Have you eaten a fruit of ‘poisonous tree’?

Have you eaten a fruit of ‘poisonous tree’?


Toto Causing, the author



By BERTENI “TOTO” CATALUÑA CAUSING?
Editor-in-chief, Dyaryo Magdalo

WHAT IS THAT FRUIT OF POISONOUS TREE THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT?

Have they eaten or tasted it?

It is a legal jargon referring to an illegal act as the tree and evidence gotten from an illegal act as the fruit.

This applies only on those evidence EXPLICITLY or UNEQUIVOCALLY COVERED by Section 2 and Section 3 of Article III of the 1987 Constitution.

Section 2 states:

"Section 2. The right of the people 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."

Section 3 states:

"Section 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by law.
(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding."

This Section 2 refers to the right to security in the persons, houses, papers and effects.  This means that any person cannot be searched and seized; the house of a person cannot be searched or seized; the papers of a person cannot be searched or seized; and the effects of a person cannot be searched or seized.

Section 2 also means that the searches and seizures can only be allowed if there is a probable cause to be determined or established by the judge.

And to determine is for the judge to examine personally the complainant and the witnesses.  The complainant and the witnesses must be able to particularly describe the place to be searched or the place or the persons being sought to be searched or seized.

If these requirements set forth by Section 2 are not present, then the evidence gotten as a result of the order by the judge are "fruits of the poisonous tree."

Now, if the police conducted searches without any order from the judge, with more reason that the evidence gotten as a result be considered as "fruits of the poisonous tree."

A classic example is this: a policeman enters the house of a person without any authority from the judge, thereafter the police officer searched the house for evidence, consequently the police enforcer found illegal drugs.  These illegal drugs as evidence were gotten without any authority from the judge or without his plain view knowledge. These are therefore "fruits of the poisonous tree."

Under paragraph (1) of Section 3, it refers only to the private communications, such as LETTERS, MAILS and OTHER FORMS OF COMMUNICATIONS SUCH AS CELLULAR PHONE CALLS and TEXT MESSAGES.  These cannot be searched by any government enforcers or offices without any authority from the judge.

NOW, under paragraph (2) of Section 3, it says that the evidence gotten under the circumstances without any authority from the judge CANNOT BE USED in any proceeding, including impeachment proceeding, even for whatever purpose they are to be used, including the purpose of conviction in an impeachment trial.

FINALLY, the question is:

WAS THAT ALLEGED XEROX COPY GIVEN BY THE SUPPOSED "LITTLE LADY" TO THE PROSECUTION CONSIDERED A "FRUIT OF THE POISONOUS TREE"?

My answer is: IT DEPENDS.

If it is proven later it was taken by the acts of the prosecutors, then THAT XEROX COPY OF THE BANK ACCOUNTS OF CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA ARE "FRUITS OF THE POISONOUS TRUE."

If it was a private person who took that XEROX copy, then there is no violation of Sec. 2 and Sec. 3 of Article 3 of the Constitution.  This is so because the command of the Constitution is addressed only to the government and -- NOT to private persons.
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