The Search Warrant in Question
is Constitutionally Infirm; Void
for Lack of Particularity
Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution guarantees the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Sec 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no such search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.
Furthermore, Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides the requisites for the issuance of a search warrant, viz.:
Sec. 4. Requisites for issuing search warrant. – A search warrant shall not issue except upon probable cause in connection with one specific offense to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be seized which may be anywhere in the Philippines.
Sec. 5. Examination of complainant; record. – The judge must, before issuing the warrant, personally examine in the form of searching questions and answers, in writing and under oath, the complainant and the witnesses he may produce on facts personally known to them and attach to the record their sworn statements, together with the affidavits submitted.
Thus, in issuing a search warrant, the judge must strictly comply with the foregoing constitutional and statutory requirements; failure to comply therewith constitutes grave abuse of discretion.
The things to be seized must be described with particularity. Technical precision of description is not required. It is only necessary that there be reasonable particularity and certainty as to the identity of the property to be searched for and seized, so that the warrant shall not be a mere roving commission.18 Indeed, the law does not require that the things to be seized must be described in precise and minute detail as to leave no room for doubt on the part of the searching authorities. If this were the rule, it would be virtually impossible for the applicants to obtain a warrant as they would not know exactly what kind of things to look for.19 Any description of the place or thing to be searched that will enable the officer making the search with reasonable certainty to locate such place or thing is sufficient.
However, the requirement that search warrants shall particularly describe the things to be seized makes general searches under them impossible and prevents the seizure of one thing under a warrant describing another. As to what is to be taken, nothing is left to the discretion of the officer executing the warrant.21 Thus, the specific property to be searched for should be so particularly described as to preclude any possibility of seizing any other property. (Vallejo vs. Court of Appeals)