G.R. No. 188794 : September 2, 2015

FACTS: Two criminal cases were filed against Ogayon for violation of Sections 11 (Possession of Dangerous Drugs) and 12 (Possession of Equipment, Instrument, Apparatus and Other Paraphernalia for Dangerous Drugs) of RA 9165. The RTC rendered a joint judgment convicting Ogayon of the two criminal charges against him. Relying on the presumption of regularity, the RTC rejected Ogayon’s frame-up defense. Ogayon appealed to the CA. He questioned the validity of the search warrant, claiming it was improperly issued. He argued that the search warrant was defective for lack of transcript showing that the issuing judge conducted an examination of the applicant for search warrant and his witnesses. However, the CA upheld the search warrant’s validity due to Ogayon’s failure to make a timely objection against the warrant during the trial. The CA affirmed Ogayon’s conviction for possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, and concluded that Ogayon is deemed to have waived the right to question the legality of the search warrant.

ISSUE: Whether or not a search warrant was invalid for being highly irregular, thereby rendering the seized articles as inadmissible as evidence?

HELD: YES. The purpose of the Rules in requiring depositions to be taken is to satisfy the examining magistrate as to the existence of probable cause. The Bill of Rights does not make it an imperative necessity that depositions be attached to the records of an application for a search warrant. Hence, said omission is not necessarily fatal, for as long as there is evidence on the record showing what testimony was presented. IN THIS CASE, apart from the statement in the search warrant itself, we find nothing in the records of this case indicating that the issuing judge personally and thoroughly examined the applicant and his witnesses. The absence of depositions and transcripts of the examination was already admitted; the application for the search warrant and the affidavits, although acknowledged by Ogayon himself, could not be found in the records. Unlike in Tee, where the testimony given during trial revealed that an extensive examination of the applicant’s witness was made by the judge issuing the warrant, the testimonies given during Ogayon’s trial made no reference to the application for the search warrant. SPO4 Caritos testified that he was among those who conducted the surveillance before the application for a search warrant was made. However, he was not the one who applied for the warrant; in fact, he testified that he did not know who applied for it.