SPOUSES MARIMLA vs. PHILIPPINES AND HON. OMAR T. VIOLA, – G.R. No. 158467, October 16, 2009

On February 15, 2002, Special Investigator (SI) Ray C. Lagasca of the NBI Anti-Organized Crime Division filed two (2) applications for search warrant with the RTC of Manila seeking permission to search: (1) petitioners’ house located on RD Reyes St., Brgy. Sta. Trinidad, Angeles City3 and (2) the premises on Maria Aquino St., Purok V, Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Porac, Pampanga,4 both for Violation of Section 16, Article III of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6425, as amended. The said applications uniformly alleged that SI Lagasca’s request for the issuance of the search warrants was founded on his personal knowledge as well as that of witness Roland D. Fernandez (Fernandez), obtained after a series of surveillance operations and a test buy made at petitioners’ house.

Judge Guariña III issued a search warrant docketed as Search Warrant which commanded any peace officer “to make immediate search, at any time of the day or night, not beyond 10 days from date hereof, of the premises above-mentioned and forthwith seize and take possession of the properties subject of the offense and bring to his court said properties to be dealt with as the law directs.

On the strength of this warrant, members of the NBI Anti-Organized Crime Division in coordination with the Philippine National Police of Angeles City, searched petitioners’ house on February 19, 2002 at around 5:00 in the morning. They were able to seize cash and Marijuana flower.

On February 20, 2002, an Information10 for Violation of Section 8, Article II of R.A. No. 6425, as amended by R.A. No. 7659, was filed against petitioners before the RTC of Angeles City, Branch 57, presided by herein respondent Judge Omar T. Viola.

On March 25, 2002, petitioners filed a Motion to Quash Search Warrant and to Suppress Evidence Illegally Seized on the following grounds: (1) the application for search warrant was filed outside the territorial jurisdiction and judicial region of the court where the alleged crime was committed; (2) the court which issued the questioned search warrant committed grave abuse of discretion when it issued the same because under the law it cannot issue a search warrant outside its territorial jurisdiction; (3) the questioned search warrant is void ab initio; and (4) the evidence illegally seized by virtue of the questioned search warrant is therefore inadmissible in evidence.

In an Order dated September 6, 2002, Judge Omar T. Viola denied petitioner’s Motion to Quasi. Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration on the ground that the denial of their Motion to Quash Search Warrant and to Suppress Evidence Illegally Seized is not in accordance with the law and existing jurisprudence. The Motion for Reconsideration was likewise denied by respondent court on the ground that the issues raised therein were mere reiterations of petitioners’ arguments that had already been considered and passed upon in the Motion to Quash Search Warrant and to Suppress Evidence Illegally Seized.

Hence, this petition.

Whether A.M. No. 99-10-09-SC, Clarifying the Guidelines on the Application for the Enforceability of Search Warrants, which was enacted on January 25, 2000 is applicable in the issuance of a Search Warrant and not A.M. No. 00-5-03-SC, the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, which took effect on December 1, 2000, specifically, Section 2, Rule 126.


Yes, A.M. No. 99-10-09-SC provides that the guidelines on the enforceability of search warrants provided therein shall continue until further orders from this Court. In fact, the guidelines in A.M. No. 99-10-09-SC are reiterated in A.M. No. 03-8-02-SC entitled Guidelines On The Selection And Designation Of Executive Judges And Defining Their Powers, Prerogatives And Duties, which explicitly stated that the guidelines in the issuance of search warrants in special criminal cases by the RTCs of Manila and Quezon City shall be an exception to Section 2 of Rule 126 of the Rules of Court, to wit:

The applications shall be personally endorsed by the heads of such agencies and shall particularly describe therein the places to be searched and/or the property or things to be seized as prescribed in the Rules of Court. The Executive Judges and Vice-Executive Judges concerned shall issue the warrants, if justified, which may be served in places outside the territorial jurisdiction of the said courts.

The Executive Judges and the authorized Judges shall keep a special docket book listing names of Judges to whom the applications are assigned, the details of the applications and the results of the searches and seizures made pursuant to the warrants issued.

This Section shall be an exception to Section 2 of Rule 126 of the Rules of Court.

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