In warrantless search, tip from RELIABLE informant sufficient basis of probable cause

As in Bagista, the police officer in the case at bar had probable cause to search appellant's truck. A member of the Provincial Task Force on Illegal Logging received a reliable information that a ten-wheeler truck bearing plate number PAD-548 loaded with illegal lumber would pass through Ilocos Norte. Two weeks later, while members of the Provincial Task force were patrolling along General Segundo Avenue, they saw the ten-wheeler truck described by the informant. When they apprehended it at the Marcos Bridge, accused-appellant, the owner of the truck and the cargo, admitted that there were sawn lumber in between the coconut slabs. When the police asked for the lumber's supporting documents, accused-appellant could not present any. The foregoing circumstances are sufficient to prove the existence of probable cause which justified the extensive search of appellant's truck even without a warrant. Thus, the 258 pieces of tanguile lumber were lawfully seized and were thus properly admitted as evidence to prove the guilt of accused-appellant. [G.R. No. 120365. December 17, 1996]

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