People v Gerente; G.R. No. 95847-48; 10 Mar 1993; 219 SCRA 756

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The Valenzuela Police Station received a report about a mauling incident. Upon learning at the hospital that the victim died on arrival and being informed of the cause of death, the policemen proceeded to the crime scene where they found a piece of wood with blood stains, a hollow block and two roaches of marijuana. After being told by the eyewitness the identity of one of the three assailants, the policemen went to appellant’s house where they introduced themselves, and apprehended him and confiscated dried marijuana leaves.

Whether or not the search of appellant’s person and the seizure of the marijuana leaves in his possession were valid.

YES. The policemen arrested appellant only some three (3) hours after he and his companions had killed the victim. They saw the victim dead in the hospital and when they inspected the scene of the crime, they found the instruments of death. The eyewitness reported the happening to the policemen and pinpointed her neighbor, the appellant, as one of the killers. Under those circumstances, since the policemen had personal knowledge of the violent death of the victim and of facts indicating that appellant and two others had killed him, they could lawfully arrest him without a warrant. If they had postponed his arrest until they could obtain a warrant, he would have fled the law as his two companions did. The search conducted on appellant’s person was likewise lawful because it was made as an incident to a valid arrest.

Appealed decision is AFFIRMED with modification.

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