Lopez v Comm of Customs; G.R. No. L-27968; 03 Dec 1975; 68 SCRA 320

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Petitioner Tomas Velasco was not inside their rented hotel room when a team of agents raided their room and seized documents and papers. They were allowed entry inside said room by a woman who appeared to be petitioner’s wife but turned out to be a manicurist.

Whether or not there was consent to allow the warrantless search and seizure of Velasco’s rented hotel room.

YES. Where, at the time the government agents entered and searched the hotel room then being rented by petitioner, a woman who appeared to be the wife of petitioner was inside the room, and, upon being informed of the purpose of the search, invited the petitioners to enter and search the room and even voluntarily gave the documents and things requested by the officers, even if the said woman, who could be aptly described as the wrong person, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, was not the wife of petitioner, but a mere manicurist by occupation, the officers of the law could not be blamed if they acted on the appearances. There was a person inside who for all indications was ready to accede to their request. Even common courtesy alone would have precluded them from inquiring too closely as to why she was there. Under said circumstances, there was consent sufficient in law to dispense with the need for a search warrant.

Petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus is DISMISSED.

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