G.R. No. 193833
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Trestiza questioned the legality of his warrantless arrest in an Omnibus Motion44 filed before his arraignment. In its Order dated 19 August 2004, the trial court stated that the quashal of the informations on account of Trestiza’s illegal arrest is not warranted. The determination of the nature of the arrest goes directly into the merits of the case, and needs a deeper judicial determination. Matters of defense are not grounds for a Motion to Quash. The trial court, however, did not make any ruling related to Trestiza’s warrantless arrest in its 24 July 2007 Decision.
Section 5, Rule 113 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure enumerates the instances when warrantless arrests are lawful.
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. ‒ A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it; and
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.
In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) above, the person arrested without a warrant shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or jail and shall be proceeded against in accordance with section 7 of Rule 112.
It is clear that Trestiza’s warrantless arrest does not fall under any of the circumstances mentioned in Section 5, Rule 113. However, Trestiza failed to make a valid objection to his warrantless arrest.
Any objection to the procedure followed in the matter of the acquisition by a court of jurisdiction over the person of the accused must be opportunely raised before he enters his plea; otherwise, the objection is deemed waived.45 Trestiza, being a policeman himself, could have immediately objected to his warrantless arrest. However, he merely asked for the grounds for his arrest. He did not even file charges against the arresting officers. There was also a lengthy amount of time between Trestiza’s arrest on 16 November 2002 and the filing of the Omnibus Motion objecting to Trestiza’s warrantless arrest on 11 May 2004. Although it may be argued that the objection was raised prior to the entry of Trestiza’s plea of not guilty in the kidnapping for ransom charge, it must be noted that the circumstances of the present case make us rule otherwise. Trestiza was charged with two crimes at the time of his arrest: kidnapping with ransom under Criminal Case No. 02-3393 and illegal possession of firearms under Criminal Case No. 02-3394. Trestiza did not question the legality of his warrantless arrest nor the acquisition of jurisdiction of the trial court over his person, and fully participated in the hearing of the illegal possession of firearms case. Thus, Trestiza is deemed to have waived any objection to his warrantless arrest. Under the circumstances, Trestiza’s Omnibus Motion in the kidnapping for ransom case is a mere afterthought and cannot be considered as a timely objection.
Assuming arguendo that Trestiza indeed made a timely objection to his warrantless arrest, our jurisprudence is replete with rulings that support the view that Trestiza’s conviction is proper despite being illegally arrested without warrant. In People v. Manlulu, the Court ruled:
[T]he illegality of the warrantless arrest cannot deprive the State of its right to prosecute the guilty when all other facts on record point to their culpability.46
Indeed, the illegal arrest of an accused is not sufficient cause for setting aside a valid judgment rendered upon a sufficient complaint after a trial free from error.47 The fatal flaw of an invalid warrantless arrest becomes moot in view of a credible eyewitness account.48
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