Esquillo vs People 629 SCRA 370
Police officer was assigned in Malibay , Pasay to conduct surveillance on a notorious snatcher named Ryan. It was during that time the police officer noticed the petitioner. The police officer saw the petitioner standing three (3) meters away from them. They saw the latter place inside a yellow cigarette case a plastic sachet containing a white substance. They approached the petitioner and introduced themselves as a police officer. Subsequently, they inquired regarding the sachet the petitioner placed inside the case. The petitioner acted suspiciously and even tried to flee. The police officer prevented her from doing so. They apprised the petitioner of her constitutional rights and then confiscated the sachet. They marked the sachet with the initials “SRE” and took the petitioner to the police station.
The petitioner contends against the police officer’s statement. The petitioner said that she was resting at home when policeman barged inside and asked her whether or not she knew a certain “Ryan”. She replied in the negative. Afterwards, she was forcibly taken to the police station and was detained there. During her detention, the police officers were claiming that that there was shabu inside the wallet they seized from her. Petitioner was claiming that the evidence was planted.
Whether or not the warrantless arrest conducted by the police against petitioner was valid.
Yes. The circumstances before the eventual arrest gave the police officer a reasonable belief that a search on her was warranted. The police officer saw in plain view that the petitioner was placing a plastic sachet containing a white substance inside her cigarette case. Give the training of police officer, they would likely be drawn to curiosity and approach her to inquire regarding such matter. The petitioner reaction of attempting to flee after the police officer introduced his self gave more reason for the officer to check the petitioner.
There are instances when searches are reasonable even when warrantless. In the Rules of Court, searches incidental to lawful arrests are allowed even without a separate warrant. This court has taken into account the "uniqueness of circumstances involved including the purpose of the search or seizure, the presence or absence of probable cause, the manner in which the search and seizure was made, the place or thing searched, and the character of the articles procured. The known jurisprudential instances of reasonable warrantless searches and seizures are:
1. Warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest.
2. Seizure of evidence in "plain view
3. Search of a moving vehicle. Highly regulated by the government, the vehicle’s inherent mobility reduces expectation of privacy especially when its transit in public thoroughfares furnishes a highly reasonable suspicion amounting to probable cause that the occupant committed a criminal activity;
4. Consented warrantless search;
5. Customs search;
6. Stop and frisk; and
7. Exigent and emergency circumstances.