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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
December-2018 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 227033, December 03, 2018 - REYNALDO E. ORLINA, Petitioner, v. CYNTHIA VENTURA, REPRESENTED BY HER SONS ELVIC JHON HERRERA AND ERIC VON HERRERA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 221505, December 05, 2018 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. RANDOLPH S. TING AND SALVACION I. GARCIA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 226836, December 05, 2018 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. BONG CHAN AND ELMO CHAN, Accused-Appellants.

  • G.R. No. 225780, December 03, 2018 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JAYSON TORIO Y PARAGAS @ "BABALU," Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 212735, December 05, 2018 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Petitioner, v. NEGROS CONSOLIDATED FARMERS MULTI-PURPOSE COOPERATIVE, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 214667, December 03, 2018 - LINGNAM RESTAURANT, Petitioner, v. SKILLS & TALENT EMPLOYMENT POOL, INC., AND JESSIE COLASTE, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 211525, December 10, 2018 - JUDE DARRY A. DEL RIO, Petitioner, v. DPO PHILIPPINES, INC., DANIEL PANS AND GRACE LUCERO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 195297, December 05, 2018 - COCA-COLA BOTTLERS PHILIPPINES, INC., Petitioner, v. ILOILO COCA-COLA PLANT EMPLOYEES LABOR UNION (ICCPELU), AS REPRESENTED BY WILFREDO L. AGUIRRE, Respondent.

  • A.C. No. 7088, December 04, 2018 - ATTY. HERMINIO HARRY L. ROQUE, JR., Complainant, v. . ATTY. RIZAL P. BALBIN, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 200553, December 10, 2018 - SPOUSES GILDARDO C. LOQUELLANO AND ROSALINA JULIET B. LOQUELLANO, Petitioners, v. HONGKONG AND SHANGHAI BANKING CORPORATION, LTD., HONGKONG AND SHANGHAI BANKING CORPORATION-STAFF RETIREMENT PLAN AND MANUEL ESTACION, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 236461, December 05, 2018 - REYNALDO ARBAS RECTO, Petitioner, v. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 225747, December 05, 2018 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JEFFERSON MEDINA Y CRUZ, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 225741, December 05, 2018 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. BRANDON DELA CRUZ AND JAMES FRANCIS BAUTISTA, Accused-Appellants.

  • G.R. No. 227021, December 05, 2018 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. CHRISTOPHER ILAGAN Y BAŅA ALIAS "WENG", Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 233135, December 05, 2018 - B.E. SAN DIEGO, INC., Petitioner, v. MANUEL A.S. BERNARDO, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 212416, December 05, 2018 - ROEL R. DEGAMO, Petitioner, v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN AND MARIO L. RELAMPAGOS, Respondents.

  • G.R. Nos. 232197-98, December 05, 2018 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN [FOURTH DIVISION], ALEJANDRO E. GAMOS, AND ROSALYN G. GILE, Respondents.

  • G.R. Nos. 237938 and 237944-45, December 04, 2018 - BAYANI F. FERNANDO, Petitioner, v. THE COMMISSION ON AUDIT, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 233747, December 05, 2018 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. NILA MALANA Y SAMBOLLEDO, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 235572, December 05, 2018 - EDWIN H. BARROGA,* Petitioner, v. QUEZON COLLEGES OF THE NORTH AND/OR MA. CRISTINA A. ALONZO AND IRMA SEGUNDA A. BELTRAN, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 234151, December 05, 2018 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. CESAR DELA CRUZ Y LIBONAO ALIAS SESI OF ZONE 3, MACANAYA, APARRI, CAGAYAN, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 207433, December 05, 2018 - DR. FE LASAM, Petitioner, v. PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK AND HON. PRESIDING JUDGE OF REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 66, SAN FERNANDO CITY, LA UNION, Respondents.

  • A.M. No. P-18-3882 (Formerly OCA IPI No.13-4207-P), December 04, 2018 - PUBLIC ASSISTANCE AND CORRUPTION PREVENTION OFFICE, BY ATTY. JOCELYN Y. DACUMOS, Complainant, v. SOCIAL WELFARE OFFICER II CAROLINA A. PAUMIG, OFFICE OF THE CLERK OF COURT, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, TAGBILARAN CITY, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 196892, December 05, 2018 - NAREDICO, INC., Petitioner, v. KROMINCO, INC., Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 210789, December 03, 2018 - ROBERTO C. MARTIRES, Petitioner, v. HEIRS OF AVELINA SOMERA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 224163, December 04, 2018 - MARIO M. GERONIMO, DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE OF KABUKIRAN GARDEN, Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT, AND THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS, REPRESENTED BY SECRETARY ROGELIO L. SINGSON, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 226991, December 10, 2018 - ERLINDA ESCOLANO Y IGNACIO, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 210920, December 10, 2018 - MARTINIANO "MARTIN" B. SALDUA A.K.A. MARLON SALDUA, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

  • G.R. Nos. 213365-66, December 10, 2018 - ASIA PACIFIC RESOURCES INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS, LTD., Petitioner, v. PAPERONE, INC., Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 238112, December 05, 2018 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ANDRES TALIB-OG Y TUGANAN, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 230687, December 05, 2018 - ERLINDA S. IGOT, Petitioner, v. PIO VALENZONA, FRANCISCO VALENZONA NUŅEZ, KATHERINE VALENZONA RAMIREZ, ALL REPRESENTED BY ARTURO VALENZONA THROUGH POWERS OF ATTORNEY, AND SPS. ARTURO AND AIDA VALENZONA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 203185, December 05, 2018 - SUPERIOR MAINTENANCE SERVICES, INC., AND MR. GUSTAVO TAMBUNTING, Petitioners, v. CARLOS BERMEO, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 225862, December 05, 2018 - OLIVER V. VERGARA, Petitioner, v. CDM SECURITY AGENCY, INC. AND VILMA PABLO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 239137, December 05, 2018 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. CEZAR CORTEZ AND FROILAN BAGAYAWA, ACCUSED, CEZAR CORTEZ, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 212734, December 05, 2018 - MABUHAY HOLDINGS CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. SEMBCORP LOGISTICS LIMITED, Respondent.

  • A.C. No. 12296, December 04, 2018 - PIA MARIE B. GO, Complainant, v. . ATTY. GRACE C. BURI, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 211204, December 10, 2018 - GOLDSTAR RIVERMOUNT, INC., Petitioner, v. ADVENT CAPITAL AND FINANCE CORP., (FORMERLY ALL ASIA CAPITAL AND TRUST CORP.), Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 220721, December 10, 2018 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. NADY MAGALLANO, JR. Y FLORES AND ROMEO TAPAR Y CASTRO, Accused-Appellants.

  • A.M. No. 15-05-136-RTC, December 04, 2018 - IN RE: SPECIAL REPORT ON THE ARREST OF ROGELIO M. SALAZAR, JR., SHERIFF IV, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT-OFFICE OF THE CLERK OF COURT, BOAC, MARINDUQUE, FOR VIOLATION OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9165; A.M. NO. P-16-3450 (FORMERLY A.M. No. 15-12-379-RTC) - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, Complainant, v. ROGELIO M. SALAZAR, JR., SHERIFF IV, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT-OFFICE OF THE CLERK OF COURT, BOAC, MARINDUQUE, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 223395, December 04, 2018 - RENATO V. PERALTA, Petitioner, v. PHILIPPINE POSTAL CORPORATION (PHILPOST), REPRESENTED BY MA. JOSEFINA MDELACRUZ IN HER CAPACITY AS POSTMASTER GENERAL AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF PHILPOST, REPRESENTED BY ITS CHAIRMAN CESAR N. SARINO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 215999, December 17, 2018 - SPS. FELIX A. CHUA AND CARMEN L. CHUA; JAMES B. HERRERA; EDUARDO L. ALMENDRAS; MILA NG ROXAS; EUGENE C. LEE; EDICER H. ALMENDRAS; BENEDICT C. LEE; LOURDES C. NG; AND LUCENA INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION, LUCENA GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL, INC., REPRESENTED BY FELIX A. CHUA, Petitioners, v. UNITED COCONUT PLANTERS BANK; ASSET POOL A (SPV­AMC); REVERE REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION; JOSE C. GO; AND THE REGISTRAR OF DEEDS OF LUCENA CITY, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 229071, December 10, 2018 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. EANNA O'COCHLAIN, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 170867, December 04, 2018 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY RAPHAEL P.M. LOTILLA, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (DOE), MARGARITO B. TEVES, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE (DOF), AND ROMULO L. NERI, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT (DBM), Petitioners, v. PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF PALAWAN, REPRESENTED BY GOVERNOR ABRAHAM KAHLIL B. MITRA, Respondent.; G.R. No. 185941, December 04, 2018 - BISHOP PEDRO DULAY ARIGO, CESAR N. SARINO, DR. JOSE ANTONIO N. SOCRATES, PROF. H. HARRY L. ROQUE, JR., Petitioners, v. HON. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO R. ERMITA, HON. ENERGY SECRETARY ANGELO T. REYES, HON. FINANCE SECRETARY MARGARITO B. TEVES, HON. BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT SECRETARY ROLANDO D. ANDAYA, JR., HON. PALAWAN GOVERNOR JOEL T. REYES, HON. REPRESENTATIVE ANTONIO C. ALVAREZ (1ST DISTRICT), HON. REPRESENTATIVE ABRAHAM MITRA (2ND DISTRICT), RAFAEL E. DEL PILAR, PRESIDENT AND CEO, PNOC EXPLORATION CORPORATION, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 210816, December 10, 2018 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. EDGAR S. GO, Respondent.; G.R. No. 210854, December 10, 2018 - PURITA HIBE, JONATHAN A. TESSLER, CAROL T. MEJIAS, HEIDE V. LAUREL, NISSAN V. LAUREL, ESTELA LAUREL­GELI, KATHERINE DELA CRUZ­ LAUREL, ARLENE OLANG, SARLINA SEPE, ALLAN CARONO-O, EPHRAIM OSORIO, JUARINA R. CRUZ, NESHAMIE PAGLINAWAN, JOSEPHINE PADUA, VICENTA R. CHUA, ILLUMINADA TIMAJO, LILYBETH CUNANAN, ELORDE ILUSTRISIMO, BOB ILLUT, ERNESTO B. CLARIN, ROQUE LABAD, EVELYN BAJIT,* LARINA L. MATRIZ, BENITO S. ESPINA, MARLYN T. HIBE, CELERNA M. CALAYAG, NELLY T. LOPEZ, AND SONIA O. MANZANILLA, VS. EDGAR S. GO, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 202534, December 08, 2018 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Petitioner, v. SEMIRARA MINING CORPORATION, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 203608 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS, PETITIONER, v. THE HEIRS OF SPOUSES FLAVIANO S. MAGLASANG AND SALUD ADAZA MAGLASANG, RESPONDENTS.

  • G.R. No. 235956 - ARJAY GUTIERREZ Y CONSUELO @ "RJ", PETITIONER, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, RESPONDENT.

  • G.R. No. 235348, December 10, 2018 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. STANLEY MADERAZO Y ROMERO, Respondent.

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    G.R. No. 235348, December 10, 2018 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. STANLEY MADERAZO Y ROMERO, Respondent.

      G.R. No. 235348, December 10, 2018 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. STANLEY MADERAZO Y ROMERO, Respondent.

    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    THIRD DIVISION

    G.R. No. 235348, December 10, 2018

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. STANLEY MADERAZO Y ROMERO, Respondent.

    D E C I S I O N

    PERALTA, J.:

    Before this Court is a petition for review on certiorari1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the Decision2 dated April 26, 2017 and the Resolution3 dated October 11, 2017 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA­ G.R. SP No. 143187, which granted Stanley Maderazo's (Maderazo) petition for certiorari, and nullified and set aside Search Warrant Nos. 09-2015 and 10-2015.

    The facts are as follows:

    On March 31, 2015, before the Regional Trial Court of Calapan City, Branch 40 (RTC), Police Superintendent Jaycees De Sagun Tolentino (Tolentino) filed two (2) separate applications for search warrants against Maderazo, Nestor Alea (Alea), Daren Mabansag (Mabansag) and Lovely Joy Alcantara (Alcantara). In his search warrant applications, Tolentino alleged that he has been informed by barangay officials, Loida Tapere Roco (Roco) and Rexcel Lozano Rivera (Rivera), that Maderazo, along with Alea, Mabansag and Alcantara, is keeping an undetermined quantity of dangerous drugs, drug paraphernalia, and firearms of unknown caliber and ammunitions inside his residence in Barangay Lazareto, Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro.

    According to Roco and Rivera, at 6 o'clock in the morning of March 31, 2015, they learned that members of the Calapan City Police Station will be serving a warrant of arrest against Maderazo for attempted murder. When they reached the house which Maderazo is renting, the latter was already arrested. As barangay officials, Roco and Rivera decided to talk to Maderazo, who admitted to them that he is keeping inside the subject house approximately 40 grams of illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, and a firearm. Tolentino allegedly verified said informations through casing and surveillance.

    On March 31, 2015, after the preliminary investigation of witnesses Roco and Rivera, under oath, Executive Judge Tomas C. Leynes (Judge Leynes) issued Search Warrant No. 09-2015 for violation of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9165 and Search Warrant No. 10-2015 for violation of R.A. No. 10591. On even date, both search warrants were served in the subject house in Barangay Lazareto, Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro. By virtue of the search warrants, police officers recovered heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets which were suspected to be containing shabu, various drug paraphernalia, a .38 caliber revolver, live ammunitions, mobile phones, computer laptop, cash, among others, from the premises.

    Maderazo, Alea, and Mabansag were, subsequently, charged with illegal possession of dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia, and illegal possession of firearm respectively docketed as Criminal Case Nos. CR-15-12, 201, CR-15-12, 202, and CR-15-12, 203.

    On July 1, 2015, Maderazo filed the Motion to Quash, arguing that Search Warrant Nos. 09-2015 and 10-2015 were issued without probable cause; thus, all items seized by virtue of their enforcement were inadmissible in evidence. He claimed that Tolentino did not have personal knowledge of Maderazo's supposed possession of illegal drugs and an unlicensed firearm, because the police officer merely relied on Roco and Rivera's statements. Maderazo insisted that Tolentino lied when he stated that the Calapan City Police conducted prior surveillance and casing because the same could not have possibly happened, considering that he was already under police custody in the morning of March 31, 2015, and the house subject of the search was cordoned off.

    Maderazo further asserted that nothing in the records show how and when Tolentino conducted the casing and surveillance. The statements of Roco and Rivera cannot also be given probative value, since the information that Maderazo has in his custody illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, and an unlicensed firearm were not derived from their own perception but allegedly from Maderazo's own admission.

    Thereafter, Maderazo requested for certified true copy of the transcript of stenographic notes (TSN) of the proceedings conducted on March 31, 2015 regarding the application for Search Warrant Nos. 09-2015 and 10-2015. Subsequently, Maderazo manifested that instead of the TSN, he was only given copies of Roco, Rivera, and Cueto's respective sworn statements which bear exactly the same questions and answers, except for their personal circumstances.

    On August 14, 2015, the trial court rendered its Order denying the motion to quash. The dispositive portion of its Order reads:

    ACCORDINGLY, the Omnibus Motion to Quash Search Warrant(s) and to Suppress Evidence filed by all the accused, through counsel, is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.
    Maderazo moved for reconsideration, but the same was denied in its September 21, 2015 Order.4

    Thus, before the appellate court, Maderazo filed a petition for certiorari alleging grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the trial court when it denied the motion to quash search warrants.5

    On April 26, 2017, the CA granted the petition for certiorari, and nullified and set aside Search Warrant Nos. 09-2015 and 10-2015.6 It, likewise, held that the items allegedly seized in the house being rented by Maderazo by virtue of the said search warrants are inadmissible in evidence against him since the access therein by the police officers used void search warrants.

    Aggrieved, petitioner raised the lone issue of whether or not the Honorable Court of Appeals erred in ruling that Judge Leynes committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed Orders dated August 14, 2015 and September 21, 2015 in Criminal Case Nos. CR-15-12-201 to 203, denying respondent's motion to quash the subject search warrants.

    Maderazo asserted that there was no probable cause for the issuance of Search Warrant Nos. 09-2015 and 10-2015. He added that Judge Leynes did not personally examine P/Supt. Tolentino and his witnesses through searching questions and answers. He alleged that there was no TSN of the supposed personal examination of the judge attached to the records of the case. He asserted that the sworn statements of Roco, Rivera, and Cueto were not based on their personal knowledge but on the alleged admission of Maderazo.

    The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), meanwhile, countered that while there may be no actual TSNs of the proceedings, the sworn statements of witnesses Roco, Rivera and Cueto are actual written records of the preliminary examination conducted by Judge Leynes. It insisted that the admission of Maderazo constituted probable cause which was determined by Judge Leynes after personally examining the witnesses.

    The petition has no merit.

    The rules pertaining to the issuance of search warrants are enshrined in Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution:
    Section 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.7
    The purpose of the constitutional provision against unlawful searches and seizures is to prevent violations of private security in person and property, and unlawful invasion of the sanctity of the home, by officers of the law acting under legislative or judicial sanction, and to give remedy against such usurpations when attempted.8

    Corollarily, Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 126 of the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure provide for the requisites for the issuance of a search warrant, to wit:
    SEC. 4. Requisites for issuing search warrant. A search warrant shall not issue except upon probable cause in connection with one specific offense to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witness he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be seized which may be anywhere in the Philippines.

    SEC. 5. Examination of complainant; record. The judge must, before issuing the warrant, personally examine in the form of searching questions and answers, in writing and under oath, the complainant and the witnesses he may produce on facts personally known to them and attach to the record their sworn statements, together with the affidavits submitted.
    To paraphrase this rule, a search warrant may be issued only if there is probable cause in connection with a specific offense alleged in an application based on the personal knowledge of the applicant and his witnesses.This the substantive requirement for the issuance of a search warrant. Procedurally, the determination of probable cause is a personal task of the judge before whom the application for search warrant is filed, as he has to examine the applicant and his or her witnesses in the form of "searching questions and answers" in writing and under oath.9

    Thus, in Oebanda, et al. v. People,10 the Court held that, in determining the existence of probable cause in an application for search warrant, the mandate of the judge is for him to conduct a full and searching examination of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce. The searching questions propounded to the applicant and the witnesses must depend on a large extent upon the discretion of the judge. Although there is no hard-and-fast rule as to how a judge may conduct his examination, it is axiomatic that the said examination must be probing and exhaustive and not merely routinary, general, peripheral or perfunctory. He must make his own inquiry on the intent and factual and legal justifications for a search warrant. The questions should not merely be repetitious of the averments stated in the affidavits/deposition of the applicant and the witnesses.

    Following the foregoing principles, the Court agrees with the CA in ruling that the trial judge failed to conduct the probing and exhaustive inquiry as mandated by the Constitution. A perusal of the preliminary examination taken on all the witnesses on March 31, 2015 appeared to be coached in identical form of questions and answers. We quote the pertinent portions, to wit:
    Prelimina1y Examination taken of witness Loida Tapere Roco:

    Q:
    Maaari mo bang sabihin ang iyong tunay na pangalan at iba pang bagay na pagkakakilanlan sa iyo?
    A.
    Ako po ay si Loida Tapere Roco, 50 taong gulang, may asawa, barangay konsehal ng barangay Lazareto at naninirahan sa barangay Lazareto, Calapan, Oriental Mindoro.


    Q:
    Bakit ka naririto ngayon sa aming tanggapan?
    A.
    Nais ko pong ipagbigay-alam sa inyo na noong ika-6:00 ng umaga ng 31 March 2015, ako ay nakatanggap ng impormasyon na ang miyembro ng Calapan City Police Station na pinangungunahan ni PSupt. Jaycees DS Tolentino na mayroon silang huhulihin sa aming barangay na may warrant of arrest.


    Q:
    Ano ang iyong nalaman?
    A.
    Napag-alaman ko na ang taong huhulihin sa aming barangay ay naroon sa bahay ni Major Roger Garcia kung saan ito nangungupahan at kung saan ang caretaker ng naturang bahay ay itong si Sally Cueto.


    x x x x


    Q:
    Ano pa ang iyong napag-alaman?
    A.
    Napag-alaman ko din na ang taong huhulihin ng mga pulis na nangungupahan sa bahay na iyon ay si Stanley Maderazo na may kasong Attempted Murder.


    Q:
    Ano ang sumunod na nangyari?
    A.
    Na pagdating ko sa bahay na inuupahan ni Stanley Maderazo ay nakita ko na siya ay hinuli na ng mga pulis ng Calapan at narinig ko din na siya ay binabasahan ng kanyang mga karapatan tungkol sa kanyang pagkaaresto ni Police Inspector Jude Nicolasora.


    Q:
    Ano pa ang sumunod na nangyari?
    A.
    Bilang kagawad ng aming barangay, ako ay lumapit kay Stanley Maderazo at sa aking pakikipag-usap sa kanya ay umamin siya sa akin na siya ay mayroong baril sa loob ng kanyang inuupahang bahay.


    Q:
    Sa anong kadahilanan mo naman naisipang isalaysay ang mga bagay na ito?
    A.
    Ito po ay sa kadahilanang si Stanley Maderazo ay umamin sa akin na siya ay mayroong baril doon sa bahay na kanyang inuupahan.


    Q:
    Mayroon ka pa bang nais idagdag?
    A.
    Wala na po at kung mayroon man ay sa hukuman ko na lamang sasabihin ang mga iyon.


    Q:
    Ikaw ba ay tinakot, pinilit o pinangakuan ng anumang bagay upang magbigay ng salaysay na ito?
    A.
    Hindi po.11
    In comparison, the preliminary investigation conducted on witness Rexcel Lozano Rivera on the same date contained similar line of questioning and the answers were framed in the same manner, to wit:
    Preliminary Examination taken of witness Rexcel Lozano Rivera:

    Q:
    Maaari mo bang sabihin ang iyong tunay na pangalan at iba pang bagay na pagkakakilanlan sa iyo?
    A.
    Ako po ay si Rexcel Lozano Rivera, 43 taong gulang, may asawa, barangay konsehal ng barangay Lazareto at naninirahan sa barangay Lazareto, Calapan, Oriental Mindoro.


    Q:
    Bakit ka naririto ngayon sa aming tanggapan?
    A.
    Nais ko pong ipagbigay-alam sa inyo na noong ika-6:00 ng umaga ng 31 March 2015, ako ay nakatanggap ng impormasyon na ang mga miyembro ng Calapan City Police Station na pinangungunahan ni PSupt. Jaycees DS Tolentino na mayroon silang huhulihin sa aming barangay na may warrant of arrest.


    Q:
    Ano ang iyong nalaman?
    A.
    A. Napag-alaman ko na ang taong huhulihin sa aming barangay ay naroon sa bahay ni Major Roger Garcia kung saan ito nangungupahan at kung saan ang caretaker ng naturang bahay ay itong si Sally Cueto.


    x x x x


    Q:
    Ano pa ang iyong napag-alaman?
    A.
    Napag-alaman ko din na ang taong huhulihin ng mga pulis na nangungupahan sa bahay na iyon ay si Stanley Maderazo na may kasong Attempted Murder.


    Q:
    Ano ang sumunod na nangyari?
    A.
    Na pagdating ko sa bahay na inuupahan ni Stanley Maderazo ay nakita ko na siya ay hinuli nang mga pulis ng Calapan at narinig ko din na siya ay binabasahan ng kanyang mga karapatan tungkol sa kanyang pagkaaresto ni Police Inspector Jude Nicolasora.


    Q:
    Ano pa ang sumunod na nangyari?
    A.
    Bilang kagawad ng aming barangay, ako ay lumapit kay Stanley Maderazo at sa aking pakikipag-usap sa kanya ay umamin siya sa akin na siya ay mayroong humigit kumulang na 40 gramo ng mga iligal na droga at mga paraphernalia na ginagamit sa iligal na droga sa loob ng kanyang inuupahang bahay.


    Q:
    Sa anong kadahilanan mo naman naisipang isalaysay ang mga bagay na ito?
    A.
    Ito po ay sa kadahilanang si Stanley Maderazo ay umamin sa aking na siya ay mayroong iligal na droga at mga paraphernalia na ginagamit sa iligal na droga doon sa bahay na kanyanginuupahan.


    Q:
    Mayroon ka pa bang nais idagdag?
    A.
    Wala na po at kung mayroon man ay sa hukuman ko na lamang sasabihin ang mga iyon.


    Q:
    Ikaw ba ay tinakot, pinilit o pinangakuan ng anumang bagay upang magbigay ng salaysay na ito?
    A.
    Hindi po.12
    Clearly, the interrogation conducted by the trial judge appeared to be merely routinary, considering that same questions were thrown on both witnesses Roco and Lozano. In fact, there were only three questions relating to the facts and circumstances involving illegal drugs and alleged illegal possession of firearms; to wit:
    x x x x


    Q.
    Ano ang sumuuod na nangyari?
    A.
    Na pagdating ko sa bahay na inuupahan ni Stanky Maderazo ay nakita ko na siya ay hinuli na ng mga pulis ng Calapan at narinig ko din na siya ay binabasahan ng kanyang mga karapatan tungkol sa kanyang pagkaaresto ni Police Inspector Jude Nicolasora.


    Q.
    Ano pa aug sumunod na nangyari?
    A.
    Bilang kagawad ng aming barangay, ako ay lumapit kay Stanley Maderazo at sa aking pakikipag-usap sa kanya ay umamin siya sa akin na siya ay mayroong humigit kumulang na 40 gramo ng mga iligal na droga at mga paraphernalia na ginagamit sa iligal na droga sa loob ng kanyang inuupahang bahay.


    Q.
    Sa anong kadahilanan mo naman naisipang isalaysay ang mga bagay na ito?
    A.
    Ito po ay sa kadahilanang si Stanley Maderazo ay umamin sa aking na siya ay mayroong iligal na droga at mga paraphernalia na ginagamit sa iligal na droga doon sa bahay na kanyang inuupahan.


    x x x13
    None of the above-quoted questions appeared to probe on the applicant's and his witnesses' personal knowledge of the offense respondent allegedly committed. The trial judge failed to propound questions as to how the applicants came to know of the existence of the items, where they found it, or what they have seen and observed inside the premises. There was no probing, exhaustive, and extensive questions.

    In fact, it can easily be gleaned from the investigation that the applicant's and his witnesses' knowledge of the offense that allegedly has been committed and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched was not based on their personal knowledge but merely based on Maderazo's alleged admission. The judge even failed to inquire as to how Roco and Lozano were able to elicit said admission from Maderazo. Suffice it to say that the questions propounded on the witnesses were not searching and probing. The trial judge failed to make an independent assessment of the evidence adduced and the testimonies of the witnesses in order to support a finding of probable cause which warranted the issuance of a search warrant, for violation of R.A. No. 9165 and illegal possession of firearms.

    Consequently, because the trial judge failed to conduct exhaustive probing and searching questions, the findings of the existence of probable cause become dubious. To recapitulate:, Tolentino, in his application for search warrant, stated therein that "he was informed and verily believes that accused were keeping dangerous drugs and paraphernalia in his residence, and that he has verified the report based on the statements executed by Rivera and Roco." While he claimed that they also conducted verification through casing and surveillance, there was no statement as to when and how the surveillance was made. Clearly, Tolentino solely relied on the statements of Rivera and Roco who also did not personally see the subjects of the search warrants as they were not even inside the premises. Rivera and Roco merely relied on Maderazo's alleged admission. The facts and circumstances which supposedly were the basis for the finding of probable cause were not based on Tolentino's and his witnesses' personal knowledge. Consequently, Tolentino's application and his witnesses' testimonies, are inadequate proof to establish that there exists probable cause to issue the assailed search warrants.

    It must be emphasized anew that the core requisite before a warrant shall validly issue is the existence of a probable cause, meaning "the existence of such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably 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 to be searched." And when the law speaks of facts, the reference is to facts, data or information personally known to the applicant and the witnesses he may present. Absent the element of personal knowledge by the applicant or his witnesses of the facts upon which the issuance of a search warrant may be justified, the warrant is deemed not based on probable cause and is a nullity, its issuance being, in legal contemplation, arbitrary.14

    While hearsay information or tips from confidential informants could very well serve as basis for the issuance of a search warrant, the same is only true if such information or tip was followed-up personally by the recipient and validated.15 However, here, no such follow-up transpired. Tolentino's claim of casing and surveillance was, in fact, unsubstantiated. Futhermore, testimony based on what is supposedly told to a witness, as in this case, being patent hearsay and, as a rule, of no evidentiary weight or probative value, whether objected to or not, would, alone, not suffice under the law on the existence of probable cause.16

    Moreover, as correctly pointed out by the CA, insofar as Search Warrant No. 10-2015 was issued in connection with the offense of illegal possession of firearms, the elements of the offense should be present, to wit: (1) the existence of the subject firearm; and (2) the fact that the accused who owned or possessed it does not have the license or permit to possess the same. Thus, the probable cause as applied to illegal possession of firearms would, therefore, be such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that a person is in possession of a firearm and that he does not have the license or permit to possess the same.

    In the instant case, neither the testimonies of the witnesses nor Tolentino's application for the issuance of the search warrants mentioned that Maderazo had no license to possess a firearm. No certification from the appropriate government agency was presented to show that Maderazo was not licensed to possess a firearm. Regardless of the nature of the surveillance and verification of the information carried out by the police officers, the fact remains that both the applicant Tolentino and his witnesses did not have personal knowledge of Maderazo's lack of license to possess firearms and ammunitions. They, likewise, failed to adduce the evidence required to prove the existence of probable cause that Maderazo had no license to possess a firearm.

    In Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines (PICOP) v. Asuncion,17 we declared as void the search warrant issued by the trial court in connection with the offense of illegal possession of firearms, ammunitions and explosives, on the ground, inter alia, of failure to prove the requisite probable cause. The applicant and the witness presented for the issuance of the warrant were found to be without personal knowlledge of the lack of license to possess firearms of the management of PICOP and its security agency. They, likewise, did not testify as to the absence of license and failed to attach to the application a no-license certification from the Firearms and Explosives Office of the Philippine National Police.18 Possession of any firearm becomes unlawful only if the required permit or license therefore is not first obtained.19 Hence, the search and seizure warrant issued on the basis of the evidence presented is void.

    As a general rule, the finding of probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant by a trial judge is accorded respect by the reviewing courts. However, when in issuing the search warrant, the issuing judge failed to comply with the requirements set by the Constitution and the Rules of Court, the resulting search warrants must be struck down as it was issued with grave abuse of discretion which is tantamount to in excess or lack of jurisdiction.

    Settled is the rule that where entry into the premises to be searched was gained by virtue of a void search warrant, prohibited articles seized in the course of the search are inadmissible against the accused. In ruling against the admissibility of the items seized, the Court held that prohibited articles may be seized but only as long as the search is valid. In this case, it was not because: (1) there was no valid search warrants; and (2) absent such a warrant, the right thereto was not validly waived by Maderazo. In short, the police officers who entered petitioner's premises had no right to search the premises and, therefore, had no right either to seize the prohibited drugs and articles and firearms.20 It is as if they entered Maderazo's house without a warrant, making their entry therein illegal, and the items seized, inadmissible.21

    Finally, it must be stressed anew that no presumption of regularity may be invoked in aid of the process when the officer undertakes to justify an encroachment of rights secured by the Constitution.22 Considering that the search and seizure warrant in this case was procured in violation of the Constitution and the Rules of Court, all the items seized in Maderazo's house, being fruits of the poisonous tree, are inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.

    WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated April 26, 2017 and the Resolution dated October 11, 2017 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 143187 are hereby AFFIRMED.

    SO ORDERED.

    Leonen, Gesmundo, Reyes, Jr., and Hernando, JJ., concur.



    January 23, 2019

    NOTICE OF JUDGMENT

    Sirs / Mesdames:

    Please take notice that on December 10, 2018 a Decision, copy attached hereto, was rendered by the Supreme Court in the above-entitled case, the original of which was received by this Office on January 23, 2019 at 1:15 p.m.


    Very truly yours,



    (SGD)

    WILFREDO V. LAPITAN
    Division Clerk of Court

    Endnotes:


    1Rollo, pp. 11-29.

    2 Penned by Associate Justice Pedro B. Corales, with Associate Justices Celia C. Librea-Leagogo and Amy C. Lazaro-Javier, concurring; id. at 30-45.

    3Id. at 46-47.

    4Id. at 93.

    5Id. at 94-120.

    6Supra note 2.

    7Worldwide Web Corp., et al. v. People, et al., 724 Phil. 18, 43 (2014). (Emphasis supplied)

    8Silva v. Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court of Negros, Oriental, Branch XXXIII, 280 Phil. 151, 155-156 (1991), citing Alvero v. Dizon. 76 Phil. 637, 646 (1946).

    9Coca-Cola Bottlers, Phils., Inc. v. Gomez, et al., 591 Phil. 642, 653-654 (2008).

    10 786 Phil. 706, 714 (2016).

    11Rollo, pp. 66-67.

    12Id. at 68-69.

    13Id. at 68-69.

    14Columbia Pictures, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 329 Phil. 875, 918 (1996).

    15 See Cupcupin v. People, 440 Phil. 714 (2002).

    16Sony Music Entertainment v. Judge Espanol, 493 Phil. 507, 517-518 (2005).

    17 366 Phil. 717, 736-737 (1999).

    18Id.

    19Del Rosario v. People, 410 Phil. 642, 659 (2001), citing People v. Castillo, 382 Phil. 499, 508 (2000).

    20 See Roan v. Gonzales, 230 Phil. 90 (1986).

    21Id.

    22Nala v. Judge Barroso, Jr., 455 Phil. 999, 1015 (2003).

    G.R. No. 235348, December 10, 2018 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. STANLEY MADERAZO Y ROMERO, Respondent.


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