SC to judges: No politics in issuance of search warrants
MANILA, Philippines–The Supreme Court’s Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) enjoined judges to be “very circumspect” in issuing search warrants to make sure that they are not being used for political purposes.
With the upcoming midterm elections, the OCA was prompted to issue a reminder to judges following reports that search warrants have been used by politicians to harass rivals.
“Acting on reports that the courts are being used by unscrupulous politicians to obtain search warrants against rivals during this election period, all judges are hereby reminded and advised to remain impartial and non-partisan,” read the OCA Circular No. 64-2019.
Under the law, a search warrant is an order in writing issued by a judge that orders a peace officer to search a property and bring it before the court.
The Supreme Court said search warrant is a criminal process akin to a mode of discovery.
“Courts must ensure their jurisdiction before entertaining applications for search warrants and conduct the proper proceedings before the same are issued,” read the circular signed by Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez.
Marquez warned that judges who disregarded the requisites of a search warrant constitutes grave abuse of discretion.
“…Of all the rights of a citizen, few are of greater importance or more essential to his peace and happiness than the right of personal security, and that involves the exemption of his private affairs, books and papers from inspection and scrutiny of others,” read the circular quoting a 1937 ruling of the Supreme Court./gsg
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