Pre-Bar Quizzer in Political Law – PART 2: Constitution of Liberty 21 – 30
21. May a judge validly issue a Warrant of Arrest based from the Information and the Resolution of the Prosecutor finding probable cause against the accused?
No. There will be no basis for the issuance since the Prosecutor is neither the complainant nor the witness to the case. He could not have determined probable cause based from the said documents. (VICENTE LIM,SR. AND MAYOR SUSANA LIM VS.HON. N. FELIX , G.R. NO. 99054-57). As held in the case of Soliven vs. Makasiar, decided under the 1987 Constitution, the Court noted that the addition of the word personally after the word determined and the deletion of the grant of authority by the 1973 Constitution to issue warrants to other respondent officers as to may be authorized by law does not require the judge to personally examine the complainant and his witness in his determination of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest.What the Constitution underscores is the exclusive and personal responsibility of the issuing judge to satisfy himself of the existence of probable cause. Following established doctrine and procedures, he shall:
(1) personally evaluate the reports and the supporting documents submitted by the fiscal regarding the existence of probable cause and, on the basis thereof, issue a warrant of arrest;
(2) If on the basis thereof he finds no probable cause, he may disregard the fiscal’s report and require the submission of supporting affidavits of witnesses to aid him in arriving at a conclusion as to the existence of probable cause.
The case of People vs. Honorable Enrique B. Inting reiterates the following doctrines:
(1) The determination of probable cause is a function of the judge. It is not for the Provincial Fiscal or Prosecutor nor for the Election Supervisor to ascertain. Only the judge alone makes this determination.
(2) The preliminary inquiry made by the prosecutor does not bind the judge. It merely assist him to make the determination of probable cause. The judge does not have to follow what the prosecutor’s present to him. By itself, the prosecutor’s certification of probable cause is ineffectual. It is the report, the affidavits, the transcripts of stenographic notes, and all other supporting documents behind the prosecutor’s certification which are material in assisting the judge to make his determination.
(3) Preliminary inquiry should be distinguished from the preliminary investigation proper. While the former seeks to determine probable cause for the issuance of warrant of arrest, the latter ascertains whether the offender should be held for trial or be released.
22. As to the requirement that the judge must “personally” determine probable cause, must he examine the complainant and his witnesses face to face in order to comply with the said constitutional provision?
In connection with the issuance of a SEARCH WARRANT, he must personally examine the complainant and the witnesses, with searching questions, face to face.
In connection with the issuance of a warrant of arrest, however, the word “personally” after the word determined does not necessarily mean that the judge should examine the complainant and his witnesses personally or face to face before issuing the warrant of arrest but the exclusive responsibility on the part of said judge to satisfy himself of the existence of probable cause. As such, there is no need to examine the complainant and his witnesses face to face. It is sufficient if the judge is convinced of the existence of probable cause upon reading the affidavits or deposition of the complainant and his witnesses. SOLIVEN VS. MAKASIAR, 167 SCRA 393
23. Is the judge bound by the findings of existence of “probable cause” by the Prosecutor as indicated in his Certification in the information so that the issuance of a warrant of arrest is only ministerial? If not satisfied of the existence of probable cause, may the judge require the Prosecutor to submit additional evidence?
The judge is not bound by the findings of the Prosecutor because the said finding is only “probable cause” that a crime was committed. Probable cause to justify the issuance of a warrant of arrest is a judicial function vested only in the judge. In fact, he can require the Prosecutor to submit additional evidence if he is not convinced of the existence of probable for the issuance of a warrant of arrest. (P. vs. Villanueva, 110 SCRA 465; Placer vs. Villanueva, 126 SCRA 463).
24. Is “Operation Kapkap” being done by the police because the suspect has something bulging in his waist and keeps on touching his abdomen as if touching a gun valid?
As held in PEOPLE VS. MENGOTE, G.R. No. 87059, June, 1992, 210 scra 174, “Operation Kapkap” or warrantless search without probable cause is unconstitutional. Such search is valid only if covered by Section 5, Article 113 of the Rules of Court which provides:
Sec. 5. 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; 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.
Compare this case to MANALILI VS. PEOPLE, October 9, 1997. The policemen saw several suspicious looking men at dawn who ran when they went near them. As the policemen ran after them, an unlicensed firearm was confiscated. The search was declared valid by the Supreme Court. Note, however, that in MALACAT VS. CA, 283 SCRA 159, the SC held that mere suspicions not sufficient to validate warrantless arrest.
25. May the Iloilo Police arrests without warrant or search the person disembarking from a ship passenger without warrant based solely on an information relayed to them by an informant that the suspect’s bag contains marijuana?
No. As held in PEOPLE vs. AMMINUIDIN, 163 SCRA 402 a warrantless arrest of the accused was unconstitutional. This was effected while he was coming down the vessel, to all appearances no less innocent than the other disembarking passengers. He had not committed nor was 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.
26. In arrests without warrant based on the fact that a crime has just been committed, what kind of knowledge is required on the part of the arresting officer?
In PEOPLE VS. GALVEZ, 355 SCRA 246, the Supreme Court held that t he policeman arrested the accused-appellant on the basis solely of what Reynaldo Castro had told him and not because he saw the accused-appellant commit the crime charged against him. Indeed, the prosecution admitted that there was no warrant of arrest issued against accused-appellant when the latter was taken into custody. Considering that the accused-appellant was not committing a crime at the time he was arrested nor did the arresting officer have any personal knowledge of facts indicating that accused-appellant committed a crime, his arrest without a warrant cannot be justified.
27. What is the effect on the illegality of the arrest by the subsequent act of the accused in posting bond for his provisional liberty and entering a plea during his arraignment?
By entering a plea of not guilty during the arraignment, the accused-appellant waived his right to raise the issue of illegality of his arrest. IT IS NOW SETTLED THAT OBJECTION TO A WARRANT OF ARREST OR THE PROCEDURE BY WHICH A COURT ACQUIRES JURISDICTION OVER THE PERSON OF AN ACCUSED MUST BE MADE BEFORE HE ENTERS HIS PLEA, OTHERWISE, THE OBJECTION IS DEEMED WAIVED. THE FACT THAT THE ARREST WAS ILLEGAL DOES NOT RENDER THE SUBSEQUENT PROCEEDINGS VOID AND DEPRIVE THE STATE OF ITS RIGHT TO CONVICT THE GUILTY WHEN ALL THE FACTS POINT TO THE CULPABILITY OF THE ACCUSED. (PEOPLE VS. GALVEZ, 355 SCRA 246)
28. Is a warrantless search and seizure by a private individual valid?
Yes, since the constitutional provision is not applicable to him. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES VS. ANDRE MARTI, G.R. NO. 81561, January 18, 1991; SILAHIS INTERNATIONAL HOTEL, INC. VS. ROGELIO SOLUTA, ET AL., 482 SCRA 660)
29. What are the requisites of a valid search incidental to a valid arrest?
As held in NOLASCO VS. PANO, 139 SCRA 541, a search incidental to a valid arrest must be done at the place where the accused is arrested. As such, if accused was arrested while inside a jeepney, there is no valid search incidental to a valid arrest if she will be brought to her residence and thereafter search the said place. Or as held in ESPANO VS. CA, 288 SCRA 588, if the accused was arrested in the street during a buy-bust operation, the search of his house nearby is not a valid search incidental to a valid arrest.
30. If the accused was validly arrested without warrant inside a night club for illegal possession of firearm, may the arresting officers validly search his car parked several meters from the place of arrest based on “search incidental to a valid arrest”?
Where the gun tucked in a person’s waist is plainly visible to the police, no search warrant is necessary and in the absence of any license for said firearm, he may be arrested at once as he is in effect committing a crime in the presence of the police officers. No warrant is necessary in such a situation, it being one of the recognized exceptions under the Rules. As a consequence of the accused’s valid warrantless arrest inside the nightclub, he may be lawfully searched for dangerous weapons or anything which may be used as proof of the commission of an offense, without a search warrant in accordance with Section 12, Rule 126. This is a valid search incidental to a lawful arrest.
In fact, the subsequent discovery in his car which was parked in a distant place from where the illegal possession of firearm was committed [after he requested that he will bring his car to the Police Station after his warrantless arrest) , of a drug paraphernalia and shabu, CANNOT BE SAID TO HAVE BEEN MADE DURING AN ILLEGAL SEARCH because of his consent, not due to search incidental to a valid arrest. As such, the items do not fall under the exclusionary rule and the unlicensed firearms, drug paraphernalia and the shabu, can be used as evidence against the accused. (PEOPLE VS. GO, 354 SCRA 338)
Pre-Bar Quizzer in Political Law (Doctrinal Rulings, Requisites and Definitions)
July, 2008 by Atty. Larry D. Gacayan
College of Law, University of the Cordilleras
Posted on July 7, 2014, in Political Law and tagged Pre-Bar Quizzer in Political Law – PART 2: Constitution of Liberty 21 – 30. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.