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Pasion vda. De Garcia v. Locsin, 65 Phil 68 (1938)
Mariano G. Almeda, an agent of the Anti-Usury Board, obtained from the justice of the peace of Tarlac, a search warrant commanding any officer of the law to search the person, house or store of Leona Pasion Vda. de Garcia, for "certain books, lists, chits, receipts, documents and other papers relating to her activities as usurer." The search warrant was issued upon an affidavit given by the said Almeda "that he has and there is just and probable cause to believe and he does believe that Leona Pasion de Garcia keeps and conceals in her house and store, certain books, lists, chits, receipts, documents, and other papers relating to her activities as usurer, all of which is contrary to the statute in such cases made and provided." On the same date, Almeda, accompanied by a captain of the Philippine Constabulary, went to the office of Pasion de Garcia in Victoria and, after showing the search warrant to the latter's bookkeeper, Alfredo Salas, and, without Pasion de Garcia's presence who was ill and confined at the time, proceeded with the execution thereof. Two packages of records and a locked filing cabinet containing several papers and documents were seized by Almeda and a receipt therefor issued by him to Salas. The papers and documents seized were kept for a considerable length of time by the Anti-Usury Board and thereafter were turned over by it to the provincial fiscal Felix Imperial, who subsequently filed, in the Court of First Instance (CFI) of Tarlac, 6 separate criminal cases against Pasion de Garcia for violation of the Anti-Usury Law. On several occasions, after seizure, Pasion de Garcia, through counsel, demanded from the Anti-Usury Board the return of the documents seized. By motion, the legality of the search warrant was challenged by Pasion de Garcia's counsel in the 6 criminal cases and the devolution of the documents demanded. By resolution, Judge Diego Locsin (CFI) denied Pasion de garcia's motion for the reason that though the search warrant was illegal, there was a waiver on the latter's part. A motion for reconsideration was presented but was denied by order. Pasion de Garcia registered her exception.
Whether or not the warrant is valid by reason of waiver of constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures.
No. Warrant was declared null and void.
Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures is declared a popular right and for a search warrant to be valid, (1) it must be issued upon probable cause; (2) the probable cause must be determined by the judge himself and not by the applicant or any other person; (3) in the determination of probable cause, the judge must examine, under oath or affirmation, the complainant and such witnesses as the latter may produce; and (4) the warrant issued must particularly describe the place to be searched and persons or things to be seized. These requirements are complemented by the Code of Criminal Procedure, particularly with reference to the duration of the validity of the search warrant and the obligation of the officer seizing the property to deliver the same to the corresponding court. Herein, the existence of probable cause was determined not by the judge himself but by the applicant. All that the judge did was to accept as true the affidavit made by agent Almeda. He did not decide for himself. It does not appear that he examined the applicant and his witnesses, if any. Even accepting the description of the properties to be seized to be sufficient and on the assumption that the receipt issued is sufficiently detailed within the meaning of the law, the properties seized were not delivered to the court which issued the warrant, as required by law. Instead, they were turned over to the provincial fiscal and used by him in building up cases against Pasion de Garcia. Considering that at the time the warrant was issued there was no case pending against Pasion de Garcia, the averment that the warrant was issued primarily for exploration purposes is not without basis. The search warrant was illegally issued by the justice of the peace of Tarlac, Tarlac. In any event, the failure on the part of Pasion de Garcia and her bookkeeper to resist or object to the execution of the warrant does not constitute an implied waiver of constitutional right. It is, as Judge Cooley observes, but a submission to the authority of the law. As the constitutional guaranty is not dependent upon any affirmative act of the citizen, the courts do not place the citizen in the position of either contesting an officer's authority by force, or waiving his constitutional rights; but instead they hold that a peaceful submission to a search or seizure is not a consent or an invitation thereto, but is merely a demonstration of regard for the supremacy of the law.
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