FINAL EXAMINATION IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW
1. The accused is charged in Information as follows:
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 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.
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 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 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 Bernardino 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
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 on the marijuana leaves and found positive result for marijuana; 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 and when examined, the same were also found to be marijuana.
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’d 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.
After trail the Regional Trial Court convicted the accused. On appeal one of the errors raised is that “THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING AS EVIDENCE THE PACKAGE OF MARIJUANA ALLEGEDLY SEIZED FROM the ACCUSED AS IT WAS A PRODUCT OF AN UNLAWFUL SEARCH WITHOUT A WARRANT.”
QUESTION: 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. Rule on the issue.
2. The incidents involved in this case took place at the height of the coup d' etat staged in December, 1989 by ultra-rightist elements headed by the Reform the Armed Forces Movement-Soldiers of the Filipino People (RAM-SFP) against the Government. At that time, various government establishments and military camps in Metro Manila were being bombarded by the rightist group with their "tora-tora" planes. At around midnight of November 30, 1989, the 4th Marine Battalion of the Philippine Marines occupied Villamor Air Base, while the Scout Rangers took over the Headquarters of the Philippine Army, the Army Operations Center, and Channel 4, the government television station. Also, some elements of the Philippine Army coming from Fort Magsaysay occupied the Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan, Metro Manila.
Accused-appellant Rolando de Gracia was charged in two separate informations for illegal possession of ammunition and explosives in furtherance of rebellion, and for attempted homicide, docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. Q-90-11755 and Q-90-11756, respectively, which were tried jointly by the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 103.
In Criminal Case No. Q-90-11755, Rolando de Gracia, Chito Henson and several John Does whose true names and identities have not as yet been ascertained, were charged with the crime of illegal possession of ammunition and explosives in furtherance of rebellion, penalized under Section 1, paragraph 3, of Presidential Decree No. 1866, allegedly committed as follows:
That on or about the 5th day of DECEMBER, 1989, in QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping one another, and without authority of law, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, feloniously and knowingly have in their possession, custody and control, the following to wit:
Five (5) bundles of C-4 or dynamites Six (6) cartoons of M-16 ammunition at 20 each One hundred (100) bottles of MOLOTOV bombs
without first securing the necessary license and/or permit to possess the same from the proper authorities, and armed with said dynamites, ammunition and explosives and pursuant to their conspiracy heretofore agreed upon by them and prompted by common designs, come to an agreement and decision to commit the crime of rebellion, by then and there participating therein and publicly taking arms against the duly constituted authorities, for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, disrupting and jeopardizing its activities and removing from its allegiance the territory of the Philippines or parts thereof.
In Criminal Case No. Q-90-11756, Rolando de Gracia, Chito Henson, Lamberto Bicus, Rodolfo Tor and several John Does were charged with attempted homicide allegedly committed on December 1, 1989 in Quezon City upon the person of Crispin Sagario who was shot and hit on the right thigh.
Appellant was convicted for illegal possession of firearms in furtherance of rebellion, but was acquitted of attempted homicide.
During the arraignment, appellant pleaded not guilty to both charges. However, he admitted that he is not authorized to possess any firearms, ammunition and/or explosive. 3 The parties likewise stipulated that there was a rebellion during the period from November 30 up to December 9, 1989.
The records show that in the early morning of December 1, 1989, Maj. Efren Soria of the Intelligence Division, National Capital Region Defense Command, was on board a brown Toyota car conducting a surveillance of the Eurocar Sales Office located at Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in Quezon City, together with his team composed of Sgt. Crispin Sagario, M/Sgt. Ramon Briones, S/Sgt. Henry Aquino, one S/Sgt. Simon and a Sgt. Ramos. The surveillance, which actually started on the night of November 30, 1989 at around 10:00 P.M., was conducted pursuant to an intelligence report received by the division that said establishment was being occupied by elements of the RAM-SFP as a communication command post.
Sgt. Crispin Sagario, the driver of the car, parked the vehicle around ten to fifteen meters away from the Eurocar building near P. Tuazon Street, S/Sgt. Henry Aquino had earlier alighted from the car to conduct his surveillance on foot. A crowd was then gathered near the Eurocar office watching the on-going bombardment near Camp Aguinaldo. After a while, a group of five men disengaged themselves from the crowd and walked towards the car of the surveillance team. At that moment, Maj. Soria, who was then seated in front, saw the approaching group and immediately ordered Sgt. Sagario to start the car and leave the area. As they passed by the group, then only six meters away, the latter pointed to them, drew their guns and fired at the team, which attack resulted in the wounding of Sgt. Sagario on the right thigh. Nobody in the surveillance team was able to retaliate because they sought cover inside the car and they were afraid that civilians or bystanders might be caught in the cross-fire.
As a consequence, at around 6:30 A.M. of December 5, 1989, a searching team composed of F/Lt. Virgilio Babao as team leader, M/Sgt. Lacdao, Sgt. Magallion, Sgt. Patricio Pacatang, and elements of the 16th Infantry Battalion under one Col. delos Santos raided the Eurocar Sales Office. They were able to find and confiscate six cartons of M-16 ammunition, five bundles of C-4 dynamites, M-shells of different calibers, and "molotov" bombs inside one of the rooms belonging to a certain Col. Matillano which is located at the right portion of the building. Sgt. Oscar Obenia, the first one to enter the Eurocar building, saw appellant De Gracia inside the office of Col. Matillano, holding a C-4 and suspiciously peeping through a door. De Gracia was the only person then present inside the room. A uniform with the nametag of Col. Matillano was also found. As a result of the raid, the team arrested appellant, as well as Soprieso Verbo and Roberto Jimena who were janitors at the Eurocar building. They were then made to sign an inventory, written in Tagalog, of the explosives and ammunition confiscated by the raiding team. No search warrant was secured by the raiding team because, according to them, at that time there was so much disorder considering that the nearby Camp Aguinaldo was being mopped up by the rebel forces and there was simultaneous firing within the vicinity of the Eurocar office, aside from the fact that the courts were consequently closed. The group was able to confirm later that the owner of Eurocar office is a certain Mr. Gutierrez and that appellant is supposedly a "boy" therein.
Appellant Rolando de Gracia gave another version of the incident. First, he claims that on November 30, 1989, he was in Antipolo to help in the birthday party of Col. Matillano. He denies that he was at the Eurocar Sales Office on December 1, 1989. Second, he contends that when the raiding team arrived at the Eurocar Sales Office on December 5, 1989, he was inside his house, a small nipa hut which is adjacent to the building. According to him, he was tasked to guard the office of Col. Matillano which is located at the right side of the building. He denies, however, that he was inside the room of Col. Matillano when the raiding team barged in and that he had explosives in his possession. He testified that when the military raided the office, he was ordered to get out of his house and made to lie on the ground face down, together with "Obet" and "Dong" who were janitors of the building. He avers that he does not know anything about the explosives and insists that when they were asked to stand up, the explosives were already there.
Appellant stated that he visited Col. Matillano in 1987 at the stockade of the Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police (PC-INP), and that he knew Matillano was detained because of the latter's involvement in the 1987 coup d' etat. In July, 1989, appellant again went to see Matillano because he had no job. Col. Matillano then told him that he could stay in the PC-INP stockade and do the marketing for them. From that time until his arrest at the Eurocar office, appellant worked for Matillano.
De Gracia believes that the prosecution witnesses were moved to testify against him because "bata raw ako ni Col. Matillano eh may atraso daw sa kanila si Col. Matillano kaya sabi nila ito na lang bata niya ang ipitin natin."
On February 22, 1991, the trial court rendered judgment acquitting appellant Rolando de Gracia of attempted homicide, but found him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of illegal possession of firearms in furtherance of rebellion and sentenced him to serve the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Moreover, it made a recommendation that "(i) nasmuch as Rolando de Gracia appears to be merely executing or obeying orders and pursuant to the spirit contained in the 2nd paragraph of Art. 135, R. P. C., the court recommends that Rolando de Gracia be extended executive clemency after serving a jail term of five (5) years of good behavior.
That judgment of conviction is now challenged in this appeal and one of the errors assigned is whether or not there was a valid search and seizure in this case. Accused that the search and seizure without a search warrant was illegal hence said evidence against him are inadmissible. RULE ON THE ISSUE.
3.On a probable cause, after examining the applicant and his witnesses, Judge John Juculan issued a search warrant shown below:
The People of the Philippines, Criminal Case No. 215
Adelaida Moncada, Violation of RA 6425
Accused. Drugs Act
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
To: Any Peace Officer
It appearing to the satisfaction of the undersigned after examining under oath SP02Juan Rodrigo and his witnesses, Pedro Yap, and P01 Jun Samso, that there exists probable cause to believe that Illegal Possession of Shabu has been committed and that there are good and sufficient reasons to believe that Adelaida Moncada has in her possession shabu and drug paraphernalia, in her house in 76 Quezon St., Dipolog City, which should be seized and brought to the undersigned;
You are hereby commanded to make immediate search at any time in the day or night of the premises above described and forthwith seize and take possession of the abovementioned objects and bring the same to the undersigned to be dealt with by law.
Witness my hand this 8th day of February 2004, Dipolog City, Philippines.
Using said search warrant, SP02 Rodrigo search the house of Adelaida and found inside her room, 5 sachets of shabu, 50 grams of dried and compressed marijuana leaves (wrapped with a black cloth) and a test tube.
1.Adelaida contends that the search warrant issued is void because it did not include marijuana leaves, which was seized by the police officers. She contends that the search warrant authorized only shabu but did not include marijuana leaves. Is the search warrant valid?
2.The police officers contend that the seizure of the marijuana leaves was valid based on the “plain view doctrine”. Rule out on the issue.
(People v. Salanguit, GR No. 133254, April 19, 2001)
4.WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THE “PLAIN VIEW DOCTRINE”? WHAT ARE THE REQUISITES FOR THE “PLAIN VIEW DOCTRINE” TO APPLY?
5. Hal McElroy an Australian film maker, and his movie production company, Ayer Productions Ltd. (Ayer Productions), envisioned, sometime in 1987, the for commercial viewing and for Philippine and international release, the historic peaceful struggle of the Filipinos at EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue). He discussed this Project with local movie producer Lope V. Juban who suggested that they consult with the appropriate government agencies and also with General Fidel V. Ramos and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who had played major roles in the events proposed to be filmed.
The proposed motion picture entitled "The Four Day Revolution" was endorsed by the Movie Television Review and Classification Board as well as the other government agencies consulted. General Fidel Ramos also signified his approval of the intended film production.
In a letter dated 16 December 1987, petitioner Hal McElroy informed private respondent Juan Ponce Enrile about the projected motion picture enclosing a synopsis of it, the full text of which is set out below:
The Four Day Revolution is a six hour mini-series about People Power a unique event in modern history that-made possible the Peaceful revolution in the Philippines in 1986.
Faced with the task of dramatising these events, screenwriter David Williamson and history Prof Al McCoy have chosen a "docu-drama" style and created [four] fictitious characters to trace the revolution from the death of Senator Aquino, to the Feb revolution and the fleeing of Marcos from the country.
Through the interviews and experiences of these central characters, we show the complex nature of Filipino society, and the intertwining series of events and characters that triggered these remarkable changes. Through them also, we meet all of the principal characters and experience directly dramatic recreation of the revolution. The story incorporates actual documentary footage filmed during the period which we hope will capture the unique atmosphere and forces that combined to overthrow President Marcos.
David Williamson is Australia's leading playwright with some 14 hugely successful plays to his credit(Don's Party,' 'The Club,' Travelling North) and 11 feature films (The Year of Living Dangerously,' Gallipoli,' 'Phar Lap').
Professor McCoy (University of New South Wales) is an American historian with a deep understanding of the Philippines, who has worked on the research for this project for some 18 months. Together with Davi Wilhamgon they have developed a script we believe accurately depicts the complex issues and events that occurred during the period .
The six-hour series is a McElroy and McElroy co-production with Home Box Office in American, the Australian Broadcast Corporation in Australia and Zenith Productions in the United Kingdom
The proposed motion picture would be essentially a re-enactment of the events that made possible the EDSA revolution; it is designed to be viewed in a six-hour mini-series television play, presented in a "docu-drama" style, creating four (4) fictional characters interwoven with real events, and utilizing actual documentary footage as background.
On 21 December 1987, private respondent Enrile replied that "[he] would not and will not approve of the use, appropriation, reproduction and/or exhibition of his name, or picture, or that of any member of his family in any cinema or television production, film or other medium for advertising or commercial exploitation" and further advised petitioners that 'in the production, airing, showing, distribution or exhibition of said or similar film, no reference whatsoever (whether written, verbal or visual) should not be made to [him] or any member of his family, much less to any matter purely personal to them.
It appears that petitioners acceded to this demand and the name of private respondent Enrile was deleted from the movie script, and petitioners proceeded to film the projected motion picture.
On 23 February 1988, private respondent filed a Complaint with application for Temporary Restraining Order with the Regional Trial Court of Makati, docketed as Civil Case No. 88-151 in Branch 134 thereof, seeking to enjoin petitioners from producing the movie "The Four Day Revolution". The complaint alleged that petitioners' production of the mini-series without private respondent's consent and over his objection, constitutes an obvious violation of his right of privacy. On 24 February 1988, the trial court issued ex-parte a Temporary Restraining Order and set for hearing the application for preliminary injunction.
On 9 March 1988, Hal McElroy flied a Motion to Dismiss with Opposition to the Petition for Preliminary Injunction contending that the mini-series film would not involve the private life of Juan Ponce Enrile nor that of his family and that a preliminary injunction would amount to a prior restraint on their right of free expression. Petitioner Ayer Productions also filed its own Motion to Dismiss alleging lack of cause of action, as the mini-series had not yet been completed.
In an Order 2 dated 16 March 1988, respondent court issued a writ of Preliminary Injunction against the petitioners, the dispositive portion of which reads thus:
WHEREFORE, let a writ of preliminary injunction be issued, ordering defendants, and all persons and entities employed or under contract with them, including actors, actresses and members of the production staff and crew as well as all persons and entities acting on defendants' behalf, to cease and desist from producing and filming the mini-series entitled 'The Four Day Revolution" and from making any reference whatsoever to plaintiff or his family and from creating any fictitious character in lieu of plaintiff which nevertheless is based on, or bears rent substantial or marked resemblance or similarity to, or is otherwise Identifiable with, plaintiff in the production and any similar film or photoplay, until further orders from this Court, upon plaintiff's filing of a bond in the amount of P 2,000,000.00, to answer for whatever damages defendants may suffer by reason of the injunction if the Court should finally decide that plaintiff was not entitled thereto.
xxx xxx xxx
On 22 March 1988, petitioner Ayer Productions came to this Court by a Petition for certiorari dated 21 March 1988 with an urgent prayer for Preliminary Injunction or Restraining Order, which petition was docketed as G.R. No. L-82380.
A day later, or on 23 March 1988, petitioner Hal McElroy also filed separate Petition for certiorari with Urgent Prayer for a Restraining Order or Preliminary Injunction, dated 22 March 1988, docketed as G.R. No. L-82398.
By a Resolution dated 24 March 1988, the petitions were consolidated and private respondent was required to file a consolidated Answer. Further, in the same Resolution, the Court granted a Temporary Restraining Order partially enjoining the implementation of the respondent Judge's Order of 16 March 1988 and the Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued therein, and allowing the petitioners to resume producing and filming those portions of the projected mini-series which do not make any reference to private respondent or his family or to any fictitious character based on or respondent.
The constitutional and legal issues raised by the present Petitions are sharply drawn. Petitioners' claim that in producing and "The Four Day Revolution," they are exercising their freedom of speech and of expression protected under our Constitution. Private respondent, upon the other hand, asserts a right of privacy and claims that the production and filming of the projected mini-series would constitute an unlawful intrusion into his privacy, which he is entitled to enjoy.
QUESTION: RULE ON THE CONTENTIONS OF ENRILE AND AYER PRODUCTIONS.
6. The issue raised in this ease is whether the trial court acting on a motion to dismiss a criminal case filed by the Provincial Fiscal upon instructions of the Secretary of Justice to whom the case was elevated for review, may refuse to grant the motion and insist on the arraignment and trial on the merits.
On April 18, 1977 Assistant Fiscal Proceso K. de Gala with the approval of the Provincial Fiscal filed information for estafa against Mario Fl. Crespo in the Circuit Criminal Court of Lucena City, which was docketed as Criminal Case No. CCCIX-52 (Quezon) When the case was set for arraignment the accused filed a motion to defer arraignment on the ground that there was a pending petition for review filed with the Secretary of Justice of the resolution of the Office of the Provincial Fiscal for the filing of the information. In an order of August 1, 1977, the presiding judge, His Honor, Leodegario L. Mogul, denied the motion. A motion for reconsideration of the order was denied in the order of August 5, 1977 but the arraignment was deferred to August 18, 1977 to afford nine for petitioner to elevate the matter to the appellate court.
A petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for a preliminary writ of injunction was filed by the accused in the Court of Appeals that was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 06978. 4 In an order of August 17, 1977 the Court of Appeals restrained Judge Mogul from proceeding with the arraignment of the accused until further orders of the Court. In a comment that was filed by the Solicitor General he recommended that the petition be given due course. On May 15, 1978 a decision was rendered by the Court of Appeals granting the writ and perpetually restraining the judge from enforcing his threat to compel the arraignment of the accused in the case until the Department of Justice shall have finally resolved the petition for review.
On March 22, 1978 then Undersecretary of Justice, Hon.Catalino Macaraig, Jr., resolving the petition for review reversed the resolution of the Office of the Provincial Fiscal and directed the fiscal to move for immediate dismissal of the information filed against the accused. A motion to dismiss for insufficiency of evidence was filed by the Provincial Fiscal dated April 10, 1978 with the trial court, attaching thereto a copy of the letter of Undersecretary Macaraig, Jr. In an order of August 2, 1978 the private prosecutor was given time to file an opposition thereto. On November 24, 1978 the Judge denied the motion and set the arraignment stating:
For resolution is a motion to dismiss this Case filed by the prosecuting fiscal premised on insufficiency of evidence, as suggested by the Undersecretary of Justice, evident from Annex "A" of the motion wherein, among other things, the Fiscal is urged to move for dismissal for the reason that the check involved having been issued for the payment of a pre-existing obligation the liability of the drawer can only be civil and not criminal.
The motion's thrust being to induce this Court to resolve the innocence of the accused on evidence not before it but on that adduced before the Undersecretary of Justice, a matter that not only disregards the requirements of due process but also erodes the Court's independence and integrity, the motion is considered as without merit and therefore hereby DENIED.
WHEREFORE, let the arraignment be, as it is hereby set for December 18, 1978 at 9:00 o'clock in the morning.
The accused then filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with petition for the issuance of preliminary writ of prohibition and/or temporary restraining order in the Court of Appeals that was docketed as CA-G.R. No. SP-08777. 12 On January 23, 1979 a restraining order was issued by the Court of Appeals against the threatened act of arraignment of the accused until further orders from the Court. In a decision of October 25, 1979 the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition and lifted the restraining order of January 23, 1979. A motion for reconsideration of said decision filed by the accused was denied in a resolution of February 19, 1980.
Hence this petition for review of said decision was filed by accused whereby petitioner prays that said decision be reversed and set aside, respondent judge be perpetually enjoined from enforcing his threat to proceed with the arraignment and trial of petitioner in said criminal case, declaring the information filed not valid and of no legal force and effect, ordering respondent Judge to dismiss the said case, and declaring the obligation of petitioner as purely civil.
In a resolution of May 19, 1980, the Second Division of this Court without giving due course to the petition required the respondents to comment to the petition, not to file a motion to dismiss, within ten (10) days from notice. In the comment filed by the Solicitor General he recommends that the petition be given due course, it being meritorious. Private respondent through counsel filed his reply to the comment and a separate comment to the petition asking that the petition be dismissed. In the resolution of February 5, 1981, the Second Division of this Court resolved to transfer this case to the Court En Banc. In the resolution of February 26, 1981, the Court En Banc resolved to give due course to the petition.
QUESTION: Is the action of the judge in not dismissing the Information, despite the Motion to Dismiss filed by the Prosecutor valid? Reason out your answer.
7.WHAT ARE THE TWO GUARANTEES CONTAINED IN THE FREEDOM OF RELIGION? Discuss each.
8. On 1 February 1975, members of the Batangas City Police together with personnel of the Batangas Electric Light System, equipped with a search warrant issued by a city judge of Batangas City, searched and examined the premises of the Opulencia Carpena Ice Plant and Cold Storage owned and operated by the private respondent Manuel Opulencia. The police discovered that electric wiring, devices and contraptions had been installed, without the necessary authority from the city government, and "architecturally concealed inside the walls of the building” owned by the private respondent. These electric devices and contraptions were, in the allegation of the petitioner "designed purposely to lower or decrease the readings of electric current consumption in the electric meter of the said electric [ice and cold storage] plant." During the subsequent investigation, Manuel Opulencia admitted in a written statement that he had caused the installation of the electrical devices "in order to lower or decrease the readings of his electric meter.
On 24 November 1975, an Assistant City Fiscal of Batangas City filed before the City Court of Batangas City an Information against Manuel Opulencia for violation of Ordinance No. 1, Series of 1974, Batangas City. A violation of this ordinance was, under its terms, punishable by a fine "ranging from Five Pesos (P5.00) to Fifty Pesos (P50.00) or imprisonment, which shall not exceed thirty (30) days, or both, at the discretion of the court." This information reads as follows:
The undersigned, Assistant City Fiscal, accuses Manuel Opulencia y Lat of violation of Sec. 3 (b) in relation to Sec. 6 (d) and Sec. 10 Article II, Title IV of ordinance No. 1, S. 1974, with damage to the City Government of Batangas, and penalized by the said ordinance, committed as follows:
That from November, 1974 to February, 1975 at Batangas City, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with intent to defraud the City Government of Batangas, without proper authorization from any lawful and/or permit from the proper authorities, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously make unauthorized installations of electric wirings and devices to lower or decrease the consumption of electric fluid at the Opulencia Ice Plant situated at Kumintang, Ibaba, this city and as a result of such unauthorized installations of electric wirings and devices made by the accused, the City Government of Batangas was damaged and prejudiced in the total amount of FORTY ONE THOUSAND, SIXTY TWO PESOS AND SIXTEEN CENTAVOS (P41,062.16) Philippine currency, covering the period from November 1974 to February, 1975, to the damage and prejudice of the City Government of Batangas in the aforestated amount of P41,062.16, Philippine currency.
The accused Manuel Opulencia pleaded not guilty to the above information. On 2 February 1976, he filed a motion to dismiss the information upon the grounds that the crime there charged had already prescribed and that the civil indemnity there sought to be recovered was beyond the jurisdiction of the Batangas City Court to award. In an order dated 6 April 1976, the Batangas City Court granted the motion to dismiss on the ground of prescription, it appearing that the offense charged was a light felony which prescribes two months from the time of discovery thereof, and it appearing further that the information was filed by the fiscal more than nine months after discovery of the offense charged in February 1975.
Fourteen (14) days later, on 20 April 1976, the Acting City Fiscal of Batangas City filed before the Court of First Instance of Batangas, Branch 11, another information against Manuel Opulencia, this time for theft of electric power under Article 308 in relation to Article 309, paragraph (1), of the Revised Penal Code. This information read as follows:
The undersigned Acting City Fiscal accuses Manuel Opulencia y Lat of the crime of theft, defined and penalized by Article 308, in relation to Article 309, paragraph (1) of the Revised Penal Code, committed as follows:
That on, during, and between the month of November, 1974, and the 21st day of February, 1975, at Kumintang, lbaba, Batangas City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with intent of gain and without the knowledge and consent of the Batangas Electric Light System, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, steal and appropriate electric current valued in the total amount of FORTY ONE THOUSAND, SIXTY TWO PESOS AND SIXTEEN CENTAVOS (P41,062.16) Philippine Currency, to the damage and prejudice of the said Batangas Electric Light System, owned and operated by the City Government of Batangas, in the aforementioned sum of P41,062.16.
The above information was docketed as Criminal Case No. 266 before the Court of First Instance of Batangas, Branch II. Before he could be arraigned thereon, Manuel Opulencia filed a Motion to Quash, dated 5 May 1976, alleging that he had been previously acquitted of the offense charged in the second information and that the filing thereof was violative of his constitutional right against double jeopardy. By Order dated 16 August 1976, the respondent Judge granted the accused's Motion to Quash and ordered the case dismissed. The gist of this Order is set forth in the following paragraphs:
“The only question here is whether the dismissal of the first case can be properly pleaded by the accused in the motion to quash. In the first paragraph of the earlier information, it alleges that the prosecution "accuses Manuel Opulencia y Lat of violation of Sec. 3(b) in relation to Sec. 6(d) and Sec. 10 Article II, Title IV of Ordinance No. 1, s. 1974, with damage to the City Government of Batangas, etc.. The first case, as it appears, was not simply one of illegal electrical connections. It also covered an amount of P41, 062.16 which the accused, in effect, allegedly with intent to defraud, deprived the city government of Batangas. If the charge had meant illegal electric installations only, it could have alleged illegal connections, which were done at one instance on a particular date between November 1974, to February 21, 1975. But as the information states "that from November, 1974 to February 1975 at Batangas City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused with intent to defraud the City Government of Batangas, without proper authorization from any lawful and/or permit from the proper authorities, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously make unauthorized installations of electric wirings and devices, etc." , it was meant to include the P 41,062.16 which the accused had, in effect, defrauded the city government. The information could not have meant that from November 1974 to 21 February 1975, he had daily committed unlawful installations.
When, therefore, he was arraigned and he faced the indictment before the City Court, he had already been exposed, or he felt he was exposed to consequences of what allegedly happened between November 1974 to February 21, 1975 that had allegedly resulted in defrauding the City of Batangas in the amount of P 41,062.16.
QUESTIONS: 1.WAS THE ACCUSED SUBJECTED TO DOUBLE JEOPARDY TO JUSTIFY THE DISMISSAL OF THE SECOND INFORMATION?
2.STATE THE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION REGARDING DOUBLE JEOPARDY.
9.On August 14, 1987, between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m., the Accused and his common-law wife, Shirley Reyes, went to the booth of the "Manila Packing and Export Forwarders" in the Pistang Pilipino Complex, Ermita, Manila, carrying with them four (4) gift wrapped packages. Anita Reyes (the proprietress and no relation to Shirley Reyes) attended to them. The accused informed Anita Reyes that he was sending the packages to a friend in Zurich, Switzerland. Appellant filled up the contract necessary for the transaction, writing therein his name, passport number, the date of shipment and the name and address of the consignee, namely, "WALTER FIERZ, Mattacketr II, 8052 Zurich, Switzerland".
Anita Reyes then asked the accused if she could examine and inspect the packages. Accused, however, refused, assuring her that the packages simply contained books, cigars, and gloves and were gifts to his friend in Zurich. In view of accused's representation, Anita Reyes no longer insisted on inspecting the packages. The four (4) packages were then placed inside a brown corrugated box one by two feet in size (1' x 2'). Styro-foam was placed at the bottom and on top of the packages before the box was sealed with masking tape, thus making the box ready for shipment .
Before delivery of appellant's box to the Bureau of Customs and/or Bureau of Posts, Mr. Job Reyes (proprietor) and husband of Anita (Reyes), following standard operating procedure, opened the boxes for final inspection. When he opened appellant's box, a peculiar odor emitted therefrom. His curiosity aroused, he squeezed one of the bundles allegedly containing gloves and felt dried leaves inside. Opening one of the bundles, he pulled out a cellophane wrapper protruding from the opening of one of the gloves. He made an opening on one of the cellophane wrappers and took several grams of the contents thereof
Job Reyes forthwith prepared a letter reporting the shipment to the NBI and requesting a laboratory examination of the samples he extracted from the cellophane wrapper .He brought the letter and a sample of appellant's shipment to the Narcotics Section of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), at about 1:30 o'clock in the afternoon of that date, i.e., August 14, 1987. The Chief of Narcotics Section interviewed him. Job Reyes informed the NBI that the rest of the shipment was still in his office. Therefore, Job Reyes and three (3) NBI agents, and a photographer, went to the Reyes' office at Ermita, Manila .Job Reyes brought out the box in which appellant's packages were placed and, in the presence of the NBI agents, opened the top flaps, removed the Styro-foam and took out the cellophane wrappers from inside the gloves. Dried marijuana leaves were found to have been contained inside the cellophane wrappers. Job Reyes likewise opened the package that allegedly contained books. He discovered that the package contained bricks or cake-like dried marijuana leaves. The package, which allegedly contained tabacalera cigars, was also opened. It turned out that dried marijuana leaves were neatly stocked underneath the cigars .
The NBI agents made an inventory and took charge of the box and of the contents thereof, after signing a "Receipt" acknowledging custody of the said effects.
Thereupon, the NBI agents tried to locate the accused but to no avail. Accused's stated address in his passport being the Manila Central Post Office, the agents requested assistance from the latter's Chief Security. On August 27, 1987, accused, while claiming his mail at the Central Post Office, was invited by the NBI to shed light on the attempted shipment of the seized dried leaves. On the same day the Narcotics Section of the NBI submitted the dried leaves to the Forensic Chemistry Section for laboratory examination. It turned out that the dried leaves were marijuana flowering tops as certified by the forensic chemist.
Thereafter, an Information was filed against appellant for violation of RA 6425, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act.
After trial, the court a quo rendered the decision convicting the accused..
In this appeal, accused/appellant assigns the following errors, to wit:
I.THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING IN EVIDENCE THE ILLEGALLY SEARCHED AND SEIZED OBJECTS CONTAINED IN THE FOUR PARCELS.
II.THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING APPELLANT DESPITE THE UNDISPUTED FACT THAT HIS RIGHTS UNDER THE CONSTITUTION WHILE UNDER CUSTODIAL PROCEEDINGS WERE NOT OBSERVED.
Appellant contends that the evidence subject of the imputed offense had been obtained in violation of his constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure and privacy of communication (Sec. 2 and 3, Art. III, Constitution) and therefore argues that the same should be held inadmissible in evidence (Sec. 3 (2), Art. III).
QUESTION: Rule on the assigned errors II, as stated and I above.
10. AS A GENERAL RULE A SEARCH IS INVALID IF IT IS DONE WITHOUT A SEARCH WARRANT. STATE THE EXCEPTIONS OR THE SITUATIONS, WHICH FALL UNDER A WARRANTLESS SEARCH.
END OF THE EXAMINATION