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People vs.

[GR 132154, 29 June 2000]
On August 5, 1994, the decomposing body of Shirley Victore, a 15 year old rape victim,
was found. The accused, Ordoo and Medina were brought to the police station but were allowed
to go home for lack of evidence. On August 10, the two accused voluntarily returned and
confessed. The statements of the 2 accused were taken without the assistance of a counsel. But
before said statements were taken, both were apprised of their rights and the investigation was
conducted in the presence of the Parish Priest, the Mayor, the Chief of Police and other police
officers. A radio announcer also visited and in the duly tape-recorded interview, both accused
admitted again their complicity in the crime. Days later, the suspects were further apprised of
their constitutional rights by a PAO lawyer and a MTC judge. Upon inquiry, the two accused
assured the Judge that their statements had been given freely and voluntarily.
On arraignment, in a complete turnabout, the 2 accused pleaded not guilty. The trial court
adjudged the two as guilty and imposed upon them death penalties on the basis of their
extrajudicial confessions. Hence, the automatic review.
Issue: Whether the custodial investigation made in the presence of the municipal mayor, parish
priest, etc. and/or the taped interview containing the confessions is admissible as evidence?
Held: The presence of the Parish Priest, the Municipal Mayor as well as the relatives of the
accused to obviate the possibility of coercion, and to witness the voluntary execution by the
accused of their statements, did not cure in any way the absence of a lawyer during the
investigation. Consequently, any admission obtained from the 2 accused emanating from such
uncounselled interrogation would be inadmissible in evidence in any proceeding. Securing the
assistance of the PAO lawyer 5 to 8 days later does not remedy this omission either. The second
affixation of the signatures/thumbmarks of the accused on their confessions, in the presence of
the MTC judge, likewise did not make their admissions an informed one.
As with the interview taken by DZNL radio announcer Roland Almoite, a review of the
contents of the tape as included in Roland Almoite's testimony reveals that the interview was
conducted free from any influence or intimidation from police officers and was done willingly by
the accused. The taped interview likewise revealed that the accused voluntarily admitted to the
rape-slay and even expressed remorse for having perpetrated the crime. We have held that
statements spontaneously made by a suspect to news reporters on a televised interview are
deemed voluntary and are admissible in evidence. By analogy, statements made by herein
accused to a radio announcer should likewise be held admissible. The interview was not in the
nature of an investigation as the response of the accused was made in answer to questions asked
by the radio reporter, not by the police or any other investigating officer. When the accused
talked to the radio announcer, they did not talk to him as a law enforcement officer, as in fact he
was not, hence their uncounselled confession to him did not violate their constitutional rights.
Sections 12, pars. (1) and (3), Art. III, of the Constitution do not cover the verbal confessions of
the 2 accused to the radio announcer. What the Constitution bars is the compulsory disclosure of
incriminating facts or confessions.