Bar Q and A #20

The plastic bag and its contents are admissible in evidence, since it was not the National Bureau of Investigation but the bus conductor who opened the bag and brought it to the National Bureau of Investigation. As held in People v. Marti, 193 SCRA 57 (1991), the constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure is a restraint upon the government. It does not apply so as to require exclusion of evidence which came into the possession of the Government through a search made by a private citizen.

The confiscation of the materials constituted an illegal search and seizure because it was done without a valid search warrant. It cannot be justified as a valid warrantless search and seizure, because such search and seizure must have been an incident of a lawful arrest. There was no lawful arrest. (Pita v. Court of Appeals, 178 SCRA 362 [1989])

The argument of Dominador that pornographic materials are protected by the constitutional right to freedom of expression is erroneous. Obscenity is not protected expression. (Fernando v. Court of Appeals, 510 SCRA 351[2006]) Section 2 of Presidential Decree No. 969 requires the forfeiture and destruction of pornographic materials. (Nograles v. People, 660 SCRA 475 [2011])

a.) The stop and frisk rule is an exception to the general rule against a search without a warrant. Where a police officer observes an unusual conduct which leads him reasonably to conclude in light of his experience that criminal activity may be afoot and that the persons with whom he is dealing may be armed and presently dangerous, where in the course of investigating this behavior he identifies himself as a policeman and makes reasonable inquiries, and where nothing in the initial stages of the encounter serves to dispel his reasonable fear for his own or others' safety, he is entitled for the protection of himself and others in the area to conduct a carefully limited search of the outer clothing of such persons in an attempt to discover weapons which might be used to assault him.(Manalili v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 113447, October 9, 1997)

b.) NO, the stop-and-frisk rule was not validly invoked by Officer A. A basic criterion to invoke the stop-and-frisk rule would be that the police officer, with his or her personal knowledge, must observe the facts leading to the suspicion of an illicit act. Officer A merely relied on a text message by an unidentified informer to conduct the search. The police officer should not adopt the suspicion initiated by another person. Personal knowledge is necessary to justify that the person suspected be stopped and reasonably searched. Anything less than this would be an infringement upon one’s basic right to security of one’s person and effects. (Cogaed v People, G.R. No. 200334, July 30, 2014)

a.) The objection is not In accordance with Manalili v. CA, 280 SCRA 400, since the accused had red eyes and was walking unsteadily and the place is a known hang-out of drug addicts, the police officers had sufficient reason to stop the accused and to frisk him. Since shabu was actually found during the investigation, it could be seized without the need for a search warrant.

b.) A warrantless search may be effected in the following cases:

  1. Searches incidental to a lawful arrest;

  2. Searches of moving vehicles;

  3. Searches of prohibited articles in plain view;

  4. Enforcement of customs law;

  5. Consented searches;

  6. Stop and frisk (People v. Monaco, 285 SCRA 703);

  7. Routine searches at borders and ports of entry (US Ramsey, 431 U.S. 606 [1977]); and

  8. Searches of businesses in the exercise of visitorial powers to enforce police regulations (New York Burger, 482 U.S. 691 (1987]).

Evidence in plain view can be seized without need of a search warrant if the following elements are present.

  1. There was a prior valid intrusion based on the valid warrantless arrest in which the police were legally present pursuant of their duties;

  2. The evidence was inadvertently discovered by the police who had the right to be where they were:

  3. The evidence must be immediately apparent; and

  4. Plain view justified seizure of the evidence without further search. (Del Rosario vs. People, 358 scra 372)

The warrantless search was illegal. There was no probable cause to search the van. The shabu was not immediately apparent. It was discovered only after they opened the boxes. The mere passive silence of Hades did not constitute consent to the warrantless search (Caballes v. CA, 373 SCRA 221 [2002])

a.) The contention of Ernesto’s lawyer is The warrantless search of motor vehicles at checkpoints should be limited to a visual search. Its occupants should not be subjected to a body search (Aniag, Jr. v. Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 104961, October 7, 1994)

The “stop and frisk rule” applies when a police officer observes suspicious activity or unusual activity which may lead him to believe that a criminal activity may be afoot. The “stop and frisk” is merely a limited protective search for outer clothing for weapons

b.) Since where was no valid warrantless search, the warrantless search was also The unlicensed .22 caliber pistol is inadmissible in evidence (Luz v. People, G.R. No. 197788, February 29, 2012)