Alvarez v Court of First Instance; G.R. No. 45358; 29 Jan 1937; 64 Phil 331

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The chief of the secret service of the Anti-Usury Board of the Department of Justice presented to respondent Judge an affidavit alleging that petitioner kept in his house books, documents, receipts, lists, chits and other papers used by him in connection with his activities as a money-lender, charging usurious rates of interest in violation of the law. He did not swear to the truth of his statements upon his own personal knowledge of the facts. Upon the affidavit in question, respondent judge issued the warrant, ordering the search of petitioner’s house as well as the seizure of the books and documents mentioned.

Whether or not there was sufficient probable cause for the issuance of the search warrant.

NO. The affidavit, which served as the exclusive basis of the search warrant, is insufficient and fatally defective by reason of the manner in which the oath was made. Therefore, the search warrant in question and the subsequent seizure of the books, documents and other papers are illegal. The warrant issued is likewise illegal because it was based only on the affidavit of the agent who had no personal knowledge of the facts.

Search warrant and seizure and the orders of the respondent court authorizing the retention of the books and documents are declared ILLEGAL and are SET ASIDE. Presiding Judge is ordered to direct the IMMEDIATE RETURN to the petitioner of the nineteen (19) documents.

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