RODEL LUZ y ONG vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES – G.R. No. 197788, February 29, 2012

Facts:

PO2 Emmanuel L. Alteza, who was then assigned at the Sub-Station 1 of the Naga City Police Station as a traffic enforcer, substantially testified that on March 10, 2003 at around 3:00 o’clock in the morning, he saw the accused, who was coming from the direction of Panganiban Drive and going to Diversion Road, Naga City, driving a motorcycle without a helmet; that this prompted him to flag down the accused for violating a municipal ordinance which requires all motorcycle drivers to wear helmet (sic) while driving said motor vehicle; that he invited the accused to come inside their sub-station since the place where he flagged down the accused is almost in front of the said sub-station; that while he and SPO1 Rayford Brillante were issuing a citation ticket for violation of municipal ordinance, he noticed that the accused was uneasy and kept on getting something from his jacket; that he was alerted and so, he told the accused to take out the contents of the pocket of his jacket as the latter may have a weapon inside it; that the accused obliged and slowly put out the contents of the pocket of his jacket which was a nickel-like tin or metal container about two (2) to three (3) inches in size, including two (2) cellphones, one (1) pair of scissors and one (1) Swiss knife; that upon seeing the said container, he asked the accused to open it; that after the accused opened the container, he noticed a cartoon cover and something beneath it; and that upon his instruction, the accused spilled out the contents of the container on the table which turned out to be four (4) plastic sachets, the two (2) of which were empty while the other two (2) contained suspected shabu.

Arraigned on 2 July 2003, petitioner, assisted by counsel, entered a plea of “Not guilty” to the charge of illegal possession of dangerous drugs. Pretrial was terminated on 24 September 2003, after which, trial ensued.

RTC convicted petitioner of illegal possession of dangerous drugs. Upon review, the CA affirmed the RTC’s Decision.

Hence this case.

Issue:
whether the accused was validly arrested without a warrant.

Held:
No, there was no valid arrest of petitioner. When he was flagged down for committing a traffic violation, he was not, ipso facto and solely for this reason, arrested.

Arrest is the taking of a person into custody in order that he or she may be bound to answer for the commission of an offense. It is effected by an actual restraint of the person to be arrested or by that person’s voluntary submission to the custody of the one making the arrest. Neither the application of actual force, manual touching of the body, or physical restraint, nor a formal declaration of arrest, is required. It is enough that there be an intention on the part of one of the parties to arrest the other, and that there be an intent on the part of the other to submit, under the belief and impression that submission is necessary. There being no valid arrest, the warrantless search that resulted from it was likewise illegal.

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