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People v.

Mamaril
GR No. 147607, 22 January 2004

Topic: Right to Personal Security

Facts:

SPO2 Chito Esmenda applied before the RTC for a search warrant authorizing the
search for marijuana at the family residence of appellant Mamaril. During the search
operation, the searching team confiscated sachets of suspected marijuana leaves. Police
officers took pictures of the confiscated items and prepared a receipt of the property
seized and certified that the house was properly searched, which was signed by the
appellant and the barangay officials who witnessed the search.
The PNP Crime Laboratory issued a report finding the seized specimens positive for the
presence of marijuana. Moreover, the examination on the urine sample of appellant
affirmed that it was positive for the same.
Appellant denied that he was residing at his parents house, and that he was at his
parents house when the search was conducted only because he visited his mother. He
also said that he saw the Receipt of Property Seized for the first time during the trial,
although he admitted that the signature on the certification that the house was properly
search was his.

Issues:

Whether or not the trial court erred in issuing a search warrant. YES

Ruling w/ Doctrine:

The issuance of a search warrant is justified only upon a finding of probable cause.
Probable cause for a search has been defined as such facts and circumstances which
would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been
committed and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place
sought to be searched.
In determining the existence of probable cause, it is required that:
o The judge must examine the complaint and his witnesses personally
o The examination must be under oath
o The examination must be reduced in writing in the form of searching questions
and answers
The prosecution failed to prove that the judge who issued the warrant put into writing his
examination of the applicant and his witnesses in the form of searching questions and
answers before issuance of the search warrant.
When the Branch Clerk of Court was required to testify on the available records kept in
their office, he was only able to present before the court the application for search
warrant and supporting affidavits. Neither transcript of the proceedings of a searching
question and answer nor the sworn statements of the complainant and his witnesses
showing that the judge examined them in the form of searching questions and answers
in writing was presented. Mere affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses are not
sufficient.
Such written examination is necessary in order that the judge may be able to properly
determine the existence and non-existence of probable cause. Therefore, the search
warrant is tainted with illegality by failure of the judge to conform with the essential
requisites of taking the examination in writing and attaching to the record, rendering the
search warrant invalid.
No matter how incriminating the articles taken from the appellant may be, their seizure
cannot validate an invalid warrant. Consequently, the evidence seized pursuant to an
illegal search warrant cannot be used in evidence against appellant.