You are on page 1of 1

People v. Rivera GR 139180 July.

31, 2001

FACTS: One day, Erlanie was awakened as her father Rolando started kissing her and fondling her
breasts. Her efforts to resist were to no avail. After he was through she was told not to tell anyone or he
would kill her mother and sister. She kept it for a while, however, in the presence of her mother, told
her aunt and her grandmother, that she had been raped by Rolando. For this reason, she was referred to
Dr. Barin for physical examination. She also executed a sworn statement before the police. Rolando was
charged in an information filed with the Regional Trial Court. During the arraignment o, the information
was read to Rolando. Duly assisted by counsel de oficio, pleaded not guilty. The trial court rendered a
decision, finding Rolando Rivera guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape as charged and
was sentenced to suffer the supreme penalty of death by lethal injection, and ordered him to indemnify
the offended party in the sum of P75,000.00 as compensatory damages and P50,000.00 as moral
damages. Rolando appealed.

ISSUE: Whether the right to speedy and adequate justice of one party necessary limits the right to
competent and independent counsel of choice of another, and whether the speedy disposition of the
case (a day after the memorandum was filed) denies due process to the accused.

RULING: While the Constitution recognises the accused's right to competent and independent counsel
of his own choice, his option to secure the services of a private counsel is not absolute. For considering
the State's and the offended party's right to speedy and adequate justice. The trial court appointed a
counsel de oficio to represent Rolando because his regular counsel was absent. The Courts are not
required to wait indefinitely the pleasure and convenience as they are mandated to promote the speedy
and orderly administration of justice. Further, Rolando was not denied due process considering the
speed with which the trial court rendered judgment against him, which judgment was promulgated one
day after he filed his memorandum. The decision rendered by the trial court gives a clear account of the
facts and the law on which it is based. It discusses in full the court's findings on the credibility of both
the prosecution and defense witnesses and its evaluation of the evidence of both parties. The speed
with which the trial court disposed of the case cannot be attributed to the injudicious performance of its
function. Indeed, a judge is not supposed to study a case only after all the pertinent pleadings have been
filed. It is a mark of diligence and devotion to duty that a judge studies a case long before the deadline
set for the promulgation of his decision has arrived.