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Shvoong Home>Law & Politics>Case Digest on People v. Marti, 193 SCRA 57 (1991) Summary

Case Digest on People v. Marti, 193 SCRA 57 (1991)

Book Summary   by:WritingNow360     Original Author: Supreme Court of the Philippines
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People v. Marti, 193 SCRA 57 (1991) F: Before delivery of appellant''s box to the Bureau of Customs and/ or Bureau of Posts, Mr. Job Reyes (proprietor) & husband of Anita Reyes, following standard operating procedure, opened the boxes for final inspection. When he opened appellant''s box, a peculiar order emitted therefrom. His curiosity aroused, he squeezed one of the bundles allegedly containing gloves and felt dried leaves inside. Opening one of the bundles, he pulled out a cellophane wrapper protruding from the opening of one of the gloves. He made an opening on one of the cellophane wrappers and took several grams of the contents thereof. Job Reyes reported the incident to the NBI and requested a laboratory examination of the samples he extracted from the cellophane wrapper. It turned out that the dried leaves were marijuana flowering tops as certified by the forensic chemist of the Narcotics Section of the NBI. Thereafter, an information was filed against appellant for violation of RA 6425. APPELANT CONTENDS that the evidence subject of the imputed offense had been obtained in violation of his consti. rights against unreasonable searches and seizures and privacy of communication and therefore argues that the same should be held inadmissible in evidence. The case at bar assumes a peculiar character since the evidence sought to be excluded was primarily discovered and obtained by a private person, acting in a private capacity and w/o the intervention and participation of state authorities. ISSUE: May an act of a private individual, allegedly in violation of appellant''s constitutional rights, be invoked against the state? HELD: We hold in the negative. In the absence of governmental interference, the liberties guaranteed by the Consti. cannot be invoked against the State. This constitutional right refers to the immunity of one''s person, whether citizen or alien, from interference by govt.
xxx (Villanueva v. Querubin.) The contraband in the case at bar having come into possession of the govt w/o the latter transgressing appellant''s rights against unreasonable searches and seizures (S & S), the Court sees no cogent reason why the same should not be admitted against him. Appellant, however, would like this Court to believe that NBI agents made an illegal search and seizure of the evidence later on used in prosecuting the case. The arguments of appellant stands to fall on its own weight, or the lack of it. First
, the factual considerations of the case at bar readily foreclose the proposition that NBI agents conducted an illegal S & S of the prohibited merchandise. Records of the case clearly indicate that it was Mr. Job Reyes, the proprietor of the forwarding agency, who made the search/ inspection. Such inspection was reasonable and a SOP on the part of Mr. Reyes as a precautionary measure bef. delivery of packages to the Bureau of Customs or Bureau of Posts. Second
, the mere presence of the NBI agents did not convert the reasonable search effected by Reyes into a warrantless S & S proscribed by the Consti. Merely to observe and look at that w/c is plain sight is not search. Having observed that w/c is open, where no trespass has been committed in aid thereof, is not search. That the Bill of Rights embodied in the Consti. is not meant to be invoked against acts of private individuals finds support in the deli
Published: February 18, 2008   
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