PEOPLE VS. PEPINO, 779 SCRA 170
Two men and a woman entered the office of Edward Tan at Kilton Motors Corporation in Sucat, Paranaque City, and pretended to be customers. When Edward was about to received them, one of the men, eventually identified as Pepino pulled out a gun. Thinking that it was a holdup, Edward told Pepino that the money was inside the cashier’s box. Pepino and the other man looted the “cashier’s box, handcuffed Edward, and forced him to go with them. The abductors then confined Edward in an apartment in Quezon City where they insisted on asking ransom from Edward’s father.
The exchange was performed eventually with the abductors and Edward’s wife Jocelyn wherein after the exchange of money and Edward being released, the victim reported the kidnapping to Teresita Ang See, a known anti-crime crusader.
After five months, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) informed Edward that they had apprehended some suspects, and invited him to identify them from a lineup consisting of seven persons: five males and two females. Edward positively identified Pepino, Gomez and one Mario Galgo. Jocelyn likewise identified Pepino.
Pepino and Gomez did not testify for their defense. The defense instead presented Zeny Pepino, Reynaldo Pepino who alleged that they were arrested without a valid warrant of arrest leading to violation of their rights.
Whether or not the illegal arrest of an accused is sufficient cause for setting aside a valid judgement rendered upon a sufficient compliant after a trial free from error.
No. The Court pointed out at the outset that Gomez did not question before arraignment the legality of her warrantless arrest or the acquisition of RTC’s jurisdiction over her person. Thus, Gomez is deemed to have waived any objection to her warrantless arrest.
It is settled that any objection to the procedure followed in the matter of the acquisition by a court of jurisdiction over the person of the accused must be opportunely raised before he enters his plea, otherwise, the objection is deemed waived.
Appellant is now estopped from questioning any defect in the manner of his arrest as he failed to move for the quashing of the information before the trial court. Consequently, any irregularity attendant to his arrest was cured when he voluntarily submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the trial court by entering a plea of “not guilty” and by participating in the trial. At any rate, the illegal arrest of an accused is not sufficient cause for setting aside a valid judgement rendered upon a sufficient complaint after a trial free from error.