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.