Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 2

994 PEOPLE V SUNGA

Date: 2014 November 10 GR Number: 126029 Ponente:


Carpio-Morales,
J
Article3, Section 12 Wayn Michael L. Novera
Petitioners: People of the Philippines Respondents: Rey Sunga

A person under investigation is guaranteed to have a have competent and independent


counsel of his own choice, and to be provided with one if he can’t afford the services of
counsel. In this case, though he was given a lawyer, the requirement set by the Constitution
is not complied with. The independent counsel for the accused in custodial investigations
cannot be a special counsel, public or private prosecutor, counsel of the police, or a
municipal attorney whose interest is admittedly adverse to the accused.

A legal officer of the city, like Atty. Rocamora, provides legal aid and support to the mayor
and the city in carrying out the delivery of basic services to the people, which includes
maintenance of peace and order and, as such, his office is akin to that of a prosecutor who
unquestionably cannot represent the accused during custodial investigation due to conflict of
interest.
Facts:
1. Respondent Sunga was charged for the crime of rape of Jocelyn Tan, a minor and a
high school student. According to the testimony of state witness 14 year old Locil,
Sunga participated in the rape of Jocelyn, which happened in a forested area in
Barangay Irawan, Puerto Princesa City.
2. Locil was riding a tricycle together with Jocelyn and the other accused, Pascua and a
lesbian. Sunga, who was later on replaced by a certain Inocencio Pascua, according to
Locil, was driving the tricycle. Upon reaching the forested area, they dragged her to a
nearby “buho” clumps and raped her. After satisfying their lust, they killed her.
3. In the investigation, Sunga was allowed to avail of the services of a lawyer. Sunga
chose Atty. Rocamora to be his counsel from among the names of lawyers mentioned
by him by a certain police officer. Thereafter, the investigation proceeded with Sunga
voluntarily giving his answers to questions he was asked. Later on, Sunga was
convicted of the crime of Rape with Homicide and was sentenced to suffer penalty of
Death. Hence, the automatic review of the case by the SC.
Issue/s: Ruling:
1. The issue in this case is W/N Sunga was afforded the right to 1. NO
counse
Rationale/Analysis/Legal Basis:

A person under investigation for the commission of an offense is guaranteed the following
rights by the Constitution: (1) the right to remain silent; (2) the right to have competent and
independent counsel of his own choice, and to be provided with one if he can’t afford the
services of counsel; and (3) the right to be informed of these rights.

The right to counsel was denied. Sunga in his admission before the police on the ground that
the counsel who assisted him, Atty. Agustin Rocamora, was the City Legal Officer of Puerto
Princesa.

The Court mentioned the case of People v. Bandula, wherein it said that the independent
counsel for the accused in custodial investigations can’t be a special counsel, public or private
prosecutor, counsel of the police, or a municipal attorney whose interest is admittedly
adverse to the accused.

A legal officer of the city, like Atty. Rocamora, provides legal aid and support to the mayor
and the city in carrying out the delivery of basic services to the people, which includes
maintenance of peace and order and, as such, his office is akin to that of a prosecutor who
unquestionably cannot represent the accused during custodial investigation due to conflict of
interest. That Sunga chose him to be his counsel, even if true, did not render his admission
admissible. Being of a very low educational attainment, Sunga could not have possibly known
the ramifications of his choice of a city legal officer to be his counsel. The duty of law
enforcers to inform him of his Constitutional rights during custodial interrogations to their
full, proper and precise extent does not appear to have been discharged. The Court also
pointed out that Atty. Rocamora didn’t exert efforts to safeguard Sunga’s rights and
interests. Because of the foregoing, the Court held that testimonies and extrajudicial
admissions made my Sunga couldn’t be admitted.

The Court added that the right to counsel applies in certain pretrial proceedings that can be
deemed “critical stages” in the criminal process. This includes preliminary investigation. The
right to counsel involves more than just the presence of a lawyer in the courtroom or the
mere propounding of standard questions and objections; rather it means an efficient and
decisive legal assistance and not a simple perfunctory representation.