Practice Relating to Rule 100. Fair Trial Guarantees
Section J. Compelling accused persons to testify against themselves or to confess guilt
The Philippine Army Soldier’s Handbook on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (2006) provides:
While not in combat:
8. Inform the troops that a child taken in custody by government forces in an area of armed conflict should be informed of his/her constitutional rights and shall be treated humanely.
Some of [these] basic rights are “the right to remain silent”, “the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty”, “the right to be notified of the charge,” “right to counsel”, “right to presence of parents or guardian”, and the “right to confront and cross examine witnesses.”
The Philippines’ Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure (2000), in the rule dealing with the rights of the accused at trial, states:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be entitled to the following rights:
(d) To testify as a witness in his own behalf but subject to cross-examination on matters covered by direct examination. His silence shall not in any manner prejudice him.
(e) To be exempt from being compelled to be a witness against himself.
The Philippines’ Rule on Juveniles in Conflict with the Law (2002) states:
Sec. 26. Duty of the Family Court to Protect the Rights of the Juvenile. – In all criminal proceedings in the Family Court, the judge shall ensure the protection of the following rights of the juvenile in conflict with the law:
e) To testify as a witness in his own behalf and subject to cross-examination only on matters covered by direct examination, provided that the Rule on the Examination of a Child Witness shall be observed whenever convenient and practicable.
The juvenile shall not be compelled to be a witness against himself and his silence shall not in any manner prejudice him.
The Philippines’ Republic Act No. 9372 (2007) states:
No Torture or Coercion in Investigation and Interrogation. –
No threat, intimidation, or coercion, and no act which will inflict any form of physical pain or torment, or mental, moral, or psychological pressure, on the detained person, which shall vitiate his freewill, shall be employed in his investigation and interrogation for the crime of terrorism or the crime of conspiracy to commit terrorism; otherwise, the evidence obtained from said detained person resulting from such threat, intimidation, or coercion, or from such inflicted physical pain or torment, or mental, moral, or psychological pressure, shall be, in its entirety, absolutely not admissible and usable as evidence in any judicial, quasi-judicial, legislative, or administrative investigation, inquiry, proceeding, or hearing.
In the Binimira case before the Supreme Court of the Philippines in 1997, in which the appellant appealed the decision of a lower court that had convicted him of the crime of robbery with homicide, the court reversed and set aside the lower court’s decision and ordered his immediate release from confinement. In doing so, the court noted:
In the present case, Appellant Binamira was not adequately informed of his constitutional right to engage a counsel of his own choice, much less afforded an opportunity to exercise such right …
… [T]the extrajudicial confession itself shows that, in the course of the custodial investigation, Appellant Binamira was not fully apprised of his constitutional rights.
… [T]he Court will not take up appellant’s allegations that he was tortured and maltreated by the investigating police and the security guards, because such consideration is no longer necessary in view of our holding on the violation of his right to counsel of choice. Where a confession is extracted contrary to the accused’s Miranda rights, it is ipso facto inadmissible in evidence. Hence, there is no more need for the appellant to prove duress or intimidation to attain the same objective of outlawing the confession.
In its judgment in the Liwanag case in 2001, the Supreme Court of the Philippines stated:
… Article III, Section 12 (1) of the Constitution … refers to the right of persons under custodial investigation. In People v. Lucero, the rationale for this constitutional right was elucidated by this Court, to wit:
The 1987 Constitution requires that a person under investigation for the commission of a crime should be provided with counsel. We have constitutionalized the right to counsel because of our hostility against the use of duress and other undue influence in extracting confessions from a suspect. Force and fraud tarnish confessions and render them inadmissible. In providing for said right, this Court has held in the same case that when the Constitution requires the right to counsel, it did not mean any kind of counsel but effective and vigilant counsel
. The requirements of effectiveness and vigilance of counsel during that stage before arraignment were for the purposes of guarding against the use of duress and other undue influence in extracting confessions which may taint them and render them inadmissible.
[emphasis in original]