SC rules, "Judge to determine probable cause thru personal examination under oath"

It is settled that in determining probable cause, a judge is duty-bound to personally examine under oath the complainant and the witnesses he may present. Emphasis must be laid on the fact that the oath required must refer to the truth of the facts within the personal knowledge of the petitioner or his witnesses, because the purpose thereof is to convince the committing magistrate, not the individual making the affidavit and seeking the issuance of the warrant, of the existence of probable cause. Search warrants are not issued on loose, vague or doubtful basis of fact, or on mere suspicion or belief.
In the case at bar, petitioners capitalize on the first paragraph of the Application for Search Warrant executed by NBI SI Lacaran to support their argument that he lacked the personal knowledge required by both the Rules of Court and by jurisprudence. However, the very next paragraph of the application reveals the tremulous nature of their argument for it is clearly stated therein that far from merely relying on mere information and belief, NBI SI Lacaran personally verified the report and found [it] to be a fact. This, to our mind, removed the basis of his application from mere hearsay and supported the earlier finding of probable cause on the part of the examining judge. We cannot, thus, agree in his Order of 20 February 2004 quashing the search warrants he earlier issued on 14 November 2003. (G.R. No. 172775; December 19, 2007)