Political Law (Constitutional Law) – Article III
ARTICLE III – BILL OF RIGHTS
Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.
Definition of “Police Power”:
1) Power vested in the legislature
2) By the Constitution
3) To make, ordain, and establish
4) All manner of wholesome and reasonable laws, statutes, and ordinances
5) Either with penalties or without
6) Not repugnant to the constitution
7) As they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of the commonwealth and of the subjects of the same.
Aspects of “Due Process”:
- Procedural due process – refers to the mode of procedure which government agencies must follow in the enforcement and application of laws.
- Substantive due process – prohibition against arbitrary laws.
Note: PROCEDURAL DUE PROCESS:
- A law which hears before it condemns.
- Due process of law contemplates notice and opportunity to be heard before judgment is rendered affecting one’s person or property (Lopez v. Dir. of Lands)
- Due process depends on circumstances; it varies with the subject matter and the necessities of the situation.
Requisites of PROCEDURAL due process:
For JUDICIAL proceedings: CODE: C J N O H
- A court or tribunal clothed with judicial power to hear and determine the matter before it.
- Jurisdiction must be lawfully acquired over the person of the defendant or over the property which is the subject of the proceedings.
- The defendant must be given notice and an opportunity to be heard.
- Judgment must be rendered upon a lawful hearing.
For ADMINISTRATIVE proceedings: CODE: H E D S H I P
- The right to a hearing, which includes the right to present one’s case and submit evidence in support thereof.
- The tribunal must consider the evidence presented.
- The decision must have something to support itself.
- Evidence supporting the conclusion must be substantial.
- The decision must be based on the evidence presented at the hearing or at least contained in the record and disclosed to the parties affected.
- The tribunal or body or any of its judges must act on its or his own independent consideration of the law and facts of the controversy, and not simply accept the views of a subordinate in arriving at a decision.
- The board or body should, in all controversial questions, render its decision in such a manner that the parties to the proceeding can know the various issues involved and the reasons for the decision rendered.
- What is required is not actual hearing, but a real opportunity to be heard.
- The requirement of due process can be satisfied by subsequent due hearing.
- Violation of due process: when same person reviews his own decision on appeal.
- Notice and hearing are required in judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings, but not in the promulgation of general rule.
For SCHOOL DISCIPLINARY proceedings: CODE: W A In A D P
- The student must be informed in writing of the nature and cause of any accusation against them.
- The student shall have the right to answer the charges against him, with the assistance of counsel if desired.
- The student has the right to be informed of the evidence against him.
- The student has the right to adduce evidence in his own behalf.
- The evidence must be duly considered by the investigating committee or official designated by the school authorities to hear and decide the case.
- The penalty imposed must be proportionate to the offense.
- The school has a contractual obligation to afford its students a fair opportunity to complete the course a student has enrolled for.
- Serious breach of discipline; or
- Failure to maintain the required academic standard.
- Proceedings in student disciplinary cases may be summary; cross-examination is not essential
Instances when hearings are NOT necessary:
- When administrative agencies are exercising their quasi-legislative functions.
- Abatement of nuisance per se.
- Granting by courts of provisional remedies.
- Cases of preventive suspension.
- Removal of temporary employees in the government service.
- Issuance of warrants of distraint and/or levy by the BIR Commissioner.
- Cancellation of the passport of a person charged with a crime.
- Issuance of sequestration orders (considered a provisional remedy).
- Judicial order which prevents an accused from travelling abroad in order to maintain the effectivity of the court’s jurisdiction.
- Suspension of a bank’s operations by the Monetary Board upon a prima facie finding of liquidity problems in such bank.
- The right to counsel is a very basic requirement of substantive due process and has to be observed even in administrative and quasi-judicial bodies.
- The right to appeal is a statutory privilege that may be exercised only in the manner in accordance with law.
Requisites of SUBSTANTIVE due process: CODE: I M
- The INTERESTS of the public generally, as distinguished from those of a particular class, requires the interference by the government and
- The MEANS employed are necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose and not unduly oppressive upon individuals.
Requirements of a valid ordinance:
- Must not contravene the Constitution or any statute
- Must not be unfair or oppressive
- Must not be partial or discriminatory
- Must not prohibit, but may regulate trade
- Must be general and consistent with public policy
- Must not be unreasonable
When is a law VAGUE?
- When it lacks COMPREHENSIBLE STANDARDS
- That men of ordinary intelligence must necessarily GUESS as to its meaning
- And differ as to its application
Equal Protection of the law
The equality that it guarantees is legal equality or the equality of all persons before the law. It does not demand absolute equality. It merely requires that all persons shall be treated alike, under like circumstances and conditions both as to privileges conferred and liabilities enforced.
Requisites for valid classification for purposes of the equal protection clause
The classification must: CODE: SGEE
- Rest on SUBSTANTIAL DISTINCTIONS
- Be GERMANE to the purposes of the law
- Not limited to existing conditions only
- APPLY EQUALLY to all members of the SAME CLASS.
Section 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or things to be seized.
General Rule: Search and seizures are unreasonable unless authorized by a validly issued search warrant or warrant of arrest
Requisites for a valid warrant: CODE: P J E D
- It must be issued upon PROBABLE CAUSE.
- The existence of probable cause is determined personally by the JUDGE.
- The judge must EXAMINE UNDER OATH the complainant and the witnesses he may produce.
- The warrant must PARTICULARLY DESCRIBE the place to be searched and person or things to be seized.
Definition of “PROBABLE CAUSE”
For the issuance of a warrant of arrest:
Probable cause refers to such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed by the person sought to be arrested.
For the issuance of a search warrant:
Probable cause would mean such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place to be searched.
Note: Probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant does NOT require that the probable guilt of a specific offender be established, unlike in the case of a warrant of arrest.
Existence of probable cause “DETERMINED PERSONALLY BY THE JUDGE”
The judge is NOT required to personally examine the complainant and his witnesses. What the Constitution underscores is the exclusive and personal responsibility of the issuing judge to satisfy himself of the existence of probable cause (Soliven v. Makasiar, 167 SCRA 394).
To be sure, the Judge must go beyond the prosecutor’s certification and investigation report whenever necessary (Lim v. Felix).
- The judge personally evaluates the report and supporting documents submitted by the fiscal regarding the existence of probable cause and, on the basis thereof, issue a warrant of arrest or
- If on the basis thereof, the judge finds no probable cause, he may disregard the fiscal’s report and require the submission of supporting affidavits of witnesses to aid him in arriving at the conclusion as to the existence of probable cause.
Examination “UNDER OATH OR AFFIRMATION OF THE COMPLAINANT AND WITNESSES”
- The oath required must refer to the truth of the facts within the personal knowledge of the complainant or his witnesses because the purpose is to convince the judge of the existence of probable cause (Alvarez v. CFI, 64 Phil. 33).
- The true test of sufficiency of an affidavit to warrant the issuance of a search warrant is whether it has been drawn in such a manner that perjury could be charged thereon and affiant be held liable for the damages caused (Alvarez v. CFI).
PARTICULARITY OF DESCRIPTION (SEARCH WARRANT)
- A search warrant may be said to particularly describe the things to be seized when the description therein is as specific as the circumstances will ordinarily allow or
- When the description expresses a conclusion of fact – not of law – by which the warrant officer may be guided in making the search and seizure or
- When the things described are limited to those which bear a direct relation to the offense for which the warrant is being issued (Bache and Co. v. Ruiz, 37 SCRA 823).
JOHN DOE WARRANT
A “John Doe” warrant can satisfy the requirement of particularity of description if it contains a descriptio personae such as will enable the officer to identify the accused (People v. Veloso, 48 Phil. 159)
A general warrant is one that does not allege any specific acts or omissions constituting the offense charged in the application for the issuance of the warrant. It contravenes the explicit demand of the Bill of Rights that the things to be seized be particularly described.
VALID WARRANTLESS SEARCH
- Search made as an incident to lawful arrest
- An officer making an arrest may take from the person arrested:
- Any money or property found upon his person which was used in the commission of the offense or
- Was the fruit thereof or
- Which might furnish the prisoner with the means of committing violence or escaping or
- Which may be used in evidence in the trial of the case
- The search must be made simultaneously with the arrest and it may only be made in the area within the reach of the person arrested
- Search of moving vehicles
- This exception is based on exigency. Thus, if there is time to obtain a warrant in order to search the vehicle, a warrant must first be obtained.
- The search of a moving vehicle must be based on probable cause.
- Seizure of goods concealed to avoid customs duties/authorized under the Tariffs and Customs Code
- The Tariffs and Customs Code authorizes persons having police authority under the Code to effect search and seizures without a search warrant to enforce customs laws.
- Exception: A search warrant is required for the search of a dwelling house.
- Searches under this exception include searches at borders and ports of entry. Searches in these areas do not require the existence of probable cause.
- Seizure of evidence in plain view
- To be a valid warrantless search, the articles must be open to the eye and hand.
- The peace officer comes upon them inadvertently.
- Waiver of right
- Requisites of a valid waiver:
- The right exists.
- The person had actual or constructive knowledge of the existence of such right.
- There is an actual intention to relinquish such right.
- The right against unreasonable searches and seizures is a personal right. Thus, only the person being searched can waive the same.
- Waiver requires a positive act from the person. Mere absence of opposition is not a waiver.
- The search made pursuant to the waiver must be made within the scope of the waiver.
- Checkpoints: as long as the vehicle is neither searched nor its occupants subjected to a body search and the inspection of the vehicle is limited to a visual search = valid search (Valmonte V. De Villa)
- Carroll rule: warrantless search of a vehicle that can be quickly moved out of the locality or jurisdiction
- The 1987 Constitution has returned to the 1935 rule that warrants may be issued only by judges, but the Commissioner of Immigration may order the arrest of an alien in order to carry out a FINAL deportation order.
VALID WARRANTLESS ARRESTS
- When the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is about to commit an offense in the presence of the arresting officer.
- When an offense has in fact just been committed and the arresting officer has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it.
- When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.
- Waiver of an invalid arrest:
When a person who is detained applies for bail, he is deemed to have waived any irregularity which may have occurred in relation to his arrest.
- Hot pursuit
A. The pursuit of the offender by the arresting officer must be continuous from the time of the commission of the offense to the time of the arrest.
B. There must be no supervening event which breaks the continuity of the chase.
- Stop and frisk
When a policeman observes suspicious activity which leads him to believe that a crime is about to be committed, he can investigate the suspicious looking person and may frisk him for weapons as a measure of self-protection. Should he find, however, a weapon on the suspect which is unlicensed, he can arrest such person then and there for having committed an offense in the officer’s presence.
Section 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise as prescribed by law.
(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceedings.
R.A. 4200 (Anti-Wiretapping Act)
- The law does not distinguish between a party to the private communication or a third person. Hence, both a party and a third person could be held liable under R.A. 4200 if they commit any of the prohibited acts under R.A. 4200 (Ramirez v. Ca)
- The use of a telephone extension to overhear a private conversation is not a violation of R.A. 4200 because it is not similar to any of the prohibited devices under the law. Also, a telephone extension is not purposely installed for the purpose of secretly intercepting or recording private communication. (Gaanan v. IAC, 145 SCRA 112)
Types of communication protected:
Letters, messages, telephone calls, telegrams and the like.
Any evidence obtained shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding. However, in the absence of governmental interference, the protection against unreasonable search and seizure cannot be extended to acts committed by private individuals. (People v. Martin)
Section 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.
What are considered protected speech:
Protected speech includes every form of expression, whether oral, written, tape or disc recorded. It includes motion pictures as well as what is known as symbolic speech such as the wearing of an armband as a symbol of protest. Peaceful picketing has also been included within the meaning of speech.
Prohibitions under Section 4
- Prohibition against PRIOR RESTRAINT
- Prohibition against SUBSEQUENT PUNISHMENT
Prohibition against prior restraint
- Prior restraint means official governmental restrictions on the press or other forms of expression in advance of actual publication or dissemination.
- Examples/forms of prior restraint
- movie censorship
- judicial prior restraint = injunction against publication
- license taxes based on gross receipts for the privilege of engaging in the business of advertising in any newspaper
- flat license fees for the privilege of selling religious books
When prohibition does not apply
- During a war. Ex. Government can prevent publication about the number/locations of its troops (Near v. Minnesota, 238 US 697)
- Obscene publications.
Standards for allowable subsequent punishment
1. Dangerous Tendency Test There should be a RATIONAL CONNECTION between the speech and the evil apprehended.
2. Clear and Present Danger Test There should be a clear and present danger that the words when used under such circumstances are of such a nature as to create a CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER that they will bring about the substantive evils that the State has a right to prevent.
3. Balancing of Interests Test The courts should BALANCE the PUBLIC INTEREST served by legislation on one hand and the FREEDOM OF SPEECH (or any other constitutional right) on the other. The courts will then decide where the greater weight should be placed.
Freedom of Speech
The doctrine on freedom of speech was formulated primarily for the protection of “core” speech, i.e. speech which communicates political, social or religious ideas. These enjoy the same degree of protection. Commercial speech, however, does not.
- A communication which no more than proposes a commercial transaction.
- To enjoy protection:
- It must not be false or misleading; and
- It should not propose an illegal transaction.
- Even truthful and lawful commercial speech may be regulated if:
- Government has a substantial interest to protect;
- The regulation directly advances that interest; and
- It is not more extensive than is necessary to protect that interest. (Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corp. v. Public Service Commission of NY, 447 US 557)
- 1. LIBEL
- FAIR COMMENT (U.S. Rule). These are statements of OPINION, not of fact, and are not considered actionable, even if the words used are neither mild nor temperate. What is important is that the opinion is the true and honest opinion of the person. The statements are not used to attack personalities but to give one’s opinion on decisions and actions.
- OPINIONS. With respect to public personalities (politicians, actors, anyone with a connection to a newsworthy event), opinions can be aired regarding their public actuations. Comment on their private lives, if not germane to their public personae, are not protected.
- 2. OBSCENITY
- Test for obscenity (Miller v. California)
- Whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest.
- Whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct, specifically defined by law.
- Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.
- Procedure for seizure of allegedly obscene publications
- Authorities must apply for issuance of search warrant.
- Court must be convinced that the materials are obscene. Apply clear and present danger test.
- Judge will determine whether they are in fact “obscene”.
- Judge will issue a search warrant.
- Proper action should be filed under Art. 201 of the RPC.
- Conviction is subject to appeal.
Right of Assembly and Petition
- The standards for allowable impairment of speech and press also apply to the right of assembly and petition.
- Rules on assembly in public places:
- Applicant should inform the licensing authority of the date, the public place where and the time when the assembly will take place.
- The application should be filed ahead of time to enable the public official concerned to appraise whether there are valid objections to the grant of the permit or to its grant, but in another public place. The grant or refusal should be based on the application of the Clear and Present Danger Test.
- If the public authority is of the view that there is an imminent and grave danger of a substantive evil, the applicants must be heard on the matter.
- The decision of the public authority, whether favorable or adverse, must be transmitted to the applicants at the earliest opportunity so that they may, if they so desire, have recourse to the proper judicial authority.
- Rules on assembly in private properties:
Only the consent of the owner of the property or person entitled to possession thereof is required.
Section 5. No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.
Clauses under Section 5
- Non-establishment clause
- Free exercise of Religion
Distinction between the clauses (School District v. Schempp, 374 US 203)
- The non-establishment clause does not depend upon any showing of direct governmental compulsion. It is violated by the enactment of laws which establish an official religion whether those laws operate directly to coerce non-observing individuals or not. The test of compliance with the non-establishment clause can be stated as follows: What are the purposes and primary effect of the enactment? If either is the advancement or inhibition of religion, the law violates the non-establishment clause. Thus, in order for a law to comply with the non-establishment clause, two requisites must be met. First, it has a secular legislative purpose. Second, its primary effect neither advances nor inhibits religion.
- The free exercise of religion clause withdraws from legislative power the exertion of any restraint on the free exercise of religion. In order to show a violation of this clause, the person affected must show the coercive effect of the legislation as it operates against him in the practice of his religion. While the freedom to believe (non-establishment) is absolute, the moment such belief flows over into action, it becomes subject to government regulation.
Requisites for government aid to be allowable:
- It must have a secular legislative purpose;
- It must have a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion;
- It must not require excessive entanglement with recipient institutions.
Section 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national security, public safety or public health, as may be provided by law.
Rights guaranteed under Section 6:
- Freedom to choose and change one’s place of abode.
- Freedom to travel within the country and outside.
Curtailment of rights:
RIGHT MANNER OF CURTAILMENT
1. Liberty of abode Lawful order of the court and within the limits prescribed by law.
2. Right to travel May be curtailed even by administrative officers (ex. passport officers) in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law.
Note: The right to travel and the liberty of abode are distinct from the right to return to one’s country, as shown by the fact that the Declaration of Human Rights and the Covenant on Human Rights have separate guarantees for these. Hence, the right to return to one’s country is not covered by the specific right to travel and liberty of abode. (Marcos v. Manglapus)
Section 7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized.
Rights guaranteed under Section 7
- Right to information on matters of public concern
- Right of access to official records and documents
Persons entitled to the above rights
Only Filipino citizens.
Discretion of government
The government has discretion with respect to the authority to determine what matters are of public concern and the authority to determine the manner of access to them.
Recognized restrictions on the right of the people to information:
- National security matters
- Intelligence information
- Trade secrets
- Banking transactions
- Diplomatic correspondence
- Executive sessions
- Closed door cabinet meetings
- Supreme Court deliberations
Section 8. The right of the people, including those employed in the public and private sectors, to form unions, associations, or societies for purposes not contrary to law, shall not be abridged.
The right to form associations shall not be impaired without due process of law and is thus an aspect of the right of liberty. It is also an aspect of the freedom of contract. In addition, insofar as the associations may have for their object the advancement of beliefs and ideas, the freedom of association is an aspect of the freedom of speech and expression, subject to the same limitation.
The right also covers the right not to join an association.
Government employees have the right to form unions. They also have the right to strike, unless there is a statutory ban on them.
Section 9. Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.
Who can exercise the power of eminent domain:
1) The national government
- Executive, pursuant to legislation enacted by Congress
2) Local government units, pursuant to an ordinance enacted by their respective legislative bodies (under LGC)
3) Public utilities, as may be delegated by law.
When is the exercise of the power of eminent domain necessary?
It is only necessary when the owner does not want or opposes the sale of his property. Thus, if a valid contract exists between the government and the owner, the government cannot exercise the power of eminent domain as a substitute to the enforcement of the contract.
Elements of the power of eminent domain
1) There is a TAKING of private property
2) Taking is for PUBLIC USE
3) Payment of JUST COMPENSATION
A. Elements: CODE: E P A P O
- The expropriator enters the property
- The entrance must not be for a momentary period, i.e., it must be permanent
- Entry is made under warrant or color of legal authority
- Property is devoted to public use
- Utilization of the property must be in such a way as to oust the owner and deprive him of the beneficial enjoyment of his property.
B. Compensable taking does not need to involve all the property interests which form part of the right of ownership. When one or more of the property rights are appropriated and applied to a public purpose, there is already a compensable taking, even if bare title still remains with the owner.
- Public use, for purposes of expropriation, is synonymous with public welfare as the latter term is used in the concept of police power.
- Examples of public use include land reform and socialized housing.
- Compensation is just if the owner receives a sum equivalent to the market value of his property. Market value is generally defined as the fair value of the property as between one who desires to purchase and one who desires to sell.
- The point of reference use in determining fair value is the value at the time the property was taken. Thus, future potential use of the land is not considered in computing just compensation.
Judicial review of the exercise of the power of eminent domain
- To determine the adequacy of the compensation
- To determine the necessity of the taking
- To determine the “public use” character of the taking. However, if the expropriation is pursuant to a specific law passed by Congress, the courts cannot question the public use character of the taking.
When municipal property is taken by the State:
Compensation is required if the property is a patrimonial property, that is, property acquired by the municipality with its private funds in its corporate or private capacity. However, if it is any other property such a public buildings or legua comunal held by the municipality for the State in trust for the inhabitants, the State is free to dispose of it at will.
Point of reference for valuating a piece of property:
General rule: The value must be that as of the time of the filing of the complaint for expropriation.
Exception: When the filing of the case comes later than the time of taking and meanwhile the value of the property has increased because of the use to which the expropriator has put it, the value is that of the time of the earlier taking. BUT if the value increased independently of what the expropriator did, then the value is that of the latter filing of the case.
Section 10. No law impairing the obligation of contracts shall be passed.
When does a law impair the obligation of contracts:
1) If it changes the terms and conditions of a legal contract either as to the time or mode of performance
2) If it imposes new conditions or dispenses with those expressed
3) If it authorizes for its satisfaction something different from that provided in its terms.
A mere change in PROCEDURAL REMEDIES which does not change the substance of the contract, and which still leaves an efficacious remedy for enforcement does NOT impair the obligation of contracts.
A valid exercise of police power is superior to obligation of contracts.
Section 12. Rights of person under investigation for the commission of an offense.
Rights of person under investigation for the Commission of an offense CODE: SCISI
1) Right to remain silent
2) Right to have competent and independent counsel, preferably of his own choice
3) Right to provided with the services of counsel if he cannot afford the services of one.
4) Right to be informed of these rights.
When rights are available:
1) AFTER a person has been taken into custody or
2) When a person is otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way.
3) When the investigation is being conducted by the government (police, DOJ, NBI) with respect to a criminal offense.
4) Signing of arrest reports and booking sheets.
When rights are not available:
1) During a police line-up. Exception: Once there is a move among the investigators to elicit admissions or confessions from the suspect.
2) During administrative investigations.
3) Confessions made by an accused at the time he voluntarily surrendered to the police or outside the context of a formal investigation.
4) Statements made to a private person.
1) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this section shall be inadmissible in evidence against him (the accused).
2) Therefore, any evidence obtained by virtue of an illegally obtained confession is also inadmissible, being the fruit of a poisoned tree.
Requisites of valid waiver:
1) Waiver should be made in WRITING
2) Waiver should be made in the PRESENCE OF COUNSEL.
Section 13. Right to bail
Who are entitled to bail:
1) All persons ACTUALLY DETAINED
2) shall, BEFORE CONVICTION
3) Be entitled to bail.
Who are not entitled to bail:
1) Persons charged with offenses PUNISHABLE by RECLUSION PERPETUA or DEATH, when evidence of guilt is strong
2) Persons CONVICTED by the trial court. Bail is only discretionary pending appeal.
3) Persons who are members of the AFP facing a court martial.
Other rights in relation to bail.
1) The right to bail shall NOT be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended.
2) Excessive bail shall not be required.
Factors considered in setting the amount of bail:
1) Ability to post bail
2) Nature of the offense
3) Penalty imposed by law
4) Character and reputation of the accused
5) Health of the accused
6) Strength of the evidence
7) Probability of appearing at the trial
8) Forfeiture of previous bail bonds
9) Whether accused was a fugitive from justice when arrested
10) If accused is under bond in other cases
Implicit limitations on the right to bail:
- The person claiming the right must be in actual detention or custody of the law.
- The constitutional right is available only in criminal cases, not, e.g. in deportation proceedings.
- Right to bail is not available in the military.
- Apart from bail, a person may attain provisional liberty through recognizance.
Section 14. Rights of an accused
Rights of a person charged with a criminal offense
- Right to due process of law
- Right to be presumed innocent
- Right to be heard by himself and counsel
- Right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him
- Right to have a speedy, impartial and public trial
- Right to meet the witnesses face to face
- Right to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf
This means that the accused can only be convicted by a tribunal which is required to comply with the stringent requirements of the rules of criminal procedure.
“PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE”
The Constitution does not prohibit the legislature from providing that proof of certain facts leads to a prima facie presumption of guilt, provided that the facts proved have a reasonable connection to the ultimate fact presumed.
Presumption of guilt should not be conclusive.
“RIGHT TO BE HEARD BY HIMSELF AND COUNSEL”
The right to be heard includes the following rights:
- Right to be present at the trial
- The right to be present covers the period from ARRAIGNMENT to PROMULGATION of sentence.
- After arraignment, trial may proceed notwithstanding absence of accused, provided 2 requisites are met. Note, that trial in absentia is allowed only if the accused has been validly arraigned.
(i) Accused has been duly notified; and
(ii) His failure to appear is unjustifiable.
- The accused may waive the right to be present at the trial by not showing up. However, the court can still compel the attendance of the accused if necessary for identification purposes. Exception: If the accused, after arraignment, has stipulated that he is indeed the person charged with the offense and named in the information, and that any time a witness refers to a name by which he is known, the witness is to be understood as referring to him.
- While the accused is entitled to be present during promulgation of judgement, the absence of his counsel during such promulgation does not affect its validity.
2. Right to counsel
(a) Right to counsel means the right to EFFECTIVE REPRESENTATION.
(b) If the accused appears at arraignment without counsel, the judge must:
(i) Inform the accused that he has a right to a counsel before arraignment
(ii) Ask the accused if he desires the aid of counsel
(iii) If the accused desires counsel, but cannot afford one, a counsel de oficio must be appointed
(iv) If the accused desires to obtain his own counsel, the court must give him a reasonable time to get one.
3. Right to an impartial judge
4. Right of confrontation and cross-examination
5. Right to compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses
“RIGHT TO BE INFORMED OF THE NATURE AND CAUSE OF ACCUSATION AGAINST HIM”
Purposes of the right:
1) To furnish the accused with a description of the charge against him as will enable him to make his defenses
2) To avail himself of his conviction or acquittal against a further prosecution for the same cause
3) To inform the court of the facts alleged.
If the information fails to allege the material elements of the offense, the accused cannot be convicted thereof even if the prosecution is able to present evidence during the trial with respect to such elements.
The real nature of the crime charged is determined from the recital of facts in the information. It is not determined based on the caption or preamble thereof nor from the specification of the provision of law allegedly violated
“RIGHT TO SPEEDY, IMPARTIAL AND PUBLIC TRIAL”
Factors used in determining whether the right to a speedy trial has been violated.
1) Time expired from the filing of the information
2) Length of delay involved
3) Reasons for the delay
4) Assertion or non-assertion of the right by the accused
5) Prejudice caused to the defendant.
Effect of dismissal based on the ground of violation of the accused’s right to speedy trial
If the dismissal is valid, it amounts to an acquittal and can be used as basis to claim double jeopardy. This would be the effect even if the dismissal was made with the consent of the accused
Remedy of the accused if his right to speedy trial has been violated
He can move for the dismissal of the case.
If he is detained, he can file a petition for the issuance of writ of habeas corpus.
Definition of impartial trial
The accused is entitled to the “cold neutrality of an impartial judge”.
It is an element of due process.
Definition of public trial
The attendance at the trial is open to all irrespective of their relationship to the accused. However, if the evidence to be adduced is “offensive to decency or public morals”, the public may be excluded.
The right of the accused to a public trial is not violated if the hearings are conducted on Saturdays, either with the consent of the accused or if failed to object thereto.
“RIGHT TO MEET WITNESS FACE TO FACE”
Purposes of the right:
- To afford the accused an opportunity to cross-examine the witness
- To allow the judge the opportunity to observe the deportment of the witness
Failure of the accused to cross-examine a witness
If the failure of the accused to cross-examine a witness is due to his own fault or was not due to the fault of the prosecution, the testimony of the witness should be excluded.
When the right to cross-examine is demandable
It is demandable only during trials. Thus, it cannot be availed of during preliminary investigations.
Principal exceptions to the right of confrontation
- The admissibility of “dying declarations”
- Trial in absentia under Section 14(2)
- With respect to child testimony
Section 16. All persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative bodies.
Distinction between Section 14 and Section 16
While the rights of an accused only apply to the trial phase of criminal cases, the right to a speedy disposition of cases covers ALL phases of JUDICIAL, QUASI-JUDICIAL or ADMINISTRATIVE proceedings.
Section 17. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.
When is a question incriminating:
A question tends to incriminate when the answer of the accused or the witness would establish a fact which would be a necessary link in a chain of evidence to prove the commission of a crime by the accused or the witness.
Distinction between an accused and an ordinary witness
- An accused can refuse to take the witness stand by invoking the right against self-incrimination.
- An ordinary witness cannot refuse to take the stand. He can only refuse to answer specific questions which would incriminate him in the commission of an offense.
Scope of right
- What is PROHIBITED is the use of physical or moral compulsion to extort communication from the witness or to otherwise elicit evidence which would not exist were it not for the actions compelled from the witness.
- The right does NOT PROHIBIT the examination of the body of the accused or the use of findings with respect to his body as physical evidence. Hence, the fingerprinting of an accused would not violate the right against self-incrimination. However, obtaining a sample of the handwriting of the accused would violate this right if he is charged for falsification.
- The accused cannot be compelled to produce a private document in his possession which might tend to incriminate him. However, a third person in custody of the document may be compelled to produce it.
When the right can be invoked:
- In criminal cases
- In administrative proceedings if the accused is liable to a penalty (Ex. Forfeiture of property)
Who can invoke the right:
Only natural persons. Judicial persons are subject to the visitorial powers of the state in order to determine compliance with the conditions of the charter granted to them.
Section 18. Right against involuntary servitude
Definition of involuntary servitude
It is every condition of enforced or compulsory service of one to another no matter under what form such servitude may be disguised.
- Punishment for a crime for which the party has been duly convicted
- Personal military or civil service in the interest of national defense
- Return to work order issued by the DOLE Secretary or the President
Section 19. Prohibition against cruel, degrading and inhuman punishment
When is a penalty “cruel, degrading and inhuman”?
- A penalty is cruel and inhuman if it involves torture or lingering suffering. Ex. Being drawn and quartered.
- A penalty is degrading if it exposes a person to public humiliation. Ex. Being tarred and feathered, then paraded throughout town.
- The punishment must not be so severe as to be degrading to the dignity of human beings.
- It must not be applied arbitrarily.
- It must not be unacceptable to contemporary society
- It must not be excessive, i.e. it must serve a penal purpose more effectively than a less severe punishment would.
A fine is excessive, when under any circumstance, it is disproportionate to the offense.
Note: Fr. Bernas says that the accused cannot be convicted of the crime to which the punishment is attached if the court finds that the punishment is cruel, degrading or inhuman.
Reason: Without a valid penalty, the law is not a penal law.
Section 20. No person shall be imprisoned for debt or non-payment of a poll tax.
Definition of debt under Section 20
1) Debt refers to a CONTRACTUAL obligation, whether express or implied, resulting in any liability to pay money. Thus, all other types of obligations are not within the scope of this prohibition.
2) Thus, if an accused fails to pay the fine imposed upon him, this may result in his subsidiary imprisonment because his liability is ex delicto and not ex contractu.
3) A FRAUDULENT debt may result in the imprisonment of the debtor if:
- The fraudulent debt constitutes a crime such as estafa and
- The accused has been duly convicted.
Section 21. No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. If an act punished by a law and an ordinance, conviction or acquittal under either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act.
Requisites for a valid defense of double jeopardy: CODE: ATS
1) First jeopardy must have attached prior to the second.
2) The first jeopardy must have terminated.
3) The second jeopardy must be for the same offense as that in the first.
When does jeopardy ATTACH: (1st requisite) CODE: CICAV
1) A person is charged
2) Under a complaint or information sufficient in form and substance to sustain a conviction
3) Before a court of competent jurisdiction
4) After the person is arraigned
5) Such person enters a valid plea.
When does jeopardy NOT attach:
1) If information does not charge any offense
2) If, upon pleading guilty, the accused presents evidence of complete self-defense, and the court thereafter acquits him without entering a new plea of not guilty for accused.
3) If the information for an offense cognizable by the RTC is filed with the MTC.
4) If a complaint filed for preliminary investigation is dismissed.
When does first jeopardy TERMINATE: (2ND REQUISITE)
3) Dismissal W/O the EXPRESS consent of the accused
4) Dismissal on the merits.
Examples of termination of jeopardy:
1) Dismissal based on violation of the right to a speedy trial. This amounts to an acquittal.
2) Dismissal based on a demurrer to evidence. This is a dismissal on the merits.
3) Dismissal on motion of the prosecution, subsequent to a motion for reinvestigation filed by the accused.
4) Discharge of an accused to be a state witness. This amounts to an acquittal.
When can the PROSECUTION appeal from an order of dismissal:
1) If dismissal is on motion of the accused. Exception: If motion is based on violation of the right to a speedy trial or on a demurrer to evidence.
2) If dismissal does NOT amount to an acquittal or dismissal on the merits
3) If the question to be passed upon is purely legal.
4) If the dismissal violates the right of due process of the prosecution.
5) If the dismissal was made with grave abuse of discretion.
What are considered to be the “SAME OFFENSE”: (under the 1st sentence of Section 21)
1) Exact identity between the offenses charged in the first and second cases.
2) One offense is an attempt to commit or a frustration of the other offense.
3) One offense is necessarily included or necessary includes the other.
Note: where a single act results in the violation of different laws or different provisions of the same law, the prosecution for one will not bar the other so long as none of the exceptions apply.
Definition of double jeopardy (2nd sentence of Sec. 21)
Double jeopardy will result if the act punishable under the law and the ordinance are the same. For there to be double jeopardy, it is not necessary that the offense be the same.
1) Under the Rules of Court, a conviction for an offense will not bar a prosecution for an offense which necessarily includes the offense charged in the former information where:
- The graver offense developed due to a supervening fact arising from the same act or omission constituting the former charge.
- The facts constituting the graver offense became known or were discovered only after the filing of the former information.
- The plea of guilty to the lesser offense was made without the consent of the fiscal and the offended party.
2) Under (1)(b), if the facts could have been discovered by the prosecution but were not discovered because of the prosecution’s incompetence, it would not be considered a supervening event.
Effect of appeal by the accused:
If the accused appeals his conviction, he WAIVES his right to plead double jeopardy. The whole case will be open to review by the appellate court. Such court may even increase the penalties imposed on the accused by the trial court.
Section 22. No ex post facto law or bill of attainder shall be enacted.
Definition of ex-post facto law.
1) One which makes an action done before the passing of the law, and which was innocent when done, criminal, and punishes such action.
2) One which aggravates the crime or makes it greater than when it was committed.
3) One which changes the punishment and inflicts a greater punishment than that which the law annexed to the crime when it was committed.
4) One which alters the legal rules of evidence and receives less testimony than the law required at the time of the commission of the offense in order to convict the accused.
5) One which assumes to regulate civil rights and remedies only BUT, in effect, imposes a penalty or deprivation of a right, which, when done, was lawful.
6) One which deprives a person accused of a crime of some lawful protection to which he has become entitled such as the protection of a former conviction or acquittal, or a proclamation of amnesty.
Note: The prohibition on ex post facto laws only applies to retrospective PENAL laws.
Definition of BILL OF ATTAINDER
1) A bill of attainder is a LEGISLATIVE act which inflicts punishment W/O JUDICIAL trial.
2) The bill of attainder does not need to be directed at a specifically named person. It may also refer to easily ascertainable members of a group in such a way as to inflict punishment on them without judicial trial.
3) Elements of the bill of attainder
- There must be a LAW.
- The law imposes a PENAL burden on a NAMED INVIDIDUAL/EASILY ASCERTAINABLE MEMBERS of a GROUP.
- The penal burden is imposed DIRECTLY by the LAW W/O JUDICIAL trial.
Political Law (Constitutional Law) Reviewer & Memory Aid
Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001
Louie, Carrie, Evelyn, Thel, Gem, Ronald