People v. Sucro G.R. No. 93239 March 18, 1991 195 SCRA 388 (1991)

Facts: On March 21, 1989, Pat. Roy Fulgencio, a member of the INP, Kalibo, Aklan, was instructed by P/Lt. Vicente Seraspi, Jr. (Station Commander of the INP Kalibo, Aklan) to monitor the activities of appellant Edison Sucro, because of information gathered by Seraspi that Sucro was selling marijuana. As planned, at about 5:00 P.M. on said date, Pat. Fulgencio Positioned himself under the house of a certain Arlie Regalado at C. Quimpo Street. Adjacent to the house of Regalado, about 2 meters away, was a chapel. Thereafter, Pat. Fulgencio saw appellant enter the chapel, taking something which turned out later to be marijuana from the compartment of a cart found inside the chapel, and then return to the street where he handed the same to a buyer, Aldie Borromeo. After a while appellant went back to the chapel and again came out with marijuana which he gave to a group of persons. It was at this instance that Pat. Fulgencio radioed P/Lt. Seraspi and reported the activity going on. P/Lt. Seraspi instructed Pat. Fulgencio to continue monitoring developments. At about 6:30 P.M., Pat. Fulgencio again called up Seraspi to report that a third buyer later Identified as Ronnie Macabante, was transacting with appellant. At that point, the team of P/Lt. Seraspi proceeded to the area and while the police officers were at the Youth Hostel at Maagma St., Pat. Fulgencio told P/Lt. Seraspi to intercept Macabante and appellant. P/Lt. Seraspi and his team caught up with Macabante at the crossing of Mabini and Maagma Sts. in front of the Aklan Medical Center. Upon seeing the police, Macabante threw something to the ground which turned out to be a tea bag of marijuana. When confronted, Macabante readily admitted that he bought the same from appellant (Edison Sucro) in front of the chapel. The police team was able to overtake and arrest appellant at the corner of C. Quimpo and Veterans Sts. The police recovered 19 sticks and 4 teabags of marijuana from the cart inside the chapel and another teabag from Macabante, The teabags of marijuana were sent to the PC-INP Crime Laboratory Service, at Camp Delgado, Iloilo City for analysis. The specimens were all found positive of marijuana.

Issue: Whether the police officer can arrest the accused without any arrest and search warrant when the latter committed the crime in front of the former.

Held:  Yes, Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure provides for the instances where arrest without warrant is considered lawful. The rule states that arrest without warrant, when lawful. Is when a peace officer or private person may, without warrant, arrest a person (a)When in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; (b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it; When an offense is committed in the presence or within the view of an officer, within the meaning of the rule authorizing an arrest without a warrant, when the officer sees the offense, although at a distance, or hears the disturbances created thereby and proceeds at once to the scene thereof.

The records show that Fulgencio went to Arlie Regalado’s house at C. Quimpo Street to monitor the activities of the accused who was earlier reported to be selling marijuana at a chapel two (2) meters away from Regalado’s house. Fulgencio, within a distance of two meters saw Sucro conduct his nefarious activity. He saw Sucro talk to some persons, go inside the chapel, and return to them and exchange some things. These, Sucro did three times during the time that he was being monitored. Fulgencio would then relay the on-going transaction to P/Lt. Seraspi.

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