The rule enumerates the rights of a person accused of an offense,
which are both constitutional as well as statutory, save the right
to appeal which is purely statutory in character.
1. Substantive – considers the intrinsic validity of the law
2. Procedural – based on the principle that a court hears before it
condemns. Requirement of notice and hearing.
Section 1. Rights of accused at trial
A. To Be Presumed Innocent
- In all criminal prosecutions, the accused is presumed innocent
until the contrary is proved beyond reasonable doubt.
- The conviction should be based on the strength of the prosecution
and not on the weakness of the defense, an accusation is not
synonymous with guilt.
- It is the doubt engendered by an investigation of the
whole proof and inability, after such investigation, to
let the mind rest easy upon the certainty of guilt.
Absolute certainty of guilt is not demanded by the law
to convict of any criminal charge but moral certainty
is required as to every proposition of proof requisite
to constitute the offense.
REASON: the slightest possibility of an innocent man being
convicted for an offense he has not committed for an offense
he has not committed would be far more dreaded than letting
a guilty person go unpunished or for a crime he may have
- where the evidence of the parties in a criminal case are
evenly balanced, the constitutional presumption of
innocence should tilt in favor of the accused who
must be acquitted.
Exceptions To The Presumption Of Innocence
People v. Mingoa, 92 Phil 856 (1953)
- The legislature may enact that when certain facts have
been proved, they shall be prima facie evidence of the
existence of guilt of the accused and shift the burden
of proof provided there be a rational connection between
the facts proved and the ultimate fact presumed so that
the inference of the one from proof of the other is not
unreasonable and arbitrary experience.
In cases of self defense, the person who invokes self defense
is presumed guilty. In this case a REVERSE TRIAL will be held.
B. To Be Informed Of The Nature And The Cause Of The Accusation
The right requires that the information should state the facts and
the circumstances constituting the crime charged in such a way that
a person of common understanding may easily comprehend and be
informed of what it is about.
People v. Ortega, 276 SCRA 166 (2003)
- An accused may not be convicted of an offense unless it is
clearly charged in the complaint or information. To convict
him of an offense other than that charged in the complaint or
information would be a violation of this constitutional right.
When a person is charged in a complaint with a crime and the evidence
does not show that he is guilty thereof, but does show that he is
guilty of some other crime or a lesser offense, the court may sentence
him for the lesser offense, PROVIDED that the lesser offense is a
cognate offense and is included in the complaint filed in court.
The qualifying or aggravating circumstances must be ALLEGED and
PROVED in order to be considered by the court.
C. To Be Present And Defend In Person And By Counsel At Every Stage Of
Presence of the Accused is required:
1. During arraignment (Sec. 1b, Rule 116)
2. Promulgation of judgment EXCEPT when the conviction is for a
light offense, in which case, it may be pronounced in the
presence of his counsel or representative.
3. when ordered by the court for purposes of identification
Not applicable in the SC and CA
- The law securing to an accused person the right to be
present at every stage at the proceedings has no application
to the proceedings before the CA and the SC nor to the entry
and promulgation of the judgments. The defendant need not be
present during the hearing of the appeal. (Sec. 9, Rule 124)
Aquino, Jr. v. Military Commission, 63 SCRA 546 (1975)
- The accused may waive his right to be present during the trial.
However, his presence may be compelled when he is to be identified.
Effects Of Waiver Of The Right To Appear By The Accused
1. waiver of the right to present evidence
2. prosecution can present evidence if the accused fails to appear
3. the court can decide without the evidence of the accused
Trial in Absencia
- It is important to state that the provision of the Constitution
authorizing the trial in absentia of the accused in case of his
non-appearance AFTER ARRAIGNMENT despite due notice simply means
that he thereby waives his right to meet the witnesses
face to face, among others.
Such waiver of a right of the accused does not mean a release
of the accused from his obligation under bond to appear in court
when so required. The accused may waive his right but not his
duty or obligation to the court.
REQUIREMENTS FOR TRIAL IN ABSENTIA
1. accused has been arraigned
2. he has been duly notified of the trial
3. his failure to appear is unjustified
Gimenez v. Nazareno, 160 SCRA 1 (1988)
- an escapee who has been duly tried in absentia waives his
right to present evidence on his own behalf and to confront
and cross-examine witnesses that have testified against him.
D. Right To Counsel
Importance: Without the aid of counsel, a person may be convicted,
not because he is guilty but because he does not know how to
establish his innocence.
The right covers the period beginning from the custodial investigation,
well into the rendition of the judgment and even on appeal.
(People v. Serzo, Jr. 274 SCRA 553) the right to counsel can be invoked
at any stage of the proceedings, even on appeal.
- It is the questioning by law enforcement officers of a SUSPECT
taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of
action in a significant way. it includes the practice of issuing
an “invitation” to a person who is investigated in connection
with an offense he is suspected to have committed. (RA 7437)
People v. Morial, 363 SCRA 96 (2001)
- If during the investigation the assisting lawyer leaves, comes
and goes, the statement signed by the accused is still
inadmissible because the lawyer should assist his client from
the time the confessant answers the first question asked by the
investigating officer until the signing of the extrajudicial
The right to counsel and the right to remain silent do not cease even
after a criminal complaint/information has already been filed
against the accused AS LONG AS he is still in custody.
The duty of the court to appoint a counsel de oficio when the
accused has no legal counsel of choice and a desire to employ one is
MANDATORY only at the time of ARRAIGNMENT (sec. 6, Rule 116)
Difference Between The Right To Counsel During Custodial Investigation
and During The Trial
A. During trial – the right to counsel means EFFECTIVE counsel.
Counsel is here not to prevent the accused from a confessing but to
defend the accused.
B. Custodial Investigation – stricter requirement, it requires the
presence of competent and independent counsel who is preferably
the choice of the accused. Since a custodial investigation is
not done in public there is a danger that confessions can be
exacted against the will of the accused.
The right to counsel is NOT ABSOLUTE, it subject to being exercised
within a reasonable time and manner (Laranaga v. CA, 281 SCRA 254)
he cannot insist on one that he cannot afford, one who is not a
member of the bar and one who declines for a valid reason such as
conflict of interest. (People v. Servo, 274 SCRA 553)
Waiver of Right to Counsel
- This is when the accused voluntarily submits himself to the
jurisdiction of the court and proceeds with his defense.
Jurisprudence provides that the defendant cannot raise the question
of his right to have an attorney the first time on appeal.
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.
US v. Escalante, 36 Phil. 743 (1917)
- If the question is not raised in the trial court, the
prosecution may go to trial.
People v. Nang Kay, 88 Phil. 515 (1951)
- the question will not be considered in the appellate court for
the first time when the accused fails to raise it in the
Delgado v. CA, 145 SCRA 357 (1986)
- The mistake of counsel will bind his client. The only exception
is when the counsel represents himself as a lawyer and is not
one because in that case the accused is denied of his right to
counsel and due process.
E. To Testify As A Witness In His Own Behalf
People v. Santiago, 46 Phil 734 (1922)
- A denial of the defendant’s right to testify on his own behalf
would constitute an unjustifiable violation of his
If the accused testifies, he may be cross-examined ONLY on matters
covered by his direct examination, unlike an ordinary witness who
can be cross-examined as to any matter stated in the direct
examination or connected therewith (Section 6, Rule 132). His failure
to testify will not be taken against him but his failure to present
evidence in his behalf shall be taken against him (US v. Bay, 97 SCRA 495).
The testimony of an accused who testifies on his own behalf but
refuses to be cross examined will not be given weight and will
have no probative value because the prosecution will not be able
to test its credibility.
F. Right Against Self-Incrimination
The scope of this right covers only testimonial compulsion only and
not the compulsion to produce real and physical evidence using the
body of the accused.
DNA TESTING is not covered in the right against self-incrimination
Rationale For Protecting The Right Against Self Incrimination:
1. humanitarian reasons, to prevent the state from using its
2. practical reasons - the accused is more likely to commit perjury.
The accused in protected under this rule from questions that tend
to incriminate him, which means those that may subject him to
The right may be waived by the failure of the accused to invoke the
privilege at the proper time, that is AFTER the incriminating
question is asked and BEFORE his answer.
The privilege of the accused to be exempt from testifying as a
witness, involves a prohibition against testimonial compulsion
only and the production by the accused of incriminating documents
and articles demanded off him. (US v. Tan Teng, 23 Phil, 145)
EXCEPTIONS: immunity statutes such as:
1. RA 1379 (Forfeiture of illegally obtained wealth)
2. RA 749 – Bribery and Graft cases
Right Of The Accused Vs. Right Of An Ordinary Witness
- The ordinary witness may be compelled to take the witness
stand and claim the privilege as each and every incriminating
question is thrown at him while an accused may refuse to take
the witness stand and refuse to answer any and all questions.
The accused may also refuse to answer on his past criminality
only if he can still be prosecuted for it.
However, if the accused testifies in his own behalf, then he may
be cross-examined as any other witness. He may NOT on cross
examination refuse to answer any question on the ground that the
answer he will give or the evidence that he will produce would have
the tendency to incriminate him for the crime that he was charged.
But he MAY refuse to answer any question incriminating him for an
offense distinct from that for which he is charged.
Rights Of The Accused In The Matter Of Testifying Of Producing Evidence
Before the case:
1. Right to be informed
2. Right to remain silent and to counsel
3. Right not to be subjected to force or violence or any other means
which vitiate free will
4. Right to have the evidence obtained in violation of these rights
After the case is filed in court:
1. Right to refuse to be a witness
2. Right to not have any prejudice whatsoever result to him by
3. The right to testify on his own behalf subject to cross-examination
by the prosecution
4. While testifying the right to refuse a specific question which
ends to incriminate him for some other crime.
- Witness’ compelled testimony and the fruits thereof cannot be
used in subsequent prosecution of a crime against him
- Witness can still be prosecuted but the compelled testimony
cannot be used against him.
- Witness immune from prosecution of a crime to which his compelled
- Witness cannot be prosecuted at all
Effect of Refusal of Accused to Testify
- Silence should not prejudice the accused.
EXCEPTION: Unfavorable inference is drawn when:
1. the prosecution has already established a prima facie case,
the accused must present proof to overturn the evidence
2. the defense of the accused is an alibi and he does not testify,
the interference is that the alibi is not believable.
G. Right To Confront And Cross Examine Witnesses Against Him At Trial
(Right Of Confrontation)
- It is the act of setting a witness face to face with the
accused so that the latter may make any objection he has to
the witness, and the witness may identify the accused, and
this must take place in the presence of the court having
jurisdiction to permit the privilege of cross examination.
The main purpose of this right to confrontation is to secure the
opportunity of cross examination and the second purpose is to enable
the judge to observe the demeanor of the witness.
By way of exception to this rule, it is provided that the court may
utilize as part of its evidence the testimony of a witness who is
deceased, out of or with due diligence cannot be found in the
Philippines, unavailable or otherwise unable to testify, given in
another proceeding, judicial or administrative, involving the same
parties and subject matter, the adverse party having had the
opportunity to cross-examine him. (Rule 130, Sec 47)
In any criminal proceeding, the defendant enjoys the right to have
compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the
production of evidence on his behalf.
WAIVER OF RIGHT TO CONFRONTATION
a. May be done expressly or impliedly.
b. It is implied when the accused waives his right to be present at
trial or when he was given the opportunity but fails to take
advantage of it.
H. Right To Compulsory Process
This is the right of the accused to have a subpoena and/or a
subpoena duces tecum issued in his behalf in order to compel the
attendance of witnesses and the production of other evidence.
If a witness refuses to testify when required is in contempt of court.
The court may order a witness to give bail or to be arrested.
I. Right To A Speedy, Impartial Public Trial
The right to a speedy trial is intended to avoid oppression and to
prevent delay by imposing on the courts and on the prosecution
an obligation to proceed with reasonable dispatch.
Facts Considered To Determine If Right To Speedy Trial Has Been Violated
1. length of the delay
2. reason for the delay
3. the accused’s assertion or non assertion of the right
4. prejudice to the accused resulting from the delay.
Rules on Speedy Trial
- The limitation of this right is that the State must not
be deprived of its day in court and the right of the State and
the prosecution of due process must be respected.
There is NO violation of the right where the delay is imputable
to the accused. (Solis v. Agloro, 64 SCRA 370)
The right to a speedy trial is violated when there are UNJUSTIFIED
postponements (People v. Declaro, 170 SCRA 143)
REMEDIES AVAILABLE TO THE ACCUSED WHEN HIS RIGHT
TO A SPEEDY TRIAL IS VIOLATED
1. He should ask for the trial of the case, not the dismissal.
2. Unreasonable delay of the trial of a criminal case as to make
the detention of the defendant illegal gives ground for habeas
corpus as a remedy for obtaining release as to avoid detention
for a reasonable period of time.
3. Accused would be entitled to relief in a mandamus proceeding to
compel the dismissal of the information.
4. ask for the trial of the case and then move to dismiss
(Gandicela v. Lutero, 88 Phil. 790)
- Due process requires a hearing before an impartial and
disinterested tribunal and that every litigant is entitled to
nothing less that the cold neutrality of an impartial judge.
(Mateo, Jr. v. VIllaluz, 50 SCRA 180)
“Like Caesar’s wife, a judge must not be only pure but beyond
suspicion.” (Palang v. Zosa, 58 SCRA 776)
- One held open or publicly; anyone interested in observing the
way the judge conducts his proceedings in a courtroom may do
so (Garcia v. Domingo, 52 SCRA 143) it is sufficient that
relatives and friends who want to watch the proceedings are
given the opportunity to witness the proceedings. It is done
in public to prevent abuses that may be committed by the court
and the accused is entitled to moral support from his friends
and relatives. If it is done in the judges chambers, it is
still valid because the public is not excluded.
(Garcia v. Domingo, 52 SCRA 143)
EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC IS VALID WHEN:
1. evidence to be produced is offensive to decency or public morals
2. upon motion of the accused (Section 21, Rule 119)
Rule on Trial by Publicity
- The right of the accused to a fair trial is NOT incompatible
to free press. Pervasive publicity is no per se as prejudicial
to the right to a fair trial. To warrant the finding of
prejudicial publicity, there must be allegations and proof
that judges have been unduly influenced, not simply that they
might be due to the barrage of publicity. (People v. Teehankee,
249 SCRA 54)
J. Right To Appeal On All Cases Allowed By Law And In The Manner
Prescribed By Law
The right to appeal from a judgment of the conviction is
fundamentally of statutory origin. It is not a matter of absolute
right that is independent of constitutional or statutory provisions
allowing such appeal.
Waiver of Right to Appeal
- The right to appeal is personal to the accused and it may be
waved either expressly or by implication. HOWEVER, where the
death penalty is imposed, such right cannot be waived as the
review of the judgment by the SUPREME COURT is automatic and
mandatory (A.M. No. 00-5-03 SC)
Ozaeta v. CA, 179 SCRA 800 (1989)
- Anyone who seeks to exercise the right to appeal must comply
with the requirements of the rules. Otherwise the right to
appeal is lost.
People v. Ang Gioc, 74 Phil. 366 (1941)
- When the accused flees, after the case has bee submitted to
court for decision, he will be deemed to have waived his right
to appeal from the judgment rendered against him.
NOTE: such may no be reviewed by the CA.
THE SPEEDY TRIAL ACT OF 1998 (RA 8493)
DUTY OF THE COURT AFTER THE ARRAIGNMENT OF THE ACCUSED
- The court SHALL order a pre-trial conference to
consider the following:
1. plea bargaining
2. stipulation of facts
3. marking and identification of evidence
4. waiver of objections to admissibility of evidence
5. such other matters as will promote a fair and
Time Limit for Trial in Criminal Cases Shall not exceed 180 days
from the first day of trial, however the rule is not absolute.
1. those governed by the Rules on Summary Procedure
2. where the penalty prescribed by law does NOT exceed 6 months
imprisonment or a fine of P1,000 or both
3. those authorized by the Chief Justice of the SC
Period of Arraignment of Accused
- Within 30 days from the filing of the information, or from the
date the accused appealed before the justice/judge/court in
which the charge is pending, whichever date last occurs.
When Shall Trial Commence After Arraignment
- Within 30 days from arraignment, HOWEVER, it may be extended
1. for the 180 days for the first 12 calendar month period
from the effectivity of the law
2. 120 days for the second 12 month period
3. 80 days for the third 12 month period