People vs. Omaweng G.R. No. 99050, September 2, 1992. 213 SCRA 462 (1992)

Facts: “In the morning of September 12, 1988, Joseph Layong, a PC constable with the Mt. Province PC Command at Bontoc, Mt. Province proceeded with other PC soldiers to Barrio Dantay, Bontoc and, per instruction of their officer, Capt. Eugene Martin, put up a checkpoint at the junction of the roads, one going to Sagada and the other to. They stopped and checked all vehicles that went through the checkpoint. At about 9:15 A.M., Layong and his teammate, Constable David Osborne Famocod (sic), saw and flagged down a cream-colored Ford Fiera bearing Plate No. ABT-634 coming from the Bontoc Poblacion and headed towards Baguio. The vehicle was driven by appellant and had no passengers. Layong and his companions asked permission to inspect the vehicle and appellant acceded to the request. When they peered into the rear of the vehicle, they saw a travelling bag which was partially covered by the rim of a spare tire under the passenger seat on the right side of the vehicle. Layong and his companions asked permission to see the contents of the bag. Appellant consented to the request but told them that it only contained some clothes. When Layong opened the bag, he found that it contained forty-one (41) plastic packets of different sizes containing pulverized substances. Layong gave a packet to his team leader, constable David Osborne Fomocod, who, after sniffing the stuff concluded that it was marijuana. The PC constables, together with appellant, boarded the latter’s Ford Fiera and proceeded to the Bontoc poblacion to report the incident to the PC The prohibited drugs were surrendered to the evidence custodian, Sgt. Angel Pokling. Major Carlos Figueroa, a PC Forensic Chemist at Camp Dangwa, La Trinidad, Benguet, who has conducted more than 2500 professional examinations of marijuana, shabu and cocaine samples, conducted two chemistry examinations of the substance contained in the plastic packets taken from appellant and found them to be positive for hashish or marijuana. A criminal complaint was filed against the accused where the judge convicting the accused of the crime of transporting prohibited drugs penalized under Section 4, Article II of R.A. No. 6425, as amended. Hence the appeal.

Issue: Whether the constitutional rights of the accused against unreasonable search was violated even if he consented the opening of the said bag.

 

Held: He willingly gave prior consent to the search and voluntarily agreed to have it conducted on his vehicle and travelling bag. Thus, the accused waived his right against unreasonable searches and seizures. When one voluntarily submits to a search or consents to have it made of (sic) his person or premises, he is precluded from later complaining thereof, he right to be secure from unreasonable search may, like every right, be waived and such waiver may be made either expressly or impliedly. “Since in the course of the valid search forty-one (41) packages of drugs were found, it behooved the officers to seize the same; no warrant was necessary for such seizure. Besides, when said packages were identified by the prosecution witnesses and later on formally offered in evidence, the accused did not raise any objection whatsoever.

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