Alvero v. Dizon G.R. No. L-342 May 4, 1946 76 Phil. 637 (1946)

Fact: Petitioner has been accused of treason; that at the hearing on his petition for bail, the prosecution presented, as part of its evidence, certain documents which had been allegedly seized by soldiers of the United States Army, accompanied by Filipino guerrillas, in the petitioner’s house; that petitioner immediately objected to the presentation of said documents, and called the attention of the respondent judges to the fact that he had filed a petition, in which he protested against the procedure of the government in the seizure of said documents, and asked for their return to the petitioner.

Issue: Whether the arresting officer committed unlawful searches and seizures when they obtained the document being reclaimed by the petitioner

Held: No, The right of officers and men of the United States Army to arrest herein petitioner, as a collaborationist suspect, and to seize his personal papers, without any search warrant, in the zone of military operations, is unquestionable, under the provisions of the Regulations relative to the Laws and Customs of War on Land of the Hague Conventions of 1907, authorizing the seizure of military papers in the possession of prisoners of war and also under the proclamation, issued by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, as Commander in Chief of the United States of Army, declaring his purpose to remove certain citizens of the Philippines, who had voluntarily given aid and comfort to the enemy, in violation of the allegiance due the Governments of the United States and the Commonwealth of the Philippines, when apprehended, from any position of political and economic influence in the Philippines and to hold them in restraint for the duration of the war.

The most important exception to the necessity for a search warrant is the right of search and seizure as an incident to a lawful arrest. A lawful arrest may be made either while a crime is being committed or after its commission. The right to search includes in both instances that of searching the person of him who is arrested, in order to find and seize things connected with the crime as its fruits or as the means by which it was committed. When one is legally arrested for an offense, whatever is found in his possession or in his control may be seized and used in evidence against him; and an officer has the right to make an arrest without a warrant of a person believed by the officer upon reasonable grounds to have committed a felony.

The purpose of the constitutional provisions against unlawful searches and seizures is to prevent violations of private security in person and property, and unlawful invasions of the sanctity of the home, by officers of the law acting under legislative or judicial sanction, and to give remedy against such usurpations when attempted. But it does not prohibit the Federal Government from taking advantage of unlawful searches made by a private person or under authority of state law.

 

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