Espano v. Court of Appeals, 288 SCRA 558 (1998)
The accused was caught in flagrante by herein police officers selling Marijuana near Zamora and Pandacan Streets, where they are conducting an investigation in the area reported being rampant of drug pushing. The agents frisked the accused after he completed his transaction to a buyer and there found with him 2 tea bags of Marijuana.
Accused was asked by the police officers whether he has some more of the marijuana and told them he got more at his house. They went to the accused house and found 10 more teabags of Marijuana. During the trial, accused denied all the allegations against him and made an alibi that he was in his house sleeping when the police officer went to his house looking for his brother in law and instead handcuffed him to take his part for allegedly having in his possession 10 teabags of Marijuana. Rhe trial court did not believe his alibi and found him guilty of violation of Article II, Section 8 of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act.
Accused appealed and said that the arrest was illegally done and the search of his house is deemed a violation of his constitutional right.
Whether or notthe warrantless arrest is valid.
Yes. Petitioner’s arrest falls squarely under the aforecited rule (Rule 113 Section 5(a) of the Rules of Court ). He was caught in flagranti as a result of a buy-bust operation conducted by police officers on the basis of information received regarding the illegal trade of drugs within the area of Zamora and Pandacan Streets, Manila. The police officer saw petitioner handing over something to an alleged buyer. After the buyer left, they searched him and discovered two pieces of cellophane of marijuana. His arrest was, therefore, lawful and the two cellophane bags of marijuana seized were admissible in evidence, being the fruits of the crime.
As for the ten cellophane bags of marijuana found at petitioners residence, however, the same are inadmissible in evidence.
The 1987 Constitution guarantees freedom against unreasonable searches and seizures under Article III, Section 2 which provides:
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.
An exception to the said rule is a warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest for dangerous weapons or anything which may be used as proof of the commission of an offense. It may extend beyond the person of the one arrested to include the premises or surroundings under his immediate control. In this case, the ten cellophane bags of marijuana seized at petitioners house after his arrest at Pandacan and Zamora Streets do not fall under the said exceptions.
Petition denied with a modification that the 10 bags of marijuana seized from his house is inadmissible in evidence since no search warrant was served to him.