Bagalihog v Fernandez; G.R. No. 96356; 27 Jun 1991; 198 SCRA 614

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A politician was shot to death shortly after disembarking at the airport. Witnesses said that one of the gunmen fled on a motorcycle. On the same day, petitioner’s house was searched with his consent of the killers but the search proved fruitless. Two days later, members of the Philippine Constabulary seized sans a search warrant petitioner’s motorcycle and impounded the same on the suspicion that it was one of the vehicles used by the killers.

Whether or not the warrantless search and seizure of the motorcycle was lawful.

NO. The warrantless seizure of the motorcycle was unquestionably violative of “the right to be let alone” by the authorities as guaranteed by the Constitution. The vehicle cannot even be detained on the ground that it is a prohibited article the mere possession of which is unlawful.

Order of the respondent judge is SET ASIDE.

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