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People vs. Mariacos, GR 188611, 16 June 2010
PO2 Pallayoc met with a secret agent who informed him that a baggage of marijuana had been loaded on a passenger jeepney that was about to leave for the poblacion. The agent mentioned three (3) bags and one (1) blue plastic bag. Further, the agent described a backpack bag with an “O.K.” marking. PO2 Pallayoc then boarded the said jeepney and positioned himself on top thereof. While the vehicle was in motion, he found the black backpack with an “O.K.” marking and peeked inside its contents. PO2 Pallayoc found bricks of marijuana wrapped in newspapers. He then asked the other passengers on top of the jeepney about the owner of the bag, but no one knew. When the jeepney reached the poblacion, PO2 Pallayoc alighted together with the other passengers. Unfortunately, he did not notice who took the black backpack from atop the jeepney. He only realized a few moments later that the said bag and three (3) other bags, including a blue plastic bag, were already being carried away by two (2) women. He caught up with the women and introduced himself as a policeman. He told them that they were under arrest, but one of the women got away.
PO2 Pallayoc brought the woman, who was later identified as herein accused-appellant Belen Mariacos, and the bags to the police station. At the police station, the investigators contacted the Mayor to witness the opening of the bags. When the Mayor arrived about fifteen (15) minutes later, the bags were opened and three (3) bricks of marijuana wrapped in newspaper, two (2) round bundles of marijuana, and two (2) bricks of marijuana fruiting tops, all wrapped in a newspaper, were recovered. Thereafter, the investigators marked, inventoried and forwarded the confiscated marijuana to the crime laboratory for examination. The laboratory examination showed that the stuff found in the bags all tested positive for marijuana, a dangerous drug.
Whether or not the search and arrest were lawful.
Yes, search in this case is valid. The vehicle that carried the contraband or prohibited drugs was about to leave. PO2 Pallayoc had to make a quick decision and act fast. It would be unreasonable to require him to procure a warrant before conducting the search under the circumstances. Time was of the essence in this case. The searching officer had no time to obtain a warrant. Indeed, he only had enough time to board the vehicle before the same left for its destination. Also, the arrest is lawful as there is a probable cause. The night before appellant’s arrest, the police received information that marijuana was to be transported and had set up a checkpoint around the area to intercept the suspects