August 26, 2009
In an En Banc Resolution A.M. No. 08-4-4-SC dated July 7, 2009, the Supreme Court has relaxed the procedural requirement for search warrant applications filed before the regional trial courts of Manila and Quezon City by amending Section 12 of A.M. No. 03-8-02-SC or the Guidelines on the Selection and Appointment of Executive Judges and Defining their Powers, Prerogatives and Duties.
Section 12 of A.M. No. 03-8-02-SC empowers the Executive Judges and Vice-Executive Judges concerned to issue search warrants which may be served in places outside the territorial jurisdiction of the said courts. Provided, the applications shall be personally endorsed by the heads of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Anti-Crime Task Force (ACTAF) for search warrants involving in specific criminal offenses like violations of the Intellectual Property Code, among others.
The amendment introduced in Section 12 of A.M. No. 03-8-02-SC includes the continuing authority on the part of the head of the PNP and other heads of the abovementioned agencies to delegate to a subordinate or their respective duly authorized officials the endorsement of search warrant applications filed in Manila and Quezon City.
Prior to the amendment, the Executive Regional Trial Court Judges required that the applications for search warrants needed to be endorsed personally by head of the PNP, NBI and ACTAF of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Otherwise, the courts would not act on application.
With the amendment, all current as well as succeeding heads of the PNP, NBI and ACTAF of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or their respective duly authorized officials are now authorized to endorse applications for search warrants. This development will expedite the procedures in applying for search warrants and will eventually result in the effective enforcement of Intellectual Property rights in the country.