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Alih vs.

151 SCRA 279
June 23, 1987

Respondents who were members of the Philippine marine and defense forces raided the compound occupied by
petitioner in search of loose firearms, ammunitions and explosives. A shoot-out ensued after petitioners resisted
the intrusion by the respondents, killing a number of men. The following morning, the petitioners were arrested
and subjected to finger printing, paraffin testing and photographing despite their objection. Several kinds of rifle,
grenades and ammunitions were also confiscated.

The petitioners filed an injunction suit with a prayer to have the items illegally seized returned to them and
invoked the provisions on the Bill of Rights

The respondents admitted that the operation was done without a warrant but reasoned that they were acting
under superior orders and that operation was necessary because of the aggravation of the peace and order
problem due to the assassination of the city mayor.

Whether or not the seizing of the items and the taking of the fingerprints and photographs of the petitioners and
subjecting them to paraffin testing are violative of the bill of Rights and are inadmissible as evidence against them.

The court held that superior orders nor the suspicion that the respondents had against petitioners did not excuse
the former from observing the guaranty provided for by the constitution against unreasonable searches and
seizure. The petitioners were entitled to due process and should be protected from the arbitrary actions of those
tasked to execute the law. Furthermore, there was no showing that the operation was urgent nor was there any
showing of the petitioners as criminals or fugitives of justice to merit approval by virtue of Rule 113, Section 5 of
the Rules of Court.

The items seized, having been the fruits of the poisonous tree were held inadmissible as evidence in any
proceedings against the petitioners. The operation by the respondents was done without a warrant and so the
items seized during said operation should not be acknowledged in court as evidence. But said evidence should
remain in the custody of the law (custodia egis).

However, as to the issue on finger-printing, photographing and paraffin-testing as violative of the provision against
self-incrimination, the court held that the prohibition against self-incrimination applies to testimonial compulsion
only. As Justice Holmes put it in Holt v. United States, 18 The prohibition of compelling a man in a criminal court
to be a witness against himself is a prohibition of the use of physical or moral compulsion to extort
communications from him, not an exclusion of his body as evidence when it may be material.