From Atty. Katrina Legarda - What you can do in police searches.

From Atty. Katrina Legarda – What you can do in police searches.

This is a great post from Atty. Katrina Legarda on the rights of a person in police searches. She posted it in reference to police searches that happened in Katipunan establishments.

We can apply this not just to police operations in Katipunan, but to similar operations anywhere. I note that Atty. Legarda’s post is consistent with current SC decisions and constitutional law principles. But it is impressive how she distills everything into something very easy to understand and remember. We should share this as it may come in handy one day. It is not just for students. Anyone can benefit from this knowledge.



Re reports of police searches that happened in Katipunan establishments.


1. If the police say they have coordinated with the establishments, then they can search those establishments, but said ‘coordination’ doesn’t extend to the patrons of these places.

If the owners of the establishment are concerned re possible illegal contrabands, they or their representative should be the one to conduct the search on the belongings of their patrons. It cannot be and should not be the representatives of the State (police) that will do it for them.

2. You can refuse the ‘search’ of the police. Police can only conduct a search if they have a valid search warrant. The warrant, if they have one, must specify what the police are looking for, and the place where the search is to be conducted. A blanket warrant (meaning: all encompassing warrant) is not allowed.

3. If you feel that refusing the search is to your disadvantage, you can open your bag but allow ‘visual search’ only. And make sure that another civilian person witnesses the entire process. Don’t allow the police to touch your things.

4. If you are a MINOR (17 y.o. and below), insist that an adult be present during the search. Call a friend, a parent, a relative, a teacher. Don’t allow the police to intimidate you.

5. The police should not touch you. Bawal kapkapan ang tao ng walang pahintulot.

6. In all these, be cordial, respectful and calm in dealing with the police. Remember that they are only following the instructions of their higher ups; remind them that you are familiar with your rights, and you know the parameters of searches with and without warrants

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