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G.R. No. 171465


June 8, 2007
AAA vs. HON. ANTONIO A. CARBONELL, in his capacity as Presiding Judge, Branch
27, Regional Trial Court, San Fernando City, La Union and ENGR. JAIME O. ARZADON
This petition for certiorari1 assails the December 16, 20052 Order of the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 27, San Fernando, La Union in Criminal Case No. 6983, dismissing the rape case
filed against private respondent Jaime O. Arzadon for lack of probable cause; and its
February 3, 20063 Order denying petitioners motion for reconsideration.
Petitioner worked as a secretary at the Arzadon Automotive and Car Service Center from
February 28, 2001 to August 16, 2001. On May 27, 2001 at about 6:30 p.m., Arzadon asked
her to deliver a book to an office located at another building but when she returned to their
office, the lights had been turned off and the gate was closed. Nevertheless, she went inside
to get her handbag.
On her way out, she saw Arzadon standing beside a parked van holding a pipe. He told her to
go near him and upon reaching his side, he threatened her with the pipe and forced her to lie
on the pavement. He removed her pants and underwear, and inserted his penis into her
vagina. She wept and cried out for help but to no avail because there was nobody else in the
premises.
Petitioner did not report the incident because Arzadon threatened to kill her and her family.
But when she discovered that she was pregnant as a consequence of the rape, she narrated
the incident to her parents. On July 24, 2002, petitioner filed a complaint for rape against
Arzadon.
On September 16, 2002, Assistant City Prosecutor Imelda Cosalan issued a
Resolution4 finding probable cause and recommending the filing of an information for rape.
Arzadon moved for reconsideration and during the clarificatory hearing held on October 11,
2002, petitioner testified before the investigating prosecutor. However, she failed to attend the
next hearing hence, the case was provisionally dismissed.
On March 5, 2003, petitioner filed another Affidavit-Complaint 5 with a comprehensive account
of the alleged rape incident. The case was assigned to 2nd Assistant Provincial Prosecutor
Georgina Hidalgo. During the preliminary investigation, petitioner appeared for clarificatory
questioning. On June 11, 2003, the investigating prosecutor issued a Resolution 6 finding that
a prima facie case of rape exists and recommending the filing of the information.
Arzadon moved for reconsideration and requested that a panel of prosecutors be constituted
to review the case. Thus, a panel of prosecutors was created and after the clarificatory
questioning, the panel issued on October 13, 2003 a Resolution 7 finding probable cause and
denying Arzadons motion for reconsideration.

An Information8 for rape was filed before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 27, San Fernando,
La Union on February 6, 2004, docketed as Criminal Case No. 6415. Thereafter, Arzadon
filed a "Motion to Hold in Abeyance All Court Proceedings Including the Issuance of a Warrant
of Arrest and to Determine Probable Cause for the Purpose of Issuing a Warrant of
Arrest."9 On March 18, 2004, respondent Judge Antonio A. Carbonell granted the motion and
directed petitioner and her witnesses to take the witness stand for determination of probable
cause.
Arzadon also appealed the Resolution of the panel of prosecutors finding probable cause
before the Department of Justice. On July 9, 2004, then Acting Secretary of Justice
Merceditas Gutierrez found no probable cause and directed the withdrawal of the Information
in Criminal Case No. 6415.10
Upon motion for reconsideration by petitioner, however, Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzales
reversed the July 9, 2004 Resolution and issued another Resolution 11 finding that probable
cause exists. Thus, a new Information12for rape was filed against Arzadon docketed as
Criminal Case No. 6983.
Consequently, Arzadon filed an "Urgent Motion for Judicial Determination of Probable Cause
for the Purpose of Issuing a Warrant of Arrest."13 In an Order dated August 11, 2005,
respondent Judge Carbonell granted the motion and directed petitioner and her witnesses to
take the witness stand.
Instead of taking the witness stand, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration claiming that
the documentary evidence sufficiently established the existence of probable cause. Pending
resolution thereof, she likewise filed a petition14 with this Court for the transfer of venue of
Criminal Case No. 6983. The case was docketed as Administrative Matter No. 05-12-756RTC and entitled Re: Transfer of Venue of Criminal Case No. 6983, formerly Criminal Case
No. 6415, from the Regional Trial Court, Branch 27, San Fernando City, La Union, to any
Court in Metro Manila.
In a Resolution15 dated January 18, 2006, the Court granted petitioners request for transfer of
venue. The case was raffled to the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 25, and docketed
as Criminal Case No. 06-242289. However, the proceedings have been suspended pending
the resolution of this petition.
Meanwhile, on December 16, 2005, respondent Judge Carbonell issued the assailed Order
dismissing Criminal Case No. 6983 for lack of probable cause. Petitioners motion for
reconsideration was denied hence, this petition.
Petitioner raises the following issues:16

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I
RESPONDENT JUDGE ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO
LACK OF OR IN EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT GRANTED THE MOTION FOR
DETERMINATION OF PROBABLE CAUSE FILED BY THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT AND
THE SUBSEQUENT DENIAL OF THE MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
II
RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED FURTHER ACTS CONSTITUTING GRAVE ABUSE
OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR IN EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT
ORDERED THE COMPLAINANT AND WITNESSES TO TAKE THE STAND FOR THE
PURPOSE OF DETERMINING PROBABLE CAUSE
III
RESPONDENT JUDGE ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN HE
REFUSED TO INHIBIT FROM FURTHER HANDLING THE CASE DESPITE WHISPERS OF
DOUBT ON HIS BIAS AND PARTIALITY
IV
RESPONDENT JUDGE ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN IT ISSUED
THE ORDER OF FEBRUARY 3, 2006, DENYING THE MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION,
DESPITE THE SUPREME COURT RESOLUTION OF JANUARY 18, 2006, GRANTING THE
TRANSFER OF VENUE
Petitioner contends that the judge is not required to personally examine the complainant and
her witnesses in satisfying himself of the existence of probable cause for the issuance of a
warrant of arrest. She argues that respondent Judge Carbonell should have taken into
consideration the documentary evidence as well as the transcript of stenographic notes which
sufficiently established the existence of probable cause.
Arzadon claims that the petition should be dismissed outright for being the wrong mode of
appeal, it appearing that the issues raised by petitioner properly fall under an action
for certiorari under Rule 65, and not Rule 45, of the Rules of Court.
17

Respondent Judge Carbonell argues in his Comment that the finding of probable cause by
the investigating prosecutor is not binding or obligatory, and that he was justified in requiring
petitioner and her witnesses to take the witness stand in order to determine probable cause.

The issues for resolution are 1) whether the petition should be dismissed for being the wrong
mode of appeal; and 2) whether respondent Judge Carbonell acted with grave abuse of
discretion in dismissing Criminal Case No. 6983 for lack of probable cause.
The petition has merit.
A petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 is distinct from a petition for certiorari under
Rule 65 in that the former brings up for review errors of judgment while the latter concerns
errors of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
Grave abuse of discretion is not an allowable ground under Rule 45. However, a petition for
review on certiorari under Rule 45 may be considered a petition for certiorari under Rule 65
where it is alleged that the respondents abused their discretion in their questioned actions, as
in the instant case.18 While petitioner claims to have brought the instant action under Rule 45,
the grounds raised herein involve an alleged grave abuse of discretion on the part of
respondent Judge Carbonell. Accordingly, the Court shall treat the same as a petition
for certiorari under Rule 65.
However, we must point out the procedural error committed by petitioner in directly filing the
instant petition before this Court instead of the Court of Appeals, thereby violating the
principle of judicial hierarchy of courts. It is well-settled that although the Supreme Court,
Court of Appeals and the Regional Trial Courts have concurrent jurisdiction to issue writs
of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus and injunction, such
concurrence does not give the petitioner unrestricted freedom of choice of court forum. 19 In
this case, however, the gravity of the offense charged and the length of time that has passed
since the filing of the complaint for rape, compel us to resolve the present controversy in
order to avoid further delay.20
We thus proceed to the issue of whether respondent Judge Carbonell acted with grave abuse
of discretion in dismissing Criminal Case No. 6983 for lack of probable cause.
We rule in the affirmative.
Respondent Judge Carbonell dismissed Criminal Case No. 6983 for lack of probable cause
on the ground that petitioner and her witnesses failed to comply with his orders to take the
witness stand. Thus
In RESUME therefore, as indubitably borne out by the case record and considering that the
Private Prosecutor, despite several admonitions contumaciously nay contemptuously refused
to comply/obey this Courts Orders of March 18, 2004, August 11, 2005 and eight (8) other
similar Orders issued in open Court that directed the complainant/witnesses to take the
witness stand to be asked probing/clarificatory questions consonant with cited jurisprudential
rulings of the Supreme Court, this Court in the exercise of its discretion and sound judgment

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finds and so holds that NO probable cause was established to warrant the issuance of an
arrest order and the further prosecution of the instant case.
Record also shows in no unclear terms that in all the scheduled hearings of the case, the
accused had always been present. A contrario, the private complainant failed to appear
during the last four (4) consecutive settings despite due notice without giving any explanation,
which to the mind of the Court may indicate an apparent lack of interest in the further
prosecution of this case. That failure may even be construed as a confirmation of the
Defenses contention reflected in the case record, that the only party interested in this case is
the Private prosecutor, prodded by the accuseds alleged hostile siblings to continue with the
case.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, for utter lack of probable cause, the instant case is
hereby ordered DISMISSED.21
He claims that under Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, no 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."
However, in the leading case of Soliven v. Makasiar,22 the Court explained that this
constitutional provision does not mandatorily require the judge to personally examine the
complainant and her witnesses. Instead, he may opt to personally evaluate the report and
supporting documents submitted by the prosecutor or he may disregard the prosecutors
report and require the submission of supporting affidavits of witnesses. Thus:
The addition of the word "personally" after the word "determined" and the deletion of the grant
of authority by the 1973 Constitution to issue warrants to "other responsible officers as may
be authorized by law," has apparently convinced petitioner Beltran that the Constitution now
requires the judge to personally examine the complainant and his witnesses in his
determination of probable cause for the issuance of warrants of arrest. This is not an accurate
interpretation.
What the Constitution underscores is the exclusive and personal responsibility of the issuing
judge to satisfy himself of the existence of probable cause. In satisfying himself of the
existence of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest, the judge is not required
to personally examine the complainant and his witnesses. Following established doctrine and
procedure, he shall: (1) personally evaluate the report and the supporting documents
submitted by the fiscal regarding the existence of probable cause and, on the basis thereof,
issue a warrant of arrest; or (2) if on the basis thereof he finds no probable cause, he may
disregard the fiscals report and require the submission of supporting affidavits of witnesses
to aid him in arriving at a conclusion as to the existence of probable cause.

Sound policy dictates this procedure, otherwise judges would by unduly laden with the
preliminary examination and investigation of criminal complaints instead of concentrating on
hearing and deciding cases filed before their courts. 23
We reiterated the above ruling in the case of Webb v. De Leon,24 where we held that before
issuing warrants of arrest, judges merely determine the probability, not the certainty, of guilt of
an accused. In doing so, judges do not conduct a de novo hearing to determine the existence
of probable cause. They just personally review the initial determination of the prosecutor
finding a probable cause to see if it is supported by substantial evidence. 25
It is well to remember that there is a distinction between the preliminary inquiry which
determines probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest and the preliminary
investigation proper which ascertains whether the offender should be held for trial or be
released. The determination of probable cause for purposes of issuing the warrant of arrest is
made by the judge. The preliminary investigation proper whether or not there is reasonable
ground to believe that the accused is guilty of the offense charged is the function of the
investigating prosecutor.26
True, there are cases where the circumstances may call for the judges personal examination
of the complainant and his witnesses. But it must be emphasized that such personal
examination is not mandatory and indispensable in the determination of probable cause for
the issuance of a warrant of arrest. The necessity arises only when there is an utter failure of
the evidence to show the existence of probable cause. 27 Otherwise, the judge may rely on the
report of the investigating prosecutor, provided that he likewise evaluates the documentary
evidence in support thereof.
Indeed, what the law requires as personal determination on the part of the judge is that he
should not rely solelyon the report of the investigating prosecutor. In Okabe v. Gutierrez,28 we
stressed that the judge should consider not only the report of the investigating prosecutor but
also the affidavit and the documentary evidence of the parties, the counter-affidavit of the
accused and his witnesses, as well as the transcript of stenographic notes taken during the
preliminary investigation, if any, submitted to the court by the investigating prosecutor upon
the filing of the Information.29 If the report, taken together with the supporting evidence, is
sufficient to sustain a finding of probable cause, it is not compulsory that a personal
examination of the complainant and his witnesses be conducted.
In this case, respondent Judge Carbonell dismissed Criminal Case No. 6983 without taking
into consideration the June 11, 2003 Resolution of 2nd Assistant Provincial Prosecutor
Georgina Hidalgo, the October 13, 2003 Resolution of the panel of prosecutors, and the July
1, 2005 Resolution of the Department of Justice, all of which sustain a finding of probable
cause against Arzadon. Moreover, he failed to evaluate the evidence in support thereof.
Respondent judges finding of lack of probable cause was premised only on the

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complainants and her witnesses absence during the hearing scheduled by the respondent
judge for the judicial determination of probable cause.
Petitioner narrated in detail the alleged rape incident both in her Sinumpaang
Salaysay30 dated July 24, 2002 and Complaint-Affidavit31 dated March 5, 2003. She attended
several clarificatory hearings that were conducted in the instant case. The transcript of
stenographic notes32 of the hearing held on October 11, 2002 shows that she positively
identified Arzadon as her assailant, and the specific time and place of the incident. She also
claimed that she bore a child as a result of the rape and, in support of her contentions,
presented the child and her birth certificate as evidence. In contrast, Arzadon merely relied on
the defense of alibi which is the weakest of all defenses.
After a careful examination of the records, we find that there is sufficient evidence to establish
probable cause. The gravamen of rape is the carnal knowledge by the accused of the private
complainant under any of the circumstances provided in Article 335 of the Revised Penal
Code, as amended.33 Petitioner has categorically stated that Arzadon raped her, recounting
her ordeal in detail during the preliminary investigations. Taken with the other evidence
presented before the investigating prosecutors, such is sufficient for purposes of establishing
probable cause. It is well-settled that a finding of probable cause need not be based on clear
and convincing evidence beyond reasonable doubt. Probable cause is that which engenders
a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and that the respondent is probably
guilty thereof and should be held for trial. It does not require that the evidence would justify
conviction. 34
It is clear therefore that respondent Judge Carbonell gravely abused his discretion in
dismissing Criminal Case No. 6983 for lack of probable cause on the ground that petitioner
and her witnesses failed to take the witness stand. Considering there is ample evidence and
sufficient basis on record to support a finding of probable cause, it was unnecessary for him
to take the further step of examining the petitioner and her witnesses. Moreover, he erred in
holding that petitioners absences in the scheduled hearings were indicative of a lack of
interest in prosecuting the case. In fact, the records show that she has relentlessly pursued
the same.
Needless to say, a full-blown trial is to be preferred to ferret out the truth. 35 As it were, the
incidents of this case have been pending for almost five years without having even passed
the preliminary investigation stage. Suffice to say that the credibility of petitioner may be
tested during the trial where the respective allegations and defenses of the complainant and
the accused are properly ventilated. It is only then that the truth as to Arzadons innocence or
guilt can be determined.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Orders of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 27,
San Fernando, La Union dated December 16, 2005, and February 3, 2006 dismissing

Criminal Case No. 6983 for lack of probable cause are REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the
Information in the said case is hereby REINSTATED. The Regional Trial Court, Branch 25,
Manila is DIRECTED to take cognizance of the case and let the records thereof
be REMANDED to the said court for further proceedings.SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 143591
November 23, 2007
TEODORO C. BORLONGAN, JR., CORAZON M. BEJASA, ARTURO E. MANUEL, JR.,
ERIC L. LEE, P. SIERVO H. DIZON, BENJAMIN DE LEON, DELFIN C. GONZALEZ, JR.,
and BEN YU LIM, JR., vs. MAGDALENO M. PEA and HON. MANUEL Q. LIMSIACO, JR.,
as Judge Designate of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Bago City
For review is the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated June 20, 2000 in CA-G.R. SP
No. 49666 dismissing the petition for certiorari filed by petitioners Teodoro C. Borlongan, Jr.,
Corazon M. Bejasa, Arturo Manuel, Jr., Benjamin de Leon, P. Siervo Dizon, Delfin C.
Gonzalez, Jr., Eric Lee and Ben T. Lim, Jr.
The factual and procedural antecedents of the case are as follows:
Respondent Magdaleno Pea instituted a civil case for recovery of agents compensation and
expenses, damages, and attorneys fees,2 against Urban Bank and the petitioners, before the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Negros Occidental, Bago City. The case was raffled to Branch
62 and was docketed as Civil Case No. 754. Respondent anchored his claim for
compensation on the contract of agency3 allegedly entered into with the petitioners wherein
the former undertook to perform such acts necessary to prevent any intruder and squatter
from unlawfully occupying Urban Banks property located along Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City.
Petitioners filed a Motion to Dismiss4 arguing that they never appointed the respondent as
agent or counsel. Attached to the motion were the following documents: 1) a letter 5 dated
December 19, 1994 signed by Herman Ponce and Julie Abad on behalf of Isabela Sugar
Company, Inc. (ISCI), the original owner of the subject property; 2) an unsigned letter 6dated
December 7, 1994 addressed to Corazon Bejasa from Marilyn G. Ong; 3) a letter 7 dated
December 9, 1994 addressed to Teodoro Borlongan and signed by Marilyn G. Ong; and 4) a
Memorandum8 dated November 20, 1994 from Enrique Montilla III. Said documents were
presented in an attempt to show that the respondent was appointed as agent by ISCI and not
by Urban Bank or by the petitioners.
In view of the introduction of the above-mentioned documents, respondent Pea filed his
Complaint-Affidavit9 with the Office of the City Prosecutor, Bago City.10 He claimed that said
documents were falsified because the alleged signatories did not actually affix their
signatures, and the signatories were neither stockholders nor officers and employees of
ISCI.11 Worse, petitioners introduced said documents as evidence before the RTC knowing
that they were falsified.

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In a Resolution12 dated September 23, 1998, the City Prosecutor concluded that the
petitioners were probably guilty of four (4) counts of the crime of Introducing Falsified
Documents penalized by the second paragraph of Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code
(RPC). The City Prosecutor concluded that the documents were falsified because the alleged
signatories untruthfully stated that ISCI was the principal of the respondent; that petitioners
knew that the documents were falsified considering that the signatories were mere dummies;
and that the documents formed part of the record of Civil Case No. 754 where they were
used by petitioners as evidence in support of their motion to dismiss, adopted in their answer
and later, in their Pre-Trial Brief.13 Subsequently, the corresponding Informations14 were filed
with the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Bago City. The cases were docketed as
Criminal Cases Nos. 6683, 6684, 6685, and 6686. Thereafter, Judge Primitivo Blanca issued
the warrants15 for the arrest of the petitioners.
On October 1, 1998, petitioners filed an Omnibus Motion to Quash, Recall Warrants of Arrest
and/or For Reinvestigation.16 Petitioners insisted that they were denied due process because
of the non-observance of the proper procedure on preliminary investigation prescribed in the
Rules of Court. Specifically, they claimed that they were not afforded the right to submit their
counter-affidavit. They then argued that since no such counter-affidavit and supporting
documents were submitted by the petitioners, the trial judge merely relied on the complaintaffidavit and attachments of the respondent in issuing the warrants of arrest, also in
contravention of the Rules. Petitioners further prayed that the information be quashed for lack
of probable cause. Lastly, petitioners posited that the criminal case should have been
suspended on the ground that the issue being threshed out in the civil case is a prejudicial
question.
In an Order17 dated November 13, 1998, the court denied the omnibus motion primarily on the
ground that preliminary investigation was not available in the instant case --- which fell within
the jurisdiction of the MTCC. The court, likewise, upheld the validity of the warrant of arrest,
saying that it was issued in accordance with the Rules. Besides, the court added, petitioners
could no longer question the validity of the warrant since they already posted bail. The court
also believed that the issue involved in the civil case was not a prejudicial question, and thus,
denied the prayer for suspension of the criminal proceedings. Lastly, the court was convinced
that the Informations contained all the facts necessary to constitute an offense.

On June 20, 2000, the CA dismissed the petition.19 Hence, the instant petition for review on
certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Petitioners now raise before us the following
issues:
A.
Where the offense charged in a criminal complaint is not cognizable by the Regional Trial
Court and not covered by the Rule on Summary Procedure, is the finding of probable cause
required for the filing of an Information in court?
If the allegations in the complaint-affidavit do not establish probable cause, should not the
investigating prosecutor dismiss the complaint, or at the very least, require the respondent to
submit his counter-affidavit?
B.
Can a complaint-affidavit containing matters which are not within the personal knowledge of
the complainant be sufficient basis for the finding of probable cause?
C.
Where the offense charged in a criminal complaint is not cognizable by the Regional Trial
Court and not covered by the Rule on Summary Procedure, and the record of the preliminary
investigation does not show the existence of probable cause, should not the judge refuse to
issue a warrant of arrest and dismiss the criminal case, or at the very least, require the
accused to submit his counter-affidavit in order to aid the judge in determining the existence
of probable cause?
D.
Can a criminal prosecution be restrained?
E.

Petitioners subsequently instituted a special civil action for Certiorari and Prohibition with
Prayer for Writ of Preliminary Injunction and TRO, before the CA ascribing grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the MTCC in issuing and
not recalling the warrants of arrest, reiterating the arguments in their omnibus motion. 18 They,
likewise, questioned the courts conclusion that by posting bail, petitioners already waived
their right to assail the validity of the warrant of arrest.

Can this Honorable Court itself determine the existence of probable cause? 20
On August 2, 2000, this Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) 21 enjoining the
judge of the MTCC from proceeding in any manner with Criminal Cases Nos. 6683 to 6686,
effective during the entire period that the case is pending before, or until further orders of, this
Court.

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With the MTCC proceedings suspended, we now proceed to resolve the issues raised.
Respondents contend that the foregoing issues had become moot and academic when the
petitioners posted bail and were arraigned.
We do not agree.
It appears that upon the issuance of the warrant of arrest, petitioners immediately posted bail
as they wanted to avoid embarrassment being then the officers of Urban Bank. On the
scheduled date for the arraignment, despite the petitioners refusal to enter a plea, the court
entered a plea of "Not Guilty."
The earlier ruling of this Court that posting of bail constitutes a waiver of the right to question
the validity of the arrest has already been superseded by Section 26, 22 Rule 114 of the
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. Furthermore, the principle that the accused is
precluded from questioning the legality of his arrest after arraignment is true only if he
voluntarily enters his plea and participates during trial, without previously invoking his
objections thereto.23
Records reveal that petitioners filed the omnibus motion to quash the information and warrant
of arrest, and for reinvestigation, on the same day that they posted bail. Their bail bonds
likewise expressly contained a stipulation that they were not waiving their right to question the
validity of their arrest.24 On the date of the arraignment, the petitioners refused to enter their
plea, obviously because the issue of the legality of the information and their arrest was yet to
be settled by the Court. This notwithstanding, the court entered a plea of "Not Guilty." From
these circumstances, we cannot reasonably infer a valid waiver on the part of the petitioners,
as to preclude them from raising the issue of the validity of the arrest before the CA and
eventually before this Court.
In their petition filed before this Court, petitioners prayed for a TRO to restrain the MTCC from
proceeding with the criminal cases (which the Court eventually issued on August 2, 2000).
Thus, we confront the question of whether a criminal prosecution can be restrained, to which
we answer in the affirmative.
As a general rule, the Court will not issue writs of prohibition or injunction, preliminary or final,
to enjoin or restrain criminal prosecution. However, the following exceptions to the rule have
been recognized: 1) when the injunction is necessary to afford adequate protection to the
constitutional rights of the accused; 2) when it is necessary for the orderly administration of
justice or to avoid oppression or multiplicity of actions; 3) when there is a prejudicial question
which is sub judice; 4) when the acts of the officer are without or in excess of authority; 5)
where the prosecution is under an invalid law, ordinance or regulation; 6) when double
jeopardy is clearly apparent; 7) where the Court has no jurisdiction over the offense; 8) where

it is a case of persecution rather than prosecution; 9) where the charges are manifestly false
and motivated by the lust for vengeance; and 10) when there is clearly no prima facie case
against the accused and a motion to quash on that ground has been denied. 25
Considering that the issues for resolution involve the validity of the information and warrant of
arrest, and considering further that no waiver of rights may be attributed to the petitioners as
earlier discussed, we issued a TRO on August 2, 2000 to give the Court the opportunity to
resolve the case before the criminal prosecution is allowed to continue. The nature of the
crime and the penalty involved (which is less than 4 years of imprisonment), likewise,
necessitate the suspension of the case below in order to prevent the controversy from being
mooted.
We now proceed with the main issues, viz.: 1) whether petitioners were deprived of their right
to due process of law because of the denial of their right to preliminary investigation and to
submit their counter-affidavit; 2) whether the Informations charging the petitioners were
validly filed and the warrants for their arrest were properly issued; and 3) whether this Court
can, itself, determine probable cause.
As will be discussed below, the petitioners could not validly claim the right to preliminary
investigation. Still, petitioners insist that they were denied due process because they were not
afforded the right to submit counter-affidavits which would have aided the court in determining
the existence of probable cause.26 Petitioners also claim that the respondents complaintaffidavit was not based on the latters personal knowledge; hence, it should not have been
used by the court as basis in its finding of probable cause. 27 Moreover, petitioners aver that
there was no sufficient evidence to prove the elements of the crime. Specifically, it was not
established that the documents in question were falsified; that petitioners were the ones who
presented the documents as evidence; and that petitioners knew that the documents were
indeed falsified.28 Petitioners likewise assert that at the time of the filing of the complaintaffidavit, they had not yet formally offered the documents as evidence; hence, they could not
have "introduced" the same in court.29 Considering the foregoing, petitioners pray that this
Court, itself, determine whether or not probable cause exists. 30
The pertinent provisions of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure, 31 namely, Sections 1, 3 (a)
and 9(a) of Rule 112, are relevant to the resolution of the aforesaid issues:
SECTION 1. Definition. Preliminary investigation is an inquiry or proceeding for the purpose
of determining whether there is sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a
crime cognizable by the Regional Trial Court has been committed and that the respondent is
probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial. 32

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SEC. 3. Procedure. Except as provided for in Section 7 hereof, no complaint or information
for an offense cognizable by the Regional Trial Court shall be filed without a preliminary
investigation having been first conducted in the following manner:
(a) The complaint shall state the known address of the respondent and be accompanied by
affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses as well as other supporting documents, in
such number of copies as there are respondents, plus two (2) copies of the official file. The
said affidavits shall be sworn to before any fiscal, state prosecutor or government official
authorized to administer oath, or, in their absence or unavailability, a notary public, who must
certify that he personally examined the affiants and that he is satisfied that they voluntarily
executed and understood their affidavits.33
SEC. 9. Cases not falling under the original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts not
covered by the Rule on Summary Procedure.
(a) Where filed with the fiscal. If the complaint is filed directly with the fiscal or state
prosecutor, the procedure outlined in Section 3 (a) of this Rule shall be observed. The Fiscal
shall take appropriate action based on the affidavits and other supporting documents
submitted by the complainant.34
Petitioners were charged with the offense defined and penalized by the second paragraph of
Article 17235 of the Revised Penal Code. The penalty imposable is arresto mayor in its
maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period, or four (4) months and one (1)
day to two (2) years and four (4) months. Clearly, the case is cognizable by the Municipal
Trial Court and preliminary investigation is not mandatory.36
Records show that the prosecutor relied merely on the complaint-affidavit of the respondent
and did not require the petitioners to submit their counter-affidavits. The prosecutor should
not be faulted for taking this course of action, because it is sanctioned by the Rules. To
reiterate, upon the filing of the complaint and affidavit with respect to cases cognizable by the
MTCC, the prosecutor shall take the appropriate action based on the affidavits and other
supporting documents submitted by the complainant. It means that the prosecutor may either
dismiss the complaint if he does not see sufficient reason to proceed with the case, or file the
information if he finds probable cause. The prosecutor is not mandated to require the
submission of counter-affidavits. Probable cause may then be determined on the basis alone
of the affidavits and supporting documents of the complainant, without infringing on the
constitutional rights of the petitioners.
On the other hand, for the issuance of a warrant of arrest, the judge must personally
determine the existence of probable cause. Again, the petitioners insist that the trial judge
erred in issuing the warrant of arrest without affording them their right to submit their counteraffidavits.

Section 2, Article III of the Constitution 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 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.
What the Constitution underscores is the exclusive and personal responsibility of the issuing
judge to satisfy himself of the existence of probable cause. But the judge is not required to
personally examine the complainant and his witnesses. Following established doctrine and
procedure, he shall (1) personally evaluate the report and the supporting documents
submitted by the prosecutor regarding the existence of probable cause, and on the basis
thereof, he may already make a personal determination of the existence of probable cause;
and (2) if he is not satisfied that probable cause exists, he may disregard the prosecutors
report and require the submission of supporting affidavits of witnesses to aid him in arriving at
a conclusion as to the existence of probable cause. 37
In determining probable cause for the issuance of the warrant of arrest in the case at bench,
we find nothing wrong with the procedure adopted by the trial judge --- he relied on the
resolution of the prosecutor, as well as the supporting documents submitted by the
respondent. There is no provision of law or procedural rule which makes the submission of
counter-affidavits mandatory before the judge can determine whether or not there exists
probable cause to issue the warrant.
In light of the foregoing, it appears that the proper procedure was followed by the prosecutor
in determining probable cause for the filing of the informations, and by the trial court judge in
determining probable cause for the issuance of the warrants of arrest. To reiterate,
preliminary investigation was not mandatory, and the submission of counter-affidavit was not
necessary.1wphi1
However, notwithstanding the proper observance of the procedure laid down by the Rules, a
closer scrutiny of the records reveals that the Informations should not have been filed and the
warrants of arrest should not have been issued, because of lack of probable cause.
Probable cause, for purposes of filing a criminal information, has been defined as such facts
as are sufficient to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and that
the accused is probably guilty thereof.38It is the existence of such facts and circumstances as
would excite the belief in a reasonable mind, acting on the facts within the knowledge of the
prosecutor, that the person charged was guilty of the crime for which he is to be

8
prosecuted.39 A finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that, more
likely than not, a crime has been committed and that it was committed by the accused. 40
On the other hand, we have defined probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest as
the existence of such facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonably discreet and
prudent person to believe that an offense has been committed by the person sought to be
arrested.41
To accord respect to the discretion granted to the prosecutor and for reasons of practicality,
this Court, as a rule, does not interfere with the prosecutors determination of probable cause.
Otherwise, courts would be swamped with petitions to review the prosecutors findings in
such investigations.42 In the same way, the general rule is that this Court does not review the
factual findings of the trial court, which include the determination of probable cause for the
issuance of a warrant of arrest.43 It is only in exceptional cases when this Court may set aside
the conclusions of the prosecutor and the trial judge on the existence of probable cause, that
is, when it is necessary to prevent the misuse of the strong arm of the law or to protect the
orderly administration of justice.44 The facts obtaining in the present case warrant the
application of the exception.
Petitioners were charged with violation of par. 2, Article 172 of the RPC or Introduction of
Falsified Document in a Judicial Proceeding. The elements of the offense are as follows:
1. That the offender knew that a document was falsified by another person.
2. That the false document is embraced in Article 171 or in any subdivisions No. 1 or
2 of Article 172.
3. That he introduced said document in evidence in any judicial proceeding. 45
The falsity of the document and the defendants knowledge of its falsity are essential
elements of the offense.46
The Office of the City Prosecutor filed the Informations against the petitioners on the basis of
the complaint-affidavit of the respondent, together with the following attached documents: the
motion to dismiss and answer filed by the petitioners in Civil Case No. 754; petitioners pretrial brief in said case; the alleged falsified documents; a copy of the minutes of the regular
meeting of ISC during the election of the board; and the list of stockholders of ISC. 47 On the
basis of these documents and on the strength of the affidavit executed by the respondent, the
prosecutor concluded that probable cause exists. These same affidavit and documents were
used by the trial court in issuing the warrant of arrest.

Contrary to the findings of the MTCC, as affirmed by the Court of Appeals, we find the
complaint-affidavit and attachments insufficient to support the existence of probable cause.
Specifically, the respondent failed to sufficiently establish prima facie that the alleged
documents were falsified. In support of his claim of falsity of the documents, the private
respondent stated in his complaint-affidavit that Herman Ponce, Julie Abad and Marilyn Ong,
the alleged signatories of the questioned letters, did not actually affix their signatures; and
that they were not actually officers or stockholders of ISCI. 48 He further claimed that Enrique
Montillas signature appearing in another memorandum addressed to respondent was
forged.49 These are mere assertions, insufficient to warrant the filing of the complaint or the
issuance of the warrant of arrest.
It must be emphasized that the affidavit of the complainant, or any of his witnesses, shall
allege facts within their (affiants) personal knowledge. The allegation of the respondent that
the signatures of Ponce, Abad, Ong and Montilla were falsified does not qualify as personal
knowledge. Nowhere in said affidavit did respondent state that he was present at the time of
the execution of the documents. Neither did he claim that he was familiar with the signatures
of the signatories. He simply made a bare assertion that the signatories were mere dummies
of ISCI and they were not in fact officers, stockholders or representatives of the corporation.
At the very least, the affidavit was based on respondents "personal belief" and not "personal
knowledge."50 Considering the lack of personal knowledge on the part of the respondent, he
could have submitted the affidavit of other persons who are qualified to attest to the falsity of
the signatures appearing in the questioned documents. One cannot just claim that a certain
document is falsified without further stating the basis for such claim, i.e., that he was present
at the time of the execution of the document or he is familiar with the signatures in question.
Otherwise, this could lead to abuse and malicious prosecution. This is actually the reason for
the requirement that affidavits must be based on the personal knowledge of the affiant. The
requirement assumes added importance in the instant case where the accused were not
made to rebut the complainants allegation through counter-affidavits.
Neither can the respondent find support in the documents attached to his complaint-affidavit.
The minutes of the regular meeting, as well as the list of stockholders, could have possibly
shown that the signatories were not officers or stockholders of the corporation. However, they
did not at all show that the questioned documents were falsified. In the letter allegedly signed
by Ponce and Abad, there was no representation that they were the president and corporate
secretary of ISCI. Besides, the mere fact that they were not officers or stockholders of ISCI
does not necessarily mean that their signatures were falsified. They still could have affixed
their signatures as authorized representatives of the corporation.
True, a finding of probable cause need not be based on clear and convincing evidence, or on
evidence beyond reasonable doubt. It does not require that the evidence would justify
conviction. Nonetheless, although the determination of probable cause requires less than
evidence which would justify conviction, it should at least be more than mere

9
suspicion.51 While probable cause should be determined in a summary manner, there is a
need to examine the evidence with care to prevent material damage to a potential accuseds
constitutional right to liberty and the guarantees of freedom and fair play, and to protect the
State from the burden of unnecessary expenses in prosecuting alleged offenses and holding
trials arising from false, fraudulent or groundless charges. 52 It is, therefore, imperative for the
prosecutor to relieve the accused from the pain and inconvenience of going through a trial
once it is ascertained that no probable cause exists to form a sufficient belief as to the guilt of
the accused.53
Considering that the respondent failed to adduce sufficient evidence to support his claim that
the documents were falsified, it follows that the introduction of the questioned documents in
Civil Case No. 754 is not an offense punished by any provision of the Revised Penal Code or
any other law. The petitioners should not be burdened with court proceedings, more
particularly a criminal proceeding, if in the first place, there is no evidence sufficient to
engender a well-founded belief that an offense was committed.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals, dated June
20, 2000, in CA-G.R. SP No. 49666 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Temporary
Restraining Order dated August 2, 2000 is hereby made permanent. Accordingly, the
Municipal Trial Court in Cities, City of Bago, is ORDERED to DISMISS Criminal Case Nos.
6683-86.SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 170233
February 22, 2007
PEOPLE vs. JESUS NUEVAS y GARCIA, REYNALDO DIN y GONZAGA, and FERNANDO
INOCENCIO y ABADEOS
Jesus Nuevas y Garcia (Nuevas) was charged1 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Olongapo City, Branch 75, with illegal possession of marijuana in violation of Section 8,
Article II of Republic Act No. 64252 as amended.
Reynaldo Din y Gonzaga (Din) and Fernando Inocencio y Abadeos (Inocencio) were likewise
charged3 with the same crime, before the same court.
Upon arraignment, Nuevas, Din and Inocencio pleaded not guilty to the charges. 4 As the
evidence in the cases was common and the prosecution would utilize the same witnesses,
the cases were consolidated. After a joint trial on the merits, the RTC rendered a
Decision5 dated 4 April 2002, disposing as follows:
WHEREFORE, finding all accused in the above-entitled cases guilty beyond reasonable
doubt, this Court hereby sentences them to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua and
each to pay [a] fine of P500,000.00 without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency
and to pay the costs.

The bricks of marijuana are hereby confiscated and disposed in accordance with existing
regulations.SO ORDERED.6
To put in appropriate context the operative facts on which adjudication of this case hinges,
there is need to recall the factual assertions of the witnesses for both the prosecution and the
defense.
PO3 Teofilo B. Fami (Fami) testified that in the morning of 27 September 1997, he and SPO3
Cesar B. Cabling (Cabling) conducted a stationary surveillance and monitoring of illegal drug
trafficking along Perimeter Street, Barangay Pag-asa, Olongapo City. They had received
information that a certain male person, more or less 54" in height, 25 to 30 years old, with a
tattoo mark on the upper right hand, and usually wearing a sando and maong pants, would
make a delivery of marijuana dried leaves. While stationed thereat, they saw a male person
who fit the description, carrying a plastic bag, later identified as Jesus Nuevas (Nuevas),
alight from a motor vehicle. They accosted Nuevas and informed him that they are police
officers. Fami asked Nuevas where he was going. Nuevas answered arrogantly but
afterwards, calmed down. Nuevas and Fami conversed in the Waray dialect. Nuevas
informed him that there were other stuff in the possession of a certain Vangie, an associate,
and two other male persons. Later on, Nuevas voluntarily pointed to the police officers a
plastic bag which, when opened, contained marijuana dried leaves and bricks wrapped in a
blue cloth. Shortly, in his bid to escape charges, Nuevas disclosed where the two (2) other
male persons would make the delivery of marijuana weighing more or less five (5) kilos. 7
Fami and Cabling, together with Nuevas, then proceeded to Purok 12, Old Cabalan,
Olongapo City, which according to Nuevas was where his two (2) companions, Din and
Inocencio, could be located. From there, they saw and approached two (2) persons along the
National Highway, introducing themselves as police officers. Din was carrying a light blue
plastic bag. When asked, Din disclosed that the bag belonged to Nuevas. Fami then took the
bag and upon inspection found inside it "marijuana packed in newspaper and wrapped
therein."8 After confiscating the items, Fami and Cabling brought Nuevas, Din and Inocencio
to the police office at Purok III for proper documentation. 9 Fami further testified that a receipt
for the property seized was issued by Cabling and that a field test was duly conducted on the
confiscated items. All three accused were likewise physically examined on the basis of which
corresponding medical certificates were issued. The corresponding booking sheets and arrest
report were also accomplished. Fami stated that he and Cabling executed a joint affidavit in
connection with the arrest of all the accused and the confiscation of the items. 10
On cross-examination, Fami revealed that when the receipt of evidence seized was prepared,
all three (3) accused were not represented by counsel. He likewise disclosed that he was the
one who escorted all the accused during their physical examination. He also escorted all
three to the Fiscals office where the latter were informed of the charges against them. 11

10
Cabling corroborated Famis testimony. He, however, testified that after he and Fami had
introduced themselves as police officers, Din and Inocencio voluntarily handed to Fami the
marijuana dried leaves.12
On cross-examination, Cabling testified that the arrest of Nuevas was the result of a tip from
Famis informant, conceding though that the name of Nuevas was not included in the list of
persons under surveillance. Fami then relayed the tip to Cabling. 13 Cabling restated that
Nuevas had voluntarily submitted the plastic bag he was holding and that after Nuevas had
been informed of the violation of law attributed to him, he admitted his willingness to
cooperate and point to his other cohorts.14 When Fami and Cabling proceeded to the
identified location of Nuevass cohorts, they chanced upon Din and Inocencio along the road.
Din was holding a bag while Inocencio was looking into its contents. 15 Cabling averred that
Din voluntarily handed the plastic bag he was holding to the police officers. 16
For his defense, Nuevas testified that in the morning of 27 September 1997, he was walking
along Perimeter Street, on his way home from the Barangay Hall, when Fami called him.
Nuevas approached Fami, who was then in front of his house, and asked why Fami had
called him. Fami poked his gun at Nuevas and asked him to go inside the room where Fami
handcuffed Nuevass hands, got Nuevass wallet, took out P1,500.00 and put it in his (Famis)
wallet. Fami then confronted Nuevas with shabu use but the latter denied the charge. Before
leaving the house with Nuevas, Fami brought out a plastic bag and told Nuevas to carry it.
Subsequently, they boarded a red ownertype jeep and proceeded to Station B where
Nuevas was put in jail. Nuevas further stated that he did not know Din or Inocencio. 17
Din, on the other hand, stated that at about 10 oclock in the morning of 27 September 1997,
while his compare Inocencio was visiting, two (2) men entered his house looking for a
woman. The two (2) introduced themselves as police officers. Then, Din and Inocencio were
immediately handcuffed. They were not informed of the reason for their arrest and were told
that the reason will be explained to them in court. Next, they were brought to the Cabalan
precinct where the investigator asked for their names, and subsequently to Station B where
they were ordered to stand up and be photographed with Nuevas, who Din first met in jail.
Inside the room where they had their fingerprints taken, he saw marijuana placed on top of
the table.18
Inocencio testified that he went to his compadre Dins house in the morning of 27 September
1997 to sell his fighting cocks as he needed money to redeem his drivers license. While
there, he and Din were arrested by two persons, one of whom pointed a gun at them while
the other searched the house for a lady named Vangie. Afterwards, he and Din were brought
to the Cabalan Police Precinct and then to Station B where he first came to know Nuevas. He
denied that a plastic bag containing marijuana was recovered from them and claimed that he
only saw such evidence on the day he gave his testimony. He also stated that when a
photograph was taken of the three of them, he and Din were ordered to point to a "wrapped

thing." When the photograph was taken, they were not assisted by counsel. He also does not
recall having signed a receipt of property seized. Afterwards, they were brought to a detention
cell. And when they asked the police what they did wrong, the police replied that they will just
explain it in court. 19
All three were found guilty as charged and the judgment of conviction was elevated to the
Court for automatic review. However, on 14 July 2003, Nuevas filed a manifestation and
motion to withdraw appeal.20 The Court granted Nuevass withdrawal of appeal and
considered the case closed and terminated as to him, in a Resolution 21 dated 25 August
2003.
In a Resolution22 dated 22 September 2004 of the Court in G.R. Nos. 153641-42, 23 the cases
were transferred to the Court of Appeals pursuant to the Courts ruling in People v. Efren
Mateo.24
Before the Court of Appeals, Din and Inocencio (appellants) argued that the trial court erred:
(1) in finding them guilty of the crime charged on the basis of the testimonies of the arresting
officers; and (2) n not finding that their constitutional rights have been violated. 25
The Court of Appeals in a Decision26 dated 27 May 2005, in CA-G.R. CR No. 00341, affirmed
the decision of the trial court. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, all the foregoing considered, the instant appeal is DENIED. The Decision of
the Regional Trial Court of Olongapo City, Branch 75, in Criminal Case No. 459-97, is
AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.27
The Court of Appeals restated the rule that when the issue involves the credibility of a
witness, the trial courts assessment is entitled to great weight, even finality, unless it is
shown that it was tainted with arbitrariness or there was an oversight of some fact or
circumstance of weight or influence. The appellate court found Fami and Cablings version of
how appellants were apprehended to be categorical and clear. Din, at the time of his
apprehension, was seen holding a plastic bag containing marijuana leaves. On the other
hand, Inocencios possession of the marijuana leaves was established by the fact that he was
seen in the act of looking into the plastic bag carried by Din. 28
With respect to appellants claim that their constitutional rights have been violated, the
appellate court stated that the search in the instant case is exempted from the requirement of
a judicial warrant as appellants themselves waived their right against unreasonable searches
and seizures. According to the appellate court, both Cabling and Fami testified that Din

11
voluntarily surrendered the bag. Appellants never presented evidence to rebut the same.
Thus, in the instant case, the exclusionary rule does not apply.29
Din and Inocencio are now before the Court submitting for resolution the same matters
argued before the Court of Appeals. Through their Manifestation (In Lieu of Supplementary
Brief)30 dated 22 March 2006, appellants stated that all the arguments necessary to support
their acquittal have already been discussed in the brief they had submitted before the
appellate court; thus, the filing of a supplemental brief would be a mere reiteration of the
arguments discussed in said brief.31 The Office of the Solicitor General manifested that it is no
longer filing a supplemental brief.32
The conviction or acquittal of appellants rests on the validity of the warrantless searches and
seizure made by the police officers and the admissibility of the evidence obtained by virture
thereof.
In holding that the warrantless searches and seizure are valid, the trial court ruled as follows:
While the confiscation of the bricks of marijuana from the accused Jesus Nuevas was without
a search warrant, it was not bereft of a probable cause. The police team received
informations [sic] from an asset that on that day, a male person whom he sufficiently
described will deliver marijuana at the vicinity of Perimeter and Bonifacio S[t]., Pag-asa,
Olongapo City, a known drop point of illegal drugs. They went to the said area upon that
information. Their waiting was fruitful because not long afterwards they saw the accused
Jesus Nuevas alighting from a tricycle carrying a bag and after confronting him, he voluntarily
gave the bag containing bricks of dried marijuana leaves. With respect to the confiscation of 2
kilos of marijuana and the apprehension of accused Reynaldo Din and Fernando
Inocencio, it was a result of a continued operation by the team which this time was led by
accused Nuevas to get some concession from the team for his own earlier apprehension. As
the apprehension of Nuevas was upon a probable cause, in the same vein was the
apprehension of Reynaldo Din and Fernando Inocencio and the recovery from them [of] 2
kilos of dried marijuana leaves. The propriety of this conclusion is necessity [sic] because of
the impossibility of getting first a warrant in so short a time with such cumbersome
requirements before one can be issued. Before getting a warrant, the culprits shall have
already gone into hiding. These situations are not distant to the case of People v[.] Jean
Balingan (G.R. No. 105834, 13 Feb. 1995) where we learned that expediency and practicality
are some of the justification[s] in the warrantless arrest. 33 [Emphasis supplied]
Appellants maintain that there was no basis for their questioning and the subsequent
inspection of the plastic bags of Nuevas and Din, as they were not doing anything illegal at
the time.34

Our Constitution states that a search and seizure must be carried through or with a judicial
warrant; otherwise, such search and seizure becomes "unreasonable" and any evidence
obtained therefrom is inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding. 35 The constitutional
proscription, however, is not absolute but admits of exceptions, namely:
1. Warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest. (Sec. 12, Rule 126 of the Rules of
Court and prevailing jurisprudence);
2. Search of evidence in "plain view." The elements are: (a) a prior valid intrusion
based on the valid warrantless arrest in which the police are legally present in the
pursuit of their official duties; (b) the evidence was inadvertently discovered by the
police who have the right to be where they are; (c) the evidence must be immediately
apparent; (d) "plain view" justified mere seizure of evidence without further search;
3. Search of a moving vehicle. Highly regulated by the government, the vehicles
inherent mobility reduces expectation of privacy especially when its transit in public
thoroughfares furnishes a highly reasonable suspicion amounting to probable cause
that the occupant committed a criminal activity;
4. Consented warrantless search;
5. Customs search;
6. Stop and Frisk; and
7. Exigent and emergency circumstances.36
In the instances where a warrant is not necessary to effect a valid search or seizure, or when
the latter cannot be performed except without a warrant, what constitutes a reasonable or
unreasonable search or seizure is purely a judicial question, determinable from the
uniqueness of the circumstances involved, including the purpose of the search or seizure, the
presence or absence of probable cause, the manner in which the search and seizure was
made, the place or thing searched and the character of the articles procured. 37
The courts below anchor appellants conviction on the ground that the searches and seizure
conducted in the instant case based on a tip from an informant fall under one of the
exceptions as Nuevas, Din and Inocencio all allegedly voluntarily surrendered the plastic
bags containing marijuana to the police officers.38
We differ.

12
First, the Court holds that the searches and seizures conducted do not fall under the first
exception, warrantless searches incidental to lawful arrests.
A search incidental to a lawful arrest is sanctioned by the Rules of Court. 39 Recent
jurisprudence holds that the arrest must precede the search; the process cannot be reversed
as in this case where the search preceded the arrest. Nevertheless, a search substantially
contemporaneous with an arrest can precede the arrest if the police have probable cause to
make the arrest at the outset of the search. 40
In this case, Nuevas, Din and Inocencio were not committing a crime in the presence of the
police officers. Moreover, police officers Fami and Cabling did not have personal knowledge
of the facts indicating that the persons to be arrested had committed an offense. The
searches conducted on the plastic bag then cannot be said to be merely incidental to a lawful
arrest. Reliable information alone is not sufficient to justify a warrantless arrest under Section
5(a), Rule 113. The rule requires, in addition, that the accused perform some overt act that
would indicate that he "has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an
offense."41
Secondly, neither could the searches be justified under the plain view doctrine.
An object is in plain view if it is plainly exposed to sight. Where the object seized was inside a
closed package, the object itself is not in plain view and therefore cannot be seized without a
warrant. However, if the package proclaims its contents, whether by its distinctive
configuration, its transparency, or if its contents are obvious to an observer, then the contents
are in plain view and may be seized. In other words, if the package is such that an
experienced observer could infer from its appearance that it contains the prohibited article,
then the article is deemed in plain view. It must be immediately apparent to the police that the
items that they observe may be evidence of a crime, contraband or otherwise subject to
seizure.42
Records show that the dried marijuana leaves were inside the plastic bags that Nuevas and
Din were carrying and were not readily apparent or transparent to the police officers. In
Nuevass case, the dried marijuana leaves found inside the plastic bag were wrapped inside
a blue cloth.43 In Dins case, the marijuana found upon inspection of the plastic bag was
"packed in newspaper and wrapped therein."44 It cannot be therefore said the items were in
plain view which could have justified mere seizure of the articles without further search. 45
On the other hand, the Court finds that the search conducted in Nuevass case was made
with his consent. In Dins case, there was none.
Indeed, the constitutional immunity against unreasonable searches and seizures is a
personal right which may be waived. However, it must be seen that the consent to the search

was voluntary in order to validate an otherwise illegal detention and search, i.e., the consent
was unequivocal, specific, and intelligently given, uncontaminated by any duress or coercion.
The consent to a search is not to be lightly inferred, but must be shown by clear and
convincing evidence. The question whether a consent to a search was in fact voluntary is a
question of fact to be determined from the totality of all the circumstances. Relevant to this
determination are the following characteristics of the person giving consent and the
environment in which consent is given: (1) the age of the defendant; (2) whether he was in a
public or secluded location; (3) whether he objected to the search or passively looked on; (4)
the education and intelligence of the defendant; (5) the presence of coercive police
procedures; (6) the defendant's belief that no incriminating evidence will be found; (7) the
nature of the police questioning; (8) the environment in which the questioning took place; and
(9) the possibly vulnerable subjective state of the person consenting. It is the State which has
the burden of proving, by clear and positive testimony, that the necessary consent was
obtained and that it was freely and voluntarily given. 46
In Nuevass case, the Court is convinced that he indeed voluntarily surrendered the
incriminating bag to the police officers. Fami testified in this wise:
FISCAL BELTRAN:
Q Now, when you saw this accused carrying this Exhibit "D," 47 for your part, what did you do?
A I just talked to him and asked him where he was going and according to him, he acted
arrogantly, sir.
Q This arrogant action of the accused Jesus Nuevas, when you confronted him did he resist?
A How did he show his elements, [sic] he said, "So what if you are policeman[?]"
Q And being confronted with that arrogance, what did you do next?
A Later on he kept calm by saying [sic] in Waray dialect, sir.
xxxx
Q What, exactly, did he tell you in Waray dialect?
A "Sir Famir[sic], dont charge me, sir[.] I am planning to go home to Leyte. I was just earning
enough money for my fare, sir."
xxxx
Q So when the accused speak [sic] to you in Waray, what else did you do if you did anything?
A I pretended that I agree in his [sic] offer but I also asked him where are the other staffs[sic]
sir. 48
xxxx
Q With respect to the bag that you confiscated from him, what did you do?
A He voluntarily pointed it to me and I checked it, the bag, for verification, sir.49
Cabling likewise testified as follows:
Q When Fami got this from the accused, he opened this thing that he got?
A The subject voluntarily submitted the same, sir.
Q Upon the order of Fami to open it?
A Nobody ordered it, sir.50
There is reason to believe that Nuevas indeed willingly submitted the plastic bag with the
incriminating contents to the police officers. It can be seen that in his desperate attempt to

13
exculpate himself from any criminal liability, Nuevas cooperated with the police, gave them
the plastic bag and even revealed his associates, offering himself as an informant. His
actuations were consistent with the lamentable human inclination to find excuses, blame
others and save oneself even at the cost of others lives. Thus, the Court would have affirmed
Nuevass conviction had he not withdrawn his appeal.
However, with respect to the search conducted in the case of Din, the Court finds that no
such consent had actually been given. Fami testified as follows:
FISCAL BELTRAN
Q Now, what did you do when you saw Din with that Exhibit "C," the plastic bag?
A Din said that "Oo, Sir, that is owned by Nuevas" [sic] and I took the said plastic bag.
Q When you took this plastic bag from Din.
Was the accused Jesus Nueva [sic] present when Din told you that?
A Yes, sir. Nuevas alighted also [from] the vehicle with Cabling.
Q And what was the reaction of Nuevas when Din told you that the bag belongs to him?
A I did not react, sir.
Q After getting that plastic bag from Reynaldo Din, what did you do with it?
A I inspected the bag and I found out that there is still marijuana packed in newspaper and
wrapped therein, sir.51[Emphasis supplied.]
Cabling, however, gave a different testimony, viz.:
FISCAL BELTRAN
Q And upon siting [sic] the two subject persons you have just indicated in your earlier
testimony, what did you do?
A We approached them and introduced ourselves as police officers, and pinpointed by
Nuevas as the ones who kept suspected prohibited drugs, sir.
Q After you approached these two people, what happened?
A These two people, upon introducing ourselves, [sic] voluntarily surrendered to Fami those
marijuana dry leaves, sir.52
The police officers gave inconsistent, dissimilar testimonies regarding the manner by which
they got hold of the bag. This already raises serious doubts on the voluntariness of Dins
submission of the plastic bag. Jurisprudence requires that in case of consented searches or
waiver of the constitutional guarantee against obtrusive searches, it is fundamental that to
constitute a waiver, it must first appear that (1) the right exists; (2) the person involved had
knowledge, either actual or constructive, of the existence of such right; and (3) the said
person had an actual intention to relinquish the right. 53
The prosecution failed to clearly show that Din intentionally surrendered his right against
unreasonable searches. While it may not be contrary to human nature for one to be jolted into
surrendering something incriminating to authorities, Famis and Cablings testimonies do not
show that Din was in such a state of mind or condition. Fami and Cabling did not testify on
Dins composurewhether he felt surprised or frightened at the timewhich fact we find
necessary to provide basis for the surrender of the bag. There was no mention of any
permission made by the police officers to get or search the bag or of any consent given by

Din for the officers to search it. It is worthy to note that in cases where the Court upheld the
validity of consented search, the police authorities expressly asked, in no uncertain terms, for
the consent of the accused to be searched. And the consent of the accused was established
by clear and positive proof.
Neither can Dins silence at the time be construed as an implied acquiescence to the
warrantless search. InPeople v. Burgos,54 the Court aptly ruled:
x x x As the constitutional guaranty is not dependent upon any affirmative act of the citizen,
the courts do not place the citizen in the position of either contesting an officers authority by
force, or waiving his constitutional rights; but instead they hold that a peaceful submission to
a search or seizure is not a consent or an invitation thereto, but is merely a demonstration of
regard for the supremacy of the law.55
Without the dried marijuana leaves as evidence, Dins conviction cannot be sustained based
on the remaining evidence. The Court has repeatedly declared that the conviction of the
accused must rest not on the weakness of the defense but on the strength of the
prosecution.1awphi1.net56 As such, Din deserves an acquittal.
In this case, an acquittal is warranted despite the prosecutions insistence that the appellants
have effectively waived any defect in their arrest by entering their plea and by their active
participation in the trial of the case. Be it stressed that the legality of an arrest affects only the
jurisdiction of the court over the person of the accused. Inspite of any alleged waiver, the
dried marijuana leaves cannot be admitted in evidence against the appellants, Din more
specifically, as they were seized during a warrantless search which was not lawful. A waiver
of an illegal warrantless arrest does not also mean a waiver of the inadmissibility of evidence
seized during an illegal warrantless arrest.57
Turning to Inocencios case, the Court likewise finds that he was wrongly convicted of the
crime charged. Inocencios supposed possession of the dried marijuana leaves was sought to
be shown through his act of looking into the plastic bag that Din was carrying. 58 Taking a look
at an object, more so in this case peeping into a bag while held by another, is not the same
as taking possession thereof. To behold is not to hold. Indeed, the act attributed to Inocencio
is insufficient to establish illegal possession of the drugs or even conspiracy to illegally
possess the same. The prosecution failed to show by convincing proof that Inocencio knew of
the contents of the bag and that he conspired with Din to possess the illegal items. Inocencio
was firm and unshakeable in his testimony that he had no part in any delivery of marijuana
dried leaves.
Finally, the law enforcers should be reminded of the Courts dated but nevertheless current
exhortation:

14
x x x In the final analysis, we in the administration of justice would have no right to expect
ordinary people to be law-abiding if we do not insist on the full protection of their rights. Some
lawmen, prosecutors and judges may still tend to gloss over an illegal search and seizure as
long as the law enforcers show the alleged evidence of the crime regardless of the methods
by which they were obtained. This kind of attitude condones law-breaking in the name of law
enforcement. Ironically, it only fosters the more rapid breakdown of our system of justice, and
the eventual denigration of society. While this Court appreciates and encourages the efforts
of law enforcers to uphold the law and to preserve the peace and security of society, we
nevertheless admonish them to act with deliberate care and within the parameters set by the
Constitution and the law. Truly, the end never justifies the means. 59
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated 4 April 2002 of the Regional Trial Court of Olongapo City,
Branch 75, in Criminal Case No. 458-97 and No. 459-97 is reversed and modified. Appellants
Reynaldo Din y Gonzaga and Fernando Inocencio y Abadeos are hereby ACQUITTED. The
Director of the Bureau of Prisons is ordered to cause the immediate release of appellants
from confinement, unless they are being held for some other lawful cause, and to report to
this Court compliance herewith within five (5) days from receipt hereof.SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 128587
March 16, 2007
PEOPLE vs. HON. PERFECTO A.S. LAGUIO, JR., in his capacity as Presiding Judge,
Branch 18, RTC, Manila, and LAWRENCE WANG Y CHEN
On pure questions of law, petitioner People of the Philippines has directly come to this Court
via this petition for review on certiorari to nullify and set aside the Resolution 1 dated 13 March
1997 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 18, in Criminal Case Nos. 96-149990 to
96-149992, entitled People of the Philippines v. Lawrence Wang y Chen, granting private
respondent Lawrence C. Wangs Demurrer to Evidence and acquitting him of the three (3)
charges filed against him, namely: (1) Criminal Case No. 96-149990 for Violation of Section
16, Article III in relation to Section 2(e)(2), Article I of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6425
(Dangerous Drugs Act); (2) Criminal Case No. 96-149991 for Violation of Presidential Decree
No. 1866 (Illegal Possession of Firearms); and (3) Criminal Case No. 96-149992 for Violation
of Comelec Resolution No. 2828 in relation to R.A. No. 7166 (COMELEC Gun Ban).
The three (3) separate Informations filed against Lawrence C. Wang in the court of origin
respectively read:

kilograms, containing methamphetamine hydrochloride, a regulated drug, without the


corresponding license or prescription therefor.
Contrary to law.2
Criminal Case No. 96-149991 (Illegal Possession of Firearms):
That on or about the 17th day of May 1996, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said
accused did then and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession and
under his custody and control one (1) DAEWOO Cal. 9mm, automatic pistol with one loaded
magazine and one AMT Cal. .380 9mm automatic backup pistol with magazine loaded with
ammunitions without first having secured the necessary license or permit therefor from the
proper authorities.
Contrary to law. 3
Criminal Case No. 96-149992 (Violation of Comelec Gun Ban):
That on or about the 17th day of May 1996, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said
accused did then and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession and
under his custody and control one (1) DAEWOO Cal. 9mm automatic pistol with one loaded
magazine and one (1) AMT Cal. 380 9mm automatic backup pistol with magazine loaded with
ammunitions, carrying the same along Maria Orosa St., Ermita, Manila, which is a public
place, on the date which is covered by an election period, without first securing the written
permission or authority from the Commission on Elections, as provided by the COMELEC
Resolution 2828 in relation to Republic Act 7166.
Contrary to law. 4
During his arraignment, accused Wang refused to enter a plea to all the Informations and
instead interposed a continuing objection to the admissibility of the evidence obtained by the
police operatives. Thus, the trial court ordered that a plea of "Not Guilty" be entered for
him.5 Thereafter, joint trial of the three (3) consolidated cases followed.
The pertinent facts are as follows:

Criminal Case No. 96-149990 (Violation of Dangerous Drugs Act):


That on or about the 17th day of May 1996, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said
accused did then and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession and
under his custody and control a bulk of white and yellowish crystalline substance known as
SHABU contained in thirty-two (32) transparent plastic bags weighing approximately 29.2941

On 16 May 1996, at about 7:00 p.m., police operatives of the Public Assistance and Reaction
Against Crime of the Department of Interior and Local Government, namely, Captain
Margallo, Police Inspector Cielito Coronel and SPO3 Reynaldo Cristobal, arrested SPO2
Vergel de Dios, Rogelio Anoble and a certain Arellano, for unlawful possession of
methamphetamine hydrochloride, a regulated drug popularly known as shabu. In the course

15
of the investigation of the three arrested persons, Redentor Teck, alias Frank, and Joseph
Junio were identified as the source of the drug. An entrapment operation was then set after
the three were prevailed upon to call their source and pretend to order another supply of
shabu.
At around 11:00 p.m. that same date, Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio were arrested while
they were about to hand over another bag of shabu to SPO2 De Dios and company.
Questioned, Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio informed the police operatives that they were
working as talent manager and gymnast instructor, respectively, of Glamour Modeling Agency
owned by Lawrence Wang. Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio did not disclose their source of
shabu but admitted that they were working for Wang.6 They also disclosed that they knew of a
scheduled delivery of shabu early the following morning of 17 May 1996, and that their
employer (Wang) could be found at the Maria Orosa Apartment in Malate, Manila. The police
operatives decided to look for Wang to shed light on the illegal drug activities of Redentor
Teck and Joseph Junio. Police Inspector Cielito Coronel and his men then proceeded to
Maria Orosa Apartment and placed the same under surveillance.
Prosecution witness Police Inspector Cielito Coronel testified that at about 2:10 a.m. of 17
May 1996, Wang, who was described to the operatives by Teck, came out of the apartment
and walked towards a parked BMW car. On nearing the car, he (witness) together with
Captain Margallo and two other police officers approached Wang, introduced themselves to
him as police officers, asked his name and, upon hearing that he was Lawrence Wang,
immediately frisked him and asked him to open the back compartment of the BMW
car.7 When frisked, there was found inside the front right pocket of Wang and confiscated
from him an unlicensed AMT Cal. 380 9mm automatic Back-up Pistol loaded with
ammunitions. At the same time, the other members of the operatives searched the BMW car
and found inside it were the following items: (a) 32 transparent plastic bags containing white
crystalline substance with a total weight of 29.2941 kilograms, which substance was later
analyzed as positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride, a regulated drug locally known as
shabu; (b) cash in the amount ofP650,000.00; (c) one electronic and one mechanical scales;
and (d) an unlicensed Daewoo 9mm Pistol with magazine. Then and there, Wang resisted the
warrantless arrest and search.8
On 6 December 1996, the prosecution rested its case and upon motion, accused Wang was
granted 25 days from said date within which to file his intended Demurrer to Evidence. 9 On 19
December 1996, the prosecution filed a Manifestation 10 to the effect that it had rested its case
only in so far as the charge for Violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act in Criminal Case No. 96149990 is concerned, and not as regards the two cases for Illegal Possession of Firearms
(Crim. Case No. 96-149991) and Violation of the Comelec Gun Ban (Crim. Case No. 96149992). Accordingly, trial continued.

On 9 January 1997, Wang filed his undated Demurrer to Evidence, 11 praying for his acquittal
and the dismissal of the three (3) cases against him for lack of a valid arrest and search
warrants and the inadmissibility of the prosecutions evidence against him. Considering that
the prosecution has not yet filed its Opposition to the demurrer, Wang filed an
Amplification12 to his Demurrer of Evidence on 20 January 1997. On 12 February 1997, the
prosecution filed its Opposition13 alleging that the warrantless search was legal as an incident
to the lawful arrest and that it has proven its case, so it is now time for the defense to present
its evidence.
On 13 March 1997, the respondent judge, the Hon. Perfecto A.S. Laguio, Jr., issued the
herein assailed Resolution14 granting Wangs Demurrer to Evidence and acquitting him of all
charges for lack of evidence, thus:
WHEREFORE, the accused's undated Demurrer to Evidence is hereby granted; the accused
is acquitted of the charges against him for the crimes of Violation of Section 16, Article III of
the Dangerous Drugs Act, Illegal Possession of Firearms, and Violation of Comelec Gun Ban,
for lack of evidence; the 32 bags of shabu with a total weight of 29.2941 kilograms and the
two unlicensed pistols, one AMT Cal. .380 9mm and one Daewoo Cal. 9mm. are ordered
confiscated in favor of the government and the branch clerk is directed to turn over the 32
bags of shabu to the Dangerous Drugs Board in Intramuros, Manila, and the two firearms to
the Firearms and Explosive Units, PNP, Camp Crame, Quezon City, for proper disposition,
and the officer-in-charge of PARAC, Department of Interior and Local Government, is ordered
to return the confiscated amount of P650,000.00 to the accused, and the confiscated BMW
car to its registered owner, David Lee. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Hence, this petition15 for review on certiorari by the People, submitting that the trial court
erred I
XXX IN HOLDING THAT THE UNDISPUTED FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES DID NOT
CONSTITUTE PROBABLE CAUSE WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF SECTION 2,
ARTICLE III OF THE CONSTITUTION, AND IN HOLDING THAT SUCH FACTS AND
CIRCUMSTANCES NEITHER JUSTIFIED THE WARRANTLESS SEARCH OF ACCUSED'S
VEHICLE AND THE SEIZURE OF THE CONTRABAND THEREIN.
ll

16
XXX IN HOLDING, IN EFFECT, THAT A WARRANTLESS SEARCH IS CONSTITUTIONALLY
ALLOWABLE AND CAN ONLY BE VALID AS AN INCIDENT TO A LAWFUL ARREST.
lII
XXX IN DECLARING THE WARRANTLESS ARREST OF THE ACCUSED AND THE
SEARCH AND SEIZURE OF HIS HANDGUNS UNLAWFUL.
IV
XXX IN NOT DECLARING THE ACCUSED AS HAVING WAIVED, AS A RESULT OF HIS
SUBMISSION AND FAILURE TO PROTEST THE SEARCH AND HIS ARREST, HIS
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT AGAINST UNREASONABLE SEARCH AND SEIZURE AND HIS
OBJECTION TO THE ADMISSION OF THE EVIDENCE SEIZED.
V
XXX IN NOT ADMITTING IN EVIDENCE THE EVIDENCE SEIZED AND OFFERED BY THE
PROSECUTION AND IN NOT DENYING ACCUSED'S DEMURRER TO EVIDENCE.
In its Resolution16 of 9 July 1997, the Court, without giving due course to the petition, required
the public and private respondents to comment thereon within ten days from notice. Private
respondent Wang filed his comment17on 18 August 1997.
On 10 September 1997, the Court required the People to file a reply,18 which the Office of the
Solicitor General did on 5 December 1997, after several extensions. 19
On 20 October 2004, the Court resolved to give due course to the petition and required the
parties to submit their respective memoranda,20 which they did.
The case presents two main issues: (a) whether the prosecution may appeal the trial courts
resolution granting Wangs demurrer to evidence and acquitting him of all the charges against
him without violating the constitutional proscription against double jeopardy; and (b) whether
there was lawful arrest, search and seizure by the police operatives in this case despite the
absence of a warrant of arrest and/or a search warrant.
First off, it must be emphasized that the present case is an appeal filed directly with this Court
via a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 in relation to Rule 41, Section 2,
paragraph (c) of the Rules of Court raising only pure questions of law, ordinary appeal by
mere filing of a notice of appeal not being allowed as a mode of appeal directly to this Court.
Then, too, it bears stressing that the right to appeal is neither a natural right nor a part of due

process, it being merely a statutory privilege which may be exercised only in the manner
provided for by law (Velasco v. Court of Appeals21). Although Section 2, Rule 122 of the Rules
on Criminal Procedure states that any party may appeal, the right of the People to appeal is,
in the very same provision, expressly made subject to the prohibition against putting the
accused in double jeopardy. It also basic that appeal in criminal cases throws the whole
records of the case wide open for review by the appellate court, that is why any appeal from a
judgment of acquittal necessarily puts the accused in double jeopardy. In effect, the very
same Section 2 of Rule 122 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, disallows appeal by the
People from judgments of acquittal.
An order granting an accuseds demurrer to evidence is a resolution of the case on the
merits, and it amounts to an acquittal. Generally, any further prosecution of the accused after
an acquittal would violate the constitutional proscription on double jeopardy. To this general
rule, however, the Court has previously made some exceptions.
The celebrated case of Galman v. Sandiganbayan22 presents one exception to the rule on
double jeopardy, which is, when the prosecution is denied due process of law:
No court whose Presiding Justice has received "orders or suggestions" from the very
President who by an amendatory decree (disclosed only at the hearing of oral arguments on
November 8, 1984 on a petition challenging the referral of the Aquino-Galman murder cases
to the Tanodbayan and Sandiganbayan instead of to a court martial, as mandatorily required
by the known P.D. 1850 at the time providing for exclusive jurisdiction of courts martial over
criminal offenses committed by military men) made it possible to refer the cases to the
Sandiganbayan, can be an impartial court, which is the very essence of due process of law.
As the writer then wrote, "jurisdiction over cases should be determined by law, and not by
preselection of the Executive, which could be much too easily transformed into a means of
predetermining the outcome of individual cases." This criminal collusion as to the handling
and treatment of the cases by public respondents at the secret Malacaang conference (and
revealed only after fifteen months by Justice Manuel Herrera) completely disqualified
respondent Sandiganbayan and voided ab initio its verdict. This renders moot and irrelevant
for now the extensive arguments of respondents accused, particularly Generals Ver and
Olivas and those categorized as accessories, that there has been no evidence or witness
suppressed against them, that the erroneous conclusions of Olivas as police investigator do
not make him an accessory of the crimes he investigated and the appraisal and evaluation of
the testimonies of the witnesses presented and suppressed. There will be time and
opportunity to present all these arguments and considerations at the remand and retrial of the
cases herein ordered before a neutral and impartial court.
The Supreme Court cannot permit such a sham trial and verdict and travesty of justice to
stand unrectified. The courts of the land under its aegis are courts of law and justice and
equity. They would have no reason to exist if they were allowed to be used as mere tools of

17
injustice, deception and duplicity to subvert and suppress the truth, instead of repositories of
judicial power whose judges are sworn and committed to render impartial justice to all alike
who seek the enforcement or protection of a right or the prevention or redress of a wrong,
without fear or favor and removed from the pressures of politics and prejudice. More so, in
the case at bar where the people and the world are entitled to know the truth, and the integrity
of our judicial system is at stake. In life, as an accused before the military tribunal Ninoy had
pleaded in vain that as a civilian he was entitled to due process of law and trial in the regular
civil courts before an impartial court with an unbiased prosecutor. In death, Ninoy, as the
victim of the "treacherous and vicious assassination" and the relatives and sovereign people
as the aggrieved parties plead once more for due process of law and a retrial before an
impartial court with an unbiased prosecutor. The Court is constrained to declare the sham trial
a mock trial the non-trial of the century and that the predetermined judgment of acquittal
was unlawful and void ab initio.
1. No double jeopardy. It is settled doctrine that double jeopardy cannot be invoked against
this Court's setting aside of the trial courts' judgment of dismissal or acquittal where the
prosecution which represents the sovereign people in criminal cases is denied due process.
As the Court stressed in the 1985 case of People vs. Bocar,
Where the prosecution is deprived of a fair opportunity to prosecute and prove its case, its
right to due process is thereby violated.
The cardinal precept is that where there is a violation of basic constitutional rights, courts are
ousted of their jurisdiction. Thus, the violation of the State's right to due process raises a
serious jurisdictional issue (Gumabon vs. Director of the Bureau of Prisons, L-30026, 37
SCRA 420 [Jan. 30, 1971]) which cannot be glossed over or disregarded at will. Where the
denial of the fundamental right of due process is apparent, a decision rendered in disregard
of that right is void for lack of jurisdiction (Aducayen vs. Flores, L-30370 [May 25, 19731, 51
SCRA 78; Shell Co. vs. Enage, L-30111-12, 49 SCRA 416 Feb. 27, 1973]). Any judgment or
decision rendered notwithstanding such violation may be regarded as a "lawless thing, which
can be treated as an outlaw and slain at sight, or ignored wherever it exhibits its head"
(Aducayen vs. Flores, supra).
Respondent Judge's dismissal order dated July 7, 1967 being null and void for lack of
jurisdiction, the same does not constitute a proper basis for a claim of double jeopardy
(Serino vs. Zosa, supra).
xxx xxx xxx
Legal jeopardy attaches only (a) upon a valid indictment, (b) before a competent court, (c)
after arraignment, (d) a valid plea having been entered; and (e) the case was dismissed or
otherwise terminated without the express consent of the accused (People vs. Ylagan, 58 Phil.

851). The lower court was not competent as it was ousted of its jurisdiction when it violated
the right of the prosecution to due process.
In effect, the first jeopardy was never terminated, and the remand of the criminal case for
further hearing and/or trial before the lower courts amounts merely to a continuation of the
first jeopardy, and does not expose the accused to a second jeopardy.
Another exception is when the trial court commits grave abuse of discretion in dismissing a
criminal case by granting the accuseds demurrer to evidence. In point is the fairly recent
case of People v. Uy,23 which involved the trial courts decision which granted the two
separate demurrers to evidence filed by the two accused therein, both with leave of court,
resulting in their acquittal of their respective charges of murder due to insufficiency of
evidence. In resolving the petition for certiorari filed directly with this Court, we had the
occasion to explain:
The general rule in this jurisdiction is that a judgment of acquittal is final and
unappealable. People v. Court of Appeals explains the rationale of this rule:
In our jurisdiction, the finality-of-acquittal doctrine as a safeguard against double jeopardy
faithfully adheres to the principle first enunciated in Kepner v. United States. In this case,
verdicts of acquittal are to be regarded as absolutely final and irreviewable. The cases
of United States v. Yam Tung Way, People v. Bringas, Gandicela v. Lutero, People v.
Cabarles, People v. Bao, to name a few, are illustrative cases. The fundamental philosophy
behind the constitutional proscription against double jeopardy is to afford the defendant, who
has been acquitted, final repose and safeguard him from government oppression through the
abuse of criminal processes. As succinctly observed in Green v. United States "(t)he
underlying idea, one that is deeply ingrained in at least the Anglo-American system of
jurisprudence, is that the State with all its resources and power should not be allowed to
make repeated attempts to convict an individual for an alleged offense, thereby subjecting
him to embarrassment, expense and ordeal and compelling him to live in a continuing state of
anxiety and insecurity, as well as enhancing the possibility that even though innocent, he may
be found guilty." (Underscoring supplied)
The same rule applies in criminal cases where a demurrer to evidence is granted. As held in
the case of People v. Sandiganbayan:
The demurrer to evidence in criminal cases, such as the one at bar, is "filed after the
prosecution had rested its case," and when the same is granted, it calls "for an appreciation
of the evidence adduced by the prosecution and its sufficiency to warrant conviction beyond
reasonable doubt, resulting in a dismissal of the case on the merits, tantamount to an
acquittal of the accused." Such dismissal of a criminal case by the grant of demurrer to

18
evidence may not be appealed, for to do so would be to place the accused in doublejeopardy. The verdict being one of acquittal, the case ends there. (Italics in the original)
Like any other rule, however, the above-said rule is not absolute. By way of exception, a
judgment of acquittal in a criminal case may be assailed in a petition for certiorari under Rule
65 of the Rules of Court upon a clear showing by the petitioner that the lower court, in
acquitting the accused, committed not merely reversible errors of judgmentbut also grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction or a denial of due process, thus
rendering the assailed judgment void. (Emphasis supplied.)
In Sanvicente v. People,24 the Court allowed the review of a decision of the Court of Appeals
(CA) which reversed the accuseds acquittal upon demurrer to evidence filed by the accused
with leave of court, the CA ruling that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in
preventing the prosecution from establishing the due execution and authenticity of certain
letter marked therein as Exhibit "LL," which supposedly "positively identified therein petitioner
as the perpetrator of the crime charged." The Court, in a petition for certiorari, sustained the
CAs power to review the order granting the demurrer to evidence, explaining thus:
Under Rule 119, Section 23 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended, the
trial court may dismiss the action on the ground of insufficiency of evidence upon a demurrer
to evidence filed by the accused with or without leave of court. In resolving accuseds
demurrer to evidence, the court is merely required to ascertain whether there is competent or
sufficient evidence to sustain the indictment or support a verdict of guilt.
The grant or denial of a demurrer to evidence is left to the sound discretion of the trial court
and its ruling on the matter shall not be disturbed in the absence of a grave abuse of
discretion. Significantly, once the court grants the demurrer, such order amounts to an
acquittal and any further prosecution of the accused would violate the constitutional
proscription on double jeopardy. This constitutes an exception to the rule that the dismissal of
a criminal case made with the express consent of the accused or upon his own motion bars a
plea of double jeopardy. The finality-of-acquittal rule was stressed thus in People v. Velasco:
The fundamental philosophy highlighting the finality of an acquittal by the trial court cuts deep
into the "humanity of the laws and in jealous watchfulness over the rights of the citizens,
when brought in unequal contest with the State xxx. Thus Green expressed the concern that
"(t)he underlying idea, one that is deeply ingrained in at least the Anglo-American system of
jurisprudence, is that the State with all its resources and power should not be allowed to
make repeated attempts to convict an individual for an alleged offense thereby subjecting him
to embarrassment, expense and ordeal and compelling him to live in a continuing state of
anxiety and insecurity, as well as enhancing the possibility that even though innocent, he may
be found guilty."

It is axiomatic that on the basis of humanity, fairness and justice, an acquitted defendant is
entitled to the right of repose as a direct consequence of the finality of his acquittal. The
philosophy underlying this rule establishing the absolute nature of acquittals is "part of the
paramount importance criminal justice system attaches to the protection of the innocent
against wrongful conviction." The interest in the finality-of-acquittal rule, confined exclusively
to verdicts of not guilty, is easy to understand: it is a need for "repose", a desire to know the
exact extent of ones liability. With this right of repose, the criminal justice system has built in
a protection to insure that the innocent, even those whose innocence rests upon a jurys
leniency, will not be found guilty in a subsequent proceeding.
Given the far-reaching scope of an accuseds right against double jeopardy, even an appeal
based on an alleged misappreciation of evidence will not lie. The only instance when double
jeopardy will not attach is when the trial court acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting
to lack or excess of jurisdiction, such as where the prosecution was denied the opportunity to
present its case or where the trial was a sham. However, while certiorari may be availed of to
correct an erroneous acquittal, the petitioner in such an extraordinary proceeding must clearly
demonstrate that the trial court blatantly abused its authority to a point so grave as to deprive
it of its very power to dispense justice. (Emphasis supplied.)
By this time, it is settled that the appellate court may review dismissal orders of trial courts
granting an accuseds demurrer to evidence. This may be done via the special civil action of
certiorari under Rule 65 based on the ground of grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack
or excess of jurisdiction. Such dismissal order, being considered void judgment, does not
result in jeopardy. Thus, when the order of dismissal is annulled or set aside by an appellate
court in an original special civil action via certiorari, the right of the accused against double
jeopardy is not violated.
Unfortunately, what petitioner People of the Philippines, through then Secretary of Justice
Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. and then Solicitor General Silvestre H. Bello, III, filed with the Court
in the present case is an appeal by way of a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45
raising a pure question of law, which is different from a petition for certiorari under Rule 65.
In Madrigal Transport Inc. v. Lapanday Holdings Corporation, 25 we have enumerated the
distinction between the two remedies/actions, to wit:
Appeal and Certiorari Distinguished
Between an appeal and a petition for certiorari, there are substantial distinctions which shall
be explained below.

19
As to the Purpose. Certiorari is a remedy designed for the correction of errors of jurisdiction,
not errors of judgment. In Pure Foods Corporation v. NLRC, we explained the simple reason
for the rule in this light:

On the other hand, a petition for certiorari should be filed not later than sixty days from the
notice of judgment, order, or resolution. If a motion for new trial or motion for reconsideration
was timely filed, the period shall be counted from the denial of the motion.

"When a court exercises its jurisdiction, an error committed while so engaged does not
deprive it of the jurisdiction being exercised when the error is committed. If it did, every error
committed by a court would deprive it of its jurisdiction and every erroneous judgment would
be a void judgment. This cannot be allowed. The administration of justice would not survive
such a rule. Consequently, an error of judgment that the court may commit in the exercise of
its jurisdiction is not correct[a]ble through the original civil action of certiorari."

As to the Need for a Motion for Reconsideration. A motion for reconsideration is generally
required prior to the filing of a petition for certiorari, in order to afford the tribunal an
opportunity to correct the alleged errors. Note also that this motion is a plain and adequate
remedy expressly available under the law. Such motion is not required before appealing a
judgment or final order.

The supervisory jurisdiction of a court over the issuance of a writ of certiorari cannot be
exercised for the purpose of reviewing the intrinsic correctness of a judgment of the lower
court -- on the basis either of the law or the facts of the case, or of the wisdom or legal
soundness of the decision. Even if the findings of the court are incorrect, as long as it has
jurisdiction over the case, such correction is normally beyond the province of certiorari.
Where the error is not one of jurisdiction, but of an error of law or fact -- a mistake of
judgment -- appeal is the remedy.
As to the Manner of Filing. Over an appeal, the CA exercises its appellate jurisdiction and
power of review. Over a certiorari, the higher court uses its original jurisdiction in accordance
with its power of control and supervision over the proceedings of lower courts. An appeal is
thus a continuation of the original suit, while a petition for certiorari is an original and
independent action that was not part of the trial that had resulted in the rendition of the
judgment or order complained of. The parties to an appeal are the original parties to the
action. In contrast, the parties to a petition for certiorari are the aggrieved party (who thereby
becomes the petitioner) against the lower court or quasi-judicial agency, and the prevailing
parties (the public and the private respondents, respectively).
As to the Subject Matter. Only judgments or final orders and those that the Rules of Court so
declared are appealable. Since the issue is jurisdiction, an original action for certiorari may be
directed against an interlocutory order of the lower court prior to an appeal from the judgment;
or where there is no appeal or any plain, speedy or adequate remedy.
As to the Period of Filing. Ordinary appeals should be filed within fifteen days from the notice
of judgment or final order appealed from. Where a record on appeal is required, the appellant
must file a notice of appeal and a record on appeal within thirty days from the said notice of
judgment or final order. A petition for review should be filed and served within fifteen days
from the notice of denial of the decision, or of the petitioners timely filed motion for new trial
or motion for reconsideration. In an appeal by certiorari, the petition should be filed also within
fifteen days from the notice of judgment or final order, or of the denial of the petitioners
motion for new trial or motion for reconsideration.

Also in Madrigal, we stressed that the special civil action of certiorari and appeal are two
different remedies mutually exclusive; they are neither alternative nor successive. Where
appeal is available, certiorari will not prosper. In the dismissal of a criminal case upon
demurrer to evidence, appeal is not available as such an appeal will put the accused in
double jeopardy. Certiorari, however, is allowed.
For being the wrong remedy taken by petitioner People of the Philippines in this case, this
petition is outrightly dismissible. The Court cannot reverse the assailed dismissal order of the
trial court by appeal without violating private respondents right against double jeopardy.
Even assuming that the Court may treat an "appeal" as a special civil action of certiorari,
which definitely this Court has the power to do, when there is a clear showing of grave abuse
of discretion committed by the lower court, the instant petition will nevertheless fail on the
merits as the succeeding discussion will show.
There are actually two (2) acts involved in this case, namely, the warrantless arrest and the
warrantless search. There is no question that warrantless search may be conducted as an
incident to a valid warrantless arrest. The law requires that there be first a lawful arrest before
a search can be made; the process cannot be reversed. 26However, if there are valid reasons
to conduct lawful search and seizure which thereafter shows that the accused is currently
committing a crime, the accused may be lawfully arrested in flagrante delicto 27 without need
for a warrant of arrest.
Finding that the warrantless arrest preceded the warrantless search in the case at bar, the
trial court granted private respondent's demurrer to evidence and acquitted him of all the
three charges for lack of evidence, because the unlawful arrest resulted in the inadmissibility
of the evidence gathered from an invalid warrantless search. The trial courts ratiocination is
quoted as follows:
The threshold issue raised by the accused in his Demurrer to Evidence is whether his
warrantless arrest and search were lawful as argued by the prosecution, or unlawful as
asserted by the defense.

20
Under Section 5, Rule 113 of the New Rules of Court, a peace officer may arrest a person
without a warrant: (a) when in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is
actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; (b) when an offense has in fact
just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be
arrested has committed it, and (c) when the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has
escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or
temporarily confined while being transferred from one confinement to another. None of these
circumstances were present when the accused was arrested. The accused was merely
walking from the Maria Orosa Apartment and was about to enter the parked BMW car when
the police officers arrested and frisked him and searched his car. The accused was not
committing any visible offense at the time of his arrest. Neither was there an indication that he
was about to commit a crime or that he had just committed an offense. The unlicensed AMT
Cal.380 9mm Automatic Back-up Pistol that the accused had in his possession was
concealed inside the right front pocket of his pants. And the handgun was bantam and slim in
size that it would not give an outward indication of a concealed gun if placed inside the pant's
side pocket as was done by the accused. The arresting officers had no information and
knowledge that the accused was carrying an unlicensed handgun, nor did they see him in
possession thereof immediately prior to his arrest.
Ditto on the 32 bags of shabu and the other unlicensed Daewoo Cal. 9mm Pistol with
magazine that were found and seized from the car. The contraband items in the car were not
in plain view. The 32 bags of shabu were in the trunk compartment, and the Daewoo handgun
was underneath the drivers seat of the car. The police officers had no information, or
knowledge that the banned articles were inside the car, or that the accused had placed them
there. The police officers searched the car on mere suspicion that there was shabu therein.
On this matter, pertinent portions of the testimonies of Police Inspector Cielito Coronel and
SP03 Reynaldo are hereunder quoted:
POLICE INSPECTOR CIELITO CORONELS TESTIMONY
"PROSECUTOR TO WITNESS: Direct-Examination
Q. Mr. Witness, what was your role or participation in this case?
A. I am one of those responsible for the arrest of the accused.
xxx xxx xxx
Q. Where did you make that arrest, Mr. Witness?
A. The apprehension was made in front of an apartment along Maria Orosa Street, Ermita,
Manila.
Q. What date was that when you arrested the accused?
A. It was on May 17, 1996, at about 2:10 a.m.
xxx xxx xxx

Q. What was the reason why you together with other policemen effected the arrest of the
accused?
A. We arrested him because of the information relayed to us by one of those whom we have
previously apprehended in connection with the delivery of shabu somewhere also in Ermita,
Manila.
xxx xxx xxx
Q. When you established that he was somewhere at Maria Orosa, what did you do?
A. We waited for him.
xxx xxx xxx
Q. You yourself, Mr. Witness, where did you position yourself during that time?
A. I was inside a vehicle waiting for the accused to appear.
Q. What about your other companions where were they?
A. They were position in strategic places within the area.
Q. What happened when you and your companions were positioned in that place?
A. That was when the accused arrived.
Q. How many of your approached him.
A. Inspector Margallo, myself and two other operatives.
Q. What happened when you approached the accused, Mr. Witness?
A. We introduced ourselves as police officers and we frisked him and we asked him to open
the back compartment of his car.
Q. You said you frisked him, what was the result of that?
A. He was found in possession of one back-up pistol with one loaded magazine and likewise
when the compartment was opened several plastic bags containing white crystalline
substance suspected to be shabu (were found).
Q. What did you do when you found out Mr. Witness?
A. When the car was further search we later found another firearm, a Daewoo Pistol at the
place under the seat of the driver.
Q. Then what happened?
A. He was brought to our headquarters at Mandaluyong for further investigation.
Q. What about the suspected shabu that you recovered, what did you do with that?
A. The suspected shabu that we recovered were forwarded to the NBI for laboratory
examination.
Q. Did you come to know the results?
A. It was found positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride. (TSN, pp. 3-8, November 15,
1996).
ATTY. LOZANO TO WITNESS: CROSS
Q. You arrested Joseph Junio and Redentor Teck for alleged transporting of shabu on May
16, 1996, at 11:00 p.m., is it not?
A. Yes, Sir.
Q. You asked Redentor Teck where he is employed, is it not?
A. Yes, Sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q. Redentor Teck told you that he is a talent manager at the Glenmore Modeling Agency, is it
not?
A. Yes, Sir.
.Q. The Glenmore Modeling Agency is owned by Lawrence Wang, is it not?

21
A. I supposed, Sir.
Q. And that is why immediately after Redentor Teck told you that he is an employee of the
Glenmore Modeling Agency owned by Lawrence Wang, naturally, you and your companions
look for Lawrence Wang to shed light on the transporting of shabu by Redentor Teck and
Joseph Junio, is it not?
A. Yes, Sir.
Q. Thereafter, you spotted a person previously described by Redentor Teck as Lawrence
Wang, is it not?
A. Yes, Sir.
Q. While you were arresting Lawrence Wang, your companions at the same time searched
the BMW car described in your affidavit of arrest, is it not?
A. Yes, Sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q. Lawrence Wang was not inside the BMW car while the same was searched, is it not?
A. He was outside, Sir.
Q. The driver of the car was inside the car when the arrest and search were made, is it not?
A. He was likewise outside, Sir.
Q. Lawrence Wang did resist arrest and search is it not?
A. Yes, Sir.
Q. When you effected the arrest, there was no warrant of arrest, is it not?
A. Yes, Sir.
Q. When the search was made on the BMW car, there was no search warrant, is it not?
A. Yes, none, Sir. (TSN, pp. 3-12, November 15, 1996)
SPO3 REYNALDO CRISTOBALS TESTIMONY
PROSECUTOR TO WITNESS: DIRECT EXAMINATION
Q. What is you role or participation in this case?
A. I was one of the arresting officers and investigator, Sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q. What kind of specific offense did the accused allegedly do so that you arrested him, Mr.
Witness?
A. He was arrested on the basis of the recovered drugs in his possession placed inside his
car.
xxx xxx xxx
Q. Mr. witness, you said that you recovered drug from the car of the accused, please tell us
the antecedent circumstances which led you to recover or confiscate these items?
A. Earlier in the evening about 11:00 p.m. of May 16, we arrested one Redentor Teck and
Joseph Junio.
COURT: Where did you arrest these people?
A They were arrested in Metro Manila also.
COURT: The same date?
A. May 16, about 11:00 p.m. They were arrested and when they were investigated, Teck
mentioned the name of Lawrence Wang as his employer.
COURT: Why were these people, arrested?
A. For violation of R.A. 6425.
COURT: How were they arrested?

A. They were arrested while in the act of transporting shabu or handling shabu to another
previously arrested person. It was a series of arrest.
COURT: So, this involved a series of operation?
A. Yes, Your Honor. About 11:00 p.m. of May 16, we arrested three (3) persons, SPO2 Vergel
de Dios, a certain Arellano and a certain Rogelio Noble. When they were arrested they
divulged the name of the source.
COURT: They were arrested for what, for possession?
A. Yes, Your Honor. For unlawful possession of shabu . Then they divulged to us the name of
the person from whom they get shabu.
COURT: Whose name did they mention:
A. One Alias Frank, who turned out to be Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio. We let them call
Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio thru the cellphone and pretend and to order another supply
of shabu.
COURT: So there was an entrapment?
A. Yes, Your Honor.
COURT: So, these two (2) were arrested?
A. While they were about to hand over another bag of shabu to Noble and company.
COURT: And these two reveals (revealed) some information to you as to the source of the
shabu?
A. Yes, Your Honor.
COURT: What was the information?
A. Teck told us that he is an employee of Lawrence Wang.
COURT: What did you do when you were told about that?
A. They also told us that there was an ongoing delivery of shabu on that morning.
COURT: When?
A. Of that date early morning of May 17, 1996.
COURT: At what place?
A. We asked them where we could find Lawrence Wang and Teck lead us to Maria Orosa
Apartment where we conducted a stake out which lasted up to 2:00 a.m.
xxx xxx xxx
COURT: What happened during the stake out?
A. When the person of the accused was identified to us, we saw him opening his car together
with his driver.
COURT: So, he was about to leave when you saw him?
A. Probably, Sir.
COURT: What did you do?
A. We saw him opened his car and we have a suspicion that there was a shabu inside the
compartment of the car.
xxx xxx xxx
COURT: All right, when you saw the accused opened his car, what did you do?
A. We approached him.
COURT: What happened when you approached him?
A. We suspected the shabu inside the compartment of his car.
COURT: And this shabu that you saw inside the compartment of the car, what did you do with
that?

22
A. Well, he was first arrested by Captain Margallo and Lt. Coronel while I was the one who
inspected and opened the compartment of the car and saw the shabu. (TSN, pp. 15-24,
December 16, 1996).
CLARIFICATORY QUESTIONING OF SPO3 CRISTOBAL BY THE COURT
COURT: From your testimony and that of Police Inspector Cielito Coronel, this Court has
gathered that prior to the arrest of the accused there were three (3) men that your team
arrested. One of whom is a police officer.
A: Yes, Sir.
xxx xxx xxx
COURT: And on the occasion of the arrest of these three men shabu were confiscated from
them?
A: Yes, Sir.
Q: And in the course of the investigation of these three men, you were able to discover that
Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio were the source of the regulated drug that were confiscated
from the three men that you have arrested?
A: Yes, Sir.
Q: Now, thru entrapment base[d] on your testimony you were able to apprehend also these
two men, Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio?
A: Yes, Sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q: These two men, Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio they were also investigated by your
team?
A: Yes, Sir.
Q: You were present while they were investigated?
A: I was the one whom investigated them.
xxx xxx xxx
Q: Did you ask Redentor and Joseph the source of shabu that you confiscated from them at
the time of the (their) arrest?
A: Yes, Sir. They refuse to say the source, however, they told me that they were working for
the accused.
Q: You also testified that Redentor informed you that there was another delivery of shabu
scheduled that morning of (stop) was it May 16 or 17? The other delivery that is scheduled
on?
A: On the 17th.
xxx xxx xxx
Q: Did he tell you who was to make the delivery?
A: No, Sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q: At that time when you decided to look for the accused to ask him to shed light on the
matter concerning the arrest of these two employees in possession of shabu. Did you and did
your team suspect the accused as being involved in the transaction that lead (led) to the
arrest of Redentor and Joseph?
A: Yes, Sir. We suspected that he was the source of the shabu.
xxx xxx xxx
Q: When you saw the accused walking towards his car, did you know whether he was
carrying a gun?

A: No, Sir. It cannot be seen.


Q: It was concealed?
A: Yes, Sir.
Q: So, the only time that you and your team learned that he was in possession of the gun is
when he was bodily search?
A: Yes, Sir. That is the only time that I came to know about when Capt. Margallo handed to
me the gun.
Q: Other than walking towards his car, the accused was not doing anything else?
A: None, Sir.
Q: That would invite your suspicion or give indication that he was intending to do something
unlawful or illegal?
A: No, Sir.
Q: When you searched the car, did the accused protest or try to prevent your team from
searching his car?
A: No, Sir." (TSN pp. 3-16, Feb. 26, 1997)
Clearly therefore, the warrantless arrest of the accused and the search of his person and the
car were without probable cause and could not be licit. The arrest of the accused did not fall
under any of the exception to the requirements of warrantless arrests, (Sec. 5, Rule 113,
Rules of Court) and is therefore, unlawful and derogatory of his constitutional right of liberty. x
xx
The trial court resolved the case on the basis of its findings that the arrest preceded the
search, and finding no basis to rule in favor of a lawful arrest, it ruled that the incidental
search is likewise unlawful. Any and all pieces of evidence acquired as a consequence
thereof are inadmissible in evidence. Thus, the trial court dismissed the case for lack of
evidence.
Contrary to its position at the trial court, the People, however, now posits that "inasmuch as it
has been shown in the present case that the seizure without warrant of the regulated drugs
and unlicensed firearms in the accuseds possession had been validly made upon probable
cause and under exigent circumstances, then the warrantless arrest of the accused must
necessarily have to be regarded as having been made on the occasion of the commission of
the crime in flagrante delicto, and therefore constitutionally and statutorily permissible and
lawful."28In effect, the People now contends that the warrantless search preceded the
warrantless arrest. Since the case falls under an exception to the general rule requiring
search warrant prior to a valid search and seizure, the police officers were justified in
requiring the private respondent to open his BMW cars trunk to see if he was carrying illegal
drugs.
The conflicting versions as to whether the arrest preceded the search or vice versa, is a
matter of credibility of evidence. It entails appreciation of evidence, which may be done in an
appeal of a criminal case because the entire case is thrown open for review, but not in the
case of a petition for certiorari where the factual findings of the trial court are binding upon the

23
Court. Since a dismissal order consequent to a demurrer to evidence is not subject to appeal
and reviewable only by certiorari, the factual finding that the arrest preceded the search is
conclusive upon this Court. The only legal basis for this Court to possibly reverse and set
aside the dismissal order of the trial court upon demurrer to evidence would be if the trial
court committed grave abuse of discretion in excess of jurisdiction when it ruled that there
was no legal basis to lawfully effect a warrantless arrest.
The pertinent provisions of Rule 113 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure on warrantless
arrest provide:
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace officer or a private person may, without
a warrant, arrest a person:
a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
b) When an offense has just been committed, and he has probable cause to believe
based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be
arrested has committed it; and
c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal
establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined
while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one
confinement to another.
Section 5, above, provides three (3) instances when warrantless arrest may be lawfully
effected: (a) arrest of a suspect in flagrante delicto; (b) arrest of a suspect where, based on
personal knowledge of the arresting officer, there is probable cause that said suspect was the
author of a crime which had just been committed; (c) arrest of a prisoner who has escaped
from custody serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending.
For a warrantless arrest of an accused caught in flagrante delicto under paragraph (a) of
Section 5 to be valid, two requisites must concur: (1) the person to be arrested must execute
an overt act indicating that he has just committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to
commit a crime; and (2) such overt act is done in the presence or within the view of the
arresting officer.291awphi1.nt
The facts and circumstances surrounding the present case did not manifest any suspicious
behavior on the part of private respondent Lawrence Wang that would reasonably invite the
attention of the police. He was merely walking from the Maria Orosa Apartment and was
about to enter the parked BMW car when the police operatives arrested him, frisked and

searched his person and commanded him to open the compartment of the car, which was
later on found to be owned by his friend, David Lee. He was not committing any visible
offense then. Therefore, there can be no valid warrantless arrest in flagrante delicto under
paragraph (a) of Section 5. It is settled that "reliable information" alone, absent any overt act
indicative of a felonious enterprise in the presence and within the view of the arresting
officers, is not sufficient to constitute probable cause that would justify an in flagrante delicto
arrest.30
Neither may the warrantless arrest be justified under paragraph (b) of Section 5. What is
clearly established from the testimonies of the arresting officers is that Wang was arrested
mainly on the information that he was the employer of Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio who
were previously arrested and charged for illegal transport of shabu. Teck and Junio did not
even categorically identify Wang to be their source of the shabu they were caught with in
flagrante delicto. Upon the duos declaration that there will be a delivery of shabu on the early
morning of the following day, May 17, which is only a few hours thereafter, and that Wang
may be found in Maria Orosa Apartment along Maria Orosa Street, the arresting officers
conducted "surveillance" operation in front of said apartment, hoping to find a person which
will match the description of one Lawrence Wang, the employer of Teck and Junio. These
circumstances do not sufficiently establish the existence of probable cause based on
personal knowledge as required in paragraph (b) of Section 5.
And doubtless, the warrantless arrest does not fall under paragraph (c) of Section 5.
The inevitable conclusion, as correctly made by the trial court, is that the warrantless arrest
was illegal. Ipso jure, the warrantless search incidental to the illegal arrest is likewise
unlawful.
In People v. Aminnudin,31 the Court declared as inadmissible in evidence the marijuana found
in appellants possession during a search without a warrant, because it had been illegally
seized, in disregard of the Bill of Rights:
In the case at bar, the accused-appellant was not, at the moment of his arrest, committing a
crime nor was it shown that he was about to do so or that he had just done so. What he was
doing was descending the gangplank of the M/V Wilcon 9 and there was no outward
indication that called for his arrest. To all appearances, he was like any of the other
passengers innocently disembarking from the vessel. It was only when the informer pointed
to him as the carrier of the marijuana that he suddenly became a suspect and so subject to
apprehension. It was the fugitive finger that triggered his arrest. The identification of the
informer was the probable cause as determined by the officer (and not a judge) that
authorized them to pounce upon Aminnudin and immediately arrest him.

24
The Peoples contention that Wang waived his right against unreasonable search and seizure
has no factual basis. While we agree in principle that consent will validate an otherwise illegal
search, however, based on the evidence on record, Wang resisted his arrest and the search
on his person and belongings.32 The implied acquiescence to the search, if there was any,
could not have been more than mere passive conformity given under intimidating or coercive
circumstances and is thus considered no consent at all within the purview of the constitutional
guarantee.33 Moreover, the continuing objection to the validity of the warrantless arrest made
of record during the arraignment bolsters Wangs claim that he resisted the warrantless arrest
and search.
We cannot close this ponencia without a word of caution: those who are supposed to enforce
the law are not justified in disregarding the rights of the individual in the name of order. Order
is too high a price for the loss of liberty. As Justice Holmes once said, "I think it is less evil that
some criminals should escape than that the government should play an ignoble part." It is
simply not allowed in free society to violate a law to enforce another, especially if the law
violated is the Constitution itself.34
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED.SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 191366
December 13, 2010
PEOPLE vs. ARNOLD MARTINEZ Y NGELES, EDGAR DIZON Y FERRER, REZIN
MARTINEZ Y CAROLINO, and RAFAEL GONZALES Y CUNANAN
This is an appeal from the August 7, 2009 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA), in CA-G.R.
HC-NO. 03269, which affirmed the February 13, 2008 Decision 2 of the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 41, Dagupan City (RTC), in Criminal Case No. 2006-0525-D, finding the accused
guilty of violating Section 13, in relation to Section 11, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 for
Possession of Dangerous Drugs During Parties, Social Gatherings or Meetings.
The Facts
The Information indicting the accused reads:
That on or about the 2nd day of September 2006, in the City of Dagupan, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, ARNOLD
MARTINEZ y ANGELES, EDGAR DIZON y FERRER, REZIN MARTINEZ y CAROLINO,
ROLAND DORIA y DIAZ and RAFAEL GONZALES y CUNANAN, without authority of law,
confederating together, acting jointly and helping one another, did then and there wilfully,
unlawfully and criminally, sniff and possess dangerous drugs (shabu residues) contained in
empty plastic sachets and rolled aluminum foil, during a party, or at a social gathering or
meeting, or in the proximate company of at least two (2) person[s].
Contrary to Section 13, Article II, R.A. 9165.3

Version of the Prosecution


As culled from the testimonies of prosecution witnesses, Police Officer 1 Bernard Azardon
(PO1 Azardon), one of the apprehending officers, and Police Inspector Lady Ellen Maranion
(P/Insp. Maranion), the forensic chemical officer, it appears that on September 2, 2006, at
around 12:45 oclock in the afternoon, PO1 Azardon was on duty at the Police Community
Precinct II along Arellano Street, Dagupan City, when a concerned citizen entered the
precinct and reported that a pot session was going on in the house of accused Rafael
Gonzales (Gonzales) in Trinidad Subdivision, Dagupan City. Upon receipt of the report, PO1
Azardon, PO1 Alejandro Dela Cruz (PO1 Dela Cruz), and members of the Special Weapons
and Tactics (SWAT) team hied to Trinidad Subdivision, Dagupan City. Upon inquiry from
people in the area, the house of Gonzales was located.
As the police officers entered the gate of the house, they saw accused Orlando
Doria (Doria) coming out of the side door and immediately arrested him. Inside the house,
they saw accused Gonzales, Arnold Martinez (A. Martinez), Edgar Dizon (Dizon), and Rezin
Martinez (R. Martinez) in a room. The four were surprised by the presence of the police. In
front of them were open plastic sachets (containing shabu residue), pieces of rolled used
aluminum foil and pieces of used aluminum foil.
The accused were arrested and brought to the police precinct. The items found in the room
were seized and turned over to the Pangasinan Provincial Police Crime Laboratory Officer,
P/Insp. Maranion. The latter conducted a laboratory examination on the seized items and all
115 plastic sachets, 11 pieces of rolled used aluminum foil, and 27 of the 49 pieces of used
aluminum foil tested positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride. The accused were
subjected to a drug test and, except for Doria, they were found to be positive for
methamphetamine hydrochloride.
Version of the Defense
The defense, through its witnesses, accused A. Martinez, Dizon, and R. Martinez, claimed
that in the morning of September 2, 2006, the three of them were along Arellano Street in
Trinidad Subdivision, Dagupan City, to meet with a certain Apper who bumped the passenger
jeep of R. Martinez and who was to give the materials for the painting of said jeep. As they
were going around the subdivision looking for Apper, they saw Gonzales in front of his house
and asked him if he noticed a person pass by. While they were talking, Doria arrived. It was
then that five to seven policemen emerged and apprehended them. They were handcuffed
and brought to the police station in Perez, Dagupan City, where they were incarcerated and
charged with sniffing shabu.
The Ruling of the RTC
The case against Doria was dismissed on a demurrer to evidence.

25
On February 13, 2008, the RTC rendered its decision, the dispositve portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused ARNOLD
MARTINEZ y Angeles, EDGAR DIZON y Ferrer, REZIN MARTINEZ y Carolino, and RAFAEL
GONZALES y Cunanan GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Possession of
Dangerous Drugs During Parties, Social Gatherings or Meetings defined and penalized under
Section 13 in relation to Section 11, Article II of Republic Act 9165, and each of them is
sentenced to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay the fine in the amount of
P500,000.00, and to pay the cost of suit.

3. The lower court erred in not finding that the corpus delicti has not been
sufficiently established;
4. The lower court erred in not finding the uncorroborated testimony of PO1
Azardon insufficient to convict the accused-appellants of the crime charged;
5. The lower court erred in not acquitting the accused-appellants.
For accused Rafael Gonzales

The subject items are hereby forfeited in favor of the government and to be disposed of in
accordance with the law.
SO ORDERED.4
The RTC was of the view that the positive testimony of prosecution witness PO1 Azardon,
without any showing of ill-motive on his part, prevailed over the defenses of denial and alibi
put up by the accused. The accused were held to have been in constructive possession of
the subject items. A conspiracy was also found present as there was a common purpose to
possess the dangerous drug.
The Ruling of the CA
The CA ruled that there was sufficient evidence to support the findings of the RTC as to the
constructive possession of the dangerous drugs by the accused. It further held that although
the procedure regarding the custody and disposition of evidence prescribed by Section 21 of
R.A. No. 9165 was not strictly complied with, the integrity and evidentiary value of the
evidence were nonetheless safeguarded. The CA was of the view that the presumption of
regularity in the performance of official duty was not sufficiently controverted by the accused.
Not in conformity, the accused now interposes this appeal before this Court praying for the
reversal of the subject decision, presenting the following
Assignment of Errors
For accused Arnold Martinez, Edgar Dizon and Rezin Martinez
1. The lower court erred in finding the accused-appellants to be having a pot
session at the time of their arrest;
2. The lower court erred in not seeing through the antics of the police to plant
the shabu paraphernalia to justify the arrest of the accused-appellants without
warrant;

I
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT
DESPITE THE PROSECUTIONS FAILURE TO OVERTHROW THE CONSTITUTIONAL
PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE.
II
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT
DESPITE THE PROSECUTIONS FAILURE TO ESTABLISH THE CHAIN OF CUSTODY OF
THE ALLEGED CONFISCATED DRUG.
After an assiduous assessment of the evidentiary records, the Court finds that the
prosecution failed to prove the guilt of the accused. The principal reasons are 1] that the
evidence against the accused are inadmissible; and 2] that granting the same to be
admissible, the chain of custody has not been duly established.
Illegal Arrest, Search and Seizure
Indeed, the accused is estopped from assailing the legality of his arrest if he fails to raise
such issue before arraignment.5 However, this waiver is limited only to the arrest. The legality
of an arrest affects only the jurisdiction of the court over the person of the accused. A waiver
of an illegal warrantless arrest does not carry with it a waiver of the inadmissibility of evidence
seized during the illegal warrantless arrest.6
Although the admissibility of the evidence was not raised as in issue by the accused, it has
been held that this Court has the power to correct any error, even if unassigned, if such is
necessary in arriving at a just decision,7especially when the transcendental matter of life and
liberty is at stake.8 While it is true that rules of procedure are intended to promote rather than
frustrate the ends of justice, they nevertheless must not be met at the expense of substantial
justice. Time and again, this Court has reiterated the doctrine that the rules of procedure are
mere tools intended to facilitate the attainment of justice, rather than frustrate it. Technicalities
should never be used to defeat substantive rights. 9 Thus, despite the procedural lapses of the

26
accused, this Court shall rule on the admissibility of the evidence in the case at bench. The
clear infringement of the accuseds right to be protected against unreasonable searches and
seizures cannot be ignored.
The State cannot, in a manner contrary to its constitutional guarantee, intrude into the
persons of its citizens as well as into their houses, papers and effects. 10 Sec. 2, Art. III, of the
1987 Constitution provides:
Section 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 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.
This constitutional guarantee, however, is not a blanket prohibition against all searches and
seizures without warrant. Arrests and seizures in the following instances are allowed even in
the absence of a warrant (i) warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest; 11 (ii) search of
evidence in "plain view;" (iii) search of a moving vehicle; (iv) consented warrantless search;
(v) customs search; (vi) stop and frisk; and (vii) exigent and emergency circumstances. 12
This case would appear to fall under either a warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest
or a plain view search, both of which require a lawful arrest in order to be considered valid
exceptions to the constitutional guarantee. Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure provides for the circumstances under which a warrantless arrest is lawful. Thus:
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or a private person may, without
a warrant, arrest a person:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe
based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be
arrested has committed it; and
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal
establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined
while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one
confinement to another.
In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) above, the person arrested without a warrant
shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or jail and shall be proceeded against
in accordance with section 7 of Rule 112.

A review of the facts reveal that the arrest of the accused was illegal and the subject items
were confiscated as an incident thereof. According to the testimony of PO1 Azardon and his
Joint Affidavit13 with PO1 Dela Cruz, they proceeded to, and entered, the house of accused
Gonzales based solely on the report of a concerned citizen that a pot session was going on in
said house, to wit:
Q: I go back to the information referred to you by the informant, did he not tell you how many
persons were actually conducting the pot session?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: When you went to the place of Rafael Gonzales, of course you were not armed with a
search warrant, correct?
A: None, sir.
Q: Before the information was given to you by your alleged informant, you did not know
personally Rafael Gonzales?
A: I have not met [him] yet but I heard his name, sir.
Q: When this informant told you that he was told that there was [an] ongoing pot session in
the house of Rafael Gonzales, was this report to you placed in the police blotter before you
proceeded to the house of Rafael Gonzales?
A: I think it was no longer recorded, sir.
Q: In other words, you did not even bother to get the personal data or identity of the person
who told you that he was allegedly informed that there was an ongoing pot session in the
house of Rafael Gonzales?
A: What I know is that he is a jeepney driver of a downtown jeepney but he does not want to
be identified because he was afraid, sir.
Q: And likewise, he did not inform you who told him that there was an ongoing pot session in
the house of Rafael Gonzales?
A: No more, sir.
Q: But upon receiving such report from that jeepney driver you immediately formed a group
and went to the place of Rafael Gonzales?
A: Yes, sir.
xxx
Q: When you were at the open gate of the premises of Rafael Gonzales, you could not see
what is happening inside the house of Rafael Gonzales?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: You did not also see the alleged paraphernalia as well as the plastic sachet of shabu on
the table while you were outside the premises of the property of Rafael Gonzales?
xxx
Q: Before they entered the premises they could not see the paraphernalia?
COURT: Answer.
A: Of course because they were inside the room, how could we see them, sir.
Q: But still you entered the premises, only because a certain person who told you that he was
informed by another person that there was an ongoing pot session going on inside the house
of Rafael Gonzales?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And that is the only reason why you barged in inside the house of Rafael Gonzales and
you arrested the persons you saw?

27
A: Yes, sir.14
Paragraph (c) of Rule 113 is clearly inapplicable to this case. Paragraphs (a) and (b), on the
other hand, may be applicable and both require probable cause to be present in order for a
warrantless arrest to be valid. Probable cause has been held to signify a reasonable ground
of suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a
cautious mans belief that the person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is
charged.15
Although this Court has ruled in several dangerous drugs cases 16 that tipped information is
sufficient probable cause to effect a warrantless search, 17 such rulings cannot be applied in
the case at bench because said cases involve either a buy-bust operation or drugs in transit,
basically, circumstances other than the sole tip of an informer as basis for the arrest. None of
these drug cases involve police officers entering a house without warrant to effect arrest and
seizure based solely on an informers tip. The case of People v. Bolasa 18 is informative on this
matter.
In People v. Bolasa, an anonymous caller tipped off the police that a man and a woman were
repacking prohibited drugs at a certain house. The police immediately proceeded to the
house of the suspects. They walked towards the house accompanied by their informer. When
they reached the house, they peeped inside through a small window and saw a man and
woman repacking marijuana. They then entered the house, introduced themselves as police
officers, confiscated the drug paraphernalia, and arrested the suspects. This Court ruled:
The manner by which accused-appellants were apprehended does not fall under any of the
above-enumerated categories. Perforce, their arrest is illegal. First, the arresting officers had
no personal knowledge that at the time of their arrest, accused-appellants had just
committed, were committing, or were about to commit a crime. Second, the arresting officers
had no personal knowledge that a crime was committed nor did they have any reasonable
ground to believe that accused-appellants committed it. Third, accused-appellants were not
prisoners who have escaped from a penal establishment.
Neither can it be said that the objects were seized in plain view. First, there was no valid
intrusion. As already discussed, accused-appellants were illegally arrested. Second, the
evidence, i.e., the tea bags later on found to contain marijuana, was not inadvertently
discovered. The police officers intentionally peeped first through the window before they saw
and ascertained the activities of accused-appellants inside the room. In like manner, the
search cannot be categorized as a search of a moving vehicle, a consented warrantless
search, a customs search, or a stop and frisk; it cannot even fall under exigent and
emergency circumstances, for the evidence at hand is bereft of any such showing.
On the contrary, it indicates that the apprehending officers should have conducted first a
surveillance considering that the identities and address of the suspected culprits were already
ascertained. After conducting the surveillance and determining the existence of probable

cause for arresting accused-appellants, they should have secured a search warrant prior to
effecting a valid arrest and seizure. The arrest being illegal ab initio, the accompanying
search was likewise illegal. Every evidence thus obtained during the illegal search cannot be
used against accused-appellants; hence, their acquittal must follow in faithful obeisance to
the fundamental law.19
It has been held that personal knowledge of facts in arrests without warrant must be based
upon probable cause, which means an actual belief or reasonable grounds of suspicion. The
grounds of suspicion are reasonable when the suspicion, that the person to be arrested is
probably guilty of committing an offense, is based on actual facts, that is, supported by
circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable cause of guilt of the
person to be arrested. 20
As to paragraph (a) of Section 5 of Rule 113, the arresting officers had no personal
knowledge that at the time of the arrest, accused had just committed, were committing, or
were about to commit a crime, as they had no probable cause to enter the house of accused
Rafael Gonzales in order to arrest them. As to paragraph (b), the arresting officers had no
personal knowledge of facts and circumstances that would lead them to believe that the
accused had just committed an offense. As admitted in the testimony of PO1 Azardon, the tip
originated from a concerned citizen who himself had no personal knowledge of the
information that was reported to the police:
Q: Mr. Witness, you claimed that the reason for apprehending all the accused was based on
a tip-off by an informant?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What exactly [did] that informant tell you?
A: He told us that somebody told him that there was an ongoing pot session in the house of
one of the accused Rafael Gonzales, sir.
Q: You mean to say that it was not the informant himself to whom the information originated
but from somebody else?
A: That was what he told me, sir.
Q: Because of that you proceeded to where the alleged pot session was going on? [No
Answer]
Q: Did you[r] informant particularly pinpointed [sic] to where the alleged pot session was
going on?
A: No more because he did not go with us, sir.
Q: So you merely relied on what he said that something or a pot session was going on
somewhere in Arellano but you dont know the exact place where the pot session was going
on?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And your informant has no personal knowledge as to the veracity of the alleged pot
session because he claimed that he derived that information from somebody else?
A: This is what he told us that somebody told him that there was an ongoing pot session, sir.
Q: Despite of [sic] that information you proceeded to where?
A: Trinidad Subdivision, sir.

28
xxx
Q: Mr. Witness, did your informant named [sic] those included in the alleged pot session?
A: No, sir.
Q: That was, because your informant dont [sic] know physically what was really happening
there?
A: He was told by another person that there was an ongoing pot session there,
sir.21 [Emphasis supplied]
Neither can it be said that the subject items were seized in plain view. The elements of
plainview are: (a) a prior valid intrusion based on the valid warrantless arrest in which the
police are legally present in the pursuit of their official duties; (b) the evidence was
inadvertently discovered by the police who have the right to be where they are; (c) the
evidence must be immediately apparent; and, (d) "plain view" justified mere seizure of
evidence without further search.22
The evidence was not inadvertently discovered as the police officers intentionally entered the
house with no prior surveillance or investigation before they discovered the accused with the
subject items. If the prior peeking of the police officers in Bolasa was held to be insufficient to
constitute plain view, then more so should the warrantless search in this case be struck down.
Neither can the search be considered as a search of a moving vehicle, a consented
warrantless search, a customs search, a stop and frisk, or one under exigent and emergency
circumstances.
The apprehending officers should have first conducted a surveillance considering that the
identity and address of one of the accused were already ascertained. After conducting the
surveillance and determining the existence of probable cause, then a search warrant should
have been secured prior to effecting arrest and seizure. The arrest being illegal, the ensuing
search as a result thereof is likewise illegal. Evidence procured on the occasion of an
unreasonable search and seizure is deemed tainted for being the proverbial fruit of a
poisonous tree and should be excluded.23 The subject items seized during the illegal arrest
are thus inadmissible. The drug, being the verycorpus delicti of the crime of illegal possession
of dangerous drugs, its inadmissibility thus precludes conviction, and calls for the acquittal of
the accused.
As has been noted previously by this Court, some lawmen, prosecutors and judges have
glossed over illegal searches and seizures in cases where law enforcers are able to present
the alleged evidence of the crime, regardless of the methods by which they were obtained.
This attitude tramples on constitutionally-guaranteed rights in the name of law enforcement. It
is ironic that such enforcement of the law fosters the breakdown of our system of justice and
the eventual denigration of society. While this Court appreciates and encourages the efforts
of law enforcers to uphold the law and to preserve the peace and security of society, we
nevertheless admonish them to act with deliberate care and within the parameters set by the
Constitution and the law.24
Chain of Custody

Even granting that the seized items are admissible as evidence, the acquittal of the accused
would still be in order for failure of the apprehending officers to comply with the chain of
custody requirement in dangerous drugs cases.
The accused contend that the identity of the seized drug was not established with moral
certainty as the chain of custody appears to be questionable, the authorities having failed to
comply with Sections 21 and 86 of R.A. No. 9165, and Dangerous Drug
Board (DDB) Resolution No. 03, Series of 1979, as amended by Board Regulation No. 2,
Series of 1990. They argue that there was no prior coordination with the Philippine Drug
Enforcement Agency(PDEA), no inventory of the confiscated items conducted at the crime
scene, no photograph of the items taken, no compliance with the rule requiring the accused
to sign the inventory and to give them copies thereof, and no showing of how the items were
handled from the time of confiscation up to the time of submission to the crime laboratory for
testing. Therefore, the corpus delicti was not proven, thereby producing reasonable doubt as
to their guilt. Thus, they assert that the presumption of innocence in their favor was not
overcome by the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty.
The essential requisites to establish illegal possession of dangerous drugs are: (i) the
accused was in possession of the dangerous drug, (ii) such possession is not authorized by
law, and (iii) the accused freely and consciously possessed the dangerous
drug.25 Additionally, this being a case for violation of Section 13 of R.A. No. 9165, an
additional element of the crime is (iv) the possession of the dangerous drug must have
occurred during a party, or at a social gathering or meeting, or in the proximate company of at
least two (2) persons.
The existence of the drug is the very corpus delicti of the crime of illegal possession of
dangerous drugs and, thus, a condition sine qua non for conviction. In order to establish the
existence of the drug, its chain of custody must be sufficiently established. The chain of
custody requirement is essential to ensure that doubts regarding the identity of the evidence
are removed through the monitoring and tracking of the movements of the seized drugs from
the accused, to the police, to the forensic chemist, and finally to the court. 26 Malillin v.
People was the first in a growing number of cases to explain the importance of chain of
custody in dangerous drugs cases, to wit:
As a method of authenticating evidence, the chain of custody rule requires that the admission
of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in
question is what the proponent claims it to be. It would include testimony about every link in
the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered into evidence, in
such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it
was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness' possession, the
condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link
in the chain. These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there
had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the
chain to have possession of the same.27

29
Section 1(b) of DDB Regulation No. 1, Series of 2002, 28 defines chain of custody as follows:
b. "Chain of Custody" means the duly recorded authorized movements and custody of seized
drugs or controlled chemicals or plant sources of dangerous drugs or laboratory equipment of
each stage, from the time of seizure/confiscation to receipt in the forensic laboratory to
safekeeping to presentation in court for destruction. Such record of movements and custody
of seized item shall include the identity and signature of the person who held temporary
custody of the seized item, the date and time when such transfer of custody were made in the
course of safekeeping and used in court as evidence, and the final disposition;

seal it again with a new seal since the police officers seal has been broken. At the trial, the
technician can then describe the sealed condition of the plastic container when it was handed
to him and testify on the procedure he took afterwards to preserve its integrity.
If the sealing of the seized substance has not been made, the prosecution would have to
present every police officer, messenger, laboratory technician, and storage personnel, the
entire chain of custody, no matter how briefly ones possession has been. Each of them has
to testify that the substance, although unsealed, has not been tampered with or substituted
while in his care.29

Paragraph 1, Section 21, Article II of R.A. No. 9165, provides for safeguards for the protection
of the identity and integrity of dangerous drugs seized, to wit:

Section 21(a) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. No. 9165 further
elaborates, and provides for, the possibility of non-compliance with the prescribed procedure:

SEC. 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized, and/or Surrendered Dangerous
Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals,
Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. The PDEA shall take charge and
have custody of all dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs controlled precursors
and essential chemicals, as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment
so confiscated, seized and/or surrendered, for proper disposition in the following manner:

(a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall,
immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in
the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or
seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the
Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the
copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof: Provided, that the physical inventory and
photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served; or at the
nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team, whichever is
practicable, in case of warrantless seizures; Provided, further that non-compliance with these
requirements under justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of
the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall not render
void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items. [Emphasis supplied]

(1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately
after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence
of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or
his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of
Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the
inventory and be given a copy thereof.
People v. Habana thoroughly discusses the proper procedure for the custody of seized or
confiscated items in dangerous drugs cases in order to ensure their identity and integrity, as
follows:
Usually, the police officer who seizes the suspected substance turns it over to a supervising
officer, who would then send it by courier to the police crime laboratory for testing. Since it is
unavoidable that possession of the substance changes hand a number of times, it is
imperative for the officer who seized the substance from the suspect to place his marking on
its plastic container and seal the same, preferably with adhesive tape that cannot be removed
without leaving a tear on the plastic container. At the trial, the officer can then identify the
seized substance and the procedure he observed to preserve its integrity until it reaches the
crime laboratory.

Accordingly, non-compliance with the prescribed procedural requirements will not necessarily
render the seizure and custody of the items void and invalid, provided that (i) there is a
justifiable ground for such non-compliance, and (ii) the integrity and evidentiary value of the
seized items are properly preserved. In this case, however, no justifiable ground is found
availing, and it is apparent that there was a failure to properly preserve the integrity and
evidentiary value of the seized items to ensure the identity of the corpus delicti from the time
of seizure to the time of presentation in court. A review of the testimonies of the prosecution
witnesses and the documentary records of the case reveals irreparably broken links in the
chain of custody.
According to the apprehending police officers in their Joint Affidavit, the following were
confiscated from the accused, to wit:
a) Several pcs of used empty plastic sachets containing suspected shabu residues.

If the substance is not in a plastic container, the officer should put it in one and seal the same.
In this way the substance would assuredly reach the laboratory in the same condition it was
seized from the accused. Further, after the laboratory technician tests and verifies the nature
of the substance in the container, he should put his own mark on the plastic container and

b) Eight used (8) disposable lighters ( two (2) pcs colored orange, two (2) pcs colored
yellow, one (1) pc colored green & one (1) pc colored white ).

30
c) Several pcs of used rolled aluminum foil containing suspected shabu residues.

DCPS AID SOTG 05 September 2006

d) Several pcs of used cut aluminum foil containing suspected shabu residues.
e) One (1) pc glass tube containing suspected shabu residues.30
[Emphases supplied]
At the police station, the case, the accused, and the above-mentioned items were indorsed to
Duty Investigator Senior Police Officer 1 Pedro Urbano, Jr. (SPO1 Urbano) for proper
disposition.31 A letter-request for laboratory examination was prepared by Police
Superintendent Edgar Orduna Basbag for the following items:
a) Pieces of used empty small plastic sachets with suspected shabu residues
marked "DC&A-1."
b) Pieces of used rolled and cut aluminum foil with suspected shabu residues
marked "DC&A-2."
c) Pieces of used cut aluminum foil with suspected shabu residues marked "DC&A3."32
[Emphases supplied]

CONFISCATION RECEIPT
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
THIS IS TO CERTIFY that on or about 12:45 noon of September 4, 2006, we together with
our precinct supervisor, SPO4 Pedro Belen Jr., and SWAT members composed of SPO1
Marlon Decano, PO3 Manuel Garcia, PO2 Adriano Cepiroto and PO1 Aldrin Guarin
apprehended the following names of persons of ARNOLD MARTINEZ Y ANGELES, 37 yrs
old, married, jobless, a resident of Lucao Dist., this city; EDGAR DIZON Y FERRER, 36 yrs
old, single, tricycle driver, a resident of 471 Lucao Dist., this city. REZIN MARTINEZ Y
CAROLINO, 44 yrs old, married, jitney driver, a resident of Lucao Disttrict this city; ROLAND
DORIA Y DIAZ, 39 yrs old, married, businessman, resident of Cabeldatan, Malasiqui,
Pangasinan and RAFAEL GONZALES Y CUNANAN, 49 yrs old, separated, jobless and a
resident of Trinidad Subd., Arellano-Bani this city.
Suspects were duly informed of their constitutional rights and were brought to Dagupan City
Police Station, Perez Market Site Dagupan City and indorsed to Duty Desk Officer to record
the incident andthe sachet of suspected Shabu Paraphernalias were brought to PNP
Crime Laboratory, Lingayen, Pangasinan for Laboratory Examination.
Seizing Officer:
(sgd.)
PO1 Bernard B Azardon
Affiant

The letter-request and above-mentioned items were submitted to P/Insp. Maranion by SPO3
Froilan Esteban (SPO3 Esteban). Final Chemistry Report No. D-042-06L listed the
specimens which were submitted for testing, to wit:
SPECIMENS SUBMITTED:
A A1 to A115 One Hundred fifteen (115) open transparent plastic sachet with tag
each containing suspected shabu residue without markings.
B B1 to B11 Eleven (11) rolled used aluminum foil with tag each containing
suspected shabu residuewithout markings.
C C1 to C49 Forty-nine (49) used aluminum foil with tag each containing
suspected shabu residuewithout markings.33
[Emphases supplied]
Three days after the subject items were seized, or on September 5, 2006, a Confiscation
Receipt was issued by PO1 Azardon and PO1 Dela Cruz, which reads:

(sgd.)
PO1 Alejandro Dela Cruz
Affiant

Remarks:
Refused to Signed
Refused to Signed
Refused to Signed
Refused to Signed
Refused to Signed34
[Emphases supplied]
The 115 open transparent plastic sachets, 11 pieces of rolled used aluminum foil, and 27 (of
the 49) pieces of used aluminum foil, all containing shabu residue, as identified in the Final
Chemistry Report, were presented in court and marked as Exhibits "H" and series, "I" and
series, and "J" and series, respectively. Said items were identified by PO1 Azardon and
P/Insp. Maranion at the witness stand.35

31
The CA ruled that the integrity and evidentiary value of the subject items were properly
preserved as there was sufficient evidence to prove that the items seized from the accused
were the same ones forwarded to the crime laboratory for examination, as shown in the
Confiscation Receipt and the letter-request for laboratory examination.

This Court has repeatedly reversed conviction in drug cases for failure to comply with Section
21 of R.A. No. 9165, resulting in the failure to properly preserve the integrity and evidentiary
value of the seized items. Some cases arePeople v. Garcia,39 People v. Dela Cruz,40 People
v. Dela Cruz,41 People v. Santos, Jr.,42 People v. Nazareno,43People v. Orteza,44 Zarraga v.
People,45 and People v. Kimura.46

A review of the chain of custody indicates, however, that the CA is mistaken.


First, the apprehending team failed to comply with Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165. After seizure
and confiscation of the subject items, no physical inventory was conducted in the presence of
the accused, or their representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the DOJ,
and any elected public official. Thus, no inventory was prepared, signed, and provided to the
accused in the manner required by law. PO1 Azardon, in his testimony,36admitted that no
photographs were taken. The only discernable reason proffered by him for the failure to
comply with the prescribed procedure was that the situation happened so suddenly. Thus:
Q: But upon receiving such report from that jeepney driver you immediately formed a
group and went to the place of Rafael Gonzales?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Such that you did not even inform the PDEA before you barged in that place of
Rafael Gonzales?
A: It was so suddenly, [sic] sir.
Q: And that explains the reason why you were not able to have pictures taken, is that
correct?
A: Yes, sir.37
[Emphasis supplied]
The Court does not find such to be a justifiable ground to excuse non-compliance. The
suddenness of the situation cannot justify non-compliance with the requirements. The police
officers were not prevented from preparing an inventory and taking photographs. In fact,
Section 21(a) of the IRR of R.A. No. 9165 provides specifically that in case of warrantless
seizures, the inventory and photographs shall be done at the nearest police station or at the
nearest office of the apprehending officer/team. Whatever effect the suddenness of the
situation may have had should have dissipated by the time they reached the police station, as
the suspects had already been arrested and the items seized. Moreover, it has been held that
in case of warrantless seizures nothing prevents the apprehending officer from immediately
conducting the physical inventory and photography of the items at their place of seizure, as it
is more in keeping with the laws intent to preserve their integrity and evidentiary value. 38

Second, the subject items were not properly marked. The case of People v. Sanchez is
instructive on the requirement of marking, to wit:
What Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165 and its implementing rule do not expressly specify is the
matter of "marking" of the seized items in warrantless seizures to ensure that the evidence
seized upon apprehension is the same evidence subjected to inventory and photography
when these activities are undertaken at the police station rather than at the place of arrest.
Consistency with the "chain of custody" rule requires that the "marking" of the seized items to truly ensure that they are the same items that enter the chain and are eventually the ones
offered in evidence - should be done (1) in the presence of the apprehended
violator (2) immediately upon confiscation.This step initiates the process of protecting
innocent persons from dubious and concocted searches, and of protecting as well the
apprehending officers from harassment suits based on planting of evidence under Section 29
and on allegations of robbery or theft.
For greater specificity, "marking" means the placing by the apprehending officer or
the poseur-buyer of his/her initials and signature on the item/s seized. x x x Thereafter, the
seized items shall be placed in an envelope or an evidence bag unless the type and quantity
of the seized items require a different type of handling and/or container. The evidence bag or
container shall accordingly be signed by the handling officer and turned over to the next
officer in the chain of custody.47 [Emphasis in the original]
Nowhere in the testimony of PO1 Azardon or in his Joint Affidavit with PO1 Dela Cruz does it
appear that the subject items were at all marked. It was only in the letter-request for
laboratory examination that the subject items were indicated to have been marked with
"DC&A-1," "DC&A-2" and "DC&A-3." There is no showing, however, as to who made those
markings and when they were made. Moreover, those purported markings were never
mentioned when the subject items were identified by the prosecution witnesses when they
took the stand.
The markings appear to pertain to a group of items, that is, empty plastic sachets, rolled and
cut aluminium foil, and cut aluminium foil, but do not specifically pertain to any individual item
in each group. Furthermore, it was only in the Chemistry Report 48 that the precise number of
each type of item was indicated and enumerated. The Court notes that in all documents prior
to said report, the subject items were never accurately quantified but only described as
"pieces,"49 "several pcs,"50 and "shabu paraphernallas."51 Strangely, the Chemistry Report
indicates that all the subject items had "no markings," although each item was reported to
have been marked by P/Insp. Maranion in the course of processing the subject items during
laboratory examination and testing.52 Doubt, therefore, arises as to the identity of the subject

32
items. It cannot be determined with moral certainty that the subject items seized from the
accused were the same ones subjected to the laboratory examination and presented in court.
This Court has acquitted the accused for the failure and irregularity in the marking of seized
items in dangerous drugs cases, such as Zarraga v. People,53 People v. Kimura,54 and People
v. Laxa.55
Third, the Confiscation Receipt relied upon by the prosecution and the courts below gives rise
to more uncertainty. Instead of being prepared on the day of the seizure of the items, it was
prepared only three days after. More important, the receipt did not even indicate exactly what
items were confiscated and their quantity. These are basic information that a confiscation
receipt should provide. The only information contained in the Confiscation Receipt was the
fact of arrest of the accused and the general description of the subject items as "the sachet of
suspected Shabu paraphernallas were brought to the PNP Crime Laboratory." The receipt is
made even more dubious by PO1 Azardons admission in his testimony56 that he did not
personally prepare the Confiscation Receipt and he did not know exactly who did so.
Fourth, according to the Certification57 issued by the Dagupan Police Station, the subject
items were indorsed by PO1 Dela Cruz to Duty Investigator SPO1 Urbano for proper
disposition. These were later turned over by SPO3 Esteban to P/Insp. Maranion. There is,
however, no showing of how and when the subject items were transferred from SPO1 Urbano
to SPO3 Esteban.
Fifth, P/Insp. Maranion appears to be the last person in the chain of custody. No witness
testified on how the subject items were kept after they were tested prior to their presentation
in court. This Court has highlighted similar shortcomings in People v. Cervantes,58 People v.
Garcia,59 People v. Sanchez,60 and Malillin v. People.61
More irregularities further darken the cloud as to the guilt of the accused. Contrary to PO1
Azardons testimony62that they were tipped off by a concerned citizen while at the police
station, the Letter63 to the Executive Director of the DDB states that the apprehending officers
were tipped off "while conducting monitoring/surveillance." Said letter also indicates, as does
the Confiscation Receipt, that the arrest and seizure occurred on September 4, 2006, and not
September 2, 2006, as alleged in the Information. It was also mentioned in the
aforementioned Certification of the Dagupan Police and Joint Affidavit of the police officers
that a glass tube suspected to contain shabu residue was also confiscated from the accused.
Interestingly, no glass tube was submitted for laboratory examination.

In sum, numerous lapses and irregularities in the chain of custody belie the prosecutions
position that the integrity and evidentiary value of the subject items were properly preserved.
The two documents specifically relied on by the CA, the Confiscation Receipt and the letterrequest for laboratory examination, have been shown to be grossly insufficient in proving the
identity of the corpus delicti. The corpus delicti in dangerous drugs cases constitutes the drug
itself. This means that proof beyond reasonable doubt of the identity of the prohibited drug is
essential before the accused can be found guilty.64
Regarding the lack of prior coordination with the PDEA provided in Section 86 of R.A. No.
9165, in People v. Sta. Maria,65 this Court held that said section was silent as to the
consequences of such failure, and said silence could not be interpreted as a legislative intent
to make an arrest without the participation of PDEA illegal, nor evidence obtained pursuant to
such an arrest inadmissible. Section 86 is explicit only in saying that the PDEA shall be the
"lead agency" in the investigation and prosecution of drug-related cases. Therefore, other law
enforcement bodies still possess authority to perform similar functions as the PDEA as long
as illegal drugs cases will eventually be transferred to the latter.
Let it be stressed that non-compliance with Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165 does not affect the
admissibility of the evidence but only its weight.66 Thus, had the subject items in this case
been admissible, their evidentiary merit and probative value would be insufficient to warrant
conviction.
It may be true that where no ill motive can be attributed to the police officers, the presumption
of regularity in the performance of official duty should prevail. However, such presumption
obtains only when there is no deviation from the regular performance of duty.67 Where the
official act in question is irregular on its face, the presumption of regularity cannot stand.
In this case, the official acts of the law enforcers were clearly shown and proven to be
irregular. When challenged by the evidence of a flawed chain of custody, the presumption of
regularity cannot prevail over the presumption of innocence of the accused. 68
This Court once again takes note of the growing number of acquittals for dangerous drugs
cases due to the failure of law enforcers to observe the proper arrest, search and seizure
procedure under the law.69 Some bona fidearrests and seizures in dangerous drugs cases
result in the acquittal of the accused because drug enforcement operatives compromise the
integrity and evidentiary worth of the seized items. It behooves this Court to remind law
enforcement agencies to exert greater effort to apply the rules and procedures governing the
custody, control, and handling of seized drugs.
It is recognized that strict compliance with the legal prescriptions of R.A. No. 9165 may not
always be possible. Thus, as earlier stated, non-compliance therewith is not necessarily fatal.
However, the lapses in procedure must be recognized, addressed and explained in terms of
their justifiable grounds, and the integrity and evidentiary value of the evidence seized must
be shown to have been preserved.70

33
On a final note, this Court takes the opportunity to be instructive on Sec. 1171 (Possession of
Dangerous Drugs) and Sec. 1572 (Use of Dangerous Drugs) of R.A. No. 9165, with regard to
the charges that are filed by law enforcers. This Court notes the practice of law enforcers of
filing charges under Sec. 11 in cases where the presence of dangerous drugs as basis for
possession is only and solely in the form of residue, being subsumed under the last
paragraph of Sec. 11. Although not incorrect, it would be more in keeping with the intent of
the law to file charges under Sec. 15 instead in order to rehabilitate first time offenders of
drug use, provided that there is a positive confirmatory test result as required under Sec. 15.
The minimum penalty under the last paragraph of Sec. 11 for the possession of residue is
imprisonment of twelve years and one day, while the penalty under Sec. 15 for first time
offenders of drug use is a minimum of six months rehabilitation in a government center. To file
charges under Sec. 11 on the basis of residue alone would frustrate the objective of the law
to rehabilitate drug users and provide them with an opportunity to recover for a second
chance at life.
In the case at bench, the presence of dangerous drugs was only in the form of residue on the
drug paraphernalia, and the accused were found positive for use of dangerous drugs.
Granting that the arrest was legal, the evidence obtained admissible, and the chain of
custody intact, the law enforcers should have filed charges under Sec. 15, R.A. No. 9165 or
for use of dangerous drugs and, if there was no residue at all, they should have been charged
under Sec. 1473 (Possession of Equipment, Instrument, Apparatus and Other Paraphernalia
for Dangerous Drugs During Parties, Social Gatherings or Meetings). Sec. 14 provides that
the maximum penalty under Sec. 1274(Possession of Possession of Equipment, Instrument,
Apparatus and Other Paraphernalia for Dangerous Drugs) shall be imposed on any person
who shall possess any equipment, instrument, apparatus and other paraphernalia for
dangerous drugs. Under Sec. 12, the maximum penalty is imprisonment of four years and a
fine of P50,000.00. In fact, under the same section, the possession of such equipment,
apparatus or other paraphernalia is prima facie evidence that the possessor has used a
dangerous drug and shall be presumed to have violated Sec. 15.1avvphi1

In order to effectively fulfill the intent of the law to rehabilitate drug users, this Court thus calls
on law enforcers and prosecutors in dangerous drugs cases to exercise proper discretion in
filing charges when the presence of dangerous drugs is only and solely in the form of residue
and the confirmatory test required under Sec. 15 is positive for use of dangerous drugs. In
such cases, to afford the accused a chance to be rehabilitated, the filing of charges for or
involving possession of dangerous drugs should only be done when another separate
quantity of dangerous drugs, other than mere residue, is found in the possession of the
accused as provided for in Sec. 15.
WHEREFORE, the August 7, 2009 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. HC-NO.
03269 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and another judgment entered ACQUITTING the
accused and ordering their immediate release from detention, unless they are confined for
any other lawful cause.
Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Director of the Bureau of Corrections, Muntinlupa
City, for immediate implementation. The Director of the Bureau of Corrections is directed to
report to this Court within five days from receipt of this decision the action he has taken.
Copies shall also be furnished the Director-General, Philippine National Police, and the
Director-General, Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency, for their information and guidance.
The Regional Trial Court, Branch 41, Dagupan City, is directed to turn over the seized items
to the Dangerous Drugs Board for destruction in accordance with law.
SO ORDERED.