Veroy v Judge Layague; G.R. No. 95630; 18 Jun 1992; 210 SCRA 97

in Legal Chyme by

Capt. Reynaldo Obrero, acting upon a directive, raided the Davao City residence of petitioner spouses who were already residing in Quezon City on information that the said residence was being used as a safehouse of rebel soldiers. The team did not enter the house since the owner was not present and they did not have a search warrant. When contacted by Obrero to ask permission to search the house, Ma. Luisa relented if the search would be conducted in the presence of longtime family friend, a ranking military officer. The team gained entry into the yard and the kitchen. With the help of a locksmith, the team entered the children’s room and conducted the search with resulted in the recovery of several articles which include a firearm and jute sacks containing printed materials of RAM-SFP.

Whether or not the officers violated the petitioners’ constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure.

YES. The reason for searching the house of herein petitioners is that it was reportedly being used as a hideout and recruitment center for rebel soldiers. While Capt. Obrero was able to enter the compound, he did not enter the house because he did not have a search warrant and the owners were not present. This shows that he himself recognized the need for a search warrant, hence, he did not persist in entering the house but rather contacted the petitioners to seek permission to enter the same. Permission was indeed granted by petitioner to enter the house but only to ascertain the presence of rebel soldiers. Under the circumstances, it is undeniable that the police officers had ample time to procure a search warrant but did not.

Petition is GRANTED and the criminal case against the petitioners for illegal possession of firearms is DISMISSED.

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