People v. Gako, GR 135045, 15 December 2000
Whether Judge Gako’s grant of bail to Go was proper.
The assailed Order granting bail is legally infirm for failing to conform with the requirement that in cases when the granting of bail is not a matter of right, a hearing for that purpose must first be conducted. Section 13, Article III of the Constitution provides the instances when bail is a matter of right or discretionary, Section 7, Article 114 of the Rules of Court, as amended, reiterates that "no person charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, when evidence of guilt is strong, shall be admitted to bail regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution.” Based on the foregoing, bail is not a matter of right with respect to persons charged with a crime the penalty for which is reclusion perpetua, life imprisonment, or death, when the evidence of guilt is strong. Go, accused in the criminal case, was charged with murder, before the passage of RA 7659, the law that re-imposed the death penalty. Murder then was a crime punishable by reclusion perpetua. Thus, accused Go’s right to bail is merely discretionary. When bail is discretionary, a hearing, whether summary or otherwise in the discretion of the court, should first be conducted to determine the existence of strong evidence or lack of it, against the accused to enable the judge to make an intelligent assessment of the evidence presented by the parties. It is inconceivable how Judge Gako, Jr. could have appreciated the strength or weakness of the evidence of guilt of the accused when he did not even bother to hear the prosecution.
The reliance of Judge Gako, Jr. on the “voluminous records” of the case simply does not suffice. As judge, he was mandated to conduct a hearing on the petition for bail of the accused since he knew that the crime charged is one that carries a penalty of reclusion perpetua, and in that hearing, the prosecution is entitled to present its evidence. It is worth stressing that the prosecution is equally entitled to due process
Further, the order granting bail issued by Judge Gako, Jr. merely made a conclusion without a summary of the evidence, a substantive and formal defect that voids the grant of bail. Well settled is the rule that after the hearing, whether the bail is granted or denied, the presiding judge is mandated to prepare a summary of the evidence for the prosecution. The judge’s findings were based on the summary clinical report of Dr. Matiga dated 4 February 1997 while the order granting bail was issued on 10 November 1997. It could not therefore be reasonably assumed that the actual state of health of Go could still be accurately reflected by the said medical report when 9 months had already passed from the time that said medical report was prepared. It was therefore clear error for Judge Gako, Jr. to depend solely on the dated medical report in granting bail when the defense failed to present a more recent one that would convincingly raise strong grounds to apprehend that the imprisonment of the accused would endanger his life.
Go vs. Bongolan, AM 99-1464, 26 July 1999
On November 10, 1997, in the province of Abra, Balmores, Reynaldo, PO1 Molina, Cacal, and three other John Does, allegedly kidnapped and detained Samuel Go. The vehicle he was in during his transport from Abra to Ilocos Sur was intercepted by the PNP wherein Go was recovered.
A case was filed against the accused for kidnapping with ransom. The prosecution recommended no bail for the accused as the penalty for the crime allegedly committed is punishable with reclusion perpetua to death.
Balmores filed a motion, asking for the amendment of the information from kidnapping with ransom to simple kidnapping, alleging that the evidence presented did not show that the kidnapping was for ransom. Respondent Judge Benjamin Bongolan of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) denied Balmores’ motion, holding that it is the State that determines the contents of the information and it is the State's responsibility to prove its allegation contained in the information under the principle of `allegata et probata'.
Molina and Cacal, as allowed by the RTC, filed their separate memorandum for motion for bail, reiterating the claim that prosecution failed to prove kidnapping for ransom. The prosecution asserted that the motion was prematurely filed since they are still in the process of presenting further evidence to prove the commission of the crime.
Judge Bongolan subsequently granted the motions for bail, holding that the prosecution did not show that the evidence of guilt is strong. He, however, gave the prosecution 10 days to file its motion for reconsideration.
Before such motion could be filed, the accused were already released, through the order by Judge Alberto Banesa, the designated pairing judge of Judge Bongolan, which he issued based on seeing that Judge Bongolan already approved the motion for bail. Judge Bongolan was unaware of the accused release since he was in the hospital. Subsequently, Judge Bongolan denied the prosecution’s motion for reconsideration.
Whether or not Judge Bongolan correctly granted the accused motion for bail before hearing the bail application.
No. Judge Bongolan incorrectly granted the accused motion for bail. Complaints involving irregular approval of bailbond and issuance of order release appear to be a common offense of judges. A bail hearing is necessary to give the prosecution reasonable opportunity to oppose the application by showing that the evidence of guilt is strong.
It is true that when asked by Judge Bongolan whether the prosecution would present additional evidence, Prosecutor Gayao responded in the negative. Subsequently, however, the prosecution changed its mind when it stated in its Opposition that a resolution of the Motion for admission to bail would be premature since it has additional witnesses to present. In his Comment, Judge Bongolan contends that it is not necessary for the prosecution to present all its witnesses before he could resolve the motion for bail. The stance cannot be sustained.
In Borinaga v. Tamin, the Court ruled that the prosecution must be given an opportunity to present its evidence within a reasonable time whether the motion for bail of an accused who is in custody for a capital offense be resolved in a summary proceeding or in the course of a regular trial. If the prosecution is denied such an opportunity, there would be a violation of procedural due process. The records show that the prosecution was supposed to present its 6th and 7th witnesses on June 4, 1998 when Judge Bongolan prematurely resolved the motion. A bail application does not only involve the right of the accused to temporary liberty, but likewise the right of the State to protect the people and the peace of the community from dangerous elements. These two rights must be balanced by a magistrate in the scale of justice, hence, the necessity for hearing to guide his exercise of discretion.
Paderanga vs. Drilon, 247 SCRA 741 (1995)
On 28 January 1990, Paderanga was belatedly charged in an amended information as a co-conspirator in the crime of multiple murder in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 18 of Cagayan de Oro City for the killing of members of the Bucag family sometime in 1984 of which Paderanga was the mayor at the time. The original information, filed on 6 October 1986 with the Regional Trial Court of Gingoog City, had initially indicted for multiple murder 8 accused suspect, namely, Felipe Galarion, Manuel Sabit, Cesar Sabit, Julito Ampo, Eddie Torion, John Doe, Peter Doe And Richard Doe as the alleged conspirators in the indiscriminate slaying of the spouses Romeo and Juliet Bucag and their son, Romeo, Jr. However, only one of the accused, Felipe Galarion, was apprehended, tried and eventually convicted. Galarion later escaped from prison. The others have remained at large up to the present. In a bizarre twist of events, one Felizardo Roxas was implicated in the crime. As Paderanga was his former employer and thus knew him well, Roxas engaged the former's services as counsel in said case. Ironically, in the course of the preliminary investigation therein, Paderanga, in a signed affidavit which he later retracted on 20 June 1990, implicated Paderanga as the supposed mastermind behind the massacre of the Bucag family. Pursuant to a resolution of the new prosecutor dated 6 September 1989, Paderanga was finally charged as a co-conspirator in said criminal case in a second amended information dated 6 October 1992. Paderanga assailed his inclusion therein as a co-accused all the way to the Supreme Court in GR 96080 entitled "Atty. Miguel P. Paderanga vs. Hon. Franklin M. Drilon, Hon. Silvestre H. Bello III, Atty. Henrick F. Gingoyon, Helen B. Canoy and Rebecca B. Tan." In an en banc decision promulgated on 19 April 1991, the Court sustained the filing of the second amended information against him.
The trial of the base was all set to start with the issuance of an arrest warrant for Paderanga's apprehension but, before it could be served on him, Paderanga through counsel, filed on 28 October 1992 a motion for admission to bail with the trial court which set the same for hearing on 5 November 1992. As Paderanga was then confined at the Cagayan Capitol College General Hospital due to "acute costochondritis," his counsel manifested that they were submitting custody over the person of their client to the local chapter president of the integrated Bar of the Philippines and that, for purposes of said hearing of his bail application, he considered being in the custody of the law. ProsecutorAbejo, on the other hand, informed the trial court that in accordance with the directive of the chief of their office, Regional State prosecutor Jesus Zozobrado, the prosecution was neither supporting nor opposing the application for bail and that they were submitting the same to the sound discretion of the trail judge. Upon further inquiries from the trial court, Prosecutor Abejo announced that he was waiving any further presentation of evidence. On that note and in a resolution dated 5 November 1992, the trial court admitted Paderanga to bail in the amount of P200,000.00. The following day, 6 November 1992, Paderanga, apparently still weak but well enough to travel by then, managed to personally appear before the clerk of court of the trial court and posted bail in the amount thus fixed. He was thereafter arraigned and in the trial that ensued, he also personally appeared and attended all the scheduled court hearings of the case. On 1 October 1993, Prosecutor Gingoyon elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals through a special civil action for certiorari. The resolution and the order of the trial court granting bail to Paderanga were annulled on 24 November 1993 by the appellate court. Paderanga filed the petition for review before the Supreme Court.
Whether or not Paderanga was in the custody of the law when he filed his motion for admission to bail.
Paderanga had indeed filed his motion for admission to bail before he was actually and physically placed under arrest. He may, however, therefore, be considered as being constructively and legally under custody. Thus in the likewise peculiar circumstance which attended the filing of his bail application with the trial court, for purposes of the hearing thereof he should be deemed to have voluntarily submitted his person to the custody of the law and, necessarily, to the jurisdiction of the trial court which thereafter granted bail as prayed for. Paderanga, through his counsel, emphatically made it known to the prosecution and to the trail court during the hearing for bail that he could not personally appear as he was then confined at the nearby Cagayan Capitol College General Hospital for acute costochondritis, and could not then obtain medical clearance to leave the hospital Certainly, it would have taken but the slightest effort to place Paderanga in the physical custody of the authorities, since he was then incapacitated and under medication in a hospital bed just over a kilometer away, by simply ordering his confinement or placing him under guard. Thus, Paderanga was by then in the constructive custody of the law.
Enrile vs. Sandiganbayan (Third Division), GR 213847, 18 August 2015
The Office of the Ombudsman charged Enrile, 90 years of age, and several others with plunder in the Sandiganbayan on the basis of their purported involvement in the diversion and misuse of appropriations under the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). Upon voluntary surrender, Enrile filed his Motion for Detention at the PNP General Hospital, and his Motion to Fix Bail. Enrile claims that before judgment of conviction, an accused is entitled to bail as matter of right; that it is the duty and burden of the Prosecution to show clearly and conclusively that Enrile comes under the exception and cannot be excluded from enjoying the right to bail; that the Prosecution has failed to establish that Enrile, if convicted of plunder, is punishable by reclusion perpetua considering the presence of two mitigating circumstances – his age and his voluntary surrender; that the Prosecution has not come forward with proof showing that his guilt for the crime of plunder is strong; and that he should not be considered a flight risk taking into account that he is already over the age of 90, his medical condition, and his social standing. In its Comment, the Ombudsman contends that Enrile’s right to bail is discretionary as he is charged with a capital offense; that to be granted bail, it is mandatory that a bail hearing be conducted to determine whether there is strong evidence of his guilt, or the lack of it; and that entitlement to bail considers the imposable penalty, regardless of the attendant circumstances.
Whether or not Enrile is entitled to Bail.
Yes, Enrile is entitled to bail as a matter of right based on humanitarian grounds.For his social and political standing and his having immediately surrendered to the authorities upon his being charged in court indicate that the risk of his flight or escape from this jurisdiction is highly unlikely. His personal disposition from the onset of his indictment for plunder, formal or otherwise, has demonstrated his utter respect for the legal processes of this country. We also do not ignore that at an earlier time many years ago when he had been charged with rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated murder, he already evinced a similar personal disposition of respect for the legal processes, and was granted bail during the pendency of his trial because he was not seen as a flight risk. With his solid reputation in both his public and his private lives, his long years of public service, and history’s judgment of him being at stake, he should be granted bail.
Lavides vs. CA, GR 129670, 1 February 2000
Manolet Lavides was arrested on April 3, 1997 for child abuse under R.A. No. 7610 and that his arrest was made without a warrant as a result of an entrapment conducted by the police. Based on the sworn statement of complainant and the affidavits of the arresting officers, which were submitted at the inquest, an information for violation of Art. III, §5(b) of R.A. No. 7610 was filed on April 7, 1997 against petitioner in the Regional Trial Court, Quezon City
On April 10, 1997, Lavides filed an "Omnibus Motion (1) For Judicial Determination of Probable Cause; (2) For the Immediate Release of the Accused Unlawfully Detained on an Unlawful Warrantless Arrest; and (3) In the Event of Adverse Resolution of the Above Incident, Herein Accused be Allowed to Bail as a Matter of Right under the Law on Which He is Charged
On April 29, 1997, nine more informations for child abuse were filed against Lavides by the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office by the same complainant, Lorelie San Miguel, and by three other minor children, Mary Ann Tardesilla, Jennifer Catarman, and Annalyn Talingting
No bail was recommended for the cases. Nonetheless, Lavides filed separate applications for bail in the nine cases. The court resolved the Omnibus Motion on May 16, 1997 wherein it allowed Lavides to post bail amounting to Php 80,000.00 per case for a total of Php 800,000.00 subject to the following conditions to wit:
a) The accused shall not be entitled to a waiver of appearance during the trial of these cases. He shall and must always be present at the hearings of these cases;
b) In the event that he shall not be able to do so, his bail bonds shall be automatically cancelled and forfeited, warrants for his arrest shall be immediately issued and the cases shall proceed to trial in absentia;
c) The hold-departure Order of this Court dated April 10, 1997 stands; and
d) Approval of the bail bonds shall be made only after the arraignment to enable this Court to immediately acquire jurisdiction over the accused;
3. Let these cases be set for arraignment on May 23, 1997 at 8:30 o'clock in the morning.
On May 20, 1997, petitioner filed a motion to quash the informations against him, except those filed in Criminal Case No. Q-97-70550 or Q-97-70866. Pending resolution of his motion, he asked the trial court to suspend the arraignment scheduled on May 23, 1997.Then on May 22, 1997, he filed a motion in which he prayed that the amounts of bail bonds be reduced to P40,000.00 for each case and that the same be done prior to his arraignment.
On June 2, 1997, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari (CA-G.R. SP No. 44316) in the Court of Appeals, assailing the trial court's order, dated May 16, 1997, and its two orders, dated May 23, 1997, denying his motion to quash and maintaining the conditions set forth in its order of May 16, 1997, respectively.
While the case was pending in the Court of Appeals, two more informations were filed against petitioner, bringing the total number of cases against him to 12, which were all consolidated.
The appellate court eventually invalidated the first two conditions imposed in the May 16, 1997 order for the grant of bail to petitioner but ruled that the issue concerning the validity of the condition making arraignment a prerequisite for the approval of petitioner's bail bonds to be moot and academic.
Whether the court should impose the condition that the accused shall ensure his presence during the trial of these cases before the bail can be granted.
In cases where it is authorized, bail should be granted before arraignment, otherwise the accused may be precluded from filing a motion to quash. For if the information is quashed and the case is dismissed, there would then be no need for the arraignment of the accused. In the second place, the trial court could ensure the presence of petitioner at the arraignment precisely by granting bail and ordering his presence at any stage of the proceedings, such as arraignment. Under Rule 114, §2(b) of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, one of the conditions of bail is that "the accused shall appear before the proper court whenever so required by the court or these Rules," while under Rule 116, §1(b) the presence of the accused at the arraignment is required.
On the other hand, to condition the grant of bail to an accused on his arraignment would be to place him in a position where he has to choose between (1) filing a motion to quash and thus delay his release on bail because until his motion to quash can be resolved, his arraignment cannot be held, and (2) foregoing the filing of a motion to quash so that he can be arraigned at once and thereafter be released on bail. These scenarios certainly undermine the accused's constitutional right not to be put on trial except upon valid complaint or information sufficient to charge him with a crime and his right to bail.
People vs. San Diego, 26 SCRA 522 (1968)
The accused were charged for murder. The prosecution and the defense agreed that the motions for bail of the defendants would be considered in the course of the regular trial instead of in a summary proceeding. In the course of the regular trial, after the prosecution had presented eight witnesses, the trial court resolved the motions for bail granting the same despite the objection of the prosecution on the ground that it still had material witnesses to present. Bail was granted on the ground that the evidence of guilt was not strong.
ISSUE: Whether or not the prosecution was deprived of procedural due process when trial court granted bail without allowing the prosecution to present their other witnesses.
Yes. Whether the motion for bail of a defendant who is in custody for a capital offense be resolved in a summary proceeding or in the course of a regular trial, the prosecution must be given an opportunity to present, within a reasonable time, all the evidence that it may desire to introduce before the court should resolve the motion for bail. If, as in the criminal case involved in the instant special civil action, the prosecution should be denied such an opportunity, there would be a violation of procedural due process, and the order of the court granting bail should be considered void on that ground. The orders complained of dated October 7, 9 and 12, 1968, having been issued in violation of procedural due process, must be considered null and void.
The court’s discretion to grant bail in capital offenses must be exercised in the light of a summary of the evidence presented by the prosecution; otherwise, it would be uncontrolled and might be capricious or whimsical. Hence, the court’s order granting or refusing bail must contain a summary of the evidence for the prosecution followed by its conclusion whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong. The orders of October 7, 9 and 12, 1968, granting bail to the five defendants are defective in form and substance because they do not contain a summary of the evidence presented by the prosecution. They only contain the court’s conclusion that the evidence of guilt is not strong. Being thus defective in form and substance, the orders complained of cannot, also on this ground, be allowed to stand.
Herras Teehankee vs. Rovira, 75 Phil 634 (1945)
Haydee Herras Teehankee is a political prisoner for the crime of treason. Her husband, Alberto, filed a petition, her immediate release be ordered on the ground that no evidence exists upon which she could be charged with any act punishable by law, or, alternatively, that the People's Court fix the bail for her provisional liberty. One of the Associate Judges ordered her provisional release under a bond of P50,000. However, the presiding judge and the other Associate Judge entered an order to deny the same.
Hence, this petition for writs of certiorari and mandamus.
Whether or not the petition for provisional release under bail be denied.
No, the Court ruled that a hearing of the petitioner's application for bail be held.
Article III, section 1(16), of the Commonwealth Constitution refers to all persons, not only to persons against whom a complaint or information has already been formally filed, it lays down the rule that all persons shall before conviction be bailable except those charged with capital offenses when evidence of guilt is strong.
Upon application by a political prisoner or detainee to the People's Court for provisional release under bail, a hearing, summary or otherwise, should be held with due notice to the Office of Special Prosecutors, as well as to the prisoner or detainee.
While it is true that the Solicitor General recommended Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000) as a reasonable bail "on the strength of the evidence at hand," it may happen that thereafter his office may have secured additional evidence which, in addition to or in connection with that he already possessed, in his opinion is sufficiently strong to prove petitioner's guilt for a capital offense, in which case, he may yet decide to oppose the application for bail heretofore filed by the petitioner at the hearing thereof.
Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region vs. Olalia, GR 153675, 19 April 2007
Private respondent Muñoz was charged before the Hong Kong Court with three (3) counts of the offense of “accepting an advantage as agent,” in violation of Section 9 (1) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, Cap. 201 of Hong Kong. Petitioner Hong Kong Special Administrative Region filed with the RTC of Manila petition for the extradition of private respondent. After hearing, Judge Bernardo, Jr. issued an Order denying the petition for bail, holding that there is no Philippine law granting bail in extradition cases and that private respondent is a high “flight risk.” Judge Bernardo, Jr. inhibited himself from further hearing and the case was raffled off to another judge. Private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration of the Order denying his application for bail. The application for bail was granted by respondent judge. Petitioner filed an urgent motion to vacate the above Order, but it was denied. Hence, the instant petition.
Whether or not a potential extraditee has a right to bail.
The modern trend in public international law is the primacy placed on the worth of the individual person and the sanctity of human rights. Slowly, the recognition that the individual person may properly be a subject of international law is now taking root. The vulnerable doctrine that the subjects of international law are limited only to states was dramatically eroded towards the second half of the past century. For one, the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials after World War II resulted in the unprecedented spectacle of individual defendants for acts characterized as violations of the laws of war, crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity. Recently, under the Nuremberg principle, Serbian leaders have been persecuted for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the former Yugoslavia. These significant events show that the individual person is now a valid subject of international law.
On a more positive note, also after World War II, both international organizations and states gave recognition and importance to human rights. Thus, on 1948 December 10, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in which the right to life, liberty and all the other fundamental rights of every person were proclaimed. While not a treaty, the principles contained in the said Declaration are now recognized as customarily binding upon the members of the international community. Thus, in Mejoff vs. Director of Prisons, this Court, in granting bail to a prospective deportee, held that under the Constitution, the principles set forth in that Declaration are part of the law of the land. In 1966, the UN General Assembly also adopted the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which the Philippines signed and ratified. Fundamental among the rights enshrined therein are the rights of every person to life, liberty, and due process.
If bail can be granted in deportation cases, we see no justification why it should not also be allowed in extradition cases. Likewise, considering that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights applies to deportation cases, there is no reason why it cannot be invoked in extradition cases. After all, both are administrative proceedings where the innocence or guilt of the person detained is not in issue. Clearly, the right of a prospective extraditee to apply for bail in this jurisdiction must be viewed in the light of the various treaty obligations of the Philippines concerning respect for the promotion and protection of human rights. Under these treaties, the presumption lies in favor of human liberty. Thus, the Philippines should see to it that the right to liberty of every individual is not impaired.
Perez vs. People, GR 164763, 12 February 2008
- Zenon Perez, the herein petitioner , was under cash examination of his account conducted by Auditor I Arlene R. Mandin, Provincial Auditor’s Office, Bohol.
- The findings of Cash examination indicated that he was short of Php 72,784 a discrepancy of the amount found in his safe which is Php21,331.79 from the supposed money in hand with total amount of Php94,16.36. Accordingly, the result of examination was contained in Cash Production Notice where he was informed and required to produce the missing funds and the cash count sheet signed and acknowledged by him indicating the correctness of the amount found in his safe and counted in his presented. Thereafter, a demand letter was issued to him requiring the production of the missing funds.
- He explained to the Auditing team that the missing funds was used to pay for the loan of his late brother and another portion was spent for the food of his family and the rest for his medicine.
- Hence, the auditor prepared a memorandum addressed to the Provincial Auditor of Bohol recommending the filing of the appropriate criminal case against him.
- Thereafter, he partly remitted the amounts 1.) Php 10k and Php15k; 2.) Php 35k; 3.) Php2k and Php 2784.00, until he fully restituted the missing total amount.
- However, he was charged before the Sandiganbayan with Malversation of public funds under Art 217 of the RPC. Thereafter, he pleaded not guilty. However, Sandiganbayan rendered finding the accused beyond reasonable doubt of the said crime.
The petitioner then appealed at the SC claiming that he was violated the right to a speedy trial and due process, as over 13 years had passed before the case had been filed against him and that the sentence imposed upon him is cruel and violates section 19 of Art III of the Constitution.
Whether or not petitioner contention in his First Answer should not have been given probative weight because it was executed without the assistance of counsel is valid
No. There is no law, jurisprudence or rule which mandates that an employee should be assisted by counsel in an administrative case. On the contrary, jurisprudence is in unison in saying that assistance of counsel is not indispensable in administrative proceedings
The right to counsel, which cannot be waived unless the waiver is in writing and in the presence of counsel, is a right afforded a suspect or accused during custodial investigation. It is not an absolute right and may be invoked or rejected in a criminal proceeding and, with more reason, in an administrative inquiry.
While investigations conducted by an administrative body may at times be akin to a criminal proceeding, the fact remains that under existing laws, a party in an administrative inquiry may or may not be assisted by counsel, irrespective of the nature of the charges and of respondent’s capacity to represent himself, and no duty rests on such body to furnish the person being investigated with counsel.
Thus, the right to counsel is not imperative in administrative investigations because such inquiries are conducted merely to determine whether there are facts that merit disciplinary measures against erring public officers and employees, with the purpose of maintaining the dignity of government service.
There is nothing in the Constitution that says that a party in a non-litigation proceeding is entitled to be represented by counsel and that, without such representation, he shall not be bound by such proceedings. The assistance of lawyers, while desirable, is not indispensable. The legal profession was not engrafted in the due process clause such that without the participation of its members, the safeguard is deemed ignored or violated. The ordinary citizen is not that helpless that he cannot validly act at all except only with a lawyer at his side.not give a reasonable excuse for its disappearance. An accountable public officer may be convicted of malversation even if there is no direct evidence of misappropriation and the only evidence is shortage in his accounts which he has not been able to explain satisfactorily.
Verily, an accountable public officer may be found guilty of malversation even if there is no direct evidence of malversation because the law establishes a presumption that mere failure of an accountable officer to produce public funds which have come into his hands on demand by an officer duly authorized to examine his accounts is prima facie case of conversion.
Because of the prima facie presumption in Article 217, the burden of evidence is shifted to the accused to adequately explain the location of the funds or property under his custody or control in order to rebut the presumption that he has appropriated or misappropriated for himself the missing funds. Failing to do so, the accused may be convicted under the said provision.
People vs. Lauga, GR 186228, 15 March 2010
Antonio Lauga was accused of qualified rape committed against his 13-year old daughter. One of the witnesses for the prosecution was Moises Boy Banting, a bantay bayan in the barangay. Banting testified that after his assistance was sought, he proceeded to Lauga's house and found the latter wearing only his underwear. He invited Lauga to the police station, to which Lauga obliged. At the police outpost, Lauga admitted to him that he raped his daughter AAA because he was unable to control himself. Lauga contested the admissibility in evidence of his alleged confession with Banting. He argues that even if he, indeed, confessed to Moises Boy Banting, a “bantay bayan,” the confession was inadmissible in evidence because he was not assisted by a lawyer and there was no valid waiver of such requirement.
Is the extrajudicial confession made before a bantay bayan without the assistance of a lawyer admissible in evidence.
No. Bantay bayan is a group of male residents living in the area organized for the purpose of keeping peace in their community. Barangay-based volunteer organizations in the nature of watch groups, as in the case of the “bantay bayan,” are recognized by the local government unit to perform functions relating to the preservation of peace and order at the barangay level. Thus, without ruling on the legality of the actions taken by Moises Boy Banting, and the specific scope of duties and responsibilities delegated to a “bantay bayan,” particularly on the authority to conduct a custodial investigation, any inquiry he makes has the color of a state-related function and objective insofar as the entitlement of a suspect to his constitutional rights provided for under Article III, Section 12 of the Constitution, otherwise known as the Miranda Rights, is concerned. Therefore, the extrajudicial confession of appellant taken without counsel was inadmissible in evidence.
Ho Wai Pang vs. People, GR 176229 (2011)
FACTS: The UAE Airlines Flight from Hongkong arrived at the NAIA. 13 passengers were Hongkong nationals. At the arrival area, the group leader presented a Baggage Declaration Form to Customs Examiner Gilda Cinco.
Cinco examined the baggages of each of the 13 passengers. Upon examining the second bag, she noticed chocolate boxes which were almost of the same size as those in the first bag. She took out 4 of the chocolate boxes and opened one. She saw inside was white crystalline substance contained in a white transparent plastic. After calling the attention of her immediate superiors, she guided the tourists to the Intensive Counting Unit while bringing with her the 4 chocolate boxes earlier discovered.
18 chocolate boxes were recovered from the baggages of the 6 accused, including Petitioner Ho Wai Pang.
A NARCOM Agent conducted a test on the white crystalline substance contained in said chocolate boxes. The result of his examination yielded positive for shabu. Thereafter, the chocolate boxes were bundled together with tape, placed inside a plastic bag and brought to the Inbond Section.
The 13 tourists were brought to the NBI for further questioning. Out of the 13 tourists, the NBI found evidence for violation of R.A. No. 6425 only as against petitioner Ho Wai Pang and his 5 co-accused. Initially, 6 Informations were filed. However, Ho Wai Pang filed a Motion for Reinvestigation and the reinvestigation gave way to a finding of conspiracy among the accused and this resulted to the filing of a single Amended Information. All the accused pleaded not guilty to the crime charged. All invoked denial as their defense. They claimed their traveling bags were provided by the travel agency.
Whether the violation of the petitioner's right to counsel made the evidence taken from the petitioner inadmissible.
The SC held in the negative. The SC reiterated that infractions to the accused during the custodial investigation render only extrajudicial confession or admissions of the suspect inadmissible as evidence.
Also, the guilt of Pang was based on the testimony of Cinco when she caught Pang in flagrante delicto transporting shabu.
People vs. Luvendino, 211 SCRA 36 (1992)
On the morning of 17 January 1983, 18-year old Rowena Capcap left her home at Deva Village, Tambak, Taguig, Metro Manila to attend classes at the University of Manila where she was a sophomore commerce student. She would usually be home by 7:30 to 8:00 on school evenings, 1 but on that tragic day, she would not reach home alive. On that particular evening, her father Panfilo Capcap arriving home from work at around 7:30 p.m., noted her absence and was told by his wife and other children that Rowena was not yet home from school. Later, a younger brother of Rowena, sent on an errand, arrived home carrying Rowena’s bag which he had found dropped in the middle of a street in the village. Panfilo Capcap lost no time in seeking the help. The search ended in a grassy vacant lot within the Deva Village Subdivision, only about 70 to 80 meters from the Capcap residence, where lay the apparently lifeless body of Rowena, that the presence of spermatozoa showed that the victim had sexual intercourse prior to death; and that death was due to asphyxia by mutual strangulation. By 5 March 1984, an information had been filed in the trial court charging Ernesto C. Luvendino, Cesar Borca alias “Cesar Putol” and Ricardo de Guzman alias “Ric” with the crime of rape with murder. The trial court rendered a decision finding Luvendino guilty, sentencing him to death, requiring him to indemnify the heirs of the victim Rowena in the amount of P50,000.00 for the damages suffered as a result of her death. Appellant Luvendino contends that the trial court committed grievous error.
Whether or not the re-enactment of the accused of a crime he was charged of, without the presence of an independent and competent counsel, can be admitted as evidence in the court.
The trial court took into account the testimony given by Panfilo Capcap on what had occurred during the re-enactment of the crime by Luvendino. The re-enactment was apparently staged promptly upon apprehension of Luvendino and even prior to his formal investigation at the police station. The decision of the trial court found that the accused was informed of his constitutional rights "before he was investigated by Sgt. Galang in the police headquarters" and cited the "Salaysay" of appellant Luvendino. The decision itself, however, states that the re-enactment took place before Luvendino was brought to the police station. Thus, it is not clear from the record that before the re-enactment was staged by Luvendino, he had been informed of his constitutional rights including, specifically, his right to counsel and that he had waived such right before proceeding with the demonstration. Under these circumstances, the Court must decline to uphold the admissibility of evidence relating to that re-enactment.
People vs. Malngan, GR 170470, 26 September 2006
1. Brgy. Chairman Remigio’s group discovered that a fire gutted the house of Roberto Separa, Sr.
2. Gruta, a tanod, reported that shortly before the occurrence of the fire, he saw Edna, one hired as a housemaid by Roberto Separa, Sr., coming out of the house of the latter.
3. Mendoza, neighbor of Separa and whose house was also burned, identified accused-appellant EDNA. Upon inspection, a disposable lighter was found inside EDNA’s bag. Thereafter, EDNA confessed to Bernardo in the presence of multitudes of angry residents that she set her employer’s house on fire because she had not been paid her salary for about a year and that she wanted to go home to her province but her employer told her to just ride a broomstick in going home.
4. When Mendoza went to the San Lazaro Fire Station to give her sworn statement, she had the opportunity to ask EDNA at the latter’s detention cell how she burned the house, EDNA told her: “Naglukot ako ng maraming diyaryo, sinindihan ko ng disposable lighter at hinagis ko sa ibabaw ng lamesa sa loob ng bahay”.
5. When interviewed by a reporter of ABS-CBN, EDNA was heard by SPO4 Danilo Talusan as having admitted the crime and even narrated the manner how she accomplished it. SPO4 Talusan was able to hear the same confession, this time at his home, while watching the television program “True Crime” hosted by Gus Abelgas.
6. The fire resulted in [the] destruction of the house of Separa and other adjoining houses and the death of Separa, his wife and their four (4) children.
Whether or not the court erred in allowing and giving credence to the hearsay evidence and uncounselled admissions allegedly given by the accused.
We have held that the provision of Art. Section 12 (1) and (3) applies to the stage of custodial investigation – when the investigation is no longer a general inquiry into an unsolved crime but starts to focus on a particular person as a suspect. Said constitutional guarantee has also been extended to situations in which an individual has not been formally arrested but has merely been “invited” for questioning.
To be admissible in evidence against an accused, the extrajudicial confessions made must satisfy the following requirements: (1)it must be voluntary;(2) it must be made with the assistance of competent and independent counsel;(3) it must be express; and(4) it must be in writing.
The barangay tanods, including the Barangay Chairman, in this particular instance, may be deemed as law enforcement officers for purpose of applying by Article III, Section 12. When accused-appellant was brought to the barangay hall in, she was already a suspect, actually the only one, in the fire that destroyed several houses as well as killed the whole family of Separa. She was, therefore, already under custodial investigation and the rights guaranteed by Article III, Section 12(1), of the Constitution should have already been observed or applied to her. Accused-appellant’s confession to Barangay Chairman Remigio Bernardo was made in response to the “interrogation” made by the latter – admittedly conducted without first informing accused-appellant of her rights under the Constitution or done in the presence of counsel. For this reason, the confession of accused-appellant, given to Barangay Chairman Remigio Bernardo, as well as the lighter found by the latter in her bag are inadmissible in evidence against her as such were obtained in violation of her constitutional rights.
However, the inadmissibility of accused-appellant’s confession to Barangay Chairman Remigio Bernardo and the lighter as evidence do not automatically lead to her acquittal. It should well be recalled that the constitutional safeguards during custodial investigations do not apply to those not elicited through questioning by the police or their agents but given in an ordinary manner whereby the accused verbally admits to having committed the offense as what happened in the case at bar when accused-appellant admitted to Mercedita Mendoza, one of the neighbors of Roberto Separa, Sr., to having started the fire in the Separas’ house. The testimony of Mercedita Mendoza recounting said admission is, unfortunately for accused-appellant, admissible in evidence against her and is not covered by the aforesaid constitutional guarantee. Article III of the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights, solely governs the relationship between the individual on one hand and the State (and its agents) on the other; it does not concern itself with the relation between a private individual and another private individual – as both accused-appellant and prosecution witness Mercedita Mendoza undoubtedly are. Here, there is no evidence on record to show that said witness was acting under police authority, so appropriately, accused-appellant’s uncounselled extrajudicial confession to said witness was properly admitted by the RTC.
People vs. Guillermo, GR 147786, 20 January 2004
Whether or not Guillermo’s confession to the police officers, to the security guard of Greatmore Corp., and to the newsmen are admissible as evidence.
The confession Guillermo made while he was under investigation by SPO1 Reyes for the killing of Keyser at the Antipolo PNP Station, falls short of the protective standards laid down by the Constitution. The investigating officer made no serious effort to make Guillermo aware of his basic rights under custodial investigation. While the investigating officer was aware of Guillermo’s right to be represented by counsel, the officer exerted no effort to provide him with one on the flimsy excuse that it was a Sunday. Despite the absence of counsel, the officer proceeded with said investigation. Moreover, the record is bare of any showing that Guillermo had waived his constitutional rights in writing and in the presence of counsel. Be that as it may, however, the inadmissibility of Guillermo’s confession to SPO1 Reyes at the Antipolo PNP Station as evidence does not necessarily lead to his acquittal. For constitutional safeguards on custodial investigation (known, also as the Miranda principles) do not apply to spontaneous statements, or those not elicited through questioning by law enforcement authorities but given in an ordinary manner whereby the appellant verbally admits to having committed the offense. Herein, Guillermo admitted the commission of the crime not just to the police but also to private individuals. According to the testimony of the security guard, Romualdo Campos, on the very day of the killing Guillermo called him to say that he had killed his employer and needed assistance to dispose of the cadaver. Campos’ testimony was not rebutted by defense, and thus Guillermo's statements to Campos are admissible for being part of the res gestae. Further, when interviewed on separate occasions by the media, Guillermo not only agreed to be interviewed by the news reporters, but he spontaneously admitted his guilt to them. He even supplied the details regarding the commission of the crime to reporter Kara David of GMA Channel 7. The TV news reporters were acting as media professionals when they interviewed Guillermo. They were not under the direction and control of the police. There was no coercion for Guillermo to face the TV cameras. The interviews also took place on several occasions, not just once. Each time, Guillermo did not protest or insist on his innocence. Instead, he repeatedly admitted what he had done. He even supplied details of Keyser’s killing. As held in Andan, statements spontaneously made by a suspect to news reporters during a televised interview are voluntary and admissible in evidence.
People vs. Endino, GR 133026, 20 February 2001
Whether or not trial court erred in admitting the videotape confession as evidence .
The interview and confession does not form part of custodial investigation since it was not given to the police officers but to the media in an attempt to elicit sympathy and forgiveness from the public. However, because of the inherent danger in the use of television as a medium for admitting guilt, it is prudent that trial courts are reminded that extreme caution must be taken in further admitting similar confessions. We should never presume that all media confessions described as voluntary have been given freely. It should be thoroughly examined and scrutinized.
People vs. Andan, 269 SCRA 95 (1997)
Marianne Guevarra, twenty years of age and a second-year student at the Fatima School of Nursing, left her home for her school dormitory in Valenzuela, Metro Manila. Marianne was walking along the subdivision when Pablito Andan invited her inside his house. He used the pretext that the blood pressure of his wife’s grandmother should be taken. Marianne agreed to take her blood pressure as the old woman was her distant relative. She did not know that nobody was inside the house. Appellant then punched her in the abdomen, brought her to the kitchen and raped her. The following day, the body of Marianne was discovered.
Marianne’s gruesome death drew public attention and prompted Mayor Cornelio Trinidad of Baliuag to form a crack team of police officers to look for the criminal. Andan’s nearby house was also searched by the police who found bloodstains on the wall of the pigpen in the backyard. They interviewed the occupants of the house and learned from Romano Calma, the stepbrother of appellant’s wife, that Andan also lived there but that he, his wife and son left without a word.
The police tried to locate Andan and learned that his parents live in Barangay Tangos, Baliuag, Bulacan. A police team led by Mayor Trinidad traced Andan in his parents’ house. They took him aboard the patrol jeep and brought him to the police headquarters where he was interrogated. Initially, Andan denied any knowledge of Marianne’s death. By this time, people and media representatives were already gathered at the police headquarters awaiting the results of the investigation. Mayor Trinidad arrived and proceeded to the investigation room. Upon seeing the mayor, Andan approached him and whispered a request that they talk privately. The mayor led appellant to the office of the Chief of Police and there, appellant broke down and said “Mayor, patawarin mo ako! I will tell you the truth. I am the one who killed Marianne.” The mayor opened the door of the room to let the public and media representatives witness the confession. The mayor first asked for a lawyer to assist Andan but since no lawyer was available he ordered the proceedings photographed and videotaped.In the presence of the mayor, the police, representatives of the media and appellant’s own wife and son, appellant confessed his guilt. He disclosed how he killed Marianne and volunteered to show them the place where he hid her bags. He asked for forgiveness from Larin and Dizon whom he falsely implicated saying he did it because of ill-feelings against them. He also said that the devil entered his mind because of the pornographic magazines and tabloid he read almost everyday.After his confession, appellant hugged his wife and son and asked the mayor to help him. His confession was captured on videotape and covered by the media nationwide.
Whether or not Andan’s confession to the Mayor is inadmissible
Under these circumstances, it cannot be successfully claimed that appellant’s confession before the mayor is inadmissible. It is true that a municipal mayor has “operational supervision and control” over the local police and may arguably be deemed a law enforcement officer for purposes of applying Section 12 (1 ) and (3) of Article III of the Constitution. However, appellant’s confession to the mayor was not made in response to any interrogation by the latter. In fact, the mayor did not question appellant at all. No police authority ordered appellant to talk to the mayor. It was appellant himself who spontaneously, freely and voluntarily sought the mayor for a private meeting. The mayor did not know that appellant was going to confess his guilt to him. When appellant talked with the mayor as a confidant and not as a law enforcement officer, his uncounselled confession to him did not violate his constitutional rights. Thus, it has been held that the constitutional procedures on custodial investigation do not apply to a spontaneous statement, not elicited through questioning by the authorities, but given in an ordinary manner whereby appellant orally admitted having committed the crime. What the Constitution bars is the compulsory disclosure of incriminating facts or confessions. The rights under Section 12 are guaranteed to preclude the slightest use of coercion by the state as would lead the accused to admit something false, not to prevent him from freely and voluntarily telling the truth. Hence, we hold that appellant’s confession to the mayor was correctly admitted by the trial court.
Marcelo vs. Sandiganbayan, 302 SCRA 102 (1999)
On February 10, 1989, Merete, a letter carrier in the Makati Central Post Office, disclosed to his chief, Tumagan, the existence of a group responsible for the pilferage of mail matter in the post office. Among those mentioned by Merete were Arnold Pasicolan, an emergency laborer assigned as a bag opener in the Printed Matters Section, and Redentor Aguinaldo, a mail sorter of the Makati Post Office. For this reason, Tumagan sought the aid of the National Bureau of Investigation in apprehending the group responsible for mail pilferage in the Makati Post Office.
On February 17, 1989, NBI Director Ranin dispatched NBI agents to Legaspi Village following a report that the group would stage a theft of mail matter on that day. Tumagan accompanied a team of NBI agents composed of Senior Agent Arles Vela and two other agents in a private car.
At 2:00 p.m., a postal delivery jeep, driven by one Henry Orindai, was parked in front of the Esguerra Building on Adelantado Street. Pasicolan alighted from the jeep bringing with him a mail bag. Upon reaching Amorsolo St., Pasicolan gave the mail bag to two persons, who were later identified as Ronnie Romero and petitioner Lito Marcelo. The latter transferred the contents of the mail bag to a travelling bag. Meanwhile, the NBI team led by agent Vela, upon seeing Pasicolan going towards Amorsolo St., moved their car and started towards Amorsolo St. They were just in time to see Pasicolan handing over the mail bag to Marcelo and Romero. At that point, Atty. Sacaguing and Arles Vela arrested the two accused. The NBI agents followed the postal delivery jeep, overtook it, and arrested Pasicolan.
The NBI agents brought Pasicolan, Marcelo, and Romero to their headquarters. Romero, Marcelo, and Pasicolan were asked to affix their signatures on the envelopes of the letters. They did so in the presence of the members of the NBI Administrative and Investigative Staff and the people transacting business with the NBI at that time. According to Director Ranin, they required the accused to do this in order to identify the letters as the very same letters confiscated from them.
A case for qualified theft was filed before the Sandiganbayan wherein the accused were declared guilty.
Whether or not the letters signed by the petitioner were inadmissible as evidence and not violates his rights to be witness against himself.
The Supreme Court held that the letters were valid evidence. It is known that during custodial investigation, a person has the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. Any admission or confession made in the absence of counsel is inadmissible as evidence. Furthermore, no person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. In the instant case, even though the petitioner was asked to sign the letters, the letters are still admissible as evidence because the accused was convicted not only by means of these letters but also by testimonies made by the NBI agents. Moreover, the Supreme Court held that the letters were validly seized as an incident of a valid arrest and therefore can stand on their own. The decision of the Sandiganbayan is affirmed.
People vs. Wong Chuen Ming, 256 SCRA 182 (1996)
Whether the signatures of accused on the boxes, as well as on the plastic bags containing shabu, are admissible in evidence.
The Court holds that the signatures of accused on the boxes, as well as on the plastic bags containing "shabu", are inadmissible in evidence. A careful study of the records reveals that accused were never informed of their fundamental rights during the entire time that they were under investigation. Specifically, accused were not informed of their Miranda rights i.e. that they had the right to remain silent and to counsel and any statement they might make could be used against them, when they were made to affix their signatures on the boxes of Alpen Cereals while they were at the NAIA and again, on the plastic bags when they were already taken in custody at Camp Crame. By affixing their signatures on the boxes of Alpen Cereals and on the plastic bags, accused in effect made a tacit admission of the crime charged for mere possession of "shabu" is punished by law. These signatures of accused are tantamount to an uncounselled extra-judicial confession which is not sanctioned by the Bill of Rights (Section 12, Article III, 1987 Constitution). They are, therefore, inadmissible as evidence for any admission wrung from the accused in violation of their constitutional rights is inadmissible against them. The fact that all accused are foreign nationals does not preclude application of the "exclusionary rule" because the constitutional guarantees embodied in the Bill of Rights are given and extend to all persons, both aliens and citizens.
People vs. Castro, 274 SCRA 115 (1997)
On 19 March 1991, Capt. Evasco together with Sgt. Raguine, Sgt. de Guzman and CIC Discargar formed a team for the purpose of conducting a buy-bust operation. The team went to their target area in San Roque, San Miguel, Pangasinan and proceeded to deploy themselves as planned. Sgt. de Guzman who acted as poseur-buyer and civilian informer Discargar proceeded to Victoriano Castro`s house. Sgt. Raguine, meanwhile, hid in a grassy spot near the house. Discargar introduced Castro to Sgt. de Guzman who said that he wanted to purchase a kilo of dried marijuana leaves. After going inside the house, Castro emerged with a plastic bag which he handed to Sgt. de Guzman who, in turn, paid him P600.00. After the exchange, Sgt. de Guzman made the pre-arranged signal, indicating that the transaction was complete, by raising his right hand. Upon espying the signal, Sgt. Raguine and the other team members approached Castro, introduced themselves as NARCOM (Narcotics Command) agents, and arrested him. He was thereafter brought to the San Manuel Police Station. While the arresting team went to San Fernando, La Union for further investigation, the marijuana leaves were sent to Camp Crame for examination where it was discovered that the actual weight of the confiscated marijuana leaves was 930 grams. Castro was charged before the Regional Trial Court of Pangasinan, Branch 38 in an information dated 21 March 1991, for violation of Section 4, Article II of Republic Act 6425 Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972. After Castro entered a plea of not guilty, trial on the merits commenced. On 29 April 1992, the trial court rendered its decision finding Castro guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense charged, and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P25,000.00, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to pay the costs of the proceedings. Castro appealed.
Whether Castro’s signature on the “Receipt of Property Seized” is admissible in evidence.
Castro's signature on the Receipt of Property Seized is inadmissible in evidence as there is no showing that he was assisted by counsel when he signed the same. Since this is a document tacitly admitting the offense charged, the constitutional safeguard must be observed. Be that as it may, even disregarding this document, there is still ample evidence to prove Castro's guilt beyond reasonable doubt, the same having been shown by the detailed testimonies of the law officers who took part in the buy-bust operation.
People vs. Morial, GR 129295, 15 August 2001
· On January 6, 1996, Paula and Albert Bandibas were killed and robbed.
· As a part of the investigation and as a result of a witness’ testimony, Edwin and Leandro Morial were asked several questions by the policemen and were invited to the police station for continuing investigation.
· They were turned over to SPO4 Andres Fernandez and later interrogated again after they woke up at past 6 in the morning.
· That investigation conducted by SPO4 Fernandez resulted into the admission by Leandro that he was one of those who participated in the robbery with homicide.
· With the latter’s consent, his statements were reduced into writing. SPO4 Fernandez then advised him of his right to remain silent and to have a counsel, whatever will be his answer will be used as evidence in court.
· SPO4 Fernandez volunteered to obtain a lawyer for the suspect, to which Leandro consented.
· Atty. Aguilar was contacted by the former and he first met the latter at January 9, 1996 at about 8:00 in the morning.
· After Leandro agreed to answer voluntarily knowing that the same can be used against him as evidence in court, the investigation was conducted by SPO4 Fernandez with the presence of the counsel.
· After “all the material points” were asked, Atty.
· Aguilar asked the investigator if he can leave due to very important engagement.
· The latter agreed to the lawyer’s request.
· But before leaving, Atty. Aguilar asked Leonardo if he was willing to answer questions in his absence, the latter agreed.
· During and despite Atty. Aguilar’s absence, SPO4 Fernandez continued with the investigation and propounded several more questions to Leonardo, which the latter answered.
Whether or not Leonardo Morial’s right to counsel was waived during the investigation.
Yes. Leonardo was effectively deprived of his right to counsel during the custodial investigation; therefore his quasi-judicial confession is inadmissible in evidence against him and his other co-accused. The Court stressed out that an accused under custodial interrogation must continuously have a counsel assisting him from the very start thereof. SPO4 Fernandez cannot justify that Atty. Aguilar only left after Leonardo had admitted that he and his companions committed the crime. Neither can Atty. Aguilar rationalize that he only left after Leonardo had admitted the “material points”, referring to the participation of the three accused to the crime. Both are invalid since Section 2 of R.A. No. 7438 requires that “any person arrested, detained or under custodial investigation shall at all times be assisted by counsel.” Furthermore, the last paragraph of Section 3 states that “in the absence of any lawyer, no custodial investigation shall be conducted.”
Even granted that Leonardo consented Atty. Aguilar’s departure during the investigation and to answer questions during the lawyer’s absence, such consent was an invalid waiver of his right to counsel and his right to remain silent. Under Section 12, Article III of the Constitution, these rights cannot be waived unless the same is made in writing and in the presence of the counsel. In the case at bar, no such written and counseled waiver of these rights was presented as evidence.
Finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of "Robbery with Homicide," with the aggravating circumstance of dwelling, Leonardo Morial and Nonelito Abiñon are hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of death by lethal injection, while Edwin Morial, on account of his minority, is hereby sentenced to the indeterminate penalty of from ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision mayor as minimum; to seventeen (17) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal as maximum.
People vs. Barasina, 229 SCRA 450 (1994)
Fiscal Mayo of Olongapo City succumbed to a single bullet on his side of his face fired from an unlicensed .45 caliber firearm while he was walking at the VIP parking lot of the Victory Liner Compound at Caloocan City. It was herein accused-appellant who was accountable therefor, resulting in his being charged with the separate misdeeds of illegal possession of a firearm and murder.
Accused-appellant raised that the manner of the extrajudicial confession and waiver were extracted from him in the absence of a lawyer of his own choice. He maintains that he procured the services of Atty. Romeo Mendoza in the course of the custodial investigation but it turned out that it was Atty. Abelardo Torres who assisted during the interrogation upon the directive of P.Lt. Surara. Accused-appellant concludes that the extrajudicial statement can not thus be utilized against him for want of competent, independent counsel of his own choice.
Whether or not the CA erred in affirming the ruling of the trial court admitting in evidence the extrajudicial confession of the herein accused-appellant
No, the claim of herein appellant that he was assisted by counsel, not of his own choice, is belied by the records. During the custodial investigation, he failed to indicate in any manner and at any stage of the process that he wishes to consult with an attorney of his own preference before speaking or giving any statement. Indeed, there is no showing that he manifested any resistance when he was assisted by Atty. Torres.
Section 12(1), Article 3 of the 1987 Constitution dealing with the rights of a person undergoing investigation reads:
Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.
The phrase “competent and independent” and “preferably of his own choice” were explicit details which were added upon the persistence of human rights lawyers in the 1986 Constitutional Commission who pointed out cases where, during the martial law period, the lawyers made available to the detainee would be one appointed by the military and therefore beholden to the military.
Withal, the word “preferably” under Section 12(1), Article 3 of the 1987 Constitution does not convey the message that the choice of a lawyer by a person under investigation is exclusive as to preclude other equally competent and independent attorneys from handling his defense. If the rule were otherwise, then, the tempo of a custodial investigation will be solely in the hands of the accused who can impede, nay, obstruct the progress of the interrogation by simply selecting a lawyer who for one reason or another, is not available to protect his interest. This absurd scenario could not have been contemplated by the framers of the charter.
People v. Gallardo, GR 113684, 25 January 2000
Whether the counsel provided by the State to the accused satisfies the Constitutional requirement that a competent and independent counsel be present in a custodial investigation.
The extrajudicial confessions of the accused were given after they were completely and clearly apprised of their Constitutional rights. A lawyer assisted them and a judge administered their oath. While the initial choice of the lawyer in cases where a person under custodial investigation cannot afford the services of a lawyer is naturally lodged in the police investigators, the accused really has the final choice as he may reject the counsel chosen for him and ask for another one. A lawyer provided by the investigators is deemed engaged by the accused where he never raised any objection against the former's appointment during the course of the investigation and the accused thereafter subscribes to the veracity of his statement before the swearing officer.
Although Atty. Velasco was provided by the State and not by the accused themselves, the accused were given an opportunity whether to accept or not to accept him as their lawyer. They were asked and they immediately agreed to have Atty. Velasco as their counsel during the investigation. There is no requirement in the Constitution that the lawyer of an accused during custodial investigation be previously known to them. The Constitution provides that the counsel be a competent and independent counsel, who will represent the accused and protect their Constitutionally guaranteed rights. Further, to be an effective counsel, a lawyer need not challenge all the questions being propounded to his client. The presence of a lawyer is not intended to stop an accused from saying anything which might incriminate him but, rather, it was adopted in our Constitution to preclude the slightest coercion as would lead the accused to admit something false. The counsel, however, should never prevent an accused from freely and voluntarily telling the truth. Herein, Atty. Velasco acted properly in accordance with the dictates of the Constitution and informed the accused of their Constitutional rights. Atty. Velasco assisted the accused and made sure that the statements given by the accused were voluntary on their part, and that no force or intimidation was used by the investigating officers to extract a confession from them. Under rules laid by the Constitution, existing laws and jurisprudence, a confession to be admissible must satisfy all four fundamental requirements, namely: (1) the confession must be voluntary; (2) the confession must be made with the assistance of competent and independent counsel; (3) the confession must be express; and (4) the confession must be in writing. All these requirements were complied with.
People vs. Bagnate, GRs 133685-68, 20 May 2004
Accused-appellant, Amado Bagnate, appealed the Joint Judgment rendered by the Regional Trial Court Branch 15 of Tabaco, Albay, finding appellant Bagnate guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Murder in Criminal Case No. T-2874 for killing his grandmother, Aurea Broña and of Rape with Homicide in Criminal Case No. T-2875 for killing and raping his niece, Rosalie Rayala.
Appellant was turned over to SPO2 Junwel Ambion for custodial investigation. SPO2 Ambion informed him in the Bicol dialect of his constitutional rights. The accused acknowledged that he clearly understood it. When appellant told SPO2 Ambion that he is willing to confess, SPO2 Ambion again informed appellant of his rights, and asked him further if he wants to be assisted by counsel but appellant said that his counsel was in Manila. He availed his Constitutional right of being assisted by a competent counsel. Since he does not have his own counsel, he was provided with one in the person of Atty. Paterno Brotamonte whom the appellant accepted.
Before proceeding with the investigation, Atty. Brotamonte asked the policemen to leave the investigation room and conferred with appellant. He introduced himself to appellant and informed him of his rights. He also asked and examined appellant to see if he was physically harmed by the policemen and found none.
Appellant told Atty. Brotamonte that he is willing to give a statement. The investigation was then conducted in the Bicol dialect, with SPO2 Ambion asking the questions. The accused confessed on killing his grandmother and so as raping and killing his niece. After typing the first page of the confession, Atty. Brotamonte translated and explained the contents thereof to appellant, then Atty. Brotamonte and appellant signed thereon.
The next day, appellant was brought before Judge Arsenio Base, Jr. of the Municipal Trial Court of Tabaco, Albay. Judge Base requested the presence of Atty. Brotamonte and subsequently examined the voluntariness and veracity of the confession as well as the authenticity of the signatures of appellant and Atty. Brotamonte. He also explained to appellant the consequences of his confession to the crimes charged and asked him if he was coerced into admitting them. Judge Base inspected appellant’s body and asked him if he was forced or coerced. Judge Base then asked appellant if he was still willing to sign it again and appellant answered in the affirmative saying that his conscience bothered him. Judge Base asked him to sign the confession again in the presence of Atty. Brotamonte, after which appellant affixed his signature.
Accused was convicted on the strength of his extra- judicial confession during custodial investigation.
Appellant raised that the trial court erred in admitting in evidence the extrajudicial confession of the accused-appellant. Appellant assailed its admissibility alleging that it was executed in violation of his constitutional rights, particularly his right to a competent and independent counsel of his own choice and that he was not fully apprised of the consequences of his confession.
Whether the constitutional right of the appellant to have a competent and independent counsel was violated thereby rendering his extra judicial confession inadmissible.
No, the failure of Atty. Brotamonte to apprise appellant of the imposable penalty of the crimes he was to admit is not a sufficient ground to strike down appellant’s extrajudicial confession.
What the Constitution regards as inadmissible in evidence is confession given by an accused without having been informed of his right to remain silent, or, without having been given competent and independent counsel, preferably his own choice, or if he cannot afford the services of counsel, he was not provided with one; or the waiver of his rights was not in writing and not in the presence of counsel; or, that he was tortured, forced, threatened, intimidated, by violence or any other means that vitiated his free will. There is nothing in the Constitution that mandates a counsel to inform an accused of the possible penalty for the crime he committed. Neither would a presumption arise that the counsel is incompetent or not independent just because he failed to apprise the accused that the imposable penalty for the crime he was about to admit is death. After all, the imposable penalty is totally immaterial to the resolve of an accused to admit his guilt in the commission of a crime.
The modifier "competent and independent" stresses the need to assure the accused under the uniquely stressful conditions of a custodial investigation, an informed judgment on the choices explained to him by a diligent and capable lawyer. To be "competent" and "independent" it is only required for a lawyer to be: (1) Willing to fully safeguard the constitutional rights of the accused, as distinguished from one who would merely be giving a routine, peremptory and meaningless recital of the individual's constitutional rights.
The decision of the Regional Trial Court Branch 15 of Tabaco, Albay, in Criminal Case No. T-2874 finding appellant Amado Bagnate guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder and sentencing him to suffer the supreme penalty of DEATH is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS as to damages.
People vs. Tomaquin, GR 133138, 23 July 2004
- On or about 15 December 1996 Jaquelyn Tatoy was found bloodied and sprawled face-up on the floor of her house, with her head inside a plastic container. Jaquelyn was brought to the hospital, where she expired.
- In the house of the victim found black shoe and tres kantos which were allegedly owned by the accused Tomaquin.
- On December 15, 1996 , the same day when the crime happened, the tanods told Tomaquin that he is a suspect in the killing of Jaquelyn, and brought him to the house of barangay captain Atty. Parawan and the latter told his tanods to take Tomaquin to the police station.
- In the morning of December 16, 1996, Tomaquin was investigated by SPO2 Monilar of the Homicide Section, Ramos Police Station in Cebu City. After being apprised of his constitutional rights, Tomaquin told SPO2 Monilar that he was willing to confess and asked for Atty. Parawan, the barangay captain, to assist him. SPO2 Monilar called Atty. Parawan and the latter conferred with the appellant for around fifteen minutes. Atty. Parawan then called SPO2 Monilar and told him that the appellant was ready to give his statement. Appellant’s extrajudicial confession, which was taken down completely in the Cebuano dialect.
Whether or not a barangay captain who is a lawyer can be considered an independent counsel within the purview of Section 12, Article III of the 1987 Constitution.
No, a barangay captain who is a lawyer cannot be considered an independent counsel within the purview of Section 12, Article III of the 1987 Constitution.
Section 12, provides: (1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.
The words "competent and independent counsel" in the constitutional provision is not an empty rhetoric. It stresses the need to accord the accused, under the uniquely stressful conditions of a custodial investigation, an informed judgment on the choices explained to him by a diligent and capable lawyer.
In the case at bar, Atty. Parawan, as barangay captain, is called upon to enforce the law and ordinances in his barangay and ensure peace and order at all times. In fact, as barangay captain, Atty. Parawan is deemed a person in authority under Article 152 of the Revised Penal Code, to wit: ART. 152. Persons in authority and agents of persons in authority. – Who shall be deemed as such. – In applying the provisions of the preceding and other articles of this Code, any person directly vested with jurisdiction, whether as an individual or as a member of some court or government corporation, board, or commission, shall be deemed a person in authority. A barrio captain and a barangay chairman shall also be deemed a person in authority. On these bases, it is not legally possible to consider Atty. Parawan as an independent counsel of appellant. considering that Atty. Parawan’s role as a barangay captain, was a peacekeeping officer of his barangay and therefore in direct conflict with the role of providing competent legal assistance to appellant who was accused of committing a crime in his jurisdiction, Atty. Parawan could not be considered as an independent counsel of appellant, when the latter executed his extrajudicial confession. What the Constitution requires is the presence of an independent and competent counsel, one who will effectively undertake his client’s defense without any intervening conflict of interest
People vs. Quidato, GR 117401, 1 October 1998
Bernardo Quidato, Sr. was the father of Bernardo Quidato, Jr. and Leo Quidato. Being a widower, Bernardo lived alone in his house at Sitio Libod, Brgy. Tagbaobo, Kaputian, Davao. He owned 16 hectares of coconut land in the area. On 16 September 1988, Bernardo, accompanied by his son, and two hired hands, Reynaldo Malita and Eddie Malita, went to Davao City to sell 41 sacks of copra. After selling the copra, Bernardo paid the Malita brothers for their labor, who thereafter left. Bernardo Sr. and Bernardo Jr. went back to Sitio Libod that same day. At around 6:00 p.m. of 17 September 1988, Bernardo Jr. asked Reynaldo Malita to come to the former's house to discuss an important matter. Upon Reynaldo's arrival at Bernardo Jr.'s house, he saw that his brother Eddie was already there. They started drinking beer. Bernardo Jr. thereafter proposed that they rob and kill his father. They went to Bernardo's house only at 10:00 p.m., after the rain had stopped. Reynaldo brought along a bolo. Upon reaching the house, Bernardo Jr. knocked on the door, asking his father to let them in. When Bernardo opened the door, Eddie rushed in and knocked the old man down. Reynaldo then hacked Bernardo on the nape and neck. Bernardo Jr. and Eddie ransacked Bernardo's aparador looking for money but they found none; so, the 3 of them left. The body of Bernardo was discovered the next day by Bernardo Jr.'s son, who had gone there to call his Lolo for breakfast. On 27 September 1988, Leo Quidato confronted his brother regarding the incident and learned that Reynaldo and Eddie Malita were the ones responsible for Bernardo's death. The two were promptly arrested by the police. Aside from arresting the latter two, however, the police also arrested Bernardo Jr. On 29 September 1988, the Malita brothers were interrogated by Patrolman Lucrecio Mara at the Kaputian Police Station. When Mara apprised them of their constitutional rights, including their right to counsel, they signified their intent to confess even in the absence of counsel. Aware that the same would be useless if given in the absence of counsel, Mara took down the testimony of the two but refrained from requiring the latter to sign their affidavits. Instead, he escorted the Malita brothers to Davao City and presented them, along with their unsigned affidavits, to a CLAO (now PAO) lawyer, Jonathan Jocom. Informed of the situation, Atty. Jocom conferred with Reynaldo and Eddie, again advising the two of their constitutional rights. The CLAO lawyer explained the contents of the affidavits, in Visayan, to the Malita brothers, who affirmed the veracity and voluntary execution of the same. Only then did Reynaldo and Eddie affix their signatures on the affidavits. On 17 January 1989, Bernardo Jr. was charged with the crime of parricide before the Regional Trial Court of Davao. A murder case was likewise filed against his co-accused, Reynaldo Malita and Eddie Malita. Bernardo Jr. and the Malita brothers pleaded not guilty. The two cases were tried jointly. The Malita brothers withdrew their "not guilty" plea during trial and were accordingly sentences. Only Bernardo Jr.'s case was tried on merits. After due trial and on 2 March 1994, the Regional Trial Court of Davao, Branch 4, rendered judgment finding Bernardo Quidato, Jr., guilty beyond reasonable doubt as a co-principal in the offense of Parricide which falls under Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code, for the death of his father, Bernardo Quidato, Sr., and accordingly, was sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, with all the accessory penalties provided by law and to indemnify the other heirs of Bernardo Quidato, Sr., the amount of P50,000.00, and to pay the costs. Bernardo Jr. appealed.
Whether an initially uncounseled extrajudicial confession, signed in the presence of a counsel in a later day, is admissible as evidence against the accused.
The prosecution relied heavily on the affidavits executed by Reynaldo and Eddie. The two brothers were, however, not presented on the witness stand to testify on their extrajudicial confessions. The failure to present the two gives these affidavits the character of hearsay. It is hornbook doctrine that unless the affiants themselves take the witness stand to affirm the averments in their affidavits, the affidavits must be excluded from the judicial proceeding, being inadmissible hearsay. The voluntary admissions of an accused made extrajudicially are not admissible in evidence against his co-accused when the latter had not been given an opportunity to hear him testify and cross-examine him. Likewise, the manner by which the affidavits were obtained by the police render the same inadmissible in evidence even if they were voluntarily given. The settled rule is that an uncounseled extrajudicial confession without a valid waiver of the right to counsel — that is, in writing and in the presence of counsel — is inadmissible in evidence. It is undisputed that the Malita brothers gave their statements to Patrolman Mara in the absence of counsel, although they signed the same in the presence of counsel the next day. Given the inadmissibility in evidence of Gina Quidato's (accused’s wife) testimony, as well as of Reynaldo and Eddie's extrajudicial confessions, nothing remains on record with which to justify a judgment unfavorable to Bernardo Jr.
He was therefore acquitted.