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HARVEY V. DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO [162 SCRA 840; G.R. NO.

82544; 28
JUN 1988]
Wednesday, February 04, 2009 Posted by Coffeeholic Writes
Labels: Case Digests, Political Law

Facts: This is a petition for Habeas Corpus. Petitioners are the following: American

nationals Andrew Harvey, 52 and Jonh Sherman 72. Dutch Citizen Adriaan Van Den Elshout,
58. All reside at Pagsanjan Laguna respondent Commissioner Miriam Defensor Santiago
issued Mission Orders to the Commission of Immigration and Deportation (CID) to
apprehended petitioners at their residences. The “Operation Report” read that Andrew
Harvey was found together with two young boys. Richard Sherman was found with two
naked boys inside his room. While Van Den Elshout in the “after Mission Report” read that
two children of ages 14 and 16 has been under his care and subjects confirmed being live-in
for sometime now.

Seized during the petitioner’s apprehension were rolls of photo negatives and photos of
suspected child prostitutes shown in scandalous poses as well as boys and girls engaged in
sex. Posters and other literature advertising the child prostitutes were also found.

Petitioners were among the 22 suspected alien pedophiles. They were apprehended 17
February1988 after close surveillance for 3 month of the CID in Pagsanjan, Laguna. 17 of
the arrested aliens opted for self-deportation. One released for lack of evidence, another
charged not for pedophile but working with NO VISA, the 3 petitioners chose to face
deportation proceedings. On 4 March1988, deportation proceedings were instituted against
aliens for being undesirable aliens under Sec.69 of Revised Administrative Code.

Warrants of Arrest were issued 7March1988 against petitioners for violation of Sec37, 45
and 46 of Immigration Act and sec69 of Revised Administrative Code. Trial by the Board of
Special Inquiry III commenced the same date. Petition for bail was filed 11March 1988 but
was not granted by the Commissioner of Immigration. 4 April1988 Petitioners filed a petition
for Writ of Habeas Corpus. The court heard the case on oral argument on 20 April 1988.

Issues:
(1) Whether or Not the Commissioner has the power to arrest and detain petitioners
pending determination of existence of probable cause.

(2) Whether or Not there was unreasonable searches and seizures by CID agents.

(3) Whether or Not the writ of Habeas Corpus may be granted to petitioners.

Held: While pedophilia is not a crime under the Revised Penal Code, it violates the

declared policy of the state to promote and protect the physical, moral, spiritual and social
well being of the youth. The arrest of petitioners was based on the probable cause
determined after close surveillance of 3 months. The existence of probable cause justified
the arrest and seizure of articles linked to the offense. The articles were seized as an
incident to a lawful arrest; therefore the articles are admissible evidences (Rule 126,
Section12 of Rules on Criminal Procedure).

The rule that search and seizures must be supported by a valid warrant of arrest is not an
absolute rule. There are at least three exceptions to this rule. 1.) Search is incidental to the
arrest. 2.) Search in a moving vehicle. 3.) Seizure of evidence in plain view. In view of the
foregoing, the search done was incidental to the arrest.

The filing of the petitioners for bail is considered as a waiver of any irregularity attending
their arrest and estops them from questioning its validity. Furthermore, the deportation
charges and the hearing presently conducted by the Board of Special Inquiry made their
detention legal. It is a fundamental rule that habeas corpus will not be granted when
confinement is or has become legal, although such confinement was illegal at the
beginning.

The deportation charges instituted by the Commissioner of Immigration are in accordance


with Sec37 (a) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 in relation to sec69 of the Revised
Administrative code. Section 37 (a) provides that aliens shall be arrested and deported upon
warrant of the Commissioner of Immigration and Deportation after a determination by the
Board of Commissioners of the existence of a ground for deportation against them.
Deportation proceedings are administrative in character and never construed as a
punishment but a preventive measure. Therefore, it need not be conducted strictly in
accordance with ordinary Court proceedings. What is essential is that there should be a
specific charge against the alien intended to be arrested and deported. A fair hearing must
also be conducted with assistance of a counsel if desired.

Lastly, the power to deport aliens is an act of the State and done under the authority of the
sovereign power. It a police measure against the undesirable aliens whose continued
presence in the country is found to be injurious to the public good and tranquility of the
people.