ADMINISTRATIVE CIRCULAR NO. 13
SUPREME COURT CIRCULARS AND ORDERS
TO: ALL EXECUTIVE JUDGES AND JUDGES OF THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURTS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS AND MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURTS
SUBJECT: GUIDELINES AND PROCEDURE IN THE ISSUANCE OF SEARCH WARRANTS.
Under Administrative Order No. 6 of this Court, dated June 30, 1975, the Executive Judge derives his powers and prerogatives through delegation thereof by this Court — some of which are to improve judicial services, in coordination with court related government agencies, and to further provide leadership in the management of all courts within his area of administrative supervision.
As a measure to better serve the public good and to facilitate the administration of justice, the Court is prescribing hereunder the guidelines in the issuance of search warrants:
- All applications for search warrants, if filed with the Executive Judge, shall be assigned, by raffle, to a judge within his administrative area, under whose direction the search warrant shall be issued for the search and seizure of personal property;
- After the application has been raffled and distributed to a Branch, the judge who is assigned to conduct the examination of the complainant and witnesses should immediately act on the same, considering that time element and possible leakage of information are primary considerations in the issuance of search warrants and seizure;
- Raffling shall be strictly enforced, except only in cases where an application for search warrant may be filed directly with any judge in whose jurisdiction the place to be searched is located, after office hours, or during Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, in which case the applicant is required to certify under oath the urgency of the issuance thereof after office hours, or during Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays;
- If, in the implementation of the search warrant, properties are seized thereunder and the corresponding case is filed in court, said case shall be distributed by raffle conformably with Circular No. 7, dated September 23, 1974, of this Court, and thereupon tried and decided by the judge to whom it has been assigned, and not necessarily by the judge who is issued the search warrant.
- New applications. — In order to insure maximum legitimate effect and give meaning and substance to the constitutional guarantee on the security of every person, his house and his effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, the following procedure should be strictly observed:
- A warrant may be issued for the search and seizure of personal property — 1) subject of the offense; 2) stolen or embezzled or are the proceeds or fruits of an offense; and, 3) used or intended to be used as the means of committing an offense;
- A warrant shall not issue but upon probable cause in laid connection with one specific offense to be determined by the judge or such other responsible officer authorized by law after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce on facts personally known to them, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be seized so that they could be properly identified;
- 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 any witnesses he may produce and attach to the record their sworn statements together with any affidavits submitted;
- If the judge is thereupon satisfied of the existence of facts upon which the application is based, or that there is probable cause to believe that they exist, he must issue the warrant, which must be substantially in the form prescribed by the Rules;
- Search warrants must be in duplicate, both signed by the judge. The duplicate copy thereof must be given to the person against whom the warrant is issued and served. Both copies of the warrant must indicate the date until when the warrant shall be valid and must direct that it be served in the daytime. If the judge is satisfied that the property is in the person or in the place ordered to be searched, a direction may be inserted in the warrants that it be served at any time of the day or night;
- In every court, there shall be a log under the custody of the Clerk of Court wherein shall be entered within 24 hours after the issuance of the search warrant, the following:
- Date and number of the warrant;
- Name of the issuing judge;
- Name of the person against whom the warrant is issued;
- Offense cited in the warrant; and
- Name of the officer who applied for the warrant and his witnesses.
Each branch or branches of a court shall have a separate and distinct log book from the log book kept by the other branches of the same court stationed in another city or municipality;
The search warrant shall be valid for ten (10) days from date of issuance, and after which the issuing judge should ascertain if the return has been made, and if there was none, should summon the person to whom the warrant was issued and require him to explain why no return was made. If the return has been made, the judge should ascertain from the officer who seized the property under the warrant if a detailed receipt of the property seized was left with the lawful occupants of the premises in whose presence the search and seizure were made, or in the absence of such occupants, whether he left a receipt in the place in which he found the seized property in the presence of at least two witnesses of sufficient age and discretion residing in the same locality, and should require that the property seized by virtue of the warrant shall be delivered to the judge who issued the warrant. The judge should see to it that an accurate and true inventory of the property seized duly verified under oath is attached to the return and filed with the court; and
The return on the search warrant shall be filed and kept by the custodian of the log book who shall also enter in the log book, the date of the return, the result, and such other actions the judge may have taken thereon.
This circular shall take effect immediately from receipt of notice. Melencio-Herrera and Relova, JJ., are on leave.
Very truly yours,
(Sgd.) GLORIA C. PARAS
Clerk of Court
The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation