What is the definition of arrest?
According to the Section 1, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure:
Section 1. Definition of arrest. – Arrest is the taking of a person into custody in order that he may be bound to answer for the commission of an offense.
So a person is arrested in order to put him under the control of the authorities and make him answer for a criminal offense.
What is the general rule as regards arrests?
For that, we have to go to Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, that states:
SEC. 2 The right of the peole to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause 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 persons or things to be seized.
So the general rule is no warrant, no arrest?
Yes. And please do try to remember this because this is a constitutional guarantee…
But of course, there are exemptions:
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. – A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it; and
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.
Can you give examples of each?
a. If a snatcher snatched the wallet of a police officer, obviously, he can arrest that guy without a warrant.
b. If a woman, just had her bag snatched, runs in tears to a police officer and points to a male person running away from the scene with a ladies handbag, the police officer can arrest the snatcher without a warrant. From this example, the police officer has probable cause to believe that a crime has just been committed and the snatcher was probably guilty (because who else runs away fast from somewhere with a ladies handbag when he is male?).
c. If a convict escapes while in captivity, the police officer naturally does not need to apply for a warrant because by then the convict would have been long gone.
What is the extend of the force allowed in effecting a warrant?
According to Section 2 of Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure:
No violence or unnecessary force shall be used in making an arrest. The person arrested shall not be subject to a greater restraint than is necessary for his detention.
Anything else to consider?
An officer making a lawful arrest may orally summon as many persons as he deems necessary to assist him in effecting the arrest. Every person so summoned by an officer shall assist him in effecting the arrest when he can render such assistance without detriment to himself.
An officer, in order to make an arrest either by virtue of a warrant, or without a warrant, may break into any building or enclosure where the person to be arrested is or is reasonably believed to be, if he is refused admittance thereto, after announcing his authority and purpose.
So in the case of hot pursuits, there is no need apply for a search warrant when a person to be arrested (be it with a warrant or without one, provided it is a valid warrantless arrest) goes into a house or building, contrary to what the police now says.
Of course, the police officer must likewise carefully assess the situation. If the person to be arrested goes into an armory, he should think twice. It’s only but logical…