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Padilla v. CA, 269 SCRA 402 (1997)
1. Whether warrantless arrest against petitioner were valid.
2. Whether the warrantless search and seizure of Padilla’s firearms and ammunition were valid.
Paragraph (a) requires that the person be arrested (i) after he has committed or while he is actually committing or is at least attempting to commit an offense, (ii) in the presence of the arresting officer or private person. 29 Both elements concurred here, as it has been established that petitioner’s vehicle figured in a hit and run—an offense committed in the “presence” of Manarang, a private person, who then sought to arrest petitioner.
Manarang heard the screeching of fires, saw the sideswiped victim, reported the incident to the police and thereafter gave chase to the erring Pajero vehicle using his motorcycle in order to apprehend its driver. Although the policemen were not at the scene of the hit and run, still, Manarang decided to seek the aid of the policemen in effecting petitioner’s arrest, did not in any way affect the propriety of the apprehension. Moreover, when caught in flagrante delicto with possession of an unlicensed firearm petitioner’s warrantless arrest was proper as he was again actually committing another offense (illegal possession of firearm and ammunitions) and this time in the presence of a peace officer. The policemen’s warrantless arrest of petitioner could likewise be justified under paragraph (b) as he had in fact just committed an offense. There was no supervening event or a considerable lapse of time between the hit and run and the actual apprehension.
(See Doctrine Part on Warrantless Search and Seizure)
Authorities stumbled upon petitioner’s firearms and ammunitions without even undertaking any active search which, is a prying into hidden places for that which is concealed. The seizure of revolver and rifle magazine was justified for they came within “plain view” of the policemen who inadvertently discovered the revolver and magazine tucked in petitioner’s waist and back pocket respectively, when he raised his hands. The same justification applies to the confiscation of the armalite rifle which was immediately apparent to the policemen when they saw said rifle lying horizontally near the driver’s seat. In United v. Rem, it was held that “(W)hen in pursuing an illegal action or in the commission of a criminal offense, the . . . police officers should happen to discover a criminal offense being committed by any person, they are not precluded from performing their duties as police officers for the apprehension of the guilty person and the taking of the corpus delicti.” The other items were voluntarily surrendered by petitioner which indicated a waiver of his right against the alleged search and seizure, and that his failure to quash the information estopped him from assailing any purported defect.
Once the lawful arrest was effected, the police may undertake a protective search of the passenger compartment and containers in the vehicle which are within petitioner’s grabbing distance regardless of the nature of the offense. This satisfied the two-tiered test of an incidental search: (i) the item to be searched (vehicle) was within the arrestee’s custody or area of immediate control 61 and (ii) the search was contemporaneous with the arrest.