A surveillance team was dispatched after the police were informed of the presence of three suspicious-looking persons. At the place, the officers saw two men “looking from side to side,” one of whom was holding his abdomen. The police approached and identified themselves, after which the suspects were searched. Accused-appellant was found to be in possession of a .38 caliber Smith and Weeson revolver with six live bullets in the chamber. During the investigation, one witness alleged that the revolver was among the articles stolen from him during a robbery in his house. The gun, live bullets and holster were offered during the trial. Accused-appellant was subsequently convicted of illegal possession of firearms.
a. Whether or not the search and arrest were valid.
b. Whether or not the revolver was admissible in evidence.
a. NO. At the time of the arrest, accused-appellant was merely “looking from side to side” and “holding his abdomen.” There was apparently no offense that had just been committed or was being actually committed or at least being attempted by Mengote in their presence. There was nothing to support the arresting officers’ suspicion other than Mengote’s darting eyes and his hand on his abdomen.
They also did not know then what offense had been committed and neither were they aware of accused-appellant’s participation therein. It was only after the witness had appeared at the police headquarters that they learned of the robbery in his house and of Mengote’s supposed involvement therein.
b. NO. The arrest and search being unlawful, evidence is inadmissible being a fruit of the poisonous tree.