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Alvarez v. CFI, 64 Phil 33 (1937)
*On June 3, 1936, the chief of the secret service of the Anti-Usury Board, of the Department of Justice, presented to Judge Eduardo Gutierrez David then presiding over the Court of First Instance of Tayabas, an affidavit alleging that according to reliable information, the petitioner kept in his house in Infanta, Tayabas, books, documents, receipts, lists, chits and other papers used by him in connection with his activities as a money-lender charging usurious rates of interest in violation of the law. In his oath at the end of the affidavit, the chief of the secret service stated that his answers to the questions were correct to the best of his knowledge and belief. He did not swear to the truth of his statements upon his own knowledge of the facts but upon the information received by him from a reliable person. Upon the affidavit in question the Judge, on said date, issued the warrant which is the subject matter of the petition, ordering the search of the petitioner's house at any time of the day or night, the seizure of the books and documents above-mentioned and the immediate delivery thereof to him to be disposed of in accordance with the law.
*With said warrant, several agents of the Anti-Usury Board entered the petitioner's store and residence at seven o'clock on the night of June 4, 1936, and seized and took possession of the following articles: internal revenue licenses for the years 1933 to 1936, one ledger, two journals, two cashbooks, nine order books, four notebooks, four checks stubs, two memorandums, three bankbooks, two contracts, four stubs, forty-eight stubs of purchases of copra, two inventories, two bundles of bills of lading, one bundle of credit receipts, one bundle of stubs of purchases of copra, two packages of correspondence, one receipt book belonging to Luis Fernandez, fourteen bundles of invoices and other papers many documents and loan contracts with security and promissory notes, 504 chits, promissory notes and stubs of used checks of the Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation.
Whether or not the search warrant obtained is illegal.
YES, In view of the foregoing and under the above-cited authorities, it appears that the affidavit, which served as the exclusive basis of the search warrant, is insufficient and fatally defective by reason of the manner in which the oath was made, and therefore, it is hereby held that the search warrant in question and the subsequent seizure of the books, documents and other papers are illegal and do not in any way warrant the deprivation to which the petitioner was subjected.
That the search and seizure made are illegal for the following reasons: (a) Because the warrant was based solely upon the affidavit of the petitioner who had no personal knowledge of the facts of probable cause, and (b) because the warrant was issued for the sole purpose of seizing evidence which would later be used in the criminal proceedings that might be instituted against the petitioner, for violation of the Anti-Usury Law;
That a detailed description of the person and place to be searched and the articles to be seized is necessary, but whereby, by the nature of the articles to be seized, their description must be rather general, but is not required that a technical description be given, as this would mean that no warrant could issue;
That as the warrant had been issued unreasonably, and as it does not appear positively in the affidavit that the articles were in the possession of the petitioner and in the place indicated, neither could the search and seizure be made at night; at the petitioner did not waive his constitutional rights because the offer of compromise or settlement attributed to him, does not mean, if so made, that he voluntarily tolerated the search and seizure; and
That an appeal from the orders questioned by the petitioner, if taken by him, would not be an effective, speedy or adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, and, consequently, the petition for mandamus filed by him, lies.