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RULE 116



it is the formal mode and manner of

implementing the constitutional right of an
accused to be informed of the nature and cause of
the accusation against him.

• Formal answer of the defendant

• The answer of “guilty” or “not
guilty” in an arraignment for a
criminal charge
When arraignment is made

General Rule
When accused is not under preventive detention,
arraignment shall be held within 30 days from date the
court acquires jurisdiction over the person of the accused.

When arraignment is held within a shorter


• When accused is under preventive detention

• Complainant is about to depart from the Philippines with no
definite date of return
• Cases under R.A. 7610 (Child Abuse Act)
• Cases under the Dangerous Drugs Act
• When accused is a juvenile in conflict with the law
Rules on arraignment

 Generally, judgment is void if accused has not been validly


 If accused went to trial without being arraigned, subsequent

arraignment will cure the error PROVIDED that the accused
was able to present evidence and cross-examine the
witnesses of the prosecution during trial.

 Accused is presumed to have been validly arraigned in the

absence of proof to the contrary
Rules on arraignment

 Accused must personally appear during arraignment and

enter his plea

 Trial in absentia may be conducted only after valid


 No double jeopardy if accused was not arraigned.

When a plea of not guilty should be

• When the accused so pleaded

• When he refuses to plead
• Where in admitting the act charged, he sets up matters of
• When the plea is indefinite or ambiguous
• When he enters a conditional plea
Plea of Guilty

An admission of all the material facts alleged in the

Information, including the aggravating circumstances

Mitigating if it is made before prosecution starts to

present evidence

process whereby the accused and the prosecution work out

a mutually satisfactory disposition of the case subject to court
approval. It usually involves the accused’s pleading to a lesser
offense or to only one or some of the counts of a multi-count
indictment in return for a lighter sentences than that for the
graver charge.
Plea of guilty to a capital offense

• Conduct a searching inquiry into the

- Voluntariness of the plea
- Full comprehension of the consequences of his plea

• Require prosecution to prove his guilt and the precise

degree of his culpability

• Ask the accused if he desires to present evidence in his

behalf and allow him to do so if he desires.
Plea of Guilty to Plea of Guilty to Non-
Capital Offense capital Offense
Reception of Evidence
Mandatory Discretionary
Consequence if the Facts do not Charge an Offense
No conviction therein can be had notwithstanding the
defendant’s plea of guilty
Improvident Plea of Guilty
It is a plea of guilt made by the accused without full
comprehension of the nature and the consequences thereof.

The withdrawal of a plea of guilty is not a matter of right

to the accused but of sound discretion to the trial court.

EFFECT: setting aside of the judgment of conviction and the re-

opening if the case for new trial.
Duties of the court when the accused appears
before it without counsel:

 Inform the defendant of his right to have a lawyer before

being arraigned;

 After giving the information, ask defendant if he desires the

aid of a lawyer;

 If he desires and is unable to employ one, the court must

assign a lawyer de officio to defend him;

If accused desires to procure a lawyer of his won, the court

must grant him reasonable time therefor.
Counsel de officio

He is a counsel appointed by the court to represent and

defend the accused in case he cannot afford to employ one himself.
His duty is nonetheless to make sure that his client gets what he
lawfully deserves whether acquittal or conviction.

He must be given “reasonable time” to prepare for the

arraignment of the accused.
Bill of Particulars

In order for the accused to be fully apprised of the true

charges against them, and thus avoid any and all possible surprise,
which might be detrimental to their rights and interests.

The failure to ask for a bill of particulars amounts to a

waiver of such right.
Mode of Discovery

Right of the accused to move for the production of

material evidence in the possession of the prosecution. It
authorizes the defense to inspect, copy or photograph any evidence
of the prosecution in its possession after obtaining permission of
the court.
Grounds for Suspension of Arraignment:

Upon motion by the proper party, the arraignment

shall be suspended in the following cases:

 The accused appears to be suffering from an unsound mental condition

which effectively renders him unable to fully understand the charge against
him and to plead intelligently;
 Existence of a valid prejudicial question
 A Petition for Review of the resolution of the prosecutor is pending at the
DOJ or OP;
There are pending incidents: Motion to Quash, for Inhibition, and for Bill of