Reyes vs. People, GR 229380, 6 June 2018
Whether or not the arrest of the petitioner is lawful.
No. Under Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, it identifies three (3) instances when warrantless arrests may be lawfully affected. These are: (a) an arrest of a suspect in flagrante delicto; (b) an arrest of a suspect where, based on personal knowledge of the arresting officer, there is probable cause that said suspect was the perpetrator of a crime which had just been committed; and (c) an arrest of a prisoner who has escaped from custody serving final judgment or temporarily confined during the pendency of his case or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.
Here in this case, the Court finds that no lawful arrest was made on Reyes. PO1 Monteras himself admitted that Reyes passed by them without acting suspiciously or doing anything wrong, except that she smelled of liquor.38 As no other overt act could be properly attributed to Reyes as to rouse suspicion in the mind of PO1 Monteras that she had just committed, was committing, or was about to commit a crime, the arrest is bereft of any legal basis. As case law demonstrates, the act of walking while reeking of liquor per se cannot be considered a criminal act.
In order to deem as valid a consensual search, it is required that the police authorities expressly ask, and in no uncertain terms, obtain the consent of the accused to be searched and the consent thereof established by clear and positive proof, which were not shown in this case. In fine, there being no lawful warrantless arrest, the sachet of shabu purportedly seized from Reyes on account of the search is rendered inadmissible in evidence for being the proverbial fruit of the poisonous tree. And since the shabu is the very corpus delicti of the crime charged, Reyes must necessarily be acquitted and exonerated from criminal liability.