What is 'hot pursuit' and can the police use it to enter your property?

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
What is 'hot pursuit' and can the police use it to enter your property?
The undated file photo shows a patrol car of the Makati City Police Station.
File photo

MANILA, Philippines — An attempted warrantless arrest on a man in a gated subdivision in Makati City has raised concerns over police officers entering private property without a court order, a point that Javier Salvador Parra, the man involved, raised in a video of the incident.

In a statement sent to Philstar.com, Parra said his helper Chenelyn told him that Makati police wanted to fine him P1000 for having her water the garden without a face mask. He said this led him to go “outside and inquire why.” The confrontation led to the police officer taking him down and telling him he would be arrested.

Two videos of the incident have surfaced: One released by Parra and another released by Joint Task Force Coronavirus Shield and that showed Parra confronting a police officer outside his house.

Parra repeatedly stepped onto the street to continue talking to and later walk towards the cop and barangay tanod as if to confront them, while he told them to “get out of here” and later threw expletives at them.

The PNP said that police attempted to restrain Parra “but he resisted.”

Neither video shows what prompted the police to try to arrest Parra or on what offense would the arrest be made.

The PNP said the Makati police will file a complaint against Parra but did not say what violation he allegedly committed.

When is a warrantless arrest allowed?

The Rules of Criminal Procedure hold that a warrantless arrest may be executed under the following instances:

  • When, in his presence (officer), the person has committed, is actually committing or is attempting to commit an offense
  • 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, and he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it
  • When the person to be arrested is an escaped prisoner

The rules also state that when effecting a warrantless arrest, “the officer shall inform the person to be arrested of his authority and the cause of the arrest, unless the latter is either engaged in the commission of an offense, is pursued immediately after its commission, has escaped, flees or forcibly resists before the officer has opportunity so to inform him, or when giving of such information will imperil the arrest.”

An officer may also “break into a building or enclosure” where the offender is believed to be “after announcing his authority and purpose.”

Can the police enter a private property to effect a warrantless arrest?

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra explained Monday that an officer may enter the private property of an individual, “assuming that a criminal offense has in fact been committed in the presence of the police officer and the offender flees."

He explained that the rule on warrantless arrest applies “when an offense has just been committed and the law enforcer has probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed it, then the law enforcer may effect a valid arrest without warrant.”

The officer may pursue the offender “if the latter enters a private property (hot pursuit principle),” Guevarra added.

But the Justice chief stressed that this may only apply if a criminal offense was committed.

“If no offense has been committed at all, or the law enforcer has no personal knowledge of the facts, the hot pursuit principle cannot apply,” he said.

Guevarra also stressed that this explanation on the principle of hot pursuit and does not mean “prejudging the specific Dasmariñas Village case.”



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