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Stonehill v.

Diokno Digest
Stonehill v. Diokno
20 SCRA 283 (1967)
Concepcion, CJ

1. Respondent (porsecution) made possible the issuance of 42 search warrants
against the petitioner and the corporation to search persons and premises of
several personal properties due to an alleged violation of Central Bank Laws, Tariff
and Custom Laws, Internal Revenue Code and the Revised Penal Code of the
Philippines. As a results, search and seizures were conducted in the both the
residence of the petitioner and in the corporation's premises.

2.The petitioner contended that the search warrants are null and void as their
issuance violated the Constitution and the Rules of Court for being general warrants.
Thus,he filed a petition with the Supreme Court for certiorari, prohibition,
mandamus and injunction to prevent the seized effects from being introduced as
evidence in the deportation cases against the petitioner. The court issued the writ
only for those effects found in the petitioner's residence.

Issue: Whether or not the petitioner can validly assail the legality of the search and
seizure in both premises

RULING: No, he can only assail the search conducted in the residences but not those
done in the corporation's premises. The petitioner has no cause of action in the
second situation since a corporation has a personality separate and distinct from
the personality of its officers or herein petitioner regardless of the amount of shares
of stock or interest of each in the said corporation, and whatever office they hold
therein. Only the party whose rights has been impaired can validly object the
legality of a seizure--a purely personal right which cannot be exercised by a third
party. The right to object belongs to the corporation ( for the 1st group of
documents, papers, and things seized from the offices and the premises).


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Harry Stonehill et al vs DOJ Secretary Jose Diokno et al

on November 16, 2010
Search and Seizure General Warrants Abandonment of the Moncado Doctrine
Stonehill et al and the corporation they form were alleged to have committed acts in
violation of Central Bank Laws, Tariff and Customs Laws, Internal Revenue (Code)
and Revised Penal Code. By the strength of this allegation a search warrant was
issued against their persons and their corporation. The warrant provides authority
to search the persons above-named and/or the premises of their offices,
warehouses and/or residences, and to seize and take possession of the following
personal property to wit:
Books of accounts, financial records, vouchers, correspondence, receipts, ledgers,
journals, portfolios, credit journals, typewriters, and other documents and/or papers
showing all business transactions including disbursements receipts, balance sheets
and profit and loss statements and Bobbins (cigarette wrappers).
The documents, papers, and things seized under the alleged authority of the
warrants in question may be split into (2) major groups, namely:

(a) those found and seized in the offices of the aforementioned corporations and
(b) those found seized in the residences of petitioners herein.
Stonehill averred that the warrant is illegal for:
(1) they do not describe with particularity the documents, books and things to be
(2) cash money, not mentioned in the warrants, were actually seized;
(3) the warrants were issued to fish evidence against the aforementioned
petitioners in deportation cases filed against them;
(4) the searches and seizures were made in an illegal manner; and
(5) the documents, papers and cash money seized were not delivered to the courts
that issued the warrants, to be disposed of in accordance with law.
The prosecution counters, invoking the Moncado doctrine, that the defects of said
warrants, if any, were cured by petitioners consent; and (3) that, in any event, the
effects seized are admissible in evidence against them. In short, the criminal cannot
be set free just because the government blunders.
ISSUE: Whether or not the search warrant issued is valid.
HELD: The SC ruled in favor of Stonehill et al. The SC emphasized however that
Stonehill et al cannot assail the validity of the search warrant issued against their
corporation for Stonehill are not the proper party hence has no cause of action. It
should be raised by the officers or board members of the corporation. The
constitution protects the peoples right against unreasonable search and seizure. It
provides; (1) that no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, to be determined
by the judge in the manner set forth in said provision; and (2) that the warrant shall
particularly describe the things to be seized. In the case at bar, none of these are
met. The warrant was issued from mere allegation that Stonehill et al committed a
violation of Central Bank Laws, Tariff and Customs Laws, Internal Revenue (Code)
and Revised Penal Code. In other words, no specific offense had been alleged in
said applications. The averments thereof with respect to the offense committed
were abstract. As a consequence, it was impossible for the judges who issued the
warrants to have found the existence of probable cause, for the same presupposes
the introduction of competent proof that the party against whom it is sought has
performed particular acts, or committed specific omissions, violating a given
provision of our criminal laws. As a matter of fact, the applications involved in this
case do not allege any specific acts performed by herein petitioners. It would be a
legal heresy, of the highest order, to convict anybody of a violation of Central Bank
Laws, Tariff and Customs Laws, Internal Revenue (Code) and Revised Penal Code,

as alleged in the aforementioned applications without reference to any

determinate provision of said laws or codes.
The grave violation of the Constitution made in the application for the contested
search warrants was compounded by the description therein made of the effects to
be searched for and seized, to wit:
Books of accounts, financial records, vouchers, journals, correspondence, receipts,
ledgers, portfolios, credit journals, typewriters, and other documents and/or papers
showing all business transactions including disbursement receipts, balance sheets
and related profit and loss statements.
Thus, the warrants authorized the search for and seizure of records pertaining to all
business transactions of Stonehill et al, regardless of whether the transactions were
legal or illegal. The warrants sanctioned the seizure of all records of Stonehill et al
and the aforementioned corporations, whatever their nature, thus openly
contravening the explicit command of the Bill of Rights that the things to be
seized be particularly described as well as tending to defeat its major objective:
the elimination of general warrants. The Moncado doctrine is likewise abandoned
and the right of the accused against a defective search warrant is emphasized.

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