People vs. Martinez
People v. Martinez et al. G.R. No. 191366, December 13, 2010 FACTS: On September 2, 2006 at around 1245 PM, PO1 Bernard Azarden was on duty at the Police Community Precinct along Arellano St., Dagupan City when a concerned citizen reported that a pot session was underway in the house of accused Rafael Gonzales in Trinidad Subdivision, Dagupan City. PO1 Azardan, PO1 Alejandro dela Cruz and members of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) proceeded to aforesaid house. Upon inquiry from people in the area, the house of Gonzales was located. As the team entered the house, accused Orlando Doria was arrested while coming out. Inside the house were Gonzales, Arnold Martinez, Edgar Dizon, and Rezin Martinez. Seized from the accused were open plastic sachets (containing shabu residue), pieces of rolled used aluminum foil and pieces of used aluminum foil. The accused were arrested and brought to police station, seized items were sent to the Pangasinan Provincial Police Crime Laboratory. All accused, except for Doria, were found positive for methylamphetamine HCL. On February 13, 2008, RTC found Arnold Martinez, Edgar Dizon, Rezin Martinez and Rafael Gonzales guilty beyond reasonable doubt under Sec. 13 in relation to Sec. 11, Art. II of RA 9165 and sentenced each to life imprisonment and fined PHP 500,000 plus cost of suit. The CA supported the findings of the lower court. ISSUE: Were the guilt of the accused proven beyond reasonable doubt? RULING: No, the Court finds that the prosecution failed to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt because (1) evidence against the accused are inadmissible and (2) even if the evidence were admissible, the chain of custody was not duly established .
The evidence is inadmissible because of the illegal arrest, search and seizure. Searches and seizures without a warrant are valid in (1) incidence of lawful arrest, (2) “plain view” search of evidence, (3) moving vehicle search, (4) consented search, (5) customs search, (6) stop and frisk, (7)exigent and emergency cases. Under Rule 113, Sec. 5 of RRCP warrantless arrest can only be done in in flagrante cases, hot pursuit cases, and fugitive cases. The arrest of the accused-appellants were based solely on the report of a concerned citizen, no surveillance of the place was conducted. Under Rule 113, fugitive case does not apply. In flagrante and hot pursuit case may apply only upon probable cause, which means actual belief or reasonable ground of suspicion. It is reasonable ground of suspicion when suspicion of a person to be arrested is probably guilty of the offense based on actual facts, that is, supported by circumstances. In case at bar, this is not the case since the entire arrest was based on uncorroborated statement of a concerned citizen. The chain of custody as outlined in Sec. 21, Art. II of RA 9165 was not observed as no proper inventory, photographing, was done in the presence of the accused nor were there representatives from the media, the DOJ and any popularly elected official present, although in warrantless seizures, marking and photographing of evidence may be done at the nearest police station. Court sets aside and reverses the decision of the CA dated August 7, 2009, acquits the accused and orders their immediate release.