "for violation of Section 37, 45 and 46 of the Immigration Act and Section 69 of the Administrative Code." A hearing is presently
being conducted by a Board of Special Inquiry. The restraint against their persons, therefore, has become legal. The Writ has served its
purpose. The process of the law is being followed (Cruz vs. Montoya, L-39823, February 25, 1975, 62 SCRA 543). "were a person's
detention was later made by virtue of a judicial order in relation to criminal cases subsequently filed against the detainee, his petition
for hebeas corpus becomes moot and academic" (Beltran vs. Garcia, L-49014, April 30, 1979, 89 SCRA 717). "It is a fumdamental rule
that a writ of habeas corpus will not be granted when the confinement is or has become legal, although such confinement was illegal at
the beginning" (Matsura vs. Director of Prisons, 77 Phil. 1050 [1947]).
That petitioners were not "caught in the act" does not make their arrest illegal. Petitioners were found with young boys in their
respective rooms, the ones with John Sherman being naked. Under those circumstances the CID agents had reasonable grounds to
believe that petitioners had committed "pedophilia" defined as "psychosexual perversion involving children" (Kraft-Ebbing Psychopatia
Sexualis p. 555; Paraphilia (or unusual sexual activity) in which children are the preferred sexual object" (Webster's Third New
International Dictionary, 1971 ed., p. 1665) [Solicitor General's Return of the Writ, on p. 101. While not a crime under the Revised Penal
Code, it is behavior offensive to public morals and violative of the declared policy of the State to promote and protect the physical,
moral, spiritual, and social well-being of our youth (Article II, Section 13, 1987 Constitution).
At any rate, the filing by petitioners of a petition to be released on bail should be considered as a waiver of any irregularity attending
their arrest and estops them from questioning its validity (Callanta v. Villanueva, L-24646 & L-24674, June 20, 1977, 77 SCRA 377;
Bagcal vs. Villaraza, L-61770, January 31, 1983, 120 SCRA 525).
The deportation charges instituted by respondent Commissioner are in accordance with Section 37(a) of the Philippine Immigration Act
of 1940, in relation to Section 69 of the Revised Administrative Code. Section 37(a) provides in part:
(a) The following aliens shall be arrested upon the warrant of the Commissioner of Immigration and Deportation or
any other officer designated by him for the purpose and deported upon the warrant of the Commissioner of
Immigration and Deportation after a determination by the Board of Commissioners of the existence of the ground
for deportation as charged against the alien;
xxx xxx xxx
The foregoing provision should be construed in its entirety in view of the summary and indivisible nature of a deportation proceeding,
otherwise, the very purpose of deportation proceeding would be defeated.
Section 37(a) is not constitutionally proscribed (Morano vs. Vivo, L-22196, June 30, 1967, 20 SCRA 562). The specific constraints in both
1

the 1935 and 1987 Constitutions, which are substantially Identical, contemplate prosecutions essentially criminal in nature.
Deportation proceedings, on the other hand, are administrative in character. An order of deportation is never construed as a
punishment. It is preventive, not a penal process. It need not be conducted strictly in accordance with ordinary Court proceedings.
It is of course well-settled that deportation proceedings do not constitute a criminal action. The order of
deportation is not a punishment, (Maliler vs. Eby, 264 U.S., 32), it being merely the return to his country of an alien
who has broken the conditions upon which he could continue to reside within our borders (U.S. vs. De los Santos,
33 Phil., 397). The deportation proceedings are administrative in character, (Kessler vs. Stracker 307 U.S., 22)
summary in nature, and need not be conducted strictly in accordance with the ordinary court proceedings
(Murdock vs. Clark, 53 F. [2d], 155). It is essential, however, that the warrant of arrest shall give the alien sufficient
information about the charges against him, relating the facts relied upon. (U.S. vs. Uhl 211 F., 628.) It is also
essential that he be given a fair hearing with the assistance of counsel, if he so desires, before unprejudiced
investigators (Strench vs. Pedaris, 55 F. [2d], 597; Ex parte Jew You On, 16 F. [2d], 153). However, all the strict rules
of evidence governing judicial controversies do not need to be observed; only such as are fumdamental and

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 47

essential like the right of cross-examination. (U.S. vs. Hughes, 104 F. [2d], 14; Murdock vs. Clark, 53 F. [2d], 155.)
Hearsay evidence may even be admitted, provided the alien is given the opportunity to explain or rebut it (Morrell
vs. Baker, 270 F., 577; Sercerchi vs. Ward, 27 F. Supp., 437). (Lao Tang Bun vs. Fabre 81 Phil. 682 [1948]).
The ruling in Vivo vs. Montesa (G. R. No. 24576, July 29, 1968, 24 SCRA 155) that "the issuance of warrants of arrest by the
Commissioner of Immigration, solely for purposes of investigation and before a final order of deportation is issued, conflicts with
3

paragraph 3, Section I of Article III of the Constitution" (referring to the 1935 Constitution) is not invocable herein. Respondent
Commissioner's Warrant of Arrest issued on 7 March 1988 did not order petitioners to appear and show cause why they should not be
deported. They were issued specifically "for violation of Sections 37, 45 and 46 of the Immigration Act and Section 69 of the Revised
Administrative Code." Before that, deportation proceedings had been commenced against them as undesirable aliens on 4 March 1988
and the arrest was a step preliminary to their possible deportation.
Section 37 of the Immigration Law, which empowers the Commissioner of Immigration to issue warrants for the
arrest of overstaying aliens is constitutional. The arrest is a stop preliminary to the deportation of the aliens who
had violated the condition of their stay in this country. (Morano vs. Vivo, L-22196, June 30, 1967, 20 SCRA 562).
To rule otherwise would be to render the authority given the Commissioner nugatory to the detriment of the State.
The pertinent provision of Commonwealth Act No. 613, as amended, which gives authority to the Commissioner of
Immigration to order the arrest of an alien temporary visitor preparatory to his deportation for failure to put up
new bonds required for the stay, is not unconstitutional.
xxx xxx xxx
... Such a step is necessary to enable the Commissioner to prepare the ground for his deportation under Section
37[al of Commonwealth Act 613. A contrary interpretation would render such power nugatory to the detriment of
the State. (Ng Hua To vs. Galang, G. R. No. 10145, February 29, 1964, 10 SCRA 411).
"The requirement of probable cause, to be determined by a Judge, does not extend to deportation proceedings." (Morano vs.
Vivo, supra, citing Tiu Chun Hai vs. Commissioner, infra). There need be no "truncated" recourse to both judicial and administrative
warrants in a single deportation proceedings.
The foregoing does not deviate from the ruling in Qua Chee Gan vs. Deportation Board (G. R. No. 10280, September 30, 1963, 9 SCRA
27 [1963]) reiterated in Vivo vs. Montesa, supra, that "under the express terms of our Constitution (the 1935 Constitution), it is
therefore even doubtful whether the arrest of an individual may be ordered by any authority other than a judge if the purpose is
merely to determine the existence of a probable cause, leading to an administrative investigation." For, as heretofore stated, probable
cause had already been shown to exist before the warrants of arrest were issued.
What is essential is that there should be a specific charge against the alien intended to be arrested and deported, that a fair hearing be
conducted (Section 37[c]) with the assistance of counsel, if desired, and that the charge be substantiated by competent evidence. Thus,
Section 69 of the Revised Administrative Code explicitly provides:
Sec. 69. Deportation of subject of foreign power. A subject of a foreign power residing in the Philippines shall not be
deported, expelled, or excluded from said Islands or repatriated to his own country by the President of the
Philippines except upon prior investigation, conducted by said Executive or his authorized agent, of the ground
upon which such action is contemplated. In such a case the person concerned shall be informed of the charge or
charges against him and he shall be allowed not less than 3 days for the preparation of his defense. He shall also
have the right to be heard by himself or counsel, to produce witnesses in his own behalf, and to cross-examine the
opposing witnesses.
The denial by respondent Commissioner of petitioners' release on bail, also challenged by them, was in order because in deportation
proceedings, the right to bail is not a matter of right but a matter of discretion on the part of the Commissioner of Immigration and
Deportation. Thus, Section 37(e) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 provides that "any alien under arrest in a deportation

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 48

proceeding may be released under bond or under such other conditions as may be imposed by the Commissioner of Immigration." The
use of the word "may" in said provision indicates that the grant of bail is merely permissive and not mandatory on the part of the
Commissioner. The exercise of the power is wholly discretionary (Ong Hee Sang vs. Commissioner of Immigration, L-9700, February
28,1962, 4 SCRA 442). "Neither the Constitution nor Section 69 of the Revised Administrative Code guarantees the right of aliens facing
deportation to provisional liberty on bail." (Tiu Chun Hai et al vs. Deportation Board, 104 Phil. 949 [1958]). As deportation proceedings
do not partake of the nature of a criminal action, the constitutional guarantee to bail may not be invoked by aliens in said proceedings
(Ong Hee Sang vs. Commissioner of Immigration, supra).
Every sovereign power has the inherent power to exclude aliens from its territory upon such grounds as it may deem proper for its selfpreservation or public interest (Lao Tan Bun vs. Fabre 81 Phil. 682 [1948]). The power to deport aliens is an act of State, an act done by
or under the authority of the sovereign power (In re McCulloch Dick, 38 Phil. 41 [1918]). It is a police measure against undesirable aliens
whose continued presence in the country is found to be injurious to the public good and the domestic tranquility of the people (Forbes
vs. Chuoco Tiaco et al., 16 Phil. 534 [1910]). Particularly so in this case where the State has expressly committed itself to defend the
tight of children to assistance and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other conditions
prejudicial to their development (Article XV, Section 3[2]). Respondent Commissioner of Immigration and Deportation, in instituting
deportation proceedings against petitioners, acted in the interests of the State.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is dismissed and the Writ of Habeas Corpus is hereby denied.
SO ORDERED.
Yap, C.J., Paras, Padilla and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 49

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. L-35149 June 23, 1988
EDUARDO QUINTERO, petitioner,
vs.
THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, HON. ELIAS ASUNCION, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Manila, and HON. JOSE
FLAMINIANO, City Fiscal of Pasay City, respondents.

PADILLA, J.:
Supervening events, like the February 1986 revolution and the reported death in the United States of herein petitioner, of which the
Court cannot however take cognizance (in the absence of formal notice from the parties), could be the most convenient grounds for
declaring this case closed and terminated. But the convenient way is not necessarily the proper judicial recourse, especially when the
issues raised remain contentions, sharpened by the persuasive force of enlightened advocacy, and which not even the impact of such
supervening events has succeeded to meet.
Besides, what the Court says and decides today in this case may well be the source of wisdom for succeeding governments which
should all be determined, at the very least, to avoid the excesses and, therefore, fatal pitfalls of a past regime.
In this petition for certiorari, prohibition and injunction, with preliminary injunction, petitioner seeks to annul and declare as void and
without legal effect Search Warrant No. 7, issued on 31 May 1972 by respondent Judge Elias Asuncion of the then Court of First
Instance of Manila, as well as all acts and proceedings taken thereunder.
The antecedents, now a part of the country's political history, are as follows:
On 19 May 1972, petitioner Eduardo Quintero, delegate of the first district of Leyte to the 1971 Constitutional Convention (Con-Con,
1

for short) delivered a privilege speech at a plenary session of the Con-Con. In his speech, Delegate Quintero disclosed that, on
different occasions, certain persons had distributed money to some delegates of the Con-Con, apparently in an effort to influence the
delegates in the discharge of their functions. As an offshoot of this disclosure, Delegate Quintero delivered to the Con-Con the
aggregate amount of the "payola" he himself had received, the amount of eleven thousand one hundred fifty pesos (P11,150.00) in
cash, preserved intact for delivery to the proper officials of the Con-Con, for whatever action it may wish to take on the matter.
Delegate Quintero, however, did not reveal the names of the persons who gave him the money; and he begged at that time not to be
made to name names.

However, pressure mounted on Delegate Quintero to reveal the Identities of the people behind the "payola" scheme. Hence, on 30
May 1972 (the day after he returned from Tacloban City, where he had attended the funeral of his brother), Delegate Quintero
released from his hospital bed in San Juan de Dios Hospital, where he was hospitalized due to an indisposed condition, a sworn
statement addressed to the Committee on Privileges of the Con-Con, mentioning the names of the persons who gave him the "payola."
The full text of the sworn statement released by Delegate Quintero is quoted hereunder:
Republic of the Philippines
1971 CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
Manila
THE COMMITTEE ON PRIVILEGES
1971 Constitutional Convention
Manila Hotel
Manila
Thru: THE PRESIDENT
1972 Constitutional Convention
Dear Colleagues:

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 50

Complying with your request that I shed more light on the privileged speech which I delivered on the floor
of the Convention last May 19,1972, I wish to state under oath the following facts, without prejudice to
supplying additional details:
1. Amount No. 1. P500.00 The envelope containing the amount was handed to me at the Manila Hotel on March 19, 1971, by
Delegate Gabriel Yniquez. He later made me understand it from the First Lady.
2. Amount No. 2. P500.00 The envelope containing the amount was received from the office of Representative Nicanor Yniquez
of Southern Leyte on April 22, 1971.
3. Amount No. 3. P500.00 The envelope containing the amount was received from Mrs. Paz Mate (wife of Congressman Mate of
Leyte) in May 1971. She told me that other delegates from Leyte were being given the same amount of money by the First Lady.
4. Amount No. 4. P500.00 The envelope containing the amount was received in the house of Congressman Marcelino Veloso on
June 2, 1971 from Delegate Domingo Veloso at Bayview Hotel, Manila. Other envelopes were also given to other Samar-Leyte
delegates.
5. Amount No. 5. P500.00 The envelope containing the amount was handed to me by Delegate Jaime Opinion on June 10, 1971
in the suite of Delegate Domingo Veloso at the Bayview Hotel, Manila. Other envelopes were also given to other Samar-Leyte
delegates.
6. Amount No 6 P500.00 The envelope containing this amount was handed to me by Delegate Domingo Veloso in the
Convention Hall on June 23, 1971. He made me understand it came "from the same source."
7. Amount No. 7. P2,000.00 The envelope containing the amount was handed to me by Delegate Ramon Salazar on June 27,
1971, in the residence of Delegate Augusta Syjuco. Delegate Salazar told me that the First Lady met Samar-Leyte delegates that
noon and since I was not in that meeting, the money was being sent to me.
8. Amount No. 8. P200.00 The envelope containing the amount was handed to me by Delegate Domingo Veloso on June 28,
1971 during a party given by President and Mrs. Diosdado Macapagal for the delegates and their ladies. Delegate Veloso told me
the money came from Delegate Augusta Syjuco.
9. Amount No. 9. P500.00 The envelope containing the amount was handed to me by Delegate Federico dela Plana at the
Convention Hall on July 13, 1971.
10. Amount No. 10. P500.00 The envelope containing the amount was left inside my drawer in the Convention Hall on August 5,
1971 by Delegate Constantino Navarro, Jr. He said it came from Delegate Venancio Yaneza.
11. Amount No. 11. P500.00 The envelope containing the amount was placed on my desk under a piece of paper in the session
hall on August 11, 1971 by Delegate Constantino Navarro, Jr. He said it came from Delegate Venancio Yaneza.
12. Amount No. 12. P450.00 The envelope containing the amount was handed to me by Delegate Domingo Veloso on
September 6,1971. He said it came "from Imelda." According to Delegate Veloso, Yniquez took from the envelope P50.00 for an
unnamed delegate.
13. Amount No. 13. P500.00 The envelope containing the amount was handed to me on September 23, 1971 by Delegate
Domingo Veloso near the men's room. He said it came "from the First Lady."
14. Amount No. 14. P500.00 The envelope containing the amount was handed to me on October 6, 1971 by Delegate Domingo
Veloso near the office of the Sergeant-at-Arms. Two other delegates, Delegate Damian Aldaba and Delegate Antero Bongbong,
received an envelope each that same afternoon.
15. Amount No. 15. P500.00 The envelope containing the amount was handed to me by Delegate Gabriel Yniquez on December
2, 1971 at the entrance of the Oakroom.
16. Amount No. 16. P1,000.00 The envelope containing the amount was handed to me by Delegate Gabriel Yniquez on January
13,1972. He said. "This is for the months of December and January.
17. Amount No. 17. P500.00 The envelope containing the amount was handed to me on March 7, 1972 by Delegate Flor
Sagadal, in the session hall. The envelope was covered by a piece of paper which Delegate Sagadal placed on my desk.
18. Amount No. 18. P1,000.00 The envelope containing the amount was handed to me by Delegate Damian Aldaba on May 8,
1972. He said it came from Delegate Gabriel Yniquez.
In my privilege speech, I also said that "in that same evening of January 6,1972, after the dinner was over, when we were still
inside the Malacanang grounds on our way to our cars, one of the delegates made this announcement: "The envelopes are ready.
They will be distributed in a couple of days." There was sepulchral silence from the other delegates."
The delegate who made that announcement was Delegate Casimiro Madarang of Cebu.
Yours
very
sincerely,
(Sgd)
EDUARDO
QUINTERO
Delegate
First District of
Leyte. 3

Thus, the then First Lady, Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos, among others, was implicated in the Quintero in expose. Hours after Delegate
Quintero's statement was made public, then President Ferdinand E. Marcos went on the air as well as on TV to denounce Mr. Quintero,
and Mr. Marcos averred that he "shall not rest until I have unmasked this pretender, his master-minds and accomplices."

The following day, 31 May 1972, Mr. Marcos also made a statement which was reported in the Bulletin issue of 1 June 1972, as follows:
The President said he had already taken up the matter with his legal counsel and that unlike the Quintero expose,
he was preparing a "meticulous, circumspect and legal" case against this tool of the hate Marcos group.
The President said his report from witnesses who would soon be presented showed that the Quintero affidavit was
originally prepared in the office of Senator Salonga, a known oppositionist, and signed by a notary public who also
works in the Salonga law office.

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 51

The document according to the President, was brought to the hospital room of Quintero and there it was signed by
the Leyte delegate. The President said that at the proper time and at the proper occasion, he would complete the
jigsaw puzzle of the case.
We will prove the personal motivation of this witness who turned about and sought to implicate the name of the
First Lady, after previously making public statements to the effect that the First Family had nothing to do with this
affair," the President said.
We will prove that this delegate came to Malacanang demanding money from the President and the First Lady, and
had been denied.
We will prove that this delegate has engaged in other immoral activities violative of his oath as a delegate, as
lawyer and which rendered him unacceptable as witness to anything whatsoever.
The President said that while he suffered so much in the past over the verification heaped on him, he had never
seen a man who could stoop so low as to implicate the First Lady on hearsay simply because the First Family had
refused to give him money.
I am passionate about this dastardly act," the President said. "I would, if necessary, spend the rest of my life to
uncover the person or persons behind this act. Quintero was just a tool in the hands of these people. (Manila
Bulletin, Thursday, June 1, 1972).

In the evening of the same day that Mr. Marcos issued the afore-quoted statement, the agents of the respondent National Bureau of
Investigation (NBI, for short) raided the house of Delegate Quintero, at 2281 Mayon St., Sta., Aria, Manila, on the basis of Search
Warrant No. 7 issued also on 31 May 1972 by respondent Judge Elias Asuncion of the Court of First Instance of Manila. After the raid,
said NBI agents claimed to have found in the Quintero residence, and therefore seized, bundles of money amounting to P379,000.00.
On 1 June 1972, the NBI filed with the City Fiscal of Pasay a criminal complaint for direct bribery against Delegate Quintero. The fiscal
immediately scheduled a preliminary investigation in relation thereto.
On 5 June 1972, Delegate Quintero availed of the present recourse.
On 6 June 1972, the Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the use in any proceeding of the objects seized by the
respondent NBI from the Quintero residence. The 1935 Constitution which was in force at the time of the issuance of the questioned
search warrant, provides:
Article IIIBill of Rights
Section 1 (3) The rights of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against
unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, to
be determined 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 3, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court provided:
Sec. 3. Requisites for issuing search warrant. A search warrant shall not issue but upon probable cause in
connection with one specific offense to be determined by the judge or justice of the peace 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.
No search warrant shall issue for more than one specific offense.
Under the aforequoted provisions, a search warrant may issue only upon the finding of the judge of "probable cause," and the latter
has been defined as "such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonable, discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense
has been committed, and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched.

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 52

In the case at bar, the questioned search warrant was issued by respondent Judge, upon application of NBI agent Samuel Castro. Said
application was accompanied by an affidavit of the complainant, Congressman Artemio Mate, whose affidavit was allegedly made also
before the respondent judge.
The interrogations conducted by the respondent judge, upon the applicant NBI agent Samuel Castro, showed that the latter knew
nothing, of his own personal knowledge, to show that Mr. Quintero had committed any offense. Said interrogation is quoted
hereunder:
Interrogations Conducted by Judge Elias B. Asuncion Upon NBI Agent Samuel Castro, this 31st day of May
1972 at City Hall, Manila
Questions by the Court:
(Witness Being Sworn To In Accordance With Law')
Q. Please state your name and other personal circumstances.
A. Samuel Castro, of legal age, married and NBI Agent, Manila.
Q. You are applying for a search warrant, what are the facts upon which you base your application?
A. Facts gathered from my investigation on Congressman Artemio Mate of Leyte who declared to us that he
has seen Delegate Eduardo Quintero receive bribe money from two men as a consideration of signing a
statement which he submitted to the Committee on Privileges of the Constitutional Convention.
Q. Do you know where the bribe money is now kept?
A. We have reason to believe that the bribe money is now kept in the residence of Delegate Eduardo
Quintero at 2281 Mayon St., Sta. Ana, Manila.
That is all.
Certification
I hereby certify that the foregoing is a record of the proceedings I took on my interrogation of NBI agent Samuel Castro, the
questions having been asked by me and the answers given by NBI agent Samuel Castro in connection with his application for a
search warrant.
May 31,1972, Manila.
(Sgd) Elias B. Asuncion
Judge
Branch XII, CFI 7
On the other hand, the sworn statement of Congressman Mate states:
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
CITY OF MANILA
INTERROGATION BY JUDGE ELIAS B. ASUNCION UPON CONGRESSMAN ARTEMIO
MATE IN CONNECTION WITH AN APPLICATION FOR SEARCH WARRANT AT THE
CHAMBER OF JUDGE ELIAS B. ASUNCION THIS 31ST DAY OF MAY, 1972.
COURT QUESTIONING: (After Deponent was sworn to in accordance with law)
Q Please state your name and other personal circumstances.
A Artemio Mate, of legal age, married, Congressman of the first district of Leyte, and a resident of Tacloban.
Q Why are you here, Congressman?
A I would want to declare in connection with the fact that Delegate Eduardo Quintero had received half a
million pesos as a consideration for having signed an affidavit, or statement.
Q What about this affidavit or statement?
A It is his affidavit which he released to the Committee on Privileges of the Constitutional Convention
naming certain persons as having doled out to him on various occasions sums of money contained in
envelopes.
Q Why do you say that Delegate Quintero received half a million pesos as consideration of his having signed
that affidavit?
A Because when I went to the San Juan De Dios Hospital in the evening of May 29, 1972 where Delegate
Eduardo Quintero is confined, for the purpose of greeting him on his birthday, as I was about to enter Room
Number 307, I saw two persons at his bedside. On seeing, them, I did not enter the room because from the
door screen I noticed that they were in serious huddle. So I stayed behind the door screen which kept me
out from their view. While there, I heard one of them say that "half of the amount" promised will be
delivered immediately provided that he (Delegate Quintero) agrees to sign the statement which he was
then holding, after the person pulled out a folder from his brief case. Then, I heard Delegate Quintero asked.
"Where is the half.?" At this time, one of the two was holding a suitcase from the other man and then said:
"Here it is," as he opened a little the suitcase. As the suitcase was half-opened, I saw bundles of money
inside the suitcase.
Q Then, what happened?
A The suitcase was closed, and then I saw Delegate Quintero took the folder from that person and Delegate
Quintero placed the folder under his pillow, while he was nodding as if saying "yes."
Q After that, what happened?
A The two stood up, together with Mrs. Quintero and after wishing Delegate Quintero for speedy recovery,
they were then walking towards the door. Then, I heard Mrs. Quintero say to her husband that it would be
better for her to bring home the suitcase, and Quintero agreed, So, Mrs. Quintero and the two men left
together. One of them offered to carry the suitcase for Mrs. Quintero. As they were already going out, I
pretended to have just arrived and so we met.
Q What happened when you met them?

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 53

A I asked Mrs. Quintero where she was going, and she replied nervously that she was going to their Sta Ana
residence.
Q Why do you say that the money in the suitcase was for the payment of Delegate Quintero's signing of the
statement?
A Because we had an antecedent conversation with Mrs. Quintero when we were still in Tacloban. There
was one time I, and Delegate Ramon Salazar, went to the house of Delegate Quintero at Tacloban City. This
was at the eve of the burial of the deceased brother of Quintero. At this time, Delegates Feria and Occena
were also in the house of Delegate Quintero and we were informed that those two-Feria and Occena were
with Delegate Quintero in his room. So, we wanted to see them also. As we were going up the stairs of the
house to The second floor, we were met by Mrs. Quintero. Mrs. Quintero pulled us aside and pointblank
whispered to us: "If you or your group can match the one million pesos offered to us by Mano Pio Pedrosa
and the Liberals, your Tio Dading (Quintero) will agree not to proceed with the expose."
Q And what did you tell her?
A I was taken aback by her relevation and I would not answer her. After that we chose to leave her and we
asked that we be allowed to see Delegate Quintero. Upon seeing them Delegate Quintero, Feria and
Occena in the room, they immediately stopped their conversation.
Q Now, going back to the money inside the suitcase. Did you see Mrs. Quintero bring out the suitcase from
the ward where Delegate Quintero was confined?
A Yes, sir. They brought it out. It was held by the man who offered to carry it for Mrs. Quintero.
Q Do you know where this money was brought?
A I have good reasons to believe that it is now in the residence of Delegate Eduardo Quintero at 2281
Mayon Street, Sta Ana, Manila, as I heard Mrs. Quintero told Delegate Quintero that it would be better for
her to bring the suitcase to their residence.
Q Do you wish to say more?
A I am ready to answer any question, but if no more asked now, then I will declare on further details when
the proper time comes.
Q Are you willing to sign this statement freely, without mental reservations, nor of force, or threat or duress
to vitiate your voluntary will?
A Yes.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I hereunto sign this 31st day of May, 1972, at City Hall, Manila.
(Sgd.)
ARTEMIO
MATE(Deponent)
SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this 31st day of May, 1972, at City Hall, Manila.
(Sgd.) ELIAS B.
ASUNCIONJudge,
Br. XII, CFIManila. 8

It is quite evident that the aforequoted statements did not provide sufficient basis for the finding of probable cause upon which a
search warrant could validly issue. The statement of the applicant, NBI agent Samuel Castro, had no weight at all, for lack of personal
knowledge about any offense that was committed by petitioner. On the other hand, it is clear from a careful examination of
Congressman Mate's statement that, from it, no judicious, reasonable and prudent man could conclude that probable cause existed
that Mr. Quintero had committed the crime of direct bribery.
The statement of Congressman Mate was characterized with several material omissions. Firstly, it was not shown by any competent
evidence that the document inside the folder which he (Mate) allegedly saw was being given to Quintero in the hospital room, was the
very statement of "expose which Quintero released to the Committee on Privileges of the Con-Con. Congressman Mate never made
any statement that he knew what the document was supposedly inside the folder handed to Quintero. Neither was any verification
made by the respondent judge to find out whether Congressman Mate knew, of his personal knowledge, what the document was
contained in the said folder, and whether he (Mate) knew, of his personal knowledge, that the sworn statement released by Quintero
to the Committee on Privileges, was the very statement or document contained in said folder.
Secondly, it was not shown by any competent evidence that the document supposedly inside "he folder-whatever it was was actually
signed by Quintero. What Congressman Mate supposedly saw was that Quintero "placed the folder under his pillow, while he was
nodding as if saying "yes." " But the fact remained that the statement of Congressman Mate did not show that Quintero signed
whatever was inside the folder given to him by the two unidentified persons, before they left the room; and then there was no showing
by Congressman Mate that he ever saw Quintero sign afterwards the alleged "statement" contained in the folder.
Thirdly, there was no showing by competent evidence that the money supposedly given to Quintero was the payment for the signing by
Quintero of the statement whatever it was given to him inside a folder by the two persons. The only thing that linked the alleged
giving of the money to Quintero, to his alleged signing of the statement, was an inference from hearsay evidence, which was the
supposed statement of Mrs. Quintero, on a different occasion, that her husband was being offered P1,000,000.00 by Pio Pedrosa and

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 54

the Liberals to make the "expose." And from this, it was drawn by Congressman Mate that the money supposedly delivered to Quintero
in the hospital room was payment for his signing the alleged document inside the folder, containing the "expose".
The supposed statement of Mrs. Quintero was purely hearsay, insofar as petitioner Quintero was concerned. Her statement, if any, was
not binding upon the petitioner, and therefore, should not prejudice the latter. The respondent judge should have known this before
he issued the questioned search warrant. As held by the Court, an application for search warrant, if based on hearsay, cannot, standing
9

alone, justify the issuance of a search warrant. There is no doubt, in the case at bar, that the alleged statement of Mrs. Quintero was
indubitably hearsay, insofar as petitioner Quintero was concerned.
The statement of Congressman Mate, which was the sole basis for the issuance of the search warrant, was replete with conclusions and
inferences drawn from what he allegedly witnessed when he visited Mr. Quintero in the hospital. It lacked the directness and
definiteness which would have been present, had the same statement dealt with facts which Congressman Mate actually witnessed. As
held in one case, persons swearing to, or supporting the application for, search warrants, must set forth the facts that they know
personally

10

and not the conclusions, or the beliefs of the affiant, so as to justify a reasonable and ordinarily prudent man, whose duty

is to ascertain whether probable cause exists, to conclude that a violation of the law has occurred.
Search warrants are not issued on loose, vague or doubtful basis of fact, nor on mere suspicion or belief. The facts recited in an affidavit
supporting the application for a search warrant must be stated with sufficient definiteness, so that, if they are false, perjury may be
assigned on the affidavit.

11

Hence, affidavits which go no further than to allege conclusions of law, or of fact, are insufficient.

Considering the generality of the statement of Congressman Mate, a judicious and prudent man would have attacked the statements
made by the deponent, instead of asking leading questions, and conducting the examination in a general manner, like what the
respondent judge did in the case at bar. As held in Nolasco vs. Pano,

12

the questions propounded by respondent Executive Judge to the

applicant's witness are not sufficiently searching to establish probable cause. 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.
Had the respondent judge been cautious in issuing the questioned search warrant, he would have wondered and, therefore, asked the
affiant why said incident was reported only on 31 May 1972, when the latter allegedly witnessed it on 29 May 1972. Also, respondent
judge should have questioned the statements of complainant Congressman Mate, and should have been alert to some ulterior motives
on the part of the latter, considering that Congressman Mate's wife was one of those implicated in the "expose" made by
Quintero.

13

An ulterior motive to an application for search warrant should alert the judge to possible misrepresentations.

14

Another circumstance which points to the nullity of the questioned search warrant, for having been issued without probable cause, is
the fact that the search warrant delivered to the occupant of the searched premises, Generoso Quintero (nephew of the petitioner)
was issued in connection with the offense of "grave threats" and not "direct bribery," which was the criminal complaint filed against
Quintero with the respondent fiscal. The offense charged or labelled in the questioned search warrant had, therefore, no relation at all
to the evidence, i.e., "half a million pesos, Philippine currency," ordered to be seized in said search warrant. There was thus no ground
whatsoever for the respondent judge to claim that facts and circumstances had been established, sufficient for him to believe that the
crime of "grave threats" had been committed, because, on the basis of the evidence alone, and what was ordered to be seized in the
search warrant he issued, no relation at all can be established between the crime supposedly committed (grave threats) and the
evidence ordered to be seized.
It is true that the copy of the questioned search warrant that remained in the file of the respondent Judge, had been changed to
indicate that the offense was that of direct bribery under Art. 210 of the Revised Penal Code. The change was effected by the deletion,
in ink, of the typewritten words "grave threats" and the superimposition, in ink, of the figures "210" (Art. 210 of Revised Penal Code
Direct Bribery) over the typewritten figures "282" (Art. 282 of the Revised Penal Code Grave Threats). The respondents claimed that
these changes were made at the time the warrant was issued not after the search was made. But as admitted by respondents

15

the

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 55

warrant in this case was prepared beforehand by the NBI, in an NBI form,

16

which stated only the name of the crime charged, but did

not contain any description of the acts constituting the crime charged.
According to respondent judge, when the search warrant was presented to him by applicant NBI agent Samuel Castro, he saw that the
crime charged was for "grave threats." But after he allegedly conducted his interrogations, he found that the proper charge should be
"Direct Bribery." Hence he caused the proper changes in the search warrant, but inadvertently, he failed to make the proper changes in
the sole copy that was presented by the NBI agents to Generoso Quintero, although the copy retained by the NBI agents had been
corrected.
On the other hand, petitioner claimed that the changes in the questioned search warrant were made after the search was made.
According to petitioner, his counsel, Atty. Ordonez who was present during the latter part of the raid-questioned in fact the materiality
of the property being seized to the offense stated on the warrant, i.e., "grave threats." Consequently, if the copy in the possession of
the raiding party had indeed been corrected before the search, the raiding party, would have been able to clear up the matter at once,
when petitioner's counsel raised the question with them. However, the raiding party kept silent on the matter at that time, thereby
negating their later pretenses.
Besides, the explanation given by the respondent judge as to the difference in the copy of the warrant served on the petitioner's
representative and those retained by the respondents, cannot be given any weight, for no presumption of regularity in the
performance of official functions can be invoked by a public officer, when he himself undertakes to justify his acts.

17

Furthermore, the

Court notes the admission of the respondents that it was an NBI form which was used for the search warrant, and that it was pre-filled
by the applicant, before it was presented to the respondent judge, but that, he (the judge) allegedly made the changes after he had
conducted his examination. The Court considers the act of the respondent judge in entertaining a pre-filled search warrant as irregular;
it casts doubt upon his impartiality.
Disregarding for a moment the absence of "probable cause," the search itself that was conducted by the NBI agents who raided the
house of petitioner, pursuant to the questioned search warrant, was highly irregular. The two (2) occupants of the house who
witnessed the search conducted, Generoso Quintero and Pfc. Alvaro Valentin, were closeted in a room where a search was being made
by a member of the raiding party, while the other NBI agents were left to themselves in the other parts of the house, where no
members of the household were in a position to watch them, and thus they conducted a search on their own.
Such a procedure, wherein members of a raiding party can roam around the raided premises unaccompanied by any witness, as the
only witnesses available as prescribed by law are made to witness a search conducted by the other members of the raiding party in
another part of the house, is held to be violative of both the spirit and the letter of the law,

18

which provides that "no search of a

house, room, or any other premises shall be made except in the presence of at least one competent witness, resident of the
neighborhood."
Another irregularity committed by the agents of respondent NBI was their failure to comply with the requirement of Sec. 10, Rule 126
of the Rules of Court which provides that "The officer seizing property under the warrant must give a detailed receipt for the same to
the person on whom or in whose possession it was found, or in the absence of any person, must, in the presence of at least onewitness, leave a receipt in the place in which he found the seized property." The receipt issued by the seizing party in the case at
bar,

19

showed that it was signed by a witness, Sgt. Ignacio Veracruz. This person was a policeman from the Manila Metropolitan Police

(MMP), who accompanied the agents of respondent NBI during the conduct of the search, The requirement under the aforequoted
Rule that a witness should attest to the making of the receipt, was not complied with. This requirement of the Rules was rendered
nugatory, when the one who attested to the receipt from the raiding party was himself a member of the raiding party.
The circumstances prevailing before the issuance of the questioned search warrant, and the actual manner in which the search was
conducted in the house of the petitioner, all but imperfectly, and yet, strongly suggest that the entire procedure, from beginning to
end, was an orchestrated movement designed for just one purpose to destroy petitioner Quintero's public image with "incriminating

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 56

evidence," and, as a corollary to this, that the evidence allegedly seized from his residence was "planted" by the very raiding party that
was commanded to "seize" such incriminating evidence.
ACCORDINGLY, the Court finds, and so holds, that the questioned search warrant issued by respondent judge, is null and void, for being
violative of the Constitution and the Rules of Court.
WHEREFORE, Search Warrant No. 7 issued on 31 May 1972 by respondent Judge is declared NULL and VOID and of no force and effect.
The Temporary Restraining Order issued by this Court on 6 June 1972 is hereby made PERMANENT The amount of P379,200.00
allegedly seized from the house of petitioner Quintero, now in the possession of the Central Bank, and already demonetized, is left with
said Central Bank, to be disposed of, as such, in accordance with law and the regulations.
SO ORDERED.

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 57

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. L-61688 October 28, 1987
VLASONS ENTERPRISES CORPORATION, petitioner,
vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, HON. ALFREDO CRUZ, JR., et al. respondents.

NARVASA, J.:
In a civil action for the recovery of possession of two (2) pieces of a salvaged bronze propeller of a sunken vessel, instituted in the
2

Manila Court of First Instance 1 by Florencio Sosuan, has buyer thereof, against the seller, Lo Bu and also against the persons from
whom Lo Bu had purchased the propeller, Alfonso Calixto and Ernesto Valenzuela and alternatively against Vlasons Enterprises
Corporation-the presiding Judge, Judge Alfredo Cruz, Jr., issued an Order dated March 22, 1982 granting the motion of Sosuan ". . . to
Repossess Propeller Pieces" pendente lite upon his posting of a bond in the sum of P82,940.00 representing the uncontroverted value
3

thereof this, after Sosuan had rested his case and before the defendants could begin presenting theirs.
Some five months before the filing of the suit, or more precisely on June 21, 1979, those propeller pieces had been seized by
METROCOM agents from Florencio Sosuan on the strength of a search warrant issued by another branch of the same Manila Court of
4

First Instance, presided over by Judge Maximo Maceren. The search warrant was issued at the instance of Vlasons Enterprises
Corporation (hereafter simply referred to as Vlasons), which claimed to be the owner of the propeller. Vlasons alleged that the
propeller was an accessory of an oil tanker (the "MT Feoso Sun) which it had purchased on December 21, 1978 and which had sunk at a
point off Limay, Bataan; that some chains and the spare bronze propeller of the vessel had been stolen by a certain Calixto; that the
propeller, had been traced to a junk shop of a man named Garcia in Cavite Street, Tondo, Manila, and when discovered, appeared to
have been broken into two (2) pieces; and that the propeller pieces had been subsequently sold for P71,000.00 to Kim Hoc Hing
Foundry at Jaboneros Street, Binondo, Manila, owned by Florencio Sosuan
After the METROCOM officers had taken custody of the propeller pieces, they filed with the Office of the Manila City Fiscal a complaint
5

accusing Alfonso Calixto and Ernesto Valenzuela of theft of said propeller. They also filed a second complaint charging Florencio
7

Sosuan with violation of the Anti-Fencing Law for having allegedly purchased the propeller pieces from Lo Bu, a scrap dealer, with
knowledge that they were stolen goods. Those complaints were however dismissed by the Fiscal on April 9, 1981, for insufficiency of
evidence. The fiscal's action was in due course affirmed by the Minister of Justice on November 17, 1981, who also denied Vlasons
motion for reconsideration on June 16, 1982. A final attempt by Vlasons to overturn those resolutions of dismissal by certiorari
petitions presented before this Court failed.

In the meantime, in the civil action to recover possession of the propeller pieces filed by Sosuan pending before Judge Cruz' Branch, the
order mentioned in the opening paragraph of this opinion-authorizing Sosuan to take possession of the propellers pending action was
promulgated on March 22, 1982. the Order stressed "the fact thatno criminal action has been filed in Court in connection with the
seizure of the propellers in question " and accordinglly directed
... the Commanding Officer, METROCOM Investigating Unit, Camp Crame, Quezon City... to release to the plaintiff
(Sosuan) the two (2) pieces of scrap bronze propellers, which the former seized from the latter last June 21. 1979,
by virtue of a Search Warrant No. 85-78 upon plaintiff's posting a bond in the amount of P82,940.00 to answer for
any damages that might be caused the defendants and/or Third Party defendant and/or Alternative Defendant by
reason of the issuance of this order.

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 58

This Order was also challenged by Vlasons in the Court of Appeals on certiorari. That Court however refused to nullify the order. In its
judgment dated July 30, 1982, 10 it declined to sustain Vlasons' theory that Judge Cruz had no power to authorize the release of the
propeller pieces because these articles were in custodia legis of another Branch of the Court, presided over by Judge Maceren; and that
in authorizing the release thereof, Judge Cruz had interfered with the jurisdiction and prerogative of a co-equal court. According to the
Court of Appeals, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court does not provide that things seized under a search warrant could be released only by
the court issuing the warrant; that the articles were not in fact in the custody of the court but of the authorities at Camp Crame,
Quezon City; and no criminal case had been filed in the sala of Judge Maceren involving the articles in question.
Vlasons has come to this Court on appeal by certiorari, to attempt to bring about a reversal of the Appellate Court's verdict.11 Its
appeal was given due course by Resolution dated March 7, 1983.
The proceeding for the seizure of property in virtue of a search warrant does not end with the actual taking of the property by the
proper officers and its delivery, usually constructive, to the court. The order for the issuance of the warrant is not a final one and
cannot constitute res judicata. 12 Such an order and can not ascertain and adjudicate the permanent status or character of the seized
property. By its very nature, it is provisional, interlocutory. 13 It is merely the first step in the process to determine the character and
title of the property. That determination is done in the criminal action involving the crime or crimes in connection with which the
search warrant was issued. Hence, such a criminal action should be prosecuted, or commenced if not yet instituted, and prosecuted.
The outcome of the criminal action will dictate the disposition of the seized property. If found to be contraband, i.e., articles the
possession of which, without more, constitutes a crime and the repossession of which would subject defendant to criminal penalties
and frustrate the express policy against the possession of such objects, they will not be returned, but shall be confiscated in favor of the
State or destroyed, as the case may be. 14 If not contraband, the property shall be returned without in due delay to the person who
appears from the evidence to be the owner or rightful possessor, whether or not the property was subject to theft, robbery or other
crime. 15 Should there be conflictitig claims of ownership over the property seized under a warrant-and subsequently shown by the
evidence not to be contraband, or otherwise illicit or subject to forfeiture-the appropriate remedy, it has been held, is the institution of
a civil suit by any of the parties concerned or by the Government itself, assuming the role of stakeholder, 16 although there is authority
to the effect that a magistrate issuing a search warrant on the ground that property has been stolen has jurisdiction to dispose of the
property seized thereunder, even if there be no criminal prosecution for the larceny where the applicable statute does not require a
prosecution as a condition precedent to such disposition, 17 but that this jurisdiction is an exceptional one. 18
In the case at bar, no criminal prosecution was ever instituted in the Maceren Branch of the Manila Court of First Instance with respect
to the propeller pieces, subsequent to the issuance by said Branch of a search warrant and the resultant seizure of those articles. Nor
could any criminal prosecution ever be expected at any time thereafter since both the fiscal and the Minister of Justice had opined that
no crime had been proven to have attended the acquisition by the suspects of the propeller pieces, an opinion which this Court had
refused to nullify.
On the other hand, the property could not be permitted to stay in a perpetual state of custodia legis. Not being contraband, and not
having been shown to be subject of any crime, it clearly should have been returned, under normal circumstances, to its rightful owner,
or at least to the person from whom the property had been seized under the warrant. That return was however precluded by the
existence of conflicting claims of title over the property being asserted by two different persons, a conflict that obviously could not be
summarily disposed of by the Maceren Branch, but indeed called for a formal judicial inquiry and adjudication, with full opportunity for
submission of evidence by the contending parties; i.e., an ordinary civil action.
Now, the record shows that that civil action was indeed commenced by Florencio Sosuan; but as fate would have it, it was raffled to
another branch of the same Manila Court of First Instance, the Cruz Branch, not the Maceren Branch. The first question that arises in
view of this development is whether or not the Cruz Branch had jurisdiction over this particular action for the recovery of title to the
personal property in question valued at more than twenty thousand pesos; and the answer cannot but be in the affirmative, in the light
of the clear provisions of the law. 19The Maceren Branch, on the other hand, could not take cognizance of the issue of title for the

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 59

simple reason that the action regarding that issue had not been raffled to it. The situation would of course have been less complicated
had the case been assigned by raffle to the Maceren Branch. But even had this transpired, the Maceren Branch would still have been
obligated to conduct a full-dress trial in order to finally resolve the question of title to the property. It could not make any disposition of
the property merely because it had earlier issued a search warrant therefor, or on the basis merely of the evidence adduced in support
of the application for the warrant. The fact of the matter is that absent any contemporaneous or subsequent criminal action involving
the crime or crimes for which the search warrant had been issued, and specially in the light of the dismissal of the criminal complaints
in connection therewith, said search warrant and the proceedings thereon were rendered inconsequential as far as the resolution of
the civil action involving the conflicting claims of title to the property was concerned. The question of title would have to be adjudged
principally on the basis of the pleadings filed and the evidence adduced in that civil action.
These premises considered, it is therefore immaterial which court takes cognizance of that civil suit, whether it be the court issuing the
search warrant or any other. After all, the former performs in this situation the function of no more than a custodian of the property.
No peculiar or additional competence to adjudicate the question of title was acquired by it by reason of its having issued a search
warrant. No possible inconsistency or contradiction in disposition of the property could in the circumstances possibly arise between it
and the court where the civil action is pending, since only the latter could and would render a judgment on the question of title. There
is therefore no reason to declare the court which issued the search warrant to be the only branch which should exercise jurisdiction
over the suit to resolve conflicting claims of ownership over the seized articles. Nor may any valid reason be cited why, under the
peculiar circumstances obtaining in this case, the seizing court may not release the seized articles to the person pronounced by the final
judgment in the civil action to be entitled thereto, or even to transfer the custody of the goods to the branch where the action is
pending, upon due application, at any time prior to the final judgment.
The Court is not unmindful of its earlier ruling in 1967, in Pagkalinawan v. Gomez,

20

to the effect that

... The moment a court of first instance has been informed through the filing of an appropriate pleading that a
search warrant has been issued by another court of first instance, it cannot, even if the literal language of the Rules
of Court (Section 3, Rule 60) yield a contrary impression which in this case demonstrated the good faith of
respondent Judge for acting as he did, require a sheriff or any proper officer of the Court to take the property
subject of the replevin action if theretofore it came into custody of another public officer by virtue of a search
warrant. Only the court of first instance that issued such a search warrant may order its release. Any other view
would be subversive of a doctrine that has been steadfastly adhered to, the main purpose of which is to assure
stability and consistency in judicial actuations and to avoid confusion that may otherwise ensue if courts of
coordinate jurisdiction are permitted to interfere with each other's lawful orders.
... The remedy for questioning the validity of a search warrant may be sought in the Court of First Instance that
issued it, not in the sala of another Judge, and as admitted in the dissenting opinion of Justice Laurel, not through
replevin.

21

At once apparent however is that the situation in Pagkalinawan is quite distinct from that obtaining in the case at bar.
In Pagkalinawan the same property was being seized at the same time by different courts upon different writs: one by search warrant,
the other by writ of seizure issued in a replevin action. There was then a palpable and real conflict in jurisdiction. And
the Pagkalinawan ruling was laid down precisely to avoid that conflict in jurisdiction. In the instant case, however, since it was fairly
certain that no criminal action could possibly ensue subsequent to or in connection with the search warrant, no such conflict in
jurisdiction or in the ultimate disposition of the seized property could be expected to arise.
It is therefore this Court's holding that where personalty has been seized under a search warrant, and it appears reasonably definite
that the seizure will not be followed by the filing of any criminal action for the prosecution of the offenses in connection with which the
warrant was issued, the public prosecutors having pronounced the absence of basis therefor, and there are, moreover, conflicting
claims asserted over the seized property, the appropriate remedy is the institution of an ordinary civil action by any interested party, or

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 60

of a special civil action of interpleader by the Government itself, that action being cognizable not exclusively by the court issuing the
search warrant but by any other competent court to which it may be assigned by raffle. In such a case, the seizing court shall transfer
custody of the seized articles to the court having jurisdiction of the civil action at any time, upon due application by an interested party.
But such a transfer, it must be emphasized, is a matter of comity, founded on pragmatic considerations, not compellable by or resulting
from any overriding authority, of a writ or process of the court having cognizance of the civil action.
The second question calling for resolution is the validity of the Order of Judge Cruz decreeing the transfer to the plaintiff pendente
lite of the possession of the litigated property.
The order is obviously designed to grant a temporary, provisional remedy. But the slightest reflection will immediately make apparent
that it is not one of the provisional remedies contemplated and authorized by the Rules of Court. It cannot be characterized and
justified as a writ of seizure or delivery under Rule 60 of the Rules of Court. The order was not applied for "before answer," as
prescribed by Section I of Rule 60. Furthermore, the bond required and filed in connection therewith was not "in double the value of
the property," as required in the same cited provision. Neither may the order be categorized and sanctioned as a writ of
preliminary attachment, no pretense having been made of the existence of any of the specific grounds therefor set out in Section 1,
Rule 57 of the Rules of Court, or as a writ of receivership, in accordance with Rule 59 or of preliminary mandatory injunction under Rule
58. And, of course, any attempt to justify the order as one of support pendente lite under Rule 61 would be facetious. It thus appears
that the order cannot be justified by any of the provisions governing provisional remedies in the Rules of Court. It is sui generis, an
innominate provisional remedy. If it is to be upheld at all it must be on the general authority of the court to award such relief as may be
proper in the premises.
The order is plainly and patently an advance concession or award to the plaintiff of a contingent, alternative relief prayed for in the
complaint to be embodied in the final judgment. The relief is sought in the plaintiff's complaint in the following terms:

22

WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that judgment be rendered in favor of plaintiff ordering:


As Against Defendants Lo Bu, Calixto and Valenzuela:
A. Jointly and severally, to pay plaintiff the sum of P82,940.00 representing the purchase price of the scrap marine
propeller ... should it turn out that alternative defendant corporation (Vlasons) is the lawful owner of the said
propeller:
As Against Alternative Defendant Vlasons Enterprises Corp.:
B. To return to plaintiff at its own expense, the said two broken pieces of a scrap bronze marine four bladed
propeller weighing a total of 14,300 kilos, seized at its instance by the PC METROCOM under Manila CFI Search
Warrant No. 8578, should defendants Lo Bu Calixto and Valenzuela be found to be the true and lawful owners of the
propeller above described;
xxx xxx xxx
The order is attempted to be justified by Judge Cruz by the fact "that no criminal action has been filed in Court in connection with the
seizure of the propeller-in-question," and by Sosuan by the further fact that no such criminal case "can in the future be filed under the
doctrine of res adjudicata arising from the dismissal of the petition in G.R. No. 60875-(76)

23

(and hence) the said propeller pieces have

never been nor will ever be in custodia legis under the search warrant issued by Judge Maximo Maceren ...,"

24

as well as the additional

circumstance that "[t]he Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of Manila is one legal entity composed of several branches,
each one acting for and in behalf of the same legal entity. Consequently, while the act of the Honorable Maximo Maceren as the
presiding Judge of Branch XVIII in seizing the propeller pieces in question, is the act of this entity, the act of respondent Judge Alfredo V.
Cruz, Jr. as the presiding Judge of Branch XXIX, is likewise the act of the same legal entity, the Court of First Instance (RTC) of Manila
and being the most recent, it should be construed as the prevailing and latest act of the said Court."

25

The attempt at justification must fail. The petitioner's thesis is untenable. The absence of any criminal prosecution in the Maceren
Branch in relation to the propeller has no relevance whatever to the question of whether or not in the civil suit before the Cruz Branch

Crim Pro October 7, 2014 61

the plaintiff, who claims to be the owner of the propeller, is entitled to its possession pending action as against defendant Vlasons, who
also claims to be the owner thereof. Non sequitur. The absence of such a criminal prosecution and consequently of any occasion for the
Maceren Court to decide the question of title to the propeller, merely makes necessary the civil suit to precisely resolve that issue. It
does not of itself furnish basis for or warrant the transfer of possession from one party to the other in the civil action. The theory that
the act of one branch of a court of first instance (regional trial court) may be deemed to be the act of another branch of the same court
is, upon its face, absurd. It flies in the teeth of the all too familiar actuality that each branch is a distinct and separate court, exercising
jurisdiction over the cases assigned to it to the exclusion of all other branches.
Also patently erroneous is the holding of the Court of Appeals that "[t]he articles seized were under the custody of Camp Crame, at
Quezon City, and not in the custody of the Court of First Instance of Manila presided over by Judge Maceren."

26

The METROCOM

officers obtained custody of the propeller in virtue of the search warrant issued by the Maceren Court and were holding possession
thereof by that Court's authority. The officers at Camp Crame were not exercising control over the propeller on their own authority, but
by virtue of the power of the Court. Their custody of the propeller was obviously and undeniably the custody of the Court. Finally, the
lack of any provision in Rule 126 of the Rules of Court ordaining "that the things seized could be released only by the court issuing the
search warrant," also adverted to by the Court of Appeals,

27

certainly does not negate the indisputable fact that said court does

acquire custody and control of the property described in the warrant after its seizure, to the exclusion of any other court; and that that
custody and control cannot be interfered with by any other coordinate court or branch of the same court.
Nothing in the record therefore justifies the Order of Judge Cruz transferring possession of the property in controversy to the
plaintiff pendente lite. That relief can be awarded only after trial, by final judgment declaring in whom the title to said property rests.
What may be done in the meantime, as already above pointed out, is simply the transfer by the Maceren Branch, upon proper
application, of custody over the property to the Cruz Branch, there to await the outcome of the suit.
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals promulgated on July 30, 1982, subject of this appeal, is reversed and set aside, and
the Order of the Trial Court dated March 22, 1982 declared null and void. The case shall forthwith be remanded to the corresponding
Branch of the Regional Trial Court of Manila for prompt resumption of trial and rendition of final judgment. Costs against private
respondents.
Teehankee, C.J., Cruz, Paras * and Gancayco, JJ., concur.

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