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1. People v ROMY LIM (2018)

FACTS: On appeal is the February 23, 2017 Decision of the Court of the confiscated items at the place of arrest may be excused in
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR HC No. 01280-MIN, which affirmed the instances when the safety and security of the apprehending officers
September 24, 2013 Decision of Regional Trial Court {RTC), Branch and the witnesses required by law or of the items seized are threatened
25, Cagayan de Oro City, in Criminal Case Nos. 2010-1073 and 2010- by immediate or extreme danger such as retaliatory action o f those
1074, finding accused-appellant Romy Lim y Miranda (Lim) guilty of who have the resources and capability to mount a counter-assault. The
violating Sections 11 and 5, respectively, of Article II of Republic Act present case is not one of those.
(R.A.) No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act o/2002.
Lim maintains that the case records are bereft of evidence showing that Here, Orellan took into custody the P500.00 bill, the plastic box with the
the buy-bust team followed the procedure mandated in Section 21(1), plastic sachet of white substance, and a disposable lighter. Carin also
Article II of R.A. No. 9165. turned over to him the plastic sachet that she bought from Lim. While in
the house, Orellan marked the two plastic sachets. Orellan testified
Issue: W/N Lim is correct? that he immediately conducted the marking and physical inventory of
the two sachets of shabu. To ensure that .they were not interchanged,
RULING: The judgment of conviction is reversed and set aside, and he separately marked the item sold by Lim to Carin and the one that he
Lim should be acquitted based on reasonable doubt. recovered from his possession upon body search as BB AEO 10-19-10
and AEO-RI 10-19-10, respectively, with both bearing his
On July 15, 2014, R.A. No. 10640 was approved to amend R.A. No. initial/signature.
9165. Among other modifications, it essentially incorporated the saving
clause contained in the IRR, thus: Evident, however, is the absence of an elected public official and
representatives of the DOJ and the media to witness the physical
(1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control o f the inventory and photograph of the seized items. In fact, their signatures
dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, do not appear in the Inventory Receipt.
instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment shall,
immediately after seizure and confiscation, conduct a inventory of the It must be alleged and proved that the -presence of the three
seized items and photograph the same in the presence of the accused witnesses to the physical inventory and photograph of the illegal
or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, drug seized was not obtained due to reason/s such as: (1) their
or his/her representative or counsel, with an elected public official and a attendance was impossible because the place of arrest was a remote
representative of the National Prosecution Service or the media who area; (2) their safety during the inventory and photograph of the seized
shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a drugs was threatened by an immediate retaliatory action of the accused
copy thereof: Provided, That the physical inventory and photograph or any person/s acting for and in his/her behalf; (3) the elected official
shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served; or themselves were involved in the punishable acts sought to be
at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending apprehended; (4) earnest efforts to secure the presence of a DOJ or
officer/team, whichever is practicable, in case of warrantless seizures: media representative and an elected public official within the period
Provided, finally, That noncompliance of these requirements under required under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code prove futile
justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of through no fault of the arresting officers, who face the threat of being
the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending charged with arbitrary detention; or (5) time constraints and urgency of
officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such seizures and the anti-drug operations, which often rely on tips of confidential assets,
custody over said items. prevented the law enforcers from obtaining the presence of the required
witnesses even before the offenders could escape.
We have held that the immediate physical inventory and photograph of
Earnest effort to secure the attendance of the necessary witnesses testimonies of the prosecution witnesses failed to show that they tried
must be proven. People v. Ramos requires: to contact a DOJ representative.

It is well to note that the absence of these required witnesses does The testimonies of the prosecution witnesses also failed to establish the
not per se render the confiscated items inadmissible. However, a details of an earnest effort to coordinate with and secure presence of
justifiable reason for such failure or a showing of any genuine and the required witnesses. They also failed to explain why the buy-bust
sufficient effort to secure the required witnesses under Section 21 of team felt "unsafe" in waiting for the representatives in Lim's house,
RA 9165 must be adduced. In People v. Umipang, the Court held that considering that the team is composed of at least ten (10) members,
the prosecution must show that earnest efforts were employed in and the two accused were the only persons in the house.
contacting the representatives enumerated under the law for "a
sheer statement that representatives were unavailable without so It bears emphasis that the rule that strict adherence to the mandatory
much as an explanation on whether serious attempts were requirements of Section 21(1) of R.A. No. 9165, as amended, and its
employed to look for other representatives, given the IRR may be excused as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value
circumstances is to be regarded as a flimsy excuse." Verily, mere of the confiscated items are properly preserved applies not just on
statements of unavailability, absent actual serious attempts to contact arrest and/or seizure by reason of a legitimate buy-bust operation but
the required witnesses are unacceptable as justified grounds for non- also on those lawfully made in air or sea port, detention cell or national
compliance. These considerations arise from the fact that police officers penitentiary, checkpoint, moving vehicle, local or international
are ordinarily given sufficient time - beginning from the moment they package/parcel/mail, or those by virtue of a consented search, stop and
have received the information about the activities of the accused until frisk (Terry search), search incident to a lawful arrest, or application of
the time of his arrest - to prepare for a buy-bust operation and plain view doctrine where time is of the essence and the arrest and/or
consequently, make the necessary arrangements beforehand knowing seizure is/are not planned, arranged or scheduled in advance.
full well that they would have to strictly comply with the set procedure
prescribed in Section 21 of RA 9165. As such, police officers are In order to weed out early on from the courts' already congested docket
compelled not only to state reasons for their non-compliance, but any orchestrated or poorly built up drug-related cases, the following
must in fact, also convince the Court that they exerted earnest should henceforth be enforced as a mandatory policy:
efforts to comply with the mandated procedure, and that under the
given circumstances, their actions were reasonable. 1. In the sworn statements/affidavits, the apprehending/seizing officers
must state their compliance with the requirements of Section 21 (1) of
In this case, IOI Orellan testified that no members of the media and R.A. No. 9165, as amended, and its IRR.
barangay officials arrived at the crime scene because it was late at
night and it was raining, making it unsafe for them to wait at Lim's 2. In case o f non-observance o f the provision, the
house. Orcales similarly declared that the inventory was made in the apprehending/seizing officers must state the justification or explanation
PDEA office considering that it was late in the evening and there were therefor as well as the steps they have taken in order to preserve the
no available media representative and barangay officials despite their integrity and evidentiary value of the seized/confiscated items.
effort to contact them He admitted that there are times when they do
not inform the barangay officials prior to their operation as they. might 3.I f there is no justification or explanation expressly declared in the
leak the confidential information. We are of the view that these sworn statements or affidavits, the investigating fiscal must not
justifications are unacceptable as there was no genuine and sufficient immediately file the case before the court. Instead, he or she must refer
attempt to comply with the law. the case for further preliminary investigation in order to determine the
(non) existence ofprobable cause.
The prosecution likewise failed to explain why they did not secure the
presence of a representative from the Department of Justice (DOJ). 4. If the investigating fiscal filed the case despite such absence, the
While the arresting officer, 101 Orellan, stated in his Affidavit that they court may exercise its discretion to either refuse to issue a commitment
only tried to coordinate with the barangay officials and the media, the order (or warrant of arrest) or dismiss the case outright for lack of
probable cause in accordance with Section 5, Rule 112, Rules of Court. City against those named.

2. TOPIC: RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT UNDER CUSTODIAL Mario Comayas, Melecio Cudillan, Jesus Medalla and Ramiro Alegre
INVESTIGATION entered a plea of not guilty. The only evidence, therefore, presented by
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
 the prosecution to prove the guilt of appellants are the testimonies of
 Sgt. Mariano Isla and Hernando Carillo. The testimony of Sgt. Mariano
RAMIRO ALEGRE y CERDONCILLO, MARIO COMAYAS y Isla of the Pasay City police is to the effect that when he was
CUDILLAN, MELECIO CUDILLAN y ARCILLAS, and JESUS investigating Melecio Cudillan, the latter pointed to Ramiro Alegre,
MEDALLA y CUDILLAN, defendants-appellants. Mario Comayas and Jesus Medalla as his companions in the
commission of the crime.

FACTS: This case arose from the death of Adelina Sajo y Maravilla, Q. When Melecio Cudilla pointed to these persons what did these three
Spinster, 57 years old, whose body was found in her bathroom inside persons do?
her house at the Maravilla compound, Ignacio Street, Pasay City. Her
bedroom was in "shambles," evidently indicating that it was ransacked. A. They just stared at him and said nothing
The drawers and several cabinets were open, and some personal
garments, hadbags and papers were scattered on the floor. No witness According to the trial court, had the appellants "really been innocent
saw the commission of the crime. (they) should have protested vigorously and not merely kept their
Appellant Ramiro Alegre, who was then living with relatives in one of
the rented rooms on the ground floor of the victim's house, was taken to Hernando Carillo, a detention prisoner, declared that the three (3)
the Pasay City police headquarters for investigation in connection with appellants admitted to him that they took part in the robbery and
the case, but was later released that same day for lack of any evidence homicide committed in the residence of the deceased,
implicating him in the crime.
However, during the trial, Melecio Cudillan repudiated both the
Melecio Cudillan was apprehended in Tacloban City, Leyte, in the act of Tacloban City and Pasay City sworn statements as the product of
pawning a bracelet, one of the pieces of jewelry taken from the victim. compulsion and duress. He claimed that he was not assisted by
In explaining how he came into possession of the stolen pieces of counsel when he was investigated by the police.
jewelry, he admitted his participation in the killing and robbery of Adlina
Sajo. This appears in his extrajudicial confession before the police ISSUE 1: Appellants now contend that the lower court erred in 1)
authorities of Tacloban City on July 29, 1966 utilizing the extrajudicial confessions of Melecio Cudillan (now
deceased) as evidence against herein appellants; in concluding from
When brought to Metro Manila and while he was inside the Pasay City the alleged "Silence" of appellants when allegedly pointed to by Melecio
police headquarters, Melecio Cudillan again executed an extrajudicial Cudillan as "his companions" in the commission of the crime, an
confession. This was sworn to before the Assistant City Fiscal of Pasay admission of guilt;
City. In this second statement, he narrated in detail the participation in
the commission of the crime of Jesus Medalla, "Celso" Fernandez, 1) The extrajudicial confessions of Melecio Cudillan on the basis
"Rami" and "Mario." According to said statement, the declarant went of which the trial court was able to reconstruct how Melecio
near the cell within the Office of the Investigation Section, Secret Cudillan committed the crime in question, cannot be used as
Service Division, and Identified Ramiro Alegre, Jesus Medalla and evidence and are not competent proof against appellants Ramiro
Mario Comayas as the persons he referred to as Jesus Medalla, "Rami" Alegre and Jesus Medalla, under the principle of "res inter alios
and "Mario" in his declaration. On the basis of the aforementioned acta alteri nocere non debet" there being no independent
extrajudicial confession of Melecio Cudillan, an Information for evidence of conspiracy.
Robbery with Homicide was filed by the Special Counsel of Pasay
As a general rule, the extrajudicial declaration of an accused, although enclave where he may lead a private life."
deliberately made, is not admissible and does not have probative value
against his co-accused. It is merely hearsay evidence as far as the ... this right is 'not merely a formal technical rule the enforcement of
other accused are concerned. While there are recognized exceptions to which is left to the discretion of the court;' it is mandatory; it secures
this rule, the facts and circumstances attendant in the case at bar do to a defendant a valuable and substantive right; it is fundamental
not bring it within the purview of such exceptions. The only evidence, to our scheme of justice ...
therefore, linking the appellants to the crime would be their purported
tacit admissions and/or failure to deny their implications of the crime Therefore, the court may not extract from a defendant's own lips and
made by Melecio Cudillan, and/or their purported verbal confessions to against his will an admission of his guilt. Nor may a court as much as
Hernando Carillo, an inmate of the Pasay City jail. resort to compulsory disclosure, directly or indirectly, of facts usable
against him as a confession of the crime or the tendency of which is to
ISSUE 2: Whether or not the silence of appellants while under police prove the commission of a crime. Because, it is his right to forego
custody, in the face of statements of Melecio Cudillan implicating them testimony, to remain silent, unless he chooses to take the witness
as his companions in the commission of the crime, could be considered stand — with undiluted, unfettered exercise of his own free,
as tacit admission on their part of their participation therein. genuine will.

2) The settled rule is that the silence of an accused in criminal It must be stressed here that even under a regime of martial law, the
cases, meaning his failure or refusal to testify, may not be taken operations of our laws governing the rights of an accused person are
as evidence against him, and that he may refuse to answer an not open to doubt. Under the code for the administration of detainees,
incriminating question. It has also been held that while an all officers, civilian and military personnel are sworn to uphold the rights
accused is under custody, his silence may not be taken as of detainees. Among such fundamental rights are the right against
evidence against him as he has a right to remain silent; his silence compulsory testimonial self-incrimination, the right, when under
when in custody may not be used as evidence against him, investigation for the commission of an offense, to remain silent, to have
otherwise, his right of silence would be illusory. counsel, and to be informed of his rights; the right not to be subjected to
force, violence, threats, intimidation and degrading punishment or
The silence of an accused under custody, or his failure to deny torture in the course of one's detention, and the safeguard that any
statements by another implicating him in a crime, especially when such confession obtained in violation of the foregoing rights shall be
accused is neither asked to comment or reply to such implications or inadmissible in evidence. Thus, in Section 20 of Article IV of the
accusations, cannot be considered as a tacit confession of his Constitution, there is this categorical mandate: "Any person under
participation in the commission of the crime. Such an inference of investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to
acquiescence drawn from his silence or failure to deny the statement remain silent and to counsel, and to be informed of such right. No force,
would appear incompatible with the right of an accused against violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiates the free
self-incrimination. will shall be used against him. Any confession obtained in violation of
this section shall be inadmissible in evidence."
The right or privilege of a person accused of a crime against self-
incrimination is a fundamental right. It is a personal right of great This privilege against self-incrimination guaranteed by the Constitution
importance and is given absolutely and unequivocably. The privilege protects, therefore, the right of a person to remain silent unless he
against self- incrimination is an important development in man's chooses to speak in the unfettered exercise of his own will, and to
struggle for liberty. It reflects man's fundamental values and his most suffer no penalty for such silence.
noble of aspirations, the unwillingness of civilized men to subject those'
suspected of crime to the cruel trilemma of self-accusation, perjury or Identifying the right of an accused to remain silent with right to privacy,
contempt; the fear that self-incriminating statements may be obtained this Court, in Pascual explained that the privilege against
by inhumane treatment and abuses, and the respect for the inviolability self-incrimination "enables the citizen to create a zone of privacy which
of the human personality and of the right of each individual "to a private government may not force to surrender to its detriment."
We hold, therefore, that it was error for the trial court to draw from The prosecution presented SPO1 Antonio Espinoza and Celso Manuel
appellants' silence while under police custody, in the face of the who testified that, on separate occasions, accused-appellant had
incriminatory statements of Melecio Cudillan, the conclusion that confessed to the brutal killing of Jennifer Domantay. SPO1 Espinoza
the aforesaid appellants had tacitly admitted their guilt. We hold, testified that before he commenced his questioning, he apprised
further, that in view of the inadmissibility of the extrajudicial accused-appellant of his constitutional right to remain silent and to have
confession of Melecio Cudillan implicating herein appellants, the competent and independent counsel, in English, which was later
remaining evidence against them, consisting in the testimonies of translated into Pangasinense. According to SPO1 Espinoza, accused-
Sgt. Mariano Isla and Hernando Carillo, is insufficient to sustain appellant agreed to answer the questions of the investigator even in the
the judgment of conviction. Indeed, it is inherently improbable that absence of counsel and admitted killing the victim. Accused-appellant
herein appellants would have readily confessed their participation also disclosed the location of the bayonet he used in killing the victim.
in the commission of a heinous crime to a casual acquaintance in On cross-examination, Espinoza admitted that at no time during the
a prison detention cell, considering that on the same occasion course of his questioning was accused-appellant assisted by counsel.
they strongly denied any involvement in such crime before the Neither was accused-appellant's confession reduced in writing.
police authorities. Espinoza's testimony was admitted by the trial court over the objection
of the defense.
WHEREFORE, the judgement appealed from is reversed, and
appellants Ramiro Alegre y Cerdoncillo, Mario Comayas y Cudillan and Celso Manuel, for his part, testified that he is a radio reporter of station
Jesus Medalla y Cudillan are hereby ACQUITTED of the crime with DWPR, an AM station. He covers the third district of Pangasinan,
which they are charged. including Malasiqui. Sometime in October 1996, an uncle of the victim
came to Dagupan City and informed the station about Jennifer
TOPIC: CONFESSION TO MEDIA ADMISSABLE; NOT UNDER Domantay's case. On October 23, 1996, Manuel went to Malasiqui to
CUSTODIAL INVESTIGATION; EXTRAJUDICIAL CONFESSION interview accused-appellant who was then detained in the municipal
CORROBORATED BY CORPUS DELICTI jail. He described what transpired during the interview thus:

3. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. Q: What are those matters which you brought out in that interview with
BERNARDINO DOMANTAY, ACCUSED-APPELLANT. the accused Bernardino Domantay alias "Junior Otot"?

FACTS: On October 17, 1996, at around 4 o'clock, when the body of A: I asked him what was his purpose for human interest's sake as a
six-year old Jennifer Domantay was found sprawled amidst a bamboo reporter, why did he commit that alleged crime. And I asked also if he
grove in Guilig, Malasiqui, Pangasinan. The child's body bore several committed the crime and he answered "yes." That's it.
stab wounds. Jennifer had been missing since lunch time. The
investigation by the Malasiqui police pointed to accused-appellant Q: More or less what have you asked him on that particular matter?
Bernardino Domantay, a cousin of the victim's grandfather, as the lone
suspect in the gruesome crime. A: I asked "Junior Otot," Bernardino Domantay, "Kung pinagsisisihan
mo ba ang iyong ginawa?" "Opo" sabi niya, "Ibig mo bang sabihin Jun,
A criminal complaint for murder against accused-appellant before the ikaw ang pumatay kay Jennifer?", "Ako nga po". The [l]ast part of my
Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Malasiqui. On October 25, 1996, Dr. interview, "Kung nakikinig ang mga magulang ni Jennifer, ano ang
Ronald Bandonill, medico-legal expert of the NBI, performed an gusto mong iparating?", "kung gusto nilang makamtan ang hustisya ay
autopsy on the embalmed body of Jennifer. The result of his tatanggapin ko". That is what he said, and I also asked Junior Otot,
examination of the victim's genitalia indicated that the child's hymen what was his purpose, and he said, it was about the boundary dispute,
had been completely lacerated on the right side. Based on this finding, and he used that little girl in his revenge.
SPO4 Carpizo amended the criminal complaint against accused-
appellant to rape with homicide. On cross-examination, Manuel explained that the interview was
conducted in the jail, about two to three meters away from the police
station. An uncle of the victim was with him and the nearest policemen neither put in writing nor made in the presence of counsel. For this
present were about two to three meters from him, including those who reason, the waiver is invalid and his confession is inadmissible. SPO1
were in the radio room. There was no lawyer present. Before Espinoza's testimony on the alleged confession of accused-appellant
interviewing accused-appellant, Manuel said he talked to the chief of should have been excluded by the trial court. So is the bayonet
police and asked permission to interview accused-appellant. On inadmissible in evidence, being, as it were, the "fruit of the poisonous
questioning by the court, Manuel said that it was the first time he had tree."
been called to testify regarding an interview he had conducted
We agree with the Solicitor General, however, that accused-appellant's
ISSUE: THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN APPRECIATING THE confession to the radio reporter, Celso Manuel, is admissible. In People
EXTRAJUDICIAL CONFESSION[S] MADE BY THE ACCUSED- v. Andan, the accused in a rape with homicide case confessed to the
APPELLANT. crime during interviews with the media. In holding the confession
admissible, despite the fact that the accused gave his answers without
Art. III, §12 of the Constitution in part provides: the assistance of counsel, this Court said:

(1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense [A]ppellant's [oral] confessions to the newsmen are not covered by
shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to Section 12(1) and (3) of Article III of the Constitution. The Bill of Rights
have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. does not concern itself with the relation between a private individual
If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided and another individual. It governs the relationship between the
with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the individual and the State. The prohibitions therein are primarily
presence of counsel. addressed to the State and its agents.

. . .. Accused-appellant claims, however, that the atmosphere in the jail

when he was interviewed was "tense and intimidating" and was similar
(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this section or to that which prevails in a custodial investigation. We are not
section 17 hereof shall be inadmissible in evidence. persuaded.

This provision applies to the stage of custodial investigation, that is, Accused-appellant was interviewed while he was inside his cell. The
"when the investigation is no longer a general inquiry into an unsolved interviewer stayed outside the cell and the only person besides him was
crime but starts to focus on a particular person as a suspect." R.A. No. an uncle of the victim. Accused-appellant could have refused to be
7438 has extended the constitutional guarantee to situations in which interviewed, but instead, he agreed. He answered questions freely and
an individual has not been formally arrested but has merely been spontaneously. According to Celso Manuel, he said he was willing to
"invited" for questioning. accept the consequences of his act.

an extrajudicial confession to be admissible, it must satisfy the following Celso Manuel admitted that there were indeed some police officers
requirements: (1) it must be voluntary; (2) it must be made with the around because about two to three meters from the jail were the police
assistance of competent and independent counsel; (3) it must be station and the radio room. We do not think the presence of the police
express; and (4) it must be in writing. officers exerted any undue pressure or influence on accused-appellant
and coerced him into giving his confession.
In the case at bar, when accused-appellant was brought to the
Malasiqui police station in the evening of October 17, 1996, he was Accused-appellant contends that "it is . . . not altogether improbable for
already a suspect, in fact the only one, in the brutal slaying of Jennifer the police investigators to ask the police reporter (Manuel) to try to elicit
Domantay. He was, therefore, already under custodial investigation and some incriminating information from the accused." This is pure
the rights guaranteed in Art. III, §12(1) of the Constitution applied to conjecture. Although he testified that he had interviewed inmates
him. But though he waived the assistance of counsel, the waiver was before, there is no evidence to show that Celso was a police beat
reporter. Even assuming that he was, it has not been shown that, in was seen with the victim walking toward the place where the girl's body
conducting the interview in question, his purpose was to elicit was found. Maybe he raped the girl. Maybe he did not. Maybe he
incriminating information from accused-appellant. To the contrary, the simply inserted a blunt object into her organ, thus causing the
media are known to take an opposite stance against the government by lacerations in the hymen. Otherwise, there is no circumstance from
exposing official wrongdoings. which it might reasonably be inferred that he abused her, e.g., that he
was zipping up his pants, that there was spermatozoa in the girl's
Indeed, there is no showing that the radio reporter was acting for the vaginal canal.
police or that the interview was conducted under circumstances where
it is apparent that accused-appellant confessed to the killing out of fear. Indeed, the very autopsy report of Dr. Bandonill militates against the
As already stated, the interview was conducted on October 23, 1996, 6 finding of rape. THUS ACCUSED IS CONVICTED OF accused-
days after accused-appellant had already confessed to the killing to the appellant guilty of homicide with the aggravating circumstance of abuse
police. of superior strength

Accused-appellant's extrajudicial confession is corroborated by TOPIC: IMPOVIDENT PLEA; ACCUSED STILL GUILTY DUE TO
evidence of corpus delicti, namely, the fact of death of Jennifer OTHER EVIDENCES
Domantay. In addition, the circumstantial evidence furnished by the
other prosecution witnesses dovetails in material points with his 4. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF- APPELLEE,
confession. He was seen walking toward the bamboo grove, followed
by the victim. Later, he was seen standing near the bamboo grove VS.
where the child's body was found.
Rule 133 of the Revised Rules on Evidence provides:
Accused-appellant, assisted by counsel, pleaded guilty to the charge of
§3. Extrajudicial confession, not sufficient ground for conviction. 3⁄4 An rape slaying a six year old girl, Arlene, Ipurong, the trial court ordered
extrajudicial confession made by an accused, shall not be sufficient the prosecution to present evidence to prove the guilt of accused-
ground for conviction, unless corroborated by evidence of corpus appellant and the precise degree of his culpability.
ISSUE: Accused-appellant contends that the trial court failed to
For the foregoing reasons, the Court is convinced of accused- ascertain whether accused-appellant was fully apprised of the legal
appellant's guilt with respect to the killing of the child. It is clear that the consequences of his plea, considering that he finished only up to the
prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt that accused- sixth grade of the elementary school.
appellant is guilty of homicide. Second. There is, however, no sufficient
evidence to hold accused-appellant guilty of raping Jennifer Domantay. RULING: Accused-appellant is correct. When an accused enters a plea
Consequently, standing alone, a physician's finding that the hymen of of guilt to a capital offense, Section 3 of Rule 116 of the Rules of
the alleged victim was lacerated does not prove rape. It is only when Criminal Procedure provides that it is the duty of the trial court to
this is corroborated by other evidence proving carnal knowledge that observe the following rules: (1) it must conduct a searching inquiry into
rape may be deemed to have been established. the voluntariness and full comprehension of the consequences of his
plea; (2) it must require the prosecution to present evidence to prove
This conclusion is based on the medically accepted fact that a hymenal the guilt of the accused and the precise degree of his culpability; and
tear may be caused by objects other than the male sex organ or may (3) it must asks the accused if he desires to present evidence in his
arise from other causes. Dr. Bandonill himself admitted this. in the case behalf and allow him to do so if he desires. This is because a plea of
at bar, there is no circumstantial evidence from which to infer that guilt must be based on a free and informed judgment. Thus, the inquiry
accused-appellant sexually abused the victim. The only circumstance must focus on the voluntariness of the plea and the full comprehension
from which such inference might be made is that accused-appellant of the consequences of the plea.
In this case, the trial court failed to comply fully with the requirement to evidence on which the judgment of the trial court rests. This
conduct a searching inquiry to determine whether accused-appellant’s evidence consists of accused-appellant’s extrajudicial confession,
plea was voluntary and done with full comprehension of the his testimony in open court, and the testimony of the other
consequences thereof. In determining whether accused-appellant was witnesses.
aware of the full consequences of his plea of guilt, the trial court simply
asked him whether he knew that he “may” be sentenced to death, There are four fundamental requirements for the admissibility of
implying that it was possible that the death penalty might not be extrajudicial confessions in general, to wit: (a) the confession must be
imposed on him. But Art. 266-B of the Revised Penal Code provides for voluntary; (b) it must be made with the assistance of competent and
the mandatory imposition of the death penalty if the crime of rape is independent counsel; (c) the confession must be express; and (d) it
committed against a child below seven years old. Even if the victim is must be in writing. In this case, after accused-appellant was read his
not a child below seven years of age but homicide is committed by rights in Tagalog, he signified his intention to confess his participation in
reason of or on the occasion of the rape, the imposable penalty is the rape and killing of Arlene. He did this in the presence of his father
death. Indeed, as noted in People vs. Nadera, a mere warning that the and with the assistance of Atty. Cesar Villar, who had been chosen by
accused faces the supreme penalty of death is insufficient. More often his father for him. In his confession, he stated categorically that he took
than not, an accused pleads guilty because he hopes for a lenient Arlene to an abandoned house near Best-Line Eatery, where he struck
treatment or a lighter penalty. Thus, in the case at bar, when the trial her on the head with a rock, raped her, and afterwards dumped her
court again asked accused-appellant his final plea, accused-appellant body into the toilet bowl in order to hide it. Accused-appellant’s
answered: confession was placed in writing and it was signed by him, his counsel,
and the administering officer.
COURT: Mr. Principe, for the last time, the court would like to ask you
your final plea before the case is submitted for resolution. Accused-appellant acknowledged his extrajudicial confession in court.
The court asked him if he executed the extrajudicial confession
ACCUSED PRINCIPE: As narrated. I have admitted my guilt, sir, in voluntarily and in the presence of counsel, and he answered in the
connection with this case. My only plea is, if possible, kindly give me affirmative. Accused-appellant testified with some relatives present in
the minimum penalty that the Court can impose. the courtroom, including his grandmother. In addition, he was assisted
by his counsel deoficio, Atty. Victor Galang.
COURT: In other words, you admit your guilt because you did it. Only,
what you want is leniency from the Court? Finally, the testimonies of witnesses for the prosecution confirm
accused- appellant’s testimony that he committed the crime. One of his
A Yes, sir. drinking companions, Frederick Agrigado, testified that accused-
appellant left them at about 4 p.m. to buy “pulutan” from the Best-Line
Q I want to tell you that what you stated in open court are recorded and Eatery. Another witness, Alfredo Apan, said he saw accused-appellant
it is finally for the Supreme Court to give you leniency. with the victim Arlene on his back walking towards the highway at about
the same time. After the disappearance of the victim, Alfredo Apan
A: Yes, sir.” confronted accused-appellant, telling him that he was the last person
seen with the child. Accused-appellant’s vehement denial aroused
Although accused-appellant said he was admitting guilt “because [he] Apan’s suspicions as he was the one who saw accused-appellant with
did it,” there is doubt whether that was his only reason for pleading Arlene. At the restaurant, accused-appellant was served by Lerma
guilty because he also said he “wanted leniency from the court.” This Morales, who noticed that he was with a 6-year old child, whom
makes it doubtful whether his plea was voluntary. accused-appellant introduced as his niece. After accused-appellant was
given his order, he took the child’s hand and led her to the abandoned
While accused-appellant’s improvident plea should be house. When he returned to his drinking companions, they noted it was
disregarded, nevertheless his conviction cannot be set aside as already about 5:30 p.m. and that he had been gone for one and a half
there is, in addition to his plea, other sufficient and credible hours. Arlene’s body was found missing at past 5 p.m. of that same
day. All the above witnesses placed accused-appellant at the scene of Issues and RULING:
the crime at the time it took place.
1. WON there was a violation of the appellants right to due
The conviction of an accused may be based on circumstantial evidence process?
provided the following requisites must concur: (1) there is more than
one circumstance; (2) the facts from which the inferences are derived Of the foregoing rights, what appellants obviously claim as having been
are proven; and (3) the combination of all the circumstances is such as trampled. upon by the trial court are their: (a) right to be assisted by
to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, while there is counsel at every stage of the proceedings; (b) right to confront and
no eyewitness account as to who raped and killed Arlene, the above cross-examine the prosecution witnesses; (c) right to produce evidence
circumstances strongly point to no other person than accused-appellant on their behalf, and (d) right to an impartial trial.
as the perpetrator of the crime. This conclusion becomes all the more
certain and inevitable when the circumstantial evidence is considered a. Right to be assisted by counsel - appellants fault the trial
together with accused-appellant’s extrajudicial confession and his own court: first, for appointing counsel de oficio despite their insistence to be
testimony in open court. assisted by counsel of their own choice; and second, for refusing to
suspend trial until they shall have secured the services of new counsel.
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 27,
Cabanatuan City is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that accused- There is no denial of the right to counsel where a counselde oficio was
appellant is ordered to pay the heirs of the victim, Arlene Ipurong, appointed during the absence of the accused's counsel de
P100,000.00 as civil indemnity, P15,000.00 as temperate damages, parte, pursuant to the court's desire to finish the case as early as
and P50,000.00 as moral damages. practicable under the continuous trial system. An examination of its
provisions concerning the right to counsel shows that the "preference in
RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED the choice of counsel" pertains more aptly and specifically to a person
under investigation rather than an accused, in a criminal prosecution.
1. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FRANCISCO JUAN And even if we are to extend the "application of the concept of
LARRANAGA alias "PACO"; JOSMAN AZNAR; ROWEN ADLAWAN "preference in the choice of counsel" to an accused in a criminal
alias "WESLEY"; ALBERTO CAO alias "ALLAN PAHAK"; ARIEL prosecution, such preferential discretion is not absolute as would
BALANSAG, DAVIDSON VALIENTE RUSIA alias "TISOY enable him to choose a particular counsel to the exclusion of others
TAGALOG"; JAMES ANTHONY UY alias "WANGWANG"; and equally capable.
JAMES ANDREW UY alias "MM", July 21, 2005
If the rule were otherwise, then, the tempo of a custodial
Facts: On the night of July 16, 1997, victims Marijoy and Jacqueline investigation, will be solely in the hands of the accused who can
Chiong failed to come home on the expected time. Two days after, a impede, nay, obstruct the progress of the interrogation by simply
young woman was found dead at the foot of a cliff. The woman was selecting a lawyer, who for one reason or another, is not available
identified as Marijoy. After almost ten months, accused Davidson Rusia to protect his interest. This absurd scenario could not have been
surfaced and admitted before the police having participated in the contemplated by the framers of the charter."
abduction of the sisters. He identified appellants Francisco Juan
Larrañaga, Josman Aznar, Rowen Adlawan, Alberto Caño, Ariel An application for a continuance in order to secure the services of
Balansag, James Anthony Uy, and James Andrew Uy as co- counsel is ordinarily addressed to the discretion of the court, and the
perpetrators in the crime. The claims of Rusia were supported by other denial thereof is not ordinarily an infringement of the accused's right to
witnesses. He was discharged as an accused and became a state counsel.79 The right of the accused to select his own counsel must
witness. Still, the body of Jacqueline was never found. The trial court be exercised in a reasonable time and in a reasonable manner.
found the other appellants guilty of two crimes of kidnapping and Constitutional guaranty of right to representation by counsel does
serious illegal detention and sentenced each of them to suffer the not mean that accused may avoid trial by neglecting or refusing to
penalties of two (2) reclusiones perpetua. secure assistance of counsel and by refusing to participate in his
trial. The court may deny accused's application to discharge his defense from presenting adequately its side of the cases.
counsel where it appears that such application is not made in
good faith but is made for purposes of delay. d. Right to Produce Evidence
The trial court exclude the testimonies of 4 airline personnel, intending
b. Right to Confront and Cross-Examine the Prosecution to prove that Larranaga did not travel from Cebu to Manila, and vice
Witnesses versa, on July 16, 1997. The exclusion was justified. To prove that he
All of appellants' counsel de parte had a fair share of time in grilling was not in the pre-flight and post-flight of the four (4) major airlines on
Rusia concerning his background to the kidnapping of Marijoy and July 15 and 16, 1997 would not prove 'the legal requirement of
Jacqueline. That the trial court imposed limitation on the length of "physical impossibility" because he could have taken the flight from
time counsel for appellants may cross-examine Rusia cannot be Manila to Cebu prior to that date, such as July 14, 1997. The trial court
labeled as a violation of the latter's constitutional right. The court did not also allow the presentation of additional witnesses to prove
has always the discretion to limit the cross-examination and to Larranaga’s enrollment at Center for Culinary Arts, located in QC. To
consider it terminated if it would serve the ends of justice. Where prove that Larrañaga was enrolled during a certain period of time does
several accused are being tried jointly for the same offense, the order in not negate the possibility that he went home to Cebu City sometime in
which counsel for the several defendants shall cross-examine the July 1997 and stayed there for a while. Due process of law is not
state's witnesses may be regulated by the court. If some of the denied by the exclusion of irrelevant, immaterial, or incompetent
prosecution witnesses were not subjected to cross-examination, it was evidence, or testimony of an incompetent witness.105 It is not error
not because appellants were not given the opportunity to do so. to refuse evidence which although admissible for certain purposes, is
The fact remains that their new counsel de parte refused to cross not admissible for the purpose which counsel states as the ground for
examine them. Thus, appellants waived their right "to confront and offering it.
cross examine. the witnesses" against them.
2. WON prosecution witness Rusia is qualified to be a state
c. Right to Impartial Trial witness under paragraphs (d) and (e), section 17 of the revised
The intervention by way of comment of Judge Ocampo during the rules of criminal procedure?
hearing was not only appropriate but was necessary. Remarks which
merely manifest a desire to confine the proceedings to the real Rusia's admission that he raped Jacqueline does not make him the
point in issue. and to expedite the trial do not constitute a rebuke "most guilty" of the crimes charged. He had no inkling then of
of counsel. Judge Ocampo's comments were just honest observations appellants' plan to kidnap and detain the Chiong sisters. The extent of
intended to warn the witnesses to be candid to the court. Rusia's participation in the crimes charged does not make him the
"most guilty." The fact that Rusia was convicted of third degree burglary
A trial judge is not a wallflower during trial. It is proper for him to in Minessotta does not render his testimony inadmissible. Even if the
caution and admonish witnesses when necessary and he may discharged state witness should lack some of the qualifications
rebuke a witness for levity enumerated, his testimony will not, for that 'reason alone, be
discarded or disregarded. What makes Rusias testimony worthy of
or for other improper conduct. This is because he is called upon to
ascertain the truth of the controversy before him. belief is its striking compatibility with the physical evidence. Physical
evidence is one of the highest degrees of proof. Reinforcing his
It bears stressing at this point that the perceived harshness and testimony is its corroboration by several other witnesses who saw
impatience exhibited by Judge Ocampo did not at all prevent the incidents of what he narrated. Even assuming that his testimony
standing alone might indeed be unworthy of belief in view of his 2. Larranaga v CA – Resolution (NOT PART OF RECIT
character, it is not so when considered with the other evidence COVERAGE) CAN BE SKIPPED.
presented by the prosecution. The fact that not all the requisites for
Facts: Petitioner Larranaga is charged with two counts of kidnapping
his discharge are present is not a ground to recall the discharge order.
and serious illegal detention. Petitioner, represented by his mother,
Margarita G. Larranaga. Petitioner alleged that he was denied the right
3. WON there was insufficiency of the evidence of the to preliminary investigation and sought to annul the informations as well
prosecution? as the warrant of arrest issued. The SC we issued a resolution holding
that petitioner was deprived of his right to preliminary investigation
For the defense of alibi to prosper, the accused must show that he was when the City Prosecutor of Cebu insisted that he was only entitled to
in another place at such a period of time that it was physically an inquest investigation and the petitioner was ordered release pending
impossible for him to have been at the place where the crime was the preliminary investigation. However, Judge Ocampo, Presiding
committed at the time of its commission. These requirements of time Judge of RTC Branch 7, Cebu City, issued an order deferring the
and place must be strictly met. Rusia positively identified the resolution of petitioners motion. It stated that it would be premature to
appellants. The settled rule is that positive identification of an accused act on the motion since the trial court has not yet received an official
by credible witnesses as the perpetrator of the crime demolishes alibi, copy of our October 27 resolution and that said resolution has not yet
the much abused sanctuary of felons.124 Rusia's testimony was attained finality. He further stated that petitioner has been arraigned on
corroborated by several disinterested witnesses who also identified the October 14, 1997 and waived his right to preliminary investigation.
appellants When petitioners filed with the SC an urgent motion for immediate
release, Judge Ocampo alleged that petitioners’ counsel deliberately
Sec. 17. Discharge of accused to be state witness. – When two or more withheld from this Court the omnibus order, supplemental order and
persons are jointly charged with the commission of any offense, upon order of arraignment and misled the Court in its October 27 resolution.
motion of the prosecution before resting its case, the court may direct
one or more of the accused to be discharged with their consent so that Issues and RULING:
they may be witnesses for the state when, after requiring the 1. WON petitioner is entitled to a regular preliminary investigation?
prosecution to present evidence and the sworn statement of each
proposed state witness at a hearing in support of the discharge, the Yes. The prosecutors argue that petitioner is entitled only to an inquest
court is satisfied that: investigation under Section 7 of Rule 112 since he was lawfully
(a) There is absolute necessity for the testimony of the accused whose
arrested without a warrant under Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised
discharge is requested;
(b) There is no other direct evidence available for the proper Rules of Court. Section 7 of Rule 112 applies only to persons lawfully
prosecution of the offense committed, except the testimony of said arrested without a warrant. Petitioner in this case was, in the first place,
accused; not arrested either by a peace officer or a private person. An arrest
(c) The testimony of said accused can be substantially corroborated in signifies restraint on person, depriving one of his own will and liberty,
its material points; binding him to become obedient to the will of the law. The foregoing
(d) Said accused does not appear to be the most guilty; and
facts show no restraint upon the person of petitioner. Neither do they
(e) Said accused has not at any time been convicted of any offense
involving moral turpitude. show that petitioner was deprived of his own will and liberty. Hence,
Evidence adduced in support of the discharge shall automatically form Section 7 of Rule 112 does not apply to petitioner. If petitioner were
part of the trial. If the court denies the motion for discharge of the arrested by the PNP CIG personnel, such arrest would still be illegal
accused as state witness, his sworn statement shall be inadmissible in because of the absence of a warrant. It does not fall under a lawful
evidence. warrantless arrest.
We reject the prosecutors' argument that petitioner was actually absence of a preliminary investigation will not justify petitioners release
committing a crime at the time of the arrest since kidnapping with because such defect did not nullify the information and the warrant of
serious illegal detention is a continuing crime. There is no showing that arrest against him.
at the time of the arrest on September 15, 1997, Jacqueline Chiong
was being detained by petitioner who was then residing in Quezon City.
Hence, petitioner may not be considered as continually committing the If there were no preliminary investigations, the court, instead of
crime of kidnapping with serious illegal detention at the time of the dismissing the information, should conduct it or remand the case to the
arrest. inferior court so that the preliminary investigation may be conducted.

2. WON there was a waiver as to the preliminary investigation? As regards petitioners motion to change the venue and the
authority to conduct the preliminary investigation, we are
Judge Ocampo held that petitioner waived his right to preliminary constrained to dismiss the same for lack of jurisdiction. The holding of a
investigation when he failed to appear during the preliminary preliminary investigation is a function of the Executive Department and
not of the Judiciary. Petitioner should therefore address their plea to the
investigation set by the City Prosecutor (they assert that failure to
Department of Justice that has control and supervision over the
appear constitute a waiver). A waiver, whether express or implied, must conduct of preliminary investigations. Even if the Court had jurisdiction
be made in clear and unequivocal manner. Mere failure of petitioner over the issue, petitioners motion should still be denied because it
and his counsel to appear cannot be construed as a waiver of his right failed to allege and prove that the City Prosecutor of Cebu has been
to preliminary investigation. actually affected by the publicity. To warrant a finding of prejudicial
publicity, there must be allegation and proof that the judges have been
unduly influenced, not simply that they might be, by the barrage of
The rule is that the right to preliminary investigation is waived when the
publicity. In the case at bar, the records do not show that the trial judge
accused fails to invoke it before or at the time of entering a plea at developed actual bias against appellant as a consequence of the
arraignment. Petitioner, in this case, has been actively and consistently extensive media coverage of the pre-trial and trial of his
demanding a regular preliminary investigation even before he was case. The totality of circumstances of the case does not prove this
charged in court. Also, petitioner refused to enter a plea during the actual bias and he has not discharged the burden.
arraignment because there was a pending case in this Court regarding
his right to avail of a regular preliminary investigation. Clearly, the acts
of petitioner and his counsel are inconsistent with a waiver. Preliminary
investigation is part of procedural due process. It cannot be waived
unless the waiver appears to be clear and informed.

3. WON petitioner should be released from detention pending the


No. Two informations were filed against petitioner. As held in Sanchez

v. Demetriou, filing of charges and the issuance of the warrant of arrest
against a person invalidly detained will cure the defect of that detention
or at least deny him the right to be released because of such defect.
Petitioners detention at the Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation Center is legal
in view of the information and the warrant of arrest against him. The