Unlawful warrantless arrest

Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I was driving my motorcycle in Pasay City (Metr Manila) when I was flagged down by some police officers for violation of a city ordinance of not wearing a helmet. While one of them was issuing a traffic citation ticket against me, another one began to search my pocket where he allegedly found two sachets of “shabu.” I was then detained and eventually charged for violation of Republic Act. 9165. Please help me on what to do. The drugs allegedly found in my pocket were not really mine, but were placed there by one of the police officers.

Dear Redentu,
From the onset, it is very clear that you were not arrested under the circumstances that fall under lawful warrantless arrest; hence, all evidence obtained including the “shabu” cannot be used against you.

In a similar case decided by the Supreme Court, the high tribunal said, “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.


It also appears that, according to City Ordinance No. 98-012, which was violated by petitioner, the failure to wear a crash helmet while riding a motorcycle is penalized by a fine only. Under the Rules of Court, a warrant of arrest need not be issued if the information or charge was filed for an offense penalized by a fine only. It may be stated as a corollary that neither can a warrantless arrest be made for such an offense (Luz vs People of the Philippines, G. R. No. 197788, February 29, 2012.”

Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net


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