AJ | Amin | Cha | Janz | Julio | Vien
PEOPLE VS. ZUELAJanuary 28, 2000Pardo, J.
Facts: Tito Zuela, Maximo Velarde and Nelson Garcia were
charged with “robbery with triple homicide”. They were
arrested June, 1985.On March 26, 1987, all three accused were arraigned withthe assistance of counsel and pleaded not guilty.
Here’s what happened:
The three accused allegedly robbed Maria Abendano andkilled her, her son and her driver during a delivery of the
palay she buys and sells. Romualda, Maria’s sister whosestore was beside Maria’s, was the witness in this case.
Romualda stated that she saw the three accused board thejeepney of Maria during a delivery. Gerardo, to whom thepalay was going to be delivered, saw Maximo inside thejeepney during the delivery of the palay to his ricemill.The ff morning, the bodies of Maria, her son and her driverwere found.According to Romualda, the 3 accused conceived the planto hold-
up Maria while drinking in front of Romualda’s
store because Maximo needed money to go to Manila.Maximo was supposed to board the jeep while the twoothers would wait somewhere else to board the jeepneyand hold-up Maria.
The crime happened. (I think it’s no longer important how
it happened)Junw 1, 1985
Lt. Idian, assisted by 2 other policemen,arrested Maximo and brought him to the station with
. He was investigated and was asked to give awritten statement
in front of Atty. Ocampo.
June 4 and 9, 1985
Tito and Nelson were taken intopolice custody without a warrant. They underwent suctodial investigation without the assistance of counsel because no lawyer could be found in theirtown.They stated in their confession, in their ownhandwriting, that they voluntarily gave theirstatements and that no one coerced them or promisedthem anything to admit responsibility for the crime.
The three signed their individual statements in front of Judge Valencia Bagalacsa. She followed the sameprocedure and line of questioning, using the local dialect,in ascertaining the voluntariness of the confessions. Sheordered Lt. Idian and his companions to leave her and theaccused inside the chamber.
Satisfied that they wereproperly apprised of their rights and that they voluntarilyexecuted their statements, she had them sign theirindividual extrajudicial statements.The three accused interposed common defenses: denialand they were tortured and forced to make a confession.Tito and Nelson also claimed that they were not assistedby counsel when their confessions were taken.Maximo claimed that he went with Lt. Idian because hewas told that his parents wanted to see him because hisbrother died. He was shown a picture of the cadaver. Alongthe way, he felt a hard object hit his head and he passedout. When he regained consciousness, he was alreadyhandcuffed. Pointing a gun, Lt. Idian told him that he couldchoose either to die or to sign the statement they preoaredbecause his brother had wronged them. He was warnednot to tell anyone that he was mauled.Two days later, in front of Lt. Idian, Atty. Ocampo and Pat.Refe, Atty Ocampo read a prepared statement. He refusedto sign. He overheard that he was going to be made to signin front of Atty. Ocampo.
According to Maximo, he was kicked in the stomachand a gun was poked at him. He signed the statement out of fear. He was also made to sign anotherstatement in front of Judge Valencia Bagalacsa. Fromthe time he was arrested, he was never released.
Nelson Garcia denied knowledge of the crime and claimedthat he was mauled by Lt. Idian when his group went to
Garcia’s house it invite him to the station. He
was mauledagain at the station and to prevent injury, he just signedthe prepared statement.
He also claimed that he wasneither informed of the contents nor assisted bycounsel.
He was asked to copy in his own handwriting theprepared statement. He was never released from custodyfrom the time he was arrested.Tito also claimed that he was arrested and was mauled inorder to make him sign the prepared statement.
He alsoclaimed that he was neither informed of the contentsnor assisted by counsel.ISSUE: WON the extra-judicial confession of the threeaccused may be admitted as evidence. - No. (
but Maximo relayed it to Romualda who became a witness. So
nagamit pa rin as romualda’s statement. Kk? Nasa medyo
last part ng ratio.)RATIO:
The right to counsel attaches the moment aninvestigating officer starts to ask questions to elicit information on the crime from the suspected offender.
It is at this point that the law requires the assistance of counsel to avoid the pernicious practice of extorting forcedor coerced admissions or confessions from the person