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SECTION 14 RIGHT TO BE HEARD BY HIMSELF AND COUNSEL

I have investigated this case and found out that this Ocampo has nothing to do
1. PEOPLE v. HOLGADO with the case and I found no evidence against this Ocampo.

G.R. No. L-2809 March 22, 1950 Court:

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, Sentenced reserved.


vs.
FRISCO HOLGADO, defendant-appellant. Two days later, or on May 10, 1948, the trial court rendered the following judgment:

Mauricio Carlos for appellant. [Criminal Case No. V-118]


Assistant Solicitor General Manuel P. Barcelona and Solicitor Felix V. Makasiar for THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. FRISCO HOLGADO
appellee. defendant-appellant.

MORAN, C.J.: SLIGHT ILLEGAL DETENTION

Appellant Frisco Holgado was charged in the court of First Instance of Romblon with SENTENCE
slight illegal detention because according to the information, being a private person, he
did "feloniously and without justifiable motive, kidnap and detain one Artemia Fabreag The accused, Frisco Holgado, stands charged with the crime of kidnapping and serious
in the house of Antero Holgado for about eight hours thereby depriving said Artemia illegal detention in the following
Fabreag of her personal liberty." On may 8, 1948, the day set for the trial, the trial court
proceeded as follows: INFORMATION

Court: That on or about December 11, 1947, in the municipality of Concepcion, Province of
Romblon, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said
Is this the case ready for trial? accused being a private individual, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously, and without justifiable motive, kidnap and detain one Artemia Fabreag in
Fiscal: the house of Antero Holgado for about 8 hours thereby depriving said Artemia Fabreag
of her personal liberty.
I am ready, your honor.
Contrary to law.
Court: to the accused.
This case is called for trial on May 8, 1948. Upon arraignment the accused pleaded
Q. do you have an attorney or are you going to plead guilty? A. I have no lawyer and guilty to the information above described.
I will plead guilty.
The offense committed by the accused is kidnapping and serious illegal detention as
Court: defined by article 267 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by section 2 of Republic
Act No. 18 and punished by reclusion temporal in it minimum period to death. Applying
Arraign the accused. indeterminate sentence law the penalty shall be prision mayor in its maximum degree
to reclusion temporal in the medium degree as minimum, or ten years (10) and one (1)
Note: day of prision mayor to twenty (20) years, with the accessory penalties provided for by
law, with costs. The accused is entitled to one-half of his preventive imprisonment.
Interpreter read the information to the accused in the local dialect after which he
was asked this question. It must be noticed that in the caption of the case as it appears in the judgment above
quoted, the offense charged is named SLIGHT ILLEGAL DETENTION while in the body
Q. What do you plead? A. I plead guilty, but I was instructed by one Mr. Ocampo. of the judgment if is said that the accused "stands charged with the crime of kidnapping
and serious illegal detention." In the formation filed by the provincial fiscal it is said that
Q. Who is that Mr. Ocampo, what is his complete name? A. Mr. Numeriano Ocampo. he "accuses Frisco Holgado of the crime of slight illegal detention." The facts alleged
in said information are not clear as to whether the offense is named therein or capital
The provincial fiscal is hereby ordered to investigate that man. offense of "kidnapping and serious illegal detention" as found by the trial judge in his
judgment. Since the accused-appellant pleaded guilty and no evidence appears to have
Fiscal:
been presented by either party, the trial judge must have deduced the capital offense It must be added, in the instant case, that the accused who was unaided by counsel
from the facts pleaded in the information. pleaded guilty but with the following qualification: "but I was instructed by one Mr.
Ocampo." The trial court failed to inquire as to the true import of this qualification. the
Under the circumstances, particularly the qualified plea given by the accused who was record does not show whether the supposed instructions was real and whether it had
unaided by counsel, it was not prudent, to say the least, for the trial court to render such reference to the commission of the offense or to the making of the plea guilty. No
a serious judgment finding the accused guilty of a capital offense, and imposing upon investigation was opened by the court on this matter in the presence of the accused
him such a heavy penalty as ten years and one day of prision mayor to twenty years, and there is now no way of determining whether the supposed instruction is a good
without absolute any evidence to determine and clarify the true facts of the case. defense or may vitiate the voluntariness of the confession. Apparently the court became
satisfied with the fiscal's information that he had investigated Mr. Ocampo and found
The proceedings in the trial court are irregular from the beginning. It is expressly that the same had nothing to do with this case. Such attitude of the court was wrong for
provided in our rules of Court, Rule 112, section 3, that: the simple reason that a mere statement of the fiscal was not sufficient to overcome a
qualified plea of the accused. But above all, the court should have seen to it that the
If the defendant appears without attorney, he must be informed by the court that it is accused be assisted by counsel specially because of the qualified plea given by him
his right to have attorney being arraigned., and must be asked if he desires the aid of and the seriousness of the offense found to be capital by the court.
attorney, the Court must assign attorney de oficio to defend him. A reasonable time
must be allowed for procuring attorney. The judgment appealed from is reversed and the case is remanded to the Court below
for a new arraignment and a new trial after the accused is apprised of his right to have
Under this provision, when a defendant appears without attorney, the court has four and to be assisted by counsel. So ordered.
important duties to comply with: 1 It must inform the defendant that it is his right to
have attorney before being arraigned; 2 After giving him such information the court Ozaeta, Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, Tuason, Montemayor and Reyes, JJ., concur.
must ask him if he desires the aid of an attorney; 3 If he desires and is unable to
employ attorney, the court must assign attorney de oficio to defend him; and 4 If the
accused desires to procure an attorney of his own the court must grant him a
reasonable time therefor.

Not one of these duties had been complied with by the trial court. The record discloses
that said court did not inform the accused of his right to have an attorney nor did it ask
him if he desired the aid of one. The trial court failed to inquire whether or not the
accused was to employ an attorney, to grant him reasonable time to procure or assign
an attorney de oficio. The question asked by the court to the accused was "Do you have
an attorney or are you going to plead guilty?" Not only did such a question fail to inform
the accused that it was his right to have an attorney before arraignment, but, what is
worse, the question was so framed that it could have been construed by the accused
as a suggestion from the court that he plead guilt if he had no attorney. And this is a
denial of fair hearing in violation of the due process clause contained in our Constitution.

One of the great principles of justice guaranteed by our Constitution is that "no person
shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law", and that all
accused "shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel." In criminal cases
there can be no fair hearing unless the accused be given the opportunity to be heard
by counsel. The right to be heard would be of little avail if it does not include the right
to be heard by counsel. Even the most intelligent or educated man may have no skill in
the science of the law, particularly in the rules of procedure, and, without counsel, he
may be convicted not because he is guilty but because he does not know how to
establish his innocence. And this can happen more easily to persons who are ignorant
or uneducated. It is for this reason that the right to be assisted by counsel is deemed
so important that it has become a constitutional right and it is so implemented that under
our rules of procedure it is not enough for the Court to apprise an accused of his right
to have an attorney, it is not enough to ask him whether he desires the aid of an
attorney, but it is essential that the court should assign one de oficio if he so desires
and he is poor grant him a reasonable time to procure an attorney of his own.
2. PEOPLE v. AGBAYANI
On this part, the defense presented appellant, Adoracion M. Cruz, Fedelina Agbayani,
[G.R. No. 122770. January 16, 1998] as well as EN who identified her and Fedelinas affidavit of desistance,[14] which was
subscribed and sworn to before notary public Eranio Cedillo on 6 February 1995. Said
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee vs. EDUARDO AGBAYANI y affidavit reads as follows:
MENDOZA, accused-appellant.
DECISION We, Eden Agbayani, 14 years old, complainant and Fedelina Agbayani, 19 years old,
PER CURIAM: sister of Eden Agbayani, and presently residing at No., Phase 1, United Glorieta,
Kaniogan, Pasig, Metro Manila, after having been duly sworn to in accordance with law
Nine years and four months ago this Court declared: do hereby depose and states [sic]:

Rape is a nauseating crime that deserves the condemnation of all decent person who That we are the complainant [sic] against our father, Eduardo Agbayani pending before
recognize that a womans cherished chastity is hers alone to surrender of her own free this Honorable Court docketed as Criminal Case No. 59149;
will. Whoever violates that will descends to the level of the odious beast. The act
becomes doubly repulsive where the outrage is perpetrated on ones own flesh and That after evaluating the circumstance that lead [sic] to the filing of the instant case I
blood for the culprit is reduced to lower than the lowly animal. The latter yields only to formally realize that the incident between us and my father is purely family problem that
biological impulses and is unfettered by social inhibitions when it mates with its own arise from the disciplinarian attitude of our father;
kin, but the man who rapes his own daughter violates not only her purity and her trust
but also the mores of his society which he has scornfully defied. By inflicting his animal That this resulted to family misunderstanding, hence we decided to formally forego this
greed on her in a disgusting coercion of incestuous lust, he forfeits all respect as a case and withdraw the same;
human being and is justly spurned by all, not least of all by the fruit of his own loins
whose progeny he has forever stained with his shameful and shameless lechery.[1] That I am executing this affidavit for purposes of finally withdrawing the instant case
and therefrom requesting this Honorable Court to dismiss the case against our father.
At the end of the day, after resolving this case of 14-year-old Eden Agbayani who
charged her own father with rape committed in the sanctity of their rented room on 19 This affidavit was executed freely and voluntarily.
July 1994, this Court finds itself repeating this declaration.[2]
As EDEN declared in open court what she said in her previous testimony and sworn
Before this Court on automatic review is the decision[3] of the Regional Trial Court of statement were not true, the trial court held her in direct contempt of court, reasoning
Quezon City, Branch 106, in view of the death penalty imposed by it for the crime of that her intentional falsehood was offensive to its dignity and a blatant disrespect to the
rape, defined and penalized under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended Court, and actually degrading [to] the administration of justice. Accordingly, the trial
by R.A. 7659.[4] court ordered her committed to incarceration and imprisonment within the period
provided by law,[15] which penalty however was modified to a fine of P200.00 upon
On 12 September 1994, the Station Investigation and Intelligence Division of the EDENs motion for reconsideration.[16]
National Capital Region Command, Philippine National Police (PNP), endorsed to the
Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City the complaint of Eden Agbayani (hereafter On rebuttal, the prosecution had EDEN back on the witness stand. She retracted her
EDEN) for rape against her father, herein accused-appellant Eduardo Agbayani y. affidavit of desistance and claimed that she had signed it under coercion by her mother
Mendoza.[5] and elder sister.

After appropriate preliminary investigation, a complaint[6] for rape signed by EDEN, The trial courts summary of the evidence for the prosecution, with the references to the
assisted by her sister Fedelina Agbayani, and subscribed and sworn to before Asst. pages of the stenographic notes and exhibits deleted, is as follows:
City Prosecutor Charito B. Gonzales, was filed against appellant with the Regional Trial
Court of Quezon City on 27 October, 1994. The case was docketed as Criminal Case The evidence adduced on the record shows that sometime in September of 1993 in
No. Q-94-59149, then set for arraignment, pre-trial and trial on 22 December 1994.[7] Malolos, Bulacan, the accused was charged by his two daughters, FEDELINA and
DODIMA AGBAYANI, [with] the crime of rape which case was raffled to the sala of
At his arraignment on 22 December 1994, appellant, assisted by Attys. Samuel Baldado Judge Danilo Manalastas fo Branch 7, Regional Trial Court, Bulacan. The case was,
and Edwin dela Cruz as counsel de oficio, entered a plea of not guilty.[8] Upon however, provisionally dismissed by said Judge after the complainants desisted from
agreement of the parties, trial on the merits immediately followed, with the prosecution pursuing the same in May 1994. Eduardo Agbayani was thus consequently released
presenting the first witness, Dr. Florante Baltazar, a Medico-Legal Officer of the PNP from jail on July 13, 1994. Three (3) days thereafter, he began living with four (4) of his
Crime Laboratory,[9] who cross-examined by Atty. Baldado.[10] On the succeeding six (6) daughters, Fedelina, Eden, Diana, and Edina, in a rented room at 30-A
dates of trial, the prosecution presented EDEN[11] and SPO1 Salvador Buenviaje.[12] Makabayan St., Bgy. Obrero, Quezon City.
During these hearings, however, appellant was represented by Atty. Arturo Temanil of
the Public Attorneys Office.[13]
The evidence of the prosecution, in part consisting of the testimonies of Complainant arguendo that no such pressure was exerted by her mother and sister, the trial court
Eden Agbayani, Medico-Legal Officer, Dr. Florante Baltazar and SPO1 Salvador declared that it understood EDENs moral predicament, viz for a child like EDEN, it was
Buenviaje, shows that the above mentioned address, the complainant, Eden Agbayani, difficult to charge her own father with rape; insist on his punishment; and hereby inflict
on the evening of July 19, 1994, was sleeping on the floor of the room with her father, emotional stress and financial strain upon the members of her family, particularly her
the accused Eduardo Agbayani was awakened from her sleep by hands caressing her mother.
breast and vagina. She turned to discover that it was her father who was then molesting
her. Frightened, she asked, Tay bakit niyo po ginagawa sa akin ito, gayong kalalabas The trial court likewise gave full faith to the sworn statement (Exhibit E) of Fedelina
mo lang sa kulungan? and threatened to kill her [sic]. The accused then proceeded to Agbayani.
undress her. Thereafter he undressed himself and succeeded in having carnal
knowledge with the complainant who could only cry helplessly. The complainant Turning to the defense of appellant, the trial court found his alibi wholly self-serving,
thereafter felt blood dripping from her vagina and felt pain. and characterized the testimony of Adoracion Cruz unworthy of belief. As to appellants
claim that EDEN filed the complaint because of a grudge against him, the trial court
The next day, or on July 20, 1994, the complainant informed her elder sister, Fedelina, found this incredible,if not totally absurd, for:
of what had been done to her by her father. She was told not to worry as they would go
to Bulacan to report the incident to Fiscal Caraeg of Bulacan, who had, the year before, The complainant is an innocent girl of tender years who is likely to possess such
handled the rape case filed by Fedelina and Dodima. Several attempts were made by vindictiveness and death of conscience as to concoct such a malicious and damaging
her sisters, Fedelina and Eden to reach the said fiscal but it was only on September 9, story. The complainant appeared, during her entire testimonies on January 20 and May
1994, that they were able to meet with him. Fiscal Caraeg of Bulacan reported the 4, 1995, coherent, candid and responsive. Her retraction on March 16 was sufficiently
complaint to Judge Danilo Manalastas who reopened the previous provisionally explained to this Court the seriousness of the injury upon he person and dignity inflicted
dismissed case and issued a warrant of arrest against the herein accused. upon by the accused. Even assuming argumenti gratia that the complainant would
indeed lodge a complaint against her father solely on account of an altercation with
With the assistance of police officers from Station 10 of the SIID in Quezon City, the him, it is highly unlikely that the complainant would concoct a charge which would
accused was arrested on the same day at his residence at 30-A Makabayan St., Bgy. damage her and wreck havoc on her familys reputation, destroy the household peace
Obrero, Quezon City and was later brought to Malolos, Bulacan where he is currently and subject her father, the accused, to a grave punishment which by dent of express
detained. After the accuseds arrest, Eden and Fedelina returned to Station 10 where of law, can obliterate him from the face of this earth. Indeed, to uphold the defenses
they made individual statements before SPO1 Salvador Buenviaje narrating the events proposition would be stretching the imagination too far, if not to the extreme.
leading to and occurring after the incident of July 19, 1994.
The trial court finally found that appellant employed on EDEN force or intimidation by
The next morning, Eden was examined by Medico-Legal Officer and Chief of the PNP virtue of his moral ascendancy over her and his threat that he would kill her if she
Crime Laboratory, Dr. Florante Baltazar, a colonel, who, accordingly, prepared the reported the incident to anyone.
corresponding Medico-Legal Report.[17]
Accordingly, the trial court, applying Section 11 of R.A. No. 7659 which imposes the
Appellant put up the defense of denial and alibi. According to him, he could not have penalty of death when the victim is under eighteen years of age and the offender is a
raped his daughter EDEN, because on 19 July 1994, he was in Barangay Victoria in parent, ascendant, stepparent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the
Sual, Pangasinan, visiting his eldest daughter.[18] He declared that EDEN charged him third civil degree, or common law spouse of the parent of the victim, rendered
with rape because he had hit her with a belt after he caught her lying about her judgement against appellant, to wit:
whereabouts on night. Then on 24 July 1994, she left their rented apartment and did
not return anymore.[19] WHEREFORE, considering all the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered finding the
accused, EDUARDO AGBAYANI, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
Adoracion Cruz corroborated appellants alibi. She declared that on 17 July 1994, RAPE committed against complainant, Eden Agbayani, his minor daughter. This Court
appellant requested her to take care of his children because he was going to as a consequence thereof, hereby imposes upon him the supreme penalty law R.A.
Pangasinan to visit his sick father, returning home only on 21 July 1994.[20] 7659. Further, Accused is hereby ordered to pay the complainant, Eden Agbayani, the
sum of P75,000.00 as damages, with all the necessary penalties provided for by law
The trial court gave full credence to the testimony of EDEN, who appeared, during her without subsidiary imprisonment, however, in the event of insolvency and to pay the
entire testimonies on January 20 and May 4, 1995, coherent, candid and responsive; costs.
futher, it commended her for her courage and her unwavering strength in the midst of
the emotional and psychological strain and humiliation, not to mention the pressure and Let the entire records of this case be forwarded to the Supreme Court on automatic
lack of moral support of her family, brought on by the filing of this case. It also ruled that review.
EDEN did not voluntarily execute the affidavit of desistance, as it was procured at the
behest of her mother and sister for whom the sanctity of the family and the familys good SO ORDERED.
name were more important than demanding punishment for whatever injury the
complainant might have suffered in the hands of the accused. Besides, even assuming
On 26 May 1995, appellant, through his new counsel de parte Attorneys Froilan V. informed him that it would appoint de oficio counsel for him if he so desired, to which
Siobal and Domingo Floresta, filed a Motion for New Trial[21] on the ground that serious appellant agreed. Moreover, the 2-day period to prepare for trial provided in Section 9
irregularities prejudicial to his substantial rights were committed during the trial, viz., of Rule 116 is merely directory and does not prohibit the court from proceeding with
the failure of the counsel de oficio to: (a) present at trial the Barangay Captain of trial after arraignment, especially if the defense, as here, consented thereto. It would
Barangay Obrero, Quezon City, who would have testified, on basis of his certification have been entirely different if the defense did not agree, in which case the court would
attached to the motion, that there was a house bearing No. 30, Makabayan St., in his have no other alternative but to grant him the period.
barangay, but that there was no such place as 30-A Makabayan St. of said barangay,
which was the address given by EDEN; (b) consider the futility of Adoracion Cruzs As to appellants other grievances, the OSG points out that throughout all the hearings,
testimony; (c) present private complainants mother and sister Fedelina on sur-rebuttal appellant never questioned the way his defense was being handled by his counsel de
to testify as to the circumstances which brought about the execution of the affidavit of oficio. The latters request for a continuance because he had not yet conferred with
desistance; and (d) cross examine complainant and the police investigator appellant was not evidence of counsels lack of sincerity. On the contrary, it showed
exhaustively. He further alleged that his counsel de oficio was never prepared during counsels awareness of his duty to confer with appellant to ferret out the relevant facts
all the scheduled hearings, worse, even waived the presence of appellant after the third as regards the second witness for the prosecution. Likewise, the waiver of appellants
witness for the prosecution was presented. He also averred that the trial court used its presence during the hearing of 18 March 1995 did not prejudice him, because on that
inherent power of contempt to intimidate private complainant. date, the defense presented EDEN to testify as to her affidavit of desistance, and
Fedelina to corroborate the statements of EDEN which testimonies were in appellants
In their Comments/Opposition to the Motion for New Trial,[22] the public and private favor. As to the manner appellants counsel de oficio cross-examined the prosecution
prosecutors alleged that there were no such irregularities; neither was there new and witnesses, the OSG stresses that the record shows that said counsel tried his best.
material evidence to be presented that appellant could not, with reasonable diligence,
have discovered and produced at the trial and which if introduced and admitted at trial The OSG then characterizes the second assigned error as barren of merit. EDENs
would probably change the judgment of the court. positive identification of appellant as the author of the crime rendered appellants
defense of alibi unavailing; moreover, she demonstrated clearly and vividly what
In its Order[23] of 31 July 1995, the trial court denied the motion for new trial being transpired that fateful evening of 19 July 1994. Thus in view of EDENs candid and
devoid of merit and for not being within the purview of Sections 1 and 2, Rule 121 of categorical manner of testifying the OSG concluded that she was a credible
the Rules of Court. witness.[24]

In his Appellants Brief filed before this Court, appellant contends that the trial court As to the commission of rape in a small room and in presence of other persons, the
erred in: (a) denying his motion for new trial; and (b) holding that the prosecution proved OSG maintains that such was not at all improbable.[25] There was, as well, nothing
beyond reasonable doubt that he committed the crime charged. unusual in EDENs silence; as she could only attempt to shout because appellant had
succeeded in covering her mouth with his hands and exercised a high level of moral
In support of the first assigned error, appellant reiterates the grounds in his motion for ascendancy over EDEN, his daughter.[26] Hence the OSG invokes the principle that in
new trial, and adds two others namely, (1) the lower court failed to apprise him of his a rape committed by a father against his own daughter, the formers moral ascendancy
right to have counsel of his own choice; and (2) the lower court did not give him the and influence over the latter substitutes for violence or intimidation.[27]
opportunity to prepare for trial, despite the mandated period of two days prescribed in
Section 9 of Rule 116 of the Rules of Court. As regards EDENs affidavit of desistance, the OSG maintains that court look with
disfavor on retraction of testimonies previously given in court, for such can easily be
In his second assigned error, appellant contends that EDENs testimony is not sufficient secured from poor and ignorant witnesses usually for monetary consideration,[28] as
to convict, since its is unclear and not free from serious contradictions. Considering well as the probability that it may later be repudiated.
their proximity to EDEN, it was impossible for her sisters or any one of them not to have
been awakened when EDEN was allegedly being abused by him. Strangely, EDEN In his Reply Brief, appellant countered that his consent to the appointment of counsel
simply kept quiet and allowed him to abuse her; neither did she shout for help or put up de oficio his arraignment did not relieve the court of its duty under Section 6 of Rule
a fight that would have awakened her sisters. Notably, EDEN and her sisters allowed 116 of the Rules of Court to inform him of his right to counsel and that it would be
him to live and sleep with them again in their rented room even after the alleged rape. grievous error to deny an accused such right. Appellant then elaborated on this point
as follows:
Finally, appellant asserts that EDENs testimony is unreliable because her affidavit of
desistance must have necessarily been contradictory thereto. Her subsequent turn- This is not without judicial precedent. In People vs. Cachero, 73 Phil. 426 and People
around that she was pressured and influenced to execute and sign the affidavit of vs. Domenden, 73 Phil. 349, cited in RJ Franciscos Criminal Procedure, Third Ed.,
desistance further confirmed her being untruthful and, in effect, demolished whatsoever 1966, p. 323 it was held, that:
faith left on her charge against the accused.
The courts should comply with Rule 116, Sec. 3. It would be a grievous error to proceed
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) considers the first assigned error as devoid by sentencing the accused without due process of law and this is not complete, when
of merit. When appellant appeared without counsel at the arraignment, the trial court the accused is denied the right recognized by said rule. The records must show
compliance therewith or that the accused renounced his right to be assisted by counsel. stand.[31] In other words, the trial court is presumed to have complied with its four-fold
This is demanded by the interest of justice and remove all doubt that if the accused had duties under Section 6[32] of Rule 116 of the Rules of Court, namely, (1) to inform the
waived said right, he was fully informed before giving his plea of its consequences. accused that he has the right to have his own counsel before being arraigned; (2) after
Omission by courts whether voluntary should not truly be censured but also giving such information, to ask accused whether he desires the aid of counsel; (3) if he
condemned. so desires to procure the services of counsel, the court must grant him reasonable time
to do so; and (4) if he so desires to have counsel but is unable to employ one, the court
Discussing further the right to the 2-day period to prepare for trial, the appellant must assign counsel de oficio to defend him.[33]
contends that said right:
It is settled that the failure of the record to disclose affirmatively that the trial judge
[H]as been held to be mandatory and denial of this right is reversible error and a ground advised the accused of his right to counsel is not sufficient ground to reverse conviction.
for new trial. (R.J. Franciscos Criminal Procedure, Third Ed., 1986, p. 404, citing people The reason being that the trial court must be presumed to have complied with the
vs. Mijares, et al., 47 OG 4606; Dumasig v. Morave, 23 SCRA 259). This must be so procedure prescribed by law for the hearing and trial of cases, and that such a
xxx to prevent that any accused be caught unaware and deprived of the means of presumption can only be overcome by an affirmative showing to the contrary. Thus it
properly facing the charges presented against him. has been held that unless the contrary appears in the record, or that it is positively
proved that the trial court failed to inform the accused of his right to counsel, it will be
The first assigned error does not persuade this Court. It is true that the transcript of the presumed that the accused was informed by the court of such right.[34]
stenographic notes of the proceedings of 22 December 1994 and the order issued by
the trial court after the conclusion of said proceedings only state that the court In U.S. v. Labial,[35] this Court held:
appointed de oficio counsel with the consent of the said accused. They do not
categorically disclose that the trial informed appellant of his right to counsel of his own Adhering to the doctrine laid down in that case, the only question to be determined in
choice. However, this does not mean that the trial court failed to inform appellant of this case is whether the failure of the record to disclose affirmatively that the trial judge
such right. The precise time the two counsel de oficio were appointed is not disclosed advised the accused of their right to have counsel is sufficient ground to reverse the
in the record either. At the recorded portion of the arraignment aspect of the judgment of conviction and to send the case back for a new trial. Upon this point we
proceedings on 22 December 1994, the two formally entered their appearance, thus: are all agreed that in the absence of an affirmative showing that the court below did in
fact fail to advise the accused of their rights under the provisions of Section 17 of
COURT: Call the case. General Orders No. 58, as amended by section 1 of Act No. 440, the mere omission
from the record brought here upon appeal of an entry affirmatively disclosing that he
(Interpreter calls the case). did so, is not reversible error.

FISCAL ROSARIO BARIAS: In the absence of an affirmative showing to the contrary, the court below must be
presumed in matters of this kind to have complied with the provisions of law prescribing
For the prosecution, Your Honor. the procedure to be followed in the trial had before him.

ATTY. MARIETA AGUJA: While in People v. Miranda[36] this Court explicitly stated:

Respectfully appearing for the prosecution, Your Honor under the control and direct However, said counsel calls attention to the fact that the record is silent as to whether
supervision of the Trial Prosecutor, Your Honor, we are ready to present our first or not, at the time appellant was arraigned, the trial court informed him of his right to be
witness. assisted by an attorney, under section 3 of Rule 112 of the Rules of Court.

ATTY. BALDADO: This precise issue was determined in United States v. Labial (27 Phil., 87,88), in the
sense that unless the contrary appears in the records, it will be presumed that the
For the accused Your Honor, appointed as counsel de oficio. defendant was informed by the court of his right to counsel. *** If we should insist on
finding every fact fully recorded before a citizen can be punished for an offense against
ATTY. DE LA CRUZ: the laws, we should destroy public justice, and give unbridled license to crime. Much
must be left to intendment and presumption, for it is often less difficult to do things
For the accused, Your Honor appointed by the court as counsel de oficio.[29] correctly than to describe them correctly. (United States vs. Labial, supra.) The same
doctrine was reiterated in People vs. Abuyen (52 Phil. 722) and in United States vs.
This obviously means that the appointment had taken place earlier. The trial courts Custan (28 Phil. 19). We see no reason to modify it now.
order[30] of 22 December 1994 states that said de oficio counsel were duly appointed
by the Court with the consent of the accused. Since appellant has miserably failed to In the instant case, the trial court appointed two de oficio counsel who assisted the
show that he was not informed of his right to counsel, the presumptions that the law appellant at his arraignment, one of whom extensively cross-examined the first witness
has been obeyed and official duty has been regularly performed by the trial court for the prosecution, Dr. Florante Baltazar.[37] Besides, it is only in this appeal that
appellant raised the issue of the failure of the trial court to inform him of the right to ATTY. TEMANIL:
counsel. At no time did he previously raise it in the trial court despite ample opportunity
to do so. His consent to be assisted by counsel de oficio, coupled with said counsels I will just asked [sic] for continuance considering that I have not yet interviewed my
extensive cross-examination of Dr. Baltazar, may even be considered a waiver of his client, Your Honor.[46]
right to question the alleged failure of the trial court to inform of his right to counsel.[38]
Neither is there merit in appellants claim that his counsel committed irregularities: (1)
The cases of People v. Domenden[39] and People v. Cachero[40] cited by appellant in not considering the futility of the testimony of Adoracion Cruz; (2) in not presenting
are inapplicable. In both casis the trial courts there clearly failed to inform the accused the barangay captain in the evidence in chief for the defense, and EDENs mother and
of their right to counsel nor appoint de oficio counsel during the arraignment. sister Fedelina in sur-rebuttal; and (3) in not cross-examining exhaustively EDEN.
Nevertheless, we take this opportunity to admonish trial courts to ensure that their
compliance with their pre-arraignment duties to inform the accused of his right to Adoracion Cruz was presented to corroborate appellants alibi that he was in the
counsel, to ask him if he desires to have one, and to inform him that, unless he is province and not in their rented room from 17 to 21 July 1994. On the other hand, the
allowed to defend himself in person or he has counsel of his choice, a de oficio counsel testimony of the barangay captain could not alter the fact that rape was committed in a
will be appointed for him, must appear on record. rented room in a house along Makabayan Street in his barangay. Appellant neither
testified that he did not occupy a house numbered 30-A nor denied that he was living
Turning to the alleged violation of appellants right to the 2-day period to prepare for with EDEN and her sisters in that room. Besides, he and his children were not renting
trial, Section 9 of Rule 116 of the Rules of Court reads: the entire house, but merely a room, which could probably be the unit numbered 30-A
referred to by EDEN.
Sec. 9. Time to prepare for trial. -- After a plea of not guilty, the accused is entitled to
two (2) days to prepare for trial unless the court for good cause grants him further time. As to the presentation of EDENs mother and sister Fedelina as sur-rebuttal witnesses
to disprove the claim of EDEN that they coerced her into signing the affidavit of
It must be pointed out that the right must be expressly demanded.[41] Only when so desistance, suffice it to state that there was nothing to show that they were in fact willing
demanded does denial thereof constitute reversible error and a ground for new trial.[42] to refute EDENs claim.
Further, such right may be waived, expressly or impliedly.[43] In the instant case,
appellant did not ask for time to prepare for trial, hence, he effectively waived such Finally, contrary to appellants allegation, a meticulous examination of the transcripts of
right. the stenographic notes convinces this Court that Atty. Temanil sufficiently cross-
examined EDEN. If he decided to terminate his cross-examination, it could have been
During the succeeding hearings, appellant was represented by Atty. Temanil of the due to the futility of any further cross-examination which might only prove favorable to
Public Attorneys Office in Quezon City, who entered his appearance as de parte, and the prosecution, as it might have opened another window of opportunity for EDEN to
not as de oficio, counsel. It is to be presumed that Atty. Temanils services were strengthen her testimony.
obtained pursuant to the law creating the Public Attorneys Office (PAO), formerly the
Citizens Legal Assistance Office (CLAO).[44] There is at all no showing that Atty. The second assigned error is equally unpersuasive. It raises the issue of the credibility
Temanil lacked the competence and skill to defend appellant. The latters contention of EDEN as a witness. One of the highly revered dicta Philippine jurisprudence has
that his counsel was not ready at all times because at the hearing on 20 January 1995 established is that this Court will not interfere with the judgment of the trial court in
he asked for a continuation as he has not yet interviewed [his] client,[45] is misleading. passing upon the credibility of opposing witnesses, unless there appears in the records
Atty. Temanil made that statement after he cross-examined EDEN and after the judge some facts or circumstances of weight and influence which have been overlooked and,
realized that it was almost 1:00 oclock in the afternoon and both of them were already if considered, would affect the result. This is founded on practical and empirical
hungry, thus: considerations, i.e., the trial judge is in a better position to decide the question of
credibility, since he personally heard the witnesses and observed their deportment and
ATTY. TEMANIL: manner of testifying.[47] He had before him the essential aids to determine whether a
witness was telling the truth or lying. Truth does not always stalk boldly forth naked;
I just want to make it on record, Your Honor that from the start of the trial the witness she often hides in nooks and crannies visible only to the minds eye of the judge who
appears to be fluent and suffers no difficulty in answering the questions, even the tried the case. To him appears the furtive glance, the blush of conscious shame, the
questions propounded by the Private Prosecutor, Your Honor. hesitation, the sincere or flippant or sneering tone, the heat, the calmness, the yawn,
the sigh, the candor or lack of it, the scant or full realization of the solemnity of an oath,
COURT: the carriage and mien.[48] On the other hand, an appellate court has only the cold
record, which generally does not reveal the thin line between fact and prevarication that
Put that on record. is crucial in determining innocence or guilt.[49]

That is true, Atty. Temanil, it is almost 1:00 oclock in the afternoon and we are both At any rate, in view of the gravity of the offense charged and the extreme penalty of
hungry now. death imposed, this Court took painstaking effort and meticulous care in reviewing the
transcripts of the stenographic notes of the testimonies of the witnesses.
under the circumstances, or to have courage and intelligence to disregard the
This Court is fully satisfied that EDEN told the truth that she was raped by her father, threat.[54] Even in cases of rape of mature women, this Court recognized their different
herein appellant, on 19 July 1994, in their rented room in Barangay Obrero, Quezon and unpredictable reactions. Some may shout; some may faint; and some may be
City. Her story was made even more credible by the simplicity and candidness of her shocked into insensibility; while others may openly welcome the intrusion.[55]
answers, as well as by the fact that it came from an innocent girl writhing in emotional
and moral shock and anguish. She must have been torn between the desire to seek Neither does the fact that EDEN continued to live with appellant in the same rented
justice and the fear that a revelation of her ordeal might mean the imposition of capital room disprove the rape. While she was hurt physically, psychologically and emotionally,
punishment on her father. By testifying in court, she made public a painful and yet the thought must have been irresistible and compelling that her assailant was her
humiliating secret, which others may have simply kept to themselves for the rest of their own father, who was both a father and mother to her since her mother was in Saudi
lives. She thereby jeopardized her chances of marriage, as even a compassionate man Arabia and who provided her with the daily wherewithal to keep her alive. Besides, a
may be reluctant to marry her because her traumatic experience may be psychological less harsh life outside was uncertain. Instances are not few when daughters raped by
and emotional impediment to a blissful union. Moreover, such a revelation divided her their fathers stayed with the latter and kept in the deepest recesses of their hearts the
family and brought it shame and humiliation. evil deed even if the memory thereof haunted them forever.

If EDEN did testify regardless of these consequences and even allowed the Nor is there merit in the insistent claim that EDENs affidavit of desistance must have
examination of her private parts, she did so inspired by no other motive than to obtain necessarily contradicted her previous testimony. We have earlier quoted if full this
justice and release from the psychological and emotional burdens the painful affidavit of desistance. Plainly, nowhere therein did she retract her previous testimony
experience had foisted upon her. It was then improbable that EDEN fabricated a story or claim that she was raped by her father. In any case, EDEN withdrew her affidavit of
of defloration and falsely charged her own father with a heinous crime. desistance and solemnly declared that she was pressured by her mother and sister to
sign it. Moreover, affidavits, being taken ex parte, are generally considered inferior to
What appellant claims to be improbabilities in the testimony of EDEN are more apparent the testimony given in open court;[56] and affidavits or recantation have been invariably
than real. The presence of her sisters in the small room did not at all make impossible regarded as exceedingly unreliable, since they can easily be secured from poor and
the commission of rape. The evil in man has no conscience. The beast in him bears no ignorant witnesses. It would be a dangerous rule to reject the testimony taken before a
respect for time and place; it drives him to commit rape anywhere even in places where court of justice simply because the witness who gave it later on changed his mind for
people congregate such as in parks, along the roadside within school premises, and one reason or another. Such a rule would make a solemn trial a mockery, and place
inside a house where there are other occupants.[50] In People v. Opena,[51] rape was the proceedings at the mercy of unscrupulous witnesses. [57]
committed in a room occupied also by other persons. In the instant case, EDENs other
companions in the room when she was molested by appellant were young girls who This Court has no doubt that appellant is guilty as charged. The penalty therefor is
were all asleep. death under the first circumstance mentioned in Article 335(7) of the Revised Penal
Code, as amended by R.A. No. 7659, which provides, in part, as follows:
That EDEN was unable to resist or shout for help can easily be explained by the fact
that appellant threatened to kill her. Whether he was armed was of no moment. That The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of
threat alone coming from her father, a person who wielded such moral ascendancy, the following attendant circumstances:
was enough to render her incapable of resisting or asking for help.
1.When the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent,
Intimidation in rape cases is not calibrated nor governed by hard and fast rules. Since ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third
it is addressed to the victims and is therefore subjective, it must be viewed in light of civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim.
the victims perception and judgment at the time of the commission of the crime. It is
enough that the intimidation produced fear fear that if the victim did not yield to the This law may be difficult to accept for those who believe that the verdict of death for a
bestial demands of the accused, something far worse would happen to her at that sin or crime is Gods exclusive prerogative. But the fundamental law of the land allows
moment. Where such intimidation existed and the victim was cowed into submission as Congress, for compelling reasons, to impose capital punishment in cases of heinous
a result thereof, thereby rendering resistance futile, it would be the height of crimes,[58] hence the passage of R.A. No. 7659. Hoc quidem per quam durum est sed
unreasonableness to expect the victim to resist with all her might and strength. If ita lex scripta est. The law may be exceedingly hard but so the law is written and the
resistance would nevertheless be futile because of intimidation, then offering none at Court is duty-bound to apply it in this case.
all does not mean consent to the assault so as to make the victims submission to the
sexual act voluntary.[52] To the appellant who inflicted his animal greed on his daughter in a disgusting coercion
of incestuous lust, thereby forsaking that which is highest and noblest in his human
In any event, in a rape committed by a father against his own daughter, as in this case, nature and reducing himself to lower than the lowliest animal, the full force of the law
the formers moral ascendancy or influence over the latter substitutes for violence or must be weighed against him, for he deserves no place in society. All that we concede
intimidation.[53] Likewise, it must not be forgotten that at her tender age of 14 years, to him is a modification of the award of P75,000.00 as damages, which is hereby
EDEN could not be expected to act with the equanimity of disposition and with nerves reduced to P50,000.00 in accordance with current case law.
of steel, or to act like a mature and experienced woman who would know what to do
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered AFFIRMING the decision of the Regional
Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 106, in Criminal Case No. Q-94-59149 finding
accused-appellant EDUARDO AGBAYANI y MENDOZA guilty beyond reasonable
doubt as principal of the crime of rape defined and penalized under under Article 335
of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 7659, and imposing upon him the
penalty of DEATH, subject to the above modification as to the amount of indemnity.

Two justices voted to impose upon the accused-appellant the penalty of reclusion
perpetua.

Upon the finality of this Decision, let certified true copies thereof, as well as the records
of this case, be forwarded without delay to the Office of the President for possible
exercise of executive clemency pursuant to Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended by Section 25 of R.A. No. 7659.

With costs de oficio.

SO ORDERED.
3. AMION v. JUDGE CHIONGSON In addition, accused-complainant charges respondent judge with gross ignorance of
the law when the latter, as then municipal trial judge of Bacolod City, heard Criminal
[A.M. No. RTJ-97-1371. January 22, 1999] Case No. 55099 for violation of B.P. 22 against accused-complainant in the absence of
his counsel.
Baltazar D. Amion, complainant, vs. Judge Roberto S. Chiongson, Branch 50, Regional
Trial Court, Bacolod City, respondent. In a resolution dated March 12, 1997,[3] this Court required respondent judge to file his
DECISION Comment on the aforementioned charges.
MARTINEZ, J.:
Judge Roberto S. Chiongson, in his Comment dated April 21, 1997,[4] explained that
A verified complaint dated August 29, 1996[1] was filed by Baltazar D. Amion with this accused-complainant would not have filed the administrative case had he acceded to
Court on October 7, 1996 charging Judge Roberto S. Chiongson, Regional Trial Court the latters plea for his inhibition which he denied, there being no ground therefor. He
(RTC), Branch 50, Bacolod City with Ignorance of the law and Oppression relative to claimed that accused-complainant is a police officer charged in Criminal Case No. 94-
Criminal Case No. 94-159772 pending in said trial court and in which complainant is 15772 for having allegedly killed a fellow policeman on January 24, 1994. From the
the accused. time he assumed office as Presiding Judge of said court on November 27, 1995, other
than the arraignment of accused- complainant on September 25, 1995 before Judge
The allegations against respondent judge are premised on his appointment of a counsel Emma Labayen (former judge of said court) in which accused-complainant pleaded not
de oficio for accused-complainant despite the latters objection thereto on the ground guilty, the case has not moved.
that he had his own retained counsel in the person of Atty. Reynaldo C. Depasucat.
When respondent judge set the case for hearing on January 9, 1996, trial was not held
Accused-complainant explains that respondent judge appointed another lawyer in the because accused-complainants counsel Atty. Depasucat, was not feeling well. The
person of Atty. Manuel Lao Ong of the Free Legal Aid to act as counsel de oficio for the hearing was reset to January 19, 1996 with a warning that no further postponement
scheduled hearing of the aforecited criminal case on March 28, and 29 1996. He further would be entertained. On said date of hearing, Atty. Depasucat again failed to appear
avers that his retained counsel was ready for hearing on said dates but on March 27, in court. In order to avoid further delay, the court appointed Atty. Apollo Jacildo of the
1996, the day before the scheduled hearing, he was informed that Atty. Depasucat was Public Attorneys Office (PAO) as counsel de oficio. Atty. Jacildo, however, filed a
ill. Manifestation explaining that it is the policy of their office not to represent a party who
has retained the services of a counsel of his own choice.
It was for this reason that accused-complainant was not represented by his defense
lawyer in the scheduled hearing which prompted respondent judge to appoint Free At the next scheduled hearing of February 21, 1996,[5] accused-complainants counsel
Legal Aid lawyer Atty. Manuel Lao Ong. Notwithstanding complainant-accuseds de parte still did not show up in court, thus, prompting private complainant Mrs.
vehement opposition, respondent judge proceeded with the trial on March 28, 1996 Antonietta Vaflor (the victims wife) to speak in open court and pour out all her frustration
with Atty. Ong representing the complainant-accused as counsel de oficio. He also about the long delay in the resolution of the case.
claims that Atty. Ong did not have sufficient knowledge of the case and that no prior
conference was held between said counsel de oficio and himself. In view of the fact that Mrs. Vaflor and another government witness, PO3 Richard
Dejores, both reside at Escalante, about 70 to 80 kilometers from Bacolod City, and
Complainant-accused asserts that the aforesaid incidents constitute a clear violation of that the appearance of Atty. Depasucat remained uncertain, Judge Chiongson
his right to due process and a deprivation of his constitutional and statutory right to be appointed Atty. Manuel Lao-Ong from the Free Legal Aid Office to represent accused-
defended by counsel of his own choice. complainant. The court, however, made it of record that the appointment of Atty. Ong
was without prejudice to the appearance of counsel de parte.[6] Due to the continued
Consequently, complainant-accused filed a Manifestation and Urgent Motion[2] stating absence of Atty. Depasucat, the counsel de parte, Atty. Ong, represented the accused-
therein that he is not accepting the legal services of counsel de oficio Atty. Ong since complainant at the March 28, 1996 hearing which was opposed by the accused in a
he can afford to hire a counsel de parte of his own choice. He further states that Manifestation and Motion filed on March 29, seeking the nullification of the March 28,
respondent judge is not fair and just and does not have the cold neutrality of an impartial 1998 hearing and the inhibition of Judge Chiongson. The hearings were then
judge. He likewise asseverates that respondent judge is ignorant of the basic law which rescheduled on May 13 and 17, 1996.
makes him unfit to be a judge in any judicial tribunal.
On May 8, 1996, accused-complainants counsel, Atty. Depasucat, filed a motion for
Complainant-accused also alludes oppression to respondent judge when the latter was postponement alleging that the motion for inhibition should be resolved and that he
still a Municipal Trial Judge of MTCC, Branch 3, Bacolod City. Complainant was then would not be available on the rescheduled dates for hearings as he would be out of the
the offended party in a criminal case for Slander and it took a year before respondent country during those times.
judge decided to dismiss the same. He complains that now that he is the accused in
Criminal Case No. 94-15772, respondent judge appears to be "very active" and wants An order denying the accused-complainants Motion for Inhibition and Motion to Set
the case to be terminated immediately. Aside the proceedings of March 28, 1996 was issued by the court on July 18, 1996 on
the ground that the claim of bias and prejudice was without legal basis.[7]
At the scheduled hearing on August 1, 1996, Atty. Depasucat asked the court that he As to the allegation of oppression in connection with s criminal case for slander where
be allowed to withdraw as counsel de parte of the accused-complainant causing further accused-complainant was the alleged offended party while respondent judge was then
delay. The trial of the case was again reset to September 2, 5, and 6, 1996 with a the Municipal Trial Judge of MTC, Branch 3, Bacolod City to which the case was being
warning that the court will not grant any further postponement and that if the accused- tried, Judge Chiongson belies the same. He explains that the prosecution in the said
complainant was still without counsel, a counsel de oficio will be appointed. case had rested while the defense filed a demurrer which was granted.

Thereafter, the accused-complainant engaged the services of different counsels who He narrates that the case for slander was filed by herein accused-complainant against
continued to adopt the dilatory tactics utilized by the previous counsel de parte. Mrs. Esparcia, a school teacher and sister of a victim alleged to have been killed by the
accused-complainant, when said Mrs. Esparcia told the accused-complainant
Atty. Rosslyn Morana, who entered his appearance as counsel on September 2, 1996, Murderer, why are you not in jail or words to that effect. This was made when accused-
filed on October 14, 1996 a Motion for Voluntary Inhibition of respondent judge on complainant was seen roaming around the vicinity of the police station when he was
account of a pending administrative case against the latter. On October 24, 1996, Atty. supposed to be a detention prisoner. Accordingly, respondent judge granted the
Morana submitted an Explanation to the court stating that he could not represent the Demurrer on the finding of the court that the utterance of Mrs. Esparcia was not
accused-complainant as the latter failed to give him the records of the case. slanderous but was merely an expression of exasperation and disgust.

On November 14, 1996, the prosecution filed a motion to cite the accused in contempt On the charge of Gross Ignorance of the law, for having tried Criminal Case No. 55099
for filing a series of motions for inhibition and for filing an administrative case against for violation of B.P. 22 against accused-complainant in the absence of counsel,
the presiding judge which are plain acts of harassment. respondent judge asserts that accused-complainant has nothing to do with said criminal
case as can be gleaned from the Order relied upon as basis for the aforementioned
Atty. Salvador Sabio entered his appearance as counsel for the accused-complainant charge.
on December 2, 1996 and asked for the cancellation of the scheduled hearings on
December 5 and 6, 1996 as he had to study the case. The court granted the request Respondent judge concludes that the sequence of events hereinabove discussed,
for postponement of Atty. Sabio and reset the case on January 24, 1997 with a strong exposes clearly the false and dissembled charges filed against him as well as the
warning that it will not allow any further dilatory postponement. In the afternoon of determined efforts of the accused-complainant and his counsel to frustrate the ends of
January 23, 1997, the court received another motion for postponement filed by Atty. justice.
Sabio requesting for the cancellation of the January 24 hearing. The court, considering
the same as another delaying tactic, immediately issued an order denying the motion. We find this administrative complaint devoid of merit.
In spite of the denial of the motion for postponement, Atty. Sabio failed to appear.
Verily, the facts and circumstances of this case point to the pervasive and prevaricated
On February 4, 1997, accused-complainant again asked for the voluntary inhibition of procrastination of the proceedings undertaken by the accused-complainant and his
the presiding judge which the court again denied for being merely a dilatory scheme. counsel. Contrary to what accused-complainant would want to impress upon this Court,
it seems that he has been the oppressor while respondent judge Roberto Chiongson
On March 24, 1997, when the case was called for hearing, Atty. Sabio informed the appears to be the oppressed. Through the course of the proceedings in the subject
court that he received a written note from the accused-complainant discharging him as criminal case, accused-complainant had filed several Motions for Inhibition, a Petition
counsel, to which the court respondent by ruling that Atty. Sabio would only be allowed for Certiorari and Mandamus and this administrative complaint with the view of delaying
to withdraw as accused-complainants lawyer upon the entry of appearance of a new the eventual disposition of the case.
defense counsel.
A Memorandum of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) dated January 14,
In a Resolution of the Court of Appeals promulgated on April 29, 1997, Judge 1998[10] noted that Criminal Case No. 94-15772 has been pending for almost four (4)
Chiongson was required to submit a COMMENT[8] on a Petition for Certiorari and years already and the prosecution has yet to rest its case. Complainant has thrown
Mandamus filed by accused-complainant. Said document has also been submitted to every strategy in the book to delay the trial. x x x
the Court as Supplemental Comment to this Administrative Case.[9]
The claim of accused-complainant that respondent judges appointment of a counsel de
Respondent judge reiterated his belief that his appointment of a counsel de oficio to oficio constitutes a clear violation of his right to due process and a deprivation of his
represent the accused-complainant is justified because of the vexatious and oppressive constitutional right to be defended by counsel of his own choice cannot be
delay on the latters part who has been represented by a counsel de parte who refuses countenanced by this Court.
or fails to appear during hearings. He averred that the records of the case will show
that the accused-complainant and his lawyers have employed every means fair, but An examination of related provisions in the Constitution concerning the right to counsel,
mostly foul, to delay the resolution of Criminal Case No. 94-15772. He added that the will show that the preference in the choice of counsel pertains more aptly and
Petition for Certiorari and the Administrative Case were filed for the purpose of not only specifically to a person under investigation[11] rather than one who is the accused in
delaying the resolution of the case but also to pressure him into inhibiting himself. criminal prosecution.[12]
explanation by the respondent judge indicate that the aforesaid allegations have neither
Even if we were to extend the application of the concept of preference in the choice of legal nor factual basis and that the conclusions made therein are merely conjectural.
counsel to an accused in a criminal prosecution, such preferential discretion cannot
partake of a discretion so absolute and arbitrary as would make the choice of counsel The actuation of respondent judge in this murder does not warrant reproach and
refer exclusively to the predilection of the accused. reprimand, but in fact, merits the acknowledgment and approval of this Court. Such
manifestation of zeal clearly show respondent judges ardent determination to expedite
As held by this Court in the case of People vs. Barasina:[13] the case and render justice.

Withal, the word preferably under Section 12(1), Article 3 of the 1987 Constitution does The Code of Judicial Conduct mandates that a judge should administer justice
not convey the message that the choice of a lawyer by a person under investigation is impartially and without delay.[18] A judge should always be imbued with a high sense
exclusive as to preclude other equally competent and independent attorneys from of duty and responsibility in the discharge of his obligation to promptly administer
handling his defense. If the rule were otherwise, then, the tempo of a custodial justice.[19]
investigation, will be solely in the hands of the accused who can impede, nay, obstruct
the progress of the interrogation by simply selecting a lawyer, who for one reason or WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court RESOLVED to:
another, is not available to protect his interest. This absurd scenario could not have
been contemplated by the framers of the charter 1. DISMISS the administrative complaint against Judge Roberto S. Chiongson of RTC,
Branch 50, Bacolod City for lack of merit.
Applying this principle enunciated by the Court, we may likewise say that the accuseds
discretion in a criminal prosecution with respect to his choice of counsel is not so much 2. IMPOSE a FINE of FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P5,000.00) and ADMONISH
as to grant him a plenary prerogative which would preclude other equally competent accused-complainant Baltazar D. Amion for filing a malicious and unmeritorious
and independent counsels from representing him. Otherwise, the pace of a criminal complaint against Judge Roberto S. Chiongson to delay and prolong the prosecution
prosecution will be entirely dictated by the accused to the detriment of the eventual of the case.
resolution of the case.
3. DIRECT Judge Roberto S. Chiongson to continue hearing the case and finally
Accused-complainant was not, in any way, deprived of his substantive and dispose of the same with utmost dispatch.
constitutional right to due process as he was duly accorded all the opportunities to be
heard and to present evidence to substantiate his defense but he forfeited this right, for SO ORDERED.
not appearing in court together with his counsel at the scheduled hearings.[14]

Accused-complainant had more than sufficient time and every available opportunity to
present his side which would have led to the expeditious termination of the case. A
party cannot feign denial of due process when he had the opportunity to present his
side.[15]

Moreover, there is no denial of the right to counsel where a counsel de oficio was
appointed during the absence of the accuseds counsel de parte pursuant to the courts
desire to finish the case as early as practicable under the continuous trial system.[16]

Thus, it has been held by this Court in the case of Lacambra v. Ramos:[17]

The Court cannot help but note the series of legal maneuvers resorted to and repeated
importunings of the accused or his counsel, which resulted in the protracted trial of the
case, thus making a mockery of the judicial process, not to mention the injustice caused
by the delay to the victims family.

Undoubtedly, it was accused-complainants own strategic machinations which brought


upon the need for the appointment of a counsel de oficio in as much as the criminal
case had been dragging on its lethargic course.

As to the charges of oppression and gross ignorance of the law against respondent
judge relative to cases under him while he was still in the Municipal Trial Court, the
same have been sufficiently answered in the Comments submitted in this case. The