Pre-Bar Quizzer in Political Law – PART 2: Constitution of Liberty 81 – 90

81. Is the extrajudicial confession of a suspect obtained without the assistance of a lawyer, but speaks of gospel truth, admissible in evidence?

          No. In PEOPLE VS. GALIT, 135 SCRA 465, PEOPLE VS. PANFILO CABILES, 284 SCRA 199; and PEOPLE VS. TAN, 286 SCRA 207, it was held that even if the confession of the accused speaks the truth, if it was made without the assistance of counsel, it is inadmissible in evidence regardless of the absence of coercion or even if it was voluntarily given.

          In order that a confession is admissible, the following requisites must be present:

  1. the confession must be voluntary;
  2. the confession must be made with the assistance of a competent and independent counsel;
  3. the confession must be express; and
  4. the confession must be in writing.

          The above requirements, however, are not applicable when the suspect makes an spontaneous statement, not elicited through questioning by the authorities, BUT GIVEN IN AN ORDINARY MANNER WHEREBY THE ACCUSED ORALLY ADMITTED HAVING COMMITTED THE CRIME. This was the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of PEOPLE VS. ANDAN, March 3, 1997 when the accused made a voluntary and verbal confession to the Municipal Mayor that he committed the crime imputed to him. As such, his uncounselled confession isadmissible in evidence.

 

82. What are the two (2) kinds of Coerced or Involuntary Confessions under Section 12, Art. III of the Constitution?

The two (2) kinds of Involuntary or Coerced Confessions under Art. III, Section 12 of the Constitution. These are:

  1. confession which are the product of third degree methods such as torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation; and
  2. those which are given without the benefit of Miranda Warnings. PEOPLE VS. OBRERO, 332 SCRA 190

 

83. What is the status of coerced confessions as evidence in court?

          Coerced or involuntary confessions are inadmissible as evidence being the “fruit of the poisoned tree.”

 

84. Is the right to counsel satisfied if the suspect was assisted by the Station Commander of the Western Police District while he was being investigated by the policemen of the same station? How about if the investigation is being conducted by the NBI and the suspect was ordered assisted by a lawyer-applicant therein?

There is no compliance of the constitutional requirement of competent and independent counsel to assist an accused during custodial investigation when the accused was assisted by the Station Commander of the WPD, Atty. De los Reyes, while being investigated by other policemen of the same police station because the interest of the police is naturally adverse to the accused. In fact, the SC in the case of PEOPLE VS. JANUARIO, 267 SCRA 608 held that a lawyer applying for a position in the NBI could not validly assist an accused being investigated then by the NBI. (PEOPLE VS. OBRERO, 332 SCRA 190)

 

85. Is the Right to Counsel available to a suspect during a police line-up?

         The Supreme Court had conflicting decisions on this aspect but ended up with the rule that since the accused will not be made to make any testimony during the police line-up, then he is not under custodial investigation and therefore, there is no need for him to be assisted by a lawyer. ( P vs. Usman Hassan, 157 SCRA 261; Gamboa vs. Judge Cruz, 162 SCRA 642; DE LA TORRE VS. CA, 294 SCRA 196 and PEOPLE VS. HATTON)

 

86. Is there a valid custodial investigation if the lawyer who assisted him during custodial investigation is a public attorney who was not chosen by the accused himself but given to him free of charge? Could the Fiscal also represent the accused during custodial investigation to satisfy the requirement of the Constitution that the accused is assisted by counsel?

          The counsel must be the choice of the accused or suspect. (P. vs. Alegria, September 28, 1990) Also, the Fiscal could not have protected the rights of the suspect, even if they are known to each other, since the Fiscal is there for the private complainant. (P. vs. Matos-Viduaya, September 11, 1990)

 

87. If the extrajudicial admission or confession of the accused is declared inadmissible as evidence, must the accused be acquitted as a matter of right?

          No. In PEOPLE VS. ROLANDO FELIXMINIA y CAMACHO, GR No. 125333, March 20, 2002, the Supreme Court held that though the extrajudicial confession of the accused was declared inadmissible for violation of his right to counsel, if there are evidence sufficient to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt, like circumstantial evidence, then he can still be convicted of the crime charged. This is so because [1] the compromising circumstances were duly proven which were consistent with each other and which lead with moral certainty to the conclusion that he was guilty of the crime charged; and [2] the totality of such circumstances eliminated beyond doubt the possibility of his innocence. In People vs. Mahinay, it was held that conviction may be had on circumstantial evidence provided the following requisites are present: [a] there is more than one circumstance; [b] the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and [c] the combination of all circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.

 

88. May a convicted person be released from jail through recognizance?

          No. In ATTY. JULIANA ADALIM-WHITE VS. JUDGE ARNULFO BUGTAS, RTC 2 BORONGAN, SAMAR, 475 SCRA 175, it was held that respondent Judge is guilty of gross ignorance of the law for ordering the release of Bagaporo pending the approval of his application for parole and before the completion of the minimum period of the sentence imposed upon him. It is patently erroneous to release a convict on recognizance. Section 24, Rule 114 provides that there shall no bail for a convict after final judgment. The only exception is when the convict applies for Probation before he commences to serve his sentence and that the offense and the penalty for the offense is within the purview of the Probation Law.

Sections 5 and 16 of Rule 114 of the Rules of Court (on the different kinds of bail) APPLIES ONLY TO AN ACCUSED UNDERGOING PREVENTIVE IMPRISONMENT DURING TRIAL OR ON APPEAL. THEY DO NOT APPLY TO A PERSON CONVICTED BY FINAL JUDGMENT AND ALREADY SERVING SENTENCE.

 

89. May a judge require “cash bond” only?

          No. The Rules provides for four (4) ways of posting bond and it is grave abuse of discretion to require cash bond only. (Almeda vs. Villaluz, 66 SCRA 38).

 

90. May an accused charged of a capital offense and the evidence of guilt is strong be granted bail?

          Yes. The purpose of the bond is to assure the court of the presence of the accused during the trial of his case. If the probability of “flight” is nil, then the accused may be allowed to post bail. (BELTRAN VS. THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, April, 2007)

 

Source:

Pre-Bar Quizzer in Political Law (Doctrinal Rulings, Requisites and Definitions)

July, 2008 by Atty. Larry D. Gacayan

College of Law, University of the Cordilleras

Baguio City

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About Magz

First of all, I am not a lawyer. I'm a graduate of AB Political Science and went to the College of Law but stopped going to law school for some reasons. I'm a passionate teacher who has been teaching English to speakers of other languages and a person who likes writing and blogging. I lost some important files and software when my computer broke down so the reason I created this website is to preserve the notes, reviewers and digests I collected when I was at the law school and at the same time, I want to help out law students who do not have enough time to go and read books in the library.

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