At about 4:40 in the afternoon of July 27, 2000, PO3 George Garcia (PO3 Garcia) and PO3 Romeo Sotomayor, Jr. (PO3 Sotomayor), together with Michael Fermin and Joseph Apologista, all members of the Mayor's Action Command (MAC) of Mandaluyong City, were on routine patrol along M. Cruz St., Barangay Mauway, when they chanced upon two individuals chanting and in the act of exchanging something. The police officers introduced themselves and then inquired from petitioner what he was holding. Petitioner took out from his possession three strips of aluminum foil which PO3 Garcia confiscated. PO3 Sotomayor also found on petitioner a plastic sachet which contained white crystalline substance which looked like tawas. Suspecting that the substance was "shabu", he confiscated the plastic sachet. Petitioner and his companion, who was later identified as Clarito Yanson (Clarito), were brought to the MAC station at the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) for investigation. After laboratory examination, the contents of the plastic sachet weighing 0.03 gram were found positive for Methamphetamine Hydrochloride or shabu, a regulated drug. The test on the three strips of aluminum foil also yielded positive for traces of shabu.
On the basis thereof, petitioner was correspondingly charged with illegal possession of dangerous drugs. Clarito, on the other hand, was further investigated by the City Prosecutor's Office.
Petitioner denied the charge against him. He claimed that he was merely standing in front of a store waiting for the change of his P500.00 bill when he was suddenly accosted by the MAC team.
Petitioner challenges the legality of his warrantless arrest by asserting that at the time he was apprehended, he was not committing or attempting to commit an offense. Petitioner argues that since his arrest was illegal, the eventual search on his person was also unlawful. Thus, the illicit items confiscated from him are inadmissible in evidence for being violative of his constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizure.
Decide on the allegations of petitioner.