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Right of the Accused - MAD

RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED Unreasonable delay in resolving complaint

Sec. 14, Art. III:  it was held that the failure to resolve a complaint that had been pending
(1) No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due for six years clearly violates the constitutional command for the to act
process of law. promptly on complaints and the right of the petitioner to due process of
(2) In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent law and to speedy trial. In such event, the aggrieved party is entitled to
until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by the dismissal of the complaint.
himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the  In Tatad v. Sandiganbayan, where it was held that the unreasonable
accusation against him, to have a speedy, impartial and public trial, to delay in the termination of the preliminary investigation by the
meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure Tanodbayan violated the due process clause.
the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf.
However, after arraignment, trial may proceed notwithstanding the Impartial court or tribunal
absence of the accused, provided that he has been duly notified and his  Critical component of due process of law is a hearing before an
failure to appear is unjustifiable. impartial and disinterested tribunal. In order to disqualify a judge on
the ground of bias and prejudice, the movant must prove such bias by
What are the rights of the accused? clear and convincing evidence.
1. Right to Due process  The cross-examination of the accused and the witnesses by the trial
2. Be presumed innocent court indicated bias, and thus violated due process. But where the
3. Be heard by himself and counsel questions propounded by the court are merely for clarification, to clear
4. Be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him up dubious points and elicit relevant evidence, such questioning will
5. A speedy, impartial and public trial not constitute bias.
6. Meet the witnesses face to face
7. Have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and Right to a hearing
production of evidence on his behalf  In Alonte v. Savellano, the Supreme Court held that the accused were
8. Against double jeopardy denied due process of law when the trial court convicted them (after
9. Bail having declared that they had waived their right to present evidence),
but it was shown that there were deviations from the regular course of
Criminal Due Process – pertains to procedural due process trial, e.g., petitioners were not directed to present evidence to prove
their defenses nor dates set for that purpose, petitioners were not given
What are the requisites of criminal due process? ( C P – N A ) an opportunity to present rebuttal evidence nor dates set for that
1. Accused is heard by a court of competent jurisdiction purpose, and petitioners had not admitted the offense charged in the
2. Accused is proceeded against under the orderly processes of law information which would have justified any modification in the order of
3. Accused is given notice and opportunity to be heard the trial.
4. Judgment rendered was within the authority of a constitutional law

Right of the Accused - MAD

Plea of guilt to a capital offense military tribunal shall be prima facie evidence of such fact”, was
 The Court enumerated the stringent constitutional standards impelled declared unconstitutional for being violative of the presumption of
by the due process clause whenever the accused pleads guilty to a innocence clause.
capital offense:  In Marquez v. Comelec, the Court upheld the disqualification of a
1. The trial court must conduct a searching inquiry into the candidate on the grounds that he is a fugitive from justice. The court
voluntariness of the plea and the full comprehension of the here said that fugitive applies to those who was not yet convicted but
consequences thereof was running away from trial. This did not violate the presumption of
2. The prosecution shall be required to present evidence to prove innocence as disqualification is not a penalty and that congress is
the guilt of the accused and the precise degree of his culpability allowed to prescribe reasonable qualifications for local candidates.
3. The accused must be asked if he desires to present evidence on  The presumption of innocence was held not to have been overcome by
his behalf and allow him to do so if he so desires. prosecution evidence where the victim had difficulty in identifying the
 The Supreme Court said that the procedure is mandatory, and a judge accused not only during the hospital confrontation but also in open
who fails to observe with fealty the said rule commits grave abuse of court [People v. Alcantara, 240 SCRA 122];
discretion. The Court has cautioned trial judges to proceed with  or where the prosecution failed to present the alleged poseur-buyer,
meticulous care whenever the imposable penalty for the crime charged because without the testimony of the latter, there is no convincing
is death. evidence that the accused was a marijuana peddler and not merely a
victim of instigation [People v. Tapeda, 244 SCRA 339];
The State and the offended party are entitled to due process  or where the testimony of the prosecution witnesses is marred by
Is right to appeal a part of due process?  The constitutional presumption will not apply as long as there is some
 The right to appeal is not a natural right or part of due process. It is a logical connection between the fact proved and the ultimate fact
mere statutory right, but once given, denial constitutes violation of due presumed, and the inference of one fact from proof of another shall not
process be so unreasonable as to be a purely arbitrary mandate.

Presumption of innocence Circumstantial evidence

The Supreme Court held that in order that circumstantial evidence may warrant
How is the presumption applied? conviction, the following requisites must concur:
Every circumstance favoring the innocence of the accused must be taken into 1. There is more than one circumstance;
account. The proof against him must survive the test of reason; the strongest 2. The facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and
suspicion must not be permitted to sway judgment (People v. Austria, G.R. No. 3. The combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a
55109, Apr. 8, 1991) conviction beyond reasonable doubt
 In Dumlao v. Comelec, the provision of an election statute which
disqualified from running for public office any person who has
committed any act of disloyalty to the State “provided that the filing of
charges for the commission of such crimes before a civil court or
Right of the Accused - MAD

What is the Equipoise Rule? “preference in the choice of counsel” pertains more aptly and
 In Corpuz v. People, under the equipoise rule, when the evidence of specifically to a person under custodial investigation rather than one
both sides are equally balanced, the constitutional presumption of who is accused in criminal prosecution. And even if the application of
innocence should tilt the scales in favor of the accused. the concept were to be extended to an accused in a criminal
prosecution, such preferential discretion cannot partake of discretion
Who can invoke presumption of innocence? so absolute and arbitrary as would make the choice of counsel refer
 In Feeder International Line v. Court of Appeals, the right to exclusively to the predilection of the accused. Thus, there is no denial of
presumption of innocence can be invoked only by an individual accused the right to counsel where the counsel de oficio was appointed during
of a criminal offense; a corporate entity has no personality to invoke the absence of the accused’s counsel de parte pursuant to the court’s
the same. desire to finish the case as early as possible under the continuous trial
Right to be heard bv himself and counsel
Rule on mistake of accused’s lawyer
Does this right pertain to mere presence of a lawyer in the courtroom?  The long standing rule is that a client is bound by the mistakes of his
 No. The accused must be amply accorded legal assistance extended by a lawyer [Andrada v. People, G.R. No. 135222, March 4, 2005], except
counsel who commits himself to the cause of the defense and acts when the negligence or incompetence of counsel is deemed so gross as
accordingly; an efficient and truly decisive legal assistance, and not to have prejudiced the constitutional right of the accused to be heard.
simply a perfunctory representation.
Right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against
The right to counsel during the trial is not subject to waiver him
 In People v. Holgado, “even the most intelligent or educated man may
have no skill in the science of law, particularly in the rules of procedure, What is the rationale for this right? ( D A S )
and without counsel, he may be convicted not because he is guilty but 1. To furnish the accused with such a description of the charge against
because he does not know how to establish his innocence” him as will enable him to make his defense
 In People v. Agbayani, the failure of the record to disclose 2. To avail himself of his conviction or acquittal for protection against
affirmatively that the trial court advised the accused of his right to further prosecution for the same cause
counsel is not sufficient ground to reverse conviction. The trial court 3. To inform the court of the facts alleged so that it may decide whether
must be presumed to have complied with the procedure prescribed by they are sufficient in law to support a conviction, if one should be had.
law for the hearing and trial of cases, and such presumption can be (US v. Karelsen G.R. No. 1376, Jan. 21, 1904)
overcome only by an affirmative showing to the contrary
 Settled is the rule that when a judge is informed or discovers that an
Does Right to Counsel under Sec. 14 must be the preferred choice of the accused is apparently in a condition of insanity or imbecility, it is within
accused? his discretion to investigate the matter. If it be found that by reason of
 In Amion v. Judge Chiongson, an examination of related provisions in such affliction the accused could not, with the aid of counsel, make a
the Constitution concerning the right to counsel will show that the proper defense, it is the duty of the court to suspend proceedings and
Right of the Accused - MAD

commit the accused to a proper place of detention until he recovers his  But it is not necessary to state in the complaint or information the
faculties. To arraign the accused while he is in a state of insanity will precise time when the offense was committed, except when time is a
violate the right of the accused to be informed of the nature and cause material ingredient of the offense. The act may be alleged to have been
of the accusation against him committed at any time as near to the actual date at which the offense
 Also, the conviction of the accused who was a deaf-mute was reversed was committed as the information or complaint will permit.
by the Supreme Court because no one who knew how to communicate
with the accused was utilized by the trial court during the entire What happens if the information fails to allege the material elements of
proceedings. the offense?
 The accused cannot be convicted thereof even if the prosecution is able
What would determine the nature and cause of accusation? to present evidence during the trial with respect to such elements.
 In Soriano v. Sandiganbayan and Pecho v. People, description, not
designation of the offense, are controlling. The real nature of the crime Void for Vagueness Rule
charged is determined from the recital of facts in the information. It is  The accused is also denied the right to be informed of the charge
neither determined based on the caption or preamble thereof nor from against him, and to due process as well, where the statute itself is
the specification of the provision of the law allegedly violated. couched in such indefinite language that it is not possible for men of
ordinary intelligence to determine therefrom what acts or omissions
What are the requisites for properly informing the accused of the nature are punished. In such a case, the law is deemed void.
and cause of accusation? ( A D A – O T - P E )
1. Information must state the name of the accused May the right to be informed of the nature and cause of accusation be
2. Designation given to the offense by statute waived?
3. Statement of the acts or omission so complained of as constituting the  No. However, the defense may waive the right to enter a plea and let
offense the court enter a plea of “not guilty”.
4. Name of the offended party  The right cannot be waived for reasons of public policy. Hence, it is
5. Approximate time and date of commission of the offense imperative that the complaint or information filed against the accused
6. Place where offense was committed be complete to meet its objectives. As such, an indictment must fully
7. Every element of the offense must be alleged in the complaint or state the elements of the specific offense alleged to have been
information committed. For an accused cannot be convicted of an offense, even if
duly proven, unless it is alleged or necessarily included in the complaint
 In People v. Quitlong, the information must set forth the facts and or information
circumstances that have a bearing on the culpability and liability of the o However, it is altogether a different matter if the accused
accused, so that the accused can prepare for and undertake his defense. themselves refuse to be informed of the nature and cause of the
One such fact or circumstance in a complaint against two or more accusation against them. The defense cannot hold hostage the
persons is conspiracy. Where no such allegation is made in the court by such refusal.
information, the court’s finding of conspiracy violates the constitutional
Right of the Accused - MAD

Right to Speedy, Impartial and Public Trial 2. to minimize anxiety and concern of the accused; and
3. to limit the possibility that the defense will be impaired
What is meant by speedy trial?
The term “speedy” means free from vexatious, capricious and oppressive delays. Republic Act No. 8493 [The Speedy Trial Act]
The factors to be considered are: ( T L R A P )  Provides, among others, that the arraignment of an accused shall be
1. Time expired from the filing of information held within 30 days from filing of the information, or from the date the
2. Length of delay accused has appeared before the justice, judge or court in which the
3. Reasons for the delay charge is pending, whichever date last occurs. Thereafter, where a
4. Assertion or non‐assertion of the right by the accused plea of not guilty is entered, the accused shall have at least 15 days to
5. Prejudice caused to the defendant prepare for trial. Trial shall commence within 30 days from
arraignment as fixed by the court. In no case shall the entire trial period
The right to speedy trial is relative subject to reasonable delays and exceed 180 days from the first day of trial, except as otherwise
postponements arising from illness, medical attention, body operations, authorized by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
etc.  R. A. 8493 is a means of enforcing the right of the accused to a speedy
 Speedy trial means one that can be had as soon after indictment is filed trial. The spirit of the law is that the accused must go on record in the
as the prosecution can, with reasonable diligence, prepare for trial. attitude of demanding a trial or resisting delay. If he does not do this, he
 In determining the right of the accused to speedy trial, courts should do must be held, in law, to have waived the privilege
more than a mathematical computation of the number of
postponements of scheduled hearings, of the case. What offends the Arraignment - The formal appearance of an accused person to hear, and to receive
right are unjustified postponements which prolong trial for an a copy of, the charge against him or her, in the presence of a judge, and to then
unreasonable length of time. enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.
 In People v. Tee, the concept of speedy trial is necessarily relative
where several factors are weighed such as the length of time of delay, Effects of denial of right to speedy trial
the reason of such delay, and conducts of prosecution and the accused  In Conde v. Rivera, where a prosecuting officer, without good cause,
and the prejudice and damaged caused to the accused of such delay. In secures postponements of the trial of a defendant against his protest
the absence of showing that the reason for delay was capricious or beyond a reasonable period of time, as in this instance for more than a
oppressive, the State must not be deprived of reasonable opportunity in year, the accused is entitled to relief by a proceeding in mandamus to
prosecuting the accused. compel a dismissal of the information, or if he be restrained of his
 In Flores v. People, technicalities should give way to the realities of liberty, by habeas corpus to obtain his freedom.
the situation. There should not be too much significance attached to  If accused raised the defense of denial of speedy trial only on appeal,
the procedural defect. it’s deemed to have been waived.
 Remedy of an accused when there’s a violation of right to speedy trial is
The different interests of the defendant which the right to speedy trial are dismissal which is equivalent to acquittal, thus double jeopardy applies
designed to protect are: or habeas corpus if detained.
1. to prevent oppressive pre-trial incarceration
Right of the Accused - MAD

 Exception: General public may be excluded when the evidence to be

What is meant by impartial trial? presented in the proceeding may be characterized as offensive to
 The accused is entitled to cold neutrality of an impartial judge, one who decency or public morals.
is free from interest or bias.  But even in such instances the Constitution demands that the
 In Mateo Jr. v. Villaluz, judge is disqualified from hearing a case where accused should be allowed at least to have his friends,
his objectivity in such case has been eroded. Due process cannot be relatives and counsel present, no matter with what offense he
satisfied in the absence of that degree of objectivity on the part of a may be charged.
judge sufficient to assure litigants of his being fair and just; what a trial
requires is an impartial and disinterested tribunal. Right to meet the witness face to face
 Right to impartial trial is not a bar to a judge’s intervention in cross
examination. It is the duty of a trial judge to examine witnesses when it What is the purpose of the right of confrontation?
appears necessary for the elucidation of the record  Primarily, to afford the accused an opportunity to test the testimony of
 However, in Imelda Romualdez Marcos v. Sandiganbayan, a witness by cross‐examination, and
reiterating Tabuena v. Sandiganbayan,, the cross-examination of the  Secondarily, to allow the judge to observe the deportment of the
accused and the witnesses by the court constituted bias and partiality. witness.
But the impartiality of the judge cannot be assailed on the ground that
he propounded clarificatory questions to the accused. What is the effect of failure to cross‐examine?
 If the failure of the accused to cross‐examine a witness is due to his
Why must the trial be public? own fault or was not due to the fault of the prosecution, the testimony
 In Garcia v. Domingo, it is in order to prevent possible abuses which of the witness should not be excluded.
may be committed against the accused.
 The attendance at the trial is open to all, irrespective of their Are affidavits of witnesses who are not presented during trial admissible?
relationship to the accused. However, if the evidence to be adduced is  No. They are inadmissible for being hearsay. The accused is denied
“offensive to decency or public morals,” the public may be excluded. the opportunity to cross‐examine the witnesses.
 In Re: Request for Live TV Coverage of the Trial of former
President Joseph Estrada, an accused has a right to a public trial, but Other Notes:
it is a right that belongs to him more than anyone else, where his life or
liberty can be held critically in balance. A public trial aims to ensure  Depositions are admissible under circumstances provided by the Rules of
that he is fairly dealt with and would not be unjustly condemned and Court.
that his rights are not compromised in secret conclaves of long ago.  Deposition - A deposition is part of permitted pre-trial discovery
 A public trial is not synonymous with a publicized trial; it only (investigation), set up by an attorney for one of the parties to a
implies that the court doors must be open to those who wish lawsuit demanding the sworn testimony of the opposing party
to come, sit in the available seats, conduct themselves with (defendant or plaintiff), a witness to an event, or an expert
decorum and observe the trial process. intended to be called at trial by the opposition.

Right of the Accused - MAD

 Right of confrontation is recognized during preliminary investigation

proper (W/N to file a case) but not during preliminary examination What is the requirement for the issuance of subpoena duces tecum?
(W/N issue warrant)  The subpoena shall contain
1. A reasonable description of the books, documents or things
demanded which must appear to the court as prima facie relevant.
(Test of relevancy)
What are the principal exceptions to the right of confrontation? 2. Such books must be reasonably described by the parties to be
1. Admissibility of dying declarations and all exceptions to the hearsay readily identified (Test of definiteness)
2. Trial in absentia under Sec.14(2) of Art. III of the Constitution What are the requirements for the exercise of the right to secure
3. With respect to child testimony attendance of witness? ( M P A N )
1. The witness is really material
Right to compulsory process to secure the attendance of witness and 2. The attendance of the witness was previously obtained.
production of evidence 3. The witness will be available at the time desired
4. No similar evidence could be obtained
What are the means available to the parties to compel the attendance of
witnesses and the production of documents and things needed in the
prosecution or defense of a case? Trial in Absentia
1. Subpoena ad testificandum and subpoena duces tecum
 Subpoena is a process directed to a person requiring him to Purpose
attend and to testify at the hearing or trial of an action or at  The purpose of this rule is to speed up the disposition of criminal cases,
any investigation conducted under the laws of the Philippines, trial of which could, in the past, be indefinitely deferred, and many
or for the taking of his deposition. times completely abandoned, because of the defendant’s escape.
2. Depositions and other modes of discovery
3. Perpetuation of testimonies Sec. 6, Rule 120 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure
 Authorizes the promulgation of judgment in absentia in view of the
What is the difference between subpoena ad testificandum and subpoena failure of the accused to appear despite notice. This is intended to
duces tecum? obviate the situation where the judicial process could be subverted by
the accused jumping bail to frustrate the promulgation of judgment
Ad Testificandum Duces Tecum
Process directed to a person requiring The person is also required to bring Trial in absentia may proceed if the following requisites are present:
him to attend and to testify at the with him any books, documents, or 1. Accused has been validly arraigned
hearing or trial of an action, or at any other things under his control. 2. Accused has been duly notified of the dates of hearing
investigation conducted by competent
3. Failure to appear is unjustifiable
authority, or for the taking of his
Right of the Accused - MAD

Is the presence of the accused mandatory?

 Yes, in the ff. instances:
1. During arraignment and plea
2. During trial, for identification, unless the accused has already
stipulated on his identity during the pre‐trial and that he is the one
who will be identified by the witnesses as the accused in the
criminal case
3. During promulgation of sentence, unless for a light offense

Note: While the accused is entitled to be present during

promulgation of judgment, the absence of his counsel during such
promulgation does not affect its validity.

Why after arraignment?

 During arraignment, the information is read to the accused and he
enters his plea.
 Trial court acquires jurisdiction over the person.

Can there be promulgation of judgment in absentia?

 Promulgation of judgment in absentia is valid provided that the
essential elements are present:
1. Judgment be recorded in the criminal docket
2. Copy be served upon accused or counsel

Note: Recording the decision in the criminal docket of the court

satisfies the requirement of notifying the accused of the decision
wherever he may be.

Effect of non-appearance
 If he really does not want to appear he must unqualifiedly admit that
every time a witness mentions a name by which he is known, the
witness is to be understood as referring to him