Factors to the Validity of the Issuance of a Search Warrant

The pertinent provision of the Rules of Court on the issuance of a search warrant provides: Rule 126; Search and Seizure x x x x SEC. 4. Requisites for issuing search warrant. A search warrant shall not issue but upon probable cause in connection with one specific offense to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be seized which may be anywhere in the Philippines.

Thus, the validity of the issuance of a search warrant rests upon the following factors: (1) it must be issued upon probable cause; (2) the probable cause must be determined by the judge himself and not by the applicant or any other person; (3) in the determination of probable cause, the judge must examine, under oath or affirmation, the complainant and such witnesses as the latter may produce; and (4) the warrant issued must particularly describe the place to be searched and persons or things to be seized.
In this case, petitioners argue that the requirements enumerated in Rule 126 of the Rules of Court pertaining to the issuance of a search warrant were not fulfilled when Search Warrants No. 03-4438 and 03-4439 were issued by the trial court. First, they contend that no probable cause existed meriting the issuance of the search warrants in that it was stated in the Application for Search Warrant of National Bureau of Investigation Special Investigator (NBI SI) Lacaran that (h)e has information and verily believes that (petitioners) are in possession or has in their control properties which are being sold, retailed, distributed, imported, dealt with or otherwise disposed of, or intended to be used as a means of committing a violation of Section 168 in relation to Section 170 of Republic Act No. 8293 otherwise known as the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines. Said statement, petitioners insist, failed to meet the condition that probable cause must be shown to be within the personal knowledge of the complainant or the witnesses he may produce and not based on mere hearsay. (G.R. No. 172775; December 19, 2007)