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SEARCH AND SEIZURE

 
Section 1. Search warrant defined. – A search warrant is an order in  writing  issued  in  the  name  of  the  People  of  the  Philippines, signed by a judge and directed to a peace officer, commanding him to  search  for  personal  property  described  therein  and  bring  it before the court.
 

WHAT IS A SEARCH WARRANT?

>     A search warrant is an order in writing issued in the name of the People  of  the  Philippines,  signed  by  a  judge  and  directed  to  a peace  officer,  commanding  him  to  search  for  personal  property described therein and bring it before the court.
 

WHAT IS THE CONCEPT OF A SEARCH WARRANT?

>     It is a criminal process akin to a mode of discovery
>     It is a special and peculiar remedy, which is drastic in nature
 

ARE SEARCH AND SEIZURES PROHIBITED UNDER THE CONSTITUTION?

>     No.  The constitutional guarantee embodied in Article 3, Section 2 of the Constitution is not a blanket prohibition against all searches and  seizures  as  it  operates  only  against  unreasonable  searches and seizures
 

WHEN IS THE SEARCH OR SEIZURE UNREASONABLE?

>     A  search  and  seizure  is  unreasonable  if  it  is  made  without  a warrant, or the warrant was invalidly issued.
>     In  all  instances,  what  constitutes  reasonable  or  unreasonable search or seizure is a purely judicial question determinable from a consideration of the attendant circumstances.   

WHAT  ARE  THE  THREE  SITUATIONS  WHEREIN  THERE  MUST  BE FINDING OF PROBABLE CAUSE?

1.    Probable cause in filing of an information
>     Facts   and   circumstances   that   would   engender   a   well-grounded  belief  that  a  crime  has  been  committed  and  the person to be charged is probably guilty thereof
2.    Probable cause in the issuance of a search warrant
>     Facts   and   circumstances   that   would   lead   a   reasonable discreet  and  prudent  man  to  believe  that  there  has  been  a crime committed and the things and objects connected to the crime committed are in the place to be searched
3.    Probable cause in the issuance of a warrant of arrest
>     Facts   and   circumstances   that   would   engender   a   well-grounded  belief  that  a  crime  has  been  committed  and  the person to be arrested committed it
 

WHY  ARE  THE  REQUIREMENTS  FOR  THE  ISSUANCE  OF  A  SEARCH WARRANT  MORE  STRINGENT  THAN  THE  REQUIREMENTS  FOR  THE ISSUANCE OF A WARRANT OF ARREST?

>     The right against unreasonable search and seizure is a core right implicit in the natural right to  life, liberty and property.  Even in the absence of a constitution, individuals have a fundamental and natural  right  against  unreasonable  search  and  seizure  under natural law.  
>     Moreover,  the  violation  of  the  right  to  privacy  produces  a humiliating effect that cannot be rectified anymore.  
>     This is why there is no other justification to speak of for a search, except for a warrant.  
>     On  the  other  hand,  in  a  warrant  of  arrest,  the  person  to  be arrested can always post bail to prevent the deprivation of liberty.
 
Sec. 2. Court where application for search warrant shall be filed. – An application for search warrant shall be filed with the following:
 
      (a) Any  court  within  whose territorial jurisdiction a crime was committed.
 
      (b) For compelling reasons stated in the application, any court within  the  judicial  region  where  the  crime  was  committed  if  the place of the commission of the crime is known, or any court within the judicial region where the warrant shall be enforced.
 
    However,  if  the  criminal  action  has  already  been  filed,  the application  shall  only  be  made  in  the  court  where  the  criminal action is pending.
 

WHERE   SHOULD   ONE   FILE   AN   APPLICATION   FOR   SEARCH WARRANT?

>     As a general rule, any court within whose territorial jurisdiction a crime  was  committed  BUT  FOR  COMPELLING  REASONS  stated  in the  application,  any  court  within  the  judicial  region  where  the crime was committed if the place of the commission of the crime is known, or any court within the judicial region where the warrant shall be enforced.
>     For example, a drug syndicate keeps his drugs in a warehouse in Pasay  for  the  reason  that  it  has  connections  in  Pasay  and  can easily  get  a  tip  when  the  police  officers  will  file  for  a  search warrant.    To  avoid  the  drug  syndicate  from  getting  a  tip  of  the impending search, the police officers apply for a search warrant in Makati stating the compelling reason.   

>    However,  if  the  criminal  action  has  already  been  filed,  the application  shall  only  be  made  in  the  court  where  the  criminal action is pending.
 
Sec. 3. Personal property to be seized. – A search warrant may be issued for the search and seizure of personal property:
 
(a) Subject of the offense;
 
(b)  Stolen  or  embezzled  and  other  proceeds,  or  fruits  of  the offense; or
 
(c)  Used  or  intended  to  be  used  as  the  means  of  committing  an offense.
    

WHAT MAY BE THE SUBJECT OF A SEARCH WARRANT?

1.    Subject of the offense;
2.    Stolen or embezzled and other proceeds, or fruits of the offense; or
3.    Used  or  intended  to  be  used  as  the  means  of  committing  an offense.
 

IS  IT  NECESSARY  THAT  THE  PERSON  NAMED  IN  THE  SEARCH WARRANT BE THE OWNER OF THE THINGS TO BE SEIZED?

>     No, ownership is of no consequence.
>     What is relevant is that the property is connected to an offense. 
 
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.
 

WHAT ARE THE REQUISITES OF A VALID SEARCH WARRANT?

1.    There  must  be  probable  cause—facts  and  circumstances  that would engender a well-founded belief in a reasonable prudent and discreet man that a crime has been committed and the things and objects to be seized can be found in the place to be searched
2.    Which  must  be  determined  by  the  judge  personally  through searching    and    probing    questions—questions    not    merely answerable by yes or no but could be answered by the applicant and the witnesses on facts personally known to them
3.    (Upon  whom?)  The  complainant  and  the  witnesses  he  may produce  are  personally  examined  by  the  judge,  in  writing  and under oath and affirmation
4.    (Based on what?)  The applicant and the witnesses testify on facts personally known to them
5.    The probable cause must be in connection with the specific offense
6.    The  warrant  specified  describes  the  person  and  place  to  be searched and the things to be seized
7.    The sworn statement together with the affidavits of the witnesses must be attached to the record
 

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE FOR THE PARTICULARITY OF DESCRIPTION OF THE PLACE TO BE SEARCHED AND THE THINGS TO BE SEIZED?

>     The evident purpose and intent of this requirement is to limit the things to be seized to those, and only those, particularly described in  the  search  warrant—to  leave  officers  of  the  law  with  no discretion  regarding  what  articles  they  should  seize,  to    the  end that unreasonable searches and seizures  may not be  committed, that abuses may not be committed.
 
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.
 

WHEN  IS  THE  AFFIDAVIT  OR  TESTIMONY  OF  THE  WITNESS  SAID TO BE BASED ON PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE?

>     The test is whether perjury could be charged against the witness
 

WHAT  ARE  THE  REQUISITES  OF  THE  PERSONAL  EXAMINATION THAT  THE  JUDGE  MUST  CONDUCT  BEFORE  ISSUING  THE  SEARCH WARRANT?

1.    The judge must examine the witness personally
2.    The examination must be under oath
3.    The  examination  must  be  reduced  into  writing  in  the  form  of searching questions and answers
 
Sec.  6.  Issuance  and  form  of  search  warrant.  –  If  the  judge  is satisfied  of  the  existence  of  facts  upon  which  the  application  is based or that there is probable cause to believe that they exist, he shall  issue  the  warrant,  which  must  be  substantially  in  the  form prescribed by these Rules. 


WHAT IS A SCATTER SHOT WARRANT?

>     It is a warrant of arrest that is issued for more than one offense
>     It is void for the law requires that a warrant of arrest should only be issued in connection with one specific offense
 

A WARRANT WAS ISSUED FOR THE SEIZURE OF DRUGS CONNECTED WITH  THE  VIOLATION  OF  THE  DANGEROUS  DRUGS  ACT.    IS  THE WARRANT VALID?

>     The warrant is valid
>     Although there are many  ways  of violating  the  Dangerous Drugs Act, it is not a scatter shot warrant  since it is in connection with only one penal law
 

POLICE OFFICERS APPLIED FOR A WARRANT TO SEARCH DOOR #1 OF AN APARTMENT COMPLEX.  THE COURT ISSUED THE WARRANT.  WHEN THEY WENT TO THE APARTMENT COMPLEX, THEY REALIZED THAT WHAT THEY THOUGHT WAS DOOR #1 WAS ACTUALLY DOOR #7.  CAN THEY SEARCH DOOR #7?

>     No,  what  is  controlling  is  what  is  stated  in  the  warrant,  and  not what the peace officers  had in mind, even if they were the ones who gave it the description to the court.
>     This is to prevent abuses in the service of search warrants
 

CAN   THE   POLICE   OFFICER   SEIZE   ANYTHING   THAT   IS   NOT INCLUDED IN THE WARRANT?

>     No, anything not included in the warrant cannot be seized EXCEPT if its mala prohibita, in  which  case,  the seizure is justified under the plain view doctrine.
>     Even if the object was related to the crime, but it is not mentioned in the warrant nor is it mala prohibita, it still cannot be seized
 

POLICE  OFFICERS  WENT  TO  THE  HOUSE  TO  EXECUTE  A  SEARCH WARRANT.  THEY FOUND A PISTOL ON THE TABLE, BUT THE PISTOL WASN’T  INCLUDED  IN  THE  SEARCH  WARRANT.    CAN  THEY  SEIZE THE PISTOL?

>     No,  it  is  not  mala  prohibita  and  they  have  no  proof  that  it  is unlicensed.
 

WHAT  SHOULD  THE  POLICE  OFFICER  OR  COURT  TO  DO  THINGS SEIZED ILLEGALLY?

>     Anything seized illegally must be returned to the owner unless it is mala prohibita.  In such a case, it should be kept in custodia legis.
 
Sec.  7.  Right  to  break  door  or  window  to  effect  search.  –  The officer, if refused admittance to the place of directed search after giving  notice  of  his  purpose  and  authority,  may  break  open  any outer or inner door or window of a house or any part of a house or anything therein to execute the warrant to liberate himself or any person lawfully aiding him when unlawfully detained therein.
 
Sec. 8. Search of house, room, or premises to be made in presence of  two  witnesses.  –  No  search  of  a  house,  room,  or  any  other premises  shall  be  made  except  in  the  presence  of  the  lawful occupant thereof or any member of his family or in the absence of the latter, two witnesses of sufficient age and discretion residing in the same locality.
 
NOTE:    The  two  witness  rule  only  applies  in  the  absence  of  the  lawful occupants of the premises searched 

PEACE OFFICERS RAIDED A HOUSE, WHICH WAS SUSPECTED TO BE A   FACTORY   FOR   ILLEGAL   DRUGS.      DURING   THE   RAID,   8 CHINESEMEN   WERE   FOUND   INSIDE   WHO   COULDN’T   SPEAK ENGLISH  OR  FILIPINO.    THE  CHINESE  WERE  LOCKED  INSIDE  A ROOM  AND  TWO  WITNESSES  WHO  WERE  NOT  OCCUPANTS  WERE USED    WHILE    SEARCHING    THE    HOUSE    AND    SEIZING    THE PROHIBITED DRUGS.  VALID?

>     No. 
>     The two-witness rule can only apply when there is absence of the lawful occupants of the premises searched.
>     In this case, they locked the occupants in a room while doing the search  and  seizure  and  used  2  witnesses  who  weren’t  the occupants of the premises.
 
Sec. 9. Time of making search. – The warrant must direct that it be served  in  the  day  time,  unless  the  affidavit  asserts  that  the property is on the person or in the place ordered to be searched, in which case a direction may be inserted that it be served at any time of the day or night.
 

WHEN SHOULD THE SEARCH WARRANT BE EXECUTED?

>     If possible, it should be executed during the daytime
>     But in certain cases, such as when the things seized are mobile or are in the person of the accused, it can be served during nighttime
 
Sec.  10.  Validity  of  search  warrant.  –  A  search  warrant  shall  be valid for ten (10) days from its date. Thereafter, it shall be void. 

FOR HOW LONG IS THE SEARCH WARRANT VALID?

>     It is valid for 10 days, after which the police officer should make a return to the judge who issued it
>     If  the  police  officer  doesn’t  make  a  return,  the  judge  should summon him and require him to explain why no return was made
>     If the return was made, the judge should determine if the peace officer  issued  the  receipt  to  the  occupant  of  the  premises  from which the things were taken.
>     The judge shall also order the delivery to the court of the things seized.

 

IF THE  WARRANT  WAS EXECUTED EVEN BEFORE THE EXPIRATION OF  THE  10-DAY  PERIOD,  CAN  THE  PEACE  OFFICER  USE  THE WARRANT AGAIN BEFORE IT EXPIRES?

>     No,  of  the  purpose  for  which  it  was  issued  has  already  been carried out, the warrant cannot be used anymore.
>     The  exception  is  if  the  search  wasn’t  finished  within  1  day,  the warrant  can  still  be  used  the  next  day,  provided  it  is  still  within the 10-day period
 
Sec.  11.  Receipt  for  the  property  seized.  –  The  officer  seizing  the property  under  the  warrant  must  give  a  detailed  receipt  for  the same to the lawful occupant of the premises in whose presence the search and seizure were made, or in the absence of such occupant, must,  in  the  presence  of  at  least  two  witnesses  of  sufficient  age and discretion residing in the same locality,  leave a  receipt  in the place in which he found the seized property.
 

WHAT  IS  THE  DUTY  OF  THE  OFFICER  WHEN  HE  SEIZES  THE PROPERTY?

>     The  officer  seizing  the  property  under  the  warrant  must  give  a detailed  receipt  for  the  same  to  the  lawful  occupant  of  the premises in whose presence the search and seizure were  made, or in the absence of such occupant, must, in the presence of at least two witnesses of sufficient age and discretion residing in the same locality, leave a receipt in the place in which he found the seized property.
 

CAN  THE  OWNER  OF  THE  THINGS  SEIZED  BE  MADE  TO  SIGN  THE RECEIPT?

>     No  since  this  would  be  tantamount  to  a  violation  of  one’s  right against   self-incrimination.      It   is   a   confession   without   the assistance of counsel.
 

IS THERE PERIL  TO  THE OWNER OF THE THINGS  SEIZED IF HE IS MADE TO SIGN THE BOOKING SHEET?

>     There  is  no  peril  since  he  would  just  be  made  to  acknowledge that a case has been filed against him
 

THE  ACCUSED  WAS  ARRESTED  DURING  A  BUY-BUST  OPERATION.  PESO BILLS WERE SEIZED FROM HIM.  CAN THE ACCUSED BE MADE TO SIGN THE BILLS?

>     Yes, having the bills is not a crime.
>     This applies even if the bills involved is marked money.
 
Sec. 12. Delivery of property and inventory thereof to court; return and proceedings thereon.  – 
 
(a)  The  officer  must  forthwith  deliver  the  property  seized  to  the judge  who  issued  the  warrant,  together  with  a  true  inventory thereof duly verified under oath.
 
(b) Ten (10) days after issuance of the search warrant, the issuing judge shall ascertain if the return has been made, and if none, shall summon the person to  whom the  warrant  was  issued and  require him  to  explain  why  no  return  was  made.  If  the  return  has  been made, the judge shall ascertain whether section 11 of this Rule has been  complied  with  and  shall  require  that  the  property  seized  be delivered  to  him.  The  judge  shall  see  to  it  that  subsection  (a) hereof has been complied with.
 
(c) The return on the search warrant shall be filed and kept by the custodian  of  the  log  book  on  search  warrants  who  shall  enter therein the date of the return, the result, and other actions of the judge.
 
A violation of this section shall constitute contempt of court.
 

WHAT  IS  THE  DUTY  OF  THE  OFFICER  AFTER  THE  PROPERTY SOUGHT UNDER THE SEARCH WARRANT HAS BEEN SEIZED?

>     The officer must forthwith deliver the property seized to the judge who  issued  the  warrant,  together  with  a  true  inventory  thereof duly verified under oath.
 
Sec.  13.  Search  incident  to  lawful  arrest.  –  A  person  lawfully arrested  may  be  searched  for  dangerous  weapons  or  anything which may have been used or constitute proof in the commission of an offense without a search warrant.
 

IN WHAT INSTANCES WOULD A SEARCH AND SEIZURE WITHOUT A WARRANT BE ALLOWED?

1.    A warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest
     a.    Arrest must be lawful
     b.    It must be contemporaneous with the arrest in both time and place
     c.     Within  the  vicinity  of  the  person  arrested,  immediate control, which is the evidence of the offense or weapon
2.    Search of evidence in plain view
3.    Search of a moving vehicle
     a.    Must be cursory
     b.    Cant make a thorough search; just have to take a look; not to open trunks 
4.    Consented warrantless searches
     a.    The right exists
     b.    Person making the consent knows that he has the right
     c.     In spite of the knowledge of the right, he voluntarily and intelligently gives his consent 
5.    Customs searches
6.    Stop and frisk
7.    Exigent and emergency circumstances
8.    Checkpoints
9.    Republic Act requiring inspections or body checks in airports
10.  Emergency
11.  In times of war and within military operations
 

WHAT  ARE  THE  INSTANCES  OF  A  PERMISSIBLE  WARRANTLESS ARREST?

1.    Arrest in flagrante delicto
2.    Arrest effected in hot pursuit
3.    Arrests of escaped prisoners
 

WHAT IS THE AREA OF COVERAGE OF AN OFFICER’S SEARCH?  IS IT LIMITED TO THE PERSON OF THE ACCUSED?

>     Under  this  rule,  the  search  being  an  incident  to  a  lawful  arrest may extend beyond the person of the one arrested to include the premises or surrounding under his immediate control
>     The  search  must  be  made  after  the  arrest.    The  objective  is  to make  sure  that  the  life  of  the  peace  officer  will  not  be endangered.  It must be contemporaneous with the arrest in both time and place.
 

WHEN  IS  THE  WARRANTLESS  SEARCH  OF  A  MOVING  VEHICLE ALLOWED?

>     It is allowed when it is not practicable to secure a warrant

 

WHAT  ARE  THE  REQUIREMENTS  IN  A  WARRANTLESS  SEARCH INCIDENTAL TO A LAWFUL ARREST?

1.    Arrest must be lawful
2.    It  must  be  contemporaneous  with  the  arrest  in  both  time  and place
3.    Within  the  vicinity  of  the  person  arrested,  immediate  control, which is the evidence of the offense or weapon

WHO  SHOULD  GIVE  CONSENT  TO  A  WARRANTLESS  SEARCH  AND WHAT ARE THE REQUISITES?

>     Only  the  person  whose  right  may  be  violated  can  give  the consent;  it  is  a  personal  right  that  cannot  be  availed  of  by  third parties.  The requisites are:
1.    The person has knowledge of his right against the search
2.    He  freely  and  intelligently  gives  his  consent  in  spite  of  such knowledge
 

WHAT  ARE  THE  REQUISITES  FOR  THE  PLAIN  VIEW  DOCTRINE  TO APPLY? 

1.    There  must  have  been  a  prior  valid  intrusion  based  on  the warrantless  arrest  in  which  the  police  are  legally  present  in  the pursuit of their official duties
2.    The evidence was inadvertently discovered by the police who had the right to be where they are
3.    The evidence must be immediately apparent
4.    There was no need for further search
 

WHAT IS A STOP AND FRISK SITUATION?  WHEN IS IT VALID?

>     It  is  a  situation  wherein  there  is  a  limited  protective  search  of outer clothing for weapons
>     While probable cause is not required to conduct a stop and frisk, mere suspicion or a hunch will not validate such a procedure.
>     A  genuine  reason  must  exist,  in  light  of  the  police  officer’s experience and surrounding conditions, to warrant the belief that the person has detained the weapons concealed about him. 

Sec. 14. Motion to quash a search warrant or to suppress evidence; where  to  file.  –  A  motion  to  quash  a  search  warrant  and/or  to suppress evidence obtained thereby may be filed in and acted upon only  by  the  court  where  the  action  has  been  instituted.  If  no criminal action has been instituted, the motion may be filed in and resolved by the court that issued search warrant. However, if such court   failed   to   resolve   the   motion   and   a   criminal   case   is subsequently filed in another court, the motion shall be resolved by the latter court.
 

A  POLICE  OFFICER  WAS  GRANTED TO  SEARCH  THE  HOUSE  FOR REBEL    OFFICERS.  CAN THE POLICEMAN CONDUCT  A  WARRANTLESS SEARCH?

>     NO,  the  permission  didn’t  include  the  room  to  room  search  and anything confiscated will be inadmissible 
 

IF  AN  OBJECT  HAS  BEEN  SEIZED  UPON  ORDERS  OF  THE  COURT, MAY  A  COORDINATE  COURT  ISSUE  A  REPLEVIN  ORDER  FOR  THE RELEASE OF THE OBJECT?

>     No,  only  the  court  that  ordered  its  confiscation  may  release  the object
 

IF THE ARRESTED PERSON SIGNS THE RECEIPT OF THE PROPERTY SEIZED  WITHOUT  THE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL, IS THE RECEIPT ADMISSIBLE?

>     No, because it was done without assistance of counsel
 

WHAT IS THE MULTI-FACTOR BALANCING TEST?

>     It  requires  officers  to  weigh  the  manner  and  intensity  of  the interference  of  the  right  of  the  people,  the  gravity  of  the  crime committed, and the circumstances attending the incident.
 

WHERE  SHOULD  ONE  FILE  THE  NOTION  TO  QUASH  WARRANT  OR TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE?

1.    In the court where the action has been instituted 
2.    If  no  criminal  action  has  been  filed,  in  the  court  that  issued  the warrant
3.    However, if said court failed to resolve the motion and a criminal case  is  subsequently  filed  in  another  court,  the  motion  shall  be filed in the latter court
 

A  MOTION  TO  QUASH  WAS  FILED  IN  THE  COURT  WHERE  THE CRIMINAL   ACTION   WAS   FILED.      DURING   THIS   TIME,   THE PRELIMINARY  INVESTIGATION  WAS  ONGOING.    THE  ACCUSED MOVES FOR THE SUSPENSION OF THE  PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION.  VALID AND PROPER?

>     No,  the  preliminary  investigation  is  of  different  nature  from deciding on whether to grant the motion to quash the warrant
>     The result of one will not affect the other.  One deals on probable cause  on  whether  there  are  facts  and  circumstances  that  would engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and  the  accused  is  probably  guilty  thereof.    The  other  deals  on whether the things and objects were seized legally or not.  
 
NOTE:    The  Motion  To  Quash,  filed  in  the  issuing  court,  or  to  Suppress Evidence,  filed  with  the  court  trying  the  case,  are  alternative,  not cumulative remedies.  If one is filed, the other can no longer be availed of.  The court first taking cognizance of the motion does so to exclusion of the other.    The  proceedings  thereon  are  subject  to  the  omnibus  motion  rule and the rule against forum shopping.  
 

WHAT IS THE TOTAL EXCLUSIONARY RULE?

>     Things  and  objects  seized  in  violation  of  the  right  against unreasonable  searches  and  seizures  are  fruits  of  the  poisonous tree and are inadmissible as evidence 


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