People vs Punzalan 774 SCRA 653
Accused-appellants Punzalan seek the reversal of the Decision of the Court of Appeals convicting them of violation of Section 11, Article II of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (R.A. No. 9165). That on or about the 3rd day of November 2009, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, the above-named accused, without authority of law did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in their possession, custody and control 40.78 grams of shabu a dangerous drug.
The prosecution established that on November 3, 2009, at around 4:30 in the morning, Intelligence Agent 1 Liwanag Sandaan and her team implemented a search warrant issued on October 28, 2009 by then Manila RTC Judge Eduardo B. Peralta, Jr.
Since there are three houses or structures inside the compound believed to be occupied by the accused-appellants, a sketch of the compound describing the house to be searched was prepared and attached to the search warrant. Inside the house, the team immediately saw plastic sachets placed on top of the table. All three (3) plastic containers contained smaller heat-sealed plastic sachets of white crystalline substance of suspected shabu. There were also other paraphernalia, guns, money and a digital weighing scale.
In assailing the validity of the search warrant, accused-appellants claim that the PDEA agents who applied for a search warrant failed to comply with the requirements for the procurement of a search warrant particularly the approval of the PDEA Director General. Accused-appellants also contended that the court which issued the search warrant, the RTC of Manila, Branch 17, had no authority to issue the search warrant since the place where the search is supposed to be conducted is outside its territorial jurisdiction.
Whether or not the SEARCH WARRANT was illegally procured and unlawfully implemented.
No. A.M. No. 03-8-02-SC, entitled "Guidelines on the Selection and Appointment of Executive Judges and Defining their Powers, Prerogatives and Duties" provides:
SEC. 12. Issuance of search warrants in special criminal cases by the Regional Trial Courts of Manila and Quezon City. - The Executive Judges and, whenever they are on official leave of absence or are not physically present in the station, the Vice-Executive Judges of the RTCs of Manila and Quezon City shall have authority to act on applications filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Anti-Crime Task Force (ACTAF), for search warrants involving heinous crimes, illegal gambling, illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions as well as violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, the Intellectual Property Code, the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001, the Tariff and Customs Code, as amended, and other relevant laws that may hereafter be enacted by Congress. The applications shall be endorsed by the heads of such agencies or their respective duly authorized officials and shall particularly describe therein the places to be searched and/or the property or things to be seized as prescribed in the Rules of Court. The Executive Judges and Vice-Executive Judges concerned shall issue the warrants, if justified, which may be served outside the territorial jurisdiction of the said courts. The search warrant issued by the RTC of Manila, Branch 17 satisfactorily complies with the requirements for the issuance thereof as determined by the issuing court.