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Where to File the Application for a Search Warrant


Section 2. Court where application for search warrant shall be filed.  An application for search warrant shall be filed with the following:

(a) Any court within whose territorial jurisdiction a crime was committed.

(b)   For compelling reasons stated in the application, any court within the judicial region where the crime was committed if the place of the commission of the crime is known, or any court within the judicial region where the warrant shall be enforced.

However, if the criminal action has already been filed, the application shall only be made in the court where the criminal action is pending. (Rule 126, Rules of Court)


Where to File the Application for a Search Warrant

A.  No criminal action has yet been filed:
  1.  Any court within whose territorial jurisdiction the crime was committed.
  2.  For compelling reasons stated in the application, any court within the judicial region where the crime was committed if the place of the commission of the crime is known, or any court within the judicial region where the warrant shall be enforced.

B.  Criminal action has already been filed:

      The application shall only be made in the court where the criminal action is pending.


Exceptions:

1.) A.M. No. 03-8-02-SC (took effect on 15 February 2004)

Sec. 12. Issuance of search warrants in special criminal cases by the Regional Trial Courts of Manila and Quezon City. – The Executive Judges and, whenever they are on official leave of absence or are not physically present in the station, the Vice-Executive Judges of the RTCs of Manila and Quezon City shall have authority to act on applications filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Anti-Crime Task Force (ACTAF), for search warrants involving

1. heinous crimes,
2. illegal gambling,
3. illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions as well as
4. violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002,
5. the Intellectual Property Code,
6. the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001,
7. the Tariff and Customs Code, as amended, and
8. other relevant laws that may hereafter be enacted by Congress, and included herein by the Supreme Court.

The applications shall be personally endorsed by the heads of such agencies and shall particularly describe therein the places to be searched and/or the property or things to be seized as prescribed in the Rules of Court. The Executive Judges and Vice-Executive Judges concerned shall issue the warrants, if justified, which may be served in places outside the territorial jurisdiction of the said courts.

The Executive Judges and the authorized Judges shall keep a special docket book listing names of Judges to whom the applications are assigned, the details of the applications and the results of the searches and seizures made pursuant to the warrants issued.

This Section shall be an exception to Section 2 of Rule 126 of the Rules of Court.


2.) If the nature of the violation would constitute a transitory or continuing offense, application for search warrant may be filed in any court where any element of the alleged offense was committed. (Sony Computer vs Supergreen, Inc. G.R. No. 161823, March 22, 2007)


Cases:

● Petitioners contend that the application for search warrant was defective. They aver that the application for search warrant filed by SI Lagasca was not personally endorsed by the NBI Head, Director Wycoco, but instead endorsed only by Deputy Director Nasol and that while SI Lagasca declared that Deputy Director Nasol was commissioned to sign the authorization letter in behalf of Director Wycoco, the same was not duly substantiated. Petitioners conclude that the absence of the signature of Director Wycoco was a fatal defect that rendered the application on the questioned search warrant void per se, and the issued search warrant null and void because the spring cannot rise above its source.

We disagree. Nothing in A.M. No. 99-10-09-SC prohibits the heads of the PNP, NBI, PAOC-TF and REACT-TF from delegating their ministerial duty of endorsing the application for search warrant to their assistant heads. Under Section 31, Chapter 6, Book IV of the Administrative Code of 1987, an assistant head or other subordinate in every bureau may perform such duties as may be specified by their superior or head, as long as it is not inconsistent with law. (Marimla vs People, G.R. No. 158467, October 16, 2009)


● Facts: Supergreen's imitation of the general appearance of Sony's goods was allegedly done in Cavite. It sold the goods allegedly in Mandaluyong City. The NBI applied with RTC of Manila for warrants to search Supergreen's premises in Paranaque City and Cavite. The RTC of Manila issued the warrants.

Held: The alleged acts would constitute a transitory or continuing offense. Thus, clearly, under Section 2 (b) of Rule 126, Section 168 of Rep. Act No. 8293 and Article 189 (1) of the Revised Penal Code, petitioner may apply for a search warrant in any court where any element of the alleged offense was committed, including any of the courts within the National Capital Region (Metro Manila). (Sony Computer vs Supergreen, Inc.)

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