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FACTS:

In the beginning of year 202, Respondent herein, Pryce Gases Inc, noticed the decline in
the return of it’s LPG cylinders for refilling. They suspected that LPG cylinders were
removed from market circulation and refilled by its competitors, one of whom was Sun
Gas Inc. managed by the petitioner, Rowland Kim Santos.

Upon complaint with CIDG and after surveillance, an application for search warrant was
filed before RTC of Iloilo. The application alleged that the petitioner is in possession of
Pryce LPG Tanks, and other materials used in tampering Pryce Gas Tanks. The
presiding Judge issued the corresponding search warrant.

The CIDg agents werte able to seize the LPG tanks but failed to seize other materials
and tools used bu the petitioner to tamper with the LPG cylinders.

Petitioner filed Motion to Quash the search warrant on the ground of lack of probable
cause. RTC granted the Motion to Quash but upheld the validity of surveillance. On
Appeal, CA which reversed the twin orders of the RTC and ordered for the return of the
seized items to respondent. Petitioner sought for reconsideration but was denied.
Hence, this petition.

ISSUES:

a. Whether or not the petitioner has authority to seek quashal of the search warrant
c. Who has proper custody of the seized items

RULING

Well settled is the rule that the legality of the seizure can be contested only by the party
whose rights have been impaired, and the objection to an unlawful search and seizure is
purely personal and cannot be availed of by the third party. Petitioner has the authority
to seek for the quashal of the search warrant. He is the real [arty-in-interest to seek the
quashal of the search warrant for the obvious reason that the search warrant, in which
petitioner is solely named as respondent, was directed against the premises and articles
over which he had control and supervision. The petitioner was directly prejudiced
because he was directly accountable as manager to the purported owner of the seized
items.

The CA erred in ordering the return of the seized items to the respondents. Section 4
Rule 126 of the Revised Criminal procedure expressly mandates the delivery of the
seized items to the judge who issued the search warrant to be kept in custodia legis in
anticipation of the criminal proceedings against petitioner. The judge who issued the
search warrant is mandated to ensure compliance with the requirements for (1)issuance
of detailed receipt (2) delivery of the seized property to the court, and (3) verified true
inventory of the items seized. Hence, the seized items should remain in the custody of
the RTC which issued the search warrant pending the institution of criminal action
against petitioner.
Wherefore, the instant petition is DENIED and Decision of CA is Affirmed with the
MODIFICATION that the seized items should be kept in custodia legis.