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Posadas vs. CA, 266 Phil 306 (1990)
On October 16, 1986 at about 10:00 o'clock in the morning Pat. Ursicio Ungab and Pat. Umbra Umpar, both members of the (INP) Integrated National Police of the Davao Metrodiscom assigned with the Intelligence Task Force, were conducting a surveillance along Magallanes Street, Davao City. While they were within the premises of the Rizal Memorial Colleges they spotted petitioner carrying a "buri" bag and they noticed him to be acting suspiciously.
They approached the petitioner and identified themselves as members of the INP. Petitioner attempted to flee but his attempt to get away was thwarted by the two notwithstanding his resistance.
They then checked the "buri" bag of the petitioner where they found one (1) caliber .38 Smith & Wesson revolver, two (2) rounds of live ammunition for a .38 caliber gun a smoke (tear gas) grenade, and two (2) live ammunition for a .22 caliber gun. They brought the petitioner to the police station for further investigation. In the course of the same, the petitioner was asked to show the necessary license or authority to possess firearms and ammunition found in his possession but he failed to do so. He was then taken to the Davao Metrodiscom office and the prohibited articles recovered from him were endorsed to M/Sgt. Didoy, the officer then on duty. He was prosecuted for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition in the Regional Trial Court of Davao City wherein after a plea of not guilty and trial on the merits a decision was rendered on October 8, 1987 finding petitioner guilty of the offense
Whether or not the search without warrant is valid.
Yes, it is valid.
There are many instances where a warrant and seizure can be effected without necessarily being preceded by an arrest, foremost of which is the "stop and search" without a search warrant at military or police checkpoints. Thus, as between a warrant less search and seizure conducted at military or police checkpoints and the search thereat in the case at bar, there is no question that, indeed, the latter is more reasonable considering that unlike in the former, it was effected on the basis of a probable cause. The probable cause is that when the petitioner acted suspiciously and attempted to flee with the "buri" bag there was a probable cause that he was concealing something illegal in the bag and it was the right and duty of the police officers to inspect the same.
It is too much indeed to require the police officers to search the bag in the possession of the petitioner only after they shall have obtained a search warrant for the purpose. Such an exercise may prove to be useless, futile and much too late.