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RULE 116

ARRAIGNMENT AND PLEA

 Arraignment Defined
o Arraignment is the formal mode and manner of implementing the constitutional right of an accused to be informed
of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. Its purpose is to apprise the accused why he is prosecuted by
the State.
 Importance of Arraignment
o The procedural due process of mandate of the Constitution requires that the accused be arraigned so that he may be
informed as to why he was indicted and what penal offense he has to face, to be convicted only on showing that his
guilt is shown beyond reasonable doubt with full opportunity to disprove the evidence against him.
 How Arraignment is done
o The arraignment is made in open court by the judge or clerk by furnishing the accused with a copy of the complaint
or information, reading the same in the language or dialect known to him, and asking him whether he pleads guilty
or not guilty. (Sec 1 [a], Rule 116)
 The presumption is that a person accused of a crime was duly arraigned in the absence of anything to
indicate the contrary.
o The accused must be present at the arraignment and must personally enter his plea. It is when the court may acquire
jurisdiction over the person of the accused.
 Need for Arraignment on Amended Information
o Where the accused has been already arraigned and subsequently, the information was substantially amended, an
arraignment is necessary on the amended information is mandatory because the accused has the constitutional right
to be informed of the accusation against him. If he is not arraigned and is convicted under the second information,
the conviction constitutes reversible error. Unless the accused had been arraigned and the amendment is only as to
form in which case there is no need to retake his plea.
o At arraignment, the accused, with the consent of the offended party and the prosecutor, may be allowed by the trial
court to plead guilty to a lesser offense which is necessarily included in the offense charged. After arraignment but
before trial, the accused may still be allowed to plead guilty to said lesser offense after withdrawing his plea of not
guilty. No amendment of the complaint or information is necessary. (Sec 2, Rule 116)
 Arraignment after the Prosecution rests, Not prejudicial
o The general rule is, arraignment must be made before start of the trial or before the prosecution presents its case.
However, arraignment which was made after the prosecution rested its case was considered a non-prejudicial error
under the following:
 Counsel of the accused failed to object lack of arraignment during trial
 Counsel of the accused had full opportunity to cross examine witnesses (People of the Philippines vs.
Atienza, G.R. No. L-3001, June 17, 1950; People of the Philippines vs. Cabale, G.R. Nos. 73249-50, May
8, 1990).
 Accused is not entitled to know in advance the names of ALL Prosecution Witnesses
o Section 1 of Rule 116 of the Rules of Court expressly permits the prosecution to present an unlisted witness at the
trial and there is nothing in said section which requires the previous consent of the court before the prosecution can
present such witness. Moreover, the accused in a criminal prosecution is not entitled to know in advance the names
of all the witnesses for the prosecution.
 The fact that some of the prosecution witnesses are not listed in the information does not disqualify them
from being witnesses.
 Acquittal despite Plea of Guilty
o When an accused pleads guilty, it doesn’t necessarily follow that he is convicted. Additional evidence independent
of the guilty plea may be considered by the judge to ensure that the plea of guilt was intelligently made.
The totality of evidence should determine whether the accused should be convicted or acquitted.
 Plea of Guilty to a LESSER OFFENSE
o At arraignment, the accused, with the consent of the offended party and the prosecutor, may be allowed by the trial
court to plead guilty to a lesser offense which is necessarily included in the offense charged. After arraignment but
before trial, the accused may still be allowed to plead guilty to said lesser offense after withdrawing his plea of not
guilty. No amendment of the complaint or information is necessary. (Sec 2, Rule 116)
 Plea of GUILTY to CAPITAL OFFENSE
o When the accused pleads guilty to a capital offense, the court shall conduct a searching inquiry into the
voluntariness and full comprehension of the consequences of his plea and require the prosecution to prove his guilt
and the precise degree of culpability. The accused may present evidence in his behalf. (Sec 3, Rule 116)
o The present rules requires proof of the aggravating circumstances, otherwise, there is an improvident plea of guilty
 SEARCHING INQUIRY
o
 Plea of GUILTY to NON-CAPITAL OFFENSE
o Sec 4 of Rule 116 provides, when the accused pleads guilty to a non-capital offense, the court may receive evidence
from the parties to determine the penalty to be imposed.
 Withdrawal of an IMPROVIDENT PLEA
o The PLEA OF GUILTY is not a matter of strict right to the accused but of sound discretion to the trial court, and
appellate courts shall not interfere with such discretion
o Plea of guilty MUST be UNCONDITIONAL
 Duty of the COURT to inform accused of his right to counsel
o Under Section 6 of Rule 116, before arraignment, the court shall inform the accused of his right to counsel and ask
him if he desires to have one. Unless the accused is allowed to defend himself in person or has employed a counsel
of his choice, the court must assign a counsel de oficio to defend him.
COUNSEL DE OFICIO PRIVATE PROSECUTOR COUNSEL DE PARTE
Counsel appointed by the court to The role of the private prosecutor is to An attorney retained by a party litigant,
represent and defend the accused in case represent the offended party with respect usually for a fee, to prosecute or defend
he cannot afford to employ one himself. to the civil action for the recovery of civil his cause in court. The term implies
liability arising from the offense. His sole freedom of choice either on the part of the
purpose is to enforce the civil liability attorney to decline or accept the
and not to demand punishment of the employment or on the part of the litigant
accused. to continue or terminate the retainer at
any time.
o The right to counsel de parte is not absolute. This right may be waived provided that such waiver is not contrary to law,
public order, public policy, morals or good customs and that it is not prejudicial to a third person with a right recognized
by law and that it is unequivocally, knowingly and intelligibly made.
o Yes. The right to counsel may be waived by the accused BUT the waiver must be clear, intelligent and
competent. (People vs. Ben, L-8320, Dec. 20, 1955)
o In People v. Del Castillo, the court also emphasized that this right may be waived but to insure that the waiver is
voluntary and intelligent, the waiver must be in writing and in the presence of the counsel of the accused.
o Note: The right to a competent and independent counsel is one of the rights of the accused guaranteed
under Sec. 12(1) of Art. III of the Constitution.
o It can be waived when the accused voluntarily submits himself to the jurisdiction of the court and
proceeds with his defense. The accused may defend himself in person only if the court is convinced
that he can properly protect his rights even without the assistance of counsel. The defendant cannot
raise the question of his right to have an attorney for the first time on appeal.
o A complaint or information is sufficient if it states the name of the accused; the designation of the offense given
by the statute; the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense; the name of the offended party;
the approximate date of the commission of the offense; and the place where the offense was committed. It is
incumbent upon the court to determine the penalty to be imposed in the course of the trial.
RULE 117

MOTION TO QUASH

 Form and Contents


o The motion to quash shall be in writing, signed by the accused or his counsel and shall distinctly specify its factual
and legal grounds. The court shall consider no ground other than those stated in the motion, except lack of
jurisdiction over the offense charged. (Sec. 2, Rule 117)
o QUASHAL: To annul, vacate, overthrow
 Grounds:
o That the facts charged do not constitute an offense;
o That the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the offense charged;
o That the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the person of the accused;
o That the officer who filed the information had no authority to do so;
o That it does not conform substantially to the prescribed form;
o That more than one offense is charged except when a single punishment for various offenses is prescribed by law;
o That the criminal action or liability has been extinguished;
o That it contains averments which, if true, would constitute a legal excuse or justification; and
o That the accused has been previously convicted or acquitted of the offense charged, or the case against him was
dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent.
 The lack of Preliminary Investigation is not a ground for quashal
 Amendment of complaint or information
o If the motion to quash is based on an alleged defect of the complaint or information which can be cured by
amendment, the court shall order that an amendment be made. (4a)
If it is based on the ground that the facts charged do not constitute an offense, the prosecution shall be given by the
court an opportunity to correct the defect by amendment. The motion shall be granted if the prosecution fails to
make the amendment, or the complaint or information still suffers from the same defect despite the amendment.
o It is the duty of the court when objections are made to a complaint, to cause it to be corrected or to direct a new
complaint to be filed and the trial recommenced
o