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POLITICAL LAW CASES (2018)

Searches and Seizures

AAA vs Carbonell
GR 171465 (8 June 2007) J. Ynares-Santiago
Topic:
Searches and Seizure
Determination of Probable Cause

Doctrine: Personal examination is not mandatory and indispensable in the determination of probable cause for the
issuance of a warrant of arrest.

“No warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after
examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce.” (Section 2, Article III of
the 1987 Constitution)

Facts:
Petitioner filed a complaint for rape against Arzadon. Assistant City Prosecutor issued a Resolution finding probable cause
and recommending the filing of an information for rape. Petitioner testified before the investigating prosecutor. However, she
failed to attend the next hearing hence, the case was provisionally dismissed.

Petitioner filed another Affidavit-Complaint with a comprehensive account of the alleged rape incident. Petitioner appeared
for clarificatory questioning during the preliminary investigation. The investigating prosecutor issued a Resolution finding that
a prima facie case of rape exists and recommending the filing of the information.

An Information for rape was filed before the Regional Trial Court of San Fernando, La Union. Arzadon filed a Motion to Hold
in Abeyance All Court Proceedings Including the Issuance of a Warrant of Arrest and to Determine Probable Cause for the
Purpose of Issuing a Warrant of Arrest. Respondent Judge Antonio A. Carbonell granted the motion and directed petitioner
and her witnesses to take the witness stand for determination of probable cause. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration
claiming that the documentary evidence sufficiently established the existence of probable cause instead of taking the
witness stand.

Arguments:
Petitioner contends that the judge is not required to personally examine the complainant and her witnesses in satisfying
himself of the existence of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest. She argues that respondent Judge
Carbonell should have taken into consideration the documentary evidence as well as the transcript of stenographic notes
which sufficiently established the existence of probable cause.

Respondent Judge Carbonell argues in his Comment that the finding of probable cause by the investigating prosecutor is
not binding or obligatory, and that he was justified in requiring petitioner and her witnesses to take the witness stand in order
to determine probable cause.

Issue: Whether or not Judge Carbonell acted with grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the criminal case for lack of
probable cause?

Held: Yes.

Under Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, no warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be
determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the
witnesses he may produce.

The Court explained that this constitutional provision does not mandatorily require the judge to personally examine
the complainant and her witnesses. Instead, the judge may opt to personally evaluate the report and supporting
documents submitted by the prosecutor or he may disregard the prosecutors report and require the submission of
supporting affidavits of witnesses.

Indeed, what the law requires as personal determination on the part of the judge is that he should not rely solely on the
report of the investigating prosecutor. The judge should consider not only the report of the investigating prosecutor but also
the affidavit and the documentary evidence of the parties, the counter-affidavit of the accused and his witnesses, as well as
the transcript of stenographic notes taken during the preliminary investigation. It is not compulsory that a personal
examination of the complainant and his witnesses be conducted if the report, taken together with the supporting
evidence, is sufficient to sustain a finding of probable cause.

In this case, respondent Judge Carbonell dismissed Criminal Case No. 6983 without taking into consideration the resolution
of the prosecutors which find that there is probable cause against Arzadon. Moreover, he failed to evaluate the evidence in
support thereof. Respondent judges finding of lack of probable cause was premised only on the complainants and her
witnesses absence during the hearing scheduled by the respondent judge for the judicial determination of probable cause.

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Notes:
Preliminary Inquiry vs Preliminary Investigation:
Preliminary inquiry determines probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest. The determination of probable cause
for purposes of issuing the warrant of arrest is made by the judge.

Preliminary investigation proper ascertains whether the offender should be held for trial or be released. The preliminary
investigation proper whether or not there is reasonable ground to believe that the accused is guilty of the offense charged is
the function of the investigating prosecutor.

Probable Cause for Purposes of Issuing Warrant of Arrest:


Before issuing warrants of arrest, judges merely determine the probability, not the certainty, of guilt of an accused. In doing
so, judges do not conduct a de novo hearing to determine the existence of probable cause. They just personally
review the initial determination of the prosecutor finding a probable cause to see if it is supported by substantial
evidence.

There are cases where the circumstances may call for the judges personal examination of the complainant and his
witnesses. But it must be emphasized that such personal examination is not mandatory and indispensable in the
determination of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest. The necessity arises only when there is an
utter failure of the evidence to show the existence of probable cause. The judge may rely on the report of the
investigating prosecutor, provided that he likewise evaluates the documentary evidence in support thereof.

Del Castillo vs People


GR 185128 (30 January 2012) J. Peralta

Topic: Searches and Seizure, Valid Search Warrant

Doctrine: The constitutional guaranty against unreasonable searches and seizure is applicable only against government
authorities.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and
seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable.” (Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution)
Facts:
SPO3 Bienvenido Masnayon secured a search warrant from the RTC after conducting surveillance and test-buy operation at
the house of petitioner pursuant to a confidential information that petitioner was engaged in selling shabu. The same police
operatives went to Gil Tudtud St., Mabolo, Cebu City to serve the search warrant to petitioner.

The structure of the petitioner's residence is a two-storey house and the petitioner was staying in the second floor. When
they went upstairs, they met petitioner's wife and informed her that they will implement the search warrant. SPO3 Masnayon
claimed that he saw petitioner run towards a small structure, a nipa hut, in front of his house. Masnayon chased him but to
no avail, because he and his men were not familiar with the entrances and exits of the place.

SPO3 Masnayon requested his men to get a barangay tanod and a few minutes thereafter, his men returned with
two barangay tanods. The police operatives, together with the barangay tanods, searched the house of petitioner including
the nipa hut where the petitioner allegedly ran for cover.

One of the barangay tanods was able to confiscate from the nipa hut several articles, including four (4) plastic packs
containing shabu. Thus, an Information was filed before the RTC against petitioner, charging him with violation of the
Dangerous Drug Act (RA 6425).

Arguments:
1.) Petitioner insists that there was no probable cause to issue the search warrant, considering that SPO1 Reynaldo
Matillano, the police officer who applied for it, had no personal knowledge of the alleged illegal sale of drugs during a test-
buy operation conducted prior to the application of the same search warrant.

2.) Petitioner asserts that the nipa hut located about 20 meters away from his house is no longer within the permissible area
that may be searched by the police officers due to the distance and that the search warrant did not include the same nipa
hut as one of the places to be searched.

(The OSG argues that, assuming that the items seized were found in another place not designated in the search warrant,
the same items should still be admissible as evidence because the one who discovered them was a barangay tanod who is
a private individual, the constitutional guaranty against unreasonable searches and seizure being applicable only against
government authorities.)

3.) Petitioner claims that the CA erred in finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of illegal possession of prohibited
drugs, because he could not be presumed to be in possession of the same just because they were found inside the nipa hut.

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Issues:
1.) Whether or not there was probable cause to issue the warrant?
2.) Whether or not the confiscated items should be admissible as evidence?
3.) Whether or not the Petitioner should be held liable for violation of RA6425 by mere presumption that the he has dominion
and control over the place where the shabu was found?

Held:
1.) Yes.
This Court is in no position to disturb the factual findings of the judge which led to the issuance of the search warrant. A
magistrate's determination of probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant is paid great deference by a reviewing
court, as long as there was substantial basis for that determination.

Substantial basis means that the questions of the examining judge brought out such facts and circumstances as would lead
a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed, and the objects in connection with
the offense sought to be seized are in the place sought to be searched. A review of the records shows that in the present
case, a substantial basis exists.

2.) No.
As to the Nipa Hut:
It must be remembered that the warrant issued must particularly describe the place to be searched and persons or things to
be seized in order for it to be valid. A designation or description that points out the place to be searched to the exclusion of
all others, and on inquiry unerringly leads the peace officers to it, satisfies the constitutional requirement of definiteness.

In the present case, the search warrant specifically designates or describes the residence of the petitioner as the place to be
searched. Incidentally, the items were seized by a barangay tanod in a nipa hut, 20 meters away from the residence of the
petitioner. The confiscated items, having been found in a place other than the one described in the search warrant, can be
considered as fruits of an invalid warrantless search, the presentation of which as an evidence is a violation of petitioner's
constitutional guaranty against unreasonable searches and seizure.

As to OSG’s contention:
(The constitutional guaranty against unreasonable searches and seizure being applicable only against government
authorities does not apply to barangay tanod who is a private individual).

The contention is devoid of merit.

It was testified to during trial by the police officers who effected the search warrant that they asked the assistance of
the barangay tanods. Having been established that the assistance of the barangay tanods was sought by the police
authorities who effected the searched warrant, the same barangay tanods therefore acted as agents of persons in authority
as defined by Article 152 of the Revised Penal Code. The Local Government Code also contains a provision which
describes the function of a barangay tanod as an agent of persons in authority. (Sec 388)

By virtue of the above provisions, the police officers, as well as the barangay tanods were acting as agents of a person in
authority during the conduct of the search. Thus, the search conducted was unreasonable and the confiscated items are
inadmissible in evidence.

3.) No.
While it is not necessary that the property to be searched or seized should be owned by the person against whom the
search warrant is issued, there must be sufficient showing that the property is under petitioner’s control or possession. The
records are void of any evidence to show that petitioner owns the nipa hut in question nor was it established that he used
the said structure as a shop.

The prosecution must prove that the petitioner had knowledge of the existence and presence of the drugs in the place under
his control and dominion and the character of the drugs. With the prosecution’s failure to prove that the nipa hut was under
petitioner’s control and dominion, there casts a reasonable doubt as to his guilt. In considering a criminal case, it is critical to
start with the law’s own starting perspective on the status of the accused — in all criminal prosecutions, he is presumed
innocent of the charge laid unless the contrary is proven beyond reasonable doubt. Proof beyond reasonable doubt, or that
quantum of proof sufficient to produce a moral certainty that would convince and satisfy the conscience of those who act in
judgment, is indispensable to overcome the constitutional presumption of innocence.

Notes:
Requisites for the Issuance of Search Warrant:
1.) Probable cause is present;
2.) such probable cause must be determined personally by the judge;
3.) the judge must examine, in writing and under oath or affirmation, the complainant and the witnesses he or she may
produce;

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4.) the applicant and the witnesses testify on the facts personally known to them; and
5.) the warrant specifically describes the place to be searched and the things to be seized.

Definition of Probable Cause for a Search Warrant:


It is 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.

Definition of Substantial Basis:


It means that the questions of the examining judge brought out such facts and circumstances as would lead a reasonably
discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed, and the objects in connection with the offense
sought to be seized are in the place sought to be searched.

Article 152 of the RPC:


A person who, by direct provision of law or by election or by appointment by competent authority, is charged with the
maintenance of public order and the protection and security of life and property, such as barrio councilman, barrio
policeman and barangay leader, and any person who comes to the aid of persons in authority, shall be deemed an
agent of a person in authority.

Section 388 of the LGC:


For purposes of the Revised Penal Code, the punong barangay, sangguniang barangay members, and members of
the lupong tagapamayapa in each barangay shall be deemed as persons in authority in their jurisdictions,
while other barangay officials and members who may be designated by law or ordinance and charged with the maintenance
of public order, protection and security of life and property, or the maintenance of a desirable and balanced environment,
and any barangay member who comes to the aid of persons in authority, shall be deemed agents of persons in authority.

LUZ vs PEOPLE

FACTS: PO3 Alteza flagged down Rodel Luz for violating a municipal ordinance which requires all motorcycle drivers to
wear helmets while driving their motorcyles. PO3 Alteza invited the Luz to come inside their sub-station since the place
where he flagged down the Luz is almost in front of the said sub-station. While issuing a citation ticket for violation of
municipal ordinance, PO3 Alteza noticed that Luz was uneasy and kept on getting something from his jacket. Alerted and
so, he told the Luz to take out the contents of the pocket of his jacket as the latter may have a weapon inside it. Luzo bliged
and slowly put out the contents of the pocket of his jacket which was a nickel-like tin or metal container about two (2) to
three (3) inches in size, including two (2) cellphones, one (1) pair of scissors and one (1) Swiss knife. Upon seeing the said
container, he asked Luz to open it. After Luz opened the container, PO3 Alteza noticed a cartoon cover and something
beneath it, and that upon his instruction, the former spilled out the contents of the container on the table which turned out to
be four (4) plastic sachets, the two (2) of which were empty while the other two (2) contained suspected shabu. Luz was
later charged for illegal possession of dangerous drugs. Luz claims that there was no lawful search and seizure because
there was no lawful arrest. The RTC found that Luz was lawfully arrested. Upon review, the CA affirmed the RTCs Decision.

ISSUE #1: Can Luz be considered lawfully arrested based on traffic violation under the city ordinance, and such arrest lead
to a valid search and seizure?

HELD #1: NO, Luz was not lawfully arrested. When he was flagged down for committing a traffic violation, he was not, ipso
facto and solely for this reason, arrested.

Arrest is the taking of a person into custody in order that he or she may be bound to answer for the commission of an
offense. It is effected by an actual restraint of the person to be arrested or by that persons voluntary submission to the
custody of the one making the arrest. Neither the application of actual force, manual touching of the body, or physical
restraint, nor a formal declaration of arrest, is required. It is enough that there be an intention on the part of one of the
parties to arrest the other, and that there be an intent on the part of the other to submit, under the belief and impression that
submission is necessary.

At the time that he was waiting for PO3 Alteza to write his citation ticket, petitioner could not be said to have been under
arrest. There was no intention on the part of PO3 Alteza to arrest him, deprive him of his liberty, or take him into custody.
Prior to the issuance of the ticket, the period during which petitioner was at the police station may be characterized merely
as waiting time. In fact, as found by the trial court, PO3 Alteza himself testified that the only reason they went to the police
sub-station was that petitioner had been flagged down almost in front of that place. Hence, it was only for the sake of
convenience that they were waiting there. There was no intention to take petitioner into custody.

This ruling does not imply that there can be no arrest for a traffic violation. Certainly, when there is an intent on the part of
the police officer to deprive the motorist of liberty, or to take the latter into custody, the former may be deemed to have
arrested the motorist. In this case, however, the officers issuance (or intent to issue) a traffic citation ticket negates the
possibility of an arrest for the same violation.

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ISSUE #2: Assuming that Luz was deemed arrested, was there a valid warrantless search and seizure that can still produce
conviction?

HELD#2: NO. Even if one were to work under the assumption that Luz was deemed arrested upon being flagged down for a
traffic violation and while awaiting the issuance of his ticket, then the requirements for a valid arrest were not complied with.

This Court has held that at the time a person is arrested, it shall be the duty of the arresting officer to inform the latter of the
reason for the arrest and must show that person the warrant of arrest, if any. Persons shall be informed of their
constitutional rights to remain silent and to counsel, and that any statement they might make could be used against them. It
may also be noted that in this case, these constitutional requirements were complied with by the police officers
only after petitioner had been arrested for illegal possession of dangerous drugs.

There being no valid arrest, the warrantless search that resulted from it was likewise illegal. The subject items seized during
the illegal arrest are inadmissible. The drugs are the very corpus delicti of the crime of illegal possession of dangerous
drugs. Thus, their inadmissibility precludes conviction and calls for the acquittal of the accused.

SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIETY VS. DANGEROUS DRUGS BOARD (G.R. No. 157870; November 3, 2008)

FACTS: In 2002, Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 was implemented. Section 36
thereof requires mandatory drug testing of candidates for public office, students of secondary and tertiary schools, officers
and employees of public and private offices, and persons charged before the prosecutor’s office with certain offenses.

In its Petition for Prohibition under Rule 65, petitioner Social Justice Society (SJS), a registered political party, seeks to
prohibit the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) from enforcing paragraphs
(c), (d), (f), and (g) of Sec. 36 of RA 9165 on the ground that they are constitutionally infirm. For one, the provisions
constitute undue delegation of legislative power when they give unbridled discretion to schools and employers to determine
the manner of drug testing. For another, the provisions trench in the equal protection clause inasmuch as they can be used
to harass a student or an employee deemed undesirable. And for a third, a person’s constitutional right against
unreasonable searches is also breached by said provisions.

ISSUE: Whether or not paragraphs (c), (d), (f), and (g) of Sec. 36, RA 9165 unconstitutional? Specifically, do these
paragraphs violate the right to privacy, the right against unreasonable searches and seizure, and the equal protection
clause?

HELD: The Court held that, paragraphs (c) and (d) are CONSTITUTIONAL; while paragraphs (f) and (g) are
UNCONSITUTIONAL. Only paragraphs (f) and (g) violate the right to privacy, the right against unreasonable searches and
seizure, and the equal protection clause.

The Court is of the view and so holds that the provisions of RA 9165(c) requiring mandatory, random, and suspicionless
drug testing of students are constitutional. Indeed, it is within the prerogative of educational institutions to require, as a
condition for admission, compliance with reasonable school rules and regulations and policies. To be sure, the right to
enroll is not absolute; it is subject to fair, reasonable, and equitable requirements. A random drug testing of students in
secondary and tertiary schools is not only acceptable but may even be necessary if the safety and interest of the student
population, doubtless a legitimate concern of the government, are to be promoted and protected.

Just as in the case of secondary and tertiary level students, the mandatory but random drug test prescribed by Sec. 36 of
RA 9165(d) for officers and employees of public and private offices is justifiable, albeit not exactly for the same reason. The
Court notes in this regard that petitioner SJS, other than saying that “subjecting almost everybody to drug testing, without
probable cause, is unreasonable, an unwarranted intrusion of the individual right to privacy,” has failed to show how the
mandatory, random, and suspicionless drug testing under Sec. 36(c) and (d) of RA 9165 violates the right to privacy and
constitutes unlawful and/or unconsented search under Art. III, Secs. 1 and 2 of the Constitution. Petitioner Laserna’s lament
is just as simplistic, sweeping, and gratuitous and does not merit serious consideration.

The essence of privacy is the right to be left alone. In context, the right to privacy means the right to be free from
unwarranted exploitation of one’s person or from intrusion into one’s private activities in such a way as to cause humiliation
to a person’s ordinary sensibilities; and while there has been general agreement as to the basic function of the guarantee
against unwarranted search, “translation of the abstract prohibition against ‘unreasonable searches and seizures’ into
workable broad guidelines for the decision of particular cases is a difficult task,” to borrow from C. Camara v. Municipal
Court. Authorities are agreed though that the right to privacy yields to certain paramount rights of the public and defers to
the state’s exercise of police power.

As the warrantless clause of Sec. 2, Art III of the Constitution is couched and as has been held, “reasonableness” is the
touchstone of the validity of a government search or intrusion. While every officer and employee in a private establishment is
under the law deemed forewarned that he or she may be a possible subject of a drug test, nobody is really singled out in
advance for drug testing. The goal is to discourage drug use by not telling in advance anyone when and who is to be tested.
And as may be observed, Sec. 36(d) of RA 9165 itself prescribes what, in Ople, is a narrowing ingredient by providing that
the employees concerned shall be subjected to “random drug test as contained in the company’s work rules and regulations

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x x x for purposes of reducing the risk in the work place.” It is to be noted the very reason RA 9165 was enacted is to
safeguard the well-being of the citizens from the deleterious effects of dangerous drugs.

Paragraph (f) of RA 9165 was declared unconstitutional by the Court. Unlike the situation covered by Sec. 36(c) and (d) of
RA 9165, the Court finds no valid justification for mandatory drug testing for persons accused of crimes. In the case of
students, the constitutional viability of the mandatory, random, and suspicionless drug testing for students emanates
primarily from the waiver by the students of their right to privacy when they seek entry to the school, and from their
voluntarily submitting their persons to the parental authority of school authorities. In the case of private and public
employees, the constitutional soundness of the mandatory, random, and suspicionless drug testing proceeds from the
reasonableness of the drug test policy and requirement.

The Court finds the situation entirely different in the case of persons charged before the public prosecutor’s office with
criminal offenses punishable with six (6) years and one (1) day imprisonment. The operative concepts in the mandatory
drug testing are “randomness” and “suspicionless.” In the case of persons charged with a crime before the prosecutor’s
office, a mandatory drug testing can never be random or suspicionless. The ideas of randomness and being suspicionless
are antithetical to their being made defendants in a criminal complaint. They are not randomly picked; neither are they
beyond suspicion. When persons suspected of committing a crime are charged, they are singled out and are impleaded
against their will. The persons thus charged, by the bare fact of being haled before the prosecutor’s office and peaceably
submitting themselves to drug testing, if that be the case, do not necessarily consent to the procedure, let alone waive their
right to privacy. To impose mandatory drug testing on the accused is a blatant attempt to harness a medical test as a tool for
criminal prosecution, contrary to the stated objectives of RA 9165. Drug testing in this case would violate a persons’ right to
privacy guaranteed under Sec. 2, Art. III of the Constitution. Worse still, the accused persons are veritably forced to
incriminate themselves.

POLLO V. CONSTANTINO-DAVID, G.R. NO. 181881, 18 OCTOBER 2011

FACTS:
Petitioner is a former Supervising Personnel Specialist of the CSC Regional Office No. IV and also the Officer-in-Charge of
the Public Assistance and Liaison Division (PALD) of the CSC.

On January 3, 2007 at around 2:30 p.m., an unsigned letter-complaint addressed to respondent CSC Chairperson Karina
Constantino-David marked “Confidential” was received at the CSC Central Office. Among others, the letter-complaint states:
I would like to ask from you personally if it is just alright for an employee of your agency to be a lawyer of an
accused govt employee having a pending case in the csc. I honestly think this is a violation of law and unfair to
others and your office. … Please investigate this anomaly because our perception of your clean and good office is
being tainted.

Chairperson David immediately formed a team to conduct an investigation and specifically to back up all the files in the
computers found in the Mamamayan Muna (PALD) and Legal divisions. Upon their arrival, the team informed the officials
thereto of the directive of Chairperson David. The backing-up of all files in the hard disk of computers at the PALD and Legal
Services Division (LSD) was witnessed by employees and Directors Castillo and Unite. Director Unite also sent text
messages to petitioner and the head of LSD, informing them of the ongoing copying of computer files.

The next day, it was found that most of the files copied were draft pleadings or letters in connection with administrative
cases in the CSC and other tribunals. Thus, Chairperson David issued a Show-Cause Order requiring petitioner, to submit
an explanation or counter-affidavit regarding the matter.

Petitioner denied that he is the person referred to in the anonymous letter-complaint. He accused CSC officials of
conducting a fishing expedition when they unlawfully copied and printed personal files in his computer, and subsequently
asking him to submit his comment which violated his right against self-incrimination. He asserted that he had protested the
unlawful taking of his computer done while he was on leave; that the files in his computer were his personal files and those
of his sister, relatives, friends and some associates and that he is not authorizing their sealing, copying, duplicating and
printing as these would violate his constitutional right to privacy and protection against self-incrimination and warrantless
search and seizure. In view of the illegal search, the files/documents copied from his computer without his consent is thus
inadmissible as evidence, being fruits of a poisonous tree.

The CSC found prima facie case against the petitioner and charged him with Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, Conduct
Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service and Violation of R.A. No. 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for
Public Officials and Employees). They later found him guilty with the penalty of Dismissal From The Service.

On the paramount issue of the legality of the search conducted on petitioners computer, the CSC turned to relevant rulings
of the United States Supreme Court, and cited the leading case of OConnor v. Ortega as authority for the view that
government agencies, in their capacity as employers, rather than law enforcers, could validly conduct search and seizure in
the governmental workplace without meeting the probable cause or warrant requirement for search and seizure. The CSC
also cited United States v. Mark L. Simons which declared that the federal agency’s computer use policy foreclosed any
inference of reasonable expectation of privacy on the part of its employees. The warrantless search of the employees office

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was upheld as valid because a government employer is entitled to conduct a warrantless search pursuant to an investigation
of work-related misconduct provided the search is reasonable in its inception and scope.

With the foregoing American jurisprudence as benchmark, the CSC held that petitioner has no reasonable expectation of
privacy with regard to the computer he was using. The CSC was also of the view that the search of petitioners computer
successfully passed the test of reasonableness for warrantless searches in the workplace as enunciated in the aforecited
authorities. The CSC stressed that it pursued the search in its capacity as government employer and that it was undertaken
in connection with an investigation involving work-related misconduct, which exempts it from the warrant requirement under
the Constitution.

Although petitioner filed a petition for certiorari, the CA dismissed such after finding no grave abuse of discretion
committed by respondents CSC officials. The CA held that: (1) petitioner was not charged on the basis of the anonymous
letter but from the initiative of the CSC after a fact-finding investigation was conducted and the results thereof yielded
a prima facie case against him; (2) it could not be said that in ordering the back-up of files in petitioners computer and later
confiscating the same, Chairperson David had encroached on the authority of a judge in view of the CSC computer policy
declaring the computers as government property and that employee-users thereof have no reasonable expectation of
privacy in anything they create, store, send, or receive on the computer system; and (3) there is nothing contemptuous in
CSCs act of proceeding with the formal investigation as there was no restraining order or injunction issued by the CA.

As his motion for reconsideration was denied, petitioner brought this appeal.

ISSUE: Whether the search conducted on petitioner’s office computer and the copying of his personal files without his
knowledge and consent violates his constitutional right to privacy.

RULING: NO.

Petitioner failed to prove that he had an actual (subjective) expectation of privacy either in his office or government-issued
computer which contained his personal files. Petitioner did not allege that he had a separate enclosed office which he did
not share with anyone, or that his office was always locked and not open to other employees or visitors. Neither did he
allege that he used passwords or adopted any means to prevent other employees from accessing his computer files. On the
contrary, he submits that being in the public assistance office of the CSC-ROIV, he normally would have visitors in his office
like friends, associates and even unknown people, whom he even allowed to use his computer. Under this scenario, it can
hardly be deduced that petitioner had such expectation of privacy that society would recognize as reasonable.

Moreover, even assuming arguendo, that petitioner had at least a subjective expectation of privacy in his computer as he
claims, such is negated by the presence of Office Memorandum No. 10, S. 2002 Computer Use Policy (CUP) which
regulates employees’ use of office computers in the CSC. The policy put its employees on notice that they have no
expectation of privacy in anything they create, store, send or receive on the office computers, and that the CSC may
monitor the use of the computer resources using both automated or human means. This implies that on-the-spot inspections
may be done to ensure that the computer resources were used only for such legitimate business purposes.

As to the reasonableness of the search the court answered in the affirmative stating that a search by a government
employer of an employees office is justified at inception when there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that it will turn up
evidence that the employee is guilty of work-related misconduct.

Under the facts obtaining, the search conducted on petitioners computer was justified at its inception and scope. Quoting
with approval the CSCs discussion on the reasonableness of its actions having the guidelines established by O’Connor v.
Ortega 480 U.S. 709 (1987) as basis:
“… there is no doubt in the mind of the Commission that the search of Pollos computer has
successfully passed the test of reasonableness for warrantless searches in the workplace as enunciated
in the above-discussed American authorities. It bears emphasis that the Commission pursued the
search in its capacity as a government employer and that it was undertaken in connection with an
investigation involving a work-related misconduct, one of the circumstances exempted from the
warrant requirement. The nature of the imputation was serious, as it was grievously disturbing. If,
indeed, a CSC employee was found to be furtively engaged in the practice of lawyering for parties with
pending cases before the Commission would be a highly repugnant scenario, then such a case would
have shattering repercussions.” ...

“Considering the damaging nature of the accusation, the Commission had to act fast, if
only to arrest or limit any possible adverse consequence or fall-out … That it was the computers that
were subjected to the search was justified since these furnished the easiest means for an
employee to encode and store documents. Indeed, the computers would be a likely starting point
in ferreting out incriminating evidence. Concomitantly, the ephemeral nature of computer files,

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POLITICAL LAW CASES (2018)

that is, they could easily be destroyed at a click of a button, necessitated drastic and immediate
action.”
“Worthy to mention, too, is the fact that the Commission effected the warrantless search in an
open and transparent manner. Officials and some employees of the regional office, who happened to be
in the vicinity, were on hand to observe the process until its completion. In addition, the respondent
himself was duly notified, through text messaging…”

All in all, the Commission is convinced that the warrantless search done on computer assigned to
Pollo was not, in any way, vitiated with unconstitutionality ... Consequently, the evidence derived from the
questioned search are deemed admissible.”

The Court also noted that unlike in the case of Anonymous Letter-Complaint against Atty. Miguel Morales, Clerk of
Court, Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila A.M. Nos. P-08-2519 and P-08-2520, November 19, 2008, 571 SCRA
361, the case at bar involves the computer from which the personal files of the petitioner were retrieved is a
government-issued computer, hence government property the use of which the CSC has absolute right to regulate
and monitor.

LUCAS V LUCAS

FACTS: Petitioner filed a motion to established illegitimate filliation stating that his mother moved from Davao to Manila who
worked eventually in a nightspot in Manila, Elsie (mom) get acquainted with the putative father eventu2lly conceived him.
Initially the respondent provided the support but after the relationship ended the support has been refused by Elsie. While
petitioner was growing up, Elsie made several attempts to introduce petitioner to respondent, but all attempts were in vain.

On the course of the proceeding, the petitioner was not served with a copy of the petition. Respondent averred that
the petition was not in due form and substance because petitioner could not have personally known the matters that were
alleged therein. He argued that DNA testing cannot be had on the basis of a mere allegation pointing to respondent as
petitionerʼs father. Moreover, jurisprudence is still unsettled on the acceptability of DNA evidence.

RTC dismissed the case on the failure to do the 4 aspects of traditional paternity action. MR was filed which was
granted by RTC. Certiorari was filed by the respondent in CA which was granted and reversed the decision of the RTC. CA
stated that While the tenor [of Section 4, Rule on DNA Evidence] appears to be absolute, the rule could not really have been
intended to trample on the substantive rights of the parties. It could have not meant to be an instrument to promote disorder,
harassment, or extortion. It could have not been intended to legalize unwarranted expedition to fish for evidence. Such will
be the situation in this particular case if a court may at any time order the taking of 2 DNA test. If the DNA test in compulsory
recognition cases is immediately available to the petitioner/complainant without requiring first the presentation of
corroborative proof, then a dire and absurd rule would result. Such will encourage and promote harassment and extortion.

Issue: WON the petitioner has validly shown reasonable cause obliged the respondent to undergo DNA testing

HELD: Yes.

The petition to establish filiation was sufficient in form and in substance.

We agree, and find that, as a preliminary matter, before the court may issue an order for compulsory blood testing, the
moving party must show that there is a reasonable possibility of paternity. As explained hereafter, in cases in which paternity
is contested and a party to the action refuses to voluntarily undergo a blood test, a show cause hearing must be held in
which the court can determine whether there is sufficient evidence to establish a prim. facie case which warrants issuance of
a court order for blood testing. The same condition precedent should be applied in our jurisdiction to protect the putative
father from mere harassment suits. Thus, during the hearing on the motion for DNA

Testing, the petitioner must present prima facie evidence or est2blish a reasonable possibility of paternity.
The petition sufficiently states the ultimate facts relied upon by petitioner to establish his filiation to respondent. Attached to
the petition were the following: (2) petitioner’s certificate of live birth; (b) petitioners baptismal certificate; (c) petitioner’s
college diploma, showing that he graduated from Saint Louis University in Baguio City with 2 degree in Psychology; (d) his
Certificate of Graduation from the same school; (e) Certificate of Recognition from the University of the Philippines, College
of Music; 2nd (f) clippings of several articles from different newspapers about petitioner, as a musical prodigy.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED. The Court of Appeals Decision dated September 25, 2009
2nd Resolution dated December 17, 2009 2re REVERSED 2nd SET ASIDE. The Orders dated October 20, 2008 2nd
J2nu2ry 19, 2009 of the Region2l Tri2l Court of V2lenzuel2 City 2re AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED.