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People vs. Johnson, GR 138881, 18 December 2000
Respondent is a former Filipino citizen who visited his son’s family in Calamba, Laguna. She was due to fly back to the United States on July 26. At around 7:30 p.m. at that day, Olivia Ramirez, on-duty lady frisker, frisked Johnson and felt something hard on the latter’s abdomen. Upon inquiry, Johnson explained she needed to wear two panty girdles as she had just undergone an operation as a result of an ectopic pregnancy. Not satisfied with the explanation, Ramirez, accompanied by SPO1 Rizalina Bernal, took Johnson to the nearest women’s room for inspection. Ramirez asked again what is the hard object that is on her stomach and Johnson answered the same reason she had given previously. Ramirez asked her to bring out the thing under her girdle. Johnson brought out three plastic packs which Ramirez turned over including Johnson’s passport, airline ticket, luggage, girdle, and other personal effects to SPO4 Reynaldo Embile, Ramirez’s superior. Pictures of the seized items were also taken.
Whether or not Johnson’s passport, airline ticket, luggage, girdle, and other personal effects are inadmissible as evidence
Yes, they are inadmissible as evidence. There is no justification for the confiscation of Johnson’s passport, airline ticket, luggage, and other personal effects. The pictures taken during that time are also inadmissible, as are the girdle taken from her, and her signature thereon. Rule 126, of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure authorizes the search and seizure only of the following:
Personal property to be seized.—A search warrant may be issued for the search and seizure of personal property:
(1)Subject of the offense;
(2)Stolen or embezzled and other proceeds or fruits of the offense; and
(3)Used or intended to be used as the means of committing an offense.
Accordingly, the above items seized from Johnson should be returned to her.
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