Article III, Section Section 2 – Right Against Unreasonable Arrest, Search and Seizure

Warrantless Arrest, Search and Seizure

Warrantless Arrest, Search and Seizure

The right of a man, together with his love-ones, is protected by the Bill of Rights under Article 3, Section 2 of the Philippine Constitution. It states that,

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.

As a general rule, before a police officer can arrest or search a person, he must validly first secure a warrant of arrest or search warrant. Without it, any evidence that can be obtained by such shall become inadmissible evidence in court.

Elements of a good evidence

  • It must be relevant
  • It must be material
  • It must be competent

Requisites for a valid warrant of arrest or search warrant

  1. There should be probable cause
  2. It must be personally determined by a judge
  3. It should be examined under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witness he may produce.
  4. Place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized should be particular, not general.

Only party affected may contest legality of seizure effected by search warrants.—Officers of certain corporations, from which documents, papers and things were seized by means of search warrants, have no cause of action to assail the legality of the seizures because said corporations have personalities distinct and separate from those of said officers. The legality of a seizure can be contested only by the party whose rights have been impaired thereby. The objection to an unlawful search is purely personal and cannot be availed of by third parties.

When illegally seized evidence is admissible.—Officers of certain corporations cannot validly object to the use in evidence against them of the documents, papers and things seized from the offices and premises of the corporations since the right to object to their admission in evidence belongs exclusively to the corporations, to which the seized effects belong, and may not be invoked by the corporate officers in proceedings against them in their individual capacity.

Requisites for issuing search warrants.—The Constitution provides that no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, to be determined by the judge, and that the warrant shall particularly describe the things to be seized.

General search warrants.—Search warrants, issued upon applications stating that the natural and juridical persons therein named had committed a violation of Central Bank laws, tariff and customs laws, Tax Code and Revised Penal Code do not satisfy the constitutional requirements because no specific offense had been alleged in said applications. It was impossible for the judges, who issued the warrants, to have found the existence of probable cause, which presupposes the introduction of competent proof that the party against whom it is sought has performed particular acts or committed specific omissions in violation of a specific penal provision.

Why general warrants are outlawed.—General search warrants are outlawed because they place the sanctity of the domicile and the privacy of communication and correspondence at the mercy of the whims, caprice or passion of peace officers.

Provision of Revised Rules of Court.—To prevent the issuance of general warrants, the Supreme Court amended the Old Rules of Court by providing in the Revised Rules of Court that “no search warrant shall issue for more than one specific offense”.

Warrants not describing particularly the things to be seized.—Search warrants authorizing the seizure of books of accounts and records “showing all the business transactions” of certain persons, regardless of whether the transactions were legal or illegal, contravene the explicit command of the Bill of Rights that the things to be seized should be particularly described and defeat its major objective of eliminating general warrants. [Stonehill vs. Diokno, 20 SCRA 383(1967)]

Warrant-less Arrests

  1. In flagrante delicto
  2. Hot pursuit
  3. Escapee

Warrant-less Searches

  1. Search incident to lawful arrest
    1. Arrest precedes search
  2. Consented Search
  3. Plain-view search
  4. Checkpoints
  5. Administrative Searches
  6. At airports

One response to “Article III, Section Section 2 – Right Against Unreasonable Arrest, Search and Seizure

  1. Pingback: Salon, Lemuel Mark « AUSL Tech & Law·

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