People vs. Go, GR 116001, 14 March 2001
SPO1 Piamonte and SPO3 Liquido, members of the Intelligence and Follow-up Unit of the Calamba Police, received an intelligence report from a police civilian that he saw Luisito Go also known as “King Louie” with a gun tucked in his waist, entered the Flamingo Disco House. Together, the three policemen proceeded to the said disco house. When they arrived at the Flamingo, the police officers informed the owner that they were conducting an “Operation Bakal,” whereby they search for illegally possessed firearms. The owner allowed them in and told a waiter to accompany them. The police officers saw Go and his lady companions seated at a table. They identified themselves and asked Go to stand up. When the latter did so, the policemen saw the gun tucked in his waist. SPO1 Piamonte asked for the license of the gun, but Go was unable to produce any. Instead, Go brought the driver’s license of a certain Tan Antonio Lerios. SPO1 Piamonte confiscated the gun, and invited Go to the police precinct for questioning.
On the way out of the disco, Go asked permission to bring his car, which was parked outside. The police officers Go to his car. The police officers saw pieces of glass tooters and tin foils on the backseat and floor of the car. They asked Go why he had these items, but he did not say anything. Instead, Go suggested that they talk the matter over, and intimated that he had money. SPO3 Liquido replied that they should talk at the police headquarters. Go took out an attache case from the car and opened it. There were two black clutch bags inside. Go opened the first bag, which contained shiny white substance wrapped in cellophane. The second bag contained P120,000.00 in cash.
The police officers brought Go to the police station. When they arrived at the precinct, they turned over the attache case together with the two black clutch bags to the investigator. The investigator found eight cellophane bags containing granules suspected to be shabu in one of the clutch bags. When the attache case was opened, the police officers found that it also contained three glass tooters, tin foils, an improvised burner, magazines and newspapers.1
Consequently, two Informations were filed against Go before the Regional Trial Court of Calamba, Laguna, Branch 34. The first Information, charged accused-appellant with violation of Article III of R.A. 6452 (Dangerous Drugs Act). The other Information, charged Go with violation of P.D. 1866,
Whether or not Go was lawfully arrested.
Yes. The constitutional proscription, that no person shall be arrested without any warrant of arrest having been issued prior thereto, is not a hard-and-fast rule. The Rules of Court and jurisprudence recognize exceptional cases where an arrest may be effected without a warrant. Among these are when, in the presence of a peace officer, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; or when an offense has in fact just been committed, and the arresting officer has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it.
In this case, the police saw the gun tucked in Go’s waist when he stood up. The gun was plainly visible. No search was conducted as none was necessary. Go could not show any license for the firearm, whether at the time of his arrest or thereafter. Thus, he was in effect committing a crime in the presence of the police officers. No warrant of arrest was necessary in such a situation, it being one of the recognized exceptions under the Rules.