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2/16/2017 G.R. No.

L-95630

TodayisThursday,February16,2017

RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

ENBANC

G.R.No.L95630June18,1992

SPOUSESLEOPOLDOandMA.LUISAVEROY,petitioners,
vs.
THEHON.WILLIAML.LAYAGUE,PresidingJudge,BranchXIV,RegionalTrialCourtatDavaoCityand
BRIG.GEN.PANTALEONDUMLAO,CommandingGeneral,PCCriminalInvestigationService,respondents.

PARAS,J.:

Thiswasoriginallyapetitionforcertiorari,mandamusandprohibitionunderRule65oftheRulesofCourt:certiorari,
toreviewtheOrderoftherespondentJudgedatedOctober2,1990denyinghereinpetitioner'sMotionforHospital
Confinement mandamus, to compel respondent Judge to resolve petitioners' long pending motion for bail and
prohibition, to enjoin further proceedings on the ground that the legal basis therefore is unconstitutional for being
violativeofthedueprocessandequalprotectionclausesoftheConstitution.

Thefactsofthiscaseareasfollows:

PetitionersarehusbandandwifewhoownedandformerlyresidedatNo.13IsidroSt.,SkylineVillage.Catalunan
Grande,DavaoCity.WhenpetitionerLeopoldoVeroywaspromotedtothepositionofAssistantAdministratorofthe
Social Security System sometime in June, 1988, he and his family transferred to 130 K8th St., East Kamias,
QuezonCity,wheretheyarepresentlyresiding.ThecareandupkeepoftheirresidenceinDavaoCitywasleftto
two(2)houseboys,JimmyFaviaandEricBurgos,whohadtheirassignedquartersataportionofthepremises.The
VeroyswouldoccasionallysendmoneytoEdnaSoguilonforthesalaryofthesaidhouseboysandotherexpenses
fortheupkeepoftheirhouse.WhiletheVeroyshadthekeystotheinteriorofthehouse,onlythekeytothekitchen,
where the circuit breakers were located, was entrusted to Edna Soguilon to give her access in case of an
emergency.Hence,since1988,thekeytothemaster'sbedroomaswellasthekeystothechildren'sroomswere
retainedbyhereinPetitionerssothatneitherEdnaSoguilonnorthecaretakerscouldenterthehouse.

OnApril12,1990,Capt.ReynaldoObrerooftheTalomoPatrolStation,PC/INP,actinguponadirectiveissuedby
MetrodiscomCommanderCol.FrancoCalida,raidedthehouseofhereinpetitionersinDavaoCityoninformation
thatthesaidresidencewasbeingusedasasafehouseofrebelsoldiers.Theywereabletoentertheyardwiththe
helpofthecaretakersbutdidnotenterthehousesincetheownerwasnotpresentandtheydidnothaveasearch
warrant. Petitioner Ma. Luisa was contacted by telephone in her Quezon City residence by Capt. Obrero to ask
permissiontosearchthehouseinDavaoCityasitwasreportedlybeingusedasahideoutandrecruitmentcenterof
rebel soldiers. Petitioner Ma. Luisa Veroy responded that she is flying to Davao City to witness the search but
relentedifthesearchwouldnotbeconductedinthepresenceofMajorErnestoMacasaet,anofficerofthePC/INP,
DavaoCityandalongtimefamilyfriendoftheVeroys.TheauthoritygivenbyMa.LuisaVeroywasrelayedbyCapt.
ObrerotoMajorMacasaetwhoansweredthatMa.LuisaVeroyhascalledhimtwicebytelephoneonthematterand
thatthepermissionwasgivenontheconditionthatthesearchbeconductedinhispresence.

The following day, Capt. Obrero and Major Macasaet met at the house of herein petitioners in Skyline Village to
conductthesearchpursuanttotheauthoritygrantedbypetitionerMa.LuisaVeroy.Thecaretakersfacilitatedtheir
entryintotheyard,andusingthekeyentrustedtoEdnaSoguilon,theywereabletogainentranceintothekitchen.
However,alocksmithbythenameofGeorgeBadianghadtobeemployedtoopenthepadlockofthedoorleading
to the children's room. Capt. Obrero and Major Macasaet then entered the children's room and conducted the
search. Capt. Obrero recovered a .45 cal. handgun with a magazine containing seven (7) live bullets in a black
clutch bag inside an unlocked drawer. Three (3) halffull jute sacks containing printed materials of RAMSFP
(samplesofwhichwereattachedasAnnexes"H"and"H1"ofthepetition)(Rollo,pp.4955)werealsofoundinthe
children's room. A search of the children's recreation and study area revealed a big travelling bag containing
assortedpoloshirts,men'sbrief,two(2)piecespolobarongandshortsleevestripedgraypolo.sweatshirt,two(2)
pairsmen'ssocks,atowelmadeinU.S.A.,oneblanket,asmallblackbag,Gandhibrand,containingabookentitled
"IslamicRevolutionFuturePathoftheNation",aroadmapofthePhilippines,atelescope,aplasticbagcontaining
assortedmedicinesandreligiouspamphletswasfoundinthemaster'sbedroom.Sgt.LeoJustalerowasinstructed
by Capt. Obrero to make an inventory and receipt of the articles seized, in the house (Annex "F" of the Petition,
Rollo,p.48).SaidreceiptwassignedbyEricBurgos,oneofthecaretakers,andGeorgeBadiang,thelocksmith,as
witnesses.Sgt.JustaleroturnedoverthearticlestoSgt.RodolfoUrbanoatthepolicestation.
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The case was referred for preliminary investigation to Quezon City Assistant Prosecutor Rodolfo Ponferrada who
wasdesignatedActingProvincialProsecutorforDavaoCitybytheDepartmentofJusticethroughDepartmentOrder
No.88datedMay16,1990.InaresolutiondatedAugust6,1990,FiscalPonferradarecommendedthefilingofan
informationagainsthereinpetitionersforViolationofPresidentialDecreeNo.1866(IllegalPossessionofFirearms
andAmmunitionsinFurtheranceofRebellion)(Annex"L"ofthePetition,Rollo,p.71).Hence,onAugust8,1990.
anInformationforthesaidoffensewasfiledbytheOfficeoftheCityProsecutorofDavaoCitybeforetheRegional
TrialCourt,11thJudicialRegion,DavaoCity,docketedasCriminalCaseNo.2059590andentitled"Peopleofthe
Philippinesv.Atty.LeopoldoVeroyandMrs.MariaLuisaVeroy"(Annex"K"ofthePetition,Rollo,p.70).Nobailwas
recommendedbytheprosecution.

TheaforementionedresolutiondatedAugust6,1990ofFiscalPonferradawasreceivedbythepetitionersonAugust
13,1990.Onthesameday,thelatterfiledaMotionforBailbeforehereinrespondentJudgeLayaguewhichwas
deniedonAugust17,1990forbeingprematuresinceatthattime,petitionershadnotyetbeenarrested.Despitethe
factthatthewarrantsfortheirarresthavenotyetbeenservedonthem,hereinpetitionersvoluntarilysurrendered
themselves to Brig. Gen. Pantaleon Dumlao, PCCIS Chief, since it was the CIS that initiated the complaint.
However, the latter refused to receive them on the ground that his office has not yet received copies of their
warrantsofarrest.

In the meantime, on August 15, 1990, herein petitioners were admitted to the St. Luke's Hospital for various
ailmentsbroughtaboutoraggravatedbythestressandanxietycausedbythefilingofthecriminalcomplaint.On
August17,1990,Brig.Gen.Dumlaograntedtheirrequestthattheybeallowedtobeconfinedatthehospitaland
placedunderguardthereat.

InanIndorsementdatedAugust20,1990,theCISthroughCapt.BenjamindelosSantos,madeitsreturntothetrial
courtinformingthelatterofthevoluntarysurrenderofhereinpetitionersandthefactthattheywereunderhospital
confinement.HereinPetitionerreiteratedtheirMotionforBail.InanOrderdatedAugust24,1990(Annex"M"ofthe
Petition,Rollo,p.74),thehearingfortheMotionforBallwassetforAugust31,1990toenabletheprosecutionto
presentevidenceitoppositiontosaidmotion.Theprosecutionfileditswrittenopposition(Annex"N"ofthePetition,
Rollo,p.75)onAugust28,1990,arguingthattheevidenceofpetitioners'guiltwasstrongandthereafterpresented
itsevidence.

OnSeptember21,1990,respondentJudgerequiredtheCIStoproducethebodiesofhereinpetitionersonOctober
1,1990forarraignment(Annex"O"ofthePetition,Rollo,p.76).Upontheirarraignment,hereinPetitionersentered
apleaofnotguiltyandfiledan"UrgentMotionforHospitalConfinement"(Annex"OO"ofthePetitionRollo,p.77)
whichwasdeniedbythecourtinitsOrderdatedOctober2,1990(Annex"P"ofthePetition,Rollo,p.80).Itlikewise
ordered their commitment at the Davao City Rehabilitation Center, Maa, Davao City pending trial on the merits.
Herein petitioners argued orally a motion for reconsideration which was opposed by the prosecution. At the
conclusion thereof, the court a quo issued a second order annex "Q" of the Petition, Rollo, p. 83) denying then
motion for reconsideration and as to the alternative prayer to reopen the motion for hospital confinement, set the
continuancethereoftoOctober17,1990.Itwasfurtherorderedthatthepetitionersshallremainunderthecustody
ofthePCCISpendingresolutionofthecase.

Meanwhile,petitionerswerereturnedtotheSt.Luke'sHospitalwheretheirphysicalconditionremainederratic.On
oraboutOctober18,1990,hereinpetitionerswereinformedthatBrig.Gen.Dumlaohadissuedadirectivefortheir
transferfromtheSt.Luke'sHospitaltoCampCrameonthebasisoftheOctober2,1990Order(Annex"Q"ofthe
Petition,Rollo,p.83).Petitionersmaderepresentationsthatthetenorofthecourtorderwarrantedmaintenanceof
thestatusquo,i.e., they were to continue their hospital confinement. However, Brig, Gen. Dumlao informed them
thatunlessotherwiserestrainedbythecourt,theywouldproceedwiththeirtransferpursuanttotheorderofthetrial
court.

Hence,thispetitiononOctober25,1990thisCourtissuedaTemporaryRestrainingOrder,effectiveimmediatelyand
continuing until further orders from this Court, ordering: (a) respondent Hon. William L. Layague to refrain from
further proceeding with petitioners' "Motion for Hospital Confinement" in Criminal Case No. 2059590 entitled
"People of the Philippines v. Leopoldo Veroy and Ma. Luisa Veroy" and (b) respondent Brig. Gen. Pantaleon
DumlaotorefrainfromtransferringpetitionersfromtheSt.Luke'sHospital(Rollo,pp.84Ato84C).

On November 2, 1990, respondent Judge issued an order denying petitioners' Motion for Bail (Annex "A" of the
SecondSupplementalPetition,Rollo,p.133).PetitionersfiledaSupplementalPetitiononNovember7,1990(Rollo,
P.105)andaSecondSupplementalPetitiononNovember16,1990(Rollo,p.120)whichsoughttoreviewtheorder
ofthetrialcourtdatedNovember2,1990denyingtheirpetitionforbail.

ActingontheSupplementalPetitionfiledbyPetitionersandtakingintoconsiderationseveralfactorssuchas:a)that
thepossibilitythattheywillfleeorevadetheprocessesofthecourtisfairlyremoteb)theirpoormedicalcondition
and c) the matters in their Second Supplemental Petition especially since the prosecution's evidence refers to
constructivepossessionofthedisputedfirearmsinDavaoCitythroughthetwo(2)caretakerswhilepetitionerslived
inManilasince1988,thisCourt,onNovember20,1990,grantedpetitioners'provisionallibertyandsetthebailbond
at P20,000.00 each (Rollo, p. 141). Petitioners posted a cash bond in the said amount on November 23, 1990
(Rollo,pp.143145).

The petition was given due course on July 16, 1991 (Rollo, p. 211). Respondents adopted their Comment dated
December 28, 1990 (Rollo, pp. 182191) as their Memorandum while, petitioners filed their Memorandum on
September9,1991(Rollo,pp.218269).

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As submitted by the respondents, and accepted by petitioners, the petition for mandamus to compel respondent
Judgetoresolvepetitioners'MotionforBail,andthepetitionforcertioraritoreviewtheorderofrespondentjudge
initiallydenyingtheirMotionforHospitalConfinement,wererenderedmootandacademicbytheresolutionsofthis
CourtdatedNovember20,1990andOctober25,1990,respectively.Whatremainstoberesolvedisthepetitionfor
prohibitionwherepetitionersraisedthefollowingissues:

1.PresidentialDecreeNo.1866,oratleastthethirdparagraphofSection1thereof,isunconstitutional
forbeingviolativeofthedueprocessandequalprotectionclausesoftheConstitution

2.PresidentialDecreeNo.1866hasbeenrepealedbyRepublicActNo.6968

3. Assuming the validity of Presidential Decree No. 1866 the respondent judge gravely abused his
discretioninadmittinginevidencecertainarticleswhichwereclearlyinadmissibleforbeingviolativeof
theprohibitionagainstunreasonablesearchesandseizures.

TheissueofconstitutionalityofPresidentialDecreeNo.1866hasbeenlaidtorestinthecaseofMisolasv.Panga,
G.R.No.83341,January30,1990(181SCRA648),wherethisCourtheldthatthedeclarationofunconstitutionality
ofthethirdparagraphofSection1ofPresidentialDecreeNo.1866iswantinginlegalbasissinceitisneitherabill
ofattaindernordoesitprovideapossibilityofadoublejeopardy.

Likewise, petitioners' contention that Republic Act 6968 has repealed Presidential Decree No. 1866 is bereft of
merit.Itisacardinalruleofstatutoryconstructionthatwherethewordsandphrasesofastatutearenotobscureor
ambiguous.itsmeaningandtheintentionofthelegislaturemustbedeterminedfromthelanguageemployed,and
wherethereisnoambiguityinthewords,thereisnoroomforconstruction(ProvincialBoardofCebuv.Presiding
JudgeofCebu,CFI,Br.IV,G.R.No.34695,March7,1989[171SCRA1]).Aperusaloftheaforementionedlaws
would reveal that the legislature provided for two (2) distinct offenses: (1) illegal possession of firearms under
Presidential Decree No. 1866 and (2) rebellion, coup d' etat, sedition and disloyalty under Republic Act 6968
evidentlyinvolvingdifferentsubjectswhichwerenotclearlyshowntohaveeliminatedtheothers.

ButpetitionerscontendthatSection1ofPresidentialDecreeNo.1866iscouchedingeneralorvagueterms.The
terms "deal in", "acquire", "dispose" or "possess" are capable of various interpretations such that there is no
definitenessastowhetherornotthedefinitionincludes"constructivepossession"orhowtheconceptofconstructive
possessionshouldbeapplied.Petitionerswerenotfoundinactualpossessionofthefirearmandammunitions.They
were in Quezon City while the prohibited articles were found in Davao City. Yet they were being charged under
PresidentialDecreeNo.1866uponthesolecircumstancethatthehousewhereintheitemswerefoundbelongsto
them(MemorandumforPetitioners,Rollo,pp.242244).

Otherwise stated, other than their ownership of the house in Skyline Village, there was no other evidence
whatsoever that herein petitioners possessed or had in their control the items seized (Ibid.,pp.248250).Neither
wasitshownthattheyhadtheintentiontopossesstheFirearmsortofurtherrebellion(Ibid.,P.252).

Inasimilarcase,therevolverinquestionwasfoundinappellant'sstoreandthequestionarousewhetherhehad
possessionorcustodyofitwithinthemeaningofthelaw.

ThisCourtheldthat:

Theanimuspossidendi must be proved in opium cases where the prohibited drug was found on the
premisesoftheaccusedandthesameruleisapplicabletothepossessionoffirearms.Theappellant
denied all knowledge of the existence of the revolver, and the Government's principal witness stated
thattherewereanumberofemployeesinthestore.Theonlytestimonywhichtendstoshowthatthe
appellanthadthepossessionorcustodyofthisrevolveristheinferencedrawnfromthefactthatitwas
found in his store, but we think that this inference is overcome by the positive testimony of the
appellant,whenconsideredwiththefactthattherewereanumberofemployeesinthestore,who,of
course,couldhaveplacedtherevolverinthesecretplacewhereitwasfoundwithouttheknowledgeof
theappellant.Atleastthereisaveryseriousdoubtwhetherheknewoftheexistenceofthisrevolver.In
suchcasethedoubtmustberesolvedinfavoroftheappellant.(U.S.v.JoseandTanBo.,34Phil.724
[1916])

But more importantly, petitioners question the admissibility in evidence of the articles seized in violation of their
constitutionalrightagainstunreasonablesearchandseizure.

PetitionersaverthatwhiletheyconcedethatCapt.ObrerohadpermissionfromMa.LuisaVeroytobreakopenthe
door of their residence, it was merely for the purpose of ascertaining thereat the presence of the alleged "rebel"
soldiers.Thepermissiondidnotincludeanyauthoritytoconductaroomtoroomsearchonceinsidethehouse.The
items taken were, therefore, products of an illegal search, violative of their constitutional rights As such, they are
inadmissibleinevidenceagainstthem.

The Constitution guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects
againstunreasonablesearchesandseizures(ArticleIII,Section2ofthe1987Constitution).However,therulethat
searches and seizures must be supported by a valid warrant is not an absolute one. Among the recognized
exceptions thereto are: (1) a search incidental to an arrest (2) a search of a moving vehicle and (3) seizure of
evidenceinplainview(Peoplev.LoHoWing,G.R.No.88017,January21,1991[193SCRA122]).

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Noneoftheseexceptionspertainstothecaseatbar.Thereasonforsearchingthehouseofhereinpetitionersisthat
itwasreportedlybeingusedasahideoutandrecruitmentcenterforrebelsoldiers.WhileCapt.Obrerowasableto
enterthecompound,hedidnotenterthehousebecausehedidnothaveasearchwarrantandtheownerswerenot
present.Thisshowsthathehimselfrecognizedtheneedforasearchwarrant,hence,hedidnotpersistinentering
thehousebutrathercontactedtheVeroystoseekpermissiontoenterthesame.Permissionwasindeedgrantedby
Ma.LuisaVeroytoenterthehousebutonlytoascertainthepresenceofrebelsoldiers.Underthecircumstancesit
isundeniablethatthepoliceofficershadampletimetoprocureasearchwarrantbutdidnot.

InanumberofcasesdecidedbythisCourt,(Guazonv.DeVilla,supra.Peoplev.Aminnudin,G.R.No.L74869,
July 6, 1988 [163 SCRA 402] Alih v. Castro, G.R. No. L69401, June 23, 1987 [151 SCRA 279]), warrantless
searchesweredeclaredillegalbecausetheofficialsconductingthesearchhadeveryopportunitytosecureasearch
Warrant. The objects seized, being products of illegal searches, were inadmissible in evidence in the criminal
actions subsequently instituted against the accusedappellants (People v. Cendana, G.R. No. 84715, October 17,
1990[190SCRA538]).

Undeniably,theoffenseofillegalpossessionoffirearmsismalumprohibitumbutitdoesnotfollowthatthesubject
thereof is necessarily illegal perse. Motive is immaterial in malaprohibita but the subjects of this kind of offense
may not be summarily seized simply because they are prohibited. A search warrant is still necessary. Hence, the
rulehavingbeenviolatedandnoexceptionbeingapplicable,thearticlesseizedwereconfiscatedillegallyandare
therefore protected by the exclusionary principle. They cannot be used as evidence against the petitioners in the
criminal action against them for illegal possession of firearms. (Roan v. Gonzales, 145 SCRA 689690 [1986]).
Besides,assumingthattherewasindeedasearchwarrant,stillinmalaprohibita,whilethereisnoneedofcriminal
intent,theremustbeknowledgethatthesameexisted.Withouttheknowledgeorvoluntarinessthereisnocrime.

PREMISES CONSIDERED, the petition as granted and the criminal case against the petitioners for illegal
possessionoffirearmsisDISMISSED.

SOORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, GrioAquino, Medialdea, Regalado, Davide, Jr.,
RomeroandBellosillo,JJ.,concur.

Nocon,J.,isonleave.

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