SC warns courts vs. harassment warrants during poll period

MANILA With less than a month to go before the 2019 mid-term elections, the Supreme Court on Wednesday cautioned judges to be "very circumspect" in handing down search warrants.

The SC Office of Court Administrator's (OCA) circular comes at the heels of reports that search warrants have been used by politicians to harass their rivals.

OCA Circular No. 64-2019 stated that "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,"

"Courts must ensure their jurisdiction before entertaining applications for search warrants and conduct the proper proceedings before the same are issued," read the circular, which was signed by Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez.

Marquez warned that judges who disregard the requisites in 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," the circular stated, citing a 1937 ruling of the Supreme Court. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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