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RUBEN DEL CASTILLO (Boy Castillo) v People

G.R. No. 185128 January 30, 2012(Formerly UDK No. 13980)

DOCTRINE: In considering a criminal case, it is critical to start with the law's own starting perspective on the status of the accused - in all criminal
prosecutions, he is presumed innocent of the charge laid unless the contrary is proven beyond reasonable doubt. Proof beyond reasonable doubt, or
that quantum of proof sufficient to produce a moral certainty that would convince and satisfy the conscience of those who act in judgment, is
indispensable to overcome the constitutional presumption of innocence.

Pursuant to a confidential information that petitioner was engaged in selling shabu, police officers headed by SPO3 Bienvenido Masnayon,
after conducting surveillance and test-buy operation at the house of petitioner, secured a search warrant from the RTC and around 3 o'clock
in the afternoon of September 13, 1997, the same police operatives went to Gil Tudtud St., Mabolo, Cebu City to serve the search warrant
to petitioner.
Upon arrival, somebody shouted "raid," which prompted them to immediately disembark from the jeep they were riding and went directly
to petitioner's house and cordoned it. The structure of the petitioner's residence is a two-storey house and the petitioner was staying in the
second floor. When they went upstairs, they met petitioner's wife and informed her that they will implement the search warrant. But before
they can search the area, SPO3 Masnayon claimed that he saw petitioner run towards a small structure, a nipa hut, in front of his house.
Masnayon chased him but to no avail, because he and his men were not familiar with the entrances and exits of the place.
They all went back to the residence of the petitioner and closely guarded the place where the subject ran for cover. SPO3 Masnayon
requested his men to get a barangay tanod and a few minutes thereafter, his men returned with two barangay tanods.
In the presence of the barangay tanod, Nelson Gonzalado, and the elder sister of petitioner named Dolly del Castillo, searched the house of
petitioner including the nipa hut where the petitioner allegedly ran for cover. His men who searched the residence of the petitioner found
nothing, but one of the barangay tanods was able to confiscate from the nipa hut several articles, including four (4) plastic packs containing
white crystalline substance. Consequently, the articles that were confiscated were sent to the PNP Crime Laboratory for examination. The
contents of the four (4) heat- sealed transparent plastic packs were subjected to laboratory examination, the result of which proved positive
for the presence of methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu.
Thus, an Information was filed before the RTC against petitioner, charging him with violation of Section 16, Article III of R.A. 6425, as
ARRAIGNMENT pleaded NOT GUILTY. Trial on the merits ensued.
PROSECUTION PRESENTED: SPO3 Bienvenido Masnayon, PO2 Milo Arriola, and Forensic Analyst, Police Inspector Mutchit Salinas.
DEFENSE PRESENTED: petitioner, Jesusa del Castillo, Dalisay del Castillo and Herbert Aclan
RTC: found petitioner guilty beyond reasonable of the charge against him in the Information. PENALTY: 6 months to 1 day as minimum
and 4 years and 2 months max as prision correctional. CA affirmed!
o There was no probable cause to issue the search warrant, considering that SPO1 Reynaldo Matillano, the police officer who
applied for it, had no personal knowledge of the alleged illegal sale of drugs during a test-buy operation conducted prior to the
application of the same search warrant.
o The nipa hut located about 20 meters away from his house is no longer within the "permissible area" that may be searched by the
police officers due to the distance and that the search warrant did not include the same nipa hut as one of the places to be
o CA erred in finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of illegal possession of prohibited drugs, because he could not be
presumed to be in possession of the same just because they were found inside the nipa hut.

ISSUE: Whether or not the prosecution has proven the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt? NO. Accused was ACQUITTED.


The requisites for the issuance of a search warrant are:

(1) probable cause is present;
(2) such probable cause must be determined personally by the judge;
(3) the judge must examine, in writing and under oath or affirmation, the complainant and the witnesses he or she may produce;
(4) the applicant and the witnesses testify on the facts personally known to them; and
(5) the warrant specifically describes the place to be searched and the things to be seized.

Probable cause for a search warrant is defined as 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 sought to be searched.

A finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that, more likely than not, a crime has been committed and that it was committed
by the accused. Probable cause demands more than bare suspicion; it requires less than evidence which would justify conviction. The judge, in
determining probable cause, is to consider the totality of the circumstances made known to him and not by a fixed and rigid formula, and must
employ a flexible, totality of the circumstances standard. The existence depends to a large degree upon the finding or opinion of the judge conducting
the examination.

This Court, therefore, is in no position to disturb the factual findings of the judge which led to the issuance of the search warrant. A magistrate's
determination of probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant is paid great deference by a reviewing court, as long as there was substantial
basis for that determination.

Substantial basis means that the questions of the examining judge brought out such facts and circumstances as would lead a reasonably discreet and
prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed, and the objects in connection with the offense sought to be seized are in the place sought
to be searched. A review of the records shows that in the present case, a substantial basis exists.


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, Search Warrant No. 570-9-1197-24 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 petitioner. 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 petitioner's constitutional guaranty against unreasonable searches and seizure.

The OSG argues 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. OSGs contention is devoid of merit. The contention is
devoid of merit.

Having been established that the assistance of the barangay tanods was sought by the police authorities who effected the searched 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:
x x x 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

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.

Assuming ex gratia argumenti that the barangay tanod who found the confiscated items is considered a private individual, thus, making the same
items admissible in evidence, petitioner's third argument that the prosecution failed to establish constructive possession of the regulated drugs
seized, would still be meritorious.

It must be put into emphasis that this present case is about the violation of Section 16 of R.A. 6425. (Illegal possession of shabu)

(a) the accused is found in possession of a regulated drug;
(b) the person is not authorized by law or by duly constituted authorities; and
(c) the accused has knowledge that the said drug is a regulated drug.

People v. Tira This crime is mala prohibita, and, as such, criminal intent is not an essential element. However, the prosecution must prove that the
accused had the intent to possess (animus posidendi) the drugs. Possession, under the law, includes not only actual possession, but also
constructive possession. Actual possession exists when the drug is in the immediate physical possession or control of the accused. On the other
hand, constructive possession exists when the drug is under the dominion and control of the accused or when he has the right to exercise dominion
and control over the place where it is found. Exclusive possession or control is not necessary. The accused cannot avoid conviction if his right to
exercise control and dominion over the place where the contraband is located, is shared with another.

While it is not necessary that the property to be searched or seized should be owned by the person against whom the search warrant is issued, there
must be sufficient showing that the property is under appellants control or possession. The CA, in its Decision, referred to the possession of
regulated drugs by the petitioner as a constructive one.

Constructive possession exists when the drug is under the dominion and control of the accused or when he has the right to exercise dominion and
control over the place where it is found.

The records are void of any evidence to show that petitioner owns the nipa hut in question nor was it established that he used the said structure as a

The RTC, as well as the CA, merely presumed that petitioner used the said structure due to the presence of electrical materials, the petitioner being an
electrician by profession.

The prosecution must prove that the petitioner had knowledge of the existence and presence of the drugs in the place under his control and dominion
and the character of the drugs. With the prosecution's failure to prove that the nipa hut was under petitioner's control and dominion, there casts a
reasonable doubt as to his guilt. In considering a criminal case, it is critical to start with the law's own starting perspective on the status of the
accused - in all criminal prosecutions, he is presumed innocent of the charge laid unless the contrary is proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Proof beyond reasonable doubt, or that quantum of proof sufficient to produce a moral certainty that would convince and satisfy the
conscience of those who act in judgment, is indispensable to overcome the constitutional presumption of innocence.

DISPOSITIVE PORTION: WHEREFORE, the Decision dated July 31, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. R. No. 27819, which affirmed the
Decision dated March 14, 2003 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 12, Cebu, in Criminal Case No. CBU-46291 is hereby REVERSED and SET
ASIDE. Petitioner Ruben del Castillo is ACQUITTED on reasonable doubt.
[G.R. NO. 172035; July 4, 2012 ] NOTES: (if applicable)
TOPIC: Rule 115; Right to be heard

On May 29, 1996, the Vice Mayor and other local officials of Korondal City, South Cotabato filed a letter-complaint with the Office of the
Ombudsman Mindanao charging Fernando Miguel et al with violation of R.A. 3019, in connection with consultancy services for the
architectural aspect, the engineering design, and the construction supervision and management of the proposed Koronadal City public
market (project).
The ombudsman then directed Mayor Miguel to file his counter affidavit. There were many extensions but he simply failed to submit his
counter affidavit.
The ombudsman found probable cause for the violation of ra 3019 and the crime of falsification of public documents.
Hence the Ombudsman filed an information with the Sandiganbayan.
This is the actual information:
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
The Sandiganbayan ordered reinvestigation. Even the Sandiganbayan asked Mayor Miguel to submit a counter affidavit, but still he failed to
submit one. (no reason given)
Since petitioner did not submit his counter-affidavit, Prosecutor Norberto B. Ruiz moved to declare that the petitioner had waived his right
to submit countervailing evidence (April 25, 2001 resolution). On July 31, 2001, then Ombudsman Aniano Desierto approved the resolution
Petitioner was arraigned; he pleaded not guilty in both criminal cases.
There was a motion from the Special Prosecutor to have the Mayor suspended. 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.
The Sandiganbayan promulgated the assailed resolution suspending the petitioner pendente lite for 90 days
On February 2, 2006, petitioner moved for reconsideration of his suspension order and demanded for a pre-suspension hearing. The
Sandiganbayan denied this motion prompting him to file this petition for certiorari to challenge the validity of his suspension order.
The petitioner claims that the Sandiganbayan gravely abused its discretion in ordering his suspension despite the failure of the information
to allege that the giving of unwarranted benefits and advantages by the petitioner was made through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or
gross inexcusable negligence. He alleges that the phrases evident bad faith and manifest partiality actually refers not to him, but to his co-
accused, rendering the information fatally defective.
The OSP argues for the sufficiency of the information since all the elements of the offense under Section 3(b) of R.A. No. 3019 are
specifically pleaded by way of ultimate facts. These elements are:
1. The petitioner was the Municipal Mayor of Koronadal, South Cotabato at the time material to the acts complained of;
2. The petitioner acted with manifest partiality and evident bad faith when he invited only his co-accused private individuals to participate
in the prequalification of consultants for the project instead of publishing it in a newspaper of general circulation; and
3. The petitioners actions, performed in relation to his office, gave unwarranted benefits and advantages to his co-accused

1. WON the absence of an actual pre-trial suspension hearing renders invalid the suspension order against petitioner.
2. WON the absence of hearing for the suspension order violates the petitioners right to be given an opportunity to be heard.
1. NO. The pre-suspension order is valid. This is an express provision provided for by R.A. No. 3019.
2. NO. by the actions shown by the petitioner, there was no deprivation of his substantial right of due process.
Pre-suspension order is valid
Sec. 13 of R.A. No. 3019 states that any public officer against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information under this Act or under the
provisions of the Revised Penal Code on bribery is pending in court, shall be suspended from office. While the suspension of a public officer under
this provision is mandatory, the suspension requires a prior hearing to determine the validity of the information filed against him, taking into account
the serious and far reaching consequences of a suspension of an elective public official even before his conviction.
Petitioner relies on the ruling of Luciano v. Mariano which provides broad guildelines for the lower courts to exercise the power of suspension, that:
- Upon filing of such information, the trial court should issue an order with proper notice requiring the officer to show cause at a specific date
of hearing why he should not be ordered suspended from office pursuant to the cited mandatory provisions of this Act. Where either the
prosecution seasonably files a motion for an order of suspension or the accused in turn files a motion to quash the information or
challenges the validity thereof, such show-cause order of the trial court would no longer be necessary. What is indispensable is that the
trial court duly hear the parties at a hearing held for determining the validity of the information and thereafter hand down its ruling, issuing
the corresponding order of suspension should it uphold the validity of the information or withholding such suspension in the contrary case.
- No specific rules need be laid down for such pre-suspension hearing. Suffice it to state that the accused should be given a fair and
adequate opportunity to challenge the validity of the criminal proceedings against him.
As clear as day, however, Luciano considered it unnecessary for the trial court to issue a show cause order when the motion seeking the suspension of
the accused pendent lite, has been submitted by the prosecution.
While a pre-suspension hearing is aimed at securing for the accused fair and adequate opportunity to challenge the validity of the information or the
regularity of the proceedings against him, Luciano likewise emphasizes that no hard and fast rule exists in regulating its conduct. With the purpose
of pre-suspension hearing in mind, the absence of the actual hearing alone cannot be determinative of the validity of the suspension order.

There was no violation of petitioners right to be heard

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 an 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 due process exists.

In the present case, the petitioner (i) filed his Vigorous Opposition 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, the petitioners continued demand for the conduct of an actual pre-suspension hearing based on the same alleged defect in the information,
which was found wanting has legally nothing to anchor itself on.

Suspension under R.A. No. 3019 being a mere preventive measure whose duration shall in no case exceed ninety (90) days, the adequacy of the
opportunity to contest the validity of the information and of the proceedings that preceded its filing vis-a-vis the merits of the defenses of the accused
cannot be measured alone by the absence or presence of an actual hearing. An opportunity to be heard on ones defenses, however unmeritorious it
may be, against the suspension mandated by law equally and sufficiently serves both the due process right of the accused and the mandatory nature of
the suspension required by law.


The absence of a pre-suspension hearing does not deprive the accused of his right to be heard when by his acts, he has been able to setup his defenses
through oral arguments or pleadings in the main action. In the case at bar, the motion for suspension was made in pendent lite where the accused was
able to assail its validity and set up defenses in his pleadings.
040 People v. Lara AUTHOR:
GR NUMBER, DATE NOTES: (if applicable)
1 An automatic appeal from the Decision1 dated July 28, 2011 of the Court of Appeals (CA).
2 2001 an information was filed charging Lara with robbery with homicide with the RTC of Pasay City in that, the accused, armed with a
gun, robbed from Joselito M. Bautista, cash money amounting to P 230,000.00 belonging to San Sebastian Allied Services, Inc. represented
by Enrique Sumulong; that on the occasion of said robbery, the accused shot said Joselito M. Bautista, causing the latters death.
3 Following Laras plea of not guilty, trial ensued. The prosecution presented three (3) witnesses: Enrique Sumulong (Sumulong), SPO1
Bernard Cruz (SPO1 Cruz) and PO3 Efren Calix (PO3 Calix).
4 Sumulong testified: at around 9:00 in the morning, he withdrew the amount of P 230,000.00 from the Metrobank-Mabini Branch, Pasig City
to defray the salaries of the employees of San Sebastian. He placed the amount withdrawn in a black bag and immediately left the bank.
While they were at the intersection of Mercedes and Market Avenues, Pasig City, Lara suddenly appeared at the front passenger side of the
pick-up and pointed a gun at him stating, "Akin na ang pera, iyong bag, nasaan? After getting hold of the bag, Bautista alighted from the
pick-up and ran, seeing Bautista, Lara ran after him while firing his gun
5 In his defense, Lara testified that: he was a plumber and on May 31, 2001, he was at his house, digging a sewer trench while his brother,
Wilfredo, was constructing a comfort room, they were working from 8:00 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon. Police officers arrived
and asked him if he was Arturo Lara; (e) after confirming that he was Arturo Lara, the police officers asked him to go with them to the
Barangay Hall; (f) he voluntarily went with them and while inside the patrol car, one of the policemen said, "You are lucky, we were able to
caught you in your house, if in another place we will kill you" (sic); (g) he was brought to the police station and not the barangay hall as he
was earlier told where he was investigated for robbery with homicide.
6 RTC - convicted Lara of robbery with homicide. RTC rejected Laras defense of alibi.
7 On appeal, Lara pointed out several errors that supposedly attended his conviction.
8 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.
9 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.
10 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.
11 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.
12 CA affirmed 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.


1 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; YES
2 Whether Laras supposedly illegal arrest may be raised for the first time on appeal for the purpose of nullifying his conviction; NO
3 Whether there is sufficient evidence to convict Lara; YES
4 Whether Laras alibi can be given credence so as to exonerate him from the crime charged. NO
1 This Court resolves to deny the appeal.
2 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.
3 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
4 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.
5 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.
6 It is apparent from the assailed decision of the CA that the finding of guilt against Lara is based on circumstantial evidence. The CA
allegedly erred in this wise considering that only direct and not circumstantial evidence can overcome the presumption of innocence.
7 However, well-settled is the rule that direct evidence of the commission of the crime is not the only matrix wherefrom a trial court may draw
its conclusion and finding of guilt. Even in the absence of direct evidence, conviction can be had if the established circumstances constitute
an unbroken chain, consistent with each other and to the hypothesis that the accused is guilty, to the exclusion of all other hypothesis that he
is not.
8 Under Section 4, Rule 133 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, circumstantial evidence sufficed to convict upon the concurrence of
the following requisites: (a) there is more than one circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and (c) the
combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.
9 It is not only by direct evidence that an accused may be convicted of the crime for which he is charged. Resort to circumstantial evidence is
essential since to insist on direct testimony would, in many cases, result in setting felons free and denying proper protection to the
10 As the CA correctly ruled, the following circumstances established by the evidence for the prosecution strongly indicate Laras guilt: (a)
while the vehicle Sumulong, Atie, Manacob and Bautista were riding was at the intersection of Mercedes and Market Avenues, he appeared
at the front passenger side thereof armed with a gun; (b) while pointing the gun at Sumulong who was at the front passenger seat, Lara
demanded that Sumulong give him the bag containing the money; (c) instead of giving the bag to Lara, Sumulong gave it to Bautista who
was seated at the back of the pick-up; (d) when Bautista got hold of the bag, he alighted and ran towards the back of the pick-up; (e) Lara
ran after Bautista and while doing so, fired his gun at Bautistas direction; (f) Bautista sustained several gunshot wounds; and (g) Bautistas
blood was on the crime scene and empty shells were recovered therefrom.
11 Indeed, in cases of robbery with homicide, the taking of personal property with intent to gain must itself be established beyond reasonable
doubt. Conclusive evidence proving the physical act of asportation by the accused must be presented by the prosecution. It must be shown
that the original criminal design of the culprit was robbery and the homicide was perpetrated with a view to the consummation of the
robbery by reason or on the occasion of the robbery. The mere presence of the accused at the crime scene is not enough to implicate him. It
is essential to prove the intent to rob and the use of violence was necessary to realize such intent.
12 In this case, Laras intent to gain is proven by Sumulongs positive narration that it was Lara who pointed the gun at him and demanded that
the bag containing the money be turned over to him. That Lara resorted to violence in order to actualize his intent to gain is proven by
Sumulongs testimony that he saw Lara fire the gun at the direction of Bautista, who was running away from the pick-up in order to prevent
Lara from taking possession of the money.
13 Notably, the incident took place in broad daylight and in the middle of a street. Thus, where considerations of visibility are favorable and the
witness does not appear to be biased against the accused, his or her assertions as to the identity of the malefactor should be normally
accepted. Lara did not allege, much less, convincingly demonstrate that Sumulong was impelled by improper or malicious motives to
impute upon him, however perjurious, such a serious charge. Thus, his testimony, which the trial court found to be forthright and credible, is
worthy of full faith and credit and should not be disturbed. If an accused had nothing to do with the crime, it is against the natural order of
events and of human nature and against the presumption of good faith that a prosecution witness would falsely testify against the former.
14 In view of Sumulongs positive identification of Lara, the CA was correct in denying Laras alibi outright. It is well-settled that positive
identification prevails over alibi, which is inherently a weak defense. Such is the rule, for as a defense, alibi is easy to concoct, and difficult
to disapprove. Moreover, in order for the defense of alibi to prosper, it is not enough to prove that the accused was somewhere else when the
offense was committed, but it must likewise be demonstrated that he was so far away that it was not possible for him to have been
physically present at the place of the crime or its immediate vicinity at the time of its commission. Due to its doubtful nature, alibi must be
supported by clear and convincing proof.
15 In this case, the proximity of Laras house at the scene of the crime wholly negates his alibi. Assuming as true Laras claim and that of his
witnesses that he was digging a sewer trench on the day of the incident, it is possible that his witnesses may not have noticed him leaving
and returning given that the distance between his house and the place where the subject incident took place can be negotiated, even by
walking, in just a matter of minutes. Simply put, Lara and his witnesses failed to prove that it is well-nigh impossible for him to be at the
scene of the crime. end-
041 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, A counsel-assisted, voluntary confession of guilt is evidence of strong persuasive
vs. RIZAL ESPIRITU y KINAO, accused-appellant. weight. It becomes overwhelming when it is corroborated by independent
G.R. No. 128287. February 2, 1999 prosecution evidence pointing to appellant as the perpetrator of a killing.
PANGANIBAN, J.: ***Q&As omitted
1 Rizal Espiritu y Kinao appeals the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 6, Baguio City, convicting him of murder.
The undersigned accuses GERALD ALICOY Y SIANO as principal by inducement and FRED MALICDAN Y MILLER and
RIZAL ESPIRITU Y KINAO as principal by direct participation [in] the crime of MURDER, committed as follows:
That on or about the 8th day of September, 1995, in the City of Baguio, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused, with intent to kill and with treachery and evident prem[e]ditation, after the accused GERALD
ALICOY Y SIANO offered the sum of P20,000.00 to the accused FRED MALICDAN Y MILLER and RIZAL ESPIRITU Y
KINAO for them to kill SATO SANAD Y DOGA-ONG, the accused Fred Malicdan and Rizal Espiritu, did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab Sato Sanad with a sharp pointed instrument several times on his back
inflicting on said Sato Sanad several stab wounds at his back as a result of which said Sato Sanad died.
The commission of the offense is qualified by evident premeditation in that the three (3) accused planned the killing where the
accused Gerald Alicoy offered to the accused Fred Malicdan and Rizal Espiritu the sum of P20,000.00 for them to kill Sato Sanad
and the accused Fred Malicdan and Rizal Espiritu carried out the plan and killed Sato Sanad.
The commission of the offense is likewise qualified by treachery in that the accused Rizal Espiritu suddenly held and locked the
neck of Sato Sanad with his hands and thereafter the accused Fred Malicdan stabbed Sato Sanad several times on his back and the
accused adopted that mode of attack to ensure that the deceased could not put up a defense.
2 Arraignment all plead not guilty
3 RTC acquitted two of the accused for failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
4 The trial of Appellant Espiritu, however, continued.
Version of the prosecution:
1 Between 7:30 and 8:00 oclock in the evening of September 8, 1995, Henry Saclangan saw Sato Sanad conversing with appellant Rizal Espiritu in
front of Starlight Bakery located at Sunflower Street, Navy Base Subdivision, Baguio City. Later, he saw Sato Sanad and appellant, who placed
his arm around the formers shoulder, walk.
2 At about 9:00 oclock in that evening, Jeffrey Bernabe was in his house at Sunflower St., Navy Base Subdivision, Baguio City conversing with
friends. Momentarily, he heard someone outside shouting for help. When he went out, Jeffrey Bernabe saw a man, who turned out to be Sato
Sanad, wounded and bleeding. Other people came out of their houses but no one dared to help Sato Sanad who lay prostrate on the
ground. Jeffrey Bernabe went back to his house and boarded his truck. Accompanied by his friends and helpers, Jeffrey Bernabe brought Sato
Sanad to the Baguio General Hospital where he died on arrival.
3 At about 9:00 pm, Police Officer Johnson Ayagen of the Pacdal Police Substation, Baguio City, received a report from the base operator of a fight
that occurred in Sunflower Street. He was ordered to immediately proceed to the place. Along the way, PO Ayagen met an Isuzu Elf Truck whose
driver flagged him down. He was informed by Jeffrey Bernabe that he and his companions were bringing a wounded person to the hospital. PO
Ayagen told the driver, Jeffrey Bernabe, to proceed to the hospital and to wait for him there as he would first proceed to the crime scene. The
police met nobody at the crime scene. What they found were bloodstains on the ground; also, a bloodied, perforated maong jacket and false
dentures. When they arrived at the hospital, Jeffrey Bernabe informed them that the victim was already dead.
4 Dr. Vladimir Villaseor of the PNP Crime Laboratory Service, Camp Bado Dangwa, Benguet, conducted an autopsy on the cadaver of Sato Sanad.
a Conclusion - Cause of Death: Hemorrhage as a result of multiple stab wounds on the body.
5 At the wake of Sato Sanad, Reyvo Sanad, his son, was informed by his cousin, Nestor Kinao, that appellant Rizal Espiritu, a cousin of Nestor
mentioned something about the killing of his father.Together, they sought out appellant. They found him in the company of his uncle, Alfredo
Kinao, who was also related to the wife of Sato Sanad. When confronted, appellant was persuaded to relate his participation in the killing of Sato
Sanad. Appellant eventually confessed to being one of the assailants of Sato Sanad. Then, all those present agreed to meet the following day at
the Baguio City Police where appellant would surrender.
6 The following day, or on September 20, 1995, appellant, accompanied by Alfredo Kinao, met with the victims relatives at the Baguio City Police
Station. However, the day before their meeting, Alfredo Kinao had talked to Atty. Daniel Mangallay in his office and asked him to be appellants
counsel. Atty. Mangallay thus went to the Baguio City Police Station where he met the others.Atty. Mangallay conferred with appellant regarding
the case and agreed to represent him.
7 Prior to the investigation, Atty. Mangallay informed the police that appellant would voluntarily give his statement. Police Officer Wilfredo
Cabanayan, who was assigned to take appellants statements, apprised the latter, in the presence of his lawyer, of his constitutional rights to
remain silent, to have competent and independent counsel of his choice and his right against self-incrimination. After Atty. Mangallay, himself,
had explained to appellant his constitutional rights, the latter signified his willingness and readiness to give his statement. Police Officer
Cabanayan propounded his questions in Ilocano to which appellant replied in the same dialect. The questions and answers were then translated
into English.
8 Thereafter, appellant and Atty. Mangallay affixed their respective signatures on the sworn statement. During the proceeding, Atty. Mangallay was
at all times assisting appellant. x x x.
9 Thereafter, appellant, accompanied by Atty. Mangallay and Police Officer Cabanayan, was presented before Prosecutor Dizon for personal
examination. Appellant declared that he understood his statement as explained to him by Prosecutor Dizon. Thereafter, appellant again signed his
sworn statement.
10 At the preliminary investigation conducted by Prosecutor Romeo Carbonell, appellant was likewise assisted by Atty. Mangallay. Accused Gerald
Alicoy and Fred Malicdan were present with their respective counsel. During the clarificatory questions, appellant repeated the contents of his
sworn statement given before the police which was recorded in the transcript of stenographic notes. Further, Prosecutor Carbonell conducted an
ocular inspection of the scene of the crime with all the accused and their counsel present
Version of the defense:
11 AFREDO KINAO, the uncle of the accused, stated that on September 17, 1995, he was at a vigil in Quirino Hill, when his son arrived and told
him that they had to see the accused who was at the police station. He asked the police if they could bring out the accused. They were able to do
so when they signed a promissory note. The police told him that Espiritu was a suspect in the killing of Sato Sannad and they had to return him
on September 20, 1995. Upon their return, Espiritu told the police, that he [would] tell them what happened since his conscience was bothering
him. The police advised them to get a lawyer to assist the accused.
12 He added that on September 19, 1995, he went to Atty. Mangallays house, but was advised to see the latter in his office on September 20,
1995. When informed by the police that a lawyer [was] needed, he went to Atty. Mangallays office, and they proceeded to the police
station. Upon their arrival, the statement of the accused was taken. Then they proceeded to the prosecutors office for the subscription of the
13 RIZAL ESPIRITU stated that the victims relatives asked him to give a statement to the effect that he together with Alicoy and Malicdan killed
Sato Sannad. They offered him P50,000.00 and said that the two [would] be put in jail. He did not participate in the killing of Sannad. He went to
the police station accompanied by Alfredo Kinao and the relatives of the victim on September 20, 1995. He was advised by the police to get a
lawyer and Alfredo Kinao, left to get a lawyer but he did not authorize him to do so. The police started to take and prepare his statement at
around 8:00 AM and the lawyer arrived at around 10:00 AM, when his statement was already being taken. Lawyer Mangallay did not give him
any advice and did not explain in detail the contents of the statement. He was not advised nor informed that by giving the statement he could be
imprisoned and even sentenced to death.
14 On sur-rebuttal, he declared that it was only after he had related the incident that the police told him to get a lawyer. He was at the investigation
room when the lawyer arrived together with Alfredo Kinao and at that time, his statement had already been taken by the police.
RTC - convicted Espiritu on the basis of his confession and corroborating evidence of corpus delicti. The confession was admitted in evidence,
because the Court believed that the appellant voluntarily executed it while being assisted by a competent and independent counsel. Further, during the
investigation conducted by Assistant Prosecutor Romeo Carbonell, Espiritu affirmed that he had voluntarily executed the extrajudicial confession
before the police, and he even reenacted how Sanad was killed.
ISSUE(S): WON the extrajudicial confession is admissible Yes
WON there is sufficiency of the evidence of guilt of the accused Yes
First Issue: Admissibility of Extrajudicial Confession
1 In assailing the admissibility of his extrajudicial confession, appellant invokes paragraphs 1 and 3 of Section 12, Article III of the 1987
Constitution. He insists that his confession was obtained in violation of his rights (1) to have an independent and competent counsel and (2) to be
informed of such right. Further, he argues that he was not advised by Atty. Mangallay of the consequences of the execution of a confession.
2 We disagree. We are convinced that the confession of Appellant Espiritu is admissible in evidence, as it was satisfactorily shown that it was (1)
voluntary and (2) made with the assistance of a competent and independent counsel.
3 With respect to the first requisite, we find that Espiritu readily admitted killing Sanad when he was confronted by the relatives of the deceased.
Thereafter, without being invited by the investigating officers, he went to the police station and voluntarily gave his statement to SPO1 Wilfredo
P. Cabanayan. Later, appellant affirmed before Prosecutor Romeo Carbonell the fact that he, with Atty. Mangallay, had gone to the police station
to surrender and that the said counsel had assisted him when the police started taking his statement.
4 In his confession, appellant admitted that he and Malicdan killed Sanad, after being hired by Alicoy to do so for the sum of P20,000.Aside from
describing the details of how he and his cohort killed Sanad, Espiritu, during an ocular inspection, even pointed out the place where the killing
had been committed.
5 These acts of the appellant are clear manifestations that, contrary to his protestations, no torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation or any other
means was used against him to force him to confess.
Competent and Independent Counsel
1 The defense contends that Atty. Mangallay was retained by Alfredo Kinao and not by appellant.
a It is also argued that the said lawyer was unable to advise or to explain the contents of the extrajudicial confession to the appellant
before the latter signed it.
2 We are not persuaded. At the outset, 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 behalf.
3 Thus, 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 Appellant Espiritu. Besides, Espiritu 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
4 The meaning of competent counsel was explained in People v. Deniega as follows:
a xxx [T]he lawyer called to be present during such investigations should be as far as reasonably possible, the choice of the individual
undergoing questioning. If the lawyer were one furnished in the accuseds behalf, it is important that he should be competent and
independent, i.e., that he is willing to fully safeguard the constitutional rights of the accused, as distinguished from one who would
merely be giving a routine, peremptory and meaningless recital of the individuals constitutional rights. In People v. Basay, this Court
stressed that an accuseds right to be informed of the right to remain silent and to counsel contemplates the transmission of meaningful
information rather than just the ceremonial and perfunctory recitation of an abstract constitutional principle.
b Ideally therefore, a lawyer engaged for an individual facing custodial investigation (if the latter could not afford one) should be
engaged by the accused (himself), or by the latters relative or person authorized by him to engage an attorney or by the court, upon
proper petition of the accused or person authorized by the accused to file such petition. Lawyers engaged by the police, whatever
testimonials are given as proof of their probity and supposed independence, are generally suspect, as in many areas, the relationship
between lawyers and law enforcement authorities can be symbiotic. x x x x x x x x x
c x x x The competent or independent lawyer so engaged should be present from the beginning to end, i.e., at all stages of the interview,
counseling or advising caution reasonably at every turn of the investigation, and stopping the interrogation once in a while either to
give advice to the accused that he may either continue, choose to remain silent or terminate the interview.
5 Undoubted is the competence of Atty. Mangallay who was himself presented by the prosecution as witness.
6 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 latters extrajudicial confession.
7 Verily, a review of the records reveals no infirmity in the manner in which appellants extrajudicial confession was taken. Witness Cabanayan
testified that Atty. Mangallay assisted Espiritu throughout the time that the latter gave his statement. Even the aforementioned uncle of the
appellant, Defense Witness Alfredo Kinao, attested to such facts.
Second Issue: Guilt Proven Beyond Reasonable Doubt
1 We hold that appellants guilt has been proven beyond reasonable doubt by his counsel-assisted and voluntary confession,
which was corroborated on material points by the prosecution witnesses. The defense has not given this Court any reason why we should reverse
or modify the trial courts assessment of the credibility of said witnesses and their testimonies. Indeed, appellant does not question the
prosecutions evidence which established the corpus delicti.
2 As a consequence of the confession of the appellant, his conviction becomes inevitable. Such confession is 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.
3 As mentioned earlier, the confession of Espiritu was corroborated by the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. The latter affirmed the
appellants statement as to the time and the place of the incident, the weapon used and the location of the stab wounds on the victims body.
a First, Dr. Vladimir Villaseor autopsied the body and testified that, based on the injuries inflicted, the weapon used was a pointed
instrument and that the assailant was positioned behind the victim.
b Second, Police Officer Johnson Ayagen testified that he saw a garbage box near the crime scene, a detail specifically mentioned by
Espiritu in his extrajudicial confession.
c Third, Witness Jeffrey Bernabe, upon hearing the cries for help, proceeded to the place of the incident, where he found the victim lying
on the ground at about the same time as that which Espiritu mentioned in his confession.
d Lastly, the prosecution witnesses and Espiritu point to the samelocus criminis.
The court a quo correctly qualified the killing to murder. The essence of treachery is the swift and unexpected attack of the malefactors on their
unarmed prey without the latter giving the slightest provocation. Appellant and his cohort executed their plan in a manner that rendered their victim
surprised and unable to defend himself.We agree with the observation of the trial court that the great number of wounds inflicted on the back of Sato
Sanad manifests the treacherous nature of the attack.
On the other hand, we cannot appreciate evident premeditation which was alleged in the Information. The records of this case do not show any
evidence whatsoever to prove this aggravating circumstance.
Proper Penalty and Damages
Aside from the absence of an aggravating circumstance, the trial court had one other reason for imposing reclusion perpetua and not death: the
mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender. This mitigating circumstance is appreciated when the following requisites concur: (1) the offender had
not been actually arrested; (2) the offender surrendered himself to a person in authority; and (3) the surrender was voluntary. The foregoing requisites
are borne by the records, which show that Espiritu surrendered to the police even in the absence of a warrant for his arrest.
Likewise, we affirm the award of P50,000 as indemnity ex delicto, consonant with prevailing jurisprudence. However, we cannot sustain the award of
moral and exemplary damages, as the Court finds nothing in the records to support the same.
G.R. No. 85215 July 7, 1989 NOTES: (if applicable)
Topic: Rule 115 Right Against Self-Incrimination
Ponente: Narvasa, J.,
1. Private respondent Felipe Ramos was a ticket freight clerk of the Philippine Airlines (PAL), assigned at its Baguio City station. It having allegedly
come to light that he was involved in irregularities in the sales of plane tickets, the PAL management notified him of an investigation to be conducted
into the matter of February 9, 1986. That investigation was scheduled in accordance with PAL's Code of Conduct and Discipline, and the Collective
Bargaining Agreement signed by it with the Philippine Airlines Employees' Association (PALEA) to which Ramos pertained.

2. On the day before the investigation, February 8,1986, Ramos gave to his superiors a handwritten notes reading as follows:

(s) Felipe Ramos

(Printed) F. Ramos

3. At the investigation of February 9, 1986, conducted by the PAL Branch Manager in Baguio City, Edgardo R. Cruz, in the presence of Station Agent
Antonio Ocampo, Ticket Freight Clerk Rodolfo Quitasol, and PALEA Shop Steward Cristeta Domingo, Felipe Ramos was informed "of the finding of
the Audit Team." Thereafter, his answers in response to questions by Cruz, were taken down in writing. Ramos' answers were to the effect inter alia
that he had not indeed made disclosure of the tickets mentioned in the Audit Team's findings, that the proceeds had been "misused" by him, that
although he had planned on paying back the money, he had been prevented from doing so, "perhaps (by) shame," that he was still willing to settle his
obligation, and proferred a "compromise x x to pay on staggered basis, (and) the amount would be known in the next investigation;" that he desired
the next investigation to be at the same place, "Baguio CTO," and that he should be represented therein by "Shop stewardees ITR Nieves Blanco;" and
that he was willing to sign his statement (as he in fact afterwards did). How the investigation turned out is not dealt with the parties at all; but it would
seem that no compromise agreement was reached much less consummated.

4. About two (2) months later, an information was filed against Felipe Ramos charging him with the crime of estafa allegedly committed in Baguio
City during the period from March 12, 1986 to January 29, 1987. In that place and during that time, according to the indictment, he (Ramos)

.. with unfaithfulness and/or abuse of confidence, did then and there willfully ... defraud the Philippine Airlines, Inc., Baguio Branch, ... in the
following manner, to wit: said accused ... having been entrusted with and received in trust fare tickets of passengers for one-way trip and round-trip in
the total amount of P76,700.65, with the express obligation to remit all the proceeds of the sale, account for it and/or to return those unsold, ... once in
possession thereof and instead of complying with his obligation, with intent to defraud, did then and there ... misappropriate, misapply and convert the
value of the tickets in the sum of P76,700.65 and in spite of repeated demands, ... failed and refused to make good his obligation, to the damage and
prejudice of the offended party .. .

5. On arraignment on this charge, Felipe Ramos entered a plea of "Not Guilty," and trial thereafter ensued. The prosecution of the case was undertaken
by lawyers of PAL under the direction and supervision of the Fiscal.

6. At the close of the people's case, the private prosecutors made a written offer of evidence dated June 21, 1988, which included "the (above
mentioned) statement of accused Felipe J. Ramos taken on February 9, 1986 at PAL Baguio City Ticket Office," which had been marked as Exhibit A,
as well as his "handwritten admission x x given on February 8, 1986," also above referred to, which had been marked as Exhibit K.

7. The defendant's attorneys filed "Objections/Comments to Plaintiff s Evidence." Particularly as regards the peoples' Exhibit A, the objection was that
"said document, which appears to be a confession, was taken without the accused being represented by a lawyer." Exhibit K was objected to "for the
same reasons interposed under Exhibits 'A' and 'J.'

8. By Order dated August 9, 1988, the respondent judge admitted all the exhibits "as part of the testimony of the witnesses who testified in connection
therewith and for whatever they are worth," except Exhibits A and K, which it rejected. His Honor declared Exhibit A "inadmissible in evidence, it
appearing that it is the statement of accused Felipe Ramos taken on February 9, 1986 at PAL Baguio City Ticket Office, in an investigation conducted
by the Branch Manager x x since it does not appear that the accused was reminded of this 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 inadmissible "Exhibit K,
the handwritten admission made by accused Felipe J. Ramos, given on February 8, 1986 x x for the same reason stated in the exclusion of Exhibit 'A'
since it does not appear that the accused was assisted by counsel when he made said admission."

9. The private prosecutors filed a motion for reconsideration. It was denied, by Order dated September 14, 1988. In justification of said Order,
respondent Judge invoked this Court's rulings in Morales, Jr. v. Juan Ponce Enrile, et al., 121 SCRA 538, People v. Galit, 135 SCRA 467, People. v.
Sison, 142 SCRA 219, and People v. Decierdo, 149 SCRA 496, among others, to the effect that "in custodial investigations the right to counsel may be
waived but the waiver shall not be valid unless made with the assistance of counsel," and the explicit precept in the present Constitution that the rights
in custodial investigation "cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel." He pointed out that the investigation of Felipe Ramos
at the PAL Baguio Station was one "for the offense of allegedly misappropriating the proceeds of the tickets issued to him' and therefore clearly fell
"within the coverage of the constitutional provisions;" and the fact that Ramos was not detained at the time, or the investigation was administrative in
character could not operate to except the case "from the ambit of the constitutional provision cited."

ISSUE: Whether or not it was grave abuse of discretion for respondent Judge to have excluded the People's Exhibits A and K
HELD: Yes.

1. At the core of the controversy is Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution, to which respondent Judge has given a construction that is
disputed by the People. The section reads as follows:

SEC. 20. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the
right to remain silent and to counsel, and to be informed of such right. No force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiates the
free will shall be used against him. Any confession obtained in violation of this section shall be inadmissible in evidence.

2. It should at once be apparent that there are two (2) rights, or sets of rights, dealt with in the section, namely:

1) the right against self-incrimination i.e., the right of a person not to be compelled to be a witness against himself set out in the first sentence,
which is a verbatim reproduction of Section 18, Article III of the 1935 Constitution, and is similar to that accorded by the Fifth Amendment of the
American Constitution, and

2) the rights of a person in custodial interrogation, i.e., the rights of every suspect "under investigation for the commission of an offense."

Parenthetically, the 1987 Constitution indicates much more clearly the individuality and disparateness of these rights. It has placed the rights in
separate sections. The right against self- incrimination, "No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself," is now embodied in Section
17, Article III of the 1987 Constitution. The lights of a person in custodial interrogation, which have been made more explicit, are now contained in
Section 12 of the same Article III.

3. Right Against Self-Incrimination

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 refuse 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.

That first sentence of Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution does not impose on the judge, or other officer presiding over a trial, hearing or
investigation, any affirmative obligation to advise a witness of his right against self-incrimination. It is a right that a witness knows or should know, in
accordance with the well known axiom that every one is presumed to know the law, that ignorance of the law excuses no one. Furthermore, in the very
nature of things, neither the judge nor the witness can be expected to know in advance the character or effect of a question to be put to the latter.

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.

4. Rights in Custodial Interrogation

Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution also treats of a second right, or better said, group of rights. These rights apply to persons "under
investigation for the commission of an offense," i.e., "suspects" under investigation by police authorities; and this is what makes these rights different
from that embodied in the first sentence, that against self-incrimination which, as aforestated, indiscriminately applies to any person testifying in any
proceeding, civil, criminal, or administrative.

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.

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

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

The rights above specified, to repeat, exist only in "custodial interrogations," or "in-custody interrogation of accused persons." And, as this Court has
already stated, by custodial interrogation is meant "questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or
otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way." The situation contemplated has also been more precisely described by this Court."

.. . After a person is arrested and his custodial investigation begins a confrontation arises which at best may be tanned unequal. The detainee is brought
to an army camp or police headquarters and there questioned and "cross-examined" not only by one but as many investigators as may be necessary to
break down his morale. He finds himself in strange and unfamiliar surroundings, and every person he meets he considers hostile to him. The
investigators are well-trained and seasoned in their work. They employ all the methods and means that experience and study have taught them to
extract the truth, or what may pass for it, out of the detainee. Most detainees are unlettered and are not aware of their constitutional rights. And even if
they were, the intimidating and coercive presence of the officers of the law in such an atmosphere overwhelms them into silence. Section 20 of the
Bill of Rights seeks to remedy this imbalance.

5. 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 protected. Thus, in one case, where a person
went to a police precinct and before any sort of investigation could be initiated, declared that he was giving himself up for the killing of an old woman
because she was threatening to kill him by barang, or witchcraft, this Court ruled that such a statement was admissible, compliance with the
constitutional procedure on custodial interrogation not being exigible under the circumstances.

6. 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 Ramos.

7. His Honor adverts to what he perceives to be the "greater danger x x (of) the violation of the right of any person against self-incrimination when the
investigation is conducted by the complaining parties, complaining companies, or complaining employers because being interested parties, unlike the
police agencies who have no propriety or pecuniary interest to protect, they may in their over-eagerness or zealousness bear heavily on their hapless
suspects, whether employees or not, to give statements under an atmosphere of moral coercion, undue ascendancy and undue influence." It suffices to
draw attention to the specific and peremptory requirement of the law that disciplinary sanctions may not be imposed on any employee by his employer
until and unless the employee has been accorded due process, by which is meant that the latter must be informed of the offenses ascribed to him and
afforded adequate time and opportunity to explain his side. The requirement entails the making of statements, oral or written, by the employee under
such administrative investigation in his defense, with opportunity to solicit the assistance of counsel, or his colleagues and friends. The employee may,
of course, refuse to submit any statement at the investigation, that is his privilege. But if he should opt to do so, in his defense to the accusation against
him, it would be absurd to reject his statements, whether at the administrative investigation, or at a subsequent criminal action brought against him,
because he had not been accorded, prior to his making and presenting them, his "Miranda rights" (to silence and to counsel and to be informed thereof,
etc.) which, to repeat, are relevant only in custodial investigations. Indeed, it is self-evident that the employee's statements, whether called "position
paper," "answer," etc., are submitted by him precisely so that they may be admitted and duly considered by the investigating officer or committee, in
negation or mitigation of his liability.

8. Of course the possibility cannot be discounted that in certain instances the judge's expressed apprehensions may be realized, that violence or
intimidation, undue pressure or influence be brought to bear on an employee under investigation or for that matter, on a person being interrogated
by another whom he has supposedly offended. In such an event, any admission or confession wrung from the person under interrogation would be
inadmissible in evidence, on proof of the vice or defect vitiating consent, not because of a violation of Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution,
but simply on the general, incontestable proposition that involuntary or coerced statements may not in justice be received against the makers thereof,
and really should not be accorded any evidentiary value at all.
043 Villareal v. People AUTHOR:
R115; Right to Speedy Trial NOTES: (if applicable)

1 In February 1991, seven freshmen law students of the Ateneo de Manila University School of Law were subjected to traditional forms of
Aquilan initiation rites which lasted for three days. They were tormented physically and psychologically.

2 Accused non-resident or alumni fraternity members Fidelito Dizon and Artemio Villareal demanded that the rites be reopened. The head of
initiation rites, Nelson Victorino, initially refused but he reopened the initiation rites. The fraternity members, including Dizon and Villareal,
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.

3 After an hour of sleep, the neophytes were suddenly roused by Lennys shivering and incoherent mumblings. When his condition worsened,
the Aquilans rushed him to the hospital. Lenny was pronounced dead on arrival.

4 The trial court rendered judgment holding the 26 accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of homicide, penalized with reclusion
temporal under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code.

5 The CA set aside the finding of conspiracy by the trial court and modified the criminal liability of each of the accused according to
individual participation. Nineteen of the accused-appellants were acquitted, as their individual guilt was not established by proof beyond
reasonable doubt. Four of the accused-appellants Vincent Tecson, Junel Anthony Ama, Antonio Mariano Almeda, and Renato Bantug, Jr.
(Tecson et al.) were found guilty of the crime of slight physical injuries and sentenced to 20 days of arresto menor. Two of the accused-
appellants Fidelito Dizon and Artemio Villareal were found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of homicide under Article 249 of
the Revised Penal Code.

6 Villa filed the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari which involves the dismissal of the criminal charge filed against Escalona, Ramos,
Saruca, and Adriano. She argues that the accused failed to assert their right to speedy trial within a reasonable period of time. She also points
out that the prosecution cannot be faulted for the delay, as the original records and the required evidence were not at its disposal, but were
still in the appellate court.


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 their right to speedy trial?


The perpetrator shall be liable for the consequences of an act, even if its result is different from that intended.

1 The right of the accused to a speedy trial has been enshrined in Sections 14(2) and 16, Article III of the 1987 Constitution. 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.
A dismissal of the case pursuant to the right of the accused to speedy trial is tantamount to acquittal except when the court committed grave abuse of
2 A dismissal of the case pursuant to 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. 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.
3 In this case, CAs dismissal of the case against accused Escalona, Ramos, Saruca, and Adriano on the basis of the violation of their right to
speedy trial does not amount to grave abuse of discretion. An examination of the procedural history of this case would reveal that for a
period of almost seven years, there was no action at all on the part of the trial court and the case remained dormant for a considerable length
of time.
4 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.
5 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 (See Abardo v.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Motion for Partial Reconsideration of petitioner Gerarda H. Villa in connection with G.R. Nos. 178057 &
178080 is hereby DENIED.