yeesuekuy-v-almeda.doc - FIRST DIVISION[G.R No 47021 YEE...

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FIRST DIVISION [G.R. No. 47021. June 25, 1940.] YEE SUE KOY and YEE TIP, ET AL., petitioners, vs. MARIANO G. ALMEDA and JOSE ESTRADA, ET AL., respondents. M. H. de Joya and Godofredo P. Escalona for petitioners. Adolfo N. Feliciano and Edmundo S. Picio for respondents. D E C I S I O N LAUREL, J p: In response to a sworn application of Mariano G. Almeda, chief agent of the Anti-Usury Board, dated May 5, 1938, the justice of the peace of Sagay, Occidental Negros, after taking the testimony of applicant's witness, Jose Estrada, special agent of the Anti-Usury Board, issued on the same date a search warrant commanding any peace officer to search during day time the store and premises occupied by Sam Sing & Co., situated at Sagay, Occidental Negros, as well as the person of said Sam Sing & Co., and to seize the documents, notebooks, lists. receipts and promissory notes being used by said Sam Sing & Co. in connection with their activities of lending money at usurious rates of interest in violation of law, or such as may be found, and to bring them forthwith before the aforesaid justice of the peace of Sagay. On the same date, May 5, 1938, at 10:30 a. m., search was accordingly made by Mariano G. Almeda, Jose Estrada, two internal revenue agents and two members of the Philippine Army, who seized certain receipt books, vales or promissory notes, chits, notebooks, journal book, and collection list belonging to Sam Sing & Co. and enumerated in the inventory receipt issued by Mariano G. Almeda to the owner of the documents, papers and articles seized. Immediately after the search and seizure thus effected, Mariano G. Almeda filed a return with the justice of the peace of Sagay together. with a request that the office of the Anti-Usury Board be allowed to retain possession of the articles seized for examination, pursuant to section 4 of Act 4109, which request was granted. The first unsuccessful effort exerted by Sam Sing & Co. with a view to recovering the articles seized, was when their attorney, Godofredo P. Escalona, under date of March 4, 1939, addressed a letter to the Executive Officer of the Anti-Usury Board requesting the return of said articles, on the ground that the search warrant and seizure of May 5, 1938 were illegal, only to receive the reply that the request "cannot be complied with until after they have served the purpose for which they were seized" and that "the return of the papers must be with the consent and knowledge of the court which issued the search warrant." Thereafter, under date of March 11, 1939, the same attorney filed a motion with the Court of First Instance of Occidental Negros praying that the search warrant issued on May 5, 1938 by the justice of the peace of Sagay and the seizure effected thereunder be declared illegal and set aside and that the articles in question be ordered returned to Sam Sing & Co., which motion was denied in the order dated July 24, 1939. A similar motion was presented to the justice of the peace of Sagay on October 27, 1939 but was denied the next day, October 28, 1939. Meanwhile, an information dated September 30, 1939 had been filed in the Court of First Instance of Occidental Negros, charging Yee Fock alias Yee Sue Koy, Y. Tip and

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