Sunday, September 2, 2012

Warrantless arrest; admissibility of evidence -

"x x x.

In arrest in flagrante delicto, the accused is apprehended at the very moment he is committing or attempting to commit or has just committed an offense in the presence of the arresting officer. Clearly, to constitute a valid in flagrante delicto arrest, two requisites must concur: (1) the person to be arrested must execute an overt act indicating that he has just committed, is
actually committing, or is attempting to commit a crime; and (2) such overt act is done in the presence or within the view of the arresting officer.

In the case at bench, there is no gainsaying that Ambre was caught by the police officers in the act of using shabu and, thus, can be lawfully arrested without a warrant. PO1 Mateo positively identified Ambre sniffing suspected shabu from an aluminum foil being held by Castro.

 Ambre, however, made much of the fact that there was no prior valid intrusion in the residence of Sultan. The argument is specious. Suffice it to state that prior justification for intrusion or prior lawful intrusion is not an element of an arrest  in flagrante delicto.  Thus, even granting arguendo that the apprehending officers had no legal right to be present in the dwelling of Sultan, it would not render unlawful the arrest of Ambre, who was seen sniffing shabu with Castro and Mendoza in a pot session by the police officers. Accordingly, PO2 Masi and PO1 Mateo were not only authorized but were also duty-bound to arrest Ambre together with Castro and Mendoza for illegal use of methamphetamine hydrochloride in violation of Section 15, Article II of R.A. No. 9165.
To write finis to the issue of validity and irregularity in her
warrantless arrest, the Court holds that Ambre is deemed to have waived her objections to her arrest for not raising them before entering her plea.

Considering that the warrantless arrest of Ambre was valid, the subsequent search and seizure done on her person was likewise lawful. After all, a legitimate warrantless arrest necessarily cloaks the arresting police officer with authority to validly search and seize from the offender (1) dangerous weapons, and (2) those that may be used as proof of the
commission of an offense.

Further, the physical evidence corroborates the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses that Ambre, together with Castro and Mendoza, were illegally using shabu. The urine samples taken from them were found positive for the presence of shabu, as indicated in Physical Science Report No. DT-041-05 to DT-043-05. It was likewise found that the items seized
from the three were all positive for traces of shabu as contained in Physical Science Report No. D-149-05 dated April 21, 2005. These findings were unrebutted.  

x x x."