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Rights of the Accused

Rights of the Accused

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Published by Thea Pabillore
Digests of Cases on the Rights of the Accused
Digests of Cases on the Rights of the Accused

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Thea Pabillore on Feb 27, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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People vs. Valeriano Amestuzo, Federico Ampatin, Albino Bagas (accused- appellant)and Diascoro Vinas – GR 104383, July 12, 2001
This is an appeal from the decision of the Caloocan RTC Branch 131 convicting the accused of the complexcrime of robbery with a bad and double rape.On February 1991, a group of 8 men entered the house of Perlita Lacsamana and stole valuables amounting toPhp728K. In the course of the robbery, 2 gang members raped Lacsamana's niece and employee.Four days after the incident, the police, together with Federico Ampatin, went to a handicrafts factory in NIARoad, Pasay City to look for a certain “Mario”. The police ordered the factory workers to lie down and, after somethreats and hitting him on the neck with the butt of a pistol, told Ampatin to point at anyone (“magturo ka ng kahitsino”). Ampatin, out of fear, pointed at the first person that he saw, who was the accused-appellant. The policethereafter brought the accused to the police station to be presented to the complainants.At the station, Lacsamana asked the accused-appellant if he knew Vinas and Amestuzo, but he answered in thenegative. Then the police told the complainants that the accused-appellant was a suspect in the robbery so thecomplainants started hitting and kicking the accused-appellant. They only stopped when the police intervened.
(1) Whether the accused was deprived of the right to counsel from the time he was arrested to the time hewas presented to the witnesses for identification.(2) Whether the manner of out-of-court identification was irregular and, therefore, inadmissible in court.
NO. The guarantees of sec. 12 (1) of the Bill of Rights or the so-called
rights of the accusedmay only be invoked while he is under custodial investigation. Custodial investigation begins from thetime when the police no longer ask general questions about the crime, but start focusing on the suspectand attempt to elicit incriminating questions in the course of the investigation. The object of the
rights is to ensure that the accused is protected from possible intimidation or coercion from lawenforcement officers who may force him to admit to a crime that he did not commit.The police line-up is not yet included in the custodial investigation as it is the witnesses who are askedquestions during the line-up. In this regard, the inquiry has not yet shifted from investigatory toaccusatory. Moreover, during the line-up, there was no evidence that the accused was interrogated bythe police, nor were there any incriminating statements elicited from him.
YES. There is no law prescribing a specific manner of identification in criminal cases. A police line-up is,therefore, an acceptable way for the complainants to identify the suspect in a crime. However, the courtalso applies the circumstances test enunciated in the case of 
People vs. Teehankee,
which had thefollowing factors
the witness's
opportunity to view
criminal at the time of the crime
the witness's
degree of attention
at that time
accuracy of any prior description
given by the witness
level of certainty
demonstrated by the witness at the time of the identification
length of time
between the crime and the identification
of the identification processThe Court found that the out-of-court identification in this case failed the last criterion because of thepolice's announcement to the complainants that the accused-appellant was a suspect in the crime. Thiswas considered improperly suggestive because it was not the complainants themselves who pointed to
or identified the accused-appellant. There was, therefore, no spontaneity nor objectivity in theidentification.
People vs. Pablito Andan – GR 116437, March 3, 1997
The accused-appellant was accused of the complex crime of rape with homicide. When he was interrogated bythe police, he claimed he was only acting as a look-out for his two neighbors who he claimed were theperpetrators and showed the police where they hid the victim's belongings. At that time, Mayor Trinidad of Baliuag and media representatives were in the station, awaiting the results of the investigation. When theaccused-appellant saw Mayor Trinidad, he asked to speak with the Mayor in private. The Mayor led the appellantto the office of the Chief of Police, where they had a closed-door conversation, and it was then that he confessedto the Mayor that he was indeed the one who committed the crime.Later on, the Mayor opened the door and asked the appellant to repeat his confession to the mediarepresentatives. Although there was no lawyer present, the appellant freely confessed to the media when he wasinterviewed about the crime. These interviews were videotaped and photographed. However, on arraignment,the accused-appellant entered a plea of “not guilty”.
(1) Whether the appellant's extrajudicial confession to the police was admissible in court.(2) Whether the appellant's extrajudicial confession to the Mayor and the media is admissible in court.
NO. It was admitted that the accused-appellant was not apprised of his
rights and hisconfession to police was made without the assistance of counsel. The accused-appellant should havebeen entitled to the following rights under sec. 12 of the Bill of Rights:1. to remain silent2. to have competent and independent counsel of his choice3. to be informed of such rightsThese rights may only be waived (1) voluntarily, (2) expressly, (3) in the presence of counsel and  (4) inwriting.Likewise, since the victim's belongings were found based on this invalid extrajudicial confession, theyshould also be inadmissible in court since such evidence are the fruits of the poisonous tree.(2) YES, because he made his confession to the mayor and the media freely, spontaneously and voluntarily.There was no evidence either that the mayor or the media were under duress or influenced by the policeto elicit a confession from the accused. As for the accused, he reiterated the same confession to themedia when they repeatedly interviewed him to get his side of the story. The accused did not protest tothose interviews, even when he had every opportunity to do so as they were conducted on separatedays.The Court reiterated that the Bill of Rights only protects the individual from undue interference of the State andits agents. It does not concernd itself with the relations of private individuals. In the case of the accused, hisconfession to the mayor and news reporters who were private individuals, thereby making his extrajudicialconfession to them admissible in court.
People vs. Juanito Baloloy – GR140740, April 12, 2002
The dead body of 11-year-old Genelyn Camacho was found by the accused-appellant in a nearby creek, whilehe was catching some frogs. Those who arrived at the scene also found a black rope. During the wake, Brgy.Captain Ceniza asked the visitors if any one of them owned the black rope found on the crime scene. Theaccused-appellant claimed it was his.The Brgy. Captain took the accused-appellant and asked him why his rope was found on the scene. Theaccused-appellant then confessed that he was the one who raped and killed Genelyn. When she announced thisto everyone at the wake, they became unruly so she turned over the accused-appellant to the police for his ownprotection.On the day of the trial, after Judge Dicon read the affidavit of Brgy. Captain Ceniza, he asked the accused-appellant if he was indeed guilty of the crime charged. The accused-appellant replied that he was “demonized”when he committed the crime. He was convicted of the crime of rape with homicide based on his extrajudicialconfession to Brgy. Captain Ceniza and Judge Dicon and sentenced to death.
Whether the accused's extrajudicial confession to Brgy. Captain Ceniza and Judge Dicon violated his rightagainst self-incrimination.
NO, as far as his confession to Ceniza is concerned. When the accused admitted ownership of the rope andconfessed the commission of the crime to Ceniza, he did so voluntarily, free of coercion or control from theauthorities. He also confessed before he was arrested or placed under investigation. What is prohibited by theConstitution is the compulsory disclosure of information that would incriminate the accused while he is in thecustody of the authorities.As for his confession to Judge Dicon, it was deemed inadmissible as evidence because Judge Dicon failed toinform him of his rights before he made the confession. Moreover, it was done without the assistance of counsel.It was held that the rights of the accused become operative once custodial investigation starts, which actuallybegins from the time the accused is arrested or voluntarily surrenders to the police. The accused was already inthe custody of the police at the time he made his confession to Judge Dicon. Furthermore, even if no complaintwas yet filed against the accused at that time, the judge should still have honored the rights of the accusedunder the Bill of Rights.However, his confession to the judge is not entirely useless as those who witnessed the confession may stilltestify to this verbal admission by the accused.

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