A search warrant on a person in jail?
Section 2, Article III of the Constitution provides: “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 search warrant… shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge…”
Simply put, it is one of the basic rights guaranteed by the fundamental law against any unreasonable invasion of a citizen’s privacy by agents of government. Alvero vs Dizon held: “The purpose of the constitutional provisions against unlawful searches and seizures is to prevent violations of private security in person and property, and unlawful invasions of the sanctity of the home by officers of the law acting under legislative or judicial sanction.” Obviously, the operative word is “privacy.” What need was there for a judicial warrant to search the premises of a prison cell which is public and under government control?
At the Senate hearing on the suspected rubout of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. last Nov. 5 inside a prison cell, much of the brouhaha centered on the “search warrant” issued by a judge. The warrant was used by government agents to barge into the cell of Espinosa in the wee hours of the morning, resulting in an alleged shootout and the death of Espinosa and another inmate. Needless to say, without such “search warrant,” there would have been no excuse for the raid and for what now appears to be a premeditated extrajudicial execution.
Sen. Manny Pacquiao was quite correct in pointing out the absurdity of a search warrant being served on a person already in jail. What “privacy” of such a person were the government agents so concerned about that they had to go “by the book”? It seems Pacquiao knows more law than the lawyers of the government agents concerned who came up with that stupid idea—not to mention the judge who issued it.
GEORGE DEL MAR, [email protected]
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.