See - https://www.lawphil.net/judjuris/juri2014/jun2014/gr_203984_2014.html
"x x x.
Search and Seizure of
This Court cannot subscribe to Calantiao’s contention that the marijuana in his possession cannot be admitted as evidence against him because it was illegally discovered and seized, not having been within the apprehending officers’ "plain view."12
Searches and seizure incident to a lawful arrest are governed by Section 13, Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, to wit:
Section 13.Search incident to lawful arrest.– A person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous weapons or anything which may have been used or constitute proof in the commission of an offense without a search warrant.
The purpose of allowing a warrantless search and seizure incident to a lawful arrest is "to protect the arresting officer from being harmed by the person arrested, who might be armed with a concealed weapon, and to prevent the latter from destroying evidence within reach."13 It is therefore a reasonable exercise of the State’s police power to protect (1) law enforcers from the injury that may be inflicted on them by a person they have lawfully arrested; and (2) evidence from being destroyed by the arrestee. It seeks to ensure the safety of the arresting officers and the integrity of the evidence under the control and within the reach of the arrestee.
In People v. Valeroso,14 this Court had the occasion to reiterate the permissible reach of a valid warrantless search and seizure incident to a lawful arrest, viz:
When an arrest is made, it is reasonable for the arresting officer to search the person arrested in order to remove any weapon that the latter might use in order to resist arrest or effect his escape. Otherwise, the officer’s safety might well be endangered, and the arrest itself frustrated. In addition, it is entirely reasonable for the arresting officer to search for and seize any evidence on the arrestee’s person in order to prevent its concealment or destruction.
Moreover, in lawful arrests, it becomes both the duty and the right of the apprehending officers to conduct a warrantless search not only on the person of the suspect, but also in the permissible area within the latter’s reach. Otherwise stated, a valid arrest allows the seizure of evidence or dangerous weapons either on the person of the one arrested or within the area of his immediate control. The phrase "within the area of his immediate control" means the area from within which he might gain possession of a weapon or destructible evidence. A gun on a table or in a drawer in front of one who is arrested can be as dangerous to the arresting officer as one concealed in the clothing of the person arrested. (Citations omitted.)
In Valeroso, however, the Court held that the evidence searched and seized from him could not be used against him because they were discovered in a room, different from where he was being detained, and was in a locked cabinet. Thus, the area searched could not be considered as one within his immediate control that he could take any weapon or destroy any evidence against him.15
In the case at bar, the marijuana was found in a black bag in Calantiao’s possession and within his immediate control. He could have easily taken any weapon from the bag or dumped it to destroy the evidence inside it. As the black bag containing the marijuana was in Calantiao’s possession, it was within the permissible area that the apprehending officers could validly conduct a warrantless search.
Calantiao’s argument that the marijuana cannot be used as evidence against him because its discovery was in violation of the Plain View Doctrine, is misplaced.
The Plain View Doctrine is actually the exception to the inadmissibility of evidence obtained in a warrantless search incident to a lawful arrest outside the suspect’s person and premises under his immediate control. This is so because "[o]bjects in the ‘plain view’ of an officer who has the right to be in the position to have that view are subject to seizure and may be presented as evidence."16 "The doctrine is usually applied where a police officer is not searching for evidence against the accused, but nonetheless inadvertently comes across an incriminating object x x x. [It] serves to supplement the prior justification – whether it be a warrant for another object, hot pursuit, search incident to lawful arrest, or some other legitimate reason for being present unconnected with a search directed against the accused – and permits the warrantless seizure."17
The Plain View Doctrine thus finds no applicability in Calantiao’s situation because the police officers purposely searched him upon his arrest. The police officers did not inadvertently come across the black bag, which was in Calantiao’s possession; they deliberately opened it, as part of the search incident to Calantiao’s lawful arrest.
x x x."