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.