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Police Officers headed by SPO3 Bienvenido Masnayon went to serve a search
warrant from the Regional Trial Court (RTC) to Petitioner Ruben Del Castillo in search
of illegal drugs. Upon arrival, somebody shouted raid which prompted the police
officers to immediately disembark from the jeep they were riding and go directly to
Del Castillos house and cordoned it off. Police men found nothing incriminating in Del
Castillos residence, but one of the barangay tanods was able to confiscate from the
hut several articles including four (4) plastic packs of methamphetamine
hydrochloride, or shabu.
An Information was filed before RTC against Del Castillo, charging him with violation
of Section 16, Article III of R.A. 6425 (The Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972). During the
arraignment, Del Castillo pleaded not guilty. The RTC found Del Castillo guilty beyond
reasonable of the charge against him in the information. The Court of Appeals (CA)
affirmed the decision.
Del Castillo appealed his case to the CA, insisting that there was a violation of his
constitutional guaranty against unreasonable searches and seizure. On the contrary,
the Office of the Solicitor General argued that the constitutional guaranty against
unreasonable searches and seizure is applicable only against government
authorities. Hence, assuming that the items seized were found in another place not
designated in the search warrant, the same items should still be admissible as
evidence because the one who discovered them was a barangay tanod who is a
private individual.
Whether or not there was a violation of Del Castillos right against unreasonable
searches and seizure
Petition GRANTED.
It must be remembered that the warrant issued must particularly describe the place to
be searched and persons or things to be seized in order for it to be valid. A

designation or description that points out the place to be searched to the exclusion of
all others, and on inquiry unerringly leads the peace officers to it, satisfies the
constitutional requirement of definiteness.
In the present case, the search warrant specifically designates or describes the
residence of the petitioner as the place to be searched. Incidentally, the items were
seized by a barangay tanod in a nipa hut, 20 meters away from the residence of the
Del Castillo. The confiscated items, having been found in a place other than the one
described in the search warrant, can be considered as fruits of an invalid warrantless
search, the presentation of which as an evidence is a violation of Del Castillos
constitutional guaranty against unreasonable searches and seizure.
The OSG argued that, assuming that the items seized were found in another place
not designated in the search warrant, the same items should still be admissible as
evidence because the one who discovered them was a barangay tanod who is a
private individual, the constitutional guaranty against unreasonable searches and
seizure being applicable only against government authorities. The contention is
devoid of merit. It was testified to during trial by the police officers who effected the
search warrant that they asked the assistance of the barangay tanods. Having been
established that the assistance of the barangay tanods was sought by the police
authorities who effected the search warrant, the same barangay tanods therefore
acted as agents of persons in authority. Article 152 of the Revised Penal Code
defines persons in authority and agents of persons in authority as any person directly
vested with jurisdiction, whether as an individual or as a member of some court or
governmental corporation, board or commission, shall be deemed a person in
authority. A barangay captain and a barangay chairman shall also be deemed a
person in authority. A person who, by direct provision of law or by election or by
appointment by competent authority, is charged with the maintenance of public order
and the protection and security of life and property, such as barrio councilman, barrio
policeman and barangay leader, and any person who comes to the aid of persons in
authority, shall be deemed an agent of a person in authority.
The Local Government Code also contains a provision which describes the function
of a barangay tanod as an agent of persons in authority. Section 388 of the Local
Government Code reads: For purposes of the Revised Penal Code, the punong
barangay, sangguniang barangay members, and members of the lupong
tagapamayapa in each barangay shall be deemed as persons in authority in their
jurisdictions, while other barangay officials and members who may be designated by

law or ordinance and charged with the maintenance of public order, protection and
security of life and property, or the maintenance of a desirable and balanced
environment, and any barangay member who comes to the aid of persons in
authority, shall be deemed agents of persons in authority.
By virtue of the above provisions, the police officers, as well as the barangay tanods
were acting as agents of a person in authority during the conduct of the search. Thus,
the search conducted was unreasonable and the confiscated items are inadmissible
in evidence.

Miguel vs Sandiganbayan


Then Vice Mayor Mercelita M. Lucido and other local officials of Koronadal
City, South Cotabato filed a letter-complaint with the Office of the OmbudsmanMindanao charging the petitioner, among others, with violation of Republic Act No.
3019, in connection with the consultancy services for the architectural aspect, the
engineering design, and the construction supervision and management of the
proposed Koronadal City public market.

In a resolution, the Ombudsman found probable cause against the petitioner

and some private individuals for violation of R.A. No. 3019 and against the petitioner
alone for Falsification of Public Document under Article 171, par. 4 of the Revised
Penal Code. It filed the corresponding informations with the Sandiganbayan. The
information for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 reads:
That on 10 January 1995 or sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in the
Municipality of Koronadal, South Cotabato, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the [petitioner], a high ranking public officer in his capacity as
former Municipal Mayor of Koronadal, South Cotabato, and as such while in the
performance of his official functions, committing the offense in relation to his office,
taking advantage of his official position, conspiring and confederating with the private
[individuals] xxx acting with evident bad faith and manifest partiality, did then and
there willfully, unlawfully and criminally give unwarranted benefits and advantages to
said [accused], by inviting them to participate in the prequalification of consultants to
provide the Detailed Architectural & Engineering Design and Construction
Supervision and Management of the proposed Koronadal Public Market, without
causing the publication of said invitation in a newspaper of general circulation,
thereby excluding other consultants from participating in said prequalification.

On motions separately filed by two of the petitioners co-accused, the

Sandiganbayan ordered the Office of the Special Prosecutor to conduct a
reinvestigation. Later, the petitioner, through counsel, followed suit and orally moved
for a reinvestigation, which the Sandiganbayan likewise granted. The Sandiganbayan
gave the petitioner ten (10) days within which to file his counter-affidavit with the OSP.

Later, Prosecutor Ruiz asked the Sandiganbayan for the arraignment and
trial of the petitioner and of the other accused private individuals.

After several extensions sought and granted, the petitioner filed a Motion to
Quash and/or Reinvestigation for the criminal cases against him. The Sandiganbayan
denied the petitioners motion because of the pending OSP reinvestigation this,
despite the OSPs earlier termination of the reinvestigation for the petitioners
continuous failure to submit his counter-affidavit. The petitioner did not question the
denial of his motion.

The petitioner was arraigned; he pleaded not guilty in both criminal cases.
Later, the OSP filed a Motion to Suspend [the petitioner] Pendente Lite. On June 27,
2005, the petitioner filed his "Vigorous Opposition" based on the "obvious and fatal
defect of the [i]nformation" in failing to allege that the giving of unwarranted benefits
and advantages was done through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross
inexcusable negligence.

On January 25, 2006, the Sandiganbayan promulgated the assailed

resolution suspending the petitioner pendente lite.

On February 2, 2006, the petitioner moved for reconsideration of his

suspension order and demanded for a pre-suspension hearing. The Sandiganbayan
denied his motion, prompting him to file this certiorari petition to challenge the validity
of his suspension order.

The petitioner bewails the lack of hearing before the issuance of his
suspension order. Citing Luciano, et al. v. Hon. Mariano, etc., et al. he claims that
nowhere in the records of the case can one see any order or resolution requiring the
petitioner to show cause at a specific date of hearing why he should not be ordered
suspended. For the petitioner, the requirement of a pre-suspension hearing can only
be satisfied if the Sandiganbayan ordered an actual hearing to settle the defect in the


Whether the absence of an actual pre-suspension hearing renders invalid
the suspension order against the petitioner.

Since a pre-suspension hearing is basically a due process requirement,

when an accused public official is given an adequate opportunity to be heard on his
possible defenses against the mandatory suspension under R.A. No. 3019, then an
accused would have no reason to complain that no actual hearing was conducted.

It is well settled that to be heard does not only mean oral arguments in
court; one may be heard also through pleadings. Where opportunity to be heard,
either through oral arguments or pleadings, has been accorded, no denial of
procedural due process exist.

In the present case, the petitioner (i) filed his Vigorous Opposition (to the
OSPs Motion to Suspend Accused Pendente Lite), and after receiving an adverse
ruling from the Sandiganbayan, (ii) moved for reconsideration of the suspension order
issued against him, and (iii) filed a Reply to the OSPs Opposition to his plea for
reconsideration. Given this opportunity, we find that the petitioners continued demand
for the conduct of an actual pre-suspension hearing based on the same alleged
defect in the information, which we have found wanting has legally nothing to anchor
itself on.

Lest it be forgotten, Section 13 of R.A. No. 3019 reinforces the principle

enshrined in the Constitution that a public office is a public trust. In light of the
constitutional principle underlying the imposition of preventive suspension of a public
officer charged under a valid information and the nature of this suspension, the
petitioners demand for a trial-type hearing in the present case would only
overwhelmingly frustrate, rather than promote, the orderly and speedy dispensation of


RE: Right to Counsel
FACTS: This is an automatic appeal from the Decision of the CA. The CA affirmed the
RTC finding Arturo Lara (Lara) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of robbery with
homicide and rejected Laras defense of alibi.
The prosecutions witness Enrique Sumulong positively identified accused Arturo Lara
as the person who carted away the payroll money of San Sebastian Allied Services,
Inc., on May 31, 2001 at around 10:30 oclock in the morning along the corner of
Mercedez and Market Ave., Pasig City and the one who shot Joselito Bautista which
caused his instantaneous death on the same day. As repeatedly held by the Supreme
Court, "For alibi to prosper, an accused must show he was at some other place for
such a period of time that it was impossible for him to have been at the crime scene
at the time of the commission of the crime" (People versus Bano, 419 SCRA 697).
Considering the proximity of the distance between the place of the incident and the
residence of the accused where he allegedly stayed the whole day of May 31, 2001, it
is not physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene within the same
barangay. The positive identification of the accused which were categorical and
consistent and without any showing of ill motive on the part of the eyewitnesses,
should prevail over the alibi and denial of the accused whose testimony was not
substantiated by clear and convincing evidence.
On appeal, Lara pointed out several errors that supposedly attended his conviction.
First, that he was arrested without a warrant under circumstances that do not justify a
warrantless arrest rendered void all proceedings including those that led to his
conviction. Second, he was not assisted by counsel when the police placed him in a
line-up to be identified by the witnesses for the prosecution in violation of Section 12,
Article III of the Constitution. The police line-up is part of custodial investigation and
his right to counsel had already attached. Third, the prosecution failed to prove his
guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Specifically, the prosecution failed to present a
witness who actually saw him commit the alleged acts. Sumulong merely presumed
that he was the one who shot Bautista and who took the bag of money from him. The
physical description of Lara that Sumulong gave to the police was different from the

one he gave during the trial, indicating that he did not have a fair glimpse of the
perpetrator. Moreover, this gives rise to the possibility that it was his unidentified
companion who shot Bautista and took possession of the money. Hence, it cannot be
reasonably claimed that his conviction was attended with moral certainty. Fourth, the
trial court erred in discounting the testimony of his witnesses. Without any showing
that they were impelled by improper motives in testifying in his favor, their testimonies
should have been given the credence they deserve. While his two (2) witnesses were
his sister and neighbor, this does not by itself suggest the existence of bias or impair
their credibility.
The CA affirmed Laras conviction. That Lara was supposedly arrested without a
warrant may not serve as a ground to invalidate the proceedings leading to his
conviction considering its belated invocation. Any objections to the legality of the
warrantless arrest should have been raised in a motion to quash duly filed before the
accused enters his plea; otherwise, it is deemed waived. Further, that the accused
was illegally arrested is not a ground to set aside conviction duly arrived at and based
on evidence that sufficiently establishes culpability:
ISSUE: Whether the identification made by Sumulong, Atie and Manacob in the police
line-up is inadmissible because Lara stood therein without the assistance of counsel
HELD: No. Jurisdiction over the person of the accused may be acquired through
compulsory process such as a warrant of arrest or through his voluntary appearance,
such as when he surrenders to the police or to the court.Any objection to the arrest or
acquisition of jurisdiction over the person of the accused must be made before he
enters his plea, otherwise the objection is deemed waived. An accused submits to the
jurisdiction of the trial court upon entering a plea and participating actively in the trial
and this precludes him invoking any irregularities that may have attended his arrest.
Furthermore, the illegal arrest of an accused is not a sufficient ground to reverse and
set aside a conviction that was arrived upon a complaint duly filed and a trial
conducted without error. As Section 9, Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure provides:
Sec. 9. Failure to move to quash or to allege any ground therefor. The failure of the
accused to assert any ground of a motion to quash before he pleads to the complaint
or information, either because he did not file a motion to quash or failed to allege the

same in said motion, shall be deemed a waiver of any objections except those based
on the grounds provided for in paragraphs (a), (b), (g) and (i) of Section 3 of this Rule.
Contrary to Laras claim, that he was not provided with counsel when he was placed
in a police line-up did not invalidate the proceedings leading to his conviction. That he
stood at the police line-up without the assistance of counsel did not render
Sumulongs identification of Lara inadmissible. The right to counsel is deemed to
have arisen at the precise moment custodial investigation begins and being made to
stand in a police line-up is not the starting point or a part of custodial investigation.
As this Court previously ruled in People v. Amestuzo:
The contention is not meritorious. The guarantees of Sec. 12 (1), Art. III of the 1987
Constitution, or the so-called Miranda rights, may be invoked only by a person while
he is under custodial investigation. Custodial investigation starts when the police
investigation is no longer a general inquiry into an unsolved crime but has begun to
focus on a particular suspect taken into custody by the police who starts the
interrogation and propounds questions to the person to elicit incriminating statements.
Police line-up is not part of the custodial investigation; hence, the right to counsel
guaranteed by the Constitution cannot yet be invoked at this stage. This was settled
in the case of People vs. Lamsing and in the more recent case of People vs.
Salvatierra. The right to be assisted by counsel attaches only during custodial
investigation and cannot be claimed by the accused during identification in a police
line-up because it is not part of the custodial investigation process. This is because
during a police line-up, the process has not yet shifted from the investigatory to the
accusatory and it is usually the witness or the complainant who is interrogated and
who gives a statement in the course of the line-up. (Citations omitted)

G.R. No. 128287 February 2, 1999


appellant. Besides, appellant did not object when Atty. Mangallay represented him
during the investigations before the police and the city prosecutor. In fact, he
expressly acknowledged Atty. Mangallay as his counsel.

Appellant Rizal Espiritu was convicted as charged for the crime of murder and was
sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua by the Regional Trial Court of
Baguio City. The conviction was based mainly on his confession and the
corroborating evidence of corpus delicti. His extra-judicial confession stated that he
and Fred Malicdan killed Sato Sanad after being hired by Gerald Alicoy to do so for
the sum of P20,000.00. Aside from describing the details of how he had his cohort
killed Sanad, during the ocular inspection, he even pointed out the place where the
killing had been committed. And when he executed his extra-judicial confession
before the police and during the preliminary investigation of the case before the city
prosecutor wherein he admitted his participation in the said incident, he was assisted
by Atty. Daniel Mangallay. However, during the trial of the case, the accused denied
any participation in the killing of Sanad. He also assailed the admissibility of his extrajudicial confession. And, he claimed that Atty. Mangallay was retained by Alfredo
Kinao and not by himself and that the said lawyer was unable to advise or to explain
to him the contents of his extra-judicial confession before he signed it.
Hence, this appeal.

Whether or not the accused was deprived of his right to counsel. NO

The Court ruled that appellant's contention that Atty. Mangallay was retained not by
the appellant personally but by his uncle, Alfredo Kinao, is not proof of counsel
deprivation. The fact remains that Kinao, in hiring the counsel, acted on behalf of

We must clarify that the right to counsel does not mean that the accused must
personally hire his own counsel. The constitutional requirement is satisfied when a
counsel is (1) engaged by anyone acting on behalf of the person under investigation
or (2) appointed by the court upon petition of the said person or by someone on his

The assistance rendered to appellant by Atty. Mangallay met the standards that had
been set in Deniega for the purpose of safeguarding the right of the accused against
involuntary confession. In the present case, the counsel was vigilant in informing
Espiritu of his rights. He was clear in explaining to his client every question
propounded by the investigating officer. And he was not negligent in relating to the
appellant the legal consequences of the latter's extra-judicial confession.

And as a consequence of the confession of the appellant, his conviction became

inevitable. Such confession was evidence of a high order, "since it is supported by the
strong presumption that no person of normal mind would deliberately and knowingly
confess to a crime unless prompted by truth and his conscience."

WHEREFORE, the ASSAILED DECISION is hereby AFFIRMED, but the award of

moral and exemplary damages is deleted. Costs against appellant.

People v. Ayson
GR No. 85215 July 7, 1989
Narvasa, J.:
Private respondent Ramos was a Philippine Airlines ticket freight clerk assigned in
Baguio. He was allegedly involved in irregularities in the sales of plane tickets. PAL
management notified him that an investigation will be conducted on the matter. The
investigation will be in accordance with PALs Code of Conduce and Discipline and
the CBA with PALEA (Ramos was a member).
The day before the investigation, Ramos gave his superiors handwritten notes stating
his willingness to settle the irregularities. At the investigation, Ramos was informed of
the finding of the Audit Team. His answers in response to questions asked by PAL
branch manager Cruz were taken in writing. It seemed that no compromise
agreement was reached or consummated.
Two months later, an Information was filed against Ramos charging him with the
crime of estafa. Ramos entered a plea of not guilty and trial ensued. At the close of
the Peoples case, the private prosecutors made a written offer of evidence which
included that statement of accused (the handwritten notes) as well as his handwritten
admission (the written responses to the questions).
Ramos lawyers filed Objections/Comments to Plaintiffs Evidence. The objection
was that the document (handwritten notes), which appears to be a confession, was
taken without the accused being represented by a lawyer. The objection to the written
responses was for the same reason.
Judge Ayson admitted all evidence as part of the testimony of the witnesses who
testified in connection therewith and for whatever they are worth but he rejected the
handwritten notes (Exhibit A) and the written responses (Exhibit K).
Judge Ayson declared Exhibit A, which according to the defense appears considered
as a confession, inadmissible since it does not appear that the accused was
reminded of his constitutional rights to remain silent and to have counsel, and that
when he waived the same and gave his statement, it was with the assistance actually
of a counsel. He also declared Exhibit K inadmissible since it did not appear that the
accused was assisted by counsel when the admission was made.

The private prosecutors filed a motion for reconsideration. Judge Ayson denied the
motion on the ground that the fact that Ramos was not detained at that time, or the
investigation was administrative in character could not operate to except the case
from the ambit of the constitutional provision in custodial investigation.


Whether the right against self-incrimination is available in an administrative

Whether all statement made to the police by a person involved in some
crime is within the scope of the constitutional right in custodial investigation
Whether the Exhibits should be excluded in evidence on the ground that
Miranda rights was not accorded to the accused.



The first right, against self-incrimination, mentioned in Section 20, Article IV of the
1973 Constitution, is accorded to every person who gives evidence, whether
voluntarily or under compulsion of subpoena, in any civil, criminal, or administrative
proceeding. The right is NOT to "be compelled to be a witness against himself"
The precept set out in that first sentence has a settled meaning. It prescribes an
"option of refusal to answer incriminating questions and not a prohibition of inquiry." It
simply secures to a witness, whether he be a party or not, the right to refue to answer
any particular incriminatory question, i.e., one the answer to which has a tendency to
incriminate him for some crime. However, the right can be claimed only when the
specific question, incriminatory in character, is actually put to the witness. It cannot be
claimed at any other time. It does not give a witness the right to disregard a
subpoena, to decline to appear before the court at the time appointed, or to refuse to
testify altogether. The witness receiving a subpoena must obey it, appear as required,
take the stand, be sworn and answer questions. It is only when a particular question

is addressed to him, the answer to which may incriminate him for some offense, that
he may refuse to answer on the strength of the constitutional guaranty.
The right against self-incrimination is not self- executing or automatically operational.
It must be claimed. If not claimed by or in behalf of the witness, the protection does
not come into play. It follows that the right may be waived, expressly, or impliedly, as
by a failure to claim it at the appropriate time.



In Miranda, Chief Justice Warren summarized the procedural safeguards laid down
for a person in police custody, "in-custody interrogation" being regarded as the
commencement of an adversary proceeding against the suspect.

In fine, a person suspected of having committed a crime and subsequently charged

with its commission in court, has the following rights in the matter of his testifying or
producing evidence, to wit:

1) BEFORE THE CASE IS FILED IN COURT (or with the public prosecutor, for
preliminary investigation), but after having been taken into custody or otherwise
deprived of his liberty in some significant way, and on being interrogated by the
police: the continuing right to remain silent and to counsel, and to be informed
thereof, not to be subjected to force, violence, threat, intimidation or any other means
which vitiates the free will; and to have evidence obtained in violation of these rights
rejected; and

He must be warned prior to any questioning that he has the right to remain silent, that
anything he says can be used against him in a court of law, that he has the right to
the presence of an attorney, and that if he cannot afford an attorney one will be
appointed for him prior to any questioning if he so desires. Opportunity to exercise
those rights must be afforded to him throughout the interrogation. After such warnings
have been given, such opportunity afforded him, the individual may knowingly and
intelligently waive these rights and agree to answer or make a statement. But unless
and until such warnings and waivers are demonstrated by the prosecution at the trial,
no evidence obtained as a result of interrogation can be used against him.


The objective is to prohibit "incommunicado interrogation of individuals in a policedominated atmosphere, resulting in self-incriminating statement without full warnings
of constitutional rights."

It should by now be abundantly apparent that respondent Judge has misapprehended

the nature and import of the disparate rights set forth in Section 20, Article IV of the
1973 Constitution. He has taken them as applying to the same juridical situation,
equating one with the other. In so doing, he has grossly erred. To be sure, His Honor
sought to substantiate his thesis by arguments he took to be cogent and logical. The
thesis was however so far divorced from the actual and correct state of the
constitutional and legal principles involved as to make application of said thesis to the
case before him tantamount to totally unfounded, whimsical or capricious exercise of
power. His Orders were thus rendered with grave abuse of discretion. They should be
as they are hereby, annulled and set aside.

Not every statement made to the police by a person involved in some crime is within
the scope of the constitutional protection. If not made "under custodial interrogation,"
or "under investigation for the commission of an offense," the statement is not



a) to refuse to be a witness;
b) not to have any prejudice whatsoever result to him by such refusal;
c) to testify in his own behalf, subject to cross-examination by the prosecution;
d) WHILE TESTIFYING, to refuse to answer a specific question which tends to
incriminate him for some crime other than that for which he is then prosecuted.

It is clear from the undisputed facts of this case that Felipe Ramos was not in any
sense under custodial interrogation, as the term should be properly understood, prior
to and during the administrative inquiry into the discovered irregularities in ticket sales
in which he appeared to have had a hand. The constitutional rights of a person under
custodial interrogation under Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution did not
therefore come into play, were of no relevance to the inquiry. It is also clear, too, that
Ramos had voluntarily answered questions posed to him on the first day of the
administrative investigation, February 9, 1986 and agreed that the proceedings
should be recorded, the record having thereafter been marked during the trial of the
criminal action subsequently filed against him as Exhibit A, just as it is obvious that
the note (later marked as Exhibit K) that he sent to his superiors on February 8,1986,
the day before the investigation, offering to compromise his liability in the alleged
irregularities, was a free and even spontaneous act on his part. They may not be
excluded on the ground that the so-called "Miranda rights" had not been accorded to


G.R. No. 151258

February 1, 2012


Seven freshmen law students of the Ateneo de Manila University School of Law
signified their intention to join the Aquila Legis Juris Fraternity (Aquila Fraternity).
They were Asuncion, Belleza, Marquez III, Navera, Recinto, Sy, Jr., and Leonardo
"Lenny" Villa (neophytes).
They survived their first day of initiation. On the second day, they were subjected to
the same manner of hazing that they endured on the first day of initiation. After a
while, Dizon and Villareal (alumni) demanded that the rites be reopened. The
fraternity members then subjected the neophytes to "paddling" and to additional
rounds of physical pain. Lenny received several paddle blows, one of which was so
strong it sent him sprawling to the ground. The neophytes heard him complaining of
intense pain and difficulty in breathing. After their last session of physical beatings,
Lenny could no longer walk. He had to be carried by the auxiliaries to the carport.
They then slept at the carport.
After an hour of sleep, the neophytes were suddenly roused by Lennys shivering and
incoherent mumblings. Initially, Villareal and Dizon dismissed these rumblings, as
they thought he was just overacting. When they realized, though, that Lenny was
really feeling cold, some of the Aquilans started helping him. They removed his
clothes and helped him through a sleeping bag to keep him warm. When his condition
worsened, the Aquilans rushed him to the hospital. Lenny was pronounced dead on
Consequently, a criminal case for homicide was filed against the following 35
Aquilans. The trial court rendered judgment holding the 26 accused guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of homicide. A few weeks after the trial court rendered
its judgment against the remaining nine accused commenced anew. Accused De
Leon had by then passed away, so the following Decision applied only to the
remaining 25 accused.
The trial court dismissed the charge against accused Concepcion on the ground of
violation of his right to speedy trial. Meanwhile, the trial court denied the respective
Motions to Dismiss of accused Escalona, Ramos, Saruca, and Adriano. The CA

reversed the trial courts Orders and dismissed the criminal case against Escalona,
Ramos, Saruca, and Adriano on the basis of violation of their right to speedy trial.
Petitioner Villa argues that the case against Escalona, Ramos, Saruca, and Adriano
should not have been dismissed, since they failed to assert their right to speedy trial
within a reasonable period of time. She points out that the accused failed to raise a
protest during the dormancy of the criminal case against them, and that they asserted
their right only after the trial court had dismissed the case against their co-accused
Concepcion. Petitioner also emphasizes that the trial court denied the respective
Motions to Dismiss filed by Saruca, Escalona, Ramos, and Adriano, because it found
that "the prosecution could not be faulted for the delay in the movement of this case
when the original records and the evidence it may require were not at its disposal as
these were in the Court of Appeals."
Whether the CA committed grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction when it dismissed the case against Escalona, Ramos, Saruca, and
Adriano for violation of the right of the accused to speedy trial?
The right of the accused to a speedy trial has been enshrined in Sections 14(2) and
16, Article III of the 1987 Constitution. This right requires that there be a trial free from
vexatious, capricious or oppressive delays. The right is deemed violated when the
proceeding is attended with unjustified postponements of trial, or when a long period
of time is allowed to elapse without the case being tried and for no cause or justifiable
motive. In determining the right of the accused to speedy trial, courts should do more
than a mathematical computation of the number of postponements of the scheduled
hearings of the case. The conduct of both the prosecution and the defense must be
weighed. Also to be considered are factors such as the length of delay, the assertion
or non-assertion of the right, and the prejudice wrought upon the defendant.
The right of the accused to speedy trial is tantamount to acquittal. As a consequence,
an appeal or a reconsideration of the dismissal would amount to a violation of the
principle of double jeopardy. However, where the dismissal of the case is capricious,
certiorari lies. The rule on double jeopardy is not triggered when a petition challenges
the validity of the order of dismissal instead of the correctness thereof. Rather, grave

abuse of discretion amounts to lack of jurisdiction, and lack of jurisdiction prevents

double jeopardy from attaching.
As early as September 21, 1995, the court a quo already issued an Order requiring
the prosecution, through the Department of Justice, to secure the complete records of
the case from the Court of Appeals. The prosecution did not comply with the said
Order as in fact, the same directive was repeated by the court a quo in an Order
dated December 27, 1995. Still, there was no compliance on the part of the
prosecution. It is not stated when such order was complied with. It appears, however,
that even until August 5, 2002, the said records were still not at the disposal of the
trial court because the lack of it was made the basis of the said court in granting the
motion to dismiss filed by co-accused Concepcion.
It is likewise noticeable that from December 27, 1995, until August 5, 2002, or for a
period of almost seven years, there was no action at all on the part of the court a quo.
Except for the pleadings filed by both the prosecution and the petitioners, the latest of
which was on January 29, 1996, followed by petitioner Sarucas motion to set case
for trial on August 17, 1998 which the court did not act upon, the case remained
dormant for a considerable length of time. This prolonged inactivity whatsoever is
precisely the kind of delay that the constitution frowns upon.
This Court points out that on 10 January 1992, the final amended Information was
filed against Escalona, Ramos, Saruca, Ampil, S. Fernandez, Adriano, Cabangon,

Concepcion, and De Vera. On 29 November 1993, they were all arraigned.

Unfortunately, the initial trial of the case did not commence until 28 March 2005 or
almost 12 years after arraignment.
As illustrated in our ruling in Abardo v. Sandiganbayan, the unexplained interval or
inactivity of the Sandiganbayan for close to five years since the arraignment of the
accused amounts to an unreasonable delay in the disposition of cases a clear
violation of the right of the accused to a speedy disposition of cases. The delay in this
case measures up to the unreasonableness of the delay in the disposition of cases in
Angchangco, Jr. vs. Ombudsman, where the Court found the delay of six years by the
Ombudsman in resolving the criminal complaints to be violative of the constitutionally
guaranteed right to a speedy disposition of cases; similarly, in Roque vs. Office of the
Ombudsman, where the Court held that the delay of almost six years disregarded the
Ombudsman's duty to act promptly on complaints before him; and in Cervantes vs.
Sandiganbayan, where the Court held that the Sandiganbayan gravely abused its
discretion in not quashing the information which was filed six years after the initiatory
complaint was filed and thereby depriving petitioner of his right to a speedy
disposition of the case. So it must be in the instant case, where the reinvestigation by
the Ombudsman has dragged on for a decade already.