Gamboa vs. Cruz, 162 SCRA 642
Petitioner was arrested for vagrancy without a warrant. During a line-up of 5 detainees including petitioner, he was identified by a complainant to be a companion in a robbery, thereafter he was charged. Petitioner filed a Motion to Acquit on the ground that the conduct of the line-up, without notice and in the absence of his counsel violated his constitutional rights to counsel and to due process. The court denied said motion. Hearing was set, hence the petition.
Whether or Not petitioner’s right to counsel and due process violated.
Held: No. The police line-up was not part of the custodial inquest, hence, petitioner was not yet entitled, at such stage, to counsel. He had not been held yet to answer for a criminal offense. The moment there is a move or even an urge of said investigators to elicit admissions or confessions or even plain information which may appear innocent or innocuous at the time, from said suspect, he should then and there be assisted by counsel, unless he waives the right, but the waiver shall be made in writing and in the presence of counsel.
On the right to due process, petitioner was not, in any way, deprived of this substantive and constitutional right, as he was duly represented by a counsel. He was accorded all the opportunities to be heard and to present evidence to substantiate his defense; only that he chose not to, and instead opted to file a Motion to Acquit after the prosecution had rested its case. What due process abhors is the absolute lack of opportunity to be heard.