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