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People v. Lugod, GR 136253, 21 February 2001
Whether or not Lugod’s confession and subsequent act of pointing the location of the Nairube’s body may be used against him as evidence.
No. The records reveal that Lugod was not informed of his right to remain silent and to counsel, and that if he cannot afford to have counsel of his choice, he would be provided with one. Moreover, there is no evidence to indicate that he intended to waive these rights. Consequently, Lugod's act of confessing to SPO2 Gallardo that he raped and killed Nairube without the assistance of counsel cannot be used against him for having transgressed Lugod's rights under the Bill of Rights. In the same vein, Lugod's act in pointing out the location of the body of Nairube was also elicited in violation of the Lugod's right to remain silent. The same was an integral part of the- uncounselled confession and is considered a fruit of the poisonous tree. Even if we were to assume that Lugod was not yet under interrogation and thus not entitled to his constitutional rights at the time he was brought to the police station, Lugod's acts subsequent to his apprehension cannot be characterized as having been voluntarily made considering the peculiar circumstances surrounding his detention. His confession was elicited by SPO2 Gallardo who promised him that he would help him if he told the truth. Furthermore, when ugod allegedly pointed out the body of the victim, SPO2 Gallardo, the whole police force as well as nearly 100 of the townspeople of Cavinti escorted him there. Ricardo Vida stated that the townspeople were antagonistic towards Lugod and wanted to hurt him. The atmosphere from the time Lugod was apprehended and taken to the police station up until the time he was alleged to have pointed out the location of the body of the victim was highly intimidating and was not conducive to a spontaneous response. Amidst such a highly coercive atmosphere, Lugod's claim that he was beaten up and maltreated by the police officers raises a very serious doubt as to the voluntariness of his alleged confession. The Vice-Mayor, who testified that when he visited Lugod in the jail cell, he noticed that Lugod had bruises on his face, corroborated Lugod's assertion that he was maltreated. Considering that the confession of Lugod cannot be used against him, the only remaining evidence which was established by the prosecution is the fact that several persons testified having seen Lugod the night before the murder of Nairube and on several other occasions wearing the rubber slippers and black T-shirt found at the house of the victim and Villa Anastacia respectively as well as the testimony of Romualdo Ramos, the tricycle driver who stated that he saw Lugod in the early morning of 16 September 1997 leaving Villa Anastacia without a T-shirt and without slippers. These pieces of evidence are circumstantial in nature. The combination of the above-mentioned circumstances does not lead to the irrefutably logical conclusion that Lugod raped and murdered Nairube. At most, these circumstances, taken with the testimonies of the other prosecution witnesses, merely establish Lugod's whereabouts on that fateful evening and places Lugod at the scene of the crime and nothing more. Lugod was acquitted.
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