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Warrantless Arrest, Sec 5 Rule 113

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G.R. No. 5649


THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
ISAAC SAMONTE, defendant-appellant.
Godofredo Reyes, for appellant.
Attorney-General Villamor, for appellee.
TRENT, J.:
The defendant, Isaac Samonte, was tried in the Court of First Instance of the Province of Tayabas on a charge of criminal
attempt against an agent of the authorities, and sentenced to one year eight months and twenty-one days of prision
correctional, to pay a fine of P65, in case of insolvency to suffer the corresponding subsidiary imprisonment, to the
accessory penalties provided in article 61 of the Penal Code, and to pay the costs. He appealed to this court.
Counsel for appellant insists, first, that the prosecution has failed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the
policeman, Gregorio Glindo, attempted to arrest the accused in Verdales Street, the place where the trouble occurred;
and, second that if said policeman did attempt to arrest the defendant at this place he, not having a judicial warrant, was
not, under the circumstances, authorized to make the arrest which he attempted to make.
About 8 o'clock on the night of September 6, 1908, the appellant, Isaac Samonte, and Basilio Rabe were together in the
house of one Demetrio Pandeio in the barrio of Macalalong, jurisdiction of Pitogo, Province of Tayabas. They both left
the house and met shortly afterwards in the street (Verdades) in said barrio. On meeting there they became engaged in a
quarrel, the appellant knocking or pushing Rabe down, then proceeded to maltreat him. At this moment Rabe called
"police! police!" Gregorio Glindo, a municipal policeman of Pitogo, being a patrol duty that night in said barrio, hearing
these words went to the scene, arriving just as the offended party was getting up, and attempted to arrest the appellant,
saying to him: "In the name of the United States, don't move." The appellant, on seeing the policeman and hearing this
command, said: Don't come near, because I will take your life." The policeman continued toward the appellant and when
very near him the appellant struck at the policeman with a knife. On account of this resistance the policeman could not
arrest the appellant at that time, so he went immediately to the house of the councilman of that barrio, Demetrio
Pandenio, and reported the matter. Pandenio ordered him to arrest the appellant. He returned to obey this order, being
followed by Pandenio. They found the appellant in a place called Mutingbayan. The policeman attempted to take hold of
the appellant, but he resisted, striking at the policeman again with his knife. The councilman then ordered the appellant to
submit himself, and on receiving this order the appellant said: "I do not recognize anyone," and struck at the councilman
with the knife.
The appellant was not arrested on that night on account of this resistance. He did not lay hands on to touch with his knife
either the policeman or the councilman, but he did refuse to submit himself to the authorities, and resisted arrest. The
policeman did not see the appellant knock the priest down, neither did he see him kick the said priest, but we heard the
cries of the priest calling for help, saying "police! police!" and when he arrived on the scene the priest was getting up and
freeing himself from the appellant. When the policeman heard these cries for help he was only a very short distance
some 6 or 8 brazas away, and when arrived the trouble had not terminated, although no active fighting took place after
his arrival. Under these facts and circumstances it was the duty if this police officer to stop this disturbance by placing the
defendant under arrest.
Any officer in charged with the preservation of the public peace may arrest, without a warrant, any person who is
committing, or has committed, a breach of the peace in his presence. (3 Cyc., 881; Carolina vs. McAfee, 10 L. R. A., 607;
Commonwealth vs. Tobin, 11 Am., Rep., 375; People vs. Rounds, 35 N. W., 77; Douglas vs. Barber, 28 Atl. Rep., 805.)
An offense is committed in the presence or within the view of an officer, within the meaning of the rule authorizing an
arrest without a warrant, when the officer sees the offense, although at a distance, or hears the disturbances created
thereby and proceeds at once to the scene thereof; of the offense is continuing, or has not been consummated, at the
time the arrest is made. (3 Cyc., 886; Ramseyvs. State, 17 S. E., 613; Dilger vs. Com., 11 S. W., 651; State vs. McAfee,
12 S. E., 435; State vs. Williams, 15 S. E., 554; and Hawkins vs. Lutton, 70 N. W., 483.)

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In the case at bar Gregorio Glindo, being a peace officer, not only had authority to arrest the defendant at that time, but it
was his duty to do so, he having heard the priest call for help and having arrived on the scene before the disturbance had
finally ended.
Article 249 of the Penal Code provides that the following commit criminal attempt:
xxx

xxx

xxx

2. Those who attack the authorities or their agents or employ force against them, or gravely intimidate them, or offer an
equally grave resistance while they are discharging the functions of their office or on the occasion thereof.
Article 250 of the same code fixes the penalty to be imposed for those guilty of an attempt against the authorities or their
agents, as provided in the above article.
The accused in this case, after an attempt had been made to arrest him by duly authorized police officer in the discharge
of his duty a such, offered grave resistance by refusing to submit himself to arrest and by striking at the policeman with a
knife, thereby attempting to a personal injury. Although the policeman was not wounded or touched by the accused, these
facts do not receive him from criminal responsibility.
The penalty imposed by the court below being in accordance with the law and the proofs presented, the same is hereby
affirmed, with costs against the appellant. So ordered.
G.R. No. 81567

October 3, 1991

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF ROBERTO UMIL, ROLANDO DURAL and RENATO
VILLANUEVA, MANOLITA O. UMIL and NICANOR P. DURAL, FELICITAS V. SESE, petitioners,
vs.
FIDEL V. RAMOS, MAJ. GEN. RENATO DE VILLA, BRIG. GEN. RAMON MONTANO, BRIG. GEN. ALEXANDER
AGUIRRE, respondents.
G.R. Nos. 84581-82

October 3, 1991

AMELIA ROQUE and WILFREDO BUENAOBRA, petitioners,


vs.
GEN. RENATO DE VILLA and GEN, RAMON MONTANO, respondents.
G.R. Nos. 84583-84

October 3, 1991

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF ATTY. DOMINGO T. ANONUEVO and RAMON
CASIPLE: DOMINGO T. ANONUEVO and RAMON CASIPLE, petitioners,
vs.
HON. FIDEL V. RAMOS, GEN. RENATO S. DE VILLA, COL. EVARISTO CARIO, LT. COL. REX D. PIAD, T/SGT.
CONRADO DE TORRES, S/SGT. ARNOLD DURIAN, and Commanding Officer, PC-INP Detention Center, Camp Crame,
Quezon City, respondents.
G.R. No. 83162

October 3, 1991

IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF VICKY A. OCAYA AND DANNY RIVERA:
VIRGILIO A. OCAYA, petitioners,
vs.
BRIG. GEN. ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, COL. HERCULES CATALUNA, COL. NESTOR MARIANO, respondents.
G.R. No. 85727

October 3, 1991

IN THE MATTER OF APPLICATION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF DEOGRACIAS ESPIRITU, petitioner,


vs.

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BRIG. GEN.ALFREDO S. LIM, COL. RICARDO REYES, respondents.


G.R. No. 86332

October 3, 1991

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF NARCISO B. NAZARENO: ALFREDO
NAZARENO,petitioner,
vs.
THE STATION COMMANDER OF THE MUNTINGLUPA POLICE STATION, Muntinglupa, Metro Manila, P/SGT. JACINTO
MEDINA, P/SGT. ELADIO TAGLE, P/SGT. LEVI SOLEDAD, and P/SGT. MALTRO AROJADO, respondents.
Efren H. Mercado for petitioners in G.R. No. 81567 and G. R. No. 83162.
Ricardo C. Valmonte for petitioners in G.R. Nos. 84581-82
Josefina G. Campbell-Castillo for petitioners in G.R. Nos. 84583-84.
Potenciano A. Flores, Jr. for petitioner in G.R. No. 85727.
The Solicitor General for the respondents.
RESOLUTION

PER CURIAM:p
Before the Court are separate motions filed by the petitioners in the above-entitled petitions, seeking reconsideration of
the Court's decision promulgated on 9 July 1990 (the decision, for brevity) which dismissed the petitions, with the
following dispositive part:
WHEREFORE, the petitions are hereby DISMISSED, except that in G.R. No. 85727 (Espiritu vs. Lim), the bail bond for
petitioner's provisional liberty is hereby ordered reduced from P60,000.00 to P10,000.00. No costs.
The Court avails of this opportunity to clarify its ruling a begins with the statement that the decision did not rule as
many misunderstood it to do that mere suspicion that one is Communist Party or New People's Army member is a
valid ground for his arrest without warrant. Moreover, the decision merely applied long existing laws to the factual
situations obtaining in the several petitions. Among these laws are th outlawing the Communist Party of the Philippines
(CPP) similar organizations and penalizing membership therein be dealt with shortly). It is elementary, in this connection,
if these laws no longer reflect the thinking or sentiment of the people, it is Congress as the elected representative of the
people not the Court that should repeal, change or modify them.
In their separate motions for reconsideration, petitioners, in sum, maintain:
1.
That the assailed decision, in upholding the validity of the questioned arrests made without warrant, and in
relying on the provisions of the Rules of Court, particularly Section 5 of Rule 113 (Arrest), disregards the fact that such
arrests violated the constitutional rights of the persons arrested;
2.

That the doctrine laid down in Garcia vs. Enrile 1 and Ilagan vs. Enrile 2 should be abandoned;

3.
That the decision erred in considering the admissions made by the persons arrested as to their membership in
the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army, and their ownership of the unlicensed firearms, ammunitions
and subversive documents found in their possession at the time of arrest, inasmuch as those confessions do not comply
with the requirements on admissibility of extrajudicial admissions;
4.

That the assailed decision is based on a misappreciation of facts;

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That G.R. No. 81567 (the Umil case) should not be deemed moot and academic.

We find no merit in the motions for reconsideration.


It can not be overlooked that these are petitions for the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus, filed by petitioners under
the Rules of Court. 3 The writ of habeas corpus exists as a speedy and effective remedy to relieve persons from unlawful
restraint. 4 Therefore, the function of the special proceedings of habeas corpus is to inquire into the legality of one's
detention, 5 so that if detention is illegal, the detainee may be ordered forthwit released.
In the petitions at bar, to ascertain whether the detention petitioners was illegal or not, the Court before rendering
decision dated 9 July 1990, looked into whether their questioned arrests without warrant were made in accordance with
law. For, if the arrests were made in accordance with law, would follow that the detention resulting from such arrests also
in accordance with law.
There can be no dispute that, as a general rule, no peace officer or person has the power or authority to arrest anyo
without a warrant of arrest, except in those cases express authorized by law. 6 The law expressly allowing arrests witho
warrant is found in Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court which states the grounds upon which a valid arrest, without
warrant, can be conducted.
In the present cases, the focus is understandably on Section 5, paragraphs (a) and (b) of the said Rule 113, which read:
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 he 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 arrest has committed it; and
. . . (Emphasis supplied).
The Court's decision of 9 July 1990 rules that the arrest Rolando Dural (G.R. No. 81567) without warrant is justified it can
be said that, within the contemplation of Section 5 Rule 113, he (Dural) was committing an offense, when arrested
because Dural was arrested for being a member of the New People's Army, an outlawed organization, where
membership penalized, 7 and for subversion which, like rebellion is, under the doctrine of Garcia vs. Enrile, 8 a
continuing offense, thus:
The crimes of insurrection or rebellion, subversion, conspiracy or proposal to commit such crimes, and other crimes and
offenses committed in the furtherance (sic) on the occasion thereof, or incident thereto, or in connection therewith under
Presidential Proclamation No. 2045, are all in the nature of continuing offenses which set them apart from the common
offenses, aside from their essentially involving a massive conspiracy of nationwide magnitude. . . .
Given the ideological content of membership in the CPP/NPA which includes armed struggle for the overthrow of
organized government, Dural did not cease to be, or became less of a subversive, FOR PURPOSES OF ARREST,
simply because he was, at the time of arrest, confined in the St. Agnes Hospital. Dural was identified as one of several
persons who the day before his arrest, without warrant, at the St. Agnes Hospital, had shot two (2) CAPCOM policemen
in their patrol car. That Dural had shot the two (2) policemen in Caloocan City as part of his mission as a "sparrow" (NPA
member) did not end there and then. Dural, given another opportunity, would have shot or would shoot other policemen
anywhere as agents or representatives of organized government. It is in this sense that subversion like rebellion (or
insurrection) is perceived here as a continuing offense. Unlike other so-called "common" offenses, i.e. adultery, murder,
arson, etc., which generally end upon their commission, subversion and rebellion are anchored on an ideological base
which compels the repetition of the same acts of lawlessness and violence until the overriding objective of overthrowing
organized government is attained.

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Nor can it be said that Dural's arrest was grounded on mere suspicion by the arresting officers of his membership in the
CPP/NPA. His arrest was based on "probable cause," as supported by actual facts that will be shown hereafter.
Viewed from another but related perspective, it may also be said, under the facts of the Umil case, that the arrest of Dural
falls under Section 5, paragraph (b), Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, which requires two (2) conditions for a valid arrestt
without warrant: first, that the person to be arrested has just committed an offense, and second, that the arresting peace
officer or private person has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested is the one who
committed the offense. Section 5(b), Rule 113, it will be noted, refers to arrests without warrant, based on "personal
knowledge of facts" acquired by the arresting officer or private person.
It has been ruled 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 9
The grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in the absence of actual belief of the arresting officers, the suspicion that
the person to be arrested is probably guilty of committing the offense, is based on actual facts, i.e., supported by
circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable cause of guilt of the person to be arrested. 10 A
reasonable suspicion therefore must be founded on probable cause, coupled with good faith on the part of the peace
officers making the arrest. 11
These requisites were complied with in the Umil case and in the other cases at bar.
In G.R. No. 81567 (Umil case), military agents, on 1 February 1988, were dispatched to the St. Agnes Hospital,
Roosevelt Avenue, Quezon City, to verify a confidential information which was received by their office, about a "sparrow
man" (NPA member) who had been admitted to the said hospital with a gunshot wound; that the information further
disclosed that the wounded man in the said hospital was among the five (5) male "sparrows" who murdered two (2)
Capcom mobile patrols the day before, or on 31 January 1988 at about 12:00 o'clock noon, before a road hump along
Macanining St., Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City; that based on the same information, the wounded man's name was listed
by the hospital management as "Ronnie Javellon," twenty-two (22) years old of Block 10, Lot 4, South City Homes,
Bian, Laguna. 12
Said confidential information received by the arresting officers, to the effect that an NPA member ("sparrow unit") was
being treated for a gunshot wound in the named hospital, is deemed reasonable and with cause as it was based on
actual facts and supported by circumstances sufficient to engender a belief that an NPA member was truly in the said
hospital. The actual facts supported by circumstances are: first the day before, or on 31 January 1988, two (2)
CAPCOM soldiers were actually killed in Bagong Bario, Caloocan City by five (5) "sparrows" including Dural; second a
wounded person listed in the hospital records as "Ronnie Javellon" was actually then being treated in St. Agnes Hospital
for a gunshot wound; third as the records of this case disclosed later, "Ronnie Javellon" and his address entered in the
hospital records were fictitious and the wounded man was in reality Rolando Dural.
In fine, the confidential information received by the arresting officers merited their immediate attention and action and, in
fact, it was found to be true. Even the petitioners in their motion for reconsideration, 13 believe that the confidential
information of the arresting officers to the effect that Dural was then being treated in St. Agnes Hospital was actually
received from the attending doctor and hospital management in compliance with the directives of the law, 14 and,
therefore, came from reliable sources.
As to the condition that "probable cause" must also be coupled with acts done in good faith by the officers who make the
arrest, the Court notes that the peace officers wno arrested Dural are deemed to have conducted the same in good faith,
considering that law enforcers are presumed to regularly perform their official duties. The records show that the arresting
officers did not appear to have been ill-motivated in arresting Dural. 15 It is therefore clear that the arrest, without warrant,
of Dural was made in compliance with the requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 5, Rule 113.
Parenthetically, it should be mentioned here that a few day after Dural's arrest, without warrant, an information charging
double murder with assault against agents of persons in authority was filed against Dural in the Regional Trial Court of
Caloocan City (Criminal Case No. C-30112). He was thus promptly placed under judicial custody (as distinguished fro
custody of the arresting officers). On 31 August 1988, he wa convicted of the crime charged and sentenced to reclusion
perpetua. The judgment of conviction is now on appeal before this Court in G.R. No. 84921.

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As to Amelia Roque and Wilfredo Buenaobra (G.R. Nos. 84581-82), Domingo Anonuevo and Ramon Casiple (G.R. Nos.
84583-84) and Vicky Ocaya (G.R. No. 83162), their arrests, without warrant, are also justified. They were searched
pursuant to search warrants issued by a court of law and were found wit unlicensed firearms, explosives and/or
ammunition in their persons. They were, therefore, caught in flagrante delicto which justified their outright arrests without
warrant, under Sec 5(a), Rule 113, Rules of Court. Parenthetically, it should be mentioned here that a few davs after their
arrests without warrant, informations were filed in court against said petitioners, thereby placing them within judicial
custody and disposition. Furthermore, Buenaobra mooted his own petition fo habeas corpus by announcing to this Court
during the hearing of these petitions that he had chosen to remain in detention in the custody of the authorities.
More specifically, the antecedent facts in the "in flagrante" cases are:
1.
On 27 June 1988, the military agents received information imparted by a former NPA about the operations of the
CPP and NPA in Metro Manila and that a certain house occupied by one Renato Constantine, located in the Villaluz
Compound, Molave St., Marikina Heights, Marikina, Metro Manila was being used as their safehouse; that in view of this
information, the said house was placed under military surveillance and on 12 August 1988, pursuant to a search warrant
duly issued by court, a search of the house was conducted; that when Renato Constantine was then confronted he could
not produce any permit to possess the firearms, ammunitions, radio and other communications equipment, and he
admitted that he was a ranking member of the CPP. 16
2.
In the case of Wilfredo Buenaobra, he arrived at the house of Renato Constantino in the evening of 12 August
1988, and admitted that he was an NPA courier and he had with him letters to Renato Constantine and other members of
the rebel group.
3.
On the other hand, the arrest of Amelia Roque was a consequence of the arrest of Buenaobra who had in his
possession papers leading to the whereabouts of Roque; 17 that, at the time of her arrest, the military agents found
subversive documents and live ammunitions, and she admitted then that the documents belonged to her. 18
4.
As regards Domingo Anonuevo and Ramon Casiple they were arrested without warrant on 13 August 1988,
when they arrived at the said house of Renato Constantine in the evening of said date; that when the agents frisked
them, subversive documents, and loaded guns were found in the latter's possession but failing to show a permit to
possess them. 19
5.
With regard to Vicky Ocaya, she was arrested, without warrant when she arrived (on 12 May 1988) at the
premises ofthe house of one Benito Tiamzon who was believed to be the head of the CPP/NPA, and whose house was
subject of a search warrant duly issued by the court. At the time of her arrest without warrant the agents of the PCIntelligence and Investigation found ammunitions and subversive documents in the car of Ocaya. 20
It is to be noted in the above cases (Roque, Buenaobra, Anonuevo, Casiple and Ocaya) that the reason which compelled
the military agents to make the arrests without warrant was the information given to the military authorities that two (2)
safehouses (one occupied by Renato Constantine and the other by Benito Tiamzon) were being used by the CPP/NPA
for their operations, with information as to their exact location and the names of Renato Constantine and Benito Tiamzon
as residents or occupants thereof.
And at the time of the actual arrests, the following circumstances surrounded said arrests (of Roque, Buenaobra,
Anonuevo and Casiple), which confirmed the belief of the military agents that the information they had received was true
and the persons to be arrested were probably guilty of the commission of certain crimes: first: search warrant was duly
issued to effect the search of the Constantine safehouse; second: found in the safehouse was a person named Renato
Constantine, who admitted that he was a ranking member of the CPP, and found in his possession were unlicensed
firearms and communications equipment; third: at the time of their arrests, in their possession were unlicensed firearms,
ammunitions and/or subversive documents, and they admitted ownership thereof as well as their membership in the
CPP/NPA. And then, shortly after their arrests, they were positively identified by their former comrades in the organization
as CPP/NPA members. In view of these circumstances, the corresponding informations were filed in court against said
arrested persons. The records also show that, as in the case of Dural, the arrests without warrant made by the military
agents in the Constantino safehouse and later in the Amelia Roque house, do not appear to have been ill-motivated or
irregularly performed.

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With all these facts and circumstances existing before, during and after the arrest of the afore-named persons (Dural,
Buenaobra, Roque, Anonuevo, Casiple and Ocaya), no prudent an can say that it would have been better for the military
agents not to have acted at all and made any arrest. That would have been an unpardonable neglect of official duty and a
cause for disciplinary action against the peace officers involved.
For, one of the duties of law enforcers is to arrest lawbreakers in order to place them in the hands of executive and
judicial authorities upon whom devolves the duty to investigate the acts constituting the alleged violation of law and to
prosecute and secure the punishment therefor. 21 An arrest is therefore in the nature of an administrative measure. The
power to arrest without warrant is without limitation as long as the requirements of Section 5, Rule 113 are met. This rule
is founded on an overwhelming public interest in peace and order in our communities.
In ascertaining whether the arrest without warrant is conducted in accordance with the conditions set forth in Section 5,
Rule 113, this Court determines not whether the persons arrested are indeed guilty of committing the crime for which they
were arrested. 22 Not evidence of guilt, but "probable cause" is the reason that can validly compel the peace officers, in
the performance of their duties and in the interest of public order, to conduct an arrest without warrant. 23
The courts should not expect of law-enforcers more than what the law requires of them. Under the conditions set forth in
Section 5, Rule 113, particularly paragraph (b) thereof, even if the arrested persons are later found to be innocent and
acquitted, the arresting officers are not liable. 24 But if they do not strictly comply with the said conditions, the arresting
officers can be held liable for the crime of arbitrary detention, 25 for damages under Article 32 of the Civil Code 26 and/or
for other administrative sanctions.
In G.R. No. 85727, Espiritu, on 23 November 1988, was arrested without warrant, on the basis of the attestation of
certain witnesses: that about 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon of 22 November 1988, at the corner of Magsaysay Boulevard
and Velencia St., Sta. Mesa, Manila, Espiritu spoke at a gathering of drivers and sympathizers, where he said, among
other things:
Bukas tuloy ang welga natin . . . hanggang sa magkagulona. 27 (Emphasis supplied)
and that the police authorities were present during the press conference held at the National Press Club (NPC) on 22
November 1988 where Espiritu called for a nationwide strike (of jeepney and bus drivers) on 23 November 1988. 28
Espiritu was arrested without warrant, not for subversion or any "continuing offense," but for uttering the above-quoted
language which, in the perception of the arresting officers, was inciting to sedition.
Many persons may differ as to the validity of such perception and regard the language as falling within free speech
guaranteed by the Constitution. But, then, Espiritu had not lost the right to insist, during the pre-trial or trial on the merits,
that he was just exercising his right to free speech regardless of the charged atmosphere in which it was uttered. But, the
authority of the peace officers to make the arrest, without warrant, at the time the words were uttered, or soon thereafter,
is still another thing. In the balancing of authority and freedom, which obviously becomes difficult at times, the Court has,
in this case, tilted the scale in favor of authority but only for purposes of the arrest (not conviction). Let it be noted that the
Court has ordered the bail for Espiritu's release to be reduced from P60,000.00 to P10,000.00.
Let it also be noted that supervening events have made the Espiritu case moot and academic. For Espiritu had before
arraignment asked the court a quo for re-investigation, the peace officers did not appear. Because of this development,
the defense asked the court a quo at the resumption of the hearings to dismiss the case. Case against Espiritu (Criminal
Case No. 88-68385) has been provisionally dismissed and his bail bond cancelled.
In G.R. No. 86332 (Nazareno), the records show that in the morning of 14 December 1988, Romulo Bunye II was killed
by a group of men in Alabang, Muntinlupa, Metro Manila; that at about 5:00 o'clock in the morning of 28 December 1988,
Ramil Regala, one of the suspects in the said killing, was arrested and he pointed to Narciso Nazareno as one of his
companions during the killing of Bunye II; that at 7:20 of the same morning (28 December 1988), the police agents
arrested Nazareno, without warrant, for investigation. 29
Although the killing of Bunye II occurred on 14 December 1988, while Nazareno's arrest without warrant was made only
on 28 December 1988, or 14 days later, the arrest fans under Section 5(b) of Rule 113, since it was only on 28 December

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1988 that the police authorities came to know that Nazareno was probably one of those guilty in the killing of Bunye II and
the arrest had to be made promptly, even without warrant, (after the police were alerted) and despite the lapse of fourteen
(14) days to prevent possible flight.
As shown in the decision under consideration, this Court, in upholding the arrest without warrant of Nazareno noted
several facts and events surrounding his arrest and detention, as follows:
. . . on 3 January 1989 (or six (6) days after his arrest without warrant), an information charging Narciso Nazareno, Ramil
Regala and two (2) others, with the killing of Romulo Bunye II was filed wit the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Metro
Manila. The case is dock eted therein as Criminal Case No. 731.
On 7 January 1989, Narciso Nazareno filed a motion to post bail but the motion was denied by the trial court in an order
dated 10 January 1989, even as the motion to post bail, earlier filed by his co-accused, Manuel Laureaga, was granted
by the same trial court.
On 13 January 1989, a petition for habeas corpus was filed with this Court on behalf of Narciso Nazareno and on 13
January 1989, the Court issued the writ of habeas corpus, retumable to the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of
Bifian, Laguna, Branch 24, ordering said court to hear the case on 30 January 1989 and thereafter resolve the petition.
At the conclusion of the hearing, or on 1 February 1989, the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Bian, Laguna
issued a resolution denying the petition for habeas corpus, it appearing that the said Narciso Nazareno is in the custody
of the respondents by reason of an information filed against him with the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Metro Manila
which liad taken cognizance of said case and had, in fact, denied the motion for bail filed by said Narciso Nazareno
(presumably because of the strength of the evidence against him).
This Court reiterates that shortly after the arrests of Espiritu and Nazareno, the corresponding informations against them
were filed in court. The arrests of Espiritu and Nazareno were based on probable cause and supported by factual
circumstances. They complied with conditions set forth in Section 5(b) of Rule 113. They were not arbitrary or whimsical
arrests.
Parenthetically, it should be here stated that Nazareno has since been convicted by the court a quo for murder and
sentenced to reclusion perpetua. He has appealed the judgment of conviction to the Court of Appeals where it is pending
as of this date ( CA-G.R. No. still undocketed).
Petitioners contend that the decision of 9 July 1990 ignored the contitution requisiteds for admissibility of an extrajudicial
admission.
In the case of Buenaobra (G.R. Nos. 84581-82), he admitted 30 that he was an NPA courier. On the other hand, in the
case of Amelia Roque, she admitted 31 that the unlicensed firearms, ammunition and subversive documents found in her
possession during her arrest, belonged to her.
The Court, it is true, took into account the admissions of the arrested persons of their membership in the CPP/NPA, as
well as their ownership of the unlicensed firearms, ammunitions and documents in their possession. But again, these
admissions, as revealed by the records, strengthen the Court's perception that truly the grounds upon which the arresting
officers based their arrests without warrant, are supported by probable cause, i.e. that the persons arrested were
probably guilty of the commission of certain offenses, in compliance with Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court. To
note these admissions, on the other hand, is not to rule that the persons arrested are already guilty of the offenses upon
which their warrantless arrests were predicated. The task of determining the guilt or innocence of persons arrested
without warrant is not proper in a petition for habeas corpus. It pertains to the trial of the case on the merits.
As to the argument that the doctrines in Garcia vs. Enrile, and Ilagan vs. Enrile should be abandoned, this Court finds no
compelling reason at this time to disturb the same, particularly ln the light of prevailing conditions where national security
and liability are still directly challenged perhaps with greater vigor from the communist rebels. What is important is that
everv arrest without warrant be tested as to its legality via habeas corpus proceeding. This Court. will promptly look into
and all other appropriate courts are enjoined to do the same the legality of the arrest without warrant so that if the
conditions under Sec. 5 of Rule 113, Rules of Court, as elucidated in this Resolution, are not met, then the detainee shall

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forthwith be ordered released; but if such conditions are met, then the detainee shall not be made to languish in his
detention but must be promptly tried to the end that he may be either acquitted or convicted, with the least delay, as
warranted by the evidence.
A Final Word
This Resolution ends as it began, reiterating that mere suspicion of being a Communist Party member or a subversive is
absolutely not a ground for the arrest without warrant of the suspect. The Court predicated the validity of the questioned
arrests without warrant in these petitions, not on mere unsubstantiated suspicion, but on compliance with the conditions
set forth in Section 5, Rule 113, Rules of Court, a long existing law, and which, for stress, are probable cause and good
faith of the arresting peace officers, and, further, on the basis of, as the records show, the actual facts and circumstances
supporting the arrests. More than the allure of popularity or palatability to some groups, what is important is that the
Court be right.
ACCORDINGLY, the motions for reconsideration of the decision dated 9 July 1990, are DENIED. This denial is FINAL.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-37007
July 20, 1987
RAMON S. MILO, in his capacity as Assistant Provincial Fiscal of Pangasinan, and ARMANDO VALDEZ,
petitioners,
vs.
ANGELITO C. SALANGA, in his capacity as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan (Branch IV), and
JUAN TUVERA, SR., respondents.
GANCAYCO, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari of an order of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, Third Judicial District, in
Criminal Case No. D-529 entitled "The People of the Philippines versus Juan Tuvera, Sr., et al.," granting the motion to
quash the information filed by accused Juan Tuvera, Sr., herein respondent. The issue is whether a barrio captain can be
charged of arbitrary detention.
The facts are as follows:
On October 12, 1972, an information for Arbitrary Detention was filed against Juan Tuvera, Sr., Tomas Mendoza and
Rodolfo Mangsat, in the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, which reads as follows:
The undersigned Assistant Provincial Fiscal accuses Juan Tuvera, Sr., Tomas Mendoza and Rodolfo Mangsat alias Rudy,
all of Manaoag, Pangasinan, of the crime of ARBITRARY DETENTION, committed as follows:
That on or about the 21st day of April 1973, at around 10:00 o'clock in the evening, in barrio Baguinay, Manaoag,
Pangasinan, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused Juan Tuvera, Sr., a barrio captain,
with the aid of some other private persons, namely Juan Tuvera, Jr., Bertillo Bataoil and one Dianong, maltreated one
Armando Valdez by hitting with butts of their guns and fists blows and immediately thereafter, without legal grounds, with
deliberate intent to deprive said Armando Valdez of his constitutional liberty, accused Barrio captain Juan Tuvera, Sr.,
Cpl. Tomas Mendoza and Pat. Rodolfo Mangsat, members of the police force of Mangsat, Pangasinan conspiring,
confederating and helping one another, did, then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, lodge and lock said
Armando Valdez inside the municipal jail of Manaoag, Pangasinan for about eleven (11) hours. (Emphasis supplied.)
CONTRARY TO ARTICLE 124 of the R.P.C.
Dagupan City, October 12, 1972.
(SGD.) VICENTE C. CALDONA
Assistant Provincial Fiscal
All the accused, including respondent Juan Tuvera, Sr., were arraigned and pleaded not guilty.

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On April 4, 1973, Tuvera filed a motion to quash the information on the ground that the facts charged do not constitute an
offense and that the proofs adduced at the investigation are not sufficient to support the filing of the information.
Petitioner Assistant Provincial Fiscal Ramon S. Milo filed an opposition thereto.
Finding that respondent Juan Tuvera, Sr. was not a public officer who can be charged with Arbitrary Detention,
respondent Judge Angelito C. Salanga granted the motion to quash in an order dated April 25, 1973.
Hence, this petition.
Arbitrary Detention is committed by a public officer who, without legal grounds, detains a person.1 The elements of this
crime are the following:
1. That the offender is a public officer or employee.
2. That he detains a person.
3. That the detention is without legal grounds.2
The ground relied upon by private respondent Tuvera for his motion to quash the information which was sustained by
respondent Judge, is that the facts charged do not constitute an offense,3 that is, that the facts alleged in the information
do not constitute the elements of Arbitrary Detention.
The Information charges Tuvera, a barrio captain, to have conspired with Cpl. Mendoza and Pat. Mangsat, who are
members of the police force of Manaoag, Pangasinan in detaining petitioner Valdez for about eleven (11) hours in the
municipal jail without legal ground. No doubt the last two elements of the crime are present.
The only question is whether or not Tuvera, Sr., a barrio captain is a public officer who can be liable for the crime of
Arbitrary Detention.
The public officers liable for Arbitrary Detention must be vested with authority to detain or order the detention of persons
accused of a crime. Such public officers are the policemen and other agents of the law, the judges or mayors.4
Respondent Judge Salanga did not consider private respondent Tuvera as such public officer when the former made this
finding in the questioned order:
Apparently, if Armando Valdez was ever jailed and detained more than six (6) hours, Juan Tuvera, Sr., has nothing to do
with the same because he is not in any way connected with the Police Force of Manaoag, Pangasinan. Granting that it
was Tuvera, Sr., who ordered Valdez arrested, it was not he who detained and jailed him because he has no such
authority vested in him as a mere Barrio Captain of Barrio Baguinay, Manaoag, Pangasinan. 5
In line with the above finding of respondent Judge Salanga, private respondent Tuvera asserts that the motion to quash
was properly sustained for the following reasons: (1) That he did not have the authority to make arrest, nor jail and detain
petitioner Valdez as a mere barrio captain;6 (2) That he is neither a peace officer nor a policeman,7 (3) That he was not a
public official;8 (4) That he had nothing to do with the detention of petitioner Valdez;9 (5) That he is not connected directly
or indirectly in the administration of the Manaoag Police Force;10 (6) That barrio captains on April 21, 1972 were not yet
considered as persons in authority and that it was only upon the promulgation of Presidential Decree No. 299 that Barrio
Captain and Heads of Barangays were decreed among those who are persons in authority;11 and that the proper charge
was Illegal Detention and Not Arbitrary Detention.12
We disagree.
Long before Presidential Decree 299 was signed into law, barrio lieutenants (who were later named barrio captains and
now barangay captains) were recognized as persons in authority. In various cases, this Court deemed them as persons
in authority, and convicted them of Arbitrary Detention.

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In U.S. vs. Braganza,13 Martin Salibio, a barrio lieutenant, and Hilario Braganza, a municipal councilor, arrested Father
Feliciano Gomez while he was in his church. They made him pass through the door of the vestry and afterwards took him
to the municipal building. There, they told him that he was under arrest. The priest had not committed any crime. The two
public officials were convicted of Arbitrary Detention.14
In U.S. vs. Gellada,15 Geronimo Gellada, a barrio lieutenant, with the help of Filoteo Soliman, bound and tied his
houseboy Sixto Gentugas with a rope at around 6:00 p.m. and delivered him to the justice of the peace. Sixto was
detained during the whole night and until 9:00 a.m. of the next day when he was ordered released by the justice of the
peace because he had not committed any crime, Gellada was convicted of Arbitrary Detention.16
Under Republic Act No. 3590, otherwise known as The Revised Barrio Charter, the powers and duties of a barrio captain
include the following: to look after the maintenance of public order in the barrio and to assist the municipal mayor and the
municipal councilor in charge of the district in the performance of their duties in such barrio;17 to look after the general
welfare of the barrio;18 to enforce all laws and ordinances which are operative within the barrio;19 and to organize and
lead an emergency group whenever the same may be necessary for the maintenance of peace and order within the
barrio.20
In his treatise on Barrio Government Law and Administration, Professor Jose M. Aruego has this to say about the abovementioned powers and duties of a Barrio Captain, to wit:
"Upon the barrio captain depends in the main the maintenance of public order in the barrio. For public disorder therein,
inevitably people blame him.
"In the event that there be a disturbing act to said public order or a threat to disturb public order, what can the barrio
captain do? Understandably, he first resorts to peaceful measures. He may take preventive measures like placing the
offenders under surveillance and persuading them, where possible, to behave well, but when necessary, he may subject
them to the full force of law.
"He is a peace officer in the barrio considered under the law as a person in authority. As such, he may make arrest and
detain persons within legal limits.21 (Emphasis supplied.)
One need not be a police officer to be chargeable with Arbitrary Detention. It is accepted that other public officers like
judges and mayors, who act with abuse of their functions, may be guilty of this crime.22 A perusal of the powers and
function vested in mayors would show that they are similar to those of a barrio captain23 except that in the case of the
latter, his territorial jurisdiction is smaller. Having the same duty of maintaining peace and order, both must be and are
given the authority to detain or order detention. Noteworthy is the fact that even private respondent Tuvera himself
admitted that with the aid of his rural police, he as a barrio captain, could have led the arrest of petitioner Valdez.24
From the foregoing, there is no doubt that a barrio captain, like private respondent Tuvera, Sr., can be held liable for
Arbitrary Detention.
Next, private respondent Tuvera, Sr. contends that the motion to quash was validly granted as the facts and evidence on
record show that there was no crime of Arbitrary Detention;25 that he only sought the aid and assistance of the Manaoag
Police Force;26 and that he only accompanied petitioner Valdez to town for the latter's personal safety.27
Suffice it to say that the above allegations can only be raised as a defense at the trial as they traverse what is alleged in
the Information. We have repeatedly held that Courts, in resolving a motion to quash, cannot consider facts contrary to
those alleged in the information or which do not appear on the face of the information. This is because a motion to quash
is a hypothetical admission of the facts alleged in the information.28 Matters of defense cannot be proved during the
hearing of such a motion, except where the Rules expressly permit, such as extinction of criminal liability, prescription,
and former jeopardy.29 In the case of U.S. vs. Perez,30 this Court held that a motion to quash on the ground that the
facts charged do not constitute an offense cannot allege new facts not only different but diametrically opposed to those
alleged in the complaint. This rule admits of only one exception and that is when such facts are admitted by the
prosecution.31lawphi1

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Lastly, private respondent claims that by the lower court's granting of the motion to quash jeopardy has already attached
in his favor32 on the ground that here, the case was dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent.
Respondent's contention holds no water. An order granting a motion to quash, unlike one of denial, is a final order. It is
not merely interlocutory and is therefore immediately appealable. The accused cannot claim double jeopardy as the
dismissal was secured not only with his consent but at his instance.33
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Petition for certiorari is GRANTED. The questioned Order of April 25, 1973 in
Criminal Case No. D-529 is hereby set aside. Let this case be remanded to the appropriate trial court for further
proceedings. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-2128

May 12, 1948

MELENCIO SAYO and JOAQUIN MOSTERO, petitioners,


vs.
THE CHIEF OF POLICE and THE OFFICER IN CHARGE OF MUNICIPAL JAIL, BOTH OF CITY OF MANILA,
respondents.
Enrique Q. Jabile for petitioners.
Acting City Fiscal A. P. Montesa, Assistant City Fiscal Arsenio Naawa and D. Guinto Lazaro for respondents.
FERIA, J.:
Upon complaint of Bernardino Malinao, charging the petitioners with having committed the crime of robbery, Benjamin
Dumlao, a policeman of the City of Manila, arrested the petitioners on April 2, 1948, and presented a complaint against
them with the fiscal's office of Manila. Until April 7, 1948, when the petition for habeas corpus filed with this Court was
heard, the petitioners were still detained or under arrest, and the city fiscal had not yet released or filed against them an
information with the proper courts justice.
This case has not been decided before this time because there was not a sufficient number of Justices to form a quorum
in Manila, And it had to be transferred to the Supreme Court acting in division here in Baguio for deliberation and
decision. We have not until now an official information as to the action taken by the office of the city fiscal on the
complaint filed by the Dumlao against the petitioners. But whatever night have been the action taken by said office, if
there was any, we have to decide this case in order to lay down a ruling on the question involved herein for the
information and guidance in the future of the officers concerned.
The principal question to be determined in the present case in order to decide whether or not the petitioners are being
illegally restrained of their liberty, is the following: Is the city fiscal of manila a judicial authority within the meaning of the
provisions of article 125 of the Revised Penal Code?
Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code provides that "the penalties provided in the next proceeding article shall be
imposed upon the public officer or employee who shall detain any person for some legal ground and shall fail to deliver
such person to the proper judicial authorities within the period of six hours."
Taking into consideration the history of the provisions of the above quoted article, the precept of our Constitution
guaranteeing individual liberty, and the provisions of Rules of Court regarding arrest and habeas corpus, we are of the
opinion that the words "judicial authority", as used in said article, mean the courts of justices or judges of said courts
vested with judicial power to order the temporary detention or confinement of a person charged with having committed a
public offense, that is, "the Supreme Court and such inferior courts as may be established by law". (Section 1, Article VIII
of the Constitution.)
Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code was substantially taken from article 202 of the old Penal Code formerly in force of
these Islands, which penalized a public officer other than a judicial officer who, without warrant, "shall arrest a person
upon a charge of crime and shall fail to deliver such person to the judicial authority within twenty four hours after his

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arrest." There was no doubt that a judicial authority therein referred to was the judge of a court of justice empowered by
law, after a proper investigation, to order the temporary commitment or detention of the person arrested; and not the city
fiscals or any other officers, who are not authorized by law to do so. Because article 204, which complements said
section 202, of the same Code provided that "the penalty of suspension in its minimum and medium degrees shall be
imposed upon the following persons: 1. Any judicial officer who, within the period prescribed by the provisions of the law
of criminal procedure in force, shall fail to release any prisoner under arrest or to commit such prisoner formally by written
order containing a statement of the grounds upon which the same is based."
Although the above quoted provision of article 204 of the old Penal Code has not been incorporated in the Revised Penal
Code the import of said words judicial authority or officer can not be construed as having been modified by the mere
omission of said provision in the Revised Penal Code.
Besides, section 1 (3), Article III, of our Constitution provides that "the right of the people to be secure in their
persons...against unreasonable seizure shall not be violated, and no warrant [of arrest, detention or confinement] shall
issue but upon probable cause, to be determined by the judge after the examination under oath or affirmation of the
complaint and the witness he may produce." Under this constitutional precept no person may be deprived of his liberty,
except by warrant of arrest or commitment issued upon probable cause by a judge after examination of the complainant
and his witness. And the judicial authority to whom the person arrested by a public officers must be surrendered can not
be any other but court or judge who alone is authorized to issue a warrant of commitment or provisional detention of the
person arrested pending the trial of the case against the latter. Without such warrant of commitment, the detention of the
person arrested for than six hours would be illegal and in violation of our Constitution.
Our conclusion is confirmed by section 17, Rule 109 of the Rules of court, which, referring to the duty of an officer after
arrest without warrant, provides that "a person making arrest for legal ground shall, without unnecessary delay, and within
the time prescribed in the Revised Penal Code, take the person arrested to the proper court or judge for such action for
they may deem proper to take;" and by section 11 of Rule 108, which reads that "after the arrest by the defendant and his
delivery to the Court, he shall be informed of the complaint or information filed against him. He shall also informed of the
substance of the testimony and evidence presented against him, and, if he desires to testify or to present witnesses or
evidence in his favor, he may be allowed to do so. The testimony of the witnesses need not be reduced to writing but that
of the defendant shall be taken in writing and subscribed by him.
And it is further corroborated by the provisions of section 1 and 4, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court. According to the
provision of said section, "a writ of habeas corpus shall extend any person to all cases of illegal confinement or detention
by which any person is illegally deprived of his liberty"; and "if it appears that the person alleged to be restrained of his
liberty is in the custody of an officer under process issued by a court or judge, or by virtue of a judgement or order of a
court of record, and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the process, render judgment, or make the order, the
writ shall not be allowed. "Which a contrario sensu means that, otherwise, the writ shall be allowed and the person
detained shall be released.
The judicial authority mentioned in section 125 of the Revised Penal Code can not be construed to include the fiscal of
the City of Manila or any other city, because they cannot issue a warrant of arrest or of commitment or temporary
confinement of a person surrendered to legalize the detention of a person arrested without warrant. (Section 7, Rule 108;
Hashim vs. Boncan, 40 Off. Gaz. 13th Supp., p.13; Lino vs. Fugoso, L-1159, promulgated on January 30, 1947, 43 Off.
Gaz., 1214). The investigation which the city of fiscal of Manila makes is not the preliminary investigation proper provided
for in section 11, Rule 108, above quoted, to which all person charged with offenses cognizable by the Court of First
Instance in provinces are entitled, but it is a mere investigation made by the city fiscal for the purpose of filing the
corresponding information against the defendant with the proper municipal court or Court of First Instance of Manila if the
result of the investigation so warrants, in order to obtain or secure from the court a warrant of arrest of the defendant. It is
provided by a law as a substitute, in a certain sense, of the preliminary investigation proper to avoid or prevent a hasty or
malicious prosecution, since defendant charged with offenses triable by the courts in the City of Manila are not entitled to
a proper preliminary investigation.
The only executive officers authorized by law to make a proper preliminary investigation in case of temporary absence of
both the justice of the peace and the auxiliary justice of the peace from the municipality, town or place, are the municipal
mayors who are empowered in such case to issue a warrant of arrest of the caused. (Section 3, Rule 108, in connection

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with section 6, Rule 108, and section 2 of Rule 109.) The preliminary investigation which a city fiscal may conduct under
section 2, Rule 108, is the investigation referred to in the proceeding paragraph.
Under the law, a complaint charging a person with the commission of an offense cognizable by the courts of Manila is not
filed with municipal court or the Court of First Instance of Manila, because as above stated, the latter do not make or
conduct a preliminary investigation proper. The complaint must be made or filed with the city fiscal of Manila who,
personally or through one of his assistants, makes the investigation, not for the purpose of ordering the arrest of the
accused, but of filing with the proper court the necessary information against the accused if the result of the investigation
so warrants, and obtaining from the court a warrant of arrest or commitment of the accused.
When a person is arrested without warrant in cases permitted bylaw, the officer or person making the arrest should, as
abovestated, without unnecessary delay take or surrender the person arrested, within the period of time prescribed in the
Revised Penal Code, to the court or judge having jurisdiction to try or make a preliminary investigation of the offense
(section 17, Rule 109); and the court or judge shall try and decide the case if the court has original jurisdiction over the
offense charged, or make the preliminary investigation if it is a justice of the peace court having no original jurisdiction,
and then transfer the case to the proper Court of First Instance in accordance with the provisions of section 13, Rule 108.
In the City of Manila, where complaints are not filed directly with the municipal court or the Court of First Instance, the
officer or person making the arrest without warrant shall surrender or take the person arrested to the city fiscal, and the
latter shall make the investigation above mentioned and file, if proper, the corresponding information within the time
prescribed by section 125 of the Revised Penal Code, so that the court may issue a warrant of commitment for the
temporary detention of the accused. And the city fiscal or his assistants shall make the investigation forthwith, unless it is
materially impossible for them to do so, because the testimony of the person or officer making the arrest without warrant
is in such cases ready and available, and shall, immediately after the investigation, either release the person arrested or
file the corresponding information. If the city fiscal has any doubt as to the probability of the defendant having committed
the offense charged, or is not ready to file the information on the strength of the testimony or evidence presented, he
should release and not detain the person arrested for a longer period than that prescribed in the Penal Code, without
prejudice to making or continuing the investigation and filing afterwards the proper information against him with the court,
in order to obtain or secure a warrant of his arrest. Of course, for the purpose of determining the criminal liability of an
officer detaining a person for more than six hours prescribed by the Revised Penal Code, the means of communication
as well as the hour of arrested and other circumstances, such as the time of surrender and the material possibility for the
fiscal to make the investigation and file in time the necessary information, must be taken into consideration.
To consider the city fiscal as the judicial authority referred to in article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, would be to
authorize the detention of a person arrested without warrant for a period longer than that permitted by law without any
process issued by a court of competent jurisdiction. The city fiscal, may not, after due investigation, find sufficient ground
for filing an information or prosecuting the person arrested and release him, after the latter had been illegally detained for
days or weeks without any process issued by a court or judge.
A peace officer has no power or authority to arrest a person without a warrant upon complaint of the offended party or
any other person, except in those cases expressly authorized by law. What he or the complainant may do in such case is
to file a complaint with the city fiscal of Manila, or directly with the justice of the peace courts in municipalities and other
political subdivisions. If the City Fiscal has no authority, and he has not, to order the arrest even if he finds, after due
investigation, that there is a probability that a crime has been committed and the accused is guilty thereof, a fortiori a
police officer has no authority to arrest and detain a person charged with an offense upon complaint of the offended party
or other persons even though, after investigation, he becomes convinced that the accused is guilty of the offense
charged.
In view of all the foregoing, without making any pronouncement as to the responsibility of the officers who intervened in
the detention of the petitioners, for the policeman Dumlao may have acted in good faith, in the absence of a clear cut
ruling on the matter in believing that he had complied with the mandate of article 125 by delivering the petitioners within
six hours to the office of the city fiscal, and the latter might have ignored the fact that the petitioners were being actually
detained when the said policeman filed a complaint against them with the city fiscal, we hold that the petitioners are being
illegally restrained of their liberty, and their release is hereby ordered unless they are now detained by virtue of a process
issued by a competent court of justice. So ordered.

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June 22, 1992

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
ROGELIO MENGOTE y TEJAS, accused-appellant.

CRUZ, J.:
Accused-appellant Rogelio Mengote was convicted of illegal possession of firearms on the strength mainly of the stolen
pistol found on his person at the moment of his warrantless arrest. In this appeal, he pleads that the weapon was not
admissible as evidence against him because it had been illegally seized and was therefore the fruit of the poisonous tree.
The Government disagrees. It insists that the revolver was validly received in evidence by the trial judge because its
seizure was incidental to an arrest that was doubtless lawful even if admittedly without warrant.
The incident occurred shortly before noon of August 8, 1987, after the Western Police District received a telephone call
from an informer that there were three suspicious-looking persons at the corner of Juan Luna and North Bay Boulevard in
Tondo, Manila. A surveillance team of plainclothesmen was forthwith dispatched to the place. As later narrated at the trial
by Patrolmen Rolando Mercado and Alberto Juan, 1 they there saw two men "looking from side to side," one of whom
was holding his abdomen. They approached these persons and identified themselves as policemen, whereupon the two
tried to run away but were unable to escape because the other lawmen had surrounded them. The suspects were then
searched. One of them, who turned out to be the accused-appellant, was found with a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson
revolver with six live bullets in the chamber. His companion, later identified as Nicanor Morellos, had a fan knife secreted
in his front right pants pocket. The weapons were taken from them. Mengote and Morellos were then turned over to police
headquarters for investigation by the Intelligence Division.
On August 11, 1987, the following information was filed against the accused-appellant before the Regional Trial Court of
Manila:
The undersigned accuses ROGELIO MENGOTE y TEJAS of a violation of Presidential Decree No. 1866, committed as
follows:
That on or about August 8, 1987, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and there wilfully, unlawfully
and knowingly have in his possession and under his custody and control a firearm, to wit:
one (1) cal. 38 "S & W" bearing
Serial No. 8720-T
without first having secured the necessary license or permit therefor from the proper authorities.
Besides the police officers, one other witness presented by the prosecution was Rigoberto Danganan, who identified the
subject weapon as among the articles stolen from him during the robbery in his house in Malabon on June 13, 1987. He
pointed to Mengote as one of the robbers. He had duly reported the robbery to the police, indicating the articles stolen
from him, including the revolver. 2 For his part, Mengote made no effort to prove that he owned the firearm or that he was
licensed to possess it and claimed instead that the weapon had been "Planted" on him at the time of his arrest. 3

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The gun, together with the live bullets and its holster, were offered as Exhibits A, B, and C and admitted over the
objection of the defense. As previously stated, the weapon was the principal evidence that led to Mengote's conviction for
violation of P.D. 1866. He was sentenced to reclusion
perpetua. 4
It is submitted in the Appellant's Brief that the revolver should not have been admitted in evidence because of its illegal
seizure. no warrant therefor having been previously obtained. Neither could it have been seized as an incident of a lawful
arrest because the arrest of Mengote was itself unlawful, having been also effected without a warrant. The defense also
contends that the testimony regarding the alleged robbery in Danganan's house was irrelevant and should also have
been disregarded by the trial court.
The following are the pertinent provision of the Bill of Rights:
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.
Sec. 3 (1).
The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the
court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise as prescribed by law.
(2)
Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any
proceeding.
There is no question that evidence obtained as a result of an illegal search or seizure is inadmissible in any proceeding
for any purpose. That is the absolute prohibition of Article III, Section 3(2), of the Constitution. This is the celebrated
exclusionary rule based on the justification given by Judge Learned Hand that "only in case the prosecution, which itself
controls the seizing officials, knows that it cannot profit by their wrong will the wrong be repressed." The Solicitor General,
while conceding the rule, maintains that it is not applicable in the case at bar. His reason is that the arrest and search of
Mengote and the seizure of the revolver from him were lawful under Rule 113, Section 5, of the Rules of Court reading as
follows:
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant when lawful. A peace officer or 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 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 his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one
confinement to another.
In cases failing under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the person arrested without a warrant shall be forthwith delivered to
the nearest police station or jail, and he shall be proceeded against in accordance with Rule 112, Section 7.
We have carefully examined the wording of this Rule and cannot see how we can agree with the prosecution.
Par. (c) of Section 5 is obviously inapplicable as Mengote was not an escapee from a penal institution when he was
arrested. We therefore confine ourselves to determining the lawfulness of his arrest under either Par. (a) or Par. (b) of this
section.

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Par. (a) requires that the person be arrested (1) after he has committed or while he is actually committing or is at least
attempting to commit an offense, (2) in the presence of the arresting officer.
These requirements have not been established in the case at bar. At the time of the arrest in question, the accusedappellant was merely "looking from side to side" and "holding his abdomen," according to the arresting officers
themselves. There was apparently no offense that had just been committed or was being actually committed or at least
being attempted by Mengote in their presence.
The Solicitor General submits that the actual existence of an offense was not necessary as long as Mengote's acts
"created a reasonable suspicion on the part of the arresting officers and induced in them the belief that an offense had
been committed and that the accused-appellant had committed it." The question is, What offense? What offense could
possibly have been suggested by a person "looking from side to side" and "holding his abdomen" and in a place not
exactly forsaken?
These are certainly not sinister acts. And the setting of the arrest made them less so, if at all. It might have been different
if Mengote bad been apprehended at an ungodly hour and in a place where he had no reason to be, like a darkened alley
at 3 o'clock in the morning. But he was arrested at 11:30 in the morning and in a crowded street shortly after alighting
from a passenger jeep with I his companion. He was not skulking in the shadows but walking in the clear light of day.
There was nothing clandestine about his being on that street at that busy hour in the blaze of the noonday sun.
On the other hand, there could have been a number of reasons, all of them innocent, why his eyes were darting from side
to side and be was holding his abdomen. If they excited suspicion in the minds of the arresting officers, as the
prosecution suggests, it has nevertheless not been shown what their suspicion was all about. In fact, the policemen
themselves testified that they were dispatched to that place only because of the telephone call from the informer that
there were "suspicious-looking" persons in that vicinity who were about to commit a robbery at North Bay Boulevard. The
caller did not explain why he thought the men looked suspicious nor did he elaborate on the impending crime.
In the recent case of People v. Malmstedt, 5 the Court sustained the warrantless arrest of the accused because there
was a bulge in his waist that excited the suspicion of the arresting officer and, upon inspection, turned out to be a pouch
containing hashish. In People v. Claudio, 6 the accused boarded a bus and placed the buri bag she was carrying behind
the seat of the arresting officer while she herself sat in the seat before him. His suspicion aroused, be surreptitiously
examined the bag, which he found to contain marijuana. He then and there made the warrantless arrest and seizure that
we subsequently upheld on the ground that probable cause had been sufficiently established.
The case before us is different because there was nothing to support the arresting officers' suspicion other than
Mengote's darting eyes and his hand on his abdomen. By no stretch of the imagination could it have been inferred from
these acts that an offense had just been committed, or was actually being committed, or was at least being attempted in
their presence.
This case is similar to People v. Aminnudin, 7 where the Court held that the warrantless arrest of the accused was
unconstitutional. This was effected while be was coming down a vessel, to all appearances no less innocent than the
other disembarking passengers. He had not committed nor was be actually committing or attempting to commit an
offense in the presence of the arresting officers. He was not even acting suspiciously. In short, there was no probable
cause that, as the prosecution incorrectly suggested, dispensed with the constitutional requirement of a warrant.
Par. (b) is no less applicable because its no less stringent requirements have also not been satisfied. The prosecution
has not shown that at the time of Mengote's arrest an offense had in fact just been committed and that the arresting
officers had personal knowledge of facts indicating that Mengote had committed it. All they had was hearsay information
from the telephone caller, and about a crime that had yet to be committed.
The truth is that they did not know then what offense, if at all, had been committed and neither were they aware of the
participation therein of the accused-appellant. It was only later, after Danganan had appeared at the Police headquarters,
that they learned of the robbery in his house and of Mengote's supposed involvement therein. 8 As for the illegal
possession of the firearm found on Mengote's person, the policemen discovered this only after he had been searched
and the investigation conducted later revealed that he was not its owners nor was he licensed to possess it.

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Before these events, the Peace officers had no knowledge even of Mengote' identity, let alone the fact (or suspicion) that
he was unlawfully carrying a firearm or that he was involved in the robbery of Danganan's house.
In the landmark case of People v. Burgos, 9 this Court declared:
Under Section 6(a) of Rule 113, the officer arresting a person who has just committed, is committing, or is about to
commit an offense must have personal knowledge of the fact. The offense must also be committed in his presence or
within his view. (Sayo v. Chief of Police, 80 Phil. 859). (Emphasis supplied)
xxx

xxx

xxx

In arrests without a warrant under Section 6(b), however, it is not enough that there is reasonable ground to believe that
the person to be arrested has committed a crime. A crime must in fact or actually have been committed first. That a crime
has actually been committed is an essential precondition. It is not enough to suspect that a crime may have been
committed. The fact of the commission of the offense must be undisputed. The test of reasonable ground applies only to
the identity of the perpetrator. (Emphasis supplied)
This doctrine was affirmed in Alih v. Castro, 10 thus:
If the arrest was made under Rule 113, Section 5, of the Rules of Court in connection with a crime about to be
committed, being committed, or just committed, what was that crime? There is no allegation in the record of such a
falsification. Parenthetically, it may be observed that under the Revised Rule 113, Section 5(b), the officer making the
arrest must have personal knowledge of the ground therefor as stressed in the recent case of People v. Burgos.
(Emphasis supplied)
It would be a sad day, indeed, if any person could be summarily arrested and searched just because he is holding his
abdomen, even if it be possibly because of a stomach-ache, or if a peace officer could clamp handcuffs on any person
with a shifty look on suspicion that he may have committed a criminal act or is actually committing or attempting it. This
simply cannot be done in a free society. This is not a police state where order is exalted over liberty or, worse, personal
malice on the part of the arresting officer may be justified in the name of security.
There is no need to discuss the other issues raised by the accused-appellant as the ruling we here make is sufficient to
sustain his exoneration. Without the evidence of the firearm taken from him at the time of his illegal arrest, the
prosecution has lost its most important exhibit and must therefore fail. The testimonial evidence against Mengote (which
is based on the said firearm) is not sufficient to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt of the crime imputed to him.
We commend Atty. Violeta Calvo-Drilon for her able and spirited defense of the accused-appellant not only in the brief but
also in the reply brief, which she did not have to file but did so just the same to stress the constitutional rights of her
client. The fact that she was acting only as a counsel de oficio with no expectation of material reward makes her
representation even more commendable.
The Court feels that if the peace officers had been more mindful of the provisions of the Bill of Rights, the prosecution of
the accused-appellant might have succeeded. As it happened, they allowed their over-zealousness to get the better of
them, resulting in their disregard of the requirements of a valid search and seizure that rendered inadmissible the vital
evidence they had invalidly seized.
This should be a lesson to other peace officers. Their impulsiveness may be the very cause of the acquittal of persons
who deserve to be convicted, escaping the clutches of the law because, ironically enough, it has not been observed by
those who are supposed to enforce it.
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The accused-appellant is ACQUITTED and
ordered released immediately unless he is validly detained for other offenses. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

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G.R. No. L-68955 September 4, 1986


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
RUBEN BURGOS y TITO, defendant-appellant.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:


This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Davao del Sur, 11 th Judicial Region, Digos, Davao del
Sur convicting defendant- appellant Ruben Burgos y Tito of The crime of Illegal Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of
Subversion. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, finding the guilt of accused Ruben Burgos sufficiently established beyond reasonable doubt, of the
offense charges , pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 9, in relation to General Order No. 6, dated September 22, 1972,
and General Order No. 7, dated September 23, 1972, in relation further to Presidential Decree No. 885, and considering
that the firearm subject of this case was not used in the circumstances as embraced in paragraph I thereof, applying the
provision of indeterminate sentence law, accused Ruben Burgos is hereby sentenced to suffer an imprisonment of twenty
(20) years of reclusion temporal maximum, as minimum penalty, to reclusion perpetua, as maximum penalty, pursuant to
sub-paragraph B, of Presidential Decree No. 9, as aforementioned, with accessory penalties, as provided for by law.
As a result of this judgment, the subject firearm involved in this case (Homemade revolver, caliber .38, Smith and
Wesson, with Serial No. 8.69221) is hereby ordered confiscated in favor of the government, to be disposed of in
accordance with law. Likewise, the subversive documents, leaflets and/or propaganda seized are ordered disposed of in
accordance with law.
The information charged the defendant-appellant with the crime of illegal possession of firearm in furtherance of
subversion in an information which reads as follows:
That in the afternoon of May 13, 1982 and thereabout at Tiguman, Digos, Davao del Sur, Philippines, within the
jurisdiction of this Court, the above- named accused with intent to possess and without the necessary license, permit or
authority issued by the proper government agencies, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously keep, possess,
carry and have in his possession, control and custody one (1) homemade revolver, caliber .38, make Smith and Wesson,
with Serial No. 8.69221, which firearm was issued to and used by the accused at Tiguman, Digos, Davao del Sur, his
area of operations by one Alias Commander Pol for the New People's Army (NPA), a subversive organization organized
for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of the Republic of the Philippines through lawless and violent means, of
which the accused had knowledge, and which firearm was used by the accused in the performance of his subversive
tasks such as the recruitment of New Members to the NPA and collection of contributions from the members.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
The evidence for the prosecution is summarized in the decision of the lower court as follows:
xxx

xxx

xxx

. . . Through the testimony of Pat. Pepito Bioco, and Sgt. Romeo Taroy, it appears that by virtue of an intelligent
information obtained by the Constabulary and INP units, stationed at Digos, Davao del Sur, on May 12, 1982, one Cesar
Masamlok personally and voluntarily surre0ndered to the authorities at about 9:00 o'clock A.M. at Digos, Davao del Sur
Constabulary Headquarters, stating that he was forcibly recruited by accused Ruben Burgos as member of the NPA,
threatening him with the use of firearm against his life, if he refused.
Along with his recruitment, accused was asked to contribute one (1) chopa of rice and one peso (P1.00) per month, as
his contribution to the NPA TSN, page 5, Hearing-October 14, 1982).

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Immediately, upon receipt of said information, a joint team of PC-INP units, composed of fifteen (15) members, headed
by Captain Melchesideck Bargio, (PC), on the following day, May 13, 1982, was dispatched at Tiguman; Davao del Sur,
to arrest accused Ruben Burgos. The team left the headquarter at 1:30 P.M., and arrived at Tiguman, at more or less
2:00 o'clock PM where through the help of Pedro Burgos, brother of accused, the team was able to locate accused, who
was plowing his field. (TSN, pages 6-7, Hearing-October 14, 1982).
Right in the house of accused, the latter was caned by the team and Pat. Bioco asked accused about his firearm, as
reported by Cesar Masamlok. At first accused denied possession of said firearm but later, upon question profounded by
Sgt. Alejandro Buncalan with the wife of the accused, the latter pointed to a place below their house where a gun was
buried in the ground. (TSN, page 8, Hearing-October 14, 1982).
Pat. Bioco then verified the place pointed by accused's wife and dug the grounds, after which he recovered the firearm,
Caliber .38 revolver, marked as Exhibit "A" for the prosecution.
After the recovery of the firearm, accused likewise pointed to the team, subversive documents which he allegedly kept in
a stock pile of qqqcogon at a distance of three (3) meters apart from his house. Then Sgt. Taroy accordingly verified
beneath said cogon grass and likewise recovered documents consisting of notebook colored maroon with spiral bound,
Exhibit "B" for the prosecution; a pamphlet consisting of eight (8) leaves, including the front and back covers entitled Ang
Bayan, Pahayagan ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas, Pinapatnubayan ng Marxismo, Leninismo Kaisipang Mao
qqqZedong dated December 31, 1980, marked as Exhibit "C", and another pamphlet Asdang Pamantalaang Masa sa
Habagatang Mindanao, March and April 1981 issue, consisting of ten (10) pages, marked as Exhibit "D" for the
prosecution.
Accused, when confronted with the firearm Exhibit "A", after its recovery, readily admitted the same as issued to him by
Nestor Jimenez, otherwise known as a certain Alias Pedipol, allegedly team leader of the sparrow unit of New People's
Army, responsible in the liquidation of target personalities, opposed to NPA Ideological movement, an example was the
killing of the late Mayor Llanos and Barangay Captain of Tienda Aplaya Digos, Davao del Sur. (TSN, pages 1-16,
Hearing-October 14,1982).
To prove accused's subversive activities, Cesar Masamlok, a former NPA convert was presented, who declared that on
March 7, 1972, in his former residence at Tiguman Digos, Davao del Sur, accused Ruben Burgos, accompanied by his
companions Landrino Burgos, Oscar Gomez and Antonio Burgos, went to his house at about 5:00 o'clock P.M. and called
him downstair. Thereupon, accused told Masamlok, their purpose was to ask rice and one (1) peso from him, as his
contribution to their companions, the NPA of which he is now a member. (TSN, pages 70, 71, 72, Hearing-January 4,
1983).
Accused and his companions told Masamlok, he has to join their group otherwise, he and his family will be killed. He was
also warned not to reveal anything with the government authorities. Because of the threat to his life and family, Cesar
Masamlok joined the group. Accused then told him, he should attend a seminar scheduled on April 19, 1982. Along with
this invitation, accused pulled gut from his waistline a .38 caliber revolver which Masamlok really saw, being only about
two (2) meters away from accused, which make him easily Identified said firearm, as that marked as Exhibit "A" for the
prosecution. (TSN, pages 72, 73, and 74, Hearing-January 4, 1983).
On April 19, 1982, as previously invited, Masamlok, accompanied by his father, Matuguil Masamlok, Isabel Ilan and Ayok
Ides went to the house of accused and attended the seminar, Those present in the seminar were: accused Ruben
Burgos, Antonio Burgos, Oscar Gomez, Landrino Burgos, alias Pedipol and one alias Jamper.
The first speaker was accused Ruben Burgos, who said very distinctly that he is an NPA together with his companions, to
assure the unity of the civilian. That he encouraged the group to overthrow the government, emphasizing that those who
attended the seminar were already members of the NPA, and if they reveal to the authorities, they will be killed.
Accused, while talking, showed to the audience pamphlets and documents, then finally shouted, the NPA will be
victorious. Masamlok likewise Identified the pamphlets as those marked as Exh. exhibits "B", "C", and "D" for the
prosecution. (TSN, pages 75, 76 and 77, Hearing-January 4, 1983)

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Other speakers in said meeting were Pedipol, Jamper and Oscar Gomez, who likewise expounded their own opinions
about the NPA. It was also announced in said seminar that a certain Tonio Burgos, will be responsible for the collection of
the contribution from the members. (TSN, pages 78-79, Hearing- January 4, 1983)
On May 12, 1982, however, Cesar Masamlok surrendered to Captain Bargio of the Provincial Headquarters of the
Philippine Constabulary, Digos, Davao del Sur.
Assistant Provincial Fiscal Panfilo Lovitos was presented t prove that on May 19, 1982, he administered the subscription
of th extra-judicial confession of accused Ruben Burgos, marked as Exhibit "E " for the prosecution, consisting of five (5)
pages.
Appearing voluntarily in said office, for the subscription of his confession, Fiscal Lovitos, realizing that accused was not
represented by counsel, requested the services of Atty. Anyog, whose office is adjacent to the Fiscal's Office, to assist
accused in the subscription of his extra-judicial statement.
Atty. Anyog assisted accused in the reading of his confession from English to Visayan language, resulting to the deletion
of question No. 19 of the document, by an inserted certification of Atty. Anyog and signature of accused, indicating his
having understood, the allegations of his extra-judicial statement.
Fiscal Lovitos, before accused signed his statement, explained to him his constitutional rights to remain silent, right to
counsel and right to answer any question propounded or not.
With the aid of Atty. Anyog, accused signed his confession in the presence of Atty. Anyog and Fiscal Lovitos, without the
presence of military authorities, who escorted the accused, but were sent outside the cubicle of Fiscal Lovitos while
waiting for the accused. (TSN, pages 36-40, nearing November 15, 1982)
Finally, in order to prove illegal possession by accused of the subject firearm, Sgt. Epifanio Comabig in-charge of firearms
and explosives, NCO Headquarter, Philippine Constabulary, Digos, Davao del Sur, was presented and testified, that
among the lists of firearm holders in Davao del Sur, nothing was listed in the name of accused Ruben Burgos, neither
was his name included among the lists of persons who applied for the licensing of the firearm under Presidential Decree
No. 1745.
After the above-testimony the prosecution formally closed its case and offered its exhibits, which were all admitted in
evidence, despite objection interposed by counsel for accused, which was accordingly overruled.
On the other hand, the defendant-appellant's version of the case against him is stated in the decision as follows:
From his farm, the military personnel, whom he said he cannot recognize, brought him to the PC Barracks at Digos,
Davao del Sur, and arrived there at about 3:00 o'clock, on the same date. At about 8:00 o'clock P.M., in the evening, he
was investigated by soldiers, whom he cannot Identify because they were wearing a civilian attire. (TSN, page 14 1,
Hearing-June 15, 1983)
The investigation was conducted in the PC barracks, where he was detained with respect to the subject firearm, which
the investigator, wished him to admit but accused denied its ownership. Because of his refusal accused was mauled,
hitting him on the left and right side of his body which rendered him unconscious. Accused in an atmosphere of tersed
solemnity, crying and with emotional attachment, described in detail how he was tortured and the ordeals he was
subjected.
He said, after recovery of his consciousness, he was again confronted with subject firearm, Exhibit "A", for him to admit
and when he repeatedly refused to accept as his own firearm, he was subjected to further prolong (sic) torture and
physical agony. Accused said, his eyes were covered with wet black cloth with pungent effect on his eyes. He was
undressed, with only blindfold, pungent water poured in his body and over his private parts, making his entire body,
particularly his penis and testicle, terribly irritating with pungent pain.

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All along, he was investigated to obtain his admission, The process of beating, mauling, pain and/or ordeal was
repeatedly done in similar cycle, from May 13 and 14, 1982. intercepted only whenever he fell unconscious and again
repeated after recovery of his senses,
Finally on May 15, 1982, after undergoing the same torture and physical ordeal he was seriously warned, if he will still
adamantly refuse to accept ownership of the subject firearm, he will be salvaged, and no longer able to bear any further
the pain and agony, accused admitted ownership of subject firearm.
After his admission, the mauling and torture stopped, but accused was made to sign his affidavit marked as Exhibit "E"
for the prosecution, consisting of five (5) pages, including the certification of the administering officer, (TSN, pages 141148, Hearing-June 15, 1983)
In addition to how he described the torture inflicted on him, accused, by way of explanation and commentary in details,
and going one by one, the allegations and/or contents of his alleged extrajudicial statement, attributed his answers to
those questions involuntarily made only because of fear, threat and intimidation of his person and family, as a result of
unbearable excruciating pain he was subjected by an investigator, who, unfortunately he cannot Identify and was able to
obtain his admission of the subject firearm, by force and violence exerted over his person.
To support denial of accused of being involved in any subversive activities, and also to support his denial to the truth of
his alleged extra-judicial confession, particularly questions Nos. 35, 38, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46 and 47, along with qqqs
answers to those questions, involving Honorata Arellano ahas Inday Arellano, said Honorata Arellano appeared and
declared categorically, that the above-questions embraced in the numbers allegedly stated in the extrajudicial confession
of accused, involving her to such NPA personalities, as Jamper, Pol, Anthony, etc., were not true because on the date
referred on April 28, 1982, none of the persons mentioned came to her house for treatment, neither did she meet the
accused nor able to talk with him. (TSN, pages 118- 121, Hearing-May 18, 1983)
She, however, admitted being familiar with one Oscar Gomez, and that she was personally charged with subversion in
the Office of the Provincial Commander, Philippine Constabulary, Digos, Davao del Sur, but said charge was dismissed
without reaching the Court. She likewise stated that her son, Rogelio Arellano, was likewise charged for subversion filed
in the Municipal Trial Court of Digos, Davao del Sur, but was likewise dismissed for lack of sufficient evidence to sustain
his conviction. (TSN, pages 121-122, in relation to her cross-examination, Hearing-May 18, 1983)
To support accused's denial of the charge against him, Barangay Captain of Tiguman, Digos, Davao del Sur, Salvador
qqqGalaraga was presented, who declared, he was not personally aware of any subversive activities of accused, being
his neighbor and member of his barrio. On the contrary, he can personally attest to his good character and reputation, as
a law abiding citizen of his barrio, being a carpenter and farmer thereat. (TSl pages 128-129, Hearing-May 18, 1983)
He however, admitted in cross-examination, that there were a lot of arrests made by the authorities in his barrio involving
subversive activities but they were released and were not formally charged in Court because they publicly took their oath
of allegiance with the government. (TSN, pages 133-134, in relation to page 136, Hearing-May 18, 1983)
Finally, to support accused's denial of the subject firearm, his wife, Urbana Burgos, was presented and who testified that
the subject firearm was left in their house by Cesar Masamlok and one Pedipol on May 10, 1982. It was night time, when
the two left the gun, alleging that it was not in order, and that they will leave it behind, temporarily for them to claim it later.
They were the ones who buried it. She said, her husband, the accused, was not in their house at that time and that she
did not inform him about said firearm neither did she report the matter to the authorities, for fear of the life of her
husband. (TSN, page 24, November 22, 1983)
On cross-examination, she said, even if Masamlok during the recovery of the firearm, was wearing a mask, she can still
Identify him. (TSN, page 6, Hearing-November 22, 1983)
After the above-testimony, accused through counsel formally rested his case in support of accused's through counsel
manifestation for the demurrer to evidence of the prosecution, or in the alternative for violation merely of simple illegal
possession of firearm, 'under the Revised Administrative Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 4, reflected in the
manifestation of counsel for accused. (TSN, pages 113-114, Hearing-May 18, 1983)

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Accused-appellant Ruben Burgos now raises the following assignments of error, to wit:
I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT (SIC) THE ARREST OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT WITHOUT
VALID WARRANT TO BE LAWFUL.
II
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THE SEARCH IN THE HOUSE OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT FOR
FIREARM WITHOUT VALID WARRANT TO BE LAWFUL.
III
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT
FOR VIOLATION OF P.D. No. 9 IN RELATION TO GENERAL ORDERS NOS. 6 AND 7
Was the arrest of Ruben Burgos lawful? Were the search of his house and the subsequent confiscation of a firearm and
documents allegedly found therein conducted in a lawful and valid manner? Does the evidence sustaining the crime
charged meet the test of proving guilt beyond reasonable doubt?
The records of the case disclose that when the police authorities went to the house of Ruben Burgos for the purpose of
arresting him upon information given by Cesar Masamlok that the accused allegedly recruited him to join the New
People's Army (NPA), they did not have any warrant of arrest or search warrant with them (TSN, p. 25, October 14, 1982;
and TSN, p. 61, November 15, 1982).
Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution provides:
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 not be violated, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall
issue except upon probable cause to be determined by the judge, or such other responsible officer as may be authorized
by law, after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and
particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The constitutional provision is a safeguard against wanton and unreasonable invasion of the privacy and liberty of a
citizen as to his person, papers and effects. This Court explained in Villanueva vs. Querubin (48 SCRA 345) why this
right is so important:
It is deference to one's personality that lies at the core of this right, but it could be also looked upon as a recognition of a
constitutionally protected area, primarily one's home, but not necessarily thereto confined. (Cf. Hoffa v. United States, 385
US 293 [19661) What is sought to be guarded is a man's prerogative to choose who is allowed entry to his residence. In
that haven of refuge, his individuality can assert itself not only in the choice of who shall be welcome but likewise in the
kind of objects he wants around him. There the state, however powerful, does not as such have access except under the
circumstances above noted, for in the traditional formulation, his house, however humble, is his castle. Thus is outlawed
any unwarranted intrusion by government, which is called upon to refrain from any invasion of his dwelling and to respect
the privacies of his life, (Cf. Schmerber v. California, 384 US 757 [1966], Brennan, J. and Boyd v. United States, 116 US
616, 630 [1886]). In the same vein, Landynski in his authoritative work (Search and Seizure and the Supreme Court
[1966], could fitly characterize this constitutional right as the embodiment of a 'spiritual concept: the belief that to value
the privacy of home and person and to afford its constitutional protection against the long reach of government is no legs
than to value human dignity, and that his privacy must not be disturbed except in case of overriding social need, and then
only under stringent procedural safeguards.' (Ibid, p. 47).
The trial court justified the arrest of the accused-appelant without any warrant as falling under one of the instances when
arrests may be validly made without a warrant. Rule 113, Section 6 * of the Rules of Court, provides the exceptions as
follows:
a)
When the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is about to commit an offense in his
presence;
b)
When an offense has in fact been committed, and he has reasonable ground to believe that the person to be
arrested has committed it;

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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 his case is pending or has escaped while being transferred from one
confinement to another.
The Court stated that even if there was no warrant for the arrest of Burgos, the fact that "the authorities received an
urgent report of accused's involvement in subversive activities from a reliable source (report of Cesar Masamlok) the
circumstances of his arrest, even without judicial warrant, is lawfully within the ambit of Section 6-A of Rule 113 of the
Rules of Court and applicable jurisprudence on the matter."
If the arrest is valid, the consequent search and seizure of the firearm and the alleged subversive documents would
become an incident to a lawful arrest as provided by Rule 126, Section 12, which states:
A person charged with an offense may be searched for dangerous weapons or anything which may be used as proof of
the commission of the offense.
The conclusions reached by the trial court are erroneous.
Under Section 6(a) of Rule 113, the officer arresting a person who has just committed, is committing, or is about to
commit an offense must have personal knowledge of that fact. The offense must also be committed in his presence or
within his view. (Sayo v. Chief of Police, 80 Phil. 859).
There is no such personal knowledge in this case. Whatever knowledge was possessed by the arresting officers, it came
in its entirety from the information furnished by Cesar Masamlok. The location of the firearm was given by the appellant's
wife.
At the time of the appellant's arrest, he was not in actual possession of any firearm or subversive document. Neither was
he committing any act which could be described as subversive. He was, in fact, plowing his field at the time of the arrest.
The right of a person to be secure against any unreasonable seizure of his body and any deprivation of his liberty is a
most basic and fundamental one. The statute or rule which allows exceptions to the requirement of warrants of arrest is
strictly construed. Any exception must clearly fall within the situations when securing a warrant would be absurd or is
manifestly unnecessary as provided by the Rule. We cannot liberally construe the rule on arrests without warrant or
extend its application beyond the cases specifically provided by law. To do so would infringe upon personal liberty and set
back a basic right so often violated and so deserving of full protection.
The Solicitor General is of the persuasion that the arrest may still be considered lawful under Section 6(b) using the test
of reasonableness. He submits that. the information given by Cesar Masamlok was sufficient to induce a reasonable
ground that a crime has been committed and that the accused is probably guilty thereof.
In arrests without a warrant under Section 6(b), however, it is not enough that there is reasonable ground to believe that
the person to be arrested has committed a crime. A crime must in fact or actually have been committed first. That a crime
has actually been committed is an essential precondition. It is not enough to suspect that a crime may have been
committed. The fact of the commission of the offense must be undisputed. The test of reasonable ground applies only to
the identity of the perpetrator.
In this case, the accused was arrested on the sole basis of Masamlok's verbal report. Masamlok led the authorities to
suspect that the accused had committed a crime. They were still fishing for evidence of a crime not yet ascertained. The
subsequent recovery of the subject firearm on the basis of information from the lips of a frightened wife cannot make the
arrest lawful, If an arrest without warrant is unlawful at the moment it is made, generally nothing that happened or is
discovered afterwards can make it lawful. The fruit of a poisoned tree is necessarily also tainted.
More important, we find no compelling reason for the haste with which the arresting officers sought to arrest the accused.
We fail to see why they failed to first go through the process of obtaining a warrant of arrest, if indeed they had
reasonable ground to believe that the accused had truly committed a crime. There is no showing that there was a real
apprehension that the accused was on the verge of flight or escape. Likewise, there is no showing that the whereabouts
of the accused were unknown,

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The basis for the action taken by the arresting officer was the verbal report made by Masamlok who was not required to
subscribe his allegations under oath. There was no compulsion for him to state truthfully his charges under pain of
criminal prosecution. (TSN, p. 24, October 14, 1982). Consequently, the need to go through the process of securing a
search warrant and a warrant of arrest becomes even more clear. The arrest of the accused while he was plowing his
field is illegal. The arrest being unlawful, the search and seizure which transpired afterwards could not likewise be
deemed legal as being mere incidents to a valid arrest.
Neither can it be presumed that there was a waiver, or that consent was given by the accused to be searched simply
because he failed to object. To constitute a waiver, it must appear first that the right exists; secondly, that the person
involved had knowledge, actual or constructive, of the existence of such a right; and lastly, that said person had an actual
intention to relinquish the right (Pasion Vda. de Garcia v. Locsin, 65 Phil. 689). The fact that the accused failed to object
to the entry into his house does not amount to a permission to make a search therein (Magoncia v. Palacio, 80 Phil. 770).
As pointed out by Justice Laurel in the case of Pasion Vda. de Garcia V. Locsin (supra)
xxx

xxx

xxx

. . . 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 officer's 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. (56 C.J., pp. 1180, 1181).
We apply the rule that: "courts indulge every reasonable presumption against waiver of fundamental constitutional rights
and that we do not presume acquiescence in the loss of fundamental rights." (Johnson v. Zerbst 304 U.S. 458).
That the accused-appellant was not apprised of any of his constitutional rights at the time of his arrest is evident from the
records:
A CALAMBA:
Q When you went to the area to arrest Ruben Burgos, you were not armed with an arrest warrant?
A

None Sir.

Q Neither were you armed with a search warrant?


A No Sir.
Q As a matter of fact, Burgos was not present in his house when you went there?
A

But he was twenty meters away from his house.

Q Ruben Burgos was then plowing his field?


A Yes Sir.
Q

When you called for Ruben Burgos you interviewed him?

Yes Sir.

Q And that you told him that Masamlok implicated him?


A

No Sir.

Q What did you tell him?

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A That we received information that you have a firearm, you surrender that firearm, first he denied but when Sgt.
Buncalan interviewed his wife, his wife told him that it is buried, I dug the firearm which was wrapped with a cellophane.
Q
In your interview of Burgos you did not remind him of his rights under the constitution considering that he was
purposely under arrest?
A I did not.
Q

As a matter of fact, he denied that he has ever a gun?

Yes Sir.

Q As a matter of fact, the gun was not in his possession?


A

It was buried down in his horse.

Q As a matter of fact, Burgos did not point to where it was buried?


A

Yes Sir.

(TSN, pp. 25-26, Hearing-October 14, 1982)


Considering that the questioned firearm and the alleged subversive documents were obtained in violation of the
accused's constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, it follows that they are inadmissible as
evidence.
There is another aspect of this case.
In proving ownership of the questioned firearm and alleged subversive documents, the prosecution presented the two
arresting officers who testified that the accused readily admitted ownership of the gun after qqqs wife pointed to the place
where it was buried. The officers stated that it was the accused himself who voluntarily pointed to the place where the
alleged subversive documents were hidden.
Assuming this to be true, it should be recalled that the accused was never informed of his constitutional rights at the time
of his arrest. So that when the accused allegedly admitted ownership of the gun and pointed to the location of the
subversive documents after questioning, the admissions were obtained in violation of the constitutional right against selfincrimination under Sec. 20 of Art. IV of the Bill of Rights winch provides:
No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. Any person under investigation for the commission of an
offense shall have the right to remain silent and to counsel, and to be informed of such right.. . .
The Constitution itself mandates that any evidence obtained in violation of this right is inadmissible in evidence.
Consequently, the testimonies of the arresting officers as to the admissions made by the appellant cannot be used
against him.
The trial court validly rejected the extra-judicial confession of the accused as inadmissible in evidence. The court stated
that the appellant's having been exhaustively subjected to physical terror, violence, and third degree measures may not
have been supported by reliable evidence but the failure to present the investigator who conducted the investigation gives
rise to the "provocative presumption" that indeed torture and physical violence may have been committed as stated.
The accused-appellant was not accorded his constitutional right to be assisted by counsel during the custodial
interrogation. The lower court correctly pointed out that the securing of counsel, Atty. Anyog, to help the accused when he
subscribed under oath to his statement at the Fiscal's Office was too late. It could have no palliative effect. It cannot cure
the absence of counsel at the time of the custodial investigation when the extrajudicial statement was being taken.

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With the extra-judicial confession, the firearm, and the alleged subversive documents inadmissible in evidence against
the accused-appellant, the only remaining proof to sustain the charge of Illegal Possession of Firearm in Furtherance of
Subversion is the testimony of Cesar Masamlok.
We find the testimony of Masamlok inadequate to convict Burgos beyond reasonable doubt. It is true that the trial court
found Masamlok's testimony credible and convincing. However, we are not necessarily bound by the credibility which the
trial court attaches to a particular witness. As stated in People vs.. Cabrera (100 SCRA 424):
xxx

xxx

xxx

. . .Time and again we have stated that when it comes to question of credibility the findings of the trial court are entitled to
great respect upon appeal for the obvious reason th+at it was able to observe the demeanor, actuations and deportment
of the witnesses during the trial. But we have also said that this rule is not absolute for otherwise there would be no
reversals of convictions upon appeal. We must reject the findings of the trial court where the record discloses
circumstances of weight and substance which were not properly appreciated by the trial court.
The situation under which Cesar Masamlok testified is analogous to that found in People vs. Capadocia (17 SCRA 98 1):
. . . The case against appellant is built on Ternura's testimony, and the issue hinges on how much credence can be
accorded to him. The first consideration is that said testimony stands uncorroborated. Ternura was the only witness who
testified on the mimeographing incident. . . .
xxx

xxx

xxx

. . .He was a confessed Huk under detention at the time. He knew his fate depended upon how much he cooperated with
the authorities, who were then engaged in a vigorous anti-dissident campaign. As in the case of Rodrigo de Jesus,
whose testimony We discounted for the same reason, that of Ternura cannot be considered as proceeding from a totally
unbiased source. . . .
In the instant case, Masamlok's testimony was totally uncorroborated. Considering that Masamlok surrendered to the
military certainly his fate depended on how eagerly he cooperated with the authorities. Otherwise, he would also be
charged with subversion. The trade-off appears to be his membership in the Civil Home Defense Force. (TSN, p. 83,
January 4, 1983). Masamlok may be considered as an interested witness. It can not be said that his testimony is free
from the opportunity and temptation to be exaggerated and even fabricated for it was intended to secure his freedom.
Despite the fact that there were other persons present during the alleged NPA seminar of April 19, 1982 i.e., Masamlok's
father ,Matuguil Masamlok, Isabel Ilan and Ayok Ides (TSN, p. 74, January 4, 1983) who could have corroborated Cesar
Masamlok's testimony that the accused used the gun in furtherance of subversive activities or actually engaged in
subversive acts, the prosecution never presented any other witness.
This Court is, therefore, constrained to rule that the evidence presented by the prosecution is insufficient to prove the guilt
of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.
As held in the case of People vs. Baia (34 SCRA 347):
It is evident that once again, reliance can be placed on People v. Dramayo (42 SCRA 59), where after stressing that
accusation is not, according to the fundamental law, synonymous with guilt, it was made clear: 'Only if the judge below
and the appellate tribunal could arrive at a conclusion that the crime had been committed precisely by the person on trial
under such an exacting test should the sentence be one of conviction. It is thus required that every circumstance favoring
his innocence be duly taken into account. The proof against him must survive the test of reason; the strongest suspicion
must not be permitted to sway judgment. The conscience must be satisfied that on the defendant could be laid the
responsibility for the offense charged; that not only did he perpetrate the act but that it amounted to a crime. What is
required then is moral certainty.' (Ibid, 64. Cf. People v. Alvarez, 55 SCRA 81; People v. Joven, 64 SCRA 126; People vs.
Ramirez, 69 SCRA 144; People vs. Godov 72 SCRA 69; People v. Lopez, 74 SCRA 205; People v. Poblador, 76 SCRA
634; People v. Quiazon, 78 SCRA 513; People v. Nazareno, 80 SCRA 484; People vs. Gabilan 115 SCRA 1; People v.
Gabiana, 117 SCRA 260; and People vs. Ibanga 124 SCRA 697).

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We are aware of the serious problems faced by the military in Davao del Sur where there appears to be a well-organized
plan to overthrow the Government through armed struggle and replace it with an alien system based on a foreign
ideology. The open defiance against duly constituted authorities has resulted in unfortunate levels of violence and human
suffering publicized all over the country and abroad. Even as we reiterate the need for all freedom loving citizens to assist
the military authorities in their legitimate efforts to maintain peace and national security, we must also remember the
dictum in Morales vs. Enrile (1 21 SCRA 538, 569) when this Court stated:
While the government should continue to repel the communists, the subversives, the rebels, and the lawless with an the
means at its command, it should always be remembered that whatever action is taken must always be within the
framework of our Constitution and our laws.
Violations of human rights do not help in overcoming a rebellion. A cavalier attitude towards constitutional liberties and
protections will only fan the increase of subversive activities instead of containing and suppressing them.
WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction rendered by the trial court is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The accusedappellant is hereby ACQUITTED, on grounds of reasonable doubt, of the crime with which he has been charged.
The subject firearm involved in this case (homemade revolver, caliber .38, Smith and Wesson, with Serial No. 8.69221)
and the alleged subversive documents are ordered disposed of in accordance with law.
Cost de oficio.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 93239

March 18, 1991

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
EDISON SUCRO, accused-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Fidencio S. Raz for accused-appellant.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
Edison Sucro was charged with and convicted of violation of Section 4, Article II of the Dangerous Drugs Act, under an
Information which reads:
That on or about the 21st day of March, 1989, in the evening, in the Poblacion, Municipality of Kalibo, Province of Aklan,
Republic of the Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, acting as a
pusher or broker in the business of selling, administering, delivery, giving away to another and/or distributing prohibited
drugs, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously and without authority of law have in his possession and
control nineteen (19) pieces of marijuana cigarette sticks and four (4) tea bags of dried marijuana leaves which were
confiscated from him by the police authorities of Kalibo, Aklan, shortly after having sold one tea bag of dried marijuana
leaves to a customer. (Rollo, p. 9)
Upon arraignment, the accused-appellant, assisted by counsel, entered a plea of "not guilty" to the offense charged. Trial
ensued and a judgment of conviction was rendered, the pertinent portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered finding the accused Edison Sucro guilty of the sale of prohibited drug under Section
4, Article II of the Dangerous Drug Act, as amended, and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment, and
pay a fine of P20,000, and costs. He shall be entitled to full credit in the service of his sentence with the period for which
he has undergone preventive imprisonment to the date of promulgation of this judgment. All the items of marijuana
confiscated in this case are declared forfeited in favor of the State. (Rollo, p. 41)

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From the foregoing judgment of conviction, accused-appellant interposes this appeal, assigning the following as errors
allegedly committed by the court a quo, to wit:
I
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING AS EVIDENCE FOR THE PROSECUTION EXHIBITS "E"-"E-4", TEA
BAGS OF ALLEGED MARIJUANA, TO BE THE CORPUS DELICTI; FURTHERMORE, THAT THE SAME WERE TAKEN
WITHOUT THE REQUIRED WARRANT OF SEARCH AND ARREST SINCE THE ACCUSED WAS NOT IN THE ACT
OF COMMITTING ANY OFFENSE AT THE TIME OF HIS ARREST.
II
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED EDISON SUCRO GUILTY OF THE SALE OF PROHIBITED
DRUGS UNDER SECTION 4, ARTICLE II, OF THE DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT AND SENTENCING HIM TO SUFFER
A PENALTY OF LIFE IMPRISONMENT AND TO PAY A FINE OF P 20,000.00. (Appellant's Brief, p. 1)
The antecedent facts of the case as summarized by the Solicitor General are as follows:
On March 21, 1989, Pat. Roy Fulgencio, a member of the INP, Kalibo, Aklan, was instructed by P/Lt. Vicente Seraspi, Jr.
(Station Commander of the INP Kalibo, Aklan) to monitor the activities of appellant Edison Sucro, because of information
gathered by Seraspi that Sucro was selling marijuana. (p. 6, TSN, May 2,1989).
As planned, at about 5:00 P.M. on said date, Pat. Fulgencio Positioned himself under the house of a certain Arlie
Regalado at C. Quimpo Street. Adjacent to the house of Regalado, about 2 meters away, was a chapel. Thereafter, Pat.
Fulgencio saw appellant enter the chapel, taking something which turned out later to be marijuana from the compartment
of a cart found inside the chapel, and then return to the street where he handed the same to a buyer, Aldie Borromeo.
After a while appellant went back to the chapel and again came out with marijuana which he gave to a group of persons.
(pp. 6-8, 15-18, Ibid). It was at this instance that Pat. Fulgencio radioed P/Lt. Seraspi and reported the activity going on.
P/Lt. Seraspi instructed Pat. Fulgencio to continue monitoring developments. At about 6:30 P.M., Pat. Fulgencio again
called up Seraspi to report that a third buyer later Identified as Ronnie Macabante, was transacting with appellant. (pp.
18-19, Ibid)
At that point, the team of P/Lt. Seraspi proceeded to the area and while the police officers were at the Youth Hostel at
Maagma St., Pat. Fulgencio told P/Lt. Seraspi to intercept Macabante and appellant. P/Lt. Seraspi and his team caught
up with Macabante at the crossing of Mabini and Maagma Sts. in front of the Aklan Medical Center. Upon seeing the
police, Macabante threw something to the ground which turned out to be a tea bag of marijuana. (pp. 6-8, TSN, June 19,
1989) When confronted, Macabante readily admitted that he bought the same from appellant (Edison Sucro) in front of
the chapel. (p. 6, TSN, May 24, 1989) The police team was able to overtake and arrest appellant at the corner of C.
Quimpo and Veterans Sts. The police recovered 19 sticks and 4 teabags of marijuana from the cart inside the chapel and
another teabag from Macabante, The teabags of marijuana were sent to the PC-INP Crime Laboratory Service, at Camp
Delgado, Iloilo City for analysis. The specimens (Exhibits "G" to "G-18", Exhibits "E" to "E-4") were all found positive of
marijuana. (pp. 47, TSN, Sept. 4, 1989)" (Appellee's Brief, pp. 3-6)
As can be seen from the facts, the issue hinges mainly on whether or not the arrest without warrant of the accused is
lawful and consequently, whether or not the evidence resulting from such arrest is admissible.
We rule in the affirmative.
The accused-appellant contends that his arrest was illegal, being a violation of his rights granted under Section 2, Article
III of the 1987 Constitution. He stresses that there was sufficient time for the police officers to apply for a search and
arrest warrants considering that Fulgencio informed his Station Commander of the activities of the accused two days
before March 21, 1989, the date of his arrest.
This contention is without merit.

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Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure provides for the instances where arrest without warrant is
considered lawful. The rule states:
Arrest without warrant, when lawful. A peace officer or private person may, without 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 in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the
person to be arrested has committed it; (Emphasis supplied)
An offense is committed in the presence or within the view of an officer, within the meaning of the rule authorizing an
arrest without a warrant, when the officer sees the offense, although at a distance, or hears the disturbances created
thereby and proceeds at once to the scene thereof. (U.S. v. Fortaleza, 12 Phil. 472 [1909]; and U.S. v. Samonte, 16 Phil.
516 [1910])
The records show that Fulgencio went to Arlie Regalado's house at C. Quimpo Street to monitor the activities of the
accused who was earlier reported to be selling marijuana at a chapel two (2) meters away from Regalado's house.
Fulgencio, within a distance of two meters saw Sucro conduct his nefarious activity. He saw Sucro talk to some persons,
go inside the chapel, and return to them and exchange some things. These, Sucro did three times during the time that he
was being monitored. Fulgencio would then relay the on-going transaction to P/Lt. Seraspi.
Anent the second requirement, the fact that Macabante, when intercepted by the police, was caught throwing the
marijuana stick and when confronted, readily admitted that he bought the same from accused-appellant clearly indicates
that Sucro had just sold the marijuana stick to Macabante, and therefore, had just committed an illegal act of which the
police officers had personal knowledge, being members of the team which monitored Sucro's nefarious activity.
The court earlier indicated in the case of People v. Bati (G.R. No. 87429, August 27, 1990) that police officers have
personal knowledge of the actual commission of the crime when it had earlier conducted surveillance activities of the
accused. Thus, it stated:
When Luciano and Caraan reached the place where the alleged transaction would take place and while positioned at a
street comer, they saw appellant Regalado Bati and Warner Marquez by the side of the street about forty to fifty meters
away from them (the public officers). They saw Marquez giving something to Bati, who, thereafter handed a wrapped
object to Marquez who then inserted the object inside the front of his pants in front of his abdomen while Bati, on his part,
placed the thing given to him inside his pocket. (p. 2)
xxx

xxx

xxx

. . . Both Patrolman Luciano and Caraan actually witnessed the same and their testimonies were based on their actual
and personal knowledge of the events that took place leading to appellant's arrest. They may not have been within
hearing distance, specially since conversation would expectedly be carried on in hushed tones, but they were certainly
near enough to observe the movements of the appellant and the buyer. Moreover, these prosecution witnesses are all law
enforcers and are, therefore, presumed to have regularly performed their duties in the absence of proof to the contrary
(People v. Bati, supra citing People v. Agapito, G.R. No. 73786, October 12, 1987)
The accused questions the failure of the police officers to secure a warrant considering that Fulgencio himself knew of
Sucro's activities even prior to the former's joining the police force. Fulgencio reported Sucro's activities only three days
before the incident.
As the records reveal, Fulgencio and Sucro had known each other since their childhood years and that after Fulgencio
joined the police force, he told the accused-appellant not to sell drugs in their locality. Hence, it is possible that because
of this friendship, Fulgencio hesitated to report his childhood friend and merely advised him not to engage in such activity.
However, because of reliable information given by some informants that selling was going on everyday, he was
constrained to report the matter to the Station Commander.

30

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On the other hand, the failure of the police officers to secure a warrant stems from the fact that their knowledge acquired
from the surveillance was insufficient to fulfill the requirements for the issuance of a search warrant. What is paramount is
that probable cause existed. Thus, it has been held in the case of People v. Lo Ho Wing, et al. (G.R. No. 88017, January
21, 1991):
In the instant case, it was firmly established from the factual findings of the trial court that the authorities had reasonable
ground to believe that appellant would attempt to bring in contraband and transport it within the country. The belief was
based on intelligence reports gathered from surveillance activities on the suspected syndicate, of which appellant was
touted to be a member. Aside from this, they were also certain as to the expected date and time of arrival of the accused
from China. But such knowledge was clearly insufficient to enable them to fulfill the requirements for the issuance of a
search warrant. Still and all, the important thing is that there was probable cause to conduct the warrantless search,
which must still be present in such a case.
As the Solicitor General has pointed out:
There are several instances when a warrantless search and seizure can be effected without necessarily being preceded
by an arrest provided the same is effected on the basis of probable cause (e.g. stop and search without warrant at
checkpoints). Between warrantless searches and seizures at checkpoints and in the case at bar the latter is more
reasonable considering that unlike in the former, it was effected on the basis of probable cause. Under the circumstances
(monitoring of transactions) there existed probable cause for the arresting officers, to arrest appellant who was in fact
selling marijuana and to seize the contraband.
That searches and seizures must be supported by a valid warrant is not an absolute rule (Manipon, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan,
143 SCRA 267 [1986]). Among the exceptions granted by law is a search incidental to a lawful arrest under Sec. 12, Rule
126 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, which provides that a person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous
weapons or anything which may be used as proof of the commission of an offense, without a search warrant. (People v.
Castiller, G.R. No. 87783, August 6, 1990)
The accused-appellant claims that the arrest having been done without warrant, it follows that the evidence obtained
therefrom is inadmissible.
As earlier discussed, there is nothing unlawful about the arrest considering its compliance with the requirements of a
warrantless arrest. Ergo, the fruits obtained from such lawful arrest are admissible in evidence.
Edison Sucro assails the trial court's reliance on the statement of Macabante whose reason for testifying could be merely
to escape prosecution.
We quote the trial court's finding as to the testimony of Macabante:
The non-filing of a complaint against him for possession of marijuana may have been the reason of (sic) his willingness to
testify in court against the accused. But this does not necessarily taint the evidence that proceeds from his lips. As
explained by Lt. Seraspi, the best sources of information against drug pushers are usually their customers, especially if
as in this case, there is no other direct evidence of the selling except the testimony of the buyer. We accept this
observation as a realistic appraisal of a situation in which drug users are, and should be employed by law enforcement
authorities to bolster the drive against pushers who are the real felons in our society. We have observed the demeanor of
the witness in court, and found him to be straightforward, unhesitating, and spontaneous in his declarations, so that we
are satisfied as to his intention and disposition to tell the truth (Rollo, p. 40)
Time and again it has been held that the findings of the trial court are entitled to great weight and should not be disturbed
on appeal unless it is shown that the trial court had overlooked certain facts of weight and importance, it being
acknowledged. that the court below, having seen and heard the witnesses during the trial, is in a better position to
evaluate their testimonies (People v. Umali, et al., G.R. No. 84450, February 4, 1991 citing People v. Alvarez, 163 SCRA
745 [1988]; People v. Dorado, 30 SCRA 53 [1969]; and People v. Espejo, 36 SCRA 400 [1970]).
Furthermore, the testimony of Macabante was corroborated on material points by public officers Fulgencio and Seraspi.

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There is nothing in the record to suggest that the police officers were compelled by any motive than to accomplish their
mission to capture a drug pusher in the execution of the crime, the presumption being that police officers perform their
duties regularly in the absence of any evidence to the contrary (Rule 131, Sec. 3(m), Revised Rules on Evidence; People
v. Castiller, supra citing People v. Natipravat, 145 SCRA 483 [1986]).
The prosecution evidence was further bolstered by the findings of the Forensic Chemist that the items seized were all
positive for marijuana.
In contrast to the evidence presented by the prosecution, accused-appellant's defense is alibi which is unavailing
considering that he was positively identified by Macabante to be the person from whom he bought marijuana.
Sucro alleges that he could not have committed the crime since he was with his uncle and cousin distributing handbills
for his Auntie's candidacy. The fact, however, remains that it does not preclude the possibility that he was present in the
vicinity as established by his admission that he moved a lot and even had the occasion to meet Macabante on the street.
It is well-settled that mere denials cannot prevail against the positive identification of the appellant as the seller of the
prohibited substances. (People v. Khan, 161 SCRA 406 [1988]; and People v. Paco, 170 SCRA 681 [1989])
Premises considered, this Court is convinced that appellant Edison Sucro had indeed committed the offense charged.
The trial court's decision must be upheld.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 106087. April 7, 1993.
ROLITO GO Y TAMBUNTING, petitioner,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS, THE HON. BENJAMIN V. PELAYO, PRESIDING JUDGE, BRANCH 168, REGIONAL
TRIAL COURT, NCJR, PASIG, METRO MANILA and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
Law Firm of Raymundo A. Armovit for petitioner.
The Solicitor General for public respondents.
SYLLABUS
1.
REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; BAIL; NATURE OF BAIL PROCEEDINGS. Respondent judge is
correct in appreciating the nature of the bail proceedings. "[T]he hearing of an application for bail should be summary or
otherwise in the discretion of the court. By 'summary hearing' [is] meant such brief and speedy method of receiving and
considering the evidence of guilt as is practicable and consistent with the purpose of the hearing which is merely to
determine the weight of the evidence for the purpose of bail. In such a hearing, the court 'does not sit to try the merits or
to enter into any nice inquiry as to the weight that ought to be allowed to the evidence for or against accused, nor will it
speculate on the outcome of the trial or on what further evidence may be therein offered is admitted.' . . . The course of
the inquiry may be left to the discretion of the court which may confine itself to receiving such evidence as has reference
to substantial matters avoiding unnecessary thoroughness in the examination and cross-examination of witnesses and
reducing to a reasonable minimum the amount of corroboration particularly on details that are not essential to the
purpose of the hearing."
2.
ID.; ID.; ID.; PROCEDURE IN GRANT OF BAIL IS SIMILAR TO PROCEDURE IN CANCELLATION OF BAIL.
Although the proceedings conducted by respondent judge were not for an application for bail but to cancel that which
was issued to petitioner, the principles and procedure governing hearings on an application for bail were correctly applied
by respondent judge in the cancellation of bail proceedings since the bail was issued by this Court in G.R. No. 101837
without prejudice to any lawful order which the trial court may issue in case the Provincial Prosecutor moves for the

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cancellation of the bail. The grant of bail was made without prejudice because where bail is not a matter of right, as in this
case, the prosecution must be given the opportunity to prove that there is a strong evidence of guilt. In the cancellation of
bail proceedings before him, the judge was confronted with the same issue as in an application for bail, i.e., whether the
evidence of guilt is so strong as to convince the court that the accused is not entitled to bail. Hence, the similarity of the
nature and procedure of the hearings for an application for bail and the cancellation of the same.
3.
LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS; DISQUALIFICATION OF JUDGES; ESSENCE OF RULE ON
DISQUALIFICATION OF JUDGES. The Constitution commands that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall
enjoy the right to have "a speedy, impartial, and public trial." This right is a derivation and elaboration of the more
fundamental right to due process of law. The rule on the disqualification of judges is a mechanism for enforcing the
requirements of due process.
4.
ID.; ID.; REASON FOR REQUIREMENT OF IMPARTIALITY ON PART OF JUDGE. "It is now beyond dispute
that due process cannot be satisfied in the absence of that degree of objectivity on the part of a judge sufficient to
reassure litigants of his being fair and being just. Thereby there is the legitimate expectation that the decision arrived at
would be the application of the law to the facts as found by a judge who does not play favorites." The "cold neutrality of
an impartial judge," although required primarily for the benefit of the litigants, is also designed to preserve the integrity of
the judiciary and more fundamentally, to gain and maintain the people's faith in the institutions they have erected when
they adopted our Constitution. The notion that "justice must satisfy the appearance of justice" is an imposition by the
citizenry, as the final judge of the conduct of public business, including trials, upon the courts of a high and
uncompromising standard in the proper dispensation of justice.
5.
ID.; ID.; EFFECT OF MOTION FOR INHIBITION, DENIAL OF MOTION FOR INHIBITION, AND PETITION
CHALLENGING DENIAL OF MOTION FOR INHIBITION. Hence, if the trial judge decides to deny a motion for
inhibition based on Rule 137, Sec. 1, par. 2, he shall proceed with the trial, unless of course restrained by either the
Court of Appeals or by this Court. The mere filing of a motion for inhibition before the trial court or a petition before either
the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court challenging an order of the trial judge denying a motion for inhibition will not
deprive the judge of authority to proceed with the case. Otherwise, by the expedient of filing such motion or petition,
although the same be lacking in merit, a party can unduly delay the trial.
6.
ID.; ID.; EVIDENCE REQUIRED IN DISQUALIFICATION OF JUDGE; BIAS AND PREJUDICE NOT
PRESUMED. While bias and prejudice, which are relied upon by petitioner, have been recognized as valid reasons for
the voluntary inhibition of the judge under Rule 137, Sec. 1, par. 2, the established rule is that mere suspicion that a
judge is partial is not enough. There should be clear and convincing evidence to prove the charge. Bare allegations of
partiality and prejudgment will not suffice. Bias and prejudice cannot be presumed especially if weighed against a judge's
sacred obligation under his oath of office to administer justice without respect to person and do equal right to the poor
and the rich.
7.
ID.; ID.; IN CASE AT BAR, THE ACT OF RESPONDENT JUDGE OF NOT SUSPENDING HEARING OF CASE
AFTER DENIAL OF PETITIONER'S MOTION FOR RECUSATION AND DURING PENDENCY OF PETITION
CHALLENGING HIS ORDERS DENYING THE MOTION FOR RECUSATION AND THE MOTION TO SUSPEND
PROCEEDINGS AND TRANSFER VENUE OUTSIDE METRO MANILA NOT PROOF OF PARTIALITY. In the case at
hand, respondent judge acted in accordance with the Rules and prevailing jurisprudence when he proceeded with the
trial after denying petitioner's Motion for Recusation. Petitioner cannot, therefore, cite the fact that respondent judge did
not suspend hearing the case during the pendency of this petition as proof of his claim that the judge is partial.
8.
ID.; ID.; IN CASE AT BAR, THE ACT OF RESPONDENT JUDGE OF OVERRULING PETITIONER'S
OBJECTION TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF THE EXTRAJUDICIAL STATEMENT OF A PROSECUTION WITNESS WHO
DID NOT TESTIFY THEREON, NOT PROOF OF BIAS; REASON. The first of these allegedly "palpably biased and
hostile orders" was that issued by respondent judge on August 14, 1992 overruling petitioner's objection to the
admissibility of an affidavit of Geronimo Gonzaga offered by the prosecution. Petitioner contends that respondent judge
should not have admitted the extrajudicial statements of Gonzaga because the latter did not take the witness stand to
affirm the statements contained in the document presented by the prosecution. Petitioner suspected that respondent
judge was trying to bolster the evidence for the prosecution. This contention is without merit. The mere fact that the trial
judge overruled petitioner's objection to the admissibility of a particular piece of evidence is not proof of bias. In
Jandionco v. Pearanda, it was held that "[d]ivergence of opinions between a judge hearing a case and a party's counsel,

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as to applicable laws and jurisprudence, is not a sufficient ground to disqualify the judge from hearing the case on the
ground of bias and manifest partiality." If petitioner disagrees with the judge's ruling, he may still question the admissibility
of the evidence when he files an appeal, in case a judgment of conviction is rendered. To conclude, however, that
respondent judge, by overruling the objection raised by petitioner's counsel, was trying to strengthen the prosecution's
evidence is not only baseless because there was no evidence given to support this conclusion, but also premature
because at that stage, the judge was not yet appreciating the merits and weight of the particular piece of evidence in
question but was merely ruling on its admissibility. Petitioner's conclusion that "the offer and admission of Gonzaga's
hearsay 'eyewitness' statement suggest a sinister concert to simulate evidential strength" is, if not suggestive of paranoia,
at the very least, an overreaction.
9.
ID.; ID.; IN CASE AT BAR, THE ACT OF RESPONDENT JUDGE OF CONSIDERING THE CANCELLATION OF
BAIL PROCEEDINGS RIPE FOR RESOLUTION AND REFUSING TO ALLOW PETITIONER'S COUNSEL TO
PRESENT ANYMORE WITNESSES, NOT MOTIVATED BY BIAS; REASON. The other supervening event allegedly
demonstrating the judge's partiality occurred during one of the hearings concerning the prosecution's motion for the
cancellation of petitioner's bail. On September 28, 1992, after eleven (11) witnesses had been presented for the
prosecution and two (2) for the defense, respondent judge considered the cancellation of bail proceedings ripe for
resolution and refused to allow petitioner's counsel to present anymore witnesses. The reasons given by respondent
judge for his ruling were: (1) the proceeding in the cancellation of bail is summary and different from the hearing on the
merits; (2) the court need not receive exactly the same number of witnesses from both the prosecution and the defense;
and (3) the counsel for petitioner previously limited himself to two (2) witnesses as borne out by the record of the case . . .
Having determined that respondent judge made a proper appreciation of the nature of the bail proceedings before him,
we likewise hold that it was within his discretion to limit the number of witnesses for petitioner. The power of the court in
the bail proceedings to make a determination as to whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong "implies a full exercise of
judicial discretion." If the trial judge believes that the evidence before him is sufficient for him to rule on the bail issue,
after giving both parties their opportunity to present evidence, it is within his authority to consider the bail proceedings
ripe for resolution. In any case, respondent judge acceded to petitioner's request and allowed him to present more
witnesses in the bail proceedings. In fine, the Court holds that the respondent judge's ruling on September 28, 1992
considering the prosecution's motion for cancellation of bail ripe for resolution on the basis of the evidence already
presented was not motivated by bias or prejudice.
10.
ID.; ID.; IN CASE AT BAR, RESPONDENT JUDGE'S ORDER ALLOWING PETITIONER'S ARRAIGNMENT
AND TRIAL WITHOUT BENEFIT OF PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION, NOT NECESSARILY PROOF OF PARTIALITY.
Petitioner, in this Motion for Reconsideration, restates his argument in the Petition that the respondent judge is biased,
as evidenced by his Order dated July 17, 1991 which in effect allowed petitioner's arraignment and trial without the
benefit of a preliminary investigation. It is true that in Go v. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 101837, February 11, 1992,
a divided Court nullified respondent judge's July 17, 1991 Order and ordered that a preliminary investigation be
conducted. But the erroneous Order of respondent judge is not necessarily proof of partiality. In People v. Lacson, we
held that erroneous rulings do not always constitute evidence of bias. In Luciano v. Mariano, we made the
pronouncement that "[t]he mere fact that the judge has erroneously ruled against the same litigant on two or more
occasions does not create in our minds a decisive pattern of malice on the part of the judge against that particular litigant.
This is not an unusual occurrence on our courts . . ." Moreover, the fact that the erroneous order issued by a judge can
be remedied and was actually corrected, as in this case, militates against the disqualification of the judge on the ground
of bias or partiality.
11.
ID.; ID.; IN CASE AT BAR, MOTION FOR RECUSATION IS ANOTHER DILATORY MOVE. In the case at
hand, the Motion for Recusation filed by petitioner must be viewed in the light of his lawyers' many attempts to suspend
the proceedings before the respondent judge. Before the trial court, petitioner tried at least eight (8) times, not merely to
reset the scheduled hearings, but to suspend the trial of the case itself. The following pleadings filed by petitioner before
respondent judge all prayed either to suspend the proceedings entirely or for the respondent judge to delay the
disposition of a particular issue . . . Before this Court, petitioner has already filed three (3) petitions assailing various
orders of respondent judge in connection with the single murder case pending against him. Apart from the present
petition which is docketed as G.R. No. 106087, petitioner has previously filed two (2) other petitions docketed as G.R.
Nos. 101837 and 105424. In all three (3) petitions, petitioner applied for a temporary restraining order to have the
proceedings before the trial court held in abeyance. The murder case involving only one accused, the petitioner, has
become unnecessarily complicated and the proceedings before the trial court protracted, as can be gleaned from the fact
that between the filing of the information on July 11, 1991 and the end of last year or December 31, 1992, the records of

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the case now consist of four (4) volumes and the transcript of stenographic notes have reached a total of one thousand
five hundred and twenty three (1523) pages. Hearings are still being conducted. When taken in the light of petitioner's
repeated attempts to have the proceedings in the murder case suspended and his lawyers' transparent maneuvers for
the needless protraction of the case, the Motion for Recusation can only be viewed as another dilatory move and the
present Motion for Reconsideration a further ploy to stall hearings.
12.
ID.; CONDUCT REQUIRED OF A LAWYER BEFORE COURTS AND JUDICIAL OFFICERS. The Rules of
Court commands members of the bar "[t]o observe and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial
officers." Reinforcing this rule of conduct is the Code of Professional Responsibility which states in Canon 11 the
following: "A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to judicial officers and should insist on
similar conduct by others." Rule 11.03 of the Code further states: "A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or
menacing language or behaviour before the courts." The next succeeding rule, Rule 11.03 adds: "A lawyer shall not
attribute to a judge motives not supported by the record or having materiality to the case."
13.
ID.; ID.; REASON FOR THE REQUIREMENT. To be sure, the adversarial nature of our legal system has
tempted members of the bar, in pursuing their duty to advance the interests of their clients, to use strong language. But
this privilege is not a license to malign our courts of justice. Irreverent behavior towards the courts by members of the bar
is proscribed, not so much for the sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but more importantly, for the
maintenance of respect for our judicial system, so necessary for the country's stability. "Time and again, this Court has
admonished and punished, in varying degrees, members of the bar for statements, disrespectful or irreverent,
acrimonious or defamatory, of this Court or the lower courts . . . To be sure, lawyers may come up with various methods,
perhaps more effective, in calling the Court's attention to the issues involved. The language vehicle does not run short of
expressions, emphatic but respectful, convincing but not derogatory, illuminating but not offensive."
14.
ID.; ID.; AN INSTANCE OF HIGHLY DEROGATORY, OFFENSIVE AND CONTEMPTUOUS LANGUAGE
TOWARD A JUDGE. Indeed, in the Motion for Reconsideration, counsels for petitioner describe as "unparalleled for
sheer malevolence" respondent judge's allegedly erroneous assumptions. Petitioner's lawyers further stated: "Petitioner's
counsel, citing the above proceedings, contested the trial judge's baseless, nay despotic attempt to muzzle his right to be
heard in his defense. . ." The trial judge's actions were also branded as an "obviously unholy rush to do petitioner in . . ."
In the Urgent Motion filed by petitioner on December 16, 1992, respondent judge is alleged to have: (a) "generated belief
of his being under contract to do the prosecution's bidding;" (2) "evinced contempt for Supreme Court case law;" and (3)
"dishonored his judicial oath and duty to hear before he condemns, proceed upon inquiry, and render judgment on a
man's liberty only after a full trial of the facts." . . . In light of the above doctrines and jurisprudence, as well as the
inherent power and authority of this Court to cite members of the Bar in contempt and to discipline them, we are of the
opinion that the language used by petitioner's lawyers is highly derogatory, offensive and contemptuous.
RESOLUTION
ROMERO, J p:
This is a Motion for Reconsideration of this Court's Resolution dated September 23, 1992 denying petitioner's Petition
and affirming the Decision and Resolution promulgated on March 9, 1992 and June 26, 1992, respectively, of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 26305. 1 The CA Decision and Resolution upheld the following: (1) respondent Judge
Benjamin V. Pelayo's Order dated September 4, 1991 which denied petitioner's Motion for Recusation; and (2)
respondent judge's Order dated September 17, 1991 denying petitioner's Motion to Suspend Proceedings and to Transfer
Venue Outside Metro Manila.
A review of the antecedent facts of this case, particularly those wherein respondent Judge participated, is in order to
arrive at a just and correct assessment of his acts vis-a-vis the petitioner.
On July 2, 1991, Eldon Maguan was shot inside his car along Wilson Street, San Juan, Metro Manila. After conducting an
investigation of the shooting incident, the police identified petitioner Rolito Go as the prime suspect in the commission of
the crime. On July 8, 1991, petitioner, accompanied by two lawyers, presented himself before the San Juan Police
Station. He was arrested and booked for the shooting of Maguan. The police filed a complaint for frustrated homicide with
the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal.

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On July 11, 1991, an information for murder was filed against petitioner before the Regional Trial Court, Pasig, Metro
Manila, the victim Eldon Maguan having died on July 9, 1991.
On the same day, July 11, 1991, counsel for petitioner filed with the Prosecutor an omnibus motion praying for petitioner's
immediate release and for a preliminary investigation. Provincial Prosecutor Mauro Castro interposed no objection to
petitioner's being granted provisional liberty on a cash bond of P100,000.00.
The case was raffled to the sala of respondent judge, the Hon. Benjamin V. Pelayo, who, on July 12, 1991, approved the
cash bond posted by petitioner and ordered his release.
On July 16, 1991, respondent judge issued an Order granting leave for the Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal to conduct a
preliminary investigation.
However, on July 17, 1991, respondent judge motu proprio issued an Order 2 which: (a) recalled the July 12, 1991 Order
granting bail; (b) directed petitioner to surrender within 48 hours from notice; (c) cancelled the July 16, 1991 Order
granting leave for the Provincial Prosecutor to conduct a preliminary investigation; (d) treated petitioner's omnibus motion
for immediate release and preliminary investigation dated July 11, 1991 as a petition for bail.
On July 19, 1991, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus questioning the July 17, 1991 Order
of respondent judge. On the same day, petitioner filed before the trial court a motion to suspend all the proceedings
pending the resolution of the petition filed before the Supreme Court. 3 This motion was denied by respondent judge. 4
On July 23, 1991, petitioner voluntarily surrendered to the CAPCOM. Upon motion 5 by petitioner, the respondent judge
issued an Order 6 directing "the accused's continued detention at the CAPCOM until such time as the Court shall have
properly determined the place where accused should be detained."
On July 29, 1991, the National Bureau of Investigation wrote a letter 7 to the trial court requesting that custody of
petitioner be transferred to the Bureau in view of an investigation for illegal possession of firearms involving petitioner.
On the same date, July 29, 1991, the trial court issued an Order 8 granting the NBI temporary custody of petitioner
subject to the following conditions: (a) the petitioner is to be accorded his constitutional rights during the investigation; (b)
the NBI investigation is to be conducted only during office hours and petitioner is to be returned to the custody of the
CAPCOM at the end of each day; and (c) the NBI should report to the trial court the status of the investigation.
On July 30, 1991, petitioner filed a motion 9 before the trial court praying that the Order dated July 29, 1991 be nullified
and recalled.
The following day, July 31, 1991, the NBI filed a motion 10 praying that it be granted full custody of petitioner pending the
investigation of the case involving illegal possession of firearms.
An Order 11 was issued by the trial Court dated August 1, 1991 setting for hearing the issue concerning the proper venue
of petitioner's detention.
After the hearing on petitioner's custody, the trial court issued an Order 12 dated August 2, 1991 ordering the CAPCOM
to bring the person of petitioner to the court not later than August 5, 1991 so that a commitment order for his detention at
the Rizal Provincial Jail could be issued. The Commitment Order 13 ordering the Provincial Warden of the Provincial Jail
of Pasig to take custody of petitioner was issued on August 5, 1991.
On August 8, 1991, petitioner filed a Motion for Recusation 14 praying that respondent judge inhibit himself from hearing
the case. The motion was denied by respondent judge in his Order dated September 4, 1991. 15
On August 22, 1991, petitioner filed a Motion to Suspend Proceedings and Transfer Venue Outside Metro Manila which
was denied by respondent judge on September 17, 1991. 16
Petitioner was arraigned on August 23, 1991. In view of his refusal to enter a plea, a plea of "Not Guilty" was entered for
him by the trial court. 17

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In the meantime, this Court, by Resolution dated July 24, 1991, remanded to the Court of Appeals the petition filed by
petitioner assailing the July 17, 1991 Order of the trial court.
On August 27, 1991, petitioner filed a petition for habeas corpus before the Court of Appeals.
On September 23, 1991, the Court of Appeals rendered a consolidated decision dismissing the two petitions. However,
upon petition by petitioner, this Court by an 8-6 vote in G.R. No. 101837 issued a decision reversing the, CA decision and
ordering (a) the Provincial Prosecutor to conduct a preliminary investigation; and (b) the release of petitioner without
prejudice to any order that the trial court may issue, should the Provincial Prosecutor move for cancellation of bail at the
conclusion of the preliminary investigation.
After conducting a preliminary investigation pursuant to this Court's decision in G.R. No. 101837, the Assistant Provincial
Prosecutor issued a Resolution dated February 27, 1992 finding probable cause to charge petitioner with the crime of
murder. The Resolution was approved by the Provincial Prosecutor who filed with the trial court a motion to cancel the
bail of petitioner and a motion to set the criminal case for resumption of the trial on the merits.
Petitioner attempted to have the Resolution of the Prosecutor reversed by appealing to the Department of Justice, and
filing petitions with the Court of Appeals (CA, G.R. SP No. 27738) and finally to this Court (G.R. No. 105424), but his
efforts did not meet with success.
On October 1, 1991, petitioner filed another petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus before this Court seeking to
annul: (1) the Order of the trial court dated September 4, 1991 denying petitioner's Motion for Recusation; and (2) the
Order dated September 17, 1991 denying petitioner's Motion to Suspend Proceedings and Transfer Venue Outside Metro
Manila. The petition, docketed as G.R. No. 101772, was remanded to the Court of Appeals.
On March 9, 1992, the Court of Appeals (13th Division) rendered a decision dismissing the petition. As to the denial of
petitioner's Motion for Recusation, the Court of Appeals held in part:
"On the basis of the allegation of the petition, the Court is not inclined to strike down the denial of petitioner's motion for
recusation as a grave abuse of discretion on the part of the respondent judge absent any clear showing of such grave
abuse of his discretion. The allegation of petitioner in support of his motion for recusation are conclusions based on his
own fears and are therefore speculations than anything else.
In order to warrant a finding of 'prejudicial' publicity as urged by the petitioner, there must be allegation and proof that the
judge has been unduly influenced, not simply that he might be, by the "barrage" of publicity (Martelino vs. Alejandro, 32
SCRA 106; emphasis supplied). While there is such allegation in the petition, the Court has however found no proof so
far adduced sufficient to accept the petitioner's claim that the respondent judge has been unduly influenced by the
alleged publicity.
Additionally, We quote hereunder the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in the case of Aparicio vs. Andal, 175 SCRA
569 where, citing the case of Pimentel vs. Salanga, 21 SCRA 160, it said:
Efforts to attain fair, just and impartial trial and decision, have a natural and alluring appeal. But, we are not licensed to
indulge in unjustified assumptions, or make a speculative approval to this ideal. It ill behooves this Court to tar and
feather a judge as biased or prejudiced, simply because counsel for a party litigant happens to complain against him. As
applied here, respondent judge has not as yet crossed the line that divides partiality and impartiality. He has not thus far
stepped to one side of the fulcrum. No act or conduct of his would show arbitrariness or prejudice. Therefore, we are not
to assume what respondent judge, not otherwise legally disqualified, will do in a case before him. We have had occasion
to rule in a criminal case that a charge made before trial that a party 'will not be given a fair, impartial and just hearing' is
'premature.' Prejudice is not to be presumed. Especially if weighed against a judge's legal obligation under his oath to
administer justice without respect to person and to equal right to the poor and the rich.' To disqualify or not to disqualify
himself then, as far as respondent judge is concerned, is a matter of conscience." 18
The Court of Appeals also sustained the trial court's denial of petitioner's Motion to Suspend Proceedings and Transfer
Venue Outside Metro Manila with the following pronouncement:

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"On the question of the denial by the respondent court of petitioner's motion to suspend proceedings and transfer venue
outside of Metro Manila, suffice it to say that the respondent court was correct in denying petitioner's motion. For indeed,
the authority to order a change of venue or place of trial to avoid a miscarriage of justice is vested in the Supreme Court
by Article VIII, Section 5, paragraph 4 of the Constitution. Neither the respondent court nor this Court has the authority to
grant petitioner's motion for transfer of venue. The cases cited by petitioner in support of this issue were all decided by
the Supreme Court before the advent of the 1973 Constitution where the provision on transfer of venue was first adopted,
hence not applicable to the instant case." 19
Petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration of the CA decision having been denied, 20 a petition under Rule 45 was filed
before this Court on July 29, 1992 assailing the decision of the Court of Appeals. On September 9, 1992, the Office of the
Solicitor General (OSG), representing respondent People of the Philippines, filed a Comment on the Petition.
On September 23, 1992, the Court, after considering the allegations contained, issues raised and the arguments
adduced in the Petition, as well as the Comment filed by the OSG, issued a Resolution denying the Petition on the
ground that the respondent Court of Appeals committed no reversible error in its assailed decision.
On October 12, 1992, the present Motion for Reconsideration 21 was filed in which petitioner reiterates his position that
respondent judge should inhibit himself from the case.
On December 16, 1992, petitioner filed a pleading captioned "Urgent Motion (for preliminary mandatory injunction)." In
said Motion, petitioner questioned the Order of the trial court dated December 9, 1992 denying petitioner's Motion to
Reopen Hearing (of the cancellation of bail proceedings) and to Present Last Witness. It appears that after the
presentation of eleven (11) witnesses by the prosecution and six (6) by the defense, the trial court considered the
question concerning the cancellation of petitioner's bail ripe for resolution. Thereafter, petitioner filed a Motion to Reopen
and Present Last Witness. 22 But the trial court issued an Order 23 dated December 9, 1992 which, among other things,
denied the Motion. In the Urgent Motion filed with this Court on December 16, 1992, petitioner prayed "for the issuance
forthwith and ex parte of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction directing respondent judge to allow petitioner to
complete his defense evidence by presenting his last witness on the bail issue . . ." 24
On December 29, 1992, the Court passed a Resolution 25 issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) restraining
respondent judge from resolving the bail issue and directing him to allow petitioner to present his last witness. This
Resolution was clarified and the TRO confirmed in another Resolution issued by the Court on January 11, 1993. 26
On January 8, 1993, the OSG filed a Comment on petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration.
At the outset, it is noteworthy to observe that petitioner in this Motion for Reconsideration no longer raises the question of
change of venue. Moreover, the Motion for Reconsideration is predicated on what petitioner alleges are "the supervening
events demonstrating partiality to the prosecution, on one hand, and hostility against petitioner, on the other." 27
Perforce, this Resolution shall only consider the allegations and issues raised in this Motion for Reconsideration and in
the Comment thereon filed by the OSG.
Petitioner's Motion for Recusation filed before the trial court is based on Rule 137, sec. 1, par. 2 of the Rules of Court on
disqualification of judges.
The Constitution commands that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to have "a speedy,
impartial, and public trial." 28 (Emphasis supplied) This right is a derivation and elaboration of the more fundamental right
to due process of law. 29 The rule on the disqualification of judges is a mechanism for enforcing the requirements of due
process. "It is now beyond dispute that due process cannot be satisfied in the absence of that degree of objectivity on the
part of a judge sufficient to reassure litigants of his being fair and being just. Thereby there is the legitimate expectation
that the decision arrived at would be the application of the law to the facts as found by a judge who does not play
favorites." 30
The "cold neutrality of an impartial judge," 31 although required primarily for the benefit of the litigants, is also designed
to preserve the integrity of the judiciary and more fundamentally, to gain and maintain the people's faith in the institutions
they have erected when they adopted our Constitution. The notion that "justice must satisfy the appearance of justice" 32

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is an imposition by the citizenry, as the final judge of the conduct of public business, including trials, upon the courts of a
high and uncompromising standard in the proper dispensation of justice.
While bias and prejudice, which are relied upon by petitioner, have been recognized as valid reasons for the voluntary
inhibition 33 of the judge under Rule 137, sec. 1, par. 2, 34 the established rule is that mere suspicion that a judge is
partial is not enough. There should be clear and convincing evidence to prove the charge. 35 Bare allegations of partiality
and prejudgment will not suffice. 36 Bias and prejudice cannot be presumed especially if weighed against a judge's
sacred obligation under his oath of office to administer justice without respect to person and do equal right to the poor
and the rich. 37
In the Motion for Reconsideration now before the Court, petitioner, to prove his allegation of bias on the part of
respondent judge, takes the latter to task for continuing with the trial during the pendency of this petition stating that:
"Even as the instant petition for the trial judge's recusation pends, the latter did not see fit to suspend the hearings.
Indeed the trial judge has been conducting marathon hearings which, in the context of his questioned fairness and
impartiality, roars out as a railroad rush to make official a pre-determined verdict of guilt." 38
The Court draws the attention of petitioner and his counsels 39 to the procedure to be followed by the judge before whom
a motion for disqualification has been filed. Rule 137, sec. 2 provides:
"If it be claimed that an official is disqualified from sitting as above provided, the party objecting to his competency may, in
writing, file with the official his objection, stating the grounds therefor, and the official shall thereupon proceed with the
trial, or withdraw therefrom, in accordance with his determination of the question of his disqualification . . ." (Emphasis
supplied)
In People v. Moreno, 40 we stated that if a judge denies the motion for disqualification and rules favorably on his
competency to try the case, it becomes a matter of official duty for him to proceed with the trial and decision of the case.
He cannot shirk the responsibility without the risk of being called upon to account for his dereliction. Although this case
was decided prior to the introduction of par. 2 of Rule 137, sec. 1, there is no reason why the procedure laid down in Rule
137, sec. 2 and applied in People v. Moreno should not likewise apply to a motion for inhibition filed pursuant to Rule 137,
sec. 1, par. 2. 41 In fact, in Genoblazo v. Court of Appeals, 42 the Court applied the procedure prescribed in Rule 137,
sec. 2 when the trial judge denied a party's motion for inhibition under Rule 137, sec. 1, par. 2, thus:
"Moreover, the trial judge acted correctly in proceeding with the case by setting it for pre-trial since it is within her sound
discretion, after her decision in favor of her own competency, to either proceed with the trial or refrain from acting on the
case until determination of the issue of her disqualification by the appellate court [Section 2 of Rule 137 of the Revised
Rules of Court; De la Paz v. Intermediate Appellate Court, supra, at 76]. 43
Hence, if the trial judge decides to deny a motion for inhibition based on Rule 137, sec. 1, par. 2, he shall proceed with
the trial, unless of course restrained by either the Court of Appeals or by this Court. The mere filing of a motion for
inhibition before the trial court or a petition before either the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court challenging an order
of the trial judge denying a motion for inhibition will not deprive the judge of authority to proceed with the case. Otherwise,
by the expedient of filing such motion or petition, although the same be lacking in merit, a party can unduly delay the trial.
In the case at hand, respondent judge acted in accordance with the Rules and prevailing jurisprudence when he
proceeded with the trial after denying petitioner's Motion for Recusation. Petitioner cannot, therefore, cite the fact that
respondent judge did not suspend hearing the case during the pendency of this petition as proof of his claim that the
judge is partial. This Court has not, in connection with the petition, issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) enjoining
respondent judge from further hearing the case. The TRO which this Court issued on December 29, 1992 after the
petition was denied and pending this Motion for Reconsideration ordered the judge to desist from resolving the question
on the cancellation of bail until the last witness of petitioner was heard. The TRO did not restrain the judge from hearing
the case. On the contrary, the judge was ordered to hear petitioner's last witness in the cancellation of bail proceedings.
44 Because it was his duty to continue trying the case and there was no order from this Court not to do so, respondent
judge committed no impropriety evincing partiality when he continued hearing the case during the pendency of the
petition before this Court.

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Petitioner, in this Motion for Reconsideration, claims that since the issuance of the Court Resolution dated September 23,
1992 denying his Petition, there have been "supervening events demonstrating partiality to the prosecution on one hand,
and hostility against petitioner, on the other hand." 45 Petitioner alleges:
"Pursuing his unconstitutional bent first evinced when, without benefit of preliminary investigation, petitioner's
arraignment and trial, then arrest and detention for almost a year was peremptorily ordered which this Court reversed
and rebuked (G.R. no. 101837, promulgated 11 February 1992) the unchastened trial judge let out yet with two
palpably biased and hostile orders, infra, clearly and unmistakably demonstrating an unconstitutional prejudgment of
petitioner's culpability." 46
The first of these allegedly "palpably biased and hostile orders" was that issued by respondent judge on August 14, 1992
overruling petitioner's objection to the admissibility of an affidavit of Geronimo Gonzaga offered by the prosecution.
Petitioner contends that respondent judge should not have admitted the extrajudicial statements of Gonzaga because the
latter did not take the witness stand to affirm the statements contained in the document presented by the prosecution.
Petitioner suspected that respondent judge was trying to bolster the evidence for the prosecution.
This contention is without merit. The mere fact that the trial judge overruled petitioner's objection to the admissibility of a
particular piece of evidence is not proof of bias. In Jandionco v. Pearanda, 47 it was held that "[d]ivergence of opinions
between a judge hearing a case and a party's counsel, as to applicable laws and jurisprudence, is not a sufficient ground
to disqualify the judge from hearing the case on the ground of bias and manifest partiality." 48 If petitioner disagrees with
the judge's ruling, he may still question the admissibility of the evidence when he files an appeal, in case a judgment of
conviction is rendered. To conclude, however, that respondent judge, by overruling the objection raised by petitioner's
counsel, was trying to strengthen the prosecution's evidence is not only baseless because there was no evidence given
to support this conclusion, but also premature because at that stage, the judge was not yet appreciating the merits and
weight of the particular piece of evidence in question but was merely ruling on its admissibility. Petitioner's conclusion that
"the offer and admission of Gonzaga's hearsay 'eyewitness' statement suggest a sinister concert to simulate evidential
strength" 49 is, if not suggestive of paranoia, at the very least, an overreaction.
The other supervening event allegedly demonstrating the judge's partiality occurred during one of the hearings
concerning the prosecution's motion for the cancellation of petitioner's bail. On September 28, 1992, after eleven (11)
witnesses had been presented for the prosecution and two (2) for the defense, respondent judge considered the
cancellation of bail proceedings ripe for resolution and refused to allow petitioner's counsel to present anymore
witnesses. The reasons given by respondent judge for his ruling were: (1) the proceeding in the cancellation of bail is
summary and different from the hearing on the merits; (2) the court need not receive exactly the same number of
witnesses from both the prosecution and the defense; and (3) the counsel for petitioner previously limited himself to two
(2) witnesses as borne out by the record of the case. 50
Respondent judge is correct in appreciating the nature of the bail proceedings. "[T]he hearing of an application for bail
should be summary or otherwise in the discretion of the court. By 'summary hearing' [is] meant such brief and speedy
method of receiving and considering the evidence of guilt as is practicable and consistent with the purpose of the hearing
which is merely to determine the weight of the evidence for the purpose of bail. In such a hearing, the court 'does not sit
to try the merits or to enter into any nice inquiry as to the weight that ought to be allowed to the evidence for or against
accused, nor will it speculate on the outcome of the trial or on what further evidence may be therein offered is
admitted.' . . . The course of the inquiry may be left to the discretion of the court which may confine itself to receiving
such evidence as has reference to substantial matters avoiding unnecessary thoroughness in the examination and crossexamination of witnesses and reducing to a reasonable minimum the amount of corroboration particularly on details that
are not essential to the purpose of the hearing." 51
Although the proceedings conducted by respondent judge were not for an application for bail but to cancel that which was
issued to petitioner, the principles and procedure governing hearings on an application for bail were correctly applied by
respondent judge in the cancellation of bail proceedings since the bail was issued by this Court in G.R. No. 101837
without prejudice to any lawful order which the trial court may issue in case the Provincial Prosecutor moves for the
cancellation of the bail. 52 The grant of bail was made without prejudice because where bail is not a matter of right, as in
this case, the prosecution must be given the opportunity to prove that there is a strong evidence of guilt. 53 In the
cancellation of bail proceedings before him, the judge was confronted with the same issue as in an application for bail,

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i.e., whether the evidence of guilt is so strong as to convince the court that the accused is not entitled to bail. Hence, the
similarity of the nature and procedure of the hearings for an application for bail and the cancellation of the same.
Having determined that respondent judge made a proper appreciation of the nature of the bail proceedings before him,
we likewise hold that it was within his discretion to limit the number of witnesses for petitioner. The power of the court in
the bail proceedings to make a determination as to whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong "implies a full exercise of
judicial discretion." 54 If the trial judge believes that the evidence before him is sufficient for him to rule on the bail issue,
after giving both parties their opportunity to present evidence, it is within his authority to consider the bail proceedings
ripe for resolution. In any case, respondent judge acceded to petitioner's request and allowed him to present more
witnesses in the bail proceedings.
In fine, the Court holds that the respondent judge's ruling on September 28, 1992 considering the prosecution's motion
for cancellation of bail ripe for resolution on the basis of the evidence already presented was not motivated by bias or
prejudice.
Finally, petitioner, in this Motion for Reconsideration, restates his argument in the Petition that the respondent judge is
biased, as evidenced by his Order dated July 17, 1991 55 which in effect allowed petitioner's arraignment and trial
without the benefit of a preliminary investigation.
It is true that in Go v. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 101837, February 11, 1992, a divided Court nullified respondent
judge's July 17, 1991 Order and ordered that a preliminary investigation be conducted. But the erroneous Order of
respondent judge is not necessarily proof of partiality. In People v. Lacson, 56 we held that erroneous rulings do not
always constitute evidence of bias. 57 In Luciano v. Mariano, 58 we made the pronouncement that "[t]he mere fact that
the judge has erroneously ruled against the same litigant on two or more occasions does not create in our minds a
decisive pattern of malice on the part of the judge against that particular litigant. This is not an unusual occurrence in our
courts . . ." Moreover, the fact that the erroneous order issued by a judge can be remedied and was actually corrected, as
in this case, militates against the disqualification of the judge on the ground of bias or partiality. 59
We have earlier underscored the importance of the rule of disqualification of judges, not only in safeguarding the rights of
litigants to due process of law but also in earning for the judiciary the people's confidence, an element so essential in the
effective administration of justice. The rule should, therefore, not be used cavalierly to suit a litigant's personal designs or
to defeat the ends of justice. "While We are exacting on the conduct of judges confronted with motions for
disqualification's, We cannot, however, tolerate acts of litigants who, for any conceivable reason, seek to disqualify a
judge for their own purpose, under a plea of bias, hostility, prejudice or prejudgment . . . [T]his Court does not approve
the tactic of some litigants of filing of baseless motion for disqualification of the judge as a means of delaying the case
and/or of forum-shopping for a more friendly judge." 60
In the case at hand, the Motion for Recusation filed by petitioner must be viewed in the light of his lawyers' many attempts
to suspend the proceedings before the respondent judge. Before the trial court, petitioner tried at least eight (8) times, not
merely to reset the scheduled hearings, 61 but to suspend the trial of the case itself. The following pleadings filed by
petitioner before respondent judge all prayed either to suspend the proceedings entirely or for the respondent judge to
delay the disposition of a particular issue:
CAPTION OF PLEADING DATE OF FILING
1.

Urgent Ex-Parte Motion

July 19, 1991

2.

Motion to Hold in Abeyance

3.

Motion for Recusation

4.

Motion to Suspend Proceedings

August 2, 1991

August 8, 1991

and Transfer Venue Outside


Metro Manila

August 22, 1991

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5.

Motion to Suspend Proceedings

6.

Second Motion to Inhibit

7.

Motion to Suspend Action on

E-CJS

March 4, 1991

March 2, 1992

Formal Offer of Evidence and on


Submission of Memorandum
8.

Dec. 21, 1992

Motion to Reopen Hearing and

Present Last Witness

Dec. 1, 1992

Before this Court, petitioner has already filed three (3) petitions assailing various orders of respondent judge in
connection with the single murder case pending against him. Apart from the present petition which is docketed as G.R.
No. 106087, petitioner has previously filed two (2) other petitions docketed as G.R. Nos. 101837 and 105424. In all three
(3) petitions, petitioner applied for a temporary restraining order to have the proceedings before the trial court held in
abeyance.
The murder case involving only one accused, the petitioner, has become unnecessarily complicated and the proceedings
before the trial court protracted, as can be gleaned from the fact that between the filing of the information on July 11,
1991 and the end of last year or December 31, 1992, the records of the case now consist of four (4) volumes and the
transcript of stenographic notes have reached a total of one thousand five hundred and twenty three (1523) pages.
Hearings are still being conducted.
When taken in the light of petitioner's repeated attempts to have the proceedings in the murder case suspended and his
lawyers' transparent maneuvers for the needless protraction of the case, the Motion for Recusation can only be viewed
as another dilatory move and the present Motion for Reconsideration a further ploy to stall hearings.
In sum, after a careful examination of the records of the case, including the transcript of stenographic notes, and
considering the applicable law, the pertinent rules and prevailing jurisprudence, we reiterate our holding in the Court
Resolution dated September 23, 1992 that the Court of Appeals committed no reversible error in affirming the respondent
judge's Order which denied petitioner's Motion for Recusation. This extended Resolution should put an end to petitioner's
obvious attempts at deferring the trial of his principal case by dwelling on incidental matters. The motion for
reconsideration must, perforce, be denied with finality.
In the Comment on the petitioner's Motion for Recusation, the Solicitor General prays that Attys. Raymundo A. Armovit,
Miguel R. Armovit and Rafael R. Armovit, be disciplinarily dealt with by this Court for allegedly using abusive and
intemperate language against respondent judge which betrays disrespect to the trial court.
Indeed, in the Motion for Reconsideration, counsels for petitioner describe as "unparalleled for sheer malevolence" 62
respondent judge's allegedly erroneous assumptions. Petitioner's lawyers further stated: "Petitioner's counsel, citing the
above proceedings, contested the trial judge's baseless, nay despotic attempt to muzzle his right to be heard in his
defense . . ." 63 The trial judge's actions were also branded as an "obviously unholy rush to do petitioner in . . ." 64
In the Urgent Motion filed by petitioner on December 16, 1992, respondent judge is alleged to have: (1) "generated belief
of his being under contract to do the prosecution's bidding;" (2) "evinced contempt for Supreme Court case law;" and (3)
"dishonored his judicial oath and duty to hear before he condemns, proceed upon inquiry, and render judgment on a
man's liberty only after a full trial of the facts." 65
The Rules of Court commands members of the bar "[t]o observe and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and
judicial officers." 66 Reinforcing this rule of conduct is the Code of Professional Responsibility which states in Canon 11
the following: "A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to judicial officers and should insist
on similar conduct by others." Rule 11.03 of the Code further states: "A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or

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menacing language or behaviour before the courts." The next succeeding rule, Rule 11.03 adds: "A lawyer shall not
attribute to a judge motives not supported by the record or having materiality to the case."
To be sure, the adversarial nature of our legal system has tempted members of the bar, in pursuing their duty to advance
the interests of their clients, to use strong language. But this privilege is not a license to malign our courts of justice.
Irreverent behavior towards the courts by members of the bar is proscribed, not so much for the sake of the temporary
incumbent of the judicial office, but more importantly, for the maintenance of respect for our judicial system, so necessary
for the country's stability. "Time and again, this Court has admonished and punished, in varying degrees, members of the
bar for statements, disrespectful or irreverent, acrimonious or defamatory, of this Court or the lower courts . . . To be sure,
lawyers may come up with various methods, perhaps more effective, in calling the Court's attention to the issues
involved. The language vehicle does not run short of expressions, emphatic but respectful, convincing but not derogatory,
illuminating but not offensive." 67
In light of the above doctrines and jurisprudence, as well as the inherent power and authority of this Court to cite
members of the Bar in contempt and to discipline them, we are of the opinion that the language used by petitioner's
lawyers is highly derogatory, offensive and contemptuous.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the motion for reconsideration is DENIED with FINALITY. Attys. Raymundo A.
Armovit, Miguel R. Armovit and Rafael R. Armovit are hereby ordered to pay a FINE of P500.00 each with a stern
WARNING that a repetition of this or similar act and language will be dealt with more severely. Let a copy of this
Resolution be attached to their records.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-69401 June 23, 1987


RIZAL ALIH, NASIM ALIH, AISAN ALIH, MIJAL ALIH, OMAR ALIH, EDRIS MUKSAN, MULSIDI WARADIL, BILLY
ASMAD RAMSID ASALI, BANDING USMAN, ANGGANG HADANI, WARMIKHAN HAPA, GABRAL JIKIRI, ALLAN TAN,
MUJAHIRIN MARAJUKI, KENNEDY GONZALES, URDUJA ALIH, MERLA ALIH, and NURAISA ALIH VDA DE
FEROLINO, petitioners,
vs.
MAJOR GENERAL DELFIN C. CASTRO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS COMMANDER SOUTHCOM AND REGIONAL
UNIFIED COMMAND, REGION IX, ZAMBOANGA CITY, COLONEL ERNESTO CALUPIG, IN HIS CAPACITY AS
COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE SPECIAL FORCES GROUP (AIRBORNE) AND INTERNAL DEFENSE COMMAND,
OTHERWISE KNOWN AS IdC MAJOR ARNOLD BLANCO IN HIS CAPACITY AS COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE
PHILIPPINE MARINES AND 1ST LIEUTENANT DARWIN GUERRA IN HIS CAPACITY AS ACTS SUPERVISOR,
INTERNAL DEFENSE COMMAND, ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

CRUZ, J.:
On November 25, 1984, a contingent of more than two hundred Philippine marines and elements of the home defense
forces raided the compound occupied by the petitioners at Gov. Alvarez street, Zamboanga City, in search of loose
firearms, ammunition and other explosives. 1
The military operation was commonly known and dreaded as a "zona," which was not unlike the feared practice of the
kempeitai during the Japanese Occupation of rounding up the people in a locality, arresting the persons fingered by a
hooded informer, and executing them outright (although the last part is not included in the modern refinement).
The initial reaction of the people inside the compound was to resist the invasion with a burst of gunfire. No one was hurt
as presumably the purpose was merely to warn the intruders and deter them from entering. Unfortunately, as might be
expected in incidents like this, the situation aggravated soon enough. The soldiers returned fire and a bloody shoot-out
ensued, resulting in a number of casualties. 2

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The besieged compound surrendered the following morning, and sixteen male occupants were arrested, later to be
finger-printed, paraffin-tested and photographed over their objection. The military also inventoried and confiscated nine
M16 rifles, one M14 rifle, nine rifle grenades, and several rounds of ammunition found in the premises. 3
On December 21, 1984, the petitioners came to this Court in a petition for prohibition and mandamus with preliminary
injunction and restraining order. Their purpose was to recover the articles seized from them, to prevent these from being
used as evidence against them, and to challenge their finger-printing, photographing and paraffin-testing as violative of
their right against self-incrimination. 4
The Court, treating the petition as an injunction suit with a prayer for the return of the articles alleged to have been
illegally seized, referred it for hearing to Judge Omar U. Amin of the regional trial court, Zamboanga City. 5 After
receiving the testimonial and documentary evidence of the parties, he submitted the report and recommendations on
which this opinion is based. 6
The petitioners demand the return of the arms and ammunition on the ground that they were taken without a search
warrant as required by the Bill of Rights. This is confirmed by the said report and in fact admitted by the respondents, "but
with avoidance. 7
Article IV, Section 3, of the 1973 Constitution, which was in force at the time of the incident in question, provided as
follows:
Sec. 3. 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 not be violated, and no search warrant or warrant of
arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined by the judge, or such other responsible officer as may be
authorized by law, after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and
particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
It was also declared in Article IV, Section 4(2) thatSec. 4(2)
Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any
purpose in any proceeding.
The respondents, while admitting the absence of the required such warrant, sought to justify their act on the ground that
they were acting under superior orders. 8 There was also the suggestion that the measure was necessary because of the
aggravation of the peace and order problem generated by the assassination of Mayor Cesar Climaco. 9
Superior orders" cannot, of course, countermand the Constitution. The fact that the petitioners were suspected of the
Climaco killing did not excuse the constitutional short-cuts the respondents took. As eloquently affirmed by the U.S.
Supreme Court in Ex parte Milligan: 10
The Constitution is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all
classes of men, at all times and under all circumstances. No doctrine, involving more pernicious consequences, was ever
invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of
government.
The precarious state of lawlessness in Zamboanga City at the time in question certainly did not excuse the nonobservance of the constitutional guaranty against unreasonable searches and seizures. There was no state of hostilities
in the area to justify, assuming it could, the repressions committed therein against the petitioners.
It is so easy to say that the petitioners were outlaws and deserved the arbitrary treatment they received to take them into
custody; but that is a criminal argument. It is also fallacious. Its obvious flaw lies in the conclusion that the petitioners
were unquestionably guilty on the strength alone of unsubstantiated reports that they were stockpiling weapons.

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The record does not disclose that the petitioners were wanted criminals or fugitives from justice. At the time of the "zona,"
they were merely suspected of the mayor's slaying and had not in fact even been investigated for it. As mere suspects,
they were presumed innocent and not guilty as summarily pronounced by the military.
Indeed, even if were assumed for the sake of argument that they were guilty, they would not have been any less entitled
to the protection of the Constitution, which covers both the innocent and the guilty. This is not to say, of course, that the
Constitution coddles criminals. What it does simply signify is that, lacking the shield of innocence, the guilty need the
armor of the Constitution, to protect them, not from a deserved sentence, but from arbitrary punishment. Every person is
entitled to due process. It is no exaggeration that the basest criminal, ranged against the rest of the people who would
condemn him outright, is still, under the Bill of Rights, a majority of one.
If the respondents did not actually disdain the Constitution when they made their illegal raid, they certainly gave every
appearance of doing so. This is truly regrettable for it was incumbent on them, especially during those tense and tindery
times, to encourage rather than undermine respect for the law, which it was their duty to uphold.
In acting as they did, they also defied the precept that "civilian authority is at all times supreme over the military" so
clearly proclaimed in the 1973 Constitution. 11 In the instant case, the respondents simply by-passed the civil courts,
which had the authority to determine whether or not there was probable cause to search the petitioner's premises.
Instead, they proceeded to make the raid without a search warrant on their own unauthorized determination of the
petitioner's guilt.
The respondents cannot even plead the urgency of the raid because it was in fact not urgent. They knew where the
petitioners were. They had every opportunity to get a search warrant before making the raid. If they were worried that the
weapons inside the compound would be spirited away, they could have surrounded the premises in the meantime, as a
preventive measure. There was absolutely no reason at all why they should disregard the orderly processes required by
the Constitution and instead insist on arbitrarily forcing their way into the petitioner's premises with all the menace of a
military invasion.
Conceding that the search was truly warrantless, might not the search and seizure be nonetheless considered valid
because it was incidental to a legal arrest? Surely not. If all the law enforcement authorities have to do is force their way
into any house and then pick up anything they see there on the ground that the occupants are resisting arrest, then we
might as well delete the Bill of Rights as a fussy redundancy.
When the respondents could have easily obtained a search warrant from any of the TEN civil courts then open and
functioning in Zamboanga City, 12 they instead simply barged into the beleaguered premises on the verbal order of their
superior officers. One cannot just force his way into any man's house on the illegal orders of a superior, however lofty his
rank. Indeed, even the humblest hovel is protected from official intrusion because of the ancient rule, revered in all free
regimes, that a man's house is his castle.
It may be frail; its roof may shake; the wind may enter; the rain may enter. But the King of England may not enter. All the
forces of the Crown dare not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement. 13
If the arrest was made under Rule 113, Section 5, of the Rules of Court in connection with a crime about to be
committed, being committed, or just committed, what was that crime? There is no allegation in the record of such a
justification. Parenthetically, it may be observed that under the Revised Rule 113, Section 5(b), the officer making the
arrest must have personal knowledge of the ground therefor as stressed in the recent case of People v. Burgos. 14
If follows that as the search of the petitioners' premises was violative of the Constitution, all the firearms and ammunition
taken from the raided compound are inadmissible in evidence in any of the proceedings against the petitioners. These
articles are "fruits of the poisonous tree. 15 As Judge Learned Hand observed, "Only in case the prosecution which itself
controls the seizing officials, knows that it cannot profit by their wrong, will the wrong be repressed. 16 Pending
determination of the legality of such articles, however, they shall remain in custodia legis, subject to such appropriate
disposition as the corresponding courts may decide. 17
The objection to the photographing, fingerprinting and paraffin-testing of the petitioners deserves slight comment. The
prohibition against self-incrimination applies to testimonial compulsion only. As Justice Holmes put it in Holt v. United

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States, 18 "The prohibition of compelling a man in a criminal court to be a witness against himself is a prohibition of the
use of physical or moral compulsion to extort communications from him, not an exclusion of his body as evidence when it
may be material."
The fearful days of hamleting salvaging, "zona" and other dreaded operations should remain in the past, banished with
the secret marshals and their covert license to kill without trial. We must be done with lawlessness in the name of law
enforcement. Those who are supposed to uphold the law must not be the first to violate it. As Chief Justice Claudio
Teehankee stressed in his concurring opinion in Lacanilao v. De Leon, 19 "It is time that the martial law regime's legacy
of the law of force be discarded and that there be a return to the force and rule of law."
All of us must exert efforts to make our country truly free and democratic, where every individual is entitled to the full
protection of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights can stand as a stolid sentinel for all, the innocent as well as the guilty,
including the basest of criminals.
WHEREFORE, the search of the petitioners' premises on November 25, 1984, is hereby declared ILLEGAL and all the
articles seized as a result thereof are inadmissible in evidence against the petitioners in any proceedings. However, the
said articles shall remain in custodia legis pending the outcome of the criminal cases that have been or may later be filed
against the petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. SAMUEL YU VALDEZ @ Bebot, accused-appellant.
DECISION
QUISUMBING, J.:
This is an appeal from the decision[1] rendered on November 4, 1996, by the Regional Trial Court of Lagawe, Ifugao,
Branch 14, in Criminal Case No. 930, which found Samuel Valdez guilty of the crime of illegal transport of marijuana
buds/leaves and sentencing him to reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of P500,000.00.
In an information dated December 28, 1994, Provincial Prosecutor Jose Godofredo Naui charged herein accusedappellant with violation of Section 4 of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, otherwise known as Dangerous Drugs Act of
1972, allegedly committed as follows:
That on or about the 1st day of September, 1994, in the Municipality of Hingyon, Ifugao and within the jurisdiction of the
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, while on board a Dangwa Tranco bus bound for Manila, did then and there,
wilfully and unlawfully transport marijuana weighing more or less two kilos packed in two separate containers.
CONTRARY TO LAW.[2]2
Upon arraignment, herein accused-appellant, assisted by counsel, entered a plea of not guilty. Thereafter, trial on the
merits ensued. Subsequently, the trial court rendered the assailed judgment, the dispositive portion of which reads:
From the foregoing, the prosecution having proven the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, he is hereby
sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. He is fined the amount of Five Hundred Thousand (P500,000.00)
Pesos. The drug in question is ordered forfeited in favor of the government.
SO ORDERED.[3]
The prosecutions evidence upon which the finding of guilt beyond reasonable doubt was based is summarized by the trial
court as follows:
In the morning of September 1, 1994, SPO1 Bernardo Mariano was in the Municipality of Banaue, Ifugao waiting for a
ride to report for work in Lagawe, Ifugao. A civilian asset approached him and intimated that an Ilocano person was ready
to transport marijuana. This asset described to him the physical appearance of the suspect as thin and possessing a
green bag. Mr. Mariano invited the asset and together they proceeded to Barangay O-ong, Hingyon, Ifugao. There they
alighted and stopped and ordinary Dangwa passenger bus bound for Baguio City. Aboard on this bus, they did not find

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the person concerned and reaching Barangay Pitawan, Hingyon, Ifugao, they stepped out of the vehicle and waited for
the air conditioned Dangwa bus bound for Manila. When this bus arrived, Police Officer Mariano boarded the aircon bus
and looked for that person from among the passengers and noticed him holding the green bag. He immediately ordered
the person to get out of the bus. This fellow followed holding the bag. Once outside, he further ordered the suspect to
open the bag and saw a water jug colored red and white and a lunch box. He told this man to open the jug and the lunch
box and when opened, he saw marijuana leaves as contents. At this time, suspect revealed his name to be Samuel Yu
Valdez. With this discovery, the asset was left behind and Peace Officer Mariano escorted the accused to the Philippine
National Police (PNP) Provincial Headquarters at Lagawe, Ifugao. He turned over the accused including the contents of
the green bag to his superiors for further investigation.[4]
In open court, SPO1 Bernardo Mariano identified the water jug, the lunch box, both stuffed with dried marijuana leaves
and the green bag. He further identified the accused as the same person from whom he seized the prohibited drug.
Police Senior Inspector Alma Margarita Villasenor, Forensic Chemist, PNP Crime Laboratory, Camp Dangwa, La
Trinidad, Benguet averred that from her laboratory examination, the items or samples taken from the water jug and
lunchbox gave positive results to the test for the presence of marijuana, a prohibited drug.
Only the accused testified in his defense. His testimony is narrated by the trial court as follows:
Accused is a resident of Barangay Gumol, Guimba, Nueva Ecija and knows construction work and more often than not,
his co-worker is a certain Edwin Andres from Cabanatuan City who married one from Banaue, Ifugao. Upon the invitation
of Edwin Andres to attend the latters birthday celebration slated on August 31, 1994, accused and Edwin Andres arrived
in Banaue, Ifugao on August 30, 1994. The next day, August 31, 1994, accused partook of the birthday party and the
following morning September 1, 1994, he was bound for Nueva Ecija taking the 7:00 oclock in the morning Dangwa bus.
Because of too much intake of liquor (hang-over), when he boarded the bus, he still felt groggy and sat alone on a seat
near the window. While the bus was proceeding, he felt sleepy on that seat still alone. His bag was placed on the right
side and the green bag was place under the seat to the right. Feeling sleepy, he noticed somebody or a passenger
seated beside him and later he also felt and noticed that his seatmate was gone and at this time he was awakened by a
tap on his shoulder. He saw two persons standing and one of them mentioned as Mariano who he thought at first was the
bus inspector as he was in fatigue uniform. Then this Mariano asked him whether or not he owns the green bag but he
replied saying I do not know. I have a fellow seated with me here but he is no more. He was made to step out of the bus
and there he was forced to declare that he is the owner of the bag. The other policeman was nearby who pointed to the
green bag. That the two policemen were the ones who opened that bag and its contents were marijuana. Thereafter, he
was brought to the PNP Provincial Headquarters (termed by the accused as barracks) in Lagawe, Ifugao. When brought
to said office, he saw many people possibly police or soldiers. He was later on investigated and showed them the bag. He
was told to stay for a while in the jailhouse. He could remember that he was made to sign some papers or documents
which he did not read. After an overnight stay at the barracks, he was brought to the hospital for medical examination
about the pain on his breast but kept mum on the blow delivered by Bernardo Mariano at the waiting shed where he was
first aprehended. That from the hospital, he was brought to the Municipal Jail and later to the Provincial Jail for further
detention.[5]
Appellant, through his counsel, Public Attorneys Office, raised the following assignment of errors in his appeal:
I
THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN ADMITTING THE SEIZED DRUGS IN EVIDENCE.
II
THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED DESPITE THE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO
PROVE HIS GUILT OF THE CRIME CHARGED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.[6]
Appellant contends that the marijuana allegedly seized from him was a product of an unlawful search, hence,
inadmissible in evidence.
The resolution of this case hinges on the pivotal question of the constitutionality and legality of the arrest and search of
herein appellant effected by the police officer.

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Settled is the rule that no arrest, search and seizure can be made without a valid warrant issued by a competent judicial
authority. The Constitution guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects
against unreasonable searches and seizures.[7] It further decrees that any evidence obtained in violation of said rights
shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.[8]
The abovementioned constitutional provisions serve as safeguards against wanton and unreasonable invasion of the
privacy and liberty of a citizen as to his person, papers and effects. The right of a person to be secure against any
unreasonable seizure of his body and any deprivation of his liberty is a most basic and fundamental one. A statute, rule
or situation which allows exceptions to the requirement of a warrant of arrest or search warrant must be strictly construed.
We cannot liberally consider arrests or seizures without warrant or extend their application beyond the cases specifically
provided or allowed by law. To do so would infringe upon personal liberty and set back a basic right so often violated and
yet, so deserving of full protection and vindication.[9]
Nevertheless, the constitutional proscription against warrantless searches and seizures admits of certain legal and
judicial exceptions, as follows: (1) warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest recognized under Section 12, Rule 126
of the Rules of Court and by prevailing jurisprudence; (2) seizure of evidence in plain view; (3) search of a moving
vehicle; (4) consented warrantless search; (5) customs search; (6) stop and frisk; and (7) exigent and emergency
circumstances.[10]
On the other hand, a lawful arrest without a warrant may be made by a peace officer or a private person under the
following circumstances:
(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 his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one
confinement to another.[11]
In this case, appellant was caught in flagrante since he was carrying marijuana at the time of his arrest. A crime was
actually being committed by the appellant, thus, the search made upon his personal effects falls squarely under
paragraph (a) of the foregoing provisions of law, which allow a warrantless search incident to lawful arrest. While it is true
that SPO1 Mariano was not armed with a search warrant when the search was conducted over the personal effects of
appellant, nevertheless, under the circumstances of the case, there was sufficient probable cause for said police officer to
believe that appellant was then and there committing a crime.
Although the term eludes exact definition, probable cause signifies 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; or the existence of such facts and circumstances which could lead a reasonably
discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the items, articles or objects sought in
connection with said offense or subject to seizure and destruction by law is in the place to be searched.[12] The required
probable cause that will justify a warrantless search and seizure is not determined by a fixed formula but is resolved
according to the facts of each case.[13]
Our jurisprudence is replete with instances where tipped information has become a sufficient probable cause to effect a
warrantless search and seizure.[14]
In People v. Tangliben,[15] two police officers and a barangay tanod were conducting surveillance mission at the Victory
Liner terminal compound in San Fernando, Pampanga against persons who may commit misdemeanors and also on
those who may be engaging in the traffic of dangerous drugs based on information supplied by informers. At 9:30 in the
evening, the policemen noticed a person carrying a red travelling bag who was acting suspiciously. An informer pointed to
the accused-appellant as carrying marijuana. They confronted him and requested him to open his bag but he refused. He

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acceded later on when the policemen identified themselves. Inside the bag were marijuana leaves wrapped in a plastic
wrapper. The police officers only knew of the activities of Tangliben on the night of his arrest. Hence, faced with such onthe-spot tip, the police officers acted quickly as there was not enough time to secure a search warrant.
In People v. Maspil,[16] a checkpoint was set up by elements of the First Narcotics Regional Unit of the Narcotics
Command at Sayangan, Atok, Benguet, to monitor, inspect and scrutinize vehicles on the highway going towards Baguio
City. This was done because of a confidential report by informers that Maspil and Bagking, would be transporting a large
quantity of marijuana to Baguio City. In fact, the informers were with the policemen manning the checkpoint. As expected,
at about 2 oclock in the early morning of November 1, 1986, a jeepney approached the checkpoint, driven by Maspil, with
Bagking as passenger. The officers stopped the vehicle and saw that on it were loaded 2 plastic sacks, a jute sack, and 3
big round tin cans. When opened, the sacks and cans were seen to contain what appeared to be marijuana leaves. The
policemen thereupon placed Maspil and Bagking under arrest, and confiscated the leaves which, upon scientific
examination, were verified to be marijuana leaves. The Court upheld the validity of the search thus conducted, as being
incidental to lawful warrantless arrest and declared that Maspil and Bagking had been caught in flagrante delicto
transporting prohibited drugs.
In People v. Malmstedt,[17] Narcom agents set up checkpoint at Acop, Tublay, Mountain Province in view of reports that
vehicles coming from Sagada were transporting marijuana. They likewise received information that a Caucasian coming
from Sagada had in his possession prohibited drugs. There was no reasonable time to obtain a search warrant,
especially since the identity of the suspect could not be readily ascertained. Accuseds actuations also aroused the
suspicion of the officers conducting the inspection aboard the bus. The Court held that in light of such circumstances, to
deprive the agents of the ability and facility to act promptly, including a search without a warrant, would be to sanction
impotence and ineffectiveness in law enforcement, to the detriment of society.
In People v. Bagista,[18] the NARCOM officers had probable cause to stop and search all vehicles coming from the north
to Acop, Tublay, Benguet in view of the confidential information they received from their regular informant that a woman
having the same appearance as that of accused-appellant would be bringing marijuana from up north. They likewise had
probable cause to search accused-appellants belongings since she fitted the description given by the NARCOM
informant.
In Manalili v. Court of Appeals,[19] the policemen conducted a surveillance in an area of the Kalookan Cemetery based
on information that drug addicts were roaming therein. Upon reaching the place, they chanced upon a man in front of the
cemetery who appeared to be high on drugs. He was observed to have reddish eyes and to be walking in a swaying
manner. Moreover, he appeared to be trying to avoid the policemen. When approached and asked what he was holding
in his hands , he tried to resist. When he showed his wallet, it contained marijuana. The Court held that the policemen
had sufficient reason to accost accused-appellant to determine if he was actually high on drugs due to his suspicious
actuations, coupled with the fact that based on information, this area was a haven for drug addicts.
As in the instant case, police officer Mariano was tipped off by a civilian asset that a thin Ilocano person with a green bag
was about to transport marijuana from Banaue, Ifugao. Said information was received by SPO1 Mariano the very same
morning he was waiting for a ride in Banaue to report for work in Lagawe, the capital town of Ifugao province. Thus, face
with such on-the-spot information, the law enforcer had to respond quickly to the call of duty. Obviously, there was not
enough time to secure a search warrant considering the time involved in the process. In fact, in view of the urgency of the
case, SPO1 Mariano together with the civilian asset proceeded immediately to Hingyon, Ifugao to pursue the drug
trafficker. In Hingyon, he flagged down buses bound for Baguio City and Manila, and looked for the person described by
the informant. It must be noted that the target of the pursuit was just the thin Ilocano person with a green bag and no
other. And so, when SPO1 Mariano inspected the bus bound for Manila, he just singled out the passenger with the green
bag. Evidently, there was definite information of the identity of the person engaged in transporting prohibited drugs at a
particular time and place. SPO1 Mariano had already an inkling of the identity of the person he was looking for. As a
matter of fact, no search at all was conducted on the baggages of other passengers. Hence, appellants claim that the
arresting officer was only fishing for evidence of a crime has no factual basis.
Clearly, SPO1 Mariano had probable cause to stop and search the buses coming from Banaue in view of the information
he got from the civilian asset that somebody having the same appearance as that of appellant and with a green bag
would be transporting marijuana from Banaue. He likewise had probable cause to search appellants belongings since he

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fits the description given by the civilian asset. Since there was a valid warrantless search by the police officer, any
evidence obtained during the course of said search is admissible against appellant.
Appellant likewise asserts that the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. He claims that when
SPO1 Mariano apprehended him, he was not in possession of the green bag as the same was under the seat before him.
The assertion is incredulous.
As SPO1 Mariano declared in his testimony, the appellant was alone in his seat and the green bag was placed under the
seat just in front of appellant. SPO1 Mariano testified as follows:
Q: How about this travelling bag, the green bag, is it not that this bag was placed considerably far from the accused?
A: The green bag was placed just in front of him.
Q: But he was not holding the bag, is it not?
A: No.
Q: So he was not in possession of this bag when you apprehended him?
A: No.
Q: And of course there were other passengers aside from the accused?
A: There were other passengers but he was alone on that seat.
Q: How about the seat fronting this accused, is it not that there was a person seated in front?
A: Yes, there were.
Q: And upon seeing the accused you ordered him to get that bag?
A: Yes.
Q: And you told him to get the bag and alight from the bus?
A: I told him, you get off the bus, and I told him to carry his bag.[20]
From the foregoing testimony, it can be gleamed that when appellant was asked to get off the bus and bring his bag,
appellant brought with him said bag. If, indeed, the bag was not his, he should not have taken it with him in alighting from
the bus. Besides, denial, like alibi, if not substantiated by clear and convincing evidence, is negative and self-serving
evidence bearing no weight in law.[21]
Appellant further avers that the civilian asset should have been presented in court to shed light on how he managed to
get his information. This argument is not tenable. The settled rule is that the presentation of an informant in illegal drugs
case is not essential for conviction nor is it indispensable for a successful prosecution because his testimony would be
merely corroborative and cumulative.[22]
Based on the foregoing, this Court is convinced that the guilt of appellant has been proven beyond reasonable doubt by
the evidence on record.
With the enactment and effectivity of R.A. No. 7659,[23] the penalty imposable upon violators of Section 4 of Dangerous
Drugs Act is reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) to ten
million pesos (P10,000,000.00) if the marijuana involved weighs 750 grams or more. In this case, the quantity of
marijuana involved weighs more or less two kilograms, hence, the applicable penalty is reclusion perpetua to death.

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Since the imposable penalty is composed of two indivisible penalties, the rules for the application of indivisible penalties
under Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code should be applied. This is pursuant to our pronouncement in People vs.
Simon[24] where we recognized the suppletory application of the rules on penalties in the Revised Penal Code as well as
the Indeterminate Sentence Law to the Dangerous Drugs Act after the amendment of the latter by R.A. No. 7659.[25]
Thus, as there is neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstances in the commission of the crime, the trial court correctly
imposed the lesser penalty of reclusion perpetua. Finally, considering that the penalty imposed is the indivisible penalty
of reclusion perpetua, the Indeterminate Sentence Law could not be applied.[26]
WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is DENIED. The judgment of the lower court finding appellant guilty of the crime illegal
transport of marijuana and sentencing him to reclusion perpetua and to pay fine of P500,000.00 is hereby AFFIRMED.
Costs against appellant.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-63630

April 6, 1990

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
MEDEL TANGLIBEN Y BERNARDINO, defendant-appellant.
The Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Katz N. Tierra for defendant-appellant.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:


This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 41, Third Judicial Region at San Fernando,
Pampanga, Branch 41, finding appellant Medel Tangliben y Bernardino guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating
Section 4, Article II of Republic Act 6425 (Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 as amended) and sentencing him to life
imprisonment, to pay a fine of P20,000 and to pay the costs.
The information filed against the appellant alleged:
That on or about the 2nd day of March, 1982, in the municipality of San Fernando, Province of Pampanga, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused MEDEL TANGLIBEN y BERNARDINO,
knowing fully well that Marijuana is a prohibited drug, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have his
possession, control and custody one (1) bag of dried marijuana leaves with an approximate weight of one (1) kilo and to
transport (sic) the same to Olongapo City, without authority of law to do so. (At p. 6, Rollo)
The prosecution's evidence upon which the finding of guilt beyond reasonable doubt was based is narrated by the trial
court as follows:
It appears from the evidence presented by the prosecution that in the late evening of March 2, 1982, Patrolmen Silverio
Quevedo and Romeo L. Punzalan of the San Fernando Police Station, together with Barangay Tanod Macario Sacdalan,
were conducting surveillance mission at the Victory Liner Terminal compound located at Barangay San Nicolas, San
Fernando, Pampanga; that the surveillance was aimed not only against persons who may commit misdemeanors at the
said place but also on persons who may be engaging in the traffic of dangerous drugs based on informations supplied by
informers; that it was around 9:30 in the evening that said Patrolmen noticed a person caring a traveling bag (Exhibit G)
who was acting suspiciously and they confronted him; that the person was requested by Patrolmen Quevedo and
Punzalan to open the red traveling bag but the person refused, only to accede later on when the patrolmen identified
themselves; that found inside the bag were marijuana leaves (Exhibit B) wrapped in a plastic wrapper and weighing one
kilo, more or less; that the person was asked of his name and the reason why he was at the said place and he gave his
name as Medel Tangliben and explained that he was waiting for a ride to Olongapo City to deliver the marijuana leaves;
that the accused was taken to the police headquarters at San Fernando, Pampanga, for further investigation; and that
Pat. Silverio Quevedo submitted to his Station Commander his Investigator's Report (Exhibit F).

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It appears also from the prosecution's evidence that in the following morning or on March 3, 1982, Pat. Silverio Quevedo
asked his co-policeman Pat. Roberto Quevedo, who happens to be his brother and who has had special training on
narcotics, to conduct a field test on a little portion of the marijuana leaves and to have the remaining portion examined by
the PCCL at Camp Olivas, San Fernando, Pampanga; that Pat. Roberto Quevedo conducted a field test (Exhibit H) on
the marijuana leaves and found positive result for marijuana (Exhibit E); that the remaining bigger quantity of the
marijuana leaves were taken to the PCCL at Camp Olivas by Pat. Roberto Quevedo that same day of March 3, 1982
(Exhibit A and A-1) and when examined, the same were also found to be marijuana (Exhibit C and C-1). (At pp. 9-10,
Rollo)
Only the accused testified in his defense. His testimony is narrated by the trial court as follows:
The accused declared that he got married on October 25, 1981 and his wife begot a child on June 10, 1982; that he was
formerly employed in the poultry farm of his uncle Alejandro Caluma in Antipolo, Rizal; that he is engaged in the business
of selling poultry medicine and feeds, including chicks, and used to conduct his business at Taytay, Rizal; that he goes to
Subic at times in connection with his business and whenever he is in Subic, he used to buy C-rations from one Nena
Ballon and dispose the same in Manila; that he never left his residence at Antipolo, Rizal, on March 2, 1982; that on
March 3, 1982, he went to Subic to collect a balance of P100.00 from a customer thereat and to buy C-rations; that he
was able to meet Nena Ballon at 6:00 o'clock in the evening and he stayed in Nena's house up to 8:00 o'clock because
he had a drinking spree with Nena's son; that he tried to catch the 8:00 o'clock trip to Manila from Olongapo City but he
failed and was able to take the bus only by 9:00 o'clock that evening that it was a Victory Liner Bus that he rode and
because he was tipsy, he did not notice that the bus was only bound for San Fernando, Pampanga; that upon alighting at
the Victory Liner Compound at San Fernando, Pampanga he crossed the street to wait for a bus going to Manila; that
while thus waiting for a bus, a man whom he came to know later as Pat. Punzalan, approached him and asked him if he
has any residence certificate; that when he took out his wallet, Pat. Punzalan got the wallet and took all the money inside
the wallet amounting to P545.00; that Pat. Punzalan told him that he'll be taken to the municipal building for verification as
he may be an NPA member; that at the municipal building, he saw a policeman, identified by him later as Pat. Silverio
Quevedo, sleeping but was awakened when he arrived that Pat. Quevedo took him upstairs and told him to take out
everything from his pocket saying that the prisoners inside the jail may get the same from him; that inside his pocket was
a fifty-peso bill and Pat. Quevedo took the same, telling him that it shall be returned to him but that it was never returned
to him; that he was thereafter placed under detention and somebody told him that he is being charged with possession of
marijuana and if he would like to be bailed out, somebody is willing to help him; and, that when he was visited by his wife,
he told his wife that Patrolman Silverio Quevedo took away all his money but he told his wife not to complain anymore as
it would be useless. (Rollo, pp. 10-11)
Appellant, through counsel de oficio Atty. Enrique Chan, raised the lone assignment of error in his appeal:
THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT AND FINDING HIM GUILTY OF THE
CRIME CHARGED ON INSUFFICIENT AND DOUBTFUL EVIDENCE. (At p. 48, Rollo)
The Solicitor-General likewise filed his brief, basically reiterating ating the lower court's findings.
However, before this Court had the chance to act on appeal, counsel de oficio Atty. Enrique Chan died. Thereafter, this
court appointed a new counsel de oficio, Atty. Katz Tierra and pursuant thereto, the Deputy Clerk of Court, in behalf of
the Clerk of Court, required the new counsel to file her appellant's brief. The latter complied and, in her brief, raised the
following assignment of errors:
I
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING AS EVIDENCE THE PACKAGE OF MARIJUANA ALLEGEDLY SEIZED
FROM DEFENDANT-APPELLANT AS IT WAS A PRODUCT OF AN UNLAWFUL SEARCH WITHOUT A WARRANT.
II
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING AS EVIDENCE THE ALLEGED PACKAGE OF MARIJUANA LEAVES AS
THE LEAVES SUPPOSEDLY SEIZED FROM ACCUSED WHEN IT WAS NEVER AUTHENTICATED.

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III
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT RULING THAT THE PROSECUTION FAILED TO PROVE THE GUILT OF
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. (At pp. 92-93, Rollo)
It is contended that the marijuana allegedly seized from the accused was a product of an unlawful search without a
warrant and is therefore inadmissible in evidence.
This contention is devoid of merit.
One of the exceptions to the general rule requiring a search warrant is a search incident to a lawful arrest. Thus, Section
12 of Rule 126 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure provides:
Section 12.
Search incident to a lawful arrest. A person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous weapons
or anything which may be used as proof of the commission of an offense, without a search warrant.
Meanwhile, Rule 113, Sec. 5(a) provides:
. . . 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.
Accused was caught in flagrante, since he was carrying marijuana at the time of his arrest. This case therefore falls
squarely within the exception. The warrantless search was incident to a lawful arrest and is consequently valid.
In the case of People v. Claudia, 160 SCRA 646, [1988] this Court, confronted with the same issue, held that:
Appellant Claudio was caught transporting prohibited drugs. Pat. Daniel did not need a warrant to arrest Claudio as the
latter was caught in flagrante delicto. The warrantless search being an incident to a lawful arrest is in itself lawful.
(Nolasco V. Pao, 147 SCRA 509). Therefore, there was no infirmity in the seizure of the 1.1 kilos of marijuana.
We are not unmindful of the decision of this Court in People v. Amininudin, 163 SCRA 402 [1988]. In that case the PC
officers had earlier received a tip from an informer that accused-appellant. was on board a vessel bound for Iloilo City
and was carrying marijuana. Acting on this tip, they waited for him one evening, approached him as he descended from
the gangplank, detained him and inspected the bag he was carrying. Said bag contained marijuana leaves. The Court
held that the marijuana could not be admitted in evidence since it was seized illegally. The records show, however, that
there were certain facts, not sing in the case before us, which led the Court to declare the seizure as invalid. As stated
therein:
The present case presented no such urgency From the conflicting declarations of the PC witnesses, it is clear that they
had at react two days within which they could have obtained a warrant of arrest and search Aminnudin who was coming
to Iloilo on the M/V Wilcon 9. His name was known. The vehicle was identified. The date of its arrival was certain. And
from the information they had received, they could have persuaded a judge that there was probable cause, indeed, to
justify the issuance of a warrant. Yet they did nothing. No effort was made to comply with the law. The Bill of Rights was
ignored altogether because the PC lieutenant who was the head of the arresting team, had determined on his own
authority that a "search warrant was not necessary."
In contrast, the case before us presented urgency. Although the trial court's decision did not mention it, the transcript of
stenographic notes reveals that there was an informer who pointed to the accused-appellant as carrying marijuana. (TSN,
pp. 52-53) Faced with such on-the-spot information, the police officers had to act quickly. There was not enough time to
secure a search warrant. We cannot therefore apply the ruling in Aminnudin to the case at bar. To require search
warrants during on-the-spot apprehensions of drug pushers, illegal possessors of firearms, jueteng collectors, smugglers
of contraband goods, robbers, etc. would make it extremely difficult, if not impossible to contain the crimes with which
these persons are associated.

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Accused-appellant likewise asserts that the package of marijuana leaves supposedly seized from him was never
authenticated and therefore should not have been admitted as evidence. He capitalizes on the fact that the marijuana
package brought by patrolman Roberto Quevedo to the PC Crime Laboratory for examination did not contain a tag
bearing the name of the accused. We rule, however, that since Patrolman Quevedo testified that he gave the marijuana
package together with a letter-request for examination, and the forensic chemist Marilene Salangad likewise testified that
she received the marijuana together with the letter-request and said letter-request bore the name of the accused, then the
requirements of proper authentication of evidence were sufficiently complied with. The marijuana package examined by
the forensic checklist was satisfactorily identified as the one seized from accused.
Even assuming arguendo that the marijuana sent to the PC Crime Laboratory was not properly authenticated, still, we
cannot discount the separate field test conducted by witness Roberto Quevedo which yielded positive results for
marijuana.
Lastly, the appellant claims that the evidence upon which he was convicted was insufficient and doubtful and that the
prosecution failed to prove his guilt.
In attacking the sufficiency of evidence, the appellant avers that the informer should have been presented before the
lower court. We discard this argument as a futile attempt to revive an already settled issue. This Court has ruled in
several cases that non-presentation of the informer, where his testimony would be merely corroborative or cumulative, is
not fatal to the prosecution's case. (People v. Asio, G.R. No. 84960, September 1, 1989; (People v. Viola, G.R. No.
64262, March 16, 1989; People v. Capulong, 160 SCRA 533 [1988]; People v. Cerelegia, 147 SCRA 538).
As to doubtfulness of evidence, well-settled is the rule that findings of the trial court on the issue of credibility of
witnesses and their testimonies are entitled to great respect and accorded the highest consideration by the appellate
court. Since credibility is a matter that is peculiarly within the province of the trial judge, who had first hand opportunity to
watch and observe the demeanor and behavior of witnesses both for the prosecution and the defense at the time of their
testimony (People v. Tejada, G.R. No. 81520, February 21, 1989; People v. Turla, 167 SCRA 278), we find no reason to
disturb the following findings:
The testimony of prosecution witnesses Patrolmen Silverio Quevedo and Romeo Punzalan are positive and sufficiently
clean to show the commission by the accused of the offense herein chatted. These prosecution witnesses have no
motive to fabricate the facts and to foist a very serious offense against the accused. The knowledge on what these
witnesses testified to were (sic) acquired by them in the official performance of their duties and then, (sic) being no
showing that they are prejudiced against the accused, their testimonies deserve full credit.
The testimonies of the afore-mentioned petitioner that what they found in the possession of the accused were marijuana
leaves were corroborated by the examination findings conducted by Pat. October to Salangad of the PCCL, with station at
camp Olivas, San Fernando, Pampanga (Exhibits C and C-1). (Rollo, p. 11)
Moreover, if there is truth in the testimony of the accused to the effect that Pat. Punzalan got all the money from his wallet
when he was accosted at the Victory Liner Terminal and was told just to keep quiet otherwise he will be "salvaged" why
will Pat. Punzalan still bring the accused to the municipal Building for interrogation and/or verification? Would not Pat.
Punzalan be exposing his identity to the accused? This is unnatural. And this is also true on the testimony to the accused
that Pat. Silverio Quevedo got his fifty-peso bill arid never returned the same to him. If the policemen really got any
money from the accused and that the marijuana leaves do not belong to the accused, why will the two policemen still
produce in Court as evidence that expensive-looking traveling red bag (Exhibit G) taken from the accused and which
contained the marijuana in question if the instant case is a mere fabrication?
As already stated, all the evidence, oral and documentary, presented by the prosecution in this case were all based on
personal knowledge acquired by the prosecution witnesses in the regular performance of their official duties and there is
nothing in their testimonies to show that they are bias (sic) or that they have any prejudice against the herein accused.
Between the testimonies of these prosecution witnesses and that of the uncorroborated and self-serving testimony of the
accused, the former should prevail. (Rollo, p. 13)
Likewise, the appellant chose to limit his defense to his own testimony. He could have availed himself through
compulsory court processes of several witnesses to buttress his defense. Since not one other witness was presented nor

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was any justification for the non-appearance given, the inadequacy of his lone and uncorroborated testimony remains. It
cannot prevail vis-a-vis the positive testimonies given by the prosecution witnesses.
Moreover, the appellant's having jumped bail is akin to flight which, as correctly observed by the lower court, is an added
circumstance tending to establish his guilt.
We take exception, however, to the trial court's finding that:
The dried marijuana leaves found in the possession of the accused weighs one (1) kilo, more or less. The intent to
transport the same is clear from the testimony of Pat. Silverio Quevedo who declared, among other things, that when he
confronted the accused that night, the latter told him that he (accused) is bringing the marijuana leaves to Olongapo City.
Moreover, considering the quantity of the marijuana leaves found in the possession of the accused and the place he was
arrested which is at San Fernando, Pampanga, a place where the accused is not residing, it can be said that the intent to
transport the marijuana leaves has been clearly established. (Rollo, pp. 13-14)
The alleged extrajudicial confession of the accused which, on the other hand, he categorically denied in court, that he is
transporting the marijuana leaves to Olongapo City cannot be relied upon. Even assuming it to be true, the extrajudicial
confession cannot be admitted because it does not appear in the records that the accused, during custodial investigation,
was apprised of his rights to remain silent and to counsel and to be informed of such rights. In People v. Duero 104
SCRA 379 [1981], the Court pronounced that "inasmuch as the prosecution failed to prove that before Duero made his
alleged oral confession he was informed of his rights to remain silent and to have counsel and because there is no proof
that he knowingly and intelligently waived those rights, his confession is inadmissible in evidence. This ruling was
reiterated in People v. Tolentino, 145 SCRA 597 [1986], where the Court added that:
In effect, the Court not only abrogated the rule on presumption of regularity of official acts relative to admissibility of
statements taken during in-custody interrogation but likewise dispelled any doubt as to the full adoption of the Miranda
doctrine in this jurisdiction. It is now incumbent upon the prosecution to prove during a trial that prior to questioning, the
confessant was warned of his constitutionally protected rights.
The trial judge likewise found the marijuana to weigh one kilo, more or less, and from this finding extracted a clear intent
to transport the marijuana leaves. It may be pointed out, however, that although the information stated the weight to be
approximately one kilo, the forensic chemist who examined the marijuana leaves testified that the marijuana weighed only
600 grams Such amount is not a considerable quantity as to conclusively confer upon the accused an intent to transport
the marijuana leaves.
Nor can it be said that the intent to transport is clearly established from the fact that the accused was arrested at San
Fernando, Pampanga, a place which is not his residence. Conviction of a crime with an extremely severe penalty must be
based on evidence which is clearer and more convincing than the inferences in this case.
What was therefore proved beyond reasonable doubt is not his intent to transport the marijuana leaves but his actual
session.
The offense committed by the appellant is possession of marijuana under Section 8 of Republic Act No. 6425
(Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 as amended).
WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction by the trial court is hereby AFFIRMED but MODIFIED. The appellant is
sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment ranging from six (6) years and one (1) day to twelve (12) years and fine
of Six Thousand (P6,000.00) Pesos.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 91107

June 19, 1991

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
MIKAEL MALMSTEDT, *defendant-appellant.

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The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.


Romulo, Mabanta, Buenaventura, Sayoc & De los Angeles for defendant-appellant.

PADILLA, J.:
In an information dated 15 June 1989, accused-appellant Mikael Malmstedt (hereinafter referred to as the accused) was
charged before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of La Trinidad, Benguet, Branch 10, in Criminal Case No. 89-CR-0663, for
violation of Section 4, Art. II of Republic Act 6425, as amended, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972,
as amended. The factual background of the case is as follows:
Accused Mikael Malmstedt, a Swedish national, entered the Philippines for the third time in December 1988 as a tourist.
He had visited the country sometime in 1982 and 1985.
In the evening of 7 May 1989, accused left for Baguio City. Upon his arrival thereat in the morning of the following day, he
took a bus to Sagada and stayed in that place for two (2) days.
At around 7:00 o'clock in the morning of 11 May 1989, accused went to the Nangonogan bus stop in Sagada to catch the
first available trip to Baguio City. From Baguio City, accused planned to take a late afternoon trip to Angeles City, then
proceed to Manila to catch his flight out of the country, scheduled on 13 May 1989. From Sagada, accused took a Skyline
bus with body number 8005 and Plate number AVC 902.1
At about 8: 00 o'clock in the morning of that same day (11 May 1989), Captain Alen Vasco, the Commanding Officer of
the First Regional Command (NARCOM) stationed at Camp Dangwa, ordered his men to set up a temporary checkpoint
at Kilometer 14, Acop, Tublay, Mountain Province, for the purpose of checking all vehicles coming from the Cordillera
Region. The order to establish a checkpoint in the said area was prompted by persistent reports that vehicles coming
from Sagada were transporting marijuana and other prohibited drugs. Moreover, information was received by the
Commanding Officer of NARCOM, that same morning, that a Caucasian coming from Sagada had in his possession
prohibited drugs.2
The group composed of seven (7) NARCOM officers, in coordination with Tublay Police Station, set up a checkpoint at
the designated area at about 10:00 o'clock in the morning and inspected all vehicles coming from the Cordillera Region.
At about 1:30 o'clock in the afternoon, the bus where accused was riding was stopped. Sgt. Fider and CIC Galutan
boarded the bus and announced that they were members of the NARCOM and that they would conduct an inspection.
The two (2) NARCOM officers started their inspection from the front going towards the rear of the bus. Accused who was
the sole foreigner riding the bus was seated at the rear thereof.
During the inspection, CIC Galutan noticed a bulge on accused's waist. Suspecting the bulge on accused's waist to be a
gun, the officer asked for accused's passport and other identification papers. When accused failed to comply, the officer
required him to bring out whatever it was that was bulging on his waist. The bulging object turned out to be a pouch bag
and when accused opened the same bag, as ordered, the officer noticed four (4) suspicious-looking objects wrapped in
brown packing tape, prompting the officer to open one of the wrapped objects. The wrapped objects turned out to contain
hashish, a derivative of marijuana.
Thereafter, accused was invited outside the bus for questioning. But before he alighted from the bus, accused stopped to
get two (2) travelling bags from the luggage carrier.
Upon stepping out of the bus, the officers got the bags and opened them. A teddy bear was found in each bag. Feeling
the teddy bears, the officer noticed that there were bulges inside the same which did not feel like foam stuffing. It was
only after the officers had opened the bags that accused finally presented his passport.
Accused was then brought to the headquarters of the NARCOM at Camp Dangwa, La Trinidad, Benguet for further
investigation. At the investigation room, the officers opened the teddy bears and they were found to also contain hashish.

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Representative samples were taken from the hashish found among the personal effects of accused and the same were
brought to the PC Crime Laboratory for chemical analysis.
In the chemistry report, it was established that the objects examined were hashish. a prohibited drug which is a derivative
of marijuana. Thus, an information was filed against accused for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act.
During the arraignment, accused entered a plea of "not guilty." For his defense, he raised the issue of illegal search of his
personal effects. He also claimed that the hashish was planted by the NARCOM officers in his pouch bag and that the
two (2) travelling bags were not owned by him, but were merely entrusted to him by an Australian couple whom he met in
Sagada. He further claimed that the Australian couple intended to take the same bus with him but because there were no
more seats available in said bus, they decided to take the next ride and asked accused to take charge of the bags, and
that they would meet each other at the Dangwa Station.
Likewise, accused alleged that when the NARCOM officers demanded for his passport and other Identification papers, he
handed to one of the officers his pouch bag which was hanging on his neck containing, among others, his passport,
return ticket to Sweden and other papers. The officer in turn handed it to his companion who brought the bag outside the
bus. When said officer came back, he charged the accused that there was hashish in the bag. He was told to get off the
bus and his picture was taken with the pouch bag placed around his neck. The trial court did not give credence to
accused's defense.
The claim of the accused that the hashish was planted by the NARCOM officers, was belied by his failure to raise such
defense at the earliest opportunity. When accused was investigated at the Provincial Fiscal's Office, he did not inform the
Fiscal or his lawyer that the hashish was planted by the NARCOM officers in his bag. It was only two (2) months after
said investigation when he told his lawyer about said claim, denying ownership of the two (2) travelling bags as well as
having hashish in his pouch bag.
In a decision dated 12 October 1989, the trial court found accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violation of the
Dangerous Drugs Act, specifically Section 4, Art. II of RA 6425, as amended.3 The dispositive portion of the decision
reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, finding the guilt of the accused Mikael Malmstedt established beyond reasonable doubt, this Court finds
him GUILTY of violation of Section 4, Article 11 of Republic Act 6425, as amended, and hereby sentences him to suffer
the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00), with subsidiary imprisonment
in case of insolvency and to pay the costs.
Let the hashish subject of this case be turned over to the First Narcotics Regional Unit at Camp Bado; Dangwa, La
Trinidad Benguet for proper disposition under Section 20, Article IV of Republic Act 6425, as amended.
SO ORDERED.4
Seeking the reversal of the decision of the trial court finding him guilty of the crime charged, accused argues that the
search of his personal effects was illegal because it was made without a search warrant and, therefore, the prohibited
drugs which were discovered during the illegal search are not admissible as evidence against him.
The Constitution guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against
unreasonable searches and seizures.5 However, where the search is made pursuant to a lawful arrest, there is no need
to obtain a search warrant. A lawful arrest without a warrant may be made by a peace officer or a private person under
the following circumstances.6
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;

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(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 his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one
confinement to another.
In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the person arrested without a warrant shall be forthwith delivered to
the nearest police station or jail, and he shall be proceeded against in accordance with Rule 112, Section 7. (6a 17a).
Accused was searched and arrested while transporting prohibited drugs (hashish). A crime was actually being committed
by the accused and he was caught in flagrante delicto. Thus, the search made upon his personal effects falls squarely
under paragraph (1) of the foregoing provisions of law, which allow a warrantless search incident to a lawful arrest.7
While it is true that the NARCOM officers were not armed with a search warrant when the search was made over the
personal effects of accused, however, under the circumstances of the case, there was sufficient probable cause for said
officers to believe that accused was then and there committing a crime.
Probable cause has been defined as such facts and circumstances which could lead a reasonable, discreet and prudent
man to believe that an offense has been committed, and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the
place sought to be searched.8 The required probable cause that will justify a warrantless search and seizure is not
determined by any fixed formula but is resolved according to the facts of each case.9
Warrantless search of the personal effects of an accused has been declared by this Court as valid, because of existence
of probable cause, where the smell of marijuana emanated from a plastic bag owned by the accused,10 or where the
accused was acting suspiciously,11 and attempted to flee.12
Aside from the persistent reports received by the NARCOM that vehicles coming from Sagada were transporting
marijuana and other prohibited drugs, their Commanding Officer also received information that a Caucasian coming from
Sagada on that particular day had prohibited drugs in his possession. Said information was received by the Commanding
Officer of NARCOM the very same morning that accused came down by bus from Sagada on his way to Baguio City.
When NARCOM received the information, a few hours before the apprehension of herein accused, that a Caucasian
travelling from Sagada to Baguio City was carrying with him prohibited drugs, there was no time to obtain a search
warrant. In the Tangliben case,13 the police authorities conducted a surveillance at the Victory Liner Terminal located at
Bgy. San Nicolas, San Fernando Pampanga, against persons engaged in the traffic of dangerous drugs, based on
information supplied by some informers. Accused Tangliben who was acting suspiciously and pointed out by an informer
was apprehended and searched by the police authorities. It was held that when faced with on-the-spot information, the
police officers had to act quickly and there was no time to secure a search warrant.
It must be observed that, at first, the NARCOM officers merely conducted a routine check of the bus (where accused was
riding) and the passengers therein, and no extensive search was initially made. It was only when one of the officers
noticed a bulge on the waist of accused, during the course of the inspection, that accused was required to present his
passport. The failure of accused to present his identification papers, when ordered to do so, only managed to arouse the
suspicion of the officer that accused was trying to hide his identity. For is it not a regular norm for an innocent man, who
has nothing to hide from the authorities, to readily present his identification papers when required to do so?
The receipt of information by NARCOM that a Caucasian coming from Sagada had prohibited drugs in his possession,
plus the suspicious failure of the accused to produce his passport, taken together as a whole, led the NARCOM officers
to reasonably believe that the accused was trying to hide something illegal from the authorities. From these
circumstances arose a probable cause which justified the warrantless search that was made on the personal effects of
the accused. In other words, the acts of the NARCOM officers in requiring the accused to open his pouch bag and in
opening one of the wrapped objects found inside said bag (which was discovered to contain hashish) as well as the two
(2) travelling bags containing two (2) teddy bears with hashish stuffed inside them, were prompted by accused's own
attempt to hide his identity by refusing to present his passport, and by the information received by the NARCOM that a
Caucasian coming from Sagada had prohibited drugs in his possession. To deprive the NARCOM agents of the ability

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and facility to act accordingly, including, to search even without warrant, in the light of such circumstances, would be to
sanction impotence and ineffectiveness in law enforcement, to the detriment of society.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appealed judgment of conviction by the trial court is hereby AFFIRMED. Costs
against the accused-appellant.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 72564

April 15, 1988

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
ANITA CLAUDIO Y BAGTANG, accused-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Romeo C. Alinea for accused-appellant.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:


This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Olongapo City, Branch 73 finding the accused Anita
Claudio y Bagtang guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Sec. 4, Rep. Act No. 6425 (Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972
as amended) and sentencing her to serve the penalty of reclusion perpetua, to pay a fine of P 20,000.00, and to pay the
costs.
The information filed against the accused alleged:
That on or about the 21st day of July 1981, in the City of Olongapo, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named ACCUSED without being lawfully authorized, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully
and knowingly transport 1.1 kilos of Marijuana dried leaves, which are prohibited drugs for the purpose of selling the
same from Baguio City to Olongapo City. (Rollo, p. 13)
The lower court established her guilt beyond reasonable doubt on the basis of the prosecution's evidence as follows:
To prove the guilt of the accused, the prosecution offered the following document and testimonial evidence as follows:
Exhibit "A" Letter request for Examination of suspected marijuana dried leaves weighing approximately 1.1 kilos dated
July 25, 1981; "B" plastic container; "B- 1"-marijuana contained in the plastic container; "B-1-a"another plastic
container; "C"Chemistry Report No. D-668-81;"C-1" Findings: Positive for marijuana; "D,","D-1," "D-2"and "D-3; "E" and
"E-1" photographs of accused with Pat. Daniel Obia and Pauline Tiongco showing the marijuana, "F"Victory Liner
Ticket No. 84977;"G"Sworn Statement of Pat. Daniel Obia, "H" Request for Field Test on suspected marijuana from
accused by P/Lt. Antonio V. Galindo;"H-1"date of of the request; "L"Certificate of Field Test dated July 22, 1981; "B2" and "B-2a" additional Wrapping paper; and the testimonies of witnesses of the prosecution, Theresa Ann Bugayong;
Pat. Daniel Obio, Cpl. Paulino Tiongco, Cpl. Ernesto Abello and Sgt. Leoncio Bagang.
Theresa Ann Bugayong22 years old, single, Forensic Chemist and a resident of 1150 Sampaloc, Metro Manila testified
that she received a request from the Task Force Bagong Buhay, Olongapo City, dated July 25, 1981, on specimen
marijuana submitted for examination. The specimen consisted of 900 grams of suspected dried marijuana flowering tops
wrapped in a newspaper placed in a plastic bag with a marking "MB Store" (Exh. "B").
The examination conducted by her proved to be positive for marijuana. After her examination, she prepared Chemistry
Report No. D-668-81 dated July 29,1981 (Exhs. "C" and "C-l"). She conducted three eliminations; microscopic
examination, the duguenoi levine test and thirdly, the confirmatory examination of thin layer chromatographic test. The
said specimen was submitted to them by OIC Danilo Santiago, a representative of the CANU, Olongapo City.

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The second witness for the prosecution was Daniel Obia, 37 years old, married, policeman and residing at 34 Corpuz
St., East Tapinac, Olongapo City. Obia testified that he has been a member of the INP, since 1970 up to the present. He
was assigned in June, 1972 at the Investigation Division as operative. His job then was among other things to follow up
reports in their office, recover stolen items and apprehend suspects. On July 21,1981, he was on Detached Service with
the ANTI-NARCOTICS Unit; and that on that date, he came from Baguio City and arrived in Olongapo City at about 1:30
o'clock in the afternoon having left Baguio at about 8:30 o'clock in the morning. He took the Victory Liner in going back to
Olongapo City. His family lives in Baguio City. On board the Victory Liner, he was seated on the second seat at the back.
While he was thus seated, suspect Anita Claudio boarded the same bus and took the seat in front of him after putting a
bag which she was carrying at the back of the seat of Obia. The bag placed by suspect behind his seat was a wooven
buri bag made of plastic containing some vegetables. The act of the accused putting her bag behind Pat. Obia's seat
aroused his suspicion and made him felt (sic) nervous. With the feeling that there was some unusual, he had the urge to
search the woven plastic bag. But it was only at San Fernando, Pampanga when he was able to go to the bag. He
inserted one of his fingers in a plastic bag located at the bottom of the woven bag and smelt marijuana. The plastic
woven bag appearing to contain camote tops on the top has a big bundle of plastic of marijuana at the bottom. He could
recognize the smell of marijuana because he was assigned at that time at the ANTI-NARCOTICS Unit. He did not,
however, do anything after he discovered that there was marijuana inside the plastic bag of the accused until they
reached Olongapo City and the accused alighted from the bus in front of the Caltex Gasoline Station in Sta. Rita. Right
after the accused alighted from the bus, policeman Obina intercepted her and showed her his Id Identifying himself as a
policeman and told her he will search her bag because of the suspicion that she was carrying marijuana inside said bag.
In reply, accused told him, "Please go with me, let us settle this at home." However, the witness did not heed her plea and
instead handcuffed her right hand and with her, boarded a tricycle right away and brought the suspect to the police
headquarters with her bag appearing to contain vegetables.
At the police headquarters Investigation Section, the bag was searched in the presence of Investigator Cpl. Tiongco; Pat.
Obia, the accused and Sgt. Leoncio Bagang. Inside the plastic bag was found a big bundle of plastic containing
marijuana weighing about one kilo. Witness stated that he could detect marijuana even before the application of
chemicals because of one year and a half assignment with the CANU. After the marijuana was taken from the bag of the
accused, photographs were taken of the accused and the marijuana confiscated from her possession with Pat. Obia and
that of Investigator Tiongco, accused and himself Identified photographs shown to him in open Court. (Exhs. "D," "D-l,"
"D-2" and "D-3"). Witness was likewise shown a plastic bag of marijuana contained in a plastic container (Exhs. "B," "B-1"
and "B-1 -a") and Identified it as the one confiscated from the accused and pointed to his initials on the newspaper
wrapping which also shows the date and time, although the wrapper at the time he testified appeared to be soiled
already. The marijuana was allegedly still fresh when confiscated.
To prove further that the accused transported the confiscated marijuana from Baguio City to Olongapo City, witness
Identified Victory Liner Ticket No. 684977 which was confiscated from the accused and for Identification purposes, the
witness presented the body number of the bus he wrote at the back of the ticket which is "309" (Exhs. "F" and "F-l").
Regarding himself, he did not pay his fare from Baguio City because as a policeman, he used his badge and a free ride.
On cross-examination, witness stated that he went to Baguio City on July 15,1981 and underwent treatment of his heart
while he was there. He was given a furlough for medical treatment. He stayed in Baguio City for about five days and
returned to Olongapo City on July 21, 1981. Prior to July 21, 1981, witness never knew the accused, and the first time he
saw her was in Baguio when she boarded the same Victory Liner he took. When the accused who was bringing with her
a woven plastic bag placed the bag right behind his seat instead of placing it in front of her or beside her seat. Witness
Obia became suspicious and his suspicion was confirmed when they reached San Fernando, Pampanga, after he
checked the buri bag. The bus stopped at said town to load some gasoline. Witness inserted one of his fingers inside the
buri bag and thereafter smelt marijuana. He confirmed his testimony on direct that when witness confronted accused he
was invited to go with her in order to settle the matter to which he refused. Accused further testified that from the time the
accused placed her bag behind his seat from Baguio City, he felt so nervous and had to take his medicine at the Tarlac
Station. It was only after having taken his medicine that his apprehension was contained and thus was able to insert his
right hand inside the buri bag in San Fernando, Pampanga. His fingers reached the very bottom of the bag. He Identified
his sworn statement regarding this incident given on July 21, 1981 which is Exhibit "G." Witness likewise Identified
accused Anita Claudio in open court.
Paulino Tiongco, 52 years old, married and resident of 31 Canada St., East Bajac Bajac, Olongapo City, testified that as
a policeman on the afternoon of July 21, 1981, he was inside the Investigation Division of the Police Station, Olongapo

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City. As Duty Investigator, between 1:45 and 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon of the same day, Pat. Daniel Obia arrived at
the Police Station with a woman and Identified her in the courtroom as Anita Claudio. Pat. Obia reported to him that he
apprehended Anita Claudio inside the Victory Liner bus for possession of marijuana dried leaves. The marijuana leaves
were contained in a buri bag with some vegetables such as camote tops, bananas and some other vegetables. The
marijuana was placed in a plastic wrapper with the name National Book Store colored black and white. Witness Identified
the wrapper (Exh. "B-2"). The bag contained the markings of Pat. Obia which are his initials, (Exhs. "B-2-a"), and
numbers 210781 representing the date which was placed by Pat. Obia after Cpl. Tiongco examined the suspected
marijuana.
After examining and seeing the marijuana together with the vegetables, he interviewed apprehending officer Obia and
reduced his statements in writing. Cpl. Tiongco Identifled the sworn statement of Obia (Exh. "G"). He also interviewed
accused Anita Claudio who was all the while inside the Investigation room seated on a chair. After appraising her of her
constitutional rights, he asked the accused whether she was willing to give her written statements to which the accused
refused. Hence, no statements were taken of her. However, pictures were taken inside the investigation room. Exhs. "D"
and "E," series which were already previously Identified by Pat. Obia, Witness Identified the persons appearing in the
pictures as that of Pat. Obia and the accused and also of himself. Thereafter, the marijuana contained in the plastic bag
were turned over to Lt. Galindo and Anita Claudio was detained.
Ernesto Abello, 41 years old, married and residing at No. 29 Alba Street, East Tapinac, Olongapo City, testified he was
since March 1972 a policeman and was stationed at Police Station 21, Olongapo City, Metrodiscom. However, in 1981,
he was already assigned to the CANU General Anti-NARCOTICS Unit. On July 22, 1981, he reported for work at the
CANU and received from Lt. Galindo more than a kilo of suspected marijuana dried leaves. As requested by Lt. Galindo
he conducted a field test on this marijuana which he received from Lt. Galindo, as evidenced by a request signed by him
dated July 22,1981 (Exh. "H").
In connection with the field test conducted by him on the specimen, he prepared a Certificate of Fleld Test dated July
22,1981 (Exhs. "I"). The Certificate of Field Test indicated the presence of tetra-hydrocannabinol (THC), an active
substance that can be only be found in marijuana, a prohibited drug. Cpl. Abello Identified a plastic bag of marijuana
received from Lt. Galindo which he later give to CIC Danilo Santiago, the Evidence Custodian, for the latter to bring the
specimen to the PC Crime Laboratory.
The last witness for the prosecution was Leoncio Bagang, 40 years old, married, residing at No. 27 Jones St., East
Tapinac, Olongapo City, a policeman of Olongapo City, assigned with Police Station "21." He has been a policeman since
1966 up to the present. In July, 1981, he was then assigned at the Patrol Division and his duty was to patrol the city
proper from Magsaysay Drive up to east Bajac Bajac.
He narrated that on July 21,1981, between the hours of 1:00 and 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon, he was at the Caltex
Gasoline Station, East Bajac Bajac, Olongapo City along Rizal Avenue. He was then on duty patrol using a motorcycle.
While he was at the said place, he saw Pat. Obia alighted from the Victory Liner bus ordering somebody to alight from
the same bus. When he heard Pat. Obia he approached him and asked him what was happening. Pat. Obia told him
he apprehended a certain woman possessing dried marijuana. The woman was still then inside the bus. Pat. Obia then
brought the woman to the police department who was bringing with her a buri bag. They boarded a tricycle, the woman
riding inside the tricycle while Pat. Obia sat behind the driver. He then followed in his motorcycle the said tricycle to
police station. He went inside the Investigation Section of the Police Station and he was there when Pat. Obia reported
to Cpl. Tiongco his apprehension of the woman possessing marijuana. He saw the marijuana for the first time inside the
Investigation Section placed in a buri bag covered with newspaper. He witnessed the taking out of the marijuana from
inside the bag by Pat. Obia in the presence of Cpl. Tiongco and the woman or the accused in this case, and himself.
Policeman Bagang Identified the accused in open Court. When asked about the nature of the marijuana when it was
brought out from the bag, he said that the marijuana was dried but not well dried. Aside from the marijuana inside the buri
bag, there were vegetables and bananas, Witness Identified in open Court, the marijuana he saw found in the buri bag of
the accused. His means of Identification was the signature of Pat. Obia, (Exh. "B-1"). He likewise Identified a newspaper
wrapping which was already torn.
While in the Investigation Division, witness Bagang heard the accused's answer to Cpl. Tiongco's questions that she was
going to deliver the marijuana to Sta. Rita. He, however, did not linger long at the investigation Division. After he saw the
marijuana and heard the answer of the accused to Cpl. Tiongcos question the place of delivery of the marijuana, he left

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the police station. Witness likewise Identified an initial DO-21-07-81 already marked as Exhibit "B-2." DO which is an
initial, and not a signature, stands for Daniel Obia. After the testimony of Leoncio Bagang, the prosecution rested its
case. (Rollo, pp. 42-47)
Accused Claudio raised the following assignments of errors in this appeal:
I
CONVICTION UNDER SECTION 4, ART. II OF R.A. 6425 IS IMPROPER IF ONE OR SOME OF THE ELEMENTS OF
THE OFFENSE IS OR ARE ABSENT.
II
CONVICTION CAN NOT BE HAD UNDER SECTION 4, ART. II OF R.A. 6425 IF THE ALLEGED BUYMAN WAS NOT
PRESENTED TO TESTIFY.
III
APPELLANTS CONVICTION FOR DELIVERY (SEC. 4, ART II, OF R.A. 6424) IS WRONG BECAUSE SOME MATERIAL
FACTS WERE OVERLOOKED AND NOT CONSIDERED IN FAVOR OF APPELLANT. (Rollo, p. 91)
The accused alleges that she is only liable, at the most, for possession under Sec. 8, Art. II of Rep. Act No. 6425 and not
for violating Sec. 4 of the same Act.
The latter section, Sec. 4 provides:
Sec. 4. Sale, Administration, Delivery Distribution and Transportation of Prohibited Drugs.The penalty of life
imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from twenty thousand to thirty thousand pesos shall be imposed upon any
person who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, administer, deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or
transport any prohibited drug, or shall act as a broker in any of such transactions. If the victim of the offense is a minor, or
should a prohibited drug involved in any offense under this Section be the proximate cause of the death of a victim
thereof, the maximum penalty herein provided shall be imposed.
Claudio contends that there was no delivery as there was no recipient of the prohibited drugs. Therefore, she may not be
convicted under Sec. 4 of Rep. Act No. 6425.
The contention is without merit. A closer perusal of the subject provision shows that it is not only delivery which is
penalized but also the sale, administration, distribution and transportation of probihited drugs. Claudio was caught
transporting 1.1 kilos of marijuana, thus the lower court did not err in finding her guilty of violating Sec. 4.
The accused also alleges that before the completion of delivery, the intention of the possessor is unknown.
This allegation is also unavailing. It is undisputed that Claudio had in her possession 1.1 kilos of marijuana. This is a
considerable quantity. As held in the case of People v. Toledo, (140 SCRA 259, 267) "the possession of such
considerable quantity as three plastic bags of marijuana leaves and seeds coupled with the fact that he is not a user of
prohibited drugs cannot indicate anything except the intention of the accused to sell, distribute and deliver said marijuana.
The accused next contends the warrantless search, seizure and apprehension as unlawful.
The applicable provisions on this issue are found in the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure.
Rule 113, Sec. 5(a) of the said Rules provides:
.. A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:

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(a)
When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to
commit an offense.
xxx

xxx

xxx

Meanwhile, its Rule 126, Sec. 12 provides:


Section 12. Search incident to lawful arrest. A person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous weapons or
anything which may be used as proof of the commission of an offense, without a search warrant. (12a)
Appellant Claudio was caught transporting prohibited drugs. Pat. Daniel Obia did not need a warrant to arrest Claudio
as the latter was caught in flagrante delicto. The warrantless search being an incident to a lawful arrest is in itself lawful.
(Nolasco v. Pano, 147 SCRA 509). Therefore, there was no infirmity in the seizure of the 1.1 kilos of marijuana.
The accused takes inconsistent positions in her appellant's brief. At first, she does not deny having had with her
marijuana at the time of her arrest. Instead, she claims that she should just be guilty of possession. In a complete
turnabout, in the latter portion of said brief, she claims that the evidence against her were mere fabrications and the
marijuana allegedly found in her possession was only planted.
We have carefully examined the records of the case and we find no ground to alter the trial court's findings and
appreciation of the evidence presented.
Credence is accorded to the prosecution's evidence, more so as it consisted mainly of testimonies of policemen. Law
enforcers are presumed to have regularly performed their duty in the absence of proof to the contrary (People v. De
Jesus, 145 SCRA 521). We also find no reason from the records why the prosecution witnesses should fabricate their
testimonies and implicate appellant in such a serious crime (See People v. Bautista, 147 SCRA 500).
The accused testified that she was not on that bus that came from Baguio City but rather she was in Olongapo City all
that time. She alleged that she was arrested by Pat. Obia for no reason at all.
In the case at bar, alibi does not deserve much credit as it was established only by the accused herself (People v. De la
Cruz, 148 SCRA 582).
Moreover, it is a well-established rule that alibi cannot prevail over positive testimony (People v. De La Cruz, supra).
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
EN BANC
[G.R. No. 123872. January 30, 1998]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. RUBEN MONTILLA y GATDULA, accused-appellant.
DECISION
REGALADO, J.:
Accused-Appellant Ruben Montilla y Gatdula, alias "Joy," was charged on August 22, 1994 for violating Section 4, Article
II of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, Republic Act No. 6425, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, before the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 90, of Dasmarias, Cavite in an information which alleges:
That on or about the 20th day of June 1994, at Barangay Salitran, Municipality of Dasmarias, Province of Cavite,
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, not being authorized by law,
did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, administer, transport, and deliver twenty-eight (28) kilos of dried
marijuana leaves, which are considered prohibited drugs, in violation of the provisions of R.A. 6425 thereby causing
damage and prejudice to the public interest.[1]

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The consequent arraignment conducted on September 14, 1994 elicited a plea of not guilty from appellant who was
assisted therein by his counsel de parte.[2] Trial was held on scheduled dates thereafter, which culminated in a verdict of
guilty in a decision of the trial court dated June 8, 1995 and which imposed the extreme penalty of death on appellant. He
was further ordered to pay a fine in the amount of P500,000.00 and to pay the costs of the proceedings.[3]
It appears from the evidence of the prosecution that appellant was apprehended at around 4:00 A.M. of June 20, 1994
near a waiting shed located at Barangay Salitran, Dasmarias, Cavite by SPO1 Concordio Talingting and SPO1 Armando
Clarin, both members of the Cavite Philippine National Police Command based in Dasmarias. Appellant, according to the
two officers, was caught transporting 28 marijuana bricks contained in a traveling bag and a carton box, which marijuana
bricks had a total weight of 28 kilos.
These two officers later asserted in court that they were aided by an informer in the arrest of appellant. That informer,
according to Talingting and Clarin, had informed them the day before, or on June 19, 1994 at about 2:00 P.M., that a drug
courier, whom said informer could recognize, would be arriving somewhere in Barangay Salitran, Dasmarias from Baguio
City with an undetermined amount of marijuana. It was the same informer who pinpointed to the arresting officers the
appellant when the latter alighted from a passenger jeepney on the aforestated day, hour, and place.[4]
Upon the other hand, appellant disavowed ownership of the prohibited drugs. He claimed during the trial that while he
indeed came all the way from Baguio City, he traveled to Dasmarias, Cavite with only some pocket money and without
any luggage. His sole purpose in going there was to look up his cousin who had earlier offered a prospective job at a
garment factory in said locality, after which he would return to Baguio City. He never got around to doing so as he was
accosted by SPO1 Talingting and SPO1 Clarin at Barangay Salitran.
He further averred that when he was interrogated at a house in Dasmarias, Cavite, he was never informed of his
constitutional rights and was in fact even robbed of the P500.00 which he had with him. Melita Adaci, the cousin,
corroborated appellant's testimony about the job offer in the garment factory where she reportedly worked as a
supervisor,[5] although, as the trial court observed, she never presented any document to prove her alleged employment.
In the present appellate review, appellant disputes the trial court's finding that he was legally caught in flagrante
transporting the prohibited drugs. This Court, after an objective and exhaustive review of the evidence on record,
discerns no reversible error in the factual findings of the trial court. It finds unassailable the reliance of the lower court on
the positive testimonies of the police officers to whom no ill motives can be attributed, and its rejection of appellant's
fragile defense of denial which is evidently self-serving in nature.
1. Firstly, appellant asserts that the court a quo grossly erred in convicting him on the basis of insufficient evidence as no
proof was proffered showing that he wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously administered, transported, and delivered 28 kilos
of dried marijuana leaves, since the police officers "testified only on the alleged transporting of Marijuana from Baguio
City to Cavite."
Further, the failure of the prosecution to present in court the civilian informant is supposedly corrosive of the People's
cause since, aside from impinging upon appellant's fundamental right to confront the witnesses against him, that
informant was a vital personality in the operation who would have contradicted the hearsay and conflicting testimonies of
the arresting officers on how appellant was collared by them.
The pertinent provision of the penal law here involved, in Section 4 of Article II thereof, as amended, is as follows:
SEC. 4. Sale, Administration, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of Prohibited Drugs. - The penalty of reclusion
perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any
person who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, administer, deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or
transport any prohibited drug, or shall act as a broker in any of such transactions.
Notwithstanding the provision of Section 20 of this Act to the contrary, if the victim of the offense is a minor, or should a
prohibited drug involved in any offense under this Section be the proximate cause of the death of a victim thereof, the
maximum penalty herein provided shall be imposed.

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Now, the offense ascribed to appellant is a violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act, some of the various modes of
commission[6] being the sale, administration, delivery, distribution, and transportation of prohibited drugs as set forth in
the epigraph of Section 4, Article II of said law. The text of Section 4 expands and extends its punitive scope to other acts
besides those mentioned in its headnote by including these who shall sell, administer, deliver, give away to another,
distribute, dispatch in transit or transport any prohibited drug, or shall act as a broker in any of such transactions." Section
4 could thus be violated by the commission of any of the acts specified therein, or a combination thereof, such as selling,
administering, delivering, giving away, distributing, dispatching in transit or transporting, and the like.
As already stated, appellant was charged with a violation of Section 4, the transgressive acts alleged therein and
attributed to appellant being that he administered, delivered, and transported marijuana. The governing rule with respect
to an offense which may be committed in any of the different modes provided by law is that an indictment would suffice if
the offense is alleged to have been committed in one, two or more modes specified therein. This is so as allegations in
the information of the various ways of committing the offense should be considered as a description of only one offense
and the information cannot be dismissed on the ground of multifariousness.[7] In appellant's case, the prosecution
adduced evidence clearly establishing that he transported marijuana from Baguio City to Cavite. By that act alone of
transporting the illicit drugs, appellant had already run afoul of that particular section of the statute, hence, appellant's
asseverations must fail.
The Court also disagrees with the contention of appellant that the civilian informer should have been produced in court
considering that his testimony was "vital" and his presence in court was essential in order to give effect to or recognition
of appellant's constitutional right to confront the witnesses arrayed by the State against him. These assertions are,
however, much too strained. Far from compromising the primacy of appellant's right to confrontation, the nonpresentation of the informer in this instance was justified and cannot be faulted as error.
For one, the testimony of said informer would have been, at best, merely corroborative of the declarations of SPO1
Talingting and SPO1 Clarin before the trial court, which testimonies are not hearsay as both testified upon matters in
which they had personally taken part. As such, the testimony of the informer could be dispensed with by the prosecution,
[8] more so where what he would have corroborated are the narrations of law enforcers on whose performance of duties
regularity is the prevailing legal presumption. Besides, informants are generally not presented in court because of the
need to hide their identities and preserve their invaluable services to the police.[9] Moreover, it is up to the prosecution
whom to present in court as its witnesses, and not for the defense to dictate that course.[10] Finally, appellant could very
well have resorted to the coercive process of subpoena to compel that eyewitness to appear before the court below,[11]
but which remedy was not availed of by him.
2. Appellant contends that the marijuana bricks were confiscated in the course of an unlawful warrantless search and
seizure. He calls the attention of the Court to the fact that as early as 2:00 P.M. of the preceding day, June 19, 1994, the
police authorities had already been apprised by their so-called informer of appellant's impending arrival from Baguio City,
hence those law enforcers had the opportunity to procure the requisite warrant. Their misfeasance should therefore
invalidate the search for and seizure of the marijuana, as well as the arrest of appellant on the following dawn. Once
again, the Court is not persuaded.
Section 2, Article III of the Constitution lays down the general rule that a search and seizure must be carried out through
or on the strength of a judicial warrant, absent which such search and seizure becomes "unreasonable" within the
meaning of said constitutional provision.[12] Evidence secured on the occasion of such an unreasonable search and
seizure is tainted and should be excluded for being the proverbial fruit of a poisonous tree. In the language of the
fundamental law, it shall be inadmissible in evidence for any purpose in any proceeding. This exclusionary rule is not,
however, an absolute and rigid proscription. Thus, (1) customs searches;[13] (2) searches of moving vehicles,[14] (3)
seizure of evidence in plain view;[15] (4) consented searches;[16] (5) searches incidental to a lawful arrest;[17] and (6)
"stop and frisk" measures[18] have been invariably recognized as the traditional exceptions.
In appellant's case, it should be noted that the information relayed by the civilian informant to the law enforcers was that
there would be delivery of marijuana at Barangay Salitran by a courier coming from Baguio City in the "early morning" of
June 20, 1994. Even assuming that the policemen were not pressed for time, this would be beside the point for, under
these circumstances, the information relayed was too sketchy and not detailed enough for the obtention of the
corresponding arrest or search warrant. While there is an indication that the informant knew the courier, the records do
not reveal that he knew him by name.

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While it is not required that the authorities should know the exact name of the subject of the warrant applied for, there is
the additional problem that the informant did not know to whom the drugs would be delivered and at which particular part
of the barangay there would be such delivery. Neither did this asset know the precise time of the suspect's arrival, or his
means of transportation, the container or contrivance wherein the drugs were concealed and whether the same were
arriving together with, or were being brought by someone separately from, the courier.
On such bare information, the police authorities could not have properly applied for a warrant, assuming that they could
readily have access to a judge or a court that was still open by the time they could make preparations for applying
therefor, and on which there is no evidence presented by the defense. In determining the opportunity for obtaining
warrants, not only the intervening time is controlling but all the coincident and ambient circumstances should be
considered, especially in rural areas. In fact, the police had to form a surveillance team and to lay down a dragnet at the
possible entry points to Barangay Salitran at midnight of that day notwithstanding the tip regarding the "early morning"
arrival of the courier. Their leader, SPO2 Cali, had to reconnoiter inside and around the barangay as backup, unsure as
they were of the time when and the place in Barangay Salitran, where their suspect would show up, and how he would do
so.
On the other hand, that they nonetheless believed the informant is not surprising for, as both SPO1 Clarin and SPO1
Talingting recalled, he had proved to be a reliable source in past operations. Moreover, experience shows that although
information gathered and passed on by these assets to law enforcers are vague and piecemeal, and not as neatly and
completely packaged as one would expect from a professional spymaster, such tip-offs are sometimes successful as it
proved to be in the apprehension of appellant. If the courts of justice are to be of understanding assistance to our law
enforcement agencies, it is necessary to adopt a realistic appreciation of the physical and tactical problems of the latter,
instead of critically viewing them from the placid and clinical environment of judicial chambers.
3. On the defense argument that the warrantless search conducted on appellant invalidates the evidence obtained from
him, still the search on his belongings and the consequent confiscation of the illegal drugs as a result thereof was justified
as a search incidental to a lawful arrest under Section 5(a), Rule 113 of the Rules of Court. Under that provision, a peace
officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person when, in his presence, the person to be arrested has
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense.
A legitimate warrantless arrest, as above contemplated, necessarily cloaks the arresting police officer with authority to
validly search and seize from the offender (1) dangerous weapons, and (2) those that may be used as proof of the
commission of an offense.[19] On the other hand, the apprehending officer must have been spurred by probable cause in
effecting an arrest which could be classified as one in cadence with the instances of permissible arrests set out in Section
5(a).[20] These instances have been applied to arrests carried out on persons caught in flagrante delicto. The
conventional view is that probable cause, while largely a relative term the determination of which must be resolved
according to the facts of each case, is understood as having reference to such facts and circumstances which could lead
a reasonable, discreet, and prudent man to believe and conclude as to the commission of an offense, and that the
objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched.[21]
Parenthetically, if we may digress, it is time to observe that the evidentiary measure for the propriety of filing criminal
charges and, correlatively, for effecting a warrantless arrest, has been reduced and liberalized. In the past, our statutory
rules and jurisprudence required prima facie evidence, which was of a higher degree or quantum,[22] and was even used
with dubiety as equivalent to "probable cause." Yet, even in the American jurisdiction from which we derived the term and
its concept, probable cause is understood to merely mean a reasonable ground for belief in the existence of facts
warranting the proceedings complained of,[23] or an apparent state of facts found to exist upon reasonable inquiry which
would induce a reasonably intelligent and prudent man to believe that the accused person had committed the crime.[24]
Felicitously, those problems and confusing concepts were clarified and set aright, at least on the issue under discussion,
by the 1985 amendment of the Rules of Court which provides in Rule 112 thereof that the quantum of evidence required
in preliminary investigation is such evidence as suffices to "engender a well founded belief" as to the fact of the
commission of a crime and the respondent's probable guilt thereof.[25] It has the same meaning as the related
phraseology used in other parts of the same Rule, that is, that the investigating fiscal "finds cause to hold the respondent
for trial," or where "a probable cause exists."[26] It should, therefore, be in that sense, wherein the right to effect a
warrantless arrest should be considered as legally authorized.

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In the case at bar, as soon as appellant had alighted from the passenger jeepney the informer at once indicated to the
officers that their suspect was at hand by pointing to him from the waiting shed. SPO1 Clarin recounted that the informer
told them that the marijuana was likely hidden inside the traveling bag and carton box which appellant was carrying at the
time. The officers thus realized that he was their man even if he was simply carrying a seemingly innocent looking pair of
luggage for personal effects. Accordingly, they approached appellant, introduced themselves as policemen, and
requested him to open and show them the contents of the traveling bag, which appellant voluntarily and readily did. Upon
cursory inspection by SPO1 Clarin, the bag yielded the prohibited drugs, so, without bothering to further search the box,
they brought appellant and his luggage to their headquarters for questioning.
Appellant insists that the mere fact of seeing a person carrying a traveling bag and a carton box should not elicit the
slightest suspicion of the commission of any crime since that is normal. But, precisely, it is in the ordinary nature of things
that drugs being illegally transported are necessarily hidden in containers and concealed from view. Thus, the officers
could reasonably assume, and not merely on a hollow suspicion since the informant was by their side and had so
informed them, that the drugs were in appellant's luggage. It would obviously have been irresponsible, if not downright
absurd under the circumstances, to require the constable to adopt a "wait and see" attitude at the risk of eventually losing
the quarry.
Here, there were sufficient facts antecedent to the search and seizure that, at the point prior to the search, were already
constitutive of probable cause, and which by themselves could properly create in the minds of the officers a wellgrounded and reasonable belief that appellant was in the act of violating the law. The search yielded affirmance both of
that probable cause and the actuality that appellant was then actually committing a crime by illegally transporting
prohibited drugs. With these attendant facts, it is ineluctable that appellant was caught in flagrante delicto, hence his
arrest and the search of his belongings without the requisite warrant were both justified.
Furthermore, that appellant also consented to the search is borne out by the evidence. To repeat, when the officers
approached appellant and introduced themselves as policemen, they asked him about the contents of his luggage, and
after he replied that they contained personal effects, the officers asked him to open the traveling bag. Appellant readily
acceded, presumably or in all likelihood resigned to the fact that the law had caught up with his criminal activities. When
an individual voluntarily submits to a search or consents to have the same conducted upon his person or premises, he is
precluded from later complaining thereof.
After all, the right to be secure from unreasonable search may, like other rights, be waived either expressly or impliedly.
[27] Thus, while it has been held that the silence of the accused during a warrantless search should not be taken to mean
consent to the search but as a demonstration of that person's regard for the supremacy of the law,[28] the case of herein
appellant is evidently different for, here, he spontaneously performed affirmative acts of volition by himself opening the
bag without being forced or intimidated to do so, which acts should properly be construed as a clear waiver of his right.
[29]
4. Appellant likewise harps on the alleged failure of the prosecution to "legally, properly and adequately establish that the
28 bricks of marijuana allegedly confiscated from (him) were the same marijuana examined by the forensic chemist and
presented in court." Indeed, the arresting officers did not identify in court the marijuana bricks seized from appellant
since, in fact they did not have to do so. It should be noted that the prosecution presented in the court below and formally
offered in evidence those 28 bricks of marijuana together with the traveling bag and the carton box in which the same
were contained. The articles were properly marked as confiscated evidence and proper safeguards were taken to ensure
that the marijuana turned over to the chemist for examination, and which subsequently proved positive as such, were the
same drugs taken from appellant. The trial court, therefore, correctly admitted them in evidence, satisfied that the articles
were indubitably no other than those taken from appellant.
Complementarily, the corpus delicti was firmly established by SPO1 Clarin and SPO1 Talingting who categorically related
that when they had ascertained that the contents of the traveling bag of appellant appeared to be marijuana, they
forthwith asked him where he had come from, and the latter readily answered "Baguio City," thus confirming the veracity
of the report of the informer. No other conclusion can therefore be derived than that appellant had transported the illicit
drugs all the way to Cavite from Baguio City. Coupled with the presentation in court of the subject matter of the crime, the
marijuana bricks which had tested positive as being indian hemp, the guilt of appellant for transporting the prohibited
drugs in violation of the law is beyond doubt.

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Appellant questions the interrogation conducted by the police authorities, claiming that he was not allowed to
communicate with anybody, and that he was not duly informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and
independent counsel preferably of his own choice. Indeed, appellant has a point. The police authorities here could
possibly have violated the provision of Republic Act No. 7438[30] which defines certain rights of persons arrested,
detained, or under custodial investigation, as well as the duties of the arresting, detaining, and investigating officers, and
providing corresponding penalties for violations thereof.
Assuming the existence of such irregularities, however, the proceedings in the lower court will not necessarily be struck
down. Firstly, appellant never admitted or confessed anything during his custodial investigation. Thus, no incriminatory
evidence in the nature of a compelled or involuntary confession or admission was elicited from him which would
otherwise have been inadmissible in evidence. Secondly and more importantly, the guilt of appellant was clearly
established by other evidence adduced by the prosecution, particularly the testimonies of the arresting officers together
with the documentary and object evidence which were formally offered and admitted in evidence in the court below.
5. The reversible error of the trial court lies in its imposition of the penalty of death on appellant. As amended by Republic
Act No. 7659, Section 20, Article IV of the Dangerous Drugs Act now provides inter alia that the penalty in Section 4 of
Article II shall be applied if the dangerous drugs involved is, in the case of indian hemp or marijuana, 750 grams or more.
In said Section 4, the transporting of prohibited drugs carries with it the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine
ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos. Thus, the law prescribes a penalty composed of two
indivisible penalties, reclusion perpetua and death. In the present case, Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code
consequently provides the rules to be observed in the application of said penalties.
As found by the trial court, there were neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstances attending appellant's violation of
the law, hence the second paragraph of Article 63 must necessarily apply, in which case the lesser penalty of reclusion
perpetua is the proper imposable penalty. Contrary to the pronouncement of the court a quo, it was never intended by the
legislature that where the quantity of the dangerous drugs involved exceeds those stated in Section 20, the maximum
penalty of death shall be imposed. Nowhere in the amendatory law is there a provision from which such a conclusion
may be gleaned or deduced. On the contrary, this Court has already concluded that Republic Act No. 7659 did not
amend Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code,[31] the rules wherein were observed although the cocaine subject of that
case was also in excess of the quantity provided in Section 20.
It is worth mentioning at this juncture that the law itself provides a specific penalty where the violation thereof is in its
aggravated form as laid down in the second paragraph of Section 4 whereby, regardless of Section 20 of Article IV, if the
victim is a minor, or should a prohibited drug involved in any offense in said section be the proximate cause of the death
of a victim thereof, the maximum penalty shall be imposed.[32] While the minority or the death of the victim will increase
the liability of the offender, these two facts do not constitute generic aggravating circumstances, as the law simply
provides for the imposition of the single indivisible penalty of death if the offense is attended by either of such factual
features. In that situation, obviously the rules on the graduation of penalties in Article 63 cannot apply. In herein
appellant's case, there was neither a minor victim nor a consequent death of any victim. Hence, the basic rules in Article
63 of the Code govern.
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 90, of Dasmarias, Cavite in Criminal Case No. 3401-94
is hereby MODIFIED in the sense that accused-appellant Ruben Montilla y Gatdula shall suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua. In all other respects, the judgment of the trial court is hereby AFFIRMED, with costs against accused-appellant.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. Nos. 106288-89

May 17, 1994

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
TIRSO ACOL Y BARNUBAL and PIO BOSES Y DOLFO, defendants, PIO BOSES, appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.

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Public Attorney's Office for accused-appellant.

MELO, J.:
Two passengers who were apprehended after they supposedly staged a hold-up inside a passenger jeepney on
September 29, 1990 were haled to court, not for the felonious asportation, but for possession of the two unlicensed
firearms and bullets recovered from them which were instrumental in the commission of the robo (pp. 7-8, Rollo.)
Of the two persons accused, only Pio Boses interposed an appeal from the trial court's judgment (p. 23, Rollo) inasmuch
as Tirso Acol y Barnubal had escaped from incarceration (p. 5, Brief for the Accused-Appellant, p. 60, Rollo ) thereby
abating any review of his culpability for the misdeed.
The People's inculpatory accusations during the joint trial were to the effect that at around 3:45 in the morning of
September 29, 1990, when Percival Tan was driving his jeepney, two men boarded the vehicle in Cubao. When they
crossed Pasay Road, the two wayfarers, together with two other companions, announced a hold-up. Percival Tan was
instructed to proceed atop the Magallanes interchange where the other passengers were divested of their personal
belongings, including the jacket of passenger Rene Araneta. Thereafter, the robbers alighted at the Shell Gas Station
near the Magallanes Commercial Center after which Percival Tan and his passengers went to Fort Bonifacio to report the
crime. A CAPCOM team was forthwith formed to track down the culprits. Victim Rene Araneta who went with the
responding police officers, upon seeing four persons, one of whom was wearing his stolen jacket, walking casually
towards Fort Bonifacio, told the police authorities to accost said persons. After the CAPCOM officers introduced
themselves, the four men scampered to different directions but three of them, namely, Tirso Acol, Pio Boses, and Albert
Blanco, were apprehended. Tirso Acol and Pio Boses were each found in possession of an unlicensed .38 caliber
revolver with bullets. After the arrest, the three men were brought to Fort Bonifacio and were identified by Percival Tan
and the passengers who ganged up on the accused.
To reinforce the theory of unauthorized possession of firearms, Sgt. Garcia presented a certification (Exhibit I) issued by
the Firearms and Explosives Unit stating that the accused are not licensed firearm holders.
On the other hand, Pio Boses and Tirso Acol pleaded innocent to the charges levelled against them, proferring a general
denial.
Accused-appellant Pio Boses asserted on the witness stand that after establishing his residence at Pasay City for about
six months, he engaged in the business of vending "balut". During the incident in question, he recalled that while so
engaged in his trade, three persons allegedly acosted him, took his money, "balut" and "penoy", and that he was
thereafter brought to a cell where he was forced to confess ownership of one gun which was shown to him. He
nonetheless denied participation in the hold up.
For his part, Tirso Acol, a laborer and at that time having resided in Metro Manila for about two months, recollected that
he spent the night at his cousin's house in Paraaque on September 28, 1990, and that he left Paraaque at around 5 in
the morning of September 29, 1990. According to him, the jeepney he was then riding developed engine trouble, and
alighting therefrom he was arrested for no apparent reason. When he was brought to the cell, he was allegedly coerced
into admiting possession of the other gun. Just like his co-accused, he too, denied knowledge of the hold up.
The court a quo was unpersuaded by these general denials, observing:
As can be gathered from the foregoing testimonies of the accused, the line of defense they have adopted is one of denial.
Indeed, they denied that the firearms and ammunition in question were found in their persons in the early morning of
September 29, 1989. They also denied the truth of the testimonies of Sgt. Faltado, Percival Tan, and Rene Araneta. The
defense however did not cite any valid reasons for the Court not to give credence to the testimonies. In the circumstance,
the Court is constrained to consider the testimonies of the accused to be self-serving. In the face of the positive
testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, the Court can only take their denials with the proverbial grain of salt. Verily, it is
simply hard for the Court to believe that the accused are simple provincial who are lost in the big city; that accused Pio
Boses who is a resident of Pasay City, does not know well-known places in Metro Manila such as the South Super

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Highway and the Fort Bonifacio-Nichols interchange; that he did not know the streets where he plied his trade as a balut
vendor. Indeed, how can this be true when he himself admitted that from 7:00 p.m. of September 28, 1989, he spent his
time walking in the street in the area and yet he never claimed he had ever lost his way.
The same is true with accused Tirso Acol. The Court is convinced that he lied on the witness stand. He claimed that he
was in the place where he was arrested because he had just come from the residence of his cousin, Genny Acol, and the
passenger jeepney he had boarded on his way home just happened to break down at that place. In the mind of the Court
this alibi of the accused is too much of a coincidence, and too convenient an excuse, for the Court to believe. In this
connection, the Court notes his testimony on cross examination that he was unable to get in touch with his relatives,
including Genny Acol, for possible assistance and to get Genny Acol to corroborate his testimony, because the latter had
already left for the province and that none of his other relatives knew that he had been charged in this case. But when
queried how he was able to say this, he testified that he had written to his uncle and that he received a reply letter from
him and that it was from this reply letter of his uncle that he learned that Genny Acol had already left for the province.
This testimony of accused Tirso Acol, if it accomplished anything, helped convinced the Court that he is given to lying.
For sure, if he had written to his uncle and that the latter had replied to him, it is plain that he must have informed his
uncle about the case and that the latter knew about the case and the fact that he was in jail and needed help. In any
event, established jurisprudence dictates that between the positive testimonies of prosecution witnesses and the denials
of the accused the Court must place its reliance on the former. As a matter of fact, jurisprudence also indicates that
greater weight must be given to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses when they are officers of the law. (People
vs. Mostoles, Jr., 124 SCRA 906; People vs. Patog, 144 SCRA 129).
(pp. 21-22, Rollo.)
As initially intimated herein, Tirso Acol escaped from detention during the trial below, thus obviating any review of his
conviction, as indeed, even if he had appealed and thereafter escaped, he would be considered as having abandoned his
appeal (People vs. Quinitan, 197 SCRA 32 [1991]; Section 8, Rule 124, Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure).
With respect to Pio Boses, he chose to articulate his protestation of innocence by claiming that the trial court below erred:
I
. . . IN NOT GIVING DUE COURSE TO THE URGENT MOTION OF ACCUSED PIO BOSES TO REOPEN THE CASE
HENCE DEPRIVING HIM TO PRESENT HIS WITNESSES WHOSE TESTIMONIES WOULD HAVE BEEN MATERIAL
TO HIS DEFENSE THEREBY AMOUNTING TO A DENIAL OF DUE PROCESS.
II
. . . IN NOT GIVING CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONIES OF BOTH ACCUSED PIO BOSES AND TIRSO ACOL;
INSTEAD, IT RELIED SOLELY ON THE TESTIMONIES OF THE PROSECUTION'S WITNESSES.
III
. . . IN ADMITTING THE PROSECUTIONS EVIDENCE CONSISTING OF EXHIBITS "E", "F", "F-1" TO "F-5", "G", "G- 1"
TO "G-5", SINCE THE ARRESTING OFFICERS ADMITTED THEY WERE NOT ARMED WITH A WARRANT OF
ARREST, NOR A SEARCH WARRANT WHEN THEY CHASED AND FRISKED ACCUSED-APPELLANTS AND
PROCEEDED TO ARREST THEM.
IV
. . . IN CONVICTING BOTH ACCUSED AS THERE WAS NOT CLEAR SHOWING THAT EXHIBITS "F", "F-1" TO "F-5",
"G", "G-1" TO "G-4" WERE THE ONES USED BY THE ROBBERS IN COMMITTING THE CRIME OF ROBBERY/HOLD
UP.
(p. 1, Appellant's Brief; p. 60, Rollo.)
But the appeal leaves much to be desired.

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It is axiomatic to the point of being elementary that herein accused- appellant can not feign denial of due process where
he had the opportunity to present his defense, through his own narration on the witness stand (Domingo vs. Development
Bank of the Philippines, 207 SCRA 766 [1992]; Gonzales vs. Court of Appeals, 212 SCRA 595 [1992]. Withal, and as
correctly pointed out by the People, the omission of a party to present witnesses to corroborate the principal basis for
exculpation, on account of the witnesses' admitted tardiness in arriving in court, is a puerile proposition to support reopening of the case.
In regard to the second ascription aired by the accused-appellant, emphasis is laid on the fact that the court a quo should
have relied more on the explanation offered by the defense rather than giving credence to the testimony of the People's
witnesses. For one thing, accused- appellant asseverates that they could not have been positively identified by Percival
Tan and Rene Araneta considering that it was then still dark when the accused boarded the jeep, up to the time they
were apprehended. But counsel for accused-appellant concedes that the jeep was lighted subject to the caveat that it
was not well lighted (p. 12, Brief for Accused-Appellant) which does not entirely foreclose positive identification of the
culprits who admittedly shared a ride with their victims and were thus seated within the closed quarters of the jeepney.
Moreover, it was established by the prosecution that Rene Araneta's jacket was one of the items which was asported, that
it was worn by one of the felons, and that the jacket was recognized by Rene Araneta from a distance of 1-1/2 meters (p.
7, Brief for Accused-Appellant). To lessen the impact of the affirmative statements uttered against accused- appellant, it
is argued that the immediate propensity of a criminal is to move out from the scene of the locus criminis and not merely to
walk casually within the vicinity. We said in People vs. Ocampo (G.R. No. 80262, September 1, 1993) that indeed, there
can be no legal dispute to the legal proposition that flight from the scene of the felony is one of the indicia of a guilty
conscience, but it is equally true, we proceeded to say, that culprits, in exceptional cases, have become bolder by
returning to the scene of the crime to feign innocence. At any rate, it has been repeatedly stressed by this Court that the
factual findings of the trial court and the conclusions drawn therefrom are accorded utmost respect since the magistrate
at the court of origin had the first hand impression of the demeanor and deportment of witnesses (People vs. Lim, 206
SCRA 176 [1992]; People vs. Castillo, 208 SCRA 62).
With respect to the so-called warrantless arrest of accused--appellant, we are of the view that the search falls within the
purview of Section 5(b) of Rule 113 which serves as an exception to the requisite warrant prior to arrest:
When an offense has in fact been committed, and the has
personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it;
inasmuch as the police team was formed and dispatched to look for the persons responsible for the crime on account of
the information related by Percival Tan and Rene Araneta that they had just been robbed (People vs. Gerente, 219 SCRA
756 [1993]; People vs. Tonog, Jr., 205 SCRA 772 [1992]). And since accused-appellant's arrest was lawful, it follows that
the search made incidental thereto was valid (People vs. Tanilon, 221 SCRA 671 [1993]). Moreover, the unlicensed
firearms were found when the police team apprehended the accused for the robbery and not for illegal possession of
firearms and ammunition (People vs. Cruz, 165 SCRA 135 [1988]). The principle imparted by Justice Padilla in Cruz was
based on the ruling of this Court in Magoncia vs. Palacio (90 Phil. 771 [1948]) that:
. . . When, in pursuing an illegal action or in the commission of a criminal offense, the offending police officers should
happen to discover a criminal offense being committed by any person, they are not precluded from performing their
duties as police officers for the apprehension of the guilty person and the taking of the corpus delicti.
Nonetheless, the penalty of "reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment" as erroneously imposed by the lower court must be
modified to read only as reclusion perpetua, as provided by Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1866, said penalty
being distinct from life imprisonment.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed with the slight modification that the proper penalty to be
imposed is reclusion perpetua. Further, the court orders the forfeiture of the firearms and other incidental paraphernalia in
favor of the Philippine National Police to be disposed of in accordance with law.
No pronouncement is made as to costs.
SO ORDERED

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G.R. No. 94533

E-CJS

February 4, 1992

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
IGNACIO TONOG, JR., alias ABDUL TONOG, ALLAN SOLAMILLO, "JOHN DOE" and "PETER DOE", accusedappellants.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Eduardo T. Sedillo for accused-appellants.

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:
Charged along with three (3) others, Ignacio Tonog, Jr., alias "Abdul" was convicted of Murder and sentenced to reclusion
perpetua in a Decision rendered by the Regional Trial Court of Dumaguete City, Branch XXXIV, 1 promulgated on 3 July
1990. He is now before us, seeking a reversal. The cases against his co-accused, Allan Solamillo and two (2) other
unidentified individuals, were archived as the latter three have eluded arrest and have yet to be apprehended.
The evidence of the prosecution linking the accused-appellant to the crime charged discloses that on 25 April 1988, at
around 6:00 o'clock in the morning, the Dumaguete City Police Station received a report that there was a "lifeless person
found lying at the crossing of Cantil-e, Dumaguete City" (TSN, 6 January 1989, p. 6). The deceased, who had stab
wounds all over his body, was later identified as Efren Flores, son of the Deputy Station Commander of the Dumaguete
City Police Force (Id., pp. 2-3).
That same morning, after receiving the report, Patrolman Walter Leguarda went to the place where the body was found
and conducted an investigation. He learned from his investigation that a "motorcab" with side car number 0164 had
stopped near the place where the deceased was found. His investigation likewise revealed that "the person responsible
for the death of Efren Flores was a certain Abdul Tonog of Bacong, Negros Oriental" (Id., p. 6). Pat. Leguarda based his
conclusion principally from the information given to him by one Liberato Solamillo (Id., p. 12). He was also informed by
the girlfriend of Abdul Tonog's co-accused, Allan Solamillo, that prior to the stabbing incident, "there were grudges
between Efren Flores and Abdul Tonog" (Id., p. 9).
In the afternoon of that same day, 25 April 1988, Pat. Leguarda, together with P/Sgt, Orlando Patricio and other police
operatives, without a warrant (Id., p. 13), "proceeded to Bacong, Negros Oriental, to look for and effect the apprehension
of Abdul Tonog," (Id., pp. 6-7) who, upon being "invited for questioning," voluntarily went with the law enforcers to the
police station, unaccompanied by counsel (Id., p. 13).
P/Sgt. Patricio narrated that while they were on their way to the police station on board the patrol jeep, he noticed the
presence of blood stains on the pants of the Accused-appellant. When asked where the stains came from, the latter
allegedly answered that they were blood stains from a pig (TSN, July 12, 1989, pp. 4-5). He was then requested to take
off his pants for examination at the PC/INP Crime Laboratory in Cebu, to which request, he supposedly acceded upon
reaching the police station (Id).
Also at the police station, the Accused-appellant cried and looked for the Station Commander. He then confessed to the
officer-in-charge of the police station (TSN, January 6, 1989, p. 7), which confession was not recorded nor reduced to
writing (Id., p. 14). He admitted that he was one of the assailants of Efren Flores and that he used his Batangas knife (Id.,
p. 7).
After about a month, due to lack of funds, Policewoman Vilma Beltran brought and turned over the "blood-stained" pants
and stainless knife, which was recovered by Pat. Patricio from the grassy portion where the deceased was found (TSN,
July 12, 1989, p. 15), to the PC/INP Crime Laboratory in Cebu (TSN, August 23, 1989, p. 4).

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The. forensic chemist thereat affirmed that the blood stains found on the pants of the Accused-appellant and those on the
stainless knife were of type "O" (Id., p. 14), the same as the victim's blood type (TSN, December 4, 1989, p.3).
Liberato Solamillo, whom Pat. Leguarda had investigated, was likewise called to testify. He attested that around 7:00
o'clock in the evening of 24 April 1988, he was drinking with the Accused-appellant and the latter's co-accused, Allan
Solamillo, at Nora's Store located in Bacong, Negros Oriental (TSN, February 20, 1989, pp. 2-3). Accused-appellant then
left at around 9:30 p.m. together with a certain Patrolman Biyok on the latter's motorcycle (Id., pp. 6-7). At 11:00 o'clock
that evening, Allan and Liberato then headed for Pat. Biyok's house to look for the Accused-appellant. They rode on a
"motorcab" with side car number 0164, the "motorcab" regularly driven by Allan. Upon reaching Pat. Biyok's house, they
were informed that the Accused-appellant was not there. They then saw the victim, Efren Flores, who requested that he
be conveyed to Dumaguete City (Id., p. 8).
Allan asked Liberato to stay behind so that the former could take Efren Flores to Dumaguete City. Liberato stayed behind
and conversed with Pat. Biyok until 11:45 that evening. After Allan failed to return, Liberato decided to ride with a certain
Gorio, who happened to pass by, on the latter's "pedicab" (TSN, March 8, 1989, p. 3).
On his way home, Liberato saw the "motorcab" with side car number 0164 parked outside a store. He alighted from
Gorio's "pedicab" and proceeded to where the "motorcab" was. He saw Accused-appellant, Abdul Tonog, inside the
"motorcab." He then heard Allan tell Elvis Bueno, son of the owner of the store: "Kuha na gyod, "Vis."" (He is already
taken, "Vis.") (Id., pp. 4-5). He also noticed the presence of blood stains (many red spots) on Allan's fatigue shirt, which
was not the same shirt the latter was wearing when they were drinking. Allan then allegedly got angry when asked why
there seemed to be red spots on his shirt (Id., p. 6).
The City Health Officer also took the witness stand. It was he who examined the body of the deceased. His findings
revealed that the corpse of victim, Efren Flores, had twenty-seven (27) wounds, several of which were fatal, and which
may have been caused by a long sharp-bladed instrument (TSN, May 25, 1989, pp. 3-6).
For his part, Accused-appellant categorically denied having had anything to do with the victim's death. He asseverated
that at around 7:00 o'clock in the evening of 24 April 1988, he was drinking with his co-accused, Allan Solamillo and
prosecution witness, Liberato Solamillo, at Nora's Store in Bacong. During the drinking spree, a heated argument ensued
between him and Allan, prompting the latter to fire his gun. Accused-appellant immediately left the place to look for a
policeman who could arrest Allan and confiscate the latter's gun (TSN, February 13, 1990, p. 9). Some policemen arrived
but failed to find Allan's gun.
Afraid to spend the night in Bacong, where he shares his place with Allan, Accused-appellant, at around 9:30 p.m.,
requested Pat. Biyok to convey him to Tinago where he could stay for the night (Id.). Upon arrival at Tinago, he
immediately slept and woke up at 7:00 o'clock the following morning.
Later that afternoon, after Liberato Solamillo pointed to Accused-appellant and told the policemen: "That fellow is Abdul.
He is Abdul" (Id., p. 10), he was taken to the Dumaguete City Police Station and detained. He disavowed having had any
conversation with any policeman on their way to the police station (Id.).
Accused-appellant averred that at the police station, he was told to admit the killing of Efren Flores. The police authorities
also ordered him to take off his pants (Id., p. 21). He vehemently denied that his trousers were stained with blood (Id., pp.
11, 21). He also denied having known or having met the victim (Id., p. 12).
After trial, the Court a quo rejected the alleged Accused-appelant's extra-judicial confession, as the latter was not
represented by counsel and because it had not been reduced to writing. Nonetheless, on the basis of circumstantial
evidence, it rendered a judgment of conviction, the dispositive portion of which is quoted hereunder:
WHEREFORE, the accused Ignacio Tonog, Jr., alias "Abdul" Tonog is hereby found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
the crime of murder and the court hereby imposes on him the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua.
Accused is likewise ordered to indemnify the heirs of the deceased victim the sum of THIRTY THOUSAND PESOS
(P30,000.00) and to pay the costs.

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The case filed against his co-accused Allan Solamillo and two other unidentified individuals are hereby ordered archived,
without prejudice to their further prosecution, considering that until this time they have not yet been apprehended and still
remain at large. (Rollo, pp. 180-181)
Accused-appellant, still professing innocence, now faults the Trial Court for admitting in evidence his "acid-washed
maong" pants and the stainless knife; in declaring that sufficient circumstantial evidence was adduced to warrant his
conviction; in concluding that the presumption of innocence in his favor has been overcome; in holding that the killing of
the victim was attended by the qualifying circumstance of cruelty; and in appreciating the aggravating circumstance of the
use of a motor vehicle in the commission of the crime (Appellant's Brief, pp.
3-4).
Except for the aggravating circumstances considered, we find ourselves in disagreement.
The "acid-washed maong" pants (Exh. D) were admissible in evidence, They were taken from Accused-appellant as an
incident of his arrest. It may be that the police officers were not armed with a warrant when they apprehended AccusedAppellant. The warrantless arrest, however, was justified under Section 5(b), Rule 133 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal
Procedure providing that a peace officer may, without a warrant, arrest a person "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." In this
case, Pat. Leguarda, in effecting the arrest of Accused-appellant, had knowledge of facts gathered by him personally in
the course of his investigation indicating that Accused-appellant was one of the perpetrators.
The "maong" pants having been taken from Accused-appellant as an incident to a lawful arrest, no infirmity may be
attributed to their seizure without a warrant. Section 12 of Rule 126 of the Rules of Court explicitly provides that "A
person charges with an offense may be searched for dangerous weapons or any thing which may be used as proof of the
commission of the offense."
We come now to the threshold question of whether or not there was sufficient circumstantial evidence to warrant
Accused-appellant's conviction, enough to overcome the presumption of innocence in his favor.
It is undisputed that there was no eyewitness to the crime, But it is also well-settled that guilt may be established through
circumstantial evidence. Direct evidence is not always necessary to prove the guilt of the accused (People v. Aldeguer,
No. 47991, April 3, 1990, 184 SCRA 1 at 10, citing People v. Roa, No. 78052, November 8, 1988, 163 SCRA 783). For
circumstantial evidence to succeed , the following requisites must be present, namely: (1) there must be more than one
circumstance; (2) the inferences must be based on proven facts; and (3) the combination of all the circumstances
produces a conviction beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused (Sec. 5, Rule 133, Rules of Court; People v.
Alcantara, No. L-74737, 29 July 1988, 163 SCRA 783 at 786).
Furthermore, in determining the sufficiency of circumstantial evidence to support a conviction, each case is to be
determined on its own peculiar set-up and all the facts and circumstances are to be considered as a whole and, when so
considered, may be sufficient to support a conviction, although one or more of the facts taken separately would not be
sufficient for this purpose (People v. Jora, Nos. L-61356-57, September 30, 1986, citing 23 CJS p. 555).
The foregoing requisites have been met. The chain of events circumstantially point to Accused-appellant's guilt.
As testified to by prosecution witness, Liberato Solamillo, he, Accused-appellant, and Allan Solamillo were drinking
together in the evening of 24 April 1988 at around 7:00 P.M. Accused-appellant left at around 9:30 P.M. together with Pat.
Biyok on the latter's motorcycle. At around 11:00 P.M., because Accused-appellant had not yet returned, Liberato and
Allan headed for Pat. Biyok's house to look for him (Accused-appellant). They rode on a "motorcab" with side car number
0164, the "motorcab" regularly driven by Allan for hire. They did not find Accused-appellant at that house. They then saw
the victim, Efren Flores, hail a pedicab to go to Dumaguete City.
Allan obliged, using the "motorcab" with side car number 0164, and drove off with the victim. In doing so, Allan asked
Liberate to stay behind. The latter did as bidded and conversed with Pat. Biyok until 11:45 that evening. Since Allan failed
to return, Liberato decided to go home and ride with a certain Gorio, who happened to pass by, on the latter's pedicab.

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Notably, within that span of time, both Accused-appellant and Allan had mysteriously disappeared from the group of Pat.
Biyok and Liberato, who continued trying to trail their whereabouts.
On his way home, Liberato saw the "motorcab" with side car number 0164, which was used by Allan to transport the
victim, parked outside a store. He alighted from Gorio's pedicab and proceeded to where the "motorcab" was. He saw
Accused-appellant seated therein. He also saw Allan inside the store buying sardines and Pepsi. He then heard Allan tell
one Elvis Bueno, son of the storeowner: "Kuha na gyod, Vis." (He is already taken, "Vis"). Then Liberato noticed the
presence of blood stains on Allan's fatigue shirt, which was not the same shirt the latter was wearing when they were
drinking. When queried on why there seemed to be red spots on his shirt, Allan reacted angrily.
As the events unfolded, it is evident that Accused-appellant and Allan had been together during the time that each one
separately disappeared from Liberato's sight during which period they had done away with the victim. The victim was last
seen with Allan in the latter's "motorcab." That was around 11:00 o'clock in the evening. Liberato waited for him to return.
He never did. Roughly around midnight, the same "motorcab" was seen outside a store. Accused-appellant was in it,
while Allan was in the store buying some items. Blood stains were noticed on Allan's shirt. Later, at the police station,
blood spots were also seen on Accused-appellant's pants. The latter tried to conceal the crime by stating that the blood
spots were those of a pig. Unwittingly, therefore, he admitted the presence of those stains except that he attributed them
to some other cause.
Note should also be taken of the proven fact that investigation by Pat. Leguarda revealed that the "motorcab" with side
car number 0164, the vehicle that Allan drove with the victim as his passenger, was seen near the spot where the victim's
body was discovered. This lead enabled Pat. Leguarda to zero in on two suspects, Accused-appellant and Allan, which
eventually led to the apprehension of the former the very same day.
Most telling of all is the proven fact that laboratory examination at the PC/INP Crime Laboratory of the blood stains on
Accused-appellant's "acid-washed maong pants" revealed that they were positive for human blood, type "O", the same
blood type as that of the victim (Exh. "J"). Again of significance is another proven fact that the stainless knife recovered
from the crime scene, upon similar laboratory examination, exhibited blood stains of the same blood-type "O".
While it may be that Accused-appellant had denied that his pants had blood stains, he nevertheless admitted that the
pants subjected to laboratory testing and presented by the prosecution in this case were the same pair he wore in the
evening when he was drinking with Allan and Liberato and on the following day when he was brought to the police
station.
The foregoing circumstances, considered as a whole, and the inferences from which are derived from proven facts,
constitute an unbroken chain that point to no other rational hypothesis except that of guilt of Accused-Appellant (People v.
Jara, supra).
Liberato's credibility has not been overcome. On the contrary, as testified to by him, Accused-appellant admitted that he,
Liberato and Allan had a drinking spree in the early evening of 24 April 1988. Accused-appellant's testimony, however,
that he and Allan had a heated argument at the time and that Allan had fired a gun is belied by the fact that the police did
not find such a gun on Allan's person, according to Accused-appellant's own version. Furthermore, Accused-appellant's
declaration that he became afraid of Allan, by reason of his having fired a gun, is negated by the circumstance that they
were together in front of a store at around midnight in the evening of 24 April 1988 and had eaten together thereafter.
As found by the Trial Court, there is no reason for Liberato to concoct a false story incriminating his cousin, Allan, and
Accused-appellant, an acquaintance of his.
We agree with the defense, however, that the aggravating circumstance of cruelty should not have been appreciated by
the Trial Court. For this aggravating circumstance to be appreciated, it is essential "that the wrong done in the
commission of the crime be deliberately augmented by causing other wrong not necessary for its commission" (Art. 14
(21), Revised Penal Code). There having been no eyewitness to the commission of the crime, it can not justifiably be
concluded that the wrong done had been deliberately augmented. The mere fact that wounds in excess of that necessary
to cause death were inflicted upon the body of the victim does not necessarily imply that such wounds were inflicted with
cruelty and with the intention of deliberately and inhumanly increasing the sufferings of the victim (People v. Siblag, 37
Phil. 703 [1918]). It is necessary to show that the accused deliberately and inhumanly increased the victim's sufferings

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(People v. Luna, No. L-28812, July 31, 1974, 58 SCRA 198; People v. Manzano, Nos. L-33643-44, July 31, 1974, 58
SCRA 250). The number of wounds is not the criterion for the appreciation of cruelty as an aggravating circumstance
(Ibid.).
The aggravating circumstance of use of a motor vehicle should neither be appreciated, the same not having been
indubitably proven under the environmental facts of the case.
What may be appreciated, however, is the aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength, also charged in the
Information. There is ample evidence to show that two individuals, one of them Accused-appellant, armed with a knife,
attacked a single person, the victim. It is obvious that the perpetrators of this crime took advantage of their combined
strength in order to consummate the offense. By reason of their superiority, not only in numbers but also in weaponry,
they were able to inflict twenty-seven (27) stab wounds, fourteen (14) of which were fatal.
In fine, Accused-appellant's conviction for the crime of Murder is proper. The indemnity to the heirs of the victim, however,
should be increased to P50,000.00 in line with current jurisprudence.
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED, except with respect to the indemnity, which is hereby
increased to 50,000.00. Costs against accused-appellant, Ignacio Tonog, Jr.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 95847-48. March 10, 1993.


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. GABRIEL GERENTE y BULLO, accused-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Public Attorney's Office for accused-appellant.
SYLLABUS
1.
REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; ARREST WITHOUT WARRANT; LAWFUL WHEN ARRESTING
OFFICER HAS PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE THAT THE PERSON TO BE ARRESTED HAS COMMITTED THE CRIME;
CASE AT BAR. The policemen arrested Gerente only some three (3) hours after Gerente and his companions had
killed Blace. They saw Blace dead in the hospital and when they inspected the scene of the crime, they found the
instruments of death: a piece of wood and a concrete hollow block which the killers had used to bludgeon him to death.
The eye-witness, Edna Edwina Reyes, reported the happening to the policemen and pinpointed her neighbor, Gerente,
as one of the killers. Under those circumstances, since the policemen had personal knowledge of the violent death of
Blace and of facts indicating that Gerente and two others had killed him, they could lawfully arrest Gerente without a
warrant. If they had postponed his arrest until they could obtain a warrant, he would have fled the law as his two
companions did.
2.
ID.; ID.; SEARCH AND SEIZURE; VALID EVEN WITHOUT A WARRANT WHEN MADE AS AN INCIDENT TO
LAWFUL ARREST; RATIONALE. The search conducted on Gerente's person was likewise lawful because it was
made as an incident to a valid arrest. This is in accordance with Section 12, Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Court
which provides: "Section 12. Search incident to lawful arrest. A person lawfully arrested may be searched for
dangerous weapons or anything which may be used as proof of the commission of an offense, without a search warrant."
The frisk and search of appellant's person upon his arrest was a permissible precautionary measure of arresting officers
to protect themselves, for the person who is about to be arrested may be armed and might attack them unless he is first
disarmed. In Adams vs. Williams, 47 U.S. 143, cited in Justice Isagani A. Cruz's Constitutional Law, 1991 Edition, p. 150,
it was ruled that "the individual being arrested may be frisked for concealed weapons that may be used against the
arresting officer and all unlawful articles found his person, or within his immediate control may be seized."

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3.
CRIMINAL LAW; CONSPIRACY; LIABILITY OF CONSPIRATORS; RULE; CASE AT BAR. There is no merit
in appellant's allegation that the trial court erred in convicting him of having conspired and cooperated with Fredo and
Totoy Echigoren to kill Blace despite the testimony of Dr. Valentin Bernales that the fracture on the back of the victim's
skull could have been inflicted by one person only. what Dr. Bernales stated was a mere possibility that only one person
dropped the concrete hollow block on the head of the victim, smashing it. That circumstance, even if true, does not
absolve the other two co-conspirators in the murder of Blace for when there is a conspiracy to commit a crime, the act of
one conspirator is the act of all. The conspiracy was proven by the eyewitness-testimony of Edna Edwina Reyes, that she
overheard the appellant and his companions conspire to kill Blace, that acting in concert, they attacked their victim with a
piece of wood and a hollow block and caused his death. "When there is no evidence indicating that the principal witness
for the prosecution was moved by improper motive, the presumption is that he was not so moved and his testimony is
entitled to full faith and credit" (People vs. Belibet, 199 SCRA 587, 588). Hence, the trial court did not err in giving full
credit to Edna Reyes' testimony.
4.
ID.; CIVIL INDEMNITY FOR DEATH; INCREASED TO P50,000.00. The Solicitor General correctly pointed
out in the appellee's brief that the award of P30,000.00 as civil indemnity for the death of Clarito Blace should be
increased to P50,000.00 in accordance with our ruling in People vs. Sison, 189 SCRA 643.
DECISION
GRIO-AQUINO, J p:
This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Branch 172, which found the
appellant guilty of Violation of Section 8 of Republic Act 6425 (Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972) and sentenced him to
suffer the penalty of imprisonment for a term of twelve (12) years and one (1) day, as minimum, to twenty (20) years, as
maximum; and also found him guilty of Murder for which crime he was sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua. The dispositive portion of the appealed decision reads:
"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing the Court finds the accused Gabriel Gerente in Criminal Case No. 10255-V-90
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Violation of Section 8 of R.A. 6425 and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of
imprisonment of twelve years and one day as minimum to twenty years as maximum, and a fine of twelve thousand,
without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs.
"In Criminal Case No. 10256-V-90, the Court finds the accused Gabriel Gerente guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of Murder, and there by (sic) no aggravating circumstances nor mitigating circumstances, is hereby sentenced to
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua; to indemnify the heirs of the victim in the sum of P30,000.00, and in the amount
of P17,609.00 as funeral expenses, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs. The
accused Gabriel Gerente shall be credited with the full term of his preventive imprisonment." (p. 25, Rollo.)
Appellant Gabriel Gerente y Bullo was charged with Violation of Section 8, Art. II of R.A. 6425, which was docketed as
Criminal Case No. 10255-V-90 of the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela, Metro Manila. The Information reads:
"That on or about the 30th day of April, 1990, in the municipality of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, without justification, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully
and feloniously have in his possession and control dried flowering tops wrapped in foil with markings and place in a
transparent plastic bag which are considered prohibited drugs." (p. 2, Rollo.)
The same accused, together with Totoy and Fredo Echigoren who are both at large, was charged with Murder in Criminal
Case No. 10256-V-90 in an information of the same date and signed by the same Assistant Provincial Prosecutor, as
follows:
"That on or about the 30th day of April, 1990, in the municipality of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused together with two (2) others who are still at large and
against whom the preliminary investigation has not yet been terminated by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of
Bulacan, conspiring, confederating together and mutually helping one another, armed with a piece of wood and hallow
(sic) block and with intent to kill one Clarito B. Blace, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with evident

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premeditation and treachery, attack, assault and hit with the said piece of wood and hollow block the said Clarito B.
Blace, hitting the latter on the different parts of his body, thereby inflicting serious physical injuries which directly caused
the death of the said victim." (p. 3, Rollo.)
Edna Edwina Reyes testified that at about 7:00 a.m. of April 30, 1990, appellant Gabriel Gerente, together with Fredo
Echigoren and Totoy Echigoren, started drinking liquor and smoking marijuana in the house of the appellant which is
about six (6) meters away from the house of the prosecution witness who was in her house on that day. She overheard
the three men talking about their intention to kill Clarito Blace. She testified that she heard Fredo Echigoren saying,
"Gabriel, papatayin natin si Clarito Blace," and Totoy Echigoren allegedly seconded Fredo's suggestion saying:
"Papatayin natin 'yan mamaya." Appellant allegedly agreed: "Sigue, papatayin natin mamaya." (pp. 3-4, tsn, August 24,
1990.)
Fredo and Totoy Echigoren and Gerente carried out their plan to kill Clarito Blace at about 2:00 p.m. of the same day. The
prosecution witness, Edna Edwina Reyes, testified that she witnessed the killing. Fredo Echigoren struck the first blow
against Clarito Blace, followed by Totoy Echigoren and Gabriel Gerente who hit him twice with a piece of wood in the
head and when he fell, Totoy Echigoren dropped a hollow block on the victim's head. Thereafter, the three men dragged
Blace to a place behind the house of Gerente.
At about 4:00 p.m. of the same day, Patrolman Jaime Urrutia of the Valenzuela Police Station received a report from the
Palo Police Detachment about a mauling incident. He went to the Valenzuela District Hospital where the victim was
brought. He was informed by the hospital officials that the victim died on arrival. The cause of death was massive fracture
of the skull caused by a hard and heavy object. Right away, Patrolman Urrutia, together with Police Corporal Romeo Lima
and Patrolman Alex Umali, proceeded to Paseo de Blas where the mauling incident took place. There they found a piece
of wood with blood stains, a hollow block and two roaches of marijuana. They were informed by the prosecution witness,
Edna Edwina Reyes, that she saw the killing and she pointed to Gabriel Gerente as one of the three men who killed
Clarito.
The policemen proceeded to the house of the appellant who was then sleeping. They told him to come out of the house
and they introduced themselves as policemen. Patrolman Urrutia frisked appellant and found a coin purse in his pocket
which contained dried leaves wrapped in cigarette foil. The dried leaves were sent to the National Bureau of Investigation
for examination. The Forensic Chemist found them to be marijuana.
Only the appellant, Gabriel Gerente, was apprehended by the police. The other suspects, Fredo and Totoy Echigoren, are
still at large.
On May 2, 1990, two separate informations were filed by Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Benjamin Caraig against him for
Violation of Section 8, Art. II, of R.A. 6425, and for Murder.
When arraigned on May 16, 1990, the appellant pleaded not guilty to both charges. A joint trial of the two cases was held.
On September 24, 1990, the trial court rendered a decision convicting him of Violation of Section 8 of R.A. 6425 and of
Murder.
In this appeal of the appellant, the following errors are ascribed to the trial court:
1.

the court a quo gravely erred in admitting the marijuana leaves adduced in evidence by the prosecution; and

2.
the court a quo gravely erred in convicting the accused-appellant of the crimes charged despite the absence of
evidence required to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
The appellant contends that the trial court erred in admitting the marijuana leaves as evidence in violation of his
constitutional right not to be subjected to illegal search and seizure, for the dried marijuana leaves were seized from him
in the course of a warrantless arrest by the police officers. We do not agree.
The search of appellant's person and the seizure of the marijuana leaves in his possession were valid because they were
incident to a lawful warrantless arrest.

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Paragraphs (a) and (b), Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Court provide:
'SECTION 5.
arrest a person:

Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or a private person may, 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; . . .'
The policemen arrested Gerente only some three (3) hours after Gerente and his companions had killed Blace. They saw
Blace dead in the hospital and when they inspected the scene of the crime, they found the instruments of death: a piece
of wood and a concrete hollow block which the killers had used to bludgeon him to death. The eye-witness, Edna Edwina
Reyes, reported the happening to the policemen and pinpointed her neighbor, Gerente, as one of the killers. Under those
circumstances, since the policemen had personal knowledge of the violent death of Blace and of facts indicating that
Gerente and two others had killed him, they could lawfully arrest Gerente without a warrant. If they had postponed his
arrest until they could obtain a warrant, he would have fled the law as his two companions did.
In Umil vs. Ramos, 187 SCRA 311, the arrest of the accused without a warrant was effected one (1) day after he had
shot to death two Capcom soldiers. The arrest was held lawful by this Court upon the rationale stated by us in People vs.
Malasugui, 63 Phil. 221, 228, thus:
"To hold that no criminal can, in any case, be arrested and searched for the evidence and tokens of his crime without a
warrant, would be to leave society, to a large extent, at the mercy of the shrewdest, the most expert, and the most
depraved of criminals, facilitating their escape in many instances."
The search conducted on Gerente's person was likewise lawful because it was made as an incident to a valid arrest. This
is in accordance with Section 12, Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Court which provides:
"SECTION 12.
Search incident to lawful arrest. A person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous weapons
or anything which may be used as proof of the commission of an offense, without a search warrant."
The frisk and search of appellant's person upon his arrest was a permissible precautionary measure of arresting officers
to protect themselves, for the person who is about to be arrested may be armed and might attack them unless he is first
disarmed. In Adams vs. Williams, 47 U.S. 143, cited in Justice Isagani A. Cruz's Constitutional Law, 1991 Edition, p. 150,
it was ruled that "the individual being arrested may be frisked for concealed weapons that may be used against the
arresting officer and all unlawful articles found in his person, or within his immediate control may be seized."
There is no merit in appellant's allegation that the trial court erred in convicting him of having conspired and cooperated
with Fredo and Totoy Echigoren to kill Blace despite the testimony of Dr. Valentin Bernales that the fracture on the back of
the victim's skull could have been inflicted by one person only.
What Dr. Bernales stated was a mere possibility that only one person dropped the concrete hollow block on the head of
the victim, smashing it. That circumstance, even if true, does not absolve the other two co-conspirators in the murder of
Blace for when there is a conspiracy to commit a crime, the act of one conspirator is the act of all. The conspiracy was
proven by the eyewitness-testimony of Edna Edwina Reyes, that she overheard the appellant and his companions
conspire to kill Blace, that acting in concert, they attacked their victim with a piece of wood and a hollow block and
caused his death. "When there is no evidence indicating that the principal witness for the prosecution was moved by
improper motive, the presumption is that he was not so moved and his testimony is entitled to full faith and credit" (People
vs. Belibet, 199 SCRA 587, 588). Hence, the trial court did not err in giving full credit to Edna Reyes' testimony.
Appellant's failure to escape (because he was very drunk) is no indicium of his innocence.

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The Solicitor General correctly pointed out in the appellee's brief that the award of P30,000.00 as civil indemnity for the
death of Clarito Blace should be increased to P50,000.00 in accordance with our ruling in People vs. Sison, 189 SCRA
643.
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is hereby AFFIRMED, with modification of the civil indemnity awarded to the heirs
of the victim, Clarito Blace, which is hereby increased to P50,000.00.
SO ORDERED.
[G.R. Nos. 120437-41. July 16, 1997]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ARMANDO ALVARIO, accused-appellant.
DECISION
ROMERO, J.:
Is there fear so great as to mute a victim of sexual assault and blunt her natural instinct for self-preservation?
On January 21, 1993, Esterlina Quintero, a 29-year old single mother of a two-year old child,[1] took time off her job as a
housekeeper at Pasong Tirad, Makati, to look for another place of employment. For this purpose, she sought the help of
a certain Aling Soling who accompanied her to a friends house at nearby San Miguel Village. While there was no
vacancy at the latters residence, they learned from a neighbors maid that someone in Bel-Air Subdivision was looking for
a house helper. After the usual introductions, Esterlina agreed to cook for and do the laundry of accused-appellant
Armando Alvario for a monthly salary of P800.00. He told her that she could begin that very day, then took her to a big
two-story house where the only other occupant was another maid by the name of Alma Barliso, who ushered Esterlina
into her designated quarters near the kitchen at the ground floor.[2] Alvario was a mere caretaker of the house.[3]
On her first day of employment, Esterlina went to bed on an empty stomach apparently because Alvario did not allow her
to eat. The following day, she went through the motions of regular housework by preparing Alvarios meals, washing his
clothes and doing other household chores, despite having been allowed to eat a mere two spoonsful of leftover food.[4]
Before leaving for work at seven oclock in the morning, Alvario gave strict instructions that Esterlina should not leave the
house. He went home for lunch, returned to the office at one oclock leaving his new maid with the same directive not to
leave the house, and arrived home at five oclock in the afternoon.[5] As far as Esterlina could remember, this was his
routine[6] for the rest of her lonely sojourn in that house; lonely, because commencing that day and almost everyday for
the next six days, by eight or nine oclock in the evening, when she had already retired, Alvario would barge into her room
and force himself upon her.
His routine was simple: He would enter her room with a gun in his hand, order her to remove her clothes or take them off
himself, and rape her for approximately five minutes.[7] Esterlina did not make any outcry; neither did she struggle to
protect her virtue.[8] She did not relate her harrowing experience to the other maid, Alma.[9] In fact, they did not speak to
each other at all because that was Alvarios instruction. It did not cross her mind to use the telephone in the house to call
up her sister,[10] or to escape while he was at work because he apparently locked the gate and all the doors, or to even
arm herself after the initial assault.[11] She was numb with fear and shame because Alvario constantly threatened to file
a case against her.[12]
Finally mustering enough courage, she rang her sister Merlyn who resided in Malabon on January 28th,[13] and the latter
managed to come to her older sisters succor. With the help of her own employer, Merlyn informed the Makati Police that
her sister was being held captive at No. 6 Hercules St., Bel-Air, Makati by a man who supposedly raped her. In
coordination with the Bel-Air security guard, the police went to the said address and pretended that they found a wallet
belonging to Esterlina. When Alvario and Esterlina opened the door, she immediately pointed to him as the man who
raped her. Alvario was arrested right then and there without a warrant of arrest by the police,[14] and was later charged
with five counts of rape allegedly committed on January 22, 23, 25, 27 and 28, 1993.[15]
Alvario expectedly told a different story. According to him, Esterlina was an aggressive woman who was generous in
granting sexual favors in exchange for financial aid. Esterlina was introduced to him by a certain Dang who knew that his
employer, Atty. Rogelio San Luis, was looking for a maid for the latters house at Bel-Air. He gave her the address and
when he arrived home in the afternoon, Esterlina was already there with her things. When she learned that he was the

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caretaker of the house, she immediately asked if she could get a two-month advance on her stipulated monthly salary of
P1,000.00, patting his thighs as she did so. He promised to take the matter up with his boss.[16]
Atty. San Luis did not, however, report for work the following day, but Alvario still gave Esterlina the P2,000.00 she wanted
and let her know it came from his own pocket.[17] Moved by such generosity and kindness, Esterlina knocked at his door
at around ten oclock that evening. Wearing nothing underneath her strapped lingerie,[18] she offered him a cup of coffee.
She lay the cup on the night table, held his hand, pressed his thighs, embraced him, then kissed him twice. Only then did
Alvario respond by kissing back. She caressed his manhood, then ordered him to remove his pants and even assisted
him in doing so. They kissed while he fondled her breasts and she groped for his organ. Noticing that he was fully
aroused, she mounted and lowered herself upon him. Alvario asked her to slow down because he had hernia. They then
shifted positions. After resting awhile, Esterlina engaged in foreplay to arouse him in preparation for their second round of
sex. He slept well and when he woke up in the morning, she was no longer beside him.[19] This episode was repeated
regularly every night for the next six days.[20]
Meanwhile, on January 26th, Esterlina gave him as tokens of her affection and gratitude, a panty embroidered with the
words ESTER LOVE ARMAN[21] and a handkerchief with ESTER[22] sewn on it. The next day, Alvario confronted
Esterlina and Alma about their use of the telephone, a subject he pursued till the next day. He also asked them about his
missing money and necklace, but the two maids just pointed at each other. Later, Esterlina promised him that she would
look for the missing items and warned him to leave because she believed Alma might create trouble.[23] Bel-Air guards
arrived that night and told him about a missing wallet that apparently belonged to Esterlina. He let them in and asked her
to give them coffee. In the meantime, he went out to answer a call of nature. That was when four men who identified
themselves as Makati policemen grabbed him from behind and told him that there was a complaint against him. They
insisted that he come with them peacefully[24] even as he kept asking for a warrant of arrest.[25] At the police station, he
learned that he was being detained on charges of rape; the complainant was, however, willing to settle the case for
P350,000.00, but he refused to settle.[26]
Merlyn Quintero corroborated in part Esterlinas story, that is, from the time the latter got in touch with her up to the time
the police was accordingly notified.[27] One of the members of the arresting team, SPO3 Ricardo Reyes, was also called
to the witness stand to narrate the events leading to Alvarios arrest and investigation.[28] The prosecution presented the
findings of the National Bureau of Investigation Medico-Legal officer which showed nothing except that there was no
evident sign of extragenital physical injuries.[29]
On January 27, 1995, Judge Arsenio J. Magpale of the Makati Regional Trial Court, Branch 57, rendered judgment
finding Alvario guilty of five counts of rape, viz.:
WHEREFORE, finding accused ARMANDO ALVARIO guilty of the crime of Rape as charged in the five (5) separate
Informations (Crim. Cases Nos. 93-871 to 93-875) beyond reasonable doubt, the Court sentences him to suffer the
afflictive (sic) penalty of reclusion perpetua in each of the said Informations and to indemnify the private complainant the
amount of P30,000.00 in each of the said Informations as moral damages. The period within which accused was
detained shall be credited in his favor. Costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.
This Court has declared often enough that, in order to sustain the conviction of an accused person, his guilt must be
proven beyond reasonable doubt by the State with the prosecution relying on the strength of its evidence and not on the
weakness of the defense.[30] And while it is true that the trial courts conclusions as to the credibility of witnesses deserve
respect and even finality on appeal, this rule admits of some exceptions, as in this case where the testimony of the
complainant herself casts serious doubts on her sincerity and truthfulness.[31] (T)o obviate the danger and impiety of
falsehood, and to repel any influence that the story may have been a fabrication, every story of defloration must never be
received with precipitate credulity.[32] After a careful examination of the facts and the evidence in the case at bar, we
arrive at the inevitable conclusion that while the defense is not persuasive enough, the prosecution is even less
convincing in proving the guilt of Armando Alvario beyond a reasonable doubt. He must, consequently, be exonerated of
all the charges against him and be set at liberty.
Rape is penalized in this jurisdiction under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code (the Code), which states thus:

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ART. 335. When and how rape is committed. - Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of
the following circumstances:
1. By using force or intimidation:
xxx
In her complaints, Esterlina Quintero claimed that on several occasions in January 1993, she was sexually abused by
Armando Alvario with the use of force, violence and intimidation. The latters defense was that they had an understanding
and that what transpired between them was purely voluntary. Did the prosecution successfully prove the presence of
force and intimidation, as contemplated by Article 335 of the Code? After scrutinizing the records of this case, we rule in
the negative.
The only evidence proffered by the prosecution against Alvario are the testimonies of the victim herself and that of her
sister and one of the arresting officers. Merlyn Quinteros testimony merely reiterated Esterlinas statement that the latter
called her up on January 28, 1993, and sought her aid in the arrest of a man who allegedly raped her older sister. None
of Merlyns declarations relating to the actual sexual assaults, as narrated by Esterlina, can be accepted by this Court for
being purely hearsay. The same is true with the testimony of SPO3 Ricardo Reyes, who merely responded to a radio
message that a certain Esterlina Quintero was raped by a man named Armando Alvario and eventually engineered the
latters arrest. The medical report submitted by the prosecution and admitted by both parties reveals nothing that would
prove a charge of rape and, in fact, even bolsters the defenses posture of consensual sex because of the finding therein
that there was no evident sign of extragenital physical injuries. Thus, the only remaining piece of evidence upon which a
conviction may be sustained is the testimony of the victim herself.
Admittedly, (r)ape is a very emotional word, and the natural human reactions to it are categorical: admiration and
sympathy for the courageous female publicly seeking retribution for her outrageous violation, and condemnation of the
rapist. However, being interpreters of the law and dispensers of justice, judges must look at a rape charge without those
proclivities, and deal with it with extreme caution and circumspection. Judges must free themselves of the natural
tendency to be overprotective of every woman decrying her having been sexually abused, and demanding punishment
for the abuser. While they ought to be cognizant of the anguish and humiliation the rape victim goes through as she
demands justice, judges should equally bear in mind that their responsibility is to render justice based on the law.[33]
In the case at bar, there are significant circumstances which, when taken together with the conflicting narration of facts of
the protagonists, would greatly erode the credibility of the victim.[34]
First, the only witnesses she presented to corroborate her story were her sister Merlyn and SPO3 Reyes, whose
testimonies, as earlier determined, failed to provide the necessary support to her allegations of rape. Although the choice
of witnesses to present for trial is a matter of prosecutorial strategy and prerogative, the Court cannot help but wonder
why the other maid, Alma Barliso, who by Esterlinas own account was always inside the house while she was allegedly
being raped by Alvario, was never utilized as a witness.
Second, the house was not in an isolated place. Located in an exclusive subdivision in Makati surrounded by neighbors
where sentinels continuously stood guard at the gate nearby, Esterlina could have easily yelled for help whenever Alvario
was out of the house, assuming she could not leave because the gate and the doors were all barred. Even in this regard,
her statements are unconvincing, for Alvario would not have repeatedly ordered her to stay in the house if he made sure
prior to his leaving the house that escape was not possible.
Third, there is, of course, the element of seeming indifference to her predicament. Denied her supper on her first day of
employment and allowed to eat a mere two spoonsful of leftover food the following day, that would have been sufficient
warning to her that her employer was, to say the least, inconsiderate. Having been an experienced househelp for six of
her twenty-nine years and a single mother for two years, one would expect her to bridle at such kind of treatment. It is not
as if she were desperate for a job, as by her own narration, she came from Pasong Tirad where she also worked as a
housekeeper when she met Aling Soling on January 21, 1993, supposedly to look for better employment opportunities.
She had every chance to escape after the initial assault on January 22, 1993, but she chose to remain a captive. She
could have searched for and used anything that could unlock the doors and gate of the house because Alvario was out of
the house daily from seven in the morning until lunch time and from one until five in the afternoon. Failing in this, she

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could have prepared for any further assault from her employer by arming herself with practically anything in the house - a
knife, a piece of wood or pipe, or even a frying pan. And what about Alma who was allegedly also victimized by Alvario?
Having both been targets of sexual harassment, they could have plotted and devised a way of escaping whenever they
were left alone, but they opted to succumb to their fear of Alvario by following his order that they should refrain even from
speaking to each other while he was away. As we held in People v. Sinatao:[35]
. . . (A) ravished woman would instinctively call for help or at best flee from her lecherous captor to safer grounds when
opportunities present themselves.
Fourth, she knew how and where to reach her younger sister Merlyn. There was a telephone in the house which she
could have used to call anybody outside while Alvario was away, assuming that she was really trapped inside. In fact, it is
this very same telephone which she used in contacting her sister Merlyn. But why did she decide to call for help only on
January 28, 1993, when she had already been, according to her story, repeatedly raped? Why not earlier?
Finally, while it is difficult to believe that she remained passive through her ordeal, as if granting sexual favors was in her
job description, it is much harder to accept that she could be so cowed into silence, submission and inaction by Alvarios
threat that he would file a case against her, the nature of which she did not even bother to divulge or elaborate upon. In
fact, it is only her dread of this threat that purportedly kept her at bay even in Alvarios absence. What possible cause of
action could Alvario have that would make her a veritable martyr? While she did not reveal any ostensible reason, Alvario
testified that he confronted Esterlina and Alma about his missing money and necklace, but neither admitted the theft. The
threat of criminal prosecution for theft is the only plausible cause for the self-imposed silence of the two girls.
With these facts in mind, as narrated by the victim herself, our query at the outset can finally be resolved with moral
certainty. Is there fear so great as to mute a victim of sexual assault and blunt her natural instinct for self-preservation? In
Esterlina Quinteros case, the answer indicated is in the negative.
In convicting Alvario, the court a quo totally rejected his claim that he and Esterlina had an understanding and, instead,
relied on the presumption that a Filipina of decent repute would not concoct a charge of rape if it were not true and if she
had motivations other than to seek justice. As the Court declared in Godoy:[36]
It frequently happens that in a particular case two or more presumptions are involved. Sometimes the presumptions
conflict, one tending to demonstrate the guilt of the accused and the other his innocence. In such case, it is necessary to
examine the basis for each presumption and determine what logical or social basis exists for each presumption, and then
determine which should be regarded as the more important and entitled to prevail over the other. It must, however, be
remembered that the existence of a presumption indicating guilt does not in itself destroy the presumption against
innocence unless the inculpating presumption, together with all of the evidence, or the lack of any evidence or
explanation, is sufficient to overcome the presumption of innocence by proving the defendants guilt beyond a reasonable
doubt. Until the defendants guilt is shown in this manner, the presumption of innocence continues.
The rationale for the presumption of guilt in rape cases has been explained in this wise:
In rape cases especially, much credence is accorded the testimony of the complaining witness, on the theory that she will
not choose to accuse her attacker at all and subject herself to the stigma and indignities her accusation will entail unless
she is telling the truth. x x x Whatever the outcome of the case, she will remain a tainted woman, a pariah because her
purity has been lost, albeit through no fault of hers. This is why many a rape victim chooses instead to keep quiet,
suppressing her helpless indignation rather than denouncing her attacker. This is also the reason why, if a woman
decides instead to come out openly and point to her assailant, courts are prone to believe that she is telling the truth
regardless of its consequences. x x x.
The presumption of innocence, on the other hand, is founded upon the first principles of justice, and is not a mere form
but a substantial part of the law. It is not overcome by mere suspicion or conjecture; a probability that the defendant
committed the crime; nor by the fact that he had the opportunity to do so. Its purpose is to balance the scales in what
would otherwise be an uneven contest between the lone individual pitted against the People and all the resources at their
command. Its inexorable mandate is that, for all the authority and influence of the prosecution, the accused must be
acquitted and set free if his guilt cannot be proved beyond the whisper of a doubt. This is in consonance with the rule that

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Warrantless Arrest, Sec 5 Rule 113

E-CJS

conflicts in evidence must be resolved upon the theory of innocence rather then upon a theory of guilt when it is possible
to do so. (Underscoring supplied; citations omitted)
In effect, the defense advanced the so-called sweetheart theory, where the accused does not deny the sexual encounter
but claims that it is consensual because he has an existing relationship with the supposed victim. Although the Court
finds this theory intrinsically weak, there may be instances where the same is applicable, such as if there is a strong
possibility that the accused and the victim may, indeed, be intimately related, except that such relationship may have
been strained due to extraneous circumstances, for instance, loss of trust and threat of criminal prosecution, as in the
case at bar.[37] Alvarios claim of innocence is further buttressed by his submission of proofs of affection or
understanding between him and Esterlina in the form of her undergarment embroidered with the words ESTER LOVE
ARMAN and handkerchief bearing the name of ESTER.[38]
Finally, the Court notes that during the trial, Alvario consistently protested his warrantless arrest. Suffice it to say that his
arrest falls within the purview of Rule 113, Section 5(b) of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, viz.:
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
xxx
(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; x x x. (Underscoring supplied)
The personal knowledge of the arresting officers in the case at bar was culled from the information supplied by the victim
herself who pointed to Alvario as the man who raped her at the time of his arrest.[39]
WHEREFORE, the assailed judgment of the trial court in Criminal Case Nos. 93-871-875, dated January 27, 1995, is
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accused-appellant ARMANDO ALVARIO is hereby ACQUITTED of all charges
against him on ground of reasonable doubt, and his IMMEDIATE RELEASE from prison is hereby ORDERED, unless he
is otherwise detained for any other lawful or valid cause. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

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